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THEOLOGY of the EIGHTH day #4

Trying to establish Sunday as the Sabbath

                          FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY 


THEOLOGY OF SUNDAY


The EIGHTH Day #4 continued


by Samuele Bacchiocchi PhD


     In a "Letter to Horontius" Ambrose uses the analogy of
the natural and supernatural birth to prove the superiority of
the eighth day. A baby born at seven months will face hardship;
but the child regenerated on the eighth day will inherit the
kingdom of heaven. 69  Then Ambrose rather enigmatically says
that in the seventh is found the "name" while in the eighth the
"fruit" of the Holy Spirit. 70  Old Testament passages such as
Ecclesiastes 11:2, "Give a portion to those seven, and also to
those eight," and Psalm 118:24, "This is the day the Lord has
made," as well as the rite of the circumcision, are again
interpreted as predictions and prefigurations of the eighth day.
Like previous Fathers, Ambrose also believes that "God appointed
beforehand another day . . . because the Jews refused through
contempt the commands of their God." 72  He urges that Christians
therefore leave behind the seventh day, the symbol of the seventh
age of the world which has ended and that they enter into the
grace of the eighth day: prefigured in the Old Testament,
inaugurated by Christ's resurrection, and representing the
fulfillment and supplantation of the Sabbath.
     Jerome (ca. A.D.342-420), like his contemporary Ambrose,
sees in the seventh and eighth days the symbol of the passage
from the Law to the Gospel: "The number seven having been
fulfilled, we now climb to the Gospel through the eighth." 74
Therefore, for Jerome to observe the Sabbath is a sign of
retrogression, because he explains (alluding to Ecclesiastes
11:2) that "the Jews by believing in the Sabbath, gave the
seventh part, but they did not give the eighth because they
denied the resurrection of the Lord's day." 75
     Augustine (A.D.354-430) represents perhaps the maximum
speculative effort of the Western Fathers to interpret the
seventh and eighth days both eschatologically and mystically.
Though his treatment of the subject is relatively free from
polemic and captivates the reader by its profound spiritual
insights, the Sabbath still retains a temporary and subordinate
......

69 Ambrose, ibid., 1137.
70 Ambrose, ibid., 1137: "Great is the merit of the seventh day
by virtue of the Holy Spirit. However the same spirit names the
seventh day and consecrates the eighth. In that is the name, in
this is the fruit."
71 Ambrose, ibid., 1137-1138. 
72 Ambrose, ibid., 1139.
73 Ambrose, ibid., 1140-1141.
74 Jerome, "Commentarius in Ecclesiastem" 11, 2, PL 23, 1157. 7 5
Jerome, loc. cit.
......


role which finds its fulfillment in the eighth day. Before the
resurrection of Christ, the mystery of the eighth day, according
to Augustine, "was not concealed from the holy Patriarchs, . . .
but it was locked up and hidden and taught only as the observance
of the Sabbath." 76  Like his predecessors he sees in the
baptismal symbols of the circumcision and the flood,
prefigurations of the eighth day. He explicitly associates the
eight persons saved from the flood with the eighth day, saying
that they are "the same thing which is signified in different
ways by the difference of signs, as it might be by a diversity of
words." 77
     Augustine's teaching on the eighth day, as C.Folliet well
argues, is inseparable from that of the Sabbath. 78  Following
the Western millenarian tradition of Irenaeus, Hippolytus,
Tertullian and Victorinus, 79  he interprets the creation-weak as
representing the seven ages of the history of this world, which
are followed by the eighth day, the new eternal age. At first
Augustine held to a clear distinction between the eschatological
meaning of the seventh and the eighth day. He writes, for
instance, "the eighth day signifies the new life at the end of
the ages, the seventh the future rest of the saints on this
earth." 80  Later, as a result of intense and mature reflection,
......

76 Augustine, "Epistola" 55, 23, CSEL 34, 194.
77 Augustine, "Sermo" 94, Biblioteca Nova ed. May, p.183.
78 C.Folliet, La Typologie du sabbat chez saint Augustine, "Revue
des Etudes Augustiniennes" 2 (1956):371-390.
79 On Irenaeus see fn. 56; on Victorinus see above p.291 fn. 64;
Tertullian, "Adversus Marcionem," 3, 24, and 4, 39 interprets the
millennium as a literal period of one thousand years on the
earth, in the city of the New Jerusalem rebuilt by God;
Hippolytus, "In Danielem cornmentarius" 4,23-24 elaborates a
scheme of seven ages, speculating on the actual date of Christ's
return.
80 Augustine, "Sermo" 80, PL 38, 1197; in this sermon Augustine
enumerates distinctly the five ages from Adam to Christ already
passed. He then explains: "With the coming of the Lord begins the
sixth age in which we are living ... When the sixth day has
passed, then rest will come ... and the saints completed, we
shall return to that immortality and blessedness which the first
man lost. And the octave shall accomplish the mysteries of God's
children." The basic difference between the eschatological
seventh and eighth day, according to Augustine, is qualitative;
"For it is one thing to rest in the Lord while still being in the
midst of time - and this is what the seventh day Sabbath
signifies and another thing to rest endlessly beyond all time
with the Artisan of time, as signified by the eighth day" ("Sermo
94, Biblioteca Nova," ed. Mai, p.184); in his "Epistola" 55, 23,
CSEL 34, 194, Augustine represents the eighth day as a revelation
of the resurrection: "Before the resurrection of the Lord,
although this mystery of the octave which represents the
resurrection was not concealed from the holy Patriarchs, filled
as they were with the prophetic spirit, but was reserved,
transmitted and hidden by the observance of the Sabbath."
......


Augustine rejected the prevailing material understanding of the
seventh millennium as a time of carnal enjoyment of the saints on
this earth and merged the rest of the seventh day with that of
the eternal octave. 81
     The eighth day, however, for Augustine represents not only
this historical continuation and culmination of the
eschatological Sabbath, but also the mystical progress of the
soul toward the internal world of peace. In this case the Sabbath
which "Christians observe spiritually by abstaining from all
servile work, that is to say, from all sin" symbolizes the
spiritual "tranquillity and serenity of a good conscience," while
the eighth day stands for the greater eternal peace awaiting the
saints. 82  Thus, for Augustine the eighth day epitomized the
fulfillment of the Sabbath both as historical perspective and as
interior reality.
     Pope Gregory the Great (ca. A.D.540-604), the last great
Doctor of the ancient Latin Church, provides perhaps a final
example of a speculative and practical effort to use the sym-
bology of the eighth day to prove the superiority of Sunday over
the Sabbath. The Pontiff denounces in no uncertain terms certain
Sabbath-keeping Christians who advocated abstention from work on
the Sabbath. He wrote in a letter:

     It has been reported to me that certain men of a depraved
     spirit have sown among you the seeds of a perverted doctrine
     contrary to the holy faith, forbidding to perform any work
     on the Sabbath day. What shall I say of such men except that
     they are the preachers of the Antichrist? ... This
......

81 See Augustine, "City of God" 20,7: "I also entertained this
notion at one time. But in fact those people assert that those
who have risen again will spend their rest in the most
unrestrained material feasts, in which there will be so much to
eat and drink that not only will those supplies keep within no
bounds of moderation but will also exceed the limits even of
credibility. But this can only be believed by materialists"
(trans. Henry Bettenson, ed. David Knowles, 1972, p.907).
Augustine did not repudiate totally the notion of the seventh
millennium, but fused the rest of the seventh with that of the
eternal octave: "The important thing is that the seventh will be
our Sabbath, whose end will not be an evening, but the Lord's
Day, an eighth day, as it were, which is to last for ever" ("City
of God" 22, 30, trans. Henry Bettenson, p.1091).
82 Augustine,  "In Johannis evangelium tractatus" 20, 2, PL 35,  
1556; cf. "Enarratio in Psalmos" 91, 2, PL 37, 1172: "He whose
conscience is good is tranquil; and this very tranquillity is the
Sabbath of the heart."
......


