The Seventh Day: Set Apart by God

The Seventh Day: Set Apart by God [TRANSCRIPT]

Why do we have seven days in a week? Maybe you haven’t thought much about it. You’ve always known it that way, so you assume that it’s always been that way for everyone. But that’s not really true. But if you do some investigating you find out that it’s been different for some civilizations across history. And while it can be an interesting academic exercise, there really is a significance as to why the Bible designates a week as having seven days. So, let’s look at why that is and why it matters, today, on Truth Matters.

Like I mentioned in my introduction, most people never stop to think about why we have seven days in a week. I certainly hadn’t before this current study. In looking into this subject I discovered that like most of us around us, we simply carry on with life without giving thought to the origins of the structures around us. The interesting thing about this question is the variety of answers. For instance, with a casual investigation, I came across some really interesting comments. One writer said this,
There are many different opinions as to how the 7-day week originated. The most common explanation points to Babylonian astrologers who assigned planet gods to the days of the week around 700 BCE.

I read that and I said, “Okay, but just because the Babylonians named the days after seven of their gods doesn’t really answer the question of why seven days.” The Babylonians were influenced by the Sumerians. They had seven primary gods but they also had ten major gods and many more demigods and primordial gods. You get the picture.

I also found a comment from another writer that was a little more straight forward. They said,
Who decided to have 7 days in a week? There was no consensus on this, however, so for a time, both the 8-day and 7-day calendar weeks were observed in Rome. 370 years after the Julian calendar was formed, Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor, made the 7-day week the official standard for calendars.

I love it how politicians and world rulers became involved and it changed this. I guess that provides some of the context with the way daylight savings time is bounced around because someone somewhere decided it would be a good idea. But I digress. The point is, there is no real consensus.

I also read an article in the Atlantic by Joe Pinsker. He said,
Days, months, and years all make sense as units of time - they match up, at least roughly, with the revolutions of Earth, the moon, and the sun. Weeks, however, are much weirder and clunkier. A duration of seven days doesn’t align with any natural cycles or fit cleanly into months or years. And though the week has been deeply significant to Jews, Christians, and Muslims for centuries, people in many parts of the world happily made do without it, or any other cycles of a similar length, until roughly 150 years ago.

This writer made some clear interesting observations. He pointed out how days, months and years align with celestial cycles. I pointed this out a few weeks ago when we looked at the creation of the heavenly bodies. Genesis 1:14 said that when God made the heavenly lights, He said, “they shall serve as signs and for seasons, and for days and years…” But I also noted that up to this point there is no designation for the week. Those who looked into this question have many possible explanations but there’s no consensus. Political leaders or even religious leaders made their designations, naming’s and even made different systems. But here we are with a seven-day week with day’s names and derived from pagan gods. But we have a week of seven days in them.

Now, while some explanations seek to reach back as far as they can to discover the origins of the names or the designated numbers, in our study of the creation week, we come across what the Bible has to say on this matter. The original author of the seven-day week is God Himself. Let’s look at that.

In Genesis 2:1-3 we read this.
And so, the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their heavenly lights. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

I want to break down this passage, see what it says and then discover why it matters. In verse one and then in the first phrase of verse two, it states that God’s work in the heavens and His whole creative work is “completed.” The creative work of God on the universe was finished. This doesn’t mean that He did it and then walked away. It means that the creative work is accomplished and complete. God completed what He set out to accomplish in in His creative work. He ended that work on the seventh day. This statement in itself speaks loudly to the Naturalist who desire a universe that’s still in process.

It's interesting that the Naturalist who desires and proposes a universe expanding, evolving and creating, also acknowledge laws in nature which have continued to be proven to be true. I’m referring to the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

If you’re not familiar with them, let me briefly explain what they say and its implications for what we’re looking at. The First Law of Thermodynamics states,
A formulation of the law of conservation of energy, adapted for thermodynamic processes. A simple formulation is: "the total energy in a system remains constant, although it may be converted from one form to another." Another common phrasing is that "energy can neither be created nor destroyed" (in a "closed system").

