In Christian writings as well as the Hebrew Scriptures, we are given examples of proper sabbath keeping.  These examples and teachings are also supported by current Jewish halakha.  Although many people see the Pharisees of the Christian writings as the predecessors of Rabbinic Judaism, Pharisaic zeal for sabbath observance far outstretched the requirements of Torah or of current rulings on sabbath keeping.  In many cases, current halakha is closely aligned with the teachings and practices of Y’shua of Nazareth.

Matt. 12:11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?

Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

Mark 2:23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.

Mark 2:24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?

Mark 2:25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?

Mark 2:26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?

Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

This act of David was not to casually profane holy things, but to save lives.  David and his men were fleeing the murderous rage of the anointed king of Israel, and rather than die, rather than murder, David and his men were allowed to eat to sustain life.  This principle is followed in all sects of Judaism that I know of to this day.  There is also a principle of not fasting on the sabbath day.  The prohibition against harvesting is against harvesting as a normal business and farming activity, not against meeting needs or satisfying hunger on shabat.  When we can, we plan and make provision for the sabbath day.  But if we are in an extremity or emergency, we can pluck fruits, vegetables or grains to satisfy our hunger, even on shabat.

John 7:23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?

After the death of Y’shua, his disciples rested on shabat, not just because of the stress and strain of the day, but because it was so commanded.

Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Christian writings assert that even after the resurrection the shlichim (apostles) continued sabbath observance. Sabbath observance was so well known that even the gentile women gathered at the riverbank on sabbath to pray.

Acts 13:14 ¶ But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

Acts 13:42 ¶ And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Acts 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of Elohim.

Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

Acts 16:13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

This last passage contradicts the idea that sabbath is only for those who reject the “New Testament” or that sabbath was changed after the death of Y’shua or after the resurrection, or after Pentecost, or that only Jews are to be sabbath keepers.  These references are all from the “New Testament” and there is no reference to, excuse for, authorization to, or allowance for changing the Word of YHVH, particularly as it applies to the changing of the appointed feasts and times.

Some will claim that the Law has been done away with, and that now we are free from the Law.  However, few of these people are so quick to dismiss their wives from the command of fidelity, or their neighbors from the command not to kill, steal or covet. Why they feel free to dismiss the law of worship of the Father, the law of freedom, of rest, of rejoicing, of protection, and of refreshing, is a mystery to me.

The people I am particularly addressing simply want to know, “How do I know how to keep the sabbath?” The commandments of Exodus 20:8-12 and Deuteronomy 5:12-15 are an excellent starting point.  We are not only given the what, but the when, why, who, and much of the how.  In addition, we have the Isaiah 56 and 58 passages.  There are many more details that will be picked up in a yearly Bible reading program. (We read every word of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible every year, in addition to large portions of the writings and the prophets. We also read Christian writings.  Everything we read must line up with Torah though.  If something doesn’t appear to line up, we know there is a problem, maybe in translation or in our understanding, or possibly, even in someone’s attempt to subvert and pervert the message.)  The following passage can be taken literally, but we take it figuratively as well.

Ex. 35:3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

Not only do we think of this as literal fire, but the fiery quarrels that can erupt between people at leisure.

More verses on activities that are not to be done on the sabbath, come from both the historical writings and the prophets:

Num. 15:32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.

Num. 15:33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.

Num. 15:34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.

Num. 15:35 And YHVH said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

Gathering sticks is not precisely a part of the Scriptural prohibition, which is why Moshe and Aharon put him in ward to see what should be done with him. My understanding is that this was not some casual or accidental moving sticks aside, but a deliberate, confrontational, and fully rebellious action with matching motivations, as if to say, “So who says I can’t kindle a fire and cook on sabbath?!”  In the face of all the miracles that the bnai Israel had witnessed, this was spitting in the face of Moshe, Aharon, and the Almighty himself.  The stick gatherer called the punishment down upon himself.  Still, my husband and I are very careful about NOT gathering sticks on sabbath.  Not because we are afraid that anyone will stone us to death, but just because YHVH made it very clear that the action and the attitude were egregiously offensive.

In the days of Nehemiah, the people were being re-introduced to the concept of sabbath keeping, and  associated laws regarding rest for the land in the sabbatical year, and the release of debts and the abadim, (believing or Hebrew servants).

Neh. 10:31 And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.

Neh. 13:15 ¶ In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.

Neh. 13:17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day?

Neh. 13:19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day.

Neh. 13:22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.

Is. 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith YHVH.

