The Sabbath - When Is It?

February 19, 2022

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts’” (Leviticus 23:1-2).

Originally, as established by God, the Sabbath was a day of rest. The question remains, when was the Sabbath to be observed? (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 the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no 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 the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

The word ‘Sabbath’ is shabbath, which means to stop, cease, or end; to rest. The word ‘seventh’ is shebi’i, which means seventh. The word ‘rest’ is nuach, which means to rest or settle down. The word ‘worship’ is shachah, which means to bow down, pay homage or worship. The word ‘holy’ is qadash, which means to be set apart, consecrated, dedicated, purify, wholly dedicated.

Word study is important for this reason: [1] The Sabbath ordained by the Lord is to be observed on the seventh day of the week, Saturday (Genesis 2:2-3, Leviticus 23:2-3), not a ‘floating seventh day’ (i.e. if I have to work on Saturday, then I can observe Sabbath every Sunday or Monday).

[2] The Hebrews followed a lunar calendar to chart days, weeks, months, and years. The Sabbath began on Friday at sunset and concluded on Saturday at sunset. That was the seventh day of the week. Sunday was the first day of the new week. Worship (the offering of sacrifices) as well as the work-week began on Sunday at sunrise and ended on Friday at sunset.

[3] The Sabbath is a day of rest [nuach] not a day of worship [shachah]. If it was a day of worship the Lord would have said so. He didn’t. He said it was a day of rest. Think for a minute: if the Sabbath was a day of rest for all of Israel, then the priests would be violating the commandment since they had to work all day receiving and offering sacrifices for the people. And, if the Levitical law said the people could only walk 1/4 mile on the Sabbath, how could people attend worship at the Tabernacle or the Temple if they lived beyond 1/4 mile? They would have violated the commandment. And, if the Sabbath was a day of worship, how are you going to offer the sacrifices of 1 million + people in one place on one day? And if the commandment said For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day (Exodus 16:29), how could they go to the Tabernacle or Temple to worship if they were not to leave their place? God established the Sabbath as a day of rest. Man has altered it to be the day of worship, which God intended every day to be a day of worship. Amen.


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