A few weeks from now, we’ll be covering the 10 Words (aka 10 Commandments) in greater detail. Shavuot’s crescendo is a new Covenant, with those two stone tablets as a type of words-made-flesh token of YHWH’s love.
Sorry, I forgot to say ‘spoiler alert’.
On those tablets, Commandment # 4 says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it Holy.” However, Leviticus 19:3 says, “you shall keep my Sabbaths”, plural. The first explanation of why Leviticus says “Sabbaths” is that there are 52 weekly Sabbaths, and that sure is plural—those weekly Sabbaths only are an annual sacrifice of 14% of our time, devoted to resting in Yah through Messiah.
However, that’s not the end of the Sabbaths–there’s another regularly scheduled increase our time offering, and I apologize in advance as I condense hundreds of verses into these few paragraphs: There are 7 extra Sabbaths every year, to honor Yah’s annual appointed times. These may or may not overlap with a weekly Sabbath, but statistically they more often occur mid-week. There’s also what amounts to a Sabbath year, every 7th year, and a separate bonus Sabbath year every 50th year. That’s two Sabbath years in row at the end of that cycle—identical in timing and in spirit to the 49th and 50th day of the feast we are currently celebrating.
The Sabbath year that follows every six years of planting and harvest is meant to let the land rest—so if you are in the camel management business or work in the shekel exchange, those annual rests won’t effect your paycheck too much. It takes great faith as a farmer, however, to trust that Yah will provide triple the harvest every sixth year (as he promises in Leviticus 25 where all of this is spelled out). This “gather extra on six, rest on seven” pattern is obviously the same concept and schedule as the Manna—the root of all Sabbath lessons.
The other bonus feature of the 50th year Sabbath, known as The Jubilee or in Hebrew Ha Yobel (which literally means trumpet or ram’s horn blast) is that all debts are wiped clear, and all real estate ownership gets righteously reset. It more or less forces us to store our most valuable treasures in heaven, as we are remined as who our true land-LORD is.
Frankly, it’s really complicated and very hard to manage or even imagine this system in actual use—everyone needs to have the most humble of hearts, and be willing to let go of any personal control of rights, money, property, and power. If we had a law like this in the U.S. there would be a bloody civil war every 50 years, guaranteed.
In fact, this amazing Biblical blessing, aimed at the least wealthy and least powerful, is SO challenging to pull off without a righteous king to get it done, that this command has never been fully obeyed in the history of Israel.
If only we were waiting for a righteous king to arrive…
If only we were waiting for loud trumpet blast…
One of the 7 annual Sabbaths, the one most mirrors the 7th day Sabbath, occurs on the first day of the 7th month. It is called Yom Teruah. In Hebrew, this phase means The Day of Trumpets, or The Day of Loud Shouts. This is a prophetic celebration that honors the a mostly ignored concept of “The Millennial Reign” of Messiah that is crucial to understand in the life of a believer.
The premise of Messiah’s return is so closely tied to His Sabbaths and Appointed Times that if you aren’t observing either, it’s easy to miss what are supposed to be extremely obvious patterns.
Most people who study the Book of Revelation seem to always be looking for signs of the end—but let me tell you this, Yah’s endings make the best beginnings.
“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Messiah, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)
Add this verse to ponder, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with YHWH one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
Lastly, consider this…using the various dates in Scripture as guidance, starting from the creation of Adam, we are nearing the 6,000th year of human existence. What I’m implying is that since every 1,000 years of time is like a day to YHWH, then we are at the cusp of the end of that 6th millennium—in fact, we are right on the edge of the start of a 7th set of 1,000 years, which would mathematically be a year of Jubilee.
So when Paul says that Sabbath is a “shadow of things to come, and that the substance is Messiah”, he’s not kidding. We keep the weekly Sabbath, as an act of faith and worship, as a sign that we trust his final arrival, at the blast of the trumpet, to announce and usher in the final Sabbath millennium in history.
This still-future Sabbath fulfills every promise in the entire Bible, from claiming the promised land, our resurrection from the dead, David sitting again on his throne, and lions laying with lambs—all at once.
When the events of Messiah’s return are referred to as “in that Day”, it’s this 1000 year long Sabbath that’s being referred to. This is why its nonsense to imply that Messiah ‘fulfilled the Sabbath’ during his first ministry. Worse, it’s the most evil form of sabotage to think it was changed to a different day. Daniel says the Anti-Christ does just that. Daniel 7:25,”…and he shall think to change the Appointed Times and The Law.”
All of this is what the writer of Hebrews is thinking when he wrote, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience [as the faithless Hebrews did in the wilderness].” (Hebrews 4:9-10).
This “entering God’s rest” is the hope, peace, justice, and restoration we are all supposed to be envisioning every 7th day, every week. We are essentially rehearsing for the Big One—the culmination of every aspect of Sabbath, resting with Messiah for 1000 years.
Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.”
Suddenly it sounds like there’s a bit more than “bread from heaven” being offered here in the Wilderness of Sin. No wonder YHWH gets upset when we ignore or grumble about it!