Jer. 17:21 Thus saith YHVH; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;

Jer. 17:22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.

Jer. 17:24 And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein;

Jer. 17:25 Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

Jer. 17:27 But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

Jewish halakha varies in sabbath observance, but to me it seems clear from the commandment itself, that we ourselves are not to work on the sabbath day, nor are we to exact labors from anyone else on the sabbath days, neither stranger, native, soujourner, foreigner, believer, nonbeliever, kin nor even the animals.

Some people don’t mind flipping a light switch, while others see that as akin to kindling a fire. We ourselves find it easy enough to leave a crockpot on low heat through from preparation day (Friday before sundown) through erev shabbat (sabbath evening) until lunchtime the next day, if we want warm food for boker shabbat (sabbath day).  During the summer, we are pleased to prepare fruits and salads ahead of time for our sabbath meals.  We usually bake at least two loaves of challah before shabbat to go with our sabbath meals.  We always try to prepare ourselves, our food, and our home so that we will not be uncomfortable resting on shabbat.  If we were unable to prepare for sabbath, we would still feel reluctant to buy or sell for sabbath meals, but if it were a matter of an inability, an emergency that precluded provision —

Sabbath Dinner

Sabbath dinner is a time of beauty, of relaxation, of reflection, and of praise.

if we were hungry and without ability to make provision, we would not object to plucking fruit or grain to satisfy our needs, but we would not simply neglect sabbath preparation.

Some people object to lighting candles on shabbat, while others see them as an essential part of the traditional shabat service.  We enjoy the tradition of candle-lighting, but see it as a tradition, not as a commandment.  We light a starter candle before sabbath so as not to be kindling a fire on sabbath.  The candle lighting ceremony that we hold is a beautiful way to recognize and welcome sabbath, and to transition from frantic activity throughout the week that builds to a climax before sunset, to a sudden release, relaxation, joy, and shalom (more than peace!)

People will claim, “I keep every day as sabbath.”  This absurdity is revealed to a third grader reading the Ten Commandments.  How can we rest all day on every day of the week?  Would we not then be requiring others to work for us? And this is the essence of sabbath keeping, not only allowing ourselves to rest, but also any who serve us.  Six days should surely be kept as days of laboring so that we can get our work done.  There is no commandment that we should desist from worship or fellowship on the first six days if we can still get our work done. There is no idea that we should not show sanctification in our lives every day of the week, but we simply cannot set aside every day as a sabbath of rest. No part of Scripture indicates that there is any tolerance for an indolent lifestyle. We work, not only for our provision, but so that we can rejoice in rest!

Many people assume that the sabbath is a special burden for the Jewish people, a commandment given to the Jewish people assembled at Sinai.  However, the original sabbath was created before the first sin, and was thus offered to, and expected of all mankind – not as a burden, but as a delight.

Gen. 2:2 And on the seventh day Elohim ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

Gen. 2:3 And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which Elohim created and made.

Indeed, the sabbath was specifically reiterated in the covenant sealed with the children of Israel at Sinai, but who are the children of Israel?  Could the present day children of Israel be limited to 12 million Jews?  The promise to Abraham was that his children would be in Isaac, and would be as numerous as the sands of the seashore, and the stars of night – a great multitude that could not be numbered. Judah, the Jews, are worthy of great honor, and gratitude.  But Judah is not the only child of Jacob.  Jacob had twelve children, and the twelve children and all of their descendants are included among the ones who stood at the base of Sinai, receiving Torah, the Ten commandments, including shabat.  If you have inherited a great treasure, and you can possess it without dispossessing another, don’t you want to accept it?

This would indicate that Israel is greater than we think. Some people would limit the people called to sabbath observance.  If you are called in your heart to keep sabbath, then keep it!  Rejoice in it.  Rest in it.

How do we know which day is the sabbath?

According to my present understanding, the sabbath days have continued unchanged since the beginning of time, from the seventh day of Creation, even when the observance was dimmed.  The observation of shabat was reestablished in the days of the Exodus.  The sabbath was proclaimed and explained shortly after the flight from Egyptian bondage. It was established by and with a series of miracles: five days of adequate provision, during which any leftovers bred worms and stank, followed by only one day of double provision (with no worms), followed by one day when there was no new provision of this miraculous food. That process lasted precisely and exactly during the forty years of wilderness wandering.  By the time the people crossed into the land of Canaan, the land of Israel, there was no doubt of the importance of sabbath keeping, or of its proper schedule.

Ex. 16:4 Then said YHVH unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

Ex. 16:5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

Ex. 16:17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.

Ex. 16:18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

Ex. 16:19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.

Ex. 16:20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.

Ex. 16:21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

Ex. 16:22 ¶ And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.

Ex. 16:23 And he said unto them, This is that which YHVH hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto YHVH: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

Ex. 16:24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.

Ex. 16:25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto YHVH: to day ye shall not find it in the field.

Ex. 16:26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.

Ex. 16:27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.

Ex. 16:28 And YHVH said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?

Ex. 16:29 See, for that YHVH hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

Ex. 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

Hardly any Christian wonders what day is the first day of the week.  After all, there is the witness of years of unbroken testimony to the day of resurrection on the first day of the week, and some even think that sabbath was changed to the first day of the week in honor of the resurrection.

Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 24:1 ¶ Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Luke 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

Some will maintain, “We have changed the day!”  What a frightening thought, that we, people, should dare to change anything that the Almighty has set into place forever.  We would then be walking in the very deception warned of in Daniel about the Beast:

Dan. 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws[.]

There is only one of the Ten Commandments having to do with time.  The Beast that would change times and laws could aim for nothing higher than changing the observance of sabbath, or shabat, and nothing broader than dispensing with, or replacing the yearly moedim, the commanded feasts of the Most High. The changing of Elohim’s sabbath to a day dedicated to the sun idol is beastly.  Sabbath is clearly commanded, firmly established, and freely offered to all who love YHVH’s ways. The beast wants to wear out the saints of the Most High, so he attempts to take away our weekly day of rest and shalom.  The moedim are the feasts commanded for all believers.  These too are clearly commanded.  There are blessings, lessons, prophecies, and illustrations built into all of the moedim.  The beast would want nothing more than to distance the people from the truth.

A Sabbath Journey Scripture Study 1

What Does Scripture Say?

How Important Is Sabbath Keeping to Us and to Elohim?

Some people seem to think that whether or not we keep sabbath, how we keep sabbath, or when we keep sabbath is unimportant.  The following passage emphasizes the vital importance of shabat to us and to our Maker:

Ex. 31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to YHVH: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Num. 15:32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.

Num. 15:35 And YHVH said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

Many of us fail to understand the significance of certain prohibitions and fail to understand the severity of punishments or consequences that befall those who transgress the commandments, even slightly (in our eyes), while people who are much bolder in their transgressions (who commit much worse transgressions in our eyes), not only live, but are forgiven for their sins, and even receive everlasting honor.  So what is the deal?

Our ways are not His ways, but His ways are not completely past finding out if we search and pray diligently.  If we study Scripture we do find the justice, compassion, mercy, justice, love, grace, and wisdom, of the Almighty in every page from Genesis on.  Grace was not invented in the “Christian dispensation.”  Grace made its appearance in the Creation and grew to brilliance in Elohim’s response to the first rebellion.

What I have seen in comparing strict responses to gracious responses is that carelessness, contempt, conspiracy, and complaining are strictly and swiftly dealt with.  Amazingly, murder and adultery are not so swiftly dealt with. And sabbath-breaking fits in with the first category.  I am not suggesting that we change the horror that we feel at transgression of the “moral law” or that we indulge in greater outrage at those transgressions that we would think of as minor! What I am saying is that we look at these events from another perspective.  We know that our Father does not engage in “respect of persons” but that he deals with attitudes of the heart.

Isn’t this what sabbath-breakers say?  “But He knows my heart!”  Isn’t this what we all claim every time we make a misstep?  But if our heart is in pleasing our Father, wouldn’t a loving heart then choose to do those things that please Him, rather than the things that we want?

Can we plead ignorance?  Has any one of us been kept from the knowledge of the Ten Commandments?  It doesn’t seem so.  Can we plead repentance and forgiveness?  If it were a case of true ignorance or true compulsion, that would seem to be a possibility.  But what of willful ignorance, or excuse, or rebellion, or fleshly desires, or even just carelessness?  Our assumption that “He won’t care if I just . . .” doesn’t seem to fly when we consider the case of Uzzah, who only just reached out his hand to steady the ark on its travels (2 Samuel 6), or in the case of Saul, who only kept the spoils to sacrifice to the Almighty (1 Samuel 15:13-26), or in the case of the stick gatherer, who only wanted to get a little firewood together and maybe clean up the campsite a little.  These were drastic responses in our eyes–but perhaps not unreasonable.  Holy things are apparently possessed of the same sort of power as enriched uranium.  It is not an act of barbarism or cruelty to explain how to do things, and allow natural consequences to follow disobedience.  The Father gave detailed instructions for how these things were to be done.  Getting excited was not part of the instruction, but carrying the ark on poles was clearly instructed.  Working and gathering wood for a fire was clearly forbidden.  All of the things under kerem were to be destroyed, not just the useless or valueless items.  And we are instructed very clearly and specifically to keep shabbat–and how to keep it.  We cannot disregard this instruction and expect that our Father will blow it off.  This is serious.  Pray about it.  Does the Spirit of the Holy One (Ruakh HaKhodesh) teach rebellion–or obedience?  If you are led by the Spirit of the Holy One (Ruakh HaKhodesh), what will the leading be?  Will you minister in righteousness of the Spirit, or is there a fleshly (selfishly) driven spirit?

