1.0 The Statement
Genesis Chapter 2 introduces a series of “firsts” that are important to us if we want to build our lives on the basics God has put into His Creation:
- 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) – Genesis 2:2 (NKJV) “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.” God Himself does not need the “7th Day Rest” but He instituted it for His Creation (Mankind). Also, the “7th Day Rest” (Sabbath) is one of the three Institutions that were established by God for all Humanity.
- Work – God instituted Work – Genesis 2:15 (NKJV) “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”
- Marriage – God instituted and conducted the first marriage in the Garden of Eden – Genesis 2:22-23a (NKJV) “Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
These three Institutions (7th Day Rest; Work; and Marriage) were instituted before the entrance of Sin (Genesis Chapter 3), and therefore, are part of God’s Design for all people.
1.1 The Creation Principles
The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is an institution established by God at Creation or “a Creation Ordinance” – Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “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. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
- Sabbath (7th Day Rest) – The word “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word “Shabbat” which means “to cease working, to rest” and is related to the Hebrew word for “seven;” the “seventh-day” is mentioned three times in Genesis 2:2-3.
- Rest-Day – The 7th day was God’s instituted “Rest-Day” (Sabbath) – Genesis 2:2-3” And He rested on the seventh day…….He rested from all His works.” This is the first Sabbath (7th Day Rest); God does not need rest – Isaiah 40:28b (NKJV) “The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.” Therefore, Sabbath (7th Day Rest) was created for us – Mark 2:27 (NKJV) “And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” The Principle is that God not only ordained work (Genesis 2:15) but also rest (Genesis 2:2-3).
- Day of Grace – The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is in “the period of grace” that is, 2,500 years before the institution of the Mosaic Law (Ten Commandments).
- Day of Setting-Apart – The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is a special day because God sanctified (“set-apart; makes Holy”). God sanctified (set-apart) the 7th Day (Sabbath) for special purpose. God marked out the Seven-day Week and set aside one day for Himself, not that He needed rest but for Humanity.
- Day of Blessing – “The Rest” instituted by God in the Creative Week is a fundamental need of Humanity – Genesis 2:3a (NKJV) “Then God blessed the seventh day;” that God blesses the Sabbath (7th Day Rest) – Genesis 2:3a (NKJV) “Then God blessed the seventh day.” The very act of God blessing the 7th Day of Creation signifies “a particularly mysterious gracious turning towards His Creation” (Gerhard Von Rad, “Old Testament Theology,” Vol.1. 147). God’s blessings included economic prosperity, strength, a fruitful yield and tranquility and safety in our family and Nation, as shown in God’s Promise to the Nation of Israel based on the Sabbatical Law (Leviticus 25:18-22).
- Day of Celebration –The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is the climax of the Creative Week, and God takes great delight in His Work with the commendation “it was good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25), for the other aspects of Creation and “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31), in the culmination of His Creation – The word “good” (Heb: “tob”) means “it is a joy and a delight.” The Universe as God’s Handiwork is a joy and delight as borne out in the experience of the “Person’s Wisdom,” personified in Proverbs 8:22-31, as the Craftsman in the Creation of the Universe – The joy of creating and the joy of existence – “God, the Maker and man, the Creator’s delight” – “Then I was beside Him as the Master Craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:30-31, NKJV).
- God & Man in Partnership – Not only does God enjoy His Creation (Genesis 2:2-3), He pronounces a day on which man may also join Him in finding joy and delight in His Works, as shown Psalm 92, which is a devotion to 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) Celebration – Title: “A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day,” expresses rapturous praise to God for “the works” of God’s Hands (Psalm 92:4), which refers to the Creation.
- Important of Being – Adam and his wife were created on the 6th Day of Creation – Genesis 1:27-31 (NKJV) “So God created man in His own image; in the Image of God, He created him; male and female He created them…….Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
- Adam and his wife experienced REST on the first day of their existence as God rested on the Seventh Day of the Creative-Week – Genesis1:31b & Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 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. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” God the Creator shares His rest, freedom and joy with Adam and his wife on the 7th Rest Day (Sabbath).
- In this respect, God communicates to Humanity that “being” is more important than “doing” (work), even though work is important, because work comes later in Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (NKJV).
- Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish Theologian states, “that man is not created as a beast of burden who is merely encouraged to rest in order to enhance the efficiency of his work” (Abraham Joshua Heschel, “The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man,” pg.14). God’s Act in Genesis 2:2-3 implies that the Person should be free from striving for happiness through performance and achievement (work & prosperity) as an end in them!
- The culture of today encourages “doing & achieving” over “being” because the culture measures the Person’s worth by his achievement and rise in Corporate Ladder, whereas God values and celebrates over the Person and Life, instituting “REST” in His Creative Week (Genesis 2:2-3).
- God, in instituting the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath), in a real sense, the Person’s enjoyment of God is far more important than his accomplishment for God, as work for Adam was introduced later in Genesis 2:15, seen in respect of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) in God’s Creative Week (Genesis 2:2-3).
- David is called “a man after God’s heart” (1Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22b) expresses this intimacy of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) with God in Psalm 27:4(NKJV) “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple;” & Psalm 84:2(NKJV) “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” David’s relationship with God is never in the utilitarian (functional) mode but in intimacy, the intention of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) of Genesis 2:2-3(NKJV) “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. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (= set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
- Refreshed – In Exodus 31:17, God explains the reason for His own Rest at Creation, not that God needed Rest, but it is revealed for our sake – “On the Seventh Day He (God) rested, and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:17, KJV).
- The word “refreshed” (Heb: “napas”) means “to breathe freely” and according to Abraham Joshua Heschel, the Jewish Theologian, the word “refreshed” means “a soul:” the implication is that without rest, man works like “a soulless” machine and even a machine does break down.
- Rejuvenating – The word “refreshed” also means “rejuvenated” – Cessation from regular work once a week has an all-important function of rejuvenating the Person, bringing restoration of life and health. There is a need for us to take a break once a week in order to be refreshed and to gain new perspectives.
- The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is a day of “detaching” from things and the practical affairs of life, and an “attaching” to our Creator, God.
- Weekly Cycle – The Weekly Cycle of 6 days of work followed by a day of rest was set in place by God Himself – Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “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. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (= set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” This “Seven-day-Cycle” in God’s Creative Principle is the Universal Reality in the Calendars world-wide. God blesses and set-apart (“sanctified”) the 7th Day Rest (Genesis 2:2-3), and He (God) intended the 7th Day to be set apart in special way as the Day of Rest for all people. And since we are made in God’s Image (Genesis 2:27), it is reasonable that all People should emulate God by working six days and rested on the 7th Day. Thus, the “Sabbath-observance” (7th Day Rest) is based on Divine Principle of Genesis 2:2-3.
To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..