An Open Letter to Pastor Jack Hayford
on Sunday as "the Lord's Day."
The following open letter is in response to the article The Sabbath Question, by Pastor Jack Hayford of Living Way Ministries. He is the Minister-at-large of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, California. In that article, Pastor Hayford states the following, which is an excerpt:
Please read the entire article at The Sabbath Question.
Pastor Hayford, September 26th , 1999
This letter to you is an open letter, and has been posted on my web page at http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/hayford.htm
You are invited to reply, and I will append your response to that web page.
I have read your article "The Sabbath Question" on your web page with great interest. Knowing that you are a very articulate and intelligent individual, I as a Seventh-day Adventist I would like to clarify that Adventists did not choose the Saturday Sabbath, rather we obey the fourth Commandment of God (Exo. 20:8-11) which specifies that the seventh day (of the week) is to be the Sabbath day. That a specific day is to be kept in unison, and not just an arbitrary seven day cycle subject to the whims of personal choice, is plain from the fact that for 40 years in the wilderness no manna fell on the day which the Lord had specified as the Sabbath (Exo. 16), and those who chose to disobey and did not observe the specified day, incited the anger of the Lord (Exo. 16:27-28). So we Adventists did not choose the day, God did, but it IS true that Adventists choose to obey the fourth Commandment of God and remember and keep holy the day that He very clearly specified. Isaiah 58:13,14 which you have quoted, refers not to Sunday, but specifically to the seventh day Saturday Sabbath, God's holy day.
Also, I find it very curious that you frame the Adventists keeping of the seventh day of the week with the word "tradition" and then proceed to boldly assert that "The Bible refers to Sunday as "the Lord's Day" to justify your keeping of Sunday, but do not give a reference. As a diligent student of the Bible I have devoted a lot of study to this matter, and must say I am utterly at a loss to find where the Bible declares Sunday is "the Lord's Day". Indeed, I can only find one verse in which the exact phrase "the Lord's day" appears:
Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
I cannot find anything in Revelation that even hints that John was speaking of a particular day of the week, much less Sunday. However, the phrase "day of the Lord" does appear some 25 times in scripture, and every instance is a reference to the second coming. The prophetic context of the Revelation would more likely indicate that John was in the spirit to witness visions of the events related to the second coming (the Lord's day / day of the Lord), rather than his being in the spirit on Sunday. Whether you agree with that or not, would you agree that Rev 1:10 does NOT state that Sunday is the Lord's day, and that nowhere does the Bible make this association? If you wish to still maintain this, then just where exactly does the Bible designate Sunday as "the Lord's day"? Please cite chapter and verse.
Now I sincerely respect your choice to observe any day you want, Sunday included, but isn't Sundaykeeping, in fact, a tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, a tradition which you choose to adopt despite there being no biblical "thus saith the Lord" for Sunday holiness, and despite the fact that God in His Ten Commandments clearly and explicitly requires the seventh-day (Saturday) be remembered and kept holy? Aren't you really keeping an unbiblical Catholic tradition, while we Adventists are remembering and keeping holy one of the Ten Commandments of God?
I await either your proof that Sunday is called "the Lord's day" in the Bible, and should be remembered and kept holy, or failing that, your admission that Sundaykeeping is nothing but an unbiblical tradition, indeed a commandment of only the Catholic Church, which you choose to follow instead of the explicit fourth Commandment of God.
This letter to you can be found in the following section of my web page, with other articles on the same topic, which you will likely find to be of interest:
The Battle of Armageddon
Bible Light Homepage
The following written reply was received on October 29th, not from Pastor Hayford directly, but from his correspondence department. It is apparently a form letter routinely sent to those who write Pastor Hayford about the Sabbath:
October 13, 1999
Dear Mr. Scheifler:
Thank you for writing to Pastor Jack Hayford and Living Way Ministries. Please forgive the delay in responding. Because Pastor Hayford receives so much mail, he is not able to answer it all himself. He is sorry for this and wishes he could personally respond to all who so graciously write him. I have been asked to respond to your letter in his behalf.
Regarding your question about the observance of the Sabbath vs. Sunday or the Lord's day, there are no scriptures which state that the Church is not to observe Saturday as the Sabbath and instead to worship on the Lord's day. However, you will find that Christ preached against the legalism of the Pharisees when they demanded that He keep the Sabbath (see Luke 6:2) reminding them that He was Lord of the Sabbath. The emphasis here is on Him, not on the day. All days are to be kept sacred to the Lord.
We also have extensive teaching from the Apostle Paul in Romans against the legalistic approach to the Sabbath and against legalism in what kinds of food are allowable. He spoke clearly against this legalism in every aspect of life. In this passage (Romans 14:5-14), Paul teaches about those who observe one day above another saying, "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it."
He continues to talk about foods as a good example of the legalism of the Pharisees. He could just as easily have continued to use the observance of days, but chose foods. The principle he was teaching applies to all aspects of the Christian life.
