WEEK 16 (3rd to 9th of Elul, the 6th Month, in the Hebrew Religious Calendar)
Thus the Heavens and the Earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day Elohim ended Their work which They had done, and They rested on the seventh day from all Their work which They had done. Then Elohim blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it They rested from all Their work which Elohim had created and made.
Day 7: Who “Rested”? From What?
In Moses’ account of Creation, he identified the Creator as Elohim, which is the plural form of the noun Eloah in Hebrew, meaning “divine” or “god”. That Moses never used Eloah (singular) could only mean there indeed was a plurality in the Person or Nature of Elohim. The translations using “God” and “His”, instead of “Elohim” and “Their”, therefore, we must consider inaccurate for they tend to confuse, if not distract, us from the truth and reality of the Nature of the Creator. It also follows that any presentation of the Creation narrative using the singular form does not provide a wide-enough picture of what happened, Who were working, and what were each of Them doing, as far as we are told. So, does the narrative give us such details?
In our Day-1 discussion, we identified the presence of Ruach Hakodesh during the transition from the Earth being dark, formless and empty to that of being in the Light, having form, and being filled up with various things. We presumed that the presence of Ruach could have meant He brought Light into existence. Now, bringing Light into existence may not have been an act which Ruach alone did, but could also mean it was a joint act of Elohim as One Creator. We merely pointed out later passages that showed Ruach giving physical in the form of a “pillar of fire” (Ex.40:34-38) and “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:1-4) during momentous events in Yah’s work of redeeming humans.
Just as we said Ruach could have had so many angels helping Him bring the Universe into existence, Elohim could have been working as a Divine Team, deciding and acting as One. For when They decided by saying “Let Us make man in Our own image”, it could have meant everything else they had done from the start was Their unified decision and work. How They worked and how They acted as One, we have no way of knowing. We only know Ruach’s Presence was highlighted, perhaps, to let us know how in our times He would manifest Himself in our lives, as He had done in the past. And there is still so much to know and understand about how He really moves, manifests Himself, and declares His truth in scriptures and within our individual lives. Having seen His participation in Creation and in Revelation, could there be any doubt or limitation as to the power He possesses and what He can do on our behalf as believers, His chosen temples in these “Days of Noah Part 2”?
The seventh day, therefore, was the day that Elohim decided to stop and to shabath, that is, to desist, to cease or to rest from Their work, having thus completed Creation. Hence, we have the word Sabbath, the day of rest. They then “blessed” Day 7 — in Hebrew, barak, meaning to kneel or to bless. Did They, in truth, “kneel down”, in the sense that They went down upon the Earth and touched their Creation with Their feet, legs or hands Themselves as an act to literally declare Their glory before all Creation itself or to celebrate Their supreme and majestic work with all Their creatures? Even the act of blessing or anointing a priest or a person involves touching the forehead or pouring oil upon it. Why not the Presence of Elohim Themselves to anoint and to shower Creation with Their Holy Presence to humans, animals and all Creation? Were They not speaking with Adamah on Day 6, in fact, and giving him instructions? And that Adamah was Their final and perfect Creation that represented Their image or likeness upon the Earth?
Elohim Bless Creation
It becomes clear that Elohim did not only bless Adamah but all of Creation with Their actual Presence. By the time They were through with Their instructions to Adamah and all living things, Day 7 had come; and that was when They blessed its coming and, by then, They left Creation to be on its own according to Their supreme design and will. We “bless” a newly-built ship on its maiden voyage. We also bless a young graduate after 4 years of college on the day he or she walks the path toward a professional career. And we bless a 9-month-in-the-making, newborn child on a special day and pray that it may grow to be a happy, strong and successful individual. We merely carry on that divine act through desiring good wishes on behalf of our accomplishments as well.
But aside from blessing Day 7, Elohim also decided to qadash it, that is, to “set apart” or “consecrate” it. That means they made it holy or sanctified. These words may seem too religious to many of us, because of the way people express how they “set apart” certain things or people through elaborate rituals done in declaring a person a “saint” or, literally, a “holy person”. Or even the ceremonies done to present an object or statue for the first time as not only a symbol of an important event or a great hero, making that object almost equal to the real person or idea being presented. Such practices tend to induce or distract people into idolatrous practices; and they indeed have throughout history. In the case of Day 7, we have had endless debates on the question of whether it applies at all or it should still apply according to how groups have understood the significance of Day 7 to be. Understanding fully what Elohim said and did on Day 7 may, hopefully, give us some valuable insights.
