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IncLud,ing those to the append.ires:

Daniel Augsburger, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Roy Branson, Raymond F

Raoul Dedeen, Walter B. Douglas, Lawrence T. Geraty, Roy Graham,
F. Hasel, RobertJohnston. Sakae Kubo, Hans K. LaRondelle, C. Mervyn
W. G. C. Murdoch, Walter F. Specht, Kenneth A. Strand, Werner Vyhm
Douglas Warerhouse. Kennerh H. Wood.






r t.


Copyright G) 1982 by rhe

Revieu and Herakl Publishing Association
Printed in L.S.A.

Bible texts redited to A.S.v. are fom the American Stand

,oplrght leUl b) lhom\ Nel'on & Sun'.

Bible rexr. credired ro Coodspeed are from SmrLh and C

An Aneican Trawktion. Copyright 1939 by the

Conql?te Bibl:


Scripture quotes credited to N.A.B. are from Z Neu Aneian

ofthe Confraternity ofChristian Doctrine, cop
Scripture quotations marked N.A-S.B. are fro the Neu Ane
B, @ The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971
1S75, and are used by permission.
Bible rxts credited to N.E.B. are from I, Nrr nglr, i.. O T
oftheoxford University Pressand the Svndicsofthe Cambridge Un
1961. 1970. Reprinted by permission.
Texts credited to N.LV. are from The Ho4 Bibb: Neu Intem
Copyright O 1978 by th New York lnternational Bible Soc
permi..ion ot 7,-rndcrvn Bible Publi\her.
Bible texts credited to N J.V. are from the NewJe$'ish Versior.
JeNih Publication Society of America.
Bible texts cedited to R.S.V. are fom the Revised Standard V
Bible, copyrighted 19.16, 1952 O 1971, 1S73.
Bible texts credited to R.V. are from the Revised Version, copy
the Oxford University Press.
Bible texts credired to T.E.V. are from the God N'ar i-Ol
used b,v permissnrn

Copyrighr O American Bible Society 1976; New Tefament:

American Bible Society 1966, 1971, 1976.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Main entry under title:
The Sabbath in Scdprure and history.
Bibliography: p.
tncludes index.
l. Sabbath-Addresses,

essays, lectures. 2. Seventh-day

nal and controvesial wo:ks Addresses, essays lectures.

Albert, 1927- . IL Augsburger. Daniel Andr, 1920BVt2.32
ISBN0-880-0017-1 AACR2




I. Srr


Table of Contents



the Pentreu(h (Gerhard F. Hasel ...
'll fhe Sabbath rn (he
f The Sabbath in Propheti( and Hisorial Lirerarure
of r he Old Tesmenr (Gerha! d F. Hrel and w. C. C.
Murdoch) .-.-........
The sahbath in the Intertestamental Period (Sakae
Kubo) .........
The Rabbinic Sabbath (Robert Johnston)
Chaprer 4.
The sahhath in the New Testament (Walter F.
Chapter 5.






Sunday in the New Testament (Walter F. Specht)








The Rise of Sunday observance in farly Christianity



fhe Sabbarh in Asia rWerner vlhmeister)

(Samuele Bacchiocchi)


Chapter 10.




The Sabbath in ESypr and Ethiopia (Werner Vyhmeisrer)............................................

The Sabbath and Lord's Day During the Middle Ages


.. .......
Sabbarh and Sundar in rhe Refor marion Era ( Kennerh

A. Stand)..................1............. ............. The Sabbath in Puritanism (Walter B Dougla$ ..........

The Sabbath in the New world (Raymond F. Cottrell


Chapter 14. The Sabbath in Modern Jewish Theology (Roy Bran


Chapter 15.
Chaprer 16.

Contemporary Theologies of ihe Sabbath (Hans K

LaRondelle) ..........................
Reflections on a Theology of the Sabbath (Raou

-{ppendix A. The Planetary Week in the Roman West (S. Douglas
Waterhouse) ....................

Fifth Centuries (Kenneth A. Strand)

Esteeming One Day as Better Than Anoth
Roans l4:5,6 (Raoul Dederen) *----**--*

ApFrdix c. On

Appcndix D. The "Sab bath Days" ofcolossian 2:16, l7 (Kenneth


App.ndix E. A Note on Hebrews ,l:4-9 (Roy Graham)

Appndix F. The "Lord 's Da) in the Second Century (Kcnneth





Joseph Bates and Seventh-day Adventist Sabb

TEato"g, (C. Mvyn Maxuell)
The Sabbath on a Round World (Raymond F. Cou
and Lawrence T. Geraty).--...,.-*-------..-----.-


List of Abbreaiations
ANtr-J. B. Pritchard. ed., An.inr Neur Eastem Txts
he Ante Nicene F athers
ann Pseudopieraqha af tlv OA TestatunL

R. H. Charle

AU Ss-Andreus UniuersiE S eminary Stu;es

BDB-r. Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs, Hebreu and Engli:h Lexic

OA Tstament
Kirla|, Biblia hebaic.r
BrIS-BibLia hebruice ru gartnsia
CD-Cairo (Genizah text of the) Damascus (Document)
CHAI-Conci:e Hebreu and Aamaic Leon
CJ---c od.e,: J u.stiniinl^
CSEL -Cotp6 scnqto,ltm ecclrsiastiorum latnatum
C'l -1odx f he odostanui
DAcI-Dictionnaire d'archok{i chrtiene et de liturgie
GCS---4)riehisc he christlicke S c hrifxte ller
H AD-H ebreu Amair Dic tionary
HALAT W. Baum8artner et al., Hebauches urul aranal:hes Lexihon z


lB-l nterprter's


Icc-Intemational Criti.l C onmentat)

IDB-G. Buttrick,

ed., Intrleter\ Di.tionary of the Rible

IDBSup-Supplementary volume to IDB
JBL Jolmat af Bibtiat Litzrature
KB-L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner, i., in Veteris Tesbmenti libro
Lcc-Library of Christian Classics
LCI-I-oeb Classical Library
Wortu (American edition)
-Luther's Birhan (" Book of Light")
MCH-Monu",, nta Gemaniae hl\tonca
C^p-lapitularia regnum Franrum

Ep sel Eqtstole



LL-Lib i de tite

\fT-Masoretic Text


eu Ca.tho


Enq cloqd.ia

\ lc-|i eu I ntemational Comntntary

\P\r-N;z .1 Port-Nicene Fathers



S-PeLi! SIi.a
SBL Ir S.r--Socieay of Biblical

Literature Dissertalion Series

SC-Sourr chretinnes
5D.rAf--Sa-da, A tumtist Bibl C onmnraD
SDABSSL-Saar-d, Adentt Bibl Studnt' Sorce Book!!,.ti Da, Baqtt in Europe and An"rna

TD:T--{,erhard Kittel, ed., Theologeal Dietionary of th. Neu


OU T.traa

TtL{T-Emst Jenni

and Cfaus Westermann, eds., Th.obgitchts Han

zr//i Alt n Testament
Ttl'AT--4. J. Borrerweck and Hehmer Ringgren, eds., Theologisch.s

AlUn Tesbrnt


fr die ahastamnke W;\slrec hat

t hl der dut:c hm

Daniel Augsburger is professor of historical theology at the Se

Adventist Theological Seminary, Berrien Springs, [fichigan. He jo
tculty of Andrews Universiy in 1942 (at that time Emmanuel M
College) and subsequentl) serred as chairman of the Modern L
Department for nineteen ]ears. In 1976 hejoined rhe Seminary fac
having served for a nunber of years as a member of the college
department. In 1950 he earned a Doctor ol Philosophr degree
U niyersit,v of }fichigao in Fench language and literature, and in I 976 t
ofTheolog} degree fn,m the Universty ofStrasbourg, France. For his
d{rclorate he wote a dissertation on John Calvin in relarionship to t
code. He aso serves as secetary for the American Society fbr Re
Resea(h, and for sereral vears has coordinated its spring meedng
Kalamazoo, Michigan.

amuele Bacchiocchi, a professor in the Religion Department of

University since 1974, was the first non-Calholic to obtain a docto
Rome'sPontifrcal Gregorian University in its more-than-four-cenrury h
earned the doctorate at the Gregoriana in 1974, and was awarded two m
his academic achievements there. Born in Rome. Bacchiocchi sndied a
Coltege in [ngland and at Andrews University, lbllowed by fn'e years
for the Severth-day Adventist Church in Ethiopia, u here he ras chairm
rheology deparrmenrof Erhiopian Adventht Collegei he also taughi re
hisror)'in that school. His subsequent doctoral work at the Pontifical
University deah with Sabbath and Sunday in the earl, chrrch, and ele
rhe publi(rion in 1977 ot his t'tun Sabbath to5xdd). He hasdso publs
works in the sanre freld.

Roy Branson is senior research solar at the Kennedy lnstitute

Georgetllrvn Unn'ersity, Washing(on, D.C., $'here he has worked s
Priorto that, fbr six years he sasa prolessor ofCh stian ethics at lhe Se
Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews Universitv. He earned a
Philosophy degree at Harrard Universitv in l968with adissertationon
ofReligious Pluralism and the Ameican Founding Fathers." He is the
sts.nm, "A Quarterly .lournal of the Association of Adventist Forum
author ofnumerous articles in a vide variet! ofjournals, and also ofan
Judaism in the rr1rlopedie ofBio4hirs.ln 1976 he coedited, with Robe
Ett! a d Halth Polio (Batlenger Press).

Publishing Assoction. washington, D.C., from 1970 to 1976. Prior to

had ben an asociate book editor and associate ediror ot rhe ReL)ie1L1and
generalchurch paper for the Seventh-da/ Adventist Church. He served e
iears as a Bible teache in China and at Pacific Union College, Angwin, Ca
iIe has done special eseach in Biblical studies, and rvas wardd the D
Di\ini$ degee bt Andrews University in 1972. He is author of B,)^ond T
and Ruon and Faith. as well as numerousjournal articles; he was.ilso a con
fo Th S.r.nth-dq Ad entt Bible Comnentary-

R.uI Dedere, professor of thologv and chairman ol the T

Dpamen( of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, serv
pasror and educator for seventeen years in Belgium and France prior to
rhe Sminan faculty in 1964. His service in France included chairmanshi
Theologl Department of the French Adventist Seminary in Collonge
Sal\ e near Geneva, Switzerland. ln 1963 he completed a doctoral progra
L nirersitv of Geneva. Dr. Dederen is active as a witer and is an interna
recognr/ed le.rurer on e, umenical 5tudie'. Hc is al.o n stirre e
.rf"Jt^. a rell-known magau rne t r clrrgr.

If,atter B. Dougta, from Grenada ir the West Indies, is a professo

Church History and World Mission departmenls of the Seventh-da) A Seminary; he joined the Seminary faculty in 1969. His
srudies were completed in I972 at McMaster Universit,v in Hamilton, Onta
centered on seventeenth century Puriranism. The research fo his dis
in\ohed a new approach to the interpretation olthe historyofthe English
from 1660 onward. Prior tojoining the Seminary faculty, Dr. Douglas w
in chuch rvok fbr the Seventh day Adventist denomination in rhe We
and in Canada.

I-awrenc T. cera.y is professol of archeology and historv ofantiquitv

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and is also the curato
Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum at Andrews University. Hejo
Seminar\ faculty in 1966i in addition to teaching in the Od Te
Department. he has led seveal of the university\ archeological exped
Heshbon, Jordan. Geraty earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree at
Uni\ersrrr rn 1972, sLh c,,ntenrrrion rn Sro-Pale.rrnian ar,herrlug)
receiled numerous honors, aNards, grants, and fellowships from univ
acheological organizations, and government ollices. and is in \ride dem
le,rurer in rhe eld ol Bibli,dl dr(heolog\

Roy E. craham, provost of Andeus Univesity, Berrien Springs, M

since March, 1979, is also a professor in the Theology Departmen
Seventh'day Adventist Theological Seminary, uhose faculty hejoined
His earlier sevice includes pastoral work and educational superintende
rhe Serenth'day Adventist Chur.h in Great Britain, as $ell as the presid
theSouth England ConferenceofSe!enth-day Adventists, with of6cesin
(near London). From 1971 to 1976 he was the president of Newbold C


earned atthe University of Birmingham, En8land, in 1978, his disserrati

" l-he Role and Influence ofEllen C. Whire in the Sevenrh-day Adventist
With Particular Reference to Ecumenisrn and Race Relations."

Gehd F. Hasel, from Germany, is dean of rhe Sevenrh-day A

lheol,,grcal Semrnarr nd prole*or ot Old Te\rnrenr nd Brbli(al
Prior tojoining the Seminary faculty in 1967, he had served as a pasr
England and as a teacher in the religion department ol Sourhem M
College. Collegedale. Tennessee. His Ph.D. degree Nas earned in
Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Tennessee. He is author of n
scholarly alticles and books, including the popt]ar OI Testument Theo
Iss es in the Cunent Debat (1972, 1975). His doctoral dissertation
publnhed by th Andrews University Press under the title The Rem
Hstory and Theolog of the Rcmnant l.lea Frorn C*si:j to Isaiah.

Robert M. Johnston is a professor in the Theology Deparrme

Sevenrh-dav Advenrist Theological Seminary, ihose fculty hejoined in

earned the Ph.D. degree from the Hartford Seminary Foundation


dissertation beingentitled "Parabolic Interpretations Arribured to Tann

is a specialirt in ancientJudaism andearl- Christianity. Prior to his appoin
the Seminary fcuhy, Dr. Johnston served as a missionary in the Fa
tlelve !eas. He was chairman of the theology deprtment of Korea
Colleg in Seoul. Korea, and acring .lean o{ rhl Crdure S.hool of R
Philippine Union College in Manila. the I'hilippines.

Sakae Kubo is president ol Newbold College in Bracknell, Berkshire,

taking up service there in 1980, afier havirlg been the dean of the
theolo$ at $alla Ialla College, College Place, $ashington, during
previous years. Earh in his caee. Kubo spent a number of years in
servi.e in Hawaii and Californi. From 1955 to 1978 he was conne
Andews Universit'r, Berrien Springs, Michigan. in its Religion Departm
in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary as a professor in
Testament Department and as Seminary libraian. His doctorare &as e
the Univesity of Chicago in 1964. He is autho of numerous articles an
his Reaier's Greek-Eng;h L*ieon of th Neu Teslnrr is a widely used r
tool, and he coauthored with Walter F. Specht the popular and widely a
So ManJ Vetsio1s? (1975).

Hans K. LaRordelle is a professor in the Theology Departme

Se!enth-da) Adventist Theological Seminary, uhose fculty hejoined in

had earlie been engaged in ministerial service for the Seventh-day
Church in the Netherlands, his homeland, for sorne fourteen years. H
the Docror ot Theology degree ir systematic theology at the Free Univ
Amsrerdam in 1971, and his disserrarion ot\ Perfdion an Pefecrionisn
published by the Andrews Univesity Press. His recentCirl Ou,S,a
L.a moe popular book on the same general topic. Currently he is actively
l. nting in the freld of eschatology.



Church Hisror! Deparrment of l he Selenth-daY Adrentist Thological

rshose fault\ hejoined in 1968. His doctorate Nas earned at the Un
Chicago in 1966, his dissertation being entiiled 'Chrysostom\ Hoile
the.leirs: An English Translation With lntroduclion and Notes. ' Prhr
the Seminar\ facultv, Dr. IttaxNell serred as a paslor and t hen as a religi

and as depanmenial chairman at Union (lollege, Lincoln. .\-ebraak

irrirren numerous articles and 6ve books, nrchrding a Selenth-day
histon rextbook, I1 1l to th W orkl ll91 6) - Ptesen tlv he is writin g con
on the Bible books ol Daniel and Rerelation.

W. c. C. Murdoch is dean emerirusofthe Serenth-daY A(ltentist l-

Sen'inr). and h\ 'er\cd in 'arious trlrrcri,'n.rl ,or". in,lrrdrng rhe

of Newbold Collese in Englnd and rhe presidencv of Atondale
Ausralia. He has also serred as a theolog! profssor at the Serninan
Doing graduate srudy in both the tj.S.-{. and Creat Britain. he earned
degree in l94tj from rhe Uni\ersirt ol BitnrinBham Englnd. hr. (

beingenrirlet 'lerIullianirsM,,nranr\r." IheltfeddUIon,,tller Arr

educarional asard in the Seventh-dat Adtentis( Church, \(as presen
If u rdoch in I 972 for his contribu(ion to he ed ucation of the Ad\ en t i

Walter F, Specht is de:m emerilus of the Sch(x)l o{ Theolog! ar lUniversity. H earlier service included pastoral $ork fi)r the S
Adventist Church in Ifontana, Oregon, and OUahoma. He also ttas c
the religion departmenr at La Sierra College in Rirerside. Calit
number ofyears, followecl by chairmanshipofthe New Terment Dep
the Seventh-day AdveDtist Theological Seminry fion) 1966 )
do.torate was earned al the Unilersitv of Chicago in 1955 in the 6
Testament and early Christian literature; his r^ritings include conr
Th. Stue h dq Adtmt;\t Bibl ConwntaD and coauthorship with Sala
rhe widely acclaimed


MM) Vertn? llS7i).

Nenneth A. Strand is a professor in the Chur(h Hisort and .\.'er(

deparrmenrs ol rhe Serenth.dx\' A.l\enri\r 'l heologirnl Semillr\
Unirersir). Re(eirrng hr" el) e.hrirti,,n in hi\ hollre Srdre ol \\.hir
wth a number of years of ministerial servicc in the )fichigan Con
Seventh-day Adrertists. hjoined the Iaculty ol the Semi)nr! in 1959
editor of thc scholarll iournal Arrlr 5 ,i,,rxh S,,n .rirr. H
was complered at the Llnivrsiv of Ifichigan in 1958. He is author o
r)me t!entv-live books in the 6elds ot Biblical studies and church his
ds aurhor ol nrmerou\ dflrcle\ rn \ h,,larl) jorrrnt'ls rnd reliiou' peri,,
ol his publicarions are slandard refrence (orks on earlr (;erman Bib
has written sereral books and articles treating the (erv Testaine

Wernr K. Vyhmeister is a prolessor in the Department ol Wo'.l<

the Selenth-da)'Ad\enrist Theok,gical Seminarr'. Born n Chile. he r
early education in his honteland, afier rvhich he did graduate strdv in

t-nnersiry otChile in Sanriqo in I968, hirhadisserrarion rreuns ch

relrionships in Eli/abe(hn Englnd. Prior ro ioinins rhe Seminry
19i5. Dr. Vvhmei.tcr had served ar academi vi,e-pre.idenr for Chit
Chillan. Chile, and subsequenrl as cademi vite-presrdenr tor R
College in Argentrna. He also raughr churt h hisror y and Biblical rrudie
S. Douglas Waterhouse is a professor

in the Religion Departmenr ar

1963. Alrer .pendrng hh earl
Hawariand dorngrollege rtudy in Calilornia. he did graduare sor k r
University, the University ofChicago, and the Universiry ofMichigan. H
of Philo"r-rphv degree was earned at rhe Universiry ol MiLhigan rn

t nnersnr. haringjoined irr l(uh) in

eniided Srria in rhe Amarna Age: A Borderland

Confticting Empires." He has also done extensive research into ihe
backgrounds for Bible symbolism, especially symbols in the apocalyptic
Daniel and Revelation.
disserration being


H. Wood is editor of

Adlientlst Reuiew, general orga

Seventh-day Adventisr Church. Hejoined the sraff of that paper as n

editor in 1955, when ir was known as the Ruir, nd ,, and became
1966. Prior to ihar, he served as a pastor, evangelist, and church dep
leader for seventeen rers. In I 979 he s a' ah rded r he Do( ror oi Lerr

br Andrews Unrverritr. In addirion ro innumerablejournal arri,les. he

ol .Vcdiunan: lor Modrns nd Rplh on! Rhgon. nd , oaurhor rl irh Nl iri
of His Inil: Were F.D.N. He is also chaiman of the board of rhe Ellen



'l\ ,f

ANY yers hre elapsed since publicatron otrhe monumenral tourrh e

LYLof I li:ro,1 ol rhe Sabbath and Fn Do) oJ th. wrt bI J. N. Andress and
Conradi (published in l9t2 by the Review and Herald Publishing Associ
This important i^ ork has long been out of print, and used copies appear fo
only rarely.

A need has been flt, theretbre, rc produce a nw book d

comprehensirely $ ith the tllomaindaysot Christian worship.This need ha
augmented b) the fact that since l9l2 a consideable amount of new inform
has come to light and deserves attention.
The present work differs from lhai of Andrews and Conradi in at lea
significant rcspects. first. it represents a community effort of nearly
spetialists.eachdealingwirhalimrredportrr.rnol rh( roralsubiect. fhis tact
< rrres obrious impln aiions wuh regard ro rhe aurhorirarireness and reliab
this new oubliction.
Secoid. the presenr book rreats cenarn imponanr areas not dealt w
colered only very cursorily, q Andrewsand Conradi. Forinstance, in the p
volume an entire chapter (chapter 4) is devoted t() the kind ofJewish S
observance that was con temporary with the rise of the Christian ch urch, and
chapters (chapters l4-16) present theological perspectives. In addition, v
appindixes bth broaden nd deepen the roverage, as does l5o (he, on5id
amounr of newlv rese:rrched dat rrered hirhin number ot (he .hapre
In a very l sense this publication is a pioneer work, for the audor
endeavored to probe the frontiers of kno(ledge. As is inevitably the case
unexplored trriories re entered. the uncharled terrin leares some S
knowledge. These harr to be lled in by lhe hisrorin with as plau
rer onsrrur rron as rhe dar willalow. lt rr in su(h instanres r haljg,lrt ditferen
opinion may ar timesappear. but su< h ditferenr es are no centralor(rucia
siqnr6canre ot the broad picture that h presented.
It should be further noted that a multia.thored work ofthis nature ine
results in some duplication or overlap ofmaterial. The editor and publisher
endeavored ro minimie su.h dupli( ation, inserring cross-referen(es ar apP
te pla(es in the rext where duplicared material has been essenril
particular author's line of argument,


has ben retained, albit ar tim

subsrantiallv reduced form.

It may'appear to the reader that this lolume is exceptionally largead mi[edly ir is! Neverrheless. the weahh of material on the subject is even g
and the authors have been constricted by the page limirations given


Nelertheless, their effort has been to touch ll essential points. Also

wrirten in such a i\a)'as to secure a balance bet$een breadth an
co\,erage. For rhe reader who i. inte,ested in lurther intormation.
exrensrie n,rer at theend ote( h ( hdprer pro!'de rel'erence to a sehh

For Lonlenience. the nrain rex hs been dnded Into rhree s

Inrrudutrion, page l7r Aho torrhegeneral reade sh,,mr norbelx
some o[rhe re(hni(al lerms. a glorsarl is in,ludttt in the appeni]ix
I wish toexpress my deepappreciation to each ol theauthorsand
others who, as readers, participants in the production Process, or ir
have had a vital pa in making this volume Possible.
Among rhese man) othe's. leleral deser\ rper ial menrion
and insoirarn,n for this muhiurhoed voume rdme lron Rtmond
when h ws book ediror ot the Review and Herald Publnhing A\
launched the project and saw it through its initial stages. ,{lthough

rerired long betore ihe project scomplerion, he has in his retirement c

contributeio i by helpful counsel and by preparing, on short notice
chapters and one of rhe appendixes.
The long and tedious pro( ess ol verihLd'ion hs been in the < apa
Shirley Welch, who has lso given assisrance in \rious orher a\P
editorial process. Miss welch is responsible, too, for simplifling the
sourcecitation and for the listofabbreviations that aPpears at the begi

The helpful glossary has been provided by my scretary,Jeanne

gavetheenriie manuscrpt a critical readiDg and especiallv check
for cioss-referencing. tn addition, Mrs.Jarnes has spent manv hours
retyping manurript copy.
Last, but not least, mention must be made of Raymond H. W
succeeded Dr. Cottrell as book editor of the Review and Her
enthusiastically taken on the responsibility of this project and s
generously wirh his rime and experise. lndeed. drtin8 rhe ps s
Woolsey has given his capable. cdrel1, and (onstant arrention lo a m
details, both great and small, necessary to the satisfactory comple
volume, and his continuous helpfulness and encouragement to t
editor and auihors are most deeply appreciated.
Toall the foregoingand toallotherswho have in any way had pa
this volume possble, I express herewith my deep gratitude and tha




I \

WLEKLYdy lor special uorshipser\i(es ha\ been asisnih(an( oar

Hebrew-Chrirrian religiou5 rradirion sinre anriquity."tn OId 'fes
iimes this day, designared as the "Sabbath,,,was the sevnt dav of the wee
r lled Sat urdar. Ir was a dv ot r esr lrom nor malsecutar pursuir's da) tor
arrenrron mor e ex.tusrve\ to sprrrrut , on, er ns, inr ludine arrendance in re
ssembly. lr aso serred as a memoriat otCrea(ion, . ir .dmmemorated Co
on rhe seventh day of Creation week (Gen.2:t-3).
In earlie\r Chr,sunir) a \imilar Sabbarh drurude ss in eridenre,
Chrisrin., roo. obqer ved I his rerenrh-day Sabbl h 5 d memor iat ,,i Crear
one Chr,5uan \ourre ol lhe fouflh renrur\ r.o. ha. pur , -Oh tord Alm
Thou h.r (reared r he o ld by Chriv, nd hay appoiircd rhe Sbbarh rn m
thereoL beLau.e on rhr da) Thou harr made ui rer trm our $.ort!.
meditarion upon Thy laws."'
It has been apdy stated by some modern researches,J. N. Andrews an
Conrd. rhar had rhis weellr dar ofrerr nd or.hip bee; tirhluh ob\e
all human b(ing.- as God ordrned ir. rhere ner er riould hare been, rhere
, ould hr\ c been an aej'r. anlnr,dcl. n Jtsnu.ri!- or n ,d!L,cr in , he rv
Hr.rori(il re(ords re\eal
durinq rhe earlt Chri\.in fenruri. a
dav. Sunda\. r he hrsr dd) ol rhe
week. aso ( ame ro har ( impoflanre in Ch
sorship. lr was looked upun s a memuridl ol Chrisr s
hrs' ir 11 a(ronsidered b! Chr l5'ian\ as ho, Ldav rvirh a joous
memoriat s
this newChristian Sunday evenrually rookon the aspecr;iresr, similar ro r
accorded the seventh-day Sabbath. Alrhough souices from rhe fifrh Ch
century reveal that there were at rhar rime special religious services o
Sarurdar and Sunda). rhe new Sabbarh rvpe oi empha5r;on Sundy hn
ro Sunday: sub\titLrion Ior Sturda! qu e widel\ rhroushour Euroo
\ubsriruriun ws mainlr a developmenr of rhe \ixrh ,enrurv and onwa
Erhiopia. inreresringly enuush, borh Sarurdar and Srndar were ob\er

With the Protestam Reformarion of rhe sixreenrh cenrury rhere a

Europe a diversity of views roward rhis Sunday Sabbarh. The more prom
Reformers desabbarized" Sunday and even concluded that any day of th
would be sarisfr ror) for worship serr rces. Neter r hetess, rher reiained Sun
surh ,eligious servi( e5 on purelf prar rrr alground( a5beingrhed) rradlio
and commonlv ohs.n e.l
However, rerrain of rhe earll Conrinenlal Retormers. dnd esDeci
English Puriranr in the sevenreenL cenrury. , erntorL ed rhe, oncept f a S

"Sabbarh." In addition, e was increased observance ofthe Saturda

borh on the continent ot Europ and in England. And at the presenr
hideh throughour rhe $orld-thereare,of (ourse, vaninS r)pes of Su
ing, as $ell as a sigicant number of observere of the Sarurda) Sab
The a.count of rhe historical developments, from the earliest Biblic

to the present day, is given in fair detail in the present volume. Al

chaprers are devoted to current theological perspcriles on the Sa

For convenience, the main txt is divided into three parts: Part I
and Sunday in the Biblical Period"; Part ll, "Sabbath and Sunday in
Church History"; and Part lll, "Sabbath Theolo8l." ln a sense, eac
mejorunit in itself, ough the sequence ofchapres has been arran8ed
volume can wi pro6t b read from beginninS to end. (Further infor
the purpose, scope, and contents of ihis publi.arion is gisen in the P
It should b mentioned ihar alihough rhis volume is one that dea
dayofworship mainly from rheChrisrian perspectile and in Chrisrian h
chapiers have been devoted toJewish Sabbath attitudes: chapter 4, w
Jewish Sabbarh oliservance at the time of the rise of the Christian ch
chapter 14, which gives theological perspectives of major present-d
authorities. With regard to the latter, it should b noted rhar some of th
authorities,especially AbrahamJoshua Heschel, have influenced consid
thinking of various Christian writers who treat the theologr of the S
I. is hoped thatthis publication wil srve notonlas a general refe
but also as a source of pleasurable and informative reading for a
concerned with lhe vital topic of the i{eekly Christian da,r' ot $orship

Kenneth A
7 36


7 4?,1!

f:N Andr.BrndL R.(.on,d,,Hrtoqott\t\obbathanl|^tD\o/rr,wz 4.d



Sabbath and Sunday

in the Biblbal perind




Tbe Sabbatb

in tbe Pentateuc


and height ot ideas

l\TO other par r ot rhe Bible has rhe breadrh. depth.
I\ and motits per taining ro rhe Sabbrh as does (he Penrateuch. lI em

maior source tor nformarion on rhe origin, insri(u(ron. purpose. and me

the sevenrh-day Sabbarh. The Sabbarh is srounded in Creaion and lin
redemption. lt is an agent of rest from work and confronts man's relig
social relationship. It is a perpetual signand everlasting covenant. I t relat
meaning oftime. lts nature is univesal and it serves all mankind. It is co
with worship as well as withjoy and satisfaction. The themes ofCreation,
redemption, and sanctification are inseparably Iinked together, and
Sabbath's covenani aspect they reach into the eschatological future.
lr will be the purpose of this chapter first to survey e quest for
origins and then ro investigate theels!qqlabbalh and the Sabbath befo
atSinai. andafterSinai. Finally, the topics ofthe Sabba as sign andcove
conclude this study of the Sabbath in the Pentateuch.

The Que3t for Sabbth OriSins

A century ago (he quesr tor rhe origin ol rhe Sabbrhr !i\ srimulare
disroverl of alleged Babllonian parallels nd berame parr ol rhe Bib
controversy.' Sinc 1883 there have been many attempts to find the oriS
Sabbath ouiside of Israel.r
I he oldesr srrologi(l hyporhe.i. rhar he Sabbarh oriS
Babylon in ronne( rion sllh asrrologi.l obser!ations. Some Bab]lonian
gies revealed regularly recurring evil (taboo) da$ (irmq lmnfiti) r
ssociatedwith lunarphasesand fell on days 7, 14. 19,21, and 28 of the m
was hyporhesized rhar rhe Sabbarh derived Irom rhese vil da)s.r Orher
Iollowing Babylonian re{rs rha idenrify the Akkdian term ilprt,
monthly full moon day, suggested that the Sabbath was originally a mo
moon day. On\ at a later period did ir develop into a ueekly dt ol res
hyporheses are beset wi(h 5uch gra\e difh( uhie. that manv hr-rlar s have


Another astrological hypothesis claims that the Sabbath is of Keni


and Boverned by the planet Saturn and rherefore unsuited for w

Israelites are sard to have adopted the Sabbarh from Kenite smiths ar
Moses. The evidence for a Kenite Saturn day is too slende to recom
hypothesis.' "The theory of Kenite origin is merely an attempt to e
unknown by means of another."'
An agricultural hypothesis for theorigin ofthe Sabbath was develo

basis ofe n?r.ifiim unir in Babylon, i.e., a supposed fifty-day period

sven weeks plus one day from which a pentecontad calendar was reco

But thee is no generally accepted evidence fo a supposed ea

pentecontad calendar, and there is not even any clear evidence in sup

position that was a fifty-day period."

The most prominent of the hypotheses holds that t
originared through n adapration ol marler dys. wh h rei urred at

market-daycycles existed in lsraeloramongits ancient Near Eastern n

alsocurious that in the later societies where such market-day cycles

there is na evidence for a recurring seven-day cycle of market days.
Some rccent studies have attempted to explain ihe origin ofthe
connection with the number seven in Mesopotamia and/or Ugaritic tex
is, however, no evidence that rhe periodic sequence ofseven years or
leads to the origin of the recurring week and/or Sabbath.'. There is
indication that thee is a link between a seven structure and the Biblica
The quest for the origin ol the Sabbth that began about a centu
been unsuccesstul. No single hypothesis or attempted (ombination oIh
has succeeded in providing a conclusive solution to thequest ofSabbat
It may be concluded that from the poinr ofview of religiohistorical in
the Sabbath is unique to Biblical religion.

Recent reseach eveals a twofold shift. A number of scholars h

their at.ention io the Biblical texts for e origin and developm
Sabbath,'' and many others have turned to look fot the theological, s
and anihropological signicance of the Sabbath and its relevance f
man.r,lt will be our attempt to investigate the pentateuchal passagess
their own witness to the origin, meaning, and relevance of the Sabb

Sabbth nd cration

The Creaiion Sabbath appears in Genesis 2:1-3. Exodus 20:8-l l, a

3l:12-17.?rThese texts provide the basic Biblical motivation for ob
S66at an poinr ro rh; Bibli(al \iew ol (he ori8in ot rhe Sabbath.
31:12-17. the command to observe the Sabbath frnds its ultimate re
statment "for in six days the LoRD made heaven and earth, but on
day he rested, and was efreshed" (verse 17b).* ln Exodus 2
commandmenito refrain from workon the sevenrh-day Sabbath is also
by an explicit refeence to Creation and the divine example: "For in
LoRD made the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
on the seventh day;therefore theLonoblessed rhe sabbath day and m
(verse ll). These texts point to the origin of the Sabbath at Creario


AII Bibl. quotio! in


ct aptr

2r. tanrla.ios by h. auth.r, unlc$ othcrsire indicte


CreatioSabbathandcnesis2:l-3. 4enesis2:l-3 formstheconcl

rhe Biblical Creation account. These verses are not an "etiological myth

carefully structured literary unit." Verse I af6rms what was frnishe

heavensand theearth" (cf. Gen. l: l;2:4;Ex.20rl1;31:17)." i.e., the totalit
world in its bipartite division, together with 'all the host of them," nam
fullness ofthe hostofcreatures contained in the bipartite world.':6 Yerse 2

tqsqllhlqqgh lhe comm-o-! velb "frnislredG/).'r God had finished "h

which he had done" on "the seventh day."a The expression "the seven
appears two more times in this unit (veres 2b and 3a), so that four id
associated with'the seventh day": (1) God "had ilnished" His creativework
day; (2)God "rested" Iiom all His creative work on thatday: (3) Cod "bless
dayi and (4) God "made ir holy."
Creation Sabba and Weekly Sabbath. The unique threelbld emph
rhe seventh day with its four diflerent aspects at the conclusion of rhe
crearion story indicates atjust as !na! is the crown elCleation ro tlre
dr. rhe Sabbth.r rs th( 6nl qoal ot erelisn." ll rhir i., t
Crearion Sabbath is not merely direcred toward Cration and Creator,''
equally signrh(anr aspe(rs lor rhe turure ol man, his l;le nd horship
rrjofold purpore ior lhe prsr nd rhe lurur( mke\ rhe Crerron Sab
archetype of the weekly Sabbath. G. H. waterman provides the fo
summary: "It seems clear. therefore, that the divine origin and institutio
sabbath took place at the beginning ofhuman history. At that tirne God
prorided a divine example for keeping the seventh day as a dy of rest,
blessed and ser apart the seventh day for the use and benefit of man."!
whatdoes it mean that God "had finished" His creation on the Sabba
exact idea ofthe Hebrew verb (l) is difficult to ascertain. Basically tl m
srop, come to an end."" The Piel form as used in Genesis 2:2 means

'd(lared nished' nor ne(essarily brouShr ro a r8tritvinS tlose

lIlrlqes rhe po"ilyjdea ol n a(hievement ol a derired Soal The
criaring is iomplered nd rhus ni'hed: un Lhe 5etenh d! God had
,omleled and wa. fini\hed with Hir (rearive qork.' God looked batk
,omilered.rearion rnd hnthed sulk wirh i.!. pleasure and \arisl(r
pronoun.edir"rerl good r, hap. l:31, hereIhepdrrern tot Hi
.t. He t rered the sorld in \ix dals. so rhar It $as , ompleted and 6ni'hed

so man is to a.complish his workand purpose in thiscreation

da)s ol rhe seek nd is ro lollos his Crearor' example o
rhe rix
rhe sevenrh d). rhe Sabbrh. lollowing rhe pdtLern ol rhe Lrearor, he
look bark upon his hnrshed work wirhjoy. plea.ure. and satisfaetion. In
nor exploitation, over creation (chap. l:28).
Cration Sabb.h and Sabbath ResL The idea that God "rested
lelenth day appears inGenesis 2r2,3, Exodus 31:17, and Exodu 20:11. Th
text uses the Hebrew verb rrlr, '\o rest, take a rest,"re while the former p
stop vork), rest."" The rela
employ tlE;e;Fit l@
betweenihes tims has been frequently discussed,lLbut one should be

selenth day,

lesr one presses the diffeences so much thatone denies any relationship



day" (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:10), "bless" (Gen. 2:3; Ex. 20: I I), "make holy"
Ex.20: I l;cf. Ex.31:l4), "make" (Gen. 2:2,3; Ex. 20:9, 10; 31:14. l5r cf

Deut.5:13, l4), and "worl" (Gen.2:2-4; Ex.20:9, loi 3l:14, 15) con
lexts mosr rlose\. Cenesis 2:2.3 is lled irh language rhr b
pntateurhal Sbbarh rexls.r'5<> lha( ir has been r oncluded rhir rhe seve
ihe Creation Sabbarh is "at the same time instirured as man's dav of re
fa(l lha( (he noun Sabbarh is nor pre.enr in Genesis 2:l-3 andrhar
t ommandmenr ro keep rhe Sabbarh h pror ided may nd ir. reason in
purposes ofGenesis 2:l-3, namely ro presenr the divine Exemplar whos
man is to follow (ci Ex.20:11; 31:17).
The qu$tion ofthe oigin ofthe verb iar, "io cease (rvoking), st

rest," and the noun Jdr, "Sabbath," is widely debated.l! k has been
that these words derived from the Arabic rat, "to cur off, inrerrupr;
theArabicroor ir, logrow. in(rease, be srear," or rhe Akladran rr
exact meaning of whih is irsell dispured.'" or the lvord i4 seve
Akkadian.0 These attemprs proved truitless and remain unconrintin

p h ilologira I .onsid er a(ions of, ompar dri\ e Se

lack the support of the usage of forms of the Hebrew roor Jf in
At the present there is no eviden( e lor rhe roor (r ourside of Heb
for Punir.\'1he verb rt. "ro cease rworkingr, srop rwork). re*. and
l "Sabbath," seem to share a common Hebrew roor. Some scholars
noun from the verb,"rwhile others derive the verb from rhe Th
olrhe noun ro (he !erb nd vi.e vers is nor \ellled. Neve hele$. is lin
possible that both wods derive from a common roor.r, On the bas
Testamentcontexts it may be suggested rhar rhe verb ll and rhe noun
related to each othe from rhe beginning (Ex. 16:29,30).!
The ideaofthe verbldr, "to cease (working), srop (work), resr," as
Cod when He had finished His crearion (Gen. 2:3r ct. Ex. 3 t: l7; exp
norion lha( He ceased from Hs (rea(ive crivitv and Lhu. resred This
and resting on r he parr otCod can hard\ be explined s an eriolog)." o
retrement roiorill, lrom hea!.t activity. a\ is rhe case in pagan m olo
as some(hing rhar is related (o man. Cretion rale. place wih referen, e
which belongs the dualityofdaysofworkand day ofrest. The larrer is the
dv. the Sabbarh. Codi cessarion from work. His resring, on (he seve
nor necessik(ed because He Sreh trred or weary ((t. ls. 40:28) bul be(
function as Exemplar for man. Man is the "image of cod" (cen. t:26raugt byhisl,lodel's example how ro function inihe usageofthe sequen
(cf. Ex. 31:17; 16:23-26; 20:8-11).
The Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20 also affrrms codt .,re
seventh day, butchoosesthe Hebrew n (verse 1l;cf. Deur.5: l4), whi
31: l7 and Genesis 2:3 employ rhe verb lr. ln rhe Sabbath texrs rhe He
n mean\ "ru rest. take a rest ''3 and. along sirh the rhuughl rhat
refreshed (,?p.r - in Exodus 3l:17, s Darr ot rhe Sabbr vocab
expresses Coas mosr inlimare self-idenrlh(arion with man. cod res

rhey are no( suppor ted by


crown of Creation, man, made in His image. The three texts (Gen. 2
20: I l; 3l: l7) dealing with the Creation Sabbath assert that the world is n
being created, because God ests from the work ofCreation on the seven
day of rest as contrasted with the days ofCreation. These texts connect G
with ihe institution ofthe Sabbath. The weeklySabbath has "its legitimati
primal Sabbath (Ursabbat) of creation."e In resting on the Sabba
participares in God's rest, meeting with his Creator.
Cration Sabbath and Sabbath Blessint,-Genesis 2:3 aflirms
Creator "blessed" lrr)6' the seventh dayjust as He had blessed animals
on the day before (Gn. I:22, 28). The blessing of the Sabbath refer
Exodus 20:11 links the Ceation Sabbath with the weekly Sabbath.
whaidoes it mean rhat rhe seventh-day Sabbarh is blessed? when G
subject, "blessing" means generally that "man and things are imbued
power of fruitfulness and prosperity, he gives life, happiness and succ


imbued with a blessing that no other day possesses. IhE_'b1ssu-ESl

dav of rest with a eift that makes it full of powe. This powe. makes
y receives through its b
ul and
man\ lite.e
beneficial and vitalizing power through which hurnan existence is enric
comes to fulllment. As such, the Sabbath is man's source ofunequaled b
the weekly cycle.
Creation Sabbath and Sabbath Holiness.-Cenesis 2:3 also afrms
Creato "hallowed" (R.V., R.S.V.) the seventh day, "made it holy"
N.A.B.), "declared itholy" (NJ.V.), or"sanctifred it" (N.A.S.B.). Borh he
the Sabbath commandment (Ex.20:l I) the Hebrew text uses the verb qi
t9!q!9199!9d{}9!y." " Most basically, the idea is that God made the
day "holy" by putting it into a state ofholiness. Since the more elemental
of the Hebrew idea of"holy" and "holiness" is "separation," 6r the meani
holinessofthe seventh day as affirmed in Genesis 2:3 and Exodus20rl I e
that the seventh-day Sabbath is that very day that God has separated from
ofthe days. The separation ofthe seventh day from the six working days i
the Creator for all mankind. lt should be emphasized that God, not
separated this seventh day. The seventh day is God's day for mankind a
and noi merely His day for Israel.


is bcause

ofGod's separarion ofthe seventh day from the six days

assigning holiness to ittu that the Sabbath is designated a "holy Sabb

I6:23: 3I:14, l5l 35:2; ct lsa. 58: t3). The holiness ofthe Sabbath does
from man's keeping it, but from an act of God.
Man is commanded to keep the Sabbath "holy" (Ex. 20:8; Deut. 5
efraining from work (Ex. 20:10; Deur. 5:14).'o The injunction not to "

(hL, hl1)t' the Sabbath (Ex. 3l:14, t cetera)?'is the counterp

commandment to keep it holy.

The Pentateuch has a number of specific instructions regarding
prohibited on the Sabbath. Exodus 16:23 prohibits baking and cookin
Sabbath, indicatinS rest also from the daily chores of women. Exod
enjoins rhe Sabbath rest also in the seasons ofplowing and harvesting, in

ihaithe Sabbath

is not kepr holy only

during times ofnormal activity. Exo


gathered. These specific prohibitions illustrare the broad aspecrs ofke

Sabbath hol. Yer. priests do nor protane rhe Sabbarh
shewbread in order rLer. 24:8) and bring addirional ,ar ri6tes
In shor(, the Crearor has made rhe sevenrh day hoty by separaring
six workddys and has rhus pro!ded a gtr tor rhe wholi ot minkind-to
The person who keeps rhe se'enth-day Sbbath hoh lotlows rhe E

anheqpal pattern (Gen. 2:3, nd meers wirh Him on rhat day o

acknowledgcs lris God as Crearor. ((eprs His gifl, and has a pan in
The Sabbarh is a sread) reminder ol rhe Crearr, lnd of rhe;risin a
.retion. . . . Every Sdbbath srans anew ro those who srand undei G
dominon rhe treedom ltrom the srruggle tor exisren(el rhar betong
childen; alrhough at frIsr in a limited measure, ir is given with rh
promise of complete fulfrllmenr."


Sabbath and Manna

..The gift of ihe manna is the


for renewing rhe greare

The noun Sabbarh ,jao appears unannoun n ihe gi
6rsr time in txodus l6:25 wirhin rhe nar rdrive otrhe mann mircte.'.
pointed out correcrly rhar rhe Sabbarh appears atready before Israel,s
Mounl Sinai,r i.e., rhe Sabbarh kas kepr bef ore ir was formallv comma

kepr holy in rhe De(aogue.1

. The setting of the appearance of the Sabbarh during Israel's
sojournis the murmuring of rhe whole lsraelire congregaiio; (Ex. t6:
revealed to Moses that bread would rain from heaven; o; each of the firs
a po ion hd ro be gathered in. bur on Ihe sixlh dy ir shall be rwi(e a
they garher daily" (verse 5).
Foltowing this instucrion, "on the sixrh day they garhered rwic
bread" (verse 22-this and rhe following dhcssion' q"uote from rh

Mose5 explained ro rhe people. Thrs is whar (he Lord has (om
Tomorrow is day ol solemn re\r firlnJ. . hotr sabbarh Faa-g
LoRD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and aI rhai

lay bv ro be kepr rill rhe morning lverse 231. On rhe jollownq mo

Sabbarh. Mosessaid, Ear ir rodar, torroday issabbarh fJrltroiir Lo
rou will nor nd ir in rhe field. Six dals you shllqarher ir; bur n rhe se
shi(h is a sabbath Barrl, rhere will be none (verses 25,26).
Some doubters wenr out in disbelief ro gathe rhe manna on th
(!erse 27). I hey found norhing. God rebuledlhem, sayinq ro Moses, .
do \ou refuse ro leep mv, ommandmenrs nd my lwsi tierse 28t. Th
rhe rerelarion rhar rhey hve reteired the Sbbarh trom yhweh rverse
the inunion

follows: Remain

place on rhe sevenrh


) person in his home,

ler no one so

dy (!erse 29br. Ihe narrrite (onrtudes...So"th

re\(ed [.4 on (he sevenrh



(verse 3o].

dida(li( charafler ot (his nrrarrve is ob!ious rhroush

l^ildernessgenerarion was ro learn to resr on rhe sevenrh day (ver s S0; T

raughr ro b( obedienr ro r heir Lor d. ro keep Hrs i ommandrients lnrua
''l,*s'' trlt. Does rhis impll rhar lsraet hd
known.,laus and tomm
even before Sinai? Was rhere a Sabbarh commandmem known before S

nothing is revealed about the origin of such a divine law or instruc

assumed toexist.e It maybeconcluded tharthe Sabbath "is nor introduce
rst time even in the wilderness ofSin, where the manna is found. Here

proclaimed as something which is already in existence. ",

The manna narrative is 6lled with Sabbath terminology and
iheology. tt has already been noted that for the 6rst time the nou
"Sabbath," and lriln, "Sabbath feast ' (Ex. l6:23) appear.," The word "
is qualified by the adjective qdj, "holy" (verse 23). ln verse 26 there i
identication ofthe "sevenrh day'as the Sabbath. All ofthis is part ofthe
teaching." The threc usages of sixth day" (verses 5, 22, 29) and the fo
each of'\venth day" (verses 26, 27, 29, 30) and 'sabbath" (verses 23, 2
reveal an additional aspect of the preoccupation with Sabbath ideolog
The major ideas regarding the Sabbath in Exodus l6 may be summ
follows: L The "sixth day" prepares for the Sabbarh (verses 5, 22,29
double portion of food is collected (verses 5, 22) so that no one needs to
his house on rhe seventh day (verse 29). 2. The Sabbath is the day follo
sixth day. "on the sixth day they gathered twice as much." "'Tomo
sabbath feasr, a holy sabbath to the LoRD " (verses 22,23, R.S.V.).'fhe
day is the Sabbath (verse 26). 3. A divine commandment enjoined the k
the Sabbath (verse 28).4. The Sabbath is 'holy" (verse 23; ct Gen.2
20: I l).5. The Sabbath is a day ol "rest" (verses 23,29,30). Rest means r
from work. ln this instance n means refraining from gathering fo
engaging in the pursun of a livelihood. God had made ample prov
sustenance. The prohibition to stay in one s house on the Sabbath in ve
contextually nothing to do with lunar phases" but h designed lo
i.rilderness generaiion from gathering manna (verses 27-29)- Both a
("holy") and hu man ita rian ("rest )interest come toexpression.6. The Sa

"sabbath feasC' liln)" and not a day of taboo, fasting, and mournin
''festive ring, 'sa dayon which one is not to go hun8ry. lsrael is ro ear, 'fo
asabbath totheLoRD" (verse 25 ). 'fhe Sabbath is God's special day and is
to bring joy, happiness, and satisfaction upon the keeper. 7. The Sa
tesng ground of man s relationship with Gr. Som lsraelits &ent o
throuSh unbeliefor through curiosity'" to collect mana (verses 25-2
connection God's rebuke is heard, "How long do you refuse my comm
and my laws?" (verse 28). A refusal to keep the seventh-day Sabbalh

refusal to obey God's will as expressed in His commandments and

Sabbath has the character ofa test ofobedience and faith.'" God deman
faithful a parricular life style.'
Exodus l6contains key rotions regarding the origirr, purpose, func
meaningofthe Sabbath. It reveals lhat the Sabba instirudon was know
the givingofthe law on Mount Sinaand before its appearance in the wl
Sin, as indicaied by both the incidental matter in uhich it is introduced
I6 and the divine remonstrance of the people's disobdience.
Sbbth and Dealo$e

we now turn to the Sabbath commandment ofthe Decalogue in E

and Deureronomy5. A discussion ofthe Sabbath commandment in the D

itself,* inasmuch as these trends have influenced the debateon rhe inre
and meaning of the Sabbath commandment.
A Survey of Trends.-Recent critical srudies on the Decalogue
dominated by form-critical approaches pioneered for Old Testament
Alt,'' who argued that casuistic law gre$ our of secular justice and ap
from a cultic setting. His views dominated the field for two decades until
supplemented, brcadened, and modified byG. Mendenhall's rhesis iha
similariry be{een the form ofthe Decalogue and Hittite staie trearies.
refined by a flood ofstudies.'r Opposition to rhese alleged parallels conri
strong, with incisive arguments.q The last decade ofcritical study has att
modify the sharp distinciion between apodictic and casuisric law and
that clan wisdom is the source of prohibitive law.,5

A unifying element of form-critical and religiohistorical stud

traditiohistorical claim that the present forrn ofthe Decalogue is rhe pr
longevolutionary development. lrs present shape is rooted in the institu
of Isael. A recent observation by a thoroughgoing form-criric is no
''The danger of being buih on il-founded hlporhericl proje
increased dramatically during the last half-century. As aresult, few pas
sulfered su(h d'vergen( inrerprera(ions as has rhe De alogue. ftGreal
demanded because it is evident that modern Decalogue researh
irreconcilable conclusions. This is true for the Decalogue as a who
Sabbath commandmentin particular.s'[t mustbe admitted that presen
of research are inadequate and that their conclusions do not allow e
degree of certainty.
Some scholars have suggested that an alleged form of th
commandment was originally formulated negatively,s while orher sch
mainrained thar r was posirire.- There is no greemenr regardrng rhe w
rhe hvporhericl lorm. alrhough ir is oiren beieved ro go back ro Mo
along with the remainder ofrhe \o"lled primirive de(logue (Urd
Forexample. H. H. Rowey suggesrs rht rhe originlsabbrh rommand
"Six days shalt thou laborand do all rhy work;bur rhe seventh day is a sa
the Lord thy cod."mr G. Fohrer's proposal i "Remember rhe d
Sabbath."r@ H. Gese argues for "Remember the Sabbath day, ro keep
but K. Rabastbelieves it was negarively formulated: "You shall not do an
the sabbath."re In view of such insurmounrable methodological prob
subjective judgments, it is safe to proceed on rhe basis of rhe cont
Decalogue (and the Sabbath commandmeno in the book of Exodus i
context views the Decalogue in irs pesenr form ro be God's revelarion
The Sabbth


Exodus 20.-The Sabbath commandmenr (Ex

consists of fifty-five Hebrew words and is the Iongesr ofrhe Ten Comma
This length has given rise ro rhe assumprion that it was originally shorr, b
Near Eastern law codes disprove rhat laws developed from shorr ro long
simple to complex ones.r l-ong and short laws can srand side by sid
beginning, as pre-Mosaic law codes from rhe ancienr Near Easr demo
Hittite laws, which ae more or less conrempoary wirh Moses, reveal t
version of the same law can be shorrer'. or longer,0, (cf. Deur. 5:12-15)

Near Easrern lawido nor supporr he assumPriun

Comprarivee\ iden( e ofan( ienl Near Easlern lw ( odes mililales against
rhr ihe Sabbarh commandment in Exodus 20 is ne(essrily the Iesuk
srowrh over a lonc oeriod ot time.
" The Sabbrh iommandmenr is a carefully srrurruled unir' The t

structure seems to be Preent:

Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. (

B'Command Sixdays you shall labor and do all your worki(

Cr Modvation but the seventh day is a sabbaih to the Lo
Bt Command

D Conclusion

God; (verse 10a)

in it you shall not do any wok, you, or you


for in six davs e LoRo made heaven an

rhe sea,...ind rested . . . (vers lla)

therefore the LoRDblessed the sabbath day and

holy. (verse I lb)

This structurerLi reveals the followins: A contains, in the form of an intro

oDenins sraremenr. rhe Ie\ Drinriple;l rhe sabbath (ommandmenr as w
eipress rhe posirive tonir;and io engage in *oI k on \ix dav shereas
h orher side in rhe proh ibitive . omma nd of rel,ining lro anv sor
Sabbarh day. B' makis rlear rhar rhrs prohibirion ha! b;od aPplnario
entire familv and domesti( animals, as sll as lor the stranger or resid
rsr,.rr, C, nd C' provide the motivation lor lhe cummnds C' moliv
seoun.e ot time i; rhe six-da!-sevenrh-dar dualitl bv emphasiing
da1 isasabbarhlorheLordtourtod The idenrirarion ol rhe
rhe Sabbrh has alreadr raken plate in rhe eatlier manna exPe

rhwildernessotsin(Ex. l6:23.25.26). lrshouldbenoredtharrheseve

Sabbarh is tor tlol he LoRD' (see ver\es 23. 25: (hap 3 l : l5: 35:2: Le
indicaring that od is the owner of (his dy rhr (omes as d gilr ro His p
Ex. l6:291 and is lled wir h H is spetral blessing. C'?( onrain I he lormal m
clusewith rhe inrroducror y lor'tfur. lrproride.rhederiledmorivrion
ofrhe LoRD 5 ix days ol uork and Hh reiringon (he \eventh day Thrsm
h,s irs roors in the Creation Sabbarh. fhe lini\ between Exodus 20:l I and
2:2. 3 have alreadv been discussed. D is an independent clause, join
connecrire-resuh pricle lheretore ' ( l lrr. Ir lutmsrhecon(lusion
words of the r ominandment. "and made ir holy. have a corteponden
exhorrrion ol rhe in(rodurlorv pnnciple A. "to leep ir hol\.
-lhe kev words thar ,rme rlie Sabbarh commanmenr are lll the
day-'iet \ hasiabbdt)inversesSandll.nd(2)rheexPre5ions"toke
t t"qals in ve.e I ad he mdde i hol\" ry'qaddsiht in verse I
trime otthe introducrion A and conclu\ion D bra(
while both A and D keep rheir own identity The reason for man's ke
Sabbath is ihat God had made it holy at Creation. Accordingly, a major

the Sabbath commandmentfalls on its holiness, which has alreadybeen th



in connection with ihe Crearion


Sabbath. Sabbath holi

holy means (l) to accept God's gift for man, (2) ro follow rhe divine
pattern, (3) toacknowledge Him asCreator, and (4) ro parriciparein c
also meanr a cessarion from a, riviry ol rhe worl rhar man i\ engged in
six days appointed tor su( h kork. The rie berween rhe Sbbarh rom
and Creationli is so close thai God's six-day crearion. followed by His
sevenrh day, 5erves as lhe rheologi al mori\rion lor rhe sevenrh-day
the fourth commandment.
The introductory word "remember" lr*/)'i5 carries grear we

total meaning

of the

Sabbath commandmenr. The Hebrew ro

retrospecrive and prospe( rive rpe(rs.'b Both retrosper r ion and pros
part of the meaning ofthe 6rsr word ol lhe Sabbrh ( ommandmen( in
The retrospective aspect of remembering focuses on rhe pasr.
bring something to remembrance. Thus it indicates rhar rhe Sab
introduced for the frst time on Sinai, it is already rhere. . . . Howev
introduced for the firsr rime even in rhe wilderness of Sin, where th
found. Here, roo, it is proclaimedas somethingwhich is aleady in exis
pre-Mosaic Sabbath"'or early pre-Israelire Sabbath,," is poinred to
scholars. W. W. Cannon suggested a numbe ofdecades ago that rhe
the Hebrews who migated to Canaan broughr with them some me
Sabbath insritution, its name, wekly
and cessation fr
More recenrlya similarview has been putforth by M. H. Segal, whobe
Abraham bequeathed to his descendanrs rhe conception of rhe seve
divine rest day and that rhis conceprion was known among rhe Israelir
and had received among them the name of Sabbath. . . ."r,1 On acc
sudden appearance of the Sabbath in fairly full-fledged form in Ex

broad grounding in rhe lourrh .ommandmenr (Exodus 20). and

rhoieotrheword remember" (verse 8), one is led ro a$ume a know

sabbarh biore rhe rime of Mose\. t ntorrunarely, our presenl e
sources do not allow us to trace the Sabbarh. The Old Testament an
origin of rhe Sabbath is indicated in the link of the seventh day wit
Exodus 20111 and 31:t7 connect God's rest on rhe Crearion Sabba
institution of the weekly Sabbath, which appears to be legirimized in t
Sabbath (Gen. 2:2, 3).r,,
The word remember' rn Lxodus 20:8 lo cunrains Dro\DeLr
aside trom rhe p\y( hologi(alone (har looks ro rhe pas(.',The'pro;e(tiv
''emember" relare\ ro rhe lurure. The immediare Durpori ot ieme
dire( red rowrd definire a, rion in rhe presenr.,,. Thr" .oines ro expre
wording Remember [i*,] . . . ro Lep ho\ lr ,radtil- a. this is ;lro
rhe searrhng que5r'on of Exodu\ I6:2b: 'How long do )ou refuse
dirine commandments nd lass) lo
tiom ro keep

Codisrhesmeso remember, orroob*rve,orrokeeDlhemhab
l o remember" meansro keepor roobser\e ((,1. Deur. 5.'t2). l he m
pasr (rerrospecrive aspe(u i5 ru led ro righr acrron in rhe presenr and
obedience rn rhe lurure t pro.per tive aspe, r r. Past, present: and tuture
in the pregnanr opening $ord ol Exodus20:b.-lhiimperatire rem
for an awareness r har male. (he seventh d] .pecal through separatio
ordinan working dars oi rhe week. The remimbranre mJtr pLinr. m


ot the


in the present and points forward to a P


The Sbbath in Deuteronomy 5.-The Sabbath commandment ofD

omy 5:12-15 has.i\t)-tour Hebrew words. thn ditterence in lengLh.
aspecrs ol .onrenl 5 (,rmpared wirh Exodus 2U:8- l l. h\e exerci'ed 5(h
senerarions. No eon.ensu. is emergrng. beause rhe issues re e
iomplex and ore.hdowed by conllrtrrng merhodological problems.' " I
howiver. be reemphasized rhr shorl dnd long law. dre lound nexr Io ech

or,ontruited. Thus greaL (aurion is demanded in drawing rddi(al (o

from rhe ditlerences beLseen rhe \abbrh (ommandment in Exodus 20

oral reaffirmation of the same commandment in Deuteronomy 5.
The lersion ofthe Decalo8ue in Deuteronomv 5 has its own conte
settine in an oral sermon to on rhe eve ot rhcir enrrnce inro he
Land:]he bool ol Deureronom) ribures ir be orall) deli\e,ed by
rhe Isrdelrtes rDeur. 5:lr. A(rordinglv. the Pteenr rexr uf Lhe Dera
Deurerunom) 5 present" ir ro be a larei orlrcr tion han (he one Erirren i

The structure, based on content, of Deuteronomy


A Introduction

5:12_ 15 seems

Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy, as

vour God commanded,vou. (Verse 12)

Command Six days you shall labor, and do all your wo

C' Motivation 13) but the seventh dy is a sabbath to

Your God; (verse I'la)

i' )u \hll nor do nt work. roL. or to
B' Commnd
or to
your daughter.
er \ anr. or )ur o\. or \our r\\. or an\ of v
o he sojourner u ho r. wirhin vour gare!. r
C': Motivation that yur manservanr and your maidser
r e'r r well r,u nd vou 'ha ll remembe
were a \ervnt in lhe iand ot Egypr. and
your Cod brought you out then.e with
hand and an outsteched arm; (verse
D Conclusion therefore the Lord your God commanded yo
the sabbath day. (Verse 15b)
This structure''" has manl similarities and lew signifrcant di
rompared sirh rhdt ol rhe tourrh commndmenr In lxodus 20. 1he
secribn (A) (onrins raga;n in rhe torm ol n InrIUdu(ror\ rremen
principle ofrhe commandment as a whole. lt should be noted that its c
ita"se, "as the LoRD your God has commanded you" (verse 12c), con
reason or motilation fbr thecormandment as a whole. The qutior oft
of the Sabbath commandment is answered with the statement that
.ommanded it to be thus.'r0 The conclusion ome back to this motivation
roored inGod5,ommandmenr. Ihtrheolosi(al motivarion'' rn pas
bra.ker rhe Lommndmenr as a Ehole. Deureronomy 5 does nut
motivation of the Sabbath in Exodus 20 but affrrms that it i5 ro

commandment and elaborates one aspect ofthe Sabbath. The recogn

rheological motivation of rhe grounding of rhe Sabbath in a romma
God rinnor be emphasized enough. be.ause ir introduce" an element
imolicittv atfirmed in Erodus 20:l0a (C ) and repeared in Deureron
(aqain C'). Bur in Deuteronomy 5 somerhing is made explicit in rhe
mnr itself tor rhe rs( time: rhe Sabba(h is ro be kepr because Cod ha
ir-nay, <ommanded it to be so.
Deuteronomy 5: l3 (B' and relse l4b tB'r.onrin on(e more t
command ro do all work in six da!s and rhe prohibirive r ommand ro re

anyworlonrheSabbathday. jusr;"inExodus20iB'andB') theshorr

"or yourox, or your ass" is new. This elaborates what is already implicit
cattle" in Exodus 20:10.
Deuteronomy 5:I4c (C'?), which opens with the preposition -'r
provides the motivarion for lhe prohibiri!e command in it vou hall
i.,ork," but nor tor rhe enrire Sa6barh .ommandmenr. " as has been

The purpose oi the (essalion from work on the seventh da i '

is lis;icnr rht here rhe same vetb-nu. ro rest talea
emploled as in Exodu" 20: I I and 3l:17. where God is the "ubject of
Noi, tre entire household. including manservanr and mardser-vanr.
inferiorsiatus in society,are to resttogether' This brings liberation an

l4). lr

irisapoinrerrodoasa)withallinequalirie.inrhesotralstru,ure Bef
men re equal. Man\ originalsttus belore God is to be reenrred in s

Sabbarh s n insritu(ion rhar is designed ro bring this abour. This amp

the pur pose of rhe Sabbarh wir h itsiocial or humanrtarian asperr. irs e

libeiatin from wok and freedom in society, is captured in.Jesus' o

"The sabbath was made for man, and noi man for the sabbath" (Ma
A further aspecr comes into view wirh the "remembrance" clause
shall remember that you were a servant in the land ofEgypt, and rhe
Cod brousht )ou our rhence sirh a mighry hand nd an outsrrer( hed
5: l5)."' T-his inrroduces a soter iological asper t and elaborres rhe sp
resr sped o[ rhe Sabbath commandment. lr brins\
experience. lr is definirely nor imed ro provrde a morivrion for r
minmandmenr as a whole.''" whi( h is provided in God\ comma nd (ver
itself. Contextually, the soteriological aspect relates to the Sabbath
slaves.'s'The social or humanitarian emphasis"'in Deureronomy 5:12
is likewise presenr in Exodus 20:8-l I (and Exodus l6:27-29). where S
is ex(ende to the whole household. is linked srrh lhe.oreriologiral
divine deliverance from servirude in Egypt. On every Sabbath God's P
rememberthattheir God is aSaviourwho has put an end to all bondage
rhe superior ofall rho wield power in the so,ld.-l he tundamenrl sig
rhe Sabbarh is borh (o remind us ol God\ crearion tEx. 20:8-l lr and
remembrance ihe freedom from servitude of any form, achieved b
extended to all human beings (cf. Ex. 23:13).
There is also a variation between the opening term of th
commandment in Exodus 20:8 and the one in Deuteronomy 5:12. Th
"remember" (rr) and the laer "observe" (iu,). lt has been suS

synonyms, and their variations are irnportant. Few hold that "obs
original.''" The present canorical context makes it laterr.Lthan "remember
favorite word in Deuteronomyi': and sharpens one of the semantic as

The term iarn has the meaning of "to observe, keep" when followe
accusative in the form of an orde, commandment, agreemenr, or oblig
Just as the Lord "observes, keeps" limar) the covenant (Deut. 7:8,9,

34:7)-i.e., He

is faithful in observing His part ofthe obligation-so His

who are the other party in the covenant, are to "observe, keep" their pa
covenant. The Ten Commandments are known as "the lvords of the co

the oral recitation of the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5 is part of a c
renewal. Accordingly, thechoice of"observe" as the 6rstword stresses the
of the Sabbath. This we have seen to be a part of the meaning of th
"remember." The term "observe" appears to include special cov
overtones,'' uhich will be discussed in a lter secron.
The goal of observing the Sabbath is "to keep it holy" (Deut. 5:12
20:8). This means that it is directed toward definite action. One aspect re
the meaning ofrhe phrase "io keep it holy" ll?{,4) should now be add
idea expressed by the words 'to keep holy" (qid\ contains also the
consecrate for usage in behalfofGod." "'Just as priests''6 or Nazarite (N
6-8: Judges 13:5, 7; 16:17) are placed in a state of holiness and consec
order that they may perform their service before cod, so the Sabbath is pla
state of holiness and separation for se'vice in behalf of God (Lev. 23rlThis separation ofthe Sabbath wnh its own holiness for sevice in b
Cod includes activiryin communal worship. Worship (cultic activity)is pa
Sabbath institution, as kviticus 23:l-3 indicates. This passage contain

themes that have already surfaced, such as "a sabbath to the LoRD" (see Ex
25; 20:10; 31: l5; 35:2); "six days shall work be donei but on the seventh

of solemn est" (Ex.23:12;31:15;34121;35:2); and "you sha

work" (Ex.20: I0; Deut.5: l4).1" Its significance rests in the fact that the Sa
listed as belongingto the sacred festivals,'the appointed feastsofthe LoR
23:2). The Sabbath, like the other "holy convocations" of the annu
calendar,"'is proclaimed to be "a holy convocation" (verse 2)h'!that be
God's "appointed feastl'(verse 2). The Sabbath belonged to the festal
which the congregation gathered for worship as a festal assembly. Leviticus
claims thatin the early history oflsrael, the Sabbath was a day ofjoyous re
weekly labor and a time of solemn, festal worship of God.

Sabbath and Sign

An exceptionally rich Sabbarh text appears in Exodus 31:12-17.''" Be

ofthe new ideas expressed for the frrst time in this passage,
to recognize its conrextual setting. The instructions for keeping the Sa
related in fxodus 3l:12-17 follow the diections ofYahweh (Ex. 27:20; 3l
the sarctuary and its service (chaps. 25:1-31:11). Both are part of the sa
communication of Yahweh to Moses (chaps. 25: l; 30:11, 17, 22, 34: 3l r
Mount Sinai- The divine communication had outlined in detail the wo

discuss some


done resading rhe building of rhe san(ruary The in5rrucrions con(

Sabbathlcomins ar rhe ton(lusion, ( I ) (onne( I lhe Sabbath and lhe sa
*u. 9 36,r'r 1:"l specity derils about rhe Sbbarh re!ealed tor lhe 6rs
(3) remind (he people ot (he limirs ol work: Si\ davs shall work be do
sevenrh day i" a'sabtarh ot rolemn rest. holl ro rhe LoRD: whorer doe

on rhe sabbarh day shall be pur o dea(h" rt-x. 3l:l5r' fhe pres

idi.zres ihi rhe sabbath. which had been included as one o

Commandments (Ex. 20:8-11), is formally explained to Moses in it
sDecrs on Mounr Sinai.
' Manv of rhe asDe(rs asso(iaLed wirh rhe Sabbarh in Exodus 3l

alredv known. God:s six-da) crearion and rest on rhe sevenrh day in
knowr fom Genesis 2:2, 3 nd Erodus 20:11. The command to "ke
thesabbathofverses 13, 14,and 16iencounteredinDeuteronomyS:1
lso rhe iniunction to obsene r\erse l6: Deu(. 5:12) ir. The holin
Sabbathoirerses t4 and l5 rakes u5 ro Cenesis 2:3: E\odu I6:23: 2
35:2i Deut. 5: l2). The idendry of the seventh day as the sabbath com
Exodus I 6:26 and 29 and 20: i 0, and the idea of the Sabbarh as a "sab
ridti', " is alreadv kno$n in Exodus l6:23.
fhesraremen rhar rhe Sbbarh is a lign berween me and you
your cenera(ions, thal you may know thaL l.lhe LoRD. san(tity you lE
inire"ly ner. I hese words appear in similar form'' again in Ezelie
Exodus 3l:lj species rhr rhe 'sign (Zi.r' beiween me and
berween God an His people.'"-l he irr rhar rhe Sabbarh lun.rions as a
visible, and perpetual s;gn berween Cod and His people is n essenrial
roral meanirigoirhe Sabbrh as a.ign. Bur rhe sign tun.rions ofrhe Sab

'Thever)natureota sign isrhar ir poinrs ro omerhing beyond

''sisn serves ro medra(e an understanding nd/or ro mori!are

beavior. " A sign can impa knowledge abour Cod s acri\ it) rn shapin
Ir may morivate-people l believe rn God, ro worship Hrm and rhus P
confirm fairh.''! sign may serve as a memorial thatbrings remembran
function as a mark sign of separation.'"' It can put atention on,
corroborate somethingbeyond itselfand thus be a siSn ofconfrrmation
(here can br sisns ol ihe r ovenanr berween God and Hrs ele(red pe
Severatofihe.e fun, rions ol signs dre Pan of the siSn narute ol rhe
It has been frequenrly emphasized that rhe Sabbath is a sign ot obs
whi(h exhons r; lul6ll a dury.'* and brings ro mind an obligrion. 3l:13 the Sabbath is a "sign between me and you" and quite naturally
theobligation and dutyofGod\ covenant community to keep the Sabb
the LoRD" (verse 15).
The Sabbath is also a "signof separation." i lt hasbeen poinied
ofthe functions ofa "sign" l?r) is io mediate knowledge and under
The Sabbath as a "mark ofseparation" mediates to men of different
faiths rhe knowledge rhat a peruliar or unique telarionship exisrs be
nd the people rhat keep the Sabbarh holy b) shi(h rhe whole
recogni. the existence of this relationship." r?0 The Sabbath is
recognnion" that marks tlod\ people off from those around them.'r
ign placed by God on Cain did not disgrace him (Cn.4:15),r'" but se

given to the believer that separates him from the restofmen and assures h
existence. As such the Sabbath is a distinguishing mark.

Aside from being a "sign of observation" and a "sign of separati

Sabbath is a "sign of remernbrance." " The retrospective aspe.t of "

brance" has already been recognized to be part ofthe Sabbath command
Exodus 20. The Sabbath functions as a "sign of remembrance" in tha
man's memoy back to the origi of the Sabbath as the seventh day of
week on which God "rested, and was relieshed" (Ex. 3l:17i cf. Gen.
20:l l). It is thus a sign that memorializes Creator and Creation. Remem
not only includes the past but actualizes"'this knowledge in present an
action:'lokeep thesabbath, observing the sabb.rth throughout rheir gene
(verse l6). God s people remember the gracious acts of deliverance''" an

plan of redemption.
The Sabbath is alyr

a "sign

ofknowledge." Lr,l his is made explicit in

3l:13:"this is a sign... that you may know l'ar)."'fhe sign serves the
ofknowledge.'" The Sabbath h a sign that imparts to tsrael the knowledge
Yahweh is her Godr" and (2) that her Cod "sanctifiel' His people'"'by
them a holy people, *' i.e., a people separated fbr a special covenant lvith

hol) Cod. and nor lrom an) intrin.n qualiry ol the people. lhc red

character of the Sabbath conres into view.

The discussion of the Sbtlath as a sign of observation, se
rememba-nce, and knowledge, which stressed the Sa6lath as a sign f
needs to be supplemented by the Sabbath as a sign lbr God. The meanin
Sabbath as a sign for God has come into focusby designatingthe Sabbath
o-kulr-rantee." 'srJust as the rainbow is the pepetual sign of guarntee

God and te earth (cen. 9:13) that'the waters shall never again become a
destroy allllesh (verse l5), so the Sabbarh is a 'sign of guarantee" $ her
assures H is sanctifying purposes for His people.'"'Itis a sign of efficacious
powerful sign ofsalvation. The Civer ofthe sign guarantees His pledge o

His people holy.

Another phase of rhe Sabbath asa sign ofGod's pledge and guarante
covenanr community has beenoffered recentlyby M. G. Kline on the basis

Sabbath is part of God's covenant and thus carries its seal.'' H

ephatically, "The Creatorhas stamped on u'orld history the sign of the
as His seal of ownership and authority."'e This inlerpretation is base
paralllism of external appearance between international treaty docum
ome of $'hich the suzerain' dynastic seal comes in the midst of th
ddument. whether or not this parauelism .an be sustained is beside th
The Sabbath regulation appears asa sign orseal ofownershipand autho
s identied as the Creator (Ex. 20:I t; 3l:17), distinguishing Him from
sodsi 'and the sphere ofownership and authority is identified as "hea

e.irrh (chaps.3l:l7i 20:Il;Ge.2:l-3).''"Thesearencientconrituent

tal. namely the identity ofthe owner and the sphere ofownership and a
Ther are present in thetritten'iand oral'q'Sabbarh commandmenis rev
\fount Sinai and thus make the Sabbath a unique siBn or seal ith rno
meaning for the believer. Any person who imitates the Creator\ exa

Re-ceator (Redeeme). He accepts the Sabbath as God's gr

life"renewing gift and acknowledges God's owneship and authority o
and allcreation. This sers the believer off from the rest ofmankind and
part ofthe covenant community oftrue worshipers ofGod. The cele
keeping ofrhe Sabbath is the "outward sign" ard "external seal." co
covenant, and sanctifying a.tivity are the "inward grace" an
sanctifrcation" that give it presenr reality.
Sabbath and Covenant

The Sabbath is directly connected with the "covenanf' (&n

31:12-17: "Therefore rhe people of lsrael shall keep the sabbath, ob
sabbath throughout their generations as a perperual covenat [],ir ?
l6).Itistrue that

the Sabbath, in contrast to the rainbowas

"sign ofth

(Gen. 9:I3, 17) in the Noachic covenant and to cicumcision as "a

covenant" (chap. l7: I I ) in the Abahamic covenant, is not explicitly c
ofthecovenant." r'1 Nevertheless, theSabbath doubtlessly functions a
sign oftheSinai (Horeb) covenant, because it is called a "sign between
(Ex. 3l: l3; cf. Eze. 20:20) or a "sign between me and the people of
3l:17).l'!?The expression "a si8n between me and you" brings to ind
"a si8n

ofthe covenant between me and theeaflh" (Cn. S:13)rand'a

covenant between me and you" (chap. 17:11) in the covenants o

Abraham, respectively.'" The language of rhe entire passage ofExod
is fllled with covenant rerminology. The verbs "keep" fiim,)1,5 in ve
and 16 and "know" (yid)'. in verse 13 are filled with covenant ove
term "profane" (nl7),'e which is used not infequently with the Sa
term for the breaking of or doing away with the In shor
Noachic covenant has an eternal sign in the rainbow (Ger.9:I3,
Abahamic covenant has an eternal sign in circumcision (chap. 17: t 1)
(Horeb) covenant has an eternal sign in the Sabbath.
The Sabbath is a "sign ofconfession"e on the basis ofwhich rh
God's "eternal covenanf is maintained throughout rhe generar
covenant community (Ex. 3l:16). The perpetual celebrarion of

reminds God's covenant people rhar rhe intimare covenanr r

established by he Cod between Him and them was rooted in His graci

and eternal covenat thatwas formauy established on MountSinai. T

celebation (keeping, observing) of the Sabbath does not so much s
relationship with His peopleoi as it serves as an indicaror rhat
covenant" relationship is still in existence.

Rerrospectively, the Sabbath looks back. As a sign

of reem

Sabbath memorializes Cod as Creator and His creation as undisru

(Gen.2:2.3: Ex.20:8. I I: 3I:|7) .e rhe sabbrh, s
"everlastingcovenant" (Ex. 3l:16) in which God bound HimselP"!ro H
people and they accepted rhe obligarion ofcelebraring rhe Sabbarh,

"emphatic promise"rd for all geneations. As covenant sign an

Crearion, the Sabbath makes possible redemptive history, i.e-, covena
rhat moves forward to its ukimare goal.
The Sabbath has a key part in reaching inro the furure roward

posture in the presence ofGod. It is a day that proyides freedom and l

fom the work and anxiety in present existence. It brings.ommnion w
and thus physical, mental, and spiritual regeneration and renewal. As su
proleptic token ofan eschatological reality in the future.'* It is a covenan
the here and now about an ultimate future"' with its hoped-for red
Second, the Sabbath stands as a sign of an "everlasting covenant"
Creation (Gen. 2r2,3i Ex. 20: I l; 3l: l7) and redemption (Deut. 5:15; Isa
pointing tothe great consummation.l03 In this sense the Sabbath\ comme
retrospction to Creator and Creation shows itself as a powerful token
obligation':m that makes man look forward ro complete redemption a
treedum, dhdire,l bl rhe enrire \in-ridden,rerion.
The extraordinary redeeming qualities inherenr in the Sabbath are
guarantee on the basis of which the hope in ultimate redemption with
heavenandnew earth has asecure anchor. Thus theSabbath directs us to
from which this day receives its deepest meaning for the present an
constantly anew to a most glorious futur of total freedom and everla
Finally the interruption ofunhindered communion berween God and H
comes to an end. The Sabbath is a promise and guarantee thatthis will ta
The Sabbath is a covenant sign through which God has pledged that the
proleptic experience of feedom, liberation,joy, and cofnmunion on th
Sabbath is but a foretaste of the ultimate reality in the glorious furure

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Tbe Sabbatb


tbe Propbetic

Historical Literature of tbe

Old Testament

cerhard F. Eatel

W- G. C. Mutloch

emphasis on rhe Sabbarh voiced b) (he h riring prophers and r

I writers of the histori<al lirerarure s rooted in a deep-seare

is the covenant Lord and Israel His coven

Their teachingon the Sabbath is also rooted in their knowledge ofCod
of the heavens and the earth and His resring o the Creation
commemorate a finished wok.r The themes of Creation, cove
sanctifrcation, acknowledgmem ofcod as l,ord, deliverance from bo
e-creation, which are well known from the Penrateuch,l rea
application to the lsraelite community in its checkered history. Isra
dependent upon obedience o disobedience to rhe divine law and pa
the Sabbarh. Thus the keeping of the Sabbath relales ultimately to ih
lite and death for the communily and rhe individual: il addresses irse
to the vey essence of man's existence, whether ir is relational, libera
and redemptive, or the opposiie.

conception in which Yahweh

The Sabbath itr Prophec Literature

, Our purpose is to invesrigare rhe Sabbarh 6rsr in I he propheric wrir

from the appearame of r his subjerr in rhe rhree major prophers. ir is p
in th mnor prophets Amos and Hosea.
The Sabbath itr th Eighth.Cetury Pophets.-,n or. A say
prophe( Amos againsr rhe wi(ked menhanrs and rhe sins of rhe m
.ontains one expli(ir referent e ro rhe Sabbarh. He quores rhose who rra

"When will the new moon be over,

that we may sell grain?
And the sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small
and the shekel great,
and deal deceitfully with false balances" (chap. 8:5).*
lr is evident from this reference that at the time ofAmos (and Hosea), le
was known in the northern kingdom that prohibited business dealing
Sabbath.'This applicaiion assumes that the Sabbath was conceived ofas
rest fom work.l Rest from work was part ofthe Sabbath law ofthe Decalo
20:8.11: Deui.5:12-15) and other legal passages tEx.23:l2i 34:21).
Amos is Lnown as a rhampron ol rhe underprnileged. lhe poor.
oppressed. In the passage under discussion the prophet champions the
biause n was a dy ot liberarion trom horL and lhus sateguarded Lhe
working persons: .omplere resr from everda a( rivirv on rhe Sbbarh. fh
included resr trom business enterprises o[ ny lorm and kind, even th
included the rr ading of food ilems { hhear").araskofwomennddaves
23:12:Deur.5:14. l5). while there is here an emphasison Ihe so.ial-huma
aspe(( o[ rhe Sabbarh as a day of resr for all men, women. and rhildren.
alio an emphasis on the moral asperr of rhe Sabbarh s a dy on shich
greed, and sel6shness need to be overrome b) relrining trom eng
business enrerprises of an) Lind.'
A derailed investrgarion o[lhe deas pur lorrh on rhe relalionshrP of
and new moon wouldiake us (oo far a6eld 'There are bur six Passage in
Testament in which Sabbath and new moon arejoined together in virtu
sameway (Amos 8:5; Hosea 2: I l; lsa. 1: l3;Eze.45: I7;46:3; 2 Kings 4:23
is no suppot fo the claim that Sabbaih and new moon "occurred
inrervals."-'Amos 8:5 makes nosuchclaim. Thereis no evidence in thee
Tesramenr rhar rhe new moon day was a ueellv dav or that the Sabba
monthly recurren, e. Furthel more, Hosea 2: I l. whn h menlions new m
Sabbath.aswellas tea"(s and appoinred teasr5, miliraresagains(equai
rhar indi(are in
rerms as indiraring equl inlervls. Bur in
frequencv the Sabbrhis grven as rhe mor lrequen(lv I nmelv weeklv r ce

ln the prophetic writings the nature of observances on both Sab

weekly day f rst, and new moon, the monthly festival (Ps 8l:3; I Sar
29), remins vague, excepl rht Amos suggesr5 (mplete rest trom
business enrerprises, whi(h appears ro be part ot the proscription o[ t

workingeneraltlsa.58:lJ. l4).E/ekiel46:3pre$ribe\'worshiP before

at rhe sate o[ rhe luture temple 1cf. t.a. 66:231.

losa. The prophet Hosea refes to the Sabbath (chap. 2rll [He
$'irhin a unit ofa; inaictment ofthe faithless wife Israel.'In this speech
announced, "l wil pur an end to all her mith, her feasts, her new mo
sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts. . .. And I will punish her for the f
r All Bibl. guorations in th chptr arc rnndation


e arho, unlesothetuie indicr.d.

(verses II. l3).r0The feasts rag, possibl) designare

autumn harvest festivals. or more likely rhe rhree mjor annual
unleavened bead, ofweeks, and ofbooths (ct Deut. 16: l6; 2 Chron. 8
"new moons" (dl) are presumably monthly days of fesrivity.i! The
(Jahir) are the weekly days ofworship and rest.r The sequence of "
moons, and sabbathl' is not a descending oder'5 nor an ascending
festivals, but a sequence of festivals ofincreasin8 frequency ofcelebrat

ofrhe Baals

(feasts), monthly (newmoons), weekly (sabbaths). The concludin8 phra

her appointed feasts" (arkol m.h) may refer collectively to the days a

of festivity included or not included in the former sequence.'' The

indisputable evidence along with Amos 8:5 for the celebraiion ofthe

northern Israel in iheeighrh century B.c. Thereis, however, no eviden

Sabbath at that time was a "new moon" day celebrated only once a m
kind of "tabu-day."
ln Hosea, as also in Amos, the mentioning of the Sabbath is not
cotext ofa positive exhortation. Both prophetscondemn the misuse o
the Sabbath, respectively. In the message of Hosea the Sabbaths had
deteriorated inro days of "her pleasures" (verse 1la), which were with
feasts but "feast days ofBaal" (vese l3). Yahweh, the lover oflsrael, de
various occasions ofreligious festivals, including the Sabbath, to be r
the covenant relation between Himand His people.lfthis relation is br
He must divorce His people (verse 2) and He "will bring ro an end"s
da)s, in(luding rhe Sabbih, whi(h is rhe rovenanr sign.
/salr. The gospel prophet tsaiah has an exceptionally ch Sabbat
The Sabbath is encountered for the first time in Isaiah l:13: "'B
wothless offerings no longer, iheir incense is an abomination to Me.
and sabbath, ihe calling of assemblies-I cannot endure iniquity and
assembly"' (N.A.S.B.). The usage ofthe expressions "new moon" an
has been discussed already. The third expression "the calling ofasse
unusual," but is probably best understood as an expression similar
appointed feasts" in Hosea 2:11, i.e., as a reference to festal assemblies
but far beyond "new moon and sabbath" as is evident from Leviticu
implies that "new moon and sabbath" are not identical with the "asse
Iatter term stands in opposition to the former expressions. Ifthis is r
then one cannot speak ofan "ascending order-new moon (monthly),
calling of assemblies (annuaU.". lnstead one rnust take the "new
sabbath" together as a sequence of festivals within the year of
frequency of celebation: new moon (monthly) and sabbath (we
expression "the calling of assemblies," which is inclusive of the week
(Lev. 23:1-3), the passover (verses 4-15), the feasi of weeks (verses 15
28:26; Deut. l6: l0), ihe first day of the seventh month (Le!. 23:23-25),
Atonement (verses 26-32) and rhe feast ofbooths (verses 33-43), includ
monthly, and vearly feasr days. rhe yearl exrending from one ro a

The appearance ofthe Sabbath in Isaiah l:13 is evidence for rhe f

weeklySabbath was celebrared in rhe kingdomofJudah in rhe eighrh c
as a seventh-day instiiutio of rest and worship. "We have no reason
that the Sabbath was in Isaiah's time a day different from rhe sevemh

Sabbath stands the fact that the Sabbath is indisputably a weekly celebratio
familiar DecalogueofExodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 and in the law ofExo
which go back to the time of Moses, and in all other legislation.

The polemic against "new moon and sabbath" is part of Isaiah's

against sacrifices, religious assemblies, and prayers (chap. l:I0-20)- T
hardly be construed as an outright rejection of lsrael's cult and worsh
rather a repudiation ofthe emptiness of formal ritual without irue heart r
Even a keepingofthe regula $/eekly Sabbath cannotbe pleasing to God w
covenant relationship is brcken and when empty ritual takes the place ofg
heart religion. Isaiah's message indicates that the keeping ofthe Sabbath
or rogether with other feast days, or any other ritual act, does not assur
good standing with God aside from a true relationship with Him based

ofthe book of Isaiah (chaps. 56:1-8

l4i 66:23)" contain very important references to the Sabbath. The Sa
mentioned rcpeatedly in lsaiah 56:l-8. We nd here an identification
Sabba as Yahweh's Sabbath ("my sabbaths," verse 4),':6 a iheme that is
elsewhere in the OId Testament.'zT Blessedness is pronounced over the
"whokeeps from profanin8 rhe sabbarh" (verse 2). The opposite ofthis b
is the profanatior ofthe Sabbaih. To "keep my sabbaths" (verse 4) means
Several chapters in the latter part

fast "my covenant" (verse 6). Sabbathkeeping is identied with covenant k

"Whover keeps the covenant keeps rhe sabbath, and whoever profa
sabba breaks the covenanC' (Lev. 26:42, 45).?3 The reason for singling
Sabbath as the particularoccasion for maintaining the covenantbetween G
His community is the fact that the Sabbath is understood as the covenant s
3I:13, l7; Eze.20:12,20). The univrsalistic tendency oflsaiah 56: l-8 tha
admission into the messianic kingdom even to eunuchs (cf. Deut. 23:l)
back to rhe universal quality of the Sabbarh as encounteed in the C
Sabbath of Genesis 2:I-3.1'
The high poin( ol rhe Sabbrh n Isaiah 58:13, l4. mus( be seen as pa
chaprer as a *hole and not as an isolared fragment.'o lf ir is taken as a p
larger whole, rhen a harmonious associaon between social inrerests and r
acrion, rhe keeping otrhe Sabbarh. may be recognired. I he ( ombinarion
of these concrns is also attested in the Sabbalh commandment (fx.
Deut. 5:12-15). Nevertheless, it has been claimed-and in many wa
correctly-rhat "the ideal of Sabbath observance proposed here is foun
oiher passage in the Old Testament."r' lsaiah 58r13, 14, has certainly pl
imporiant role in PharisaicJudaism, theTalmud, and in modernJewish s
A somewhat deiailed look at translations ol Isaiah 58:13, 14, eve
divergencies. we will therefore attempta literal translation based on the

"IFs you rurnrr you foot awayr

lrom .he sabbath, froms doing your business on my holy day
and" call the sabbath a delight,
the holy (day)s of the LoRD honorable,
and you honor it by nor doing!'q your ways,
by not" seekirg after"' your business oI"' speaking words,

then you shall delight in the LoRD,

and I{! will cause you to ride on the heightsl of the earth
and I will feed you with the heritage ofJacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LoRD has spoken."
The keepingofthe foot on the Sabbath means to profane and disho
56:l-8). To turn the foot away from the Sabbath meas to turn away
one's business on the Sabbath, God's holy day. The Sabbath is, as

r in su<h time. nor by rrmpling it with his toor bur b) heeding r

" ,. Retusing ro engge in onet own business (atfai) on rhe s

Hebrewrermir.r isrradirionall) rranslared plearure {KJ V R S

er(erera).arerrrha(meansinEnglish grarih(arion, dirersion. e
the senses or the mind," in short, something that gives delight and sa

to which one devotes time to gain it.r6 Recent lexicographers have su

rhe besr rendering of rhe term lrr in our texi is "business, affair,

found support in word studies." Man is not to engage in his own ple
sense that he seeks his own business or affairs on the Sabbath (chap.

2. Nordoingonesohn s)s. fhe'ermfor"ways

is #r,*, a

rich connorarioni and th( can mean 'underranding or "enrerpr

doub'emphasisispla(edonrhepronoun-)our' inconne(rionsnh'w
re rhe wys 'ot human endevor. undertaking, dnd enrerPrise. Th
the Sabbath involves a period ofrest from such $'ays ofhuman activity
can reflect on the ways of God.
3. Refraining from '\peaking words" on the Sabbath. This cou
l3d, is not aimed at maintaining total silence on the Sabbath." The v
dabbr ddbdt, which is variously rendered with "talking idly" (R.S
"speaking idle wordj' (N-I-V.), or in closer affrnity to the origin
"'speaking your own word"' (N.A.S.B.)." if kept in the spirit of th
context, appears to refer to any oral communication involved in th
man's secular affairs, enterprises, and undertakings.
These three prohibitive injunctions are counterbalanced by sev
tive precepts.


the Sabbath is emptied of man's own affairs, his own

rll r elred rhereto. Lhen ir is nor onl) , da

his own wa) s. and ll rhe

and liberarion' irom all eveda pursuus, but ako a da) 'pro\idin
the deepening ofrhe relationship between God and man. The Sabb
to be a day of highly positive import: Sabbath observance is not
liberates man for meeting God.5s
Among the most significant precepts related to the Sabbath in th
one that enjoins the calling of the Sabbath a delight. The noun 'on
connection with the Sabbath only here and means "delight, enjoy
does in its only other appearance in the Old Tesrament (chap.
Sabbath is no day of gloom or sadness, but a day ofjoy and delight.
whocalls the Sabbath a delight is also ihe one who is to delight in the
58:1,1). The same vrbal form" for delighting in the l-ord appe
passages parallel to the lifring up ofthe face to the Lord (Job 22:26) a
upon cod (chap. 27: l0). i.e., acts of worship by the godly person w
humility before God (Ps. 37:4, 1l ). It appears also in connection \^'ith

regard to the Sabbaih combines both woship ofthe Lord and nding en
through and in Him and what He povides borh spiritual and physical.
The Sabbathkeeper is promised (l) to delight in Yahweh, (2) ro ride

heights of the earth, and (3) to be fed with rhe heritage of Jaco
Sabbathkeeper will delight in God, because rrue Sabbathkeeping ca
sepamted from a Benuine faith relationship wirh the l,ord of rhe Sabba
Sabbath is not a burdensome, ritualistic. and legalisric insriturion.,, lt is the
God's lordship over the Sabbathkeeper. The Lord ofthe Sabbath will ma
ride on the heights of the earth. This picture communicates in met
language associated with theophanic desriptions,' that God grants trium
victory to the Sabbathkeeper. The Sabbathkeeper h also promised to be f
the "heritaSe of Jacob," i.e., the gifts of produce of the land (Deut.
promised to the forefather Jacob (Gen.28:12-17). The Sabbath is God
day." ln honoring His day the loyal irorshiper acknowledges God to
covenant Lord who fulfills His covenant promises. The Sabbathkeeperalso
each Sabbath on his lrrdt "holy day" (cf. Gen. 2:3).
Finally we must turn to the last chapter in the book of Isaia
consideration ofthe Sabbath in the new heavens and the new earth.Just as
new moon and Sabbarh in the frrst chapter ofthe book, so we find new mo
Sabbath in the Iast one. lsaiah 66 carries the reader into the realm of the
judgment and salvation ofapocalyptic eschatology.s'g It is within the settin
creation of the new heavens and the new eanh rhat rhe following sayinga
"'And it shall be, from new moon to new moo
and from sabbath ro sabbath.*
all flesh will come to worship beforc me,'
says the LoRD" (verse 23).61
ln the realm of the new creation beyond history rhere will be toral restor
the break brought about by sin. "All flesh" in the sense of all manki
redeemed remnani of all times, will wohip before the Lord Sabba
Sabbath. As the Sabbath was the climax of rhe firsr creation and destine
mankind (cen. 2: l-3), so the Sabbarh will again be the climax ofthe new c
and destined again for all mankind in the new heaven and the new ea
Sabbathwill thus be the only institution designed by the Creabr rhaiwill
first heaven and earth with the new heaven and earth. As such. the Sabb
powerful catalyst of apocalyptic eschatolog and its future hope.
The Sbbath in th Sventh. to Sixth.Centur/ Prophets.-Jrm
book ofJeremiah coniains a key prose sermon on the observance of the
(chap. l7: l9-27).6'Jeremiah reveals rhar he was to preach publicly a serm
demonstrates the conditional nature of the prophecies of doom. Des
could be avoided ifsinful I srael would evidence true repentance. The refer
the Sabbath commandment comes in connection wiih rhe phras
comanded your fathers" (verse 27; cf. chap. 7:1-8, 30), and it is explic
expression "sabbath day" O6m halrabbdt, chap.27:21,22,24;cf. Ex.20:8,
Deut. 5:12, 14, l5) and in the precepts "keep holy the sabbath" Uer. 17:22
Ex.20:8;Deut.5: l2) and "do nowork" (er. l7:22,24;Ex.20:9, 10;Deut.5
Israel would be obedient to God's law (Jer.7:8-10; cf. chaps.5:30,3l;6:
l4:14) by turning from its apostasy (chaps. 6:20;7:21,22,30,31;19:5) an

desecating the Sabbath rhrough refraining from the carrying ofbur

ti t2t , 22, 2a,21) and. rrom working (verses 22, 24), and would keep
holy (verses 22-24) and obey the Lord wholeheartedly (verses 24,2

Lord could maintain His covenant relaiionship with them and save
6ery destruction (verse 27). Sabbathkeeping is a condition of salvation
only one," because wholehearted obedience, though inclusive of r
goes beyond the keeping ol rhe covenanr sign. It includes right living i
life-moral. so(ial. and religious ((hap. 22:l-9).
Lancnkltions. The lvrok of Lamentations, which is often ascribed
and dated in the sixih century after the fall ofJerusalem in 586 B.c., c
clear refercnce to ihe Sabbath (chap. 2:6) and one disputed one (c
The KingJames version translation ofLamentations 1:7 renders
"The adversaies saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths." The expres
sabbaths" is a tmnslation olthe Hebew word 'milaltut in depen
the l-atin Vulgate's reading, "her sabbaths."e Different ancient v
difculiies with the Hebrew text.65 This fact led to emend
reconstructions. Thee are some scholars who follou the Vulga
consonantal Geek readings, suggesting that the original Hebrew wa
"her sabbaths." 6'The majority of scholars believe that the original w
"cessation, ruin."6 lfthe former position is correct, then this text
mocking and laughter of the viciorious adversary about the celebr
Sabbath, i.e., the end of public worship.
Without dispute the Sabbath is mentioned in Lamentations 2:6
"He has broken down his booth like a garden,
he has desroyed his feasr."'
the LoRD has caused to be forgotten in Zion
feasr and sabbath,
and he has despised king and priest
in the indignation of his anger."
The contexi is ih destruction oflsrael and zion rhrough theblazing w
on the day ofYahweh (verses 1,21, 22). Yahweh has caused "feast and
b forgotten. The holy city and its holy temple is destroyed. Th
celebations of rhe appointed feasts and the weekly Sabbath
teminated. This passage is part of the description of rhe fulllm
conditional threats of the prophet Jeremiah 0er. 17: 19-27; 22:1-9)
Judah and the destruction ofZion are due not to a lack of political w
the sin of leaders and people.
Ez"t. Several chaptes in the book of Ezekiel speak of the Sab
2ltl2-24,22:a-26.23138t 44.24i 45,17. 46,1-4, l2).r We note t
identification "my sabbaths,"Tr i.e., Yahweh's Sabbaths, a designatio
new'tand one that indicates thai the Sabbath is the Lord's possession,
to man. The injunction 'hanctify lhallow] my sabbaths" (chaps. 20:
reminiscent of the fact that the Crearor had sanctifred (hallowed)
Himself at Creation (Cen. 2:3)'s and that it is so commanded in
commandment (Ex. 20:8; Deut. 5:12). lr aims toward definite action
behalfofCod.'{ The idea of festal worship (Eze. 46:3), including the
sacrifrces (verse 4) as envisioned for the future temple (verses 1-12), i
the notion of Sabbarh sancrity (cf. kv. 23:l-3).

20: I2.20). which is (losely relared ro rhar in t xodus 3l:13. 6 The idenri
the Sabbarhasasign "between meand you" proves it ro be acovenant sign

Yahweh, the covenant God, and His chosen people Israel (cf. Cen.

3l:13).Intimatelyelated io the Sabbarhas rhe unique covenanrsign berw

and His people is the stated purpose "ihar they/you may know thai I am Y
(Eze. 20:12, 20).'7 The Sabbath is not only a covenanr sign of identifyin
people." it is also sign ot knoh ledgeF thar.ommuni(ares rhat Yahweh
God. keeping His rovenanr and sanctifving His people.
There is a srrong rondemnation ot rhe profaning ol rhe Sdbbarh in
(verses 13. 16.21. 24)nd presenr (chaps. 22:8: 23:38r. Ir is ro be no(ed rh
"histon ofsin in Ezekiel20. rhere i\ in addnion ro rhe prolanrion o[ rhe
a condemnation ofidolatry and other infractions ofCod's law (verses I3
24, 26).'The same is true in Ezekiel22 and 23, so that ir is missing rhe
conclude'1hat the exile was the result of ihe profanation ofrhe sabbath"
this isthe inrenrion ofEekiel20. The protnarion otrhe Sabbarh is poi
b Ezekiel to be a major sign ot rhe refisal of Israel ro rknowledge'he
Lord, Saviour, and protector. lt is an external manifeskrion, in addition t
that she has broken the covenanr.
We find, in the regulations for the future service ar rhe new
instructions for rhe bringing of sacrifices "on the feasts, and on the new
and on the sabbaths, on all rhe appoinred feasts" (chap. 45:17). This seq
identical to that of Hosea 2:l I (Heb. 2: l3), and it again is best under
referring to anorderofincreasing frequencyofcelebration. "Feafs" are
celebration ofthe ma.jor annual festivals (unleavened bread, weeks, and
''new moons" are the u anrlrl1 celebrations "sabbaths" are the rrl) cele
''all the appointed feasts" stads in apposition to the former, including
and any other feasts not included in rhem.,
The Sabbath in Histoical Litrature

In the historical literature ofthe Old Tesramenr, references io rhe

are relatively sparse. The Sabbath appears only in 2 Kings and in the wo

The Sabbath I and 2 Kings.-The narrative ol rhe Shunammire w

Kings 4:8-37J contain" a reference ro rhe Sbbarh from rhe ninlh cenlu
When her son had suddenlydied, the Shunammire woman decided to ri
pophet Elisha for help. Herhusband said to her, "Why will you go to him
It h neither new moon Dor sabbath" (verse 23). The obvious implication
pophet was nomally visited on "new moon and sabbarh." No travel res
ested for vishingaman ofcod on the Sabbarh.n There is no suggesrion
the dav oI rhe .cdenr. *hich was a regular working day. rras a Sabbar
tiere is no rension wrh rhe Sdbbarh legislarion ofrhe Penrieu.h (t-\.
Deut. 5:12-15; Ex. 23:12; 34:21). It is held correcdy ihat this Sabbath t
cridence for the keepingofihe Sabbath as a day ofresr in preexilic times.
reekly day of rest..r
The account ofthe xp dTrai aranged by the high priestJehoiada in
I l:4-12 (2 Chron. 23:4-11) suggests'thar the Sabbath in rhe end of r
century was regularly observed." The changing ofrhe guard ofrhe Tem


undoubtedly a weekly occurrence (l Chron. 9:24, 25) that took pla

Sabbath (verse 32)." The ruling monarch visited the Temple on t
presumably for worship purposes, and the'Iemple cour! was filled wi
The Sabbath is also mentioned in connecrion with Kins Ahaz (73
s.c.){ and the removal of a structure'' used on the Sabbath (2 Kings
The Sabbath ir the Work of the Chronicler.-The chronicler"' r
Sabbath in a variety ofconnections.'qr It is stated that ihe Kehathites ha
prepar ing bread for ea.h Sabbrh r I Chron. 9:32, and that burnt ott
tobe sacrificed in theTemple on the Sabbaths, new moons, and appo
trhap. 23:31: 2 Chron. 2:4: 8: l3: 3l:3I' from the rime of Solomon o
grekeeprs ar the Tempe who rhange each Sabbath are priests an
The concluding chapte of 2 Chronicles contains a unique refer
Sabbath: "To fulfill the wodol the Lordby the mouth ofJeremiah, u
had enjoyed its sabbaths. All rhe days that it lay desolate it kept sabba
seventy years" (chap.36:2I). It would take us too lraeld to discuss
opinions on ihe "seventy years," and related subjets," but it is cle
author conceived of the fxile as the time ot paying offor compensa
neglect ofkeepngihe Sabbath.4 There is herea close association of th
Iand and Sabbath, est and Sabbath, redemption and Sabbath, res
Sabbath, and covenant and Sabbath.
The Sabbth in Nehe h.-The penitential prayer in Nehem
rnentions the "holy sabbath" (verse 14) as a gift from Cod through
so-called code of N-ehemiah (chap. 10:31-40), which put obligat
community thatweresealed by acovenant, forbids any tradeon the Sa
3l). lt is likely rhat this regulation resulted from the practices noted in
13:15-22," but undoubtedly it is rooted in the pentateuchal laws tha
the keeping of the Sabbath. Evidently when Nehemiah came to.ler
found a lax aitude toward Sabbathkeeping.* The precept agains
seuing on the Sabbath is also extended to "a holy day" (1a qodr, '' w
eitherthe otherholy days in the senseoftheyearly festivals (Numbers
or more likely any holy days, including the monthly nes moons a
festivals."' This relbm was necessitated because ofthe widespread d
rhe Sabbath in Judah and Jerusalem. The Sabbath was "profaned" (
18)'" by working and trading (lerses 15-22). Nehemiah also re
returnees that itwas'this very thing for which ourCod brought upon
this city all this misfortune.- r Here the reformer Nehemiah
announcements of the prophets Uer. l7tl9-27, Eze.20:12-24), w
amon8 orher things to the violation of e Sabbath as the caus
misfortne. He stoppd the {breign traders from peddling their w
Sabbath by closing rhe gates of Jemsalem from sunset on Friday t
Sabbath and rnade the winepress operators, farmers, fruit gr
transportation workers to sanctify the Sabbath.
Our investigation ofthe Sabbath in the prophetic and hisrorical
the Old Testament has indicated that the Sabbath was known and

to the rime ol Nehemiah in rhe po.r-Eri'c period. fhe S;barh had rr
downs. Among rhe mosr signih( anr \pecrs ot prophei pruLlamarion r

rhe.Sabb(h are irs inseparable linL: ;i'h ,ornan'. ,ig;. ,nd fairhtutn
and liberr), delighr and hLman tutfittmenr, nd lar bur'nor lesr. exharo
new i rearion. The ine!irable impres(ion i\ rhar rhe Sbbdrh
grti ro man from rhe firsr ( reation even lo r he new herens and the new e


66 22,23t.

14a108:).lri.i rorto,o, rq7o,
, ,t.r.!rflfn
.hr (! n,h drr,a1 . ,r r ryD..n ,n rhe !m h
dd)r n'o1'nr, dnd )., nr,n.,rJ,ed ,h. \",dh t,;", ,;";r;;,";
\4'h"'i .hprcr "Th. tubbrh, prn,"!,1h.. Dp lt 41.
p-,i,,1-i I y!! :@1r rftro,.n.''hFn.' /Hi r 2 36(, 6b
" l.',
rhr F,one't) rmph.n"d nrn.
.\nutr. R s rj,rDo\
@k1th.BoIAno,nn dun.blrebj
p2{q:q.RLdntph "a *...auae ";i:i.,.tii.t:
no-z:H w \totr.Dot.tzaaptdh 2 /,,id,,14r',\rt.,.hr;.\ f,r.,
.oo", p fi( l v,;i;._:;;;d
sbbd r{
k8rn8tr 7ui rn,hn ttu Jnd Brd.,un8 dn\dus,,;;, r,; i.;", i r,--i},:




I G A. Smnb wmrc on Amos 8:5: .The intere*

ofihe Sabbaih arc rhe intereM or rhe mor: rh

r!bb'hrc.hccnem'eio,,r.p!8,.. rlrsbb,hw"rm,a
rwr n.;:
l; aii,i n; f, i',; i:,)i
' l. $tnn. DB B,-h d- uot xt.t\a p,o?rd.4 in,.a uo,-,3.. rqb?, .. u1. ro\
' r'hehlpnrhcsi5 rhesbbarhdr.lrtrnm1," 'or''hm!!nd'r"l
' r hF, r.m r mdr "gr , b) Rdn !n. ttua4r44ai qa.atatth.utd t.b*nt \ahh

ie.. p 1q brror.\,r,

r v\.r,
ibbd, sl,le4.mots.h.undlhronoto6
rd { r "mdi.c. .rc \dbbdr " r.p"ru; i,t. kf..".".. tu
r has re.ntly dard ro abour 750 8... s. H v
Howajparrdcrph,. ro?4.. p c3. lorow.r al pob,ron rt;,L',1t-'
h.r,..,orLeuvr1'nlnfncut,to,T. I \. \pr kq,nr ,r noF."o h.n,,pt,.,:f..
r{ulfi H,r. DD 13. 116.
.!r RLdurph
lr1.-,C e'doh .obb',p.7t..o[-rob\\.t A. \ndd\ ItpAh t.,hn
Di{ T rMRout N,i,ni rc7r, n 6
Th"old trtr"m;n',nrdt. .ahde dtdrrd,hene* mnn.dd r;Jr;..1.1,,a,".*r
P\ t:t. tr t.t1.irH.l I\,rr\, ll,{ /,,r,r /!&, rRrhmo. r- ,q. ]",i }i:z
, r he rr''h he," x r !4' brro'".hi. F,m,, rrr. ru,nd, r" rhriihe e;n.. r,h,
.^ u,rin AnL nrnd\.rJ.r.
n\, nr, dno ldaturh.,.h^ -*r""^*d
i i; a;;;.;;;;;:l;n
Ire"ins'oh..r'neh mof ndvbbrti'r{cRobinlon
.o ,4! onne r q.h.n,4 t...,rt.
"t"b,.rrc,.^t. r",.E,.nd,,it,l,
el,bdhi bur no u, befo' "att
Hord. t 33. RudotD6 Haqa D 7r

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r" ABr llol
od^ h r kbu.
ufonc oDnSrodn.nd rnd,h.lrun(rr, sbbJh. th.(t!,edLU.nta\enb,hh_.
? rb,J0
.r.:." ,*,- ,6 ),, !4 dr.o R Nu,,h.. ,h. n(,.,.r--,,i,.:ii,,, io,iq1:


d,onrun,,,,n.n,h"vt th,..rhe,r.tuvn.ndrh

rr' 1\brent'.'m(Lt'n. rh.c,mu4,. .amb\,..rd Lbl\i.

ot \,a- ootl2t
on,h, h no \o,r hr\,o b- ^1. i*. r. ku,i h. lrE. .,ix 6i t913 l{7.r
dr trr"Ar,flrrny.reH \\b?ta"t ttqtt t2 r,\rx.
ic.7 ,,i,;.

,\?!F, 'r..'pJlr'or rs,rin{ l

\r[! vn,]rr..,/s,i
r-h ,"''4m'i;Bbn.HeI
it?lt:tJys: p c?
Se Roblnen ,r';,



MdiM.|, t d, i H surh,O Plh,^ khnE,ndG Robinen,, rho hv. orhr r

br..r ot n.
^ trl.n md Sbhrh m. rh. sbba r r om um mnhl' ot .flr((v
i !u{on in mod.rn eholnhiorosim lsial 566 ro on. or
syms frcm lhndr lkh 56:1.3nd S3.lSmnLinrrnuini lcrndl of ru,.rDl h om leuh.
hhohv.'gu.d,n..helgl0lfo'hrLnnrof.uonhipofrh..nrirboloflkihFl lrouns,^
x H.nien.G L A(lEr.g J All,nd r. Yrlioh, nor o cntion rulh Er omm.nuro
a l. A
R. Sti.r, rd Frnz D.liixh.
ult x I L.mnr. op. , pp. l30, l3l: E. l. lo
b.(e in fr.ld,ll:1
o rr fcnnd RDi&, Mi, h., 19721. 5 391), b! hn qn hrdh b. or,
,eb5i' pp.n ind . orh.r r.tu!lt ,. m.nho.d epJ,r.l).
'5o.lro in Ex ll 19l.?6'2.nd.rrunE.20i12.{223.26:2

Robinrn,,, d., p. !02.

tss..rh.D'.i,.htrDr.r.'fh.sabbhth.Pnur.ulh. oD 2l-{S. hd N..fA. AnLl,
rudi.!r ol .dld tbbth som. obrnoE. zIr 36q?4,:{b7
Nd. rh. p.BBn. ' 8uftnB ol J Mu*rbu' g, 'Thc Bot ol lsin . \ hpt.B4o ," t t t

M( X.nn., rr,/ /{I, r rr- A. rcrdrn Cr}, 196r, D. 165.

nmonr rh. PhanE.s. k. I Z lzuk, b(h. Tt. Pht nd Thn T.!h'nc!." ne id
l95l). pp 37--1tq,.tp p 123, r rh. llmud, r. Af \abbrh II7b. n.dcrn rih.r, r.. I E*
Yo|. 1942'.3:900
UE6i, m.ldd
! Tl. rcndir,on.l
pjrl. i:r f ifl .mplo!.d
he'r h h rh. imprlr ruindir.r rl ord rR I wllru Il.ra.ttu 4n ourr.2d.d. fTorcno. 19761, D 7,1. s ,1t5,
v n. v.ib i folld.d by rh. pFp.6n'm a mrm lo iurn .E.f f' m." f hu .uppon.d b
Nub.Rl4 4l, rumrt fr.m rolb'infl
td d.- d I Kinrr 3 tr."'urt fmm rh.i' rin,
l5 r ii cf. t. a. soqFn, ":1rr r utu 'h., ?HI,r333.
'1 rh. rhEd.n.dubol rh.
Lo r,Blx ar\,nunha
no, uppo,, iuih kduonr t"lflou,cr
. wbbrh und.rtmr" rN.IB.,, "1r b.duro
hold b.I rcur ii-r un h. ebbh rN.A 8.,
rcu rum rou' fe rN A S B ), hd 1f lou 'orFd
slnonrhrtrtrund. r
ku drrldm ' s6 o \.m @rd,tuG !l.iu*i kf E Kuiahnd^ E Cohl.r, c
2d.d lorrord. lglol,'D.344. . Ilghhl
!7 rh. u int h.'. b. (hi'd.,.d o hr. n d!.tr\.loRG,,., bur '
rh. difh\ul.rprs,o {d, }HtrH
r{rd ,n lQlw, nd lQlsl ..n( I'r.r
yhheh" wh.,.rh. prcph.r .mpor he ddi u!.
,n prJ).lnm ro-ebbrh. o,h
r'hfpn,r,.mcn,n3o' nu,rLm,.of ,/.p 16.
*_:I Hr.
hc diin prnn. ,. S nnr. 19
tr {hlrrurhrh.!r'brim.rn\nolh',uhril n,tr, r.,h- L,in.t'hrn'.n'nqol
ur, e.l drr.r_rrrr 1r p l:
'i cdlemdn,-xrla hnd.n' /Hl. r 9:,
Arri qlQ!.hr,oMrro",h.rdnrE.shhBlb.!lkdbr/r
5br6 in.orEtll d, rh. form in lolq'! n &z
rh. h{on
h. prf.n.d t.r -hiAh pla.1" b.ur .'. acuron hrJ
lulu h'sh pl!.
1.5. H@ 0.3. Amc 7 9.c..r.u,.
t Youns, , d, p.42b.
q w.h,b\\tufudp^.Cdu-Danodoltitf\ll\iLanr4q.t
urlS 2d.n h\.Lnd.
CHAL. o. tl2.lri. 89. rr,HALAT.
(,chllen hdbi /Hi,
j so rod.-rlv D. N. Ir.drrn in M.K.n7ic, /d. .r.
, Th. rnlios "2r.ndn8 ro yonr osn ffiB (N.E.a,) or "sp.alin8 rirh mlic" (N.^.
AmoS tun', A J Hhr. rt5. rNB Io,\. lv5l,. pp. l3 32. s H O6n.r. .
r94r r970r, ip.364: H q $olt'. rn. Dr ut R6r, rh. old 'I;, ' I
r1972i.72. Murcburc. d..n. o,Il4
"(.c! nuilki.'D 467
1r M.x.n../e
, ^.dr.!cn.
xa. D 7 la.. CHAL. b. 277.
hixt n (FFd r rh. ord r*,n Dcu,.mnomr 23 t6,Job22 26:2?:tu: Fqtmi
t Tn..mphaon wonh'pon.tubbrhrrhc.rrlr\. m.n'nxotd.lirhr ts i3:t4 b
t . DD 307.309. i rh. orh., aRb uf uc. or rh. qn. H hul lorm3. 'n
1 l. D. Sn Ht \ rhobit D red /q4l .Phrlrd.lph'.
'lbsr, 2r2, n'sd rhf Finr b
urfts b lr o,,hod; rn'D,niii
s. Mtrh I r. amd 4'lt. D;ur 52 19
::5u or{tl} Muikrbtrrr. o, r/, p.772
frcm,h..bundr.. ofn.f, mmn in rlncr @nndt'onrhrblndr
ebbrh (;.rric.rplinr rh. Bhol.,o ftn -solEnrrh. nrE mmn(u.\'n
DFinkd m.'ir i.d br I A. Al.rrndr', r @a o . P@tt o!Lain.orntrd 'ur.h
Iq531.2.a30'. tu(ord'ns . phrd.r indi.. rh. f,.dnmr "whn..c' ie" --,n:,nd s,bbrh D
(-. lonOrelli, tt,r"rttn
ol tet tfuinbutan lc5' D.14.Youn.d.o.o'19


fl rheu'h"n,'olrhnrrmo'r

b.rnoLcn,oned!n. XLe

L wrlhll923l.l.\re'nman
lt9r3t, E t1'.\nhokontru70,nd-1hre, 97
uhrni, uphddb, w. f. Brnc.,"PrcphaI nd
A No'eon
t ola$l ttun, 2o \192-3a6-c90 F. KiI, "lbbr,
Btbll, t R4thb, 'heTe4h'nsot
2d .n ( P.d boi n, t919
tldtnin. Lt hLlt d2lrr\?t.
rs56,.p tr0.l Brirh,, rheDar.of,h" prof*rmomor t.r.r.
Duhmll903l C H.Corn lll90Sl,s Mon,telll,tlal,P rolTtla01,A

w vilhrlros5_.1.P.Hyntra$l.u


rrq5l,2l, 24 H F,..dtun, /zd&{ rt;ndon. lc4c, D. 122. R l\ Il^Drv. lo.l an Low

odh aa Ltu^
ttben.r C\..lU.1975'. oo. 107. 103 I h. lonDi(h.nrt. ud!.n
rp.ah.sin le,.m'h'errpr,hdp.l7:lc 27lb, H wetpti, Dp P,o\oda . l.u la (Berl', tu
ro r , o luion ,hI ". D'6e sEahesd" m d,u r,on rh hnd of rd or"-P"@ 214 lul

d .. p'226 niird,hr Fn bL j.'m'nt rhtr

kht",t nl aHK\
rnd tM\\u,
rhr Dru'l rw H. Bdufl rnd
'... rc22r f 252,
HMh! cruqbt d4 h'ba\h \hfl,h 4t1!n'..d
t.kd tHalt
aIr \usffert r'iiid;,. "h.i
6r Rob'nsn.

marl: RobDron. o, rt.. D ,29


1( 490r, 153,, S'ol/,,r', ..,o1. 364;

n medn" ppoinkdlpr!'l\ A B "dhIn.'N A \.8 "dpFinredmfeb
$eHLar.pp r23.12s,H1l,p l3o C su
,{a l:7a2
'0 V,n, mode,ntu excs.".-s
l'.r hnd. e. dl.o W Li.
sbbrr b.i H6rli.l finBrn'd87u,l\rhflfqhi,hrdc.ftop5r'rrr,.r.'t^trn^
6<.74 lo'aprnermnR,, queof'h.fhyp
(BJrr nd dd.r, r'ir,

s ThfH.b'.h rr.d!

,1ndr.6.n, O srr,|,
'r Eze 20 12, 13, ?0, ?1,24, 22 26, 23 33, 11 21
Lr. 3l r3, If, v rq:3. 30. 6 2. ts. lb:4. 13 11.. nr hon dr'
'fhe lbbLh n
Pe''enh 'on 2l ar
r. *e the -hor.,

'hr ca!
a J""B"trr.s. /ur a{.sunsund

h'! ir; e. Drttosr, '

l{x 7o,too7,.po!


! rhe e!'


m\ knoh

sror/.-hrx&zc,lhen'IHr/.t91.9r.t I Hehm.rer."ln rrr. /rol.l

L\odu.3l:ll and F/.LrlUu:12.20. " sn bc.en m. n
&rlne,^ deD.ndenleoton.oneorhe

B.nhol.'ndr..Gll'E,fl,,t,1 Iub'nsn.l93b.p7n.$ c ,-t.i;|ded Neut ,h.n-vlu

a. D 233. hho !l'm! rhr t\odu6 !l t7 d.endinr un fe el20 12 u' nrhe' erf! Er.frili.
rheinhn'!dormorrl Frd.b, t fr^'er20:l?.?o no trodu!sl:'3. bruu(uJ norher,


w 7,mml' Old i.'.tu*'l'rrclA Oulrr. rArlnr. 1973,. DD 125. 126

's stbtstbnh
I n:b
: L. l?nt. Dn tint ss, ht 8q nnnx k,
" IIAL l.l7c
.mph3i7cd bl f Mds,'r rr,Di .nrheihrn
3r Robinei,. dl d.. o.230.
31 rherrupntrhi1b'hulo nur hveulenpl!er n inr.dltho"r'
rhr olneh m
rf.rrn,cro'heo.n..'n Ho1.2.11rm'ru'led br Robnlon,d. o 6.dndcoudlhDbl'!D
{1:l sundtE houi rLpF" l,om old Tfrmfn'. or ord4 ol,n,,ralnc frqrns o,,c
monl! rnm@n!, heeUr abbi'h!,,arin ls'h l:l3i 66:23: amo.d:5i nd 2 k'r84 21.flhe, Mh
rnd; ndins ;e, Ber ro, [
khi. h sbb,i pprF,n..L,,onlhrp,o ., mmn r d ,hrr r


's.on',oorheRbb'n,'erD,'iunol 1,000 rept rsokh r. c rDX.20 21, shunem nd c

. (.1 c S(d. Dr Aua l (,rre. .Mrnner 19.2'.291.
' s s^m..,hol,.ru38rfon.hrbdrror2x,n4
/ e,hriyr!,n,.n,r.r,ten,nprn!d^n.r,r
:nd rhr n ,a nor er d.l rA Phillipt, ALtat ho\.nMl Lau. A \a app,tu t to th D^atoN lotf
b.rr(n "od- /d-, nd rh. n6 men u srbbrh ( c I D?\\E\, t
t dl"r, ann rMa
Ripidr, Mi.h, l97t), p 215.
& r Bohn. Da sard ,a ,{a f^bwnt unn tn
flhsota 14hr,, {Curc' {oh, leu
Budde,"An'woir ul lohanne! v.'nhold.'/ur\6b'hlExe."'111r43(losni
l{0. w !i L.nnun."
s.bbrh, Zw .I9 , qr L 326, C -DD
l. Bo' Fnr! l. "Dr, dbb' ,n alt t e.mct.,- t oLr ()tu
r63. rb4, \ol/.
rlos4,:r3?, I33: tfrunf. d r
lul 366
d., p 11'. fhr;.qDcft. "., m@n
i' tottoE! Lhc niu
,n.ra!rs rrequ.nb or.elebBon (re
nore 32) '
4 I CEl,I{r/II(w.,1 Cm[aaarPh'ldclDh, l96q. o. r16.
pfhr niorh\ .hn_s. oi . !or'i'nda( ofrh dmr ( h'on. 27 l, t in{nu'rd r c b
r.r.nor idenrnrlknh h. tom' nd !hn8ed
ea h w."l on lbbarh
hdp.9: l7 32/ Onl) tf,\'h.nd
ro ente he f.mple (2 Chrcn.23'4,6) ! ru' dF., s. E R. )hi"l?, a Lhrcnlb [ tl1. Htt
,C,r{ Rrp'd(. Mn h, Iq77,, p 7




2.3. Robiron-or..r- DD 99 103.

t tl,on.;nr oi him d ihr uthu' o, I
Chonrl6, L ,.nd \.hcmkh
s I Ch.on. 9:32i 23:31:2 Chron. 2;4i 3:l5i
23,4, 3; 3l:3; 36:21! Nh.9:lr, l4; l0:32'34

D$rblvverlr rdD@inrrd f.rtb)r f 2Chrcn 3 I5, 2Ch,onills2'4 0o.6thno'dr, ofd

rnd et.nirq), .rlh rb6Lh!, onLh\ (., m
dri.e1n iE "uen,e ol o r ,mornms
rrr ihc rqlcn e frcm mon ro hr{. r hc' e# or he, Old T
\appo,nred lrd! '. 16. (hmrtr lcr r'tr ) 1
oriT.r rh..r.r ion la{ b no{. &e nok 32.
. On."ln.sev.n,) Yerot Bbylon,' t I6llqi6, 1M.30b: c
Trm ^ans Y.'r CDuqo,'r'I4 r1914,.60 72 dr, lhe e\rnry Yed" D""olrion-A
1957, 4 16 f 3, O Plo!. , 'srb?iq l"h' r." , ,.l t I Bouad,uL tL 70 C.ttux, .d. b)
l5rtJ, pp. 124.130,B 7 w&hod.i. sbb.ll .'IDBrp.,\"!h\'11.. 1916', pp 762,76



Mr er !. .a.N.,.l rcrdrn L r. l95r. D. 173.

q. M
L 5hf.r. _s.bba,h, ,Darur. r\\ilh, Iq76,, o 7ol

:r onlv he'.,n Lhe Old 1elknenl alLhoush rhe \"bb

,x"d -hol!" rdr. lb 23,11 14, l5lL.\.2?:2q! lq r:lq), e'e i' d*. nut,aa iu rhe \bb
'9( F rerl. /A, 3o[! /,,. vthnh. anl .t.pnnt c.t rnd Rip'd\. M(h. 1
Mr.a. E, X.i.d. D. t73
@ Tlic phr d. "p'
ebbr nlmili' l,,2l 223.2q: I
,xodus 5l:l.l: Iraiah 56;?.6.
Tnnlaiob of

Tbe Sabbatb





Sa.k e Kubo


inrerrestamental period brings ro view sereral neq facets regar

his(ory ot rhe Sabbrh. Firsr. aside from the Sabbarh commandment it
20:8-t l; Deut. 5:12-14; Lev. 23:3), the Old Testamet provides surprisin
sperific statemenrs regrding rhe manner ot obsr\ inB e day.+ The in
menral sources car ry us beyond these and serve as I rnsilion between

Testamentand the Rabbinicperiod. Furthermore, these sources Bive info

on Sabbath observance in watime and in situations where theJews were
of foreign porers. while su( h siruarions were plesenr in rhe Old Testam
have nosimilar inlormarion there regarding Sabbarh observnce in con

with them. A srill further aspecr of the Sabbath thar first appears du
necessitared by.lewi"h contct with Helenislir so(iely. Other [a(ers in.
contents of the Sabbath service and the Jewish sectarian views on the S
The Observanc of the Sabbath
ostraca found at Elephantine in Egypt (frfrh century B.c.) men
Sabbath four times.'One ofthese merely mentions the Sabbath, and not
be inferrcd from this except thai ihere was an awaeness ofthe Sabbath. A
ostracon is addressed to the woman Islah, who, according to Rosenthal,'li
"meet theboat tomorrow on Sabbath lest they lthe vegerables] get losrspo
'lp' nl btbh bnh hn )'bd). By the life of YHH, if not, I shall take your lifle
'li)l" The third ostracon refers to something, perhaps the dispatching
beingdonebefore the Sabbarh. Thefourth has thesentence, "l am going
not come the eve (of the Sabbath) ('r)."
Porten also discusses the name Shabbthai, which is found four rim
Aramaic papyri of Elephantine-Syene and once on a sarcophagus. Acco
t^odr, to u. lrrih l7:2r. k"'ah 53 13. nd N.heniih l3: li 22 de no'rd
pp 2t.27. a7.4s
rd 2 S.

on rhe Sabbarh during rhe Hellenisrir period. bur larer on orhers

.onnotarion. Srill larer. during (he Roman period, rhe name was
Sambarhion nd ws given to Lgyprians. as weil. His exptanarion for rh
Sabbath made a deep impression on non-leus,50 rhai man! of rhem
observan(e wirhour be(oming lews.r Porn teels har rhree occurre

name belons to non-Jws who were auracted by Sabbarh observance.

it would be highly signih( anr. sinr e -l (herikover nds rhis phenome

rhe Romanperiod. ll Porren isrighr.lhen wehave non-lewiatreadyk
Sabbarh jn rhe frh renrun r.c.. and this practir e probabt conrinuei
the Hellenistic period.
Regading the mention of Sabbarh in the ostraca, he conciud
glance, the person who wrote ro Islah to meer rhe boar on rhe Sab
vegetables which he was sending rhar day ger lost/spoiled is reminis
.onrempor arv men olJudah h ho broughr grain. win;. and hss inro le

rheSabba(hrNeh. I3:l5r.On rheorher hand.roncerntorrhpreseiv

vegetabtes and the threat to take Islah's life unless she met rhe boar on
may impl) some extrordinar) siruation and indire.tly arrest
observan(e ol rhe Sabbarh. The possible disparch of 6sh and lhe
arrivl before rhe d) ot rhe Sbbrh mr indicre a deliberare unw
protane rhe Sabbarh b) rra!elng or disprching an obie(r on rhar d
In his same aflirle. Poflen seeks ro shoq rhi he lews were nor as
in rheir worship as has been held lormerly. t he onlyi tear cse ot rhi
the wonhip otnarhYHW, rl hich he arrribures ro rhe worship ofhea\
in-r rodxrd during rhe davs ol Manasseh (2 Kings 2 t:5: 2 Chrn. 33:3.
ofBerhel, he teels. belongs ro rhe Aramaeans wio had garrison ar Sl
proximity to the Jews."
A pmcrice that is clearly in evidence in the Rabbinic period buinot
in rhe Old Tesrmen(comes inro view for rhe rn rime in rhe book ot Iu
isdaredbymosrs.holrsberween tS0and t25 B.c.Thehe'o,ne-fa.r;d
of her wdowhood. e\.epr rhe day betore rhe sabbath and rhe sabba
day before the new moon and the new moon irself, and rhe feasts
rejorcing oi rhe houseot lsrael t(hap.8:6). Even in her mournin
Sabbath nd rhe feasrs were considerd days of rejoicing. she retr
fastrng on rhose days. She alqo ser up a (ent on rhe root oi her house
wore Sarmenrs ol her widos hood. but rhe Sabbrh and feasr dvs she
home wearing difterenr garmenrs (verse 5J. White (he srory is (onsider
and lakes pla(e n rhe days otA5svria. neter(hetess ir reflec customs a
of the period in which ir was l1ri en.
The Book ot.lubilees, wrifien in rhe torm ot a revelarion siven
Srnai. is dared abour ihe same rime as ludirh. Here tor lhe hr"sr lime
series of prohibirions regardrng rhe Sabbarh. and a lorerunner o
l.bbinic laws regarding rhe Sbbrh. Fragmenrs of rhis book hv
found at Qumrn and are believed ro be a -parr o, lhe literarure of r
lived lhere. Ac(ording ro Frank Cross,..he con.rere (onrar6 i
terminolo$ . ra lend ricat pecu tia riries, a nd priesr lt interesrs, ber wee n
ol Enoch,Jubilees. and rhe Tesrmenrs ot Liri nd Nphri tound ar
rhe one hnd. and rhe demonsrrably secrar ian works ofeumran on rh


must nor srikea beasr: if it is stubborn. he musr no( take it out ot his

Additional prohibitiors nor found in Jubilees are:

1. "Let no man spak a lewd or villainous word" (10:1S).
2. l,r h-im nor lend an) rhing ro hs neighbour (or: press his n
repaymenr of anyrhingf (10:I8).
._- _3, "I*, ihem nor shed blood fot (ort dispute abour) propert


4. "Let no man walk abour in rhe field on Sara in oder to do

requires .after, the Sabbarh ends" (Il:2O,21).
5. "Let him not walk abour'outside his rown above,one rhou

6. "And of

that which is lying abour (lit.:loso in rhe fietd [let h

_7.."kt him not send

day" (11:2).

a proselyte

(or: genrile)'to do what he req

8. "I-et no man put upon himself (on rhe Sabbath) dirry clothe

have been put into store, unless rhey have lbeen washed] in rvater o

wirh frankincense" (I I:4).

9. "Ler no man go afrer a beasr (on the Sabbath) io pasture ir.outs

for more than two thousand cubits"'(11:5,6).

10. "U,et him not openl a pitch-sealed vessel on rhe Sabbath"

IL "l,rrnoman(arn upon hmseli medi(amenrs(ogoournd
the Sabbath" (Il:lO).
12. "Let no man pick up in his dwelling-house a sione or dusr



p9da8ogue,. norcarry rhe youngchild'to goourand

the Sabbath" ( l l:1 1).

14. "Ler no man urge on hi\ Uewishl slave or maidservanr or lhi
on the Sabbath" ( t l: I2).
15. Ler no mn assisr a beasr in b h on rhe Sbbarh dav. Lren
hpt n?u-bon )ounginto .isrern or a pir. ler him nor keep ir rrhe youngr
Sabbath ' (1 l: I3, l4).
16. "Let no man lspend the Sabbath] in a place near genrites on r

(l I:15).

l7. tr no man proiane rhe Sabbarh lor the sake of orooerrr and
Sabbarh. Bur every living (lit.:soul ol) man who ralt" inr a ilare /uU
into a plar e ltrom whn h one cnnor rome upl, ter r man |brine him

ladder or a rope or an, insrrumenr" ltl:t5-i71.,.

I8. Ler no man offer on rhe atrar on rhe Sabbrh exr eDr rhe bu

(har rhe Qumrn sed genera y had srr
_ ..There is agreemenr
Sabbarh observance rhan rhe resr ol theJews. Jsephus bears rhis o
wrires: Ther ... aresrricrerrhan allJ.*'InrUslinii g r,o* *orkon
dav:fornotonl) dorhe\ preparerheirtoodonlheda;betore.tovoid
hre on rhat one. bur rhe) do not renrure to remove any \essel or e
rool. "" Kmbrough disagrees wirh rhrs iudgmenr and put. lorrh hi

'normative' Jewish iradition at a very early stage." He accepts G. F.

evaluatron thai the strictness ofthe laws "was noi particularly sectarian"
the character of the older Halakah in general.""
One of ihe most striking differences between the Zadokite Docum
Jubilees is the fact ihat the death penalty for Sabbath deseration is not me
at all. Instead, the former reads: 'But everyone who goes astray so as ro
the Sabbath and the appointed rimes shall not be put to death, for it falls t
suard him: and il he is heled from n. rhe) shall gu, d him ior a Period
years. and afrerwards he shaU come into (he as5embl) tl2:4-6). Inrhisirs
be more tiberal even than Rabbinic Judaism, which kept the death pen
emphasized rhr rhe rransgression mu5l be a .omplere .t of work
presumptuously in spire of the walning of uitnesses.+
oher ditterenes berween rhe (wo do(umenrs are: (l) The
Document does noi mention lighting a fire on the Sabbath, althoug
probably assumed on the basis ol Exodus 35:3 and Numbers l5:32-35
iommand ro eat only lhar hhnh has been plepated on rhe previous
.Jubilees pohibits traveling on sea, which is not mentioned in the
bocument, as well as ridingon an animal, slaughteringabeastor bird. cat
animal, bird, o frsh, and making war.
According to Bierenhardt, the zadokite Document is stricier t
Rabbini( prxis in rhe following: the lime ol beginninB rhe Sabbrhr sp
loolish or idle trord: the lenFh ol a Sabbarh dyt journev: rhe open
pit(h-sealed ve5sel: rhe r arrying ot medi(amcnr: rhe Pi( king uP ot sron
in rhe house: rhe carrying ofa young (hild in and our of rhe houre: he h
a man who has fallen in water.r
Phito, afier mentioning that the Sabbath rest is to include one'
neighbors. treemen. and slaves. as well as his beass. goes [urthet rhan
mentioned rhus tar. The Zadokite Documenr lorbids a man ro er wha
about in the field (10:23), but Philo says that the Sabbath "extends also
kind oftrees and plants; for it is not permitted to cut any shoot or branch
a leaf, or to pluck any fruit whatsoever."'"
Sabbath obsevance

in Situaons of Corfict

Although n really fallsunderthe previous section, we are teatingth

ofsabbath bservance separately because of its prominence during thi
There are surprisingly no such cases mentioned in the Old Testame
rhough rhere wiresirarions ot(onfli( I during whi( h rhe people ol God h
under foreign rulers. as in E$p, Assvri. nd Bbrlon. The Israe
engqed in wrs during (hts period. bur norhrng is said about this aspect,
rhrbbh dis( ussed loshua s mar( h around Jericho, and AlSer F. Johns
rhink that Nebuchadrezzar attacked Jerusalem specifically on the
he.ause oesumablv he knew ht thev would nor resisr him rhen.s
we irear nothiig abo,r sabbarh problems duting rhe Egvprin oP
before the Exodus. Presumably most of the Israelites forSot the laws
fathers. However, the Sabbath seems to have great importance for ihe


names_during this period were Sabbathai, Simon, andJoseph.,iThe f

to a child born on the Sabbath. Mention has also been made of the f
non-Jews also took this name and that cenriles bearing the name S

corruption of the name) were keping rhe Sabbath without bec

Nevertheless, in a total pagan environmenr it was noi easy for a J
faithful. There is one insnce of a man on the este of -A
Philadelphia, probably a manager of building works, who did nor
Sabbath. "We should ecall the vast amountofwork carried ourby th
in Philadelphia, the rempo ofrhe work, and rhe se!eriry of su.h ra
Apollonios or Zenon. ro.ppre(iare rhe sreadfasiness ol a Jew o
Sabbath under such conditions.",l
Life for a Jew tould be rery diftr.ulr \aorking under foreisn ras
well-nrgh impossible in a foreign army. Josephus lisrs a leirer
golernor o[ Srria. who urore to Ephesus abour 44 B.(.. givin
concerning rhe Jewi insisrence thar lhey 'cannoi underkk mi
be( ause they may nor bear arms or mrl.h on rhe days otthe Sbbath
he granred ihem exempron lrom milirary seni(e and atlowed lhem (
native customs.!3 The papyri have shown clearly rharJews served

E$pr in rhe Ptolemai( period and even before rhal in rhe Persin p
Jewish garrison al Elephanrine indicales. This r onrinued ro rhe R

problems. Perhaps ina peacerime situation, accommodarion could be
Jews atquiesced. There is one ac<ounr where they were torced inlo
.ompelled ro ghr on rhe Sabbarh againsl (heir own.ounrrymen. Ni(
ro artack Judas and tel( he could do so irhrompleresafesonrhe
TheJewawho were tor(ed in(o his arm) rried ro dlsuade him. besee
''show respecr for rhe day whi( h he who ses alt rhings hds honored a
above orher dars.''' When Nicanor asked who comm;nded rhis. they
h the livinB Lord himsell. rhe Sovereign in hea!en. Ni(norrhenre
I am a soveregn also, on eanh. and I command you ro rake up arms a
kingi business. lr Apparenrly rhey were lor(ed (o a (k 6ur did
But how did thev relare ro rhe Sabbarh when rhe' here
themselves, when theyould conrrolwhatthey did on rtre Sabath lat
part)) The firr such situation $e ha!e rerorded rook place when p
entered Jerxsalem on a Sabbarh unopposed and bicame mae
wirhout ditEculry and rued r harshly.","
Later, abour 168 8.c., Anriochus sent Apollonios ro Jerusale
remained peaceably until rhe Sabbarh, when he ordered his .ren to pa
srnce rhe Jews.were idle. When rhe people came ro see rhem, rhey u
aso desiroyed the rir\ walls and bulr rhe A(ra. fonihed cikdel

ln the next such occasion under Anriochus Epiphanes, when a

plan of Hellenization sas dded to (onque\r. rhere ws a differenr re
Jews submirred by sacrihcing ro idols and prolaning rhe Sabbarh
refused nd fled inro rhe widerness. The enemv oursed them and
ararked (hem on rhe Sabbarh. I\ra(rrrhias and is fo ouers reluse
emselves, saying, "'Let us all die in our innocence..., The result

survivors chose the former. "'Ler us," they derermined, "'fight againsr eve
who comes to auack us on the sabbarh day; ler us nor die as our brerhren
iheir hiding places. " s Josephus adds, "We conrinue rhe practice of gh(i
on rhe Sabbath h henever ir be( omes necessarv. . f he Book otjubilees. s
little later than this evenr, prohibirs war on rhe Sabbarh. Perhps ir repre
group that rigidly maintained the stricr observa nce of rhe Sabbarh even if
annihilation. At any rate, it must have been made with conscious awarenes
problem ol rhe obser\n(e ol Sabbarh in 11rrime.
During the Maccabean period, this pracrice of defending themselve
attacked but not fighting offensively on the Sabbath seems ro have been fo
Judis fought against Nicanor when the la[er attacked him on the Sabba
Jonathan did likewise when Bacchides attacked him on rhe Jews' sacre

Josephus, also, during the Great War, followed this pracrice when he
comaod o[ a troop at Taichaeae. Apparenrly, the enemy generals w
fully aware ofthe lews'decision to defend themselves on rhe Sabbarh. H
even when theJews could take advantage, they did noi auack rhe enemy
Sabbath. Even thoughJudas and his foces had roured Nicanor and had p
him forsomedistance, ey were obliged to eturnbecause rhe hour was l
it $as the day before the sabbath, and for that rason they did not conrinu
pursuit."They kep! the Sabbath, and on rhe nexr day rhey distribured rhe
On another occasionJudas had Gorgias in flight, bur since rhe Sabbarh was
on, he stopped so his forces could observe the da,v."
Even though they fought to defend themselves on rhe Sabbath, rhe
remained very important for theJews, and rheir enemies were well aware
Thus when Demetrius sought the alliance ofJr)nathan, one of his propos
tbat "on ihe Sabbaths and all festivals and the three days preceding a fs
Je$s shall b exempr from labour.'* and John Hyrcanus, who was fo
accompany Antiochus VII Sideres to light against rhe Parthians, even in r
ofrelationship persuaded the king to rmain in one place notonly for the
butalso for Penecost, which happened to precede the Sabbath thatyear,

those days the Je&s $ere not permitted to mar.h.'

Differnt strategiescould be used against theJews, assumingrhar the e
knew how they would behave on rhe Sabbarh. Knowing rhar rhey $ould
themselves only ifatBcked and that therefore if rhere were no imminenr
auack the Je{s would relax, their enemies could auack rhem by surprise.
exacdy $hat Ptolemy Lathyrus did (.. I 00 B.c. ) when he arracked "Asochis,
Galilee, on th Sabbath, and taking it by storm, caprured abour ren th
personsand a great deal ofbooty besides."" Anorher rype ofsrrategy woul
the enemy to make other types of military preparations short ofan arrack.
the tack that Pompey followed in capturingJerusalem. Concerning this.Jo

"But il it were not our national custom to rest on (he Sabbarh d

eanhworkswoud not havebeen dnished, because theJews would have pre
this; for the Law permits us to defend ourselves against those who begin ba
!rrikeus, but it does notallow us (o 6ghtagainst an enemy that does anyrhi

"Ofthis fact the Romans were well aare. and on those dars which ile
Sbbth.rhevdidnotshoorar rheJehsor m((rrhemin handrhand(om

order that these mighi be pur ro work rhe follo$'ing day.".

Under Roman ruie, the Jews ilere quire liee ro pracrice rhe
rn, hrding r he!ni c r rhe 5l,barh. we h\ c dlred) mrnruned
letter to Ephesus exempting the Jews from milirary service so rhar rhe
have conflicts over the Sabbath and problems concerningtheir food.Jo
several other decrees and le(ers granting the.Jews permission ro ob
Sabbaths.'" l-heir conflicts centered upon the quesrion of imges rarh

N eve rtheless, there were in.idents that related ro rhe Sabbarh - Phi
one such case, lthough his interest is more to poinr our an exrmple o
He mentions "one oftheruling class ri'howanted to doawaywirh rheS
commanded theJews to do things forbidclen on the Sabbath, "thinkin
could destroy the ancestral ru le of the Sabbath it would lead the way to
n ll urher marerr. nd d generil b, kJiding. Bu, rhrl(w., elused \

peruade them through reason:

"'Suppose,'he said, \here $as a sudden inroad ofthe enemv or a

caused by the rirer rising and breaking through the dam. o
,,'nfltsr driun or .r ,hu,rderbolr or lJ'nrne. or plague or ear rhquake. o
trouble eitherofhuman or divine agency. will yo stav at home perfect
will you appear in public in your usual guise, with lour right hand tu
and the left held close to the ftank under rhe cloak lest rou s
un, on, ousl du dn\ r h'nq rh.rl mrgh' help ro \!e !oui And r ill r ou
conventi(les and assemble your regular companv and read io securit
books, expoundinganyobscure point and in leisurely comfort cliscussi
\r n(e.rral philo'uphv) No. vou h ill I hroh all I hne, rd grrd \ o
for the assistance of vourselves. r'our parents and your'llchildren, an
pesons who ar nearest and dearesr ro you. and indeed also your c
wealth to sve them too from annihilation.
"'See rhen,'he went on, 'l who stand belbre you am all rhe rh
named. I am the whirlwind, the wr, the deluge, the lighrning, rh
fmine or disease, the earthqrake hich shkes and contbunds \4 har w
slable; I am constraining destiny, nor its nme but its power, visible r
and standing at yorr side."',,

Philo does not tell us wherher rhe ruler succeeded orfailed: but sin
not force thenl throuSh pressure, it is likely that he liled rhrough
Nevertheless, Philo pro!ides us here wnh a good example ofrhe iype o
rhr mu,r hrve been pre'errr"d ro perruade,he les\ r,r \oure rnsr
rhe\ Eere J,, u\ronrerl in ,hc'r uh.crvnr.,,t (he 5aLb
'hnbeginning of the
At the
Jewish relolr aher Vespasian lande
Antiochus. whose farher rvas chief magisrrate of the fews in Antioc
denounced his father and otherJews bur did ror alk)w rhem'\o rep
seventh day." irstead conrpelling lhem to d o everyrhin g exacrly as oll
nd \o nr x I ly did he crrlr, ( ,h(.ire , e rha ror ,,nl) dr .\nrio, h 11 .
dd\ or r esr dboli\hed. bur I h( c\dmple hJu,,g Leen:,, red herF \pr.rJ
time to the other Lities d\ hell. L
In the desperate war that broke our berween rhe Romans and rh
Romans could not relyon $hattheJeNs $ould do on the Sabbarh. In rh

hnd rhe oposire taling pl(e. Since

les\ 'o
.ertarn wy, and they did nol.lhe Romdnr qe'e \urliriscd lhehr\lrn\l
rhis was the mss( reofrhe Romn gart i.on on I he Sahbath. adv[n shn
relisious 5. ruples lew. absrain even l,.m the mo\l inno.enr d(t5. 'Jo
.*"i**. t iti.u""ro'al ot rhi\ Sbbath mss. re u hen he dds tur rhe
s,me aar and ,,',h..orn. hur, ds it se,e l,r rhe hntl ol Pro\rd(n


insrance ofthis was whenJohn tricked Titus into postponing the surrende
peopleofGischala from the Sabbath to the nextday so thai he could escape

rhe night.r!

Aird as the war came to its limax ard rea.hed Jerusalem, .J ose phus
"The Jews, seeing the war now approaching the capiial, abandoned the fe
rushe to arms; ind, *ith great infidencein their numbers, prang in d
nd wih loud (rie\ ino lhe-lr!. wirh n. rhoughr tor I he \e\enth-dat ol re
h\ rhe ter! rbbarh whi(h rhe) regrded wrrh 'Pe,il rereren'e. "
The IeB;h dilemma ol keeping the sabbr h holt Jnd d! ing rtr 6Shrirr
Sbbarh lnd runiving i. uell ixpiesed in Aqrrppa ll' spee,h iu;' be
tou Ub\er\e \,,ur 'dhhh ,usrom' nd relu.t r,' rake rrr) :k
rhat da\'. \'u hill undorbredl\ be e'rlvlt leJred. \ herc I'rur l"rcl
Ponroer. uhu rr'e*tl rhe.icse mosr tis,{oul\ "n Ihe dJy' \herr rhe t

r.m,iined,n-ii'elrl.onrh(,i{,rIar).};uIrn'qr(*Ilrelq"l \urrdn
tdil l see hhar lurrher obi(1 r,,usrll hrrelor ho'iliri\''inietutr.n

urion",'t 1',u r tar h(r\. Ho\ I i 'rrld tur In

rdolrheD<iy.trer deliberarrl, omrrringropa\ Himrhe5r\i'c\hi'h\
Him? "'r
The answer to this is giver aptly by Asinaeus, who with his brother A
hd set uDan independenienclare rn Mesopotamia abullhe im( "tCir
ii.r. .1 l, ,a " h..i,. lew. were being ma"a' rcd I here' when Asirraeu' h
rhe satrao ot Babvlonr's pln ro arra, k him Un rhe SbbJrh. h( 'errr - our
inre.risaie. hev t ame bi, k u irh rhe reput r rhar wr rr ue and rhdr lh
.,,nht-in a uaD and i,Lr trand. re ried be(use Ihe 'ommandmenr
on, E.,r lla* o, er" u. L do no wot l. ApPrenrlvrhe!houghririmpri'p
''better observance ofthe law, instead of Sladdening the fbe by a death
rake his cuuraqa in hi\ hdnd5. ler rhe 5r rir\ inr
nt'hino r(omolished.
ol Lhe Iw and die rr he mu5L exdrin
he hadi en erruse violarion
ro or eser re inliolrc ll rhe rn.rir

\engeance."'s His resolve strengthened his fbrces, and they dfeated the
L,rer on, otre, Asinaeu. had been purs,rncd. Anrlaeu\ lerned
P,rhian leader Mnhridres had \e, up tamp uirh rhe rdea otrri' king
Sabbarh. Hc mad( r nishr mar,h (Frid\ nis
nert dav. $hi(h was
ttcked the Prrhidns'hear J:i)0 a.v sdbbarh morninB. Jes ho'r i'l
,prured Mirhridares. nd pur rhe resr ru flighr. lhu5IheJes',ho'<r
.eif-deten"e on rhe Sabbarh bur even rra( k ; deler rheir enemresnd P
their way of life. For them it was "better observance of the law" to iight a
needbeioprore,rrheirreltgx'u.righ'' etenil ir meanr at rhe momenr r
hd ro rrd;.tstes\ rhe \er lau' rher soughr r uphold.

Very liiile is mentioned ot(he religious

a( tivries thr were rarri

f lhe priests srood near the
southwesr romer of rhe lemple to give noti(e. b) sound of tru
afiernoon of rhe approach. and on rhe following erening of rhe ( l
seventh day. announcing to (he people e respfcrire hours lor ceas
for resuming their labou."s
At the Temple ihe priests served daily; buton the Sabbath, new
feast days the high priest accompanied rhem. Philo discusses
sacrifices, the placingofthe shewbread on ihe tabe and rhe frankince
on the loaves,sr but does so on rhe basis of rhe Old Testamenr rathert

Sabbarh. Josephus mentions (hat one


Every Sabbath theJews gathered in the synagogues'1o lisren ro

to obtain a ihorough and accurate knowledge of it.",'Philo desc
detailwhat goes on in the synagogue: "And indeed they do always ass
together. mosr of rhem in silence excepr when it is the prafii.e ro add
signifr approvalofwhar is read. Butsomepriesr whois presenrorone
reads the holy laws to them and expounds rhem poini by poinr rill a
aftemoon, when they depart having gained both expert knowledge
laws and corsiderable advance in piety."',
Philo more frequen'lr describ (hesea(riviriess'studying phil
orcupying rhemselves with rhe philosophy of rheir frhers. dedicri
ro ihe acquiring of knowledge and the study of the Euths of
summarizes rhe truths and principles studied under t$o hed: 'on
Cod as shewn by pier) and holiness, one ofdury ro men as shewn by h
jurne. Moreover. he.lls the s)nagogues \rhools ol good sense.
(ourage, justire. and the orher ! ir rues, ashellaspruden(
The Sabbath was to be devoted lo lhe one sole obie(r ot Dhilo
view ro the improvemenr ot (harder and submission ro rhe
conscience."!! Every Sabbath they should examine "wheiher any off
purity had been committed in the preceding days, and exact from t
the council-chamber of rhe soul, with the laws as their fellow-as
fellow-examiners, a strictaccouniofwhat they had said o done in ord
what had been neglecred and ro rale precauiion gansr reperirion o
According ro Philo. rhe Therapeuhe isolared rhemsehes for
.ame togerher on rhe Sabbarh. H is des(ription ol rhe servrce irself is
ro rhe regular synagogue worshp (ha( he des(ribd abo!e.
"But e\ery sevenrh day they meer togerher as tor a general assem
order acrording to their age in rhe proper a(irude. wlrh rher hand
robe. (he righr hnd berween (he breasr and rhe chin and rhe lefr sirhd
he flanL. Then the senior among them who lso has rhe fullesr know
do( rrines which they profess ( omes forward and rirh visage and voic
and romposed gives a well-reasond and wise discourse. He does
exhibition ot cleter rherorir like rhe oraror\ or sophisrs of to-day
(areful e\amination by.retul expression ofrhe exacr meaning otth
and rhis does nor lodgejusr oursde (he ears ot rhe audience bur pisses
hearing inro rhe soul nd rhere srays serure\. All rhe orhers sir s(
showing thir approval meely by rheir looks or nods.",,

women segregated from the men r/ith a low wall between.

However, the synagogue seems to have been used on the Sabbath f
purposes than insr'uction in the law..losephus describes a meering he
iynsogue ot Tiberias on Sabbarh where a polirical dis(Lrssion was carried
.oull e;ih have led to a riot had not rhe arrival ot e sixih hour, ar w
our custonl on the Sabbath to take our midday meal, broken off ihe me

The Thology of th Sabbath

Hee we deal with the Sabbaih not fom the standpoint of {hat
(annor be done or whal religious a((ivi(ies are performed on il. bul
randpoinr ol its deeper meaningsas dri\ed lrom its vriouscomponenls
its beiirg rhe seventh day. a da1 oi resr. or a day ot sprntudl emphasis. The
developed this asperr ol rhe Sabbarh more (han anyone else. in f
exclusively, was Philo. Naturally, some of his reasoning will seem fanc
roday, bui rn the (onrexl of his me. especially tor those who undels
currenrs lhat rnfluence Philo. ir would hve been cogenr
' Philo develops
his theoloFy on rhe SabbLh wirh relerence lo Ihe me
e of rhe Sabbarh a rhe bir
the number se,eir, " to rhe univ'ersal
the world,@ to the philosophical meaning of resting,6r and to the equ
freedom ro which it points.d

Miscellareos Elmetrrs
The Numbritrs ofhe Sabbaths'-A(cot ding ro the Qum ran ralend
rear and e,ery quairer began on a Wednesday. sinre rhere were 364
\ear, 30 dals in monrh, and with an extra da) added e\er) lhree mon
iuarrer had exa, rly I 3 weeks. Thus I he teast das always fell on the sam
rhar the Sabb'hs were numbered rhroughour Ihe year. Ba'rmgarren th
rhis pracrice ol numbering lhe Sabbaths !a nol ronhned Io the Qumr a
i"mrnon practice among lhe lews and Samarrtans ot lhe tim.e
"u" Sabbath bserved Before Crealion.-Philo rn (he (ontext ol lhe
manna. savs that (he Sabbarh has held rhe place ol honour in nature no
{rom rhe rime when rhe world was framed,6ur e!en belore I he heaven an
sense oerceives came into beinc.
Sanaritans Kept Sabbth. 6ut for D ffcrnl Rearon.-J osePh us t e
time ofAntiochus Epiphanes the Samariran" sought todissociate th
as much as possible trom the lews and rheir practices. They rhus Save
resons Ior iheir observanre of the Sabbarh: Our lo,e[rhers be(ause o
drouqhts in (heir (ountry. and tollowing a certain ancienr superstir ion.
cuo-m ro ob"erve the day whi(h is called rhe Sabbarh by rhe lews. '
Etvmolocv of Sabbath. -ADion s explanation tor rhe Sbbarh is rh
sixrh dy treiihe lews lett Egl pi rhey developed rumors in the Sroin and
rhey reached Judea the) resred on (ha( s\enlh day nd called il
presening rh Egyptian rerminoloS) ol rhe disease of the groin rha
Iosephui-attributes rhis ro either gro.s imPudente or
ienorance-r rhre is a wide difterence berween obbo and abbaton. Sobba
liwi language denores cessarion trom all work, h hile uo among lhe E

The Eighth


2 Enoch 33:1, 2 connected rhe da

wirh rhe hisrory ol rhe sor ld as con\isring ot a world-week ot 7,000

nol efer ro a day oi sorshrp. ir did men(ion rhe rerm eighrh day
most probably the basis for Barnabas'use ofthis term for Sunday.63
earlier used rhe Crerion srheme in rhe sme wy 5 2 Eno. h.,;-l h
Enoch, onsiders Ihe erghrh dy as he (ummenr emenr ut rimeot
endle.s, wirh neirher )ears nor monrhs nor qeeks nor dars nor hou
nur explirirlv menrion (he sevenrh hou5and-vear period ds a mi
Barnabas does this. In a sense, then, according to rhe scheme ofthe
the Sabbrh ser\\ nor only s r)pe ot rhis millennrum o
thuu\nd-vear da\ bur also lor rhe ag ro rome. whirh begin( w

thousand-Ie' period.

lr i\

inreresring ro hnd rhr auhe dea'

archangel tells Seth: "'ManofGod, mourn nor forrhedead more rha

on I he \eventh da! is rhe sign ol lhe resurre( rion nd (he resr ol rhe
on the seventh day the Lord rested from all His works."'),

rBcalrlP'en lhcRchgnnolrhp lrh\or ftcDh1!ft.nLBhro"h.Hirn,.,ot,. pd

? I
n{u' um O, rr.dl' m n L X,Wielb
.n Fd b! .n 4,iwl HoadbDr,Por-t
llb thn x ir.?. d rircn' ..{r.;, irom
' 't a.w-Pawotu lBaa..{ bl vnror ,\ t,henrole"noldb.\tc\dndrrt,t!.3r
to17 1.n4,. ' o( \ee lb bn lr d_kLs,o..r ,he
'Pn,q. nt,pp tt7, t2t'IM,oo. tti. tt8
6 tbt,li,
t2o, t2t.
/ I rdnl f 6r. rns I I ht A\ nt Ltb 4 d Ot\4r a\d !on4 aL at \tudv ..L
196l). n lqq


rr Ihe.ndonandranslationrouo{edisthatofchanRabin,ed.




medn'n8.t rhr ps"flc. th. ^.,,rndt ,"rd" hrun Dsr r:l!.Du,x

\h[ t r t h,hl wbhrh rpul 2:327, t,\ or
-rfrr fo. run! \um h ..1r.dd
,rdd'! ryrr! h..h ,h v . men-".
'o hr rrune\wr s phr !,"ena,m
undrFkLr rhe pisdgf I p..\il, rnR !omp-".n o. m"t'nr d k"q.., u, Mtins D-ooc,b.


Inr.,l'[oyr]'s, r',/rn3 m rhe \dbbrh.. /.r Qu{\ Rry4 b2. r,7 r. ra7r. 77 33i.

f'rhf b..p'ut\rbbdrQJd'rn"x?dQ4w(tr4tqht{qr,.r{drcir.1dk,l
B.ttin.Phttoonl.natLnrt rnidq. vr\. toiu' p ?n,.,..s".r.,;",,i .",, p";.,r.J;,
'r.hd,lerrrn\lr.'hr.-And n)Il5unLtt*r.opt,Ft\rfln,,nLot,"ot hr
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Ch.isrirnme prin


Tbe Rabbinic Sabbatb

Robert M. Johsaon

numerousJewish denominarions
\,rsurvived rhe destruction

in exisrence before a.D.

ofJerusalem and rhe Temple.,One
Christianity and the other was Pharisaism., Deprived ofrhe Temple a
necessary to adius( to rhe devasraring resuls of a tragic war and a
akered ourlook. Pharisaism necessarily r hanged. This posr-^.D.70 (on
Pharisaism is reterred ro as Rabbinir Judjsm. and from ir virrually
forms ofJudaism are descended. The presenr chapter provides a br
rhe Sabbarh as ir is regarded and observed in classical Rabbini Jud
One ofthe distinguishing fearures ofPharisaism had been its Lig
oral tradition. The Pharisees claimed to be heirs ofEzra the scribe
known as the Great Assembly, the beginning of the Sanhedrin. lndee
the Crear Assembly were regarded as lransmi ers oi oral laws that ( ou
allrhewayback (o Moses.'Theorallaws usualy took.he form ol an in
or appli.arion otsome proof ext trom rhe Old Tesramenr Scriptures.
considered opinion of a noted rabbi and supported by the maiorit
other rabbis in thecourt oracademy.! Bur legal decisions by the Sanhe
individual rabbis could be authorirarive even rhen ev.ould nor be D
the Bible. The r hrrer tor such nonsrriprural laws. known as grzrrori
prohibitionsr singular. grra) and tahhnoth (posirive ena((menrs
rabbi: singular. tailanail, was seen in Deureronomy t7: I L Rbbin
lhus (he Old Tesramenr in(erpreted by rhe (radirion."
For a long rime rhe oral law was indeed oral: rhere was an inhib
wriring n dow lor fear rhar ir migh( be treared as Scripture. Insread,
up in rhe heads ot the rabbis nd rheir dbciples. Hose!er, as srholars
added ro rhe body ofrradirion. ir grew so mssive rhat memorieswere
raxed. Even moe seriouslr. rhe dearhs otlarge numbers ol leading sc
greatJewish wars ofthe 6rst and second ceriiuries (e.o. 66-70 and 1
the persecution ihar followed rhe larier war made irapparenrthar the
men were too fragile a rerord. A rea(her's head severed from his bo
lhtcan no more be readl And hen(e, rhe oraltradirion came ro be vr
Sometime afte A.D. t35 Rabbi Meir made a compilarion of taw

Mishnah, which remains the fundamental guide for orthodoxJewish lif

day. The Mishnah consists of sixty-three books, or'tractats," each dealin
different subject. The tractares dealing the mosrwith the Sabbath laws ae
Stubbath and E bin.' One can as little understand the Jewish religion w
knowlege of the Mishnah as one can understand Christianity while ignoran
New Testament.'

But Rabbinic interpretation and lawmaking did not terminate,

proress ol amplih(rion (onrinued. This plodu.ed a massive elbora

rhe Mishnaic rraflares known as rhe Cemara. the bari( Mishnah rexrs r
with their Gemara expansions are known as the Talmud.'gThere are
two Talm\rds: the Palestinian (or'Jerusalem") Talmud, compiled about A

and the more aurhoritative Babylonian Talmud, compiled about a h

years later. These are the mos. important sources for our study ofthe R

Roughly speaking, the works so far mentioned are iopicaly ar

Besides these Rabbinic works that are topically arranged, there are otherw
rhe form of running commentary on the Biblical texts;these are called z
lsingu\^r, idash). Midra.sirz ae of various r,lpev hakhi. (legal; ihese
oldesr rypet. expositional and homileri.. Referen(ewill be mde in rhis,h
Mili of Rbbi lshmael, the Midruth Rabbah, Thc Mdrulh on P\a|tu. n

Even after the Talmud was completed, the rabbis continued to deliv
decisions about the Sabbarh, as they did about all other imporiant que
lewish life. The opinions are known as r$y'oad. Arrempr\ have been
aiges all ot rhese rast marerials for easy relerence. Perhp\ lhe most
sui h digest was made by Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon) in I he twelfth

bu the mosr authorirative digest of Jewish Iw rodav is the Shukha

prepared by Joeph Karo in the sixteenth century."
We shall now see what these sources have to iell us about the Sab
Importance of the Sabbath

No other institution is more important toJudaism thantheSabbath,

circumcision comes near equaling it. The rabbis regarded the Sabbath as
in importan. e all the other precepr. ot rhe Torah combined' lr was said.
observes rJre Sabbath is kepr lar lrom sin. r'OnesermonhastheLordde
"O My people, behold, you have annulled all Ten Commandmenis. Neve
if you liadlept one Commandment . . . I would have forgiven you. An
Commandment is this? lt is the Commandment concerning the Sabbat

Shabbath is the longest tractate in the Mishnah, and rhe subject is d

repearedly in the other tractates.r!
Not only was the Sabbaih afl essential fearure ofJewish idenrity, b
regarded as a way of witnessin8 to men about the Creator'f The ma
grphically putthisway: "The Sabbathadds holinss to Israel. Why is the

so-nd-soclsed? Because he keeps the Sabbath. Why does so-and-so abst

r.ork? Because he keeps the Sabbath. He thus bars witness to Him by wh
e worldcame intobeingthat He created Hisworld in six days and reste


God' (lsa. a3:12).",1

Cdrdindl gilr. ol p'i\iletse\. blessings. and delhernces we,e
In dels a rewird tr ru(, e5\ rn Sdbbr hkeeping. 3 Above ll. rhe hnal
uar said to hin,-( upi'n ( urrer I obser!nr e.i rhe sbbrh. Rbbi loh
thenameof Simeon ben Yohai:'If lsrael were rokeep twoSabbaths
the laws thereof, they would be edeemed immediarely." Rabbi L
In del kcpr th( Sahhih properly e!en ro' nc .la). I he \on t Daud
Why? Because it is equivalent to all the commandmenrs."",, tsaiah 30:
to show rhat true repentance ("returning") and Sabbathkeeping ("res
conditions of salvation, the way to hasten rhe coming of the Messia
The Sabbath in Haggadah

As to content. all.lewish teaching is divided into rwo caregories: H

and Haggadah (lore). The latter, whi.h includes stricrly rheological q
speculations as contrasted with stndads of condu.r, draws our au
Simeon ben Lakish made rhis comprison: "It is rhe way ofthe world

kingqh,,(onsiders him\ell enliShrened migh' syrohi\.cr\anr,: w

for )ou,.(lres and 5'x dals lbr me. No, . ,he Holy One. ble$ed he
shr rhe H,,l\ on(. hlesed be He. s!s ro 1.,el: N\ , hildren. Ie(p
yourselves, and keep only one day fbr Me.'"11
It is characteristi. of Haggadah thar ir is filled with parables, l
lrrelr rrnaqinrrr dilotsu(..u(h as rhis onc. shi,h hinge\ on rhe
seventh dav, unlike the other days of rhe week. is not follo
(!en-numbered da. rnd thr tdd rhxr in lre Hebre$ rhe \ame s,
mcanr borh ro hllos Jnd r' bcrrorh:. I he SLbdrh spoke righr up
( )n(. hle.sed be He: l, h,,1 rhe d)s ha\ 'nre. hut
I hre no mr
()nr hle,5ed be He. replied: lh(tongregrion,,t I5rde,sitt berhy
\ hen l.' (ln,,o.ion l\rou r \in i. (;, d sdrd. RenremLer rhe,pe, ialrhi
(ongregrin ot lsrael is ro be rh) mre.
sabbth. rm<h rha'
'heday ro hallow n (Ex. 20:8).",1
'Remember the Sabbath
It became the custom of many.lervs o follow rhe exrnple aftrib

frrst century Rabbi Hanina, who donned his besr robe and stood ar s
beginning of Sabbath, exlaiming, Come and let us go forth ro w
queen sbbrh ndrheexmpleol Rabhi Jannar. who ,imildrly r I
nd mer rhe Sbbarh sIh rhe sords. i i,me. O bride. Cume. O brid
nrghr hJs a rim( ol ,onnubiil (on\ummarion.
Alteringth metaphor. Israel is the bride, God her husband, and

pri\il(tse. for ir i\ lile rh( qrle ol Jnorher r,, rhe herhen. Rabbi oh
rhr\: ln mundnc atlir.. r hen a king antl hi. ron'orr a, e rrrrng dnd
rogerhe'. \hould onc, ome rnd inrer ruLr I hem, does he nor rher ebr m

lidble ro puni.hmenr ot dcarh ? So. ruo,I he \abbrh is a reunin berwee

God.asnnvid, lr is \ign be,s(cn Me nd rhe , hitdren ot t\raet
n) non-les who. beinH un, ir, um, i/(d,'hnrsr, him.ell be
incurs the penalty of dearh ":.
h< loregoing parahl< uas rold ro explain a poinr mdc by b
Hnin nd S'meon ben Laki\h: A Ceni,lr sho keep. rhe sabb

Acorollary to this exclusivistic idea of the Sabbath was rhe common R

view that the Sabbath comrnand was given Iirst ar Sinai, rhough rhee we

deviations from that opinion.r! According ro one variarion, rhe Sabb

knolen to Adam, who composed Psalm Indeed it was said that Adam
on theday heascrea.ed, butbecause the Sabbath interceded for him, he
driven out ofthe (iarden until the end of the Sabbarh.'' Thereafrer, acco
this view, the Sabbath was forgouen until the time ol Moses."
M any of these ideas can be taced back to intertestamental times, as ca
liek rhar mn\ ol rhe prriar(h5 ob\ertcd rlre sabLrh. parrii ulrlv la
Joreph: rhe,\eotAbrhnra.moredebared. l he'e wd. dlso be
Mosesobtained fo the lsraelites in Egypt the privilege ofSabbathkeeping
his flight." Sanhedrin 56b reasons that the fourth and 6fth commandmen
part of a special revelatio to the lsrelites at Marah (Ex. I :25) prior to th
of the law at Sinai, or even before the giving of manna (Exodus 16): th
recognized ihat "your God commanded you" (Deut. 5r 15, 16, R.S.V.) mu
to pre-Sinaitic commandmenls. But it is nowhere suggested that anyone
Abraham kept the Sabbath except Adam and God, and possibly other

Ifthese were the Rabbinic views ofthe Sabbath s past, what ofits futu
Sabbath is seen as an island of ererniry {irhin rime. a forerasre of rhe w
come. 'I'amid 7:4 declaes that Psalm 92, rhe psalm sung by the Levite
Templeon the Sabbath, is "a song for the time that is to come, fbr rhe day t
be all Sabbath and rest in the Iife everlasting.'r"
Closely related to this conception was the ancient teaching about the
week. deduced from Psalm 90:4, according to which six thousand years o
history would be followed by a thousand years of desolation, which corre
also ro rhe sabbarical yearofrelease, when slaves were freed and the land la
(Ex. 2l:2; 23: I l; et cetera). This conception, which can be rraced back a
the intertestamental pseudepigrapha," is also connected with Psalm 92
idea of the eschatological Sabbath in Sanhedrin 97a, b. Pirke de Rabbi
chapter 19, states the doctrine concisely: "The Holy One, blessed be He,
seven millennia ('lrrn), and ofthem all He chose the seventh millenniu
the six millennia are fbr the going in and coming out for war and pea
seventh millennium is entirely Sabbath and rest in the iife everlafing."
Somehow parallel to the doctrine ofthe eschatological Sabbath is th
that lost souls are given respite from punishment in the nether world
Sabbath. Assoon as the Sabbath begins, an angel named Dumah. l{ho is in
ofthesouls, criesout, "Come out ofCehenna!" And the souls ae released
judged on the Sabbath. When theJews finish the service that closes the S

Dumah again cies aloud and says, "Come out and com to the hous

shadow of death and of chaos."r'q

The rabbis were called upon to explain God's olvn activity on the S
Tinneus Rufus, the Roman governor who martyred Rabbi Akiba. stated t
"'Ifit is as you say thatthe Holy One. blessed be He, honous the Sabbath,
should not stir up winds or cause the rain to fall on that day.''You foo
exclaimed:'it is like one who carries objects four cubits."'" Here Akiba ap

his private domain, or


lbur cubits in the public domain. But the whole

s private domain.

In another illustration, three otherabbis are depicted as silencin

when, while visiting Rome, they taught that God keeps His own com
"There happned to be a sectarian there, uho accosted them as they
oitwith the taunr 'Your words are only falsehood. Did you not say tha
thing and fulls ir? Then why does He not observe the Sabbath?'Th
'Wretch!lsnot a man permitted to carry on theSabbath in his own co

replied: Yes.'Whereupon they said to him: 'Both the higher an

regions are rhe (ounla,d ol Cod. as ir sars, -The uhole earth is tull
llsa. 6:31, and evn i[ a man ,arries a dr.tancc ot hr oun herg

lransgress ?' The other agreed. 'Then,' said they,'itis \.!rilten. "Do not
and earth?"' Uer. 23:24)."r'
An alternative explanation for God's activity on the Sabbath w
was permirred tu be done on rhe Sabbarh wirhin the sancruar), bu
universe is God s Temple: To )ou it shall be a ho\ da. To God how
a profaneda). " ln an) ( ase, aginsr su( h a ba( kgr.und. the statemen
lohn5:17, 'M1 Father is working still, and I am workng tR.S.v.,
divinitt in more than one way.

The Sbbath in Halalah

when we turn fromJewish beliefs (Haggadah) about the sabbath

(Halakah)about keeping ir, weare prone to thiirk that we are on fam
for who has not heard about the burdnsome legalism, so well kno
cospels? Irmaycomeasa surpri, therefore, tolearn thatthe Rabbi
in certain significant aspectsa relaxation liom far stricter Halakah he
Jeeish sects." Stricier rules about nran) Sabbath practices are foun
earlier non-Rabbinic documents, such as the Book ofJubilees (espec
50), the Zadokire Document 1t3:l -27; l4:6),'1and the Dead Sea scrol
rhe recorded practices of the Essenes, the Samaritans, and the Fal
Rabbinic practices repesertan alleviation ol the stricter rules, a
eiiher by flatly contradicting them, or-more characteristically-by
more rules thar permit exceptional or general circumventionofprior
are several striking illustrations of this tendency. The so-called 'old
inrerprered Jeremiah l7:22 \er irerall) s prohibnion g

persons, by

carefult prescribed procedure, to

pass an objectbetwee

outside to inside or the reverse. The Samaritans, Falashas, a

interprered Exodus !6:29 lery strictly. never leaving rheir dwe
Sabbath; butthe Phariseesset uplimitswithin whicha person could la
on the Sabbath-the "Sabbath day'sjourne of 2,000 cubits menti
l;12. lndeed, the Mishnah contains an entire tractate, tirubin, desc
fiction whereby these limis could be joined together !o extend
molemnt even funher.
In some cases the Rabbinic rules seem deliberately to have con
rules of earlier sects, and the contraventions are generally in the
greater convnience or humanitarianism. fhis lelaxation had alrea

animal in irs deliverv on rhe Sabbarh day. And it i talls i

or dirch. he sliall nor raise u on rhe Sbarh. . . . And ifanJ person falls inro
of water or into a place of darkness he shall nor bring himupby a laddero

or instument."t6 That such rules were aleady reversed or repudiared

Pharisees inJesus'time can be seen fom Luke l4:5, which is in harmo

Rabbinic principles, as will appear below.

