Radical Reformation - The Journey of a Sabbath Keeping Couple
Réforme Radicale – Le Parcours d'un Couple d'Observateurs du Sabbat
“Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart. “Six days you labour, and shall do all your your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath ofYHVH your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. “For in six days YHVH made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore YHVH blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart" (Exodus 20:8-11).
by Jonathan Sjordal
Part I: The Work
The fourth commandment is clear: we are to abstain from doing our labor on the seventh day of the week—the sabbath day. For those who wish to heed the words of our Father in heaven who gave us his Laws, the following discussion pertains to how to obey the seventh day sabbath command of our Creator, not how to replace or ignore it.
The sabbath day command is for the master as well as the servant. The master is commanded to cease from his labors, and not to compel his servants nor even his beasts to labor on the sabbath day. It is a day to devote to our Creator, the one day in seven that we give to our Father, as he commanded us.
Abstaining from work on the sabbath day can cause employment difficulties. You may lose your job, or not even get hired in the first place. But persistence will pay off, and in our modern society, you can find a way to make a living that allows you to not work on the seventh day. Yet this was not always so.
What about feeding the animals?
Most of the population of ancient Israel were farmers. They raised animals for meat and wool, for sacrifices, and also used animals to plow their fields. They had to feed and water the animals (which is real work!) on the sabbath day. Even the ultra-righteous-appearing Scribes & Pharisees were aware of this fact of life. When the ruler of the synagogue chastised Yahoshua (Hebrew name translated Jesus in English) for healing on the sabbath day, our Messiah put him in is proper place:
The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? (Luke 13:15)
Don’t fall into the ignorance of “city people” in thinking that the animals were all out in the fields grazing and finding their own water, so that there was no need to care for them on the sabbath day. That is true only for some animals, and not at all true in the winter. Animals must be fed, and cows and goats must be milked (twice daily), even on the sabbath day. And even those animals that are out in the far pastures grazing had a shepherd to protect them from the lions and bears. Did the shepherd simply take the day off on the sabbath day so that the lions and bears could dine in peace? As with the other elements of this issue, we must account for reality in order to make sense of the whole thing.
In our modern society, with most of us not having animals to care for, it is relatively easy to forget that there is some work that must be done on the sabbath day. We have become sheltered from reality in these days when we have so many specialized jobs. We might well live our whole lives without having a job that requires necessary work on the sabbath day.
What is the test for which work is necessary? The famous “ox in a ditch” passage sheds some light:
And Yahoshua answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? (Luke 14:3-5)
Q: Why could the ox be pulled out of the pit (a HUGE amount of work) on the sabbath day?
A: Because it was necessary. It was something that could NOT be done yesterday or tomorrow (the ox might be dead by then).
The scribes and Pharisees were constantly trying to find ways to trip up Yahoshua, to trap him in his words, or accuse him of some unlawful action:
At that time Yahoshua went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. (Matthew 12:1-8)
The Pharisees’ accusation of breaking the fourth commandment was a false accusation. The disciples were NOT breaking the Law (Hebrew: Torah) of the sabbath day by feeding themselves. They were not doing harvesting labor, nor causing someone else to do it on their behalf. The Pharisees had created their own law (the traditions of men that our Messiah so roundly condemned) that prohibited far more than the Torah did. It appeared that the disciples were breaking the fourth commandment, but a closer look revealed that this was not so.
In a similar manner, our Messiah quoted two other examples from the Old Testament where it appeared that men of God had broken the sabbath day command. David appeared to have broken the law of the showbread that was to be before YHWH continually. Indeed, had David taken the showbread from before the altar, he would have transgressed the Torah. But the account in I Samuel 21 states that the bread had just been replaced that day (which was a sabbath day) by the fresh bread that replaced the old bread every sabbath day. So David’s action did not break the Torah of the showbread, for the new showbread had been placed before the altar that very day.
In the other example Yahoshua used, he reminded the Pharisees that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, which is to say that they do the temple work that was commanded of them. Again, though what the priests did was work, it was work that was commanded by YHWH himself, and therefore did not break the sabbath day commandment. Yahoshua continually reminded the Pharisees that he and his disciples kept the Torah, not the vain traditions of men.
Do you obey the fourth commandment? How do you feel about work on the sabbath day? You may surprise yourself. Take the sabbath day work test:
The command to cease from your labor on the sabbath day is not separated from the reality of the human condition. There are necessary functions that must be performed in order for people to live. As our Messiah said, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” Disobeying the sabbath day command is sin. But it is also sin to make an idol out of the sabbath day, putting the sabbath day before all else, including helping people by doing necessary work.
What defines “necessary”? Is a waitress performing necessary work when she serves food to patrons on the sabbath day? What would happen if waitresses didn’t work and restaurants were to shut down on the sabbath day? Would anyone be hurt? Even if the restaurant is one’s only source of food (an unlikely proposition), fasting won’t hurt you, and might even give you incentive to use the preparation day (the day before the sabbath day) for its intended purpose.
Examples of Necessary Workers
Poison Control operators
Military & Border Patrol agents
One measure of how necessary these functions are is to consider the behavior of devout sabbath day keepers. Such people would never shop, mow the lawn, go to the office to work, or even go out to eat on the sabbath day. But they would (and do!) depend upon and call upon the people who do these necessary functions when there is a need for them. How many Yes boxes did you check in the test above? How do you feel about your approval of other people working for you on the sabbath day?
We expect (and even demand!) that people who work in these professions to be on duty, even during the sabbath day. If we had a NEED for any of these people to help us on the sabbath day, would we not call upon them for help? Of course we would! If our house is on fire on the sabbath day, any of us would call the firefighters to help. We expect, and insist upon their help, because the fire can’t wait until tomorrow.
If you have a serious injury, you go to the Emergency Room at the hospital. You fully expect that there will be trained people there to help you. It would be folly to shut down the ER with a sign saying that injured people and mothers in labor should come back tomorrow for help. In some cases, waiting until tomorrow would mean greater injury or even death. And what about the gravely ill who are already lying in the hospital? Should the doctors and nurses self-righteously go home for the sabbath day, and not care for these people? As always, elitist thinking falls apart when confronted with reality.