     is why we accept in a spiritual way and observe spiritually
     what is written about the Sabbath. For the Sabbath means
     rest and we have the true Sabbath, the  very Redeemer, our
     Lord Jesus Christ. 83


     To find support for the eighth day, Gregory refers to the
traditional admonition of Ecclesiastes 11:2, "Give portion to
seven and also to eight," interpreting it as a prefiguration of
the day of Christ's resurrection, "for He truly rose on the
Lord's day, which since it follows the seventh day Sabbath is
found to be the eighth from creation." 84  For another Old
Testament prediction foretelling the eighth day, the Pontiff
turns to the seven sacrifices which Job offered on the eighth day
after the feasting of his sons and daughters. He explains
that "the story truly indicates that the blessed Job when
offering sacrifices on the eighth day, was celebrating the
mystery of the resurrection . . . and served the Lord for the
hope of the resurrection." 85
     Gregory also introduces a new and interesting eschatological
interpretation of the seventh and eighth days by viewing the
Christian life as a mirror of the life of Christ Himself: "What
the wonderful Saviour experienced in Himself, truly signifies
what happens in us, so that we, like Him, might experience sorrow
in the sixth and rest in the seventh and glory in the eighth."
The sixth day represents, therefore, the present life
"characterized by sorrow and distressing torment." The Sabbath
signifies man's repose in the grave when "the soul freed from the
body finds rest." The eighth day symbolizes "the bodily
resurrection from death and the rejoicing at the glorious
reunification of the soul with the flesh." Then Gregory concludes
with a veiled allusion to the day of the Sun, stating that "the
eighth day opens to us the vastness of eternity, through the
light which follows after the seventh day." 86
     
     These testimonies reveal a continuity in the usage of the
rich symbology of the eighth day. The chief purpose appears to
have been primarily to demonstrate the fulfillment and con-
tinuation of the Sabbath through Sunday. We have noticed what a
wide range of "a posteriori" arguments were devised from the
Scriptures, from prevailing calendric speculation and from
......

83 Gregory the Great, "Epistola" 13, 6, 1, PL 71, 1253. 
84 Gregory the Great, "Moralium" 35, 8, 17, PL 76, 759. 
85 Gregory the Great, "Moralium" 1, 8,12, PL 75, 532. 
86 Gregory the Great, "Homiliarum in Ezechielem" 2, 4, 2, PL 76,
973f.
......


the natural world, to prove the superiority of the eighth day,
Sunday, over the seventh day, Sabbath.


The detachment of the Eighth Day from Sunday. 

Beginning with the fourth century a new trend appears where the
numeric symbolism of the eighth day is progressively detached
from Sunday and is used less as a polemic argument and more as a
pedagogical device. It is employed, on the one hand, to preserve
among Christians eschatological expectation and thereby keep them
from being captivated by material things. On the other hand, it
is retained and used as a symbol of the resurrection per se,
because as J.Danielou has well observed, it permitted "to
establish a link between the texts of the 0. T. where the number
eight is found and the resurrection and to see, therefore, in
these passages prophecies of the resurrection." 87  This new
trend is particularly noticeable in the East. The three
Cappadocian Fathers, for example, though they deal at length with
the symbolism of the eighth day, seem to avoid applying its name
and meaning to Sunday. 88  They prefer to devote their attention
to the implications of the eschatological meaning of the eighth
day for the present life.
     Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (ca. A.D.330-379), regards the
eighth day, which, he says, is "outside the time of the seven
days" as a figure of "the future life." 89  He prefers, however,
to establish the meaning of the future world to come by the
number "one" rather than "eighth." He does this by associating
the "monad" of Greek thought with the Biblical "one-uia," which
he derives from the original day of creation, arguing that the
week by returning perpetually on itself (day one) has no
beginning or end and therefore is a figure of eternity." 90
......

