KEEPING THE SABBATH
Revision JUNE 2023
- 10 REASON TO KEEP THE SABBATH
- SCRIPTURES INCORRECTLY USED TO DISCOUNT THE 7TH DAY SABBATH
- GENERAL Q&A ON THE SABBATH
- SABBATH THROUGHOUT HISTORY AND IN THE FUTURE
- HOW TO KEEP THE SABBATH
- VERSE BY VERSE COMMENTARY: ROMANS 14 & HEBREWS 4
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him” (1 Joh 3:4-6). “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:17-19). “That servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes…” (Luk 12:47-48).
No, I am not SDA, neither am I a Jew nor a Messianic Jew, nor do I belong to any denomination, nor am I the Sabbath police. I do however lead a group of people to imitate Yeshua in righteousness and power to win the lost and equip the saints. Of course there has been lots of persecution on this topic and others over the years. Whether it has been that the law of God is good, or healing is available today, or God is not ruling the world but the freewill He has given… regardless, we will all stand before the judgement seat of God and give an account.
The laws of God are really elementary and are only easy with Holy Spirit’s help. We need to teach people to love themselves by taking care of the temple – eating what God says to eat, abstaining from demonic things (incl. tattoos) and keeping the Sabbath. As one of the commandments is love your neighbour as yourself.
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All the promises in Yeshua are yes and amen because we have been grafted into Israel (2 Cor 1:20; Rom 11:17-19), but we appropriate the blessings by the things we do (Luk 6:38; Eph. 6:2-3) or don’t do (Gal 6:7).
Here are my top 10 reasons.
1. God made the Sabbath and sanctified it BEFORE sin entered (Gen 2:2), He didn't sanctify it for Himself but for us.
2. God KEPT IT (Gen 2:2), and if anyone didn't need to it would be God yet He showed us the example (Exo 20:11; Eph 5:1) - just like Jesus was water baptized to give us the example.
3. BEFORE the Ten commandments were actually given the Israelites, they were told to keep the Sabbath (Exo 16:28-30). They didn’t need the temple or priests to keep it like the sacrifices or festivals.
4. Not too many places in the scripture where God Himself (prior to Yeshua) spoke audibly to masses of people. Yet at Sinai He did when He gave the 10 commandments (Exo 20).
5. Commandments are in order of importance and the Sabbath is the 4th commandment (Exo 20:11), greater than coveting which is the tenth (Exo. 20:17; 1 Cor 6:10). The level of importance of the sin is determined by the level of consequences (Num. 15:31-33), it is far greater than not tithing.
6. Not keeping the Sabbath IS still SIN, as the law of God defines what sin is (1 John 3:4; Exo 20:11; Mat 7:23). Those who teach against the commandments of God, will be called least in the Kingdom of God (Matt. 5:19). Paul said, "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters." (1 Cor. 7:19).
7. Yeshua and His Disciples kept the Sabbath per the scripture (Luk 4:6, 31; 23:54-56) not like the Pharisees who made up laws (Luk 13:10-16). Yeshua didn't break the Sabbath if He had then He would have sinned, He did not sin. Therefore imitate Yeshua (1 Cor 11:1).
8. Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath (Mat 12:8) and said that we are to do GOOD on the Sabbath (Mat 12:12).
9. Yeshua told us to teach believers to observe all things that He commanded (Mat 28:20) – here is one of them. Yeshua said the Sabbath was MADE FOR MANKIND, it was not limited to only Israel (Mar 2:27-28).
10. The early church kept the Sabbath, therefore calling the day before preparation day (Didache ch 8:2), just like (Mark 15:42).
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Old covenant has been done away with, this includes the Sabbath?
- Answer: : Firstly, do you know what the Old Covenant actually is? It is not all the laws of God. It is only the law of ordinances (Eph 2:15) – specifically how to get rid of sin and connect with God (Temple, Sacrifices, Feasts, Consequences - Heb 9:1). This has been done away with in Yeshua, however the knowledge of Sin (the law of commandments) has not been done away with (Rom 3:20), and will not be done away with! He enables us to keep it – in fact He raised the bar to our thought life (Mat 5:17-24; Eze 11:19-21)! As it is written on our heart. Fyi - the only way to get to participate in the Old Covenant (the only way if you are a non-Jew) was through circumcision, thus it is discussed many times in the New Testament, as new converts wanted to go under the law (that specific law). Count how many times circumcision is mentioned in Galatians. It has nothing to do with the law of commandments (knowledge of sin – 1 Cor 7:19).
