The depth of Shabbat
Here are the questions: Are you firmly convinced the Sabbath is what God desires for man? And it was his personal teaching of the Sabbath that established it as a ‘forever’ situation? That it is the Sabbath that ‘marks’ us as a part of the eternal covenant?
Now to discover the answers….
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3
God announces Shabbat to all of creation here in Chapter 2, in verses 2 and 3, emphasizing the importance of the seventh day a full three times. The Hebrew word used is “Sabbath” means to cease, to stop, to desist (to quit working). “Rest” is the resulting effect, or evidence of stopping your work. The word seventh is the word שְׁבִיעִי shᵉbîyʻîy, sheb-ee-ee’; or שְׁבִעִי shᵉbiʻîy; ordinal from H7657; seventh:—seventh (time). Both words derive from the same root.
The conclusion of the Hebrew sages; they says this verse points to “quitting your normal activities”; it doesn’t mean that you necessarily stop doing everything. Personally I believe this to be the things you do to produce your income, i.e. your job related duties and putting a stop to those. That would be resting from your labors.
For the people in this era, as well as the time of Jesus, there were still stocks to feed on a daily basis. However, if your income was derived from the sale of animals you would not actively make transactions on that day. Today it may be a little more clearly said: “I am not going to the office today.”
Again, for me personally, when I was self-employed, I had to resist the urge to run over to the computer to enter transactions from the prior day expenses into Excel or Quickbooks. This can be very tempting in our overtly accessible electronic society. Since closing my business and venturing back to the role of employee, I had to find a way to be productive and obedient to the scripture. Again, a very tough thing to do and I would argue that God provided a way for me.
(This is usually where I get a ton of ‘blow back’ in defense of doctors, nurses, police etc. that are required to work on Sabbath. There is provision for such in the scripture, but, it does not excuse the rest of humanity.)
Here too, in scripture, God said that He “qadash” the 7th day, He consecrated it and set it completely apart from any other day.There is only one with the authority who can consecrate or declare anything holy and that being is God Almighty.
For mankind to believe that we can declare by means of any church government, creed or statute that something is holy should be considered an absurdity. The idea that the Sabbath was given ONLY to Israel through Moses at Mt. Sinai, as many contemporary Christians have been taught, is also absurdity. Who owns the Sabbath?
Leviticus 19:30 “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.” And in case you miss it the first time … Leviticus 26:2 “Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.”
Around the late 2nd century AD it became a goal of the now Roman dominated church system to abandon anything that seemed to apply to the Hebrew people. Beginning as allies to the Hebrew people, then eventually coming to the conclusion, the church would officially abolished the Shabbat. The Roman Church taught that Shabbat is a specific day of the week that God set apart as holy for the “Jews”.
It is also taught that Shabbat was simply part of the Laws of Moses; that is, Sabbath observance is commanded in those rules and ordinances God set down at Mt. Sinai shortly after Israel departed Egypt and they do not apply to the modern convert. This is false as Yeshua himself, as well as many others, observed the Sabbath.
Some of you may be questioning that last paragraph (that the church abolished the Sabbath) but all you need to do to find the truth, as it is read in the actual church documents from the several meetings of the ecumenical councils convened by Emperor Constantine. Specifically, read the Council of Laodicea document, Canon #29, as established in the middle part of the 4th century AD, and you will find that the Church explicitly declared the Sabbath to be a Jewish holy day and therefore the church should have no part it.
Thus the Council of Laodicea declared that Sabbath observance (as well as meeting together for worship on the 7thday, Saturday, the Sabbath was to end. Instead communal worship should occur on a NEW day…the 1st day of the week…..which was already the standard day of meeting together to worship the most widely accepted and politically correct god of the Roman Empire, the sun god Mithra.
This is why that the 1st day of the week’s name is Sun-day because it was the Roman Empire’s set apart day of worship of the sun-god. And since this newly minted celebration needed a name to replace “Sabbath” and that the new name given was to be The Lord’s Day.
