Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Sabbath Day of Rest

Overview


The seventh day of the week is the Sabbath Day of rest according to the laws of MosesThe fourth commandment tells us to keep the Sabbath Day Holy.  The Israelites were told that their keeping of this commandment was a sign of being HIS chosen people.  Therefore the descendants of the 12 Tribes of Israel are the people who are required to keep the Sabbath day laws as a sign that they are honoring the laws of Moses.


The first time the Sabbath day is mentioned is in Genesis chapter 2 and it is referred to as the seventh day.  Here we are told that God rested on the seventh day and this sets an example for us to follow:

 “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 done. And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”  Sep Genesis 2:2-3


The English word ‘rest’ is translated from the Greek word ‘κατέπαυσε’ (katapauó) which means to cease labor and rest.

The English word ‘sanctifiedmeans to declare something holy.  The word ‘holy’ means that it is to be kept set apart or dedicated for a specific purpose; therefore the seventh day is to be dedicated to rest.

The Sabbath in Exodus

After the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, our Heavenly Father worked with HIS chosen people for 40 years teaching them how to follow the laws HE gave to Moses.   The first time that the Sabbath day is mentioned is prior to the Israelites receiving the 10 Commandments.   In this verse the Israelites are told that they must prepare all their food for the Sabbath day on the sixth day since they must rest on the seventh day which is the Sabbath day of rest.

And Moses said to them, Is not this the word which the Lord ((Κύριος - Cyrios)spoke? To-morrow is the Sabbath (σάββατον - sábbaton), a holy rest (ἀνάπαυσις - anapausis)  to the Lord (κυρίῳ - kyriō) bake that ye will bake, and seethe that ye will seethe, and all that is over leave to be laid by for the morrow.”  Sep Exo 16:23


The very next day, on the seventh day, they are again reminded they must do all their work of gathering manna and preparing their food during the first sixth days of the week.  They are further instructed that they are not to leave their homes on the seventh day. Notice that the Sabbath day is to be considered a gift from our Heavenly Father.

And they left of it till the morning, as Moses commanded them; and it stank not, neither was there a worm in it. And Moses said, Eat that to-day, for to-day is a sabbath to the Lord: it shall not be found in the plain. Six days ye shall gather it, and on the seventh day is a sabbath, for there shall be none on that day. And it came to pass on the seventh day that some of the people went forth to gather, and found none. And the Lord said to Moses, How long are ye unwilling to hearken to my commands and my law?  See, for the Lord has given you this day as the sabbath, therefore he has given you on the sixth day the bread of two days: ye shall sit each of you in your houses; let no one go forth from his place on the seventh day. And the people kept sabbath on the seventh day.” Sep Exo 16:24-30

The next time we are given instructions for the Sabbath day of rest is when our Supreme Heavenly Father gives Moses the 10 Commandments.  Here we are told that all laborious work must be performed the first six days of the week and that no one in your home is to perform any type of work.  This means to me that all of the stores should be closed on this day since no one can perform work.  We are to conduct no business at all.

Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days thou shalt labour, and shalt perform all thy work. But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; on it thou shalt do no work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy servant nor thy maidservant, thine ox nor thine ass, nor any cattle of thine, nor the stranger that sojourns with thee. For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, and the sea and all things in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it [made holy]. Exo 20:8-11

The 10 Commandments are all high level instruction that have lower level laws that explain how to fully keep each commandment.  In the verses below we are given further instructions that the Sabbath day laws are to be kept by the 12 Tribes descendants forever.  We are also told that if any one violates this law they will be put to death.  We all do know that we will all die; therefore it might be a referenced to the second death explained in the book of Revelation.  If so, the second death is permanent so it is important to repent if you have been breaking this law.  Our Supreme Father states that following this commandment or law is a sign of being HIS chosen people.

Do thou also charge the children of Israel, saying, Take heed and keep my sabbaths; for they are a sign with me and among you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the Lord that sanctifies you. And ye shall keep the sabbaths, because this is holy to the Lord for you; he that profanes it shall surely be put to death: every one who shall do a work on it, that soul [(ψῡ́χω - psū́khō - I blow)shall be destroyed from the midst of his people. Six days thou shalt do works, but the seventh day is the sabbath, a holy rest to the Lord; every one who shall do a work on the seventh day shall be put to death. And the children of Israel shall keep the sabbaths, to observe them throughout their generations. It is a perpetual covenant with me and the children of Israel, it is a perpetual sign (σημεῖον - sēmeîon) with me; for in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, and on the seventh day he ceased, and rested.” Exo 31:13-17 



The Greek word "ψῡ́χω - psū́khō" that was translated to the English word soul means the state of being alive and the immortal part of a person. 

