Why do many worship and do Sabbath on Sunday instead of Saturday?

Who changed it, and when? In addition; if Sunday is the first day of the week and God rested on the seventh day, which would be Saturday, and said to keep it holy and do no work; how is it that we are taught that Sunday is the Sabbath day of worship and rest?

Clarify (2) Share Report Asked May 18 2013 Mini Anonymous

Ari Ariel HaNaviy Messianic Jew and Torah Teacher with Messianic Congregation 'The Harvest'
In one sense, believers ARE free to worship God any day of the week—and we SHOULD be worshipping him EVERY day of the week, right? However, our Messianic freedom should not separate us, but cause us to "pursue what makes for mutual upbuilding” (Rom 14:19).

Sunday keepers often turn to Rom 14:5 in support of choosing one day over another. I do not believe this verse allows for such a reading.

I can say that I have studied many varied commentaries on this passage (Calvin, Murray, Dunn, Lloyd-Jones, Bruce, Barth, Hendrickson, Stuhlmacher, Cranfield, Nanos, Hegg, MacArthur, Stern, Lancaster, Janicki, and others), and in my estimation as a Bible student, Rom 14:5 does not seem like a likely passage teaching freedom from Sabbath worship (viz, Sabbath vs. Sunday). 

I feel the best way to interpret verse 5 is within the larger context (read with Rom 14:6), and that would make it a verse about voluntary fast days. I base my position on a number of historic and textual clues:

•	The Sabbath is God’s covenant sign to Isra'el (Ex 31:13; Ez 20:12). The Gentiles grafted into Remnant Isra'el would have had natural association with seventh day Sabbath worship (Acts 14:1, 15:21).
•	At the time the book of Romans was written (around 55 to 56 CE), official “Sabbath vs. Sunday” debates were not extant. Sunday would not become the established Christian day of worship until a few hundred years later.
•	For Paul to casually recommend in one verse, the personal choice to give up seventh day Sabbath in favor of Sunday worship seems highly unlikely, given the weight of received Torah passages (Ex 31:16, 17, etc.), and the establishment of Sabbath in the Jewish communities—of which the sect known as The Way was a part (Acts 24:14).
•	Thousands of Jews believed in Yeshua by the 1st century, and many were zealous for the Torah (Acts 21:20), making a purported “personal allowance to switch from Sabbath to Sunday worship via this verse” a virtual historical improbability.

In my estimation, if the verse in question were truly about Sabbath vs. Sunday, then a number of problematic details begin to arise:
•	To leave the decision in the hands of those who are “fully convinced in their own mind” appears to be a weak way to establish congregational bylaws for a leader the likes of Paul.
•	Jewish and Gentile believers are to rejoice together (Rom 15:10). How could the newly emerging messianic communities maintain any unity and group cohesion (Eph 4:13) if we had some folks choosing Sabbath, and others choosing Sunday? How could genuine fellowship form in such a setting? And what if the majority is “convinced” Sabbath is correct? Should those “unconvinced” leave and go elsewhere? Or should they ignore their conscience, stay, and yield to the majority “vote”?

The early Messianic communities were a sect of Judaism (Acts 24:14). Even a surface level examination of the chapter will show that food and eating topics were the primary context (Rom 14:2, 3, 6, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 23). This would make Rom 14:5, 6 about voluntary fast days that some were esteeming, with others not obligating themselves to those voluntary fast days. And within the sometimes-heated social setting of the 1st century Judaisms, issues related to food, special days, and ritual purity were a natural flashpoint for friction between the merging of the Jewish culture and those from the nations who were grafted into Remnant Isra'el (Rom 11:17; 15:5-7).

Lastly, regardless of how one interprets Rom 14:5, we can be assured that Paul forbids the weak and strong from judging and despising each other, since they constitute one viable community and are in need of one another (Rom 14:1-4, 10, 13). Also, Paul definitely admonishes the strong to welcome (Rom 14:1) and bear with the failings of the weak and accommodate their opinions (Rom 15:1), while each is to build the other up (Rom 15:2, 7), and avoid destroying the work of God for the sake of food (Rom 14:2).

September 28 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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