When we read the Bible, what is the first thing that we find that God makes holy? You might think the answer would be: holy ground, holy temple or a holy mountain. The answer may surprise you. The answer is: a 24 hour period of time called a day.
Letís notice, it is not just any day, but the seventh day.
Letís read Gen. 2:3-4 (NIV) "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. (3) 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."
Letís notice the three things which God did on the seventh day:
He rested on the seventh day.
He blessed the seventh day.
He made the seventh day holy.
God Rested on the Seventh Day!
It is interesting that in Gen. 2:3-4 the word Sabbath is not mentioned. In fact the word Sabbath is not mentioned in the King James version of the Bible until Ex. 16:23.
The Hebrew word for rested in Gen. 2:3 is shabath. Shabath is one of the three Hebrew words that are used in the Old Testament translated as Sabbath. In essence, God Sabbathed, when He rested.
Letís look at the three definitions of the word "Sabbath" that is used in the Old Testament.
The definitions that follow are from Strongís Concordance:
#7673. "shabath, shaw-bath'; a prim. root; to repose, i.e. desist from exertion; used in many impl. relations (caus., fig. or spec.):--(cause to, let, make to) cease, celebrate, cause (make) to fail, keep (sabbath), suffer to be lacking, leave, put away (down), (make to) rest, rid, still, take away."
#7676. shabbath, shab-bawth'; intens. from H7673; intermission, i.e. (spec.) the Sabbath:-- (+ every) sabbath.
#7677. shabbathown, shab-baw-thone'; from H7676; a sabbatism or special holiday:--rest, sabbath.
The Greek word for Sabbath in the New Testament is Sabbathon. Strongís Concordance
#4521. sabbaton, sab'-bat-on; of Heb. or [H7676]; the Sabbath (i.e. Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extens. a se'nnight, i.e. the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plur. in all the above applications:--sabbath (day), week.
A brief definition of the word Sabbath is: to take an intermission, rest, to cease from working.
This is what God did.
So God ceased from the labor of working and rested on the first seventh day Sabbath.
God Blessed the Seventh Day.
Websterís Dictionary defines the word "Bless" as: To make holy, by religious rite; sanctify, to invoke divine favor upon."
God did exactly that, He made the seventh day holy, sanctified it and invoked divine favor upon it.
God even blessed the seventh day by giving it a name. The seventh day of the week is the only day that God gave a name to. He called it the Sabbath (Ex. 20:8-11).
God Made the Seventh Day Holy!
God is holy and only He can make something holy. God chose to make the seventh day of the week holy.
Holiness is the nature of God.
1 Pet 1:15 says: "but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy.""
Mat 5:48 says "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
God wants His people to be holy and perfect just as He is holy and perfect.
God made man on the sixth day of the week and on the following day He made seventh day, the Sabbath, holy.
Letís read: Mark 2:27-28 "And He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. (28) "Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.""
Notice that the Sabbath was made for man and that the Son of Man, Jesus, is Lord of the Sabbath.
God wants man to use this holy time, the Sabbath, to become holy, just as He is holy. God wants us to use this time to fellowship with Him, to worship Him, to read and study the Bible and to pray to Him.
James 4:8 says "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you"
Acts 17:11 "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."
James 5:16 "pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
If we do this, then we will grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 3:18)
When Does the Sabbath Begin?
God is the great designer of all things including time. He measures days from sunset to sunset.
Letís look at a couple of passages that will prove this. At the end of each day of creation God would say like He said on the first day: (Gen 1:5) " So the evening and the morning were the first day."
Lev 23:32 says: "It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath."
God is the designer of time and He establishes when the day begins and ends.
God Commands Us to Keep the Seventh Day Holy!
God has designed the seven day weekly pattern. Notice in the fourth commandment that God commands man to work six days and then on the seventh day to remember the Sabbath, to rest and keep the Sabbath holy.
Exo 20:8-11 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (9) Six days you shall labor and do all your work, (10) but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. (11) For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
It is unique to know that the first thing that God made holy was time, a 24 hour day, of which God calls the Sabbath.
God set us a holy example when He blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy and then He rested from His labor on the Sabbath.
We should have the desire to Follow Godís example by resting on the Sabbath and keeping it holy.
We should have the desire to worship God on the Sabbath so we can be holy as
God is holy.