A Personal Sabbath?!?

Many years back, I served under a pastor that made the following pronouncement from the pulpit one Sunday:

. . . therefore, Wednesday is my personal Sabbath.”

He was talking that day about how and when he observed Sabbath.  What was he saying when he made this odd statement?

Without going specifically into whether I agree or disagree with his premise that we have the biblical authority to decide when and what Sabbath is, let’s start with the one verse most people will be familiar with:

Exodus 20:8 (CJB)

8 ד‎ 8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.

In my experience, this is one of the few commandments that people can remember or recite.  However, this is not all of that commandment (and rarely cited):

Exodus 20:8-11 (CJB)

8 ד‎ 8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.

9 You have six days to labor and do all your work,

10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God.

On it, you are not to do any kind of work —

  • not you,

  • your son

  • or your daughter,

  • not your male or female slave,

  • not your livestock,

  • and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property.

11 For in six days,

Adonai made heaven and earth,

the sea and everything in them;

but on the seventh day he rested.

This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

This is the rest of the commandment in its entirety given on Sinai.  However, that is not entirely correct either.  Yes, it was given on Sinai, but it was also given prior to Sinai in response to grumblings by those that had recently been liberated from Pharaoh:

Exodus 16:1-36 (CJB)

1 They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra’el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt. 2 There in the desert the whole community of the people of Isra’el grumbled against Moshe and Aharon. 3 The people of Isra’el said to them, “We wish Adonai had used his own hand to kill us off in Egypt! There we used to sit around the pots with the meat boiling, and we had as much food as we wanted. But you have taken us out into this desert to let this whole assembly starve to death!” 4 Adonai said to Moshe, “Here, I will cause bread to rain down from heaven for you. The people are to go out and gather a day’s ration every day. By this I will test whether they will observe my Torah or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, it will turn out to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” 6 Moshe and Aharon said to all the people of Isra’el, “This evening, you will realize that it has been Adonai who brought you out of Egypt; 7 and in the morning, you will see Adonai’s glory. For he has listened to your grumblings against Adonai — what are we that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moshe added, “What I have said will happen when Adonai gives you meat to eat this evening and your fill of bread tomorrow morning. Adonai has listened to your complaints and grumblings against him — what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against Adonai.” 9 Moshe said to Aharon, “Say to the whole community of Isra’el, ‘Come close, into the presence of Adonai, for he has heard your grumblings.’” 10 As Aharon spoke to the whole community of the people of Isra’el, they looked toward the desert; and there before them the glory of Adonai appeared in the cloud; 11 (A: vi, S: v) and Adonai said to Moshe, 12 “I have heard the grumblings of the people of Isra’el. Say to them: ‘At dusk you will be eating meat, and in the morning you will have your fill of bread. Then you will realize that I am Adonai your God.’” 13 That evening, quails came up and covered the camp; while in the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. 14 When the dew had evaporated, there on the surface of the desert was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground.
15 When the people of Isra’el saw it, they asked each other, “Man hu? [What is it?]” because they didn’t know what it was. Moshe answered them, “It is the bread which Adonai has given you to eat. 16 Here is what Adonai has ordered: each man is to gather according to his appetite — each is to take an ‘omer [two quarts] per person for everyone in his tent.” 17 The people of Isra’el did this. Some gathered more, some less; 18 but when they put it in an ‘omer-measure, whoever had gathered much had no excess; and whoever had gathered little had no shortage; nevertheless each person had gathered according to his appetite. 19 Moshe told them, “No one is to leave any of it till morning.” 20 But they didn’t pay attention to Moshe, and some kept the leftovers until morning. It bred worms and rotted, which made Moshe angry at them.
21 So they gathered it morning after morning, each person according to his appetite; but as the sun grew hot, it melted.

22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread,

two ‘omers per person;

and all the community leaders came and reported to Moshe

. 23 He told them, “This is what Adonai has said:

‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai.

Bake what you want to bake;

boil what you want to boil;

and whatever is left over,

set aside and keep for the morning.’”

24 They set it aside till morning,

as Moshe had ordered;

and it didn’t rot or have worms.

25 Moshe said,

“Today, eat that;

because today is a Shabbat for Adonai —

today you won’t find it in the field.

