Keeping the Sabbath


e hear a lot about “keeping the Sabbath,” Guarding the Sabbath, Honoring the Sabbath, Remembering the Sabbath, Sanctifying the Sabbath, Resting, not working on the Sabbath, etc.

But we don’t hear much about HOW to keep, guard, honor, remember, sanctify, etc. the Sabbath, and how to properly rest on this day.

We old-timers tend to forget, and NEW people, just learning, need to know. So, it is time to review and remind ourselves of just HOW we are to do all these things, what to do, and what not to do, on this most special of all days.

One of the meanings of “Remember” in Strong’s concordance/dictionary, is to recognize, and think on this Day.


Scripture States that the Sabbath is a Sign Between Yahweh and His People

Exo 31:12-17 - 12 And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 13 Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies you.

14 You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to Yahweh. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.


Eze 20:12-20 -12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies them.

13 Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them. 14 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 So I also raised My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands,

16 because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless My eye spared them from destruction. I did not make an end of them in the wilderness. 18 But I said to their children in the wilderness, Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am Yahweh your Mighty One: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; 20 hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am Yahweh your Mighty One.


Exo 20:8

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

We are told to remember the Sabbath. Maybe the reason why Yahweh chose the word “remember,” instead of “keep,” is that He knew there would be a tendency to forget it.

In other words, “Remember” implies that you might also forget.



In the same list, along with the Sabbath, we learn other precepts, which include prohibitions against murder, against adultery, against stealing, lying, etc. This is one way forgetting the Sabbath is very dangerous – it leads to forgetting other things.


The very word, “remember”, here in Exo 20:8, shows that the Sabbath was in existence even before Sinai. In fact, it has been in existence since the beginning (Gen 2:1-3).


But, along the way, it has been forgotten. One of the major influences on the Sabbath disappearing from society occurred in 321 A.D., when the Roman Emperor, Constantine, changed the day of rest and worship from Sabbath to Sunday, the venerable day of the sun. Now, that is a short, simple statement of fact. But, it’s ironic that such a small bit of history has had such a big effect. Constantine took the day that our Creator decreed as hallowed and changed the day of rest and worship by his own decree; hence, it is a tradition and commandment of man that is taught for doctrine. Compare Mat 15:1-9…


Matt 15:1-9

1 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Yahshua, saying,

2 Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.

3 He answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of Yahweh because of your tradition?

4 For Yahweh commanded, saying, Honor your father and your mother; and, He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.

5 But you say, Whoever says to his father or mother, Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to Yahweh --

6 then he need not honor his father or mother. Thus you have made the commandment of Yahweh of no effect by your tradition.

7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

8 These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.

Some say that the Sabbath command is Ceremonial, and thus different from the other nine. But is it?

Let us look to the Bible for our answer –

In the creation week, man was created on the 6th day, and then the 7th day was set apart as the Sabbath rest day. In Mark 2:27, Yahshua stated, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” This is proof that the Sabbath is not merely a ceremonial observance for man. Rather, it is his moral obligation. For if the opposite were true (i.e., if man was made for the Sabbath, and not the Sabbath for man), then man would have been made after the Sabbath, and his sole purpose would be to observe the Sabbath.


q  Where does Scripture ever say that the Sabbath commandment is different from the other nine in the type of law that it is?


q  Or, more specifically, where does Scripture ever distinguish the Sabbath as “ceremonial” and the other nine as moral?


q  Where does Scripture give anybody the right to divide the commandments nine and one?


James 2:8-12 explains that if you break one of the commandments, you’re guilty of breaking all of them. The 4th Commandment is no less a commandment than any of the other nine!  We should be able to see that it is morally good for us (physically, mentally, & spiritually) to cease from our labors, have a special time to worship & concentrate on our Maker, and have a special time of enjoying the fellowship, with like-minded people, which strengthens our moral fiber, all on the special day that Yahweh has given us.


So, Yahweh has given man this special day on which to rest, recuperate, and worship his Creator, and we are told to remember it. And remember that, “remember,” implies that you might forget; so, be sure to remember.


We often talk about the importance of the Sabbath, and rightly so, but, we don’t often talk all that much about the different aspects of how to keep it. As I said, we are told to honor the Sabbath; to “guard” the Sabbath; to keep the Sabbath; to observe the Sabbath, to rest on the Sabbath, etc.

