THE ADAMIC COVENANTAL SABBATH
"But they like Adam transgressed the covenant ó Hos 6:7, marg.
A. CREATION WEEK AND ITS SABBATH
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"1, and sustained them thenceforth for evermore. God started to give objective existence to His actual counsel "in the beginning", that is, in the beginning of time as such or "creation time" ó to be distinguished from timeís later sub-species such as "formation week time", "light time", "solar time", "human time" (such as "golden time" and "lost time"), and "eschatological time" (such as "Sunday time", "intermediate time" and "new earth time"). God alone is timeless, and everything else is subject to time. Not that God is alien to time as such, even though He is essentially before time and above time2 ó for His pre-temporal and a-temporal eternity penetrates into and throughout the whole of time. But time is the boundary between the Creator and the creation; it is the first of all Godís creatures, and the deepest layer of all created existence3. See Diag. X below.
DIAG.X ó TIME AND ETERNITY
In the beginning (of time) God created time as such or "created time", and (with and in time) He also created the raw materials of the heavens and the earth ó creatic prima CUM et IN tern pore4.
As regards the earth (in contradistinction to "heaven"), it was "without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep" during that primordial stage immediately subsequent to the beginning of time. But nevertheless "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters"5; for God the Holy Spirit set about the preparation of the earth for its subsequent formation during the creation week to follow6.
Then, indefinitely long after the Spiritís interpenetration of the primordial terrestrial void, God the Son, the Divine Word, was spoken: "Let there be light! And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day7, the first day of creation week (or rather "formation week") ó creatio secunda IN tempore8 ó the beginning of "formation week time", i.e. the time of earthís "creation week". (See Appendix VI for full treatment of the length of the creation days).
The parallels between this first day of creation week when it arose from the "chaos"9 and the first day of re-creation week on which Christ rose from the "chaos" of death, are truly striking. In creation, God the Son, the Light of the world, was spoken: "Let there be light"; in re-creation, God the Son, the Light of the world, did as "the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings" from the dead creation10. In creation, God instituted the first light on the earth without the agency of the sun; in re-creation, after the sunís "extinction" (Matt. 27:45) on Calvary, the Light of the world arose resplendent as "the Sun of righteousness" Himself before the rise of Sundayís sun11. In creation, the week (before the fall) thus started with "Sun"-day12, as it did in re-creation (after Christís reversal of the fall)13. But perhaps most important of all, in creation, the first day of creation week13a commenced (before the fall) with a period of light ó thus in the morning and not in the evening14, whereas in re-creation (after Christís reversal of the fall and the infralapsarian evening-to-evening sabbath demarcation), the first day of the weeks of re-creation also commenced in the morning when the Light of the world emerged from the darkness of the earth and His voided tomb15; and even as the light of the first creation day demarcated the measurement of "light time", of all subsequent creation time from day to day and from week to week16, so too does the Light of the world now demarcate the measurement of all re-creation time throughout all "eschatological time", throughout all subsequent history from (Sun)day to (Sun)day and from week to week17.
For ó leaving aside for the present18 the question as to whether the morning of the first creation day began at "midnight" or at "dawn", as it were ó it is clear that that first creation day began in the morning. For the expression, "and the evening was, and the morning was, the first day" (Gen. 1:5, marg.), although difficult to grasp and variously translatable19, nevertheless indicates that the day began in the morning, and not in the evening as the day did later amongst the Jews.
That the expression necessarily implies "from evening to evening" is manifestly untrue when it is realized that there could have been no sunset-evening (In the Seventh Day Adventist sensed before the appointment of the sun and moon as time-makers on the fourth dayóand yet the expression is not only encountered on the fourth, fifth and sixth solar "days" but also prior to that in respect of the first, second and third non-solar "days".
Clearly, the work of the first day began (as did the subsequent creation days) only after the expression, "And God said" (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24f.). Hence the previously mentioned formlessness and voidness and darkness of the earth (Gen. 1:2) formed no part of the first dayís work20, the characteristic of which was the creation of light, good light, not the twilight of evening. It was only after the first dayís work of the creation of light, that God proceeded to divide the light from the darkness, and to call the light "Day", and the darkness "Night". It was only after the production of light, that evening came (and following on evening, darkness), for the very word "evening" presupposes the subsequent advent of the darkness of night and the previous existence and fading of the daylight, of the light which God called "Day"21.
It was only after the darkness which God called "Night" (which followed the first dayís "Day" and its evening) that the morning came, the morning which marked the end of the first creation day (consisting of "Day" and "Night") and the beginning of the second creation day (on which God created the firmament)21. Hence the expression "and the evening was, and the morning was" does not mean a whole day (consisting of a day and a night) [for the Hebrew word from which "morning" is translated, denotes "(day)breaking"; and the Hebrew word for "(after)noon" is altogether absent from the text], but can only mean the "dark-part" (or "Night") interval, the period of demarcation between the "Day" (or light-part) of the first creation day, and the "Day" (or light-part) of the second creation day22 and it is only after the first dayís "Day" (or light) and "Night" (or darkness: evening and morning) had been spent, that the second dayís light began to shine ó and light (not darkness) is the main theatre of Godís creation daysí operations23.
On the second and the third creation days ó each separated from the next by "an evening and a morning" ó God created the firmament, the dry land and the plants, whereas on the fourth day He appointed the sun and the moon and the stars thenceforth "to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness"24. Pre-solar "light time" now yielded to "solar time" (and also to its satellite "lunar time") in respect of this earth, and it is possible [though not certain25] that the subsequent fifth and sixth creation days were merely twenty-four hours in duration.
After creating the inhabitants of the water and the air on the fifth day, God created all the land animals on the sixth day, in readiness for the creation of man, His image, and thereafter to enter into His creation rest on the Seventh Day. For God had predetermined to create the earth (its materials, its inhabitants and its rest) on the sevenfold or hebdomadal weekly pattern, so characteristic of all creation and indeed of His Own essential activities in His eternal actual counsel, rather than on an unhebdomadal (such as for example an elevenfold or nineteenfold) pattern. Hence God brought all sub-human creation to perfection immediately prior to the advent of man at the close of the sixth day.
Then the three Divine Persons26 confirmed Their covenant as regards Their actual counsel (including its soteriological aspect) once more, in the words "Let Us make men in Our image" ó and then They made and entered into a covenant with Their Own image, Adam.
So God made (in perfect holiness, righteousness, knowledge and dominion)27 His (microscopic) image Adam (and from him, Eve), and established with him as head of the entire human race the covenant of works: Adamís (covenantal) works were to consist of holy, righteous and knowledgeable adherence to the moral law (including its sabbath), and of the exercise of his dominion over the earth and the sea and the sky; for he was to labour to dominate them throughout historical time six days every week, and to rest from his weekly labours every weekly sabbath day, until his task was finished and the covenant of works was fulfilled and he too entered into his own (aev)eternal sabbath rest alongside of God, of which his weekly sabbath-keeping was to be a constant reminder and encouragement28.
With all this in mind, God created man (and, with man, the new dimension of "human time"; for with manís creation, pre-history yielded to history; "pre-human" to "human" time). Then God rested in man as the crown of His creation; rested from all new29 terrestrial creative activity on the Seventh Day of His creation week (Gen. 2:1-3; Heb. 4:4).
The description of the seventh day is different from that of the preceding six, in that, unlike the latter, it is the only creation day the introduction of which is not marked by the familiar words: "And God said", and the termination of which is not marked by the familiar words: "And the evening was, and the morning was, the (seventh) day"30.
The omission of these two formulae (so characteristic of the quantitative delineation of all the previous days) in respect of the seventh day, immediately raises the important question as to whether the seventh day manifests a quantitative difference from its predecessors, as it indeed does qualitatively, in that it is only creation day31 on which something material was not created.
How long, then, was or is the seventh day? This will be investigated firstly from the point of view of God, secondly from the point of view of man, and thirdly from the point of view of the God-man, Jesus Christ.
From the point of view of God, after making the light, the firmament and the waters and the dry land in that order in three days, and after populating the light with the lights, the firmament and the waters with birds and water creatures, and the dry land with land animals and man in that same order in the following three days, the seventh day was the day on which He "had rested" (or "sabbathed" ó Heb. "sh„bath") from all His work which God created and made", Gen. 2:3, the day on which He "did cease (or "paused" ó Gr. "katepausen") from all His works", Heb. 4 :4. It is not intended to deal with the question of Godís "rest" here, for this will be dealt with at length later32. Nevertheless, it is important to write something about it here, as it provides information regarding the length and nature of the Seventh Day from Godís point of view.
This "rest" of God, then, while marking the end of His work of creating "the heavens and the earth . . . and all the host of them", does not imply that God ceased working in them altogether. This cannot be, for God Who has made all things in the past, and Who gives and maintains all life even in the present, is the God in Whom we live and move and have our very being ó for we are indeed Godís offspring ó and if He should take back His Spirit to Himself, all flesh would perish, and man would return to dust (Job. 33:4. Acts 17:28). Hence God still continues to work now even after entering into His creation rest. As Jesus said in Johnís Gospel (John 5:1, 8-11, 16-19) in respect of the sabbath on which He was performing works of mercy ó "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work". Moreover, when this statement in John ó namely that God "worketh hitherto" (i.e., that He is working still) ó is compared with the statements in Hebrews (cf. 4:3-4, 10) that Godís "works were finished from the foundation of the world", that "God did rest on the Seventh Day from all His works", and that "whoever enters Godís rest also ceases from his labours, as God did from His" ó then it is quite clear that God both "rested" and "worked" on that Seventh Day of creation week, and that He "worketh hitherto" [or "has continued working to this hour" (as Moffatt puts it)]. Hence, Godís works of preservation and government are still in progress, in spite of His rest from His works of creation, which rest is also still in progress33.
Furthermore, Godís rest ó which began on the Seventh Day ó is represented by David in Psalm 95 as well as by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (in chapter 4 of that book) as something which is continuous, into which the believer is enjoined to enter. Hence, Godís rest is still in progress34.
Since then Godís work in His creation and His rest from His creation, which former continued and which latter commenced on the Seventh Day, are both still in progress, it necessarily follows that, from Godís point of view, in the absolute sense, the sabbath of creation week is still in progress, and has not, ended, even though, of course, in the relative sense, that particular day, that solar day of twenty-four hours (or longer) on which His rest began, has indeed ended. This explains the Holy Spiritís deliberate omission of the two formulae "And it was so" and "and God saw that it was good" in respect of the Seventh Day, and particularly His deliberate omission of the concluding formula: "And the evening was and the morning was, the (seventh) day"; all of which strengthens the view here adopted that the sabbath (from Godís point of view in the absolute sense) [as opposed to the first solar seventh day in the relative sense with which it commenced chronologically but does not coincide ontically] did not then terminate (thereby differing quantitatively and qualitatively from the preceding six days), but endured thenceforth down through the centuries35.
From the point of view of man, the length of the seventh day had an entirely different meaning.
Unlike the infinite God (Who had planned the Seventh Day in His eternal counsel, and lovingly brought it into the realm of history after omnisciently leading up to it through six quite extraordinary days of progressive formation, every detail of which He intimately understood, devised and sustained), finite man (even though created in the image of God as the last and crown of Godís creation), as then still ignorant of Godís counsel and the details of His creation, and totally oblivious of the possibility of re-creation, must have been overawed by what he saw of creation at the close of that sixth day, and marvelled even more at the rest, blessedness and sanctity which characterized the seventh.
Man was created in the image of God, yet destined to increase36 in stature according to the measure of his obedience to his Maker; he was a small-scale replica of his Creator37. In respect of time, this means that man, a creature limited by time, is the small-scale image and likeness of his timeless Maker. The same rhythmic cycle which characterized the Creatorís work and rest, was to characterize manís work and rest, although on a smaller scale. As Atkinson (op. cit., p. 27) remarks: "Manís sabbath is a microscopic picture of Godís". And Kuyper ("Gomer" etc. p. 19): "Because God created you in His image, He has also imparted to you that characteristic, that urge, to permit a holy pause, a Divine selah, to enter after six days of labour . . . And rest descends on His human children". And Kelman (op. cit., pp. 266-7): ". . . the procedure of God with respect to this world has been according to a certain plan, comprising six days of creative working, and one of complacent resting, so, when forming man to be His representative as monarch of the world which was made on the seven daysí plan, He wrought that plan into his very nature, so that, when living according to the nature God has given him, man must order his life in this particular way, that after six days of productive labour there shall be one day of complacent, holy resting with God; and thus his whole history shall be a succession of images, every week repeating themselves, of Godís grand and majestic plan of operations with respect to this world. True, these images are not full size, but only in miniature. But in this respect they are like all the other parts of the Divine image which the Creator intended to be seen in His creature man. For example, man, as regards his intellectual powers, and as regards his emotional nature, was made in the image of God: but the image in man was only in miniature ó in the nature of things it could not be full size. His dominion, also, over the world was an image of Godís dominion; but of course, the image was only in miniature. Just so with respect to the ordering of his time".
Hence, just as God had performed His great labours for six creation "days", and rested on His great, unclosed Seventh "Day", so too was man to perform his lesser labours for six lesser days, and rest on his lesser seventh day, thereby increasing in stature before his Maker by obedience to Him through the passage of time, i.e., with the passage of weekly cycles, demarcated by the rhythmically recurring seventh day. Just as Godís present rest in the realm of creation will close on the Day of the Lord at the end of this present time and yield to His rest in the realm of the new creation, so too was fallen manís weekly (day of rest in the realm of time to close at the end of each weekly twenty-four hour sabbath day which was "made for man" ó made amongst other things to remind man of the end of his time in this present creation, when, if obedient to God, he was destined to share the continuous rest in the realm of the new creation. Just as God laboured in creation for six days, and began His sabbath rest on the Seventh Day, so too was unfallen man to labour six days and rest thereafter on each weekly sabbath day, so that, through obedience, his rest in God might increase progressively, until he was to have entered the sabbath rest which God Himself prepared for His people, and that in so entering, unfallen man might cease from his labours, as God did from His (Heb. 4:9-10). As Richard Baxter enjoined in "The Saintís Everlasting Rest": "Use your sabbaths as steps to glory, till you have passed them all, and there arrived".
The quantitative length of the seventh day from the point of view of the first man before the fall, then, as far as can be established, was similar to the present one, namely twenty-four hours in duration.
As regards the length of the sabbath day from the point of view of the God-man, Jesus Christ, God Who became man, this hebdomadal rhythm of labour and rest are perfectly displayed. He is in every sense Lord of the Sabbath.
The eternal Christ, Son of God and one with the Father in essence, finished His six daysí work as the creative Word of God, and entered into His sabbath rest on the Seventh Day as Lord of the Sabbath in creation.
As the incarnate Christ, Son of man and one with mankind by free volition, He finished His appointed daysí work on Calvary as the re-creative Word of God, and via the resurrection entered into His glory, His sabbath rest once more, as Lord of the Sabbath in re-creation.
As the returning Christ, Son of man and Lord of lords, He will consummate this present earthly time and wind up this present history in the Day of Judgement as the perfecting Word of God, so that the new humanity, the Christians, His brethren by adoption, may enter their ultimate sabbath rest to be forever with Christ, as the eternal Lord of the Sabbath of new creation.
The Lord Jesus Christ then, the Lord of the Sabbath, essentially God throughout eternity and voluntarily becoming man in history, is the bridge between God and man, between creation and re-creation, between labour and rest, and between time and eternity. He voluntarily gave up His sabbath rest after His labour of creation, so that by becoming man and labouring without rest in His work of re-creation, He may once more cease from His labours, and rest again as the Author and Finisher of all His works, awaiting the consummation of all things, in the perfect manifestation of the unity of His creation and re-creation at the end of this present earthly time.
So much, then, for the length of the seventh creation day on which God and man both "sabbathed". That day is indeed the germ of all the other sabbaths of Scripture, but it is not qualitatively or quantitatively identical to them. For the word "sabbath", though generally used in Scripture in respect of "the seventh day", does not necessarily imply either "the seventh day" or "the seventh day", and hence still less does it imply "the seventh day of the week" (i.e., Saturday), as many Seventh Day Adventists38 incorrectly assume. The term "sabbath" has various usages, which vary in length of duration and character.
Firstly, "sabbath" is commonly used in connection with the weekly sabbath. From Eden to Sinai it is not known which particular day of the week was the weekly sabbath. From Sinai to the resurrection of Christ, it would appear that the sabbath fell partly on Friday evening, though chiefly on Saturday, at least in respect of the time of Our Lordís life on earth, Luke 23:54-24:1. From the resurrection of Christ to the resurrection of Christís brethren (i.e. from the "Lordís day" to the "Day of the Lord"), however, it is a fact that nearly all Christians rest from their daily labours for the worship of their Risen Saviour only on Sunday, "the first day of the week". From these facts it is clear that the weekly sabbath falls on a different day in different dispensations, but always endures for one day only ó a twenty-four hour sabbath falling on a duly appointed day ó the "weekly sabbath".
Secondly, "sabbath" is also used in respect of the ceremonial sabbath feasts of Israel (Lev. 23; and, according to S.D. Adventists, Col. 2:16). The day of atonement, on the tenth day of the seventh month is specifically called "your sabbath" and " a sabbath of solemn rest". The first and seventh days of the feast of the Passover, commencing on the fourteenth day of the first month, were "days of holy convocation" on which "no servile work" was to be done, as were the day of the feast of the first fruits (or Pentecost), and the first day of the seventh month (or the feast of trumpets) respectively. Finally, Scripture records that the first and eighth days of the feast of booths (or tabernacles), beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, were "sabbaths", days of "holy convocation," "feast" days on which "no servile work" was to be done. Now all of these "sabbaths" (so called even by the S.D. Adventists in their Interpretation of Col. 2:16) could fall on any day of the week, whence the chances were six to one in favour of them falling on a day other than Saturday. So they were all twenty-four hour sabbaths which only rarely fell on a Saturday the "ceremonial sabbaths".
Thirdly, Scripture categorically teaches (Lev. 25) that a "sabbath" occurs once every seven years in respect of the land, which "sabbath" lasts for a whole year ó a three hundred and sixty-five day sabbath, the "sabbath year".
Fourthly, it would seem from the institution of the "jubilee year" (Lev. 25) that it too is a kind of "sabbath". For it is stated concerning this jubilee that "thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years . . . And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year". Here, it would seem ó like the first or eighth day of the week in the New Testament (the eighth day following the last Old Testament seventh-day sabbath, Mark 16:1-2 ó the fiftieth year (or first new year after the completed forty-ninth or seventh seventh-year sabbath cycle), is to be hallowed. Whence the institution would seem to be a quinquagenarian sabbath, a "golden jubilee" in the fiftieth year, as it were, indeed: the "jubilee sabbath".
Fifthly, there is the sabbath rest which God entered on completion of His creation (Gen. 2:2, Heb. 4:4) which continued to endure down through the centuries, and, it would seem, throughout the New Testament dispensation even unto the end of this world (Heb. 4:4-10) ó a thousands-of-yearsí long sabbath, as it were: the "millenial sabbath".
Sixthly, and no doubt related to the fifth kind, there is the sabbath rest in God of the believer, which he enters at the time of his conversion (Matt. 11:28; Heb. 4:4-l0) ó the "conversion sabbath".
Seventhly, there is the intermediate sabbath entered by the believer between his death and resurrection, a sabbath enjoyed only according to the soul [cf. perhaps Heb. 4:9-11 and certainly Rev. 14:13 ó so Dijk39] ó the "intermediate sabbath".
Finally, one may perhaps also refer to the period of "time" following the second coming of Christ and the establishment of the new heaven and the new earth, as a "sabbath", being a fruit, a perpetuation and intensification of the sixth kind of sabbath described above. Yet unlike that sabbath, it is also concrete and after this present life, and unlike the seventh ("intermediate") kind of sabbath, it is enjoyed not only according to the soul, but also according to the (resurrected) body.
On the one hand, it resembles Godís great Seventh Day of creation continuing into the new creation, at least in principle (Heb. 4:4, 9-11 a), but on the other hand it must be remembered that in the new creation God makes "all things new", Rev. 21:5. God will illuminate His new creation immediately by His own glory, rather than mediately by the sun and moon, as in the old creation (Rev. 21:23 cf. Gen. 1:14). Although S.D. Adventists40 advocate a weekly sabbath day on the new earth throughout all eternity with an appeal to Isa. 66:22-23 (conveniently ignoring the next verse 24 as outspoken annihilationists!), it would seem that these somewhat figuratively-intended texts have already largely been fulfilled in principle at the first advent of Christ (cf. John 3:36, Luke 17:20-21). Be that as it may, in the new Jerusalem "there shall be no night", for there Godís servants shall "need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light" (Rev. 21:25; 22:5). Indeed, the Lord Jesus is the "bright Morning Star" (Rev. 22:16) and the "Sun of Righteousness", in that new "day which I shall create" (Mal. 4:2-3, Afrikaans version). The new creation will be Godís New Day. Godís Eighth Day which broke through into history in the resurrection of Christ will shine with even fuller power and greater glory with the resurrection of Christís brethren at His coming again. Then there will be that cosmic peace in fact which He purchased in principle on Calvary and through His resurrection. A cosmic "sabbath"; a "sabbath of re-created creation", but also a "sabbath of re-created creation"; a sabbath which has progressed from Godís Seventh Day of creation to His Eighth Day of re-creation, His unending New Day of the new creation, His sabbath of eternal morning without evening ó the "(aev)eternal sabbath", Heb. 4:9-Il. Cf. too pp. 238-239 infra.
And yet, although these eight kinds of "sabbaths" should be carefully distinguished from one another, nevertheless they are all somehow connected. For they all root in Godís rest on the Seventh Day of creation week as the prototype of them all41.
B. THE ANTIQUITY OF THE SABBATH
(a) The origin
of the week
Firstly, the argument from the silence of Scripture, advanced by Oehler42. Here it is argued that there is "no trace" of a pre-Mosaic sabbath (and therefore of the week) in the further portion of Genesis, apart from Gen. 2. But this amazing statement "is simply not in accordance with fact", as Lilley43 has pointed out. For the fact of the matter is that there are even in Genesis very definite traces of a post-Edenic pre-Mosaic sabbath. As Jamieson remarks44: "The 1st recorded act of worship . . . is considered by many as done on some anniversary Sabbath [see on (Genesis) Ch. 4:3 ó cf. the patriarchal book of Job 1:6; 2:1, where in both places, the Hebrew text has the definite article, the day], and the custom of reckoning by sevens, which appears so frequently in the narrative of the flood (7:2-4, 10; 8:10-12); of the nuptial festivities of Jacob (29:27); and of his mourning ceremonial (50:10); ó all of them being probably terminated by the arrival of the Sabbath; the commendation bestowed upon Abraham for keeping the Divine commandments and statutes (26:5), which, according to Selden, the Jewish writers are unanimously of the opinion included the Sabbath. These, and various other incidents of a similar kind, are, in so rapid and concise a history, pregnant with meaning, and seem very plainly to show that the patriarchs hallowed the Sabbath as a day of religious observance".
Secondly, the argument from astronomy, advanced by Ideler in particular45, but also by Nšgelsbach46, Keil47 and Geesink48: "The weekly division of seven days finds its explanation in the quartering of the lunar month". A good statement of this argument is found in the Hastingsí Bible Dictionary under the article "sabbath": ó "They may" [!] "have arisen from various causes. Thus in some cases observation would show that particular times were favourable or unfavourable to certain occupations; but very often they would be determined by superstitious or religious motives. The days thus fixed would gradually be tabulated and systematized; and when calendars had been constructed, particular days would come to be marked upon them as lucky or unlucky, and in some cases these would agree with definite phases of the moon. Such a calendar the Hebrews may" [!] "have inherited or may" [!] "have received from Babylonia or from some other source: if they received it from Babylonia, they detached it from its connexion with the moon (fixing it for every 7th day, irrespective of the days of the month); they generalized the abstinence associated with it, and, more than all, they transformed it into an agency, which . . . has . . . operated on the whole with wonderful efficiency in maintaining the life of a pure and spiritual religion".
In answer to this astronomical argument, the following must be pointed out.
First of all, the lunar origin of the week is very "questionable" [to use Baudissenís49 own word]. The objective Keil50, while accepting the lunar theory of its origin, concedes that "it has at the same time, its deeper ground in the fact of the worldís having been created in seven days".
Then again, as pointed out by Piper51, not only does the Hebrew calendar date from creation; it has a semi-lunar year, consisting of twelve lunar months every year (and thirteen every third year), each having twenty-nine or thirty days (or either 354 or 384 days per annum, the latter occurring once every three years). "But in either case it was sometimes made a day more or a day less in order that certain festivals may fall on the proper day of the week for their due Observance". Hence, the weekly cycle was decisive in event of a calendar clash between the week and the (astronomical) lunar month or the semi-lunar year, from which latter astronomical periods the non-astronomical week could consequently hardly have been derived.
It has also been admitted52 by the lunar theorist Keil himself that "each quarter of the moon represents 7 3/8 days", and not the weekly seven days, as that theory requiries. Thus too De Vaux53. If the lunar theory were true, it is clear that the week would have to be regularly adjusted to conform with the lunations (ie., the lunar months). But the succession of the weeks is invariable and has never been broken54. This is because the week, a series of seven days demarcated by the sabbath day as the first day (in the New Testament) or the last day (in the Old Testament) of the series, depends upon the movements of the earth on its axis in relation to the sun (which regulates the length of the demarcating sabbath day and all other twenty-four hour days), and not upon the movements of the moon around the earth, as does the month (Or "moon-th"). Consequently. as Gray55 correctly remarks, "neither a month nor a year can be broken into weeks without a remainder. Indeed, neither the lunation nor the solar yea consists of an integral number of days. They cannot be divided into equal parts consisting of days . . . But the week recurs with invariable accuracy . . ."
Even the Ninevite calendar56 is no exception, in which the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th (and possibly the 19th too) were noted as holidays or sacred days. For if this Ninevite calendar was inaugurated at a new moon, it would soon have had to ignore succeeding new moons to preserve the tradition of a sacred seventh day, as opposed to the 7 3/8 days of the quarter of the moon. Conversely, if this calendar were periodically adjusted to conform to the lunation, the seven day week series would have to be broken off, whether by adding days to or subtracting days from some or other subsequent weeks, thus breaking the weekly series of seven days. In either event, the connection between the new moon and the weeks would be broken in well under one month after inauguration of the calendar. Hence, as Gray57 pointedly remarks, "whatever argument for the antiquity of the sabbath may be drawn from this calendar, it certainly bears testimony against the theory that the week originated in observation of the moon."
Various astronomers, when asked to express their scientific opinion as to the wisdom of a new calendar which included a feature which broke the weekly cycle, opposed the change on the ground that this cycle should not be tampered with, and the remarkable comments and reasons for their opposition are found in the official League of Nations document entitled "Report on the Reform of the Calendar, Submitted to the Advisory and Technical Committee for Communications and Transit of the League of Nations by the Special Committee of Enquiry Into the Reform of the Calendar"57a.
Thirdly, there is the argument from numerics, in respect of which evolutionists may maintain that so-called "primitive man", conscious of the striking occurrence and significance of the number seven in the natural world, abstracted the idea of "sevenness" therefrom; and, applying it to the realm of time, to group days together for the sake of chronological convenience, consequently produced the week, and later still, the sabbath day to demarcate it.
On this ingenious theory, the following judgements must be passed.
In the first place, the new grouping would hardly be chronologically convenient to "primitive man", as, (from the evolutionistsí point of view) initially bereft of an adequate knowledge of God and His authoritative sabbath, the week would have no authoritative day to mark its beginning or ending. Furthermore, the convenience of the seven day week would soon be rudely shattered by its disharmony with the new moon58. Moreover, in an attempt to harmonize the two, it is hardly likely that the length of the week, if it did indeed "evolve" from the figure seven, would remain static! True to the process of its "evolutionistic" origin, it would then surely "evolve" further, adding 3/8 of a day per week or three days every eight weeks to try to keep the harmony. But this could hardly be considered convenient.
In the second place, as Gray59 remarks, "No doubt seven prominent celestial bodies (or planets) were very early distinguished. Perhaps also, the seven chords of music . . . But since the week can be traced further back than astronomy or music, such conjectures are of little weight". Clearly, the matter is one of historical precedence here ó was the seven day week derived from the occurrences of the figure seven in nature, or vice-versa? The historical evidence indicates that the latter is the case.
In the third place, the testimony of Scripture is that the week, a period of seven days, is the prototypical pattern from which all the other "sevens" of Scripture are derived, and not vice-versa. This is not only so in respect of the subsequent development therefrom of measurements of time60, of the sabbatical system (7 days, 7 years, 7 x 7 years = jubilee, etc.), but also of other "sevens", such as oathing61, etc.
In the last place, the numerical correspondence between the "sevens" of Scripture and the "sevens" of nature, far from suggesting the "evolution" of the former from the latter, rather points to a common Author of both, by Whom the remarkable harmony was designed and is maintained.
Summarizing then, the adverse argument from numerics is untenable because it is chronologically inconvenient, historically incorrect, unscriptural and oblivious of the common Authorship of nature and Scripture.
Fourthly, the argument from history. "Many nations", remarks Geesink62, "do not have the seven-day week. Egyptians and Greeks divide the month into three parts. The Romans before Christ had a week of eight days . . . there is no question of a consensus gentium here".
Now it is perfectly true that there is no GENERAL consensus gentium (that is, no general agreement amongst the nations) in respect of the seven-day week. Indeed, some nations have used ten-day periods, and others five-day periods, etc. all of which, strictly subdivisions of the month, were, unlike the seven-day week, subject to modification whenever the month was varied, However, what is generally not realized is that there is a SPECIFIC consensus characteristic of certain nations in respect of the seven-day week, namely characteristic of those nations or communities which profess to worship the one supreme God (e.g. Christian and Islamic nations), and of those nations influenced through contact with the covenant people (e.g. the postdiluvian pre-Abrahamic Babylonians, the post-Solomonic Ethiopians, etc.)63.
Fifthly, the argument from logic. Geesink64 has reasoned: "The sanctity of the number seven and the existence of the seven-day week have as such nothing to do with the sabbath idea". The first part of his statement is in need of severe qualification (see pp. 13f above). However, the second part of his reasoning is logically unsound, as will be shown.
For the logical chain may be stated thus65: The weekly series exists right now. But it bears no relation to astronomical phenomena (such as months or years, the moon or the sun). Therefore its existence must be due to an arbitrary act of some personal will. But it could not exist as a continuous series, unless observed and counted by communities and through generations. Therefore the arbitrary act which established it must have been intended to influence communities and generations, who must all have accepted that act and submitted to its influence. But the imposition of an arbitrary act of someone upon a community, and its acceptance by the community, constitute a tie between the one imposing and the body accepting. Therefore the use and practice of that which is so imposed, betokens and manifests the relation of authority and loyalty. Now the expression of a tie between the community of mankind and a supreme authority is the root idea of the word religion. Therefore the week expresses a religious authority and a religious loyalty. But the only religious Authority Who can institute such a tie is the true God (although such a tie may deform after its institution). Therefore organized human society counts time by weeks, because it recognizes the supreme authority of God. But the successive week is maintained by the institution of a sacred day to mark its boundary, for this sacred day defines the weekís end and beginning. In fact, the week is only known because it is marked by a religious day. Therefore the week cannot exist without the day, or the day without the week. Each implies and supports the other.
(b) The origin
of the sabbath
The liberal representatives of the first (post-exilic) group, victims of the J.E.D.P. higher critical Graf-Wellhausen-Kuenen theory67 of the origin of the Pentateuch, hypothesize that the weekly sabbath of Israel was a man-made idea of relatively late Jewish historical development, from which the mythical idea of a seven-day week of creation was rationalistically deduced in post-exilic times. "It is plain", one reads in the Hastings Dictionary of the Bible (pp. 319-20), "that in Gen. 2:1-3 the sanctity of the seventh day is explained unhistorically and antedated". "It appears" [!] "certain", writes Smith68, "that the Decalogue, as it lay before the Deuteronomist, did not contain any allusion to the creation, and it is generally believed" [!] "that this reference was added by the same post-exilic hand that wrote Genesis 1:1Ė2: 4a . . . The connection therefore, between the seven days and the work of creation is now generally recognized as secondary".
