The Lord’s Day and the Fourth Commandment
Never has the Lord dealt with my heart more strongly. We must relearn the sacredness of the Lord’s Day.
We were created in His image. We are not junk and our lives were never created to be full of darkness and evil. The human body of every living soul is a temple prepared for His Holy Spirit. We are sacred souls created in His image for His glory alone. When He created this world, He rested on the seventh day and set an unchanging principle. The Seventh Day belongs to Him.
Listen as Apostle Paul speaks of our temple: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (I Corinthians 3:16-17) He was so committed to this truth and he said again, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6:18-20) You, my friend, were bought with a price and you are His. What could be greater than this truth?
The Lord’s Day prefigures the Seventh One Thousand Years of His Reign on earth. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,” (Genesis 2:1-4) Anyone who violates the honor given to the Seventh Day is also dishonoring the coming Thousand Years of His completion of His plan for His world. The New Beginnings of the Lord’s Day will be our New Beginning when He comes to set up His Kingdom.
The Ten Commandments are a whole truth and cannot be sub-divided. If it is wrong to commit adultery or to steal, kill, etc. then it is wrong to disobey the fourth commandment. It was very evident in the New Testament church that the first day of the week was sanctified to be their Seventh and sacred day. I love how He came into their midst on the eighth day and met his disciples. He was resurrected on the first day of the week and the Holy Ghost was poured out on the first day of the week.
The Lord’s Day
After the disciples of Jesus Christ were convinced of His resurrection, they presented themselves in a fresh devotion to Him. For 40 days He was seen of them and the power of His resurrected life saturated their lives. After 10 more days, they were baptized in the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday and exploded out of the Upper Room. As long as they were allowed, they continued to share the synagogue on the Sabbath, but also met together on the first day of the week to worship Jesus Christ.
The first appearance that Jesus made to His disciples was on the “first day of the week” as clearly stated by Scripture. “Then the same day at evening, being the first day 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).
This was the same day as His resurrection. The Scripture shows this to have been a time of great joy, worship, and incredible instruction. It was not a casual occasion as clearly shown in the text. “And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace is unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send me you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:20-23).
The Scripture states that He appeared again after eight days. If the day of His resurrection and this first appearance were counted, then His second appearance was also on the first day of the week or the eighth day. “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you” (John 20:26). A clear pattern appeared to be emerging.
Later, in the Acts of the Apostles we see the precedence being set by the apostolic leaders. It is stated that Paul and the church at Troas met together on the first day of the week to break bread and preach the Word. The text stated, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Etches, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted” (Acts 20:7-12).
This is both a natural and spiritual indication that the day of His resurrection became a day of worship and instruction. The body of believers was forced out of the synagogue and the covenant of the Jewish Sabbath. They were experiencing a new beginning and the resurrection was absolute proof that the Lord of the church was indeed in their midst.
Apostle Paul solidified this pattern when he wrote to the churches of Galatia. Here are his words, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Their gifts were brought to the church fellowship on this day of Christ-centered worship, communion, and instruction.
John the Revelator on the Lord’s Day
By the time John was exiled to Patmos, this fact of the Lord’s Day was clearly the conviction of the church. John is a prisoner on a bleak, rock island; but his soul is without despair. He testified, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (Revelation 1:10). This is the one and only time that the Resurrection Sunday was called “The Lord’s Day.” It is unthinkable that he made reference to the Jewish Sabbath. Nothing about the Jewish Sabbath could be called the Lord’s Day. Jesus was probably crucified on Wednesday and was not resurrected until 3 days later or the first day of the week. There is no connection to the Feast of Israel or any other event for the Sabbath being “The Lord’s Day.” The resurrection day is clearly the one and only possibility. Otherwise, some truth in Scripture would suggest differently.
A New Covenant Fulfilling the Feast of Firstfruits
The resurrection presents the Lord Jesus Christ as our celebration of the firstfruits. He is the “He Lamb” presented prophetically in this very feast in Leviticus 23. The bread and wine that characterized that feast is the very essence of His sacrifice of a broken body and shed blood. Paul stated, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
What a celebration of Him we should experience every Lord’s Day. Our hope is not in the dead letter, but the living Word. It is a covenant of eternal glory, not of a passing system serving only as a tutor until the Messiah should come. Again, Paul confirms this very fact by quoting Jesus Christ Himself. “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:5-7).
Christ came to exchange sacrifices and offerings for a “body” prepared by the Holy Ghost. Then He stated, “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:9-10).
He took away one covenant to establish a better and enduring one. Paul then testified that this covenant was the witness which the Baptism of the Holy Ghost gave testimony. “And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 10:15-16)
Let’s Return to the Reality of Christ’s Resurrection
There is no room for ritualism in the Christian experience. It is life, joy, power, and hope. We are to live in a fresh relationship. Every time we go the House of the Lord it should be sheer delight. The resurrection life lifts man out of discouragement, doubt, and drudgery. This life is power to free us from every bondage of the devil and all the allurements of the world.
The Lord’s Day should be set aside to honor Him only. The common should be replaced with the uncommon. Commerce, entertainment, and earthly responsibilities should be rested for that day to give time for soul refreshment. The body was created with a seven day cycle. This design is God’s pattern built into the human soul and body. If we violate it, we do injustice to our own lives.
Children will learn more about reverence before God when raised in a home and family honoring the “Lord’s Day” than any other possible source. It’s the covenant we have received on that Resurrection Day and our souls will be refreshed if we return to His Rest.
Don’t Miss Our Live Streaming Broadcast of Open Bible Dialogue
Every Saturday at 1:00 pm Eastern ** Click Here **