WHAT THE SABBATH MEANS TO ME –
Genesis gives a beautiful picture of creation. A splendid unfolding of man’s seven day week: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. For six days God worked and on the seventh day He rested.
Our seven day work week reminds us of our beginning, where we came from, and most importantly, of our Creator.
If it had been left in man’s hands he would have assigned a number easy to calculate, the number ten, but seven is God’s perfect number of completion, perfection, and rest.
The Sabbath follows six days of work as an example: Work produces a harvest. Man sows for six days, but on the seventh day it is God who provides the increase (harvest).
Without God a man cannot raise a seed from the earth (resurrection from death).
According to Jewish tradition, the week is a picture of man’s history from beginning to end; as scripture says: to God, a day is as a thousand years.
In other words, God predetermined six thousand years for man to work – ending in a “one thousand year” rest when Jesus the Christ reigns on earth creating a one thousand year Sabbath of rest for both mankind and the land. In this time frame Jesus, as king of kings, provides peace, prosperity, and abundance; in a thousand year “day” of rest. This thousand year time frame is referred to as the Millennium in scripture.
The Sabbath is a time when hands are stilled, when the soul ceases its striving, when hearts are at peace. It is a time when men realize they cannot trust in the work of their own hands.
The Sabbath is a picture of salvation. There is nothing man can do to provide redemption for himself, but must rely on God to do the “work” for him. Jesus is our Sabbath (provision) of Salvation.
We know God wasn’t tired after His six days of creation. Instead the God who knows the beginning and the end and who dwells in the present eternally, already knew His creation would sin, that they would forget their beginnings, forget their Creator, and fall into the trap of relying on himself. God therefore modeled this day of rest as a reminder to men.
When the Lord brought the Jews out of Egypt, He reminded them daily that He was their provision; raining manna (bread) from heaven and causing water to spew forth from a rock. Jesus said of himself: I am the bread of life that comes down from heaven, I am the living water (of eternal life) and whoever drinks of it will never thirst again. God promised to take the Jews to a land of milk and honey, filled with provision. Sadly, with the exception of two men, they refused to enter the Promised Land.
In contemporary terms, God offers salvation through His provision (believing that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day), but even today there are only a few who will enter into His rest.
They (and we), consequently wander in the desert wilderness.
“For forty years I loathed that generation (who came out of Egypt) and said they are a people who do not know My ways. Therefore, I swore in my anger, truly they shall not enter my rest (the promised land, the Sabbath).”
Sabbath comes from the root “Shavah”. It is perfection. Nothing can be added to it or taken away from it without marring it. “Shevah” is from the same root as the number seven.
The Sabbath is a time, a place, a state of mind, a person.
As a time: it is the seventh day of the week, a Jubilee, and a thousand year millennium.
As a place: it is Jerusalem, the Garden in Eden, the promised land, and heaven.
As a state of mind: it is peace, stillness, and love.
As a person it is Jesus the Christ who is the Prince of Peace.
“Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days”. I Chron 22:9. (A comparison of Jesus and king Solomon)
In Conclusion: God’s rest, or Sabbath, is not just a period of time ie: the seventh day, and not only a destination ie: the promise land, but a person; God in the flesh who asks men to trust Him for provision and delivery. He wants man to trust Him to work on their behalf while they are at rest, and believe that ultimately, He has His creation’s best interests at heart. Jesus said, to do the work of God, is to believe on the One who He has sent. The Psalmist said it best: Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God”.
The battle of life belongs to the Lord.