While insisting that these functions be staffed on the sabbath day, do we then condemn the people who are there to help us by classifying their service to us as sabbath breaking? “My sincere thanks for coming to put out my house fire, you infidel!” In saying to these people that we insist that their kind of work be done on the sabbath day, but that they are wrong to do that work on the sabbath day, we demonstrate elitist behavior, and outright hypocrisy.
The Bible has a few things to say about hypocrites & hypocrisy: Job 8:13; 13:16; 15:34; 17:8; 20:5; 27:8; 34:30; 36:13; Psalms 35:16; Proverbs 11:9; Isaiah 9:17; 10:6; 32:6; 33:14; Matthew 6:2; 6:5; 6:16; 7:5; 15:7; 16:3; 22:18; 23:13; 23:14; 23:15; 23:23; 23:25; 23:27; 23:28; 23:29; 24:51; Mark 7:6; 12:15; Luke 6:42; 11:44; 12:1; 12:56; 13:15; I Timothy 4:2; James 3:17; I Peter 2:1
What kind of progress will we make witnessing to people and telling them about the blessing of the command from our Father in heaven to keep the fourth commandment if we are demonstrating this kind of hypocrisy? Our behavior nullifies our witness. If, however, we share the truth of the sabbath day command while recognizing the reality that necessary functions won’t wait and have to be done by someone, our witness is strengthened.
Does the need to perform necessary work on the sabbath day mean that we have license to ignore the seventh day sabbath and treat it like any other normal work day? Certainly not! We have the example of the priests in ancient Israel, who were not known as being disobedient to the sabbath day command. The priests worked hard, even on the sabbath day. They worked in 7 day shifts (courses), with 24 groups sharing the burden in rotation. In practice, this meant that each priest only had to work on the sabbath day twice a year, and on annual holy days (which were also sabbath days). This example, given by the Creator himself, demonstrates how necessary sabbath day work can be done properly, within the bounds of the commandment.
Just as the priests rotated their sabbath day work, so it is right and proper for us to rotate the sabbath day labor among those who do it so that no one person has an undue share of the burden. The sabbath day should be, as much as possible, a day to cease from your labor. But the reality is that it is not always possible to avoid all labor. Minimizing the work by rotating the absolutely necessary work among many people is a realistic solution that remains within the spirit of obeying the fourth commandment.
A frequently heard argument regarding performing necessary work on the sabbath day goes like this:
“Sabbath keepers should simply choose not to work in any of those professions where working on the sabbath would be necessary. Let unbelievers fill those functions.”
Because of the necessary nature of the work in such professions, the work involved is helping people in their time of need. As a sabbath keeper, do you really want to take the stand that the sabbath day command is absolution from helping people? Is that really the hill you want to die on? Such elitism demonstrates that commands of our Father are a burden, whereas we know that they are a blessing for our good. Worse yet, it demonstrates the hypocrisy of the one making such a claim. You would call a 911 operator on the sabbath day, but you would not carry your share of the burden by being a 911 operator on the sabbath day? The world that we are to carry a witness to will instantly see the duplicity, the arrogance, and the outright hypocrisy of such a stand.
We are told in Leviticus 19:18 that “...thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself...” Look at it from the other side for a moment: How would you like it if others exhibited elite behavior that demonstrated disdain for you, even as you were serving them in their time of need? Where is the love in using people, and looking down on them as “unbelievers”? It is these “unbelievers” who are doing all the serving, and you are the one being served. People are highly sensitive to arrogance and hypocrisy. Demonstrating these behaviors is the fastest way to turn people off and completely nullify your witness.
Historical note: The Maccabees took a hard line on their sabbath day observance. In 168 b.c., they were being besieged by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his army. The Maccabees read the fourth commandment to say absolutely no work whatsoever, with no flexibility for necessary work—not even the work of defending their own lives from the enemy who was upon them. They refused to take up arms on the sabbath day, and as a result, over 1,000 men, women, and children were needlessly slaughtered.
The sabbath day is very important to our Creator. How we behave in the face of the fourth commandment demonstrates a great deal regarding our attitude toward our Father, and our willingness to obey him and acknowledge his authority. But obedience is not the antidote to reality. We can learn from the Maccabees. The fourth commandment is not a death pact. As with many things in life, it is not an either/or, all-or-nothing proposition. Our willingness to obey our Father’s commands can and should co-exist with a desire to help others, and a willingness to make that desire a reality by facing reality and doing our part. Achieving this balance is to keep—not to profane—the sabbath day.
Part II: The Money
As a sabbath day keeper, if your chosen profession involves necessary work and you work in rotation with others so that periodically you work on the sabbath day, what about the money you receive for working? Should you refuse to be paid for the work that you do on the sabbath day? Should you donate it to charity? What could you, should you, must you do with the money?
One possibility goes like this: “If you work on the sabbath day, you should give the money away. You’re not supposed to work on the sabbath day. After all, Jesus did not get paid to heal people on the sabbath day.”
There are not very many biblical examples on this particular subject. It appears that our Messiah indeed did not get paid to heal people on the sabbath day. But we do have a few examples from ancient Israel regarding those who worked on the sabbath day: Levitical priests, midwives, and the farmers.
When the inheritance land was being distributed among the tribe of Israel, the Levites were not given a portion of land for their inheritance. Instead, they were given the tithe of the increase from the other tribes. Their job was the work that they did in the service of the Temple and other priestly duties. Their compensation was a tenth (tithe) of the increase that was given by their brother tribes. It seems strange to our modern way of thinking, but the Levites were indeed paid for their work.
