Sabbath Food: Part 5

 John Plunkett
 March 16, 2013


Last month we read  in Exodus 31 about God repeating His Sabbath commands.

Letís go there first today.  As we know, this was right before He gave the instructions for building His tent-tabernacle:

Exodus 31:
12:  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
13: Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you...  

So we see that God's Sabbaths are a sign between YHVH and you and me Ė between Jesus Christ and you and me.

14:  Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15:  Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest,
{Hebrew: shabbath-Shabbathown} holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work {Hebrew: melakah} in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death...

This is a serious warning being repeated here. 

16:  Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant...

When we read this last month, we omitted verse 17, which we will include now:

17:  It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested {shabath}, and was refreshed.

The Hebrew word for Ďrefreshedí here is Ďnaphashí which, in essence, means that He took a breather.

The wording of verses 16 and 17 doubles up on the concept and aspects of the sign between God and us and the eternal aspect of Sabbath-keeping.  As long as Israel exists, we will be required to keep the Sabbath.  We believe that our western nations are the remnants of physical Israel and that God's true church is spiritual Israel.

Now let us continue in time order by following the children of Israel as they progress on their journey.  

While Moses was still on Mount Sinai Ė busy receiving Godís holy law, the Israelites were busy building an idolatrous golden calf!  Can you believe it?  After all they had seen and experienced?  How soon they forgot!  How soon we forget!  When Moses learned about what they were doing, he was pretty mad; so much so that he smashed the two precious stone tablets God had just given him.

In Exodus 33, God commanded the Israelites to prepare to leave Sinai.  He promised His continue presence with them as they continued their journey.

Then, in Exodus 34, before they actually left Sinai, YHVH told Moses to make a new set of stone tablets to replace the ones that he had broken in anger.  YHVH repeated His covenant with Israel; and He also repeated some  of the commandments and statutes He had given before.  He repeated the Fourth Commandment at this time:

Exodus 34:21:
Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

The Hebrew word for "work" here is "abad" which refers to all the various types of work.  The word for "rest" here is "shabath."

Of course, the last part of this verse could not be put into practice until quite a few years later Ė until the Israelites arrived in the Promised Land and were able to grow crops.

Still, we canít say that, because they hadnít yet arrived in the Promised Land, they really didnít have to keep the Sabbath.  That would be twisted reasoning!  Of course they did!  We will see, as we continue, that Godís command for them to rest was fully in force while they were still on the move.

Now we come to Exodus 35.  

As this chapter begins, and just before YHVH gives them a lengthy set of instructions for giving offerings, He tells them the required materials to build the new Tabernacle.  We need to keep this context in mind as we go through this chapter. 

The Sabbath commands are repeated yet again.  It appears that YHVH needed to keep reminding the Israelites frequently.  He knew that, if He didnít keep reminding them, they would slack off from keeping it properly, and perhaps they would even slack off from keeping it at all!

If you look around us in "the world" today, how many people on your street are keeping the Sabbath?  I would be interested to find out how many even of the modern day Jews keep the Sabbath at all.  

Why do we modern-day spiritual Israelites feel that we are so very different from our physical Israelite forebears? We too have short memories and we too need frequent reminders.  That is what this Bible study is all about!

Once again, please remember that this is just before He gives the information about the material offerings that were needed for the building of the Tabernacle:

Exodus 35:
1:  And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words
{or "the commandments"} which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them.

We have to be doers!  We canít just claim, "Oh, but my heart is right."

2:  Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.

Many people have day jobs, but this command is not limited to day-job work.  Even for those of us who are retired, there is still work for us to do.  Parents have work to do.  Their children have work to do. 

We see a repetition from God of the warning and the penalty.  No Israelite of that time could complain that they had not been clearly warned if and when he saw God carrying out the penalty for Sabbath-breaking.

When we looked at the word "melakah" in Exodus 12:16, we proved then that work prohibited on God's Sabbaths is not only day-job work, as some have claimed.  Rather, it can also include various kinds of work, including work that is expended in cooking and other food preparation. 

Still in chapter 35, now comes an added stipulation.  This is a really interesting one:

3:  Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

The Hebrew word for "kindle" is "ba-ar."

