The Heart of Shabbat

Shalom!

I apologize for the delay in my blogs as of late; however, I assure you I haven’t fallen off the planet! One person teased me saying, "Well, since you’ve written the most important blog you’ll ever write, I guess there’s nothing more for you to say." I laughed, of course; however, I haven’t been able to think about writing anything else since then. Not that what I previously wrote was the "end of all ends" in writing, I’ve just been so busy with life that I haven’t had much time to reflect and compose. Although, the time has now come to reflect once again. Hallelujah! 🙂

I’m not sure how many of you have taken the time to read one of my term papers; however, I hope you’ve taken the time to read my paper on the Jewish holidays. In it I reflect on the main seven feasts that all believers in Yeshua should uphold. Although, in actuality, there are eight feasts of the Lord found in Leviticus–not seven! It’s surprising that when I often read about the feasts, the Sabbath is quickly glanced over with the primary focus being on the main seven: Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Shavuot, Day of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles. It’s as if Christianity and Messianic Judaism has been happy to just ignore the first Mo’ed (Appointed time) of the Lord listed in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus. What’s curious about this festival among all others is the fact that the Sabbath doesn’t appear to take precedence over "tradition."

Now, I know there are denominations and sects of Christianity that have pushed and have even made such notions that a person is not really saved if they don’t worship God on Sabbath. The flip side of this, of course, is that many Christians claim that the "Church’s" Sabbath is on Sunday because that is when Jesus rose from the dead. Regardless, my attempt today in this blog is not to condemn those that do not hold to Saturday as the Sabbath. Also, I am sure that this issue of when to worship has been argued over and discussed throughout the millennia. As a matter of fact, it was a dividing factor among Jewish and non-Jewish believers in the third century.

The main arguments that I’m making in this blog in regards to a restoration for all Christianity to return back to Saturday as their main Sabbath are: Who’s day is it, God or man’s? And, what are the reasons to return to Shabbat?

It’s interesting how we read in Genesis that on the sixth day God created man. Then, he made the Sabbath and rested. The sages believed that God made the Sabbath after man so that he could present Sabbath as a gift to his children. And, then, as an example God rested to set the precedence for how we are to be like our Father and rest. Regardless if this is completely accurate, it is, nevertheless, really cool! When you consider how much God loves us, it isn’t hard to imagine that the Sabbath was made for us. Jesus actually confirms this when he was debating halakhah with the Pharisees in Mark 2:27-28, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath" (NLT). Thus, being children of God, we should all strive to be like our Father and rest on the day the Lord made for us. In doing so, we are promised that YHVH will meet with us. It is actually an appointed time that God set aside and said, "These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly" (Leviticus 23:2). Just after saying this, the first "holy assembly" he describes is the Sabbath. Not Passover! So, how important is the Sabbath? . . . "You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live" (Leviticus 23:3).

God says the Sabbath is, "an official day for holy assembly." I don’t know about you but if God himself says that the Sabbath is his appointed festival, then I would love to do anything to meet with him on the very day he says we are to gather in holy assembly. Imagine your favorite rock band is planning on having a concert in your area. You get their newsletter, flyer, and you read about it in the local newspaper. All three sources say that the concert will happen on exactly such and such day, such and such date, and such and such hour. How many of you would attend the concert the day after? Or, how about the day before? I believe it would be safe to assume that no person reading this would miss the concert if such was the case. Now, yes, God is omnipresent and he can speak to us on any day, and he can accomplish his will in us on any given day. However, this is a specific, timeless, day in which God says it belongs to him and he wants us to join with him in holy assembly. Did you catch that? He actually wants us to join him for a day of rest. Not that he needs it, but that we do and he promises to renew, restrengthen, and meet with us.

Again, I’m sure that if your favorite singer wanted to meet with you on the 3rd day, at 7:00PM, on the second month of the year, you would do anything you can to make that day special. You would mark it in your calendar, take the day off so that you could meet with him/her, and you wouldn’t miss it for the world unless it was absolutely necessary for you to do so. Well, Yeshua/YHVH promises to be there–on Shabbat–if we are just willing to show up!

 

Shalom,

 

Adrian A. Bernal, M.T.S.

"Changing the way people think, one blog at a time."

Copyright 2008, All Rights Reserved

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About adrianabernal

I committed my life to the Messiah, Yeshua in 1985. In 1987 I attended bible college in Dallas, TX., where I discovered my rich heritage as a Spanish Jew (Sephardic). Like most Sephardim, I was raised more Catholic than Jewish--I can thank the Spanish Inquisition for that--however, we were for the most part not a religious family. I eventually graduated and have continued on to obtain the Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) in Biblical Counseling and Jewish Studies, and a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in Jewish Studies with Columbia Evangelical Seminary, in Washington State. I have pastored both churches and Messianic congregations since 1993. Currently, I travel and speak at several churches, synagogues, and Messianic congregations in Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado. For the past 26 years I've engrossed myself in studies on Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and Christianity. In doing so, I have an extensive background in all three disciplines, which gives me a balanced perspective on the complete Bible, both the Tanakh (O.T) and the B'rit Chadashah (N.T.). I have been married for 25 years to my wife Jennifer, and I have three wonderful children: Nathan, Adam, and Rebekah. I am also a golf teaching professional and enjoy fellowship with my Jewish and Christian brothers and family. If you'd like me to come and speak at your place of worship, please do not hesitate to email me or call. Thank you.
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