The 7th Day
The Fourth Commandment
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
— Exodus 20:11
Since the time of the Puritans, colonists in New England halted their work every Saturday night and rested themselves on Sundays. In honor of the Sabbath, blue laws forbade any work on Sunday, and during the 1800s many people were arrested for opening their shops, traveling, or even amusing themselves on the Lord’s Day. To this day, banks and public institutions are closed on the first day of the week, and while most blue laws have been repealed, one still cannot buy clothes in Bergen County, New Jersey on a Sunday.
For the majority of Christian history, church goers have been meeting on Sunday and honoring it as the day of rest. Faithful Christian business owners shut their store doors on Sunday in remembrance of the Fourth Commandment, and many are the hungry customers who drive past Chick-fil-A on Sunday afternoons, longing futilely for a chicken sandwich.
Today in the Church, we tend to recognize the value of nine commandments but ignore the fourth: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” What’s more, if we do honor the Sabbath, we celebrate it on the first day of the week. Genesis 2:2–3 tells us that God rested on the seventh day, and He set that particular day aside as holy. Why do Christians consider Sunday the Sabbath rather than Saturday — if we regard the Sabbath at all?