Christian Living

God Rested

The Creator Rested on the Seventh Day—Maybe We Should Too

I’ve written a lot about taking a Sunday Sabbath. My goal is to treat it as a special day, one different from the other six days of my week. I’ve talked about my reasons for doing so, but I’ve seldom mentioned that the impetus for this comes from way back at creation.

After the Creator spent six days creating our reality, God rested on the seventh day.

The law in the Old Testament Scripture makes it clear about what God expected of his people on the last day of the week, the Sabbath. They are to keep it holy and rest (Exodus 20:8-11). That’s it.

They weren’t supposed to go to the temple, except for special celebrations. They were supposed to keep the Sabbath holy and rest.

Although Jesus followed this Sabbath rule (for the most part) he did tweak his practices a bit.

We often see Jesus healing people on the Sabbath, much to the religious leaders’ dismay. When questioned about this he said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).

While we could take this as permission to do whatever we want on our Sunday Sabbath, the context is doing good, in helping others. It wasn’t Jesus doing whatever he wanted. And we shouldn’t use this passage as justification for us to do whatever we want either.

Another time Jesus said he came to fulfill the Old Testament law and prophets (Matthew 5:17). Does this mean that God’s Old Testament command to keep the Sabbath day holy and not do any work no longer applies to us today?

Many people draw this conclusion. Though they aren’t entirely wrong in doing so, they aren’t entirely right either.

Notice Jesus didn’t say he’d fulfill all their Scriptures, only the parts containing the law and prophets.

The creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 predates God giving his law to Moses several centuries later. And it certainly precedes all the prophets. Jesus’s fulfillment doesn’t apply to the historic portions of Scripture, including Genesis.

After the Creator made people on the sixth day of creation, he proclaimed the seventh day as holy. And God rested (Genesis 2:2-3).

If God worked for six days and then rested on the seventh, we will do well to follow his example and rest one day each week, treating it as a holy, set-apart day.

We could do this on the last day of the week as God modeled for us, or we could do it on the first day of the week according to the Christian tradition.

When we do it isn’t important, but for me, it is important that we do. That’s why I treat my Sundays differently as a holy day of rest.

I do this because God rested, and so will I.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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