Why was the Sabbath changed to Sunday?
Why was the Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday when God specifically told the Jewish nation that He had blessed the seventh day and made it holy (Exodus 20:8- 10, Leviticus 23:3)?
When God adopted the nation of Israel as his peculiar people, he fixed for them a special day of the week, the seventh, to be their Sabbath, or day of rest. This Law specially was directed to the Jewish nation. However, those of us who are Christian and not under that Law Covenant are not bound by its limitation. Indeed, neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever placed the Gospel Church under the Law Covenant at all. This does not mean liberty or freedom to do wrong. Instead we are free to follow the spirit of the Law rather than its letter.
Following the spirit of the Law is true for the entire Ten Commandments, as well as for the Fourth. Thus to us the Seventh Day represents a Rest of a higher character than that of the Law. It is a rest of faith, instead of a physical rest. “We who believe do enter into his rest” (Hebrews 4:3). This rest of faith is based upon our acceptance of Jesus as our satisfaction before God. Jesus was obligated to keep the letter of the Law in a sense and degree that he has not commanded us, his followers. Our goal is to keep the Law’s spirit.
Acting along the lines of this liberty, the early Church began to meet on the First Day of the week, because it was on that day that their Redeemer arose from the dead. On that day Jesus appeared to some in the upper room and to two on the way to Emmaus and to Mary, and subsequently to others of the disciples near the tomb. These four manifestations of the Lord’s resurrection marked that day in a special sense as a holy day to the early Church. They waited during an entire week and then again he appeared on the first day of the week.
So far as we may know, all of Jesus’ eight appearances to his followers after his resurrection were on the first day of the week. No wonder that the Apostles knew it as the Lord’s Day. No wonder that they specially associated that with all the blessings of God and a rest of faith that came to them through the Redeemer.
Therefore, we believe that Sunday, the first day of the week, is a good day for us to rest not only from our temporal work, but also, and, more importantly, “rest” in the Lord through worship, study, and fellowship with family and with those of like precious faith. “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of us be found to have fallen short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1)
For more on the Sabbath listen to, “What Does the Sabbath Look Like for Christians?”