1) - Our Saviour, Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ), created all things, including the seventh day Sabbath - Saturday! He blessed it, consecrated it, and rested on it Himself to set us an example. (John 1:1,3/ Gen.2:2,3). He said that He "did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it." The strict meaning of that word was "to restore" it! (Matt.5:17/ Rom.8:4). As Christians, we are free to celebrate any day as our Sabbath, therefore we are free to courageously observe the one He first inaugurated - the seventh day (Saturday).
2) - John the Divine's vision in the book of Revelation occurred on the Biblical Sabbath (Saturday) - the Lord's Day. Up till then, Sunday had never been referred to as the Lord's Day!! John saw "in the midst of the seven candlesticks, One like unto the Son of man." (Rev.1:13).
The seven candlesticks were the symbol that we now identify as the Jewish candelabra ("m'norrah"), but we know this was also a Christian symbol used by the early church. Traditionally, the middle candle stands for the Sabbath. No wonder why the Lord took His position there - after all, He was the LORD of the Sabbath!!
He Himself declared it in Luke 6:5. The 3 middle candles form a Hebrew 3-pronged letter "sheen" which is an abbreviation of the Triune God - Father, SON, and Holy Spirit!
3) - Jesus told his followers that the Sabbath Day (Saturday) had been created not for Jews only, but for mankind in general. (Mk. 2:27) In the Old Testament (Gen.20:80) Jews were commanded to remember the Sabbath Day (Saturday) to keep it holy.
The word is not only meant as an observance, but as a recollection of what God had already stated in Genesis for all mankind. This proves that its observance was already in existence as a way of life for everyone - not just the Jews! The keeping of that Sabbath did not appear as a new idea in the Ten Commandments!!
4) - During His earthly ministry, our Saviour set us an example by worshiping in the House of the Lord every Sabbath Day (Saturday). (Lk.4:16) Paul admonishes us to follow His example even as Paul himself did. (1 Cor. 11:1) The idea of celebrating the Sabbath on Resurrection Day (Sunday), came from Justin Martyr in the second century. Already Sunday was a Roman holiday to honour "light" (the god of the sun, called Apollo, is reflected in the name of SUNday).
Out of the political desire to identify more with the Roman hierarchy, and to avoid possible persecution, they accommodated this pressure, and deliberately changed the Sabbath day to Sunday - the holy day, forbidding any Christian to acknowledge their Jewish roots. This is also when the celebration of the Biblical Feasts (Trumpets, Tabernacles, Passover, and Pentecost) were banished from the church calendar. But God is restoring our heritage!
5) - History teaches us that the early church observed the Biblical Sabbath (Saturday) for over 300 years after the resurrection of Christ! Paul met with Christians on the first day of the week (Sunday) to break bread; but this is not to be confused with Eucharist - it was only a simple meal together after which he preached - not the Sabbath day. In ancient Scotland, the Christians continued to observe Sabbath on Saturday until 600 A.D., when intense persecution banned Sabbath observance.
No recognition of Jewish roots was allowed whatsoever. (Anne Fremantle, "A Treasury of Early Christianity"). In European languages even existing today, there sometimes appears the name "Sabota" (or derivative) on the word for Saturday, a vague reminder that the original day for Sabbath HAD been observed at one time in that particular European country.
6) - The Apostle Paul and the remainder of Christ's followers continued to observe the Biblical Sabbath (Saturday) and to preach to the Gentile converts ON the Sabbath Day (Saturday). (Acts 13:42/16:13/18:4)
7) - The Sabbath (Saturday) is part of God's immutable and eternal Ten Commandments. (Ex.20:10/31:15/35:2/Lev.23:3/Deut.5:14/31:14/16:31/23:3,32) In Acts 3:21, we are told that in the last days there will be a restoration of ALL things that the LAW and the prophets spoke about.
8) - God has promised to pour special blessings upon those Gentiles who honour His Sabbath Day (Saturday) (Is.56:6,7/58:13,14) . God states that He will give these "foreigners" and "strangers" (Gentile believers) a name that is better than His own natural seed (the Jewish people) - because they choose to observe His Sabbath - not out of enforced legal obligation, but as a response of love and adoration!
