Shabbat shalom!

This is part of a series of essays I wrote in 2018 to explain the Biblical Appointed Times (mo'adim) to my family members. If you'd like to read the other papers in this series, you can find them linked here:

  1. Happy New Year! (four months early)
  2. Shabbat shalom!
  3. Passover & Unleavened Bread
  4. Pentecost
  5. The Day of Loud Noise
  6. The Day of Atonement
  7. The Grand Finale
  8. That Jewish Christmas?

Shabbat shalom!

The first mo'ed I would like to discuss with you is, ironically, the only one which does not have a specific date on God's calendar. The Sabbath day (or Resting day1) is a weekly event that corresponds to our Saturday. (While you might have never considered why it is on Saturday, we know that this is true because Jesus kept the Sabbath on Saturday, and the Western world has kept the same seven-day cycle since before Jesus was even born.)

You've no doubt heard of the Sabbath many, many times growing up in church. If your church has the Ten Commandments on display, you may know the Fourth Commandment by heart: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” This is found in Exodus 20:8-11,

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 Yehovah 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 Yehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yehovah blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

This verse clearly lays out the reason for keeping the Sabbath—to memorialize God's work as our Creator.

I think by now most of you have visited the Ark Encounter, and all but L*** and S***2 have visited the Creation Museum. While I don't know what each of you believes, my hope is that your visits to those places have convinced you of the Bible's story of Creation, which we can read in Genesis 1:1-2:3. We see in those verses that God created the universe over a series of six days, and he set aside the seventh day as a day of resting. Why does God need to rest? you might ask. Of course God doesn't need to rest, but he chose to do so. It is a way for him to set apart a day as holy. What does it mean to be holy? Holiness is just a word meaning “set apart”. In other words, my statement in the line above is redundant.

If you read the Old Testament, you will come across the terms “holy” and “profane” (or something similar). If something is “profane”, it is common or ordinary. If something is “holy”, it is set apart. God has created many profane (ordinary) things, but there are certain things which he has set apart as holy or sacred. There may be nothing obviously better about whatever thing God deems holy, but the very fact of setting it apart means it is important to him—and should be to us.

God has called us, his people, to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Peter quotes that verse from the Law of Moses, wherein God says five times that we are to be holy. If we are to be set apart for God, then we should pay close attention to the things which God tells us are set apart. The rest of the world can wallow in its profanity, but we have a higher calling—to be holy as our God is holy. Concerning the Sabbath, there are at least seven reasons why we should still observe this instruction today.

