Remember The Sabbath And Keep It Holy
- Should Christians Keep The Seventh Day Sabbath?
- Should Christians Gather For Worship On Sunday?
- How Can Christians Keep Shabbat In A Way That is Consistant With Both Our Jewish Roots And Our Belief In Messiah Y'shua?
The Fourth Commandment
Does it strike you as ironic that Christians who willfully and unapologetically violate the Fourth Commandment every week, are so quick to protest the removal of the Ten Commandments from courthouses and public buildings? I may need to repeat this several times to avoid being dismissed out of hand by many Christians, so
let me be very clear about this. I am not a Seventh Day Adventist nor am I proposing that Christians should abandon attending church services on Sunday. Any and every day of the week is an appropriate time to gather together with other believers, to fellowship, worship, study the Word, or even to break bread. I am however recommending that all believers in Messiah Y'shua consider finding a way to obey the Forth Commandment: to "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy".
Because virtually all modern day Christians have been so steeped in anti seventh day Sabbath doctrine, I suspect that your hackles are
up and buzzing as you read this. I beg you to hear me out. Yahveh
did not say, “Pick a day and keep it Holy”! He said, “Remember the Sabbath day and Keep it Holy”, and He was very specific about what day the Sabbath falls on. According to Scripture, the seventh day (Saturday) is Shabbat. By the Hebrew reckoning of time, Shabbat begins at sundown on the sixth day (Friday) and ends at sunset on the seventh day (Saturday). Let me say again, that there is nothing wrong with attending church services on Sunday (the first day of the week) especially since this is the day of the week that Y'shua was resurrected. But does attending services on Sunday relieve us of the responsibility to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy? As you will read in the Scripture passages I quote in the next column, clinging to this false doctrine robs the church not only of a magnificent blessing, but of its very identity as the people of Yahveh.
The only way one can maintain that keeping the seventh day Sabbath is no longer important to Yahveh or pleasing to Him is to see all of Scripture through the lens of the doctrines of men, who for anti-Semitic reasons want it to be so. The fiction that believers are relieved of any responsibility to follow the Fourth Commandment because the early church met on the Lord's Day to honor Y'shua's resurrection is just that, fiction! Although two Scripture passages allude to the fact that believers met together on the first day of the week, nowhere does Scripture indicate that they did so to the exclusion of remembering the seventh day Sabbath and keeping it holy.
In 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul instructs the believers there: "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. (NASB) One might infer from this passage that
the Church in Corinth and Galatia was in the habit of meeting together on the first day of the week, but it is a giant stretch to infer that they did so to the exclusion of keeping the seventh day Sabbath. In fact, Acts 2: 46-47 indicates that the early believers met together every day, "...breaking bread from house to house, taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people..."
In Acts 20:7, Luke relates a story that begins, "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."
In this passage, Luke is not referring to the believers meeting together on Sunday morning as we do with Paul droning on from morning to midnight, but to the Jewish tradition of the last meal of Shabbat which occurs immediately after sunset on Saturday night when the seventh day Sabbath ends. For Luke and Paul "the first day" began at sunset on Saturday evening. Paul preached till what we would reckon as Midnight Saturday, and their intended departure would have been at what we would reckon as Sunday morning. This is why verse 8 indicates that there were many lamps burning in the upper room where they were meeting. We cannot infer from this passage that the church did not keep the seventh day Sabbath. To the contrary, a proper understanding of the Jewish custom of Rabbi Paul and the early church proves exactly the opposite.
That said, there is nothing in the Gospels or Epistles that would indicate that the church should not "remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy" nor is there anything that would indicate that Yahveh or Y'shua wanted Shabbat moved from the seventh day to the first day of the week. Y'shua kept the seventh day Sabbath, The Apostles kept
the seventh day Sabbath. And the Church kept the seventh day Sabbath until they were forbidden to do so by a pagan Roman Emperor well into the foruth Century.
Yes, you heard me correctly, the early church kept the seventh day Sabbath until well into the fourth century when Roman Emperor
Constantine forbid them to do so and moved the "day of rest" to what he called, "the venerable day of the Sun". Prior to his supposed conversion to Christianity, Constantine was a pagan Sun God worshiper who was accustomed to worshiping the pagan Sun god on Sunday. After legalizing Christianity in the Roman Empire, Constantine incorporated this and many other traditions of Tammuz worship into the practice and tradition of the church over which he ruled. You may ask, "How do I know that the Church kept the seventh day Sabbath and the Levitical feasts well into the fourth century?" The answer is that Constantine had to forbid the Church to: worship on Shabbat, celebrate Passover, or to (in his words) "do anything the detestable Jews did."
Consider the Scriptures in the next column before dismissing the Fourth Commandment in your life and practice. The underlined passages are my emphasis.
Scriptures on Shabbat
Genesis 2:2-3 (NASB)
By the seventh day God completed 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.
Exodus 20:8-11 (NASB)
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and
made it holy.
Exodus 31:12-17 (NASB)
The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, 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. For six days work may
be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.
Exodus 35:2-3 (NASB)
For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day,a sabbath of complete rest to the LORD; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.
Leviticus 23:1-3 (NASB)
The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'The LORD'S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.
Numbers 15:32-36 (NASB)
Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation; and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man shall
surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp." So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the
LORD had commanded Moses.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NASB)
Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that
you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.
Nehemiah 9:13-14 (NASB)
Then You came down on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven; You gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments. So You made known to them Your holy sabbath, And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law, Through Your servant Moses.
Isaiah 56:1-7 (NASB)
Thus says the LORD, "Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed. How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil." Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, "The LORD will surely separate me from His people." Nor
let the eunuch say, "Behold, I am a dry tree." For thus says the LORD, "To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called
a house of prayer for all the peoples.
Isaiah 58:13-14 (NASB)
If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot From doing your ownpleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, And honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure And speaking your own word, Then you will take delight in the LORD, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.