Hello and welcome back to another episode. Alright, so Exodus 20 outlines what Christians today recognize as the 10 Commandments. Commandment number 4 says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work… For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
Now, the seventh day of the week is Saturday. Anciently, the sabbath day was on Saturday. But today, most Christians, including members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, observe Sunday, the first day of the week, as our day of rest, our sabbath. In this episode, we’re going to look at why that is, and whether or not it’s a problem.
Alright, so about this subject the Church’s website very succinctly states: “In Old Testament times, God’s covenant people observed the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week [Saturday] because God rested on the seventh day when He had created the earth (see Genesis 2:2). After the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurred on the first day of the week (see Mark 16:2), the Lord’s disciples began observing the Sabbath on the first day of the week, Sunday (see Acts 20:7).”
For example, after Christ is resurrected, in Acts 20:7 we read, “And upon the first day of the week [Sunday], when the disciples came together to break bread [that would be the sacrament or Communion], Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” This was a Sunday worship service.
Sunday was considered the “Lord’s Day,” as it was the day of the week when Christ was resurrected, and the day of the week when the disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. This shift from Saturday to Sunday worship was not the result of the disciples being confused about which day was the seventh day of the week. It was an intentional, conscious shift made to commemorate the Savior. It was a way for early Christians to honor Christ, His sacrifice for them, and His resurrection. It was also a way to differentiate themselves from their Jewish friends who continued to worship on Saturday.
So worshipping on the Lord’s Day is clearly something happening in the Bible. And as we’d expect, it also shows up in early post-Biblical Christian writings.
But while we can turn to the Bible and early Christianity for some important context about this issue, Latter-day Saints also believe in modern revelation from God to modern prophets. At the end of the day, for Latter-day Saints, modern revelation is probably the most important factor in this entire equation. Doctrine and Covenants section 59 records a revelation from God to the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High; Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times; But remember that on this, the Lord’s day [that’s Sunday], thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High…”
Latter-day Saints believe that God has specifically named the Lord’s Day, Sunday, as our day of rest, our sabbath. But all of that said, while Sunday worship is the standard for Latter-day Saints, it’s also worth mentioning that there are exceptions to the rule. For example, in Israel, the predominant religion is Judaism, followed by Islam. The Jews observe their sabbath from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. The Muslims observe their holy day on Friday.
This poses some challenges for Christians in that region, including Latter-day Saints. For example, most employers are going to expect you to work on Sunday — it’s a normal working day. If you’re a student, you’re going to have classes on Sunday. Public transportation and shops might be closed down on Saturday for the Jewish sabbath. Because of these kinds of challenges, Latter-day Saints in Israel observe a Saturday sabbath instead of a Sunday sabbath. They go to church, participate in the sacrament, and rest on Saturday.
In Egypt, most people belong the Muslim faith and observe a Friday holy day. Latter-day Saints in Egypt also observe a Friday sabbath. Remember what Christ taught in Mark chapter 2: “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:”
Again, Sunday worship is standard for Latter-day Saints. It’s the Lord’s Day, and the day the Lord has asked us to observe as our day of rest. That said, as circumstances require there are exceptions to the rule, and for us, in general, having a sabbath day is frankly more important than arguing over which day it has to be. And of course, no matter which day is your sabbath, it’s also important to explore how we can keep the sabbath day holy. We’ve shared some of our personal thoughts on this subject on the main show but it probably also deserves its own episode here in this Faith and Beliefs segment. So keep an eye out for that.
If you want to learn more about this subject, check out the resources in the YouTube description below. If you like our channel, check out some of our other videos, and have a great day!
- “Lord’s Day,” via the Bible Dictionary (Church’s website): https://bit.ly/3zXgsqB
- “Sabbath Day,” via Gospel Topics (Church’s website): https://bit.ly/3tt47YQ
- “Sunday,” via the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: https://bit.ly/3BV2tCa
- “Sabbath Day,” vis the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: https://bit.ly/3BYwyRo
- Some additional info from FAIR: https://bit.ly/3z2UCRl / https://bit.ly/3hibixV