History's Holy Hoax

Scripture: Exodus 20:8-11, Isaiah 58:13-14
Date: 03/25/2016 
The Sabbath is a weekly celebration of our loving Creator. Mankind has tried to change His holy day from Saturday to Sunday.
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Doug Batchelor: The devil is a counterfeiter. And He has a counterfeit for every truth of God. He's got a counterfeit baptism, counterfeit speaking in tongues, counterfeit love, and it shouldn't surprise us that He's got a counterfeit day of rest.

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Doug: Any of you ever encountered a con artist before? There have been some very creative con artists through History. One of them who wasn't quite as dangerous is Fred Demara. They actually made a movie about Him with Tony Curtis called "The Great Pretender." Fred had a photographic memory, a very high IQ ranked way above genius. He had a literal photographic memory, and He could read manuals on any topic, and pretend to be that person with some expertise. He never went by Fred Demara, He went by just dozens of names. He was Martin Goddard, a high school teacher, even though He'd never trained for that. He talked His way into being Dr. Robert French, a college dean. He talked His way into being Dr. Cecil B. Hannon, a law student. Brother John, a Benedictine monk, lived in a--he was a hospital chaplain, an assistant prison warden, a Hollywood actor, and a surgeon aboard a Canadian Navy destroyer with no medical training, and He was performing surgeries successfully.

And then you've got Arthur Furguson. He was a smooth operator, a Scottish fellow dressed impeccably, had perfect diction, looked very sophisticated. And He succeeded in one year, He sold Nelson's pillar in Trafalgar Square to some American tourists. He began to think Americans were gullible because He also sold Big Ben for $5,000. He accepted $10,000 down payment for Buckingham Palace. When He came to the USA, which He figured would be a lot easier, He did sell the White House to a cattle rancher, gave Him a 99-year lease for $100,000. He was arrested when He tried to sell the Statue of Liberty to an Australian. True story.

Then you've got Victor Lustig, Eastern European, very bright, spoke like five or six languages. He sold the Eiffel Tower two different times without being caught. Came to America, told everybody that He was a count, and He had an accent, He was very dignified, and swindled so many people. Eventually, He decided rather than conning people, it'd be easier to just print His own money, and He was finally arrested for one of the most massive counterfeiting operations, and He died in prison. That's Victor Lustig.

The big swindler is the devil. The devil is a counterfeiter. And He has a counterfeit for every truth of God. The devil has a counterfeit salvation, got a counterfeit Holy Spirit, He's got a counterfeit baptism, counterfeit speaking in tongues, counterfeit love, and it shouldn't surprise us that He's got a counterfeit day of rest. Now, if you look in the Bible, this is a prophecy seminar, but you read Revelation chapter 1, verse 10. John says, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I Heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet." What is this Lord's Day? Someone said, "Well, it's because the vision of Revelation, He saw the Lord's coming, and so He called it the Lord's Day." Others have said, "Well, that was Sunday. He had that vision on Sunday, that's the Lord's Day." Others have said, "Well, He was working in the mines, He was a prisoner on Patmos, but He refused to work on Sabbath, and God gave Him the vision of Revelation on the Sabbath day."

So, what does the Bible say? And that's our first question. What day biblically is the Lord's Day? How about we let the Bible describe itself, give our answers, amen? So, let's look and find out. You look in Luke chapter 6, verse 5, and Jesus said, and we've read this several times already, He said, "The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath." So, what is the Lord's Day? Jesus said the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. Look again in Isaiah 58, did you catch something we read the other night? "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on the Jewish holy day." Is that what He says? He says, "On My holy day," so what is the Lord's Day? God tells us. And right there in the command in Exodus 20, "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath," of a denomination, or of the Lord?

There is nothing in the Bible that tells us any other day than the Sabbath day is the day that the Lord would designate as His day. He rested, He blessed it, He set it aside. He made a whole day not where He created anything, but a day, a day of relationship, love, and worship.

Next question. If the Sabbath is the Lord's Day, why do so many people observe Sunday? People want to know what the Bible really teaches. "He said to them, 'All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.'" There's a lot of traditions that have substituted for biblical truth. Furthermore, Ezekiel 22, they had this problem with neglecting the Sabbath even in the Old Testament. Ezekiel said, "Her priests have violated My laws, and have profaned My holy things." Profaning something means you take something sacred and you treat it as common. And it goes on to say, "They put no difference between the holy and the profane. They have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them." This is God's people He was talking to.

