I read that it was the Roman Catholic Church that on its own authority and despite the Bible, declared Sunday as the correct day of rest and worship.
I found it impossible to respond to your one sentence in kind. I have a natural affinity for detail.
The origin of the English word, Sabbath: Old English, from Latin sabbatum, via Greek from Hebrew šabbāṯ, from šāḇaṯ ‘to rest.’“ to cease or stop.”
It appears that the Roman Empire attempted to remove any remnants of Jesus' Jewish roots after adopting Christianity as an officially recognized religion of the state.
Jesus Christ observed the Saturday Sabbath, and His apostles continued to observe the Sabbath after His death, as well as meeting on Sunday "the Lord's Day," to worship and hold Communion. There is no scriptural command to switch to Sunday, nor is there any command by the apostles to refrain from observing the Saturday Sabbath.
There was liberty in this, just as the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day."(Colossians 2:16).
Paul wrote because legalistic newly converted Christians (both Jews and Gentiles) were attempting to effectually destroy the purity of the gospel by zealously adding observances of the Jewish new moons, feasts, and Sabbath day as requirements for salvation.
The historical reasons for the official, but unscriptural change was a combination of politically powerful church authority overriding scriptural principles, under the influences of Mithraic sun worship and anti-Semitism, the documentation for which I have partially included although the length of this response is already out of bounds, so if your eyes glaze over...
Roman Emperor Constantine was the first "Christian" Roman emperor (313 A.D.). Though he did halt much of the persecution of Christians during his reign, he did more to introduce sun worship into Christianity than any before him.
Historian Paul Johnson (A History of Christianity, 1976, pp. 67-68) details some of this influence: “Constantine was almost certainly a Mithraic, and his triumphal arch, built after his ‘conversion’, testifies to the Sun-god, or ‘unconquered sun’. … Constantine never abandoned sun-worship and kept the sun on his coins. He made Sunday into a day of rest, closing the law courts and forbidding all work except agricultural labour.”
During the reign of Emperor Julian, Roman emperor from 361 to 363 A.D., Johnson noted: “The Bishop of Troy told Julian he had always prayed secretly to the sun” (p. 67). Thus Christianity took on a major facet of pagan sun worship.
CA 400 A.D., Augustine, a Roman Catholic theologian, proclaimed that "the holy doctors of the Church have decreed, that all glory of the Jewish Sabbath is transferred to Sunday. Let us therefore keep the Lord’s Day as the ancients were commanded to do the Sabbath."
The Catholic Encyclopedia section on "Sunday" states that St. Caesarius of Arles reinforced this teaching in the sixth century. The changing of the Sabbath was through post-apostolic church officials.
Surging anti-Semitism in post-apostolic times also played a major role in the change to Sunday. The Council of Laodicea in A.D. 365 decided: "Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day, and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ" (Canon XXIX).
So, keeping the Sabbath on Saturday was considered “judaizing,” which was considered a great evil.
Constantine, at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, was reported by the historian Eusebius as saying, "It appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast [Passover] we should follow the practice of the Jews … . Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd."
These recently pagan in-their-observance Christians eliminated historical Jewish holy days, separating from their Lord's religious heritage, - a different day for rest and worship to Sunday, and the Jewish Pasach (Passover), during which Jesus died, also to Sunday.
On the “Ten Commandments,” the Catholic Encyclopedia says: “The Church, on the other hand, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment [we count it as the Fourth] refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s Day."
The Catholic Universe Bulletin said in 1942: “The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her Founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant, claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh Day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant.”
The Catholic Virginian said in 1947: “All of us believe many things in regard to religion that we do not find in the Bible. For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath Day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the Church outside the Bible.”
Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274), an influential Rpman Catholic theologian, wrote: "In the New Law the observance of the Lord’s day took the place of the observance of the Sabbath, not by virtue of the precept but by the institution of the Church and the custom of Christian people."
The Sabbath however, was instituted by God in Genesis 2:1-3 when He "rested" from his work. God rested, or ceased working, from creating everything. It was not to recuperate, for God needs no rest. It was an ending, a completion of the work. God blessed the Sabbath Day and sanctified it, setting it apart as holy. This was before the flood of Noah, before Abraham or Moses, so its appeal appears to be universal to all men, but through the New Testament freedom granted Jesus' believers, again, it is in Christ that we enter our rest.
The fourth commandment reads: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-11)
Under the Mosaic Law, observance of the 7th day Sabbath was extended by God to Israel and the Jewish people. In the giving of the Fourth Commandment, God told the nation of Israel to "remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day" (Deuteronomy 5:15).
[b]In the New Testament, neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever commanded the observance of the Saturday Sabbath, which is the 7th day of the week. If we keep the Sabbath as it was defined in the Old Testament, then we place ourselves under the obligation of keeping all 734 Old Testament commandments (Galatians 5:1-5), for if we break one commandment we have broken them all (James 2:8-13).
