Lawful Sabbath Activities
It is lawful to do those things that God has commanded us to do on the Sabbath, since God is also the maker of the Sabbath and can therefore tell us what he wants us to do on HIS Sabbath; for this reason the Priests may fulfill their God commanded duties on the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath [by doing the work commanded by God], and are blameless?
Since the Sabbath was made for the good of man, we may also do acts of compassion and mercy; however we are NOT to use the “ox in the ditch” emergency excuse, to justify and excuse habitual Sabbath breaking.
We are not to travel on the Sabbath to the extent that it becomes a tiring labor, nor are we to buy gas, food, drink and lodgings on Sabbath. We are to use the Preparation Day to properly prepare for the Sabbath Day.
We are not to do any cooking on the Sabbath (Ex 16:22-24) nor to do our own things, speak our own words, or to even think our own thoughts. We are to be totally dedicated to our God on his Holy Sabbath Day (Is 56 and Is 58).
We are to do no work at all on God’s Holy Sabbath, except for that which God himself commands to be done, we are to focus on studying God’s Word, discussions of, teaching and learning godliness and prayer, and acts of mercy for the health of others; nor shall we be responsible for any other person or creature being required to do any work on the Sabbath Day.
To pay others to serve us in a restaurant is no different than to pay others to work at any other service. To pay anyone else to do what we would not do ourselves is HYPOCRISY! We are to avoid all appearance of evil (1 Thess 5:22).
Exodus 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates [subject to our responsibility]:
Cooking, Buying and Work on the Weekly Sabbath and Annual Holy Days
This scripture is often used by unlearned persons to justify cooking on God’s Holy Sabbaths.
Speaking of the very first Feast of Unleavened Bread when Israel was leaving Egypt, God allows food preparation on the Holy Days as an extraordinary emergency measure.
Exodus 12:15 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
This statement that food may be prepared during the Feast of Unleavened Bread has been used to justify food preparation on all subsequent and all other annual Holy Day and Weekly Sabbaths by some. Is that a valid assumption?
This verse actually refers to the very First “Feast of Unleavened Bread” and its two High Holy Days ONLY: allowing food to be prepared and eaten on that very FIRST Feast of Unleavened Bread ONLY.
Some extrapolate from this verse that food may also be prepared and eaten on all subsequent Feasts of Unleavened Bread Holy Days and all other High Holy Days.
It is necessary to understand that this particular scripture is a history of Israel coming out of Egypt.
After that FIRST Passover, all leftovers had been burned and there was no prepared food available when Israel began the march out of Egypt; later when they had been crossing the Red Sea throughout the sixth day – just before the seventh and Holy Day – of that Feast there was also not time to prepare food ahead of the seventh day High Holy Day.
As a singular emergency act of mercy, God permitted food to be prepared and eaten on this one emergency “ox in the ditch” occasion.
Nowhere else in all scripture is such a liberty [to prepare food on a Sabbath or High Day] permitted. This is simply a record of a special allowance, a special act of mercy; made for a special situation.
This one time act of mercy is an act of merciful exception to the rule, and does NOT justify breaking the commandments for the weekly Sabbath and subsequent annual High Day Sabbaths!
To cook or buy food or drink on God’s weekly and annual Sabbaths except for a very special and extreme extraordinary emergency in SIN!
We must quickly repent and turn from this sin of using Holy Time for our own purposes and pleasures, before we are corrected as physical Israel / Judah were corrected anciently and will be corrected again for the same sin!
The fact that the Passover was the preparation day for the first annual Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on which it was well understood that no work including cooking was to be done; is made clear by the faithful who rushed to entomb Jesus BEFORE the High Day of Unleavened Bread began at sunset that evening.
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation [the preparation day for the first Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread], that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
In Leviticus 23 the statements regarding the High Holy Days refer to commands not to do any servile work. This has been taken to mean something different than the “do NOT do ANY work” of the Sabbath command; and has been used to try and justify cooking and doing other work on the Annual High Days.
The word “abodah” is translated in the KJV as “servile” . The related word “abidah” means to “work of any kind”.
