Keith Hunt - From the Mind of a Christian Jew #6 - Page Six   Restitution of All Things

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From the Mind of a Christian Jew #6

Faith and Life of Messianic Jews - the Sabbath



FROM THE MIND OF A CHRISTIAN JEW #6

by Daniel Juster (1986)

THE SABBATH DAY


     Messianic Judaism looks to Yeshua, who proclaimed himself
"Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:28), to gain a sense of direction
for observance. The day is meant to be a break from the routine
of work, whereby we may be renewed by worship, fellowship and
rest.
     By this rest and renewal, Messianic Jews testify that God is
Lord of creation and that man need not be subject to work as
though the economic sphere of life has a tyrannical control over
our lives. The one who is a person of faith and knows the "rest
of faith" in Yeshua, testifies to the world that God is gracious
and kind and will provide for us by faith even if one-seventh of
our lives is spent in freedom from providing for our own material
needs.
     In Exodus 20:8-11, the nature of Sabbath is described as a
testimony to God's own Lordship over the creation. The Messianic
Jew testifies against all theories of atheism, agnosticism,
evolutionary naturalism and pantheism by upholding the truth
that, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"
(Genesis 1:1).
     In Deuteronomy the Sabbath as a memorial of the Exodus as
well as the Sabbath as a humanitarian stipulation are stressed.
On this day, rich and poor, free and slave achieved a measure of
equality in freedom from the domination of work. The Sabbath is
an essential faith principle. We believe God's Word sufficiently
to let go of our anxiety for food, clothes and shelter, believing
that He is our loving Father and provider; we need not fear!
     When we turn to the Prophets, we find the basic importance
of Sabbath reaffirmed. Isaiah says, "Blessed is ... the man ...
who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps his hand
from doing any evil" (Isaiah 56:2, NIV). The passage goes on to
delineate the blessings which shall be received by those who love
God's Covenant and express it in a heartfelt recognition of
Sabbath.
     We also read in Isaiah 58:13-14 these words: "If you keep
your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you
please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight, and the
Lord's holy day honorable; and if you honor it by not going your
own way, and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then
you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride
on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of
your father Jacob. The mouth of the Lord has spoken."
     The prophets knew that desecration of the Sabbath struck at
the heart of Israel's faith as to whether He was Lord, as to
whether Israel was God's Covenant people!

     The pages of the New Testament do not at all contradict the
sense of Sabbath given in the Tenach. Nor does Yeshua break the
Sabbath in its true sense. He calls Himself "Lord of the Sabbath"
in Mark 2:27, decrying the legalists who would make Sabbath a
burden instead of a delight by multiplying legalistic
restrictions! The Pharisees criticized His disciples for eating
grain as they walked through the fields. Their action was a
natural response, unconnected with work. However, in the legalism
of the day, this constituted harvesting! Yeshua perceived that
such legalism would cause people to be concerned with scores of
restrictions, thereby missing the sense of the day - its joy, its
refreshment, its renewal. As Lord of the Sabbath, He set the
record straight.

     Outside of a Jewish context, the Apostle Paul allowed for
freedom in regards to worship days. 
(NO HE DID NOT!! THAT IS THE FALSE FUNDAMENTAL PROTESTANT
THEOLOGY. THE TWISTING OF THE WRITINGS OF PAUL. THE TRUTH OF
THOSE PASSAGES USED TO SAY PAUL ALLOWED FREEDOM REGARDS TO
WORSHIP DAYS, I HAVE EXPOUNDED ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt)

     But he nowhere speaks against Jews who foIlow the Sabbath...
Our historical documents show that the Jewish believers of the
first several centuries continued to practice Shabbat as part of
their heritage and witness.
(AND SO DID GENTILES, AND THE PEOPLE OF BRITAIN, AS PROVED IN
VARIOUS STUIDES ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt)

     In non-Jewish communities, the Jewishness influence was such
that the seven-day week became universal. Even the Sabbath
principle was adopted by the Christian Church, although its day
of worship was Sunday. Yet we should note that Sunday in
Christian practice is one day in seven for worship, renewal and
rest.
     How is it that Christendom adopted the "first" day as its
day of worship? Some have held that the early believers
gathered on Sunday morning to celebrate the resurrection and
celebrated both the Sabbath and Sunday. However, it is said that
the Church perceived that, under the New Covenant, the Sabbath
had been abrogated and that Sunday was a proper replacement of
the Sabbath.
     The most recent scholarship suggests that this explanation
for the switch from Saturday to Sunday is mistaken. Dr. Samuel
Bacchiocchi has probably written the definitive work on all of
the evidence involved. A summary of his work appears in the
"Biblical Archaeology Review" (Sept/Oct 1978) and a fascinating
debate ensued as recorded in future editions. The basic evidence
seems to be that Sunday worship was not introduced as an
authoritative apostolic practice. Part of the evidence is that
"Paul refused to take a stand on the question of observance of
days, advising rather to follow one's convictions and to respect
differences of viewpoint" (Romans 14:3,5,6,10-13,19-21) ... (THIS
PASSAGE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WEEKLY SABBATH - I EXPOUND THE
TRUTH OF THESE VERSES IN STUDIES ON  THIS WEBSITE AND IN MY
SERMONS ON MY YOUTUBE [1HORSESRCOOL] - Keith Hunt)

but Sunday-keeping did originate in Gentile communities. However,
if Paul had introduced such practices, this innovation would have
caused great controversy, which, historically, is not the case.
Bacchiocchi traces the exclusive observance of Sunday to the time
of Emperor Hadrian (117-135), when Roman anti-Jewish repression
influenced a policy of deliberate differentiation from Jewish
customs.
     The only examples in the New Testament of a first-day
meeting prove to be Saturday evening rather than Sunday morning!
In Jewish reckoning, the next day begins at sun down! Hence, in
Acts 20:7, Paul preached all night and left on Sunday morning! He
was not taking a day of rest and worship on Sunday.....
      
     As part of the community of Israel, Jewish believers in
Yeshua would have worked on Sunday, but not on Saturday. Jewish
believers were part of other synagogues on the Sabbath and thus
may have gathered for their meetings at various times.
     Bacchiocchi finds Sunday observance coming about as part of
an anti-Jewish reaction, in which Sabbath was even seen as a
temporary institution imposed as a trademark of the divine
reprobation of the Jewish race. At any rate, there is no Biblical
evidence to suggest that Sabbath does not have its value as a
sign of God's continued Covenant with Israel, originally made
with Abraham. For a Messianic Jew, it is a day which celebrates
the Sabbath rest that is ours in Yeshua who is Lord of the
Sabbath.

(AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS THE 4TH COMMANDMENT STILL STANDS - THE
7TH DAY OF THE WEEK, NOT THE FIRST. AS STATED DR. SAMUELE
BACCIOCCHI HAS WRITTEN 4 BOOKS ON THE SABBATH, AND MAKES A CLAD
IRON CASE, FOR 7TH DAY SABBATH KEEPING FOR ALL CHRISTIANS - Keith
Hunt)

     Messianic Jews must avoid a legalistic approach to Sabbath,
where rules are imposed ad infinitum. However, if Sabbath is to
be taken seriously, there are some basic principles which may be
applied by our people:

     First, Sabbath should be a day of freedom from work,
especially that work which is required for our economic and
material security. Judaism has always recognized that pro-
fessions providing help in emergency (doctors, firemen, etc.)
must be exceptions. Even these people, however, need the
principle of renewal and should seek a period of rest.

(I agree fully with Dr. Bacciocchi that such people should TRY
and obtain the Sabbath off. If they must work on the Sabbath it
should be for FREE, no money being received - Keith Hunt)

     Secondly, it is of spiritual value to mark the day off from
other days by a special Friday evening meal, the lighting of
candles and prayer. This makes us conscious of entering into a
special period of time. Some Messianic Jews bring special
recognition to Yeshua, who is the light of the world, in their
Friday evening Sabbath meal. Blessings over bread and wine for
Sabbath are helpful additions.

     Sabbath is also an appropriate day to gather for worship and
share the word exposited. It is a time as well for friends,
fellowship and family. It is a wonderful time for those restful
quiet activities that we might otherwise overlook. Reading
Biblical stories together, quiet games, even napping, and sharing
with friends can all be interwoven to make Sabbath a joy. The
Sabbath also may be ended with special prayer. 
..........

To be continued

NOTE:

There are MANY studies on this website about Sabbath observing.
If the Sabbath had been CHANGED from the 7th day of the week to
the 1st day of the week, there would have been a ministerial
meeting like the one in Acts 15 concerning the subject of
circumcision. Sabbath observance was just as important to Jews as
was circumcision. It is not possible that such a change would
have not been plainly spoken about in the New Testament, as
coming from the Lord, that this change was from heaven, making it
plain that the 4th commandment still stood, but now it was to
read "the first day was the Sabbath." Such a teaching cannot be
found anywhere in the New Testament. On this subject the Roman
Catholics are open and correct in saying (as one Bishop wrote in
his book called "Christian Feasts and Customs") "You can look in
vain throughout the Bible and you will never find where the first
day of the week is ever called a holy day ... it was the
authority of the Roman Catholic church that changed the day from
the 7th day to the 1st day of the week." 

Keith Hunt    


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