The Sabbath

11:21 pm Articles

A Memorial

We live in a fast-paced world, and people are working more and more hours just trying to “make ends meet”, often to the detriment of marriage, family, and even health. Our heavenly Father had a better way in mind – a way He instituted at Creation specifically for our benefit.

“And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day Elohim (eh-low-HEEM, ‘God’) finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested from all His work…” (Gen 2:1-3).

So our Creator rested on the seventh day, and He blessed it and hallowed it (set it apart) because He had rested on it. The simple fact of His resting created special time.

Many hundreds of years later, following their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, the ancient Israelites were reminded of this wondrous act:

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim… for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; Therefore Yahweh blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Ex. 20:1-2, 8-11).

The weekly Sabbath is actually a memorial, a memorial of Creation and of redemption (see Deut. 5:12-15, for instance).

The “Jewish Sabbath”?

Many people have been taught that it is the “Jewish Sabbath”. But we need to remember a couple of things: first, there were no “Jews” at Creation! Second, the term “Jew” actually refers to the descendents of Judah – only one of the twelve sons of Israel. Third, the Sabbath is never identified in Scripture as only for the Jews. On the contrary:

“And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, Yahweh’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations — My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to Yahweh in all your dwellings” (Lev. 23:1-3).

So it is not the “Jewish Sabbath.” It is an appointed time (appointment) of Yahweh, and a holy convocation (gathering). In fact, all of the feast days identified in Leviticus 23 are “feasts of Yahweh.” Over and over again, Scripture tells us that there is to be one law for the foreigner and the native-born Israelite.

Messiah and the Sabbath

During His earthly ministry the Messiah had to contend with accusations from the scribes and Pharisees that He was teaching people to disobey and disregard the Sabbath. But what we find is that He did observe the Sabbath – just not according to their traditions. In fact, He told them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath’ ” (Mark 2:27).

He did NOT say that the Sabbath was made for “the Jews,” but rather for man (all mankind). Nor did He say that people weren’t to observe it any more. He never objected to the Sabbath; what he objected to were the man-made rules and regulations about it that the Pharisees and scribes had imposed upon the people.

Many sincere believers have been taught that the Sabbath was “done away with” when Messiah died. However, that’s not what the Bible teaches; on the contrary, according to Scripture there remains a Sabbath rest (sabbatismos – literally, ‘the keeping of a Sabbath’) to the people of Yahweh (Hebr. 4:9). Yahshua the Messiah kept the Sabbath, as did Paul and the disciples (see Luke 23:56; Acts 13:14, 27, 42-44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4, etc.).

The seventh day Sabbath is holy to Yahweh. As followers of Messiah, it holds a special place in our lives, too – a memorial not only of Creation, but also of our redemption through the Blood of the Lamb. At Lion of Judah Family Worship Center, we don’t see the Sabbath as an imposition or burden but rather as a delight (see Isa. 58:13-14) – one day a week when we can rest and be refreshed, leaving behind the cares and concerns of this world – and worship the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

If you have any questions about this subject, please don’t hesitate to ask. You may also request our free in-depth booklet entitled “A Day to Remember”.