Easter weekend and the Sabbath / first day

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The first day of the week – Jesus’ resurrection

(Mat 28:1) 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 sepulcher.

(Mar 16:2) And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.

(Mar 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.

(John 20:1) The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher.
(John 20:11) But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher,
(John 20:12) And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
(John 20:13) And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
(John 20:14) And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
(John 20:15) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
(John 20:16) Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
(John 20:17) Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
(John 20:18) Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
(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.
(John 20:20) And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
(John 20:21) Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
(John 20:22) And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
(John 20:23) Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
(John 20:24) But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
(John 20:25) The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
(John 20:26) And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace, be unto you.
(John 20:27) Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
(John 20:28) And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

(Luk 24:1) Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

(Luk 24:29) But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
(Luk 24:30) And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.


Bob Stanley, in his essay on the Sabbath, summarises some interesting facts.

Biblical references to happenings on Sunday, the first day of the week…

1. Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Sunday, Lk 24:1-12

2. Christ appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and celebrated the Eucharist on Sunday, Lk 24:13

3. Jesus appeared to the disciples behind closed doors, Jn 20:19

4. Jesus appeared to the disciples with Thomas one week later, Jn 20:26 NAB

5. Jesus opened the minds of the Apostles to the Scriptures, Lk 24:45

6. The Apostles received their ‘Great Commission’ to go and teach all nations, Mt 28:1-20.

7. The Apostles were given the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive sins, Jn 20:19-23.

8. Jesus told the Apostles to wait in the city until they were to be clothed with power from on high, Lk 24:49.

9. On the seventh Sunday after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, Acts 2:1-4.

10. Immediately after receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter gave a powerful address on the Gospel resulting in 3000 conversions, Acts 2:41.

11. The Apostles met for the Holy Eucharist on the ‘first’ day, Acts 20:7

12. The Apostles set the ‘first’ day of the week for the Churches to take up the collections, 1Cor 16:1-2.


Some Adventists try to avoid accepting that Jesus appeared on the Sunday of his resurrection, and the Sunday after that. But Luke 24:29 is pretty explicit that this was STILL Sunday. Look at the wording. In my RSV, it says that “it is TOWARD evening and the day is far spent.” This says that the day is NEARLY over, but still the same day … not yet Monday, sunset has not yet passed. This is a desperate attempt to defuse the evidence by destroying ANY Sunday visits by Jesus. But the Bible again proves the Adventist position wrong.

Adventists often argue that if there was to be no more Sabbath observance, it would have to be mentioned by Christ, since it was such a major change. Obviously a weak argument considering the scriptural evidence that does eliminate Sabbath keeping by Christians, evidence they want badly to avoid, but also a weak argument because of the fact that the Bible requires no such explicit mention by Jesus for something to be true.

Go and read the following texts: John 14:25-26, Luke 12:12, and Matt 28:30. Then read Acts 15. Do you come away with the impression that Jesus revealed everything to the Church BEFORE he died? Was the truth about circumcision known to the Apostles BEFORE Jesus died? If so, what nonsense is John 14:25-26 telling is when it says (Jesus’ words) that the Holy Spirit would teach the church? Sure, it says they would remember, but it ALSO says teach, which implies things not yet known. And Acts 15 – is it nonsense that they had to discuss how to manage the Gentile circumcision problem? Surely, if the Adventist claim is anything to go by, there should have been no debate, because they would have known all along? Obviously, the Church was not given the entire revelation in one day. It was given over the lifetime of the Apostles, to whom the Holy Spirit was only given later at Pentecost.

God gives the Sabbath law to Moses in the Old Testament and says that it is a perpetual sign for all generations. God gives the circumcision law to Abraham long before that, and says also that it is a perpetual sign for all generations. Jesus never instructed the Apostles or gave them permission to change or abolish the circumcision law. He never did that for the Sabbath either. By this Adventist’s arguments, the Church and the Apostles in Acts 15 had no right to make the decision they made. Jesus had not instructed it, and circumcision was an eternal sign for all generations to come. But they did it, and we believe they were right to do so. That means that they had just as much right to do exactly the same with the Sabbath, especially considering that the Old Testament is quite clear that the Sabbath was meant as a sign for the Mosaic Covenant, which passed away at the Cross.

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