IS SUNDAY WORSHIP PAGAN?
Rev J Djan
WHY CHRISTIANS WORSHIP ON SUNDAY
Rev J Djan.
April 19, 2020
My friend of another denomination said “If you worship on Sundays instead of Saturdays you have the Mark of the Beast but if you worship on Saturdays you have the Mark of God or the Holy Ghost”
This means about 80% of Christians are going to hell and a few sabbatarians going to heaven according to this theory.
At the hub of this controversy is the 4th Commandment Ex 20:8-11
According to Ex 20:8-11 we are commanded to keep the Sabbath and the Sabbath is on Saturday.
Popular Objections to Sunday worship:
The popular objections thrown at Sunday worshippers can be grouped into 4 claims.
1 Some say the Papacy and others say Emperor Constantine I changed the Sabbath law from Saturday to Sunday worship.
Christians were worshipping or meeting on Sundays( 1st day of the week) in the Apostolic biblical days (2 Century) before Constantine was even born.
In the New Testament Sunday was denoted by the terms the “Lord’s day” Rev 1:10 or “the first day of the week” Jn 20:19 Acts 20:7,
The term Sunday first appeared in one of the first Apology of Justin Martyr . Justin was born in 100 AD and died in 165 AD.
CHAP. LXVII.—WEEKLY WORSHIP OF THE CHRISTIANS.
And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read,
as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen;… From the Apologies of Justin Martyr Chap LXVII
SUNDAY WORSHIP ENDORSED BY CHURCH FATHER JUSTIN
— The Apologies of Justin Martyr by Justin Martyr
Constantine passed a civil law for public rest on Sundays in the 4th Century AD 321.
“On the venerable day of the Sun [Sunday] let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed" (Codex Justinianus lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380, note 1).
The motivation for passing this law might be possibly speculated as Constantine’s support and respect for the church and thereby allowing and encouraging the Roman Empire to attend Christian Sunday church services which was already in place and practiced by the Christians( Acts 20:7, 1Cor 16:2, Rev 1:10) before Constantine (AD 272-337) was even born. So it can be seen that Constantine was not the one who did did change any sabbath day for the church as many misguided skeptics are saying.
The Papacy neither was in existence at that time.
2. Sunday worship is worship of the sun a Roman god and is represented by the Mark of the Beast therefore Sunday church worshippers bear the mark of the Beast.
This argument is a non-sequitur . If Romans worship their god on Sundays, it does not follow that any one who worships on that day is worshipping that god.
People say Sunday is named after the sun god . This might be true due to esoteric belief and ignorance. It does not mean that Sunday belongs to the sun nor that the sun created the day neither does it follow that any activities on that day is in reverence to the sun. The day belongs to the Lord and so is the night. God made the day and the night. Gen 1:3-5, Ps74:16 .
The Lord has a sovereign priority for the use of any day. Dedication or designation of a day to anything in nature in act of worship is idolatry.
We may chose to associate the remembrance of an event, a thing or a person with a day such as one’s birthday, however It does not follow that whatsoever is done that day anywhere is in respect to that object.
The faith of the early Christians defied death and mocked death. They voluntarily surrendered to be torn apart by lions or burnt alive rather than denying Christ. By what motivation would they resort to idolatry by adopting sun worship?
Another false argument used against Christians on Sunday worship is that sun worship predated Christianity therefore Christianity is a copycat of those religions of sun worship.
This argument is a post-hoc fallacy. For instance can we say if you were celebrating your child’s birthday Jan 5/2020 you were actually celebrating the birthday of someone born in Jan 5/1997 because all were on Jan 5?
If Sunday worship was for the sun god what are the sermons or lyrics of the praise and worship songs dedicated to the sun.? There is non known among the over 40,000 Christian denominations in the world.
The conclusion that Sunday worship is the Mark of the Beast is therefore not supported by evidence.
Opponents argue that there is no occasion nor event worthy to replace the Saturday Sabbath.
This gives the false implication that there is no tenable reason, whether it be the Resurrection or apparition of Jesus, to use Sundays for substitution of Saturday worship.
This is due to lack of understanding of the Sabbath law.
The Sabbath law is a natural law. It is about creation. Gen 2:2-3, Ex 20:8-11, It was also extended to include the freedom of Israel from oppression Deut 5:15 and the giving of rest Heb 4:11.
The church argues that the period from creation to the Resurrection represents the old creation and from Resurrection to eternity is the new creation.
The old creation began with the light Gen 1:2 -3 as the first day. The Resurrection is the light of creation of a new life- eternal life.
In Adam we all die and in Christ all be made alive. 1Cor 15:22, .
From the Resurrection we enter into our rest. Moreover there is no mandate for worship on the Sabbath day . The mandate was for resting.
The Sunday Sabbath worship therefore is not and act of disobedience, repudiation nor disrespect to God. It is actually a higher honor to God- the Lord of the Sabbath who died and rose again on a new sabbath-the first day of the new creation. Yes a new creation, and Jesus is called the first born of the Resurrection to that new creation .
A resurrection not of Lazarus type to die again but eternal type like Jesus’ not to die anymore.
What is the significance of the Resurrection?
The Resurrection is the heart of God’s work of salvation to the world. The importance of it can be seen by reference to the following scriptures: Acts 2:31, 4:2, 4:10, 33 10:40,13:33-37, Rom 10:9 1 Thess 1:10
If Christ had not resurrected our faith would be in vain and there would be no hope of salvation 1Cor 15: 1-21
There would be no proof of the success of Christ’s work of redemption.
