How to Celebrate the Sabbath
Welcome. Today we are going to go over the steps for the Sabbath. How do we observe it, what preparations we are to make, and why it is good for us. We read in Genesis how this day was sanctified and blessed. In celebrating the Sabbath day we acknowledge that this world was indeed made in seven days and that it was made by God. In a way, it is basically saying that he is real when you celebrate it. It is an outward declaration.
But there are many different doctrines that are used to call or make the Sabbath a burden. Rather than being a day to look forward to, it has become a burden in the eyes of both people who believe in the Bible and those who do not.
- No Working
- Cook Beforehand
- The Exceptions
- The False Laws: Pleasure and Leaving Your House
We are to not do any work on the Sabbath day. The 7th day was consecrated when the Most High created the world in six days and stopped on the seventh day (Leviticus 23 3).
Exodus 20 9-10 says that we are to work for the first six days for our income, then the last day is when we are to have a day of rest. We are not to go to work. There are exceptions, which we will get into later on. It also says that we are not to have our son, daughter, servant, cattle, or the stranger in the gates of the land work. This sums up all people. So you are not to work, and you are not to have anyone work for you.
Exodus 16 23 tells us that we are not to cook on this day because it is a type of work. So you are to prepare your meals the day before, then store it until the Sabbath comes and you are ready to eat. There are many different things you can prepare that will still be good the next day.
Now we are going to go over the exceptions as to when there are exceptions to the aforementioned things. We read in Matthew 12 1-8 how the Savior and his disciples were picking food on the Sabbath day because they were hungry. It seems that this would not count as a work by the Torah's standards, but the Pharisee's traditions. In the Mishnah, Shabbath, 7 2, we see many added traditions. The Torah prohibited work on the Sabbath, which would also reaping crops. But this is not the same as picking one off and eating it. Compare it to this; there is a difference between gathering a bundle of grapes and simply picking grapes off to eat. This coincides with the law in Deuteronomy 23 25, which says that if you go to your neighbor's field you may take some of what he has grown, but you must not use a sickle to do so. This is implying a difference between the two. A handful of food is no big deal, but a sickle is used to take much more.
The Pharisees saw this and tried to call them out on it. They were quick to point this out because they were trying to catch them at anything they could. How does he respond? He referenced 1 Samuel 21, which says that when David was hungry, he went into the Temple for food. He asks for five loaves of bread or whatever else there is, but all that was available was the "hallowed bread", or shewbread. It was only for Aaron and his descendants. It was unlawful for anyone else to eat (Leviticus 24 9). This was consecrated bread meant for the sons of Aaron, but out of generosity to David he allowed him to eat it. David was starving at this time because this was when he fled from Saul due to Saul trying to kill him out of paranoia. So common sense and loving thy neighbor as thyself trumps that, so it was good for him to give him the bread. And especially if there is no other food around, you have the right to eat. Sometimes human life and loving thy neighbor as thyself must come first. While this was unlawful, it does not nullify the Sabbath because love is a weightier command. And the fact that he references an Old Testament example of love being a weightier command, but not nullifying the lower command, is proof.
Now we go to verse 5 and it says that though the priests profane the Sabbath in the temple, they are blameless. It says you shall not do any work on the Sabbath day, but the job of the priests is to work on the Sabbath day. They had to do burnt offerings, sacrifices, and sin offerings. This is an exception. Sometimes you have to work on the Sabbath day depending on the circumstances. The law said no work on the seventh day and this is the law for everyone, but we see that there are exceptions to that. This is further expounded upon in verses 6-7, which explains how in these circumstances the Most High will have mercy depending on the circumstance.
Now go to verse 8-12. He sees a man with a withered hand and the Pharisees ask him if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath days since it would count as a work. Again, they are trying to trip him up and find some way to condemn him. But he turns it on them and asks them if there is one man among them that would not go and try to rescue one of their sheep if it fell into a hole and could not get out just because it is the Sabbath day? None of the Pharisees are going to do that. They would do what they had to do in order to get it. He then says that since a person is worth more then a sheep, If a man is suffering and in pain, there is no problem with him healing him. To not help someone, in this case, would be unlawful. That is breaking Leviticus 19 18/John 13 34, "Love thy neighbor." Verse 12 he says that it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath, so it further reinstates it.
Sometimes you cannot get the Sabbath day off. Talk to your employer about your beliefs and maybe they will let you do so. You try this for a few months and they will not let you off. What do you do? Pray to the Most High. You might need to quit that job. If so, make sure you have a backup plan and know you can get a job to pay for your needs that also coincides with your Sabbath day needs. And finally, preaching the word on the Sabbath is in no way unlawful. You can preach the word then just like any other time.
The False Laws
Now we will address some false additions and interpretations of the law.
Pleasure on the Sabbath
Are we allowed to have pleasure on the Sabbath? This is not referring to happiness itself, but doing things that we like to do for fun. There is no biblical commandment against this, only working. Some use Isaiah 58 13 to say we cannot do this.
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
"Thy pleasure" is also translated as "thy business", which makes more sense in context. In verse 2 God says they are rebellious even though they seem to want to please him. Verses 3-4 say they afflicted themselves and God has not rewarded them because their affliction ends in sinning. 5 to 6 says fasting should end in righteousness because it was not just about putting sackcloth on yourself and spreading ashes. It was to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke. They were not following God's laws. Read it up to verse 14 and it makes more sense as to what they were doing.
Also, take note of the fact that afflicting yourselves was not a commandment for every Sabbath, but it was for a specific Sabbath day, the Day of Atonement. also known as Yom Kippur. Levi 16:29-31 and Levi 23:27-32 says this day was a day for afflicting yourselves and that no work should be done. We can prove this when we read that In Isaiah 58 5 God says he chose this day for affliction, meaning they were not just choosing to do so. And even if this is not about the Day of Atonement and was just a time where God called them to afflict themselves, there is still no evidence that this referred to pleasures themselves but sin. Nowhere does it say they were doing things that were just pleasures like hobbies or interests, but it condemns them for striving with each other and exacting their labors.
I must add that if you are dedicating the Sabbath to study time or any sort of special devotion to God that does not contradict resting, be sure like every other day to not let your pleasures get in the way. I myself have struggled with this and it has brought me very low but I am improving.
Leaving Your House
If leaving your house is against the Torah, why were the Israelites in Numbers 15 32-36 allowed to leave their homes to detain and stone the man who worked on the Sabbath? That would require them to leave from their house. Keep in mind that if those who say Jesus kept the law so we did not have to are correct (which I do not believe they are), then by that logic he could not have traveled on the Sabbath if doing so was against the Torah. But we see him traveling on these days, and not once does anyone accuse him of breaking the Torah by traveling on the Sabbath. Even though his accusers were hypocrites, they would not sit by and let him break the law without accusing him especially since their other accusations were not founded on any real evidence. Where does this doctrine come from? It is a misunderstanding of the Torah.
See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.— Exodus 16 29
It seems as if this is saying one cannot leave their house on the Sabbath day. The word used for place is maqom, which means the place you are standing in, a city, or country. Read verse 13 up to 28. They were in their camp. This seems to be the place they were referring to. Exodus 16 is also where they were given the manna and it states so in that verse, so it seems this is referring to gathering manna. What this is saying is that God gave them a two-day supply of manna on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day, they should not go out to gather it.
The Sabbath Day is:
- A day of rest
- No work
- No cooking
- There are some exceptions under certain circumstances.
I hope to do an article explaining when the Sabbath is soon, but I will keep my audience in prayers in hopes that they find the truth. Peace and blessings and all praises to the Most High.