Three Sabbaths Every Week in Israel?
Zion Gate: Jerusalem, Israel
It’s true! In Israel, you’ll find Moslems worshiping on Friday, Jews on Saturday and Christians on Sunday. Someone said, “How convenient! You can choose which Sabbath you’d like to break!” In December 1972, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrote a letter to Mormon leaders in Jerusalem, approving Saturday Sabbath observance in Israel, (subsequently including Friday observance, in Islamic countries).
I remember one venerable member of the Quorum of the Twelve having ministered to the Amman, Jordan Branch members on a Friday, crossed the Allenby Bridge into Israel that afternoon, and worshiped with the Jerusalem, Israel Branch on Saturday, then, left for Nicosia, Cyprus to share a devotional Sunday with the Saints there. Later, on his next anticipated visit to Israel, I was thinking, should I ask, “Remember those three Sabbaths in a row, did you take the next two off?” I didn’t ask!
You’ll find Moslems sharing a tradition that Adam was created on a Friday. Some explain; Islam is one of three Abrahamic religions. Jews first, Christians next, and Islam the third. So, they say, in the resurrection (they believe in an after-life,) Moslems will be the first to enter Paradise, Christians next, and Jews last!
The Jews have three explanations of Sabbath:
- Remember the Creation. “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested . . .” (Exodus 31:13-17)
- Remember Deliverance from Egypt. “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand . . . therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5:14-15)
- Anticipate the Atonement. “So important is Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) . . . calling it the “Sabbath of Sabbaths.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
Jesus Christ, The Saviors Atonement
The Saviors Atonement:
The Jews commemorate the Sabbath with two blessings; first, with taking a sip of wine (or juice, or water), second, partaking of broken bread. The prayers include a remembrance of the past, with an anticipated future, even greater, deliverance, than from Egypt.
In this sense, it is a chiasmas, a reversal; for the Jews, ‘wine and bread’ in anticipation, and Christians, ‘bread and wine,’ in remembrance. The center point is the Savior’s atonement, which began in Gethsemane with bleeding from every pore, (symbolized by wine) and then followed by giving his body, (symbolized by broken bread).
The LDS sacramental prayers state, “. . . That they may do it in remembrance . . .” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:79)
To those who truly believe in the Messiah, the Sabbath day commemorates the greatest deliverance eternity will ever know. That memory could be a ‘Sabbath part’ of every day.