dreamstime 8354022 300When we are asked by leaders in our congregations to do something or to believe something in regards to Scripture, we should always be like the Bereans and test everything against Scripture itself (Acts 17:11)... the whole of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16-17). If a person feels "led by the spirit" to speak, behave, or believe a certain way, they should test that spirit (1 John 4:1) and see whether what that spirit is telling them to do agrees or disagrees with Scripture.

We have taken a journey together through Scripture and seen what it says about the matter of the Sabbath... a "walk in the Word" so to speak.

If you find a verse that is not referenced regarding the Sabbath and think it should be, please contact the author.

 

This is the conclusion of a series of articles:

The Sabbath- An Introduction

The Sabbath- An Exhaustive Examination of Scripture

The Sabbath- Examination Summary

 

Using the information found in the examination mentioned above, the Psalm11918.org team has answered the following questions regarding the Sabbath.  If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us!

Please note that, as with any questions about matters of faith, G-d is our ultimate source for answers.  If there is any ambiguity or lack of explanation in Scripture then it is likely there to drive us to Him Who has all the answers (John 16:30).

 

Questions About the Sabbath

What constitutes "work"?

One of the things we are commanded regarding the Sabbath is that we are to do no "work".  We are left with the question: "What counts as work?"

Scripture does not give us an explicit answer to that question.  As a result, we should be gracious to other believers and allow "each person to be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:5) as to how he will observe the Sabbath.

The Hebrew word that is translated as "work" regarding this Sabbath prohibition is melakhah. Tradition teaches that there are 39 forms of "work" known as the 39 melakhot.

 

The 39 Melakhot

When thinking about "work", we should consider that G-d commanded the Israelites to build the tabernacle and gave them some specific work to do in order to construct it.  G-d commands that we should "keep the Sabbath day holy" (Exodus 20:8) and the work to build and prepare G-d's tabernacle would definitely qualify as holy! Yet G-d reminded those who were constructing the tabernacle of the commandment to do no work on the Sabbath (Exodus 31).

So that they might better understand what melakhah meant, the Israelites considered the type of work that would be required to build the tabernacle. They identified 39 categories of "work" associated with that effort. They figured if G-d said to cease work on the tabernacle then the activities that were involved in the building the tabernacle constituted work.

Out of the list below only two are explicitly found in Scripture: kindling a fire and transferring between domains.  The remaining 37 are implicit from various passages describing the construction of the tabernacle.  This list provides an interesting and ancient insight into what was considered "work" by the Israelites regarding Sabbath observance.

  1. Planting
  2. Plowing
  3. Reaping
  4. Binding sheaves
  5. Threshing
  6. Winnowing
  7. Selecting (e.g. separating chaff from grain)
  8. Grinding
  9. Sifting
  10. Kneading
  11. Baking
  12. Shearing wool
  13. Washing wool
  14. Beating wool
  15. Dyeing
  16. Spinning (as in spinning wool into thread)
  17. Weaving
  18. Making two loops
  19. Weaving at least two threads
  20. Separating two threads
  21. Tying
  22. Untying
  23. Sewing
  24. Tearing (for the purpose of sewing)
  25. Trapping
  26. Slaughtering
  27. Flaying
  28. Salting meat
  29. Curing hide
  30. Scraping hide
  31. Cutting hide into pieces
  32. Writing two or more letters
  33. Erasing
  34. Building
  35. Tearing something down
  36. Extinguishing a fire
  37. Igniting a fire
  38. Applying the finishing touch
  39. Transferring between domains

 

See Talmud Tractate Shabbat (chapter 7 section 2) for more details.

 

Which Day of the Week?

One of the primary points of confusion that often exists today regarding the Sabbath is on what day of the week it occurs. The answer to this question is found in the very first use of the Hebrew word שבת [shabbat] in the Scripture. When G-d first set the example of ceasing from His labors and " shabbated " (so to speak) it was on the seventh day of Creation or what we in the Western world would call Saturday.

The seventh day observance of the Sabbath is reiterated a number of times in Scripture. Prior to the giving of the Torah (with the Ten Commandments) at Mt. Sinai, the seventh day is noted again:

Exodus 16:26

"Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none."

 

In this passage, the Hebrew definite article ha (meaning "the") is present.  This makes it clear that the Sabbath is the seventh day not a seventh day (as if we get to pick any "seventh day" we choose).  Three verses later (still well before the giving of the commandments at Sinai) we find this:

Exodus 16:29-30

"See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." So the people rested on the seventh day.

 

Here again we see the definite article "the" present in Scripture.

Support from Language

Many languages of the world also support the long-established understanding of the Sabbath as the seventh day. Here are some examples:

Ancient languages:

Language Name for the seventh day
Hebrew shabbat (sabbath)
Syriac shabbatho (sabbath)
Babylonian sabatu (sabbath)
Arabic as-sabt (sabbath)
Maltese Is-sibt (sabbath)
Egyptian pi sabbaton (sabbath)

http://www.sabbathtruth.com/documentation/languages.asp

 

Modern languages:

Language Name for the seventh day
Hebrew shabbat (sabbath)
Spanish sabado (sabbath)
French samedi (sabbath)
Ukranian subota (sabbath)
Hindi shamba (sabbath)

http://wordmonkey.info/

These examples provide only a brief glimpse of the wide variety of languages that have a sabbath-related word to describe the seventh day of the week.

 

 

No Celestial Association

All of the major periods of time marked by humanity are directly tied to celestial events. Years are marked by the revolution of the earth around the sun. Months are marked by the waxing and waning of the moon. There is no celestial or natural explanation for a seven-day week. Since the lunar cycle is almost 30 days it would make more sense to break the week down into 5 weeks of 6 days (or 6 weeks of 5 days). A seven day week is not readily explained outside of the order and structure provided by G-d's personal example from Scripture in establishing a seven day week during Creation.

 

Exodus 20

When the Ten Commandments are given in Exodus 20, additional details regarding the Sabbath are provided:

Exodus 20:8-11

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

 

Here we see Scripture explicitly linking of the first Sabbath (on the seventh day of Creation) with the Sabbath given in the Ten Commandments. Essentially the message Scripture provides here is this: "G-d provided the pattern during the seven days of Creation and made the seventh day holy. So you, too, shall reflect G-d's pattern in your sanctification of the seventh day."

 

Isn't the Sabbath only for the Jews?

Prior to the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, we find that G-d has already given the Sabbath day to the people that came out of Egypt. This group includes both Israelites and Gentile believers (Exodus 12:38). As Yeshua noted in Mark 2:27, the Sabbath was a gift made for us. Like a finely tailored garment that fits us in every proportion, it is uniquely made for all humanity. The animals do not observe the Sabbath nor does any other portion of G-d's creation rest on the seventh day. In Exodus chapter 16, we find that G-d is giving a unique gift to His people even before the covenant is enacted at Sinai.

Deuteronomy 5 reiterates that the Sabbath is for Israel and all who are joined to them:

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

'Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day.

 

Didn't the Sabbath day change to Sunday in the New Covenant?

There are a number of verses often used to support the idea that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. These are generally grouped into two categories:

  1. references to the apostles assembling on the first day of the week
  2. references to “the Lord’s day” or “day of the Lord”

 

The passages referring to the "first day of the week"

Let's examine all of the Scriptural references to “the first day of the week” following Messiah's resurrection:

Resurrection day

Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20 all describe the day of Messiah’s resurrection, which is recorded as “the first day of the week”. No mention is made of the Sabbath or a change of G-d’s sanctification of the seventh day of the week to the first day. The apostles’ gathering is not one of celebration of some New Covenant holy day but is rather a gathering resulting from fear and confusion (Luke 24:11) about their Master’s reported resurrection. Even a week after the resurrection when Thomas believes there is still fear (John 20:19). No mention is made of a change in the holy day G-d had established 4,000 years earlier during the week of Creation and gave as a command 1,500 years earlier through Moses.

Acts 2

Acts chapter 2 relates the story of Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit. It should be noted that Jews (and all the disciples noted in Scripture at this point were Jews) had been already been gathering together and celebrating this particular Sunday since the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. It was the feast of Shavuot as commanded in Scripture (Exodus 34:22, Numbers 28:26, Leviticus 23:15-16, Deuteronomy 16:10). No mention is made in Scripture that this “first day of the week” was treated as anything special by the disciples beyond its observance as one of the annual festivals.

Acts 20

Here we find Paul and Luke traveling and meeting with a handful of disciples in Troas. Acts 20:7 notes:

On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.

Again, no mention is made that this is anything other than the first day of the week. No mention is made of Sabbath or of the holiness of that particular “first day of the week”. As far as “breaking bread”, Acts 2:46 notes that the disciples were gathering together and breaking bread daily. There is nothing in this passage to indicate this Sunday or any other Sunday was something special to the growing community of believers.

1 Corinthians 16

In this chapter, we find Paul encouraging believers to set aside some money on “the first day of the week”. No mention is made of believers gathering, worshipping, or studying Scripture… just a reminder to put aside a bit of money for later delivery to Jerusalem. Does this single, simple reminder from Paul somehow overturn G-d’s command regarding the seventh-day Sabbath? This passage does not leave us with that impression.

Summary of "first day of the week" passages

These are the only passages found in the whole of Scripture regarding the disciples gathering together on the “first day of the week” after Messiah was resurrected. None of them provides any indication that the Sabbath day was changed or that the first day of the week was given any special significance in the lives of the early believers.

 

 

Passages referring to the "Lord's day"

What about Scripture’s mention of “the Lord’s day”?

Acts 2

Acts 2:20 is the first reference in the writings of the Apostles to “the day of the Lord”. The particular “day of the Lord” noted in this passage mentions that the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon will be turned into blood before the “great and glorious day of the Lord shall come”. This passage clearly references “the last days” (verse 17) and is not speaking of any weekly event nor does it make any mention of the Sabbath.

1 Corinthians 1

1 Corinthians 1:8 makes mention of “the day of the Lord” but it also points to the end times and the day of judgment. It speaks of the believers being confirmed in the end and “blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”. No mention is made of weekly gatherings, the Sabbath, or a change to G-d’s commandments.

1 Corinthians 5

1 Corinthians 5:5 also includes a reference to “the day of the Lord” and informs us that the incestuous member of the Corinthian assembly should be cast out and delivered to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit may be saved in “the day of the Lord Jesus”. Again, we see Judgment Day in view here, not the Sunday the week after the expulsion of the reprobate member of the assembly. Once more… no mention is made of weekly gathering, the Sabbath, or a change in G-d’s commandments in this passage.

2 Corinthians 1

2 Corinthians 1:13-14 makes mention of the day of the Lord. This passage again clearly refers to Judgment Day (”I hope you will understand until the end“) rather than some weekly event. Following suit with the passages above no mention is made of weekly gathering, the Sabbath, or a change in G-d’s commandments.

Philippians 1

Philippians 1:6 tells us "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Unless this passage teaches that a fresh batch of believers is perfected every Sunday we are again left with a reference to the end times and the time of Messiah’s return.

Later in the chapter in Philippians 1:10 tells us that we should be "blameless until the day of Christ". If this passage teaches that the "day of Christ" is Sunday then we can find comfort that we only have to resist sin and temptation until the following Sunday and then we are perfect beyond that. The rest of us will likely be looking towards the end times and Christ’s return for this particular event. The analysis: same song, different verse (pun intended): no weekly gathering, Sabbath, or changes to the commandments are found here.

2 Peter 3

2 Peter 3:10 tells us that on the "day of the Lord"

the heavens will pass with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

 

For the seventh time we see the "day of the Lord" refers to the end times.  Just to be consistent: we find no weekly gathering, Sabbath, or changes to the commandments here.

2 Peter 3:12 also refers to the end times when the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat. No weekly gathering, Sabbath, or changes to the commandments are found in that verse either.

Revelation 1

In Revelation 1:10, John speaks of being in the Spirit on “the day of the Lord”. Every other instance in Scripture mentioning “the day of the Lord” refers to Judgment Day and the end times. Is there anything in this passage to indicate that John is speaking of anything other than the end times? There is not.

Is there anything in this passage to indicate that John is speaking about the end times? John is delivering the book of Scripture whose substance is almost entirely devoted to the admonition of the seven churches of Asia and the revelation of the end times and the return of Messiah! Does this passage make any reference to the weekly gathering of believers, the Sabbath, or a change to G-d’s holy seventh day? It does not.

Summary of the "Lord's day" passages

These nine passages are the only mentions made in the apostolic writings regarding "the day of the Lord" and variations on that phrase. None of them makes any mention of a specific day of the week, the Sabbath, the gathering of believers, and none of them provides any indication that the Sabbath day was changed.

 

Additional Considerations

Rome’s Challenge

In the late nineteenth century, the cardinal of the Baltimore diocese, James Gibbons, authorized a series of articles entitled "The Christian Sabbath". This work is today often referred to as "Rome’s Challenge". In the articles, Gibbons alternately uses humor and stinging wit to make a point: unless one was willing to accept the authority of the Catholic Church to designate the day of worship on Sunday, Protestant believers should observe Saturday as the Sabbath. The primary thrust of his message is that there is no Scriptural foundation to support the claim that the Sabbath was changed from Saturday to Sunday and that only the authority of Catholic Church changed it. Through our examination in the first two parts of this series, we have confirmed this is so.

The Synod of Laodicea

In the fourth century AD (three hundred years after the death and resurrection of the Messiah), a council of Asian congregations was convened. At the conclusion of the meeting, sixty canons (laws) were published. Among them were two of particular interest:

Canon 16:

The Gospels are to be read on the Sabbath [i.e. Saturday], with the other Scriptures.

Canon 29:

Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.

 

From these official pronouncements, we find three things:

1) In the fourth century, believers still recognized that the Sabbath was Saturday.
2) The Catholic Church had to pass rules prohibiting believers from honoring the Sabbath (on pain of excommunication) to get them to stop.
3) The Catholic Church invented Sunday as "the Lord’s Day" since there is no evidence in Scripture for such a thing (as the Catholic Church itself has declared).

The Words of the Master

The words of the Master are the ultimate authority for those who believe in the Messiah Yeshua. Did He ever, at any point in His life, say anything to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

No.

To speak against the Law would have been a violation of the Law. Speaking against the Law was one of the false accusations leveled against Stephen before he was martyred (Acts 6:13).

Summary of additional considerations

The accounts of history and the words of the Master declare that the Sabbath day was never changed from Saturday to Sunday. Only in recent centuries have efforts been made to blur the distinction between the Sabbath and Sunday.

Having answered the question it should be noted that any day we have the opportunity to gather as believers, worship, and praise G-d is appropriate. The Sabbath day, however, has remained since the week of Creation as the seventh day of the week.

 

Didn't Messiah Change the Sabbath?

During His life in the first century, Messiah Yeshua did not introduce the Sabbath as a new thing nor did He introduce it into some type of vacuum.  The Sabbath had existed at that point for around 1500 years.  There was an established understanding about the day and an order and a structure for it.  It is into this matrix of existing belief that Messiah taught, admonished, and corrected His disciples in their observance of the Sabbath.

What did Messiah specifically correct regarding the first-century understanding and observance of the Sabbath?

1) Sustaining life (e.g. by eating) is of greater priority than avoiding work on the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28, Luke 6:1-5)  This includes taking care of animals (Luke 13:15)

Messiah established the priority of sustaining life above the avoidance of work.  He used examples of lifting up a donkey and removing a child from a well.  The foundation for this type of thinking is found in Leviticus 18:5 which says that a man may live by keeping G-d's statues and His judgments.  The purpose of the commandments is life!  Messiah makes sure that sustaining life is a priority... even on the Sabbath.

2) Healing on the Sabbath is lawful. (Matthew 12:10-12, Mark 3:2-5, Luke 6:6-10, Luke 13:10-17, Luke 14:3-4)  Prohibition of healing on the Sabbath is hypocritical (Luke 13:15)

Messiah teaches that, even though a person might not die from their affliction by waiting through the Sabbath to be healed, healing on the Sabbath is permitted.  He uses the example of circumcision on the Sabbath and teaches that healing is part of "doing good" on the Sabbath.

3) The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27)

The context here is again sustaining life (by eating) when Messiah's disciples were picking heads of grain on the Sabbath.

Like a custom fitted garment tailored especially for one individual, the Sabbath is custom made for humanity.  However custom-tailored a pair of pants might be, they still do not belong on a person's head!  That is not where they were designed to fit. :)

4) Carrying a pallet on the Sabbath was permitted. (John 5:10)

Messiah teaches that carrying light objects does not violate the prohibition of "carrying a load" on the Sabbath (Jeremiah 17:21).  This also fits with the current Jewish understanding of not transporting between domains since the entire city of Jerusalem was considered a "defined domain" (Hebrew: עירוב - eruv) and the transfer of such an object was permitted.  In the days of the Master, however, this ruling was questioned.

 

Aside from these 4 specific examples, Messiah let stand every other teaching and ruling regarding the Sabbath day that existed in the first century.  This included the limit on the Sabbath day's journey.  This included gathering in the synagogue on the Sabbath.  This included the liturgy that existed around the reading of the Torah and the Prophets.

Messiah never spoke about these issues nor about the holiness and sanctification of the day that was vigorously observed by His parents, His family, His neighbors, and His countrymen.

 

Additional Observations 

A Sign and a Perpetual Covenant

Exodus 31 provides some additional information about the Sabbath as a part of the Torah commandments:

Exodus 31:12-18

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.' It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed." When He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

 

Here we see that the Sabbath is given within the Torah covenant as a sign between G-d and the people of the covenant. The Hebrew word translated as "sign" in this passage is ot [pronounced with a long "o" like boat]. Strong's concordance lists it as #226 and provides this definition:

a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.: - mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.

 

Ot is first used in Genesis chapter 1:

Genesis 1:14-15

Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.

 

The stars in heaven are "a sign"? That is quite a sign!

NASA estimates that there are 1021 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars in the universe1. Most of them are much larger and much more powerful than our own sun. The sense of "sign" is not something small or insignificant like a street sign or a billboard. This is a huge, twinkling, blinking, neon-lit, attention-grabbing kind of sign that takes up the entire night sky and fills the universe!

Just as the lights in the expanse of the heavens were to be for signs to convey a message to mankind so, too, was the Sabbath to be a sign to all mankind of the special relationship between G-d and His special, chosen people.

Given the powerful nature of this sign, it appears that G-d does not want the message it is sending to be distorted in any way. Thus He commands that anyone who profanes the Sabbath should be put to death and those message-distorting activities should be stopped.

 

The Death Penalty

In the Exodus 31 passage above we also see that G-d requires a stiff penalty for violation of the Sabbath: death (Exodus 31:14, 15). This penalty is reiterated in Exodus 35:2, Leviticus 23:3, and in the story of the man caught gathering wood on the Sabbath day in Numbers 15:32-35. Why is such a stiff penalty imposed for violation of the Sabbath? It is likely because of the tremendously important sign that it is.

Just as the sun, moon, and stars shine for all the world to see and know that there is a G-d (Psalm 19:1-3, Romans 1:20) so, too, the observance of the Sabbath by G-d's people is meant to shine as a sign [ot] into the world as a testimony of G-d's work of Creation, His holiness, and His authority. The stars never waver in their mission until they die out and cease in their function. So, too, do we deserve death if we waver in our mission to declare G-d's glory through the observance of the Sabbath. Thanks be to G-d that Messiah has "tasted that death" for all of us who have wavered in that portion of our mission (Hebrews 2:9).

 

Because He is the LORD

Leviticus 19:30

You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD.

 

In this passage (along with many others), we see G-d directing His people to obey a commandment for no other reason that He is the LORD. Notice that the word LORD in this passage is in small capitals (LORD rather than Lord). This is a device used by English translations to indicate that the four-letter name of G-d (sometimes transliterated as YHVH and mispronounced as "Jehovah" or "Yahweh") is present in the text. We see in this passage G-d directing His people to obey the commandment of keeping the Sabbath simply because He is YHVH their G-d.

 

Appointed Times- The Moedim

Leviticus 23 is often referred to as the chapter of G-d's festivals or "appointed times" [Hebrew: moedim]. The first of the appointed times is the weekly Sabbath (verse 3).

The second appointment noted in this chapter is the annual Passover [Pesach] (verse 5) followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Hag HaMatzot] (verses 6-8). Yom Habikkurim (the Feast of Firstfruits) is next (verses 10-14) followed by the counting of the Omer, the seven week period between Firstfruits and Pentecost [Shavuot] (Leviticus 23:15-22). These conclude the "spring festivals".

The "fall festivals" begin in verse 24 which begins with the Feast of Trumpets [Yom Teruah] (verses 24-25) followed soon after by the Day of Atonement [Yom Kippur] (verses 27-32) and the Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot] (verses 34-44). The Day of Atonement is described in verse 32 as a "sabbath of complete rest".

 

The Sabbath of the Land

In Leviticus 25 G-d declares that the Land of Israel shall also have a Sabbath rest.

Leviticus 25:2-5

"Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the LORD. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. Your harvest's aftergrowth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a sabbatical year.

 

Captivity 

The land is supposed to lie unsown and unharvested every seven years. When the Israelites violated this command, they were carried off into the Babylonian captivity for a period of time to allow the land to have its Sabbath rest.

1 Chronicles 36:20-21

Those who had escaped from the sword he [the king of the Chaldeans] carried away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept sabbath until seventy years were complete.

 

Leviticus 26:35

'All the days of its desolation it will observe the rest [#7673] which it did not observe [#7673] on your sabbaths, while you were living on it.

 

Restoration

After the Babylonian captivity, Nehemiah was sent to be the governor of Israel. In his writings we find this:

Nehemiah 10:28-31

Now the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons and their daughters, all those who had knowledge and understanding, are joining with their kinsmen, their nobles, and are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God's law, which was given through Moses, God's servant, and to keep and to observe all the commandments of GOD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes; and that we will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons. As for the peoples of the land who bring wares or any grain on the sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the sabbath or a holy day; and we will forego the crops the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.

 

Here we see a number of things:

  • The people who go with Nehemiah to reestablish the physical nation of Israel have "separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of G-d". (Nehemiah 10:28)
  • They are choosing to walk in G-d's law, to keep and observe the commandments. (Nehemiah 10:29)
  • They will forego the crops of the seventh year. (Nehemiah 10:31)

 

The Israelites had learned their lesson regarding the observance of the Sabbath of the land and were taking an oath that they would honor it.

 

This concludes the list of Sabbath questions that the Psalm11918.org team has answered thus far.  If you have other questions regarding the Sabbath, please contact us and let us know.

 

Torah Portion

כּי תשׂא (Ki Tisa)

 

 

or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Rishon, 10 Adar, 5778

Sunday, February 25, 2018

 

Learn more about this date in history.