I have waited for some time to approach this topic. Not because it is so controversial, or because I was worried about backlash. Rather because I needed to be fully settled in my own heart on the topic and it took some time for me to come to a place where I could discuss it openly without feeling as though I were defending a perspective, trying to convince anyone of a personal point of view, or come across to readers as if I just wanted to stir-up something. The simple fact is, I had some internal conflict in these areas and I had to repent, ask for a supernatural infusion of humility, and truly seek help from our Heavenly Father to bring a restfulness and homeostasis to my own soul before I could begin to put my thoughts to pen.
So here we go, my first treatise on the subject of Shabbat (Sabbath).
In Christian circles, the idea of a 7th Day Sabbath is often viewed as a religious bondage or a regression back to being "under the Law". There are a number of reasons, most of which actually seem quite logical to most of us who are believers in Yeshua/Jesus, but does a logical explanation mean it's true? We've been taught that the separation between the "Old" and "New" Testaments is synonymous with our having been freed from the confines of the "Law" which brought us into a "dispensation" of Grace. If you have read my other works you already know that in my studies I have found "Dispensationalism" to be a heretical teaching which has its foundations in Jesuit doctrine established to create a Counter-Reformation intended to win back those whose lives were being changed by the theology of the Reformers. That change was a personal relationship with the God of the Universe in place of priests as a mediator - they called it the Doctrine of the Priesthood of All Saints. The simple fact is, that even the separation of the "Testaments" is the invention of the Council at Nicaea - the early Vatican. There are some good uses which have come from that dividing line, but much of the theology and doctrine established and preached from this act of separation has been anti-Semitic or at the least nothing more than supposition based in a Greek only exegesis/interpretation of the "New Testament". Without a Hebraic context the "New Testament" is like any Greek book of philosophy, but its very nature extends from the Judaic religion God Himself instituted as a path back to intimacy with Him. It was the first half of a two part Covenant. Or as some would put it, it was the First offering of a Covenant and the "New Testament" and the Gospel was intended to renew that Covenant into a "better" Covenant because it makes it possible for ALL of mankind to be grafted into the Covenant through His Covenant People.
We know Abba wants those of us who are believers in Yeshua/Jesus to walk in the "unity of the faith" (Ephesians 4:13 ) but also the "faith once delivered to the saints" (James 1:3). James - the half brother of our Lord Yeshua was a Jew, he maintained his Jewish faith and practices, but with Messiah at the center. He didn't suddenly begin preaching "another Gospel" (Galatians 1:18 and 2 Corinthian 11:4) which somehow led up to the modern Christian theology we have today. We really need to step back just a little and look at the whole picture. When we look at what was being taught, even as recorded in the Greek, we can see it was nothing more than the fulfillment/completion of what God had already begun. The only "new" thing was a final payment of a debt we could never repay. So just as with Abraham and Isaac, God provided a sacrifice.
Let's step forward in time a little, from Abraham and Isaac, with something we can all relate to...
We all know about the "10 Commandments". It is usually one of the very first things we learn as a new convert, or in Sunday School as children. We are taught to seek God to enable us to keep them all and to run quickly to Him in repentance when we break them. As we grow in our faith we are also then taught that the "Law", which includes the "10 Commandments", is in the Old Covenant but we are in a New Covenant. Without going into this too deeply, may I propose that what was translated "New" perhaps should have translated as "Renewed"?
Even in Genesis 1 we find the Earth without form and void and the spirit of God was hovering [in a brooding presence] over the face of the deep. It's clear in the Hebrew that Abba was heavily invested in this Creation which was in disarray. I won't theorize what brought creation to this state, but it is important for this subject to note that He was invested in the disarray of Creation. That said, He then began to "create" or was it "re-create" we can't really say, but since we have no context for what was before, it is acceptable to say create, though it is obvious something already existed. Plus, we have no information of a pre-existing plant, animal, or human existence so for these it is also reasonable to translate what occurred as "create". This sets into motion a pattern of behavior for God, at least one we can now recognize after having Scripture to refer to. By this I mean that we see from this, after the Creation events were completed, then from the rebellion of Adam and Eve forward [in Scripture] it can be plainly seen that He has been "creating", "renewing", or "recreating" ever since. These are now all synonymous in Biblical Language. Even Solomon told us there is nothing new under the Sun, so everything below heaven itself is in a constant state of decay and/or renewal.
