Who are Notsrim? "Watchmen" of the Torah
The commandments of the Torah and Prophets have not been abolished or changed by Yehoshua the Son of YeHoVaH, as it is written, "Think not that I come to annul the Torah, but to perfect it. Truly I say to you until heaven and earth (depart) not one letter or dot shall be abloshed from the Torah or Prophets, because all will be established" (Heb. Matt. 5:17-18).
Many Christians think that the Sabbath has been changed to Sunday, or that it's been done away with, or that it's just for the "Jews." These assumptions are simply not true.
Here's where we first hear about the the Sabbath:
"And in the seventh day Elohim ended his work which he had made; and he rested in the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which Elohim created and made" - Genesis 2.
You may be think, "I thought it was 'on' the seventh day." Literally, it says "in" the 7th day. So, just like the priests, who don't finish their work until after the extra Sabbath day offering is made (Num. 28:9), so too did the Almighty do some type of holy work in the Sabbath, then rested in the Sabbath, as it is written, “My Father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5:17).
So what did He do before He rested? It would seem to be that the answer is that He resurrected The Lamb slain from the foundation of creation IN THE SABBATH DAY (YaHushuah a.k.a. Jesus).
Many will be taken aback by this statement, but a careful study of the gospels proves it.
First of all, we need to learn to count to three! Three days and nights, that is. Remember, Yahushua said, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:39-40). So being able to count to three is very important. It's the sign that was given. So how on earth do people say he was put in the grave on Friday and rose from the dead on Sunday. This would only be two days (actually 2 nights, 1 day)!
In order to figure out when Jesus rose, we need to know when he was put in the tomb, then count three days and three nights. This is where knowledge of the feasts of Yahweh comes in.
We know that Jesus was crucified on Passover- he is THE passover Lamb, after all. But in order to figure out what is going on, we need to know that there was a high Sabbath the evening following Passover, as there always is:
“In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is Yahweh’s passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto Yahweh: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein” (Lev. 23:5-8). *the day starts, Biblically, at sundown (evening).
Here's the connection:
“And he [Joseph of Arimathea] took it [Jesus' body] down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment” (Luke 23:53-56).
Because of Lev. 23, we know that the Sabbath being referred to was a High Sabbath - the first day of the feast of Unleavened bread, the 15th of Aviv (1 Hebrew month) - which started when the sun set. However, IT CANNOT BE THE WEEKLY SABBATH, which is from friday sundown to sat. sundown. Why? Because that would only allow Jesus two days in the grave, and we know he must be there three days and nights (if we assume he rose on sunday morning, which is also false, and I'll show you why).
So, were there two sabbaths in a row, and then he rose? That would mean that he was in the grave from Thursday night to friday night (1 night /1 day) and friday night to sat. night (2 nights, 2 days), and rose, wait, sunday morning (3 nights, 2 days). Uh-oh, we still have a problem - that would only leave 3 nights and 2 days, which is not enough time to get "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Some might say you can could say the hours of daylight from time time he was put in the grave until sunset constitute a day, but that would also shorten the day to less than a full day. This way of reckoning is unscriptural:
“You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am Yahweh your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.(Lev. 19:35-36).
Again, “Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small” (Deut. 25:13).
A day is NEVER less than 24 hours in the Scripture (except this one time when God stopped extended the day by preventing the sun from setting). Genesis shows this, as all the days are said to be "an evening and a morning [lit. shining-time] a ....day" (Gen. 1). This refers to the whole time it is dark AND light.
Therefore, if we are going to use a consisent measurement of length, either every day is a 24 hour day, or every day is a shorter day. Therefore, we need 72 hours to pass before Messiah rises from the dead. If thursday was the day of his crucifiction, 72 hours later would be after the sun rises sunday morning (around 3pm), and this cannot be, because,
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb” (John 20:1). *remember, day starts with evening/sunset, so the first day of the week starts sat. night.
This means the only thing that makes sense, Scripturally is this timeline:
But wait, we have a problem, even what might seem like a contradiction, with this verse:
“The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9:22).
