Messianic Perspectives on the Sabbath in Israel

There are many different views on the practice of Shabbat (the Sabbath) amongst Messianic Jews and Christians.

The Sabbath is supposed to be a day of rest, and family gatherings aound the Word of God.

Israel Today posed the following question to believers who live in the Land of Israel: How do you and your congregation observe the Sabbath? Here is how they responded:

Jerusalem congregational leader – anonymous

Most people in our congregation enjoy and appreciate the gift and the traditions of the Sabbath. This is carried out with a festive meal, traditional prayers, and candle lighting on Friday night with family and guests at home.

On the morning of the Sabbath we worship using the Siddur [Jewish prayer book] and read the Torah, Haftorah [passage from the Prophets], and New Testament portions of the week. Most of us live a lifestyle which honors and appreciates Jewish tradition but we do not claim to live strictly Orthodox lifestyles. Everyone in the congregation has to make their own decision as to how much of a traditional lifestyle they want to lead.”

Eddie Santoro – Messianic leader in a Jerusalem congregation

Life in Israel is very frenetic and we love the transformation that occurs Friday afternoon as the Sabbath approaches; the stores close, people return home to be with their families, and a blessed quiet descends upon Israel. The nation stops to honor God’s commandment.

Our congregation meets on Friday afternoon which enables us to welcome the Sabbath corporately. After the meeting, my wife and I host a traditional Erev Shabbat [Sabbath eve] dinner with family and friends.

On Saturday we devote the day to resting and often invite friends to join us for dinner. For us the Sabbath is a blessed gift from God. It gives us an opportunity each week to stop and enjoy the presence of the Lord together with those whom we love.

Source: Israel Today

My comment:

I am one of those Christians who like to observe the Sabbath on Friday evening, together with both Jews and Christian Friends of Israel.

I have experienced Sabbath in Israel, and its a wonderful time of silence in society, and family gatherings.

It was like this in Norway, 30 years ago. The shops closed at 1.PM on Saturdays, and did not reopen before Monday morning.

I join Christian fellowships on Sunday, the Lord’s day. But I do not like to name the day of rest, after the sun, a pagan god.

The Idea of the Sabbath, is to get people to rest from their work, and spend some quality time together honoring a Holy God. Jesus the Messiah told us plainly that He demands justice and mercy, and it is permitted to do good on the Sabbath.  A strict observance of the sabbath full a man made rules, is not what He desires.

 Luke 6:5
Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

The problem in the West, is that the Post-Christian secular socially has deleted the weekend rest. People work on all kids of days, and hardly read the Bible or join Christian fellowships. Neither on Friday, nor on Sunday.

That is wrong, and that will not pay off for eternity. Cheep grace, is false grace. The fear of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the start of wisdom.

Written by Ivar

13 thoughts on “Messianic Perspectives on the Sabbath in Israel

  1. The fear of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the start of wisdom…..a rare blessing in this society, to hear anyone share, seek, and treat as a Holy Reverence of His Presence….thank you! Isaiah 9:6 ….For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

  2. Gen 1:14 And Elohim said, “Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and APPOINTED TIMES, and for days and years,

    Lev 23:2 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘The appointed times of יהוה, which you are to proclaim as set-apart gatherings, My appointed times, are these:
    Lev 23:3 ‘Six days work is done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, a set-apart gathering. You do no work, it is a Sabbath to יהוה in all your dwellings.

    Eze_46:1 ‘Thus said the Master יהוה, “The gate of the inner courtyard facing east is shut the six days of work, but on the Sabbath it is opened, and on the day of the New Moon it is opened.

    A sabbath follows six work days. New Moon day is not one of those days to add to the count of six work. New Moon day is the conjunction point. The point where all over the world it is seen the same. As a No light having moon. Starting a new month with light. Each day brings more light until the full moon then the wanning (taking away of light) begins until you have another new moon aka new month.

  3. Dear Ivar,

    Shalom.

    While it may be a beautiful, relaxing and wonderful thing to observe the Sabbath — if that’s what YOU choose to do — to say that all Christians are required to keep the Sabbath is erroneous.