In reality, far from justifying some types of work like cooking, the term “servile work” is a redoubling of the command to do no work of ANY kind at all; for emphatic emphasis! Thou shalt not do any [abodah] work and thou shalt not do any servile work [or any kind abidah].
No work of any kind, including food preparation and purchasing, which is NOT to be done on any weekly or annual Sabbath! Only acts of mercy for health and safety and anything specifically commanded by God to be done on the weekly and annual Sabbaths may be done.
We are to properly prepare on the preparation day so that everyone might rest from physical duties, and engage in spiritual pursuits learning about God on His Holy Time
The Weekly Sabbath and the Annual Holy Days are Holy Time. No work of any kind is to be done on them. That means no food preparation or cooking and no buying of food or drink.
Food and drink are to be prepared on the previous day which is the Preparation Day for the Weekly and Annual Sabbaths.
On the weekly and annual Sabbaths we are to do what God has specifically commanded us to do on those days; in addition, acts of mercy are to be done and the days are to be observed by convoking with God as Adam and Eve did and by doing so with other like minded persons.
The Sabbaths are God’s time, not our time; and the Sabbaths are for our good to teach us the way to peace and life eternal.
All mankind is obligated to obey their Creator Father and to spend time with Him, and that time is specified by our Creator to be the seventh day; Friday sunset to Saturday sunset! which seventh day is to be observed week by week FOREVER! as time to be spent with God in peace and in rest; learning of Him and acknowledging God as Sovereign Creator in a memorial of the completion of creation in six days, the seventh being a rest from that creation and a memorial of that creation.
Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [anyone that you are responsible for] is within thy gates: 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
We are not to work on that day and we are not to require or force anyone else to work on the seventh day Sabbath. No one. Not an employee, a slave, a servant, an animal, or even a beast of burden shall be required to do any work on the Sabbath Day, for God Almighty has decreed that the seventh day shall be a rest for all living things forever!
In Exodus 31:12, zeal for keeping the Sabbath is emphasized as one sign between God and his people. This sign is for us, so that we may have this weekly time to spend with God and learn of him: “that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.”
Exodus 31:12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
Today the Assemblies proclaim the Set Apartness of the Sabbath, and then go out to pollute it on a weekly basis: FOR SHAME! They cook, do menial work around the home and pay others to cook and work for them! For Shame, that the brethren for the most part, speak their own words about business and gossip, and do not discuss the Word of the Eternal!
For this sin, God proclaims that we are cut off from HIM, and from being accounted among his people as a part of his collective bride!
31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
The Called Out of Spiritual Israel shall surely be rejected by Christ (Rev 3:14-22) and vomited out of his body into great tribulation, where they will be strongly corrected for defiling the sanctity of God’s Sabbath and Holy Days.
31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 31:16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
Keeping the Sabbath, New Moons and Festivals on God’s schedule in the way that God has said; acknowledges the absolute authority of God and His Word.
31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
This was a sign between Israel and God; and we must become Israel in the spiritual sense through living by every Word of God (Jer 31).
All the commandments that God gave to physical Israel are equally applicable to all those of the spiritual Israel of the New Covenant; not only in their physical keeping, but in the keeping of the spirit and full intent of those commandments. For Jesus commanded that we are to live by every Word of God the Father (Mat 4:4).
Even as physical Israel was called out of bondage to become the people of God, so the spiritual New Covenant called out people have been called out of bondage to sin to become the people of God. And even as Israel were required to obey their God, spiritual Israel is also required to obey the same God and keep the same commandments.
If we are to be God’s people, just as physical Israel was called to be God’s people, we must absolutely obey and live by every Word of the same God and do the will of God. The Sabbath was commanded to Adam at creation, and to ALL humanity as Adam’s descendants! Not just to the Jews.
What does God will for us to do on His Sabbaths? What does He want us to do with His Holy time?
Those who make the seventh day Sabbath [Friday sunset to Saturday sunset] their delight and are zealous to keep it in its full sanctity; who reject doing their own pleasure, like participating in sin by buying food and services in restaurants, those who do not cook or do any work or pay others to work [except for doing what God has commanded to be done on Sabbath, and acts of mercy to care for man and beast], are honoring God their Father in heaven according to the commandments and shall reap a blessing for doing so.
Brethren, we pollute the Sabbath by even speaking of business! We are to speak of the scriptures and holy things and we are NOT to speak of worldliness and our own words; and yes, we are not to gossip about family things either. Save your own words for other times, and use God’s time to speak of him.
58:13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
When we think about, and hear, and speak of the whole Word of God; we learn of the wondrous perfection of all God’s ways; and by following God the Father and Jesus Christ and longing to be with them, learning of them both and keeping all the ways of God, doing all we can to please God and become like our Father and our espoused Husband on HIS Sabbath Day; they will bless us for learning and keeping the whole Word of God.
To go to a service and then do our own thing, and speak our own words the remainder of the day; is to pollute the Sabbath and is SIN! It is dishonoring God our Father and it is STEALING God’s time, which is NOT our time, to do as we want with!
To do our own thing and to speak our own words on Sabbath; is to demonstrate to Christ and the Father that we are only attending for social purposes and to experience an emotional feeling of righteousness, of thinking of ourselves as pretty good godly people!
That is SELF- righteousness and NOT godly righteousness; for godly righteousness would be focusing on the whole word of God and not on our own pleasures on GOD’S DAY!
Isaiah 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
On the Sabbath day we are not to do our own pleasure. We are rather to seek out and make the things of God our pleasure; and we are not to speak our own words.
How many times can you remember going to a Sabbath service where you heard a sermon and then you or your friends talked about nothing except recipes and babies and business and weather, and didn’t even discuss the sermon? You were speaking your own words and not discussing the scriptures as God commands us. You were polluting the Sabbath Day!
Now obviously it wouldn’t be wrong to say it’s a nice day, isn’t it? But to do that and to speak of other mundane things and completely neglect discussing the Word of God is sin! It is using God’s time for our own purposes.
Brethren, I am not saying that we must speak exclusively of scripture, I am saying that our focus should be on God on God’s Day; and today we have gotten so far out of balance, that we discuss our own affairs virtually exclusively and completely neglect discussing the Word of God on HIS Sabbath today.
A sermon should be given and then you should search the Scriptures, discuss the sermon, sharpen each other by discussing these things and trying to learn more and understand better. And you should be able to ask your minister to expound things a little more thoroughly on this point. or that point; that you may not have fully grasped. And you should be able to go to your home or perhaps to the homes of your friends and continue to discuss God’s Word and the things of God.
If we are spending more time discussing our own things and doing our own pleasure, then we are spending on the things of God, it is not right.
Isaiah says in verse 13, You should not be finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words. You should be thinking of and speaking about the things of God. And the truth is that; what comes out of your mouth is a reflection of what’s going on in your mind. And if you are not talking about the things of God, chances are about 95 percent that you are not thinking about the things of God and your mind is not on holy things on God’s holy Sabbath Day.
The people complain against God instead of seeking His deliverance, and instead they long for the bondage of Egypt.
This is a lesson that Satan tries his best to discourage us to give up the fight against sin, but if we are faithful to live by every Word of God, God will deliver us.
God tests Israel as to whether they are zealous for his Sabbath or not.
Exodus 16:2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Then the Eternal rained Bread down from heaven; this being an obvious analogy of the spiritual Bread of Life [Jesus Christ and the Word of God], given to men from God in the spiritual wilderness of this world.
16:4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove [test] them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
God does not prepare food for the people on the Sabbath, revealing that we should also follow the example of God and NOT prepare food on the Sabbath as per God’s example. We are to prepare our food on day BEFORE the Sabbath and Holy Days and not to cook on God’s Sabbaths and High Days.
16:5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.
16:6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt: 16:7 And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? 16:8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.
Christ then appears to all Israel in his glory [in a bright cloud].
16:9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings. 16:10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.
Christ promises Israel quails in the evening and heavenly bread in the morning.
16:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 16:12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God. 16:13 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
In the morning Israel found small grains and called it: What’s this? And Moses told them that it was the food that God had supplied.
16:14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost [a grainy pebbly material] on the ground. 16:15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
Moses commanded the people to gather up this Bread according to the needs of each person every morning, with double on the sixth day to be used on the Sabbath as well as the sixth day.
16:16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. 16:17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 16:18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
If the regular daily gathering was left overnight until the following morning it would rot and breed worms [maggots].
16:19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.
Yet some could not follow even these simple instructions for the preparation day and the Sabbath Day, which were given to set apart God’s Sabbaths with proper preparations on the day before the Sabbaths.
16:20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms [maggots, flies], and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. 16:21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted [evaporated on the open ground in the sun like the dew].
On the sixth day they were to prepare for the Sabbath by collecting one portion for the sixth day and one extra portion for the Sabbath day.
This was to teach us that we are to follow the example of God and we are NOT to cook and prepare food on any Sabbath or High Day, and that we are NOT to pay others to do this for us!
16:22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. 16:23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
16:24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. 16:25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
16:26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
Yet some did not prepare and went out to gather food to cook on the Sabbath Day; as is done in the Ekklesia today.
16:27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
Then Jesus Christ was very angry with those people who refused to obey him regarding the Sabbath and Holy Days. Later he sent Israel and then Judah into captivity mainly for breaking his Sabbaths. How much more is he angry with us of spiritual Israel who are supposed to love and live by every Word of God?
16:28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? 16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place,
Jesus Christ told the people that they are not to bake or seethe [boil or simmer]. God’s people are not to do any kind of cooking on the Sabbath Day. A simple warming of already cooked food with today’s modern conveniences like microwaves is alright, but no cooking from the raw to produce a finished item is allowed because of the work involved.
Ladies and gentlemen, God has given everyone a day off from our labors including cooking and housework, so that everyone may have time to learn about godliness. The principle work of many ladies even today is housework; and God wants to give our ladies the day off, as well as the men.
Exodus 16:23 And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
The preparation day is Friday up until sunset. And the Sabbath, the seventh day is Saturday. Sabbath runs from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. And on the Sabbath Day we are not to do any cooking.
We are not to do any work. We are not to do any traveling. We are simply to take the day off and relax. Spend it with God in prayer, in study, in reading, in thinking about Him, and in discussing the words of God with others, and in teaching our mates and our families, and spending the day totally focused on God, and of course also resting on that day, taking it easy.
One should have the attitude of saying, “This is my day off, I’m glad I don’t have to do this or that.” It is wrong to have the attitude that “Oh, I can’t do this and I shouldn’t do that” and taking a negative approach. Take a positive approach and say, “It’s my day off, it’s my break. I don’t have to go out and mow the lawn. I don’t have to get up early and go to work. I don’t have to bake bread today. I can take it easy and relax.”
Now, what about the lady who says, “Cooking relaxes me, I enjoy it.” Or the man who says “Working on my car relaxes me, or I enjoy it.”
We are to make the things of God our pleasure and we are not to seek out and do our own pleasures, even if we enjoy those things.
After all, why would they be our pleasures if we didn’t enjoy them? Of course we enjoy our own pleasures. But we are not to do our own pleasures on God’s Sabbath, or on a High Holy Day. We are to dedicate that time to the things of God. On the Sabbath Day, we are not to work, we are not to cook, we are not to engage in travel; and we are not to pay others to serve us either!
What about the person who has to drive 30 or 40 miles to attend a service? The time to walk from the outskirts of the camp to the tabernacle in the wilderness was probably about one hour and one should not spend much more than one hour driving to services on a Sabbath. Be sure to fill up your gas tank on Friday and prepare a little boxed lunch on Friday. Do your preparation on Friday.
If you have to drive a few miles, to associate with the brethren and hear a message, that’s fine. Only don’t decide you’re going to fly to Australia from Britain on a Sabbath or that you are going to take a bus trip across the continent on a Sabbath.
No, absolutely not. No extensive travel and no travel for personal reasons. Travel should be for Godly reasons, should be very, very limited in scope and duration; and should not involve any expense. If you have to buy an extra tank of gas on a Sabbath, the trip is too far. Don’t go. Make some kind of other arrangement. It can be done. Things can be worked out. You can work around these things and truly make God’s Sabbath a delight.
If you have to drive for four or five hours in each direction to attend the service, such a trip is not a Sabbath rest and is not appropriate. Perhaps it could be arranged to travel on Friday afternoon or Friday evening before sunset and to stay with some of the brethren in the town where the service is being held.
There are different things that can be arranged. Perhaps it would be better to stay at home and simply listen to a tape or a recording. Perhaps one can alternate and one can go one week and then people can come to your town the next week. There are lots of ideas that an inquiring and motivated mind can come up with. But we are not to do our own pleasure on the Sabbath Day.
Nehemiah on buying on the Sabbath
In the time of Nehemiah, some of the Jewish people in Jerusalem had strayed far from God.
In Nehemiah 10:31 they were told by Nehemiah that if the people of the land brought ware [goods] or victuals [food] on the Sabbath Day to sell, we should not buy it of them on a Sabbath or on a Holy Day. And that we should leave the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.
We should be willing to forgive debts especially on the seventh year, which is the Land Sabbath. But on the Sabbath Day, people shall not buy or sell. And the people agreed to that instruction from God in Nehemiah 10:31.
Then after returning from visiting the king, Nehemiah sees a great evil being done in working and buying on the Sabbath, this same wickedness is openly practiced in the major Groups calling themselves God’s people today.
It was for this sin [among other sins] that Israel and Judah went into captivity, and it is for the sin of calling the Sabbath holy and then openly polluting it for their own pleasure, that today’s Church of God will go into the captivity and correction of the Great Tribulation in the very near future.
Nehemiah 13:15 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals [food and drink on the Sabbath].
13:16 There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.
13:17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? 13:18 Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.
Nehemiah then enforces the Sabbath.
13:19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day.
13:20 So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.
Then Nehemiah threatened the sellers. We cannot threaten physical violence today, but we certainly can warn the brethren to avoid the sin of buying food and drink [or anything else] on the Sabbath, and remind them that Almighty God will reject them into great correction and violence if they will not sincerely repent.
13:21 Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath.
Nehemiah as a leader used force to keep the sellers out of the city on the Sabbath; Jesus Christ will use force to correct the wickedness of Sabbath pollution in the very near future.
13:22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day.
Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy mercy.
Nehemiah writes that he is very zealous for the holy Sabbath Day of the Eternal Creator God. And he asked God to be merciful to him because of his zeal for the Sabbath in keeping out those who would buy and sell on the Sabbath Day.
Brethren we are not to buy on the Sabbath Day. We are not to pay others to serve us on the Sabbath Day. We are not to go in the stores and buy things. We are not to go into restaurants to buy goods and services. We are not to travel. We are not to do heavy cooking. We are not to work. And we are not to be responsible for anyone else having to work on God’s Sabbath Day.
The sixth day is the day of PREPARATION for the Sabbath. On the sixth day we are to do all our cooking, cleaning and household labour in preparation for the Sabbath rest.
We are NOT to COOK or PREPARE FOOD (Ex 16:23) on the Sabbath, or to travel (Ex 16:29). We are not to do any work or even to bear burdens on penalty of death and destruction (Jer 17:21-27). For the Sabbath is God’s time, not our time, it is HOLY TIME, it is NOT our own. To do our own pleasures is to STEAL from God something that belongs to Him.
It is lawful to seek the things of God on the weekly and annual Sabbaths; To pray and study His Word, to meet together in holy convocation (Lev 23:3) with like minded believers. To do good (Luk 6:9), by healing or visiting the sick and elderly and to alleviate the suffering of man and beast. It is lawful to cope with genuine emergencies, like fire, broken pipes or the ox in the ditch (Luk 14:5), but beware of using the excuse “this is an emergency” to justify habitual Sabbath breaking. If an ox falls into a ditch many times, one should perhaps repair one’s fence! That is to say, most of these so called emergencies come through a simple LACK OF PROPER PREPARATION.
It is also not wrong to find a beautiful or peaceful place to meditate Acts 16:13 and relax, enjoying God’s creation, but we must not meet in the buildings – high places – of false religions.
A convocation is ONLY holy if it is God centered! If you go to a service to hear a sermon and then talk ONLY about work and business, the weather, clothes and babies you have PROFANED that convocation and God’s Sabbath.
Out of one’s mouth come those things that are dearest to one’s heart (Mat 12:34). If your heart and mind are not on the things of God, your mouth will reveal this. We should be thinking deeply and discussing the things of God always, especially on the Sabbath. How do you ever expect to begin to UNDERSTAND the things of God, if you do not think and talk about them?
