Creation of the earth and man #3 Of the Sabbath day #1 the Seventh day

Of the Sabbath day

On the seventh day, which was neither longer nor shorter than the days which preceded it, “God ended his work which he had made”; and because of this notable event, “he blessed and sanctified it”.

A day is blessed, because of what is or will be imparted to those who are commanded to observe it. The sanctification of the day implies the setting of it apart that it might be kept in some way different from other days. The manner of its original observance may be inferred from the law concerning it when it was enjoined upon the Israelites. To them it was said,

“Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy”.

If it be asked, how was it to be kept holy? the answer is,

“in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor any one or thing belonging to thee”;

and the reason for this total abstinence from work is referred to the Lord’s own example in that “he rested the seventh day”. The nature of its observance in the ages and generations, and the recompense thereof, is well expressed in the words of Isaiah:

— “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” {Isaiah 58:13, 14.}

"Der Samstug (Sabbath)", Frederich C...
“Der Samstug (Sabbath)”, Frederich Campe, 1800: German Jews, wearing baretta hats, gather outside a synagogue on Sabbath. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this passage, the conditions are stated upon which faithful Israelites might inherit the blessing typified by the rest of the seventh day. They were joyfully to devote themselves to the way of the Lord. They were not simply to abstain from work, yawning and grumbling over the tediousness of the day, and wishing it were gone, that they might return to their ordinary course of life; but they were to esteem it as a delightful, holy, and honourable day. Their pleasure was to consist in doing what the Lord required, and in talking of “the exceeding great and precious promises” He had made. To do this was “not speaking their own words”, but the Lord’s words. Such an observance as this, however, of the sabbath day, implies a faithful mind and a gracious disposition as the result of knowing the truth.

Neither antediluvian nor postdiluvian could “call the sabbath a delight” who was either ignorant or faithless of the import of the promise,

“thou shalt delight thyself in the Lord, and ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob”.

Representation of Sabbat gatherings from the c...
Representation of Sabbat gatherings from the chronicles of Johann Jakob Wick. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A man who simply looked at the seventh day as a sabbath in which he was interdicted from pleasures, and conversation agreeable to him, and from the money-making pursuits in which he delighted, would regard the day more as a weekly punishment, than as joyous and honourable. Though he might mechanically abstain from work, he did not keep it so as to be entitled to the blessing which belonged to the observance of the day of the Lord. It was irksome to him, because, being faithless, he perceived no reward in keeping it; and

“without faith it is impossible to please God”.

The reward to antediluvian and postdiluvian patriarchs and Israelites, for a faithful observance, or commemoration of Jehovah’s rest from His creation-work, was

“delight in the Lord, riding upon the high places of the earth, and feeding with the heritage of Jacob”.

This was neither more nor less than a promise of inheriting the Kingdom of God, which is a summary of “the things hoped for and the things unseen”, or the subject matter of the faith that pleases God. When that kingdom is established, all who are accounted worthy of it will “delight or joy in the Lord”; and occupy “the high places of the earth”, ruling over the nations as His associate kings and priests; and share in the “new heavens and earth,” in which dwells righteousness, when Jerusalem shall be made a rejoicing, and her people Israel a joy. The knowledge and belief of these things was the powerful and transforming motive which caused Abel, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc. to “call the sabbath a delight, holy of the Lord, and honourable”; and to observe it as the sons of Belial cannot possibly do. But while this was the motive, even faith, which actuated the sons of God in their keeping holy the seventh day, Jehovah did not permit the faithless to transgress or desecrate it with impunity. We know not what penalty, if any, was attached to its violation before the flood; but its desecration under the Mosaic constitution was attended with signal and summary vengeance, as will appear from the following testimonies:—

1. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore: for it is holy unto you. Every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done, but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whosoever doeth any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” { Exodus 31:12–17.}
2. “Remember (O Israel), that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” {Deut. 5:15.}
3. “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day mere shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the sabbath day.” { Exodus 35:2, 3.}
4. “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.” { Numb. 15:32–36.}
5. “Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem: neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.… And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, to do no work therein: then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and upon horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever. And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and meat-offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the temple of the Lord. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then I will kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” {Jer. 17:21–27.}
6. “Abide ye every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” {Exodus 16:29, 30.}

From these testimonies it is clear that it was unlawful for servants in the families of Israel to light fires, cook dinners, harness horses, drive out families to the synagogues, or priests to the temple to officiate in the service of the Lord. The visiting of families on the sabbath day, the taking of excursions for health or for preaching, and conversing about worldly, or family, or any kind of secular affairs, was also illegal, and punishable with death. The law, it will be observed also, had regard to the seventh, and to no other day of the week. It was lawful to do all these things on the first or eighth day (some particular ones, however, excepted), but not on the seventh. On this day, however, it was “lawful to do good”; but then, this good was not arbitrary. Neither the priests nor the people were the judges of the good or evil, but the law only which defined it.

