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Monday, June 20, 2011

Remember the Lord's Day - Is there a ‘Christian sabbath’? (Part 8)

The following is from "Remember the Lord's Day" by Dr. Peter Masters. You can purchase the book here



Outside the tradition of the great Protestant confessions, teachers who regard the sabbath as an entirely Jewish affair, beginning and ending with the Mosaic covenant, [see endnote] say that there is no mention of Adam having to rest in the Garden of Eden, and no rules banning any specific activity there. They also say that the special regulations given to Moses would not have been relevant to Eden, because Adam would not have needed to light a fire, cook food, bear a burden, or buy and sell. Furthermore, as Adam had constant access to God in that perfect place, there would have been no practical difference between the sabbath and the other six days.

With such reasoning as this, the existence of a sabbath before Moses is rejected. But of course, no one has suggested that the extra rules for the sabbath given through Moses as a sign of the covenant, were in force in the Garden of Eden. This is a rather flippant way of trying to prove that God instituted no sabbath for the Garden. We have already noted that the day was blessed and made holy and distinctive by God, and this is an inescapable fact.

Then how exactly would Adam have kept that special day in the Garden, supposing he had not sinned? The answer is provided in Genesis 2.3. The first purpose of the day was to commemorate creation, and so if Adam had continued in paradise, every seventh day he and Eve would have laid aside the delightful task of dressing and keeping the Garden in order to reflect on the history of that place, and the order and wonder of God’s work. During unfolding centuries of bliss, all the glory for creation would have been the Lord's. Our first parents were, after all, dwellers in time, and time itself would have been harnessed by the sabbath, and subordinated to the worship of the Creator. The Garden of Eden would have been a perpetual sabbath, but still there would have been a special, weekly, creation commemoration day.

The Lord who knows all things, however, anticipated the Fall and the subsequent needs of fallen mankind by giving the creation decree that one day in seven would be a day of commemoration and worship.

It is obvious that the inauguration of a day of rest in the Garden also looked beyond the Fall, because it ‘contained’ a type of Christ and salvation, as taught inHebrews 3-4, and this may well have been perceived by Adam (in the light of God’s promise of Genesis 3.15) after paradise had been lost, and served as a great comfort to him and his family.

The blessing and sanctifying of one day in seven in the Garden of Eden was an immense and monumental act of God which should never be underestimated, or minimised out of its full significance. Endnote: These include Schofield-type dispensationalists.

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