Behold, God will preserve those who think upon His name and make it their pleasure to do God’s will (Ezek 9:4-6, Mal 3:16-18).
It is NOT LAWFUL to buy goods and services in restaurants or other establishments. To say that we may buy, because they are going to work anyway, makes a mockery of God’s way. For that excuse justifies ALL SIN; because there is NO SIN that men are not going to do ANYWAY! Shall we use the whore because she will do it anyway. Why not have our enemy murdered, for the killer will kill anyway. This is a juvenile and pathetic excuse to justify SIN.
If we say that we are not paying restaurant employees directly, we must admit that we are paying the establishment that hired them. So we are admitting that we are paying the establishment to induce people to sin!
We have CONDEMNED OURSELVES with our own mouths! If we would not work for them on the Sabbath in order to obey God and WE PAY THEM TO HIRE OTHERS ON THE SABBATH, WE ARE HYPOCRITES. There is no other word for it. If we pay others to do what we would not do ourselves, on moral grounds; WE HAVE BECOME HYPOCRITES!
To say that because we have an emergency “ox in our ditch”, it somehow justifies painting our house on the Sabbath is ridiculous! Yet some say the very same thing by saying that because they have to cross a toll bridge on the Sabbath to attend a service, it somehow justifies them buying goods and services in restaurants! This excuse is also ridiculous! THE ONE, DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE OTHER!
Some may think that proper Sabbath observance is some kind of burden that God’s people should not have to bear. Yet these same people say to the poor man. You must tithe, have FAITH and God will work things out for you.
Where is Our Faith?
If we make an HONEST EFFORT TO PLEASE GOD, don’t you think that He WILL HELP us? Most problems involving Sabbath pollution through buying and selling can be resolved simply and easily, with a little forethought, planning and effort. I have avoided this sin for forty years and it has been difficult at times but God has always provided a way.
If we lose a job, God will provide, and if he chooses to test us and does not provide; it is better to die serving the God who is able to raise us up; than to live serving wickedness and be cast into the fire of eternal death!
As for meals, some bread and cheese and fruit, together with each other and our God, would make for an uplifting evening. And probably a healthier one as well! For far too long. the church has been more of a social club then an Ekklesia of GOD! It’s time we became more GOD CENTERED and less concerned with social activities. Yes social things are important but the central thing should be OUR GOD. How we impress Him is far more important then how much we impress each other!
Did you think that God created the Sabbath for our hurt? It was made for our benefit, the benefit of all mankind. You should enjoy the Sabbath, but you should not infringe upon the potential enjoyment of this blessing by others. Remember that the burden of Christ is light and His yoke is easy Mat 11:30, it is Satan who comes along and tries to make the burden SEEM HEAVY by persecuting us.
When you can fully understand that Satan is the true source of all our heavy burdens, the true source of SIN, which causes our sufferings and that God’s way is really liberating us from that burden, you will have no problem in keeping ALL GOD’S COMMANDMENTS! It is by the doing that we learn! By the proper observance of the Sabbath, we may learn many things and we will show our God how very much we LOVE HIM and HIS WAYS! On the other hand, by not keeping the Sabbath in the commanded manner, are we really keeping it at all, when we do not keep it in a manner acceptable to God?
What can we learn? Why FAITH and TRUST in GOD, as well as all those things that we learn in our studies, meditations and talks. Remember that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32) and that it is that Spirit which shall lead you into the truth (Joh 16:13). If you want to know the things of God, you must keep all the commandments of God, in all things, and be pleasing to HIM (1 Joh 3:22).
Because of the complete lack of zeal for the commandments of God, including the Sabbath; God has withdrawn his Spirit from many today. It is those who claim to have the Holy Spirit the most; who have the least; because of their sins against the Word of God.
God’s day is a day of rest for all His creation, for all the creation of God. It is a time of rest and it is sanctified to be holy time so that all men could spend time with God. And if all men did observe the Sabbath Day, and did rest on that day, and did seek the Eternal with all their hearts, believe me, they would find the way to peace, which at present time they know not.