Col. 2:14-16 “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food (meat) or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths…” Therefore, Sabbaths are done away with.
- Quick Answer: The entire context is in reference to Yeshua "having forgiven you all trespasses" (v13) and no need to have animal sacrifices and festivals to cover sin. Meat and Drink is referred to as Meat and Drink offerings (Eze 45:17) - these cover sin. Every sacrifice requires wine poured on it. It has nothing to do with actual food to eat. Another is the Sabbath, this is referring to the specific Sabbaths that are associated with the festivals, not the 7th Day which precedes the Festivals. For example; Festival/annual Sabbaths referred to in John 19:31 is not the 7th Day Sabbath. “While as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building” (Heb. 9:8-11).
Gal. 4:8-10 “However, in the past, when you did not know God, you were slaves to things that are not really gods at all. But now that you know God, or rather have been known by God, how can you turn back again to those powerless and bankrupt basic principles? Why do you want to become their slaves all over again? You are observing days, months, seasons, and years”.
- Quick Answer: Paul rebuked them for going back to their old ways to be purified and not to walk in Christ. This is referencing Festival Sabbaths based on new moons, those that were associated with THE Old Covenant – Temple, Sacrifices etc. (Heb 9). Read 1 Cor 7:19 and understand what the “commandments of God what matters” means to the Corinthian church who never had the NT books.
- Detailed Answer: These were Gentiles, not Jews, they wanted to purify themselves from their sins by their works of ordinances. This included observing certain days, months, season and also sacrifices as per chapter 3. They didn’t understand that they had been perfected in Christ alone and now because of Him they are able to walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:19-21). It is not in reference to the 7TH day Sabbath, the Day the Lord set aside from the foundation of the world so that man can benefit (Mar 2:27).
1 Cor. 16:2 “On the first day of the week (Sunday) let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” Act 20:7-8 “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”
- Quick Answer: They collected funds on Sunday, or the first day of the week (after the Sabbath day) or gathered together on one of the Sabbath evenings (first of the Sabbaths “Week” evening – Friday evening). This wasn’t a law but something they did. It doesn’t change the term of the Sabbath nor the day that God set aside as the Sabbath.
Rom. 14:5-6 “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.….”
- Quick Answer: This has nothing to do with the Sabbath, but it refers to things not identified in scripture (‘doubtful things’ v.1). It refers to eating and not eating and a day. This is most likely referring to and fasting. Notice, the day one esteems above another, not what God esteemed (Isaiah 58:13) but what man esteems.
- Detailed Answer: This has nothing to do with the 7th day Sabbath, but if you want to choose your own day (esteeming one day above another) to elevate the Lord, e.g. Christmas day, or fasting every Wednesday or Friday, that is up to you, you cannot mandate that on other people. But the Sabbath day that the LORD chose is the 7th Day. However, Rom 14 is specifically referring to ‘doubtful things’ v1. Fasting - There is no law on which day to fast or how long. Count how many times ‘day’ and ‘eat’ is mentioned in the first 7 verses.
- 3 things you will notice: ‘one person’ means it is a ‘personal’ decision that isn’t backed up in the Old Testament scriptures “not to dispute over doubtful things” (v1). Secondly, it is a day the person chooses, not the Day the Lord had chosen like Gen. 2:2-3. Thirdly, the word “alike” isn’t in the original scripture. Without the word “alike” it means every day is separate for a specific purpose to the Lord. You will also notice that it is not saying do not observe a day to the Lord, but the opposite is true.
- The early church used to fast Wednesday and Friday (Didache Ch. 8), “But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation.”What day was preparation? Friday.What was the preparation day for? Preparation for the Sabbath.“And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath” (Mar 15:42).
- Other than fasting, what are some days we can judge above another day for the Lord that is doubtful – not prescribed in scripture? Holidays, Birth of Christ, Resurrection, Sunday’s, Baptisms etc. If someone keeps these to the Lord or not, we are not to judge them. Having group fasting days were popular in the early centuries, some mandated it.
