When God created the earth, we are told that the process involved six days and that he rested on the seventh day:
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).
The Children of Israel were instructed not to work on the Sabbath. It was to be a day of rest:
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).
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.
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:
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).
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:
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:
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.
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 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: