Embraced  by  Truth . . .
                                    reflections on theology and life

THEOLOGY > God > Work of Creation > The Seventh Day > Instituted by God 


 “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Gen. 2:1-2). On the seventh day God rested (Heb., sabat). Of course, God did not rest because He was weary and needed time to recoup. In fact, the work that God accomplished did not involve the expenditure of any energy (see: Elohim: The Creator and The God of Creation). Creation work did not tax God, for His work was sudden and without effort. Creation was merely the manifestation of God’s thought, an eternally invisible thought that became visible at the moment of Creation.

His symbolic rest, however, is not without meaning and significance. The picture of rest is not an insight into the essence of God, but rather serves as a model for the man that God created. Man needs rest, and God observed the first rest in order that man might follow His example and rest.

The word “Sabbath” comes from the verb, shabbat, which means “to rest, “to cease,” or “to desist.” Upon completion of His work of Creation, God ceased from His work; thus, the Sabbath originated with God. He observed the first rest and established the rest that He expected His Creation to imitate. He worked and then He rested, teaching and setting the example that rest follows work.

But there is to be more work than rest. Work took six days and the rest was for one day. Man is not to be idle; he is to be a worker for six days. And if a man does not work, he is not to eat (II Thess. 3:10).

The Scriptures state that God “blessed the seventh day and sanctified it” (Gen. 2:3). Equally the blessing and the sanctifying was the work of God. In this is seen the compassion and care of God for his Creation, especially man. Consider these two words: “blessed” and “sanctified.”

“Blessed” conveys the idea of giving; God gave the day of rest and gave, or “blessed,” it for man. In support of Genesis Jesus states: “The Sabbath was made for man” (Mk. 2:27). The meaning is that the Sabbath serves man; it was given to man and was given for man by the Creator of man.

“Sanctified” involves the concept of setting apart. The Sabbath was set apart from the rest of the week and was to be a day that was different. There was distinctiveness about the Sabbath that separated it from the other six days of the week; it was a “sanctified” day, a unique day, for God declared the day holy.

Both Cain and Abel knew of this day; surely, they had seen their parents observe the day and had been told of God’s instruction concerning proper conduct on the seventh day. Evidently, both also knew that worship was associated with the rest that God had ordained. For each one brought an offering to the Lord “in the process of time” (Gen. 4:3). Literally, the text reads: “at the end of days,” obviously a reference to the end of the week.

Prior to the giving of the Ten Commandments, reference to the Sabbath was made by God in connection with His provision of the manna for the nation before its arrival at Sinai: God informed them that He would give manna only on the first six days of the week and that none would be given on the seventh day (Ex. 16:22-30). The people were expected to collect enough on the sixth day for that day and for the seventh day. These instructions anticipated the command that would later be given at Sinai, and no doubt they were consistent with the teaching that had been handed down by the faithful since Creation and were known by the descendants of Abraham.

In these two instances, Cain and Abel and the manna, there are indications that the Sabbath day practice was actually observed from the time of Creation, and also was observed before the Ten Commandments were given. That which God had instituted was being observed by those who took seriously His commands before the giving of the Law at Sinai.

Return to The Seventh Day; Next Article: Sign of the Sabbath

For overview of THEOLOGY, see: Site Map - Theology
Copyright © Embraced by Truth
All rights reserved.
Materials may be freely copied for personal and academic use;
appropriate reference must be made to this site.
Links are invited.