After the riot (Acts 19:23-41), Paul resolved to leave Ephesus. But he took an extended detour through Macedonia and Achaia instead of going straight to Jerusalem (Acts 20:1-3). On this journey, representatives of some Gentile churches were with him (Acts 20:4).
Read Acts 20:7-12. What’s wrong with the common argument that these verses help prove the Sabbath was changed to Sunday?
Paul’s stopover in Troas ended with a church meeting “on the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7). They gathered together “to break bread”, which probably refers to the Lord’s Supper, with or without the fellowship meal that was often combined with it since the early days of the Jerusalem church (Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46). That there is no mention of a cup nor of any prayers does not rule out this possibility. The point, however, is that this episode is often mentioned as evidence that in Paul’s time, at least Gentile churches had already replaced Sabbath with Sunday as a day of worship.
Yet, before making such a claim, it is necessary to establish the precise day on which the meeting took place, as well as the nature of the meeting. The reference to the use of lights (Acts 20:8), together with the fact that Paul’s message continued until midnight (Acts 20:7), and then until daybreak (Acts 20:11), not to mention the deep sleep of Eutychus (Acts 20:9), makes it clear it was a night meeting.
The question, though, is whether it was the night before Sunday or the night after Sunday. The answer depends on what system of time reckoning Luke is using, whether the Jewish system from sundown to sundown or the Roman one from midnight to midnight. If it is the former, then it was Saturday night; in case of the latter, it was Sunday night.
Either way, the context of Acts 20:7-12 indicates that, even if the meeting was on a Sunday night, it was not a regular church meeting but a special one due to Paul’s departure the following morning. It is hard to see, then, how this isolated and exceptional episode affords support for Sunday keeping. The fact is, it doesn’t.
|Dwell more on all the reasons for the validity of keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. How does the powerful biblical support for the Sabbath help affirm us in our identity as Seventh-day Adventist Christians and the calling that we have been given to spread the three angels’ messages to the world?|