As a theologian with a deep passion for Bible reading, I find the creation story fascinating. It
gives me a clear picture of God’s ability and his supremeness over His creation. Each day of
creation marks the completion of a new addition, except on the seventh, where God rested. As
a pastor who has taught the creation story several times, some students often ask, “Why did
God rest on the 7th day?”
In this article, I aim to uncover what the Bible teaches about rest. Join me on this exploration
and discover why it was important for God to rest on the seventh day and how He rested. You
will also learn why God made the 7th day holy and whether He observed the Sabbath in the
New Testament. Read on to learn answers to these questions and find other interesting facts.
What was the significance of God resting on the 7th day?
God created the world and everything in it in six days and rested on the seventh. He had completed all he had set out to do within the six days, which, as the scripture says, was good. Therefore, God rested on the seventh and blessed it. Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything he had made; behold; it was very good.
Genesis 2:1-3 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God finished His work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation.
How did God rest on the 7th day?
As we read in Genesis 1:31, God was impressed with his work, and as we proceed in Genesis 2:2, He rested. On the six days, He created the universe and rested by not continuing with what He was doing. He was done with creation.
We cannot ascertain that God did nothing on the Sabbath, but based on the scripture, it implies He sought rest from creation. Even on the seventh day, the universe did not fall short of His protection, breathe of life. He serves as a light to His followers, an example to human beings.
Was God physically tired after creating for six days?
As the scripture suggests, God exists in spirit; therefore, it is not likely that he got physically tired after creation. John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. He reigns supreme over every living and non-living thing. There is yet to be a person who can explain God’s appearance; therefore, we cannot conclude he exists in a physical form.
Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Here, the scripture reminds us that God is above us all; we cannot understand His ways completely. It implies He does not get tired or faint like us humans. Therefore, comparing him to a human’s weariness does not sit right.
Psalm 33:9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth. In this verse, we see God’s power over creation. As the scripture implies, he only had to command through the utterance of words, and the universe came to be. Hence, it is unlikely that He got tired physically after creation.
Why did God make the 7th day holy?
God set the seventh day for rest and worship as He had set an example during creation. Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it, you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
Mark 2:27-28 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; so the son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath. ˮ God specifically set the seventh day of the week to rest and worship. As this verse and Exodus 20:8-11 imply, followers of the Word should honor it and worship on this day but not for other worldly pleasures.
As the scripture suggests, God expects us to honor the seventh day and keep it holy. As we see in Exodus 20:11, God blesses the seventh day, which makes it holy. Mathew 12:12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. The Lord expects us to do good and honor the Sabbath day.
Isaiah 56:1-8 Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance is revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of the man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people,” and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath, and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant- these I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.”
As the above scripture implies, God promises to reward those who honor the Sabbath day. The Word assures those who honor the seventh day and keep from doing evil will have their prayers answered and their offerings accepted.
Does Jesus observe the Sabbath in the New Testament?
Many controversies exist on which day Jesus held as the Sabbath; however, various verses in the New Testament imply that Jesus and his followers observed the Sabbath day through resting and worshipping. Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read.
Luke 23:56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath, they rested according to the commandment. His followers were faithful to the tradition and commandment of honoring the Sabbath day. As we see in the above scripture, they rested on the Sabbath day.
What does the Bible teach Christians about rest?
The scripture guides followers of the Word to observe the Sabbath day and rest. There are two definitions of rest as interpreted by scholars—physical and spiritual rest. Mathew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He promises those who go to him with heaviness will receive rest which scholars define as emotional and spiritual.
Hebrews 4:9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his. In this verse, the scripture implies that those who hour the seventh day should avoid performing activities just as He rested after creation.
In another verse, we are reminded to follow in God’s footsteps. Believers of the scripture should do as he did to honor the seventh day. 1 John 2:6 he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way he walked.
Ezekiel 20:19-20 I the Lord am your God; walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances, and hallow my Sabbaths that may be a sign between you and me, that that you may know that I the Lord am your God. Honoring the Sabbath is a sign between God and his believers, as the above verse insinuates. Ezekiel 20:12 Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between them and me, that they might know that I Lord sanctify them.
Leviticus 25:4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord; you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. As you read from all these verses, it implies the importance of rest before God’s eyes. This verse implies God’s instruction of rest on the Sabbath, where no work is to be done.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.