26 Gather it six days,

but the seventh day is the Shabbat

on that day there won’t be any.”

27 However, on the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather and found none.

28 Adonai said to Moshe,

“How long will you refuse to observe my mitzvot (commands) and teachings?

29 Look, Adonai has given you the Shabbat.

This is why he is providing bread for two days on the sixth day.

Each of you, stay where you are;

no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.”

30 (S: vi) So the people rested on the seventh day.

31 The people called the food man.

It was like coriander seed, white; and it tasted like honey cakes.

32 Moshe said, “Here is what Adonai has ordered: ‘Let two quarts of man be kept through all your generations, so that they will be able to see the bread which I fed you in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’” 33 Moshe said to Aharon, “Take a jar, put in it two quarts of man, and set it aside before Adonai to be kept through all your generations.” 34 Just as Adonai ordered Moshe, Aharon set it aside before the testimony to be kept. 35 The people of Isra’el ate man for forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate man until they arrived at the borders of the land of Kena‘an. 36 (An ‘omer is one-tenth of an eifah [which is a bushel dry-measure].)

Let’s recap what we know so far:

  1. Exodus 16:23 (CJB)23 He told them, “This is what Adonai has said: ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai. Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning.’”

    Exodus 20:8-11 (CJB)

  2. 8 ד‎ 8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. 9 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. 11 For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself. 

As you can see, the first command regarding Shabbat (Sabbath) came before the Sinai event.  But to even understand that, we need to go back in time to the creation of man:

Genesis 2:2-3 (CJB)

2 On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made,

so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy;

because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created,

so that it itself could produce.

The first things that should strike someone reading the above are the words:

blessed, holy (separated it as) and 7th day.

1313.בָּרַךְ‎ bārakh

verb

to bless, to praise

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “1313,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Aleph-Beth, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1313”.

The first word we focused on, the word “baruch”  from the Hebrew text above, begins a very familiar start to Hebrew prayer on Shabbat:

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha-olam . . .”

“Blessed are You, LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe, . . .”

The Lord blessed (baruch) the 7th day . . .

7227.קָדַשׁ‎ qādhash

verb

to be holy

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “7227,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Pe-Resh, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “7227”.

This second word is Holy (Kadosh).

the verb qādhash means “to be holy.” It is mostly used of things being set apart for temple use in worship of the Lord, such as the altar (cf. Exo. 29:37).  . .

The other forms of the verb (Piel, Hiphil, Hithpael) deal with making someone or something holy to God.

This means making them qualified to be used in his presence for his purposes.

It usually involves acts of ceremonial obedience by the priests or people and God’s sovereign declaration. God’s work in people’s lives is sovereign, but it does involve a response by them.

Sometimes the translators choose to translate acts of dedication with “consecrate,” while in other situations it is “sanctify.” Both English words translate the same Hebrew word, indicating that making something or someone holy is all by the grace and power of God. In Exo. 29:44, the Lord says that in order to fulfill his purpose to have a people to live among He must sanctify the priests, the altar and the Tabernacle.

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “7227,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Pe-Resh, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “7227”.

In the prayer Kedushah, Kadosh (Holy) is used as follows:

Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh

Adonai Tz’vaot M’lo Khol Ha’aretz K’vodo

Holy, Holy, Holy,

The Lord of Hosts, The entire world is filled with His Glory . . .

This became the first part of Sanctus in Christian liturgy based on the following verse:

Isaiah 6:3 (CJB) 3 They were crying out to each other,

“More holy than the holiest holiness is Adonai-Tzva’ot!

The whole earth is filled with his glory!”

Another popular song, that many Christians know, is similar starting with Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh (Holy, Holy, Holy) :

Holy, holy, holy!  Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.

Holy, holy, holy!  Merciful and mighty,

God in three persons, blessed Trinity! . . .

So what about 7th day ?

8113.שְׁבִיעִי‎ shevîʿî

number

seventh

. . . Shevîʿî is used to describe the “seventh day” in Gen. 2:2 and elsewhere (ca. forty times).

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “8113,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Sin-Taw, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “8113”.

Here is where things get a little tricky.  There are many arguments regarding the Sabbath – some are sound and some are nuttier than a holiday fruit cake.  I am not here debate theologies and traditions because ideology is a fragile thing and I don’t think tearing down others is productive or helpful.

