I encourage you to read my first post on discovering Apostolic Christianity if you haven’t already. It will provide some context that will be helpful here. You see, I had gone on an all out search to find out what Christianity was all about when my wife and I became missionaries and I started reading through the Bible all the way through for myself.
This initiated many years of searching but I was never fully satisfied until I discovered Apostolic Christianity.
Along the way though we got involved in some other things. Early on as I was reading through the books of Moses I was wondering about the significance of the Sabbath.
You see, it’s the only one in the ten commandments that Christians don’t keep. This struck me as odd. Shouldn’t Christians be keeping all ten of the ten commandments? I mean why get a nine out of ten when you could get a ten out of ten, right?
I soon found some teaching regarding the Sabbath from people within a movement called Hebrew Roots. It’s essentially Christians who believe that God wants us to continue to keep the Law of Moses minus the sacrificial and ceremonial laws.
I always stayed on the outside of the movement looking in being unsure whether or not they had gotten everything correct. However, the teaching regarding the Sabbath stuck among other things and my wife and I and our family kept the seventh day weekly Sabbath on Saturday for several years.
I think it was attractive to us because of some problems we saw in the church and this seemed to be a corrective. The motivation was simple. We wanted to obey God and be set apart for Him. By observing the Sabbath it seemed like we were heading in the right direction.
Fast forward a few years and I was still feeling unresolved. We had made many changes but something was still off. This is when I started discovering the early church and the early Christians through a book by David Bercot called Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up?
In the book I was introduced to 1st, 2nd and 3rd century Christians along with their beliefs and lifestyles. I instantly knew that this was what I had been looking for.
These people lived and died as Christians. They truly lived remarkable lives. The early church really was a continuation of what we see in the book of Acts. The very first Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
On his way to be martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ, the Syrian bishop Ignatius wrote several epistles to the churches of Asia Minor. To the Magnesians he wrote, “Do your utmost to stand firm in the precepts of the Lord [Jesus] and the Apostles, so that everything you do, worldly or spiritual, may go prosperously from beginning to end in faith and love…” (Magnesians Ch. 13).
Ignatius was a pupil of the apostle John, the sole apostle to live until the end of the 1st century. Ignatius was martyred just a few years later around the year 105 AD. As a bishop, two of Ignatius’ priorities were 1) to live and die for Christ and 2) to preserve the apostolic doctrine that he had been entrusted with.
I have no doubt that with such things God is well pleased.
So, as I approached the early Christians and their writings I was almost positive that I would find evidence that they really kept all ten of the ten commandments including the weekly Sabbath. The teaching I had received from people in the Hebrew Roots movement left me with the impression that Christian worship had been changed to Sunday by the Emperor Constantine in the early 4th century.
Maybe that’s why I had never heard of these early Christian writings before! They must have been Sabbath observers, I thought. Perhaps the religious powers that be erased them from our collective memories – their writings locked away in some dimly lit vault underneath the Vatican.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered what the early Christians including Ignatius (who was so careful to preserve the teachings of the Lord and the apostles) had to say about the Sabbath!