How often we hear the phrase, the “old Jewish Sabbath.” Yet Scripture is clear that the Sabbath existed long before there were any Jewish people. Its origin is found in the Creation week itself.
Look up Genesis 2:2-3 and Exodus 20:11. Where do they clearly, and unambiguously, place the origin of the Sabbath?
Although Genesis 2:2-3 does not identify the “seventh day” as the Sabbath (this identification comes first in Exodus 16:26, Exodus 16:29), it is clearly suggested in the phrase “he rested on the seventh day” (Genesis 2:2). The word rested (Hebrew, shabat) is related to the noun Sabbath (Hebrew, shabbat). “The word ‘sabbath’ is not employed [in Genesis 2:2-3], but it is certain that the author meant to assert that God blessed and hallowed the seventh day as the Sabbath.” — G. F. Waterman, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975), vol. 5, p. 183. Evidently, Genesis 2:2-3 teaches the divine origin and institution of the Sabbath as a day of blessing for all humanity.
Read Mark 2:27. Jesus says that Sabbath was made for, literally, “man,” meaning humanity as a whole, as opposed to the Jews alone. Why would God Himself rest on the seventh day? Did He need it? What other purpose might His resting have served?
Although some commentators have suggested that God needed physical rest after Creation, the true purpose for God’s resting was to provide a divine Example for humanity. Humankind also is to work for six days and then to rest on the seventh-day Sabbath. Theologian Karl Barth suggested that God’s resting at the end of Creation was a part of the “covenant of grace,” in which humankind was invited “to rest with Him … to participate in [God’s] rest.” — Church Dogmatics, vol. 3, part 1 (Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark Ltd., 1958), p. 98.
God in His love called the man and the woman on the day after their creation to fellowship in rest, to establish intimate communion with Him, in whose image they had been made. That fellowship and communion was to last forever. Since the fall of humankind, it has offered a weekly high point of one’s life with the Savior.
|If someone were to ask you, How has keeping the Sabbath benefited your relationship with the Lord, how would you respond?|