That being said, one might ask what my purpose in this word study is then?!?

Simple – to promote study of God’s word in a historical and a grammatical context so that we can make informed decisions individually, concerning the text, instead of relying solely on traditions that are handed down through the generations, that may or may not be correct in part or in whole.

This is a long study as I want to be thorough.  Since we know what the command is now, let’s look at the word שַׁבָּת‎shabbāth (Sabbath).

I count 111 times in in the Older Covenants (Old Testament) where shabbath is used.  So what does the word mean?

8141.שַׁבָּת‎ shabbāth

noun

Sabbath

Related to the verb shāvath (HED #8139),

“to cease,” “to rest,”

shabbāth is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish Aramaic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Tigre and Aramaic. . .

The obligation to honor the Sabbath Day was established as holy unto the Lord, and a day during which the normal activities and labors of the other six days of the week were to be avoided. Work was to be planned so as to leave the seventh day free for worship. This last day of the week was to be devoted to worship and fellowship at the sanctuary of the Lord, with the prime attention being directed toward the glory and revealed will of the holy God. This was to be the day in which all of God’s children would gather for the reading of the Torah and the sharing of needs and insights on the part of those belonging to the fellowship of grace. Works of necessity or mercy were by no means excluded (cf. Matt. 21:1-31), but were rather to be understood as deeds of sympathy, love and compassion to peoples or livestock who stood in need of special help.

The importance of keeping the Sabbath as a precious and holy day is explained in Exo. 20:11. It was a grateful recognition that God had created the world in six creative days or stages (as set forth in Gen. 1) and then set apart the seventh day as a special reminder and celebration of his fashioning the entire universe in all of its grandeur. Every week, his covenant-keeping people were to honor Him by refraining from those normal activities and recreations performed on the first six days in order that they might devote their attention to study of the Word and prayer, assembling for the singing of hymns and for mutual admonition and encouragement in their own homes and family circles. That this was not left as a mere option for Israel was forcibly brought out by the penalty of death meted out to one of their number who deliberately had gone foraging for firewood on the Sabbath (Num. 15:32-36). . .

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “8141,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Sin-Taw, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “8141”.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament describes it thus:

2323 שָׁבַת‎(shābat) <H7673>cease, desist, rest.

Derivatives

2323a †שֶׁבֶת‎(shebet) <H7674>cessation.

2323b †שַׁבָּת‎(shabbāt) <H7676>Sabbath.

2323c שָׁבַת‎(shābat) keep the Sabbath (Leviticus 25:2; Leviticus 23:32). Denominative verb.

2323d †שַׁבָּתוֹן‎(shabbātôn) <H7677>Sabbath observance.

2323e מִשְׁבָּת‎(mishbāt) <H4868>cessation, annihilation (Lament. 1:7).

There is still some question as to whether the noun shabbāt is derived from the verb shābat, or whether shabbāt is primary, and the verb derived from it. In any case, it should be observed that the meaning of shābat is “to rest” in the sense of repose only when the verb is used in a Sabbath context (and this is confined to the Qal stem, thirteen of twenty-seven times).

The basic thrust of the verb is, when transitive, “to sever, put an end to,” and when intransitive, “to desist, to come to an end.” This may possibly indicate that the Sabbath is the day which ‘puts a stop to’ the week’s work.

R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “2323: ‏שָׁבַת‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 902-903.

Why is this necessary to know?  Because the Hebrew informs the Greek.  The writers were Jews.  Their understanding was Jewish. Messiah is an entirely Jewish concept.  Without the Hebrew word Mashiach (Messiah), there can NOT be the Greek word Christos (Christ) concerning the concept of a prophesied Messiah.

So as we can see, Shabbat (Sabbath) is Baruch (Blessed) and Kadosh (Holy), as in set apart, for Adonai (Lord). What does the Greek say?

56 times, Shabbat (Sabbath) is mentioned in the four Gospels alone.  10 more times in acts it is mentioned.  Once in first Corinthians, once in Colossians and one in Hebrews for a total of 69 times.

4378. σάββατον sabbaton noun

Sabbath, a period of 7 days.

