DISCLAIMER: Do not believe anything that I say! Test everything that you read below against all verses in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the Brit Chadashah (NT). Pray for the truth and to be led by the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaChodesh)! I am not your pastor, preacher, teacher, rabbi, or anything else. I am just a guy who has an opinion.
This isn’t meant to be exhaustive. It is only a quick overview of the Sabbath. There is much to say about this day of the week. That will be for a later article.
The Sabbath is one of the easiest instructions to follow from GOD’s word. It is the natural starting place for most people. YHVH (GOD), in HIS Torah to Moses, set aside one day per week for rest. The Sabbath is talked about more in the Torah than any other day of the week. Why is it so important? Why is it so significant? Is it something we are required to do?
The Sabbath, or Shabbat as we call it, is the GOD appointed rest time during the week. Like I mentioned, the Sabbath is talked about more than any other day in the Bible. Inevitably, many questions arise from discussions about the Sabbath.
Where can I read more about it?
What do you do on the Sabbath?
When does it start?
Is it Saturday or Sunday?
Let’s answer those questions.
When you start reading the Bible from the beginning (the book of Genesis), you will start to see patterns emerging. Once you get into the book of the Exodus, we see GOD specifically defining what the Sabbath is. We start to see references to it when the Israelites were in the wilderness. They were told the days they could collect the manna and the days they could not.
23 then he said to them, “This is what the LORD meant: Tomorrow is a Sabbath observance, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.”
24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it.
25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field.
26 “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath , there will be none.”
27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none.
28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions?
29 “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.”
Then, we see later in in Chapter 20, we see YHVH specifically say which day of the week it is. HE also tells us to observe it. This happens to be one of the 10 Commandments.
Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
To understand when the Sabbath starts, you need to look at the Bible with a different perspective. In the book of Genesis, YHVH created each day and started the day with dark and then light. Today, our brother Judah still follows this pattern. It is Biblically based and is part of the pattern we are to follow. A day starts at evening(dark). It ends at the next start of darkness(24 hours after it started). This means each day, including the Sabbath, starts at dark. In the traditions of Judah, they look for two witnesses (2 stars in the sky) to mark the beginning of the new day. If we adhere to this pattern, at dark on Friday evening, the Sabbath starts. This is exactly how my family observes the Sabbath. Friday becomes our preparation day, as we look forward to the Sabbath all week long. You could almost say that our week revolves around it.
There are some debates as to HOW you observe the Sabbath. The way our family observes the Sabbath is to rest our bodies and our minds and leave room for some flexibility, if it is needed. By this, I mean that if I need to run to the store to buy water for my family to care for them , I make an exception. Otherwise, we stay home all day and do not force others to work for us, if we can help it. We do not go out to eat or go to the grocery store or plan on travelling on that day. We take that time to rest our bodies but also to be filled by HIS word. I use that time to prepare for our next Sabbath fellowship, as well as to work on the next Bible study lesson for the week.
Leviticus 16:31 “It is to be a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.
I would point out one thing with this verse. Notice at the end, it says “it is a permanent statue”. Do you know what this is saying? That word permanent in Hebrew is: olam. That should be one of your first word studies. It means: an indefinite amount of time. What is this verse saying? It is saying that the Sabbath is a day of rest for you FOREVER! NEVERENDING. PERPETUAL. EVERLASTING. Take this to heart. YHVH requires you to take one day per week off from your busy routine. He is telling you to rest your body and your mind.
So, the real question becomes: What day do we observe it? I won’t go into too much details about why today most churches look to Sunday instead of Saturday as the Sabbath, but there is not Biblical instruction or actual verse that says the Sabbath should or will be changed to Sunday. That mean, the true Biblical Sabbath is Saturday. If you want a little background, you start here:
So, our Sabbath starts on sundown on Friday and lasts until sundown on Saturday. This is for the weekly Sabbath. Sometimes we are racing up to the Sabbath and sometimes we are coasting into the Sabbath. Once you start following it, you will understand what I mean.
Suffice to say, the bible and only the Bible should be your reference. Do not rely on other men to tell you when the Sabbath starts or what to do on it. Again, like I have said before. Pray for the Ruach to lead you into all truth. Following the true Biblical Sabbath is one of the easiest instructions YHVH gives us.