  1. God says it is a sign of his eternal covenant with us (Exodus 31:16). When we choose to keep his Sabbaths, we are aligning ourselves with his program. Consider this: There are seven days in a week. But if you work all seven days, then effectively there is no more week, since you work every single day without stop. Sure, you can probably make more money doing that, but God created us to need a day of resting. Now many Christians believe that Sunday (the first day) has replaced Saturday as the Sabbath. The Bible never says this, though. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church takes full credit for changing the Bible on this matter. Although it is up to you what you do, and I won't look down on anyone for their choices, I would encourage you to consider if the Bible authorizes Church leaders to change God's instructions.
  2. Since the Sabbath is a day to remember Creation, we are declaring God the Creator by keeping it (Exodus 20:11). When we keep the Sabbath, we are proclaiming by our actions that Yehovah God is the Creator of the universe. In a world that is immersed in Darwinian evolution and a universe that is supposedly over fourteen billion years old, this is a powerful testimony to the world.
  3. God takes the Sabbath seriously. Take a moment and go to Search for “profane Sabbath”. What you read may surprise you. Now I am not trying to scare you or shame you. I don't want to hurt anyone by what I write. My goal is to encourage you to take stock of your life. We do the best we can. God is our Father; he loves us and wants to see us try. He knows we can't do everything perfectly, but he enjoys seeing us try. I only want to encourage you to try.
  4. Jesus and the Apostles kept the Sabbath. I could give dozens of references, but you can see for yourself by reading the Gospels and the Book of Acts. Most of Jesus' and Paul's sermons took place on the Sabbath, and all early Christians met in the Jewish synagogues on the Sabbath until non-believing Jews pushed them out. Even then, it wasn't until A.D. 321 when the pseudo-Christian Emperor Constantine declared the first day of the week to be the “venerable day of the sun”, in honor of the god Sol Invictus, whom he appeared to think was Jesus by another name. Until the time of Constantine, nearly all Christians still worshiped on Saturday.
  5. The Sabbath will continue throughout the reign of Jesus on Earth and into the New Creation. Isaiah 66 is about the New Creation. In verse 23, we read, “From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh will come to worship before me, declares Yehovah.” The context of this verse is after God has destroyed this present Creation and has created a New Heaven and New Earth.
  6. The Sabbath day gives us an amazing glimpse into God's prophetic timeline regarding the return of Jesus. This point is a little speculative, but I believe it is true. In chapter 2 Peter 3, Peter tells us not to be concerned about how long it's taking for Jesus to return. The early Christians believed they would be alive when Jesus returned. This is clear from reading their writings in the New Testament. They clearly expected the Messiah to return within their lifetimes. It has now been 2,000 years, and obviously Jesus hasn't returned yet. While Peter didn't know when the Lord would return, he had the wisdom to warn us not to be anxious about it, and encourage us that Jesus will return to bring God's judgment—and our salvation. Just because God is patient with humanity doesn't mean he won't eventually judge us. Peter writes, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with Yehovah one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). While this likely went right over the heads of his audience, it is very significant to us. I'll explain why in the next point so we have seven altogether. 😉
  7. The seven-day week is a prophetic picture of the entire timeline of this present age. The verse in 2 Peter 3 is key to understanding this. Whether or not Peter realized what he was saying, I believe that we can interpret his words to mean that God has established a 7,000-year timeline for this Creation. Besides 2 Peter 3:8, there are four other corroborating passages for this hypothesis.
    1. Revelation 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. I separated these because each verse mentions that the reign of Jesus on Earth will be for one thousand years.
    2. Hebrews 4:1-10. This passage describes a future Sabbath rest that believers may enter. When considered alongside Revelation 20:2-7, it appears that the author of Hebrews is referencing the same event.
    3. Malachi 4:2. This verse describes the “sun of righteousness” coming with healing in his wings (literally: fringes, or tzitzit; the blue strings that I wear). The Jewish people rightly understood the “sun of righteousness” to be a Messianic title. Furthermore, they deduced that since the sun was created on the fourth day, the Messiah would come around the 4,000th year. That is exactly what happened. Jesus was born around the beginning of the year 4000 from Creation. He even came with healing in his tzitzit, as we see in Luke 8:43-48. In fact, the Jewish leaders were so sure that this was a Messianic prophecy, they took out 230 years from their histories to make it look like Jesus came too early to be the Messiah!
    4. Hosea 6:1-2. This verse is quite intriguing. It is speaking for Israel, and she says, “Come, let us return to Yehovah; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” It makes little sense if taken at face value, but if we understand 1 day = 1,000 years, it makes perfect sense! After the resurrection of Jesus, God allowed his temple to be destroyed and the Jewish people to be scattered. He did this in order to bring in the “multitude of the nations” (Genesis 48:19; Romans 11:25). God hasn't abandoned Judah (the Jews), but for the past 2,000 years, his focus has been on the Gentiles. Near the end of 2,000 years, God has returned his sights to Judah. The present-day nation of Israel only represents about 25% of the true people of Israel; the rest of Israel is still dispersed. But after two “days”, God has raised up Judah, just as he promised through Hosea.

I don't want to wax any longer than this. It is my hope that you will read these things and take them to heart. So I will close with this promise concerning the Sabbath:

Thus says Yehovah: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation [yeshuah] will come, and my righteousness be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. … And the foreigners [Gentiles] who join themselves to Yehovah, to minister to him, to love the name of Yehovah, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant—these 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 peoples.”
—Isaiah 56:1-2, 6-7

May the grace of God our Father be with you in Jesus the Messiah.

Seth שת

  1. Perhaps a better translation than “resting” is “ceasing”. It implies nearly the same thing—not working—so I have opted not to change it throughout this paper.
  2. Names obscured for privacy.


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