The above opinion of the higher critics questions the Mosaic authorship, antiquity, authority and dogmatic relevancy to creation of the sources of Gen .l-3, which sources in the opinion of the Highest Critic while He was on earth69 were of unquestionable Mosaic authorship, authority and relevancy (and probably even of pre-Mosaic antiquity), and therefore should be for all His followers too. As Lilley70 correctly states: "The temerity of these assertions is only equalled by the entire lack of any evidence in support of them".
The generally conservative yet dispensationalistically orientated and somewhat antinomian representatives71 of the second group, championed by the voluminous Dr. Foley72, like the liberal representatives described above, also question the Edenic antiquity of the sabbath, but for a very different reason. They point out that the seventh day of creation was not called the "sabbath" in Gen. 2:1-3 but only in the much later occurrences recorded in Ex. 16. And they further maintain that as God did not specifically enjoin Adam to keep the seventh day on which God Himself admittedly rested, Adam was not required to keep it.
In his excellent and minute "Examination of Dr. Paleyís Argument", Thomson73 describes how Foley asserts that the sabbath was first given to the Jews by Moses in the wilderness of Sin, and that, like the passover, it began with and was part of Judaism, so that its authority ceased when Jesus said on the cross. "It is finished". Gen. 2:1-3, which to the plain reader makes the institution of the sabbath date from creation, Foley calls "proleptical"; that is to say, Gen. 2:1-3 (according to Foley!) does not declare that the sabbath was appointed already at the creation for all men, but, being written at least 2,500 years after creation by Moses, merely assigns the reason why it was only then appointed (in Mosesí day) for the Jews alone.
Paleyís own words74 are as follows: "If the Sabbath had been instituted at the time of the creation, as the words in Genesis may seem at first sight to import [our italics! ó N.L.], and if it had been observed all along from that time to the departure of the Jews out of Egypt, a period of about two thousand five hundred years; it appears unaccountable that no mention of it, no occasion of even the obscurest allusion to it, should occur either in the general history of the world before the call of Abraham, which contains, we admit, only a few memoirs of its early ages, and those extremely abridged; or, which is more to be wondered at, in that of the lives of the first three Jewish patriarchs, which, in many parts of the account, is sufficiently circumstantial and domestic. Nor is there in the . . . sixteenth chapter of Exodus, any intimation that the Sabbath, when appointed to be observed, was only the revival of an ancient institution which had been neglected, forgotten or suspended; nor is any such neglect imputed either to the inhabitants of the old world, or to any part of the family of Noah . . ."
Against these objections of the antinomian dispensationalists, the third group [consisting, amongst others, of nearly all Calvinists75] holds to the Edenic antiquity of manís sabbath observance, and for the following reasons:ó Firstly, it is conceded that the seventh day of creation is not specifically called the sabbath in Genesis 2:1-3, yet it should be pointed out that the Edenic sabbath is implicit in the Hebrew verb for "rest" used there ("sh„bath"), in connection with which verb the related noun ("shabb„th") is later used (from Mosaic times onwards) to refer to the sabbath day.
Secondly, the Edenic antiquity of the sabbath is also implied by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews in the fourth chapter of that book. After pointing out that "God did rest on the seventh day from all His works", v. 4 (which works "were finished from the foundation of the world", v. 3), he states that God spoke later "of another day", v. 8, so that "there remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath (Greek: "sabbotismos") to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His", v. 9-10. Here the inspired writer distinguishes the "rest" of Canaan, v. 8, from the previous Edenic sabbatical rest, v. 3-4. For in quoting (v. 3) Godís words from Ps. 95 ("I sware in My wrath, they shall not enter into My rest"), and in making the distinction between this rest of Canaan and the other of Eden, the inspired writer does not say: "although the rest of the seventh day had been instituted in the wilderness for the observance of the Jews", but: "although the works were finished from the creation of the world" ó intimating most clearly that that rest had been "entered into" (v. 10) when the [creation] "works were finished" (v. 3).
Thirdly, although it is conceded that it is not recorded that the sabbath was injunctively promulgated as such to be observed by man before Ex. 16, the language of that chapter can hardly be cited as pre-emptively excluding the possibility of the prior observance of the sabbath, for quite the contrary appears from the very terms in which the sabbath is there introduced. When God in addressing Moses enjoins the gathering and preparing by the people of a double portion of the manna on the sixth day, He does it without giving any reason ("And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily", Ex. 16:5). On the supposition of no sabbatical rest and no distinction between that day of rest and the other days of the week having previously existed, this omission of any reason is quite unaccountable. And as soon as it is granted that a sabbatical rest did indeed previously exist, it must also be granted that it must have been instituted at some point in sacred history; but the only prior account which even looks like the institution of the sabbath ordinance, is Gen. 2:1-3, which must consequently be regarded with a great measure of certainty as the time of the institution of the sabbath.
The fact that it is not recorded that God specifically enjoined Edenic man to keep the sabbath day (as He had, for example, previously audibly enjoined them to be fruitful and to subdue the earth, etc.; and subsequently enjoined them not to eat the forbidden fruit, etc.), does not imply that God did not so specifically and audibly enjoin them to keep the sabbath too. And even if God did not audibly enjoin them, it does not follow that God did not inwardly persuade unfallen man ó as then inwardly still very sensitive to the Creatorís persuasive leadings ó to keep the sabbath.
As Kuyper puts it76, "the law stood written on the tablets of Adamís heart; which indicates in respect of the Fourth Commandment that Adam spontaneously, in his nature, by virtue of his original righteousness, lived by the seven day rhythm, and spontaneously sanctified the seventh day in Godís presence as if by instinct, just as the swallow and the crane still know their appointed times, and divide life into fixed periods of coming and leaving without anyoneís warning . . ."
Opponents of the Edenic institution of the sabbath readily point to the fact that the sabbath is not mentioned in Genesis after its first institution by God, but they forget that neither is any of the other Commandments found there. On this line of reasoning, even the murderer Cain could have successfully challenged God to show him the Sixth Commandment which declares: "Thou shalt not kill".
The stated example of his revelatory Creator in resting on the seventh day, made it quite clear to Adam that he too was to keep the sabbath ó for Godís example, His actions, speak louder than His words! Dispensationalists who accept Sunday as the Lordís day should realize that there too no words of specific institution are to be found ó Christís example in sanctioning it repeatedly was enough. And Seventh Day Adventists who reject Sunday worship on account of the lack of a record of its specific promulgatory institution, should realize that the same applies in respect of the Edenic sabbath. It is as futile to question (or to Challenge) the Apostolic antiquity of Sunday worship as it is to question (or to challenge) the Edenic antiquity of the sabbath ó or vice versa.
Fourthly. there are grammatical considerations involved in the interpretation of Gen. 2:1-3. For the statement about God blessing and sanctifying the Seventh day is introduced in the same consecutive order and is set forth in the same verbal tenses as all the other preceding statements about the various stages of the creative work, and especially those about the creation of man. They are all definite affirmations of what was done then in bringing man into the world, and the same applies to the sentence on the sanctification of Godís seventh day77.
Fifthly, the word "remember" in the formal Commandment of Exodus 20 ("Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy") certainly seems to point back to something already experienced (cf. Deut. 5:15 as regards Ex. 20: 8f!). Still more significant, the reason why the sabbath was then (at Sinai) to be observed as a day of rest (namely: "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") certainly dates the antiquity of the sabbath as such (as a divine ordinance, whether then observed by man or not) as from Eden78.
Sixthly, Christís words: "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath" (Mark 2:27-8) plainly imply that the time when man was made was the time when the sabbath was made ó evidently made for him at the time when he himself was made79.
Seventhly, the mentioning of the sabbath in the context of Eden in Gen. 2 serves no purpose, unless it has something to say in respect of Edenic man and mankind in general as opposed to the Jews80.
Eighthly, there is the plain language of the passage. It is the language of history: And what the historian relates about the seventh day, he relates as done at that time81.
Ninthly, if, as is admitted, the sabbath was a commemoration of Godís work of creation, then why should not the commemoration by the very nature of the thing commence from the time the work to be commemorated was completed? Was it not thus with the Passover? Was it not thus with the Lordís Supper? And why not thus, then, with the Sabbath?82
Tenthly, if the sabbath blessing was not somehow intended for and communicated to Adam, it is clear that God made no overt provision for sustenance of Adamís spiritual life ó which is manifestly absurd.
Eleventhly, the division of time into weeks [the antiquity of which is unquestionable (see pp. 59f above)], presupposes the existence of the sabbath.
Twelfthly83, even if it were admitted that there is no reference to the seventh-day rest in the inspired records of the sacred history of the world before Ex. 16, it would not follow that it was not observed by man during that period. For from Joshua to Samuel, a period of perhaps five hundred years, one searches in vain for a single reference, explicit or implicit, to the sabbath; the same applies in respect of the offerings during the at least fifteen hundred years between Abel and the flood; again, from Joshua to Jeremiah includes a period of about eight hundred years, in the course of which circumcision is never named. Had the Jews then, during all this time, set aside this sacrament and national sign? For such inference would be quite legitimate on Paleyís premises. Yet such inference is, of course, absurd; as absurd as the denial of the pre-Sinaitic sabbath or the offerings on similar premises.
Thirteenthly, however, it is not admitted that no traces of the sabbath are to be found in the sacred record before Ex. 16. Undisputedly, the division of time into weeks, or periods of seven days, even antedates the flood84, and the existence of the same practice is proved by the most ancient profane records of heathen countries85.
Fourteenthly, the evidence for the sabbathís primaeval appointment and permanent obligation becomes complete when it is observed that within a few weeks after the Ex. 16 scene in the wilderness of Sin, it was enshrined in the very middle of the Decalogue among the other nine moral statutes which, beginning with the race in Eden, had never ceased to be moral. Paley himself admits74 that "If the divine command in reference to the Sabbath was actually given at creation, it was addressed, no doubt, to the whole human species alike, and continues, unless repealed by some subsequent revelation, binding upon all who come to the knowledge of it".
Finally, against those who would even go so far as to maintain that the sabbath could not have been given to Adam in Eden for the reason that the book of Genesis was only written by Moses subsequently to Sinai, it is urged in reply [while readily granting that the book of Genesis only reached its present final form in (very early!) post-Sinaitic times] that this fact hardly militates against the pre-Mosaic existence of a reliable (written or oral) God-given Paradise tradition, which was subsequently committed into writing in its present form by Moses under full inspiration of the Holy Spirit86.
(c) The institution
of the sabbath
FIRSTLY, it is revealed that God "FINISHED" [Heb.: "wayekulloo"] and "ended" [Heb.: "wayekal"] His creation work.
In the first place it is stated: "thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them"; the "thus" referring back to what immediately precedes it and consequently implying that the heavens and the earth and all the host of them were finished by the process of creation culminating in the sixth day on which God made His image man.
In the second place, however, it is declared: "on the seventh day God ended His works which He had done", which again points back to the finished work of creation as something which God had already finished making [Heb.: "'„s„h"], but which also clearly states in addition that God only finished His work on the seventh day, and then goes on to say that "He rested on the seventh day from all His work . . ."In this sense87, then, the work of creation, although finished in six days, was still unfinished! The "finishing touches" had yet to be added. The "finished" work of creation was incomplete without the "finishing" sabbath day, Godís "Amen!".
The Seventh Day then, is an integral part of Godís creation work. Just as man is the crown of all of Godís creatures, so too is the sabbath the crown, the finishing touch of Godís creation work. Just as God once laboured Six Days and ended His creation week on the Seventh Day by entering into His rest thereon, so too was unfallen man to labour repeatedly every six days, and end his work on the seventh day by resting thereon, and, at the end of his life of obedience, to enter Godís sabbath rest in the fullest sense of the word, thereby finishing the course set before him88.
SECONDLY, it is thrice recorded that God finished or ended or rested from "His WORK which He had made", and twice that He rested "from all his work".
The Hebrew word used in Genesis 2 and in the Decalogue (Ex. 20 and Deut. 5) for "work", is the word "melaík„h", that is, work in general, as opposed to work in the narrower sense or "ĎabŰd„h", which latter means specialised or career work, such as field labour, manual work or priestly ministry89. Hence one may, broadly speaking, render the "melaík„h" of Gen. 2: "work" (in contradistinction to "ĎabŰd„h": professional "labour"). As the Pentateuch repeatedly distinguishes between the two words, it appears to be correct to conclude that God finished all creative work on the Seventh Day, and expected unfallen man to do the same.
THIRDLY, it is twice declared that God "RESTED".
In the first place, it is stated: "on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had made, and rested [Heb. "wayyishbŰth"] on the seventh day from His work which He had made". Here Godís rest is mentioned as a consequence or result of His ending His work which He had made. In the second place, it is stated: "And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it He had rested [Heb. "sh„bath"] from all His work which God created and made". Here the words "and" and "because" indicate that Godís rest is the reason for or the cause of His sanctifying and hallowing the Seventh Day as the Sabbath, which, as remarked by Christ, was made for man. So Godís rest is both the result of His work of creation and the cause of His sanctifying and hallowing the Seventh Day for man; and as such His rest represents a link or sign between the Creator, the creation and the human creature made in the Creatorís image.
But what is to be understood by the phrase, "God rested"? This can be ascertained by establishing: negatively, what Godís rest cannot imply; and positively: what Godís rest therefore must imply.
NEGATIVELY, Godís rest cannot imply: i), that He was tired after creation and needed to rest, for He "shall neither slumber nor sleep", and He "fainteth not, neither is weary"90 ii), that God simply returned to His Intratrinitarian counsel and "eternal sabbath rest" as before creation, as in creation something new, "something completely exceptional" [Kuyper91] had happened; iii), that God, after a period of twenty-four hoursí rest, resumed the interrupted creation work from which He had rested [for firstly, God ended His work on the Seventh Day (and not on the eighth, ninth, tenth days, etc.); secondly, God began to rest on the Seventh Day and did not rest anew on the eighth, ninth, tenth days, etc., but merely continued that same rest which He had begun on that still unterminated Seventh Day92 and thirdly, God is still in His rest, even now in New Testament times, wherefore even modern man is enjoined to enter into His rest (Heb. 4:3-11; Ps. 95:11)]. Neither does Godís rest imply: iv), that He is now idle, for the Lord Jesus Christ distinctly taught in respect of the sabbath, "My Father has continued working to this hour, and I work too" (John 5:17. Moffatt) [i.e., His Fatherís "continued working to this hour" did not constitute a breach of His sabbath, and hence that the "work" of preservation, begun before God entered into His rest from His creation works, is not incompatible with Godís rest93].
POSITIVELY then, Godís rest must imply: i), something He did not need, and which must consequently have been introduced for the need of someone else, namely man (Mark 2:27-28); ii), no mere return to His Intratrinitarian counsel, but a new relationship to His now materialized creation. "He rested on the seventh day from new creative effort . . . ceased to originate anything new in the world"94 iii), His work is finished and perfect, "and there is nothing He can add to it"95. Whereas Godís rest is not to be equated with sustentation, the nature of His rest is rather to be sought, iv), in His satisfaction with His creation96, for the Lord doth "rejoice in His works", and "on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed" (Ps. 104:31; Ex. 31:17). Yet Godís rest, the continuing bulwark against pantheistic confusion of the Creator with His creation97, v), although co-extensive with the duration of this present creation98, is not yet the consummation; vi), God rested in the creation of man His image, so that man may labour through history99 until he ultimately enters into Godís eternal rest with all the products of his labours, with all the glory and honour of this worldís kings and nations"100. Only when man has thus entered into Gods rest, will Godís rest itself be consummated with the creation of a new earth under a new heaven when Godís Seventh Day of creation yields to His Eighth Day, with the re-birth of His universe101.
FOURTHLY, it is stated that God "BLESSED" the Seventh Day. Although both Godís blessing and His sanctifying of the Seventh Day proceed from His rest upon it, it is clear that "blessing" is not the same as "sanctifying". For the Hebrew does not declare: "And God blessed or sanctified the seventh day", but "And God blessed the seventh day and He sanctified it" ["wayeb„rÍk 'ElŰhim Íth-yŰm hashshebi'i, wayeqaddesh 'ŰthŰ"].
