Messianic Perspectives on the Sabbath in Israel

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 |  Daniel Goldstein

There are many different views on the practice of Shabbat (the Sabbath) amongst Messianic Jews and Christians.

Israel Today posed the following question to believers who live in the Land of Israel: How do you and your congregation observe the Sabbath? Here is how they responded:

Michael Decker – Attorney in Jerusalem

I work fulltime as a lawyer and often work 12-hour days. For me the Sabbath is something that I look forward to week to week. I shut my cell phone off and have focused time with my wife and children. It is a blessing in Israel that the majority of shops are closed and the streets are nearly empty.

To me the Sabbath is part of the pattern that God has given us, to work six days and rest on the seventh. It is not just a spiritual idea that is fulfilled in Jesus but also a reality in life that we need one full day off each week.

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Jerusalem congregational leader – anonymous

Most people in our congregation enjoy and appreciate the gift and the traditions of the Sabbath. This is carried out with a festive meal, traditional prayers, and candle lighting on Friday night with family and guests at home.

On the morning of the Sabbath we worship using the Siddur [Jewish prayer book] and read the Torah, Haftorah [passage from the Prophets], and New Testament portions of the week. Most of us live a lifestyle which honors and appreciates Jewish tradition but we do not claim to live strictly Orthodox lifestyles. Everyone in the congregation has to make their own decision as to how much of a traditional lifestyle they want to lead.”

Tibi Frank – Deacon in a Jerusalem congregation

I believe that God designated the Sabbath for rest. He wants us to cease from our weekly business in order to occupy ourselves in the worship of Him. Relationship with God is true rest.

On the Sabbath we invest all of our time in studying the word of God and in relationship with the body of Messiah.

We worship corporately together in the morning and then continue into the afternoon as we spend time together over a meal and enjoy conversation. Our time ends in the evening with a study from the Word of God or with an informal gathering with prayer concerning the week ahead. We base this practice on Colossians 2:16-17.

Eddie Santoro – Messianic leader in a Jerusalem congregation

Life in Israel is very frenetic and we love the transformation that occurs Friday afternoon as the Sabbath approaches; the stores close, people return home to be with their families, and a blessed quiet descends upon Israel. The nation stops to honor God’s commandment.

Our congregation meets on Friday afternoon which enables us to welcome the Sabbath corporately. After the meeting, my wife and I host a traditional Erev Shabbat [Sabbath eve] dinner with family and friends.

On Saturday we devote the day to resting and often invite friends to join us for dinner. For us the Sabbath is a blessed gift from God. It gives us an opportunity each week to stop and enjoy the presence of the Lord together with those whom we love.

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