From the Beginning

A STORY OF "TIME" by Trevor Topsfield


“Rest in Peace”. This is often found on gravestones and refers to the rest after a life of turmoil here on earth, but was life here ever meant to be easy?

“Psalm 90 explains the realities of life, for in Verse 7; “We are consumed by your anger”. While in Verses 9+10; “All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan, the length of our days is seventy years – or eighty if we have the strength.” (NIV)

God never said it would be easy; in fact he has made sure it’s not. God is determined to demonstrate there is neither total rest, nor peace for anyone unless he provides it. This only comes about while we are in fellowship with him and the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness ect. ect.

Part of our salvation is an eternal rest with Jesus Christ (the Love of God) as our ruler, which is communicated to us through his words and actions.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)(NIV)

When Jesus came, he did all that was needed to bring about the peace not found naturally in the world. But how did God communicate his peace before Jesus came so the early believers could rest in it too? In The Old Testament God taught the Jews concepts of resting in him through Sabbaths. A Sabbath was a rest period whereby the Jews rested in the work God has done or will do in the future.

The Jews did not have to work on the seventh day of the week as God had worked for six days and finished the job. Because there was nothing else to do, God rested and so can everyone.

To take a day off every week does not seem to be difficult, but there is a natural tendency in man to want to be in control. Suggesting we leave one day a week for God to handle turned out to be not to be as easy as it seems.

It goes back perhaps thousands of years to “O Morning Star, son of dawn” of Isaiah 14; 12-14 fame. He committed the very first imperfection when he decided to be like “The Most High”. Ever since that time any dissension anyone has with God surfaces because they reject God as their God and they try make themselves like “him”. Therefore they too want an input into all procedures, even if they have no legitimate right to do so.

Right from the first time anyone decided to rebel against God; it was through their rejection of whom and what God is and their exaggerated opinion of who they are. O Morning Star could not rest in all that God was doing for him and all the other angels in heaven, he through his pride wanted to make himself like “The Most High” and do the work himself.

Therefore if God is to re-establish his authority he has to condemn every thought that anyone can be like him. While this is in the process of being dealt with as far as O Morning Star and the angels who decided to follow him. For us; we have the opportunity to accept or reject his authority; we can demonstrate our decision by resting in what God has done or be like him, ruling our personal environment.

Did the Jews learn the lesson and rested on the seventh day; some did, but a lot didn’t. Over the years the Jews failure to learn this principle ended in them making up their own rules to abide by on the seventh day, so instead of resting on the Sabbath Day, they worked to control it themselves.

To consolidate the idea of resting in God they were told in Exodus Chapter 25 that every seventh year was to be a Sabbath. A whole year at a time of resting in God’s ability to care for them; now that would take some faith.

Many Jews were struggling to rest in God on the last day of the week, so to do it for a whole year was a step too far.

About 1,095 BC the Jews wanted a king like the other nations rather than have God as their ruler. So Saul was proclaimed King of Israel. (1 Samuel 8:7). However while God was their ruler he was able to support the whole nation through the Sabbatical year, but when Saul was king, he was just another person without the resources to continue the seventh year as a year of rest. Therefore the land and the people had to work every year and the Sabbatical became a distant memory.

In 586 BC the fifth stage of discipline was administered to Judah and it lasted 70 years so that the land had the rest it had missed out on, because for the previous 490 years the Sabbaticals were not observed.

Today we gentiles cannot mock the Jews for their failure to put their feet up on a Sabbath, because many of us fail in the same area without actually having a Sabbath day. We too don’t have the faith to rest in God’s completed work as we have not learned the lesson Sabbaths taught the Jews.

For us the 15th day of the 1st month does not mean a thing, but to the Jews it was the beginning of the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the 1st day (the 15th ) and the last day (the 21st) being Sabbaths. Neither does the 15th day of the 7th month have a meaning to us either.

However it was the beginning of the week of the Feast of the Tabernacles and again the 1st and the last days were Sabbaths. So what was God up to on these days so the Jews did not have to do anything?

The 15th day of the 1st month and the 15th day of the 7th month indicated God was doing the same thing. Just as on the 21st day of the 1st month and the 21st day of the 7th month.

In the 1st month, the Feast of Unleavened Bread spoke of God through Moses and Aaron leading the Exodus generation out of the slavery of Egypt on the Sabbath, and the nest 5 days indicated a righteous life of unleavened bread, and then on the 21st God will do something else.

