Chapter 4 - Jesus Celebrated the 7th Day Sabbath


One of the most difficult transitions for you becoming a “talmidim” will be worshiping on the seventh day (Saturday) instead of the first day (Sunday). There are several reasons why we changed this day of worship. Most of us have always questioned this change and we were taught specifics why there was a change, but none of it really “added up”. If you are to truly want to follow the Jewish Rabbi Yeshua, you will have to understand the truth about this.

There is a lot of talk about taking the Ten Commandments out of the schools, the government, even some churches. But the way I see it is we have already permanently removed one of them these ten. The fourth Commandment reads:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim. In it you shall do not 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. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11.

What part of this don’t we get? Why do we go to church on Sunday? Clearly, Scripture says twice “the seventh day”, not the “first day”. And yet we have been taught in the church that because of Yeshua rising from the dead on the first day of the week we now have some permission to change the day of rest? The day that HaShem has set apart as holy? Do we have a right or permission to change the Word of HaShem?

This really used to confuse me when I was studying the Bible. And I had questions about the Sabbath when we were discussing the Ten Commandments. Why did we celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday? Again, you would hear a pastor preach, “Jesus fulfilled the Law. We are no longer ‘under the Law’. So we can now celebrate His resurrection as the Sabbath.”

You can never change the Law

There is only one problem with this. The Word, the Torah commands us that we can never change it! Deuteronomy 4:2 clearly explains, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the Commandments of Yahweh your Elohim which I command you.” If HaShem is telling us we cannot change His commands then must surely be important! In fact, to change the day from Saturday to Sunday is really disobeying this Commandment which from my understanding results in sin.

Another argument might you might hear is, “The Sabbath can be Saturday or Sunday. It means day of rest.” Not true. Yes, the word Sabbath comes from a Hebrew word meaning “rest”. But, clearly in the Commandment is says to do this on the SEVENTH DAY. Always the seventh day has been called Saturday (another study in itself) and the first day of the week is always Sunday. Twice in this Commandment it says “seventh day”. No escaping the Truth here, the seventh day is Saturday.

And He sets it apart to be “holy”. Holy in Hebrew is “qaddish” pronounced commonly as “kadosh”. It can mean “sanctify”, “righteous” and “pure”. HaShem calls the seventh day of the week “holy”. That means from sundown on the sixth day (Friday) to sundown on the seventh day (Saturday), we are to respect this day as a holy one. Do we even begin to understand what a holy day involves? Many people believe that the Bible is always foreshadowing what it is heaven. Honoring the Sabbath is a foreshadow or taste of what heaven will be like. After all when we come into His eternal presence, we will be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

Could Yeshua “break” the Law?

Now you may also have learned somewhere in your studies that “Jesus broke the Sabbath”. So, if He broke it – well then it must be ok for us to break it too? First of all, that is impossible. The Son of HaShem, the Savior of the world was SINLESS. To break a Commandment makes you lawless, it is sin. They will refer to John 5:18 “Therefore the Jews sought to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that G-d was His Father, making Himself equal with G-d”. They accused Him of breaking the Sabbath because He had healed the man by the Sheep Gate on that day.

The Pharisees had taken the “Oral Law” (now referred to as the “Talmud”) from Moses and added many “fences” or extra rules to protect the original law. Thus, the regulations for the Sabbath were very strict and rigid. The Pharisaic law permitted healing on the Sabbath only if it would save a life. Maybe they thought this particular healing could have waited a day.

When Yeshua healed on that particular Sabbath, He actually fulfilled the Torah Commandment to rest. This man who was suffering by the pool, was not resting. By Yeshua healing him, he was relieved of pain and able then to rest on the Sabbath. He was rescued by Yeshua. Look at Job 34:29-29 “Elohim hears the cry of the afflicted. When He gives quietness (rest), who then can make trouble?”

It is the heart of HaShem to heal and give rest. That is underlying what Yeshua did on the Sabbath. He would not break the Commandment to rest. He later refers to the Torah Commandment in Exodus 23:5 “If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.” In other words, if someone needs help regardless of what they think of you or you of them, then help them!

The command to keep the commandments

Keeping the Commandments is important to Yeshua and that is exactly what He taught His talmidim to do. We read in John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” Is Yeshua lying here? If He broke the Sabbath, He did not keep His Father’s commandments. Obviously, this is not the case. He did keep the Sabbath and He taught His talmidim to do the same. If we are to become true talmidim of Yeshua we are to keep ALL His commandments. Including the Sabbath.

So, what does keeping the Sabbath look like today? Rest and convocation. When you read Leviticus 23:3 He gives further instructions (this chapter is about the Feasts), “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation.” First let’s look at “resting”. That means to me no shopping, no job work, no housework, no cooking (plan ahead), no dishes, no laundry etc. It also means we do not go the stores (that would be making our “servants” work), same with not going to restaurants, theatres, etc.

What does “convocation” mean? In Hebrew it is “miqra” pronounced, mik-raw. It means a “called assembly” (thus forms the synagogue and Temple). Another literal translation is “rehearsal” – a practice session for a future event. Like I mentioned above, the Sabbath is a foreshadowing of spending eternal time with HaShem! It is important to gather and get together with other like minded believers on the Sabbath. We meet with a group each week and do Hebrew worship, prayer, study and discuss the “Torah Portion” of the week, and of course eat. It is wonderful, actually feels a little like “heaven”.

The “Bridge”

Some say when you start celebrating the Sabbath it is a “bridge” into the rest of the Torah. It’s like once you “get” how to follow the big Ten Commandments (all of them) then you might think, “Well, I missed the Sabbath being on Saturday. What else did I miss?” That’s how I started journeying back to Torah. It was like an open door – taking me into a new room. Or should I say an “old” room. One that I had never entered before. And once you get into this room you find there are many treasures. Studying the Torah and learning to become a talmidim of Yeshua is wonderful. It brings uncontainable joy into your life. I promise you will never be the same.

But, you may want to “count the costs”. Yeshua provides some sobering thoughts in Luke 14:26-28 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, his mother, his wife, his children, his brothers and his sisters, yes, and his own life besides, he cannot become my talmidim. Whoever does not carry his own stake and come after me cannot be my talmidim. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Don’t you sit down and estimate the cost, to see if you have enough money to complete it?” He was warning us that following Him, doing what He does, obeying and loving Him was going to be costly. Maybe your family might reject you, you could lose a job for not working on a Saturday, your friends will look at you like you are just plain weird and some will reject you. If you start to discuss following the Torah and the commandments with others who have been taught they are not required to do so, you will guaranteed have some heated discussions.

People can be very passionate about what they believe – and can get very defensive, even angry. I remember when I first started celebrating the Sabbath, I sat down with a friend and explained through Scripture why I was doing this. She tried to show me some verses that she felt defended her position about why she could follow Sabbath on Sunday. She began to cry and get very angry at me! We had to agree to “disagree” and stopped discussing it. Expect some opposition. That is why you have to be strong and courageous. Just like Joshua!

There is one more promise about keeping the Sabbath. It is huge. We read about it in Isaiah 56:6-7 “And the foreigners (Gentiles) who join themselves to Yahweh, to serve Him, to love the Name of Yahweh, and to be His workers, all who keep the Sabbath and do not profane it, and hold fast to My Covenant, I will bring them to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My House (Temple) of Prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My House (Temple) will be called a House of Prayer for all peoples.” Keeping the Sabbath will bring you into the eternal Temple, the one Yeshua returns to! That’s what talmidim do.