“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Shabbat, to observe the Shabbat throughout their generations for a perpetual covenant. It shall be a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever…” Exodus 31:16
All throughout the Torah, the Prophets and even the New Covenant, we see how YHVH establishes the seventh day Sabbath as a gift to His people; those who love Him and keep His commandments. It is a unique opportunity and command to put aside our daily grind, stress and cares, and simply rest.
Sabbath (or “Shabbat” in Hebrew) is one of the most significant and often disregarded festivals. From the beginning of time, we read that our Creator YHVH worked six days in the process of creation, “and on the seventh day, He rested and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:17). In His infinite wisdom, He knew that we would need that rest on a regular, weekly basis, even before we existed.
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
We also read how the Messiah, Yeshua (or Jesus), kept the Shabbat during His ministry, and encouraged others to do so as well.
Even throughout the Apostolic writings such as the book of Acts, we see all of the disciples, including Paul, keeping the Shabbat.
It was not until the 5th century CE that Sunday was introduced as an alternative day of worship by the Roman Catholic Church, though even they admitted that it was not endorsed by Scripture nor instituted by the Messiah. Even the leaders of the Protestant Reformation made a lot of changes according to the Scriptures. Only a very few faiths have reverted to keeping the seventh day as the Lord’s true appointed day of rest.
Today, at ARIEL, we honor the fourth commandment to keep the original seventh day set apart from the other six days, ceasing from our regular work, and gathering for a service of peaceful gratitude, teaching and worship. We abstain from buying or selling on the Shabbat, so that we do not make others work for us, and we celebrate this joyful day with fellowship and feasting together.