Steps to the Sabbath

Many people ignore the Sabbath, most churches do not teach the Sabbath,

but keeping the Sabbath is the fourth of the Ten Commandments

 

The Scriptures teach us that the Sabbath is still relevant for today, but many people have questions about what it means to keep the Sabbath. What does it mean to rest on the Sabbath and keep it set apart? What should we do and not do on this day? The following is a list of ways that you can incorporate the Sabbath into your lives.

Sabbath is the Hebrew word SHABBATH which is a holy rest day unto Yahuah. It is the seventh day of every week (Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 16:23-29), as well as this, there seven High Sabbath days In the Feasts (Leviticus 23). The Sabbath began with Yahuah in Genesis 2:2-3 ending his work of creating the earth and the heavens and resting on the seventh day. The Sabbath helped people recuperate (mentally and physically) after a week of work and redirect their focus from their daily routine to the Father.

The Sabbath was observed and kept by every believer that desired to please Yahuah and keep His commandments from Adam to Moses, all the Kings and Prophets, the Messiah, His disciples, and the early believers. So integral was this day that Yahuah included this as the fourth of the Ten Commandments given at Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:8).

 

After the Exodus from Egypt, when the Israelites were in the wilderness, Yahuah instructed the Hebrews to gather the provision of manna enough for just that day but on the sixth day they would gather twice as much so that they would have enough for the seventh day Sabbath (Exodus 16:4). This was because the seventh day was a day of rest from work. In the first six days the Hebrews did not trust in Yahuah’s provision and therefore gathered more than what they needed for that day and the worm and rot destroyed the leftover manna that was not eaten on the sixth day (Exodus 16:20). Only the gathered manna for the seventh day Sabbath did not rot or gather the worm infestation (Exodus 16:24).

Many people believe that the Sabbath is only for the Hebrews. However, when the Sabbath was created, there were no Hebrews, only Adam and Eve who are all mankind’s ancestors. Isiah prophesied on this issue in Isaiah 56:6

Isaiah 56:6 “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to Yahuah, to serve Him, and to love the Name of Yahuah, to be His servants, all who guard the Sabbath, and not profane it, and are holding onto My covenant –

This is very explicit that the Sabbath applies to all believers.

The Messiah, His disciples and the early church kept the Sabbath, until Constantine ruled that observance was to be on Sunday. Sunday was the day of worship set aside for the sun deity, M-i-t-h-r-a-s. This blending of the Sabbath into a false deities worship day must have been, and remain a significant offence to the Father. All of the churches that maintain Sunday and teach that the Sabbath observance is not necessary are promoting and teaching paganism.

The Messiah healed on the Sabbath to remind people of why the Father instituted the Sabbath day of rest. The Sabbath was meant to benefit people as much as to glorify the Father. Messiah reminded people of why the Sabbath was implemented in Mark 2:27:

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

If you genuinely seek the Messiah, you will want to be obedient to his teaching and keep his commandments. The Messiah advised us to keep his commands.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands……….. 21 “He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.”………… 23 Yahusha answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and We shall come to him and make Our stay with him.  24 “He who does not love Me does not guard My Words. And the Word which you hear is not Mine but of the Father Who sent Me.

So, what are the Messiahs commands? The Messiah did not come to do away with the Torah, in Matthew 5:17, the Messiah said

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. 18 “For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one yod or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.  19 “Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens.  20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens.

The fourth Commandment still applies now as do all the Ten Commandments. Don’t be selective on which of those Commandments you will obey.

The steps to the Sabbath day are as follows:

1) Remember the Sabbath day

The fourth Commandment set out in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8 tell us to remember the Sabbath day and set it apart. So throughout the first six days of the week, “remember” that on the seventh day you will be resting. When you make your plans for the week, place the Sabbath into your schedule. Don’t make any plans for the seventh day that would take away from what you should be doing. Just as the Lord has remembered His love and faithfulness to His people (Psalm 98:3), we should be faithful to Him and remember His Sabbath.

