Historical Quotes For The Sabbath

In the search for historical quotes, one can find both for and against Sabbath-keeping. I have found many such examples for what later was called the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and its observance. You will also find a schism in the church over the subject dividing east from west. Many such authors trying to promote a Lord’s Day view, calling Sunday “the queen and prince of all days”, spent most of their time as apologist trying to merge and rectify paganism with Christianity, exemplifying their hatred for the Jews. The form of debate of “all points being equal” does not reside with the confines of “Thus saith the Lord.” All points are mute when tested against scripture. So at the very least, we can definitively show that Christians have been keeping the 4th commandment Sabbath from the time of Christ. We could also show that some years after there was already an apostasy to promote the venerable day of the Sun (Sunday) as the new day of worship. We can also point out such change was never expressed in scripture. With the lack of scripture evidence of an annulment of God’s covenant with the Sabbath and Man,  along with no requirement whatsoever to keep Sunday sacred, the Anti-Sabbath camp find themselves without harbor or home. Lost in a sea of manmade options creating for themselves an ever increasing platter of errors and sins. What is often used to promote the fallacy that the Sabbath was done away with is Hebrews Chap. 4. I too point to this chapter as proof that the Sabbath remains, for it says in Verse 4: “For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise,” Verse 6: “Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein,” Verse 7: “Again, he limits a certain day,” Verse 9: “There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.” Verse 11: “Let us labor to enter into that rest.” We also find in Acts the continued teaching of Jews and Gentiles on the Sabbath. As you continue your study for the truth of God, just know for every truth told by God, Satan will tell an equal and opposite lie!

Paul’s Warning Of Heresy After His Death:

Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also men shall arise from your own selves, speaking perverse things in order to draw disciples away after them. Therefore watch and remember that for the time of three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:28-31 MKJV)

Circa 27 A.D – 33 A.D

Jesus In Nazareth (Amongst Many Others Examples)

“And when the Sabbath day had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him, were astonished, saying, Where does this one get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to him, that even such mighty works are done by his hands?” (Mark 6:2 MKJV )

Jesus kept the Sabbath! Some worry that the date of the real 7th day Sabbath has been lost over time since creation. Yet, Jesus clearly endorses the Sabbath and the day it was celebrated. If the people were in error and somehow mistaken about the correct 7 day week cycle, He could and would have corrected this error. His failure to have attested to any such error would have caused Him to sin, in the failing to keep the commandments. As we know, Jesus was perfect and sinless. Therefore, Jesus is our time marker for correct Sabbath keeping.


Book of Acts: As contained in the Bible.  Circa A.D. 30-65

Paul and Barnabas: Roman City of Antioch in Pisidia

“And the Jews having gone out of the synagogue, the nations begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. And the synagogue being broken up, many of the Jews and of the devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas; who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.  And on the coming Sabbath day almost all the city came together to hear the Word of God.” (Acts 13:42-44 MKJV)

Please note it was Gentiles coming together on Sabbath to hear and learn from the Disciples. Meeting on the Sabbath in the Synagogues was the common practice of Jesus and the Disciples, as we see here this practice was continued with the Gentiles. The often quoted argument that they only went on the Sabbath to reach the Jews is clearly decimated here. As we see the Gentiles are called back together again on the Sabbath.

Paul In Macedonia

“And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was usually made. And we sat down and spoke to the women who came together there.” (Acts 16:13 MKJV)

Paul In Corinth

 “And he reasoned in the synagogue on every Sabbath, persuading both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 18:4 MKJV)  See Also: Act 13:14 

Paul In Ephesus: Circa 55 A.D

1 Corinthians 16:2 ISV: “After the Sabbath ends, each of you should set aside and save something from your surplus in proportion to what you have, so that no collections will have to be made when I arrive.”

See also the following Bible Translation. (Modern King James Version) (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible) (International Standard Version) (Jubilee Bible) (The Scriptures 2009) See also Q&A sections for info on this verse.


Jesus had given a prophecy that would not be fulfilled until after His death, clearly stating the Sabbath Day was a day of continued focus by the faithful followers of Christ. So much so, that He instructs them to pray that they would not have to run away on the Sabbath. It would be mighty strange for Him to refer to a day that would no longer be important. Yet it is, and He knew it would be.  Some believe this prophecy was fulfilled during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman General Titus. He laid waste to the entire temple complex in 70 A.D. Fulfilling Jesus’ other Prophecy that no Stone would be left upon the other.  “And as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, Master, see! What stones and what buildings! And answering Jesus said to him, Do you see these great buildings? There shall not be one stone left on another that shall not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:1-2 MKJV)

Here is His other Prophecy concerning the Sabbath:

“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand).   Then let those in Judea flee into the mountains.   Let him on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house;   nor let him in the field turn back to take his clothes.   And woe to those who are with child, and to those who give suck in those days!   But pray that your flight is not in the winter, nor on the Sabbath day;   for then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:15-21 MKJV 

Even if this prophecy was not fulfilled by Titus, it still remains that the followers of Christ Jesus must pray that their flight will not be on the Sabbath Day! This only reinforces that The Sabbath Day was, is, and always will be an important day!


