Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sabbath Observance Part 1

I wanted to write about the issue of Sabbath observance. In the Hebrew Scriptures, commonly referred to as the Old Covenant, the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. Exodus 20:8-11 says: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of YHWH thy Elohim: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days YHWH made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore YHWH blessed the sabbath day, and set it apart." The word "sabbath" is the Hebrew word shabbath. The word means intermission. It is a time to cease from the cares and attention that the world demands, and focus on YHWH. It is a time when we say, "Stop world, I'm taking a day off to honor YHWH." It is an intermission for us establised by YHWH. Yeshua remembered the Sabbath. Luke 4:16 says: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read." Yeshua was a sabbath keeper. I read the following on a blog that argued that Sabbath keeping was not required for New Testament believers: "All of the Ten Commandments were reinstated in the New Testament with only one exception, the one dealing with the Saturday Sabbath Day being kept holy." Further the writer explains: "If the Saturday Sabbath command as given to Israel is still in effect, then the Lord Jesus commanded a person to sin by breaking it: 'Sir,' the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, 'It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.' But he replied, 'The man who made me well said to me, Pick up your mat and walk ' (John 5:7-11). The Lord Jesus commanded that invalid, on a Sabbath, to pick up his mat and walk with it to be healed. Hence, this would constitute 'work,' according to the Old Testament Sabbath command. Since the Lord of the Sabbath could NEVER command a person to sin, we, thereby know that Christians today are NOT under this same Sabbath command as given to Israel in Ex. 20:8-11, which reads: 'Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (Ex. 20:8-11).'" This blog writer is in error. There is no doubt that Yeshua and the Pharisees had some issues about Sabbath observance. However, the issue was never whether one should keep the Sabbath, but how to keep the Sabbath. You will not find any discussion about whether it was necessary to keep Sabbath. The issue is how. YHWH gave Moses the Ten Commandments which included Sabbath observance. Men have changed YHWH's clear command and said it is not necessary. To keep the Sabbath honors YHWH. Why would one not want to honor the true Elohim who is YHWH? Sabbath observance is a command. It is sin to violate YHWH's command. You can choose YHWH's ways or man's ways. Later we will study the change from Sabbath worship to Sunday worship. For today, know that YHWH has made a command. You can agree, disagree, or ignore, but it doesn't change the word of YHWH.