Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 12 December 2018
Page 4

The Divine Sanctification
of the Seventh Day

Ronald D. Reeves

Ronald D. ReevesA majority of Christian-minded men and women properly conclude that the first day of the week, Sunday, has been set aside as a day of worship in the Christian Age. In contrast, others promote the continued observance of the seventh day—the Sabbath—in the Christian Age. They assert that the Lord sanctified the seventh day on the very first seventh day. In addition, these people declare that such warrants the continued observance of the Sabbath as a day of rest in the Christian Age—to the exclusion of the first day of the week as a day of worship (Genesis 2:3). However, consider the following observations.

  1. The seventh day was classed with the other six days as a day of the week (Genesis 1:3–2:3).
  2. Genesis 2:3 states the fact of divine sanctification, neither giving a command on this occasion to sanctify the seventh day nor stating when the sanctification of the seventh day occurred.
  3. The only clue in this passage (Genesis 2:3) as to when the seventh day was sanctified is observed in the past perfect tense of the verb “had rested.” The tense of the verb demands that we view the action of “resting” as having been completed before the divine sanctification. Thus, the divine sanctification of the seventh day occurred after God had rested. This passage does not specifically detail the lapse of time between the two events.
  4. The statement of divine sanctification of the seventh day (Genesis 2:3) was written ca. 2,500 years after the creation—during the life of Moses (ca. 1571 – 1451 B.C.).
  5. The Sabbath Day is not mentioned in the Book of Genesis. The first occasion of it being mentioned is recorded in Exodus 16:22-23. This occasion is 13 days before the giving of the Ten Commandments by the Lord to Moses (Exodus 20:1-17), in which the command to keep the Sabbath Day holy was formally applied to the Hebrew people.
  6. The Sabbath was made known on Mt. Sinai (ca. 1491 B.C.) rather than at an earlier date. This text specifically names Moses as the agent by whom such was communicated (Nehemiah 9:13-14).
  7. The newness of the Sabbath Day in the time of Moses is evident as he did not know what to do with those who violated the Sabbath observance. If the sanctification of the Sabbath Day had occurred about 2,500 years before, with the Sabbath Day being so honored for such a period of time, then an inquiry about the disposition of the man breaking the Sabbath Day would not have been needed (Numbers 15:32-36).
  8. This passage (Genesis 2:3) sets forth a prolepsis (“the representation or assumption of a future act or development as if presently existing or accomplished” Merriam-Webster) wherein two events widely separated in time are joined together in one statement. Other examples of this can be found in Genesis 3:20; 4:20 and Matthew 10:4. Thus, the resting of God on the first seventh day occurred in a different time frame (ca. 4004 B.C.) than the divine sanctification of the seventh day, which occurred much later (ca. 1491 B.C., Exodus 20:1-17).
  9. Another example of a prolepsis is recorded in Romans 9:10-13. The text of Romans 9:12 is based upon Genesis 25:23 (ca. 1836 B C.) while the text of Romans 9:13 is based upon Malachi 1:2-3 (ca. 445 B.C.). Thus, a span of about 1,400 years separates the events recorded in the two adjoining verses. Similarly, a span of about 2,500 years separates the events recorded in Genesis 2:3 and the divine sanctification of the seventh day (4004 vs. 1491 B.C.).
  10. There are no passages of Scripture which state or illustrate that the Sabbath Day was kept before Israel left Egypt (ca. 1491 B.C.). Such an omission should be expected in view of the above points.

Although this discussion only addresses one ploy made by the present-day defenders of the Sabbath Day, we may be assured that their other strategies can be addressed as clearly as has been done in this short article. May we be reminded that the day biblically assigned as a day of worship in the Christian Age is the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:2), as supported by the biblical record and example of Acts 20:7. As we ardently defend the first day of the week as the divinely assigned day of worship, may we also ardently support by our active involvement the first day of the week as the Christian day of worship. We trust that our membership will assemble on the Lord’s Day at every opportunity.

God, Creator of All

Clarence L. Lavender

In a recent edition of Time magazine, there was an excellent article entitled, “Science, God and Man.” Basically, it was written from an agnostic point of view and gives the reader some insight into that mind set. I hope you will read all of the article in Time, because space will only permit me to make a few observations. The author raised the question, “New discoveries in physics, cosmology, and biology make the universe more explainable, as well as more amazing. Does this undermine religious faith—or reinforce it?”

In response to the question, true science has always enhanced one’s faith in the God of Heaven and in the Bible. One thing this writer has learned over the years is not to get too excited over new-found knowledge coming from the scientific community, because it will change next year. However, Beloved, such is not the case with the Bible. It is absolute truth (John 8:32; 17:17). It is the truth that does not change (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Proverbs 30:6).

The Bible teaches that God is the Creator of all things. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The best commentary on Genesis 1:1 is Exodus 20:11, which reads, “For in the 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.”

Nehemiah taught the same as Moses. “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all thou hast, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas; and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heavens worshippeth thee” (Nehemiah 9:6).

Hear what the Psalmist said. “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands” (Psalm 102:25). The Bible teaches that God spoke and all things appeared. “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9).

Beloved, both Testaments establish God as Creator—not some “big bang” or evolution. In our study, we must remember, the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, while the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. They complement each other because their source is the same—God.

Paul said to the people who lived in the City of Lystra, “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” (Acts 14:15). As Christians, we are sure of divine creation. Yet, someone asks, “Were you there?” No, but God was there (Genesis 1:1)! Christ was there (Colossians 1:1; 16-17)! The Holy Spirit was there (Genesis 1:2)! Scriptural evidence is sufficient for every honest mind. The metaphysical (above or beyond the physical) fact is that not only was the universe fashioned by the word of God, but that in His creative act, the “visible came forth from the invisible.” As Richard Taylor said:

The real world, in the most ultimate sense of reality, is not the phenomenal order but the invisible order. What seems real to our physical senses is actually only a product of that which to our senses seems unreal. Faith therefore is not a fairy fancy, in a make-believe world, but the exact opposite; it penetrates through the superficial world of appearance to lay hold of the fundamental and eternal reality behind the appearances. Faith therefore is not a concession to the kindergarten level of religion, but is integral to mature religion, and is at the heart of a sound philosophy.

To put it another way, the Holy Spirit affirms that God did not make the universe out of pre-existing materials—as an architect makes a house, as an engineer builds a bridge or as a homemaker makes a cake. Instead, in the beginning (Genesis 1:1), He created it by the word of His power. “He spake, and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:9). He made something from nothing, which is philosophically and scientifically impossible. Yet, the Bible teaches He did it! I believe the Bible. What about you?

Another statement made by the author is, “God the creator of the universe, can never be against learning the laws of what He has created.” I certainly believe that is so, but please give the Bible equal footing in the search for all the evidence concerning such laws.

In conclusion, there is no room in the first chapter of Genesis for the “big bang” or the theory of evolution. God spoke, and instantly, “it was so” (Genesis 1:1-27). The power of God’s word is demonstrated when we think of the earth spinning at about one thousand miles an hour and rotating at about 64 thousand miles an hour and God “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Such design demands a Designer. The Designer is the God of the Bible (Genesis 1:1). The words of the Psalmist ring true. “Lord, thou have been our dwelling place in all generations, Before the mountains were brought forth, or even thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:1-2).

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