Jesus' disciples and their converts all began worshiping on Sunday after Jesus' resurrection and ascension, as almost all were initially Jewish, they also continued their Saturday worship in the Temple and Synagogue, for they did not consider the worship of the Messiah as a new and separate religion, but as a fulfillment of Messianic prophecies and a resultant new chapter within Judaism worthy of celebration.
Exodus 20:1 explains that the Sabbath was a reminder that the LORD created everything. This is a reminder that the LORD was our creator.
Deuteronomy 5:15: "And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day."
This 2nd verse reveals that the second reason was that God had delivered the Jews from their bondage in Egypt where they had been oppressively engaged in backbreaking hard labor as slaves for 430 years, working 24-7. They needed instruction in learning to have a day of composure, a day of rest, in which to reverently seek His face, and to fully rest their domesticated work animals on their Sabbath, for they too, had been oppressed and downtrodden.
When God gave Moses the fourth commandment, He was highly concerned with proper rest on that day. God instructed them to do no work, no hired servants could work, and this included their animals.
The Fourth Commandment about the Sabbath is always addressed to Israel. Never is it commanded to be observed by non-Jews. The New Testament contains no claims demanding that we must worship on the 7th day Sabbath (Saturday) or on any specific day.When the Sabbath is addressed more comprehensively in Exodus 31, the Lord said “Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between Me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:16-17).
Twice God mentions that it’s a special sign specifically between Him and Israel. The observance of this Sabbath day marked them from the rest of the world, in that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Jacob's progeny had been chosen for His special purpose.
What the Sabbath represents is explained in Hebrews 3:1-4:16. The Israelites who did not enter the Promised Land and died in the desert did so not only by breaking a commandment, but because they did not, by faith, enter into the rest God had provided for them. The LORD had a practical reason, a purpose for the Sabbath in addition to seeking their worship... in His concern for both their physical and spiritual well-being.
Our Sabbath rest is not in the day of the week (Romans 14:4-23); Our Sabbath rest is in Christ! This reminds us that the LORD also delivered us from the spiritual bondage of sin.
In the Old Testament the Sabbath was a day of rest and worship (Leviticus 23:3), however, Jesus brought a new understanding of the Sabbath to light by His words and deeds on the Sabbath:
Jesus allowed the hungry to harvest food. (Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5)
Jesus allowed a man with a withered handed to be healed. (Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11)
Jesus allowed those who rejected His teaching to witness miraculous healings. (Mark 6:1-6)
Jesus allowed a man to be delivered from demonic possession. (Luke 4:31-37)
Jesus allowed a woman disabled for 18 years to be healed. (Luke 13:10-17)
Jesus allowed caring for animals. (Luke 13:15-16)
Jesus allowed a bedridden man to be healed. (John 5:1-18)
Jesus allowed a blind man to see. (John 9:13-34)
There is a definite pattern throughout. Hungry people were fed. Disabled people were restored. Disbelieving people received a witness. Demonic afflicted people were delivered. Animals requiring care received care. Blind people received their sight. Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus did not use the Sabbath to restrict people, rather, because of His love for His creation, both man and beast, He freed people.
Jesus left another correcting lesson about the Sabbath after an incident where the Lord's hungry disciples were observed picking corn on the Sabbath day:
"And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And He said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry, he, and they that were with him?
How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest and ate the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with Him? And He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."
In Jesus saying “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”, and in Paul's explanation (Colossians 2:17) "These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ," the Holy Spirit had foreshadowed Jesus Christ; for the fulfillment came in Christ's voluntary, substitutionary crucifixion as payment-in-full of every person's sin-debt to God, all who would believe and accept.
Christ demonstrated that the Sabbath was for the good of man. Inevitably, we find religious people that were offended by Jesus' deeds of mercy. They had twisted the Sabbath into a mindless and demanding routine of rigidly set religious ritual. Jesus upset their thinking because he was not focused on their routine, but upon people.
The religious authorities cared more about the day than they did about the people in need. Jesus’ actions so enraged them, they wanted to kill Him, as He informed them He had the authority to do these things because He was the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5).
In mind, body, and spirit, Christ and His body of believers are not to be divided, therefore, be kind toward “the one who is weak in faith," welcome him in love, and if need be, in tough love provide Scriptural correction and encouragement from God's own Holy Word (Romans 14:1, 14:13; 1st Corinthians 8:9)
Romans 14:4-23 tells us it is not the day of the week we worship or the foods we eat that reconcile us with God. It is through faith in God's Word, in Jesus' death on the cross and in His resurrection to new life, that we are reconciled with Him. Even the day we set aside to worship becomes sin if it is the day that we venerate, rather than our God.
Jesus demonstrated the Sabbath was a day on which we cease the mundane, a time to love our God by serving Him and others. He knew we needed a day to cease from our routine, time to turn to and communicate with our Creator in worship, in supplication, and in thanksgiving.
We set aside a time from our weekly schedule each week, but not from obligation, because our Sabbath rest is the rest we have in Christ - who is the Lord of the Sabbath. He is our inspiration whenever we seek to communicate with God through prayer, to observe the Communion service He commanded, and through the strength that He provides, we are enabled to serve our neighbor.