I’m not a Jew either, although I suspect I may be an ‘Israelite’ of the grafted-in sort…at least an ‘Israelite’ in spirit, and in full knowledge that the land promises and the promise of the Millennial Kingdom to the Jews stand intact, if unfulfilled at present. I have tossed out all of the Pagan influences of the Christian Church, and seek to walk a little bit more like a 1st Century Messianic Gentile. I keep a Saturday Shabbat, from Sunset on Friday evening, to Sunset on Saturday Evening. And I enjoy it a lot.
I didn’t at first, as I struggled to follow the gentle suggestion of the Ruach ha Kodesh that I ‘consider keeping the Sabbath’. It took me three years just to become aware of the original daily plan of the Creator, YHVH. I missed more sunsets the first few years than I managed to even notice! But I kept pursuing the idea.
And one day, I found that sunset had become important to me everyday. In fact, I frequently ask myself, “Is today preparation for Shabbat?” as the sun dips in the west, because it is a wonderful thing to keep Shabbat as G-d ordained…in the beginning.
Genesis 2:2-3 (CJB)
2 On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.
Shabbat celebrates G-d finishing creation for us to use and enjoy. And as we are a holy people, we should at least honor those things that G-d sets apart as holy, not to mention setting ourselves apart to be holy, and kept blameless.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 (CJB)
16 Always be joyful.
17 Pray regularly.
18 In everything give thanks, for this is what God wants from you who are united with the Messiah Yeshua.
19 Don’t quench the Spirit,
20 don’t despise inspired messages.
21 But do test everything — hold onto what is good,
22 but keep away from every form of evil.
23 May the God of shalom make you completely holy — may your entire spirit, soul and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
Keeping Shabbat is not a Jewish thing; it is a G-d thing, and the easiest way of stepping back from the world.
How to keep Shabbat:
Well, the Bible gives specific rules…that were given to the Israelites and the Gentiles when they came out of Egypt, before the Torah was given…before there were any ‘Commandments’.
Exodus 16:23 (CJB)
23 He told them, “This is what Adonai has said: ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai. Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning.’”
Exodus 16:25 (CJB)
25 Moshe said, “Today, eat that; because today is a Shabbat for Adonai — today you won’t find it in the field.
Exodus 16:26 (CJB)
26 Gather it six days, but the seventh day is the Shabbat — on that day there won’t be any.”
Exodus 16:29 (CJB)
29 Look, Adonai has given you the Shabbat. This is why he is providing bread for two days on the sixth day. Each of you, stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.”
Exodus 20:8 (CJB)
8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.
Exodus 20:10 (CJB)
10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Adonai your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property.
Exodus 20:11 (CJB)
11 For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.
So, you are to gather and prepare food ahead of Shabbat, enough for two days…Friday and Saturday, and then rest. Just rest. At home…you know, kick back?
That is all that Shabbat is…an enjoyment of all that G-d created.
Yes, there are rules you can keep to make Shabbat special…if you happen to be Jewish, and have those traditions, but I am speaking to Gentiles. If you want to organize your Sabbath, that’s fine…I am not going to judge you on how you keep Shabbat. Technically, you can keep it by deliberately disregarding it…as the military, police, fire department, and hospital people do. So, if you do not like relaxing and being with your family and friends, go and do for others. Visit the sick, the old, the indigent, and take food with you for them.
Play music, make merry and laugh…is it so difficult to disregard all the rules that the Orthodox Jews made for their lives?
Well, actually, it is. In the back of our minds, we have what we have read in the five books of Moshe, and if we are intent on becoming separated unto G-d, we will also have read what other people do on Shabbat, particularly as we begin to consider keeping it.
The Orthodox Jews have made rules on their rules and to me, life a misery on Shabbat, and if you want to work that hard at resting, I won’t stop you, but it’s not anywhere commanded in the Scriptures.
All one needs to do is look at the idea of rest, and then try to do that…don’t work, don’t buy and sell, don’t carry heavy burdens, don’t make a fire from scratch…don’t do those things that are part of your customary work…whatever that is.
Truck drivers shouldn’t drive a truck. Housewives should put their feet up, and nibble on cold chicken, and cookies. Children should play, and not go to school. And yes, one should keep in mind that the day is set aside to G-d, and not just to relaxation…so praise G-d in song, and read a few nice things from the Scriptures, and then take a nap. And then gather together again, and celebrate Shabbat, for it is supposed to be the most marvelous day of the week…a holiday…a set apart day.
Go to the synagogue or church if you can find one teaching on Friday evening or on Saturday…take communion at home if you can’t.
Make it up as you go along, and as the Ruach ha Kadosh leads you.
Is Shabbat that EASY?
Actually, it is. If you read the scriptures in Exodus that discuss Shabbat, or do a study on the word, you will find very little is forbidden and less is mandated.
I like the last three verses of the Study of the word Shabbat in particular, as they tell people what to do, and not do as Believers in Yeshua.
1 Corinthians 16:2 (CJB)
2 Every week, on Motza’ei-Shabbat, each of you should set some money aside, according to his resources, and save it up; so that when I come I won’t have to do fundraising.
Colossians 2:16 (CJB)
16 So don’t let anyone pass judgment on you in connection with eating and drinking, or in regard to a Jewish festival or Rosh-Hodesh or Shabbat.
Hebrews 4:9 (CJB)
9 So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people.
Yes, I know that Hebrews was written to the Hebrews, but are we not G-d’s people too? And if so, why are we not keeping Shabbat in order to please G-d? Oh, you don’t want to stop going to church? Church has nothing to do with G-d’s Sabbath. Church is church, and you go if you like as often as you like…it is not a Shabbat activity, even if you have come to think that it is.
It was the Catholic Church that deliberately changed the keeping of the seventh day each week to the eighth…very anti-Christ like of them. When the Reformation began, no one dared change it back…the rules were very strictly kept by good Christians, and you could get in trouble if you didn’t go to Church on Sunday. And a whole set of rules grew up around keeping Sunday…even though it is about sun worship, and not worshipping the Son.
So, keeping a Saturday Sabbath might set you apart from the rest of the world? Yes, well, that is the purpose of it…to make you separate and different from those infidels out there…you know. all those pagans that do not know and value Yeshua? And those that have not read their Bible enough to know how much G-d appreciates those who keep his Sabbath…well, I don’t want to tell Yeshua when he comes that the Sabbath he demonstrated to be free from unnecessary restrictions was completely avoided by me.
Consider carefully whether to keep the Sabbath on Saturday, in the way that G-d mandated, to please him, and no other, because there is no other reason to keep Shabbat.