Should God’s people congregate on Saturday or Sunday to worship him? What does the Bible say in regard to this instruction?
In Deuteronomy 14:2, the Bible said, “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” This shows that the Abrahamic lineage (Israel, Jews) were the chosen generation above all others. Peter reaffirmed this in 1 Peter 2:9-10, and showed that this is also given to the Gentiles: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” Why? Because God shows Isaiah this promised in Isaiah 42:6, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;”
So the Israelites and Jews were to be God’s forerunners, and the gentiles are to continue with the light given to them by the Jews. This was fulfilled with the Lord’s coming as stated in Luke 2: 27 “And he (Simeon) came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” This was confirmed in Acts 10: 44-46 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God…”
God made many covenants and gave many commands and setup laws with the seeds of Abraham. These they were to practice and show as light to the gentiles. An example is the 10 commandments, as stated in Exodus 20, included the command to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” They practiced these laws, but some of them failed! So Jeremiah prophesied in chapter 31:31-34 “The day is coming,” says the Lord “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord. “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Peter indicated in Hebrew 12:24 that Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant.
The essence of the old covenant is if you obey the commandments of God, you will be blessed by him. History showed that some of the chosen people suffered because of disobedience to the letters of the laws of God. God said in Numbers 14:27, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.” That is why God said “This new covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant.” Paul showed in Romans 10: 5 “For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands.” But with the New Covenant: if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved (Romans 10:9-10).
OK. That is the New Covenant – the new agreement between God and mankind. But what about the laws, the commandments? The New Covenant also stated, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” Let’s see what Jesus and the Disciples say, “And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enters into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17). Again in John 14:15, Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” He continued to say “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, it is he that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Again he emphasized in John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” The Apostle Paul said, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (1 Corinthians 7:19).” The Disciple John said, “And hereby we do know that we know him if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:3-4).
They are saying the same things that God and Moses said to the seeds of Abraham: “If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’ But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it (Deu 30:10-16).”
1 John 2:7-8 said, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” So there are multiple examples of God’s people “Remembering to keep the Sabbath Day holy”. In Luke 4:16, the Bible said, “And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Jesus – the light of the world, a light to the gentile, congregate to worship on the Sabbath day according to the scriptures. The Bible also showed that Paul worship on the Sabbath: “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must suffer and rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ” (Acts 17:1-3).
What about Sunday – the 1st Day of the week? There is no law or commandment given by God the Father, Jesus the Son, nor the disciples to congregate on the 1st day, but there were some activities on the 1st day of the week: “And we (Paul and his helpers) sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight (Acts 20:6-7). And again in 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, Paul advised the church in regard to their question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. He said they should follow the same procedure he gave to the churches in Galatia, “On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem.” These benevolent activities were interpreted as a command to congregate and worship God. Today, some churches do these same benevolent activities on Wednesdays before Prayer Meeting, or on Thursdays.
Nevertheless, most churches that congregate on Sundays do so because they believed that Paul instructed them to do so. They also believed that since so much holy things happened on the 1st Day of the week: Jesus rose from the dead; at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down on the Disciples. These and other activities, it is said are good reasons to congregate on the 1st day to worship God. But what about the instructions to keep the Sabbath Day holy? Those who worship on Sunday said that the light that was given to the Gentile was not the light of the Abrahamic period, but is a light from the disciples and that the light of the holy activities on the 1st day of the week is all the light they need to make that decision.
The Psalmist wrote about what happened to the Israelites in Psalm 95:7-11, “If only you would listen to his voice today!” The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness. For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw everything I did. For forty years I was angry with them, and I said, ‘they are a people whose hearts turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.’ So in my anger, I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’” Is that oath applicable to those who worship on Sunday? Is that the reason why they cannot see that the Sabbath rest is for them, which is a sign of the Eternal Rest in God.
The Sabbath was made for mankind – both Jews and Gentiles, as Jesus said. In the week of Creation, God made man and woman, and then the Sabbath was given. It is like making a man and then a pair of shoes, and then gives the pair of shoes to the man. The shoes were made for the man, just like the Sabbath was made for mankind. The shoes will support then on the journey, so too the Sabbath activities will support us until Jesus returns.
The Israelites, Jews, Jesus, and the Disciples gave the light – God’s will, to the Gentiles. They gave it in their words and by the actions. They congregate on the Sabbath to worship God; they are obedient to His laws and commandments. So, Do you think that God’s people should congregate on Saturday, the Sabbath, 7th Day or Sunday the 1st Day to worship God? Let your conscience and the words of God lead you.