God Creates the Sabbath

Genesis 2:3  

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Here we read of the origin and establishment of the seventh day Sabbath day. God did three very important things on the seventh day. He:

  • “Blessed the seventh day.” The word “blessed” is from the Hebrew word barak, which literally means “to kneel” or “to praise or salute” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon). The word is usually used in the Old Testament in the context of people (or God) blessing other people. This essentially was a pronouncement of good, asking God to make a person prosper, grow and be successful (Genesis 9:1; 28:3). When God “blessed” the seventh day, He conferred specialness to it and filled it with good. That pronouncement of blessing makes the keeping of the Sabbath a blessing for those who observe it.
  • “Sanctified it.” The word “sanctify” in the Bible means “to set apart as holy” (Zondervan Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 542). This means that the seventh day was specifically set apart from the other six days of the week as consecrated and sacred to God. Since it is sacred and holy, the seventh day is set aside for human beings to rest and worship God.
  • “Rested from all His work.” As was explained in yesterday’s post, God rested to set us an example that we are to rest from all our labors on the seventh day (biblically this means from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday) and focus on our relationship with God.

Some will argue that verses 2 and 3 do not refer to the Sabbath because the word “Sabbath” isn’t mentioned by name. This is easily disproved in two ways:

  • The Hebrew word translated “rest” in verses 2 and 3 is shabath, which is the verb form of the noun shabbath, translated “Sabbath” (see Exodus 20:10). The connection is unmistakable. God sabbathed on the seventh day, thus creating the Sabbath.
  • The Fourth Commandment instructs us to “remember” the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11). The word “remember” was used because the Sabbath had already been established thousands of years earlier in Genesis 2. Exodus 20:11 clearly identifies the seventh day of creation as the beginning of the Sabbath: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth. … Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (emphasis added).

To learn more about God’s creation of the Sabbath, read “Did God Create the Sabbath in Genesis 2?” To learn how you can keep the Sabbath, read “How to Keep the Sabbath as a Christian.”

Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “The Entirety of God’s Word Is Truth.”

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