Hello y’all! I hope everyone is having an EXEMPLARY day! (Yeah, not gonna divulge how long it took me to come up with that one. I’m not even sure if I used the word right… oh well. *awkward laughter*)
Anyways! In today’s post I’m gonna be talking a bit more about my Seventh-Day Adventist faith! Last week I posted about my decision to identify as an Adventist Christian. In the comments section of that post, a very interesting question arose: Why exactly do Adventists worship on Saturday instead of on Sunday like other Christians? I know there is a lot of curiosity about this, and it’s in fact the most common question that Adventists are asked. So I thought why not write a post about it? Just a fun post sharing my new Adventist beliefs and inviting you guys to share your thoughts as well!
Before I start, I want this blog to be a safe place where we can have friendly conversations as family in Christ. Please be aware that I never want to offend anyone with anything I share. I believe in witnessing to others about our beliefs, strengthening each other, and building each other up. I love talking openly about faith, and find it very interesting to hear other points of view. So if you ever have anything you want to share with me, PLEASE do not hesitate to do so! I absolutely welcome it, and conversations with others help me learn a lot of cool stuff!
Y’all may have noticed the new category I created entitled “The Seventh-Day Adventist Faith.” I’ve decided to do lots more posts on this blog about my faith, because as I said, I LOVE talking openly about it with others! So if you ever have any questions or comments about Adventism, please share them! And suggestions for faith posts for me to do are absolutely welcome.
Today I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Issabelle! She asked this question about the Adventist Saturday, and also suggested the idea for this post, and I thought it sounded great. So why not do it?
And… we’re diving right in!
(Hey, that sounds like it could be a cool salutation! Maybe I’ll start using it! XD)
Why do most Christians worship on Sunday?
So what are the reasons for the Lord’s Day Sunday?
Here’s a list:
- Jesus rose from the grave on the first day of the week, signifying that with his resurrection he created a new world. Along with that new world came a new Sabbath – the Lord’s Day Sunday.
- The Holy Spirit at Pentecost descended upon the Twelve Disciples on a Sunday.
- So the apostles taught the early church to make the switch from observing Saturday to observing Sunday. St. Paul was especially influential in this, and Lord’s Day observers mainly reference him on this point. He held church services on Sunday and in his epistles taught that the seventh-day Sabbath was an observance no longer required (alongside the Law of Moses).
- St. John the Divine describes himself as being “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” when he received the visions recorded in the book of Revelation. This refers to Sunday worship.
In my post last week, I told you guys about the belief that gives Seventh-Day Adventists our name:
- The 4th Commandment tells us to sanctify the seventh day and keep it holy. This is where Seventh-Day Adventists get our name. We set apart the seventh day, or Saturday, as the Sabbath, and that day we keep holy. (Exodus 20:8-11, Isaiah 58:13-14, Mark 2:27-28)
So how do Adventists view the reasons for Sunday?
1. Jesus rose from the grave on the first day of the week, signifying that with his resurrection he created a new world. Along with that new world came a new Sabbath – the Lord’s Day Sunday.
Adventists do not believe Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday meant that he was changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. In fact, we believe it meant he was strengthening our faith in the seventh-day Sabbath by honoring it even while his heart was no longer beating.
Jesus rose on Sunday because even in death, the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28) honored his sanctified day. He did this by resting in the tomb on Saturday, and rising on Sunday, as one rises from sleep.
In doing this, Jesus was blessing the Sabbath in the tomb by resting that day, just as:
- He blessed the day and rested on it after creating the world (Genesis 2:1-3)
- He commanded the Israelites to rest on the Sabbath day and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8-11)
- He said that resting on Saturday would bring delight in the Lord (Isaiah 58:13-14).
2. The Holy Spirit at Pentecost descended upon the Twelve Disciples on a Sunday.
Adventists do not believe the Holy Spirit’s descent on a Sunday means that Sunday is the new Sabbath. We do believe that this glorious Day of Pentecost was an incredible victory for the early church. On that day the Twelve were so filled with the Holy Spirit that there was the sound of a mighty rushing wind, tongues of fire appeared over their heads, and they spoke fluently in languages from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:1-6). And on that day Simon Peter gave a touching sermon that caused 3,000 people to become Christians (Acts 2:37-41). So clearly, this was a beautiful day for the early church. It’s a day to be remembered, commemorated, and celebrated, and Adventists do this.
However, we do not believe this Pentecost signifies a change from Saturday observance to Sunday observance. The Bible never makes such a connection. And on that Pentecost day, nor on any other day, the apostles did not make such a connection.
3. So the apostles taught the early church to make the switch from observing Saturday to observing Sunday. St. Paul was especially influential in this, and Lord’s Day observers mainly reference him on this point. He held church services on Sunday and in his epistles taught that the seventh-day Sabbath was an observance no longer required (alongside the Law of Moses).