Word Studies:

Old Testament Background

This noun is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew term shabbāth, which was probably derived from the verb sāvath, “to cease.” “Sabbath” referred to the day when all work ceased (cf. Leviticus 23:32; 2 Chronicles 36:21). After God established a covenantal relationship with Israel, He instituted a sabbath-day observance among the Jews that was to serve as a memorial of the Exodus (Deuteronomy 5:15). Exodus 20 shows that the way Israel was to observe the Sabbath was analogous to God’s rest (cf. Genesis 2:3): no work on the seventh day of each week (verses 8-11). . .

In the Old Testament the Hebrew term shabbāth is used most frequently to designate observance of the seventh day by ceasing from work and participating in cultic activity (Exodus 16:29; 20:8-11; 31:15; Leviticus 23:3). The “sabbath” also came to be used to designate certain feast days. . .

The prophet Jeremiah exhorted the Israelites to “hallow the sabbath day” (Jeremiah 17:27). Ezekiel echoed this emphasis by saying that such observance would be a “sign” that the people know God (Ezekiel 20:12,20). From the Exodus to the period of the exile, the Sabbath was to be positively observed, remembered, and hallowed as a witness to God’s saving activity in both creation and in deliverance from captivity (ibid.).

New Testament Usage

In the New Testament sabbaton is used only by the Gospel writers and Paul. All of the occurrences in the Gospels concern Jesus and His ministry. In one respect Jesus faithfully observed the Sabbath by attending activities in the synagogue and temple and on occasion by teaching there (Mark 1:21; 6:2; Luke 4:16,31). . .

These conflicts over sabbath regulations did not involve any violation of the Mosaic law. Jesus never violated the Torah. . .

Paul, like Jesus, continued to observe the Sabbath . . .

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “4378. σάββατον,” in The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Sigma-Omega, (Springfield, MO: Complete Biblical Library, 1991), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “4378. σάββατον”.

Not once in the text are we told that Sabbath is abrogated.

Go ahead and check – I encourage you to!

In fact, since we are grafted in and supported by the vine we need to understand a few things from the text:

Romans 11:16-24 (CJB)

16 Now if the hallah offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole loaf.

And if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off,

and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them

and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, 18 then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches!

However, if you do boast,

remember that you are not supporting the root,

the root is supporting you.

19 So you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 True, but so what?

They were broken off because of their lack of trust.

However, you keep your place only because of your trust.

So don’t be arrogant;

on the contrary,

be terrified!

21 For if God did not spare the natural branches,

he certainly won’t spare you!

22 So take a good look at God’s kindness and his severity:

  • on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off;

  • but, on the other hand, God’s kindness toward you —

provided you maintain yourself in that kindness!

Otherwise, you too will be cut off!

23 Moreover, the others,

if they do not persist in their lack of trust,

will be grafted in;

because God is able to graft them back in.

24 For if you were cut out of what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted,

contrary to nature,

into a cultivated olive tree,

how much more will these natural branches

be grafted back into their own olive tree!

We are the wild olive branches!  Are we now better, contrary to the warning in the text?!?  If you don’t understand my question, then let’s go back to the text and see if we can shed some light on that question:

Exodus 31:16 (CJB)

16 The people of Isra’el are to keep the Shabbat,

to observe Shabbat through all their generations as a perpetual covenant

This is what we are grafted into – part of a perpetual covenant. The word for perpetual is the following Hebrew word:

5986.עוֹלָם‎ ʿôlām

noun

forever, eternity, something everlasting

Thoralf Gilbrant, ed., “5986,” in The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Nun-Ayin, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1998), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “5986”.

1631a †עוֹלָם‎(ʿôlām) <H5769>, <H5865>forever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world, etc. (RSV similar in general, but substitutes “always” for “in the world” in Psalm 73:12 and eternity” for “world” in Eccles. 3:11.) Probably derived from ʿālam I, “to hide,” thus pointing to what is hidden in the distant future or in the distant past. The Ugaritic cognate is ʿlm, “eternity.”

Though ʿôlām is used more than three hundred times to indicate indefinite continuance into the very distant future,

R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “1631: ‏עלם‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 672-673.

This understanding makes the following all the more timely:

Ezekiel 20:21 (CJB)

21 “‘But the children too rebelled against me.

They did not live by my laws or observe my rulings,

to obey them,

which, if a person does,

he will have life by them;

and they profaned my shabbats.

Then I said I would pour out my fury on them and spend my anger on them in the desert.

The understanding that Shabbat has been changed is something that I subscribed to as a young man because it was the tradition that I accepted – I accepted in spite of the following warning (in its entirety):

Exodus 31:12-17 (CJB)

12 Adonai said to Moshe,

13 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘You are to observe my Shabbats;

for this is a sign between me and you through all your generations;

so that you will know that I am Adonai, who sets you apart for me.

14 Therefore you are to keep my Shabbat,

because it is set apart for you.

Everyone who treats it as ordinary must be put to death; f

or whoever does any work on it is to be cut off from his people.

15 On six days work will get done;

but the seventh day is Shabbat,

for complete rest,

set apart for Adonai.

Whoever does any work on the day of Shabbat must be put to death.

16 The people of Isra’el are to keep the Shabbat,

to observe Shabbat through all their generations

as a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between me and the people of Isra’el forever;

for in six days Adonai made heaven and earth,

but on the seventh day he stopped working and rested.’”

People like to throw away the death penalty.  I am not even going to broach this subject one way or the other.  There is a clear teaching here:  Loyalty and obedience to Adonai.  Let me ask you a very simple question to help you wrap your mind around this . . . What are the eternal consequences of willful disloyalty and disobedience?  If repentance is turning to God from our sins, then wouldn’t apostasy be turning away from God to our sins?  Do both roads lead to salvation?

What about Sunday?

Before I tackle that, we have to understand how Sunday came about. It is based in part on the text:

Acts 20:7 (NASB)

7 On the first day of the week,

when we were gathered together to break bread,

Paul began talking to them,

intending to leave the next day,

and he prolonged his message until midnight.

The first day of the week or Sunday.  This verse is a basis for worshiping on Sunday.  A lot has to be read into the text to fill in the gaps that make this a basis, but nonetheless, it is a basis.  The problem is that context has to be ignored to do this.  Before we examine the context, let’s add some understanding:

Acts 2:42-47 (CJB)

42 They continued faithfully in the teaching of the emissaries,

in fellowship,

in breaking bread and in the prayers.

43 Everyone was filled with awe,

and many miracles and signs took place through the emissaries.

44 All those trusting in Yeshua stayed together and had everything in common;

45 in fact, they sold their property and possessions

and distributed the proceeds to all who were in need.

46 Continuing faithfully and with singleness of purpose

to meet in the Temple courts daily,

and breaking bread in their several homes,

they shared their food in joy and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having the respect of all the people.

And day after day the Lord kept adding to them those who were being saved.

They gathered together to break bread daily – not just the first day of the week or Shabbat.  We can NOT make the assumption that culturally they worshiped and met as we do once a week because the text plainly says otherwise.

Since the text tells us that Sha’ul (Paul) and Yeshua (Jesus) observed Shabbat as Jews, we also can NOT assume as a result of this passage that this all of a sudden changed, in perpetuity, 50 to 60 years after Yeshua’s death on the execution stake (cross) when Luke wrote this letter.  To do so would be irresponsible and eisegetical at best.

It is conceivable that those that believe God’s instruction (Torah: law) ended with Yeshua’s death believe the perpetual covenant ended with His death as well.  However, that belief would make Sha’ul somewhat of a moron since he continued to observe Shabbat even after accepting Yeshua as Messiah, wouldn’t it?

I always ask people that think the law ended with Yeshua’s death a question that no one has answered to this point:

If Yeshua’s ministry was approximately  3 years

and

he added understanding to the law about adultery by explaining that

if you even look at a women with lust in your heart,

that you have committed adultery

then

Was this just a 3 year law?”

Let me explain.  Yeshua added to the law of adultery in His 3 year ministry by adding the heart part.  If the law ended at His death, then this was a 3 year (or less depending on how long His ministry had been going when he added to it) at best.

OOPS!

I get a lot of blank stares when I ask this question.  Sometimes I get a head scratch.  Sometimes I even get a nervous laugh.

Let’s go back to Acts 20 and add some context:

Acts 20:5-7 (NASB) emphasis added by me

5 But these had gone on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas.

6 We sailed from Philippi after the (7) days of Unleavened Bread (Pesach: Passover – another Shabbat that is based on the Hebrew calendar of the time))

and came to them at Troas within five days;

and there we stayed seven days.

7 On the first day of the week,

when we were gathered together to break bread,

Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day,

and he prolonged his message until midnight.

This is a chronological trip.  It is told as such.  There is no theological paradigm shift here.  Did they meet together to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection on the first day of the week (Sunday)? Undoubtedly!  Did they meet together on the 7th day of the week Shabbat (Saturday)?  Undoubtedly!  Did they meet together on the other days too (Monday through Friday)? Undoubtedly because as we learned,  they met together daily!  They stayed for the “days” of unleavened bread, then for 5 days, then for 7 days . . . this is not hard to see unless you are looking at it through a theological pair of glasses.

So, did the perpetual Sabbath change for Saturday to Sunday?  Dr Michael Brown states it thus:

Christendom did change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday—but there is no scriptural mandate for this decision, as has often been demonstrated. . .

There is limited evidence that some of Yeshua’s early followers celebrated his resurrection, which took place on a Sunday, in early morning gatherings for prayer or worship on that day. But we must not see that through the lens of later church practice, since there was not a five-day work week in that culture, and so Jewish believers who continued to observe the Sabbath did not set aside Sunday as an additional day of worship (or change their Saturday observance to Sunday). At most, they added another time of worship and prayer to their weekly schedule on Sunday mornings (or, possibly, evenings).

But, to repeat: These Jewish followers of Yeshua did not change the Sabbath to Sunday.

Eventually, due to the massive influx of Gentiles into Messiah’s community, followed by the institutionalizing of the church and the eventual severing of some of its biblical and Jewish roots,

it was decreed in the fourth century that the Sabbath had now been changed to Sunday,

but this was not what Yeshua taught,

and it is not found anywhere in the New Testament.

Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus – Volume 4: New Testament Objections, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 269-273.

This leaves us with some questions to ponder – some study of the text to do.

Does tradition trump God’s Word?

I will leave that for you to decide.

So, back the the title of this post:  A Personal Sabbath?

If we look at if from the definition only as rest and cessation from work, then personal Sabbath has merit.

If we look at it as a Baruch (Blessed) and Kadosh (Holy) day set apart by  Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha-olam (LORD, our God, sovereign of the universe), then that merit is not so meritorious.

The Sabbath is Saturday.

This has never changed.  It can be argued that the Lord’s day is Sunday.  This still doesn’t change the commands about the Sabbath.

I will leave you with one final thought to ponder and research based on the text:

Ephesians 2:11-22 (CJB) 11 Therefore, remember your former state:

you Gentiles by birth —

called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised —

12 at that time had no Messiah.

You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el.

You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise.

You were in this world without hope and without God.

13 But now, you who were once far off

have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood.

14 For he himself is our shalom

he has made us both one and has broken down the m’chitzah (barrier) which divided us

15 by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Torah,

with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances.

He did this in order to create in union with himself

from the two groups

a single new humanity and thus make shalom (peace),

16 and in order to reconcile to God both

in a single body by being executed on a stake

as a criminal

and thus in himself killing that enmity.

17 Also, when he came,

he announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby, 18 news that through him

we both

have access in one Spirit to the Father.

19 So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers.

On the contrary, you are fellow-citizens

with God’s people

and members of God’s family.

20 You have been built on the foundation

of the emissaries and the prophets,

with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah himself.

21 In union with him the whole building is held together,

and it is growing into a holy temple

in union with the Lord.

22 Yes, in union with him,

you yourselves are being built together

into a spiritual dwelling-place for God!

Based on the text here in these verses,

can we make shalom (peace) and one new humanity (one new man)

if we discard Shabbat or try to pass Sunday off as Shabbat?

I’ll let you decide . . .

Blessings to you all

and

Shabbat Shalom!

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About Even If Ministries

Dani'el 3:17-18 (CJB) 17 Your majesty, if our God, whom we serve, is able to save us, he will save us from the blazing hot furnace and from your power. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will neither serve your gods nor worship the gold statue which you have set up.”
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2 Responses to A Personal Sabbath?!?

  1. dvorah says:

    Long as you said, but very good and well organized. It is good to share with those yet not observing the seventh day sabbath and to plant seeds.

  2. or put a pebble in some shoes . . . Blessings to you!

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