The question is, is it on the third day, or is it after the 3 days and 3 nights in the earth are completed? Can it be both? Or does Luke 9:22 contradict this verse:
“And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and AFTER three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). *note the Greek word for after, meta, literally means "after."
The answer is found in the point when we begin to count.
Luke 24 is key to understanding this:
“And they talked together of ALL THESE THINGS which had happened…And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done” (Luke 24:14 & 20-21).
The key is the 14th verse, which says they talk of "all these things which had happened." This is referencing the last event recorded in the gospel account concerning what was "done" concerning Jesus. So, what was the last thing that happened? This:
"Now THE NEXT DAY, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch" (Matt. 27:62-66).
Here's the sheared Roman seal near the purported tomb site - It's estimated that it would have taken 90 tons of force to break this seal- a magnitude unknown of in the Ancient world - evidence for a miracle.
So the event to which the disciples were referring to three days earlier was the sealing of the tomb, which happened the day AFTER Messiah was put in the tomb. Also, this must be what Messiah is referencing when he says, "raised the third day" (Luke 9:22). It is making "the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone" that seals the deal in terms of his burial. Of course, he died the day before, but this is the "after that" event referred to here:
"...and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day” (Mark 9:31).
The only other option is that there was a normal week day in between the High Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath. That means that Messiah was placed into the tomb shortly before the sun set on wednesday. Then, three days and three nights later lands us on the Sabbath day, shortly before the sun sets and the Sabbath ends. This is backed up by the gospel:
"In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to shine towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre" (Matt. 28:1) we must understand that it was literally IN the end of the Sabbath - the Greek term for "in", opse, literally means "late in the day". The term that is usually translated as "dawn", actually just simply means "began to shine" or "was near commencing." Have you ever seen the clouds and horizon begin to shine with a golden-pink lining when the sun starts to set? Since there is a new type of shining at both sunset and sunrise, this word does not neccessarily indicate it was the morning sunrise. It was the Hebrew, Jewish, Biblical, Scriptural Sabbath! HalleluYah! The resurrection of the Messiah is the fuller meaning behind Sabbath.
“Now upon the first of the sabbaths, rising very early they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them” (Luke 24:1). Now this translation is different from most Gentile-minded translations, which say "on the first day of the week" and "very early in the morning" but I'll show you why it's accurate and makes sense:
"First of the sabbaths, rising very early" -
3391/1520 – mia, fem. of heis – one, first, other.
3588 – ton – the
Sabbaths 4521 sabbaton - the Sabbath, i.e. the seventh day (of the week).
3722 orthros – day-break, from oros –Probably from an obsolete verb oro (to rise or "rear"; perhaps akin to airo (to raise); compare ornis (bird); a mountain (as lifting itself above the plain): -hill, mount(-ain).
Now, with our Western Gentile mindsets, we think "rising early" means the morning - the sun-worshipping pagans who co-opted the Hebrew roots of the Way of Messiah thought so too! But no, in the Hebrew reckoning of time, as we've already shown, the day begins when the sun sets. Therefore, rising up early means they headed to the tomb before the sun set on sat.
Why should we keep it?
Here we have the command in the 10 commands:
"Remember the Sabbath day, Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is The Sabbath of the YHWH thy Mighty Power: 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
This is the 4th commandment of the 10 Commandments - one that is often overlooked, changed, or outright rejected. Does it make sense that 9 of the 10 commands apply?
It's worth noting that YaHushuah said, "For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day" (Matthew 12:8). Many will say, 'Jesus himself broke the Sabbath!' Wrong! He was ACCUSED of breaking the Sabbath, as were his disciples, for doing things like healing and eating by plucking grain directly from a plant and rubbing off the chaff in their palms to eat it on the spot. Careful study will show that everything he did was Lawful according to the Torah. Rather, the religious leaders of the time had added extra commandments (a sin itself - Deut. 12:29), even going so far as to say one cannot do the 'work' of healing on the Sabbath. *this religious leaders said plucking was harvesting, rubbing grain was threshing, etc., according to the Mishna (Jewish rabbinical writings).