9) - There is a rapidly growing number of Gentile Christians all over the world who are starting to celebrate the Sabbath on the right day - Saturday! Most of them take it as their day of rest, and worship on Sunday, while others have scheduled their worship as well on Saturday.
These born-again people are from every conceivable denomination. Most of them have come to the Sabbath revelation within recent years. All of them feel they have re-discovered a wonderful truth which has lain dormant for so many centuries!
“FOR I AM THE LORD, I CHANGE NOT!” (Mal.3:6)
"MESSIAH YESHUA, THE SAME
YESTERDAY, AND TODAY, AND FOREVER!" (Heb.13:8)
THE BIBLICAL SABBATH
- accomplish all the work you need to do before sundown Friday night
- tidy and clean entire house (it is easier if you do this Thursday so you are not all tuckered out before Shabbat - or else divide work into Thursday and Friday during day)
- prepare ahead of time a large crock of stew or soup (often people use all the leftovers in the refrigerator and add beef or chicken stock, left-over vegetable dregs, soya sauce, and spices etc. to it) This will be placed on the back of the stove for dipping into during Shabbat. It saves work for the cook, so she can have a Shabbat too!) Some folk use the Shabbat for fasting once a week.
BUY or FIND
- wine or grape juice
- "challa" (pronounce "ch" like German "ich" or the Scottish "Loch Lomond". This "braided" loaf is available at Jewish delicatessens or some supermarkets and you buy it before sundown, or you try baking your own. The true "shabbat challa" has a slightly sweet taste. (See “Challa Recipe.”) The reason it is braided is that represents human hands which are folded into rest and non-activity.
- salt (in front of father)
- fresh, clean tablecloth
- 2x Unlit candles, holders, matches, woman's candle lighting prayer, and white head cloth (preferably lace) of any kind for woman of the house set infront of her place setting
- a plate (preferably oval) on which to put the UNsliced whole "challa" with a cloth over it (at father's place setting)
- wine or grape juice glasses (the best you have) set infront of the father's place setting
- tell your husband he's supposed to bring home a few fresh flowers for you – put in vase on dining table
- your best dishes and glasses and cutlery
- beaker (if having grape juice instead of wine)
- order of service for husband set at his place
- your best hot dinner menu of the whole week
- try to have all your family present (invite a couple of close friends if desired)
- table games, sing, read, listen to music, fellowship
- go to bed early
- traditionally this is the time that husband and wife "enjoy" one another
"SHABBAT" DURING DAY
- sleep in
- notify friends to avoid phoning you on Shabbat (don't be rigid about this)
- prolonged personal Quiet Time (Bible Study and prayer, listen to teaching)
- refrain from anxious thoughts, talking business, or unnecessary work
- go on a family walk
- watch a Christian, nature, travel, or educational video
- read a book
- write letters
- have FUN
- Shabbat ends at sundown Saturday night
- do your shopping and business from Monday to Friday sundown, not on Shabbat
PROBLEM WITH SHABBAT
- because the observance of Shabbat is new to most Christians, it is difficult to revamp our lives around it
- please avoid any "pride trips" about your observance of Shabbat. Remember your own fears and misconceptions before you had this revelation. Don't be legalistic about your persuasions!
"EREV SHABBAT" FAMILY OBSERVANCE
- the Hebrew word "erev" [Ayrev] means "eve", so Friday night is when Shabbat begins.
- call all the family to dinner
- ask for silence
- mother of the house puts on her head covering
- she lights the 2 Shabbat candles which are placed in front of her
- she places her hands over the flames at a comfortable distance, and says in Hebrew: "BaRUCH aTA adoNAI eloHEYnu, MEHlech ha oLAHM, aSHERR kidSHANu be mitzvaTAV vitziVANu lehadLIK NER shel shabBAT." "Blessèd are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Sabbath."
- she sits down and removes her veil
- the father of the house takes over
- he says the "Kiddish": "It was evening and it was morning the sixth day. Finished were the heavens and the earth and all the host thereof. And God completed by the seventh day His work which He had made; and He ceased on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because thereon He ceased from all His work, which God had created for its reproduction."
- he pours out a full glass of wine or grape juice into the glasses that are all in front of him and passes them down one at a time to each person. It is very important that this time is not used to make conversation - it is a holy time, so silence is best. Wait till everyone is served, then before you drink, the father says in Hebrew: "BaRUCH aTA adoNAI eloHEYnu, MEHlech ha oLAHM BOrey PRI ha GEfen." "Blessèd are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who created the fruit of the vine."
- before you drink, click your glasses with each person at the table and say "Le chaim!" (“To Life!”) [see pronunciation guide] (Some folk take a sip for each family member who is not present.) Some Messianic Jewish families say "Le chaim b'Yeshua" (“To life in Messiah") - drink all of it. [Again, check your pronunciation guide.
- he continues saying "Blessèd are You, the Eternal our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and found pleasure in us, and caused us to inherit His holy Sabbath in love and in favour, as a memorial of the work of creation; for that day ranks first amongst the holy convocations in remembrance of the departure from Egypt. For us You selected, and sanctified us from amongst all nations, in that You caused us to inherit Your holy Sabbath in love and favour. Blessèd are You, O Eternal, Who hallows the Sabbath."
- he then removes the cover of the "challa", lays it aside, and says in Hebrew: "BaRUCH aTA adoNAI eloHEYnu, MEHlech ha oLAHM, ha MOtzi LEHchem MIN ha Aretz." "Blèssed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth." He breaks off (not carves) a small chunk, shakes a bit of salt over it, and passes it down, repeating the action till every one has one chunk of "challa" with salt on it. The reason for salt is that it is a symbol of preservation and covenant.
- the father now gets up and puts his hand on each child's head and pronounces this blessing: For the sons: "God render you like Ephraim and like Manasseh". He might also want to add a personal prayer. For the daughters: "God render you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah." Again, he might want to also add a personal prayer.
- he either reads a pre-chosen section from the Bible himself, or appoints someone else at the table, or passes the Bible around so that each takes a turn.
- a typical Shabbat psalm is Psalm 98, as the heading reads "A Psalm for the Sabbath Day", but you can also choose your own
- sing one Hebrew song or a praise song together. Yes, you can use a musical instrument, or sing “a cappella”. In ultra-Orthodox Jewish homes, a musical instrument is refused on Shabbat until Messiah returns. But since we believe He has already come, we are free to use musical instruments if we choose do so.
- the father then pronounces the Aaronic blessing over his family, "May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you! May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you His peace - His 'shalom!' " (Num.6:24-26)
- wish each other "ShabBAT shaLOM"! (meaning a "peaceful Sabbath")
- enjoy your leisurely Shabbat meal (refrain from discussing anything unpleasant)
PRONUNCIATION GUIDE:- "ch" = as in German "ich" or Scottish "Loch Lomond" or "Bach" (the composer)
- "i" = as in "meet"
- "e" or "eh"= as in "let"
- "o" = as in "note"
- "ey" = as in "say"
- "a" = as in "law" (not as in "mat")
- "ai" = as in "my"
- "u" = as in "true" (not as in "new")
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES FOR CHRISTIANS
A PSALM FOR THE SABBATH
It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to Your
Name, O most high;
2 to declare Your steadfast love in the morning,
and Your faithfulness
3 to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody
of the lyre.
4 For You, O Lord, have made me glad
by Your work;
at the works of Your hands
I sing for joy.
5 How great are Your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very
6 The dull man cannot know,
the stupid cannot understand this:
7 that, though the wicked
sprout like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever,
8 but You, O Lord, are on high for ever.
9 For, lo, Your enemies, O Lord, for , lo, Your enemies shall perish;
all evildoers shall be scattered.
10 But You have exalted
my horn like that
of the wild ox;
You have poured over me fresh oil.
11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies,
my ears have heard
the doom of my evil assailants.
121 The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a cedar in
13 They are planted in the
house of the lord,
they flourish in the courts
of our God.
14 They still bring forth fruit in old age,
they are ever full of sap
15 to show that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness