THE SABBATH REST


"Candles at the Wall" by Jewish artist Eizen.
Click the image above to go to the Israeli Poster Center.

The Sabbath is celebrated with the lighting of two Shabbat candles.


A study by Gavin Finley MD
endtimepilgrim.org - 2006


THE SABBATH IS PRESENTLY OBSERVED BY THE JEWISH HOUSE AND OTHERS. BUT IT IS A COMMANDMENT GIVEN TO ALL 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL, AND TO THEIR FRIENDS DRAWN OUT FROM THE NATIONS WHO HAVE COME TO KNOW MESSIAH. ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE SAVED UNDER THE ATONING BLOOD OF MESSIAH AND BROUGHT NEAR, INTO THE WIDER COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL.

"Remember the sabbath day,
            and keep it holy".
- Exodus 20:8
Christians today are only just beginning to see the importance of this matter of the Sabbath. It is a day of rest, reflection, and recreation in fellowship with God. It has truly been called the 'Sabbath rest'. Unfortunately by Christian tradition we have been taught that the commandment has no relevance for us in Christendom except to take the admonition to "keep the Sabbath" and re-route it into a Sunday in which we rest from out labors and attend church. We have been led to believe that the seventh day Sabbath and the other holiday Sabbaths were given by God through Moses at Sinai and therefore they belong to "Israel" and not "The Church". So as we Christians see it the Sabbath rest is not our concern. We go to Church on the first day of the week, a Sunday. And we are happy to accept what we are told about this switch. We are told that Sunday is the "Christian sabbath".

Is Sunday really the "Sabbath" for Christian believers?
Or is this phrase, "Sunday Sabbath" a self-conflicted oxymoron?
Is it possible that we have been mislead by dark angelic principalities and powers of Rome. In 325 A.D. the bishops/elders, of the Church were invited to "go up" to meet the Caesar of Rome at Nicaea. The Council of Nicaea was a turning point for the Church. It brought Christendom under pagan Rome. The Holy Scriptures were side-lined and the leading of the Holy Spirit took a back seat to Nicolaitan hierarchical religion. This took us into the Dark Ages for 1,000 years. The conquest of the masses was achieved by an enforced mandatory ritual. The Communion, a simple fellowship meal between God and His people, was removed from the picture. It was replaced by a magic show at the front of the Church. In the Mass a priest held up a sun shaped waver which by his incantations was magically transformed into the body of Christ. Then he fed it to the masses. This ritual and offered the only hope for salvation and grace and thereby made the priest-craft of Rome extremely powerful and wealthy. The poor spiritually deprived masses watching this whole performance from the back had to buy into this to be "saved". They had no other option. They were ignorant, and intentionally kept ignorant by the Nicolaitan, laity conquering religious elites. They remained ignorant because they no longer had access to the Bible. God's Word was locked up in the Latin, the "holy" language. had no other option and of course they were to dumb to understand. Only the experts could understand.

This terrible infiltration of the Church by the princes of this world continues to this day, and not just in the medieval Church of Rome. So, why are unholy religious spirits still hood-winking us today? Well people are not yet seeking God. Most households have several Bibles but Christian believers are still not studying the Holy Scriptures for themselves and carrying on their own devotion to God. So in this matter of the Sabbath we read the ten commandments, say we believe them, and then turn around and delete the 4th commandment. Our churchmen tell us it is OK. So for us, (being like sheep), it is OK. If a churchman says 10 minus 1 = 10 we believe it. Everyone else believes it. And since we have not heard anything authoritative spoken to the contrary we believe it too. Ten commandments and delete one commandment. That leaves ten commandments that we believe. But what if someone in the pew stood up and said,

"Excuse me pastor, but doesn't 10 minus 1 = 9?
Isn't it 9 just commandments that we believe should be followed?"
Well it would be unthinkable for a Bible believing Christian to publicly question this, right?
But we do deny the relevance of the Sabbath. We all but cut it out of our Bible.
Then we deny that we cut any of the ten commandments out at all.

But is the Sabbath just a matter of "keeping the Law"? Did not God say that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath? What does that mean? Is there not also a hidden blessing here that God ordained that we enjoy? Could the keeping of the Sabbath be a joy and a privilege? And might it also be a matter of walking with our God by His divine enabling Grace?