Was Havah Created after Day 7?
We know Elohim, as One, did the work that brought about Creation. And that on Day 7 They stopped doing that work of creating any more part of the Universe. Except for one. Reading Genesis 1 will give us the view that before Elohim rested, man and woman were already alive. However, in Genesis 2, it appears that it may have taken several days or longer, perhaps, before Havah was created. For Moses writes that Elohim planted a gan, which means an “enclosure” or a “garden” in Eden (Adamah’s home) miqqedem, that is, “at the front of it”, meaning “facing East”. (Gen. 2:8-9) If Elohim had created the Land and planted upon it on Day 3, could this mean this enclosure or garden was a different place intended as a home for humans and made after Adamah was created?
There is no issue as to why woman should be made if all of Creation had been completed. Elohim can decide to do whatever They want. They had reserved Havah, precisely, for Adamah’s sake for a later day. Besides, They were not creating something new but only transforming what was already existing within Adamah’s body – his rib. Sure, like Adamah who was formed out of the Earth or soil, Havah grew out of Adamah or, we can still say, out of literal Earth or” “the ground” (adamah). It was basically the same process using preexisting material. So, did Elohim break Their rest in making Havah? If we follow the synoptic account in Genesis 1, this would not be an issue, as man and woman were apparently made on Day 6.
Elohim, for certain, never ceases to work. What Moses recorded was the fact that Creation was finished and that whatever had been made or done remained as they were designed to function, in goodness and in abundance. The operation of the Universe certainly requires the oversight of Elohim and Their hosts of angels to be maintained, supervised and controlled, especially because humans were made in Their own image, having free will, intelligence, and independence of thought, as well as of action.
Cursing the Earth after the Fall was a grievous work They had to do; but it had to be done. How deeply grievous it must have been for Them to send the Flood? But cursing Creation was a more lasting deed for it was a reversal of Creation, in the sense that Creation was put into a slow spin or gradual descent into decay and destruction. Nevertheless, Elohim had a cure for the curse itself. His “rest”, then, was not relief from doing work, literally, as humans do, but the completion of a particular work. Let us not be stuck in that idea of an obligatory or required relief from work, just because Moses received it as a command, in the same way that we often see worship as an obligation or a ritualistic, weekly act when it is, by all intents and purposes of Yah, a freewill offering of our bodies as a living, holy and acceptable offering. (Rom. 12:1) This misplaced idea, in fact, caused the Pharisees to question Yahusha each time He performed miracles or caused people to “work” on a Sabbath. The “law” — or the keeping thereof — then became to them greater and more important than the need to grant the “rest” or relief it was meant to give. And, for all of us law-sticklers, Yahusha was at work always, regardless of the day; because He came precisely to offer GENUINE REST:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
– (Matt. 11:28-30)
Did Adamah and Havah Practice Weekly Rest?
In short, Elohim’s rest on Day 7 should not be seen as a basis for ritualistic or ceremonial traditions that impose a higher importance or significance to any day or event in history, particularly in the lives of Yah’s people. For Elohim never commanded Adamah and Havah to keep the “seventh day of every week” as holy. As we already said, the idea of a week was not even in the mind of Elohim or the prophets until the Hebrews received the Law from Moses at Mt. Sinai. And it was only given to them, not to other nations. Imposing it upon the whole world because “Elohim rested after Creation” has no basis in history and in Revelation, only in private interpretation. What that is we will explain further.
Day 7 was set apart on Day 7. Who was setting it apart? Elohim. Were Adamah and Havah included? No! It was Adamah’s first day after his creation and, most probably, his first day at work in the Garden. Remember? He had just received his work description — no, his life description – to eat, multiply and have dominion over all things. Yes, Elohim, thank you for all your gifts! I praise and honor You with my heart and soul! But how will I multiply? Ooops! Did Elohim forget something?
