Public and Private

Sabbath Study, Part 12

In Leviticus 23, God instructs the Israelites to keep various feasts throughout the year: the Passover, the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks, and so on. This list begins with a call to observe the most important feast, the one that stands out above the rest—the weekly Sabbath.

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:3)

A holy convocation.
In this verse, we see that there are corporate and private aspects of the Sabbath celebration. First, it is a holy convocation—that is, a sacred assembly. God’s people are called to gather together on the Sabbath for public worship. In addition to this public aspect, it is to be observed “in all your dwellings.”

Seventh day.
That is, weekly. “No other seasons or occasions of public worship are ever to set aside, supersede, or lead nay to neglect the habitual and holy observance of the weekly Sabbath” (Justin Edwards).

In all your dwellings.
“This is added to distinguish the sabbath from other feasts, which were to be kept before the Lord in Jerusalem only, whither all the males were to come for that end; but the sabbath was to be kept in all places, where they were, both in synagogues, which were erected for that end, and in their private houses” (Matthew Poole).

Commentaries Cited from
Hall, Kay.
Online Bible. Beersheba Springs: Ken Hamel, 2000. CD-ROM.

Commentaries Used
The Family Bible Notes, by Justin Edwards
Annotations upon the Holy Bible, by Matthew Poole


Steven said…
Lev 23:32 shabbathown "solemn rest" is used for the Day of Atonement. Lev 25:4-5 shabbathown "solemn rest" is used speaking of the sabbath rest of the land. Lev 23:24&39 shabbathown is used in describing the Feast of Trumpets & Feast of Tabernacles. A simple word search in Strong's Concordance can provide this info.
Lev 23:14&21 Pentecost "in all your dwellings". Lev 23:31 Atonement "in all your dwellings".
Where is the scripture that Matthew Poole uses to state the Feast were only to be kept in Jerusalem??? Duet 14-16 states in a number of places the Feasts were to be kept where God chooses or where God places His name. Israel wandered in the desert for 40 yrs did they not keep the Feasts during this time? Surely they didn't keep them in Jerusalem. Acts 20:6 Paul mentions that they sailed away from Philippi to Troas after the Days of Unleavened Bread which took 5 days. Philippi was in Greece nowhere near Jerusalem.
All the Sabbaths were Holy Convocations/Assemblies, no customary work was to be done on all the Sabbaths,etc. The seventh day Sabbath is a weekly remembrance of creation and the true creator God the yearly Sabbaths are a yearly remembrance of God's plan of salvation. I personally do not see any of the Sabbaths as being elevated above another. I believe they all identify the True God Ex 31:13.
Lev 23:2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: "The Feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My Feasts" The weekly Sabbath is also a Feast Day.
I believe Mr. Henry and Mr. Poole miss the mark in their understanding of "all" the Sabbath days. May God continue to bless your study. Steven
Cap Stewart said…

Thanks for the info on "shabbathown." For some reason, I had missed its other uses.

I'm not sure if Matthew Poole uses a Scripture for his point. I may have misquoted him (I'll need to go back and check), but it's more likely that he didn't make any particular reference.

I agree that all the Sabbaths were designed to point to God in some form or fashion, but I see the weekly Sabbath as being elevated above the others for at least two reasons: its inclusion in the created order at the beginning of history, and its inclusion in the Ten Commandments.
Unknown said…

I know this really isn't on the topic of the sabbath, but one of your questions intrigued me -- about where the Feasts were to celebrated.

I'm not sure what scripture Matthew Poole uses, but I believe scripture does in fact affirm that the Feasts were to be celebrated in Jerusalem (after the construction of the temple) and, before that time, they were to celebrate the Feasts "before the Lord God" Ex. 23:17 (whose presence was represented by the sanctuary and specifically the Mercy Seat).

Please bear with me as I share a few verses I found to support this.

Beginning in Deut. 12:5-11, 18, 21 and 26 God says they "shall seek the Lord at 'the place' which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come." And (v. 10-11) "WHEN they cross the Jordan and live in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit...THEN it shall come about that the place in which the Lord your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you..."

Until that time (before they enter the promised land and there is rest from all their enemies) God lives in the sanctuary (tent of meeting) and He will meet with them there(Exodus 25:8, 22.)

In Exodus 23:10-17 God requires a sabbath rest for the land, a sabbath rest for themselves, slaves and strangers; and three Feasts..."three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord God." (v. 17) So they began immediately to celebrate the sabbaths and the feasts "before the Lord God" which was in the sanctuary (tent of meeting) while in the wilderness.

God later chooses "the place" for His name to dwell.

In 1 Chronicles 21:14-22:1 God commanded David to "build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite" (v. 21:18) because there He had commanded the destroying angel to stop killing the Israelites. In 2 Chron. 3:1Solomon began to build the temple on this same spot. Then Solomon prays to dedicate the temple (2 Chron. 6:20-21) and God confirms the temple as "the place" He has chosen to put his name forever in 2 Chron 7:12-16.

So scripture does support Matthew Poole's statement that the Feasts were to be kept in Jerusalem after this time, and before this time we see them celebrating the Feasts "before the Lord" who dwelt in the sanctuary and whose cloud hovered over the Mercy Seat.

Thank you for bearing with me as I rediscovered for myself the answer to one of your questions.
Steven said…
Thanks for your comment. I'm so glad for the opportunity to comment further on this subject. If you keep reading in 2 Chron 7:17-22 You will see that God told Solomon that this was contingent once again on Israel obeying God's commandments & statutes. In vs. 20 God says if they fail to do as he commanded he would uproot them from His land and the house which he sanctified (set apart) for His name he would cast out of His sight. This is exactly what happened to the House of Israel and also the House of Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians and the southern kingdom of Judah was taken by the Babylonians. There are too many scriptures pertaining to this I can't list them all. Read Jeremiah and all the minor prophets (Hosea, Micah, etc. I believe in Ezek 1-11 is a good read on this. The Glory of the Lord I believe leaves the temple at this time. Israel once again went after other gods and God divorced Physical Israel.
God promised David in 1 Chron 11-14 that from his seed he would establish His Kingdom and that king would build Him a house and a throne that would be established forever. And God said he shall be My son and I will be His Father. Jesus Christ is this seed of David!!Math 1:1-17.
So where does God place his name now is the question. There is no longer a physical temple for God to dwell in, there is no need for a tabernacle made with hands. Mark 14:58 Jesus was accused of saying he would destroy the temple made with hands in three days and build another made without hands. Math 26:61 also states this. John 2:19-21 Jesus said if they destroyed this temple he would raise it up in three days speaking of the temple of his body. Eph 2:19-22 tells us exactly where God now lives. "Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into he holy temple of the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit". 2 Cor 6:16 "you are the temple of the living God"... 1 Cor 3:16-17 Heb 3:6 Heb 9:11 Christ is a more perfect tabernacle not made with hands. God dwells in His people through His Holy Spirit, individually and collectively (God's Church/spiritual Israel). This is where God now places his name, this is His house. Now where would the Feast's of the Lord be observed? That is decided by the ministers/overseers/servants etc. Local Church groups sometimes get together with other groups on Holy Days. The Feast of Tabernacles is observed all over this planet in 100's of places by probably 100-200thousand Christians. God's Church is scattered all over the world.
I would gladly discuss this subject further if you like. The history of the house of Israel and the house of Judah is very important for us to learn about. It shows us why they failed to obtain the promises of God. God is merciful and will eventually redeem both these houses to Himself. We have an Awesome God!
If anyone would like to comment on this or any other subject you can ask Erika for my email and I'd be glad to converse with you.
Thanks again Marcia for the contact. Steven