It is interesting how since the Fourth (4th) Century, the organized church has veered away from the traditional Sabbath. The fourth commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” From this simple statement flows a stream of spiritual precepts, lessons and principles.
The Ten Commandments are foundational to the Judeo-Christian belief system. There are more commands, ordinances and statutes but the “Ten Words” are the focal point. Everything concerning worship and relationship stems from the Ten Commandments.
Being as it is in this present time, misinterpretation of passages written by the Apostle Paul to various churches in disarray are used to nullify the Sabbath as the seventh day and create an alternate day, calling it Sabbath. Apostle Paul was neither writing to emphasize the end of the traditional Sabbath nor the institution of the first (1st) day of week, Sunday, as the new, legitimate day of rest and worship. Sunday is not the Sabbath day as outlined in Torah. Scripture does not indicate that it has been eliminated, altered or reformed in exercise.
Instead, he was showing how our struggles for acceptance, salvation, redemption and restoration are provided by faith in Yeshua. Yeshua Messiah is our Sabbath Rest in salvation. We need not, like the Colossians in their paganism, go the extremes of self-denial, asceticism, perfectionism and the like to acquire salvation. It is all in Yeshua. The consumption of food and drink and the enjoyment of gatherings, festivals and celebrations are well within the boundary of the Commandments and the Precepts of Life derived from them. It has been said, “Disregarding the true Sabbath is like throwing away the key to a treasure chest—we are ignoring a vital area of understanding that will open up our minds to Yehovah and His purpose”.
The Sabbath is much more than a weekly day of rest. The Sabbath was created for man and not man for the Sabbath, Mark 2:28. Yehovah designed the Sabbath as a special time; a set-apart time characterized by rest from labors. He placed His blessing on time, that particular segment of time He recognized for separation from the worries, work chores, business activities, schedules and toils to a time with family and individual rest. In essence, Sabbath included physical, mental and spiritual rest. It is Sabbath each week that is devoted and focused totally to Yehovah. It serves as an indicator of the quality and depth of our relationship with Him.
There are countless articles, teachings and studies concerning the viability of the true Sabbath as the only sabbath Yehovah honors. So, I will not labor in those areas. The best thing to do is to look at a several of things and reckon them meaningful.
First, Yehovah created all things. The last thing He did in creation was to rest. He called that day, the seventh day. Genesis 2:1-3, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts 2 By the seventh day Yehovah completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then Yehovah blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which Yehovah had created and made”. Later, Yehovah named the seventh day, Sabbath. Exodus 20:8-1 alludes the naming, “8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 You shall labor six days, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yehovah your Yehovah. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates; 11 for in six days Yehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yehovah blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy”. He said to keep it holy – separate it, make it different, not like the other days. He made no time holy other than His weekly and annual Sabbaths, set-apart days. This should signal a warning to those who believe the Sabbath can be any day or any day the church chooses it to be.
Secondly, the Sabbath is worthy of respect, adherence, and vigilance that cannot be ascribed any other time segment. It is set-apart and sacred because it is derived directly from Yehovah and made holy at creation for it is part of creation. When Yehovah assigned and ascribed the word “holy” to the Sabbath, the seventh (7th) day changed from the ordinary and common and became a special time element and special day. No other day was given special treatment or esteemed by Yehovah as the Sabbath. The Sabbath may look and seem just like any other day since it is a part of the yearly cycle of the weeks and days; however, the Sabbath is separate from the other six days. It may be considered common or ordinary by many, but it is not. It was called holy by Yehovah and we are told to venerate that day, not just any day of our choosing but the seventh (7th) day. The other six days are common, given for the pursuit of life essentials. Sabbath, the seventh day (7th), is a day Yehovah has reserved for man’s benefit for special things, different things—spiritual things.
Thirdly, though people can be declared holy by Yehovah, they of themselves cannot make something else holy because they do not possess a holiness that is transferable to anything else. They may erect shrines, building, churches, institutions, etc. and call them holy. Those objects may be considered as holy in an earthly sense, since they are dedicated to a specific use, but not holy in the Kingdom of Yehovah sense of holiness. You may feel Yehovah’s presence during worship time, bible study or fellowship prayer time, but Yehovah’s presence does not continue to sanctify that particular time nor does the place remain holy continually. Residue may linger for a period of time but not continually. We are told to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Holy people may bring Yehovah’s presence to the meeting and they leave with His presence. His presence is not anchored to a shrine or to a particular meeting place by decree from the Kingdom of Yehovah. The Tabernacle was His design and purpose. When the Hebrew people moved to another location, the Tabernacle was dismantled and carried to the new location and assembled. The ground it had sat upon was holy because He was there within the Tabernacle. Once the Tabernacle was removed, the ground did not stay holy. There is a difference with the Sabbath. It is based on time and remains in time. Therefore, what Yehovah sanctified remains holy until He decrees otherwise. It is His emblem set as a witness and not just as a standard.
John Ritenbaugh said, “Everything that truly matters reveals the Edenic Covenant to be universal in application. This means that, along with everything else in that covenant Yehovah charged us to submit to, the Sabbath is still in effect. Nothing holy has been created to replace the Sabbath Yehovah created in the first week”.
We have been taught something as truth, but it is not. Sunday is not the Sabbath. That which is etched in stone remains today. The decree and Commandment to honor the Sabbath is specific. It is direct. Yehovah has not changed it regardless of what man says or uses as authority. People can meet and worship on any day of choosing. This does not negate the fourth (4th) Commandment. The Sabbath is holy because of decree and definition given by Yehovah. Who can change His word? No one can.
Philip Pedroza, August 2020