Is there a connection between Adam and Eve and Sabbath rest? Can you please explain the imagery there?


Yes, there is a connection between Sabbath rest and the first Adam in the garden (Gen. 2-3) and the second and last Adam, Jesus Christ (Mark 2:27-28; 1 Cor. 15:45, 47). The Sabbath was given to Adam and Eve in the garden (cf. Gen. 2:1-3), and many theologians believe Adam and Eve encountered God every Sabbath while in the garden. Even the church is represented in the garden through the imagery of its trees, river, the eastward direction it faced, and the fact the Tree of Life was there (see, "The Old/New Testament Church," below).

Moreover, we recall that the Lord God walked in the garden "in the cool of the day" (Gen. 3:8). In the Greek Septuagint (LXX) the phrase, "cool of the day" is translated as deilinon, meaning "at evening," which is used five other times in the LXX referring to the time of the evening sacrifices (Exod. 29:39, 41; Lev. 6:13; 1 Kings 18:29; 2 Chron. 31:3). So, the "cool of the day" represented the evening sacrifices of Israel when a lamb was sacrificed (cf. John 1:29; 3:16; Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 9:22; Rev. 5:6; 13:8; cf. John 3:5; 5:20; 15:9).

From the very beginning the Sabbath was God's very special possession. We remember that Israel was later given the Sabbath, a day of rest, in order to imitate God's own cessation of his work of creation (Exod. 20:8-11; cf. Gen. 2:1-3). Today, the crucified and risen Christ’s invisible church finds eternal rest (Matt. 11:28-30). It is Christ alone who restores our communion with the Father as with the precious Adamic Sabbath before the Fall (Eph. 2:18). Even the gates of hell can't and won't prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).

Christ’s saints have affluent access to the Father and are privileged to find rest from their labors. As God's people commune with the Father, he reveals himself, his love, his way, his truth, his life, and his glory to them (cf. Matt. 11:25-30; John 14:6, 26; 16:7-11, 13-15). What immense favor God has bestowed upon his people! (cf. Num. 6:24-26). "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).

The "already but not yet" of pre-Fall Adamic Sabbath is once again experienced in our worship of God. Why the phrase "already but not yet?" Because we have not yet reached the goal and we still strive to enter fully into that rest (Heb. 4:11). Although the kingdom of God was inaugurated in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and continues, it is still not yet here in its fullness. So, the Sabbath we celebrate is a reminder that we are not yet home with the Father. While one day we will be home in the new heavens and new earth, at present we still worship from afar (1 John 3:1-2).

"The hour is coming and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him" (John 4:23). So, think of every Sunday as Father's Day — if not every day! This divinely ordained Father's Day is empowered and celebrated by the saints through their union with Christ, who is "the Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:28; cf. 1 Cor. 11:26).

Those in Christ willingly desire to celebrate the Sabbath because he first loved us (1 John 4:10, 19; cf. Rom. 5:10). So very much was sacrificed for this day and so much opportunity lies continually before us. Why would anyone desire to forsake it? (Heb. 10:25; cf. Acts 2:42). Of course there may be certain circumstances that demand otherwise (hospitalization, particular illnesses, war, certain types of employment, someone's ox in a ditch, etc.). However, we must be cautious to not actually profane the Sabbath, remembering that God is the One who tries the heart (Jer. 17:10; cf. Psa. 44:21; Prov. 17:3; Acts 1:24; Rom. 2:6, etc.).

Related Topics

The Old/New Testament Church
What is the Visible / Invisible Church?
The Already and the Not Yet
What is the meaning of Mark 2:27-28?
Is the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).