I entered into discussion on Sabbath on a Facebook thread recently. A list of questions were asked of me, as to if I really keep the Sabbath Day. I welcome the opportunity to answer these questions.
Let me say that I don’t know everything, and I’m just a man. I don’t believe I have arrived at all truth, nor is all that is involved with guarding the Sabbath Day perfectly clear to me. But, I believe what our Creator, Yah, said. And I have purposed in my heart to be obedient to His Command, and trust that He will reveal to me, give me understanding, and correct my walk as I desire to walk according to what He commanded. This is like all of Scripture. We are mere men, and we don’t have complete understanding in everything in Scripture. Anyone who claims to have that perfect understanding is either deceived or not being honest. His ways are higher than ours, and the reason we have been offered the New Covenant, and the gift of the Set Apart Spirit is to yield to His Work to cause us, as we continue walking by grace through faith/belief, with a desire to be obedient to His Instruction. It is the essence of Ephesians 2:8-10. And, if you go to this portion of Scripture, make sure you read Verse 10 in contest with 8-9. And remember Philippians 2:13, where we are told that it is Elohim (called God) who works in us “both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” And as we are told in Zechariah 4:6, that it is “Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit, says Yahuah.” Yahuah is pronounced Yahweh by some, or Yah, as given in the Psalms, and rendered “the LORD” in the KJV and other traditional translations.
The question was, “Do you actually follow the Sabbath as commanded by God?” This question was followed by the following bullet point premises that the questioner labeled “Summary of the Sabbath Laws.” I’m quoting the Scripture references as they were given, in KJV, and, other than grammatical corrections, as the premises were presented.
- Food cannot be prepared on the Sabbath. “Bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe.”
- Travel restricted on Sabbath. “Abide ye in every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”
- The Sabbath is to be a day of rest. “The seventh day there shall be to you an hold day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord.”
- Put to death those that work on the Sabbath. “Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath Day, he shall be put to death.”
- Fires cannot be started on the Sabbath. “Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitation upon the Sabbath Day.”
I will answer these as best as I can, based on my current understanding.
An important Scriptural Truth is essential to the discussion. The Book of Hebrews teaches us that there is a change in the priesthood, therefore a change in the Law. The change in the priesthood is from that of Levi to that of Messiah Yahusha (called errantly Jesus), in the order of Melchizedek. The change is the administration of Torah from that of a human priesthood to that of Messiah, our Great High Priest, and we, who are born again, and have entered into The New Covenant in His blood. Because of this it is the Set Apart Spirit (holy Spirit, as referenced in traditionalism) reminds us, reveals to us, and gives understanding as we study, and purpose to walk obediently. And it is a process that takes place, causing constant change in and through us. He doesn’t change, as Malachi says so clearly. But we must. It is a process of changing us into the image of Messiah Himself. – 2 Cor 3.
- Food cannot be prepared on Sabbath – According to the Commandment, we do not cook food, or bake. That one is easy.
- Travel restricted on the Sabbath – This commandment has been a contentious one for generations. The Talmud adds to what is written in Scripture by attempting to put a specific distance to which one can travel from their house on Sabbath. Due to this unscriptural addition to the Command, Judaism created more rules, such as putting items that belonged to them at places along the way of their travel, so as to “be in their place” at any place along the way of their journey. In answer to your question, we don’t travel for frivolous reasons on Sabbath. We don’t shop or spend money on Sabbath, so we don’t go to stores. We don’t go to entertainment facilities or that kind of thing, so we don’t travel for that. We may go to a brother or sister’s house for fellowship, and we travel to our gathering place (you might call it church) on Sabbath, but that is all. If we had a medical emergency we would travel to a hospital or doctor, or to a brother or sister’s house to help them in an emergency situation. This fits with what Messiah said about a man pulling his ox out of a ditch on Sabbath, and people being more important than animals. He healed on Sabbath. He and His disciples had no house to live in. They even walked through a cornfield and ate corn right off the stalk. This was not breaking Sabbath. The Scribes and Pharisees tried to convict Him and His disciples of breaking Sabbath, but the reality is that it was their Sabbath, according to their traditions that he violated. He said, in Matthew 15, that they made the Commandments of YHWH Elohim of no effect by their traditions, in condemning their practices, as they were trying to convict Him and His disciples of breaking the “traditions of the elders.” Having said all of that, if He reveals to me that I’m failing in some way, I’m willing to change. My desire is to walk obediently to His Commands, because of my love for Him. He said, “If you love Me, guard my Commands.” This is the same sentiment as in Exodus 20, where He said “For I YHWH, your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving-commitment to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.” Because of this, I can rest in knowing that He is merciful to me, when I fail, because I have a desire to walk obediently with a love for the Truth. 2 Thess. 2.
