Was The Sabbath Day Rest Command Given To Adam?


Some religious groups today, maintain that the 4th commandment found in Exodus 20:8, ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,’ is binding on Christians today.

Some of them go further back in time to find the commandment to ‘keep the sabbath day rest’, they go all the way back to Genesis. Unfortunately, because of a lack of understanding of what God said and meant in Genesis 2 has led some to use it as an argument as to why Christians should obey the sabbath day rest command. Genesis 2:2-3

What we read here is basically a summary of Genesis 1, but notice it’s not stated here that God rested from all activity, but that He rested from creation, ‘the work which He had been doing,’ which is an expression repeated twice. Please note that this has no reference whatsoever to the Jewish Sabbath, this doesn’t refer to the days of the week, but to the days of the creation.

This day of God’s rest is still going on and will obviously continue until Christ returns.

‘For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘On the seventh day God rested from all his works.’ And again, in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ Therefore, since it STILL REMAINS FOR SOME TO ENTER THAT REST, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience.’ Hebrews 4:4-6

‘Let us, therefore, MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ENTER THAT REST, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.’ Hebrews 4:11

There’s no command here in Genesis for man to rest, no revelation whatsoever to Adam or his posterity, suggesting or commanding the observance of any such thing as the Jewish sabbath.

Notice also, the specific thing from which it’s stated that God rested is the work of creation, a fact which is obvious enough in the fact that the creation isn’t still going on.

There’s also no mention here of ‘evening and morning,’ Genesis 1:5 / Genesis 1:8 / Genesis 1:13 / Genesis 1:19 / Genesis 1:23 / Genesis 1:31, which tells us that the close of the seventh day is still in progress.

We must remember that the sabbath that God blessed was the first day of Adam’s life, not the seventh, and there’s no indication whatsoever that Adam ever heard of a sabbath. The sabbath was made known, not to Adam, but Moses.

‘You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good. You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws THROUGH YOUR SERVANT MOSES.’ Nehemiah 9:13-14

The reason for the Jewish observance of the sabbath given to them wasn’t because God rested on the creation sabbath, but ‘the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt,’ Deuteronomy 5:15.

The sabbath was never a sign between God and all men, but, ‘It is a sign between me (God) and the children of Israel.’ Exodus 31:17.


God created everything in six days, Genesis 1 / Exodus 20:11. At the end of the sixth day, God looked at everything He had made and said it was ‘very good’, Genesis 1:31. The next day, day seven, God rested from His work of creating because it was all finished, Genesis 2:2. God then blessed this day because it was the day that He chose to rest from His work, Genesis 2:3.

Why did God rest?

Was He tired from all the work of creating? Not at all! The Scriptures tell us that God doesn’t get tired or sleep, Psalm 121:3-4, He rested to establish a pattern for us to follow. Christ Jesus brought an end to the old law, including the sabbath day law.

‘Having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.’ Colossians 2:14