Are modern Messianic Jews and Christians obliged to keep the Sabbath?
Israel is commanded to keep the Shabbat for two chief reasons: (1) to commemorate the creative activity of God who after the six days (yamim) of creation rested on the seventh (the Shabbat) (Exodus 20:11); and (2) to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt when God had delivered His people from the unrelenting labors of slavery (Deuteronomy 5:15). As a free people, they were to take the Shabbat as a day of rest in gratitude for God’s liberation from the restless bondage they had endured and honor the Creator who had also rested on the Shabbat.
With this in mind, many Messianic Jewish followers of Yeshua still see Shabbat observance (in its most basic form) as an on-going covenantal responsibility.
The biblical pattern of resting on the Shabbat has proven to be a sound model for Yeshua followers from every background. God recognizes the health benefit that a weekly day of rest will provide to the people He so loves. He wants all His people to have a weekly respite from their labors so as to rejuvenate their minds, bodies, and souls with a rest period.
All people would do well to benefit by following this biblical model with deep gratitude to God for His loving instruction to rest. The seventh day, the Shabbat, is from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night. Many Christians follow the practice of resting on the first day of the week, Sunday, which is the traditional Christian day to especially honor the day of Yeshua’s resurrection. Christians are under no obligation to keep the Torah prescription given to national Israel to worship on the Jewish Shabbat but do well to rest one day a week whether Saturday or Sunday.
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