There are strong theological reasons for thinking that God made the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, a New Covenant ordinance. In other words, God ordained the Lord’s Day as the day for Christians to gather and worship under the gospel:
- The Lord’s Day is specifically about worship, not specifically rest- the only reason I bring this up is to say that the Sabbath seems to be specifically about rest, not worship. Sabbatarians will say that Christians are to rest in order to worship. Perhaps. But that is not explicit in the OT. Worship gatherings are commanded outside of the Sabbath Day and the Sabbath commandment is specifically a command to do no regular work. The Lord’s Day, however, is specifically a day Christians gather in response to the resurrected Christ, to honor and worship Him. What early Christians did not seem to do is change the day off of work from Saturday to Sunday; they only changed the day of worship.
- The Lord’s Day is about new life- when Noah got on dry ground, he made an altar; when Abraham got Isaac “back from the dead,” he offered worship; as soon as the disciples see Jesus rise from the dead, they worship. Worship is the only appropriate response when a Christian thinks about all that the resurrection accomplished on their behalf.
- The Lord’s Day is about a New Creation- in this way, the Lord’s Day could perhaps be seen as a fulfillment of the Sabbath. God did rest from creation on the seventh day. But as many great theologians are beginning to point out, there is no evening and morning on that seventh day in Genesis 2. Moses wanted us to conceive of the world still being in a “Sabbath Day” from that first creation. When does that seventh day end? When God begins creating a new creation. And that started officially the day Jesus rose from the dead. It is very intentional that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. It is a new week. It is a new creation.
- The Lord’s Day is about the Day of the Lord- where do early Christians get the language of “the Lord’s Day”? Perhaps, and perhaps obviously, it comes from the language of the “day of the Lord” in the OT. That day, in books like Isaiah and Malachi, is a day of victory and judgment. It will finally be fulfilled on the day Jesus returns. It found its foundational fulfillment, though, in the coming of our Lord Jesus, culminating in his death and resurrection. When Jesus rose from the dead, the first Christians understood they were beholding the risen King, God-man, Messiah. The Lord’s Day is a day that points to future judgment and future salvation.
Let us not give up meeting together.