In the 7th month it was the Feast of the Tabernacle, the 15th day indicated exactly the same as the 15th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The next 5 days indicated God’s provision through tabernacles or housing for their lives here on earth. The end of the 20th day in both cases indicated the end of the Jewish age, so the 21st they could rest, as God’s work will consist of whatever is required for them to start their eternity.

When Israel was starting out with Abraham all God proposed was in the future so the Sabbaths was a way learning what was to come and through the ritual recognise it when it happened. To understand Israel’s future it only takes a study of the Sabbaths to understand exactly what God will do. Regardless of what happens God ordained each Sabbath to occur on a specific date, and that date never changes, because the action of God will occur on that date in some unknown year.

However there is a “Special Sabbath”, different from all the rest, as God does not always do the work this Sabbath teaches.

This is only mentioned once and that is in John 19:30+31; on the cross Jesus said he was thirsty, “When he had received the drink. Jesus said, It is finished. With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath.”(NIV)

So Jesus Christ died on the day of Preparation and the next day was a special Sabbath.

So what was the next day?

If you read the Preface of the book “From the Beginning” found on this website, it explains that Christ died on the 13th of the 1st month, The First of the Unleavens or also known as the day of Preparation.

Therefore the next day was the 14th, The Passover.

The “Passover” is celebrated by the Jews every year on the 14th day of the 1st month. On this day the Angel of Death passed over all those (mainly Jews) who had the faith to prepare for his coming. He came to Egypt to kill every first born because a person strength is seen their first born (Genesis 49:3).

So on the Passover at midnight the Angel of Death went throughout Egypt to administer the wages of sinfulness to all because all are sinful. While under normal conditions this would have included everyone; Jews and Egyptians.

However all were warned he was coming, and there was a way to avoid his judgment.

The alternative was to take a lamb which God would make as a substitute for his first born son who he would judge for the sinfulness of everyone.

All of Israel believed God and so they took a lamb and killed it as a sacrifice for their sinfulness and it suffered the wages of sinfulness instead of them. To demonstrate their faith they put the blood of their sacrificial lamb around the door frames of their houses.

At midnight the Angel of Death went through Egypt to kill all the first born, but when he came across the blood of the lamb around the door frames. Then he knew God’s first born had already been judged for the sinfulness of that household so there no need for him to do a thing. In every case where there was blood on the door frames, he simply passed over all these houses.

Everyone’s sinfulness is judged, but if God judges himself for them, then we don’t suffer the death as we should, but have life instead.

On the 13th day of the 1st month the Jews had to prepare for the Passover. Today we demonstrate our faith by believing in the reality of the death of Jesus Christ, and our sinfulness is judged by him and life remains in exactly the same way as it happened in Egypt.

The 14th is a Sabbath because on this day God responded to each person’s faith and gave salvation to everyone who believed. On every other Sabbath God does or will do exactly what that Sabbath teaches, but on the Passover God will only get to work and give salvation to those prepared in advance so the Angel of Death would pass over them.

But the 14th is not a Sabbath for everyone, so for those who decided to rely on the strength of their first born (evidence of their own strength Genesis 49:3) (NIV) God has done no work; therefore the 14th is not a Sabbath for them. For those who did not kill a lamb in preparation for the Angel of Death to pass over their house, God has done nothing to save them.

With sinfulness no longer an issue God can continue with his work and march them out of Egypt with the righteousness they need on the 15th. For the rest of their lives they can use the righteous life given as part of their salvation as the next 5 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread indicated.

So the Angel of Death sorted out those who had faith in the Lamb of God and those who didn’t. Therefore the Passover was the day that God provided Salvation for some, but for others he ignored.

So for all those who marched out of Egypt there were two Sabbaths, one after the other. But for those who were forced to stay in Egypt; God ignored them and they have no Sabbath to celebrate and have to work themselves for the righteousness they need (which is impossible).

The Passover is not a Sabbath everyone. It is a special Sabbath for all who are saved, and a day of condemnation for those who are not. God does not want an eternity in hell to be celebrated; therefore he has made it a Sabbath for some, but not for everyone.

Rest in peace begins the moment a person believes in Christ Jesus and continues forever, this is the only way it happens.

Trevor Topsfield


Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

All rights reserved.


Comments are closed.

Post Navigation

Hit Counter provided by hit counter max