Rest for the Land

The land needs rest, too. And if Israel doesn’t give the land rest, God says he will punish them by sending them into exile. Discover the overlooked character in the theme of seventh-day rest, the land.

Episode 9
Dec 2, 2019
Play Episode
Show Notes


  • The land is entitled to a Sabbath rest as a part of the Torah commandments.
  • If Israel disobeys the Torah and does not allow the land to rest, they will be punished by God, including being sent into exile.
  • Romans 8 is similar to Leviticus 26. The land (creation) is waiting for its release from bondage, which will occur when humans attain their release from their bondage.


“What we call the natural world in the biblical story is an existence with humans living at odds with our real nature and our environment. (The Land) is not ours to do what we want with.”


In part 1 (0-18:35), Tim and Jon review the conversation so far and quickly go over the Jewish festival calendar year to recap how it reflects the theme of seventh-day rest. They also discuss the Year of Jubilee.

In part 2 (18:35-32:40), Tim shares from Leviticus 26 and talks about the “covenant curses” that God pronounces. If Israel disobeys the commands, they will be exiled. Their exile is portrayed an inverted jubilee. Covenant loyalty will result in Eden blessing, freedom, abundance, and security, much like the jubilee.

Leviticus 26:3-13

“If you walk in my statutes and keep my commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full (Heb. שבע, seven) and live securely in your land.

“I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land…

“So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm my covenant with you. You will eat the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. Moreover, I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you (cf. Genesis 3:8) and be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.”

Tim says the takeaway from this passage is that covenant violation will result in seven anti-jubilee curses, slavery, poverty, and oppression, which is also portrayed with symbolic seven imagery.

Leviticus 26:14-18, 21, 23-24, 27-28, 33-35

“But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.

“If after all this you will not listen to me, I will discipline you for your sins seven times over.

“If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve.

“If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over.

“If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will discipline you for your sins seven times over.

“I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.”

Jon notes that Western culture allows us to think that we own land. However, owning land in ancient Israel wasn’t reality. Instead, the land would return to the family originally entrusted with it every fifty years. God considers the land to be his, and Israel is tenants upon it.

In part 3 (32:40-end), Tim finishes Leviticus 26.

Leviticus 26:40-45

“If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against me, and also in their acting with hostility against me… or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also my covenant with Isaac, and my covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them.

“Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”

Tim notes that the same logic that gives the land rest in Leviticus 26 also appears in the New Testament, when Paul writes in Romans 8.

Romans 8:19-23

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”

Creation will be liberated from its bondage when humans are liberated from theirs.

Show Resources:

Hittite King Suppiluliuma (Wikipedia)

Show Music:

Defender Instrumental by Tents Always Home by Ian Ewing The Size of Grace by Beautiful Eulogy Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

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Scripture References
Genesis 3:16-19
Leviticus 26:3-6
Leviticus 26:9-12
Leviticus 26:14-16
Leviticus 26:16-18
Leviticus 26:21
Leviticus 26:23-24
Leviticus 26:33-35
Leviticus 26:40-42
Romans 8:19-23
7th Day Rest E9 Final    Rest for the Land

Podcast Date: December 2, 2019


Speakers in the audio file:

Jon Collins 

Tim Mackie 

Dan Allison


Jon: Hey, this is Jon at The Bible Project. We've been in the middle of a conversation on the theme of rest in the Bible. God created the earth in six days, and on the seventh day, He stopped working. He entered His creation like a king entering a throne room to rest and rule. He wants us, His image to rule with Him on this seventh day. The problem is, that left to our own devices, we've turned what meant to be rest into toil, and violence, and jealousy, and mistrust.

Tim: What we call the natural world in the biblical story is an existence of humans living at odds with our real nature. And we're living at odds with our environment.

Jon: But God is on a mission to bring us back to that restful rule with Him and to recreate the world. And so to do that, he chooses an ancient family. He makes a covenant with them so that they can find the rest for themselves, and for God's creation. If you've been following along with this series, then you've likely been blown away with me about how much this theme of rest is woven into all the stories of Israel's patriarchs of Moses and the exile, and how God gives Israel their covenant law, which includes seven festivals, a Sabbath day, and even a Sabbath the year—a whole year where you let the land rest. All of this is meant to help them begin to live like the future rest has actually come.

Today on this episode, we're going to look again at how God's desire for the seventh-day ideal is thwarted by our desire to rule on our own terms. What we'll look at today is how the biblical authors talk about this rebellion in the language of seventh-day rest. After giving all the covenant laws, God says...