2) Rest, don’t do normal servile work

The Sabbath is kept every seventh day, which is from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. On this day we should do no work—that is, we should not do whatever we do for income and self-provision. The Sabbath is ultimately a picture of the gift of salvation in the Messiah and therefore cannot be “worked for.” Just as the Sabbath is an opportunity for us to trust the Father for our physical provision, we must trust in the Messiah for our salvation. We cannot rely on our own efforts. God is the one who provides and we simply receive His blessings with grateful hearts.

We are not to directly cause anyone else to work either. As the fourth commandment says,

Exodus 20:9 “Six days you labour, and shall do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of Yahuah your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

It is breaking the Sabbath if we require people to work on that day. So for example, that rules out going out to eat at restaurants requiring cooks and servers to work preparing and serving food on the Sabbath, or to go shopping and require shop assistants to work.

There are exceptions to this however, and that was what the Messiah continually challenged the pharisees over. When the Messiah healed on the Sabbath, He was also challenging the religious leaders with the question of doing good or evil on the Sabbath: “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4). The leaders remained silent and refused to answer. His healing gave them the answer. Doing good and saving life is lawful, even on the Sabbath. Using the Sabbath rule to do evil or to kill is an ungodly perversion of the law.

Activities that may be performed on the Sabbath include essential work, health work, rest homes, invalid care etc etc that cannot by set aside on that day without causing suffering.

3) Fellowship with other believers

We are instructed in the Torah to have a holy gathering on the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:3), which is why we see in Scripture that it was the Messiah and the apostles' custom to attend synagogue and worship with others on this day (Luke 4:16; Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 16:13; 17:1-2; 18:4). Therefore, make every effort to fellowship with like-minded believers on the Sabbath. If there aren’t any like-minded believers near you, perhaps have a home group meeting with friends and family.

4) Don’t buy or sell

We are prohibited from buying and selling on the Sabbath day (Exodus 20:10 and Nehemiah 10:31), so make sure you go grocery shopping and take care of errands during the other six days of the week. The Sabbath is a special day of rest and a time to spend with seeking the Father, and with family and friends. It should not be treated like the other days of the week on which “common” things are done—that is, chores, errands, shopping, etc.

5) Reflect on the Gospel message

One of the reasons the Father gave us the Sabbath day is to remind us of our deliverance from slavery using the Hebrews in Egypt as an example (Deuteronomy 5:15). Since Egypt is often used to refer to sin throughout the New Testament, we can see how on a spiritual level the Sabbath is a prophetic picture of our salvation in the Messiah. The Messiah rescued us from the slavery of our sins and gave us true rest in Him. On the Sabbath we remember that we were once enslaved to our sins, but now we are free because of the Messiah. The Sabbath is a time to reflect on the Scriptures and seek the Father.

6) You may, but do not have to observe traditions

The Jewish people have been keeping the Sabbath for thousands of years and thus have developed many traditions that may be worth including in your Sabbath day. The Scriptures do not require it but some of these traditions including the blessings over the bread, wine, and candles, singing songs, and closing the Sabbath with a ceremony reinforce the meaning of the Sabbath day, and makes the day special.

7) Spend time relaxing with family

The Sabbath day is about spending time developing relationships. That includes family. Some families may meet, or go for walks. The Sabbath is a time focused on the Father and family. But do not travel far. The Scriptures remind us of a Sabbath days journey (Acts 1:12), so do not embark on long journeys beyond what is reasonable. The rabbis set a Sabbath day journey as about 2,000 cubits each way, about say 20 minutes each way.

8) Find delight in the Sabbath

The Sabbath was not intended to be a burden, although the pharisees rules made it so, but rather a time of joy, which is why the Messiah reminded them of this on many occasions.

Isaiah also prophesied of a special blessing if we do not turn aside from the Sabbath

Isaiah 58:13 “If you do turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My set-apart day, and shall call the Sabbath ’a delight,’ the set-apart day of Yahuah ‘esteemed,’ and shall esteem it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, 14 then you shall delight yourself in Yahuah. And I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth, and feed you with the inheritance of Jacob your father. For the mouth of Yahuah has spoken!”

So enjoy the Sabbath and give thanks to the Father for giving us rest.