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Author Topic: BIBLE QUESTIONS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SEVENTH DAY SABBATH  (Read 1320 times)
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« on: August 05, 2015, 05:05:49 AM »

BIBLE QUESTIONS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SEVENTH DAY SABBATH
by
Les Aron Gosling, Messianic Rebbe

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Is The SABBATH The Most Important Day?

How do we know that Noah and God were on friendly terms? Did Noah “walk with God” in obedient submission? (Genesis 6.9) What was the result of their friendship together? Did God save Noah, his wife, and his immediate family? (Genesis 6.11-14) That was real friendship! After the extensive Deluge, did Abraham also become an obedient friend to God? (James 2.23,21) Was Abraham also a friend to angels? (Genesis 14.18-20; Hebrews 7.1-3) Did Abraham continue in this obedient relationship with God? (Genesis 26.5) Other Scriptures inform us that because of Abraham’s faithful obedience God promised him the greatest and most abundant blessings imaginable – this whole earth for an inheritance, Sonship in God’s family, and eternal life with which to enjoy it! Not only is this the case, God went even further and promised that Abraham’s descendants would enjoy the same privileges. (Galatians 3.28,29)

Are we called “heirs” of the promises made to Abraham? (same verse) God is always the close, loving friend of all those who obey Him. (John 15.14) Is God going to shower those of us who now learn our lessons of loving obedience with far greater blessings than we can possibly imagine? (1 Corinthians 2.9) What is God’s basic character and characteristic? (1 John 4.8) God’s love is qualified by GIVING and SHARING. God wants to GIVE us His Kingdom, and to SHARE the unqualified wonders of His realm with each of us. Did God make us in His image originally? (Genesis 1.26) Is this still His purpose, intent and plan for humankind? (1 John 3.1,2) How FAR does God’s LOVE extend? (John 15.13) Yeshua the Messiah is overjoyed to be the close and intimate friend of us all. He revealed that his Father (with whom he shares divinity) is to be referred to by the Aramaic term “Ab’ba” which means (although some do not like to admit it) “Dearest Darling Daddy.” How lovingly close to a little child can a true father get? Yet this is how Yeshua spoke of his own intimate relationship with his “Dad.” Does James recommend that we obey God as we would our own fathers when we were little children? (James 4.7,8) What does “submit” mean? What will be the immediate and spontaneous outcome? (Same verse) Doesn’t a normal, loving father immediately and spontaneously respond to his little child’s “drawing near”? Should we expect any less of our own “Dearest Darling Heavenly Daddy”?

Sabbath Pictures Eternal Rest

In addition to the Messiah's great sacrifice for us, what else did Our Lord Yeshua say he would do? (Matthew 11.28) What kind of “rest” is this? (Isaiah 11.10) Is it a “GLORIOUS REST”? (Same verse) Does the writer of the circular Letter to the Hebrews explain that resting from our daily labours on the seventh day pictures our glorious future as Spirit-born children in God's Heavenly Family? (Hebrews 4.1-11) Can this spiritual rest portrayed by the unknown writer be appropriately accomplished without a “preparation day”? (Hebrews 4.11) Recall that the preparation day (Thursday night and Friday) gave the people of God ample opportunity to prepare for the arrival of the seventh day Sabbath on Friday evening. The actual commandment encouraged people to put all their effort into working for a living during the first six days of the seven day week, but they were to STOP all work at sunset on Friday evening. Is this present life our final “preparation day” for the eternal glory of the Sabbath that will be ushered in at Messiah’s return? (Hebrews 4.11-16) Does there remain “a keeping of the Sabbath” for God’s people? (Hebrews 4.9 Greek) (“Rest” in this verse should read “a keeping of the Sabbath.”)

Origin of the Weekly Sabbath

Who was it that created everything that exists? (John 1.1-3; Ephesians 3.9; Colossians 1.16) Was the “Logos” or “WORD” of God finally “made flesh” and thus actually enter Its own creation? (John 1.14; 1 John 4.2; Hebrews 2.9.14) What did God do on the “first day” of Creation Week? (Genesis 1.3-5) Was there also creative activity on the “second day”? (Genesis 1.6-8) Did God use a “third day” to accomplish something else? (Genesis 1.9-13) And a “fourth day” to make still other things? (Genesis 1.14-19) Was another class of things created on the “fifth day”? (Genesis 1.20-23) Were animals and man created on the “sixth day”? (Genesis 1.24-26,31) God created everything that could be created in the first “six days” of Creation Week. The One who became Yeshua haMashiach (Yeshua the Messiah, or Christ) then did something else on the day immediately following His creation of man. (Genesis 2.2,3) What was it? Did Mashiach rest because he was “all tuckered out”? (Isaiah 40.28) Then there was another reason for God's “rest”! Did this final act of the pre-existent Christ on the seventh day COMPLETE the works of God’s creation? (Genesis 2.2; Hebrews 4.3,4) Had the Sabbath ever existed prior to this “time”? Our realities of “space” and “time” (or, spacetime) came into actual existence OUT OF GOD at a definite point in the past. Our entire universe was created out of God. Scientists call the BIRTH of our universe coming out of the “Singularity” the “BIG BANG.” Yes, God IS One indeed. Therefore the Sabbath Day, which was carved out of space and time (spacetime) never existed before the creation. There are 4 major facts that stand out in this account. (1) The Sabbath was created during the same period of time that man was made. (2) It was created by the Deity who later became Yeshua the Messiah (3) It was carved out of SpaceTime after the last of the “six days” and thus has an integral part of man’s environment, and (4) unlike the other six days of creation week, the established formula “and the evening and the morning were the seventh day” is missing entirely. Therefore the seventh day has a deeper, more meaningful, and far richer significance in God’s purposes and plans than the six previous days of work and toil. What else did God do on the seventh day? (Genesis 2.3) Did God BLESS the seventh day? Did God SANCTIFY the seventh day?

Note: “sanctify” means to “set apart for a holy purpose.” Was this honour conferred on any of the previous “six days” of Creation Week? When God blesses something does He bestow His divine favour upon that thing, and His divine presence in that thing? By blessing and sanctifying the Sabbath did God make the seventh day HOLY? The Sabbath is the most enduring of God’s original creative works. God made the seventh day HOLY for all time. It will come to an end only when SpaceTime is itself annulled.

Was The Sabbath Made for Humankind or Just the Jew?

Was God's resting on the seventh day an EXAMPLE to Adam (whose name means “man” or perhaps better, “a reddish clod”) that all humankind should rest on this day? (Exodus 20.11; Mark 2.27,28) Didn't the Messiah Yeshua state unequivocally that the Sabbath day was made for all humankind? (same verse) Where in the reference in the Gospel of Mark does Yeshua point out Jewish Sabbath observance only? Was Adam a “Jew”? Or, was he the very first “man”? Doesn't he refer to the necessity of Sabbath observance by “man”? Wasn't the first Jew named Judah, and didn't he live some 2000 years after Adam? (Genesis 29.35) WHY was the Sabbath made for man? HOW did God intend it to serve man's needs? Do the writings of the Sinai Covenant do more than hint as to “how” the Sabbath would serve those human needs? (Exodus 20.8; Deuteronomy 5.12-14) Was the Sabbath made for man's benefit – to be a GREAT BLESSING for all humankind? Modern medical science is admitting that the ideal time for human rest from business and professional activity should be about every seven days! This is remarkable given the fact that God blessed every seventh day to (and for) man’s spiritual rejuvenation. When we keep the Sabbath day as God intends we are showing our FAITH, our belief, in God’s promise of a future eternal “rest” – glorious life as SPIRIT in the Kingdom of God – just as we illustrate in the act of baptism our FAITH in the past death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Messiah Yeshua haMashiach. By resting on the Sabbath we are, in effect, acting out the coming kingdom of God.

Does “faith come by HEARING, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10.17)? Had Cain and Abel (the very first children of the very first two true human beings – true anthropos – Adam and Eve) heard the requirements of God in the world outside Gan Eden? If they heard God's requirements undoubtedly those expectations were probably conferred to them by their parents! This is why! The author of Hebrews speaks of a sacrifice that both Cain and Abel made in the region of Eden (from which garden their parents had been cast out). The mention of a sacrifice infers a system of offerings being made to HaShem for sin and for iniquity. That being understood, we need to take note of certain requirements that were in vogue in the early worship of HaShem in relation to our first parents and their immediate children.

[1] There was a PLACE where HaShem was to be worshipped. After all, notice that Cain brought his offering to a special place. He “BROUGHT”... (Genesis 4.3).

[2] There is mention of “fat” which also infers an altar upon which the “firstlings of the flock” was sacrificed and upon which “the fat thereof” was consumed (Genesis 4.4). Note that only the “firstlings” were accepted, not just any sheep, ram or goat!

[3] Most versions of Genesis 4.3 will translate the text: “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord.” But the Hebrew actually has: “And AT THE END OF DAYS it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto HaShem.”

This expression – “at the end of days” – infers the seven day week was early recognised in history and not only so but that the seventh day Sabbath was observed by the family of Adam and Eve. The Sabbath follows six days. The Sabbath exists at the end of days – or as some would say, “at the end of the week.” As Christian scholar A.W. Pink recognised, “it points to the Sabbath day as the time when God was to be formally worshipped... [and further that] God could be approached and worshipped only by means of sacrifice” (Gleanings in Genesis, 1922, 57 Emphasis his own). And Cain and Abel lived long prior to Sinai. They were not “Jews” – they were children of our first parents.

Later, during the Isaiatic Period of Israel's history, did God speak to “foreigners” or “aliens” – GENTILES – who were “joined to Israel” about their observance of the Sabbath day? (Isaiah 56.1-7) Did God expect them to keep it holy? (same verses) Were these Gentiles AS GENTILES also observing the Sinai requirements – the Sinai Covenant – of that day and age? (same verses) All rabbis know that the prophecy of the scroll of Isaiah had a latter-day application, a twofold historic/prophetic relevance! Ask any rabbi! If this is the case, and it decidedly is the case, then under the New Covenant at the end of the age in the Messianic Era the Sabbath was to be kept by Gentiles as one of God's expectations of humankind, and not just kept by the Jewish people. Would these same Gentile peoples be “serving” God? Would they be “loving the name” of the LORD? (Isaiah 56.6) Would they be serving God in the Temple, “God's House”? (Isaiah 56.5) And, further, would that Temple of God be also called “a House of prayer for ALL peoples [nations]”? (Isaiah 56.7) So, Yeshua was right in his assessment that Gentiles as well as Jews were expected by God to keep holy His Sabbath day! “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath,” he said.

The Sabbath is a Sign

What great blessing did God promise to give Abraham? (Romans 4.13) At the resurrection God will give Abraham the entire earth as an inheritance because of his outstanding willing attitude and obedience to God. God blessed Abraham even more by including his descendants in the same blessing of inheritance! Because of famine in their own land, did the Israelites (as Abraham's descendants) journey into Egypt – a land God considers typifies SIN? (Hebrews 11.24-26) Did God raise up a deliverer to set the Israelites free from Egyptian slavery – from Egyptian (worldly) sin? (Exodus 3.10-12) After delivering Israel out of Egypt (sin) did God grant them a special sign? (Exodus 31.13) What was this sign? Was it a space of time – God’s Sabbath? (same verse) Who was this sign between? (same verse) How were they to be able to have this sign? By resting? (verse 15) How were the Israelites to benefit by resting on God’s Sabbaths – would they be kept in REMEMBRANCE as long as they kept them, that God is the TRUE Lord? (verse 13) While Israel kept the Sabbath they always REMEMBERED who God was. This is because the Sabbath is a constantly recurring 24 hour period of time carved out of space.

When Israel escaped from Egypt did God say He would rain bread from heaven for His people? (Exodus 16.4) What was this bread called? (Exodus 16.15) “Manna” actually means “What is it?” They had never seen anything like it before this event. For what purpose did God rain down this bread? (Exodus 16.4) Notice please the word “law” BEFORE Sinai! Was this manna to serve as food for the Israelites? (Exodus 16.32) Were they told not to store manna overnight for the next day? (Exodus 16.19) What happened to the manna that the Israelites stored for the next day? (Exodus 16.20) Were they to gather TWICE AS MUCH bread on Friday as they gathered on the other days of the week? (Exodus 16.5) Was this double portion of manna to be enough for two days? (Exodus 16.23) Did the manna that was saved for the morning of the Sabbath stink and breed worms as it did if saved overnight for any of the previous days? (Exodus 16.24) Why not? (Exodus 16.25) Did God say He would not have them work a gathering manna on the Sabbath day since He would miraculously withhold it from falling on that day? (Exodus 16.26) But did some of the people disbelieve Moses and thereby disobey God by going out into the fields on the Sabbath to try to gather manna? (Exodus 16.27,28) Did God have to command them again not to work on the Sabbath? (Exodus 16.29) What did the people finally DO on the Sabbath? (Exodus 16.30)

Did God’s withholding of manna on the seventh day clearly show them which day was the Sabbath? Did God perform three great distinct miracles of the Sabbath to Israel? Did God miraculously give them manna on the first six days of the week, including a double portion on the sixth day? Did God miraculously withhold the manna each Sabbath day? Did God miraculously preserve the leftover portion of Friday’s manna so it could be used for the Sabbath thereby giving the people a rest from working on that day? Wasn’t it the case that when each Sabbath came to the Israelites after seven days God identified it to the Israelites by the special miracle of withholding manna on that day? Didn’t God do this week after week for forty long years? (Exodus 16.35) God performed 2080 special miracles spaced exactly seven days apart, solely for the purpose of burning into the Israelites minds the fact that He expected them to observe the seventh day Sabbath! God never performed such a continuous set of miracles to convince man of his need to obey one of the Ten Commandments. That is just how important resting on the seventh day really is! With the double supply of manna on Friday, they could rest on God’s Day and still be as well off as though they had worked.

How long was Israel to keep the Sabbath? (Exodus 31.16) Was it “perpetually” (Hebrew)? Did God make a SEPARATE, SPECIAL Sabbath covenant with Israel? (same verse) Was the Sabbath so important for humanity that God DOUBLY COMMANDED its observance by making a special Sabbath contract with His people Israel? Was the Sabbath commandment already given in the Ten Commandments much earlier than this new contract with Israel? (Exodus 20.8)

By the time Israel got to Sinai all other nations had forgotten God because they had earlier jettisoned the seventh day Sabbath from their social and economic manifestos. Yet all nations (modern and those of antiquity) recognise the 7-day week and the seventh day in their calendars is still called (in one form or another) the “Sabbath” – the special day of rest.

Was Laban (the ancestor of the Lebanese people who lived a few hundred years prior to Moses) familiar with the weekly cycle? (Genesis 29.26,27) Note the word “week.” Here we have biblical proof that God’s Sabbath-keeping servants were maintaining a knowledge of the weekly cycle by their observance of the seventh day Sabbath! In the library of King Ashurbanipal of Assyria (6th century BCE) there is a tablet which reads: “The seventh day was appointed a holy day and to cease from all business [God] commanded” (Halley’s Pocket Bible Handbook).

Was resting on the seventh day to be a sign of something else? (Exodus 31.13) Note the last five words. Were the people of Israel being set apart for a particular holy use? Were the Israelites to be a “holy nation” and a “kingdom of priests”? (Exodus 19.6) Were they to lead other nations to the same condition of holiness? All Christian commentators admit freely that God called Israel to Himself so that through them He could reveal Himself to the world – to show that He is the Creator, the Ruler and Sustainer of the Universe, and reveal His laws, commandments, blessings and great plan for humankind. But look! Were the called “seed” of Abraham already HOLY or were they to become a holy people? (Deuteronomy 7.6-9) The 1611 King James translators added the word “art” (or, are) in verse 6. Israel was not then “holy” – they had to become holy. Did the Sinai Covenant people of God and fleshly seed of Abraham fail to become holy? (Ezekiel 20.13) Did they rebel? (same verse) And what did they do regarding resting on God’s Sabbaths? (same verse) Had Israel observed the Sabbath day properly God would have established them as a Priesthood of Holiness – ministers of true holiness who would have instructed Israelites in the ways of God as they rested on His Sabbath day. They did not keep the Sabbath and therefore did not become holy. God therefore established another priesthood – the Levitical priesthood – which ministered things of no lasting value, a rigmarole of sacrifices and rituals and ceremonies which led the people to nothing they really wanted then and there. The people failed essentially due to the fact that they did not have possession of the holy Spirit to empower them. And for this reason they could not have the promise of salvation either, for “the holy Spirit was not yet given” (John 7.38,39).

