Genesis 2:3
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Sanctified it.—That is, separated it from ordinary uses, and hallowed it. Legal observance of the Sabbath did not begin till the days of Moses (Exodus 31:13; Exodus 35:2); but this blessing and sanctification were given prior to any covenant with man, and by Elohim, the God of nature, and not Jehovah, the God of grace. The weekly rest, therefore, is universal, permanent, and independent of the Mosaic law.

Which God created and made.—Literally, created to make. God created the world in order to make and form and fashion it. There is a work of completion which follows upon creation, and this may still be going on, and be perfected only when there is a new heaven and a new earth.

THE GENERATIONS OF THE HEAVENS AND OF THE EARTH (Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 4:26).

After the hymn of creation the rest of the Book of Genesis is divided into ten sections of very unequal length, called tôldôth, translated by the LXX. the Book of Genesis, or generation, whence the title given by St. Matthew to his Gospel. (See note on Genesis 5:1.) This title, however, does not mean a genealogical list of a person’s ancestors, but the register of his posterity. As applied to the heavens and the earth, it signifies the history of what followed upon their creation.

Genesis 2:3. God blessed the seventh day — He conferred on it peculiar honour, and annexed to it special privileges above those granted to any other day; and sanctified it — That is, separated it from common use, and dedicated it to his own sacred service, that it should be accounted holy, and spent in his worship, and in other religious and holy duties. It appears evidently by this, that the observation of the sabbath was not first enjoined when the law was given, but that it was an ordinance of God from the creation of the world, and, of course, is obligatory on all the posterity of Adam, and the indispensable duty of every one to whom this divine appointment is made known.2:1-3 After six days, God ceased from all works of creation. In miracles, he has overruled nature, but never changed its settled course, or added to it. God did not rest as one weary, but as one well pleased. Notice the beginning of the kingdom of grace, in the sanctification, or keeping holy, of the sabbath day. The solemn observing of one day in seven as a day of holy rest and holy work, to God's honour, is the duty of all to whom God has made known his holy sabbaths. At this time none of the human race were in being but our first parents. For them the sabbath was appointed; and clearly for all succeeding generations also. The Christian sabbath, which we observe, is a seventh day, and in it we celebrate the rest of God the Son, and the finishing the work of our redemption.Thirdly, he blessed the seventh day. Blessing results in the bestowment of some good on the object blessed. The only good that can be bestowed on a portion of time is to dedicate it to a noble use, a special and pleasing enjoyment. Accordingly, in the forth place, he hallowed it or set it apart to a holy rest. This consecration is the blessing conferred on the seventh day. It is devoted to the rest that followed, when God's work was done, to the satisfaction and delight arising from the consciousness of having achieved his end, and from the contemplation of the good he has realized. Our joy on such occasions is expressed by mutual visitation, congratulation, and hospitality. None of these outward demonstrations is mentioned here, and would be, so far as the Supreme Being is concerned, altogether out of place. But our celebration of the Sabbath naturally includes the holy convocation or solemn meeting together in joyful mood Leviticus 23:3, the singing of songs of thanksgiving in commemoration of our existence and our salvation (Exodus 20:11 (Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:15), the opening of our mouths to God in prayer, and the opening of God's mouth to us in the reading and preaching of the Word. The sacred rest which characterizes the day precludes the labor and bustle of hospitable entertainment. But the Lord at set times spreads for us his table laden with the touching emblems of that spiritual fare which gives eternal life.

The solemn act of blessing and hallowing is the institution of a perpetual order of seventh-day rest: in the same manner as the blessing of the animals denoted a perpetuity of self-multiplication, and the blessing of man indicated further a perpetuity of dominion over the earth and its products. The present record is a sufficient proof that the original institution was never forgotten by man. If it had ceased to be observed by mankind, the intervening event of the fall would have been sufficient to account for its discontinuance. It is not, indeed, the manner of Scripture, especially in a record that often deals with centuries of time, to note the ordinary recurrence of a seventh-day rest, or any other periodical festival, even though it may have taken firm hold among the hereditary customs of social life. Yet incidental traces of the keeping of the Sabbath are found in the record of the deluge, when the sacred writer has occasion to notice short intervals of time. The measurement of time by weeks then appears Genesis 8:10, Genesis 8:12. The same division of time again comes up in the history of Jacob Genesis 29:27-28. This unit of measure is traceable to nothing but the institution of the seventh-day rest.

