In our Sabbath video, we explore the theme of seventh day rest and the biblical concept of Sabbath. We also look at why Jesus adopted the Sabbath as a major part of his own mission to bring God's Kingdom to earth. Watch our Sabbath video today!
On page one of the Bible, God orders a beautiful world out of chaotic darkness within a sequence of six days. And on the seventh day, God rests. This introduces the major biblical theme of patterns of seven that conclude with God and humans resting together as partners. In this video, we explore the theme of seventh day rest and the biblical concept of Sabbath. We also look at why Jesus adopted this idea as a major part of his own mission to bring God's Kingdom to earth.Video Details
In Genesis chapter 1, God creates a beautiful and ordered world out of chaotic darkness, all in six days. And on the seventh day, God rests. Modern conversations about these seven days usually focus on historical and scientific questions. People have been debating how these seven days relate to our own modern conceptions about the timing and processes of the universe's origins for generations. And while it’s a fascinating question, it’s hijacked all of our attention. There’s a more fundamental question: What did the biblical authors, in their own ancient cultural context, mean by describing the origins of the cosmos in a seven-day sequence?
The significance of seventh-day rest and sabbath
If we can put our modern controversies aside and ask what the seventh day meant to ancient Israelites, a whole new world opens up, literally and metaphorically! The seventh day is a common biblical theme that is repeated in dozens of stories and poems throughout the Hebrew Bible. The number seven is spelled with the same letters as the Hebrew word "complete" or "full," and it’s an image of complete goodness. Seven is also a number with strong symbolic connections to the ancient Jewish calendar and to the sacred space of the tabernacle and temple. In the Bible, when something happens in a pattern of seven, it usually involves God rescuing his people out of darkness and death and into a period of abundance or rest in his presence. This is why Jewish people celebrate this seventh-day rest, or the Sabbath, every week and why the festivals of the Jewish calendar revolve around this pattern of seven. It’s about resting in the presence of God, mirroring the sequence we see in Genesis.
Lord of the Sabbath
Jesus was activating all of these symbols of seven when he launched his public mission on the Sabbath, announcing that the ultimate year of Jubilee was beginning through him (Luke 4:14-20). He said that he was "lord of the Sabbath," releasing the divine goodness of seventh-day rest out into the world and bringing healing and life (Matthew 12:1-13). Jesus timed his conflict with Jerusalem's leaders to take place during Passover, a seven-day Jewish festival (Mark 14:12). He was executed and placed in a tomb, where his body lay during the Sabbath (Mark 15:42 and 16:1). And when Jesus raised from the dead, it was the first day of a new week (Mark 16:2), that is, a new creation pattern of seven!
New Life, New Rest
Jesus' resurrection marked the beginning of a new age where God's light and life shone into the darkness and brought hope of the ultimate seventh-day rest of the new creation. When we take time to set our modern assumptions aside, we see the rich symbolism of the seven-day sequence and Sabbath rest of Genesis 1 and how this symbolism is woven throughout the entire biblical story leading to Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.
Continue Your Learning Journey
The first movement in the book of Genesis describes the world's downward spiral from God but reminds us that there's hope as God will rescue it from rebellion.
Keeping the Sabbath: Is it Still Relevant to Christians Today?
A regular, rhythmic time of rest is right there in the opening story of the Bible. Before humans turned away from God, before God established his partnership with the nation of Israel, a pattern of resting on the Sabbath was established by God....
Related Podcast Series
Seventh-Day Rest - Sabbath
14 Episodes •
What is the Sabbath? It's more than an antiquated law. It’s about the design of time and the human quest for rest. The Sabbath and seventh-day rest is one of the key themes that starts on page one of the Bible and weaves beautifully all the way through the biblical story.
Seventh-Day Rest - Sabbath Episode 1
The Restless Craving for Rest
The sabbath. Talking about it can be complicated and confusing, yet the biblical authors wrote about it a lot. So what’s it all about? The sabbath is more than an antiquated law. It’s about the design of time and the human quest for rest. The sabbath and seventh-day rest is one of the key themes that starts on page one of the Bible and weaves beautifully all the way through to the end.
Seventh-Day Rest - Sabbath Episode 2
The Significance of 7
The number seven is a big deal in the Bible. Why? It’s a symbolic representation of key concepts in the Bible. Tim outlines the symbolic usage of seven and sheds new light on how a person’s practice of taking a sabbath or resting every seventh day is "woven into the fabric of the universe."
Seventh-Day Rest - Sabbath Episode 3
Two Kinds of Work
In Genesis 1 and 2, humanity is created and placed in a garden full of potential and abundance. Their job is to act as God’s image and to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth. But in Genesis 3, humanity chose to defy God and fell from their original destiny. As a result, the nature of their work, which was originally to be pleasurable and fulfilling, has now been cursed. The ground is cursed and work is now “toil,” a desperate struggle to survive in the very place they were supposed to rest.