The Sabbath day can be quite a heavy topic. For many, it is misunderstood or even overlooked thanks to years of opinions, false doctrine, and misunderstandings.
In the beginning of my journey to discover truth, it was the Sabbath day (Commandment 4) which stood out to me from all the rest. I know now it was because I never heard much about it and was surely not honoring it up until that time in my life. So for that reason my heart was drawn to it, wanting to know what I was missing and if it was an essential step toward knowing and serving my Father in heaven.
Now here I am, years later, and can confidently say it is and has been my favorite day of the week for the last 16 years. My hope is that this chapter will enlighten you to understand the importance of the Sabbath - what it is, when it is, and why it is and how we “shall call the Sabbath a delight.” Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 58:13,14
What is the Sabbath day?
The Sabbath is known as the “day of rest”. You may have heard the Hebrew saying “Shabbat Shalom” which means peaceful Sabbath. It’s not only a day off from our normal routines and daily grind, but the purpose goes much deeper. The Sabbath day was established the very first week of our creation. It is the only day that was named by our Creator (not just numbered) and it has design and intent.
Let’s first see what our Creator, YHWH did on the 7th day of the week:
“And on the seventh day Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And Elohim blessed (barak) the seventh day and made it set-apart (qodesh), because on it He rested from all His work which Elohim in creating had made.” Genesis (Bereshith) 2:2,3
We read that He rested from His “work week” and set that day apart from all other days. He not only set it apart, but He also blessed it, which should tell us that it is something quite special. In fact, of the 10 Words (Commandments) given to the children of Yisra’el at Mt Sinai on tablets of stone, the Sabbath Commandment was the longest detailed command of them all. It also is the most repeated command throughout Scripture yet is seems to be met with the most resistance.
I believe the resistance is due to it being viewed as an “inconvenience” rather than a blessing. It could also be that there are those who believe it is too hard to honor. However, we can clearly see from the book of Exodus that the command is not hard to keep and it is pretty simple to understand.
“Six days you labour, and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath (Shabbat) of YHWH your Elohim. You do not do any 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. For in six days YHWH made the heavens (shamayim) and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore, YHWH blessed (barak) the Sabbath (Shabbat) day and qadosh (sanctified / set apart) it.” Exodus (Shemoth) 20:9-11
So, we can see what it is - a day of rest that is set-apart and sanctified by YHWH. The Sabbath day is to be viewed and treated differently from all other days. We will be discussing the viewpoint of it being an “inconvenience” further in this blog.
Let’s now examine when it is. As already discussed in our previous two verses, we should be able to confidently say it’s the seventh day of the week. However as mentioned earlier, years of false doctrine, opinions and the enemy have crept into the beliefs of the masses so that they would be led astray and away from YHWH. Thankfully, YHWH promises that those who seek Him with all their heart, will find Him (Jeremiah / Yirmeyahu 29:13). Let’s embrace that promise and continue to discover more about the Sabbath, through His Word.
When is the Sabbath day?
The Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week, according to the command of YHWH. It is from Friday evening (twilight) until Saturday evening (twilight). It does sound strange to those of us growing up in a culture that calculates a 24-hour period from midnight to midnight, however that is not how time was set by our Creator. The One who created time itself, commissioned a day to begin at twilight (sunset) and not at midnight nor at the rising of the sun.
If we read Genesis (Bereshith) chapter 1, each day is described as “and there came to be evening and there came to be morning…” so evening starts a new day and YHWH is emphasizing the two points or transitions encompassed within a day, sunset and sunrise. Let’s examine a handful of verses throughout Scripture which show a new day starts at sunset (twilight).
The following first verse specifically pertains to a High Sabbath called Yom Kippurim – Day of Atonements. It is an annual Appointed Time, a set-apart gathering and by definition it is a day of no working just like the weekly Sabbath.
“It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you shall afflict your beings. On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you observe your Sabbath.” Leviticus (Wayyiqra) 23:32
YHWH has set annual Appointed Times as well as our weekly Appointed Time known as Sabbath or Shabbat in Hebrew. There are some annual Appointed Times where there is no work (known as High Sabbaths), just as in the weekly Shabbat we are to abstain from working. Both the annual and the weekly are important appointments and rehearsals with our King.
The term “Appointed Times” is a more accurate translation from what we commonly see in most English Translations as “seasons”. However, the Hebrew word is “Moadim” (Genesis/Beresheeth 1: 14) which means Appointed Times.
Here is another example that the day begins in the evening::
“Let his body not remain overnight on the tree, for you shall certainly bury him the same day – for he who hanged is accursed of Elohim – so that you do not defile the land which YHWH your Elohim is giving you as an inheritance.” Deuteronomy (Debarim) 21:23
Next, let’s read how those before us knew the day began in the evening, as commissioned by YHWH. Joshua (Yahushua) son of Nun was one of two remaining in the original exile out of Egypt and he understood when a new day began as written in the Torah. As stated above in Deuteronomy, their enemies who were hung had to be removed from the tree the same day and not to remain during the night.
“And he hanged the sovereign of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Yahushua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree…” Joshua (Yahushua) 8:29
“…and they were hanging on the trees until evening. And it came to be, at the time of the going down of the sun, that Yahushua commanded, and they took them down from the trees…” Joshua (Yahushua) 10:26,27
Also note that when the Yisra’elites had touched a dead animal carcass or had to bury a dead body, they needed to wash and were “unclean until evening” – meaning they were considered unclean until a new day (Leviticus / Wayyiqra chapters 11 and 15 & Numbers / Bemidbar chapter 19).
The book of Daniel also gives a clear understanding of the beginning of a new day. Here is the translation of Daniel 8:14 in KJV:
Notice the word “days” which is the English translation from what was originally two Hebrew words: ereb (evening) and boqer (morning). Strongs e-Sword H6153 – H1242
So, a more accurate translation should read as follows:
“And he said to me, “for two thousand three hundred evening – morning, then that which is qodesh shall be made right.” Daniel 8:14 - HalleluYah Scriptures
This indicates that a day consists of an evening and a morning thus the following evening starts a new day.
Also, the book of Nehemiah describes a time when Nehemiah was so upset at the merchants who sold during the Sabbath day. He then made sure they could no longer sell by closing the gates into Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) just before Sabbath began, before it became dark.
“And it came to be, at the gates of Yerushalayim, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and commanded that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath.” Nehemiah 13:19
To further study the understanding of a Hebrew Day I recommend “Determining a Hebrew Day” via TorahCalendar.com.
There is also a newly surfaced idea that the weekly Sabbath is ruled and determined by the renewed crescent moon. While Scripture is very clear that the "lesser light" points to the beginning of a new month (Exodus 12:2), the weekly cycle is separate and distinct from the monthly and yearly cycle. To elaborate, the moon was created on day 4 of creation week (Genesis 1:16-19) then 3 days later was the 7th day, the Sabbath. So technically, that ended the weekly cycle.
If we try to connect the weekly cycle with the monthly, there will be many times that the 7-day cycle would have to be altered in order to fit in with the monthly cycle. For example, if we are on day 6 of a 7-day cycle yet the renewed moon is not for another 3 days, we are then adding days to the 7-day cycle which results in making day 9 a Sabbath. This goes against His clear instructions not to add or take away from His Word (Deuteronomy/Debarim 4:2). Can you see the confusion with mixing these two cycles that are meant to be separate and distinct? I will offer more clarification on the seventh day a bit later.
Also, many are under the impression that the Sabbath day was changed to Sunday (the 1st day of the week) because of the resurrection of the Messiah. I will be discussing this in more detail in the “Renewed Covenant” section. However, I feel it is important to cover a very common response that I often hear about the Sabbath day.
