"And on the 'Seventh Day' God ended His work which He
had made; and He RESTED on the Seventh Day from all His work which He had made.
And God blessed the 'Seventh Day,' and SANCTIFIED IT; because that in it He had
RESTED FROM ALL HIS WORK which God created and made."
By God here is
meant 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 worketh hitherto (in creation), and I work (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
flot 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 ye shall gather
it; but on the SEVENTH day, WHICH IS THE SABBATH, in it there shall 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. 20:1
1-"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them
is, and rested the SEVENTH day; wherefore the Lord blessed the SABBATH day, and
hallowed it." But we have no evidence that the Sabbath was commanded to be
observed until after the Exodus, and the reason is dear. Gods "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
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." "Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it 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. Eze. 44:24;
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 not 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.
"How turn ye again to the 'beggarly elements' (religious ordinances) whereunto
ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe DAYS (Sabbath and Feast Days), and
months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you
labor in vain. Gal. 4:9-11. "Let no man therefore judge you in meats or in
drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the SABBATH." Col.
2:16. If Christians are under obligations 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 110 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
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." "Ye shall bring a sheaf of the 'FIRST-FRUITS' of
your harvest unto the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be
accepted for you; on the 'MORROW AFTER THE SABBATH' the priest shall wave it."
Lev. 23:10-11. What did that "First Fruits" typify? Read 1. Cor. 15: 20 "Now is
Christ risen from the dead, and become the 'FIRST-FRUITS' of them that slept."
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 "MORROW 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
daimed 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.
Used with permission of the Rev.
Clarence Larkin Estate, P.O. Box 334, Glenside, PA 19038, U.S.A.,
PAGES 21 - 31
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