Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Shabbat Shalom!

Genesis 2:
1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Leviticus 23:
3 "Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places.

Psalm 92:A Sabbath Psalm
1It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 2to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, 3to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. 4For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

Mark 2:23
One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24And the Pharisees were saying to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?" 25And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?" 27And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

John 5:
15The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I am working." 18This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

Matthew 11:
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Eph 2:
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

John 14:
11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. 12"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Hebrews 4:
1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." 5And again in this passage he said, "They shall not enter my rest."6Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7again he appoints a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, "Today, if you hear his voice,do not harden your hearts."8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.

What is the Sabbath? Which day is the Sabbath day? Why does it cause such heated debate?What does the word of God say?

The truth of the scripture is this; the Lord's resting on the seventh day is what made the day Holy. In other words, if He had created everything in three days, the fourth day would have been the Sabbath. If it had taken 9 days, the tenth would have been the Sabbath etc etc. God chose to complete it all in the first 6 days, making the seventh day a Sabbath, as He was finished, and rested on that day. (The significance of the number 7 in scripture is a study for a different time.)This is why I believe a literal 24 hour day is being referred to in Genesis 1.
While God was creating the earth, its' inhabitants and its' accoutrement, He was also creating “time”.
Time. i.e. the 24 hour day, (manifesting into weeks. months and years), is not a concept that we came up with.
Time has a set beginning, and end. God deemed this to be so.
In the first six days God created and set into motion everything that exists, including time, by His spoken Word. It is God's resting that is the overarching issue. Isaiah wonderfully affirms the account of Genesis, which is; creation’s functioning displays the working of the Word that God spoke, and the glorious truth that this Word does not return void.

Isaiah 55:
10"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

God did not rest because He was tired, bored, or ran out of ideas. He was not under a deadline because the seventh day was quickly approaching. He stopped after six days because everything that He wanted to create and set into motion was completed. We, all the saints past and future, along with the world we live in today, are the still ripening fruit of the Word He spoke in those six days. The end has not come yet in time though it is contained in the completed work of the six days. His Word is still going forth, doing what it was intended to do until the pre-destined day of the return of Messiah Jesus.The Word will return to Him, with all the fruit it was intended to bear, at the end of time.

1 Cor 15:
28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

Therefore, the day is Holy because God rested on that day. If He had not rested on that day it would not be Holy.All the Scriptures cited here, prove that the issue is one of rest, not which day of the week. They also discredit the arguments between Jews, messianic jews, seventh day adventists, roman catholics and protestants over which day to have church. The scriptures tell us in Acts 2, that the church met daily.
If I have ceased from works by entering into His rest, that is, into Christ himself, and His finished work, then I am celebrating the Sabbath, and keeping it holy. I live in the Sabbath every day. I am no longer living to complete my own work, I am now working the works of God, which were prepared before I even existed. When we are doing His work, and have ceased from our agenda and its labor, then we discover that His work is HIS WORK, and we find rest in the performance of that work. (Hebrews 4).
God was content to rest in His own work, and call it Sabbath so should we be content to do so .The Sabbath is not a day. It is the Lord’s rest. So be diligent to enter that rest, and not be disobedient like the generation of the “wilderness wandering” that perished in the desert. The meaning being, they were not content in what God had provided for them, but constantly complained and contended with God and His ways. Our works are birthed in the incubator of discontent.

Phillipians 4:
11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

The "secret" is resting in Him.

Quail anyone?
Isaiah, rebuked Israel for not understanding and following the true fast, i.e. taking all that you deny yourself and giving it to those who have need for it; anything else is a "fasting show".He then ends with this:

Isaiah 58:
13 "If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;14then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

Why does he end up speaking about the Sabbath in a passage devoted to the topic of God's true fast? I believe that the true fast and the Sabbath are one and the same. We live a life of self-denial (ceasing from our own labors), every day, and minister to those in need (entering His rest). These are the works of faith spoken of by Paul in Eph 2:10, and by James in chapter 2 of his letter.
How do we enter this rest?

John 6:
27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." 28Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" 29Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

Herein then is the call to Sabbath, and the promised rewards of entering that rest:

Luke 9:
23And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

Hebrews 4:
9So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.11Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

Phillipians 1:
6: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Phillipians 2:
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Shabbat Shalom!

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