Let us now read the commandment from Exodus 20, given to Israel, which pertains to the Sabbath : Exodus 20: 8-11
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
The commandment begins with the words
Remember the Sabbath day.
It was one rabbi, Rashbam, Rashi’s grandson who wrote, “Remembering implies awareness of something in the past.” Some understood from this word, remember, that the Sabbath is not a new commandment, since it is also mentioned before in Exodus 16 as well as in the creation. However, this word may simply bring us to recall what the Sabbath really emphasizes; that is, our salvation and our redemption. Remember the reasons for your rest with God.
While it brings us to the future to consider the world to come it also brings us back to reflect on how we were and are continually saved through the blood of the Lamb. Now, in terms of the biblical calendar, we see that the days and the month are numbered and not named. The months that modern Jewish calendars use, like Nisan, Tishri, Tammuz, are names the Israelites brought back with them from Babylon back in 516 B.C.
So, why do we have only numbering of the days and the months in the Bible? There is a beautiful truth attached to this. Perhaps by remembering the number of each day, one will keep the memory of the 7th day. From the 1st to the 6th day, the anticipation increases, until at last we take a breath with God on the 7th day. It is the same with the numbering of the months; the 1st month, the New Year brought the Israelites to remember their deliverance from Egypt and that meant they would remember the blood of the lamb. The 1st month demarcates when the birth of the nation of Israel took place and that is why the month of Nisan is placed first. It is like our birthday which we can hardly forget. We can actually begin our own personal spiritual calendar from the time we were born again, the time of our spiritual birthday, for us it reminds us of the moments of our salvation.
And looking at the days of creation, one crucial question we might ask is; why did God take 6 days to work and then rest on the 7th day when He could have created ex-nihilo, everything out of nothing in an instant? He created the world by setting an example for us; 6 days of work and 1 day of Sabbath rest. This is what Yeshua said concerning the Sabbath: The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
God created it for us to rest in, to enjoy, to remember and to get closer to Him. Unfortunately, some have attached wrong precepts to the Sabbath, both in Judaism and in some segments of Christianity, idolizing it and loading it with too many laws. This has caused many to have an aversion to the Shabbat because of all its legalistic injunctions. But there is so much beauty in the Shabbat that we need to salvage, and we can do that with the help of the Word of God.