Church  Authority




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updated 03-05--2014
by John Raphael Hellmann.

All small type font is of a secondary importance.

All Scripture verses are from the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible unless otherwise noted.


Why do Catholics worship on
Sunday instead of Saturday ?

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The Importance of the Sabbath

The Sabbath was a sign of the Old Covenant between God and man.  God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh.  God created man on the sixth day, the same day as the beasts.  However, unlike the beasts God created man for the seventh day, that is, to be in fellowship with God.  The Sabbath honored God who seventhed Himself to man in the Old Covenant.  Keeping the Sabbath honored God as the Creator who rested on the seventh day.

Word Study
The Hebrew word for “seven” is “sheba.” (Strong’s # 7651)   The word “sheba” is built on the Hebrew verb “shaba - to swear an oath.” (Strong’s # 7650)   Because of the close connection of the Hebrew words for “oath” and “seven” it could be said that when God established a covenant with His people by His oaths that He “seventhed” Himself to them. 

Like the Seventh Day Adventists Catholics believe in the importance of the seventh day and how God has Seventhed Himself to us by His oaths or promises to us when He established a covenant with us.  The role of the Sabbath and all the other key elements of the Old Covenant are too significant for their importance to be limited to themselves. 

Each of these beautiful aspects points to something else that is greater and beyond itself. 


The Old Testament (O.T.) is filled with types that prefigure the greater glory of God that is fully revealed in the New Covenant. These O.T. types find their perfection and completion in Jesus Christ, either in Himself or in someone or something that manifests His grace and glory in the New Covenant that He established.  So, it is in Jesus, who is God, that we can find the ultimate fulfillment of all these good things. 

Luke 24:27
“Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.”

Adam, the father of all mankind, prefigures Jesus Christ, the New Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-49,  Romans 5:14-21

Noah and his family were saved from the flood, and this prefigured how those who are united to Jesus Christ would be saved from sin.  1 Peter 3:20-21.

Abraham and Isaac:  Because Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac, Genesis 22:16 God promised to make him the father of a great nation, the Jewish people.  Jesus is greater than Abraham John 8:58. Abraham’s love and willingness to offer his only son, Isaac, prefigures God the Father’s love and willingness to offer His only Son, Jesus.  As Isaac carried the wood on his back, Jesus carried the wood of the cross on his back. As the ram’s horns, his head, was caught in a thicket of thorns, Jesus’ head was wrapped by a crown of thorns.
See more Abraham Prefigures the Father’s Love for Son, Jesus 

Isaac, the beloved son of Abraham Genesis 22:2  prefigured Jesus the Son of God.  and  Matthew 3:17

Moses: through whom the Law was given. Jesus refers to Moses’s law, but He expounds upon it and modifies it.  Matthew 5   John 5:45-46.

Luke 9:30-31
Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his [Jesus’] exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” NAB [Jesus’] added by DTB for clarification.

Moses who represents the Law and Elijah who represents the Prophets were types of Christ. Moses led the Israelites from the bondage of slavery in Egypt in the Exodus to the promised land of Canaan. Jesus leads us in an exodus from the bondage of slavery to sin to the promised land of heaven.

King David: the greatest king in the Old Covenant, and to whom God promised there would always be a descendant on the throne. Jesus is the King of Kings.  Revelation 17:14

Solomon had been the wisest man to have been born because God blessed him with special wisdom. He prefigure Christ who had infinite wisdom.  Matthew 12:42

Temple prefigured Christ.  John 2:19

Jonah: The great prophet who spent three days in the whale and through whom God demonstrated his great mercy to those who repent and turn to Him.  Jonah prefigured Jesus who is the Prophet who rose on the third day. Matthew 12:39-41

Read more below on Types

CCC  349      The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.


