The Sabbath Day


THE SABBATH DAY, or Day of rest, is observed weekly from sunset on the sixth day to sunset on the seventh day of the week according to the lunar calendar. According to the Bible and tradition, the Sabbath is a memorial of the day of rest enjoyed by YEHOVAH God after the initial Creation; its observance was enjoined by YEHOVAH, in one version of the Ten Commandments, to commemorate His bringing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. Work must cease on the Sabbath Day and rabbinic legislation stipulates 39 types of action which are forbidden; however, these regulations may be set aside if human life is in danger. Yeshua the Messiah, in His teachings, shows that the Israelites placed so many regulations around the Sabbath Day that it became "a yoke of bondage." The Sabbath Day is an occasion for prayer, study, and refreshment of the spirit.

The Sabbath begins with the washing of feet.
When we look at most of the Churches of God today, what do we see? In the most part we see the well-intentioned religion of men. It bears little or no resemblance to what we see in the Bible. In not practicing foot-washing on a regular or weekly basis allows such churches a nominal Christianity. People can eat at the Lord's meal, as did Judas, and remain in fellowship because, to use modern vernacular, the rubber never meets the road! In so doing, these churches allow self-deception and allow for their churches to fill with tares. There is no accountability, no judgment, and no cleansing. The Lord's Table becomes the Table of Demons and of a syncretistic "Christianity" -- a Gnostic "Christianity" (I Corinthians 10).

The reference in Hebrews 6:2 to the doctrine of BAPTISMS (PLURAL) takes on a noticeable significance: It clearly suggests that FOOT-WASHING IS A FOOT BAPTISM, and is a part of the foundation of the elementary principles of the Messiah (Hebrews 6:1). Is it possible that YEHOVAH's Church cannot advance to perfection because, by neglecting FOOT BAPTISM, it lacks a completed foundation?

Clearly, Yeshua's foot-washing removes the stain of sin's pollution accumulated by walking in a sinful world. The washing is also seen as preparation for the disciples' mission. It seems obvious that Jerome has in mind the disciples' POST-BAPTISMAL SIN, for he describes the foot-washing as freeing them entirely from their transgressions -- implying an earlier freeing from sin by John the Baptist's baptism.

The disciples' baptism at the hands of John the Baptist designated initial belief and fellowship with the Messiah, whereas foot-washing signified the continuance of that belief and fellowship. As a sign of Yeshua's departure, foot-washing signifies the disciples' SPIRITUAL CLEANSING in preparation for both a continuing relationship with the Messiah and for taking on his mission in the world. In light of this, an identification of foot-washing with the cleansing from the sin contracted through daily life in this world is an appropriate one! So Peter (the believer) who experiences baptism -- which signifies a complete cleansing from previous sin -- does not need to be re-baptized but undergoes foot-washing -- which signifies the removal of sin that might accumulate after baptism as a result of living in this sinful world. In this way foot-washing IS AN EXTENSION OF BAPTISM, for it signifies the washing away of post-baptismal sins in Peter's (the believer's) life.

After the foot washing, the father should bless his children. The record of Biblical blessings being spoken over YEHOVAH God's people Israel throughout the Bible is endless; yet -- for some reason -- YEHOVAH's Ecclesia has sadly neglected this Biblical command. It is the duty of every Israelite parent to follow the example laid down by YEHOVAH God and the Messiah to insure that our children will enjoy all the benefits YEHOVAH has in mind for them. The Old Testament fathers expected their blessings to be fulfilled in their children's lives. We, too, must have the same expectation when we accept the challenge to bless our own children.

The 48th chapter of Genesis is a touching example of the value the Hebrew family placed upon children. Joseph stood his two sons -- Ephraim and Manasseh -- before his father Jacob, who then proceeded to  speak a blessing  over them. Verse 15 indicates that Joseph was blessed as his father began to speak the blessing over his sons. When Jacob said, "By you shall Israel invoke blessings, saying, God make you like Ephraim and as Manasseh" (Genesis 48:20,   Tanakh ), he instituted a practice of blessing children which should be observed by YEHOVAH's Church today. Those tender moments with Joseph and his sons were followed with a formal gathering of the twelve sons of Jacob -- during which time Jacob spoke blessings over all of them before he died.

