"the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant." Exodus 31:16
"It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls. It is a statute forever." Leviticus 16:31
"The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." Jesus in Luke 6:5
What is the Sabbath?
A time of Rest
Since the majority of believers think the Sabbath of the Lord has been done away with, rarely will anyone ask "How do you observe the Sabbath?" Most believers say "oh its that Jewish thing, right?" There are a lot of misconceptions on what the Sabbath entails so lets clarify it using scripture.
The Sabbath is a time of rest
"It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls.
It is a statute foever." Leviticus 16:31
*Note: God sets up a time of physical, emotional and spiritual rest for all mankind, for all times
The Sabbath is where you don't work for money or excess (greed)
"Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord..." Leviticus 23:3
*Note: some think that this includes all work but remember Jesus stated its okay to take care of what you have; God never lets the Sabbath take away from one providing for his family or doing simple tasks. Please read Matthew 12:11-12, Mark 3, Luke 13:15, 14:5 & John 5:9.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for adding to God's law and making up their own additional sabbath laws that were based on the traditions of men.
The Sabbath is time that God set aside for us to rest and the great thing about it is He blesses us for observing it!
What a great an awesome God we serve.
Now some may say "But I have a job where I work on the Sabbath (friday night to saturday night) and I have to provide for my family, what can I do?" - to that we would have you seek God, pray and ask Him to help in this situation. Then to observe the Sabbath the best as you can. Many times we have heard reports from people who simply quite their current jobs and got other ones that allowed them to observe it. Others have had circumstances where they had transfers, promotions or shift changes where they could observe. For some it was quick, others had to wait a long time for this change. What counts is your heart towards God and wanting to please the Father. To those that seek Him and have a heart like David, a man after God's own heart, God will bless them. We observe not out of legalism but because we love the one who saves us.
Regardless of your situation, if we continue in Him, He will never leave us or forsake us.
going to church but you can if you want to - nothing in God's word says you can't
does not mean you have to leave your current church
trying to be "Jewish" - remember its the Lord's Sabbath for all mankind
a way of being better than every one else, as we are all the same in Christ
does not mean we believe works salvation - we are saved by grace alone
Observing the Sabbath is done from a loving heart because we are saved. It is not to try and get saved or keep our salvation by works.
Spent with God, His words and His ways
Many believers have a misconception the Sabbath is going to church. Nowhere does God say in scripture we cannot go to church on the sabbath. So what are we supposed to do on the Sabbath. Simply spent time with Him, in His word, resting with family. Now some believers say "Well I already have the weekend off, so I go fishing, hunting, etc. so that is my 'sabbath'." Unfortunately that is not what the Sabbath is. Lets look at scripture and see what we are to do...
"If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words,
then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth..."
So we see a few things that we are supposed to do - not doing what pleases us. Call the Sabbath a delight because we understand its a time we get to spend time with our family and the creator of the universe. A time when we as husbands can fulfill our roles as the spiritual head of the household. Where we can study God's word and disciple our family as scripture commands. Its a time where we are to honor God no matter where we are. That is why we do not see a specific list of things to do, because the Sabbath is based on our relationship with God and spending time with Him. Something that a lot of people today do not know how to do.
Is it any wonder our children in today's christianity are falling away from the faith? This is in part because father's are not being the spiritual head of the household. Because they themselves don't know how to spend time with God and they can't teach something they do not know. Perhaps this is why our children are leaving the church in droves; perhaps this is the reason why husbands are so hooked on pornography because we don't follow God's ways or His word on a regular basis; perhaps this is why the divorce rate is so high in the 'church'; perhaps all these things are reasons why wives and mothers are depressed and are the highest segment of society that turn to anti-depressants just to make it through the day, or why women have the highest rate of substance abuse and bury themselves in romanance novels. You see there are consequences for NOT obeying God and following His ways. We need ot wake up, repent and get back to following the Father as He commanded. Its something to think about.
So perhaps the Sabbath for you and your family is taking time to study God's word, for the husband to teach his family (which requires him to spend time studying God's word on his own). Focusing on God, maybe watching a bible video, or bible teaching where everyone afterward talks on how it relates to God and His word. Perhaps its a good time teach your family how to test everything you believe. Or how about talking about what salvation is, what holiness is, sanctification and many other topics. When you start teaching your family they are inspired by your example. This is what the bible calls training up your children in the way they should go.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."
Remember that if we obey God, He will bless us and our family exceedingly...
"Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high aboce all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God;
* Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
* Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of yoru ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
* Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
* Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.The Lord will command the blessings on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn ot you, IF you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your obdy, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore ot your fathers to give you.
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath, IF you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them." Deuteronomy 28:1-14
So there are numerous reasons to observe the Sabbath. It benefits us, our families and those around us, but when we observe the Sabbath there is even more...
Sabbath sets us apart,
its a sign & a mark.
Observing the Sabbaths of the Lord sets us apart from the world and its wicked ways. How? God Himself tells us here...
"Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sancitfies them." Ezekiel 20:12
So God sets this up as a sign or fruit of following Him and His word. This must be very important because as we showed in scripture the Sabbath is observed in all time periods - past, present and future. Now we did show how God's law, commandments and instructions applied to both Jews and Gentile/foreign believers yet some still question this specific commandment to 'observe the Sabbath'. Let us look at the scriptures to see if foreigners are called to observe the Sabbath and if there is a special reward for doing so...
"'Keep justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord speak, saying, "The Lord has utterly separated me from His people'; nor le the eunuch say, 'Here I am, a dry tree.' For thus says the Lord: 'To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and ot love the name of hte Lord, to be His servants - everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant - Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.' The Lord God who gathers the outcasts of Israel says, 'Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him."
This passage is clear that the Sabbath is not to be done away with but continued by the foreigners/Gentile belivers who follow Him after His salvation comes. The Lord's salvation is Jesus the Messiah who lived a sinnless life and died on the cross for the sins of the world. Its only by grace that we are saved. Notice the passage does not say we have to observe the Sabbath in order to be saved but rather that AFTER we become believers. Its those that continue to observe the Sabbath who given an everlasting name that is better than that of sons and daughters. This passage truly shows how we, as Gentile/foreign believers are grafted into Israel as Romans chapter 11 and other New Testament passages state.
The Enemies Secret Plan...
Now what does the Enemy have to do with God's law or His appointed times such as the Sabbath? Simply put if something is very important to God (and us) then the Enemy will do whatever He can to stop believers from doing what God set forth in His word. Conversely if something is not important, or something like God's law and appointed times (the Sabbath, Feasts of the Lord) then the Enemy would not waste time on these things. So again let us search the scriptures to see what the plan of the Enemy, the Anti-Christ, is described in the book of Daniel...