The Sabbath carries a controversial thought among Christianity today. Traditionally, the day of worship for the Church is Sunday, but many believers in Mashiach Yeshua (Messiah/Christ Jesus) are embracing their Hebraic Roots. In so doing, these believers are returning to the Sabbath (Saturday). This study is to be an overview, Biblically. Each believer must follow their heart’s conviction concerning the day they worship the Lord and at the same time not condemn or judge another for worshipping on another day, as long as the fundamental doctrines of the church are being taught and lived. No where in the New Testament can one find where there is a change from Sabbath to Sunday. This change was done by the early Church Fathers who wanted nothing to do with anything associated with the “Jews.”
The first mention of the Sabbath is found in Genesis 2:1-2. Elohim has finished/completed the work of creation in chapter one and now He “rests (shavat).” Vine’s Old Testament Words defines “rest” as “to rest, cease.” The entry continues to use Ge 8:22 as the “the basic and most frequent meaning of shabat (shavat),” “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” The idea in Ge 2:2 is not “resting” due to being tired but rather “resting” due to the completion of the act of creation.
Verse 2 continues to state that God “blessed” and “sanctified” this seventh day. The Word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word shavat and the implication of the day is simple. The command in the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:8-11; Dt 5:12-15) to keep the Sabbath Day and to rest were for two reasons. First, to remember our Creator (Ex 20:8-11) and, secondly, to remember our Redeemer, our Delieverer (Dt 5:12-15). The idea is to teach us to imitate our God (Father–Ep 5:1), i.e. to set goals for six days of work with a completion time before the seventh day begins (evening on Friday). This does not mean to fully complete, for many projects cannot be accomplished in six days, but rather setting goals so as to have an end of the week before coming into the Presence of God on the seventh day.
The Sabbath Day is also part of God’s Feasts (Le 23:1-3). In fact each feast day is considered to be a Sabbath Day, even if does not fall on the seventh day. Many try to stress these as the “feasts of the Jews” but they are not their feasts, they are the feasts of the Lord who gave it to the Jews. In fact, the writer of Hebrews states in 10:25 to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together…” These Feast days of Leviticus were convocations, i.e. assemblies. Interestingly, the Scriptures give no indication as to how they were to assemble on the Sabbath much less what to do. Knowing that much of the structure of the synagogue is to imitate the temple worship, the synagogue more than likely has its beginning before the Babylonian captivity but come to the forefront since the temple was destroyed and the people could not continue worshipping in it.
The question is not whether we should or should not worship on the Sabbath but why should we keep the Sabbath as prescribed in the Torah? As the Torah points to Yeshua, so the Sabbath has a direct link to Him. In Rabbinical understanding, the six days of creation is the time man has control of the earth. The seventh day is the time of the Messiah. From this viewpoint, each Sabbath Day is to be a mini-rehearsal of the millennial kingdom reign of Messiah Yeshua.
It also helps to understands the argument of the writer of Hebrews in chapter 4. We have the “rest” of Yeshua’s completed work. Many believers have not come into a full comprehension of what Yeshua has done for us. We enter into the rest of Messiah for our salvation, for the salvation of others (evangelism), for all situations of life. Here we can have the confidence to come to our High Priest to “obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16).
We serve a great and awesome God. He has given to us earthly means to help us grasp His mighty love for us and His great faithfulness to us. When we change these or count them unnecessary, we lose out on the great gifts that our Creator and Deliverer uses to reveal Himself and His work.