Articles on the Sabbath

The Purpose of the Sabbath

Written by Robin Sampson

God sanctifies places and things to communicate to His people. He set apart the ark of the covenant and tabernacle. He set apart His holy book -the Bible. He set apart His Holy Son - Yeshua, and He set apart a holy day - the Sabbath. God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it...(Gen. 2:3). The Sabbath is the celebration of God's complete and perfect creation. As Judah Halevi explains, "The observance of the Sabbath is in itself an acknowledgment of His omnipotence, and at the same time an acknowledgment of the creation in His divine word."

The fourth commandment instructing us to keep the Sabbath day holy is thirty percent of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments contain 322 words. 98 of those words are are about the Sabbath.

The Sabbath was held in high esteem in both in Jewish circles and in early Christianity. The Sabbath was made at creation, two thousand years before there were any Jews. After Abraham's time the Sabbath applied to all people, aliens, and animals within the gates of the Israelites. (An alien is someone who is not a native of the land. This is the Hebrew "ger," a righteous non-Hebrew who has been grafted into Israel. See Romans 11:13-21.) ...

Jewish Customs of Shabbath

Written by Robin Sampson

T he Hebrews call the Sabbath Shabbat. It is one of the best known but least understood of all Jewish observances. Many think of the Sabbath negatively to be associated with "killjoys" who want a day filled with suppressing restrictions. To appreciate the Sabbath day with God we need to get rid of this negative image. To those who observe Shabbat, it is a precious gift from God, a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when one can set aside all of their weekday concerns and spend time for spiritual enrichment.

Observant Jews translate this command into practical observance by refraining from any act of creation or destruction on the Sabbath. Shabbat is a day devoted to rest, reflection, prayer and Torah study. The order of the activities vary, especially among non-Orthodox communities -just as Thanksgiving varies in American homes ...

The Sabbath Day

Written by David B Loughran

T  he seventh day of the week, the day commonly known as Saturday, is the Sabbath day of YAHWEH the Almighty God of Israel. It was ordained of God as a day of physical rest for all mankind, and the obligation to observe it arises from:

Yahweh's own example
His act of blessing the seventh day
And His explicit command to keep it holy.

The word Sabbath implies rest, peace, tranquillity and refreshment. And who will doubt but that in this turbulent and confused world every soul on earth is in need of spiritual rest and refreshment. Consequently, those who faithfully remember the Sabbath of the Most High and draw apart from the world each weekend to worship Him on His holy day, will receive the spiritual blessings promised in His Holy Word; blessings that will find full scope in the ages to come. ...

Sabbath Rest For All

Rav Yeshayahu Heiliczer

Isaiah 56:1-8: This is what Lord says: "maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil." Let no foreigner who has bound himself to Lord say, "Lord will surely exclude me from his people." And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree." For this is what Lord says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant -- to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. And foreigners who bind themselves to Lord to serve him, to love the name of Lord, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant -- these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." The Sovereign Lord declares -- he who gathers the exiles of Israel: "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered."

Who are these "foreigners" that God is speaking about through the Prophet Yeshayah? "Foreigners who bind themselves to Lord" are Non-Jewish Believers! Nevermind about those who claim that Believers in Yeshua have accepted another religion - that is nonsense! God only created one "religion" for His children -- Judaism -- and Messianic belief in Yeshua is the full-flowering of that faith and practice. This Scripture is the answer to the age-old question about how Non-Jews who consider themselves to be "grafted on" to the Jewish olive tree through trust in Messiah Yeshua should, in God's own words, honor the Sabbath! What a powerful Scripture! In the NIV this part has been labeled "Salvation for Others." Other than who? Other than the Jewish people! This is the Scripture in which God answers the question of the duty of a Non-Jewish believer to follow the laws of God's covenant - and especially His laws of the Sabbath. Those who keep His Sabbaths, including the Sabbath, the seventh day, and "hold fast" to His covenant will be gathered into those he considers His people and their sacrifices will be allowed on His altar.....