This institution is a new evidence that we have arrived at the stage of rational creatures. The number of days employed in the work of creation shows that we are come to the times of man. The distinction of times would have no meaning to the irrational world. But apart from this consideration, the seventh-day rest is not an ordinance of nature. It makes no mark in the succession of physical things. It has no palpable effect on the merely animal world. The sun rises, the moon and the stars pursue their course; the plants grow, the flowers blow, the fruit ripens; the brute animal seeks its food and provides for its young on this as on other days. The Sabbath, therefore, is founded, not in nature, but in history. Its periodical return is marked by the numeration of seven days. It appeals not to instinct, but to memory, to intelligence. A reason is assigned for its observance; and this itself is a step above mere sense, an indication that the era of man has begun. The reason is thus expressed: "Because in it he had rested from all his work." This reason is found in the procedure of God; and God himself, as well as all his ways, man alone is competent in any measure to apprehend.

It is consonant with our ideas of the wisdom and righteousness of God to believe that the seventh-day rest is adjusted to the physical nature of man and of the animals which he domesticates as beasts of labor. But this is subordinate to its original end, the commemoration of the completion of God's creative work by a sacred rest, which has a direct bearing, as we learn from the record of its institution, on metaphysical and moral distinctions.

The rest here, it is to be remembered, is God's rest. The refreshment is God's refreshment, which arises rather from the joy of achievement than from the relief of fatigue. Yet the work in which God was engaged was the creation of man and the previous adaptation of the world to be his home. Man's rest, therefore, on this day is not only an act of communion with God in the satisfaction of resting after his work was done, but, at the same time, a thankful commemoration of that auspicious event in which the Almighty gave a noble origin and a happy existence to the human race. It is this which, even apart from its divine institution, at once raises the Sabbath above all human commemorative festivals, and imparts to it, to its joys and to its modes of expressing them, a height of sacredness and a force of obligation which cannot belong to any mere human arrangement.

In order to enter upon the observance of this day with intelligence, therefore, it was necessary that the human pair should have been acquainted with the events recorded in the preceding chapter. They must have been informed of the original creation of all things, and therefore of the eternal existence of the Creator. Further, they must have been instructed in the order and purpose of the six days' creation, by which the land and sky were prepared for the residence of man. They must in consequence have learned that they themselves were created in the image of God, and intended to have dominion over all the animal world. This information would fill their pure and infantile minds with thoughts of wonder, gratitude, and complacential delight, and prepare them for entering upon the celebration of the seventh-day rest with the understanding and the heart. It is scarcely needful to add that this was the first full day of the newly-created pair in their terrestrial home. This would add a new historical interest to this day above all others. We cannot say how much time it would take to make the parents of our race aware of the meaning of all these wondrous events. But there can be no reasonable doubt that he who made them in his image could convey into their minds such simple and elementary conceptions of the origin of themselves and the creatures around them as would enable them to keep even the first Sabbath with propriety. And these conceptions would rise into more enlarged, distinct, and adequate notions of the reality of things along with the general development of their mental faculties. This implies, we perceive, an oral revelation to the very first man. But it is premature to pursue this matter any further at present.

The recital of the resting of God on this day is not closed with the usual formula, "and evening was, and morning was, day seventh." The reason of this is obvious. In the former days the occupation of the Eternal Being was definitely concluded in the period of the one day. On the seventh day, however, the rest of the Creator was only commenced, has thence continued to the present hour, and will not be fully completed till the human race has run out its course. When the last man has been born and has arrived at the crisis of his destiny, then may we expect a new creation, another putting forth of the divine energy, to prepare the skies above and the earth beneath for a new stage of man's history, in which he will appear as a race no longer in process of development, but completed in number, confirmed in moral character, transformed in physical constitution, and so adapted for a new scene of existence. Meanwhile, the interval between the creation now recorded and that prognosticated in subsequent revelations from heaven Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1 is the long Sabbath of the Almighty, so far as this world is concerned, in which he serenely contemplates from the throne of his providence the strange workings and strivings of that intellectual and moral race he has called into being, the ebbings and flowings of ethical and physical good in their checkered history, and the final destiny to which each individual in the unfettered exercise of his moral freedom is incessantly advancing.

