The Seventh Day & Creation

Genesis 2:2-3:
By the seventh day God completed 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 it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

By God here means God in His Triune capacity, FOR, AS HAS BEEN WELL SAID, God the FATHER created the matter, God the SON took the matter and made the worlds and all that exists upon them, and then God the HOLY SPIRIT breathed the “Breath of Life” into the things that have life. John 1:1-3, Eph 3:9, Col. 1:12-16. God rested because His work was finished. That is the only justifiable reason for resting. God rested because His work was not only finished but was GOOD. There could be no reflection upon it. But when God’s perfect work was marred by sin, by the “Fall of Man,” His “Sabbath Rest” was broken. As soon as man fell it was necessary for God to resume His work, this time not to continue the creation of material things, but for the purpose of the redemption of man that he might become a “NEW CREATION” in Christ Jesus. 2 Cor. 5:17. So Jesus, in explaining His mission said "My Father is working until now [in creation], and I Myself am working [now in REDEMPTION]." John 5:17.

In Gen. 2:1-3, we are simply told that God rested from His work of creating on the ‘SEVENTH Day.” The Day is not called a SABBATH Day. We are told that God BLESSED and SANCTIFIED it. That is, set it apart as a REST DAY. We are not told the length of the “SEVENTH Day” of the Creative Week, but it should have corresponded with the length of the other days, if sin had not shortened it.

If God instituted the “Sabbath” before the “Fall of Man,” it seems strange that the fact is not recorded in Genesis, and that Adam was not told to observe it. Nowhere in the Book of Genesis do we read of Adam, or any of his descendants, or Noah, or Abraham observing the Sabbath. The only hint we have of a “seven-fold” division of days is found in Gen. 7:4, 10, when seven days of grace were granted before the Flood came, and in Gen. 8:8-12, where a seven-day period elapsed between the sending forth of the dove. The first place we read of the Sabbath is in Ex. 16:23-26, in connection with the gathering of the manna -- Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none."  Here we have the “SEVENTH” day designated as “THE SABBATH.” That the “Seventh Day” of the “Creative Week” was a type of the Sabbath is clear from Ex. 20:11 – “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” But we have no evidence that the Sabbath was commanded to be observed until after the Exodus, and the reason is clear. God’s “Rest Day” was broken by the “Fall of Man,” and there could be no “rest” until redemption was brought in, and this was typically brought in by the redemption of the Children of Israel from Egypt through the offering of the “Passover Lamb,” a type of Christ. The purpose of their deliverance was that they might find rest in Canaan from the weary toil and slavery of Egypt. Deu. 5:15.

When a few weeks later the “Ten Commandments” were given on Mt. Sinai the Lord said to Israel, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” (Ex. 20:8), the Sabbath Day they were to remember was not the “Seventh Day” on which God rested, but the “Day” that God had appointed as the “Sabbath Day” at the time of the giving of the manna.

The command to observe the Sabbath was given to Israel EXCLUSIVELY. It was not given to the Gentiles. It was given to Israel as the “SIGN” of the “Mosaic Covenant.” “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My Sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations.” Ex. 31:13; Ezek. 20:12, 19-21. The Sabbath Day then belongs to the Jews alone and is not binding on the Gentiles (the world), or on the Church (Christians). Nowhere in the Bible do you find God finding fault with any nation or people, except the Jewish nation, for not observing the Sabbath. As a Jewish ordinance it has never been abrogated, changed, or transferred to any other day of the week, or to any other people. It is now in abeyance as foretold in Hosea 2:11 it would be. It is to be resumed when the Jews are nationally restored to their own land. Isa. 66:23. Ezek. 44:24; 46:1-3.

If this be true, then the “Sabbath’ does not belong to the Church, and is not to be observed by Christians, for the “Sabbath Day” is a part of “THE LAW,” and Christians are nut under “LAW,” but under “GRACE.” Rom 6:14. In his letter to the Galatian Christians Paul reproved them for going back to the “Law,” and declared that those who did so were “under the CURSE.” Gal 3:10. “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days [Sabbath and Feast Days] and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.” Gal. 4:9-11. Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath dayCol. 2:16. If Christians are under obligation to keep the “Jewish Sabbath,” then they are under the Jewish “Ceremonial Law” and should observe all the ordinances and Feast Days of the Jewish Ritual.

As an institution of Judaism, the Sabbath, with all the “Feast Days” and other ritualistic ceremonies and offerings of Judaism, ceased to function with the close of the Jewish Dispensation. The JEWISH Sabbath was not changed to the CHRISTIAN Sabbath, any more than “Circumcision” was changed to “Baptism.” There is no such thing as the “CHRISTIAN Sabbath.” “Sabbath” has to do with LAW, and “Christian” with GRACE, and to join “LAW” and “GRACE” is to unite what God has forever separated.

After the Resurrection, Christ and His Disciples never met on the “Sabbath” but on the “FIRST DAY of the week.” John 20:1, 19. Acts 20:7. 1 Cor. 16:2. It is true that they went into the Jewish Synagogues on the Sabbath, but not to worship, but that they might have opportunity to preach the Gospel. The “First Day of the Week” is the day to be observed for rest and worship by the Christian Church. It is prefigured in the Old Testament as the “EIGHTH DAY,” or the “DAY AFTER THE SABBATH.” “You shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.  'He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.’” Lev. 23:10-11. What did that “First Fruits” typify? Read 1 Cor. 15:20But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” When did Christ rise from the dead and become the “FIRST FRUITS?” Not on the “Sabbath,” for He lay dead in the tomb on that day, but on the “FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK,” on the “DAY AFTER THE SABBATH.” 

The fact that the “Birthday” of the Church was at Pentecost, and that fell on the “First Day of the Week,” is further proof that the Church should keep the “First Day of the Week” and not the “Seventh” day or “SABBATH.”

The Jewish Sabbath links man with the “Old Dispensation,” the “First Day of the Week” links man with the “New.” It is claimed that the Roman Catholic Church changed the day of rest from the “Seventh Day” to the “First Day of the Week,” but the claim is false, for the Papacy did not exist until a long time after the “First Day of the Week” had become a fixed day for Christian worship. It is a noteworthy fact that the whole of the “Ten Commandments” (Ex. 20:1-17) are reaffirmed in the New Testament, except the “Fourth Commandment” regarding the Sabbath. Rom. 13:8-10, Eph. 6:1-2, James 5:12, 1 John 5:21. Why this omission if the Law of the “Sabbath” is still in force? It is called the “LORD’S DAY.” It belongs to Him. It is not called a “rest day” in the Bible. It is a day that should be filled with worship and service and holy activity. It is not a day to be spent in laziness or pleasure, or the giving of sacred concerts and the discussion of worldly betterment schemes, but a day for the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. 

       (Taken from Dispensational Truth, Clarence Larkin, 1918, pp. 29, 31. Scripture quotations updated to NASB.)

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