The Seventh Day of Rest

When God created the earth, we are told that the process involved six days and that he rested on the seventh day:

  1. Genesis 2:1-3
  2. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
  3. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
  4. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

We know from the story of the Old Testament, that the seventh day rest became a very significant part of the Jewish week. It was called the Sabbath day: "Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you" (Exodus 13:31).

Day of Rest?

The Children of Israel were instructed not to work on the Sabbath. It was to be a day of rest:

  1. Exodus 20:8-11
  2. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  3. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
  4. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
  5. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Unfortunately, as time passed the Sabbath rest was reduced to a ritual observance. The principle of the rest was lost and there was a definite need for further understanding on the subject. Jesus added some additional instruction in the New Testament.

When he was being criticized for healing on the Sabbath day, he reminded his adversaries that there were certain obligations that were still reasonable on the Sabbath day, such as watering your cattle, or circumcising a son if it happened that the his eight day fell on the Sabbath (see Luke 13:14-16 and John 7:22-23).

Healing on the Sabbath

Jesus made it a practice to do much of his healing on the Sabbath day for another reason. The Sabbath rest was typical of a period of rest that was coming in the future. When the future Sabbath came, there would be more than a rest from daily labor. In the coming "rest", man would be freed from the sickness and diseases that are currently a part of our mortality. Jesus used the power of the Holy Spirit to heal these diseases to demonstrate how God's power would be used to eliminate sickness and disease in the future.

Jesus was preaching the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. The Sabbath day was typical of that Kingdom that was coming on the earth. When he healed on the Sabbath day, he was providing a real live visual lesson of what it would be like in the Kingdom.

I Will Give You Rest

When we begin to understand that Jesus was teaching and preaching about this coming Kingdom, some of his other teachings have added meaning. For example, he taught:

  1. Matthew 11:28-30
  2. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
  3. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
  4. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus would not only lighten our burdens in this life, (by providing us with the peace of mind that comes with hope), but he would also help us to find eternal rest, in God's Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God will fill this earth with God's glory, and it will bring a time of peace, when they will beat their swords into plowshares. This Kingdom is described as: "times of refreshing" that "shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).

Rest For the People of God

In Hebrews 4, this kingdom is also spoken of as a time of rest. It is here that connection is made to the seventh day of the creation: Consider the following verses from that chapter:

  1. Hebrews 4:4-11
  2. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.
  3. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.
  4. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
  5. Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
  6. For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
  7. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
  8. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
  9. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
One Day = One Thousand Years

The Apostle Peter adds another dimension to this study about the seventh day of rest. Speaking about the coming judgment that precedes the Kingdom of God, he tells us in II Peter 3:

  1. II Peter 3:7-9
  2. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
  3. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
  4. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

It is reasonable to conclude, when we look at all of these facts, that God has a very definite timetable in his plan for this earth. If we consider that the seven days of creation may have been a type, and that one day with the Lord is like a thousand years, we would expect that this earth would experience 6000 years of labor and travail, followed by a 1000 year "day of rest" for the people of God.

They Reigned with Christ 1000 Years

This idea is well supported in scripture. It is consistent with the message found in Revelation 20:6 – "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."

The Seventh Day

The Seventh day of creation then, was intended as a type. The day of rest for God, was typical of the coming Kingdom of God on this earth. That Kingdom would be a time of rest for God's people, who would live and reign for one thousand years. God's people will rest from their labors, and the earth will be refreshed. The curse on the ground will be removed, and the earth will bring forth abundantly.

The Prophet Micah told about that wonderful time of rest in these words from his 4th chapter:

  1. Micah 4:1-4
  2. But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
  3. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
  4. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
  5. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.


Back to the Gospel Message Article Index