For a verse by verse commentary of Romans 14, see below.
Heb. 4:1-14, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, as I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”
- Quick Answer: Where does it say He “replaced” the Sabbath - He is also our bread but does this mean He replaced bread. In fact, the writer was actually calling out people who don’t listen to God. Just like this example of ignoring the Sabbath and ignoring obeying God. And in verse 9 affirms the Sabbath - original text - there “remains” still exists, a sabbath keeping” for the people of God.
- Detailed Answer: The key is that the writer tells us to rest in what Christ does and he gives 3 examples of people who did not rest to support his case - 1) Israel into the promised land, did not enter due to unbelief (starts ch3), They would have found rest from works - specifically rest from their enemies, rest from hard labour in the field as it will be a land flowing with milk and honey. 2) 7th day they did not enter because of unbelief, rest from working for others and self. 3) Today if they would obey God's voice, yet they didn't and their heart became harder because of unbelief, they would have had rest from hardness of heart ..... Hebrews 4 has nothing to do with the Sabbath except that he uses it as one of 3 examples where the Israelites rejected God's blessing of rest because of unbelief, they did not enter. Similarly, not entering the rest in Christ because of unbelief. There is a rest of being with God which is 24-7 and there is a day set aside to practice it – the 7th Day Sabbath. In Exo 33:13-16 the Israelites are taught the abiding in His presence rest, “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” The Israelites still needed to keep the Sabbath. Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath, not a day He abolished, but a day He established for His people.
What does the word Sabbath mean?
It means “to cease, rest”.
Is the Sabbath affirmed in the NT?
Yes, Yeshua taught that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath (Mat 12:12).
Is the Sabbath Bondage?
God forbid, it is delightful to do what God told us to do (1 Joh 5:3).
Is not keeping the Sabbath sin?
Yes, sin is going against or ignoring God’s law (1 Joh 3:3-4).Not all sin is the same and thus the consequences are different.The weight of the sin can be measured by the consequences e.g. if someone didn’t keep the Sabbath they were killed (Num 15:32-36).
If Sabbath is so important why isn’t it mentioned more times in the NT?
It is a basic expectation.Yeshua quoted the last 6 commandments not the first 4 because the first 4 are basic expectations. Just like God doesn’t have to tell us more times in the NT books not to make idols, or to have sex with animals, or marry your father/mother, or cut oneself….these are basic expectations based on the law of God.
Is there anywhere where it says that the “Sabbath is done away with”?
Only two scriptures are quoted – Colossians 2 and Galatians 4.This is in reference to Sabbaths related to Festivals, not the 7th Day Sabbath.
Was it changed to Sunday in the New Testament?
Neither God the Father, Yeshua the Messiah nor the apostles ever teach or command that the first day of the week was to be kept as the Sabbath!
- The early church (1st- 2nd Century) used to keep the Sabbath, calling it the Lord’s Day (Didache Ch. 14) and the day before this day was called the Preparation, i.e. “Friday” (Didache Ch. 8). “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath” (Mar 15:42). There is no record in all Scripture that God ever removed His blessing from the Sabbath per Gen. 2:3 and placed it upon another day of the week.
- In 321AD, Emperor Constantine, who was a sun worshipper, instituted the worship of the sun on this day, hence ‘sun’ day (Codex Justinianus 3.12.3, trans. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 5th ed. (New York, 1902), 3:380, note 1.). In 364AD, it became a regulation instituted by the Catholic Church of Laodicea. The Roman Catholic Church also admits and boasts that the establishment of Sunday worship is based solely on the “ecclesiastical authority of the Roman Catholic Church.” The Sunday law was officially confirmed by the Roman Papacy. The Council of Laodicea in AD 364 decreed, “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honour, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ” (Strand, op. cit., citing Charles J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, 2 [Edinburgh, 1876] 316).
When does the Sabbath start?
Sunset to Sunset, start of twilight (Gen 1:8; Neh 13:19; Lev 23:32).
What day is the Sabbath in the Commandments?
Day 7 (Exo 11; Gen 2:1).
Is the correct day important? Did God choose the day or did He give us the right to choose the day?