Tim: "...if after all this you still don't listen, I'll discipline you for your sins seven times over." So if the ideal is the seventh-day rest, the anti-ideal is exile from Eden multiplied by seven. It all builds up the Vs. 33. "I'll scatter you among the nations, I'll draw my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste; your cities lie in ruins. Vs 34. Then the land will get to enjoy the Sabbath years. All the time that it lies desolate and you're in the country of your enemies, the land will finally get that Sabbath rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. All the time that it lives desolate, the land will have the rest that it didn't get during the Sabbath that you were living on it." Very interesting.

Jon: This warning comes true. Israel is exiled from their land and in their exile, they get to read this warning and find meaning for what is happening.

Tim: The exile gaining a meaning here. Whatever the exile is, it's going to be restoring the lost Sabbath. The lost seventh day and seventh years and seven times seven years it's about restoring that to the land because you didn't give it to the land.

Jon: Today on the show, we continue our discussion on the theme of seventh- day rest. Thanks for joining us. Here we go. I noticed that these conversations when we start and back up, this is like the eighth episode on Sabbath. I think we get more and more succinct in how we...

Tim: It's helpful.

Jon: It's like this exercise in how do we tell the whole story. And we get better and better at it.

Tim: That's right. Do you want to try your hand? I think I did the last summary, intro.

Jon: Sure. We're really talking about what does it mean to be in a state of completeness and rest where things are the way they should be, I guess is one way to put it. In Genesis 1 and 2, it kind of creates that portrait of that ideal. God creates the world in six days, on the seventh day, He stops His work of creation, He settles into creation, He appoints humans to rule and reign and rest with Him in this beautiful garden. And you get this picture of a place that is abundance. They're called to work and serve in it, but it's not the kind of working that you do when you're grinding it out and it's breaking your back. It's the kind of work where you show up and it's this cooperative, kind of, like, the land is producing for you. It's almost this playful kind of work. Some scientists call it flow, where it's just like you're in this state of it doesn't feel like work, but there's a lot of productivity. That's the ideal. Whatever that actually...I mean, we all kind of know we want that, and we all try for that in our lives. But humanity doesn't get to stay in that state. There's a rebellion. We don't want to cooperate with God and rule with Him. We want to rule with our own wisdom. There's an exile and now there's no rest. Now it's the grind.

Tim: Yeah, the anti-Sabbath land. Inverted Sabbath land. Upside down where now the humans treat the ground as a slave, and then that slave, the ground, in turn, works the humans to death. They start killing each other. That's Genesis 3:16-19.

Jon: I think we'll get this intuitively. It's like we desire this rest but we know that really life is this grind. Grinding is back to dust. Why do we have this sense of this ideal rest? Where does that come from? Will it ever be achieved? The biblical story is saying, "Yes, you have that for a reason. God designed it that way and God wants to bring humanity back there." The narrative continues with God choosing the family of Abraham and saying, "I'm going to give you this rest in a land of abundance. You will be my people and you'll regain this state." And the people of Abraham, the Israelites end up as slaves. They're not ruling with God in a beautiful land. They're slaves in Egypt. And so they have to be liberated from their slavery. The story of their liberation from slavery mirrors the image of God created the world out of disorder. Now you get these few perspectives of the same idea, which is how do we get to rest? Well, one is God has to just take disorder and order it in a way.

Tim: Liberate it from death, darkness, and disorder.

Jon: But also He needs to take us who are enslaved in the story, it's like the Egypt, but the power's in the corrupt institutions and has to liberate humanity. All the images of their liberation are these creation images, and it ends with this, "Hey, now go and rest in this new land."

Tim: Exodus 15, God's bringing His people into an inheritance where He will plant them and live among them, and dwell among them. The word "dwell" is spelled with the same letters as "Shabbat", Sabbath in Exodus 1.5. It's called the mountain of his inheritance. It's all this Eden imagery of resting with God on the holy mountain. That's what the liberated slaves who were liberated on the night of the first day, they celebrate for seven days that liberation and then on their way to the new garden mountain. So rap nice. That was the Exodus story, then the tabernacle.

Jon: Then the tabernacle. If creation is God's temple, all of creation is God's temple. And the point is that God rests here with us, that has been lost, the tabernacle becomes this microcosm, this little image of reclaiming that. Moses is given blueprints of how to build this, and in the blueprints have this Sabbath structure where it's like it's created in six speeches, and on the seventh speech, it's all about resting. It's being now ingrained into our psyche through these narratives of like there's this supposed to be this pattern of creating and then resting and stopping. And you're kind of asking like, "Why is that so important? Why is it so important to stop on the seventh day?" It's even in the blueprints of the temple or the tabernacle. Then you get the Ten Commandments and it's one of the commandments yet to rest on the seventh day.

