Which day is the Sabbath?

Which day is the Christian Sabbath? Since most churches observe Sunday as their day of rest and worship, many people assume that Sunday is the Sabbath. Is it?

Which day is the Sabbath?
The Sabbath is from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

Source: Photos.com

One of the Commandments states: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work" (Exodus:20:8-10).

God commanded that the seventh day be observed as the Sabbath. A glance at almost any dictionary or encyclopedia will show you that Saturday is the seventh day of the week, while Sunday is the first day of the week. The seventh day according to God's calendar is—and always has been—the Sabbath day. Although man has modified calendars through the centuries, the seven-day weekly cycle has remained intact throughout history. The days of the week have always remained in their proper order, with Sunday as the first day of the week and Saturday as the seventh.

"The oracles of God"—His divine words and instructions recorded in the Holy Scriptures including the Commandments—were entrusted to the Jewish people (Romans:3:1-2), and they have preserved the knowledge of the seventh-day Sabbath faithfully since well before Christ's time to this day.

No biblical authorization to change the Sabbath to Sunday

How did Sunday become the primary day of rest and worship? Although the concept of rest has largely disappeared, most churches continue to hold their worship services on Sunday. You can search throughout the Bible, but you will find no authority to alter the day of worship.

James Cardinal Gibbons, Catholic educator and archbishop of Baltimore in the late 1800s and early 1900s, was blunt about the change: "You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify. The Catholic Church correctly teaches that our Lord and His Apostles inculcated certain important duties of religion which are not recorded by the inspired writers...We must, therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith" ( The Faith of Our Fathers, 1917, p. 89).

Did you catch that? The writer admits that Sunday observance is nowhere authorized in the Bible and that the seventh day is the only day sanctified by the Scriptures. His justification for changing the day of rest and worship assumes that authority exists apart from the Bible to define the necessary truths and practices for salvation.

Sabbath change made after the New Testament was written

The change from Sabbath to Sunday was made long after the writing of the New Testament. No clear references to Sunday as a day of Christian worship are found until the writings of Barnabas and Justin, c. A.D. 135 and 150, respectively. Observance of Sunday as the primary day of worship appears to have solidified in the reign of Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-135), who harshly persecuted Jews throughout the Roman Empire. Hadrian specifically prohibited practices of Judaism, including observance of the seventh-day Sabbath.

These oppressive measures apparently influenced many early Christians in Rome to abandon the seventh day and turn to Sunday, historically observed by the Romans as a day of veneration of the sun (hence the name of the day). Within a few centuries Sabbath observance by Christians was virtually eliminated within the confines of the empire and replaced by Sunday.

Although the Protestant Reformation brought some doctrinal and administrative changes, observance of Sunday as a day of rest and worship continued from the Roman Catholic Church into subsequent Protestant denominations. Whereas the Catholic Church claimed authority to establish its own times of worship, Protestant churches generally justified Sunday observance on the grounds that the seventh-day Sabbath was replaced in the New Testament by worship on Sunday in honor of Christ's resurrection.

As confirmed by Cardinal Gibbons above, there is no biblical authority for changing the day of rest and worship from the seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday. As shown in our free booklet Sunset to Sunset: Gods Sabbath Rest , Jesus Christ, the apostles and Jewish and gentile members of the early Church alike continued to observe the Commandments, including the seventh-day Sabbath. This is the only day authorized in the Bible.

dana guzman

dana guzman's picture

with knowing that saturday is the true sabbath why is it that all churches execpt the seventh day adven choose to still worship on sunday? what does the bible say about this or does it.
and does it mean that now that i know this should i not worship on God's sabbath. is it a sin not too, and still worship on sunday.


Skip's picture

Hello Dana,

You asked some good questions!
Most people who read history give the Roman Catholic Church the credit (or at least the responsibility!) for changing the day of worship from Saturday (the Sabbath) to Sunday.

If you believe that there is a God & that God has communicated with us humans --- yes, it makes a difference which day we worship God.

If you are looking for help understanding how important it is, after reading our booklets on the Sabbath, there are several people (LIKE ME!) who would be able to answer any questions you have such as ----
Where is the closest Church that teaches ALL the Truth? We will tell you.



Timpj's picture

I am curious how the church addressed Samoa's dateline shift. It seems to have caused some confusion with the SDA's as to which day to keep the Sabbath. **Link removed to comply with comment policy**


joyful's picture

the sabbath day is a day placed in the commandment by God for man.. breaking the sabbath day is a sin for it is the breaking of the law of God. by observing it , you are showing love tawords you Creator, for it is written in the bible, " if you love Me, keep my commandments".(john 14:15)

Jeba Moses

Jeba Moses's picture

Thank you for challenging the Christian community to return to the Bible completely! If God said the seventh day was the Sabbath, and our Lord observed it when He was on this earth, that is what we must do as well.

Let us not follow human traditions and clever theological arguments that lead people away from God's holy day. Amen!!!


DeeDikay's picture

Can somebody explain to me this? Can it be Saturday? or Sabbath is the day of rest? Because looking at Leviticus 23.24 it says “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’” Which means it can be any day between sunday to saturday. What evidence in the bible does it show that Saturday is the seventh day? What I have seen so far is that There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord. I'm confused.

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