You will find that many of the Old Testament laws are not kept by today's Church. The dietary laws were set aside when God spoke to Peter in Acts 10 when He was teaching Peter that the Gentiles were not to be excluded from the reach of the Gospel.
The Sabbath observance was a part of the ceremonial law of the Old Testament, along with such things as circumcision and eating restrictions. These ceremonial laws showed that the Israelites were set apart (sanctified) from all other nations (Exodus 31:12, 13).
The New Testament shows that all ceremonial law (restrictive eating - 1 Timothy 4:4, 5 and the above passage in Acts, circumcision - 1 Corinthians 7:18, and Sabbath-keeping - Colossians 2:16, 17) was fulfilled in Christ, and our need to observe it for justification and sanctification abolished. We are even warned against Sabbath-keepers who want to judge others for not keeping it: "Let no man judge you...regarding...sabbaths" (Colossians 2:16).
The Bible teaches that the important thing is to keep a pure heart before God. The Romans 14 passage spells this out clearly. The heart attitude is the important thing.
Mr. Scheifler, I believe it wounds God's heart to see His children tearing one another down. Psalm 133:1 says, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity" Paul, in the book of Romans says, each one of us have come to a place (chapters 13, 14) that we be wise to learn that when we find brothers or sisters in Christ that hold a different position than us, that we not be so quick to pass judgment on them because they ate accountable to Him (speaking of those that kept to the Sabbath and those that didn't, differences in eating habits, etc.). He emphasizes the fact that our lives are lived out under the Lordship of Jesus and not under the control or dominion of one another.
What I would desire to communicate to you can be summed up in the following quote: "In essentials, unity--in non-essentials, liberty--in all things, charity." We are thankful that we stand with you as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up everything to come to earth and be born of a virgin, then lived a sinless life, which led Him to the death of the Cross, but Who then rose again from the grave and because of this, as we believe, we are blessed with eternal life (Romans 10:9, 10).
I have enclosed one of Pastor Hayford's teaching tapes that I believe will be helpful in your further study on this matter. Thank you again for writing. I pray God's richest blessings on you as you continue to seek His will in serving Him.
Sincerely in Christ,
Note that it is admitted that:
"there are no scriptures which state that the Church is not to observe Saturday as the Sabbath and instead to worship on the Lord's day."
This is indeed true. Nowhere does the Bible designate Sunday as a replacement for the Saturday Sabbath, however that does not answer the question posed to Pastor Hayford, and neither does the rest of the response, which attempts to justify abandoning the seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment of God for Sundaykeeping. "The Bible refers to Sunday as "the Lord's Day", claims Pastor Hayford, but I will again ask him to please explain that statement, and cite chapter and verse where the Bible specifically refers to Sunday as being "the Lord's Day". The following email was received in answer to the question:
November 3, 1999
Regarding "the Lord's Day," the only reference to that in the Bible is Revelation 1:10, where John says, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day..." This reference is speaking of the first day of the week. This is the earliest reference to this in Christian literature. According to Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary it says:
"A special honor was reserved for Sunday, the first day of the week. This was the day on which Jesus was raised from the dead; every Lord's Day, therefore, is a weekly memorial of Christ's resurrection. Clearly the early church assembled for worship and religious instruction on Sunday, the Lord's Day (I Corinthians 16:2).
"The Lord's Day is not to be confused with the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest. The Jewish Sabbath corresponds with our Saturday, the seventh or last day of the week. This special day to the Jews commemorated the day on which God rested after the creation of the world. The Lord's Day is our Sunday, the first day of the week; it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead."
Now on this point I most certainly disagree.
The Bible nowhere designates the first day of the week to be the Lord's day, to include Revelation 1:10. Even Roman Catholics have concluded that the phrase the Lord's day in Revelation does not refer to Sunday (See Rome's Challenge). And 1 Cor. 16:2 offers no refuge for the Protestant Sunday-keeper either (See Did the Apostle's Keep Sunday). Despite what Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary says on the matter, there is nothing in the New Testament that indicates Sunday was to be adopted as a holy day that should be observed on a weekly basis. The Protestant rule on this is Sola Scriptura, the scriptures only for doctrine, and there is only one day of the week that God commands to be remembered and kept holy, and that is without question the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath:
Mat 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Mark 2:28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Luke 6:5 And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
In the above verses it is quite clear that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath day, referring to the biblical sabbath, the sabbath instituted at creation and written on tables of stone by the finger of God (Exo. 20:8-11). The only day of the week John would have considered to be "the Lord's day" was not Sunday, but the biblical seventh day Saturday Sabbath spoken of by Jesus Himself.
Pastor Hayford simply cannot provide a shred of biblical proof that Sunday is "the Lord's day", that should kept on a weekly basis, but he is quite welcome to follow the Catholic Tradition of doing so.