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The two major views in the Sabbath debate

The major views in the Sabbath debate

By John Chopores


Seventh day view


[by J.N. Andrews]



Time and eternity — The Creator and his work — Events of the

first day of time — Of the second — Of the third — Of the fourth —

Of the fifth — Of the sixth.

TIME, as distinguished from eternity, may be defined as that part of duration which is measured by the Bible. From the earliest date in the book of Genesis to the resurrection of the unjust at the end of the millennium, a period of about 7000 years is measured off.1 Before the commencement of this great week of time, duration without beginning fills

the past; and at the expiration of this period, unending duration opens before the people of God. Eternity is that word which embraces duration without beginning and without end; and that Being whose existence comprehends eternity is he who only hath immortality, the King eternal, immoral, invisible, the only wise God. (Isaiah. 57:15; 1 Samuel 15:29, margin; Jeremiah 10:10, margin; Micah 5:2, margin; 1 Timothy 6:16; 1:17; Psalm 90:2.)

When it pleased this infinite Being, he gave existence Lo our earth. Out of nothing, God created all things; “so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” This act of creation is that event which marks the commencement of the first week of time. He who could accomplish the whole work with one word chose rather Lo employ six days, and to accomplish the result by successive steps. Let us trace the

footsteps of the Creator from the time when he laid the foundation of the earth until the close of the sixth day, when the heavens and the earth were finished, “and God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Hebrews 11:3; Genesis 1:31.).On the first day of time, God created the heaven and the earth. The earth thus called into existence was without form, and void; and total darkness covered the Creator’s work. Then

“God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” “And God divided the light from the darkness,” and called the one day and the other night. (Genesis 1:1-5; Hebrews 1:10.)

On the second day of time,

“God said, Let there be a firmament [margin, Hebrews, expansion] in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

The dry land had not yet appeared; consequently the earth was covered with water. As no atmosphere existed, thick vapors rested upon the face of the water; but the atmosphere being now called into existence by the word of the Creator, causing those elements to unite which compose the air we breathe, the fogs and vapors that had rested upon the bosom of the water were borne aloft by it. This atmosphere, or expansion, is. called

heaven. (Genesis 1:6-8; Job 37:18.)

On the third day of time, God gathered the waters together, and caused the dry land to appear. The gathering together of the waters God called seas; the dry land, thus rescued from the waters, he called earth.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth; and it was so.” “And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:9-18; Psalm 186:6; 2 Peter 3:5.)

On the fourth day of time,

“God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule

the night; he made the stars also.”

Light had been created on the first day of the week; and now, on the fourth day, he causes the sun and moon to appear as light-bearers, and places the light under their rule. And they continue unto this day, according to his. ordinances; for all are his servants. Such was the work of the fourth day.

And the Great Architect, surveying what he had wrought, pronounced it good. (Genesis 1:14-19; Psalm 119:91; Jeremiah 33:25.)

On the fifth day of time,

“God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and God saw that it was good.”

(Genesis 1:20-23.)

On the sixth day of time,

“God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind; and God saw that it was good.”

Thus the earth, having been fitted for the purpose, was filled with every order of living creature, while the air and waters teemed with animal existence. To complete this noble work of creation, God next provides a ruler, the representative of himself, and places all in subjection under him.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden east. ward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

Last of all, God created Eve, the mother of all living. The work of the Creator was now complete.

“The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold:, it was very good.”. Adam and Eve were in paradise; the tree of life bloomed on earth; sin had not entered our world, and death was not here, for there was no sin. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.”

Thus ended the sixth day. (Genesis 1:24-31; 2:7-9, 18-22; 3:20; Job 38:7.)



First day view




Wilson T. Hogue

Chapter 4


We now proceed to prove that the setting apart of the first day of the week, the day on which our Lord arose from the dead, as the Christian Sabbath, or "the Lord's day," has the unmistakable warrant of Scripture.

1. It is warranted by Jewish types. In the Jewish feasts mentioned in Leviticus 23 we have seen one at least in which a Sabbath observance was prescribed which came on the first day of the week.

Referring to the whole system of Hebrew Sabbaths Paul says they were "a shadow of things to come" (Col. 2:16, 17). It is but fair then to regard the occasional first-day Sabbaths as types of a new dispensation.

2. It is warranted by prophecy. "The Stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psa, 118:22-24). This prophecy unmistakably refers to the resurrection of Christ. The evidence of this may be found in the utterances of both Jesus and his apostles. (See Matt. 21:42, Acts 4:10, 11, and I Peter 2:7.)

To what else do the words, "this is the day which the Lord hath made," refer, if not to the

Christian Sabbath, the day commemorative of the resurrection of Christ and in which the rejected Stone was made "the head of the corner"? Some day of special and great significance is here predicted, and expositors have failed to point out any other day as of sufficient importance to be thus incorporated with the prophecy of our Lord's triumph over death and the grave and identified as the object of the same.

