October 27, 2014

CHAPTER 7

THE SEVENTH DAY

GENESIS CHAPTER 2

Thus was heave and erth fynished wyth all their apparell:  Tyndale 1534

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.  NKJV

Heaven and earth and everything in them were finished.  GWN

But the birthing of mankind is not finished. The physical creation, the hardware if you will, is in place.

Now comes the education.

We have to learn how to use life and freedom, the great gift that God has given his children.

That is the last part of the process and that is what the seventh day is about.

It is at this point that we need to spend some time understanding the creative week as an illustration.

The creation story is a similitude, that is, an imaginative comparison. God uses a point of reference that we can comprehend, a solar week, as a framework for explaining the complex relational process that He has set in motion in linear time.

We must understand that the kind of exacting time references that we demand in the present age were not available through most of human history. The linguistic terminology necessary to express millions and billions, seconds, hours and fractions, and the means to calculate the complexities of astrophysics are fairly recent innovations. People in simpler times had simpler levels of comprehension about numbers, time, space and the universe. People in past ages simply did not have the knowledge, vocabulary or linguistic devices necessary to explain the universe in the scientific terms we take for granted today.

To make his plan and purpose understandable to the ages and Peoples with all levels of comprehension, God uses parables, allegories, illustrations, metaphors and similitudes. These are comparisons and explanations of complex concepts presented in relation to understandable references, (known by most) of processes, places and things in everyday experience.

God uses a time reference we can all relate to, a week, as a vehicle to communicate via simile his plan and purpose for humanity. In this week progress unfold incrementally. What happens in succeeding days builds upon the work of the days that precede it. People can relate to this and understand the measure and care that God is taking. The days are figurative and not meant to imply a process of 168 hours. They are meant to communicate a careful step by step process, in which what is created is reconciled to God’s standards and purpose piece by piece. At the end of the process, things are complete, mature and perfected. The end of one day can overlap the beginning of another as it is not necessary for one process to be perfected in order for another to begin. The exception is the Seventh Day. The Seventh Day begins only when all six of the preceding days are complete.

Time, as we have discussed earlier is fundamentally measured by the rhythmic change of night and day caused by the rotation of the earth.

The earth is turning. It’s turning from East to West. The new day begins at sundown, relative to the location on the surface of the Earth where one happens to find oneself. First there is night, and as the Earth rotates in due course the sun appears on the horizon and daylight ensues. This is the fundamental similitude of the creation story. First there is darkness; a metaphor for lack of clarity. During the darkness the process that has been set in motion is unresolved, but it is not static. Like the Earth, it is moving towards a resolution or completion. When “morning” occurs, the process is complete, just like the rotation of the Earth is complete. During the night there is birth, change, conflict and growth. When daylight appears the fullness of the completed process is realized and there is maturity, stability, peace and harmony; harmony, particularly with the processes that have come before.

The seventh day begins like the other creative days in a metaphorical night. The seventh day, however, is different that its predecessors. The first six days were about dimensioning the time and space necessary for God’s purposes to be revealed in. He then shaped the physical environment and added the players. The first six creative days were about physicality. The seventh day is about spirituality.

The seventh day is about an idea.

“God blessed the seventh day and made it HOLY.”

The seventh day is about HOLINESS.
Holiness is an idea; an ideal.

Holy means set apart as high and special and is differentiated from what is merely common or ignoble.

God is Holy. That means that He is the personification of every virtue, ideal, ethic and behavior we esteem as high and noble.

God is Holy. That means that he has the RIGHT to imprint his noble character into everything that He has made.

God is Holy. That means that his indefectible nature will be mirrored in everything he has made because everything he has made is good.

God is Ideal. That means He is perfect.

The seventh day is about God conforming Earth to what Heaven is like. Heaven is where God is and God is Holy. Earth will be Holy like the Heaven where God dwells.