StiU moe strikin8 are two further examples. The Book of Jubile
declared that "whoever lies wnh his wif" desecraes rhe Sabbarh and "sh
which agrees with the principles of the Samarirans, Falashas, and Karai
marital (ohabirrion on Frida) nighr was en(ouraged b) rhe rabbis, as will
below.'' Finally. Exodus 35:3 wa; undersrood br Smarirans, Essenes, F
and Karaires ro forbid all re on rhe Sbbr h. Hen(e, rhese groups passed
night in darkness. But the rabbis understood rhe prohibirion ro apply
kinling a re \or extinguishing one) on the Sabbath; if a lamp was lit be
commencemenr ofrhe Sabb(h, it (ould be left burning. In ta.r,lhe Iighrrn
Sabbath lamps was. as we shall see. a posirive dury in c\er, home.,3
The Rabbinic multiplication of rules was largely iniended to make
easier to obey, to spell out exceptions, to explain contraventions..,

Activiti6 Taking

Precedence Over Sabba Rst

The essence ofthe Rabbinic understanding ofthe Sabbath prohibitio
ihe avoidance of purposive, productive labor, as will be illustraEd bel
certain cicumstances were recgnized in which the Sabbaih law c
suspended so thatactivities thatotherwhe would have been regarded as b
the Sabbath were permitted. For the most pat these activities th
precedece over the Sabbath rest were connected withceremonial duties,
acrion, and the saving of life.
The most notable ritual thatsuperseded rheSabbarhwas circumcision
normally had to take place the eighth day after birth. "R.Jose the Gatile
Creat is circumcision, for it sers aside the Sabbath, which is very imporrant
profanation ofwhich is punishable by extinction."0 Ifthe eighth day fel
Sabbath, even the ncessary preparations for the operatior were lawful,
Rbbi Akiba laid down the ule, "Any actofworktha!canbe done on the ev
Sabbath does not overide rhe Sabbath, but what cannot b dotre on the ev
Sabbath [for ceremonial purposes] overrides the Sabbath."sr But this w
only ifthe birth had clearly raken place the pevious Sabbath, making the
day also a Sabbath. lfthe case was doubtfrl, as when the boy was born at
Friday, the circumcision was puroffuntil what might be considered the te

AsJesus pointed out on one occasion (Mau. 12:5), work done in con

with the Temple ritual ivas lawful on Sabbath. Even after rhe Tem

destroyed, the rabbis carefulty preserved and even elaboated the Iaws a
services, for they still retained a wistful hope that these services would some
restored. Thus we 6nd: "The offerings of the congregation override the
and the laws ofuncleanness, but the offerings ofthe individual override
e Sabbath nor rhe laws of uncleanness, ' exceptions being "the baken cake
high priesrand ihe bullockoffered on the Day ofAronement," because "th

could be made on rhe Sabbarh, the rwo toaves of Leviticui 23

shewbread (ould nor be made rhen. tolluwing Atiba\ rute.! tn qe
Mosai.las xed a ralendrical da1 for any ceremonial , rhar dataw
even iti( fellon a Sahbarh. Surh a, ls in( luded removing nd burnrne
bread before Pssoren slaughrering rhe Pssoter lamb. bur nor roi
reaping the omer of barley rha! nas offered on the second dav
arr ording ro t e\ iri( us 23:10. lt.''
The mller was .rried b(k one srep turrher, for how were rh
dares derermined) lr should be re. lled ihar rhe Jewish r atendar wa
during rhe rannairic period. al leasr. rhe begrning oi rhe luna
determined b1 observarion. nor ralcularion: rhi dv fier lhe new
si8hred was de( lared bv rhe Sdnhedrin ro be rhe hrsr day otrhe monrh
the rou was dependenr un wirnesse.. So impoiant ws rhe

ronsidered, since the sel leasrs here derermined acordrnqly, that s

was permrtted to proine (he Sabbath in order ro go and"qive te.r
.oufi of rheappearn(e [lhe new moon, parri( utrtr of Nisn nd
wirness could rrans8ress Lhe Sbbarh limirs. rake anlrhins neres
iourney. and elen be,aried on lirrer ii he toutd nor qall "
Ever sin(e Mac(abean rimes defensive warlare hd at!o been D
rhe Sabbarh.' lndeed. rhe rbbis nored rhar rhe wars waged by losh
must have overridden rhe Sabbath..s They taught: "Gndle ciities
besieged less rhan three days belore rhe Sabbarh, \er one rhe\ com
need nor leveoll. And rhu\didShammaisay:,ntitir ta toeLjr.:O
the Sabbarh."a tf an Israelire city was besieged by Genriles, selfpermitted on thr Sabbrh, but onlyjusr so lon as necessary, accord
ben Ba(hyra.- Individuals also uere permirred ro tke neie"sarv
self-prolecrion: Ita man is pursued br qenrite. or by robber\. whar
regards his breaking rhe Sabbath? Our Rabbis taught as follows:
pursued b) genriles or b1 robbers. he ma1 dese( rxre rhe Sabbrh in o
his life . H.wever. man not under mttiurv orders mav nor go
Sabbath carrying arms.",

Self'protecrion comes under the third typeofcircumstance rharo

Sabbarh: monal danset tpikku.h wih?.. As mduer ot on


super.ede\ rhe Sabbrh laws ra. deduced by Rabbi I.hmael jrom Exo
Rabbi Eleazar ben Aaria h lrom t irt um isibn, and b\ Rabbi Akiba r
rhar(apiralpunishmenrlormurdersupersedesrhc fempte ser\
supersedes rhe Sabbarh, and saring liie ir.uretv berreirhn rating
Nrhan aryued rhr Fxodur3t:tri'mpies rhar we \houd di\rega rd"
for t he^sa ke ofsaving rhe Iife ot a persn ro rhar rhd' per(on mye b
manv S,hbarhs '.,
More problemari, was a de( ision rearhed b) maio' ir) rore ot r
te(ret meeling rn Ihe Lpper room ot ahouseatLldd-aafierrhear

$henrhe pra(ri(eolJudaismwasourlahedand man) were\utterine

tor Leeping rhe Sbbdrh. lr was de(ided: tn everv taw ot rhe Tora
commanded: Transgre.sand srlter nor dearh hmv rranssre"" an
death. extepring idolarry. inesr lin(ludins adutre'll, njmurd

keep my staiutes and myjudgments. which ifa man do, he shall lir by rhe
not dic by them.6? These rationalizations were not universally accepted, h
and Rabbi Dimi hedged and said: "This was raught only ifrhere is no royal
but if there is a royal decree, one musr incur martyrdom rarher rhan rra
even a minor precept." Rabbi Johanan hedged further: "Even wirhour
derree. ' was onL permired in privare: bur tn publc one mu\r be mar y'
for minor precepr rarher rhan violare r. '''
The rabbis considered thatthe motive ofrhe persecuror mustbe con

ifhewascommandingtheJew to break the Sabbath only for his personal p

the Jew might transgress; but if the command were religiously mb
martyrdom mustbechosen: "For Raba said: IfaGenrile said ro aJew,'Cur
the Sabbath for the cattle, and ifnot I will slay thee,'he musr arher be kilt
cut it: 'Cut it and throw it into the river,'heshould rarherbeslain rhan cur
so?-Because his intention is to force him to violare his eligion."6,
The danger to life need not be absolutely cerrain. "Whenever there
whetherlife is in danger, this overrides the Sabbath." ln cetain cases me
could be taken on Sabbath. One may even warm water fora sick person:
we say: Let us wait, because perchance he willgeiwell, bur we warm the w
him immediately."'" Midwifey was legitimateon Sabbath, and the midwi
transgress the Sabbath limits if necessary to go where she was needed
chronic illness for which treatment could be postponed could not be tre
Sabbath, for it did not involve the principle of plhuaeh nephesh.ll
The rl, of alarm could be sounded on Sabbath for a city surrou
Gentiles or a flood, and for a ship in danger.?lOne could rescue a child fa
the sea or locked into a room by accident, and "one must remove debris
Iife on the Sabbath, and the moreeagerone is, the more praiseworthy is o
one need notobtain permission from the Court."'rOne could also exringu
isolateafire in thecase ofconflagration, and certain thingscouldbe rescu

These acriviries would nor be permitted on Sabbarh exceprto save life

only rhe dire emergenry hr made rhem legilimare.


It is perhaps arbitrary to distinguish sharply between cicumstan

allowed suspension of the Sabbath laws in toto and those things th
regularly peritted. Was warfare a permitted activity or a suspension
Sabbath? Neverthless, the distinction is convenient. We turn now to t
characteristic feature ofthe Rabbinic Sabbath: the multitudinous laws fip
what was prohibited and what was permitted.
lntheOld Testament, onlyafew prohibited Sabbath activities are spe
mentioned: doing work, kindling a fire, trading. In addition, the
undersrood Exodus 16:29 to forbid travel beyond certain limia, and Je
l7:2I,22 to forbid carrying burdens from one's domicile to the public dom

But what counts as work? ln the scientific sense, raising an arm is wo

obviously the rabbis needed a different defrnition from that used by
physicists. TheBiblicalwod used in the fourth commandment and elsewh

amounr of effofl involved, but the purpose.'r Melahth wa\, som

in(entionally to gain or produce a temporal benehr, conceived in
renqe of rhe wnrr!
But thal is an abstraction, and the rabbis preferred ro think in v
terms, making not defrnitions, but lists. They obrained their basic
exegesis of Exodus 35, where Moses solemnly forbids Sabbarh work
offire on pain otdealh, and then proceeds ro ser rhe rasks for ron
tabernacle. Here. then. was rhe ke: all rhe differenr acri!iries rh
contributed to the building of the tabernacle must com under t
"work." By a process ofdeduction that need not concern us, they als
the basis of Deuteronomy 25:3 that the number of prohibited bas
(hirry-nine: The main (lasses ol work are lorry save one: sowi
repinB. binding sheaves. rhreshing, uinnowing. (leansing (rop
srfrinB. kneading. baking. shearinB wool. washing or bearing o
spinning. weaving. makin8 rwo loops, reaving rwo rhreads. se
lhreads. rying. loosening. sewing rwo srir(hes. rearing in order ro se\1
huntinga gazelle, slaughrering or flaying or salting it or curingits ski
orcuiringit up, writing two letiers, erasing in order ro wrire two leite
pullingdown, puttingout a fire,lightinga 6re, strikingwirh a hamme
out anything from one domain into another. These are the main cla
forty save one." D
This list was taken to consiitute the basic categories of wok, wh
infrniiely subdivided and extrapolated. The Mishnah itself contain
ablr detailed disrussion ol man) oi lhem. Our ofhundreds ofexamp
here cire only a lew. They may nol squeeze lruirs ro press our the u
if the juice comes out of itself it is fobidden.",, Squeezing cam
category of threshing. The rule also illustrates the pdnciple rhar o
receive personal benefit from inadvertenr or unavoidable prcducrio
plac on the Sabbath.r One could not eat on the Sabbath, fr examp
lay fallen underthe tree, because it may have fallen on the Sabbarh i
was lengthy debate about wherher and when an eg8 laid on the Sabb
eaten, some maintaining that it had been formed the day before.
concluded thar such an egg might not be removed from the nesi,
protected until after the Sabbath, when it might ai lasr be eaten.s
The categorv of srriking wirh the hammer" was exrended to in
needed ro 6nish a work or complete an arricle. By rhis roken. he w
rhread from garmenrs on rhe Sbbarh is liable on rhe s(ore ot srrik
hammer: bur thal is only when he obie(ls ro rhem. 3, Under rhe
instrumenral musi. sas forbidden bn rhe Sabbarh. Nor cou
PrePared "
Prohibiiion ofkindling6reon the Sabbath was explicir in Exodus
rhe Mshnaic lisr added rhe exringuishrngofhre. Whar ro do in ( ase o
was a thorn) issue. Ir was leh r har rhis might be done ro save liie, as
bur not to save properry. The severirv ot rh5 'ule was alte\a(e
cirtumvenons. Thus, ll a genrie (ame to pu( oul the 6re lhe) m

if it was aJewish minor thar came io pur ir our t

the Sabbarh. But


mat be

sa\ ed

from burning. a.weuasenough tuoddnddrinkto' rherem

Sabbarh meals nd orher absoure essenrial\.3'

The rabbis saw ir \ rheir durv ro pla(e a hedge around rhe sn((uy
Sbbath tin a<cordanre with'he prin(iple found in Aborh t: I) b! torbrdd
onlr rhings rhar t lear lr prulaned rhe Sabblh bur also rhing\ rhr mrghr i
the danger of profaning the Sabbarh. Totilra lamp in ordeito make more
ro rhe wi(l and thus (use ir
burn brighrer $as like kindling a h' e, (

transgresion. Iherefore rhe',,rabbn Iorbdde an!rhints rhar mighr rempr

this score. One was not allowed ro search his garmenti for vermin or raa
lightofa lampon the Sabbaih."'There was scholarlydebare on orherground
whether it was proper to kill vermin on rhe Sabbath. and one rabbi decla
one kills vermin on the Sabbath, it is as though he killed a camel."tu Bur
distinction was made between a cardinal transgression and the breach ofm

Rabbinic enactment
The Sabbath la$s were ofvarious kinds. The thirty-nine prohibited fo
labor were primaly. There were also nitz laws about rhings thar had r
apar( and nor handled on Sabbath. even rhough no lbor wd. in!ohed
things. and things such as fruit that fell or eggs thar were laid during S
Under these laws a man, for the sak ofappearances, might not touch m
any of the tools of his crali, even though he did nor inrend ro work wirh
Then there were the Jlrr laws ofSabbarh resr, forbidding rhings rh

nor (on\idered labor in rhemselves. but tht sere ie[ ro derrci tr

rerfulness and sanctity of the Sabbath. A Iisr of such acrs is found in
5:2--{limbing a tree, swimming, clapping the hands. slapping the rhig
stamping the leer. Forbrdden also \ere '(t\,-ri .h.ri.e .uth as si
judgment, concludinga betrothal, performing l,zd (Deut.25:9), orconr
Ieliate marriage. Capital punishment, burial, and weddingscould not iak
on the Sabbath.sT Manyoftheseactsled to wiringoursorne documenr. and
sas lorbidden on rhe Sabbath.
Culpability of Sabbath activities depended on inremion, purtrcs
wherher benefit was received,r as well as appearances.," A disrincrion wa
between intentional and unintentional Sabbathbreaking.* lr was even sa
*ho mistakenly did a forbidden act on theSabbath whilsr intending to doa
free from penalty, because the Torah prohibited only a calculated ac
Thus one was not to blame ifby dragging a chair across an earrhen floor h
a furrow," unless he intended to do so! The quesrion was asked, "Wha

forgot a pot on the stove afld cooked it on the Sabbarh?" Rabbi Hiyya ba
replied: "lfone cooks on the Sabbath unwiuingly, he may ear ir; if delibera
ma! not ear it: and rhere is no ditteren(e. Bur rhe rabbi\.oon disro\er
man,v began to leave the pot on the stove intentionally and rhen pleade
forgof'; so the sages "retraced their sreps and penalized him who forgot."
are the perils of leniency!
The professional, skilled task was forbidden, while the casual. ama

ded was sometimes

It cannot be denied that rhe rabbisoften, and wirh considerable zesr, p
dep into casuisiic reasoning; and some of their rulings seem arbitrary.
lome opposition, they decided that ir was permissible ro scrape honey

l'rorn a onflagration one may rescue Scripturs, phylacteries, and

not prayer books." Objects could not be lif'ted ofl a crshion or the
but they could b shaken oftor wiped ol1.* while a man miSht not
stone, he was permitted to lilt up his child even if he child had

The rabbis were somewhat more relaxed about what childr
Sabbath. While children could not be commanded to do some task
acts, such as plucking and rhrowing, mighr be allowed."
While food might not be heated, it could be kept warm, a
various devices for this purpose. Forexample, avessel containingco
be put into hot water to sarm it.s Acts i(ere permiled if a whole
not completed at one time.r'" work ihat completes itself(soaking, d
et cetera) could not be begun unless there Uas time to comple
Sabbathl but "water may be conducted inr a garden on the eve ofth
before dark, and ir may go on being filled the whole dav."''
Treatment ofnonmortal ailments and handicaps ras not per
eye salve may be placed on the eye lbelre sundown Friday] and
wound and the process ofhealing continues all dav. 'One shou
war, go out with a caravan, or set out in a ship less than three d
Sabbath.'"r on the Sabbath a corpse could be anointed and washed
limbs were not moved,r but it could be moved if a loafofbread
placed on it: these could be moved within the domicile, and th
therewith.'0' within certain limitations, caule and other animals c
rhe Sabbath.'*
Restrictions on Sabbath bathing were concerned onl,v with
water, which was not allowed: but suimming was prohibited. "r
immersion of the body because of any pollution was required. "'' fh
bathhouses operated by Gen!les posed a problem, since the water
theSabbath. Thh meant ihatone had to wair an inlerval after the
baihing, so as not to benefit fiom heat generated on the Sabb
presented orher prohlems: "lfone balhes inwate. he should frrstd
then ascend, lest he come to carrv lthe rrater upon him] four cubi
lsemipublic domainl"; so after bathing on Sabbath. one mav drv
towel bur nor wring it our-rhe rowel mav b placed on rhe {ind
tfa deerwandered into a house on the Sabbath, trapping l rao
donebyoneman,butpermissiblei{donebytwo.rL Womenwerefo
with nuts or apples on Sabbath onlv because it might lelel the
Hunasaidcertain places u ere lisited w ith destruction because'\he
game with ball on the Sabbath.'Ll lteas fbrbidden to read secular
the Sabbath.rir Eating utensils needed {or subsequent meals on Sa
washed, but not if the next meal &as alier the Sabbath.""
A Gentile war not held accountable li)r the Sabbarh. but could
Jew on the Sabbath?'rhe rule was: A (;cntile mus not do a.Jew
Sabbath, but he may do his own work."!'l here was no objectn)n, h
inadvertently don by a Gentile frr a Gentile also bnelited aJe$r
work was to be done purposel,v for a Jew.""
The S.hool of Menasseh, interpreting Isaiah 58:13, said:

rrngementson Sabbath for betrothals and {br religious instrucrion ofac

Some religious duties were considered appropriare on Sabbarh, bur orhe
inappropriare. The rabbis took turns waiting on rhe scholars each Sabba
fact. cerrainoffrcials ofthe synagoguewere paid forduties they performed
Sabbath.'r" We have already seen thar while on rhe Sabbath day irselfone
prmitted to kindle a lire. one could on Friday kindle a Iire for the Sabba
e\ample par excellence being rhe Sabbarh lighrs; but in the sanctuary one
e\en lindle a hre un Sbbdrh. '
On the other hand. certain orherduries could nor be performed on S
It has forbiddenon thatday to tithe, and tirhing was usually done on rhe ev
Sabbarh.''' Untithed produce could not be eaten, caried around, or even lo
rn the homeonSabbath. Henceevery Friday evening before Sabbath a man

h'( lmilr rhree quelriun.: Hve vou rirhedl H!erou p'epred rhc.r
rou kindled the lamp:" Phylacteries were not won on rhe Sabbarh, and

lsaac explained it thus: "Since the Sabbath is called asign and the phylacter
called a sign, one should not add one sign to another." r?1
Perhaps rh most ingenious casuistry was expended upon defini
circumveflting the Sabbath limits (lum).In Rabbinictimes there were tw
with u hich to be concerned: 2,000 cubns. and fbu r cubits. I hese wee base
interpretation ofExodus l6:29 "1twas taught: 'Abide ve every man in hi
refes to the four cubits;'let no man go out ofhis place' refers to the two tho
cubits."'"'I he fiBure 2,000 was obtained from Numbers 35:5. On rhe Sab
Jw was to move more than 2,000 cubits beyond the city limits where he a
The place of abode was rather crucial. According to Rabbi Hanina, if S
comes to a man on a.journey, his abode is an imaginary circle with the ma
(enrer and d radiu5 ol luur ( ubI.. It I is in n inhabired plar e rhe whole ro
2.000 cubits outside it is the abode. lfthe man is in a cave. the cave is his a
The four-cubit limit also applied to a person on shipboard.'!d Bur th
application of the four-cubit figure was to the basic work of "carrying," d
from Jeremiah 17:21,22. Most objects were not to be carried from a
domain to a public one or vice vesa, and no more than four cubits in the
domain.r" Within one's private domain one could move most objects nec
but there were even limitations in that area.':8 Thee were also speci
conrning a hamelith, an area that was nither a public nor a private domai
as a

community bath.

Obviously there would be times when the limits would be most inconv

There would be times, fo example, when a fbur-cubit limit wo

embarrassing to oneexperiencing a call ofnature. The rabbh carefulty dis

all the possibilities and attempted to make exact provision lbr drem. The
enl further and devised some clevercircumventions: For instance. "lfa m
on ajorneyand darkness overtook him, and he recognized a tree or a fen
said. Ler my Sbbrh rerring-place be under u. he has sid norhrnSr bur il
'Let my Sabbath resting-pla.e be at its root,'h may walk from where he st
its root two thousand cubits. and from its root to his house two thousand
Thus he can travel four thousand cubits after it has become dark."'"
ls throwing an object different from carrying it? Yes and No. The
debated the question: What if one intended to throw an objecr rwo cub


threw it four? They could come to no better answer than what amoun
lr depends.l he r abbis al\o \aid ltamn'hresan\rhinglromaprit
ro rhe pubh( domain. . . . he is ( ulpable: bur il trom a Pri!re domain
privare domain hnh rhe pubh, domain between . . . fhe isl no' ru
behooved one to h:ve a good aiml
But the most important circumvention ofthe Sabbath limits was
insritution that probably arose in the first cenrury ofour era, but whi
l4b attributes to Solomon, doubtless because ol its ingenuity. There
types of r2,,'r' but the basic idea in all of them as the fusion o
Sabbath limits. To mitigate the 2,000-cubit limit, one need only dep
food for two meals at 2,000 cubits'distance and declare the sPot hi
abode; this device gave him twice the range he would othewise ha
To alleviate the limits on carrying, the residents of dwellings f
commoncourtyard allcontributed theirshareto adish thatcould be
courtyard or in one of the dwellings; by this dvice all the dw
consiered common to all, and unrestricted access was had by all t


anrwheie withrn rhe, ommon one.-l hi. se, ond n pc ol P,r, q ds al5u L
(p;nnership). Needle$ ro sd). rhe rdbbt laid dowi r retulr ules ahou
For example. rhe enrrl inro rhe .ourt)rd rould no' be hiehet thn r
nor wider than ten cubits.'rbut this qualification could be met, ifnece

installation of some temporary beams. Also. needless to say, the

prepared before the Sabbath began,'I hence lhe presundown que
you prepared the ,rr?"
Punishable Sabbathbreaking

we have seen that a number ofrhe Sabbath prohibitions are list

solely on rabbinical authority.'" About such prohibitions it was said
about the Sabbath, Fesral-o{ferings. and Sacrilege are as mountains
hair, for Scriptre rhereon isscanty and the rules many."'"Butthe ra

where the Scriptures were silent they had power to bind or loose,
orderro\aleguard rhe5anl.rirt otrhesabbrh -R. simeon.a\.: whe
Sages have permitted auBhr Io rhee rhev hd\e bur grven thee what ir
forwhat they have permiued thee isonly thatwhich they had withheld
the Sabbath rest."L36 If the,v had powr to lay down a limit, thev h
modifyitwith exceptions and circumventions. So the rabbis comman
only to refrain from activities regarded as labor (rl), but prohibit
such activities as only derract liom the restfulness frrl) ofthe Sa
Butwhile a clear distinction was made between a s.riptural comm
the prohibition against kindling a frre (which was pnishable by d
purely Rabbinic precept, such as taking off the phylacteries on Sa
does not mean thai the Rabbinic reachings were taken lightly bv th
Aibu said: Rest even fom the thought oflabor. A story is told, said R
ofa pious man who took a walk in his vineyard to find out what it req
he saw a breach in it, he resolved to repair it at the departure ol the
then he said: Since the thought of repairing it came ro me on the S
leave it forever unrepaired. Hot did the Holy One, blessed be He, re
caper bush which grew up in the vineyad fenced the breach. and o


rules, but it was respected: 'When the mother of R. Simeon ben Yohai used
too much on the Sabbath, he would say to her: 'lt is Sabbath,'and she wou
silent." "'While women were exempred. bI |irtue oftheir domestic respo
ties, from many ofthe Rabbinic rules, no disrincrion was made between m
$oman in regard to the Sabbath.'l|
Perhaps the most crucial difference beNreen the s.riptural and R
Sabbath precepts was in the matter of punishments. There wee three l

punishment for Sabbathbreaking: (a) death by stoning, (b) arl, and (c)

for a sin offering.

Sabbath profanation is listed among the offenses punishable by s
which was the second-gralest Ibrm of capital punishment, alier burnin
followed by beheading and strangling-all penalties that the Sanhed
power to ingict.'1'?Stoning was inflicted only for cardinal olfenses aga
Sabbarh, such as kindling a frre. prescibed in Scripture (Ex. 35:3). Bu
penahv was indicated only if there were t$o irirnesses to the act, an
offenderwere waned.'" ln other $ords, there had to be deliberate and s

(r, (cuuing oll), olien translated "extirpation," is a punishmen

referred r in rhe Old Testament ('that soul shall be cut ofl from am
pople"). Kerithoth l:l lists thirtv-six tansgressions for which th
prescribes lrct- Whateverit may have meant originallv, the rabbis under
to rnean divine punishment. apparendy premature death; and by the
Maimonides, ar lear, ir was believed rhara person incurringlare/r would
life in the word tocome. FloSgingor repntancecould annul ,.r" De
Sabbathbreaking for which there were no witnesses incurred rr.r"
II e profanarion of (he Sabbath ras unintenlionl. and th o
realized his misiake, he was liable toa sin otfering. "'H that profanes the S
l(um. l5:32-36lis liable. alrer $arning. ll, dealh by sroninS ithe.ommirte
which rendes him liable to fxtirpation il heacted wantonly, or ro a Sin-olT
he acted inerror." ''d He is, howeve, notliable "u nless the beginning and t
of the act "were done in error. ' '" Rabhi Akiba maintained that ifamandi
acts ofwork ol the like kind on nany Sabbaths during one spell of forget
he is liable to one sin-offering for all of them"r" But if the many acts
different kinds. or if rhe one act involved nuny difl'ering species of S
breaking (accordingto the thirty-nine categories), a sin offerin8 was requ
eachkind. r'lf aman"didanactofworkoneitheraSabbathora$eekday
not known on which he did the act, he must bring a Suspensive Guilt-o
The Posi.ive Sid of Rbbinic Sabbath Obrewance

A recital of Rabbinic Sabbath ruls such as rhe tbregoing might

at the Sabba was considered negative and burdensome,


manv it may have been so. But such an impression in general would be on
and distorted. The rabbis \a'ere concerned to make the sabbath a delig
58: l3), and it would seem that theJ largely succeeded. "The Holyone, ble
He, said to Moses, I have a precious gift in My treasue house, called the S

and desire to give ir to lsrael; go and inform rhem."rrrWe now view

side of Rabbinic Sabbath observance.

The rabbis applied their consideable exegetical ingenuiry

perplexing ro them, rhat the fourth commandment in Exodus begin
ber" lzo), but in Deuteronomy it begins "Keep" lsan ). Several th
put forih to explain ihe discrepancy.r'? One often-repeated explanar
the two difterent words "were pronounced in a single utterance-a
which the mouth cannot utter, nor the ear hear. ' rr The following ex
less metaphysical bu! m orc prucical: "Renenbe and osu. Remembe
comes and observe it after it has gone.-Hence they said: We sh
increase what is holy by adding to ir some of the non-holy.,'.-Thu
compared to a wolf moving backward and tbr$ard. Eleazar b. H
Hezekiahb. Garonsays: Remember the day ofthe Sabbath tokeepir
in mind from the 6rst day of rhe weeh on, so tha. ifsomething good
comeyourway xn up fortheSabbath. R.Isaac says: You shall not co
the manner in which others count !hem. But vou should coun
relren(e ro the Sabbrh.' '
The Sabbath was thus the climax of rhe weeki ir was appro
increasing expectation and left behind reluctantlv. Even in rimes of
fasring, it was permiited ro open the shops all day on Thursday "be
honourdue ro rhe Sabbath"; the Sabbath was tr) be honored wirh food
fresh clothing, in fulfillment of Isaiah 58rl3.L$ In the spirit of Nehem
the Sabbath was to be honored by indulgence in some unusual luxur
food and drink; and in order to have a beuer appetite t'or rhe 6rst Sa
one ate sparingly on Friday.r''f,ven a trifle, if ir is prepared in ho
Sabbaih," is called Sabbaih delight, and it was said rhar rhe less mon
spends for Sabbaths, rhe less money will he earn.,,,
On Friday theJewish housewife baked the special bread called c
the dough of which she had separated a portion for the priests, a
Numbcrs l5: t7-21. (Afier the disappearance of the Temple sysrem, ir
custom simply to throw this porrion inro the fire.) Though a man m
meals on wekdays, it was considered mrirorious ro ear rhre
Sabbarh-{n Friday night, atter rhe Sabbarh morning services, and
following the afternoon sevices. Rabbi Zerikah based the custom of
on Sabbarh on Exodus l6:25. and n ws said: He who obsenes rhe
rhree meals on (he Sabbath is saved from rhree evils: I he rime ol troubl
Messiah coes, the retribution ofGehinnom, and the wars ofcogand
Ofcouse, all food preparation had ro be done belbre the Sabbarh, a
and founh chapters of the Mishnah rracrare Shabbarh describe
keeping food warm-they could not be heated on rhe Sabbarh. bur r
already had might be conserved.
The Sabbath was a favorire rime for inliring guesrs ro dinner,
knuwn th( anlone in rhe communirl or a rransrent risiror was roo poo
fasr on Fridv or Sabbarh. or ro mourn on Sabbrh. rhe onh exreprion
the Day ofAtonement fell on Sabbarh. N"or only was mourning fbrbi
$,as only with dilncuhy rhar the rabbis agreed ro allow mourneis to b
and the sick to be visiied on the Sabbath. When sick person is visned,


On rhe Sabbath one was nor eten ro srve voiLe ro di\rres\ in hb D

On Sabbarhs one should nor onlv, onsume-a sperial rr ear bu he,hori
a special garment.'6' From Rurh 3r3 Rabbi Hanina inferred rhat 'a man
have two sets of garmenrs, one fbr weekdays and one for Sabbath, bu
Rabbi Simlai expounded rhe same pre(epr his hear(rs wepr dnd said:
rarment on seekdys. so i\ our rarmenr on rhe Sabblh. Hc \aid ro rhe
nevertheless necessary to change," meaning rhar rhe same garmenr may b
dift'erenrlr.'', Be(use so mny Jehs did mke rhe prarrire ol haring a
Sabbarh garmenl, rhe cenriles mkingly s'd ru one anorher: Howlong
wish tolive"Towhich thejocular reply was: 'As long as rhe shirr ofa Jew
worn on the Sabbath! 'rdr
One fu rther ind ulgence encou raged on rhe Sabbarh by the rabbswas
relationsi Psalm l:3 was said ro refer to rhe man who perfbrms his mari
every Friday nighr.'" Even a wife livingsepararely from her husband had
to have relations with him on Friday nighrs.*,
As the Sabbath drew on, th home was supposed to be especially che
bright.rd There was much bustle on l'riday to complete rhe prepararions
weekly festive occasion. In ancient Jewish communities, rhe approach
Sabbath was signaled by the synagogue sexron l.zzn) wirh blasts on rh
(ramt horn). According to one account, 'six blasrs wre blown on rhe ev
Sabbath. The frrst, for people to cease work in rhe fields; rhe second, for
and shops to cease worki rhe ihird, for the lighrs ro be kinled: rhat is R. N
view. R.Judah the Nasi said: Thethird is for the phylacreries ro be removed
there was an interval for as longas it takes to bake a small frsh, orto pura lo
oven, and then along blast, a series ofshortblasls, and a ldrg blasr wereblow
onecommenced the Sabbath." idr Work must be.omplered or sropped ar le
an hou before sunset. A question on the inlerprerarion of fxodus 20:9
''But is it possble fora human being rodo all his work in six days? lr simply
Rest on the Sabbath as il all your work were done. Another interprerario
even from the thoughr of tabor."L"
The Sabbath began at sunsei on Friday, and rhis rime rras a
determined by observarion: 'When one srar is visible, ir is day; when rw
tNilighr; three, it is night." ', Although in later custom th Sabbath was ush
bv a service in the synagogue, more anciently the greeting of the Sabbat
home affair.
Lighting of rhe Sabbath lamps iust before sundown is one of rhe
customs for $elcorning e Sabbath, apparenrly already an esrablished cu
rhe time of Jesus.r'" With the performance of this ceremony-assigned
woman of the household, if there was one-the Sabbarh was flt ro have p

Then came the (ilds (san.tification) ceremony. which was beliered
Biblical requiremenr: To keep ir hol) lEi. 2u:81-I') conse(rare ir
benediction. On rhe basis of rhis passage the sages said: Ar the enrrance
Sabbath we consecrate it by reciting the sanctication of the day over w
Commenting on the different ways by which God halloi^ed rhe Sabba
20:l I ), RabbiJudah said: "God hallowed n by prescribing a blessing for i
rhis teaching it follo$s that at the arrival of rhe Sabbath one declares ir

a blessingover a cp ofwine. lThough ordinarily women \.e

from observing positive precepts that depended on ser rimes, rhey wer
to ecite or hear the recital of the Kiddush ar the beginning of Sabb
FolowinS rhis the firsr Sabbath meal pro< eeded. s hich trom earl
accompanied wirh singing: 'When rhe Sabbarh omes. we welc,,
psalmody and song, as it issaid,'A Psalm, a song for the Sabbath.""r. L
it became customary to gather in ihe synagogue for services
Friday-evening meal, the father, upon returning home, would lay hi
each child in turn and bless him, greet the Sabbath angels, and rhen r
wife rhe thirty-first chaprer of Proverbs; and afrer rhis came rhe Ki
meal. RabbiJose repons that it eas taughr: Two ministeriog angels
man on the eve ofthe Sabbath from the synagogue ro his home. one a
and oneanevil angel. And when he arrives homeand nds thelamp b
table laid and the bed .overed with a spread. the good angel exclaims
even thus on ano.her Sabbath also,'and the evil angel unwillingly
'amen.'But ifnot, the evil angel exclaims, May it beeven thuson anorh
also,' and ihe Bood angel unwillingly responds
On Sabbath morning the family would arise somewhar larer rhan u
to the synagogue, if it were within the Sabbath limits for rhem. There
differed from that ofother days, most notably in that the Eighreen B
were reduced in number to seven, fbr all pralers wirh reference ro
other trials were on)itted.r16
About noon came the second Sabbath meal. Sabbath dishes were
be more tasty than on other days. even though cold.,i'The folloirin
often told: "tu blessd the Sabbath wiih lasty dishes. Our Teacher
Princel made a meal for Antoninus on the Sabbath. Cold dishes were
him;he ate them and found them delicious. [On another occasion] he m
for him during the week, when hot dishes were ser befor him. Said
'Thoseorhers I enjoyed more. Theselckace ain.ondimenr. he re
rhen rhe royal pantry lacl anthing? he ex(laimed. t he! lack rhe S
replied; do you indeed possess the Sabbath? ,3
After the noon meal rhere was a period ofrelaxation. Larer in the
one went to the Beth ha-Midrash, or synagogue school. Ir was rhoug
auend the Sabbath-afternoon lectures than to read rhe Scriprures priva
hour. This dme of study, discussion, and ledure was followed bv the
Minha senice. !t is nor permilled ro read rhe Hagiogrpha lon Sabb
from tvfinhd time onwards. bur one mav re(ire rhem bv heart a
exposirions on them, and rt ir is required fr some purpose ro exmin
take up [a copy] and examine it." r
Anciently, after the Minha servce the family would gather befor
for rhe third Sabbarh meal. which ras lighrer thdn rhe orhrs. A5 ir gre
sexron on(e again blew a blasr on rhe rholar. and rhe idmil) (on
ceremonv o Hlbtuhh tprrion). marking the boundar\ berween r
and the secular time ensuing. Lights were kindled, spices on hurning
brought in and smelled, and gra( e afier rh meal wi recired over iu
The Habdalh uas nor (oncluded unrilan inrervalafrer sundoun. tor
were lorh ro see the Sabbath pass: indeed, rhe custom ,'t smelling
regarded as a consolati,n tor irs passing.



dy laburer: R. Bere(hiah raushr in rhen:imeoj R.

Abba: TheSabbrh ws giren \olely lor enjo) menr. R. Haggaisaid in the
R. Samuel bar N, hman: t he sbbarh ws pi!en sotev IoI rhe rrudr o
And rhe ruo do nor diiler. Wh R. Berer hih said n the name ot R. H
Abb bour I he Sbbarh 5 being gi\en Ior enioymenr pptres ro I he dis(iD
wise uhowear themsel'es rn isrudvot Tr,h rhrousilout the weetda
rhe Sabbrh , ome and eniov rhem.clies. Whar R. Hafgai :ard in rhe na
samuel bar Na( hmn abour rhe Sbbarh s being grven'r rr udy ot Tor a
roworkrngmen whodre bu\) wirh rheir ork rhioLhour rhe uiekdavs. b
Sabbarh come aI,l o(, uu\ rhenrset\e. q'rtr rre t;rah. "
For rhe Jews rhe Sabbarh s5 ren,pt(
n irremo\bte

'n 'inre,
meeting 11irh cod. rhe inlienable rattvinA po'nr
ot aU les\. They ,ead

JI:l7. lr,5asrgn...lo,erer.

nrlde.lare, Thisrell\rhrrheSabbarhh

be abolished

Israel. And so vou tind rhar an thing ro l\ hi(h rhe I\rael,

devored!'iththeirwholesoulrhasbeenprerer'.dd;ongrhem." tr i.

nore rhr insofr as rhej have ore\erved rhe Sbbr[. rhe Sabharh
p'eserved rhem.

I t h rr"m"n' t"^c. ou,,i .,,unr.1r \J ,,unr. hh h"l 1,,
p,r ebb

lum!o{ Iudn' . n.uJ norbh .1r Kddre no!;m

n hh.,t do.c,n.1c".,8hrh,enr

hc,l'rmr. !

r ram tatuu'rn' h\ Rr,bl

tohdnd. mn


phrFtr\ h<l ,eddl ar hd
vr' rhe T.nprp nd i'r q,.'F'c,, r
;:i;: lil:,r":1 :l%:"lil I .,h., Rom. miri,d ! ,,on( oJ,,n ,hc dBa!.o F "r, Mi o,,hc
'B),ldlRdbbE,.ludr,m n'r..p"mditv'hc'dAonJtrhrt"tndt.'r,rhrrtur,rn
nd, hnllv(oJi6cd br larer rhb 5c,Dh,n roB
r I'lie,rk (L'.rn' ut hn,h.oi."
t: .T

' r, md, br w..dc,rd h-h " rcs.rd. tr,un p,e'n?d L,r(leinion o:.,;;.Jila *,i-ir,"
\.rhe r.rpr R.uu'n', oD.1'dn. "c.(,e.d,ded d .
unror4ins o, rhr h.unkin.d
p,'n, r,.; u, imlt,d br rh( Mr teeLm,
os".rr p'im r.ArL..un"mLo.,ndrh.ta.rLhr3u
ludAm,e8dd1,hr rre B1"o,

r' r\ph'hFD.oDl,.rtr {'trrL'Bmrud,q,nhrd,non'

hh, F.n.nLledh rhe lennl,.h b,,

rhbrh,{mor3.5.l.r l7ll.,lalmr,r rin'..\D.,!ii

lrh.ofMor\ ",,1 b tetr rhr ihr A'Lt'4tDr."dnr for.;,ti.d,n;
ks1mw". rhr 'h
hr,rn. on bv
rbb- fh" oDinionr .rihc ,b'hR
vd M
.rrrr mu'e -"iqh, rh'
ibtc tjom htrh rher kere rDri..,i h
ng- r 2z.,f flhnC \\hn. h\Abr.tt4.i- tr.h'n!'on,Dr tq4I.D 1O4r. th-^ dh*

h" ld'F, Etrh"Lr e tornerl
B'b rlEI",rn,c..
'nu, clrboE'.d upun,
qshndh qh,,h b.in8
hrLbdh 32 R.t.."n,e.,. r B"hr[;:;
'hL1: I hu. shbra(h 73
ro u
HchF h

d.! 'r'nd !. t\u\rhc dir ,dn rctteh! h hu,t i" b",s, *,thr 'e!h
rn. t"," d,h",a.-,".;,uri,d.urh,hum., hnrt', rrou'nuF.h.,rr?,."u,,,.lc"r,iiii.i".'r-.;;i;,;
.E'ttno' b.dbb,e.,rd q, r,.r @$rbt.! oat1.Jq Rbb,nn
""r si
r' -. ,,ro.r .n I nrr,.h
,n.lJio1o, ,htL Mhhnh L i i"i",i ..r,i,
'an\rxionoi rh. Brrr,tunn trtnut \'h""dn'o1,,t,n.Ltb,t".dorr.,,heGn,,r,1r.""r..
u:llr b not atravi tlk,$ed

r0 1,lk ir d.ommenrr,, on e lsJ po,'ionr o! I rodL

r de Ll
k'e d
rR,h. rjmfnunoni F\ !{h.-..d snncor \oomon hr{'o[! rhar"e'e reddon L
Rer.,enle!Loerrdbn.,'rehe'.lk' m.deinLhnrrhnn (;. R c7 2 R.iden.s'o'h
yill nor enploy abbrviations bnt yiu ule rhe ra.da.d chaprer and vene svrns of rh6c \orki

\-,t, m"n'r n"d,

b" h"d
rhe .u".'lled' I'rL'c. 1.1..u,.und,m
lla'u,1." "ill r_,lc '- n
" r Thf udr ur'eh'"n
'n M,rr Io',dchh.rh
'ht 'tr1.
rhe"bbi'h ir BooL rh,.r." r hc B.o
nfftnr fHr.d..Ncq ro'l lrbl,k'l bcrdr,rc,lroaMm-nde!.L6eAn
hs be;n tEn,lr.d r({ld'n. Nrh \ u'l lqb3r,hnhillb-'rlc.'"droh.'rn
)HLll'ns! l.Be'lorhl.i,l Neda,'n 3 14, rx. R.2i 12, D.'u' R aa


M.L vi<r 6
P.lilh tbbari rT

cr Lu3rn.l


L,pmn. r./. Mu,not1

o2t rl,rs,ot)td4s4t\c\ \orr rq?u,.p


R 2i:12, I T-ntrh I l.
I') Er.
Pe!!D Rabhrii ?3 2
t,"rq*rp"r,nr,nn*L'r,c.'\b.hrnol,o,-"r. Ihen-unlo'mL

dbb'h nd fo' rhc hrdd,n8.. .mo, .

e p'rve,
of qn, uuuon of
'1r !s'lL' Rbb,i23 6 'he
i \hrb 9 }ordhrr,!on'rrndtccfld.tonn.,'.dqtrh'hc',lc"vt'he\dbbr.
rNc Yu,r, lgbb'. pp 4i b2 124 '2b
Ab'hm lo.hur H". hel, /i.
1' snhednn t3b lmr knlltrun), Dur



25:ll oLhe, I.r,.u,u.u

V lohnlun. P,.r,h!. Ribbs.

Er. R

sbbrhubl''ion.str Robe"

T4drbbne(u\'r 'lheS"hbr\h1ntr.n,o\



S llrlq74,o


F Bcride Rr H'ub) 'Lerbb".erw el"b.duondp'11h.oJc\ utrc."

Onar \!z 3llq63) 72-7o,.nd ldul,Z l,uF' b, h. ''The qbbrh injrEhh ki'ur nd ro
ErF (tinunnau, l9il), Dp. 419, 14o.
'0M. l' {bo,h dr Rr6h \rh"n l:3ll7b,l tl R. l:2:1.

'rPc!t,R.uL&21.{61 cn4hrhren'uo hu't rhdd'rtnoronb r'omcrl'r' Rib

pol)p, peJdcpAtphPtrRdbh,I1.J,.tI lalrr'ELlLnde'.'Jn".,pp t2
s.bbrhd) rrned"ndbe!mednd\uukfu'
r mdn,ndi' rrlrbrfo'rH,n \n!i;,rn
.,rndh't, lhou,ommrn,".
,'.sdLt'h1)lrhni'rn,'i'r.ndnrhni' b, 'hrrrfl'olrh.bhrhLlr ALIm +



d!adF.f, tStFncLlndcr ! t2b)

rn'fd'luvuv'n'rq.,.srfnqrl.,nobft pfnh,5'LoNs,n{

ofCod,,'qnqiudsct,mrdfl,in,eq,rnd'obbr'\!roriodh\ qncrrhrrdtr,n.rlp'vn'b,1un
h. blDLl oll'I;
rnhrJ"n rb..L. Ccn R loo, lhFmw,;ldFmrnduponGcirulc.d'd
svn lws, which'nir
did not i.lude the sabba.
s Ct M.T. Soferim 12.

ri Sc. Thc B@l oi.hc S(rc6 off,nh 33: 1.2. vhnh

p,od,"d Bdn"b. [j o,br,erc1o,r, lPUl

may rcflect Christian rdadio ofrh s

Eq uf'h.dE"'o,omr.


rhom ih Resurr.on
is rsmi2id wnh


.2 hhir



c.nrqr $?{q B,hnn, sl,lu,irl Fyh'ulv 'rrnor \, / /.
inrerer rht the Ne{ Tesment book of Revlation endors rhe lr Bl.f
Jh"m,' e
blr u.uid.r \len'.'Lu rn"j'.Jpd' 'r',.\'h!,'!',J.rr., I'..,|.rh,
rndle$\rbbdhh.rh\u,hB$^"r''hbune'nMid,ashonrvlnTl4 -R \,nrunq.drn'hen,

(1q67)f43 1i2!
1967),19.55. h



e Midrh on the Teo commandmnB, rour.h wod; P.sikra Rabbti 23:3. The lorm


ro(fn R !1:!:

PfqrD Ri6bn )



\h4m. lQ

u h rci. ep, kn d, krh $irh urhir Pdbb'n.! tu,rmrn,! 1r,he,.n'n,
P.rloaP 2,"InJl'hcfu"r \rd"'hr.he, hildrrnofk'r q.-. 1'h. h'tLt. nq o!3\outdBrrem

llumc ndliLf. Bur



\pt of th Nmt \ftnbrs", \t4 , lo27 r, 2.27 \2 vo. . \r15 ot an -ltdcr Hdttah ' dL I n.
rhnrhrol'hePhrne""anilr.rrunn'm \hubuchrbnlernelh!no'D'rhbe I".'n.h

be'!trn rhc,ulBoIhe vrhnihno rhued ertH ,ouirs, trte( rd"!i'"

h.dr flcnrbcrtreenncr(rndutd.ror,e!kjknd le'...5
B b';lhi.hrA."rhe&bli,al\ornrorOun.".\;e'r.!m."r3l9rrtq74,:41?433Ho*ihdn


rl Thcie rr r{owork are tou. in,{poT,2: t-32,735.334. rhe zadolire Ddune! i. now ofre
.o\en"nr of Dmq1; n r u.L[l rn,tLd"d in DLbkhrd rd,D.dtunr Jl rh. D.rd \.a arolL. !u!h
rhcdo' H L{c', /, Dd \ .;"r"-,.o'd;n L, \ }.. tr$,.

lbbrh rrul olit,. oum!"n 6-ouhr

0u4', r r1961 1966,436 5ur. nd fuh Ru*mh"t. "fh

doLrnrn,.'(, r,lL4l..7./r o r196lr lu l7 lrc\crhodu.l.,unrorrunreh Gnd-b m,n,n, Lh

brrran rh. Ribb'nn rul...n,l rh6.utrheo'hirsrrhFom11,'omtc' uot'nr\um.utrheittuq'xionrcn

l6rl92tlls.6l...d"SoeErdmplc.ofrhcva,dhrrHLru.'/a{a.tqrc,2042Onrhcd t.,.n,
at pp 4ia 461
'! 1c.22,23.26. Cdqc,,@ ai. D 7r cnnLl\ rh lue,,J-e lhnee trl,om dol,bn, h
ormrdbeuu('1htruuldbesrnrrhcrtrc.sll.e11r,l.'hd\Lbdhl".m brb'ol"ntr,.c
rr strbbrh lish,3. burerbtr.h'at

d".\. frc.lu4 Bu'(,hr.induunlriltroklicinro.,ou'rhch\ol{.norulrhes"obrh'ulE






{red cnr.!e vrhe' , ummndt.

- Pr 2.3r R,
r3 5e "";
Lduterb.h. o,
rqLf whtr,, r,'pp



ve,\ onr of eh! h

J p,oh.l;r.un

18,'1q 273 279

Shab l9rlr P.sdim 6:2.

3:6:6:l 6: Menaho l0:l 3,9.

t6 Rosh h.hnh I {, t,9
ousd D.u. le!( .ohl
mvhr\ bf mrs4
rhdn ddrnd ,hcm.c
Mrkrh.d.rnd.heo'he, lrn'.hh.dc,r.'
{r,urc,h.r koulLl h^h' in \u,h r' !i'uiun \l Vr.. 2:29
4 r,. \,, ordn q ro2 v,h.ra{ ?r.d r.., tr+
s"bb'h hn d,"hins on. l\cF
d pu'(u l,-duy
"am!o h

lunDun{iun boJt


oun. mniL' , 3rvrc on \bbnh

..'Alurrd dL', rnd.\.n pd'

! \u,





-pdnp -n th? oup d4dt A-1.r Qccn a'h|u1.

K'nu! I I

4. I


... .rhh".h . l.i,

o'/l lr *ill b seen,mmdkLeh rhL Lko o, Lh, Jenr1,
p.^n,?tn\tr'urlh idnl, htrh'hr lou' d lohrT:2r lrYo
emehhrrtundd R. Ll.i, n!w.'d"n.l.dd
nd ru"..c'sh. m"mbe'" o' rhe hrd b.dy rulprdh. \5b1h. hoh .nu. h n'or \hJl'h !inr J
sb\h 'ThF ql'nR of Smon brn vcndidh i. qutr. !m'ld \lrl 2:?, Bci
bod' \u(pcnd
'h l\h., \n'",( h\ rn.FJ,hr h. | \ nu.hinp nr" oL.
'o rerr., t-o.' q
!m,lJ[i nc
" Rabi 'h
hLmdnirr lnhT of rhe Phrnkrl lrrFv..h'unilmLnLlonr!h'JnJlue-uld h!uh! lur 6vrh
Rdbb'\'munbfn v"n!hurch
1lclui I
\uJtrr ," Pr
d',.b'rd lon.hnb.n''hc \r.',nn,.
".{BJ ru'hr\h'p.JA*",b rhr.neslnqoriF
:3,. lorhrIhou'rp\.qb'h. rqtr'.xhr'nvi'ns'h hc,"!in!onFnr"d\irh1fl,rirr
ulde'-'hc Lnlnohn o,'sinr'o. of 'h c;h'ns 1 lrlu!. h.r.".r'nx.rt.n*amr.' hdr p$.d
5.-huhuJtdh\"hrdno,eon,orcm"Tbfrrou.,c., d..dcc,r.
r herr n no \rrbl prlhl n' vrubc.\. nu' n! ndmn, ut d Bnc'dt p"n.p.e.

e dc r,{m i.dlh


b} !l'non'dc. \'

5nhcJrin 74. Yumd 3ta. and.llehhere

sanhedrin 742. Rabbi tshnacl! didur is a(nbured to RrbbiSanuelin Yona35b, wher ii o
,wnFx' di rhe q)'nrofRdbbi l'rd7r dnd
rh.'c o lvn'hn Lrn lu\rph bLr
Tlc u'inB
M.rlr d.''ns"r,'bL.cJ
ribuF" o Ribb' \rh"n n s'rE, rd bl ronr 3ib o


r0 Yoma 3:6i 34a. b.


1Shb.7 2, C M.l. ShbbeE 2: s6b.9?b.
7r For rh .5n
Onhodx l.w, Hho
, thn
r@ivc v b.n tu litn n



2-,tb: shb.

6nd n



i|l , or


sbbr pou, o


e Erub. (X.: M.l. Ph2.6, Cod.. Sbb6 t2i3
s shb. 16.6. l: llTb

M.l. Shbb.u 2. Shab !3.,1 s
a sh.b. 125.2,
16: sh. 73b, Sulth 3 l{, i,. MrmondB,


T.runorh t:3

q, lo ?: B.D,h <

s Shb.



Rurh R.6 a.

q Y.b.mll
e Shrb.3;t-5:I l3EI
a:t.2:22 4.
r@Shb l0 2,5- 20.5. M.t. ShbbD

l s lo



o! M.T s.maho a6.

rq Sh:h 23:s:.r Ru i i:2

re Shab.2,lr2'4r R R.3,r.


Erub. 104.: -n. R. 2:2:,t


slu6,2:?: D.mi a,r

r$ Erub. 5l: M.l.



Etub. {:1. !: s:7

2s FflB 4rh


Hon}{h t:3;shb
re Shab l7:l-3: 13:t.2 7:.:7:9.5.7_ to:1.5
re Shb. 73 nd

rr Erub. 'l d.



c r5r


M T. Abo d. Rbb' Nrhn 2?

P6'tb'i 2i q
R. 3,{:t6. P.rilu nbbri 23:3

r M.l. Shb6u l: snh.dhn ?:{: ?.

' Mllo l!.




stb. I



M.l. B.hodlh



rr c-n R.g.ra dv@

Rb6.u 23.1.


d nk

a ckr.


b slbbh, ut r tbm tnd'


h 16, Midrahon }"alm s2 5.

Pq,Lu Fbt au 25.6, 7- P.hhm geb.
r53 shab. R.90:1.
Its M.l. v!q'5. Shb. l13.
16 (in. R 100:?: shb. l2b.
rr Sh:b. I ll' C.n R. l l:2: ium. R.,o:t:P6itltbb..i2s:1.

rs N.darin 3:6! Kna

pm. otrh.t.


32ar Niddh 33a,

b!K.uboth62b. Thc.xprssion,,.1Sart

rnB, B rcn.rU' LLn roh.n.uDh.trn

mr.rr.rd,; kutE 6rb

'.t s 9.

Stb S'n(.o

ouldd b., burd.n


wh d'd


s:bd h,

. /rur


sd rh.lnbluol

v' hn


rh. Jrlrd
,r.r . ! bl4l Rrb

Hnin qid h. llor.d marocrwn hom., blosinitr l(l..rl!. bur rh.Eirotrh. rbb,l$d h. "h
Dld.on.boofhi, rel. *h.,.h. ol&edhtrrldi b!u. n.nh
sbbarh'nou\insmu.(lmsrum.i \olar.d 6. sbbrrh !,^ Iwo. orh.urid
rh. mrm.

mor.d ! Dad of


..renonil dutv lshab.36r.

re Mr .hoddb 7
FrOn rh. h@h ol D!om. E t uk,b.h.d d.. DD. {l{
.ommfnr: fhn p. rurs.r rh you.n l.rn irm rh. Tonh


ofo or rh

on Lrcdu! 13i22 th.r.

rh. pDp.'

D6.nI {M.L
sabb hu1. *nh r.l.'.n..r. . . ro,ls br S.r1. MillB'am, nd \hdu$.r

P.riL R.tbad 23:6.




Midr:lh on Psat 29:,






Rlbbeti 23:3.

re P.tila Rtba 23:9.



Tbe Sabbatb

in tbe Neu Testar

Walte F, Secht

HRISTIANS accepi the New Testament as normative forbeliefan

therefore ofimportance to examine what lhe New'I'estament has t
the Sabbath. This is especially important since the majority of Chis
regard the Sabbaih asJewish and believe thatJesus and/or His aposle
the day of rest from the seventh tothe frrstday, ihe day on e hich Christ
the dead.
Sron, the Greek word for "Sabbath," is found sixty+even t
critical text of the Greek Nelt Testament. The ptural ofthis word, ra
regarded as a transliterarion of the Aramaic, /rl, lhe emphatic

singular noun, meaning'1he Sabbath."'

In its Creek translitera

plural, and hence the singularslon was constr

it. Anoiher possible explanation is to regard the singular as a translitera
Hebrew Jrl, whereas the plural came from the Aramaic.?
kxicographers recognize t&oclearly differentiated meanings for
the NewTestament: ( I )Sabbath, the seventh dayofthe week, and (2) lh
seven days between Sabbaths, i.e., ur.''fhe second meaning is dema
sabbaton or sabbab is used in a genitive construction with a nume
example is found in Luke l8:12, where the Phaisee boas, "I fast twi
d.b tou would obviously not make sense to translate: "l l
Sabbath." lt is well known that the Pharisees fasted on Mondays and
ln seven passages (eighi ifthelongendingofMark is included),'the 6rs
week is designated by the numeral "one and the genitive ol raatrn, m
plural.'The fact that the nLmeral h feminine indicates that the fem
"day" is to be understood. The egular Creek word {br "week," rd
had been used in rhe Septuagint, is not found in the New Testamen
The idiom used for the days ofthe week occurs in the Greek titles
the psalms in theCreek version. Psalm 24 (Psalm 23, Sptuagint) is de
7.ias sabbatn,"for rhe rst day ofthe week." Psalm 48 (Psalm 47, Septua
its itle dattera nbbatou, "for the second day of the week." Psalm 94
Septuagino is designated as tchali sabbato, "for rhe fourth day of
(Wednesday). Most probably thes originally meant the 6st, second,
apparently taken

as a





In the New Testament passages where saton means "Sabbath," th

occurs forty times in the singular and nineteen times in the plural. Bur in
ihe occurrences ofthe word in the plural, the context makes it clear that
day is intended.u As a matter of fact, in the Gospels and Acts, the on
insrame rn hich .a is plural in meaning


in Acrs l7:2, where the n

's Sabbarh i\ meant. The

ir demnds rhr more rhdn one
Standard version, however, translates sabba in rhis passage as "wee
passage. shere .lo, clearly means Sabbath. there is no ronsisrencv i
between the singular and rhe plural when a single da) is inrended. ln rhe
rhe plur king otheads ol whea on rhe Sabbarh, Marrhew uses the pluralin
I2: i and rhe singular in , hper l2:2. Luke: usage is in reverse with t he s
in chapter 6: t and the plural in chaprer 6:2. ln the story ofthe healing ofth



with e witheed hand, Matthew 12:10-12 and Mark 3:2-4 use the
whereas the parallel in Luk 6:6-9 has the singular.
Similarli in the Septuagint the plural is sometimes used where the
Hebrcw has the singular, and where ir is obvious that the reference is to

day. There may be parallel herero rherustom otusingthe Greel pl

tesrivals su(h as rhe Feasr ol Dedi(a(ion tlohn l0:22) he Featr f Unle
Bread (Mark l4: I ), a marriage feast (Matt. 22:2), or a birthday celebration

The Sabbath in the Gospels

of the term sabbaton in rhe Cree
Of the sixty-seven
Testament, Iifty-six are found in the Gospels: eleven in Matthew, rwelve in
twenr) in Luke, and rhirreen in lohn. ln 5i\ ol rhese references 'alon
-week. Fiveotlhesespeakotrhe hI\lda)ol rheweek, lhe dav on uh
Lord arose from the dad. The remaining frfty refer to the Sabbarh, the
day of the week.
The Sabbath Service in Nazareth.-According to the cosPel ofLuke
near the beginning of His Galilean ministry, visited His hometown of Na
"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up" (Lke
Nazareth was the hometown ofbothJoseph and Mary, and following the
from the flight into Egypt of the holy family, they eiurned to this insig
mountain village in Gliiee (Matt. 2:23). It is called 'lheir own city" (Luk
and became th; childhood home ofJesus, where He livd rill He was a
yearsofage (chap.3:23). Hisreturn thereafter He began His public minis
consequently, a source of curious inteest on the part of the villagers w
known Him so many years.
"And he wenr io the synagogue, as his custom was, on thesabbathday
4:16). Two interprtations f1he phrase "as his custom wa" are S
rheJewishsyngogue(verse l5): Ashis(usromas, .reacher. Heenr
svngogue in azreth on the Sabbath day. oihers understand the ph

.Unl$ oervis indicatd, rU S.ripturc rcfern.s in t.hptcr ar. fmn rb Revii stda


witten: "It had been 'His custom'during His early life at Nazarerh ro
synagoSue every sabbath."r Ralph Earle states: "'As his cusrom wa
points to a lilelong habit of attending the synagogue on the sabbath
But whichever view is correct, it is evident thatJesus, as a loyal Isr
Sabbath observer. PaulJewen boldly states: "Therc can be licle doub
Jesus, as a devout Jew, observed rhe Sabbath. To feature Him a
innovator, who sweptir aside in the nameofliberty, is to remakeJesus
ofrhe Enlightenment." r'?On theoccasion referred to in Luke4, He sto
synagogue and read from Isaiah 61. Then He sat down to interpret th
a refeence to Himselfand His mission. His work is to be undestood
lsaiaht "Servant ofYahweh."Jesus proclaims that the prophetic scr
their fulfillment in Him as the Servant of Cod.
The Sabbath Controversies.-All four Gospels bear witness to r
the Sabbath was one ofthe main areas ofconflict betweenJesus and
ay be well to raise the questionsi Why did these controversies take p
were they about? Why did the Gospel writers regard ihem o
importance as to record them fo the insrruction of the church?
A careful study of these controversies shows that the point at is
whrher the Sabba should be kept or not. Sampey was correct when
"Thee is no rason to think that Jesus meant to discrcdir rhe Sa
Jesus Himselfasserted, asTh Ne EngshBible translates Hiswor
suppose that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets: I did
abolish, but to complete"' (Matt. 5:17).
What then was the issue? Plainly it was the manner of Sabbarhke
question was not Should the Sabbath be kept? Rather, it was How
Sabbath be kept? The Pharisees insisted rhat it be kept ac.ording to th
thai rhe rabbis had developed down through the years.'Jesus did n
institution ofthe Sabbaih as such, bui only the tradition of the elder
Sabbathkeeping." '' He efused to abide by the man-made rabbinic
Sabbath observance, by which the Sabbath had become a burden

One has only to read the tractate Shabbath in rhe Mishnah to

o[ rhese rules.+ lr seems (hal Jesus deliberrel] thallenged
rradirions. He soughr (o lre rhe Sabbarh lrom burdensome reir
make it a day of spiitual freedom and joy.
The Evan8elists regarded these confticts as of sufficient imporra
chuch io include them in their Gospel accounts. The church was no
the Sabbaih accordinSto these rules, bui ratheras a day ofhelpful serv
pattern ofthe Master. lr is lawful ro do good on rhar day. He who o
Sabbath merely as a legalistic requiremenr will never receive rhe b
intended it to bring. Thus the church did nor rejecr rhe insrirurior as
did reje(t the man.made r ules for observing ir.
The Conflict Ove Ptuckint crain o the Sabbath,-The fr
conflict thar is rcorded in all three of the Synoprics (Matt. 12: 1-8; Ma

t ror


of e dbils, k chapr. 4


going rhrough some grain f

The dis.iples were hungr) (M1. I2:I),;nd rhe) plucke-d som
of whe and. alrer '\ubbrng rhem in (heir hands (Luke'6:t), re rhe
Thereupon rhe Pharisees a((used rhem of n unlawiul acr. The legnim
plLtcking heads of grain trom someones held was no( in dispure. T
1e*ament law had prorided: When rou goinroyournerghbor'siranding
vou ma pluck rhe ears with your hand. bur 1ou shatl nr pur a sickte
neighbor's srnding grin (Deur. 23:25). Bul rhe Pharisees rnded rhe
unlawful bcause they were engaged in work on rhe Sabbath.
The Old Testamenr law forbade agricultural acrivity on rhe day ofres
da!s you shll worl. bu( on rhe serenrh da) you shll resr: in plowins rime
har\er you shll resr" (Ex. 34 :2 1 ). As nored in ( hafl er 4, rh N,tishh sD
rhirly.nine main (aregories ol work rhar sre forbiden on rhe Sabbarh.
included reaping, threshing, winnowing, and grinding. The Pharisees ev
inter-preted plucking as reaping, rubbing the heads in one's hands as thr
and blowing away the chaff as winnowing. Hence, rhe disciples were w
even though a very small amount of grain was involved. Th Mishnah d
that a person is Builty who takes "ears of grain equal ro a tamb's mourh
"Among the scribes it was assumed rhar a teacher was responsible
behavior of his disciples." ir Hence rhe Pharisees confronred Jesus w
challenge: "'l-ook, why are they doing what is norlawful on rhe sabbath?'
Matthew gives the challenge in rhe form ota staremenr: took.yourdi
are doing whar is nor lawful to do on rhe sabbarh (M . l2:2). In L
challenge is gi\en lo rhe discrples: Why are you doin8 whar is nor awful
rhe sabbarh '(Luke 6:2).
Jesus, however, declared rhat they were guiltless (MarL 12:7) in sa
their hunger. In rheir defense He frrst ofall cited the example ofDavid:
you neverread what David did, whe he was in need and was hungry, he
rhose who were wirh him (Mark 2:25). In hi\ flighr jrom Saul. David
Ahimelech the priest,r3 and upon his requesr was given the sacred "bread
Presence" to sharc with his men (l Sam. 2l:1-6), which only the priesrs wer
(kv.24:9). The point hee seems to be that David was the anoinred ofrhe
with all that this implied. Ifit was right for the anointed David and his
companions ro er rhe hol) bread belonBing ro r he priesrs. how mu( h mor
the hungry disripes of rhe Son ot Dvid violare rhe srribal rules bour rhe
a Sabbrh.


Most likely the bread that David eceived was not rhat which was in
presence on the table in rhe holy place, bur rather that which had been rem
be replaced by freshly baked Ioaves (l Sam. 2l:6). The day on which rhe ex
ofthe new for the old was made was rhe Sabbarh. In the view ofsome ab
day on which David received the loaves was the Sabbarh.,r The scriprure d
state ihe day of the week, but if it was indeed the Sabbarh. then the exa

David would be even more apropros.

Accordin8 to rhe Gospel of Manhew, Jesus also cited rhe example
priests from the law itselfas a precedent for the action ofthe disciptes: i"O
you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in rhe temple prola

old loavesof"thebead ofthe Presence" wereemoved and fresh loaves

table. There was incensetobe offered. and the daily burnt offerings we

ontheSabbath rNum.28:9. l0). Hen(erherewereaniml\robeslain.

prepared and placed onthe altar, etcetera. Thus, as Maimonides put
later, there was "no Sabbatism in the Temple."':" The priests actua
harder on the Sabbath than on any other day ofthe week. But their w
sinful, because it was in the service of God. Their priestly service wa

wok, because it was sacred, not secular.

The argument based on this example rests on a famous p
hermeneutics temed gI uahor, that is, "the light and weighty," ap
arual precept ofthe law.:i The Christological staremenr in Matthew 12
significant: "'I tell you, something greater than the temple is her
assertion thar our Lord is superior to the Jewish regulations of wor
greaier thanthe Temple and its cuhus. It was to Him and His work as
and sacrifice that the Temple services pointed forward. He came to e
Redeemer ofthe world. His disciples were associated with Him in the
ofredeeming mankind, a work thatwassacred, notsecular. Hence it w
them ro sarisfy iheir physical hunger to receive strength to carry on
The real nature of the Sabbath was often gravely misunders
cessarion ol labor sas nor rhe essen.c of rhe sabbrh. lr has never God
that the Sabbath be made a day ofuseless inactivity. The Sabbath was
when man forsook his secular pursuits and devoted the day toworship
service of God.
According to Matthew,Jesus also relerred to some well-known w
propher Hosea: "'And ifyou had known whar this means, 't desire me
sacifrce," you would not have condemned the guiltless"' (Matt. l2:7)
.ome ro esrablish r he rule of rhe kingdom ol Cod. ln rhe eles ot gra
mercy is offar more importance than a lesalistic obedience to the law
another occasion our l,ord accused the scibes and Pharisees of neg
weightier matters such as "'justice and mercy and faith, " while m
tithing "'mint and dill and cummin"'(chap. 23r23).
In Mark\ account (chap. 2:27),Jesus then raised the issue of the
the Sabbath. The Sabbath was not an end in itself. "The sabbath wa
man, and not man forthe sabbath." It was designed to be ablessing to
ofphysical rest, butalso a day devoted to spiritual exercises. The Pharis
thedayasthough man were created to sewe the Sabbath, rather than
meting the needs of man. R. Shim'on ben Menasya about A.D. 180 ma
statemena: "The Sabbath is given over to you but you are not surrend
Sabbath."" tr. lrhse asserts: "But in such sayings th rabbis are not
attackin8the Sabbarh commandment. They are simply saying that in
cases the Sabbath may be infringed to save human life. In Mark 2:2
man and his needs are said to be of greater value than the comman
All three ofthe Synoptic Gospels record the concluding sratemen
of man is Lord even of the sabbath" (Mark 2:28; Matt. l2r8; Luke
tatement assertsChrist\ sovereigntyover the Sabbath. He. after all, w
heavenly Father when the Sabbath was made Uohn l:1-3). Therefore

hwfulrodoonrhedavol resr.irwsnorrheSabbrhlwirselt(hatJesusdis
had violated. bur rhe man-made pharisiral regularions regarding

(omplerely ignored rhe ra

J esus on more rhan one o(ca\ion
dear to the Pharisees.
The text of Codex Bezae, rhe leading represenrarive
rhe s
iwesrern rype oI rerl, varres strikinglv from ht ol mosr of
New fes
manu.ripr. The saying regarding the lordship ofChrisr over rhe sabbar
6:5) is placed after verse 10. Between verses 4 and 6 this manuscript reads:
same day, seeing one working on ihe Sabbath day. he said to him, 'Man
know what you are doing, you are blessed; but if you do not know,
accursed and a transgressor of the law."' Thus this manuscript adds
Sabbarh incident to theseies. Although this verse has litdeclaim to bea pa


original text of Luke, Bruce Metzger thinks that "it may well em
rst-century tradition."n
Helings on the Sabbath.-Mark and Luke describe the healin
demoniac who interrupted the synagogue service on a Sabbath in Cap
(Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37). Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, a

people were astonished a. His teaching. When the man "who had the spi
unclean demon" (Luke 4:33) cried out in the service, Jesus command

of himl"' (verse 35). Thereupo

convulsing the man, the demon came out. The reaction of the worshipe
"'Whar is this? A new teachingl With authority he commands even the
spirits, and rhey obey him"'(Mark l:27). Evidently the issue ofhealingon S
was not raised on this occasion. Later, appaently on the same Sabbat
healed Peter's oaher-in-law ofa high feve in Petert house in Capernaum
8114, l5; Mark l:29-31; Luke 4:38, 39). Thee is no record of a cont
cornected with either of these healings.
Howeve, rhe Synopric Gospels record anorher healing on the Sabb
did give rise to controversy: the healing ofthe man wih the withered hand
12:9-14; Mark 3: l-6; Luke 6:6-l l). Perhaps by this time the scribes and P
were fully aware thar Jesus did not allow the Sabbath to interrupt His
minisrry. and rhey were ready for .onfrontarion.
LaterJesus again entered rhesynagogue at Capernaum and began te
A man was present whose right hand (Luke 6:6) was wirhercd, indicatin
kind of paralysis. According to the Mishnah, a sick or injured person c
treated on the Sabbath only if life was actually in danger: "Whenever
dobt {herher life is in danger this overrides the Sabbath.":! The case of i
n'as obvioudy not covered by this provision,since thewithered hand prese
immediate threat ro life. Hence the scribes and Phadsees were watchingcl
see what Jesus would do, in order to have a case against Him. Accor
Matthew (12:10), they in fact asked Him, "ls it lawful to heal on the sa
(Interestingly, the apocryphal cospel according to the Hebrews, as st
Jerome, presents the man as pleading: "I was a mason, seeking a living w
demon: "'Be silent, and come out

hands; I begyou,Jesus, restore my healthto me, so that I need not beg for m

in shame."'u)
What shouldJesus do in such
so that all could see

a situation? He first of all had the man s

him. Matthew relates that He then answered the que


rhe Pharisees by asking a counterquesrion that required an affim

"'Whatman ofyou, ilhe hasonesheepand it falls inro a piron the sa
lay hold ofitand lift n our)"'(Matt. l2: I l). While there were rabbisw
allow an animal to be rescued on ihe Sabbath, they ar leasr allowed
comfortable in the pir.,' Should one be more consideraie of an a
human being? "'Of how much more vaiue is a man rhan a sheep
According totheaccounts in Mark and Luk, Jesus con fronted
with thequestion: "'ls it lawtul on the sabbath to do good or ro do har
or to kill?"' (Mark 3:4).1'They could not. ofcourse, say that it wa
harm, and they would notsay it waslawful todo good. Hence they rem
C. E. B. Cranfield is correct in asserting: "To omit to do the good rvh
do to sommne in need is to do evil."To leave a man with a withered
deformed condition was to destroy him insofar as a full, com
concerned.... Sosimply to do nothing lbr the poor man was to doe

Jesus then "looked around at them with anger, grieved at thei


{verse 5}. Gustav S(hLn I'ves rwo reasons for rhis anger:
wraih ofthe merciful Lord at legalists who wilt not accepr rhe new
and salvation, and who thus allow ihemselves to be carried away by
and even mortalenmity (verse 6). It is secondlv the wrath oflove, w
t{in even the Pharisees for the kingdom ofmercy and rvhich encoun
becausethey want law, notlove. There is thus mixed with holy wrath
for rheir piety which is so Ir from cod."''
Jesus then commanded the man toslrerch out his hand. When h
resrored- This ed the Pharisees to conspire wirh the Herodians as
away with Jesus. Thus while they were unwilling ro see a man with
hand restored on the Sabbath, they felt no compuncrions about por
ofone they hated. Thereby they gale theiranswer ro rhequesrion: "'
the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy ir? "
handJesus set forth the principle "lt is lawful to do good on the sa
l2:!2). F. F. Bru(e summar/es Jesus posirion:
"Instead offollo$ingthe sabbath lawasexpounded in the schoo
Shammai,Jesus insisted that, since e sabbarh was given ro men f
and well-being, any action which promored thar end as specially a
the sabbath da). I he rabbis would have agreed rhar, in dn urgenr
death. med(al a(ention mighr be given n rhe sabbarh dav. bur
could without danger wait until the next day, rhen the healing aci
postponed. Jesus argued on rhe conrrarl rhar rhe sbbalh sas a p
suitable day for the perlormn.e (,1 such works ol merr\, sherher
urgento not, since such works were socomple(ely in keepingwirh G
in giving the day. On the other hand, anything thar rnded ro mak
law burdensome conflicted wih rhar pupose. i,
Sbboth Hedig3 Peculiar to Lukc.-The cospel ofLuke reco
Sabbath healings, which also provoked conirolersy. One of these, g
I3:10-17. rias rhe healin8 of 'a woman rho had had a spirir oleighreen )fars: she ws bent over and c,,uld nor lullv srraighren
stiremenr thar she had aspirirofinl mily suggesrsharherillness
the power ofdemons.Je5us immediarelv healed her by announ(in8lo


controversy, in this instance the healing came 6rst and the debare follow
The opposition originated with the "ruler of the synagogue," who wa
withJesus but scolded the congregation instead: "'There are six days o

workoughtto be done; come on those days and be haled, and nor on the
day"'(verse l4). Jesus called this man and all who accepted his inrerpr
"'You hypocrites!"' He proceeded to show how they had concern
well-bing of animals on Sabbath, bur no genuine concern for the we
people. Are animals more important than people? The values of an ins
such as the Sabbath were not to be placed above human values. T. Winterpreis: "You undo the bonds ofyour draught animals to refresh the
you feel that this is no infringement of the holy day, but you protest aga
release of a human creature, a daughter of Abraham, from which Sa
source of the evil spirit-has clamped upon her not for a day but for e

The woman's illness was not the will ofGod. She was bound by Satan.
not C,od brin8 her freedom even on Sabbath W. F. Arndi calls aenrio
powerful antiihesis inJesul a/odo aguent: "a daughter of Abraha
mals: eighieen years of suffering-thirst for one day; a bond of Satan
physical lack."'Notonly should such a woman beallowed liberation on S
she ought to be feed. Whee there is po\^'er to free such a one, the
obligation to do so.,
On this occasionJesus won the conrrovesy: "All his adversaries wer
shae; and all the people rejoiced atall the glorious things thatwere done

(Luke l3:17).
The othe Sabbath healing recorded only in Luke was that of the hea
man with the dropsy (chap. 14:1-4). The miracle occurred in the home of
who belonged to the Pharisees" where Jesus was a Sabbath dinner gue
presence ofa man suffering from dropsy presented Jesus with a challe
graspd the initiative by asking, "'Is it lawful to hal on the sabbath, o
These lawyers and Pharisees "could notanswer yes or ro wiihourappearin
l ( in rheir airirude ro ihe l-aw or harsh ard unsymparheric rowards suffe
Hence they gave no answe. Jesus then proceeded to heal the man.
He then asked: "'Which ofyou, having an ass or an ox that has falle
$ell, will notimmediately pull him out on a sabbaday?'" The Old Testam
laid down theobligarion ofhelpingan animal in need thatbelonged to abr
even ar enemy.!6 But nothing is said about rendering such help on the
day, and the rabbis varied in their intepretation.ri Apparently, Jesus
common ground with His theological opponents in approving humane a
snimals in need." But ifan animal can be helped, why rot a man? Neithe
r,or rhe guesrs had n answer ro rhr quesrion.
Sabbath He.lings Peculia to John.-Two Sabbath healings ihar
Jesus into sharp conflict with theJews are recorded exclusively in the G
John. One was the healing ofthe lame man at the pool of Bethesda Uohn
While Jesus was inJerusalem at "a feast of the Jews" He saw a chonic in
thirty-eight years lying in one ofthe porticoes surrounding the pool, wa
the rroubling of the waters. The pool apparently was fed by an inte
spring. A popular superstition explained this natural phenomeno

srpernatural troubling of the water bv an angel.r" Jesus asked the u

man. " 'Do you want to be healed? ' Then He commanded, "'Rise. ta
pallet, andwalk."'By laith the man set hiswill to obey the command. a
so received healing and restoration. He demonrrated the reality and
ness of his cure by walking and carrling home the pallet on ri'hich h
It is only at the conclusion of the acrount ofthe rirarle thatJohn
that it occurred on the Sabbath (verse 9b). It was an opcn .halle
rabbinical ules of Sabbathkeeping. lhe man rho was healed wrs n
danger oflosing his life, and could, therefore, have iraited for healing
the Sabbath.l"

In addition the healed man violated one ol the thirty-nine princip

labo forbidden on the Sabbath by.arr!nrg his pallet.'' l he Jews los

reminding him that by (:arrying this nlat he was doiflg something unla
Sabbath. The man, however, in his new-fbund health, felt n,, <r,mp
conscience in obeying Christ s command. Since Jesus was the source
wholeness to him, whv should He not also be the sour(e of proper las

Jews learned that the healerwas indeedJesus, as thev had suspected, rh

rake hosrile action against Him (verse 16). t he creck suggests that t
because of a single violation, but because it had become habn. 7
Ai1 rendering is: "lvs works ofthis kind doe on rhe Sabbath tha
.lews to persecute Jesus."

Jesus'defense of His action rests on two basi. premises: (1) H

relationship with God the Father; and (2) the thct, admitted by theJew

.ontinued to lrork on the Sabbath. NIy father is working still

\!orking"' (verse l7). He thus claimed the example of His [ather for
miacles ofmer.y. C. H. Dodd aptly observes: I his puts the )nrrove
on lhe highest theological level."" The designarion 'Nf! Fthcr" s
points to Jesul consciousness of a special relationship ro God. I he
round the'clock activit.l ofcod in the universe consliiutes an exampl
He works like the Fathe.
'l houghtful
Jewish exegetes had difficultr in undersranding C
refered to in Genesis 2:2. How to intrrpret cod s rest sas rhe subje

dis.ussion. It was generally recognizert that God coulct no resr eren fo

.ontinues to give life and tojudge men, they con.luded.

It would indeed be ragi( for the universe and lbr mrn if c(d ces
a moment to govern the unnerse. ()od is ceaselessh ar $ork in the op
rhe naturalrsorld. He is also constantly engaged in the rrork of redcmp
such work there is no rest, no Sabbath. Sabbths have never hindered
God. Neither must they,.Jess asserted, hinder the rLork of God
regarded His work as equally sacred, and ofthe same.haracter as rhe

John 5:18 indi.tes that the.lews ell underst(x)d the high .laim
for Himsell, but rher rejecred these claims as unjusrilied. I he
Hr' clrm o d uniquc rcli,ion ,o (;.J \ n,,rh,nq le.. rluI blJ,plr
ho!ever, replied (verse 19) rhat He did not $rrrk independentlr of(;
only the things He saw His Father doi g. Hc wolked nor onl,v like rhe


implies a finality and arthority to His saying. He speaks in the name and w
authority of God. With e question of rhat authori(y the resr of the cha

The argument is resumed inJohn 7:19-24. Eversince rhe Sabbath he

the impotent man at the pool, the Jews in Jerusalem were intent on
derrucrion (chaps. 5: l8i 7: I ). How could rhe) claim to keep the Mosaic la
they cherished hatred and murder in iheir hearts? How could theyjusti
interpretation that circumcision overrides the Sabbath while they re
healings as violating it?
The "one deed" to which reference is made inJoh 7:21 iras the healin
pool, which caused the muhitude to manel. but which also resuked in
discussion related in chapter 5. Jesus called a(ention to lhe P
interpreBtion that circumcision overrides e Sabbath. The Mosaic lar{ re
that a baby boy be circumcised on the eighth day (l-v. l2:3). Rabbi Jo
declared: "Creat is circumcision which overrides even the rigour
Sabbath."" Whatever was necessary for this rite could be done on the Sa
Circum.ision was regarded as completing man's perfection. Abraham N
regarded as perfect until he was circumcised.
Jesus argued, "'Ifon rhe sabbath a man receives circumcision, so thai
ofMoses may notbe broken, are you angry with me because on the sabbath
a nran's whole body well?"' (ohn 7:23). It is an arg\ielt.r o nini ad ai
the lesser to the greater,
Leon Morris has stated:'Had they understood the signifi.ance of wh
were doing rhey sould hre seen rhar pra(tire whrrh o\errode the sab
order ro piovide I,..rr rhe.eremonirl needs ol a man iusri6ed the orerriding
sabbarh in order to provide for the bodily healing of a an. This is
important point for an understanding ofthe sabbath controversv betwee
and His legalistic opponents. He was not arguing simply that a repressive
liberalized. Nor did He adopt an anti-sabbatarian attitude, opposing the
institution. He pointed out that His ac.ion lulfrlled the purpose of th o
inritution. Had they understood the implications of the Mosaic provis
circumcision on the sabbath they would have seen lhat deeds ofmercy suc
had just done were not merely permissible but obligatory."'"
The orher Sabbath miracle found only inJohn is that ofthe healing o
born blind (chapter 9). The method used in giving the man sight is unusu
5pdr on rhe ground and mde clay ul r he spittle and dnornred rhe man s ev
rhe (la), saying ro him. Go. wa\h in rhe pool ot Silom r\erses 6. 7t. P
Jesus used this meihod deliberately to chllenge the rabbinical rules of S
obseriance. As pointed out earlier, healingon Sabbath rvas itselfforbidden
human life was in mortal danger. By rnaking the clat'as He did,Jesus viola
of the thirty-nine main categories of prohibited work, riz., kneading
probably alsoanother, mixing.'r Furthermore, a person was allowed to an
eres only with what was used for the same purpose on weekdays."
In the view ofsom ofthe PhariseesJesus was not ofGod, "'for, " th
'''he does not keep the sabbath'" (verse 16). A man could be rega
Sabbathkeeper only if he obeyed the Pharisaic rules of Sabbathkeeping


violated these, ihey concluded that He was not from cod. Orhers, ho
deeply impressed by the giving of sight to a man born blind, and
"'How could such signs come from a sinful man?' " (verse 16, N.E.B.).
men took different sides in relation toJesus.
Lohse has trell said: Here, too. lesus'att on the Sabbath is an e
His sort a5 rhe One whom Cod has ienr and who is r he O: ro xo
the worldl,John 9r5; 8:12. Face to face wirh Him the decision is made
blind and who sees,.Tohn 9:39-41. Thus rhe works of cod are man
healings ofJesus on the Sbbath.John 9:3. Chur( h nd S) ndgogue ar
from one anorher b1 confession of Him on rhe one side and on
passionate rejection of His work which sets aside the Law."1,
The Meaig of Matthew 24:20.-ln His escharological disco
twelve aposdes on the Mount of Olives (Mari. 24:4-36; Mark l3r
21:8-36) our Lord plainly forerold the destruction ofjerusalem. "'Wh
Jerusalem surrounded by armies,"'He warned, "then know that ir
hasrome near. Then let those who are inJudea Ree ro rhe mounrains. a
whoare inside

deparl (Luke2l:20.2l).Chrisriansweretosav

byimmediate flight notonly from the doomed city bur fromJudea, as

of this, acording to ihe Gospel of Mahew, He urged rhem, "'Pra
flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath"' (Man. 24:20). The para
has only, "'Pray that it may not happen in winter"'(Mark t3:18).
winter? Because the cold and rainy weatherwould make it moe difc
well as to nd shelier.r
The additional phrase "'oon a sabbath,"'found only in Mauhe
variously interpreted. Some comentaios have denied rhar rhese
uttered byJesus. There can, however, be no doubr that rhey were a
original(extof Marhew., Were rhey5impll pur in byrheaurhorof the
in harmony wuh hisJewish predilecrions, as some have roncludedt r
has suggested thar they mar well have.ome from rhe logia otJesu

known bv rhe aurhorol the 6rst Gospel fromJeE;h 50ur( e;." Weian
reason lor reje.ring ihem as a genuine parr ofrhe Iogion. Accepring rh
what is their significance?
In the interprerarion of mny commenralors the inuncllon _ Pr
Sighr ma) nor be . . . on a sabbath is ro be undersrood s a reler
prohibition oftraveling beyond a "Sabbath-day'sjourney," which was
6frhs oi a m e. lr is r lear rhar rhe l5raelires, during rheir wrlderness r
were forbidden ro go ong disrn(es on rhe sevenrh day. The rom
'"Remain e\err man ot you in his plce, Ie( no man go out of his p
srenrhday tEx. l6:291. This com mand had spe.ifi( reference ro goi

the camp on he Sabbarh ro garher manna. whnh lay on rh-'e

h ilderness round about rhe camp on six dal s ot(he wee'k {rerses 13
"His place.' however. was subjecr ro various inrerpretarions. Mosr li
suggesred, ir meanr rhe camp ol rhe lsraelites. ' l he Sepr uaginr rransla
other hand, took ir as meaning one's house, and this idea is reflecre
modern translations, such as Th Nu Endish Biler "'No one may s
home on the seventh day."'However, this inrerpreiarion would not
with the-derignation ofthe Sabbath as "'a holy convocarion,'" "a sacred
or a "religious garherin8" (Lev. 23:2-4).

was a post-Exilic Rabbinic regularion. tnasmuch as Jesus ignored oth

man-made rules of Sabbathkeeping, it is doubtful rhar He world have e
this one. Sorne think ihat He was here merely recogniring rhe consc
scruples of Jewish Christians abour fleeing on the Sabbarh. A Sabba
journey $ould nor hve rarried rhem far enough ro rea( h a pl(( ot 5afery
pray that your flightwill be on a diffeent day- Bureven the rabbis ecogni
to save one's life might be regarded asjusrifying flighr on rhe Sabbath.s
Many students ofthe New Testamenr see in Mahew 24:20 an indica

rhe Chflstin,ommunir) tor shich Ma heK wrne. ra:.till obser

il rhis is Benurne domini( l saying. ir indi(dres
l,ord expe(red Hrs lollowers ro regard rhe Sbbarh as sarred s lar
desiruction ofJerusalem in.o.70. He insrucred rhem ropraythatar tha
crisis they would not6nd it necessary ro fleeon ihe Sabbarh. Butthe implic
that conditions could be such as to make insranr flighr necessary even on rh
Sbbarh. - Funhermore.

