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The Holy Sabbath

 

By definition, Sabbath is the seventh day of the Biblical week                .

                                                   – from sunset Friday through sunset Saturday.

 

 

A. The Era of Sabbath

B. The Purpose of Sabbath

C. How it is Sanctified

D. Objections Addressed

 

 

A.  THE ERA OF SABBATH

 

 

1.  From creation, the seventh day was set aside for man to worship.

 

Elohim is a name for our Creator (God) representing Him as Judge of His Creation.

Genesis 1:27, 31  27 Elohim  created man in His own image, in the image of Elohim He created him; male and female He created them. . . 31 Elohim saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 2:3  Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which Elohim had created and made.

Mark 2:27  Yeshua said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

 

We see here that the Sabbath was made for man, the day after Adam (man) was created. And this seventh day was sanctified (set apart) since creation, which means that it was a day for man to set aside for the worship his Creator.

To be “sanctified” or “holy” (from Hebrew - qadosh) means to be dedicated / set apart to God; it is applied to objects and times (as well as people) and does not mean righteous (though a dedicated person might also be called righteous).

 

The seventh day, when all of creation was functioning peacefully as planned, was the goal of six days of creation. Holiness of the Sabbath was part of the eternal creation. Accepting the Genesis account of creation requires acceptance of the seventh day being set aside for the worship of the Creator.

 

 

2.  Sabbath was enjoined for all of Yahweh’s people upon deliverance from slavery of sin.

 

Yahweh is the Holy name for God that distinguishesh Him as the Eternal Gracious One.

Exodus 16:29  “See, Yahweh has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”

 

About twenty-five-hundred years after creation, as Yahweh led His chosen people from various nations out of Egyptian slavery, He fed them for six days a week with bread from heaven – the people called it manna (what’s this stuff?). On the sixth day He gave twice as much, but none to gather on the seventh day. No one was to go about commercial business on the Sabbath.

 

 

3.  Sabbath was explained to Israel, God’s agent to enlighten the world.

 

Isaiah 42:6-7  "I am Yahweh, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, and I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations,  7 to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison.

Exodus 20:8-11  8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  9 "Six days you shall labor and do all your work,  10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of Yahweh your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.  11 "For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Leviticus 23:3  “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred assembly. You shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath to Yahweh in all your dwellings.”

Hebrews 10:25 . . . not forsaking our own sacred assemblies, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.-

 

Israel was set as a light to the nations by the giving of the Torah through Moses. The fourth item on the tablets given to Moses required that the Holy Sabbath be remembered, because Yahweh set it apart at creation. In subsequent explanation a public worship service was required. Paul (assumed author) emphasized this to the Hebrew believers.

 

 

4.  Sabbaths were observed by Yeshua, and by His apostles after His ascension.

 

Luke 4:16   And He (Yeshua) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.

Acts 17:2  And according to Paul's custom, he went to them (to the synagogue at Thessalonica), and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

 

It was Yeshua’s custom to attend synagogue Sabbath services. It was also Paul’s custom after Yeshua left the earth. It may be noted here that “synagogue” and “church” were not distinct words in Hebrew – they are from Greek translations (synagoge and ekklesia) of the same Hebrew word qehal; the distinction in meaning is modern.

See article Qehal: Synagogue/Church.

 

 

5.  Sabbath services were assigned for new gentile believers.

 

Acts 15:19-21  (Apostle James speaking)  19 “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,  20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.  21 For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

 

New gentile believers were to first give up gross idolatrous practices, and then learn at their local synagogues every Sabbath.

 

 

6.  Sabbaths will be observed for a thousand future years in this world.

 

Ezekiel 46:1-3  1 Thus says Lord Yahweh, “The gate of the inner court facing east shall be shut the six working days; but it shall be opened on the Sabbath day and opened on the day of the new moon.  2 The prince shall enter by way of the porch of the gate from outside and stand by the post of the gate. . . . .  3 The people of the land shall also worship at the doorway of that gate before Yahweh on the Sabbaths and on the new moons.”

