The Vatican versus the Fourth Commandment

Wyatt Ciesielka
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On January 25, Pope Benedict XVI again proclaimed his desire "to ignite a fervent missionary movement in the Catholic Church," stating he wants to advance "the entire Catholic Church into a new missionary age" in 2011 (Catholic.org, January 28, 2011).  While this movement will ultimately contribute to fulfilling prophecies such as Isaiah 47:8–9 and Revelation 17:2–5, an aspect of this rejuvenated "fervent missionary movement" already affects billions. This is the growing emphasis on Sunday observance.

While Sunday (the first day of the week) observance is nothing new in Catholicism (Catholics even inexcusably omit the "seventh day" reference from the Ten Commandments), Catholic demands for Sunday observance are growing stronger. For instance, in 2007 Pope Benedict demanded that all Christians "renew their respect for Sunday as a day of rest" (BBCNews, September 9, 2007), and, during the 2010 Christmas season, many Europeans were distressed to see stores remain closed on Sunday, thus disrupting their holiday shopping!

The Sunday versus Sabbath debate will intensify in the years ahead. Yes, true Christians should do good, pray, praise and honor God every day, but it is irrefutable that Saturday (the seventh day of the week) is the weekly Sabbath and the day on which true Christians should worship.

The seventh-day Sabbath was observed by God's servants before there were any Jews (Genesis 26:5), and it is a test commandment that God uses to see who will obey Him (Exodus 16:4–5). As such, true Christians rest on the Sabbath just as God rested on the seventh day of Creation (Genesis 2:2–3). Scripture actually commands us to "work" in our various professions or responsibilities six days a week—which includes Sunday. However, as Exodus 20:10–11 makes clear, no work is to be done on the Sabbath (Saturday) by us, by our household, or by those within our employ. "No work," or no mĕla'kah is a strict prohibition of labor, and parallels the same strong prohibition found in Leviticus 23:28 regarding the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur.

Some counter that "Sunday is the Lord's day" and has therefore replaced the Saturday Sabbath, but the Bible says no such thing! Scripture plainly reveals that the Revelation 1:10 "Lord's day" reference simply refers to the Apostle John's vision of the future time of the end when Jesus Christ will return as conquering King.

The biblical fact is that the Sabbath is a perpetual covenant and an identifying sign between God and His people forever (compare Exodus 31:16–17, where the Sabbath is a "sign" between God and Israel "forever" with Romans 2:28–29 and Galatians 3:29 where modern Christians are called "Abraham's seed" and are "Jews" spiritually). The Sabbath is to be observed today and will be observed in the coming Kingdom of God (Isaiah 66:22–23). We honor our Lord Jesus Christ, if we delight in the Sabbath and keep it holy (Isaiah 58:13-14). Christ kept all His Father's commandments (John 15:10) and we show our love for Him if we do the same (I John 5:2–3). This leads to blessings and to eternal life in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 14:12; 22:14–15)!

The Roman Catholic Church has long proclaimed, "Sunday is our mark or authority ... the church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact" (Catholic Record of London, Ontario, September 1, 1923). However, this attempt to "transfer" what God made holy only demonstrates rebellion against God, and those that follow this wrong example share in this transgression. "It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday.

Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a command of the Catholic Church" (Priest Brady, The News, Elizabeth, New Jersey, March 18, 1903).

Will we love and serve the Lord and delight in His Sabbaths as true Christians should…or will we reject His commands? Please read Mr. Richard Ames' article, "What Is The Day of The Lord?" and the detailed booklet, Which Day is the Christian Sabbath? to learn more.