When I read 1 John 5:3, I think of the Sabbath. That text tells me that His commandments are not a burden. I guess the reason I think about the Sabbath is because Sabbath means rest. To stop, an intermission, cease from work. What a gift that is.
Yeshua states this in his ministry in the form of "the Sabbath was made for man." I've heard that statement before by some in an attempt to abolish the 4th commandment. I can't for the life of me understand why someone would want to abolish a commandment that privileges us with rest, but go figure. In context, Yeshua meant that the Sabbath was made FOR man, in other words, to bless man. Man wasn't made to bless the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made to bless man.
The Sabbath can become a day in which you are scared silly to pick up your leg out of bed and put your foot on the floor. That is, if you treat it like a first-century Pharisee; if you view Yahweh as some kind of "big-thumbed-god" ready to squash you the instant you mess up in the least little manner. Yahweh is rather the merciful Mighty One, longsuffering, slow to anger, rich in love, and abundant in mercy. I took that last line from the Old Testament.
The Sabbath is a day to unwind, dedicated to Yahweh yes, but a day in which He gifts us with something we need: REST. We all work enough, some of us (including myself) too much. I'm thankful for His gift. I've been keeping a Sabbath now for 19 years. I don't ever want to stop. I love His rest.
References: Mark 2:27; Exodus 34:6-7; Exodus 20:8-11
I was meditating upon Amos 8:5 this morning. Here we have people who are so anxious for the Father's set apart times to be over with so they can get back to cheating others by dishonest weights and measures. I sit here and ponder how that Yahweh gave me 6 days to labor and do all my work. He then requires me to set aside the 7th day for Him. I'm called to suspend my work, not have anyone work for me, not cook, not do my own things, but rest, worship, and seek Him for 24 hours. He asks for 1 day and gives us 6 days. Sure, this doesn't mean we forget Him for 6 days straight. We should always be seeking Him, but during the 6 working days we are allowed to go about our daily lives working, making a living, etc. He only requires 1/7th of our time when it comes to laying a day completely aside for Him, but even on this day people still worry about all the other things in their life. "When will the Sabbath be over with?" is our cry. Father... help us take notice of You. Help me live my life in view of eternity. Change my heart daily.
Sometimes you have read and re-read a passage so much that you never even think about the possibility that the translation you are reading is inaccurate in conveying the original Hebrew or Greek. Such was the case for me with Nehemiah 13:19. I plan to write a more in depth article on this verse in the future, but for now let me explain briefly.
The KJV rendering of the first part of the verse is as follows:
"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..."
I have a KJV Bible in my study, but the translation I use mostly in reading and studying is the HCSB. Here is the same very in the HCSB:
"When shadows began to fall on the gates of Jerusalem just before the Sabbath, I gave orders that the gates be closed..."
The KJV sounds more like sunset took place and it was beginning to be dark, but the Sabbath had not begun. The HCSB sounds as though sunset had not taken place (the sun was casting a shadow) and the Sabbath would begin at sunset.
I believe the HCSB is correct in rendering the verse with the word shadows. Notice carefully that in both translations it is the GATES that are getting dark and not the DAY necessarily. The KJV talks about the gates beginning to be dark. Every tranlsation I know focuses in on the gates growing dark or becoming shadowed.
The Hebrew word here for "dark" or "shadows" is the word "tsalal," and is only used 1 other place in the entire Tanak - Ezekiel 31:3. Here is Ezekiel 31:3 in the HCSB:
"Think of Assyria, a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches and shady foliage, and of lofty height."
Note the use of the word "shady" in the text, as it comes from the Hebrew word "tsalal." The use of the word here refers to shade that a tree gives. It is this meaning that is also applicable in Nehemiah 13:19 in reference the the gates becoming dark, i.e. having a shadow cast upon them before the Sabbath.
What was taking place in Nehemiah was this: before sunset the sun must have cast a shadow upon the gates of Jerusalem that made the gates darken. This was some sort of signal that the Sabbath day was close at hand (it would begin at sunset).
Do some further study on this yourself. There are alot of other translations that translate "tsalal" as "shadow" (or some variation) in Nehemiah 13:19.
I've talked to so many people about subjects like the Sabbath and the Festivals over the past 10 years and I've enjoyed many of these discussions. Some of them haven't born much fruit, but I can say that for the most part, fruit has been produced. Do I think subjects like this need to be discussed? You better believe I do. The Sabbath and Feast Days are important doctrines of Biblical faith. We are called as Yahweh's people to observe them with are all. There are passages in the Bible that reprimand Yahweh's people (Israel) for their disobedience to the fourth commandment. As a matter of fact, the land of Israel had to be allowed to keep "her" Sabbaths while the people of Israel were in bondage because of their neglecting to keep these land sabbaths.
Is it pleasing to Yahweh though to keep Sabbaths and Feasts while neglecting weightier matters in the law? I've met some people who only want to talk about Sabbaths and at the same time are not loving their wife and teaching their children the commandments of Yahweh. Personally, I do not want to listen to a man teach me about the Sabbaths of Yahweh if his house is not in order. I don't want to hear someone go on and on about how we need to keep the Sabbath and at the same time treats his wife like garbage and allows his children to be caught within the web of the world. This does not mean the Sabbath is not important, all it means is that our Sabbaths can become abominations to Yahweh because of the other things we are involved in.
Yahweh, at times, hated the Sabbaths of His people Israel (Isaiah 1). I'm not talking about Yahweh hating their false Sabbaths (that's a given); I'm speaking of Yahweh hating a persons Sabbaths when they blatantly disobey His law and expect everything to be okay if they show up for the holy convocation on Sabbath. A man can leave Sabbath worship and spend all week not being a good husband and father and His Sabbaths will be an abomination to Yahweh. A man can also spend all week backbiting, gossiping, getting drunk, hanging out with the people of the world, and His Sabbaths will be an abomination.
If we really want to honor the Sabbath, lets do it with the life we live. Let's not live for the devil all week long and think we can give Yahweh the Sabbath at the same time. You can't eat from the devils table and the table of Yahweh; it just doesn't work that way. Oh, you can choose to live your life in this fashion, but you will receive weeping, gnashing of the teeth, judgment, and destruction.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.