The Sabbath and the
“One New Man”

Doesn't the Bible plainly state that a true Christian today must become “Abraham's seed” through Messiah – in order to inherit the same covenant promise of eternal life that was made to Abraham and to “his seed”? (Romans 4.16; 9.4; Galatians 3.28,29) Did God make the Sabbath Covenant or contract with the ancient Israelites – Abraham's physical “seed”? Was the observance of the Sabbath to be obeyed “perpetually”? Are human beings who are authentic holy Spirit born-again now children of Abraham – Abraham's spiritual “seed” or progeny through the Messiah? (same verses) Are true believers today indwelt by the holy Spirit? Are we inheritors of the Spirit of eternal life? Are we saved by GRACE or by the Law (Torah)? Then should God's Law as expressed in the Ten Commandments be observed by us?

Did Yeshua say the law would be abolished? (Matthew 5.17,18) If the heavens and the earth are still in existence, is God’s law (as exemplified by the Ten Commandments) still in effect? (same verses) If God’s law is still in force, and we are Abraham’s “seed” through Christ, should we not enthusiastically habituate our behaviour by keeping God’s Law with the special empowerment of the holy Spirit? Isn’t this the least we can do to show God that we are aligning our characters to His perfect righteous and holy character? (Matthew 5.48) Weren’t the Colossian believers uncircumcised idolatrous Gentile pagans before they were converted? (Colossians 1.27; 2.13; 3.5-7) Isn’t it a fact that Paul’s later epistles (letters) – Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Philemon, Titus – are all written to Gentiles and all speak of salvation by GRACE through the Cosmic Christ? And isn’t it a fact that these later letters speak of Christ’s universal salvation? And isn’t it also a fact that Paul speaks of these Gentiles as the “One New Man” already seated in the celestials in Messiah? But what do we find the Colossians doing in their lives? (Colossians 2.16) Are they observing the Sabbath days? Why are they doing this is if they are now “One New Man” in the Cosmic Christ? Is it because of their dual citizenship? Recall that in Spirit they are already in the celestials reigning with Messiah! They are above all law! But they are in reality still very much on this planet and continue serving God and building Christ-like character as “Abraham’s seed.” Are these Phrygian Colossians of Asia Minor finding it difficult to handle their antagonistic pagan neighbour’s attitudes toward them? (Colossians 2.16) Were men “judging” them? (same verse) Were these believers also under attack through angelic gnosticism with its emphasis on speculations, will-worship and philosophy? (Colossians 2.5,18,20-23) What were they doing observing the Sabbath day? Did they (like the Ephesians) understand they were now at this time “Abraham’s seed” and therefore “heirs according to the promise”? Were they now “citizens of ISRAEL”? Paul makes it plain! “Therefore, remember, that formerly you who were Gentiles by birth... remember that at the time you were separate from Messiah, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua, you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Messiah” (Ephesians 2.11-13). The phrase “citizenship in Israel” can be translated as “the national life of Israel” (see David Stern's Jewish New Testament). Did they now have citizenship in Israel – enjoying partaking of the “national life of Israel” – and did they partake of the covenant privileges promised to Israel? (Ephesians 2.11-13) Therefore, should not a “citizen of Israel” and “partaker of the covenants of promise” be expected by the Sovereign Lord and GOD OF ISRAEL to obey Him, and to keep His Sabbath day holy? Even in the “new heavens and the new earth” the Sabbath will be the Most Important Day and it will be celebrated by the entire world (Isaiah 66.22,23).

The prophets of Israel and Judah urged the Israelites to take the Torah to the rest of the world. Apart from a few short years when a flourish of such Pharisaic activity took place in the Second Temple Period, Israel has failed to take the Torah to the Gentile world. Roman emperors like Hadrian then forbade this activity, and the Jews today continue to placate pagan Roman commandments by obeying these satanic edicts. They even worship before the last remaining wall of the pagan Roman fortress Antonia in Jerusalem being deceived into thinking it is the surviving wall of the Temple of God. It is nothing of the sort, and God will shortly reveal this fact to them.

Sabbath Observance Specifically Commanded Today

Does God's Law as summed up in the Ten Commandments specifically refer to the seventh day Sabbath as a day to personally observe? (Exodus 20.8) Does the fourth commandment border the commandments which tell us how to love our neighbour? (Exodus 20.1-17) Are we to be obedient to God's commands for our own good and well-being, or to appease the whims of a heavenly “Tyrant”? Should we be rebellious like ancient Israel in refusing to obey His commandments? (Hebrews 3.8-10) Did God, for this reason, prevent Israel from entering His “rest”? (Hebrews 3.11; Ezekiel 20.13,15) Was it primarily because they wouldn't believe, and therefore wouldn't actively engage in keeping the Sabbath command, that Israel didn't enter God's “rest” – the land of Canaan? (Hebrews 4.1,2) But if we believe and obey this and God’s other commandments, will we finally enter God's “rest” – the kingdom of God? (Hebrews 4.3) Will we be following the example Messiah set for us when he rested on the Sabbath day of Creation Week? (Hebrews 4.4) If we are really God’s people, and not counterfeits, will we continually keep God’s “rest” – His weekly Sabbath day? (Hebrews 4.9,10) Doesn’t the word “rest” in (Hebrews 4.9) appear in the Greek as sabbatismos which means there still “REMAINS A KEEPING OF THE SABBATH” FOR GOD’S PEOPLE TODAY? The word “Sabbath” – meaning “rest” – is mentioned sixty times alone in the Messianic Scriptures. Yet, there are some Christians today who are of the belief that the Sabbath day is ignored in the NT corpus!

