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Home The Light Articles from 2001 Hast Thou Kept the Lord’s Day?

Hast Thou Kept the Lord’s Day?

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Hast Thou Kept the Lord’s Day?

The Sabbath is the original day of rest named in Genesis and made law on Sinai for the Jews, with those requirements peculiar to Judaism. The Lord’s Day has an even greater importance–the completion of the work of atonement by the resurrection of Christ. And as he rose from the dead on the day after the Jewish Sabbath, that day of his resurrection has been observed by Christians ever since. The change appears to have been made at once and as is generally believed, under the direction of the "Lord of the Sabbath." On the same day, the first day of the week, he appeared among his assembled disciples; and on the next recurrence of the day he was again with them, and revealed himself to Thomas. From 1 Corinthians 11:20; 14:23,40, it appears that the disciples in all places were accustomed to meeting together in the local church to worship and to observe the Lord’s supper; and from 1 Corinthians 16:1,2, we learn that these meetings were on the first day of the week. Thus in Acts 20:6-11, we find the Christians at Troas assembled on the first day, to partake of the supper and to receive religious instruction. John observed the day with peculiar solemnity (Rev. 1:10), and it had then received the name of "The Lord’s Day," which it has ever since retained.

For a time, such of the disciples as were Jews observed the Jewish Sabbath also, but they did not require this nor the observance of any festival of the Mosaic dispensation, of Gentile converts, nor even of Jews (Col. 2:16). The early Christian fathers refer to the first day of the week as the time set apart for worship, and the transfer of the day on account of the resurrection of the Savior.

Pliny the younger, proconsul of Pontus near the close of the first century, in a letter to the emperor Trajan, remarks that the Christians were accustomed on a stated day to meet together, and sing a hymn, and to "bind themselves by a solemn bond not to commit any wickedness," etc. So well known was their custom, that the ordinary test question put by persecutors to those suspected of Christianity was, "Hast thou kept the Lord’s day?" to which the reply was, "I am a Christian; I cannot omit it."

Justin Martyr observes that "on the Lord’s day all Christians in the city or country meet together, because that is the day of our Lord’s resurrection, and then we read the writings of the apostles and prophets; this being done, the person presiding makes an oration to the assembly, to exhort them to imitate and to practice the things they have heard; then we all join in prayer, and after that we celebrate the [Lord’s Supper]. Then they who are able and willing give what they think proper, and what is collected is laid up in the hands of the chief officer, who distributes it to orphans and widows, and other necessitous Christians, as their wants require." See 1 Corinthians 16:2. A very honorable conduct and worship. Would that it were more prevalent among us, with the spirit and piety of primitive Christianity! –adapted from Power Bible



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