We know from the account in Exodus that the Israelites had midwives to assist women in giving birth. In Exodus 1 the midwives told Pharaoh that the Hebrew women were lively and delivered before the midwives could get there. But this was clearly a ruse to appease Pharaoh. If the midwives were indeed not needed, why would there have even been midwives? Midwives were indeed necessary to assist mother and baby to have a safe birth. Babies are born every day of the week. Over a long period of time, 1/7 of the babies are born on any given day of the week, including the sabbath day. Babies don’t wait. They come when they’re ready. We can safely conclude that the midwives in ancient Israel did about 1/7 of their work on the sabbath day. Such work was not an unexpected emergency, for they knew that babies were born on every day of the week. We have no record of their scheduling, but it would follow the pattern that YHWH set down for the priests if the midwives worked in rotation, so that someone was always on duty, but they took turns so that no one would have to work on the sabbath day all the time.
The other significant example of necessary work that was performed on the sabbath day in ancient Israel was the work done by farmers. In ancient Israel, this was just about everyone. Feeding and watering the livestock was not something you could do yesterday or tomorrow. And even the vegetable farmers raised livestock to plow their fields and carry the heavy burdens. Plowing the fields could wait until another day, but feeding and watering the stock was ongoing work—hard work!—that happened every day, including the sabbath day.
In considering the examples of the Levites, the midwives, and the farmers, we encompass nearly the whole nation of Israel. What did they do with the money that they earned for the work that they did on the sabbath day? That’s easy, right? “They didn’t get paid for working on the sabbath day.” Or did they…?
When you raise livestock, a good deal of the work concerns feeding and watering. When it is time to sell the stock, the money a farmer gets paid is compensation for the entire process of caring for that animal, from birth to sale. If the farmer were to distribute the proceeds over the life of the care, he could figure out just how much he was getting paid each day for his work. Did the farmer NOT get paid for the work of feeding and watering that he did on the sabbath day? Indeed, if this is so, did he also NOT get paid for the work of feeding and watering that he did on the third day of the week? The fifth day? The reality is, the farmer got paid for every day of work that he did, including the sabbath day. There is no place in the Bible that suggests that the farmer refused one-seventh of his compensation for raising animals because of the work of feeding and watering the animals on the seventh day. Did the entire nation of Israel sin in breaking the fourth commandment by performing such necessary work?
Did the midwives not get paid for their work? We know that they worked hard, just as the farmers did, and that their work likewise happened on any (and every) day of the week. If their rotation fell on a sabbath day, by what reasoning are they not worthy to be compensated for their work? The Bible is silent on what they did with their pay. There is no biblical evidence that the midwives had to or did refuse to be paid or that they divested themselves of any compensation they received on the sabbath day.
What about the Levites? Did they have to donate the tithes that they received for their work that they did on the sabbath day? Again, there is no record of such a donation or offering that they made for this reason. Where, in fact, do we get the notion that such a thing should be done?
The human conscience is a fascinating thing. When we think that we are doing something wrong, we have a deep need to fix the problem—to make amends and correct our wrong behavior. The alternative is guilt. Within the context of the discussion of what to do with compensation for work that is done on the sabbath day, we must examine whether guilt has a part to play.
If you think that you are doing wrong in working on the sabbath day, the natural impulse is to assuage your guilt by fixing the problem by giving away the money you earned in doing the work. After all, if you didn’t walk away with any money, then you clearly have no selfish motive for doing the work, and therefore cannot be blamed. This does, of course, prompt the question: “If you think that you are doing wrong, why are you still doing it?” After all, it is better to be innocent than to be repentant.
If the work you are performing on the sabbath day is necessary work, and you are doing it in rotation with others, with a proper attitude, are you doing anything wrong? Is there any need to salve your conscience by divesting yourself of any compensation that you received for doing it? Buried deep inside the reasoning that demands that we remain pure from the taint of money for necessary work done on the sabbath day is the notion that such work is wrong, and therefore is a problem that must be fixed. But where do we ever read about such a problem, or its solution? There is simply no record anywhere in the Bible of the necessity of refusing/donating your pay for necessary work done on the sabbath day.
If a person is engaged in necessary work, in rotation, etc. on the seventh day and wishes to donate his/her pay for the day, let it be with praise and glory to our Creator, with a glad heart. Let this also be true on the fourth day of the week, or the sixth as well, for he blesses us every day. But beware the trap that says that only the sabbath day earnings must be donated—for conscience sake. This is guilt-based reasoning that has no biblical backing whatsoever. In fact, the biblical record says something quite the contrary. Our goal should be to do that which is right, not to guiltily do that which is wrong and then try to fix it: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
The fourth commandment is truly a blessing. We are instructed by our Creator to put aside the seventh day of the week to cease from our labor and keep a day holy unto him. It is a day of spiritual and physical renewal. It is a way of overtly honoring our God by giving up our own pursuits and seeking his instead. But in honoring our God on the day that he instructed, we must not lose ourselves in theoretical thinking. We live in the real world, with real people who need real help—even on the sabbath day. When done in rotation with others, with the proper attitude, necessary work does not profane the sabbath day, nor should it be a cause of guilt. We honor our Father best when we obey him and help those who are in need.
Charlottesville, VA 2006
1. The Seventh Day Sabbath is the 4th commandment.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” – Exodus 20: 8-10
2. God blessed and sanctified the Seventh Day.
“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” – Genesis 2:3
3. Jesus says the Sabbath is a gift from God.
“And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” – Mark 2:27
4. The Sabbath is for everyone!
“every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer … for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” – Isaiah 56:6-7
5. The 7th Day Sabbath is still for Christians today.
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” – Hebrews 4:9-11
Sauf précision, tous les passages tirés des Saintes Écritures sont extraits de la Version Ostervald révisée édition de 1996.
[NOTE: Il est important d'examiner Colossiens 2:16-17 dans son contexte. Ceci inclut non seulement les versets environnants du second chapitre de cette épître, mais également l'épître dans son ensemble.]
Colossiens 2:16-17 provoque bien plus de controverses et d'incompréhension qu'il ne le devrait. Voici ce qui y affirme Paul au verset 16 : « Que personne donc ne vous condamne au sujet du manger ou du boire, ou au sujet d'un jour de fête, ou de nouvelle lune, ou de sabbats ». Le verbe « condamner » est traduit du verbe grec krino, qui signifie décréter, juger, régenter, gouverner ou prononcer un jugement. La version Darby offre la traduction suivante: « Que personne donc ne vous juge ». Le verset 18 commence ainsi: « Que personne ne vous ravisse le prix ».
