Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Genesis 2:1-3 -- A Sabbath Rest

When I started this blog, I had a goal of getting through at least one chapter in the Bible a day. Well, it is day 4 of my blog and I'm just now on chapter 2 in Genesis!

Genesis 2:1 So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.

After God created all of creation, he rested. He set apart the seventh day has holy. He rested from all his work on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Jews also set apart the seventh day (called the Sabbath) and kept it holy and rested from their work. There were many laws about the Sabbath and what was considered work and what was not. In fact, the 4th commandment that God gave to Moses reads as follows:

Exodus 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. 11 For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

 The Bible also gives strict punishment for breaking the Sabbath.

Exodus 31:12 The Lord said to Moses: 13 “Tell the Israelites: You must observe My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am Yahweh who sets you apart. 14 Observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. Whoever profanes it must be put to death. If anyone does work on it, that person must be cut off from his people. 15 Work may be done for six days, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who does work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. 16 The Israelites must observe the Sabbath, celebrating it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign forever between Me and the Israelites, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”

Anyone who works on the Sabbath shall be put to death. Does this mean we too must observe the Sabbath as they did in the Old Testament?

Mark 2:23 On the Sabbath He was going through the grainfields, and His disciples began to make their way picking some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 He said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry— 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the sacred bread—which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests—and also gave some to his companions?” 27 Then He told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

The Sabbath was made for man. It is a blessing from God to have the Sabbath. A time of rest of our toils and labors on this earth. For the Jew, that rest was on the seventh day of each week since that is what the Lord commanded of them. For us, our Sabbath rest is found in Christ.  For those outside of Christ, there will be no rest.

Revelation 14:9 And a third angel followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb, 11 and the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or anyone who receives the mark of his name. 12 This demands the perseverance of the saints, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus.” 
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: The dead who die in the Lord from now on are blessed.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!”

Our rest in Christ is two-fold.  We find rest and comfort in him now on the earth.  We may even set aside a day (whether it be Saturday or Sunday or some other day) to rest from our earthly work and focus on the Lord, however there is also a day coming when we will have complete rest in Christ.  We will be in the presents of God and will no longer have the toils and trials of the earth to worry us.  Our rest will be complete and perfect in the new heavens and the new earth.

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