Tim: It's a rhythm of their life as they wander through the desert.

Jon: They're told to collect manna for six days, on the seventh they don't collect any.

Tim: Trust that there will be enough on the next day.

Jon: And as we began to talk about it, it's really about the sense of trust that there will be enough and that my anxiety and struggle isn't going to bring rest ultimately. God will bring it. And I'm not supposed to just wait for it in the future. I'm supposed to actually seize it now. Even though we still live in a world of disorder and chaos, I can stop the train and I can take a break and I can practice like new creation has begun.

Tim: That's right. And for an Israelite, they look at the center of their camp, they see the little micro dwelling of Yahweh in their midst as also in an advanced symbol of the day when Yahweh's presence will fill all of creation like ideal seventh day in Genesis 1. If that's what the tabernacle represents, both the present reality and other future hope, then the seventh-day rest of the Sabbath is the same. Remember what the tabernacle and temple are to space? The Sabbath or the seventh-day rest are to time. They're present symbols and signs and foretaste of the future ultimate seventh day. Such a thank you Abraham Heschel for that wonderful concept. The Sabbath is a temple in time. It's good.

Jon: Cathedral of time.
Tim: He used the phrase "Cathedral." What it means is a sacred space. Jon: Then we start looking at just this obsession with seven.
Tim: Yeah. Then Leviticus goes off the Richter scale.
Jon: You got the seventh day Sabbath but then you've got...Man.

Tim: The seventh year rest. Let's start. It's a good thing there isn't every seven-hour rest. Every seven minutes you say the Shema. Then every seventh day. Then it blows up to an annual cycle of...

Jon: All these feasts.

Tim: Yeah, that's right.

Jon: The first one is the Passover. The Passover is the meal that begins at night. Then there's a seven-day unleavened bread feast. And that's all pointing towards liberation, which is what's Sabbath is for. It's about our future liberation.

Tim: Liberation into the land of rest. After you go into the land, whenever you get your harvest, the first Sabbath after you get your harvest, you bring a first fruit. Thank you to God in the temple. That's like a thank you symbol. Then after first fruits, do you remember?

Jon: I'm trying to remember. This is the last one in the first half of the year.

Tim: It's 50 days.

Jon: Oh, yeah, 50 days.

Tim: Seven times seven. 49 days. And then you have an extra day of rest.

Jon: So it's like, "Hey, are we excited about sevens. Let's get real excited about sevens." Seven times seven.

Tim: Seven times seven days. That's right

Jon: That means then on the fifth day, you've just celebrated a Sabbath because it's the seventh Sabbath cycle after Passover, and now on the fifth day, you're going to do an extra special Sabbath.

Tim: Next round of harvest. Different plants, different crops, give their first harvest at different times of the spring, early summer. That's the idea.

Jon: And then we get into the...

Tim: That's the first half of the year. The second half of the year begins with the seventh month...

Jon: Seventh month. The seventh month, of course, is super important. So important that it's even thought of as like a new year of sorts.

Tim: That's right. Rosh Hashanah.

Jon: That's one of them—Rosh Hashanah. The trumpet brew and the new year comes in. Here's the seventh month. The seventh month is packed with festivals to remind you that there's this ultimate rest coming.

Tim: After you blow the trumpets to inaugurate the seventh month, then on the 10th day is the day of atonement when Israel's sins are symbolically exiled from the camps.

Jon: It's right in the center of the calendar year.
Tim: That's right.
Jon: In the middle of the seventh month. The 10th day of the seventh month? Tim: Tenth day, yeah.

Jon: The 10th day of the seventh month. And 10 is obviously very important image as well.

Tim: Yeah. From Genesis 1, 10 words; Exodus, 10 plagues; Mount Sinai, the ten commandments.

Jon: And a seven day festival of not working—hanging out.

Tim: Living in a little sacred garden tent that you've made out of leaves and branches have beautiful fruit trees, but they came from a river. That's the description. It just couldn't be more over with the Eden hyperlinks right there. Because it has to be from a tree that's beautiful with fruit by a river. Anyway,

Jon: So if you're an ancient Israelite, your entire year now is all revolving around these festivals that are all helping you remember where this is all heading, where's history heading. Where's time heading?

Tim: Yeah. Where's the story of our world going.

Jon: And it's actually asking us to practice the future reality of...

