THE WORKS OF GOD & DIVINE REST: THE ORIGINS OF SHABBAT
Shabbat is the rest from the labours we have wrought under the sun, from all the works our hands have made. (Ecc. 2:22) At Shabbat we rest, as God did, when He finished all His work. (Gen. 2:3) The observance of Shabbat is the fourth of the 10 Commandments given to Moses at Sinai:
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
The origins of Shabbat are found in the Genesis account of creation, where after six days of creating the universe and all that is therein, God rested on the 7th day and sanctified it.
It was on the first day, when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep, that God's Spirit moved upon the dark waters. He uttered His voice, creating the heavens and the earth. The Lord spoke and said: "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw the light was good, and He divided the light from the darkness.
On the second day, the Lord God said: "Let there be a firmament," and a firmament appeared in the midst of the waters, dividing the waters, from the waters. He called the waters to be gathered to one place, commanding dry land, with it's valleys and majestic mountains to appear. God called the dry land "Earth," and the gathering together of the waters, the Lord called "Seas." Then the Lord God commanded the earth to bring forth all varieties of grass, and every herb bearing seed, with fruit trees yielding abundantly after their own kind.
On the fourth day, God commanded that there be lights in the firmament, dividing the day from the night, and He made the sun, moon stars, that they might be for signs, seasons, and for days and years, for light in the heavens, and that they might give light to the earth. With the fifth day, God filled the oceans with teeming life, and filled the heavens with all manner of birds. He caused living creatures to live upon the earth, and it was good.
On the sixth day, God created man in His own image, commanding: Be fruitful, multiply and replentish the earth and subddue it, have dominion over the fisho the sea, the fowl of heaven,and all creatures that move upon the earth.
And on the seventh day, God ended his work, and He rested from all His work, and He blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because He rested from all the work which He created and made. God danced over the habitaable part of His world, and His delights were with the sons of men. He danced the day you were born! (Genesis 1:1-2:3, Prov. 8:31)
PREPARING FOR THE SABBATH BRIDE
The Jewish day is marked from sunset to sunset, with Shabbat arriving on friday evening. Today, with our busy schedules, it takes both revelation as well as anticipation to appropriate the Sabbath as God's gift, and to deeply love and appreciate this time of physical and spiritual rest.
Jewish people the world over, anticipate and welcome and honouring Shabbat as a beautiful bride, by cleaning the house, baking challah bread, shopping for the special Shabbat meals, consisting of a friday night dinner, a second meal which follows the morning service, and a light supper in the late afternoon on Shabbat. Our best clothing is worn. The table is decorated beautifully with ones best dishes and linen tablecloth, together with 2 shabbat candlesticks with candles, two loaves of challah, covered with a cloth, and a kiddush cup filled with wine.
Traditionally, the mother or daughter of the house, lights the Shabbat candles, covering her eyes during the reciting of the blessing, then uncovering the eyes when the blessing is over. Though men and boys can do the candle lighting too. This planning allows recipients to spend shabbat in rest and relaxation, as to celebrate it as a joyful occasion. Shabbat draws family members and friends together, to share fellowship, and to greet and bless one another with Sabbath peace. Shabbat Shalom, we say! And they respond: Shabbat Shalom! The friday evening Shabbat services frequently include a song with the words: "Come my friend, let us welcome the Sabbath bride."
THE CELEBRATION OF SHABBAT
The friday evening Shabbat celebration, begins at sunset, with family and friends gathered together in the home. No one works, not even the animals. The land also gets a rest. This absence of work, allows the time to truly make this sabbath day a delight. It is a weekly time for "spiritual renewal," for each and every household. Before we light the candles, we pray:
Blessed are You, G-d our Lord, King of the universe who has hallowed us through His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of the holy Shabbat."The lighting of the Shabbat candles, officially marks the beginning of Shabbat. Shabbat is welcomed with a beckoning motion of the hands. We are cognizant that God chose another woman long ago to bear the Him "who is our peace:" Messiah, (Yeshua haMashiach) and He is the "Light of the World." The True Light which now shines. (John 1:9) The True God and Eternal Life. (I John 5:20) Two candles are lit. One symbolizes "to remember" (ZACHOR) and the other "to observe" (SHAMOR) the commands of the Lord.
The man of the family recites Kiddush, sanctifying Shabbat. There is a prayer over the challah, (pronounded HALLAH) sweet egg bread shaped like a braid. In the candle glow of Erev Shabbat, we all meditate upon the goodness of God.
THE SHABBAT SERVICE
Traditionally, all synagogues hold services on friday night, and the family attends a brief evening service of about 45 minutes. The service will have singing of hymns, several prayers, and blessings, to welcome Shabbat, which is called: "KABBALAT SHABBAT."
Shabbat morning services also include congregational singing, a section from the Prophets, called the haftorah readings, prayers, with the Rabbai giving readings, or sermon. The Torah is read from the bima, or platform. A bar mitzveh or bat mitzveh may be included in the celebration.
THE SHABBAT BRIDE & THE END TIME TEMPLE BUILDERS OF THE LORD:
And the Spirit and the bride say: Come...And let him that hears say: Come...And him that is thirsty...And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17)
"The hands of Zerubabbel have laid the foundations of this house, his hands also shall finish it; and you will know that the Lord of Hosts (armies) has sent me unto you." (Zechariah 4:9)
For those who observe Shabbat, it is a celebration. As Shabbat is ushered in, it is compared to a bride or queen. It is ushered in as if one were expecting royalty. Preparations are made in advance. There is a deep spiritual significance to this, as Yeshua haMashiach has a bride, and this bride is the holy, called out people of God.
This aspect of truth concerning the Shabbat Bride, goes back to the story of King Solomon, and to Solomon's Temple and the typological significqance of this. Solomon's name means "peace or rest."
In scripture, David is noted for being a man of war, for he was a warrior who shed much blood. David was allowed by God to lay up the materials for the temple, which Solomon built. But Yeshua haMashiach is the King with many crowns. Isaiah the Prophet prophesied Messiah's birth, saying:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and his name shall be called: Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice forever." (Isaiah 9:6-7)He is the Corner Stone of the temple of God. He is crowned with a victor's wreath...as a mighty warrior, and He is our "peace."
SHABBAT MEDITATIONS & THE CROWN OF PEACE AMID A WORLD OF TURMOIL
Yeshua haMashiach is the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, destined to rule forever upon the throne of David, and prophesied of by Isaiah the Prophet in Isaiah 9:6. Allow Him to reign over your Shabbat celebration, and your life as Sovereign L-rd and King!Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the Yeshua haMashiach, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of an everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Yeshua haMashiach; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen! (Hebrews 13:20-21, 2 Samuel 7:1,2 Chron. 29:23,2 Sam. 23:5,Isaiah 9:7, Acts 2:34-38)
Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not be anxious." (Isaiah 28:16)
...And He shall be for a glorious throne to His Fathers house. And they shall hang upon Him all the glory of His Father's house; the offspring and the issue, all vessels of cups, even to the vessels of flagons.
He is a mighty warrior. In the first prophecy referring to Yeshua, we see Him engaged in mortal conflict with Satan (Genesis 3:15). That battle was played out: 1) In the wilderness. 2) The garden, The courts of law in Jerusalem, 4) Most importantly, on the cross. The hordes of hell were lined up against Jesus, and Satan directed an all-out attack. Yet Jesus steadfastly met and overcame every sword-thrust of the enemy. And when He died that spring afternoon, it was not in the agonizing defeat of a crushed and beaten man. It was as a triumphant warrior, whose sinless was itself a -blow to the avowed enemy of God. And His resurrection was proof of His victory. But that was only the first battle.
The second greatest battle will occur when Jesus returns from heaven astride a white horse. Eyes blazing, He will crush the uprising of the man of sin, defeat the hordes lined up against Israel, and establish Himself on His throne in Jerusalem as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19). There's more. Christ the warrior won the battle on the cross and will win the battle of Armageddon. And He is fighting right now on our behalf. He stands beside us in our battle with our spiritual foe. Let us daily put on each piece of the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). We are not defeated, because Yeshua the Mighty Warrior stands with us.
THE CANDLE OF THE LORD:
"The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly. (Proverbs 20:27)
The way in which God refreshes us with His peace, is by searching our human heart, and exposing any wicked way, that we might have opportunity to repent of this. Ner Hashem nishmat adam, is the Hebrew phrase meaning "The soul is the candle of the Lord." As we wait before God, repenting of anything God brings to light, our peace is restored, yet once more.
THE ORIGINS OF SHABBAT
The term SHABHATH in Hebrew means "to cease, to desist; or "to rest." The origins of Shabbat or Sabbath, predate the giving of the law. The first mention of Shabbat in scripture, is with regard to the creation account in Genesis 2:1-3. We are told the creation took place in six days, and on the seventh day, God rested from all of the work which He had made. He blessed and sanctified the 7th day, because in it He rested from His labor which God created and made."
SHABBAT IN THE LAW
Shabbot observance is the 4th, of the 10 commandments found in Exodus 20:8-11.
"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you will labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God: in it, you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and allthat is in them; and rested the seventh day: whereof the Lord blessed the sabbath and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-9)
THE HISTORY OF SHABBAT AFTER MOSES:
Among the prophets, great promises are attached to the faithful observance of shabbat, as a holy day. These writers also make mention of the periods of Israel's unfaithfulness and profaning of this day. The Babylonian exile, which occurred following the years of non-sabbath keeping, became a valuable lesson in Israels life. During Nehemiah's life, he struggled to make the people observe the law concerning the sabbath. (Nehemiah 10:31,13:15-22)
The Jewish historian Josephus writes, that sabbath observance flourished even after Titus the Roman general captured Jerusalem, and Jewish people were scattered over the face of the earth.
THE BRIT CHADASA SPEAKS:
It was Yeshua's custom to attend the synagogue on the Sabbath day. (Luke 4:16) Messiah held the Sabbath in high regard as an important observance for working mankind. The way in which He exalted the "spirit of the law" over the observing of the law, brought Him into conflict with religious leaders of His day. The rabbai's seemed to think of Shabbat as an end in itself. An institution which every pious Jew should subject himself, or risk the consequences . In other words, they believed that "Man was made for Shabbat."
Yeshua haMashiach taught openly that if a need should arise which was in conflict with the letter of the Law; man's needs should take precedence over the Sabbath, because "the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath." (Mark 2:27) Yeshua's resurrection from the occurred on Shabbat.
In the Brit Chadasa, or New Testament, we see a spiritual truth that provides insight into the fulfillment of Shabbat. Something happens in the life of the new covenant believer, when he or she believes upon Messiah Yeshua. The observance of Shabbat, taught Israel the importance of faith. It reminded God's people that every need would be supplied by the loving Heavenly Father. Prophetically it pointed to a day in which God would institute a new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:6)through Messiah, and that through Messiah's atoning blood, God would have a people. God would live in and walk in them ,as they entered by faith into His "spiritual rest."
"And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and be their God."
(2 Corinthians 6:16, I Cor. 2:7-16)
Paul contended for the freedom to be lead of God's Spirit, saying with respect to Shabbot or Sabbath, for believers in Messiah not to judge one another.
"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of a new moon, or of the sabbath day, which are a shadow (TUPOS="type or symbol") of things to come, but the body is of Messiah/Christ." (Colossians 2:16)
A man is free to observe special days such as Shabbat. (Romans 14:5) But he warns not to allow this or anything to become an occasion to cause another to stumble. (Romans 14:13)
Believers in Messiah everywhere continue to observe "a day of rest," in which they attend their house of worship, study scripture, and rest. Those who choose to observe a traditional sabbath, should do as their own conscience dictates, and not judge their brothers in the Lord. The teachings of Yeshua haMashiach bring life to all who will receive them.
This spiritual rest come through receiving God's promised Messiah, and walking in the spiritual light and fulfillment of SHAVUOT.
Paul quotes in the Brit Chadasa, from the Prophet Isaiah, saying:
In the law it is written: "With other tongues and other lips will I speak to this people; and yet for all that they will not hear me, says the Lord. Wherefore, tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not:but prophesying serves not those that don't believe but those who believe." (I Corinthians 14:21-22)
The exact quotation from Isaiah 28:9-11 reads like this:
Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Then that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the . For precept must be upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom He said: This is the rest, wherewith you may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing; yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a littlee; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."
The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews expounds on "spiritual rest," with these words:
For if we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said: As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spoke in a certain place of the sabbath day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, ...if they shall enter my rest. Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached did not enter in because of unbelief: Again, he limited a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." For if Messiah Yeshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest to the people of God." (Hebrews 4:7-11)
THE PROPHESIED SHABBAT & SHAVUOT REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD:
I have given you scriptures such as Isaiah 9:6-7, which show that Messiah is God, Himself. Messiah is our pattern for the way in which man should enter into "God's rest." Not because He did no work, but because He obeyed the Father at all times, perfectly and in every detail. In John 14:10, He said: The Father in Me, He does the works. (John 5:20) He said: The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself, but the Father in Me, He does the works. .
What was this "Shabbat" which Yeshua haMashiach promised to the people of God, in speaking prophetically of a day, when "rivers of living water would flow forth from Him that believes on Yeshua? To the woman at the well, He called it a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. (John 4:14) The scriptures tell us that Yeshua, stood in that great and last day of the Feast of Tabernacles...And as the priest poured out the water, Yeshua cried:
"If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink. He that believes on Me as the scriptures have said: Out of his belly (inermost being) shall flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given (to them) because Yeshua was not yet glorified." (John 7:37-39)
The Shabbat of which Messiah speaks is the day in which believing in Him, we enter into rest, and cease from our own works, that we might yield ourselves as God's servants to obey Him from our hearts. In the bible in Hebrews chapter 4, the word speaks to us, concerning those who having received the promise of rest, fell short and did not enter in, because of unbelief.
We are told in Hebrews 4:2, "The word preached to them, did not profit them, because they failed to mix it with faith! Hebrews 4:7, admonishes all men and women: Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. For if Yeshua had given them rest, He would not afterward have spoken of another day. Therefore, there remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, has also ceased from his own works, as God did from His." Isaiah the prophet said it this way:
"If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and will honour Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you will delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father." (Isaiah 58:13)
What was Jacob's inheritance? It was the revelation of himself in the eyes of God, which enabled Him to be a prince with God. For Jacob who had always won "by hook or by crook" as we say; found himself crippled in his flesh, as the angel touched the hollow of his thigh and it was out of joint. Mainly, I believe that Jacob, in his wrestling with the angel, leaarned to have no confidence in the flesh. Hosea 12:3 records that Jacob wept, and made supplication to the angel. He wrestled with the angel of the Lord, yes--The angel which was a manifestation of Yahweh Himself, in a theophany. For he said:
"I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved Genesis 32:30) (Hosea 12:3)But moreso, he pleaded his cause, before the One who answers prayer. And God who is rich in mercy, answered Jacob. And made him a prince and a prevailer with God.
Through faith in the promises, God will empower each of us with His precious Holy Spirit from on High, to be His witnesses, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth! (Acts 1:8) On Sha Vu Ot, we see 3000 Jews receive this promise of the Father in Acts 2:38-41) The Samaritans were filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:16. The Gentiles in Acts 10:46-48, where we learn that the visible evidence is "speaking in tongues." Lastly, we see at Ephesus, disciples of John the Baptist receive this marvellous prophetic promise of God's free gift. (Acts 19:5) There will be a work for us to do. But we do this as Zechariah the Prophet admonishes in Zechariah 4:6. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord! Who are you O great mountain? Before Zerubabbel you will become a plain. And He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying: Grace, grace to it!" (Zech. 4:7) God will complete His great work, through the obedient "sons of oil," as Zechariah calls them in Zech. 4:14
In Acts 2:39, Peter preaches: For this promise is for you, and for your children, and to all that afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
Even as the Sabbath is welcomed as the queen, or bride, when it comes to a close, it receives an appropriate and honourable farewell, suitable for a visiting Monarch. The ceremonial braided Havdalah candle is lit, and the head of the house or leader says the blessing, over the wine, spices and light, acknowledging God as Creator of all. A small spice box, sometimes in the shape of a tower, referred to as a migdal, is passed around and each smells the sweet fragrance, praying that the week to come will be as sweet.
Blessed are you O Almighty our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who made a distinction between the holy and the ordinary, between the Sabbath and the weekday.
The Breaker is come up (gone up) before them; they have broken through and have passed the gate and go forth."
(Micah 2:13, ! Samuel 5:19, I Chron. 14:11)
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