- The Sabbath is to be a day of rest – Yes it is. I’ve had to learn to rest, as He gives rest, on His Day. When I first came to the Truth that Sabbath was His Day, created for me, I had to stop my practice of mowing lawn, cutting firewood, and all the other laborious things I did on Sabbath, prior to waking up to Truth. And I am learning to not talk about my work, or plan for my work, or to think on my work. And there is a rest from speaking my own words, seeking my own pleasure, and speaking my own words, on His Sabbath, as set forth in Isaiah 58.
- Put to death those that work on the Sabbath – As I mentioned at the outset of my answers, the administration of Torah has changed from men to Elohim Himself. The priesthood of Levi was responsible for judging and administering justice, but now the priesthood is changed to that of Messiah Yahusha, our Great High Priest. Therefore; “Heb 10:26 For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins,d Footnote: dSee also Heb 6:6. This type of sinning is in contrast with sinning ignorantly – Heb 9:7, Num 15:15-28. Heb 10:27 but some fearsome anticipation of judgment, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents. Isa 26:11.Heb 10:28 Anyone who has disregarded the Torah of Mosheh dies without compassion on the witness of two or three witnesses. Heb 10:29 How much worse punishment do you think shall he deserve who has trampled the Son of Elohim underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was set apart as common, and insulted the Spirit of favour? Heb 10:30 For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay, says יהוה.” And again, “יהוה shall judge His people.” Deu 32:35-36.
- Fires cannot be started on the Sabbath – I don’t think that Yah wants us to freeze to death on Sabbath. What is the context of the command to not kindle a fire on Sabbath? Here’s the text, from Exodus/Shemoth 35. “Work is done for six days, but on the seventh day it shall be set-apart to you, a Sabbath of rest to YHWH. Anyone doing work on it is put to death. Do not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day.” The word for “work,” in the Hebrew is “Mel-aw-kaw.” The Strong’s number is H4399, and it means one’s occupation, as in business, or employment. So the context of kindling a fire is not about a fire to keep one warm, but is contextually about occupation, or making a living, as I understand it. However, if HE reveals to me that I am wrong, I’ll change, whether I like it or not! But the same premise as helping people in a situation, such as falling in a ditch, health situations, etc, as addressed by Messiah, would be appropriate in the circumstance of kindling a fire to keep one’s family warm so as to not freeze, become sick, or freeze to death.
This is where I’m at currently. As I said, I want to walk obediently, by grace through belief. I love His Truth, and desire to do. And if HE reveals to me an area that requires that I make changes, I’m in. As a matter of fact, it happens a lot Each year, as we go through the Torah, He shows us areas we have wrong, or incomplete revelation, and requires change. It’s been that way since we came to the Truth that Torah is for believers in Messiah, who are New Covenant followers of Messiah, back in the early part of the first decade of this century. I began to attempt to keep Sabbath back in 2002, and we, as a fellowship, began gathering on Sabbath (7th Day) in February 2007. HalleluYah! I love Him, and His Word, and trust in His perfect Work in and through me, and in His mercy for when I fall short, and I do often.