3. How to Keep the Sabbath
Notice that right in the 4th commandment it says to "remember" the Sabbath day, and to not work on the Sabbath day and to keep it holy (set-apart, qadosh). Each week we need to be mindful of the Sabbath, we need to bring it to remembrance, and to think on it. We also need to keep that day "holy", a "dedicated" day, "set apart" or "separated" from the types of activities we indulge in on the other six days of the week. We are actually resting on the Sabbath day in remembrance of Elohim's (God's) rest after He created the world in 6 days. Right in the heart of the 10 commandments is proof that the Sabbath is not a 'Jewish' Sabbath. Yahweh created it and blessed it and hallowed it at the creation of the world when there wasn't a Jew in sight.
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy (set-apart, qadosh). Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your Elohim (God). On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (set-apart, qadosh)" (Ex.20:8-11, NIV).
When to Keep the Sabbath
Most Sabbatarians follow the Talmudic Jewish custom of observing sunset on Roman 'Friday' to sunset on Roman 'Saturday' and assume that the passage above, together with Leviticus 23:32 (which is actually about a special and unique High Sabbath called Yom Kippur and not the regular seventh-day Sabbath - see Day's Beginning: Sunset, Midnight or Sunrise?) and Nehemiah 13:19 (which according to the corrupt Masoretic text appears to indicate that city gates were shut at sunset to ushher in the Sabbath - see Day's Beginning: Nehemiah & the Wicked Masoretes for a complete exegesis) establish sunset as the point at which all days begin and end. And so we have been led to believe a false doctrine based on the twisting of a mere three passages at the expense of the entire gammut of revelation on the subject of the Creation Calendar. Please also see Day's Beginning: The Testimony of Manna-Gathering for further conclusive evidence.
"Elohim (God) divided the ohr (light) from the choshech (darkness). Elohim (God) called the light Yom (Day), and the choshech (darkness) He called Lailah (Night). So the erev (evening) and the boker (morning) were the Yom Echad (first day) [or Yom Rishon]" (Gen.1:4-5, NKJV).
A fourth claim that Sabbath is from sunset to sunset is taken from the Gospel of Mark about the healing of those who were sick supposedly after the Sabbath at sunset:
Since the Pharisees taught that it was wrong to heal on the Sabbath, the people waited for the Sabbath to be over at eventide:
"And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils" (Mark 1:32).
But this is just am easily disputable assumption. As we learn elsewhere, when Yah'shua (Jesus) performed miracles, the word spread, and more and more people started pouring in hoping for healing. Indeed, in the intervening verses (vv.22-31) Yah'shua (Jesus):
"They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Yah'shua (Jesus) went into the synagogue and began to teach" (Mark 1:21, NIV).
All that has happened is that Yah'shua (Jesus), who has been performing exocisms and healing on the Sabbath - first in the synagogue, and then in the private home of two apostles - suddenly finds himself surrounded by more people wanting healing. They were behaving just as those before in the synagogue and private home had responded...by clamouring for healing! They were not quietly 'waiting' for healing otherwise the demoniac and Simon's mother-in-law would have waited too. The truth of the matter is that it was still the Sabbath, others had heard about the earlier miracles conducted on the Sabbath, and wanted their blessings too.
- 1. Casts out demons in the synagogue...on the Sabbath (vv.22-27); and
- 2. Retires to the home of Simon (Peter) and Andrew where He healed Simon's mother-in-law of a fever...on the Sabbath (vv.29-30).
There is therefore no concrete evidence anywhere that Yahweh's biblical days began from sunset to sunset. The day began and ended at sunrise. Therefore the Sabbath begins and ends at sunrise too.
How to Keep the Sabbath Physically
For a fuller study, see Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy: Basic Rules For Observing the Weekly Sabbath.
- 1. We are to do no work on the sabbath (Ex.20:10; 31:14-15; 35:2, Lev.23:3, Deut.5:14, Jer.17:24);
- 2. Exodus 16:23 says one shouldn't prepare an elaborate meal on the Sabbath day but should try to either have meals ready (the day before) or at least fix very simple meals on the Sabbath - that is one reason the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 "rises while it is still night and provides (prepares) food for her household" (v.15, ISRV);
- 3. Nehemiah 10:31; 13:15-17 says we shouldn't buy or sell on the Sabbath day ("victuals" mean food - KJV).
