British-Israel's Bible Study Course
A Day to Remember
1. THE LORD'S DAY
1. How is the expression "Lord's Day" used in the Bible? Revelation 1:10 (NT 212  ) "I was in the Spirit on the
To be "in the spirit" means to be having a vision (cf. Revelation 4:1, 2, NT 215  ).
2. Of which day did Jesus claim to be Lord? Matthew 12:8 (NT 12 [81)______________________________________
3. Which day does God call his "holy day"? Isaiah 58:13 ______________________________
4. Which day is the Sabbath? Exodus 20:8-11 (OT 72 [501)________________________________
Putting these scriptures together, we see that the Lord has a day. That day is the Sabbath. And the Sabbath, according to the ten commandments, is the seventh day.
5. What did Jesus have to do with the giving of the ten commandments?
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 (NT 152 ) The children of Israel "did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was _______________"
Nehemiah 9:9-14 (OT 429 ) Thou ."didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt.... Thou didst divide the sea before them.... Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire.... Thou camest down also upon .. _____________________and gayest them right judgments, and ____________________________good statutes and _____________________and madest known unto them thy________________________" Surprising words? Paul says that it was Christ who, through Moses, led His people out of Egypt. Nehemiah says that the same One who led Israel out of Egypt also gave the commandments on Mount Sinai-including the Sabbath commandment.
6. Who created all things? John 1:1-3, 14 (NT 82  ); Colossians 1:14-16 (NT 177  )
Jesus had every right to say He was the Lord of the Sabbath, for He had made it. He also had every right to say, "if ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15, NT 98  ), for He gave them.
7. What three things made the Sabbath different from the other six days? Genesis 2:2, 3 (OT 10  ) God______________ on it. He ___________________it, and _________________________it.
At the close of creation week God set apart the seventh day as a memorial of His loving act of creating the world. He "sanctified" it (made holy, set apart), and placed a special blessing upon it, making it the birthday of the world-a day to remember!
Thought question: What makes something holy? ____________________________________
It was a hot day. Over against the mountain a man was herding sheep. Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by the sight of a burning bush. There was nothing so strange about a bush burning in the desert, but this one didn't burn up! As he approached to investigate, a voice spoke from the flames, a voice he recognized as the voice of his God. "Take off your shoes, Moses, for you are standing on holy ground."
What made that ground holy? Was it the bush? The flames? The weather? Moses' taking off his shoes? No. It was holy because God was there. His presence made it holy.
Now, what would you think had Moses said to God, "Lord, It's too hot here. There's a little shade on the other side of the mountain where I usually pray. Let's talk over there." What would you think? Moses, however, was not so presumptuous as to specify the time and place for meeting God. He let God choose the place of meeting-and the time!
If God had blessed and sanctified all seven days and told us to keep any one of them, we would have a choice, but He blessed and sanctified only one day. To say it makes no difference which day we keep is to say that God's blessing and His word are not important.
8. For whom was the Sabbath made? Mark 2:27,28 (NT 34 [251)_________________________________________________________________
The word "man" is used here in the generic sense-mankind. Many claim that the seventh-day Sabbath was given to the Jews only. Not so. It was given to all mankind in Eden more than 2000 years before the first Jew was born. At that same time marriage was instituted, but no one claims that marriage is for the Jews only!
9. What does the Sabbath commemorate? Exodus 20:9,10 (OT 72 [501)___________________________________________________________
As men forgot this weekly appointment with God, they also forgot who made them, and began to spin theories about man's origin. No wonder God said, "Remember the Sabbath!" Is it mere chance that those who substitute another day of rest are the ones who have largely forgotten God's creative power, while those who have preserved God's specified day of worship have remembered and been untouched by the doubts of this century?
10. Of what is the Sabbath a sign? Ezekiel 20:12 (OT 665 [5181)________________________________________________________________
By keeping holy the seventh-day, we acknowledge our faith in Jesus as our Saviour, for like creation, sanctification requires creative power (Psalm 51:10, OT 484  ; John 3:3, 6, NT 84  ). As the Sabbath is an appropriate sign, or memorial of God's creative power, so it is also a beautiful sign of His redemptive, or re-creative power.
2.THE NEW TESTAMENT SABBATH
1. What example did Jesus give? Luke 4:16 (NT 55 [421) "He came to Nazareth.... and, as his was____________________, he went into the synagogue on the___________________________________"
2. What did Christ say that indicates He expected His followers to keep the Sabbath after He was gone? Matthew 24:20 (NT 25 [191)
This prophecy refers to the flight of the Christians from Jerusalem just before its destruction (verse 16) in 70 A.D., nearly 40 years after Christ's death. Jesus' words plainly imply that He expected the Sabbath would still be kept at that time. Was it? Paul lived until about four years before that terrible event. What day did he keep?
