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"A NEW SABBATH?" The Most Objective Explanation Concerning The Importance of Shabbat


Saturday or Sunday? Does it matter? Is it for the Jews only?


Many of us here, myself included, grew up from Non-Jewish backgrounds, and many of us considered Sunday to be the Sabbath or the “Lord’s Day.” Those of us who are here today understand the L-rd’s Shabbat and I don’t really need to convince you why the Shabbat instead of Sunday. Instead, it’s my goal to equip you to overcome the many objections from those who keep Sunday.


Before we examine the Scriptures and objections, I want to give you a couple of disclaimers:

First, this is not a Salvation issue. In other words, we do not believe that one must keep the Shabbat or any part of the Torah to be saved. Second, there’s not a bad day of the week to worship ADONAI, and in fact, we should be worshipping Him every day. Hopefully, you are not only worshipping Him on Shabbat only.


Before I get into the objections, I think it’s important that we know how the church created the Sunday Sabbath.


Where did the Sunday Sabbath Come From?

In the Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, we read:


Q. Which is the Sabbath day?

A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.


Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea, (AD 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday….


Q. Why did the Catholic Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?

A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday, because Christ rose from the dead on a Sunday, and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles on a Sunday.


Q. By what authority did the Church substitute Sunday for Saturday?

A. The Church substituted Sunday for Saturday by the plenitude of that divine power which Jesus Christ bestowed upon her!

—Rev. Peter Geiermann, C.SS.R., (1946), p. 50.


In Catholic Christian Instructed:

Q. Has the [Catholic] church power to make any alterations in the commandments of God?

A. ...Instead of the seventh day, and other festivals appointed by the old law, the church has prescribed the Sundays and holy days to be set apart for God’s worship; and these we are now obliged to keep in consequence of God’s commandment, instead of the ancient Sabbath.

—The Catholic Christian Instructed in the Sacraments, Sacrifices, Ceremonies, and Observances of the Church By Way of Question and Answer, RT Rev. Dr. Challoner, p. 204.


Synod of Laodicea

“Christians must not Judaize by resting on the sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honoring 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” (canon 29 [A.D. 363]).

These next two questions will scare you even more:

In An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine:

Q. How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?

A. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore, they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.


Q. How prove you that?

A. Because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin; and by not keeping the rest [of the feasts] by her commanded, they again deny, in fact, the same power.

–Rev. Henry Tuberville, D.D. (R.C.), (1833), page 58.


What do the Scriptures say about the Shabbat?


1. “On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.” (Gen 2:2-3 CJB)


2. This was the first time ADONAI commanded His people to keep the Shabbat.

"Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. 9 You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for ADONAI your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work—not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. 11 For in six days, ADONAI made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why ADONAI blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself." -Ex 20:8-11


3. "ADONAI said to Moshe, 13 “Tell the people of Israel, ‘You are to observe my Shabbats; for this is a sign between me and you through all your generations; so that you will know that I am ADONAI, who sets you apart for me. 14 Therefore you are to keep my Shabbat, because it is set apart for you." - Ex 31:12–14.


4. Yeshua tells us that Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat – Mark 2:27 "Then he said to them, “Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat;"


5. In Hebrews, we are reminded “So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people” - Hebrews 4:9. Notice the author says “God’s people", not the Jews.


Let’s look at some Scriptures that Christians will often use to defend why they don’t believe it is necessary to keep the Shabbat:


1. Romans 14:1-9: “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables . . . One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike.” This is a verse that Christians will often use to say that they have a choice whether or not they want to keep the Sabbath or dietary laws.


A. The context is established in verse 1 “Accept the one who is weak in faith.” The Romans 14 text (v. 1-4) was dealing contextually with a group that was claiming to be morally superior because they were vegetarians. It is not endorsing a cafeteria style adherence to the commandments which is so prevalent today. Rather, Shaul was dealing with people then who were adding things to the text, and taking leaps from the text with faulty conclusions (just as many do today). We can be certain that Shaul was not giving people authority to break the Torah, because he had already stated that “we uphold the Torah.” There is also a curious verse at the end of Isaiah to consider, which is identifying those being judged in the Acharit Hayamim (End of Days) as “those who eat the flesh of swine, vermin and rats” - Isaiah 66:17.


2. Galatians 4:10-11. “You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.”


A. These verses don’t seem to be dealing with Sabbath observance within the sphere of Christian sanctification. Rather, they’re teaching, contra the Judaizers, that justification and adoption don’t come by the observance of “days, and months, and seasons, and years.” Shaul’s argument is that justification and adoption are by faith alone (Gal 2:15-16; 4:1-9); so, he isn’t dealing with God’s law as a rule of sanctification. He’s confronting the legalistic error of justification by works.


3. Colossians 2:16. “Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Shabbat.”


A. The context is actually established back in verse 8 “See that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men and the basic principles of the world rather than Messiah.” -Colossians 2:8

How can Christians be subject to judgment of something that they are not participating in? The people that Shaul was talking to were leaving the pagan world to be grafted into Israel.

Shaul also says that the Sabbath is a shadow of the Messiah. This is because the Sabbath is a shadow of the Kingdom reign of the Messiah. Think about it, there are six days of work and the seventh day is the Sabbath. Well, the earth is almost 6,000 years old, and when Messiah returns, He will reign on the earth for 1,000 years.

Many people claim that Shaul was saying, “don’t let anyone judge you for not keeping the feasts and Sabbath”. However, that doesn’t make sense. If the Feasts and Sabbath are prophetic shadows of the Messiah, then it is important for us to keep practicing them so that we can remain close to our Messiah.

Why would Shaul be telling them not to keep them if they are directly connected to the Messiah?


Questions to consider:


1. Was the Sabbath abolished or done away with?

A. No! 17 "Yeshua said, 'Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.'" -Matthew 5:17-20

Do you want to want to be called least or great in the kingdom?


2. Was the Sabbath changed to Sunday?

A. No, I think we have already established that.


3. Is the Sabbath any day we choose?

A. Some people say we can choose any day we want to be our Sabbath. This idea goes along with the previous one. The reasoning behind this is if the Sabbath is any day we choose, then we can choose to keep it on Sunday. However, the Sabbath can’t be any day, it must be the seventh day.


The Ten Commandments remind us that the Sabbath is the seventh day.

“But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.” - Exodus 20:10


And we are also told that this seventh day Sabbath is a day of assembly, a “holy convocation.”

“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 in all your dwellings.” - Leviticus 23:3


4. Is the Sabbath only for the Jews?

A. No! The Sabbath goes back to creation, before the Jewish people existed. Exodus 31 does indeed indicate that the Sabbath is an everlasting sign and covenant between God and Israel.

But who is Israel? If you believe in the Messiah are you not also part of Israel? The Bible says we were once Gentiles when we did not know God, but now because of the Messiah we have become fellow citizens of Israel.

The Bible also says we have been grafted in by faith through Yeshua, and we are children of Abraham because of our faith. Don’t you see the Bible is telling us that we are Israel? We are fellow citizens and heirs of the promises. We are adopted, we are grafted in, we are born again as a new person. Our ancestry doesn’t matter because we have become a new creation. We are no longer Gentiles; we have become part of God’s people. We have become citizens of Israel. Think about Romans 11 and Ephesians 2.


One final note, listen to what Isaiah prophesied concerning Gentiles keeping the Sabbath:

“Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the 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."- Isaiah 56:6-7

Amen.


Keith Cawthern

Kehilah Elohim Messianic Congregation

Jacksonville, FL

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