87 J.Danielou (fn. 22) p.87; cf. by the same author, "Bible and
Liturgy," p.264.
88 The fact that Sunday came to be viewed no longer as the
continuation but rather as the replacement of the Sabba - the new
Sabbath limited the possibility of applying to Sunday the
eschatological symbolism of the eighth day, since the latter
implies continuation rather than substitution. Eusebius expresses
explicitly this concept of "transference" when he states: "All
that had been prescribed for the Sabbath, we have transferred to
the Lord's day, since it is more authoritative, the one that
dominates, the first and the one which has more value than the
Sabbath" ("Commentaria in Psalmos" 91, PG 23, 1172).
89 Basil, "In Hexaemeron" 2, 8, SC p.177; cf. PG 29, 52B; "De
Spiritu Sancto" 27, SC, pp.236-237.
90 Basil, "In Hexaemeron" 2, 8, SC, p.180: "Why did he [Moses]
not
call this day the first, but one? ... The week itself constitutes
one single day, revolving seven times upon itself. Here is a true
circle, beginning and ending with itself. This is why the
principle of time is called not the first day, but one day"; cf.
"De Spiritu Sancto" 27, SC p. 236: "There was an evening and a
morning, one day as though it returned regularly upon itself."
......


     Because of this meaning, expressed by both the number "one"
and "eight," according to Basil, "the Church teaches her children
to recite their prayers standing on Sunday so that, by the
continual reminder of eternal life, we may not neglect the means
necessary to attain it." 91  This association of the meaning of
the eighth with the practice of standing for prayer on Sunday
represents a solitary reference. We shall see that it secured no
following.
     Gregory of Nazianzus (A.D.329-389), a contemporary of Basil,
employs the eighth day, which for him "refers to the life to
come," not to encourage Sunday observance but rather to urge
"doing good while yet here on earth." 92  This trend is even more
pronounced in the other Cappadocian, Gregory of Nyssa (ca. A.D.
330-395), the younger brother of Basil. Though he wrote a
treatise "On the Ogdoad," as remarked by F.Regan, he does not
make "a single reference to the Lord's day." 93  As a philosopher
he defines the octave in platonic terms as the future age which
is not susceptible of "augmentation or diminution" and which does
not "suffer either alteration or change." 94  As a mystic he
views the ogdoad as "the future age toward which the internal
life is turned." 95  In commenting on the eighth beatitude, he
finds the meaning of the octave in the Old Testament rites of
purification and circumcision, which he explains mystically as
representing "the return to purity of man's nature stained by
sin.... and the stripping, off of the dead skins," symbol of the
mortal and carnal life. 96  Gregory, therefore, finds in the
meaning of the number "eight" not polemic arguments to urge the
observance of Sunday in place of the
......

91 Basil, "De Spiritu Sancto" 27, SC p. 237.
92 Gregory of Nazianzus, "Oratio" 44, "In novam Dominicam," PA
36, 612. 
93 F.A.Regan, "Dies Dominica," p.240; J.Danielou (fn. 22),
pp.80-81 acutely notes: "Basil's effort to retain for Sunday its
archaic name of the eighth day will have no following. What will
remain will be the eschatological symbolism which was attached to
it ... This is what we meet in Gregory of Nyssa, that is typical
of this attitude. In his "Hexaemeron," he makes no allusion to
Sunday."
94 Gregory of Nyssa, "De octavo," PG 44, 609 B-C. 
95 Gregory of Nyssa, "In Psalmos" 2, 8, PG 44, 504D-505A. 
96 Gregory of Nyssa, "De beatitudinibus, Oratio" 8 PG 44, 1292
A-D.
......



Sabbath, but rather the symbol of the eternal and spiritual life
which has already begun here below. His avoidance of any
association between the number eight and Sunday observance is
perhaps explained by his view (prevailing in the East) that
Sabbath and Sunday were not antagonists but brothers: "With which
eyes do you look at the Lord's day, you have dishonored the
Sabbath? Do you perhaps ignore that the two days are brothers and
that if you hurt one, you strike at the other?" 97
     The Cappadocians' detachment of the eschatological meaning
of the eighth day from the cultic observance of Sunday finds
sanction in a surprising statement from John Chrysostom (ca. A.D.
347-407), Bishop of Constantinople. In his second "Treatise on
Compunction," he makes a startling statement:

     What is then the eighth day but that great and manifest day
     of the Lord which burns like straw and which makes the
     powers on high tremble? The Scripture calls it the eighth,
     indicating the change of state and the inauguration of the
     future life. Indeed, the present life is one week only,
     beginning on the first day, ending on the seventh and
     returning to the same unit again, going back to the same
     beginning and continuing to the same end. It is for this
     reason that no one calls the Lord's day the eighth day
     but only first day. Indeed, the septenary cycle does not
     extend to the number eight. But when all these things come
     to an end and dissolve, then the course of the octave will
     arise. 98


     This statement of Chrysostom represents the culmination of
the development of the eschatological interpretation of the eight
day, which by reflex epitomizes to some extent the vicis situdes
which accompanied the birth and development of Sunday observance.
The very name "eighth day" and its inherent eschatological
meaning, which at first Barnabas and afterwards several Fathers
used to justify the validity and superiority of Sunday over the
Sabbath, are now formally and explicitly repudiated since their
"raison d'etre" has ceased. 99  The eighth day
......

97 Gregory of Nyssa, "Adversus eos qui castigationes aegre 
ferupt," PG 46, 309.
98 John Chrysostom, "De compunctione" 2, 4, PG 47, 415 (emphasis
supplied).
99 J.Danielou, "Bible and Liturgy," p.275, acknowledges this
development: "This text of Chrysostom marks the furthest point of
the eschatological interpretation of the eighth day, since it
formally denies this name to the Lord's Day and reserves it for
the age to come."
......


is retained exclusively as symbol of the age to come and of the
resurrection. The search for texts in the Old Testament
containing the number eight or fifteen (seven plus eight)
continues but now no longer to prove that "the eighth day
possesses a more mysterious import which the seventh did not
possess," 100  but rather that the resurrection event (whether it
be the resurrection of Christ or the baptismal resurrection or
the eschatological resurrection) was already prefigured and
predicted by the prophets." 101
     
     Some significant conclusions regarding the origin of Sunday
emerge from this brief survey of the use of the "eighth day" in
early Christianity.

     The fact that the typology of the eighth day first appears
especially in the writings of anti-Judaic polemics, such as the
"Epistle of Barnabas" and the "Dialogue with Trypho," and that it
was widely used as an apologetic device to prove the superiority
of Sunday over the Sabbath, suggests, first of all, that Sunday
worship arose as a controversial innovation and not as an
undisputed apostolic institution. The polemic was apparently
provoked by a Sabbath-keeping minority (mostly Jewish-Christians)
who refused to accept the new day of worship. This we found to be
indicated by the very speculations on the eschatological
superiority of the eighth day over the seventh, since these
contentions had meaning only in a polemic with Jewish-Christians
and Jews. In these circles where the Sabbath and the cosmic week
played an important role, the opposition to the new day of
worship was strong enough to cause the development of the
apologetic arguments about the eighth day, in order to refute the
claims of these sabbatarians.
     The wide range of arguments drawn from apocalyptic
literature, the Scriptures, philosophy and the natural world to
prove the superiority of the eighth day over the seventh,
presupposes also that the validity of Sunday observance was being
constantly challenged by a significant segment of Sabbath-keeping
Christians. l02  In the controversy over the two days, however,
the
......

100 Justin, "Dialogue" 24, 1.
101 For texts, see J.Danielou (fn. 22), pp.87-88.
102 The existence of Christian Sabbath-keepers in early
Christianity has been largely discounted in recent studies. This
creates the false impression that Sunday observance was
unanimously and immediately adopted by all Christians. What is
greatly needed to correct this view, is a comprehensive analysis
of all the patristic references providing direct or indirect
information on the survival of the practice of Sabbath-keeping in
early Christianity. It is the hope of the present author to
undertake this study in the near future.
......


symbolism of the eighth day was found to provide an effective
apologetic device, since it could justify Sunday on several
grounds. As the eighth eschatological day, Sunday could be
defended in Jewish and Jewish-Christian apocalyptic circles as
the symbol of the new world, superior to the Sabbath which
represented only the seventh terrestrial millennium. As the
Gnostic ogdoad, Sunday could represent the rest of the spiritual
beings in the super-celestial eternal world, found above the
sevenness of this transitory world. As the Biblical number eight
which the Fathers found in several references of the Old
Testament (such as, the eighth day of the circumcision, the eight
souls saved from the flood, the fifteen cubits-seven plus
eight-of the flood-waters above all mountains, the title of
Psalms 6 and 11 "for the eighth day," the fifteen gradual Psalms
- seven plus eight - the saying "give a portion to seven or even
to eight" of Ecclesiastes 11:2 and others), Sunday could be
prestigiously traced back to the "prophecies" of the Old
Testament. Invested with such "prophetic" authority, the eighth
day could "legitimately" represent the fulfillment of the reign
of the law allegedly typified by the Sabbath and the inauguration
of the kingdom of grace supposedly exemplified by Sunday. Jerome
expressed this view well, saying that "the number seven having
been fulfilled, we now rise to the Gospel through the eight." 103
     It appears that the denomination "eighth day," coined very
early by Christians, epitomizes to some extent the manner and the
causes of the origin of Sunday. It suggests that Sunday worship
arose possibly "as a prolongation of that of the Sabbath," 104
celebrated initially on Saturday evening. Later, due to the
existing necessity for Christians to differentiate themselves
from the Jews, the service was apparently transferred from
Saturday evening to Sunday morning. 105  While we have been
unable to document this transference, the fact that the
introduction of Sunday worship provoked a controversy, we
......

103 Jerome, "Commentarius in Ecclesiastem" 11, 2, PL 23, 1157.
104
104 H.Riesenfeld (fn. 43) p.213.
105 See above fn. 43; Louis Duchesne, "Origines du culte
chretien," 1920, p.48: "Sunday initially was placed in
juxtaposition with the Sabbath. As the gulf between the Church
and the Synagogue widened, the Sabbath became less and less
important until finally it was completely neglected."
......


found to be well attested, especially by the polemic use of the
symbolism of the eighth day which was developed out of
apocalyptic, Gnostic and Biblical sources to prove the
superiority of Sunday over the Sabbath. We also found an indirect
evidence for the existence of a controversy over the two days in
the fact that the name and the meaning of the eighth day were
detached from Sunday and retained exclusively as a symbol of the
resurrection of Christ, when the Sabbath-Sunday controversy
subsided. 106


Conclusion. 

     This brief survey of the various early Christian
motivations for Sunday observance suggests that the new day of
worship was introduced in a climate of controversy and
uncertainty. The very memory of the resurrection, which in time
became the dominant reason for Sunday observance, we found,
initially played only a secondary role. On the contrary, the
great importance attached to the symbolism of both the first and
the eighth days, is indicative of the polemic which accompanied
the introduction of Sunday observance. It appears that because of
the exigency which arose to separate from the Jews and their
Sabbath, Gentile Christians adopted the venerable day of the Sun,
since it provided an adequate time and symbolism to commemorate
significant divine events which occurred on that day, such as the
creation of light and the resurrection of the Sun of Justice.
This innovation provoked a controversy with those who maintained
the inviolability and superiority of the Sabbath. To silence such
opposition, we found that the symbolism of the first and of the
eighth day were introduced and widely used, since they provided
valuable apologetic arguments to defend the validity and
superiority of Sunday. As the first day, Sunday could allegedly
claim superiority over the Sabbath, since it celebrated the
anniversary of both the first and the second creation which was
inaugurated by Christ's resurrection. The seventh day, on the
other hand, could only claim to commemorate the completion of
creation. As the eighth day Sunday could claim to be the alleged
continuation, fulfillment and supplantation of the Sabbath, both
temporally and eschatologically.
......

