“Remember the Sabbath Day (7th day), to sanctify it.” – Exodus 20:8 (Torah, Sh’mot 20:7)Ever wonder why He said to “remember” it? Did He anticipate it would be “forgotten?” It seems He did! He also said to protect it! From what? From being forgotten/changed?
“Shamor,” “keep/protect/guard” the Sabbath! To sanctify it, for יהוה your G-d has commanded you to.” – Deuteronomy 5:12 (Torah, D’varim 5:11)
Yeshua the Messiah keeps the Sabbath, and calls Himself the “Master of the Sabbath!”
This is one of the three primary differences between Messianic believers and most traditional Christians. But this is probably the most important. The Sabbath is still a “delight” to our G-d. He never said to change it. Show us where He changed it, and we won’t observe it. It cannot be done. It is still a sin to break the Sabbath. If G-d “undid” this command, then He undid all the others; if He is anything, He is consistent. “I am יהוה, I do not change…” (Mal. 3:6) “Yeshua is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Much like the resurrection, the Sabbath has been corrupted entirely by some. Yeshua did not come to do away with the Sabbath: it’s written in stone in the Ten Commandments! And it did not get magically shifted from Saturday to Sunday. “Seven,” (sheva) in Hebrew, comes from a related root of “Shabbat,” to cease. “Cease from all your labors.” The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week: our Saturday. But it starts on Friday night at sundown: “And there was evening, and there was morning, a day.” (two twelve hour periods) The Biblical day starts in the evening. We Jews today still reckon our day to start in the evening: Shabbat begins on Friday night at sundown. It ends on Saturday night at Sundown.
We at Bat-Tzion don’t make it a point of contention, nor a burden to anyone. If you don’t want to celebrate it, take it up with יהוה! We celebrate the Sabbath for many reasons: G-d the Creator said to; to remember the Creator (see the command), to remember the fact that we (all mankind) were specially created (not accidentally evolved), to remember the Messiah who observed it faithfully, to emulate Him, and to remember that the Messiah is going to come one day and give us rest for 1000 years, a Shabbat (seventh) Millennium. We will cease from our labor one day soon, in Him.
We also honor the Sabbath because יהוה promised blessings for those who do! (Gal. 3, all, but especially vs 17, 29;Isaiah 56-58), and we have experienced those blessings! We certainly are not forbidden to celebrate it! What command is that? Join us and see if you don’t suddenly have more time, more peace, and more joy!
Our Biblical pattern for worship and assembly is thus: Study Torah during the week, (See Home page for details of Thursday night congregational Torah study) and welcome the Shabbat and study the weekly Torah Portion in the home on Friday night. On Shabbat morning, assemble as a congregation and worship. At the end of the Shabbat, at night, break bread “from house to house” and pray, and take care of congregational needs. This is the pattern that the apostles established, as recorded in scripture.
Enter into His Rest, and find the Shalom of Elohim like you never have before! Join us!
Leviticus 23 lists seven other feasts, after first showing us that the Shabbat is a weekly celebration.
Those feasts are divided into two “seasons,” or “mo’edim.” Spring and Fall.
The Spring Feasts start fourteen days after the crescent moon is first spotted with the barley ripe in the field. These feasts celebrate the harvest of grains for bread. See “Reckoning Pesakh” for more details.
So, on the 14th day of the first month (the month of new moon and “the aviv”/ripened barley), we keep the Pesakh (Pesach), or “Passover.” This begins the counting of the seven days of eating unleavened bread. The next day begins what is called Matzot, or ‘Unleavened Bread,’ commemorating the bread they ate on the day the Jews left Mitzrayim (Egypt), though they also ate this bread on the night of Pesakh, they cooked it again on the 14th ‘day’ in preparation for leaving on the 15th. They left on the 15th, ‘hidden’ from Paroh for 3 days in the wilderness. The next feast in the spring “Mo’ed” is Reysheet Omer, or The First Omer/Firstfruits. This occurs on the day after the regular sabbath that falls within the week of Pesakh/Matzot. This day is always on the first day of the week (Sunday), because it is the day after the Sabbath, the Shabbat that follows Pesakh. This day, First Omer, is the beginning of counting the days of the Omer (an omer is a sheaf of barley). The fiftieth day of counting is called “Shavuot”, because seven “Weeks” have been counted. This is the conclusion of the ‘Spring Mo’edim.’
