Why Keep Shabbat? I’M Not A Jew!

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.

 

 

 

 

What Are God’s Ways?

YHVH’s ways are not our ways.  We’re human, and we don’t know very much about how to live as a human until we are out of time to learn how to do it well.  One of the consequences of living life is that we make mistakes constantly.  And as life progresses, we come to see the patterns of our life, and our mistakes, and where we could have done so much better had we only been trained properly!  But proper training requires some dedication to learning G-d’s ways, and Adonai Elohim’s ways are primarily ensconced in the teaching of YHVH to the Jews…actually, not just the Jews, but the original Israelites that came down out of Egypt into what was then and is now called Israel.

I do, however know what he has told mankind about his ways, because I have read the Torah.  Scattered throughout these writings here will always be the odd Hebrew word, for as much as it may irritate us whose first language is another language than Hebrew, that language, in its original paleo form was, as best anyone can tell, the original language of mankind.  Each Hebrew word has a core set of consonants that have extraordinary depth and numerous shades of meaning that non-Hebrew speakers cannot even get at the basis of.  Someone not raised in the language never really can absorb all the nuances of this proto language.

Torah (trh) in its simplest definition means ‘teaching’…what Adonai taught the Israelites through Moshe, and what is recorded in the Hebrew Bible, and translated with less or more accuracy into all languages.  There are a lot of shades of meaning and encoded thought, names, and ideas in the information that Adonai dictated to Moshe in what people know as the first five books of the Old Testament or the Bible.

There are a lot of commandments in the Torah meant for Israelites, and they are about how to be an Israelite. The key teachings that are meant for all mankind are the Ten Commandments that YHVH himself spoke to the Israelites in the Saudi Desert at the real Mount Sinai.  The other 603 commandments given through Moses as they became necessary were meant to shape the rag tag lot of people that came out of Egypt into a separated people…YHVH’s people.

The first five commandments are about man’s duty to G-d, and Adonai Elohim’s line of authority through a person’s parents, while the second five commandments are given to state what is not permissible behavior towards other humans.  Thus we have the following:

Exodus 20:23 (CJB)
2 “I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.
3 “You are to have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:4 (CJB)
4  You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.

Exodus 20:5-6 (CJB)
5  You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
6  but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.

Exodus 20:7 (CJB)
7 “You are not to use lightly the name of Adonai your God, because Adonai will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.

Exodus 20:8-11 (CJB)
8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.
9  You have six days to labor and do all your work,
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.
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.

Exodus 20:12 (CJB)
12 “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Adonai your God is giving you.

Exodus 20:13 (CJB)
13  “Do not murder.

Exodus 20:14 (CJB)
14   “Do not commit adultery.

Exodus 20:15 (CJB)
15  “Do not steal.

Exodus 20:16 (CJB)
16  “Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.

Exodus 20:17 (CJB)
17  “Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

 

Now, having once listed those Ten Commandments, it needs to be said that all of the first five books of the Bible are the Teaching…the Torah, but when it comes to people who are not Israelites, how one lives one’s life is accomplished by following at the very least a minimalized version of the Ten Commandments, not by being an Israelite.  Acting like an Israelite is not the point.  Acting like the perfect Israelite Yeshua is.

Therefore, we are to follow what is in the Torah when it comes to how we treat other people…G-d, our parents, and one another in thought and deed.  It isn’t complicated, unless you attempt to follow everyone else’s rules about how to act…the Karaite Jews, the Reform Jews, the Conservative Jews, the Orthodox Jews, the Catholics, and the Protestants and Cults of every denomination and theoretical background have no right to tell you how to follow these rules of living laid down by Abba, and there is no need to take what others say about how to obey the commandments of YHVH to man except as a point of guidance…not a law.

As to all the other good works of behavior laid down for the Israelites in the Torah, they were established to set the Israelites apart from all other nations of man so that they might become the byword for civil behavior that they became.  The Israelites were to stand before the world as G-d’s special people, a people chosen to demonstrate how to live well before their Creator.  And the Israelites were separated to be YHVH’s special people in order to demonstrate that if you did not follow the commandments given you, Adonai would not bless you with all that he can bless you with in the here and now, nor would you have a portion in an eternal future.

This is what the point of ‘legalism’ was all about in the 1st century A.D.  It wasn’t that the Commandments of G-d were an overwhelming burden to mankind, though one cannot keep them as well as Yeshua ben Elohim did…it was the traditions of man as added to those Commandments of G-d that were the problem, and still are.

The Ten Commandments of YHVH are not laws…they are commands.  They form the basis for all civil behavior, and all of what I deem civilization is now based on them.  Those peoples who do not follow them are in my opinion doing less well than they can, in relation to G-d, to their parents, or to one another.  Following these laws is an exercise in loving Abba and loving one another.

These are G-d’s ways, and following them is not hard at all, presuming you care even a little bit about the well-being of other people, or about your own well-being.  Honoring the Creator by valuing only him as G-d by putting his desires for you and for others ahead of your desires for yourself is not hard.  Not making a 3D image of anything that Adonai has made in order to worship it is not difficult once you know that Abba dislikes that behavior.

Not speaking of YHVH or using his name lightly or to swear falsely is not difficult once you know not to do it.  Taking one day off out of seven to enjoy all that G-d has created and given you to enjoy is not difficult, and very good for you.  Treating your parents well is not difficult, even if they are difficult people, when you know that Adonai blesses you for doing so.  And refraining from hurting others by not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, not swearing falsely, and not coveting what is not yours is not hard to do, once you know not to do it.

After one has these basics down, one then needs to learn to love others as G-d has loved you, and that is what Yeshua came to teach us about.  He came to not only die as a ransom for all the imperfect people who would ever live and trust in that act of redemption, but to empower us to live in a positive way that does not always look only after ourselves, but after the good of the others around us.  Loving one another is the ultimate expression of G-d, as it is what he does all the time, loving us. These are G-d’s ways…the ways he wants us to follow in.