Well, let’s start with the fact that there was nothing called a “church” during the New Testament era. The New Testament believers were called “the assembly” or “called-out ones” (Greek: ekklesia), just as the physical foreshadow was in the Old Testament (Hebrew: qahal). The word “church” is derived from the ancient goddess Circe, who was the daughter of the sun god (who is ultimately Baal).
But, did the New Testament believers attend any sort of event on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and/or Wednesday evening, as christians do today? The answer to that is a resounding “NO, they did not.”
To start with, those to whom the physical covenant (Ten Commandments) was first given (physical Y’isra-el) were mandated to assemble together at the House of Yah (temple, where the covenant was housed) three times a year: The feasts of Firstfuits, Weeks, and Tabernacles. And, those three feasts were tied to three harvests: barley, wheat, and grapes.
From a prophetic perspective, it is important to note that those three annual events were Yah’s people assembling at Yah’s house, and the purpose of those three annual gatherings was the presenting of tithes, which were agricultural offerings given to sustain the priesthood, who had no other means of supporting themselves.
Those three harvests prophetically represent three different groups of people: the bride, the friends of the bride (tribulation saints), and the wedding guests (millennial saints). The friends of the Bridegroom (OT saints) were all taken up to heaven as the firstfruits wave offering of the barley harvest, which set the stage for “the last days,” which are the three “days” (3000 years) following Messiah’s Passover sacrifice.
Now, concerning today’s question about the New Testament believers (ekklesia) attending what are commonly called “worship services” in today’s christianese, the entire concept is found nowhere in all of scripture. The NT scriptures are clear that the believers continued honoring the Father’s Sabbaths, and that is because the Father never changes. Nothing was ever taught to the believers that even remotely suggested a change in the ordained Sabbaths.
Thus, what was commanded within the Ten Commandments, which was the physical covenant, has never changed. The believers knew that murder, adultery, lying, stealing, and coveting were all against the Father’s will, and also that His ordained days were never “un-ordained.”
So, we go back to the original purpose of the weekly Sabbath, and we see in Leviticus 23:3 that the seventh day of the week was given for rest and “holy convocation.” Examining the original meaning of “convocation,” we see that it means “assembling,” “rehearsal,” and “reading.”
Yah’s will for His people on His ordained Sabbath is “rest” (spiritually, to celebrate the removal of the curse of sin, and the physical foreshadow of that was work), and to gather with one another to fellowship and read His scriptures for instruction. It is a “rehearsal” for the fellowship Messiah’s body will enjoy in eternity.
Now, we know there were synagogues during Messiah’s earthly ministry, and He did go to the synagogues on the Sabbath, but that was because that is where the Jews were, and He usually went to where the Jews gathered. But, the synagogue was not ordained by the Father. His temple was. The synagogues were an invention of the Pharisees, and they were essentially a social and educational venue where the Torah was read.
We also see the apostles going to the synagogues; however, their purpose in doing that was not to gather together as believers, but to preach the true Gospel of Yahoshua to the lost physical Jews who were there. What we don’t see, generally, are believers gathering together each week at the synagogues, for the gatherings there were not of believers, but of unbelieving Jews. What the apostles did there was evangelization, which is not the purpose of the Sabbath.
The weekly assembly was the fellowship of believers, not evangelization of unbelievers. Evangelizing the lost is what believers are to do everyday. The Sabbath fellowship is specifically of believers (what fellowship does light have with darkness?).
We’re shown throughout the New Testament exactly how the believers honored Yah’s weekly Sabbath—they met with one another in their homes. They did not go to temples, or other buildings, for the purpose of conducting prefabricated services (i.e., announcements, shaking hands with strangers, offerings, music, sermons, invitations, etc.), but rather, they met in their homes, and were instructed in the spiritual meanings of the scriptures.
It was the pagans who went to temples that were built with the specific purpose of paganism and idolatry. And, what day of the week did they do that? Well, Constantine (who worshiped the sun and Zeus, and retained much of his pagan belief until his death) probably described it best when he decreed that the weekly day of assembling together be changed from the Sabbath to “the venerable day of the SUN” (“Dies Solis” 321 AD).
It was because of hatred of the Jews that Constantine and his Roman cohorts abolished Yah’s annual Sabbaths (feasts), and changed the ordained weekly Sabbath to a gathering on the day of sun worship (SUNday). Now, since he did that in the fourth century, why would that have been necessary if the New Testament believers had already changed to meeting on the first day of the week?
The entire construct of today’s christian “SUNday worship service” is pagan to the core, and also rebellious against the Father and His traditions, which are given as a family sign to Yah’s children.
“But, but, but, doesn’t the New Testament show that believers changed their day of assembling together to the first day of the week?” No, it absolutely DOES NOT! What many in christianity do is to lift two specific passages out of their contexts to make them say something they never said (Acts 20, 1 Corinthians 16).
And, they also take other passages of scripture that have nothing to do with the Sabbaths, and pervert them to fit their false narrative (such as Romans 14:5, which is about various days on which different groups FASTED).
The NT believers did not go to “church” on SUNday. It was the pagans who did that. The believers continued setting the Sabbath day apart, and they gathered together in their homes for fellowship and to read the scriptures for edification.
And, what is the biggest difference between the “church worship service” and the assembling of believers in their homes? The home setting is conducive to open discussion—intimate fellowship around the study of the scriptures, rather than an impersonal setting in which people sit and watch leaders doing whatever they do.
Many peddle the false narrative of SUNday services being conducted in “God’s house,” when, in reality, those who actually have the Holy Spirit ARE Yah’s house—His temple. So, wherever they go in reverence and adoration of Yah, and in labor to advance His kingdom, IS worship. Yah does not dwell in temples built by human hands (Acts 7:48, 17:24).
And, Yah’s children honor Him by acknowledging His ordained days, and by teaching them to others.
For more information: Saturday or Sunday? Does It Even Matter?