Adamah had to work on Day 7. He was not part of Elohim. They had made him, along with the Sea, the Land, the Air, the Sun and stars, the Plants and all the Land animals. Adamah practically owned everything and had control over all that he saw. Elohim told him so. Did he then also rest on Day 7? How could he? Sure, he could have started his day celebrating with Elohim Who may have declared Their rest in the presence of Adamah. But They were only “setting it apart” from the other days; perhaps, among Themselves and not in reference or with any concern to Adamah. It was a Revelation to Moses. In fact, They were not actually resting, as in sleeping or sitting down on a lounging chair (as the engraving by Van Schnoor above seems to innocently portray), but merely declaring that all things have been finished.
It is finished! This day is set apart from the others for a purpose. What that is They would still decide and declare when the proper moment comes. Besides, it did not necessarily mean Day 7 was being set apart from the first 6 days. (Remember: Elohim were not defining the WEEK, as many seem to conclude. The “appointed Times” They established were only the Days and Years; perhaps, also Months but as a natural consequence of the creation of the Sun, planets and the stars.) They could have meant “setting apart” from all other days in the past and in the future as a day of great significance. Otherwise, Adamah would have also rested on Day 7. And everyone else after him would have commemorated it prior to Moses’ having received the direct command to make the seventh day “holy”. (Ex. 20:8-11)
For certain, Elohim were setting Day 7 itself apart for an important use in the future, not for Adamah who apparently had no need for rest as yet and had to begin living and working, just as Elohim were living and working in Heaven. Elohim, undoubtedly, were as excited as Adamah to see how Creation would become after a month, a year or 7 years or 700 years. They did not have to wait for long until Plan B had to apply for Creation. And because of sin and the Fall, the need to shabath again from the work of redeeming Creation from the curse now took priority. And we said that the seventh-day rest began as a gift or consolation for the Hebrew slaves who had toiled in Egypt for 420 years daily and with no rest from their slave-masters. The time for setting apart the seventh day began with the Chosen People who would become the vehicle through which the Seed will come and redeem humans from the curse. By then, the Hebrews had acquired the practice of the Egyptians and the Babylonians of counting weeks. Yes, and the prophets, including Moses, already counted 7 weeks for the celebration of Pentecost, 7 years for the Jubilees, and other 7 time-periods as a reminder of what Elohim had done during Creation.
Sabbath as Law-Prophecy
Sabbath or the “setting apart” of days or years to make them “holy” was a law-prophecy of the promised rest from the curse of sin and death, and also from the judgment to come at the end of Time. The rest of Elohim was not a “rest” (avoidance, let our minds firmly grasp that) from evil or unwanted things but merely the end of the important and necessary work of creating the Universe. The rest that Yah gave to Israel was, as we said, from slavery, from sin, from death, and, eventually, from the curse. When Yahusha finally came, all those prophecies referring to that Shabath or Rest had been fulfilled through the nation of Israel, particularly the Jews. Paul would only refer to a remaining “rest for the people of Yah”. (Heb. 4:1-10)
In short, as Yah “ceased from His work”, we shall also “cease” or “finish” our work. As a Jew, Paul kept the Law of Moses regarding the Sabbath. But Gentiles were never required to keep the Sabbath, circumcision or any of the requirements of the Law of Moses, but only to live righteously and to abstain from forbidden food – basically, what Adamah and Havah were commanded. (Acts 15:18-20) Our final and only true Sabbath (End of All Human Labors) is when all the work of Elohim to save humans, and all the work of humans to serve Elohim in the Kingdom, will be granted when we enter the New Heavenly City of Yerushalem coming down from Yahuah. We all work with Elohim through our lives today. Yes, They stopped creating on Day 7; but They continue to work for our salvation, as we need to do for our own sakes as well.
Should We Still Keep the Sabbath?
If you are a Jew and still feel you should keep the Law, the Sabbath is a holy tradition that has historical basis indeed. But be reminded that it has been fulfilled in Yahusha Who fulfilled ALL the prophets’ sayings in His life and in His lifetime. Whatever prophecies written in the Old Testament we find have already been done by and through Yahusha. The “law and the prophets were until John (the Immerser)”, He said. The only prophecies that remain are those of Yahusha’s and the Apostles that would come after their departure from the scene. As Paul spoke of a final rest at the end of Time, we said.
