The Bible commands worship on a seventh-day Sabbath. Who changed the Sabbath to the firs day of the week?
Here is what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote on this subject: “Where did Sunday originate? Not with the Roman Catholic Church, but with the pagan religion of the Roman Empire, long before there was any Catholic Church! It is the day on which the ancient pagans assembled at sunrise, faced the east (as they do Easter Sunday morning today), and worshiped the rising sun. It was Constantine, emperor of the Roman Empire, not a pope, who made Sunday the official so-called ‘Christian day of rest.’ But it was enforced—people were caused to accept it universally—by the Roman Catholic Church!” History proves Mr. Armstrong to be absolutely correct!
Sunday observance was initiated by Constantine, not a pope—but it was enforced by the Roman Catholic Church. According to The History of Roman Catholicism (1836), “The accession of Constantine the Great to the throne of the caesars and his subsequent conversion to Christianity, forms a most important era in the history of the church.” It is important, as the writer points out, because this began the intimate relationship the Roman Empire developed with the Roman Church—a relationship that lasted for many centuries.
Constantine changed the official day of worship to Sunday during the Nicene Council of a.d. 325.
In a letter regarding the council, Constantine spoke of the enforcement of Sunday worship for Easter services: “At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day.” This statement was directed at those who kept the Passover—one of God’s seven annual festivals commanded in Scripture—rather than Easter, and kept it several days before Easter. “[F]irst of all, it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews. … Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd …. [I]t has been determined by the common judgment of all, that the most holy feast of Easter should be kept on one and the same day” (emphasis mine throughout).
In other words, Easter was to be kept on Sunday, and the “Jewish” Passover—which is actually God’s biblically commanded assembly—was expressly forbidden!
In another letter, specifically regarding Sabbath worship, Constantine wrote, “Forasmuch, then, as it is no longer possible to bear with your pernicious errors, we give warning by this present statute that none of you henceforth presume to assemble yourselves together. We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies: and our care in this respect extends so far as to forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever. Let those of you, therefore, who are desirous of embracing the true and pure religion, take the far better course of entering the Catholic Church …. [F]rom this day forward none of your unlawful assemblies may presume to appear in any public or private place. Let this edict be made public.”
This was confirmed at the Council of Laodicea almost 40 years later in a.d. 363. At that conference, it was determined, “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but mustcursed and excommunicated] from Christ.”
work on that day, rather honoring the Lord’s Day. … But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema [
There you have it: historical proof of the enforced observance of Sunday. To assemble together on any other day for a religious observance was unlawful.
Today, many Sunday-observing “Christians” admit that the Sabbath was changed. Notice the question posed to the Catholic Church in the book Catholic Doctrinal Catechism, written by a Catholic priest with the intention of defendingQuestion: Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept? Answer: Had she not such power, she should not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her—she could not have Catholic doctrine: “substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no scriptural authority.”
As Christians today, are we to heed what a great church has admittedly changed—or what is divinely inspired in the Bible?
Here is a quote from the Theological Dictionary, by Charles Buck, a Methodist minister: “Sabbath in the Hebrew language signifies rest, and is the seventh day of the week … and it must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day.”
And finally, here is what Isaac Williams wrote in Plain Sermons on the Catechism: “And where are we told in Scripture that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are no where commanded to keep the first day … [T]he reason why we keep the first day of the week instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it.”