 

During Yeshua’s millennial reign, Sabbath observance will be the norm. The future millennial Holy Temple and its ordinances are the subject of Ezekiel chapters 40 through 47.

 

 

7.  Sabbaths will be observed eternally in the future world that is renewed by fire.

 

Isaiah 66:22-23  22 “For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me,” declares Yahweh, “So your offspring and your name will endure.  23 And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says Yahweh

 

A holy people will honor the Sabbaths when all is perfection and joyfulness!

 

The era of Sabbath is from creation to eternity.

 

 


 
 

B.  THE PURPOSE OF SABBATH

 

 

1.  The Sabbath Day is a memorial to Messiah as creator and sustainer.

 

Exodus 20:8, 11  8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.   . . .  11 "For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Colossians 1:15-17   15 He (Messiah Yeshua) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him.  17 He is before all things, and by Him all things are sustained.

 

In remembering the Sabbath that was made holy (distinct from other days) at creation, we are acknowledging the Messiah as creator and sustainer.

 

 

2.  The Sabbath Day is instructive, with the goal to know and love Messiah.

 

Romans 10:4  For Messiah is the goal of the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy), to make righteous everyone who believes.

 

Sabbath is part of our Creator’s instruction – Torah, which has been given to lead us to the righteousness which is of faith in Messiah. Note that Paul here uses present tense referring to the Torah and its goal for Roman gentile believers.

 

Leviticus 23:3  . . . on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred assembly. . .

Acts 15: 21   For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.

 

A sacred assembly – a public service with Biblical instruction is prescribed for Sabbath, through both Moses and the apostles..

 

3.  The Sabbath Day is a prophetic picture of the Messianic Kingdom

 

Colossians 2:16-17  16 Therefore let no one condemn you in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day –  17 things which are a prophetic shadow of what is to come; the body casting the shadow being Messiah.

 

The apostle Paul is here speaking to gentiles at Colossae, long after Yeshua’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. He is telling them to let neither Jew nor gentile condemn them for keeping the eternal ordinances of Yahweh, because Messiah Himself is thus giving us a shadow picture of His future Kingdom.

 

2 Peter 3:7-8  7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.

 

The six days of creation parallel six millenniums of this world, as a prophetic picture, culminating with judgment and the Sabbath Millennium when Yeshua will reign.

 

For enlargement see MILLENNIAL SABBATH

 

God is “declaring the end from the beginning” – Isaiah 46:10. From the beginning – six days of creation and a Sabbath, we see the end of this world prophetically declared – six millenniums and the thousand-year reign of Messiah. It is written, “one day is with Yahweh as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,” referring specifically to the end of this world.

 

On day one of creation, God differentiated between light and darkness. In the first millennial day, Adam’s day, man learned to differentiate good and evil. God told Adam that he would die the day he ate of the fruit of knowledge; he died before the end of his first millennial day, at age 930 – Genesis 5:4.

 

On the second day of creation, God separated the waters under the firmament from those above. In the second millennial day, Noah’s day, God “opened the fountains of the deep” and “the windows of heaven” and brought the waters back together to flood the earth, then separated them again forever. Noah lived most of the second millennium (from AM 1056 - 2006, 950 years – Genesis 9:29). The great flood was in the 600th year of Noah’s life, AM 1656.

 

Only upon completion of the second day did God not say that it was good. The sages say that the angels were created on this day.

 

On the third day of creation, God brought forth dry land and vegetation. In the third millennial day, Abraham’s day, God gave His people the land of Canaan with bountiful vegetation. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses were of this day.

 

On the fourth day of creation, God set the sun and moon in their places. The moon is seen by the sages as a symbol of Messiah. The fourth millennial day is the day of Messiah. (Messiah means the anointed one; men were anointed to be King of Israel, Priest of the Most High God, or Prophet of Jerusalem.) David was the forerunner Messiah King at the beginning of this day (shortly after AM 3000), and Yeshua came as the ultimate Messiah King, Priest, and Prophet near the end of this day (before AM 4000).

