Do not Light a Fire on the Sabbath

Some Christians oppose the Sabbath Commandment because they believe it is a burden and one reason is because they say you cannot light a fire on the Sabbath and that a man was stoned for picking up sticks on this day. I can understand why some may think this and you have to know scripture well to understand that you can kindle a fire on this day for the right reasons.

Here is the main verse in contention and below is what Adam Clarke's Commentary commented in regards to this verse. Exodus 35:3You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day.

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A., (1715-1832)
Exodus 35:3 Ye shall kindle no fire - The Jews understand this precept as forbidding the kindling of fire only for the purpose of doing work or dressing victuals; but to give them light and heat, they judge it lawful to light a fire on the Sabbath day,

The remainder of the issue relates to verses like Numbers 15:32 where a man was stoned for gathering sticks to light a fire. Note that being cut off meant to be put to death. With that in mind, read the rest of this passage surrounding Numbers 15:32 and note that it was only those who deliberately sinned that were stoned and that it applied to wilfully breaking any of the Ten Commandments. Compare the Good News Bible with the King James on verses 30-31 in regards to being “cut off” for further confirmation that this phrase means being put to death. So we know this man was sinning wilfully and doing something that he did not need to do.No fire on the Sabbath

This man gathering sticks was not doing so because he was cold or needed to do so for some other Biblical requirement and you may ask how do I know this. It is known by lining up this incident with other scripture.

For example and there are many that could be given from both the Old and New Testament. In Mark chapter two we find more than one issue relating to the Sabbath and one of the main ones here is the Pharisees accusing Jesus of breaking the Sabbath because He and His disciples were picking corn in the field for lunch. Jesus replied to them that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:27) So what did Jesus mean by this? Quite simply, Jesus was just stating that the Sabbath was made to be a blessing to mankind and not a burden. Careful study of the New Testament reveals that the priority is always the well being of man and even that of animals. The Sabbath is not a blessing if one has to go hungry and it is not a blessing if we have to freeze to death or if we are sick and cannot have a doctor come and care for us or heal us.

Can I prove this from scripture? Quite easily. Jesus said it is lawful to do well on this day such as healing the sick or pulling an animal out of a hole it had fallen in. (Matthew 12:10-12) And in Mark 2:25 we read, “Have you never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungered?” Did you notice that Jesus used the words “When he had need?” Things of necessity are lawful to do on the Sabbath and eating is a necessity and why it was lawful for David to do what he did. And if you are cold or freezing in the wilderness then lighting a fire to keep warm would not be breaking the Commandment either since that would be a necessity. Scripture constantly shows that things that were necessary for the Lord's work or for our well being in any way and even that of an injured animal such as one stuck in a pit is perfectly acceptable to do on His Sabbath. God promised that in keeping this day that we would be blessed and sitting around cold or unable to eat or cook your food is not a blessing. God loves and cares for us and would never want us to suffer by keeping His day holy.

Note from the following three points that this day is to be a blessing and not a burden:

  1. Human needs are more important than human traditions or ritual requirements. (Matthew 12:3-4, Matthew 12:10-12)
  2. The work performed in connection with the Temple service is in keeping with the requirements of the Commandment. (Matthew 12:5)
  3. Christ is greater than the Temple (Matthew 12:6) or the Sabbath day. (Matthew 12:8)

So we find that lighting a fire under the right circumstances is perfectly acceptable. See also stoned for working on the Sabbath and the Sabbath was made for man meaning for detailed information.