So let’s look at some of the ways to do these things in a way that pleases Yahweh. Here are some things TO DO, and some things NOT to do, on Yahweh’s special Day.

Not Working on the Sabbath

Gen 2:3, Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which the Mighty One had created and made.

Exo 20:9, Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

So, we find that all work is to be done on the 6 working days and that work is to be ceased from (i.e., rest) on the Sabbath day.

As a new Believer back in 1961, I did not understand the deep significance of, nor the importance of the Sabbath. I continued my bus-driving job, which required me to work on the Sabbath, for a few weeks until I was able to sign on a run that was off on Sabbaths. I could have gotten off if I had been more diligent or more dedicated at that point. But I didn’t have the “full repentance” I needed at that point.

This was something I had to repent of, when I finally realized what I was doing.

Exo 20:10-11: 10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your Elohim. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

11 For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Hallowed means He set it apart for a Holy use).

Deu 5:12-15 - 12 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as Yahweh your Mighty One commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahweh your Mighty One. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Yahweh your Mighty One brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore Yahweh your Mighty One commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

We, too, have been delivered from slavery – slavery to the WORLD, Babylon, Sodom, this whole evil system we find ourselves living in today.

Being an employee or an employer - owning your own business and having employees

Whether you are an employee or an employer, you must stick to remembering the Sabbath day.

“The Sabbath time is time off the clock.”

When you are an employee, you don’t work – when you are an employer, remember that your employees are your hired servants. The Sabbath commandment states that you are not to have your servants working on the Sabbath. Close the business and let them off. Or get in another business if that one requires you to be open.

Some Jewish restaurant owners have a little ploy that they use every Friday evening before sunset. They “sell” the business to a “Gentile” manager for a dollar, then Saturday night, they “buy” it back for a dollar. Do you suppose that this pleases their Creator?

Do Not be Unequally Yoked Together with Unbelievers

Another factor to keep in mind is to not be unequally yoked:

2 Cor 6:14-15 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Messiah with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

Here are some comments on that subject I made in the “Search the Scriptures” Newsletter (No. 98, Mar-Apr 2009 Ed.): 

“This applies to a union of a man or a woman in marriage, to a business partnership, to a religious affiliation, or to any other partnership or relationship that involves a converted and an unconverted partner. The unconverted one will sometimes make unscriptural demands or requests of the other, or do things that are unscriptural and expect the other to go along. We are no longer of this world or its ways, once we repent and begin our new walk with Yahshua as our example.”

A PERSONAL TESTIMONY: I made a bad loan to a man who had some mining equipment and was reclaiming some old strip pits. The equipment was old and kept breaking down. He was continually in need of more money. So, to try to salvage my investment, I violated these unequally yoked Scriptures and went in as a partner by taking over the management myself. I was “throwing good money after bad.” Long story short, it all went bad. I have seen mixed marriages go bad, too. Either the non-believer gets fed up, or the Believer gives up.

Do Not Buy or Sell on The Sabbath:

Neh 10:31 If the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath

day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day; and we would forego the seventh year’s produce and the exacting of every debt.

Also let’s read Neh 13:15-22:  In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions.

16 Men of Tyre dwelt there also, who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 17 Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our Mighty One bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.

19 So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Now the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice.21 Then I warned them, and said to them, Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you! From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath.

22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should go and guard the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember me, O my Mighty One, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy!

Was this just because they were bringing in their merchandise on the Sabbath? No, it was also the selling of it. Notice Neh 13:15b.And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions.

Automated Buying & Selling & On-line purchases?:

So what about automated transactions such as Internet shopping & vending machine transactions? Is that OK, since, as some say, it would not be causing someone else to work on the Sabbath? Here are two versions of Isaiah 58:13-14:

Isa 58:13-14 (TEV)

13 Yahweh says, If you treat the Sabbath as sacred and do not pursue your own interests on that day; if you value my holy day and honor it by not traveling, working, or talking idly on that day,

14 then you will find the joy that comes from serving me. I will make you honored all over the world, and you will enjoy the land I gave to your ancestor, Jacob. I, Yahweh, have spoken.