Hence, we gather some important lessons concerning the primeval design of the Sabbath. It was intended, not for God himself, whose Sabbath does not end until the consummation of all things, but for man, whose origin it commemorates and whose end it foreshadows Mark 2:27. It not obscurely hints that work is to be the main business of man in the present stage of his existence. This work may be either an exhilerating exercise of those mental and corporeal faculties with which he is endowed, or a toilsome labor, a constant struggle for the means of life, according to the use he may make of his inborn liberty.

But between the sixfold periods of work is interposed the day of rest, a free breathing time for man, in which he may recall his origin from and meditate on his relationship to God. It lifts him out of the routine of mechanical or even intellectual labor into the sphere of conscious leisure and occasional participation with his Maker in his perpetual rest. It is also a type of something higher. It whispers into his soul an audible presentiment of a time when his probationary career will be over, his faculties will be matured by the experience and the education of time, and he will be transformed and translated to a higher stage of being, where he will hold uninterrupted fellowship with his Creator in the perpetual leisure and liberty of the children of God. This paragraph completes the first of the eleven documents into which Genesis is separable, and the first grand stage in the narrative of the ways of God with man. It is the keystone of the arch in the history of that primeval creation to which we belong. The document which it closes is distinguished from those that succeed in several important respects:

First, it is a diary; while the others are usually arranged in generations or life-periods.

Secondly, it is a complete drama, consisting of seven acts with a prologue. These seven stages contain two triads of action, which match each other in all respects, and a seventh constituting a sort of epilogue or completion of the whole.

Though the Scripture takes no notice of any significance or sacredness inherent in particular numbers, yet we cannot avoid associating them with the objects to which they are prominently applied. The number one is especially applicable to the unity of God. Two, the number of repetition, is expressive of emphasis or confirmation, as the two witnesses. Three marks the three persons or hypostases in God. Four notes the four quarters of the world, and therefore reminds us of the physical system of things, or the cosmos. Five is the haIf of ten, the whole, and the basis of our decimal numeration. Seven, being composed of twice three and one, is especially suited for sacred uses; being the sum of three and four, it points to the communion of God with man. It is, therefore, the number of sacred fellowship. Twelve is the product of three and four, and points to the reconciliation of God and man: it is therefore the number of the church. Twenty-two and eleven, being the whole and the half of the Hebrew alphabet, have somewhat the same relation as ten and five. Twenty-four points to the New Testament, or completed church.

The other documents do not exhibit the sevenfold structure, though they display the same general laws of composition. They are arranged according to a plan of their own, and are all remarkable for their simplicity, order, and perspicuity.

Thirdly, the matter of the first differs from that of the others. The first is a record of creation; the others of development. This is sufficient to account for the diversity of style and plan. Each piece is admirably adapted to the topic of which it treats.

continued...

3. blessed and sanctified the seventh day—a peculiar distinction put upon it above the other six days, and showing it was devoted to sacred purposes. The institution of the Sabbath is as old as creation, giving rise to that weekly division of time which prevailed in the earliest ages. It is a wise and beneficent law, affording that regular interval of rest which the physical nature of man and the animals employed in his service requires, and the neglect of which brings both to premature decay. Moreover, it secures an appointed season for religious worship, and if it was necessary in a state of primeval innocence, how much more so now, when mankind has a strong tendency to forget God and His claims? God blessed the seventh day, by conferring special honours and privileges upon it above all other days, that it should be a day of solemn rest and rejoicing and celebration of God and his works, and a day of God’s bestowing singular and the best blessings upon his servants and worshippers. He separated it from common use and worldly employments, and consecrated it to the worship of God, that it should be accounted a holy day, and spent in holy works and solemn exercises of religion. Some conceive that the sabbath was not actually blessed and sanctified at and from this time, but only in the days of Moses, which they pretend to be here related by way of anticipation. But this opinion hath no foundation in the text or context, but rather is confuted from them; for as soon as the sacred penman had said that God had

