“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” — Exodus 20:8-11
When God created all that exists, He did it in six days. Yet He didn’t finish until the end of the seventh day. Why was that? Because God wanted man to remember all that He had done and to rest on the seventh day. Imagine. God made man on the sixth day and the first thing He had him do was rest!
There are numerous reasons for the keeping the Sabbath holy (set apart and sanctified to God) and we benefit from every one of them. But to me, the most important one is because it is holy; God made it so.
The time we spend resting on the Sabbath rejuvenates us for the rest of the week. It’s similar to the tithe. God can do more with 90% of your income when you give the first 10% to Him first than you can do with 100% of your money. The Sabbath is time taken out of our 168 hours—24 hours set aside to receive a gift of time. The tithe given in joy to God reaps rewards, and the Sabbath kept with joy reaps rewards, too.
The Sabbath is meant to be a gift. It is not something that should make us chafe, impatiently waiting so that we can get back to what we’re about.
And speaking of that, there is a difference between work that is not allowed on the weekly Sabbath and work that is not allowed on the other Sabbaths and feasts days of the Lord. On the weekly Sabbath, we are to do no labor. That word in Hebrew is melakha (מְלָאכָה), which refers to all forms of human activity that is work.
The work not allowed on the feast days and other Sabbaths is called avodah (עֲבֹדָה), which means any work that is part of your normal labor. My pastor, who is Jewish, likes to mow his lawn on the Sabbath. It is relaxing to him, and he doesn’t do it during the other six days of the week.
Did you realize that most people who say they keep the Ten Commandments rarely remember the Sabbath? For some reason, modern man has simply cut the fourth commandment out. But really, a precious few also keep the first three commandments, either. If you’re not keeping the Sabbath, have you made an idol out of your work? Are you looking to “make a name for yourself” (a graven image)? Are you by not keeping the Sabbath yet calling yourself by His name taking the Lord’s name “in vain”? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think and why.
Our Hebrew word for today is קֹרְבָּן (korban), which occurs in the Bible with the following translations: offering (68x), oblation (12x), offered (1x), sacrifice (1x).
The korban was presented as a remedy for the guilt of sin. But sin itself has many different translations. It occurs 448 times in 389 verses in the KJV. Translated as trespass, it occurs 82 times in 73 verses. Transgression occurs 51 times in 50 verses, iniquity occurs 278 times in 262 verses.
Then there are offerings, קָרְבָּן. Although translated as a sacrificial present, there was an elaborate system of offerings to deal with sin in the Hebrew scriptures, but just one in the New Testament. That one, of course, was the ultimate sacrificial offering made by God Himself, in the person of Yeshua ben haElohim (Jesus the Son of God).
Let’s look first at the differences among the translations for sin.
The result of continuous, unrepentant sin is a reprobate mind. Here is how reprobate is defined:
a depraved, unprincipled, or wicked person: a drunken reprobate.
a person rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation.
morally depraved; unprincipled; bad.
rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation.
verb (used with object), rep·ro·bat·ed, rep·ro·bat·ing.
to disapprove, condemn, or censure.
(of God) to reject (a person), as for sin; exclude from the number of the elect or from salvation.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Now let’s look at the different kinds of offerings.
Colossians 1:19– 20
In Him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All (Hebrews 10:1-10)
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason, it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’”a]
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
“And if the slave shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.”
What does it mean to be a slave? According to the Vocabulary.com dictionary, slavery is defined thus: Slavery is the brutal practice of forcing someone to work hard without paying them a fair wage, sometimes without paying them at all. That is a perfectly adequate definition for modern America, but it is far from the reality of slavery in ancient Israel. In fact, the rules and commandments about slaves goes all the way back to Moses, before the people ever crossed into the Promised Land.
As you can see from the definition of avad (above), it actually means doing work that another desires you to do. Moses had just delivered the people from slavery in Egypt; wouldn’t you think they wouldn’t want to subject others to what they just came from? Well, that’s why Moses told them about how they should treat slaves.
The system of slavery in ancient Israel is nothing like the definition from Vocabulary.com. In fact, the word avad was used for both servants and slaves. The difference between the two involved why they were working for their masters. People generally became household slaves because they owed money they could not pay. A thief might become a slave if he could not make restitution. A family who was very poor might sell their young daughter as a slave, but that was the purview of the father alone. The mother had no say in the matter.