From the words "And God blessed the seventh day", we are able to infer the following ó In the first place, that Godís blessing of the Seventh Day was a logical and chronological consequence ("And") or result of His entering into His rest upon it. The S.D. Adventist Andrews has maintained (op. cit., p. 16) that although God rested on the seventh day of the first week, it was only on the first day of the second week that He blessed and sanctified that seventh day, for the future use of man. But this theory has two drawbacks. Firstly, if the first seventh day is admittedly manís pattern for the weekly sabbath, how could it not have been sanctified on that very first sabbath day when Adam was assuredly first required to sanctify it? And secondly, how can man now keep the weekly sabbath in the same way in which the first sabbath was kept, if man is now required to sanctify the now sanctified sabbath which had not as then been sanctified when it was first kept by Adam? So Andrewsí speculative construction must be rejected as highly unlikely and open to serious objections. It would appear that God blessed and sanctified the sabbath on that first sabbath just after He had entered into His creation rest on that same day.
In the second place, it is stated that God blessed the Seventh Day. This clearly does not mean that the Seventh Day was less holy than the rest of creation before God blessed it, for all the works of Godís hands were equally holy. And yet it pleased God to specifically bless certain of His works in Gen. 1 in particular, namely i), the creatures of the water and the air; ii), man, both male and female; and iii), the Seventh Day. For the word Ďblessí, as it has hitherto been used in the course of the first chapter of Genesis (vv. 22, 28; ch. 2:3), has entailed both fruitfulness and dominion, God therefore intended the sabbath to be the means of producing spiritual fruitfulness in the lives of His people, and to be the dominating factor in their lives102. It would thus appear from Gen. 2:1-3, that the words were given in the form of a command from God to Adam designed to secure the weekly and continued observation of a day excepted from labour and dedicated to sacred worship103.
In the third place, it is recorded that God blessed "the seventh day". Not that God neglected to bless the other days of creation week and all subsequent weeks, but he imbued the Seventh Day of creation and the succeeding weekly sabbaths with a special blessing ó the day was "to be fruitful and multiply in the experience of all who received it with faith in God . . . to reproduce itself in the character and conduct of all who observed it, and so mould their life into harmony with the mind and will of the Creator"104.
And in the fourth place, however, this "blessedness" of the sabbath is nonetheless not merely limited to the first sabbath day, nor is it rigidly limited only to each successive weekly sabbath day to the utter exclusion of the other days of the week; for Godís blessing of the Seventh Day of creation was not only of one twenty-four hour day, but also of the rest of time105.
FINALLY, it is stated that God "SANCTIFIED" the Seventh Day. From the words of the institution of the sabbath ("And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it"), the following can be inferred: óIn the first place, as in respect of Godís blessing, His "sanctifying" of the Seventh Day was a logical and chronological consequence ("and") or result of His entering into His rest upon it. When God rested on the sabbath, He sanctified it for the use of man. Hence, the sabbath day can only truly be a day of rest to man if he sanctifies it likewise.
In the second place, it is to be seen that the Seventh Day was set apart from the six days of labour. This is apparent not only from the general meaning of the word "sanctify" in the rest of Scripture [Heb.: "qiddesh" "to set apart from", "to dedicate to"], but indeed from the very context of Genesis 2 itself. For it has not only been noted106 that the Seventh Day "stands apart" from the preceding six days [in that, like the sixth day, it abounds with triads], but furthermore [unlike the sixth day], that the three formulae ["and God said"; "and God saw that is was (very) good"; and "and the evening and the morning were the (seventh) day"] do not appear. It was also noted that the Seventh Day is consequently Godís "finishing touch" to His works. For this reason then, God "sanctified" the Seventh Day, which thereupon became, as it were, the hallowed "amen" of the prayer of creation. And like God, man too was to hallow the sabbath, to "set it apart" from his six days of labour107.
In the third place, the Seventh Day was "sanctified" or "set apart" from the six days of labour, and thereby lifted above all earthly transitoriness, in order that it should be dedicated to God. "The believerís whole life", writes Atkinson, "is consecrated to God, but the consecration of the day means that he is intended to engage upon it in the service of direct approach to God and to give attention to spiritual needs, not always possible during the six days of activity. The consecration of the day has always involved the assembly of the people of God for acts of common worship, again not possible while each is engaged on his ordinary duties". "Constituted as he was at the beginning, and still is", writes Lilley, "man could not rise into the ideal of his whole life without the use of a sanctified seventh day. Sabbatism of itself is an essential element of his advancing moral experience. Even as the creator wrought and rested ó so must man, by the very irreversible bent of his composite nature, find his real progress in a labour that admits of repose in God every day, but is also so arranged as to admit of one whole day in every week being spent in unbroken fellowship with Him"108.
And in the fourth place, God sanctified the Seventh Day, set it apart from the other days and dedicated it to His use, to accord with the cyclic rhythm in creation and especially in the life of man. This has been dealt with at some length above109, and one would here only add the following words of Kuyper110: "Rhythm indicates a movement which does not continue monotonously, but arrives at a certain point, continually undergoing a similar and even change . . . in the change of the days, something of the divine rhythm from out of the work of creation lingers on; and thus the days are joined seven by seven into weeks, to commence anew after the completion of each week, and thus to rule over the fleeting days as a higher law. In this manner the Lord impresses the succession of days with His divine stamp. He breaks their monotony and their power, by arranging them in groups. Thus His ordaining hand comes to rule in time. And now, it is into this thus broken time, that the Lord God inducts His Sabbath. Every seventh day becomes the symbol and vehicle of His divine rest. For the Lord God blesses it, and has sanctified it . . . The day is like any other day; but it is its wealth and glory, that God has blessed and sanctified it".
Summarizing the data on the institution of the sabbath, then, it has been seen that God finished His work of creation on the Seventh Day, which latter constituted the "finishing touch" to, and hence an integral part of, that work. After all His work was finished, God entered into His rest, with the intention that man should ultimately follow Him thereinto by way of obedience. As a logical and chronological consequence of God entering into His rest on the seventh day, He blessed it and sanctified it for man. Thus, as Christ remarked, "the sabbath was made for man", in order to associate his life with God111.
(d) The subjects
of the sabbath.
Unlike the creation, THE CREATOR is not subject to law, and therefore not even to the law of the sabbath. Yet when He entered into His rest from His creation works, it was no mere return to His Intratrinitarian counsel as before the creation. His creation, hitherto only existing inside His mind as a gigantic uncreated reality, had now been brought outside His mind as a gigantic created reality. Something new had happened. God in Himself purposed to cease creating and to enter into His creation rest on that first sabbath112.
It is, however, conceivable that the ANGELS are subject to the law of the sabbath, for they did perhaps keep at least the first sabbath in praise of creation, when the Lord "laid the foundations of the earth . . . when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy113. As to this possibility, see too p. 127 note 120, infra.
As to whether the sabbath was also given in respect of LAND before the fall, it is difficult to assess. Though then still uncursed and "very good", yet it was also undoubtedly permitted to rest from being cultivated by man once every seven days. After the fall, of course, land too was to "sabbath" ó to lie fallow every seventh year to rest, and to revert to its former owner every fifty years (Leviticus 25).
Equally difficult to assess is whether ANIMALS rested sabbatically before the fall. If they did, it is possible that man instinctively felt when it was the sabbath day, not only inwardly within himself, but also outwardly, in observing the restful harmony of nature in the rest of the animals. After the fall, it is recorded in the Decalogue and elsewhere that a manís ox and ass and all his cattle were to rest from all work on the sabbath. And it is also instructive to note that Christ commends kind deeds to animals as legitimate works of mercy on the sabbath day114.
Ultimately, and indeed primarily, however, "the sabbath was made for MAN", as Christ specifically taught (Mark 2:27-28). It is true that Christ was there primarily concerned with refuting the criticisms of the legalistic sabbath-keepers of His day, and that that is the primary reason for His use of these words. Yet nevertheless, He did not say "the sabbath was made for Jewish man", but "for man", that is, for mankind in general, and "therefore the Son of man (that is, the son of Adam, of the first man ó not "the Son of David") is Lord also of the sabbath". This argues against the likelihood of the dispensationalistic view of the sabbath being correct, namely that for man as such it was only instituted at Sinai under Moses, and was intended specifically for the Old Testament Jews, and that it was consequently nailed to the cross as a typical Mosaic ceremonial ordinance, and that it now no longer obtains either in respect of Saturday, Sunday, or any other day, Scripture not requiring the observance of any weekly day of rest today. To the contrary, the fact that the sabbath was "made for man", then, enhances the likelihood of it having been given to man (i.e. to Adam, which in Hebrew means "man"), to the first man from whom all other men have descended. Indeed, the doctrine of the covenant (Hos. 6:7) requires that Adam was aware of the moral law, i.e. the substance of the Ten Commandments, including the Fourth115. So the sabbath is given to man, not only to believing man (for the Lord Redeemer "Y„hvÍh" is not mentioned in the sabbathís Gen. 2:1-3 institution), but to all men (as their bounden duty to the Lord Creator "'ElŰhim" ó Gen. 2: lf.).
Dispensationalists have also attempted to argue that Adam was not enjoined to keep the sabbath. This inexactitude we have amply refuted above116, but would add here that even if such were the case, it would still be true, even from the dispensationalistic point of view, that God instituted the sabbath for man, even if only from Mosaic times onwards.
Summarizing then, while the newly created interests of the Creator, namely the material creation and His relation thereto, are also served by the ordinance, the subjects of the sabbath in respect of which the latter was instituted, are primarily men (and possibly angels too), but animals and land are also benefited thereby.
C. ADAM AND THE SABBATH
(a) The sabbathís
significance to Adam
Firstly, the weekly Edenic sabbath had COMMEMORATiVE significance to Adam. Its celebration commemorated Godís creation of heaven and earth in the PAST. Every sabbath day, Adam would behold the works of creation in reverential awe and ponder on their creation and sustentation by the Almighty Creator and Sustainer117.
Secondly, the weekly sabbath had ESCHATOLOGICAL significance to Adam; it looked forward to the FUTURE of Adam (and indeed of the entire cosmos). In the long run, Adam was destined to move through time towards his goal, the entrance into Godís sabbath rest, if obedient in the execution of his covenant of works [involving the exercise of his dominion over the earth and the sea and the sky to the glory of God, and his observance of the moral law (including its weekly sabbath) and his resistance of the devil]. And the weekly divine invitation to Adam to move obediently through time towards and ultimately to enter into that rest, was his obligation to celebrate the weekly sabbath as a miniature symbol of that rest118.
Thirdly, the weekly Edenic sabbath had RELIGIOUS significance to Adam in the PRESENT. The commemoration of creation in the past and its foreshadowing of consummation in the future, were to be religiously celebrated by Adam in the present. Each weekly sabbath Adam was to conduct his religious worship of the Lord, mindful of his own Source and Destiny119. Even before the fall, daily worship of God was not sufficient (because Adam was constructed on a hebdomadal cyclic principle), and weekly sabbath celebration was essential to the exercise of true religion120.
Fourthly, the weekly sabbath also had TEMPORAL significance to Adam. By this is meant its necessity as a calendar to man in his passage through time from the past of creation through the present of the moment on his way to his future sabbath rest alongside of God. For human time must be broken at regular intervals, lest man becomes a slave of time. If time proceeds endlessly without alteration, it dominates man. But, as Kuyper121 declares, if, on the other hand, God divides time, and causes man too to divide time, then God controls time, and human life moves towards the minor goal of the weekly sabbath, which, when reached, brings its rest. For man, and indeed the entire cosmos, were (and are) not static, but destined to unfold and to develop dynamically through terrestrial history as demarcated by seven-day weeks and their sabbath days122.
Fifthly, the weekly Edenic sabbath also had PHYSICAL significance to Adam, in that as "rest", it offered a much needed weekly counterbalance to the six daysí human "work" of subjecting the earth and the sea and the sky to Godís glory (Gen. 1:26-28). The spiritualistic suggestion that Adam needed no rest before the fall, is refuted by the consideration that he was not eternal like the incessantly working God in His notional activities, but constructed on a hebdomadal principle as His small-scale image according to His hebdomadal actual counsel and as the crown of His hebdomadal creation week. Unfallen man was physically just as subject to the alternation of work and rest (Gen. 2:1-3; Mark 2:27-8) and wakefulness and sleep (perhaps Gen. 2:21) as was the rest of terrestrial creation to the alternation of night and day (Gen. 1:3f), evening and morning (Gen. I :5f), months and years (Gen. 1:140, summer and winter123. In addition to this, a weekly day of rest is now essential to medical well-being, and no doubt was before the fall too124.
Summarizing, the sabbath had commemorative, eschatological, religious, temporal and physical significance to Adam, all of which necessarily proceeded from the establishment of the covenant of works between God and His human image.
(b) The sabbathís
commemoration by Adam
Firstly, then, what day was Adamís first sabbath?
Kelman125 believes that God certainly did "determine for our first parents which day of the week they should observe as the Sabbath of the Lord their God, although it is probably impossible for us now to know with absolute certainty whether it was the second day, or the seventh day, of manís history, that was observed as manís first Sabbath". He feels, even though it cannot now be absolutely ascertained which day of Adamís history was observed by him as his first sabbath, that the most natural opinion seems to be that it was not the second but the seventh day after Adamís creation, for in this way Adam would be most closely following the example of God, and in this way there would also be sufficient time allowed for the transactions recorded in Genesis ii. 18-21, which would scarcely be the case if the very next day after Adamís creation was his sabbath.
With the greatest respect, one must here disagree with the learned Kelman, For if Genesis 1-3 is read with an open mind, one certainly gets the first impression that Adam and Eve were both created on the sixth day (Gen. 1:27, 31), and that "the transactions recorded in Genesis ii. 18-21, to which Kelman refers (namely the naming by Adam of all the creatures which God had created, and Adamís search for a help meet unto him from among them) were all concluded before the creation of woman [who of course, was created together with man on the sixth day, yet after him and from him (Gen. 2:21-23)]. Kelman forgets that the "transactions" could have been concluded in less than half a day; for all the creatures God had created were as then relatively few in number, and probably represented only by basic stocks from which the endless varieties within each genus would only develop later. Moreover, as the fall had not yet as then occurred, and as manís intuitive knowledge and acute powers of perfect perception had not yet as then been impaired and twisted by sin as they are now, the "transactions" needed nothing like the length of time to be concluded which they would require today.
Moreover, Kelmanís view raises the question: What did Adam do on the very next day after his creation, on the day on which God entered into His sabbath rest. Did Adam work? If so, he desecrated Godís sabbath rest. Did Adam rest? If so, then he kept that day as sabbath, the first full day of his existence, and not the seventh, as Kelman suggests. All the previous126 objections against the Seventh Day Adventist Andrewsí view that God did not bless and hallow the first sabbath until after that first sabbath, apply with equal force here against this view of Kelman.
It seems then that Adamís life practically began with the sabbath, as the S.D. Adventist Andreasen127 correctly holds, where he writes: "The first sunset Adam ever saw, was a sabbath sunset". As to whether that first sabbath actually commenced with the sunset following the sixth day, or only commenced at midnight or the next morning, will be considered presently. But at this point one would agree with the S.D. Adventist Andreasen that Adam commenced observation of his first sabbath within twenty-four hours after his creation, and not only seven days later, as Kelman maintains.
Seeing Adam started to keep his first sabbath shortly after his creation, then, and seeing that he had in no wise lived a full day of twenty-four hours before he started keeping the sabbath, it follows that the first full day of Adamís life, was a sabbath day. For if sabbath was then calculated from evening to evening as S.D. Adventists maintain, then Adam entered that first sabbath at sunset of the day on which he was created; and if sabbath was then calculated from midnight to midnight or from morning to morning, it is also apparent that Adam had only existed for about twelve to twenty-four hours before his first sabbath commenced. Whichever view one takes, it is clear that the first full day of Adamís life, was a sabbath. He started life with the sabbath, as it were. As the ex-Seventh Day Adventist Johan de Heer128 correctly remarks: "After he had been created, Adam found all things in readiness, both in the plant kingdom and in the animal kingdom; and the Sabbath as the rest of God greeted him on the first day of his life." The seventh day of Godís creation was thus the first day of Adamís life. Thus too Karl Barth129.
The sabbath was the first day of the unfallen Adamís week.
Once this is seen, one may observe the perfect parallel between Godís creation week and Adamís weeks before sin entered into the world. It is a superficial view which can conclude from Genesis 1 and 2 that God first "worked" for six days, and only then "rested" on the seventh, the next day. This is partially true, of course, but a deeper insight reveals that God was first at rest before creation, and then "worked" for six days, and then rested again on the seventh day even unto now, while yet never ceasing to "work" in maintaining and developing His creation.