Butthe fear, bustle, and confusion thatahasty flighton Sabbath lrou

w h rhe woflhip. pea, r. andloy that should t hara, r
scred dayofrest. Hence,Jesuj fbllowers were urged ro pray rhar rhe fligh
ocur on a different day of the week.
The Sabbath in the PassioD Narrativs.-In all lbur cospels the
which ourLord wascucified ard died is designated as rai*l, " prepara
Parashu, Matk explairc, is proabbaton, "fore-sabbath," i.e.. the day be
Sabbath (Mark l5:42). tn Luke 23:54 Codex Bezae similarly reads, "lt was
before the sabbath," instead of"lt was the day of Preparation." lt is evid
the "Preparation" had become a technical term for "the Preparation
sabbath."to At the time ofthe giving ofthe manna, the Israelites were insrr
prepare their food for the Sabbath on the sixth day ofthe week (Ex. 16r5
New Testament times, pars*u- had become the technicalname for Frida
is shown not only by Josephus' linking it with the Sabbath6 but also b
absolutely i n the Dar e"t and rhe Marqntum af Polap. a I t is the name fo
in ecclesiastical Latin and in modern Greek."'
InJohn tg:31 the connection of"the day of Preparation" with the S
also clear- The Deuteronomic law fobade that rhe body of a criminal
been hung on a tree be allowed to emain there overnight (Deut. 21
Hence, iheJews follon'ed the custom of removing the body ofa crucifie
fom a cross befoe eveningon any day of the week,"" but even more so w
Sabbath was about to be8in. especially when the Sabbath was a "high da
Sabbath evidently was regarded as a "high day" when it fell within the
season. At such a time, desecration must be more scrupulously avoided
any other Sabbath.
I n John I 9:42 the close connection of the 'Jewish day of Preparario
the Sabbath is also clear. lnasmuch as it was late on that day ofPrepaari
the tobofJoseph ofArimathea was nearby in a garden, rhey quicklyburie
there. It is obvious that the approaching Sabbarh called fbr hasre.
John 19:14. however, speaks of the day of Jesus' death as 'the
Preparation ofthe Passover." This designation is peculiar roJohn. The S
Gospels do not associatelar*uwith the Passover."r Commentarors are
Nere nor in har mun!


on the

interpretaiionofthe phrase

day ofPreparation ofthe Pass

take the genitive ,or prcna as an objective genitive and interpet th

meaning "Preparation /or the Passover."s A. Milligan and W.
however, pointout that there is no evidence rhat the day before the P
ever called "the preparation of the Passover."6'g Hence, it is perha

interpret the genitive "of ahe Passover" as a possessive genitive, m

preparation that belonged to the Paschal season or Friday ofthe Pass
This interpretation is Siven by G. B. Winer: "Bur inJohn 19:14 ,roQ
qxa fParaheu tou Pascha) does not mean the day of pepara
Passover, but slmply and naturally the resting-day ofthe Passover (th
belonging to the Paschal festival)."rr
The ter "Passover," while originally used to designate the Pas
Paschal sacrifice," came to be applied to the entire festival extendi
fourteenth to the twenty-first day ofthe onth Nisan." In this gener

used in the New Testam en.14 Hence, rhe parssh&. ,ou pa'. may be in
the preparation belonging to the Paschal week. T. Zahn points ou
unites the idea ofFriday as the preparation day with the time ofthe P
he interprets: "It was Friday at the time of the Passove, and abo

The Synoptic Gospels call attention to a group of Galilean w

arefully observed the death and burial ofJesus on that day of p
These women, along with the twelve aposdes, had traveled with th
Galilee. They had used their means to support Him and His band
They had followed Hirn toJerusalem and emained loyal to Him to t
Amongthem were Mary Magdalene, Marythe mother ofJames the y
Joseph, and the mother ofJames and John. Now they watched a
Ariathea, a secet disciple, removed the body of the Master fom
wapped it in a linen shroud, and laid it in his own tomb. By this time
the aftemoon ofthe day ofpreparation, and the Sabbaih, Luke tells u
to begin.'? The Greek verb pephskn means,literally, ua, darrn;g. B
onespeak ofdawningat sunset? Lohseexplains, "The reference is obv
shinirg of the first star as the Sabbath comes."'
Luke's narative continues: "The women who had come wit
Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid;then th
and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested acc
commandment. But on the first day ofthe week, at early dawn, they
tomb, taking the spices which thy had prepared" (Luke 23:55-24;
The recognition of the relation of these women toJesus and H
ministry makes this simple account very significant. Next to the tw
they were amongJesus'most intimate and most devoted followers.
their lives to follow Him to the cross. Thei devotion is shown by
purchase of spices and ointments to anoint the body of their Lord
Even so they felt thattheycould not violate the Sabbatheven to g
their dead Masier. The spices ard ointments were purchased for u
Sabbath was over. Sundown was too near to think of using them o
prepaation. "On the sabbath they rested according to the command
ask, According to what commandment? the answer is obvious:
according to the commandment that has to do with the Sabbath. The

rested "all through the sabbath" (Goodspeed). Ihe conjunctive part

before raalrn of the last clause of Luke 23:56 coresponds to the adv
conjunction dr of chapter 24:1, indicating that chapters 23:56 and 24:I
sentence. At the close of chapter 23 there should be only a comma, fo
carries the story on withot a beak."'They rested for the duration ofthe
but at early dawn on the first day ol the week they rsent to the tomb to

They lrere greatly disturbed t{hen they found the tomb empty. But
infbrmed thm: "'l know thatvou seekJesus who was crucified. He is not
he has risen, as he said. Come. see the pla.e where he lav " (Matt. 28:5, 6

too, had rested from His great ork of edemption, but now He r

Luke plainly retrs to three distincr dars in this Passion narraive: th

preparation, the Sabbath, and the 6rst dav of rhe week. On the frrst ol
iras-crucilied. on the second He rested in the tomb, on the third He rose
tomb. His most devoted followers also rested on the Sabbath in obedienc

The Nature of th C'ospels. The significance of what the Gospel

concerning the Sabbath can be better understood and ppreciated
considers ihe purposes for which these documents were wriiten. It h g
recosnized today rhat they are not hisrories assuch, thouBh the,vcontain h
facti'Norure trey primrily biographies ofJesus. l hetare ratherchurc
r{ritten for the purpose ofpromoting the Christian fairh (Luke l:I-'1;John
The uere rriiren br.omm,''ed Chri'oan'rur,J irr spreadrng rhe good
whai God ha. done In Jesu\ Ch, is'. Thev ar ( Prinrilv rheolug(al hnd
the early church."
Th Gospels record much ofwhatJesus said and did. we mav well a
The answer is apparent: because what Jesus said and rlid i normative
Chistian. He is rh church's Messiah and l,ord. Therefbre what Herid is
on those who protess to follo'f Him And what He did i alo normative.
standard of belief and Pra.rice.
In the light ofthis, i{hat Jesus said and did with:eference to the Sab
sreat signifrcnce. He did not speak words bolishing the Sabbath. Alth
per torried mirt les ol healing n rhar da1'. rhe'e a, r' uer e holr deed' in
i.Ih rhe.pir ir ol I he Sabbarh. He did. howevcr. ende!or ro lrce rhc dd\
inerpretdve restrictions that rheJ ewish oral law had placed upon it. He
.1.,! ot

\onirurl lreedom and helDlul .er\xe.

lr mu.r tur her be re, ocni/erlIhar when the (,o'Pcl. r ei, dedthcs
doinss or le\u'. rhe) dl.u, fflh Ied rhe ldirh nd Dr, ri.e ul rhr ear lv ( hu
*.,i'r. in re boul ol {r r\ likerr.e gi.e.'idcn, e ol ea, lr ( hrisridn
pra.tice, and to this book we now turn-

The Sabbath in the Book of Acts

The Creekword for "Sabbath," r"n, o.curs ten times in the Gree
the book ot Acts. In the King James Version it is translated as "Sabb
times,'and "week" once.'tn the Revised Standard Version these figures
"Sabbath' eight times and "week" rwice.',

l: 2. This pssa8e merely asserts rhar rhe Mounr ot Otives, ; here rhe
rook pla(e. isnearJerusalem.asbbrhda)siournelaway."fhisisrheon
in rhe Bible where rhe phrase "sabbarh-day sjourney is tund. Irrete
distance a Jew (ould rravel on rhe Sbbarh accordinq to the resularion
bv rhe scribes. fhe Mishnah gives rhe distance as 2,00 cubirs} rhe dis
was to sparate rhe ar k from ihe lsraelites in rheir manh round leri(h
3:4). The pasrure lndslor a disrn(e ot 2,0OOcubirsoutside rhe c rlv wall
cities were also assigned ro rhese.itis. Fu hermore, the camD ot isrel
out of which no lsraelire has ro go on Lhe Sbbarh 1Ex. t6:29i was hetd
2.000 rubirs beyond rhe rbernate. There is no eviden( e rhar
Jesus fet,
this scribal inrerpreration.

With the ex(eprion ot rhe mention ol rhe Sabbarh bl lme. ar rhe

Conleren.e lAcrs | 5:2lJ, lhe remainn8 reterentes to I hii day in rhe
conneoed wirh Pauls missionary raork. The Sabbarh ir asso(iared
lounding ot (hur(hes in Pisidian 4ntioch hap. l3:t3.521. philio
l6:ll-15),Thessaloni.a{chap. l7:i-9),Corinh1cap. t8:t.a,and,at'
lhe wesrern re\1. Ephesur erse I9d r. As a lovalJe$ (chap\. 24: 4: 2
kept rhe Sabbath. He enrered rhe synaqogues nor onlv to re, h but to w
rhr day. Nor is rhere anv hin' rhai he regrded rhe enrile Chrisrrans
obser\e some orher dv, such as Sundav. as lhe weekl) day ot resl.
The Sabbath Svices itr Pisidian Artioch.-The cosDels mdke ir
Jesus began His publi, minisrry ol preachins nd reihinq in r
srnagoges.e A(cording ro rhe book ot Acrs rhC aposrle paut a;d hh
followd th same praitice in rheil missionary wok in rhe cenril
Immediarely atter their ordina(ion ar Anrioch n rhe Oronres River.
Barnabas sailed for Lyprus. Ihere. shen rhe) drrived ar Sala
pro(laimed rhe word of cod in the synagogues oi rhe lews (Acrs l
worrhy ol note thar [requently in the book ot Acts, syneeue oreachin
Sabbath a,e linked rogerher.q The ear liesr spetihc meniio-n of rhis , on
the account ofPaul's and Barnabas' mission t pisidian Anrioch in the la
of southwesr Asia Minor tverse t4ft). fhis tirl evidenrtl hdd a tar
communiry, and on rhe Sabbarh rhr totlor1ed rhelr rrirat rhe mi.sronai
into the synagogue and sat down."
. As devourJews (hey parIi.ipared in rhe 5ynagogue worshp senn e.
ume (ame lor rhe sermon. 'atler rhe reading ol he law and rhe prop
risiting missionaries were invired to speak a.iword or exhorrarioi., .iv
synagoSue rerm for a homily.
. Tleddress rhar Paul gave in response ro lhar invilarion. atong wi
gi\en by Perer. was used by C. H. Dodd ro reron:trut r rhe (npm."or
message. of rhe early chun h."' We rannor enrer nto a srudv"ot the l
Pul s address here, bur we mlsr nore rhe knd ot audien( e rhe aDosrle
lhe reartion ro his message. It is evident rhdr rhe wor\hipers in rhe s
ronsisred no( only ot lehs, eirher by bi h rr .onrersion. bur also o
Gen(iles who were arrra.ted b) the monorhei\ti( rheooe! and his
prin( iples ot ludasm. Pauladd resses his audren, e a" - men oi l....l.
tear God (verse l 6). Again he eters ro rhem s.. brerhren. sons ot rhe
Abraham. and rhose among )ou rhar tejr cod (verse 26). Ihese Co

synagoBue with varyingdegrees ofattachment toJudaism, but who had

circumcised as a mark that they had fully taken on the yoke oftheJe$ish

among these devout Gentiles that Paul's missionary preaching enj

gfearesr success, as rhe remainder of the chapter sugSests.
The presence of these Gentile worshipers in rhe .Jewish synagogu
Sabbath is very si8nificant. Lohse has correctlv observed: "Beyond th cir
Je'rish communities which everywhere in the Diaspora sanctifred the S
the God oflsrael many god'fearers and proselytes also kept the Sabbath a
rest."" Even in Old Testament times the Gentile "sojourner" lgr) who d
the Hebrews was comanded to keep the Sabbath..' Ihe God-fearers
day, of course, lived in a vastly different social environment. Neverthe
found their way to the synagogue on the Sabbath.
At the conclusion of the Sabbath service at Pisidian Antioch the p
their way out begged that Paul continue his subject on the following
(verse 42). The KingJames version, based on the lJllr R.rrr&!, states
request came from "the Gentiles." But the better Greek manus.ripts do
rhe addition of rrr at this point, and we may safely assume that there w
Jews and Gentiles among the people who made this request. Verse 43, t
us that manyJews and devout converts to.ludaisr fbllowed Paul and Ba
There is some uncertaint) regrding the meaningofthe Greek Phrase t
as 'devout converts to Judaism." Does this efe to "Cod-fearers" o
proselytes to theJewish fith? Probably the latter is intended. Paul and
urged those who were especially interestd in Christiallitl "to coniinu
grace of God."
"The nexr Sabbarh almor the whole cnv gathered togelher to hear
of God' (verse 44). Evidentl,v the Gentiles who had attended the serlic
prviousSbbath spread the eord totheir neighbors with remakable e
doubtful that the synagogue could hold such a croNd, and perhaps s
srre unble ro ger inru th(,r i,hn ngogue In r\ (d.(. Iheir anim
,ou\ed nd rhe) \rronBly opposed Ilte ed( hrng ,,f hc Chrirrir n,is
Pauland Barnabas told them plainly thatsince they were rejecriDgtheir
opportunity, the message {ould now be presented directly Io the Genti
16). As a result rnany Gentiles becane Christians, "and the word of
spredd rhruushuu ll Ihe resion (!erse 49).
' ln shor i rim< rhe rpolir rrere expelled from rhar area and made
ro Iconium, where they again "enteed together into theJewish synaSogu
ipo ke thar a great com pany believed, borh ol Jews and of Greekl' (ch
There is no mention ofthe Sabbath in the record, bu! it may neverthelessN
been on the day of rest rl'hen this o.curred.
The Sabbath Day in Philippi.--On Paul\ second missionary tour he
as his associate. 'fhev were working in Asi Minor and had come to Tro
Paul had a vision ot a man from lfacedonia pleading, " Come over to M
;nd help us"' (chap. l6:9). This lision ws nrterpreted as a call from Go
he narrow.onfrnes of Asia Minor and open up the continent of Euro
spread ofthe gospelr "And when he had seen the vision, immediately we
eo on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the
(hem (verse 10). lt is to be nored that in relatin g the slory Lke changes

missionaries at Troas and accompanied them to Philippi.,,

The missionaies recognized the urgency of the call and

immediately. They set sail fom Troas for the island of Samothace
there sailed ro Neapolis, the seaport ofPhilippi in Macedonia. When
in Philippi, they spent some days in this "leading city ofthe districi ofM
and a Roman colony" (verse l2). When the Sabbath came, they foun
where a group ofdevoutJews and God-feares met forworship andjo
Ihe KrngJmes Version rares: Andon rhesbbath we senr ou(ol
rirer side, where prayer was wont to be made (verse l3r. lhe hord
"prayer" (Prosel6hi) c mean not only the act of prayer but also a plac
Hence, anothetranslation is possible, as in the Revised Srandard Vers

we supposed there was a place of prayer."

There is no consensus among New Testament students regardin
place of prayer was. Some hold that it was a synagogue-,3 But the fa
mentioned as attending the service, apart fom the m
makes this interpretation extremely doubtful. It may have been a
perhaps an informal meeting place in the open air.rm There the miss
down "and spoke to the women who had come rogether" (verse l3)
Paul's frrsi convert in Europe was Lydia from Thyarira, a deale
woolen cloth. She isdescribed as "a worshiperofGod," which suggests
a Cod-fearing Cntile. Sheand her household (probably includin8emp
servants) were baptized, and she inshted on enrertaining the mission
home.Itis possible that Euodia and Syntyche, meniioned in Philippia
also have become converts at this time. I t is again worthy of nore rhar G
Jews in worshiping on the Sabbath.
Thre Sabbaths in Thessalonica.-From Philippi Paul and Si
the great military road, the yi Eg?rro to Thessalonica, "where there

l7:l). In his Gospel Luke mentions that

arrived at Nazareth, "where he had been brought up," he entere
gogue on rhe Sabbath 'as his cusrom was" (Luke 4:16). Exactly rhe s
sion is used of Paul, who went into the synagogue "as was his custom"
For rhree .r he disroursed uirh rhe Thesslonians lrom rhe s
plainingand proving that itwas necessary fbr the Christ to suffer and
the dead, and saying, 'ThisJesus, whom t proclaim to you. is the Chr
Sl in verse 3 is translated as "weekJ' in the Revised Srand
$irh sabblhs ind foornore. l his lheonlyreflin \es Ieslmenr
rhe useof oB0arot,rlsplurt in meaningswell 5in lorm "
it should be translated "Sabbaths" here, though the word can indicate
of time between Sabbaths, i.e., weeks.'o, Bur ir is evidenr that Pau
Thessalonica for a longer period than three weeks.,o Futherm
Philippian lette Paul declares that rhis Chrisrian communiry sent he
gogue of the Jews" (Acts

Thessalonica"once and again."re Hence, the account in Acts seems to

his labor in rhe synagogu. As rhe resuh ofrhar lbor some ofrheJew
Christianity, "as did a great many of the devour ceeks and noi a
leading women" (verse 4). The fist Thessalonian letter confirms rhe
that the Christian community in Thessalonica was largely Genrile (l



Berea.-while the Sabbath is not mentioned in connection with Pa

in Berea, thee is a reference to his entry into the synagogue. Many ofthe
rhisciry accepted Christ, "with nota few Greek women ofhigh standing
men" (Acts l7:12).
The Sabbath ir Corin.h.-After a disheartening experience at Athe
drrived ar Corin'h. where he soughr lodging nd remunerari!e ldb.r. H
horh in rhehomol Aouilaand Prir, illa. ior rhe! and hewere Lenrmak

mny exposilors inreipret, learher-uorker., or'rddlet' rA(rs

Durinq rhe week, hen, he rorled wirh rhese Ieh;sh . onver t5. But on everv
he prerhed in rhe stnsosue. "and persuaded lews dnd Greeki rverse
Weirern rexL ol his rerie a,lr. Andeoingrorhes)nagogueever) Sa
argued and introduced the name ofthe LordJeus, and persuaded noto
but also Creeks."
when Silas and Timothy arrived with nnancial supPort, Paul wa
devote his full rime to his miisionary work. Hn strong emphasis onJes
Messiah aroused opposition on the-part of th unbelievingJews H t
found it necessary i leave the synagbgue and carry on his work in.the
luius lusrus, neir door ro the slniggue 6. 7). Among rhe J
beram ronverrs ro Chrisrranrrl was Crispus. rheruler,'trhesvngogu
8). Paul remained in Corinth for a year and a half (verse 11)
On his Ba\ ro Palerrne he made d br iet opr l.pheuc where he
rverie lsr. I he We"rern rexr
rhe syngogue and r8ued qirh
rhe words "and on the Sabbath."
On his third missionary journey Paul again visited Ephesus. Th
states: "And he entered thlynagogue and for three months pok
areuins and pledins abour rhe kingdom ot Cod (,hP l9:8,.Alre
fro rhe.rnososue nd, rrrd on his uorI in theh,llofTv
for woter.rrerqes9, ior. lheresultsa."rharllrheresidenrotfrhe
ofl \si heald rhe hord ol lhe Lord. borhJew' dnd L'reek' rver'e l0
Although Paul found it expedient to withdraw liom the synago
n-rmber ofccasions, it is evide;t that the Chritians did not at Iirst c
teparare rhemselves Irom lhc slngogues. Belute he betame a Chrrr
hrmsell t ent lo the high prie.i ro gel letters to rhe svnagugue\ of D
authoriine him ro rre"r rhe Chri\rians he tound in rho\e s)nagogue\
men or wo"men. nd ro bring lhem bound Loleru\alem rchaP 9:l 2)' C
did n,lr yer (ons(irure ' group independenL t rhe Jewih
.ongregLionsr,ompa'ethp' 22: l9: 26: l I r. Ol t our'e rhetimedidco
rheiwee lor,ed ro leave rhe lewih \lnagugue.
Thc Sabbath and rheJerusalem Coference. A' more and more
ioined r he Chr isrian mo'eirenr ' rhe que.rion ot whdr should be expe( re
rme o rhe tore. Must a Cenrile hrrt te ome a Jeu belore he.ould be a
Chrbtinr Wha qas to be rhe l leUowshrp berween lewi\h n
Chri\rlan' Many lewi.h Chrtrians, parriularl) rhose wirh a Phrisi
ieu, minrained ihar (nrile\ who $anred ro be Chririans hould ra
shole yoke otrhe Ierdish lah.-l heir mes.ase r. L,enrrle (on!errs w':" U
re (iri um(ised a,.ordins ro lhe t urom ol Vose\. you (annor be sare

whole Jewish law----oral as well as written (verse 5; cal. 5:3). paul an

however, maintained that cnriles should not be saddled with the

Jewish lah.rG
TheJerusalem Conferencewas called to consider ihe marrerand
decision- Representatives from rhe Gentile churches wenr up with B
Paul to the apostles and elders inJerusalem (Acrs I5:2). Afrei consider
Peter set forrh the argument har rhe fundamenral prin.iple hd a
settled bv rhe HoL Spirir. who had come with equ;l pow;r on un
Gendles and circumcisedJews, indicating rhar the, we} on rhe sam
hd accepred rhe Cenlles and cleansed rhei hea15 by rhe Holy Spir
rhey put rheir fair h inJesus. Should rheChrisrin communirl gobejon

required (verses 7-ll)?'o'

Barnabas and Pul rhen rehearsed rhe slory ot rhe mira(ulou
wonder s rhar God was pertorming among rhe Cenriles (verse t2). Ihe
were an ttesGrion ol Cod s a(cepunre of ihe mission mong Gent
judgment is rhar we should nor rrouble those otrhe Cen(ites who aurn
write to them to abstain from rhe pollurions of idols and trom un(hasri
whar is strangled and lrom blood trerse 20r. Thi\ solulion was ar.ep
apostles and the elders, with the whole church" (verse 22, R.S.V.).How should these pres(riprions jor Cenrile ron\err5 laid d
conferenre be regarded Are we ro (onrlude rhr rhese were rhe on
moral standards riquiredofGentile Christians? W. Gutbrod has aptly
that rhe de(ree should nor be regarded as n any sense a miiima
abs(ract of rhe Lw hhi(h in a kind ot compromise rries ro make
fundamentals of the l-aw obligatory in place of rhe whole Law.",G
Jerusalem Counril laid down was rhe rerms tor Ielowship berween
Gentile Chrisrians. F "These
did nor provide rhe
salvarion or ot(hurch membership
but of a wort ing agi.eemenr tor
lewish converts ',
Practices thatwould scandalizeJews were singled out. prohibitio
down that iheJewish world held to be binding upon all men. C,en
avoid the pollutionofidols, i.e., ro abstain from e}ingrhe fleshofanim
pagan sacrices trerse 29r, which mighr impl a sharing in pagan
$orship. rr Se(ond. (hev were ro absrain trom btood. whn mbli,,d
belongs ro Cod alone.,,,They were also to abslain from rhe arins of
srranSled animals, inasmuch as the blood remained in rhem. ,. Fialty
wasforbidden. whi.h in(luded any torm ofilli, ir sexuat inrerrourse
of (losely relared persons.Lr,
Though rhe (exr underlying rhe Revised Srandard Version is ro b
to the Wesrern rext. the trer ol A(rs l5:20, 29 is ofgear interest.
sords and lrom wharissrangled andar rheend ad?s a nesarive
golden rule: and not to do roirhers nhar rhel do nor wish d"one to
absrain from blood (an be inrerpreled as forbiddins bloodshed, i.
ees: idolarry. lornicarion. and murder. These ptus the addirion of rhe
tin negative form) ranstorm rhe prohrbirioni into purety erhical de
I t0

h him, tor he is re

Sabbrhinlhesvngogue\"(versc2l,.lhesigni6ianLeotrhi..raremenrh One explanarion given t rhar sin, e leus are in e
In evey city thee are synagogues where Moses is read.
is rhat Moses would suffer no toss by not requ
^ A second-explanation
ro observe rhe hhole le$ish aw. for rhe\e Genrites hd ne
dherenrs otJudaism.,, Anorher is rhar rhe voke otrheJewish taq n
placed on centiles, for there ar enough preaches oiMoses atread
$n8ogue\ (rery sabbrh. A fouflh inrrprerrion is rhar rhere
oppo'lunr! for Cenriles ro know rhese basii pun(ipte\. ior Moses wrir

read every Sabbath.

As poinred our earlier. rhe edrly Genrile Lhr sUans, ame tr om ..Godwhu were alredr wurshiping in rhe s nagoguel on rhe Sabbrh. Ir is evid
that Chrisrians did nor immediarely sevr ll connections with the syn
Hence, the best explanarion, in our view, is that the ferusalem Coun

enjoininganything new or srrange, bur rhar wirh which te Genriles would

be familiar, through the reading and exposition of rhe Mosaic law

It is signiflcanr rhar the matterofSabbarhkeeping is nor menrioned as

at this conference. Had there been a movement on foor to do away
\abbrh or ro ( hnge rhe dar ol wor ship ro Sunda).
would no do
been consideble debre and blrer ronrenrion on (he 'here
parr ot rhe large nu
Jewish Christians who were "'zealous for rhe law"'(chap. 2l:20). enti
nor dmonished ro respe r (he s( r uples ot rhei' Jesish brar hrcn wilh rete
rhe Sbbdlh. Ihe \ilen, e ol rhe conlerenr e on rh subler r etoquenll) (e
the continual observance of rhe Sabbarh by borh Jewish and Cenrile Ch

rAd lflcdapnJonoIhFnnrl rn ..dt'nt BLr..\ Drb,L,B, nd Rob. s r
. \ I Ruh-r.en,aL4rd,dr..,.\^ 1^h4\tath,t.41to! Hbo-,/,?7.4,/,N\n\,[F.
dsn,\'ur, lone ri \..'J lo{0,, D. tiTqi to.cDh H(n,r lhrer Ait4h.Luh1^t
.\^tior L 4att,t"\.\n;itm o!w'thmI a'n.rndl.r1 6rcmo-n,(h.,."
rbb.1.(nnh,i va,u/-4I^r4 lt tht itt t.ut rd c.t rtd,nbu,ch. tq17,.o;999 {od"
. I^4t. a\w1 n Lh, t,ry\ \'a l.ka.nt 1 ot nn'o7 t, DD. t2, t:6.
'\ld'r ?3' l\fll169 Lule2a:l l.hn20 c:4,'!2r,: r!." 6,
12:. s rrr
r.-3..vr t.2t:??:,.{,1r.4.Lutr4t4.,2 l1 .o,AFtrt4
r\ rc 2t.26.20:3. t0: l5:3
Jbr,'ro'. o" a. L {03.
lrmB Hop. \ dnd \B?t tttr... 4 Lt nq, at \a t4
tdinburRh, l96!), J:zij, 27.
" se w.rf{d.^ s,\rre .ou\ov,,F'/t'/'73Jl.n r_L
u\lr'ed lrmir.' 4t1hot nd tp.n-d tnda\on.t,
p., ..rdnp t \ /!r? r
tombu,en. ls22 u llR
- LLr, ' $
ha1\c,nd puDd! lq7r, Do 3a $
t.\4t,1)1t t d.
I loh K
tu;n,d srmpr!. "srbbrh_'t"n*;tuut \d,"t:, Bt, Ln ,rr'?d,,'in. Rcpdr, tc rx .u
Shdbbrh 7 2 tDtrnbr)

rr william

L rln, r. c6y'/,aftodig b Mart,I?c

tc;rad Rpid(, t97{), p. l15




Lo Lhe

Ah'nicle,h"de'h(l \dm 222n.2r,

otfiL x' hR,rher

' Hc,m,nn I \'rl nd Pul Bnle,Rl.D^ m{u! e{ Uad rtkutt u fal

,0 M.mun.d., Pek, h Lqo ed,n I Fdrri l,'r.,",r
, w D D\'6.,",,la{o/t(..zd@tvd,'Ldnb,dSe.l9o4Lpp 105.10{.D.'.
Taht dn Rdbhi. t,nn lN$ Yorl^. I 956). D. 6.
,rvcl'ha,tx 3fl2-l7.rB.kkhrbbrd,t: r'hah,:,f t-h... qP. r. p la
r B'u,; v Mekr'.I./^rrt,\d/.(n'N,Ps\.'r
lqcq'p 5u
:5 Mshnh Y.mtE 6.
s Butu. H. Thulmoro., Ir., .d., cdr, Prl& (Nes York, 1957), p 5 l. n. Man 12:
,r rihle, o, d, D 25, n 193.
t3 In'h. l Jui Lule b I b! _1o i.\e I'f. o' ro dqrcl i')
F C L. B Li,nheld, lt. orr'l r to \at vat h \t al tbt
\ Hrm,hd H. Hobbr Ii7 I ;Mtm
^ ot rh' L^pd.t t L* t'j\ nd Rp'dr. 1q66,. p I l?
!r cu! srhlD. "mi'rf,.IDNL 5'423.
\rr r Bn!. N ,mrH4 rt ondon. t96o pp t7q, 174.
!f.$ Mdroon,I. Car,r Ier\eh Yv't, lqI!.pp'b4. lrj{
q lriukn f A'ndr, /,6ai,4'.ortv n t t ut tst ljuir, lqr6,, p i2o
B uat. tt,Ltltt\ Lw. P.rvta Ldp.l | Dtnbna ' B.1i'4r lq6l. p r7{.
sfx 23:5.
Dut 22.,1
!i s'r.! and B lrb..l. d d l:629.
q B,u.e.@ . D tos rh;sbbrh reqldo' ror,hcoumr"n,un.u, qoee\.r
(nr{ rhd',r! Wirh ,o h m"n. er menr or n'rl. on \bbarh rhr ' Oam" u
!de! N"Enihllsxrbnrooreb,rrhon,hesbb,hddt

MGrrexru.nrrrcred,hr lvhn5 sb,a,b.' 'hrdlqd,'oLbhnP' r

b{ crL miur',Ds ol rh. Co'\E'1, P6 } A BL' DI{{4 11, \;r dn.. o,."nr,"tdlOldL
etruetexrol . Vulr"-,or;( u,ehndn\!"! orrhcr oD'i \e,tio1" Mo'"rhn
nurbfl o
."nu,nnmr^ "';re' . nd obel' r bflnq "u!r!'. r"he,mv'r tr,o1u'nr 'h"nrr
;;J. ;",r ..",".",.,"" rhre or hhrh re uLnlonh n
{ 5. \'B.l and B'lle'bt, @ , I or,63q, q r33l
rr shbbLh 7:2: su!tnd B tcrbe,L.ti,.,2.154.161
\ L- H- Da<ld, tatt.@m ot th. ;uah Lo\r hn(? tr\3'.p.t2r
ar M(hnb Nrrim 1:Il.
r1 Shabbaih 13 3r l:2.

a lfo Mon*


s cl



re l4hsc,


eJotr rlc'uand RiD'd..




a1., p.23.

{Frovdv rihoi.,a c,rtur

d t\t c^p4 a..o,d'npto \ ,ri ,/a llnno. 1q60. p.2

Al.rnder Blm'n Btu.a, rhr \rni,p, ( t t h. I 4a n' CPtl t^tonat.
N@ll rcrnd RrDid: f1942)lr I 291
'? T1. onh inn rNd ro, rhe re^e m rhe!nn!.l.oDr'ru. ol x Ltt \|dnd -\\\@LO@
' *.


! $'noqhri (.'Allen, {.tre4r,fEardtt ah\ont\.Lai,/,,a,i r \,tu
lhs- d. ai- D lr.
s,dr[; r;r,r d d r:q51
r h.m.n f lohnon o'i Mrr 24 lq 20,IB,7 \47 r'lhn, L, r, { s. \t*)?, t ht
Md (nbndc.: fne.. rgb!,. o 139.A[rdPlumnfl,Ir/xendlLonwtk\dth6b.I^
v /h,2d ed tndonllonnll. ip. n3. q1a: ths. .r.. p rd .".,t nd B'lh'bc,l^.,P
i7:62 Mat 111. Llc
fl'" vr".
Mor, d, o,316,


i4, lo\n rq r{. 1r {2


Morn\, at . , p 116, n 976' tKpht\ Annquin4 al .




d Md,m ot PoLt otu 7. |Dr'tud r rJ /..{ lvd ( rlndon. loaa,.

''$ vme| arf';,;
l dw |tu\ a \ 2\
")ldhin A. Abb"tr. ro"inru qtu rlrdon. lqubr. DD.92.93.

e a

tu'eolc,((rmlrlo\\ca'or,AnlnFadrostittn\olk!.tn 4th.d.l
Plurnrr, ,6@a l,,dd', o . /o! r(mb' risc.Is lo?3) p. \7c.dn m orhe
s uilkm Mill,a nd lt Un', Voul'on.
/,7@rI o/d,,sol4r^eh\u'1,1331
!./ r".ed !L7. l(lq_4{i'.c.petiJ
-'GorqrBenedr' winr'.,1 uB;'lrh;tdtdofLht\a
1^ka 7'hed.,{ndu!e',|'f


a.B l2:9 4. fut22,ti vjt t4 t, t(rr ?h t7! tohn2:.{.11 6a. rrfi: 12
1. :neoar zahn. t odtdi ta , N. Tahmi (G.and Rpnh. 1955), 3:296.
)6 M( 27:55.56! Mark l5r40,4li LulG 23 19,56.

ljhr. d d.. o ?0. n ll9

r r,rtui,; .,i'-d,nS.o R"b."{n uhd p 33\..\ r,.n \'mp4f..'
s i;; ,a;,,.;,,," ..* ,..*--3ioN or nm ,ndnr.. c|rn' u' d'.'/ nn or
A 'l R.hc'Eo
l{ ldm W.bne . rirA nl \ru!;\ a t]v c-'\ t ^'arat \ p . 'b4 '. p b1olqJ'r 'n H. F Dnn
Mnr6. I riu ,aq-, ,r,,,,24 ra a.'4u t l\cE Yu't. lq$' p
- Hc1.\ a'|rt- th. c-a t^kryd, rl .d. rBro.. lr2 I 664
* i.. ;;.. co,s. rld"' L-dd, A 1 ]vr@ ot ttu t tr /.uryd rc,nd Rrlrl\ t\1 a . PP 1'
' RJDh! vdrin,N^ /. ryr rdiisl '"d RPid' l97r'.1 l0
s A.,i r r2 r1 l{ 21 42.44: \\:21 16 r1 r7:2i r3.4
" lhc'.hns ! mde l,om ldbbi h' .u "h..L"r A,h 17 2
Mrhnh tn,hE { 3.8
{ i'lrr. ,1.23. 9 lt. 12.o, l31{, Md. ,'21, q9:6.2, LLrc 4 l{. lo o.b. l" ln.john 6 i9 l3 70
fl A.c 9:20i 13r5,6, l1; l,l:li lTrll l3:4, l9: l9:tr, cr.etera.
q ch. ll:la: 16.13. , 2: l3:a. l9d
il /a D' 'era. (\.$ \o l [1944]
Dodd tht Ar^toL. P,to
" Lrn Aq
174, lr! 137
e5 th(, ',
dr, p. 13
* ii.l;,.;;;;;;.
tr-",""\, rcnen'n,or.\Bc/dF'. "H^'nsdidrn.Lr 'hrn ne'erdF
r.oe;ired rhr r tird hddi.hl J. ro "\"nxch/r'\o"" in l\ladarir
2 3n,
;es.r. nodniro@r,
q Hcinn,h
fDlr 6 602
&rlH,nn(h Renarrr
B.r. Arndr. rnd
,r !.1' arJi. /t.a,/-.,!. lrirr. ( hr.r 1.i4.p.q24
tot Ct kv.23'15; 25'tr.
ror I rhe$ ,'q 2 Ths.5:7-10.
1oo i4'
"' ilhe n Nl'.1 delB.'G\oro'.. rr\ I. 7 ro"ndll
d. "'n! { " h hem
' t ti ..r i'.*r"l'c,.i ,1,"' rh "u'd''
"r"' l^- P"Ll tr r{"
!houlrl rema
rher \e!c trhen ther btl'(\cd
-_i;_ v;,;ir;;'(a!
,h. "'"- *\, rqn. "cld\hn i.ldc, hda,-n.c' rd'o'hehu'd1'porenb\
tl' curb'o. v4. ,DNr,4 1067
F roh,nne! $Er ta,,i'u?a r\rh \ u'l loio lrll.
' i,,e" ndun rjdd /, y6p, ria,'r onJu' d d \rh Yu't 1064. D 6l
rrc* r-. r7:7'l:2 aor a lff: l0


'r, a*n. 9,4, Lev. l7:loftr


r/. r,, tu rrJ. DD.3u0, tol

"t, Rnre
'rnd RrP'd'' re
r^," rron.'"". r"r r:
i;;.j:i;",tl,-. /i'+u,r,'rp"rd
\c\ YorI l'ql1l1' 2'I
h, Ar,i" - t u PdtP i aan rd^ n ondun nd
' i. .^q,




Sundq in tbe Neut Testame

walter F. sqecht

I itrANY Chrislins honesrly believe rhat lesus nd/or His aposdes

IVI"y .r rest from rhe seJenrh-day Sab"barh ro rhe 6rst d ot rh

Sunday.-Hence, after examiring the passageswhere the tem "Sabbat

rhe Gospels nd Act5. larr ness dmands rhat noi( e also be (aken ol rhe

rhe Nei+ Tesrament rhar speak ol rhe rsr dav ot rhe week. O
designaiion "Sunday" is noi used in the New Testameot. Rather, t
de"i[nared by number afrer rhe manner ofJudaism

here aie seven oreighr passages in he New Teramenr lhar spea

day of the week. The exct number depends on whethe one acce
enitingofMark (16:9-20), found in a large number ofmanuscripts,
pa r oirhe second Cospel. All bur tso'ofrhe passases rhat menrion rh
ihe week are in rhe cspel. and reter ro rhe samarsr dav-namel
which our l-od rose from the dead.
A((ordins ro the rerimony ol all four Cospels. rhe devored Cali
whoarcompaied lesusro Jerusalem wererhe6rsttoreceirelhegood
Resurrein. C. E. B. Cran6eld poinls our thar rhe prominence ol w
lour Gospels goes a long wa) torard aulhenli(aling the slon as a w

rhisisafarurwhirh rhiearlyChurthwouldnor behkel

culture women were ineligible to bear a credible witness.'


The First Day of the Week in Mk

Inasmuch as Mark is usually regarded as the earliest ofthe GosP
Iogical to begin with its account of the emPty tomb (Mark 16: t-8). Con
account Cranfield emarks: "The naturalness of the frrst part (esp.
simpli.itl and resrrainr of verses 5-8. and the surprising feature of
sile<e all poinr ro irc authenli(ity. It reads like an evewitnesss ac
dramatization of a eligious conviction."'
Mark specifically names three women as among those who had fo
in Galilee and ministered to Him: Mary Magdalene; Mary. the moth
the Younger andJoses; and Salome'(chap. 15:40, 41). These three
many othr wome;, wirnessed the CmciExion, and the rwo Marys a

Jesus'burial: they "saw where he was laid" (verse 47). This tragic day is id
as'1he day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbarh" (verse 42). T
ofJesus'burial became a part of the central rruth ofthe gospel as Paul prc

(l Cor. l5:4).

"when the sabbath was past,"6the two Marys and Salome purchased a
oils to anoint the bodyofJesus. This purchasing was evidently done on S
evening after sunset. They were unable to complete their service of love

beloved Teacher on Friday before sunset, and so had to wait until a

Sabbath. This was intended to be their frnal act oflove and devotion. It is
thar they regarded Jesus' dearh as ihe end. They did not expect Him to ri
the dead. To anoint one who had lain in the tomb that long must ha
unusual. Craneld explains: "Love often prompts people to do what
practical point of view is useless."'
"Very early on the rst day ofthe week they went to the tomb when
had risen" (Mark 16:2). There is some onfusion regarding the meanin
temporal expressions used. "Very early" normally refes to the period
fourth watch, i.e., from three to six o'clock, bui this would not agree w
expression "when the sun had risen." H. B. Swete suggests that they le
abodes "just bfore daybreak and ardvedjust after sunrise."s At any ra
seem tohavecomeas earlyas possible to compleie the rites ofburial. on r
to the tob they wondered how they would gt the stone rolled back f
opening.'qBut when they arrived. they found it had already been olle
Inside rhey saw "a young man" clothed in dazzlin8apparel who said to the
not be amazed; you seek lesus ofNazareth, who was crucined. . . . He is n
see rhe place where they laid him"' (verse 6). Thus the great new
Resurrecuon was made known to them, but they could not believe their e
fled in teror and amazement from the tomb.
fhese momenrous historicat er ent s took pla. e on rhe fir5r dar ol rhe
Bur. rhough Mark s Gospel was wrirren more rhan a qur(er ofa (eniury a
events tok place, there is no hint that the day on which they occur
acquired any sacred character whatever. lr is not called

day ofrest or a h

Mark 16:9 also contains a reference to the first day of th

Unfortunately, it is not possible today to determine how the Gospel o

ended. The famous uncialcodices varicanus and Sinaiticus, and the Sina
of the old Syriac and some others conclude with verse 9. The ol
manuscript, Codex Bobiensis, contains a shorter ending that seems
originated abourthe middleofthe second century orearly paftofrhe rhi
Grek uncials have this ending followed by the longer ending (verses
large number of Creek manu\rriprs have rhis longer endinS. bur some
indi<ate uncerrainty abour ir by marking with dtrerisk. obeli. or a.riLic
The Free Gospels ofthe fourth and frfth centuries contain an expansio
longendingby inserting a substantial addition he freer Logion) betwee
14 and 15. The language, form, and style of alt rhese additions is nonFurthermore, the connecrion of verses 9-20 with whai precedes is not
This ending consists of ihree parts; (l) three post-Resurrection appe
ofJesus (verses 9-14); (2) the commission to the apostles to preach th
(verses 15-18); and (3) an account ofthe asension ofJesus to God's rig
(veses I9, 20). The three appearances evidently took place on the Iirsl da

rose early on ihe 6rst day oftlte week, he appeared firsr ro Mary lvfagda
whom he had cast out se!n demons." Grarmatically rhe temporrl phr

first day of the week" nlay be construed with either "rose o "app
probably the R.S.V. is correct in takingit with "rose." The wod "6rst" i
"he appeared fisC'can be taken in an absolute sense, or as first in rela
three appearances mentionecl. Mary hastened to bear the ne
Chistophanv to "those who had been with him fthe apostles, cf. cha
they mourned and wept" (lerse l0). But her report tht "he was ali
been seen by her" $'as mei bv incredulity (vese t 1).
The second appearance seems to be an abbreviation ofthe story of
Emmaus by two disciples (not of the twelle) recoded in detail b,v L
24:13-35).Jesusappeared tothem in'nother form." Butwhen they
the eleven to tell whar they had seen, th en report, too, $as mel with unb
l6;12, l3).
Finall,v. He appeared "to the elelen themsehes as they st t ta
upbraided them for their unbeliel and hardness of heart' (vers
apperanceseems tobe identicalwith theone menti()ned in t.uke 24:36
John 20:19-29.
l-his longer endingofMark seems to have been known by the m

second centu ry, and verse I 9 is cited by trenaeus.'r B ut this passrge ag

hinr rhat there is anvthing sacred about the frrst day of the ueek or tha
were meetin8 for irorship on that day.

The First Day of ihe Wek in Matthew

According to the Gospel


Nfatthew "manv" Galilean wome

accompaniedJesus toJeruslem observed His cruci6xion and death

on that awful Friday (Nfatt.27:55). The Nosaic law forbade that on

sullered a criminal's death be alkxi'ed to emain hanging on a tree ove
body uas to be buried the same day.'' Josephus confirms that the Je
Testamenttirnes removed those who had and buried th
the going down ofthe sun." '' l'his sas e!en more essentiai on Frida
Sabbath was about to begin.
Joseph ofArimathea. "a rich ran" rnd a respe.ted rcmber oft
(Mark l5:43), obtained permission liom Pilate to peribrm rhis serlic
He followed the fi rst-cenru ry .JeNish .ustom ol burial in a white iine
Jesus was buried in Joseph's own tomb, cut in the rock, which ha
previously used. and the entrance was secured by


large stone i

To all o{ this Mary Magdalene and the other Nfary rrere witresses. Th
no question abrut thei abilitr to identify thc right tomb tlvo dars
gesture of their grief the,v l'ere sitting 'bpposite the sepulchre (Nfa
The account of the sealing of the tomb and the statir)ning of
peculiar to Nlatthew (chap. 27:62-66). l'ernlission for this was granted
the chief priests and Pharisees" on the next da-, that is, afier
peparation," i.e., the Sabbarh. The deiegation lror the Sanhedr
recalled thatJesus had predicted tht after He Nas put to death He
NUnl.s orhkfc ord, 3ll s,pru'. rl,ctr(.r m d,n ( hrpkr



lon, rhr R$ncd srnd

third day."'They expressed fear that the disciples would sreal His body an
claim He rose from the dead.
Pilate replied sharply and perempiorily, "Take a guard [i.e., of

soldiers, not mere Temple policel,i,and make it as secure as you can."

sealed the tomb and starioned a guard of Roman soldiers. Bur rhe prec
they employed only provided futher evidence of the esurrection ofou

The earthquake and the descent of an angel to roll away the st

connected with that resurrection, are described in Matthew 28. The tim
these events is given in verse

agreed on the interpretation

l. Unloflunrel). hosrer. ll Bible sruden(s

ofthe remporal expressions given in the vers

chiefdifculty lies in harmonizing the phase F sa,dn ("late on the Sa

with the expression thai follows, "at the lhour] dawning toward the first da
week." The frrst might be taken to mean toward sunset Saturday night, w
ihe second suggests toward snrise on Sunday morning.
OPse d sabbatn is rcdered as "now late on the Sabbath day" in the R

Version, the American Standard Version, and the New American Standa
(omits day). The Laiin Vulgate translates it as ,espere autem sbbti, "ho\re
sabbath evening." Those whofollow these enderings ae forced ro interpr
began to dawn toward rhe first day ofthe week" as meaning when the rs
the week was about to begin on Saturday evening.Theverb eqiphoshin, to
must then mean "to dawn on," as in Luke 23:54. There are two main objec
this. First, ro interprer

pre de sabbatan as

meaning "lat on the Sabbath" is t

Matthew conrradict the orher Gospel accounts, all ofwhich have the wom
the tomb early Sunday morning. Second, the whole course of the narra
Matthew 28 indicates rhatthe events there recorded occurred in the daytim
in the evening. The women hastened fom the empty tomb to tell the discip
theyhad seenan angelwho informed them that Jsus was alive (veses5-8)
this was going on (verse I l) some ofthe soldiers from the Roman guard we
the city and reported to the chiefpriests the startling news of the Resur
The chiefpriests quickly assembled rhe Sanhedrin, which offered a sum of
as a

bribe to the soldiers to tell the falsehood that lesus'disciples had come b

while the guards were asleep and had srolen their Master's body. The
authorities offered protection to the soldiers should this word reach Pila
clear implication is that these things were happening in the daytime.
How then can the two temporal expressions in Marrhew 28:1 be harmo
O2r is primarily a temporal adverb that usually derotes Iate in, or the last
priod of time in question; hence, in Mark 4:35 it means "late in the day,
rhe evening.r But it can also be used as an improper preposition, sig
"after" a well-attested meaning in Greek papyri. Hence, the Revised St
Version and most recent translations render ps rltr as "afrer the Sab

Lohse asserts that qpr sattn corresponds to the Rabbinic MotzaE Shabba
termination ofthe Sabbath," and "thus means the night from ihe Sabbaih

first day of the week or rhe first day of the week itself.""
From the standpoint ofgrammar by itself, one may translate either "
rhe Sabbath" or "after the Sabbath." But the analogy with rhe other Gospe
the contextand the phrase "ai the lhour] dawning into the first [day] ofthe
decide ihe matier in favor of the laiier.


ing to Mark and Luke. rhey ramr ro (omple(e rhe work ol anolnring
and perfumes a. a hnal rribute ot love. Bur in Marr
rhey are depir Ied as coming ro see rhe romb. The lews in Je.ui da) o
periods of mourning for a deceased loved one: the 6rst period w
the dearh and burial, and the second was the period following
Does Mrrhew's ac, ounr \ugSesr rhr \!e are to conne( I rhis ear ly-m
with the:etond per iod of mourning) Thi\ is possrble. Ar any rare. Lhe

CospelotPeterha.themsa, Eren if we were not able ro weep and la

the day in which he was crucified, yet let us now do so a

(chap. 12:52).
The Cospel of Matthew is variouslydated from rhe late sixries to
80. That Gospel was the most popularone in rhe early church. It was q
frequently by early Christian writers than any other, and was rega
teachingGospeland as rhe church's Cospel. Does it reflecieven a hirit

obse ed by Chistians rarher than the s

W; have found no evidence of such a change in Manhew.
It is true that Jesus appeared ro rhe women as lhey deparred fro
''wiih terr dnd grea( ioy lchap 28:8,. Thev rooL hold of his feer an
day of the week was now to be

him (verse 9,. Hone\er. lhis had ro do not with the day ot rhe week
tremendous impa(r o[ lhe rhen Lord upon rhese devored followe
knew norhing ot rhe observanre of Sunday as a day ol sorship.

The First Day of the Week in Luke

The Gospel of Luke is usually dared about rhe same rime as
perhaps a little later. l{illiam M. Ramsay considers LuIe as one of th
historians.l'He was a man ofcultue, with a trained mind and literar


'Jesus-evenr" and to have wrilen an orderl) ac(ounr",, of wha

Hen(e ir is ofspe.ial interes( (o nole how ( arefllly he presents rhe seq
even(s ofJesus dearh. burial. and resurrecrion.
t he day ofJe\us dearh nd burial was the da) ol Preparario
Sabbath uas abou to begin rLuke 23:54). All rhrough the Sabbath?,
women who had prepred lo perlorm the lar rire "resred acco
commandment (verse 56. Bu( ar early dawn on rhe rst da) ol (h
came wirh rherspi( es roromplere rheir horl tchap.24:tr. the pas\age
23:55 to 24tl is in reality but one sentence in the Gee[. The
ronjuncrion d" of Luke 24: I .orresponds ro rhe.onjuncrive pa (te
23:56. lr is unfonunare rhar rhe chaprer division ws made in rhe
sentence, fo the story goes onwithoura brak: rhewomen resied on
but on the frrst day of the week ihey did not resr.1,
When they arrived at the tomb "at early dawn," they found ihe
aways from rhe mouth, and no corpse inside. They did, however, s
evidentL angels. in daTzling apparel. who asked, Why do you se
among rhe dead? l,These anBels recalled ro rheir mindsJesui own
repeated thee times,l that He would noi only suffer and be crucifre
rise trom the dead on rhe rhird da) (rhp. 24:4-8J. Jesu\' tottos
have rlung ro His hords and expecred a resurrer rion: " Remember


layhold of rhem in tairh, and rhey hurried ro bring rhe good news ro rhe a
and other followers ofJesus. But rhe aposrles regarded the reporr as no
and refused to accept ir (verses 9-l l).
An exquisite story, peculiar io Luke, follows; it stresses rhe irurh t
death ofJesus was not a meaningless rragedy but a fulllment of the pla
purposes of God. On rhe rery same dav mentioned in verse l. two disr iple
walling to Emmaus. a villge about seven miles trom lerusalem. As rhiy
and talked ofthe startlingevents that had iranspired inJerusalem, rhe rise
disguised asasrranger,joined rhemand asked, "What are rhese words that
exrhanging wi(h one anorher as vou walk? Fln responsero Hisquesrion(h
ofJesua th; Naarene, who was re(ognized br His miracles aid rea.hin
propher bur who had suttered a violenr deih r lhe hands ot rhe rhiefpriea
rulers. His followers had been hoping thar He would prove ro be m;re
prcphet-the Messiah, who would deliver lsraet from rhe yoke ofRome-b
their hopes seemed to be doomed ro disappoin(menr.
At the same time, these two individuals seemed io have been aware o
prcdiction rcgarding a resurrection on rhe third day, for rhey added, "Y
besides all is, it is now the third day since rhis happened" (verse 2l).r0 Mo
they knew ofthe reportoftbe womenthat the tombwas empryand rhar ang
declared thatJesus was alive. Some ofthircompany had even checked the
of the empty tomb and found it ro b accurare (verses 22-24).
Then the Divine Teacher, still disguised as a stranger, reprove
spiritual dullness. The sufferings of the Messiah were a necessary fulf
of Old Tes6ment prophecies (verse 25ff.): "And beginning wirh Mos
all the prophrs, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures rhe
concerning himself'(vese 27). They felttheir hearts strangely warmedas
pounded the Scriptures. Then at the end oftheir walk, they pressed Him
wirh rhem. When He sar duwn ar the rable wirh rhem. He assumed rhe p
othosr: He blessed rhe bred, broke ir, nd otter ed ir ro rhem. Suddenlr rh
were opened. They recogniied Him, but then immediarely He
their sighr.
Laier thl same e\enrng the aposrles and oher Chnstrans uere
and frightened by the sudden appearance of the risen Chrisr in rhei
How He got there or where He came from, no one knew. He had ro assu
that He rcally was their beloved Master. "'See my hands and y feer, r
I myself,"'He urged. "'Handle me, and see"'(verses 39,40). Buteven this
suffrcient to allay their doubts and fears. Hence He asked for lood a
given a piece of boiled frsh, which He ate before them (verses 42, 43).
rhen ariempted to teach them rhe signicance of Old Tesramenr scriprure
terpreted in the light of the cross and esurrection. " 'Thus it is wrirten, "
lhem. rhar (he Christ should sutter and on (he (hird dy rise from rhe
(verses 46. 47).
lt is a mrvelous rory and tull ofdeep signican.e. Bur rhough Luk
several decades afrer rhe events portrayed and wrote his C,ospel specif
teach Theophilus about the Christian faith (chap. l:4), we fail to detect eve
thai the Sabbath was now to be laid aside and that Chrisrians were ro obse
6rst day of the week.
I rq

The testimonyofthe Gospel ofjohn regarding the Sabbarh and

oftheweek is ofspecial interest for two reasons: (1)its lare dare and (2)
au.hority. Ahhough this Gospel cannot be dated precisel), the majo
Testament scholars opt for a date around the end ofthe firr century.
conclusive evidence har this is thecase. but such a date would harmon
testimony of early Christian writers." If the Cospel is indeed th
testimony regading the Christian day of worship is very significant
Furthermore, although the Gospel as it stands isanonymous, the
grounds tr-rr regarding ns te\rimony as originaung trom John the
eyewhness ofJesus. This view has the support ofearly Christian write
Gospel itselfappears to af6m it- The next-to-last verse ofthe postscr
2l) declares: "This is the disciple who is bearing witness to rhese thing
has wrirten these things; and se know that his testimony is true" (ver
"we" of is verse k an .rnidentified group, consisting perhaps ofcon
church leaders capable ofcertifying the authorship and authority ol
ro what disciple are they referring? Verse 20 identihes him as'the dis
Jesus loved, who had lain close ro his breast at the supper. This state
back to the announcement by Jesus of His betrayal in J oh n I 3:2 3ft 'I
the disciple referred to was present at the l-ast Supper indicates that he
the t$elve. His place of honor next toJesus suggests that he &as one
circl (Peter,James, andJohn)." The disciple whomJesus lovd was la
near thecross and accepred fromJesus the sacrrd char8eofcaring fbr
(chap. 19:25-27). He witnessed the awful end and saw the streams o
blood issuinS from Jesus' pierced side. "He who saw it has borne w
testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the trurh-thal you also m
(verse 35).

Accordin8 ioJohn l8:15, 16, Peter and anotherdisciple followedJ

court ofthe high priest. He was sufflciently kno$n to secur a.cess
himselfbut for Peter as well.John 20:2 seems also to identfv "the oth
with the disciple whomJesus loved. Support li)r the conclusi{)n thal
wasJohn is found, too, in the fact rhat neitherJames norJohn is na
Gospel. The two, however, are mentioned in John 2l:2 as "the sons o
Weconclude that it isJohn's authority that lies behind the fourrh G
fact that he wasone ofjesus closest lollowers adds great weighr ro his
Just asJesus is in the bosom ofthe Father (John I : l8), soJohn rhe Behv
to the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper.
John's Gospel pictures Mary Magdalene as.oming ro rhe romb
day of the week, "early, while it was still dark" (chap. 20: l ). When sh
stone removed from the door of the tomb, she concluded that the bo
had been removed, and she ran to report rhis to Simon Perer and J
These two disciples began running together to the tomb, but J
Peteandarrived first(verses 2-10). Although helooked inrotheopene
did not enter it until after Peter arrived and had gone in. WhatJohn
tomb convinced him that this was no grave robbery.'Ihe cond
graveclothes, with the hapkin caretully rolled up, had meaning for hi
and believed" (verse 8).
Apparendy Mary had followed Peter and John back ro rhe romb

her deep giefshe looked intothetomb, where she saw "two angels in white
where the body ofJesus had lain, one at the head and one at ihe feet. The
he,'woman, why arc you weeping?"'Then tuningaround, she sawjesus
she supposed to be the gardener, and requested, "'Tell me where you h
him"'(verse l5). In His familiar way He spoke her name, "'Mary."'She
forward to embrace Him, butJesus said to her, "'Do not hold me"'(ve
Then she hastened to the disciples with the news, "'[ have seen the Lo
The following evening the risen Christappeared io the eleven disciple
from Thoas. This happened "on the evening of that day, the first da

week" (verse tg). Evidently the Gospel is here using the Roman me
reckoning time (from midnight to midnigho rather than theJewish (from
ro sunseo. The reference is to ihe evening after the frrst day (i.e., Sunday
not the evening that began ir, as in Jewish reckoning.
For what purpose had thedisciples gathered togerher? was ii to celeb
Resurection? Thiscould rotbe, for they did not at this time believe thatJe
risen from the dead."Was itto worship or hold religious serviceson rhe frr
theweek?John gives noevidenceofany such service. He Sives no hinithat
day has any importance ao the disciples. Heasserrs, rather, ihat ihey had g
together behind locked doors for self-protection. The place where th
gatherd was perhaps the same upper room where the Last Suppr h
celebratd, and where they werc apparently staying.s6 The doors, wer
and loked "for fear of theJews" (verse l9). Jesus stepped into their m
gave them the Semii( salurarion Peace be with you. ' A5 eviden(e lha
indeed the risen Lord, He showed rhem his hands and hrs side (verse 20
He commissioned ihem with the words "'As the Father has sent me, even s
you."'And, as an anticipation of Pentecost, "he breathed on them, and
them,'Receive the Holy Spirit"'(verses 21,22). DidJesus give them any in
that the frrst day of the week was now to be substituted for the Sabbaih?
Gospel knows nothing of any such thing.
Thomas, the disciple who for some reason was absent,later refused t
the testimony of ihe ten that they had indeed seen the risen Christ. "'Unle
in his hands the print ofthe nails, and place my fingein ihe mark ofthe n
place my hand in his side, I will not believe,"'he insisted (verse 25).
About a week laterJesus again entered the locked room when Tho
prcsent (verses 26-29). The Revised Standard Version Bives the time as "ei
later." Literally, the creek reads, "after eight days." This is no doubt a
meaning on the eighth day, just as the prediction ofJesut resurrectio
three days 'in Mark (chaps. 8:31; 9:31; I0:34) means "on the third day" (s
l6:21; 20: t9; Luke 9:22; l8:33). TheJews used the inclusive method ofre
time. The specific day of the week is not indicated, though it is usually
meaning the following Sunday. Apparendy John did not see any
significance in the day.
The specific purpose ofJesus' appearance was evidently to give Tho
kind of evidence he demanded in oder to believe. Jesus therefore inv
doubting Thomas to put his finger in the nailprints and his hand inJes
Thomas wai overwhelmed and exclaimed, "'My l,ord and my God


Narhanael. James. John, and rwo orhers, possiblv Andrew and phi
hshinB. Ar davbre[, alreran unsucresstul nighr on the lake, a lone 6

rhem, Have you ughr an) rhingl" Their answer was No. We ,ra
rhe right side ofrhe boat and vou will catrh some." They did so, a

caughr 153 sh. Joh immediarely recognized rhar rhe one respo
rarch was rhe risen Lord. fhe impulsive PeLer rhen teir rhe net, re
and his companions. plunged in(o rhe sea. and swam to shore.
The chiefpurpose ofrhis manifesration oftheir Lord was io rein
a legirimare member of the apostoli( band tler hs lragic betraral o
The dav on which this revelarion ws made is nor sraredl fhe day;rse
had no signifrcance.
John. like rhe other Gospelwrirers, gi!es no supporr ro rhe idea r
rest and worship had been changed trom rhe Sabbrh ro Sunday. T
slrprising if such a change was supposedlr made in rhe 6rr ( enr
Gosepl is to be dated around the end of rhe 6rst century, his silence a
change is certainly striking.

The First.Dy Meerint at Troa

The book of Acrs gives rhe onl) explicir Ne\ tesramenta(,ou
rehgious garhering on (he rsr day ot rhe week (As 20:7-12). O
Jerusalem Paulsropped tor seven daysar lros,arownsruarednea
ancienr cirv of Troy. On the hnal dv of his ray rhere, (he Chris
gthe-red together'1o break bread." Luke srates rhar rhis garhering
"the frrst dry ofthe week," which would corespond roughly withih
Sunday. This passage is, consequently, repeatedly iitd as e
Chrisrians were now ob5ervins Sundar as iday oi orship. Ir
imporlant to look ( losel) ar rhe passage ro discover rhe nrure frhe
fonhThere are several queslrons that need ro be asked regarding rh
Wasrhis regrllarweekend meetins)Orwasiloccasionedbr theres
imminenr deparrure of rhe aposrJe-Paul) And speri6calty when. in r
present Sunday, did rhe gathedngoccu? The reference ro rhe use o
(he prolon8ation ol rhe serv(e pasr midnighr, e!en rilt dalbreak, p
seep of Eurychus. mke ir obvious rhar rh uas a nishr earherine.
night in relation ro Sunday-rhe nighr before Sundy oi rhe nis
Furrhermore, whar is meanr by rhe breakins ofbread) Was rhis
dinner, the Lord s Supper. or perhaps a (ombinarion ot rhe two?
Unforrunately. some of these quesrions (annor be nshered w
To begin with. there is no evidence lhar rhis galhering ws a resu
ervice. as ir rsofren assumed to have been. The cnrexr uutd rarh
lhis was a spe(ial larewell meetinq for rhe aposrte paul, who \as
toUowing morning. The facr rhat r-his meerine wa. hetd on.1he r
weel' does not make ir evidenr rhat rhe Christns ot Troas habirual


Er idence has alreadv been ( ired lo indicare rhar rhis sa\ a nighr m
Br uce sugge\r\ rhar rhis rimrng wa\ for rhe (onvenience ot rhe memb


and it is clear from the text, that this was a night meeting. But on shai n
relation to the frrst day of rhe week? Does Luke use the Jewish met
reckoning a 24-hour day from sundown to sundown,,i or lhe Roman met
reckoning from midnight to midnight? There is an honest difference ofo

tf Luke is using theJewish method of reckoning, the meeting was h

what we call Saturday night, extending to early Sunday morning. 'Ihis w
vie\^'held by Conybeare and Howson in their classic work on Paul: 'lt $
evening which succeeded theJewish sabbath. On the Sunday morning the
was about to sail."'r This interpretation is reflected in a number of recent E
translations of the New Testament.': Foakes-Jackson was in agreement w
view when he wrote: "Paul and his friends could not, as good Jews, sta
journeyon theSabbath; eydid so as soon after it as was possible, viz- atd
the '6rr day'-the Sabbath having ended at sunset."'r If the gathering too
on Saturday night, it would afford little support for Sundaykeeping.
However, thee are other Bible students who argue that this gatheri
held on Sunday night rathr than on Saturday night. Maccregor takes th
and argues that "on the morow" means the morow after the lirst day of the

sunset but the Roman reckoning tiom midnight to midnight. rr La
Cadbury also defend this point ofview.'d In the face ofsuch an honest diff
ofopinion itwould notbesafe to be dogmatic about the spe.ific night of th
designated.lf, however, the meetingwason Sunday night, the breaking of
which took place afier midnight, must have becn on Monday morning.
though it could have been the Eucharist, it would afford little eviden
The purpose ofthe night gathering, Luke declaes. was "to break bre
had become customary in Palestire to beak bread with the hands rather
cut it with a knife. The host at the table, after the offering of thanks, bro
loaves and distibuted them tohisguests.'r Hene, this preliminary actionb
the name for common meals in the early Christian .ommunities," even
centile world. The act of breaking lhe bread was reminiscent of the day
Jesus as the host broke bread for His fouowers.r'. Table fellowship, therefor
expression to the spirit ofunity and communion that prevailed. The mem
Jesus and the spirit of *oinoaia gave a religious character even to a commo
"To break bread," however, could also refer to the Lord\ Supper,"
dedicated to the memory of Him who "took bread, blessed and broke it. an
ir ro rhe dis(iple.' as a symbol ol Himsell. Con"equentlv. manv reg
breking ol bred r Truas a. a (elebrin ol lhe Lords \upper. Ir wo
natural to expet such a celebration in connection with Paul s visit at
However, there are features ofthe accounr that militate against this vieu.
that the breaking of bread occurred aftermidnight, which appears to be st
the purpose ofthe gathering in the evening was ro celebrate the Lord's S
Futhemore, verse ll speaks only of Paul as eating bread, not the
congregation. Also there is no mentior of a cup nor of any Prayers.
Thus, thisofren'cited passage affords no realeviden.e fbr Su nda,vkee
New Tesiament times. There is not even certainty regarding the ni8ht in

exceptional-a farewell gatherng for the great missionary and h

companions. No is it certain that the Lords Supper ras cele
expression to break bread" could refer to the beginningofa farewell
grantin8the possibility thatthiswas moe than a farewell fellowship m
no eviden(e rhar rhi\ had berome a weekly pra(ri e.
lndeed, there are numerous examples in the book of Acts
gatheringson rheSabbath inwhich theapostle took part. But there is
whatever that regular assemblies for worship took place on the firs

Moreover, the book ofActs repeatedly pic!ures Paul as telling the

iras true to the basic religion of their fathers as laid down in the
prophets (Acts 24: l4). After his arrest he boldly asserted: "'Neither
lawoftheJews, noraSainst the temple, noragainst Caesar have I offe
(chap. 25:8), In the presence of Agrippa he declared: " And so I
testifyingboth to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophet
said would come ro pass"'(chap. 26:22). Finallv, in Rome he called
Jews of that city and asserted that he had done nothing against the
customs of their fathrs (chap. 28:17). How could he possibly
assertions, which were not.hallenSed. ifhe had taughtthe Gentiles to
Sabbath and observe anoiher day as the day of worship:

Th Collection on the firBt Day of the Wek

The chronologically earliest reference to the firstday ofthe wee

Testament documents is in I Corinrhians l6rl. 2." wbere Paul give
concerning the relief offering "for the saints." These "saints' eere
Christians ol Jerusalem andJudea. Earlier in his career as a Christia
Silas had been sent to Jerusalem with Inndsfrom Antio.h ina time o{
I I r29,30). Now rhe great apostle was planning fbra ma.jor love offeri
churches ot Macedonia and Achaia for these poverty-srricken brerhre
a marrer that loomed large in Paul\ mind and was one ofthe objects
missionary tour.'r Helooked upon this offering as a sign and pledge o
Christbetween theGentile andJewish Christians. And to the Corinth
directions regarding it similar to those he had previously given
churches: On the rst day ofeverv xeek, each ofvou is to put som
and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need nor be m
come" (1 Cor. l6:2).
Paul urged every member of the Corinthian Christian commu
part in this contribution. Everv week each (lhristian 1\s to conr
his week's earnings, laying aside this s'eekh offering'l the firs

Why did Paul select the frrst day ofthe week as the dy when t
were to be laid aside? Many see in this an indi.ation that Sunda,v
acquired a religious significan.e. Leon Morriscomments: "-t his is the
evidence to show that (lhristians habitually observed thal day-"i'R
writes: "Ths is undoubtedly an allusion to the Church's holy day
Christian fellowship in commemoration ofthe Lord's Resurrection...
of the Supper-meal.":: Steren Barabas de.lares: "Paul directed the

day of the week.""

But a careful examinaiion of the passage leads us to ask whet

conclusionsareinherent in the text, or whether they are simply a readingb
the New Tesrament of developments that came later? No sacred c
whatever is ascribed to the first day ofthe week by the aposde Paul in this
does the passage say anything about going to church or bringinga weekly
to e church's charities on that day.

The frrsr day of the week is rather spoken of as a fitting tim

examination ofaccounts, and the putting aside offunds from the week'
"The reference." Grosheide concedes, "is not to the chuch services
personal assignment which everyone had to perform."'r "Each of you
something aside and store it up, as he may prosper" is the direction.
The American Standard Version gives a literal rendering: "Let eac
you lay by him in store, as he may prosper." "Lay by him" (Par heaut tithet
to puraside a ornu. Gosheide comments: "Paul trusts the Corinthians:
notaskthem to hand in their collection on aweekly basis, they areallowed
the collected money and thus little by little a signifi.ant amount will be sav
And Crig explain. Pulsexhorruun(alledlorregulrirvinsa!rngtalh
for faithlul auendnce upon rhe ssemblies. " ll rhese Christlan\ wc,e
for public worship on che firstday, one may well ask why they were admon
put aside funds privately at home on that day.
No reason is indicated for the selection ofthe rstday ofthe week. De
has susse5red rhe possibiliry that the hr r day ol rhe keel ma) ha ve been P

same .uggeson is made br l. Herin
rhe Imperial peiioa.'
tommenrar! on I Co' inthians." ll thh b .o. Ihe reason for the choite o

has nothiny' to do whh any supposed sacredness now attributed to that

act ofreviewing the course ofProvidence and the Prosperity experienced

a deeply religious one, but that does notmean at the day onw
done is therefoie sacrd. Long ago Neander correctly observed: "All m
here is easilyexplained, ifone simply thinks ofthe ordinary beginningoft
in secula life.""
The beginning ofthe week may well have been desi8nated,lurther
ihat the offring culd be given the priority it deserved. Before the dem
secula life could absorb the week\ earnings, they \a'ere admonished to
this sperial oftering.
thr" passage srs forrh raluabte suggesrions for .vstema(i( and regu
raising. Bt to elrract from it evidence ofa change in the day ofworship
a forced interpretation.

of course,

Th Lod' Day in Revelation 1:10

In addition to the New Testament references to the "firsr day of th
whi.h have been examined. thee remains to be considered the referenc
Lord's day" in the opening chapter ofthe Apocalypse. The passage reads
. . . was on rhe island catled Patmos on account of the wod of God
testimony ofJesus. I was in the Spiriton the Lord's day, and I heard beh
loud voice like a trumpet" (Rev. I:9, t0).
This is the only passage in the Bible where the exact Greek phr

context to guide us in knowing what day is referred to. Nor do co

Christian wliters help us, for therc is no unequivocal use of the ph
authenaic document for nearly a century after John. Neverthele
majority of commentaries interpret this as an undoubted reference
There is, ofcourse, no question at Sunday became known as the
at a somewhat late time. (rrtd* by itself, in fact, became the name fo
later Greek, and remains so in the modern form of the languaSe.

eq)ivalerl Daniniea dis, found in rhe Vul8ate of the passage, became t

Sunday in ecclesiastical Latir'. ln f^cr Dominica is reflected in the name
in the Romance languages, e.g., domenica i lralian, domirigo in S

dinahe in French.
Bur rhequestronat issuei"whetherSundaywasknownas theLo
rhe lare 6rsr cinrurl, and whe'herJohn meant Sundy by rhe phrase in
l:10. fhere is no specih( eviden(e of erthel lt musr furrher be poin
lohn s Cospel is usulb dared larer rhan (he Apocalypse. Yer. as note
GospelrelrsroSundaysimpl) as lhe 6rsr day otthe week. 'whith se
iF n w,s rhen knwn r 'the Lord s dav."
A few commenrators interpret 'ithe l-ord\ day" in Revelar
equrvalent ro rhe Old Testamenr "Day ofrhe l,ord, i.e., rhe esrharolo
iudsmenr.s Ahhough the OId Testament phrase von vli,,id (D) o
not iandated as iun& mr in the Septuagint,brt as h hrnra tolt t
the genitive rathr than the adjective, it may be argued that th
diffeience in meaningbetween the two.sThe genitive may well have b
rhe septuagint translators in imitation of the Hebrew, which has
use of a genitrve c
adie(rives nd frequenrly supplies the lacL by
'he l:I0asrhefutule
Tose whointerprer "rhe Lord s da) inRe\elaiion
l-ord" arguethaiJohn in vision was transported to tharday, and behe
being unfolded. According to this view, Revelation l:10 mans: "In
found myself at the day ofjudgment."
Charles H. Welch, in advocating this view, writes: "The book ofR
raken up wirh something infrniiely vaster than days of the a
concernd with the day of the LoRD. To read thatJohn became in
Lord's day (meaning Sunday) tells us practically nothing. To read in
introduction ihat John became in spi t in the Day of the Lord,
prophetic import, is to tell us practically everyrhing."6'
But does the context ofthe phrase'the Lord's day" in Revelation
this kind of interpretation? I think nor. The vision thatJohn beheld
caught up by the Spirir was not ofevents that belong to the eschatolog
the Lord." Rather it was a vision ofthe glorifred Christ walking amon
lampstands, represenring the seven churches, as a minister ro them in
a8e. In Revelation 1:9, 10, the prophet gives the place and time when
the vision, rarher rhan implying rhat in his vision he was transported
day ofjudgment: "IJohn. . . was on the island called Patmos. . . . I was
on the Lord's day."
A rhird interpretation, which has not been given adequate aen
New Testament srudents, is that'the Lord's day" refe$ to the Chris
the annual celebraiion of Chrisfs resurreciion. which later came


witers to "the Lord's day" do not refer io a weekly obseruance at all, but to a
Resurrection-day celebration. This annual Lord\ day was an appropriate ti

the baptism of catechumens and the celebation of the Eucharist.* Du

forJohn to have a vision
risen and glorined Christ than on the annivesary of the Resurrection.
A basis for such an annual celebmtion might well be seen in Paul's firs
ro rhe Corinthians, where the lrrdship of Christ is especially emphasize
Paul suggesting such acelebration when he wote: "For Christ, or pascha
has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival" (l Cor. 5:7, 8
fact that Christ aose on the day when the offering offirst fruits was presen
theJews seems to form the background ofa later statement:"But in fact Ch
been raised from the dead, the first fruits ofthose who have fallen asleep"
Finally, ifoneinterprers the phrase"the Lord's day" according to the a
of Scripture, a case can be made foregardingit as a reference to the seven
Sabbath. The Sabbath was set apart for sacred use at Creation (Gen. 2:2, 3
rnrermediare agent in rhar ( rerion. acrording ro se!eral New fes
pasages," ras rhe Lord Jesus Chrisr. The tourth ol (he lamou\ l en
desrribes the se.enth dav'as a sabbath ro the Lor d your Cod rEx. 20: o
rhe bookoflsaiah Godcailsit"'my holy day"'a"d "te holyday;fthe Lord
58:13). All three of rhe Synoptic Gospels quoteJesus saying, "'The Son of
lod even of the sabbath"' (Mark 2:28; ci Mart. l2:8; Luke 6:5).
This view may also have the support ofan interesting reference to rhe
day in the apocryphal Acts ofJohn: "And on the seventh day, it being the
day.. ." lt is not possible to b certain that the author refers to the seventh
the week. He may possibly mean the seventh day of thejourney, but the
seems probable.
But ifJohn means the Sabbath in Revelation l:10, why should he refer
"the Lord's day"? The book of Revelation has as i.s background the
between the "Lord Caesar" and the "Lord Christ." Chdstians were
perse( ution and rhr rhrear of martyrdom because ot lheir refusal (o rec
Caesar as lor d. For rhem rhere was but one Lord. Jesus Christ r I Cor.
Deissmann has shown that ihre were special days devoted to the
emperor. Would it not be appropriate under such circumstances to exa
Christ as'1he rulerofkings onearth" (Rev. 1:5), and to refer ro the Sabbath
real "Lord's dav"?
Inconclusin, one maysay thatthere is not sufficient data given in theb
Revelation to be cetain of the correct interpretation of the phrase 'lhe
day" in Revelarion I rl0. The popular attempt to equate it with Sunday d
rest on evidence supplied by ihe Scriprurcs but upon postapostolic usage
phrase, long at(er.lohns rime. The view tha( rhe phrase refers
eschatological da1 otiudgmenr is doubtful. More attention should be give
po.sibilitl that the phrase relers ro an annual resurrection celebrarion. An
rould $ell be gilen ro rhe idea rhar whar is meant is in realiry rhe seve

suggests thai there could be no more fitting time




'o.he 'r.r'd

tr Mld Nielcn. //./ I



'hc 'nna

tLh. Mo rd Lndon. lqll p


t Btt'",t m\ah. th. @{ o, {. '4, \t 'L'nLi R P'd'. 1916'. P 1n3

sCn. 1.5- 3. r.! 23:92i.t Mrt l:12.
. w I i:;;ih-,,"."d I s }lo\"on-'Iht Ltt tn l Nth.d ti. ADttt, Ptt\e\\ut.n p.1
!4 rn.lLtBtN
d.. sr nd Rnld I'nox!. I B PhrhD.. and t!'ll'r B',ldti r'nrl"r1'
r'r I r.r.e! rltrn Ia;aa dttu'Anort. vt \tr l-4 4t t lna.tort 'l!nln l"1lr'p
c. il.. vriur.Fr, Lrec".'!t'"1tir a.,torihe Apo.'1..,'Ia. o 267
r-...d ,-DDte..\. t h, B@aq@ t t htuao\,\. wi t 1\t r.Lot't.Ar
" i i;"i;..i".
l9,ro.93r' vol a' KtruDo l. dnd Hen') l t r6ta. l' n{l\h t ^la o\ and' n4'tun P
. tohnne! Bhn,, rLdu, Drr,I7!3 72q
'7d. D 72s: Ac 2 42,4.
.e Mr'la.lS. lr 96: MIr 3:b, 19

5r I corinians urallvd2ted

Rnn l5:?5-2r:2 cori;ians 3.9: Acts14 17.

i"i.,.t -"^--'L,""'tF'^p'Lr' ruib' p 213 , i r,! r ( urr
i;; M;;;, j;;,;;i,
, /E utr wlx rljndon- l9t1). DD.l0 ll
Lorbt hu',h \ttJon tq,,p 7o
'1R,rDh P inm. xoiD
';. /ia\PuL tavD row. LrndRdp'Ll\ 106r\. P. TIt
w.u,o!hed..r,dmt.It,t|Btt toth.t annthd .:\ /. 'cd Pvpid.,lur\r. p
{ Baer, Arn,lr, rd cinrnrh.,, d, pp.3}3 bli
5q cn[h'd., d a',, D. 393
aL,;;, T"i !- r ;i' rrcqenr"lheli,rLoBrl o'hec"nh!.r'/a
d aoh Dannn.
rpl 'E",,, 1r,a d, (\& l o, I I l92 / p. 16 l.
a tr"nr{.tina- Ih. t;'LNtL o \q PLthtlrL t1t4\ ttandun. 1462\ P'I31
!. iuq^,u( .nd.r. L,naar,q:\b. ot th.t r^tun Rt4 ad.
dr$(,ru:o.brloN\oocr(s\ordla,Prnn 106l).pp llq524., a.*'s /t'pd^rr' /ri
lsror' P {9
rll.w !o,r. l9OO,. LlIJle. w t\rl, h, /b P,r.4'Bn{rd. En3.
!' re 2:c: amd 5:13 27: Iul I ll. rl t.Dh I 7, l1! 2.2, t: {.8 c .d.'
/, I t0a6 ln ri'o'inrh'n,lr /ul'ullpfdlsulrf Io'd.\'pt'
rh'le I (,mhins l0'21 hr "F15 ot hrt-td.uLlc.ins
6:'nwel.h ,.. o,
Dd dno L\t ct,-- ne bqa\'d a Phn' o t pplem"n' t' A ' Lq
''t tl Dusmo, e. "Irdr
lgbl,.6'.272-?31. tjr"n.. I ;.'r1, 'Tne.t Pr\h nd th. origin ol \unds obxn
,is6!l d sb kn"cr . s,,-d, "aro'hc, Llor r ordr Dr)''n ,hf l'l. r hu"h rnd 'n xr\.
i^".; ,,"1-( , rcs.ls67r 13.74 l3l
John t:l.ii c-l L:15-l?r Hcb. l:I,2



Sabbath and Sunday in Christian History





Tbe Rise of Sunday Obseraanc

Early Cbristianity

Samuele Bacchiocchi

fHE quesrion ol the origin ot Sunda) observance in early Chris

I rerent years aroused grear inreresr on rhe parr of srholars

religious persuasions. Numerous scientifrc and scholarly studies o

have appeared over the past two decades and are clear evidence
interest in linding a more satifactory ansr/er to the ever-intriguing
the time, place, and causes of the origin of Christian Sundaykeepin

Jerusalcm ad the Orido of Sunday

'fhe tendency in these recent studies has been to attribute to th
evn to Christ, the initiative and responsibiliiy for the aban
Sabbathkeeping and the institution ofSunday observance in its plac
that lhe institution ofSunday observance goes back to rhe lery rsr c
Jerusalem rests on several assumptions.
pioneered the oblervance of Sunday inasmurh as he i: the only Ne
writer who warns againr the observance ofdays (Col. 2: l6; Gal. 4: l0
6), Sunday observance must have 6rst bgun in the primitive c
Jerusalem, prior to Paul's Cntile mission. lr is pointed our thar if P
rhe promoter ofSundar observance. he woLrld have met and answer
from a Judrii ing opposnion. as was rhe (ase wirh re8d ro (ircum
absence of any tra.e of a Sabbath-Sunday conrroversy berween
Judaizing parry is, rherefore, interpreted as indicating that worship
day ofthe week is an original aposrolic insriturion that Paul found we
and thus accepted as a fait acco'npli.1
It is also presumed by some that since the events ofrhe R$urre
the appearances ofJesus rrccurred inJerusalem on a Sunday, rhe a
then have instituted Sunday observance in rhe city to commemora
events by a distinciive Christian day and with a unique Christian


Chrisrians inJerusalem to have a special time nd place for their worshi

they "no longer felt at home inJewish sabbath worship. 'I Nforeover, it is
that only the apostolic authority exercised in Jerusalem the mother (h
Christendom---{ould have legitirnately chanSed the day ofworship and e
ir on Christians at large.
These arguments appear persuasive, but their validity must be teste
light ofthe historical information provided by both the New Testament
early patristic literature regarding the theological orientation of the Je
chuch: Do the earliest documentary sources suggest that the firr Christi
longer felt at home inJewish sabbath worship'" and consequently aballd

onc irs regular w>rship time and places? Did the prirnitive church ol.Jer

break immediately and radically from theJewish religious tradirions and s

Are there evidences that the resurrection of Christ ws irst conmemor
Jerusalem on a Sunday through the celebration ofthe Lord's Supper? O
ihelimitedscope ofthe presentchapter, only briefanswers can be Provide
qiLh releen,e in rhe nores lo m) more cxren'ive lreatmenr.

The Resurrection. The widely accepted vi.w that 'the e!en!

resurrection has determied the choice of Sunday as the day of worhip
-l c
mo, e on \pei ulation Ihn on tr r'. Are rhere rn) s) ings in rhe \rs
a1ul dr o
enjoining ihe, ommemor rion ol Chrisr\ re'u, ,e
it occurred? No!
lsSrrndavevecalled inthe NewTestamentthe 'Dav of Resurrectioll"
rolsisrenrl) denominarsd hrsr da! ol rh( s(el. lvJrhe-l d\su
celebrated exclusivelvon Sunday tocommerrorate Christ's resurrcctirr?
New Testament suggests that'it was celebrted ar indletninat times
various days (cf. 1 Ci. I I r l 8. 20, 33. 34). Nforeover, the rite Proclims pr
'1he Lordis.l"al till he comes" (rerse 26).* not the Resurreciion-'
ls Christ's resurrection presented in the earliest documents a the
rheolosr(dl mrivarion Ior Sund\ worship. N,,: Both Darnahar arr
I\,larryi who pro!ide rhe earliesr rerord ol Sund!keePints. nren
Resuirection aithe secondary or additional reason for itsobervance, tho
is notto deny the factthat the Resurrection later became the dominant re
Sundav observance.

Te foregoing indications suflice to discredit the claim that

resurrection dtermined the origin of Christian Sunday uorship du
lifetime of the apostles.
The lerusalem Church in lhe New Teshmen(. lhe book ol Ac'
pr ovide. ihe earlie hisrori t( counr,'l rhe lerusalem (hu,t h. gite\ no
ihe ,, eprnce ol rhe ltfes\ih ( used (n\ eredJew. to,bandon inrmedi
regulari,orshiprimeand pld(e\ufthe;, own peoPle. Pr'e, and lohn nn e
alr rhe Penrei osr experient e, senr Lp Io the femPle Jr Ihe hourol PI
3:l). There are ample indications that attendance at the TemPle and sy
wassrill contiued 6y Christ's followers, though crlmplemenrary Private m
were conducted too. The synagogue is, in fact, the place of worsh
r Unlc$ oth.rri* indi.akd, all Sdipr

relerents in thi5




!n ron rh.

Christian converrs. Paul, for example. mer regularly in rhe syng

Sabba with Jews and Greeks (Acts l8:{. lgi l3:5. 14.42,44: I?
l7). Apollo,lewise. when he arrived ar Ephesus, met with rhe bel
synagogue (chap. l8:24-26).*
Close artachmenr ro Je$ish religious rraditions and services is
noticeable in rhe earlyJerusalem church. lt membership was compos
converted Jews (chaps. 2:41; 4:4; 5:14), characterized as "'zealous f
(chap. 2l:20). Luke epons (in Acrs) that a great many of the
obdient to the faith (chap. 6:7r. Presumably rhese conve ed prieso
"elders" who (ogether withJames adminisrered rheJerusalem (hur(h
choiceofJames, the lrrd's brolher" (Gal. I:I9).ratherrhananaposr
priesrhood ' in Jerusalm really were by placing emphasis on blood
wirh Christ. Several works ofJudeo-Chrisan origin reveal more ex
does the Nerr Testament thar in choosing rhe leaders ofrhe church. t
blood relationship was regarded as more importanr rhan any or
previous relationship wirh Christ.'"
Cetain events reported in Acts corroborate this conclusion. For
Jewish persecution reponed in Acts 6-8 was apparently nor again
(hurch but primarily aSainst the "Hellenists." a nonconformis( group
roActs8:Lthechurchwas allscarrered...exceptrheapGrles. Tha(
were allorred to remain in rhe ciry suggest\ rhar rhey did nor share thr
of the Hellenists, but maintained an allegiance to basicJewish trad
Several additional matters reported in Acts further esrablish rh
we may notice rhar ar rhe earliest Chrstian ecumenical r ounciJ, held
the presiding of6cer. propos
Jerusalem tabout
Gentiles who became
were to be exempted from circumc
ihe same time they were "'to abstain fom the pollutions of ido
un(hasriry and from hhar is strangled and from blood. For from early
Moses has had in every (ity those ltho preach him. for he is read ever
(he synagoSues '(Acts !5:20, 2l). The inclinarion roward rradiri
practices is obvious.i Second, in the account of Paul's last visir toJeru
58.60), the facts that Paul was hasrenn g to be ar Jerusalem. if possble
of Pen(ecosf (chap. 20:16) and that Pauls company had spenr
''Unleavened Bread at Philippi (verse 6) srggesr rhar Chrisrians sr
rheir lives by the normative .lewish lirurgical calendar.
Finallr. more enlightening still is the a(counr ofwhar happened
itselt. James and rhe elders not only informed Paul thar rhe many t
converied Jews were "'4U ualous for th latu' " lchap. 2 I :20) but these
confronted the apostle with the rumor rhat he dissuaded/ra^ be
prcticing ancestral customs such as circumcision.rr To discredir rh
accusation and to prove rhat he himself "rrn Ul in obseruanc of th lat)
Paul underwent a te of pu fication in the Temple.
In such a climareofpro[ound arrachmenr to.lewhh religious obse
(on(eivable lhar a longsranding and cherished custom suih as Sab


dcusion ol th. Sabbrh and

Sun.tay in

rh. N.*,


k. . pE.di


The Jrusalem Church After A.D. ?o.-Because of indications suc

foregoing, some scholars prefer to place the beginning ol Sunday observ
ealier than
70.r' It h agued that the flight of the Christians fromJer
to Pella and^.D.
the destruction of the Temple might have encouraged Pa
Christians to break away from Sabbathkeeping ar rhar time.
Undoubtedly, the exodus from and thedestrucrion ofJerusalem had
effects on the elationship between Chrhtianity and J udaism. There are, h
signi6cant historical indications that exclude the possibility ihat theJudeo
tians of Palestine introduced Sunday observance as early as the year
soon thereaftr.
The historians Eusebius (c.4.D.260-340) and Epiphanius (.. a.D.3
both inform usthat e church ofJerusalern up to e siegeofHadrian (A
was composed of, and administered by, converted Jews.r! fusebius des
group of them, known as Ebionites, as being "zealous to insist on th
observance ofthe Law." '' Epiphanius adds that thoseJewish Christians 8

fromJerusalem became kno$n as the sect of the Nazarenes, rvho "fulfill

Jewish rites as circumcision, the Sabbath. and others."r' The fact t
Nazarenes, reho represent the very direct descndants of the p
communiiy"" of Jerusalem, retained Sabbathkeeping as one of thei
guishing marks for centuries after the desrruction of Jerusalem
persuasively that this was the original day of$orship oftheJerusalem chu
that no change from Sabbath to Sunday occurred among Palestinian
Chrisdans immediarely after the destruction of the city in a.D. 70.
Another indirect indication of the suvival of Sabbath observance
Palestinian lewish Christians is provided by the curse of rhe C
( Birhoth-ho-Mini,,,'dhich the rabbinical authoriries introduced (a.D. 80-9
daily prayer.'" lr has ben conclusively shown that this was a tst designe
th Christians fom presenceand/or participation in the synagogue servi
fact that many Jewish Chistians in Palestine still considered themselves es
as Jews, keen to attend the Sabbath services at ihe synago8ue, discre
auempi to make them responsible at this tme for the introduction of

Itwas not until the year^.D. 135 thata radical change took place in th
ofJerusalem. At ihat(ime Emperor Hadrian destroyed thecity, expelled
Jews and the Jewish Christians. and prohibited categorically rhe praciic
Jewish religion, especially Sabbathkeepingand circumcision.z: ln accorda
the emperor's edict, rhe city was repopulated by foreigners, and only
Christians wee allowed to enter.liThe Iaiier differed fromJewish Chris
only racially but presumably also theologicalll, since Epiphanius sugg
they provoked a controversy by introducing Easter Sunday.-' A si
minority ofChristians apparently refused ro accept the innovation occas
the new imperial repressive measures taken against Jewish religious pr
The foregoing historicil data discredits any attempt to make theJe
church prior to a.o. 135 rhe champion of liturgical innovations such as
obsevance. We have found that thischurch was both racially and theolog
closest and most loyal to Jewish religious traditions. After A.D. I35. h

that prohibited !he practce oftheJwish religion and parricularly the

ol the Sabbath. But the new small Gentile church that became estab
citv no longer enjoyed religious prestige or authority. In fact, for
century nothing is known of the Jerusalem church. with rhe except
uncefiain names ofbishops.'" l!ould be futile, therefore, to probe
the origin of Sunday observanc among the new insignificant Genti

Since the adoption ol new religious feast days and their enforce
rest ot Christendom could presumablv be acconrplished only by a
severed her ries fomJudaism rar{r and that enjoyed wide recognition
of the capital ol the empire appears to be the most likelv birthplace
observance. Sel'e ral religiors. social. and political conditions that prev
the citv ofRoe and in the Christian church in that city substantiate th
this hypothesis.

