Before I get into the subject of this blog, I feel the need to let my readers know a little more about my self and my connection to the subject of this blog.
First of all, I am not anti-Sabbath, for some, I may come across that way. I have a lifetime connection with the Sabbath day, it was probably the most important religious point of my life. At one time I would argue the grey out of a concrete block with those who was opposed to keeping the Sabbath (as I understood it at that time).
I was born and raised in a Sabbath keeping Christian denomination. For a short time in my Christian experience, I attended a traditional evangelical church. During that time, I entered into the ministry and became an associate pastor of a small church. After around 3 years into the associate pastorate, I had a desire to return to the Sabbath. It came to the point I hated Sundays and resented my position, so I eventually resigned and stayed home keeping the Sabbath in our home. After a few months I found a Torah bible study that turned into a small Messianic Christian congregation where I ended up as one of the teachers. It was how I came back to the Sabbath but this time with a Jewish flare to it.
After a couple of years of that I left Christianity all together. I went into studying for Orthodox Jewish conversion, I concluded it was the obvious next step in my spiritual journey.
During that time a rabbi introduced me to the 39 Melachot – the laws of Sabbath. This intrigued me to say the least. I ate them up with ease of learning. So mush so that I had decided that after conversion I was going to make them my main study so I could become a teacher of them to help Jews observe the Sabbath that much more.
Since then, the Creator has shown me in His loving kindness His will for my life, I was to remain as I was created – a non-Jew – and work on improving my life within that framework.
To some it may appear that in this process I became anti-Sabbath, that is not so.
I am still very pro Sabbath, but with a whole new understanding of the subject.
It took stopping all Sabbath and Jewish observances to clear my eyes and mind to see the life the Creator wanted me to live before Him.
Where I am in my learning at this time, there is no such thing as a Noahide Sabbath.
To note there are some Noahides or what ever title they choose to go by, that are trying to keep some form of what they call a Noahide Sabbath. In my understanding and opinion this is creating a new religion.
The Sabbath the Jews keep is designed to separate them from the rest of the world. The Noahide’s mission is not to separate from the world but to work within it to make it the place the Creator wanted humans to do in the first place. Our instructions from the Creator are designed for human and worldly involvement. We are commissioned to settle the whole earth. A Noahide who shuts off the world and other Noahides because of some kind of Sabbath observance is out of the will of the Creator in my opinion.
As I have studied from learned rabbis that teach Noahides – the observance of a Sabbath, no matter what day of the week it is done on, is adding to our commandments and making a religion, which is not our mission and is forbidden.
I will state from experience and years of study. The average Noahide coming from Messianic Christianity or one who is attracted to the Jewish ceremonies like those of the Jewish Sabbath, that claim they keep the Sabbath, does not keep it according to Sabbath Law. All they are doing is setting aside a day and trying to observe it in their own understanding. To be honest they do not know what the Sabbath day really is. It is not a ritual day of rest, it is a day that Israel spends serving the King in a specific way and and according to detailed instructions. For Israel it is a day above all other days where they enter privately into the Kings chamber to do an extra ordinary service for Him that He does not require upon the whole world.
There is one word that stands in the way of a Noahide observing the Sabbath and that is “melachot”.
The Jewish observance of Sabbath has nothing to do with rest or not working their weekly job. Melachot in simple to understand terms is the, ceasing of all ‘creative activities’ in every aspect of life for an average of 25 hours on their Sabbath day. It literally is an out of this world day, designed specifically for them by the Creator.
Now that the introduction is out of the way, lets get into the Noahide connection to the 7th Day of the week.
As you can tell I did not say our connection to the Sabbath – as there is no Noahide connection to the Sabbath. But there is a connection to the 7th day of the week.
In my studies and with the help of Pesach Sherbow of Torah For The Nations in Tzfat, Israel; he has helped me see something very important – that during the creation week the day that the Creator ceased from His work was called the 7th Day – it was not called Shabbat until He commanded Israel to observe it with specific instructions.
Our connection to the 7th day is by way of acknowledgment not observance. Lets take a look at a few textbook definitions.
Acknowledgment: “recognition of the importance or quality of something.”
Observance: “a procedure, ceremony, or rite, as for a particular occasion:”
Proper Noahide studies will teach that it is a responsibility for Noahides to acknowledge the 7th Day. Acknowledgment of the 7th day is a declaration that the God of Israel is the Creator.
One of the things I learned about acknowledging the 7th day is to recite Psalms 92. Below is a portion of the Psalm that shows what one can do in an acknowledging the creative works of the Creator.
Psalms 92: 1-6
A Psalm, a song for the Sabbath day. It is good to thank the Eternal and sing praise to Your Name, O Most High; to proclaim Your kindness in the dawn and Your faithfulness in the nights. Upon a ten-stringed instrument and lyre, with singing accompanied by harp. For You have made me glad, O Eternal, by Your deeds;at the works of Your hands I sing with joy. How great are Your works, O Eternal; how exceedingly profound Your thoughts.
It was this Psalm that put a capstone on my understanding of a Noahides acknowledgment of the 7th Day.
We do not cease on the 7th Day because we are in partnership with the unceasing earth (see my blog on Genesis 8:22) – but we are permitted to take a pause and remember and thank the Creator for all His deeds, past and present.
Recommendations for 7th day acknowledgment:
Read Psalms declaring His greatness. Sing and dance before Him. Light a candle/candles, have a special meal (in house or at a nice restaurant), do some Torah learning about the 7 universal Laws or Noahide life, praying and so on.
This is our connection with the 7th day.
In our pause of acknowledging the 7th Day, we are to be careful and not create a ritual Sabbath.
We pause, then we continue on with daily our daily activities.
Let us all grow in learning our responsibility in giving acknowledgment to the Creator for all He has done, without creating a religion out of it.
Terry W. Hayes
Photo Credit: Mine
In my photo is a horned candle holder I got as a gift during my conversion process. It has never been used. I have chosen to use it in our first Noahide acknowledgment of the 7th day to represent Israel and the nations working together in our respective responsibilities. Then there is wine for the joyous occasion and a book of Tehillim/Psalms.