Origins of the Sabbath
Origins of the Sabbath
First giving all praise and reverence to the Holy One of Israel, Yah YAHWAH, and to all those striving in His Holy Name for righteousness, truth, justice, mercy and love, I greet you in perfect peace with prayers for a blessed New Year in this the season of renewal and new beginnings!
“4 Then said YHWH unto Moses: 'Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My law, or not.
5 And it shall come to pass on the sixth day that they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.'
22 And it came to pass that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one; and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.”
I had begun to gather information for a writing I planned to do on the Sabbath, so I went back and looked at some of my previous efforts on this topic. As I read the verses quoted above, I was struck with the thought “Why did they gather twice as much on the 6th day”? From subsequent verses it appears as if Moses is introducing them to the Sabbath, but a closer reading does not substantiate this supposition. The Israelites clearly were anticipating not being able to gather the manna on the 7th day, and YHWH clearly anticipated what their actions would be. Why?
I was left to conclude that the Israelites were already observing the Sabbath, and that this was not a new concept to them. Since they had just come out of Egypt two month prior, I felt they must have had become familiar with the Sabbath during their 400 plus years there, so I did some research and came across this very interesting article. If I had not been perplexed by reading the above verses for myself first, I probably would not have put a lot of credence into this information, but the implication from the above verses is simply to strong not to give this information very serious consideration. It is somewhat long, but well worth the time investment.
BET EMET MINISTRIES
Hebrew For "The House Of Truth"
Craig M. Lyons Ms.D., D.D., M.Div.
DID THE SABBATH BEGIN WITH ANCIENT EGYPT?
The piou authors of "Mazzaroth" wrote: "The I Babylonians, Egyptians, Chinese, and the natives of India were acquainted with the seven days' division of time, as were the Druids" (James Bonwick, Egytpian Belief And Modern Thought, p. 412).
Answer for yourself: What is the "mazzaroth"? What does it have to do with the Sabbath? Is the Sabbath just a Jewish observance or did the "non-Jews" long, long before there were ever a Jewish person born keep and observe the Sabbath as a "holy day" before God?
31 Canst thou bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? 32 Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season? Or canst thou guide the Bear with her sons? 33 Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? Canst thou establish the dominion thereof in the earth?
4216 Mazzarah (maz-zaw-raw'); apparently from 5144 in the sense of distinction; some noted constellation (only in the plural), perhaps collectively, the zodiac: KJV-- Mazzoroth. Compare 4208.
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon:
4216 mazzarah- Mazzaroth; the 12 signs of the Zodiac and their 36 associated constellations
Answer for yourself: What did we see?
"Mazzaroth" is a Hebrew word which means in general "The Constellations of the Zodiac." The book of Job, which is thought to be the oldest book in the Bible, is believed to go back to approximately 2,150 B.C., which is 650 years before Moses came upon the scene around 1,500 B.C. to write the Pentateuch. We find our earliest reference to this "mazzaroth" as far back as Job in the Hebrew Bible. We we find that even before the book of Job the Ancient Egyptians were very familiar with this "mazzaroth" and this Zodiac.
From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible in the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, Mazzaroth (maz’-za-roth) is connected to the comparisons of the following two words:
mazzarah (He Resh Zayin Mem) M(ah)ZZ(aw)R(aw)H, maz-zaw-raw’; apparently from the Heb. nazar, naw-zar’, a primary root, to hold aloof, here specifically to set apart (to sacred purposes), i.e. devote – consecrate, separate, thus used here in the sense of distinction (only in the plural), perhaps collectively as the zodiac: Mazzaroth.
mazzalah (He Lamed Zayin Mem) M(ah)ZZ(aw)L(aw)H, maz-zaw-law’; apparently from the Heb. nazal, naw-zal’, a primary root, to drip, or shed by trickling: distill, drop, flood, (cause to) flow(-ing), gushout, melt, pour (down), running water, stream, thus in the sense of raining; a constellation, i.e. Zodiacal sign (perhaps as affecting the weather); -- planet.