“And God created man in His own image.” During the seventh day, the Men that God has created will be conformed to His Holy image. Men will reflect in their attitudes and actions the highest nature of God. God’s Holy character will be mirrored in the character of Man. God has ordained it and He is making it happen. When the Morning of the Seventh Day dawns, like the dawning’s of the other six days before it, it will truly be said that God has accomplished His purpose and it is good.

The night of the Seventh Day is a time of resolution and conflict. It is a process. Remember, God does everything through process. He is bringing mankind to maturity incrementally.

What is being conflicted about during the night of the Seventh Day is God’s Holiness, and we are in the midst of that conflict.

*****

ad i ye seueth daye god ended hys worke which he had made and rested in ye seventh daye fro all his workes which he had made.  Tyndale 1534

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  NKJV

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing. On the seventh day he stopped the work he had been doing.  GWN

This is a prophetic utterance.

Understand this. The creation account in Genesis chapter one is a synopsis. It is a declarative statement to us about what God has done and will do.

Those of us who speak publically for a living know that the way you construct a public talk/sermon is in this format: First you tell people what you are going to tell them in the introduction. Next, you tell them what they have been informed that they will hear in the body of the discourse. Finally, in the conclusion, you summarize what you have just told them by telling them again, briefly, what you just told them.

God told us at the end of the sixth day that what he had made was exceedingly good. That was the outcome. Here, God tells us the outcome of The Seventh Day. God tells us the outcome before the work is finished – but make no mistake – God is not at rest nor is he finished with His work. He is bringing it to completion.
John 5:

16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him,[c] because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”  NKJV

The physical creation is complete but the spiritual work of birthing God’s people is still underway. God will not rest until the question of His holiness and sovereignty is resolved and until Mankind is brought to perfection.

Hebrews 4:

1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them,[a] not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’”[b] although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; [c] 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”[d] 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”[e] 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.  NKJV

God’s people will rest with their Father, but I ask you: if God’s work was finished at the foundation of the world, why the work of the Cross and the ministry of the Divine Jesus? Why the work of the Church? Why the work of the second coming? Why the work of New Jerusalem? God is working to bring His Creation to completion. The system is not on auto-pilot.
When The Morning of the Seventh Day dawns, God will rest; and His people, who are now perfected, will rest with Him.

*****
And God blessed ye seventh daye and sanctyfyed it for in it he rested from all his workes which he had created and made.  Tyndale 1534

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  NKJV

Then God blessed the seventh day and set it apart as holy, because on that day he stopped all his work of creation.  GWN

The seventh day is about God’s holiness. In the night of the seventh day a holy conflict is raging.

HOLINESS

The conflict of the Seventh Day is about the central issue resident in the relationship between God and Man.

That issue is this: Who has the right to make arbitrary standards of right and wrong?

This is an important question that needs a resolution.

As we have noted, God made man in His Image. God is Holy and his purpose is to conform humanity to His holiness. Man in his attitude and actions will emulate God. To be holy is to reflect God in our behavior.

But God is also free. Freedom means you have a choice. God makes decisions. God makes moral distinctions. There is light and there is darkness. There is right and there is wrong. There is good and there is bad. The animals, the other living beings that God has placed in the relationship do not make such distinctions. They only exist according to a preordained pattern of behavior that is programmed into their genes. They cannot decide to act otherwise or evaluate their environment in moral terms. They do not have the same spirit as Man.

Man, however, is like God. He is free.

Man can evaluate his own attitude and actions and the environment around him and the actions of others in relation to God’s holiness. Man can make decisions based upon that evaluation. Man has the unlimited capacity within the bounds of his physical limitations to make a decision to initiate ANY action or hold ANY attitude or conceive ANY idea.

How do you reconcile holiness and freedom? This is an extremely complex question; but it will be resolved. God is in the process of resolving it with us. The matter must be settled because the Human family cannot progress to its destiny until Mankind learns to be responsibly free and chooses to be holy as God is holy. That is the work of The Seventh Day: the work with which God is now engaged.