When we come to know Christ we begin to obey many precepts . Why do we do this? Is it because we are keeping the law because we must? Do we become more godly in our behavior because we have decided that we we really ought to be good people? Or might the indwelling Christ inside us have something to do with it? Do we keep God's precepts, His law because we must, or because we love God Himself and delight to please Him? These are interesting questions are they not?

And so why do Christian believers keep the Sabbath as a day of rest and consecration to God? Do they keep the Sabbath because they feel they must "obey the law"? Or is it something that born-again Christians enlightened to the Sabbath might do by God's divine enabling empowering Grace? If keeping the Sabbath is a matter of Grace as well as obedience in love then why are we not seeing it?

It is true that we are not saved by the keeping of the letter of the Law. No man can do that? The holy perfection God requires under the Law throws us towards God's Grace. And then as Messiah comes inside us and leads us in the gentle bonds of love we obey because we delight to do so. Such is the Way of lovers of God. So the Old Covenant with the nation, unable to stand on its own, is picked up by the New Covenant, the refurbished Covenant, and God's Law is written in the hearts of flesh and not just on tablets of stone at Sinai or the Courthouse. As as matter of righteousness and salvation before God), the Old Covenant God made back at Sinai with the nation of Israel has been brought to the vital personal level. And in the fullness of time the national covenant will be restored and completed by the New Covenant.

Yes, there is a national covenant with the nation of Israel that began at Sinai. But God has always dealt with people personally when people come to Him personally. This personal covenant God makes with individuals is the New Covenant. The prophet Jeremiah laid this out very well in Jeremiah 31:31,32,&33. But does this mean that the Old Covenant, the covenant God made with the nation of Israel, along with all the precepts of Israel, is "done away with? Has the New Covenant supplanted and replaced the Old Covenant and made it "go away".

Far from it! The Old Covenant has not been displaced by the New Covenant. No, not at all. Rather, the Old Covenant YHVH-God made with the nation of Israel sees His Law lifted up and established in the hearts of individuals. These are the people who will ultimately make up His nation, His Congregation, even His Elect and Chosen people. Neither the New Covenant or the Old Covenant was strictly a matter of race or DNA. The national covering and citizenship of Israel could and was given to people of other races as was the personal covering of the New Covenant. At Pentecost we saw an epic overflow of God's Grace beyond Israel to the heathen gentiles, bringing them into the same covenant Israel was offered. Salvation does not come by Abraham's race or his blood-line but rather by the blood covering of Israel's Suffering Servant, the Lamb of God. Let us make no mistake about this. The redemption of the Congregation of God, that is, His Grace, came as a fulfillment of the demands of the Law. And so Emmanuel, "God with us", brings His redemption to us personally and also nationally in the Commonwealth of Israel. He does this by His Grace. But also as a matter of the fulfillment of His Law. This redeeming blood of the New Covenant comes to us from God. Our redemption was purchased by God's Grace and brought into being through the faith that Abraham demonstrated as he turned away from the city of idols and walked with God. The great salvation the Abraham got a glimpse of when God provided a substitute sacrifice comes by the atoning blood of Israel's Sacrifice Lamb. This was the work of Yeshuah Hamashiach/Jesus Christ. And it was finished at the cross of Calvary.

The prophet Jeremiah spoke of this New Covenant being established personally with individuals. He spoke of YHVH-God's Law being written on tablets of flesh in the hearts of men. The New Covenant comes in with the indwelling Messiah. The personal salvation of God's Elect. saves the lost, establishes the citizenry of Israel, and restores the full sovereignty of all of its 12 tribes. Messiah does the work here, not us, and "unto Him shall the gathering of the people be". Ultimately this New Covenant will come to the aid of the Old Covenant to restore the broken state of the House of David in Judah. The New Covenant will also restore the lost 10 tribes and all their companions thus guaranteeing all Israel's ultimate and full national salvation. Both houses of Israel would eventually come to restoration in the New Covenant .

But that is not all! The Light of Israel also shines out beyond the land of Israel and beyond the racial DNA of Israel to embrace those God is calling to Himself among the heathen gentiles out at the ends of the earth. Thus we see the fulfillment of God's declared purpose in Isaiah 49:6. There He clearly states His intent to establish the wider Commonwealth of Israel. Oh yes, the "new creatures" in God find that they have been issued passports into a New Citizenship. The prophesied Light to the Gentiles performs this wondrous work. Both personal "born-again" salvation and national restoration in Israel will become the portion for all the many myriads that Abraham saw. Indeed the Seed of Abraham will spawn a huge company of people, as numerous as the stars of heaven.

