Hebrew Roots/Neglected Commandments/Sabbath/Apologetics/Purpose

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Institution of the Sabbath "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." Genesis 2:2, 3 NKJV

The Hebrew word translated "and He rested" in verse 2 comes from the root shabat (Eng. "Sabbath"), which later became the official name for the seventh day of the week. The word "sanctified" in verse 3 comes from the root qadash, which literally means "to set apart as holy." The first place the word "Sabbath" (from the Hebrew verb shabbat, meaning "to rest from labor"; the day of rest) is used for the seventh day, is in Exodus 16:23.

Re-Affirmation of the Sabbath to Israel During the time of slavery in Egypt, the Sabbath was either abrogated or disallowed, and/or the importance of it and its spiritual significance lost to the people. When they came out of Egypt it was re-instituted after the Red Sea crossing.

When Yahweh gives instruction regarding the gathering of manna, provision for the sabbath is included. This gives us a very strong indication that the Sabbath may even have been kept beforehand by those who were faithful to the covenant made by the fathers. At this time it became mandatory during the exodus for the whole nation before they came to Sinai and entered into covenant with Yahweh. It was in existence therefore before the "law" (the Torah).

"This is what Yahweh has commanded: 'Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to Yahweh; bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.'" Exodus 16:23 " So the people rested on the seventh day." Exodus 16:19 NKJV As the previous passage clearly shows, the "law" being referred to in verse 4 is the command to keep the Sabbath holy.

"Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not." (NKJV) Exodus 16:4

The Sabbath command was codified by its inclusion in the Ten Commandments given to the Israelites by Yahweh Himself when the Israelites reached Mount Sinai, but was already being observed, exactly like the other Commandments. It was a well-known principle. It was generally understood to be a part of His plan for humanity.

"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your God. 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. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." (NKJV)

God's Sabbaths were so important to Him that He made their observance a separate covenant with Israel after His initial covenant with them at Sinai (Exodus 24:8). The "Sabbath Covenant" was instituted in Exodus 31:13-17 '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 Yahweh who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy 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. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to Yahweh. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.' " (NKJV)

That which is "perpetual" is eternal -- i.e. not a temporary covenant. This is not the "Old Covenant," which is passing away, according to the apostle Paul (Heb.8:13). The Sabbath itself is A PERPETUAL, ETERNAL, EVERLASTING COVENANT which identifies the true people of Yahweh! See also Exodus 20:12 It is a sign between Yahweh and His people "FOREVER!"

By making it a perpetual covenant which they observed every week, they would always remember that they were a special set-apart people to God. It was a weekly reminder that their God was the only true God, the One who had created all things. Therefore, the command to observe it is repeated many times: In Exodus 34:21; 35:2; Leviticus 23: 3; Deut. 5:12-17 etc.

The Codified Instruction of Yahweh These Ten “Words,” or "ten commandments" as they are called, are much more than mere “commandments” which one might view in a superficial or legalistic way. Each represents a topical heading, an entire Way of living, broken down into logical categories, e.g., idolatry, human sexuality, property rights, the sacredness of life, human speech, and so forth.

They are amplified and expanded throughout the Scriptures.This fourth commandment is not some minor statute or ordinance to be changed or abrogated with the passing of time as the ten commandments are a codified instruction on His principles, and He never changes. It is an essential part of the Testimony and every bit as important, and as universal, as the commandments regarding murder, idolatry, or adultery. To our human way of thinking this statement sounds extreme and even absurd. But Yahweh's “thoughts” are not our “thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8). (Breaking the Sabbath incurred the death penalty, as did murder and adultery.)

Paul, said, "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" Romans 7:12. The Sabbath, we already saw in Genesis 2:1-3, is "holy" to Yahweh. It was made holy, or "sanctified," at creation. Here Paul says the entire Law of Yahweh is "holy," "just," or fair, equitable, and "good." There is nothing evil or bad about Yahweh's Law -- or, for that matter, His Sabbath day. It is PERFECT! As David wrote, "The law of Yahweh is Perfect"

Since Yahweh's Law is just, and good, and holy, and perfect, including the Sabbath law -- should we break it? To do so, would mean we are guilty of transgression -- SIN -- "And the wages of sin are death" Romans6:23

John tells us "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin IS the transgression of the law" I John 3:4. This is the definition of "SIN." Sin is the transgression, that is, the breaking and violation of -- "the law" of Yahweh!

Since the Law tells us what sin IS, and the Law tells us to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, then to VIOLATE this commandment would constitute SIN - i.e. transgressing the law! Every time people break Yahweh's Sabbath day, they are committing SIN!

The apostle James puts it this way: "For whosoever shall keep the WHOLE LAW, and yet offend in one point" -- such as the point of the Sabbath -- "he is guilty of all" James 2:10

James goes on, describing what law he is talking about -- the Ten Commandments, which includes the Sabbath. "For he that says, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law" (James 2:11).

Or, to put it another way, if you do not steal, but if you break the Sabbath day commandment, then you have broken one point of Yahweh's Law, and you are guilty of breaking the whole thing -- the whole system of law -- and are designated as a "transgressor of the law"!

We must be DOERS of the Law! faith without works, we are told, is dead (James 2:17). See also James 1:22-25

Y'shua prayed that the family of God would be sanctified (consecrated, dedicated, set apart) by keeping His commandments. In John 14:15, 17:1-4, 17 it is written, "If ye love me, keep my commandments". "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified You on the earth: I have finished the work which You gave me to do, sanctify them through Your truth: Your Word is truth."

When Y'shua prayed in John 17:17 that the family of the God of Israel would be sanctified through the Word of God which He called truth, He was quoting Psalm 119:142 "Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law (Torah) is the truth." The commandments given at Sinai which was the law, was the Word of God.

Y'shua testified that he did not come to abolish the Father's law, but to bring it into its fullness. (Matt.5:17). He added, "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven .. .. .. " (Matt.5:19-20). It is those who do His commandments that have a right to the tree of eternal life (Rev.22:12-15).

Judgment for Breaking the Sabbath "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that Yahweh your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Yahweh your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day". Deuteronomy 5:12 (NIV)

In Deuteronomy 29 Moses warned God's people that if they disobeyed the commandments, they would go into exile. The people disobeyed and went into exile. The Sabbath was not the only command they had disobeyed, but it was specifically mentioned by the Prophets as one of the major reasons for the foreign conquests and captivity. Isaiah had pleaded with them to keep the Sabbath. (See chapters 56 & 58.) Jeremiah told them Jerusalem would be spared if they would quit breaking the Sabbath. (Jeremiah 17:1 9; 2 Chronicles 36:19 & Jeremiah 25: 9-12)

After they went into exile, Ezekiel was told to "cause them to know the abominations of their fathers" (Ezekiel 20:3; 22:2; 23:36). One of the abominations that Ezekiel discussed at length was their refusal to keep the Sabbath, which, he reminded them, had been given to be a sign between God and His people.

"Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned My holy things," Yahweh said through His prophet. "They have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them." (Ezekiel. 22:26)

"Moreover, I gave them My Sabbaths, as a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies them. "But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them." Ezekiel 20:12-13

"But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am Yahweh your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am Yahweh your God." Ezekiel 20:18-20; See also Chapter 22:8; 23:38

The Reward of Shabbat "'If you turn away your feet from the Shabbat and from doing as you please on my holy day, and call the Shabbat a delight, the holy day of Yahweh honorable, and if you honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you will delight (oneg) yourself in Yahweh, and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.' The mouth of Yahweh has spoken." Isaiah 58:13,14.

"Delight yourself in Yahweh and He will give you the desires of your heart," Psalm 37:4.

Everyone wants to know how to get the Most High to give them the desires of their heart. Delighting in Yahweh is the way to receive that. What does it mean 'to delight in' - only one revelation of what this means is found in the Scriptures.

"Delight" here in Psalm 37:4 is the Hebrew word 'oneg', which is defined "to treat as a delicacy." There are very few places in the Scriptures where the word 'oneg' is used. There is one place, and only one, where it tells us exactly how to delight in Yahweh, even using the word 'oneg'. The only place where we are told what delighting in Him is, is in Isaiah 58:13, 14. The only way we are told to delight in Yahweh is to honor and obey the seventh day Sabbath. The reward for doing this is "to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance" of Jacob.

Spiritual high places and ... .... ... to enter our spiritual inheritance! It is sealed as a promise from "the mouth of Yahweh." And that promise, as it says in Psalms 37:4, is to receive the "desires of your heart". In other words, if you make His Sabbath a delight (oneg), a delicacy in your life, you will receive the desires of your heart. The desires of your heart will be centred on spiritual things if you are delighting yourself in Yahweh, and the heritage of Jacob is to have spiritual authority with Yahweh to inherit those blessings.

The pre-requisite for attaining this state of delighting in Him is to cease from doing your own pleasure, seeking your own ways and speaking your own words. To cease from your own works as God did from His. This is entering into the spiritual rest of Yahweh wherein you are able to call the Sabbath a delight and honour Him on His day.

By the providence of our Heavenly Father we have a weekly ordained appointment, a time with our Beloved, a time to rejoice in Him and savour the delight of His love for us.

A time made free of other commitments to enter the banqueting house and hear the voice of our Beloved saying to us - "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!" (S.Songs 2:14) - to rise up to the mountain tops where we can be hidden in the cleft of the Rock and behold His glory and see His face. And know - that "My Beloved is mine, and I am His" - I have ceased from my own works and have entered into His rest, and My Beloved has come to make His abode with me. (S.Songs 2:16 & John 14:23; 17:24)

This is the heritage of those who "reign in life through the One, Y'shua the Messiah" Romans 5:17