The Greek word σημεῖον – sēmeîon” which comes from the root word "σῆμᾰ - sêma"  means a mark, sign or token that can be used to verify someone’s identity.

Further along in Exodus we are reminded that all work must be performed the first six days of the week and anyone performing work on the Sabbath will die.  We are also told that we are not to have any fire burning in our dwellings; meaning we are to be at home and we are not to cook or bake.  All meals should be prepared before the seventh day.

Six days shalt thou perform works, but on the seventh day shall be rest--a holy Sabbath--a rest for the Lord: every one that does work on it, let him die. Ye shall not burn a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath-day; I am the Lord.”  Sep Exo 35:2-3



The Sabbath in Leviticus

The book of Leviticus repeats that the Sabbath day is a holy day of rest and that no work is to be done and this ordinance is to be observed forever.  They are told that everyone in the home must observe this law.

“Six days shalt thou do works, but on the seventh day is the sabbath; a rest, a holy convocation to the Lord: thou shalt not do any work, it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.” Sep Lev 23:3 



The English word ‘convocation’ is translated from the Greek root word ‘klétos’ which refers to the people that are ‘called out’, ‘invited’ or ‘chosen’ by our Supreme Father in Heaven. 

The Sabbath in the Book of Numbers

While the Israelites were camping in the wilderness they found a man violating the Sabbath day law and our Supreme Heavenly Father gave the Israelites permission to stone the man to death according to the law.  This is important since within the 10 commandment there is another law stating ‘thou shalt not murder’. Since the Israelites were finally free of their slavery and now again able to keep the Sabbath day holy, they wanted to ensure the day stayed holy and was a day of rest.  All the Israelites had been told not to perform work on the Sabbath day and the penalty is death; therefore the penalty was carried out. 

And the children of Israel were in the wilderness, and they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath-day.  And they who found him gathering sticks on the sabbath-day brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel.  And they placed him in custody, for they did not determine what they should do to him.  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Let the man be by all means put to death: do ye all the congregation, stone him with stones.  And all the congregation brought him forth out of the camp; and all the congregation stoned him with stones outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses.”  Sep Num 15:32-36


The Israelites did think it was critical that the penalty of this law be fulfilled.  If one man breaks this law, then others may think they have permission to also break the law and they did not want this attitude towards the Sabbath day in the camp.  Since our ancestors did not keep this law we now have many Sabbath day law breakers amongst us which makes it hard for the rest of us to follow the Sabbath day law.  This law is still in force since it has not all been fulfilled.  Many laws are not yet fulfilled including the fall feast days.

Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  DR Mat 5:17-19

The Sabbath in Deuteronomy

It is recorded in the book of Deuteronomy that Moses gathered all of the Israelites together to give them the commandments and laws.  It is also recorded in this book that they agreed to follow the laws by saying ‘amen’.    Here is where they are told the Sabbath day law once more:

Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God commanded thee. Six days thou shalt work, and thou shalt do all thy works;  but on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do in it no work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, thine ox, and thine ass, and all thy cattle, and the stranger that sojourns in the midst of thee; that thy man-servant may rest, and thy maid, and thine ox, as well as thou. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God brought thee out thence with a mighty hand, and a high arm: therefore the Lord appointed thee to keep the sabbath day and to sanctify it.” Sep Deu 5:12-15

Notice that our Supreme Heavenly Father appointed us to keep the Sabbath day holy.  HE said it was our responsibility.   


Notice in the above translation states that HE gave the orders to guard the Sabbath day and sanctify it .  Therefore it was our sole responsibility to keep the day holy and set apart for rest.  He reminds them that they were slaves in Egypt because when they were slaves they were not able to keep the Sabbath day holy – just like today!

The Sabbath in Nehemiah

The book of Nehemiah records that the Prophet Nehemiah found that the Sabbath day laws were being violated in Jerusalem.  So he took measures to prevent continued violations.  He had the gates of Jerusalem shut so that no business could occur on the Sabbath day.  This also means that no one could come to Jerusalem on the Sabbath for any type of assembly that day.  This proves that the Prophet Nehemiah understood that the Sabbath day was a day of rest and no work.  

 “In those days I saw in Juda men treading wine-presses on the sabbath, and carrying sheaves, and loading asses with both wine, and grapes, and figs, and every kind of burden, and bringing them into Jerusalem on the sabbath-day: and I testified in the day of their sale. Also their dwelt in it men bringing fish, and selling every kind of merchandise to the children of Juda and in Jerusalem on the sabbath. And I strove with the free children of Juda, and said to them, What is this evil thing which ye do, and profane the sabbath-day?  Did not your fathers thus, and our God brought upon them and upon us and upon this city all these evils? and do ye bring additional wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath? And it came to pass, when the gates were set up in Jerusalem, before the sabbath, that I spoke, and they shut the gates; and I gave orders that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and I set some of my servants at the gates, that none should bring in burdens on the sabbath-day. So all the merchants lodged, and carried on traffic without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said to them, Why do ye lodge in front of the wall? if ye do so again, I will stretch out my hand upon you. From that time they came not on the sabbath.”  Sep Neh 13:15-21


King David & the Holy Bread

In the New Testament Jesus refers back to this story regarding King David on the Sabbath day.  Therefore, we will review what King David did on the Sabbath day. 
King David requested bread for his servants, however, there was only holy shewbread for the Sabbath available and King David told Priest Abimelech that is would be okay for his servants to eat the holy bread.

And David comes to Nomba to Abimelech the priest: and Abimelech was amazed at meeting him, and said to him, Why art thou alone, and nobody with thee? And David said to the priest, The king gave me a to-day, and said to me, Let no one know the matter on which I send thee, an concerning which I have charged thee: and I have charged my servants to be in the place that is called, The faithfulness of God, phellani maemoni. And now if there are under thy hand five loaves, give into my hand what is ready. And the priest answered David, and said, There are no common loaves under my hand, for I have none but holy loaves: if the young men have been kept at least from women, then they shall eat them. And David answered the priest, and said to him, Yea, we have been kept from women for three days: when I came forth for the journey all the young men were purified; but this expedition is unclean, wherefore it shall be sanctified this day because of my weapons. So Abimelech the priest gave him the shewbread; for there were no loaves there, but only the presence loaves which had been removed from the presence of the Lord, in order that hot bread should be set on, on the day on which he took them.” Sep 1 Samuel 21:1-6 

King David did explain that his servants had been kept from women and they were purified.  This is important since they had to be purified in order to eat the holy bread.  This is the law that King David and the priest are following:

And the Lord said to Moses, Go down and solemnly charge the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their garments. And let them be ready against the third day, for on the third day the Lord will descend upon mount Sina before all the people. And thou shalt separate the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves that ye go not up into the mountain, nor touch any part of it: every one that touches the mountain shall surely die. A hand shall not touch it, for every one that touches shall be stoned with stones or shot through with a dart, whether beast or whether man, it shall not live: when the voices and trumpets and cloud depart from off the mountain, they shall come up on the mountain. And Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified them, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, Be ready: for three days come not near to a woman.” Exo 19:10-15

Here is the law that required the making of the holy bread for the Sabbath day which stated this bread was for Aaron and his sons that were priests:

And ye shall take fine flour, and make of it twelve loaves; each loaf shall be of two tenth parts. And ye shall put them in two rows, each row containing six loaves, on the pure table before the Lord. And ye shall put on each row pure frankincense and salt; and these things shall be for loaves for a memorial, set forth before the Lord. On the sabbath-day they shall be set forth before the Lord continually before the children of Israel, for an everlasting covenant. And they shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat them in the holy place: for this is their most holy portion of the offerings made to the Lord, a perpetual statute.” Sep Lev 24:5-9

This law explains that only Aaron and his sons could eat the holy shewbread:

And no stranger shall eat the holy things: one that sojourns with a priest, or a hireling, shall not eat the holy things. But if a priest should have a soul purchased for money, he shall eat of his bread; and they that are born in his house, they also shall eat of his bread.” Lev 22:10-11

Therefore, even though the men had followed the purification laws, they were still not able to lawfully eat the shewbread.

The Sabbath in Maccabees

About 200 years prior to the birth of Jesus Christ, king Antiochus who ruled over Judea, put forth that the Israelites should profane the Sabbath day which means they should be required to perform work and physical labor on the Sabbath day.

Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath. For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the land, And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days: And pollute the sanctuary and holy people: Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh, and unclean beasts: That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation: To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances. 1Maccabees 1:41-49 

This was the start of the Israelites losing their freedom to observe the Sabbath. Next they started be attacked on the Sabbath day and because it was the Sabbath day the Israelites did not fight back. Many were losing their lives since they would not fight back when attacked on the Sabbath day even though the laws of Moses said they could put someone to death for not following the Sabbath day laws.

Now when it was told the king's servants, and the host that was at Jerusalem, in the city of David, that certain men, who had broken the king's commandment, were gone down into the secret places in the wilderness, They pursued after them a great number, and having overtaken them, they camped against them, and made war against them on the sabbath day. And they said unto them, Let that which ye have done hitherto suffice; come forth, and do according to the commandment of the king, and ye shall live. But they said, We will not come forth, neither will we do the king's commandment, to profane the sabbath day. So then they gave them the battle with all speed. Howbeit they answered them not, neither cast they a stone at them, nor stopped the places where they lay hid; But said, Let us die all in our innocency: heaven and earth will testify for us, that ye put us to death wrongfully. So they rose up against them in battle on the sabbath, and they slew them, with their wives and children and their cattle, to the number of a thousand people. 1Ma 2:31-38 

By the time of 2nd Maccabees it was totally unlawful to keep the Sabbath day holy.