[crosstalk 00:15:04]

Tim: Yeah, here in the present on a yearly basis to structure your concept of time on this micro rhythm of an annual...

Jon: You can't plan anything in your life without first seeing how it's going to fit into this.

Tim: Totally. And if that's true on the annual cycle, it's even amplified on the Jubilee cycle.

Jon: It's a weekly cycle, annual cycle. And then there's....
Tim: The seven times seven annual cycle.
Jon: Every seven years it's extra special.
Tim: That's right. The year of release for debt slaves and forgiveness of debts. Jon: That's called the Sabbath year?

Tim: It's called the Year of Release.

Jon: Year of Release. And then, that's not enough. Let's step it up one more.

Tim: Totally. Seven times seven years.

Jon: Every seventh of those seven-year cycles, which would be 49...

Tim: The 49th year, you do the seventh seven. But then on the Day of Atonement of that seventh seven, you blow a trumpet and inaugurate an additional year that is the year of jubilee.

Jon: And then the year Jubilee, things get crazy. Anyone who's lost their property, it all goes back. Big reset.

Tim: If you file bankruptcy, all those assets become yours again in terms of the farming community. It's crazy. And also, full reset to the Eden ideal, which would come once in a lifetime for most Israelites, because every 50 years, most Israelites would only ever experienced one of them. And the disruption point.

Jon: How disruptive this would be?

Tim: Yeah. This is a full economics social...I mean, use whatever verbs you want. Political. It's a reset button.

Jon: If you think about it, everyone is creating the future. Like when you start a business, you're trying to create a certain future state that you want. When you give a loan to someone you're thinking in the future what you want. When you're building a house, when you're creating a family, all this, it's all about where's this all heading? And if built into it, are all of these disruptions. Like, every seven days, stop. Every seventh year, debts released. Every seven by seven years, all the assets go back. It's like you can't plan and you can't imagine a future without this completely coloring the way you do it.

Tim: That was the original point you made a while ago. That's a good point. And it builds in the suspicion of what we would call the natural course of thing. In the biblical story is the post-exile from Eden reality.

Jon: The natural cause being death and slavery.
Tim: Yes, death and slavery.
Jon: And people abusing power and abusing each other.

Tim: Built in is this divine interruption where God says, "Hey, everybody, cut it out, start over. It's like only allows things to decompose so much. Which is we're going to see, even with that in place, the story still doesn't go well.

Jon: Cool.

Tim: It's a good summary.

Jon: That took a little while.

Tim: It took a little while, but it was fun. 


Tim: We just walked out of the Jubilee in Leviticus 25. We walk into Leviticus 26, and we read starting Vs three. "Everybody, if y'all walk in my statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I'll give you rains in their seasons." We need that for our crops. "The land will yield its produce. The trees of the field will bear fruit. Your threshing will last until the great gathering. And then the great gathering will last until you sow seed. and you will eat your food to the completeness." Again, in Hebrew, that word "full" or "complete" is spelled with the same three letters as the word "seven."

Jon: So "seven," which is the day of Sabbath is the same letters as the word "complete."

Tim: That's right. "I'll give you shalom in your land. You'll live securely there. I will give you Shalom. I'll eliminate the harmful wild animals and no sword will pass through your land." Go down to Vs. 11.

Jon: It sounds like Eden.

Tim: Totally. Sorry, Vs 9. "I will turn towards you and make you fruitful and multiply. I'll confirm my covenant with you. Vs 11 I will make my dwelling among you." This is important then. Reflecting back, the Eden ideal has baked into it a temple presence.

[crosstalk 00:21:02]

Tim: Look at Vs. 12. This is key. "I will walk among you."

Jon: Oh, that's the Eden verb.

Tim: This is the first time. It's the phrase of Adam and Eve after eating from the tree but they heard the sound of Yahweh God walking. Hitalt'lut. There's the word "halak" which means "to walk" but to hitalt'lut it's like wandering, strolling. We can call it strolling. Actually, it's a great English phrase. Hitalt'lut. Yeah, strolling. So this is the same verb. "I will stroll among you."

Jon: Strolling among.

Tim: It's just full on Eden reset here. This again reflects back to the Jubilee, the Eden ideal. If Israel is obedient, then what they will experience is that full Sabbath seventh day blessing of Eden. What if they don't?

Jon: What if they eat of the tree of knowing good and evil?

Tim: If they don't, Leviticus depicts the results as an upside-down Jubilee. Well, you'll see. Vs. 14. "But if you don't listen to me or carry out my command..." The first thing is if you listen or carry out my commands, Eden. If you don't listen to me and carry out my commands...