Ok, now we move on to other verses that support Sabbath keeping, even for "non-Jews":
“Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to Yahweh, to serve him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes 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” (Is. 56:6-7).
This verse even goes so far as to say that the Sabbath IS for "sons of the stranger" to keep. This refers to non-Israelites, i.e. Gentiles.
Many people have taken the writings of Paul to indicate that the Sabbath is done away with. Here are some examples:
“One man truly esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). First of all, this verse doesn't say the Sabbath is done away with. In fact, that word "truly" gives us a big hint whose side Paul is on (he kept the Sabbath).
So who came up with this Sunday is the Sabbath idea? A Roman emperor, Constantine:
"On the Venerable Day of the Sun ["venerabili die Solis"--the "sacred" day of the Sun] let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost--Given the 7th day of March, [A.D. 321], Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time."
In case you're confused, the "venerable day of the sun" refers to Sunday, the first day of the week, which is where that day gets its name: they worshipped the sun in pagan Roman, and that was the main day to do so.
Guess who followed suit? The Roman Catholic Church:
"The Council of Laodicea ... forbids Christians from judaizing and resting on the Sabbath day, preferring the Lord's day, and so far as possible resting as Christians."
The term "The Lord's day" is is here being assumed to mean Sunday without any proof. Also, "judaizing" is an anti-Hebrew word used to demonize Torah observant believers in Messiah. "Legalism" is another.
The only time the term "the Lord's day" occurs in the Scripture is in Revelations:
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet” (Rev. 1:10). Why this should be assumed to mean Sunday, I have no idea, except for the influence of Romanism. In all likelihood is refers to the actual Sabbath.
There are many other verses to support all believers observing the Sabbath and the Torah, generally:
"For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
Again, he limits a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Heb. 4:3-11).
The tradition interpretation of anti-law theolgians is that this is strictly about faith, and not actually about the Sabbath. Clearly, it is about faith - faith in the work/rest (sacrifice and resurrection) of Messiah. There is no doubt in my mind that guarding this faith is part of keeping the Sabbath in Spirit. But does that mean that we should disregard the weekly Sabbath. No!
In interpreting Paul's words, context is key. He was speaking to Gentiles, mostly, who didn't know much about keeping the Sabbath. Jews had been coming in and trying to lay all of Judaism's ordinances upon the new believers, which Messiah himself rejected as burdensome and disregarded. This is the context when Paul says, "
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us” (Col. 2:14).
This isn't the Law Moses handed down (written in stone by Elohim himself), but refers to man-made religion and the conversion practices of the Jews. These same Jews were judging the disciples for not keeping the Sabbath according to their relgigious custom, hence Paul's statement:
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath (which are a shadow of things to come) but the body of Christ” (Col. 2:16). The wording is difficult, but "the body of Christ" is the one who 1. casts the shadow and 2. can judge concerning the Sabbath and these other things. This is often used in reference to followers of Messiah.
Other verses written by Paul have been twisted to try and do away with the the Law, such as:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4).
The word "end" is telos in Greek, which means:
5056 télos (a neuter noun) – properly, consummation (the end-goal, purpose), such as closure with all its results.
So, this means that Messiah is does not do away with the Law, or Torah, but He is the purpose of the Law: to instruct us how to live like Him!
Other verses used to justify breaking the law:
“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:23-25).
See, just because I am no longer in Kindergarten and have graduated from a University doesn't mean that I can disregard what I learned in Kindergarten. Of course, I am no longer "under" my elementary school principle, but that doesn't mean that if I do things that would have gotten be in trouble in Kindergarten that I won't suffer consequences. Therefore, it is a logical fallacy to assume that "not under the law" means "you can break the law." Rather, it means that we can even go beyond the letter of the law (brings death) and have it written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit (brings life)- the Renewed Covenant spoken of in Jeremiah 31.