    You said:

    “The problem in the West, is that the Post-Christian secular socially has deleted the weekend rest. People work on all kids of days, and hardly read the Bible or join Christian fellowships. Neither on Friday, nor on Sunday.

    “That is wrong, and that will not pay off for eternity. Cheep grace, is false grace. The fear of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the start of wisdom.”

    Ivar, your statement that those who do not keep the Sabbath “will not pay off for eternity” is not only misleading but it is false teaching and legalism.

    Sabbath keeping and the fear of God have NOTHING to do with each other. When Jesus died on the cross, HE became THE SABBATH for all who are saved in Him, both Jews and Gentiles.

    God accepts us on the basis of Christ, not on whether we keep a certain day of the week. Jesus Christ is our SABBATH REST every day.

    The apostle Paul made it clear that the Old Testament Sabbath was merely a SHADOW AND TYPE of the coming Messiah and Savior — who is The Sabbath.

    Titus 3:5-7 says, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

    http://www.gci.org/law/sabbath

    The Sabbath has nothing to do with salvation, and nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was NEVER part of the message of the New Testament church. The message is always one of liberty, never one of restrictions on a particular day of the week. God accepts us because of Jesus Christ, not because of anything that we do. It is by grace, not works. We are to trust in Christ for our salvation.

    The Sabbath (or any other distinctive practice) can deceive a person and subtly reduce the importance of Jesus Christ. The tendency is to think, “I please God because I keep the Sabbath. I am counted as one of his people because I keep the Sabbath.” But God knows us as his people through Christ, not through a day of the week. The Bible says that the only reason that we please God is because of Jesus Christ:

    No matter how many laws we keep, we are sinners, and the only reason that we can be saved is because Jesus died for our sins. But a focus on laws, especially laws that make us different from other people, tends to put the focus back onto ourselves — and what we do.

    Suppose we come to the Day of Judgment and we are asked, “Why should we let you into the kingdom of God?” How will we answer? Will we talk about what laws we kept? Or will we trust in Christ alone? Will we try to claim part of the credit?

    The Bible says that our only basis of salvation is faith in Christ, and that no one has anything to boast about (Eph. 2:8-9).

    Our works don’t count for anything; our only hope is Jesus Christ, and any doctrine or practice that obscures this fact is an enemy of faith. Anything that tempts us to look at what we do, tempts us to take away some of the trust that we should be giving to Christ.

    Christians may refrain from work one day a week if they wish. Spiritual disciplines like that can be helpful to a person’s spiritual growth, but they can also become obstacles, if people begin to think that these particular practices make them better than others.

    And these practices can become spiritually dangerous, if people think that everyone else ought to measure up to the way they worship God. Christians should not place themselves “under the law” (Galatians 3:25) as if the laws of Moses still had authority over them.

    Jesus criticized people who taught requirements that God did not have: “You experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them” (Luke 11:46).

    When we teach requirements, we need to be very careful.

    1. Dear JM

      Shalom.

      You wrote:

      And these practices can become spiritually dangerous, if people think that everyone else ought to measure up to the way they worship God. Christians should not place themselves “under the law” (Galatians 3:25) as if the laws of Moses still had authority over them.

      My comment:

      What you promote is lawlessness. The Messiah is not a lawless man, who came to delete the Laws He had given.

      Remember that Jesus the Messiah is the author of the Law. He is the lawgiver. The laws are good, and will lead to a better life for all who lives by them. Like do not have sex with an animal, etc. The 10 commandments is given to us by a good God, not to be ignored.

      Are we saved by observance of the law of Moses, or the Laws given us at the sermon of the Mount?

      Absolutely not. But the law makes us conscious about sin. And only will we become conscious about sin, we understand that God hates sin.

      In regards to the Sabbath I underline that man shall rest. Its not an option, but a command. The Law of the Sabbath was given to man for his own best.

      Let me underline, that no man gets saved by observing the Sabbath. But without observing the Sabbath, man will fall sick.