Did you know in the King James alone the word "restore" occurs 42 times and the word "renew" occurs another 6? Renew is "Chadesh or Chodesh" in Hebrew. In fact, it is the name for the monthly celebration of first sliver of the New Moon which tells us a new month has begun on God's Calendar - you may have heard of "Rosh Chodesh". So we have a memorial in the universe which points to / hints at our renewal each and every month, for all of human existence, since the beginning of time itself. Abba invented this system and still uses it to this very day! Keep in mind that's the lesser of the two examples above - "restore". If "Chadesh/Chodesh" is so important and He only brings it up 6 times in the whole of Scripture, how much more does restoration mean to Him?
Let's jump to Abraham again. God made a blood covenant with Abraham which Abraham accepted and sealed with the spilling of blood in circumcision. Blood Covenants are eternal. It is the reason we are told to not drink (or eat) the blood of animals. It creates a bond. The life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) and He wants our ONLY eternal bond to be with Him. Sexuality is a Blood Covenant. Without going into the details, let's suffice to say that there is an exchange of blood during intercourse. This is why only that which is done in the Covenant of Marriage is holy. So once again we see a continuity regarding Blood Covenants. Abba is nothing if not consistent.
Jumping ahead again; the children of Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 4 - Moses is recounting the meeting with God which became the first Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) and points out that God promised to make them a Kingdom of Priests. But the people of Israel were afraid of the God of Moses (their hearts were still that of slaves) and they rejected His offer saying they wanted Moses to go to God for them and then tell them what He had to say. Through this Abba granted their request and the Aaronic priesthood was born. One man, once per year, would meet with God on behalf of the people. Now in the "Renewed Covenant", into which we who are Gentiles are grafted, we can all meet with Him on our own and without any representative other than Christ in us. By virtue of the "Renewed Covenant" we have been grafted in (Romans 11) and are partakers of this Covenant. Yeshua paid the price of a broken Blood Covenant by shedding His innocent blood on behalf of those who could never repay the debt of the broken Abrahamic Covenant. The shedding of blood in the meantime wasn't just for the remission of sin, it was also for the maintenance of the Covenant until the final, once and for all time, payment was made. THIS is why He needed a Covenant People and why there would be no salvation for Gentiles had there been no Jews (Romans 1:16).
I imagine by now you're asking "what does all this has to do with Sabbath Rest?". Well, because without these Covenants a Sabbath Rest would not be necessary at all. God would have had a choice to make, destroy humanity and start over, or let us live our lives without any obligation, or hope of access, to Him at all. Because 1 man - Abraham - served Him and made Covenant with Him, a way to salvation was planned, made possible, and executed (literally) for us all. That Covenant included being a people so unique they would stand out, be peculiar among the crowds and the throngs of humanity. It was just Israel, now it is all believers in Messiah because we have been grafted into a "Renewed Covenant" with Him and are to be a royal priesthood, a chosen people, a holy nation, a peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9). Otherwise Peter is quoting "Old Testament" Scripture for nothing (remember Deuteronomy 4?). What one thing made Israel stand out more than ANY of the other of the 613 total commands in the "Old Testament"?
** Spoiler Alert - They did not worship on Sunday, the 1st day of the week, but rather on the 7th Day.
That said, we can probably all remember when Yeshua/Jesus said "If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15 - yet we seem to excuse ourselves from recognizing the fact that He and His Father are one (John 10:30), that John said Yeshua was part of the Creation process (John 1), that Paul said He considered Himself "equal with God" (Philippians 2:6), that He is the same forever (Hebrews 13:8), that Yeshua Himself said that not even the smallest of punctuation in Torah would be done away with until heaven and earth cease to exist (Matthew 5:18) - which will NEVER happen because they will be Renewed (Revelation 21:1). So even our often used reasons, for not observing a 7th Day Sabbath, which use the idea that we are in the "New Covenant" really aren't founded in the totality of Scripture - they come from small portions of Scripture taken out of proper context. It is inconsistent with the nature of our Heavenly Father to throw away anything He can renew, and as I can testify in my own life, He can renew ANYTHING. That's why we are all still here. If this wasn't clear enough before, I hope this small glimpse into the less visited areas of this subject has helped you to see more clearly.
