Apparently, I’ll never get over the ignorance of how Christianity (practically every denomination) casually declares the Seventh Day Sabbath to have been replaced by “The Lord’s Day” of Sunday. The key evidences they often site are Messiah’s rising on Easter Sunday, and the Holy Spirit’s coming on Pentecost Sunday.
The irony is that these two days had been named and celebrated in Scripture since time of Moses. The day Messiah rose from the grave is Day #1 of the the annual harvest, and “Pentecost” is Day #50 of that same season. The entire 7-week span is known as Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks. Both the first and last days, by Holy design, occur on a Sunday every single year. This is written in The Law of Moses not to highlight Sunday, but to highlight, underscore, and practically scream, “THE SEVENTH DAY SABBATH IS THE SIGN OF MY PEOPLE!”
Each year, we restart counting from the first day of the week (which the world, not the Bible, calls “Sunday”) and we deliberately count each day until the 6th day, and then take the 7th day off, as it is Holy. When we count 7 complete weeks in that exact same way, we get 49 days—7 complete Sabbaths. We celebrate the entire season with a huge party on the 50th day, which falls on a day that the world, not the Bible, calls “Sunday”. This pattern was set forth back in Exodus, continued through Acts Chapter 2, and will continue unbroken until the return of Messiah.
Using Shavuot as a twisted excuse to change or eliminate the Seventh Day Sabbath can only mean that those denominations are as spiritually blind as a Jew that can deny a Messiah that comes from their very tribe. Let me say that again. The most graceful explanation would be spiritual blindness caused by Yah Himself, like Paul on the road to Damascus. However, unlike Paul’s ignorance, this seventh day to “Sunday” bait-and-switch was not accidental or inadvertent.
When Constantine, the emperor of Rome, needed to unify and better control his kingdom, he correctly knew that religion was the best way to do it. He used the bible as source text, while at the same time intentionally putting distance between his new religion and the true Biblical form of faith. Constantine didn’t order the Sabbath to be changed—he ordered it to be permanently broken under penalty of death by the authority of the Roman state. Any farmer caught resting on any day—even on Sunday, was guilty of a transgression, as the harvest he was neglecting through his worship was putting food at risk for Rome. Those Catholic ideas have stuck around now for 1,600 years, but were foreign to the first several generations of believers in Messiah. ‘Foreign’ is an understatement, as an uncountable of number of believers in YHWH have been martyred simply attempting to keep the Seventh Day Holy. Often this martyrdom was at the hands of Christian governments, a combination of church and state, who outlawed the Sabbath for the sake of their own power and control.
YHWH asks us to comply with His Laws, not the twisted laws of past or present States, not man-made religious traditions, and certainly not a combined perversion of both.
Exodus 31:13-18, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, YHWH, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to YHWH. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days YHWH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”
In Exodus, the phrase “Seventh Day” appears seven times before the Ten Words are spoken in Exodus 20. The phrase “Sabbath” is used seven times afterward in Exodus.
The Sabbath is perfect.
The Sabbath is complete.
We know Him through the Sabbath, and He sanctifies us through the Sabbath.
Resting on the Sabbath is the sign of His collective people as a body.
Scripture gives us no other “sign” of YHWH’s people in either the front or the back of the book. Every covenant has a visible and unambiguous sign. For Noah, Yah gave the rainbow. The bible version is actually described as a bow, the weapon of war, not like on a present. Yah set His bow in the clouds after His deadly judgement was over. Yah just finished destroying most of humanity to start again, and he essentially used “arrows” of rain to do it. No matter where on earth we see a rainbow, we are to recall Yah’s grace, as well as his terrible, destructive, and righteous judgment. The rain bow is a mark for all of the world to see.
In contrast, to Abraham Yah gave circumcision, a mark of ultimate intimacy and privacy. That particular spot on a man is only really seen by a baby’s parents, who are the ones to put the mark on the foreskin on his 8th day. Later, that mark will be seen exclusively by the man’s wife. In fact, the Abrahamic covenant is at its highest level of fulfillment as a seed passes through that very mark upon the consummation of a marriage. While a Hebrew husband and wife are becoming one flesh in the process of creating a child, that act of that union is also creating a micro-copy of the Abrahamic covenant. They are agreeing to create children in Yah’s image. This is how Hebrews multiple and fill the earth—and why neither Pharaoh nor Herod could stop us, even with genocidal post-term abortion.
Noah’s sign is one-sided, Yah controls it, and its for the world to see.
Abraham’s sign is intimate, between parent and child, husband and wife.
But the sign of Shabbat is the most intimate, because it is for Yah to see.
When we reorder our lives to fit His Holy appointed times, it could be considered the highest form of worship. It proves that we aren’t just “thinking” about Yah, we are defining and rescheduling our lives around this relationship. This type of devotion just isn’t possible without a purposeful recognition of Holy time. When we limit our own gathering of money and food to a defined six days a week, we are demonstrating through that trusting faithfulness that He is truly our provider. It’s the lesson that is taught with the Manna, but ratified into Law on Shavuot.
I used the word ‘gathering’ intentionally, because the Hebrew word for gather, “Kashah”, is only used in two incidences in The Torah. The Hebrews were at their most enslaved point after Moses showed up and started bossing Pharaoh around. Their overlords forced them to ‘gather’ straw simply to show them who was really in charge. It’s not a coincidence that Rome would eventually follow in Pharaoh’s footsteps by outlawing the Sabbath rest.
In Numbers 15:32, “While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man ‘gathering’ sticks on The Sabbath.” This particular sin is twice as bad as it looks. Firstly, by using the word ‘gathering’ only in these two events, Yah is linking the ignoring of the Sabbath to our original enslaved condition. When we rest on Sabbath, we “stick it” to Satan, who is trying to fool us into thinking we are in charge of our own provision. Why was this guy collecting sticks? The word for “stick” in Hebrew is “etz”, the same word used for the “stick” (or the “tree”) that was put into the bitter waters to cleanse us from the bitterness of slavery so we could move forward on the Way. The stick collecting man was backsliding; he was skidding past the lessons we’ve learned on each of these 7 weeks of Shavuot: Sliding past the Law, past the fear of YHWH, past a righteous community, past living water, past victory, past Manna and Sabbath, even past the original etz. He slid right back into Egypt–and Egypt means death. Tampering with the Sabbath is a slippery slope, indeed.
As a tool to prevent future backsliding, Yah then adds this command:
“Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the wings (edges) of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel on each wing (edge). It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all of the commandments of YHWH, to do them, and not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am YHWH your god, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am YHWH your God.” (Numbers 15:38-40)
In Hebrew, each tassel is called a Tzit-Tzit, but the set of them are Tzit-Tzitot. Even though the word for “sign” isn’t used outright in this command, the word Tzit-Tzit is spelled tzade, tzade, tav. The letter tzade implies righteousness (twice, so abundantly) , and tav is an image of a sign or a mark. Tzit-Tzit are the perfect reminder to keep the commandments, and when we see them with our own eyes, it’s a sign to us to stay faithful so we don’t slide back to Egypt.
Tzit Tziot are the original “What Would Yeshua Do?” accessory.
The root of the word Tzit-Tzit is derived from the word tzitz which means a “blossom”. It’s used just a few verses later in Numbers, “On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced BLOSSOMS, and it bore ripe almonds.” (Numbers 17:8) So these tassels represent low hanging and set-apart fruit—set apart for Him, like Aaron was set apart for him.
This means that Hebrews who wear tassels are the exact definition of a nutty fringe group.
But seriously folks…
Matthew 7:15-20, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
The color blue used in these tassels is the word tekhelet (Strongs H8504), which like tzit-tzit, also includes the letter tav twice. The spelling of tekhelet implies a ‘sign of those who submit”. The word tekhelet is used 49 times in the Torah, so the connection to Shavuot should be more than obvious.
I don’t often quote the Talmud but:
Tractate Menahot of the Babylonian Talmud reports Rabbi Meir asking, “Why is blue different from all other colors?” and then answering, “Because blue resembles the sea, and the sea resembles sky, and the sky resembles God’s Throne of Glory…as it is written: ‘Above the sky over their heads was the semblance of a throne, like sapphire in appearance…’” (Commentary on Ezekiel 1:22).
Tzit-Tziot then, are connected to the weekly Shabbat, the Shavuot Covenant, and are the same color as the Stones Yah originally planned to give us as a reminder of His Torah. With those original stones smashed and gone, the color blue in our tassels connects us to that original moment as the elders are sitting on top of the sky—purified, righteous, and face to foot with YHWH. The Tzit-Tziot also connect us to our role as priests, as only the high priest himself wears the color blue in the Tabernacle, but every single Israelite wears blue on the four corners of their garment—or at least that’s the command.
The blue sky is also a nice backdrop to the double meaning of “the edges our of garments” being “wings”, as we are told that “they who wait for YHWH shall renew their strength, and shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 18:1) Remember those encouraging words when we look upon our Tzit-Tziot if we need a boost of confidence on the Way.
It should come as no surprise that Messiah clearly wore Tzit-Tziot. In Greek this word is kraspedon and is often translated into English as ‘fringes’. “Whenever he [Messiah] came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might even touch the fringe of his garment. And as many touched it were made well.” (Mark 6:56) Where did the sick get the idea that this would make them well?
Exodus 15:26, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of YHWH your God, and do that which is right in my eyes, and give hear to his commandments and keep all of his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am YHWH your healer”.
Or maybe they read the prophecy in Zechariah 8:23, “Thus says YHWH of hosts: in those days, ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the wings (edge of a garment) of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard God is with you”.
Or most likely from Malachi 4:2, the very last verses that introduce the New Testament: “But you who fear my name, the servant of righteousness shall rise with healing in the ‘edges of his garments’ (wings).”
For me and my house, we recognize Yah as the one and only God. He has gone to great lengths and has paid the highest price to redeem us out of bondage, and invite us into the closest type of relationship. Shavuot, the final day of the 50 day count, is the day each year that we have a chance to say “I Do”. Then, we keep Shabbat each and every week, as proof that our agreement wasn’t just lip-service. We wear Tzit-Tziot to remind ourselves of whose we are.
This is exactly what Messiah did, and the goal of the Law is Messiah. (Romans 10:4)
Ben, Thanks again this year for helping make the count more meaningful. I read these to Gina each of the last 50 mornings. Hope all is well with you and your family. Take care, Mike