The Sabbath (Shabbat)… It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever

The Sabbath (Shabbat)

The Fourth Commandment is the command to keep the

Sabbath. The Sabbath was one of the Ten Commands

that YHWH inscribed in stone.

Shemote (Exodus) 20:8-11

8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep

it set apart.

9 Six days you shall labor and do all

your work,

10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath

of YHWH your Elohim. 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.

11 For in six days YHWH made the

heavens and the earth, the sea, and all

that is in them, and rested the seventh

day. Therefore YHWH blessed the

Sabbath day and set it apart.”

The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, and the

fact that YHWH inscribed the commandment to rest

(i.e., to ‘sabbath’) in stone should give us some idea of

the degree of importance and unchangeability that

YHWH assigns to it.

The reason YHWH assigned the Sabbath as the

seventh day of the week is that YHWH created the

heavens and the earth in six days, and then rested on

the seventh day.

38

B’reisheet (Genesis) 2:2-3

2 And on the seventh day Elohim

ended His work which He had done,

and He rested on the seventh day from

all His work which He had done.

3 Then Elohim blessed the seventh

day and set it apart, because in it He

rested from all His work which Elohim

had created and made.

However, YHWH not only rested on the seventh day,

but He also was refreshed.

Shemote (Exodus) 31:12-17

12 And YHWH spoke to Moshe, saying,

13 "Speak also to the children of

Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths

you shall keep, for it is a sign between

Me and you throughout your

generations, that you may know that I

am YHWH who sets you apart.

14 You shall keep the Sabbath,

therefore, for it is set apart 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.

15 Work shall be done for six days, but

the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, set

apart to YHWH. Whoever does any

work on the Sabbath day, he shall

surely be put to death.

16 Therefore the children of Israel

shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the

Sabbath throughout their generations

as a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between Me and the

children of Israel forever; for in six

days YHWH made the heavens and the

earth, and on the seventh day He

rested and was refreshed.’"

The language here is curious. Since YHWH’s power

and might is completely without limit, how can YHWH

become tired? And if He cannot become tired, then

how can YHWH become refreshed?

In modern computer terms, when a computer screen

becomes all messed up, perhaps because a computer

has been left on too long, and becomes too hot, or

because too many computing operations have been

performed on it without the computer being able to take

a break, the computer screen becomes disorderly. To

correct this condition, one presses the ‘refresh’ button.

In exactly the same way, the Sabbath is a kind of a

‘refresh’ button for mankind, whereby the proper order

is restored between Elohim and man, by purposely

taking a day to worship, and to rest in Him.

Notice the language here: that the purpose of the

Sabbath is to rest in Him. The purpose of the Sabbath

is not to rest and relax the flesh by sewing, by hiking,

by catching up on one’s sleep for the week, or by

participating in recreational activities such as boating,

fishing or watching television. Rather, the purpose of

YHWH’s Sabbath is to restore the proper order

between YHWH Elohim and man. As we will see, this

calls for us to gather together, and serve Him as one

united, combined Body of Messiah.

Hebrews 10:24-25

24 And let us consider one another in

order to stir up love and good works,

40

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 has specific rules for the Sabbath. He tells us

that not only are we to do no work, but that we are not

to cause anyone else to work on that day: neither our

sons, nor our daughters, nor our menservants, nor our

maidservants, nor our cattle, nor any stranger who is

within our gates.

Shemote (Exodus) 20:8-11

8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep

it set apart.

9 Six days you shall labor and do all

your work,

10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath

of YHWH your Elohim. 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.

11 For in six days YHWH made the

heavens and the earth, the sea, and all

that is in them, and rested the seventh

day. Therefore YHWH blessed the

Sabbath day and set it apart.”

The basic concept is that we are to rest and relax in

Him, and to cause anyone and everyone under our

power to rest and relax in Him also. In practical terms,

this means that we must not hire anyone to do any

regular work, or work for pay on the Sabbath.

YHWH both blessed the seventh day, and He set it

apart. By way of blessing, He gave His people one day

out of their busy weeks that they should have to do no

laborious work. This is so true that the children of

Israel were not even supposed to cook on the Sabbath.

In the Wilderness of Sinai, the children of Israel were

told to gather and prepare twice as much food on the

sixth day of the week (sometimes called ‘Preparation

Day’), so that no gathering or cooking had to be done

on the Sabbath.

Shemote (Exodus) 16:22-30

22 And so it was, on the sixth day, that

they gathered twice as much bread,

two omers for each one. And all the

rulers of the congregation came and

told Moshe.

23 Then he said to them, "This is what

YHWH has said: ‘Tomorrow is a

Sabbath rest, a set-apart Sabbath to

YHWH. 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.’"

24 So they laid it up till morning, as

Moshe commanded; and it did not

stink, nor were there any worms in it.

25 Then Moshe said, "Eat that today,

for today is a Sabbath to YHWH; today

you will not find it in the field.

26 Six days you shall gather it, but on

the seventh day, the Sabbath, there

will be none."

27 Now it happened that some of the

people went out on the seventh day to

gather, but they found none.

42

28 And YHWH said to Moshe, "How

long do you refuse to keep My

commandments and My laws?

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

day."

30 So the people rested on the seventh

day.

