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Part one: The New Testament Church and Sunday Observance
presented by Charles H. Clever

To access Part two, select: Sunday Was Abolished at Calvary

Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Dies Domini of May 31, 1998 merits comment. If you have entered this page from another source, we recommend that you start with Daniel 12 Revealed, and progress to The Mark of the Beast ~ 666 before continuing with this document. Charles and Tish Clever

     On April 16, 1998 our "666 ~ The Mark of the Beast ~ 666" was first published. Therein we warned of the impending exaltation of Sunday sacredness. Six weeks later the Vatican presented their Apostolic Letter Dies Domini. This declaration is an example of eloquent conjecture that conceals transgression of God's Sabbath Commandment by, among other things, likening the observance of the weekly Sunday service to celebration of "the new creation, the eighth day and to a weekly Easter festival." We ask the question: Do the Holy Scriptures support their propositions?
     Without controversy, as you will see, the New Testament carries NO record of a Easter or Sunday Sabbath. There are, as you would expect, a few texts mentioning Sunday incidents, but not one of these texts hint of Sunday sacredness. Neither is there a single scripture suggesting a change in the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. Early Christians kept God's Sabbath and a few, especially of the Jewish community, continued to observe the annual sabbaths, including the Passover which we erroneously call Easter. Because of variables in the Hebrew calendar, the Passover, also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, seldom arrives on Sunday, but rather on a different day of the week each year.
     In the latter part of the second century Bishop Victor, of the Church in Rome, enforced a Sunday Passover [Easter] and suggested disfellowship of the Asian churches for non-compliance (Eusebius, History of the Church. New York, Penguin Classics, (1965): 229-231).      Polycrates, the Bishop of Ephesus, did not support a Sunday Passover (Easter) and wrote in defense of the Asian churches as follows:

     We for our part keep the day [Aviv 14, not Sunday] scrupulously, without addition or subtraction." Polycrates continues, "For in Asia great luminaries sleep [in the grave] who shall rise again on the day of the Lord's advent, when He is coming with glory from heaven and shall search out all His saints -- such as Philip, one of the twelve apostles.... Again there is John, who leant back on the Lord's breast.... Then in Smyrna there is Polycarp, bishop and martyr...." Polycrates names several more saints not observing a Sunday Passover, including his family; he being the eighth consecutive bishop. Polycrates further states, "[We] have always kept the day when the people put away the leaven [the Jewish Passover], so I, my friends, after spending sixty-five years in the Lord's service and conversing with Christians from all parts of the world, and going carefully through all Holy Scripture, am not scared of threats. Better people than I have said: 'We must obey God rather than men' (Ibid.).
     In searching the Scriptures for first-day (Sunday) events, one soon discovers that the only mention of the "first day of the week" in the Old Testament is found in the Genesis creation narrative (Genesis 1: 5). The day "after the Sabbath" (Sunday) is mentioned in Leviticus 23:11, 15, 16, and Neh: 13:19. Nehmiah records how Israel kept merchants from selling in Jerusalem until Sunday. Leviticus deals with ordinances that were symbolic, and abolished at Calvary--this is discussed in Part Two.  Therefore, the Old Testament has no prophecy predicting a future change from God's special day of which it is recorded, "He blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" (Genesis 2: 3, Douay). Instead, scripture says that God's Sabbath day will be kept throughout a sinless eternity as recorded in Isaiah 66: 22, 23, "For as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I will make to stand before me, says the Lord.... "Month after month, and SABBATH AFTER SABBATH: and ALL flesh [humanity] shall come to adore before my face, says the Lord" (Douay).

