Study Notes and Slides
The Eternal Shabbat (Sabbath)
Introduction: One of the most vital aspects and first to be recognized set-apart times in Scripture is the Shabbat (Sabbath). In our journey into the Original faith referred to as the Netzarim movement (the Nazarenes) in Scripture and today often referred to as Hebrew Roots of the faith, is the restoration of the seventh day as the set-apart Kadosh or Holy day. To understand its importance we need to go on a journey and open our minds and hearts to what is pleasing to our Heavenly Father using Scripture and not succumb to tradition without questioning what is right according to the Word of Yahweh.
To understand the Shabbat we need to first remember that it was YHWH who first rested and made the 7th Day Holy as we read in:
Bereshith (Genesis) 2:3 Then Elohim (God) blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it he rested from all his work which Elohim had created and made.
It was Yahweh who first rested & he wants us to remember that his work of creation was finished on the seventh day. When we think on the finished work of Yahshua the Messiah when he went to the Tree and said “it is finished” how much more should we honour his Shabbat. Therefore a heartfelt consideration is most appropriate when we begin to look at the Shabbat (the Sabbath) that he instituted right from the beginning.
The Gift of Shabbat (Sabbath)
For too long Shabbat or the Sabbath has been thought of as a burden or as bondage but we need to understand that the Hebrew word for bless is “Barekh” & means to bend the knee to give a gift. Just as Yahweh rested from his creative work he desired man his creation to rest from theirs & join him in a foretaste of the eternal Shabbat since the weekly Shabbat is a picture of the life to come, the eternal Shabbat or the rest for our Souls. It is also believed that Man would dwell on the earth for 6000 years and the final Millennium the seventh day is when Yahshua reigns in peace. Shabbat therefore is a treasured gift that Yahweh gave man that he would both look back to a completed work & forward to the time of the promised rest from all work dwelling in the presence of YAHWEH in the Eternal Shabbat.
As a sign of the significance of Shabbat we read these words from the Prophet regarding the reign of Yahshua in the Millennium Kingdom:
YashaYahu (Isaiah) 66:22-23 For as the New Heavens & the New Earth that I make stand before me, declares Yahweh, “so your seed and your name shall stand. 23 And it shall be that from New Moon to New Moon and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me”, declares Yahweh.
It was indeed only after the Yahudim (the Jews) came out of Mitzrayim (Egypt) that they were given the gift of the appointed times the “Moedim” in Hebrew to remember the joy of the freedom found through Yahweh who would not enslave them again but bring them into his true freedom. These Appointed times were always meant to be a delight and are opportunities to enter into the presence of Elohim (God) and rest from our daily lives:
Vayyiqra (Leviticus) 23 And Yahweh spoke unto Mosheh (Moses), saying,
2 Speak unto the Children (Bney) of Yisrael, and say unto them, concerning the appointed times (Mo’adim)_ of Yahweh, which ye shall proclaim to be Holy Convocations (mikra’ey kodesh), even these are My appointed times.
From this statement the most important truth that we discover is that the Shabbat (The Sabbath) is not a Yahudi (Jewish) appointed day of rest but as Scripture records “it is one of the Heavenly Father’s Appointed times” that he has given mankind to rest from their labour and to gather together to fellowship with him and each other.
More than this there is but one people in this world that has kept Shabbat alive in its purest form and they are the Yahudim (The Jews). Also it is through Scripture that we come to understand why the Yahudim (the Jews) begin Shabbat at sunset on Friday night:
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:32 from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Shabbat (Sabbath).”
It is from the Yahudim that we understand the timing of the day which begins at sunset rather than the Roman day that begins at Midnight as we know it today. However the truth of Shabbat and its command must be seen as much more than a command but rather a gift of Yahweh whereby each person has the great honour of connecting with the Divine in remembrance of the creative work of Yahweh and our honouring of his Holy Day keeps our hearts from self-reliance through our loving obedience of what he in his wisdom has ordained from the beginning. Its importance is clearly laid out in the most fundamental loving instructions of Yahweh generally referred to as the 10 Commandments being the eternal summary of what is good before Yahweh:
Shemoth (Exodus) 20:8 Remember the Sabbath (Shabbat) to keep it Holy (Kodesh or set-apart) 9 Six days shall you labour & do all your work but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim (God).
Sadly the word remember is such a passive word whereas the Hebrew Word is “Zakor” which is best rendered as Memorialize as in making it a monument a means by which you demonstrate how special it is to you and therefore how special Yahweh is to you. The Pagans would build great monuments to their Mighty ones like the Tower of Babel but Yahweh desire’s us to memorialize His appointed time the Shabbat (Sabbath).