Rome and .he Origin of Sunday

't-he ancient Christan chur.h in Rome. rontrarv to most trasre
$ascomposed primarilyol a Gentile Christian n)ajority (Romans I I a
Judeo-Christn minority (Romans l4). Paul in his fpistle to the Roma
affirms: I am speaking to vou Gentiles" (chap. Il:13).t''Ihe predo
Cenle members and their conllict with the.Jews, inside and outside
resulted. as stated well by l,eonard Goppelt, in a hasm between the
the Synagogue . . . unknown in the Eastern churches.""

Early Differentiation.-tt isa recognized fct also that Christian

distinguished fiom the Jews in rhe capital citv. The latter, in fad
influenced NeIo (through the Empress Poppaea Sabina, a Jervish
relieve himsclt of the charge of arson by putting the blame on the
Ac(ording to l acirus, Ncro 'lsrened rhe guilt Ii.e., arson] and inflict
exquisite tortrrres on . . . Christians." "' The facr that in Rome the Ch
clearly differentiated fiom theJews more quicklv rhan was the case
suggests the possibility that the abandonment of the Sabbath and
Sunday as a new day ofworship could have occurred first in Rome a
prxess ofdillrentiation fiomJudaism. Addnional significant facto
the Church ol Rome enable us to verify the validity of ths hypothe

An.i.Judic fnng3 and Mealures.-Following the death of N

experienced a setback. Mihary, p(ritical, fiscal, and literary repressi

were taken against them on account of their resurgent nariona

exploded in violent uprisings in many places. Militarily, thesratisrics o
provided by contemporary historians, even allowing for possible ex
are most impressive. Taitus (.. a.D. 33-120), for insrance, reports h
that {i00,000 Jews were besieged in the a.o. 70 war.'' Dio Cassius (c. a.
rates rhat in the Barkokeba war of A.D. 132- 135, some 580,000Jews w
action, besides the numberless who died of hun8e and disease..,
Politically, under Vespasian (a.D.69-79) both the Sanhedrin a
priesthood were abolished; and under Hadrian, as $e nord earlier,
of theJewish religion and paficularly Sabbathkeeping were ouila{


81-96) and later by Hadrian.r'

Literarily, a new wave


anti-Semitic literature surged at tha

undoubtedly reflectingthe Roman mood againsttheJews. Writerssuch as

(died a.D. 65), Persius (a.D. 34-62). Petronius (died.. A.D. 66), Quintilian
35-100), Martial (..
40-10.1), Plutarch (.. A.r,. 46-after I l9), Juvenal
^.D. (. a.D. 55-120), tho lived in Rome fbr most o
A.D. 125), and Tacitus
professional lives, reviled theJews acially and culturally.r,Particularly w
Jwish customs of Sabbathkeepirg and cicumcision contemptuously der
examples of degrading superstition.
These repressive measures and hostile attitudes prevailing toward th
were particularly feh in the capital city. Tirus, fbr example, because

mounting hostility of the populace against the Jews, $as foced,

"unwillingly" (in.,ir). ro ask Berenice, Herod the Younger's sister (wh

wanted to marry), to leave Rome.* TheJewish poblem be.ame particularl

by Hadrian's time as a result ofthat emperor's policy of radical suppression

lewnh religion.
Such circumstances apparently encouraged Christians. too, ro pro
whole body of anti-Jewish literature. which began appearing at that ti
"Christian theology" of separation from, and contempt for, the Je
developed. Characteristic Jerlish customs, such as cicumcnion and S
keeping, were particularly condemned.
The Church of Roine ad the Sabbath.-Though denunciations ofS
observance can be found in the writings of Church Fathers from
geographical areas, it is in theChurchofRorne tht we End evidenceofthe
concrere measures ro wean chrisrians away from venerarion ofthe sabbarh
urge Sunday observance exclusively. Justin Martyr, for instance, writin
Rome about the middle of the second centuy. presents a most devastat
systematic condemnation of thc Sabbath, as well as giving the earliest
account of Christian Sunday worship services. He empties the Sabbath o
rheological significance, reducing ir ro a rempoary ordinance derive
Moses, which Cod imposed solely on rheJews as "a mark ro single rhem
punishment they so well deserve for their infidelities."'* He refers, on th
hand,roSundayas "thedayon which weallhold ourcommon assembly, be
is the frrstday on {hich God, havingwrought achange in the darkness and
made the wold: and Jesus Christ our Saviou on the same day rose fr

Justin's negative view ofthe Sabbath is reflected also in the early introd
ofthe Sabbath fast by the Church of Rome, in spite of the opposition of

Christianity and ofseveral western churches. That the Church ofRome

champion of the Sabbath fast and axious to impose it on othe C
communities is well attered bv the hisrorical references fiom Bishop C
(A.D.2l?-222), Hippolytus (r..i.o. 170-236), Pope Sylvester (A.D.314-i35
Innocent I (A.D.401-417), Augustine (a.D. 354-430), and John Cassian
360-435).'"The fst was designed not only to express sorrow lb Christ's de
also, as Pope Sylvester emphatically states, to show "contempt for th
(exetratione Jdaeorun) and for their Sabbath "feasting" (esruetiones cibo


Sabbath with theJews," to use the words ofvictorinusofPettau (died

The answer is to be found in the fact that for iheJews the Sabbath w
not a day of fasting or of mourning. Even the srrictest Jewish sects
fasring on the Sabbarh. The rabbis. though rhey dillered in rheir view
rhe rime and number ofrhe Sabba meals. agreed rhat food on the Sa
to be abundant and good."
That the early Christians adopted thisJewish customis implied,
in Augurine s rheroricl remark in which. when refening to (he Sabb
''Did nor he rradirion of the elders prohibir fasting on lhe one hand
rest on theother?"s Further support can be seen intheopposirion to
fast by Christians in the East and in some important Western area
Milaarthe time ofAmbose (died a.D.397), a;d in cenain churches
of Nonh Africa.'
A rrid Sabbarh fast would narurally preclude also rhe.elebr
t or d s Su pper. since partaling o I irs e lemenLs wo uld be rega rded as
fsr. repoed byseveral Fathers. rheSabbh was m
nor only a dy offasting bur also a day in which no Eucharisti( ( elebr
religious assemblies were llowed.'" The translormarion ol he Sabb(
offasiing,joy, and religious celebrations io a day offasting, mourn
religious assemb\ represen s ( oncrere measu res t aken bv the Ch u rch
forct Chrisrians awav trom the vnerrion ofrhe Sabbath. on the olh
pactice enhanced S;nday, a day of rejoicin8 and feasring when the

when did rhe Church of Rome introduce ihe weekly Sabba

historical genesis ofreligious customs cannot always be established w
and this is true regarding Sabbath fasting. That itwas introduced ea
however, is clearly implied by the following statemnt of Hippolytu
Rome between a.D. 202 and 234): "Even today (Koi Y&8 !'uv) som
tasring on the Sabbath. fa pracricel of wh'ch Christ has not spoken.

referringro Bishop Callistus' decetal enjoining a seasonal Sabbath fa

Marcionites against rvhom he wrote a treatise (possibly to both?), th

"even today" clearly presupposes that the custom had been known fo
Irhasbeen sugSested thatthe weekly Sabbath fast originated as
of rhe annual Holy Saturday of the Easter season, when all Christ

This view appears altogether plausible, since, for instance, Te

Augusrine asso(iared the rwo. Teflullian specifirall) appro!ed lhe an
sabbath fa\t and .ondemned the weeklv Sabbth la.r that Rom
Western churches practiced. "You someimes continue your Stati

even over the Sabbath,-a day never to be kept as a fast except at

season."{e An additional indication of a connection bet$'een the tw
provided by the facrthat theannual paschal Saturday fast,like the we
designed to express not only sorrow for Christ's death but also cont
perpetraiors of His death, namely the Jews. The Di.doscalb Aposto
250), for instance, enjoins Christians to fast on Easte Friday and S
account ofthe disobedience ofourbrethen [i.e., theJews]. . . because
People killed themselves in crucifying our Saviou.""

seems ro hve been en(oura8ed, on rhe one hand. by rhe scial. poiriiat,

and lrerarv an-Judaic imperial poliries that made ir netessaryfor Chris

sever therr ties wirh rheJews. and. on rhe orher hnd, by lhe very confli(t e
btween Jews and Chrisrians. The Churh of Rome. whose members, m
paSan exrrriion. expenenred break trom r he.lews earlier rhan in rhe Ea
where the unpopularity of theJews was parricul;ly feh, appears to have p

leading role in inducing rhe adoprion ot Sunday obsiivance, as

downgrading e Sbbarh by rhe weekly Sabbath fasr.


Sutl Woship and the Origin of Sunday

.Why, it may now be asked, was Sunday ather rhan anorher day ofth
(such as Friday. rhe dar of Chrisr's pa$ron, (hosen ro eridence ihe C
separarion from Judaism? Anri-Judaism explains he necessiry rhar a
substiure a new da) ot worship lor the Sabbrh. bur rhe reasons for rhe
choice of Sunday must be found elsewhere. Signifitanr indications sugg
Sun worship with its "Sun-day" was influentil in deiermining the i-h
Sun WoHhip nd lte Planetary Weet Prior to A,D. t50.- fo es(a
possible causal relationship berween Sun worship and rhe Chrisrian adop
Sunday observance, it is crucial ro verify the conremporaneous existenc
end o[ rhe rsr cenrur] of borh a u idespread Sun worship nd a common
the planeran seek with irs sun-day--dies sohs. * Only if rhe planerar y we
in use in rhe Cre(o.Roman world aheadr in the rsr cenrury ot our era a
Sun was being venerated on Sunday does the possibiliry exisi rhar Ch
converts from paganism, facing the necessiry ro worship on a day ar wo
different from the Jewish Sabbath, wee oriented tow;d rhe day of rhe

Caston H. Halsberghe has persuasively demonstrated in his

monograph, The Cult of Sol In i.tus, rhar Sur worship was "one of rhe
(omponenrsofrhe Roan religion. Asa resuh oIrhe penerrarion ofEasre
(uls. Halsberghe (onr ludes that from rheearlr parr otrhe serond cenru
the cult of So Inirs was dominant in Rome and in other parts ofthe Emp
The idenrificarion and worship of rhe emperor as sun-god, en(ouraged
Easlern theologl ofthe King-Sun. andby poliri(l(onsidearions.undou
rontribu(ed to rhe diffusion ol a public Sun tulr."
Did the planetary week alsowith its 'dis sal---day ofSun" already exis
first century a.D. in the Greco-Roman world Only in such a case co
predominarir Sun (ults hale enhanced rhe dd) ot (he sun and conseq
influenced Chistians to adopr this day for their weekly worshi
reintepreting irs symbolism in rhe lighi of the Chrisrian message.,.
Seveal testimonies from such ancient writers as Horace (c. 35 B.c.), T
(r. 29 B.c.), Petronius (died .
66), Fronrinus (.
35-103), Plutarch
^.D. Cassius (c. A.D. 13
46-after 119), Philostratus (c.^.D.
tt.. 110-2451, and Dio
clearly attest the existence and common use ofthe planetary week already
first century a.D-!r Mural pictures and inscriptions ofthe ptanetary gods an
uncovered in Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as rhe so-called


acmunr oa.he pln.rary


given by S. Doqlas


Uar.rhous in appe.dix A, pp.

SO3 3

le(ers lrom A to H of lhe Roman nundinun market week and in the

rhe seven letters from A to G ofthe Planetary week, and to be dated n
the time of Tiberius, A.D. t4-37), erase all doubt of the common
olanetarv $eek in anr ienl Rome lrom r leasr rhe beqinninA oflhe Ch
' fhe nrerailins Sun wor.hiD and lhe .onlempolaneous exis
Dlanetary heek caused a signifiianr developmenr' lhe day ot Sa
rieinally uas the firv day ol ihe planerarl week ras clearl) eviden( ed
nudrui an by rhe mural inir riprions lound in Pompeii nd H
where rhe dys ol rhe lneek are gir e horizonrally srarring hirh rhe da
wasintimesupplanredb rhedayof rheSun whirh moved tromse(
frrsr olace in the week.
ir is difr ulr ro determine rhe exai I rime h hen rhe primar and rh
rhe dy of Sarurn was transferred lo lhal ol the Sun. Tht this h
lreadv bv the middle ot rhe se.ond cenurv is clerlv indi(ted by
ar rotoqer VeLrius Vlen.. ln his Antrolgl. .omPo'ed berween A.D.
he expiicirly srres: 'And Ihis is rhe sequen.e ol the plnerar\ 5(rs
rhe drs oi rhe week: Sun, Moon. vrs. Mercut). iupner. venu
Statementstom lu"trn Vrrvrand lerruUian ssellasse!eral vilhr
consrirutions olC;nsranLine (l\4arch 7 and.July 3 4.D.32l,..onhrmth
rhe Sun oc(upied rhe dominanr Pla(e in ahe sequen(e ol rhe dvs o
Since rh emergence ol rhe da\ ol lhe Sun o\er rhar of Sar
aDDarentlv in the e;rlv Dart ot rhe serond ,enrur) in con(omira
Clhrisdan idoorion ofsuidr observance in pla, r ol rhe Sabbalh. on
rhe latter relaied to the tormer? Drd he advan(emenr ol rhe da) otrh
noririon otfrrsr dv otrhe weet Dossiblv influence Chrisrians qh
ifferenrire rhem"el'es from (he bbarh ol rheJe!is. ro adopr dnd
dv for their ueeklv worship?
' Severalkindsoi evidence supporr rhi\ h\ porhesi\' l( is d la( r' fi
Chrisian con!errs rrom paga;Lm "ere ,onsrantlr arrrrred
!enerarion ot the Sun. This ii i;dn ared nol only by rhe trequenr ( ond
rhis Dra(ri.e b! the Farhers bur lso by signi6, anr reflexes ol Sun w


the Sun was ofin used to represent Christ, the true "Sun of riShteo
(dated. a.D 240), foundbelow r
r he earliesi known Christian mosaic
Perer in Rome, Christ is portrayed as the Sun (ior) ascending on
chaiot with a nimbus behind His head from which irradiates seve
form ofa T (allusion to the cross?).6r Thousands ol hours have bee
drawingthe sun disk with an equal-armed coss behind the head ofC

other imDortant oersons,

,rnoiher.isif,,anr indicrion of rhe influence ot rhe Sun c

Christian worship is provided by the change in orientation for
lerusalem to rhe asr.": Some l rhe reasons d\ant ed by 'he F'herr
of the easrwrd po.irion for praler are Ihar lhe Orienl r
birr of lishr, rhe orienriion o[ rhe an.ienr temPles." God\ Pa
Chri.ts cming."' Apprenrl), Chriins who preriouslv. a"
veneated the Sun, when faced with the necessity ofdissociating the
the Jews, not only abandoned the orientation toward Jerusalem fo

the Chrisrian message. Would nor rhe d;4 prayrng tohard rhe Sun en
Christians to worship also a,pp*4 on rhe day ol rhe Sun?
Perhaps the most explicit xample of Sun worship's influence
Christian liturgical calendar is rhe adoprion ofthe pagan feasr of rhe di
Soli\ Innicti rhe birthday of rhe Invincible Sun-which was celebr
December 25. That the Church ofRoe inrroduced and championed rhis
in the case of Easter Sunday) is a.cepred by most scholars.s fuario Righ
instance, a renowned Carholic lirurgist, wrires: "After rhe peace the Ch
Rome, to facilitate the acceprance of rhe fairh by the pagan masses, f
convenient to institute ihe 25th of December as rhe feasr ofthe remporal
Christ, to divert rhem from the pagan feasr, celebrared on the same day in
of rhe 'tnvincible Sqn' Mithras, the conqueror of darkness.""'
These few examples evidence suffrciently the influence of Sun c
Christian ought and liturgy. A more direct indication of the influence
pagan veneration ofthe day ofthe Sun on the Christian adoption ofrhe ve
day is provided by the frequeni use of the symbology of the day of rhe
justify Sunday observance.
Jusrin Mrrvr r.. a.D. I00- 165) emphasi/es rhar Chriians a5semble
dav rUed Sunday... be(ause it 15 rhe rsr day on whnh cod. hd!ing wr
change in the darkness and matter, made the world."* Is the nexus berw
day of the Sun and the creation of light on the first day a pure coincide
hardly seems so, not only because Justin himself in his Dialogue uith
explicitly compares the devotion that pagans render to the Sun with tha
Christians offer to Christ, who is "more blazing and bight than the ray
sun,"6'but also because ihe coincidence between the creation of lighr or
day and the veneration of the Sun on the selfsame day is clearly esrabli
several Fathes. Eusebius (.. ,r.o. 260,340), for instance, refers explicirly
motifs of rhe light and of the day of the Sun tojusrify Sunday worshipr '?n
of ght, rsr day
t'1? da1 of the sm, when we gather afier the inrerval of s
we celebrarc rhe^nd
holy and spiitual Sabbaths. . . . ln fact, ir is on this day
creation of the world that Cod s id: "'Let there be igi"; and there was lig
also on rhis day that the Sun ofJusrice has risen fo our souls."",
Such testimonies and orhes rhrcould becired clearlv reveal rhar rhe

ofrhe dav ofrhe Sun ws nor motivared br rhe desire ro venerare rhe Sun
his day, but rather by the fact that such a day provided a fitting symbolo
could effrcaciously commemorate and explain ro rhe pagan world r$ro
mental events of ihe history of salvation---<raatiaz and resznecrioz.& Jerom
expresses this point: "Ifii is called day ofthe Sun by the pagans, we mosr w
acknowledge ii as such, since it is on this day thabe light of th uo d ha: a
and on this day the Sm of ll6tice has rism " tu
Undoubredly, the existence ofa richJudeo-Christian tradition thatass
the Deirywirh rhe sun and light facilitatedand encouraged such an amalga
of ideas.'r Ii appears, therefore, that the ingredients necessary ro influe
Christian choice of the pagan day ofthe Sun were already presenr when rh
made its appearance in Rome. Various Sun cults were dominani ir ancien
by the early part of the second century, and their slmbology soon
counterparts in Christian literature, ari, and liturgy. Furthermore, rhe v

{iih rhe Ch;isdan adoption of Sunday

seemingly influnced the Ch stian choice of the same day, s

was conducive to worship ofthetrue Sun ofRighteousness

"dived light from darkness and on the day of the resurrccti
faith ftom infrdeliry.""
The Early Theology of Sunrlay
A bief survey of the basic theological motivations advanced


Faihers ro iustify both the choice and the observance of Sunday wil
test the validity of the conclusions emerging from our study
Resurrection.-We noticed earlier thatthe New Testament give

Sundar. Ir is noreworthy. in fact, thal bolh Barnbas andJuslin. sh
ol t*o reason". important but not predominant'r Neverlheles.lhe
ofChristeventually emerged as the primary reason for theobservanc
Ausustine DerhaDs orovide" the mosr expli. it enunciarion oflhis wh
'fh-e Lord': duj *a' not dclared ro ihe.Je"s b,rt o rhe Chri
resurection ofthe Lord and from that event irs festivity had its orig
Iiturgical practices such as the pohibition to fasi and to kneel on Surl
the c-elebiation ofa Sunday-morning Lord\ Supper, were introdu
sDe.i6.allv the memorv oI ihe Resurrflion." Sin( e, howevel, Chr
bn initially was no( (he exctusire or preponderant jusrication
worship. r need ro recogni,Te and e!alure rhe role Plaled by orh
motives as well.

Creon.-The commemoration of e anniversary of the c

is a iusticalion frequen(l) addu( ed b) the FaLhets tor observ

We . ned arlie lusrin, Eusebi'rs. and lerome, h ho menlion I he cre
on rhe 6rsr day ai a reason tor sundaykeeping.'- APparenrly rhisjus
intended primarily for pagan\ o Hhom Christins wished to exPla


dar ot rhi Sun thev did nor venerare lhe Sun-god but rarher.e
creation of light and the rise ol rhe Sun of RiShreousness erents oc

frrsr dav.

In'the polemic sjth Sabbarhleeping Chri\rians howevel

argumenr was used in a modied lorm to show the suPerioritv otSun

Sabbath. In the S)ria Dinascalia (e. A.D.250) rhe terms of the disp
expli(i(: Cease rherelore, beloved brerhren. you who from amon

prior (o the hrar day of the week bet ause that the S(riprure has said
od ntnh" a hins\: and on tp !tumLh dal he lnt'hed all huorh:,and
''we ask you now. whirh is 6rst. Alaf or Tau? For rhar {da)
grearer is rhar which is the beginning ol the world. even as the Lor
said ro Moses: ln rhe bcginning God rreakd thp h?au?n and Lhp parth."
A similar reasoningappears, though inamorc refrned form, in
the Sabbath and Circu.mcion, found among ihe works of Athan
296-373). bur probably spurious: The Sabbath was rhe end ofrhe
the Lord s dar was the beginningot the second in whn h He renewed


ofthe 6rstthings, sowehonorthe Lord'

ofthe new creation. Indeed, He did nor creare anoth
but He renwed the old one and completed what He had begun to do.
This notion of the Sabbath as herald of the end of the frrsr and
beginning of rhe second creation is totally foreign ro the Scriptur
being the emorial

apparently was devised to refute the Sabbathkeepers' claim of rhe superi

the Sabbath as the memoial of Ceation.

Th Eithth Dy,-Another valuable asenal of apolo8eric rechni

defend the superiority ofSunday overthe Sabbath was provided by rhe sym

of the eighth day. As a designation for

Sunday, this tem first app

antiJudaic polemical writings, such as the 1, tle of Baru&' aIJ,d }le Dialo
Iryrlo. It was widely employed in Christian literature ofthe first frve cen
Such a designation apparendy derives from chiliastic-eschatological s
tions on the seven-day Creaiion week (sometimescalled "cosmic week") pr
inJewish andJewish Christian The duration ofthe world was sub
into seven periods (or millennia), of which the seventh (identified w
Sabbaih) generally represented paradise restored. At the end of the
period the eternal new eon would dawn, which eon came to be known
eighrh day" since ir was the successor to the sevenih.
In the polemic with Sabbathkeepers, the symbology of the eighth
applied to Surday to prove the superiority of the latte over the Sabbath.
rangeofaguments were drawn notonly from apocalyptic literature but a
the Scriptures, philosophy, and the natural wold. As the eighth eschat
day, Sunday was defended as the symbol of the nerv wold, superio
Sabbath, which reprcsentedonly the seventh terestrial millennium.e Als
Gnostic ogdoad, Sunday was pesented as a symbol ofthe restofspiritualbe
the supercelestial eternal world, found above the sevenness of rhis tra
world. Moreover, Sunday could be prestigiously traced back to the "prop
ofthe Old Tesmenr, by means of rhe Biblical number eight, which the
found in several refercnces from the Old Testament, such as the eighth
circumcision: the eight souls saved fom the Flood: the fifteen cubits (se
ight) ofthe Flood waters above the mountains;* the superscription of P
and I I ("forthe eighth day");" the fiIteen (seven plus eight) gradual psalm
saying "give a portion to seven, oreven to eight," ofEcclesiastes I I:2;? th
day when Job offered sacrices; and orhers. lnvested with such "pro
authority, the eighth day could "legitimately" represenr the fulnllmen
reign of the law, allegedly typied by the Sabbarh, and the inauguratio
kingdom of grace supposedly exemplified by Sunday.Jerome expressed t
by sayingthat"the nuber seven havingbeen fullled, we now rise to the
rough the eighth."'!
The polemic use of the symbolism of the eighth day that develope
apocalyptic, Gnostic, and Biblicalsources to prove the superiority ofSund
the Sabbath corrobrates again that Sunday worship arose as a contr
innovation and not as an undisputed apostolic institution. Indeed, w
Sabbath-Sunday controversy subsided, the very name "eighth day"
inherent eschatological meaning (used frrst by Barnabas and afterw
numerous Fathers) were formally and explicitly repudiaied as a designa

^.D. develop
Consraminople, provides a mosi explicit confirmation ofthis
explaining that the eiShth day represents exclusively the future life
categorically: "ft is for this reason that no one calls the Lord's day th

but only first day.""'

This brief survey of the various early Christians' motivations
obserianc suggests that the nee day of worship uas introduced in
controversy and uncertainty. I t appears that because of the exigency
separate Christians from theJews and their Sabbath, Centile Christia
the venerable day ofthe Sun, since it provided an adequate time and s
commemorate signicant divine events thal occurred on thai day.
creaiion of lighr and the resurrection of the Sun of Justice. 'I'his
proroled a (onrroversy wnh those who mintained the invio
superioriry of the Sdbbarh. To silence such opposuion. se fou
sl mbolism of rhe r da) and ol rhe eighrh day war introdut ed and
since they provided valuable apologetic arguments to defend the
superiority of Sunday. As the first day, sunday could allegedly clain
over the Sabbath, since it celebrated the anniversary o{ both the
second creation. the lauer inaugu rated by Christ's resurection. The
on rhe other hand, could claim only tocommemorate the completion
As theeighth day, Sunday could claim tobe lhe alleged continuation,
and replacement of rhe Sabbath, both temporallv and eschatologica

The picture that hasemerged in this chprer is that the origin ol

rhe result of an interplay ofJe$ish, pagan, and Christian factors.
found. contributed negatively to the rise of sunday by crating t
desire for a radical separation fromJewish observances such as the Sa

contribured positively by poviding the cosmic millenarian we

consequent possibilitv of defending Sundav as the eighth dav repre
eternal new world.

Paganism suggested to those Christians who had previously kn

and the cuh ofthe Sun the possibility ofadoptingthe "venerable day o
theirner dayofworship, since its rich svmbologv wasconduciveto th
the rrue Sun of RiShreousness.
Chrisrianity, lastly. gave theological justitication to Sunday ob
teaching that rhe day commemomted important events such as the i
of Creation. rhe resurrection of (lhrist, and the escharlogical hope
world to come. It appears, therefore, that Jewish, pagan, and Chris

though of differing derivation. merged to Bve rise to an insiitDtio

satisfying the xigencies of many Jewish and pagan converts.
Ourstudy hasalsoshown (we hope persuasively) thal the adoptio
obse ance in place ofthe Sabbath did not occr in the.Jerusalem chu
oftheauthoriiy ofChrist orofthe apostles. but rather t(x)k place ser
larer, evidently in th Church ol Rome durin8 the second century. I t
by external circumstances.
we found, too, that the earliest theological justifications do n
organic Biblical-apos)lic teaching, but rather differing polemic argu

the numbers eight and one) to prove the legitimacy and superiority of S
wee eventually abandoned, since they were based on fauhy. questionab
qurrirnrr, Biblical hermefl eutics.
This means. to state the matter frankly, that Sunday observance does n
on a foundation of Biblical theology and/or ofapostolic authority. but ra
later contributory factors to which we have briefly alluded above. Any a
therefore, to formulate a Biblical theology ofSunday to help solve the p
problem of its widespread profanation is doomed to fail. More hopeful
could be expected from edu.ating our Christian communities to ediscov
accept those permanenr values and obligations ofthe Sabbath commandme
are still relevant to Christians today.

Ld. Note: Ahough unour itens of inqoian

the seeond throughffth eenturies a.D. aft noted

rgardmg the Sabbak and.

rand.o uith;n the broader

of ehaqters 8 - 10, a nore stematic and ftmprehen;ite teatment of the sutie.t;.s Pto
dqqeni B a the end of thistotume.ltnq ako b noted here that th topic of"The
Dq' in the Second Century" ts treatd in aqpend.ix F.



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II IhRtcrFxrouu\.hd.rcnd.!1O Cullnn.'Lou'nnulriDle!d"Bl.onnun
u nhm rh. Ltl\ Lhut.h Unan \aws
ldta,h^tunsru tris. t972t. D. t3
22llc67)'33-37 lne(hrA..derr'nnkph.nth4r'.rnen,rlc'.n.e'oclcmDh,lq,r
bu hflrnno16r, llrion ro,hr bbrh. rl dmm..6ulr ,1. Ro,do t d .x. oo l, 21
DmoL.d Sundr ubo.rn.e. th.r rould h!. nn'ed u ,hdD lonuore,s. aRinv m L'r
iRrcnr auvnr " nd or Lhe lorl dnrnle ro l.wBh .Lrm ' Lh. 1., hco .\.!, h
,u(h. Fhmn ,"n b. dae,r.d in A, !uRr{\ rhr no,hdnlc in rhe dr or qo h,p hd 1.' n,
r r\.rr po'nr norNon ht'n ,h;roposl .r lm.r.; p'npoklpp'uv"d b."1hr Fdc.
.,e22). l. T}crrempr'on from,n,um nion r"tsrdnkdorr"10 rh.b'hr., Ehnrr.;l,h.C
Lhruh"h. tho !onnJrd o,tr,um,'
25,. h.r bemA no, un!.$on n rhNr*rLl,o,
I hr tr,ndrr.a borh bv rh.rnin!. lir rh (u.
ol nun(
2: r2l, and by rhr ion,rm o! c hdd.,t or
teruqlcm. hn h 'o !h;,r,hriin., ,hd l:r"d
" nor o(n(un!i{ .i, lhildr.n o' ob*F.'hr
h LJnoma".AG 2l
21r.2. Moreove,. ol e foL,
dnrrno'rdmA,l!'dllblrn"on"1mn'h.pollunon.l'do,. ndlumhh
f,om blmd
e'n fo' ,i' dnd food l\"n,.u\.of' r.rpn
.rl' r.nrEons Moqhrhd
iny rhofrhop'.a h h,m, for h.r ird rvn r vbbr6,n
pmpcdl d in i Nr6.duon lmfl,rdfrm
bid'ns nrur otrha Mostr l".
"hi h h.i, J
Mo, ffrmoullr rr;ldfl, rso,nrll) rhe hypo'helr rhr,hr lrrsl.n,hL,,h hri rl.u
i' l, Fsrbf.,irucc;trrd by R ( . H.l ernj rhr''hff l.,rh 6.hAeh' P16..nc6ulrc'rd
umu, r eR' din! Pdul
ottht A 4 d *t Apo\rtt. (ColmbJt, Oh'o o44r p. 373
ldB ol Lha chunh
o r. Piul d.mon rc Dnbl \ }R EDdr ro' tu e{' r t u{;\ ev
tf,ntU. rhar'1he, r'rn.d ihei' lr.h t) ol I't'nr,,n,Lm.i-d rhetr child' . rr l^a.h.-. r
i1 lhFhlporh.r!xdrtu.dblR.En.rh.nh.,r..a:n^n(Drrbr.unr\rnr.nD
th dRre & edl o&u,, ed bdween (he *bbrth nd thr dv w. no" * 5"d^, ,( -*, hL.l djl.
t'lth\t\ r1L,kl 4 5.2r1.\P\2 lr7h.r77, tp.p.nn. rd,..a ha



ee,he d,! ution Bthm!.h d 5b r \,a). pp lrc.lsh
\1 A.ut n4au' 29 1tPa 4t
'n lntt
r3 M.srmon 'L m,truona F.llr: l,send.oJ rh e, ' ,n -Erary p {3
1 D.ntu,hcd.(.ndnotrhcA .mri'rp(tinrChn{n.hhoflcd'ol,an!o.dddtrho'
,h e( of 'hr ahunh br!ur .1 ,rE,d.d 'h. l.wrh nb..,\!c! or qbb;rh nd n, m
obFtn tItriologj{b^\ r,r@r^ tndon 19611p.\6, A!m'l"rr(ne., r\nhr
,o isbbarh,

'' ' I hc dr.

30.90lo, . inuoduon ol tbe nJ6i.uon a.-eDred br DB
^D r. r! \hrq.' MdvdMq' /D\ /, 7 d43
4rnq! bibhoFDhl,
m s.r elF.lh ihe {udv oi M Srmon, r,fu /!{4 rP1. r9b4 ur'nr r 19,13 ed, D 235
z'lmcrPdle.,.m4t(. l hr l r
rh. F{ rad qrFmrn' rudr,.hr !n.FqL..Fr..h
rhc $n.!&ue'-tt., n\i;t h, t h"\ d
fud.o ehntr'rnr rrrrf.qucn(d
Indon. 195{r. D'h.78

(rrflnmcn, ofRomf hd n.ucd derrcc rh{ rher ,hu.d nor rLdr e tor;h.Dd
Imud R!5hhd\hnh

Dfrnbourr. whoprcv,d.1 wdldo!umen,cd,'.rmfnr utHdndnr wr dnd Nr\,.,, hnr.( . I h

Rom. pruhibi'ed. undq prndl', of derh. . .um.n'on
\dbb,h nd r
ob( !rn. ut
tt--r t:ai *. rn\Lo 4 k t.oFot^v d2 to Pot.nv tPnr'h.
lA61' D.4!

fusbut r.po,( 'ute rh.

d.{ruton ni iBn.i.n inhb;knr
,ompc.d ofCenuks, c rt. oe

, r hd
n.ion nd hd r
'li. l"hh And ! rhe (hu'.h
as{me rhe gova'nrrn' .r .' rrF'
bFhopl nr .1r,,
Mrus'-rl l..I 6 .1lNPNfP 'oI 177,173)
* Ahr:L.\ t$.rw-\ 10. to ec a2:355. 356)r -The.otrovexy msc ftrooqneralty. s
..iodur.f rhe brhoDl or rh. fl uflan tr.D. r3s nd h1,onuncJunll|ou,rne."'the
r.r.,.r'o'hrhihn I
Ir.D.tssobe .d rh. Ou'
Fo' rdn, utunofrpiphniut''^'. .a Br.h'o.h' F,fl.oto,o \,{4. pp. t6t,
tbt, t62
162, dd
zi rLn,
tion ol Stnld. o. 45-52
tht oion
BzAtot 4t
rt irp l0lnor.opininn'hrrheP\u!e',on"o!r'l]inliru!"1.n'qdp'v\
lu' E orLh.
nr lu(t of hrurorurhr
ru rhr, ir!.
rn c rboJ rr
r r rrft lrr
1rr iroi!u!.
Nr.ii!u!. Btrhoo
!. rn,c
Bnhoo or
of teru!lm
ler u!lm Iuns
r arw-;r/.1r^n rhl' hir,h'.;hrr.
h.lptu hr
Thr h";
Qnirodrmn.. Ip.'cd r;
dr.n,r' h.5' nu m"n' un,!a,Jl, ,, eprcd b dl' ,r.{.n' ut rheobsar\dn.r

"ld.rqii,o pma h cco1tslr^lnu rko i,h, rn Rom.'4* ll, lha\rokanini.nd

Lrl t panp tr" -' o[t\" Cqt,h. t
'' L"on d C-pp-l' lt Arsi\t d,ttEl.. rJF. IJol'.pt 2',3
,q *!r'J 'non scc.q
porrbi'v s( rn'
A ,on Hmal lk tt.nN Mn
ndl tl|.t Th,HM
RomN l:



rc44/.':372.frn.{ Rcnrn,n,rdlauiun;1307),

p. l0q,

e FBar' ol, Pdx,

'.H@r.l3 lofphurxo,',/ bq Irpl,1'o7.nnol.h.hc,.utcn\pr!.nd

\1 H!l@ 6q 14
q \..
nu'.22bd.. \ome n hol'" mdinrdin rhr w,,ih,.rll,onunu.dr,hr l.mpl.lkr r D 7
-.d,fd lorn,..l k \^. r.l,r^ .w.,11,p,n rhclr'uvt.m Tfmph dF' \o 70," Ntu l^hd

nh.r LcE tillcd or rnheddurine rhe

q A..o,dnc tosueron,u'h. .D.70 l,l2i.,@ L5.^,

r,om,hor 'Hm"q

hnr puor,,\ li,h,er t.t.d l.w. rDe'&; t2 f.Lt, ;

J',undinc p.oph. amr Huo4 ,t s)rur ut {0 u

rDD ll7 133J,.ordin'o\ppin,d.on,rmFrrhrn',n,h(lc;6r..c(ubrc.dda"m.b_


rhr ,mpd.d

b s-LeLoniG .xo,esn.


u,.1n sr d,rh."rr h, i
'",6 'i
m)c e,om.lcrhcrcrde'rq.rpoth..ri.knendiMnri',v\h?ptoblcn hPtltrpo[P4r,
8rurA. Qudrru. lo{ 1rA. qir dil' 4Nb21. th, DLphn 5^t4 la \nn Pqta;\,tua
lLrini Dolry 7 fDro. Miltdr. {6 rr. /% runfounr"lv lo{,, AFllinriui aptut t
pfrishedr, val'rol or 4, P^r. .t . t h' I p;1, b Dpivtv -. t h! tr.r ,,/ P4.. r c.iurr,n,6 p4, l, /
p'r4.e. ru' d briefdnb.i.or'hes ho'k, "tr B,, ho.hi, d 5rd, b \rl1, pp. 173 l3<.
un.vdrh.h'Lrn ,.|c\r
ap'o\,LleLl br t Bl h.@R "A
Lnu.rudrsme,h'uen, edHBb t d d, Phtlatht R4@^? t3I Iq?3,311 193.
\ DLw dth I.r\, t | \ccrls1 1.2o 3, 16 I ThpEndurhe' rbu,lun Mnr' E

rq,4@/os l. b7 IANF I 136r.
4 e |1ha Ponih, atl, u\t1a the


tPr,lcrrl.\ol l,pl{lrroifJ"hainfu'mr,ununrhr'.1on.h'pvfrhrRumn,huhru'h.s
rc Bh'e!hr
Jrtu r tur1. DD 1b5.193. hh'c11'.nr ourLc; rc !'kd
r'\. R F Humbfr'
Ad!a,^'Lw,mn ,ol\t ,P' r43:q3?" fhc.rxr n qrored nd
m \arr o tunn1, po 19{ 195
i\C+Iasr, Ihc lprvsr'.d!'on h.rv ,hd),H.rc.kd
ho,ll On rhbd", \"d. d, {omcd ro fd',,sorcu.l} e rhar on t'dr dr) he mdy Eo fo, rh roou
F iLt},n orde' rh hc'niRhrnorpx.'.oob(hc

t,d of,he Sdbbdh Him".lf.

h,N. !!" b! Hr
rhar Hi! oul hrflh.


pp ruu,IJl. rdr.n.7u:.r.l. rrmud,\hrbbr r5 3.lud hd:b: lub']fer{u:ru, r1 'D rl:4 r: H.rm

rti:tda I.bMt\Mtnh 1q22,, I 6ll,612

'uh. I r hn.l'.r, V'lnl I dn nor tud on \,ur!, b' \hcn l;m
'n t t:21O],: t.dn,tpLthtolarurtr r{ 5 Pu.iu.
do.' Au@"unertro6rL"s3b.12f!Pr/
13 A nmil, d hdrom) .r.d .n Nonh Aln,
h. umc ol AL*uitmp IiL,r.h.bBhop$'rk!
'n wtrhm rhqmadRtrtrL. mv h\ e sn menb.,3
lerrN inA6, done!hnh.o, rh!hu,!he,
\rnrh d, '-,rrL o i arlrb 16 32 llPvI l. I 2701. l, n
orh.,t Eho do no' l( un
'hc ,.\c. hpnncrh A \und 7to, I tBrs, \ael rAnn q-bor. v'ch
bbrh,d',n pa.r Lhnr,r
'!PorrnndeniIr{.b.{0r 'rr7 eub,rhedrh. r.rher'rdi'ionor'h.ihur,hmdinuin.,'nrh
t'( I ndrr rnd \ualon. lhould 1n, ibiolL'c\ rtrtu, lelcorc h. sL'mcn r^lD{du!
20 iss_r S-,err rD43qj,on'msrh.qrLduoniirRom"vhenhc,.p.,'.ar'l.hoJRhdlmGrll,
rodon' rr,,/ Har i.,r2 IPI 22 r3
l, ro.I{0)'rfr'\.r,lu(n.ho'.li*iuu.d.ymbl'.\.vrinarhdhhileaheFUphufron\knxnuph,.n
rve,yf,hrr. mb'. rosdhe, on rh. \bbrh. r rcll rh. n' d) f r wr.L." u,h d -.n{
.1 tn Danrtes rtuhn 4. 20. 3 tccs rt251\
{3 Rodo.fobkNes ar sin.e rhe whole ofverem chrtr.ndon bv rhis n
[i.e., Te ullia.t tim
HolLrru'dd nhouldhrv.b.rn.drohr\.h Lplnthe'd.otl.{lnSune\rru,dd}Uurd.
wa ftrle E]{er) , .n.. D. 143
r" O t6iu l4 ,,{,VI {.112,. AJo!ne nmnJn dso!re! rhe *eeln rbbrh td
rhe n
!kr. ll Ch'nu .kc'\c rh. 1..nrh dr) orrhe **t bl fr{in
r6una 36. cl rrP^t ,l:270, fhc qmr Droh'biuo ro fdr nn,hr:bh hwrh,h.\.pnndf
a)Dtu.,hd.ratr tu\t 14. rg,Connottr pp t3{.tqoi tnrhr,{ rotrir.rdA.'.IFdd
nd Pu

A k'b1, X6@,



rpiphniur lo,ef.,t
n dllelrd
hhi,h erbl':h.d: 'when ther Jr... L
"@"ol'. o-d,.rn!,
ouldmornfo, hen 'o
wnh llury, br:duqn'hr
h4r r1.r tq.ned.hrir on rheC'o$'-,tdra;
rP 12:9t9.160r.

'r lh.!h'elobic,uondsJn{rh.pns'hc'flJrneut\unro.rh.Dq h.B.\Jnddt on.('h

l, n qrnc,ll! ,qurd r r h'iirijl \undr \ohrD ozi.
exB'en,ror.h. pLncuE h".. Ihu.r' inq"n,r Vo,n rcdon! .ro b dble b \:t.l-n"
!o'.h'plonsundrr,on.+ouddcmonurre,hd'hcd drdu,rd'.''e"d'.\i.kdtr rh
,heChnnin,ummuni'y r r 6\cd dr).hJ r, u,.s
^ro Effr, nd nr' !o"erEnd
sundt n ol,h'unului,al n,u,e.

d4 lr.r'hbbah fo' hn.unethouldd.monq'rflh.c\rcnleulrheotdneun;'e\tr
n'obr drrd row,.arhepnd ut'hF nr! t nr'\ n.- r une wh
( hrbdn ob..rvnlc ol sundl

Eo'.hipun rheo'iFn of\unda

only dd h. irrlr;d.mun{rrr

r....d p-,eo, tocunfi'rr



;cron, ..r "rLd"d. Riird. f. .' att!3ho,r

\und"! ubrni,c r D"o' ro e
or'n or ( hn!Ln


crlicr.rr.n.. ut Chrnn Sundr! oh!.,\rn.:

', c{on H Hkb"'., /^., rrasl/"d,M riidfn t97?r Do 20.44 Hl!b.'.h.ttr
,Abiadltm h RhBtu Rtrfl [1q09 p t71, nc'l'i d\tur wr rhr"\hn
rr rhtr Nr tr asrred br r'r Lrmo ,th,y1ttu\,tMh
'i Brror ..\trrar(cot r hr.rtr'sun{r,'
\un\ n"mrs. Rc,ird,n
'hFqr t I Dotse', \t \/r'ri, (vLn.i.. 2.,:
Ind'. Pe'!. yr.and rhecrr,o Romn Eo'td
.\unne bn ocn Hcbe, .
t. Fak,bai, ht htok4. unn xt ,ta6s 4 r,1 \
utiLtot 1tinlxtk\lacd i \ -\vnne"br H.BJmn, !'hrr.Ln, Jl, r"!,'d.!D(
rhc Hcb'rh\ b.lo'e ndlorirht
n w.llflLbl'!6N br od,sft rLlh d ? I'nr\ 23
s'don ro:23.Ph'roD.vrb adarbnt.\
21-t"p.tBtlldtnc l1e,:p.k. p'a.d.riunn* (cr

2$.2q0r. IibJllr in o1r or hE iemr.yDr,n! rhr he.uuld haei:kBd


h'-*h l-

Del'.b).ld'm'nr'hr'1he;!,cddi orsru'n hdd h,n|,tt'rLaqrro I'3,

r nnc rnd ll" rr4 4 I 34 I trLt. Pc' I on.ur h a oirt ti, boaowt d t .Nl,r da\titr3
df\ed on rhe dmrp1i\nh rhc nub.' ol
drt 'non
onr ldr r1(! rhe titens* or
'h" @ rndrrr
'hr rhr drc rnd
A tnub hrr inse,'ed,n
rc.F, b!. hnh\
Jr,)d"rfl 'Jr.
30'. r
.'rr l.rpnn
'hr lr.D 70lon Lhedyor
sru'n,un hhi.h tr n r.o,lJcn rur rhe
I t7, Ptuirr,hr qrh.oucnrun -t hrdrenorrhd

nmc(ol'hc plrnf"dnEfd 4.ord'rs.o.hco'd.' u, rhe pldnc 6ur r.,Dn'rdr)' \rr^u.

.dr, rv,,r ,N.h Yrt. 1909/ q.210. I nfonnrtL .n.i
ot ,\t dutor,f hdi,;me
'h" "dF
ra '.\rn hen dlhd rhr dr f \ru,' tq. 22,. I o' n .\r! \Lner or.deu,
pLnrun \.er. fe Rub. GoOdon \u\ t4 R@a P"8r-.qdrh,n3on. D . t944,
B..ii.hi, r" srrl L sr, pp 2{t.24)
! In
ofrhrlr nd orher indtrbonr rhc d, hloci{ Arrho Dcfru r e lh
'h.lirhr d
runtrle$ ofcftil
Rom' Fp'{lrph!(197/qrd'thFhr;'nuqunml,on!(onrrhisD
. didn..hc,omelnornandommonlyu.cdr*cnertbbrh4rdon\nrt,ehrqh"Iot,hrr,n(
ak?\ tn th. l^t t4^ at tlv A@b' .a 121 3t \.o. t4l
dn{\'ruf'he,dlcndrol\oL"LnnJo,ot'mnendr!trnd eRmno.L('iii
p.\a t,tuouh 1rq4-cta. Lo,-,R;; li,r;; .ut.ii;[.;
cerrnl"iii,ludedbirh.durhn',nh..\,xr,,,ixrR.i.l962,DD.bbl.i,cl r"i,--,
. vnou! !@ne prn.nn ,r"ndF, rinnir.. .,nd ,nq,iDUo.: ;i i'J;;;-; l, ;;;"
tn ttmut oltuja,.<t ARirme'(Beilin.pdeRcrnaim.l3b3rdgs,.l.2l3.r2o.taz
r32,No i202:712.\o 677c:717 \o 6333 "v;'lqoncplne,"n,dtcndr(,Droduled
in hi1-re,en,.di'iun of ,a,pxu. rlu LRo1, 196q,, {:4o,52, s.r,5r, \6
Hu.or. (Phildd"lp\ia,lo4s,, p t77 Rur l.Odom. v;u'u! t'ten; dnd pln, v $ trr
I l0 I r7. pr!id.( r Fner'iinq ndl1i. of
ued br v(tr,1r \ dlen! nJ jh r
"vdiu. Vhnt. \ho ud^hkdl) r\ psdn.
Jrd.h. \r ut\"n da., trnLlt,-
b8''nSs hrhedrot'h(usund.t)JcndinRE h
'\rubt,rutd4 r\dbuhd*r.,
"Dimnhc.'D{rI4.9l2LlrGndrrhesmeIcEo1,hcl,...!otd'frrrcnrc\rdenle!:JH[. tv\ Ltm d.. sn4h d " v)/tF. ( t909), o' ?s3

-lusvrr.ipLr.'hrp'e.minnao\unilrbrh.trhrr.rtd,.lFrrnr,o nitr1tu/

r\.n8. hhu hd\e ven ddntrrcd .rrc ( rn,o rhe.dtcndr, !t

,c.1. "nd .ou hdc
rr {!r3:rr) onrhrduminrn' Fluonot rhe.uninihr v,,aofk,{ p,r
(ph.r.1rnd on,hF Bonon
(. L vl A. ( rrpbcl. v/r t,oL@r,t anl1d.oL6 h
odvlA aianbt-t2 3ndhof luh 3 321.1tona lrttuan\ 2 E t
" Fo. .,vn, tunrt of,he
Jt {rcoqu' Tt'.t. un
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401!,f. B(hu!, n., t n :bb- "b t'tu\ rn 2\2 21\
4 ru c\"nplnofl','') ppti,r'onorcr'nntor
o,:h,r',*e,"i. Dus,th
I 1091, Meriro 04 adpr 2 i,ed b\ I B. Pi'rd. iu r. 'hFtun
\@a \ ,tLp,, \at nitt^4t ctem
vou. ar rr


60.1 2.292, Ambm/, P.oln^ l13, \do lq. b ' s/ / 62:42r, Dola.'
R.'.h'(.hi Fim iator 6 sr'4rzr DD.253.2s4.
.'kr |(nrnbDn,.r./orttp.barpultt-ndon,tg\ot,Dp.35,5b,r lALn.^r,4Lr
rBulond. 1953r.D. lbTi!! n rrnL r.produuon or Lhntr poarvad d \o144,6'n r ( umo
hnn, : " qna M'' B' uck, l8us,, ?:a34, :!o 17q
r? l'h;'"o'uno wrd
fe'sl.m ;d ludomn monq
l.-\ . 'ndixed b, Ddniel\ p rd
ludeor:h,i{nte!'ulrhcrb'o n,\ho.a !uid'nro I'rn.ur.'P'v.drurr',11.'uilrm !'rir hflr'h
d a; ; -{,-. :h,tui^ 1 1: tu a,anok 5_ Abrhh t o^fituro 2 \1\t^F7.421) Dtd
HrDmnLUr,{trrtuo t9, i\'i lt6: ( tnlr 4.,,.a r.q,Bd'lD.\r'tr\e2

c,",l. D.-"rd 35.r

llga aBxlinr r..,r-!ry D@it t\ qonr2

l7.na6 " l hedu'hoF whom trunsulkLl!n 'hE porn' runn
,h. -n".".."1h. o..ihb,.mnheldmhono, u, Deu! 5ollnvr r*on he2riivlDc!e6.r,'hrA
on . Chnnkn Lcfeb; rn olCh'i!'md\ fhr.nflurn,cF held.o bflesponnD. ror rhe th,l'iE Ur
D(.mbrol .otr'holChn{,*h(h h"d n',1'hrnb."nhcldJn'hedr} of'hrl p'phdn} 'h.6holld
ddtr'nnl Firr.n.e. nd d't'on $" Ba, hio !h'. r,@ \rrrh h iun/,r. pp 216'261

MdnL t joa htua,a- 4 \ok rM.ldn, l9r0.lat6, 2ri7 ullmrnn timil'b

nrue Jh tr\ohn,.trtrloll'3hr,'h.ldn.lof
rheRumdnahi', hinrrn'iundlll oppord
chD -74. Erli ^r (Phnd.lDhi. lgtb).
D. r0
e / robA 6r r {Ir l' 1i6,:'h; psse A ir,cd,n 84 h'o hi. /'@ sadi s ha PP 2

\ Dhloru uth INho t2l

- lit^ et PL r3 I lbe llT2.ndlni,Joul'ed. 'n hr/ r.o,i,rd'El
LhL' the^,L^^!uo,i d, diiivB ib n"m. r'o hqn', nd lrcm rh.'un'
La l3.^Pt/ 2, 1{{l'
,M.rtrnurot lu,'nr rD {OO ?3 ) u.K h.qF"un ol h( d}o!'hr\un"\rp-nl.PL nn
holdedrurrh.lrid'ob-vrne,bl.ndhm1 hr,ueoni'ihrs
ln.$ol rhr d.,ro'ld rnd rl"r'cd ' rh"!lo', or rh c.r'rn "on.
r Hontt0ht,Prll:31tt.nudnnu!.BnhDorB,e'', \o 4@r,'t t0,tn E\a b'hd
,o stit tsmt-DLtoh,ndr6r,/2:3{5,,c\DlIr.'hIheLu'.rJrrb.dn"Fr,n'rlr'ioa



nrd.,enonn! heworld ro !'ii
'la'Pc 11 r0r': {mbru H^'uD 4.2 7 P l
,,'he\. r /tu1), rhrnnu. + . P,otno\ h1
' -n h tv tl,nd pL.hz. hm aru.Ih Mtm\, \m4 t ixa, r lu'nh|" Irpo'dph' B'ep

aLdm.xolin! rbr 5J ndd
'1'h.d urI'rh]b.uu..onrhe6'qdr)or(r.uoncrdv'Lr''rh

"'M,l-hi r",..,^",..r.dlkdrhLlhe5Jn^rric\rcor"n..'l.hlllrre\i'*'nhrq'nE
h srins rhd
4 r r r\' ,/a hi kh. L6 rie' ul lohn,hr BdDLilr
221 i
3{ lt 7) 17.le 9 .-b0:l
,, Dnriu" or Arc\nd,u;,.u .,d-pLthsto,ov\44t 4 n. br I B Pn'. l3dr. p 421'
' ;,;r 5i 21,.]r 3{ I 19a,. no.he' .D'.rtr Auq.unc !m.L'b {6 rhr the t-,d.d
\rbbah bl rhr r rh ol'nrh.'au"cl uon." ,t&/ e6 l? r rr/ 11 2.10\
rduon.' tbd r, t,t\tt q42201r,r-D,rr'tu\4tr,u7 ii6 s'"p 2c6\. 'nr
'$D,d\ rilunSundrr.Ld'n. nni"munnlH'mnhorurinrh'erdrrl
br chri:r'n ..v.r.ns. . \ deb'ru I' r,'hr I o'd,
r", uon ol'he Lo-d' / r" 6q. l\ rLr/ 3 2:7 14'.
'n ni n r.ont "l rhc,ur ""iur.
'h. rn,li\mn"rD,rr.Lo\Lddr.trnbur.dr. Ambrc"".i' -!.."Onrh.,{dt
whoonoe,eddcr,1.U.ftt.t.'\M Bt.!.'h"bl.r.dT
',h.' rea3r.'"
er,.., crcon or Nd;kn/u. on,r /, {oaD,!u!a i rPd 36 br2'
.Lion bmn on rhc I nidi dt hni',1.'htrdiredb,rhetarirh.\bbrhdlh\c\c.dvrl"r
vn'cof i lt^b eq'i tt F"rt'mt4tPn
,eD r,.n;wo,r'.:o Lhe r!nJ L(d nn bren on
dnd H,melr hAt
Ft... Hedtr'drd b"liellrun' Jnbcl'cf': rhe"u
rtu!iedl ohrrrcmdrlneindon heovol'he
*"h. A-h;"*k, ,r r. tu.D,n -.m ou '".1'
k,b1!..2 L\ll ,n'h7,prcF-.d!nr'o^
rheme ln,nrh.\o'ldq:.!'ed'edun\Jnd.rdd{n rnElllr:',r on.rsii ;
th. !2m. dav He borh surreted a.d..eated."
rt Se iot s ri6, 63, 70.
73 ru r,ild.l 6. l3 (Coolly, pp. r33.234)i orher in.crcring argumenb arc also sbmnkd
orSundar o,o rh sbblh.

D \abB nttu&on,4 tPC2A 111)

SecTh Ebud. ot Aamb ls.DW tui rno24.4l.
tdbb\ t Srnk\, Do 214.3t\l



suFel of the u$ ofrhe'tiShth

Balbuib' ,
rh D.w o. d rhe.ichih dr" rr n h 1\' l. POl' 2 11,)
w o,,en.e r . ;l,.r: - hr numbfl axnr $hk h.on'a'nr rhr plhP' nr
r8urB r'!n, i




t2,|624l, t f. \riw Dt^o1a6. t 3, fo, Vi. rorinus of Peruu rhr srcn, dy brlprdl 1 of hr duBUo
ao'ld, ofrh..onrmmrionofhehumanir, ofChri{ ndf'h."tenrh mill.ndD of).rr

bood,heoidcrofhkv.nfoldzt ns.mcr'tontt! t am ol tht U
SlaL\ to Sund\ DD 23710O. fo' rddionl urn(i, rlrFn,es ind dlusion.

sr3);O*n ? h C,H 6. 22, BFrlly l+m.r ld,^u hh^a t. \.3
Dimn,he.umm.hJr(m. rr."p.o-1,;rprt smuonddtu"uFo roIh.oh*arn, olsund
Irooar. r33i A."urofAmw Hona2otPC40 1,14,441.4{3,1,l9, In"tmu h"rrh.6r! rr
,ir'er'hen".i hdn dtophLEronr. . rirdh"3b.cun
. r. c,.ron or \re b; ,fl,/';bta. oono a tPc 44: .292\1" r!,o 26. lo ldd. d"1. dco,

'5 vlrorinui

o tv caon



r\.nrh d\ .r rho
.t *? Lpublt2b- A tPt 16.1033r C,.8o,\ h. LF rmlra 1\ 3 l7PI 76:?{9,:jercm
EkL\ta tt 2tPL2\ lli7l
33 CoryrnecEr. rrriins ro ce'rhrh dd, rhcn
JobolF,rd e,cn k nr,r. he,
'hc rh
nddush';r,,rxpldins,"Thcqor) r'ul) indi, ''hr lubEh.nuff.,incs,,i,c"on
my{.D orc r.sunanon" Mddhqqt,t t2(PI 75:532)
adudl Gdlm! ! "rhe lonnuron o! e

tn rdb.^t4 tl.2,P/ 20:lLl7,
q Dt@tu;a
.oludim.2.4 (PC 47:115).
34 t

Se" aLo


/' k


16 1033'.


Tbe Sabbatb in Asia

werne K, VJheisrer

,TrHEpresenr,hprer sillexamrnerhemain s,ruresdealing qirhSbb

Near Easlern A
, rIrie\ Atr.r.n inrr"du.ror r surret ul the
'ilulion 'n briel acc',un
r-J udaisrrc liter ar u eol rhe
n exminr ion ol rhe anl
gnen ol h ha is knon n dbur Sbbrh Sundav obser vdn, e mong rhe


lincludrng ehina and India, and rhe Armenian..'

Sabbath and Sunday in Asia ir the Early Centurie
By the second halfofthe fourth century, the practice of keePingborh
andSJndar wsurde.peadinChrisrian Asi aswne$ed b) 5'eldo.
Forerample,rhe"o.iledLon htuttoatthH04 {p6' (omPoed in S!
37. reflei' shd' Drobabh sa. rhe mon s(nerali/ed altirude roward
Sundav ob.ervan.i in he Ldrern Chur(h r rhar rrme: Bur keep Lhe
and th; Irrd\ day fstival; because the former is the memorial of the

and the latter of the resurrection. "'l The Sabbalh is never suppoed to be
fasting (except on Easter, on account ofChrisl' burial)'Even slaves wo
only 6-ve dayi so that "on the Sabbath-day and the Lord's day" thev cou

church for instruction in piety."'

364) prescrib
The sixteenth canon { the synod ofLaodicea (.
Gospels e ro be read on rhe Sabbarh. wirh th( olher S(riPlu'es. A
noriced larer, < anon 29 rell\ Chrisridns nor ro ludai/e on rhe Sabbah dav
canons 49 and 5l recognize the sPecial natureofboth Sabbath and Sunda
lhe Chrisrian ediror tftom Anrio(h S),il) uho about lhe
exDanded the lsnrin EDi.rles \rrer: Thcrelore ler u. no longer ob
Sabarh rn a luisrir wai nd reioite in idlene$. . . . Bur ea(h ot yo
observe Sbbai h in a.piritual uay. ieiuning in sr udy oi laws . And trer
Chrisr.etebtarerhele5ri\alol rhelord\D
resurrection day, thi royal day, the most excellent of all days."'
Socates shohsticus indicates (c. A.D.440) that "almost all
throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries otr the sabbath


week."" Essentially the same is reported by Sozomen (. 450) when he

the "people ofConsraniinople, and almosr everywhere, assemble toge
Sabbath, as well as on the rst day ofthe week."" Both Socrates and S

the tests quoted in pan above, sin8le out only Rome and Alexandr
where there was no Sabbath assembly. Socrates also states that eve
Coostantinople congregakd on "Satuday and Lord s day-in each
Bishop Asterius ofAmasea of Pontus in Asia Minor (r. 400) says i
homilies: "It is beautiful to Christians and to the industrious rhar the re
two days coes together; I speak of the Sabbath and the Lord's day, w
iis course brinSs around weekly. For as mothers and nurses of the c
gather the people, set over them priests as instrucrors, and leadboth d
teachers to have a care for souls."r'
Sunday observance, along with Sabbath observance, had beo
accepted, according to Syrian bishop Theodoret otCyrrhus 1.. 393-
even the Ebionites kepa both days.'' Ho$ever, there were severa
voices.'! Furthermore, even in those areas where Sabbah was bein8
Sunday had already bcome the imporianr liturgical day ofthe week
some places, rather quickly in others, the Sabbath be.ame some
fossilized fes.iviiy for many Eastern Christians. They refused to
example of Roman Chrisiianity of fsting on the Sabbath day.'' Bu(,
the Sabbath ceased to b a day of rest, while it was still considered, of
day of fesiivity.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is perhaps thebest example ofthi
in the practice of Sabba obsenance. Even as late as the seventee
Samuel Purchas (c- 1577-1626), listing the beliefs and practices of
Church ofthe Constantinople patriarchate, states that'1hey solemniz
(the old Sabbath) festivally, and eat iherein flesh, forbidding as unla
any Saturday in the yeere, except Easter Eve."'" So, rhe distinguishi
Sabbath was not rest but festivity heightened by the absence of fast
The situation otthe MaroniteChuch was fbr a while similar. The
writes Puchas, do not 'fast on the Lords day, nor on the Sabbarh."
other practices were abandoned by them when, under the Crusaders
an agreement was made with the Roman Church in 1182: but an
reaclion led to the revival of the recently abandoned practices. Ho
national synod of 1596 resulted in the nal submission of the Mao
Roman See.l* Here again, Sabbath observance was in essence the

It should probably be briefly added that Sunday observance was

undrstood as necessarily meaning complete cessation of rlork o
Constantinet Sunday law ofMarch 7,321, although recommending S
also expressly indi(aied ihar "persons engaged in agricuhure my
lawfully continue their pursuits."r,ln his Sunday law ofJuly 3, 321, C
addd that 'all men shall have the right to emancipaie and to manu
festive day, and the legal formalities thereof are not fobidden.","
Jerome (.. 345-.. 419), referring ro nuns n Bethlehem, wrote t
l,ord's day only they proceeded to the church beside which rhey
company following its own mother-superior. Returning home in rhe
they then devoted rhemselves to their allotted tasl, and made garmen

persistenr and growing (hur( h pressure, sLxceeded evenrually in maLing

also a .lv



we explain the growing emphasis on Sunday ro rhe detrim

Sabbath observance in Asia durin8 the early Middle Ages? Several facrors
to have been working, such as: ( I ) the obvious prestiSe of a day whose obs

was required by imperial laws, since Constantine I; (2) rhe relarion b

Sunday and Christ's resurrection, emphasized repeatedly by Ch srian
with Sunday beirg made to appea more meaningful ro Christians than
memorial oICreation ((he Sabbarh,: (3) persisring an(i-Judaismr nd t4[o
lesser degree, the nflueme

of rhe Roman Calholi( Church.,,

The impact of factors I and

2 in favor ofSunday observance is so obvio

additionalcommentis necessary. The imporrance ofanti-Judaism as a f
the rathe fast abandonment of Sabbath observance has been noted in
seven, but deserves some further arrention here because of rhe
developments during this later period.


Anti-Judaism in Church Cano,]s and By"ntire Legislatiotr

Canon 29 of the synod of taodicea k. 36a) reads: "Christians m
judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but most work on that day, rather hon
the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any
found lo bejudaizrs, let them be anathema from Christ."*
The Apostolic Canm' later incorporated as pat of book 8 o he A
Con"tituiow, came from the same period (.. 38 1). Ofspecial interest are can
70, and 7l:
"65. If any one, either of the clergy or laity, enters into a synagoSue
Jews or heretics to pray, let him be deprived and suspended. . . .
''70. Ifany bishop. or any orher o[ rhe clerg]. lasts with theJews. or ke
fes(ivals sirh lhem, or ac(efls of lhe pre5ents from (heir festivals. as unle
bead or some such thing,ler him be deprived;bui ifhe b one ofthe laity,
be suspended.

"7l.lfany Christian carries oil intoan heathen temple, or into a synag

theJews, or lights up lamps in their fesdvals,let him be suspended.""
Chdstian-Jewish contacts seem to have been frequent, or at least eas
some ofthe clergy rvere, evidendy, participating in someJewish ceremon
festivah. There was the risk of losing sight of the uniqueness of the C
gospel. As canon 62 implies, some "ofthe cler8y for fear ofmen, as ofaJe
Gentile, or an heretic" rvent so far as to "deny rhe name of Christ."s
Jewish influence vas indeed strong. Laws were enacted by the By
emperors to keepJews from poselyiizing among Chistians," though t
also guaranteed the status ofJudaism as a lawful religion. Howeve, the la
esrablished rhat theJews should not insult the Patriarch (396),'?3 nor shou
mock the cross at Puim (408). Possession of Christian slaves byJews was
regulated (417),s and later forbidden (sixth century).i1 Emperor Leo the I
(. 680-741) reiterated that Jews could not possess Christian slaves."
synagogues could be builr (a23, a38).! Jews were to be exiled for circu
ron-Jews (423) and punished with death for proselytizing (438).v Jus
(483-565) revised a law of Honorius (a09 or 412) that commanded th

feastsJews were not entitled to summon Christians.!' Leo rhe Isauria

to three centuries later, insisted that proselytizing to Judaisrn and
Judaism werc to be punished.rB
Canon 1l ofthe Quinisext Council (692) warns Chistians: "Lern
pdestly ordernorany laymaneat the unleavened bread oftheJews,

familiar intercourse whh





medicines from them, nor baihe wih them; but ifanyone shall rake
so. it he is a , leri.. ler hm be deposed, bur if a layman ler him be

Anti-Jewish Christian Literature From the Fourh .o Fifteenth

To the foregoing evidences of Christian antiJudaism should b

fact that betwen rhe fourth and the ninih centuries more than tw
Christian writers prepared one or more works against theJews.r3 S
works were written with the purpose ofwinnin8Jews to Christianity.
Hayman comments in the intoduction to one of these books. "t
anti-Jewish polemic was motivated, not by any absrract rheological co
but by a very real threat to its position.""
Wriiing abou. anti-Jewish documents written by Near Eastern
the sevenrh through eleventh centuries, A. Lukyn Williams suggest
few" ofthem "give the impression ofbeing wrinen by those who had
around them, and therefoe teared the influence ofJews on othe
themselves, yet
into any close intellectual contact with
wrote in the hope thartheirwords would provide weapons for their b
did meet them. and would also answer difficulties about the relation
Testamentand the Chuch to the Old Testament and the Synagogue.
reason must not & eliminated, oreven unduly minimised, although
moe successful in the results attained.""
The real problem underlying John Chrysostom's eighr Honike
/us (387-389) is 'that of Christians participating in Jewish fesrival
getting circumcised. This time, howeve, it is specilically Gentile Ch

of Antioch (6fth century

toihefactrhat the


in his Homi\ I'uo


same state of affairs existed in his davs a

in (hose ol John Chnsosrom: hi\ homiies inveitsh againsr Lhrisrians

circumcision and celebrare Jewish festivals."l?
Jacob of Serug (. 450-5 2 I ), in his three Iron i"r against the I eus,"a
dealingwith realdifficulties raised in rhe minds ofhk congregarion by
neighbours. "ir The same happens wnh Pseudo-Epltraim s De Fine et A
and with Jerome ofJerusalem (eighth century
^.D.). Church was
work, Williams suggests that, after all, "the Chrisrian
eighth < entury exposed ro danger rromJewish inBuen( e. nd teh bo
uith Jeus artording to its opportuniries and knowledge -r
The earlr cenruries of Byzanrioe hrsrory rlearly shos a p
increasing hostility berween ihe Jews and rheir Chrisrian nerghb
vitality ofJudaism appeared as a permanent rhrear to the Chrisrian

What did this antiJudaism mean in terms of Sabbarh obser

is given in Aphrahafsflo,ilir (336-345), wrirren, from all



strengthen the faith of Christians who wee weakening in the face of
The Jews boasr rhl the) live bv rhe Sabbarh, suggesrs Aphrahdl,
counters that the Sabbath was not given to distinguish between life and
righteousness and sin. lts purpose, he says, was noi to be the grear
obedience to God, but to provide physical rest; and its observance is us
health but not for salvation. Otherwise, he continues, it would hav
established from the beginning of rhe world, and for all creatures, wher
patiarchs, in sphe ofthe fact that they were among God's elecr, did nor k
Sabbath. Domestic animals, he further posits, observe rhe Sabbath as me
spiteofthe fact that there is nocommandmentor divine remunerarion fo
and thus it is clear ihat the Sabbath corresponds to a physical need, n
religious duty. In view of this, Aphrahat concludes that it has been and
prmissible, when deemed necessary. notto observe the Sabbath, for insta
time of war, as in the cases ofJoshua and the Maccabees. Furthermore
should not pride themselves in its observance; it does not give them any
However, the institution is nevertheless good, desired by God. fflla reste
much more should wel The Sabbath should be observed in God s way,
failure to do so properly, theJews were scarered abroad.
It seems clea that in Aphrahat's community'q the Sabbath was ob
along with Sunday, as the Apostohc Coitstitutions prescribe. Some of the b
kept the Sabbath in thesme manneras theJews. Aphrahat himselfdoes n
to eliminate Sabbath observance entirely, but he tries to eliminate w
considers its Jewhh characte, which. to him, empties the Sabbath of re
A somewhat later writer, Pseudo-Gregory of N yssa. in his Seleted Tes
fron the O A Testarnnt o.gainst the J eus lc. 100), declares that the Sabbath was g
theJews to stop iheirdesire for money. when they.ameoutofEgypt, he sa
did not have anything except what the Egyptians had given them, and rhe
eager to make money byconrinuous ioil. Therefore God limired theirlabo
days only."
There is also some documentary evidence showing that convertedJew
required to abandon completely their Sabbath observance. I n a long profes
faith of uncertain Eastern origin, attached to the Clmennne Recogl
converted Jew states, in part: "l renounce the whole worship of the He
circumcision, all its legalisms, unleavened bread, Passover, the sacri6
lambs, the feasts of Weeks, Jubilees, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles.
th other Hbrew feasts, their sacrifices, prayers, aspersions, purific
expiations, fasts, Sabbaths, new moons, foods and drinks. And I ab
renounce every custom and institution of the Jewish laws."!' A simi
shoier, profession of faith from the church of Consrantinople also s
abandonment of the Sabbath."
Byzantine emperor Heraclius (610-6al), as part of his efforts to u
empire when it was rhreatened by Moslem invaders and by other
compelled many Jew. to be baptized trom tear, or eten b! dire(r p
(ompulsion. " The.hurch. knowing that the newcomers had not been in*r
drew up treatises with that purpose. One of these i.The Taching

ments nor Sabbath observance. But once the law ofMoes came, the
leep rhe Sabbath and all rhe (ommandments. After Jesus Chris
Righteousness. came. one should not abandon Him and go th
Sa6ba(h." The secrion is ningly entitled The uselessness ofSabb
If, as it appears, Tha Teahing of laeob reflects the official po

Orthodox Chich in the Byzantine Empire, by 634 (and perha

earlier) rhe Sabba(h had ceased to haveany signifirance lor rhat r hur
physical resi. Never(heless, by force ol rtadilion rhe Sabba(h slill rer
desree of liturgical importance
- Abour a r e-ntury laier,.lohn ol Damascus (. 675-. 749,. the las
Eastern Fathen, writing in Moslem-ruled Syria-Palestine, prepared
entitled "Against the Jws, Concerning the Sabbath."" And The
S.rqiu: th? Sttlil. agai,t' /ru appears ro belong torhesame(entury 1
ts"eeoeraohical ierrine-is somiwhere between Homs (Emesa) n
Svri'", u-"na'itt purpose"was to srrengrhen Chrisrians who were
aposratizrnq. r ldaism."" Chaprer 22 sratrs wirh lhe followin

rl.mark, rie le-w said, Then. whn I approarhed you, I approarhed

for t ras unaware (hat you (Christians) had all this knouledge. B

alter knowing (all, this, rhere are among ou some C

$irh us in rhe synagogue. and who bring ofterings nd alm
at the time of the Passove send unleavened bread (and), doubtless
also. They are nor entirely Christians. and some ofour men had sa
la$r. And now, be(ause of this, re re allrhe more scandaliTed "R
Sabbath, the author repeats soe of the well-known arguments, clo
sratement "Also Cod does not cease work on the Sabbath."*
Sersius, in rrying ro explain why some weal and leeble Chris
or brinlunleavened bread to your provocatrve r)ngogue. suSSe
are doi'bters...rhechildrenoi hearhenandthetmindhasnoryerbe
frorn the fear oftheir fathes'idols. or they are the childen of Heb
former custom still prevails over them."6l
"Anastasius," in his Dsration agait th Jeus (e. 1050),61 brief
well-known anti-Sabbath position. The Sabbath rest was given to th
Testament iimes, he says; but whenJesus came, the Je's crucie
srounds (ha( He had broken the tw and done awav with rhe Sabb
Vould nor the.lews save besr on Sabbarh. and no( a man) A
circumcised on the Sabbath." After quoting Psalm 95:8-l l, he dev
of a new kind of rest as follows:
"Therefore another 1r,", sabbatism Isa,anol and anoth
hasbeen left, which is (the) fairh in Christ, as (the) Lord said through
prophet: 'Behold (the) days are coming, and I will establish with
lsrael and with the houseofJudah a newcovenanf Uer.3l:3ll Whe
he makes the 6rst one old.""
Dionysius Ba Satibi (died I 171), Jacobite metropolitan of Ami
ihe uppe; Tigris vauey, 100 miles no-th of Edessa, was the auth
commentaries on Biblical books, and of a work entitled Agai,?.' /
the thirteenth century the Jacobite Church felt the need to prom
ama?ed how,

asso( ire


celebations, enioin the faithful ro work on the sabbath and not to observe
Jewish manner, and . . . forbid Christians to receive unleavened bead f


The anti-Jewish writings continued inro the fourteenth and f

centuries, but these Jacobiie canons appear to be the latest source wh

Sabbath occupies a prominent place.

Two Marginal Christia.n Goups Considred to Be Influeced by Ju

Two marginal groups are mentioned by several authors as Sabbathk
with no reference to Sundaykeeping on their part. The first one seems
originated as a result of the schism created $ithin Novatianism by Sa
duing the reign ofTheodosius I (379-395). Socrates Scholasticus calls S
"a convertd Jew . . . who nevertheless continued to reiain many of his
prejudices."" Acatalogofheresies, attibuted to Maruthas, BishopofMai
(died . 420), gives the folloiying description of the Sabbatians:
"They say that the sacrifice should be offered on Sabbath, and noton
thatthe Tora should be read to the people, and notthecospe. Circumcis
not been abolished, nor the commandments ofthe lw eliminated. The
Passover must be observed because the NewTestament is notopposed to
Holding unto the Law, they still pretend to be Christians."6,
Purchas (. 1625) describes the second group as follows: "Therc arc
continuing from ancienr times under divers Lords, Romanes, Greekes, S
and Christians, called Surians, unfit for Warre, men for rhe most part Unf
Double-dealing, Lyers, Inconstant, Fortunefawners, Traytors, Cifc
esteeming Theft and Robbery for nothing, Spyes to the Saracens, imitati
Language and Codition. . . . They keepe Saturday holy, nor esteeme S
Fast lawfull but on Easter Eeven. They have solernne Sevice on Saurrday
flesh, and feast it bravely like the Jewes."s
Purchas does not state where this group was located. But the context
eirher Syria, or less probably, Asia Minor. There is no way of knowing
rhere was any connection between these "Surianj' and the "Sabbatians
Tbe Nesaorians

ln424the hostilities between Persiaand Rome led to the severanceo

between the East Syrian Church (in Persian territory) and the faraway pat

of Antioch (under Roman control), and in 486 Nestorianism was o

adopted by the Persian Church.e This Nestorian "Church of rhe East
patriarchal see in Seleucia-Ctesiphon until c.762, when it was moved to B
Ir 1258 it moved to Mosul and, 6nally, after 1400, to Maragha, east
The Nestorians disringuished themselves as missionaries, A. M
referring to them as "the most missionary church that ihe world has ever
They spread from Persia to Arabia, India, Turkesran, Siberia, and Chi
theirgreatest expansion beingreached in the thirteenth century-': Since
sections below are devod to China and India, the rest ofthe present sec
deal with the information available on Sabbath-Sunday obsewance in th
areas reached by the Nestorians.


length: 'ln egard to the Lord's

kigdom of healen has been a
day of rhe bodilv resurrection ofthe Son ofGod has been given to
rhe house (rhe Christians) in place of God's day of rest; and the
the general renewal has ben figuratively a.complished and
accomplished, in place ofthe day of rest that benefi men and an
rhat begins the week, in whi.h this transitoy world began, and
rhe furure world will begin, that will have a beginning bur no end,
ends. . . . In the 6rst day of the w
the day in which the
'reek by means of His resurection. laid the
broke and opened the Sheol
the Churchand preachedthe Kingdom ofheaven. That iswhy thec
doctrine of life must keep, from evening to evening, the day i
marvels were accomplished. . . . Some of the faithful abstain them
the first day of the week, of working or traveling until the churc
finished. But others, be it because ofan emergency stronger than t
or because of their own disdainful, rebellious and frowa
disobedient children. treat the Lord's day, the first day ofthe wee
rhe sabbath or the second day ofthe week, and they do not honor
they do not want to honor themselves that day by performing div
jusrice.'fhis is inadmissible. They work out ol love ofthe money t
and does not last." rJ
Thh inteesting text clearly shows that, ofcially, the day ofw
sixth-century Nestorian church was Sunday. Sabbath rest seems t
completely abandoned rhat individuals who did not honor Sund
accused of ireating that day as ifit were as secular as Sabbath or M
orhe hand, rhose who worked or traveled on Sunday afrer the c
were over were not condemned. Furthe on in this same lecer (ad
Christians in the island of Darat, who had pearl Iishing as one
occupations), the patriarch deals with the special situation ofthe pe
often had to dive on Sunday. lf they can come to church, he dec
come; if not, it would be necessary to frnd a solution to protect th
sinning ard from financial loss."
Fom the sixth century on, Sunday is the only day ofrest tha
able to 6nd in Nestorian sources, and in descriptions of Nestoria
cusses Sunday observance at some
6rsr da! of rhe week. . . . Since the

Western medieval travelers.i! The only remnant ofSabbath obser

be the prsistent obligation to refrain from fasting on that day.r6
By the sixteenih century the Nestoians had retreated to the
stillseemed safe for them, the roughly rriangular area betwen l,ak

Van, and Mosul (in what is today northwestern Iran, eastern

northern lraq). Very little is known oftheir history during the next
After the Nestorian schisrn of 1551, the Roman Catholic Churc

scene, and two Uniate patriarchates eventually developed. borh rec

Papal See.'i However, when at e beginning of the nineieent

Protestants learned of the existence of rhese Christians, the
"anti-popish" with "neither icons nor crucixes in their churches,
and symbolic Cross."?3 Sunday was siill being kept, quite stric
mountain dwelles, but not so strictly in the plains.'"

The rsr reliable inlormarion on rhe Dreience of Chrisrianirv in Chin

Irom rheT'angdynasr. l6l8-907).& Ir i\ lund in rhe ot63
and 845, in the famous Nestorian Monument, uncovered near Hsian-fu
or 1625, and in other Nestorian records discovered in China during the f
of the twentieth century.
Th Neforian Monument, erected in 781, describs rhe arrival in Ch
of Bishop Alopen (635) and gives some informarion on rhe "propagarion
Luminous Religion" in China. lt also has a descriprion ofrhe beliefs and p
of rhe Nestorian Chistians in China rhar icludes rhe following inform
"Seren rimes day rhe) meer for worship nd pra;e. and earnesrly rhe
prayers for the living as well as for rhe dead. Once in seven davs. rhey
sacifice without the animal' (r.., a bloodless sacrifrce). Thus cleansin
hearts, they regain their purity.",
Jean Vuilleumier (1864- 1959) takes this text as a proofofSabbathobse
in seventh- and eighth<entury China.", On theorhe hand, P. Y. Saeki, aJa
expert on the Nestorian Monumentand orher Nesrorian documentsand
China, srates on Iinguistic grounds that the text refers to Sundaykeepin
In some of the other Nestorian documents discovered in China ther
few hints that seem ro supporr Saeki's trcsirion. First ofall, iris puzzling ro d
that no mention of a weekly day of rst h found in a rarher
exposition-paraphrase of the Ten Commandments that appears in the
Messiah Stra," written probably between 635 and 638,justafter Alopen's
The other commandments are mentioned, the 6rst three in an oblique w
last six in a very clear manner.'Was theauthoafraid to be clearaboutthe
rest because of the Nestorians' recent arrival
InJune of 1905 Dr. A. von Le Coq discovered several Syriac manusc
Kao-ch'ang, Chinese Turkestan. One of these manuscripts is a portio
Nestoian chuch book "giving the names ofproper Anthems, etc., to be u
Sundays and the Church Festival days" for the whole year.libelongs ro rh
orihe tenth century, at the latest-3r Line I6 states, "firsr I say this rhar on a
shall the Church be consecrated"; and line 23 refers to Sunday's "e

Another set of Syiac manuscripts, discovered at the imprial pa

Peking between 1925 and 1926, are "a portion of the Nestorian Hymns
Nesrorian Service Book . . . used on Sunday throughout the year."rThe

wriuen in the twelfth or the thirteenth century, o earlier.e An inte

reference is made in one of the hymns to the Sunday of the martyrdom
"blessed martyrs."'q Akhough these documents are notin themselves com
prcofs regarding the day of worship, the little informarion rhey provide
weekly day of rest basically harmonizes with what is already known ab
Nestorian practice in other areas of Asia.
It may be added rhat under the Mongol emperors ofthe rhirreenrh c
Rabban Sawma, a Nefoian monk, traveled all rhe way from Peking ro W
Europe, and that throughout the book that records his life and rravels,
appears to be the normal day of worship. There is nor even a
Sabbath-Sunday tension in the detailed accounr of his conracrs with rhe
Catholic Church. In Rome he celebrated the Eucharisr on a Sunday, w

Thus, in China during this period we do not find any evidence

Saturday observance. There are several documents thar, on thecont
thatas early as the seventh century Sunday was the only dayofweekly
Chrislians there.'gl


Itis not known when Christianity originally eached India. The

thirdcentury," and clearevid
with the 6fth cenrury.'t The Christian church in India was subordi
Nestorian patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and Syriac was
lansuage. Although even(ually Chrisdaniry spread widelv rhrough
whn Vasco da Cama arrived in lndra in 1498 he lound rhe vas ma
traces of its existence there are from the

remaining Christians living on the Malabar Coast in southwest lndia

ro rontemporary Nerorian lndian soufte, 30,000 tamilie5 lived
There aie no hnown references ro Sbbath obsrvan(e by rhe rhu

before thearrival ofthe Ponuguese. During the synod ofDiamPer ( 1

Catholic Archbishop Aleixo de Menezes succeeded in gettin8 the a
decree requiring that all the books written in the Syriac tongue be tu
lesui( Farher Franris(o Roz. to be "perused and correcred. or destro
fuchrer. commenring on rhis decree, writes: 'lt is lo this vandalism
attribute the scarcity ofreliable information concerning the earlier h
Thomas Church."" However, it is diffrcult imagine that l the
located. On the oiher hand, the absence of documeniary evidence
spcial freedom ro specularer and borh Srephen lieill and John Sl
rhat before the rrivl ol rhe Portuguese rhe Malabar Chrisrins ke
The same Nestorian Indian dmument referred to above, writ
possibly in rhe first decade ofthe sixteenth century, describes the 6r
rhe Portuguese in India and some of the Nestorians' initial contact
The author tells how he met these Portuguese. for the 6rst time, in
Cananore and stayed with them for t$,o and a half months. Then h

"They ordered us one day to say mass. They have prepared for
beautitut place, lile a chapel. and rheir pnests sar rheir mss rn it e!
rheiLusrom. On the Sundav. rhe,efore.,l .\^,r/rl frhe sixrh S
'frinitll, alier their priest ha finished his mass, we also rsent and
$hich they ilere greatly pleased with us." ''
ln I505, a Roman Ca.holic ttalian traveler, Ludovico di varrh
following comments about the Thomas Christians he met at Kayamk
ofQuilon): "In this city we found some Chrisians ofthose ofSt. Thom
whom are merchants and believe in Christ, as we do. . . . These Ch
Lent lonSer than we do: but they keep Easter like ourselves and dzl
xan solnnities tlnt ue do. But they say Mass like the Greeks."L No fu
are given, but the implications seem quie clear that Sunday alo
Saturday and Sundav, was the weekly dav for worship.
The detailed descriptions ofthe customs and ofthe religious pr
Thomas Christians, when rhey firstcame incontatwith the Portugue
only Sunday observance.'o' However, "Sunday labor was not in
Wednesday and Friday were the weekly days of fasting,"'' with no f

sundown to sundown.rG

Relations between the Thomas Christians and the Portuguese were

fora few years. However, tension began to rise when some Roman Catholic
started penetrating into the local churches, insistinEon sayinS mass acco

the l,atin rire. Th Roman Catholic Church entered more and more
affairs ofihe Thomas Christians, until it finally succeeded in bringing them
Roman fold in th synod of Diamper (1599).
The acts and dcrees of this synod are e best witness to the effor
Roman Catholic Church to "straighten out" rhe Thomas Christians in
incredible detail regading their reiigious beliefs and Practices.' Everyth
was supposedly wrng sems to have been mentioned in the decrees
T slnod decidid rhar ir was wrong ro eat flesh on Sarurda)s
Saturdy, along wi(h Friday, a day offasring.'"'lr was also $tong ro far or k
fesrivies from evening ro evening. These had ro be kept from midn

midnisht. to be in himonv wirh rhe Holv Morher Chur(h '" Th

Obliqa-tron o, .easins Irom labour begins a( rhe midnigh( ofrhe sid day IS
and nds aL rhe midnisht otMn) " 0 Sunday i mentioned mnv time
only da1 ot weekly reJt."' No Sabbath-Sundav rension h detected in an

-lhere s, however, some evidence regrding observan(e of rhe

roward rhe end ot rhe sevenreenrh (entury. bout I673 C. Deuon. a Fren

imprisoned by rhe I nquisirion while Iraveling in lndia. Atrer his teleas

rwo vers later. he rote a6ook,Th" lnqut ition l Grd, and in his c(ounr h
ro people accused belore rhe Inquisrtion ol assisrinS d rheJewish Sab
The aciusation of Iudaiing in( luded ha!ing.onformed rorhe(elemonie
Mosir law; such as not eating pork. hIe, hsh wilhoul scles. &( , o
arendedthesolemni/drionofrsabbrh.haringearen rhe Pas(halLmb
At least lwo writersr'r ha\e ron( luded i' om Dellon s ac( ount that lhe
many Sabbathkeepers among rhe Christians in lndia at that time.116 How
be s, inasmuch s there ws no known Sabbathkeeping before the s
Diamoer in t5991 Dellon himsell seems lo provide the answer' Before he
derarlwirh rhe rreatmenr otrheJudaizer s by rhe lnquiririon. he gires an ac<
rhe lorce .onversion. in Ponu"gal, ot manv Spanhh and Poriugr-rese Je
came to be classifred as "New Chrisrians " The "New Ch stians" had
dimcult tie being accepted by the "Old Christians." Most, if not all,
business dealings nd soiial coirtacts wee wirh other "New Christians
convesion was otalwaysbelieved ro be true. They were undercontantsu

of secrerly prarticing Jewish ceremonies in(luding Sabbarh


ame."- Maiy-of them. undoubredly, lrenr ro rhe Porluguese

hope otes(aping (he rigidilies otlife in PonuSal.
when rhe lnouisidon asked Dellon ro mention rhe names ol h,sa((u
ot his brerhren. lhe onl) ones lhar kne
nalty had to
they had, together with him,6een keeping the
Sabbthkeeping ""1".
The "New Chrlsdans . . . look for teir accusers and accomplices in a
class.""q lt seems clear, in the context, that the "certain clasl'refers ro t
Chdstians." It is not impossible, as happened wi.hJudaizing Chrisiian
areas of the world, thaf some Chrisdns of Indian origin were attracte


cercmonies practiced by "New Christians" who were srill Jews at hear

Dellon's account seems to have only "New Chrisrians" in mind. These
known Sabbathkeeping Christian; in India before the nineteemh c


Christian-iiy eniered Amenia apparentll by rhe bginning o

cenrury.r' Afrer rhe synod of Vagharshabad (4gt), in ;hi.h ih
Church condemned rhe Council oiChalcedon, rhe Armenins adh
strict Monophysiie docrrine.,ll Tension arose wirh rheir Greek
neighbors, and Monophysiiism losr ground when Armenians and
unired under Emperor Herarlius (6t 0-64 t). tn 652, s hen EmDeror

in), rhe decisions ot C ha tced on we

pro(laimed on Sundar in rhe main chur.h "n.
Borh the Sabbarh and Sunda) seem ro have been keDr in Armeni
fiom tle lou h.en(ury on. In (he sevenlh century, tlie tarhers at
Quinisex( (692) a( knouledged rhal rhey had .,learned rhar in
ot Armenia and in orher places rerrain people ear eggs and cheese on r
and lrrd s davs of rhe holy lenr. The iouirr it deci;d r har .t he whote
Cod whirh s in all the world should Iollow one r ule," rhr is, rhe Cree
164l-688) appeared ar Dewin t-I e!

Some years larer, in 719. probably as a re(rion. the Armenins r

Dewin I levin) tried ro draw a more marked line berween hemsel
Greeks. They decided. among orher things, ro absrain from hsh, oi
burer during Lent, excepr on Sundars and Salurdals.,:.
In rhe Council of Manazker in 728, atlended by att rhe Armen
and also by someJacobne bishops. Chalredon was repudiared arresh
days'preliminar) fasr before Lenl resrored. Sarurday as wetl as Sun
Sabba(h resr had been r leasr pa tlly forgrren. The Sabbarh'ir:
becomejusr a day wirhou( tasring. nor ntended for retigious meerings
.se with lhe other Easrern churches. The (oun(it resro;ed (he sicnic
Sabbarh as a dav both ol tesling and religious garhering.
ManaTkeras imponan.e is indicared in F. C. Conybare's comm
general. "rhese rules have been observed in rhe Armenian churrh ev berween I he A rmenians and rhe Roman Catholr Churrh
Crusades resuked. evenrually, in rhe esrablishmenr ot rhe Armenian
United Armenians. who severed ries wirh rheir (hurrh nd arra.hed rh
Rome.r* Among rhem was the tousinian dynasry ot the last in
Armenian kingdom or Cilicia. including l.eo Vt. ;ho gave himser
Egyptian Mamelukes in 1375.
Earlier in (he fou eenrh tenturv. an Ethiopian monk and tound
monasric house, Eusrarhius t.. 1273-1352), sh had letl his counr$
(ould no( keepSabbarhrhere unmolesred. had rrived in {rmeniaajte
in Cairo. Jerusalem, and Cyp rs (see pp. 176, t77). Did he, perhaps
spend hh lar fourleen vears in Armenia be.a use he t ould keep rhe Sa
as he thou8ht he should?
It seems that from early rimes rhe Armenians had a church order
nature to, bur still differelt frcm, the Diascalill Aporroo,am. Several m

detail by Abraham Terian of Andews University, were copied f

thirleenthto the eiShteenth century. In all except one, rhere is a clear in

for Sabbath observance.rD The following translarion. made by Tenan. is

eighteenth-century manuxript:
"The apostles ordered and 6rmly established rhar on the Sabbarh d
should be feast and worship in all the world; there should also be a m
(service) for all martyrs. On rhar day rhe priesrs should offr ihe euch
recite the Psalmsjoyfully, for they announce the coming of ihe Great
behooves all saints to rejoice in rhe presence of Chrisr. '
These manuscrrpts are nor a rompelling proot (hat Armenians (onr
keep rhe Sabbath durrng the lauer part of the Middle Ages and earlv
times. However, the discovery in rhe nineleenth cenrury thar rhe A
Church siill had a special regard for rhe Sabbath su8gests that Sabb
Sunday were kept by thh church, at leasr to a certain exrenr, all ahrou

Summry ard Corcluions

The observance of Sabbath together wirh Sunday was wides
Christian Asia durinS the second halfofthe fourih century, and conrinu

for approximately another centrry. Howevr, there is no clar docu

evidence that after the yeara.D. 500 Sabbarh drlSunday r{ere observed
by ihe main Christiar churches in Asia, the only exceprion being rhe A
Church, plus some 'New Christians" in Inda. who also observed the S
Sabbath. Nevertheless, a cerrain respecr for rhe Sabbarh was shown, and c
to be shown, by the Eastern churches in Beneral by their refusal to m
Sabbath a day of fasting. Bur even this vestige ofthe Sabbarh's former s
osiamongsuch Christiansas the Maronites and the Unired Armenians w
came into comunion with Rome.
As in earlier Christian history, anti-Judaism continued to be, from
century onward, one ofthe mot important factors in accelerating the p
abandonment of Sabbath observance. The church often felt eatene
synaSogue, and several Christian preachers and wriiers did theirbst to s
Sabbath observance wasonly one moreJewish praciice, of no value forCh


not de6nitely anri-Chrisrian. However, their very conern in r

discourage Sabbath observance shows that the practice persisted or rea

forcentures r{ith varying innsity, in different areasofNear Eastern Asi

open defiance io the omcial teaching of thc Orthodox, the Nestorian,

lacobite churches.

w. B l b( I'm .d ro . rhc'
um.nB rhi d. h \bb
obf,nft., rMns onh rh. htoLl bU,uund thr tr
tu undcFundins c.!h dq
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cRt Th.

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k. 136).
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t\. rt f.httz of tkob tszte 'Ab.fett
14. rnu!, idtr; l. /tu r. 6601 '
15 Th. ftorh!: of D iut6al).
16 Srphn orBo{B,I@rr^ /tu r. 700?)
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t9 Ttu Dawn l t?Ets tt \thnsta tur 13o" 770'.
20 ' A..usiu\,' Dntun @{r r^. }tu k l0t0r.
2l Dionytiu: bor \l'b' (s! ni,, rinan. 1d Aza t ti. t t^.D. t2t
r And'oni.usor.on!nnopt.. Datw N. t^. (11 8)'
2!. Gnndiu', A R4ot ot id ^ot lt, t-^ t; 1455
I hrE . or r.Fndini arbor rh !-+ieh' wrirfl r or fu.6 h rrkr ru,. dmon. rrun
.uo,trforrn 16 lr(nih (.tuntr. Se $llkift d,
Dn 206r3
'q Hman. @. ,,.. D. 75, cr to. d , .. .;. lsa 3O3l
1 wm. d ;D l5c 160
I H4)n,i d,i17 -l Pc433{q.942.w'tt'mr,, ar,D t5i.n 2.,ommeB:-ch6Dn5
'. l.q nor ronned rh.!e eishr Hom'|rcr. d ma! bc.*n lrom ,he Lount.r relerenle! io rh

ttr-"", o. a., p. zt.

4t P^td 't n'21e
x w lim!:d .r:. D lo{.


td., e. t69.




l7l..f \,{illims,
aphHhr. D. ,eo.d

149, 163,

n - D I02

. eddp\1.rd.b R.G'fhn.pd' I rp
r" lo' *\.'.1r.,sAph'hr krbnhopnd bUoi ur rhe mondr. o! vdr vdr,.on rh.edrern
Tiflri!,unde' r.,/. trn n ,t( no'rhe{ t Moul. Hc d'.d ! eto
! simon.or.n, pp.17i. c76.t $'ll'rn(.a.r. DD 07,93: {phBh D.r..1p\ t.4\: t_ D
Pt 1.73.96r.
' t.
D.t b f .nmk Ad. 4
13.PC {6:222r: $'ll'mr,
. pp llt. l,t3. t29
v P6 r:ra56, rrans h Prl.i.trD^
d. di D.3e3.
't Asrrun, r l ,r l. l0r, aukd in'Pd,tes, d.,r. D t97
ii w lBm!. d. d.. DD. lll. 152
,, rhrnmeic'.( I,1irryrl., lnEhbDr'henrmeLssl'{h,rwrlkm.d.
Thr rrhrDi. hr wnh rtn\h unlldLon i! in PO r 15i.da3 n. rn 5.r{}c 11
loh^ o, Dn"\ . Dt |@Oatu PC94 |21t t2o6t
o, n,. p 14 -t Dsolhiz 3. j :, rnd mor or , hp ll'
tt tf Dn,4. t2 ttbl , p 72)
!@ Ds tn',22.
Drldi. ,I l09 riid.: D.9r.
6t Dntuk, 22 t t2 1
ti6d., pp. 72, 16 731
q A'rribu'cd roAnr!urof\i',y!cn'h..n'uni
hur no' hbrorl,a,ord'ns@w t,mi.qp
halcJ un inrernal e\iden.e. Ier
r PC rsr1241.2.130
s rrd. 39 l12 I r,ot. t,lau. w.[um., or.., pp. t77, r73, I30.
@ H,mr, , .
D 7t, and n. cu:'\m.ri,{
kjrcBu. D4 ,atoh&r.
1 "knK_n, at.'at6h, H _-,1
'n 0t u-t, t r,,tn,," tt'iae
P l,rt ., , i.r nvx un h" rr..dn IJ, n! ,'td br;d.A nrF. th ch ,, t, ci,.;
"e hre
Lhcir dd, of r{ mcnmn onlr \und} ob(Fn.e rmdnuirpb ol 324, t034, t2t4,
e r* -enLuoi sH w r,dnnAar
\,-"" t t,,,-^
'tu.|v,,i 'b
&/' xun 6 rarmcaii n rh. p'fcn,c ol f$ llobi'e bkhoF in rhe cunot ot MnaTLfn r7
r.d ddt. of frdnsnd relmuu! prhrin sa F t27
t o ..\, hoLrnis ,, Htr,
r. 1,^'p.v 2 r-t2er., t I i tl,NpNr2,rs5
i 7l3APAr,l2!33.$q r non 7 ofrhe Counitotconqnuopt.l!31) mnrion!,h; sbban



1692,., anon 9{ I vPf: l4 40rr. Thr bbn" de nu' m.n"un"d. Hdd rhe! disDF,rd


1057. \.. lto L. rEfin'. MrcuL de Mrph.fqt1 Dvli

t0:141 l49.1nrHtqofAot]r1b,,aroil,u,h,nkn.'h..nduf'her'h,en'uo



;tiur.d r. M{u rh. sb6un! r !Jl. hbi,L\ sblr

'h..n. I hrsbb"nrrrlomrnonrd in bol rn"'lrd ,rl D,tu. rti tim
hnknin f6DLbr Pn.{5dm!a,.tu'khAbul.Ad.Urrd,.d
M0.19,7i. m hhtrh.dmon? inil

!m , b

h"..h" hd.mhre. h'r'nn! {nh
b. honored nd
on i' o
sbb'hlr.p.,rrr mrn'ionedd hnE erisFd.bu' nor n-eswnl, d grop lhfl. no,o
*hohm. \,ekr rtu ttt u\ h,l M, t /2o /oTo rhin eron, N l.: 1q71,
a Pftha. o, d.3.75
@! 4 vldn.r.-Erkrn( hu,,h\"Ir'/ r lb.v.l.k{.Utr N.qonrnchunh. 4.,
r.. D.413, kennerh so tf,rourr. A H\t@d ttv L@\tnot /tuua' rN4 vo,t, 1917
ry rd;r, 'f drnbrsh 1923). p. lU2: A/ \
John \r.rn, Natur (.t
don: 1S63,, p 2??
^r\. ^
I Ai ouokd br rrai. t .. D 139. \l Lrou,ere. d t
P 2o5
ltu.n aJl
v"a{l,tr(ffi rd byChri{ophe, Dahon,NewYo'l.lqrj'.pp 79.220: A tlinzn. ftu Larl <
D s,L aodrir{on,@ ! ,e.6{,516.r,@ t,D 196
' 1\ttb@runh\4r;4^ FpB,uIa,nonrad l!obumepspLm ; $r,lo' 'ns
ed. br O. B,un itgoor. lned in Ru'dorf d
DD 226.229
p 22q n. r Rordoil dddt' I h..ptri'ul tf,ne'" ol monl lohn'd'cd s


h., rhouqh' rh' rh. \bbr'h dry",1^a-*"r

d.cFed mo'e 'h.
rhdn sundy




of Had,ab,,.610,


th. r.'



173.130 rRublJ,t. 'ninr b!r me ofrh. Nc{urin\ 'hhu,. qirh



rh.m." l hn he dd!: "\[he. Lh.\ ni., d!hu,!h Lh.\ rrh rhe
mc,on I ndy!nd hle kalnun rh' dl dF'
5d !en, J{om."

rr bsrE A hlliBdc t ht Srhl xtil^ xhan'ht^tu,,/i /tu r

U,ndo..l923) pp l56.1os vo!'r.,r!'nsFrlicd.kilcdd.r,,p'iondnddrl-n..ol''hrrurho
rn rd r,da,ri'rcnbl V Abd Nerurin mer rutsli'n vf Nnib rnd A m"n
pFndix B in Geu' e P.,, , B.d*t , It \-Ma. d4 Lh., RnL (L4nd.n. I 3(2) 2 $n-426 su
;' hol\ 6' r dA .f rh. wdl" thdL old b. hlloh ed br ll 'l h "Am3de! o, dned. LhL on
rtrl Lh,nuns ould.usprnd Jl hu'ldl) u,up"vn., nd.nBs n p'r4 uo.

alrj sbbrh tr nor mrnuonad r Jl, no' e\en whrc di,ns is dh,u(d 'pp.4 rb 413). I' n nF.r

rh.l\.{o,ntnd rh. Rurun arholi. .hu'(h., hrqed s. firndb h(r^du,,nrhr rh

fouflf.n,hc.nrurl24r,l2d3,l3u4,f' f'e, . Bur
'hr! hilmr l.d 'o'5fruonofrh. L n
Ll. Rubt,1. in Dqon , .,. p. 164'

:l Atit

ap .it.,

pp 213.219

dnlldt, \Lnq ttu t htuta t

ndun,1341,, pD 60.b1,l3{.la\
rPr,nfirrd, \.t : rs01,, pD 2re.22r,

At ntval H


bml, rnd rtprull) of pEc 131. rh.r.

''p'.8',e'hrsbb'h beqin.'bou'rh''\brfu'e\unr'ont'Lrdv mdLBI
Sarurdr) ob6.n.e. A !rful,edins

!^mpl.k\ unknrblc .l
e*1.- or,x p 122){rhrhd
Ne{o,Lnslcorborh\bbrrhrndtundl l\odru rdr\fnon ilhr h 5b6rhob*F
h,. b.en tuq rhebfnful\bh t{.d. N{unnrl.p' un l{inBon wednfdr}rnd r,

0 \r{oj Ln! \.r F4'

{our3.n00ln.'n}ri "l'odr}"mer'opoliundndrnglebrhop.{'D,r,.p3b.

Y rknnflh so" tj'ou,.n.,

H.6 ot in un uL-M r itu rNch \ o'1. l9l9j. o 1


or.dtrorlrrn. a,\/dBoot d\dt\14tu-at,r'\c"loif,lo.7,.p13{,10

Dfwn tl^ndon, 1959), D 133
lcrn vu'rrrilr.'./,, d ?, a id. ^ t'. do'. tDnnr.tclt.r ! .\ nd M.. l93bi.
? Y ser..ItN@ Do. rziaa !,, A./',. D7'M 'Tot)o. lsrl'. pp.4s.4h 4q r0. !
lb S:li, Aha lr, p 202, n 33

u s..Li N6,ovr D,i'n, Do ll,l.l16,l{4 lq6:,fnopp. l2r


/rl, pp 334,311.


e Bdg.a, n,. pp lon.l9l.20o.?1o.226.112.,1i{.2b3Cl.pp.2bl,q.wh.,e\bhr.n

on'c' of nonFl,crou! 1,B.laJ ?on. nd m((, ,n ;hr h hrrknr werr in\oh

rhtr-krv,,f{'ttj,nuf'r ,
p ?o7,.dG\ nu' bflons rooLr pfr iod. lh.r' s

buqnend bl



rnch'ninfrlie, !enruriet ,d.,

nnz l],n.|, Th! rdlttnx R.U@ (S.ul., 1966), I 24 34.

eMinqn,op.,..pp.3.q.r6r3,26,765,fr.skh,,r.,..pp.3r33:I r^.
/ s frircmbndr.'r95hr. oD 6663
q Minsn,, d: pp 27.3ribrt or.,., pp 33,39!tl,ourrk, 0,,

Br of,



| 29t.!!, \kDhe

Minsu. o, d, pp 53-t6
"' Nenonn dtrumrn,. wnu.n in s) rn!, in
p.33,! t p ss. Georqe vr' voE., 1 r!@r or i

D l7t. rmll3 of l00.0oo ch;(Ln3 r,. i Lh im

Mi(h..I CFddrt, r. Hn6 f ., .tft ol MAhht tl,tido. 1694t. D 172.
e rhoms Lhunh niha name;yd fo' ,hr Chu!,h ot li'du, or, rn nrqer *ne.
Mlba'. lul'ut tu!hh, Htrb4 or^rutd E /r rEdinburrh, 1903, D.32.
* Nnl.d .d o ls srh;;
d Dr23Fw
ndh.D(', Eh.,.rh.r.klu.',dr 'lh.rnrBfftudeorrnch ho!.nlonv.orh.
Par9{ rh. lblr mr hr e b.n wriLEn b.rore e kn anLU,
the ro'dt "e I,d'l D'- mv "rrflr' cfiruun
,adB (Bombv.196{,.


d .

Al ouord m M,bn


ol { I

o, i, pp 34.36 (IElic! 5pplied.)
pp r33.l39.l93.P



Pudi)ptt,Dn l

h.M ah ta,


tbur g,


rehr(hr. d. d. D.73
r0r podiEn.'& .r:. tulhrer, o. .i.. D 73.
rd tu.hief, or. dir, D. 73.
mrMoar; d L lee
16 PodiEm.', .r.. D ?7. Mord, d i. D I33
r07 cid.r rr.i.k r17 oq.! or hn &EL i,;,{

'o 'he,,in!!lnnnn
d, p.3sr'ion3,d.(,
curJl' nvuBh. th.obl's'ion
'oran ";
D Itl (a.on 3. d(ree l0)
rr'1. DD 357.353tc@n3.ddre 16)
r'0rrd. ri,r ' . trr{Ar. lollorinr B,bluluqsr. prrdB
,,L lrd, oD 2512rr( r,dD-t5),2972q3u,,.7,df!6.3112qr,r3,de,3r.qqtr!,.3,df!.9


litr.d (



3.d c).1rr(ar.3,d.. l0).3t4r'.3.d.ll).1r7.1r9.d, 3.d.!.16.17,.3b7(, 3.dd 4,.5951.

L d.c.2),413,120 (.ondusion)
rn ln nc nf . rt.El oLo-l flend cnlouflr^ b.rr.rn Ar, hbnhop Alorod. M.n.r.. rRum

413 (ed.

Anhdraon Cor tThomrt Chrdn, i . mohr prrrd'n!

$od of DlmFr, .
Hfm.ion.d,rh.n.rlf,irol Pope( ,u!kh.rch.6ud,h.,"hc h.d nortunaodor hh.chu'tho
rNe(onm,, dnd dorh., Id r., "f, hffin c.rmc T, u n tfr med. lhnh'k' i.lhdinou, B6L.
,hr trd,l-dr. bdur tr rsd umn rh dr o h,c l.lle doqn,'o H.\.n"
d. oo
'lrolBlene' wolduqqd r .1homsLh,tuknshdddrts,
d lo, 'cdd6.d
sundy, d dd no,
nl onu.dnon b.wen LcDinr d d! nd .n d.\i'. b \ul ,nd.*ndrnr fon Rom..
tn Dt \ At.d ot t1v tr4!!ti.n; Ld (ull, 13l2r. p. s r.

rr./d 56 .. 15. oo 17.60 6{ 67

'rrch,nn drrd.oh:eal li\rih\rll..

lc43) pp l5.153: tf,En. ,



rDB, 167r . Thor Chn .nr he'r !pl,r inro

fonr one llrd E h Rom., rh. oih
'ho rrd'uonr d horbl. r Rom. !r l. ,
*.m.n.,*r xa'cr of 1612/ tu'hful ro 'h;old Fdr.rn
f,d'! x lRbm., l73r. l 622654
{sumed in Dellon,,, ,r.. pp.53 b3. olh.r lftr hd bffn l'!ins rndk ro' cnruriBb.roF

p 27c The Po' ruFe
uxu.* s*.lo' insurr.,T\.Itot.l,ofMaroPot <N.,yo,lllgql)
lfar-frorn .n onFleflemrnr in( ,For"' l5bo,bu"he lcu!"ec'een n(rih,n b

rhc Po'

olonk! ro rn doubr '-- C Porhn, I/. \rutr, t"ft-r

rreDdlon_ ' _ D 61.
.mThe or; ,ere,n,.
he h





ra N.h Yu'l.

lqb3r. p. c5

'hi hen,n.r(nrh,.n'uryun.\1tum. l306.Anil,!nCludiu.Bu,hn

p. 143, wn'B ' lh. Arm.n'iN ,n Hid,n

(PhladclDhid, 1311,,


Lrou, f xM, l:l0t


11, H.(jelz.r "Aim.oia'

Lt! /hr'.. oo.292.293.

ca.o;56 rNP f2


3elr. Lt. Dok


1s72, lo70), p 24. lhee d.!,oN r.(

r'r Ledanl I v'n"...! I un)brd'e, '\,mrn."n I hu.,h - /,. r. brr,r 34,;tr a, I lrh rd

'fo ''L
a trm"

X. ro,resue, tIm,r
br am.'nr.


r1. r\* Yo,r,

fBThfr nirfd a rmfni umb.r rbou' t00,oon c4D, @.1r,D 2q{,Lndrrlon hnu,luhus
\\ta. Honnlrh da Othrhnta rDurrldor,. lc7l,. p. 753 lh. C'sni,n Arm.nEn! irub
mill'on. Mlon.y.

o, i. pp

16. 17



O,.fflnal l.rrol'h.C't
Dilrrminrion'rnd f,lunun ol thp Dom'tr.| t soir" ci'cd
fPrin hr. .co.rhrr"imi'
Amrdu rn"rPh D dkrion Hrtid Unnri'r, lq73,.l 7, n'n7 'hc
i an.un Lord ol sr. ]m.t, J.ruvl.m. no 'nLhr he,e a'r mor,op'a in 'h.
'n armeni
lMn'Maknadrnr in fvan, sotia

r{ A noEd rbo{., Dnd.r 'lndk" (! t. no'r 120,, Bu, hr.n rLr.l rhr'
armrnBnrm lnd,a
drl H.lomronrr rhe \,menkns !r.obfound'nerfl, pnn.,pJ,ir,ofAu.
d. a. DD l{ l. l{2, l *um. ,h, whrcv.r rh.t rrn'. 6 }e
"rDnuboDl." 'Bn.hrnr.
vrur ddt t r dr unou ot Alm'sh co,,h. crrror of dI inF
Sundar lh.A,n;rk
' Rc"u,i'ion o! ou' Bh.fd ta'd lr.u
bl .
mmn.moro. ot rh Neh oed,un houehr"bo'
Jnd or ubba obkn n R enr h.r"loh Moi' Nel. r l3l a)Abat h a H\t at th Ha

h, Dlr] tn und.,


,he .,

f.8.1Eor ,.ArmcnnD' !hr, lcin'nqp,in,ipdlb!oninFintno*inrrhepp.inrd

dndt.ine. e hhtrhrhcinfl.r omi' on sJndriublrh n o,\Fopl..'lr un br inffl rd
moDl.'rre vdilbl. i !hu^h lo' rut h nnoun. renB wa und'. N.le mm.n' ( " h.E
ftiid,lfilul m e Amnn lt. r csme rime rhr..F c'. dilG' uhrl ',h.(rl.di,
Onl Tel,rlkrrrmqrh, rh. 'obvFuono, hv'urd] n rte!rr) onFlnohr.drLbiB rolbntr
Li',ni, rh. tu'm.' oB.n'! dfrt\l,,heLrF'd.loi.bnenL.'\r1.d
rdv L \ri.d.n rh.l,!hrol i(nnd udt.,hr tiurs r
.^ ..nnunn,,noft l,eouenL:ndinthed-r;th!es.
er.. re !nd.


lo' .oyor peuli, olemni') " Nr.l.i.qurunA vbhrl' ns.rvd r b



p i3,.hclp!rroundi,"und'h"hF<

llc6b. lundd wd rhe 6e;r dvrhcn 'he hhul.. unr'eqrcn, m o, hun h fL.n 'oda "F '
s.66mnarme ir .bu, !h.s (l rh. ( r h.drT of !. 1m"., in leruulem, rr@,dbL



nh r.r.1\ dr ol,nnd hoi6h'Dro'

olhe dn, *








mrn"tlil qpq rn,


r mun8


Tbe Sabbatb in Egypt and Etbiop

Wcner K. VYhmcrat

ol rhe mosr fasr inaring examples ot persistinB obserrn, oI rhe s

\Jday ol the week as rhe Sabbarh, up ro he rwenrierh.enrury, is to

f,thiopia. Although closely linked to Egypt in ecclesiasricat affairs from the

century on, Erhiopia had a mind ofits own when it came to Sabbath obse

Thischapter presents firsrthe availableevidences for Sabbath-Sunday obse

in Egypt, beginning wirh rhe fourth ceniury. Then, the major portion
chapter is devoted to Ethiopia.

The evolurion of Sabbath-Sunday observance in [gypt is quite similar

which has already been noticed in the preceding chapter for other Near E
counrries, wirh the exception of Armenia. In
306, Archbishop P
Alexandria (died 311), wrore in canon l5 ^.D.
of his Canonrs Poenih
"Wednesday is to be fasted, because rhen the Jews conspired to betray
Friday, because, he then sul tered for us. We keep the Lord's Day as a day
because then our Lord rose. Our tradiion is, not to kneel on thai day
nothing is said about the Sabbath, even rhough the Eastern tradition of
only on Wednesdays and Fridays is clearly present. Moreover, sinc
Chrisrian witers refer to Sabbath observance in Egypr, the mention of S
alone in this short canon may be taken as an indication thatSunday wascons
at thar time as the most important day ofweekly worship, but not necessarily
only day.
In (Pseudo) Athanasius' Homilia d Sennt (fourth century)r we rea
"On the Sabbath day we gathered together, not beinginfected withJu
for we do not lay hold of false Sabbaths, but we come on the Sabbaih to w
Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. For of old there was among the ancie

honorable Sabbath, but rhe Lord changed the day ofthe Sabbath !othe [rd
and not we alonedespise the Sabbath, but the prophet is the one who cast
and said, 'Your new moons and Sabbarhs mv soul hares."'.
The Sabbarh, rhis sourr e ndi(ates. was bing kepr. bur no( as rhe leh s
Thehomiy Soes on to discuss ihe occasion when Christt disciples began p

meaning of Sabbathkeeping by forbidding to be done on the Sabba

God had not forbidden."
Another pseudo-Athanasian work discusses other aspects of
Sundayguestion: "Therefore, after the first creation, cod refed. Fo
that generation liheJews] has observed the Sabbath on the seventh
second creation has no end. for ihat reason he [cod] has noi reste
rrortu. So, we do not observe a Sabbath day as in the rimes of rhe firsi (

ourhope isin the coing Sabbath ofsabbaths, when rhe new crearion
end, but it will be revealed and will celebrate a perpetual feast. The
given ro the first people for the following reason: that they lvould

well the end of (the old) creation and the beginning (of the new).
"It is not because of the physical resr rhat (cod) gave the Sabbat
they [the Jews] would recognize the end of the (first) cearion. . precisely. that in knowing irs end. rhey would seart h tor rhe beg
following tcreationt. Then, rhe end of (he hrsr (rearion ws rhe
beginning ofthe new one is the l-od's day, when he has renewed and
the old one."6
Even cicumcision, performed on the eighrh day, anricipared
rebirth of all after the seventh day":' "As rhe Lord's day is the

creation and the end ofthe Sabbath, so, having regenerared man, ith
ro cirrumcision. These rwo rhings are. in lacr, accomplished on rhe er
beginning of creation and ol regenera(ion of man. For rhis reason rh
has abolished the Sabbarh, and not the Sabbath the eighrh day."
(Pseudo) Athanasius clearly srares that Christ changed "the
Sabbath tothe Lordt day," and that the Sabbath was abolished by S
the sametime, he reports thai in the fourth century, Christiansin Eg
"on the Sabbath to worshipJesus, the Lord of rhe Sabbarh."
Timotheus I, archbishop ofAlexand a (.. 381), says ihar since
was administered on Sabbaths and Sundavs Chrisrians should a
manral relations on rhese rwo dars in order to be in rondition ro pa
spiritual sacri6ce." !
Palladius . 363-425). in his Hatna LaLnaa (419/4201, refe
Egyprian monks who followed rhe rule ot Pchomius 292.346). s

patool of communion on Sabbath and on Sunday.'0 In rhe sa

mentons Taor. a virgin who hd alread) spenr rhin) tears in a mon

Sunda), while (he other virgins wenr ro chur( h tor rhe communion
stayed, clothed in rags, working.rl
John Cassian (.. 360-.. 433) ir.his lttituts of the Coenobia (425-43
to cNioms of the Egyptian monks when he srares: "Wherefore, ex
and Nocturns. there dre no publi< servires among rhem in rhe da
Sarurdv and Sundv. u hen (he) meer rogeiher ar rhe third hour tor
ol Holr Communion. r, The rhird houicorresponds ro 9:00 e.v.
Cassian mentions also an old monk who lived alone in his ce
patook of food by himself alone. Even if "for ve days running
brerhren (ame ro his .ell he consrantly pur o[[ raking tood unril on
Sundal he went tochurch Ior serviceand found some srranger u hom
to his cell to ert with hi rr

eveningand nocturnal woship services, rhere h the optionofreading rwo

one from the Old and one from the New Testament. "But on Saturd
Sunday they read them both from the New Testament."l'

h Cassian's Confcences (wririen berween 426 and 428) he argues aga

practice ofsome monks who considered the sacraments so holy that they
dare to partake ofthem more ihan once a yar. "It is much better to receiv
every Sunday for the healing ofour infrrmities." '' The omission ofSabbath
b an indication

of the greater importance attributed to

Sunday, eve

Sabbath was still kept to a certain extent.rr

After Cassian, church historian Socrates Scholasticus (.. 440) re
Sabbath and Sunday obsewance in Egypt in the following terms:

"Although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the

mysteries on the sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria

Rome, on accountofsome ancienttradition, have ceased to do this. The Eg

in the neighborhood of Alexandria, and the inhabitants of Thebai, ho

religious assemblies on the sabbath, but do ot participare ofihe mysterie
manner usual among Christians in general: for after having earen and s
themselves with food of all kinds, in rhe evening making their offering
partake of the mysteries." "
Sozomen (. 40O-e. 441), in the parallel passage of his Ecclsiastial

"The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble to

on the Sabbath, as well as on th rst day of the week, which custom i
observed at Rome oratAlexandria. There are several cities and villages in
where, conirary to the usage established elsewhee, the people meet toSe
Sabbath evenings, and, although they have dined previously, partake

Some years earlier, Cassian had wriiten that communion was celebr
Egypt at the rhird hour (9:00 a.M.) on Sabbath and Sunday. Socrates Scho
and Soromen menrion now a Sabbarh-eveningcelebration oflhe Lucharisr.
meal. They consider thispra.tire ronrrar) o the usage established elsewh
Christians. Could it be that since the time ofCassian's sojourns in E8ypt ab
400 ihe Sabbath celebration had, in a matter of three to four decade

reduced to this evening communion service in the country, and com

eliminaied in Alexandria?
striking in the accounis of Socrates Scholasticus ard Sozomen
mention ofRome and Alexandria as the placeswhere Christiansdid not a
on the Sabbath day. The reasons are not clearly given. Reference to an "
tradition" is ade by Socrates. It is well known that Rome had begun k
Sunday in the second century. One of the strong factors rhat prompted
decision was the Christians' desire to disassociaie themselves from Ju
lndeed, the chuch in Rome weot so far as to convert the Sabbaih into a
Alexandrian Christianity, too, had early adopted Sunday obse
Howeve, in harmonywith Eastern Christianny, ir had also kept ihe Sabb


any part in rhe decision made by the church in that great city to
abandon Sabbath observance complerely?
It is a well-known fact that at least since the Ey'rtlt of Bamaba.s (
century) therc was tension between Christianity and Judaism in
So.rates Scholasticus, discussing Alexandian history, says rhat rh
always hostile toward the Christians."l0 He also mentions that Alexan
"being disengaged ftom business on the Sabbath, and spending the
hearinS the I-aw, but in theatrical amusements,"" increased the exis
durin8 the rime ofCyril, archbishop ofAlexandria (4I2-444). TheJew
church and killed many Chrisrians. Cyril reacred with his chara( rerisr
nd expelled rhe Jews trom Alexandria rn spire of rhe opposirion of
Orestes. "Thus theJews who had inhabited the ciry from the rime o
the Macedonian were expelled from it, stripped of all they possess
It seems to be more thancoincidental that Sabbath services disapp
the Alexandrian churches apparendy during the iime ofArchbishop
interesting to notice that, according to Socrates Scholasticus and Sozo
neighborhood" of the city and elsewhere in Egypt, Sabbath services
However, as noted above, these services were confrned to Sabbath e
the rest ofChdstian Egypt rrying to reach a compromise beiween its
the Sabbarh and Alexandria's stron8 reaction a8ainst it?
Among several homilies written in the lare fth or early sixth
attribured to Eusebius ofAlexandria," is one (Homily l6) entitled "O
Day."" This homily purports to be an answer to rhe following quesiio
an individual named Alexander to Eusebius at theclose ofa Sunday s
doweneedtokeep the Lord's day without working in it Whatisour
do not work?" The long answer includes the following ideas and c
The "holy day ofthe Lord" is a memoial ofthe l-ord. lt is called th
because it is the lord of all days. It is the beginning ofcreation, of resur
of the week;and these ihree "beginnings" allude to the beginningofth
Trinity.6 2. Cod has given us six days to work and one to pray, to rest,
our evil actions disappear. So, oneshould go early to the church on rhe
and should not depart before the end of the seftice., 3. There is n
observe the Lord's day unless, besides ceasing from wok, we go t
"Woe ro all v,ho, in the Lord's day, play the zither, dance,liigare, wo
or make others take oath, because they will be condemned to the ete lot uill b. uith thp bpornl/J. 13 5. lr is nor righr even ro rry to he
people with rheir work on Sundays. Slaves, hired men. oxrn, all need

A Coptic fragment, probably ofthe sixrh cenrury,r0 is very similar

instuctions on how Sunday should be kept: "I instruciyou to notdo

the holy Sunday, and to not get involved in disputations, orin lawsuits,
violence, but to give your attention ro the holy Scriptures, and to give
needy. . .. Cursed be theonewho does anythingon the holySunday,
benefits the soul orwhatis necessary to take care ofthe animals." r,Thi
be ihe first instance when a curse was pronounced for working on

Z<harias Scholascus

Mvtilene. in his Lr/r o/ S/up)

/.. 465-alrer


536r. chur<h hisrorian an

prriarch oI An(ior h. menrions rhar on

and he refes to Sunday as the day of Christ's

Beginning with the sixth century, rhere are no known refrences to
observance among the Eglptian Coptic Chrisrians.r The change from
r?d Sunday observance to ,nl) Sundaykeeping led to some tensions berw
Ethiopian Church and Alexandria, as will be shown later in rhis c
Furthermore, if Alexander Ross (1590-1654) is lo be trusted, by the seve
century ihe Egyptian Copis kepr "no Lords day, nor Feasts except in C
ft should also b mentioned, however, that some aspects ofthe earl
observance of Sabbath and Sunday were remembred for cenruries in E
the copyists and eaders of ihe so-called Epp,lan Church Ordr and, oher
works. The E$fr Curch Oder is identied zs a \ersion of the Apostalie T
of Hippolytus. The Greek text of the Apostoli Tn/tirirn was rranslared ro S
Coptic dialect) pobably not before the latter partofthe fifrh cenrury.$ It w
translated into Aabic.r'The following statute is found in rhe Sahidic versio
the servants(ofth l,ord) work ve days;on the Sabbath (Saior) and the
day (ryriak) le rhem rcst for rhe church that they may be instructed in pie
Sabbath because God Himself rested on it when He completed all the c
The Lord's day because it is the day of the resurrection of the Lord."$
ArnongThe 127 Apostoli Cam?r, found in several Arabic manuscripts
is one canon that strictly forbids fasting on Sabbath and Sunday, except fo
Sabbath." There is another canon staiing ihat even sick persons sh
encouraged to participare in the Easter Sabbath fast.''
Thus, the Sabbath was not entirely forgotten. However, there is no e
available to show rhatthestatute on Sabbath and Sunday rest forservants
was obeyed in medieval Egypt." Sunday appeas to have been the only
weekly rest in Chdsiian Egypt after the yea 500.


Pr"Chrtutiar Ethiopia.-Christianity rcached the kingdom of Aks

torerunner of present-day Ethiopia, in the fist half of the fourth c
Previous to this the country had for centuries rcceived merchants and s
from southwest Arabia who had established commercial and military po
later on, mingled with the existing Cushitic population. As they settled
inland, these immigrants "no doubt rcproduced in the highlands of Af
type of social, political, and cuhurai oganization which they had left be

Was the seventh-day Sabbath kown in the Aksumite kingdom be

arrival of Christianity ? Edwad Ullendorff, who hascarefully researched

calls "Hebraic-Jewish Elemenrs in Abyssinian (Monophysite) Chris

stronglycontendsthatbefore Christianity arrived in Aksum, manyAksui
already been influenced by Jewish beliefs and pracrices. When Chrisria
accepted, most of theseJewish elements were kept and have persisted ev
today. How could we otherwise, he queries, explain the presence of
observance, circumcision on the eighth day, food laws, an "ark ofthe cov
and other 'Jewish" elements?'
Ullendorfffuther notes: "ln the Semitic culture which the imigran
South Aabia had transplanred across the Red Sea imo the Aksumiie kingd

undoubted presence ofsomeJews andJewish proselytes among th

traders and setders, bui also to the rotable Hebraic-Jewish admixt
Aabian civilization at thar period."{5 However, he has to admit
hislory of the carriers of those influences r,re lack nearly all
trustworthy source material." 6
The stici Sabbathkeeping Falashas ("emigrants"), mistakenly c
some as black (or Ethiopian) Jews, are, accoding to Ullendodf,
evidence available," "descendarts of those elements in the Aksum
who resisted conversion to Christianiry."" They were discovercd in
century, and live nowtothe north ofLakeTana.'! Unforrunately, th
ot knowing when they hrst cme inio ronta( I with Judaism.
Maxime Rodinson ukes a dim view of Ullendortfs arguments
that beforc stating that certain Jewish pmctices entered the Aksum
prior to Chrisiianiiy's arrival there, it is necessary to study these pra
one and try to establish th probable datesofthe historical appearanc
ofthem in the Aksumite kingdom. Rodinson also pointsout ihai in m
"the imitationofthe old Testament, even to the pointofidentificatio
is a frequent phenomenon in countries colonized by Europe."" Th
happened in old Ethiopia afier Christianity was accepted. Moreov
uncontrovertible thatJudaizing Christianity was well represented in
thus, in time, its influence could have reached Ethiopia.lo
It seems clea that at present there is no way of proving
observance was known and practi.ed in Aksum before thearrivalofC

The first Ten centuries of sabbath and Snday Obervnc

Thirteeth).-According to several Greek and Roman Churc

Chrisrianiry entered Aksum in .he frrst half of the fourth century. I ts

Christian from Tyre named Frumentius, who, as a youih, together
was caprured by the Aksumires when their boat touched a( an A
Frumentius evenrually berame the kings secretar and Edesi
cupbearer. Their influencewas used to proteciChristian merchants

Christianity. After seveal years, Frumentius and Edesius w

permission to Ieave Aksum. Edesius went back to Tyre. Frume

Alexandda, Egypt, and requested from Bishop Athanasius 1..
appoinrment of a bishop for the Christians in Aksum. Athanasius
Frumentius, who thus became the 6rst,4un ("Our Father"), a title
the Ethiopian meiropolitan." About the year 340, the conversion o
marks the oIcial beginning of Aksum (and Ethiopia) as a Christia
No document is available wiih information on Sabbath obse
early history of Christian Aksum. Hov,ever, since Fumeniius
Christian, andtheAksumite Church was so closely connected with E
very beginning, we can assume that ihe current Egypiian and Syri
keeping both Sabbath rd Sunday was followed.Chrisdaniiyt influence was strengthened in the Aksumite king
arrival, at the end of the fifth century, of groups of Syrian miss
church grew rapidly, rhanks to their missionary zeal. They establishe
translated at least parts of the Bible and other religious books inr


known that already in the fouth century there was a growing antisentiment in Egypt and in other arcas ofthe Near East. As has been nore
first part ofthis chapter, Alexandria and most probably all fgypt had by
500 abandoned any semblance of Sabbath observance.
What effefl did rhe new Alexandrian posirion on Sabbarhkeeping ha
Aksumi(e kingdom? There is no documenraq evident e from rhis early p
is possible thatthe Alexandrian position was norar rsr forced upon Ethio
the steady line of Egyptians who were consecrated as metropolitans of
made the Alexardrian influence felt to some exrem in ihe following ce
The earliest known hint oftension comes from the eleventh cemury. In
on Eihiopia, Bishop Sawiros requested Patriarch Cyril ll (1077-1
Alexandria to write to the Ethiopians "forbiddingthem to observe the cu
the Old Testament." sThe Sabbath is notspecically mentioned. But in l2
al-Assal completed his Collection ofCanons for the benefit ofCoptic Chris
Egypt where "the observance of the Sabbath is clearly rejected as a
custom."""Ar leasr from this priod onwards, ir is quire evidenr rhar rhe E
bishops were determined to impose the ofncial Alexandriar line
The Collection ofCanons was translated into Ethiopic (Cdez), irans
and adapted to local conditions. It k known as the l Ngr ("Legislatio
Kings"), and "has reiained its value and practical importance in Ethiopi
present day."'e ln chapter 19 the au.horities for Sabbath obsemance ar
The frst one is canon 29 of the Council of Laodicea, which clearly tells C
to work on the Sabbath day. It is followed by canon 20 olthe Council o
"And do not keep the Sabbath as the Jews."e Bur rhen, based on the D
Christiansare urged to obse''ve the Sabbath in the sameway as Sunday isob
The example ofJews and heathen is even used as a reproof."'
The Fr NBur, quotes, futher on, from ahe Qalementos," indicat
servants should workfrvedaysand go to church on both Sundayand Sabb
instructed in godliness. Finally, in closing, the Drcalia is quoted ag
passage urging the believe to receive the Eucharist every Sabbath and
(excepi on Easter Sabbath).dr
The Fetln Naga:t,
a collection or compilation, has provided som
material both in favor ^s
of and against Sabbath observance. Bur the rea
behind the artempt ro eliminate Sabbath observance in Ethiopia
Alexandian patdarch. King Zara Yaqob (1424-1468), describiog the s
rhar obtained in the foufleenth century, has written: "The observanc
Sabbath was not in force in the kingdom, and rhe Sabbath was abolishe
realmsofthe patriarchs [ofAlexandria]. Theyconsidered itjusilike the o
working days tof the weekl. They also considered all ihose who obse
Sabbath asJews, they excommunicated them, and did not give them perm
enier the churches."a
It is possible thai the apparently sudden and strong drive to do aw
Sabbath observance in Ethiopia was connected with a dispute betw
patriarchs ofAlexandria and Antioch thar broke out during the 6rst ha
thirteenth century. Before that time ir had been conventional fo An
appoint e Jacobite bishop for Jerusalem. Howevr, Patriarch C

supeiorit, ofEgypt in appointing an Alexandrian bishop for theJa

ofJerusalem."" Ignatius lI, pairiarch of Antioch, retaliated by a
Ethiopian pilgrim, Abba Thomas, as metropolitan of Ethiopia."
There is no way of knowing whether Abba Thomas ever
Erhiopia. Howeter, lerrers wriren by the Ethiopian krngs to the
parriarchs in rhe second halfofthe rhifleenrh cenrurv make clear
was having difhculties getring new metropolitans from Alexandria
ol Syrian rigin had arr ived wiih unrertain credenrials, but here a
king wirhour full consensus of the Ethiopian Church. Thee
merropolirans srill liring in Erhiopia in 1290. bu( (he opposition ag
on rhe increase. Finally the king decided to urite r1290) to the
patriarch and to the sultan ofEgypt asking fora metropoliian. His re

At the sae time, during the second half of the thirteenth cen
monks went ro Ethiopia-so writes E. A. wallis Budge-"and havi
the reform ofthe Coptic Church in Alexandria, they devoted themse

restoration of the decayed Church of Abyssinia."s That "est

probably included the Sabbath question."
To the Syrian and Egyptian influences we need to add the effe
monastic revival after the middle of the thirteenth century-a rev
perhaps in part by these influences. It is possible that out of Ioyalty
and as a reaction againstthe "Syrian metropolitans," the Alexandria
the Sabbath was soon accepted by this revived monasticism, andby
large. The lact h that the grear Sabbah controversv of the fo
fifreenth (enruries seems to have originated with a monas(i( lead
(Ewostatewos), who did not want to give up Sabbath observance.
rrom Eustathius to Zara Yaqob (c. 1300-1468). Eustathius
had established his own monasiery in Sra'.'0 Many studentsjoined
tauSht them unril rhe arrival in Ethiopia of the new Egyptian Ab
whom he met on his way to the king's court (.. 1337). Soon afte t
country as a result of religious controversies. A dval group of cl
attempt on his life immediately before his depanurc. ln Cairo fel
pilgrims accused him, before the patriarch, of observing ihe Sab

Eustarhius admitted that the Sabbath was central in the co

defended his position by referring to the Ten Commandments and
Canoru." He told the patriarch: "l came to yourcountry. . . so that I m
word ofcod, for I have found no rcst in this World. ln Ethiopia th
'Break ihe Sabbath and the [other] resr Days like us,'and I refused.
say to me'Be one with us in prayer'while you do not observe th
Eustathius and his disciples left Cairo lor Jerusalem. On th
monastery of Scete, he is said to have been put in fetters. These
opposed him for the Law and Commandmene (of Cod)." H
Palesiine ro Cypus, and nally to Armenia, where he died fourte
After his death, several ofhis disciples rerurned to Ethiopia andjoin
the disciples who had stayedbehind. Planting monasteries mainly in
provinces ofthe kingdom, rhey g-ve bi h ro rhe "house" ofEustathiu


. Eusiathius had taught agairst rhe Alexandrian posirion on the Sabb

disciples made the Sabbarh rheir rallvng poinr. They greu rarher ra
numbers. ro rhe great larm ot rhe anri-sabbath parry. The Abuna perso
the campaBn agains rhe tollowers ol Eustartiius.'Forrunarely ior rh
merropolitan see was va(an( from 1388-1398/9; and thrs became lhe D
rheir grea(esr advan.e. When Bishop Baflhotomes 6nally arrived, he a;k (380-1412) tor help in bringrng rhe retalcirranr 'house ot Lwos
back to strict Alexandrian discipline ?i
King Dahir summoned Abba Filipos and orher Eusrarhian leade
rheologiral ds(ussion on rhe Sabbarh. As a resuh. Fitipos and som
colleagues were imprisoned. During his to'rr years ofdeienrion, from
1404. Filipos rron many aJIies amonfrhe arrendinrs and rlerq! ol the roya
Upon his reease. the king (ommanded rhe disciples ot Eulrhius.t
bo Sabbarhs" ?6 (that is, both rhe Sabbarh and Snday). Howeve, ar r
time, the Alexandrian opposition ro Sabbath observnce was suppose
maintained in the non-Eustarhian churches and at the ovat couri.Protec(ed

b) rhe rolal decree. rhe Eusrarhin iouse


widespread growrh in rhe (ounrry. and ir lso begn gainine qround t r

courr. For instance. an inrreasing number oI monasiir communiries re
the Sabbarh. and at the royal courr a pro-Sabbarh clerglman assaled
reuSrous lnslru(ttons to te pflnces.
When Zara Yaqob (1434-1468) (ame to rhe rhrone, he seemed ro h
clear prc-Sabbath convictions, and he found a vigorous "house" of Eu
opposed by a politically wek dnlisabbath pa y. He immediarety ser our
his counrrv. bur rhe Egypran bishops. Mikael and Gabriet. were oppose
offi( ial rhange. Finally the king t onrened rhe Loun( il ul Dbr Miimaq
concening which the king himselfwrote: "And God . . . revealed rhe hon
the two Sabbaihs to our fathers, rhe reverend bishops Mika'l and Gb
had not made rhis rerelarion ro rhe lt-$p(ianl bishops of Erhiop wh
before rhem... And our lrhers Abba Mrkd eland Abba Cbriel. . . gre
us on ihe observance of rhe rwo Sabbaths, and they declared rhis inihe

The religious uni6cation of the country having been achieved, nu
decrees were passed to regulare the religious cooducr ot rhe people. Ch
were nor to pertorm on Sarurdr andSunda),an kindoflabor, but
rome (ogerher in rhe churches lor rhe siudy o[ rhe servi( e of Cod and th
Spirir."'" lf some Chrisrians hved roo tar [rom a thurr h, a priesr had to be

them on Friday, and spend rhe weekend thee, giving religious insrruc
To Z-ara Yaqob! time corresponds the final redaciiort ot rt.e Mashafa
l"Book of Lighf ), whose maiorconcern is Sabbarh obse'vanr e. T he autho
rhis book has been generally arrribured to Xing Zara Yaqob himself. H
more recently, Ephraim Isaac has come ro rhe conclusion that rhe bo
romposhe work based on a pre-lteenth-cenrury original homiternat di
<omposed in honor of rhe Sabbarh. s,

The Mashafa Bethan (MB) strongly enjoins both Sabba

Sundayobservance. In orde to avoid confusion, Saturday

Sabbath. The6rsr


often called.,

boolol rheMAIon\isrsol sr\ rddingstor "rhehrr



"on Sabbath and on Sunday": "agriculturat work (falming), plowin

grain or grass, cutting of wood, grinding, fermenrin8 of beer, fe
Irapes or mead, reaping or I hre5hing t ipe grain. t utting vegetables
nd curring ot rrees, watering of tarmland nd garden trreesl an
ashing ol ( loi hes, hunting wild animals. (ar.hing bird, fishin8. ro
ofl houies, beingon a road, collecting sheaves lofgrain] so as to ma
rarrying grain inro rhe houses trom the eld. building a fen(e. wr
iron. ( lay-work, making muddas tor fo
ranninq the vellum.
cotton or wooltspinningt.weavin
ot clorh, sewing of cloth,
and the like. mking palm leaffharsl and rhe like. punishing of menmaid-se ants, binding ofall men, let them not do any worldly work
like it; and coming near to a woman. . . . And drawing water is de
The lis( ol prohibired works is tollowed ;mmedirel) by rhat
done on the rsi Sabbath and Sunda): slaughrerinB oi a;imats coo
and rhe like, preparingofwat lEthiopian sau"ce ofspcial spicy and ho
rhe like. Whoevei wants can eat mear which h daughrered on the rsr
on Sunday either roasted or boiled. Thereasongiventojurit) Ihe
liberal ruies is thar il rhe people we,e not allowed to do this, Sabbath
would be days of sadness, and not ofjoy as they are supposed ro
Although the MB enjoins the obsrvance ofborh Sabbath and
obvious thatitwaswitten with ihe prposeofdefendingSabbath ob
asainst the ones who said thar ihr sabbarh had been abolished Mart
iiquoted seueral rimes to remind the readers o[ the unrhangeable
Go s law. The Ii tha( is menrioned there represenrs. in fact
Commandments. These cannoichange. On theother hand, ihe "beg
nameoflesusis lora, by number. ten. e The Ten Commandments
rhu" veiy closeb <onected. The auihor (onrinues: Regardi
abolished rhe honor oi rhe rst SabbaIh. behold he uProoted the toun
church. He cast her out because he has abolished one major w
Declogue upon which the (hur(h is founded. . . .
''Whosoever st riles ou t one word from e De, alogue. behold h
out the name ofjesus. . . .
"And ifone strikes out ofthe name ofJesus, behold he has srr
name of the Trinity. And ifone struck out one from the Trinity, h
cancelled out his Christianity." '"
In order to make absolutely sure ihat there is no misunderstan
of the Decalogue is repeated in lull boih in reading two and in read
tollowing pargraph iumrnarizes quire well (he main thrust ot bo
"The keeping of the first sabbath is lequal io] the keeping
ltherefore] the first Sabbath is not kept, lit is indeed as ifl Sunday is
the honor ofthe 6rsrSabbath is written in the Orri lthe Law], the prop
gospel, and the Sizodos ofthe apostles. He who honors it [alsol hon
wrote with his own hand and commanded that one should honor
honos him who honors it.""
Scattered through several of the other five books of the MB th

was made to criticize those who breach rhe Sabbath. In an elaborare sec
gospel stoies are called upon to show that Jesus did nor desecrare

Za Y^qob was helped, in his efforts in favor of Sabbath and

observance, by some pseudo-apostolic writings and other works ihat h

translated into Ge'ez, apparenrly during the fourteenrh century, as pa
literary revival that accompanied monasric renewal. Some of rhem, suc

kfow earlier in Ambic tanslarion.

D,4rrla Sabbarh and Sunda) observance is
enioined. as the following fragments clearly show: Chprer 29: We ough
fast on ihe Sabbath, except the one day (rhe Sabbarh) ofrhe Passion. . . .
other Sabbaths ler us honour because our Lord ested from His work
Sabbath."Chapter 30: "... and honourthe Sabbath being gathercd togerh
Church withjoy and gladness." Chapter 38: "O Lord Almi8hty, who d
appointthe Sabbath, and resttheeon from allThy work, and hastcomma
to rest(on ii) from all the workofour hards." ". .. and didst command them
D,l:ldscalia, werc

In ihe Erhiopc

on the Sabbath day, ihat they might give Thee humble thanks, and be safe
evil.... Wherefore Hehath commanded us to rest on every Sabbath day,

on the Sabbath day our Lord rsted from all His work. . . . And Srearer
ihese is (the day of) His holy resurrection which our l,ord and Savi
Crearor, God the Word, hath iaught us (to observe)."e
Anotheruork thatappears to haveinfluenced Zara Yaqob's prescrip
practices connected with Sabbath obsevance is the so-called E9ptrn
Ordr. This work is based on Hippolytus' AportoLi. Tnnion, found, wi
adaptations, as pari of B ook I of rhe Apostolie Con:/iurirr6 (. D. 375). O
canons, in the Ethiopic version, prescribes: "[z{n d on the sabbath ^.an4 on rhe
ofrhe week the bishop, if ir be possible, shall with his own hand delive
people, while the deacons break the bread." A few lines further it becom
clear that Sabbaih and Sunday were considered to be different from th

Zan Yaqob also used the Kidan, an Ethiopic version of The'resurn

ord as an authority prescribing Sabbath nl Sunday observance.,l
The Sirodor is another iportant wok that was tanslated du
fou eenth ceniur. Together with the Dldatl it orders the religious li
Ethiopians even today.e King Zara Yaqob sent a copy of ir to rhe E
comunity inJerusalem (1442) with the message: "I herebysend you rhis
Snodr so that you may gerconsolation from iton the days ofthe First Sab
on Sundays."s
The Apostoc Canms are an integral part of the Sirodor.q Canon 6
"And we have ordercd in our writings lthat] you, your slaves, and your
shouldworkvedays, and [that] on the Sabbath and onSunday you should
There is also in the Corr a homily that rpeats the idea that on Sabb
Sunday both masterand slaveshould have rhe opportunity to go to churc
instructed in the Chrisrian relBjon. Among the exrs used are C,n
Exodus 3l:13. and Isaiah 56:4-7. tnteresrinSly enough. rhe Old -le
prophers are (redired with having ordered rhar rhe Sabbarhs {i.e., Sab
Sunday) should b kepr.s

Sabbath and/or Sunday observance. Among these are the Ethiop

Anaphora la gloricarion of the "holy Sabbath of the Christians,"
prayers for the Sabbath day, and a homily about the Sabbath."
Zara Yaqob's chronicler gives us lrhat is probably the best sum
kings ellofls ro restore Sabbath obsenn(e when he wrires: T
people had .. . negl red rhe precept o, lheir [ith and the manner o
f the Sabbath and teasr da)s. I have myselt wirne\sed. in my )o
Sabbath was profaned and that everyone worked on that day.
"lt was only beginning from the ninth hour(i.., r:00 P.'..), when
wassounded, that all aciivity ceased and that the People, starting the
say, 'It is now ihat the Sabbath begins.'Other feast days were no be
The King re-established them and prescribed that rhe Sabbath shoul

Sunday, withour any disrincrion, according ro the prescriptions

aposrles. . . . All these beliefs and praflices. as well a\ orhers of a s
wire expounded by our King who ordered thcm ro be raughr to
women by (alling them all roge(her in every loralirv erer Sabb

First Cotacts Wiih Roe ard Portugal lc. 1482-c 160

Aharer rdied.. 1540),inh;Nnliurl th?Pottug e Enb&tV to,4r,l
ofthe observanceofboth the Sabbath and Sunday.In a passage ihats
to the Sabbath controversy around the year 1400 he refers to
commanded that Saiurday should norbe observed";this monarch wa
Abba Philip with his friars, who "undertook to show how God had
thatSaiurday should be kept.. . and he made it good before the Kin
they say that he was a Sainr for making Saturday to be kept."s
Late in the century, probably in 1482, under King Iskindir
Franciscan monk loane de Calabia arived in Ethiopia with a la
Giovanni da lmola. Many Europeans werc in the country ai that
years ofwaiting,Ioane de Calabria was appaendy allowed to see th
When Francisco Alvarez himselfvisired Ethiopia (1520-1526?), Eg
Marqos told him that King lskindir had tried, about that time, t
traditional practices of ihe Ethiopians, especially concerning the

Alvarezwasone ofthe membes of the exploratory mission sent

a request for help sent by Queen Helena ofEth
Ethiopia felt threatened at that time by the Moslems ofthe Red Sea
mission arived in 1520. Alvarez apparently succeeded in winning t
of King Lebna Den8el (1508-1540) and of the Abuna, to the point
the possibility of doing away with Sabbath obsevance and food la
After about six years of stay in Ethiopia the mission left for Po
along an Ethiopian envoy,S^Baz -Ab (Zaga Zabo), and leaving beh
loao Bermudez.le
At some time between 1527 and 1534,r0r Saga za-Ab is rep
explained in Lisbon the following about Sabbath observance io Ei
context ofa repor-t on other beliels and practices, as well): "we are
lnstitutions of ihe Aposdes to observe two days, to wit; the Sab
Lord's-day, onwhich it is not lawful for us to do any work, no, not the
Portugal in answer to


thereon; which day, as Cod Hould have it called the flo) o/ Hlr, so
celebraring ihereof wit}]. geat honor and. d otior seems ro be plainly on
Godt willand precept, whowill suffeheavenand earth to passawaysoon
hisword;and that especially, since Christcame not ro dissolve the law, but
it. lt is nor, theefore, n initation o the Jeus, b]ut in obedin e to Christ an/
pJlr, that de observe that day, the favor rhat was showed herein ro r
being transferred to us, Christians. . . . We do observe the l-od's-day a
manner of all other Christians in memory of ChrisCs rcsurrecrion."'6
Meanwhile, in the East, the Moslem military leader Ahman ibn
(nicknamed Cra. rhe left-handed ). of rhe sulranare of Adal, had sra
raids and incursions that brought ruin, devastation, and misery upon C
Ethiopia. As early as 1529 he inflicted a major defeat on kbna De
desperation the king sent Joao Bermudez to Europe in 1535 ro summo
Trying to enlisr the sympathy and suppori of Portugal and of orhe C
porvers, the kingade it be known thar he was willing'tobrirg the ono
Church, wiout changing its character or doctrine, under the s
jurisdicrion of the Church of Rome." r'
Bemudez' ebassy eventually resulted in the arrival at the Red Sea
Massawa (1541) of 400 Portuguese soldiers with firearms, senr by PortuS
Goa (India) under the leadeship of Cristovao da Gama, younger bro
Vasco. Meanwhile young Claudius (Galawdewos, 1540-I559) had succ
father on the Ethiopian rone. With the decisive help ofthe Portuguese
he succeeded in defeatinS, and in frnally killing, Gm (1543). For all p
purposes the Moslem menace had ended. Now the country needed to be

Confrontation with the Roman Catholic Church began soon a

above-mentioned decisive military victory. Bermudez was back in Ethio

insisted that the Roman rite be enforced throughout the country. C
efused, and, according to rhe royal chronicler, finally f. 1545) had Be
"exiled to the country ofGaf. . . . Claudius disliked the religion ofihe Fra
Wishing to convert Ethiopia to rhe Roman faith, PopeJulius lIl app
Patiarch of Ethiopia (1554). In order to prepare rhe way for him, C
Rodiguez and two otherJesuits went to Ethiopia first (1555). The kinS
rhem kindl), but rmlr rejected rheir pressure to abandon lhe fairh
ancestors. ln 1557 Jsuit Bishop Andre de Oviedo rrived in Erhiopia
royal chronicler comments: "The object of this voyage . . . was to criticize
faith which was brought to Ethiopia from Alexand a and openly to prcc
false belief which issued from Rome." ""
Claudius explained to Oviedo ihathe alrcady had a monophysite Ab

argued wirh him and his companions, "defeated rhem in argm

confounded their falsehoods."11' Out of ihese disputes came whar is k
Claudius' "Confession of Faith." TheJesuits, as oihers bfore them, had
the Ethiopian Chuch of observing several Jewish customs and laws. C
refutes ihese chages in the context ofa fairly comprehensive confession
In regard to Sabbath and Sunday observance he writes:
"But as far as our celebration of the Sabbath day is concerned, we

celebrate it as rheJews do, who have crucified Christ, saying: Le. His blo
ove us and ove ou children. For rhese lewsneither draw water nor kind


"Butwecelebrare it in bringing rhe offerig ii.e., ihe Sacramenrl

keeping the agape, as our fathers, the af,ostles, have commanded
Di.scalia. We do no celebrate it in ihe way rhar Sunday is celebrated,
new day, aboutwhich David said: On this day which the Lord has ma
glad and full ofjo). 'P
Claudius loilows very closely Zara Yaqobs posirion of a cent
Sundayseemstobe preferred, but he is fa fom ready to give up the S
contrast between theJewish and the Christian (Ethiopian) way ofob
Sabbaih is sharDlv drawn.
Soon afrer*rd, i 1559, Claudius was lilled in bartle. His bro
(1559-1563) succeeded him. After the victory over Gra, 100 or 15
Porruguese soldiers had settled in Ethiopiaand had become an iniegra ln rhe wods ofA.Jones and E. Monroe, "Claudius had
byssinian wives and slares ofrhe Ponuguese ro adoPr rhe Roman fai
Dermiued the Abrssinans ro arlend rhe Roman churches. Minas forba
;hen Bishop O! iedo dehed him. he wa5 barely reslrained from killin
with his own hands." "'
About this time rhe Marhafa 'lomar \"Book of the Letter"
translated from the Aabic. Accordingto tradition, ihe original "came
heaven in the Chuch ofSaints Peter and Paul in Rome in December,
in rhe presence oIallrhe principal priesa and a very large ( ongregrio
lerrer deals rirh Christian doctrines in lhe broadest sense. but dirett
attention to the importance of Sabbath observance."116
Minas was succeeded by his son Sartsa Dengel (1563-1597), who

farher's policy, oviedo. (olerated rhe Romn priest\. an

accused by the narive rlerg) ol having asked rhe pope ro send mis
Erhiopia. His chronicler records the baprism ar a:se of a newly
hea.hen people, performed on a Sabbarh and the immediate Sun
twenty-frfth year of his reign."'
The Ephemerl Triurrph of the Anti-Sabbath Paty (1604-16
years later, in 1603, Spanish Jesuit Peo F. Paez arived in Ethiopia
extraordinary ability, he mastered Geez in one year. His "com
shrewdness anddiscretion" " appealed ro all classes. He established a s
morastery offemonar (near Aksum), to which both Ethiopian and
children wereadmined, and were taught the Roman faith. The fame
teacher soon reached e royal court. In April, 1604, he was received
king, ZaDengel (1603-1604). The king "both favourably and patiently
"several Disputes . . . about Controvercies in Religion. . . . Mass was al
rhe,Rrm, manner, and a Sermon Preach'd; with which Zdgtu w
ihat . . . he resolv'd to submit himself to the Pope."r"
Za Dengelt decision tojoin the Roman Catholic Church became
subjects when he set forth an edict "Tful no Prsan shoud ary bng
Sabbath a: a Ho\ da."'^ Letters followed from him to both Pope Cleme
King Philip III of Spain and Portugal, asking for artisans, soldiers
Jesuh fathers to instruct his subjects.':
The eaction in fthiopia was fast and violent. Peter, the Abuna,
people from their oath ofalleSiance to the king, and excommunicated

milirry revok ended wirh rhe defear and dearh ofrhe king. only months
Octoberof I604, in spire ofhis being supporred by about 20 porruguese
with firearms.','
To Za Dengels reign belongs rheSaur NA ( RefugeotrheSout'
written ro rhe kin8 bv Newala Msqal from rhe lauer's plaie otexile in E
an attempr to convince rhe king ro hold rm ro lhe Alexandrian Iirh. ln
the aurhor tells the king rhar in yielding ro rheJesui15 and reje( ring rhe Sa
has ignored borh lhe law ol rhe Creror and rhe <anons of rheposrte
turning against the "innovators" who argue that theJews cruciedlesus
He broke theSabbarh, hequoresJohn 5: I8. and con( lides rhar it rheiharg
breaking the Sabbaih is enough tojusrit' abolishing Sabbrh observa
ihen the belief in God asJesus'Fathershould also be a6andoned. Ne*aya
logic could be charged r ith ignoratio.l?nh, bllt he is one more <lear ex
the deep conrern for Sabbarh observance shown so many rimes by Erhi
After some three years of a wr of succession. the ihrone was Gna
secure in the hands otSusenyos (1607- I632r. The king wasan educated
. . . was favourably impressed by rhe intelligence nd learning of th
priesrs.'i'r He eased rhe restrictions againsr rhe Romn fairh;nd p
proselvt7ng. Le(ers were senr lo rhe ppe and ro rhe king of Spain riq

By 1612 Susenyos had privately decided to become a Roman Catholi

were several public dispures on the two natures of Chdst, a key
disagreement between theAlexandrian (monophysiie) and rhe Roan f
Jesuits won every time. Encouraged by rhese resulis, the king published
giving liberty to all hh subiects to embrace Roman Catholicism.,*
Ethiopian Metropolitan Simeon, several of rhe nobility, and man
clergy decided to rebel. The rebels were defeated by Susnyos (1617), w
year 1620 published another edict fobidding Sabbarh obsewance asJe
repugnant to Chistianity. An anonymous reply ro this edicr so incensd
that, according to Ludolf, he "renew'd rhe Edicr about the Sabb
commanded the Husbandmen ro Plough and Sow upon rhar Day. ad
Penalty upon t]te Oftenders. for rhe rsr Fault the Forfeirure ot
Vesrmenr ro rhe value of Ponugal Patzcki lot th second. Cons( rion o
and (har the sid Ottence^ should nor be prescribed to Seven years: a cerr
usually inserted in their more severe De(rees.' ir Ludolf could nor
ad,nirarion for he pery ofrhe Erhiopians since(hel$ererhusrobecom
rhe Neglefl ofrhe Sabbath by such Severe h\as. rhen we can hardly be in
stricter Penalties to observe the l-ord's-Day." '?3
To make sure that the decree would be obeyed, a general, accused o
refused to work on ihe Sabbath, was "batenwirh rods, and publicly degr
and in irying to explain his position to the chief nobles and commanae
armv, Sus165 61p6"sed his sur prise r rhe acrusarion thar he had rha
religion oi the (ounrry. He hd only retormed it. Chrisl, in l((, had two
he added. "l n tha nxt pla. h? han abrogat"d th" Ob\.taotion ol tll Sabbath Do
it rwt ChristiAns ta obsen)e the Jews Sabbath."{
The armed rebellion against the "Prophanarion of the Sabba,"
called by some, spread.rrr Bur the kingwas able to defeat the rebets. Encou

why he had abandoned rhe Alexandrian idilh and arreFed lhe Roman
them to follow his example. Bu( the rebellion continued. ''
Having received a reply from Paul V, Susenyos answered in a
lanuary 31. 1623. promising ro obey him as univelsal pastor of rhe r
askine for a Patriar(h. ! More lesuirs came in 1623. Then, in 162
AlDhnso MendrT, rhe new Parriarrh, arrived. He is described as a

boid man. but rigid. uncompromisinS. narrow-minded and in

Mendez "made saenyos and his sons and officials and priests m
confessio of rhe Romin Faith in February 1626, and to swear sole

ot obedenre ro His Holiness rhe PoPei and he

sweepng.hanges.'r'Saturday betame a dar ot tasin8.'"
ihe changis so abrup y in(roduced soon began to (urn the iide
king. and he was conlronred trith a growing opposilion to the religio
rhaiwas ruining rhe country. ln response lo argumenttion by ene
lesui6. King Susenyos finally )ielded slghrly "r An edi(t sas pub
permitted again the exercis of all the ancieni ceremonie tha
iepugnanr to-the tairh. when Mendez proresred. suggesring lhal n
rtre trelpof one ol rhe.lesuits.lhe ling (omplied. Bur rh
ipeci6ed in
artirle 2 'Thr rhe Fesrivals should be observ d acror
aircienr Compurarionof-l ime. andinar(i(le3tharwhoeverwanredro
r,sr n rhe lotrh da! ot the week instead ot on lhe Sabbarh.''
After one more ilitary victory against the rebels, Susenyos, Pre
son Fasiladas and others to stop the carnage of his own subjects,
relisious treedom in lune, 1632.'" Thus ended the mo* detided
moaify rhe religious firh of EIhiopia. the Sabbarh in(luded. sinre
had entered the country in the fourth century A.D.
Susenyos died a Roman Carholic in Septembel ol the same yea
kinR. Fsiladas ( 1632.1667), ordered rhe Jesurts our oI rhe ( ounrry
then started "burning all the Catholic books he could frnd, and . . beh
hanging every priest, whetherJesuir or Capuchin, and all who wer
wirh thm." "'His son, Yohannes I (1667-I682), went even further by
Roman Catholics from Ethiopia (1669).'11
Erhionia had now entered a new oeriod ot relrive isolalio
obser,ncl' ( oger her * ith rhar ofsunday thas r ontinued uninterrupr
seventeenth century until today.'" However, the quality ofSabbath ob
by far, not uniform in all pas of the country.rr

Gospel dn oarh

SumDary ard Conclusions

Boih rhe Sabbaih and Sunday were observed in fourth-cen

However, Sunday was the preferred day. Communion was adm
Alexandia (c. 385) only on these two days, and the Sabbarhwas never
bea day offasting, except on Easter Sabbath. Moreover, until . 400 th
public services in the Egyptian monasteries----xcept for Vespers and
other than on the Sabbarh and Sunday.
It appeas that during the 6rst half of the fifth century, C
Alexandria stopped assembling together and celebrating the "sacred
on the Sabbath. However, the churches in the neighborhood of Ale

possible that the Alexandrian change of posture can be traced to the ant

outbreak under Archbishop Cyril (412-444) that resulted in the xpulsio

Jews from Alexanda. Christian-Jewish relations had been less than co
Alexandria at least since the second century A.D.
The available documents also suggest that from approximately the y
Egypt abandoned all semblance of Sabbath obsrvance.

Christianity entered the kingdom of Aksum in the fourth centu

assumed that Sabba ri, Sunday were from the outset observed as days

following the practice of the church of Alexandria to which the churc

Aksumite kingdom was closely aitached. BeSinning, apparently, with the e
century, theAlexandrian See began exerting pressure on rhe Ethiopian Ch
follow its example in abandoning Sabbath observance. By rhe second ha
thirteenth century, Ethiopia was well on her way towad following Alex
An increasingly strong pro-Sabbath rcaction was championed by Eu

and his followers beginning in the fist half of the fourieenth cen

culminated with the full legal reinstatement of Sabbath as a day ofest (alo
Sunday) by fing Zara Yaqob during the first half of the fifreenih centu
In the last quarter of the Efteenth century, the first Roman Catholic
entered Ethiopia. ln 1541 a force of400 Ponuguese soldiers arrived in a
King kbna DenSel's desperate plea for help against the Moslem invader
victory, Bermudez rst, then Oviedo a few years later, unsuccessfully
pressure on kings Claudius and Minas to submit to the Roman Church
abandon, among other beliefs and practices, the observance of the seve

Jesuit P. F. Paez was successful in attracting King Za Dengel io rhe

Catholic faith. This monarch issued an edict forbidding Sabbath obs
(1604). Afte the king was killed in ihe ensuing revolt, Paez won ov
Susenyos, who became a Roman Catholic. Susenyos issued hars
commanding the people to work on the Sabbath and crushed almost a
opposition. Bur after Paez's death (1622), Patriarch Alphonso Mendez
uncompromising ways srrengrhened the anti-Jesuit party. The kin8, afte
military victory, decreed cornplete religious freedom and abdicated.
Fasiladas expelled theJesuits. Later King Yohanes (1669) expelled all
Catholics from his kingdom.
Since theseventeenth century, Ethiopia has kept, undisrurbed, both
and Sunday. However, real Sabbath observance today, as far as the Coptic
is concerned, is confined m$tly to the rural ar:eas in the northern prov


rannl8, ppror.dbymm. no'quo'rd nbind'nr,'nunon2o,rhrQu,nMr(ounv,,n

rh. o' ls ot st P.k,' PC l3:444. 450).
rinr,du! roq nores
, \on Ph F^,t
'o Mdn Ltunla canma s. t,P 12l,l:601

dubiou! u.n.nylPC 23.7)

re fnSlilh \c'ion in \Drrssa, Nu 1,122
Arhnutr H@1, ' s,,.ld
t td tPc2a t4a. t45\.
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Rotdotl. \anbd d!tuh! d! lf6. 4r \e h5kl. 1uc,lrd, 1972,, e. q l.
' Itr'. rPC 3 l4O,i rr., h rBro rn Ro,do, d. , DD. 131, 137

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Csi2r! hd k


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Rordorf, q, d, p. 203, rd p 2m, r {: G. Kr.r, Eurblur ot

tnz,m P 36,1.13421 rran.h Bron h Rordod p i,., pp.209.21q



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rh. A b( r m. frcm h. (p b.fom 1295 I h.r. d. st.rl mnu! p
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(t ndon, 1964,, Ijp. 15 30
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t2 t,,, tttioru, p. 2\.
hrt? Th.n , lr. f,,bDn rndron d.rdrs r. whkh in b
rood . l.nh r.lioion dnd ih. uer u,t woBh,Ed rh.-r'eni."se |' EdrdD
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C,nrruion Ull.ndor lf. oraq pp .65.1,13. ,1{.194. Budg., of ,pp 194.200, 21
r' UlLndolf, r,r8,'p. I I l:
t! Mrim. Rodtntun. Su, l Ou6on dd Influ.(6 l un.i .n Ethiook. rtul / x
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1rrl pp. 13, l9
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nd .
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: r

pp 443 {49


.f.:3. Do. l5l.l:,2 nd lhD 9. oo 179:17{ \dd.d dr. D 4i!.

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$ fnm. d. d.. DD.23.25.
s 8.6 ol ti. Pd;ir^s l- ALtuha 2 ! s50, aud.d h TEr, p d , p. 209
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ttut, o, d, cc.69-121.f. Brds.,

BudF,O ,., p. ,54.

w TmnL,




r dt.p.


.i., D. 209

to loav@b Aiarw n sroroF. Ln tr'
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n. Sabbth isu, dr, Th.i'El. .up@kd ro h'. hpFn.d dedrs b.for. tuh'ui blnh
A, EDhrdm IBL hr,l.rlyur.d, '8, jn l'; khul'h aRren.n' r r..pinrrurd'
n .nr h'opn ! u{oir '-,1 tr I^t. nfut Ladb ria h Mbrat 3 ta. r r dtatLr48at
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t\ tbt . o.2l\.
7j, .lj'ob Ms 2 32. ouokd in Tnrt. d ./.. D 216
u Tnr, ,, d, pp.2l7.rl9.
1.2. i. TnL. d o. b 29o.
tsMa l. I .annEEd ,lsn by,u,. op. ., p.35'
lfrr. op rr., p.233: rf. Hnmxhnid, op d, pp. s0.31
ir.. D.17.
DMB l. rile, d d. DD.90.91r.
.r rM. flrI.d. di. o. elf
e M I 3'ts!. o, r. p 103 cr. ka,, or. , pp 95-93. 103-l I l, re b pp 131, 134.
lrtl rlqx. d. r.. oo.lm. tlor.
5r l. !.6 rf- t;. d.. oo 96.97. l,rs, l{6r.
l6d- tlt, . dt, o. t4.
rea., o, 6 .'o 3{'
l. M Hird.n,I^7 urr D'la, tu, T' nnuonr or Lhn{'n ti
On.nul I .\B
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b ttr d o bb. {s aa. sc t B,'dl d o.. DD {2-,17: l. o.n, aEtotr ($
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chu_r . deD on,.iir lor sbhrh ol,.flm cl. dh.r h3una o n mrTolr.d -sbb' h- in
(hr de no, Dxr in tt. Snidr d Abi EDnr, r X.nnr
E bnoI ituC[un^d.

-a Fuh.' Noiabn rh. vbt.rh in coph sou'ci,^,tl'l 6119ff, lr4. lt5.

er Han.rkhmidt. d. ... bb.39.{2.
e rrldo fl lrei . D. lrB - I h. lr.J^ th. f iodn trndtrur ol'. (nml ol rh. AEr
:durolrc trri;B ELn I n. Akhd chuEh, Dlurh.(Ioo, Lh. aumnl couol

.:.ndrh.ohmsolrh.Dlal$nodlof An B. fidi.,Cry,Srd'. Anrnh,nd t/odn

Mlon v, "ErhroD,an Rit ,'Ncf f:537.
H Ludofl,6@rddlJ HBM AttDtrotfrnlltr, l69l',P 303.quo'rdin,rmr'

e ||. Atut l, Ciw,ft s.nm(.1.deMo/,.irrla,

m.JH,,teddrrdi,, or cow Ent.@i
l . d& r frh
rrxa T:s0Gt05r.
05r, Ham.'ih'dr.o,
Ham.'rh'dr.d d, p. {7. ct Mlor.}. , d., p. 5
s t,

w odr,
63- quot.d
our.d in Hxhdid(d.
Hrhmid(.o, r,
, rlrndon,
,lrndon, lgoar,
lg{xr, p.53,
q Hn.hmd, o, d:pp ^6dit,
rd, pp
{8 nrlomon LLir fron
f,on Horn.r.
Horn.r, q,
a, d,
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DD 6a.7o).fh.

dk 1n6,.\,2
"holv. -bld&d. hbnour.- d-eurc.
q Rl.hin
\t E.@n
P.nlhu r,.d., r,l
lr, Rql Li6rL \Addi Abb{, 19b7,, DD.9c,40.
k.hin K P Pnlhu
F Frn.iro N\E, v'du ,, t. Ph;wu h,\ b Abrs ( 1520. t27) (tndon. 136 I
SD r55r, No. 1,162.
' m TnEr.,,
d..Dp 29O.291


or'j pp 33u,33t
tl'bfrhvo ,\H\b\'atttt@aixtord.l9t,0,.DD 76.77 s.
'Th. sbb'h rn hiopi:' u.k.'rh DEr, Andrwi UnN.riit ll970r'. DD 2a )\
,q ( llendo,rt, rridru, D 4 Bud..d.r..DD.331 331'
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1905). D 212
rb Mn h.lCrddc1 L,r Hrar,/ fr4& (t ndon, toqo,, DD q4,3s. ouorcd rn twjt. d
ru UII.ndo, fr, ]"!r,a p 7r, {, i.10,Drn'h quons"r'om rhektr.r!rnL
ndorchur,h'orhr Ho\ str' Ror. w.reE'llinxror.osn';r'hrorEq yorpou
n. a, r ,illinq ,o bon. Pouo.k nd Romdn adLhol! !,
eif. nrr"ha!esiv.n.bnhDn, toBfmrilr7."Lr Bd*,@:d,o.11r tohn Mrn N eate.',, h \lnndon, la47 t,2:34 7, 1a 3 h 6houtd be mrnilond h.i hr hilior ur of Bmud./
Li,hopiAhun'nftrDpkrtuttdnpukd.strHcl..o, , pp.3r,3brH.m4q[midr.d r,
Lnorl.d8insLh.upFmr,vot,hepop. r i.ried]f., p 5{3.w}oucr,1rhe-.dr.,L
'n I rcm,\lhrcnnf ul rhe h,rh yrr oi urudru(, !quored Bdee.
16 Elrr linre rhe Cruqdfr -rr.nk" na !ommon q.nultr ro' 'n
wd roif,n; m ?endt. in
qBDdr. or. .,2:345 347!t thdntt, Eth@ns,
d: Db a9i
rho nrr.d\ ws in Filopu
Prr h trrrtt Budsc, ot t _ t \1\
PnrhnE!_ d..n o.76.
p st.(*hoDD.4s11 rr lobLudolDhus,Hro
'', Arquo'rd bl Hamirnhmidr,r.
p.nthL,q:, r, p 73
tb ..p.
tr!rnndoro. er. D. 7?. a1. Bi?<1
trr lon6 and Monrm. d ., D c0
':udsf . o,,, 2 \7i' Thi! ir DDrnrll arokhon trom'.. boor
irr Bdsr ,, ... 2i{71. .?4: pdnllnrfl, o, /, pp.3s, sq
,:Budxe, rr,2.377 d Ludotf,,, u;D 526',
rre l.uduli @. dl, p. 326
tb1. p s27 ,t Budcr , ,x.2:373 H"mm.r! hm.d,. r ,
p ia.
Bud.e. d .- !.37.
",n Budre, or:.;2:37b 330!'. @ .. D r{.
nr Hmme, rhidt. op. , .pp.54,i5 lrtrtthou3h'.t;rorf rh' hd&Tn\nl.ndurins
se aud*. o, d.,l:lssi Uncndorff. rida D l5l
tridct d d 2l3B
P'Ullrndorir., rLos, p 73: I udoh , . p 323 AnJrcmpr !'[ r mde,o,o[okLt.
erta',o r, ( - , uh ' irm".. ro cc rhr rqucn,c in
L"M ii j12.qc1 adfL rcd{Jdr ur poruF.r rn,rnlon ,n L \,oD, lonrrB c\ enr
, rr\iopi" a h" c,i,vrr N,rurn du \\ k.r lt lle rtt.'.,D
sminai'. Ad.en'n'e (ollons"t!or\ c! l,dn!; .q7l
D r13
Ad- rh, Rw\tol th, ptu{|| A6$nn\taldon tqirr.p251(rdbrHelr
, ,F..,l
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rro Ludor. d .i.- bo.333.$a.
rtlb1d. o t3a
rq r, ; !!5, Buds.. @ d..2.339.
,tt I udof ,, ,/. p. f23. !c'rnpot,nsimon hrd b..n t,[-d in rn rn
ed, ont,onunnn /r/
" /.:.r. F6.. or. ^., pp
' ' 57.s8 r tt.ndo,t,, r'r4^ p ?b
Ls Luduf d. ;!.. . 35r
!' ror e aiFn.;b u!ed,3. rudorl d .!.. D. 3i0
rr rrd. o 9fl
r'" sr B'uoc.. qp ,r,21sr. rgi.4 Ludo . , ,r, D 3r7, hndo,
, / [,ora. p 73
It! Budft. @. di.2 {01. {02.
,irPrnt_hurn d d n ro2
r{ o hi'n.{.i b\bh obrervn.c,n f'hioD rwnh lundr, in rh e\en,een,h,r ,,d
\G.146'1,146r.I',ll.ndortf.,^0rp. 0(Ir1).Ludo'i,ooot,oo 2oc.302 Ro!! d ,
c,Shknrh o hf rrenn.rh, enru. f.: u[.ndu' ft rr@. pp t t2. . t3: ta, LtltooB r to<.
6 Llr,a flndon. tgl9,. D 3lc
t ltnao,l,,

tulsa, p.71. BudR..

H. M.lone.d

it,hfl@nghordd in. cop!, churrh.,hrerenrh-d,

r(ultq,i. r ob+Eed Thnntu

!iillr orsnd- ne'nI! Bu',noho.l.rnr,orrRdon..rh


eud ion tim. @ m. nd rc breurhr ro . Id, Lhi.f ,hm .y

dnhn ld br'nq . lv ot Cd." Tho H mntio d. dr. DD. 66 67r h. s.n !
.kM tht in Mrh ;r 1963 inrcni.d th. bihop of wd &'oiu, lrpri. Rs:rdins Lh. por
'n ur Dlai, v h . codk c
E!Did otDdd chEh on . ev.nthav Sabbc, t. Bho "told
o. i(n up ob* ra. H. Ff.ftd b Mznhtu nd std h. Da.lo
Hmn.rihridr r,r. d., D. 2, mcntionr r rnEhu rith Prh B&l@, who rold him thr sb
aeLhBi.rl_ nl2v B I.lltm'ndr,tin Addn^bahe ol.r't ud l:00..v, onSi,6aL n
itv in th. rurl.. r.z h6 ir. t&h Fi on Sabbnh On th. h.i hd, D rurl #s Sbha i! I.O m



Tbe Sabbatb and Lord)s D

During tbe Middle


Dariet Augsbwg*

HE early Middle Ages as a whoe acrepred withour quesrioninq

"II of the grear Chur.h Farhers and rlieir spirirualiied inrerpre

ol rhe Lord's day was expressed rteaity

(r.o.350'43I), who berame rhe (uror ol rhe medieval rheotogian
The Spn:itul Iterpretation of the fathrs and Early Medic
Sabbarh res(. This concepr

- According to Augustine, the frrst day ofrhe week is the gtoiou

the resurrection of rhe Lord and His victory over etil. It re-hbrate
rest (har He acquired for us. Man, rherelore. musr observe ir, nor by
wor k bur by ceasing Lom sin, and live in a perperual Sabbarh. Augis
sermonon thecospel otJohn: TheJe$srakingrheobservancef

acarnalsense. fancied rhar (he Lord had, as il wele,stepr atrerr}elab

rhe world, even ro rhis day. . . . Now ro our tarhers df old rhere w
sacrament of the Sabbarh, u hith we Chrisrians obser\e spirirua y,
from every se'vile work, rhat is from ever) sin (tor rhe Loid sanh, .
commitre(h sin is the ser\an( ofsin )and in having resl in our hearr, r
(ranquilry. And ahhough in this life we srrive afier rhis resr, yer nor

depa ed rhis life

shal weallainrothat perfecr resr.',

This was also the vew ofthe Eastern Church. In his qreat exp
orrhodox fairh. John ol Dams(us 1.. 67s-L 74gt explined rti
commandmenr musl be understood mlsricatty by rhe spiiiiually min
sha[ celebrare rhe pertecr resr ot human iraiu.e, mean ihe
resurrection, on whiih rhe Lord Jesus. rhe author of lite and our
Iead us inro the heritage promised ro rhose who serve God in rhe Sp
belongs to us. therefore. rho walk by (he Spirir and nor by rh;
(omplere abandonmenr ol carnal rhirigs. rhe_spiritual service and
with God. . . . The Sabbaih, moreoverlis cessaiion otsin.-,
InJudeo-Chrisrian controversies this spiritual understanding o

ErynoloSi"' remined rhe encvcloped ol knowledge ot medeval mn aP

torhat con(e pt in his or tra I udaeot, which he '/frol e to (n lo win by Persuas

Jews whom ihe visigoth kings, recenrly won over to Roman oihodoxy
rrempting to <onven by persecu(ons. In the ser ond book ot rhat work he
rhar n'could not be a sin t work on the Sabbarh since God Himself is active
universeevery day ofthe week. Thusthe keeping of the Sabbath mustbe sP
"'Bear no burden on the Sabbath day.'Hear e mystery ofproPhecy. H

burdens on the Sabbath, whom the day of judgmenr will nd w

trasgression; he bears burde on the Sabbath who, though he believes in
does not cease from sin."!
Amons theChur(h Farhers rhe day ofrhe Lord was also called rhe eigh
rhe qloriou; day ol rhe erernal rest of God. originall that notion came
blen of Cnostic sperularion and neo-PyrhaSorean (osmology rhar emph
the distincon berween rhe seven spheres where lhe evil angels are krpt a
eighth one whre God dwells. As iiwas applied to Sunday, it signied rea

etrnity in contrast with the seven days of the week, which wer symbolic
and ilsion. In the West, rhe concept acqired a millenarist dimension in
the seventh day became typical ofthe last eathly millennium that Prece
ternal eishth dav of bliss.
The ea otrhe eiqhth day appealed greatly to Augustine whoEaso
number srmbolism. Aitording io him, rhe eighh day tyPihes ihe heate
prepred byGod for Hischildn. which hedescribesso Slowinglyin the la
t rh. c'O i/ cr, -rne sevenrh shall be our Sabbarn. which shall be broug
close, noi 6y an etening, bur by he Lord s Da) as an eighrh and e(eln
( onse(rated by rhe resureclion ol Christ, and pre6guring lhe elernal rep
onl) ot the spirir, bur also ot he bod). There we shall est and see seea
love and prtise. ' fh'rs, the eishth da) srnds for a better rest
We niust, theretore. nor be iurpr ised ro frnd Gregory rhe Great 1540-60
frrst Western medieval iheologian, saying that'teven days rePresent the
rime, the eighth day designaEa life erernal, which the l-ord revealed to us t
the resurection.""
l( is at rhat trme also. espe(iall) in Judeo_Chrislian
day ot lhe
mu(h holier rhan th sevenrh one. while rhe Sabbath ha hallowed once
was hllowed reDeatedlr. Isidore ofSeville, for instance. wriles: "lt is cl
tsundall *as alri:adl rery solemn in the Holy S.riPlu es. tr i5 indeed the f
of rhe world, rhe day when the angels sere (reared: the day when Ch
resurreedl rhe day h hen rhe Holv Spirjl tell uPon the aposdes: rhe da) s
manna was siven lor the firsr me in the wilderness .. . Is nor the sabb
se\enh day;hich tollows Sunday] tr musr be. rherefore, on sunday (har
fell for th first time. For the Jews already then our Sunday was great

This sutement of Isidore had a lasng influence on later writers

roDied verba(im, as we shall see, by Bede, Rabanus Maurus. nd Alcu

double iustication ofsundayleepig by rhe histori(al ia( of lhe resul re

t}e Lor-d and

b1 rhe Biblicl evidence

otrhe Sunday hallowings

was used

of the theologins who dealt with that probtem htr on. But ne must no


i3#::'.q:,i...r;il*;: T,fl:!i:1 t5.,*xf +ff l,Lx,il,*H

Mathg Suday Rst Dy

of rhe dav of rest durine t
i;J'?l#'Jffi'::ili"J9:l'ha'oinothiiirrv church' s'"d"v
to draw a shar
r,erween Lhe wicked idren.", o; .*;.L Y1l
Sreps Towad

undersrand the development

i-?f !ff :ri,?:fi ! jilIni*"":rTl;:t*ii[i:?:#r
.'.t'"'" a" iJ''i'ig

o, sp,nnms on rhe.sauuu,r,.,r,,,, a,,.;o!d1ilfr:.1,,JH



l,i.., i:ili #1":,,ri-!:t33J^T':519

m,dde or rhe momins. work sropped ontv
* ,.