3. It is warranted from the fact that the change from the seventh day to the first took place under apostolic recognition and authority. Their first religious meeting after Christ's resurrection was "on the first day of the week," the day he arose, and was specially graced and blessed with his presence (John 20:19). Their next recorded religious service was held on the following "first day of the week," on which occasion Jesus again miraculously appeared in their midst and gave them his blessing (John 20: 26). Twenty-five years later we have the record of the disciples at Troas meeting "on the first day of the week to break bread," and Paul preaching to them, "ready to depart on the morrow," etc. (Acts 20:7). This was evidently a religious service, and Paul tarried and preached for them on that occasion, as he would not resume his journeying until the Christian Sabbath was past, which is indicated by the expression "ready to depart on the morrow." Commenting on this passage, the late Rev. B. T. Roberts has well and forcibly said:

"The verse plainly teaches, (1) That the Christians of that early age did not meet together for worship on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. For Paul was there seven days.(v. 6). He must, then, have been there on the Jewish Sabbath, but did not preach to the Christians on that day, because that was not their day for worship. No other reason can be given.

"(2) That they, the Christians, did meet for worship on the first day of the week. This was not a special meeting. It was their stated day for worship. The language plainly teaches this. It can have no other meaning. The disciples were not called together to hear Paul. They came together, according to their custom, for Christian worship. This is implied in the words, 'And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, being present, preached unto them.'

"To say that because Paul preached in the evening, they did not meet together in the day time is too absurd to need even contradiction. What possible proof can a Sunday evening meeting be that there was no religious service there in the day time?

"But in other places it is recorded that Paul preached on the Sabbath day. So it is, as in Acts 13:42, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4. Read carefully these passages and you will find that it was not to a Christian congregation that he preached, but to the Jews and to the Gentiles who met with them for worship.

"Search the New Testament carefully: you cannot find a single record of the meeting together on the seventh day of the week of a company of Christian believers for worship! There is no such record. They did not meet on that day. The day on which the primitive Christians met for worship was the first day of the week."

About a year after the meeting with the disciples at Troas Paul wrote as follows to the church at Corinth: "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." (1 Cor. 16:1, 2.) It is quite evident from this that the first day of the week was observed at that time by the churches of Galatia and Corinth as the day of their principal religious "gatherings," and was considered by St. Paul as the most suitable occasion for bringing together "the collection for the saints."

4. The warrant for the First-day Sabbath is strengthened by the fact that the apostles were invested with authority to make such a change as we have seen was made under their administration. This appears when we consider (1) That they were inspired men, which no Christian denies. (2) That they were invested with this prerogative by virtue of the authority conferred upon them to organize and establish the Christian church and to reject or retain so much of the Hebrew ceremonial as they judged appropriate. This is the force of the following commission: "Verily I say unto you,

Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 18:18). (3) That they were guaranteed against error in their establishment of the church and its regulations by the special impartation of the Holy Spirit to be their teacher and guide. Jesus said unto them: "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). "And when he is come, he will guide you into all truth," etc. (John 16:13)..We believe it has now been shown: (1) That there is nothing in the meaning of the term Sabbath that limits its proper observance unchangeably to any particular day; (2) that by divine appointment a change was made at the Exodus from the primeval Sabbath day, previously observed throughout the world, to a day for Sabbath observance commemorative of events pertaining particularly to the Hebrew nation; (3) that from its very character the Seventh-day Sabbath of the Hebrews was to be observed only during the Jewish dispensation; (4) that even under the Jewish economy other days than the seventh or Saturn's day (and particularly the first day of the week) were hallowed as Sabbaths by divine appointment; (5) that, so far as the best information we can get is concerned, the original day hallowed as a Sabbath in Eden would, if carried forward to the present, synchronize with the First-day Sabbath observed by Christians; and (6) that the change from the seventh day to the first after the establishment of Christianity has the warrant of scripture, in that it is typified, foretold, provided for in the authority conferred upon our Lord's apostles, authorized by the example of the apostles and the early church, and sanctioned by the special, miraculous and visible presence of the Lord with his primitive followers when first they made his resurrection day the day which they observed in Sabbath worship. These reasons we regard as sufficient to prove that the practice of Christians generally in keeping the first day of the week as the Sabbath, in commemoration of God's completed work both in creation and redemption, is in keeping with God's original plan and fully authorized by scripture.

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ" (Col. 2:16, 17).”


View three

We should have a Sabbath rest: but all days are good for worshiping the Lord

By John Chopores


Colossians 2:16  So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

We are not to spend our time judging each other on such matters. Cf. Matthew 7:1  "Judge not, that you be not judged.


Spending too much time and energy; on such things can lead us to ready hate each other. Cf. Romans 14:3  Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.


It is the Law of liberty: not man that we are to follow! Cf. James 2:8  If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well;



Judging others about such minor matters, can do harm to our spiritual walk. Cf. James 2:13  For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

It is a waste of our lives, to spend much fighting about the Old Testament Law. Cf.Titus 3:9  But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.


There are even some (not all, who think about such things) who try to use such matters: to get control over us! Cf. Col. 2:16 ¶ So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17  which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18  Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19  and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. 20  Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21  "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22  which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23  These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Galatians 4:10  You observe days and months and seasons and years.


Question: Why then the Sabbath?

Answer: So that men would have a day to rest and think on all that God has done for us!

Cf. Mark 2:27  And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.



We have a spiritual Sabbath: a true rest. Cf. Matthew 11:28  "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

John 4:24  "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."


A rest that we find: when we seek it in obedience. Cf. Hebrews 4:8  For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.

Hebrews 4:9  There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

Hebrews 4:10  For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Hebrews 4:11  Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.


But we must come in faith and holiness. Cf. Hebrews 4:3  For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’" although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 4:1  Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.