As Eloff130 correctly remarks, "Before the fall the day of rest was instituted and celebrated before the (human) working week. God first rested in His Counsel of Peace, then He entered the stage of creation, and thereafter He again entered into a condition of rest . . . When it is clear that man rested for the first time on that day on which God rested, (and when it is clear that) according to Scripture a certain rhythm is indicated in the life of God (first rest, then a work of creation of six days, and after that the rest of the seventh day), which was intended as an example for man, it implies that man too must rest every seventh day. Manís rest, then, began on the day on which God rested. It was the first full day of human existence" And Jamieson: "This 7th day, being the first day of Adamís life, was consecrated by way of first fruits to God; and therefore Adam may reasonably be supposed to have begun his computation of the days of the week with the first day of his existence. Thus the sabbath became the first day of the week".
So the S.D.A. Andreasen correctly maintained127 that this first day of the week from Adamís point of view, was indeed the first sabbath. But this can only mean that before the fall, the weeks of Adamís life were to begin with the weekly sabbath day, and not to terminate with it, as was the case after the fall131.
Before the fall, manís week thus began with the sabbath day, and was to be followed by six working days out of gratitude to God. Hereby man was by covenantal obedience to enter into "the sabbath rest which remains for the people of God"132 ó Paradise Possessed (in measure).
After the fall, man forfeited that initial weekly day of rest when he forfeited his ability to enter into the eternal sabbath rest by virtue of his own obedience133. But that eternal sabbath rest will still be entered on manís behalf by Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the covenant and the Lord of the sabbath134, but only in the future. Hence, after the fall, the weekly sabbath was shifted into the future, which is conceivably what is implied by the words "at the end of the [week of] days" in Gen. 4:3 ó Paradise Lost (in sin).
After the reversal of the fall by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Second Adam, redeemed manís week follows the same pattern as that which unfallen Adamís week followed and was to have continued to follow; the Christian begins his week with his sabbath rest in the completed work of the resurrected Christ on the day of His resurrection, the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1 etc.), and he works for God out of gratitude on the following six days (John 20:1, 19, 26) ó Paradise Regained (in principle).
(ii) The hours
of the sabbathís commemoration
But this exegesis cannot be allowed for a number of very good reasons.
In the first place, the text Lev. 23:32 which S.D. Adventists adduce in support of their contention ó which is the only text in Scripture which even vaguely suggests that the "sabbath" should of necessity be kept from evening to evening ó does not really apply in respect of the weekly sabbath at all, but only in respect of a ceremonial "sabbath", namely the day of atonement, which fell on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, and was unknown and uncelebrated until after the time of the Exodus. S.D. Adventists are the first to stress the absolute distinction between the weekly sabbath and the Jewish ceremonial sabbaths when it comes to interpreting Col. 2:16, and it is only right that they should be consequential and do the same in interpreting Lev. 23:32. Furthermore, it should be noted that this "evening to evening" rule is not even mentioned in respect of all the Jewish ceremonial sabbaths, but only in respect of the day of atonement, and of that day alone. One is not here concerned with the (unwarranted) extension of this principle of demarcation to days other than this day of atonement by later Judaism136; one is here concerned only with the precise meaning of Godís Word when and in respect whereof God Himself intended it. Finally, it is not clear how "from evening to evening" can be summarily equated with "from sunset to sunset", as the S.D. Adventist position would suggest, as the earthly evening of Godís first day was totally devoid of sunset, the sun only being appointed the demarcator of earthly time on Godís fourth day. Still less does this expression (from evening to evening) imply a "six oíclock p.m." demarcation, which Van Baalen137 maintains S.D. Adventists once "practised for ten long years"!
In the second place, one must try to determine the precise meaning of the expression "and the evening and the morning were the (first (etc.]) day". But before so doing one should note the limited value of applying any conclusion which may be reached to the seventh day in the creation account, in respect of which seventh day (as opposed to the previous six) this expression (not without some good reason of the Holy Spirit Who purposely omitted it) is totally lacking. It should also be noted that it is difficult to grasp the precise meaning of the expression, as the various attempts to render Gen. 1:5b in official Bible translations amply indicate19.
Bearing these limitations in mind, it is clear that this difficult expression, which occurs six times in Gen. 1 (once each time in respect of each of the six days of creation), must surely bear the same meaning in respect of the first day that it does in respect of the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth days. Hence, if one can establish its meaning in respect of the first day, one has established its meaning throughout.
But it has been proven above138 quite abundantly, that Godís first creation day did not begin in the evening, but in the morning; whence it necessarily follows that Godís sixth creation day also began in the morning, and therefore ended the next morning just as Godís Seventh Day began, and that that latter day, manís first sabbath day, therefore began in the morning too. The only question remaining to be solved is whether the morning then began at midnight or at daybreak.
It was also seen above139 that there is an intimate nexus and parallel between the first day of creation week when light first shone on the earth, and the first day of re-creation week, Easter Sunday, when the Light again shone on the earth. And so if one can determine what time morning began on the first day of re-creation, one can probably conclude that the morning began at the same time on the first day of creation (that is, terrestrial formation), and that the morning also began at the same time on that first day of rest at the advent of which God and Adam started to "sabbath" simultaneously.
Kelman140 believes that the creation days (and the first sabbath) probably commenced at daybreak. Yet he also notes in respect of this same matter that in the New Testament dispensation, which in principle restores fallen creation to its former order, Paul "protracted the evening meeting with his preaching till midnight" (Acts 20:7).
It will be remembered that this very New Testament dispensation was inaugurated by the resurrection of the Second Adam on the third day after His crucifixion (Luke 24:1, 13, 33, 46, etc.), on the first day of the week. But it is clear that this resurrection on the first day had already taken place before sunrise or daybreak of that first day, for "on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark (= hence before sunrise ó N.L.) unto the tomb", after the Lord had already risen141.
Kelman himself correctly maintains140 that Christ appeared to His eleven disciples on Resurrection Sunday "the same day at evening being the first day of the week". Now this appearance must have taken place about "two hours" after sunset ó the two disciples (Cleopas and his friend) having apparently walked from Emmaus to Jerusalem, for "the distance was about seven or eight miles". It was "toward evening, and the day . . . far spent", before those two disciples had even reached Emmaus, where they tarried for some time in eating their supper. And it was only after that ó hence quite long after sunset óthat they even started out on the eight mile journey back to Jerusalem.
We are faced then with two undisputable facts. Resurrection Sunday started with Christís resurrection quite some time before sunrise on Sunday, and it was still in progress at least two hours after sunset that same Sunday. Hence, neither sunset (thus the Seventh Day Adventists) nor sunrise (thus Kelman) is the time of demarcation of the Lordís day in New Testament times.
Now as the solar day was then always twenty-four hours in duration, it is clear that the Lordís (resurrection) day must have terminated at a point in the night AFTER at least two hours subsequent to sunset on Sunday night, and BEFORE a considerable time prior to sunrise Monday morning (being twenty-four hours after His resurrection on that Sunday). In other words, that Sunday must have terminated at some point in the night between about 8 p.m. Sunday night and 4 a.m. Monday morning.
Similarly ó working twenty-four hours back from the termination of that day, one arrives at its commencement, which must therefore have been at some point in the night AFTER at least two hours subsequent to sunset on Saturday night (being twenty-four hours prior to a point of time known to have still fallen on Resurrection Sunday), and at a time BEFORE and considerably prior to Sunrise Sunday morning (namely at the exact time of the Lordís resurrection), and hence at a time not later than the commencement of Resurrection Sunday. In other words, that Sunday must have commenced at some point in the night between about 8 p.m. Saturday night and 4 a.m. Sunday morning.
Now it is clear that midnight-Saturday-Sunday is the midpoint between the two possible extremes during which Sunday must have commenced, and that midnight-Sunday-Monday is the midpoint between the two possible extremes during which Sunday must have terminated. In principle, midnight is also that point from which the darkness gradually recedes and the light gradually increases. And is that not precisely what happened that first Resurrection Sunday morn, when the darkness of the tomb receded behind the Risen Lord, as He the risen Sun of righteousness waited for the rising of the solar sun, waited for the advent of daylight and the coming of the women? And when we are told, as we have seen, that Paul preached "till midnight" "upon the first day of the week" at Troas, "ready to depart on the morrow", our view gains strength.
But there is more. The slain and risen Lord is the fulfilment of the Passover142, and it was precisely "at midnight that the Lord smote all the first born in the land of Egypt", and from that time that same night the Exodus began. Does it not seem likely then, that the Lord of the SABBATH Himself should have conducted His Exodus from the tomb, the Egypt of our sins, at that same time?
When it is considered that all these events were milestones in the history of re-creation ó of re-creation, be it noted ó is it not possible, to say the very least, that they corresponded with those first six days, those milestones of the history of creation, even to the extent of those six days also commencing at midnight? This would certainly seem a possible interpretation of the expression "and it was evening, and it was morning, the (first, etc.) day", in that midnight is precisely the very midpoint between the "evening" and "morning" which are mentioned, and in that the "midnight" interpretation ó unlike certain others ó preserves the written order "it was evening and it was morning".
If Godís Word had said "And it was night and it was day, the (first, etc.) day", it could still perhaps be argued that sunset was the start, sunrise the midpoint, and sunset the end of the whole period of twenty-four hours called a "night-and-day". For "night" clearly endures for about twelve hours throughout the whole dark period from sunset to sunrise, whence the halfway point is called "mid-night", and "day" for about twelve hours through the whole light period from sunrise to sunset, whence the halfway point is called "mid-day".
But Godís Word avoids these terms "night" and "day" in the expression, stating instead: "And it was evening and it was morning, the (first, etc.) day". Now "evening" does not last for twelve hours, as does the "night". On no account can "evening" be construed to last beyond midnight, and generally it refers only to that period of time immediately around sunset. In the expression "and it was evening and it was morning" then, unlike the expression "and it was night and it was day", we are faced with a breach in time at some point in the night between "evening" and "morning". Now it seems logical that the point in question should be midnight, that is, that point beyond which "evening" cannot possibly proceed, and before which "morning" cannot possibly commence, towards which the night has waxed, and from which the night will wane143.
And so too will it be at the end of the world, when Christ returns on the Day of the Lord. For example, it is stated in the parable of the ten virgins that "while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry made, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh! Go ye forth to meet Him!í". And then the Lord applied this parable to the concrete situation, saying "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matt. 25:5,6, 13).
In other parts of Godís Word, it is stated that the Lord (and hence the Day of the Lord) will come "like a thief in the night" (I Thess. 5:2), when "the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven" (Matt. 25:29). It is true that no one knows at what hour He will come, "whether at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning" (Mark 13:35); but on the balance of the Scriptures it seems clear that He will come in the darkest moment of world history, in the very midnight of despair, whence Christians are enjoined "to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we (first) believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand" (Rom. 13:11-12).
But more. Godís Seventh Day of creation ó the day not followed by the expression "and there was evening and there was morning, the seventh day", Gen. 2:1-3 ó has not terminated, but is still in progress, Heb. 4:4, 9-11, and will remain so unto the end of the world. But the end of the world will be occasioned precisely by the advent of Godís "Eighth Day", the Day of the Lord, James 5:7-8, Mal. 4:1-6. But it has just been seen that Godís Eighth Day will commence at the darkest point of the worldís history, at its "midnight" as it were. Now the worldís history is co-extensive with the duration of Godís Seventh Day; therefore Godís Eighth Day will commence at the end of Godís Seventh Day. But Godís Eighth Day will probably commence at "midnight" (on Godís macroscopic scale); therefore Godís Seventh Day must also end at "midnight". But if Godís Seventh Day ends at midnight (on Godís macroscopic scale), it must too have commenced the "previous" midnight, "twenty-four" macroscopic "God-hours" beforehand. But then this commencement of Godís Seventh Day at "midnight" must have followed immediately at the termination of Godís sixth day; therefore Godís sixth day must have terminated (and consequently also begun twenty-four God-hoursí previously) at midnight. But the termination of Godís sixth day (like the preceding first, second, third, fourth and fifth days) is marked by that difficult expression: "And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth (or first, etc.) day". Therefore this expression, it would seem, points to a "midnight" demarcation of the day in respect of which it is used.
Now if the above is true of the chronological relationship between Godís Seventh Day and Godís Eighth Day on Godís macroscopic scale, one would expect to find a reflection of that relationship on manís microscopic (twenty-four hour) scale too.
It was seen above (p. 33f.) and will be seen even more clearly below (p. 200f.), that the first day of the week, the "Lordís day", is the microscopic picture of the Eternal Day of Godís new week, the "Day of the Lord", just as the (weekly) sabbath day is the microscopic picture of Godís Seventh-Day rest of creation. The (Saturday) sabbath precedes and yields to the Lordís day of Matt. 28:1 (see too Mark 16:1, 2 and Luke 24:1), where we read: "In the end of the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week144. But if the (Saturday) sabbath day (at least in Judaism contemporary with the earthly lifetime of Christ) ended at evening (as particularly the Seventh Day Adventists maintain), and if it only "dawns" at daybreak, then midnight Saturday-Sunday could have been the only point of demarcation equidistant from "the end of the sabbath day", and "as it began to dawn TOWARD the first day of the week".
So the midnight-hypothesis fits both manís microscopic picture of creation and re-creation history, as well as Godís macroscopic picture of the same.
The whole argument may perhaps be represented diagrammatically, thus: ó
DIAG XI ó GODíS CREATION AND RE-CREATION RESTS.
And so it has been demonstrated that there is little evidence that God commenced each of His creation days at evening, and the great weight of the evidence points to a time of commencement at midnight (or possibly at daybreak).
But coming to Adamís sabbath day, the absence of the formula "And there was evening, etc." must be borne in mind. However, the commencement of that first sabbath of Adam (together with that of God) must have immediately followed the termination of Godís sixth day, and, on the balance of the facts, it would seem to the present writer that Adamís first sabbath also very likely commenced at midnight. But before setting out further reasons for this view, one must first discuss the following beautiful picture of the first sabbath drawn by the S.D.A. Andreasen145: "The first sunset Adam ever saw was a Sabbath sunset . . . God had finished His work. Six days He had laboured, and now evening was approaching, the evening that would usher in the Sabbath".
Now the suggestion that "the first sunset Adam ever saw was a sabbath sunset" begs the question. It is not questioned that Adam and Eve might have seen the sunset at the end of the sixth day ó that might very well have been the case, bearing in mind that the sixth day only terminated after God had given His commands and instructions to both Adam and Eve, Gen. 1:27-31. For this passage can only mean that the data of Genesis 2 in connection with Adam, namely his formation from the dust of the ground and his vivification by Godís breath of life, his receiving of the test prohibition, and his naming of "every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air" which the Lord brought to him to see what he would call them, his inability to find "an help meet for him", his "deep sleep" and his discovery of his wife thereafter, and the instructions regarding food, etc., which they both subsequently received from God, Gen. 1:28ff, all took place before the sixth day was spent, and possibly, even probably, before sunset occurred. Before sunset, because Godís last instruction concerning the food of man was probably not given in the dark between sunset and midnight, when such food could not have been seen, but rather before sunset whilst it was still light. This is surely implied in the fact that the final instructions regarding food are immediately followed by "And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day". Whence one is, perhaps, left with the impression that Adam and Eve, having heard the last instructions of God, saw the evening of the sixth day, and hence the "sunset", as Andreasen stresses.
But this does not imply that it was already sabbath! To the contrary, the simple words of Scripture seem to indicate that the sabbath only came later, on the seventh day, and that this seventh day succeeds the "evening and the morning, the sixth day" of Gen. 1:31, apparently starting in that morning of Gen. 1:31 (at midnight, or after; possibly at daybreak, as Kelman would maintain). This seems to be the sense, if we read through from Gen. 1:31 margin to 2:3, namely: "And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening was and the morning was, the sixth day. And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on (not before!) 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. 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".
Furthermore, the view that the days of Eden, and hence the first sabbath day, were computed from morning (midnight or daybreak) and not from evening, seems to find some distant echo in Job 38:7, which certainly applies in respect of at least part of creation week and which, as the Seventh Day Adventists themselves insist, perhaps correctly, applies specifically to the sabbath day146.
If, as the S.D.A.ís then suggest, this verse Job 38:7 applies in respect of the first sabbath, is it not significant that it was "the morning stars" which then "sang together"? The "morning stars" could not sing together the previous evening of the sixth day and still be morning stars, neither could the "evening stars" of the previous evening sing together the next morning of the seventh day, the sabbath morning, unless they were morning stars, which they were not147. So here is the spectacle of sabbath evening, which S.D. Adventists stress so much as the point of sabbath commencement, being totally ignored in this text, and the "morning stars", implying sabbath morning, receiving all the emphasis! And is it not significant that the Lord Jesus, the Son Whom S.D. Adventists describe together with the Father as the Co-Author of creation and the sabbath, is variously described in Scripture as the "Star out of Jacob" Who shall rise (not set! ó N.L.) out of Israel"; the Sun of Righteousness", Who "shall . . . arise; "the Dayspring from on high", Which shall "give light to them that sit in darkness"; "the Light" Which "shineth in the darkness", Which the darkness could not overcome; and finally, as "the bright and Morning Star", cf. His resurrection on Easter Sunday morning148!?
It is quite possible, of course, that Adamís "deep sleep" only commenced at sunset, and that it was then only after sunset that Eve was created, albeit still on the sixth day. But this possibility only strengthens our position that the sixth day then did not end and the sabbath did not begin at sunset, but only at a later point there beyond, such as at midnight.
But even if it seemed likely that Adamís sabbath actually began at sunset of the day on which he was created ó and it does not ó there would still be difficulties in the celebration of the sabbath. For are we to suppose that Adam, soundly rested after his "deep sleep" on the day when he was created, having watched the sunset of that day together with Eve and hence (on the S.D. Adventist Andreasenís hypothesis) having started to celebrate the sabbath, promptly went to sleep again until the next morning, thus ceasing from sabbath celebration for about 8-10 hours, and then resuming it again? Was that first sabbath, unbroken as then by sin, nonetheless broken by Adamís sleep? Or are we to believe that he continued celebrating that sabbath in his sleep? Or did he stay awake the whole night and continue to celebrate the sabbath without interruption? How much easier are the "midnight" and "morning" hypotheses of sabbath commencement, which would portray Adam and Eve wakening from their nightís sleep to start celebrating their already commenced sabbath continuously and uninterruptedly. It may even be that they were awakened by the hymns and praises of the angels, the "host of heaven", Gen. 2:1, when "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy"! If so, what a beautiful way to start the sabbath!
Finally, even apart from the above data, there are at least six other texts in the Old Testament óGen. 19:33-4; Ex. 12:6, 18; Judg. 6:38, Judg. 21:2-4; I Sam. 19:11 and I Sam. 28:19 ó which clearly teach that even after the fall the day was sometimes demarcated from the morning149.
Summarizing then, it would seem that the first sabbath of which Adam was conscious, probably commenced at midnight, though conceivably at daybreak, but at any event in the morning of that day, Godís Seventh Day and Adamís "first", and not in the evening of Godís sixth day.
mode of the sabbathís commemoration
Many152 have sought to describe the first sabbathís celebration in Eden, and perhaps Martin Luther has come nearest the truth. Luther felt that on the morning after the creation of Adam and Eve, that is, on the morning of "the Sabbath day, Adam and Eve were mindful of the will of God, etc. Thus Adam and Eve, flowering in innocence and original righteousness, and full of security on account of their trust in the most kind God, walked around naked holding fast to the word and mandate of God, and praising God, as befits the sabbath day153".
Elsewhere154 Luther has claimed: "If Adam had stood in his innocency, yet he should have kept the seventh day holy, i.e., on that day he should have taught his children and childrenís children what was the will of God, and wherein His worship did consist; he should have praised God, given thanks, and offered [that is, performed an act of sacrifice ó N.L.]. On the other days he should have tilled his ground, looked to his cattle". For "Adam was to gather with his descendants on the Sabbath at the tree of life", i.e. at a small orchard of trees of the same species155, "and when they had together eaten of the tree of life, to preach, i.e. to proclaim God, and His praises, and the glory of creation, . . . and to exhort them to a holy and sinless life and to a faithful tilling and keeping of the Garden".
Calvin too has insisted156 that the tree of life was a "sacrament" which God gave "to Adam and Eve, as an earnest of immortality, that they might feel confident of the promise as often as they ate of the fruit". God rested on His sabbath, "then blessed this rest, that in all ages it might be sacred among men". God "consecrated every seventh day to rest", so that "inasmuch as it was commended to men from the beginning, that they might employ themselves in the worship of God, it is right that it should continue to the end of the world", in that "this institution has been given not to a single century or people, but to the entire human race". Accordingly, "we have an equal necessity for the sabbath with the ancient people", and "it is not credible that the observation of the sabbath was omitted when God revealed the rite of sacrifice to the holy Fathers, but what in the depravity of human nature was altogether extinct among the heathen nations, and almost obsolete with the race of Abraham, God renewed in His law."
Bavinck157, referring to Gen. 4:3, has maintained that "sacrifice in the broader sense" was "suited to man in the state of rectitude" as "prophet, priest and king", who was then obliged to "glorify Godís Name and dedicate himself to God with all that he had", and who "in the Sabbath . . . received a special day for the service of God; and to this end he needed special forms of cultus; and there is nothing strange [in the idea] that sacrifice as well as prayer belonged thereto".
Barth158 has written that after man was created outside of the Garden, he was taken inside it "and brought to rest there", Paradise being "a distinctive spatial parallel to the institution of the Sabbath as a temporal sanctuary", man being "given rest in the place whose centre is constituted by the tree of life", where he "is really at rest in respect of his nourishment, and his work . . . is the permitted minimum of the Sabbath which does not disturb the freedom, joy and rest of his existence."
And Wurth159 feels that as "joy is in any case a valuable thing for the Christian", that "the element of play and of festivity" should be part of his life, as "man is not only created to work", but he also received "a day of rest, that is, a day to relax . . . to be able to enjoy life freely and to the full, to be able to be happy, to be able to celebrate festivities". For Sunday is the day of "glorious restoration of the genuine life of creation" which may be enjoyed "rejoicing and devoid of care"; yet it is a "holy" feast, "no day of man, no going-out-day, no day of jest, no day on which we can gloriously do and leave undone what we like", but it is "the day of the Lord".
Putting all these thoughts together, then, it would then seem that Adam and Eve probably awakened from their first nightís sleep some time early in the morning of the seventh day, perhaps being awakened by the choirs of angels, when all the host of heaven sabbathed, "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Gen. 2:1-3; Job 38:7). Having risen on that morning, they would both have beheld one another naked, and would not have been ashamed (cf. Gen. 2:25). They would have been very conscious of the sacredness of the day, perhaps enraptured by the heavenly music from above, and at perfect peace and rest with the realm of nature round about them. Walking about the garden in Eden, they would doubtless have seen the undisturbed harmony in nature on every hand: the wolf and the lamb dwelling together in sweet accord; the leopard lying down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together. The cow and the bear would have been feeding alongside each other, whilst their young ones would have been lying down next to one another. Under some trees they might even have seen a lion eating straw like an ox (Is. 11:6-7), chewing green herbs as its food160.
Through the groves of trees they would have walked on that first sabbath, past every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food ó a fir tree on their right, perhaps, and a myrtle on their left (cf. Is. 55:13), and fruit-trees like the fig (cf. Gen. 3:7), providing for their sustenance. Perhaps, whilst praising God for the gift of all His goodness and their love for one another, they would have walked alongside the river of Eden (cf. Gen. 2:10), which would have flowed clear as a crystal161 on that first sabbath day. And probably at the side of that river, in the midst of the garden162, stood the tree of life, perhaps bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month.
This was the tree of immortality, the tree of which one may eat, and live forever (Gen. 3:22). Perhaps it was the purpose of God for them to eat of that tree of life each sabbath day as a sort of "sacramental"163 food to seal unto them the promises of His Word, the promises of eternal life, by the faithful use whereof they would have climbed heavenwards through time to absolute immortality from one sabbath to the next sabbath164. For accordingly as Adam and Eve would have called the sabbath day a delight, accordingly as they would have regarded that holy day of the Lord as honourable, and accordingly as they would have honoured it, they would have delighted in the Lord, Who would have caused them to ride upon the high places of the earth165.
Perhaps it was at this tree of life, in the very midst of the garden, where they would have had their sweetest sabbath fellowship with God, probably bringing Him their sacrilicial offerings there166, possibly eating of the fruit of the tree of life, even as the Church has its sweetest sabbath fellowship with God in breaking bread and eating of the Lordís Supper on the Lordís day. Perhaps it was even here167 at this tree of life that the God of life would have met with our first parents into whom He had breathed the breath of life (cf. Gen. 2:7). It might have been Godís purpose to walk in the garden in the cool of the day, yes, precisely in the cool of the sabbath day, to meet His first human children there under the tree of life; even as He even today still meets them each sabbath day, gathered under that other tree of life, the tree of Calvary, gathered together in the Spirit on the Lordís day, in the cool, the wind, the "Spirit" of the day as it were, to hear the voice of the Lord God calling them to rest and to worship168.
Summarizing, then, before the fall Adam and Eve were destined to meet regularly on each weekly sabbath day, to praise and to worship God in His creation glory and to meditate on their ultimate goal of entry into His sabbath rest, to bring into remembrance the promises of the Word of God, and possibly to partake of the tree of life as a sort of weekly prototypical "Lordís Supper". This was humanityís "golden time", the aetas aurea, the time before the fall.
(c) The sabbathís
transgression by Adam
As regards the view that Adam and Eve fell a number of days after their creation, Š Marck169 has written that "the time of the human fall is portrayed not within years nor within many months after the creation of man . . . but rather within a few days, which is variously . . . determined by many people".
Some think that Adam remained firm for forty days, because Christ withstood the devil for forty days as a remedy for the length of time whereafter sin was admitted into Paradise170.
Others again attribute a period of eight daysí bliss to Adam (thus Pererius171) regarding that as a sufficient period of time to experience the state of felicity, just as the Second Adam rose from the dead and re-appeared again eight days later on that same day.
Kelman172 holds that Adam stood for at least nine days, whereas Joh. Gerhardi173 has proposed a period of thirteen days, on the analogy of Christ being in His thirteenth year when found amidst the teachers in the temple at Jerusalem!
All these views, it is submitted, are so speculative and devoid of any really strong argument in their support, that they are hardly worth the further Consideration of refutation.
The view that Adam and Eve fell on the day on which they were created, has far more advocates and arguments in its support. For as Pererius171 has declared, the opinion is common that they did not remain even one whole day in Paradise, but were ejected from Paradise towards evening and before sunset.
"My ground for this opinion", writes the Puritan E.F.174, "is Psalm xlix, 12. which text Mr. Ainsworth reads thus, ĎBut man in honour doth not lodge a night; he is likened unto the beasts that are silencedí. [The Rabbins read it thus: Adam being in honour lodged not one night. The Hebrew word for Ďabideí signifies to stay or lodge all night ("y„lin"). Adam, then, it seems, did not take up one nightís lodging in Paradise. Thomas Watsonís Body of Divinity ó MíC.]. This may be minded saith he, both for the first man, Adam, who continued not in his dignity, and for all his children."
Now the word "y„lin" which Ainsworth renders "lodge a night" ó with the emphasis on the little word "a"! .ó is not only rendered "abideth" in the A.V., and "abide" in the R.V., but the verse as such has no reference to Adam whatsoever.
But quite apart from this, that interpretation is quite untenable. For if it were correct, it would imply not only that Adam never even once kept the sabbath in the state of innocency, thus implying that Adam never observed the Fourth Commandment and hence the whole moral law in the state of innocency, which is absurd, but also implying that God pronounced the sixth day and all that He had made "very good" directly after the whole creation had been cursed by sin and become "very bad"!
In fact, even the fall of the devil and his wicked angels ó which inevitably preceded the devilís seduction of Adam ó could only have taken place after Godís benediction of the sixth day of creation175.
The view that Adam and Eve fell on their first sabbath, is held by no less a figure than the "Great Luther" himself, as Š Marck (who has investigated this matter of the sabbath in Paradise thoroughly) calls him. Luther176 writes:
I said before that it was my opinion that it seems to me that this temptation happened on the sabbath day. Thus, Adam and Eve were fashioned on the sixth day, Adam early, then Eve towards evening. On the morning of the next day, the sabbath day, Adam and Eve were conscious of the will of God, &c. And so Adam and Eve, flowering in innocence and original righteousness and full of security on account of their trust in such a kind God, walked around naked, holding fast to the word and command of God, and praising God, as befits the sabbath day. Whence, alas what anguish! Satan intervened, and within a few hours turned all these things upside down.
And this is also the view of Tostatus177, who writes: "Hence we are able to say that it is more befitting, that Adam was formed on the sixth day, and that Eve was formed on the same day, but that on the following day, that is, the sabbath day, Eve sinned . . ."
Now if Luther and Tostatus are right in their view, four things are immediately apparent:
Firstly, Adam and Eve not only ate of the forbidden fruit, but also fell from their rest (from that degree of rest given them to start their lives with, from their communion with God) on the day of rest, on the day of the fall. In other words, their transgressions resulted in and hence involved their desecration of the sabbath, their trampling Godís day under their feet. Perhaps this is somehow echoed in Isa. 58:13: "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day . . . I will make thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, etc. (= I will make thee to ascend from the life of earth to the life of heaven, to enter Godís eternal sabbath rest? ó N.L.)". This text Isa. 58:13-14 was so interpreted in connection with the fall by Tractatus178.
Secondly, sin and death and disease all came into the world as a result of the fall on the sabbath day, and so one might perhaps somehow expect them to show traces of this connection. Regarding disease, the seventh day of many diseases reveals a set pattern of a critical tendency on the seventh day179. Regarding death, Adamís physical death, although a full nine hundred and thirty years after the fall, was merely the late and full execution of that curse pronounced immediately after the fall. Hence the sabbath rest is now intimately bound up with the grave, as Barth180 and Bavinck181 point out, cf. Rev. 14:13.
Thirdly, and proceeding from the last point, if the first Adam in principle yielded to death on that first sabbath day, one would expect the Second Adam Jesus Christ (substitutionarily) to yield to death on the sabbath day, which was indeed the case as He lay dead in the tomb on that last Saturday sabbath.
Fourthly, as the Second Adam lay in the altar of His tomb as the dead sacrificial Lamb and perfect sacrifice for men on that last sabbath day, one would somehow expect Adam to have some knowledge, however remote, of that later Sin-Offering in his stead, on that very day of the fall immediately following his transgression. And this was indeed the case. For, if that day was the sabbath, having trampled on Godís holy day with his foot (cf. perhaps Isa. 58:13-14), Adam was promptly told of his Coming Substitute Who will reverse the situation, Who with His foot shall bruise the head of Satan who effected what would then have been the first sabbath desecration. So immediately after the fall the Lord God Himself provided a bloody (sabbath?!) offering, foreshadowing The Sabbath Offering, the Lord of the Sabbath Himself182.
Fifthly, if this mention of the "coats of skins" on the day of the fall does not imply the immediately preceding sacrifice of the animals concerned (Gen. 3:21), one is completely at a loss to understand the logic and propriety of the in that case unprecedented sacrifice of Cain, described only six verses further on in Godís Word (Gen. 4:3). But if the "coats of skins" in Gen. 3:21 does imply an immediately preceding sacrifice unto typical remission of the immediately previously committed transgression, then the sacrifice of Cain in Gen. 4:3 logically indicates the permanent God-given means whereby all sin is henceforth to be expiated from time to time. Now this text states that the sacrifice of Cain was brought "in process of time", or "at the end of days", as the marginal rendering has it. This implies that the sacrifice was brought at the occurrence of an event in time which could meaningfully be described as taking place "at the end of days". "At the end of which days?", one may ask; and the only series of days with an event "at the end of [those] days" which has previously been described in Godís Word, is the seven-day "creation week", with the rest day or sabbath day "at the end of [those] days", Gen. 1:1Ė2:3. Hence the "end of days" at which point Cainís sacrifice was offered in Gen. 4:3, can in all probability only be "the end of the week", and "the end [of the week] of days" can only mean the weekly sabbath day183. But if, as seems clear, Cainís sacrifice was brought on the sabbath day, and if the coats of skinsí sacrifice184 was the precedent thereof, it seems very likely that that animal sacrifice (and hence the fall) also took place on the sabbath day.
Summarizing then, the day of the fall is unknown. It could hardly have been the same day as manís creation, in view of the data contained in Gen. 1:31Ė2:3 and in view of Adamís initial if short observance of all the moral law involved in the covenant of works. Yet the fall could quite well have occurred on the first or on a subsequent weekly sabbath, which event would then explain: the immediate institution of blood sacrifice, fulfilled centuries later on the Calvary sabbath; the hebdomadal pattern of disease as a result of the advent of sin; and (an additional reason for!) the Second Adamís changing of the sabbath day to Sunday after His entry into Godís sabbath rest after the "finished work" of His Own atonement.
Be that as it may. As a result of the fall, "golden time" had now become "lost time".
(ii) The sabbath
and the results of the fall
As a result of sin, manís physical need for the weekly sabbath became greater too. Godís Commandments to the unfallen Adam had included the latterís exercise of dominion over all other terrestrial living creatures, his multiplying and filling the earth, and his tilling and keeping the garden of Eden. Consequently, Adamís transgression of the covenant resulted in the curse of the serpent and disharmony between man and all the other terrestrial living creatures, the punishment of the woman in respect of childbirth, the cursing of the ground, and the alteration of the nature of Adamís work to an onerous one. Before the fall his daily work had been a joy to him, and his necessity of the sabbath dayís rest was pre-eminently spiritual, a need of his soul to commune with his Maker. After the fall, his daily work became a toil in the sweat of his brow, and his even greater necessity of the sabbath dayís rest was one of both spiritual and physical urgency ó a dire need of his darkened soul to plead to his Creator to reveal Himself as Re-creator; but also an imperative need for his wearied body to be replenished and strengthened by physical rest for the exacting demands of the following week188. "Instead of the free labour of the king of the earth", writes Kuyper189, "slavish forced labour of the sentenced sinner takes its place . . . And so the rest of the seventh day became . . . a gracious gift of God to man, in that He released him from the curse of toiling in such slavish labour once every seven days."
So in spite of the tragic consequences of the fall (which include the loss of Paradise and access to the tree of life), the sabbath ordinance, instituted by God, remained. It is true that there is no subsequent direct reference to the sabbath as such until after the Exodus (Ex. 16), but there is direct mention of the week as early as Jacob (Gen. 29:18f), and direct mention of seven days as a fixed and definite period of time as early as Noah (Gen. 7:4, 10; 8:6-12) and a good few direct references to the number seven in conjunction with labour and rest from the time of Adam to the flood. These references can only be accounted for by accepting the Edenic origin of the sabbath, the memory of which, though darkened, remained in the thoughts of Adam and his family after the fall.
As Hepp remarked:189a "Labour is the mighty pillar of social life. And (the figure) six gives symbolic expression to labour. Just as the Lord made heaven and earth in six days, so too did He enjoin man to work for six days and do all his work. Alas, after the fall trouble and anxiety became characteristic of all human undertakings and labour must be performed in the sweat of oneís face, so that the (figure) six has thereby become the figure of worry and sorrow . . . Some more positively regard it as the number of evil, of the world which has been withdrawn from God and which has not arrived at its sabbath rest. . . . And thus it shall be seen of every antichristian man, that he controls the powers of creation, that he has perfected the means of labour, that he has subjected culture, but that in all this he has found no peace."
Hence, the sabbath remained. As Kuyper190 has remarked: "With the Lord there is no variation or shadow due to change. Nor in the ordinances of His Sabbath. He continued to watch over His Divine work of creation Divinely, and to maintain and protect creation blissfully, even after the disruption brought about by sin. He continued to put the demand to man, that man too should fulfil his work, that, after fulfilment, he might enter his rest, that is, the eternal Sabbath. And He continued to break the stream of days by separation of the seventh day, and thus to preserve the memory and the goal of eternity in Time."
Yet Adam lost his rest, lost the possession of that initial degree of rest with which he was created, with which his life commenced. Accordingly, he no longer started the weeks of his life with the rest day as a present possession, but looked down to the end of his weeks, to the day of rest which was henceforth to terminate them; even as he looked down in his mindís eye to the end of the centuries, to their termination in the coming of cosmic rest with the advent of the Lord of the Sabbath. Adam could ó and did ó lose his "Sunday"; but he could never forfeit the idea of rest as such: for physically, God had constructed him on a sevenfold pattern which the fall only accentuated (e.g., the pulse beat alters every seventh day; illness patterns change weekly, etc.); religiously, in spite of the fall, Adam still remained the image of God (in the broader sense), even though corrupted (and as the image of that God Who laboured for six days and then rested, even fallen man would have to do the same); and eschatologically, in spite of the fall, Adam and his elect seed would nevertheless enter into eternal rest, eternal life, the eternal sabbath, when the Second Adam entered it on their behalf, when He came to unify "Sunday" and the sabbath once more by restoring and fulfilling the Adamic covenant and its sabbath.
sabbath and the first gospel promise
Hence, immediately after the fall, God announced His covenant of grace, announced that He Himself would later incarnate Himself as the Second Adam and the Seed of the woman to keep Adamís part of the covenant of works. At that time He would crush Satan at the expense of His Own human life on Calvaryís cross as the last Saturday sabbath drew nigh, He would lie in the rest of death throughout that last Saturday sabbath, and (as man) He would enter into His eternal rest, start to enter into eternal life on the first Sunday sabbath, on the first day of the week on which He would rise from the dead192.
This covenant of grace, involving the Second Adamís later human life and death in fulfilment of the Adamic covenant of works, God established immediately after the fall with the first Adam and all his faithful descendants193 the life and death of an animal (with the skins of which man was immediately clothed), probably of one of Godís lambs, a lamb of God, was alsuprabably substituted in Adamís guilty stead to seal the covenant and to portray to him its Mediator ó the coming Lamb of God194.
So the divine manufacture of the "coats of skins" for manís clothing, very probably involved the sacrifice of a blood offering; and as offerings in general, unbloody offerings, were probably normally brought on the weekly sabbath before the fall195, it is equally probable that this blood offering sealing the establishment of the covenant of grace was also made on the sabbath day; in which case the fall, having taken place immediately beforehand on the same day, would also have involved sabbath desecration. On this hypothesis, the lamb of God would then for the first time have been promised on that Adamic sabbath, promised to come and atone for that sabbath desecration too; even as the covenant was certainly fulfilled in His later human death on the last Saturday sabbath and renewed in His resurrection on the first Sunday sabbath ó which would then be yet another additional reason for the change of the sabbath day at that time.
Be that as it may, the covenant of grace (Gen. 3:15f) immediately gave new significance to the weekly sabbath. The sabbath became not only a much needed opportunity for fallen man to obtain a weekly physical rest, but it also became the sign of the longing for redemption, for the advent of the Seed of the woman and the Lord of the Sabbath196. Even the land, itself cursed to yearn for rest197 as a result of manís sin, now ó at least as far as the land of Canaan is concerned ó became an earthly symbol of the remaining rest for the people of God198. Even sin awakened an awareness of its mortal consequences and a longing for a "sabbathing" from sin and for the pardoned sinnerís entry into the sabbath rest of eternal life186. Even death, the result of sin ó which marks the unbelieverís entry into the restlessness of hell, became transformed into the entrance into life eternal, into the remaining sabbath rest to the true believer in the coming Seed199. And even Satan himself must now serve the sabbath of the Lord, foreshadowing (as the enemy of God and man) the eschatological sabbath rest from oneís enemies.
Man had indeed lost that measure of rest with which he was created; but by faith in the coming Second Adam promised in the covenant of grace immediately after the fall, he by faith received back more than he ever lost. In this sense, then ó "O, blessed fall"200 ó for "lost time" immediately yielded (to the eye of faith) to "eschatological time", the time of salvation.
D. THE SABBATH FROM ABEL TO NOAH
(a) The sabbath
from Abel to Lamech
Under these trying circumstances, Adam and his wife Eve longed for redemption. Their hearts ached with expectation for the arrival of the promised Seed of the woman, who would break the power of their seducer the serpent, and, as the Second Adam, usher in the eternal sabbath rest for them to which they had originally aspired, but miserably failed. Accordingly, when Eve bore her first born, she called him Cain, i.e., "acquired" or "gotten" or "possessed", apparently thinking that he was her promised Seed who should give them rest. For at his birth she exclaimed, "I have gotten a man, the Lord" [Hebrew text202],
However, Eve proved to be tragically wrong. It is quite possible that Cain soon showed evil signs, and that Eve, realizing her mistake, became so frustrated as to early fulfilment of the Messianic advent, that she called her second born Abel, probably meaning "in vain" or "transitoriness"203, which name reflects her disappointment and disillusionment.
Abel became a keeper of sheep, a type of the Second Adam, whereas Cain became a tiller of the cursed ground, a type of the fallen Adam labouring in the sweat of his brow. How old Abel was when he started keeping his sheep and how old Cain was when he started tilling his ground, is not recorded. However, probably at least seven years must have passed since the fall to permit of the birth of both children, and their reaching an age of accountability204 to be responsible for their deeds and to follow their professions. It is even possible that they had reached adulthood before embarking upon their professions. But it is not at all known how old they were, other than that they must have started to keep sheep and till the ground respectively, that is, probably at least seven years after the fall.
"And in process [or course] of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and his offering He had not respect" (Gen. 4: 3-5a).
In the course of time [A.V. margin, "at the end of days"205], they both brought offerings to the Lord. It is not stated how long elapsed between the time of their commencing their professions and the time of their bringing their offerings, apart from the fact that they brought the latter "at the end of days". The question which must now be decided, is: What does this expression imply?
Firstly, as Cain appears from the context (Gen. 4:3-17) to have been married at this time, and was certainly technically capable of murder, it seems likely that the expression refers to an event which took place when Cain was already an adult, and perhaps Abel too, for Abel must as then have been old enough to have become a prophet, to have offered an acceptable sacrifice and to have received Godís approval as "righteous"204.
Secondly, the expression clearly implies an event which was not a special personal occasion in the life of Cain, such as his coming of age or his marriage, nor even in the life of Abel, in that both of them brought an offering to the Lord apparently simultaneously, thus clearly signifying an event of religious worship.
Thirdly, the expression seems to imply an event which had occurred beforehand with reasonable frequency, and not an event which was then happening for the first time. This appears from the Hebrew text, which reads literally: "And-it-was at-end of-days, and-he-brought [did] Cain . . .", etc. If the "end of days" occurred frequently, it is obvious that it must refer to a series of regularly ending periods206 of time, such as the week, month or year, etc.
Fourthly, the expression "at the end of days" clearly refers to an event which can and did terminate. The question arises, however, at the end of which days? And the logical answer seems to be: at a stated time for the worship of God which can meaningfully he described as being held "at the end of days". But the only event which has previously been described as having terminated "at the end of days", is the creation sabbath, which occurred "at the end of the days" of creation, and in respect of which it is recorded: "on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made". Whence it seems clear that the event involving the offerings of Cain and Abel is only intelligible if it somehow be connected with the seventh day of creation week.
Fifthly, it was demonstrated above207 that the fall (and hence the provision of the coats of skins, almost certainly involving the sacrifice of a sin-offering) very possibly took place on the first or a subsequent sabbath day, by which sacrifice Adam sought "to appease the wrath of God for his offence", thus E.F.208, and "which undoubtedly he acquainted his sons Cain and Abel with, when he taught them also to offer sacrifice." [Cf. too Bavinck and Calvin209].
Therefore, having established with certainty that the event which took place "at the end of days" was not a personal but a religious occasion, and having established the strong likelihood of the event having occurred beforehand with reasonable frequency, thus constituting a series of regularly ending periods of time, and having further established that the expression "at the end of daysí can be understood intelligibly only with reference to the seventh day of creation week on which God finished His creation work, it is clear that the event "at the end of days" when Cain and Abel brought their offerings must have been a frequently occurring, regularly ending, religious occasion which referred to the seventh day of creation week, which event can consequently only be the weekly sabbath day, which from immediately after the fall itself (on what was very possibly the very first sabbath) seems to have been kept as a weekly day of devotion on which offerings were brought to the Lord.
Having established that Cain and Abel very probably observed the regular weekly sabbath, its manner of celebration now requires investigation.
Firstly, it should be noted that this "sabbath" was observed outwardly by both Cain and Abel, although their motives for so doing differed widely. This surely points to the obligatory nature of the sabbath institution for both of them, irrespective of their vastly different inward motives.
Secondly, it must be remembered that this sabbath was commemorated after the fall; and that it hence not only looked back to creation week, but also looked forward to redemption. This is attested to by the facts: (i), that offerings were brought; (ii), that they were brought "to the Lord", i.e., to the Lord Redeemer "Y„hvÍh", rather than to "'ElŰhim", "to God" without further specification; (iii), that God had regard only to the bloody offering, namely the firstlings of Abel, thus foreshadowing the Lamb that was to be slain and to rise, the "firstling" from the dead. Of course, God accepted Abelís offering and rejected Cainís because Abel's was offered in faith, and Cainís not. Yet nevertheless it remains true that it was the bloody offering which was offered in faith, and not the other one which was non-bloody.
Thirdly, it should be observed that dedication of oneís goods to the Lord is involved in observing the sabbath. Abel brought the best he had to the Lord ó "the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof", the choicest parts, whereas of Cain one is merely told that he "brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground". Abel gave the Lord the best he had; Cain brought Him the left-overs.
Fourthly, one must note their respective inward motives for keeping the sabbath and the eternal consequences thereof. From other parts of the Bible, it is learned that Abel was innocent, a prophet of God, a man of righteous deeds204. The Lord had respect to Abel and to his offering, for "by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh". Cain however, although he observed the sabbath outwardly, refused to observe it inwardly. Inwardly he rejected the sabbath authority of God, and despised His dominion, that which he knew not. And when God had not respect to Cain and his offering, Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. He neglected to master the sin which was lying at the door, for his deeds were evil. Woe to him210!
Summarizing then, it is almost certain211 that Cain and Abel observed the Sabbath "at the end of days" as an obligatory ordinance of the Lord, which looked back on creation, now lying under the curse of the fall, and which hence also looked forward to redemption from that curse, to re-creation. Hence Abel, a righteous prophet, mindful of the re-creation of the eternal sabbath rest "at the end of his days", offered the firstlings of his flock, the best that he had. Cainís observance of the sabbath, however, was formalistic, half-hearted and inwardly evil; whence he was to have no part in the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus Christ, when He appeared in the fullness of time, "at the end of days", at the end of the days of the seventh-day sabbaths.
and his curse
It has been seen that the sabbath idea involved a seventh dayís rest from all work, which idea became emphasized in its new urgent necessity as a result of the toil in the sweat of manís brow after the fall. In this respect, it is most significant to note the nature of Godís curse on Cain for the murder of his brother: ". . . now art thou cursed from the earth, . . . so that when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, ĎMv punishment is greater than I can bear . . . I shall be a fugitive . . . in the earth, and every one that findeth me shall slay meí. And the Lord said to him, ĎTherefore, whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfoldí And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him" (Gen. 4:11-16).
Cainís curse, then, involved almost exactly the opposite of the Edenic sabbath blessing. Abel kept the sabbath with both inward dedication and outward propriety, so that, though now long dead, by faith he is still speaking today, having entered his eternal sabbath rest by faith in the coming Redeemer215. But in Cainís sabbath keeping, the inward dedication was lacking, as evidenced by his extreme anger, which resulted in his murder of Abel. Consequently, instead of receiving Abelís sabbath blessing, Cain incurred a curse. Instead of knowing the joy of the ground yielding to his labours even under its lowered productivity216 after the fall, the ground was further cursed to Cain, to such an extent that it would no longer yield its strength to him. No longer was Cain to know the joy of the sabbath rest and cessation of work after six daysí toil, but henceforth he was to be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, never settled and never still, seeking rest and finding none217. Instead of the sabbath reward of eternal rest, Cain was hidden from the face of the Lord of the Sabbath. Instead of finding relief in the substitutionary punishment of the great Punishment-bearer Jesus Christ, Cainís punishment was greater than he could bear, and instead of entering the presence of the Lord each seventh day, he went away from the presence of the Lord bearing the mark of sevenfold vengeance.
