The weekly Sabbath is a sign of God’s relationship with his people, and I firmly believe that those who have put their faith in Yeshua and are sincerely longing for a closer relationship with the Father will also feel a pull toward keeping the Sabbath. Unfortunately, they are often stuck without any sound teaching.
Too often, their pastors will discourage such obedience to God as “legalism” or “judaizing”. If they try to learn from Judaism, they are likely to get bogged down in a swamp of rules with disconnected from both the Bible and modern life. And if they turn to the Seventh Day Adventists and similar groups, they find a string of self-proclaimed prophets who are obsessed with questionable eschatology and consistently fail to deliver on their prophecies.
God’s people desperately need some common sense instruction on how to keep the weekly Sabbath. With that in mind, this year I’ve been writing a series of articles on the Sabbath as a guest at CallUponMe.com.
The series is divided into five parts in two articles:
- Will the Real Sabbath Please Stand Up? – Some people teach that the Sabbath was moved to Sunday. Others say that the Sabbath always follows the new moon regardless of the day of the week. Still others claim that there is no way we can possibly know that the day we call the seventh day, Saturday, really is the seventh day. In this article, I cut through the confusion and lay these rumors to rest.
- How to Keep the Sabbath, part 1: Why Is It So Hard? – Why are there so many conflicting opinions about the Sabbath? And how can we tell which ones are right? I answer those questions, plus give a summary of the following 3 articles.
- How to Keep the Sabbath, part 2: The Positive Commandments – The Bible contains both “do’s” and “don’t’s” in regard to the Sabbath. In this article, I examine the Do’s. We know we’re supposed to rest, but do we have to go to church? What else does God want us to do on the Sabbath?
- How to Keep the Sabbath, part 3: The Negative Commandments – Some people are really strict about the Sabbath, saying “Don’t work, don’t buy, don’t sell, don’t run, and don’t have any fun.” Others say rest and work are too subjective to define. In this article, I examine what the Bible actually says, as opposed to man-made traditions about the Sabbath.
- How to Keep the Sabbath, part 4: The Gray Areas – The Bible doesn’t cover every possible circumstance. It’s not supposed to, because God wants us to think and work some things out for ourselves. Even so, it can be hard to know what to do in some situations. In this article, I discuss the nature of Sabbath and the related commandments, and how that can help us decide what to do when things aren’t as clear as we would like.
My goal is to make things clearer for you, not to muddy the waters even more. If you have questions, if anything still seems confusing, you can ask questions here. I’ll do my best to help.
Remember that I’m still just human, though, and sometimes I really do make things more confusing than they need to be. I think it’s OK, though. The Sabbath was made for man, so it’s not supposed to be so complicated that the average man can’t understand it.
Some further reading on the weekly Sabbath:
- What about Colossians 2:16? – Didn’t Paul say that we don’t need to bother with the Sabbath anymore?
- Sabbath-Honoring Labor. – How can we resolve apparent conflicts in keeping various commandments?
- Every Journey Begins with a Single…Day? – How important is the Sabbath, really?
- The Sabbath Was Made for Man, – not man for the Sabbath. Doesn’t that mean we can take it or leave it?
- Review of 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Matthew Sleeth – A great book that I recommend, but Dr. Sleeth missed a really important element of the Sabbath.
- Each Moed on Its Proper Day – Whether we understand why or not, God cares about the calendar. He set apart specific days, and we don’t get to change them.
- Did Philo Keep a Lunar Sabbath? – Lunar sabbatarians frequently say that Philo’s writings prove he kept a lunar sabbath and had never even heard of a continuous cycle of seven days without interruptions. But is that true?
Video teachings on the weekly Sabbath:
- Genesis 2:1-3 – The Sabbath Predates Creation – Everything God does is planned; everything is in order. He created the world on a timetable with each element created on a specific day for a purpose. God could have made everything in a single instant, yet he designed a process that required seven days. He didn’t reach the end of the sixth day and say to himself, “Whew! I need a break!” The Seventh Day Sabbath (not the first day or the fourth day) was an inherent part of God’s perfect plan from before Creation.
- A Sabbath to the LORD? Exodus 20:8-11 – What does it mean to have a Sabbath to YHWH? Is it for his benefit? Is it a Sabbath from his perspective? No, it’s a Sabbath in his honor. If you want to honor God, keep the Sabbath on the seventh day as he instructed. What God has made holy, let no man defile.
- The Sabbath As a Sign. Exodus 31:13-14 – The weekly Sabbath is a sign between God and Israel, whether natural born or grafted in, of our faithfulness and sanctification. It’s one of the only commandments that can’t be derived from natural law, and it’s so important to God that deliberate violation carries the death penalty.
- Amos 3:7-8 Which Prophet Said God Would Change the Sabbath? – God told Israel to remember numerous events from the past, but there’s only one specific commandment to REMEMBER to do something in the future: “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” The weekly Sabbath is at the very heart of his relationship with his people. If God gives his prophets advanced warning of every really significant thing he’s going to do, don’t you think he would have said something about canceling the Sabbath?
- The Rules of Sabbath in Matthew 12:1-14 – If you find yourself worrying about exactly where the limit is between “allowed” and “forbidden”, then you’re missing the point of Shabbat. It’s a friendlier KYSS principle: Keep Your Sabbath Simple.