Christian Churches of God
Preparing for the Sabbath
(Edition 5.0 19991208-20080127-20091117-20110503-20010518)
The sixth day of the week, now termed Juma’ah in Islam, has become a holy day in its own right to the neglect of the Sabbath. Judaism has only partly understood it and Trinitarian Christianity ignores it. The preparation for the Sabbath and the Sabbath Day are enshrined in biblical Law and the Koran (Qur’an). What does it mean? What are the Fires on the Sabbath? How are they related to the Day of Congregation or Juma’ah?
The Juma’ah: Preparing for the Sabbath
Note: Muhammad is the name for the church.
Ahmed refers to the Holy Spirit.
The prophet's name was Qasim (termed Muhammad)
The preparation day of the Sabbath, the day known in the West by its pagan name, Friday, is called yaum (Yom) al Juma’ah in Islam. In Indonesia and Malaysia it is Hari Juma’at. It is a very important part of and preparation for the Sabbath and it has been neglected in Judaism and Christianity, and misunderstood in Islam.
It has a major significance in prophecy and will be examined prophetically once its physical aspects have been expounded. The Juma’ah is a major aspect of the Sabbath system, and the preparation to be made on this day is integral to the Sabbath itself and looks forward to the coming of the Messiah.
Indeed, the possibility cannot be overlooked that the term Juma’ah or Congregation has itself been misused in the application of the terminology originally used by the Prophet. Congregation may well have been on the afternoon for the time of the evening sacrifice for the Sabbath to begin and the congregation to commence.
The Fourth Commandment
Exodus 20:8-11 "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; 11 for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. (RSV)
Exodus 20:8-11, and specifically verses 9-10, forbids work on the Sabbath. The fact that the priests worked on the Sabbath and that ministers work on the Sabbath does not cancel this command. They perform their duties in accordance with the other legislation that is part of the sub-ordinances that are concerned with the Fourth Commandment.
In dealing with this concept of the Sabbath and its application to both Islam and Trinitarian Christianity there is a story that is more easily understood by Africans than by those people in the West. It is a simple story.
There was a king who had ten sons and he was going away and he asked his prime minister to look after his ten sons. The prime minister agreed to do that and he looked after the ten sons. But he thought the fourth son did not look like the king so he removed him and put his own son in his place and sent the fourth son out to work in the fields. When the king returned he asked to see his sons and he recognised that the fourth son was not his son and he asked where his fourth son was. The prime minister said that he did not look like the king so he replaced him. The king was very angry with the prime minister and he had him removed from his kingdom and exiled with his son.
That is a very simple story and easily understood. The king is God and the ten sons are the ten commandments. The fourth son is the Sabbath, the fourth commandment, and the prime minister is a church and Islam. The churches and Islam are in charge and they added the false days.
That story can be extended to both Islam and Trinitarian Christianity because they have both taken the king’s fourth son and banished him to the field, and both work on the day of the Sabbath and they have substituted their own unauthorised day in place of the Sabbath. Any person with any sense of logic can understand that. That is what the churches have done and that is what Islam has done to the Bible and the commandments of the Living God.
The importance of keeping the Sabbath holy – not breaking the Sabbath by working – was the last instruction given to Moses before the tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them were handed to him. It is a sign of the covenant and the Laws of God working within His people.
Exodus 31:12-18 And the LORD said to Moses, 13 "Say to the people of Israel, `You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; every one who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign for ever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.'" 18 And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. (RSV emphasis added)
Keeping the Sabbath holy includes assembling ourselves together, as taught by the Apostle Paul:
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (RSV emphasis added).
Congregating on the Sabbath is commanded by God in Leviticus:
Leviticus 23:1-3 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Say to the people of Israel, The appointed feasts of the LORD which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, my appointed feasts, are these. 3 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings. (RSV emphasis added)
The Hebrew word for convocations is migra, meaning a calling (together), according to Young’s Analytical Concordance. Migra is the Hebrew word used in Leviticus 23:4-44 for all the holy convocations commanded for the High Sabbaths also.
To help His people keep the Sabbath holy, God gave them the sixth day as preparation day. He commanded the Juma’ah or Preparation Day.