Answer for yourself: Have you ever thought before reading this above that the Zodiac is "sacred"? But were we not taught by Christianity that anything connected to the Zodiac and Astrology was "Satanic"?
Well I was; but that was before I began to study the Bible for myself over 20 years ago. Amazingly when we do these types of studies and look up the words in our Bibles in their original language, even going so far as to look at the "root words", we find quite the opposite of many of our inherited Christian traditions when we study for ourselves.
Gen 1:14 14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: (KJV)
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon: "Seasons"
4150 mowed` or moed` or (feminine) mow` adah (2 Chr. 8:13)- an appointed place, an appointed time, a meeting
a) an appointed time
1) an appointed time (in general)
2) a sacred season, a set feast, an appointed season
b) an appointed meeting
c) an appointed place
d) an appointed sign or signal
e) the Tent of Meeting
Answer for yourself: What do we see in the word "seasons" which are determined by the movment of the orbs of Heaven? It refers to the feasts of God. The Hebrew word "mo’edh" refers to an assembly, called again "hagh", or a "dance" or a "pilgrimage". These "signs" and "seasons" arrange "appointed times" with God, "appointed meeting times" with God, they are "signals" for mankind to gather with God and to walk in step with his Creator God. There are Divine Messages from Heaven for man at each step of the way on this "pilgrimage" of his Soul. You might not be aware yet but we have just cracked the whole secret of the whole Bible and its Festival calendar right here in this verse in Genesis.
Behind this all we find calendar cycles as we should. The Hebrew word "mo’adhim", or the "appointed assemblies" of the Lord refer to both day and night as determined by the Sun, the week determined by the phases of the moon, and month based on the recurrence of the new moon. This is "celestial" before it is to become "terrestrial". Again we find the uranograph here and the Ancients understood this and brought these "signs" down from Heaven and incorporated them into their religious worship of the Creator. If you missed the earlier articles on the uranograph please take the time to see them for yourself because they are the "key" to unlocking the hidden wisdom behind the pages of our Bibles which is sadly passed off today as supposed "historical" and "literal" narratives. The year was divided into two seasons, seedtime or winter, and harvest or summer. These times were connected to the Equinoxes and Solstices. Although no connection to the Hebrew word here, Muzaloth was the eighth heaven of the translation of Enoch, and a place of changing of the Season. Similar to the Hebrew mazzaloth in 2 Kings 23:5, RSV, "constellations," as a reference to Mazzaroth . It all ties together.
If we look to the Strong's Concordance for the same word:
4150 mowed` (mo-ade'); or moed` (mo-ade'); or (feminine) mow` adah (2 Chronicles 8:13) (mo-aw-daw'); from 3259; properly, an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; specifically, a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technicallythe congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): KJV-- appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synogogue, (set) time (appointed).
Notice if you would the word "synogogue" in the above definition which comes from Christian sources no less. They need to be applauded for such frankness for if we look to the Jewish faith and the synagogue we find they like their predicessors, the Ancient Egyptians, their whole religious calendar followed these "signs" and "seasons".
Answer for yourself: And what were the very foundation for these "signs" and "seasons"? They were the Equinoxes and Solstices which taught a message to the whole of mankind from the very Heavens above.
Answer for yourself: And what was this message? It was the salvation of man's Soul which lies at the very foundation of the Biblical Festivals.
That was the "big view"; now lets cut this down to size somewhat and focus on 4th Commadment of the well-known "Ten Commandments". First of all there is no such thing as "Ten Commandments"; rather they are "Ten Categories" of Divine Laws given mankind; "ten categories" comprising 613 Laws and Commandmetns (mitzvoth) given to the Jewish Nation, 66 of which were previously given to the "non-Jewish nations of the world. These 66 Laws are often called today the "Laws of Noah"; Laws and Commandments which frame the Covenant of God with the "non-Jew". In spite of Christian teaching it is here that the "non-Jew" finds his Covenant with God. If you doubt this then look to Acts 21 and see what James calls both "necessary" and "what seemed good to the Holy Spirit" that "non-Jews" were to be taught by the Jews in order that they become"acceptable to God". Make the connection between what James says with these "Laws of Noah" and then you have it.
