Forgery - Part 1

Scripture: Genesis 1:5, Matthew 28:1-2, Mark 16:1-2
Many see Sunday as a sacred day of worship and believe the Bible provides authority for this change. But no such texts exist. This talk goes over the 9 references to the first day of the week. Do any of them indicate that Sunday is a new day of worship.
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We've been talking for a few days about the wonderful subject of the Sabbath that was written right into the very Law of God. To begin today I would like to call your attention to a very curious fact. Here it is: Christ and His apostles preached hundreds of sermons and they gave hundreds of Bible studies but never, no, not even one time, do we find a single scriptural reference where either Christ or the disciples told us that the first day of the week is to be considered sacred; nor do we find either Christ or His disciples indicating that the day should be counted as a holy day. This is in spite of the fact that millions of people today believe that somehow Sunday is a special, holy day to be observed as the Sabbath. There are millions of people all over the world who worship on Sunday and keep it as a holy day. Many of them are very great theologians and scholars.

Many of them are loyal Christian people who love the Lord with all their heart; and it seems unthinkable, completely incredible, that all these folks, the millions of them, could be content with a doctrine that's not even found in the Bible, and with a holy day that man alone has invented. Yes, it does seem unbelievable; I agree with you, but nevertheless it is true. Herein lies one of the greatest deceptions in modern religious life, because most of the millions who keep Sunday have been assured that it is supported by Bible authority. If there is one such passage in the Bible we want to know about it. I'd like to know about it, and I'm sure you would like to discover that text as well. I say this with all sincerity: if there is such a text in the Bible we must search until it's found. If you know of any such text, please write to me and let me know, because I want to follow that and obey it as a teaching of the Scripture, as a teaching of Christ.

There's only one way that we can be certain of this, and that is to read and examine every single verse in the Bible that even mentions the first day of the week. If there's any place in all the Book of God that says the first day of the week is holy, we ought to be able to find it by reading these passages, every passage that mentions Sunday or the first day of the week. And so today, that's exactly what we're going to do. Somebody will say, "Well, my, that will take a very long time." But, friends, it won't. There are not two hundred passages, for example, that speak about Sunday. There are not even fifty; in fact, there are not even ten. In all the Book of God from cover to cover, there are only nine verses of Scripture that even mention the first day of the week. And I hope that as we read these passages and give a little time for study of each one that you'll listen very carefully and very prayerfully because so much is at stake. Millions of people the world over are involved, and in order to be certain we must know what God says. So that's why we invite your attention to His Word today.

The first Bible text that mentions the first day of the week is found in the first book of the Bible, the first chapter and the fifth verse, and this is what it says: "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." Genesis 1:5. Now the first question: Does it even hint that at some time, under certain circumstances, it might become a holy day? No, indeed, it doesn't. Well, we may as well leave that one; and as we leave it, I remind you that it's the only verse in all of the Old Testament that even mentions the first day of the week.

We come now to the New Testament and we'll read a verse from Matthew: "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it." Matthew 28:1, 2. Once more, is there any command here to keep the day holy? No. Is there any hint that someday people might be supposed to keep it holy? What about it? Of course not, not even the slightest hint in this text. It just simply says that it was on this day, the first day of the week, that Jesus arose from the grave.

"And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun." Mark 16:1, 2. Now the very first question is easy to answer. Does this text say anything at all about the first day being a holy day? Or, does it hint that it ever will be holy? No, it does not. But there is something here that does need to be pointed out. This text actually proves that the Sabbath is past when the first day of the week comes. That's what it says. It says, "When the sabbath was past, they came and brought their spices on the first day of the week." Have you ever heard anybody call the first day of the week "Sabbath"? Surely you have; I'm certain you have. It's heard in many radio sermons, and maybe you've heard it even in church on Sunday morning. Something like this is usually stated: "We're very happy to have you with us this beautiful Sabbath morning." But, friends, on the authority of Mark 16:1, 2, this is impossible. It's impossible to keep Sabbath on the first day of the week because the Scripture teaches pointedly and plainly that the Sabbath was already past when the first day of the week came; so it is not proper to call the first day of the week the Sabbath.