Avant que nous n’identifiions la question et le problème que l'on retrouve aux versets 16 et 17, prenons d'abord note des versets 20 et 21. Ces deux derniers nous aiderons en effet à clarifier les versets qui nous concernent. Aux versets 20 et 21, les Colossiens sont mis en garde contre des réglementations leur imposant de ne pas manger, de ne pas goûter et ne pas toucher. Ces réglementations sont en effet des préceptes humains ayant une « apparence de sagesse » en termes de pratiques ascétiques (« humilité » et « austérité du corps »), mais qui en réalité « n'ont aucune valeur pour l'insolence de la chair » (verset 23, Bible de Jérusalem). Ces réglementations, par lesquels Paul recommande les Colossiens de laisser nul ne les juger, ne trouvent pas leur origine dans les commandements de Dieu tels qu'ils sont énoncés dans les Écritures. Il représente plutôt une distorsion humaine des commandements divins, certainement le résultat d'un mélange de judaïsme et d’éléments propre aux développements gnostiques du premier siècle.
Comme l'affirme Edward Loshe dans son commentaire sur Colossiens et Philémon:
« Néanmoins, dans le contexte de Colossiens, le commandement de célébrer les fêtes hébraïques, la nouvelle lune et le sabbat n'est pas basé sur la Torah, par laquelle Israël a reçu le sabbat comme signe de son élection parmi les nations. Il s'agit plutôt de jours sacrés qui doivent être célébré en l’honneur des « éléments du monde (2:8, version Martin 1744) » dirigeant la course des étoiles et demandant donc l'observance minutieuse d'un calendrier bien précis. »
Attardons-nous maintenant sur le verset 16: Il y a trois manières dont y est généralement expliqué le « sujet du manger ou du boire ». Il est estimé qu'il peut s'agir dans ce verset: 1) d’offrandes d'aliments et de boissons; 2) des lois alimentaires sur le pur et l'impur; 3) de pratiques ascétiques d'inspiration gnostique. C'est à ces dernières que s'intéresse Paul.
Reformulons le problème tel qu’il se trouve au verset 16. Les fidèles en Christ ne devraient pas permettre qu’on leur dicte des règles mesquines concernant leur façon de s'alimenter et d'adorer Dieu. Les pratiques ascétiques, telles qu'elles étaient pratiqués par les esséniens, sont celles auxquelles s’intéresse Paul. Il s’agissait de pratiques ascétiques de renoncement à soi, comme l'abstinence d'aliments et de boissons en certains jours, lors de jours de fête du calendrier hébreux, lors de nouvelles lunes, ou encore lors de sabbats hebdomadaires.
Ce ne sont pas les aliments et les boissons sacrificiels qui sont la préoccupation de ce passage. L'idée d'offrande ou de sacrifice n'apparaît nulle part dans le texte. Le mot grec pour aliment y est en fait brosis. Le terme brosis a trait à l'alimentation en général. Il s'agit du même terme utilisé en Matthieu 6:19-20 et traduit alors par « rouille ». Il désigne l'action de manger en général, ayant même le sens élargi de « corrosion ». Le problème est bien ici l'idée de se nourrir en contraste à la pratique du jeûne comme forme de renoncement à soi.
Certains ne partageront probablement pas cette opinion, objectant qu'il s'agit plus probablement d'aliments et de boissons offertes lors des jours de fêtes également mentionnés au verset 16. Le texte ne nous permet cependant pas ce genre d'interprétation, puisque les termes utilisés sont littéralement ceux du « manger ou du boire, OU au sujet des jours de fêtes. » Encore une fois, remarquons bien que le terme « d'offrande » n'apparaît pas, alors que Paul aurait pu facilement l'utiliser, et l'aurait certainement utilisé, si cela avait été son intention. Les offrandes d'aliments et de boissons ne sont pas une forme de manger ou de boire, mais des formes de sacrifice. Les offrandes d'aliments sont par ailleurs des offrandes à base de graines (voir Lévitique chapitre 2), et non pas des sacrifices d'animaux.
Il est également tout à fait improbable que les aliments et les boissons dont il est fait mention dans ce passage aient quoique ce soit à voir avec les viandes pures et impures, ne serait-ce qu'à cause de l'idée « du boire ». Quelles restrictions alimentaires existe-t-il dans la Torah concernant les boissons? La réponse est évidemment aucune.
Sur la base de la plénitude du Christ ayant effacé l'acte rapportant les péchés des croyants (« cédule de notre dette », verset 14. Bible de Jérusalem), Paul affirme que les croyants en Christ ne devraient pas se soumettre aux condamnations de ceux voulant les obliger à des pratiques ascétiques concernant le manger ou le boire, ou en lien avec l'observance rituel de fêtes, de nouvelles lunes ou de sabbats hebdomadaires.
Comment pouvons-nous être certains que c’est bien ce problème auquel fait référence Paul au verset 16? Tout d'abord, la question qui intéresse Paul n'a rien à voir avec les jours observés, mais plutôt avec la manière dont ils le sont. Une fois encore, ce qui préoccupe Paul est ici les pratiques ascétiques et les observances rituelles, distorsions des enseignements apostoliques. Paul affirme aux Colossiens qu’ en adoptant comme essentielles les pratiques rituelles ou ascétiques que certains voudraient leur imposer, les croyants de Colosse témoignerait n’avoir rien compris de la réalité qui en Christ, réalité les libérant de la nécessité à avoir à accomplir des œuvres humaines afin d'accéder à la vie éternelle (voir Colossiens 2:8-10).
Si nous comprenons que le problème n'est pas ici l’observance de certains jours, mais la manière et la raison pour laquelle ces jours sont observés, alors cela n'a aucune importance que soit mentionné dans ce passage les sabbats hebdomadaires, comme c’est effectivement le cas. [Le terme « sabbats » ne fait pas référence aux jours de sabbat annuellement célébrer dans le cadre de la loi lévitique. En effet, l'ordre dans lequel il est parlé de « jour de fête, ou de nouvelle lune, ou de sabbats » indique qu'il s'agit des observances annuelles, mensuelles et hebdomadaires, et donc des sabbats hebdomadaires (voir Osée 2:11 et Ézéchiel 45:17). De plus, l'usage par Paul du terme « jour de fête » désigne également les sabbats annuels. Si l’expression « ou de sabbats » devait faire référence aux sabbats annuels, ce serait une répétition inutile.]
Qu'en est-il maintenant du verset 17? Ne s'agit-il pas d'une affirmation invalidant la pratique de tous ces jours quel qu’ils soient, puisqu'il est écrit qu’ils étaient « l'ombre des choses qui devaient venir » ? Il s'agit d'une bonne remarque. Nous devons en effet comprendre de quoi parle le verset 17. « L’ombre des choses qui devaient venir » est en contraste absolu avec le « corps » ou « réalité » qui se trouve en Christ. Le mot grec traduit ici par « ombre » est skia, qui est l'opposé de « corps » (soma en grec). L'ombre désigne une « silhouette sombre, plus ou moins déformée, que projette sur une surface un corps qui intercepte la lumière » (Larousse).
Maintenant que nous avons défini ce qu'est une ombre, regardons ce que Paul déclare être un ombre ou une silhouette. De nouveau, il nous faut nous concentrer sur le problème ici discuté, celui des fausses pratiques imposées aux Colossiens au sujet des fêtes, des nouvelles lunes et des jours de sabbat. Ces jours en eux-mêmes ne représenteraient rien s'il n'avait été choisi par Dieu à des fins particulières. Il ne serait alors que des jours parmi d’autres, comme il y en a durant la semaine, durant le mois ou durant l'année. Les évènements accompagnant ces jours et leur observance les rendent particuliers et les distinguent des autres jours du calendrier.
Ainsi, les pratiques ascétiques de renoncement à soi que certains tentaient d'imposer aux Colossiens afin de d’être justifié aux yeux de Dieu, ne pouvait se comparer à la réalité se trouvant en Christ. Ces pratiques ne pouvaient être au mieux qu'une ombre ou qu’une silhouette de la réalité de la vie en Christ.
En conséquence, la PRATIQUE superstitieuse de ces règlementations (renoncement à soi, etc.) ne pouvait pas rapprocher les Colossiens de Dieu. Paul affirme que ces pratiques ne sont d'aucune valeur pour ce qui est du salut ou du mérite. La réalité est que le salut s'obtient au travers du Christ; l'observance de jours (ou de rites quelconques) ne peut donc nous rapprocher davantage de Dieu. Le sens de ces jours ne se révèle que par la reconnaissance du Christ comme seule voie d'accès à une vie juste. Paul critique toutes pratiques pour lesquels les œuvres seraient une manière d'être justifié. La justification s’obtient seulement par la foi en Christ. Il s’agit de l'un des grands principes de l'Évangile.
Comment cette interprétation de Colossiens 2 :16-17 affecte-t-elle notre pratique du sabbat aujourd'hui? Lorsque nous comprenons que Paul adresse le problème de perversions gnostiques de l'Evangile en lien avec des jours réservés au « culte des anges » (verset 18), nous constatons que la question de savoir si les chrétiens devraient ou non gardé le sabbat n'est même pas discuté dans ce passage. Le problème n'est pas de savoir si ces jours devraient ou non être observés, mais plutôt la façon et la raison pour lesquels ses jours étaient observés. La validité de l'observance du sabbat se décide à partir d'autres textes. Colossiens 2:16 n'est pas en lui-même un facteur déterminant.
La condamnation par Paul d'opinions hérétiques concernant le sabbat, n'est pas une condamnation en soit de l’observance du sabbat, pas plus que la condamnation d'opinions hérétiques concernant le manger et le boire ne condamne tous les aliments, toutes les boissons ou ne condamne la pratique du jeûne en général. C'est seulement lorsque l'observance du sabbat est lié à des règlementations humaines en termes d'ascétisme, de culte des anges, de justification par les œuvres, ou de distorsion du judaïsme qu'elle devient inacceptable.
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.
[NOTE: It is important that Colossians 2:16-17 be examined within its context, which includes not only the surrounding verses of the second chapter, but the entire book as well.]
Colossians 2:16-17 generates far more controversy and misunderstanding than it deserves. In essence, Paul is saying in verse 16, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days” (KJV). In fact, the word “judge” is the Greek verb krino, which means to decree, judge, decide, condemn, and criticize. The Revised Standard offers the translation, “Let no one pass judgment on you.” And verse 18 begins, “Let no one disqualify you.”
Before we fully identity the issue and the problem of verses 16 and 17, let’s note verses 20 and 21, for these latter verses help to make it a little clearer. In verses 20 and 21, the Colossians are warned against submitting to religious regulations related to touch, taste and handling. These regulations are based on human precepts which have “an appearance of wisdom” concerning ascetic practices (“self-abasement and severity to the body”), but in actuality “are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh” (verse 23, RSV). These regulations, which Paul advises the Colossians to let no one judge them in, are not referring to God-given commandments as found in Scripture. Rather they represent a human distortion and mixture of Judaism with pre-Gnostic elements.
As Edward Loshe in his commentary on Colossians and Philemon says:
In the context of Colossians, however, the command to keep festival, new moon and sabbath is not based on the Torah according to which Israel received the sabbath as a sign of her election from among the nations. Rather the sacred days must be kept for the sake of “the elements of the universe (2:8),” who direct the course of the stars and thus also prescribe minutely the order of the calendar.
Verse 16 now: Three basic explanations for the phrase in verse 16, “in meat, or in drink,” are usually given. They are: (1) meat and drink offerings; (2) clean and unclean meat laws; (3) ascetic, Gnostic-like practices. It is the latter of these three with which Paul is concerned.