 

Interestingly, the Talmud says that Messiah should have come in the fourth millennium, but because Israel was so sinful, He would not come until the end of the sixth millennium. But He did come in the fourth, and He will also come in the end of the sixth! (This is not to imply a certain year.)

 

The fifth and sixth millennial days are referred to as the last days – 2 Peter 3:3. On the sixth day, after creating beasts, God said, “Ki Tov” – it is good / finished. Then He created man. When everything was finished, God said, “Tov M’ode” – very good. It all worked together as planned.

 

The sages say, “End of deed, first in thought.” Before a builder starts a foundation or forms walls, he has a final house plan in mind. God spent six days creating the heavens and the earth, with the end deed being the Sabbath; but the Sabbath was the original goal, the first in thought.

 

The purpose of Sabbath is memorial, instructive, and prophetic – and altogether messianic.

 

 


 
 

C.  HOW THE SABBATH IS SANCTIFIED

 

 

1.  The Sabbath Days, and Sabbath Millennium, are Set Apart for Messiah to Dwell With Us

 

Matthew 1:22-23  22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:  23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "Elohim With Us."

 

Revelation 20:6  Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Messiah and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

 

The Hebrew word shin-bet-tav is both Shabbat (Sabbath) and shevet (dwelling): it is the time when Immanuel (The Creator-Judge With Us) dwells with us in a special way.

 

When Yahweh dwelt over the Ark in the Tabernacle and Temple, the gates were open on the Sabbaths for the people to have Him in their midst.

 

In a future time, Messiah will dwell and reign on this earth for a thousand years, known as yom shekulo Shabbat – the day when all will be Sabbath.

 

 

2.  The Sabbath Day is to be distinguished by us – marked-out from other days.

 

Ezekiel 20:20   “Sanctify My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am Yahweh your God.”

 

On Erev Shabbat, that is on Friday before sunset as the Sabbath approaches each week, we pronounce a blessing and light Sabbath candles. For Havdallah, that is after Saturday’s sunset at the end of each Sabbath, we pronounce a blessing and light a special bright candle, then extinguish it in a glass of grape juice or wine. By lighting fires just before and after the Sabbaths, we symbolically “make separate (God’s) Sabbaths” – during which we are forbidden to light fires (Exodus 35:3).

 

This ancient symbolic means of sanctifying the Sabbath seems prophetic: the Sabbath Millennium will be preceded (Erev Shabbat) by the fires of war of the great tribulation (Revelation 16).  It will be followed (havdallah) by fire from heaven being quenched in the blood of the wicked (Revelation 20:7-9). There will be a thousand years of Shabbat Shalom (Sabbath peace) between the fires that make the Sabbath separate (Revelation 20:1-6)..

 

 

3.  Sabbath is to be the climax of each week.

 

Genesis 2:3  Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which Elohim had created and made.

Leviticus 23:2-3  2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘Yahweh’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as sacred assemblies – My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a sacred assembly. You shall not do any work; it is a Sabbath to Yahweh in all your dwellings.’”

 

Elohim had a plan for the six days of creation, so that on the seventh day He would rest with everything functioning and at peace. Likewise we are to work for six days each week, so that on the Sabbath we can set aside mundane cares to focus on our Creator and Savior with everything functioning and at peace.

 

A sacred assembly – that is a public worship service – is part of the Sabbath blessings. It is an appointed time to meet with God at a sacred place – a place set apart to hear His Word and offer praise.

 

The terms “complete rest” and “no work” are not without clarification from other Scripture. The Sabbath day is to be set apart for our Creator and Savior, with a public worship service included. Some work takes precedence, including food preparation and any work to sustain life and health which cannot reasonably be performed prior or be delayed. The idea of rest is to set aside other endeavor in order to worship, not to catch-up on rest from working too hard other days. Also, there are certain positions – such as priests and mothers of infants, having duties that supersede Sabbath restrictions.

 

 

4.  Sabbath observance is designed to be a joy.

 

Isaiah 56:6-7, 13-14    6 “Also the gentiles who join themselves to Yahweh, to minister to Him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be His servants, everyone who keeps from profaning the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant;  7 even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their elevation offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all people.”

13 “If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of Yahweh honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word,  14 then you will take delight in Yahweh, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.”

 

Real peace and joy is found through walking with our Savior – in the way of His instruction. Our contrary ways of seeking pleasure are ultimately futile.

 

4.  We are given time to prepare for the Sabbath.

 

1 Corinthians 3:11-15  11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Yeshua the Messiah.  12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.  14 If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.  15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

 

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah.

 

Revelation 19:7-8  7 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."  8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

 

Preparation is required in order to keep the weekly Sabbath day holy. This quickly becomes obvious to all who seek to dedicate the day to God.

 

This life is our preparation time for millennial Sabbath.

 


 

D.  OBJECTIONS ADDRESSED

 

1.  “The Lord’s Day”

 

Revelation 1:10  “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day”

 

The seventh-day Sabbath has been called “The Day of Yahweh” for thousands of years, based upon Torah.  This is sometimes translated “The Lord’s Day” by those who substitute (Greek) “Adonai” / (English) “Lord” for God’s memorial name. Interpreting the term as Sunday is a corruption that started after Yeshua’s time on earth. The term “Day of Yahweh” is also used in reference to the Sabbath Millennium, which will be great and terrible, or awesome and glorious, depending upon one’s situation. The millennial Sabbath of peace will be preceded by war, famine, and disease through which most people on earth will die; it will be followed by fire from heaven that will consume the nations’ armies.

 

Concerning the Sabbath Day: “ . . call the Sabbath a delight, the Holy Day of Yahweh honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word.” – Isaiah 58:13.

 

Concerning the Sabbath Millennium: “The Day of Yahweh will be great and very awesome” – Joel 2:11.

 

The prelude and postlude: “Behold, the Day of Yahweh is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation, and He will exterminate its sinners from it” – Isaiah 13:9.

 

For the Day of Yahweh draws near on all nations . . . And it will be holy, and the House of Jacob (Israel) will possess their possessions . . . But the House of Esau will be stubble, and they will set fire on them and consume them” – Obadiah 1:15-18.

 

2.  Sabbath Changed to Yeshua’s Resurrection Day

 

No such Scripture exists!

 

The idea, that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday because Sunday was Yeshua’s resurrection day, is not found – or even hinted – anywhere in Scripture.

 

3.  Tithing on the First Day of the Week

 

1 Corinthians 16:2  “On the first day of the week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no separations be made when I come.”

 

Paul taught Sabbath observance as it relates to tithing. The apostles agreed that gentiles should learn Torah at synagogue Sabbath services. Halachic rulings are made by the judges of the synagogue (or of the Sanhedrin); these are determinations of how we should walk (halach) to fulfill Torah. This is the ancient halachic rule for Sabbath-keepers, that concerning income during the six working days, one rests on the Sabbath (no commercial or monetary dealings), and separates the tithe on the first day of the following week (Mishnah: Shabbat). There is nothing about a Sunday meeting or public collection here.

 

4.  All days alike

 

Romans 14:5  “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.”

 

The chapter concerns issues where personal choices are allowed. There was no question about whether or not Sabbaths and annual Holy Days should be observed. There was question, and there is disagreement to this day among Jews, about what days of the work-week are appropriate for weddings and various other activities.

 

5.  Christ is the End of the Law

 

Romans 10:4 KJV  "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth"

 

This is often used to teach the annihilation of the law. Such an interpretation is contrary to Yeshua's words in Matthew  5:17-19, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law . . ." The Greek words translated "the end of the law," mean the goal of the Torah, not the cessation of the commandments.

 

 

© 2011  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)