Dion Cassius, known in English as Dio Cassius or Cassius Dio, was a noted Roman historian and public servant. Dion Cassius wrote his Roman History in 80 books in Greek, sometime in the early 3rd century. In the he makes mention that the Ancient Egyptians derived the 7 days of the week from the seven visible orbs of Heaven as viewed from the Earth; namely, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. The first pages of the Bible explain how God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. This seventh day became the Jewish day of rest, the sabbath, Saturday. Little did we known that behind this verse lie the 7 visible orbs of Heaven. We thus correlate the 7 days of the week to the 7 visible "planets" (as so called by the ancients). In the picture above we see the pre-Copernican view of the solar system with the "Earth" at the center of the Solar System and not the Sun. A long time ago people thought that the Earth was flat, and at the center of the Universe. They believed that the seven members of the Solar System forever circled around "us". We today know that this is not true.
Montucla, a French historian of mathematics, thought the week began on Saturday. Bailly says: "It is to the Egyptians that is attributed the idea of dedicating each day of the week to one of the planets." Sonnerat considered Saturday the Indian Sani or Saturn. Jahn says: "The Egyptians consecrated to Saturn the seventh day of the week."
Now here is where it gets really good. With the Egyptians, however, the seventh day was consecrated to Amen or Amoun, the Father, or Sun-god. Quoting Bonwick, p. 412, he states that "Pauw was of opinion that 'the Egyptians seem to have observed it very regularly.'" Bunsen, speaking of Set, the advesarial brother of Horus, adds, "He (Set) is the ass god of the Semitic tribes, who rested on the seventh day." To properly understand Set and his role in Egyptian religion is a study in itself. What is important for us to understand is that in early times Set was worshipped as the god (neteru) of wind and the desert storms, and prayed to that he would grant the strength of the storms to his followers. Although he was always a dark and moody god, he was believed to be the ally of his brother and sister, Osiris and Isis, the counterpart to his sister-wife Nephthys, and the defender of their father, Ra. But somewhere along the line the view of Set changed. He became a god of evil, in eternal conflict with the gods of light, and especially with Horus, the son of Osiris. Set became identified with his former enemy, the serpent Apep. By the XXVI Dynasty, Set was the major antagonist and embodiment of evil to the Egyptians. Why this change came about is unknown, but it is thought that some time after the unification of Egypt, the religion of Set fell into disfavor with the state religion, the worship of Ra and Osiris. It may be that there was open rebellion against the pharaoh Narmer (Menes) who unified Egypt under his rule, the rebellion failed and their beliefs were effectively quashed. Victors are known to rewrite history, it may be that they also rewrote the religion. It is an interesting idea to think that the struggle for the control of Egypt might have found its way into their core beliefs. In the Legend of Osiris, Set kills Osiris and scatters his body, then claims the throne of the gods for his own. He is later struck down by Horus, the son of Osiris, who restores order to the world and sets up the pharaohs as the guardians of Maat. Set and Horus continue to battle for control of the world, setting up an epic conflict of good versus evil. Set was not really worshipped after becoming a god of evil, but his religion was the major one for Upper Egypt until after the unification of Egypt. An older form of Set is seen however in which he is seen to be a companion and ally to Osiris and Isis. He is depicted defending the Sun Boat from demons and revered as the patron of Upper Egypt. In this form Horus is his brother and is the patron of Lower Egypt.
Hesiod, Herodotus, Philostratus, etc., mention the Sabbath day. Homer, Callimachus, and other ancient writers call the seventh day the "holy one". Eusebius confesses its observance by "almost all the philosophers and poets." Lucian notes that it was given to schoolboys for a holiday. Dr. Schmitz observes: "The manner in which all public ferhe (holidays) were kept, bears great analogy to our Sunday". The people generally visited the temples of the gods, and offered up their prayers and supplications. All kinds of business except lawsuits were suspended.
As in other cases, we may get illustrative light from the Assyrian neighbours of the Egyptians.
The Rev. Mr. Sayce finds the day of rest an Assyrian word. Saturday in Central Asia is still "Shambé", from the Persian "Shabat". The Accadians, thousands of years ago, says Sayce, kept holy the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th of each month as Salum, "rest", "on which certain works were forbidden."
About the year 3000 B.C.E., long before the Arise of the Semitic nations, among whom the Babylonians, Assyrians, Israelites, and later the Arabians, were most prominent, there lived in Mesopotamia a nation of great power and importance, which is known by the name of Accad. And, strange to say, the Accadians were not a white, but a dark race. They are spoken of as "blackheads" or "blackfaces". But we learn so were the Egyptians and later "Jews". When we study to find out that the Jews are the biological offspring of these "black skinned" Egyptians the links begin to appear. Quite simply the Jewish race of antiquity were taught these earlier religious dogmas of Ancient Egypt, in particular for our focus here, the Sabbath as the 7th day of the week.
How much the Semites owe to the Accadians, whose dominion ceased about 1500 B. C., and whose language began to die out under the reign of the Assyrian king Sargon (722-705), we may infer from the fact that many religious institutions, legends, and customs among the Semites were of Accadian origin. But even further back we can go to Ancient Egypt and see how during their sojourn in Egypt the Semitic peoples who we later call the Hebrews and "Jews" were taught the Sabbath by "non-Jews". This pretty much settles all arguments that the Sabbath is "not for the non-Jew"; in fact it was to them it was given in the beginning of time by our Creator and written in the Sky and Heaven above.
Answer for yourself: What should that say to us? The Sabbath is not just a "Jewish thing".
Mr. George Smith wrote thus in 1876:
"In the year 1869 I discovered among other things a curious religious calendar of the Assyrians in which every month is divided into four weeks, and the seventh days or Sabbaths are marked out as days in which no work shall be undertaken" (Bonwick, Egyptian Belief And Modern Thought, p. 412-413).
Mr. H. F. Talbot quotes the Divine command from the Assyrian "Creation" tablet :
"On the seventh day he appointed a holy day, And to cease from all business he commanded."
Answer for yourself: But isn't it true that Judaism teaches that for a gentile to be considered righteous by a Jew, he/she must worship and honour God and obey the 7 laws that were given to Noah? Yes it is. But Judaism makes a terrible mistake when at the same time teaching that a "non-Jew" is not required to keep the Sabbath. Judaism today teaches that the bible is quite clear on the point: "It [the Shabbat] is a sign between Myself and the Children of Israel for eternity..." (Ex. 31:17) They go so far as to say that unless you're claming membership in the Covenant of Moses (Conversion), there is no duty implied by the bible to keep the Sabbath. They reiterate that at most you can say it's a good idea. But as for making it mandatory, the Children of Israel are specificied explicitly.
For what it's worth, in Jewish law, a non-Jew's observance of the Sabbath in the exact manner as traditional Judaism (which goes well beyond the literal resting on the day) is tantamount to either theft or adultary. Here is the "key". We are "not Jews" and we have at best, limited association to the Jewish people as far as the Exodus concerns us. We do not find our "history" with the Jewish people and their struggles and trials as a people seeking their own unique identity following their leaving of Egypt in what is today called the Exodus. However, most non-Jewish observations of the Sabbath is not to the same degree or kept entirely in the same way as do the Jews. The "non-Jew" is encouraged to seek his own unique observation and sanctification of this time, this "appointed time" with God."