Jon: Can we stop for a second?

Tim: Yeah.

Jon: In Eden, the command was "eat all the trees, just eat everything, just not this one."

Tim: Oh, yes. Not the tree of knowing good and evil.

Jon: Now, in this context, God actually created a covenant with the people and ancient people and gave them a whole bunch of commands. But we're supposed to see those as parallel ideas.

Tim: The covenant commands are the parallel to the command about the tree. We're going to make a video about this—about the trees of Eden. This is very helpful. Remember how this works later iterations of the design pattern? It provides backwards feedback insight into the earlier patterns. Israel choosing what to do with the commands of the Torah will determine whether or not they go to exile or whether they get life in the land. That's the same plot tension in the garden.

Jon: Cool.

Tim: If you don't care about these commands, if you reject my decrees, if you abhor my laws, feel contempt towards my laws...Man, Yahweh asking us to give to the poor and leave our fields for wild animals every seventh year. It's crazy. I'm not going to do that. "If you fail to carry out my commands, and so violate the covenant..." That's a good example that the commands aren't just random. They're covenant. They are the marriage terms. "...then, this is what I will do to you." From Vs. 16 through the end of the chapter, it's just a long list of stiff consequences. What strikes modern readers as really...

Jon: Heavy headed?

Tim: Over the top. I remember once the summer, I think I just finished college and was not able to put my Bible degree to use, so I became an assistant handyman at an apartment complex.

Jon: I didn't know that. I cannot imagine that.

Tim: I swear I learned how to do drywall and all the skills I learned, which weren't that many. But I learned that.

Jon: That's valuable.

Tim: It was super valuable. We were turning over this apartment, people just moved out. We were patching some holes, we had to replace some plumbing. And so I just remember we were painting in the living room. He and I were both part of Skate Church Ministry, and so we learned from the guy who started it, Paul, that listening to the Bible while you work is just an awesome thing to do. So one summer, and don't judge us, we thought, "Let's listen to the whole Pentateuch this week as we're just working." It was pretty awesome. Except one time we got to Leviticus 26 and the covenant curses, it takes about five to seven minutes to read aloud, and it's just all just dropping the divine judgment hammer. So we're listening to this and a lady walks by who lives there and she sees that we're working. So she comes in to ask us like a question about like, "Hey, something on my window doesn't work or something." And she comes in, and it's like, "I will punish you for your sin seven times over and you'll be defeated by your enemies and those who hate you will rule over you." This lady was just like, "What are these guys listening to?" She was weirded out. Anyway. That's a memory I have of Leviticus 26.

Jon: So funny. Its own version of heavy metal music or something where you're just listening to covenant curses.

Tim: One thing helped me in graduate school, multiple things did, but once I was in a class where we're reading other ancient Near Eastern literature, we had a whole section on ancient covenant treaties. There are lots of them from the ancient world. The Aramean and the Hittites. The way they wrote up covenant treaties was like this. Actually, Leviticus 26 looks kind of tame compared to some of the covenant curses that the Hittite kings would write their enemies. They would get like, "May your cows' flesh rot." It's a difficult line to translate but this one King Suppiluliuma.

Jon: Did you just made that word up?

Tim: No. That's his name. That's it. Suppiluliuma. He's a Hittite King. Anyway, from the 1300s BC. Anyhow, he has this line in it and it became a joke in the department because it's hard to translate, but it's something about "may your chickens' heck out the eyes of all your animals."

Jon: Oh, gosh.

Tim: It's like of these rabid chickens. May your chickens become...

[crosstalk 00:27:28]

Jon: What this reminds me of is the Monty Python skit. Right?

Tim: Oh yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah, that's right.

Jon: "I fought in your general direction!"

Tim: Just to say, this is a thing. When you want to pump up the rhetoric and say, "Dude, be faithful to this agreement...

[crosstalk 00:27:46]

Jon: You're saying it's rhetoric?

Tim: I'm saying it's a form of covenantal rhetoric.

Jon: They would have read this and they would have been like, "Oh, yeah, I'm familiar with these."

Tim: Totally. It's not that they would say, "Oh, no big deal."

Jon: Oh, no. It's supposed to be.

Tim: It is a big deal. But I'm just saying it's an ancient convention that the biblical authors are framing with covenant. That's just helpful. Even though it sounds crazy to that lady who walked in and heard.

Jon: Well, it sounds crazy when you even read it now.

Tim: All that to say is "If you don't listen to my commands, I'll bring sudden terror on you..." Leviticus 26:16. "...wasting disease fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength." But think, it's the opposite. We're just turning all the blessings of Eden and we're just turning each one of them upside down.

Jon: Inverting them. And being ground back to dust.

Tim: Yeah, totally. "I'll set my face against you." Instead of God walking with you, now you've made God your enemy. "Those who hate you will rule over you; you'll flee even when no one's chasing you." This is the first repetition of a key line. "If after all this you still don't listen, I'll discipline you for your sins seven times over." So, if the ideal is the seventh-day rest, then anti-ideal...

Jon: Is seven times curses.

Tim: ...is exile from Eden multiplied by seven. It goes on. Vs 21 "If you remain hostile towards me and refuse to listen, I'll multiply your afflictions seven times over as your sins deserve. Vs 23 If in spite of these things you don't accept my correction, then I'll afflict you for your sins seven times." It says four times in the chapter you'll get a seven...

Jon: It just compounds it.

Tim: Compound it, yeah. Totally. It all builds up to Vs. 33. "I'll scatter you among the nations. I'll draw my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste; your cities lie in ruins." Vs. 34. "Then the land will get to enjoy the Sabbath years. All the time that it lies desolate and you're in the country of your enemies, the land will finally get that Sabbath rest and enjoy it's Sabbath. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest that it didn't get during the Sabbath that you were living on it." It's very interesting. Do you remember this? In the seventh year release...

Jon: Yeah, you let the land rest.

Tim: Just it's parallel, you release your slaves, you liberate them because they're not your property.

Jon: You don't really own them.

Tim: You don't really own them. They all belong to God just like you do. And so also the land.

Jon: We talked about this how it's such a...I mean, I don't know how long in human history we've sort this, but like, we own land. It's such ingrained in our psyche like you can own land. There's something about the Eden ideal where you don't actually own the land.

Tim: That's right. We didn't talk about this in the Jubilee chapter, Leviticus 25, but that's exactly the logic is you released the land every 49th and 50th year. And it says, "The land is mine. You are tenants upon it. You're renters on my land." That's totally the concept. When Israel isn't doing the seven day rest, the seventh year release and the Jubilee release, it's as if the land is building up resentment.

Jon: It's building up debt.

Tim: Not resentment. It's building up like, "You owe me." Hey, well, another Jubilee that nobody did. You guys owe me."

Jon: Interesting.

Tim: We're building up all towards this symbolic depiction of exile as seventy or as a seven times seventy.

Jon: A seventy.
Tim: We'll just wait for Jeremiah. But exile is going to be envisioned as... Jon: It's not going to be a quick exile.
Tim: No, no.
Jon: It's been compounded.

Tim: But also, the exile is gaining a meaning here. Whatever the exile is, it's going to be restoring the lost Sabbath. The lost seventh day and seventh years and seven times seven years it's about restoring that to the land because you didn't give it to the land.


Jon: To back up and make sure that everyone is following including myself, Israel is getting the land. The Promised kind of new creation in Eden kind of place. They got to keep these covenants and it will be Eden. It will be amazing. All the nations will be blessed. But if they don't, there's this foreshadowing of you're going to get kicked out. And it's the exact same narrative logic that's right of Adam and Eve in the garden and they don't obey the covenant command and they're exiled out of the garden.

This is something that actually happened in human history. Israel was taken over by Babylon, and they had to leave the land. Why did that happen? What does it mean? What's the significance of that? And you're saying, embedded in here is all of this...

Tim: What we call the natural world in the biblical story is an existence of humans living at odds with our real nature. And we're living at odds with our environment.

Jon: With our nature.

Tim: We're living at odds with each other and we're living at odds with our environment that we don't relate to it the way that we ought to..

Jon: Which is you don't push it to the brink.

Tim: It's not ours to do what we want with. It's a gift. And what you do with gifts is figure out the intention of the giver for what you do with the gift.

Jon: That's what you do with a gift?

Tim: I guess it's not what everybody does with a gift. This is a classic scene. You know, a father giving a son or daughter their first...

Jon: Car?

Tim: Oh, I was going to say pocket knife. This isn't for stabbing the couch or your brother. This is for wildering sticks. That kind of thing. The vision is that creation is a gift...

Jon: It's a gift, but it's not a gift in like, "Hey, now you own this." It's a gift in like you oversee it.

Tim: No, you oversea it on my behalf.

Jon: The gift is the opportunity to rule with God.

Tim: All right. Yeah. The pocket knife analogy only works halfway because it's still mom or dad's pocket knife.

Jon: It's sharing your inheritance.