How to Celebrate the Sabbath

Wtitten by Glenn Kay

Two candles are placed on the table where the Shabbat meal is to be eaten The two candles symbolize the twofold command of God: to Remember and Sanctify. The mother of the household lights the candles and repeats the following blessing:

Barukh atah Adonai Elohenu melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvohtav or l'goyeem v'natan-lanu Yeshua m'sheekhaynu ha-or la-olam.

Blessed art thou, O Lord Our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by thy commandments and commanded us to be a light to the nations and has given us Yeshua, the light of the world.

Why does the mother light the candles? It is really a picture of redemption and contrast - As Eve, the first mother, extinguished the light of eternal life by disobeying God's command (Gen 2:17) So too as the mother lights the candles she causes us to remember that God chose another woman, Miriam - to bring forth "the light of the world." (Jn 8:12) to restore that which was lost in the garden.


Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath?

Is Sunday, the first day of the week, the Christian Sabbath? Did it replace the seventh day (Saturday) as the rest day of Yahweh the Almighty God of Israel? Has the fourth of the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20:8-11 been changed or done away with? If all the praiseworthy characters mentioned in the Bible - including Yeshua and His disciples - kept the seventh day Sabbath, then why are the majority of Christians keeping Sunday?

These and similar questions are being asked today by believers all over the globe and the answers to them fall into three distinct categories.

"The days of the week are all alike," say some believers, "so there is no need to become emotionally polarized about any particular one. Saturday, Sunday or even Friday for that matter, they are all the same to God. The important thing is to keep yourself holy every day of the week and forget about a weekly Sabbath, because it no longer exists. The Sabbath commandment has been fulfilled, superseded, done away with and nailed to the cross. Christians meet for worship on Sunday, not because it is the Sabbath of the ten Commandments, but because it is convenient. The law has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ and is now obsolete: so there is no longer a Sabbath commandment to observe. It is the Spirit that matters, not the day of the week on which you choose to rest."

"The law of God still stands" say others "but Sunday, the first day of the week, is the new Christian Sabbath. It commemorates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Lord's Day and has replaced the seventh-day Sabbath by the authority of the inspired Apostles and, therefore, by Christ himself. Christians are certainly under obligation to observe it."...

Why did HaShem reveal the Sabbath before the Sinai revelation?

Written by Rick Spurlock


he common complaint against the Torah, by otherwise well-meaning evangelicals, is that believers are no longer "under the Sinai covenant" which of course raises many questions for the ardent student of the Word.

What do they mean by the word "under"? Are we "under" any instructions from God, and if so, which ones? Or course when someone brings up the "which ones" argument, you should immediately know the outcome of the conversation. To such a person, the problem is not the God-given revelation of right and wrong (i.e., the commandments), their problem is what they perceive as the "Jewish" ones. Hint: there is no such thing as "Jewish commandments," and anyone claiming such is directly (and possibly intentionally) contradicting numerous passages in Scripture.

What is meant by "Sinai Covenant"? Is this to be differentiated from the covenant that follows the Sin of the Golden Calf? Or the covenant made on the plains of Moab (from which we get the name "Deuteronomy" [second law])? Clearly, this kind of theology may be deeply invested, but it is not well-thought out. It is no small matter to convince such folks that defining the "Sinai Covenant" as the "Old Covenant" is simply a theological machination.

But a bigger problem for the whole argument about being "under the Sinai covenant" is this: what about the Sabbath? The Sabbath is only reiterated in the Ten Words uttered at Sinai; but that is not where it is first found. It is of course found first in Genesis 2:2. As all Sabbath-keepers know, the Sabbath first relates to HaShem's work of creation. But the first commandments associated with Sabbath-keeping are given in Exodus 16, where the Sabbath is connected to the daily provision of manna.

So they gathered it [manna] every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted. And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, "This is what HaShem has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to HaShem. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.'"
Exodus 16:21-23

It seems pretty simple. It is a sad thing that this lesson is lost on so many who claim to know Messiah. Incidentally, this passage shows clearly that merely "having services on Saturday" is not "keeping the Sabbath." Weeks before the revelation at Sinai, HaShem gave us a very simple commandment. But we failed and continue to fail to listen....


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