So, in the Spring, along with our weekly Sabbaths, we celebrate these feasts:
Pesakh, Matzot, First Omer, Shavuot
During Pesakh/Matzot, there are seven days counted, days of eating Matzah, and the first day, Pesakh, is a “High Sabbath,” and the seventh day of Pesakh is a “High Sabbath.” Also, the 50th day of counting the Omer, Shavuot, is a “High Sabbath.” These days are treated very much like a regular Shabbat, though they may fall on any day of the week. We rest, we do no work, we worship, we assemble with the brethren.
Yeshua kept the Pesakh with His Talmidim at the beginning of the 14th, at dusk, as instructed in Torah, washing their feet, sharing the four cups of the ‘Seder,’ most notably the cup after supper, the third cup, “The Cup of Redemption,” giving us the anniversary to celebrate His shed blood, since He IS our “Pesakh,” (Passover Lamb), as Sha’ul teaches us in 1 Cor 5. He was executed on the 14th DAY (Biblical days start at night, so the ‘day’ of the 14th comes after the ‘night’ of the 14th, according to scripture). He was put in the grave at sundown, just before the 15th day began. So, He spent three days and three nights in the grave, starting on a Wednesday night, being ‘hidden’ from Rome much like Israel was hidden from Egypt during the same three days 2000 years before Yeshua. When the three nights and three days had passed, Sat. night arrived, called “Motza’eh Shabbat”, or ‘The Sabbath is Leaving,” in Hebrew, seen in the book of Luke, (though Greek translators did not know what they were reading, so their rendering is clunky). He, therefore, got up out of the grave at the end of the Regular/Weekly Shabbat. That day is the day of the First Omer, the “First-Fruits,” a ‘wave offering’ lifted up to יהוה. Yeshua ascended into Heaven on this day after visiting Miryam in the garden before ascending, commemorating Yisra’el rising out of the Red Sea, leaving Mitzrayim behind, on the same day 2000 years before. His ascent on that first day of the week was Him being presented as the “First-fruits,” and Sha’ul calls Him, “The First-fruits from among the dead.” Again, this is also the selfsame day that the Jews came up out of the ‘Red Sea’ 2000 years before.
Just as Israel wandered in the wilderness, the Talmidim of Yeshua felt a mite lost. But, he wandered with them for 40 days. Then He permanently ascended before their eyes, promising to send them the Ruakh HaKodesh, or the very Breath and power of Elohim, so that they could declare His truth with boldness. This happened on the 50th day of counting, on ‘Shavuot.’ This was an exciting day, when they saw fire come down and rest on them, and it gave them power to declare His Torah/Truth of Messiah to those around them. That day, 3000 people obtained life eternal. This happened on the selfsame day when the Torah descended from the fiery mountain, and 3000 people died, those 2000 years before Yeshua sent the Ruakh to His Talmidim. The Spring feasts had ended. These are the “Former/Early Rain.” Their prophetic significance has been fulfilled perfectly by Messiah Yeshua.
Then, we have the Fall Feasts. In these, we see and anticipate the Messiah taking His Bride, the Father judging the nations and testing Ya’akov/Yisra’el, and the final, visible return of Messiah Yeshua.
These are also seen in Leviticus 23. They are:
Yom Teruah, Yom HaKippurim, and Sukkot
After a long, hot summer, Yom Teruah comes on the seventh crescent moon, and is the beginning of the fall Mo’edim, of the harvest of fruit trees for winter food and wine. Yom Teruah is the Day of the Awakening Blast, also called the “Last Shofar” in Judaism (a Shofar is a Ram’s Horn Trumpet). It is a “High Day,” and is thus treated like a regular Sabbath. This is compelling, since Sha’ul said, “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the Last Shofar.” (See 1 Cor. 15:52 and 1 Thes. 4:17). This is the Resurrection of those who die “in Messiah,” meaning, being obedient to Him. This day is also known as “Yom HaDin,” or “Judgment Day,” but it is the judgment of the Tzaddikim, the Righteous Ones.