Simply stated it says that “all that is, is all that is.” The universe is a closed system. God finished His creation and that’s all there is. Stuff changes form but there’s no more new stuff. Everything that is here comes from stuff that’s already here. God said that He made all the stuff and He finished making stuff.

There’s also the Second Law. It states,
That in an isolated system, entropy will always increase with time. One simple statement of the law is that heat always moves from hotter objects to colder objects (or "downhill"), unless energy in some form is supplied to reverse the direction of heat flow.

Let me provide a simple example. You have an electric stove. You turn it on and inject energy or heat into the elements and they get hot. Once you turn the energy off the elements don’t continue getting hotter or even staying hot. No, they begin to cool off. It’s is called entropy. The energy of stuff is cooling down. Things degrade unless something is injected to change that. The universe is not eternal in the past or else it would have already wound down. It had a beginning. It’s not evolving upward. Just the opposite, it will have an ending. The Bible tells us this long before science formulated their discoveries. Hebrews 1:10-12 says,
And, You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; and they all will wear out like a garment, and like a robe you will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But you are the same, and your years will not come to an end.

The Lord who is eternal made everything. He created it and completed that work. The seventh day marks the completion of His creative work. And the Scriptures tells us that He rested from His work of creating on the seventh day. Now, He didn’t really rest because He was tired. He rested because He had finished what He set out to accomplish in creating everything.

This statement reappears several times. For instance, in Exodus 20:11 says,
For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day;

And so, the seventh day is marked by God as the day that He declared His finishing of His work of creating everything and resting from that work. So, we have our first indication of the seven-day week and why it is marked as such.

But let’s examine what God declared concerning this day. Verse 3 says, “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” At the conclusion of earlier days God declared that the work He had done was “good” or “very good.” This indicates His pleasure concerning the work. Here, God gives a blessing to the day. No other day has such an invocation. This is not so much a blessing on a day itself, but on what the day signifies. This is the day on which His work is completed. It’s like an artist completing a masterpiece. He sits back and he smiles with satisfaction. For now, what he had in mind is now taken form. And it is finished.

But there is more. The Scripture also says, He “sanctified it.” The Hebrew word is kadesh. It means, holy, set apart as altogether different. The pleasure and satisfaction of God with what He had done and that He had completed the work is expressed by God. He declares that the seventh day is different. He has set it apart from the other days in order to designate, to mark it out as different from the other days. It is a memorial day acknowledging what He did.

When God gave the law to Moses, He marked the day with this same designation. Looking again at Exodus 20:8-11 it says,
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male slave or your female slave, or your cattle, or your resident who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; for that reason, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

God worked creating for six days and then on the seventh He rested from His creative work. In remembrance of that, He commanded that work should rest and one day be set apart to remember what God had done. The Jews set aside Saturday to remember God’s finished work on creation. The Christians, we’ve set aside Sundays to remember Jesus’ finished work in His resurrection. In either case, there is a day set aside to remember God’s work. It is a day separate from other days. It is not our day for ourselves. It is a day to acknowledge God and what He has done.

Now, I am not here to defend or compare one day with another. Frankly, the world could care less. If you go out on any given Saturday or Sunday, the last thing you’re going to discover is the world looking to or remembering the Creator or Savior. The days have been given over to self-defined work, recreation, busyness or business. Little time or thought is provided for rest and reflection in order to look toward the one who created them and can save them.

The world has agreed for now, to a seven-day week for its own reasons. There will come a day when you can and most likely they will change for reasons that have nothing to do with the Living God.

But not so for us. We should set apart to acknowledge God.

I remember one year sending my Mom a card with some money in it for my birthday. When she received it, she called and asked me, “Why did you send me a gift? It’s your birthday not mine.”

I smiled and I told her, “Yeah Mom, you’re right. It is my birthday. But you were there and you were very important to my being born.”

You see, my heart and my life acknowledge the True and the Living God who made me and saved me. I will set apart in my life such a day and protect so that I might not forget. He who made me and not I myself. I need such a day or else I’ll forget.

Let us keep one day out of seven, set it apart to remember the one who made us and saved us. The Lord gave us this pattern and so we should follow it.

That’s the truth. That’s one we should remember. Why? Because it is the truth. And the Truth Matters.






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