As a sportsman, I was disappointed when, upon moving to North Carolina, I encountered the "Sunday law." No deer hunting on Sunday. Period. As a Sabbath-keeper, this has brought me no little consternation! I will not hunt on Saturday, and according to the laws of the State, I may not hunt on Sunday. That leaves Monday through Friday – not ideal for getting in quality hunting time.
But far beyond my own personal pain, this brings up a bigger question: "Why rest on Sunday at all?" Most Christians believe that "Sunday rest" originated in the Bible. What honest truth-seekers are shocked to find is there is absolutely no biblical command to rest on Sunday. None. So, why do some rest on Sunday if the Bible doesn't command it?
The answer is right in front of our faces. In fact, the newspaper in our hometown recently ran a story, "Pray or play?" with the answer. On page 8E of the article, the editors reproduced the widely recognized edict by the Roman emperor Constantine in 321AD. It reads thus:
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 suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost (The Charlotte Observer, January 10, 2009).
So, where did "rest on Sunday" come from? A Roman emperor? Certainly not the Bible. In fact, if we honestly look at Scripture, the only day ever spoken of as a rest day is the seventh. Take a look at a few examples:
"Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest" (Exodus 31:15).
"The seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it" (Leviticus 23:3).
"The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work" (Deuteronomy 5:14).
Interestingly, resting on the seventh day of the week was commanded as a way of following God's example. He rested on day seven after the six days of Creation. Christians who observe the weekly Sabbath – by worshipping and resting – are acknowledging the Creation many millennia ago!
"Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God … For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:9-11).
So, which day do you rest on? We challenge you to ask yourself "Why?" Is it because of tradition, traced back to the edict of an unconverted Roman Emperor? Or do you obey what you find written in your Bible? (For additional help in your study, be sure to read our free booklet, Which Day is the Christian Sabbath?)
Sabbath-keeping is actually the wave of the future! The book of Isaiah foretells a coming day when all nations will observe God's Holy Days, including the weekly Sabbath. That prophecy is found in Isaiah:
"'And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,' says the Lord" (Isaiah 66:23).
I'm looking forward to that day, when people everywhere will worship – and enjoy the revitalizing rest of the Sabbath – together in harmony and unity.
Until then, you may find me hunting on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday – but not on Saturday.
And – at least in North Carolina – never on Sunday.