Josephus: “There is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor any nation whatsoever, whither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not come!” M’Clathie, Notes and Queries on China and Japan. (edited by Dennys),Vol.4, Nos. 7,8, p.100.


“The Jewish Christians, at least in Palestine, conformed as closely as possible to the venerable forms of the cultus of their fathers, which in truth were divinely ordained, and were an expressive type of the Christian worship. So far as we know, they scrupulously observed the Sabbath,”

History of the Christian Church, Volume I: Apostolic Christianity. Philip Schaff A.D. 1-100. (§ 52. Christian Worship.  P.281)


“The primitive Christians did keep the Sabbath of the Jews;..therefore the Christians for a long time together, did keep their conventions on the Sabbath, in which some portion of the Law were read: and this continued till the time of the Laodicean council.” The Whole Works of Jeremey Taylor, Vol. IX, p416 (R. Heber’s Edition, Vol.XII, p.416)


“The gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath.” Gieseler’s Church History, Vol.1, ch.2, par.30, p.93.


“The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and did spend the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the Apostles themselves, as appears by several scriptures to that purpose.” Dialogues on the Lord’s Day. p.189. London: 1701. By Dr. T. H. Morer.(church of England divine)


“The Sabbath was a strong tie which united them with the life of the whole people, and by keeping the Sabbath holy they followed not only the example but the command of Jesus.” Geschichte des Sonntags, pp.13,14.


“It is certain that the ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed (together with the celebration of the Lord’s day by the Christians of the East Church) three hundred years after the Saviour’s death.” A learned Treatise of the Sabbath, p.77.


“The seventh-day Sabbath was.. solemnised by Christ, the Apostles, and primitive Christians, till the Laodicean Council did in a manner quite abolish the observation of it.” Dissertation on the Lord’s Day, pp.33,34,44.


“As early as A.D.225 their existed large bishoprics or conferences of the church of the East (Sabbath-keeping) stretching from Palestine to India.” Mingana, Early Spread of Christianity. Vol.10, p.460.


“Thou shalt observe the Sabbath, on account of Him who ceased from His work of creation, but ceased not from His work of providence: it is a rest for meditation of the Law, not for idleness of the hands.” The Anti-Nivcene Fathers, Vol.7, p 413, From Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, A document of the 3rd and 4th centuries.


“After the festival of the unceasing sacrifice [the crucifixion] is put the second festival of the Sabbath, and is fitting for whoever is righteous among the saints to keep also the festival of the Sabbath. There remaineth therefore a Sabbatismus, that is a keeping of the Sabbath, to the people of God [Heb 4:9]” Homily on Numbers 23, par.4, in Migne, Patrologia Greaca, Vol. 12, cols.749,750.


“The ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed . . . by the Christians of the East Church, above three hundred years after our Savior’s death.”-A Learned Treatise of the Sabbath, p. 77.


“But assemble yourselves together every day, morning and evening, singing psalms and praying in the Lord’s house: in the morning saying the sixty-second Psalm, and in the evening the hundred and fortieth, but principally on the Sabbath-day. And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead.” (Sec. VII. – On Assembling in the Church. LIX. That Every Christian Ought to Frequent the Church Diligently Both Morning and Evening: Constitutions of the Apostles – Book 2 – Part 3) circa: 250-300 A.D


“It was the practice generally of the Eastern Churches; and some churches of the west..For in the church of Millaine [Milan];.. it seems the Saturday was held in fare esteem ..Not that the Eastern churches, or any of the rest which observed that day, were inclined to Iudaisme [Judaism]; but that they came together on the Sabbath day, to worship Iesus [Jesus] Christ the Lord of the Sabbath.” History of the Sabbath (original Spelling retained) Part 2, par. 5, pp. 73,74, London: 1636, Dr. Heylyn.


“The ancient Christians were very careful in the observation of Saturday, or the seventh day..It is plain that all the Oriental churches, and the greatest part of the world, observed the Sabbath as a festival..Athanasius likewise tells us that they held religious assemblies on the Sabbath, not because they were infected with Judaism, but to worship Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, Epiphanius says the same.” Antiquities of the Christian Church, Vol. II, Book XX, chap. 3, Sec. 1, 66.1137, 1138


“From the apostles’ time until the council of Laodicean, which was about the year 364, the holy observation of the Jew’s Sabbath continued, as may be proved out of many authors: yea, notwithstanding the decree of the council against it. Sunday a Sabbath, John Ley, p.163 London 1640.


