Written by: Christopher Sernaque
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7 Shocking Facts About How Early Christians Worshipped
1. Over 2 billion people who profess belief in Christianity each Sundaygather all over the world to worship God. It is a remarkable occurrence that should make us think and give pause over the significance of such a united event weekly. Just imagine in your mind when praying and bowing the head, when lifting up your hands or voice in worship: You are at the same time joining countless other believers at that very minute in the same worship of our Risen Lord.
Note 1: The first sentence essentially refutes the premise of the rest of the article. The word “profess” was utilized to describe all of those that claim to be Christians. A mere profession of Christianity is worthless as anyone, including Satan, could simply profess faith in Christ. The book of Isaiah, in the first verse of the fourth chapter, makes mention of a group of women that desire to eat their own bread and wear their own clothing, but simply be called after the name of a certain man, the Lord. The Word of God is symbolized as bread in the Bible. (John 6:35, 51-53) Elsewhere in the Scriptures, corrupt women, like those in this passage, symbolize apostate church, or churches that simply profess to be Christian. (Ezekiel 16:15-58, Ezekiel 23:2-21, Hosea 2:5, Hosea 3:1) When one reads Isaiah 4:1, they will find a group of believers who desire to do whatever they want, but still desire to be called Christians. Could the keepers of Sunday be represented by these women, having no Scriptural evidence to sustain their position, but still wishing to be called after the name of the Lord of the Sabbath?
2. It all goes back to apostles who walked the dirt trails of Israel with a radical rabbi who taught with “authority,” not like the scribes. Jesus did not institute verbatim the Lord’s Day or command His disciples to gather on the first day of every week with significance and purpose. He rather followed the custom of His day in attending the synagogue services along with other devout religious of the day.
Note 2: Jesus had many titles that have been recorded in the Bible. Never once was our Savior called a, “radical rabbi.” Such as title seems to be demeaning, as Jesus was not a renegade rebel, He was obedient to all of His Father’s Commandments and did many good works. (John 15:10, John 10:32) Whether or not Jesus was a “radical rabbi” is of little consequence to the point that is being made. While Jesus did not have the title “radical rabbi” attributed to Him, He referred to Himself as the Lord of the Sabbath, not Sunday. (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28, Luke 6:5). This author also made a stunning admission in this paragraph; there is no evidence in the scriptures for the sacredness of Sunday and Jesus Christ and the apostles kept the Seventh-Day Sabbath. The notion that Sunday is the Lord’s day is entirely unbiblical, for only the Seventh-Day Sabbath is the Lord’s Day. (Exodus 20:10, Exodus 31:13, 17; Isaiah 58:13). The fact that we are to follow the example of Christ is repeated all throughout the Word of God. (1 John 2:6, 1 Peter 2:22) Because Jesus kept His Father’s Commandments, including the Sabbath, then as followers of Christ it only follows that we should follow Christ in keeping the Sabbath. (Luke 4:16, Matthew 12:1-13) If it’s good enough for Jesus, then it should be good enough for us!
3. It was not until after the Messiah was resurrected and had ascended that the apostles—in many cases no longer accepted in the synagogues—by the direction of the Holy Spirit encouraged the weekly gathering of disciples of Jesus. Why did they meet and gather? It was simple: to remember the Lord.
Note 3: It is absolutely true that the apostles enjoyed each other’s fellowship, but on which day was that fellowship held? In a plethora of Biblical evidence, those who study the Bible with an open-heart willing to be guided by the Holy Spirt, will find that the apostles kept the seventh-day Sabbath and not the first-day Sunday. (Matthew 24:20, Luke 23:56, Acts 13:13-14, 42-44; Acts 14:1, Acts 15:21, Acts 17:2, Acts 18:4)
4. That is what it was called, when believers gathered. It was not their day or a day to do what you wanted but it was a day to remember Jesus Christ and specifically his death and resurrection. Maybe we need to recover the early Christian way of calling it not “Sunday” but rather, “the Lord’s Day.” We see this biblical reference with St. John who was on Patmos, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10).
Note 4: As evident from the above Scriptures, the belief that the early Christians met on the first day of the week Sunday to honor the resurrection is unbiblical. The Bible teaches that God’s grace does not nullify God’s law and that Christians, instead of keeping Sunday, are to honor the resurrection of their Savior by being baptized by immersion. (Romans 6: 1-4, 15)
5. Early Christians were unified in what they did in their church services. They repeated the same creeds together and make public declarations together, much like all other churches in their time. Phrases in the New Testament like, “Jesus is Lord” (Rom. 10:9, 1 Cor. 12:3) were declared together in unison. Pre-New Testament creeds in the New Testament (Phil. 2:6-11; 1 Tim. 2:5, 3:16) were recited. And early on, the Apostles’ Creed, and later, the Nicene Creed were written in order to summarize our Biblical faith simply and powerfully.
Note 5: The early Christians were indeed unified, not on the traditions of Sunday keepers, but in the Truth about their Savior, the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus prayed that Christians would be sanctified, not by tradition, but by truth. (John 17:17). Sunday keeping is a tradition of man, that has mistakenly sought to replace one of God’s immutable commandments. Let us be faithful to every Word of God and delight in His commandments. (Psalm 40:8)
6. Called many different names by various Christian groups throughout the history of the Church, the practice of the Lord’s Supper was observed weekly with great significance and reverence. They called it “Eucharist“ early on, which means “Thanksgiving” in Greek. It was a time to, in holy reverence, thank Jesus for His death on the cross—and they believed His words that it was His flesh and blood (See John 6). Early believers called it a mystery, and just knew it was a special thing they were instructed to do by our Lord. “We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [in other words, has received baptism]” —Justin Martyr (A.D. 150).
Note 6: Justin Martyr could not have said it better when he stated that, “We call this food Eucharist.” This man who was elevated to Sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church made it very clear that it was they, not the Lord, who created the pompous Eucharistic Ceremony, which is a counterfeit to the Lord’s Supper. The simple account of the Lord’s supper chronicles Jesus humbly washing the disciple’s feet and instructed them to continue in His example in doing so. (John 13:15) The Bible also teaches that Jesus broke unleavened bread and unfermented wine. (Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:17-25, Luke 22:7-22, John 13:1-30) There is a treasure house of scriptural evidence that Jesus served grape juice and not alcohol at the last supper. Jesus makes it very clear that He both drank and served “new wine” or the “fruit of the vine”, which is unfermented grape juice. (Matthew 26:28-29, Matthew 9:17, Mark 14:25, Luke 22:18, Isaiah 65:8, 1 Corinthians 10:16)
This present writer appeals to thee, dear reader. Let not your heart be corrupted by the wine of false doctrine from Babylon. (Revelation 17:2) Rather, pray to God that you may have the experience of Daniel. Because God preserved Daniel from the errors of false doctrine and helped him live a godly life, God can do the same thing for you and for your loved ones.
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”-Daniel 1:8