Verily I say unto you, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of Yahweh as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15)
One of the most common questions that seem to come up from new folks in the faith is, “How do we ‘keep’ Sabbath?” This is a “guide” to assist you, the new believer. We are all to work out our own salvation. Philippians 2:12, So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;… That being said, we are also to assist our brothers and sisters in their walk as well (Matthew 18:15).
Genesis 2:2-3, By the seventh day Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which Elohim had created and made. So we know Yahweh rested that day and, very importantly, sanctified that day. Sanctified is #H6942 in the Word Study Dictionary: qa?das? (pronounced kaw-dash’) and is defined as a verb meaning to be set apart, to be holy, to show oneself holy, to be treated as holy….
The Sabbaths are vital for us to understand. Not only is it Yahweh’s command, but it was given as a SIGN between Yahweh and His people. Also I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am YAHWEH who sanctifies them (Ezekiel 20:12); and Sanctify My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am YAHWEH your Elohim. (Ezekiel 20:20).
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 YAHWEH in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:3).
The Sabbath was made for us—for mankind; we were not made for the Sabbath. It is a day to look forward to every week for rest and a day specifically set apart; to meet with others when possible, to renew our relationship with Yahweh. No matter how bad or tiring your week is—you have that DAY to look forward to every week. How can that be a burden? It should not be (1 John 5:3).
In addition to being a day of rest, the Sabbath is to be set apart for the building up of the spiritual element in man—the renewal of an individual’s spiritual life forms an essential part of Sabbath observance. The Sabbath is the greatest wonder of religion. Nothing can appear more simple than this institution, to rest on the seventh day after six days of work.
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 YAHWEH your Elohim; 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 YAHWEH made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore YAHWEH blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11). Here He tells us specifically not to work and why. Whatever your occupation is, you must not do that on His day and you must not permit your servant (employees, for example) to work. (See also Nehemiah 10:31; 13:15-18; Isaiah 56:1-6). What else might be work?
Food preparation is also work (ask anyone who works in a kitchen!). Since it is for our families, we do not always think about it as being work but when we go to our source for instructions, we find, Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, ‘This is what YAHWEH meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to YAHWEH. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.’ So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. Moses said, Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to YAHWEH; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none, (Exodus 16:22-26). “Gathering” food in today’s day would be going to the market or out in your garden to pick it. Note how specifically He tells us not to bake or boil!
He wants us to have our foods prepared in advance and that is why we have the “preparation day” mentioned in Matthew 27:62, Mark 15:42 (though these refer to the preparation day for the first High Day of Unleavened Bread). It was customary to prepare for a Sabbath, whether it was a weekly Sabbath or a High Day for good reasons—to enable His people to keep His day, His way!
Exodus 35:3, You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day. For those who use a fireplace, this would have good meaning. It is not wrong to add wood to a fire started before Sabbath. It is not difficult to keep a fire burning; however, to start one on Sabbath would be wrong.
A tremendously good “rule of thumb” is found in Isaiah (58:13-14), If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of YAHWEH 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 YAHWEH, 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 YAHWEH has spoken. So, the first thing you should ask yourself is, “Is this honoring Yahweh?”
Emergencies do happen on Sabbath. And He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath’ (Matthew 12:11-12). If something can wait until after Sabbath, by all means it should; however, emergencies are just that and should be taken care of.
How about a situation where the only day you can get your roof repaired is on Sabbath? Now, you will not be doing the work and the people that are doing it are not His people (or they would not be working on Sabbath). Is that okay? The workers would be acting as your “servants,” under your authority, and Deuteronomy 5:13-14 clearly states, Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of YAHWEH your Elohim, 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. All are to share in the rest of the Sabbath day, even the animals.
These same verses would be appropriate for things such as eating out on Sabbath. Are you making those people work for you? Absolutely—if no one frequented that restaurant on Sabbath, do you think they would remain open? (Also see Nehemiah 10:31.)
Anyone “within your gates”—your home—should respect both you and YAHWEH by not attempting to take away from the Sabbath Day. As a head of house, you should guard the Sabbath for your household.
Another area that seems to be pretty direct is, Thus says YAHWEH, ‘Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers,..’ (Jeremiah 17:21-22). What constitutes a “load”? It has been held by some that you should not pick up a child on Sabbath. Would that be what our Heavenly Father was talking about? We must use our commonsense along with Scripture in determining some things.
Whenever we can, we should meet with others on the Sabbath. There is good reason for this—it is a time to study and learn together; to ask and discuss questions you may have pertaining to the Scriptures. Yahweh established a form of government for a reason. If you have something you are struggling with pertaining to honoring Sabbath or any other issue, you need to pray to Yahweh and ask the assistance of elders within His Assembly. Elders were appointed in every city for a reason.
One of the biggest things to remember for those items not black and white: IF you think it is a sin to do something on the Sabbath (or in any other area) AND you do it, you are sinning. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17). If you are rebellious (doing something intentionally, knowing it is wrong) and unrepentant, you will NOT receive salvation. We know that sin is transgression of the law (1 John 3:4), and sinners will not enter the Kingdom (Matthew 5:20). Yahweh does NOT love the sinner and hate the sin. Psalm 5:5 says Yahweh hates those who do iniquity (do wrong; transgressors).
May our Heavenly Father guide you as you walk towards Him!
Acknowledgement: This article is made available by Yahweh’s Assembly in Messiah for our edification and salvation of our souls.