106 J.Danielou (fn. 22), p.89 notes this development: "The
theme of the eighth ... is progressively detached from Sunday and
loses its liturgical roots when Sunday is no longer in opposition
to the Jewish seventh day."
......


     In closing this survey of the theology of Sunday in early
Christianity, we need to restate a question we raised at the
beginning of this chapter, namely, Do the earliest theological
justifications for Sunday observance reflect Biblical-apostolic
teachings or rather "a posteriori" arguments solicited by
prevailing circumstances? We need not take time to test the
orthodoxy of the various arguments developed, for instance, out
of the numeric symbolism of the first and of the eighth day, nor
do we need to examine the often ridiculous testimonia drawn from
the Old Testament to prove that the eighth day was more
prestigious than the seventh. The very fact that Sunday-keepers
have long ago rejected not only the initially popular designation
"eighth day," but also the whole train of arguments based on
items such as the creation of light, the new world, the eighth
day of the circumcision, the eighth day of purification, the
eight souls saved from the flood, Ecclesiastes 11:2, the title of
Psalm 6 and others, represents an implicit admission that such
arguments were not warranted by sound Biblical exegesis and
theology.

     What about the motive of the resurrection which in time
became the dominant reason for Sunday observance? Should not this
constitute a valid justification for worshiping on Sunday rather
than on the Sabbath? To this question we shall address ourselves
in our concluding chapter. By reviewing in retrospect the origin
of Sunday we shall consider the implications of the early
Christian theology of Sunday for the pressing problem of the
present observance of Sunday.

                        ...........................


To be continued


NOTE:

It should be observed, the effort put forth by some to establish
the "eighth" or "one" day, to establish that Sunday was now the
chief day and the Lord's day, to observe above the "old" Sabbath
day, is MOST PRONOUNCED in the writings of many of the early
"church fathers" so-called.
You will notice they did not come close to using Romans 14 ("one
man esteems one day and another man esteems another day etc.). Of
course they could not use this passage of Scripture to try and
dogmatically prove that Sunday was the day God wanted to honor
and establish as the Christian day of worship. Some in the
fundamental Protestant world, in their tracks, throw Romans 14 at
you, trying to use Romans 14 to establish Sunday, but if anything
regarding "a special day of holiness and worship" is to be
ascertained from the New Testament, such as Sunday over the
original Sabbath, then common logic tells you that using Romans
14 is NOT the way to prove such validity as Sunday becoming the
Christians NT holy day or day set aside to worship God in some
constructed form as church services. For Romans 14 in its full
context ALLOWS each person to choose whatever day to regard it to
the Lord, and Romans 14 would then fly in the face, blow away,
smash to pieces, any theology of establishing Sunday as superior
to all other days of the week.
All clear-headed thinking (which many do not seem to be blessed
with) would certainly not try to use Romans 14 to ascertain the
NT Scriptures make a change in holy day commandment from the 7th
to the 1st day of the week. If Paul is talking about "sabbath"
day in this passage (which by the way he is not - we have
answered this passage in detail on this Website in other studies)
then all that can be shown is that a person has the right to pick
their holy day from ANY of the days of the week.
Romans 14 was never brought into the equation by the early church
Fathers, as it would have been counter-productive to them in
trying to establish Sunday as the chief and only holy day of the
week to replace the old holy day - namely the original 7th day
Sabbath.

Keith Hunt


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