In order for a Hebrew to become a slave for debt, a court would have to make an order. The only other way for this to happen was for the slave to voluntarily become a slave. And even then, the period of his slavery could not exceed 6 years.
Slaves were members of the master’s household. They were fed, clothed, often given education, and had all their needs met. The Sabbath applied to them, too, so one day a week they were not required to work. The males were circumcised and they all took part in God’s appointed festivals. If there was no heir (and sometimes if there were), a slave could inherit his master’s estate.
While they were living in the master’s household, the master only had limited rights over them. If the master mistreated them, they could be set free by the courts. And all slaves, no matter the reason for their slavery, were set free in the year of Jubilee. Anything that originally had belonged to the slave was returned to him at that point, including landholdings of his family.
If the master ignored the law and mistreated his slave and the slave ran away, others were to give him refuge, not return him to the wicked master.
After a slave was set free, he was not sent away empty-handed but was given gifts like a son leaving home.
“And when thou lettest him go free from thee, thou shalt not let him go empty; thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy threshing floor, and out of thy winepress; of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.”
When a female was sold into slavery, the son of the master had to marry her. If he refused, she was set free. However, female slaves were only sold into slavery up to the age of 12, and only in the case of abject poverty. As soon as her father could afford to, she must be redeemed.
What about slaves who were not Hebrew? Alien slaves were rarely personal property. They became slaves through war and as such belonged to the king and not an individual. They were in servitude in perpetuity. “Ye may make them an inheritance for your children after you, to hold for a possession, of them ye may take your bondmen forever” (Lev. 25:46).
Today, slaves are sold, whether male or female, and with indifference to age, all over the world—except in Israel. They are forced to work for others and are often sold to other owners. The things considered “work” that they must do are often horrific. They are starved, beaten, raped, and made to work for long hours without pay and certainly never allowed a “Sabbath.” But one thing is true: human trafficking and slavery today is nothing like slavery in ancient Israel.
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were looking for a Messiah that would reward their supposed righteousness. They saw Jesus as a man who would eat with sinners, and that couldn’t be the Messiah they were expecting. They knew in their “holier than thou” thinking that God wouldn’t relate to someone who hadn’t cleaned up her life. But that’s not what Jesus said!
He showed a completely different paradigm of God’s love! He went to where the sinners were, eating and drinking with them before they changed their ways.
Unfortunately, the church today has acquired a superiority complex. Like the Pharisees, they believe they are holier than others. But are they holier than Christ?
When Christians develop loving relationships with unbelievers, they show themselves to be true disciples of Jesus. How about you? Are you critical of others, like the Pharisees, or do you wee the brokenness of the unbeliever prime real estate for God’s love?
What characterizes the Divine Love? Compassion! Not only compassion for lack of material things (although that also is good), but compassion for the lost sheep.
Have you ever “gone after the lost one,” even if it meant you had to for a time give up your fellowship with friends? Imagine how wonderful it is to hold out an invitation to dine with the Savior!
Maybe you never thought about yourself as a preacher. Perhaps you’ve never wanted to stand in front of hundreds, or even thousands, of people and tell them about the Gospel. But you know that the Great Commission says that we are to go to the nations. But what, exactly, does that mean?
You have placed your hope in Jesus Christ. Why is that so? You can look back and see the incredible difference knowing the Savior has made in your life. The one thing skeptics cannot dispute is your testimony. When you say, “Jesus changed my life,” no one can argue with you. I’ve heard it said that a story about a changed life is worth a thousand sermons. I know that it is true because a single individual shared her testimony with me and led me to the Throne of Grace. What about you? How did you hear the Gospel?
My husband is Jewish, so the last thing he ever thought he’d do was claim Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) as Lord and Savior. Do you know why he finally made that all-important decision to surrender to the Lord? Because he saw my life change right before his eyes.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age (AMP).”
“Instead sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, yet with humility and reverence—keeping a clear conscience so that, whatever you are accused of, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Messiah may be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15-16 TLV).”
Some people have dramatic testimonies, like release from captivity to drugs, alcoholism, or abuse. They were desperate, their time seemingly running out, and then they were rescued by Jesus. When they turned their lives over to God, He actually not only changed their lives, but He changed the lives of those who saw them clean up and walk a path of glory to God.