Adventists do not believe the apostles ever taught the early church to make a change from Saturday to Sunday. In fact, we believe they taught their congregations to keep Saturday holy, and that they themselves kept it holy.
St. Paul is definitely by far the most referenced here. Lord’s Day observers go immediately to him. So do Saturday observers, but we believe that Paul held church services on the seventh day and in his epistles taught observance of the seventh day.
However, there are several verses in the New Testament that seem to tell us Paul held church services on Sunday, and in his epistles taught Sunday observance. Here are the verses:
I’m going to go through all these verses, one at a time, and explain the Adventist viewpoint on them.
Let’s begin with Acts 20:7. This is what the verse says:
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.– Acts 20:7
This verse seems to indicate that Paul was purposefully holding a church service on Sunday (the Lord’s Day). It states that the believers at Troas gathered together for Sunday worship in the upper room. Paul was giving a sermon. There was potluck. Everything indicates that this was a Sunday worship service.
Why then do Adventists believe otherwise?
We believe this was a farewell worship service, not a Sunday (Lord’s Day) worship service.
First, as I’ve said in the other points, Adventists do not believe the early church changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. (See #1 and #2 for those reasons.)
Paul kept Saturday holy and taught his converts to do the same. So why was he holding a service on Sunday?
Acts 20:7 tells us that Paul was going to leave Troas the very next day. From the verse, we see the day of his departure would be Monday. So he was holding this event on Sunday as a final goodbye service with the converts he loved, not as Sunday observance. He prolonged his sermon until midnight because, knowing Paul, he had lots to say to the believers! I can imagine he was anxious to give them all the advice, comfort, and encouragement they needed. He cared deeply for each one of them as individuals, and wanted a chance to speak to them all. Paul had friends in many regions who loved him because he had brought them to Christ, and he loved them in turn, so they would have missed each other while he was away. He wanted to make the most of this visit with them, which was only seven days long (Acts 20:6).
What about the potluck? Isn’t that something you usually do during Sabbath or Lord’s Day services? Here’s the thing on that.
My family is a little more lenient in this area (sometimes my mom cooks on Saturdays, although usually we have leftovers), but a lot of Adventists don’t cook on Sabbaths. My grandparents never cooked on the Sabbath. Instead, they prepared everything on Friday afternoon and stored it in the fridge. In the morning they would take the meal out of the fridge, put it in the oven, and go to church. When they returned from church, the food was nice and warm and ready to eat. So they never cooked on Saturday. They didn’t resume work such as cleaning, homework, cooking, etc. until Sunday.
That’s what Paul and his friends at Troas were doing here, when they gathered together to “break bread.” Likely the women had just prepared the loaves, since it was now Sunday and they had resumed their normal work such as baking. (They wouldn’t have done this on the previous day, which was Saturday, the Sabbath.) Then they took the bread off the coals and served it. And let me tell you, freshly baked bread is TO DIE FOR! (Lol, that was dramatic. But really.) My mom bakes her own bread, and it’s THE BEST when it’s just coming out of the oven. What better way to send a loved one on their way than with a hot, lovingly prepared meal? This would have been a comfort to Paul, to participate in enjoyable fellowship and food before he had to continue his journey. It was rare that he got joyful breaks like this.
It’s also important to note that Paul avoided traveling on Saturday. Rather, he waited until after the Sabbath to hold his farewell service and begin making preparations to leave. (It’s reasonable to assume he and his companions would have been packing their things on Sunday, getting ready for their departure on Monday.) This is important to Adventists because it shows that Paul kept the Sabbath holy.
Now for the next verse!
On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.– 1 Corinthians 16:2
This verse seems to indicate that Paul was teaching the Corinthians to take offering during their Sunday worship services. This sounds very similar to what is done in Christian churches today (passing the offering plates during the service). My church does this as well – we always took offering during our Saturday services (back before the pandemic, of course). So why isn’t Paul saying, “Take collection on Saturday, when you hold your service”?
First, it’s important to note that back in Paul’s day, Christians were hesitant to deal with money on the Sabbath. Some Christians still prefer not to give offering on the Sabbath or on Lord’s Day. They prefer to deliver their donations to the church office on a different day, or pay it on a different day through a digital app.
It is very likely that Paul told the Corinthians to take collection on Sunday so handling money on Saturday would be avoided.
Second, Paul always taught his churches to be very generous and to give to others instead of keeping the majority of their earnings for themselves. He would have wanted everyone to donate money on the first day of the week, before they had to buy food to fill their families’ tables that week. If the church members waited until the end of the week to donate money, they would have been considerably less generous. They would have bought things for themselves before donating money to the impoverished in Jerusalem. So the money they would have set aside at the end of the week would have been much less. They would have forgotten about the poor during the week, and focused only on buying whatever they needed for themselves. They would have spent the majority of their earnings on themselves.
