Constantine’s Sunday Law

The Roman emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD. In 321 AD he passed a law for the protection of Sunday as a day of worship and rest. The law stated, “On 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 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” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 3 [Edinburgh: 1884]: p. 380). Historians have since recognized that Constantine’s Sunday law originated primarily from a desire to unite the pagan and Christian elements of his empire. The noted historian Edward Gibbon noted, “But the devotion of Constantine was more peculiarly directed to the genius of the Sun, the Apollo of Greek and Roman mythology…The Sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine” (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. By J.B. Bury, chap. 20, vol. 2 [London: Methuen & Co., 1896], p. 291). A few decades later, the Council of Laodicea (343-381 AD) commanded Christians to rest on the “Lord’s Day” if possible, and forbade resting on the Sabbath.

A Call to Worship the Creator

In Revelation 14, three angels fly over the earth with messages from heaven. The first angel calls all people to worship God as Creator: “And I saw...

A Day for All

Jesus made it clear that the Sabbath blessing was intended for all people, not just the Jews, when He said, “The sabbath was made for man” (Mark...

A Sabbath Coup

During the time of Israel’s divided kingdom, Athaliah, the daughter of Israel’s King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, seized power in Judah after the death...

A Sabbath Work Law in Ancient Egypt

As slaves in Egypt, the Israelites were not able to serve or worship God, and this was one reason that He delivered them from slavery. Psalm...

Anti-Sabbath Rhetoric Increases

Around the year 600 AD, Pope Gregory I denounced as preachers of Antichrist those who were teaching in Rome that work should not be done on the...

Babylon Attacks on the Sabbath

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem several times before its final destruction. Nebuchadnezzar’s second attack came on March 16, 597...

Blessings of Sabbath Observance

Some of the Bible's richest blessings are promised for those that honor and reverence God’s holy Sabbath. In Isaiah 58 the prophet writes, “If thou...

Christ’s Death and the Sabbath

The Bible records that Jesus died on a Friday afternoon “at the ninth hour” (Mark 15:34), or 3:00 PM. His death came only six hours after being...

Christianity Begins Distancing Itself From the Sabbath

The anti-Jewish sentiments found in the writings of some early church fathers was simultaneously demonstrated in a gradual distancing of...

Church Fathers Write Against the Sabbath

In the early centuries of Christianity, some church fathers wrote against the Sabbath as part of their anti-Jewish rhetoric. For example, Justin...

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