This is an added requirement, which might initially sound a little harsh. Please think about what it was like where the Israelites were at that time Ė up on a plateau of Sinai, where the average winter night-time temperatures can drop into the mid-40ís Fahrenheit Ė a chilly 8 or 9 degrees Celsius.  Not freezing, but it is still quite cool.  At that time, as we all know, the Israelites were not living in houses with air-conditioning and heating system, as most of us have.  They were living in tents and perhaps other kinds of temporary dwellings.

But here God commands that they shall kindle no fire throughout those habitations on His Sabbath Days.

I donít think that this means inside their tents; but rather, I believe that it means all through their camp.  The ancient Israelites occasionally did some pretty stupid things (as their modern descendants do!); but it is very unlikely that they would ever risk lighting fires inside their tents.  It is more likely that the usual purposes for their fires would be similar for which we today would light fires on a recreational camping trip Ė for cooking and for warming themselves.

Now letís go back to the context of this verse Ė just prior to the collection of building materials for the tabernacle Ė because it really gets interesting here.  It could, perhaps, be referring more specifically to the fires that were necessary for the tabernacle construction work.  For instance, the melting and the working with the gold, silver, brass and bronze.  This is strongly alluded to in an excerpt from John Gillís commentary.  Gill is very conservative in many ways and very thorough; he really digs into a verse.  I donít agree with everything he says on this particular verse and I donít solidly believe that his opinion agrees a hundred percent with Godís Word; but his comments do shed some light on the topic.  Again, this is from John Gillís commentary, on Exodus 35:3:

This Law seems to be a temporary one, and not to be continued, nor is it said to be throughout their generations as elsewhere were the law of the Sabbath is given or repeated.

I am not totally sure that he is right there. He continues:

It is to be restrained to the building of the Tabernacle, and while that was about, to which it is prefaced.  It is designed to prevent all public or private working on the Sabbath day in anything belonging to that.

In other words, specifically belonging to the work on the Tabernacle.

Having no fires to heat their tools or melt their metal, or do anything for which that was necessary.  For it can hardly be thought that this to be taken in the strictest sense, as an entire prohibition of kindling a fire, and the use of it, on that day, which is so absolutely useful and needful in various cases and where acts of mercy and necessity require it, as in the cold seasons of the year for the warming and comforting of persons who otherwise would be unfit for religious exercises, and on the account of infants and aged persons who could no subsist without it.  And in cases of sickness and various disorders which would require it.

He is saying that he doesnít think that having a fire was prohibited on a permanent, ongoing basis.

And yet this Law is interpreted by them (the Jews) in the most rigorous sense.  They put kindling a fire among the principle works forbidden on that day, and that not only bake bread and boil flesh, but to warm themselves with.

The Jews at that time said that they could not light a fire on the Sabbath.

Nay, they think it unlawful to touch a hearth or cold fire, or anything that could give them any warmth in the cold season.  And if for the sake of infants or aged persons there is a need of a fire or heating a stove, they hire a Christian to do it, or so prepare and order matters the day before that it kindle of itself.

Then Gill quotes a 17th Century Jewish scholar, Leon of Modena:

They (the Jews) do not meddle with any fire, nor touch any wood that is on fire, or kindle any, or put it out.  Nor do they so much as light a candle on the Sabbath day.  If the place where they dwell be old, expect they have any stoves or hot houses, or someone that is no Jew to kindle a fire for them, or had so ordered the matter before hand that the fire should kindle of itself at such a time, they must even be content to sit in the cold all that day.

Do we have such a harsh God who would command that for His people in cold climates?  I donít think so!  I donít believe that God would have a problem with His people, either ancient or modern, preparing Sabbath fires prior to sunset on Friday evening, and "feeding" those fires as the day progressed. 

In our world today, even if you do have a house that is heated by a wood stove, we have modern ultra-efficient wood stoves that can burn just a few logs and heat a house for a whole day.

So I donít believe that God would have a problem with us preparing Sabbath fires before the Sabbath and feeding them as the day progressed.  However, I am sure that God would have a problem with His people arranging for Gentiles Ė either physical or spiritual Ė to kindle their fires in their stead!

This reminds me of an email letter that I received recently, which happened to be on this very ĎSabbath Foodí topic.  The writer mentioned some instances he was aware of where modern Church of God members were making reciprocal arrangements with Sunday-keeping professing Christians to cook hot meals for one another on their respective rest days!  This is basically what the Jews were doing, as recorded by Leon of Modena.

God clearly tells us in a number of scriptures that there is one law which applies to all Ė both to Israelites and to Gentiles Ė both spiritual and physical.  The only difference is whether we are going to obey those laws:

Exodus 12:49:
One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.

Numbers 15:
16:  One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.
29:  Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.

Letís go back to John Gillís, as he finishes off his comments on this Exodus 35:3:

But here, they (the ancient Jews) nicely distinguish and observe that it is said, ďthroughout your habitations, and they take that as being private dwellings and not the habitation of the LORD Ė the house of the sanctuary; and on this score they allow the kindling of the fire in the ďBeth MokedĒ Ė an apartment in the Temple where a fire was constantly kept for the priests that kept watch to warm themselves at.

I believe that the Jews' interpretation of "throughout your dwellings" to mean "in all of your private tents/homes" is erroneous and was possibly twisted by the priests of that time to benefit themselves and the Levites.  Have similar misinterpretations been made in years past amongst some of the leadership of the modern day spiritual Israel?  I'm sure that God would frown on such things.  He tells us repeatedly that He is no respecter of persons, and neither should we be.

Let us take a quick look at the verb ďkindle.Ē  Again, the Hebrew word is "ba-ar" (Strongís 01197).  Among other words, it can also be translated as burn, heated, or set.  The extended Hebrew meanings include: to begin to burn, or to start burning.  When the word ba-ar is applied to fires, then the English terms set, begin and start agree most closely with the most common English meaning of the word kindle which, according to my dictionary means: to start, to light, or to ignite a fire, a torch or a barbeque.  This would indicate that God most likely did not prohibit the Israelites from having fires burning on the Sabbath Day; but rather perhaps He prohibited the preparing, the setting and starting of the fires during the Sabbath hours.

Remembering back to the coal fires we had in England during my childhood, the most labour-intensive part of having a nice fire was the preparation, the setting and the starting of it.  I remember using bellows and sheets of newspaper held up against the fire-guard to assist in trying to get an obstinate fire to get going.

Just what is the very first pre-requisite for starting a wood fire?  The answer is, of course, the collection of firewood.  This leads naturally and logically to a related scripture:

Numbers 15:
32:  And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
33:  And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
34:  And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
35:  And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36:  And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

I have heard at least one preacher Ė possibly more Ė expressing sentiments that they felt sorry for this errant firewood collector.  But those sentiments were definitely misplaced.   I will give you three reasons why.

We should not feel sorry for him because, along with all of the other Israelites, he was clearly and repeatedly warned of the consequences Ė over and over again.  In Exodus 31:14, YHVH warned them, "Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people."  Yes, He warned over and over again.  With all of Godís covenants
Ė all of His agreements Ė with the Israelites, God clearly says: "If you do this, I am going to do that." This is exactly what He did in this case.

The second reason why we should not feel sorry for this fellow
Ė and this is perhaps the most important reason Ė is because it was the Eternal God Ė it was YHVH Himself Ė who pronounced the sentence on this man.  It wasnít Moses.  It wasnít the people.  It wasnít the manís fellow human beings.  It was God Himself!  Can mere men judge the Eternal God or criticize His judgments?  Does any man think that he is more righteous or merciful than our Great God?

The third reason is that, if we will examine the context of these verses, we will see that this man did not commit the sin in innocence or ignorance.  Here we will see two related verses that precede
Ė but apply to Ė this account:

Numbers 15:30:
But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

Again we see that there is one law for all.  There is some possibility that this man might have been a Gentile; but that doesnít matter.

Verse 31:  Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

In these two verses, God's Word strongly implies that this man acted presumptuously, which means vainly or haughtily against God.  Also, he reproached the LORD, which means that he reviled or blasphemed the Eternal God.  He also despised the Word of the LORD, which means that he condemned it, he treated it at contemptible, vile or worthless.  He was guilty of iniquity and he broke the LORDís Commandment. This means that he tried to make it void.  As so many do today, he tried to void the Sabbath  Commandment, as though it didnít even exist!

We might ask ourselves in relation to this study, "Do any of us try to make void any part of any of Godís Commandments, including His Sabbath Commandment?"  We have to ask ourselves that question, and answer it honestly.

I have heard people apply this "firewood sin" to themselves and say, "I have sinned too; so take me out and stone me!" 

As we get close to Passover, we do need to be examining ourselves and knowing that we do sin, we have sinned, and we have become worthy of the death penalty.  But let us not forget that, if we repent, Jesus applies His sacrifice as payment for our repented-of sins.  The penalty is paid; so it ludicrous for a person to say, "Take me out and stone me."

I donít want to stray too far from our Sabbath Food context; but I do want to ask the question: How should this "kindling of a fire" command be applied in our modern day?  Does it mean that Godís people today must stay cold on the Sabbath days in the winter months?  Please remember that God has children living up in Alaska, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, as well as other northern climes. 

Does God want to punish His people on a seasonal basis?  His people who are sincerely striving to obey His Commandmentsí?  Does He desire to make things unnecessarily tough for them?  No, of course He doesnít. 

How then should we apply this in our modern day?  Is it permissible for modern day spiritual Israelites, like you and me, to switch on a gas or electric heater on a cool Sabbath day?  Of course it is!  It is erroneous Ė even ludicrous Ė to equate the flicking of a switch or the turning of a thermostat dial to the laborious collection of firewood and the preparation of a wood fire. 

I mentioned in previous sermons in this series that some brethren say that there are people working in the gas plants and electricity plants on the Sabbath days.  Well no, usually, there are not.  Those plants are virtually fully automated and, other that in an emergency, you would have a hard time finding an employee working there on weekends.

This leads into another question: If we agree about the automation of the gas and power plants, does this carry over to cooking food on Godís Sabbaths?  After all, there are very few people cooking with solid fuel over wood fires in this day and age.  So, as the gas and electricity plants are fully automated, and as most of our modern cooking appliances are almost fully automatic, is it then permissible for us to cook on the Sabbath?  And if so, to what extent? 

Again, it is not for me to judge on these things.  A couple of months ago, we asked the questions: 

Some people say Yes; some people say No.  I will repeat the same answer: it is not for me to judge or decide for you what level of ďminorĒ cooking may be permissible on the Sabbath.  I say "minor" because I believe that any major cooking obviously constitutes work which, as we have seen, is strictly forbidden by God.  Neither am I at liberty to draw the line for you between what constitutes what is major (prohibited) and what is minor (permissible) when it comes to Sabbath cooking.  Let us not fall into either "ditch," and letís not get liberal about our Sabbath keeping.

I would like to repeat our core scriptures and I would like to ask you to burn them into your minds:

Romans 14:23:
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Colossians 2:16:
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.

Let no man judge you in these things and please donít you judge others in these things.  Please be a "quiet light" as Jesus instructs; not a noisy one!   But also, let us heed the negative example of that firewood collector.  Remember, God put these things in the Bible for our admonition.  

Now let us go to the book of Leviticus.  The amazing thing about the Sabbath lessons in Leviticus is that the word "Sabbath" is not even mentioned until chapter 16.  So what are the first fifteen chapters of the book all about?  What is God talking about in there?  

They deal with the various kinds of offerings, with the beginning of the priestly ministry, and with the "portion" for Aaronís sons and the priesthood.  There is a chapter about the profane fire of Nadab and Abihu, which we are going to mention in a minute.  There is also a lot of information about the dietary laws and other laws concerning leprosy, childbirth and all different kinds of things.  

Then after chapter 16, there are more commands and statutes dealing with the sanctity of blood, moral laws, ceremonial laws and all kinds of other laws. 

But right in the middle of all of this law-giving, God inspired Moses to concentrate on the expansion of Godís instructions regarding one of His annual Sabbath days.  It not Passover, or any of the earlier ones; but one of the later ones.  It is the one that deals specifically with food, or more precisely, the lack of it.  Of course, it is the Day of Atonement. 

Why did God "plop" this in here?  Why did He insert just that one Holy Day in here?  It seems that it was inserted here because of the recent sin of Nadab and Abihu, which was recorded back in chapter 10, in which they were found guilty of defiling Godís tabernacle and, of course, they paid the death penalty for doing so. 

God says, "You do this and Iíll do that."  But Nadab disobeyed.  They did that; and so  God did this!  The entire accent of this 16th chapter is that the Day of Atonement is the only day of the year that the High Priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies.

I find it interesting that it is the first mention of the Day of Atonement being called a "Sabbath."  Also, it is the first mention of the requirement for fasting:

Leviticus 16:31:
It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.

The Day of Atonement is an extra-special Sabbath day.  It is a "sabbath of rest" Ė in Hebrew, a "Shabbath Shabbathown."  We understand that the afflicting of our souls is total fasting for twenty-four hours.  We have no food, no water, and we rest.  There are lessons to learn from this related to our study.

At this time now, we are just coming up to the spring Holy Days; so as we have more than six months left until we arrive at the Day of Atonement, I am not going to go into all of the symbolism of the fasting component of the Day of Atonement.  But I do want to mention that, although the Day of Atonement is a fast day, it is clearly and purposely listed in Leviticus 23 as a "feast" of the Eternal.  

Part of the accent of the Day of Atonement is the consumption of spiritual food rather than physical food.  On that day, we also look forward to the time in the World Tomorrow when Godís people will no longer be dependent upon physical food.

All of the other weekly and annual Sabbaths are physical feast days.  But does the accent on feasting on the weekly Sabbath Days or on the annual Holy Days necessarily mean that there is an inherent, automatic requirement for hot food?  Does it mean that there is an automatic requirement for cooking or eating out in restaurants on those  days? 

I am just asking the questions.  You can answer, Yes or No as you wish.  Is hot, freshly cooked food an absolute necessity every day of the year?  Or could it become a craving that we in our minds think is a necessity.  If we are not careful, we can be led into even a level of lusting after these things.  It really is possible for us to fall into that kind of mindset. 

We need to look back at the many mistakes that the Israelites made; and we need to beware of getting into similar murmuring attitudes as those of our Israelite forefathers.  We need to beware of straying dangerously close to the invisible line that leads to disobedience. 

Please remember those Israelites reminiscing about all of the wonderful leaks, garlic and other wonderful food they had in the flesh-pots of Egypt?  I believe that they had selective memories!

My memory takes me back to the Feast of Pentecost last year in England.  We had such a banquet!  Although it was all cold food, it was absolutely wonderful.  A true feast!

God is not out to punish us.  He wants to bless all of us who keep His Sabbaths willingly and happily.  He is not out to curse us or to test us beyond the limits of our endurance.  It is not His intention to punish those who are sincerely striving to obey His laws.

Now, as we move on, we will see two mentions of the Sabbath here, separated by twenty-six verses, but closely related in their subject matter:

Leviticus 19:
3:  Ye shall fear
(Hebrew: yare) every man his mother, and his father, and keep (shamar) my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God...
30:  Ye shall keep
(shamar) my sabbaths, and reverence (yare) my sanctuary: I am the LORD.

Do you see the similarity between those two verses?  In verse 3, God gives us a repetition of two of His Ten Commandments Ė the 5th Commandment to respect our parents; and the 4th Commandment to keep God's Sabbaths. 

In verse 30, God links together the keeping of the Sabbath with the reverencing of His sanctuary.  At that time, that sanctuary Ė
the tent-tabernacle Ė was quite newly built; but it had already been defiled by Nadab and Abihu. 

Again, although these two verses are separated by 26 other verses they have some interesting significance and relevant common factors.  Both of the verses include commands that we must keep (shamar).  

In verse 3, the Eternal tells us that every man whose parents are still alive (N.B. not just children) must "fear" (yare) them in a proper way.  Also, it says that we must keep (shamar) Godís Sabbaths. 

In verse 30, the Eternal instructs His people to keep (shamar) His Sabbaths and reverence His sanctuary.  The English word "reverence" is from the Hebrew "yare" Ė exactly the same word that is translated "fear" in verse 3. 

I believe that this is a double tie-in of the keeping of Godís Sabbaths with the proper fear of our parents and the reverencing of Godís sanctuary.  I believe that this is significant, the main ideas of which are these:

Just as the Israelites were to maintain a proper fear and reverence for their parents, they were also to maintain a similar proper reverence for Godís Holy Sabbath Days.  In other words they should have a proper fear not to profane Godís Sabbaths in any way.

Secondly, just as the Israelites were to have a proper reverence for Godís tent-tabernacle (and later for His stone temples), they also were to maintain a proper reverence for His Holy Sabbaths and to maintain a proper fear not to profane those Sabbaths.

Letís just take a quick look at the Hebrew words for "keep," "fear," and "reverence" as those words are related to the keeping of Godís Sabbaths and Holy Days.

When I go through this, I want to ask you to apply the English translation of the Hebrew words in your own mind to the proper use of Godís Holy Sabbath time; and specifically with regards to the aspect of Sabbath food.
..

Although the
English verb "keep" is translated from the Hebrew word "shamar."  The English word "keep" is a somewhat weak and imprecise term, the Hebrew verb "shamar" (Strongs 08104) is also translated elsewhere as these more solid and precise words (and again, please apply these to the context of your Sabbath observance): 

Heed, observe, preserve, beware, mark, wait, watch, regard, and save.

I fnd that the extended Hebrew meanings are really helpful, as the scholars have opened up and embellished the various words.  In this case, these are descriptive terms of advice and commandments for the proper and reverential keeping of Godís Holy time:

Celebrate; perform as with a vow (are we striving to keep the Sabbath in the very best way that we can?); restrain; reserve; beware of breaking; keep oneself from breaking; refrain from breaking; abstain from breaking; guard; be on one's guard; protect (do we love God's holy time to the point where we feel protective of it; yes, it is Godís, but it belongs to us as well (Mark 2:27));  have charge of; take care of.

Now please especially heed these final ones: 

Keep watch over;  watch as would a watchman (are we standing on guard for Godís holy time?); treasure (do we really treasure God's Sabbaths; are they supremely valuable to us?); and here is the last one, and I love this one: save like a life. 

Do these words and phrases describe your attitude towards Godís precious Sabbath time?  Or have some of our attitudes become a little lax?  Just a little slack?  Just a little liberal?  Again, it is not for me to judge.  It is for you to answer these questions in your own mind.

The second significant Hebrew word in these verses is another verb;  "yare" (Strongís 03372) which is translated in various scriptures as:

Reverence, fear, fearful, afraid, terrible and dreadful. 

We should not, of course, consider Godís Holy Sabbath time to be terrible or dreadful.  Maybe our kids did at one time when they were little!  However, we certainly should have a proper fear Ė a proper dread Ė of breaking or misusing Godís Sabbath time. 

The extended meanings of the Hebrew word "yare" can include: 

Make afraid, terrify, standing in awe of, cause astonishment and awe, inspire reverence or godly fear, honour and respect.

So again, I ask you to consider these things in your own heart and mind:  Do you have a proper godly fear of defiling Godís Sabbath time?  Are you properly afraid Ė even terrified in the right way Ė of defiling Godís Holy Sabbath time?  That man who was collecting the firewood sticks was not!  He treated it like it was nothing!

These two verses in Leviticus 19:3 and 30 give us strong but fair warning that if we must err in these things, we would be far wiser to err on the "safe" side.

In conclusion, I want to refer once again to our two core scriptures.  Once again, I ask you to burn these into your memory:

Colossians 2:16:
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:

Romans 14:23:
And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

There is certainly not going to be any minister or deacon watching over you to make sure that you do these things "right" and that you are going to be keeping the Sabbath "correctly" according to the definitions of some human being.  What you and I do is between us and Jesus Christ.  He is our perfect, loving, righteous and omniscient Judge.  But make no mistake; He is watching us.  And God the Father is watching us.  They are watching what we choose to do; and they are watching the decisions that we choose to make.  They are watching to see if we will obey their commandments and how we will obey their commandments.  Their loving care and oversight should not intimidate us.  Rather, their loving care and oversight should encourage and exhort us.


JHP/pp/sl/jhp