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The Sabbath

Updated: Feb 18

What day is Sabbath? I’ll give you a hint, it's not Sunday. I often come across people saying we don’t know what day Sabbath is, but that’s not exactly true and to find the answer we’re going to have to do some research. But before we begin let’s find out where in the Bible the Sabbath was first given and what we should do on the Sabbath.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their array. And in the seventh day Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day and set it apart, because on it He rested from all His work which Elohim in creating had made...” (Genesis 2:1-3)

After YHWH finished creation, (The universe is not ever-expanding) he blesses the seventh day and makes it holy. Saturday is the seventh day out of the week but that’s not the only proof we have that it is the day of the Sabbath.

The Command to Observe the Sabbath

Now let’s look in the Torah to see when YHWH gave them the command of honoring the Sabbath and what we should do on that day.

Guard the Sabbath day, to set it apart, as יהוה your Elohim commanded you. Six days you labor, and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of יהוה your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, so that your male servant and your female servant rest as you do.” (Deuteronomy 5: 12-14)

On Sabbath we should do no work, it is a day of rest! Many people work a ridiculous number of hours, whether by choice or not. We have it ingrained into us that we need to work to make money, so we can survive, this break in work is having faith that Elohim will take care of us. Remember we live not on bread alone.

“Six days work is done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a set-apart gathering. You do no work, it is a Sabbath to יהוה in all your dwellings.” (Leviticus 23:3)

Leviticus reinforces that we should not work, that we should rest, and have a sacred assembly, which is having worship with other believers.

Buying and Selling, and the Ox in the Ditch

“In those days I saw in Yehuḏah (Judah) those treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, and figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) on the Sabbath day. So I warned them on the day they sold food. And men of Tsor (Tyre) dwelt there, bringing in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Yehuḏah (Judah), and in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Then I contended with the nobles of Yehuḏah (Judah), and said to them, “What evil matter is this that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? “Did not your fathers do the same so that our Elohim brought all this evil on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Yisra’ĕl (Israel) by profaning the Sabbath.” (Nehemiah 13:15-18)

We are also not supposed to buy or sell on the Sabbath. By now you might be thinking, “Well it started off sounding great, no work and rest, but now I can’t buy or sell?!” Listen life gets crazy sometimes and if an emergency occurs during the Sabbath, take care of it, for you, have an ox in the ditch.

“And it came to be, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they were watching Him closely. And see, there was a certain man before Him suffering from dropsy. And יהושע responding, spoke to those learned in the Torah and the Pharisees, saying, “Is it right to heal on the Sabbath?” But they were silent. So taking hold of him He healed him, and let him go. And to them He said, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, shall not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they were unable to answer Him regarding these matters.” (Luke 14: 1-6)

If an emergency arises then take care of it!

Yeshua Honored the Sabbath

In Luke 14 you have Yeshua honoring the Sabbath and here are a few more scriptures that show him keeping the Sabbath.

“And He came to Natsareth (Nazareth), where He had been brought up. And according to His practice, He went into the congregation on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. ” (Luke 4:16)
“And it came to be that He went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And as they went His taught ones began to pluck heads of grain, and the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not right on the Sabbath?” And He said to them, “Have you never read what Dawiḏ (David) did when he had need and was hungry, he and those with him? How he went into the House of Elohim, while Eḇyathar (Abiathar) was high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not right to eat, except for the priests, and he gave it also to those who were with him? And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Adam is also Master of the Sabbath.”(Mark 2:23-27)

Here Yeshua’s hungry disciples took some grain to eat. The Pharisees accuse them of breaking the Torah but Yeshua reminds them that the Sabbath was made for us and that he is Master over it. This goes back to the ox being in the ditch and dispels what the Pharisees had added to the Torah.

“And it also came to be on another Sabbath, that He entered into the congregation and taught, and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, for them to find an accusation against Him. And He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Rise and stand in the midst.” And he rose up and stood. Then יהושע said to them, “I ask you, is it right to do good on the Sabbath, or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” And looking around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored sound as the other. But they were filled with folly, and were speaking with one another what they should do to יהושע.” (Luke 6:6-11)

The Pharisees were so furious with Yeshua not because he was breaking the Torah but because he was breaking their traditions, their man doctrines.