So, what the majority of the institutional church does not acknowledge is what it has been practicing for over 1700 years is NOT a Sabbath. That the church of Rome has been the one to moved it by one day, from the 7th to the 1st day; rather it is an entirely different celebration, established by the Roman Church at the Council of Laodicea in 364 AD, at the direction of the then current emperor of Rome, Constantine.
This fact is not disputed by the Roman Church or Christian scholars. “Not the Creator of Universe, in Genesis 2:1-3,-but the Catholic Church can claim the honor of having granted man a pause to his work every seven days.” (S. C. Mosna, Storia della Domenica, 1969, pp. 366-367)
“The authority of the church could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scriptures, because the Church had changed…the Sabbath into Sunday, not by command of Christ, but by its own authority.” (Canon and Tradition, p. 263)
The heads of religious governments of all the great Christian denominations like the Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox, Anglican, and others agree that the change was man made and not God ordained.
Although a few hang on to the loose notion that the Sabbath can be any day we choose. It is in reality that God established the Shabbat immediately upon finishing His Creation, as we have just read long before there was any such thing as a Hebrew or a “Jew”. The Sabbath was not something given to, and reserved for, the Law of Moses and the people of the Exodus. The Sabbath was given to ALL humanity that choose to follow the God of the universe YHVH.
Isaiah 56:6-7 “Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh 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 mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”
Isaiah 66:22-23 “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 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 the Lord.
Are you firmly convinced the Sabbath is what God desires for man? And it was his personal teaching of the Sabbath that established it as a ‘forever’ situation? That it is the Sabbath that ‘marks’ us as a part of the eternal covenant?
MOVING to Saini…
Sabbath Worship … Exodus 31:13-17
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.
The Sabbath is God’s Law about observing sacred time, just as the Tabernacle is God’s Law about observing sacred space. We live in a universe that consists of space [3 dimensions] and time [1 dimension]; while the first 3 dimensions (space) are very easy to grasp because we can simply look at the room in which we sit, and see its length, width, and height. What is not as easy to grasp is time. Just like the wind, we can’t see or touch time, yet, we can observe its effects. (Jesus encounter with Nicodemus)
God sanctifies the Tabernacle by setting it apart from all other human space and dwelling in it, and He sanctifies the Sabbath by setting it apart from all other blocks of time and declares this specific block of time, Shabbat, as holy. The word “sanctify” is translated from the Hebrew root word “kadash”, which indeed means “holy” or “be holy” or to be set apart. But pay attention to what God seems to be saying here: He says that the purpose for keeping the Sabbath is….what? To make them, and you, holy! That is no small matter, and in fact, it is definitely large when it comes to its implications.
Verse 14 “Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.”
The word used here is “kodesh”; although it is taken from the root word kadash, it has a slightly different meaning. Kodesh means “holi-ness”; Most literally this verse reads “Keep the Sabbath because it is holiness for you”. God is telling us:
“I want you to keep the Sabbath, because not only did I declare it holy, but the Sabbath clothes YOU in a state of holiness in my eyes when you obey me and observe it.”
This is the same premise as when Moses was at the burning bush. Moses was to remove his shoes because the ground was in contact with the holiness of YHWH and that holiness was now transferred supernaturally. This concept really shouldn’t sound strange to us at all. For, we are told that in order for us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be righteous according to God’s standard. But, it is utterly impossible for a man to attain that state of saving righteousness on our own. So, by faith in Jesus, we are clothed in HIS righteousness. Yeshua’s righteousness is imputed upon us. Yeshua’s righteousness is transmitted to us.
This also goes a long way towards helping us to understand what Christ really meant when He said: “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. You see,….
He was saying that it was NOT necessary for the creation of Man in order to bring holiness to the Sabbath, but it WAS necessary that the Sabbath be created in order that holiness might be brought to the Man.
Verses 15-17 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. (this is spiritual death) Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual (forever) covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”
God says the Sabbath is a sign between He and His people. In Hebrew the word for sign is owth (oth) this word is an affirmation, proof, or a mark of distinction and sets the relationship between God and His people apart from everyone else.