ended his work and rested, & c., he adds immediately in words of the same tense, that God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. And if we compare this place with Exodus 20:8-11, we shall find that Moses there speaks of God’s blessing and sanctifying of the sabbath, not as an action then first done, but as that which God had done formerly upon the creation of the world, to the end that men might celebrate the praises of God for that glorious work, which as it was agreeable to the state of innocency, so was it no less proper and necessary a duty for the first ages of the world after the fall, than it was for the days of Moses, and for the succeeding generations. Because he would have the memory of that glorious work of creation, from which he then rested, preserved through all generations.

Which God created and made; either,

1. Created in making, i.e. made by way of creation; or rather,

2. Created out of nothing, and afterwards out of that created matter

made or formed divers things, as the beasts out of the earth, the fishes out of the water. He useth these two words possibly to show that God’s wisdom, power, and goodness was manifest, not only in that which he brought out of mere nothing, but also in those things which he wrought out of matter altogether unfit for so great works. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,.... A day in which he took delight and pleasure, having finished all his works, and resting from them, and looking over them as very good; and so he pronounced this day a good and happy day, and "sanctified" or appointed it in his mind to be a day separated from others, for holy service and worship; as it was with the Jews when they became a body of people, both civil and ecclesiastical: or this is all said by way of prolepsis or anticipation, as many things in this chapter are, many names of countries and rivers, by which being called in the times of Moses, are here given them, though they were not called by them so early, nor till many ages after: and according to Jarchi this passage respects future time, when God "blessed" this day with the manna, which descended on all the days of the week, an omer for a man, and on the sixth day double food; and he "sanctified" it with the manna which did not descend at all on that day: besides, these words may be read in a parenthesis, as containing an account of a fact that was done, not at the beginning of the world, and on the first seventh day of it; but of what had been done in the times of Moses, who wrote this, after the giving of the law of the sabbath; and this being given through his hands to the people of Israel, he takes this opportunity here to insert it, and very pertinently, seeing the reason why God then, in the times of Moses, blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it, was, because he had rested on that day from all his works, Exodus 20:11 and the same reason is given here, taken plainly out of that law which he had delivered to them:

because that in it he had rested from all his work, which God created and made; which shows, that this refers not to the same time when God blessed and hallowed the seventh day, which was done in the times of Moses, but to what had been long before, and was then given as a reason enforcing it; for it is not here said, as in the preceding verse, "he rested", but "had rested", even from the foundation of the world, when his works were finished, as in Hebrews 4:3 even what "he created to make" (e), as the words may be here rendered; which he created out of nothing, as he did the first matter, in order to make all things out of it, and put them in that order, and bring them to that perfection he did.

(e) "creavit ut faceret", V. L. "creaverat ut faceret", Pagninus, Montanus.

And God blessed the seventh day, and {c} sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

(c) Appointed it to be kept holy, that man might in it consider the excellency of his works and God's goodness toward him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. And God blessed the seventh day) It was the belief of the devout Israelite that in some mysterious way God at the beginning conferred His special favour upon the seventh day. The writer does not in this passage mention the name “Sabbath,” but the reference to the Israelite Sabbath is indisputable. A play on the word “Sabbath “is evidently intended by the use of the word shâbath. The Hebrew cosmogony traced back the observance of the Sabbath to the Divine example on the seventh day of the creative week. Whether its observance was followed by the Israelites before the time of Moses, has been much disputed. No reference to it occurs in the Patriarchal narratives: but the intervals of seven days occurring in the story of the Flood (Genesis 7:10, Genesis 8:10; Genesis 8:12 J) may indicate the belief in the primitive recognition of the “week” as a sacred division of time. The reference to the Sabbath in Exodus 16:23 ff. has led many commentators to suppose that the opening word (“Remember”) of the Fourth Commandment assumes the primitive recognition of the institution. See Special Note on Genesis 2:1-3.

hallowed) viz. separated from common and profane usage. LXX ἡγίασεν: Lat. sanctificavit. This is the first mention of the idea of holiness, which in Holy Scripture occupies such an important place in the description of religious worship and godly life.