“I worship Him every day of the week, not just one day.” While this reasoning sounds good on the surface, it lacks the understanding of His Word. First, let’s address the word “worship” which I so frequently hear. If we read again the Fourth Command about the Sabbath, YHWH clearly states that “Six days you labour, and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of YHWH your Elohim. You do not do any work…” Exodus (Shemoth) 20:9,10
This Command is clear that we do not work but do as YHWH did on the seventh day of His creation – “rested on the seventh day.” Exodus (Shemoth) 20:11 So if we decide to make everyday a Sabbath, that means we never work – we are always resting. The command does not say it is a day of “worship” but a day of rest.
Of course, naturally when being obedient to His Word we are worshipping Him, but I know when others use that response, they are not talking about obedience, they are merely using the word “worship” - what I refer to as passive acknowledgment. It is vital that we understand what He instructs, rather than self-defining and misunderstanding them as minor suggestions rather than what they are - Commands.
Thus far we have discussed What is the Sabbath and When is the Sabbath. Now, I’d like to dig a bit into Scripture on Why we keep the Sabbath. We’ve already discussed the purpose, as it is to be a day a rest. However, is it something we absolutely should honor? Is it important to YHWH and should it be valued and practiced by those who love Him?
Why should we honor the Sabbath day?
I feel there are several reasons why we should honor the Sabbath day. One logical reason would be for our overall health. I have several weeks in my life where I overwork myself and that day to unplug and rest is just what I need to rejuvenate and heal before my next work week begins. Obviously, YHWH knows our bodies best and prescribing a day of rest can really help lower stress as we slow down, unplug from the world, and focus on Him.
Another reason is that it is known as an outward sign of Who we serve. It shows that we have “cut the cord” of the world and have plugged into the Most High, and that we belong to Him and honor His instructions. Personally, I like to consider that day as a designated duration of time with Him. While resting is important, the intimate time with Him is priceless.
While we purposefully shut out the noise from the world and just listen for His voice through His Word and prayer on this special day, we are also revealing through our actions that we choose Him first and it is a huge testament to those around us.
“And you, speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying ‘My Shabbathoth (Sabbaths) you are to guard, by all means, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I, YHWH qadosh you (set you part)” Exodus (Shemoth) 31:13
“And I also gave them My Shabbathoth (Sabbaths), to be a sign between them and Me, to know that I am YHWH who makes them qadosh (set-apart)” Ezekiel (Yehezqel) 20:12
His Sabbaths are an everlasting sign with those in Covenant with Him. A sign is something that is seen. It identifies and separates us from the rest of society that do not desire to follow His instructions. The Sabbath is a sure sign that we are qodesh/set-apart, thus being identified as the set-apart ones.
“Here is the endurance of the set-apart ones, here are those guarding the Commands of Elohim and the belief of Yahushua ha’Mashiach.” Revelation 14:12
Amazingly, YHWH goes into great detail of the affection and love He has for those who guard His Sabbath.
“Thus said YHWH, ‘Guard Right-Ruling, and do righteousness, for near is My deliverance to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed (baruk) is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it, guarding the Shabbath, lest he profane it, and guarding his hand from doing any evil. And let not the son of a foreigner who has joined himself to YHWH speak, saying ‘YHWH has certainly separated me from His people.’ Nor let the eunuch say, ‘Look I am a dry tree.’ “For thus said YHWH “To the eunuchs who guard My Shabbathoth (Sabbaths), and have chosen what pleases Me, and hold fast My Covenant: to them I shall give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters – I give them an everlasting name that is not cut off. Also, the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to YHWH, to serve Him, and to love the Name of YHWH, to be His servants, all who guard the Shabbath, and not profane it, and hold fast to My Covenant – them I shall bring to My qodesh (set-apart) mountain and let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their slaughtering’s are accepted on My altar, for My house is called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” The Adon YHWH, who gathers the outcasts of Yisra’el, declares, ‘I still gather to him besides those who are gathered to him.” Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 56:1-8
I absolutely love the above verses as they give clear definitions of a few things. First, YHWH emphasizes that a “blessed” man is one who guards Right-Ruling and righteousness. He then goes on to describe one piece of Right-Ruling and righteousness: guarding the Sabbath. Second, notice YHWH follows “guarding the Sabbath” with “lest he profane it, and guarding his hand from doing any evil.” According to His Word, it seems that profaning the Sabbath falls into the “evil” category.
