by John and Ruth Greene
The Sabbath is a weekly day of rest in honor of our Heavenly Father, which He commanded in honor of His completion of creation. (Psalm 96:5; Jeremiah 10:10-12; Acts 4:24; Revelation 14:7) Some say this day is a day to avoid work. Others say that this day is a day to avoid chores. Others say that this day is a day to spend with family. Others say a Sabbath is about tradition. What does scripture say the Sabbath is? (Isaiah 58:13-14; Matthew 4:4; “Video – Amazing Grace: YHWH’s Ten Commandments“)
“And on the seventh day Elohim [YHWH]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 2:2-3, ISR98
YHWH designated a weekly Sabbath as a sanctified day, a covenant to be honored for all time. (Deuteronomy 5:12; Isaiah 56:2-8; Psalm 111:4; Nehemiah 10:31) The word “Sabbath” means “to cease,” as Elohim’s people follow His example. (H7673, H7676 Strong’s) This day is a sign between the Father and His people, a sign of their sanctity, a day to focus on the most important element in life: salvation. (Exodus 20:11; Ezekiel 20:12) This ‘appointed time’ is a sign of trust which demonstrates your trust in Him, a rehearsal of YHWH’s plenty. This is a day set aside for special acts and activities that honor YHWH and His Word, an opportunity to rest in His presence. It’s a time for emphasis on spiritual matters and spiritual growth for all believers. A Sabbath is not about tradition, but about building up, sanctifying and magnifying the grace of YHWH and the sacrifice of Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah. It’s a time for family gathering and a cause for sharing instead of a singular yearly time of sharing on worldly seasonal holidays. (“Do You Live a Lifestyle of Greed?“; “Financial Usury & Bible Truth: Lending, Giving & Borrowing“)
“Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart. Six days you labor, and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of YHWH 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 cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.”- Exodus 20:8-10, ISR98
Even Yahshua [Jesus] kept the Sabbath, as did His disciples. (Matthew 5:17-18; Mark 2:27; Luke 4:17, 6:5, 23:52-56, 24:1; John 15:10; Acts 13:42-44, 17:16-24) When a disciple of the Messiah follows the example set out by the command of Elohim [YHWH], the seventh day is to be set apart for this special purpose regardless of cultural norms. This day has been meticulously tracked by the Jews from the beginnings of their original culture, through the Hebrews of old Israel. Julius Caesar of the old Roman Empire instituted his own calendar in the first century. Emperor Hadrian outlawed Judaism and the Sabbath in connection with the Jewish rebellion. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-7; Acts 20:28-30)
The Roman Catholic Church (Pope Gregory) took the Roman calendar, reordering time and establishing the dominant world calendar today. Constantine made the first official decree ruling the change in a weekly holy day. (Daniel 7:8, 21-25) Rome ordered their holy day on the first day of the week (Sunday), commanding that Christians must not Judaize “and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s Day they shall especially honor, 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.” – Catholic Church Council in Laodicea, 364 A.D., Canon 29.
“Let all judges and all city people and all tradesmen rest upon the venerable day of the sun. But let those dwelling in the country freely and with full liberty attend to the culture of their fields; since it frequently happens that no other day is so fit for the sowing of grain, or the planting of vines; hence, the favorable time should not be allowed to pass, lest the provisions of heaven be lost.” — Edict of March 7, 321 A.D., Constantine, Corpus Juris Civilis Cod., lib. 3, tit. 12, Lex. 3, Justinian.
“The people of Constantinople and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria.” Ecclesiastical History, Book 7, chap. 19, Sozomen.
“The ancient Christians were very careful in the observation of Saturday, or the seventh day. It is plain that all the Oriental churches, and the greatest part of the world, observed the Sabbath as a festival. … Athanasius likewise tells us that they held religious assemblies on the Sabbath, not because they were infected with Judaism, but to worship Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath; Epiphanius says the same.” Antiquities of the Christian Church, Vol. 2. Book 20, chap 3, Sec. 1 66.1137, 1138.
Sunday as a holy day was made universal through Roman edict (legal proclamation) and reinforced through the ages, in opposition to the command of YHWH and the teaching of Yahshua [Jesus]. (Psalm 89:34; Ecclesiastes 3:14; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17) Man exalted his rules above those of YHWH, just as the Jews began to do after the Babylonian captivity and just as multitudes of professed Christians and the world do today. (“Deceptions of Ages: How People are Deceived“; “About the Christian Cross“; “Prompting Falsehood Through the Lie“)
The length of the Sabbath (on the 7th day) is determined by the sun on that day, from sundown on Friday evening until the sundown on Saturday evening. (Genesis 1:5; Leviticus 23:32) The rest of the week is in preparation for that day if Christians care to follow the advice of scripture. (Exodus 16:22-23; Luke 23:2-3, 54)
Today, many say that the Sabbath is of little importance. Certainly, disciples of Messiah are not prohibited from honoring and worshiping YHWH on any day. One day is just as good as another, but this does not change the original command of YHWH, nor can Sunday be the Sabbath. Those that choose to honor YHWH Almighty will continue to honor the Sabbath as He established it, even under the grace established through Yahshua [Jesus]. (Romans 3:31) Disciples of the Messiah need to take note as they seek to honor their Elohim, a fragrant offering to the One they serve and love. (Philippians 4:16-18; 2 Corinthians 2:14-16; 1 John 2:20-27) Clearly, the Sabbath is a time to do good rather than focus on selfishness, a special day set aside to the Almighty that created heaven and earth. (Matthew 12:10-13; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:15, 14:5; Psalm 92:1-12) This day is a type of Elohim’s Kingdom as He brings forth His Kingdom through His Millennium. (Revelation 20:1-6) The Sabbath is a rehearsal, preparing for better times that are soon to come. Regardless of your understanding of the details, you can be assured that in the end, all is YHWH’s best for His people. (Matthew 28:18; Acts 2:36; Romans 8:28, 14:9; Ephesians 1:20-22; 1 Peter 3:22, Revelation 1:5; “End Times: Talk of Fear & Conspiracy“; “The Great Tribulation & End Time Rapture“)