3

According to this pro-Sabbatarian source, Ignatius' statement, normally translated thus, is incorrect (emphasis mine):

If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing sabbaths but fashioning their lives after the Lord's day, on which our life also arose through Him and through His death which some men deny -- a mystery whereby we attained unto belief, and for this cause we endure patiently, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher.​

This translation contrasts observing Sabbaths with focusing on the Lord's Day. However, the Sabbatarian source linked to above says that "day" is not in the original (I take it that the translation above must believe it's implied), and that "those who had walked in ancient practices" were the Old Testament prophets. Since the Old Testament prophets did, in fact, keep the Sabbath, he says the translation above is incorrect and that the following translation is better (emphasis mine):

If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer {Judaically} keeping sabbaths but according to the Lord's way of life...​

This would suggest that it isn't a contrast between the Sabbath and the Lord's Day but rather a contrast between observing the Sabbath Judaically (perhaps legalistically?) and observing the Sabbath according to the Lord's way. Which translation is better? Is it accurate that "those who had walked in ancient practices" are the Old Testament prophets (the assumption on which the second translation is based), or are they perhaps the first-century Christians/apostles observing the Lord's Day (which would favor the first translation)?

2

5 Answers 5

6

For the early Church, the Lord's Day, or Kyriake, as it came to be known in Greek (and Dominicus, being exactly equivalent, in Latin), was the first day of the week, or Sunday.

Justin Martyr, First Apology, 67 (circa 155)

... And on the day called that of the Sun, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the Apostles [[elsewhere called explicitly "Gospels" by Justin]] or the writings of the Prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, he that presides verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the one presiding in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according as he is able, and the people assent, saying 'Amen.' Then there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the Deacons. ...

Just as we still call Sunday "Sun-Day" without believing in Sun gods, or Saturday Saturn-Day, without believing in Saturn, so did the early church, yet they had a Christian name for the day, namely, Lord's DayKyriake in Greek, and Dominicus in Latin. This is when the Eucharist or Mass or Divine Liturgy was held, since the first century.

Didache (first century), 14

But every Kyriake (even the [Day] of the Lord) [kata kyriake de kyriou] gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations. (Didache, chap. 14)

The name Lord's instead of Sun's happens by way, presumably, of the word for day (hemera) being feminine, and thus the feminization of Kyriou.

So the word "day" does not need to be explicit if the word "Helios" for example, is already the name of the day, as Kyriake was for the early Church, of the same day. There is no abmiguity as to the specific day in question, for it is explicitly named. So to quibble about the lack of the word "day" is to simply be ignorant of the Greek (and Latin) way of naming days.

Even in Spanish the word for Sunday is Domingo (just as the word for Saturday is Sabbado), coming from the Latin Dominicus. Similarly, the French Dimanche, comes from the same. Likewise the Italian Domenica, Portuguese Domingo, Irish Gaelic, dé domhnaigh, Scottish Gaelic didòmhnaich, and related Latvian svētdienā‎ (holy day), Russian воскресение (Resurrection), etc.

The Sabbath, or Saturday, was clearly distinct, for the early Church, from the new sabbath of the Lord's Day on which a new creation was wrought — they argued that just as Christ is the new Adam, and a new creation was wrought, He had a new rest from His work the day He rose from His work, on the first day of the week:

...We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead... (Epistle of Barnabas 15:6–8 [A.D. 74]). ​​​​​​​

... But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead... (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 67 (circa 155))**

The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the holy scriptures, and the oblation [sacrifice of the Mass], because on the first day of the week [i.e., Sunday] our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven” (Didascalia, 2 (circa 225)).

The Sabbatarian has no case unless he accuses the early Church of being wrong wholesale on basic elements of worship since the beginning. But they are quite willing to be so bold.

2

This book which I quote from below deals with various quotes about Christians keeping the Sabbath, including the one in question, from Irenaeus. The author, Iain H. Murray claims that:

"The day which the Roman world called 'Sunday' was known to Christians as 'the Lord's day.' Ignatius, a younger contemporary of John's, who died about the year A.D. 107, spoke of Christians as 'no longer observing Sabbaths, but fashioning our lives according to the Lord's day, on which our life arose through him.' 1.