     The Vatican letter calls Sunday the "Lord's Day." Is there scriptural authority for this? One will observe in reading the account of creation that God performed work on the first six days. The Bible says that each day was, or existed, because of that work. "And He called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day" (Genesis 1:5, Douay). Each of God's working days were a natural result of the task performed--similar to the shadow that exists because it is cast by the effect of an object created by God. God could have stopped with six days, and we would today have a six day week. But He had a special plan for us, a weekly memorial of His creation--He made the seventh day--you will recall that Jesus says that the Sabbath was made for man (see Mark 2: 27). Man is to honor this day which was indelibly written on stone as recorded in the Ten Commandments: "Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days shall you labor, and shall do all your works. But on the seventh day is the Sabbath [rest] of the Lord your God.... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it," (Exodus 20: 8-11). The Catholic Bible attests to the immutability of this commandment: "All His commandments are faithful: confirmed FOR EVER and FOR EVER, made in truth and equity..." (Psalms 110:8, Douay; 111:8 K.J.V.).
     God had a special purpose when he made the seventh day and incorporated it into His eternal Ten Commandment Law. The Psalmist remembers God's Sabbath rest and uses it as a model to reflect on Jesus' rest in the grave where Christ culminated His final week of redemption. Jesus entered Jerusalem on Sunday to become the stone that the builders rejected. And He rested that special Passover Sabbath from His work of redemption. "The stone [Jesus] which the builders rejected [crucified]; the same is become the head of the corner. This is the Lord's doing [making]: and it is wonderful in our eyes.... "This is the day which the Lord has MADE: let us be glad and rejoice therein," (Psalm 117: 22-24, Douay. Psalm 118: 22-24, K.J.V.).   The Sabbath's sacredness also lies in its projection to the eternal rest in God's New Creation. This re-creation in God's future "Canaan" is mentioned by the Apostle Paul: "There remains therefore a Sabbath Rest for the people of God, for he who has entered into His Rest has himself also rested from his own works, even as God did from His" (Hebrews 4: 9, 10, Douay).
     "Everyone who commits sin commits iniquity [Gr. Anomia: lawlessness] also; and sin is iniquity" (1 John 3:4, Douay).   In transgressing God's Sabbath, one neglects to honor the great act of creation, redemption, and restoration of God's people and this planet. The Bible tells us that the Sabbath is a weekly reminder throughout the endless ages of eternity of God's work in our behalf. A time to reflect on His baptism [death] and our baptism [spiritual death]. It is also a weekly communion service when we enter into His rest, and walk in a newness of life, a new creation, refreshed each Sabbath because the "old self" was crucified with Jesus (See Romans 6: 1-16). Truly, "this [the Sabbath] is the day which the Lord has made."

    You will observe, while studying the New Testament, that Jesus' followers revered the Sabbath, and did not even embalm their Savior on Saturday, but prepared spices and ointments on what we today call Good Friday, "And on the Sabbath they rested, in accordance with the commandment" (Luke 23: 56, Douay). The next verse (Luke 24: 1) records that on Sunday they went to the grave to perform work, "taking the spices they had prepared" to embalm their Savior.   Certainly Jesus had not told them of any alleged Commandment change.
     One may assume that the early church kept Sunday, but this hypothesis must be discarded after studying scriptural evidence. In the 31 years of Church history recorded in Acts of the Apostles, stretching from Jesus' ascension (31 A.D.) to Paul's first trial in Rome (62 A.D.), there is NOT ONE RECORDED INCIDENCE OF SUNDAY OBSERVANCE AS THE SABBATH AND NO RECORD OF THE ALLEGED CHANGE TO SUNDAY. Furthermore, a study of the Epistles reveals that the first day (Sunday) is mentioned only twice. We will briefly study these occurrences using the Catholic Douay Bible, first published in English in the year 1609 at the English College of Douay, France.

