Was the Sabbath changed from the seventh day of the week to the first day? Well, yes and no. Let’s deal with the “no” first.
God, “with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17), does not change (Malachi 3:6). The Israelites received two laws from Moses: the law of Moses, that of ordinances and ceremonies; and the Law of God, embodied in the Ten Commandments, which is an expression of God’s character. If God does not change, neither will His Law. “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalm 89:34). “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness” (Psalm 111:7, 8).
God gave His Law to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai. Amid thunder and lightning, a thick cloud covered the mountain, and a trumpet blasted. Smoke billowed up as from a furnace and the whole mountain shook as the trumpet grew louder and louder. Moses led the Israelites out of their camp to meet with God, and every one of them trembled. Then God spoke (Exodus 19:16-19, 20:1). If this Law were to be changed, it would be reasonable to expect God Himself to announce it, and give reasons for its alteration, amid the same amount of ceremony. Yet there is no indication in Scripture of such an announcement.
What About the New Testament?
In the New Testament, the seventh day of the week is called the Sabbath; it is mentioned 58 times. The first day of the week is mentioned eight times. It is simply called the first day of the week, and it is always differentiated from the Sabbath. This in itself is evidence for the continued validity of the seventh-day Sabbath.
The gospel writers record Jesus and the apostles going to the synagogue on Sabbath as their “custom” (Luke 4:16 ). Jesus said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments” (John 15:10). The women who went to anoint His body after his death “rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). Nearly all of the incidents reported of the apostles’ preaching occurred on the seventh-day Sabbath. Of all the accusations the Jews made against the apostles, never once did they accuse the apostles of breaking the Sabbath.
Some teach that after Christ’s death and resurrection, the Old Testament law was done away with and a new covenant took its place. But Jesus Himself said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18). The law of Moses, which foreshadowed Christ’s sacrifice, was indeed made irrelevant, but Paul maintains that the Law of God is to be kept, though we now be under grace. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).