This restoration will bring world peace. But this world peace will only come under Messiah. It will will not come from the human efforts of an ecumenical, or politically active Church. Nor will this restoration and peace come from a political or military work by Dominionist crusading men pretending to act honorably on behalf of Christ whilst swinging the sword and mace, missile and gun. God Himself will do this job. He Himself will complete the Restoration of Israel. And He will do it His way. And so "all Israel will be saved". (See Romans 11)

THE SABBATH:
A PERSONAL INVITATION TO FELLOWSHIP FROM THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL.
A SERENDIPITY AND A DELIGHT FOR THOSE WHO RESPOND AND ENTER IN.

So, as we have seen, the Sabbath, just like any other ordinance, precept, or admonition from God, will be restored under the new Covenant. This is a serendipity, a happy unexpected event bringing great joy to those who are privileged to discover it. The returning Messiah is in Himself the Shiloh, the One through whom the Peace comes and the One to whom the Peace of Jerusalem belongs.
"And to Him will the gathering (and the obedience) of the people be." Genesis 49:10

Six thousand years have passed since creation.
The coming one thousand years Messiah will see Messiah establish His Kingdom.
And He will bring the people of this harried sin-sick planet His Millennial.
There and then the people and the creation will begin to enjoy God's 7th Millennium.
At that time they will enter into Messiah's Millennial Sabbath Rest.

So our obedience to God in this matter of the Sabbath is not onerous or grievous. Our obedience and our following Christ, the Holy One of Israel, comes in the gentle bonds of love. Since the days of righteous Abel and Enoch good men and women and children have obeyed and walked with God. They do this not out of compulsion but because they love the One they walk with. But unfortunately many Christians and Messianic believers in western Christendom still see the Sabbath only in the context of "Torah Observance" and the fulfilling and obeying the letter of the Law. They do not know the God they are striving to obey. They do not love Him to the degree that they want to walk with Him daily. Many of us who call ourselves Christians still need to repent of our Luciferian selfism and obsession with our own esteem. Are we not esteemed in our God? Does He not save us and rejoice over us with exceeding joy?

Christians at the present time don't seem to want to hear about the Sabbath. They are still caught up in that old blood feud over Law vs. Grace. That big spat came 2900 years ago at the Breach of Jeroboam. That epic family feud between the people of the Law, the Jewish House of Judah, and the people of God's Grace, the Church still remains to this day. It has yet to be faced up to by both parties. It has yet to be resolved. But it will. This and many other wonders and mysteries will be unveiled during the future 70th Week, the final 7 years of this age.

So when nominal Christians today hear mention of "the Sabbath" they then hear a little religious gremlin whisper in their ear.
They hear,
"Someone is telling you that you must keep the Sabbath to be saved!

The typical Christian response to this is quite predictable and understandable.
They say, "Me keep the Sabbath? No way!
I am no longer "under the Law! I am saved by Grace!"

Of course they are being led astray and into a babel of confusion about the Sabbath. The Sabbath was never intended to be a means of salvation. We can never please God by our good works. Indeed the Sabbath was not established for God's benefit but for ours. The Sabbath Rest was instituted by God for man. It was meant to be an opportunity and a pathway to joy in God and a time of rest and regrouping for all His people in a corporate way as well as a personal way. The Sabbath was also set to be a sign between God and His covenant people that they belonged to Him.

Yeshua/Jesus Himself spoke this word of grace concerning the Sabbath.
He said,

"The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:"
It is entirely possible for God to walk with men in precious fellowship.
He has ordained one day in the week to do just that.
He can and He will bring His Peace and Shalom to His people.
His desire is to bring His Sabbath rest to them as they walk through life here on earth.

But alas, the fourth commandment is forgotten.
The prophet Jeremiah lamented.

Jeremiah 50
6 My people have been lost sheep.
Their shepherds have led them astray;
They have turned them away on the mountains.
They have gone from mountain to hill;
They have forgotten their resting place.
But the days will come when those languishing under the gargoyles of the cathedrals will step out into the Light of Israel. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah will roar. And the sons of God "will come trembling from the West", They will "ask the way to Zion" In that day they will come to know the indwelling Messiah. They will come to experience His Sabbath as a joy to be embraced by grace and in devotion to Him. In those days the Prince of Peace, King of Salem/shalom will lead them into His rest.