Many Christians don’t have such dramatic testimonies. Perhaps they were saved as young children and have never really known a day without Him. That’s a wonderful testimony, too, because people with average, everyday lives can relate to their stories.
Regardless of where you have come from, the
story of God in your life, sparing you from the heartbreak and trauma of others can make a world of difference to those who don’t have a rough background.
If you (like I) come from a background that left you spiritually battered and dying, your story will be powerful in its ability to open the door to freedom to others who have almost given up on life. To know that God not only wants to receive and forgive them, but He also wants to use them in His kingdom is amazing! When you are humble enough to share your mistakes without glorifying the sin, people who feel lost find hope.
If your story isn’t so dramatic, the fact is that God saving anybody at all is a miracle in itself. You bring hope to those who feel like their lives are meaningless and that they are worthless people. When they learn that Jesus died for their sins, and would have done the same thing even if they were the only ones on earth, it gives ultimate meaning and purpose to their lives.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that whilewewere yetsinners, Messiah died for us. (Romans 5:8 TLV).”
Many people feel that they are not good enough to share Christ. That’s a lie. Whether it is shame from a sinful past or from hidden sin that they’ve yet to confess, they think God is mad at them or disgusted with them. Neither is true. God can use you right where you are today.
On a scale of 1-10, with1 being “feeling useless” and 10 being “fountains of joy,” how do you feel prepared to share your testimony? What is your next step?
To Christians, salvation comes through Jesus. In Hebrew, the name of Jesus is Yeshua. So is the word salvation. It looks like this:
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means `ADONAI saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (Complete Jewish Bible)
Jews do not view salvation the way a Christian does.
To be a Jew is not necessarily to embrace Judaism so much as it is to identify with Jewish culture. Many current-day Jews don’t even believe that God exists. Those who do often do not believe in an afterlife.
In speaking of Japanese resistance to the gospel message, Peter Lundell introduces the concept of “Nihonkyo.” The concept actually speaks to one’s ultimate loyalty. That loyalty is not to a particular belief or even to a nation, “but rather to one’s identity and obligations as a Japanese person.” Similarly, there is an expectation of loyalty on the part of individual Jews despite their religious convictions. Part of that loyalty is defined as not believing in Jesus. — David Brickner | Nov 20, 1997 referring to Lundell, Peter. “Behind Japan’s Resistant Web: Understanding the Problem of Nihonkyo” Missiology: An International Review 23:4 (October 1995), p. 409.
Salvation for a Christian rests on the knowledge of original sin, acceptance that we are born with the sin nature, and that salvation is an individual experience that converts our souls. There is no individual salvation necessary to a Jewish way of thinking because they do not believe in original sin.
“O my God, the soul Thou gavest me is pure; Thou didst create it, Thou didst form it, Thou didst breathe it into me. Thou preservest it within me, and Thou wilt take it from me, but wilt restore unto me hereafter.” — Jewish Siddur (prayer book)
In cartoons when you see the devil sitting on one shoulder and an angel on the other, you may think that it is a Christian doctrine, but you would be wrong. However, it’s a pretty good representation of how Jewish people think of sin. Believing that each person is born neutral with an inclination toward good and an inclination toward bad, Jews believe that there is nothing to stop us from choosing good. Their rabbis teach that we have both a yetzer ha tov (good inclination) and a yetzer ha ra (bad inclination). Most will admit to making mistakes and poor choices, but they do not see themselves as sinners.
Therefore, why would they need a Savior?
Salvation, they believe, is not an individual thing but a corporate one. Salvation nearly equals survival in the eyes of the Jew. They see themselves as tikkun olam (correcting the world), in partnership with God to bring about a better earth.
Since the destruction of the second Temple, Judaism has changed out of necessity. With no place to offer sacrifices for sin, the modern Jew uses good deeds and repentance as a substitute. They do not believe they are separated from God and don’t need a Savior to reconcile them to Him.
A common misunderstanding among Jews today is that they think Christians believe that a man became God and not vice versa.
“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” John 4:22
Sharing the Gospel with our Jewish friends may help them see that salvation comes from a very Jewish God Who desires closeness and fellowship with His children: hayeshua bemashiah Yeshua. Salvation in the Messiah, Yeshua.