Let’s rephrase the issue of verse 16. The brethren should not permit others to dictate to them petty rules regarding dieting and worship. Ascetic practices, such as those of the Essenes, were the focus. These ascetics practiced self-abasement, abstaining from eating and drinking on special days, such as festival sabbaths, new moon sabbaths, and even weekly sabbaths.
It isn’t meat and drink offerings that are being targeted. The word offering never appears in the text. In fact, the word for meat in the Greek is a form of brosis. Brosis denotes “eating” and is the same word used in Matthew 6:19-20 as “rust,” referring to “consuming” or “eating up.” So the issue concerns the consuming of food, in contrast to fasting as a form of self-abasement.
Some would disagree with this position, contending that the meat and drink are meat and drink offerings as part of the festival days mentioned. The text does not allow that, since literally the words are “in eating and in drinking OR in respect of a feast.” Again, keep in mind that the word “offering” does not appear, which Paul easily could have, and likely would have, included were that his intention. Meat and drink offerings were not a form of eating and drinking, but were forms of sacrificing. “Meat offerings” in actual fact were grain offerings, not animal sacrifices (see Leviticus 2).
Neither is “meat or drink” a likely reference to the issue of clean and unclean meats, because of the presence of the word, “drink.” What dietary restriction was there in the clean and unclean laws concerning drink? The obvious answer is none.
On the basis that the fullness of Christ has abolished the record of the believers’ sins (“handwriting of ordinances,” verse 14), Paul says the brethren should not allow themselves to come under the condemnation of those who would enjoin ascetic practices on the believers in terms of abstaining from eating and drinking and in relation to the ritualistic observance of festival, new moon and weekly sabbaths.
How do we know that this is what Paul is referring to in the latter part of verse 16? How can we be sure of the real issue? First, the problem Paul is concerned with is not what days are being identified here, but rather how or for what purpose they are being observed. Again, the concerns are ascetic practices and ritualistic observances which represent a distortion of true Christian worship. Paul is telling the Colossians that, if they were to practice ritualism and asceticism as essential — which was the doctrine being enjoined on them — the Colossians were missing out on the reality of Jesus Christ, who had already freed them from the necessity of human works as a means of endearing themselves to the Eternal (cf. Colossians 2:8-10).
If we take the position that it is not which days are being observed that is the issue, but how or to what end they are being observed, then it does not matter that the weekly sabbath is included here, which it in fact is. [The term “sabbath” does not refer to yearly festival sabbaths, as some propose, because the order of “holyday, new moon, and sabbath days” indicates annual, monthly and weekly observances (cf. Hoses 2:11; Ezekiel 45:17). Furthermore, Paul’s use of the term “holyday” already includes yearly ceremonial sabbaths. To have the word “sabbath” refer to annual festivals would be needless repetition.]
But what about verse 17? Is it not a disclaimer to the practice of these days altogether, since it mentions that they “are a shadow of things to [or, “which have”] come?” This is a good point. And, we need to understand what verse 17 is talking about. The “shadow of things to come” is in complete contrast to the “reality” or “substance” which is in Christ himself. The Greek word for “shadow” here is skia, which is the opposite of “substance” (soma in the Greek). The shadow is “a sketch, outline, adumbration, an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object.”
Now that we have defined the word shadow, let’s look at what Paul is declaring to be the shadow or outline. Once again, we must focus on the issue, that is, the false practices being enjoined upon the Colossians in regard to festivals, new moons and sabbath days. Those days of themselves are meaningless; without their special appointments, they simply would be another day of the week, month or year. The events and observances on those days are what gave them special significance over other days of the calendar.
Thus, the ascetic, self-abasing practices and ritualistic observances that were being enjoined on the Colossians as ways of proving themselves before God never would measure up to the reality which was in Christ himself. Those practices at best could only amount to a shadow or a sketch of the meaning of the life in Christ.
So the PRACTICE of these superstitious things (self-abasement, etc.) would not get the Colossians closer to God. Paul maintains that such observances are not salvific or meritorious. The reality is that salvation is through Christ; therefore, the observance of days (or any other rituals) cannot bring us any closer to God. Their meaning can only be found in seeing Christ as the only means to righteousness. Paul countered any practice which focused on works-righteousness, rather than on the principle of faith in Christ alone as taught in the Gospel.
How then does this interpretation affect Sabbathkeeping today? When one understands that Paul is addressing Gnostic-like perversions of the Gospel in connection with times observed in honor of angels (verse 18), then one can see that the issue of whether or not Christians should observe the seventh-day Sabbath is not even being discussed. At issue is not whether these days should be observed, but the manner and motive in which they were being observed. The validity of Sabbath observance must be determined on the basis of other texts. Colossians 2:16 alone cannot serve as a determining factor.
Paul’s condemnation of the heretical views about the Sabbath, no more condemns all Sabbathkeeping, any more than his condemnation of the heretical views about eating and drinking condemns all eating and drinking. Only when Sabbath observance is linked with man-made rules about asceticism, angel worship, works-righteousness, or perverted Judaism does it become unacceptable.
« Ainsi, il y eut un soir, et il y eut un matin: ce fut le premier jour » (Genèse 1:5)
Sauf précision, tous les passages tirés des Saintes Écritures sont extraits de la Version Segond 1910. Alliance Biblique Universelle.
Le passage ci-dessus décrit le commencement du premier « jour » de la création. Le commencement est appelé « soir » - ce qui correspond au moment où le soleil se couche. Cette division temporelle appelé « jour » est composée de deux parties:
« Dieu appela la lumière JOUR, et il appela les ténèbres NUIT. Ainsi, il y eut un soir, et il y eut un matin: ce fut le premier jour. » (Genèse 1:5)
La nuit (ou « ténèbres ») a précédé le jour (journée ou « lumière »).
« La terre était informe et vide: il y avait des ténèbres à la surface de l'abîme, et l'esprit de Dieu se mouvait au-dessus des eaux. Dieu dit: Que la lumière soit! Et la lumière fut. » (Genèse 1: 2-3)
Ainsi la compréhension commune que certains peuvent avoir du soir comme correspondant à la fin d’une journée n’est pas, si l’on se base sur la Parole de Dieu, tout à fait exacte. Le premier jour biblique a commencé un soir. Voyons comment les Saintes Écritures peuvent nous éclairer sur ce sujet.
« Le soir, après le coucher du soleil, on lui amena tous les malades et les démoniaques. » (Marc 1:32)
Ce passage prouve que le soir (ou soirée) correspond au coucher du soleil, le commencement d’un nouveau jour. Dans le cas de l’Évangile selon Marc, il s’agit du commencement du premier jour de la semaine appelé communément en français le Dimanche.
Pourquoi? Lisez s’il vous plaît Marc 1: 21.
« Ils se rendirent à Capernaüm. Et, le jour du sabbat, Jésus entra d'abord dans la synagogue, et il enseigna. » (Marc 1: 21)
Si nous Continuons notre lecture de ce passage de l’Évangile selon Marc, nous arrivons finalement au verset 32, celui qui fut cité précédemment afin de démontrer que le « soir, après le coucher du soleil » correspondait au commencement d’un autre jour et à la fin du Sabbat.
Il est écrit de la même façon en Luc 4: 16:
« Il se rendit à Nazareth, où il avait été élevé, et, selon sa coutume, il entra dans la synagogue le jour du sabbat. Il se leva pour faire la lecture. » (Luc 4:16)
À la suite du passage de Jésus à la synagogue, nous lisons au verset 40 de ce même chapitre:
« Après le couché du soleil, tous ceux qui avaient des malades atteints de diverses maladies les lui amenèrent. Il imposa les mains à chacun d'eux, et il les guérit. » (Luc 4: 40)
Cela démontre que le jour du Sabbat s’est terminé avec le coucher du soleil et qu’un nouveau jour a commencé. Les Juifs n’auraient pas voulu imposé à Jésus la charge de soigner leurs malades un jour de Sabbat.
Le soir est en effet le début d’un nouveau jour. En Deutéronome 22: 11 nous lisons:
« Sur le soir il se lavera dans l'eau, et après le coucher du soleil il pourra rentrer au camp. » (Deutéronome 23: 11)
Nous avons ici deux expressions presque synonymes : « sur le soir » et « après le coucher du soleil », qui témoignent du commencement d’un nouveau jour.
En Lévitique 11: 24 et 25, il nous est montré qu’une impureté devait durer jusqu’au soir, c’est-à-dire jusqu’à ce qu’un nouveau jour ait commencé.
En Juges 19:9, il est écrit:
« Voici que le jour baisse vers le soir, passez donc la nuit. Voici le déclin du jour, passez la nuit ici, et que ton cœur se réjouisse. Demain de bon matin, vous partirez et tu regagneras ta tente. » (Juges 19: 9 - Bible de Jérusalem)
En effet, la partie éclairée du jour ou journée se terminait alors que l’on s’approchait du soir. Il s’agissait du « déclin du jour ». La fin de la journée correspond aussi à la fin du jour selon Dieu.
En Matthieu 28 verset 1, nous lisons:
« Après le sabbat, à l'aube du premier jour de la semaine, Marie de Magdala et l'autre Marie allèrent voir le sépulcre. » (Matthieu 28:1)
Mary de Magdala et l’autre Marie se sont rendues au tombeau à la fin du Sabbat. La Bible Darby offre un bon rendu du texte grec. La traduction qu’elle donne est la suivante:
« Or, sur le tard, le jour du sabbat, au crépuscule du premier jour de la semaine, Marie de Magdala et l'autre Marie vinrent voir le sépulcre. » (Matthieu 18: 1 - Darby)
Les expressions « sur le tard » et « au crépuscule » nous permettent de comprendre que cet évènement est arrivé à la fin du Sabbat et que le Sabbat se termine au soir.
Retournons à Exode 12: 6.
« Vous la garderez [parlant de l’offrande sacrificielle de la Pâque] jusqu'au quatorzième jour de ce mois, et toute l'assemblée de la communauté d'Israël l'égorgera au crépuscule. » (Exode 12: 6 - Bible de Jérusalem)
Dans ce verset, il est écrit « au crépuscule ». Le sacrifice devait être effectué au début et non pas à la fin du 14 de Nisan, après que le soleil se soit couché. Du commencement de ce jour jusqu’au commencement du 15 de Nisan, il y avait vingt-quatre heures. L’agneau de la Pâque n’était pas sacrifié à la fin de la journée, mais « au crépuscule » (au commencement) du 14 de Nisan, juste après que le soleil se soit couché sur le 13 de Nisan.
Certaines traductions rendent « au crépuscule » par « entre les deux soirs ». Voici ce que la note de bas de page de la Bible de Jérusalem nous dit à ce sujet:
Litt. « entre les deux soirs », c’est-à-dire soit entre le coucher du soleil et la nuit complète (samaritains), soit entre le déclin et le coucher du soleil (pharisiens et Talmud) (La Bible de Jérusalem © Les Éditions du Cerf, 1998).
Jésus mangea le dernier repas avec ses disciples à cette date, comme il avait dû manger l’agneau pascal à la même date tout les ans. Le dernier repas que Jésus prit avec ses disciples et les événements qui advinrent durant ce dernier repas, prirent place au crépuscule (au commencement) du 14ème jour de Nisan, comme cela devait avoir toujours été le cas depuis que les Hébreux furent libérés de l’esclavage en Égypte.
Lisez le chapitre 12 d’Exode. En Jean 13: 30, il est écrit:
« Judas, ayant pris le morceau, se hâta de sortir. Il était nuit. » (Jean 13: 30)
Le crépuscule correspondait au début du 14ème jour qui commençait au coucher du soleil, et ceci est en accord avec le jour tel que Dieu l’a conçu. Cette règle écarte tout à fait le 15 de Nisan comme étant lié à la Pâque ou au Repas du Seigneur.