The Difference for Catholics

Seventh Day Adventist focus on the importance of the Old Covenant and the Sabbath which was a sign of the Old Covenant.  The Catholic Church agrees and affirms the importance of these things, it is just that we believe that they are even more important because they pointed to greater realities beyond themselves.  They foreshadowed greater truths about the mercy of God that was revealed in the fullness of the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 31:13  “ ‘You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.’ ”  RSV 

The Sabbath points forward to when the God-Man won for the human race the grace to be sanctified, that is, made holy.  Jesus conquered Satan and sin by rising from the dead.  We read in Romans 4:25 how Christ “was raised for our justification.” However, Jesus was raised on the first day of the week.  And Luke chapter 24 makes that clear.

Therefore, the Sabbath points us forward to even a more glorious day, the Lord’s Day, the eighth day, or the first day of the week which in turn points us to that time in which we will spend with God in Eternity after our earthly journey. Therefore, the Sabbath points us to the eighth day which points us to the day at the end of time when we will find our eternal rest with God in Heaven.

Oaths are promises that invoke God’s Holy Name.  Covenants are established by oaths.  The Hebrew word for seven is based on the word for oath.  So, it could be said that when God makes a covenant by His word or oaths that He seventh’s Himself to mankind.

Just as the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant the Sabbath was replaced by a new a better seventh’ing of Himself to us which He did on the Lord’s Day, the day He conquered Satan by rising from the dead and the day of the week he sent the Holy Spirit to His people.  The Lord’s Day is the eighth day which is the new Seventh Day signifying the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

More than just a Creator, God is also a Redeemer and Sanctifier who opens the door of heaven to those who are a New Creation in Jesus Christ.  Jesus has seventhed Himself to us through the Seven Sacraments.

We Catholics can be inspired by and learn from SDA's  deep devotion who keep holy the Seventh Day.  For us, the Seventh Day is the Lord's Day, the first day of the week.

Saint Athanasius
“The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord’s day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord’s day as being the memorial of the new creation”
(On Sabbath and Circumcision 3 [A.D. 345]).



The rest of this article begins with the "Question" which presents the arguments of the Seventh Day Adventists for celebrating the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week.  Following this are eight reasons explaining that the Sabbath has been replaced with the eighth day- that is the first day - of the week, the Lord’s Day - and how the early church understood this to be so.  Click on the underlined words to go to that section.


Why do Catholics work on Saturday ?    Exodus 20:8-10   "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work…" RSV   And the Sabbath has been established as a "perpetual covenant."   Exodus 31:16-18   "Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant.  …And he gave to Moses… the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God."   With the dramatic event of God writing these commandments with His own finger "in stone" He shows that the Sabbath would last forever.   After all, we Seventh Day Adventists claim that Jesus honored the Sabbath by resting in the tomb on the seventh day and waited until the first day to work His miracle of the Resurrection.
Hebrews 13:8  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever."
Matthew 5:17-18  "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished."   RSV




1.  JESUS’  AUTHORITY: Jesus has complete authority over the Sabbath and the right to change it in any way He wishes to.
2.  PURPOSE  AND  MEANING:   The Sabbath prefigures a higher purpose that is more perfectly fulfilled by the first day of the week.
3.  BETTER  SEVENTH DAY  PREFIGURED: and TYPES:  The  better Seventh Day of the New Covenant, the first day, was prefigured in the Old Testament.
4.  TWO  ASPECTS:  The Sabbath of the Old Covenant had two aspects.  Only the ritual aspect of the seventh day has changed.  The spiritual aspect of celebrating our covenant relationship with God every seven days is the only permanent binding aspect.
5.  COVENANT:  The Sabbath was a sign of the Old Covenant which is no longer binding.
6.  FIRST  DAY  OF  THE  WEEK:  The Sabbath has been replaced by the First Day of the week, the Lord’s Day.
7.  CHRIST  HONORS  THE  FIRST  DAY:  Christ honored the first day of the week which is our new seventh day.
8.  NEW  CREATION:  God rested on the seventh day and the Old Covenant focused on His Creation of the world.  Christians are a new creation in Christ and He has given us a new and better seventh day.
9.  EARLY  WRITERS  of  the Church  The early writers of the Church show that the followers of the Apostles and Christ understood that the Sabbath had been replaced by the First Day.


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9.  EARLY  WRITERS  of  the Church 

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