Sunday, January 5, 2014

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy 2

In 1960s during the Cultural Revolution in China, the Chairman Mao decided that he needed to enhance the country’s productivity. He concluded that to do that it was necessary to implement a seven day work week. According to him, it was unnecessary to rest every seven days, it was even harmful, because it lowered the productivity. Only two days in a year were free for rest.

What would it be like to live in a world without the Sabbath? According to Henry Ward Beecher: “A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. It is the most joyous day of the week.” 

China returned soon back to six day week because people started to wear and the production rates lowered even more. But sadly in many factories in China, and in other parts of the world, the seven day workweek is functioning and people are made to work without rest.

In Deuteronomy it says: 12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 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 male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. (Deuteronomy 5:12-14)

God does not only say that we should rest but He comands us to not work and make sure our children, worker, animals and foreigners who live among us shall not work either. For Him, the Sabbath is for everyone. So that everyone and everything can rest and recover.

What would that mean in our daily life?

For me personally, it means making as sure as I can that no one is working for me today. 

If I go to shop, that would mean that people in the store are working so I could shop. If I go to a restaurant, it means that people making and serving the meal are working for my benefit.

It is a radical view, and not everyone will agree with me. And I'm the first to say, do not make rules, because they are easy to make and easy to break.

But sometimes we need to stop and consider the impact we make around us. As Walter Brueggemann says: “Sabbath, in the first instance, is not about worship. It is about work stoppage. It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system of Pharaoh, the refusal to let one’s life be defined by production and consumption and the endless pursuit of private well-being.”

Harsh words, and a red flag to many. It may sound too radical to you.

I personally think that the Sabbath is about the worship. But it isn't only about the worship. It is very much about the rest. 

If we read from the Bible why God first ordered Sabbath we can find out in the Genesis: By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:2-3)

Sabbath is more than just stopping producing and gaining strength to produce more. The Sabbath is to commemorate the rest God Himself had when He contemplated His work, by letting the people rest. In Exodus it is said: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 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. (Exodus 20:8-11) 

This is the second part of three in considerations about keeping the Sabbath. You can find the first part here. The third part will be coming soon.



    Did God expect Christians to keep the Sabbath? No, He did not. The Sabbath was given to Israel and Israel alone. Nine of the Ten Commandments have been repeated in the New testament with the exception being, remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy.

    Deuteronomy 5:1-21 Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: "Hear, O Israel, the statues and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully. 2. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 3 The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today..... 12 ' Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you.......

    God did not command Christians to remember the Sabbath.

    Christians are saved by grace through faith. Not by law keeping. (Ephesians 2:8)


    Hebrews 8:7-13.....13 'When He said, "A new covenant," He made the first covenant obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

    Ephesians 2:11-16 ..the Gentiles.. 12 remember that you were at that time separate from commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ......15 by abolishingin His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.....(Also see: Colossians 2:10-16)

    When Jesus shed His blood on the cross, the Laws of Moses became obsolete. The old covenant was nailed to the cross. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy was a Law of Moses.

    Galatians 5:1-4....3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law, 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

    Keeping the Sabbath is keeping a law of Moses. Men cannot
    be justified by keeping the Laws of Moses.


    Exodus 31:12-18....14 Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death....


    (All Scripture from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)


  2. I so agree with you, Joanna, that we are to keep the Sabbath. If we are grafted into Israel (meaning we are believers in Israel's true Messiah) then we are to do as true Israelites (who believe in Messiah) should do. People say they keep the Ten Commandments, but then don't look at commandment number four about the Sabbath. One day, many years ago, I was praying about the Ten Commandments (concerned about them being removed in many places) and my Heavenly Father -- told me bluntly that I was NOT keeping His commandments. I knew He meant the Sabbath, because I was being careful to keep all the rest (even in my heart). He led me out of the Sunday church thing, and eventually (later) I learned that the Sunday pseudo-sabbath was instituted by the Roman Catholic church, and never turned back by the Protesters. I further learned that the early Christians kept the Lord's Day Sabbath (from Friday evening to Saturday evening) just as outlined at the beginning of Creation -- for FOUR HUNDRED years. What changed? Constantine commandeered the faith of many believers, through force. Thank you for your great article. Jesus/Yeshua did NOT do away with ANY commandments. He very plainly told those who heard Him speak, that He did NOT come to destroy the LAW or the PROPHETS. IF we don't keep His commandments, then what ARE we doing I wonder? The New Testament points to superseding only the letter of the law, by looking deeper into our hearts -- and having heart conformity to the law. I am speaking of the LAW of Moses, and not of the "traditions of the elders" (which the Savior reviled) that were added by the traditions that became the writings of the Talmud, and are not based on the Law of Moses, or the Teachings of Messiah. He abolished the enmity, not the LAW. He kept the LAW perfectly, and so did His Apostles. His two examples of the top two commandments that sum up the Law are real commandments. One is chief of the Ten, the other a rather obscure seemingly out of the way commandment. This tells me two things -- obey the Ten, and obey the obscure ones also. Should we stray from the Apostles true faith? There was no longer need for blood covenants, other than the Blood of Messiah the Son -- the Lamb of Elohim, but other than this -- the Sabbath law was kept by all who believed for four hundred years, including Paul, and his gentile converts. Should we do any differently?