The difference that I have seen in Scripture between the one to whom the Almighty does not impute sin and the one who bears his iniquity is not only in heart rending cries, not only in confession of sin, but in the confession of sin that leads to taking responsibility for sin, and turning toward righteousness, doing the right thing, whether making restitution or just walking in righteousness.  Thank Elohim for forgiveness FROM sin (not forgiveness TO sin!)

A Sabbath Journey Scripture Study

What Does Scripture Say?

I use various versions of Scripture.  For my own reading I prefer a Stone Tanakh in Hebrew. For Bible Studies I use Accordance software and the BHS version.  For finding verses that I remember from the past, I often use the KJV.  For this study, I use KJV as a base, but where I see a conflict between the original Hebrew and the KJV, I go back to the Hebrew.  There are plenty of things that get past me, lots of things I don’t understand, and don’t catch. So, feel free to comment, question or advise.

I do not ever want to offend people, but even more, I do not want to offend the Almighty.  So where the original Hebrew Scriptures use the four letter name revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:15) I use the English transcription of those letters to indicate clearly to whom I am referring.  The common usage of the capital letters El Oh Ar De I find not only offensive as a misrepresentation of the character of the Almighty, but a term that is applied indiscriminately to many different characters. That title is not the revealed name. YHVH is not the revealed name either, but it is clear, it is applied only to the Elevated One of Israel, and it reveals the character and role of the Source and Essence and Sustenance of all existence.

I know that we do not know for sure what the exact pronunciation is, or even if there is only one correct pronunciation. But we do know what the Name is NOT, and there are names that we are not to use in reference to the Most High.

I am sure that I do not need to tell you that the Name is not to be used lightly, not in jokes, profanity, or oaths.  Please do not print and then destroy these studies, because of the representation of the Name that is here.

Ex. 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Ex. 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

Ex. 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of YHVH thy Elohim: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

Ex. 20:11 For in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore YHVH blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The second statement of the Ten Commandments has a slightly different perspective. (No more a contradiction than recognizing that a penny has a head on one side, and a different image on the back side!)

Deut. 5:12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as YHVH thy Elohim hath commanded thee.

Deut. 5:13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:

Deut. 5:14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of YHVH thy Elohim: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.

Deut. 5:15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that YHVH thy Elohim brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore YHVH thy Elohim commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

The prophets and the writings also make many mentions of the sabbath day.  Prominent among these mentions are the writings of Isaiah (Yesheyahu)

Is. 56:2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

Is. 56:3 ¶ Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to YHVH, speak, saying, YHVH hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

Is. 56:4 For thus saith YHVH unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

Is. 56:5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

Is. 56:6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YHVH, to serve him, and to love the name of YHVH, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

Is. 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all the peoples.

Is. 58:13 ¶ If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of YHVH, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

Is. 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in YHVH; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of YHVH hath spoken it.

Hello world!

April 11, 2010

Welcome to a Sabbath Journey!  This blog is all about taking a sabbath journey . . . not too far at a time, just a little way, enjoying Scripture, enjoying Fellowship with people and with the Most High, El Elyon, enjoying the sensations of a day to rest and refresh.  This is about the journey to a day to “re-soul.”  This blog is growing out of a novel (looking for a publisher, just now). The novel grew out of real life events over many years, through several families’ and friends’ lives. Many have passed on and rest. To many friends and family members, I am deeply grateful for your lives and for your insights. I think you won’t mind if I share the tales and insights now.  I am most grateful to our Heavenly Father who guides us on our way.  Especially welcome are those people who wish to further explore the practices and Writings of Judaism and Christianity as they apply to the Sabbath Journey.

I am not hoping to convert Jews to Christianity or Christians to Judaism. But I do hope to help Christians and Jews understand each other better and forge new bonds to Scripture and to the One Elohim, Maker of Heaven and Earth.

The Nine Commandments

April 11, 2010

Nine Commandments

A True Story – a Preface to a Truth Study

copyright 2010     Anne O. McLeod     Jackson, MS

“Mom, why do we keep only nine commandments?” asked my eight-year old daughter, when she came out of her Sunday School class.  I had already been wondering the same thing, but she was the one who actually framed the question. At least, as the perennially exhausted mother of three, chief gardener, only housekeeper, seamstress, lifeguard, nursemaid, cook, and errand runner, I was ready with an answer.  “When you girls start helping me keep the first part of the commandment, we will all keep the second part together.”  We had all learned ten commandments, but one commandment apparently wasn’t getting its full due.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of YHVH thy Elohim.

The Ten Commandments : The Ten Words

Our lives were never quite the same after that.  All three of the girls began to help me dispatch the endless chores. The house began to look better, and I began to have more energy and time. On Sunday afternoon our program of keeping the first half of the forgotten commandment began, and by Friday evening, we had a fairly clean house, we had prepared our meals, and we were ready to spend a lovely day singing, resting, praying, reading the Bible, visiting with each other, going for walks in the countryside, and enjoying the beauty of creation.  Gradually over the years, our observance took on new dimensions, new customs, new meaning.  But Scripture was the basis for all of our customs.

Some friends we lost, and others we gained as we strove to live by the light of the Word.  The girls grew up, married, and moved away. These things change, but some things remain constant.  I rely on My Father to lead me, guide me, and provide for my needs.  Through all these years He has guarded me, protected me,  and provided for more of my desires than I ever dreamed possible.

I have learned that there are even more than ten commandments, that the commandments are everlasting, and that the commandments of Scripture are neither grievous nor burdensome.  They are simply the principles for a successful and joyful life.

The Fourth Commandment, the one ignored by most churches, is the longest of  the Ten Commandments, and is placed in the middle of them.  Why would any of us want to ignore any one of the Ten Commandments? Especially, why would we want to ignore a commandment to rest? Don’t we all long for a whole day of rest – a day set aside for fellowship with each other and with our Maker? A reboot, as it were. So what is grievous about turning our foot aside from trampling on this precious gift from our Father?

The following posts will follow through a Scripture study like one that my children, our friends, and I did many years ago to determine whether the sabbath was for us, and for our day.  The verses are mostly from a KJV Bible with references from the BHS-W4 (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia version, 4th edition) of the Hebrew Bible, used for clarity and depth from the actual Hebrew.  I use the English letters YHVH to represent the Tetragrammaton, the 4 Hebrew letter Sacred Name, again for clarity and depth of meaning that will be examined later.  I also use the Hebrew word Elohim where that is used in BHS-W4, to avoid using pagan words to describe El Elyon, (well translated as “the Most High”).

Because all of us had been raised in Christianity, I use many references from the Christian writings, which show remarkable agreement between Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Scriptures; remarkable in view of the frequent and serious hostilities between Jewish Bible believers and Christian Bible believers.  Christians have experienced a cognitive dissonance in their stance on what they call the Old Testament, and what I call the Hebrew Scriptures, Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh.  Do they believe it or not? I have to confess I have nearly the same feeling toward the collection that I call the Christian Writings. I know that the one I call Y’shua of Natzaret always pointed toward the Hebrew Scriptures as the final authority on everything he taught.  I know that he taught absolute obedience to the letter and to the spirit of the Hebrew Bible.  I believe that the opposition that rose against him stemmed from assimilationist, politically-appointed religious leaders of his day.  Those leaders were indeed at odds with each other over the religious practices and doctrines.  Y’shua did not side with one against the other, but always pointed back to the one question that is, and should be foremost in our minds:  What Does Scripture Say?  As a matter of fact, rather than “WWJD?” bracelets, we may need to wear something that asks “WDSS?”! (Check out Deuteronomy 15:37ff for ideas.)

I hope to contribute to love and understanding of each other; and to appreciation, love, and practice of Truth.  I hope to clear away doctrinal and practical misunderstandings, so that we may all stand approved as worthy servants before our Heavenly Father.  We hope to stand together with Messiah when He comes, whether on the first trip or a subsequent one!

My intention is not to convert anyone, Jewish to any denomination of Christianity or Christian to any sect of Judaism.  I would be delighted only to call all people to convert to following the One Elohim who rules over Heaven and Earth, and to living in joyful obedience to His Word.