Is it lawful to “do good on the Sabbath” by working on the Sabbath?

I just received an email question from a brother who works at a hospital in the maintenance department, but wants to follow the Torah by observing the Sabbath (Shabbat). His work schedule was just changed, so that he now has to work on Friday evenings at the beginning of the Sabbath. He asked me whether his working on the Sabbath fell under the category of what the Bible calls “doing good on the Sabbath.”

Here was my response to him.

When Yeshua asked the question, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days…” (Mark 3:4; 6:9) it was not in reference to one’s employment, but to miraculously healing a sick person on the Sabbath. Big difference.
Whether one works on the Sabbath because one’s job requires it or not is simply a matter of one’s level of obedience and faith. I believe that if you resolve to obey YHVH and his clear commandments about not violating the Sabbath, and then take the necessary steps of faith NOT to work on the Sabbath, YHVH will bless you with the answer to your problem, so that you’ll not have violate his commands (called sin, 1 John 3:4) by working on the Sabbath. I’ve seen miraculous doors open up for people many times who have resolved not to work on the Sabbath. Be it according to your faith. So that I wouldn’t have to face the difficult situation of breaking the Sabbath and biblical feasts by working on them is why I chose to be self employed more than 35 years ago instead of the pursuing a career in the corporate world upon graduating college. Face it, this world isn’t a friendly to those of us who want to obey YHVH.
One more thing. Please keep this in mind. To the degree we obey YHVH we will be blessed in all areas of our lives. To the degree we don’t, regardless of our excuses, we won’t be blessed. This is a simple spiritual law of cause and effect.
I in no way judge or condemn you. These are difficult issues that many, if not most, people struggle with regularly. YHVH is merciful and gracious and gives us time and space to come into alignment with his perfect will. It doesn’t always happen overnight, but we must be taking steps in that direction.
Let’s keep in mind the clear biblical commands regarding observing the Sabbath in Exodus 20:8–11):
  • We are to remember (i.e. not to forget) the Sabbath day.
  • We are to keep the Sabbath holy or set-apart (i.e. not to profane it by doing our regular secular activities).
  • We are to rest (i.e. not to work) on the Sabbath.
  • We are not to labor (i.e. engage in any work) on the Sabbath (i.e. doing our employment or laborious work).

It’s really that simple.

 

Is “The Lord’s Day” a Proof of Sunday Observance?

Revelation 1:10, The Lord’s Day. This verse is one of the cliche biblical passages that mainstream church scholars use to “prove” Sunday’s replacement of the Sabbath. The problem with this position is that there’s no clear scriptural proof that the apostles ever changed the Sabbath to Sunday. What’s more, to view this passage as referring to Sunday is to take a phrase the early church fathers used as a euphemism for Sunday when pushing for Sunday in place of Sabbath observance and to retroactively apply this meaning to John’s use of the phrase. Frankly, it is biased and dishonest scholarship to take the phrase “the Lord’s day” with its second century colloquial meaning and then to back-apply this meaning to John’s use of the phrase when there’s no reason to believe this was John’s intended meaning.

Alternatively, the phrase, “the Lord’s day, can be a reference to the biblical term “the day of the Lord’s wrath” when YHVH, in the end times, will judge the nations for their wickedness. This is a point that several biblical scholars have made (see From Sabbath to Sunday, by Samuele Bacchiochi, p. 111; E. W. Bullinger’s Companion Bible footnote on Rev 1:10; The Jewish New Testament Commentary on this verse, p. 791, by David Sterns).

There is actually more scriptural proof that the phrase “the day of the Lord” is a reference to the seventh day Sabbath than to the first the week. In Isaiah 58:13, the prophet YHVH refers to the Sabbath as “my holy day…the holy day of the Lord.” So conceivably, it could have been on the Sabbath day itself that John received his vision on the island of Patmos about that great and terrible day of YHVH’s wrath that is to come on the earth just prior to the Messiah’s second coming. 

 

The Sabbath: Physical and Spiritual Rest

Hebrews 4:9–10, Rest. The Greek word sabbatismos means “a keeping of the Sabbath” and is derived from the Hebrew word sabbaton meaning “the seventh day or Sabbath.” It is  derived from the Hebrew word shabbat meaning “sabbath,” which originates from the root verb shabat meaning “to cease, desist, rest.”

Those who have entered into the Sabbath rest do so by following the example of YHVH the Creator who not only rested spiritually, but literally rested on the seventh day after the creation. He set this as an example for man to follow.

Some people see this verse in Hebrews only as a mandate to rest from their spiritual works by putting their faith in Yeshua. This is only partial rest. We must follow the example of YHVH who literally rested on the seventh day as well. Yeshua was YHVH the Creator (Heb 1:10; John 1:3, 10). He kept the Sabbath as YHVH the Creator, and as Yeshua the Messiah. (If Yeshua didn’t keep the Sabbath, then he was a sinner in that he violated the law, and is not our perfect, sin-free Savior! And if he kept the Sabbath, and he did, we are to imitate him as his obedient disciples and imitators by doing what he did. See 1 Cor 11:1.)

When we rest both physically and spiritually, we’re walking out a higher level of truth by walking out both the letter and the spirit of the law as Yeshua taught us to do in his Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:17–48), and as such, we’ve positioned ourselves before YHVH to receive more divine revelation from him. In other words, the more we obey him faithfully in love, the more truth he can entrust us with for safekeeping, for he knows we won’t take for granted or trample his precious truth nuggets. To those who are faithful in much, YHVH gives more. That’s how it works in his spiritual economy.

You see, the Jews keep the physical Sabbath, but have missed the revelation of spiritual rest in Yeshua, while the mainstream Christians have rejected the physical Sabbath rest but accepted the spiritual rest in the Messiah. Both sides have half the truth. Let’s put the two halves together and walk out the full truth!

Keeping the seventh day Sabbath with this fuller understanding is another way of connecting the gospel message to its Hebraic, pro-Torah roots.

 

The Fall Biblical Feasts Are Coming…Are You Ready to Celebrate Them?

Deuteronomy 16:1ff, Keeping the biblical feasts. How important are YHVH’s feast days (annual set-apart times or moedim) to you? The Israelites and first-century Messianic believers planned their entire year’s schedule around them. That’s how important YHVH’s annual festivals were to them. Do we travel halfway across the country to take a vacation or to go to a conference, and yet do not set apart the time to obey YHVH’s voice by keeping his appointed times? Do we let our jobs, school or other secular activities dictate how and whether we keep the feasts or not? If so, what does this say about the status of our spiritual priorities? What does Elohim think about our excuses about why we can’t keep his feasts has he has commanded us to do? 

The feast days are the skeletal framework of YHVH’s entire plan of redemption (salvation) of Israel. One cannot in good conscience and be true to biblical truth and keep the weekly Sabbath without keeping YHVH’s annual Sabbaths. They stand or fall together. What plans are you making to keep the upcoming fall appointed times of YHVH: Yom Teruah (Day of Shouting/Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Covering/Atonement), Hag HaSukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and Shemini Atzeret (The Eighth Day)?

In the final analysis, jobs, schooling, friends and the praises and acceptance of men will all pass away, but our relationship with Elohim will determine our eternal destiny. Isn’t it time that we got serious about putting him first in our lives?

On this blog site, I have posted numerous teaching articles on both the seventh day Sabbath and on the biblical feasts. These are readily accessible by going to the main page of this blog and typing in search terms in the site’s search engine at the top right hand side of the page.

Also, on this ministry’s YouTube channel, you can find dozens of videos on the Sabbath and biblical feasts at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5EzE5DQnrHfWWbczzkRo6IOnglxhbRfM.

On this ministry’s website, you can find numerous teaching articles on the Sabbath and biblical feasts at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast.

When are we to celebrate the biblical feasts? You can find out this info from our free downloadable online biblical calendar at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/calendars.html.

If you want to understand the biblical calendar from the Bible itself, go to https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/teaching.html#feast.

 

Shabbat—A Day to Seek Elohim

Numbers 28:9, On the Sabbath day. Every Sabbath YHVH required double sacrifices to be offered. This being a foundational principle, shouldn’t we spend more time seeking him on Shabbat? What types of activities should fill our Sabbath time that are of a devotional, worshipful nature?

Shouldn’t all of our Sabbath-day activities somehow point to YHVH, and in some way strengthen our walk with and ties to our Creator, and our ties to others who are of the household of faith?

Let’s not forget an important truth: Keeping Torah is not about bondage (to a legalistic set of dos and don’ts); it’s a vehicle to promote bonding (building loving relationship between man and his Creator, between man and his fellow man).

 

Shabbat Shalom from the West Coast of the USA

Shalom aleichem from the faithful remnant warrior bride of the regathered sheep of Israel on the West Coast of the United States of America to all of our brethren scattered around the world as they love Yeshua the Messiah by keeping his commandments including observing the seventh day Sabbath.

I took these photos this erev Shabbat as the sun was going down. I could almost envision the clouds splitting at that very moment and Yeshua the Messiah returning as I viewed this stunning sunset. 

Please enjoy these pictures as my love gift to you and give glory, praise, honor and worship to YHVH Elohim, the Most High El Elyon and the Supreme and Majestic Creator of everything. Amein.

Natan Lawrence

 

The Other Side of the Sabbath Law—Thou Shalt Work Six Days!

Exodus 16:4–30, The Sabbath. This chapter chronicles YHVH’s efforts to literally force an irreverent, unruly and disobedient nation to keep the seventh day Sabbath. He did so in a most poignant way—through food and hunger. It’s as if he were instructing the stiff-necked and rebellious Israelites that if they refused to follow his Sabbath instructions, they would literally go hungry. “If you don’t obey me, you don’t eat.” This shows the gravity the Creator places on the Sabbath command. Yet despite these clear instructions, most in the Babylonian church today, like the rebellious children of Israel of old, refuse to obey YHVH’s clear instructions regarding the Sabbath. Instead, they prefer to believe the doctrines of men proffered to them by their spiritual leaders that purport to invalidate the Sabbath command. Paul’s sage observation in Romans 8:7 describes the situation perfectly: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against Elohim: for it is not subject to the [Torah] law of Elohim, neither indeed can be.” In our day, the same question can still be asked of followers of Yeshua that YHVH asked of the Israelites at that time, “How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?” (Exod 16:28).

Not only this, but by forcing the Israelites to gather manna each day, he was teaching them to work six  days for their daily bread. Though the bread came from heaven—YHVH’s was its source—he still required the people to work each day by going out and gathering it. There is no free lunch even where YHVH is concerned. The nation of Israel wasn’t a welfare state empowering lazy freeloaders! If a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat.

The Sabbath command in Exodus 20 not only prescribes resting on the Sabbath, but this presupposes that one has followed the preceding command to work the previous six days. Humans are naturally inclined to laziness. If one doesn’t have to work, they won’t. YHVH works maintaining and sustaining the universe. YHVH who created humans in his image expects us to follow his example of working and then resting.

Moreover, this chapter is almost entirely dedicated to instructions pertaining to preparing for the Sabbath. This shows the priority that YHVH places on Sabbath observance for his people. Also note that these instructions are given many weeks before the official giving of the Torah (or law of Moses) at Mount Sinai. This is but one of the many examples of YHVH revealing key aspects of his Torah-law before he gave it the Israelites in one legal codified corpus at Mount Sinai.