Introduction

Recently saw a video from Mr Nehemia Gordon discussing about the importance of Sabbath keeping.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNCIiWk30Dw

So after the entire ten minutes. All that was concluded was simply.

Since Jesus once said

“Judge not, that you be not judged.
  For with what judgment you judge,
  you will be judged; and with the
   measure you use, it will be measured
  back to you.”-  Jesus (Matt 7:1-2)

Therefore, “Work it out yourself with fear and trembling and do not impose it on others, study it yourself, work it out yourself, when you figure out do not judge your neighbour who figured out something else”

The rest of the remaining video talks about how Jewish rabbi and their funny Takanot. how the Jewish Rabbis had create a mountain of rule hanging on a thread of a Torah.

Some Examples of Takanot shared in the video are as follows
1. One cannot tear Toilet papers on the Sabbath
2. Lighting a fire at home is not allowed
3. Yet moving sofa in the house is allowed and not considered work
4. Lighting is fire is not allowed, but you must light Shabbat Candles

Many of these Takanot affect the Jewish followers of Judaism. As far as Christians are concern, even those who keep the Sabbath are not affected by these. I am not sure how far the Seventh Day Adventist went to keep the Sabbath, but if there is one group of Churches who wanted to follow the Mosaic covenant,  believe they are the ones affected. Other than that i do not think any other Christians are affected by these Takanot. 

Interestingly in my life, here are a few Takanot that I am aware of
1. One cannot open the fridge door, unless the light bulb is screwed out
2. One had to take the Sabbath lift that opens on every floor to avoid pressing buttons
     a. Pressing a lift button lights it up, thus one is lighting a fire on Sabbath

Keeping of Sabbath in Israel had become so hard, that people shout for joy when Sabbath is over. My brother who went to Israel for a trip recorded the sound of Jews cheering every end of the Sabbath. The sound sounded as if it is the News Years Day.

My Interest About The Sabbath

But frankly, as a Christian who keep the Sabbath. I do not think I would by any chance follow a Takanot tradition written by some funny Rabbi. I do not agree that one need to keep traditions but they have to adhere to what the word of God said. But the problem with modern day Judaism is beyond the scope of my study. As far as I see it, Israel had failed to understand the true significance and the true way to keep the Sabbath. It is not surprising as they have failed to keep it even at the time of Moses. What is so surprising about them failing to keep the Sabbath now 3000 years later after Moses died?

For me i would rather be sharing what I know about the Sabbath as presented in to Old Testament and New Testament.  In fact I have shared this twice in my life.

Remembering the significance of the Sabbath

A Contrast Between Law And Grace (Part 2/2)

Despite what the Jewish Karite Scholar from Israel think, God had spoken much about the Sabbath. It doesn’t take more than ten minutes to examine all the Torah had to say about the Sabbath. 

My purpose of sharing is not to judge anyone, but merely to look at Sabbath from the Torah and the Old Testament and then later in the New Testament.

In this post we will be looking at it from the Old Testament Perspective.

Sabbath Pre-Date the Mosaic Covenant

Most people think that Sabbath was an institution in the Mosaic Covenant but the fact is that Sabbath pre-dated the Mosaic Covenant. It was instituted by God for his entire creation. In the Creation account it reads

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.” – Moses (Gen 2:2-3)

This is the origin of the Sabbath. It is created at creation. God created the world in 6 days, he rested on the seventh day. The truth is God is never tired (Is 40:28) . God do not need to rest. He did it as an example for man to follow.

When Israel first left Egypt, God taught them this concept of resting on the Sabbath. He did it by sending Manna for 6 days (Ex 16) .  Israel had to get up early in the morning before the sun is up to gather Manna which came with the morning dew. When the morning dew is dried up, they would find  small round substance that is white in colour. Israel had to gather it pound it and make cakes with it.

In a normal weekday, they are suppose to gather what they need. They are not allow to keep it over night, for the bread will be spoilt and will stink. The only exception is on the 6th day of the week. They are suppose to gather all they gather, bake all food. This portion can be kept overnight so they can eat it on the Sabbath. This went on all the way until  Israel went into Canaan.

Sabbath Under Mosaic Law

In the Video, Mr Gordon quoted the rabbis saying that Sabbath is a mountain hanging on a thread. He said that he want to examine the thread. But yet his point is that anyone is free to do whatever that he like as long as God inspires him.

But the Sabbath instituted under the Mosaic law is not so. There are only a few verses about it.

“‘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.’”-YHWH (Ex 16:23)

“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, 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.” – YHWH (Ex 20:8-10)

You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore,
   for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes
  it shall surely be put to death; for whoever
  does any work on it, that person shall be cut
  off from among his people. Work shall be done
  for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of
  rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work
  on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.”- YHWH (Ex 31:14-15)

“These are the words which the
  Lord has commanded you to do:
 
Work shall be done for six days,
  but the seventh day shall be a
  holy day for you, a Sabbath of
  rest to the Lord. Whoever does
  any work on it shall be put to
  death.  You shall kindle no fire
  throughout your dwellings on
  the Sabbath day.” – Moses (Ex 35:1-3)

“Six days shall work be done, but
  the seventh day is a Sabbath of
  solemn rest, a holy convocation.
  You shall do no work on it; it is the
  Sabbath of the Lord in all your
  dwellings.” – YHWH (Lev 23:3)

“And on the Sabbath day two lambs
  in their first year, without blemish,
  and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour
  as a grain offering, mixed with oil,
  with its drink offering— this is the
  burnt offering for every Sabbath,
  besides the regular burnt offering
  with its drink offering.” – YHWH(Num 28:9-10)

“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,
  as the Lord your God commanded you.
   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, nor your son,
  nor your daughter, nor your male servant,
  nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor  
  your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor
  your stranger who is within your gates,
  that your male servant and your female
   servant may rest as well as you. 
   And remember that you were a slave in
  the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God
   brought you out from there by a mighty
  hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore
  the Lord your God commanded you to
  keep the Sabbath day.”-Moses (Deut 5:12-15)

Did you spend less than 5 minutes to read these verses? Basically that is all that is spoken about the Sabbath under the Mosaic Covenant. 

In simple words the Torah says the following.
1. No work to be done on Sabbath (Men, animals, foreigner)
2. Hold a holy convocation (gathering)
3. Do not light a fire
4. Offer an additional 2 lambs on top of the daily sacrifice
5. Remember that once you used to be slaves in Egypt and God saved you
6. Keep it Holy

Sabbath And sabbaths

There are many who read the New Testaments and are confused between Sabbath as a commandment and the other sabbaths. As the result when the read the works of Paul and saw Paul talking about sabbaths they tend to think that he is referring to Sabbath in the ten commandment. But those who read the Torah carefully will know the difference

7th Day Sabbath That Is In Commandment is Link to Creation (Ex 16:22-26, 20:8-11. 31:12-17, 35:1-3, Num 28:9-10, Deut 5:12-15) . This is the specific Sabbath featured in the ten commandments established on creation

Under the Mosaic Law there are other Sabbaths. These Sabbaths are unique to the Mosaic covenant. They differs from the Sabbath of the seventh day as they are linked to their specific festivals and they need not occur on a 7th day of the week.

1. The day of atonement sabbath (Lev 16:30-31)
2. sabbaths of 7th years, & Year of Jubilee (Lev 25)
3. sabbath of the feast of trumpets (Lev 23:24)
4. Day of atonement sabbath (Lev 23:32)
5. sabbath on the first and eight day of Tabernacle (Lev 23:39)

When Jesus fulfilled the righteous requirement of the Law with regards to the feast, he had fulfilled the requirement of all these Sabbaths

Sabbath Is Not Meant To Be Punishment

The rules of Sabbath is actually very simple. It was not meant to inconvenience anyone. For God simply wants man to rest and not work, to gather to worship. What God really desire is our hearts to obey him.

“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
  From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
  And call the Sabbath a delight,
  The holy day of the Lord honorable,
  And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
  Nor finding your own pleasure,
  Nor speaking your own words,
  Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; 
  And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
  And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
  The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”-Isaiah (Is 58:13-14)

God wanted us to obey him, to honour him. To worship him on that day. To make a choice to choose to worship God instead of choosing our pleasure. To not speak what we want but to listen to what God had to say.

God promise that he will bless whoever who will choose to keep the Sabbath

“Blessed is the man who does this,
  And the son of man who lays hold on it;
  Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
  And keeps his hand from doing any evil.” – YHWH (Is 56:2)

“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
  And choose what pleases Me,
  And hold fast My covenant,
  Even to them I will give in My house
  And within My walls a place and a name
  Better than that of sons and daughters;
  I will give them an everlasting name
  That shall not be cut off.””"– YHWH (Is 56:4-5)

 “Also the sons of the foreigner
   Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him,
  And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—
  Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
  And holds fast My covenant—
  Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
  And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
  Will be accepted on My altar;
  For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – YHWH (Is 56:6-7)

Old Testament Implementation Of Sabbath 

Those who violate the Sabbath will face the curse of the Law. God already said clearly in he Mosaic law that those who profane the Sabbath will be put to death. Interestingly, there are a few example of this in the Old Testament

1. A man was stoned to death for picking stick on Sabbath (Num 15:32-36)
2. The Shunammite woman will go to the prophet on Sabbath (2 King 4:23)
3. The army still functions on Sabbath (2 Kings 11:4-12,2 Chron 23:1-11)
4. Priest must continue to prepare showbread for the temple (1 Chron 9:32)
5. King Hezekiah allocate portion for offering on Sabbath (2 Chron 23:2-3)
6. Nehemiah forbade buying on Sabbath (Neh 10:31,13:15-21)

Despite all these effort to keep the Sabbath, Israel still failed to match up to God standard. Before God destroyed their kingdom. God sent Prophet Jeremiah to warn them.

“But if you will not heed Me to hallow
  the Sabbath day, such as not carrying
   a burden when entering the gates of
  Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I
  will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall
  devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it
  shall not be quenched.”- YHWH (Jer 17:27)

Eventually the Kingdom of Israel and Judah were all judged by God for not keep the Sabbath, despite God pleading with them again and again to keep their covenant.

Conclusion

We need to understand Sabbath as described in the Torah. We need to differentiate between the different type of Sabbaths. There is a difference between the Sabbath of the 7th day which is in the commandment and the sabbaths that came from the ceremonial ordinances of the Mosaic Covenant

We need to know that God specially blessed the 7th day. He wanted Israel to keep that Sabbath. Which is why he specially mentioned it in the 10 commandments. The commandment of Sabbath is something that is simple but yet men today had piled in thousand of traditions on it.

We understand that failure to keep the Sabbath is one of the reason why God judged Israel. As the result Israel had to face the curse of the Law of being unable to match up to God standard in the Torah.

Let us keep it in mind before we move the discussion into the New Testament

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