3. What does Luke, the author of the book of Acts, say of Paul's worship day?
Acts 13:14-16 (NT 118 [921) In Antioch Paul worshipped on ___________________________________.
Acts 13:44 (NT 119 [931) The next ____________________________he preached to the Gentiles.
Acts 16:13 (NT 122 ) In Philippi, where there were no Jews or synagogue, Paul went out by the river to worship on_____________________day. During that time "where prayer was _______________ to be made"
Acts 18:4, 11 (NT 124 ) In Corinth he "reasoned in the synagogue _____________________ Sabbath" for a year and a half, or a total of 78 Sabbaths.
Acts 17:2 (NT 122 [961) In Thessalonica, "Paul, __________________________went in unto them, and three reasoned" from the Scriptures'
3.SUNDAY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
But, you say, we keep Sunday in honor of the resurrection. Where is such a command found in God's Word? Where does Scripture tell us to keep Sunday to honor the resurrection? If there is a change in the fourth commandment, then the statement about that change ought to be just as clear as the original command in the ten commandments. Let us look at the eight New Testament texts which mention the first day of the week and see if God has indicated in any of them a change of worship day.
1. Do any of the following passages tell us Sunday (the first day) is to be kept holy?
Matthew 28:1 (NT 31
[231)____________ Mark 16:1, 2 (NT 50  ) __________________
Mark 16:9 (NT 50  )______________ Luke 24:1 (NT 80  ) _____________________
John 20:1 (NT 103 ) ______________John 20:19 (NT 103  ) ____________________
Although Jesus did meet with His disciples on that first Sunday evening, it could not have been a resurrection rally, since they gathered behind closed doors "for fear of the Jews," and were not yet convinced He was alive (Mark 16:11,13,14, NT 50  ).
2. Upon what part of the first day did Paul hold a meeting in Troas? Acts 20:7, 8 (NT 126  ) ____________________________________________
The New English Bible says, "On Saturday night, when we were together ...." In order for it to be dark and also be the first day of the week, it would have to be the evening which followed the Sabbath, or Saturday night, because in the Bible the days began at sunset (Mark 1:21, 32, NT 32  ; Leviticus 23:32, OT 116  ). Paul spent most of Sunday walking from Troas to Assos (nearly 20 miles) to catch his ship-hardly an activity for a sacred day! Without question this was a special farewell service, for Paul did not expect to see them again (verse 25). "Breaking bread" refers to a common meal. If it meant a communion service, it could hardly indicate a sacred day, for Acts 2:46 (NT 107 [831) states that they broke bread daily as they went from house to house.
3. What did Paul ask the Corinthian believers to do on the first day of the week? 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 (NT 158  )____________________
To "lay by in store" does not mean to give an offering in church. Weymouth's translation reads, "to store up at his home." They were to lay aside something regularly so that Paul could take generous help to the famine-stricken Christians of Jerusalem. No religious service is even hinted at in this passage.
Have we found any Scriptural authority for Sunday observance? None whatsoever. That the disciples and His mother knew nothing of such a change is obvious, for not even the sacred task of anointing Christ's body prevented them from dropping their work in time to keep holy the hours of the Sabbath.
From beginning to end the New Testament is utterly silent about any change in God's rest day. And this is significant, for it was written from 20 to 65 years after the resurrection, and any change would surely have excited great notice. The Jews accused Paul of heresy regarding much less important matters than the Sabbath. Had he advocated the keeping of another day in place of the ten-commandment Sabbath, the New Testament would certainly have contained a record of the opposition such teaching would have stirred up.
As glorious as is the resurrection, God did not intend to commemorate it with a weekly Sabbath, for that would set aside one of His commandments. We honor Christ by obeying Him, not by following man-made ideas in place of His (Luke 6:46, NT 58 ; John 14:15, NT 98  ; Mark 7:7-9, NT 39  ). And please remember that Christ's ten commandments are the same this side of the cross as they were the day He gave them on Sinai (Lesson 13). The cross has only confirmed their unchangeable nature. Jesus designated baptism as a memorial of His resurrection (Romans 6:3-5, NT 139 [1091 ). But God does have a day that honors the resurrection, but it is not a new day, but a day already established in the law, an Annual day, and it is recognized by the New Testament church, see below.
4. What will be our relationship to the Sabbath in the new earth? Isaiah 66:22, 23 (OT 595 [4631 )_____________________________________
The Sabbath runs like a golden thread from Genesis through Revelation. Since it was part of God's original plan for man to keep the seventh day holy, since it will also be kept by the redeemed throughout eternity, and since there is no Biblical authority for observing any other day, should it surprise us that God would expect Christians to be observing it now? "If ye love me," Jesus said, "keep my commandments" (John 14:15, NT 98 [761).
