Chapter 1: The first mention of the seventh day.


The first mention about the Sabbath can be found in Genesis:

Gen 2:1-3 "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

We notice here immediately a few facts:

1. Who rested on that first seventh day? Answer: God

2. Why did God rest on that day? Answer: Because He finished the work He had been doing.

3. Was there any special name given to that first seventh day? Answer: The Bible only refers to it as the seventh day. No mention is given to it as being the Sabbath.

4. Did Adam rest on that day? Answer: Unknown. The Bible does not specify one way or another that he did. He was created the day before, but nothing is said about his activities on that blessed day.

Please note something very particular. Every day of creation is followed by "there was evening, and there was morning" in Genesis. E.g.:

1. Gen 1:5: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day."

2. Gen 1:8: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day."

3. Gen 1:13: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day."

4. Gen 1:19: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day."

5. Gen 1:23: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the fifth day."

6. Gen 1:31: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day."

However, nowhere can this phrase be found attached to the seventh day. Nowhere does it say that there was evening, and there was morning-the seventh day!

What possible relevance can that have, you may ask. If no ending was given to the seventh day, could it be that it was meant that Adam and Eve would enjoy a perpetual rest in the garden of Eden? If you really think about it, they had no real work to perform. Except naming animals, perhaps: Gen 2:19-20 "Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field." Now naming animals would be interesting, but does not require any hard work!

The next time the Bible records any task given to Adam and Eve was after they had sinned. Only then did they face hard work. It was a consequence of sin, and as a result, Adam and Eve lost their restful state in the garden of Eden. Gen 3:17-19: "To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Now man had lost his innocence, his paradise, and he was going to experience hard work! His rest was gone. The blessing had turned into a curse!

It is also interesting to note that there is absolutely no reference in the Genesis story that states all mankind will keep the Sabbath. In fact, you will not find any reference in the entire book of Genesis (which spans the first 1/3 of this earth's history!) any reference to humans keeping the seventh day as a day of rest.

Other institutions are mentioned as having been clearly established and followed in the Genesis account. Marriage is one of these: Gen 2:24 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

This is food for thought. Remember, as you go through this study, that the Bible should be our only guide . . .

Click here to go to: Chapter 2: The Sabbath from Genesis 3 to Exodus 16.