Mo’ed: Shabbat (Weekly Sabbath)

Leviticus 23:1 [Lit. Yahoah] spoke again to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘[Lit. Yahoah’s] appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations — My appointed times are these:’ (NASB)

The following is a slightly modified excerpt from my forthcoming book entitled: Our Messiah Few REALLY Know. This represents copyrighted material; please treat it as such. On this “yom” in history — the “evening” of March 24th and the “morning” of March 25th of the pagan Gregorian calendar on non-leap years — the following occurred…

The seventh day marked the first of God’s appointed times (Heb. mo’edim):

Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (NASB)

What is important to note in verse 3 of the Genesis account is that God (lit. Elohim) blessed and sanctified/consecrated the seventh day. However, significantly more content is provided regarding the weekly Sabbath – the seventh day of each week – in Jubilees:

Jubilees 2:1 And the angel of the presence spake to Moses according to the word of the Lord, saying: Write the complete history of the creation, how in six days the Lord God finished all His works and all that He created, and kept Sabbath on the seventh day and hallowed it for all ages, and appointed it as a sign for all His works.

Continuing at verse 16:

Jubilees 2:16 And He finished all His work on the sixth day – all that is in the heavens and on the earth, and in the seas and in the abysses, and in the light and in the darkness, and in everything. 17 And He gave us a great sign, the Sabbath day, that we should work six days, but keep Sabbath on the seventh day from all work. 18 And all the angels of the presence, and all the angels of sanctification, these two great classes – He hath hidden us to keep the Sabbath with Him in heaven and on earth. 19 And He said unto us: “Behold, I will separate unto Myself a people from among all the peoples, and these will keep the Sabbath day, and I will sanctify them unto Myself as My people, and will bless them; as I have sanctified the Sabbath day and do sanctify (it) unto Myself, even so shall I bless them, and they will be My people and I shall be their God. 20 And I have chosen the seed of Jacob from amongst all that I have seen, and have written him down as My firstborn son, and have sanctified him unto Myself for ever and ever; and I will teach them the Sabbath day, that they may keep Sabbath thereon from all work.” 21 And thus He created therein a sign in accordance with which they should keep Sabbath with us on the seventh day, to eat and to drink, and to bless Him who hath created all things as He hath blessed and sanctified unto Himself a peculiar people above all peoples, and that they should keep Sabbath together with us. 22 And He caused His commands to ascend as a sweet savour acceptable before Him all the days. 23 There (were) two and twenty heads of mankind from Adam to Jacob, and two and twenty kinds of work were made until the seventh day; this is blessed and holy; and the former also is blessed and holy; and this one serves with that one for sanctification and blessing. 24 And to this (Jacob and his seed) it was granted that they should always be the blessed and holy ones of the first testimony and law, even as He had sanctified and blessed the Sabbath day on the seventh day. 25 He created heaven and earth and everything that He created in six days, and God made the seventh day holy, for all His works; therefore, He commanded on its behalf that, whoever doth any work thereon shall die, and that he who defileth it shall surely die. 26 Wherefore do thou command the children of Israel to observe this day that they may keep it holy 4 and not do thereon any work, and not to defile it, as it is holier than all other days. 27 And whoever profaneth it shall surely die, and whoever doeth thereon any work shall surely die eternally, that the children of Israel may observe this day throughout their generations, and not be rooted out of the land; for it is a holy day and a blessed day. 28 And everyone who observeth it and keepeth Sabbath thereon from all his work, will be holy and blessed throughout all days like unto us. 29 Declare and say to the children of Israel the law of this day both that they should keep Sabbath thereon, and that they should not forsake it in the error of their hearts; (and) that it is not lawful to do any work thereon which is unseemly, to do thereon their own pleasure, and that they should not prepare thereon anything to be eaten or drunk. and (that it is not lawful) to draw water, or bring in or take out thereon through their gates any burden, which they had not prepared for themselves on the sixth day in their dwellings. 30 And they shall not bring in nor take out from house to house on that day; for that day is more holy and blessed than any jubilee day of the jubilees: on this we kept Sabbath in the heavens before it was made known to any flesh to keep Sabbath thereon on the earth. 31 And the Creator of all things blessed it, but He did not sanctify all peoples and nations to keep Sabbath thereon, but Israel alone: them alone He permitted to eat and drink and to keep Sabbath thereon on the earth. 32 And the Creator of all things blessed this ay which He had created for a blessing and a sanctification and a glory above all days. 33 This law and testimony was given to the children of Israel as a law for ever unto their generations.