We may be unable fully to discern what was intended by the writer, when he spoke of God “hallowing” or “making separate” the seventh day. But it conveys to us the thought that God from the first, set His seal upon “time” as well as His blessing upon matter; and this consecration of the seventh day should serve as the continual reminder that as “the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof,” so time is of the Lord and the opportunities thereof. The Sabbath is the sacrament of time: its rest is the symbol of the consecration of work. The worship of the Creator made a demand for the consecration of time as well as of place. Notice the absence of the formula, “There was evening and there was morning, the seventh day.” This omission led some to suppose that the seventh, or rest, day of God is not yet ended; and that, when the work of Creation was finished, there began on the seventh day the different task of the maintenance of the universe. But it seems more probable that by the reference to the seventh day in Genesis 2:2, and by the blessing of the seventh day in Genesis 2:3, the writer intended that the seven days should be regarded as completed, and as presenting the Divine type for every week of seven days. After the seventh day came another phase of Divine activity, the unceasing operation of Divine laws. The Immanence of Creative Love and Wisdom needs to be acknowledged no less than their Transcendence; cf., especially, John 5:17, “My Father worketh even until now, and I work.” In that conception of Divine work, there is no room for the thought of cessation.Verse 3. - And God blessed the seventh day. The blessing (cf. Genesis 1:22, 28) of the seventh day implied -

