Another Sabbath day of rest and peace. But first and foremost, a day spent in silence with little or no talk. And, I would argue, a moderate intake of food. You see, from what I have gathered thus far during my short time here on this earth, is that when God says something, He means it. It has taken me a good portion of my studies of Scripture hitherto (may So NiNi grant me even more) to understand the depths of that realisation. That He means what He says. I know that I am nowhere close to fathom the minutest parts of a microscopic fraction of how true this actually is. He says something and it must become. This creation hinges on His every word spoken and sung, and as such was this earth created. How and why does some things then become or stay as He says? Because well, He is righteous, and though almost every believer have, at some point, found themselves guilty in thinking it, He is not like you or me (Psalm 50,21).
We are not like Him, however, we are of Him and made in His likeness and image. And bearing those thoughts in mind, when reading verses like Isaiah 58,13:
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and So NiNi`s holy day honorable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in So NiNi, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of So NiNi has spoken.`
I know He means it. He meant it during the time Immanuel (Manwele) walked this earth. He meant it back then and He means it now. When the moon finds it rightful place in the sky where He put it (I don't know how He did it, but you can bet your bottom dollar it must have been a sight nothing short of spectacular (Job 38,7)). And the winds begin to die down, with the moon being either full, half full / half empty or nowhere in sight (new moon day), then you know that the Sabbath is near. It is that simple.
Before you go ahead and find ways to start observing this day, or perhaps deciding not to eat pork or shy away from things marked in Scripture as unclean. You must understand this, before you go about trying to follow the Laws of Moses, you cannot please So NiNi by following any of these old ways without the Son. Let me explain further what this means. And only then will you understand why the Sabbath is a joy to observe, either way, if you are compelled fast or compelled to feast even.
But you must also understand that when you know only but a little of this, the devil draws near, creating doubt and forced questions. Questions that will come out of a persons ignorance or hidden sins in the heart. In that situation you might find yourself asking: `will keeping the Sabbath or the laws in The Books of Moses make a person righteous? Why even bother following it, aren't believers under the new covenant? Are we not under grace?`
Let me answer by asking another question, is anyone righteous? No. Can one become righteous? Well, if you believe in the Gospel, you most certainly can be righteous and in a way you have to try the task of becoming righteous. Something you can't help really, as you are imitating Paul and Manwele even, in aspects of your life. Only it is a long journey in the becoming though, not a dipp in the water and a mere promise made in the presence of fellow believers. The Promise is made to So NiNi and the rebirth marks the beginning of a full fledged race that will take you through the length of your life before you reach the finishing line. The race talked about by Paul (1. Corinthians 9,23-25), is a great analogy. As it indeed has the same rules as sprint or hurdle, everyone who accepts the Gospel and receives the Son, do agree to compete in the great dash of faith and forgiveness. Only you dont race against another person, It is not like that at all. This sprint it is not competitive in its nature, unlike sports of today, you race against yourself working all your life, perfecting the challenging exercise off learning to let go. All the time stretching your boundaries to see how much you can and are willing to let go off the earthly, so that you can begin to understand and accept the heavenly. And begin to fathom the depths of all of the glorious gifts and places promised to those who believe. Heaven - Zulu.
The key point here is that you race against yourself. And in a way you are your own worst enemy. Peter, one of Manwele`s Disciples, talks about the soul waring against the body, this is very true (1. Peter 2,11-12). Paul also talked much on the Spirit and the flesh being opposites to one another, and he deemed following the law as the way of death if you do not have Christ. Paul never abolished the law though, just have a look at these, if you think yourself a Christian, Adventist, Catholic or perhaps undecided and not interested in the labels, Scripture remains remarkably clear. Believers are not free, according to Paul, to disobey the Books of Moses. Paul believed very much in keeping the law, however, and do read on if this is confusing and let the Spirit guide you, how you continue to read these verses will depend on your motives for understanding them. So to speak.
"But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship The God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets."
- Acts 24:14 (NKJV)
In the next verse, seen as this is a conversation illustrating very well what we are talking about in this article, he answered for himself,
"Neither against the Law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all."
- Acts 25:8
Paul then took leave of them, saying,
"I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, So NiNi willing."
- Acts 18:21
And he sailed from Ephesus. Now, wherever Ephesus was, probably somewheres in south-eastern Africa, Paul had to leave to get to Jerusalem because the law required it of him. Lets continue.
