Havdalah: BREAKING BREAD TOGETHER
It was NOT on ‘Sunday’, and it was NOT ‘new’. And it was NOT the beginning of ‘house churches’ and the replacement of public assembly, since the word ‘church’ didn’t even exist back then. The noun ‘church’ replaced the idea of ‘congregation.’ A congregation must ‘assemble’ at the appointed times [Heb 4, 10]. People today are ‘forsaking the assembling together’ both in form and in function.
The Talmidim and ALL the first believers worshipped in the Temple [Acts 2:46], because they were Jewish, and still lived and walked as TORAH OBSERVANT Jews. [Acts 21:20]
Those who were not in Yerushalayim met in the city’s Synagogue on Shabbat, with Jews who did not as yet believe, and then ‘gathered to break bread’ on what is called “Motza’ei Shabbat,” the ‘departure of the Sabbath’, to have a ceremony called Havdalah, the lighting of lamps/torches to acknowledge the end of Shabbat and to begin the week [on Saturday night, the BIBLICAL start of the week.]
“And at the beginning of the week, when we gathered to BREAK BREAD, Pavlos declared to them, and because he was going to leave the next day, he prolonged his speech until midnight. Now there was a great glow of light from the lapidot [lamps, Havdalah ‘torches’] in the upper chamber where we were gathered together ”
This was NOT a ‘new’ practice among Jews. This was and is still the Jewish way of ending the Sabbath. It was time to pray, sing, and carry the joy of Shabbat into the coming week. The custom is/was also to begin to take care of the physical/earthly needs of the congregation. We see all of this in Acts 2:46, 20:1-8, and even in 1 Cor 16:2.
Meeting in the Synagogue or Temple and then breaking bread at home at the end of Sabbath went on in Israel well into the second century. The Messianic Jews did NOT divide from the unbelieving Jews. In Israel, it was after the Bar-Kokhba rebellion [@150AD] that unbelieving Jews resented Messianic Jews and Gentiles worshipping in their midst, because they would not accept Bar Khokhba as Messiah because Yeshua is Messiah. It was THEN that they pushed the Messianic community out, in Israel, and wrote into the 18 benedictions number 12, and forced them to worship elsewhere [12 was the actual 19th benediction to condemn Messianic people, the Rabbis using sleight of hand and cunning to make people, even today, think it was part of the original 18 by putting it in spot 12]. But, in the rest of the known world, TRUE believers did NOT divide from standard Judaism, even up until AFTER Constantine forced the division himself with the spirit of Anti Messiah, forcing Jews out of the NEW ‘church’, the institutionalized government agency, moving the Passover and the Sabbath, and abrogating the Torah. History shows us that even after this, the REAL believers, Jews AND Gentiles, continued to worship on the Sabbath, to keep Pesakh, and the rest of the feasts, WITH JEWS, and to reject the new three-headed god of modern Christianity, even choosing to die for their conviction to be faithful to the ORIGINAL form of worship.
Today there is a false move, even among “Messianics,” and I loathe that they use that moniker, to create ‘home churches,’ thinking that corporate worship is a relic. Did fourth century believers have to hide and meet in homes and other edifices? Yes. Did SOME earlier ‘believers’ forsake the Sabbath for ‘sun-day,’ and turn from Jewish forms of worship? Yes. [They’re famous, and honored today as ‘founders,’ but not by me]. Did that surprise Elohim? NO! Was it the will of G-d that they do these things, as most today think/teach, going against the very plain and simple meaning of His Torah, His Word, just because the majority of people eventually did it? NO! No more than it was the will of G-d that all of “Christian” Germany and Europe assist Hitler in attempting to wipe out our Jewish people. “Do NOT follow a multitude into SIN.”
It is indeed sin to break the Sabbath, even IF the reason one does it is because they think they are doing ‘divine obedience’ on a different day or in a ‘new’ way, “god is doing a new thing.” Baloney. Yeshua is the same, YESTERDAY, TODAY, and FOREVER. Sometimes it is not possible and or it is impractical for a believing community to ‘have a building’, and so, for a season, they must meet in a home or other venue. But this should NOT be at the expense of the Sabbath and His appointed times, and it should NOT be a dismissal of the system G-D HIMSELF put in place!
Yisra’el had synagogues, ‘houses of assembly,’ going way back, long before Yeshua showed up. They would meet there on Shabbat. They would have weddings there. They used the ‘edifice’ also as a “Yeshiva,” a place where students learned to read and write FROM TORAH. They had ‘town hall’ meetings there. They all went to Jerusalem for the appointed feasts. But the “Beit K’nesset”, the house of assembly, or ‘synagogue,’ was central to the town/village community. Jewish people even built these in gentile cities, as soon as there were enough Jews in their city to support it; as soon as they out-grew their homes as an assembly.
They did NOT, however, forsake breaking bread together at home! And neither does a true “Messianic.” We just had a Havdalah extraordinaire! We had a HUGE ‘Tex-Mex’ feast, singing, FELLOWSHIP, Torah discussion, JOY, and then the Havdalah ceremony, to mark the end of Shabbat and begin the week, and finally, prayer for our community and it’s known spiritual and physical needs. And the ‘teaching,’ even though done informally, continued past midnight, just like Acts 20. Were it not for coffee, I probably would have been the one to fall out the window, except we were in the Yard.
People with seemingly good intentions, who may actually understand who Messiah is, read into the scriptures what they want to read, many times. And today’s average believer simply accepts what they were born into, or what they are taught by people who were born into error. Sha’ul clearly gave the Gentile community JEWISH TRADITIONS. [1 Cor 11:2, 2 Thess 2:15, 3:6 ] He taught them THE TORAH. [Acts 19:10] Even if one does not want the Hebrew language or ‘feel’ because there are no Jews in their congregation, that does not mean they should cast off the seventh day, His Sabbath, altogether. These same people will ‘say’ that they believe the whole Bible, but cannot ‘hear’ G-d, when HE says this:
“Thus says יהוה , ‘Keep justice, and do tzedaka; for My Salvation [Yeshua] is near to come, and My favor to be revealed. Happy is the man that does this, and the son of man that holds fast by it: that keeps Shabbat, by not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the foreigner that has joined himself to יהוה speak, saying, ‘ יהוה will surely separate me from His people’…..
The word there for ‘separate me’ is ‘yavdilani’. When the whole community is SUPPOSED to be dividing light from darkness with Havdalah [the same word as ‘yavdilani,’ meaning to ‘separate,’ to ‘make a distinction’] people are instead DIVIDING from the Jewish root of the faith, Messiah Yeshua and His followers, who observed this very important custom that teaches us the difference between ‘set apart’ and ‘blended in’.
There is to be NO DISTINCTION between Jews and Gentiles who believe in Messiah Yeshua, and the Gentile is to understand that the Jewish ROOT of the faith is what supports him! NOT the other way around. “And if SOME of the branches were cut off, and you, who are a branch of a wild olive tree, have been grafted in THEIR place, and you have become a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree [Jews], do NOT boast over the branches [Jews]. For if you boast, it is not you who sustains the root, but the root sustains you.” Rom 11
In these last days, Elohim truly is calling HIS PEOPLE out of false doctrine. But, don’t jump out of one and into another. Search the SCRIPTURES and understand HIS HEART. Elohim is ONE, and Yisra’el is ONE.