“Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.”-Leviticus 23:3
There were other Shabbats besides the 7th day Shabbat.
For example, the first and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread are to be ordained days of rest.
The other various feasts also have Sabbath days associated with them.
There are also sabbath years (every 7th year)!
When reading Scripture, it’s important to make a distinction between THE Sabbath and A Sabbath.
The Sabbath is the original 7th day Sabbath that we first encountered in the opening chapters of Genesis.
However, A Sabbath is any other God-ordained day of rest.
In Hebrew, SHABBAT literally means “rest” or “cessation”.
In English, we say “sabbath” for the Hebrew word SHABBAT, but if we were to literally translate it, we would instead call the 7th day simply “rest”.
Anytime the Lord orders a sacred time when one’s regular duties are to be set aside, the Bible calls it A Sabbath.
However, THE 7th day Sabbath stands above all these other days!
This is proven by the fact that the NAME for the 7th day of the week is SHABBAT whereas the names of all the other days of the week are just called out numerically: the “1st day”, the “2nd day” and so on.
Now one of the primary reasons the first day of a Biblical Feast was made a Sabbath was so there could be time put aside to prepare for all that had to be done before a given feast officially began.
On A Sabbath, ALL forms of work were not necessarily prohibited.
Women were allowed to cook and men were allowed to gather sticks for fire, etcetera.
Regular work was to stop but work connected to the Biblical Feast preparations was fine.
Right here, we see a big difference between the 7th day Sabbath and a Sabbath.
The former was for man’s physical and spiritual rejuvenation and to mimic God’s cessation from the work of His creation.
The latter was to give the Israelites a block of time for the feast preparations.
There’s another point I want to make.
Notice the end of verse 3.
“…it is the Sabbath of the Lord…”.
I’ve heard that the Hebrew grammar being used here is the POSSESSIVE FORM OF THE WORD.
Hence, this would make the Sabbath the Lord’s possession!
The Sabbath belongs to HASHEM!
That means the Sabbath is the Lord’s HOLY property.
And we’ve learned what happens when one trespasses on God’s HOLY property.
Usually it results in death!
So depending on the context, the Sabbath can mean the weekly 7th day of the week or it can refer to a special day where regular work is put on hold to prepare for a Biblical feast.
“Sabbath” can even refer to the 7th year when a farmer was prohibited from tilling or planting in his fields.
A simple way to think about this is that the word SABBATH can in general be referring to any ordained cycle of 7, whether it is 7 days, 7 weeks, or 7 years.
Hebrew readers would have an advantage in identifying the difference between “THE” and “A” Sabbath.
The word SHABBATON is usually (not all the time but most of the time) used to refer to those special days of rest set aside to prepare for the feasts.
And the word SHABBAT refers to that one and only unique once per week 7th day of rest that God gave to ALL MANKIND!
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
Then Yeshua said to them,
“The Sabbath was made for man,
not man for the Sabbath.”