Tim: That's right. You get the idea here. You honor the land knowing it's not yours, knowing that when God fills this place and I trust God's wisdom, and treat God and neighbor and land and beast by God's wisdom, then Eden will be the result. If we don't it's an inverted upside down. Seventh Day.

Vs. 40 "However, If they're in the land of their enemies, and they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their ancestors, their unfaithfulness that they committed to me, they're acting with hostility towards me, if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled...

Jon: Is it the first time that phrase is used?

Tim: Yes. Moses is going to pick it up and Deuteronomy but this is the first time it's used. It's obviously a metaphor. The circumcision is about the removal of skin.

Jon: And it's a symbol of the covenant.

Tim: It's a symbol of the covenant. And it's a multi-layered symbol with lots of different layers of meaning. But here it can be that what needs to get taken away as obstinance, and hostility and stubbornness, if their unhealed hearts, their stubborn hearts become humbled, they make amends for their iniquity, vs. 42 then I will remember my covenant with him—with Jacob, my covenant with Isaac, my covenant with Abraham." What was that covenant?

Jon: Blessing.

Tim: Blessing for all the nations through Israel living on this land. The promised land. Look, "I'll remember my covenant, Vs. 42, and I'll remember the land." Israel's in exile and they humble themselves. "I'll remember my covenant they made and I'll remember the land."

Jon: The land is really important here.
Tim: It's really important.
Jon: The land gets the rest it deserved and the land can be remembered.

Tim: The land is made to be Eden. Think about the logic here. Maybe I've thought this before; I'm just pondering in this moment. God made the land to become Eden through people. "I'll remember my covenant" that's God remembering my people. I'll remember the land. Man, this is the same logic as Romans 8. The creation is liberated from its bondage to decay when the children of God are glorified in resurrection and new creation. The creation is waiting for humans to get their act together. That never happens. So the creation's waiting for humans to get recreated so it can become what God intended it to become. That logic is right here.

Jon: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Bible Project podcast. It's December 2019. This month in December, we want to ask you to consider joining the Bible project if you haven't already. This is a crowdfunded project. We have many wonderful patrons who have allowed us to do some incredible work.

We want to highlight the work that we've done so far, but also want to let you know that what we do in our organization is that in December, we take all the money that comes in and we use that to know how far and fast we can go in the next year. So all the money that comes in in December 2019 really is funding our mission for 2020. Kind of supercharging it. You can be part of our December Join Campaign at thebibleproject.com/vision. One of the exciting things that happened in 2019, that we're going to continue 2020 is our localization of our videos into new languages. Today, I want to introduce you to one of those localization teams.

Dan: Hey, this is Dan, the Podcast Producer at The Bible Project. 

Alison: And this is Alison with the localization team at The Bible Project.

Dan: Like Jon just said, we're taking this month of December to highlight some of the really cool things that people are working on here at The Bible Project but they don't always make it to the front page.

Alison: Yeah, that's right. There are a lot of moving parts here at The Bible Project. Thanks to our supporters, we've had a big push towards localization.

Dan: I've often heard that word people tossing around the office a lot. I still don't know exactly what it means.

Alison: I hear that often. Localization is basically just a fancy word for recreating our English videos into other languages and cultures. A lot of people ask me why we don't just do subtitles and call it a day.

Dan: That's something I've totally been wondering myself.

Allison: Well, if you've ever seen a Bible Project video, you'll notice that Tim and John's voices often play off of on-screen text and imagery. We want to recreate that experience as much as possible. So we basically create a team from scratch like artists, voiceover talent and translators then we send them our files and work with them as they morph our videos into their native language.

Dan: That is really cool. Sounds very complicated. You want to highlight several different languages this month. Who do you want to talk about today?

Allison: I am stoked to present the Brazilian Portuguese team. They are incredibly talented, and we've really enjoyed working with them. To remake the videos, we work with Brazilian animators, illustrators, translators, and even a Brazilian Portuguese voiceover team.

Dan: So close your eyes and imagine Tim speaking Portuguese to someone on the beach.

Allison: And you won't have to wait till long to figure out what that's going to sound like because the channel is going to launch in January, and will have about 50 videos published by the end of the year.

Dan: That is really amazing, Allison.

Allison: We wanted to share this team with the podcast audience because it's your support that allows us to bring our videos to Brazilian Portuguese community, which is a pretty big deal because there are almost 200 million Brazilian Portuguese speakers and millions more that speak other Portuguese dialects.

Dan: Allison:

Dan: Woman:

Man: Woman:


Woman: Man:

I just looked it up. It's actually one of the top 10 languages in the world.

