Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath and holds fast My covenant; Isaiah 56:6 NASB
Foreigners – Let’s look at this just one last time. Should you and I keep the Sabbath? The answer given by the Christian church for the last 1700 years is “No.” But maybe we need to re-examine the reasons given for this change and the biblical expectation. First let’s clear up the translation. We know the Hebrew phrase here is oovnei ha-nekar (sons of the stranger). God speaks through His prophet Isaiah, exhorting and blessing the Gentiles who have attached themselves to Him and honor His Sabbath. Examine the verse. Aren’t we the ones who have joined YHWH (notice it does not say “joined Israel”), desire to serve Him, love Him and be His servants. We who have Christian backgrounds do pretty well on these four actions. But then we read “who keeps from profaning the Sabbath.” Are we ready to say that all those Christians who ignore the Sabbath are actually profaning it? It certainly seems that Isaiah’s declaration of YHWH’s words considers the replacement of the Sabbath by Sunday worship is a form of profaning Sabbath. And a bit of history actually confirms this conclusion. Take a look here.
There is significant historical evidence that followers of Yeshua kept the Sabbath well into the fifth century, even while the Christian Church was rewriting the practice. There is also evidence that the Roman Church legislated the change from the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday in order to distinguish Christianity from Judaism. There is no doubt whatsoever that Yeshua and the Apostles kept the Sabbath. The question we must ask, if we are followers of YHWH and desire to be His servants, is really very simple: Why do we worship on Sunday rather than on the day that is the only day of worship ever mentioned in the whole of Scripture?
Can I suggest that if you can’t answer this question, you need to find out? Can I suggest that worshipping on Sunday just because you have always done it is not a sufficient reason, especially if God thinks otherwise?
We are Gentiles (at least most of my readers are). God has a heart for us. Since the time of Abraham, God has invited us into His family. But most of us came with a mistaken understanding about what it means to be in His household. Maybe it’s time to start acting like His people by keeping the fourth commandment. Eleven times the Tanakh warns against profaning the Sabbath. The prohibition is applied to everyone in the community regardless of ethnic origin. Ignoring this commandment always brings grief and chastisement. Do you think we are the exceptions to the rule? I don’t.
Topical Index: Sabbath, foreigners, oovnei ha-nekar, Sunday, Isaiah 56:6