Why Keep Shabbat? I’M Not A Jew!

I’m not a Jew either, at least in a proved, brought up as a Jew way…there are however two grandmothers of hidden background that I am investigating, and of course I am 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, since I have never belonged to one.  I seek to walk a little bit more like a 1st Century Nazarene.  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, like Rabinnical Jews, 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.

 

 

 

 

Is There A Conspiracy by God?

Or rather, is G-d conspiring against mankind?

Conspiring yes, against…no.  Abba is really about the task of salvaging what mankind has made of himself…individually, and as a group.

YHVH always knew that in giving mankind a choice to do as they wished that mankind would be doing what was not only against his desires, but would have the ability to choose what was not all that good for themselves, and would cause problems for the entire race that would come from them.  However, Adonai is not focused solely on the day to day pains of growth of the species but more on what that species develops into.  Abba wants a growing and maturing being that is capable of relationship with him, but he will not force any member of mankind to that relationship.  The initial gift of life is just that…a gift.  Eternal life is for those that are in relationship with G-d, and following after his ways.

Many non-religious people take the Creation narrative of the Bible as a silly story told in the early days of mankind to explain to children what happened to bring things about.  They miss the point that when Abba is writing a story about what occurred as he created and re-created earth and the changes he enabled in mankind as it was necessary for growth.  This story has many levels of meaning, from the simple and literal to the complex and coded.  The first five books of the Tanakh were written mostly by Moshe (Moses), and/or dictated to Yehoshua ben Nun (Joshua) during the days of Moshe, then carefully codified in the years just after Moshe’s death by Yehoshua, who was given a portion of Moshe’s prophetic anointing.

Unlike many people who receive information from G-d, or other spiritual beings of a lesser and more dubious nature, Moshe spoke face to face with Adonai…not that he ever saw G-d’s face, because our eyes cannot see G-d in his ultimate existence.  Speaking face to face is a Hebrew idiom for receiving information directly.  Moshe, as he wrote, made it plain that he was not composing the five books of the Torah, but merely writing down what happened as it happened, and as it was given to him to write.  This was not mere inspiration, as most of the prophets were given, but dictation.

So, what Moshe states in simple story form in relation to what happened prior to mankind’s creation by G-d from the time Adam and Eve spent in the Garden of Eden to points after that time, and what occurred next as mankind developed, he is saying more than just the simple facts of what happened on the surface of that story.  Yes, there really was a creation of mankind into one single original being, made from water and minerals, and given G-d’s energy to give it life.  Life was literally breathed into a new being, and that life, G-d’s breath, was the Ruach haKodesh…the Holy Spirit.  However, within the Book of Genesis one finds Adonai interacting with and enabling new traits and natures within mankind.

In the beginning, Adam, the first of mankind, was a somewhat simplistic being.  Adam was not just a child as our children are, but uninformed and untrained, yet fully adult.  All of the potential for mankind as a species was present, but some of the initial education, and indeed what was developed in Adam of what we now understand is human nature, was given in increments just sufficiently for Adam, the man, to become aware of himself, and the world around him, which was not the earth as we know it now.

YHVH Elohim intended to teach Adam carefully, and did, until the point that Adam, having examined and catalogued all of the life on the then Edenic planet, noticed that he was alone, unique, and without a being like himself. The plants and animals, insects, birds, reptiles, and fish all had a set existence with one another, and in relation to one another.  Adam and Eve were outside the natural realm of what we experience on this planet because Adam was made to be like unto YHVH…a creative, sentient, self-aware being.

Adam, after Eve was created from his DNA, began to process information sparked by human association, in awareness of Eve, and of himself, and his and their desires, rather than what would be the perfect way of YHVH.  They were given the ability to learn by experience and not merely from the mouth of Adonai while sitting at his feet, absorbing the information.  Adam’s experiential growth from this point had to be done in deference to YHVH, or in deference to Eve, and to his own desires.

Self-determination was a gift from G-d, but it came at a price.  Once Adam was doing as he chose, rather than what YHVH intended for him to do, the consequences of each action became both positive and negative, and have been heritable, with wide ranging ramifications.  This is the simple meaning of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  To acquire independence of G-d… to acquire self-determination requires the gift of free-will, with all its painful consequences.

The initial price is a loss of innocence and purity that we all begin in, but rapidly grow out of as we acquire knowledge and experience from our association with other humans in a dangerous world.  The secondary cost to Adam and Eve was a need to live within an entropic world…a world within time, which alters and decays rapidly.

Eden was a construct that was carefully balanced in terms of G-d’s given energy.  There are finite resources in this universe that was created merely to breed up a family for YHVH Elohim within his creation.  To limit the depredations that a growing, but very long lived human population would make in Eden, G-d added entropy into the very, very slow precession of time within Eden, and in essence, kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and onto our current Earth, making the planet deteriorate, and all life forms decay more quickly than before, changing all of the Earth by speeding up the precession of time and seasons.

But YHVH did give Adam and Eve the choice…to stay in the balanced environment of Eden under G-d’s tutelage, or to chance a slow death by age and deterioration and choose their own way.  However, the choice could not be spelled out to Adam and Eve…because they did not and could not know enough to make an informed decision.

In allowing a dangerous but independent mode of learning into his beloved creation’s lives, YHVH was being exceptional as a Creator/Parent of the human species.  The choice needed to be framed in a way that was within the understanding of Adam and Eve, yet could be completely justified from a moral point of view.  G-d is always perfectly, unyieldingly fair and just, but his ways are not our ways.  He proclaimed that the Tree of Knowledge was his, and forbidden to Adam and Eve, with an extreme penalty for any transgression.  It was a very simple rule.  Adam and Eve trespassed, and ate that which gave them independent choice, and the consequences that came with choice.

And so the change in Adam and Eve’s circumstances was made possible by giving Adam and Eve a single decision to make…to learn from G-d, or to learn on their own by making a law, with penalties for breaking that law.  G-d was entitled to do that, as the universe is his creation, even as mankind is G-d’s creation.  And G-d set into this universe the ability for the breaking of that law to transform everything about how the universe works.

Adam and Eve were very ordinary human beings at that point in time, but they were not as yet rebellious in nature, merely curious about new things, and always desiring to know more about everything.  Every human trait was built into them as a species to enable them to grow and change, and encoded as heritable changes in their DNA.  It is how we are like G-d…ever learning and ever creative, and yet a mortal self-engendering species.  Humans, like YHVH, do not change their nature, but humans are enabled to learn new habits, and create new patterns of behavior, learning, growing, accomplishing and creating, and handing down patterns of behavior along with differing mixes of personal traits and talents to their offspring.

The spark for growth did need to occur, and G-d allowed such an opportunity for choice to be made without specifically directing that it be done.  Having created the opportunity for man to initiate his own growth process, he allowed entry into the Garden of Eden to another species of being already in existence, who were more bound to YHVH’s will than Adonai required of mankind, but not without the ability to act on their own accord.

One rather adversarial being, frequently called Lucifer, the Serpent, the Dragon or the Beast entered the picture.  He is haSatan…Hebrew for the Adversary. Lucifer was the last of the great Cherubim created, and the most artistically creative and inventive…a musician and songster, a being of unbelievable beauty and strength, cunning and power, but still one of the Angelic beings, which are not always angelic in nature.

The Angels are both companion to and tools of Adonai.  They are not human in nature, and must be understood to be programmed for different tasks than are within our universe.  But they too have free will within G-d’s laws and power, since they were created by YHVH for the tasks they perform, inside and outside of our dimensional universe with relative autonomy.

The Adversary was not originally at outs with Adonai Elohim, but became rather too fond of himself…preferring his well-being, rank and status above G-d’s pre-eminent position and desires.  In that sense, he was more like HaShem in the creative sense than many others of his kind and with great delegated power, so he bitterly resented mankind being created to actually be like YHVH.  And Abba, knowing how Lucifer would act in opposition to his new creation, set a trap for both unsuspecting Adam and Eve, and his revengeful Cherubim.

Lucifer, as he is called in the western nations, was allowed to interfere in the choice Adam and Eve were to make, knowing there would be consequences.  He chose to work on Eve, as she was the newer creation, and the less directly taught of Adonai.  The catalyst for entropic change was thus offered to Eve as the delicious, tempting fruit of a forbidden tree.

Adam and Eve could have chosen to be taught of Adonai Elohim, and eat immediately of the Tree of Life, and gain a less painful means of learning in addition to immediate eternal life.  The alternative was to acquire what we understand as knowledge, in the form of self-awareness and the ability to understand abstract thought.  Eve was persuaded by haSatan.  Once having eaten of the fruit of knowledge, she then persuaded Adam to join her in that knowledge, and when they fully realized the change in themselves…the perceptions of existence and abstract thought as well as the tumult of emotion and circumstance that were now available to them without gradual revelation by a careful Parent, they were horrified.

Shame was the immediate feeling of the newly aware humans, because the realization that they were now separate beings, naked to the elements and unprotected by G-d’s careful shepherding was all too plain to them.  Adonai, in allowing self determination and free-will to his human creation made a choice available to them, and also allowed another another of his creations to entice Eve into choosing the less desirable mode of education.  The painful consequences of an independent life is plain.

YHVH did not particularly desire mankind to be thrown onto their own resources but it is a painful necessity for mankind to endure if he is to enter into relationship with Adonai, presuming he chooses to do so.  Abba knew that man needed to attempt to succeed on his own…to make his own choices, and fail or succeed on his own.  G-d certainly made a point of interacting with mankind throughout the ages to bring the species along in understanding, but YHVH mostly stood apart for a long time and allowed Adam and Eve, and their offspring to determine the course of development of the species.  He punished the Serpent…the form the Adversary took in Eden, and stated prophetically that one day a manchild of the Seed of the woman would be harmed by the Adversary, but that the Adversary would be conquered by that same manchild, and mankind would thus be enabled to be reconciled to HaShem through that Seed of the woman.

And thus we have ‘The God Conspiracy’, because even though mankind would be offered help and knowledge throughout the ages, they would of necessity make many wrong decisions, and learn bad ways from the Adversary, who hates mankind, and desires their destruction.  G-d’s conspiracy is to save mankind from himself, by enabling mankind to enter into relationship with YHVH through Mashiach Yeshua ben Elohim…whom you probably think is named Jesus Christ, and in the end, come back into a re-created Eden, and into perfect relationship with Adonai, but this time by man’s own choice.