YEHOVAH's concern for the welfare of His people Israel is highlighted in Numbers 6:22-27 when He commanded Moses to teach Aaron and his sons to bless the sons of Israel. He then gave Moses a three-part blessing -- which He required to be spoken over His people Israel each time they assembled together. Known among the Judahite people as the "High Priestly Blessing", it was expected to invoke the blessings of YEHOVAH God Himself when it was spoken. In Leviticus 9:22 Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. The words Aaron spoke were the same as those found in Numbers 6:24-26:

"The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you, 
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,  
And give you peace."

The positive effect of the community blessing was to be felt throughout the twelve tribes of Israel as they settled in the land of promise. In like manner, blessings which Israelite parents speak over their family should affect every area of family life. David said: "For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, 'may peace be within you'. For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good" (Psalm 122:8-9). David did seek the good of his people Israel as demonstrated by his desire to bless them in the name of the LORD after he had brought the ark back into Jerusalem (II Samuel 6:18).

The father of the household should place his hand over each child's head, saying to the boys: "May YEHOVAH God make you like Ephraim and Menashe" (the two sons of Joseph). When blessing girls, he says, "May YEHOVAH God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah."

Following this the Sabbath meal or Kiddush can begin. Paul asserted: "For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

"After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, AS OFT AS YE DRINK IT, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (v. 23-26).

First of all, let's notice two things here: 1) Although Yeshua used the dinner on the night after the 13th of Nisan had ended to give his disciples this new understanding of the bread and wine -- the very night he was "betrayed" by Judas Iscariot -- HE NEVER COMMANDED US TO OBSERVE THAT NIGHT AS A "MEMORIAL FOREVER"!

Instead, as the apostle Paul shows here, we are to partake of this special symbolical bread and wine ceremony "OFTEN" during the year! He said specifically, "as oft as ye drink it," and "as OFTEN AS ye eat this bread and drink this cup." This language implies it would be something we should do OFTEN during the year, because every time we do it, "we show the Lord's death till He comes." It is a spiritual REMINDER of the sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah for our sins. It is something we should do OFTEN, therefore, to keep us in the right attitude! This same expression "as often as" is used also in Revelation 11 where the apostle John writes that the "two witnesses" will smite the earth with plagues "as often as they will" (Revelation 11:6). It literally means often -- the precise number of time is not given, because it is left up to the church, and assembly, to decide those matters for themselves!

But just what is this mysterious "bread and wine" ceremony? Where did it originate?

Yeshua, like Melchizedek, brought forth the bread and wine -- but he added something this time, just before his death, when he offered himself up as our Passover sacrifice (I Corinthians 5:7-8). What did he do? He added new truth -- that is, he gave them new revelation, as to the real meaning and significance of this ancient rite or ceremony!

Yeshua taught the disciples that the bread (Greek artos, a word simply meaning a loaf of bread, generally leavened bread) used in this ceremony actually represents his own body, as he is the "bread of life" (John 6:48, etc.) by which man shall live (Matthew 4:4). The "bread" represents his flesh (John 6:50-51). And the wine? Yeshua said the wine itself represents his own blood shed for us! Thus we are to eat "his flesh" and "drink his blood" as he taught the Jews (John 6:53-56). This truth was too much for most of them to handle, and they left following him (John 6:59-66). But the disciples remained faithful, even though at that time they did not understand completely (John 6:67-69).

This special ceremony was not the "Passover" at all but is called the  Ha-Motzi v' Kiddush  -- the ancient "bread and wine blessing," or "blessing of the bread and wine" ceremony, often called simply the Kiddush.