I recently saw some Facebook “armchair teacher" twisting the last few words of Leviticus 23:3 into being “proof” that it’s wrong to attend a congregation on Shabbat because Scripture supposedly tells us that "nobody should leave their homes on Shabbat."
Those who actually read AND study Scripture can immediately recognize false teachings; and they could have easily figured out that this person based their "teaching" on only the last four words of that one sentence!
Let's take a look at the context:
Leviticus 23:3 "'Work is to be done on six days; but the seventh day is a Shabbat of complete rest, a holy convocation; you are not to do any kind of work; it is a Shabbat for ADONAI, even in your homes. (CJB)
The words “even in your homes” does NOT imply we cannot or should not attend a congregation! Indeed, the weekly Shabbat is specifically identified as a day of holy convocation!
The dictionary tells us that a convocation is (1) a large formal assembly of people, or (2) the action of calling people together for a large formal assembly, etc. This modern definition of convocation is completely in line with the original Hebrew “mik’ra’ei” which refers to something “called out” as in “a meeting”, “a gathering”, or “an assembly”.
Sure, we can have a holy convocation in our homes, but in biblical times, people didn't own a Torah scroll, couldn’t read and needed someone to TEACH Torah, which certainly couldn’t be accomplished by a teacher or a few teachers going into hundreds of separate homes on Shabbat!
And excuse me if I’m wrong, but my Bible says that Yeshua taught in synagogues on Shabbat (Luke 4:15). If it was good enough for him, it should be good enough for us, and no “Facebook scholar” has a right to suggest otherwise!
This person also asked (with great authority!): "Are we not defiling Sabbath when we travel and spend for transportation? That's still buying and selling, right? Think about it."
SIGH! Okay, I've THOUGHT about it: First, your "buying and selling" problem is solved if you fill up your gas tank BEFORE Shabbat. And if you need to travel by bus or train, buy your tickets in advance. (If this is the only way to have like-minded fellowship on Shabbat, then the ONLY options available to you are to (1) take public transportation; (2) hitch a ride with someone from the synagogue who lives close enough to you; (3) rent a place closer to the congregation so you can walk; or (4) stay home. It's a real dilemma, and YHWH knows that...)
One thing to remember on Shabbat is to NOT go out to eat at a restaurant after the service because, you'll not only be guilty of committing commerce, but also of causing others to work directly for you. (See Exodus 20:10; Nehemiah 13:15-22; Ezekiel 20:12) It doesn't matter that "they" aren't Torah observant; YOU are!
People in biblical times lived in close proximity, close enough to walk to synagogue. Try walking across a major city today, to attend a congregation! If you live in rural America, you could be 100 miles or more from any formal congregations. We need to realize and admit that we live in an ungodly, Torah-less world where we sometimes have to make a few modifications to do the things YHWH asks of us. Driving to synagogue (or taking public transportation) happens to be among them.
Trying to be high-browed and legalistic about the Word (especially when the idea is spawned by nothing more than personal opinion derived from sentence fragments in Scripture!) is only going to prevent others from bothering to learn and grow and fellowship with like-minded people!
Luke 11:52 "Woe to you Torah experts! For you have taken away the key of knowledge! Not only did you yourselves not go in, you also have stopped those who were trying to enter!” (CJB)