The Preparation Day Command
Exodus 16:1-21 They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, 3 and said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily." 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, "At evening you shall know that it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your murmurings against the LORD. For what are we, that you murmur against us?" 8 And Moses said, "When the LORD gives you in the evening flesh to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the LORD has heard your murmurings which you murmur against him -- what are we? Your murmurings are not against us but against the LORD." 9 And Moses said to Aaron, "Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, `Come near before the LORD, for he has heard your murmurings.'" 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11 And the LORD said to Moses, 12 "I have heard the murmurings of the people of Israel; say to them, `At twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'" 13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning dew lay round about the camp. 14 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as hoarfrost on the ground. 15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: `Gather of it, every man of you, as much as he can eat; you shall take an omer apiece, according to the number of the persons whom each of you has in his tent.'" 17 And the people of Israel did so; they gathered, some more, some less. 18 But when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to what he could eat. 19 And Moses said to them, "Let no man leave any of it till the morning." 20 But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. 21 Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted. (RSV)
Note the next comment on the preparation.
Exodus 16:22-30 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers apiece; and when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 he said to them, "This is what the LORD has commanded: `Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay by to be kept till the morning.'" 24 So they laid it by till the morning, as Moses bade them; and it did not become foul, and there were no worms in it. 25 Moses said, "Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a sabbath, there will be none." 27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. 28 And the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 See! The LORD has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days; remain every man of you in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. (RSV emphasis added)
In His instructions for the Preparation Day, God uses general food preparation as the example of the secular work not to be done on the Sabbath. General food preparation, such as baking and seething or boiling for the Sabbath, is to be done on the sixth day of preparation. This is evident above and as follows.
Exodus 16:5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily (KJV).
Exodus 16:22-23 And it came to pass that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning (KJV).
Exodus 16 gives instruction that the food for the Sabbath is to be gathered and is to be prepared – including the cooking – on the sixth day, the day of preparation. Gathering or preparing of food on the Sabbath is to be confined to the matters laid down by legislation, as expounded below.
In Exodus 22:23, Moses says that the Lord commanded that the baking and boiling of the double portion be done on the sixth day. The Pharisees overdid the command to gather no food on the Sabbath through their tradition (Mat. 12:2). They equated Christ’s eating of grain directly from the stalk to the gathering of food.
Matthew 12:1-8 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. 3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. (KJV)
Christ referred here to the priests, who profaned the Law in the Temple and were blameless. They lit fires and prepared food and sacrifices on every Sabbath and Holy Day, as we see below.
In the same way, the Law provides for a person to gather food in a field with his hands. He may not use a sickle, but is entitled to gather food in necessitous circumstances for his own use. Christ did that on the Sabbath and was sinless. In other words, the Pharisees’ interpretation of the Law was in error, and they did not understand that fact because their relationship with God was impaired.
In this text, the correct understanding of the Law is given. Where possible, all preparation is to be made for baking and boiling in general food preparation on the day prior to the Sabbath, the sixth day of the week known as the Juma'ah or Friday from the pagans.
In the Scriptures given above, God gives His instruction for the preparation day. In these texts it is stated as being the sixth day, and they are told to prepare double portions. This sixth-day instruction from God included instruction for the baking and boiling of the food gathered that day.
The day Christ was sacrificed was the most important preparation day of the year. This was the Fourteenth day of the First month; it was the day preceding the Passover, the first high Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.
Matthew 27:62-64 Next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that imposter said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore order the sepulchre to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first (RSV).”
Mark 15:42-43 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus (RSV).
Luke 23:54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. (Greek: was dawning)
John 19:14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour.
John 19:31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (RSV)
John 19:42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there (RSV).
Christ was the Passover prepared on that day of Preparation – our Passover and our Unleavened Bread.
John 6:45-51 It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." (RSV)
This text shows that the understanding of the Law comes from the Holy Spirit and not through the self-righteous application of the Law, as we saw with the Pharisees. The application of the Law regarding the preparation of food and the lighting of fires without reference to the other texts on the matter, leads to a bizarre and distorted view of the Law. This view imputes sin to Christ as we saw above, and leaves people sitting in dark rooms on the Sabbath, eating cold food.
Fire on the Sabbath
Exodus 35:3 Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. (KJV)
This text has caused a deal of confusion and resulted in people not lighting fires for heating or cooking on the Sabbath. The term for fires (SHD 784) in this case is generic and is the same used for fires generally.
However, the Law demands that fires are lit on the Sabbath in the Temple and that the Passover lamb is cooked and eaten in all dwellings throughout Israel on the evening of the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread (Ex.12:1-9, esp. vv. 6-9).
Exodus 12:6-9 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. (KJV)
This is to be: roast with fire.
The text in Deuteronomy 16:5-7 shows that the Passover ordinance was reversed after the first Passover – where it was inside the homes in Egypt – to where it had to be outside the homes when we were placed in our inheritance.
Deuteronomy 16:5-7 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents. (KJV)
Thus it might be argued that the fire was not kindled in the dwellings. However, the fires for the Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days in the cooking of the Terumah offerings – the offerings made to the Prince for the provision of meat on the festivals – was done by order, and is contained in Ezekiel 45:16-17 and also from Ezekiel 45:18-25. The offerings were consumed in Israel.
Ezekiel 45:16-17 All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. 17 And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel. (KJV)
Thus, all of Israel was commanded to participate and to provide sufficient to the Prince to ensure the sacrifice offerings for the populace, so that all may receive, regardless of their income on each Sabbath, New Moon and Holy Day.
Thus the lighting of fires on the Sabbath and New Moons and Holy Days was not only permitted, it was also mandatory. There is no contradiction in the Laws of God. There is thus an explanation to the apparent problem and the answer lies in Exodus 35:4ff.
The text then goes on to explain the construction of the Tabernacle. The first three verses of Exodus 35 concern the Sabbath and the working week. The purpose is clear from the context. The fires are working fires and they relate to the construction of any work or edifice, even the Tabernacle of God. No construction or working artifice, or construction or moulding by fire, may take place on the Sabbath Day.
Distinction in Food Preparation
The requirements are thus that all food preparation is to take place on the preparation day but roasting of meat portions may take place on the Sabbath or Holy Days and is required to be performed by Law, by the officers of the prince and the temple.
This then also does not then affect the lighting of fires for heating, which is necessary for survival in many parts of the earth. Where such is required the preparation day is to be used for the gathering of wood, as the gathering of wood for fuel and cooking is also expressly forbidden. It was for this reason that Christ ate the raw grain in the field on the Sabbath (Mat. 12:2). The punishment for gathering on the Sabbath is death. Hence any work of this nature on the Sabbath is a breach of the Law and places one in the second resurrection and subject to the second death.
Numbers 15:32-36 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. 33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. 34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. 35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. 36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses. (KJV).
The man was stoned for gathering the sticks on the Sabbath and not for cooking or attempting to cook on the Sabbath. Thus the preparation work must be done beforehand and the actual roasting may be done in sacrifice and offerings and for the Sabbath festivities, but the baking and seething or stewing and general preparations must be done on the preparation day or before.
Simply boiling water to make tea or for rice etc. or for washing up is not seething and is not only permissible but is also required for basic hygiene and was conducted in the Temple.
The Jubilee System
This view of the provision and preparation for the Sabbath system extends over the entire Jubilee period and takes up even to treble harvests in the year before the seventh Sabbath of the Jubilee. In that year, God provides for the following two Holy Years.
Leviticus 25:18-22 "Therefore you shall do my statutes, and keep my ordinances and perform them; so you will dwell in the land securely. 19 The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill, and dwell in it securely. 20 And if you say, `What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?' 21 I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, so that it will bring forth fruit for three years. 22 When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating old produce; until the ninth year, when its produce comes in, you shall eat the old. (RSV emphasis added)
This process occurs every seven-year cycle on the sixth year and a double portion is given, but on the sixth year before the Jubilee we see the treble harvest is promised. In the Jubilee year, named here as the eighth year of the cycle, planting is permitted after Atonement for the harvest from Passover of the ninth year.
God pours out physical blessings on Israel when they obey His commands. He blesses spiritual Israel that walks in His ways with greater knowledge and understanding, and power in the Holy Spirit.
The Juma’ah in prophecy
The Preparation Day looks forward to the coming of the Messiah.
The Bible tells us that the millennial system of the reign of Christ and the Saints is to be for a thousand years. This period was to come at the end of the six thousand-year period of the rule of the god of this world (cf. 2Cor. 4:4).
Revelation 20:1-6 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (KJV)
Prophetically this period of a thousand years is equated with the ‘day of rest in Jesus Christ’ and enshrined in the week as the Sabbath.
Peter tells us that a day is but a thousand years unto the Lord (2Pet. 3:8).
2Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (KJV)
Thus, in this sense, the period in the afternoon on the preparation day, which is used for the preparation for the Sabbath, is actually the final period in the six thousand years for the preparation for and the Advent of the Messiah. In this period of prophecy, we see the subjugation of the planet to Messiah, prior to the actual commencement of the Millennium as the ‘Sabbath rest of God in Christ’.
This is the yaum al Juma’ah, which has become so central to Islam. They have lost sight of its relevance to the Sabbath and its place in prophecy, and separated it from and elevated it above the Sabbath, contrary to the Law of God.
They begin the period with a special recital at midday on the sixth day of the week at the mosque, where attendance is compulsory among male freemen.
At this recital, a special khotbah or sermon precedes the salat or prayer of two rak’ahs or prostrations. The special or double prostrations were originally reserved by the Prophet for the Sabbath day and not for the period of the sixth day, Friday, now called the Juma’ah (see also the paper The Sabbath in the Qur’an (No. 274)).
The practice of holding a special service on the sixth day of the week allegedly dates from the time the Arabian Prophet was at Medina, but the divergences and developments were from much later times (cf. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ERE), Vol. 10, p. 893).
The Qur'an, at Surah 62 Juma’ah (Congregation), enjoins this practice on Islam. The statement is that when Islam is summoned to Juma’ah prayers, they are to hasten to the remembrance of Allah and cease trading. This is a reference to the fact that in the afternoon of Friday all trading ceased and people prepared for the Sabbath. The more cunning of later Islam directed this to the afternoon of the sixth day alone, and abandoned the Sabbath.
Christianity replaced the seventh-day Sabbath and made the first day of the week (known as Sunday) their Sabbath, a practice firmly established by Zoroaster in Persia from the eighth century BCE.
The Prophet warned them clearly, at Surah 62:5, that those to whom the burden of the Torah was committed yet refused to bear it are like a donkey laden with books. Despite that warning, Hadithic Islam abandoned the Torah and the Sabbath enshrined in it. Instead of heeding the Prophet, they ignored him and kept trading, not only on the sixth day – which they termed Juma’ah – but also on the Sabbath, which he was trying to protect. He makes this point at Surah 62:11, that no sooner do they see merchandise or merriment they flock to it leaving him (you) standing all alone. Dawood holds the you here refers to the Prophet termed Muhammad, but only because it would destroy their case if it referred to Messiah and the spiritual realm. The text is in fact a restatement of the words of the Prophet Amos in Amos 8:5.
Amos 8:4-6 Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, 5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? 6 That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat? (KJV)
He is certainly referring to the Jews and their trading in this text. He can only be referring to the complete preparation period and the Sabbath. It is absurd to suggest that the Prophet established the Friday afternoon to replace the Sabbath, when he elevates the Torah and the Scriptures in the same text. The preparation period for the Sabbath, now known as the Juma’ah, is enshrined in the Torah, as we see above. All men must be given time to prepare for the Sabbath, which is the true Day of Congregation or yaum al Juma’ah.
The fact of the matter is that the Friday afternoon assembly was used long before the Arabian Prophet and the name of the day was reportedly given it by one of the Prophet’s ancestors (cf. ERE, ibid., p. 894).
The term juma’ah came to be used in place of the term al ‘arubah known from the Talmudic references to the preparation eve for the Sabbath (cf. ibid.). Thus Hadithic Islam came to change the emphasis from the preparation for the Sabbath to a separate system of worship that was not envisioned or sanctioned by the Prophet and the Qur'an. Christianity moved from the Sabbath to Sunday using similar reasoning.
Sale lists the authorities that claim that the Prophet attempted to set aside the Sabbath, apparently on the non-biblical grounds that:
Moses himself wished to set aside Friday as the sacred day, but that the Jews insisted on keeping the Sabbath day, because on that day God rested from the work of creation, ‘for which reason they were commanded to keep the day they had chosen in the strictest manner.’ (ERE, ibid.)
This fanciful view leaves God, His Law, and the Angel of the Presence at Sinai completely out of the picture. It negates the very thrust of the words of the Prophet in the Qur’an, and is both anti-Islam and anti-Scripture. This bizarre reasoning was followed by the even more fanciful view that somehow the Sabbath was lost and Friday is the true Sabbath lost by the Jews, due to the decline of the sun in Israel’s history.
The Prophet said of the Sabbath in his Surah 4, Women, which was written to the Jews as people of the Scriptures and to the Trinitarians as prophecy from God:
But God has cursed them by reason of their infidelity; therefore a few of them only shall believe O ye to whom the Scriptures have been given, believe in the revelation which we have sent down, confirming that which is with you; before we deface your countenances, and render them as the back parts thereof, or curse them, as we cursed those who transgressed on the Sabbath day; and the command of God was fulfilled. Surely God will not pardon the giving him an equal, but will pardon any other sin…. (Sale, The Koran, London, F. Warne and Co., p. 59).
This clear text was directed at the people who were following Trinitarianism. In the point regarding the transgressing of the Sabbath, it has been rendered by Arberry as cursed them as we cursed the Sabbath-men, thus concealing the real intent of the curse which was for their transgression of the Sabbath (A.J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted, Oxford, 1964). Dawood shows that it is specifically directed at Sabbath-breakers (N.J. Dawood, The Koran, Penguin, 1983, p. 371). It seems there are vested interests on both sides aimed at preventing the understanding of the Sabbath both in Islam and Christianity.
In relation to the concept of the Sabbath rest after the creation, the Prophet clearly says that God then (after the work of creation) mounted the throne (Surah 7:54; 10:4; 32:4-5).
Surah 50:15,38 shows that there was no exhaustion involved. God rested as a matter of His will.
The emphasis of the Sixth day or Friday stems from the Mishkat ul Masabih, allegedly on the authority of the Prophet (Bk. 4, chs. 14, 43) (cf. ERE, op. cit.).
Goldziher suggests that Parsi influence may have had its share in the rejection of the Sabbath and Margoliouth (ERE, ibid.) suggests that if this is so then the Babylonian ideas powerful in Arabia may have had a part. In any case, the Qur’an clearly supports the Sabbath and Torah.
The eschatological intent of the preparation period al ’arubah, now called Juma’ah by Islam, regarding the resurrection is contained in Surah 62:6-8.
Biblically, this period covers the Last Days and the build-up to Messiah and the subjugation of the nations. It has the same significance in the week as the period from the Feast of Trumpets up to the Day of Atonement has for the Feast periods in the year.
All Islam is duty bound to provide, each week, from the afternoon on the sixth day of the week to end of day on the seventh day or Sabbath, a work-free period to its entire people. Failure to do so results in penalty in the resurrection, as they are in breach of the Torah and the Qur’an.
We are obligated to prepare for the Sabbath on the sixth day. Through adequate preparation we are all enabled to partake in the Sabbath-rest of God, and we are enabled to keep the Sabbath holy. When our Father gave His preparation day and Sabbath commands, He was clearing the way for us to follow Him. If we obey His words and do not pursue our own “pleasures” (which does include our own work) on the Sabbath, we can come to know the only True God and His Christ, which is eternal life (Jn. 17:3).
When we use the day of preparation, looking forward to the Sabbath as a time with God away from the world, we are more likely to put aside our own concerns, and over-concerns, about worldly matters when Sabbath arrives. As we assemble ourselves together on the Sabbath and are taught by the Word of God, like Mary we have “chosen the good portion.”
Luke 10:38-42 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." 41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; 42 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." (RSV)
With adequate preparation, we are able to partake of the Sabbath properly and to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit.