God's appointed times: Sabbath
by Donnie Young
The Sabbath is the 4th commandment given at Mount Sinai and is probably hanging inside your local church. However, it is also probably not observed by your local church making its hanging up a bit of an oddity.
However, I want to be clear. This particular video series is not about how people keep or do not keep these appointed times today. This is what the bible clearly says on this subject. I will only offer minimal insights into the subject from a biblical perspective. The purpose of these videos is to educate modern believers in Christ as to what the bible says on these subjects not what man says. What you do with this knowledge will be between you and God. I am not called to convince you to keep any of these appointed times. I am called to teach a biblical understanding of these days.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has many appointed times. If you care to understand how the bible describes how to track days, weeks, months and years then I will leave a link in the description.
This video will begin a series of videos that will cover God's appointed times. Here are all the appointed times I will cover and in the order I plan to cover them in.
Sabbath, Passover, Unleavened Bread, 7 year land cycle, Feast of Weeks, Tabernacles, Trumpets, Atonement, 8th Great Day, 50 year land cycle, and New Moon.
This is the order the appointed times are given to us upon reading from Genesis so I felt it was an appropriate order to present them in my series.
There are plenty of scripture on the Sabbath day. I feel the best course of action is to simply see what God commands through Moses and see what the Messiah has to say about the Sabbath before we explore the rest of scripture. It is God and the Messiah we are to listen to. It is important to remember that God and the Messiah will not contradict each other. This is how we will build a firm foundation to explore the rest of scripture.
This video is broken down into sections. Time stamps will be in the description below for quick reference.
Sabbath instituted by God
Sabbath instructions through Moses
Sabbath and the Messiah
Sabbath in biblical history
Sabbath in prophecy
Sabbath instituted by God
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Instead of listing every verse in its entirety that contains an instruction about the Sabbath I am going to list the command given during the first telling of the 10 commandments, then I will list passages that add instructions to the Sabbath. I will do this in the order they appear except in the very beginning because God tests the people in regards to Sabbath prior to Mount Sinai. Please note, I will not read the whole passage but only added instructions to cut down on video time. It is highly recommended that you check out the entire passages and study this out yourself. I am giving you hours of study and information in a short video.
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 to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and 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.
In Exodus 16 God feeds the people with manna and tells them to gather two portions on the 6th day because He will not provide on the Sabbath. They are to cook what they will eat on the 6th day in order to rest on the Sabbath. God also tells them to not move from their place on the Sabbath.
Exodus 31:12-15 adds more instructions and reason to keep the Sabbath. God says the Sabbath is a sign that it is God who sanctifies them. This word “sign” is the same Hebrew word used for the rainbow with Noah and circumcision with Abraham. God says the Sabbath is holy to us. God says everyone who profanes the Sabbath is to be put to death. Anyone who does any work on it will be cut off from the people. God then says anyone who does any work shall be put to death. God also says the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.
Exodus 35:1-3 adds not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath day throughout all their dwellings.
Leviticus 23:1-3 add that this is an appointed feast to God, that holy gatherings shall take place on this day, and that this is a commandment for all their dwellings.
Leviticus 24:5-9 adds instructions for priests. They are to set out 12 fresh loaves of bread on the Sabbath inside the Tabernacle.
Numbers 28:9-10 tells us what sacrifices and offerings were to be made specifically on the Sabbath. Two lambs a year old without blemish, 2/10s of a ephah (ephah is roughly 33 liters. So, 1/5th would be 6.6 liters) of fine flour mixed with oil for a grain offering, and a drink offering. These are burnt offerings meaning totally consumed by fire. God also says that these offerings are to be made beside the daily offerings.
Deuteronomy 5:11-15 is exactly like Exodus 20:8-11 except the ending. The ending in this passage adds more emphases to allowing servants to rest and points back to how they were slaves in Egypt.
Passages that reiterate above passages but add no new instructions: Exodus 23:12, Leviticus 19:3, 19:30, 26:2
The Sabbath is one of the most repeated instructions in the bible. God instructs the people directly on the Sabbath at least 14 times in the books of Moses. To put that into proper context, murder in the books of Moses have only four passages and two of those are on accidental and unsolved murders. God preaches the Sabbath to His people more than “do not murder.” This is not my opinion this is the truth.
Because we have no priesthood after Aaron and no standing Temple we cannot keep the bread and sacrificial aspects of the Sabbath today. It would be a violation of other instructions to do so. See Leviticus 17:1-7 for a direct command from God about that. This is not abolishing the law but accepting the full instructions of God. None of the other Sabbath day instructions carry specific conditions that must be meet first.
Oversimplification of the Sabbath according to “The Law” without priests and the Temple: Every 7th day you are to do these things. Rest, don't cause others to work, prepare your food the day prior, don't travel long distance, don't kindle a fire, have a holy meeting, remember the creation story, remember we were once slaves and that Israel is to keep this throughout their generations as both a sign that it is God who sanctifies them and as a covenant forever.
