Genesis 1 Day 7 The Day of Rest

Genesis 2:1-3

By Ron Jones ©Titus Institute 2018

Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), ©2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."


On Day 1, God created the raw material of the universe, the earth as a gigantic earthen sphere covered by water and outer space unoccupied until the proper time. He will be like a master sculptor who has prepared the clay to be molded. His Holy Spirit is hovering over the face of this world wide ocean ready to participate with the Father and the Son in the creation. God then creates a supernatural light by which the earth can begin to rotate on its axis and the first 24 hour day can begin. On Day 2, God creates the sky between the waters above (clouds full of water vapor) and the waters below (ocean). This is the beginning of the hydrologic cycle which God created to grow the food supply and sustain life. On Day 3 God creates the dry land, the seas and vegetation. The dry land will be what animals and man will inhabit and what will produce the vegetation that they will eat to sustain their lives. The seas are an essential part of the hydrologic cycle as well as sustaining life on earth. On Day 4, God fills Outer Space which he created on Day 1 with the sun, moon, and stars. On Day 5 God creates living creatures that inhabit the sea and air. On Day 6 God creates land animals and the first human beings, Adam and Eve. Today, we begin Genesis 2 which reveals God's completion of his creative work on Day 6 and his institution of a day of rest for Adam and Eve and their descendants.

Genesis 2:1

v. 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

This is a powerful statement. The heavens and the earth are now complete. The supernatural creative action of God is complete. So, before the seventh day begins, all of creation has been completed. The laws of physics have now been fully established by God and are in place and have been ever since.

v. 1 And all the host of them (heavens and earth)

The phrase "and the host of them" refers to everything God has made that now inhabits the heavens and the earth.

v.2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

v.2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done,

Moses repeats this to emphasize that all that God intended to create, he created in those six days. There is now no need for God to work at creation.

v.2 and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

v.2 "rested"

The Hebrew word translated "rest" literally means "abstain from work" that is, "not to do work."

It does not mean to stop working or to "relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength." It simply means, God did not work on the seventh day.

Cassuto brings this out when he writes, "This Hebrew verb (wayyisbot) has been translated or interpreted by many as if it signified 'to rest' or 'to cease work'; but this is incorrect. It has a negative connotation: 'not to do work'...In this section, which avoids all possible use of anthropomorphic expressions in order to teach us, particularly in the account of creation, how great is the gulf between the Creator and the created, such notions would have been incongruous; hence the Bible uses only a term that signifies 'abstention from work'." (Cassuto, U. (1998). A Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I, From Adam to Noah (Genesis I-VI 8). (I. Abrahams, Trans.) (p. 63). Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University.)

So, on the seventh day God does not do the work of creation because it was finished on the sixth day. As I said, when the work of creation was finished, the laws of physics were set in motion and they applied to the whole universe.

v.2 on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

Again, Moses states and repeats the finishing of God's work. The message is clear. Creation is finished and completed. God does not work on the seventh day because he has accomplished everything he wanted to accomplish. What we see today in the universe is a result of the previous six days of creation.

v.2 "work"

Also, notice that God's creative activity is called "work." This gives honor to the idea of man working. God created work and he did work and we should do work. But on the seventh day he did not work and on the seventh day we should not work.

v.2 "seventh day"

The Hebrew verb translated "rest" has the same root as the noun Sabbath, but the day here is not called "the Sabbath," nor does God institute the Sabbath here. However, God does establish the seventh day as a holy day. When God established the Sabbath at the time of Moses, the Jews already observed the seventh day as holy. God was establishing a deeper meaning and significance for his people as they became a nation, his nation, Israel. The use of "Elohim" in v.2 rather than "Yahweh" signifies that this is to be followed by all mankind. God is establishing the seven-day week, consisting of the six-day work week and a seventh day of no work.

v. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

v.3 "So God blessed the seventh day"

God's blessing means that he will bless those who keep the seventh day as a day when they don't work and take time to worship God.

v. 3 "and made it holy"

"Holy" means "sacred, set apart for God."

Consecration in the Old Testament meant designating or setting aside persons, places, and things that were considered sacred because of their relationship to or possession by the Lord, who is holy. It was a sacred day set apart as a memorial to remember what God the Creator gave to all human beings. It was to be a day of thanksgiving for all that God had blessed man with in his creation.

Cassuto again writes, "Every seventh day, without intermission since the days of creation, serves as a memorial to the idea of the creation of the world by the word of God, and we must refrain from work thereon so that we may follow the Creator's example and cleave to His ways. Scripture wishes to emphasize that the sanctity of the Sabbath is older than Israel, and rests upon all mankind." (Cassuto, U. (1998). A Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part I, From Adam to Noah (Genesis I-VI 8). (I. Abrahams, Trans.) (p. 64). Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University.)

When Cain and Abel brought their offerings to the Lord in Genesis 4 it was most likely on the seventh day.

No "Evening and Morning" Statement

Notice also, there is no evening and morning. Remember we saw that the evening and morning was the interval between one day and another. If the Lord had stated, "and there was evening and there was morning a seventh day," it would have led logically to an eighth day or a return to Day 1 of a second week. That would break down the pattern he was setting of the seven-day week and create confusion.