|...nullifying the Words of YHVH by the tradition of men|
Evidence the Sabbath Change was Made by Men by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
In a continuation from the article Keeping the Sabbath (click on highlighted words to view content), the question has to be asked: "where did the change from Saturday to Sunday occur - and why?" History shows the idea that Torah does not apply anymore was introduced in the writings of some of the early fathers of what became the Roman Catholic Church who sowed the seeds for the renunciation of Shabbat contained in Torah (Ignatius, Origen, Marcion, Tertullian, etc.). Most who embrace "Christianity" do not realize the bulk of the doctrine and theology of that religion come from the ideas these men (and others) espoused about scripture - not the words of scripture themselves. Even though it is now commonly assumed that Yeshua and the apostles in the first century did not keep Shabbat, there is not one single verse of scripture in the Messianic Writings (NT) to support this claim. A bit of historical digging will undeniably show followers of "the Way". to have stringently kept Shabbat. While there were undoubtedly many pressures from many quarters brought to bear influencing the change of the day of worship from Shabbat to Sunday over the span of several millennia, the two most decisive factors are briefly: 1) the adoption of the "Day of the Sun" as the first (and most important) day of the week for the whole Roman Empire, becoming a legal holiday in the early part of the fourth century and, 2) the anti-Jewish and anti-Sabbath legislation put in place by the Roman Emperor Hadrian after three years of bloody fighting to crush the second Jewish revolt of 132-135 CE. When the Emperor finally captured Jerusalem, he decided to deal with the "Jewish problem" in a radical way - slaughtering thousands of Hebrews, taking thousands more of them as slaves to Rome and colonizing Jerusalem, renaming it Aelia Capitolina. He forbade Hebrews and non-ethnic adherents to Torah from ever entering the city and made the practice of the Torah in general and of Shabbat in particular a capital offense throughout the empire. Fiscally, Hebrews were subjected to a discriminatory tax (the fiscus judaicus) which was first introduced by Vespasian (who crushed the first Hebrew revolt of 66-70 CE), increased by Domitian (81-96 CE) and later by Hadrian. This meant that Hebrews had to pay a penalty tax simply for being Hebrew. These repressive measures against Hebrews were so horrific and unrelenting that there are compelling indications that those of the faith of YHVH who came from non-ethnic Hebraic backgrounds were highly influenced to adopt the selfsame "Day of the Sun" in order to show separation from their Hebrew brethren and identification with the Romans to escape that persecution. To put it more acceptably, they chose to be politically correct by adopting the "Day of the Sun" rather than to be scripturally correct by observing the seventh-day Sabbath. By the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the "Day of the Sun" had become widely popular throughout Rome - both among pagans and those who had, by now, become known as "Christians". The change from Passover to Easter Sunday had earlier been introduced by the Church of Rome to avoid "even the semblance of Judaism" in order to aid in their appeal to the Roman Empire to not be treated as their ethnically born Hebrew brethren.
The reality, then, is that Constantine did not introduce Sunday observance - He simply legalized it as an appeasement by the famous Sunday Law of 321 CE. This is indicated by the very wording of his edict which opens with, "On the Venerable Day of the Sun ("venerabili die Solis" - the sacred day of the Sun) let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed…" (The First Sunday Law of Constantine 1, in "Codex Justinianus," lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Phillip Schaff "History of the Christian Church," Vol. 3, p. 380). It is evident from this wording that, at that time, the Day of the Sun was already "venerable" - meaning that it was popular and respected. Thus, the anti-Hebraic motivation for the repudiation of the scriptural dating of Passover is clearly expressed by Constantine in his letter to the Christian bishops at the Council of Nicaea (325 CE). In this conciliar letter to all those not present at the Council, the Emperor urges all to follow the example of the Church of Rome in adopting Easter Sunday, because, he wrote: "We ought not therefore to have anything in common with the Jews, for the Savior has shown us another way; our worship follows a more legitimate and more convenient course (the order of the days of the week); and consequently, in unanimously adopting this mode, we desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep this feast. How can they be in the right, they who, after the death of the Savior, have no longer been led by reason but by wild violence, as their delusion may urge them? They do not possess the truth in this Easter question; for, in their blindness and repugnance to all improvements, they frequently celebrate two Passovers in the same year. We could not imitate those who are openly in error. How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are most certainly blinded by error? To celebrate the Passover twice in one year is totally inadmissible. But even if this were not so, it would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people (the Jews). Besides, consider well, that in such an important matter, and on a subject of such great solemnity, there ought not to be any division. Our Savior has left us only one festal day of our redemption, that is to say, of his holy passion, and he desired (to establish) only one Catholic Church…" (Eusebius, Vita Const., Lib. iii., 18-20) . In approximately 365 CE, the Catholic Council of Laodicea wrote, in one of their canons: "Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day. Rather, honoring the Lord’s Day. But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema (against) from Christ". It is from this canon the word "judaizer" first appeared. While this epitaph is frequently used in language by Christians, the word "judaizer" is not found in scripture. The real, permanent religious shift, however, came in 380 CE when Emperor Theodosius outlawed pagan practice in the empire including any form of Hebraism and made Christianity the official religion with SUNday, the "the Venerable Day of the Sun", the official day of worship.
