It’s time to shake some people out of their spiritual complacency and to wake up the spiritually lukewarm!
This passage of Scripture gives us more information on how to observe the seventh day Sabbath or Shabbat. In this regard I have a serious question for some of you. How long will you hard-hearted, stiff-necked and rebellious people refuse to keep the seventh day Sabbath as the Creator of the universe himself gave us an example to do in Genesis chapter two, as he commanded all humans (not just the Jews) to do when he gave the ten commandments in Exodus chapter 20, which he commanded his people to do down through ages via his prophets, which Yeshua the Messiah and the apostles and early New Testament believers kept, and which the Bible prophesies will be kept during the millennial reign of King Yeshua the Messiah on this earth after his second coming? How long will you believe the lies that most of the Old Testament law and Jew-hating early Catholic church fathers pawned off on generations of Christians to this day that the Sabbath no longer matters, was done away with and nailed to the cross and that now Sunday has replaced the Sabbath? Almost all of Christendom believes this unbiblical lie. At one time they mainstream church believed that the earth was flat and persecuted and killed those who taught otherwise. Maybe the church is wrong about their view of a the seventh day Sabbath as well!
The Bible instructs us NOT to follow the masses to do evil, that is, to sin against Elohim by going against his Word or commands (Exod 23:2).
Finally, one last question: how long will you continue to follow the dictates of your carnal hearts as Paul so clearly states in Romans 8:6–8 and go against the clear commands of YHVH Elohim and not observe the seventh day Sabbath?
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” says YHVH Elohim (Isa 66:2)
[F]or not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of Elohim, but the doers of the law will be justified… (Rom 2:13, according to Paul)
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness/Torahlessness!'” (Matt 7:21–23, Yeshua speaking)
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:17–20, Yeshua speaking)
(Note: At this point, I’m not feeling inclined to take any comments countering my position on the validity of the seventh day Sabbath. I know what the Bible says, and I don’t care what men have to say to the contrary, and, frankly, I’m not interested in arguing over this point. This is time-consuming old business for me and it’s time to move on. For those who are honest truth seekers and want to learn more about what Scripture has to say about the Sabbath as opposed to those people who merely care to uphold traditions of men by which the word of Elohim has been made of none effect (Mark 7:13), I have this to say: On this blog, I have posted numerous articles on the Sabbath. You can find them by typing in “Sabbath” or “Shabbat” on this blog’s search engine on the front page. Love and blessings to everyone — Natan)
Exodus 35:2, The seventh day … shall be … a set-apart day. In our journey through the Torah, the subject of the seventh day Sabbath keeps popping up. Why is this? This is because it’s obviously an important subject to YHVH.
When YHVH said in Exodus 20:8 to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it set-apart (Heb. kadosh),” he is reminding the Israelites of it so that they won’t forget it! He reminds us again in the verse above to keep the Sabbath set-apart.
But there’s more.
With each reminder to keep the Sabbath, the Creator gives additional instructions about how to keep the Sabbath set-part (see Gen 2:2–3; Exod 16:23–30; 20:8–11).
In this passage, he adds not kindling a fire to the list of requirement for properly keeping the Shabbat. This was not just any kind of fire, but a certain type of fire, as we discuss below. Additionally, keeping the Sabbath was so important to the spiritual welfare of YHVH’s people that he prescribe a death penalty for those who worked on this day.
Why is Sabbath-observance so important to YHVH? This is because keeping the Sabbath is a crucial element in helping YHVH’s people to stay in right relationship with him. Those who observe Sunday as the “Lord’s day” fail to comprehend this truth. Sabbath observance, if done properly, demands that one stop their weekly routine, to take a selah moment (to pause and to reflect), and to look heavenward for an entire 24-hour period. This is hardly the case for the majority of Sunday-keepers, who go to church for a couple of hours on that day and for the rest of the day it’s business as usual. Much more could be said about the critical value of the Sabbath to keep YHVH’s lined up spiritually with him and other saints, but we discuss this in more detail elsewhere.
In this regard, the Jews have a poignant adage regarding the supreme importance of the Sabbath to YHVH’s people. “It’s not that the Jews have kept the Sabbath over the millennia; it’s that the Sabbath has kept the Jews.”
Exodus 35:3, Kindle no fire…on the Sabbath day. There are several prevailing viewpoints as to the exact meaning of this passage. Let’s explore them.
The Orthodox Jews take literally the Torah’s prohibition to kindle no fire on the Sabbath. As such, many do not even turn on a light switch or start their cars (i.e. fire in the spark plugs) on the Sabbath for fear of violating this command. To counter balance this viewpoint, the Torah does indicate that the priest lit the menorah in the tabernacle each morning, the Sabbath not excluded (Exod 27:21–21; 30:7). So, for ministry purposes, lighting a fire seems not to be prohibited.
There is also the viewpoint that since the next verse (Exod 34:4) begins YHVH’s instructions to build the tabernacle, the immediate context of the Sabbath-fire passage has to do with not starting fires that pertain only to one’s trade or job. In Israel’s case, their job was the building of the mishkan. Fires would have been needed for tanning hides, working with metal, and possibly bending wood and dying cloth along with other activities.
This we know for certain. On the Sabbath, YHVH’s people are not to bake, cook or prepare food from scratch (Exod 16:23), but reheating food seems not to be prohibited—something that is even permitted in Orthodox Jewish circles today. What is the bottom line issue here? We are to cease creating on the Sabbath, and cooking food from scratch (as opposed to reheating) changes the chemistry of the food which constitutes creating something (i.e. transforming something from its original state into another state). So fires for cooking would have been prohibited, to be sure. Food must be prepared ahead of time on the sixth day.
Is this Torah command forbidding the lighting of fires for heat and light? Some would say yes, since part of preparing for the Sabbath involves insuring that your heating fire and lights will stay burning through the Sabbath without having to relight them. Was this always possible in ancient times? That’s a question we’ll explore below.
For one thing, it is doubtful that YHVH would have expected his hapless people to sit in the cold darkness on the Sabbath should their fire have gone out—especially in the winter months when the days are shorter and colder, and when snow and cold rain are realities, even in the land of Israel. This would result in the loss of the delight of the day, which, in itself, is a violation the Sabbath (Isa 58:13).
The harsh realities of life in a primitive agrarian culture are evident. The ancient Israelites, obviously, didn’t possess electric or gas push-button heat or lights. If YHVH forbad them from lighting a fire for heat and light purposes, then they would have had to start a fire on Friday before sundown and keep it burning all night and through the Sabbath. This means that if the fire happened to go out during the night because someone slept too soundly and didn’t wake up to add wood to the fire or olive oil to their small terra cotta lamps (which burned only for a short time), then they would either be forced to sit in the cold and dark on the Sabbath, or they’d have to fetch some coals from a neighbor whose fire hadn’t gone out. The Israelite who lived in town had another option as well. Often, there were public ovens built into the earth with clay cooking tubes for baking bread. For those who lived nearby, they could bring back some embers from these public ovens to restart their home fires (Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, pp. 47–48, by Fred H. Wight).
In modern times, for those who heat their homes with a wood stove, the most energy efficient home-sized wood stove will burn only for six to eight hours if one has access to hardwoods (like oak, maple or fruit wood) as fuel. Despite one’s best efforts to keep the stove burning all night and the house warm, at times the fire goes out. In the land of Israel, large hardwood trees aren’t prevalent. In ancient times, if they had been, no doubt several million Israelites constantly foraging for hardwood to keep their fires burning would have quickly depleted the region of trees—especially in that arid land where trees grow slowly. In reality, the Israelites were more likely to have used sticks (1 Kgs 17:10), thorn bushes, bundles of dried grass (Matt 6:30; Luke 12:28), coals (or charcoal?; John 18:18; 21:9) or dried dung for fire fuel (Ezek 4:15; Ibid., p. 30). Furthermore, warming fires were often built in courtyards (John 18:18). Such fires don’t burn long. At the same time, making fire wouldn’t have been an easy process either, since this was accomplished by rubbing sticks together or by striking flint and steel (Ibid. p. 31).
For sure we know that in days before matches, lighters, push-button furnaces, lights and stoves, starting and maintaining a fire wasn’t a simple task. At the same time, it seems that YHVH wouldn’t have expected the Sabbath to end up becoming a miserable, weekly lesson in wilderness survival in having many of his servants freeze to death in the darkness on this day of joyful rest because their fires went out. He did, however, expect his people to make every possible effort to prepare for the Sabbath ahead of time to keep it from being just another day of laborious work (Exod 16:23). However, this author finds it hard to believe that the Torah forbids starting a fire for heat and light if necessary—especially during the winter months. Therefore, I maintain that starting fires for work purposes was forbidden, but for heat and light purposes, if unavoidable, was permitted.