shabbat and creation

Genesis 2:1-3 and why the sabbath has been with us since the beginning …

This is a repost from my myspace blog. I want to move some key posts over as I transfer my attention to this blog.

I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I know a lot of sabbath-keepers try to do that, and I was never convinced by it either ;) So please see the following as just some good info because I do love G-d and His sabbath.

Do you mind if I go through some Scripture and ideas here to illustrate why the Sabbath day came from Creation?

One account of the 10 commandments is in Exodus 20:

8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

It seems from this section of the 10 commandments that the Sabbath day was made holy and blessed before the commandments were written down.

To further ilustrate this, let’s look way back at the Creation account:

Genesis 2
2:1
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2:2
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
2:3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

So there we see that from the beginning, G-d set one day apart from the others for His glory.

I was looking around the internet at this time and I started reading a paper on the history of the Jewish/Christian views of the sabbath… I hope you don’t mind me quoting it, but I got a lot out of one section and I think it’s a really neat look into the language used in this creation account.

here’s the link: creation-sabbath.html

Twice Genesis 2:2-3 states that God “rested” on the seventh day from all His work. The Hebrew verb shabat, translated “rested,” denotes cessation and not relaxation. The latter idea is expressed by the Hebrew verb nuah, which is used in Exodus 20:11, where the divine rest fulfills an anthropological function: it serves as a model for human rest. In Genesis 2:2-3, however, the divine rest has a cosmological function. It serves to explain that God, as Karl Barth puts it:

“[God] was content to be the Creator of this particular creation . . . He had no occasion to proceed to further creations. He needed no further creations.”

To acknowledge this fact, God stopped.
Genesis 2:3 affirms that the Creator “blessed” (brk) the seventh day just as He had blessed animals and man on the previous day (Genesis 1:22, 28). Divine blessings in the Scripture are not merely “good wishes,” but assurance of fruitfulness, prosperity, and a happy and abundant life (Ps. 133:3). In terms of the seventh day, it means that God has promised to make the Sabbath a beneficial and vitalizing power through which human life is enriched and renewed. In Exodus 20:11 the blessing of the creation seventh day is explicitly linked with the weekly Sabbath.

Genesis 2:3 also affirms that the Creator “hallowed” (R.V., R.S.V.) the seventh day, “made it holy” (N.E.B., N.A.B.), or “sanctified it” (N.A.S.B.). Both here and in the Sabbath commandment (Ex 20:11) the Hebrew text uses the verb qiddes (piel), from the root qds, holy. In Hebrew the basic meaning of “holy” or “holiness” is “separation” for holy use.

In terms of the Sabbath, its holiness consists in God’s separation of this day from the six working days. The holiness of the Sabbath stems not from man’s keeping it, but from God’s choice of the seventh day to be a channel through which human beings can experience more freely and fully the awareness of His sanctifying presence in their lives.

The great importance of the creation-Sabbath in the Old Testament is indicated by the fact that it provides the theological motivation for the commandment to observe the seventh day (Ex 20:11) and the theological justification for serving as a covenant sign between God and Israel (Ex 31:17). The theological reasons given for the command to observe the seventh day Sabbath “to the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:10) is “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Ex 20:11).

The creation Sabbath serves also as “a sign” of the covenant relationship between God and His people: “It is a sign for ever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed” (Ex 31:17). The covenant is God’s commitment to save His people. “The Lord your God is God: He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands” (Deut 7:7-9).
The function of a sign is to point to something beyond itself. As a covenant sign, the Sabbath points to creation, redemption, and final restoration. The Sabbath points back to creation by reassuring us that this world with all its human and subhuman creation came into existence, not in an imperfect way by chance, but in a perfect way by choice, the choice of a living, loving Creator. (Gen 2:2-3; Ex 20:8,11; 31:17). The Sabbath points to redemption by reassuring us, not only of the perfection of God’s original creation, but also of the completion of redemption (John 19:31). As a sign of the everlasting covenant the Sabbath point also to the future restoration, to the rest that remains for the people of God (Heb 4:9). Thus, the Sabbath stands as the sign of the everlasting covenant links together creation, redemption and final restoration.

Wow that was long. I’m sorry! I just found it to be fascinating. the part about it being a sign pointing to redemption and restoration… it really helps tie in the Messiah Jesus into the whole topic. I hope you see that too :)

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