“On the sabbath days the priests in the temple profaned the sabbath, and were blameless”; {Matt. 12:5.}

for the law enjoined them to offer “two lambs of the first year, without spot, as the burnt-offering of every sabbath”. { Num. 28:9–10.} This was a profanation of the seventh-day law, which prohibited “any work” from being done; and had not God commanded it, they would have been “guilty of death”. It was upon this ground that Jesus was “guiltless”; for he did the work of God on that day in healing the sick as the Father had commanded him.

“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore”,

said Jesus,

“the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath Day ”. {Mark 2:27.}

It was a wise and beneficent institution. It prevented the Israelites from wearing out themselves and their dependents by incessant toil; and revived in them a weekly remembrance of the law and promises of God. It was, however, only “a Shadow of things to come”, the substance of which is found in the things which pertain to the Anointed One of God.  (Col. 2:14, 16–17)

14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Let No One Disqualify You
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. {The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Kol 2:14–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.}

It was a part of “the rudiments of the world” inscribed on

“the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us”,

and which the Lord Jesus “took out of the way, nailing it to his cross”. When he lay entombed he rested from his labours, abiding in his place all the seventh day. Having ended his work, he arose on the eighth day, “and was refreshed”. The shadowy sabbath disappeared before the brightness of the rising of the sun of righteousness; who, having become the accursed of the law. delivered his brethren from its sentence upon all.

– Thomas, D. J. (1990). Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 13–17). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

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Preceding: Creation of the earth and man #2 Evil Angels and moments of creation

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Additional reading:

  1. Truth, doubt or blindness
  2. Observance of a day to Remember
  3. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  4. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  5. Written to recognise the Promised One
  6. The Right One to follow and to worship
  7. Sabbath according to the scriptures

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How Many Persons Created the Heavens and the Earth?

It is commonly believed that the One who speaks as the Creator of all things in Isaiah chapters 44 and 45 is the triune God consisting of three Persons. The language of Isaiah 44:24 cannot possibly be reconciled with the popular idea:

“Thus says the Lord (Yahweh) your Redeemer who formed you from the womb: ‘I am the Lord who made all things, who stretched out the heavens alone, who spread out the earth. Who was with me?’” (RV)

The implied answer is, of course, that no one was present with the one Lord in the act of creation. Yahweh stretched out the heavens alone. The Hebrew word rendered “alone” means “in a state of separation, by one’s self” (Brown, Driver and Briggs, Lexicon of the Old Testament, p. 94). No one assisted God, the Father at the creation. Moreover, the Creator is one Person, not three:

“Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10).

Nowhere does the Old Testament speak of a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead.

Elsewhere in the Old Testament it is said:

“You, God, even You alone, You have made the heaven…the earth and all things” (2 Kings 19:15).

“You are the Lord, even You alone; You have made the heaven, the earth and all things” (Nehemia 9:6).

The Lord God is always distinguished from the promised Messiah. They are never said to be members of one Godhead.

English: a Venn diagram-like symbol for the Ch...
Venn diagram-like symbol for the Christian Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit) a so called monotheism but having a triune god (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This simple information should prevent us from ever believing that Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, was present with the Father when the latter created the heavens and the earth. The idea that Jesus actually created the heavens and earth of Genesis 1:1 has been promoted by the Worldwide Church of God. Their teaching was that there are two members in the one “God-family.” Isaiah 44:24 (cited above) clearly states that ONE person alone created the heavens and the earth. Language has no way of expressing this more distinctly.

Trinitarians hold that the second member of the triune God was instrumental in the creation of Genesis 1:1. This, however, contradicts the statement that the one Creator was the Father (Malachi 2:10, cited above).

When Jesus came into being at his birth he enjoyed a unique communion with his Father. Thus he says,

“I am not alone, because the Father is with me” (John 16:32).

