Sabbath as Eden

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Genesis 2:15 (KJV)

Took the man, put him into the garden, to dress it, to keep it. Notice that God created Adam outside the garden. He took the man from somewhere not great, and placed the man in a special place with instructions to “dress” the garden (care for it) and to “keep” the garden (guard it).

This was a brief but highly impactful journey for man to enter into relationship with God and find rest and peace. Later we see these four elements occur again in another verse that bears light on an everlasting commandment that is later told to be God’s sign between man and Himself. While the four elements appear, they appear backwards from the even in Genesis 2.

I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Exodus 20:8-11

Let’s take a look at this comparison in a side-by-side table.

Genesis 2Exodus 20 (backwards)
God took the man from somewhereGod took man from Egypt
God places the man in a restful placeMan rests on 7th day
Man is to care for the gardenMan is to work 6 days
Man is to keep the gardenMan is to keep the Sabbath

In Genesis, God takes man out of the world and places him into a restful and peaceful garden where relationship can thrive. God then commands man to do two things: tend to the garden and guard it. Man commits sin, eats of the forbidden fruit and is removed from the Eden. In man’s place, two angels are set up to now take over man’s role in guarding the garden. Man has forefitted his position as the keeper, the guardian of the garden.

And so, in an effort to bring man back into relationship, although not back to the garden, God reminds man of the Sabbath. He instructs Moses to institute the Sabbath as a law, one of the 10 commandments. He reminds man to “keep” the Sabbath. God suggests that man did not keep the garden (a place), so now God is testing man’s ability to keep the Sabbath (a time).

The instruction for keeping the Sabbath comes with maintaining work for six days and resting on the seventh. God expected man to tend, care, and work the garden while he resided there. Of course work and tending the garden was nothing compared to the fallen world we live in today, but it was expected work nonetheless. And the place wherein man resided would provide him rest. And now today, we work and rest, not in a place, but in time. We work for six days and on the seventh we are to rest.

Sabbath keeping is our reminder of the garden. It is a callback to a world before the fall. And it provides us hope of what is to come – a restored age when Yeshua will reign on a New Earth with mankind. The moment when both space and time come to complete unison.

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