Now, before I go any farther, I want to explain to you the word "Sabbath" is mentioned 60 times in the New Testament. I think no one questions, I don't know, hundreds of times it may be mentioned in the Old Testament, but it's 60 times in the New Testament. Never is it said that it is done away with or it has been changed. There were a number of disputes about how to keep it, but never whether or not you should keep it. The first day of the week that we commonly call Sunday, you realize the days of the week in the Bible, they don't call them Wednesday and Monday. We get--our calendar names and our weekly names we get from the Romans. They worshiped the sun on the first day of the week, moon day, Monday, Thor's day, Thursday, Odin's day, Wednesday, and so none of these names are in the Bible. First day of the week was called first day, second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day, preparation day, Sabbath day. So, you're never going to find the word "Wednesday" in the Bible. If you do, you have a strange Bible.

So, let's find out if there's any place in the Bible where God has changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If we look at every text that speaks of the first day of the week in the Bible, we should find out if it's there. That sounds fair? At least in the New Testament. So, that's what we're going to do. Do any of the first five resurrection texts say that Sunday is a new holy day? Let's look at them. Matthew 28:1, "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week." Well, one thing this verse tells us is the Sabbath was still the Sabbath. And it actually tells us the Sabbath was just before the first day. "Now when Jesus was risen early," and this is Mark 16:9, "on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene." Now, by the way, did that past verse, did it say anything about it being a new Sabbath day? "The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene early while it was yet still dark." That's John 20, verse 1. And it goes on to say in Mark 16, this is another verse, "Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices that they might come anoint Him." Why were they coming to anoint Him Sunday morning? Because the sun was going down Friday afternoon when He died. They were afraid they would not complete a rather intensive job, and they wanted to do it before the Sabbath. You could biblically still anoint a person within 3 days of their death before they began to decompose. And they said, "Let's wait, we'll come back early Sunday and do it then because Jesus wouldn't want us doing this on the Sabbath." Sabbath was that important to the disciples.

Now, it states, of course, they came, the tomb was empty, praise the Lord, but Here's a question. Did that make it a new Sabbath day? How important was it that Jesus died for us on Friday? Very important. And when He had the Lord's Supper, the communion service on Thursday, do we all agree that that was important? He establishes a new covenant. Did it make it a new Sabbath? Did it do away with the old Sabbath because something important in the gospel happened on a certain day of the week? And so, trying to use that as an argument, the Bible doesn't use it. I don't think it's fair. So, if Sunday's not there to honor the resurrection, what does the Lord have? How do Christians remember Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection? Romans 6, verse 3, "Or do you not know that as many of us as have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" And it goes on to say, "Therefore we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in a newness of life."

So, did God establish something to memorialize His death, burial, and resurrection? Yes, but it wasn't a new Sabbath because there was nothing wrong with the old Sabbath. Think about it, did God establish the Sabbath before or after sin? Before sin. So, was it part of His perfect plan? Yes. Why would He change it? He says, "I am the Lord, I don't change." There is nothing wrong with it. And then you have a similar verse in Colossians 2:12, "Buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." Baptism again is connected with the resurrection. So, every time a person is baptized, it's like they have been raised from the dead. He didn't create a new Sabbath day to memorialize that. Luke 24, verse 1, and this is the fifth of the first 8 verses where the first day is mentioned. "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came upon the sepulcher." That's a tomb. It's just stating a historical fact.

Now, we just went through them. All those verses that mention the first day are simply giving the record that the Sabbath was over. They came back, why does it mention the first day? Because now they can resume their work. Jesus even kept the Sabbath in His death. He went to sleep Friday afternoon, He woke up Sunday morning to continue His work as our high priest, mediator, intercessor before the Father. Amen?

Now, we're going to jump to the sixth text. And it talks about what I think is a regular meeting. You'll find this in John 20, verse 19. Then it says that same day, the day of the resurrection, "Being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut, the disciples were assembled," to celebrate and inaugurate the new holy day of the Christian era. No, they got together for fear of the Jews. They are trembling. They've just killed Jesus. They tried to arrest Mark, who was following Christ, and he fled naked. And now the body has disappeared, in spite of the fact Roman soldiers were there guarding it, put there by Pilate. They're going to be blamed. The religious leaders had paid the guard to say the disciples stole the body. They're terrified. And so, Jesus--they're not gathered to celebrate a new Sabbath. It's telling you that they were trembling, and then Jesus shows up, made them jump 3 feet off the ground.

Does the seventh passage say that Sunday is holy? Let's take a look at it. Now, I'm going to read this one with you. And you read in 1 Corinthians chapter 16, "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up that he may prosper--as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come." Now, why is Paul telling them on the first--some will argue that's because this was the new Christian Sabbath, and they're taking an offering. Anything says you can only give an offering on Sabbath? Paul was actually telling them--when he says lay by you in store, what does it mean, "lay by you"? Does that mean a church or at home? He's coming through, making haste on his way to Jerusalem to bring a special offering to the Jews because there's a famine there, in the Christian Jews, and he's saying, "Set something aside at home. After you get your accounts in order, you've done your giving on Sabbath, at home on the first of the week, when you get your books in order, put something else aside not for your local church needs, but that I can take an emergency relief offering to the people struggling from the famine in Jerusalem." It had nothing to do with there was a church meeting and they took an offering, or that this is a new Sabbath day. This is not the substitute for the Ten Commandments.

Does the eighth and final New Testament text command us to observe Sunday as a holy day? This is the last one, go to Acts chapter 20, verse 7. And it says, "Now the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread." And people go, "Ah, there you have it, they came together on the first of the week to break bread. That's because they were having a communion service, and this is the new Sabbath, and this indicates this is when they would normally meet." I'm going to read this to you right from the Bible. Look in Acts chapter 2, verse 46. It says when the Holy Spirit was poured out, they continued, "Daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their meat with gladness." What does breaking bread mean? Does it always mean a communion service biblically, breaking bread from house to house? When Jesus on the road to Emmaus, He ate with two disciples, it wasn't a communion service. They asked Him to bless the bread. They were eating. You ever use the expression, "Let's get together and break bread"? Does it mean have a communion service? Not all the time. It would mean, "Let's eat." And so, to say in Acts chapter 20 that this was evidence that it was a religious meeting on Sunday, it doesn't hold water, friends, not if you're going to, in my opinion, be biblically honest about what the text is saying. It's telling you there was a resurrection, Paul's leaving, he's beginning a journey, they'd finished the Sabbath together, and it's a wonderful miracle. Do you see what I'm saying?

So, we've just looked at all the texts in the New Testament that talk about the first day of the week. Do any of them say that God has now changed the holiness and the reverence of the seventh day to the first day? They're not saying that. And so, we've got to be very careful about building that argument. Well, if Sunday keeping isn't in the Bible, Here's where we all bring it together, where did it come from? Matthew 15, verse 9, Jesus said, "And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." They're manmade commandments that sort of became doctrines that they teach.

You can look in the Encyclopedia Britannica, you can look in a lot of history books, it is pretty clear. "The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday, it's a constitution of Constantine." He established it in 321 AD. They called it the edict of Milan. It wasn't the Son-day, Son of God, S-O-N, it was the Sunday, S-U-N. And here's where you find an excerpt of that law, "Enacting that courts of justice, and inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to rest on Sunday." Notice the spelling. And again, you can read here from the Codex Justinianus. And it says, "On the venerable day of the sun, let the magistrates and the people residing in the cities rest, and let all of the workshops be closed." And all these pagans came into the church, and they said, "Well, we want to keep our idols," and the church leaders said, "Well, you'd better rename them. Better take, you know, Jupiter, Mercury, and Apollos, and call them Peter, James and John." And they had statues of Diana, they said, "Call her Mary." And all of a sudden, the church that used to be settled in Jerusalem, the capital now came to Rome, went through a dramatic change.

One of those changes, the Jews were very unpopular during that time. Anything connected with Judaism they wanted to get away from. So, to distance themselves--for a while, Christians kept both days. But since the Sabbath day, the church leaders would say it's a day of fasting. Well, the Bible doesn't say that. But the Sunday was a day of feasting. Which would you prefer, a day of fasting or a day of feasting? Gradually, over time, people started to abolish the seventh-day biblical Sabbath in preference for the more popular celebration of the Sunday. And that's how it made its way into the church. It wasn't because of a command of God. It was because of a compromise.

Again, Arthur Weigall in his book "Paganism in Christianity," "The church made a sacred day of Sunday, largely because it was a festival, and it was a weekly festival of the sun, and for it was the definite Christian policy to take over the pagan festivals to endear themselves to the people by tradition, and to give them Christian significance." They just began to say, "Well, let's just attach a Christian name to it, and bring it all in." "The church after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath or the seventh day of the week to the first, and made the third commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept as the Lord's day."

Matter of fact, I've got a copy here of the Ten Commandments. I stopped at a local Catholic church, and I snapped a picture. You probably can't see it blown up, but they've reorganized the Ten Commandments. How do you get the Sabbath to go from the fourth to the third commandment? You eliminate the second commandment about idolatry. And that's what happened Here. You'll notice the commandment about idolatry is missing. Well, how do you keep the number ten? Split the tenth commandment about covetousness and say don't covet your neighbor's wife, that's one. Don't covet your neighbor's house, that's the other one. And so, they changed the times and laws.

Baptist manual written by Dr. Edward T. Hitchcock. "There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week." If you read from Alexander Campbell, Church of Christ, "I do not believe that the Lord's Day was changed from the seventh to the first day." Catholic, this is James Cardinal Gibbons, "You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you'll not find a single line," that's why I opened it up to you, "authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."

It was done through edicts of the church, not through the commandments of Christ. It is a manmade tradition that started as a practice that was popular, and they finally made it official. Episcopal, "Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of the weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday? None!" This is not written by my church. This is an Episcopal manual of Christian doctrine. Methodist Harris Franklin Rall wrote, "Take the matter of Sunday. There is no passage telling Christians to keep the day holy." You can look at the Augsburg Confession, Lutheran. "The observance of the Lord's Day, Sunday, is not founded on any command of God." Presbyterian, "The Christian Sabbath, Sunday, is not in the Scriptures."

This is widely known. This is why it's just amazing to me--and I remember I got to be gentle with you because I remember when I first heard this, I thought, "I feel like I've been fooled." And you know, some people, all their life they've believed a certain thing, and you hear something different, and it shakes, it rocks your foundation. And so, I want to--I want to pray for you because some of you are hearing this for the first time, and you're thinking, "What would this mean if I step out in faith and do something about this? I didn't know this before, but now I know it. Now what do I do?"

You know, I heard years ago about a man that, in England, this is like a couple of hundred years ago, He had a yardage shop where they sold fabric. And in his shop, he had a table where he would unfold the fabric, and he'd measure it, and then he'd cut it, and sell it to the customers. And after--and he inherited this shop from His father and His grandfather. One day, a customer came back in and said, "You know, I was very precise in how much I ordered. I got back to make my pillows and curtains, and I realized that you actually sold me short." Well, this man who owned the yardage shop was an honest Christian, a very honest man. He'd never been accused of that. He said, "Well, let's check it." And he took the fabric, He laid it out, and it was--he said, "Look, it's right--it's right where it's supposed to be. You ordered 3 yards, Here they are." And the guy said, "Let me get a national tape measure and bring it in." He brought and he measured it, it was 3 inches short. And the man checked and he looked at his table, his table was 3 inches short. And he'd been selling people 3 inches short for years.

Now, you've got to understand, many years ago in England, the measurements would change. The inch was the distance on the king's thumb. The foot was the length of the king's foot. And as they went from one monarchy to another, sometimes these standards--the knuckle, the knuckle, Karen's correcting me, not the whole thumb, the knuckle, yeah. And so--and so, all these measurements, the span and--you know, in the Bible, it says a cubit. That was a measurement here. And so, these things would change from one monarchy to the other, and he was going by an old standard. Any of you ever gone from the metric to the standard and messed it up? Now, that man was an honest man. He had no idea that, for years, he had been selling people short. No one had ever called him on it because it was just a little bit.

Now, here's the question. If he continues to use that table measurement, is he still an honest man? There's a lot of godly people that go to church on Sunday, they don't know. God winks at their ignorance. They love the Lord, they're Spirit-filled, they're doing wonderful things. Karen and I went to the Billy Graham library, and just saw tremendous ministry happening. And so, we don't question that. We believe we have brothers and sisters in Christ that maybe don't know these things.

Sin is knowing to do good and not doing it. The Bible says if we continue to sin willfully, Hebrews 10:26, if we continue to sin willfully after we've received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking forward to of judgment and fiery indignation. So, sin is when you know God's will, and you say, "I don't want to do your will. I'd rather do my own thing. I want to do what's convenient, I want to do what's popular."

And I know, friends, some of you are hearing this for the first time. And if there is a struggle going on in your heart, I want to just plead with you, and I'm going to pray for you. Do you want to know what the Bible says? You find it in the Word. Do you want to please Jesus? If you're waiting to please your friends, your family, your tradition, your church, you're never going to make anyone happy. You've got to make God first, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." And just be honest. Say, "Lord, first and foremost, I want to know, what do you want me to do?"

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