It was Evening and Morning the First Day. Genesis 1:5

There needs to be a bit of clarification to the church concerning the subject of Sabbath.

Let’s start with the Hebrew reckoning of time. From the book of Genesis, a day starts at sundown (It was evening and morning the first day. Genesis 1:5).  Sabbath actually starts at sundown on Friday and ends on sundown Saturday evening. Sabbath comes from the word shiva which is the masculine form of the word for “seven” and refers to the seven days that one sits in mourning.

It was not God that changed the Sabbath to the first day of the week. Constantine did that at the Nicea Besides the fact that God’s Word never changes, it just wouldn’t make sense to start calling the 1st day of the week Shabbat” or shiva (seventh) as it were!

The purpose of Sabbath was a gift from God to man. If a person would trust God, then all his (or her) needs and provisions for that day would be offered to them freely by God. This would allow His children to rest from their labors (remember the double portion of manna given on the 6th day) and enjoy fellowship with their Creator. See Exodus. 16:26.

Yeshua faithfully kept the Sabbath.

Shabbat Shalom is a common saying for those who keep the Sabbath. It means to have a restful or peaceful Sabbath day. It’s a reminder to sit or rest in God. On a deeper level we can enter into the Sabbath by denying our own will or desires for the day and do good unto others. There is a purpose to put the carnal part of man to “rest” while one “practices” the acts of walking in the Spirit.

One day we will have an eternal Sabbath where the body literally “rests in peace”. We will cease to labor and be alive forever with the Lord. The disciples honored the Sabbath on the 7th day by going to the Temple – to pray and “rest” from their labors. At the end of Sabbath (when the sun went down) they assembled together for fellowship – they studied and prayed. It was not a formal service, but rather groups of believers who met casually in homes – breaking bread, encouraging one another and celebrating the Messiah. This special time after the Sabbath when the sun went down was called Motsei Shabbat meaning “after the Sabbath” – or the first hours of the first day of the week. This time in the evening of each Saturday would eventually equate to the beginning hours of daylight on Sunday mornings in Western observance.

When the apostle Paul came to the various homes of believers it was always after he visited the synagogues on Saturday. The believers stayed up late on Motsei Shabbat (the beginning of the first day) taking in all they could before the sun came up and the workday started. It is common even to this day for Israelis to work on Sunday mornings.

The custom of church services on Sunday morning is a western Christian tradition. The Emperor of the Roman Empire, Constantine the Great, was a polytheist and worshipped the Sun God, Ra. When he made Christianity the one-world religion in the 4th century, he enforced by edict, that Sunday morning would be a time of worship. He also forbade the observance of Motzei Shabbat, the feasts and the Sabbath that God instructed in Leviticus 23 declaring that the Church would have nothing to do with the Jews. The Romans and the Greeks looked down upon the Jews as inferior as they embraced Gnosticism (basically believing the Old Testament God was evil, but the New Testament and Jesus was good).

The church has gone through a lot of permutations since the first century instructions of Yeshua, and many of the customs and ways of our Jewish Messiah and his Jewish followers have been altered. I encourage you to get some of Dr. Richard Booker’s books, mainly Jesus and the Biblical Feasts and the Miracle of the Scarlet Thread. It a joy to worship the Lord any day of the week, be it Sunday, Wednesday or any day, but that being said we must understand that Sunday is not the Sabbath. It’s not the same day that God charged us to rest from our labors and carnality, joining Him in Spirit

I wish you all well on your spiritual journey and pray you get to know your Jewish Lord in His own Jewish context—the one in which God intended from the start of His Creation.

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