How then does someone become Holy (set-apart) to YHWH? It is by choosing that which YHWH chooses. The word we read in scripture as Commands has a connotation of hard labour but in the Hebrew it is “Mitzvah” & has as its root a word that means connection so to make a connection with YHWH you must observe his “Mitsvaot” or loving instructions therefore doing his commandments are not grievous! Since it is the 1st thing YHWH made set-apart (Kodesh) you cannot be set-apart (Holy) without it.
Shemoth (Exodus) 31:16 Therefore the children of Yisrael shall keep the Shabbat, to observe the Shabbat throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 This will be a sign between Me and the children of Yisrael for the generations to come; for in six days YHWH (the Lord) made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’”
There is a perpetual theme through the Scriptures of the importance of Shabbat and we could quote many scriptures but let me just give this one which so beautifully reveals how Yahweh honours those who honour his Shabbat:
YeshiYahu (Isaiah) 58:13 If on account of Shabbat, you turn back your foot from doing your own pleasure on my Holy Day (Yom Kodesh) and shall call the Shabbat (the Sabbath) a delight the set-apart day of Yahweh esteemed and shall honour it, not doing your own ways nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking idle words.14 Then you shall delight yourself in YHWH and I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth and feed you with the inheritance of Jacob (Ya’acob) your Father. For the mouth of YHWH has spoken.
Questioning Traditional Understanding
Since the heritage of Yisrael through the Scriptures is filled with Words of YHWH with regards his Shabbat we need to clearly observe how a different understanding of the Day that many honour as the Lord’s Day has evolved. What is especially interesting is that the Word Shabbat appears in the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) about as many times as in the Tanakh (the Old Testament). Never do we see Yahshua or his disciples breaking the Shabbat though they are often accused of breaking it but we know that he was in fact revealing the full truth of Shabbat & was often opposing the long held traditions or fence laws that the Pharisees implemented that smothered the joy of Shabbat. It is appropriate therefore that we address some verses that may have caused some misunderstandings.
- Lord of the Sabbath (Shabbat)
Seeing the vast array of Scripture on Shabbat found in the Tanakh or what is commonly called the Old Testament it is important that we try to see whether the Nazarene writings commonly called the New Testament shows any evidence for a change in the Sabbath day. The first critical verse comes to us from the book of Matthew (MatithYahu) when the Disciples were picking grain from the fields to eat because they were hungry. To the Pharisees this was considered as being against their “Takanot” or their added fence laws designed to preserve Torah obedience therefore Yahshua was seen as breaking the Shabbat but Yahshua answers it this way:
MatithYAHU (Matthew) 12:8 “For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
This statement has led to an idea that Yahshua being Lord is able to do what he likes but this is far from his meaning. He is in truth saying that he is fully aware of the true meaning & allowances of Shabbat and through speaking of David when he and his companions were extremely hungry he explains that David was able to eat the showbread of the Presence that only the Priests were permitted to eat & not be guilty of breaking the Torah. So too his disciples being very hungry were not violating Torah since preservation of life approves these exceptions since it is known that Yahshua and his disciples were being hounded by Herod & the Romans and were not just strolling along but were hungry as was David & his men. Also he explains that the Shabbat (The Sabbath) was indeed a gift for Man and not appointed to oppress man and exceedingly burden him but rather meant to ignite joy as all could come into the presence of Yahweh the Elohim of Yisrael and rest from their daily labour.
- The Resurrection of Yahshua:
By far the strongest held argument for the Church changing the Shabbat (Sabbath) has been the long held tradition of Yahshua being crucified on the Friday and rising on the Sunday morning. As a result of that the later Church Fathers under the Bishop of Rome and ultimately the Supreme leader of the Church Emperor Constantine completed the transition to Sunday which was a day greatly revered by the Pagans as the Day of the Sun in which they worshipped the Sun Gods & Goddesses such as Easter (Ishtar) though no scriptural evidence exists to suggest that the Disciples changed anything apart from some misunderstood translations. But before we decide what is truth let us search Scripture and see what we can discern.
Yochanan (John) 19:31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the Tree (cross) on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
This day was in preparation for not the weekly Shabbat but the High day also called Shabbat but relating to the yearly appointed time of the Feast of Pesach (Passover) that began with the 1st day of unleavened bread but commenced with the Lamb being slain at the end of the 14th Day of the Month Abib or in the Modern Calendar Nissan.
An interesting fact is that “Nasa” or the “National Aeronautics and Space Administration” is able to trace back the cycles of the Moon & since we know that the Jewish year was calculated by the moon and it has been determined that the 14th day of Nissan the 1st month in the year that Yahshua was crucified was a Wednesday.
