Who Changed the “Sabbath” Day into the “Lord’s” Day?

Psalm 118:24; Matthew 12:8
       This is the day that the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
       The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Mark how Christ here speaks of Himself in relation to the Sabbath. He says that He is not the “Destroyer” of the Sabbath, but the “Lord of the Sabbath.” He is not the Repealer or the Abolisher of the Sabbath, but its Sovereign. He is its “Lord” because He instituted it―John 1:1-3 proves this: He was the Creator. As the Creator, then, He instituted the Sabbath―and this supplies another unanswerable argument which proves that the Sabbath originated not at Sinai, but in Eden.

MATTHEW HENRY: It was by the Son that God made the world, John 1:1-14; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-18; and by Him He instituted the Sabbath in innocency; by Him He gave the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): But how comes the first day in the week to be substituted in the room of the seventh day?

A. W. PINK: From the beginning God determined that the ruination of the old creation should be followed by the producing of a new creation, with a new law of that creation, a new covenant, and a new Sabbath rest, unto His own glory by Jesus Christ…This change is explicitly taught in Hebrews chapter 4. “For if Joshua had given them rest then would he not afterward (through David) have spoken of another day,” verse 8. What this other “day” is, may be unequivocally ascertained from the context: it is the Holy Sabbath―“God did rest the seventh day from all his work,” verse 4. So too, immediately after mentioning “another day”―that is, another or different one from the “seventh,” the apostle went on to say, “There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping to the people of God,” verse 9. In proof of this and also to identify this “another day” he declared, “For he―not ‘they,’ but ‘he,’ which is Christ―that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his,” verse 10.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): How long did that appointment of the seventh day last? To the resurrection of Christ. This was its last period, at which time it was to give place to a new institution. The day of Christ’s resurrection was the day of the finishing of the new creation, the restoration of a marred world.

THOMAS WATSON: The reason why God instituted the old Sabbath was to be a memorial of the creation; but He has now brought the first day of the week in its room in memory of a more glorious work than creation, which is redemption. Great was the work of creation, but greater was the work of redemption. As it was said, ‘The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former,’ Haggai 2: 9. So the glory of the redemption was greater than the glory of the creation.

JOHN KENNEDY (1819-1884): The seventh day was the Sabbath of old, as a memorial of the rest of God after finishing His work as Creator, the first day must be so now, as a memorial of Christ’s rest after finishing the work of redemption.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): By the shifting of it one day forward to the first day of the week, was to be in remembrance of His resurrection, and therefore the Christian Sabbath was to be called the Lord’s Day.

THOMAS WATSON: The change of the Sabbath from the last day of the week to the first was by Christ’s own appointment. He is “Lord of the Sabbath.” And who shall appoint a day but he who is Lord of it?

MATTHEW HENRY: As Mediator, He was entrusted with the institution of ordinances, and to make what changes He thought fit; and particularly, as being Lord of the Sabbath, He was authorized to make such an alteration of that day, as that it should become the Lord’s Day, the Lord Christ’s day.

A. W. PINK: The alteration in the day of Sabbath rest and worship was emphasized by Christ’s personal visitations to His assembled disciples on the first of the week. After His appearing to the travellers to Emmaus, the Saviour was seen no more until His mysterious and blessed manifestation in the upper room. “Then the same day at evening, being the first of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you,” John 20:19. What is the Holy Spirit’s object here in mentioning the particular day of the week? Was it not to inform us that this is now a particular day?
      Throughout the week the Lord Jesus did not re-appear. But when the disciples assembled again on the first day of the next week, He stood once more in their midst and said, “Peace be unto you,” John 20:26…Surely the fact that Christ was not seen by His disciples for a whole week, and that He then appeared to them again on the first day when they met for special worship, clearly signifies His definite sanction of this as the appointed day of meeting with His disciples. And is not this most expressly confirmed by the Holy Spirit’s advent at Pentecost? Most assuredly the Spirit’s descent on the first day of the week crowned this ordinance and ratified the newly-instituted Christian Sabbath.

MATTHEW HENRY: No other day of the week is from henceforward mentioned in all the New Testament than this, and this often, as the day which Christians religiously observed in solemn assemblies, John 20:19; John 20:26; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2…They came together upon the first day of the week, which they called the Lord’s Day―the Christian Sabbath, celebrated to the honour of Christ and the Holy Spirit, in remembrance of the resurrection of Christ, and the pouring out of the Spirit, both on the first day of the week.

JOHN KENNEDY: That the day was changed by divine authority from the seventh to the first of the week, is sufficiently proved. The example of Christ and the practice of the Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, sufficiently prove this to be the case. What can be more authoritative, as a directory to the Church, than the example of the Church’s Head, and the practice and writing of His inspired Apostles?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Well, then, may we with the utmost confidence exclaim with the Psalmist, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” We observe the day as henceforth our true Sabbath, a day made and ordained of God, for the perpetual remembrance of the achievements of our Redeemer.


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