In the graphic/Scripture below you can see how from the beginning of the Mosaic Covenant the people had a path back to God. In the Abrahamic humanity got a glimmer of the hope to come. Through this Second Covenant Abba creates another step toward restoring our access to the heavens and His Kingdom. This was a Covenant to establish the renewed intimacy with Him which was lost in the Garden Treason. But as mentioned before, the people rejected it, and Abba's Plan moved ever forward toward the fulfillment of this Covenant with the sacrifice of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah)
As a whole, the Body of Christ has plodded along in a pattern instituted by Constantine in the 3rd-4th Century which has sought to remove any Judaic connection to what we consider "Christianity". Coupling that with the Generational Amnesia* we have undergone generation after generation since, we have all but forgotten that without them there would have been no salvation for the rest of us.
*Generational Amnesia - a phrase I have coined which simply means that as time goes on each generation subsequently forgets the reason we do the things we do; in most cases referring specifically to theology and doctrine.
I believe the above is precisely why such excuses as "I don't need that because it's Old Covenant" or "That's not what it means in the New Covenant", "but we aren't under 'The Law'", and others have become popular catch phrases for not being held accountable to the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 2:27) which is the totality of Scripture and all revelatory knowledge which does not conflict with or contradict any portion of His Word. When we approach revelations given by respected people of God from this perspective we will never go astray. When we instead accept "New Testament Revelation Knowledge" as somehow superior to "Old Testament Law" are we not saying that God changes and He didn't really have a single and focused Plan, but worked it out as He went along? Surely none of us mean it that way, but the fact is that if He is eternally existent in the past, present, and future then He is therefore out of time and untouched by it. Further, He is then also capable of seeing how to work out all the details even when those with whom He chose to make covenant repeatedly step out of that covenant. Add to that His nature of never losing faith in His own choices, because He sees the beginning from the end (He can see all of time in reverse), He has committed to renew what was broken and make all things new, just as He does with our lives even now (2 Corinthians 5:17). The perspective of Covenant Renewal is simply more consistent with the Father's character than any idea of Him creating a whole new one, don't you think? Afterall Romans 11 also tells us that "some" were broken off because of their disbelief in Messiah, not all. So some were renewed into Covenant and not lost. That keeps the lineage of the Covenant People opened, so a NEW one was not necessary, but rather a Renewed Covenant with benefits which exceed those limited by the blood of bulls and goats.
Even Ezekiel saw and reminded the people of God's promise of "setting them apart" (meaning of sanctify) and that His doing so had some conditions (worded as signs in the graphic above). In other words, perhaps one could even put it, "If you love me - keep my Sabbaths Hallowed as a sign..." (combining these Scriptures with John 14:15). This is why I often say that observing Shabbat and the Feasts are a foundational part of our relationship with Abba because they are the foundation of His love languages. They were made for set apart (sanctified) and intentional intimate time with Him!
This is where we begin to analyze the Sabbath in a very different way from what most of us have probably seen or heard before. If you read the "10 Commandments" from the perspective of a Catholic Bible (graphic above), do you see any difference from what you've already learned? I'd venture to guess there is little to no difference at all. Yet, we we can plainly see that the 7th day was made Holy and we are commanded to keep it Holy. Even still, we can prove historically that the Vatican changed the Sabbath to a 1st Day recognition of "The Lord's Day" - so they even changed the title given to the day to make it less Jewish.
Genesis 2:3 - And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he ceased from all his works which God began to do.