“And He was teaching in one of the congregations on the Sabbath, and see, there was a woman having a weakening spirit for eighteen years, and was bent over and was unable to straighten up at all. And יהושע, seeing her, called her near and said to her, “Woman, you are loosened from your weakness.” And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was straightened up, and praised Elohim. But the ruler of the congregation, responding, much displeased that יהושע had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men should work, so come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Master answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loosen his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? And this one, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, look, for eighteen years, should she not be loosened from this bond on the Sabbath? And when He said this, all His opponents were put to shame. And all the crowd rejoiced for all the splendid works being done by Him.” (Luke 13:10-17)

The Disciples Honored the Sabbath after Yeshua’s Resurrection

Now, what about the disciples after the ascension of Yeshua?

“And having put out from Paphos, Sha’ul (Paul) and those with him came to Perge in Pamphulia. And Yoḥanan (John), having left them, returned to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). But passing through from Perge, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the congregation on the Sabbath day and sat down. And after the reading of the Torah and the Prophets, the rulers of the congregation sent to them, saying, “Men, brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, speak.” (Acts 13:13-15)

“And when the Yehuḏim (Jews) went out of the congregation, the nations begged to have these words spoken to them the next Sabbath. And when the meeting of the congregation had broken up, many of the Yehuḏim (Jews) and of the worshipping converts followed Sha’ul (Paul) and Barnaḇa (Barnabas), who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the favor of Elohim. And on the next Sabbath almost all the city came together to hear the Word of Elohim. (Acts 13:42-44)
“And on the Sabbath day we went outside the city by a river, where there used to be prayer. And having sat down we were speaking to the women who met there.” (Acts 16:13)
“And after this Sha’ul (Paul) left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Yehuḏi (Jew) named Aqulas (Aquila), born in Pontos, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla – because Claudius had commanded all the Yehuḏim (Jews) to leave Rome – and he came to them. And because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and was working, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he was reasoning in the congregation every Sabbath, and won over both Yehuḏim (Jews) and Greeks.” (Acts 18:1-4)
“And having returned, they prepared spices and perfumes. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the command.” (Luke 23:56)

Remember Paul’s act of debating on Sabbath is not considered work, had he been making tents on Sabbath then yes he would have broken the fourth commandment.

Who ‘Changed’ the Sabbath Day and Why?

Now that we have Biblical evidence for the Sabbath being honored in the New Testament, let’s look at why the day was changed and who did it. Roman Emperor Constantine was a proclaimed Christian but also worship the sun god, that is why he wanted the day moved to Sunday, so he could worship both on the same day.

On the venerable Day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits: because it often happens that another Day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting: lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.” (Constantine, 321 A.D)

The Catholic Church followed suit because Roman Catholicism and Rome are close if not the same.

Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday (Sabbath), but shall work on that Day: but the Lord’s Day, they shall especially honour; and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.” (the Catholic Church Council of Laodicea circa 364 AD)

We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of the Church, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church instituted by Christ, to teach and guide men through life, has the right to change the Ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to the Sunday. We frankly say, "yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday Abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages, and a thousand other laws.” (Peter R Tramer, editor of the Catholic Extension Magazine, Chicago, Illinois, which was under the blessing of Pope Pius XI)
“Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the Solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” (The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine p. 50)
“We have in the authoritative voice of the Church the voice of Christ Himself. The Church is above the Bible; and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact.” (Catholic record of London, Ontario September 1, 1923)

As you can see the Catholic church believes they have the power to change the Torah and create their own laws, this is a false doctrine through and through. Here are historical records of the early Christians keeping the Sabbath.

“It is certain that the ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed (together with the celebration of the Lord's day) by the Christians of the East Church, above three hundred years after our Savior’s death” (A Learned Treatise of the Sabbath, p. 77) The Lord’s day is Sunday that Constantine and the Catholic Church instituted.

“The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted but they derived this practice from the Apostles themselves, as appears by several scriptures to the purpose.” ("Dialogues on the Lord's Day," p. 189. London: 1701, By Dr. T.H. Morer (A Church of England divine)

“The Sabbath was a strong tie which united them with the life of the whole people, and in keeping the Sabbath holy they followed not only the example but also the command of Jesus.” ("Geschichte des Sonntags," pp.13, 14)

“The Gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath.” (Gieseler's "Church History," Vol.1, ch. 2, par. 30, 93.)

From the apostles' time until the council of Laodicea, which was about the year 364, the holy observance of the Jews' Sabbath continued, as may be proved out of many authors: yea, notwithstanding the decree of the council against it.” (Sunday a Sabbath. John Ley, p.163. London: 1640)

Both the Catholic and non-Catholic sources agree that Saturday is the true Sabbath. Still feel like worshipping on Sunday, the day the Catholic church “made” Sabbath?

As always don’t believe a word I say and test all my teachings! I hope this has brought some insight and encourages you to do some research of your own. May the Rauch Hakodesh guide you into all truths.

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