Sabbath and the Messiah
I am going to group these into like texts to try and keep this as simple as I can.
'For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.'
'So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.'
'And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.'
Luke 4:16 says Christ going to the synagogue on the Sabbath day was Christ's custom. This is also interesting because this is the day Christ kicks off his ministry according to Luke and it takes place on the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:1-14, Mark 2:23-3:6, and Luke 6:1-11 is a telling of the story where Christ along with his disciples are walking through grain fields and some of the men pluck heads a grain and eat them. The Pharisees say this is against the law. I just showed you the laws concerning the Sabbath. So, what command are they breaking? The closest one is working. Yet, here they are plucking grain and eating it. This type of action is not called working anywhere in the “law”. If you believe it is then please show me where it is according to the words of Moses between Genesis and Deuteronomy. Working is doing your job or working as a servant according to the law. It is also interesting that Christ points out that the priesthood works on the Sabbath but that they are blameless. Why are they blameless? Because they are keeping other commandments of God. They, much like Christ, were always working for God. So long as you are doing the will of God you will be blameless for doing good on the Sabbath. Christ reminds them that God desires mercy and not sacrifice and if they had known what that means then they would not be condemning the guiltless.
From there this story moves into a healing that takes place on the Sabbath. The question is “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”. If needed go through this video again and see if you can tell where healing would be prohibited. Study out the commandments surrounding the Sabbath carefully and figure out what works are prohibited on the Sabbath and what is not. I will give you a hint. In order for Christ to be perfect he cannot break the Sabbath laws or that him “breaking” the Sabbath laws would be the same kind of breaking the priests are doing. I will let you judge which is which. Christ calls them out for their hypocritical view that values sheep more than men. He ends this by saying it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath and then heals the man. If it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath then that means the Sabbath is still valid. Keep in mind, he is not saying he is changing the law but that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. Christ did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, Matthew 5:17.
Mark 2:27 adds that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. The word used for man here is not specific to Israel. This would be all men.
Mark 1:21-28 and Luke 4:31-37 recounts Christ teaching on the Sabbath and even heals a man from an unclean spirit.
Mark 1:32 tells the story of all the people bringing the sick and demon-possessed to Christ to be healed after the sun had set after the Sabbath. This is an interesting verse that confirms that they were observing sunset as the end of a day. Remember, the Pharisees taught it was unlawful to carry anything or heal on the Sabbath. So, many would wait till the sun went down.
Luke 13:10-17 is another time Christ taught on the Sabbath in a synagogue and healed. Much like other accounts the religious leaders were upset but Christ calls them hypocrites and shows them once again how they value their livestock over that of a woman bound for 18 years!
Luke 14:1-6 is another healing on the Sabbath where he shows these men their hypocrisy!
John 5:9 is another healing that takes place on the Sabbath.
John 9:1-34 is another story of healing on the Sabbath. There is lots of context here worth study.
John 5:18 says that the Jews sought to kill him because he was breaking the Sabbath. It is important to note, as I have been showing, that Christ is not breaking the spirit of what Sabbath is about. What Christ is breaking is the Pharisee's interpretation on how Sabbath should be kept. A Sabbath of strict adherence over one of actual rest and restoration.
John 7:22 Christ points out that in order to keep the command to circumcise on the 8th day according to the commandments of God that sometimes that happens on Sabbath. Yet, they do not want to break that commandment. Christ points out that he is restoring people on the Sabbath. He tells them to judge according to righteousness and not by appearance.
Matthew 24:20 makes mention of Christ saying to pray that their flight from what is coming does not take place on the Sabbath. Interestingly enough he is speaking of a future event. If his death and resurrection does away with the Sabbath regulations why worry if this flight takes place on what would be called the Sabbath?
Luke 23:56 says the women prepared spices but rested on the Sabbath according to the command.
Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54 and John 19:31 says that Christ was buried on what we call Friday as it says “the day before the Sabbath” or “preparation day”.
Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1 time stamps Christ's resurrection to the morning after the Sabbath.
In short. Christ says that he is Lord of the Sabbath and teaches how to correctly follow the Sabbath through example and healing. Many of the times Sabbath is mentioned Christ is teaching or healing. It was Christ's custom to go to a synagogue on the Sabbath day and teach. Christ throws the hypocrisy of the religious leaders in their face and shows them that they are placing a higher value on animals than people. It was Christ's teachings and healings on the Sabbath that caused many of the Jews to seek his life. Christ even points to future events and tells them to pray it does not happen on the Sabbath. If the Sabbath would be done away after his resurrection then this statement has no value and even casts doubt on him from a prophet standpoint. Christ says it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
Sabbath in biblical history
I simply will not list every time Sabbath is mentioned in the bible. Here are some of the more prominent times though.
I already covered that the Sabbath was instituted by God on the 7th day of creation. There is no real mention of Sabbath till the 16th chapter of Exodus. Many would say that because there is no mention of people keeping Sabbath they were not keeping it. Make of it what you will. I do not think the bible mentions they went to the bathroom either but I am pretty sure they did.
