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Sabbath—the Equalizer

Sabbath—the Equalizer
According to Jewish tradition, the wilderness Sanctuary and the Sabbath share several common elements. The various kinds of work that were involved in building the Sanctuary were divided by Rabbinic conventions into 39 categories that corresponded with the activities prohibited on the Sabbath. According to their beliefs, this made the Sabbath a time of complete rest from all work.

Both the Sanctuary and the Sabbath were set apart by God for the whole community, and both were open to all classes of people. Sabbath, like the Sanctuary, was to be a place where everyone was equal before God. It was meant to be a shelter from the inequalities found in the world around us.

Although the Israelite leaders meant well, they missed the point of the Sabbath and encumbered it with numerous regulations. By the time Jesus came to earth, the traditional rules associated with the Sabbath had become so overwhelmingly detailed that it was nearly impossible to keep the Sabbath. This destroyed the purpose of the Sabbath and led people to feel that they could never meet the requirements of God.

Jesus made it clear that the Sabbath was meant for the benefit of the people. He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:35). Jesus clearly demonstrated that the Sabbath was a time for helping those who needed encouragement, healing the sick, meeting the immediate physical needs of food and shelter. He did not distinguish between caste or status.

The Jewish people had completely missed the point that God had tried to make clear, the Sabbath was designed to be enjoyed, in fact “a delight” and a holy day for spending time with Him (Isaiah 58:13). It was meant to be shared with family, friends, and those in need.

Although the Sanctuary does not exist in the same earthly form today, the Sabbath still remains for the people of God as a reminder of work God has done and is doing for us (Hebrews 4:9,10). It is God’s work in our lives that makes us all equal before Him.  If you would like to find out more about the Sabbath and the Sanctuary, check out this great resource, Feast Days and Sabbaths, by clicking here.