However we need not take this as truth but simple believe the words of Yahshua when he said this:
Matthew (MattithYahu) 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
If we are to take Wednesday as the day of the crucifixion then his statement fits perfectly, meaning Yahshua was in the Tomb Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night with a resurrection happening at the end of the Shabbat towards sunset since Shabbat reveals rest and that now Yahshua could rest from his work. A belief in a Friday Crucifixion and a Sunday Resurrection falls far short of the words of Yahshua but has become such an entrenched tradition that few seek to challenge it seeking rather to believe that accuracy is of no great importance. However this whole fallacy desires to propose a new day of importance based on Pagan practice having the deeper purpose of nullifying the importance of Shabbat the seventh day.
Luke 23:55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Shabbat according to the commandment.
In Modern Christianity the teaching is that when Yahshua (Jesus) died the Torah was fulfilled & the Shabbat was no longer to be observed but this is not what we see here with the women.
Included in this slide is the proposed sequence of events leading up to the women coming to the Tomb in accordance to the Words of Yahshua and not long held tradition if we are open to receive it.
MatithYAHU (Matthew) 28:1 Now after the Shabbat, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
What we so easily fail to see is that when the stone over the Tomb was supernaturally rolled away by the Malakim (Angels) the women found the Tomb empty. From this we see that Yahshua did not just walk out alive but these verses suggest that the rolling away of the stone was to reveal the empty tomb to the woman and that Yahshua had been raised earlier therefore it is most reasonable to believe that it was prior to this event and that it was reasonable to think that it was towards the end of the weekly Shabbat.
In both the Greek & Aramaic do not in fact use the words 1st day of the week but rather one of the Shabatons meaning it was the first fruits Shabbat as opposed to the weekly Shabbat since each of the feasts are referred to as High Shabbats. This day also refers to the beginning of the counting of Omer which speaks of counting 7 completed weekly Shabbats leading up to Shavuot (Pentecost). An added fact is that during this time the High Priest would go into seclusion from the end of the weekly Shabbat for the next 12 hours purifying himself and on the dawn of the 1st day the 1st Fruits Shabbat would offer the 1st fruits of the Barely harvest to YHWH as a wave offering. Yahshua (Yeshua) as our High Priest simply was acting out this same feast perfectly which was only a shadow of the true one when he presented himself as the 1st Fruits offering in the Heavenly Beyth Ha Mikdash (Temple). He therefore fulfilled the weekly Shabbat as well as the High Shabbat of 1st Fruits. This also explains Yahshua not appearing earlier according to the prescribed Temple service.
All these Considerations that I am suggesting are just to reveal the great value that the weekly Shabbat had in revealing the completion of Yahshua’s work since Shabbat means rest & points to completed work.
Mishle (Proverbs) 25:2 It is the glory of Elohim (God) to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
We need to be Bereans who question & search remembering that it is to glory & Esteem of Elohim (God) that we are striving for truth that we may be approved workman clearly dividing the Word of Truth.
- Another Questionable Translation:
In considering the significance of Shabbat (the Sabbath) we need to look at the following to see how the translators use this interpretation of this verse to create their own mindset remembering that they were not Yahudim (Jews) and did not understand Scripture from a Hebraic mindset or worse that they were manipulating the text to promote their bias.
Acts 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Sha’ul (Paul), ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
The Christian Lexicon “the Blue letter Bible “shows the Greek translation for “The First day of the Week” as follows:
Mia- meaning one or first.
Sabbaton- meaning the Shabbat or seventh day.
We must remember that the Yahudim (Jews) count 7 completed Shabbats up to Shavuot (Pentecost). Therefore we could read this as “Now on the first of the Shabbats.”
We must also consider that the believers at this time were attending Synagogue on the Shabbat which was the usual practise for the Yahudim (Jews) and as the custom would be they would gather for a meal towards evening usually to continue in fellowship and discussion. One thing we may fail to see is that the Roman day starts at Midnight but the Jewish day begins at sunset which explains why we read that Sha’ul continued until Midnight. From this passage we see that Sha’ul was preparing to leave on the morning of the first day not as the Roman translators have tried to indicate making us think they came together on the first day. The first day in this instance began at sunset after the Shabbat so rather than speaking from morning until midnight a far more reasonable assumption is that he spoke from sunset until Midnight possibly expanding on the Synagogue teaching and showing how it was revealing Yahshua hidden in the Torah that they heard.
When we look to the life of Sha’ul (Paul) we discover that he obviously kept Shabbat & Torah and by his own admission he was a Pharisee from the tribe of Benyamin. He even says concerning the Torah he was blameless therefore an observer of the Torah (Law) and a teacher thereof though his words have been often misunderstood.
- The Truth of Shabbat Revealed:
Often Acts 15 is cited as evidence of the truth that the Gentile believers had no need any more to keep Shabbat or the Law as given to the Yahudim (the Jews) but is this true?
Acts 15:19-21 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to Elohim (G_d), 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Shabbat.”
If you have ever studied the Torah you will see a long list of defilements from idols, and Vayiqra (Leviticus) gives us details of what whoring is plus the commands regarding blood which covered many of the Pagan Temple practices totalling as much as 130 Torah commands in these three. The reason therefore that this list of requirements for the gentiles is short is because these dealt with the Pagan Temple abominations and that these new gentile converts would hear the Torah read every Shabbat in the Synagogues. From this we know that the Gentiles were being instructed from the books of the Torah every Shabbat and were going to the Synagogue on the Shabbat to worship YHWH the Elohim of Yisrael.
The following verses have also often been used to promote the abolition of the Holy Commands of YHWH but we need to look at what it is saying from a better understanding:
Colossians 2:16-18 Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of a festival or of the New Moon or of the Shabbat days- 17 which are a shadow of things to come: but the body of Messiah. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels,
We must understand that the city of Colossi was a Pagan city and that those judging were Pagans who worshipped Angels and had their own Holy days & feasts but what is striking is that the reading should be in brief “let no one judge you………………. but the body of Messiah.” Those that are of the assembly of the called. Therefore Sha’ul rather than telling them to abstain from the Torah was in fact promoting it and encouraging them to keep all the prescribed feasts & Shabbats and to encourage them that only the body or the Assembly of Messiah is fit to judge in these matters. Remember that all these things are shadows not to be ignored but to be embraced as they portray good things to come. All the Feasts are still a shadow but point towards Messiah, his work and our final Shabbat as we read in:
Slide R 18
Ibrim (Hebrews) 4:9 There remains therefore a rest (a Shabbat) for the people of Elohim. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as Yahweh Elohim did from His.
Where it says rest in the Greek it actually says “what remains is a Sabbath observance. “In the Aramaic it is even more interesting because it says “there remains therefore a giving of Sabbaths to come.” Therefore there is a Shabbat keeping for the people of Elohim looking for the day of the final Shabbat rest and so it is a shadow of what is to come.
- The Ministry of Sha’ul (Paul):
In the Ministry of Sha’ul (Paul) we can see how even the Goyim or the foreign Nations of the Gentiles were beginning to honour the Sabbath day (the Shabbat) as the verses clearly reveal that Sha’ul (Paul) was only teaching on consecutive Shabbats:
Acts 13: 26-27 “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear Elohim (God), to you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Shabbat, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.
Acts 13:42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Shabbat.
Acts 13: 44 On the next Shabbat almost the whole city came together to hear the word of Elohim.
When the people of Antioch began to fear Elohim (God) they did not say to Sha’ul for him to teach the next day being the 1st day of the week which would have been fine since that day was a recognized special day of the Sun in Pagan practise where many would have been free from activities but they rather observed Shabbat in accordance with the set-apart day that Yahweh the Elohim of Yisrael had ordained and in accordance with the practices of the Yahudim (the Jews) as well as all the believers.
The Revealed Challenge
The entire aim of this teaching is for all of us to begin to challenge long held traditions and see if they hold water against Scripture. If all Scripture is breathed by Elohim we must take note of it since all Scripture that was used by the Assemblies at that time was the Tanakh or what was known as the Old Testament. In the third Century if Shabbat observance was not practiced widely then why was it necessary for Emperor Constantine in 321AD to introduce a Law like this:
On the venerable day of the sun let the Magistrates and the peoples residing in cities rest
(Sunday comes from a Roman pagan king)
And let all the workshops be closed but in the country persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain, sowing or planting. Let them not neglect the bounty of heaven that would be lost.
We should look at the understanding derived from this teaching with patience and the love of our Heavenly Father who loves us without question and as we come to the final stages before the Master’s return we have the choice to choose what truth is revealed while diligently seeking the leading of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (The Holy Spirit) according to the truth of scripture while testing all things.
Acceptance of that must come from the fear of YHWH which is the beginning of Wisdom. When we come to know that Yahshua (Jesus) came to restore our relationship with our Heavenly Father and reveal truth we will begin to desire to do life his way and not be held under the weight of thousands of years of tradition. The Netzarim movement or the Hebrew Roots awakening I believe is not from man but is a move of the Spirit of YHWH to prepare his Bride according to:
Ephesians 5:27 That he might present her to himself a glorious Assembly (Bride) not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that it should be set-apart (Holy) and without blemish.