Leviticus 23:3. The commandment to assemble for worship on the Shabbat

It is sometimes suggested that we do not need to

assemble on the Sabbath, in that when the children of

Israel were in the Wilderness, YHWH told them to

remain in their place on the seventh day.

Shemote (Exodus) 16:29

29 “See! For YHWH has given you the

Sabbath; therefore He gives you on

the sixth day bread for two days. Let

every man remain in his place; let no

man go out of his place on the seventh


However, the context of this commandment to ‘remain

every man in his place’ is not in reference to assembly

for worship, but only with regards to gathering and

preparing food. Rather than gather and prepare food

on the Shabbat, the children of Israel were supposed to

prepare a day in advance, so they did not have to cook.

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:3

3 ‘Six days shall work be

done, but the seventh day

is a Sabbath of solemn

rest, a set-apart gathering.

You shall do no work on it;

it is the Sabbath of YHWH

in all your dwellings.


) שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה )

מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי

שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן מִקְרָא

א 􀃏 קֹדֶשׁ כָּל מְלָאכָה

תַעֲשׂוּ | שַׁבָּת הִוא

לַיהוָה בְּכֹל וֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם


The seventh day is described as a Sabbath of solemn

rest, and a set-apart gathering. The Hebrew here is

‘miqra qodesh’ (

מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ ), which is usually translated

as a ‘holy convocation’ in English. A ‘miqra’ is a public

meeting, and also a prophetic rehearsal.

OT:4744 miqra’ (mik-raw’); from

OT:7121; something called out, i.e. a

public meeting (the act, the persons,

or the place); also a rehearsal.

The letter ‘mem’ (

מ) implies a massing, and ‘karaw’


) ) means ‘called’. Therefore a miqra ( מִקְרָא ) is a

‘called-out massing’, or a ‘call to a public meeting’.

Please notice that this is also a prophetic rehearsal, as

we saw in Colossians 2:16-17 (above).

It was Yeshua’s custom to fulfill this commandment to

go to a public worship and prayer meeting by going to

the local synagogue.

Luqa (Luke) 4:16


16 So 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 to read.

As we explain in

Nazarene Israel, it seems the apostles

also intended the returning gentile Ephraimites to fulfill

the requirement to gather for prayer by going to the

local synagogues on each Sabbath.

Ma’asim (Acts) 15:19-21

19 “Therefore I judge that we should

not trouble those from among the

gentiles who are turning to Elohim,

20 but that we write to them to abstain

from things polluted by idols, from

sexual immorality, from things

strangled, and from blood.

21 For Moshe has had throughout

many generations those who preach

him in every city, being read in the

synagogues every Sabbath."

As explained in

Nazarene Israel, Acts Chapter Fifteen

tells us that if the returning gentile Ephraimites would

begin by abstaining from the four abominations of

idolatry, adultery, strangled (i.e., unclean) meats and

blood, then they could be allowed to enter into the

synagogues on Sabbath, as they would not be defiling

the set-apartness of the space. There in the public

prayer and worship meetings, they would learn the rest

of the Torah over time, as parts of the Torah are read

aloud in the synagogues each week.

It is sometimes taught that since Torah scrolls were not

readily available in the first century, but since most

households can afford a copy of the Scriptures today,

that it is not necessary for the people to gather and

assemble for public worship on the Shabbat. However,

this ignores both Leviticus 23:3, which plainly tells us to

assemble on the Shabbat, as well as Hebrews 10:25,

which specifically commands us not to forsake the

assembling of ourselves, although it is the custom of


Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider one another in

order to stir up love and good works,

25 not forsaking the assembling of

ourselves together, as is the manner

of some, but exhorting one another,

and so much the more as you see the

Day approaching.

YHWH tells us that the Sabbath is one of His appointed

times. In other words, it is one of the times that He has

appointed for us to gather together and assemble

ourselves, so as to worship Him as one new man.

Leviticus 23:2-5

2 "Speak to the children of

Israel, and say to them:

‘The feasts of YHWH,

which you shall proclaim

to be set-apart gatherings,

these are My feasts:

3 ‘Six days shall work be

done, but the seventh day

is a Sabbath of solemn

rest, a set-apart gathering.

You shall do no work on it;

it is the Sabbath of YHWH

2) דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל )

וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם מוֹעֲדֵי

יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרְאוּ

אֹתָם מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ |

אֵלֶּה הֵם מוֹעֲדָי



) שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה )

מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי

שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן מִקְרָא

א 􀃏 קֹדֶשׁ כָּל מְלָאכָה




in all your dwellings.

4 ‘These are the feasts of

YHWH, set-apart

gatherings which you shall

proclaim at their appointed


5 On the fourteenth day of

the first month at twilight is

YHWH’s Passover….

שַׁבָּת הִוא לַיהוָה בְּכֹל




) אֵלֶּה מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה )

מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ

| אֲשֶׁר

תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם




) בַּ חֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן )

בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר לַחֹדֶשׁ

בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם

| פֶּסַח


It sometimes happens that Ephraimites look for any

excuse to forsake the assembling of themselves, even

though the Sabbath is the fourth of the commandments

that YHWH etched into stone. Let us remember that

YHWH is Elohim, and that when He commands His

people to assemble, it is best to do as He says.

We may or may not like the others that YHWH has

called to be part of His spiritual family here on earth,

and if we do not like them, then the tendency can be to

want to shun, or avoid them. However, it is important

to remember that the apostles bound four beginning

fellowship rules for us in Scripture (no idolatry, no

adultery, no strangled meat, and no blood), and that so

long as our fellow servants are obeying these rules,

then we are not at liberty to isolate ourselves, or to set

ourselves apart from them.

Service to YHWH is not about being comfortable; nor is

it always pleasant. It is, however, almost always

edifying, if we hold the right heart attitude towards it.

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