Yes, it is important. God said it audibly, He wrote it down in the 10 commandments and affirmed it many times.It is not a day we choose, but He chose and sanctified the 7th day (Gen 2:2-3).He expects us to obey Him and not do what is right in our own eyes (Isa 56:2, 6-7; 58:13-14; Mar 2:27-28).
What is the Lord’s Day Rev 1:10?
Regardless of the interpretation, it doesn’t change the Sabbath day. But to answer the question: Some say this is a Sunday (day of resurrection), others say it is the Lord’s Supper Day (Wednesday) as the only other place this Greek word “Lord’s” is in 1 Cor 11 in reference to the Lord’s supper. The Lord’s Day is the Sabbath as the only place in scripture that the Lord Himself indicates that there is a specific day that belongs to Him, is Isaiah 58:13-14; the Disciples would have known it: “MY Holy Day” in reference to the 7th Day Sabbath not the Festival Sabbaths (Isa 58:13-14), and Yeshua affirming by saying that He is ''Lord'' of the Sabbath, i.e. Lord of that Day, Lord’s Day (Mat 12:8).
How do we know the Sabbath starts with the civil Friday sunset? Is it the same as the time of Moses?
The Julian calendar was instituted in 45AD and the Gregorian calendar which began in the 1500’s never changed the 7th Day, they only changed the months. Here is some more evidence dating back to the first centuries of the 7th Day 1) Every Jewish group celebrated Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset for centuries. This dates back to before the time of Yeshua. 2) We know from history that the Catholic Church instituted that the 1st Day of the week (Sunday) would be rest/day following the 7th Day (4th Century AD). 3) Many ancient and modern languages refer to the seventh day of the week as “Sabbath” or its equivalent. The name of Saturday in 24 languages has its very root word as Sabbath, many languages predate English.
Do we get blessings from God because we keep the Sabbath and what are they?
Yes, God said so (Gen 2:3; Is 58:14).We are not to confuse being blessed with blessings - Blessed is a state of position and blessings is receipt of favour.We are already blessed because of Christ, however we appropriate the blessings by the things we do.It is called obedience (1 Joh 5:3). Even though Yeshua is the Healer, we appropriate the healing by the action of laying on of hands or speaking life (Mar 16:18). Another is by honoring our parents, the blessing is long life (Eph 6:2). Another, give and it will be given (Luk 6:38).
Similarly, just because Yeshua is our rest we must still appropriate physical rest on the day He chose for us to rest. Is. 58:14, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord (Gratefulness); and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth (Favour), and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father (Food from the land and given specific land Gen 35:12): for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Are we not grafted into Israel (Rom 11:17) and now brought into the common wealth of Israel (Eph 2:12).The Sabbath enables us to know Him as He said (Eze 20:20), “..hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the YHWH your God. Keep the Sabbath also keeps us away from Idolatry as He said (Eze 20:16), “but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols.”
Side comment “Is our father Jacob?” Oh yes, in Christ he is – Just like Abraham so is Jacob. God is the God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob. “..that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel (Jacob) and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:12-13).
Did Yeshua speak against the Sabbath?
Yeshua rebuked the Pharisees because of how they kept the Sabbath, but Yeshua didn’t rebuke them for keeping it (Joh 5:9-10, 16). Said another way, per John 5. Yeshua’s Father “works unto now” (on the Sabbath) – this is good work, helping people, giving them life, giving them rest, working to rest - this is acceptable work on the Sabbath. Yeshua healed the man (this gave him rest) and told the man to pick up his mat and walk (he wasn’t to lose his possession) – good works. The work that uses people for financial gain, for meeting one’s own desires and is not kingdom focused, work that stops people praising God, this is unacceptable on the Sabbath.
What about the Pharisees rebuking Yeshua?
They rebuked Yeshua about a lot of things because they didn’t understand the scripture. Yeshua told us to keep His commandments (Joh 14:15; Mat 28:20). One of His commandments was to listen to those in Moses’ seat (Mat 23:1) and to do good on the Sabbath (Mat 12:12; Mar 3:4; Luk 4:16; 13:14-16). Therefore, we are to acknowledge the Sabbath Day. Yeshua also kept the Sabbath according to how it was intended, not as the Pharisees kept it as per their Talmud/Oral Law e.g. 1,000 paces on the Sabbath, no healing on the Sabbath, etc... This is not per the scripture. Yeshua was always against Tradition and Commandments of Men when it contradicted the word of God (Mat 15:6).
What about Yeshua’s disciples plucking grain on the Sabbath?
It was acceptable to pluck grain (Deu 23:25) and there is no direct law against it on the Sabbath, except in the Rabbinic law (not in the scripture). However, Yeshua still answers them and says “the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are blameless” they make sacrifices, circumcise … and are blameless. Why? Because they are doing God’s work they don’t profane it. It is not like the priests can do what they want to do on the Sabbath. Yeshua is the one with the disciples (Yeshua is leading them), they are doing Kingdom work and needing nourishment.
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BEFORE SIN ENTERED THE WORLD
GOD ESTABLISHED IT FOR ALL & HE HIMSELF KEPT IT
- Gen 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” This not only for Adam and his descendants, but for all mankind (Mar 2:27).
AFTER SIN ENTERED THE WORLD
ABRAHAM KEPT IT
No proof that he did or he didn’t but the scripture does say in Gen 26:5 when God spoke to Isaac … because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." What were they? These were those that were passed down through the centuries. Did you know that Shem (Noah’s Son) was around when Abraham was alive and much of what Noah preached he passed on to his children.
TEST FOR THOSE WHO ARE HIS
- God told them to observe the Sabbath BEFORE Mount Sinai or before the Ten Commandments were given. He tested them to see if they would obey Him. Exo 16:4-5 “Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily." Exo 16:22-23 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 the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. 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.’” Exo 16:27-28 “Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?” But wasn’t this the first time they refused so why does He say how long do you refuse? It means they refused to keep it even before this in Egypt and now God repeats Himself and they still refuse. Like many Christians today.
GOD SPOKE AUDIBLY
- Exo 20:8-11"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
- Yeshua said, “Man (not Jewish people only) shall not live by bread alone, BUT BY EVERY WORD WHICH PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD"! (Mat 4:4; Luk 4:4; Deu 8:3). To keep the Sabbath was an AUDIBLE command.
- Isa 58:13-14 “If you keep your feet from trampling the Sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on MY holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable; and if you honor it by not going your own ways and seeking your own pleasure or speaking merely idle words, then you will take delight in the LORD, and he will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; and he will make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob, your father.”
- Eze 22:25-26 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth the Law, for sin is the transgression of the law." Whosoever means anyone--Jew or Gentile! Don’t change what God has instituted. He alone created the seventh day and made it holy! "Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: THEY HAVE PUT NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE HOLY AND PROFANE, neither have they shown difference between the clean and unclean, and they HAVE HID THEIR EYES FROM MY SABBATHS, AND I AM PROFANED AMONG THEM". Christians are priests.
HOLY SPIRIT MANDATE IN CHRISTIANS
- Eze 11:19-20 “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
YESHUA KEPT THE SABBATH
- Luk 4:16 “So 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.”
- Mar 1:21 “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught”.
YESHUA HONOURED THE SABBATH
- Joh 5:9-10, 16 “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound--think of it--for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?"
- Joh 7:22-23“Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?”
YESHUA COMMANDED HIS DISCIPLES TO KEEP THE SABBATH
- Mat 19:17 “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” The 7th Day Sabbath is part of the commandments.
- Rev 22:14 “Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
WOMEN WHO FOLLOWED YESHUA KEPT THE SABBATH
- Luk 23:56 “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.”
THE EARLY CHURCH KEPT THE SABBATH
- Act 13:42-44 “So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.”
- Act 16:13 “And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither”.
- Isa 56:1-7: “Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed (NOT CURSED) is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. 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.” Did you know that God has an Altar in Heaven? Do not think it is only for the Israelites (Rev 6:9; 8:3, 5; 9:13; 11:1; 14:18; 16:7).
- The early church (1st-2nd Century) used to keep the Sabbath, calling it the Lord’s Day (Didache Ch. 14) and the day before this day was called the Preparation, i.e. “Friday” (Didache Ch. 8). Mark 15:42 “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath.”
DURING THE WORLD’S TRIBULATION PERIOD
SIGN OF BELIEVERS
- Rev 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
- Rev 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
DURING THE MILLENNIUM REIGN
- Isa 66:22-23 "For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me," says the LORD, "So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD.”
How should one keep the Sabbath according to the scripture and enjoy this blessing of the Lord (Gen. 2:3)? The Jews did not understand how to, and made-up their own Sabbath laws that Yeshua broke. He did not break the Sabbath, if He had, then He would have sinned, which He did not – He was sinless.
Does the Sabbath abolish all work? Absolutely not, it is the “Type” of work that is different (e.g. John 5:16-17).
How do we keep the Sabbath? Firstly, acknowledge the Sabbath like Yeshua did (Mark 2:27-28). Secondly, do good work as defined by God (Mark 3:4).
What kind of work is good on the Sabbath? All types of work that forces self to spend time with God, help people glorify God and show mercy to all. Therefore, it is a day to reflect on the goodness of God and one’s dependence on Him (per the Sabbath Psalm 92 – this Psalm was read during the Sabbath as a reminder).
We are to imitate Yeshua (1 Cor. 11:1) therefore look at how He kept the Sabbath:
- He preached (Luke 4:16), taught (Luke 4:31; 6:6), healed (Matt. 12:10; Luke 13:16), made something to heal someone on that day (John 9:14) and set the captives free (Mark 1:21-26).
- He also ensured that we are to do those things that are essential for daily life, things that can’t be done another day: eating (Exo. 12:16), including feeding and giving water to the animals (Luke 13:15).
- Making provision for the unforeseen circumstances: helping an animal out of a ditch (Matt. 12:11) and securing property (e.g. John 5:8).
- And when doing the work of the Lord, being able to pluck the fruit of the land to eat (Matt. 12:1, 5).
What kind of work is unacceptable on the Sabbath? In summary, all work that is self-focused, self-reliant (money focus), and work that exploits people or animals. To expound:
- Be God focused not self focused:Isa 58:13 “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Exo 23:13 “make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”
- Depend on God and be not self-reliant: No selling or buying (Neh 13:16-17), even if it is just setting up or preparing to trade another day (Jer 17:21-23).
- Show kindness and work at resting in God, do not work or exploit others: Exo. 20:9-10 “…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”.Exo 34:21 “…seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest”. Exo 23:12-13 “…Seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect (watchful).” This includes not working to kindle/burn a fire (Num. 15:32-36; Exo 35:2-3), and not baking or boiling (Exo 16:23). Everything should be prepared the day before and enjoyed on the Sabbath.
Some practical questions about “keeping” the Sabbath
- Can I switch the lights on in the home because: 1) it is making someone work at the power plant and 2) it is making a fire on the day?
1) Most power plants are automated or store power, but if someone is directly working for you, tell them to stop.
2) Per the context, the emphasis is on the “work” required to make a fire: Kindling, collecting sticks, chopping wood, trying to get a spark and then trying to maintain it with the correct levels of air flow.If we are doing this type work then stop.If automated, then not to worry, enjoy the Sabbath.
- Can I go out on the Sabbath as the scripture says “Abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day" (Exo 16:29)?
No, if it is for self-focus. However, yes if one is doing things for the Lord like the Priests and Levites did on the Sabbath, or going to the Tabernacle/place of fellowship to know more about God, or helping someone in need, or feeding their animals, or eating food at someone’s house in order to share the good news of the Kingdom (Luke 14:1). In summary, look at the example of Yeshua who kept the Sabbath perfectly.
- Can I go out to a restaurant to enjoy a meal with Christians, as people are working anyways?
No, by going out to a restaurant, you are directly making them work for you - trading (Exo. 20:9-10; Neh. 10:31). Even if someone else pays, you are still making them work.
- What happens if I need to work to make money?
The unbelievers are self-reliant but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you (Mat 6:33). Know that God is your provider (Gen. 22:14) and arrange your work so that you can keep His command. Obedience requires faith.
- What about if I’m a doctor or firefighter etc.?
You are doing good by helping people but instead of you receiving money from your labour, give the service for free or give the money obtained to the poor (keep none of it for yourself).
Romans 14 verse by verse commentary – You will notice that nothing about the Sabbath is mentioned, nothing about the Lord’s Day, but everything about “doubtful things” – things not called out specifically in the scripture. Paul is writing to those who already know the law of God (Rom 7:1).