Ft. 1. Ignatius, Magnesians, 9. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Cyprian, all speak of the first day of the week as 'the Lord's day'. Tertullian said, 'We celebrate the day after Saturday in distinction from those who call this day their Sabbath... All anxiety to be abstained from, and business postponed on the Lord's Day.' Eusebius wrote: 'All things that it was duty to do on the Sabbath, these have we transferred to the Lord's day, as more appropriately belonging to it, because it has a precedence and is first in rank, and more honourable than the Jewish Sabbath. For in that day, in making the world, God said, Let there be light, and there was light; and on the same day the Sun of righteousness arose upon our souls.' When the early Christians were asked, 'Have you kept the Lord's day?' (Servasti Dominicum?), they replied, 'I am a Christian, I cannot but keep it' (Christianus sum, omittere non possum). For a fuller record of early church evidence see, The Literature of the Sabbath Question, (British and Foreign Evangelical Review, vol. 15, pp. 570-96)" Evangelical Holiness, pp.154-155, Iain H. Murray, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2013

Of note is the way Ignatius is said to speak of "no longer observing Sabbaths" - plural. He does not seem to be saying solely "the Sabbath", as understood to refer to every seventh day of Judaism. The Jewish law spoke of various Sabbaths, not just that regular last day of their week. Even the land was to have a special Jubilee sabbath-rest, every 50th year. (See Romans chapter 14 & Colossians 2:16-17.) Also, Ignatius seems to support the first day of the week as being when Christ arose from the grave, and so becoming the natural day of worship and rest that used to be kept on the last day.

Given that there are conflicting translations of what Ignatius said, the 'expanded' versions seem suspect; a bit like the way some modern translations of the Bible give 'dynamic equivalence' translations where they insert the modern way in which a reader might 'best' understand the ancient text. This opens the door to taking liberties with the text, and the translator's biases could possibly slip in. That is why the word {Judicially} may have been inserted in the translation preferred by the one who says the first rendering is wrong (as in your comments).

But Murray's quote is in agreement with the preferred one, apart from the added word 'Judicially'. Murray takes Ignatius's words to be 'no longer observing Sabbaths, but fashioning our lives according to the Lord's day, on which our life arose through him.'

This makes the answer to your question to be "Yes, Ignatius correctly claims that Christians no longer observed Sabbaths". That is the proper translation.

3
  • For clarification, if the fact that "Sabbaths" is plural means he wasn't discussing the weekly Saturday Sabbath, would that mean it's possible he observed both the weekly Sabbath (Saturday) and the Lord's Day (Sunday)? I'm not sure this is true, but I thought I'd ask to confirm if this is your understanding.
    – The Editor
    Sep 1, 2023 at 15:26
  • 1
    @TheEditor "Sabbaths" could logically mean ALL Sabbaths; weekly ones included with all the other ones. If there was a need for Christians to differentiate between weekly Sabbaths and all the other ones, the apostle would surely have detailed that important point? I take it to mean that the plural 'Sabbaths' mean ALL and every Sabbaths.
    – Anne
    Sep 2, 2023 at 13:13
  • 1
    I agree. I know some have made that claim for Colossians 2:16, but the biblical data of where the plural, "Sabbaths," is used elsewhere that indicate all the Sabbaths, not all minus the weekly, are involved.
    – The Editor
    Sep 3, 2023 at 14:39
1

I have a Greek version (edited by Michael Holmes). The relevant part of section 9 reads (textual variants make this uncertain but the likely original is):

“…not "sabbathizing", but living according to the Lord's life…”.

It was later (edited) versions (from the third century) that changed this to read something like, “…no longer observing Sabbath, but living according to the Lord's day …”.

That is, the original was discussing the Lord's life and not the Lord's day. That is, it appears to be discussing the problem of ceremonial Jewish practices still surviving among Christians.

APPENDIX

The earliest unambiguous and undisputed reference to “Lord’s day” as the first day of the week is in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter (about 110 – 180 AD?) in v34, 35, 50.

1

The Ignatian letters have at least two versions.

Here they are regarding the OP quote from Letter to Magnesians.

If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things680 have come to the possession of a new681 hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance682 of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death—whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith,683 and therefore endure, that we may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only Master—how shall we be able to live apart from Him, whose disciples the prophets themselves in the Spirit did wait for Him as their Teacher? And therefore He whom they rightly waited for, being come, raised them from the dead.684

Here are the translator notes:

680 Literally, “in old things.” 681 Or, “newness of.” 682 Or, “according to.” 683 Literally, “we have received to believe.” 684 Comp. Matt. xxvii. 52.