Wow, fun fact. Fun Brazilian Portuguese fact. We're very excited and we're so grateful for you.

Thank you, everybody. All right. So Bible Project in Brazilian Portuguese, you can meet them. Here we go.

Hi, my name is Neo Lora. I am Brazilian. I do live in Los Angeles, California. My role within The Bible Project has been language advisor. I basically work around the same books as the rest of the Brazil team. My favorite video is definitely Ephesians. It makes me cry every time. For 2020, I'm really looking forward to finishing the Read Scripture series and hopefully continue with new series.

Hello, my name is Isa Miclare Dos Salas.

You just heard [unintelligible 00:42:29] share his passion for this. He lives in Brazil and his role within the Bible Project is to create the fonts and the posters. He said he's loving this experience. It's been such a personnel achievement that has come to his life through prayer. He also said that his favorite poster to work on was the poster of the book of John.

Hello, my name is Raphael. I work in the Read Scriptures project in Brazil. Now I'm a coordinator of the project here. We are working now on the last books of the New Testament and in the next month, we will start to do the Old Testament.

Hi. My name [unintelligible 00:43:05] I'm one of the Portuguese editors on the Bible Project.

I am Catriona. I'm working on animation at the Portuguese version of the video from The Bible Project. I'd like to invite our Brazilian around the world to check it out on YouTube because I know you'll love it too.


14 Episodes

Episode 14
Hebrews: The Quest for Final Rest
Has the ultimate seventh-day rest already happened? Learn what the book of Hebrews has to say about this question, and discover why there were seven stories of rebellion when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness.
58m • Dec 30, 2019
Episode 13
Lord of the Sabbath
What does Jesus mean when he claims to be "Lord of the Sabbath?” Listen in as Tim and Jon discuss this key claim to understanding Jesus’ identity within the theme of seventh-day rest.
1hr 10m • Dec 23, 2019
Episode 12
Hidden Sevens and Practical Sabbath: Seventh-Day Rest Q+R 2
Listen in to the second question and response episode on the biblical theme of Sabbath and seventh-day rest.
44m • Dec 19, 2019
Episode 11
Jesus and His Jubilee Mission
Jesus said he fulfilled the Sabbath, but he also practiced it. Listen in as Tim and Jon break down Jesus' unique relationship and claims about the Sabbath and seventh-day rest.
1hr 15m • Dec 16, 2019
Episode 10
Seventy Times Seven - Prophetic Math
Daniel 9 is one of the strangest and most symbolically rich passages in all of the Bible. Learn about the history of this passage commonly known as "The Seventy Sevens" and why Jesus thought it was a big deal.
1hr 4m • Dec 9, 2019
Episode 9
Rest for the Land
The land needs rest, too. And if Israel doesn’t give the land rest, God says he will punish them by sending them into exile. Discover the overlooked character in the theme of seventh-day rest, the land.
44m • Dec 2, 2019
Episode 8
Jubilee: The Radical Year of Release
The Year of Jubilee—it’s one of the most radical ideas in the Bible. A complete socio-economic refresh that was supposed to occur every fifty years in Israel. Jesus later claims to enact a jubilee when he announces his ministry. Listen as Tim and Jon discuss the origins of the jubilee in the book of Leviticus.
58m • Nov 25, 2019
Episode 7
Seventh-Day Rest Q+R 1
Welcome to our first question and response episode for our theme on seventh-day rest.
54m • Nov 21, 2019
Episode 6
The Seven Festivals
The Jewish calendar contains seven sacred feasts that seem confusing to non-Jewish readers. Listen in as Tim shows how each of the feasts points us toward the human quest for eternal rest as seen in our theme of seventh-day rest.
1hr 7m • Nov 18, 2019
Episode 5
The Cathedral in Time
The tabernacle was also known as “the tent of meeting.” Learn more about the importance of this sacred space and its surprising importance to understanding the theme of seventh-day rest.
57m • Nov 11, 2019
Episode 4
Sacred Time and the Feast of Flight
Sacred feasts are a big deal in the Bible. But where did they come from? Believe it or not, you’ll find their origins built into the fabric of the fourth day of creation in Genesis 1. Listen in as Tim and Jon break down the significance of the Jewish sacred calendar and highlight the most sacred date of all, Passover.
1hr 7m • Nov 4, 2019
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.
1hr 2m • Oct 28, 2019
Episode 2
The Significance of Seven
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 Sabbath or resting every seventh day is woven into the fabric of the universe.
1hr 5m • Oct 21, 2019
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.
56m • Oct 14, 2019
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