(Rom 14:1) Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
Paul told Timothy that all scripture (OT) was used for correction, reproof (2 Tim 3:16). But if it is not in there how can they judge? Therefore, do not dispute over doubtful things, like which day or how many days to fast or IF the food in the market place has been sacrificed to idols and you don’t know about it.
(Rom 14:2) For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
(Rom 14:3) Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
(Rom 14:4) Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
Notice he is comparing meat to vegetables as people typically sacrificed meat to idols vs. vegetables and sold it in the market place. So they don’t know if all the meat was sacrificed or some. "They are unsure" (doubtful things) so they ate only vegetables. If they knew, then they shouldn’t eat it (Rev 2:20; Act 15:29). Now that they were unsure if the meat was sacrificed to idols, then they can eat it based on 2 conditions (1 Tim 4:3-5): The WORD OF GOD (Lev 11 – God clearly says what meat can be eaten e.g. lamb, beef not pork or shell fish etc. and if one is uncertain as to whether it has been offered to idols) and PRAYER (1 Tim 4:5 – blessing, thanksgiving). But if the person wants to fast meat but only eats vegetables.
(Rom 14:5) One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
(Rom 14:6) He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
(Rom 14:7) For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
(Rom 14:8) For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.
(Rom 14:9) For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Paul continues talking about doubtful things like abstaining from food and choosing a day to do that – fasting. The day “a person” esteems more than the other like fasting, not a day God esteemed above another like the Sabbath. If it is a day we esteem – it is between God and us.
Also please note, we are either to esteem one day or all days. But not all days are to be alike. “Alike” is not in the original. I esteem the Sabbath because He esteemed it, I esteem Monday as a fast day, Wednesday as a Bible Study day, etc. They are set aside for a specific Kingdom purpose.
(Rom 14:10) But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
(Rom 14:11) For it is written: "AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD."
(Rom 14:12) So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
This seems like a contradiction with 1 Cor 6:2 where Paul says "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?" (1 Cor 6:2-4). Paul is saying do not judge over doubtful things (not in the scripture 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 6:2-4; 2 Tim 3:16) but judge with righteous judgment (things not doubtful). And when you do, measure yourself before you judge another, for the same measure you use it will be measured back to you (e.g. Rom 2:12; Matt 7:1-2; 1 Cor 11:31). As we are all going to give an account. This is something we are to remember.
(Rom 14:13) Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
Do not judge another over “doubtful things” thereby putting a stumbling block or cause for our brother to fall. They may be offended because of this doubtful judgement which is based on nothing! And this offense is worse than the actual deed they might have done which you will be accountable for!
(Rom 14:14) I know and am convinced by the Lord Yeshua that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
(Rom 14:15) But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
(Rom 14:16) Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;
Is Paul really saying “nothing” is unclean and thereby contradicting the early Church Act 15:29 and what Yeshua said to the Church (Rev 2:14,20)? Or is Paul saying there is nothing that is unclean of ITSELF - by the original design made by God, for an intended purpose nothing is unclean. For example, by the Lord Yeshua we would not be eating blood, eating an animal that was strangled, eating anything offered to idols knowingly (Act 15:29). However, when it is doubtful (not sure if it was sacrificed to idols) then don’t grieve our brother by judging him for eating it, or if he is offended don’t eat it so that he doesn’t judge all your good work as evil.
(Rom 14:17) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
(Rom 14:18) For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
(Rom 14:19) Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
The Kingdom of God is spiritual so it is obviously not eating and drinking! He is not saying you can eat everything you want thereby negating the Church Leaders & Yeshua’s words “do not eat things offered to idols” (Act 15:29; Rev 2:14,20). He is saying focus on righteous living, peace and joy IN AND ONLY IN THE Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit will help you, and help all things fall into place. Don’t put the cart before the horse. We will pursue love and peace and building one another up. Sometimes love and edifying includes expelling a person like Paul did in 1 Cor 5:1-5. Because the focus is the saving of the soul.
(Rom 14:20) Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
(Rom 14:21) It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.