      1. Dear Ivar,

        Jesus did not abolish the law. He IS THE LAW and everything He did in word and deed reveals that He came to fulfill the promises of the Old Covenant. Jesus became the fulfillment of the Sabbath. In Him alone do we rest for our salvation (every day, every hour, every minute, every second) and not just one day a week.

        “Of all the Ten Commandments, only one was not a moral Law — keeping the Sabbath. A moral Law is in effect 24/7; but the Sabbath was only kept one day a week, which could never be true of a moral Law. All of the Old Testament ceremonial laws were nailed to the cross with Christ.” (jesus-is-savior.com)

        To say that I promote “lawlessness” because I understand that the Old Testament Sabbath is but a shadow of our rest in Yeshua, makes you sound like the Pharisees when they condemned Jesus and the disciples for gathering food on the Sabbath. Jesus responded with a sharp rebuke and told them they were narrow-minded for allowing what amounts to legalistic thinking to cause them to miss the heart of God’s law.

        http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Basics/jesus_is_our_sabbath.htm

        There is no Sabbath Day today. Colossians 2:14-16 tells us that the ceremonials laws were nailed to the cross, including the Sabbath Day. Jesus became the fulfillment of what the Sabbath represented in the Old Testament. The Sabbath Day was a ceremonial Law, only for the Jews in the Old Testament. It pictured resting in Jesus Christ for salvation. This is plainly taught in Hebrews 4:1-5.

        “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.”

        The 6-days of men working pictured man’s self-righteousness, which could never save (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:20). When we cease from our own self-righteous labors and rest upon the Lord for salvation, we are eternally saved.

      2. Dear JM.

        Shalom.

        You wrote:

        There is no Sabbath Day today. Colossians 2:14-16 tells us that the ceremonials laws were nailed to the cross, including the Sabbath Day.

        My reply:

        That the “ceremonials laws were nailed to the cross” does not mean that Jesus told us to become lawless. Rather that our ability to not live by the Law was “nailed to the cross”. To draw the conclusion that there is no Sabbath Day today, is to say that there is no law against stealing today. Because the 10 commandments have become null and void. Jesus is our thief. There is no law against sodomy anymore. Jesus is our sodomy, our adultery, etc.

        Can you see the crazy lawlessness you are promoting?

        The “Jesus” your promote can never be accepted by people who honor and obey the Word of God.

      3. Dear Ivar,

        I looked up the rules and requirements for keeping the Sabbath.

        Do you follow them to the letter? If not, why? Who said it is okay to deviate from what the Law requires?

        Doesn’t the Bible say, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles AT JUST ONE POINT is guilty of breaking ALL OF IT” (James 2:10 ).

        RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE SABBATH:

        1. The Sabbath begins Friday at sunset. But when is sunset? Is it the beginning of sunset or the end of the sunset? Will God be angry with you if you start the Sabbath a few minutes late or a few minutes early? According to the Old Testament Law, He will.

        2. The Candles MUST BE LIT EXACTLY 18 minutes before the “astronomical” sunset. (Hope your “Sunset Guide to the Sabbath” is correct and you have a lot of matches on hand — otherwise, God will be angry if you are not exactly on time.)

        Married women should light at least two candles, corresponding to the two commandments of “Remember the Sabbath” (Exodus 20:8) and “Observe the Sabbath” (Deuteronomy 5:12) but single women, and even young girls, light only one (in deference to their mothers).

        What if you don’t have both a married woman and a single woman around? Will God be angry?

        3. “Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out” (Exodus 16:29). (What if the house catches on fire? Do you stay inside and burn to death?)

        4. “Do not light a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day” (Exodus 35:3). (What if the heater is broken and it’s the dead of winter? Do you freeze and chatter under blankets for 25 hours? Would this feel like “rest”?)

        5. “Whoever does any work on the Sabbath must be put to death” (Exodus 35:2). (YIKES!)

        6. Preparation and cooking of food prohibited. Boiling water is considered cooking and so is toasting bread. (I hope you don’t have a craving for a cup of coffee and a piece of toast!)

        7. Carrying anything out of a “domain” is prohibited. “Domain” means your home or property.

        8. Do not allow others to work. Besides you not being allowed to work, you are prohibited from doing anything that will make the following people work: Your children; Any employee or person who would serve you (this includes any stranger who would serve you); Any animal you own (what if the cat wants to climb a tree? Better chain her up!); Any non-Jewish person in your home.

        9. Penalty for desecrating the Sabbath is being stoned death. (NOT GOOD.)

        “While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then HaShem said to Moshe, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as HaShem commanded Moshe.” (Num. 15:32-36)

        10. Thirty-Nine MORE Prohibited Activities:

        Ploughing earth, sowing, reaping, binding sheaves, threshing, winnowing, selecting, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking, shearing wool, washing wool, beating wool, dyeing wool, spinning, weaving, making two loops, weaving two threads, separating two threads, tying, untying, sewing stitches, tearing, trapping, slaughtering, flaying, tanning, scraping hide, marking hides, cutting hide to shape, writing two or more letters, erasing two or more letters, building, demolishing, extinguishing a fire, kindling a fire, putting the finishing touch on an object and transporting an object between the private domain and the public domain, or for a distance of 4 cubits within the public domain.
        ————
        Whew! This does not sound like “REST” to me! Jesus did not come to put us back in bondage to the restraints of the Old Testament Law, but to set us free IN HIM. HalleluYAH!

        It is man’s own corruption that has put the yoke of slavery back around his neck. Instead of receiving Yeshua’s marvelous Grace and Liberty, man has chosen to be held captive!

        Anyone who thinks that they have to keep the Sabbath Law is fooling themselves because it is IMPOSSIBLE FOR MAN TO DO SO as written!

        Anyone who willingly chooses to back-slide into Judaism does not fully understand that the LORD SEES THE HEART — not they external ritualistic works that we try to do to please Him.

        If anything, these “works” are putting those who try to earn their salvation in a very dangerous spot — for they are denying the Gospel message of the New Testament.

        Paul said this: “How is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you” (Galatians 2:9-11).

      4. Dear Ivar,

        You said:

        “To draw the conclusion that there is no Sabbath Day today, is to say that there is no law against stealing today.”

        This is not the conclusion I wrote about.

        My quote:

        “Of all the Ten Commandments, only ONE was NOT a Moral Law — keeping the Sabbath. A moral Law is in effect 24/7, but the Sabbath was only kept one day a week, which could NEVER be true of a moral Law.”

        We are ONLY taking about ONE COMMANDMENT, Ivar, the Sabbath, and NOT all Ten Commandments. Jesus distinguished the Sabbath as a ceremonial law, not a moral law.

        Jesus Himself is LORD OF THE SABBATH, not a 24 hour day.

        “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matt. 12:1-7)

        Please meditate on these scriptures, Ivar. Our true Sabbath is Jesus and our Heavenly rest is to come.

        “We know that Joshua did not lead the people into the place of rest that God promised. We know this because God spoke later about another day for rest. This shows that the seventh-day rest for God’s people is STILL TO COME. God rested after he finished his work. So everyone who enters God’s place of rest will also have rest from their own work just as God did. So let us try as hard as we can to enter God’s place of rest. We must try hard so that none of us will be lost by following the example of those who refused to obey God” (Heb. 4:8)

        http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?b=58&c=4&com=mhc

        As God finished his work, and then rested from it, so he will cause those who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy their rest.

        It is evident, that there is a more spiritual and excellent Sabbath remaining for the people of God, than that of the seventh day, or that into which Joshua led the Jews.

        This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in the gospel state. And a rest in glory, where the people of God shall enjoy the end of their faith, and the object of all their desires.

        The rest, or sabbatism, which is the subject of the apostle’s reasoning, and as to which he concludes that it remains to be enjoyed, is undoubtedly the heavenly rest, which remains to the people of God, and is opposed to a state of labour and trouble in this world.

        It is the rest they shall obtain when the Lord Jesus shall appear from heaven.

        But those who do not believe, shall never enter into this spiritual rest, either of grace here or glory hereafter.

