Someone thought to change “times and laws” and transfer God’s holy day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. Learn the whole truth, from the history of this change to the implications for the end time generation.
These are the issues we’ll be addressing in this program:
- Quick recap of what we learned in our last program regarding the Fourth Commandment, to answer the question: What is the Seal of God? How do I get it?
- Why do most Christians worship on Sunday instead of the Sabbath? Was the day of worship changed, and if so, why and by whom?
- By whose authority did Sunday worship enter the Christian Church? We’ll do a quick historical overview that will take us back to the fourth century after the death of Christ.
- What prophetic events do we foresee coming next on planet earth as the natural result of the change in the day of worship?
Why does our generation need to understand the Sabbath?
Our generation needs to understand the Third Angel’s Message, from the Book of Revelation chapter 14 verses 9 – 12. The Third Angel’s Message of the Book of Revelation is critically important. It warns mankind about the danger of taking the mark of the beast. It is a life or death issue – eternal life vs. eternal death. But the Third Angel’s Message doesn’t only have spiritual consequences. There are also catastrophic and irreversible physical consequences associated with this choice. The Third Angel warns us about a choice all of us who are alive today will soon be faced with.
We are the end time generation, the generation that will see Jesus Christ return to this earth. We are going to be faced with a life or death choice: to obey God and be sealed on the forehead with His Seal, or to follow the beast and take its mark. But before we can understand who the beast is and what is its mark, we first need to understand the role that the day of worship plays in the cosmic spiritual warfare going on between God and Satan.
The Fourth Commandment: Keep the Sabbath Holy
For those of you who are new to this podcast or haven’t yet listened to our last program, I’ll do a very quick recap of what we said last time. We started by saying that ALL Christians today, whether they are aware of it or not, need to observe the Sabbath. And I gave 7 powerful reasons why this is so:
No. 1: Obedience to God’s Ten Commandments – it’s not a suggestion nor a recommendation, but a commandment. God wrote them Himself, in stone, with His own finger.
No. 2: The Sabbath is a date with God. The Lord sanctified this day and made it holy. No other day of the week has that blessing. The King of the Universe set this day apart to have a quality of fellowship with His creatures that deepens our relationship. We need to have audience with Our King on His schedule, not ours.
No. 3: We worship God the Creator on the Sabbath – no one else in the entire universe has the power to create something from nothing. Only God has that power. That is Who we worship. Satan cannot counterfeit God nor His Creation. Satan only has power to kill, steal and destroy.
No. 4: The Sabbath is the Seal of God – God gave the Sabbath to His people as a distinctive sign, something that set them apart from other people. In our last program I provided all the biblical references where this is described.
No. 5: The Sabbath is for all people, not only the Jews. The Sabbath commandment was already in place at Creation, before there were any Jews. Adam and Eve were not Jewish and they were instructed to keep the Sabbath. We are descended from them, therefore we also need to keep the Sabbath.
No. 6: The Sabbath is a permanent covenant between God and His people. We will actually keep the Sabbath in Heaven, in the New Jerusalem. After this earth is passed away, the scripture says that all flesh will come to worship Him from Sabbath to Sabbath throughout all eternity.
No. 7: We need a day of rest from our labor – God designed us, and He coded that into us. Our biorhythms are set to six days of labor and one day of rest , because our Creator designed us that way. If we do not get that day of rest we put our bodies under great strain. Our refreshing also requires a recharging of our spiritual batteries by coming to worship Him.
We also talked about the consequences of not observing the Sabbath. This is a commandment, like the other nine. God has not changed His commandments. Men have tried to change God’s commandments, but God has not approved this change nor given anyone the authority to make this change. Therefore, sin being defined as the transgression of the law, to not observe the Sabbath is to sin. 1 John 3:4 says “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
However, we also said in our last program that if we choose to sin when we have the knowledge of the right thing to do, there is no grace for us. Listen to James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” And also Hebrews 10:26-27 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” Proverbs 28:9 says it even more succinctly: “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Very sobering scripture!
Ultimately, if we do not worship God on the day that He requires, our worship is as vain and displeasing to God as Cain’s inappropriate offering was. Jesus said in Mark 7:7 “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” I don’t think this could be any clearer. In the Book of Genesis God told Cain “Sin lies at the door”, because false worship opens the door to sin.
We Worship our Creator
The duty to worship God is based on the fact that He is the Creator, and all other beings owe their existence to Him. In the Bible, whenever God’s worthiness to be praised is being discussed, it’s by virtue of the fact that He is the Creator of the entire universe and of every living thing. I’ll quickly run through a series of verses and passages in the Bible and you’ll see how clearly this is stated.