Consider this for just a moment please. Why did God make a 7th day? He finished all of His work on the 6th day. There was no need for a 7th. Consider also that Adam and Eve were visited by God in the cool of the day, unanimously accepted as the early evening by scholars. So He came to visit with them when their daily work was done. Many have considered this time a daily Sabbath Rest and used it to justify that ANY day can be a Sabbath if we choose to recognize it as such. Spending time with Him while at rest after all the daily necessities are taken care of is certainly a good idea, but where did God demand such? You see, even our most logical rationales simply don't hold water when we ask the correct questions. We have to learn to remove the idea that this is about us, and accept that it is wholly about Him when it comes to the things He "commands". It's really that plain and simple. Still there is more...
Then God creates a weekly Sabbath. An entire day to spend with Him after we have completed a week's worth of work. Notice something converging? BOTH the day and the people are sanctified by the observance of 7th Day Sabbath (Ezekiel 20:12 and Genesis 2:3). If you add the 3rd Commandment, then that sanctification is also connected to our Holiness. PLEASE, don't just take my word for this - this is all the WORD - Genesis 2:3, Ezekiel 20:12 and the 10 Commandments written by the hand of God Himself. Notice something really important here? Creator God of the Bible made Sabbath for Adam and Eve, not for the so-called "Old Testament" Jews. If yo are a member of the human race, a descendent of Adam and Eve, whether Jew or Gentile, Sabbath was made for you. It was/is a Gift but it is also a Commandment.
So when and why did the Biblical Sabbath shift to Sunday?
It's hard to determine exactly when this change took place. It would seem reasonable to assume at the first Council of Nicaea. Though I am not certain that can be absolutely confirmed. So let's go with what we can verify in print shall we?
The most reliable source I could locate on this specific topic was from the Encyclopedia Britannica under the article, Sunday : “The Roman Emperor [Constantine] (died 377)... introduced the first civil legislation concerning Sunday in 321, when he decreed that all work should cease on that day...”
The office of Bishop mentioned here is the "Papacy" or the office of the Pope. Lucius Ferraris was a Franciscan Priest in the 18th Century. The level of recognition to the inferred authority of the "Bishop of Rome" is what I want us to take notice of. Since the word Torah is often given the inferior translation of "Law" instead of "Instruction" as I have pointed out in numerous other writings, we can logically conclude that the "Divine Law" referred to also directly or indirectly applied to the 10 Commandments.
Here is a quote which is attributed to Constantine in March, 321CE/AD:
“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 suitable for gain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost."
- Raymond Robert Fischer. “The Ways Of The Way"
Also Consider this next quote which further emphasized and mandated a switch to observance of "The Lord's Day":
“The Church Council of Laodicea circa A.D. 364 then carried this process of the de-Judaizing of Christianity to its inevitable conclusion by declaring that religious observances were to be conducted on Sunday, not Saturday. Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honoring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be Judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ. Thus Sunday, "the Lord's day," replaced Shabbat as the Sabbath.”
- Raymond Robert Fischer. “The Ways Of The Way"
Let's not forget that the "church" at Laodicea was the one to whom Yeshua/Jesus said "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." Is it possible this agreement with Constantine is at least in part why they are Lukewarm? Keep in mind that while the book of the Revelation was written in advance of this, it is a prophetic eschatological book (though it is also historical and for the time it was written - it is well recognized as a book or prophetic layers). Yeshua/Jesus goes on, in Revelation 3, to speak of their riches, and from even before the Council of Laodicea in 364 CE/AD to today, the Roman Catholic Church has been extremely wealthy.
Since the topic of discussion here is Shabbat/Sabbath, the next several graphics were created to address the topic specifically.
It is obvious in the Scriptures we have examined so far, Abba is indicating the Sabbath was to be a mark of His own for those who were born into the Covenant - whether by being born in the lineage of Abraham or being grafted into the Renewed Covenant. We've already covered the fact that we who are Gentile believers in Yeshua/Jesus have been grafted into that Covenant and though I could give many other proofs of it, I'll leave it to your discovery for further proof if you need it. If you have difficulty in this endeavor please feel free to Contact me.