- 4. We should not do unnecessary traveling on the sabbath (Exodus 16:23);
- 5. Hebrews 10:25 says we should assemble ourselves together. Yah'shua (Jesus) said, "For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mat.18:20);
- 6. Isaiah 58:13 says twice that we shouldn't do our own pleasure on Yahweh's holy day - we are to do our own pleasure on the other 6 days);
How to Keep the Sabbath Mentally
So what do we see here? You can look as hard as you can for any Scripture in the whole Bible where Yahweh said it was unlawful to heal someone on the Sabbath day - you will not find it. So here we have an instance where the Pharisees and Sadducees added their own rules and regulations to the keeping of the Sabbath and Yah'shua (Jesus) showed the hypocrisy of their rule.
"Going on from that place, He went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Yah'shua (Jesus), they asked Him, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?' He said to them, 'If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.' Then He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other" (Matt.12:9-13, NIV; also Mark 3:1-5 & Luke 13:10-17).
Man's own invented Sabbath rules require volumes
In our day, I take this to mean that if I see a fellow human (or an animal even) in danger or hurt or something requiring immediate attention, it is perfectly fine to help that person or animal on the Sabbath day. Other similar examples might be doing medical missionary work, or attending a sick friend, and so on.
Notice again that Yah'shua (Jesus) told the man to do something that was directly in conflict with the un-biblical rules and regulations that the Pharisees and Sadducees had set up. Notice also, that church people can get so worked up in details that they miss the whole point of what Yahweh wants for His people. If you think about it, all the rules and traditions that the Jews created to load down the Sabbath, show us again Satan's hatred of the Sabbath. In Yah'shua's (Jesus') day, the very institution that Yahweh made for man's benefit and well-being was so trodden underfoot that it wasn't a blessing anymore. In fact, I well imagine that the Jews that tried to keep it according to the un-biblical Pharisee rules might have even looked upon the Sabbath with dread!! So as every week went by, they probably thought..."Oh no...here comes the Sabbath again where I can't do much of anything....." How sad, that a day that should be joyous and full of shalom (peace) became an endless round of ceremonies and rules and things to watch out for.
"Then Yah'shua (Jesus) said to him, 'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, 'It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.' But he replied, 'The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.'' So they asked him, 'Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?' The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Yah'shua (Jesus) had slipped away into the crowd that was there" (John 5:8-13, NIV).
Now reason this through with me. Because the Pharisees had a false, un-biblical view of the Sabbath day, it actually caused them to reject the Son of Elohim (God) at His first advent. These people were lost because of this. Do you suppose that in the last days, if you have a false, un-biblical view of the Sabbath day, or if you have a false, un-biblical view of how it should be kept, it could cause you to reject or misunderstand the second coming of Yah'shua (Jesus) and be lost because of it?? This is something we should definitely think about and meditate upon.
"They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Yah'shua (Jesus) had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. 'He put mud on my eyes,' the man replied, 'and I washed, and now I see.' Some of the Pharisees said, 'This man is not from Elohim (God), for he does not keep the Sabbath.' But others asked, 'How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?' So they were divided" (John 9:13-16, NIV).
Verse 12 is a study in itself. Yahweh's people in the end times will be building up the old waste places, and one of those waste places is the downtrodden Sabbath of the 4th Commandment. Notice how verse 13 is an if statement, and verse 14 is the then statement. This is a conditional promise that Yahweh has for us.
"Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy (set-apart, qadosh) day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and Yahweh's holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in Yahweh, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of Yahweh has spoken" (Isa.58:12-14, NIV).
Verse 13 tells us that we need to turn away our feet from trampling on the Sabbath. It also says twice that we shouldn't do our own pleasure on Elohim's (God's) holy (set-apart, qadosh) day. Do your own pleasure on the other 6 days. Verse 13 also says that we should call the Sabbath a delight - do we call the Sabbath a delight? When it gets toward the end of the week, are you anxious for the Sabbath to come? I know I am. It's my favorite day of the week because in my thoughts I can spend the whole day with Yah'shua (Jesus).