But in the second recension, we find more of what the question is about; that is, about observing the Sabbath in a spiritual way and Lord's Day contrast. (emphasis mine)

If, then, those who were conversant with the ancient Scriptures came to newness of hope, expecting the coming of Christ, as the Lord teaches us when He says, “If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me;”685 and again, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad; for before Abraham was, I am;”686 how shall we be able to live without Him? The prophets were His servants, and foresaw Him by the Spirit, and waited for Him as their Teacher, and expected Him as their Lord and Saviour, saying, “He will come and save us.”687 Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness; for “he that does not work, let him not eat.”688 For say the [holy] oracles, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.” 689But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on the law, not in relaxation of the body, admiring the workmanship of God, and not eating things prepared the day before, nor using lukewarm drinks, and walking within a prescribed space, nor finding delight in dancing and plaudits which have no sense in them.690 And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days [of the week]. Looking forward to this, the prophet declared, “To the end, for the eighth day,”691 on which our life both sprang up again, and the victory over death was obtained in Christ, whom the children of perdition, the enemies of the Saviour, deny, “whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things,”692 who are “lovers of pleasure, and not lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”693 These make merchandise of Christ, corrupting His word, and giving up Jesus to sale: they are corrupters of women, and covetous of other men’s possessions, swallowing up wealth694 insatiably; from whom may ye be delivered by the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

As to the addition of "Day" after Lord's Day in the first recension, I do not have and could not translate the original, but while Sabbath implies a Sabbath Day, what is the Lord's in this context, but also Lord's Day? Again, the second version emphasizes this.

Those who were brought up in the "ancient order", like the Levitical priests who were converting, were newly living in the order of grace through faith.

The issue of observing the Mosaic Law as necessary for salvation was long previously answered in Acts 15. It was not.

1
  • 1
    Wow, that second version has a lot of extra words! Apr 17, 2023 at 22:48
0

Here is the translation of chapter 9 in the long version.

Source: Epistle to the Magnesians

If, then, those who were conversant with the ancient Scriptures came to newness of hope, expecting the coming of Christ, as the Lord teaches us when He says, “If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me;” and again, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad; for before Abraham was, I am;” how shall we be able to live without Him? The prophets were His servants, and foresaw Him by the Spirit, and waited for Him as their Teacher, and expected Him as their Lord and Saviour, saying, “He will come and save us.” Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, and rejoice in days of idleness; for “he that does not work, let him not eat.” For say the [holy] oracles, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.” But let every one of you keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on the law, not in relaxation of the body, admiring the workmanship of God, and not eating things prepared the day before, nor using lukewarm drinks, and walking within a prescribed space, nor finding delight in dancing and plaudits which have no sense in them. And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days [of the week]. Looking forward to this, the prophet declared, “To the end, for the eighth day,” on which our life both sprang up again, and the victory over death was obtained in Christ, whom the children of perdition, the enemies of the Saviour, deny, “whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things,” who are “lovers of pleasure, and not lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” These make merchandise of Christ, corrupting His word, and giving up Jesus to sale: they are corrupters of women, and covetous of other men’s possessions, swallowing up wealth insatiably; from whom may ye be delivered by the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

In the original context is talks about not walking in the oral torah of the sabbath, but obeserve in the matter of keeping in the original sense of spiritual and not just traditions that the pharisees have setup for the sabbath, which is pretty blantant in Matthew chapter 12 (no Torah instruction for washing your hands before you eat, this is a talmud instruction). The Father never changed the sabbath day and neither did 'Jesus'. In fact Daniel already said and the Father said several times this one be a covenant sign for generations forever. that means it never ends. THis is also part of the mark of the father outside of keeping his feast, because they foreshadow the events to come. The quicker people actually read the context of the scripture than, the better people will understand the word.

Paul was not against the Torah neither was Jesus, but against the Talmud, this is the most important part to understand in reading the letters because the oral Torah goes against what the Torah (instructions) the Father gave out already. The difference is that the Messiah has atoned for our sins and we are now under the new priest, who still kept the feast and the Sabbath.

Daniel 7:25 and Exodus 31:12-17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .