52 Weeks in the Ark with Noah and Family (WEEK 19) – The True Meaning of Rest

Eating Corn “al fresco” on the Sabbath Day, 1873 (c/o Wikipedia)

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of Yahuah your Elohim. 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. For in six days Yahuah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Yahuah blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Ex. 20:8-11

WEEK 19 (24th of Elul, the 6th Month, to 1st of Tishrei, the 7th Month, in the Hebrew Religious Calendar)

In Search of the Real Meaning of “Sabbath Rest”

The question that remains unresolved among many denominations is whether the Sabbath (Seventh-Day Rest) is still a continuing command or ordinance for believers, or has been fulfilled or abolished and, therefore, unnecessary – or, at least, optional. However, the more important question is what the real meaning of Rest is, which many have never considered within the chaos of the never-ending debate. Perhaps, if we were to determine the real significance and intention of the “Sabbath” and the “Rest” it was supposed to provide humans, we can somehow resolve the previous question.

For 18 weeks now, we have chronicled the epic tale and works of our noble father, Noah, whose name means REST. His father, Lamech, said this when Noah was born:

And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which Yahuah has cursed.”

Gen. 5:29

So we ask: What led Enoch (who was told by Yah Himself) to name his great-grandson Nuah (Noah or Rest), and which Lamech would fulfill? What was Noah supposed to accomplish in his life and his works that will give deeper meaning and final fulfillment to his name? We know that giving names, an act of obviously divine origin, was not a common task but a solemn act of endowing not just being but also character and success to the one given a name. Such was Elohim’s goal in naming Adam from the soil of the Earth; because he came from the ground and was designated the steward of all things. Moreover, he was also made in the image of Elohim; hence, being ruah as well (meaning spirit, i.e., ruach), Adam could have had an unexpressed surname of Ruach – Adam Ben-Ruach (Man-Earth Born of Spirit). And, it follows, Noah’s full or “modern formal” name, since he was a son of Adam, could have also been Nuah Ben-Ruach! (And so, why should those who are “born again” into the Kingdom or “born of Ruach” not be called Ben-Ruach as well? For we have also been released from the curse upon the ground by the same Giver of the Promise of Rest through the Ruach Whom He gave on Pentecost Day.)

“Birth of Noah”, Painting by James Tissot, 1896-1902 (c/o The Torah)

What Noah’s Name Really Means

It appears then that Noah’s name connotes “REST IN THE RUACH (SPIRIT)”. How does that idea relate to the Seventh Day when Elohim “Rested”? When Enoch and Lamech named Noah, they were clearly prophesying about that act of Yah giving Rest or Comfort to humans in relation to the curse upon the ground; in short, release from bondage to toil and pain brought about by sin. Were they, perhaps, expecting the promised arrival of the Seed or Masshiak? Or did they consider Noah himself to be the Promised Seed? Perhaps not because Enoch had visions of the events far, far into the future. And since we know Noah was not the Masshiak, what Rest was Noah giving his generation and those before him? Noah was 10th generation from Adam; and there were people in the 7th or 8th generations, such as Methuselah, or even earlier, who were still alive before the Flood.         

It seems, then, the main question we need to answer is: What does the word “Sabbath” really mean? First of all, it means “Seventh Day”. Second, it was the day Elohim “Rested”; the word “Sabbath” became synonymous to “Rest”. Eventually, the “7th day of the week” became the “Sabbath Rest”. Check out these 11 versions of the Book of Genesis: All of them, except for one, use the words “Rested”, “Ended” or “Finished” to describe when Elohim completed Their work of Creation. Even the Amplified Version (AMP) adds in parenthesis the word “Ceased” after “Rested”. Gen 2:1-3 (KVJ21, NKJV, ASV, AMP, CEB, CJB, DRA, ESV, GNV, WYC, NCB). There is no doubt then that this predominant idea has created a paradigm that had, in fact, existed for millennia since the ancient Israelites. Generally, that is how people today see Sabbath Day, a “Day of Rest” from work. Which is not surprising, it was what Moses told the Hebrews who came out of Egypt in Ex. 20:8-11. Let us dissect this passage:

Moses Gives the Sabbath-Rest Law, Drawing by Gustave Dore (c/o UCG.org)

The words of Moses seem unambiguous:

  1. The Sabbath is to be remembered. Which aspect of the Sabbath: the 7th day Elohim finished creating or the fact that They “rested”? We visualize Elohim doing nothing, or maybe sitting back and looking at Creation with the angels providing harp music in the background, same way we often sit back and watch National Geographic documentaries.
  2. Keep it holy. So, we are supposed to “worship Yah” on the 7th day; or, as the duty of a good servant, devote our time to religious or solemn activity. For many, 6 days we can do whatever we want to do to achieve our personal and even selfish interests, as long as we devote that “Rest Day” for some noble, social or religious purpose. And it is that way for some, as we know — 6 days of unholy living and 1 “holy day”. One reason why Paul wrote Romans 12:1, emphasizing his point that worship is a daily, life-long offering of our bodies as a pleasing offering.
  3. The 7th day is the “Sabbath of Yah”. This we take to mean the “7th Day” belongs to Yah and must then be given back to Him in the form of pious and dutiful service on that day. With this frame of mind, many have, therefore, adopted the Hebrew Sabbath-mentality without question. It has remained a legal or law-keeping concept we are supposed to keep regularly and even forever, whether Jew or Gentile! Yes, it belongs to Yah; and so are all the rest of the days, from the first day of Creation to the present day – today. However, Yahusha would say later on that the “Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath“. (Mark 2:27) Was He referring to the “7th Day” of Creation? Yes. Was He also referring to the Sabbath Day of Rest commandment (as He was speaking with the Jews)? Yes. For even the whole Creation was made for humans, not humans for Creation. Yah meant for us to have dominion over Creation, including all the Time He gave us, meaning each day we live. True, the Sabbath Rest is how Yah wants us to efficiently manage our Time by taking regular rest while we continue to honor Him with our lives. Yet, it contained a greater significance.
  4. Yahuah blessed and hallowed the 7th Day – i.e., made it holy. We know Elohim blessed all the living creatures They made and saw them all as being good or perfectly-created beings made according to Their divine wisdom; and they did that through blessing humans, who were made in Their image as Ruach (Spirit) and being given sole dominion over all things. (Gen. 1:26-28) But did They “hallow” them as well as the rest of the days as they did the 7th Day? It seems not. What does it mean to be “hallow” or to make something “holy”? To be holy is to be sanctified, separate or distinct from other things. In a way, they made all They created on the first 6 days as “holy” as well, in the sense that they had their own distinct nature of holiness or wholeness. Just as Paul would say that as an animal has one kind of fleshly character, humans also have an entirely different carnal character or nature. Furthermore, celestial bodies had another form of glory or nature different from the other two. (1 Cor. 15:38-41) In much the same way, the Sabbath was made “holy” for its own sake, not as a better handiwork than the First or Third Day; but because it would serve some other purpose not similar or comparable to the first two. For Light came into existence on Day 1; and the Land came out on Day 3. Nothing was made on Day 7! That was cause for celebration, not because Elohim “Did Nothing” or “Rested from tiring work” but because They “Completed”, “Perfected” and “Ended” Their work of creating a beautiful, magnificent and perfect Universe. Doing nothing (alright, call it REST!) is cause for celebration because you have finished what you needed to do or what was asked of you to perform.

Is “Rest” Doing Nothing?

As we can see, then, it was the idea of Elohim having Perfected Creation that led Them to command humans to “Remember” the Sabbath and to “Make It Holy”. If we have done what we are supposed to do, according to His words and His will, whether as a son, daughter, mother, father, soldier, farmer, or manager, we must also rejoice in our ability to do good deeds and, like Elohim, “Do Nothing” or “Celebrate” our time being satisfied with having done our duty the same way Elohim did Their loving work of creating all things. But what does it mean for Elohim to “Do Nothing” or to “Celebrate”? We do not know! Unless we see it in relation to what it means for us to emulate them in our lives. And only Yahusha can show us how.

And here is where we miss appreciating what Elohim really did for us. When Yahusha said the Sabbath was made for humans, He meant exactly that, although it had never been said or taught before by the prophets, whether Noah, Moses or Isaiah. Yes, Moses, in fact, said “The Sabbath belongs to Yah” and, therefore, the Israelites were supposed to give it back to Him. And they did that through so many ritualistic or religious ways. Yet those restrictions eventually became a burden to many people because of the Pharisees who saw it as a way of “keeping the Law” and not as a way to “be holy”. Of what use is keeping an ordinance — or other such ordinances — if the intention of that command is not fulfilled? That is why Yahusha kept telling the Jews the words: “I desire mercy rather than sacrifice.” (Matt. 9:13) The Pharisees were more concerned with the external show of “holiness”, not the “inner motivation” or the “organic desire” to do good – to be holy.        

Eating grain, carrying a load or walking over a mile on the Sabbath became meaningless and irrelevant acts in relation to the intention of Yah for humans to be righteous within and be compassionate from the heart. Today, it has become a structured pattern to be “holy” by “slowing down” or “taking a rest” on the 7th Day performed by a body of believers in a particular manner. (We know that for many, Sunday is the thing. It is the same idea or motivation, except on a different day.) And along with that are ordinances or expectations that have arisen from millennia of misunderstanding the intentions of Yah. We have failed to wake up to the revolutionary and world-changing words of Yahusha: “The Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath.” Yes, the Sabbath belongs to Yah; but He also made it for humans. For we are one with Yah in Truth and in Ruach. (John 4:23-24)

Rebuilding and Resetting the Earth through the Flood (Acrylic Painting by vmr)

The Flood was Meant to Rest, Reset and Refresh the Earth

WHO made the Sabbath? WHO gave the command to keep the Sabbath? Yahusha! For Him to say that could only mean He had not given the final purpose and fulfillment of the Sabbath. When He, as part of Elohim, “set aside” or “completed” Creation, He intended Creation, including humans, to function as they should. To simplify it: Their act of finishing or perfecting Creation meant They were giving the plants, fishes, the animals and humans the privilege or freedom to serve Yah or to savor life for which they were made to exist. A flower must bloom and exude its fragrance and colors for bees, butterflies and birds to make use of its nectar. In short, to feed other creatures so that they may live. A tree bears fruit to sustain the life of humans and animals. And humans must obey Yah and acknowledge His goodness so that their blessings will remain — that is, worship Him with and through their lives. A perfect Creation cannot be unlike its Creator Who is full of goodness, faithfulness, glory and majesty.

When the Forbidden Fruit was eaten by humans, the knowledge of evil made Creation imperfect, subject to more evil and rendered incomplete. In a sense, the Sabbath was made unholy or imperfect because the “completeness” of Creation was broken or destroyed. Whereas everything was in place and functioning properly, same with a automobile, when a major part such as a piston or 2 are broken, would fail to run properly or does not move at all. The evil did grow rapidly. Then came Noah. A new form of REST was introduced which would bring back Creation to where it was before – or, at least, close to it. The Flood did its work to Rest, Reset and Refresh the Earth. Pure seeds were needed to repopulate the world. We know the evil came back and has grown way past and beyond the level that once led Yahuah to destroy the Earth. As we said, these are “Noah’s Days, Part 2”!

The Sabbath Has Been Fulfilled!

But after the Flood; however, a thorough cleansing of the Earth had to be accomplished wherein the Sabbath was finally fulfilled and set aside. We have discussed it fully in the past 2 articles. But to review it for those who have not read them: The Promised Seed in the Garden came and crushed the head of the serpent by dying on the cross on a Sabbath and rising on another Sabbath, perfecting the Plan of Human Redemption. His words “Sabbath is for humans” were fulfilled and clarified through that process of dying and rising in relation with the requirement of the Law to “keep the Sabbath”. “HE KEPT AND FULFILLED THE SABBATH FOR US!” No one else could have kept the Sabbath no matter how many Sabbaths we will spend resting from our weekly work even in a hundred lifetimes. He did it also for us. HE DID IT BY COMPLETING THE ONLY WAY BACK TO HIS HOLY PRESENCE WHERE THERE IS ETERNAL PERFECTION.