If then, His mark upon us, was intended to sanctify us and the Sabbath [through the observance of Sabbath] and it is connected to or a part of the process of Holiness, should we not then take it seriously since we are commanded to "be holy, for I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44 AND 1 Peter 1:16)? The very fact that Peter is quoting Leviticus should be a proof that there is no "New" and and "Old" which doesn't apply to those under the "New", but rather a 1st and 2nd Half or "Old" and "Renewed" Covenant! Is it possible Abba was was at least partly referring to exactly this when He led both Moses and Peter to write those very words? I've heard many sermons, and preached nearly as many, which made supposition about what it means to be "holy as God is Holy". Yet none, until I discovered this connection, were ever simply rooted in Sola Scriptura (By Scripture Alone). Remember that the first rule of proper hermeneutics (dividing of Scripture) as listed in the graphic at the top of this article is to let Scripture interpret Scripture. People can easily explain away the rationales of those who have postulated upon the meaning of holiness - inward, outward, and etc. But to deny Scripture's own description of a thing (in part or in whole) is to declare the entirety of the WORD a lie. After all, the enemy used pieces of Scripture with pieces of purposeful supposition to twist and manipulate the meaning of the WORD when he spoke to Eve in the Garden. Therefore Scripture itself bears witness that when I have previously posted "a partial truth is still a whole lie" is indeed on target! We know Lucifer to be the father of lies (John 8:44), so what else would we expect?
If someone claims the authority to change the mark of God which sanctifies His followers, should we even consider such
a change righteous or holy?
Is it rebellion to worship on Sunday? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! So long as one does not neglect to keep the 7th Day Hallowed and for fellowship with Abba YHVH. In fact, an early record of the 1st - 2nd Century believers, known as The Didache, records that those followers of "The Way" kept Shabbat on Friday sundown to Saturday sundown and primarily with family. However, near sunset on Saturday they would assemble for corporate dinner and worship. In fact, by the time they got to their worship it was passed sunset on Saturday so it was Sunday by God's reckoning of time.
There is absolutely NO BIBLICAL PROHIBITION FROM OBSERVING BOTH.
You have probably noticed in a lot of my writing of late, I mention perspectives and how important they are. According to Proverbs 23:7 what we think about, deep within ourselves, determines who we are and what we do. This is the purpose and Scriptural justification for my simplified definitions of theology and doctrine. The suffix "ology" refers to study, "theos" is literally Greek for gods (not God as some have taught). So in reference to YHVH (or the Trinity) "theology" is what we think about God based on our studies and/or what we have accepted from others about Him. Therefore "doctrine" can be found in the first two letters "do" - it is what we do in response/reaction to what we think about God. From this we can conclude our theology determines our doctrine - precisely as Proverbs 23:7 says.
If you have read my series about the "Ekklesia" you already know that I believe, based upon a mountain of easily referenced evidence, "the Church" is a manmade institution and not at all the invention of our Heavenly Abba. There was no church birth on Shavuot/Pentecost and there was no Godly "church" written about in the Greek of the "New Testament". The first Shavuot after the resurrection of Yeshua/Jesus was an empowerment to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom which was to draw those in darkness into His marvelous light - period. I have sufficiently covered the proofs of this in the Ekklesia series, but should you require more please feel free to Contact me.
So the "Divine Mission" described in the above graphic surely points to a self-appointed authority given by a false lineage which is reported to begin with the "Apostle Peter", but clearly began with the "Pontifex Maximus" (High Priest) of Mithra (Roman Sun god) - none other than Constantine himself. Zero connection to the Jewish apostles, no connection to the Covenant People through salvation and grafting in, and therefore no God-given authority. Let's not forget that Constantine sought to remove all Judaic connection to Scripture and the "Old/New Testament" division of Scripture was part of that. As were so many other things which modern believers simply accept due to Generational Amnesia. We truly need to rid ourselves of the leaven of Consensus Orthodoxy*.
*Consensus Orthodoxy “A term used to refer to the theological interpretations accepted by the majority of religious people during a given time period.” Reference Article
^^ JUST A QUICK REMINDER BEFORE WE PRESS FORWARD ^^
Have we also been given possession of a promised land? The answer is found in Luke's Gospel.
Luke 1:32-33 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end."
If we are grafted in, then we are also descendants of Jacob (who became "Israel") by the spirit of adoption. (Romans 8:15)
YES WE HAVE INHERITED A PROMISED LAND!!
But there are conditions in the Renewed Covenant just
as there were under the Covenant which was broken.
There is a Counter-Reformation movement which has been alive since John Wycliffe first translated the corrupted Latin Vulgate into English and started an awakening to the corruption of the manmade humanist religion which he had previously served without reservation. That Counter-Reformation is still waging war on many fronts. One of the more recent to be brought forward once again, to further mark the authority of the Papacy is that SUNDAY is the day of rest. Often called "The Lord's Day", this incentive is being used to draw attention to family values and avoid the conflict of the fact that while it may be used for these things (as everyday should be) it still is not the Biblically mandated Shabbat/Sabbath.
The sayings I've heard in opposition to 7th Day Shabbat most of my life are "everyday can be a Sabbath", "as long as we pick one day to be a Sabbath the New Covenant is satisfied because Sabbath was made for man", and "does God really care about trivial things like 'WHICH' day we choose?". I believed them, even preached them, until I realized the one thing they all have in common, God's opinion isn't considered and He gave it to us right in His WORD - in several places. We want too much to believe the "New Covenant" teachings freed us to just pick and choose what to accept and what to reject from the Covenant; we have been taught, through Consensus Orthodoxy, "the Law" is an outdated and unnecessary part of Scripture - yet in contrast we are told to keep the "10 Commandments" except number 3. There are a few more taken from the "the Law" which people claim God changed in the "New Covenant", but those are for another time. The real truth is that TRUE FREEDOM comes from acting WITHIN the boundaries and conditions He established.
If it's in His WORD, then it is FOR US. Not just intended for us, but literally for
our benefit. Everything else is the invention of either man or devil - PERIOD.
Where does God's WORD say Sundays are His gift to us? This is the kind of rhetoric which can easily sway the hearts of all but the most diligent followers of Scripture. I was fooled by this kind of thing for decades. Even while reading and recognizing the truth, I was still able to minimize His emphasis on His love languages and dismiss it like any selfish lover is able to do with the heartfelt needs and desires of their spouse.
But if we really are His Bride, shouldn't we pay closer attention?
After all, it wasn't just His Father's Commands that matter - remember?
^^ Faith in Jesus isn't enough. Scripture says so. ^^
So here we find the twofold witness required by
God's own Word (also found in the Torah).
- Keeping His Commandments AND the Faith of Messiah -
God created a 7th and otherwise unnecessary Day and called it Shabbat
Shabbat was made for mankind
Mankind was intended to keep the day Hallowed/Sanctified/Holy
Mankind is intended to Be Holy for God is Holy
Holiness is connected to a 7th Day Sabbath
YHVH met with Adam and Eve after all the daily work was done
YHVH created an extra day for One Purpose ONLY
Rest is indicative of Relationship - He met with them during their daily time of "rest"
Choosing to meet for the express and sole purpose of meeting is indicative of Intimacy
Shabbat is connected to our Intimacy with YHVH
Yeshua kept Shabbat and so did all the Apostles (including the Gentiles like Luke)
Gentile Believers are grafted into the Covenant People - the whole of Scripture applies
The 1st and 2nd Century Believers in Messiah all observed Shabbat
Some time in the 3rd or 4th Century a manmade structure changed Shabbat to Sunday
We have a decision to make - recognize the mark of authority of God or of the "Church"
Lastly - there is no prohibition to observe BOTH so long as our perspective recognizes ONE is from God alone and the other is simply a tradition of mankind
My heart sincerely hopes this will help to rectify any misunderstanding you have had about God's heart on the matter of Sabbath. It is so much more than just to rest, it matters so much more to Him than our Consensus Orthodoxy has taught us, we NEED to get rid of our Generational Amnesia and understand why it's important to Him, we need to remove the excuses we've made and honor Him in His love languages, we need to get ready - the Bridegroom is coming and the Bride is still very widely ignorant of what Scripture really demands of us to be fully prepared like the wise virgins, and not like the ones who were fools (Matthew 25).
Many Blessings to you and yours. Until next time...