The fact that God put a mark on Cain and declared that he was to be avenged specifically sevenfold if anyone slew him, is most significant when it is remembered that the reason for this mark of sevenfold vengeance is to be sought in what was probably Cainís sabbath transgression "at the end of days", on a memorial day of the seventh day of creation week, the sabbath day. One may thus perhaps regard Cain as having been punished with a "sabbath curse". As a result of his inward desecration of the seventh day "sabbath" by the spirit in which he brought his offering to the Lord, coupled with his outward and patent desecration of the seventh day "sabbath" by giving way to intense anger and shortly afterwards to premeditated murder, Cain forfeited a permanent place of earthly rest, and indeed of eternal sabbath rest, the Lord putting a mark of sevenfold vengeance on Cain, that he should not be slain, but probably also to remind Cain constantly of his desecration of the seventh day "sabbath". Henceforth, Cain is for ever seeking to escape from God, or from himself. He has no assured hope and no permanent resting-place218. Cain! What a perfect type of the inhabitants of hell, of whom it is written that "they have no rest, day or night", Rev. 14:11. Cain has broken the sabbath, and will taste its joys no more.
Cain was separated from the presence of the Lord (Gen. 4:16a), and went to dwell with his wife in the land of Nod, east of Eden (Gen. 4:16b), where he built a city which he called Enoch after the name of his son; in the vicinity of which city his descendants lived for some time. Adam and Eve and their other son Seth and all their other children remained behind, dwelling together with the descendants of the other "seed" Seth, the forefather of the Seed of the woman, the Lord Jesus Christ. God had put asunder Cain and his descendants from Seth and his descendants. Henceforth they were required to be separated from one another and develop into two distinct races of man, namely the Cainites and the Sethites.
In a certain sense, the Lord God is a God of separation. In creation He separated the heavens from the earth, the light from the darkness, the waters above the firmament from the waters beneath, the seas from the dry land, the day from the night, the air creatures from the water creatures each according to its kind, the land animals from man, and the six daysí work of creation from the Seventh Day, the sabbath219. And so too in redemption or re-creation, where God separates the serpent from the woman, the seed of the serpent from the seed of the woman, the Cainites from the Sethites, Noah from his evil generation, Abraham from the heathen Babylonians, Israel from the nations, and the Church from the world220. In respect of the first gospel promise, where God declares to the devil: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; He shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise His heel"221, there is mention not merely of a struggle to the death between one ordinary serpent and all its young and one particular woman (Eve) and all her children, but a struggle between the devil (who represented himself as a serpent for purposes of deceiving Eve) and mankind, and a struggle between all the children of the devil and all the children of God. In this struggle, men are divided against one another, some men being the children of the devil, and others being the children of God. This division of men against one another in the greater reality of the spiritual warfare between God and the devil, began in the history of Cain and Abel, and continued further in the history of the Cainites and the Sethites, the former being the seed of the serpent, i.e., the children of the devil, and the latter being the seed of the woman, the children of God, out of whom the Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ the Saviour, was to be born222.
"Like father, like son", as the adage goes. Hence it is not surprising to find that the Cainites walked "in the way of Cain"223. Amongst the Cainites are found the great transgressors of Godís moral law ó murderers and liars like Cain, adulterous polygamists and blasphemous oath-makers like his descendant Lamech, weapon manufacturers and warmongers like Lamechís son Tubal-Cain ó the men of the world224. But amongst the Sethites are found men of God like Seth and Enos, who began to call upon the name of the Lord, the godly Enoch who walked with God, and the faithful Lamech the Sethite (to be carefully distinguished from Lamech the Cainite) who longed for the advent of the promised Redeemer225.
"Then men" (i.e., Seth and his son Enos, and Adam and Eve and their other children = Gen. 4:25-5:4) "began to call" (i.e., in public worship, doubtless on successive weekly sabbath days) "on the Name of the Lord" (= Y„hvÍh, the Divine Redeemer, not merely the Creator ó ĎElŰhim), Gen. 4:26f. This certainly does not imply that sabbath worship only began then, for it has been seen that Sabbath worship was by then already a well established practice. It is even conceivable that they "began calling on the Name of the Lord" on a sabbath day. The Sethites may well have called on the Name of the Lord on other days as well as on the sabbath, but even so, it is very likely that they called on His Name on the sabbath too, particularly seeing that they had been accustomed to resting on the sabbath day ever since creation, that weekly sabbath which God had specially blessed for manís worship of Him. Moreover, the fact that we are told that they "began to call upon the Name of the Lord" indicates that their invocation was something which continued thereafter at regular intervals, such as on each subsequent sabbath day, for instance, as opposed to the doubtless sabbath-desecrating Cainites [thus Š Marek and Kuyper226].
The indication, then, is that the Sethites, calling upon the Name of the Lord of Redemption and longing for their future eternal sabbath rest, continued to observe the sabbath, whereas it fell into disuse in the lives of the Cainites, for whom the Paradise sabbath probably became a mere vague memory of an erstwhile better life.
the Cainiteís unholy oath
We observed how Cainís mark of sevenfold vengeance was connected with the circumstances of his transgression on the seventh day sabbath, "at the end of days". It is possible that the memory of these circumstances lapsed into total obscurity in the lives and legends of the Cainites. At any rate, the knowledge of the mark of sevenfold vengeance remained. Lamechís whole attitude is one of godless pride and self-centred arrogance. The Lord had let His holy voice be heard to the murderer Cain. The Lord had solemnly undertaken to take sevenfold vengeance on anyone slaying Cain. But Lamech is his own god and lord. Lording over his cowering wives, he lets his unholy voice be heard and makes them hearken to what he, the great Lamech, has to say. He, Lamech, lord of all in his own eyes, will undertake that his own death ó something over which he has absolutely no control, being in the hands of the Almighty ó shall be avenged seventy-sevenfold.
This horrible blasphemy, whereby Lamech puts himself in the place of God Almighty, nevertheless pays unwitting tribute to the authority of the Lord of the Sabbath and His seventh day of rest. For Lamechís play on the figure "seven" in this oath, and not on any other of the scores of numbers available, can only be ascribed to his corrupted knowledge of the oathing-number seven [for in Hebrew "seven" and "swear" are derived from the same root-word228], the number whereby God swore that the disobedient shall not enter into His rest, the eternal sabbath rest prepared for His people into which God Himself entered on the Seventh Day of the week of creation.
(b) The sabbath
from Enoch to Noah
Enoch "walked with God" three hundred years after the birth of his son Methuselah (Gen. 5:22). This expression "walked with God", writes Atkinson230, "is the vivid Hebrew way of describing a saintly life . . . The Septuagint version renders "walked with God" by "pleased God", and this is the form in which the sentence is quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb. 11:5, 6). Enoch was a believer, as Abel had been, and his faith looked beyond the wicked world in which he lived to the promise of redemption and the eternal glories."
Seeing Enoch looked forward to the eternal rest, then, it is almost certain that he did this particularly by keeping the sabbath, which pre-figured that eternal rest. And in this respect it is quite remarkable that the Apostle Jude describes Enoch as "the seventh from Adam".
For Enochís faith not only looked back to creation, but also forward to the advent of the re-creating Messiah. Of this Jude writes (vv. 14-15): "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied . . . saying, ĎBehold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Himí." It is as if Enoch, by virtue of his gift of the Spirit of prophecy and close walk with God, surveys the countless centuries which must elapse between the time of his life on earth and the Second Coming of Christ with His saints to execute judgement and usher in Godís eternal sabbath. It is as if his prophecy of Godís coming in judgement, implying rest following, is fulfilled in three stages ó firstly, the judgement of the flood about six hundred and sixty-nine years later231, to be followed by a new period of rest on earth under the sole survivors, Noah and his children ("Noah" means "rest"!); secondly, the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in Judgement [for, as He Himself remarked, "he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18)], which judgement on our sin in His Own death was followed by His entry into His Own rest on Resurrection Sunday when His lifeís work was over232; and thirdly, the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and great glory on the Day of the Lord, with ten thousands of saints, to execute judgement upon all, to be followed by the final ushering in of the eternal sabbath rest for the people of God233.
That this third stage of the prophecyís fulfilment was the deepest and most meaningful phase, is attested by the Apostle Jude. And it was precisely for this, the Lord Redeemerís coming (again) with His saints, that the godly Sethites longed. It is as if Enoch warned the godless sabbath-breaking Cainites of judgement to come; but it is also as if his sabbath-keeping walk with God encouraged those Sethites who were godly to rest in the foreseen finished work and resurrection of the Lord of the Sabbath Who was to come with His saints long since dead and then to be resurrected (even as He had been after His death), and to come for His living saints, to translate their mortal bodies "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" into immortal bodies like His Own with which He burst the tomb on the day of His resurrection234.
Because Enoch believed this, not only did he have "this testimony, that he pleased God" (Heb. 11:5b), but he himself was translated. "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him235. In his being "translated" or taken up, Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was a type of his descendant, the resurrected Christ. By faith the seventh from Adam walked with God, pleased God by keeping the seventh-day sabbath, and was translated directly into that eternal sabbath rest of his Creator God and coming Redeemer for which he longed236.
the Sethiteís longed-for rest
Such a time of Messianic hope was that of Enochís grandson, Lamech the Sethite (to be carefully distinguished from Lamech the Cainite referred to above), in whose lifetime the sabbath-conscious Adam passed away (Gen. 5:3-25). "And Lamech . . . begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, ĎThis Same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord had cursed . . .í Lamech . . . had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died" (Gen. 5:28-31).
Some have passed over these remarkable words as if it were an everyday occurrence. Atkinson, for example, regards this as "a simple picture of a father taking comfort in his children and home life as a relief from the difficulties of making a living from the reluctant soil"237. But this comment misses the point altogether. Godís Word does not state that all Lamechís children, "his other sons and daughters shall comfort us", but "this same (Noah) shall comfort us" As Pember238 correctly remarks: "Now this utterance cannot be a mere vague expression of joy at the birth of a child: for if so, it would scarcely have been recorded. But we know that Lamechís grandfather (Enoch) and son (Noah) were prophets; and perhaps, the gift, when once bestowed, was transmitted to each head of the family . . . And it is also precisely in connection with Lamechís words that that careful scholar Oehler239 has remarked: "After the divine curse had been pronounced upon the earth, and man had been destined to work for his food, the desire after the rest of God becomes a craving after redemption (Gen. v. 29)". And similarly Kuyper and Bavinck240.
Noah, then, was (like Cain) at first (wrongly) regarded as the Redeemer, of Whom (unlike Cain) he was indeed a type, in that he saved his children and the animals which he had selected from the waters of Godís judgement, and provided for their daily needs inside the ark of the covenant. The name Noah means "rest", and in the Hebrew consonants of his name ["nŰach"] there is a play upon those of the Hebrew roots ["nooch" = "to rest"] and ["nicham" = "to comfort" or "to relieve"]. The sense of the verses quoted above, then, is as follows: "Lamech . . . became the father of a son, and called his name "Rest", saying, . . . this one shall bring us comfort (or: relief)".
Here is a clear expectation of the longed-for Redeemer, Who "shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed". Here is a prophecy of the coming Saviour Who later said: "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matt. 11:28-29). Here is an eager yearning for the Lord of the Sabbath Who was to usher in the eternal sabbath rest which remains for the people of God241.
Lamech trusted in the coming Lord of the Sabbath. And so, at the symbolically significant242 age of seven hundred and seventy-seven, he died, and entered into his sabbath rest.
days of Noah
It was further noted, however, that God continued to maintain a people who would enter into His eternal sabbath rest. Consequently, Seth and his family "began to call on the Name of the Lord", the Redeemer. Seth's descendants, the Sethites, continued to do this, and Enoch, the seventh from Adam, walked with God and prophesied the coming of the Lord of the Sabbath, and was himself taken up into the eternal sabbath rest. Finally, it was noted that Lamech the Sethite, longing for the advent of the Lord of sabbath rest, became the Father of a son and called him Noah (= "rest"), thinking him to be the Redeemer Who "shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands", and entering into his own eternal sabbath rest on his death at the age of seven hundred and seventy-seven.
However, it is not to be supposed that all the Sethites were true to the Lord on Whose Name they began calling. Unfortunately (with a few noteworthy exceptions such as Enoch, Lamech and Noah), they were not. There is clear evidence from the record that they unlawfully intermarried243 with the Cainites, whom God had separated from them. This is attested to by the opening statements of the sixth chapter of Genesis, where it is stated that the sons of God took to wife the daughters of men, thus producing a new hybrid race of "Nefilim" [= "giants" or perhaps "fallen ones"], the renowned mighty men of old244, but who were very wicked in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:1-5).
This intermixture is also attested to by the way in which the Sethites at length copied245 the sound of the names of the wicked Cainites (cf. for e.g. the Cainite Cain with the Sethite Cainan, Enoch with Enos, Irad with Jared, etc.) and ultimately took over precisely the same Cainite names without any alteration at ~all (cf. for e.g. the Cainite and Sethite names of Enoch and Lamech).
A final piece of evidence here is suggested by the fact that only seven generations of Cainites are named whereas no less than nine generations of Sethites are named (as well as numerous "other sons and daughters"), thus pointing to the disappearance of the Cainite line ó either totally, or by absorption into the Sethites, which latter appears to be the more likely.
This new hybrid race in the days of Noah was characterized by sullen rebellion against God. There was a vague awareness of the Creator God, but ever diminishing knowledge and calling upon the Name of the Redeeming Lord. There was a revolutionary development in farming techniques (Jabal), in music (Jubal) and in weapons and mechanical engineering (Tubal-Cain) (Gen. 4:20-22). There was a sinful toleration between the children of God (Sethites) and the children of the devil (Cainites), which at length led to fraternization and ultimately to intermarriage, large scale disappearance of the true faith, and well-nigh universal unbelief246. There was a vast increase in godlessness, against which Enoch preached, coupled with a tremendous increase in the population of mankind in the days of Lamech and Noah247. Finally, there was a total rejection of the judgement preaching of Enoch and Noah248. Desecration of the sabbath is not specifically mentioned, but as Christ Himself specifically stated: "As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of (the coming of) the Son of man"249, and as the above signs (together with sabbath desecration) are amongst the signs of the times today, and as there are also indirect signs of sabbath desecration by and large in Noahís day, one may almost definitely assume that such widespread sabbath desecration was also characteristic of the days of Noah250. Yet Noah doubtless knew and kept the sabbath, for the sabbath-conscious Adam (Gen. 2:1-3) would have handed it down before his death to Methuselah and to Noahís father Lamech, and Methuselah himself died only in the year of the flood. Noah kept the sabbath, as is evident from Gen. 7:4-10 and 8:10-12.
In his hatred of sin yet concern for man, God raised up a line of prophets and preachers filled with the Holy Spirit, from the time of Enoch onwards, to convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgement251. Noah was the last of the prophetic preachers before the flood, and in extreme mercy, God gave the world one hundred and twenty years more grace to repent252. But the world would not repent. The more Noah preached repentance and judgement and the coming of the Lord in judgement on the Day of the Lord253, the more did the ungodly walk after their own lusts and scoff: "Where is the judgement of the flood? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation".
When the Lord saw all this great wickedness of man in the earth, that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, He decided to blot man out from the face of the earth, and bird and beast too (Gen. 6:5-7, 11). Only Noah, a righteous man who walked with God blameless amongst his generation, and his family, were to be spared from the judgement of the flood, spared inside an ark which he was to build for them all254.
As Peter records, "The longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, While the ark was a preparing" (I Peter 3:20). The construction of the ark was, as it were, preacher Noahís last sermon ó a sermon in deeds, not words. Then, In the six hundredth year of Noahís life, the Word of the Lord came to him: "Yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth" (Gen. 7:4).
Seven daysí grace! A weekís warning before the sabbath judgement, the Judgement which was to expunge that violence from the face of the earth and, through death, bring a new life to Noah and to all those with him, and rest from their godless generation.
Seven daysí grace! "Come thou and all thy
house into the ark . . . Of every beast thou shalt take to thee
by sevens . . . Of fowls also of the air by sevens .
. . For yet seven days, and . . . every living substance
that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth"
(Gen. 7:1a, 2a, 3a, 4) . . And so after seven days (Gen.
7:10) . . . the waters of the flood were upon the earth."