God tests Israel with the Sabbath in Exodus 16. He says He will test them to see if they will keep His commandments. This is interesting because it is prior to Mt. Sinai.
Numbers 32:36 is a story of where God pronounces judgment on a man breaking the Sabbath day commandments by picking up sticks. God tells the people to stone the man.
Nehemiah tells the story of of the return to Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple. Nehemiah gets very upset with Israel as they are profaning the Sabbath by working, buying and selling. Nehemiah implements rules of shutting the gates on the Sabbath and that no one may buy or sell on the Sabbath.
Psalm 92 is one specifically written for the Sabbath.
Many of the prophets teach that it was the profaning of the Sabbath as to why God is allowing the people to be cast out from the land. We will cover some of this in the prophecy section of this video but this is also a reason as to why Israel was in the state it was in during the time of the Messiah. It is also why Nehemiah reacts the way he does to Israel breaking the Sabbath. They just got back into to the land after being exiled for breaking the Sabbath and here they go again. Keep this in mind as we enter the time of the Messiah. Israel had already been removed once due to their disobedience to keeping Sabbath holy. At least in part.
Acts 13:14, 42-49, 16:13, 17:2, 18:4 all mentions Paul keeping the Sabbath in some fashion. Usually with teaching in the local synagogue. Some of these mentions are a single Sabbath while other give a number or imply a much longer period of time. The simple fact is that Paul was keeping Sabbath throughout the book of Acts and no other day is given any kind of credence.
Acts 15:21 James, who appears to be the brother of Christ and leader of the Council in Jerusalem, writes a letter to the gentiles. James then says this.
“For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
Why is James writing a letter to gentiles and expecting them to listen to Moses in synagogues? The only logical conclusion is that the next step in their education as followers of Christ is hearing the words of Moses.
'Therefore 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 Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. '
Sabbath is God's holy day.
'See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. '
Again, Sabbath is God's day. Human traditions add things to the Sabbath making it “their day” or making a different day all together holy. Not really holy... as holy as man can making something.
Do not let people judge you for keeping God's holy days and doing what God has told you to do. Your substance is in Christ!
Sabbath is mentioned in the begging and every time people are not keeping it they are called out for it. Even Paul calls out the Colossians for letting other people's opinions cloud their judgments on how they should worship God.
Sabbath in prophecy
Isaiah 1:1-15 is a plea from God that Israel has become as sinful as Sodom and Gomorrah. He says that their Sabbaths are in vain and their Sabbaths have become an abomination to Him.
Isaiah 56:1-12 in contrast is the next mention of Sabbath in Isaiah. It is a reversal of what was going on in the beginning. It speaks of people not profaning the Sabbath. What is very interesting in this chapter is that God is not talking about just Israel but anyone who wants to keep the Sabbath and all his commandments will be accepted and allowed to do sacrifices to Him. His house will be a house of prayer for all nations... verse 7.
Read Isaiah 58. Here is the end of the chapter.
'“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the LORD , and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD , so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.”
Jeremiah 17:19-27 tells an interesting story. God tells the people of Judah to stop carrying burdens on the Sabbath. He tells them if they can stop doing this sin and keep the Sabbath holy, like He told their fathers, then they can live there forever. But if they do not then He will set the place on fire! This may be one of the reasons the religious leaders were so hard on even carrying a small bed on the Sabbath day. I can understand their reasoning. I really can. However, with the good works Christ was performing along with scripture as to what “work' actually is I got to say they were being very overbearing in their interpretation of the law.
Ezekiel 20:12 is another mention of God giving Israel His Sabbaths as a sign that it is He who sanctifies them. God then hammers home the idea that Israel has profaned His Sabbath over the next few chapters. God gave Israel His Sabbaths as a sign of sanctification and they profaned it.
Hebrews 4 tells us that we still have a Sabbath to enter into because the old system did not really bring us rest. We still have rest to look forward to in Christ AMEN! I am not sure if this belonged in history or in prophecy but because it was telling us we still had rest to enter into I decided it belong in prophecy.
God rested from His finished work of creation of the seventh day and blessed it. He invites us to rest from our works and worship Him on the Sabbath day to keep it holy. The Messiah did meany healings and teachings on the Sabbath and seems to indicate to me that the Sabbath day is a day meant to be a day of restoration. A day of looking back at how things were when things were perfect. How things were before the fall of man. Also, how God has brought us out from bondage. Israel can say slavery to Egypt but I can say bondage to sin. It is also something to look forward to. Sabbath is a promise as well as a memorial. We are to keep the Sabbath because there is yet a Sabbath to enter into. The Sabbath we have now is also a test. A test to see if we will obey God. It is also a seal. A seal that it is God who sanctifies us.
All this is from the word of God. These are not my opinions.
Christ is Lord of the Sabbath and I am a follower of Christ.
Be blessed and be a blessed.