     The first event is recorded in Acts 20: 7, and is what we would today call a Saturday-evening farewell dinner where they met for the "breaking of bread," a term used synonymously with eating: "...and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart" (Acts 2: 46). We know this was a Saturday night meeting because it is recorded: "There were many lamps in the upper room where we had assembled" (Ibid., verse 8). According to God's Word, each day starts at evening (Leviticus 23:32), not the third watch, midnight. So, this farewell gathering for the Apostle's departure followed their Sabbath day's rest. Two occurrences of work are recorded after sundown. First, the disciples weighed anchor and sailed around a peninsula from Troas to Assos, "Intending to take Paul on board there," (verse 12) while Paul preached "even till daybreak," Sunday morning (verse 11). The second, Paul walked a distance of about 30 km (20 miles) Sunday morning, "he intended to travel there by land" (verse 13), and met the boat at Assos. These verses merely record a Sunday event, and are hardly a precedent for a change in God's law.
     Two disciples walked 10 k.m. (7.5 miles) to Emmaus on resurrection Sunday; this also is not an example of Sunday worship. You will recall they that did not recognize Jesus, their companion, and said: "Stay with us, for it is getting towards evening, and the day is now far spent" (Luke 24: 29, Douay). They recognized Jesus during the "breaking of the bread [Supper]" (Ibid, verse 35). At dusk, they excitedly returned to Jerusalem (a two hour walk) to tell the disciples. St. John records, "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 [Not for worship], Jesus came and stood in the midst..." (ch. 20: 19, Douay). On Sunday they were together "for fear of the Jews." This meeting continued to Sunday night (remember, after sundown it is actually Monday) when Jesus came and "stood in the midst..." (ch. 20: 19). It is speculation to say that the appearing of Jesus on Sunday or Monday authorizes a change in God's Law--this is merely the recording of the Sunday/Monday event. As we continue our study, you will conclusively see that there is no scriptural aberration in God's law.
     The last mention of Sunday, the first day of the week, is found in first Corinthians sixteen. It records another planned trip to Corinth where Paul intends to collect an offering for the saints as he "likewise instructed the church at Galatia" (verse 1).
    If you have studied these texts before, perhaps you have wondered why Paul is telling the Corinthian congregation to conduct financial transactions on Sunday. To properly understand this, you must realize that conducting such business on Saturday was a practice which the Jews considered desecration of the Sabbath. Therefore, the answer to this riddle is quite simple. When Paul previously established the Corinthian church, he preached on Sabbaths there for at least one and one-half years: "And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks... " (Acts 18: 4, 11). Paul is well aware that his instructions [epistle] will be read to the Corinthians as they gather to worship on that day. Knowing that some anxious saints may sin by preparing an offering after his letter is read in church, Paul wisely counsels them in a manner to ensure they will not desecrate God's holy day by working on the Sabbath. He wisely writes: "On the first day of the week [Sunday: tonight after sundown or tomorrow], let each one of you put aside AT HOME and lay up whatever he has a mind to so that the collections may not have to be made after I have come [on the Sabbath]" (1 Cor. 16: 2, Douay). Other translations similarly indicate that this is not a church service, as Paul instructs each one to do this work individually. Working ALONE, AT HOME, is not in harmony with the Vatican's document implying a Sunday church service. And we will remind you of this fact: Preparing an offering is not the same as presenting that offering.
     These verses are just a reminder that we should not use the Sabbath for common purposes. Therefore, Sunday is an excellent day to withdraw funds from the bank, to go to your storage shed, granary, or even the market place, and prepare an offering to give the needy when the missionary collection is taken the next Sabbath.

     There were no Sunday churches in existence during New Testament times and scripture only records incidences of Sabbath sacredness. Of our Savior, it is recorded, "And He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and according to his custom, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read" (Luke 4: 16, Douay). Paul likewise followed our Savior's example at the Thessalonians church: "And Paul, as was his custom, went in to them and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures" (Acts 17: 2). Walking further than about one mile on the Sabbath was prohibited (Exodus 16:29), and Luke uses the term "Sabbath day's journey" in Acts one, verse 12, reminding us of the practice of only walking short distances on the Sabbath.    Paul went into the Antioch Synagogue on the Sabbath to teach, Acts 13: 14, 27; the Gentiles begged that he preach to them the next Sabbath, Acts 13: 42; he met with a praying group by the riverside on the Sabbath, Acts 16: 13; and as previously noted, he preached EVERY Sabbath at Corinth, Acts 18: 3, 4. The Scripture is very silent on Sunday observance, and the Vatican's document is strangely silent on these texts substantiating Sabbath worship. Instead of letting the Bible speak for itself, they use philosophy and conjecture to exalt Sunday sacredness. Now let us discuss the usage of the term "Lord's Day."

     Nowhere in the Bible is Sunday or "first day" considered sacred and called the Sabbath or Lord's Day. As previously stated, the Lord's Day is the Bible Sabbath, not Sunday. The Apostle John says: "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day..." (Revelation/Apocalypse 1: 10, Douay). Matthew was in Jesus' presence when He attempted to show that the Sabbath was beneficial to man. And although Jesus did not authorize working on the Sabbath, eating fruit or grain from a plant was easier, and more practical, than carrying a lunch bag all day. After emphasizing that even the Priests perform some duties on the Sabbath, Jesus said: "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" (Matthew 12: 8, Douay). Jesus enforces the validity of the Sabbath, and merely instructed His followers on the correct method of Sabbath observance--He did not imply a Commandment change; He just emphasized that the reason for its inclusion in God's law was for our benefit.
     All the wonderful benefits that John Paul II ascribes to Sunday actually apply for the benefit of man on Saturday, the Sabbath; as Christ says in Mark 2: 27, 28: "And He said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man [for your benefit], and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is LORD EVEN OF THE SABBATH'" (Douay). God meant for the Sabbath to be kept sacred, and tried to emphasize the benefits to Israel, who were "doing their own way" on His day. God says: "If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath [from trampling on it], from doing your own will in MY HOLY DAY, and call the Sabbath delightful, and THE HOLY OF THE LORD GLORIOUS [The Lord's day], and glorify Him, while you do[e]st not your own ways, and your own will is not found, to speak a word: "Then SHALL YOU BE DELIGHTED IN THE LORD, and I will lift you up above the high places of the earth, and will feed you with the inheritance of Jacob your father. For the MOUTH OF THE LORD has spoken it" (Isaiah 58: 13, 14, Douay).
     Not only does God call the Sabbath the "holy of the Lord" but says that by keeping it we will be "delighted in the Lord." The benefits of OBEYING God are well documented in His Word. Yet, as previously noted, this world will be destroyed because the Abomination of Desolation will "Think himself able to change times and laws, and they [the saints] shall be delivered into his hand. . . " (Daniel 7: 25, Douay).

A point that should concern you is the forcing of conscience. Sunday is a "tradition of man" and should not be honored above God's Sabbath. Because of the influence of the Reformation, the famous Council of Trent discussed the Catholic Church's role relating to the authority of Scripture over Church tradition. After 18 years of study and debate, the Catholic Church affirmed their right to change the Scripture, including God's Sabbath commandment. Heaven only knows how many people have been tortured and murdered for not revering the Catholic Church or attending Sunday Mass. Apologies will never satisfy God's demand for justice because repenting of the sin "you shall not murder" does not clear one who continues to transgress the law that says "remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). Heaven demands reparation for this iniquity and the martyrs ask the question: "How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev. 6:10). Heaven replies with these words: "That they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren [God's latter-day Commandment-keeping saints of Revelation 14:12], that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled" (Rev. 6:11). Eventually Sunday observance will again be enforced under the "mark of the beast."
      While it is certainly true that there is wisdom in not violating a civil government's law that prohibits labor on Sunday (it is not a sin to refrain from secular work on Sunday), you must remember that Sunday observance is not compliance with God's mandate in the fourth commandment for Sabbath sacredness. Attending church for one hour on Saturday is also inadequate because God's sacred day begins at sundown Friday and ends at sunset Saturday (see Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 and Leviticus 23:32).
     The Vatican's document falsely ascribes all the beauties of Sabbath observance to Sunday and without a Bible precedent declares in paragraph 67: "Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty [sic] to keep Sunday holy." According to the Vatican, the enforcement of Sunday sanctity (known as "blue laws" in the U.S.), are beneficial to those who obey church tradition over God's Word.
     The glorification of Rome's counterfeit Sunday is the FIRST STEP in the path leading to the repetition of history's error of legislating Sunday morality. Laws always carry forms of punishment (known as sanctions) for disobedience such as fines and imprisonment. According to Scripture, this will ultimately be death (Apo./Rev. 13:15). If you don't think this is possible, then read John Foxe's Book of Christian Martyrs. In the past, not attending Mass was punished by death. Having read this book twice, it allows me to see exactly how history authenticates the Bible's prediction of past and future persecution of the saints. God's written warnings are certain, and they will not fail.

     The Catholic Bible plainly quotes St. James as follows: "For whoever keeps the whole law, but offends in one point, has become guilty in all" (James 2: 10, Douay). For now, please understand that the Vatican's declaration cloaks transgression of "one point" of God's law with a snow-white lamb's skin. It is easier to profess compliance than to abandon tradition and obey God. In the past, the Roman Church boldly claimed the right to change God's commandments (For an example, select Appendix 7 here or at the end of this chapter).
     Today, everyone does not accept the Papal claim to infallibility; therefore, Rome has now adopted Protestantism's Sunday rhetoric. They have searched the Scripture meticulously to present any semblance of validity to their tradition in an attempt to present Sunday sacredness as fact. Many honest workers and members in ALL denominations will hear the call of God's Spirit for them to come out of today's confused system of worship, "Come out of her My people..." (Revelation 18:4). And they will express their love for God displayed through the joy of trust and obedience to all of His eternal Law.
     One cannot doubt the sincerity of those who substitute a day of human invention any more than Judas' sincerity in delivering our Savior to the priests, but unrepented transgression results in greater delusions and eternal losses. One must hold strong convictions to condemn another to death for violating their agenda. Remember Judas, he had his own plans. And of him it is recorded in God's Word (after Jesus' act of kindness in washing his feet and feeding him), "Satan entered into him. And Jesus said to him, 'What you do[e]st, do quickly'" (John 13: 27, Douay). And Judas betrayed the innocent One.

Part two: Sunday Was Abolished at Calvary
presented by Charles H. Clever

          Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we are not required to keep Jewish festivals: "He... [brought] an end to sacrifice and offering" (Daniel 9:27).  Perhaps Christianity's best-kept secret  is the fact that  Sunday was typified in Old Testament ordinances and met fulfillment in the resurrection of Christ on the Firstfruits Sunday, and Pentecost Sunday's glorification of the church.
    Believing that God's foreknowledge of Satan's perversion of the Sabbath would move Him to preserve deeper truths in His Word,  I knew there had to be something in the Bible to refute the substitution of Sunday for the Sabbath--God's sacred day (Gen. 2:2,3; Isa. 58:13, etc.). For several weeks I computer searched the Bible for word combinations to reveal Sunday events. In the Old Testament, the term "first day of the week" (Sunday) is limited to the Genesis account of creation; and "the day after the Sabbath" (Sunday) is mentioned in Nehemiah's closure of Jerusalem's gates to prevent desecration of the Sabbath; and in Leviticus' symbolic, and therefore abolished, festivals (Neh. 13:19; Lev. 23:11,15,16).  God has undoubtedly suppressed a simple Bible fact until our time, because He will have a people  sensative to fundamental truths, and who know the cost of sin and the perfection that God demands (Matt. 5: 18-20, 48). They will keep His commandments while the world transgresses and erroneously glorifies a spurious day (James 2:10; Rev./Apo. 12:17; 14,12).

    Even though Sunday's utilization has met fulfillment at Calvary, today there are many who do not rightly understand Scripture's application of Sunday and are pressuring legislators for Sunday-rest laws.  These well-meaning people often do not boldly proclaim religious motives for this legislation as the Vatican did in The Vatican's Apostolic Letter Dies Domini -- "Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy" (paragraph 67), but they are just as surely motivated by their religious inclinations to support what they erroneously call "the Lord's day."

    The Bible's obvious meaning on this important topic is now distorted because  the ordinance of the Sunday Firstfruits was falsely assigned to follow the Passover celebration which was strictly observed on Abib (Nisan) 14. This adds confusion because the Passover falls on a different day of the week each year; yet Firstfruits, followed by Pentecost, were definitely Sunday occurrences because they were to be kept at the beginning of harvest on "the day after the Sabbath," which is Sunday (Lev. 23:11, 15, 16).

    At the time of Christ, Firstfruits was celebrated yearly on Abib 16, the third day following the Passover.  A study of the scriptures does not record the exact day of Israel's Firstfruit observances. The first Passover after crossing the Jordan is also a subject of debate, and is the only implied Firstfruit-event (Joshua 5:10-12), and it did not establish a pattern for future Firstfruits.
    One was considered harvesting when they put produce in a vessel or used a sicle for gathering (Deu. 23:24,25). Jesus plucking grain "on the second Sabbath after the first" (Luke 6:1) does not indicate that Jesus was harvesting, and Firstfruits could have been observed any time earlier in the year, even before the Passover.   One must realize that Barley is a crop that grows in the winter and its harvest initiated Israel's compliance with Firstfruits Sunday. You may recall that the "barley was in the head" prior to Israel's first Passover in Egypt (Exodus 9:31). Barley ripens at different times early in the year as determined by the planting date, and  annual variances in rainfall and temperature.

