When was Sabbath changed to Sunday?

By Dr. James Robertson


There was no change made from the Sabbath to Sunday in the time of the apostles. However, after the death of the apostles, Sunday was substituted for the Sabbath day through the commandment of men, but not by any commandment of Yahweh. It is possible that the transfer may have taken place gradually after the death of the apostles, but concerning secular or church legislation history records the following:


"Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the sabbatical observance of Sunday is known to have been ordained is the sabbatical edict of Constantine, A.D. 32I."

Chambers" Encyclopedia, Article "Sunday."


Here is the first Sunday Law in history, a legal enactment by Constantine 1 (reigned 306-331):


"On the Venerable Day of the Sun ["venerabili die Solis"--the sacred 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 so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost--Given the 7th day of March, [A.D. 321], Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time."

The First Sunday Law of Constantine 1, in "Codex Justinianus," lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; trans. in Phillip Schaff "History of the Christian Church," Vol. 3, p. 380.


What did Constantine's law require?


"Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines; lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by Heaven."

Translated from the original edict in Latin, now in Harvard College U.S.A.


Constantine's empire was predominantly for Sun worship, so this was not a law to favor Christianity, but rather the "venerable day of the sun", which was the day of the dominating sun worship religion of that time.

#5.12 Church Legislation for changing the Sabbath to Sunday.


The Church of that day, then followed suit, and legislated on Sunday worship at the Council of Laodicea.


"The Council of Laodicea ... forbids Christians from judaizing and resting on the Sabbath day, preferring the Lord's day, and so far as possible resting as Christians."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1899 Edition, Vol. XXIII, page 654.


Here is the first Sunday Law decree of a Christian council. It was given about 16 years after Constantine's first Sunday Law of A.D. 321:


"Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [in the original: "sabbato" shall not be idle on the Sabbath], but shall work on that day; but the Lord's day they shall especially honour, and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out ["anathema,"--excommunicated] from Christ."

Council of Laodicea, c. A.D. 337, Canon 29, quoted in C.J. Hefele, "A History of the Councils of the Church," Vol. 2, p. 316.


By the term "Judaize" they mean keeping the Sabbath day. By the term "the Lord's day" they mean Sunday, which seems to have become a term for that day, although there is no scriptural basis for calling it so.


Note 1: Sha’ul and Kefa both predicted false teachers would come after their death:


Acts 20:29-30 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves** shall come in among you, not sparing the flock. Footnote: **See Mt. 7:15-23, Mt. 10:16, Lk. 10:3, John 10:12.  (30)  “Also from among yourselves men shall arise, speaking distorted teachings, to draw away the taught ones after themselves.


1 Timothy 4:1  But the Spirit distinctly says that in latter times some shall fall away from the belief, paying attention to misleading spirits, and teachings of demons,


2 Kefa 2:1-2 But there also came to be false prophets** among the people, as also among you there shall be false teachers, who shall secretly bring in destructive heresies, and deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. **Footnote: See Mt. 7:15-23 v. 7-8, and again v. 21.  (2)  And many shall follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.


Doctrines of Demons and False teachers: They teach that Yahshua rose on Sunday, and that Sunday is the day of worship and rest.

Privately shall bring in damnable heresies: In the privacy of the council of Laodicea, they substituted Sunday for the Sabbath.

Denying Yahweh: It was Yahshua who said, "keep the commandments."

Matthew 19:17, "but in works they deny him,"

Titus 1:16), by not keeping them.

Many shall follow their pernicious ways: Almost all of Christianity keeps Sunday as a day of worship, instead of the Sabbath.

The way of truth shall be evil spoken of: Almost all of Christianity speaks against keeping the Sabbath commandment, which is the truth (Psalm 119:151).

The scripture has this to say on the matter:


Romans 6:16, Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?

So who are we obeying when we keep Sunday as a day of worship instead of Saturday?


(1) We are obeying men, because men changed the Sabbath commandment for Sunday, and we are told not to do this:


Acts 5:29 "Then Kefa and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey Yahweh rather than men."

1 Corinthians 7:23 "You are bought with a price; do not you be the servants of men."


Yahweh commanded the Sabbath and men commanded Sunday.


(2) We are obeying the spirit of Antichrist, because it is the Antichrist, who will "think to change times and laws:" (Daniel 7:25, And it speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times** and law***, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time. Footnotes: **This is another word for festivals. ***Changing the law amounts to lawlessness. Read in 2 Thess. 2:3-12 about “the lawless one” and the “lawlessness” which would take over (indeed, it has already taken over!) in the set-apart place, and also about Messiah’s judgment upon the lawless “prophets” in Mt. 7:23, and the lawless “believers” in Mt. 13:41!

This spirit was already in the world in the time of the apostles, for John wrote, "this is that spirit of anti-messiah, of which you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." 1 John 4:3. The spirit of anti-messiah is really the spirit of the Satan, because he is the one who gives the anti-messiah his authority:


Revelation 13:2 "And the beast I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority."

Therefore, when we obey the commandments of men (keeping Sunday), which is inspired by the spirit of antichrist, we are really bowing to Satan because we keep his law instead of Yahweh's.


Note 2: Yahshua had things to say about honoring man's tradition:


Matthew 15:1-9 Then there came to Yahshua scribes and Pharisees from Yerushalayim, saying,  (2)  “Why do Your taught ones transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”  (3)  But He answering, said to them, “Why do you also transgress the command of Elohim** because of your tradition? Footnote: 1See Mat. 5:20. (4) “For Elohim has commanded, saying, ‘Respect your father and your mother,’ and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’  (5)  “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me has been dedicated,” (6) is certainly released from respecting his father or mother.’ So you have nullified the command of Elohim by your tradition.  (7)  “Hypocrites! Yeshayahu rightly prophesied about you, saying, (8) ‘This people draw near to Me with their mouth, and respect Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  (9)  ‘But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as teachings the commands of men.’ ”** Footnote: Isaiah 29:13, Mark 7:7, 2 Kings 17:19.


Yahshua severely rebuked the Pharisees, and called them hypocrites (v7), for pretending to love Yahweh, while at the same time breaking one of the Ten Commandments by their tradition. Where does this leave you? Do you say that you love Yahweh, while at the same time break the Sabbath commandment? Are you honoring the tradition of men (keeping Sunday), or honoring the commandment of Yahweh (keeping the Sabbath)?