The Early Christians And The Sabbath: Thesis

Sample Thesis

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In practice, the Christians made a marked difference between themselves and the Jews when they ceased to celebrate the Sabbath beginning sundown on the fifth day through sundown on Saturday, and instead, moved the Sabbath to Sunday.  “The change of the day, the softening of the rigor of Sabbath observance, both of which we allow to have been made, no matter how or when, but probably by the Apostles, are matters of minor import, and do not affect the essentials of the Fourth Commandment upon which Sunday depends.”[1] Smith observes, with regard to the change of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday that “the Christians, anxious on the one hand to avoid identification with the Jews and, on the other, to ingratiate themselves with the Mithraists, changed their weekly love feast from Saturn’s day, the traditional Jewish Sabbath, to the first day of the week, which among the Romans was generally dedicated to the sun.  Gradually, Sunday became a day of religious congregation.”[2]

However, one of the issues that defined Christianity as a separate religion from its Jewish parent was that the rules or laws laid down by Rabbinic tradition were loosened as a result of Jesus’ teachings and the actions of the Apostles after the crucifixion; all of which had the effect of making the religion more accessible to the Gentiles who wanted to follow the teachings of Jesus.

[1] James Augustus Hessey, Sunday: Its Origin, History, and Present Condition; (London: Cassell & Co., Ltd., 1889), p. 7

[2] Homer W. Smith, op cit., p. 377.

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