The Sabbath and the Lord's day

William Kelly

There is a day coming when all creation shall rejoice, when the heavens and earth and all in them unite together. God has taken particular pains to express the earth's joy also, and it is a singular proof of the infatuation of man that he cannot see it though clearly revealed. This will be the rest of God; and, when it comes, the sabbath (and not the Lord's day) will again be the distinctive sign of God, which He will have observed and honoured through the whole earth. You will judge then from this that one is anything but an anti-sabbatarian. Yet it is an indisputable fact now that all is changed. We do not keep the last but the first day of the week. And what principle lies at the bottom of the change? That the Lord is risen indeed, and not only so, but is gone to heaven; and the first day of the week shines from the person of the risen Lord Jesus in the heavens, now opened, on a heavenly people who are as yet here, but going to be with Him there at His coming.

Hence it must always follow that, when men confound the sabbath and the Lord's Day, they are earthly-minded. As the sabbath is bound up exclusively with the earth and an earthly people, so is the Lord's Day with those who are 'heavenly.'

It is not the same principle which we find in the Lord's Day; for this is the intervention of divine power in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, after He had gone down into death to make propitiation for our sins, yea, to reconcile us and all things to God. Consequently the Lord's day is an excellent day for spiritual toil, for the work of faith and the labour of love; and no one acquainted with Christ would think it wrong, if able, to preach a dozen sermons on that day, or to take many sabbath-day's journeys to preach them. Were it the sabbath-day, he could not do so lightly.

Thus they have a wholly different character. The source, nature, and end of the Lord's Day is marked out by grace in the resurrection of Christ from the dead, as the sabbath is by creation and the law of God.                     

W. Kelly

'Upon the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread .' Acts 20:7