history of how church went to the Sunday from 7th-day sabbath

Steven Avery

The Outlook and Sabbath Quarterly (1884)

Calmet - 1849

Recensio Synoptica Annotationis Sacræ: Being a Critical Digest and Synoptical Arrangement of the Most Important Annotations on the New Testament, Exegetical, Philological, and Doctrinal : Carefully Collected and Condensed, from the Best Commentators, Both Ancient and Modern, and So Digested as to Form One Consistent Body of Annotation, in which Each Portion is Systematically Attributed to Its Respective Author, and the Foreign Matter Translated Into English : the Whole Accompanied with a Copious Body of Original Annotations, Volume 8
Samuel Thomas Bloomfield


The Christian Sabbath: Or, An Inquiry Into the Religious Obligation of Keeping Holy One Day in Seven (1825)
George Holden
Barnabas, Ignatius
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Sunday service instead of Saturday?

lsayre wrote: Sat Jun 03, 2023 4:44 am When and why did the Christian churches move services from Saturday to Sunday? Can this move be attributed to any individual?

Many writers seemed to have a blasé view of the Decalogue.

Here is a quote from Richard Bauckham, another resource would be the writings of Samuele R. Bacchiocchi, including From Sabbath to Sunday. Plus various internet polemics.

8. “Sabbath and Sunday in the Post-Apostolic Church,” by R J Bauckham
From Sabbath to Lord's Day edited by D. A. Carson
p. 267-268
https://ia800605.us.archive.org/28/.... A. Carson - From Sabbath to Lord's Day.pdf

With the exception of Pseudo-Barnabas, no Christian writer before Tertullian104 refers to the Sabbath commandment as part of the Decalogue. This is extraordinary in view of the fact that the Decalogue undoubtedly held a central place in early Christian ethical instruction, so much so that it may have been on account of Christian use that it was withdrawn from the synagogue liturgy early in the second century.105 But extant examples of early Christian paraenesis based on the Decalogue106 show that it was used with considerable selectiveness and flexibility, and normally with reference only to the second table. In none of the extant examples does the Sabbath commandment appear in any form.

Gentile Christians took over the Jewish regard for the Decalogue as the epitome of the Law, but translated this into an identification of the Decalogue with the law of nature common to Christians and Jews.107 As the law' of nature, the Decalogue was written on the hearts of the pre-Mosaic patriarchs, and must be sharply distinguished from the rest of the Mosaic legislation, which consisted of temporary' commandments "given for bondage and for a sign" to Israel.108 Yet the Sabbath is never treated with the special regard that its place in the Decalogue would seem to demand; rather it is consistently classed with the temporary ceremonial law.

104 De Pud. 5.

105 R. M. Grant. "The Decalogue in Early Christianity.” HTR 40 (1947): 2; C. W. Dugmore. The Influence of the Synagogue upon the Divine Office (London: Oxford University Press. 1944). p. 29; hut cf. Rordorf. Sunday, p. 106 n. I.

106 Pliny. Ep. 10:96-97; Did. 2, Barn. 19; Aristides, Apol. 15:3-5; Thcophilus, Ad Autol. 2:34-35; 3:9; cf. Justin, Dial. 12:3. Already in the New Testament: Romans 13:9; 1 Timothv L9-10.

l07 Irenacus, Adv. Haer. 4:13:4.

I08 lrenaeus, Adv. Haer. 4:16:3.

Steven Avery

StephenGoranson wrote: Sat Jun 03, 2023 7:18 am Some relevant information and bibliography are provided in my article:

"7 vs. 8: The Battle Over the Holy Day at Dura-Europos"

It is interesting, including the historic 8th-day references, but I don't really see it by the proposed pictorial symbology extrapolation, without an actual word about the Sabbath.

Here is an example of the interpretative stretch.

"On the north wall's upper register, we see Jesus healing the paralytic. Jesus and the healed man gesture to a third man, not mentioned in the Bible, who is still on a bed.21 According to John 5, this healing takes place in Jerusalem on the Sabbath; “the Jews” complain that it is unlawful for the healed man to carry his bed on the Sabbath. The third man (and by extension, the viewer), therefore, is invited to be healed and to defy the Sabbath proscription. In short, in these paintings the seventh-day Sabbath is rejected in favor of the eighth-day Lord’s Day."

Nahh. The debate in John 5 was whether a healing could take place on the Sabbath, not what day is the Sabbath. The paintings are not saying a thing about the "Lord's Day" as Sunday and a good day for a healing.

Steven Avery

From the Dura article

Because of the symbolic association of resurrec-
tion and baptism, some early Christian communi-
ties considered Easter Sunday as an especially
appropriate time for baptism. For example,
Tertullian (about 200 C.E.) wrote, “The Passover
[that is, Easter, before it was separated from the
Passover] provides the day of most solemnity for
baptism, for then was accomplished our Lord's pas-
sion, and into it we are baptized.” 14

The Christian claim of the special nature of the
eighth day, Sunday, was asserted very sharply and
bitterly, for example, in the letter of pseudo-
Barnabas 15:8-9 (written around 100 C.E.): “[T]he
present Sabbaths are not acceptable to me ... I will
make the beginning of the eighth day, that is, the
beginning of another world ... We celebrate ... the
eighth day on which Jesus arose from the dead.”
The claim that Sunday was superior to the
seventh-day Sabbath continued well after the first
century. In the second century C.E., Justin Martyr
claimed that the eighth day “possesses a certain
mysterious import, which the seventh day did not
possess”;15 the eighth day, to Justin, was “a type of
the true circumcision [newborn Jewish boys are cir-
cumcised on the eighth day] by which we are cir-
cumcised from error and wickedness through our
Lord Jesus Christ who rose from the dead on the
first day of the week.” 16
Origen, an influential Christian who was active
at the time the Dura baptistery' was decorated (he
died about 254 C.E.), wrote that “the number eight,
which contains the virtue of the Resurrection, is the
figure of the future world. ’17 To Ambrose, a fourth-
century bishop of Milan who sought the destruc-
tion of synagogues, is attributed an inscription at
the Saint Thekla baptistery in Milan, Italy: “Eight-
niched this church arises destined for holy rites,
eight corners has its font, dignifying its gift. The
sacred eight is fitting for this fair baptismal hall:
here our people are truly reborn.”
Polemic references to the eighth day rather than
the seventh day as the Sabbath (the day of rest) are
also frequent in eastern Christian literature. For
example, the Syriac Acts of Judas Thomas relates a
legend in which the apostle Thomas converts a
king in India. Before he was baptized, “the king
gave orders that the bath should be closed for seven
days ... and ... on the eighth day they ... entered the
bath.”19 The third-century Syriac Didascalia—the
title means “teachings” and refers to the teachings
of the apostles it claims to contain-tells us that “the
Sabbath itself is counted even unto the Sabbath and
it becomes eight days” (Didascalia 26).


Many gnostic texts repeat and elaborate on ihe
symbology of the eighth day. For instance, Theodotus,
a second-century C.E. Gnostic, wrote that “the rest of
the spiritual man takes place on the day of die Lord in
the ogcload (that is, the eighth day].”30 And Tatian was
said to have become a Gnostic, though both Gnostics
and non-Gnostics used his Diatessaron. The question
of possible gnostic influences on Dura Christians will
likely be debated by experts on gnosticism.

14 Tertullian, De Baptlsmo 19.
15 Justin, Dialog with Trypho 24,1.
16Justin, Dialog with Trypho 41. 4.
*' Origcn, .Srfcrta in psalmos 118, 164.
18 See Franz J. Ddlger, "Zur Symholik des altchris-
tlichen Taufhauscs, I. Das Oktogon und die Symholik
dcr Achtzahl.” Antikc und Christcntum 4 (Munster:
Aschcndorf, 1934). pp. 133-187; Antonio Quac-
quarelli, L'ogdoade palristica e suoi rijlessf nella liturgia
e nci monumenti, Quademi di Vetera Christianorum 7
(Bari: Adriaiica, 1973).
19 Then, as part of a litany, Thomas, who anointed the
king with oil and baptized him, said, "come, mother of
seven houses, whose rest was in the eighth house."
Translation from section 2 of the Syriac version by
William Wright, Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles
(London: Williams and Norgate. 1871), p. 166.

w The potential for confusion appears in a statement
from Clement of Alexandria's Stromata 6.16: "For one
may venture to say that the eighth is properly the
seventh, and the seventh actually the sixth; that is the
eighth is properly a sabbath, and the seventh a day of
work.” Sec Everett Ferguson, “Was Barnabas a Chiliast?
An lixamplc of Hellenistic Number Symbolism in
Barnabas and Clement of Alexandria, in Greeks,
Romans, and Christians, Abraham I Malherbe
Festschrift, (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990), pp. 157-167,
here p. 166.
30 Excerpta ex Theodoto 63, as recorded by Clement
of Alexandria. Several gnostic texts found at Nag
Hammadi also emphasize the ogdoad (as the eighth
day or eighth heaven); see, for example. Gospel of the
Egyptians 41, 58: Paraphrase of Shem 46; Testimony
of Truth 55; Zostrianos 6; Origin of the World 102-
104; Apocalypse of Paul 23-24. These texts arc trans-
lated in James Robinson, cd„ The Nog Hammadi
Library in linglish (New York: Harper & Row. 1977,
and later editions).

Steven Avery

BCHF continues

The AD 321 edict from Constantine was more involved than the above, and was essentially an affirmation of the pagan/heathen view of the Sun, although Eusebius might have tried to paint it with a Christian facade.

Facts of Faith (1942)
Christian Edwardson

And Sunday, “the venerable day of the sun,” was the popular holiday of Mithraism.

... Constantine's Sunday law of 321 A. D. reads as follows:

"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 vineplanting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time."

- "Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, lit. 12, 3"; translated in "History of the Christian Church," Philip Schaff, D. D, (7-vol. ed.) Vol. III, p. 380. New York: 1884.


Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, and an admirer of Constantine, co-operated with him in bringing "the venerable day of the sun" into the Christian church. Speaking of Pope Sylvester, Constantine, and himself, he says:

"All things whatsoever that it was duty to do on the Sabbath these we have transferred to the Lord's day, as more appropriately belonging to it, because it has a precedence and is first in rank, and more honourable than the Jewish Sabbath. For on that day in making the world, God said, 'Let there be light, and there was light.”
- "Commentary on the Psalms"; quoted in "Literature on the Sabbath Question," Robert Cox, Vol. I, p. 361.

Eusebius evidently used the strongest argument he knew as proof for Sunday-keeping; but advocates of this new holiday had probably not yet conceived the idea that Christ's resurrection would be an argument in favor of Sunday-keeping, so he used creation instead.
This comment about the resurrection sounds like an overstatement, but it is interesting that Eusebius did not use the resurrection argument, and used the even weaker creation argument.

Grotius gets involved with this as well with some pithy commentary.
Edwardson quotes him, p. 71-72, however only in part:

That the Christians at this time were still keeping the Sabbath can be seen from the following statement of Hugo Grotius, quoted by Robert Cox, F. S. A. Scot.:

"He refers to Eusebius for proof that Constantine, besides issuing his well-known edict that labor should be suspended on Sunday, enacted that the people should not be brought before the law courts on the seventh day of the week, which also, he adds, was
long observed by the primitive Christians as a day for religious meetings. . . . And this, says he, 'refutes those who think that the Lord's day was substituted for the Sabbath - a thing nowhere mentioned either by Christ or His apostles."'

-"Opera Omnia Theologica," Hugo Grotius (died 1645), (London: 1679); quoted in "Literature of the Sabbath Question," Cox, Vol. I, p. 223. Edinburgh: Maclachlan and Stewart, 1865

The Robert Cox page has more about the Grotius quote:

The Literature of the Sabbath Question, Volume 1 (1865)
Robert Cox

We can conclude that Edwardson did not include all of Grotius because his overall position was not supporting sabbath-keeping.

Even later at Nicaea with Constantine the big issue was the Quartodecian controversy