Now we are going into something that is going to be real difficult for us. I say that because the next word concerns observing the Sabbath. In Hebrew, it is Shabbat.
“Remember the day of worship by observing it as a holy day. You have six days to do all your work. The seventh day is the day of worship dedicated to Yahweh your Elohim. You, your sons, your daughters, your male and female slaves, your cattle, and the foreigners living in your city must never do any work on that day. In six days Yahweh made heaven, earth, and the sea, along with everything in them. He didn’t work on the seventh day. That’s why Yahweh blessed the day he stopped his work and set this day apart as holy. (Exodus 20:8-11)
The fourth Word begins with “Remember the day of worship by observing it as a holy day . . . The seventh day is the day of worship dedicated to Yahweh your Elohim.” This is from Names of God Translation, which is one of my favorite versions to use. Another version that I often find myself often turning to is The Complete Jewish Bible.
CJB is a translation that was created by David H. Stern. There are several reasons I am attracted to this Bible. First, because, as far as I know, no denomination has officially adopted it. And, well frankly, that is intentional. With each of my Messages, I try never follow any denominational traditions and doctrines. That separates too many believers. I prefer to seek unity whenever I can find it. Whether you are Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Lutheran, Mennonite, Plymouth Brethren, Seventh-Day Adventist, or Messianic Jewish or any of the other hundreds of denominations and Christian Sects, I hope we can find common ground. At least, that has always been my goal.
However, the words in this version will sound different than many of the more traditional translations because the Complete Jewish Bible is taken from the original Hebrew texts. Many translations you find today are made from the Septuagint, which is a Greek translation of the Hebrew, which was created over two hundred years before Christ was born.
Over the last several years I have been attempting to learn some Hebrew, and, I am certainly not a Hebrew scholar, nor can I speak Hebrew. However, through my studies, I have discovered some cool things. It was like going from B&W TV to Color. I am not saying that what I see in B&W is wrong, it just doesn‘t give me the depth that Color does — and then when High Definition is added, whoa momma! I truly found definition! It was like going from my old cassette tapes to CDs! There is no comparison in sound quality!
Anway, I bring all that up because The Complete Jewish Bible has a very different rendering of this fourth word:
“Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.”
See what I mean? It comes right out and declares that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, and makes it clear how we are to view the Sabbath; and then this Word ends with this: “This is why Yahweh blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for Himself.” Hmmm.
Well . . . we just tapped into a hot button for sure among Believers. The whole concept of the Sabbath day is something important throughout the Bible. Now, whether or not Christians are supposed to observe the Sabbath has been debated by reasonable and brilliant biblical scholars for centuries — and the debate continues. So, I simply want to give you food for thought about the Sabbath. I won’t put anything in cement and tell you what to believe. Greater minds than mine haven’t been able to resolve the issue, so I know I won’t be able to.
Now, whenever I begin to broach this topic, two questions seem to be at the heart of Sabbath observance: First, is the Church required to follow (and obey) the 10 Commandments that we find in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, or not? Second, when (and what) is the Sabbath? If we can find the answers to both of those questions, it could revolutionize our faith!
In the first of these messages, I rhetorically asked whether you believe all of the 10 Commandments are valid. And I think it was a fair guess that most of you agreed that the Commandments were indeed valid and that we didn‘t have the right to pick and choose which commandment, which words. applied to us. In fact, I don‘t believe I have ever heard any Christian denomination say that the 10 Commandments, all of them, aren‘t for Christians. I bet you can find a copy of them hanging somewhere in almost every Church out there.
So, why do we hear all the arguments about whether or not we are supposed to obey what this Commandment says? Someone forwarded an email they received declaring that Christians have been relieved of the duty to observe the Sabbath. Interesting. But, if that‘s true, who decided which of the ten we could ignore? Why this one? Hmmm. Makes you think a little, doesn’t it?
This leads us to the second question of when and what is the Sabbath? Unless we decide that we have the right to ignore the fourth Commandment, the fourth Word, the one instructing us to observe the Sabbath, Christians should have the Nine Commandments as our creed and not the Ten. At least then we would be honest about it. If not, I guess we need to know Yahweh’s view as to when and what the Sabbath is.
This is what we are going to discuss over the next few days. So, hang onto your butts, because the waters are gonna get rough,
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