Jerome wro(e rhr rhe nuns ar grirlehem henr ro (hurch


read. rhey shoutd o



a.,,'i.i ii"r;.i,

-rnu"i ui-ttritillbi)

bur ifrhev we

rerdon or Licinianu
Bishop vinre
,n td, ,. n"i,i.i-n; i;i:;:;:;J-n"I
sunaav wirrr comphte adil;;; iil;:il';::;:i.J;;:ii:li:ff""ir
iijliliir:ili':t,*."x::: :,i*'rjllffi i: tlT**nLt :;m


ro somerhins- gardening.,p,;,g. hi'ki;g.


ffi';'-l'J*':g]J.':;i?fl" "orkon sundav tha( 'ihe

rsiiai ;i,f; ;;i illx.j,,,;::lxll ll": j::..1
Gregory the Crear was grearly disrresse.t h
intor r,e.r,,,.rr so-t
i.;;il ;;;i,fJi,I:.hil,H*,J.*['."dT.


rareness on the

rif ,r'*'jil*il#:{i::si##!ffil.L';;t:3:"1*


1;Hdi:ij*ri.ilJfiii:i,.1?1,'l 11l,

,..,,"#l',li'.S,"j,lo'ii,'l*'l:il:';:iT,o 'e see.anv iden,rv be,wee

nd roorishness whire rh; r;;il;';ilil:i':l ji""fH*j:,;l

ilif-rdtlf !:;:il:lli".*i.;tHi;*iir.r'
i1fofthe fourrh comm
trom rhe prescriptions


i:;;"".Ti i{i'::jf.

While the desire to distinguish Sabbath frorn Sunday was very stron
must note, however, that in their legislaiion the Christian empero
attempted to secure cessation of cetain activities. They applied to Sun
appears, the tmditional norm followed in the observation ofpagan holiday
qu.od. Praetermirsum noceftr, "One may do what would cause harm if it were om
Thus rural labors ihat could be postponed, trials in court that had ro do w
quest for gain, and entertainments were forbidden.'!
ln order io encourage public worship, the church also began s
condemn certain types of labor. At the Council of Orleans, which had o

Judaizing tendencies, the people were told not to plow, prune vines, erect
plant posts, etcetera, thai "one may have leisure more easily to attend chur
take part in prayers." r'! Although Pope Gregory had upheld a spiritual r
demanded thai all secular activities should stop to allow the people to devo
time to prayer.l. This is the reason why he was so critical ofJanuarius, bis
Cagliari, who used his Sundays for harvesting crops."
Some wenteven futher in sabbatizingthe day ofrhe Lord. As we hav

ol Orleans refes o Christians who wanted to proh

preparation of food and the use of farm animals, and Gregory the Grea
some who reproved bathing on Sunday. The most curious witness
tendency is the famous Letter from Heauen, o which allusion has alread
made. It appeared first in Spain but enjoyed an immense success both in th
and in the East. In some places in the East it still ejoys credence today
The text of this letter to which Bishop Licinianus referred has no
preserved, and he mentions only prohibition of food preparation and w
However, i is inteesting to see what was included in later versions.:r The
began with a preface telling the story ofthe document howitwasfounda
the most famous shrines of Christianity, atJerusale or on the main aha
Peter at Rome, and how itwas written notby an angel b by Chdst Himse
His own blood or with letters of gold.
The letter itself demanded rhe striciest Sabbatarianism: "Do noi si
forum on the l-ord's day andjudgeidle marrers or go hunting and gatherin
on this day. Do not milk cattle on this day either, but rather be occupied w
poor. Do not send your oxen to work on this day. . . . You must not was
clothes nor wash orcut your hair. . . . Truly I say to you, be very faithful in k
the day of the lrd, not even gathering vegetables from your gardens on
of the Lord."r
According to theletier, ihe day should be consecrated ro pious purpos
going tochurch, for visiting ihe sick, for comforting the worried, and for m
pace whh others. lt uttered a frightful curse against thosewho were irreve
church: "I advise youby this letter that thee must be no one in mychurche
orwoman, who dares to talkand chit-chat, or ro sit down or to go out durin
before the solemn rites are finished."
Natural and supernatural disasters were threatened against the tra
sors. To famines, locusts, and sicknesses were added such things as burning
and poisonous flying snakes. Women whodare to work in the garden were w
that "I will send upon you winged snakes to beat and devour your brea
The epistle made much use ofthe Old Testament. It grounded the
the Council


from sunset on Saturday night, "from the ninth hou of the sabbath u
hour of the second day."'5
This concept ofthe l,ord's day must have been shared by some
rulers, for the Visigoths suffered a telling defeat by the Romans in 543
arhck was made on Sunday and the Goths would not ght.,,
The Sturday Sabbth in e Early Period

TheG were Christians who kept the seventh day, pobably alo
firsidayoftheweek. GregorytheGreatwritesintheepisdeathasal
quoted: "It has been reported to me that men of a perverse spirit
among you some despicable doctines that are completely opposed
faith, teaching that all work must be interrupted on ihe Sabbath. W
call them but preachers of the Antichrisi? Is it not Antichrist who sha
force all to keep Sabbath and Sunday?"!? ln the beginning ofthe seve

therefore, we have at Rome people who advocated total rest on the

and it is interesting thar ihe pope calls that day "Sabbath."
Finding people at Rome who advocate keeping both Sabbath
should not be a great surprise, since we have witnesses to that prac
parts of the Empire. ln rhe Aqostolic Con\tlrtio,rt (compiled in the late
founh century), for insnce, we are told: "But keep the Sabbath an
day festivals; bcause the former is the memorial of ihe creation and
the rcsurrection. . . . I, Peter, and l, Paul, have ordained: let the slav
days; but on the Sabbath day and the I-ord's day let them have leis
church for instruction in piety: on the Sabbath in regard to the cea
l-od's day in regard to the resurrection.",s Gregory of Nyssa (r.
explains: "With what eyes can you behold Sunday, if you desecrate t
Don'tyou know that these days arebrcthren? He who esteems the one
also the orher.""JohnCassian (.. 360-435) siates concerning Egyptian

they "had no public assemblies on other days, besides in the mom

evering, except on the Sabbath or on the l-ord's day, when they met
hour to celebrate the communion."r0
AuSustine noted a great flexibility toward worship requirement
places the communion takes place daily, in some only on the Sabb
lrd's day, and in some only on the lrrdt day."s1 The tension con
keeping ofboth Sabbath and Sunday h reflected in a homily given
meeting, but opf,osing Sabbatarian idleness and proclaiming the su
Sunday over the seven day.rr It is that variety ofuses that Socrares
(died 445) describes in }].is Ecclsi! HistoDr "Although almost
throughout the world celebrate the sacrcd mysteries on ihe Sabb
week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and ar Rome on account ofso
traditions have ceased to do this."ss
The Sabbath in the Celtic Church

Certain scholars have assumed that ihe Celtic Church kept the se
the $,eek.r A stud, of the available evidence shows frsr that for th
Sabbath was distinct from rhe Lord's day. According to Columba's
Adomnan (late seventhcentury), thesaint said on his deathbed: "Tru


my toilsome labours I kep Sabbath; and ar midni8ht ofthis following ve

Lord's Day, in the languageofthe Scriptures I shall go the way ofthe fathe
the same work we are told that it was the custom in lreland to go to chu
celcbrate mass on the Lord's day: "lcolumba] obeyed their command and
Lord's Day accodir8 to custom heentered the church, along with them, a
reading ofthe gosp|. . . . While e ritesofthe Mass were being celebrated

Lord's Day according to the custom."r Columbat Rl"r for his monk
seventh century) contain references only for a Lord's day public worsh
The Sabbath seems to have received some special recognirion. ln Co
directions for the choir of6ce, the singing of more psalms was ordained
nights ofSabbarh and Sunday than for the other night ofthe week. "On t
holy ni8hts, namely on thos of the [rrd's Day or the Sabbath, ihree tim
same numbr is performed at morning, that is, wi thrice ten and six ps
St. David's followers "from the eve ofthe Sabbath undl rhe light shines in
hour after the breakofthe Sabbath, employ themselves in watchings, pray
genuflexions, except one hour after rnorning service on the Sabbath."
special vigils remind us of the practices commanded by John Cassian
monks'diet$as improvedon Sabbathand Sunday. On those daysthey.oul
litte cheese boiled in water to their dim fare.{
Some rexts may well indicate some recognition of the seventh day al
anciem law Senchus Mor states that "every seventh day of the yar" w
devoted to the service ofihe Lord.'' In a letter attributed to Columba bu
real authorship is unkown we frnd a passage that might indicate a spirit
Sabbarhkeeping. 'we are bidden to work on six days buton theseventh da
istheSabbath, wearerestrained fromeveryservile labour. Now by the num
the completeness ofour work is meant, since it was in six days that the Lor
heaven and earrh. Yet on rhe sabbath we are forbidden to labour at any
work, ihar is sin, since he who commits sin is a slave io sin, so that, when
present age we have completely fulfilledor works, noi hardening our he
may deserve to reach that true res."'1
It h notclear whether the Lord's day was kept in the early Celtic Chu
Sabbatized way, that is, according to the Old Testament laws. In the ife o
by Muirchu, we are told thar S. Patrick, resting on (he lrrd's day, heard
laborers building earthworks nearby. The sainr forbade them.o work
l-ord's day. In anorher passa8e ofthe same work it is said that "ir was lP
cutome not to travel bet{een vespers of the l,ord' niSht and the daw
second day of the week."1! In Admonant ,, o/Clna, however, we
saint helping wayfaers to be ferried across rhe strait and to be received at
a Sunday. He also refers ro a monk shingon a Sunday with other men."
in thaty' no rhreatagainst violators ofSunday rules, similar to those that
in later documents.

The 'Judaizing Craze"

This attitude .oward e sabbath and to the Sabbatizing ofSunday
considered in the broader settingofa strong current ofinlerest in, and re
for, Judahm and the Old Testament, which Marcel Simon calls 'lhe ju
craze."t t had very deep and ancient rcots, and its powerful attraction

homilies at Antioch in 386 and 387. probably to wan the faithfu

allurements of the synagoSue. He was moved to action by the larg
Christians who had no intention of leaving rhe church but who atte
services not only as observers bur as enthusiastic paticipanis.lG The
was especially exercised because the grearJewish holidays were imm
knew that Christians would find their way u ,r$ to the synagogue
therebecause they believed that theJewish cercmonieswere solemn
fact, another Church Father, Jerome, talks about Christians who
those rituals were holier than rhose of the Christians.{3
The same current reappeared later in some pat3 of the Wesr, w
nuclei ofChristians isolated in time and space who wanted io keep th
observe Jewish precepts at the same time. Many of them Iived in t
ealm. Isidore of Seville speaks of many who ae neither truly Je
Christians.'! Anoiher document informs us that late in the seven
Septimania therewas a disquieting amount of'Judaizing." sThe Vis
were led to enact the death penalty for Christians who practicedJew
Thismustnothave been enforced successfully, sincePope Hadrian I
a letter to the Spanish bishops to complain that nothing was being
Christians who fratenized withJews in pleasures and beliefs." Chri
often speak ofChristians partaking inJewish Sabbath banquets." Th
ofJudaism may have beenbecause many Christianswere convinced
preached far better than the priests.r
The same situation is reporied elsewhere. The anonymous

.ommentary on Deuteronomy fom the middle of the eighth c

Chrsrians who held to the gospel and to theJewish prereprs.', Rab
group to which Fulbert ofchartres (.. 960-1028) also referred in h
The words'Judaizer" and'Judaizing" were used, it is true, very lo
rimes for very minor deviations from orthodoxy. While recognizinS
Blumenkranz, one ofthe leadingauthoritiesin thisdomain, conclude
Judaizing currents by saying, "ln a conscious, deiemined wa
acceptedJewish practices, influenced as.hey were eitherby the read
Testameni alone, or by real contact withJews, above all in observing
rest or in accepting some of the food precepts.",
According to the thirteenth canon of the Council of Frioul in N
held in 796 or 797 there were farmers who kept rhe Sabbarh.!, The
recently converted Bulgarians wrote Pope Nicholas I to ask whethe
top their work on the Sabbah indicates thar the Sabbarh resrwas sril
in that region in ihe temh century.e A council ar rhe end of the n
urged the people to keep Sunday arhr than Sabbath and drew st
against Judaizing.d' The very frequent epririon of the anri-Sabb
Laodicea in medieval councils shows rhe persisrence of Sabbarizing.
The anti-Sabbath attitudeofrhe Wesrern Church was an impor
the Great Schism of 1054.d The fasteners were verv critical of
pra(tice ot las(ing on Sarurdav be(ause ir (onrra!ened the canons
councils. The Wesrerners felt rhat the word of the pope should be
settle that matterand demanded the prompt submissionofrhe Byza

of ludaizins with the lews nd Christianring with the Chrisrians. while S

believers should look upon the Jews and their Sabbath with execraiion
Easterners, Cardinal Humbert wrcte, "chose to observe the Sabbath w
Jews "65 After ihe schism, the patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cer
s role he parrirch ofAn(ioch an a(.ounl of the lragic evenl nd said. "For
commandid also to honor rhe Sabbarh equallr with rhe Lord s day and ro
and not ro work on it."*
The desire to have a Sabbath-type holiday was also affected
ever-inrreasing use o[ rhe Old Tesramenr by lhe churt h itself in its litur
laws. Ir was eas) to draw anlogies betleen lhe Aaronic priesthood a
Carholic hierarchy, the Paschal lamb and the sacrifice of the mass, the P
and Christian Easter. In Gaul and in Spain the Old Testament became a
ptrern lor Lhristran tual."'The influenre wa" not always as obvious
iesrd to the Paschal lmb, qhich was blessed b) (he priesr on Ester D
eaien ar dinner immediarely afler. bul it was reflected in rountless us
Chvdenius has shown it]lnis book Medialnl Intlitutions and th, OA Testam
' This popularity of the old Testament made it the model, as well, fo
ceremonials; especially in Carolingian times. Inasmuch as the Christian
wre considerc to be the proper successors and imitator ofthe Old Tes
kings, ir became customatfoirhe popes, for instance, to addess the Caro
kings as "Novus David."* Thus boih church and state xalted the use oft

The Decalogue as a Bais for Sunday Observae by th Barbria

The decline oflearning that accompanied the victory ofthe barbarian
a qrearer elianre upon the Mosai. Iaw rn general As the new ron
de"veloped their own lesislarion rhey arremptid ro in(lude lhe Bibli(a
Roman law. in their (odes. The turrher lah removes ise
Roman 'h,
law," wrires verdam, "the mor itseekssuppo_tin Mosaiclaw, at le
far as Christianized peoples are concerned "r'This was irue unril the re
Roman law in rhe (selfth nd rhirteenlh (enluries.
Wirh rhat greal influen(e ol the OId TesEmenl pallern rt (ome
surprise rhar rh--e churrh urned to the De(alogue in its efforts to se
obserranceofSunda) by the barbarians. Asking lhe nes ( onveru to keep
day lor worship was nt an eas endeavor. Eien in an an, ienr Christian
suh as Arles ii the sixth century, if we believe the sermons ofCaesariu o
Sundaykeeping left much tobe desired. He describes rhe People who leave
mass i flnishd; he talks of others who still rest on Thursday in h
bui would do any work on the day ofthe Lord." l-ate in the ixth
lpain. Marrin ot Brala also conrrasred rhe zeal of rhe pagan" for rhe
lupiier r'irh the carelessness ot (he Chri\rians.r'
Ahhough reterenres lo Sundat keeping bv rh bdrbrins are rer\
ran see rhat ihurh rrendan( e musr have been extlemely \Parse br (he ex
rhe plr es of $orship and rhe repeated lamenrs ol e(clesiasli( al wri(rs a
our, rhe laymen kere hardly ro blame: Specratrs ol a drama in which th
no ole. wiinesses of banquer ot which rhey are nor Suesr5. rheir inreres( h

hardly follow the service since it was held in a foreign tongue and even
of bringing offerings had been lost. Very few people tookcommunion.
advised them to participate "per tempora" (from time to time).,
England noted the difference between rhe Eastern Church, where ev
tocommuneonSundayunder penaltyof excommunication, and the c
West, where no effort was made to enfore participation.,

Toenforce Sundaykeeping among the barbarians, thechurch use

methods. It enacted ecclesiastical legislarion derived fom the M
enlisted state support of its efforts, and even appealed to rhe supe
.redulry ot (he flock. lt is inreresring to nore lhr as a resuh rhere
gradually a new perspecrive rhar emphasized ourward inrerruption
.rivities rather thn rhe primirive spirirual rest from sin. The ma
developmenr duing the Middle Ages is that the sharp distincrion b
Sabba ard Lord's day faded away, andSundaybecame the Chrisrian
be kept according to the fourth commandmenr.,
The connecrion berween Sunda)keeping and rhe Decalogue rest
established t the Second Council of l\4acon in 585, which iusrified
Testament a strong call for compleie ceasing of work on rhe t-ordt
canons ofrhar ( ounril, Sundar wasexahed as rhe da) when the trd tre
all sins. as rheeternalday ofresr Ioreshdowed by rhe resr ofthe sevent
lw and ihe propher!. For rhar reason, Chrisians should inrerru
activities and spend the day in prayer and rears at rhe nearest chur
A few years later the prohibition ofwork was exrended to all, Ch
non-Christians. Atthe CouncilofNarbonne (589) ir was decided rhar.,a
child or slave, Goth or Roman orSyrian or creek orJew, musr cease fro
ontheDayofrhe [rd. Only one exceplion was (onremplared: an
rrip thar required rhe hitching of rhe oxen: but orheiwise, any
rransgressinS rhe w $ould be punished-rhe Ireeborn b a ne ofsix
slave by one hunded blows.e Thus Sundaybreaking becae a

Il is inreresring to nore lhat civil suppo for (he Sabbararian Su

quicklv. The (anons of rhe Council of Maron were uphetd b) an ed
Gunihram (Nov. 10, 585), which stated clearly that those wh did n
priesrlv exhortations would have ro face rhe severi(v of rhejudges.s,Th
of Narbonne were soon ba.ked by a aw ofChildeberr I I rat bo pro
Sunday work under threar of heavy nes.u

Alongwirh I hese ec( lesiasrjca I a nd civileftons (oenforreSunday o

we musr nor forget rhe effect upon rhe barbarian rribs oflhe rales ot

punshmenrs for rransgresion ofSunday resr. Many of(hose stories w

recorded by Gregory ot Tours (540-59{). He retts us, for insun

Limousin a large grou p ot people working in the 6elds on Sunday were
by fire.s here was also a man who insolently srarred ro plow on undav
hands laere ser solidly ro lhe handle ot rhe plow when he rouched ir
adjusrmenr.& Anorh;r man who neirher rspecred nor feared rhe
Resurrection went ro a grain mill. Atrer griniiing his whear. he rried
hand ottrhe handleotlhe mill bur found rhat hiihand was sru(k ro i
same punishment came ro thar same man again rhe following ye

bead in the oven. even ro a girl who was (ombinS her hair..6
Some were r rippled in the empt ro brek Sunday, Gregory oI Tou
us. The fingers ofa worker who was making a key contracted together an
opened again." The limbs of a woman who was baking bread after su
Saturday night withered away. At Bouryes there was someone whose
became completely deformed because he had tried to fence his freld on S
Even emergencies failed to protect the rransgessors. A man of Bourg
fearcd that rain would spoil his hay went to load it on his cart, but he
burning his leg. After returning home, he tried to resume his labor afie
only to feel his eyes hit by sharp thorns.'g It is by such tales that the san
Sunday was impressed upon the common people.
Sundaykeeping Casuistry alrd Extreme SabbatarianisE

ln the followinS centuries therc developed an ever-increasing c

concerning Sundaykeeping. The prohibitions became more and more
passing. The acts that were prohibited and those that were allowed were
with greater and greater detail. The trend was greatly accelerated
generalization of private confession, which led to the use of penitential b
which sins and penances were carefully catalogued."
By now Sunday had become an institution in iis own righr, a duty r
fom all, since transgression would bing the danger of divine puni
individually and collectively. lndeed, Sunday legislation took an incre
important place in e statutes ofthe barbadan states. The right ofall pe
have Sunday rest was solemnly afErmed and supported by severe punis
fo those who interfered with ii. Even the tasks required from the serfs had
on that day. Feudal lords could not equire them to work in their elds o
thir animals for the canage of goods.'gr As for rhe freemen who pers
transgressed Sunday, in some places they eventually lost their freedo
bcame serfs, for as the Baanrian Laus (7 44) state: "Let him lose his freed
bcome a se ant, since he did not want to be free on the holy day."e
The appeal to the Sabbath comandmert of the Decalogue becam
and more denite. In th e Laus of tlv Abnani (725), we are told that abstentio
physical labor is commanded by human and divine law .s l rhe Baa'aian L
proper way of keeping the first day of the week was, for the 6rst time p
derived directly from the Decalogue. One must not harvest on Sunday no
by chariot or by boat, they declare, because e Lord has said, "You shal
any work, you or your anservant or your maidervant! or your ox,
donkey or any of those under your command."q At the Roman Council
over which Pope Eugene Il presided, it was agreed rhai it is important to
Sunday resr rhrough great threats Iest the people, forgerring the word
miSht enSage in secular activities, since cod made the heavens and the ea
all thar therein is.'5
The Lettr from Heauen enjoyed an immense influence at that time
circulated widely. New and more striking stories of heavenly purishm
Sundaybreake were told. Lists of Sunday hallowings showing the g
Sunday grew longer and longer, not now ro persuade the Jews, but to
Christians the duty io rest on that day. Pirmin, the founder of rhe mona

Lord was created first. It was then that darkness was dpelled and ligh
rhat da) rhe elemenrs of rhe world and rhe angels were (reared. fh
lsrael left Egvpt on Sundy as if ir had gone rhrough a baprism rhrou
Sea. On the same day the manna, the food from heaven, was given
time. lr is concerning that day that the prophei exclaims,'This is rhe
Lord has made,let us rejoice in it.'lt is also on that day that Chrisr was
the dead; ihar rhe Holy Spirit came frcm heaven upon the aposrles
therefore Day of the Lord thai we might absiain from earrhly acriv
indecencies of the world, devoting ou$elves to the divine offrces."$
The extreme limit of Sabbatarianism was reached, perhaps,
where, as we have seen, there was a long tradirion of veneration for
reaching.. A feeling ot rhe unique importance ol Sunda) observance
lrish is reflected in the list ofthe [our laws ol the lrish in rhe Felire
rerghth cenrury). where rhe rule otrhe t-ord s day is inrluded $ilh P
not to kill clerics, Adaman's rule not to slay women, and Daire's rule
oxen." Ir is also interesting to observe ihar rhe Libr ex Lg MoJs;, a
Mosai( (ommands. which may be dared perhaps a5 ear\ as rhe seve
inr ludes several pasrages on rhe imponance nd manner of Sabbihk
Ircland we find also an extraordinary number of accounts of
punishments of Sundaybreakers."

No document expresses better the lrish Sabbararian ideal rh

Donnaig, or l-aw of Sunday, where are found togerher a Leer fro

Sundaykeeping. a group oi mraculous punishmenrs againsr rheconr

the Lctt?r [rcn J su" set\ the ione. lt is (he dramaric ar counr ot rhe se

lerrer. an evenr rhar caused rhe whole ear lh (o (remble trom the rising r
ofthesun. Stones and tees were thrown up inro rhe air, and rhe rornb
opened at that time. Obviously rhe authorwanted rhe readerto place r
the same rank as the Resurrection. For him "whatsoever plague and
come into the world, itis throu8h the transgression ofSunday rhar ir h
With such a beginning we must nor be surprised by rhe supern
that, according to the letter, befall Sundaybreakers. In the fast,
,r./p. whose har il made of pins ol iron. have been knohn lo go
vinevards. rut the bran(hes. nd roll oter rhe fruir. Iron-hinsid
rhrough rhe whel rhev enr ounrer. Ifrhar example i\ not enough.-it is
rearsofblood h ill 6ll rhe eles of rhose rrho hve lorr ed orhers to desecr
day. Whar he supernarural nimals hve left will be destroyed
tempers. hilsrorms, and fling serpents. Pagan invaderr will rome
the wretched sinners and offer them as sacrifices ro their gods.
The daymust be kepr holy notonly because ir is commanded byJ
-bur also
for all the wonderful rhings that have happened on ir. Thin
Lptt? [on Heou.n comes rhe ongesr lisr ofSunday hallowings found
the beginninBofCrearion. he resringofrhe ark on Mounr Arrar. rhe
of rhe rinboh af rer rhe Flood. rher iossingot rhe Red Sea. rhe gitt of
rhe ( onceprion ofJesus in rhe homb of Mrv. rhe bir rh ot Jesus: rhe
rhe Mgi. rhe baprism ot.lesus. rhe feeding ot rhe mulirud, the I ran
rhe rriumphal enrrv. rhe vi( ror y ol Chris;r rhe femprarion.lhehrrt

theTemple, thechangingofwater inrowine,John's vision rharisr

in the book of Revelation, the Resurrecrion, and Peniecost. Sundav wond
not cased, for the day ofjudgment and rhe renewal of all thinls will

Jesus in


The list of prohibited acrivities reminds rhe reader of the detailed

I forbid," sairh rhe Lord. "On Sund
shall be no dispute, oriawsuit, or assembly, or strife, or bargain, or horse
or sweeping the oor of a house. or sharing, or washing. or barhing. or
r lothes. or grinding in millor quern. or cooliing. or.huring. or yar-wea
adultery, or journeying by anyone beyond the border of his own terr
racing, orshooiingwith spearor arow, or ridingon horseorass, orboilin
or swimming, or hose-riding, or splitting firewood, o lgoing on a boar
on water, or anything involving wrong.",'
Very sevee punishmenis are threarened against Sundaybreaker
author of the letter, usually heavy frnes, wirh rhe loss of the animal or
involved on the occasion, or the destnrction ofthe tool used for the transg
A few dispensations are given: geeing before pagans, warning the peop
coming of raiders, going to the help of someone but on rhe conditio
returning before the end of Sunday. lt is lawful to seek someone
Communion, but not to baptize. Animals can be helped, fires fough
protectd from the wolves, cropssaved from plunder, andofcourse, thes
Sabbath regulations. "This is whar

Howeve, the Sabbatarian rrend was not welcome everywhere. The

a Jewish undersran
Sunday: "We who are Christians must not observe the Sabbath accordin
letter. Christians must observe the Sabbath in this manner: by abstaini
dishonesty, fraud, perjuries, blasphemies, and all illicit things."le Th
arritude appeared at the Council of Cloveshore (747), where the cultic sign
of the holy day was'
That laient theological conflict may also have been at rhe roor of
hostile reception given at that rime by the leaders ofthe Franks to the pea
he Leuer fion Heauen. ln the Ad.monio generali: (789), the letter is called "w
most false," not to be believed o read but to be burned, lest by such writ
people might be led into error.'6 lt was condemned also at a synod at

o[ Les Esrinnes r.. 743, rook a srrong srand against


Civil f,aforcement of the Sabbatlrian Sundy

The Carolingian rulers were, just the same, zealous defenders of
keeping. Pepin the Short, Charlemagne, and their successors arrem

enforce Sunday rest. Strangely, the Adnonitia genemli:, which condem

fron HeamL may well mark the triumph of the Sabbatarian Sunday
document we flnd detailed instuctions given in chapter 8l: "We order,
Lord has also prescribed in his law, that no physical work be performed on
of rhe Lord s mv frher ofgood memorv pres( ribed in hi\ synodal edi( is


rhar men should not work in (he 6elds. thar rhey should noi cull

vineyards, or plow in the fields, or harvest the grain or make hay, or erec
or clear foest lands or fell rrees. They must not break srones on road
houses or do garden work. Only three uses of the wagons are permis

emergncy.... Womenshau not do theirweavingeierorcut garmen

ebroider.Itis not allowed for them to card wool, orbeathemporwas
publicly or shear sheep, so that the honor and the rest of the Day ofth
be preserved in every way. kt all go to church for the mystery ofthe
let them praise Cod fo all his blessings on that day."'c
The nissi d.rninici, Charlemagne's representatives, were instru
close attention to the manner in which Sunday was kept everywhere
and the effot only increased duringthe dark years toward the end ofh
813, for instance, the prohibition of servile labor was repeated
reforming synods of Arles, Reims, Mainz, Chalon sur Saone, and
holding of public markets on that day was especially decried becau
people loafed through them rarher than going ro church.".
The same zeal toward stoppingall servile work on Sunday was m
the newly converted ulers. When King Stephan of Hungary a
Christianize his realm in 1016, he issued Sunday edicts. "Ifa priest, ora
or anyone else nds one working on Sunday, let him drive him aw
work. Ifthat man woks with oxen, [the officiau may take the ox and
people for food. Ifhe works wirh a horse,let the horse b confiscated
owner may redeem with an ox, that shall be also given to the people fo
work.s with tools,let those and the garmenrs beconfiscated, which he
with his skin [a floSging]." "' Harsh Sunday legislation was also enac
Knud (died 1035) in Denmark, where Christianity had now triump
Sunday as th Christin Substitute for th Sbbath

Fom a theologrcal standpoint, it is inieresiing io compare a few

the Sabbath from the Carolingian period: chaprer 5l ii he Edwation
(819) by Rabanus Maurus, the learned abbot of Fulda; canon 50 of t
Paris (829); Theodulf of OleanJ Capitub; and ch^prer 26 of rhe
RudolfofBourges, which reveals clearly Theodulls influence.? This
to evaluate some ofthe changes that took plae between Isidoe's time

AII these writinSs ground the origin of Sunday in rhe resurrectio

alljustify its keeping by ihe tradiiion or the custom ofrhe apostles, a
canon of the Parisian synod reveals some doubt concerning this b
rditLr" ("as generally believed"), and by adding, "but very certa
authority of the church." All fou documents bolster the claims

sacredness by to essentially the same Sunday hallowings (

of lighi, the resurrection of Christ, the coming of the Holy Spi t, an

the manna). All four urge cessaiion from secular activities, and they


of the Chrktian institution ove

the Jewish one. Al

references to Sunday hallowings are taken from lsidore, rhe urgingtos

arriviries on thdt day is netr. Ofspecial interesr is rhar lor rhe 6rsr rim
sense a (lear cons(iousness oI a subriturion of Sunday tor Sabba(

justied by the aurhority of (radi(ion rarher an scriprural comma

Beyond these essential agreements, we discovesome interesting
ofemphasis. The passage in Rabanus,copied verbatim from Isidore,
main ideas of the patristic SundaykeepinS, the imponance of spiriiu

the sinful idleness of the Jews and the festal spirir of rhe Chris(ian day.
The canon of the Synod of Paris is preoccupied wirh the geneal des
of the Lords day. It is clearl) a pasroral utreran(e rhar uses borh relig
supersLition. conoining espe(ially numerous rories of mirarulous punis
of Sunday deserrarors. It ppeals to all priesrs. rulers. and lay people
reverence for the l-ord s day.
We find a strong Sabbatizing spirit in the passages ofTheodulfof
and Rudoltot Bourges. Theodulf provides tor some rravel or navigarion
Lord s day if ir does not inrertere rirh churr h arendance. RudolIexpands
a long list of twenty-five speci6c Sabbath aciiviiies on the farm or in the ho
are toially prohibited on Sunday. Both aurhors emphasize thar rhe day
spent in holy activities with family and friends.
The ecclesiastical oriSin of Sunday is unequivocally stated by H

Auxerre (died
by the ancient

. 880)r "The Sabbath day was held very sacred and solemn
dtual;all worL s@pped and all devoted themselves to praye

meals. Thar observation has been transferred most finingly by Christian cu

Sunday because of reverence for e resurrection of the I-ord."'r

Sunset-to-Su4et Celebrtior of Sunday

During e Carolingian period there was also a strong effort to en keeping ofSunday. The Synod ofFrioul (?96 or 797), p

over by ihe patriarch of Aquileia, the friend and the theological ad

Charlemagne, specied in canon 13 that the Lord's day began at nightfall.',
Synod ofRouen, held in the middle ofthe inth century, it was stated very
that holy days had to be celebrated from evening until evening.,,, Practic
same wording is found in the famous Sauo Slnodal, about whose aut
there is much debate but which appears to date from the middle of th

"ktthe priest teach thatSundays and other holidays must be cel

fom eveningurtil evening."""Inthe homily ofRabanus Maurus already c
read, "Leius keep the Day ofthe I-ord and let us hallow it, as the Iawgiver fo
commanded of the Sabbath day: 'From evening unto evening shall ye k
Sabbath.' lt us iherefore be careful that our rest shall not be vain, bu
Sabbath evening unto Sunday evening let us stay away from our work in th
and from all business and let us devote ourselves ro divine worship.""?
It is to that practice of Saturday vespers that we owe a beautiful C
hyrr,n, Htmn f Saturdzr y6rru, by Peter Abelard, the famous scholastic

O what theirjoy and their glory must be,

Those endless Sabbaths the blessed ones see!
Crown for the valiant; to weary ones restt
God shall be all, and in all ever blest.
What ae the Monarch, his court, and his throne?
What are the peace and thejoy that they own?

Tell us, ye blest ones, that in i have share,

If what ye feel ye can fully declare.

"vision of peace," that bringsjoy evermorcl

Wish and fulfillment can severed be ne'er,
Nor the thing prayed for com short of the prayer.
we, where no trouble disiraction can bring,
Safely the anihems of zion shall sing;
While for thy grace, Lord, their voices of praise
Thy blessed people shall evermote raise.
There dawns no Sabbath, no Sabbath is o'er,
Those Sabbathkepers have one and no more;
One and unendinB is thar rriumph song
which to rhe angels and us shalJ belong.
Now in the meanwhile, with hearts raised on high,
We for that country must yearn and must sigh,
Seeking Jerusalem, dear native land,
Through our long exile on Babylon's strand.
Low before Him with our praises we fall,
Of whom, and in whom, and through whom are all;
Of whom, the Fatheri and through whom, the Son;
ln whom, the Spirit, with these ever one.

Suftlay a Ecclesiastical Institution

By the twelf century, Sunday had become quiie fully the churc
for the seventh day. The rest began at sunset and lasted until the nex
secula work was strictly prohibited under stern ecclesiastical and ci
Ior norhing except !eD srringent necessity was allowed to interfere
arrendancC (rhough dispensarions (ould be granled by e(.lesiasrira
This concepr of Su nd aykeeping was spelled our clearlyby rhegrear de
hiscollectionof l234,Cregory Ix. for instnce. collated a derree from
of Mayence from the early part of rh ninth century and a lette
Alexander Iu ro the Archbishop ofTrondheim in Norway teaching
musr bekepr. Although thosewere lo.aldocument. (her acquired a m
authori() when they were included in a major (anonic colle(tion.
The lines that follow from the cano law summaize the fi
Sundaykeeping in the Middle Ages: "We command that all Sund
observed with ihe greatest veneration from sunset until sunset and
abstain frcm any unlawful work. ... Although rhe seventh day hasbee
a very special way to humar rcst by the pa8es of the old and the New

and thechurch has commanded to observe it and the days devoted to

Majesty as well as the birthdays of the holy martyrs by refraining fro
wok, we to whom has been entrusted the rule of the church by the

must make for rhe faithful a fair applicaiion to those things wh

requires. Thus, the Apostolic See comes wirh its usual mercy to the re

the possibiliiy to provide the necessities of food and garment. Knowing

repots ofmany that you region does not abound in fruit and that the se
tradirionally provided you people with much oftheir food has been less ge
than usual, by Pete/s and our or{n authority we grant that except on th
feasis ofthe yeas, your parishioners may devote themselves to 6shingon S
or other holidays, when the herrigs come toward the land because ofthe
necessity ofthe catch ofthose fish. This is granted, however, with rhe rcqui
thar a fair portion ofthe catch be given to nearby churches and to the poo


The theoloSy of the medieval Christian Sunday received its final elab

in the works of the great scholastic theologras of the thirteenth centu

change from the seventh to the frrst day was auihorized by makingthe Sa
Jewish ceremony and the fourth commandment a ceremonial law. This, h
aised the problem ofa ceremonial command in the midst ofthe moral law
Alexander of Hales (died 1245) who attempied to solve thar problem by
the common ground ofSabbath and Sunday in natral law. Alrhough man
b free for communion with God at all rimes Gince he is His creature)
impossible because oftemporal necessities. Thus God claims a specific am
time. God inthe Iaw ofSinai appointed the seventhday, and thechurch ch
day of rhe l-ord's esurrecrion. The command to rest is a command of

hence a moral command that all Christians must obey, while rhe seventh d
Jewish and a ceremonial law that is no longer binding upon Christians.
This new approach to the fourth comandment eflecis a deep ch

Christian thouShr that marks what has been called ihe second feud
Through the Crusades, the increase oftrade, the discovery ofAristotle,
study ofRoman law spurred by the long struggle between papacy and emp
horizon ofmedieval man was gready broadened. A new approach to kno
was developed, based on tust in the rational capaciry of man to disco
secrets ofthe universe. The .rorld is a world oforder, ruled by secondary
cause, ordained by the great frstcause, God. This orderis ihe lI "km
be discovered in all branches oflearninS. Through reason pagans, Mosle
Christians can equally well discoverthatdivineorderin the moral makeup
It is that natural law that prcvides the foundation for all moral systems, al
codes, all social institutions. That natural law is the essence of the Decalog
theefoe, of the Sabbath commandment.''z" Sunday is the practical app
the positive Christian interpretation, ofthe naturaldutyto havecommuni
God, which is recognized by all men.
Thus, we have now arrived at the concept ofSunday as a purely eccle
insrirurion. lr is aculric insritution primarily, and thechurch may deterin
is permissibleand what may notbe done on thatday. Thomas Aquinas ex
thar thoughr very clearly:

"In the New Law the keepingoftheSunday supplants thatofthe Sabb

in virtue ofthe precept of the law, but though detemination by the chu
ihe custom ofthe Christian people. Furthermore this pnctice does not st
figure as did thatofthe Sabbath in the Old Law, and so e prohibition ofw
Sunday is notasstrictas itwas on the sabbath;some works are allowed on
which were forbidden on the sabbath, cooking and the like, for examp

easie in the New Law than in the Old Law, the reason being that a g
to the poclaiming of a truth, no detail of which may be set aside. But

considered absolurely can be changed according to circumstances

Thomas is preoccupied with the problem ofeither why what app
ceemonial command is included in rhe Decalogue or why God did no
also other prescriptions concerning worship such as prayer and d
answes: "Taken in its liieral sense thecomandment to keep the sabb
moral, partly ceremonial. lr is moral in thatman should setaside som
life for concentration upon the things of God. For man is c
predisposed to set aside a portion of his time for every affair of ne
bodily rcfreshment, for example. . . . Wherefore it is in accord with
natural reason that a man reserve some time for spiritual nourishment
aceremonial precepton the grounds that in this commandment a pa
is deterined in order to signify creation. lt is also ceremonial in i*
sense, i.e., asitwasasign ofChrist's repose in thetombon the seventh d
in its moal sense, i.e., as symbolizingdesisting from every act ofsin an
God; in this sense, ioo, it is in a way a general precept. li is also cere
anagogical sense, i.e., as it pregures rest in the enjoymentofGod in
ln Thomas, Augustine's ideas had become joined with the
development of Sunday observance. The spiritual value of Sabbath
with the absolute requirementofrest for the worshiper. By rhe use oft
medieval "four-senses" interpretation ofScriptures, the literal historic
ofe fourth commandment was replaced by the allegorical, the mo
anagogical meanings.r Sabbath, it was asserted, should lead the Chris
ofchrist's rest in the iomb, ofthe moral duty to desist from sin, and o
blessedness in heaven. The bond with Creation had been totally los
By hisdistinction between the way Mosaicjudicial and ceremonia
hadbecome void, Thomas made the literal keepingofthe Sabbath com
a very grievous sin. Thejudicial provisions are dead, he claimed, but n
ule could very proprly revive them in his ierritories. Ceremonial p
on the other hand, arc dead and deadly for those who keep them afte
come, for they are a rejection ofchdsCs sacrifice on the coss.r!
It is interesting toobserve that this new iheological understandin
was soon reflected inJewish-Christian controversies over the Sabbath
ment. ln his rrirm S eriqturatun, orLe of the most comprehensive
manuals ofChristian apologetics against theJews, Paul of Burgos (1
convertedJewish rabbi,justifres rhe Christian discardins of the Sab
reasoningthatthe Sabbath'sbeinga moralcommand, iiis not tied to a
week. Since the original Sabbath was just as much a sign of rede
freedom as a emorial of Creation, he indicates, it is perfectly
Chritians to commemorate the great redemption that they nd in
With Sundayconsideed asan ecclesiastical insiitution, ir was up t
to de6ne the proper way ofkeepingit: and the last step in rhe medieva
developmentofSunday wasmadeby thecasuists, among whom were
Penneforr (died 1275) and Guillaume de Rennes (l3th century). S
attempted to defrne for the faithful what were mortal and what werc

on Sunday? This was not a ortal sin ifit was not done regularly or ifone
take care of necessities. It was a mortal sin if one went because of greed o

market had been forbidden by the bishop. Another example ofa mortal
for students to wriie their lessons on Sunday unless they could no

Such casuistry-this effori ro classify and distinguish what is rig

wrong-is reflected inJohn Huss's commentarieson the fourth commandm

theothercommands, Huss considers the Sabbath pecep

first he shows the general significance ofthe
rest, then he presents its special meaning, and frnally he concludes
discussion of irs deepest value.
The Sabbarh command of the Decalogue urges us first to rememb
Husshastens toshow how vital it is to do so. A woman, he telts us, q,ho forg
joined a processionon aday when she had hadsexual elationswith her h
was publicly dragged and tormenied by the devil. He proceeds to warn
dunks and dancers run a great risk oftransgressing that command, and w
casuist's skill hedefines for us when drunkenness and dancing on Sundays
and when they are not. Then he takes us to a higher tevel, the sanctification
day of rest. He does so ngtively, by poiniing out how the command
brcken in four diffrent ways: by marual work, attending markets,
secular pleasure, and pleading injusrice. He provides a list of works that
jusrified on the day of the Lord.
The third level is the most meaningful to Huss. The command, he d
lls us to contemplate the spirirual realities, an experience that brings three
to the contemplator: spiritual seeds, which normallywouldbe crushed by t
routine, germinate and bloom; secular thoughts become totally insip
worthless;and the hard flesh ihat holds us captive melts away in the light
who is the true Sabbath.
As Sunday became an ecclesiastical instiiution, its signi6cance as the
the Resurrection was blured. Instead, each Sunday was individualiz
dedicaied to some particular feast, most commonly with the Tinity."
otherhand, Saturday became the day ofthe virgin Maryrl'gPeter Damian en
warmly the dedication of Satuday to Mary.! At the Council ofclermont
ir rvas decreed that all Christians should "recite the olnce of the Blessed
every Sabbath day." "' Because the relationship with the Old Testament w
the sunset-io-sunset observance was slowly discarded. ln the fiftenth
Nicholas Siculus (died 1445) expressed the view thai all weekly holidays
beSrn arsunset except Sunday,lest the people mi8htJudaize.'3l BeginningS
at midnight became gneral in the sixteenth century.'"
As he does with all

three differcnt peEpectives.

The Satuday Sabbath

whaiwas the fate ofthe Sabbath as aday ofresrduring the late Middle
ln some documents there ae eferences to the irrri, a popular name

Waldenses, which some have taken as evidence thai they were a Sabbathk This interpretation appears ro b incorrect as far as the sect in ge
concerned. The documents reveal whatthe main grievances against those
were. They took the "conver:satio apostolica" very seriously. They believ

the gospel. When ecclesiastical authorities denied them the right ofpr
gospel, they feh it was a matter ofobeying God ather than men, and

the church.
ln his aack against the Waldenses, Alan of Lille says: "The
Waldenses after their heresiarch, who was named Waldes. He, by th
ofhis own spirit, not seniby God, invented a new sect in that, without
from a prelate, without divine inspiration, without knowledge, wirho
he presumed to preach; a philosopher without thoughr, a prophet w
an apostle without a mission, a teacher without a tutor. . . . [His follow
preach to fill theirbellies rather than rheirmindsand, because they d
work with thei own hands to obtain food, they make the evil cho
withoui employmenr, preachinS falsities so that they may buy food
Alan added the grievance that women were allowed to prea(h
persons resist the Apostle in that they have women with them an
preach in the gatherings of the faithful, although the Aposde say
episde to ihe Corinthians, 'I-et women keep silence in the chuche
Undaunted by the papaloderosrop such practices, the waldens
clandestinity and spread their ideas under the garb ofpilSrims, cobb
harvesters, et cetera." The Waldenses' major crime, in the e
contemporaries, $as insubodinarion. SabbathkeepinBwas not an issu
Bethune in his r'.t7 ,4rrr'l?rrir indicates that they were in agreem
church on the readinS of the gospels, respect for Sunday, and th
fasting and prayer.'*
ln his description ofrhe Waldenses, Peter of Vaux-de-Cernay
that clarifies the name inrrir "But to pass oler many points of th
their errorconsisted chiefly in four thingsr to irir, in the wearinS ofs
rhe apostles; in their refusal, under any circumstances, to swear an
refusall to take life; and in their claim that any one of them in case of
long as he is a sandal wearer, mav perform the sacrament ofthe Eu
ough h may not have been ordained by a bishop."'"
The Latin word for rrdal is sabbatum, the roorofthe Spanish 2
French rrt. The sandals were an outward sign of their being imi
aposrles in lirinB the o oqoltotua nd lhe iuslih.auon ol rheir p
SospI. The wearing ofthe sandals seems to have indicated a certain
the sect, as is also sho$n by Anselm of Alessandria: "Also the sa

among them, whom they call priests, carry only one cloak an
barefooted or wear shoes or sandals cut awav at the top." L*
In view ofthe foregoing, onecan undersrand ehy Pope Innocenr
Durand of Huesca, who had recanred his Waldensian faith, that he
wearingsandalsi "Therefore. we admonish, we advise, we exhort thos
have not yet adopted this fashion or those who shall be associated wi
future not tobind themslves to ecustom ofwearingsandalsopen a
to wear such footgear, so that thus the scandal may enrirely disapp
The Sabbath sas nor ro(allr lorgoren as a day of resr. howev
inreresring ro note rhar inslances ol Sabbrhkeeping occur where th
had preached wirh the greatest success. ln norrhern lraly we nd rh
PassaSini in the tnelfth and the thirreenth cen turies.L,, Their beliefs a

attributed to Praepositinus ofCremona.'t! While the Watdenses tookJesus

sole authority and emphasized the Sermon on the Mount, the Passagini atte
to uphold the whole of rhe OId and the New Testaments. For that reaso
observed the Mosaic precepts, even circumcision and the distiction ofclea
unclean meat5. Because the Sabbath was instituted long before the La
proclaimed on Sinai, they observed that day as their day of rest and wor
In northern France, the secret meetings ofa group of Sabbathkeeper
denounced to the authorities in 1420."'Sixteen or eighteen pesons ofDoua
arrested with the preacher, a an from the nearby town of Valencienne
judged by the tribunalofthe lnquisition for denying thar the Father, the So
the Holy Ghost are one Person; for disrespect ofthe sacraments; for denial
prpetual virginity ofMary;for keepingSaturday as their Sabbath;and fors
thar rhe asses for rhe dead have no value whatsoever. The second folio
collection ofjudgments of heresy records the death of a p est, Henneq
Langle, "forkeeping his Sabbath on Satuday and other reasons." On the la
we are told that the preacher of the group, Beftoul Thurin, was execute
keeping Saturday as his Sabbath."
Was there any relationship between those people and the Boh
"Picards" mentioned in several late medieval and Reformaiion era docume
According to the Suw nrium in|iaa et ?hari:ai&e Pirardorum reons, s
them were Sabbathkeepers. While their real place within the heresies ofth
Middle Ages hasnorbeen fully determined, it is clear thatthey stood very
the Waldenses, whose thirst for rhe conliersaon et'angeliea they sh
According to the accounts of their opponents, they showed litde resp

church authority, explained ihe gospel at private meeiings, and ga

sacraments very differently from the Catholics. They condemned prayers
dead and the teaching of purgatory, and they scoffed at processions and
rraditional rituals. The S urnariun explai,ns also that they omitted the festiv
honor of Mary and the saints, keeping Sunday only. In fact, it added,
celebrate Sabbath with .he Jews." r13 They may well be the "new kind ofJe
whom Erasmus alluded in } De Aabi eeelzsiae eoncodia in 1533 .,\'g
In England the Lollards also insisted on the right oflay people to posse
preach the Word.'' They were followers ofJohn wycliffe, who proclaim
supreme authority of Scripiures, far above rhat of popes, Church Fath
councils. His translation of the Bible into the vernacular, opening the
wriiings to the common people, was considered as a form of blasphemy
ctergy.''' The Lollards did noi manifest the greatest veneration for Sund
Lewis Clifford, a former sympathizer of theirs, gave a report to Arch
Arundel that'lhey did not hold any day as hallowed or holy, not even Sund
thatevery day they were equally free io work, to eat and todrink."r3l we eve
a ecord ofthe recantation in October, 1402, of a man who had already a

several heresies but still maintained that the Sabbath of the Old Testament

be observed until good reason should be shown him to the contrary.'"

Sabbathkeepers were eported in the Scandinavian lands at that ti
Nor-way Bishop Aslak Bolt, in the yea 1435, called together a provincial co
Bergen, inorderto putastopto "Saturday observance," which, hesaid, wa
practiced in a nurnber of places in the land.'r Bishop Bang, a Danish p

ot rhe two hrst (ale.hisms hriren in Nordir roun(ries. ln one o

commandment was worded: Remember to keep rhe seventh day h

the other, "Do not for8et to keep the seventh day holy." t3
There arose a strongJudaizing movement at Novgorod in Russia
ofrhar group is commonly attributed ro rhe reachings ol LithuanianJe
1470 a;d 1475. Be.ause ol their importanre in political and eono
there was a large degree oftolerance for theJews in Muscovy. Thos
quesoned the friniry. rhe elcar I of rhe sa( ramenrs, and the aurh
wrirines ot rhe early Church Fathers On the olher hnd. lhe) a
primair of the Mosi< law, the singleness ol rhe Codhead. and rhe sa
Sabbat. These sserrions broughr abou( a teries ol harsh Per\ecu
orthodox Chuch and the end of the era of tolerarion for the J


As we coclude this chapter, we may say that the history ofthe

l,ord s day durins rhe M iddle Ages i5xlremely inrerestingand tiS
seethe evoluiion ol (e Lord's day from d spirirualresl rorally indepe
Mosaic precept, to a day of physical rest defrned comPletely in term
Testamnt. Sunday, a day that in the beginning had relatively little
became an ecclesiasti(al insrirution proreited by reliSious and , vil s
rhat degree the Sabbarial res( sulvi!ed during rhe Middle Ages.
througour that period rhere tere gtoups ol people who. eirher
examle ofhe Iers or berause ol theit rudy ol rhe S. ripturer. artem
rhe dy rhar leius and rhe apostles had kepr. For ob\ious reasons w
abour iheir numbe' or rheir name. but rheir preseme.hous that

thee wee some who attempted to place the Word of God above the




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dn nbrn . rl7burr, 1q53,, D 190,n 266,'de\e 'o
rr !f,n,d. 194 l05 pp 7 q' thoq
'har 'hc.mDhon
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i6 M& la $s$q8
rDP 11076?3. Rudolf of Bous6 rore: "Conreniendum er sabbab di..m lnin
199), Rudolfo1

956. Pop Nicholas r ako odrd sunselro*uner keping of the t dt
.P/ l l-9:1004'. Str 14:955,
rlo Ko J., "r ;r. p {o Cill'd, or. /, pp 9bt, ob2
,'. crpt tut, am t ta,nn
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.uncnr rn
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Old TsDncnr
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phifolophn'd?t.fopm.i''ru' nd'dl Lr dnd DAaroEu. rd.r!rN
'mpk d. k b^h tirl'd'mry rPa'i!. re6q, pp II{. tts
\. t. t@n6
\t h
su ttvt@7,2.e i21d{ rnId2:r IoosTh;m:rs\c.r..udJd'neronrosundrreeDi
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on rh. !rldenct h\e .o4rrcd rbrod, bu' rhe,e n unlo'u

't .vr.l r.ll.nL audier
d.lRiln I.n Con.r rid Amcdo Moln4, - vus , v
stu d | ld^;. \ol t . blh at altend. oLta Rm ( I u, in. 1974, I(un
;h' ,h
l9r,7r. R. vrnrlli, \x-.ul atr dd n'oL; \ll \Nrn",Iqre,. I D
toruw atb;Nwdttudt
t$ol{m. 19t3, tor'olh, uonsolruuF.' I Gocr,.d.,
diu' rTom P.rli... r9r3)i wTrc' r. w;leheld nd A6un P. E!x^\. Ha^ ol th Htch l
stun* T BlaLd onn Aatuk lNs YorL. 1969).
:rt ir , 04, w.leh;ld nd Ern..,, . PP 2.7,213 jcch,m ot lrr mdr
th. t aL\ ^ S.'nCnner nd Molnr, d. ;, D. tl
fi;rd nd F\n.. a, .. p 219 C,. \p}.n nr Bourbon. r'bM.$,.P 2o9.
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ra,ins.,n P'cr\o rronc,nh ut."



)J{k /rsatr. m nd L!n(,,, d, pp ,40,241. "Th$ ,rll.d 6rd' b

ihdr of shld o
wld.n$n sD,riLul '1. h\r 6ffn ;e.nn. eqn
rhE l,eqaD
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r rqe i7o... rf3.corncrnd lrolnar,@:,r DD.l40,l4l!l6nn.',.'oletthd!
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r0 7'eds untu. in W.leh.ld nd F!n., @. a,, o 571.


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r' om oi rh. Crufu'lor !.,ona n .134 nd l.n 'n lr ol hc,eiel b Pope Nnhok I
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Cirz, I v/5

(l{hm, l974r,pp {q6.i06






Sabbatb and Sunday



Reformation Era

I<eiEth A. Strand

t- Rel"rmarion Er inherired r he r eliSious rrddirions and pra( ri e

Mddle Ages. bur in reflin respect" the Proresranr Relormer
significant changes. With regard to the chief weekly day for Christian
sewices, such major Reformers as Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin contin
pattern ofSunday observance, though with changes in rationale for kee
day and in attitude toward abstinence from work. Certain Reformation
however, moved further away from medieval tradition by everting to the
pattern ofobserving the seventh day of the week (Saturday) as the Sabbat
Lod. on the other hand, some Reformers tended to retain a good dea
medieval "Sabbatarian:' attitude bward Sunday.
The present chapter will provide a brief overview of Sabbathattitudes, disussions, and practices during the Reforation Era. Tre
herein will be limid to the Europan continent, inasmuch as a later cha
deal with the Sabba and Surday in connection with the English Refor


Sabba nd Surday in Gennny and Northern Switzerlrd

As noted in the preceding chapter, medieval Roman Catholicism

forth a twofold basis for weekly Sunday observancer namely, (1) that the
commandment ofthe Decalogue was still fully binding on Christians, and
the day ofthe week for such observance (which included refraining from
work) had been transfered from Saturday to Sunday by the authority
Caiholic Chuch.' (This line of arguent, incidentally, received sig
Catholic reaffirmation du ng e Reformatior Era itselfby the Counte
mation Council ofTent, which concluded its wok in 1563.)'
ln general, the major Protestant Reformers, including Martin Luther
colleagues at wittenberg, broke quite radically with this Roman Catholic
basis for Sunday observance. In their emphasis on salvation through faith
their rejection of religious legalism, the Reformers quite naturally te

remove the medieval "Sabbatarian"

Sunday observance. They also quite nalurally reje((ed. oi (ourse. th

their own practi.e of observing Sunday for worshiP servi(es was in

creation oi the Roman Catholic Chur(h.'

Lurher, as earlv as 1520 in his famous Addtss to the Chtitn N
Cmon Naion. expiicirlv encouraqed a redurlion in the numerous
and lesrival dals iirherited trom edierat Catholirim. slatng rhat
should be abolshed, and Sunday alone rctained "' His mention of S
e\.eprion is siqnicant, and rhe GeIman Reformer ronrinued thro
careir ro ieel rh"r Sunday ws usefulas the main weetly day for Chris(i
His ttirude in rhis respct. howe,er. was nor based on any beliet (hat
especially appoinred br God as rhe day lor rhis purpose. Alrhoush
one liie another. he once declared. it is nevefhe
f.e and
cood, nd necessary lo observr one. be it Sabbalh Sunda) or anv

wanti ro rule (he world orderly and peacetully. ' I

enoush. he followed up this srarement with a reference to l
romrandmenr in the Dec;losue, indicaring thal Cod gavesixdayso
bur rouired rest tor servanta and even for Borkinq animls on Ihe \

ecause God

I n various ol his wrinqs Luther also had good deal ro say abour
of th Old Teramenr and;bour rhe Sabbalh .mmandment irself'
that the dav on which Adam and God's children in Old Tetamen
resred was he seventh day of the week, the day now called Saturda
Adam had keDt the Sabba(h as a dav lor lefle(tion on rhe works of
bestowins hoiror on rhe Creator; and alter the Fall he (onlinued
Abraham" kepr it too. Indeed, the Decalogue itself was Pre'Mosair
'those cerembnials that penain lo de6nile person bring Mosai(.r B
enough. in polemical coirtexr Lurher could also classifv both rhe ba
and the Sabbath commandent as ceremonial.'g
Ir addition to believing ihar God's children in Old Testaen
lirerallt observed the Sabbah on each seventh dav ofrhe week, Lulh
ofrhe sevenrh-day Sabbath as a pre6grarion ot irher e(erni(v ilselt
"sleeping" prior to the eternal age (paBerned afterChrist's restingin
the S;bb;rir and esurrection on Sunday). Prior to this were six age
rake rhe world from Adam lo the second coming ot Chrisl.0 How
66:23- from one ne\, moon to ano(her, and from one sabbth to a
all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord"-receives allego
different sort. This means, says Luther, that "therc shallbe a daily s
New Testament, with no difference as to iime." "
wirh respe.t ro rhe Sabbath commandment itself, it appears
looked upon ii as having both moraland ceremonial aspects-Cod s
rest bing moral, and the specific day ofthe week being ceremonial. I
was able io iusrify his posrion thar Christians could keep any day.ju
they did ketp one. Quite empharirall) in sermon at Torgau in
explained. Since our l,otd has (ome. we have (he liberry, il Sabbar
dois not please us, ro take Monday or anolherda) ofthe seel and ma
out of it.",, Moreover, Luther felt that the observance must be
nonlegalistic manner.
Undoubtedly, Luther's position regarding Sabbath and Sunday


position may be seen aong them. Luther's close associate Philip Mela
for example, stressed the concept that the Sabbath commandmen
Decalogue was ordained ofGod to provide for peachingand public wors
in rhis respect it was a commandment binding on all men.r! This p
purpose or intent ofthe Sabbath commandment, he felt, was still fully a
ro Chrisrians; bui the rp ecifie day desigtated in the commandment (rhe sev
of the week) petained, in his opinion, only to ancient Israel, with Christ
observing Sunday instead. Thus, Melanchthon somewhat heighrened
irearment of rhe Sabbath commandment.
Luther's older colleague Andreas Carlstadt of Bodenstein also he
Luther's emphasis on keeping the Sabbath commandmenr.'' Carlstad
treatise on the subjecr, Coruerning the Sabbath and Conmantud Ho\ Days, a
in 1524, rwo years after a breach had occued between him and Luther.
poriion of this treatise deals with the nature of the Sabbath and the m
Sabbath observance, and includes a protest against such activities as
entertainment,joy riding, normal menial tasks (forexample, acookt ligh

fire), and making horses and oxen work on the Sabbath. Finally. in t
chapter Carlstadt raises the question of the proper day to keep. He
Sunday as a day "which men have established"; and as for the seventh d
week, Saturday, he simply indicates that this is a disputed question.r!
lnterestingly enough, Lu.her responded in ihe following way to C
briel and rrher noncommirrl div ussion ol rhe proper day:
qere to wrire more about the sabbrh. even Sunday kould hve ro give
the sabbarh, thatis, Saturday, would becelebrated. He would truly make u
all things, so that we also would have ro be circumcised, etc." "
This type of reaction was also displayed by Luther toward real
keepes wh appeared in such places as Moravia and Austia He
example, "In ou time there arose in Moravia a foolish kind of pe
Sabbaiarians, who maintain that the Sabbath must beobserved afrer the f
rhe.lel{s. Perhaps they will insist on cicumcision too, for a like r
Som;how, the Grman Reformer rended to classify any Christian emp
Sarurdayobsenan(eds paol reversion roaJudaisrir wayof life, wh
ras wirh re.pecr to Chr islin Sbbarhkeeping groups of $'hi.h he had
whether ir ws wirh regard lo suspi(ions abour his uwn tormer clo.e.
In rorthern switzerland at Zurich, Huldreich Zwinsli (1484-1531) f
refom program from 1519 onward. His attitude toward Sunday was qui
to that of Luther.' At approximately the same rime Martir Bucer (149
who advanced the Reformation cause in Strassburg ir southwestern
hirh an arirude generalb more roleranr rhn rheorher(onlemPorary Re
pla(ed a rrange emphsis on sri(t Sundav obser\an(e-an emPhsis
reminiscent, in fact, of Roman Catholic practice in this regad.r'q
Indeed, Bucer went so far as to state, "It must be a matter ofspecial
forthose whowish the Kingdom ofChrisr tobe restored among them tha
religious observance be renewed and established." 10 As for the manerof
"religious days singularly consecrated to God" (Sunday was, of course,
intended), Bucerdeclared that"noone listo]do unnecessary corporal w


works of the flesh." Among these "works of rhe flesh" were such a
"making shameful gains, disturbing the religious spiritofbrethren by d
repaymentofdebts," et cetera. Sports and otherpersonal pleasures wer

Furthermore, in November of 1532, Buce and his colleagues we

to requeslfrom the civil aurhorities in Strassburg that on Sundays an in
be placed on all works beyond those strictly necessary for bodily need

ihe city adopted an ordinance in this regard. sanctioned by heav

Before concluding our discussion of Bucer, we should add that in
of his emphasis on stricr Sunday obsevance, this Reformer had wr
commentary on Matthew 12 that it was a "superstition" to condem
Sunday as being sin-a statement that seems puzzling in view ofhis oth
and especially in view of his efforts toward politically enforce
"Sabbatarianism."'r In any event, it appears evident that among r
Protestant Reformers on the European contiet,\ atiitude isa
akin to that of the later strict Puritan Sabbatarians in England. who
have drawn from him in rhis respect.

The Question of Sabbath and Sunday in Southw$tern Switz

The Protestant reform movement swept southwestern Swiizer
two decadesafierits appearance in Wittenberg, Zurich, and Strassburg
reform cenrer in this region was Geneva, and the chief reform leade
Calvin (1509-1564). Calvin's reform career in Geneva spanned the
1536 to 1564, with an inreim spent in Strassburg from 1538 to 154
Ealier in the 1530s the Reformatir)n had been carried to rhe
regions ofSwirzerland from the Protestant canton ofBern. lr'ith Cuilla
being among the 6rst preachers to evangelize Geneva. By May of 15
had declared itself Protestant, and it was but two months later that F
Calvin to help him organize the religious institutions there. Before tu
analysis of Calvin\ own Sabbaih-Sunday attitude. it will be well to no
discussions involving Farel and other Proiestant preaches who ha
Calvin to Geneva, such as Pierre Viret and Jacques Bernard.
One of the methods utilized by che Protestant Reformers in spr
gospel was that of public debate, called "disputation." Inreresringly
severalofthedisputations in Geneva and neighboring Lausanne, the q
raised asto whetherthe Protestants were consisient in worshipingon S
rejecting orher institutions claimed by the Catholic Church, as has e
(dlled ro allenrion bv Daniel Aug\burBer.,'
In 1534, for example, there was a disputation between Farel and
Dominican monk, Guy Furbity, a doctor ofthe Sorbonne.'6 When rhe
representatives stated that man could not introduce any ordinanc
church, Frbity responded that God ordered theJews to keep Sarurda
church through the power given to her has changed Saturday in
because of the resurrection of the Lord." He added rhar "we celebra
bause o[ a commandmenl and lw oi rhe,hurch, no be(a
commandrnent of cod," and that a person following cod' comma

equally sacred, and that Chistians rest on Sunday to hear God's word an
rest to their nei8hbor. To this, the Dominican monk replied that if the ke
one day in seven were sufficient, a person could rest on any day ofthe we
rhe reslrbeingdreadful confusion. And once again he emphasized that t
speciies the keeping ofSaturday, with Sunday observance bein8 based s
the aurhority of the Caiholic Church.3
Duing May andJune of 1535, a further disputation was held in w
Catholic representatives Pierre Caroli andJean Chappuis debated the Pr
leaders Farel, Viret, and Bernard.aThe line ofargumentation relaiing to
and Sunday was basically similar ro that used in the earlier debare,
Proiestantsentered a further point to the effect ihairestingon the seventh
which in this instance they meanr Sunday) was, to use Augsburger's Par

command of the church rhan are the words of someon

caser. rhey claimed, there has human needr and thus, in rhe ense o
concerns, both could be considered commandments of Needles
such an analogy had lirtle weight with the Catholic opponents in view
Relormers'oherwise strong appeal to Sold SiPtura.
A stiU tunher disputa(ion in whi( h rhe Sabbarh-Sundar question wa
was held in the city of lnusanne in October of 1536, afterCalvin hadjoin
in reformation work in Geneva.'" Farel was again central in the debate f
Protestant side, and he was assisted by Viret. A Dominican monk, Domin
Monbouson, held foth for the Catholics. tn a portion of the debate durin
Viret was represerting the Protestant side, the question arose as to
Protestants observed Sunday rather than the Saturday Sabbath, if it w
because the Catholic Church had authority to make an ordinance bey
outside Scripture. Said Dominique de Morbouson, "If you refuse to m
change in Scripture and must stop at the words and the le.te [ofScriptu
ought !o keep Sabbath like theJews!"r
Viret respondedby endeavorin8to prove that Sunday observance w

6nalanalysis drawn from a Biblicalbase. But as Augsburger has aptly poin

"Viret had asserted that spiritual observation was more important than
observation and that practical consideration (need of time to assemble t
duty to provide rest for the labo) could be taken into account in jus

pratice that

did not agree fully with the words of the law"r'Th

imonsisren, y in rhis kindol an approa(h.s Aug"burgerhas turther poin

lor "when ir .ame ro imges, ior instani e. which the delenders of Rome


mens ro ( ommuni( are some reliSious nolions (o rhe unedur aed People
when ir involved the fasts and Lent which were iniended to curb sensua

obie(ted "
The rhree disputarions do nor indi(are an) observnce of (he se!
Sabbath on either side, ofcourse;bur they do give evidence ofan interest

raised by rhe Catholics s to whether the Protestants were really being c

when thiy observed Sunday and rejected orher festivals claimed on the a

of the Catholic Church.

We now come directly to a consideration of the attitude of Joh

had already claried his basic position regarding the two days in the r
his Instures of the Chrktian Relian, published in Basel in rhe spring of
he set forth three basic considerations with regard to the Sabbath com
(l) the Sabbath is a moral institution vitally si8nifrcani for spiriiual gro
rhe anchor fo public worship; (3) it has great social value in guantee

servants. As Augsburyer has pointed out, "these three ideas co

structure ofcalvin's ought on the Sabbath. ln Iater works we ma
expositions, slight shifts in emphasis, efforts to meet objections, b
altered these essential viewpoints."v
In his early work Calvin, much like Luther, emphasized that ec
pariicular day was rarher unimportant. But even after Calvint close
with Bucer in Strassburg from 1538 to 154I, he continued a similar a
example, in his commentary on Colossians 2:16 (written some five

afte his return from Strassburg to Geneva) he states that "r/e do notb
observe days, as though there were any sacredness in holy days, or
r/ere not lawful to work on them," adding that the observance "
government and order, not for the days."r^
Although Calvin had a good deal to sayatvarious times rhroughou
aboui Sabbaih (or Sunday) obsrvance, we must come quickly io w
considered the Genevan Reformer's denitive treatment of the que
1559 edition of the Here he reiteates, rhough with sl
emphasis, the three basic considerations he first ser forrh in 1536.s
however, that there is no connection between the Sabbath commandm
observance of the Christian Sunday. Thus he rejected the views
Catholic scholastic theologians and Luther regarding a moral versus a
distinction in that commandmnt as laying the foundation fo ob
another day than Saturday."

Even though a Sabbatarian type of Sunday obsevance was

opinion, going "thrice as fa as ihe Jews in the gross and carnal su
sabbatism,"'i the Geneva Reformer nevertheless also indicated, as h
commentary on Colossians, the need for observance ofdiscipline an
has apdy sumed up his position as follows:
"It was not, howevr, without a reason that rhe early Christians
what we call the Lord's day for the Sabbath. The resurrcction ofour
the end and accomplishment ofthat true rest which the ancient Sabb
thisday, by which types were abolished, serves to warn Christians agai
to a shadonv ceremonv. I do nor cling so ro rhe number seren as
.hur.h under bondage ro ir. nor do t condemn rhur(hes tor h
meerings on other solemn days, provided they guard againsr super
ihey will do if they employ those days merely for the observance ofdis
regular order."r
Anabaptists and the Sabbath

We now turn to the so-called "Radical Reformation." in con

agisrerial reform parties. Our arrention goes espcially ro rhe Anab
for the most part used Sunday as their weekly day ofworship, but a
were groups observing the seventh day ofthe week, Saturday. The b

F. Hasel.'

The Anabaptists consisted of many groups scattered widely throug

furopean continent, and were given their name by theirenemies becau
beliefin adult baptism. Actuallythe Anabaptistsdid notconsider themsel
"rebaptizerl' (as the term "Anabaptists" signifres), for they simply did n
infant baptism as being any baptism at all. As to their oiher beliefs and p
these varied from group to group. For the most parr, the Anabaptists s
have been pacifistic, but a few segments took up the sword and created
that gave the Anabaptist name undue and generally ill-deserved noto
fn several lisrs ol secs comprled bolh by Crholirs and bt Proresran
laller half of rhe sixreenth (entur), Sbbatarin Anbaprhls lobse
Saturday) are mentioned amongothe groups. Such Sabbatarians certa
not in the majority ofAnabaptists, but they were still sufiently nume
well enou8h known to be noted by compilers oflists ofsects and by wri
produced polemical works against them.'6
Among rhe earll leaders of sabbararian AnabPrisrs. rhe nme. o
GlairndAndreasFn.hersrndoul prom,nenrl).Abour l527and 1528
individuals accepted Sarurday as being the Lord's Sabbaih. They rravel
considerably, but one of their chiefcenters as ar Nikolsburg ir Mora
Glait and Fischer wrote books regarding the Sabbath, but unfortunat
books are no longe extant. Nevertheless, we are able to determine
content of those books from answers given by iheir opponents
The mosr sgni(anr source tor dererminin8 Glail s sabbrh dot
chil,f areumenr for rhe,ieressiry ol keeping rhe sevenrh da as rh Sabbar
Decalosue ir"elt. Says S.hwenkteld. fhe srrongesr argumenr of Oswald
the nuber otlhe fen Commandmenrs. . . . He holds n re\ rhe tho
God did notgive eiBht or nine but ten commandment, which he want
to keep." Moreovir, according to Schwenkfeld, Glait 'wants to
undersiood thai eirher the Sabbath must be kept too or. all the ot
commandmenis must be rejected.-{
The following are among several further points of interest thar e
Schwenkfeldt response ro Glait: (1) Glait believed thar the Sabbath
commanded and iept from Creation, with God's having commanded
Paradise to celebare the Sabbath; (2) Glai felr thai although circumcisi
with Abraham, .he Sabbath and other laws existed from the beginnin
lvorld; (3) Glait further believed that the children of Israel's keepin
Sabbath earlier than at Sinai, as evidenced in Exodus 16, was proof
Sabbath did not originate at Sinai.l'
With regard to Fischer, knowledge of his Sabbatarian docrine i
mainly from a polemical teatise against it writien by Valentine Cra
Cruruald, in lair. relers ro some sixteen poinrs b) Fischer rhar he end
Ba.ically. rhe line of Fischer's argumenr Soes \omewhar like
are ten covenant words thar include the Sabbath,
the Sabbath is not kept, one breaks ihe commandments of Cod M
prophets, and the New Testament command the observance of
Commandments, and therefore ihe Sabbath is included. When the law is


establishes the law, and therefore it also esrablishes rhe Sabbath.

other aposdes held meetings on the Sabbath; and Christ, the aposde
earlv Chrrch Farhers kept rhe Sabbarh hol1. Pope Vi.ror a
Constan(ine were (he firsr ro order rhat Sunday should be ke
Commandment! are eiernal.
Fischer's eleventh point is especially worth noting because of
reflection on Scripture evidence: "The Scriptures speak so ofte
Sabbath; if I would have as many texts and passages atout Sunday
about Sabbath, I would keep Sunday instad of Sabbarh."ll
ln concludinS, it would be well to quote here Hasel's sumar
regarding Glait and Fischer: "Because ofrhe narure of the sources, a
of the Sabbatarian teachings of clait and Fischer is mosr difficuh.
however, tha both leaders ol Sabbaurian Anabaptism based rher
the (oh
prin( iple of rhe Refor mers. l( is. therefore. nor su
'.rrr approach provided rhem wi(h a powertul basis o
(his Reformaon
tion and that their proclamaiion ofSabbaraianism met wirh consider
Both men regarded the Old and Neu, Testarnents as inseparable an
ln is view they were far in advance oftheir rime. Biblical scholars h
decades more and more recognized t}lis inherenr
fhere is clo
'rnily.and Fis(her.
of thoughr and presenra(ion in (he reachings of Clair
expected otpropaSarors who associated together. uniring lheirelfor(5
missionary a.iiviry, and who through circumsrances wer torce
rogether rheir Sabbataranism. il

The Seventh-Day Sabbath in Spain

Reform movements in Spain unfortunately have received re

arieniion, taking a subodinate place to the more dramaric and
Reformaiion acrivities to the norrh. However, in 1972 Mado Velos
light some truly inrriguing aspects of the Reformation in Seville.!!

Refomers to whom Veloso calls atteniion is Constantino Ponce de la

attended the universities of Alcala and Seville and subsequently b
famous as a peacher. To his preaching fame, which h had achieved
added distinction as a writer during the 1540s. In 1548 he was invir
Philip to serve as chaplain for a trip of rhai prince throughout var
Eurcpe. ll was not until 1555 that Constanrino returned ro Seville, w
almosi immediately auacked by inquisitorial forces. He finally died

February, 1560.
As Veloso points out, Constantino was a representarive of an
reformation, rather than having connecrions wirh Lurheranism. He
Iearned his doctrine from rwo earlier Spaniards. Valer nd E
interesting to nore (har even while Consrnrino ws on rrial nd
imprisonment, the staunchly anti-Lutheran Emperor Charles V ras
to him." The paflicular spect of Constanrino s docrrine lhar intere
his atiitude toward Sabbaihkeeping. This falls wirhin rhe fame
theTen Commndmentsif youdo nor wish robeanenem) otC,od.
as Veloso points out, to Constantino perfection was possible fo r

In Constantino's own words, "works are only pieces and leftovers ofthe r
Jesus Christ, and all is attdbuted to Him and hai value though Him, and
do we ou our trust-"'r
Ndr onlv did Consonrino de( lare rhe impor(ance of obedien( e ro t

Commandm'ents lest*e "be an enemy ofGod,"'bur he specificalty pointed

observance ofSaturday was parr of that obedience to th Decalogue. And
exolained the Sabbarh .ommandment and the meaning ot servile wo
shuld nor be done on rhe sabbrh day. Servile hork, he sres, is rhe kind i
"one works or causes another to wor( corporally, withour being necessar

charitable purposes." This work, he continues, was forbidden by G

Sarurday, nor that at ihe tim ofthe givingofthe Decalogue such work wa
iiself. nor rhar "it should be so now; bui that man should frnd
unencumkred for the true spiritual sancticarion ol the holy day."5'
Regading the signifrcance ofCod's insritutinS ofthe Sabbath, Cons
declares that "God appointed a stated day to be offered to Himself as a d
which, unencumbered by other cares man should offer, inwardly and out
acknowledgement to the l,ord who created him, who sustains him in this
and who hai promised him great and eternal benet5." Theday, says Cons
is one in which according to Godt provkion "man should meei wit
membes ofthe church where he should be as a livin8 evidence that he, t
wirh them, givs tribute lto God] with the same kind of obedierce as th
Constaritino's references specifically to the Saturday Sabbarh are from
his woks relerred to by Veloso. The references are briefbut nonetheless
Itappears thatConstantino planned to elaborateon the Sabbath in a later
work that apparently was never produced or published '
In summarizing the ihrust of Constantino s remarks on the S
Sabbath, Veloso has aptly stated: "These references to Sabbath-keepin8
sevenrh d) seem to b; unique mong lhe mior rheologians ol rhe Refo
nd impl) (oncepr ol rhe Sabbath rhar did nor de\elop lo an) Srear exre
rhe risiol the Sabbrarian Anabaprrsrs. he Seventh Day Baprisr\' and e
in the nineteenth century. the Seventh-day Adventists.""'

Other Sabbathkeepers in the Reformation Era

Although space will not permit a survey of all European Sabbathk
groups in evidence during the Reformation Era, at least brief notice sh
inadofthe fact that observers ofSaturday sprang upquile widely through
Coniinent, and a few illustrations will be given relating to such groups.6
As one example. in I ransllrni row;rd he end;t the sixieen(h
Andrd5 L$i. a'wealthy nobleman influemed b Judi\rir reachrnS.
Francis Dvid, inaugurated Sabbath movement.6! Essibegan intensive p
tudy ofScripture after the death ofhis wife and two sons,and among con
rha he eained Irom thi: sud) ws rhr Sdrurda), Ihe sevenr h day ot rhe se
God s rrue Sabbath day. Through wrilrng and orher ronra( rs he I aied up
number ofconverts who were observing the Saturday Sabbath by the last
of the century.
Although t-rri himselt died bour 1600. ome promrnenr .ola
includrng S"rmon Pe(hi. n adopred son. (onlrnued ro piomulgate rhe

century, Pechi himself advanced politically undl he became chance

but lossoffavorled him to an imprisonment. During some nine years
devoted time to preparation of a commentary on Genesis and to c
numberofhymns, many ofwhich specifically honored the seventh-da
Apparently, attersevere pressure in I638 and I639, he eventually re
Sabbath observance, at least outwardly.'^
In spite ofthe fact that various persecutions were inaugurated a
Transvlvanian Sabbathkeeperr thcy undersenr various severe p
beginning about the year 1595), their number at 6rst increased. In 1
reformed bishop with 300 soldiers attacked lhe Sabbatarians and ar
ministers, some twenty-two of ther church buildings were connscare
numbr ot church buildings rhus (onscated . as J. \. Andre\
Conradi aptly note, "an evidence ol the extent ofthe Sabbath movem
region of Transylvania (the Szekler district)."'
From about 1538 to 15,10, stern measures against the Sabb
including con6scation of personal property and imprisonment
virtually destroyed their existence in Transllvania, though som
these Sabbathkeeping Christinns (ontinued on. In faci, one rnigh
there had been somewha( of a resurgence of Sabbath observance by
Prince Apafy at the Besztercze Diet in January of'tht year com
through secret devices," 'Judaism (the reference was apparenrly
Sabbatarianism) was daily increasing. In any event, however, interro
years later revealed only six Sabbatarian towns-a considerable red
earlier times."r
The persecu(ions, especially those ol 1638-1640,
had the efTect o
the Transylvanian Sabbatarian influence beyond
Sabbatarians managed to escape and carried their docrrines and
distant places, including Conslantinople. Moreover, the Sabbalarian
such Ieaders as Essi and Pchi apparently spread far and uide. Fo
copy of Pechit Genesis commentary of 1634 had reached Maros-V
Hungay, where it was personally seen b,t Conradi in the year 189
ln Norway, Finland, and S$rden therc were also extensive
observers ofthe Saturday Sabbath."' Evidence is available ofsu.h gro
rhe lare Mddle Agrs rhrough rhe a(rion ol'Catholrr c,uncrls g
including the councils held in Bergen, Noway, in 1435 and in Oslo (
Norway. the follo{ing year.-l'hese counrils lbrbade abstention fro
Saturday.)" lt appears that in the early ycrs ol the sixteenth century
Protestant Reformation reached Scandinavia. there*eetuo kindsol
olthe Saturday Sabbath in Norway---{ne whercin Roman Catholic pr
the common people to hallow Saturdays in a lshtun similar to Sun
penaliy ofEne to the bishop, and another kind thar was ourlawed by
Church.'' Possibly the differenc involved rarying ecclesiasrical
different geographical locations more than it did any sigDifi.anr dv
practice, but this we cannot tell for certain from the do.umenr hat s
required Sabbath obseance. -Ihat documen( unforrunately is only f
and obscure, but it at least alets Ls to the curious fact that somewher
in rhe earh sixreenth (enury rhere were Ronran Carholi( urho'ni

Further evidence regarding Sabbath observance in Norway comes fr

period after Lutheranism reached Scandinavia. There is, forexample, an
Chistophe Huitfeldr, "lord of Bergen, Stavanger, and Vadoe," date

which amongoiher rhings refers to the fact that"someofyou, especially in

in Sogn. contrar) lo rhe warning given )ou last )ear, keep sarurdav H
impoied a 6ne ot ren mrk\ on anyone found keePing Sarurday."

A decade larer, in 1554. eviden(e ot Saturdal observn, e in Fin

afforded through a letter ofSwedish King Gustavus I vasa, who had fosre
L,rheran Reforrnation in his lands. which included Fir and as well as Swe
rhis leiier he earnestly commands that any of these folk in Finland who hav
into what he calls "such error" should forsake it immediarely."
The mainevidence regarding observance of the saturday Sabbath in S
arises somewhat later, toward the end of the sixteenth century and in th


ppears ro have been in Swed'en ar rhis rime to (tpes otsabbarh obser!a

hd been the case in Norway about acentury earlier. But whereas the sPe
Norsa) dre unrlear. rhe type: in Sweden are quile (letly distinguish

ludai.ric Sabbarhkeeprng ron rhe parr ofron\ers toJudaismt and a ge

ahrisiian Saturday observance. The latter frequently, but not necessarily
entailed a continuing observance ofsunday as well.'; KingGustavus lt Ad
(died 1632) was especiauy forceful in hk activity aSainsr Sabbathkeeper
In addition o transylvaniaand the Nordic cou niries, there are evide
observance of the Saturday Sabbath from the Netherlands, France, Russ
elseu here in Europe. as Andrews nd Conr adi Poinr our '?3 Hote\er ' ir h
borne in mind r har in some cases the Sabbathleeping may ha\e been on lhe
Iehs or Chrisrian converts to ludaism rrhel lhn by Chrr"tians them
l\evetheless, rhar there wa5 indeed Crlr/, observnce of Saturda) by
spread widely throughout all sections of Europe seems clear from the s
nd itmaybe notedthatin England, as lreuason theContinent, there r'r'e
who obseived this day durg the sixteenth century, prior to the
Sabbrhkeepers, sho will be rreared in rhe nexr chaPter."
Ir musinor be ssumed, howevet, rhr rhe people who lepr sarurdr

ot rhem. -l he medval rradirion ot Sundal as rhe day tor Christian
coninued rhroughout Chri\tin Europe as lhe main one observed by Pr
groups as wella;by Roman Clholi(s. Ho$e\er. il is interesling o nole

mani pla, es, sible communions ol sincere Chr ilrins who had 5rudied S(
tairhfully did decide ro honor rheir Lord on Ihe sevenrh day- utrhe week
they feli that this was in harmony with God's command.

We have nos ter) quirkly rra.ed (he queson ot Sbba(h and Sunda
Retormarion Er. Bsi,lly. rhe mtor Proieqranr Relormers conrinued r

the day of worship hallowed by the Roman Catholic Church through

Middle Ages. Hoserer. in rheir ellort to avoid legalism, nd sith hei
empharis n iusticarion b) tairh. rhe major Relormers rended to (hr dw
anylhing lik a "sabbatarian" approach to Sunday observance. In fact,

be observed,jusr so long as one day in seven was st aside for spe

purposes. Marn Bucer seems to have been anexcepdon in that he t
a "Sabbatarian" emphasis to Sundaykeeping. Such an emphasis did
vogue as a widespread Protestant pactice until taken up by certai

England during the seventeenth century, a matter treated in chap

The Proiestant Refomers in southwestern Switzerland ac

themselves in somewhat of a dilemrna when facing their Ro

adversaries on the matter of Sunday observance. In several di
Genevaand l-ausanne th Roman Catholic representatives chided t
with inconsistency for rejecting Catholic ceremonies in general, rvhi
Sunday as a weekly day for worship serlices.
However, there were certain Reformarion Era Christians who e
go beyond the major Reformers in eform measures taken. These
Anabaptists, among whom were at least some Saturday-obser
Adherents of the Saturday Sabbath included alsoanimportant Span
of Seville, Constantino Ponce de la Fuentei and Saturday-observin
although always in the minority durin8 the Reformation fra, werea
numerous among various groups. Moreover, such Sabbathkeepe
widely. dispersed throughout Europe in the sixteenth and arly

kh,ln norrorh\
D. tr .linol r{
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.d bv A.n7s., B'urh., 1947'
? ro' ( sion of" r h. T}rd (mm.ndm.n'' rfou'rh iumruNtn ,R It t tuh

3tr.362 in th Aahinnr..d. 1329,

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Tbe Sabbatb

in Puritanism

Walter B. Douglas

HE controversies and discussions surrounding the Sabbath respectin

day, time, and manner of its observance in England during the late six

and throughout the seventeenth centuries arose more from doctrina

practical considerations than from theological or philosophical ones. The
"Sabbath" and "Sabbatarianism" were descriptive of the majority of Purit

the seventeenth century and referred to the excessive and rigorous adheren
Sunday as the day of rest and sanctification. As such, these Puritans fe
Sunday as the "Sabbath" was obligatory on all Christians and that it was
intended to be set aside or profaned. Then there was the small group of Pu
who argued for a contrary posirion, basing their views entirely on the autho
Scripture. These believed that the seventh day of the fourth commandment

Decalogue was never changed and that obedience to God's law require
proper observance of Saturday as the Sabbath.
On the other side of the controversy was the established church,
through its clergy and scholars argued against both positions that were held
Puritan opponents. These Anglicans, with royal sanction, provided wha
thought to be reasoned arguments based on church history for not accepti
Puritan teaching about the Sabbath. They believed that the Puritans
fanatical in theiiinsistence on proper observance of the Sabbath, irrespect
the day, and argued against them from the point of view of an impositi
religious freedom. They maintained that in observing Sunday in a more "li
vein, they were in the tradition of the ancient church and the practice

It should be noted that among the Anglicans and the Puritans were m
sincerity and integrity who believed truly in the rightness of their positions.
were usually individuals of deep learning, acuteness, and piety who were se
the truth of God as revealed in Holy Scripture.

