Troublesome Topic: Creation Shows the Importance of Rest

Genesis 2:2


On the seventh day ELOHIM finished all His work which He had made, and He rested

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on the seventh day from all the work

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He had made.


On the seventh day THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS brought to a conclusion all the work He had preformed, and He paused on the seventh day by ceasing from doing any work like what He had been doing.

Genesis 2:3


And ELOHIM blessed

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the seventh day, and consecrated

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it because in it He had rested from all his work which He had made in creating.  (See comment below.)



And THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS blessed the seventh day and set it apart as holy because on the seventh day He ceased working and refrained from performing the kind of work he had performed in the process of creating.  (See comment below.)

Creation Shows the Importance of Rest

The purpose of rest is to connect, to connect with God and with family. Here in Genesis 2:2-3 we see that the last thing God created was rest. We could say that rest was the true climax of His creative activity.

The very structure of the creation account highlights Sabbath rest as the high point of creation. According to Marva Dawn’s book Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, p. 139, in the Hebrew Tanakh (what we call the Old Testament), the creation account has seven sections. Verse one has seven words; verse two has fourteen words. The words God, earth, heavens, and light all occur in multiples of seven. The culmination of the account, Genesis 2:2-3a, consists of three Hebrew sentences, each containing seven words. The center word for all three sentences is sabbaot – “seventh day.” The number seven represented completeness, wholeness, and perfection. Thus the seventh day completes all of creation. The entire creative process moves, not toward the creation of man, but toward the establishment of rest. Sabbath was the climax of creation week.

The KJV, the ASV, the RSV the ESV, and many Jewish Rabbis translate Gen 2:2 with this meaning: “On the seventh day God finished his work,” meaning that by the end of day six He was not quite done. Based on that interpretation, the Rabbis have long argued the question, “What did God create on the seventh day if He ‘finished his work on the seventh day?’” At the beginning, according to Genesis 1:2, order was lacking; but after six days of creation there was order, there was life, and there was activity. In his comments on Genesis 2:2, Rashi, the great Hebrew commentator, asked and answered the following question: “After the six days or creation – what did the universe still lack? Rest. Came the Sabbath, came rest, and the universe was complete.”

Rest (connection) was what He was working toward all week.

Have you ever noticed that, in the Ten Commandments, the fourth commandment, the one concerning the Sabbath, is the one that receives the most extensive treatment? Why do we give it the least amount of emphasis today?

Such prominent Jewish works as the book of Kuzari and the Yalkut Reubeni indicate that rest/Sabbath became a synonym for the life in the world to come, for eternal life. I wrote an entire book on the topic of rest and it has become a study series in this mobile website, it is called YOU NEED REST. Unlike what most people would expect from a study of sabbath/rest, a proper perspective is balanced, encouraging, rich, challenging, freeing, and beautiful. In that study series I have a section in which I talk about what that first Sabbath might have been like, when God, in the person of Jesus, enjoyed His creation along with Adam and Eve. It is called JESUS CELEBRATED WITH HIS CREATION ON THE SABBATH OF CREATION WEEK

The next lesson is: The Red Dirt Became a Living Being


1: “he rested”

This is the Hebrew word for “Sabbath” and it sounds like our English word “Sabbath.” It means “to pause, to cease, to rest.”

2: “he rested from all the work”

This does not mean that God was tired and could not keep going. He paused in part to give us an example and a pattern to follow. He also paused to take in and to enjoy what he had made. If all we do is work, we have no time to enjoy the fruit of our labors, either the final product or the wages we earn from having worked.


This is the third thing God has blessed, and it is the first thing He blessed that was not a living being.

4: “Consecrated it”

This is the word for “holy, or set apart.”