(Rom 14:22) Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
(Rom 14:23) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
Paul summarizes doubtful things: If you don’t know if it is sacrificed to idols and it meets God’s standards for food then eat it, thanking Him. If someone will be offended by you, then don’t eat it or drink it. For example; some people believe that no one should drink wine and some people believe they can. This is doubtful, there isn’t a scripture forbidding to drink wine, but the opposite is given in certain situations. Yeshua turned water into wine, He drank wine, the Lord’s supper had wine, Communion is wine, Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake. But if someone shouldn’t drink wine because it can make them stumble – as they were previously an alcoholic, then don’t drink it in front of them or put it around them, thereby making them stumble. This is not love. Also don’t tell someone not to drink wine when the law of God doesn’t forbid it. This concludes Paul’s message on doubtful things and how to judge within it.
Verse by verse commentary – You will see that no-where in the scripture does the writer remove the Sabbath or indicate that the day was replaced by Yeshua. The key is that the writer tells us to rest in what Christ does and he gives 3 examples of people who did not rest to support his case - 1) Israel into the promised land, did not enter due to unbelief (starts ch3), They would have found rest from works - specifically rest from their enemies, rest from hard labour in the field as it will be a land flowing with milk and honey. 2) 7th day they did not enter because of unbelief, rest from working for others and self. 3) Today if they would obey God's voice, yet they didn't and their heart became harder because of unbelief, they would have had rest from hardness of heart ..... Hebrews 4 has nothing to do with the Sabbath except that he uses it as one of 3 examples where the Israelites rejected God's blessing of rest because of unbelief, they did not enter. Similarly, not entering the rest in Christ because of unbelief. You will also notice that the Israelites had every day to be in His rest (just like we are in Yeshua) and they were still told to keep the Sabbath. They refused due to unbelief, like many refuse today. You will also notice that the writer affirms the Sabbath. He who has ears to hear, hear.
(Heb 4:1) Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
Therefore, fear God because you can come short of entering His rest. It isn’t a done deal. Fear results in an action. But what action is required? To believe and do what He says.
(Heb 4:2) For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
“Unto us” – In Heb 3, the good news was preached to the Israelites and also unto us – the hearers.
(Heb 4:3) For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
“Those who believed” is past tense and "do enter" is a present tense. They would enter rest after they believe. Those Israelites who did not believe, didn’t enter His rest.
Then the writer gives an example. This is another sentence that provides the example and followed by v4. “Although the works were finished from the foundations of the world”. This is creation and then God rested.
(Heb 4:4) For he spake in a certain of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
(Heb 4:5) And in this again, If they shall enter into my rest.
(Heb 4:6) Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
God spoke of the 7th Day (Sabbath) for people to rest in, He sanctified it and blessed it. He also gave the example by resting in it Himself (Gen 2:1-2) and in this again, they refused to enter into His rest.
Therefore there is an action to step into the blessing He provided but unbelief keeps us out. Those would the 7th day was shared with rejected it because of unbelief.
(Heb 4:7) Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
He gives another example. A specific day, "Today" meaning "now" (Psa 95:7) do not harden the heart. In other words, listen and obey so that one’s heart doesn’t get hard because of unbelief.
(Heb 4:8) For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
Joshua said that once they take possession (action of taking the land with force) as the Lord promised them THEN they will have rest (Jos 1:15; 22:4). After they fought against the enemies, God gave them rest (Jos 23:1). Notice the different type of rest referenced. But they didn’t have rest because of their continual disobedience based on unbelief.
(Heb 4:9) There remaineth therefore rest to the people of God.
Therefore there remains a rest for the people of God. Some versions have the word “rest” but the accurate translation from the Greek for this Greek word is - There remains “Sabbath keeping” for the people of God.
(Heb 4:10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
(Heb 4:11) Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Those who have entered His rest, have stopped their own works like God did from His. Therefore let us (believers) LABOUR (work) to enter that rest by being obedient to Him until we die.
(Heb 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Word of God that we hear and obey delivers results and reveals the heart of disobedience or obedience. You will know them by their fruit. The starting point of every action is a thought, every thought is a belief, and every belief hinges on the authority we put above ourselves.
(Heb 4:13) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
All things are transparent before him as the word of God penetrates every area of life. He knows if we are working to enter the rest He provided or not.
(Heb 4:14) Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Yeshua the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Let us hold onto what our High Priest, Yeshua Christ did and said, He is our example e.g. Mat 23:1-3; Mat 5:17-48; 7:21-25.
(Heb 4:15) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
(Heb 4:16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
For Yeshua also knows our weakness because He too experienced them and is the perfect example to follow and the One we run to for help in our weaknesses.