In 1517 Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation when he wrote the 95 theses in reaction to a sermon by Johann Tetzel claiming that the purchase of a letter of indulgence from those in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church covered the forgiveness of sins yet to be committed by that individual. Luther nailed those 95 protests to the door of the Catholic Church, formally splitting away and forming the Protestant Movement. While he made those 95 changes to his own constitution of reform - HE INCORPORATED ALL THE REST OF THE TRADITIONS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH into his movement, including Sunday worship. That is why today, Catholic Protestantism is merely another branch in the tree of Christianity which is fimly planted in the roots of Catholicism.
"From this same Catholic Church you have accepted your Sunday, and that Sunday, as the Lord's Day, she had handed down as a tradition: and the entire Protestant world has accepted it as tradition, for you have not an iota of Scripture to establish it. Therefore that which you have accepted as your rule of faith, inadequate as it of course is, as well as your Sunday, you have accepted on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church." D.B. Ray, The Papal Controversy, 1892, p. 179.
"I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic Church says: 'No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.' And lo! - the entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the Catholic Church." T Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884 (reward never claimed).
"The Catholic Church for over 1000 years, before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday. ...The Christian Sabbath [Sunday] is therefore to this day acknowledged as the offspring of the Catholic Church. ...without a word of remonstrance from the Protestant world." The Catholic Mirror, Sept.23, 1893.
"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 observance of Saturday, a day which we [Catholics] never sanctify." James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 11.
"Reason and sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping holy of Saturday or Catholicity and the keeping holy of Sunday. Compromise is impossible." James Cardinal Gibbons, Catholic Mirror, Dec. 23, 1893.
"Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the church [Catholic] outside the Bible." Catholic Virginian, Oct. 3, 1947.
"Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles. ...From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first." Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August 25, 1900.
"Sunday is founded, not on Scripture, but on tradition, and is distinctly a Catholic institution. As there is no Scripture for the transfer of the day of rest from the last to the first day of the week, Protestants ought to keep their Sabbath on Saturday and thus leave Catholics in full possession of Sunday." Catholic Record, September 17, 1893.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore affirms: "Be sure of it, your Seventh-day Adventist friends are telling you the truth, when they say that it was the Catholic church which changed the day of worship from the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday. ...If Protestantism would follow the Bible, they would worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic church. During the first three centuries practice and tradition had consecrated the Sunday to the worship of God." Letter to Mrs. Ashby, February 10, 1920.
Bertrand Conway says: "If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian. then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in keeping Saturday with the Jew. But the Catholics learn what to believe and do from the divine, infallible authority ...the Catholic Church." Question Box, p. 179.
Father Walter Drum says: "They [the Protestants] deem it their duty to keep the Sunday holy. Why? The Catholic Church tells them to do so. They have no other reason. ...The observance of Sunday thus comes to be an ecclesiastical law entirely distinct from the divine law of Sabbath observance. ...The author of the Sunday law ...is the Catholic Church." Ecclesiastical Review, February, 1914.
Further insight is provided by Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem. The Apostle was informed by James and the elders that thousands of converted Jews were "all zealous for the Law" (Acts 21:20). The same leaders then pressured Paul to prove to the people that he also "lived in observance of the law" (Acts 21-24), by undergoing a rite of purification at the Temple. In the light of this deep commitment to the observance of the Torah, it is hardly conceivable that the Jerusalem Church would have abrogated one of its chief precepts–Sabbath keeping - and pioneered Sunday worship instead. If Gentiles are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, with Israel as the root of the grafted branches, how can Gentiles expect to live differently from the natural branches of the kingdom in their own olive tree? (see Torah or "the Law" for further insight)
Part One: Keeping the Sabbath
Part Two: the Tradition of Men
Part Three: In Their Own Words
Part Four: Celebrate Shabbat
|"Do not think that I have come to abolish Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17-20|
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