Paul was trying to teach them to give to others before serving themselves. So he wanted them to donate money to the impoverished before providing for themselves that week. Self does not come first. Generosity and kindness come first.
Paul wanted the generous donations to be collected before he came. He didn’t want to come to Corinth and find everyone scrambling to give whatever money they hadn’t used for themselves. He didn’t want to appear, and everyone be like, “Oh no, Paul’s here, we’d better donate before he finds out we never gave anything!” And they would have had barely anything to give, since they had spent the earnings of all previous weeks on themselves, and they had only one week’s earnings to give. (Probably not even that, since they would have spent the majority of it on themselves.) If that happened, Paul would not have been happy (2 Corinthians 9:1-7).
So that’s what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 16:2.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.– Romans 14:5-6
These couple verses are probably the ones that raise the most questions about Paul’s Sabbathkeeping beliefs. What is he saying here? These verses used to confuse me as well. It seems that Paul is saying it doesn’t matter which day you worship as long as you worship on one. Is he saying there really isn’t a designated day? That Sabbath observance is no longer required, along with Mosaic laws such as animal sacrifice?
Since we’ve looked at the other verses that show Paul kept the Sabbath, these couple verses will be much easier to address.
We know from Paul’s beliefs and teachings that he observed Saturday and led his congregations in Saturday observance. So here, he is not saying Saturday is not the designated day. In fact, he is saying the opposite.
In these verses, Paul teaches us that we are not to give one another grief over disagreements. It makes me sad to think of how many Adventists scorn other Christians simply because they believe differently. And it’s not only disagreements about how we should observe the Sabbath or not observe the Sabbath. It’s also about vegetarian/meat-eater disagreements; jewelry/no jewelry disagreements, etc.
My family eats meat, although many Adventists do not. Sadly, there have been times when my parents were subtly sneered at for eating meat. For more examples, I think jewelry is beautiful. I own a pair of pearl earrings and wear a gold cross necklace daily. I love the look of nail polish. (I’m seriously addicted to watching nail art videos on YouTube, hehe.) However, there are some Adventists who think jewelry should never be worn, and that nail polish is vain and sinful. And they give other Christians grief because they believe differently about those things.
While Adventists believe Paul, and the rest of the Bible, teach that Saturday is the Sabbath, we believe the Sabbath should be a subject of joy and not of judgement. Saturday observance isn’t a subject that should lead to heated arguments, hurtful comments, or anything of the sort. Whether we disagree about playing video games on Sabbath, or about Saturday and Sunday, or anything else, it should never lead to anger and division.
Paul’s point is this: We must be fully convinced that our choices are right, otherwise they are wrong choices (Romans 14:13-23). We must do everything to honor God. We must be fully convinced in our own minds; we must not follow certain beliefs just because others are doing it.
I am an Adventist, observing Saturday because I’m fully convinced in my own mind that it’s right and a way to honor God in all areas of my life. I am not an Adventist because my parents are fully convinced I should be; because I attend a school of Seventh-Day Adventists; or for any reason other than that I myself made the choice to be Adventist.
This applies to Lord’s Day observance as well. My grandfather and I were talking about this the other day. He has many friends who observe Sunday, and I admire many pastors and missionaries who observe Sunday. They keep Sunday the same way we keep Saturday. They are fully convinced that Sunday is the day of observance – not because someone made the choice for them, but because they made the choice for themselves in their own minds. Their passion is to honor God, and they’re doing all they can to do that. So we should not judge each other. If we are convinced we’re honoring God and strive to honor him sincerely in every way, he will take that into account and honor us in turn.
We must be fully convinced.
Same thing for everything else – eating meat or not eating meat; wearing jewelry or not wearing jewelry; applying nail polish or not applying nail polish. Be fully convinced in your own mind, and do everything to honor God. All the acts of a Christian must be faith-filled.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.– Colossians 2:16-17
These verses also raise a lot of confusion when we first look at them. Again, is Paul saying that observance of the Sabbath is no longer required, as with the slaughter of sacrificial animals and other Mosaic law?
When we look at Paul’s teachings and beliefs, we will know that is not what he is saying. Adventists believe that in these verses, Paul is talking about the sin of passing judgment on others and the sinful motives involved in that. He is not saying that the Sabbath should not be observed.
Rather, he is saying it is right to observe the Sabbath in honor of the Lord. It is right to eat and drink in honor of the Lord. It is right to observe certain other events (such as Passover, Pentecost, etc.) in honor of the Lord. However, Christianity is not about observing the Sabbath or eating healthful foods or commemorating Pentecost. It is about Jesus.