Although this chapter is principally interested in the Puritans an

Sabbath in the seventeenth century, it is worth remembering that the events

century, in some respects, had their antecedents in the sixteenth century an
the Safibath was one of several critical issues that the Reformation left va

From the time of Elizabeth's refusal to supPort a thorough Refb

the model of the continental reformed churches, there was a widening
Church of England between those who strove for an Elizabethan settle
is, an Erastiai ecclesiastical settlement with a theology that was s
reformed and a liturgy that was substantially Catholic) and those who

reforms beyond tho# that the queen and her successors were willing
During Elizabeth's reign, as A. H. Lewis points out, those Puritans
their obseriance of Sunday on the fourth commandment pleaded at
better observance of Sunday as a part of the general work of civil an
reform. As they continued to see k for higher life and-greater Purity, t
[Sunday] question grew in importance. This was not fortuitous. Men n
into closeirelationi with Godwithout feeling the sacredness of the cl
his law imposes; and no part of that law stands out m-ore pro-minent
Fourth Commandment. As these men threw off the shackles
authority, and stood face to face with God, recognizing him as their on
they were compelled to take higher ground concerning the Sabbath
The general attitude toward the Sabbath during the time of Eliz
one that was of deep concern to the Sabbatarian Puritan, was summa
admonition issued in 1580 by the government and enjoined to be read
during divine service. A portion of the homily describes the conditions
the Sa-bbath in the following words: "The Sabbath days and holy-days
for the hearing of God's word to the reformation of our lives, . . . are
heathenishly in taverning, tippling, gaming, playing, and beholding o
ing and stage-plays; to the utter dishonor of God, impeachment of al
and unnecessary consuming of men's substances, which ought to
employed. The want of orderly discipline and catechising hath eithe
numbers, both old and young, back again into papistry, or let them ru
godless atheism."
As the controversy raged over the strictness or laxity of Sabbathk

Puritans grew increasingly apprehensive about what they descri

"spiritual well-being of the nation." This feeling of apprehension an
was, of course, consistent with their belief that England was to become
commonwealth, and that they were God's chosen people.
But at this time, the late sixteenth century, the "covenanted peop
lacked the political as well as ecclesiastical influence and authority t
issue of the Sabbath to the forefront of national consciousness. Such
authority was to come years later, as we shall soon see. In the meantim
the opposition and protest of the Sabbatarians, Sunday was still the fa
for theatrical presentations and sports. In fact, when in 1585
attempted to pass a law "for better and more reverend observance of the
the queen used her veto power against it "because she would suffer no
altered in matters of religion or ecclesiastical government."3
The rapid march of events in both church and state soon found t
gaining strength and support in the popular mind for their Sabbataria
of the most remarkable influences in preparing the way was Nicholas B
Doctrine of the Sabbath, plainely layde forth and soundLy proucd . . . , which a
1595. Bownd's presupposition was that llnglancl w:ls to bc (
(-()nlrr)()nwc:rlth anrl I.,nglishrrrcrr wore t() lle Ilis < ltosctt p<'o1lIt'; lrttl ttt

thoroughly demoralized (largely through the abuse of its day of res

mode of observing the Sabbath must be radically changed.
In the development of his ideas on the Sabbath, Bownd argued that alth
the Lord's day (meaning Saturday) had been changed, its manner of obser
was still to be seen in the OId Testament. The moral arid perpetual nature
Sabbath puts beyond doubt the total sovereignty of God that extends to the
of life. Consequently, not only labor, but every form of recreation should be
up on the Christian Sabbath (Sunday).n
The foundation of his argument was laid in Scripture, the Fathers, a
Reformers. He provoked the ecclesiastical wrath of both the monarch and b
by stating that the Sabbath was neither a bare ordinance of man nor merely
or ecclesiastical constitution appointed only for polity, but that it was an imm
commandment of God and therefore binding on men's consciences. Bown
argues the antiquity of the Sabbath, that it appears "in the story of Genesis,
was from the beginning, and that the seventh day was sanctified at the first, s
as it was made"; then he concludes that "as the first seventh day was sancti
rnust the last be, and as God bestowed this blessing upon it in the most p
cstate of man, so must it be reserved with it till we be restored to his perf
was to be


Upon this premise Bownd proceeds to prove that while the ceremonies
luw, which made a difference between Jew and Gentile, are taken away
gospel, the Sabbath commandment remains still in full force and is binding
rrations and sorts of men as before. The most important principle enshrined
stipulation of the rest day was that God should be worshiped. The people
;rrlmonished to attend public services where the Word of God was plainly rea
purely preached, the sacraments rightly administered, and prayer mad
known tongue to the edifying of the people, and in attending upon these
lrrrm the beginning to the ending.u
When Bownd's first volume appeared, it created an extraordinary sen
( )ne historian, Thomas Fuller, points out that "throughout England, beg
rrrore solemn and strict observation of the Lord's day" and that "it is a

rrrr:redible how taking this doctrine was, partly because of its own purity
;r;rrtly for the eminent piety of such persons as maintained it; so that the
r l;ry, especially in corporations, began to be precisely kept, people becoming
to themselves, forbearing such sports as yet by statute permitted; yea,
rcjoicing at their own restraint herein." Fuller goes on to state that learned
rv(.r'e nevertheless "much divided in their judgments about these sabba
rlrxtrines," some embracing them and others opposing them.7
It should be noted that the opposition to the publication and to the read

lirwnd's book came largely from the established church party. Many
firm stand against what they thought to be a 'Jewish yoke" a
Many other Anglican ministers s
I cstriition of "the liberty of Christians."
,,,rrvinced that if the teachings enunciated in the book were adopted, the r
lrislrops took a

rv,rrrl<l lre distasteful to Anglicans, who would not relinquish their inherited
,,1 worship. T'hey found support for their view from Parliament and the q
'l'lrcsc Anglican ministers denounced the doctrine as tending to weak

,rrrtlrority ol'tlre church in appointing other holy days and of giving an un

lrrstt.r'lo Srrrrrluy,:rnrl an attenll)t was made to suppress the book. In

Archbishop Whitgift "issued orders for all persons having copies

give them up, and-, in 1600, Chief Justice Popham reissued these o
6ench."'But the suppression of the book was not to be; in 1606,


a new edition was published, and thenceforth the

distinguished by their rigid observance of the Sabbath (Sunday).


and the Puritans

When Elizabeth's successor, James I, became king of Englan

problem of dissenters and the proliferation of sectarianism were a

Among the different religious groups, three only \{ere at that

enough to contend for James's support: the Roman Catholics,
Puritans. The Puritans, who already had a reputation for advocatin
reform in worship, submitted to the king the Millenary Petition, w
the essentials of their most immediate reform measures. For mo
years before this, the Puritans had been agitating for a renewal of c
in worship and discipline. They expressed their grievances ove
Sabbath observance and the strictness with which ceremonials w
They vigorously urged more and better preaching by competent
insisted on a simplification of ritual and vestments.
There was no lack of men of sufficient breadth to articulate a
Puritans' position on the Sabbath against the established chu
representations and expectations did not bring the king to thei
James himself had no deep affection for the Puritans, mainly
speculations as to their political persuasion and the harsh treatme
his mother had received from the Scottish Presbyterians, with whom
the Puritans now shared a similar political philosophy.
But neither did the Roman Catholics fare any better with the
their Puritan rivals. They, of course, looked forward to a chang
However, they were soon to discover that once the king was able
position of strength, he no longer needed "the Papists." ro
Then there was the group who came into royal favor by
willingness to support the crown. This group represents virtu
official class in England, who acknowledged James I's indefeas
right to the throne of England. It was to these persons that the ki
along with them he reaffirmed his intention to maintain th

At the Hampton Court Conference (1604), the king dealt very
the Puritans. John Reynolds, a member of the Puritan party, expre
of his colleagues their disappointment in the king's proclamation
reformation of the abuses and profanation of the Sabbath.'' T
pleaded for a thorough reform of Sunday observance that wo

of the primitive Christian church and the harmony of

injunctions enjoined upon all Christians.
In opposition to this strong Puritan plea for a thorough
Sunday observance,-]ames in l6l8 published the fiurtous, <lr inf'l'hc rlot:rrrnerrl. t:lairrrt'<l lo l>t::rn explanatiorr rcrrrlt:rt'rl n
<::rlrrnrniorrs rrrisrt'1ltt'st'rrtlrtiorrs ol lxrlrists:ttrrl l'ttt'ilirtrs irr l.irrcolrr
titl<' 1r:rgc it is :rrl<lrt'ss<'<l to ;rll lris rtt:tjcsly's srrlrir'< ls.

The Book of Sports was, in fact, a condemnation of Sabbatarianism "and

lrrll legal sanction to the continental Sunday in England." 'a This view is conf
lry the Anglican clergyman Peter Heylyn. According to Heylyn , the Booh of
"was the first blow, in effect, which had been given, in all his rime, to rh
l,ords-day-Sabbath, then so much applauded."'5 With the death ofJames
;rrr:ession of Charles I in 1625, the Puritans became even more apprehens
:r[{airs in both church and state, Archbishop George Abbot's rival and succes
tlrc See of Canterbury, William Laud, demanded absolute conformity; a
r igorously prosecuted those who for reasons of tender consciences, both
rrnd private, chose not to conform. Laud demonstrated in his personal lif
tlrrough legislation a marked preference for a sacramental rather than a doc
:rpproach in religious matters. His rule is described by some as notoriou
lrighhanded, but R. H. Tawney does not fully agree and presenrs Laud as
who was possessed by a fundamental conviction that the oneness of the c
;rrr<l state must not be sacrificed to any personal motive or divergent religio

ial movement.16
The Puritans' advocacy of the Sabbath (Sunday) and of cessation of all
.rrrtl recreational activity on that day grew in importance and eventually to
r cligious as well as political significance. This was certainly one of the chief re
rvlty so many Puritans were persecuted under Laudian prelacy. So severe w
p<'r.secution that it is not surprising that several of the bishops declared
,,pinions against it. Laud had succeeded in getting Charles I to rene
r lct laration of the Book of Sports. Thus, it was the studied plan of the archbish
sulrrlue as far as possible the influence of the Puritan teachings on the Sabbath
rvitltin five years into his reign, the Puritans had greatly increased their nu
.rrr<l influence; and side by side with this growth were the persecutions a
tlrt'rn. Thus, the separation and eventual ejection of the Puritans from
Anglican Church during the reigns of Charles I (1625-1649) and of hi
t llr:rrles II (1660-1685), were inevitable.

The Puritan Concept of the Covenant and the Sabbath Controversy

'l-he vigor of the Puritan position that brought them into conflict was r
rrr (lrcir concept of the covenant and their self-estimation as the chosen peo
( iorl. One prominent scholar has pointed out that "the Covenant was not, fo

l'rrritans, one idea or concept among others. It was the fundamental

rrrrning throughout the whole of their life to shape their understanding
r lrcir fleeling for existence. It pervaded and held together their views of rel
p.liti<:s, and ethics; it shaped their whole approach to marriage, church



'l'he systematic articulation of this fundamental condition of Chr

.'xpt'rience was in the law of God. That law, declared Richard Baxter

of God's will and constitutes the subjects' due. Obedience to

but a duty that when done reflects His glory

l.rrv, tlrere{irre, is not an oJrl.ion

1ir rr< iotrsrress.r8

'l'lrc p<>irrt to whi<'lr w(' nursl <lllw rrttcntion, and one that carries conside
rvriglri, is tllilt n()t orrly is tlrc S;rlrlr;rllt toolt'<l in thr: law of'God btrt it is based

r.v('nan(lrclwt't'rr(lrrl;rlrlrrlrrr,:rttrlitscll lr;rslltt'tutlttrt:o1':t<:ovt:tuttrt.rl'l)rc<:i
l,r tlrisr'('ils()rr,tlrcl)rrrit;rrrs,,1r1r,,scrllltoscst'tl:tti:rttswlto:rrlvor:ltl<'<l llrc"lrt:

doctrine that the law of God was no longer binding on Christian

The essential claim made by the Puritans was that the
intelligible all of their experience, even those aspects not manifestly
law was as much binding after Calvary as it had been befor
Brabourne, an "able defender" of the Sabbath, although diffe
colleagues respecting the seventh day (as will be noted shortl
agreement with mainstream Puritan thought when he argued
Testament revelation reinforces the continuing relevance and th
obedience to the law.20 Both he and his colleagues readily ag
obedience was not intended and should not become a slavish
authority. They understood the relation between law and grace, an
the sinful heart cannot delight in God's law; but when that heart
then the works of the law are carried out in perfect freedom.zr
pinpoint for us the prominence the Puritans gave to the concept o
Strictly spe aking, the law was not the covenant. When God handed d
Sinai, He did not give a list of stipulations whose successful acco
man would bring man into relationship with Him. What God did d
were quick to point out, was to prepare the law with a statement o
relation He already had with His people because of His mighty a
Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, o
of bondage" (Ex. 20:2). Thus, the sovereignty of God was clearly e
the appropriate response to such graciousness was an unconditiona
the terms of the covenant.22
Another point must be noted regarding the Puritans' unders
covenant and its relationship to the Sabbath: One who through
ChristJesus comes into relationship with God will necessarily be in
the Sabbath, since it is the most visible sign of God's creative author

The Controversy Respecting the Change of the Sa

Thus far, our discussion of the history of the Sabbath in sevent

England has been confined to the question of its sanctification an
and the divergence of opinions between the Sabbatarians and th
church party, the latter being supported in large measure by the
When it comes to the question of the precise day and time for o
begin tor,,ritness a disintegration in the otherwise cohesive Puritan m
!ar, th-e largest number of Puritans conrended for the change of
saturday to Sunday; and it will be useful to trace, very briefly,
development of what came to be known as the "transfer theory"'as
Historically, the discussion in England about the change of the
into prominence through the influence of Thomas Cranmer (1485
the church in England rejected the authority of the Roman Chu
necessary for English Christianity to develop a liturgy that would
teachings and practices. Cranmer, Archbishop of (lantcrtrrrry from
produced the official service book (1549 and l5l'r2) ;rrrrl irrclrrrled i
Ten Commandments.'I'he fburth comman<lrrrcnt in pirrtir ulirr was
problcnr, filr whctt I hc trrinistt:r' r't:pr:llt'<l it, tlrr' lrcoplc r cs;rorrtlt'<l w

"lrrt'linc ()ur hearts to keep this law."'l'he question of the observance o

Srrlrllath then became one of crucial importance. Did the people's response
tlrrrt the church was obligated to keep the Sabbath of the Ten Commandm

'l'here were those of evangelical spirit who argued in the affirmative

rrrsisted that to deny the truth of the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) was to
rttockery of the "plain Word of God." Others maintained that this statement
gt'rrcral recognition of God's authority and a call to worship Him and to se t a
P,r'Iion of one's time to His glory. Peter Heylyn, the High Church historian,
rrotice of the fact that neither the archbishop nor any of the other reformer
;rrry intention of introducing the Jewish Sabbath when they included it i
litlrny.,a Perhaps he is right. The fact still remains, however, that for
Anglicans the question

as to whether they were really following the teaching o

llilrle or the authority of the Church of Rome still provoked their conscien
In the scramble for the control of church authority, the Catholics claimed
srrrt:c the Roman Church "had displaced without quesrion the Sabbath
tlrt'r'efore its authority was supreme, and it could make other laws."2u
r c joinder to this challenge, Cranmer pointed out rhat the Sabbath command
r orrsists of two parts, a physical and a spiritual, and that the spiritual aspect o
S;rlrbath cannot be changed.'?6 This gave rise to the concept of a "transfer the
rvlrit:h meant that the Sabbath as a sacred institution was not necessarilv relat
,r plrrticular day.27
But it was not Cranmer's influence that led the Puritans to their accept
,rrrrl :rdvocacy of Sunday as the Sabbath rest. Undoubtedly, the decisive influ
rrlrorr them came from Nicholas Bownd, to whom we have already m
r clcrence. We deem it necessary to reintroduce him at this point in our discus
lrcrrttrse his propagation of the transfer theory was of decisive importanc
,liscrrssion of the Sabbath in the 1630s and the 1640s. In this connection, Bo
.rr lvocated that "as it [the Sabbath] came in with the first man, so it must not g
lrut with the last man," that our Lord and all the apostles "established it by
1,r ;rr:t ice," '?8 that if "Adam needed the Sabbath before the Fall, the world lost
rrcctls it much more."2e
He builds what seems to be a convincing and solid argument for the Bib
S.rlrbath (Saturday), stating, "Now, as we have hitherto seen, that there ought
.r S:rlrbath-day, so it remaineth that we should hear upon what day this Sab
.,lrorrld be kept, and which is that very day sanctified for that purpose, For I k
rr rs not agreed upon among thep that do truly hold that there ought to
\.rlrlr:rth, which is that very day upon which the Sabbath should always be." Bo
tlr.rr 1;<les on to show that the Lord in His mercy did not leave man in any d
r,'g;rr'<ling the specific day on which the Sabbath is to be kept. It is clear bo
( ,r'rrt'sis 2:3, where God "blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it," and in Ex
l'o: 10, where He declares that "the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord
( ,,rl." So then, "it must needs be upon that day, and upon none other; for the
lrrrrrst:lf sanctified that day, and appointed it for that purpose, and none but
lrr tlrc light of such plain teaching on the Sabbath, Bownd concludes tha
rrrrrt'ilson:lble for anyone to keep any other day and still expect to receive
l,lcssirrg lionr Gocl that He bestows by virtue of His special promise to those
r ('v('r'('n('c I Iis Sabltath.
A lit'r'tlt't rying tlrc cndlcss c()nt r'()v('rsics surrounding the issue of the day


is to be kept, Bownd exclaims further, "Therefore we must needs ac

to be the singular wisdom and mercy of God toward his church, thus b
the seventh day, to end the strife. For, as we in God's service, when m
from his Word, there is no end of devising that which he alloweth not;
upon everything, saving upon that they should; so in appointing the

not ruled by the Word, we shall find by experience that every day wil
convenient to us than that, at leastwise we shall seem to have as go
keep any other as the seventh." s'
It is quite clear that for Bownd, the Word of God was the only a
source for any change or transfer ofthe Sabbath to any other day ofthe
since, as he explains, to deviate from the sure Word could lead to mis
the Sabbath, it is both safe and right to remain faithful to what God
ordained. He concludes that "thus we learn that God did not only bles
it for this cause and so we see that the Sabbath must needs still be upon
day, as it always hath been."3'?
Nevertheless, in spite of such statements as the foregoing, Bow
advocated and taught that Sunday was the seventh-day Sabbath
Saturday.33 Here is his decisive statement in this regard: "But now con
very special seuenth day that we now keep in the time of the gospel
known, that it is not the same it was from the beginning, which God
sancttfy, and whereof he speaketh in this commandment, for it was th
before ours, which in Latin retaineth its ancient name, and is called
which we also grant, but so that we confess it must always remain,
changed any more, and that all men must keep holy thi"s seventh da
other, which was unto them not the seuenth, but the first day of the wee
called many times in the New Testament, and so it still standeth in fo
are bound unto the seventh day, though not unto that very seuenth. Con
time, and persons by whom, and when the day was changed, it appe
New Testament, that it was done in the time of the apostles, and by
themselves, and that together with the day, the name was changed, an
beginning called the first day of the weeh, afterwards the Lord's-Day."s
The foregoing is a very crucial statement, because it shows the s

which Bownd articulated his convictions about the change of t

Notwithstanding his piety, one cannot avoid noticing how far he
moved away from his own norm, namely, the Word of God; a
considerable interest to note that in his complete argument for the
lengthy to incorporate here) he relied more on church history than o
Only two scriptural references appear in support fbr his Sunda
whereas he cites copiously from the doctors of the church and ear
sources to substantiate his position.
Despite what one says or how one wishes tojudge Bownd's work,

dispute that his treatise on the Sabbath represents an entirely new po

history of the Sabbath in England and that it colored the whole
Sabbath reform for more than three hundred years. -I'he book w:rs acl
majority of the Puritans and became a source for tht'il iu llrrn)clrts ugir
their number who believed in ancl arlvo<:aterl tlr<'s<'v<'rrtlr rl:ry S:rlrlr

Arrr<lng prominent sixtt'crrth-;tttrl st'vt'ttlr'('nlll ( ('nlrrr r' :r<lvor';tlt

S:rlrlr:rl:rri:rrrisrrr irr I,,rrgl:rn<l rvcrc l{i<lr;rtrl (lrccrrlr,,rrr, ltrr lr;rrrl ll:rx

Bernard, and John Wallis, These and others proclaimed the "transfer t
proposed by Bownd. On the whole, they were sincere individuals who took
their duty not only to guide and instruct in the proper worship of the true G
also to rebuke and discipline persons who, in their opinion, failed
respect-as, for instance, by not properly observing Sunday as the Sabbath
determination led the m at times to extreme measures that opened them to
criticism from their contemporaries. It should also be noted that like Bownd
later advocates of a Sunday Sabbatarianism tended to use history, rathe
Scripture alone, in their efforts to support the "transfer theory." 35
Some Representative Puritan Advocates

of Saturday

as the

True Sab

We must now turn our attention to the other group of Puritans who b
and kept the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday). This group, as we have a

noted, represented a minority among the Puritans. Nevertheless, they held

to their position that the Decalogue was still obligatory for all men, and t
difference between the Old and New Covenants did not effect any change
original day of rest.
One of the earliest Puritan advocates of the Saturday Sabbath wasJohn
(c. 1583-c. 1636). When he applied for orders in the Church of England,
refused because of his advanced evangelical views. Trask left the esta
church and began preaching as a Puritan minister. Along with HamletJacks
studied the Bible and became convinced that the fourth commandment re
the true and lasting Sabbath of God. Trask was successful in attracting
group of followers who accepted the Saturday Sabbath. Because of impriso
brought about as a result of his acceptance and preaching of the Sabbath,
for a short period forsook his Sabbathkeeping practices. But so 6rmly gro

were his church members that his departure did not affect their belief

A radical answer to the divisiveness within the Puritan camp came

Theophilus Brabourne, who has been called "an able exponent of Sabbath
When in 1628 the Puritans were being forced away from the established c
through the influence of William Laud, there appeared in print a de
defense of the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) by Brabourne.sT This w
beginning of almost a lifework of study and writing on the Sabbath. In the sp
thirty years, he produced four volumes defending the Sabbath of the
commandment. His second volume, which was dedicated to Charles I, was e
A Defence of that most Ancient, and Sacred Ordinance of Gods, the Sabbath Do
ln his-Church History of Britain, Thomas Fuller assigns the beginning
revival of the Sabbatarian controversy to i632 and represents Brabou
having "sounded the first trumpet to this fight." 38James Gilfillan declares th
publicltion "blew a blast in the ear of royalty itself, which compelled attentio
provoked immediate as well as lasting hostilities." 3' After establishing th
fburth commandment is simply and entirely moral, containing nothing
ceremonial in whole or in part, Brabourne defends the position that Saturda
seventh day of the week, must be an everlasting holy day in the Christian c
and that Christians are obliged to observe it. "I am tied in conscience," he de
"rather to depart with my life than with this truth; so captivated is my cons
and cnthrallcrl to the law o[ my Ootl."'ttr

Shortly after this expression of confidence in his view of

Brabourne was brought before the Court of High Commission,

asked to recant. According to Bishop Francis White, who wrote again

nthere wai yielded unto him a deliberate p
at the command of Laud,
hearing, together with a satisfactory answer to all his main objections

appears that at that time Brabourne personally returned to

Anglican position (though all of his followers did not accompany hi
thirig stands out clearly:-Whatever may have happened at the hear
couri, Brabourne believed and preached that if the Sabbath is inde
perpetually binding, the seven[h day ought to be_sacredly kept.
ilubiication in 162$to the appearance of his last volurne during th
ior the restoration of Charles II (1660), Brabourne was always, at le
firm and consistent champion of the Saturday Sabbath. His last bo
this fact by the very title that it bore: O/ the Sabbath day, whigh'k


controuersy in the Church of England, for of this controaersy dependeth the g

one of God's Ten Commandments, by the name of the Fourth Comm.and for t

Another outstanding spokesman for the seventh-day Sabbath

Bampfield. He cites New Testament passages such as Matthew 5: l7
ingaboutthe fourth commandment. These texts provided the herme
ciples that enabled him and his colleagues to interpret the vaguel
tions referring to the first day of the week. Bampfield also cites Acts
gues that rather than proving the sanctity of Sunday, it clarifies the
started preachingon Saturday eveningand continued into the early p
In dealing with such passages as Colossians 2: l4 and Ephesian
endeavored to show that these refer not to the Sabbath of the Dec
ceremonial Levitical Sabbaths. For Revelation l:9, 10, three alterna
tations were provided. Here "Lord's day" could refer either to a
observed by the early church in commemoration of Christ's birth, o
remembrance of His resurrection, or to an eschatological da
observance. If the last were true, there were two alternatives: either
supported by tradition, or Saturday, being supported by Scripture
Bampfield cast doubt upon the common assumption that tradit
unanimous in favoring Sunday observance. To support his reser
show that Saturday was observed by many during the early Christian
quotes from such authorities as Ambrose, Chrysostom, Ischius
Jerusalem), and Lucius' Ecclesiastical History,a3
The critical and decisive point in Bampfield's argument, an

created further alienation between the two parties, is found in

attention to the fact that the belief in the Sabbath should be base
Puritan doctrines: first, thatChristians should obey the will of Chris
that the will of Christ is revealed in the Bible. Therefore, the conclus
the proper day for the Sabbath must be decided on the basis of the B
not on tradition.aa
The logic in this argument caused mainstream belie vt:rs some
they relied mainly, although not exclusively, on tt'urlitiorr lirr:rny
and their the<llogical :Irgrlrnents wcre rrrostly :rt onrlrttl irnlrlit ;riio
their' lrasi<: bt:liel.s.'n

As one miglrt havc already gathered, the Sunday advocates, by

rnirjority, won the support for the Sunday Sabbath. The minority who defe
thc Saturday Sabbath were branded as radicals and reactionaries, and
;lrnong them were treated as heretics, even though some of their acc
r'onfessed that "the words of the law . . . seem to favour their opinion." n6
In this brief survey we have been able to take only a quick glance at a few
rnore outstanding proponents of the seventh-day Sabbath in Puritan Eng
Recent research by Bryan W. Ball has uncovered the fact that observer
irdvocates of Saturday as the weekly day for Christian rest and worship were
rnore numerous and widespread in seventeenth-century England tha
commonly been assumed.oT And thus it may be said that although these Sat
Sabbathkeepers were a minority, they were nonetheless a significant mino

The Sunday "Sabbath" in the New \ilorld

We must now proceed to a consideration of the developments re gardin
Sabbath, and the surrounding controversies, in the New World. The religiou
political situation in England in the seventeenth century forced many Pu
away from the established church and their homeland. Many of them first s
rr new home in the Netherlands, but they soon found it difficult there to adv
their views with the freedom they were seeking and for which they ha
l,ngland. At the same time they became fearful of the apparent laxity in Sa
(Sunday) observance that was creeping into their ranks. Determined to s
home in the New World, a group reached America in 1620 and settled a
I'}lymouth. In 1629 another large group of these "persecuted saints" ca
America to join those who were now settled at New Plymouth. With
rnigrations came the beginnings of New England and the planting of Purita
and the Sabbath (Sunday) in America. Thus, "recalling the place of the Purit
the establishment and development of this Republic reminds us that the ke
of the Sabbath Day holy is one of its mighty corner stones."as
One of the deepest concerns of the Pilgrim Fathers and the Puritan disse
who followed them after 1620 was that a strict Sundaykeeping would beco
vital part of their New World experience. Thus, according to Herbert Richar
"It is one of the peculiarities of Christian history that the American Pu
irttempted to reestablish an institution which the Church, in its contin
opposition toJudaism, had rejected." as For them, the sanctification of the L
<lay and its proper observance were not negotiables. With an attractive eage
of interest they looked to the time when Sunday Sabbatarianism would flour
its new environment. Indeed, in one of the earliest accounts by the Dutch colo
in New York, there are several notices regarding the stringent regula
cmployed by these Puritans "to guard the infant community agains
rlemoralizing tendencies of Sabbath [Sunday] profanations." s0
Wherever the Sabbatarian Puritans established themselves in the New W
r heir observance of Sunday was indubitable. But despite their great effort,
:rrose the unsettled state of affairs among some of the early settlers who
opposing the strictness and regularity of this observance. "These were liber
l,'amilists, Antinomians, and enthusiasts, who had brought these wicked opin
out of Old England with them, where they grew under prelacy."sr
Fr<lm th<' l(i30s, we find several Puritan ministers in correspondence


one another over the questions of the day and the manner of'ke
One of the leading defenders of the Sunday position in Americ
Shepard, who arrived in 1635, after suffering under Archbisho
Theses Sabbatica,he presented his views on the morality, the change,
and the sanctification of the Sunday Sabbath. His activities b
Harvard College in 1649, where he preached a series of sermons
By a consensus in 1648, the circuit of churches in the New
accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith as their modu o
harmony with its principles continued to maintain its Sabbath

John Eliot, the apostle to the Indians, taught his converts t

"remember the Sabbath day [meaning Sunday] to keep it holy"sz

Sunday Sabbatarianism and the Seventh-Day Sabbath in the

In the Colonies there was Sunday legislation against the des

Lord's day, and the penalties for the violations of Sunday laws w
heavy and severe. For example, Massachusetts in 1629 decreed
should cease at three o'clock on Saturday so that preparation for
observance would be duly carried out. In 1650, Connecticut passe
relative to Sunday observance and the prohibitions of certain acti
considered to be out of harmony with genuine Sabbatarianism
instituted the death penalty for certain violations. In 1658,
legislators ruled against the carrying of any load on Sunday and atta
of twenty shillings for such violation. In 1665, they declared that tho
church should be admonished, and if they persisted should be pun
placed in stocks.5s
But as in England, so also in the New World the Puritan camp
so much on the question of the manner of sanctification and obs
Sabbath as on the question of whether it should be kept on Sunday
Whether or not the stringency of Sunday legislation forced the
American Puritans to accept and honor Sunday as the Sabbath
dispute. It is clear, however, that those who defended Saturday
minority viewpoint and were quite often considered as radicals and
nevertheless held firmly to the belief that their course of action wa
Word of God and was the logical outcome of its teaching. Therefo
agree that the Sabbath was moral and eternal but that it was cha
seventh day to the first was to constitute a willful disobedience t
Historically, the Seventh Day Baptists appear to have been the
English Puritans who maintained the Saturday Sabbath positio
Some of them had come to America on the Mayfi,ower. Indeed, fo
century and a half, both in England and in the Colonies, Bap
important role in the development of American Christianity and
the Sabbath. Inasmuch as their story will be given in the next cha
263), only a brief outline will be presented here.
In 1664, Stephen Mumford arrived in Newport, Rhode
England and "brought with him the opinion that tlrr"l't'rr ( lornman
were delivered from Mount Sinai werc lrtot'irl ;rrrrl irrrrrrrrl;rlrlt', an<
anti-(lhristian Ix)wer whi< lr t:hlrngt'<l tltc Slrlrlr:rllr lrorn llrc s<'vt'nth

of the week." Mumford soon found response to the propagation of his S

views among the Baptist congregation at Newport. Many members of this
accepted his teaching, and this led to some degree of divisiveness. Finally
was a split in the congregation, as followers of Mumford separated themse
I67 I to establish the first Seventh Day Baptist Church in America.u'
For many years after its organization, this Seventh Day Baptist Chu
Newport was the center for nearly all those who kept the Sabbath in Rhode
and Connecticut; and the church grew both by the coming of Seventh Day B
from England and by conversions to the Sabbath in the Rhode Island co
Among its members were several prominent public figures, one of who
Richard Ward, governor of Rhode Island.
The Seventh Day Baptists became the main early champions of the Sa
Sabbath in the New World. The second branch of that church was also plan
emigration from England. In 1684, Abel Noble, a Seventh Day Baptist m
from London, settled in Philadelphia, becoming the chief advocate of seven




The attitude of the American Puritans toward the Sabbath is instruct

the present day, for it pinpoints clearly the grave dangers inherent
authority's attempting to legislate laws for the protection and proper obse
of Sunday. The harshness and severity with which the Puritans sought to e
Sunday observance were reminiscent of the religious intolerance tha

themselves had suffered under Laudian prelacy. Life was uncomfortable n

for those who did not believe in any Sabbath but also for those who, beca

"tender conscience," felt obliged to keep Saturday as the true Sabbat

controversy and the sharpness with which the Puritans battled for the san

Sunday has a special value even beyond their time, since it gives to
spontaneous and unconscious revelation of the Puritan mind as it wrestles w
problems practical and theoretical, in an effort not merely to justify a poli
battle down opposition, but to arrive at truth and agreement. To the P
mind, there was a direct relationship between proper Sabbath observance an
obedience. The sanctification of the Sunday, they argued, acted as a cor
against the worldliness of the masses while at the same time producing a
ministry that encouraged families to bring up their children in a Christian
multitude of gross sins would be prevented and the discipline that S
observance required would help to produce not only good Christians b
exemplary citizens.
In summarizing our discussion, one central point must be noted reg
the Puritans' attitude toward an understanding of the Sabbath. Both in En
and the early American colonies, the essential claim made by the Puritans w
they kept the Sabbath not to earn salvation but to honor and please Go
experience the blessings that a covenant relationship with Him gave. W
tried to show that for them their basic beliefs found their focus in
understancling <lf the covenant, law, the authority of the Word of Go
personal pir.ty. All of'these according to the Puritans held a direct relations
thc Salrlrirtlr.
Wt' rrrlry r r )t irH r cc wit lr lrll t ht:ir t c;r<:lrittgs utt<l pra<'ti<'t:s itboltt the Sabba
tstsAil rr


have seen that they did not agree among themselves on these m
sincerity of purpose and their determination to make relevant t
God to keep the Sabbath should be taken with great seriousness.
matter of supreme practical importance, and not a subject for me
or theological debate.
I A. H, Lewis, A Citical History of the Sabbath and


Sundq in



Ch*tian Church,2d ed.


2 [ohn Strype, Annak of rhe Reformation (Oxford, 1824), 2:668.

s'lt;d., p.2'9'6. I t shou ldbe norid thrt Parliament'was driu"n ro Drr. this law because of a
on a Sunday'in 1583 in which many were killed. This was interpreted as an act of God against
of His day bf rest.

{ Bownd and two 1o three hundred other ministers were suspended by the Anglican
instigation of the queen and some eminent bishops, for their views ori the Sabblth. Theii licen
away and they were prohibited from conducting religious services in any other congregat


Queen was supreme head of the Church: 2. That the Ordinal ahd the Book of Common Pra
contrary to thi Word of God: and, 3. That the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England
agreeable to the-Holy S-criptures."-James Gilfillan, The Sabbath Viewed in th? Lighl of R76on
(New York [862]), p. 66.
5 Nicholas Bowid,, The Doctnne of the Sabbath, plnine\ layed,forth, and soundly proved . . . (L

lbid.. oo.2.3.

Tho;a's Fuller,


ChurchHistoryolBilain (London, 1868),3:158-160. Someof the m

endorsed Bownd's position were Babingioir, Perkins, and Dod. These writers maintained thei
which before the publication of Bownd-s Treatise they had published, and which in their esse
with his. See Gerv'ase Babington, Worls 1 I 596); Williari Perliins, A G olden Chain (1597 ); and Joh
the Ten Commandments (1604).
E This is language used in Fuller's descriprion,
summarized above. See note ?.
Douglas Cam pbell, The Puitan in Holhnd, England, and Amrica, 4 th ed. (New York
Mauiice Ashley, T/re Seventeenlh Ccnlury (Lond,on, 1958), p. 25.
ll ln t603 and even as tate as 1625, we siiil frnd clear evid.eice oI the performance of
entertainment on Sundavs.
12 Peter Heylyn records that on the seventh
of Mav, I603, lames so far vielded to the
proclamarion; not that the king's purpose was "to debar himselfoI lawful Pleasires on that da
disordered and unlawful Pastimel, whereby the Common people were wirhdrawn from the C
Heylyn,.The_Hittgry o[ thg Sabbath,.2d ed. (London, 1636),'p. 157, Heritage Room,.]ames W

Univ.ersity, Berrien Springs, Mich.

r5 Perhaps it is not too well known that the Bishop of Durham, Thomas
Morton, had a co
drafting and-eventual execution of this document.'Accordinq to lohn Barwick, Morton's
consulted with the bishop over the profanity and licentiousn'ess [har were done on the
thereupon, retiring from fhe court at Flaughton Tower to his own lodsins at Preston. consider
restrictlons, by way ofconditions, to be im-posed upon every man rhaishduld entoy ti\e benef
he presented io thb King in writing the neit day, ahd which the King did uery *dll'approre o[

Morton, p. 80, quoted in Gilfillan, ob. til., o. 84.
f] A' H. l-iwis, Spintml .Sabbathin (Plainfield, NJ., t9l0), p. tZt.

Hevfvn. ob. cit.. D. 261.

r! n. H. Ta*ney,

Religion and. rhe Ri:e of Cabitolsm (New York, lg26), po. 145. 146.
.18 Richard Baxter,,4 Holl Commonwealtt (London, 1659), p. 320, rare book collection,



Concmtng the Name, Ongiml Nature. IJse and Continuance o

_O*.n, F:erritatioru
p.221, Heritage Room, fames White Librarv, Andrews Universitv.


2r fuchard Bax

(l7tndon, 64 9), p. 388; Thomas Shepard, Iirsa

rare book collection, Universitv of Toronto Archives.
te r.,

Lt[e ol Fatth




Shepard, op. cit., p. 8?.'

James D. Packer agrees with_this point oI view and claims that it was mosr noriccable irr
the red_emp-tion-and restoration oI man. See lames D. Packer, "The Re<lcrrrpriorr and Resr
Thought of Richard Baxter" (D^.Phil. thesis, Oxford University, 1954), pp. 332, 333. Uscd
z{ Heylyn, op. tit., pp.23S-241.
.^^-.25 AhvaJohn Clarence Bond, Sablalh Hirtory-l. Belon lfu llryiuring ol Mulnt l)(norntno
19221. o. 42
1d l.c*is, Sahbath and.5unr/at. p. 21,7.
z/ Ilrrntl. oh. tit., tt. 4'.1
?8 l|lrwrr<1.',,1r. ,rr., pp. li, 11.
7" l.r'wrs, .\ohhtth tnl Trrr,/,rv.
1, l'7t'


so rbid.,


rt lbid..'o. 278.

lbid.,;. 279.

ss lt is bilieved that Bownd and several others advocated the change from Saturday to Sunday becau
prejudices against what they called Judaism.
5a Bownd. ob. cil.. oo. 35,36.
55 Richard Baxter,'The Diviru Atbointrunt of the Lmds Da,y Proved: u a Separaled Dat
for Hob W orship;
the Church Assemblies. And coruequnt$ the cessal,ion of the seienth d4 sabboth (London, l67l); Richard
ThreclollTrcalisc ol he Sabbath (Londcin, l64l), rare book collection, University of Toronto Archives; toh
Defmse of the Chrutian Sabbalh: In Arcwo to a Treati:e of Mr. Thomas Banpfell, Plealing for Saturdq-Sobb

(Oxford, 1693).

J. Lee Gamble and Charles H- Greene, "The Sabbath in the British Isles," in Seunlh Day Bapt*ls in

Aruied Qlunfield, N.1., l9l0),


I : 107-109.

Theophilus Brabourne, A
Fullei. ob. cit.. o.419.
ss Gilfillan, ob. dt., D. 125.


Discourse upon the Sabbath Day

(London, 1628).

a0 Brabourn6, A Dclmte of thnt most Auienl, and, Sacred. Ordimnce of Gods, the Sabbath Day, p.
ar FrancisWhite,ATreatisiofLheSabbath-DalConniningaDefenceoftheOrthodoxallDoctineolaheChurch
Agairct Sabbaarian-Nouelq (London, 1636), p. [xxiv], Heritagi Roorir, James White Library,"Andrews

Berrien Springs, Michigan.

{z Thomas Bampfield, p. 29.
a' Ibid.. o.85.


{5 Lawrince Allen

Turner, "The Puritan Sabbath," pp. 75, 14, personal files of author. Used by p
Walker, 7'tz Doctrine of thc Holy Weehll Sabdalh (London: 165 I ), ra re bmk collection, Thrim
Library. Universitv of Toronto.
{7 B. W. Ball, The English Connection (Cambridqe, l98l), pp. I38-158.
J. C. Broomfield, "The Day Through the Agei," inThe Ddy of Wortiif, ed. by W. W. Davis (New Yo
46 George


Herbert W. Richardson,
Gilfillan, ob. cit., p. l5O,

Touard an Ameicon Tleolagl (New York, 1967),

pp. I12, I13.

5t lbid.

52 Tohn

Eliot source.

ssLewis,sfirirztsabbathism,pp. 177,


TheFirstCodeof Laws, l650,andTheNewHavenCod

Hammond Trumbu ll (Hartford, Conn., 187 6): R

New Pllmouth in New Engbnd-laws: 1623-1682, ed. by David Pulsifer (Boston, l86l).
Lewis, Sabbath and Sund.ay, p.364.
L. A. Platts, "Seventh-day B-aptists in America Previous to 1802," in Szumlh Day Baplisk in Europe a
(Plainfield, N.l.: l9l0), l:126.
56 ArthuiE. Main, "The Seventh-day Baptist General Con[erence, 1802 to 1902," in Seventh Day
Europe and Ameica (Plainfield, NJ.: l9l0j, l:[49, 150.
The True-Blue Llaws of Conneclicut ai.d N ew Haven, ed. by f .

Colonl at



The Sabbatb

in tbe Neut Wo

Raymond F. Cottrell

EURST to observe the seventh-day Sabbath in the New World wer

been compelled by the Inquisition in the Old World to
Christianity. These "New Christians," who were still Jews at hea


continued to practice their own religion in secret, sailed with Columbu

explorers on their voyages of discovery to the New World more tha
before the first Christian Sabbathkeepers arrived. In 1502 one
Crypto-Jews, fugitives from the Inquisition in Portugal, applied for a

to migrate to Brazil and became the first Jewish settlers in th

Hemisphere. In 152 I others accompanied Cortes on his conquest of M

it is said that by 1550 there were more Spanish Crypto-Jews in Mexic
Spanish Catholics. Jewish immigrants entered Argentina soon after
first Jewish congregation in the New World, Mikveh Israel, was
Curaqao, Netherland Antilles, in 1651.2 In Mexico, Brazil, and elsewh
America, Crypto-Jews who had reverted toJudaism or who were unde
of practicing their own religion in secret were burned at the stake.s
When the Portuguese took Brazil from the, in 1654, tw
Jewish refugees fled the country and found refuge in New Amste
renamed New York), where they established the first congregatio
America, Sherith Israel.n Erelong synagogue communities were found
cities as Newport, Rhode Island; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Charle
Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia. At the time of the American Revol
2,500Jews-resided in the thirteen Colonies. By 1850 sevenry-seven con
had been formed in twenty-one States.5 Permanent settlements were
in Halifax about 1750 and in French Canada in 1759.6
The total Jewish population of the Americas in 1967 was app
6,952,000. Eighty-five percent of these lived in the United Stares, hal
New York City. In 1978 there were 6,115,000 American.fews.T
There are three main branches of American.f rrrlaisnr-()rthoclo
and Conservative. Orthodox.fews preservc thc tlrt:okrgy irrrrl trlrrliti
World.f ewry. A<lhcrirrg strictly to tlrr.'lilrlrh:rrrrl l;ritlrlrrlly olrsclvirrg
lrtwslrtt<ltltt'tllr<liliorr;rl lrolytl;rystrrrrl lt'stivlrls,irrrlrrrlirrgtlrcS:rlrlr:rtlr,t

fundamerrt:rlists ol .f rr<laisrn. Reform Judaism, liberal in belie{'and

recognizes only tlre 'l'orah as normative, but is ready to adapt it to
requirements: fbr example, shorter synagogue services and use of the ve

instead of Hebrew in the ritual. Reform Jews no longer believe in a

Messiah but still look forward to a Messianic Age. In belief and
Conservative Judaism is midway between Orthodox and Reform Juda
Many modern Jews are practicing or crypto-atheists or -agnostics.
being aJew is more a matter of race, culture, and ethics than religion. Man
synagogue for the major religious festivals, and perhaps on Friday
Sunday morning rather than the Sabbath, In some synagogues such as
Beth Immanuel in New York City, largest in the United States, Sunda
are much better attended than those on the Sabbath. With approximat
congregations, Orthodox Judaism is the largest of the three groups. Con
and ReformJudaism have about half that number, almost evenly divided

First Christian Sabbatarians in the New World

As noted in the preceding chapter (p. 240), Christian observanc
seventh day of the week as the Sabbath came to the New World with the
Newport, Rhode Island, of Stephen Mumford, of the Bell Lane Sev
Baptist church of London, in about 1664. Finding none of his own faith,
with the Newport Baptist church, and soon other members of the cong
joined him in observing the Sabbath. Church leaders preached ag
practice and denounced those who observed Saturday as "here
schismatics." Two families gave up the Sabbath as the controversy wax
and bitter, and eventually those who persisted in its observance were su
before the church in an open trial and charged with teaching and practici
Convinced at last that they could not keep the Sabbath if they remained
of the Baptist Church, seven withdrew and, a few days later-Decem
l67l--entered into solemn covenant with one another as the First Sev
Baptist church of Newport. William Hiscox, one of Mumford's first conv
their first pastor.e
In 1684 another English immigrant, Abel Nobel, settled in Bucks
Pennsylvania, twenty-five miles north of Philadelphia. Coming in conta
Seventh Day Baptist from Connecticut, he accepted the Sabbath and per
number of his neighbors to join him in observing it. In 1702 Edmund Du
deacon and licensed Baptist preacher of Piscataway, NewJersey, discov
Sabbath and was influential in leading several others to acknowledge its c
t705 rhis group established the First Seventh Day Baptist church of Pis
with seventeen members.
About the same time still other Seventh Day Baptist communities gr
the vicinity of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1708 a Sabbathkeepin
migrated from Newport to Westerly (later Hopkinton), on the mainl
formed a new congregation there. The first Seventh Day Baptist congre
New York State was organized in Renselaer County, in 1780, by folk from
Island, and the first in (l<>nnetticttt in 1784, at New London. It was fro
carly centers in Rhodc Islirrr<1, l\'rrrrsylvirnitt, ancl New.f ersey that the
Iirlklwcrl thc tirlt: of' Atttct'iclttt rrrigt lttiotr wcslwitt'tl.r"
:i,t 5

As in England, Seventh Day Baptists in the New Worl

of most other Christians because of the seventh-da
were subjected to fines and imprisonment for their faith." This w
extent even in Rhode Island, where freedom of belief presuma
During the Revolutionary War, on the other hand, loyalty t
protecied the sanctuary of the mother congregation in Newpor
iroops were being billeted in church buildings. Upon enterin
Seventh Day Baptist church with this objective in mind, the Britis
noticed the Ten Commandments on the wall of the sanctuary a
men to retire. He would not desecrate a house in which the sacr
were written and honored, he explained."
The General Conference of Seventh Day Baptists

A yearly meeting of Seventh Day Baptist churches, convened f

early as 1696, was later transferred to Westerly. Delegates attend
meetingof September I l, 1801, at Hopkinton (Westerly), Rhode Is
seven congregations and a dozen settlements of Sabbathkeepers
and a membership of 1,03 l. This session adopted the desig
Conference and issued an urgent invitation to all of the "churches
people of the same faith and order in the States of America" to mee
year later. The name Seventh Day Baptist was adopted in 1818.'

The primary objective motivating organization of the Gene

"the growing conviction among the active membership of the
the time had come when all Seventh-day [sic] Baptist churches shou
active and aggressive missionary work," meaning, specifically, prop
Sabbath message.15 It was not until the sessions of 1817 and 18I8
definite steps were taken to implement concerted evangelism
Trustees and Directors of Missions was appointed, and local cong
encouraged to constitute themselves missionary societies in order t
effectively to the Sabbath, each in its own vicinity. By this time th
members in l4 churches.r6 In l82l The Seuenth-day Baptist Missionar
Iaunched, with the objective of disseminating information ab
Sabbath, and in 1830 the Protestant Sentinel.In 1844 these were r
Sabbath Recorder, which has continued publication to the present tim
General Conference voted to publish a series of tracts, and in 1828
American Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society. The result of th
activities was an increase of membership to 3,400 in 27 churches by
In 1835 the Seventh Day Baptist General Tract Society was o
the followingyear a three-man committee was commissioned to wri
manuscripts for a series of missionary tracts on the Sabbath. In 18
tracts were issued, in an edition of 2,000 each. In 1843 the name w
General Sabbath Tract Society, and in 1844 to American Sabbath
which has continued to the present. In 1843 approval was give
appeal to Baptists, urging them to accept the Sabbath. 1-wenty thou
the appeal were printed, and the little tract was l:rlcr irrcor'1x
Sabbath tract series. By I ft50 t herc wcre sevcnI c(:n t it k's ir r t lrc sct it's
olr tlrt' srrbict't lrir<l lrt'<'rr llrrlllislrr'<1.''

First Sabbatarian Adventists

The 1843 session of the General Conference of Seventh Day B
appointed November I of that year as a day of fasting and prayer
proclamation of the Sabbath truth. A year later the I 844 session (Septemb
l5) rejoiced in an unprecedented, "deeper and wider-spread" interest
Sabbath and in the accession of converts to the Sabbath, "including
ministers.".le Among these converts were Frederick Wheeler, a Met
Adventist minister whose circuit included the Washington, New Ham
Christian church, and several members of his congregation. Two editorials
Millerite paper The Midnighl Cry (September 5 and 12, 1844) noted that
persons have their minds deeply exercised respecting a supposed obliga

observe the seventh day," and mentioned the Seventh Day Baptist agitation

issue. "We love the seventh-day brethren and sisters," the editor said, "
think they are trying to mend the old brokenJewish yoke, and putting it o
necks."20 Nothing \ryas to be permitted to distract attention from the anti

return of Christ in only a few weeks.

Conducting the communion service one Sunday morning early in
Frederick Wheeler, the Methodist-Adventist minister of the Washingto
Hampshire, Christian church, stressed the importance of obeying
commandments. Present was a middle-aged woman, Mrs. Rachel O
Seventh Day Baptist, who later married Nathan Preston. In a subs
conversation with Pastor Wheeler she witnessed to her belief in the seventh
the week as the Bible Sabbath, with the result that a few weeks later, in Ma
kept his first Sabbath and preached a sermon on the subject. By early 184
of his Washington parishioners, including several members of the Farn

family, had begun keeping the Sabbath, and eventually Rachel Preston bec
Adventist.2' Frederick Wheeler was thus the first Adventist to observe the S
and she the first Sabbathkeeper to become an Adventist. These Sabbathk
Adventists in Washington became the first Sabbatarian Adventist congre

and eventually purchased the church building."

During the years prior to 1844, many Seventh Day Baptists had l
approvingly to the Millerite proclamation of an imminent Advent, and so
share with the Adventists their own conviction with respect to the Sabba
such Seventh Day Baptist, who had listened to the Advent Message in 1844
not accept it until October, 1851, was Roswell F. Cottrell, of Mill Grove in w
New Yoik. He had always "believed in the personal appearing of Christ," w
believed "was near," as he later wroteJames White, a founder of the Seve
Adventist Church. But being deeply committed to the seventh-day S
Cottrell "saw the proclaimers of the Advent in darkness in regard
commandments of God, and bowing to an institution of Papacy." It w
discovery of a group of Sabbathkeeping Adve_ntists, through-Ile Second
Reuiew aita SaUOattr fi erald early in its 6rst year of publication ( I 850- I 85 I ),
him to unite with the Adventists.23 Many other Seventh Day Baptists, such a
Spicer, later followed his example, often doubtless for the same reason.24
Seventh Day Baptists could not conscientiously unite with Sundayke
and the Millerite leaders, on their part, resented any diversion of attentio
the Aclvent to llrt: Sabbath, which to them was an unimportant side issue
rcl:rtivcly li.w Sr.vcrrtlr l)ay Baptists be<:ame Millerite Adventists, or vice

Emergence of Sabbatarian Adventism

Acceptance of the seventh-day Sabbath in 1844-1845 by Adve

Frederick Wheeler and many of his fellow parishioners in Wash
Hampshire, proved to be a local phenomenon. Sabbathkeeping d
thence to other Adventist individuals or groups, at least to any exten
become a matter of record. Acceptance of the Sabbath by a significa
the early Adventists, scattered and without communication with
came gradually over the next four or five years. It was not until 184
but identifiable group of Sabbatarian Adventists began to emerge. "
cause did not advance with us but little up to I849. At that time it bega
its progress has been steady and firm till the present,"James White wr
The second Millerite Adventist minister to adopt the seventh
was Thomas M. Preble, in the summer of 1844. Publication of his
Sabbath in The Hope of Israel as A Tract Showing that the Seoenth D
Obsented as the Sabbatlr in March, 1845, was of major importance in
Sabbath to Adventists generally.2T A few weeks laterJoseph Bates r
article and the ract, studied the matter carefully himself, and
Frederick Wheeler specifically to learn more about the Sabbath. It
largely through Bates's dedicated witness among his fellow Advent
adopted the Sabbath. Asked "What is the news?" by a friend the day
visit to the home of Frederick Wheeler, Bates replied, "The new
seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God." Bates devoted the
his life to proclaiming that news. A year later, in August, 1846, he
own tract, The Seuenth-day Sabbath a Perpetual Sign.'" Also that year
Sabbath to the attention of Hiram Edson,James White, and Ellen H
to become Ellen White), thereby preparing the way for the crys
Sabbatarian Adventism. *
This, Ellen Harmon's first encounter with the seventh-day S
place during the course of a visit to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in th
1846 for the purpose of encouraging Advent believers in that city. Ba
Sabbath upon her, but she did not at that time see its importance, thi
erred in dwelling upon the fourth commandment more than the o
days later, on August 30, she and.f ames White were married, and so
they studied Bates's pamphlet together, and in the autumn began t

In a vision late the following winter, "a few months" after their m
saw Jesus raise the cover of the ark in the sanctuary in heaven, and w

she saw the tables of stone inscribed with the Ten Commandme
surprised to see "a soft halo of light encircling" the fourth comma
shown "that if the true Sabbath had been kept, rhere would never
infidel or an atheist." In response to the proclamation of the messag
angel of Revelation 14, "many would embrace the Sabbath of the
vision, emphasizing the perpetuity of the law of God, including
confirmed her and her husband in its observance.3n The predicti<ln
would embrace the Sabbath" was soon to become a rc:rlitv.
*.los<'ptr Bat<'s's parl irr thc tirrlicsl Iirrrrrulirlion


( i.


Atlvcrttisrrr'r rlirtirrrtivc S.rlrlrrrilr tlrrtl

The "Sabbath Conferences"

In response to invitations, James and Ellen White attended six (or
according to some reckonings) important "Beneral meetings" in Connecticu
York, Maine, and Massachusetts between April 20 and November l8-19,
Participants spoke of them as "general meetings" in view of the fact that A
believers and interested friends in the general vicinity of each meeting
invited to attend. They were also referred to as "conferences" (later "Sa
conferences"), but they were not conferences in the usual sense of the term.
purpose was to instruct those who attended on major points of doctrine a
determined, not to confer in order to determine doctrine. Those in atten
"'were not all fully in the truth"'; "hardly two agreed"; "some were h
serious errors, and each strenuously urged his own views"; others "lov
truth, but were Iistening to and cherishing error."3r
James and Ellen White and Joseph Bates were the principal speakers
main subjects being the Sabbath, the third angel's message (Rev. l4:9relation to the Sabbath, and last-day events in prophecy. This was the "p
truth" in which these meetings established the scattered Advent believers. "
gained the victory," Ellen White wrote. "Our brethren renounced their erro
united upon the third angel's message, and God greatly blessed them and
to their numbers."32 It was in the setting of the third angel's message th
Sabbath became relevant to many Adventists and began to take hold of the
At each of the meetings differences of opinion and discord gave w
harmony, and these scattered believers in New England and New York be
feel a bond of unity and fellowship. Sabbathkeeping Adventists, James
wrote in 1853, had come from various denominations "holding different vie
some subjects; yet, thank Heaven, the Sabbath is a mighty platform on wh
can all stand united. And while standing here. . . all party feelings are l
Arthur Spalding estimates that there were at that time , all told, no more tha
hundred of these Sabbathkeeping Adventists, who formed the nucleus o
later became the Seventh-day Adventist Church.3'
The Present Truth and The Adaent Reuiew

In November, 1848, Ellen White told her husband that he should

publishing a small paper to advance the cause of present truth.In response,J
White brought oui ttre first issue of The Present Truth in July, I 849. He later
that it had nbt been his intention to "issue more than two or three numbers
eventually there were eleven, the last dated November, 1850'35
Articles on the Sabbath, filling nearly two thirds of the space in the
issues (865 of 1408 column inches), traced the Sabbath back to Creatio
presented its immutability. It had not been changed, could not be change
was therefore still binding. The first two issues dealt exclusively with the Sa
later issues touched also on Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, the
angel's message, and the "shut door." The article on the sanctuary present
Sabbath of the fourth commandment in that setting, while that on the third a
n)essage presented the Sabbath as the great test that would signify God'
pcoplc prior to thc retrrrn ofJesus, which was considered very imminent.s6
to A<lventi.sts. 'l'wo year

fulfillment of the prophecy of Rev. xiv

Second Advent movement, the 'commandments of God' hold a plac
great testing truth,just before the Son of man takes His place on the w

James White wrote that "in the

reap the harvest of the earth."3?

Introducing the first number of The Present Truth, James White
several months he had been "burdened with the duty of writing, an
the present truth for the scattered flock" of Advent believers. He id
keeping of the fourth commandment" as all-important present truth."
senience he hastened to add that "this alone, will not save anyone." "
the little journal, together with the fact that it was devoted primaril
frrst two issues exclusively-to the seventh-day Sabbath, tacitly id
Sabbath as uppermost in the minds ofJames and Ellen White as "pr
for that time. The Sabbath was still "news," as.|oseph Bates had desc
years before.
The influence of the Sabbath conferences andThe PresentTruth i
Advent believers is also evident in letters from readers. Some of these
from persons ministering to the "little flock scattered abroad." Other

some who had accepted present truth-the Sabbath and the third ang
There were also announcements of further "conferences," in 1849
various parts of New England and New York.
In a letter from North Paris, Maine, dated October 16, 1849, and
The Present Truth in December of that year, J. N. Andrews wro
Conference recently held in this place, resulted in much good." "Erro
"painful" views had Iong separated "the brethren" in that vicin
conference had united them "in the great and important truths o
concludes: "How important it is, beloved brethren, in this, our final s
the dragon, that we be found UNITED in'the commandments of God and
of Jesw Chnst."'
On the same page of that issue, another correspondent in Verm
being "very much encouraged in view of what is being done
publications"; he tells of neighbors embracing the Sabbath as a resu
"your little paper." 3e Another reader reported that "the present state
in this part of the State is cheering. Our last conference, held April 20
one of the best I ever attended. The brethren all seemed to be very
truth." Another group in Camden, Maine, he says, "have lately e
Sabbath." They had been "scattered and torn" by various errors, but r
have produced "a strong union" among them.{o
The Sabbath doctrine proved to be the catalyst needed to unite
Advent believers and to weld them together as a coherent, cohesive
to 1848 Sabbath observance among them had been a matter of persona
and practice on the part of a few individuals. By late 1849 it had
accepted norm among those Adventists who later adopted the name In 185 I Ellen White wrote: "God's people are coming into
the faith. Those who observe the Sabbath of the Bible are united in t
Bible truth. But those who oppose the Sabbath among the Adven
disunited and strangely divided." " In the final issue <>l'l-hr I're.seril7-ru
of that as lreing the "gathcring tirne" irr w]rir:lr (lo<l prrr'1rost'<l to
rcrlniurl <ll'llis pt'o1>lt'." Iiot'tlris t'('lls()n tlrt'y slrorrkllrt'"ttttilcrl;rrt<l z

work" of spreading the truth. Also for this reason "it . . . [was] necessary th
truth should be published in a paper, as [it had been] preached."as
"gathering" and unification was largely accomplished through the Sa
conferences of 1848 to 1850 and publication of The Present Trith.
The Sabbath was thus, in a very real sense, the unifying facror around
the seventh-day-Adventist church came into being, and ii is still a porenr
that.binds- together the Adventist people around the world, tranicendi
barrjers of nationality, race, language, political ideology, and economic sta
levels all barriers and makes the most diverse people one in Christ as has no
else in the history of the world.
curiously, between Numbers l0 and ll of The Present Truthaa James
out the five regular issues and two extras of another peiiodica
Advent Revieru. The fact that he did not incorporate its articles into further iss
The.P.resent Trutfr points to the unique role he conceived for each journal, on
harbinger of the Sabbath and the other of the fact that these ardent Sabba
were still dedicated Ad,uentists. They "were now carrying forward rhe ro
prophetic truth once held aloft by the enrire body of Adventists prior t
immediately following the great disappointment," he wrore.45 Thus, public
of The Aduent Reuiew at this juncture brought these two major facets of Sabba
Adventist belief back into balance.
This was the prelude to White's publication of volume 1, Number l,
Second Ad.uent Reaieu and Sabbath Herald (now the Aduentist Reuiew), in Nove
1850, the same month in which the final numbers of both The PresentTruthan
Aduent Reuiezu appeared. That must have been a busy monrh forJames White
merger of the Sabbath and the Advent in one publication made seuen
Adventism a permanent entity on the religious scene. It found expression
eleven years later, in the choice of the name "Seventh-day Adventist." P
186 I those who adopted the name identified themselves, and were spoken
others, variously as "the little flock," "Second Advent Sabbath Kee
"Seventh-day Advent people," and "Sabbath-keeping Adventists." a6
Deserving of special mention among the multiplicity of Adventist pu
tions on the Sabbath wasJ. N. Andrews'classic Harlory of the Sabbath, first pub
in l86l and revised and reprinted repeatedly for more than half a centur
fourth edition was coauthored by L. R. Conradi). This volume represente
more mature development of his series of articles in the Reuiew in April and
1853.n? InJanuary, l854,James White announced his intention to publish a
of twelve to fifteen Sabbath and Advent tracts of 32 to 100 pages each. Th
four of these were ready in August,as
Determining l{hen to Begin the Sabbath

Sabbathkeeping Adventists were agreed on the binding force of the Sa

command and the proper mode of Sabbath observance. Examining the Scrip
for themselves, they concluded that the Seventh Day Baptists were right on

matters and followed their example in everything except the point of wh

begin the Sabbath. The latter observed the Sabbath from "even to even,"
they define<l as from sunset to "With the Seventh Day Baptists,"

farncs Whitt', "we agree on the institution, design, and perpetuity o

llrrt lr rrr:rjority ol'Atlvt:ntists, irr accepting the Sabbath from



Seventh Day Baptists, had evidently missed the dclinitiott of "eve

Thus it had been with Joseph Bates, through whom the Sabbath
Adventists and who began the Sabbath at six o'clock Friday
Adventists were beginning it at sunset, and still others at midnigh
Saturday morning.5'
Obviously this diversity of practice on so important a ma
continue indefinitely without affecting the unity of the fledgling
mirabile dictu, the Sabbath had brought about, Fearing such a divis
issue "could be settled by good testimony," in August, 1855, Jame
J. N. Andrews to make a thorough investigation of the matter a
article on the subject for the Reaiew. Andrews was already recogniz
Bible scholar.s2
Andrews'review of the evidence appeared at length (72 colum
Reuiew for December 4, 1855. In the Reiiew forJune 2,1851, he h
six o'clock Sabbath, but now, following a detailed examination
evidence for sunset as marking the beginning and end of each day, a
the Sabbath, he concluded that there is no Biblical evidence wh
o'clock as "even," in the expression "from even unto even, shall ye
sabbath." Citing Putnam's Hand Booh of Useful Arb that clocks and
invented in 1658, he commented with typical New England logic th
were indeed the proper time to begin the Sabbath, then "for ne
space of 6,000 years the people of God have been without the m
when the Sabbath commenced." Impeccable logic!
In an accompanying note Andrews announced that for him "th
investigation is the firm conviction that the commencement and clo
[and thus of the Sabbath] is marked by the setting of the sun." "Th
Baptists have always held to this doctrine," he explained, "but
happened to meet with their views. Had I done so, I should not hav
error on this subject." "Besides this, as I now learn, a considerable
brethren have long been convinced that the Sabbath commences

Later Contacts \{ith the Seventh Day Baptists

During the thirty-five years from 1844 to 1879 a more o
relationship prevailed between Seventh-day Adventists and Sevent
The first official contact between the two groups came with a le
Rogers, "corresponding secretary" of "the Seventh Day Ba
Association," toJames White as editor of the Reaiew datedJuly 28
been commissioned "to correspond with the Seventh-day Adven
Iearn their faith." James White published his response to Roger
Reuiew two weeks later.un
In 1869 a friendly overture from the Seventh-day Adv
Conference, then in its sixth year, elicited "a fraternal reply" from i
Baptist counterpart, which in turn appointed one of its number as
the next meeting of that body." In 1870 Roswell F. Cottrell reported
that he attended their General Conference session in Little Genes
and had been "courteously invited by vote to take part in their del
the same session they voted "co-operation with the Scvt'rrth-<lay A
without compromising <listinctive principles," lltrt trrlrk'r[ "lr rrro

(lelegate to the Adventist Conference."uu Over the next ten years Sevent
Arlventistleaders such asJohn Nevins Andrews, Uriah Smith,James White,

I. Waggoner were commissioned as representatives to the annual Sevent

llaptist General Conference sessions, where they were always cordially welc
:rnd seated as delegates. The Seventh Day Baptists reciprocated, and
<lclegates were as cordially received and welcomed by the Adventists. Repo
the "prosperity" attending the work of the Adventists were met with B
resolutions "expressing fraternal joy."s0 This interchange of delegate
r:ontinued intermittently to the present time.

Certain unfortunate incidents, however, involving a few overze

Adventists acting on their own initiative, gradually drove

wedge of sorts be

Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists. The years 1850 to

witnessed relatively rapid growth of Seventh-day Adventists, and an occa
loss of Seventh Day Baptist members to the Adventists. "This loss might have

sustained with a minimum of misunderstanding" except for several instan

(he traumatic breakup of a Seventh Day Baptist congregation by Adventists
t:rude tactics aroused distrust and resentment that lingered for many yea
The most blatant such episode occurred one winter day in 1855 wh

Adventist, D. P. Hall, appeared at the Hayfield, Pennsylvania, Sevent

llaptist church and challenged all comers to a rousing debate. The result
split in the Hayfield church that left bitter feelings on both sides. Several Se
I)ay Baptist congregations were thus weakened by a loss of members
Adventists, and some disbanded altogether. It was often the case, however,
r:hurch was already weak as the result of internal strife or a lack of leaders
rloctrinal cohesiveness. Articles about "sheep stealing" appeared in the jou
on both sides."
A number of years later,James White included the following reflection:
<leeply regretted the havoc made in some of the S. D. Baptist church
I'ennsylvania, more than twenty years since, by men who do not now stand w
I,irr while that work weakened the S. D. Baptists, it brought but very little str
(o our cause,"'u'
White expressed the sentiment of responsible Adventists when he w
"'Both bodies have a specific work to do, God bless them both in all their effor
its accomplishment. The freld is a wide one. And we further recommen
Seventh-day Adventists in their aggressive work avoid laboring to bu
Seventh-day Adventist churches where Seventh Day Baptist churches are a
cstablished. If ministers or members from the Seventh Day Baptists regard i
(luty to come to us, under the impression that they can serve the cause o
better, we shall give them a place with us. But we see no reason why there sho
any effort put forth on the part ofour people to weaken the hands ofour Se
Day Baptist brethren, in order to add to our numbers from those who were b
trs in revering the ancient Sabbath of the Lord."60

The Seventh Day Baptists in Later Years

During the second half of the nineteenth century.the Seventh Day Ba
continuerl iir cxpcricnce a gradual increase in membership until, by the cent
ol tlrcir (icnt'r:il (lorrfi'r'cnle, in 190 l, it stood at9,257; since then it has
<lt.<:lint:rl, lrrrrl irr l'l)7lJ stoo<l llt 5,1:]().or l)uring the nitretecnth (tentllr

operated a number of seminaries, colleges, and one univer

University-but these educational institutions have been either disc

The Sabbath is the only significant point of belief on which

Seventh Day Baptists differ. One contemporary Seventh Day Ba
refers to it as the "only just reason for our denominational existen
from other Baptists."63 Their zealous endeavor, especially over the
and a half, to inipire among fellow Christians of other faiths an apprec
seventh-day Sabbath is worthy of commendation. But their dwindli
ship over the past eight decades suggests that the Sabbath alone does
sufficient incentive to attract members and to maintain a separate den
existence. Only as one important facet of Bible truth along with othe
the Sabbath be understood and appreciated in its true perspective
minds and hearts on any significant scale.u' Their l80l membershi
more than I ,130 peaked a little more than a century later at somethin
9,300uu-an average gain of approximately eighty members per ye
the growth rate of either the United States or the world. Since the
century their membership has decreased back to approximately its
Perhaps the major success of their three centuries and more o
denominational witness in the New World was the acceptance of the
few Millerite Adventists during the 1840s.

Other Sabbathkeeping Sects

Distinct both historically and administratively from regular S
Baptists are about 150 German Seventh Day Baptists, the remnan
organized in 1728 (they established themselves in Ephrata, Pen
1732),with roots in the Old World. In belief they are similar to the Du
whom their founder was associated prior to that time. They practice
and celibacy.6?

A number of small Christian denominations or groups observe

day of the week as the Sabbath. Two of these grew out of the Sec
Movement of 1844-the Seventh Day Church of God (Denver), with
members, and the Church of God (Salem, West Virginia), with abou
former originated about 1900 and the latter in 1933. Related to the W
group is the so-called World Headquarters of the Church of God in
Israel, led by the late A. N. Dugger. Based in Portsmouth, Virginia, is

of God and Saints in Christ, which was established in 1896 and in

membership of about 38,000.68

A more recent group that observes the seventh day of the week as
is Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. Originally a
united with the Church of God in Oregon, and in 1934 began a rad
later incorporating under the name Radio Church of God. In 1968 t

changed to Worldwide Church of God. With headquarters i

California, membership has been reported variously as between
100,000. (In 1978 Armstrong's son, GarnerTed, broke away to found
of God, International.)6e
The Strangite Church of Jesus Clhrist of' l,irttcr'-tliry Srirrts, o
Wisconsin in I 844, in I 980 lra<l pcrlral;s ll(X) rncrrrllt'r's. I I r llr irr rs to llt:

original Church ol'Jesus Christ ofLatter-Day Saints" and that its fbunder,
.f . Strang, is the only legitimate successor to Joseph Smith. In several re
including observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, Strangites differ from
Mormons.To According to the Book of Mormon the seventh day is the Sabb
the Mormon Church explains that it is impractical to observe Saturday
modern world.
Finally, there is a seventh-day Pentecostal group of about 25,00
headquarters in Brazil known as the Adventist Church of Promise, organ
1932 and consisting of some 500 congregations in various countries o

Adventist Indebtedness to the Seventh Day Baptists

The extent of Adventist indebtedness to the Seventh Day Baptists
understanding of the Sabbath is evident from the constant use made of S
Day Baptist publications, especially their Sabbath Tract Series, during th
years of the church. "The writings of the Seventh Day Baptists have been
comfort and strength to us," wroteJames White in 1853.?'?
On page 7 of volume l, Number l, of. The Second Aduent Reaiew and
Herald (November, 1850) appeared the editorial note; "We call special atten
the brethren to the articles, in this number from the publications
Seventh-day Baptists [sic]. They are clear, comprehensive, and irrefutab
intend to enrich the columns of the Reuiew and HeraLd, with extracts from
excellent works on the Sabbath.
"We also design to get out a large pamphlet, containing the same m
from their publications, that we publish in this paper. Such a work, judi
circulated, will certainly do a great amount of good."7'
The fi rst number of the Reuiew contains four such reprints, which fi ll I
166 column inches, fully three fourths of the space. The second is

December, contains one Seventh Day Baptist article on the Sabbath, and on
byJ.N.Andrews andJoseph Bates.Ta The twelve issues of volume I devot
column inches to the Sabbath, or 38.5 percent of the space. Of this, 399 c
inches were from Seventh Day Baptist sources and 370 by Adventist authors
and 18.5 percent of the total, respectively. This clearly reflects the extent to

pioneer Adventists were indebted to the Seventh Day Baptists fo

understanding of the Sabbath.
On the front page of Number 6 is a poem of seven stanzas, " 'It's Jewis
defense of the Sabbath, by former Seventh Day Baptist Roswell Fenner Co
At the same time Cottrell had sent Reuiew editor James White a copy
eight-page rract he had written about the Sabbath-A Letter to the Disciple
fora. Of inis tractJames White wrote in the same issue of the Reuiew: "We
is uery good, and hope to be able to publish it entire, soon." It appeared two
later in Number 8, six months before the author became an Adventist.T6 O
next forty years Cottrell contributed 1,692 articles and other items to the
and was iisted as a member of the original "Publishing Committee," wit
Andrews and Uriah Smith, and later as a "corresponding editor." 7' Many
articles dealt with the Sabbath, which ever remained a precious treasure
Repeatedly, through the columns of the Reaiew, he appealed to his "dear"
Scvcnth Day Baptist "brethren" to espouse the Advent hope, as he had

The Sabbath in Adventist Theology

Consideration of possible alternatives to the events of' historybetween what actually happened and what might have happened-is
way by which to estimate the meaning and importance of those event
the Sabbath there obviously would not be a Seventh-day Adventist Chu

would have become of the mid-nineteenth-century Millerite Adve

became Sabbatarians had they not accepted the Sabbath? And what w
become of the Seventh Day Baptists had they, as a body, accepted the
imminent Advent? Answers to these hypothetical questions can be infe
the relative success, over the years, of Sabbatarian Adventism, non-Sa

Adventism, and non-Adventist Sabbatarianism-that is, from a t

perspective, of the Advent and the Sabbath in a symbiotic relationsh
each apart from the other. More important than either of these
however, is the meaning and importance of the Advent and the Sabba

other in Seventh-day Adventist theology, and thus to the church in its lif
and witness.
Sabbatarian Adventists emerged as a discrete, identifiable group in
the relative strength of the three religious groups in that year is taken as

comparing their relative viability over the intervening years, as dete

membership growth. Other significant factors have, of course, been
especially (l) prophetic guidance in the life and work of the church a
Adventist concept of world mission.
Post-1844 Millerite Adventists who did not accept the Sabbath
coalesced into three groups extant in 1980-The Advent Christia
with approximately 30,000 members; the Church of God (Abraham
with about 6,500; and the Primitive Advent Christian Church, with 6
a total of some 37,000 members.?e This total represents slightly more
percent of the 3-million-plus worldwide membership of Seventh-day Ad
From this we might conclude that Adventism with the sabbath has bee
mately one hundred times more effective than it has proved to be

The significant theological difference between Seventh-day Adve

seventh Day Baptists is, of course, emphasis on the imminence of the Ad
1849 Seventh Day Baptist membership

of 5,949 far outnumbere

Sabbatarian Adventists, of whom there were about 1008'-a ratio of bett

to l. Or we might say that there were 0.017 times as many Sabbatarian
as there were Seventh Day Baptisrs. In 1978 Seventh Day Baptist me

stoodat5,l39(8 l0lessthanin 1849),s'?andthatofseventh-dayAdventi

than 3 million, a ratio of 584 to l. Accordingly, the Sabbath with the A
proved to be 30,647 times more effective than it has been without the

Thus on a strictly empirical, historical basis, the Sabbath and the Ad

Prgyeq to be of significant importance to each other. Evidently the merg
Sabbath with the hope of an imminent Advent during the formative yea
1849 was a theological and religious evenr of the first magnitude, a


of the interrelationship between the two in the formt

Seventh-day Adventist theology during those years is of'major ilnlx)r

sttrrly of-the hist<lry o['the Sirllb:rlh. It nray, as wt'll, poirrt tlrc wily t() iul
ll ir( i

eff'ective witness to the Sabbath in years to come.

To begin with, during those formative years Adventists tested the Se
Day Baptist concept of the Sabbath by the Bible and adopted it as their ow
historic Seventh Day Baptist thought, the fourth precept of the Deca
memorializes the Creator-creature relationship, which is of ultimate impor

to our very existence. At first glance the Sabbath appears to be an arb

command, that is, an expression of the authority of the One who gave it an
one whose inherent moral quality is obvious, as with the prohibitions a
murder, adultery, and theft. Recognition of the Sabbath is therefo
acknowledgment of God's authority as Creator, on an even higher leve
compliance with the other nine. It is a test of a person's recognition of his C
and his attitude toward Him. With this purpose in view, God intended the Sa
for all mankind, for all time. God has never altered the Sabbath command,
is, in fact, inherently unalterable. Any attempt to change it constitutes an
challenge to the authority of the Creator. In Seventh Day Baptist thoug
Sabbath is also destined to play a key role in the great future eschatological
when truth will be in the balance, Finally, "the rest of the holy Sabbath"
"earnest to God's people, of the eternal rest, which is reserved for th
heaven," an earthly "type" of that heavenly "antitype."s

Adventist appreciation of, and reliance on, the extensive Seventh Day B
Iiterature about the Sabbath available to them during the years 1846 to 18
already been documented. Those pioneer Adventists adopted the Sevent
Baptist exposition of the Sabbath in toto and gratefully acknowleged
indebtedness to the Seventh Day Baptists. But the Sabbatarian Adventist co
of an imminent Advent meant that they could not be content to let matte
there. In effect, Seventh Day Baptist theology of the Sabbath devoted mos
time to looking intently into the rearview mirror of history, while the Advent
kept Adventist eyes fixed on the road ahead. Adventist conviction with resp
the fundamental validity of the 1844 experience despite the disappointm
conviction that came as a result of their study of Christ's ministry in the hea
sanctuary, led to a comprehensive and coherent theology of the Sabb
relation to the Advent. They incorporated this theological stance at once in
title chosen for their publication, The Second Aduent Reaiew and Sabbath Heral
a decade later into the name Seventh-day Adventist.

The first step in the theological departure of what were to be

Seventh-day Adventists from the rest of their disappointed Advent brethren
place the morning following the bitter disappointment of October22,1844.
flash of light it came to Hiram Edson's mind that the "sanctuary" to be "clea
on that memorable day was not this earth, as the Millerites had supposed, b
sanctuary in heaven in which Christ, since His ascension, has been minister
His people here on earth the benefits of His infinite sacrifice of For s
years after I 844 the other Adve ntists worked on the basis of the idea that the
they had anticipated-the Iiteral appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven

correct, but that they had been mistaken in figuring the time aspect o
prophecies. As a result they set one date after another for Christ to come.
(lrosier anrl those who accepted his explanation regarding the sanctu
hr:aven, Milk'r itt' A<lvt:ntists had been right with respect tothe time but wrong


the nature of the event, specifically with respect to the identity of the
that was to be "cleansed." Nowhere in the Bible could they fi
suggesting that the sanctuary of Daniel 8:14 is this earth, where

Testament, and most particularly the book of Hebrews, is replete with

of a heauenl\ sanctuary operating since Christ's ascension.
This concept of the sanctuary protected those who accepted it ag

time setting, and drew a sharp Iine of distinction between them

Adventists. But even more important, it directed their attention to th

and the Sabbath. In Ellen White's vision in the late winter or early sp
mentioned earlier, she saw Jesus standing by the ark in the heaven
Before her eyes He opened the folded tables of stone on wh
Commandments were inscribed, and a halo of light encircled the
understood this emphasis on the fourth commandment as divine con
the seventh-day Sabbath and was confirmed in her own acceptanc

Sabbath was thus linked to the sanctuary in heaven. In an editorial in

1854, Reuiew entitled "The Relation which the Sabbath sustains to ot
Present Truth," Uriah Smith wrote:
"The sanctuary and the Sabbath are inseparably connected. Who
the truth of the first must admit it also of the second: the sanctuary

ark, the ark contains the law, and the Iaw contains the fourth com
unabolished and unchanged." "No truth need be more clearly demon
that the Sabbath of the Lord, instituted and given to man at Cre
binding upon the whole human family. Perhaps no truth can be
demonstrated." "Especial attention should be called to this point


The imminence of the Advent gave point and urgency to the

"present truth," which had been lacking in the Seventh Day Baptist wi
1850 Ellen White wrote: "I saw that the time forJesus to be in the mo
was nearly finished and that time can last but a very little longer. . . .
time is very short, and will soon be over." "'Time is almost finished.'
angel,'Get ready, get ready, get ready."'87 It was this concept of aa
Advent that gave particular point and urgency ro the Sabbath, a
intensified by the discovery, a little later, of its relationship to the
message of Revelation l4:9-12.
Adventists had already identified the proclamation of Christ's com
with the fulfillment of the first angel's message of Revelation l4:6
"midnight cry" during the summer of 1844 as the historical counte
second angel's message in verse 8. The first angel summons all men ev
worship the Creator, whose work of creation the Sabbath memoriali
second warns against popular rejection of that message. But there
angel with a warning against the mark of the beast, which they unde
the satanic counterpart of the seal of God. Identifying the seal of G
Sabbath, they concluded that the mark of the beast must be Satan's
Sabbath. Furthermore, inasmuch as the first angel announced the ho
judgment, and inasmuch as John presented the coming of Christ
immediately upon the proclamation of the messag(' hy tlre third
concluded that the Sabbath was t() be the grcat lin;rl rt'st ol l<ly
irnmediately preceding (lhrist's <:orning, wlrirlr tlrcy took to lrt'vt'r'y

Those who accept these messages are said in verse l2 of the chapter to be ke
the commandments of God along with their faith inJesus Christ as man's S
from sin. The Sabbath, they concluded, was thus implicit in both the first and

A few years later Ellen White wrote: "Separate the Sabbath from the
angels'] messages, and it loses its power; but when connected with the mess

the third angel, a power attends it which convicts unbelievers and infidel
brings them out with strength to stand, to live, grow, and flourish in the L
Substitution of the laws of men for the law of God, she wrote, is to be the ve
act in the drama of the great controversy between good and evil.8n With the
thus clearly drawn, all who sincerely love God will have received His s
approval, and those who submit to human requirements opposed to the divin
will receive the mark of the beast foretold in Revelation l3 and 14. Even
there will be a universal decree imposing the death penalty on those who pe
observing the Bible Sabbath instead of honoring the first day of the week
As indicated in the foregoing, the second advent of Christ and the Sa
were bonded together in Adventist theology in an inseparable, symbiotic un
which each was dependent on the other. This union of the Advent an
Sabbath in the setting of the everlasting gospel (Rev. l4:6) and the imminen
of divine judgment (verse 7) is the constitutive dynamic of Seventh-day Adv
theology. Adventists often refer to those who convert to the church as "acc
the third angel's message" or as "accepting the Sabbath"; both expressio
commonly used for becoming a Seventh-day Adventist. This understand
Scripture made the Sabbath "present truth" during the years 1846 to 184
supremely important sense, and gave it an ultimate importance it never h
Seventh Day Baptists. It is also an important factor in the phenomenal gro
Seventh-day Adventists and for their high level of dedication.
This emphasis on the eschatological significance of the seventh-day Sa
explains its major role in Adventist theology. It was the catalyst that broug
scattered Advent believers of pioneer days together and that still today trans
all social, economic, racial, and national barriers, uniting Adventists aroun
world in a bond of loyalty to Christ and to one another. The name "Seven
Adventist" aptly expresses the rarson d'Atre of thechurch and the reason for b
member of the church.
Relevance of the Sabbath: a Positive Perspective

Traditionally, and almost exclusively until recent. years, it has been cust
to emphasize observance of the Sabbath as man's proper response to a
command, as an obligation. God commands; it is our duty to obey. Contemp
literature on the Sabbath, however, emphasizes its positive aspect, as a gra
provision by a wise Creator designed to meet an inherent need of created b
even in a perfect world. From this perspective the Sabbath is the same, and
duty with respect to it is the same. But instead of more or less rote complian
keeping it only, or primarily, because God requires it, there is emphasis o
Creitoi's purpose in giving man the Sabbath, on its intrinsic therapeutic.v
and on a., i.,telligent, appreciative observance of it. The balance in thi
perspective has been aptly and tersely expressed by AhvaJ. C. Bond: "It is
is trttttt's Sabbath; he needs it."''
Sal>l>;rth; Ilt'rrratle it....ll

Overemphasis on the traditional perspective of the Sabbath te

distorted view of God as an arbitrary being who is pleased to b
beings with restrictive requirements designed to impress them w
He is God. Thus conceived, Sabbath observance tends to det
works-righteousness device by which the Sabbathkeeper hopes to
impressing God with his dutiful obedience. Such observance th
purpose it was designed to serve. The new perspective of the Sabba
God as a gracious person infinitely concerned with the happiness
of His creatures. Mature Sabbath observance requires an unders
Creator's purpose in consecrating it as holy time, and a choice to k
because man's creatureliness obliges him to do so but even mor
rational, responsible being he purposes to enter fully into the Creat
purpose in giving him existence and being. This point of view mak
even more important today because it provides an ideal therapeut
modern man to cope with the frenetic rush of the materialist
modern world.
Although more detail on this subject will be furnished in the th
Part III of this volume, brief mention may be made here of several
recent years have ably presented this new perspective of th
perspective whose newness consists more in emphasis than conte
Jewish rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel has had considera
Christian as well asJewish thinking through his book The Sabbath:
Modern Man.e2 Inasmuch as Heschel will be discussed in great d
chapter (see Branson, pp. I5-2I), it will suffice here to say tha
stresses the Sabbath as "holiness in time," and that he also refers to th
sanctuary which we build, a sanctuary in tirne."e3
A second writer deserving brief mention here, though he t
some further attention in a later chapter (see La Rondelle, pp.25Day Baptist Herbert E. saunders. This author, in his bookrhe sa
Creation and Re-Creation,n' refers to the Sabbath as a "perfect link be
our race," a constant reminder of the Creator's interest in u
creatureliness in relation to Him as our For Saunders, the
at the apex.not o^nly of God's creative activity but also of His rede
being a symbol of both.e6 Indeed, the sabbath highlights rhe person
worth of man, and frees him from rhe tyrannt of the worid.r,
A third writer, whose recent work on the theology of both th
Second Advent deserves somewhat more extended t#atment her
he is not treated elsewhere in the present volume, is Seventh-day A
Kubo. In his God Meets Man: A Theology of the sabbath and second
discusses the Sabbath under three main headings: "The sabbath
"The Sabbath as Redemption," and "The Slbbarh as Furur
highlights, as does Heschel, the concept of holiness in rime.rm B
interesting is Kubo's treatment of the Sabbath in relationship to re
tells us, for example, in connection with a chapter on "The
Justification," that "when man ceases from his wrlrks, lrc nrrrst come
they are not so important nncl that even t[r()ul{lr lrt'slops tlrern,
lll()ves <ltt withottl ltirrt ot'his works"; tlr:rt "it is (lorl :rrrrl wlurt IIc
vitlrl."Ktrllorr<ltlstlrrrt"tlrcSlrlllr:rtlrrrrrrlcrstoorl;rstlr:rt wlritlrstrilrsr

and our autonomy before God provides no opportunity for self-justification

is "truly the sign of God's grace and sovereignty, and of man's reception
When dealing with the Sabbath as "The Sign of Redemption," Kubo
that "the Sabbath has no meaning at all unless creative power accomplish
results in the life of the one who observes the day. Holiness of being must m
holiness of time." '02 And in dealing with the Sabbath in connection
sanctification, Kubo points out that "in our present world the Sabbath con
us as God's challenge to our seriousness in accepting Christ. Since a large p
the world structures its life and business around Sunday as its rest day, obser
of the seventh-day Sabbath today demands a radical, conscious, delib
decision to follow Christ. Some such demand is always present in Chr

Kubo recognizes that the "priority of justification is fundamental," s

that we "must ever keep in mind that man alone and in his own strength cann