`I thank So NiNi--through Manwele the Messiah our Master! So then, with the mind I myself serve the Law of So NiNi, but with the flesh the Law of sin.`
- Romans 7,25
Paul taught the everyone not to let anyone judge them for observing the law, or through what they eat and drank, sabbaths or new moon festivals, which are just shadow pictures of what is to come.
`So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of the Manwele. Paul says that the doers of the Law will be justified and those who break it will be judged.`
- Colossians 2,16-17
`For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 for not the hearers of the law [are] just in the sight of So NiNi, but the doers of the law will be justified`
- Romans 2,12
In this verse Paul says that we know His will and approve the things that are excellent (good) when instructed out of the law.
`Indeed you are called a Hebrew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in So NiNi, 18 and know [His] will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. Here he says that when we break the law, we dishonour So NiNi and blaspheme His name.`
- Romans 2,17
`You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the Law, do you dishonor Yahweh through breaking the Law? 24 For "the name of So NiNi is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.`
- Romans 2,21
Here Paul states that we learn what sin is from the law. This backs up the statement in 1. John 3,4, where `Sin is transgression of the Law.` We must have the law to be able to tell what sin is, though we are not under law. Confused yet?
`Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Law [is] the knowledge of sin.`
- Romans 3,20
`What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."
- Romans 7,7
Here is a key scripture proving that Paul believed that thru faith we do not make the law void, but rather we establish the law. Are you following?
`Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.`
- Romans 3,31
Here is another key scripture like the one above, that more or less proves Paul did not believe that once under grace, you can continue break the law (sin).
`What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin [leading] to death, or of obedience [leading] to righteousness?`
- Romans 6,15
Here Paul is equating "the law" with "the commandment" and stating his opinion of them in the following verses in Romans.
`Therefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
- Romans 7,12
Here is one of the more unpopular statement of Paul. You see many like to believe that the law is of the flesh. This cannot be true! It is spiritual.
`For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. Paul delights in the Law of So NiNi`
- Romans 7,14
`For I delight in the law of So NiNi according to the inward man.
- Romans 7,22
Now we will move on to where Paul uses the term "lawlessness", the word translated lawlessness, Xhosa is even more specific and uses: `sikukuchasana nomthetho`, which means `we that are against the law`), a phrase that in all truthfulness means to be in violation of the traditions of Moses. Keep this in mind for later verses.
`I speak in human [terms] because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members [as] slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness [leading] to [more] lawlessness, so now present your members [as] slaves [of] righteousness for holiness.`
- Romans 6,19
`Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?`
- 2. Corinthians 6,14
Again, Paul equates the meaning of lawlessness with sin.
"Blessed [are those] whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;`
- Romans 4,7
Now here is an example where the word lawless (nomthetho, mthethweni) is used in phrases in the Old Testament (mostly Psalms)
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore Elohim, Your Elohim, has anointed You. With the oil of gladness more than Your companions."
- Hebrew 1,9
Now this study might go on forever and ever, all the time proving that the meaning of what Paul meant by "righteousness" was obedience to the law but lets look at some examples.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin [leading] to death, or of obedience [leading] to righteousness?
- Romans 6:16
In this verse obedience is equated with righteousness (as defined by the law).
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the Law, "The man who does those things shall live by them."
- Romans 10,5
Here Paul says that we ought to walk in righteousness:
For you were once darkness, but now [you] [are] light in So NiNi. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to So NiNi. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose [them].
- Ephesians 5,8
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
- Ephesians 6,14
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
- Philemon 1,9
that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of the Messiah,
- Philemon 1,10
being filled with the fruits of righteousness which [are] by Manwele the Messiah, to the glory and praise of So NiNi.
- Philemon 1,11
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on So NiNi out of a pure heart. 23 - But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.
- 2. Timothy 2,22
Here is an example where Paul takes another step forward in showing that every single shred of SCRIPTURE (which includes the laws written down by Moses because there was no written "new testament" at that time) is given by So NiNi, profitable for doctrine, for reproof and instruction in righteousness.
All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of So NiNi, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of So NiNi may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- 2. Timothy 3,16
As you can see, there could be very little doubt in that, according to these verses, Paul certainly upheld the law as the very definition of righteousness and holiness. And he taught that breaking these commandments were unrighteousness, lawlessness, wickedness, and most importantly sin.
Thusly, we can safely come to terms with Paul and conclude that whenever the greatest writer found in the new testament speaks of sin, he most certainly is talking about disobeying the commandments, those which we find in the law (books of Moses). Should you start following the law to the point then? Will this make you righteous in the eyes of So NiNi. No, only believing in the Son of Man will make you righteous. He will teach you how to follow the law and follow Him at the same time. Just like that, he will show you your sins and lead you out of them, one by one.
How many more examples of Scripture is there, that could (and very well should) be added, where Paul speaks against sin? In adding these, and commentaries this study would quickly fill a library! Therefore, we can see that it must have been obvious to Paul, as well as obvious to his fellow believers, that law obedience was expected. (John 5,14). I mean, even Manwele says, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." I believe that many of the details of law observance were worked out in their public meetings, such as the blessed Sabbath that occurred weekly according to the monn phases in the synagogues (see where James made the decision in Acts 15 that the Gentiles would learn the law on the synagogues every Sabbath). In light of all of them here scriptures, it is quite clear that breaking So NiNis law is the very definition of sin.
You must ask So NiNi to lead you into the truth and into His Kingdom by His wonderful Spirit which is His word (John 6:63).
One last quote:
`For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against So NiNi; for it is not subject to the law of So NiNi, nor indeed can be.`
- Romans 8:6-7
Before I evangelise further or beat more Scripture into your skull, you will perhaps understand that today, I did fast, though not all day, but rather a portion of it. I initially wanted to talk about some historical sources, however trustworthy or untrustworthy they might be, discussing the Sabbath and fasting. So here we go.
Now, there are a great deal of historical and biblical evidence that the ancient Bantus celebrated the Sabbath day by abstaining from food. The Roman historian Pompeius Trogus (1.century), said that Moses instituted the Sabbath as a fast day in order to commemorate the Israelites seven days of deprivation when they trekked through the desert on their way to Mount Sinaye (Mt. Sinai). Also Augustus Cæsar is suppose to have remarked that `not even a Jew fasts so scrupulously on his Sabbaths as I have today`. Other commentators, such as Petronius, also made mentions oj Hebrews being exiled because of their inability (being hindered in some way) to observe the Sabbaths among the Greeks. Also Martial tried to insult a correspondent by accusing him of having a bad-breath that smelled `worse than one of those Sabbath fasting Jewish women.`
How could so many writers, including respected names in Greek and Latin letters, make these mentions when others calls this a day of feasting ? And even eating three meals per day (Midrash and Talmud) being some kind of sign of extraordinary piety? These books, with their clever living protocols and devious ways, are not wise. You can follow all these rules and ordinances, but if you don't have the Son of Man (Manwele, or Immanuel as we was to be called), you have dugg yourself a whole. These ways will only lead you into despair. Although seemingly to others, this hole you have dugg will be a seemingly spiritual and even pretty place, but in fact it is empty and void, without the Spirit of So NiNi, The Great King. Ukumkani Omkhulu.
But then, what is the root of this dispute, eating or fasting? Which one is it? Could it stem from the story of the giving of manna in Exodus 16 and how it`s been interpreted by peoples who wrote the Midrash and Talmud? I think so. As the story goes, the Israelites were informed that they would get a double ration of manna on the day before the Sabbath, because no Sabbath would descend on the day of rest. This could off course be interpreted a number of ways if you lean on your own understanding, either that you should ration the two meals on the day before the Sabbath and the Sabbath, or you should have both portions on the day before the Sabbath, in order to refrain from food the following day (Sabbath). Thereby fasting on the Sabbath. IN the same way you should be fasting and having a concluding meal on the before the Day of Atonement, were all people are commanded to fast for a whole day (Leviticus 16,29), or as it is know in the verse - The Sabbath of Sabbaths (Leviticus 23,27).
Fasting is then, seemingly condoned and even obligatory on certain special days of the year, and on the Sabbath. According to the Bible and Scripture, as eluded earlier Midrash and Talmudic writers would have it differently. Who are you gonna listen to? Scripture as it is written, or mere words of men.
The arguments of Isaiah of `calling the Sabbath a delight` does not strike the cord, in the modern man like something being exactly delightful, however. I have had many a fast and had many deep revelations revealed in me, because of the fast, I drew much nearer to So NiNi, my king and redeemer. But people are different, meaning if you are lead to a fast, you should do it. But fast not unto yourself, but fast in the Name of So NiNi. Isaiah talks much about what fast is pleasing to So NiNi.
Back to historical sources, however dubious, Phio Judeaus (Alexandria) and Josephus Flavius, wrote that the ancient Israelites went the seventh day assembled under one roof in the synagogues for meditation and instruction of the Torah. From these settings you could easily see men and women alike some fasting and praying, while others might indeed be feasting in the house or synagogue next to them. You could go to extremes with them both, over doing your eating, which leaves your digestive system riddled with troubles and kickstarts the raging process, or spending too much time fasting, leaving you skinny and without your natural strength. Or you can find some sort of middle ground, honouring So NiNI whatever approach you take, is the key nonetheless. In all you do, give honour to your Creator.
Before you are left on your own to browse even more Scriptures, without my interpretation and answers, let me tell you what I do on the Sabbath. Usually, if I have a hectic working week with little or no time for reflection, Scripture and meditation, I write. That is to say, on this here blog. For you. I spend perhaps half the day giving finishing touches on the latest article, trying to get my typos and spelling correct, then I post. During the day I will have a meal, on a special occasion, a prayer request or some special event, I might fast and make petitions to So NiNi, for me or other people. Fasting breaks many chains and seals your prayers, having them come to fruition much quicker than usual. So NiNi is not slow to hear, only you motivation for you prayer needs to rooted in love not in any other form of earthly need (greed, self indulgence, vanity, lust, etc). Off course So NiNi will disregard your prayer, because after all He knows what you need even before you ask Him, right? (Matthew 6,8)
To anser the question then, should you fast? Have these Scriptures give you a basis for answering that question...
"On the appointed day in early autumn, you must spend the day fasting and not do any work. This is a permanent law for you, and it applies to those who are Israelites by birth, as well as to the foreigners living among you."
- Leviticus 16:29
"It will be a Sabbath day of total rest, and you will spend the day in fasting. This is a permanent law for you."
- Leviticus 16:31
"This will be a Sabbath day of total rest for you, and on that day you must humble yourselves. This time of rest and fasting will begin the evening before the Day of Atonement and extend until evening of that day."
- Leviticus 23:32
In her letters she commanded: "Call the citizens together for fasting and prayer and give Naboth a place of honor."
- 1 Kings 21:9
These letters established the Festival of Purim--an annual celebration of these days at the appointed time, decreed by both Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther. (The people decided to observe this festival, just as they had decided for themselves and their descendants to establish the times of fasting and mourning)
- Esther 9:31
"My knees are weak from fasting, and I am skin and bones."
- Psalms 109:24
"The incense you bring me is a stench in my nostrils! Your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath day, and your special days for fasting--even your most pious meetings--are all sinful and false. I want nothing more to do with them."
- Isaiah 1:13
`We have fasted before you!' they say. `Why aren't you impressed? We have done much penance, and you don't even notice it!' "I will tell you why! It's because you are living for yourselves even while you are fasting. You keep right on oppressing your workers."
- Isaiah 58:3
"What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarrelling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me."
- Isaiah 58:4
"You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like a blade of grass in the wind. You dress in sackcloth and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please So NiNi?"
- Isaiah 58:5
"No, the kind of fasting I want calls you to free those who are wrongly imprisoned and to stop oppressing those who work for you. Treat them fairly and give them what they earn."
- Isaiah 58:6
"So you go to the Temple on the next day of fasting, and read the messages from So NiNi that are on this scroll. On that day people will be there from all over Judah."
- Jeremiah 36:6
"This happened on the day of sacred fasting held in late autumn, during the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah. People from all over Judah came to attend the services at the Temple on that day."
- Jeremiah 36:9
"Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn't sleep at all that night."
- Daniel 6:18
"So I turned to So NiNi na NiNi and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I wore rough sackcloth and sprinkled myself with ashes."
- Daniel 9:3
"Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Bring the leaders and all the people into the Temple of So NiNi your God, and cry out to him there."
- Joel 1:14
That is why So NiNi says, "Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
- Joel 2:12
"Blow the trumpet in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting."
- Joel 2:15
"Say to all your people and your priests, `During those seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and at the festival in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting?"
- Zechariah 7:5
"And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I assure you, that is the only reward they will ever get."
- Matthew 6:16
"Then no one will suspect you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret. And your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you."
- Matthew 6:18
"She was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer."
- Luke 2:37
"The religious leaders complained that Jesus' disciples were feasting instead of fasting. "John the Baptist's disciples always fast and pray," they declared, "and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are yours always feasting?"
- Luke 5:33
"One day as these men were worshiping So NiNi and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work I have for them."
- Acts 13:2
"So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way."
- Acts 13:3
"Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church and prayed for them with fasting, turning them over to the care of So NiNi, in whom they had come to trust."
- Acts 14:23
Things for a thinking man to consider, surely.
Uxolo lube nani