Now, consider this information:
“It was a new day given to the Israelites only, after the exodus when the great number of Hebrew slaves became a new nation. It was to thereafter be celebrated every seventh day in sequence, regardless of the lunations of the moon. It was instituted at the time manna was provided for their food. Exodus, 16th chapter. It began on an old Egyptian Sabbath, a full moon day, which they had in the past been observing as a holiday or day of rest in Egypt. The new day was for rest only in their homes. Lev. 23:3. Evidently, the temple was not opened (the temple courts were never closed) and it was a day of rest for priests as well as people. God's Sabbath commandment is given in Ex. 20:8 to 11 and Deut. 5:12 to 15.The Israelites only were commanded to keep the Sabbath because of their release from bondage. Deut. 5:15. It never applied to any Gentile nation.
Aside from the Passover which occurred in Egypt before the exodus, no holy feast day was ordered by Moses to be celebrated on the Sabbath. Very little of any historical importance ever occurred on that day. If the day is as important as the Sabbatarians would have us believe, is it not strange that the word Sabbath is not even mentioned incidentally for 3300 years from Adam to Isaiah, except during the last 40 years of Moses' life? The books of Kings and Chronicles were compiled by Jeremiah and Ezra, after Isaiah's time. Amos and Micah lived contemporary with Isaiah. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Ezra and Nehemiah mention it, but not Daniel. Did Gideon, Elijah, Samuel, Job or any of the other prophets, judges and patriarchs know about it? Is it not strange that the many beautiful Psalms of David, the three books of Solomon, Daniel and the ten of the twelve Minor Prophets fail to refer to it? No, it was simply a holiday without religious significance. The Sabbath was strictly for self- a festive holiday for rest, relaxation and refreshment. A day established by a loving, heavenly Father for the health and happiness of his people but enforced by divine command. It was not given to other nations; they already had been observing three rest days and one worship day each Lunar Month for many centuries before there was a Hebrew nation. It was new. Deut. 5: 2 to 4.
During the 400 years between the Old and New Testament, there existed a number of Jewish religious societies, the Chasids, Hasmonians, Chassidians and Assidians, to the last of which, the Maccabees belonged. They were prominent about 175 to 150 B.C.and were such strict believers in the Jewish law that at first they were willing to be persecuted and even be killed rather than strike a blow in self-defence on the Sabbath rest day but we find no record as to their considering it a day of worship. That was left for the new organization of Pharisees which was formed shortly after the Maccabees or about 120 to 140 B.C. The first definite record we find of them is 109 B.C. but at that time they had become quite numerous and strong.
They were excessively strict regarding the observance of the laws of Moses and especially those unwritten laws which they claimed came down to them by tradition. They also claimed to "sit in the seat of Moses" with power to enact new laws. They gave a new meaning to the Fourth Commandment changing the Sabbath to a religious day and formulating about 215 laws or rules in the Talmud for its observance, the breaking of which was in some cases punishable by death, changing God's gracious, blessed day of rest and peace to a day of dread and of exactions grievous to bear. Christ's teachings are thoroughly antagonistic and He denounced the Pharisees in the bitterest language. Most of their criticisms of Christ was because He did not keep their kind of Sabbath.”
The Sabbath, by Charles N. Pope
I recently wrote my thoughts concerning the New Covenant and how it signifies that the way we related to the Creator under the old Covenant is now different. This would then hold true for how we relate to all aspects of that relationship and requires that we seek a higher understanding of every area of what was given under the authority of that Covenant. We must constantly seek to expand our understanding of the instructions that were given to us in our early days here in the Nation; Abba Ben Ammi the Anointed himself expressed that the tools and understanding that got us thru the initial 40 years, would not sustain us thru the next 40! A new, higher understanding of the Sabbath is key.
May Yah YAHWAH Most High and Holy shine His face upon you all and bless you with a truly enlightening Sabbath!
I pray that these few words are received in a spirit of open consideration, for they are not intended to offend anyone in anyway. May the Holy One bless and keep each of you and may you enjoy to the fullest this blessed season of renewal and new beginnings.
Anaviel Ben Eleazer