5. Whose example are we to follow? 1 Peter 2:21 (NT 203 [1611)____________________________________________________________________
6. What does obedience indicate? 1 John 5:2,3 (NT 210 [1661)______________________________________________________________________
7. How important is it to keeping the commandments? James 2:10 (NT 200 [1581) _____________________________________________________
8. In God's last message to this rebellious planet, to what does He especially call attention? Revelation 14:6, 7 (NT 220 [1741) "Worship him that
How the Saviour must grieve to see the almost universal disregard of the very commandment He cautioned man to remember! How it must pain Him to see the widespread denial of His Creatorship that resulted from forgetting what He said to remember.
If you break a finger you call the doctor's attention to the broken finger-not the nine good ones. Just so, it's the broken commandment that God is concerned about. Nearly the whole world is breaking His Sabbath, and He hurts. No wonder He repeatedly urges us to worship Him in His way-not our own. And His way includes His day, for the worship that honors the God of creation cannot be separated from God's memorial of that creation.
Many people sincerely believe that it doesn't matter which day they set aside for worship. They reason that all days are alike-24 hours long. So what's the difference? If you owe a man $5, does it matter which five dollars in your wallet you use to pay him? We owe God one day in seven. Why should it matter which 24-hour period is used to settle the account? But is that straight thinking? You see, we aren't settling an account; we're keeping an appointment. And how can two people meet without agreeing on the day?
Remember the burning bush? Was the ground holy the day before? Was it holy the day after? No. It's God's presence that makes a place sacred. And it's His presence that makes a day sacred. God put His presence into the seventh day-not the day before or the day after. That's why you receive a blessing from worshiping on God's day that you can never get from worshipping Him on any other day.
4. REAL MEANING OF THE "FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK"
When we look into the Bible, and see the expression "First day of the week" In every case, the word "day" is in italics, and should read, "first of the week." The translators added italics to clear up some of the passages in the Bible, therefore not in the original manuscripts.
The word "week" as well is actually plural in the Greek, it should be translated “weeks.” Notice Matthew 28:1 as one example, ""But LATE of the Sabbaths at the DRAWING TOWARDS [the close of] ONE of [the] SABBATHS [plural "weeks" or "Sabbaths"] " (NIV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Marshall, p.134, emphasis added). The real rendering of the "first day of the week" should be, "the first of the Sabbaths." Dake's Annotated Reference Bible states simply in reference to this phrase, “Literally, the first day of the sabbaths, referring to the seven sabbaths to Pentecost..” (Note on John 20:1).
The Companion Bible, published by Zondervan Bible Publishers, states this in the comment on John 20:1: “'The first day of the week' = On the first (day) of the Sabbaths (pl). Gr; te mia ton sabbaton. …Luke 24:1 has the same. Matthew reads 'towards dawn on the first (day) of the sabbaths,' and Mark 16:2, 'very early on the first (day ) of the Sabbaths.' The expression is not a Hebraism and 'Sabbaths' should not be rendered 'week' as in the AV and RV. (This is) a reference to Lev. 23:15-17 and shows that this day is the first of the days for reckoning the seven Sabbaths to Pentecost. On this day, therefore, the Lord [Jesus] became the firstfruits of God's resurrections harvest (I Cor. 15:23).” (p.1570. emphasis added).
The first day that started the counting to Pentecost, was the "wave sheaf offering" when the firstfruits were offered to God for the harvest. This was a day that occurred once a year in the calendar, not once a week.
"Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: ...And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the [weekly] sabbath the priest shall wave it." (Lev 23:10-11). The wave sheaf was cut, THEN waved before the Lord as the "firstfruits" from the Harvest.
This wave sheaf offering represented Christ as the "firstfruits" from the dead, the Harvest meaning the harvest of people, see Luke 10:1; I Corinthians 15:20, 23.
Interesting, the wave sheaf could not be touched by anyone until the offering was made (see Yochanan 20:17). This is why he told Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:” (John 20:17). But Jesus went to Heaven presented himself as the wave sheaf offering, then afterwards allowed his disciples to touch him.
When was the wave sheaf cut?
The passage in Lev 23 says nothing about WHEN the wave sheaf was cut. The instruction there has to do with WHAT must be done with the wave sheaf, before WHOM and WHEN. It was the day of “waving” the sheaf not the “cutting” of the sheaf of grain. Jesus fulfilled this symbolism when He presented Himself before the Lord (Father) of heaven on the first day (John 20:1-18). This wave sheaf represented the RISEN Christ and the work He had to do on the first day before the Father, NOT when He rose.
“Jewish history from the Second Temple period gives an interesting insight. The second-century Mishnah affirms that, when the Sadducees controlled the Temple, the sickle was put to the grain just as the sun was going down on the weekly Sabbath (Menahot 10:1-4, Jacob Neusner translation, pp. 753-754). The book, Biblical Calendars, states, 'The Boethusians [Temple priests] reaped [the firstfruits sheaf] at the going out of the Sabbath' (p. 218. Additional information can be found in the section titled 'Temple Service,' p. 280, as well as in The Temple: Its Ministry and Services by Alfred Edersheim, 1994, pp. 203-205). The New Testament’s silence on this Sadducean practice— along with its agreement with the ritual’s fulfillment in Christ—must be construed as acceptance of its validity” (Forerunner Commentary, under “Leviticus 23” emphasis added).
At the time of the first century, there were two beliefs. One was the Pharisees who believed that the sheaf was cut after the annual Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened bread. Second. The Saducees believed however that the “morrow after the Sabbath” meant the first weekly Sabbath after Passover, which the gospels confirm as well. They argued that the word “Sabbath” in Greek, when used by itself, can only mean the Seventh-Day Sabbath of the week, and not the annual Sabbaths.
Now, “The largest and main group were the Sadducees, prominent during the time of Christ and the apostles. This sect was predominately secular in nature and, unlike the Pharisees, did not pretend to be zealous. Their power and influence were political—not religious (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11thed., Vol. 23, pp. 989-990).
“We know that the Samaritans and the Sadducees kept a Sunday Wave Sheaf and a Sunday Pentecost. That is an important factor in history. The Jews do not keep the Wave Sheaf because they keep a Sivan 6 Pentecost, which came from the traditions of the Pharaisees in rabbinical Judaism, AFTER the Temple was destroyed.... So the Temple period structure and right throughout, including the Samaritans, always kept Pentecost on a Sunday. The early church kept Pentecost on a Sunday. Only the Jews [who followed the Pharisees] kept a Sivan 6 and only after the Temple was destroyed.
“Modern Judaism does not do this now.... This (the Sadduccean) position was held up until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE (see F F Bruce, art. Calendar, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ed. by J D Douglas and N Hillyer, IVP, 1980, Vol. 1, p. 225). AFTER the dispersion, the Pharisaic position became the accepted practice and the conflict is noted in the Mishnah (Hag. 2:4)” (Article, ‘The Wave Sheaf offering, by CCOG, emphasis added).
The Sadducees method of counting Pentecost was correct. The high priests who served during the first century (until A.D. 70) were Sadducees. They were in charge of the temple as Pentecost arrived in A.D. 31. By keeping the correct day, and with thousands of orthodox Jews present in Jerusalem, the stage was set for Christ to miraculously build the Church of God (Acts 2).
The Pharisees established the method followed by most Jews today. The rabbinic Jewish tradition adopted their method, which dates back to the early centuries A.D. Instead of using the day after the weekly Sabbath, the Pharisees assigned the wave sheaf offering to the day following the first High Day, regardless of the day of the week that it fell upon.
One obvious inconsistency is that by always counting from Nisan 16 (the day after the first High Day) the target date should always be Sivan 6, regardless of the day of the week. If the day God determined for Pentecost had been a set date on the sacred calendar [which the Pharisees do], it would NOT be necessary to count in the first place!
Using this method, the Pharisees were correct about 25% of the time. So since the gospels are silent on the matter, and the chronology of events concerning Christ’s death and resurrection shows that the “first of the weeks” or “Sabbaths” occurs in the gospels after the weekly Sabbath, then we come to the conclusion that the “morrow after the Sabbath” means the weekly and not the annual Sabbath.
But notice, they cut the wave sheaf offering (which was a symbol of the time when Christ ROSE FROM THE DEAD), at the same time when Jesus was resurrected, late on the weekly Sabbath near sundown! see our booklet on Easter for proof. This is consistent with the Bible that says Messiah would be "cut off" (Daniel 9:26-27) in the "midst of the week." Isaiah said Messiah would be "cut off out of the land of the living:" (Isaiah 53:8). Just like the wave sheaf was "cut" from the harvest, Messiah would be cut from the harvest (human race), be put to death, then waved before the Father as the "firstfruits from the dead, “the sheaf was offered (waved) before God the following morning, or more precisely, between 9:00 a.m. and noon” (Forerunner’s Commentary).
So the "first day of the week" was an annual day of the wave sheaf, not a weekly observance, that the New Testament church recognized as the day of Christ was presented to the Father as the firstfruits, a day well established in the Holy days of God.
We come now to the big question that demands an answer. Since the Bible is so plain that the seventh day is the Sabbath, why do most Christians keep the first day of the week? Who changed it? When and how was it done? That is the subject of the next lesson.
Click Here for lesson 15