christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

the seventh day of rest

Previously: sabbath a gift of grace

In the Scriptures, the Sabbath day was always the seventh day:

“Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day. Exo 16:26-30

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Exo 20:8-11

Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed. Exo 23:12

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’” Exo 31:12-17

“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.” Exo 34:21

“Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.” Exo 35:2

“Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.” Lev 23:3

“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” Deu 5:12-15

For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works;” Heb 4:4

In fact a friend and I were talking about this recently. She asked me if I thought that resting on Sunday, the first day, was good enough to fulfill the command.

ME: “If you are resting on Sunday already, why not just make a few adjustments and rest on Saturday instead?”

HER: “Well, it says in Hebrews that there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, so I do agree that we should rest one day a week; but nowhere does it say it has to be on the seventh day.”

ME: “It says all over the Bible that the Sabbath day is the seventh day, and also, that the seventh day is the day of rest! In fact it says that the Sabbath day is the seventh day more times than it says we should rest or do no work on the Sabbath day!”

HER: “Yes, but Sabbath just means ‘rest.’ As long as I am resting, it doesn’t matter the day.”

Whoa, is that a true statement?

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 it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Gen 2:2-3

This is the first appearance of the word “rest” in the Bible. It is the Hebrew primary root word, shabath, to cease, desist, rest. In the same verse, “seventh day” is yom shebiith, the day of the ordinal number for seven. And the Sabbath, the name of the seventh day holiday, is in Hebrew Shabbat. All of these words are related and come from the same root! So you actually can say that Sabbath means “rest,” but if you adhere to that, you must also adhere to the fact that Sabbath means “seventh,” because “Sabbath” and “seventh” come from the root word which means “rest.”

Why the insistence on the seventh day? Apparently there is a reason, because in fact, it is hard to miss the insistence in Scripture that the Sabbath is the seventh day. I do have an idea, but at some point God’s people have to bow the knee and admit that He is smarter than we are; He is Creator and King, and His Word is our command. End of discussion.

That opened up a whole fascinating conversation on what sola scriptura means, but that is for another post …

Continued: who are the children of israel

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2 responses to “the seventh day of rest

  1. B Sunday 3 November 2013 at 10:25 pm

    what do you believe, to rest on Saturday but go to church on Sunday?

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