Now I realise that we should have Yah'shua (Jesus) in our thoughts all the other days of the week too, and I do, but not like on Sabbath. During the week I've got to think about what I'm doing at work and I try to keep a dialog going with Elohim (God) as I work - but on the Sabbath, I don't have to think about work at all.
Verse 14 then tells us what Yahweh will do for us if we honour his conditions. We will delight ourselves in Yahweh, Elohim (God) will cause us to ride upon the high places of the earth and will feed us with the heritage of Jacob. These are biblical sayings for the experience of feeling simcha (joy), and shalom (peace), and being filled with ahavah (love) for Yahweh and His Son. I also believe that in this promise is the promise of prosperity. Now we may not be rich as the world views wealth, but we will be rich in Yahweh, which is wealth for eternity.
The Sabbath is the only sign between Yahweh and His people. When you consider the millions following the Roman 'Lord's Day', Roman first day of the week or 'Sunday', and the millions of Jews and Messianic Jews following the Roman seventh day of the week or 'Saturday', then there aren't too many left who are observing His Sabbaths. The luni-solar Sabbath is the sign between Yahweh's and authentic Messianic Israel!
"Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between Me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am Yahweh, who makes you qadosh (holy, set-apart)" (Ex.31:13, NIV).
You may think the Sabbath is inconsequential and argue your way out of obeying it by claiming that Yahweh is only interested in what is in your heart - and while He is most definitely interested in your heart, He also knows that a corrupt heart is disobedient and rebellious, establishing its own religious rules. We must therefore soberly remind ourselves of how the Sabbath relates to Yahweh and His people, and what happened when Yahweh's people polluted the Sabbath.
If you are determined to treat the Sabbath lightly, then you can know what to expect and one day reap the bitter consequences of one who was plainly infofrmed but refused to obey.
"I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I, Yahweh, made them qadosh (holy, set-apart). Yet the people of Israel rebelled against Me in the desert. They did not follow my decrees but rejected My laws - although the man who obeys them will live by them - and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and destroy them in the desert" (Ezek.20:11-13, NIV).
Thus is our relationship to Yahweh and the Sabbath succinctly summed up!
"Keep my Sabbaths qadosh (holy, set-apart), that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am Yahweh your Elohim (God)" (Ezek.20:20, NIV).
Will We Keep the Sabbath in the Millennium and in Eternity?
This is a critical question that is answered very plainly in Scripture:
Notice how the New Moon is coupled with the Sabbath, for you cannot know the timing of the latter (or any of the moedim) without the former! Indeed, Peter paraphrases this passage so we know when it will happen:
"'As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before Me,' declares Yahweh, 'so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,' says Yahweh" (Isa.66:22-23, NIV).
In other words, the New Moon and Sabbath will still be observed in the time of the "new heaven" and "new earth", so they can't have been abolished, can they? This proves that we should be keeping the Sabbath down here if you walk through the following line of reasoning:
"But the day of Yahweh ("day of the Lord", "the Lord's Day" - not a set-apart day of rest or worship) will come like a thief. (Did 'Sunday' ever 'come like a thief'?) The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy (set-apart, qadosh) and godly lives as you look forward to the day of Elohim (God) ("day of the Lord", "the Lord's Day") and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (2 Peter 3:10-13, NIV).
Why would Yahweh create the Sabbath on the 7th day of creation, sanctify it and make it holy (set-apart, qadosh), then give it to the people of Israel again at Mt.Sinai on tables of stone, and then mysteriously take it away after the death and resurrection of Yah'shua (Jesus), and somehow bring it back into existence after His Second Coming? What would be the point?
The answer is that the Sabbath was not done away with at the cross, and if we wish to keep it in the Millennium after Yah'shua (Jesus) returns, we need to be keeping it down here on this earth. "May we seek His will in keeping it" is my prayer for you today.
Recommended Reading for Further Study
 Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy: Basic Rules For Observing the Weekly Sabbath
Next article: What the Bible Says about the First Day of the Week
This page was created on 25 June 2000
Last updated on 25 January 2013
Reproduced and adapted with Thanks