Ten days later is the feast of Yom Kippur, or the day of “Atonements.” This is the High Day of the year. This is the day of final judgment for the lukewarm and the cold. During the seven days between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur, there are the “Terrible Days,” or the “Days of Awe”, which are given prophetic treatment as seven years in Hitgalut, or “Revelation.” These seven Terrible days start each year on Yom Kippur, when the “great shofar” is blown (Matt 24, Revelation’s 7 ‘trumpets’). This is the Day that Messiah comes with the Tzaddikim behind Him, plants His feet in Yisra’el on the Mount of Olives, and every human eye will behold him. He will destroy the unrighteous on that day. This is why this day is a ‘day of afflicting of the soul,’ so that we are contemplative of judgment on that day, depriving ourselves of all human pleasure to focus on the ‘awe’ of Elohim and His Messiah.
Four days later is Sukkot. “Tabernacles/Booths,” the commemoration of living in ‘booths’ for forty years. This is also the biblical time of Yeshua’s birth, himself having been born in a Sukkah in the fall feast, which is why everyone was flooding into Jerusalem and Bethlehem. (They were given 2 years to pay their Roman tax, and shepherds don’t feed their flocks grass in the dead of winter.) The ‘grapes of wrath’ have been harvested at this time of year, and it is time for the guests of the ‘feast’ to sup with the Lamb and His Bride, who have returned to earth.
This season of living in ‘booths’ for seven days is symbolic of the temporal nature of life on earth, which will last for only seven thousand years; even in the Millennium it will be ‘temporal,’ and we will all commemorate this feast still, and all the others! (Zech 14), as we will see heaven and earth ‘rolled up like a scroll’ at the end of the thousand years that begin on the last shofar when Messiah blows the Shofar in reality. Sukkot ends with Sh’mini Atzeret, or “The Eighth Day,” the Day of “Rejoicing in the Torah,” which is symbolic of the period of ‘Infinity’ that starts after Messiah reigns for 1000 years. The first day of Sukkot is a “High Day,” and this Eighth Day is a “High Day,” treated like a Shabbat.
There are seven other feasts for Yisra’el given from Elohim in His Mercy.
There are two feasts in the scriptures that are not given in the Torah, but are observed nonetheless. One is Khanukah, during which Messiah preaches a compelling message about the anti-Messiah or “false shepherd” in Yerushalayim, in Yokhanan (John) chapter 10. This feast commemorates Yisra’el rededicating the Temple after it had been defiled for nearly three years. The Menorah was lit for the first time after three years of “darkness,” and so this is called the Festival of Lights, as well as “Dedication,” (Khanukah means “dedication”). So, this is an “eighth” feast, and is symbolic of the “eighth millennium,” which will actually be “infinity,” (the symbol for 8 is “infinity,” and in Hebrew, the symbol for 8 is a khet (with hard gutteral “h”), for “Life”, which is eternal/infinite in Messiah Yeshua.)
The other feast in scripture not listed in Torah is Purim. This is from the book of Ishtar, Esther, and is the only book in the scriptures in which Elohim is not mentioned even once. But Esther is a story of a woman risking her life to save Yisra’el while in a foreign land. She is a “picture” of the Bride of Messiah.
With these two feasts, our total comes to nine. Interestingly, over the years, a “Khanukiah” or “Khanukah Menorah” has developed. At first, way back in the time of Messiah, it was an oil lamp with eight lights. Today, it is a lamp-stand with nine lights. The eighth light is supposed to represent that “Sukkot” celebrated “Out of Season” in the time of the Maccabees, when they cleansed the Temple, having enough oil to celebrate Sukkot in winter and not in the early fall as usual. The ninth light was added outside the land of Israel, by accident, and was thus treated as the Shammash, or “Servant Candle.” So while we await Messiah, once a year we contemplate “infinity” during the season in which Messiah was conceived (Khanukah).