To reiterate the imperative points from this passage in Jubilees:

  1. The weekly Sabbath is hallowed for all ages and is appointed as a sign of God’s twenty-two works completed during the six days of Creation.
  2. Torah observers are to work for six days but rest on the seventh day of each week.
  3. The weekly Sabbath is observed both on Earth and in Heaven.
  4. Jacob (Heb. Ya’akov), the grandson of Abraham and son of Isaac who was renamed Israel, is specifically mentioned as the patriarch (lit. “firstborn son”) of the sanctified people of God, that is the father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. They were taught about the weekly Sabbath and the preeminence of it.
  5. God commanded that if the children of Israel performed work on the weekly Sabbath or otherwise defiled it, they would die; they were to observe this day in perpetuity and keep it holy as it is “holier than all other days.”
  6. The weekly Sabbath was and continues to be observed in Heaven before it was revealed to man.
  7. Only Israelites are sanctified people.

As far as weekly Sabbath observance goes for Gentiles, there were only four commandments established at the First Council of Jerusalem documented in Acts 15:1-35 concentrating on verses 19-20 and 28-29:

Acts 15:19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. (NASB)

Acts 15:28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.” (NASB)

Therefore, Sabbath observance is not a requirement for Gentiles, but neither is it acceptable to substitute another day for weekly worship (i.e., Sunday). It also does not mean that we are not “under the Law” as most “New Testament churches” proclaim; we were given four directives that are still applicable today! What modern Christian church teaches this? As believing Gentiles in Christ, we are adopted sons, grafted into the natural olive tree (that is, we become part of God’s sanctified people with our Hebraic roots supporting us), and will desire to follow the Law as it is put in our hearts and written on our minds:

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us… (NASB)

Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? (NASB)

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

16 “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,
AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

17 “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS
I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (NASB)

How comforting are those words? We know that believing in Christ that our sins and misdeeds will be forgiven. That is what Grace is all about; that topic will be developed further when discussing Judgment Day in the future Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles/Booths) article. For now, re-read John 3:16-18.

Fourteen years later at the Second Council of Jerusalem documented in Galatians 2, Peter – the apostle to the circumcised (Jews/Israelites) – was opposed by Paul – the apostle to the uncircumcised (Gentiles) – over the application of the Mosaic Law (Torah) and hypocrisy thereof by the Jewry regarding believing Gentiles. It was determined that believers in Christ are justified (saved) through faith in Him not by works of the Law; otherwise, Christ died needlessly. However, the children of Israel are to follow the Law in perpetuity as they are a sanctified people. Concentrate on verses 15-16 and 21:

Galatians 2:15 “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh (lit. mortal man) will be justified. (NASB)

Galatians 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (NASB)

That is another sacred cow that must be slaughtered at this point. Peter was NEVER in Rome; he was the apostle to the Jews. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, was a Roman citizen from birth, converted from Pharisaism to the “sect” called The Way, and certainly traveled to Rome. Peter did not establish the Roman Catholic Church! No matter how many times a lie is repeated, it will never become the truth.

Regarding the fourth point above, recall that Abraham was the father of both Ishmael (Arabs) and Isaac, and Isaac was the father of Esau (Edom) and Jacob. Only Jacob (aka Israel) was the father of the sanctified people of God (i.e., Hebrews). The sons of Ishmael play prominently in the Middle East to this day and especially in eschatology, and the sons of Esau were exceptionally powerful in Israel just before and after Christ was incarnate as was discussed the the Mystery Babylon article.

Of all the points, the sixth was the most astonishing: the weekly Sabbath was observed and sanctified in Heaven long before it was revealed to man. In fact, the second mention of the Sabbath (after the Genesis account) is in Exodus 16 when the Israelites collected manna in the desert wilderness of Sin after escaping captivity in Egypt:

Exodus 16:27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions (lit. laws)? 29 See, the Lord has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. (NASB)

This was codified when the Ten Commandments were spoken to Moses in Exodus 20 concentrating on verses 8-11:

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you (lit. is in your gates). 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (NASB)

These were literally “written in stone” by the finger of Elohim (which is the true origin of that idiom although some scholars incorrectly attribute it to Hammurabi):

Exodus 31:18 When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God. (NASB)

Although the importance of Exodus cannot be overstated, it is yet the seventh most frequent Biblical manuscript discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls – even behind Jubilees!

One last question many may be asking: How can the Sabbath be Saturday evening and Sunday morning in this time of the year in 2018? The answer to that is addressed in this article.

Be sure to read the companion articles in the Mo’edim (appointed times) and Agricultural Feasts series:

Shema Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

Copyright (C) 1995-2018, L. Alan Schuetz. All rights reserved.

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