The Last Day is the Real Rest Day or the Eternal Day or Eternal Time set apart for those who have been set apart from the rest of humanity. That is the only day that matters for us all. And it matters that we, as individuals, must also be set apart from the cursed generation in these “Noah’s Days Part 2”. Day 7 marks our attachment to the Creator and His work in the Universe and in our lives. What we ultimately “set apart” is not any day or week or month or year, but our own lives and our pleasing offering of our bodies according to His calling. And what remains is but the final Rest or Completion of our work in the Kingdom while we are in this world.
If you are not a Jew but a believer of Yahusha, keeping the Sabbath may be a holy tradition you keep according to your religion, your pastor or your priest. But be reminded of the same admonitions given to Jews. You have been grafted into the vine, whereas Jews were original branches. If what the branches consider as holy or necessary but is actually superfluous or even unnecessary now, why should you be less accountable for doing something of no real value? This issue has caused so much confusion and division; and there will be no end to it until we see it through the eyes and mind of the Ones Who declared and instituted it – for Themselves, for the Israelites and for all humans. The rest promised to all of us is a common reward from the Creator at the return of Masshiak. We all need rest now and then, or every week. Take a rest, as you please. But do not think you are better than one who does not consider your idea of rest as from Elohim Themselves or from Yahusha Himself.
Back to Noah, the Original Promised Rest for Creation
The 7-day week in the modern calendar has been a product of this predominant belief on a religious day of rest. And yet, majority of believers have shifted to Sunday as the alternative day of rest. We already said that Noah (the man named Rest) knew what it was to work and to rest: from laborious work, from evil, from violence, from sin, from destruction, from a global Flood and from divine judgment. 112 days into his journey, he and his family had finally rested from all those things (except for tedious labor), awaiting for a New Earth and New Heaven. We will notice that all the important days that Noah did fell on the Sabbath: when he started building, when he finished, when they entered the Ark and when they came out of the Flood. Why? Because his name meant Rest and it was Moses who was making sure the Hebrews recognized the importance of the Sabbath Rest for Israel. The Promised Rest, therefore, extended to the Israelites’ taking over Canaan and ended until Yahusha would resurrect on Sabbath.
When Did Yahusha Resurrect?
Yes, Sabbath was actually the 3rd day after His crucifixion; and by the time the first day, Sunday, had come when Mary and Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, He was already alive. He was alive on the first day of the week; but He arose on the Sabbath. The narratives of Matthew and Mark clearly tell us that Mary and Magdalene went to the tomb “very early in the morning” to anoint Yahusha’s body “after the Sun had arisen”, that is, after the Sabbath. They worried as to who would roll the stone for them but found it already rolled away. And the guarding angel told them He was not there. (Matt. 18:1-4; Mark 16:1-8) John, in fact, writes that while it was still dark, that is, before it turned into the first day, (Please read “WEEK 10: Time: The Greatest Enigma of Life” to find out why we said sunrise is the start of the day, not sunset or midnight.)
In short, Mary Magdalene already saw only an empty tomb before the Sun rose! Yahusha’s body was not there. Of course, it was not! It appears that the women did not actually wait for Sabbath to end when they went to the tomb. And that Magdalene may have remained after Mary had gone home ahead, perhaps, in her excitement, knowing her begotten son was the Promised Masshiak and was alive somewhere. Yahusah, however, appeared to Magdalene, who stayed, weeping at the grave. (John 20:1) Perhaps, He also appeared to Mary; but no one wrote about it. That should put to rest any special position she supposedly has over other women. The fact that Yahusha appeared to Magdalene near the empty tomb has great significance, as itemized below:
- Seven in Hebrew is sheva.
- Week in Hebrew is shavua. (Pentecost or the Feast of 7 Weeks is Shavuot.)
- Shabath and Sabbath, therefore, contain the idea of the number 7, which signifies perfection or completion.
- Magdalene was the woman from whom 7 demons Yahusha drove out. She became a humble and dedicated beneficiary of Yah’s love and forgiveness. Seeing Yahusha resurrect, for Magdalene, was joy beyond compare and an inspiration for us sinners to likewise partake of His grace.
