Rightly dividing shows us that Christians and the Church does not replace the Jews and Israel, not by a long shot.
Quite often I will see a post online talking about how the popes and the Catholic Church ‘changed the sabbath day‘ from the last day of the week, our Saturday, to the first day of the week which we know as Sunday. These types of posts are always very polarizing as those for and against square off against each other. But one thing is for certain, the biblical sabbath day is indeed on Saturday.
“Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.” Deuteronomy 5:12 (KJV)
What is the sabbath day? First and foremost, the sabbath day was instituted and ordained for the Jews as a sign of the covenant between the Jewish people and the God of Abraham. This is where the sabbath day as a day of worship begins.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:12-17 (KJV)
So we see that the sabbath day belongs to the Jews alone, it is one of the many promises made to them by God concerning their eternal relationship with each other. Nowhere in the bible is anyone outside of the Jewish people commanded to worship and observe the sabbath day. The Jewish sabbath day is part and parcel of the Law given to Moses by God.
In the beginning of the New Testament, in the gospels, we see the sabbath day still for the Jewish people and still being observed. This continues all the way up to the end of Acts chapter 7 where the preaching of the Holy Ghost through Stephen is rejected, and the Kingdom Age is put on hold. After this point, with the commissioning of Paul, the Church Age begins and now there are new rules to go by. Paul reveals the mysteries given to him by Jesus, and now we see that believers are both Jew and gentile together in the Body of Christ.
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12 (KJV)
In the Church Age, there is no longer a physical temple like what God decreed for the Jews and Israel. Now the body of the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has become our High Priest, and He and His work on the cross is the sacrifice that saves us and keeps us saved.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrew 4:14-16 (KJV)
Rightly dividing shows us that Christians and the Church does not replace the Jews and Israel, not by a long shot. The Church Age is what God raised up when He put the Kingdom Age promised to the Jews on hold. But after the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church happens, God will again visit the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, and what was ‘put on hold’ in Acts 7 will be concluded. So what about the sabbath day?
The Church Age has a different temple, it has a different High Priest, it has a different gospel, and it has no particular sabbath day of worship. Why does God not require believers in the Church Age to observe the sabbath day? Because believers in the Church Age have an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord of the sabbath day, Jesus Christ.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28,29 (KJV)
In the Old Testament, the Jews did not have a personal, one-on-one relationship with God, it was all conducted through their prophets and high priests. But as Christians, we know Him personally, something denied to the vast majority of Jews in the Kingdom Age.
So when the Church Age began, what day did Paul and the first century church choose to have their worship services on, was it on Saturday like what the Jews were used to? No, in the book of Acts we see a typical Church Age worship service and it is being held on a Sunday.
“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.” Acts 20:7 (KJV)
The Roman Catholic Church would not appear on the scene until the early 300’s AD, nearly 3 centuries after Paul and his followers began worshipping on a Sunday. Yes, it is true that Rome conducted a hostile takeover of biblical Christianity, and rolled it into a pagan, mongrel mess that would remain in that condition until the Protestant Reformation a thousand years later. But no romish pope ever changed the sabbath day because, as I have showed you, Christians don’t have a sabbath day and never did.
We see Paul and the first century Christians worshipping on a Sunday, the first day of the week, because that’s the day that Jesus rose from the grave on. Paul is the God-ordained and undisputed leader of the Church Age, and yet he doesn’t write a single word anywhere from Romans to Philemon telling any Christian to observe the Jewish sabbath day. In fact, Paul does the opposite.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 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: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Colossians 2:14-17 (KJV)
The damnable heresy of Replacement Theology wants you to steal God’s promises from the Jews and apply them to the Church, but rightly dividing shows us otherwise. God’s plan for the Church Age is quite different from His plan for Israel and the Kingdom Age. The Kingdom Age transitioned to the Church Age in Acts 7, and the Church Age will transition to the Kingdom Age beginning with the time of Jacob’s trouble after Revelation 4:1,2.
The sabbath day was given as a sign to the Jews by God, and it is something that will exist during the Millennial Reign of King Jesus Christ, and indeed throughout eternity. Christians in the Church Age, made up of Jews and Gentiles, never had a sabbath day and never will. It never was and will never be changed, by the Catholic Church or anyone else.