Jesus always speaks as a person distinct from his Father, exactly as every son is an individual separate from his father. The personal “I” of the New Testament never refers to the Father and Son together. So also in the Old Testament the personal “I” refers to one Person, not three.

Jesus prays that the disciples may be

“one even as we [the Father and I] are one” (John 17:11).

This is a unity of purpose and will. Jesus prays also:

“May they [the disciples] all be one as You, Father, are in me and I in You, so that they may also be in us” (John 17:21).

It is obvious from these texts that the Father and Son use the ordinary personal pronouns to distinguish themselves as any father and son would. It is thus beyond question that Jesus was not with the Father when the latter described His act of creation:

“Thus says the Lord [Yahweh], your Redeemer…I am the Lord who made all things, who stretched out the heavens by myself…Who was with me?” (Isaiah 44:24).

Jesus did not exist as a person when the Lord God created all things. God, the Father, was alone responsible for the creation of the universe. (The “us” of Genesis 1:26, in connection with the creation of man, probably refers to attendant angels, cp. Job 38:7.) Most believers in the Trinity no longer use Genesis 1:26 as a proof of the triune God.

Jesus came into being as the Son of God when Mary conceived him supernaturally. Luke is careful to tell us that it was because of the miraculous conception in Mary’s womb, not because of any so-called “eternal generation,” that Jesus was the Son of God:

“Holy Spirit will come upon you [Mary] and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and for that reason the child conceived will be holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

If God, the Father (the Lord, Yahweh of the Old Testament) was alone the author of the creation, why does the belief that Jesus was an active agent in the creation persist?

The answer is that two creations have become confused in the minds of Bible readers. Jesus is indeed the mediator of the New Creation (Colossians 1:15-18). But he is not the creator of the universe. That creation is the work of the One God, the Father who acted alone when He stretched forth the heavens and the earth (Isaiah 44:24).

Unfortunately, one or two verses in the New Testament have been translated to give the impression that all things were made “by” Jesus. In fact the original states that all things were made “through” Jesus (see the margin of Colossians 1:16: “in him,” “through him” and “for him,” not “by him”).

Jesus was indeed the reason for God’s creation. The Father “foreknew” him from the beginning (1 Peter 1:20). In God’s great purpose Jesus was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). But he came into existence as the Son of God at his conception (Luke 1:35). There is no biblical text to support the idea that the Son of God was alive before his conception (though a few verses in John’s gospel have been used to support the idea).

When Jesus prayed to receive the glory which he had with the Father before the foundation of the world, he was asking for the glory which had been reserved for him and which he would receive after his resurrection (John 17:5). Peter speaks of an inheritance which is “reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). That inheritance is, of course, the earth which Jesus has promised to the meek (Matthew 5:5) and which he will give them when he returns to establish the Kingdom of God. The same glory which was planned for Jesus from the beginning had also been given already (John 17:22) to the disciples, even those not yet born! (John 17:20). This glory is a glory which all disciples “have” even though they have not yet received it. Similarly Jesus “had” glory laid up for him with the Father long before his birth. In John 17 he prays to receive it.

Isaiah 44:24 should settle forever the question about who created the universe, and Hebrews 1:10 should be read with careful attention to the fact that the writer says he is speaking there of the inhabited earth to come (i.e., of the future):

“God did not subject to angels the world to come of which we are speaking” (Hebrews 2:5).

There is no contradiction between the two Testaments on this issue. Jesus will indeed be instrumental in laying the foundations of the coming new heavens and earth (Isiah 51:16). But the original creation is the work of the One God, the Father, alone (Isaiah 44:24).

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Preceding articles:

The very very beginning 1 Creating Gods

Genesis 1:26 God said “Let us make”

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Additional reading:

  1. Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
  2. The Trinity – The truth (Video)
  3. God of gods
  4. Only One God
  5. God is one
  6. Sayings around God
  7. Attributes to God
  8. Use of /Gebruik van Jehovah or/of Yahweh in Bible Translations/Bijbel vertalingen
  9. The Divine name of the Creator
  10. The NIV and the Name of God
  11. 2001 Translation an American English Bible
  12. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  13. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten

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  • For once, AmChurchSpeak makes an important point: Lent is a journey to Calvary… (denvercatholic.org)
    For two weeks, the Letter to the Hebrews draws on images from the Old Testament to introduce us to that “great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God:” a mediator between God and humanity who “has been tempted as we are” and with whom we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” [Heb 4: 14-16]. Here, the biblical author writes, we find that “great cloud of witnesses” in whose company we are enabled to “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” [Heb 12: 1] Here is “Mt. Zion … the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” to which we are brought through the mediation of Jesus, and where we join “innumerable angels in festive gathering” [Heb 12: 22].
  • The Liberation of the Triune God (derekzrishmawy.com)
    One of the helpful emphases of the Reformed tradition is its acknowledgment of the continuity as well as discontinuity of Old and New Testaments. This comes through very strongly in Turretin’s Institutes and even makes an appearance in his doctrine of the Trinity. After a couple of clarifying questions, as well as a lengthy question devoted to proving the doctrine of the Trinity from New Testament Scripture, he moves on to try and demonstrate the revelation of the Trinity in the Old Testament. For while it is admittedly true that God reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with greater clarity in New Testament, that does not at all mean that we cannot see him revealed as such in the Old as well.
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    There are a number of features worth noting in this treatment. The first is Turretin’s view of the Angel of the LORD, or the Angel of YHWH. As he makes clear in a number of places, Turretin views this as an appearance of the pre-incarnate Son. It is an appearance in angelic/human form that is, nonetheless, distinct from his incarnation in that there is no hypostatic union, but only concrete manifestation. Still, this is a thesis that Christian theologians have long appealed to in order to explain the way the Angel is both identified as a distinct agent who nonetheless is identified as the LORD somehow.
  • Learn From Christ (birdchirp.wordpress.com)
    To prove that He was the Son of God by turning stones to bread was not necessary for Jesus or for Satan. Satan already knows all about Jesus Christ.
  • The Beauty of John’s Prologue (christianity201.wordpress.com)
    The first 18 verses of John’s gospel (commonly known as the Prologue) represent a literary masterpiece of inspired Scripture. On the one hand, John’s introduction is so simple a child can understand it, yet it is also so theologically deep, the most intellectual scholars could never mine every detail held within its verses.

    incarnationThere have been many debates regarding the structure of John’s prologue. The most convincing in my opinion is that the first 18 verses are a narrative which summarize not only the entirety of John’s gospel but make a broad sweep of salvation history. The prologue begins in eternity before creation, declaring that in the beginning the Word already existed. It proceeds through the creation (all things were made by Him) and He is the source of all life and light. Then John skips over the majority of Israel’s salvation history and shows that a final prophet, John the Baptist, came to testify to the light. This light is the revelation of God Himself. He came into the world and was rejected by the world. Yet, those who received Him became the sons of God.

    The prologue finishes by showing the culmination of Israel’s salvation in Jesus. The law (which was itself a grace given to men) came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Jesus has completely explained the Father. Jesus is the Father’s final word to man. – This culminates salvation history. So, we see that the prologue begins in eternity past and concludes with God’s final word of salvation and redemption.

  • The Day Son of God Jesus Preaches (brentkuhlman.wordpress.com)
    Now is the perfect time for Jesus to flex His Son of God muscles. Pull out all His divine Son of God stops. Unload the whole enchilada of His almighty Son of God power to break the bonds of systemic oppression, bust Locusts and Wild Honey out of jail, overthrow the wicked Roman oppressors and establish a Son of God millennial utopian reign that would make all community organizers of the world jealous!
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    You’re in charge of your own life. You’re in full control. The master of your universe.

    That’s precisely why Son of God Jesus preaches. With Him the promised and long awaited kingdom of God has come! God reigns on the earth in Jesus. God is at hand! It’s Messiah Time!  And it’s perfectly obvious then that you need a preacher – Against Your Wishes! Against Your Desires! Against Your Idolatry! Otherwise, … well, let’s just say it will all end hellaciously for you. You’d be held captive eternally – kept under lock and key — in Satan’s gloomy prison!

  • Names, Titles, and Characters of Jesus Christ (goodnewsnow.wordpress.com)
    The Blue Letter Bible has published a page with information taken from the whole Bible about the God we worship, Jesus Christ.   Seeing all the names, titles and other attributes with which he is labeled in both the Old and New Testaments and contemplating those titles and their meaning to me personally is a wonderful way to worship Him.  Worshiping Him is what we are made for.  Worshiping Him is what those who know Him will do for all eternity.  These Name, Titles and Attributes allow practice in this life.