Sabbath: The Light is Messiah
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready." Revelation 19.7
"And He (Jesus/Yeshua) said to them, "The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." Luke 6:5
WHY DO THE SABBATH?
The Sabbath has been called the Bride, the Queen, freedom, redemption, complete day of rest, day of study, and is the outward sign between a man and his wife. The Sabbath is a rehearsal of the wedding between the bride (believers in Yeshua/Jesus) and the bridegroom (Yeshua HaMashiach/Jesus the Messiah). Many Christians have never experienced the beauty of Sabbath. If we can give you anything from this teaching it would be to introduce you to one of God's greatest gifts...His engagement and wedding ring!
Learning about God's Festivals can be likened to the bride preparing for her wedding. This covenant must be sealed soon. We are preparing for millennial reign with our Bridegroom. We want to get our makeup just right for Him! We must know what pleases Him, and His ways. If we will examine the Sabbath through the eyes of the Bride, we will see what preparations we need to make.
In a Jewish wedding, the bridegroom waits under the chuppah or wedding canopy for the bride. This is seen as a reminder of the seriousness of God's covenant to be united with His people one day with the Messiah Yeshua.
The chuppah was also a symbol for the Tabernacle in the Wilderness and the Temple. Today we see the chuppah in our homes that have become the Temple! Each Sabbath we are to go to our homes to renew our covenant with God in many ways. A time of renewal of a marriage is celebrated each week, too, with the husband becoming the Bridegroom and the wife once again, becoming as a bride. They examine their covenant and look at all their blessings that come from God, and await the Messiah. We, who are Believers know Him as Jesus, but His Hebrew name is Yeshua (Yeah-shoe-ah). Since we are close friends of the family of Yeshua, let's call Him by His real name, instead of His "nickname" of Jesus.
"My lover is mine and I am his." Songs of Songs 2:16 (In Hebrew it would be "Dodi li va-ani lo.")
This favorite verse is also interpreted into the Sabbath service each week. The verse is set to music and is a favorite dance (Dodi Li) to welcome the Sabbath! Let's look on at the pictures of Yeshua that presents Him as our Bridegroom, shall we?
|"For this reason a
man will leave his father and mother and be united to his
wife, and the two will become one flesh."
"This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Messiah and the church." Ephesians 5:31-32
Ever feel like "something was missing from your relationship with Yeshua?" Well, we have found that this is one of the first things that falls into place when you are seeking "the missing piece." This set-apart time with God and your family can add what has become known as "Shalom" (which means "peace"). But "Shabbat Shalom" means more that just "peace"--it means "wholeness in God." Sabbath adds wholeness to your week.
Lesson: Acceptance of Yeshua into your life adds wholeness. How true!
A beautiful picture of the Sabbath is presented in the musical Fiddler on the Roof (suitable viewing for the entire family) and A Stranger Among Us [R rated] (a movie which you may want to preview before sharing with younger children-violence and language).
Sabbath is always celebrated on Friday beginning at sundown and lasting until sundown on Saturday. Sabbath is also a part of each festival, and if you learn this first step you will be able to see Yeshua more clearly.
If we are celebrating Sabbath on Friday night, all week long you would be preparing for this special family occasion. You would discuss with your family whom to invite to share this evening, plan the meal, bake the bread, set out the best china, decorate, and practice the songs. It does sound like the preparations for a wedding, doesn't it? But whatever you decide, look for the Messiah Yeshua in it and enjoy.
The Sabbath has long been a very important part of the Jewish people. The Sabbath, more than anything else, has kept them united throughout the ages. Studies have shown that rituals are an important part of family life and in today's world of the "dysfunctional family," the importance of the celebration of God in the family unit has never been more needed. The phrase "the family that prays together, stays together" speaks to the heart of the Sabbath.
Each week as we approach Friday evening we become excited about spending time with Yeshua in the framework that God has provided! God's plan for Salvation is revealed through the festivals of Leviticus in such wonderful pictures! Just like the parables are pictures, so are the festivals. We always remember two parables that Yeshua taught:
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you. "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the son of man is coming." Matthew 25:1-13
"And Yeshua answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner'; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.' "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all who they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:1-13
We've often read through these passages, but often we, as Christians, do not realize just how much understanding of Jewish wedding customs would help.
Where are we taught about the Jewish wedding? In the festivals! These two passages explain about the Jewish wedding customs. The Sabbath is a weekly rehearsal for the bride and the bridegroom to come together. At each festival you would open with the Sabbath service! (Other festivals teach about the catching away of the believers, the coronation and wedding, tribulation, Yeshua's return, and even the establishment of His kingdom on earth!)
Where else might I learn about the Jewish wedding? It is vividly portrayed in the Festival of Rosh haShanah or the Feast of Trumpets. We also know that there were Hebrew idioms or slang terms that the people of that time understood, just as we have our slang terms today. As an example: Turkey Day means Thanksgiving, and Firecracker Day would mean the Fourth of July. The same is true of the people of Israel. Verse 13 of Matthew 25 reads: "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." This says to me that he was speaking about Rosh haShanah! This was a common idiom for this two day festival. It is the only festival that begins with the physical sighting of the New Moon. No one man could decree that the festival could begin by himself. There had to be two witness that came before the Sanhedrin Court, and THEN the Court declared that the festival began. No man knew upon which day or hour, but only God controls the signs of the heaven. The festival lasted for two days, so therefore no man knew upon which day of the two, that the bridegroom might appear!
His wedding and coronation are vividly portrayed in this festival, but the Sabbath is the outward sign that the bridegroom comes! I would encourage you to research Ancient Jewish weddings for even more insight into the scriptures.
"Therefore, let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come but the substance is of Messiah." Colossians 2:16-17
If you read this verse carefully you will realize that what Paul is saying, is "Don't let others judge you in food or drink because at the festivals, you will have special foods and drinks that would teach you of the Messiah." Even the special foods and drinks were a teaching tool to reveal Messiah more intimately to you!
He also says that they can do the festivals--the new moon is a festival which was known as The Festival of the Born Agains! And note that he says that they were to do sabbaths! Why? Because the substance teaches of the Messiah!
Let's look again at scripture: (KJV) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:4
Examine this same scripture taken for THE JEWISH NEW TESTAMENT by David Stern: "For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts." Romans 10:4
What is the difference? The Greek rendering of the term "teleos" is found in a STRONG'S CONCORDANCE number 5056. Let's look at the definition...to set out for a definite point or goal; the point aimed at as a limit; the conclusion of an act or state result or purpose. It is from the same word that we get "TELESCOPE" and "TELEGRAPH." It's like running a race towards the goal line. The goal is the "finish" but you have to run the race to get there! I liken our Christian race as never starting because we thought we were "ended". We never connected the two ends of the telegraph wire to communicate what God was telling us! We didn't see Him saying to us, "Hey! The Messiah is waiting for you to come to his party!" Each festival is a presentation of His many facets and even the sacrifices were to be a teaching tool to see him more clearly! Why are you just sitting there?
Let's look at one more verse: "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles." Zechariah 14:16
Have you ever traveled in a foreign country? I have! And believe me if you don't know the language or customs, or understand their foods, you can find yourself in embarrassing, if not, dangerous circumstances. If we are to go up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, do you know what section of the Temple you are to enter, and what are the customs? Do you know what to wear? Do you know how to follow the celebration? Yes, I think that we need to understand our Hebrew Savior, Yeshua, so we can prepare--one step at a time--for His coming! The Sabbath is the bridge to everything!
Have you been looking for that "missing link" in your relationship with Jesus/Yeshua? Then the sabbath needs to be "plugged" into your life. Over and over again, the families that I have talked to that have dedicated even one evening a week to keeping a family sabbath, tell me that within three weeks of doing "sabbath" that they can notice more peace and health in their lives! Families are being restored to what God intended them to be - united in HIM with HIM leading the way!
I want you to do something very simple. I want you to lay your Bible down on the table in front of you. I want you to open it to John 1:1 and read to verse 18. Now if you are looking back at this sentence and thinking, "So? What was I suppose to see, Cheryle?" Then you missed it! Look again and this time, read aloud with your mouth.
Did you see it? If not, then I will tell you what I saw...HIM! There HE is laying down on the table in front of me! HE is exposed to me! Totally laying open to me! The Word became flesh! What I am looking at is just as intimate as can be! Remember preparing for your wedding? You got the dress, the veil, the cake, and the invitations, etc... The thrill of planning the wedding and the courtship was there! You walked to the altar and met your bride or bridegroom. You kissed at the altar. Maybe you went to a reception, but eventually the two of you had to go back to the hotel or someplace and consummate the marriage. Did you get married just to wear the dress and be the center of attention at the ceremony? Hopefully not! You got married because you wanted to be intimate with your God-ordained spouse as husband and wife! Hopefully some place along the way, you will have to have sex! Its intimate! It exposes us laying open our most intimate parts to each other. We have to totally trust our spouse...just like we have to trust the LORD! But how many people do you know that have the handshake at the altar, and leave it at that? They never get intimateface to face with the LORD! They never open their Bible to see HIM! This is what HE died for! Not just so you could wear the fancy dress, or wear the veilor if you are a manto wear a kippah or a tallit! HE died so that you could be intimate with HIM! He died so you would trust HIM intimately with your life! HE wants to be face to face with YOU! HE died for a relationship NOT FOR YOU TO HAVE STUFF (the dress or kippah or shofar)! He died to breath in your face that intimacy in your very life! Even HIS NAME in Hebrew is the very sound of a man breathing as he makes love to his wife! This is how intimate HE wants to be with you! To breath into you HIS very essence! To transform a handshake at the altar into the "new creature" that HE needs you to be to do Kingdom business. It says in Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." In this case, the "lawlessness" should really be translated "were never intimate with ME."
The Sabbath is a rehearsal for HIS Coming. I pray that this will be the beginning of your intimacy with the LORD within the framework that God established. May you become intimate with HIM every day of your life.
Don't feel that everything has to be perfect on the Sabbath. Planning and practice improve the Sabbath each week, but your first experiences should be basic and fun--this is a celebration of home and not a religious ritual. We have tried to simplify the Orthodox Jewish service so that you can "taste" of it, rather than to put every little word into this book. This was written for beginners, and we pray you will want to grow into the longer service at a later date.
"The Sabbath was more than a day of rest. Its observance by the Israelites was a constantly recurring acknowledgment of God as the Creator of the Universe." (Taken from the Hertz PENTATEUCH & HAFTORAH.)
The first mention of the Sabbath can be found as early as the book of Genesis.
"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he rested from all His work which God had created and made." Genesis 2:2-3
Did you ever wonder what "sanctified" meant? It meant "to set apart as special." A whole day for eternity where we were to step from our worldly cares and problems, and just be with Him! How wonderful! We were to come and bring our families, eat our meals, and walk in the cool of the day in the Garden with Him. How sad that we have lost that attitude about the seventh day!
In the Garden, the Sabbath was given to all mankind, but mankind rejected God's desires in their lives. They became too busy to acknowledge Him and to spend time with Him. The only people on the face of the earth that would literally give God "The Time of Day" or His time, were the Hebrews! So we see God delivering this group of slaves into the Desert of Sinai to present His Covenant to them. They accepted. They were chosen for a purpose, just as you are chosen for a purpose. God is calling His People to come to Him as His bride. Will you?
You may notice that it was so special that only the seventh day was given a name--Sabbath! All the rest are numbered!
"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 the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11
It is a commandment from God, not just to the Jews but to anyone who wishes to worship Him. The phrase, "stranger who is within your gate" means a non-Jew who wishes to worship the God of Israel.
GOD DID NOT CHANGE HIS MIND ABOUT THE SABBATH! Our God is never changing! Nowhere in the Scriptures is man given the authority to change the day of worship or any festival. In fact, God instructed them not to add to or change His Commandments. So where did Sunday come from? Look at the name of that day...Sunday! It is the Roman calendar name for worshiping the Sun God! The Roman's changed the names! Men changed the name and the day! God didn't! He is still waiting for us to keep the Sabbath as He asked Adam and Eve to do at creation!
The Sabbath was created for the First Adam as much as the Sabbath was created for the Second Adam---Yeshua and His Bride! We just haven't known it!
What has been the result in our homes of keeping Sabbath? We found that when we started doing this in our homes each week, that God blessed us. Stability, peace and harmony came to our homes in abundance. When my husband comes home to the aroma of the freshly baked bread, the table set with our dishes, the sound of guests arriving, he would lean against the door and say, "Ah! Sabbath!" Some weeks we would have lots of guests and a big formal dinner, and other weeks we would simply celebrate alone with a lingering candlelight dinner. It is your choice, but we wanted to encourage you that The Sabbath can become a part of your life each week.
It is customary to wear the best you have for the Sabbath. This is not intended to make the Sabbath difficult to keep; it is so we will be in the right frame of mind as we learn the truths of the Messianic Kingdom, and see the things that God is communicating to us with His Sabbath.
We are to step out of the 1990's world of problems and worries, and into the safety of His Sabbath. I liken it to getting on the Ark with Noah and his family. They were prepared and safely tucked away waiting. So, too, each Sabbath we are prepared and safely tucked away waiting for the Bridegroom. It may only be a rehearsal, but I don't want to be one of the people left outside the Ark!
As you prepare for the Sabbath, it is customary to teach about God. Share with your family these things about the Sabbath and try to find new meanings for each thing. The question "why" and "what could God be teaching about the Messiah with this object?" are wonderful ways to draw your family into the evening of celebration.
The table itself is symbolic of the altar of God and the bread represents the sacrifices. Yeshua is our high priest and each of these things would be things that could teach about Him. So, the father becomes the high priest for the evening and is to teach about God. So many homes are lacking their priest at the altar each week.
Remember as you go through the set order of the meal, it is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom when we shall all be together. The meal is exploding with the things of God, if we will only look with open eyes and pray for the understanding that comes from God. For the purpose of study we recommend that you may do as much or as little as you are comfortable with doing. To examine the lesson that is presented is all that we ask. Later you could order a more Orthodox service book, if you like. This is a messianic service with our own commentary added. We have used (T.J.P.) to show you what are Traditional Jewish Prayers.
Before my husband joined me in doing the Sabbath, I would just go into the bathroom and light two matches and surrender my heart to God! I didn't have a book with the service. I just lit the matches and gave Him my twenty-four hours! It was about seven months before my husband joined me. Now we are united and it feels so wonderful! We pray that this will be a blessing for you, too.
There are traditional songs that are sung acapella on the Sabbath. Here are some to look for when you are shopping or looking through the resource list:
Song Titles: Eliyahu Hanavi; Sabbath Shalom; David Malech Yisrael; Hinei Mah Tov; Am Yisrael Chai; Lo Yisa Goy; Key Mitzion: Usha' Av' Tem Mayim; Heveinu Shalom Aleichem.
These blessings are often sung. You can get audio tapes with music from our resource list. The best resource would be ordering a catalog from 1-800-JUDAISM. They have LOTS of music tapes and other things that will help you. We also have available a video of our group doing a Sabbath service, but you may also speak the words aloud as a responsive reading for your family to say together.
I would suggest that you contact First Fruits of Zion at 1-303-933-2119 or 1-800-775-4807 or see their website at for more music tapes. I especially recommend Jonathan Settels tape on the Sabbath. You can also call Bridges for Peace at 1-800-566-1998 or 1-918-461-8800 as they carry his tapes and others from the Messianic community. I am a big fan of Carol Cantrel who works with Bridges in Jerusalem.
Some families like to praise the Lord with instruments and songs that they already know from church. Perhaps you would like to teach one or two new songs and let your family choose other songs that they already know. Dont feel that you cant sing some of your familys favorite Christian songs. HE will be thrilled with anything that you lift up in praise to HIM, so dont be legalistic! Just relax and enjoy!