2000 years after Yeshua, the first Apostles and the New Testament accounts written in the Bible, there is much debate about what “Sabbath” means. Some think it is of little importance while others believe it is everyday. Some say, “Isn’t love that matters? and keeping God’s Commandments?” There are others who say, “Is God really so petty, that He wants us to keep a certain day holier than others?”
As this is quite a vast subject, with lots of questions and arguments around it, we will break this study down into 2 or 3 parts. In the 1st Part we will lay the groundwork in understanding The Sabbath day which is also God’s 4th Eternal Commandment.
In Part 1, we will cover these areas
- Biblical Definitions behind the word Sabbath
- The origins of the Seventh Day Sabbath
- The connection between the 7th Day of Creation to the Sabbath
- Why was this Commandment given to man?
- Is the Sabbath a day of special significance to man or to God?
- What is this Commandment? How do we obey it?
- The do’s and dont’s of the Sabbath
- The truth behind the claim that the 7th Day of Creation is not a 24Hour day
- Scripture References and important facts about the Sabbath
In Part 2 of this study, we will move onto answering some of the questions and thoughts that exist about the Sabbath.
- Did Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) break the Sabbath, showing us that it is no more?
- Since the “Keep Sabbath Holy” Commandment is never mentioned in the New testament, it is clearly not important
- Hebrews 4 proves that Yeshua is our Sabbath rest, not any particular day. We should keep everyday holy, not any particular day
- The 1st Century Church met on Sunday’s since the “Lord’s Day”(Yeshua’s resurrection) is on Sunday, which means they didn’t keep the Sabbath.
- There is no mention of the Sabbath in the book of Revelations
- Col 2:16,17 proves that we do not need to keep the Sabbath
- Yeshua said that I am working just as Father God is always working. So we do not need to keep the Sabbath, as Yeshua & God is working on the Sabbath
- Yeshua gave Commandments that abolished the Old, which contained the Sabbath Commandment
- The Sabbath Commandment is not a Spiritual Commandment, while we are asked to keep the Spirit of the Law, and not the letter of the Law
- We are under grace and not under Law, so we do not need to keep the Sabbath
- Yeshua is the Lord of the Sabbath, so this Commandment ends with Him
- The Sabbath was made for Jews, not Gentiles. It was given to Israel and not the church
- It doesn’t matter which day you keep, as long as you keep one and you are fully convinced in your own mind according to Rom 14:5,6
- Sabbath keepers are working for their salvation and have fallen from Grace
- Gal 4:9,10 specifically says not to be in bondage to observing days
- Even if we do need to keep the Sabbath, we wouldn’t know which day it is because of the numerous calendar changes in history
- There is no proof in Scripture that the Sabbath is Saturday
- There is no Sabbath service near to where I live. Am I to keep Sabbath by myself? Isn’t it better for me to go on a Sunday and worship God along with others?
- How can this be right, when everyone I know including powerful Pastors & Teachers worship on Sunday instead of the Sabbath
- Their were strict Laws concerning the Sabbath such as not lighting a fire. Are we supposed to stay in the dark without cooking food just to observe this old Sabbath Law?
1) Biblical Definition behind the term “Sabbath”
So let’s get down straight to it, and check the Definition of the word “Sabbath” in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts. (We will check the Greek Definitions in the Second Part of this Study)
H7676 – שׁבּת – shabbâth – shab-bawth’ – Intensive from H7673; intermission, that is, (specifically) the Sabbath: – (+ every) sabbath.
This word “shabbâth” originates from H7673. Let’s look at this word as well.
H7673 – שׁבת – shâbath – shaw-bath’ – A primitive root; to repose, that is, desist from exertion; used in many implied relations (causatively, figuratively or specifically): – (cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away.
Wherever the Seventh day Sabbath is mentioned, H7676 shabbâth is used in the Old Testament Scriptures. While H7673 – shâbath is used as the word “Rest” in most verses including Gen 2:2, where it says, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”
The connection between “Rest” and “Sabbath” can be seen in verses such as
Exo 16:29,30 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath(H7676), therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested(H7673) on the seventh day.