Creation Week the Pattern
for God’s Plan

God has ordained an overall period of time in which to accomplish His spiritual creation of humankind. The pattern for God's little-understood plan of salvation is given in the first two chapters of Genesis. It is the WEEK of seven days. God's plan is patterned after the six literal 24-hour work days and one 24-hour Sabbath Day of “Creation Week.” It's very important we grasp this astonishing truth. Was God's Work of Creation accomplished in seven “days”? (Genesis 2.2) Does the weekly Sabbath also foreshadow God’s 1000-year Millennium of Rest and peace for the physical human beings who populate this earth? (2 Peter 3.8; Revelation 20.1-5) Is a “day” in God’s intention as “a thousand years” and a thousand years “as one day” in His planned week of seven 1000-year “days”? The 1000-year Millennial Reign (Rest) of Messiah will grant the world rest from wars and Satan’s temptations. The 6 work days refer to our historical period of 6000 years of human history which are now winding up (or down, depending on your point of view).

It’s Later Than YOU Think!

What was the astounding statement God made in the first chapter of Genesis? (Genesis 1.26) Does God here reveal that it is His purpose to create a SPIRITUAL MAN made in His own character-image? Has God said in effect that this awesome task will be accomplished within a span of 6000 “Ideal” years – pictured here as 6 literal days? Has God allotted to humankind 6000 years to experience the “fruits” of human endeavour apart from His holy Spirit? Has man discovered over the past 6000 years that living according to his own commands, philosophies and governments has bred nothing but discontent and misery? Is he now ripe for the coming Millennial Sabbath rest?

We are near the close of human history. We have a mere 30 years OR LESS left to develop the character of Messiah! Time is running out fast! What will be the judgment of God on those who refuse to obey God and keep the Sabbath day holy? (Revelation 21.8)  Isn’t unbelief a lack of faith in what God says so plainly in His word? Didn’t Israel fail to enter into Canaan as the Land Of Promise due to their “unbelief”?

Are there people today who KNOW and UNDERSTAND about the Sabbath day and yet REFUSE to observe it because of excuses or pressures business pressures, peer pressures, children pressures, military pressures, or personal pleasures? Has God blessed MILLIONS of Sabbath keepers (Jews and Christians) throughout the world because of their obedience to the fourth commandment? Some of the richest people on earth are Jews, Seventh Day Adventists and Seventh Day Baptists.

There are people who have lost their jobs because of their obedience to God and the Lord has blessed them with new, far better jobs! I refused years ago to work on the Sabbath and each time I knocked back my employers demands to work on the Sabbath I got promoted and was given an increase in pay! On one occasion an employer threatened to fire me because of Sabbath observance, and instead three employees resigned (over a variety of issues) all at the same time and I ended up being given their jobs consolidated into my own with a huge wage increase! My new position involved matters of trust – and my employer at least knew that I could be trusted because of my dedication to the service of a holy God.

Friends end up respecting you more because you refuse to go out on Friday nights to revel in bars and hotels. Some of them might think you are crazy to begin with, but they end up trusting your word and your personal opinions because they see you are loyal to your God (even if they don’t believe in Him).

However, if you are a nurse or doctor God’s law covers human need, and you will be blessed for your labours on God’s Sabbath day. I knew a nurse who occasionally laboured on the Sabbath helping people in need, especially when other nurses rearranged their time schedules thinking their actions would be to her loss, yet God blessed her with overtime work at double time and extra work on pagan holidays which suited her “down to the ground.”

People are afraid to STEP OUT IN FAITH in obedience to God and yet think that somehow God will jump in to save them and their loved ones at the last minute when the world begins to crash in on them. Such people fail to TRUST that God will work everything out for their own good – if they would only resist Satanic worldly pressures by RESTING from all their own pursuits by focusing on Deity and His Word for this 24-hour period each and every week. Clearly, they have not known or understood GOD (Jeremiah 9.23,24).

The Sabbath was indeed a TEST COMMANDMENT for God’s people. The Sabbath day may be God’s SUPREME test of your loyalty, or your cowardice. Does God Himself say that we must enter into eternal life by “keeping the commandments”? (Matthew 19.17) Is one of the commandments the observance of the Sabbath? Do we know that we know God? Can we do this by keeping His commandments? (1 John 2.3) Is this because we can expect our loving God to INTERVENE MIGHTILY when we are persecuted for obedience to Him? Can God be known intimately when He cares enough about us to help us in our troubles and trials? Is this HOW we can know that we know Him? Are there multiple millions of Christians in the world today who claim to know God? Do they observe His Sabbath day? What does God call them? (1 John 2.4) Should we walk as Yeshua walked? (1 John 2.6) Is the fourth commandment the one command that appeals LEAST to man’s carnal, unrepentant mind? Is this why churches claim God’s law is now “done away” except for the other nine in the Decalogue? And is this why their literature is filled to overflowing with vitriolic hatred of the fourth command as “Jewish” and “Old Covenant” and “legalistic”? Keeping the fourth commandment is a TEST to ascertain our complete, trusting surrender to God’s will!!!

Recall that ancient Israel was not permitted to enter the Promised Land – because of “unbelief.” An entire generation died without entering. Was it due to a lack of FAITH with resultant disobedience to God? (Hebrews 3.10-12,18,19). Must we have faith before God will give us eternal “rest” in His Kingdom? (Hebrews 4.1-3,6) Note the words “faith” in verse 2 and “believed” in verse 3. Of course, the faith of Messiah covers us. But does God want us to exercise our own personal faith and trust in Him? (same verses). Is this why the term “believe” in the Greek means “trust, cling to and rely on”? See the Amplified NT for proof of this assessment. Are we further warned against showing a lack of faith by “hardening our hearts”? (Hebrews 4.7) Must we step out in faith and rest on the Sabbath? (Hebrews 4.11) Note the warning against “unbelief” – lack of faith and obedience to God. Must we exercise FAITH in observing the Sabbath? Once we are converted, are we to take the step of faith in obeying God to receive the divine help necessary to do His will? (Matthew 11.28)  

If we run into difficulty in being able to keep God’s Sabbath properly, are we to come boldly to God in prayer asking for His guidance and strength in overcoming all obstacles which seem to prevent us? (Hebrews 4.14,16) Is the entire chapter of Hebrews 4 about keeping the Sabbath? Does the chapter close in admonishing disciples with instructions on how we may receive divine help to obey Him? Did even the very elect apostles, who had the human faith needed to follow Messiah, discover that they did not have enough faith for their needs? (Luke 17.5) What did Messiah reply? (verse 8) Wasn’t it: “Serve me [first]... and AFTERWARD you shall eat and drink [afterward you will be given divine faith].” Does the keeping of the Sabbath properly necessarily involve the development of our own fragile human faith? (Romans 1.17) And does this afterwards develop into Christ’s very own faith? (same verse) Is this what is meant by “from [human] faith to [Christ’s] faith”? (same verse) Are we to live by spiritual insight alone? (same verse) Do the just really live by faith? (same verse) Once saved, YOU must make the first move in the free will of Messiah. Then God will move to help you. It’s like a baby taking its first step. We got him here, created him, fed him, clothed him, laughed and talked with him ("goo-goos" and all of that), put him on his feet... but the baby must take that first step alone. And usually he is delighted and enthusiastic to do so.

We are God’s special children – the “King’s Kids” – and we ought to take that step in absolute confidence that God is always there to catch us if we stumble.

Yeshua and the Early “Church” Observed the Sabbath

Did Our Lord Yeshua consider Sabbath observance important? Was it his custom to observe the Sabbath? (Luke 4.16) Did Messiah “labour” on the Sabbath? How did Christ “labour” on the Sabbath day? Did he “work” mighty spiritual WORKS on the Sabbath? (Mark 1.21; Luke 4.16; 13.10; Matthew 12.5,8-13) Did he make it plain that it was LAWFUL to do WELL on the Sabbath day? (Matthew 12.12; Luke 6.9,10) But did Yeshua warn us against physical labour on the Sabbath day? (Matthew 24.20) Didn't Yeshua accomplish spiritual works of the Father on the Sabbath – works of healing and teaching especially? (John 5.10-21) Did Yeshua rise from the dead on the Sabbath? Was it toward the end of the Sabbath that he had risen? Was it dawning toward the first day of the week – Saturday evening – when it was announced that Christ was not in the tomb? (Matthew 28.1)

For the first 500 years of church history true believers held to the tradition that Messiah rose from the dead on the Shabbat – Saturday. Churches around the world also believed it until they were forced by the sword to recant, or they were overturned by Rome’s infiltrators from within their own ranks. Still, the Celtic church held out until 500 CE with some Celts continuing to observe it until the sixteenth century and the Abyssinian Church still observes the Sabbath today. Most scholars of early church history readily enough testify to the fact that the Sabbath came into wide disregard in the Roman Empire during the Constantinian period. Sabbath-keeping and anti-Semitism went hand in glove. Earlier, the anger and hostility of the Roman world toward the Jews (because of their revolt in 132 CE against Rome) grew out of that final insurrection led by the false Messiah, Simon Bar Kokhba. Prior to that revolt many Roman citizens throughout the Middle East and Europe were sympathetic toward Jews and many identified with them by lighting Sabbath candles and refusing to eat pigs. This is a matter of history.  

Recall that it was Christ himself who created the Sabbath. Didn’t he refer to himself as “Lord of the Sabbath”? (Mark 2.27,28; Luke 6.5) Did Yeshua have authority over the Sabbath? As Lord of all only Messiah himself has the authority to determine whether or not the Sabbath should be kept, and he alone is the only one who can determine how it is to be observed. Didn’t Yeshua rebuke the religious leaders for making the Sabbath a yoke of bondage, and wasn’t it Yeshua who forcibly reminded them that he was the Lord who created the Sabbath in the first place? (Mark 2.23-28) Yeshua never broke the Sabbath commandment. How do we know this? Doesn't the Scripture tell us he was “without sin”? (Hebrews 4.15) Did Yeshua set his original Messianic Movement the example of how to live God’s way of life? (1 Jn 2.16) Did Christ intend the Sabbath to be the greatest blessing for humankind, or the greatest curse? Was it Christ’s custom to keep “the Lord’s day” by attending religious services on that day? (Luke 4.16,31) Didn’t the Scripture command God’s people to congregate together for instruction on that day? (Leviticus 23.3) Are we commanded to follow his perfect example of obedience to God, which includes Sabbath keeping? (1 Peter 2.21; 1 Corinthians 11.1) Did the female disciples of Yeshua, who came originally from Galilee with the Lord, still observe the Sabbath day shortly after his crucifixion? (Luke 23.55,56) Was Sunday still a regular work day? (Luke 24.1) Wasn’t it always the apostle Paul's “manner” to keep the Shabbat, just as it was Messiah’s “custom” to keep it? (Acts 17.1,2; Luke 4.16.31) Was it Paul’s manner to keep the Sabbath because he felt like it, or because Messiah dwelt in him through the indwelling of the holy Spirit? (Galatians 2.20) Is Messiah always changing his mind about this commandment, or does Messiah’s character remain the same forever? (Hebrews 13.8) If Messiah lives his life in us today, won’t we be about observing the things he taught us to keep? Was the apostle Paul personally taught by Yeshua haMashiach himself in preparation for his ministry? (Galatians 1.11,12,15-18) Did Paul labour at a job for six days of the week, and then observe the seventh day Sabbath by resting and preaching? (Acts 18.1-4,11) For 18 months in the city of Corinth, Paul laboured unceasingly during the first six days of each week as a tent-maker. But did he teach on Sunday, the first day of the week? Or did he wait until the following Sabbath day? Did Paul preach to both Jews and Gentiles on the Sabbath day? (Acts 13.14-16) After the Jews left the synagogue, did the Gentiles ask him to preach to them again on the next Sabbath? (verse 42) On the next Sabbath how many people from Antioch came to hear Paul? (verse 44) Be honest! Do these texts indicate that Gentiles are to abandon Sabbath observance? Since Paul followed the example of Messiah who dwelt in him, did he command the Gentile Christians at Corinth to follow him exactly as he followed Christ? (1 Corinthians 11.1) Did he command the Philippians to do likewise? (Philippians 3.17) Did Yeshua indicate that the true church, at the end of the age, would have a cognisance about the Sabbath? (Matthew 24.20) Will the authentic Messianic congregations at the end of the age be observing God’s commandments and maintaining the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah? (Revelation 12.17; 14.12)

Blessings for Observance of God’s Sabbath

After God miraculously revealed His Sabbath to Israel, whom did He commission to observe His Laws? (Romans 3.1,2; John 7.19) Was God's WORD given to the Jews to be preserved by their descendants, and consequently for all of us who have participated in “the national life of Israel” (Ephesians 2.12) – for all authentic Spirit-begotten believers? (Read the last eleven words of Acts 7.38 and 1 Peter 1.10,12) How did Yeshua absolutely recognise the Jews’ authority in preserving the Scriptures? (Matthew 5.17,18; Luke 16.17) What text absolutely proves the Jews preserved and kept the right day for the Sabbath up to the time of Yeshua? (Luke 4.16) Did Yeshua’s observance of this day officially approve the Sabbath day to be the seventh day of the week? After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE (and later after the Jewish revolt against Rome in 135 CE) the Jews were dispersed all over the world – they were separated by entire continents yet they still observed the exact same day right down to the present day! Saturday is the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath!

How does God reveal He will bless us materially if we faithfully observe the Sabbath? (Isaiah 58.13,14) Isn’t the heritage of Jacob the inheritance of righteous Abraham and all the righteous who are Abraham’s seed? God promises to bless us with food, shelter, clothing, knowledge, and many other things that it often surprises us to receive, if we obediently keep the Sabbath. To be in God’s good Grace and favour and therefore to be blessed by God – to be caused to “ride upon the high places of the earth” – is very important! Especially is this the case as we descend upon the world’s end! We cannot afford NOT to keep the Sabbath! (Matthew 6.31-33) Aren’t those who keep the Sabbath promised they will also be “refreshed” physically? (Exodus 23.12) Why should we forsake our own ways and even our own thoughts on the Sabbath? Since the Sabbath is a sign, along with brotherly love, which identifies us as the King’s Kids, and since it points directly to our eternal goal of becoming SPIRIT CHILDREN of Almighty God, we are to learn to be more like God on this day more than on any other. It is a day in which we learn to develop absolute mental focus on God and the things of God. On that day we learn to BLOCK OUT the world! Isn’t the Sabbath to become an enormous  “delight” as we observe it? (Isaiah 58.13) What “name” does God promise those of us who faithfully observe His Sabbath every week? (Isaiah 56.4-6) Will God make faithful Sabbath keepers His joyful children with positions of rulership in His own House, His Temple – the headquarters “church” of the whole world? (The first 15 words of verse 5; first 18 words of verse 7 and Rev 3.12) Will we inherit the “everlasting name”? The name of “GOD”? What a tremendous reward for being the obedient servants of the Living God!

Our Prime Example

How should we who believe in and accept the Lord Yeshua as our Messiah observe the seventh-day Sabbath today? Should the Sabbath be kept as a formal legal declaration of our faithful behaviour before God OR ought it to be kept in a spirit of “delight”? (Isaiah 58.13,14) AND, if we “delight” in the keeping holy of the Sabbath Day, does this lead immediately to a “delight” in the Lord Himself? The Sabbath command is the ONLY actual commandment that is described by the Ruach HaKodesh as bringing spiritual and physical “delight” into your relationship with God Almighty. (Isaiah 58.14)

Can we make a list of Sabbath regulations which are no longer applicable to the true people of God, but which were once important for those who served under the Sinai “Marriage Contract”? Was one of those commandments a regulation to avoid starting a fire on the Sabbath? (Numbers 35.3) Were burdens permitted to be carried on the Sabbath day? (Numbers 15.32-36) These infringements carried the death penalty! Are believers today under a better, more improved covenant/contract? (Hebrews 7.12,22; 8.7-13; 10.1-22) Was there also a Jewish tradition in Yeshua's day which prohibited food preparation on the Sabbath day? (Matthew 12.1,2) Could you travel more than a “Sabbath day's journey” on that day during the Second Temple Period? (Acts 1.12) Did Yeshua, who is Lord of our lives, say he was “Lord of the Sabbath day”? (Matthew 12.8) Does Yeshua speak of a “rest” that he desires to share with his brothers and sisters? (Matthew 11.28) Is that spiritual “rest” an abiding in him? (same verse) Is this what he means when he invites us to “Come unto Me”? (same verse) If Christ created the Sabbath to start with (John 1.1-3) and “sanctified” it as sacred and set apart for humankind to experience “rest” (Genesis 2.2,3) then in fact Yeshua IS our Sabbath “rest” as “Lord of the Sabbath.” It is a most appropriate time to think seriously, and reflect upon, God's creation and creative activities and to worship God as THE Creator. As such it is not a period in which to rush through activities but to divorce ourselves from anything and everything that would take our attention and focus away from God and the things of God! In the book of Job it is written, “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37.14).

Did God finish His creative work in six “days” and rest on the seventh day? (Genesis 2.2) As God completed His creative work, did Yeshua the Messiah complete his work of atoning for sin, paying its debt, and satisfying the anger of God against sinners in his crucifixion on the bloodied tree of Golgoleth? (John 19.30) Did Christ rise from the dead near the end of the seventh-day Sabbath? (Matthew 28.1 Greek) When the women came to the tomb as (what we would call) Saturday evening was “dawning” (same verse) they found it empty and an angel announced “He is not here! He is risen!” (Matthew 28.6) Yeshua had risen from the dead and left the garden tomb some time PRIOR to the arrival of the women. This was NOT Sunday morning but  sunset Saturday evening! Was the apostle Paul's “glorying” centred in the Messiah's crucifixion – his completed work on the bloodied tree of Golgoleth? (Galatians 6.14)

Were there any rules, regulations, commandments, and legal forensic statutes concerning restrictions imposed on Adam and Eve when they entered God's “rest” on the very first Sabbath day? If there were why is there no mention of any of them in the sacred text? (Genesis 2.1-3) Students and members of the BRI/IMCF observe God's Edenic seventh-day Sabbath – and not the Sinai or Mosaic Sabbath nor do we observe a Talmudic Sabbath. As such we ENJOY and DELIGHT in a soul-nourishing “rest” without the burden of guilt and more rules and ordinances. It is a time period in which we may communicate freely with God the Father and family members. We are encouraged by the prophet Isaiah not to sleep away the day or to go our own way on this special day of worship and “time-out” from business activities and worldly pleasure orientation. (Isaiah 58.13) In the context of the keeping of the Sabbath day, however, does God look for bondages to be broken, captives to be freed, and those in need to be served? (Isaiah 58.6,7) Yeshua, as our example, utilised this sacred day to fulfil these expectations of God as recorded in the Isaiah passage. He healed the sick, raised the dead, taught in the synagogues and came into provocative dialogue with his enemies on the Sabbath. He challenged existing Jewish sectarian edicts by saying, in effect that “It is good to accomplish good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12.12; Mark 3.4) Yeshua showed his compassion and unconditional love for humanity in the form of valuing people (hungry or in need of his healing touch) over and above legal stipulations. Therefore, if Christ is our prime example concerning how to keep HIS day, then we need to adjust our attitudes and expectations about the Sabbath day for the seventh day Shabbat is more about a change of pace than about being lazy on that day. The Sabbath for Yeshua was anything but a lazy escape from reality “My Father works incessantly,” said Yeshua, “and I work!” (John 5.17) He was busy doing God's unceasing works of “good” on the seventh-day Sabbath! When religious authorities charged him with work-related offences Yeshua never denied their allegations but elevated human need above rigid regulations and expectations of law. (See Matthew 12.1-8; Mark 2.23-28; Luke 6.1-5) Immediately after a synagogue Sabbath service, did Yeshua visit the home of his disciples Simon Peter and Andrew? (Mark 1.29) Did he heal Peter's mother-in-law of a fever that had gripped her? (See Mark 1.29-31) Did she reciprocate after being healed of her illness by “waiting” on Yeshua and his entourage of followers? (same verses) “Waiting” in the Greek means she began to serve their needs and to prepare a meal for them. Yes, preparation on the Sabbath day!

Helping other human beings on the Sabbath day – an action of serving and loving people – requires labour. Gospel references to Yeshua engaged in such activity is not an exception: it is the rule.

Dear students of the BRI/IMCF, realise this study is not the “be all and end all” on the subject. The serious student of the biblical revelation will want to align himself or herself more precisely to the will of God by digging deeper into the rich vault of the treasure house of God. Should you observe the seventh-day Sabbath? The decision is left by God (and us) entirely up to you. God tells us, and all rabbis realise, that an end time Work will be raised up just prior to the coming of the Mashiach, which will concentrate on the differentiation between the “clean and unclean” and the New Covenant priests will certainly be among those who observe the true Sabbath during a period of intense apostasy. It awaits to be seen what God can do through the person who is fully committed in surrender to Him. God’s future (and ours) is thrilling beyond comprehension.

May God bless the decision you make this day.  

Rebbe
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