According to Scripture, God’s children cannot come to know Him, until they begin to observe His Sabbath days. This truth is given to us as a specific commandment in the Old Testament, and is confirmed as a basic principle and given as a warning in the New Testament.
In this short writing, we will examine this important truth of Scripture, and then test it to see whether the keeping of His sabbaths is a “salvational” issue or not. We will look at the Scriptures that reveal the commandment, the principle, and the warning.
As we look at the Scriptures, we will begin first with the foundation, where this truth is first mentioned as a command:
“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep…” (Exodus 31:13a)
Before we examine this command, we must remind our Readers, that many precious, Born-again Believers today have not been taught who they are in Messiah Yahushua [Christ Jesus]. The apostle Paul tells us clearly that by faith in Messiah, we have been “grafted-in” to the commonwealth [citizenship] of Israel (Romans 11:13-24; Ephesians 2:12-13).
And because we have been grafted-in to the commonwealth of Israel, we are no longer “strangers” from the promises and provisions of the covenants made with Israel. All of the covenant details made with Israel now include those who are saved by faith, who have been redeemed by the blood of Yahushua.
Thus it is, that wherever we see the commands and promises made to the children of Israel, these commands and promises now apply to all who are in Messiah. And so it is, that the above command, as well as all the commands given to Israel, now apply to Born-again Believers today.
Let us continue.
“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you” (Exodus 31:13)
“I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; 20 And hallow my sabbaths [keep them set-apart]; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God” (Ezekiel 20:19-20)
Now notice three important features of the above passages.
First, the sabbath days in the above passages are not some religion’s sabbath days, but these are “My” sabbath days. Many religions have their own sabbath days, and their own rules and restrictions for those days. But this passage addresses only Yahuwah’s sabbath days.
Second, notice that we are not told to keep the sabbath day, but sabbath days [plural]. The Scriptures tell us that the seventh day is the weekly sabbath day (Exodus 20:10-11), and there are also annual sabbath days of rest (Lev 23:1-44).
Third, In the above passages, we are told that the keeping of Yahuwah’s sabbaths is a sign “that you may know… Yahuwah, who is sanctifying you” [setting you apart for Himself].
This wording clearly reveals to us a principle, that the ‘keeping’ of Yahuwah’s sabbaths is a condition of knowing Him: if the condition of keeping is not met, then the knowing can not occur.
But is this a Biblical principle, to be seen elsewhere in Scripture? Let’s find out.
In writing to Believers in Messiah, the apostle John gives us the basic principle:
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments” (1John 2:3)
Here is the principle in the above passage. It is one of the big “if” verses in the New Testament. John tells us that by this we know that we have come to know Him: if we keep his commandments.
Is this clear?
In the event we do not understand what John has just said, he continues with stronger language:
“He that saith, “I know him”, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1John 2:4)
Some will protest, saying the above passage refers to Messiah’s commandments, not Yahuwah’s commandments. Again, we must remind the Reader, that many precious, Born-again Believers today have not been taught the great significance of the fact that Messiah Yahushua is the WORD of Yahuwah [the Word of the LORD].
We recall that it was the WORD of Yahuwah that appeared to Abram [Abraham] (Genesis 15:1), and gave all the commandments to Moses (Numbers 15:31; 36:5, et al). It was the WORD of Yahuwah who also appeared to all the prophets (Isaiah 38:4; Jeremiah 1:4; Ezekiel 1:3; et al).
The apostle Paul then tells us (1Co 10:1-4) that it was the WORD of Yahuwah [the Rock] who accompanied the Israelites in their journey from Egypt, into the Promised Land.
So we see that it was Messiah Himself [the WORD of Yahuwah] who gave the commandments to Moses. This tells us that all the words of Torah [the Law of Moses] are the words, sayings, and commands of Messiah. And Messiah Himself tells us that His sayings are not His own, but are Father’s words (John 14:24).
Now let’s see the principle again, as we look at this passage again with this new understanding:
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, “I know him”, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1John 2:3-4)
Here is the big “if” condition in the above passage:
If we, as Born-again Believers, observe Yahuwah’s sabbath days [which is one of the commandments of Moses, the commandments of Messiah], then we can come to know Him.
However, if we do not observe Yahuwah’s sabbath days [one of the commandments of Moses, the commandments of Messiah], then we can not come to know Him. And if we say we do know Him, but do not observe Yahuwah’s sabbath days [one of the commandments of Moses, the commandments of Messiah], then we are a liar — meaning we ‘think’ we know Him, but we do not really know Him.
At this point, there are some who will insist that all of our sins [including not keeping the sabbath days] are forgiven, and now all we need to do is ‘abide’ in Messiah.
Yes, this is true according to Scripture! But let us see what is required, for those who choose to ‘abide’ in Messiah:
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide <3306> [‘remain’] in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10)
Here is another big “if” passage! According to Messiah, our ‘abiding’ in Him is not automatic, but is dependent on our ongoing willingness to keep His commandments — which we have seen includes the keeping of His sabbath days. But what else does the apostle John tell us?
“He that saith he abideth <3306> [‘remains’] in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1John 2:6)
In the above passage, John tells us further that if we think we are ‘abiding’ in Messiah, we should be walking as Messiah walked.
How did Messiah walk? He kept all of Father’s commandments.
If we are not willing to keep His sabbath days, and even all of His commandments, then perhaps we should question whether we truly love Messiah:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15)
But we have only been talking about observing certain days, in a Scriptural way. Is this really a serious or weightier matter of Scripture? Let’s try to find out, by looking next at the warning.
The apostle John revealed to us not only the principle of keeping Mesiah’s commandments, but the warning to those who choose not keep His commandments:
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without [outside the city] are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:14-15)
In the above passage, we see two groups of people. The first group is allowed access to the Tree of Life, and is allowed to enter the City of the King, which is Jerusalem. These are they who are continuing to keep the King’s commandments.
The second group is not given access to the Tree of Life, and is not allowed to enter the City of the King. These are those who have chosen not to keep the King’s commandments.
Which of the above groups do we want to be in?
This is a warning for all Believers!
A New Covenant Issue
Perhaps some are still doubting, because they have been told by their Pastors and spiritual Leaders that keeping the sabbath is not a serious or ‘salvational’ issue, and certainly not a ‘New Covenant’ issue. But let’s see what the Scriptures tell us.
First, how serious a matter is it, if we choose not to keep Yahuwah’s sabbath days, which include His Feast Days? Notice what the Scriptures tell us:
“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 31:14-15)
From the above passage, we can see that whether or not we choose to keep Yahuwah’s sabbath days is a most serious issue.
But is this a salvation issue, i.e. a New Covenant issue? Let’s see.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant…” (Hebrews 13:20)
In the above passage, we are reminded that in Scripture, the New Covenant in Yahushua’s blood has an official name: the Everlasting Covenant.
So if we want to see whether an issue is a ‘salvational’ issue or not, we need to seek out everything in Scripture that is an ‘Everlasting Covenant’ issue. Here is one item we find:
“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual <05769> [everlasting; eternal] covenant“(Exodus 31:16)
So we see that keeping Yahuwah’s sabbath days is indeed a New [Everlasting] Covenant issue. And for those who have been redeemed by the blood of Yahushua, we see that it can become a serious issue, when we factor in what is required to abide [remain] in Messiah, who ‘is’ our Salvation.
From the Scriptures, we see that the Key to Knowing God is indeed Keeping His Sabbaths.
- Messiah: The Word Made Flesh – A look at some of the mysteries surrounding the identity of Yahushua the Messiah.
- If You Love Me, Keep ‘My’ Commandments – Do we show our love for Messiah, in the way He has told us — or have we lost sight of His identity?
- What Are the Ten Commandments? – Also called The Ten Words, these Scripture passages are shown in both Hebrew and English, enabling us to see for ourselves what these Commandments actually say. When we as New Covenant Believers understand whose words they are, we can better know how to respond to them.
- Obeying Torah is Not About Salvation – Obedience to the Torah [Father’s House Rules for His family] is not about our redemption by Yahushua’s blood. Instead, it is Messiah’s New Testament instruction to all Born-again Believers in how to abide in Him, how to love Him, and how to walk as He walked.
- Seven Biblical Guidelines for Studying the Bible: Using Scripture to Interpret the Scriptures – What is the source of our current understanding of the Bible? The pure Truths of Scripture are of highest importance — how we understand the Scriptures will affect our eternal condition! To avoid being deceived by man-made doctrines, we must not rely on Preachers, Teachers, Bible notes or commentaries. Instead we must study and understand the Bible for ourselves — not looking through the lenses of tradition or man-made Bible study methods — but relying only on what the Bible actually says about how to study and understand the Scriptures! Here are 7 Biblical Guidelines that show us the way!
- Contending for The Faith – We are exhorted to contend, to fight to remain in The Faith that was originally given. Scripture shows what The Faith is, and shows why and how we must contend for The Faith. Overview of how the adversary attacks the foundation of The Faith, with examples of contending for The Faith.
- The Wise and Foolish Virgins – Yahushua tells us why many today are not prepared.
- The Wise and Foolish: According to Yahushua – Messiah tells us in clear and simple terms for our instruction, who the wise and foolish are today!
- The Wise and Foolish Virgins: The Separation of the Wise – The Scriptures reveal a 2-step process of separation from the multitudes, for those who would grow in Wisdom.
- Let No Man Steal Your Crown – Reveals there are men today trying to take away, and steal your Bridal veil, and your crown; things that allow your crown to be stolen; the Doctrine of Balaam, and how it will steal your crown.
- Who is the Chaste Virgin? – The Bridegroom is coming for His Bride — one who is chaste, and without corruption. The Scriptures warn us of the many forms of corruption, and how to remove them, in order to remain chaste, and ready for the Bridegroom.
- The Wedding of the King’s Son: A Parable – A parable revealing the astonishing – and magnificent – nature of the New Covenant.