« que le Seigneur Jésus, dans la nuit où il fut livré, prit du pain. » (1 Corinthiens 11: 23)
Ce fut le soir (le début) du 14 de Nisan que Jésus Christ partagea sa dernière Pâque et institua l’ordonnance du Repas du Seigneur, la nuit même où il fut trahi.
Le soir du Sabbat est toujours considéré comme étant le début du Sabbat, alors que la journée du Vendredi se termine. La chrétienté reconnaît cette vérité, puisque la soi-disant veille de Noël, commémoration de la naissance de Christ, se tient le soir ou la nuit précédent la journée de Noël proprement dite.
Si nous retournons au récit de Genèse, nous pouvons lire une fois encore ce qu’il est écrit en Genèse 1 verset 5.
« Dieu appela la lumière jour, et il appela les ténèbres nuit. Ainsi, il y eut un soir, et il y eut un matin: ce fut le premier jour. » (Genèse 1: 5)
Il s’agit de l’équivalent de notre jour de vingt-quatre heures. Le commencement de la nuit était le « soir », et le commencement de la journée était le « matin ». Si l’on met ces deux portions de temps ensemble, alors on obtient le premier jour intégral. Il s’agissait du premier jour selon Dieu et ce procédé fut répété jusqu’à ce que Dieu eut crée les sept jours dans leur intégralité. Bien que l’être humain ait constamment essayé de modifier les règles temporelles mises en place par Dieu, ces règles sont restées immuables.
Dévier des enseignements et des justes dispositions temporelles voulues par notre Créateur pourrait bien couter à ceux qui le font la vie éternelle. Adhérons donc à la Parole de Dieu jusqu’à son moindre « iota » et jusqu’à son moindre « trait de lettre » (Matthieu 5:18).
“So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5)
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from The New King James Version.
Here we have the beginning of the first “day” of creation. The beginning is called evening which begins after the sun has set. This division of God’s time called “day” was divided into two parts:
“God called the light DAY, and the darkness He called NIGHT. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:5)
The night or darkness preceded the light or day.
“The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2-3)
Therefore the common expression of evening (even) as applied to the close of the day is incorrectly used according to God’s Word. The even or evening of any day is the beginning and not the ending. We must first have an ending. Let us search out some scriptures to give us light on this subject.
“At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.” (Mark 1:32)
This proves that even or evening is at sunset, the beginning of another day. In this particular instance it was the beginning of the first day of the week now commonly called Sunday. Why? Please read the 21st verse of Mark 1:
“Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.” (Mark 1:21)
Reading on down this chapter we come to verse 32 which we just quoted to show that “at even, when the sun did set,” was after the Sabbath was past and another day had begun.
And again in Luke 4:16 it says:
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” (Luke 4:16)
Following the worship in the synagogue we read verse 40 of this same chapter:
“When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.” (Luke 4:40)
This shows that the Sabbath day had passed with the setting of the sun, and another day had begun. For the Jews would not carry the burden of their sick to Jesus on the Sabbath day to be healed.
The evening of any day is not the end or close of that day, but is the beginning of another day. In Deuteronomy 23:11 it reads:
“But it shall be, when evening comes, that he shall wash with water; and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp.” (Deuteronomy 23:11)
Here we have two synonymous expressions: “When evening cometh on” and “when the sun is down,” showing the beginning of another day.
In Leviticus 11:24-25 it shows that uncleanness lasted until that day was past, and the even (beginning of another day) was come. Read both of these verses.
Turn to Judges 19:9, and read:
“Look, the day is now drawing toward evening; please spend the night. See, the day is coming to an end; lodge here, that your heart may be merry. Tomorrow go your way early, so that you may get home.” (Judges 19:9)
Yes, the light part or day was drawing toward evening, but had not yet come to it. The day was growing to an end. The close of a day is called the end of that day.
In Matthew 28:1, we read:
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn (draw on), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.” (Matthew 28:1)
They came in the end (not the beginning) of the Sabbath (7th day) to see the sepulchre.
The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament gives it thus:
“Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward (the) first (day) of (the) week, came Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” (Matthew 28:1)
The terms “late on”, “the end”, etc. denote the latter part of the day, never “even or evening.”
Now we return to Exodus 12:6,
“Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” (Exodus 12:6)
When was the Passover lamb to be killed? The verse just quoted says “in the evening.” This was the beginning (not the ending) of the fourteenth day after the sun had gone down. From the beginning of this day (the 14th) to the beginning of the next day (the 15th) there were twenty-four hours. The Passover lamb was not killed in the end of any day, but in the evening (the beginning) of the 14th just after the close or end of the
13th after the sun had gone down. Jesus ate the Passover lamb every year at the same time, and the last supper with His disciples was absolutely no exception. Everything concerning the last Passover supper that was observed by Jesus with His disciples was on the dark part (beginning) of the 14th day as it had always been since the coming of the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Read Exodus 12th chapter. In John 13:30 it says:
“Having received the piece of bread, he [Judas] then went out immediately. And it was night.” (John 13:30)
This dark part (night) was the beginning of the 14th starting at sunset, and it is according to all the calculations governing God’s day. This rules out entirely the 15th of Nisan as having any part in the Passover, or the Lord’s Supper.
“that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread.” (1 Corinthians 11: 23)
It was in the evening (beginning) of the 14th that He ate the last Passover and instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper; the very same night in which He was betrayed.
Sabbath evening is always recognized as the beginning of the Sabbath just after the end of Friday. Also the world recognizes this fact, for the so-called Christmas Eve is the evening or night preceding Christmas day.
Going back to God’s creation of the day in Genesis 1 says:
“God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:5)
This was a complete 24 hours. The beginning of the night was “evening”, and the beginning of the day was “morning.” Putting the parts together as a whole constituted the first full day. This was God’s first day, and this procedure was repeated until God had seven full days. This has never been changed, although man has repeatedly tried to do so.
For anyone to deviate from this timely way set forth in the Word of God may rob himself of eternal life. God’s way is the right way, and He is very particular. Let us adhere to it in every jot and tittle.
The Church of God - Publishing House- Salem, West Virginia