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The Days of the Week + Sabbath Preparation

Posted Jan 21, 2023 by Allan Gathoni in The Sabbath
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Sabbath Preparation

The Hebrew week was totally centered around the Sabbath. The word for Sunday was just “first”, Monday “Second”, etc. the first 6 days had no special name, they were just numbered. Only Sabbath, the 7th day, had a special name: “Shabbat”, or “stop working” or “rested”.  The whole week is seen and lived with the Sabbath in view. For example, the word for Sunday in the Greek New Testament is mia sabbaton.

English translations unanimously render mia sabbatdn and its variants as “first day of the week”; that is, they translate sabbatdn with the English “week.” But is such a translation correct? The word sabbatdn nowhere refers to the week; it always refers to the Sabbath. The Greek word for week is hebdomas.

The phrase should instead be trans­lated in any of the three following ways. Bruce translates mia sabbatdn as “first day after the Sabbath.” Lenski prefers the translation, “the first day with refer­ence to the Sabbath.” A third possibility is “first [day] towards the Sabbath.”

Whichever of the three translations of mia sabbatdn we opt for, the point is that all three highlight the importance of the Sabbath as the apex of the week. Of the three, I prefer the third option, “first [day] towards the Sabbath” on account of the fact that the term prosabbaton noted above as referring to Friday, also indicates direction towards the Sabbath.

Each day of the week is named in reference to the Sabbath, with Sunday being the first day towards the Sabbath. Thus we are always in preparation for the Sabbath Gift. It is a constant relationship, where the height is on Sabbath, which is to teach us to live by faith to the Father in the Spirit of Christ. We are told to “remember” the Sabbath, and thus we are to remember constantly where we are in the stream of time in relation to the Sabbath, and thus where we are in relation to the Father and the Son. When we remember the rest Jesus has in His Father’s will, we enter the double blessing of the Sabbath  - the holiness of heavenly rest.

Sabbath preparation is a multifaceted task. It is physical in the sense of having one's own temple, the temple of the Holy spirit, clean and fresh, but it is also physical in the sense of having a clean environment in the home. This would look different in different settings. Especially the place of worship; for us our living room, should be set up to be conducive to a holy atmosphere for singing praying and worshipping God.

Spiritually, our hearts should be free of burdens. "Cast all your cares on Him for he cares for you" {1 Peter 5:7}. Try to enter the Sabbath with a clear conscience, with no grudges or hard feelings towards anyone. Loving our enemies is priceless. Forgiveness is so precious in cleaning the heart of things which defile. Our devotions through the week also prepare us for entering the Sabbath with sanctified hearts. The joy of expectation is also important in preparing for Sabbath because God always has something for us to learn. I find, no matter who is speaking or what the topic, there are always blessings in the message.

When the Sabbath coincides with a season like a New Moon there is an even greater celebration of faith towards our Heavenly Father that the promise of eternal rest is soon to come {Isaiah 66:23}.  Sabbath is the fulfilment that the Father and the Beloved Son are continually on our mind. It is the key to the city that we enter into to have perfect peace:

In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:1-3)

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus... (Philippians 2:5)

The peace which God imparts to His people is “perfect.”

The laws of the human mind are such that our happiness will partake of the character of the object from which it is derived. If we partake from an uncertain and unsatisfying world, it will be just as uncertain and unsatisfying; if we partake from the eternal and immutable God, it will be undisturbable. As to both his temporal and eternal necessities, the believer’s Helper is omnipresent and omniscient, all-wise and all-merciful.

What, then, can he fear {Psalms 27:1}? The Spirit flows through this living in the Sabbath and cycle, and this Jesus calls His peace {John 14:27}. If this perfect peace is to be ours, we must link ourselves on to God by a simple, earnest, childlike faith. As sinners we must begin by the exercise of a personal faith in His Son as our Savior. Let us not be surprised if sometimes our peace departs. Let us return unto the Lord, and beseech Him to heal our backslidings. Restored to the paths of righteousness, we shall find that they, and they alone, are “paths of peace.”

The Sabbath was made for man {Mark 2:27} and the preparation through the week is as if preparing for a most important appointment with whom one loves & cherishes. We shouldn't forget the presence of Jesus and forget that each day of the week represents a day of creation, which culminated in the Sabbath day, when all was completed and Jesus rested in the Father's bosom.

“…the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:18)

At the creation of man and woman, God said 'it is very good' {Gen 1:31). Thus, the Sabbath day is a day of adoration, thankfulness and fellowship; in each day of the week we can remember what Jesus created that day, and love Him and praise Him each day more up to the Sabbath.

“Christian writers could have designated the days of the week using numerals, without including any reference to the Sabbath…But Christian writers deliberately rejected both planetary names and (with the exception of Hebrews 4:4) simple numeric names in favor of a nomencla­ture that is decidedly Sabbatarian.”

The early Apostolic church so understood the blessing of Sabbath it was incorporated into the language. Each day was of "relationship" through prayer, reading the daily devotional, contemplating God in nature, looking upon humanity as Jesus did, learning, teaching, speaking, helping. The transition to Sabbath should be easy because we have maintained our relationship with Our Father and His Son through the week.

May we be grateful to our God for giving us rest out of the weary world. “Father thank-you for the blessed week: your kindness, your forgiveness, your strength, your protection; a week of blessed activities to put my-self aside and enter into the example of the character of Jesus, to honor and glorify You. I am flesh, I am tired, I need to be refreshed, comforted, healed. Teach me more of your character, and please prepare me for another week in your Sabbath Rest.”

May we have the desire to know God in an intimate and personal way.

Blessings, Allan and Danny