“Ambrose, the celebrated bishop of Milan, said that when he was in Milan he observed Saturday, but when in Rome observed Sunday. This gave rise to the proverb ‘When you are in Rome, do as Rome does,’ ” Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath, 1613


“because on that day the Lord suffered the death of the cross under Pontius Pilate. But keep the Sabbath, and the Lord’s day festival; because the former is the memorial of the creation, and the latter of the resurrection.” (Sec. II. – On the Formation of the Character of Believers, and on Giving of Thanks to God. XXIII. Which Days of the Week We Are to Fast, and Which Not, and for What Reasons: Constitutions of the Apostles – Book 7 – Part 1) circa: 300-325 A.D


“Roman Emperor Constantine made an edict, in 324, the year before the Council of Nicaea, mandating worship of the Supreme God on Sunday (Gonzalez, Justo, The Story of Christianity, p. 123). 

From Saturday to Sunday: The text of Constantine Sunday Law of 321 A.D.

One the venerable 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 suitable for gain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantinebeing consuls each of them the second time.” Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff, D.D., (7-vol.ed.) Vol. III, p.380. New York, 1884

The Council of Nicaea went further and endorsed the keeping of Passover on Sunday Also.


 “Let the slaves work five days; but on the Sabbath-day and the Lord’s day let them have leisure to go to church for instruction in piety. We have said that the Sabbath is on account of the creation, and the Lord’s day of the resurrection.” (Sec. IV. — Certain Prayers and Laws. XXXIII. Upon Which Days Servants Are Not to Work: Constitutions of the Apostles – Book 8 – Part 2) circa: 300-325 A.D


Synod of Laodicea Canon 29: 363–364 AD

Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.”


“Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath was continued in the Christian church.” Ancient Christianity Exemplified, Lyman Coleman, Ch.26, sec. 2, p.527.


“In Jerome’s day (420 A.D.) the devoutest Christians did ordinary work on Sunday.” Treatise of the Sabbath Day. by Dr. White, Lord Bishop of Ely, p.210.


“For although almost all Churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries [the Lord’s Supper] on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, refuse to do this.” The footnote which accompanies the foregoing quotation explains the use of the word “Sabbath” It says : “That is, upon the Saturday. It should be observed, that Sunday is never called ‘the Sabbath’ by the ancient Fathers and historians.” Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, chap. 22, p. 289.


The careful and candid theologian and historian, Lyman Coleman, says: “Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath was continued in the Christian church, but with a rigor and solemnity gradually diminishing until it was wholly discontinued.”-Ancient Christianity Exemplified, chap. 26, sec. 2, p. 527.


Sozomen, another church historian of the fifth century, asserts: “The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria.”-Ecclesiastical History, vii. 19, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d series, Vol. II, p. 3 90.


Socrates, a Greek church historian of the fifth century, whose work was a continuation of that of Eusebius, says: “Almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this.”-Ecclesiastical History v. 22. 21, 22, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d series, Vol. 11, p. 132.


Proof of change quote!

412 AD Augustine “Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these Ten Commandments, except the observance of the Sabbath, which ought not to be kept by a Christian . . . Which of these commandments would anyone say that the Christian ought not to keep? It is possible to contend that it is not the Law which was written on those two tables that the apostle [Paul] describes as ‘the letter that kills’ [2 Cor. 3:6], but the law of circumcision and the other sacred rites which are now abolished” (The Spirit and the Letter 24)

A Pagan Institution Grafted Upon Christianity: On this point that Sunday was not known as a rest day in the early centuries, these statements occur in Smith and Cheerham’s Dictionary of. Christian Antiquities: “The notion of a formal substitution by apostolic authority of the Lord’s day for the Jewish Sabbath, and the transference to it, perhaps in a spiritualized form, of the Sabbatical obligation established by the promulgation of the fourth commandment, has no basis whatever, either in Holy Scripture or in Christian antiquity. . . . The idea afterwards embodied in the title of the ‘Christian Sabbath,’ and carried out in ordinances of Judaic rigor, was, so far as we can see, entirely unknown in the early centuries of Christianity.”-Article “Sabbath,” p. 1823.

Hutton Webster, Ph.D., in his Rest Days, has this to say: “The early Christians had at first adopted the Jewish seven-day week with its numbered week days, but by the close of the third century AD. this began to give way to the planetary week; and in the fourth and fifth centuries the pagan designations became generally accepted in the western half of Christendom. The use of the planetary names by Christians attests the growing influence of astrological speculations introduced by converts from paganism…. During these same centuries the spread of Oriental solar worships, especially that of Mithra [Persian sun worship), in the Roman world, had already led to the substitution by pagans of dies Solis for dies Saturni, as the first day of the planetary week…. Thus gradually a pagan institution was engrafted on Christianity.” Pages 220, 221.

