Sabbath: The 7th day and the 1st day of the week

In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. – Gen. 1:1
And God saw every thing that He had made, and , behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. – Gen. 1:31

Thus the Heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He ceased ( שבת) on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day sanctified it because that in it He had ceased from all His work which God created and made. – Gen. 2:1-3; Heb. 4:10

Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of YHVH your God… For in six days YHVH made Heaven and Earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and He rested (ינח) on the seventh day; wherefore YHVH blessed the Sabbath and sanctified it. – Ex. 20:9-11; 23;12

We remember the Creator for His creation, and His rest.

The Sabbath is a sign between YHVH and Israel to know that it is YHVH who sanctifies us; He ceased (שבת) and was refreshed (ינפש ) after His six days of creation. – Ex. 31:12-17; Ezek. 20:12,20

And YHVH spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them concerning the appointed times of YHVH, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My appointed times (seasons; feasts)… The seventh day is the Sabbath of rest (cessation שבת). – Lev. 23:1-3

[Feast of Booths]. . . on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. – Lev. 23:39

God begins and ends with rest (שבת).

And remember that thou was a slave in the land of Egypt, and that YHVH your God brought thee out from there by a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; wherefore YHVH thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day. – Dt. 5:12-15

We remember the Redeemer and Deliverer for our redemption, and our rest.

The Sabbath to called a delight (עונג) (see Is. 58:13-14)

There remains therefore a rest (cessation) to the people of God: the gospel message of rest to those who believe (Heb 4:2), as we cease from our own works as God did from His. (Heb. 3:7 – 4:11)

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Shabbat; therefore, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath also. – Mk. 2:27-28

Yeshua/Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He had not only broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. – Jn. 4:34; 5:17-18; 9:4

God’s present on-going work is that of redemption and salvation.

Good works of grace (lovingkindness) and truth are lawful on/for/during the Sabbath, Shavuot (Weeks; Pentecostal present dispensation), Jubilee (the present acceptable year of YHVH which Yeshua the Messiah proclaimed, the Millennial Kingdom to come:

Mt. 12:7,10,12 to show mercy; healing; to do well (good)
Mk. 3:4 to do good; to save life
Lk. 13:16 to circumcise
Jn. 6:29; 7:23 to circumcise; the work of God is to believe on Jesus Christ, whom God sent

Yeshua, the Son of God and the Son of Man, fulfills the Sabbath: in Him God finds rest and refreshment, and in Christ believers enter into God’s rest and liberty. (Is. 11:1-2; Mt. 3:16-17; Jn. 1:31-34; Is. 28:11-12; Mt. 11:27-30; Is 66:1-2; Acts 7:49) The Lord Yeshua was in the grave and Sheol (Hades) on the seventh day Sabbath between His crucifixion and His resurrection on the day after the Sabbath (the first day of the new week; the “eighth” day): death to the self-life as representing Man and Mankind (“putting off the old man”); alive unto God through faith (“putting on the new man”). (Col. 3:9-10; Rom. 6; 1 Cor. 15:45)

This is the life and the way of the cross for the disciple of Jesus. We are to bear our own burden of responsibility, and help others carry their over-burden, so fulfilling the Law of Messiah. The Sabbath looks on to the Millennial Kingdom – the 7th 1000-year day with YHVH – when all shall know Him, from the least to the greatest, and when the Kingdom of God/Heaven rules over all the Earth – and throughout the Universe – never to be yielded up again forever! (Jer. 31:33-34; Ps. 8; 92)

Yet, the Shabbat itself requires consummation or fulfillment (filling full), an answer to sin and death, burial and hopelessness in man’s own experience and expectation apart from truly knowing and believing in the one true living God. Praise God for the day YHVH has made: the day Yeshua rose from among the dead on the day after Shabbat; the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the first-fruits of believers; the first day of a new creation in the power of the God of resurrection; the day when God spoke, and there was Light and Life – even life after death! (Gen. 1:3; 2 Cor. 4:6)

God is creating a new eternal day of the New Heavens and New Earth, where there is no darkness, no sin or suffering or curse or death; where, and when, all things are made new, and that which is perfect is come; the hope and promise of the new and better covenant in and by and through Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father!

When we are born-again we become children of the resurrection and children of light. The Sabbath reminds us that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, and rested on the seventh. As we remember that, on the first day He formed the light to push back the darkness that He created. He did not need to create light, for God is light! Yeshua is the uncreated Light, and we are brought into God’s light. The first day of the week (the “one of the week” in Hebrew and in Greek) is also holy! Praise the Lord!

The Sabbath of the 7th day has abiding value through to the end of history and time. (Ezek. 43:26-27) The 8th day (the day after the 7th; the 8th year following the Sabbatical; the Jubilee after 7×7 years) is founded upon the fulfillment of the previous seven, and looks on prophetically for the believer to eternity, when time is no more, and God is all and in all. (1 Cor. 15:19-28; Rev. 21 – 22)

In the New Testament we read that the believers met on the first day of the week. (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2) This is in fulfillment of the Word of YHVH through Moses to Israel. (Lev. 23:11,15-16,36) The Apostles to the Circumcision — Peter, John, and James — make no specific reference to the Sabbath Day. Yeshua, in His letters to the churches through John in the Revelation, makes no reference to the Shabbat. Let each of us be convinced in his own mind, and be servants for the gospel’s sake. The Sabbath remains for now YHVH’s sign of the covenant with Israel; believers in Israel normally worship together on the Shabbat, since it naturally fits into the Israeli Jewish culture within which — and among whom — we live. Yet the Shabbat cannot nullify the significance of the day after, nor can the first day of the week nullify the still on-going significance of the seventh-day Sabbath. We are God’s witnesses to both!

Hold fast to our inheritance and testimony, even while thanking and praising and worshipping our great God and Savior for the liberty He presently allows for in His wisdom when believers can assemble and worship together. May the Holy Spirit enable us to worship God our Father, and the Lamb who sits upon the Throne, in Spirit and Truth. Amen.

This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, August 25, 1995 (rev. March 5, 2017), and reposted with permission.