The idea is to prepare for the Sabbath all six days of

the week, and then to prepare twice as much food on

the sixth day, so that one does not have to gather or

prepare food on the seventh. With the work of food

preparation already done, the Sabbath is just that much

more restful.

YHWH tells us He is serious about His people resting

from their labors on the seventh day. He even tells us

that whosoever does any work on the Sabbath is to be

put to death. This is a sign of the covenant between

YHWH and us forever, in all of our generations.

Shemote (Exodus) 31:12-17

12 And YHWH spoke to Moshe, saying,

13 "Speak also to the children of

Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths

you shall keep, for it is a sign between

Me and you throughout your

generations, that you may know that I

am YHWH who sets you apart.

14 You shall keep the Sabbath,

therefore, for it is set apart 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.

15 Work shall be done for six days, but

the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, set

apart to YHWH. Whoever does any

work on the Sabbath day, he shall

surely be put to death.

16 Therefore the children of Israel

shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the

Sabbath throughout their generations

as a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between Me and the

children of Israel forever; for in six

days YHWH made the heavens and the

earth, and on the seventh day He

rested and was refreshed.’"

However, people being what they are, they sometimes

put YHWH to the test. So it was that when Israel was

in the Wilderness, immediately after YHWH had

warned the people that anyone rebelling against His

commandments should be put to death, a man chose

to profane the Sabbath by gathering sticks. When

Moshe asked YHWH what to do, YHWH decreed that

the rebellious man was surely to be put to death.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 15:32-36

32 Now while the children of Israel

were in the wilderness, they found a

man gathering sticks on the Sabbath

day.

33 And those who found him gathering

sticks brought him to Moshe and

Aharon, and to all the congregation.

34 They put him under guard, because

it had not been explained what should

be done to him.

44

35 Then YHWH said to Moshe, "The

man must surely be put to death; all

the congregation shall stone him with

stones outside the camp."

36 So, as YHWH commanded Moshe,

all the congregation brought him

outside the camp and stoned him with

stones, and he died.

The reason this man was profaning the Sabbath was

that he had chosen to perform routine, laborious work

that could have been done either before or after

Shabbat. He should have been congregating and

worshipping YHWH at that time.

When YHWH appoints a special time to meet with us,

we as His bride must make every effort to meet with

Him then. If there is any work that can be done before

the Sabbath, so that we have more time to spend with

Him on that day, then that work should be done apart

from the Sabbath day.

Yet even though the man gathering sticks was breaking

the Shabbat, Yeshua said that His disciples were not

breaking the Shabbat when they plucked heads of

grain (and ate them) on the Sabbath.

Matthew 12:1-8

1 At that time Yeshua went through the

grainfields on the Sabbath. And His

disciples were hungry, and began to

pluck heads of grain and to eat.

2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they

said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are

doing what

3 But He said to them, "Have you not

read what David did when he was

hungry, he and those who were with

him:

4 how he entered the house of Elohim

and ate the showbread which was not

lawful for him to eat, nor for those who

were with him, but only for the

priests?

5 Or have you not read in the Torah

that on the Sabbath the priests in the

temple profane the Sabbath, and are

blameless?

6 Yet I say to you that in this place

there is One greater than the temple.

7 But if you had known what this

means, ‘I desire mercy and not

sacrifice,’ you would not have

condemned the guiltless.

8 For the Son of Man is Master even of

the Sabbath."

There are several reasons that Yeshua’s disciples were

not profaning the Sabbath. Perhaps one of the most

obvious is that His disciples were not working for pay.

They also were not reaping with a sickle and a basket,

either to sell, or to store up for later. Rather, they were

spending time with their Husband, and were simply

eating what was readily at hand as they walked through

the field, much as one might pluck a few pomegranates

one came across on the way to the synagogue. Since

it was not really ‘work’ to pluck these grains and eat

them, it did not need to be put off until later.

Another thing that is not ‘customary work,’ and which

does not need to be put off until after the Sabbath is

healing, and doing good.

46

Mattai (Matthew) 12:9-12

9 Now when He had departed from

there, He went into their synagogue.

10 And behold, there was a man who

had a withered hand. And they asked

Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the

Sabbath?" — that they might accuse

Him.

11 Then He said to them, "What man is

there among you who has one sheep,

and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath,

will not lay hold of it and lift it out?

12 Of how much more value then is a

man than a sheep? Therefore it is

lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

Sometimes people have questions about hospital staff:

since Yeshua said it is OK to heal on the Sabbath, is it

OK for believers to work as doctors, nurses, police and

fire services, or as other emergency services

personnel? Perhaps it will be easier to understand if

we use the following analogy:

Scripture likens Israel to a virgin bride, and if Israel is a

virgin bride, then one might consider the Sabbath (or

any other festival day) as a ‘date’ between the bride

and her future Husband. If the bride only gets to see

her Beloved Fiance one day a week, then if she truly

cherishes her Fiance, and wants to be with Him, then

she will look for ways to make the most of her time with

Him. Because of this, she will try to take care of her

earthly chores during the rest of the week, so that she

can spend as much time as possible with Him on her

one special date day.

If someone should come to the bride’s door in need of

urgent medical care (or even food) on the day she has

to spend with her Fiance, her Fiance will probably be

quite pleased and happy with her if she stops whatever

she is doing, and helps the one in need.

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