- That scriptures would show us this narrative about Magdalene proves Yahusha indeed rose on the Sabbath and that, therefore, He had died not on a Friday but on a Thursday.
- Hosea 6:2 Interlinear makes this very clear. the prophet said “He will revive us after 2 days” and “on the third day, He will raise us up that we may live in His sight“. Two days after Thursday falls on Saturday. On the third day starting from Thursday is Saturday. Hosea could not have been more mathematically-precise than that.
- Matthew 17:23 Interlinear uses “on the third day” to carry on from Hosea’s idea that, like Jonah who stayed for 3 days in the great fish, Yahusha also spent 3 days in the grave — Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Who Rolled the Stone?
Did the stone roll for Yahusha Who could walk through walls, on the air and on water? Or did the angel roll it as the answer to the women’s question as to who would roll it? Of course, we would assume Yahusha needed an angel to open the door for Him to come out. Well, not really. He conquered death; what was a huge stone to Him? In short, Matthew and Mark were narrating the fact that the 2 Mary’s went early “after the Sabbath”1 and by the time they arrived, the tomb was empty. And the earthquake they felt may not necessarily have been due to Yahusha resurrecting but only an angel rolling the stone for the women. The angel guarding outside was there not to guard Yahusha (Who had gone, although He showed Himself to Magdalene before leaving) but to welcome the women and open the door for them. The angel or angels inside were not there guarding Yahusha for He was no longer there; but to tell them He had gone to Galilee. Those angels then were bringers of the good news of the Resurrection. They did not assist or even accompany Yahusha when He resurrected and began His journey to Galilee but to declare the good news to the women. Other angels would have been with Him.
Let us juxtapose the resurrection of Lazarus with that of Yahusha. He had told some people to roll the stone covering Lazarus’ tomb. Then He shouted, “Lazarus, come forth!” And Lazarus came out bound in his grave wrappings. Imagine a mummy standing up and walking, not even showing its face and eyes. Lazarus must have been as dazed as the people watching him. But he could only hear the voice of Yahusha, stood up and walked toward Him, perhaps, while removing the wrappings over his eyes.
When Yahusha died, was buried and placed in the tomb in grave wrappings, He was as dead as Lazarus was. When He resurrected, He shed off His clothes, which He left “lying in one place”; for that long strip or wide piece of cloth, perhaps, had covered Him to look like a cocoon and gently poured upon with so many jars of myrrh to help “preserve the body”. After a while, that cloth would have hardened and been somehow toughened by chemicals meant to keep bacteria and air away. Robbers who would steal such a body would have taken a while to strip away the wrappings. The napkin over the head was also lying in one place. It meant, therefore, that the wrappings remained whole and lying there as if emptied of the body without being torn. Which also means the story that His body was stolen was not true.
Moreover, Yahusha did not need humans or angels to roll away the stone so He could go out. If He could get out of His wrappings, what could stop Him from getting out of the cave? Hence, He had no need to shout, “I’m coming forth!” No, He called some angels to tell the women, “Come In! See for yourselves that He is not here!” From COME FORTH to COME IN, we see the power of Yahusha that, for those who believe, the tomb is not where the dead remain but for the living to come out of. Or a place where we used to think death totally reigned but has been made merely where you COME IN ALIVE AND COME OUT OF ALIVE because He has removed the “sting of death”.
Likewise, the earthquake, if it was caused by the resurrection of Yahusha, would have been an undeniable sign to prove right then and there before the women that He had resurrected by coming out of the tomb in His real glory. And yet, He disguised Himself to Mary Magdalene because such a glorious vision would have shocked people; that is why He gradually revealed Himself through disguises and “rumors”. He was also protecting the disciples from the authorities until He had done His work on Earth. Too much grief turned into too much joy could be indeed traumatic. But we now we know, if we truly believe, that when He finally does appear, we would welcome that supreme joy after all the pains we go through on Earth.
Why Was Yahusha Yahuah (Lord) of the Sabbath?
But let us just assume that Yahusha indeed arose “after the Sabbath”, as many understand the narrative to say. Does that not disqualify Him as the Yahuah (or Lord) of the Sabbath? That is, the Yahuah of the Rest Day? No, but as the Yahuah of the End or the Completion of His work?! IT IS FINISHED! Would it have been more appropriate if He had indeed arisen on the Sabbath, just as Noah “Rested” or completed his many works so many times on the Sabbath? But what if Yahusha, let us assume, arose at that exact time the Sabbath ended and the first day began; that is, that precise moment when one day ended and another began. He would then be worthy to be called Yahuah of the Sabbath and of all other days. Because the important point to consider is not that He is Yahuah during a certain day (that is, of the Sabbath, the 7th day, signifying perfection or completion) but that He had indeed perfected or completed His work in reality. And to leave out Sabbath from that immensely vital part of His work from the beginning to the end of Creation (the Final Rest? No, Final Completion!) and, it follows, the fulfillment of His work on Earth, would fall short of what we would call “perfection” itself. As such, we have to conclude that He did resurrect on the Sabbath.
The curse had been removed! All the words of the prophets had been fulfilled through Yahusha. Yes, the Law remained and was kept for centuries and centuries more, even by the apostles in their lifetime it seems. However, the whole idea and significance of Day 7 ultimately refers to the prophetic wisdom of Elohim in making sure that Creation, even if it would turn bad, a Good Seed will always remain to replant and refresh Their work in a New Eternal Creation. (Ruach would carry on that Seed through the Word.) For all that Elohim did, as we also said, They did for Humans, not for Themselves alone. Thus, when They set apart a day (rested, if you please), They declared the end or perfection of a process whereby goodness was created and delivered to humans.
What Elohim Really Completed
Did Adamah rest every 7th day? Perhaps, he did; but it was not given as a command. Besides, that would be like saying Adamah set apart a day from the other days. And we are assuming Adamah worked so hard, as we all do, and got so tired he needed to rest regularly. What is so hard about naming plants and animals, or caring for a Garden that was perfect and already lush? He could have rested any time or any day he wanted. Besides, and again, shabath means to end or cease. His labor had no ending; for he did not die as yet. As long as he lived, there was work to be done. His rest or refreshing only required him to eat the Fruit of Life; and he was young, strong and alive as ever! He was created good, perfect and eternal. No, he was COMPLETED, as Elohim had wanted him to be. Their masterpiece was the image of their own excellence, power and perfection. Imagine creating a whole Universe so good and so perfect that They could endow and enable Their most precious vessel with Their own divinity, authority, power and glory over Creation itself. Rest or the idea of recovering from daily labor through tiresome toil would be foreign to such a reality we are being presented but which we miss entirely in our fallen state. The curse brought the toil, the suffering and the sweat; hence, the need to rest.
Day 7 is more that what we have been told to believe or practice it to be. The Hebrews wanted to go to the desert for 3 days to worship Yah and find temporary rest from their labors – most certainly, on the Sabbath. (Ex. 8:25-28) But Pharaoh denied it. No rest for weary slaves in their land of exile and suffering. Yahuah wanted to show Egypt that His people needed rest and redemption. And so, He freed them with mighty wonders so they could worship Him and find their Sabbath, a day set apart long, long ago in the beginning. It was only then that that “setting apart” would eventually become a law and a practice, whether Pharaoh agreed or not. And for an Israelite, that is of primal importance under the law. But for the believer who understands the real significance of Day 7 and the whole work of Elohim, Day 7 points to a Final Day of Completion and Perfection. Yes, we will rest or end our work; but that rest or completion can only be truly worthwhile if the labor we do or did is toward completion or perfection of the task Yah had given for us to do in our lives.
1It appears that Matthew and Mark, who were writing to Jews and were careful not to offend them, wanted to make it appear that Mary and Magdalene went to the tomb “after the Sabbath”. And it was, precisely, the intention of the women: to go out on the first day. On the other hand, John, who apparently wrote his gospel much later in his life for all believers, Gentile or Jew, or when he was in exile, did not seem to care what Jews might have thought and told the fact that Mary and Magdalene really went to the tomb “while it was dark”. In short, those women were bold enough to defy traditions in order to do their work of anointing the body of Yahusha. The authorities had killed their Master for blasphemy; what would they do to women wanting to anoint the dead — arrest them? Most certainly, Yah was intentionally making sure that posterity would know that Yahusha indeed arose on the Sabbath. Why later authorities or theologians would change that historical fact is another story altogether for the future.