Let's go on now to the fourth Scripture, found in the same chapter, Mark 16:9: "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept." Again, does this verse say the day is holy? Or, does it give any hint at all that it ever will be kept holy? No, it just isn't there. It doesn't say that at all. It merely gives the historical account of the fact that Jesus arose on that day, the first day of the week.

Let's pass on now to the next text of Scripture, Luke 24:1-3: "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in and found not the body of the Lord Jesus." Now once more, does it say that we should keep the day holy? Is there any hint that in the future sometime the day should be kept holy? Indeed, no. So we have found nothing yet, but we shouldn't be too much alarmed because we still have a number of opportunities left and all it takes is just one verse. We're looking for even one scriptural reference that might give some authorization to keep Sunday. It would be plenty for us if we found one text.

So we come to our sixth opportunity, in John 20:1, 2: "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him." Isn't it a little strange? We have read what the four Gospel writers have to say about Easter Sunday morning and not a single one of them says anything at all about its being a holy day, nor did any of them hint that the Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week. Strange, but very true, just the same. We have considered six of the nine texts and we have found nothing yet, but we still have three more opportunities. So let's look at these next three verses carefully.

The seventh Scripture which mentions the first day of the week is John 20:19: "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, "Peace be unto you." Some people say, "Ha, there it is. That's the one! I wasn't worried about those others. That's the one I was waiting for you to read." Many people do believe that here is a Scripture that teaches that the disciples were holding a great, Easter resurrection meeting in honor of the resurrection, with the thought in mind of inaugurating that day as a holy day. You may have heard that preached upon, but is that what the Bible says? Does this text say, "Where the disciples were gathered together in honor of the resurrection to inaugurate the keeping of the first day of the week"? Of course not. It doesn't say that at all. It says, "Where the disciples were assembled" for what?, "for fear of the Jews." Now, let's keep our theology straight.

The Bible says absolutely nothing about their being there in honor of the resurrection to hold a little meeting to start a new holy day. It says they were gathered there because they were afraid. They had every reason to be afraid, by the way. After all, if the Jews took the life of Christ, certainly they wouldn't hesitate to kill the disciples also; so they went into this room and closed the door. They barred the door, and I suppose they pulled down the window shades and said, "Shhhh, we may be next." That's why they were there. They were afraid. Some people say, "Yes, I believe that. I think they were there because they were afraid, alright; but even though they were afraid, I still say they were there in honor of the resurrection and were inaugurating the keeping of the first day of the week as a holy day in honor of the resurrection." I've heard that repeated, over and over again, but let me tell you frankly, I don't know where it comes from. I promise you one thing: it's not in the Bible. The Scripture teaches the opposite.

Now let's read another verse, from Mark 16:14. Notice how clear and plain this is: "Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen them after he was risen." Do you see what this text is teaching, friends? This text says that the disciples didn't even believe that Jesus was raised from the dead when they were meeting in that upper room. Then, pray tell me, how can man, women, child, theologian, anyone, anywhere, maintain that this meeting on the first day of the week was in honor of the resurrection to start a new holy day when the Scripture specifically teaches that the disciples did not believe in the resurrection at that time? The women had told them, but they said, "We don't believe it." And afterward, the Scripture says, Jesus came and upbraided them, He scolded them for not believing, when the report came to them. So we can immediately mark off this text. It doesn't say anything at all that would give authority for keeping the first day of the week holy. We still have two more verses to consider, and those two will complete the entire list of nine, nine places in the Bible where the first day of the week is mentioned.

We will keep these last two references until tomorrow and go into them in detail, because if there is any authority at all, if there's any justification for a person to keep Sunday holy, we'll find it in these last two texts of Scripture; so be sure to tune in tomorrow when we complete this interesting and fascinating search for the missing text in the Bible.

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