“For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.”
“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker”.
“Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture”.
“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number…”
Isaiah 45:5-12, 18
“I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it. Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?
Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else.”
And just in case you were thinking that it’s only here on earth that God is worshipped as the Creator, let’s quickly go to Revelation 4. We had discussed this beautiful scene in our very first program, where we talked about Heaven and what goes on in God’s throne room. In this scene we see the 24 Elders, God’s Heavenly Council, seated on thrones around God’s throne. Listen to what these holy beings do and say about the Lord:
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
The Sabbath is a memorial of the act of Creation, for on the seventh day God rested from His six days of labor, and was refreshed. The reason why we worship is because God created us, He is the Creator. So we cannot dissociate the act of Creation and the Creator from the act of worship: they are inextricably tied. And God has given us very precise instructions – the Fourth Commandment – that tell us how He wants to be worshipped. This is why God instituted the Sabbath. So as long as He is the Creator (and He’s not coming off that throne anytime soon I may add) and as long as He requires worship, the Sabbath remains His Seal and the institution of the Sabbath remains as relevant today as it was at the moment of Creation.
In the next segment we’re going to trace back in history how Sabbath observance became replaced by Sunday worship. Bear with me as we go through this because you’ll think that we’re off-topic with regard to Bible prophecy and the mark of the beast, but you’ll see later that we’re very much on topic and that Saturday vs. Sunday will be the nerve of war in the endtime.
The day of worship is changed
Surely at this point you’re asking yourself, if the Sabbath is such a big deal, and if the Sabbath is the Seal of God, why is it that most Christians worship on Sunday?
We need to take a quick tour through history to explain that.
Constantine was emperor of Rome from AD 306 to 337. He was challenged with needing to integrate the well-established pagan religions of the Roman Empire with the new Christian religion that arose with such strength. He needed to do this to preserve cultural cohesiveness within the Empire. The young Christian Church was rising up as a mighty force across all of the Roman Empire. Constantine needed to do something to stem the tide.
He himself was a sun worshiper during the first years of his reign. Later, he publicly converted to Christianity. His motto seemed to be “If you can’t beat them, join them”. But at heart Constantine remained a devotee of the sun. Edward Gibbon says, “The Sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine.” Constantine brought many pagan influences into the Christian Church in guise of sanctifying them.
Listen to this quote from Catholic Cardinal John Newman, who wrote An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (London: Basil Montague Pickering, 1878) in which he wrote: “The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holydays and seasons…are all of pagan origin and sanctified by their adoption into the Church.”
The mother and the son is also a common pagan mythology. This is why Mary the mother of Jesus has been elevated to such an exalted position in the Catholic Church. It is also the reason why she and the young child – as well as many other saints and angels – are depicted in Catholic relics wearing golden disks around their heads. These golden disks represent the sun.
Constantine created the earliest Sunday law known to history in AD 321. It says this:
On the venerable Day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits: because it often happens that another Day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting: lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.
Chamber’s Encyclopedia says this:
Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the Sabbatical observance of that Day (referring to Sunday) is known to have been ordained, is the edict of Constantine, 321 A.D.
Arthur Weigall, author ofThe Paganism in Our Christianity (New York: Putnam’s Sons, 1928) says:
“The Church made a sacred day of Sunday…largely because it was the weekly festival of the sun; for it was a definite Christian policy to take over the pagan festivals endeared to the people by tradition, and to give them a Christian significance.”
In the centuries following this initial legislation, both emperors and Popes added other laws to strengthen Sunday observance. What began as a pagan ordinance ended as a Christian precept. Close on the heels of the Edict of Constantine followed the Catholic Church Council of Laodicea (circa 364 AD):
Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday (Sabbath), but shall work on that Day: but the Lord’s Day, they shall especially honour; and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.
Interesting! The Church made it unlawful to obey God’s Law. This is the world standing on its head, isn’t it?
Listen now to this explanation of how the Catholic Church replaced the Sabbath with the Sunday. This quote is taken from The Catechism of the Catholic Church Section 2 Article 3 (1994):
Sunday – fulfillment of the Sabbath. Sunday is expressly distinguished from the Sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the Sabbath… ??The Sabbath, which represented the completion of the first Creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new Creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ…??
