IS IT POSSIBLE TO KEEP A BIBLICAL SABBATH DAY?
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No matter what day a person observes a Sabbath, it is not possible to keep it in accordance with the cultural and historical teaching of the Old Testament times.
A key passage is Isaiah 58:13. "If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on my Holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the Holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure, and speaking your own words." From this passage it would not seem difficult to observe the Sabbath, until we take a closer look at the meaning behind it in the days of Moses.
In his book, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, David Hazony says there were 39 prohibitions on the Sabbath, most of which were passed down from Moses through oral tradition.
To further complicate matters, he points out that there are 2 different versions of the fourth commandment, the one in Exodus 20:10-11, and the other lesser-known version in Deuteronomy 5:14-15. Both passages list the entire Ten Commandments but the one concerning the Sabbath is different. The difference lies in the reason for celebrating it and the event with which it is associated. The Exodus version links it to resting from creation, while the Deuteronomy passage connects it with the children of Israel being delivered from Egyptian bondage. It is completely irrelevant for modern-day Christians, even Seventh-Day Adventists, to observe the Sabbath in keeping with deliverance from bondage, and as we will see in a moment, it is also not entirely possible in both spirit and letter to observe it as a rest from creation.
Hazony further points out that one of the main reasons for keeping the Sabbath is to refrain from creativity, period, including writing, (which I am doing right now on a Sunday. Oh, but don't forget that Jesus healed a blind man on the Sabbath, as recorded in John 9). This also included using the day to study the Torah and for a time of spiritual advancement, or as the author says on page 116, "setting aside our goals and building our souls."
We should all have a Sabbath day of rest for our own physical and emotional health and spiritual reflection, but it is not possible for anyone to fulfill it totally to the spirit and the letter. It is indeed sad, though, that some people have made the keeping of the Sabbath more like a religious requirement than simply a day of rest.
Hebrews 3-4 contrasts a day of Sabbath rest with a spiritual state dependent upon one's obedience, not associated with any particular day. Also refer to Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:2, and John 20:19 which mention coming together on the first day of the week. You also may be interested in reading my article entitled "Which Day Is The Sabbath." (5/3/13)
It is simply not possible to observe a Sabbath in accordance with the original intent and requirements of the Old Testament, no matter what day of the week it is on.
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