Author Topic: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?  (Read 1984 times)

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Offline Trumpeter

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Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« on: Sat Mar 09, 2013 - 21:59:18 »
Exodus 35:2-3 Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.

For those studying the commandments of God with a desire to apply its truth, not forsake it, this commandment can often result in some understandable confusion. Quite often we witness the House of Judah (Jews) applying this commandment in certain circumstances and in such a way that appears rather extreme. On the flip side, those in mainstream Christianity witness and study what orthodox Jews have done with this verse, and immediately demand the same application from anyone teaching obedience to all of God’s commandments. Sadly, this is often done in order to supposedly prove the futility of applying God’s commandments for today. Thus, why rest on the Sabbath as God commanded (as if rest no longer benefits us)?

It all can quickly become a mess. Such error becomes an obstacle for mainstream Christians in understanding the whole truth of the Word. Likewise, it is also often an obstacle for the House of Judah (Jews) as a doctrinal distraction from the true intent, purpose, and wonderful joy of the Sabbath that has been given to us. Some of the traditional “Jewish” practices as it relates to Exodus 35:3 would appear rather odd to many. How can we or do we make sense of this?

Some of those odd practices include only using special elevators that do not create a spark, the refusing to drive cars, or the avoiding many other such things that can be even loosely interpreted involving a fire on the Sabbath. While it must be admitted that such restraint and prohibitions are certainly affording parameter guidelines that prevent the breaking of this commandment in the literal or even beyond, at the same time the entire point and obedience to this commandment is simply being missed. In reality, that can become the larger issue.

We should consider the teachings of our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) in Mark 7:5-16. We certainly do not want to add or subtract from the Law of God (Deuteronomy 4:2), however nor do we want to invent traditions that replace the intent and purpose of the Law of God (Mark 7:5-16). There is an interpretive balance that requires us to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15), meaning there is also a wrong way to divide the truth. The Word of God is certainly sharper than a two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), but sometimes our personal doctrines can really dull and dilute the truth. However, those who really desire to worship in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24) and obey the truth (Romans 2:8) will seek these things out.

Sometimes in our studies we forget the inclusion of context in our hermeneutics to assist in establishing correct understanding and application of God’s Word.

Why would God not want us to light a fire on the Sabbath?

This is a simple question, but offers profound interpretive benefit in hermeneutical application. In verse three we find the fire is not to be “kindled” in the “dwellings.” Does this mean that if I am in a forest in the middle of nowhere, away from any “dwellings,” that I can create a fire? Technically, the answer is yes, if I already have my wood and I am not working to collect all of my firewood to create the fire (Numbers 15:32-36).

We can only conclude that there must be a reason why God is focusing on the “dwellings” of those during this time period as it relates to “kindling a fire.”

What purpose did the fires in the “dwellings” serve as opposed to any random fire one might kindle?

The telling difference is embedded in the intent and purpose of the commandment, established in the prior verse.

Exodus 35:2-3 Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.

The fire we are to not kindle is a fire related to work in some way. Thus, it is not necessarily the fire itself that is the issue, as some make it out to be. This explains the difference between the focus on “kindling a fire” in “dwellings” and not simply just anywhere. This begins to speak to what effort it takes to prepare and produce the fire, or what the fire is intended to serve, which is daily work.

In the Middle East thousands of years ago, a fire was a central element to facilitate much of the daily work activity. Cooking, cleaning, tool and supply production, are all examples of daily work that required fire. The type of fire God is referring to is a fire to support working. Not only was it a burden of work to prepare for that fire (thus do any such activity before or after the Sabbath) but the fire in context is also intended to serve the working person. This means that one who creates a fire on the Sabbath is intending to work. This is the relationship between fire and work God defines in the context that occurred in the “dwellings.” This commandment would have been correctly interpreted in this way by those intended to receive it when Moses delivered it. Should we ignore that, or apply that?

Those who are all caught up in commandments of men and believe they are to not push a button or turn on a switch may or may not have their heart in the right place, but are certainly missing the intended message God is speaking to regarding this commandment. God is simply stating to not only rest on the day He created for rest, but to not even prepare for or think of work. There are principles we can take from this commandment and also apply to our modern circumstances. Each believer should consider these things in their walk. For those who believe there is no modern application here have given this matter little thought in our work saturated daily lives and busy minds.

Presumably, when the prohibition was presented, kindling fire was indeed "work." Starting a fire was not as simple as flipping a lighter today or pushing a button. Nor is creating fire today intended (quite often) to serve our daily work. Some cultures today still use fire as the central need for daily work. We need to examine and apply these things through the eyes of the Giver and receiver of the commandment, not whatever interpretive glasses we are wearing at the time. Every Bible scholar should agree with such a statement.

There is a mainstream practical usage of fire today that is not related to work and was not present in the context of Exodus 35:2-3. More often than not, simply keeping warm in colder climates comes to mind as such an example. In such circumstances, applying Exodus 35:2-3 today as intended would mean having one’s preparation for a fire done before the Sabbath, and then using the fire to keep a household warm, but not for daily work. The obvious critical difference to recognize and ask as it relates to Exodus 35:2-3 is this; is the fire intended and used for work? How that question is answered defines the type of fire and thus enabling the correct application of Exodus 35:2-3.

If this was not the case, are we to believe that those in the first century talking and studying to the wee hours of the morning during weekly Shabbat fellowship were not using candles? Does that not include lighting a fire? Were they all sitting around in the dark?

The context of Exodus 35:2-3 is related to work activity, or simply not resting, unless we want to ignore the verse prior to verse three.

“Kindling a fire” meant something in the context it was given. Can it not be agreed that we should practice the commandment as it was given?

The conclusion of the matter is this. We should not work to create a fire that is intended to support more work. That is the only way the commandment could have been interpreted when it was given. Such an interpretation completely makes sense given the whole point of the Sabbath itself.

So the question becomes this:

Should we apply the commandment as it was intended to be interpreted or should we apply it how our culture would interpret it? Should the interpretations of the commandments of God change based on every new generation, or should we interpret them through the generation in which they were given? Should interpretation be based on the culture of the reader or the culture of those present and living when the text was given?

Hopefully these questions expose the common sense that we should use in our hermeneutics. This is not as complicated as some have made it out to be. Some actually do desire this commandment to be that complicated because they love their “traditions of the fathers” (Mark 7). Some even want this commandment to be that complicated to use it as an excuse to abandon the Sabbath rest that was made for us.

The reality is that it is not that complicated. We are to rest, not work. This is for our benefit. We are to not work, nor consume ourselves with preparing or thinking about work on His set-apart (holy) day. Why would we want to? We might just find that focusing on God (the Word) instead of traditions of men or things of the world just happens to resonate well with our spirit. If something about ignoring the daily burdens of the world and entering into the weekly freedom of spending time with God and His family is frightening to us, then we have more complex issues to address rather than simple matters of obedience.

I pray that this study was a blessing to you.

http://q.b5z.net/i/u/10105283/f/FAQ_-_Exodus_35-3_-_No_Fire_on_the_Sabbath.pdf

Offline gbzone

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #1 on: Sun Mar 10, 2013 - 05:33:23 »
It seems that a lot of churches have taken this too literally  for there is little or no fire  in them.

Even the Salvation army  whos motto is blood and fire . Have indeed kept the blood. But seem to have lost the fire.

The the thing that struck Moses  and made him turn aside from what he ahd been doing for the last 40 years  was a bush that was burning ( a common  occurance) but was not consumed.
The uncommon event provoked the thought I will. turn aside and see this thing then  produced the action.
and when God saw that he turned  aside God spoke to him out of the midst of the burning bush.

The bush was not God.
and God was not the bush.
But a normal and simple bush was what God used  to speak to Moses.

Because I change not said the Lord of jacob you are not consumed.

I am a consuming fire says the Lord.
I think we fear the fire  because we like our bonds too much.
When Those men were cast into the feiry furnace in babylon  the only thing they lost was thier cords that bound them.
What they gained was of far more worth.

I count all these things as dung that i may win Christ said one.

If there is not fire in the pulpit. There is not fire  in the church.
and if there is not fire in the chruch
then  no one will turn aside and see this strange sight
and if men do not turn to God .God will not turn to them

Turn me oh God  said another.

A church that  uses the world  to attract the world .Will have to use the world to keep it.

A church  on fire with the presence of God will be as a beacon set on a hill.

in CHrist
gerald

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #2 on: Sun Mar 10, 2013 - 06:26:52 »
[
« Last Edit: Tue Mar 26, 2013 - 09:34:54 by Jimmy »

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #2 on: Sun Mar 10, 2013 - 06:26:52 »

Offline John 8:32

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #3 on: Mon Mar 11, 2013 - 14:08:37 »
Trumpeter has this correct, the intent is not to kindle a fire to do customary work.  The context of Ex 35 is work being done on the Temple.  They were not to kindle a fire to work even on the Temple.  Preparation of food is allowed on the Sabbath...

Exo 12:16  And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.

Now if that invovled heavy labor, the heavy labor was to be done on the day before...

Exo 16:23  And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

You should not roast an ox on the Sabbath, but frying an egg is a completely different circumstance.

Now, just to make sure we are all on the same page, who was it that gave Ex 35:3 to Moses?

1Co 10:1  Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
1Co 10:2  And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1Co 10:3  And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
1Co 10:4  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

It was not the Father...

Joh 5:37  And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

Christ was the author of this law, so how do you see Christ?  As one who would have you starve in the cold on the Sabbath?

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #3 on: Mon Mar 11, 2013 - 14:08:37 »

Offline mjrhealth

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #4 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 03:44:49 »
The Jews who keep teh law cannot even start there cars on teh sabbath, because the ignition requires a fire. Its a good thing I am rested in Christ everyday, and keep everyday holy to Him, mostly.

In all His Love

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #4 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 03:44:49 »



Offline John 8:32

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #5 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 06:22:22 »
The Jews who keep teh law cannot even start there cars on teh sabbath, because the ignition requires a fire. Its a good thing I am rested in Christ everyday, and keep everyday holy to Him, mostly.

In all His Love

And this directive comes from the Pharisees, whom Christ roundly condemned for binding burdens on the people.

By the way, if you rest every day, when do you work?

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #5 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 06:22:22 »

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #6 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 07:21:33 »
[
« Last Edit: Tue Mar 26, 2013 - 09:25:19 by Jimmy »

Offline John 8:32

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #7 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 07:46:30 »
Trumpeter has this correct, the intent is not to kindle a fire to do customary work. 

Do you even know what it means to "kindle" a fire?  It does not mean they could have a fire going.  It means that they were not to light a fire.  If the fire went out, they were to leave it out until the sabbath ended.

No, it means they were not to kindle a fire to do any work on the Tabernacle...

Exo 35:1  And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the LORD hath commanded, that ye should do them.
Exo 35:2  Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.
Exo 35:3  Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

Then continue to see the context...

Exo 35:4  And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying,
Exo 35:5  Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass,
Exo 35:6  And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,
Exo 35:7  And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,
Exo 35:8  And oil for the light, and spices for anointing oil, and for the sweet incense,
continued...

Work needed to prepe meals on the Sabbath was acceptable...

Exo 12:16  And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.


Offline Trumpeter

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #8 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 07:48:48 »
The Jews who keep teh law cannot even start there cars on teh sabbath, because the ignition requires a fire. Its a good thing I am rested in Christ everyday, and keep everyday holy to Him, mostly.

In all His Love

And this directive comes from the Pharisees, whom Christ roundly condemned for binding burdens on the people.

By the way, if you rest every day, when do you work?
This is what I keep asking.

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #8 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 07:48:48 »

Offline MeMyself

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #9 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 08:52:27 »
The Jews who keep teh law cannot even start there cars on teh sabbath, because the ignition requires a fire. Its a good thing I am rested in Christ everyday, and keep everyday holy to Him, mostly.

In all His Love

And this directive comes from the Pharisees, whom Christ roundly condemned for binding burdens on the people.

By the way, if you rest every day, when do you work?
This is what I keep asking.

The resting is knowing that Christ's work is finished, complete and nothing we do need be added to please the Father.

We obey Him because we love Him, and want to glorify Him.
We do not do it to remain right with Him...Christ's work does that for us.

Offline chosenone

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #10 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 09:09:16 »
The Jews who keep teh law cannot even start there cars on teh sabbath, because the ignition requires a fire. Its a good thing I am rested in Christ everyday, and keep everyday holy to Him, mostly.

In all His Love

And this directive comes from the Pharisees, whom Christ roundly condemned for binding burdens on the people.

By the way, if you rest every day, when do you work?
This is what I keep asking.

The resting is knowing that Christ's work is finished, complete and nothing we do need be added to please the Father.

We obey Him because we love Him, and want to glorify Him.
We do not do it to remain right with Him...Christ's work does that for us.


True rest and peace is not lack of activity or work, but rest in what Jesus has done, and in our total security and acceptance in Him. Something that the Jewish law keepers never had, and still dont. Poor things. We are so so blessed.

Offline DaveW

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #11 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 10:07:14 »
From the tikkun Book of Mitzvot ( a new covenant look at the 613 Torah commands)

Quote
I would be remiss not to mention that the Rabbinical understanding of what constitutes work includes things that are creative, the reason being that when God rested on the seventh day, He rested from "creating." That is why the rabbis forbid Sabbath activities that include writing, composing, and making fire by merely rotating the gas jet on a stove; making fire is considered creative.

http://www.tikkunamerica.org/halachah/D001.php

Offline John 8:32

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #12 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 12:56:21 »
From the tikkun Book of Mitzvot ( a new covenant look at the 613 Torah commands)

Quote
I would be remiss not to mention that the Rabbinical understanding of what constitutes work includes things that are creative, the reason being that when God rested on the seventh day, He rested from "creating." That is why the rabbis forbid Sabbath activities that include writing, composing, and making fire by merely rotating the gas jet on a stove; making fire is considered creative.

http://www.tikkunamerica.org/halachah/D001.php


Let's see how well the Rabbis understood what God intended.  Most consider it OK to have a Gentile light a fire for them, for a Gentile to do certain labors they will not do.  What does God say?

Exo 20:10  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

So much for their wisdom.
« Last Edit: Wed Mar 13, 2013 - 07:54:05 by John 8:32 »

Offline DaveW

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #13 on: Tue Mar 12, 2013 - 13:01:58 »
I agree on that one.  The whole idea of the "shabbos goy" to me is terrible.

Offline 3 Resurrections

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Re: Exodus 35:3 – No Fire on the Sabbath?
« Reply #14 on: Fri Jun 23, 2017 - 13:56:48 »
If it's true that "...the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ...", then even this portion of the law forbidding the Israelites to kindle a fire in their dwellings on the Sabbath is a lesson that points to Christ.  Actually, EVERYTHING in the law was a picture-type in one way or another of Christ's attributes and / or His redemptive work on our behalf.

This portion of the law is no exception.  As Trumpeter already brought out above, the emphasis in this prohibition against kindling a fire on the Sabbath was to restrict productive labor or work on that day of REST. 

In the practical sense of things, men and animals are much more efficient when one day of rest in the week is allowed for "recharging their batteries", so to speak.  But God intended a bit more of a lesson than simply providing a day of physical rest for our natural bodies.  There is a message about our salvation in this day of rest where absolutely no productive work was allowed - not even the gathering of sticks on the Sabbath according to that story of the man stoned for this offense in Numbers 15:32-36.

There is a reason God made a stern example of punishment for that man's seemingly minor infraction of God's law.  If God had allowed that Israelite man's minor infraction of gathering sticks on the Sabbath to pass without consequences, it would have ruined the picture portraying how our works-free salvation is given to us - a message that He intended all future generations to see. 

In the New Testament, Christ is set forth as the embodiment of REST for His people.  As chosenone and MeMyself above have pointed out, we REST in His finished redemptive work on our behalf - work which we could not possibly have shared in to redeem ourselves in the sight of a God of purity and justice. 

In Hebrews 4:3, it says that "...we which have believed do enter into rest..."  And then in Hebrews 4:10, "For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath CEASED FROM HIS OWN WORKS, as God did from His" (on the 7th day of creation week).  Even the belief mentioned in this verse is actually God's handiwork according to John 6:29, "...THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD, that ye believe on Him who He hath sent."  Our salvation is a hands-free operation performed by God alone, and this Exodus 35:3 Old Testament law provides the perfect illustration of this fact.

The total restriction on men doing productive work on the Sabbath under Old Covenant law was a picture designed to show us that our state of REST in the salvation provided for us by Christ cannot be acquired or contributed to by a single voluntary, productive action of our own; not even the slightest exertion on our part.

The same restriction on man's works was also repeated in the Old Testament when it came to the construction of an altar for burnt offerings and peace offerings.  The altar was to be made of earth or of whole stones that had not been hewn or altered in any way, "for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it" (Exodus 20:25).  Even with the best intentions, the efforts we think will contribute to God's plans will end up having a polluting effect on the process.

As Christ once said in Mark 2:27, "THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN, NOT MAN FOR THE SABBATH."  If the blessing of Sabbath rest was made FOR MAN, then that means mankind contributes absolutely no labor to gain this gift of rest in the salvation God designed for us.  It was never God's plan for mankind to be made to work for his Sabbath rest.