The 7th Day was made holy; but His saving work made us finally HOLY – EACH DAY, EVERY DAY, FROM TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER! We are more important that created thing or any given day. The Sabbath He, therefore, fulfilled, by “Resting” from or, more precisely, “Completing” His work of teaching, healing, saving and perfecting humans AS A HUMAN HIMSELF WORKING AND SUFFERING LIKE EVERY OTHER HUMAN. Yes, He literally “Rested in death”; but He actually went to Paradise, along with the thief on the cross, to announce His triumph against the serpent. Sure, He was still “dead” when He was in Paradise; but we should have seen Him gloriously brighter than the Sun and stars and hear His voice like the sound of “waters from a thousand rivers”. And He did come back and then ascended in order to sit on His throne in Heaven. And now, we only await the Final Rest. These “Noah’s Days, Part 2” have a Final Rest – the completion of all of Yah’s work after 6,000 years and after which the 7th MillenYom (the thousand-year, Divine-Day reign many expect) will begin – the Eternal Day: Holy, Perfect and where there is no Death. THAT IS THE FINAL REST WE MUST LOOK FORWARD TO AND BE MORE CONCERNED WITH. (Heb. 4:8-10) Elohim had finished Their work of Creation; just as Yahusha already finished His work of Redemption. We still have to complete our own work of Perfection. Then, we will enter OUR FINAL REST or OUR PERFECTION IN ELOHIM’S PRESENCE.

The Final Rest is not for us to “Do Nothing” or “selfishly enjoy our vacation from painful work”. It is the ultimate completion or perfection of Elohim’s millennial work for humans that so many thousands of prophets and servants have worked hard to impart and to fulfill. Each simple act we do in relation to this great work of saving and caring for souls adds to this gradual, cosmic march toward that Final Day before we enter the Heavenly City of Yerushalem, where “there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) Sin has brought us sickness, pain, suffering, grief, fear and death. Yahusha gives us “Rest” from all of that, even right now. Why? Because He has completed His work in our bodies and lives AS WE ARE TODAY. And yet, He will grant us new bodies and new lives in the Final Rest! HalleluYah!

“Come to Me . . . .” (Mixed-Media Drawing by vmr)

“I Will Give You 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

What was the first thing Elohim created from a “dark and formless Earth”? LIGHT. His burden is not only not heavy (elaphron, Greek for “not burdensome, light, easy to bear”) but also full of Light (phos, in Greek). Did we not say that food is light and that light is food? And because of sin, Adamah and Havah had to work and sweat out for their food? What was once easy work and light burden for humans to pick fruits from luscious fruit trees in order to eat and survive became a toilsome and painful task of eking out food from the cursed ground. The Light that was abundant from the Sun no longer gave the same kind of work it once did within a perfect Creation. For the ground was cursed and it no longer cooperated with Light to produce abundance for humans. But that curse has been taken away, although the burden of work and the effects of sin remain at work. However, the souls within us know fully well the promise of “Eternal Rest” or Perfection of our beings is real, true and sure to come; and that is enough to fill our hearts with hope and strength to continue working toward the approaching Light from Heaven.

Finally, when Yahusha said “. . . (It) is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” as a blanket rebuke against the Jews who questioned His “good works” done on the Sabbath, to their consternation, He was showing the disciples and all of us that the true way of “Sabbath-keeping” is not “doing nothing” (as the Jews only knew how) but to “do good”. (Matt. 12:12) On the same day, He must have walked many miles to reach the Sea of Galilee and put out a short distance form the shore to teach the crowd. (Matt. 13:1) But there was a greater “do-good” work He was going to accomplish beyond what He did: to die on the cross, be buried on a Sabbath, and to rise on a Sabbath in order to fulfill that law required by Moses. and having fulfilled or completed that, He allows us then to be free from the cursed chains that brought about our enslavement to ordinances of the Law and their burdensome offerings.

Conclusion: This is the Rest and the Refreshing

Hence, by doing that, Isaiah’s prophecy regarding “REST” or “COMPLETION” of Elohim’s work accomplished by Yahusha was finally fulfilled for us all. But who can accept this today and not be offended or taken aback?

But they also have erred through wine,
And through intoxicating drink are out of the way;
The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink,
They are swallowed up by wine,
They are out of the way through intoxicating drink;
They err in vision, they stumble in judgment.
For all tables are full of vomit and filth;
No place is clean.

“Whom will he teach knowledge?
And whom will he make to understand the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just drawn from the breasts?
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little.”

For with stammering lips and another tongue
He will speak to this people,
To whom He said, “This is the REST with which
You may cause the weary to rest,”
And, “This is the REFRESHING”;
Yet they would not hear.
But the word of the Lord was to them,
“Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little,”
That they might go and fall backward, and be broken
And snared and caught.

– Isa. 28:7-13