God judges, and he sees our hearts. He sees whether we truly love and believe in Jesus and strive to honor him in everything we do, being fully convinced in our own minds that we are acting as he would. Colossians 2:16-17 goes hand-in-hand with Romans 14:5-6. It is saying the same thing. Paul gives the Colossians the same wise counsel as he gave the Romans.
It’s impossible to judge others with a good motive, because it is a sin to judge. So Paul was telling the believers not to let others judge them, telling them they were wrong for doing what they believed to be right, for doing what they did to honor God. He was saying, “Don’t let those with sinful motives judge you for observing the Sabbath, when you do it to honor God. Don’t let those with sinful motives judge you for eating meat and drinking wine. Don’t let those with sinful motives judge you about anything. God judges, and Christianity is about Jesus and Jesus alone.”
You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.– Galatians 4:10-11
Is Paul saying in these verses that it’s a sin to observe days (which would include the Sabbath)?
No. Here Paul warns the Galatians against works over faith. For a bit of backstory, let’s talk about what was going on between Paul and the church of Galatia.
Judaizers arrived in Galatia after Paul’s departure. Judaizers were a group of Christians who insisted that the Gentiles must become Jews in order to be truly saved. The Gentiles in Galatia began listening to this group, who couldn’t be more wrong. Here Paul is saying the same thing he told the churches of Colossae and Rome – that Christianity is not about observing events to earn God’s favor. We cannot earn God’s favor. It is by faith and Jesus’ grace alone that we are saved.
It’s the wrong mindset to observe the Sabbath or any other religious event if you think that is what will get you into heaven. This is what Paul was warning against. He was certainly not saying observance of the Sabbath is a sin, since he himself observed the Sabbath. Besides the verses we’ve already looked at, there are an abundance of other verses in the book of Acts that tell us Paul observed the Sabbath.
We are told multiple times that it was his custom to go into the synagogues for Sabbath services and speak to the people gathered there, and that even the Gentiles invited him to speak to them on the Sabbath. He also went to places of prayer on the Sabbath. (See Acts 13:14, 13:42, 13:44, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4)
Now that we’ve gone through the Adventist viewpoint on these verses, let’s move on to the next point!
4. St. John the Divine describes himself as being “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” when he received the visions recorded in the book of Revelation. This refers to Sunday worship.
First, let’s read the verse:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.– Revelation 1:10
Sunday observers believe that here, St. John the Divine was referring to being in the Spirit on the first day of the week, or Sunday. Adventists do not believe this. Why?
Adventists believe the Bible never gives a holy significance to any day other than Saturday. Saturday is the day God blessed and hallowed from the beginning, the day Jesus honored, and the day Paul and the other apostles honored. So we believe that when St. John the Divine speaks of the “Lord’s day” he is speaking of Saturday, the Sabbath; he is not speaking of Sunday.
As I told you guys in last week’s post, A Trip Into the Supernatural by Roger J. Morneau is the #1 book I recommend if you’d like to learn more about Adventism. In his book, Morneau goes even more in-depth to Adventist views on Saturday, especially in Chapter 11, “The Bible Sabbath.” It’s a great book, very informative if you would enjoy learning more about Adventist views on this subject! Besides that, it’s super exciting and emotional, so I definitely recommend it to all Christians.
Now let’s give a list to summarize the Adventist points! (Final list, I PROMISE! XD)
- God created the world in six days, and on the seventh he rested. So God blessed and hallowed Saturday, making it holy. (Genesis 2:1-3)
- In the Ten Commandments, God commands his people to rest on Saturday and dedicate it to him. No work is to be done on Saturday – everyone must rest as God rested. This is the 4th commandment. (Exodus 20:8-11)
- The prophet Isaiah taught that dedicating Saturday to God will bring us closer to him. (Isaiah 58:13-14)
- Jesus called himself the “Lord of the Sabbath.” He defined the Son of Man as being Lord of the Sabbath, because his designated day was that important to him. (Mark 2:27-28)
- Jesus honored the seventh day in death, by resting in the tomb on Saturday and not rising until Sunday. (Mark 16:1-6)
- The apostles taught the early church to observe Saturday. St. Paul, especially, is our trusted source on this point. He held church services on the seventh day and kept it holy, teaching in his epistles that Saturday is the Sabbath. (1 Corinthians 16:2; Romans 14:5-6; Colossians 2:16-17; Galatians 4:10-1; Acts 13:14, 13:42, 13:44, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4, 20:7; Revelation 1:10)
That’s a wrap for today!
Hope you guys enjoyed this post and liked learning more about Adventist viewpoints! This was a lot of fun for me to write out, as I love religious discussions.
Feel free to share any thoughts in the comments! I would love to hear them. And again, if you have any suggestions for more faith posts I can add to my Seventh-Day Adventist Category, please do give me those suggestions!
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!