The Sabbath is a time for family, for study and play, for recreation and rest; for the restoration of the whole person. Remember this, there is no dichotomy in the Hebrew text between the sanctity of the body and the sanctity of the soul/spirit, we are a dynamic unity. Both the body and the soul are holy unto the Holy One. We are to create for him a sanctuary to inhabit. The sages of Israel spoke of the home as a little sanctuary. The table around which you sit for a Sabbath meal is compared to the altar in the temple. Think of this: the primary implements that were in the temple are basically implements that come from the home, which is why the Temple in Jerusalem is called the house on the hill; it is the house of God, "I was glad when they said let us go up to the house of the Lord." The tabernacle, eventually the Temple is like a house; it has a lamp stand, a table for showbread, and a closet (in which the Ark of the Covenant is situated). The message is clear, our home should be a little sanctuary, a place which welcomes God to come and dwell on a regular basis.
What I am trying to say to you is that holiness in the world needs to begin in our home, moving from our homes to our community, from our community to our nation, from our nation to the world. There will come a day in which the holiness of God will suffuse the entire world, and this planet will be transformed into a suitable dwelling for the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. But in the meantime, we can participate in and foreshadow that great day by permitting the holiness of God to come and suffuse our homes. Imagine the transformation if we set aside a day of the week to be dedicated exclusively unto the Lord. How might our situations change if we regularly practiced a holy time of ceasing from material concerns, labors, and preoccupations? What impact would a weekly time for focusing on the Lord have on the institution of the family, on our children, on our congregations? I often wonder how much better off we would all be if we still observed a seventh day of rest. That was lost with the disconnect from our Jewish, covenant roots. The ideal of the Sabbath is to allow the peace and harmony of the holiness of God to become manifest in the world. May it be so in your home and in my home.
* This is an audio transcript, listen to the original message here.
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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.
Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.
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