Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Desecration of Shabbat: How to Get Disinherited from the Inheritance of Jacob


"13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight [oneg] and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words 14 then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken," (Isaiah 58:13,14)

Here we see a connection between keeping Shabbat and receiving the inheritance of Jacob.  Desecrating Shabbat leads to disinheritance:

Ezekiel 20:13
13 " 'Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws--although the man who obeys them will live by them--and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and destroy them in the desert. 
Jeremiah 17:27 But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.' "

Does it sound to you like G-d takes the consecration of Shabbat seriously?  

I think we've forgotten that an underlying command of Shabbat is to have a festive, social gathering (Miqra), a day on which the Torah is read.

Yet this must be done without melakha (work), without kindling fires (e.g. car ignition), leaving the communal space (maqom).  We must try to build communities in which this can be achieved.

What does a true community look like?  In the Apostolic Writings, we read that Believers sold everything they had and joined a Messianic community where they had everything in common.  No, it wasn't a cult commune.  A cult has a hierrarchical political structure:  one charismatic man ruling in tyrannical fashion.  A true New Covenant community is a Republic:  the heads of the households wield representative power and can appoint zekenim (elders) who have representative power (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5).  

Is the movement ready to get this extreme?  I don't know.  I feel the shift though.  People are getting interested in growing their own food, living natural lifestyles balanced with an understanding of modern science and medicine.  People are taking their children out of public schools and educating them in homeschooling networks.

Perhaps we are ready to get extreme...

We had a strange commenter the other day who was against all Jewish traditions apparently.  But remember that Yeshua was not:

Luke 4:16
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 
Luke 13:10-17 ;
10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues,

Likewise, Paul:

Acts 17:2 ;
2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

And they did this according to Jewish tradition, not walking farther than halachah allowed:

"Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city," Acts 1:12

Can we return, as a movement, to the Shabbat-keeping culture of the first-century Assemblies?  Can we get serious about halachah?  Or will we let G-d's wrath overtake us:

Jeremiah 17:27 But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.' "



I don't want the Jews of our movement to be disinherited from their inheritance.  Nor do I want the non-Jews to be excluded from the group that G-d will bring to His Temple:

"6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;  Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people," (Isaiah 56:6-7)

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