There is no scriptural foundation whatsoever for this change. Yes, Jesus did indeed resurrect on a Sunday, but this in no way makes Sunday a day of worship. God has stated over and over again in His Word that the day He sanctified for worship is Saturday, the seventh day of the week. Nowhere in the New Testament is there the slightest shred of evidence that the day was changed.
Let’s continue with the last part of that quote:
In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church’s holy days as legal holidays.
This intent of legislating worship goes against God’s will. Remember when the Scribes and Pharisees were questioning Jesus on whether we should pay taxes or not? What did Jesus reply? He said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s”. Freedom is the very foundation of God’s Kingdom. God would never try to force a day of worship on anyone. He wants us to come worship Him on the day He set aside for that purpose out of our own free will, not because it’s a civil law. This point is extremely important and has direct implications for the prophetic events that have already started to unfold.
Several Catholic sources very candidly claim the change was the doing of the Roman Catholic Church:
Cardinal James Gibbons wrote in The Faith of Our Fathers (Ayers Publishing, 1978): “But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify”.
The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957) teaches the following:
Q. Which is the Sabbath day??
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.?
Q. Why Do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday??
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.
Stephen Keenan, a Catholic, wrote in his Doctrinal Catechism 3rd Edition:
Question: Have you any other way of proving the Church has power to institute festivals of precept? ??Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the 1st day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the 7th day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.
I hope you’ve noted the different years when these various publications appeared. Most of these statements were written a long time ago. There’s no scoop here! This is old news, which begs the question:
Why do Protestants worship on Sunday?
Are you just now asking yourself why then do Protestants worship on Sunday instead of following the Bible? The plot thickens my friends! Let’s hear what some distinguished Catholic authors state about that.
Chancellor Albert Smith for Cardinal of Baltimore Archdiocese wrote in a letter dated February 10, 1920:
If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath day which by God is Saturday. In keeping the Sunday, they are following a law of the Catholic Church.
Our Sunday Visitor which is a Catholic publishing company stated on February 5, 1950:
Practically everything Protestants regard as essential or important they have received from the Catholic Church… The Protestant mind does not seem to realize that in accepting the Bible and observing the Sunday, in keeping Christmas and Easter, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope.
Louis Gaston Segur, Plain Talk about the Protestantism of To-Day (London: Thomas Richardson and Son, 1874): 213:
Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is a homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) Church.
Catholic Priest T. Enright, CSSR, Kansas City, MO:
It was the holy Catholic Church that changed the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday, the first day of the week. And it not only compelled all to keep Sunday, but at the Council of Laodicea, AD 364, anathematized those who kept the Sabbath and urged all persons to labor on the seventh day under penalty of anathema.
The Church therefore stood up in defiance against God’s law, urging God’s people to work on the day He intended for rest.
Catholic Priest T. Enright, CSSR, said in a lecture at Hartford, KS, on Feb 18, 1884:
I have repeatedly offered $1000 to any one who can furnish any proof from the Bible that Sunday is the day we are bound to keep…The Bible says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” but the Catholic Church says, “No, keep the first day of the week,” and the whole world bows in obedience.
Reminds me Revelation 13:3, which says “and the whole world marveled after the beast”?
American Catholic Quarterly Review (January 1883):
Sunday…is purely a Creation of the Catholic Church.
This statement by S.C. Mosna, Storia della Domenica (1969) is outright blasphemous:
The Catholic Church “can claim the honor of having granted man a pause to his work every seven days.”
It is God who gave His children a day of rest and fellowship with Him, not the Church.
John A. O’Brien, The Faith of Millions: the Credentials of the Catholic Religion Revised Edition (?Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 1974):
But since Saturday, not Sunday, is specified in the Bible, isn’t it curious that non-Catholics, who claim to take their religion directly from the Bible and not from the Church, observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Yes, of course, it is inconsistent; but this change was made about fifteen centuries before Protestantism was born, and by that time the custom was universally observed. They have continued the custom even though it rests upon the authority of the Catholic Church and not upon and explicit text in the Bible. That observance remains as a reminder of the Mother Church from which the non-Catholic sects broke away—like a boy running away from home but still carrying in his pocket a picture of his mother or a lock of her hair.
This is a very fitting analogy for the Protestant Churches who claim to be dissociated from Rome but carry her picture or a lock of her hair…
So neither I nor anyone else is putting words into their mouths. The Catholic Church is proud that Sunday observance is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority. In the days before political correctness watered down all communication to render it meaningless, the Catholic Church is on record with many statements that affirm this, as you have heard today.
There is only one major Protestant denomination that does not worship on Sundays, but keeps the Sabbath instead.
The Catholic Mirror wrote on September 23, 1893:
The Catholic Church, for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday… The Adventists are the only body of Christians with the Bible as their teacher, who can find no warrant in its pages for the change of day from the seventh to the first. Hence their appellation, “Seventh-day Adventists.”
“The Question Box” section of The Catholic Universe Bulletin (August 14, 1942) says:
The (Catholic) Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter, the Seventh-day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant.
What other changes did the Roman Catholic Church make?
In addition to changing the day of worship the Roman Catholic Church also modified God’s Ten Commandments. They totally removed the Second Commandment, where God said “You shall not make unto you any graven images”, and they split the Tenth Commandment in two. The Bible’s Tenth Commandment is “You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor”. The Catholics made this two distinct commandments: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods”.
Remember what we explained earlier about Constantine’s need to pull together the Roman Empire and give it more religious cohesiveness. The worship of images was very much ingrained in the pagan religions of the empire, so the emerging Roman Catholic Church decided to accept that practice and not outlaw it with a specific commandment that forbade it.
All of these changes were prophesied in Daniel 7:25: “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” In our next study we’ll be examining the biblical and historical evidence that demonstrates that this verse is referring to the Roman Catholic Papacy.
These changes to God’s Commandments and day of worship are not pleasing to Him. The Lord wrote the Ten Commandments Himself, with His own finger, on two tablets of stone, to express their immutable nature. He did not trust even Moses to write them, but chose to write them Himself and give them to Moses (unlike the Mosaic Law which Moses wrote on parchment and which was nailed to the cross when Jesus died). In our two previous shows “Law and Grace” and “Remember the Sabbath” we discussed all this at great length, and we explain how God’s Law is an intrinsic part of His character and is therefore like Him, unchangeable.
The Papacy positions itself as “Pontiff”. The root of that word is the same as the word “bridge”. In other words, the Pope positions himself as the bridge between men and God. Yet Jesus Christ Himself is that mediator, the High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek who mediates for us in the Heavenly Sanctuary. No man can fulfill the requirement of bridging the gap between God and men, for all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Only Jesus who incarnated as a man and was spotless and blameless, living a perfect life under the law, can claim to be that bridge. The very title “Pontiff” is a form of usurping the role of Jesus on this earth.
Finally, under the Roman Catholic system, God’s people are deprived of direct access to God’s Word. In some of our early programs we explored at length the power of God’s Word and why it’s so important that His people learn and study His Word directly. There is no need for intermediaries to go to God’s Word. Yet for centuries the Roman Catholic Church kept God’s people in darkness, prohibiting access to the Bible, and burning at the stake for heresy those who would not comply. Instead of God’s Word, Rome feeds the Catholic people on liturgies, rituals, traditions and the commandments of men.
What comes next?
In March 2014 Pope Francis sent a personal video message for a conference bringing together Evangelicals and led by Kenneth Copeland. The Pope’s ambassador, Tony Palmer, is an Anglical Bishop representing a multi-denominational community called The Ark. Tony Palmer was there to carry the Pope’s message for unity and against division, or “spiritual racism”. The Catholic Church’s Charismatic and Evangelical Renewal movements are growing rapidly, and the cry for unity is gaining momentum.
Bishop Palmer claims that the Protestant protest is over since 1999, when the Lutheran Church (and more recently the Evangelical Church) signed an agreement with the Roman Catholic Church putting an end to the protest. The agreement is a joint declaration that salvation is given by grace through faith alone to good works, a theological issue that Catholics and Protestants used to be divided on. Bishop Palmer and the Pope were both putting on a major charm offensive, emphasizing brotherhood through Christ and the end to doctrinal differences, and reassuring us that we would all meet in the middle. “It’s a new day for Christianity”.
What we’re seeing here is Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. The time is fast approaching when Christians will be faced with a very important choice that will have everlasting consequences: will we become one body and accept the sovereignty of Catholic tradition by accepting Sunday worship, or will we remain true to the Lord God and His Word and honor the Sabbath as He instructed us to do? What we’re witnessing in these advances by the Pope and Tony Palmer’s well-constructed and well-delivered messaging is the Vatican laying the foundation for the One World Religion that it aspires to control. Remember, the Vatican is a Public Relations machine that is working very hard to capture hearts and minds and have people forget the dead skeletons in the closet.
Let’s close in prayer, and I hope you’ll join us as we continue unmasking truth from deceit in our next program “The Mark of the Beast”. Don’t miss it.