He then continues to address those who feel they are outside of His chosen people, the eunuchs (who are considered blemished) and sons of the foreigner (who believe they are separate from Yisra’el). He states that IF they:
1. Join themselves to YHWH
2. Guard His Sabbaths
3. Have chosen what pleases Him
4. Hold fast His Covenant
5. Serve Him
6. Love His Name
THEN He will give in His house and within His walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters. Their offerings to Him will be accepted and He will gather them to Him. They will become part of His chosen, His servants, His family, His bride.
Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 56 should be a clear indication that the Sabbath is for everyone. So, joining yourself to YHWH and joining His family entails joining into His Covenant - deciding to live your life for Him, which is living by His instructions through the blood of Yahushua ha’Mashiach. There is only one set of instructions for His family and that is the Torah.
“There is one Torah for the native born and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” Exodus (Shemoth) 12:49
YHWH’s Word reveals that there does not exist separate instructions for separate people. Everyone who wants to serve Him, His way (not our own way) will delight in living their lives by His instruction.
“If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.” – John (Yohanan) 14:15
“He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me.” – John (Yohanan) 14:21
“If you guard My commands, and you stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Fathers commands and stay in His love.” – John (Yohanan) 15:10
“You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.” – John (Yohanan) 15:14
“And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. The one who says ‘I know Him’ and does not guard His commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.” – 1 John (Yohanan) 2: 3,4
The above verses really sum up the “Why”. Why should we honor the Sabbath? Because those who claim to love Him will show up for their weekly appointment with Him, and by doing so we show Him and the world who we belong to.
The Renewed Covenant – Does the Sabbath still apply?
For many years I have heard from countless people, indicating that the Sabbath no longer applies. I can see why they think that because I also thought the same. I was told and used to believe the Sabbath was “nailed to the cross” based on one particular verse that many of us have read or heard in church…:
“For the Son of Adam is Adon (Master) of the Sabbath.” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 12:8
Other versions say “Lord”, but the accurate translation is Adon or Master. So yes… He is Master of the Sabbath. To elaborate, He was not indicating that He takes the place of it or that it is no longer relevant. He was responding to the Pharisees (which was common during His ministry) who accused His disciples of plucking heads of grain and eating them while on a Sabbath walk. Of course, the Pharisees’ added regulations that were a heavy yoke and impossible to follow.
Imagine, they are on a Sabbath stroll while learning from Yahushua as He is teaching them Torah, healing the blind and sick. They walk past some grain and reach out their hand to pluck the heads and eat as they continue their stroll. Does that seem like heavy labor to you? In fact, they were keeping Torah as they simply rubbed it in their hands instead of using a harvesting tool. Yet the Pharisees felt compelled to say “Look, Your talmidim (taught ones) are doing what is not right to do on the Sabbath!” (Matthew – Mattithyahu 12:2)
Isn’t Yahushua the Master of the Sabbath, not them? Isn’t He the ruler of the Sabbath and knows what is right or wrong? Isn’t He the creator of the Sabbath? This shows that the Pharisees added extra burdens and heavy yokes just as Yahushua accused them of doing.
“For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but with their finger they do not wish to move them.” –Matthew (Mattithyahu) 23:4
The Sabbath was never removed after His resurrection. His talmidim (disciples) honored the Sabbath after Yahushua’s resurrection and the author of Hebrews states:
“For if Yahushua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So, there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim. For the one, having entered into His rest, has himself also rested from his works, as Elohim rested from His own. Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.” Hebrews (Ibrim) 4: 8-11
So, the author of Hebrews is emphasizing that we should rest and keep the Sabbath just as Elohim rested in the first week of creation. Also, that we are to do our utmost, lest we become disobedient.
We also need to keep in mind that the Sabbath was not “nailed to the cross” (more accurately: execution stake) nor is it no longer relevant. Did you know the Sabbath is described as a perpetual or everlasting Covenant sign/mark (Exodus – Shemoth 31:16,17)? The English words perpetual and everlasting are translated from the Hebrew word olam which means continuous, eternal, always and without end. Source: Strongs e-sword H5769
If the Sabbath is described as olam eternal and without end, then how could it no longer apply?
YHWH makes it very clear in Malachi that He does not change.
“For I am YHWH, I shall not change, and you, O sons of Ya’aqob (Yisra’el) shall not come to an end.” Malachi (Malaki) 3:6
So, according to Scripture, the Sabbath is continual and does not change, nor does YHWH. However, the great deceiver is hard at work on this topic as well to deceive the masses, and he does work through people and entities to distort YHWH’s Word. He manipulates the minds of the untaught and those who do not revere YHWH nor have a love for the truth, in this case YHWH sends them false delusions for them to believe the lies (2 Thess 9-12).
Thankfully as mentioned many times thus far, YHWH does know who is seeking Him and He promises to be found by those who seek for Him with all their heart.
“And you shall seek, and shall find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah (Yirmeyahu) 29:13
“…YHWH is with you while you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He is found by you, but if you forsake Him, He forsakes you.” 2 Chronicles (Debrey ha’Yamim) 15:2b
These are very interesting verses because I was always taught that there were no errors in the “inerrant word of God”. However, why do these verses require us to seek Him before we can find Him? Could that entail more than just surface reading? Could it mean that doctrinally, we need to look past our multiple language translations? After all, what is the need for numerous differing and sometimes contradicting translations accept that man has tweaked, removed and/or made mistakes throughout the centuries.
Also, we should not rely on what’s being preached from the mainstream pulpit, but rather seek and understand the original Hebrew in its original context. We are told to love Him with our mind as well as with our heart.
“And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind, and with all your strength, this is the first Command.” Mark 12:30
For those who are studying the Torah, you know the above words from Yahushua were quoted from Deuteronomy (Debarim) 6:4 which is known as the Shema. Shema is a Hebrew word which means listen however it has a much deeper meaning than just to hear with our ears. It’s more accurately described as: to perceive and to obey.
Yahushua was emphasizing that the first Command is to Shema: to listen, perceive and obey YHWH with all our heart, being, mind and strength. That is how we show our love to Him.
At this point we have determined that the Sabbath was created in week one, that it is a day of rest, it is the seventh day of the week (Fri sunset to Sat sunset) and that it is an eternal outward sign between YHWH and those who love and obey Him.
So, if Scripture is clear about all of this, why the confusion? Sadly, we have an enemy who is good at what he does: deceive. When we are not loving and obeying YHWH with all our heart, mind, and strength it leaves room for the enemy to creep into our lives. As stated earlier, the “great deceiver” is never about taking away worship but rather redirecting it.
“…and it speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the qodeshim (set-apart ones) of the Most High, and it intends to change Appointed Times and Law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time. But the judgement shall sit, and they shall take away its rule, to cut off and to destroy, until the end.” Daniel 7:25
The above verse is part of the description of the fourth beast in Daniel chapter 7. Many identify this beast with the Roman Catholic Church who has admitted that they changed the 7th day Sabbath to sun-day. The RCC believes they had full authority to do so.
The Catholic Mirror, official publication of James Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
"The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."
Catholic Virginian Oct. 3, 1947, p. 9, art. "To Tell You the Truth."
"For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the[Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible."
Peter Geiermann, C.S.S.R., The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957), p. 50.
"Question: Which is the Sabbath day?
"Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
"Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."
T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18,1884.
"I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic Church says: 'No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.' And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church."
There are many more historical documents available with a quick google search on the RCC changing the Sabbath Day (Appointed Time). In addition, we have already proven through Scripture that YHWH does not change.
Furthermore, as we previously discussed, religious leaders also teach that our Messiah rose on a Sunday, therefore the Sabbath has been changed to that day. That teaching is far from Scripture and has absolutely no merit or truth. Yahushua died on Passover day (being our Passover Lamb) which in that year, fell on a Wednesday. He then was resurrected 3 days and 3 nights later, which was the weekly Sabbath (Saturday).
Therefore, according to Scripture, the Sabbath is not up for debate. It “is what it is” and it should not be altered for any reason. It is the same from the first week of creation to today and is part of an everlasting covenant. It is a sign to show the world, all those around us and most importantly our Father in heaven, Who we serve.
Is the Sabbath a blessing or an inconvenience?
Nine out of the 10 Commandments seem to not be an issue to most. It is “doable” to not steal, lie and to abstain from adultery. Those are pretty acceptable and “easy on the ears” for most, but sadly it is always number 4 (The Sabbath Day) that is viewed as bondage, legalistic and burdensome. Why is that? Is it because it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient to stop doing all the things our culture knows and loves on that day? It is known in our society as our day to do household projects, go shopping, eat out, attend a sporting/concert/live events, etc… The thought of turning all that off and dedicating that day to Him is hard for most to fathom.
Sadly, some who are taught the truth about the 7th day Sabbath focus on what they will lose rather than what they can gain through obedience. They think about all the things they cannot do (as if their freedoms are being stripped away) rather than understanding that following our Father’s instructions gives us freedom from bondage and blessings through obedience.
We can become so in love with our culture and our routines that giving those up (for one day a week) seems to be such an overwhelming sacrifice. We are so used to doing whatever we want, whenever we want to. So when our Father commands us to rest our bodies, remember the Sabbath and honor Him for one of our weekend days, it seems too hard. It’s an inconvenience for most and who wants to be inconvenienced?
Rather than irrationally viewing the Sabbath as an overwhelming sacrifice, we should reflect on Yahushua ha’Mashiach and the true overwhelming sacrifice He made for us.
The Sabbath day is an absolute delight in my life and has been since the day I started honoring it. To think that it’s been sitting in the pages of our Scriptures all along and I never paid any attention to it all those years.
I had a huge wakeup call through studying and seeking Him. I discovered that once I started to live Scripture, rather than just reading it, I began to finally understand His Word. I truly was blinded until I chose to follow and obey Him.
Now at this point we have discussed what the Sabbath is, when it is, why it is and that it is eternal. Most are then left with asking… what do we do on the Sabbath and what do we not do?
In the beginning of my Covenant journey, my biggest concern was that I did not want to be doing it wrong. I had no idea what “wrong” even meant in YHWH’s eyes regarding Sabbath, so that uncertainty led me to study what He commands, in order to gain freedom in Him. I desired then and now to be able to confidently go before His throne.
“Therefore, let us come boldly to the throne of favor, in order to receive compassion, and find favor for timely help.” Hebrews (Ibrim) 4:16
What do we do or not do on the Sabbath day?
There are many opinions regarding the Sabbath activities. In fact, those “opinions” started long ago, and we can read a lot of them in the first 4 books of the Renewed Covenant writings (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Yahushua surely had a big issue with those who “added to the Torah”, namely the Pharisees. Their additions were not Scriptural and in turn became a burden for those trying to be obedient. This was the reason for the words from Yahushua in Matthew:
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I shall give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your beings.” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 11:28,29
A yoke is a gentle guide to steer us in the right direction. He was teaching us to keep focus and follow Him. He after all, is the Torah in the flesh (John/Yohanan 1: 1-5). His yoke (guidance) is gentle and leads us to freedom in Him, unlike the yoke of the religious leaders who were described as hypocrites and a brood of vipers.
When my husband and I first visited Israel in 2019, we had gotten into a hotel elevator on Shabbat, which had been programmed to stop at every floor. This was so no one would overexert themselves by pushing elevator buttons on the Sabbath day. I have a really hard time justifying that one in Scripture.
I do believe, however, there is an opposite side to this spectrum. There are those who loosen or relax the Sabbath to the point where they feel they can do anything and everything, as long as it’s not working their normal 9 to 5. That thought process can make us lose the purpose of the Sabbath day. Remember, this is an “Appointed Time” meaning it is an appointment.
We have a weekly appointment to set that day aside, to rest and honor YHWH. Yahushua does warn those who loosen His Commands.:
“Whoever, then breaks (luo) one of the least of these Commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the shamayim (heavens); but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the shamayim.” Matthew (Mattithyahu) 5:19
This is an interesting verse. Yahushua explains this just after saying “Do not think that I came to destroy Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete. For truly, I say to you, till the shamayim (heavens) and the earth pass away, one yod or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.” (Matthew/Mattithyahu 5:17,18)
Here, He just described that the Torah (His Commands) are eternal until heaven and earth pass away. He then goes on to talk about how those who “luo” even the smallest or least of His Commands, will be considered least in His Kingdom. I’m emphasizing the Greek word: luo, which in some translations gives the English word “breaks”. However, a more accurate English translation should be “loosens” or “relaxes”.
We know based on countless Scripture verses that those who are “lawless” (Greek word: Anomia meaning - without Torah) will not be able to enter His Kingdom. Verse 19 is specifically referring to those who relax or loosen (luo) His Commands vs those who diligently obey them.
If you are like me, you do not want to be “least” in His Kingdom. I’ve never viewed the Sabbath as a day off for me to do whatever I want, just as long as I don’t work. I’ve always viewed it as a day scheduled with Him. To quiet down my world and allow Him to fill my being with rest and to draw closer to Him. He clearly states that we are to call the Sabbath a delight, in doing what pleases Him and to abstain from our own pleasures.
“If you do turn back your foot from the Shabbath, from doing your pleasure on My qodesh day, and shall call the Shabbath ‘a delight,’ the qadosh of YHWH ‘esteemed,’ and shall esteem it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in YHWH. And I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth and feed you with the inheritance of Ya’aqob your father. For the mouth of YHWH has spoken!” Isaiah (Yeshayahu) 58:13,14
In conclusion, this blog regarding the Sabbath was never intended to tell the reader what to do and what not to do. His Word is very clear and if we love Him and love His Torah then we know in our hearts what breaks His heart and what pleases Him.
Shemoth (Exodus) 20: 9-11 is YHWH’s own words describing the Sabbath and what we are to do (rest) and not do (work). We are also not to burden anyone else on the Sabbath by working for us (vs 10). We may not technically have “servants” as back then, but a lot of people have hired helpers like landscapers, mechanics, cleaning services, realtors, etc., who we hire to make our lives easier with their professional skills. So, on Sabbath… none of those people work for us on that day. It’s really that simple.
Shabbat is a day I look forward to every week. After all, we get to spend it with our first love. We are so blessed that the prescribed day is set aside, and we can prove our love to Him with weekly actions of obedience. I love showing Him how important He is to me, rather than just telling Him.
“And become doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like. But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be baruk (blessed) in his doing.” James (Ya’aqob) 1:22-25
So let us love His Commands and let us do His Commands. Let us love the Sabbath day and let us do the Sabbath day. With all our heart, being, mind and strength let us be found doing the will of our Father in heaven (Mattithyahu :21-27 & 24:46). His will is for us to love and live His perfect Torah.
“The Torah of YHWH is perfect, bringing back the being; The Witness of YHWH is trustworthy, making wise the simple; The Orders of YHWH are straight, rejoicing the heart; The Command of YHWH is clear, enlightening the eyes; The reverence of YHWH is clean, standing forever; The Right-Rulings of YHWH are true, they are righteous altogether, more desirable than gold, than much fine gold; And sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalms (Tehillim) 19:7-10
For a more in-depth study of the Sabbath Day:
The Sabbath (paperback)
The Sabbath (ebook)