To Sabbath or Not to Sabbath: Fact#2

This week let’s take a look at the second fact about putting together a correct understanding of the meaning of Sabbath.

Let us reread again Genesis 2:1-3 from the English Standard Version:

 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

FACT #2: It seems obvious from this passage that the spot-on meaning of Sabbath is rest. Actually, the word “seven,” the word “sabbath,” and the word “rest,” are all the same basic root word in Hebrew, Shabat meaning seven, and the word sabbath meaning rest. Therefore, the significance in its meaning is rest.

Let us be clear here. Rest as it is used in the text does not mean rest in the way we think of it. After working hard all day we come home tired and weary and need to rest to recover from all that activity. This is not the meaning here before us. Quite simply it means stopping ones effort, or the ending of activity. God was not tired by all his creative work. He didn’t need to rest to recover his strength. He stopped because he was through. The work was finished so he stopped creating. That is what we do when we complete a task. We stop. That’s what God did. He stopped because he had done all he intended to do and he rested after creating creation perfectly.

So, the second part of solving the Sabbath puzzle is this: the true Sabbath is not the keeping of a special day but the ending of a specific effort. That is what Sabbath means.


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