Those who think that they are in “Jesus”, every day is the Sabbath to them. These so called believers would think twice if they truly knew and accepted that this is not the case. They would know that we are not permitted to work or do anything having to do with our own pleasures on the Sabbath.
There are many blessings attached to keeping the Sabbath day holy. What it means to keep the Sabbath Day Holy as interpreted by scripture:
- Deuteronomy 5:13 – 14 Six days you labor, and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of Yehovah 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 ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, so that your male servant and your female servant rest as you do.
Opinion: So we to rest, as well as those who work for us are to rest. If we own a business, it is not acceptable to have all the employees working while we enjoy a restful Sabbath day. This commandment also includes anyone we temporarily hire to work for us. For instance, when we go to restaurants we are hiring the cook and the waiter and the person who rings up the bill as a servant to work for us. Also anytime we purchase anything on the Sabbath such as groceries and other merchandise we are hiring others to stock the shelves, clean up and bring us the bill which means we are paying for their service when we purchase the items.
Nehemiah rebukes buying and selling quite sharply in this scripture:
- Nehemiah 13:15 – 18 In those days I saw in Yehuḏah those treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, and figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Yerushalayim on the Sabbath day. So I warned them on the day they sold food. And men of Tsor dwelt there, bringing in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Yehuḏah, and in Yerushalayim. Then I contended with the nobles of Yehuḏah, and said to them, “What evil matter is this that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers do the same so that our Elohim brought all this evil on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Yisra’ěl by profaning the Sabbath.”
Opinion: Buying and selling anything is clearly forbidden on the Sabbath. Going to a restaurant and the shopping mall or a grocery store is in no way keeping the Sabbath holy. The Sabbath is a day of rest and prayer and worship. Not a day for doing our own pleasures:
- Isaiah 58:13 – 14 “If you do turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My set-apart day, and shall call the Sabbath ’a delight,’ the set-apart day of Yehovah ‘esteemed,’ and shall esteem it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in Yehovah. And I shall cause you to ride on the heights of the earth, and feed you with the inheritance of Ya‛aqoḇ your father. For the mouth of Yehovah has spoken!”
Opinion: So keeping the Sabbath day holy means that we aren’t to buy or sell, and also means that we are to refrain from our own pleasures such as sporting events, television, movies, etc. Also, we are not even to speak our own words! Which means our speech should be about Yehovah and His word. I assure you, if we keep the Sabbath day in this manner it will be much easier keeping Yehovah’s commandments because we have one day each week to refresh ourselves spiritually and physically. It is a day that we can look forward to during the week that allows ourselves to both physically and spiritually rest. Yehovah never made our bodies for constant labor, day after day. It is no wonder that so many people we meet are so tired all the time. And it is no wonder that people often fall away from the faith.
Cooking and Preparation day.
When Yehovah brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, He re-instituted the Sabbath day. No doubt that the Egyptians had expected the children of Israel to work seven days a week. Here is Moses telling the children of Israel what they should do in preparation for the Sabbath:
- Exodus 16:23 And he said to them, “This is what Yehovah has said, ‘Tomorrow is a rest, a Sabbath set-apart to Yehovah. That which you bake, bake; and that which you cook, cook. And lay up for yourselves all that is left over, to keep it until morning.’”
Opinion: On preparation day, we should prepare our food that will be eaten on the Sabbath so that we will not have to cook or prepare it on the Sabbath. There are many variations of how to do this. I encourage all who want to know more to study it out for themselves.
What is permitted on the Sabbath?
Now there are some things that are always okay to do on the Sabbath that the Scribes and Pharisees in Yeshua’s day would think forbidden:
- John 5:10 The Yehuḏim therefore said to him who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, it is not right for you to take up the bed.”
- Luke 13:14 But the ruler of the congregation, responding, much displeased that Yeshua had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men should work, so come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”
- Luke 6:7 And the scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, for them to find an accusation against Him.
- Luke 6:1 – 2 And it came to be on a Sabbath that He went through grainfields, and His taught ones were plucking the heads of grain and were eating, rubbing them with the hands. And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not right to do on the Sabbath?”
Note that in the above verses, that the issue was not whether or not to keep the Sabbath, rather how the Sabbath should be kept! Let’s look at Yeshua’s response to these accusations:
Healing on the Sabbath:
- Luke 13:15 – 16 Then the Master answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loosen his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? And this one, being a daughter of Aḇraham, whom Satan has bound, look, for eighteen years, should she not be loosened from this bond on the Sabbath?”
- Luke 14:5- 6 And to them He said, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, shall not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they were unable to answer Him regarding these matters.
- John 5:16 – 17 And because of this the Yehuḏim persecuted Yeshua, and were seeking to kill Him because He was doing these healings on the Sabbath. But Yeshua answered them, “My Father works until now, and I work.”
- Mark 2:27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
- John 7:22 – 23 “Because of this Mosheh has given you the circumcision – though it is not from Mosheh, but from the fathers – and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Torah of Mosheh should not be broken, are you wroth with Me because I made a man entirely well on the Sabbath?”
Also take into consideration that the Levites sacrificed animals on the Sabbath day and therefore had to work. This is Yeshua’s answer to them when the disciples began to pluck grain to eat on the Sabbath:
- Matthew 12:3 – 7 But He said to them, “Have you not read what Dawiḏ did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he went into the House of Elohim and ate the showbread which was not right for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or did you not read in the Torah that on the Sabbath the priests in the Set-apart Place profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? But I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the Set-apart Place. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion and not offering,’ you would not have condemned the blameless.”
Opinion: Yehovah expects us to keep His Sabbath day holy. But it is always ok to do good on the Sabbath day. Yeshua and the disciples did not have time to prepare for the Sabbath because they were doing Yehovah’s work. So if we have to do a little work on the Sabbath or cause another to do a little work on the Sabbath for Yehovah’s purpose then this is not breaking the Sabbath. One could take this to the extreme as well and say that it is impossible for them to refrain from going to work on the Sabbath or they would be fired and then not have any food. This is ridiculous. Yehovah will provide for us. We needn’t be concerned about our food if we are obeying His Sabbath.
So, in summary, we can see that Yehovah wants us to keep His Sabbath Holy by not working, buying, selling, causing others to work for us, speaking idle or vain words or doing our own pleasures on the Sabbath. There are only exceptions if we are fulfilling Yehovah’s purpose.
This I leave to one’s own studies for only Yehovah knows your intent. Adding a bunch of laws to try and apply to specific situations is adding to / changing His Word. And this is what the scribes and Pharisees were practicing. Yeshua clearly taught against that.