Sabbath Day Observance

May 18, 2012

I had a conversation recently with a fellow student at Chico State who is a Seventh Day Adventist. He wanted to know why it is that the LDS church (and many others) observe Sunday, the first day of the week, as the Sabbath instead of Saturday, the seventh day.

My first thought was that the ‘when’ of the Sabbath is not nearly as important as the ‘why’. We celebrate Christ, both my Seventh Day Adventist classmate and I, we just do so on different days.

In our conversation we discovered many similarities in our beliefs, we both agreed that God created the Earth in six days and rested on the seventh. (Genesis 2:2-3) And we were both well aware of the 4th of the ten commandments which refers to Sabbath Day observance, saying, “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy . . . wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11)

It is in the New Testament, however, that the importance of the first day of the week becomes emphasized. Mary arrived at the Garden Tomb on the first day of the week to find that Christ had been resurrected (John 20:1). Later, in Acts, Paul had the disciples gather together to take the sacrament and be instructed on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we rest from our regular, daily labors one day a week. We gather together to take the sacrament and learn the teachings of Christ from the scriptures and modern prophets. We follow the example of the early disciples and commemorate Christ’s victory over sin and death every Sunday.

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9 Responses to “Sabbath Day Observance”

  1. Bus

    In the early Mormon church they used to have fast meetings on Thursdays, (not sure how widespread this was) but that was hard on the miners and other workers to go without food on a day they were working, so it was shifted to Sunday. Makes me wonder if it is a little bit cultural, rather than fighting the convention that was established in Christian America, they just went with Sunday, observing the resurrection as well of course.

  2. Joe

    There is no reference in the New Testament of the importance of the first day of the week, much less any church’s right to change the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first.

    It is true that Jesus rose on the first day. Since Jesus is God, why did he not just rise up on the seveth day? Because the seventh day IS the Sabbath, not the first day. The solemnity was changed by the early church at the bequest of the Roman Emperor Constantine, not by God. God does not change – that is His character.

    There is also nothing in the Bible (which is of and from God) that we celebrate the Resurrection. We praise God and thenk Him for sending Jesus to die for us. But never are we asked, or told, to change our day of worship because of this.

    Studies have been done proving that the Biblical seventh day is what we know as Saturday. Since the Biblical days began and ended at sundown, the cycle of the days never changes. The many, many calendars have changed over the last millenia, but the cycle has not. So, Sabbath, then, begins on Friday (Preparation Day) at sundown and ends on Saturday at sundown.

    There is no shred of evidence in the Bible that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day. In these churches’ very own writings, they admit this: Baptist, Catholic, Christian, Church of Christ, Congregationalist, Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, and Prebyterian. Even though they celebrate Sabbath on Sunday, they KNOW they are wrong. Yet, they still practice first-day worship.

    God created the Sabbath in Genesis 2:1-2: “By the
    seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” Obviously, this proves that the seventh-day Sabbath is not a Jewish worship day, but OUR worship day.

    More to come.

  3. Thaddeus

    Hi Joe,
    You are eager to show that the Sabbath has not changed and there is no scriptural evidence to begin at midnight Saturday night instead of sundown on Friday. I don’t doubt your assessment of the calendars.

    We Mormons are blessed to have continual revelation from God through His prophets. This has allowed us to learn that worshiping one day in seven is vital to our spiritual health, and less crucial is the particular day it is celebrated.

    In Israel, Mormons observe the Sabbath on Saturday along with their Jewish neighbors. In Egypt and Jordan (predominantly Muslim countries) Sabbath meetings are held on Friday. See this page for more info.

  4. Jerry Spoolman

    You can worship on any day you wish.
    You can chose to follow traditions of man.
    Man has tried to change God’s Sabbath. Some have been successful in convincing others, their strongest arguments are always based on traditions of men. All men are sinners including Prophets.
    I urge everyone to go read Exodus 20, it is very specific about the Sabbath. If you do not believe that this is commandment from God, I urge you to cross it out in ink.
    If you can cross this out. What does that say about the rest of the Bible?

  5. Bill


    Just my two cents: I wholeheartedly agree with what Thaddeus has said. It’s also true what Jerry said, “You can worship on any day you wish. You can chose to follow the traditions of man.” However, I don’t go to church on Sunday to try to fit in with the “traditions of man.” I go because I believe that’s what the Lord wants me to do.

    There is substantial scriptural evidence that the Lord, through His prophets, can and does change doctrinal precedent. For example, in Acts 15, the apostles met together to decide the issue of circumcision. This had been a law given by the Lord, since long before Moses. Nonetheless, the Lord saw fit to release the church from this commandment. He did this through His prophets. When He wants to give us direction (whether it be an update to how we should follow former directions, or an entirely new direction), He does so through His prophets.

    Although we don’t have an explicit record for it, it appears that this is what happened to some extent with the Sabbath also. For example, in Acts 20:7, we see the apostles apparently holding something that looks like church meetings on the first day of the week.

    In modern times, the Lord gave a revelation through His prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. This revelation, now recorded as Doctrine and Covenants, section 59 was given on Sunday, 7 August 1831. In it, the Lord says, “But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord” (D&C 59:12, emphasis added). Furthermore, this direction has been continued by those prophets that the Lord has called since then. I know God has the authority to direct us to worship Him however and whenever He chooses. I trust that any direction on the subject that He wants to give me will be given through His prophets and confirmed through His Spirit.

    In any case, like has been said before, it seems to be more important to the Lord that we set aside one day per week for Him, than which day we set aside. We make no claim to judge anyone for how or when they choose to worship. After all, Paul counseled the early members of the church at Colosse: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days” (Colossians 2:16), and as the Savior Himself said “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

  6. Jason

    The scriptures are clear that the Sabbath is Saturday
    (If were to be following biblical teachings)

    Heres a few scriptures that come to mind:

    [NLT] Mark 2:27 Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.


    [NLT] Luke 23:53-54 Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. *This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin*.
    A Comparison of Matthew 28:1 (NIV & NLT):

    [NIV] Matthew 28:1 *After the Sabbath*, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

    [NLT] Matthew 28:1 *Early on Sunday morning*, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
    I also like Alma 32 in regards to “sunday worship”

    Alma 32:10-11 Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only? And moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week?

  7. Marie

    We are grateful for the prophet Joseph Smith for the revelations he had from Heavenly Father for, helps us not to be comfounded with the commandments written in the Bible. We dont have a hard time understanding it or finding its truth because the prophet reveal so many things and guide us to fully understand the gospel. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a prophet-inspired religion.
    I know Heavenly Father loves us so much that He continually guides us, speaks to us through his chosen prophet. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Whatever He provides in the ancient times, He will provide us also in this modern times such as prophet, a seer, a revelator. The gospel, the doctrine are so clear to us. No questions, no doubts. We, latter-day saints are happy to know the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

  8. Michael Evans

    Here is a response I recently gave to two missionaries in my ward who asked me the same question:

    Latin names for days of the week began to be used in middle to late part of the early Imperial Period of the Roman Empire. So by the 4th century, the use of these names were common. Here they are:

    dies Solis (Sun)
    dies Lunae (Mon)
    dies Martis (Tues)
    dies Mercurii (Wed)
    dies Iovis (Thurs)
    dies Veneris (Fri)
    dies Saturni (Sat)

    Dies is Latin for day.