The Meaning of Shabbat (AKA, ‘Sabbath” for the Uninitiated)

19 10 2005

Shabbat is much more than a day of rest, it is a picture of Jesus’ Kingdom. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us this in chapters 3 and 4. He tells us that there, “remains a sabbath rest for the people of God”. So Shabbat is a metaphor for the soon coming Kingdom of Jesus, where we will at rest with Lord of Shabbat.

It is interesting that most of the holy days of Israel are on shabbat days, Passover and Pentecost are two of note (I will discuss the relationship of Pentecost to the Kingdom of Jesus in a later post).

Further, Jesus tells us in Mark that the we were not made for the Shabbat day, but rather, Shabbat was made for us. In this same passage, Jesus calls Himself the Lord of the Shabbat.

What is going on here? Jesus is saying that He is the Lord of the Shabbat, but Shabbat is for us? It is not for Him? Does this not fly in the face of the teachings of the OT. Isaiah 58 for example chastises Israel for “doing whatever you please on the Shabbat”. So how can the Shabbat truly be made for us? Maybe this will help, freedom is not about doing whatever you want do, that is actually bondage. For clearly Scripture teaches us that a self-directed life is a life of slavery to sin (Romans 3:10; 6:16; Gal. 5:13, 14).

So Shabbat rest is not about doing what you want, but being what you are. It is fundamentally about spending time, intimate time with the Abba and the Son.

Kingdom living is about being with the King, and being subject to Him. The fascinating thing though is that He counts us as royalty too. This is amazing to me.

So Shalom is about God setting things right, as they should be, Shabbat is about forgeting about time and losing your self in Father and the Son. It is an eternal Saturday spent with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.




6 responses

20 10 2005

Amazing post, and a great reminder. Thanks.

20 10 2005
sabbath day's journey

I’m with Darryl. This was a great post. My husband and I were just talking about Sabbath/Shabbat last Sunday and I was struggling to recall the actual name Shabbat. This is just a great post with a lot of rich elements we need to remember. It seems that really embracing Shabbat the way we ought is something we really need to be intentional and thoughtful about. We’re often careless, though (unfortunately). Thanks for this.


20 10 2005

Darryl & Michele,

Thanks for the kind comments. I certainly do not keep shabbat as I would like. I struggle to keep a personal shabbat. It really is about faith, I have to remember that God is my source, not work or money.

24 10 2005

I love Shabbat! We light the candles and bless the children and do the Challah bread and the whole bit! (We aren’t as consistent with it as I’d like to be, though.) I enjoyed your thoughts, as usual.

24 10 2005

I really have to hang out with you, Tim and kids the next time I am in Cali. That is just great Photini. My clan on the other is not as disciplined. I talk a good game, but I have yet to put any of these lofty ideas into practice. The purpose of this blog is to explore what Jesus has been telling me about His Kingdom via Shabbat, Shalom, Pentecost and Jubilee. Understanding the meaning of Shabbat is central to this. I have some more to share and would to hear your thoughts (and others) concerning Shabbat.

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