Isa 58:13-14 (TLB)


13 If you keep the Sabbath holy, not having your own fun and business on that day, but enjoying the Sabbath, speaking of it with delight as Yahweh’s holy day, and honoring Yahweh in what you do, not following your own desires and pleasure nor talking idly-

14 then Yahweh will be your delight, and I will see to it that you ride high and get your full share of the blessings I promised to Jacob, your father. Yahweh has spoken.

So we are not to engage in any type of business transactions, nor not seeking our own pleasure (sports, games, shopping, movies, etc).

With these thoughts in mind, let’s ponder two questions:



The Sabbath is a day of worship and honor to our Creator as well as a day of rest. It is set apart from the other, common days of the week and the other, common activities of the week. It is holy.

Consider How to Repent

Many times in life, we find that we need to repent of something we have done or thought..

In considering repentance, sometimes things can start small and grow bigger & bigger. You can become numb to a sinful situation, all the while it may be snowballing. This is dangerous, and it can leave you callous and unchanged.

One of the jobs of Yahweh’s Spirit (also called the Comforter, the Helper, or the Counselor) is to convict us of sin. See John 16:7-8: 

John 16:7-8  Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send it to you. And when it has come, it will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.

Conviction is being convinced of an error and compelled to admit the truth. When true conviction of sin comes into a person’s knowledge, and his attitude is one of sorrow for sin and a desire to turn from his sin, he is ready to repent.

As it is the job of Yahweh’s Spirit to bring conviction of sin, we should be very careful not to quench that Spirit

1 Thes 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit. This is something we’ve probably all been guilty of at one time or another.

Be aware that the law shows us what sin is...Rom 7:7b “…I would not have known sin except through the law…”

Not only do we need to know the Law, but see what James said:

Jam 1:22-25 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

When we compare our lives with the Law, and something is out of kilter, it shows a need for change. And we need to be very careful how we handle that. Not only does it reflect on us personally, but it also reflects on Messiah…

Gal 2:17 - But if, while we seek to be justified by Messiah, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Messiah therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!

It takes courage, and determination to stand and do what we know to be right. We need to help each other do those things – see Heb 3:12-15…

Heb 3:12-15 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living Mighty One; but exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Messiah if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.


So, in closing, let’s briefly reiterate these points:

don't work on Sabbath (Lev 23:3 KJV)  "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of YHWH in all your dwellings."

Have a Holy Convocation on Sabbath (Lev. 23:3. and Heb.10:24-27): (Heb 10:24-27 NRSV)  "And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, {25} not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. {26} For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, {27} but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries."

Don't seek your own pleasure or business on Sabbath; guard your topics of conversation on Sabbath, particularly not rehashing the week’s business, or jesting and making jokes;

All these in Isaiah 58:13;

"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of YHWH, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:"

Don't buy or sell or do business on Sabbath (Neh. 13);

Do your preparing on the 6th day so no cooking on Sabbath (Exo.16:5-23, Mark 15:42, and this one, showing the difference between an annual High Day when food can be prepared, and a weekly Sabbath, when it cannot: Exo.12:16).

Rest and rejoice on Sabbath (Exo. 35:2 & 1 Chr 16:10 KJV)  "Glory ye in his Holy Name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek YHWH."

Remember that we live in a non-Sabbath-keeping world. Everyone accuses us of trying to be “Jewish,” keeping that “old Jewish Sabbath.” In a way, it may seem odd that Yahweh would place such special emphasis on one day in the week. In our world, t may seem a complicated thing to understand and do. And yet, really, it is a simple concept. It may not always be easy, but it is simple.

Will standing for Yahweh always be easy or convenient? NO

Will standing for Yahweh always make you popular? NO

Will Yahweh & Yahshua be faithful friends & guardians when we stand? YES

Yahweh has given man this special day on which to rest, recuperate, and worship his Creator. And He tells us that it is a sign between Him and His people.

And remember that, “remember,” suggests that you might forget; so, be sure to remember. ~ Thank you ~

(Much of the foregoing information is based on a sermon prepared by Elder Chuck Henry of the Cisco, TX Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day, and presented at the Assembly of Yahweh at Fort Smith, AR on Nov. 28, 2009. and Revised by Frank Brown 12-10-09) ~