KEEPING THE SABBATH HOLY

(Article excerpt from 2016 Teshuvah Prayer Guide, pg. 72)

On the seventh day YHVH finished His work that He had done,
and He rested on the seventh day…So YHVH blessed the seventh day
 and made it holy…
Gen. 2:2,3

In six days YHVH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day
 He rested and was refreshed. 
Ex. 31:17

These are the appointed feasts of YHVH that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are My appointed feasts.  Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation.  You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to The Lord in all your dwelling places.  Lev. 23:2,3

MEANING OF THE WORD "SABBATH"

It seems clear from Scripture that the seventh day is the Sabbath, but what does the word Sabbath mean?  According to the Strong’s Concordance, it is a primary root word that means “to make or cause a cease” and is used primarily to indicate “repose and desisting from exertion,” but can also mean to “celebrate.”  Brown, Driver and Briggs’s Hebrew Lexicon expands the meaning even further by adding the adjective “absolute” to the words rest and cease.

In our culture it may seem very difficult to take an entire 24-hour period and “absolutely cease” from labor and still “celebrate,” but that is by definition, the meaning of this word.  In Scripture the day begins at sunset, so from Friday evening to Saturday evening, Yahveh’s people are to rest and celebrate.  Resting may be challenging for many who are used to running, spending, cleaning, etc., but Our Father Himself who is “never weary” rested from His labors in creating the world and was “refreshed.”  How much more do we creatures of clay need refreshment and restoration?

The Sabbath can easily be forgotten in our frantic chaotic world; hence we are encouraged to “remember” the Sabbath day.  It is interesting this is the only commandment of the Ten with the word “remember” attached to it.  It seems Our Father knew we would need a reminder to REST and to celebrate in that resting!  Every Sabbath that we rest and remember Our Heavenly Father, we celebrate and witness the true Creator of the Universe.  We remind ourselves by doing something—resting—that we receive life, not from an objective evolutionary process but from a sympathetic Heavenly relationship.  Let us therefore labor to enter into that Rest.  Heb. 4:11

Y’SHUA'S SABBATH REST

But didn’t Y’shua “fulfill” the Sabbath commandment when he died?  Y’shua certainly is our “rest” from the labor of striving to earn salvation through good works.  But that does not disannul the commandment to rest from our physical and mental labors.  Just as every other commandment has both a literal and a spiritual application and meaning, so does the Sabbath.  For example, literally, we must not kill, but also spiritually we must avoid “killing” people by hatred  (1 Jn.3:15).  In like manner we must literally enter a Sabbath rest on the seventh day, and we must also rest spiritually from working to save ourselves by our own righteousness.

SABBAATH, THE FIRST APPOINTED TIME (MOED) 

These are the appointed feasts of YHVH…the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest…You shall do no work.  It is a Sabbath to YHVH   Lev. 23:2,3

The Sabbath is the first Festival or Feast Day.  It is an appointed time, a moed, when Yahveh promises to meet with His people.  It becomes the Touchstone for every other Festival and Sabbatical Year containing within it the number seven which represents physical and spiritual completeness and perfection in Yahveh’s Kingdom.   Like all other Feast Days/Appointed Times, The Holy One not only promises to meet with us but also to bless us during this holy time.  As we set this special time apart to make it holy and declare Him holy in it, He reciprocates and makes us holy in His Presence—a bountiful exchange!  So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, Heb. 13:9.

THE EARTH'S SABBATH REST

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to YAHVEH your God.  On it you shall not do any work….For in six days YAHVEH made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.  Therefore YAHVEH blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.  Ex. 20:8-11

From the beginning of Creation there has been a Plan set in motion—a plan to redeem not only man and animals, but also the Earth.  The seven-day creation week portrays this beautiful Plan. Man was created on Day six, and likewise he has worked and ruled the earth for nearly six prophetic “days.”  On the seventh day Yahveh rested and was refreshed while the First Adam ruled alongside His Creator.  In like manner on the seventh prophetic “day,” the Last Adam, Y’shua, will rule and reign along with His Father over all creation when a redeemed earth will finally receive the “refreshment” it has long desired.  The Apostle Paul understood this prophetic picture when he said that the whole creation is groaning to be set free from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  Rom. 8:21, 22

The Sabbath is a holy convocation or mikrah, a sacred rehearsal for a superior Day of Rest yet-to-come.  It is truly a day to rejoice and celebrate, a day to be refreshed, a day to think back and remember both our Creator and our Redeemer, and finally a day to look forward with fervent expectancy to the glorious liberty of the sons of God as we eagerly await our adoption to sonship—the redemption of our body as we anticipate being clothed with glory, immortality, and incorruption.
Rom. 8:22, 23; 1 Cor. 15:53, 54

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