Are we becoming lax in our Sabbath keeping? Do we have the proper balance between strict observance, and anything goes? We should constantly be examining ourselves in all areas of our lives. It is easy to grow weary and let out guard down, but we are to endure till the end. (Mark 13:13) Do we have a desire to challenge and improve ourselves, or are we content to be as we are. If I don’t think, habits take over. Today I will be discussing the Sabbath and my hope is to get us to examine our thoughts, words, and actions toward this sacred time YHVH has established for all of us to participate in.
The Sabbath is the sign of YHVH’s people and we are to observe it every seventh day. In scripture we see that keeping it holy is very important to YHVH. The word Sabbath(s) is found 147 times throughout the King James Bible. The Sabbath teaches us to rest from our labors and focus on YHVH. It is also a test of our obedience, as we will see later. The Sabbath is a shadow picture of things to come, (Col 2:16-17) and to help us understand the eternal rest in Messiah we are to enter in. (See Hebrews 4)
Why examine it?
· Do we teach our children why the Sabbath is important? (Deut 6:7) (We should teach the how and why. When our children reach a certain age they must ‘own it’ for themselves. This way they will continue to follow the Sabbath on their own.)
· As we study this topic, perhaps we will find that we have something to improve on. (2 Ti 3:16)
· To build faith: The stronger we have something in our minds, the more likely we will obey during hardships. (James 2:26) (We have tough times ahead, persecution is coming to those who have the testimony of Yeshua, and keep his commandments. (Rev 12:17))
· As humans who tend to forget, it is always good to review.
What I will discuss:
The Bible’s instruction on keeping the Sabbath. (Basic and Advanced)
What day is the seventh day?
The importance of keeping the Sabbath (specifically the Sabbath sign)
Past judgements for breaking YHVH’s Sabbath.
Man’s changing of the Sabbath day to Sunday.
Blessings for keeping the Sabbath
What does the Bible say regarding the keeping of the Sabbath? (Basic Concepts)
· YHVH established from creation the Sabbath day.
Ge 2:2-3 And on the seventh day Elohim ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which Elohim created and made.
Ex 20:8-11 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of YHVH your Elohim: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: For in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore YHVH blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
· Remember: It is a memorial to YHVH’s creation. (Brad Scott at Sukkot 2004, Hebrew is an action language which means emphasis is given on the verb. Brad said: “Remember is to act and speak on behalf of.”)
· We and those under our influence are to not work.
(Consider: Do we have others work for us on the Sabbath? I.E. Auto shop, Landscaping, Remodeling)
Further scriptural clarification for not working.
· Do not kindle fire.
Ex 35:3 You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day.
(This follows right after a verse to not work. To understand this, I think we need to look at it from the concept of working, not for necessity such as for heat and food. We also know that burnt sacrifices were offered on the Sabbath 1Chron 23:31+)
· Do not Buy or Sell:
Ne 13:16-18 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the Sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing [is] this that you do, and profane the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our Elohim bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath .
· We are commanded to meet on the Sabbath :
Lev 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation (or assembly); you shall do no work [therein]: it [is] the Sabbath of YHVH in all your dwellings.
The ancient Babylonian calendar, as seen from recently recovered inscriptions on the bricks among the ruins of the royal palace, was based on the division of time into weeks of seven days. The Sabbath is in these inscriptions designated Sabattu, and defined as "a day of rest for the heart" and "a day of completion of labour."
What does the Bible say regarding the keeping of the Sabbath? (Advanced Concepts)
Sometimes we will have instances where weightier matters will take precedence over the basic commands.
(We know that Joshua and his armies were told by YHVH to march around Jericho for 6 days and 7 times on the seventh day, One of those days was the Sabbath and I would not be surprised if it was the last. (Jos 6:15))
The day of preparation.
Mr 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath ,
(To this present day in Israel many leave work early on Friday [noon or 2pm] to do what they need to prepare for the Sabbath. How much do we prepare for the Sabbath? I think we would have more honor and appreciation if we changed our thinking by preparing for the Sabbath ahead of time.)
Yeshua teaches us farther about our relation to the Sabbath.
Mr 2:27-28 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.
(To help understand this verse, re-read it with “rest” in place of “the Sabbath”.)
Mr 2:27-28 And he said unto them, rest was made for man, and not man for rest: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of His rest.
(We must be balanced. The good / weightier matters take precedence.)
The following verse is key to understand the heart we are to have.
Mt 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (In other words: do both)
Some examples of the weightier matters.
Matt 12:1-7 At that time Yeshua went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, your disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of Elohim, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the torah, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if you had known what this meant, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless.
(Being that most of us today are not agriculturally based, I infer that we can buy food that we need to eat on the Sabbath for that day, but if we prepared properly ahead of time, which we should, we would not need to do this.)
Yeshua heals on the Sabbath; a hard heart is not merciful.
Mr 2:4-5 And he said unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he said unto the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
(If we see our neighbor needing immediate help on the Sabbath, it would be good an right to do what we can to help.)
2 Examples of habitual Sabbath keeping by Yeshua and the disciples:
Lu 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Ac 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
What day is the seventh day?
· Our calendar has Saturday as the seventh day of the week. (This may someday be changed, I have seen some calendars that now show Sunday placed as the last day of the week.) See: Daniel 7:25
· The strict orthodox Jews still keep Saturday as the Sabbath today. (Ro 3:1)
· To the best of my understanding, Saturday is the Sabbath.
· The Sabbath can not be Sunday as will be evident from the quotes I will read later.
Is the Sabbath important?
Some might say: “What difference does it make.”
If we believe in the Bible, then let’s see what it says about keeping the commands:
1Jo 2:4-6 He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But who so keeps his word, in him verily is the love of YHVH perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that said he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Yeshua says: Joh 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.
The importance of the Sabbath: (YHVH’s SIGN)
1) sign, signal
1a) a distinguishing mark
1d) miraculous sign
2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof
Ex 31:13 Speak you also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbath s you shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [you] may know that I [am] YHVH that does sanctify you.
Ex 31:17 It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days YHVH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Eze 20:12 Moreover also I gave them my Sabbath s, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] YHVH that sanctify them.
Eze 20:20 And hallow my Sabbath s; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I [am] YHVH your Elohim.
This sign is important. Do we desire YHVH’s sign? Do we have the “proof” of keeping YHVH’s Sabbath holy evident in our lives?
Past judgements/curses of YHVH for breaking the Sabbath (This shows the importance of keeping it to YHVH):
The Manna/Sabbath Test:
(YHVH’s tested the Israelites in the wilderness with manna to see if they would obey)
Ex 16:4 Then said YHVH unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or not.
Ex 16:26-29 Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, [which is] the Sabbath , in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, [that] there went out [some] of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And YHVH said unto Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that YHVH hath given you the Sabbath , therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
(Some say this last verse is a command to not travel on the Sabbath. If you can’t stop yourself from working on the Sabbath when you go out then by all means, stay home. The Israelites were told to not leave their tents (like little children being sent to their room for disobeying))
YHVH is very serious about His Holy Sabbath we likewise should not take what we do on the Sabbath lightly.
Ex 31:14-16 You shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it [is] holy unto you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever does [any] work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the Sabbath of rest, holy to YHVH: whosoever does [any] work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant.
YHVH will not be mocked
Numbers 15:30-31 (NLT) "But those who brazenly violate YHVH’s will, whether native Israelites or foreigners, blaspheme YHVH, and they must be cut off from the community. Since they have treated YHVH’s word with contempt and deliberately disobeyed his commands, they must be completely cut off and suffer the consequences of their guilt."
(Right after this we read of a man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath, apparently defiantly. By the council of YHVH he was stoned to death for his transgression.)
Eze 20:13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them; and my Sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.
Jer 17:27 But if you will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.
Some say that Yeshua changed the Sabbath day to Sunday:
You will not find this change in scripture. (Scripture itself says YHVH does not change.)
Mal 3:6 For I [am] YHVH, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Heb 13:8 Yeshua Messiah the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Mt 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Is the Sunday Sabbath OK?
Lets examine several quotes of scholarly men worth reading I obtained from the Internet:
(As we read these, the defiance of men should become very apparent.)
"And where are we told in the
Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded
to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first
day. The reason why we keep the first of the week holy instead of the
seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, -
not because the Bible, but because the church, has enjoined
[commanded] it." Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, Vol.
1, pp 334, 336.
"We have made the change from the seventh
day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of
the one holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church of Christ." Episcopalian
Bishop Symour, Why we keep Sunday.
Ac 5:29 Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey YHVH rather than men.
"If it [the Ten Commandments] yet exist, let us observe
it... And if it does not exist, let us abandon a mock observance of
another day for it. 'But,' say some, 'it was changed from the seventh
to the first day.' Where? when? and by whom? - No, it never was
changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through
again: for the reason assigned [in Genesis 2:1-3] must be changed
before the observance or respect to the reason, can be changed. It is
all old wives' fables to talk of the 'change of the Sabbath ' from the
seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august
personage changed it who changes times and laws ex officio, - I think
his name is "Doctor Antichrist.'" Alexander Campbell, The Christian
Baptist, February 2, 1824, vol 1, no. 7
"We have seen how gradually the impression of the Sabbath faded from
the mind of the Christian church, and how completely the newer
thought underlying the observance of the first day took possesion of
the church. We have seen that the Christian of the first three
centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time
celebrated both." The Sunday Problem, a study book by the Lutheran
Church (1923) p.36
"They [Roman Catholics] refer to the Sabbath Day, as having been
changed into the Lord's Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems.
Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning
the changing of the Sabbath Day. Great, say they, is the power of the
Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten commandments!"
Augsburg Confession of Faith, art. 28; written by Melanchthon and
approved by Martin Luther, 1530; as published in The Book of Concord
Pr 30:5-6 Every word of YHVH [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add you not unto his words, lest he reprove you, and you be found a liar.
Sunday kept the Gentiles (pagans) happy "Sunday being the first day
of which the Gentiles (pagans) solemnly adored that planet and called
it Sunday, partly from its influence on that day especially, and
partly in respect to its divine body (as they conceived it) the
Christians thought fit to keep the same day and the same name of it,
that they might not appear carelessly peevish, and by that means
hinder the conversion of the Gentiles(pagans), and bring a greater
prejudice that might be otherwise taken against the gospel" T.M.
Morer, Dialogues on the Lord's Day
"If protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on
the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of
the Catholic Church." Albert Smith, chancellor of the Archdiocese of
Baltimore, replying for the cardinal in a letter of Feb. 10, 1920.
Question: "Have you not any other way of proving that the Church has
power to institute festivals of precept?"
Answer: "Had she not such power, she could not have done that in
which all modern religionists agree with her - she could not have
substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for
the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there
is no Scriptural authority" Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism 3rd
ed. p. 174
De 12:32 What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
"The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay,
in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] church."
Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today
Are there blessings of keeping the Sabbath?
Isa 56:2 Blessed [is] the man [that] does this, and the son of man [that] lays hold on it; that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
(The blessings for keeping the Sabbath are for everyone.)
Isa 56:6-7 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YHVH, to serve him, and to love the name of YHVH, to be his servants, every one that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.
What does the future hold regarding the Sabbath? (It will still be kept.)
Isa 66:23 And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith YHVH.
The best admonishment on how to keep the Sabbath (in my opinion):
Isa 58:13-14 If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath , [from] doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, (How can the Sabbath be a delight and not a burden? By the desire to please our heavenly father from the whole heart, not half-heartedly.) the holy of YHVH, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking [your own] words: (Hence we should be: doing YHVH’s works, finding YHVH’s pleasure (will), and speaking YHVH’s words.) Then shall you delight yourself in YHVH; and I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of YHVH has spoken [it].
We need to each continually examine ourselves in all things.
"I am more and more sure by
experience that the reason for the observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the
everlasting necessities of human nature, and that as long as man is man the
blessedness of keeping it, not as a day of rest only, but as a day of spiritual
rest, will never be annulled. I certainly do feel by experience the eternal
obligation, because of the eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers
without it. It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made
for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state because they needed
it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in human nature. He who can dispense
with it must be holy and spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and
unspiritual, would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser than
(F. W. Robertson)
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