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Ezekiel

Ezekiel 20

Ezekiel has words of judgment and condemnation for those who violate the Sabbath:

Ezekiel 20:10-14

"So I took them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. I gave them My statutes and informed them of My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live. Also I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They did not walk in My statutes and they rejected My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; and My sabbaths they greatly profaned. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them in the wilderness, to annihilate them. But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, before whose sight I had brought them out. Also I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands, because they rejected My ordinances, and as for My statutes, they did not walk in them; they even profaned My sabbaths, for their heart continually went after their idols. Yet My eye spared them rather than destroying them, and I did not cause their annihilation in the wilderness. I said to their children in the wilderness, 'Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers or keep their ordinances or defile yourselves with their idols. 'I am the LORD your God; walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and observe them. 'Sanctify My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.' But the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, nor were they careful to observe My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; they profaned My sabbaths. So I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness. But I withdrew My hand and acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. Also I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them among the lands, because they had not observed My ordinances, but had rejected My statutes and had profaned My sabbaths, and their eyes were on the idols of their fathers.

 

Sabbath Fact List:

  • The Sabbath was given by G-d (Ezekiel 20:12)
  • The Sabbath was given so that Israel would know that it was G-d who sanctified them (Ezekiel 20:12)
  • G-d's Sabbaths were greatly profaned by Israel as a result of rebellion (Ezekiel 20:13)
    • G-d resolved to annihilate Israel as a consequence (Ezekiel 20:13)
    • G-d acted for the sake of His name that it would not be profaned in the sight of the nations (Ezekiel 20:14)
  • Israel's violation of the Sabbath stemmed from idolatry (Ezekiel 20:16)
  • G-d commands the children of the idolatrous generation:
    • "Sanctify [His] Sabbaths" (Ezekiel 20:20)
    • The Sabbaths will be a sign between Israel and G-d (Ezekiel 20:20)
    • The Sabbaths will help Israel know that He is YHVH their G-d (Ezekiel 20:20)
  • The children also rebelled against G-d by profaning His Sabbaths (Ezekiel 20:21)
    • G-d resolved to pour out His wrath (Ezekiel 20:21)
    • G-d withdrew His hand and acted for the sake of His name that it should not be profaned (Ezekiel 20:22)
    • Israel would be scattered among the nations because they had profaned the Sabbaths (Ezekiel 20:24)

 

Young's Literal Translation provides some interesting insight for Ezekiel 20:16-

Ezekiel 20:16 YLT

Because against My judgments they did kick, And in My statutes they have not walked, And My sabbaths they have polluted, For after their idols their heart is going.

 

Imagine toddlers throwing a temper tantrum because they want their own way. They kick the floor or stomp their feet. They refuse to walk the way their parents command. Their tantrum pollutes the atmosphere of peace and order desired by their parents. As a result there is discipline (Ezekiel 20:13) tempered with mercy (Ezekiel 20:16).

 

Notice also the repetition of certain phrases in these passages:

 

Ezekiel 20:13- "But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They did not walk in My statutes and they rejected My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; and My sabbaths they greatly profaned. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them in the wilderness, to annihilate them.

 

Ezekiel 20:16- because they rejected My ordinances, and as for My statutes, they did not walk in them; they even profaned My sabbaths, for their heart continually went after their idols.

 

Ezekiel 20:21- "But the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, nor were they careful to observe My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; they profaned My sabbaths. So I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness.

 

Ezekiel 20:24- because they had not observed My ordinances, but had rejected My statutes and had profaned My sabbaths, and their eyes were on the idols of their fathers.

 

Sabbath Fact List:

  • Profaning the Sabbath is repeatedly associated with:
    • Rebellion against G-d (Ezekiel 20:13, 21)
    • Failing to walk in G-d's statutes (Ezekiel 20:13, 16, 21, 24)
    • Rejection of G-d's ordinances (Ezekiel 20:13, 16, 21, 24)

 

Ezekiel 22

Ezekiel 22 begins with a litany of charges against Jerusalem. Included in the charges is this:

Ezekiel 22:8

You have despised My holy things and profaned My sabbaths.

 

Later in the chapter, the priests are charged as well:

Ezekiel 22:26

Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

 

Violation of the Law, profaning G-d's holy things, and failing to differentiate between the unclean and the clean are associated with the violation of G-d's Sabbaths.

Ezekiel 23:38

Again, they have done this to Me: they have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and have profaned My sabbaths.

 

Samaria and Jerusalem (Ezekiel 23:4) are charged with several things including profaning G-d's sabbaths. They are described as "lewd women" (Ezekiel 23:44).

 

Ezekiel 44 provides a picture of the Millennial Kingdom which includes instructions to priests:

Ezekiel 44:24

"In a dispute they shall take their stand to judge; they shall judge it according to My ordinances. They shall also keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts and sanctify My sabbaths.

 

Sabbath Fact List:

  • The Sabbath [and other appointed feasts] will be celebrated in the Kingdom. (Ezekiel 44:24)

 

Ezekiel 45 speaks of the prince's responsibilities in the Millennial Kingdom-

Ezekiel 45:17

"It shall be the prince's part to provide the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the drink offerings, at the feasts, on the new moons and on the sabbaths, at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel; he shall provide the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering and the peace offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel."

 

Sabbath Fact List:

  • The prince will provide the burnt offerings for the Sabbath. (Ezekiel 45:17)

 

Ezekiel 46 relates activities that are specific to the Sabbath day-

Ezekiel 46:1-5

'Thus says the Lord GOD, "The gate of the inner court facing east shall be shut the six working days; but it shall be opened on the sabbath day and opened on the day of the new moon. The prince shall enter by way of the porch of the gate from outside and stand by the post of the gate. Then the priests shall provide his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate and then go out; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening. The people of the land shall also worship at the doorway of that gate before the LORD on the sabbaths and on the new moons. The burnt offering which the prince shall offer to the LORD on the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish and a ram without blemish; and the grain offering shall be an ephah with the ram, and the grain offering with the lambs as much as he is able to give, and a hin of oil with an ephah.

 

Sabbath Fact List:

  • The east-facing door to the inner court of the Temple shall be shut except on the Sabbath day and the day of the new moon. (Ezekiel 46:1)
  • The people of the land will worship at the doorway of the east gate before the Lord on the Sabbaths and new moons. (Ezekiel 46:3)
  • There are specific offerings to be made by the prince on the Sabbath day. (Ezekiel 46:4-5)

 

Ezekiel 46:12 uses the activities of the offerings made on the Sabbath day as a reference for some non-Sabbath offerings-

Ezekiel 46:12

"When the prince provides a freewill offering, a burnt offering, or peace offerings as a freewill offering to the LORD, the gate facing east shall be opened for him. And he shall provide his burnt offering and his peace offerings as he does on the sabbath day. Then he shall go out, and the gate shall be shut after he goes out.

 

Hosea

Hosea 2:11


"I will also put an end to all her gaiety, Her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths And all her festal assemblies.

 

Sabbath Fact List:

  • The blessing of the Sabbath is stripped from Israel because of her idolatry. (Hosea 2:11)

 

Amos

Amos 8:4-6

Hear this, you who trample the needy, to do away with the humble of the land, saying, "When will the new moon be over, So that we may sell grain, And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, And to cheat with dishonest scales, So as to buy the helpless for money And the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?"

 

Sabbath Fact List:

  • Those who seek for a speedy end of the Sabbath to engage in commerce are equated with those who lie, cheat, and trample the needy. (Amos 8:4-6)

 

That concludes what the Tanakh has to say about the Sabbath. Let's move on to the Gospels...

 

Torah Portion

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Today is

Yom Sheni, 24 Adar I, 5784

Monday, March 04, 2024

 

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