    The reason many believe that the Firstfruits should be kept on the third day after the Passover (the second day of Unleavened Bread) can be attributed to authors like the first century Jewish historian,
Flavis Josephus. He writes in Antiquities 3.10:5 (250):

"But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. And while they suppose it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first fruits of their barley. . . . [And continuing with 6.(252)] "When a week of weeks has passed over after this sacrifice (which weeks contain forty and nine days), on the fiftieth day, which is Pentecost, but is called by the Hebrews Asrtha, which signifies Pentecost, they bring to God a loaf, made of wheat flour, of two tenth deals, with leaven; and for sacrifices they bring two lambs. . . ."
    Josephus writes of practices that occurred over 1,400 years after they were given to Moses at Sinai.  Sometime in the past, the Jews obviously deviated from a literal application of Leviticus 23. Instead of observing "the day after the  Sabbath" (Sunday), when they first harvested, they ignored the weekly Sabbath and kept Firstfruits on Abib 16, the day following two consecutive festive days--the Passover (Abib 14) and Unleavened Bread (Abib 15).
    At the time of Christ, Israel was steeped with tradition. Many of their priests were not of the Levite Zadokite line, but often secured the priesthood by Roman appointment or bribery.  You will recall that Jesus condemned their traditions (Matt. 15:1-3). Therefore, at the time of Christ, their actions were no precedent, or guarantee of perfect compliance with the Holy Scriptures.

    To prevent error, God repeated His instructions to observe these feasts at the beginning of harvest (not Abib 16). Please observe Deuteronomy's application of these Leviticus festivals--you will notice the repetition of God's instructions to  link Pentecost to the first day of [Firstfruits] harvest, not from Abib/Nissan 16: "Seven weeks shall thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks [for Pentecost] from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn" (Deuteronomy 16:9). Deuteronomy's repetition enforces the command to keep Firstfruits on Sunday (the day after the Sabbath at the beginning of harvest), and Pentecost seven weeks later on Sunday of every year. This is because, like your birthday, Abib 16 falls on a different day of the week each year--by the Jews observing Abib 16, every few years "harvest day" would have coincided with the Sabbath.  Harvesting--"Beginning to put the sickle to the corn"--on the Sabbath would therefore force a transgression of God's ten-commandment law. Every Jewish festival commanded: "You shall do no servile [common] work" (Lev. 23:7,8,21,25,35,36), except for Firstfruits--it required harvesting. God, who commanded a man to be stoned to death for presumptuously gathering firewood on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:30-36), would never have commanded the Jews to begin the harvest on the Sabbath. Obviously, our God intended that Firstfruits and Pentecost occur on the common working day of Sunday, "the day after the Sabbath," every year.

  Before one becomes encumbered with thoughts from those who do not believe in a literal application of the Bible, it would be worthwhile to observe some additional facts:  Firstfruit offerings were neither relevant to the date of Israel's first observance, nor does Leviticus stipulate a "high sabbath" or Abib as the  month of compliance.  Instead, it required observance when they began (beginnest) to "reap the harvest thereof..." (Lev. 23:10; Deu. 16:9). This means that even if the barley ripened earlier in the year, they would not refrain from eating "bread, nor roasted grain, nor fresh grain (Lev. 23:14) until Abib 16, but could begin earlier (Matt. 28:1-7; also see: Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12 and John 20:1,2).

    Does this all sound confusing to you?  You must agree on this simple fact: The full meaning of these Sunday events is not perplexing because they literally transpired on Sunday in the year of Christ's crucifixion.  This is because Firstfruits fell on that atypical Sunday, "the day after the Sabbath" (as it also fell in 1998 according to the Hebrew calendar).  Jesus' Sunday resurrection and Pentecost was previously kept in type, and therefore is not the new Sabbath.

    With this thought, we emphasize that Jesus  fulfilled several events by His crucifixion, entombment, and resurrection. First, the Passover: "For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed [crucified] for us" (1 Cor. 5:7). Next, Jesus' death in the tomb, on the day following Passover, was symbolized in the Feast of Unleavened Bread when Israel yearly typified our Lord's unleavened (unrisen) body in the tomb (Leviticus 23: 5-6; John 6:33). Notice that those "shadows" only symbolized the event, not the day.  And then, the Firstfruits Sunday ("the day after the Sabbath") where Christ was the beginning of humanity's harvest. That was when God, one might say, beginnest to put the sickle to the corn (Deut. 16:9) and "Christ the [resurrected] firstfruits, afterward  those who are [raised as] Christ's at His coming" (1 Cor. 15:23). Seven weeks after the Firstfruits offering, as you will see, the last Sunday event of Pentecost would also meet fulfillment.

    It was observed "...fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:16).  Pentecost means 50, and it met completion as follows:

"Now when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2: 1-4).
    Many sincere Christians, and publications, including the Vatican's Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, emphatically state that these events inaugurated Sunday as the new Sabbath, and are therefore binding upon Christians today. Quite the opposite is true. Because these events were atypical (shadows of future events), they are therefore perpetually abolished at Calvary. This means that if the date of these abolished festivals should ever coincide with a Sunday throughout the endless days of eternity, it is meaningless--Sunday will never be used again to typify these special events--they have met an eternal fulfillment. In addition, Firstfruits Sunday did not require abstinence from common work; in fact, it required work (harvesting). This adds to the dilemma of those who attempt to use the Bible to legislate a  Sunday "Lord's day" rest day.

    It is difficult for one to change the customs of a lifetime, and some members of the New Testament church were trying to retain these events by subjecting themselves to "regulations--Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle...", but the Apostle Paul says Jesus has "wiped out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us... and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross..." and "Therefore let no one judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect to an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ"  (Colossians 2:14-23).
    If you walk down the street with the sun to your back, you may notice that you are preceded by your shadow.  If someone standing inside a doorway sees the shadow approaching, they know a person will also arrive.  Likewise, the Sunday resurrection of Christ and the Sunday glorification of His church were "shadowed" in type; consequently, the utilization of Sunday was abolished at Calvary. It  met its substance in the first century--Sunday is not binding and should never be venerated from the pulpit or courthouse.

     While visiting a Sunday-observing church in a small desert community,  a bulletin board posting caught my attention. It encouraged the congregation to "bring a benevolent offering next Sunday as Paul [allegedly] instructed the Corinthian church."    If you have studied 1 Corinthians 16:1 before, perhaps you have wondered why Paul sent this letter ahead of his arrival telling the Corinthian congregation to perform work by preparing an offering on Sunday, instead of "preparation day," which is Friday.
     To properly understand this, you must realize that preparing finances on Saturday was a practice the Jews considered desecration of the Sabbath. Therefore, the answer to this riddle is quite simple. Luke informs us in Acts, chapter 18, that when Paul previously established the church at Corinth, he preached on Sabbaths there for at least one and one-half years: "And he reasoned in the synagogue EVERY Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks...." "And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them" (Acts 18: 4, 11). Paul plans to return to Corinth and sends this epistle ahead. He is well aware that his instructions will be read to the Corinthians as they gather to worship on THAT DAY, Saturday. Knowing that some anxious saints may sin by preparing an offering after his letter is read in church, Paul wisely counsels them in a manner to ensure they will not desecrate God's holy day by working on the Sabbath. He wisely writes: "On the first day of the week [Sunday, that is, tonight after sundown or tomorrow], let each one of you put aside AT HOME and lay up whatever he has a mind to so that the collections may not have to be made after I have come" (1 Cor. 16: 2, Douay). Other translations similarly indicate that this is not a church service, as Paul instructs each one to do this work INDIVIDUALLY. Working ALONE, AT HOME, is not in harmony with Protestant (or the Vatican) documents implying a Sunday church service. And we will remind you of this fact: Preparing an offering on Sunday is not the same as presenting that offering during church on a Sabbath.
     These verses are just a reminder that we should not use the Sabbath for common purposes.
Therefore, Sunday is an excellent day to withdraw funds from the bank, to go to your storage shed,
granary, or even the market place, and prepare an offering to give the needy when the missionary
collection is taken the next Sabbath.

    How important it is for us to respect the religious beliefs of others; yet now, as in the past, people are being exploited throughout the world for their faith.  A nation's most productive and noblest citizens are frequently demonized because of the way they serve their God or practice their religion.  It is NOT the place of an individual or government to ostracize a class of people or individuals. The church of Rome received a letter from the Apostle Paul condemning this very practice, even within its own sanctuary: "But why do you judge your brother? or why do you set at naught your brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (Romans 14:10). One day everyone, including those who force religious dogma upon others, will  answer to their Creator.
    Our forefathers paid a tremendous price for the religious freedoms we enjoy today.  With this thought,  we must be cautious with legislation, tolerant of the belief of others, and careful to remember the errors of the past while diligently striving to preserve this God-given right.

A letter written in 1934 is linked here that boldly proclaims the Catholic Church's "right" to change God's Sabbath Commandment to Sunday. Select Appendix 7:  stultify.htm

The Vatican's Apostolic Letter Dies Domini is found at  the following Internet sites. Cut and paste it to your browser's address window.
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And from there, read the online publication The Wise Shall Understand, starting with Chapter 1, "Daniel 12 Revealed."

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