2Ch 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths(H7676): for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath(H7673), to fulfil threescore and ten years.
Lev 26:34,35 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths(H7676), as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest(H7673), and enjoy her sabbaths(H7676). As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest(H7673); because it did not rest(H7673) in your sabbaths(H7676), when ye dwelt upon it.
2) The Origin of the Seventh Day Sabbath
Some argue, that God did not institute the Sabbath on the Seventh day of Creation and even go on to say, that the Seventh Day of Creation could not be a Single 24Hour day. Let’s check whether these claims are true.
Gen 2:2,3 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (This verse says that God Rested from His work on the Seventh Day and blessed and sanctified the Seventh Day, which He did not do to any other day. We see this connection clearly stated by God in Exo 20:10,11 when He gave His Commandments)
3)The connection between the 7th Day of Creation to the Sabbath.
Exo 20:10,11 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
4) Why was this Commandment given to man?
Exo 31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Exo 23:12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
(God has said that it is a sign between Israel and Himself forever, and that it is given for rest and refreshment for man as it was for God on the 7th Day of Creation)
5) Is the Sabbath a day of special significance to man or to God?
Lev 23:2,3 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my “feasts”(H4150 – מועד – mô‛êd – an appointment). Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
Isa 58:13,14 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Isa 56:2-6 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
The Sabbath is called “My Holy Day” and “My Feast/Appointment” by God along with other Feast/Appointed days which include days such as “Passover” & “Pentecost”(Pentecost means 50Days which refer to Lev 23:15,16 which was the same celebration everyone was gathered to in Acts 2:1. more on this in a later study on the Appointed days of God). He has also promised to Bless people who keep the Sabbath.
6) What is this Commandment? How do we obey it?
Since we have seen the clear connection between the Sabbath and Rest, we need to also understand a bit more about the Commandment of the Sabbath and the definition of keeping it “Holy” as well as what God meant when He said do not “Labour” and refrain from “Work“.
Exo 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it HOLY. Six days shalt thou LABOUR, and do all thy WORK: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any WORK, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Holy – H6942 – קדשׁ – qâdash – kaw-dash’ – to be (causatively make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally): – appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow, (be, keep) holy (-er, place), keep, prepare, proclaim, purify, sanctify (-ied one, self), X wholly.
This is the same word used in Gen 2:3 which is translated as “Sanctified” in English.
Labour – H5647 – עבד – ‛âbad – aw-bad’ – to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.: – X be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, + husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing, self), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.
This word has been translated to English as,
Till/Tiller/Tillest in Gen 2:5, 3:23, 4:2, 4:12
Dress in Gen 2:15
Serve/Served in Gen 14:4, 15:3, 15:14, 25:23, 27:29, 27:40, 29:15, 29:18,20,25,27,30, etc
Servant in Gen 49:15
Keep in bondage in Exo 6:5
Compel him to serve in Lev 25:39
Bondmen in Lev 25:46
Work – H4399 – מלאכה – melâ’kâh – mel-aw-kaw’ – properly deputyship, that is, ministry; generally employment (never servile) or work (abstractly or concretely); also property (as the result of labor): – business, + cattle, + industrious, occupation, (+ -pied), + officer, thing (made), use, (manner of) work ([-man], -manship).
– H5647 – עבד – ‛âbad – aw-bad’ – to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.: – X be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, + husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing, self), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.
This word has been translated to English as,
Business in Gen 39:11, 1Chr 26:29,30, 2Chr 13:10, 17:13, Est 3:9, Psa 107:23, Dan 8:27
Goods in Exo 22:8,11
Workmanship in Exo 31:3,5, 35:31, 1Chr 28:21
Industrious in 1Kin 11:28
Workmen in 2Kin 12:14,15, 1Chr 22:15, 25:1, 2Chr 24:13, 34:10,17, Ezr 3:9
Labour in Neh 4:22
Occupation in Jonah 1:8
According to the scores of Scripture above, you can clearly see that “Work”/”Labour” is not defined as “anything you do”(cooking, cleaning, helping someone in need, healing, etc). It is the Business you are involved with from Tilling the Ground to all other occupations we are involved in, to make a living.
7) The do’s and dont’s of the Sabbath
Further evidence for The Sabbath rest to be connected to rest from your occupation can be found in the below verse, which explains how Israel , at one time, was breaking God’s Commandment – The Sabbath, by going about their own occupations & businesses
Neh 13:15-22 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves(Corn), and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals(game meat/hunted animals). There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware(Merchandise), and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath. And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.
Frequently asked Question: If “work” in the Commandment is business oriented, why was the man in Num 15:32, who “gathered sticks” on the Sabbath punished?
The better question we need to answer here is, why was this man “Gathering” “sticks” in the first place? Let us see the meaning behind the words “Gather” and “sticks” used here.
“Gather” – H7197 – קשׁשׁ – qâshash – kaw-shash’ – to become sapless through drought; used only as denominative from H7179 [H7179 – קשׁ – qash – kash – From H7197; straw (as dry): – stubble].; to forage for straw, stubble or wood; figuratively to assemble: – gather (selves) (together).
This specific word “H7197 – kaw-shash” which is translated as “gather” is seen only 7 times in the Scriptures and is used in the case of gathering straw or wood as material for work such as Carpentry, Brick making or starting fires which was essential for industry in ancient times (Exo_5:7, Exo_5:12, Num_15:32, Num_15:33, 1Ki_17:10, 1Ki_17:12, Zep_2:1). Note: the word Gather can be seen in scripture over 150 times while this particular word is seen only 7 times
“Sticks” – H6086 – עץ – ‛êts – ates – a tree (from its firmness); hence wood (plural sticks): – + carpenter, gallows, helve, + pine, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree, wood.
This specific word is translated as “Tree” close to 200 times in the Bible, but is used only 10 times as “sticks”.
Could it be that this man was collecting wood for work? There is quite a bit of difference when you say that, “he was gathering sticks” and “he was foraging for wood”.
What about Exo 35:3, which says that one cannot light a fire on the Sabbath.
Some say, Are you seriously saying we need to keep a Commandment which has a Law attached to it, which says you cannot even light a fire? If God has commanded, we have to obey. But we need to understand what He meant by this first. What did He mean by not lighting a fire? Did He mean that everyone has to go hungry that day, because you cannot cook a meal? Did He mean that you have to sleep in the cold and freeze to death because you cannot light a fire? We have to understand God’s Words and His Laws before we make any assumptions.
In Exo 35:2,3, God speaks through Moses saying, Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. What is the context of Exo 35:3? Why does He say not to light a fire? Because God did not want anyone to do “regular monetary work” on that day. Remember that fire was essential for “work” at that time. If someone uses this verse to say “If you keep the Sabbath, you shouldn’t even cook”, I would show them Exo 12:16 which talks about the High/Special Sabbaths of Unleavened Bread, and how God specifically says that people can prepare their meals on these special Sabbath days.
8) The truth behind the claim that the 7th Day of Creation is not a 24Hour day
Some claim that The Seventh Day of Creation like all the other days of Creation were longer periods of time, and that it has no connection to the 24Hour Sabbath Day because the 7th day of Creation was not a 24 Hour day. They claim that the week of Creation is Millions of years long and because of it, the 7th day of Creation is not a Sabbath. How else could we explain the remains of Dinosaurs and the questions that Science bring forward saying the earth is Millions of Years Old?
First of all, I must say, I do not disagree with “most” of what Science says. We clearly cannot refute the fact that Skeletons of Dinosaurs do exist, and they could be thousands of years old. I believe Dinosaurs did exist. But they had to have existed before Adam if they are Millions of years old. Whoa! some would call this notion Ludicrous. But just hear me out.
From Adam to today, is roughly close to 6000years. How do we know this? Because all of the Genealogies, Births, Deaths and dates have been provided for us in the Scripture without any missing links. (I have done my research on this, and this is not an assumption, but Scriptural fact). The Scriptures say Adam was 930 Years old when he died(Gen 5:5). If The days of Creation were long periods of time(Millions of Years), and Adam was Created on the 6th Day, wouldn’t he have died before the Seventh Day?
Reading the first two verses in the Scriptures can help us understand how the Dinosaurs, if they are millions of years old, could have lived before Adam. Let’s check this claim. (Please note that this is my interpretation of the event of Creation and not clear fact as most of the other scriptures we have read through.)
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
It is absolutely clear that God created the Heaven and Earth in the Beginning of time(whatever time this is. Please note, that this could have been Millions of years ago). But the 2nd verse shows us that the earth was suddenly formless and void with darkness upon the earth. Did God make a formless thing with darkness prevailing on it?(Remember all other things were made perfect in one go). So, could it be that there was a great amount of time between the 1st Verse and the 2nd Verse? What I am trying to say is, that God did not reveal everything to Moses(who wrote Genesis). Yes, God did Create everything at the very beginning, but between verse 1 & 2, something had terribly gone wrong with the earth(Maybe something like, what happened in the time of Noah).
Anyway, whether I am right or wrong, the Seventh Day of Creation cannot be a “Thousand Years”, as Adam would have died before entering the Seventh Day, if that was so.
Scripture References and important facts regarding the Sabbath
- The Sabbath is one of the 10 commandments (Ex. 20:8-11, Deut. 5:12-15).
- God finished His work of creation, rested, set apart and blessed the 7th day (Gen. 2:2-3, Ex. 31:14,17)
- God tells his people to keep the Sabbath so that we know that God is the one who sanctifies us (Ex 31:13)
- God tells his people to keep the Sabbath “throughout your generations – forever.” (Ex. 31:13, 16)
- The Sabbath is a sign of God’s authority over His people (Ex. 31:13, 17)
- The Sabbath commandment was written with the finger of God (Ex. 31:18, Deut. 9:10).
- God sent Israel into captivity for breaking and profaning the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13:17,18)
- Those who observe the Sabbath will be given “a place and a name better than sons and daughters” (Isa. 56:3-5)
- God promises to specially bless and bring those who keep the Sabbath to his Holy Mountain (Isa. 56:2,7)
- The Sabbath is intended to be a delight and people who keep it are blessed (Isaiah 58:13)
- In the future, after the Final Judgment, the Sabbath will still be in effect (Isa. 66:22-23)
- The Lord gave the Sabbath as a sign or a mark between Him and His people (Eze 20:12-24)
- God mentioned Sabbath breaking in a list of indictments against his people (Ezek. 22:8, 26, 23:38)
- The prophet Ezekiel describes a future temple in which the Sabbath will still be in effect (Ezekiel 46:1-12)
- God takes away the Sabbaths and the Feasts as a punishment (Hosea 2:1-11)
- Yeshua did not come to abolish even the least of God’s commandments (Matt. 5:17-19)
- Yeshua showed how to properly keep the 7th day Sabbath (Matt. 12:10-12, Mark 2:27-28, 3:2-4, Luke 6:1-11)
- Yeshua taught that the Sabbath would be in effect after his death and before the great tribulation (Matt. 24:20-21)
- Yeshua set an example by observing the Sabbath (Mark 1:21, 6:2, Luke 4:16, 13:10)
- Even after His crucifixion, some women “rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56)
- The Jerusalem council gave gentiles four basic commandments because they knew they would learn the rest of God’s commandments in the Synagogues on the 7th day Sabbath (Acts 15:21)
- Paul taught the people to uphold the Law of God which are the commandments (Romans 3:31)
- Jesus kept the Saturday Sabbath, and Paul was an imitator of Jesus, teaching others to imitate him (1 Cor. 11:1)
- Paul kept the 7th day Sabbath (Acts 13:14 ; 16:13 ; 17:2 ; 18:4)
- We are told that love for God = obeying his commandments (1 John 5:3).
- Those living in the end-times who keep God’s commandments, are praised in the Book of Revelations (Rev. 12:17)
I Sincerely hope that I have covered all the important facts regarding the Sabbath and given you a new view into one of God’s eternal Commandments. In the next part of this study, we will delve into questions and misunderstandings that concern the Sabbath, proving the facts whether the Sabbath is Saturday, Sunday or everyday and try to make this Commandment of God clearer and more relevant to our lives.