The First day of the week (Sunday) worship was not chosen by man. It was chosen by God in the same analogy as Athanasius make with Easter.
“For it is God, my beloved, even the God who at first established the feast for us, Who vouchsafes the celebration of it year by year. He both brought about the slaying of His Son for salvation, and gave us this reason for the holy feast, to which every year bears witness, as often as at this season the feast is proclaimed.” — Athanasius (The Complete works of the church Fathers. Kindle Edition letter 5 .333 Easter Day loc 38654. )
The Resurrection was on Sunday. Further appearances of Christ happened on Sundays. The Pentecost was on Sunday, and the believers in the book of Acts met and worshipped on Sundays . The choice of this day is not by coincidence nor random act. God ordained it before the foundations of the earth. 1Pe 1:19-21, Rev 13:8
It is not by coincidence that all the appearances of Christ from the resurrection were on the first day of the week -Matt 28:1, 9, Lk 24: 13-34, Jn 20:19-26, Acts 2:1
The uniformity of the day of occurrence emphasizes the intentionality; hence the Sunday worship.
The Jews celebrated the Passover. The timing of the Passover was not a random coincidence. The same way is the Death and Resurrection of Christ the Passover Lamb.
It is written Christ is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world Rev 13:8.
The Resurrection proves that : 1. Christ is the Messiah. The Jews had challenged His identity and authority and have asked for a sign .Jesus replied that there will be no sign except the sign of Jonah ( Matt 12:39-40 ) which is the resurrection and thus testifies to his identity and authority that He is the Messiah.
The Old Testament Passover Lamb died and did not resurrect physically but the proof of its life giving efficacy is that the Jews experienced life when the death angel did not or could not slay them but passed over them.
The resurrection of Christ proves that death nor the grave could not hold down Jesus which in this case we may use a humble analogy as the death angel could not slay those whose houses were marked by the blood of the Passover Lamb. This is then the hope that we also will live.
2 The resurrection gives us hope of assurance that we also be raised from the dead like Christ into eternal life.
The New Testament and the Sabbath:
The New Testament is also very liberal about the Sabbath choice.
Romans 14:5-6 (KJV)
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Colossians 2:16 (KJV) Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Matthew 12:8 (KJV)
For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Acts 15:10-11 (KJV) 10
Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
This scripture was in response to the false idea that believers should return to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament.
Remember that the Sabbath laws carry a burdensome yoke. Those who broke the law could be punished by death.
Galatians 2:14 (KJV)
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Acts 15:19-20 (KJV) 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
The Sabbath is not mentioned here.
The Church Fathers and the Sabbath
St. Ignatius Bishop of Antioch: about AD 115:
“Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner…. But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, and rejoicing after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days”
Justin Martyr (2nd Century A.D. 140):
“But Sunday is the day which we all hold our common assembly, because Jesus Christ, our Saviour, on the same day rose from the dead,” (Justin, I Apol. 67:PG 6,429 and 432).
Many Other church fathers echoed the same points:
Athanasius, Tertulian, Cyprian, Eusebius etc.
Question for Saturday Sabbath keepers.
For those who insist on the observation of the Saturday Sabbath as according to the law, are you obeying all the laws concerning the Sabbath? Will you murder anyone who breaks the Sabbath as commanded by the Law Ex 35:2 ?
CAUTION FOR THOSE WHO ACCUSE CHRISTIANS OF PAGAN WORSHIP BECAUSE THEY WORSHIP OR OBSERVE A CHRISTIAN FEAST ON DAYS THAT ARE SUPPOSEDLY FOR PAGAN GODS.
Critics have put fear and doubt into many Christians by accusing them of idol or pagan worship for acts such as worshipping on Sundays, observing Christmas on 25th Dec, celebrating Easter on Easter Sunday, or even using the term Easter instead of Passover or Resurrection. This fear and doubt have caused many uninformed sincere Christians to abandon their faith or denominations.
The bases of the accusations is that Sunday service is for the worship of the Sun god, Easter is for the god Ishtar, Christmas on 25th Dec is for the god Saturnalia.
I advice all to read and understand the voice of God in the scriptures below and observe the understanding principles of it.
1 Corinthians 8:4 (KJV) As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
1 Corinthians 8:5 (KJV) For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
1 Corinthians 8:6 (KJV) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
The principle behind these texts is not exclusively for food offered to idols . It is about the belief, and acknowledgment that ‘THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD - JEHOVAH- AND THAT IDOLS ARE NOT GODS.’
How many times must the Bible tell us not to fear idols for they are not Gods; and even logic tells us there cannot be more than one God of the universe.
To fear or acknowledge certain days as belonging to some idol god is to acknowledge that there are other true Gods besides JEHOVAH.
The right Christian belief must be that the so called idol or pagan gods are false and are nothing in the world. There is only one true God.
All days belong to JEHOVAH and none belongs to no idol.
The Christian who worships or observes Sundays, Easter or Christmas, is by action stating that there is no other God besides our God and therefore does not regard the fictitious appropriation of certain days to some pagan idols. Ascribing or acknowledging days to stars, planets and some creatures may be used for remembrance, denotation or connotations for some event or acts but not for worship nor the false understanding that they own that day.
It is not the Christian who worships on Sundays and celebrate Easter and Christmas that is in error but the critics. For the critics are the ones acknowledging these idols as gods or God because to them those gods own those days such as Sunday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.
The spirit of the texts quoted above is saying “we know that an idol is nothing in the world and that there is none other God but one” 1 Cor 8:4b.
HEAR, O ISRAEL THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD. Deut 6:4
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