Rest on the seventh day Sabbath

The Literal Commandment

"Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves." (Exodus 23:12)

 

The literal commandment is that we should cease from our labor on the seventh day of the week.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

 

Pictures of Messiah

Messiah declares that He is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28). He also states that Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27) In making these declarations He does not abolish the seventh day Sabbath. Instead, He is affirming the gift and blessing that that Sabbath is.

The Sabbath (and the blessing it provides) gives us a picture of the rest we have in Messiah. The Sabbath is to be a day of rest... "a rest of love and magnanimity, a rest of truth and faith, a rest of peace and serenity and tranquility and security, a perfect rest" in which G-d finds favor.1 On every seventh day G-d has given us a unique gift of rest for our souls. This rest pictures the time to come when Messiah will reign and we will completely find rest for our souls.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

We know that Messiah was without sin (Hebrews 4:15) so we know that He fulfilled this commandment. He often taught in synagogues (Mark 1:21, 6:2, Luke 4:16, etc) and went for walks with His disciples (Matthew 12:2, Mark 2:23, 6:1) on the Sabbath.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed with very explicit and numerous conditions and requirements. Aish.com provides a beginners guide briefly outlining nine specific prohibitions for the Sabbath. Judaism recognizes 39 forms of "work" [Hebrew: melachah] that are prohibited on the Sabbath. This comes from the commandment "you shall do no work [melachah] on the Sabbath". It has been estimated that there are over 1,000 prohibitions that have been identified from these 39 forms of work including prohibitions against tearing toilet paper, turning on lights, using a telephone, driving, or cooking.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and should rest on the seventh day Sabbath. Please note that this does not mean that non-Jews are required to maintain traditional Jewish stringencies regarding the day in fulfilling this commandment.

 

Sabbath is a day of great joy and rest from our daily lives. It also carries with it the penalty of death for its violation. (Exodus 31:14-15, 35:2)

 

More information about the Sabbath can found in these articles:

What Scripture Says About the Sabbath- An Exhaustive Examination

The Sabbath- Examination Summary

The Sabbath- Questions and Answers

 

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Footnotes

1. Artscroll Siddur, Minchah for Sabbath, p519 [back]

Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 87
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 3
  • Mishneh Torah Book Times
  • Mishneh Torah Category 12- Shabbat
  • Reference Exodus 23:12
  • Scripture Book Exodus
  • Chapter 23
  • Verse 12
  • English Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.
  • Hebrew יב שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תַּעֲשֶׂה מַעֲשֶׂיךָ, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי תִּשְׁבֹּת--לְמַעַן יָנוּחַ, שׁוֹרְךָ וַחֲמֹרֶךָ, וְיִנָּפֵשׁ בֶּן-אֲמָתְךָ, וְהַגֵּר.
  • Greek 12 ἓξ ἡμέρας ποιήσεις τὰ ἔργα σου, τῇ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἑβδόμῃ ἀνάπαυσις, ἵνα ἀναπαύσηται ὁ βοῦς σου καὶ τὸ ὑποζύγιόν σου, καὶ ἵνα ἀναψύξῃ ὁ υἱὸς τῆς παιδίσκης σου καὶ ὁ προσήλυτος. --
  • Parashah 18- Mishpatim
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 85
  • Sef. Hach. Command The mitzvah of resting on the Sabbath
  • Category Appointed Times
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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