Interested in an easy Million? Then dust off your Bibles!!! This $1 Million offer is still up for grabs! Having seen it on TV1 New Zealand news, I went to investigate further. A Thames man is promoting the offer through signage and newspapers, which TV news also picked up on.
What do you have to do?
Easy! Just produce a Bible verse making Sunday Holy, in place of the Biblical Saturday.
Most Christian's attend church Sunday, so finding a verse should be easy, well so I thought! There was none; no not one! If you can find one, the million dollars is yours. One year on, the offer still stands, the guy still has his million dollars. So it seems it's not just me looking stupid here. Prove me wrong, someone needs to claim this Million dollars!
The question arises, why do most Christians consider Sunday Holy and not Saturday?
The first thing I thought of was, "Well, does it really matter?" And most other people said the same.
Here are the most popular comments I got:
- The Bible says it doesn't matter which day we worship.
- We celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
- The disciples met on the first day of the week.
- The Sabbath was only for the Jews.
- We are not under the Law, but under Grace.
Although their answers were often spouted out quickly, they sounded some what parroted, as though having been drummed into them. When asked for Biblical backing, most had none; their answers were simply what they heard from a pulpit. Interestingly though, not one answer, and I got many, gave a Biblical reason for making Sunday Holy and to disregard the Saturday Sabbath.
As these five answers were the most popular, I began a search for their biblical origins.
Firstly, we need to have a look at what the Sabbath is all about. Exodus 20 says "The Sabbath" is about resting from your work and not allowing those under your employment to work either. According to Isaiah 58:13, the day was to be used for things of God. In Ezekiel 20:20 it was to be used as a sign to show which God you served, and Nehemiah 13:15-22 identifies buying and selling on the Sabbath as a profanity. So from a biblical perspective, it seems that the Sabbath was a day set apart from the other six to make God's people distinctly separate from other people. What an interesting concept.
Let's look at those common answers in more detail.
1.'The Bible says it doesn't matter which day we worship'.
Yes, this is correct. We should be obedient to (i.e. worship) God everyday. But according to Luke 23:56 not working on the Sabbath is obedience to God.
2.'We celebrate the resurrection of Christ'.
Yes, we are to remember Christ. But Jesus commanded that we take bread and wine in remembrance of Him. He didn't say 'do no work' in remembrance of me.
3.'The disciples met on the first day of the week'.
According to John 20:19 the disciples were simply hiding together "for fear of the Jews".
4.'The Sabbath was only for Jews'.
The only Biblical text that identifies who the sabbath was actually for is Mark 2:27, which says the sabbath was made for man, clearly not just the Jews. Also worth mentioning, is that there were no such people as the Jews alive in Gen 2:3 when the sabbath was established.
5.'We are not under the Law, but under grace'.
'Grace', I heard this word so many times. The problem was that their concept of Grace seemed to allow them to freely sin without guilt. They would say "Jesus lived a sinless life for us, now we have grace" and "we choose to keep Sunday holy". However, if 'they' choose which day to keep holy, who are 'they' actually obeying?
The conversation on the subject usually came back to the Ten Commandments and if they were still valid today or not. The interpretations of this were many and varied. The two verses that explain it best are 1 John 3:4 and Romans 7:7. These verses point out that the Ten Commandment law define for us what sin is. To not know what the Ten Commandments are, would be to not know what sin is. Therefore, "Thou shall not steal" teaches it is sin to steal and "Thou shall not commit adultery" teaches it is sin to commit adultery, and so on.
The question was, what does "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy" teach us about Sin?
Looking at this from a logical standpoint, the Jews in the New Testament times were condemning Christians for everything. The Jews were meticulous about Sabbath observance then and many still are today. Except for Jesus, nowhere in the New Testament are Christians condemned by Jews for breaking Sabbath; which if Christians were breaking it, would have caused huge commotion within Bible writings.
Then, as found in the book of Acts, the religion of the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus was the worship of the great goddess 'Diana'. Diana was the deity of the sun god. In Paul's letters it becomes apparent that many Christians from other countries started mixing their pagan beliefs with their new Christian ones. In fact, even Jesus in his letter to the churches in the book of Revelation warned about this. From the evidence available, Sunday observance began many centuries before Christ. Sunday being the day pagan sun worshippers honoured their god, the sun. This is the origin of the name Sun-day.
We read in Ezekiel 8:16 "and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east"... and God not being happy said "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women..." Ezekiel 9:6. However, in the period shortly after Jesus died, the Romans hated the Jews as well as the new "Christians". Roman law enforced the amalgamation of all religions into the religion of the pagan nation Rome: "Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day; but the (Romans) 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". This shows that Christians were resting on Saturday, but by Roman law they were forbidden to. Thus the Sunday tradition of Christians began.
I couldn't find one verse establishing Sunday as the holy day. However there were many references from both the Old and New Testaments stipulating that we ought to obey God's Commandments. To align with Jesus' teachings, we learn that God's Ten Commandments are the Commandments of Jesus. Mat 15:3, But he (Jesus) answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? Jesus was referring to the Ten Commandments here, not the two everyone quotes which summarise the Ten.
All in all, it has been a fascinating study. You can go to a church or worship God any day; but it seems that only resting and 'not working' on the Saturday sabbath is what is required to satisfy the requirement of the 4th commandment. In conclusion, no one has claimed the million dollars that the man is still offering; so something can't be right with what many churches teach.