Psalm 4:3 “But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.”
The Sabbath is a very specific block of time (the 7th day) that is set apart from all other blocks of time to embody the holiness of time as the 4th dimension of God’s Creation.
Time is something we can never, ever get back, hence the song “Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce. Look at what he says about his love… “If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do. Is to save every day, ‘Til eternity passes away, Just to spend them with you.” Isn’t that what we envision as our Heaven?
The Sabbath is not only a ‘shadow of things to come’ it is a drop of water for a thirsty soul. He tells us earlier in Exodus the Sabbath is a blessing and who, in their right mind, would want to miss out on a blessing from YHWH? Why do we insist on following a man-made tradition set about by Sun-god worshipers? This is what Jesus is explaining to the woman at the well! [John 4:4-41]
The Greeks and Romans named the days in order of the importance of their Sun-gods and then lesser deities. Constantine, in turn, forced his traditions upon the church he bought and paid for, manipulating the day and the rituals to conform to his version of paganism.
“Modern Christians who talk of keeping Sunday as a ‘holy’ day, as in the still extant ‘Blue Laws,’ of colonial America, should know that as a ‘holy’ day of rest and cessation from labor and amusements Sunday was unknown to Jesus. It formed no tenant [teaching] of the primitive Church and became ‘sacred’ only in the course of time. Outside the church its observance was legalized for the Roman Empire through a series of decrees starting with the famous one of Constantine in 321, an edict due to his political and social ideas.”—W. W. Hyde, Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire, 1946, p. 257.
Isn’t it strange that the one commandment that begins with “Remember” has been forgotten? We can no more choose our own definition of the Sabbath than we can choose our own definition of the Messiah. The Bible clearly defines both.
Are we answering these questions: Are you firmly convinced the Sabbath is what God desires for man? And it was his personal teaching of the Sabbath that established it as a ‘forever’ situation? That it is the Sabbath that ‘marks’ us as a part of the eternal covenant?
MOVING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT….
Colossians 2:6-18 Warnings Against the Adoption of False Philosophies
“Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. “
What exactly had they been taught by Jesus? Did Jesus teach Sunday worship? NO! Luke 6:6 “And it came to pass also on another Sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.”
Luke 13:10-11 “And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.”
John 5:14-17 “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day.”
If my goal is to live like Jesus, it would only make sense to attend corporate worship on the Sabbath, or 7th day, which is Saturday. Paul continues on in verse 8…
“8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Paul is speaking to the Laodiceans and we would have to know their inner workings to full understand why he was addressing this in this way. Laodicea was an ancient city built on the river Lycus which later became the Roman Province of Phrygia Pacatiana.
The town was originally called Diospolis, “City of Zeus” and under the first emperors, Laodicea, benefiting from its advantageous position on a trade route, became one of the most important and flourishing commercial cities of Asia Minor, in which large money transactions and an extensive trade in black wool were carried on.
The city minted its own coins, the inscriptions of which show evidence of the worship of Zeus, Æsculapius, Apollo, and the emperors. The worship of Zeus was held at a number of caves at Knossos. This is where we get the term Knostic or Gnostic which means “esoteric knowledge” or “understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.”
As a side note, it was in a cave that Ignatius of Loyola received his so-called prophesy of the Jesuit Order. The same thing happened to Muhammed and his dictates on Islam.
The Gnostics believed that they were privy to a secret knowledge about the divine, hence the name. Gnosticism is a religion that differentiates the evil god of this world, who is identified with the god of the Old Testament, from a higher more abstract God, revealed by Jesus Christ. It is a religion that regards this world as the creation of a series of evil archons/powers who wish to keep the human soul trapped in an evil physical body, a religion that preaches a hidden wisdom or knowledge only to a select group as necessary for salvation or escape from this world.
YHWH wants every person to know Him and come to repentance, not just an elite few.
Returning to Colossians 2:9-10 “For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.” Paul is explaining to them that the governing bodies of the civic society have no authority over their private religious beliefs. This was a direct offense to the Romans as well as the Greeks. The Greeks and Romans required public worship of the gods because they believed they protected the city from invaders (obviously didn’t work for the Greeks with the Romans) and brought fertility not only to plants but also to people.
Verse 11 “In him you also were circumcised —not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshly body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ.” Circumcised here is G4059 περιτέμνω peritemno (pe-riy-tem’-nō) v. ‘to be precisely cut away from the remainder’. This will follow suit with all the other scriptures calling God’s people to be set apart.
2:12-13 “Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead. And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions.”
“Having been buried” is G4916 συνθάπτω sunthapto (sïn-thap’-tō) v. to assimilate spiritually. This means the people have accepted the terms of the faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, having left any beliefs and customs of their prior religious system.
Under the acceptance of this belief they have already violated the first commandment having worshipped other gods. Paul explains that the sacrifice of Jesus has already paid the price for this lawlessness. 1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
The crowd in Laodicea was composed of a large percentage of Hebrews who were dispersed under the several sieges against Jerusalem by the like of Nebuchadnezzar 600 years earlier to the then current Roman occupation. Paul addresses these Hebrews in verse 14 & 15 “He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
The Pharisees and Sadducees had written an overlapping and overreaching list of ordinances for the whole of the Hebrew community to follow. Jesus speaks to this in His “woe to you Pharisees” in Mark 7:8 “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.”
In the letter to the Romans, chapter 10 verse 12 Paul address these next verses in Colossians equally. Romans 10:12 “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” And yet both parties were squabbling back and forth about the “fine print” of the faith. This is why he states in 1 Corinthians 1:23 “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness”
The Greeks were looking for a more progressive, logical and linear methodology to religious matters and the “Jews” were wanted to maintain their grip on the legalistic behaviors of mankind. These believers of YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were now free from the extra “law” [Talmud, Halacha, Mishnah] penned from the hand of the Pharisees, as well as the rules of their prior religion.
The call to the truth means that the people of YHWH would have to learn how to act like the people of YHWH. In their prior lives they would have not been exposed to the teachings of Moses and would have created patterns in life that centered on pagan worship like idols and blood sacrifices of animals and humans. Often the sacrifices were consumed by the participants as a way to transfer the power or magic of the sacrifice to the worshiper. This is the complete topic of conversation in Acts 15.
Paul is telling them in verses 16 & 17 the reason they will now follow the Torah and the feasts of YHWH is that in doing them they come to understand what eternity will look like (see Ezekiel 40-48) and how we are to live here according to the Spirit of God.
16-17 “Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days— these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ!”
Christ was crucified on Passover, as our sacrifice, His blood covering the doorpost of our hearts. This is the reason He announces the wine and the bread is to be done in remembrance of Him. We are to carry forward the Feast of Passover in remembrance of HIM. Jesus rose on the first day of the Feast of Firstfruits, becoming the first being of flesh to resurrect from bodily death. This was a huge problem for the Sadducees as they disavowed any belief in life after death.
Christ would ascend into heaven on the exact day of the Feast of Shavuot exactly fifty days later. The fifty days represents 7 Sabbaths and the jubilee according to scripture. Leviticus 25:10 “And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.” This examples our return unto the hand of Father God.
The reference in Acts 20:7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Is confirming this exact premise. ‘The first day of the week’ according to the Greek is G4521 σάββατον sabbaton (saɓ’-ɓa-ton) n. the Sabbath which is shown to have its root meaning from the Hebrew H7676 שַׁבָּת shabbath (shab-bawth’) n-e. the seventh day being the day of rest.
18 “Let no one who delights in false humility and the worship of angels (these were the Gnostics) pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. (egotists because of their university training)”
Here is what I know in my heart….
I am firmly convinced the Sabbath is what God desires for man and it was his personal teaching of the Sabbath that established it as a ‘forever’ situation! That it is the Sabbath that ‘marks’ us as a part of the eternal covenant and my obedience is not burdensome and his teaching is easy. [Matt 11:28-30]
Baruch HaShaem Adonai bere Shabbat.
Blessed be the Name of our God, creator of our Rest!