Neither was it lawful for a man to keep sabbath days or ancient fasts, or to profess himself at all to be a Judean. 2 Mac 6:6 

The Israelites were secretly observing the Sabbath day and were killed for that act:

And others, that had run together into caves near by, to keep the sabbath day secretly, being discovered by Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a conscience to help themselves for the honour of the most sacred day. 2 Mac 6:11 

The Israelites should have united against their attackers and protected themselves.  They should have been punishing the people that were violating the Sabbath day laws all along so that they did not get themselves in this situation.  It was their responsibility to keep the day holy.

Jesus & the Sabbath Day

Jesus explains in the gospel of Matthew that the Son of man (Adam) has the authority to take care of his physically needs on the Sabbath. That would include his need for food, protection and safety.

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath through the cornfields; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears and to eat. But the Pharisees, seeing [it], said to him, Behold, thy disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on sabbath. But he said to them, Have ye not read what David did when he was hungry, and they that were with him? How he entered into the house of God, and ate the shewbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests only? Or have ye not read in the law that on the sabbaths the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
But I say unto you, that there is here what is greater than the temple. But if ye had known what is: I will have mercy and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord
[Greek kurios: master, supreme of authority] of the sabbath. And, going away from thence, he came into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man having his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath? that they might accuse him. But he said to them, What man shall there be of you who has one sheep, and if this fall into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and raise [it] up? How much better then is a man than a sheep! So that it is lawful to do well on the sabbath. Then he says to the man, Stretch out thy hand. And he stretched [it] out, and it was restored sound as the other.”  Darby’s Matthew 12:1-13

“And he said to them, The sabbath was made on account of man, not man on account of the sabbath; so that the Son of man is lord of the sabbath also.”  Darby’s Mark 2:27

Therefore we are told that the Sabbath was a gift made for us and the Israelites have complete authority on the Sabbath day.  Since the Israelites have the authority on the Sabbath day they have the authority to feed someone hungry, help in an emergency, and protect ourselves.  The Sabbath day laws were not put in place to be a hindrance towards true brotherly love and charity.  On the other hand though we do have the right to say no to helping a people that are not following the laws deliberately and therefore deliberately putting themselves at need on the Sabbath day.  Our Supreme Heavenly Father gave us this day for rest and we have the right to rest.

Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews

The apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews after Christ was crucified where he referred to the Sabbath day as a day of rest.  Paul was making a point that it is still important to follow the laws of Moses regarding the Sabbath day.

 “There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience”. Hebrews 4:9-11

The Sabbath Day of the Week


Most people today believe that Sunday is the Sabbath day; however, if you use the currently named days of the week the Sabbath day is Saturday which is the seventh day.  Church day is on Sunday in order to not violate the Sabbath day law.  It is said that Sunday became ‘the Lord’s day’ because Jesus rose on the first day of the week:

And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre. And going in, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus.”  Luke 24:1-2

Some people believe that the seven day cycle of the week has never been broken; therefore Saturday is still the seventh day in an unbroken cycle.

Some people do use the Solar Calendar described in Enoch to determine the Sabbath day; therefore their Sabbath day changes each year.   Enoch’s calendar does ensure that a feast day does not fall on a Sabbath day of rest which would be a conflict – you cannot both rest and prepare a feast day celebration.

Please pray and look for direction from our Heavenly Father as to which Sabbath day you should observe.  

Conclusion

Our Supreme Father in Heaven gave us this day of rest and it is up to us whether we can keep it holy. Today it is very hard to keep the Sabbath day holy when business is conducted seven days a week in our communities.  When I was young most businesses were closed on Sunday to protect the Sabbath day and today most businesses are open every day.  Plus others in your home may feel the need to work on household projects on the Sabbath day and make you feel guilty for not helping.  Just remember though that we were given the right to rest on the Sabbath day and it is a sign of being HIS chosen people.  Resting on this day shows HIM that you do believe you are one of HIS people that have been ‘called out’ to know the truth and obey HIS laws.

In a newspaper article published in 1903, the writer makes a good point that the Sabbath day of rest creates an environment where we can grow closer to our Heavenly Father. 



Accept our Heavenly Father’s gift and observe the Sabbath day of rest. 
Grow closer to HIM!  Keep the Sabbath day holy!