1. That it was thereby declared to be the special object of the Divine favor.

2. That it was thenceforth to be a day or epoch of blessing for his creation. And -

3. That it was to be invested with a permanence which did not belong to the other six days - every one of which passed away and gave place to a successor. And sanctified it. Literally, declared it holy, or set it apart for holy purposes. As afterwards Mount Sinai was sanctified (Exodus 19:23), or, for the time being, invested with a sacred character as the residence of God; and Aaron and his sons were sanctified, or consecrated to the priestly office (Exodus 29:44); and the year of Jubilee was sanctified, or devoted to the purposes of religion (Leviticus 25:10), so here was the seventh day sanctified, or instituted in the interests of holiness, and as such proclaimed to be a holy day. Because that in it he had rested from all his work which God had created and made. Literally, created to make, the exact import of which has been variously explained. The "ω΅ν ἤρξατο ὁ θεός ποιῆσαι of the LXX. is obviously incorrect. Calvin, Ainsworth, Bush, et alii take the second verb emphatice, as intensifying the action of the first, and conveying the idea of a perfect creation. Kalisch, Alford, and others explain the second as epexegetic of the first, as in the similar phrases, "spoke, saying, literally, spoke to speak" (Exodus 6:10), and "labored to do" (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Onkelos, the Vulgate (quod Dens creavit ut faceret), Calvin, Tayler Lewis, &c. understand the infinitive in a relic sense, as expressive of the purpose for which the heavens and the earth were at first created, viz., that by the six days' work they might be fashioned into a cosmos. It has been observed that the usual concluding formula is not appended to the record of the seventh day, and the reason has perhaps been declared by Augustine: "Dies autem septimus sine vespera eat, nee habet occasum, quia sanctificasti eum ad permansionem sempiternam" ('Confess.,' 13:36). But now what was this seventh day which received Elohim's benediction? On the principle of interpretation applied to the creative days, this must be regarded as a period of indefinite duration, compounding to the human era of both Scripture and geology. But other Scriptures (Exodus 20:8; Exodus 23:12; Deuteronomy 5:12, &c.) show that the Hebrews were enjoined by God to observe a seventh day rest in imitation of himself. There are also indications that sabbatic observance was not unknown to the patriarchs (Genesis 29:27, 28), to the antediluvians (Genesis 8:6-12), and to Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:3). Profane history likewise vouches for the veracity of the statement of Josephus, that "there is not any city of the Grecians, nor any of the barbarians, nor any nation whatsoever, whither our custom of resting on the seventh day hath not come" ('Contra Apionem,' 2:40). The ancient Persians, Indians, and Germans esteemed the number seven as sacred. By the Greeks and Phoenicians a sacred character was ascribed to the seventh day. The Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and other nations of antiquity were acquainted with the hebdomadal division of time. Travelers have detected traces of it among the African and American aborigines. To account for its existence among nations so widely apart, both chronologically and geographically, recourse has been had to some violent hypotheses; as, e.g., to the number of the primary planets known to the ancients (Humboldt), the division of a lunar month into four nearly equal periods of seven days (Ideler, Baden Powell, &c.), Jewish example (Josephus). Its true genesis, however, must be sought for in the primitive observance of a seventh day rest in accordance with Divine appointment. Precisely as we reason that the early and widespread prevalence of sacrifice can only be explained by an authoritative revelation to the first parents of the human family of such a mode of worship, so do we conclude that a seventh day sabbath must have been prescribed to man in Eden. The question then arises, Is this sabbath also referred to in the Mosaic record of the seventh day? The popular Belief is that the institution of the weekly sabbath alone is the subject spoken of in the opening verses of the present chapter; and the language of Exodus 20:11 may at first sight appear to warrant this conclusion. A more careful consideration of the phraseology employed by Moses, how ever, shows that in the mind of the Hebrew lawgiver there existed a distinction between God's seventh day and man's sabbath, and that, instead of identifying the two, he meant to teach that the first was the reason of the second; as thus - "In six days God made.... and rested on the seventh day; where fore God blessed the (weekly) sabbath day, and hallowed it." Here it is commonly assumed that the words are exactly parallel to those in Genesis 2:3, and that the sabbath in Exodus corresponds to the seventh day of Genesis. But this is open to debate. The seventh day which God blessed in Eden was the first day of human life, and not the seventh day; and it is certain that God did not rest from his labors on man's seventh day, but on man's first. We feel inclined then to hold with Luther that in Genesis 2:3 Moses says nothing about man's day, and that the seventh day which received the Divine benediction was God's own great aeonian period of sabbatic rest. At the same time, for the reasons above specified, believing that a weekly sabbath was pre scribed to man from the beginning, we have no difficulty in assenting to the words of Tayler Lewis: "'And God blessed the seventh day.' Which seventh day, the greater or the less, the Divine or the human, the aeonian or the astronomical? Both, is the easy answer; both, as commencing at the same time, so far as the one connects with astronomical time; both, as the greater including the less; both, as being (the one as represented, the other as typically representing) the same essence and idea." It does not appear necessary to refute the idea that the weekly sabbath had no existence till the giving of the law, and that it is only here proleptically referred to by Moses. In addition to the above-mentioned historical testimonies to the antiquity of the Sabbath, the Fifth Tablet in the Chaldean Creation Series, after referring to the fourth day's work, proceeds: -

"On the seventh day he appointed a holy day,
And to cease from all business he commanded.
Then arose the sun in the horizon of heaven in (glory)."


thus apparently affirming that, in the opinion of the early Babylonians, the institution of the sabbath was coeval with the creation. (Vid. 'Records of the Past,' vol. 9. p. 117.)

The Sabbath of Creation. - "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." צבא here denotes the totality of the beings that fill the heaven and the earth: in other places (see especially Nehemiah 9:6) it is applied to the host of heaven, i.e., the stars (Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3), and according to a still later representation, to the angels also (1 Kings 22:19; Isaiah 24:21; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2). These words of Genesis 2:1 introduce the completion of the work of creation, and give a greater definiteness to the announcement in Genesis 2:2, Genesis 2:3, that on the seventh day God ended the work which He had made, by ceasing to create, and blessing the day and sanctifying it. The completion or finishing (כּלּה) of the work of creation on the seventh day (not on the sixth, as the lxx, Sam., and Syr. erroneously render it) can only be understood by regarding the clauses Genesis 2:2 and Genesis 2:3, which are connected with ויכל by ו consec. as containing the actual completion, i.e., by supposing the completion to consist, negatively in the cessation of the work of creation, and positively in the blessing and sanctifying of the seventh day. The cessation itself formed part of the completion of the work (for this meaning of שׁבת vid., Genesis 8:22; Job 32:1, etc.). As a human artificer completes his work just when he has brought it up to his ideal and ceases to work upon it, so in an infinitely higher sense, God completed the creation of the world with all its inhabitants by ceasing to produce anything new, and entering into the rest of His all-sufficient eternal Being, from which He had come forth, as it were, at and in the creation of a world distinct from His own essence. Hence ceasing to create is called resting (נוּח) in Exodus 20:11, and being refreshed (ינּפשׁ) in Exodus 31:17. The rest into which God entered after the creation was complete, had its own reality "in the reality of the work of creation, in contrast with which the preservation of the world, when once created, had the appearance of rest, though really a continuous creation" (Ziegler, p. 27). This rest of the Creator was indeed "the consequence of His self-satisfaction in the now united and harmonious, though manifold whole;" but this self-satisfaction of God in His creation, which we call His pleasure in His work, was also a spiritual power, which streamed forth as a blessing upon the creation itself, bringing it into the blessedness of the rest of God and filling it with His peace. This constitutes the positive element in the completion which God gave to the work of creation, by blessing and sanctifying the seventh day, because on it He found rest from the work which He by making (לעשׂות faciendo: cf. Ewald, 280d) had created. The divine act of blessing was a real communication of powers of salvation, grace, and peace; and sanctifying was not merely declaring holy, but "communicating the attribute of holy," "placing in a living relation to God, the Holy One, raising to a participation in the pure clear light of the holiness of God." On קדושׁ see Exodus 19:6. The blessing and sanctifying of the seventh day had regard, no doubt, to the Sabbath, which Israel as the people of God was afterwards to keep; but we are not to suppose that the theocratic Sabbath was instituted here, or that the institution of that Sabbath was transferred to the history of the creation. On the contrary, the Sabbath of the Israelites had a deeper meaning, founded in the nature and development of the created world, not for Israel only, but for all mankind, or rather for the whole creation. As the whole earthly creation is subject to the changes of time and the law of temporal motion and development; so all creatures not only stand in need of definite recurring periods of rest, for the sake of recruiting their strength and gaining new power for further development, but they also look forward to a time when all restlessness shall give place to the blessed rest of the perfect consummation. To this rest the resting of God (ἡ κατάπαυσις) points forward; and to this rest, this divine σαββατισός (Hebrews 4:9), shall the whole world, especially man, the head of the earthly creation, eventually come. For this God ended His work by blessing and sanctifying the day when the whole creation was complete. In connection with Hebrews 4, some of the fathers have called attention to the fact, that the account of the seventh day is not summed up, like the others, with the formula "evening was and morning was;" thus, e.g., Augustine writes at the close of his confessions: dies septimus sine vespera est nec habet occasum, quia sanctificasti eum ad permansionem sempiternam. But true as it is that the Sabbath of God has no evening, and that the σαββατισμός, to which the creature is to attain at the end of his course, will be bounded by no evening, but last for ever; we must not, without further ground, introduce this true and profound idea into the seventh creation-day. We could only be warranted in adopting such an interpretation, and understanding by the concluding day of the work of creation a period of endless duration, on the supposition that the six preceding days were so many periods in the world's history, which embraced the time from the beginning of the creation to the final completion of its development. But as the six creation-days, according to the words of the text, were earthly days of ordinary duration, we must understand the seventh in the same way; and that all the more, because in every passage, in which it is mentioned as the foundation of the theocratic Sabbath, it is regarded as an ordinary day (Exodus 20:11; Exodus 31:17). We must conclude, therefore, that on the seventh day, on which God rested from His work, the world also, with all its inhabitants, attained to the sacred rest of God; that the κατάπαυσις and σαββατισμός of God were made a rest and sabbatic festival for His creatures, especially for man; and that this day of rest of the new created world, which the forefathers of our race observed in paradise, as long as they continued in a state of innocence and lived in blessed peace with their God and Creator, was the beginning and type of the rest to which the creation, after it had fallen from fellowship with God through the sin of man, received a promise that it should once more be restored through redemption, at its final consummation.
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