        God has always declared man’s rest to be in Him, and his love to be the only real happiness of the soul; and faith in His promises, through his Son, to be the only way of entering that rest.

        God Bless You, Ivar!

        Hope you have a wonderful day as we wait in glorious expectation of our coming Savior and Lord!

      5. Dear JM.

        Shalom.

        A last try on the Sabbath.

        I believe the Sabbath is a health law. If we do not rest, we simply will fall sick. It is also a call to holiness. Without holiness, no one shall see God.

        Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, and He has called us into the eternal Sabbath rest. But many Christians who ignore the call to rest and holiness, are as tired, burnt out and sick as many worldly people. It was not supposed to be like this, in the “body of the Messiah”.

        I my self have ignored the Sabbath “health law”, and have learned the hard way that Jesus has given us all laws, commandments and instruction for our own good.

        1 Peter 1:14-16

        As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.

        Peter the Apostles quotes from three places in the Law of Moses. From Lev. 11:44,45; 19:2

        Like:

        Leviticus 11:45
        I am the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

        If you do not want to read the Law of Moses, at least take Peter the Apostle seriously.

      6. Dear Ivar,

        You said:

        “If you do not want to read the Law of Moses, at least take Peter the Apostle seriously.”

        My reply:

        As far as Peter is concerned, I have taken him seriously, especially when he said that Sabbath keeping regulations are an “unbearable yoke” that no Gentile is required to keep. (Acts 15).

        I have also read the Law of Moses and thankfully, “We are called to faith — confident that the sacrifice of Christ cleanses us from all sin — not to fearful bondage to religious traditions and human rules. Such rules may appear to be religious and they may have the form of godliness, but they do not have the power to transform the heart, which is the focus of Christianity.”

        Please read this link on the Sabbath:
        http://www.gci.org/law/sabbath1

        The Sabbath was a sign between the Israelites and God — and not between God and all of humanity (Ex 31:16-17). It was not meant to be a health law, however, if you choose to personally keep it as such, there is no “law” against that. I can understand how you could derive many heath benefits from the rest. I have on occasion, celebrated the Sabbath with friends, candle lighting, food, music, and wine — and these are some very beautiful memories.

        We can choose to keep the Sabbath or not to keep it. Paul tells us that we should not let others make us feel guilty regarding that choice, as it is not a requirement for Christians.

        “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9). Come, Lord Jesus, Our Sabbath Rest.

      7. Dear JM.

        Shalom.

        You wrote:

        As far as Peter is concerned, I have taken him seriously, especially when he said that Sabbath keeping regulations are an “unbearable yoke” that no Gentile is required to keep. (Acts 15).

        My comment:

        I do understand Peter. The Sabbath laws and regulations within Orthodox Judaism have become a burden, and quite silly. Like you can not push the button in an elevator on the Sabbath, become it is considered work.

        That human made extra laws and regulations have been added to the Torah, does not give us the right to ignore the Sabbath “health law”. Man will fall sick if He do not rest from his work, and He have to let Jesus change our unholy walk into a walk in Holiness. if not, we shall not see God.

      8. Dear Ivar,

        Although we may have some very minor disagreements, I have to say that your blog, research and exposure of the blasphemous Roman Catholic church is BEYOND EXCEPTIONAL!

        You are without a doubt one of the very few that has exposed the RCC, clearly showing this DISGUSTING, DAMNING, and VILE “religious system” for what it really is — and hopefully have saved many from the fires of hell.

        Thank you so much for all the work you put into these AWESOME articles and photos. Your rewards will be many and great, as you are deeply loved by Yeshua and blessed with much wisdom and talent.

        Thank you, Ivar!

        May His LOVE shine on you forever and ever.

        His return is near! GLORY!

      9. Dear JM.

        Shalom.

        You wrote:

        Although we may have some very minor disagreements…

        My reply:

        I agree that people have different views on the Sabbath. Like we also have different views on the rapture. I will not exclude people from the Christian faith because we have different view on such matters.

        Thanks for blessing the work Jesus has lead me into, in regards to the exposure of the falsehood promoted by the Vatican.

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