Proof of change quote!

412 AD Augustine “Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these Ten Commandments, except the observance of the Sabbath, which ought not to be kept by a Christian . . . Which of these commandments would anyone say that the Christian ought not to keep? It is possible to contend that it is not the Law which was written on those two tables that the apostle [Paul] describes as ‘the letter that kills’ [2 Cor. 3:6], but the law of circumcision and the other sacred rites which are now abolished” (The Spirit and the Letter 24)

From Saturday to Sunday: The text of Constantine Sunday Law of 321 A.D. “One the venerable 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 suitable for gain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantinebeing consuls each of them the second time.” Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in History of the Christian Church, Philip Schaff, D.D., (7-vol.ed.) Vol. III, p.380. New York, 1884

Dr. A.Chr. Bang says regarding this Law :

“This Sunday law constituted no real favoritism to Christianity….. It is evident from all his statutory provisions that the Emperor during the time 313-323 with full consciousness has sought the realization of his religious aim: the amalgamation of heathenish and Christianity.” Kirken og Romerstaten (The Church and the Roman State) p.256. Christiania, 1879

Other good commentaries on Constantine Sunday Law can be found in :

  • H.G. Heggtveit’s book Kirkenehistorie; (Church History), pp.233,234
  • Dr. A.H.Lewis’s book A Critical History of Sunday Legislation from 321 to 1888 A.D., New York, D.Appleton and Co., 1888.

Regarding the calendar itself and the Sabbath day :

“According to the Assyrian-Babilonian conception, the particular stress lay necessarily on the number seven…The whole week pointed prominently towards the seventh day, the feast day, the rest day, in this day it collected, in this day it also consummated. ‘Sabbath’ is derived from both ‘rest’ and ‘seven’. With the Egyptians it was the reverse…for them on the contrary the sun-god was the beginning and origin of all things. The day of the sun, Sunday, became necessarily for them the feast day…The holiday was transferred from the last to the first day of the week.” ” Daglige Liv i Norden, Vol.XIII, pp.54,55.

“The seven planetary names of the days were at the close of the second century A.D., prevailing everywhere in the Roman Empire…This astrology originated in Egypt, where Alexandria now so loudly proclaimed it to all… ‘The day of the sun’ was the Lord’s day, the chiefest and first of the week. The evil and fatal Saturn’s day was the last of the week on which none could celebrate a feast.. Ibid pp.91,92

See also Prof. A.H. Sayce’s work Higher Criticism and the Monuments, pp.74,75

For information regarding Sabbath keeping as a Heresy read John P. Perrion of Lyons book Luther’s Fore-Runners, London, 1624. Robert Robinsons’s book Ecclesiastical Researches, chap.10, p.303

When the Jesuit St. Francis Xavier arrived in India he immediately requested to the pope to set up the Inquisition there.

“The Jewish wickedness” of which Xavier complained was evidently the Sabbath-keeping among those native Christians as we shall see in our next quotation. When one of these Sabbath-keeping Christians was taken by the Inquisition he was accused of having *Judaized*; which means having conformed to the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law; such as not eating pork, hare, fish without scales, &c., of having attended the solemnization of the Sabbath.” Account of the Inquisition at Goa, Dellon, p.56. London, 1815

“Of an hundred persons condemned to be burnt as Jews, there are scarcely four who profess that faith at their death; the rest exclaiming and protesting to their last gasp that they are Christians, and have been so during their whole lives.” Ibid p.64

“From the apostles’ time until the council of Laodicea, which was about the year 364, the holy observation of the Jew’s Sabbath continued, as may be proved out of many authors: yea, notwithstanding the decree of the council against it. Sunday a Sabbath, John Ley, p.163 London 1640. “Ambrose, the celebrated bishop of Milan, said that when he was in Milan he observed Saturday, but when in Rome observed Sunday. This gave rise to the proverb ‘When you are in Rome, do as Rome does,’ ” Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath, 1613

The editor of the best biography of Columba says in a footnote:

“Our Saturday. The custom to call the Lord’s day Sabbath did not commence until a thousand years later.” Adamnan’s Life of Columba p.230, Dublin, 1857.

Pope Gregory I (AD 590-604) said :

“Gregory, bishop by the grace of God to his well-beloved sons, the Roman citizens: It has come to me that certain men of perverse spirit have disseminated among you things depraved and opposed to the holy faith, so that they forbid anything to be done on the day of the Sabbath. What shall I call them except preachers of anti-Christ?.” Epistles of Gregory I, b.13, epist.1, found in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.

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