“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:16-17).
The Work of God / The Rest of God
What is the work of God? And what is the rest of God (i.e., the Sabbath)? In order to get to the heart of these questions, we must go back to the first chapter of Genesis, where we will uncover a gross error in the common interpretation of the Biblical account, an error that extends from our perspective of the Bible as literal history – what I classify as The Great Western Paradigm – and one that we must rectify if we are to accurately construct the true meaning and intent thereof. You will never come to accurate spiritual knowledge through The Great Western Paradigm, for there is nothing historical about the scriptures. They are a spiritual work. The words of scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, are spiritual in nature, and have nothing to do with a literal account of a material creation. They have everything to do with your spiritual creation, and the transformation process from corruption to incorruption — on a SPIRITUAL, NOT a PHYSICAL, level.
As I have previously discussed, the recording of history is not an inspired act; it is simply a factual occurrence. History happens and you write it down. No inspiration is necessary to assert it. “In 1969 a man walked on the moon.” That is not an inspired statement. It is simply an historical event that was recorded. It would not be an inspired statement even if God should make it. But, as it is written, all scripture is given “by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16).
“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:14), which include the scriptures. He simply takes them at their face – that is to say, literally. All you really have to do to accurately assess the mass of confusion over what the Bible says, and what it means by what it says, is to observe the thousands of denominations that exist under the Christian umbrella.
Jesus, as the personification of the Word of God, is here representative of the whole of scripture when he says:
The common belief regarding the first chapter of Genesis is that it points to a literal seven day creation, and that God rested on that literal seventh day, after completing day six. The assumption here is that after the seventh day God resumed his work, although many of today’s religious teachers promulgate that God is still resting. However, there are two things we need to understand in order to adequately get to the heart of the meaning and intent of the Genesis account of creation.
First, the entire creation of heaven and earth was completed, and God rested from all his work after the sixth day. And what is the work of God — the work from which He rests after completing? For the answer, we look to the New Testament:
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Man Not Created, but PERFECTED, on Day 6
Man is NOT created on day six, as is most commonly assumed. That may sound like blasphemy, but it is true. We assume that man is created on day six because of a misinterpretation of Genesis 1:26. Let’s read it again here:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26).
Our understanding of this passage of scripture usually ends with the words “Let us make man,” and we assume from this phrase alone that man was created on Day Six. However, the key to properly interpreting the passage actually lies in the next phrase, “in our image, after our likeness.…”
But most will assert that the book of Genesis plainly states that God created heaven and earth in six days, and afterwards (on the seventh day) He rested. In addition, there is a great controversy among Biblical scholars and theologians as to the difference in accounts of Genesis chapters 1 and 2 regarding the timing of the creation events. In order to fully comprehend the essence of the intent of the writer here, it is vital to understand that it has nothing to do with a literal history (go here for a more complete narrrative regarding the problem of literal history and scholarship as it relates to Biblical interpretation). “The words that I speak, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Again, these words speak for the entirety of the scriptures.
Here is the answer to the seeming dilemma of the Genesis 1 and 2 controversy, which in reality is no dilemma at all when peered at through the window of spirit. The first chapter of Genesis, and through verse three of chapter two, is a SUMMARY of the entire creation process (from Genesis to Revelation) — YOUR SPIRITUAL CREATION. Then “God” gets very specific and detailed beginning with verse four of chapter two. As we advance forward in this study, it will become crystal clear that we are not talking here about a literal process involving the literal creation of a literal earth and literal man. These are spiritual words and “are profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect and entire” (2 Tim. 3:16).
This is a groundbreaking discovery, and it is mindboggling to consider how we miss this very plain truth. This is what the scripture is referring to when it speaks of God “declaring the end from the beginning.” Notice:
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:10-11).
“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2).
“… God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17).
Yes, the “beginning of the world, if you can receive this, actually starts in Genesis 2, where the details begin. The promise of eternal life, of creating us in the image and likeness of God, was promised (but not yet fulfilled), in Genesis 1 (in the “beginning,” i.e., the “firstfruits,” which is what the word “beginning” means here), which again is a summary of the creation process. The ENTIRE BIBLE, from Genesis to Revelation, is a discourse on Genesis 1. God declares ALL OF IT before it actually happens, thus ensuring its certainty, for “God cannot lie.” This promise is God’s counsel. He also says, to reiterate Isaiah 46:10, “I will do all my pleasure.” And what is God’s pleasure?
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
“… it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Man’s perfection (his being made in the image and likeness of God) culminates in his entering into the Kingdom of God.
All this is the clear, spiritual interpretation that we come to from a clear, spiritual understanding of scripture. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
Nothing else really makes any sense. From the literal perspective, the two chapters are irreconcilable (as history, to date, has already revealed), which is why from the beginning of time (since there has been such thing as a Bible) man has not been able to reconcile them. Continuing to try to do so from a literal interpretation gets us completely twisted and tied in knots. As the saying goes, “to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result is insanity.” Truly, God has “brought to nothing the wisdom of the wise” (1 Cor. 1:19).
Furthermore, simultaneously with this creation of perfection, man is given complete dominion over all the earth, as we see in the last half of verse 26. For further proof that this first chapter of Genesis constitutes the summary of the creation process, we shall observe from the scriptural context that man does not yet have dominion.
“Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him” (Heb. 2:8b).
In other words, man does not yet have dominion over God’s creation. Not all things are put under him. Of course not, because God’s work of bringing man to completion is not yet complete, and He has not, therefore, “rested from all his labor.” It is only after man’s perfection that God rests. But the work of the perfection of man continues until man is made perfect, which comes through belief in “Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God” (we shall come to see what that means in due course). Once man is perfected, THEN he enters into the rest of God – the Sabbath. In other words, he ceases from his labor, as God does.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).
Of course. The work of God is to “bring us to Christ.” Once that objective is accomplished on day six, we enter into the “rest” of God, the Sabbath — day seven. This rest is a “soul rest.” The soul now knows itself. It is no longer searching for anything, for it has found its source — the power of God. It is no longer confused as to who or what it is. It is no longer in turmoil. It is no longer in hell. It is now at rest (i.e., at peace, free).
Again I reiterate, the first chapter of Genesis is a SUMMARY of the creation process — a soup-to-nuts exposition. It is all figurative. The Bible is powerful allegory (Gal. 4:24, KJV) regarding the process from spiritual death to spiritual life. It is fascinating reading once you understand what it is you are reading — or, more accurately, what it is you are NOT reading — literal history.
As we continue to follow the scriptures, we notice that the fact that man has not yet been perfected (i.e., made in the image of God) is made even more evident when we consider the following:
“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:23).
“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly … for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:49-53).
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col. 3:10).
These scriptures show conclusively that there is a distinction between the “image of God” and the “image of corruptible man,” and if there is a distinction, then it is crystal clear that man to this point in the scriptures, has not yet been made in the image and likeness of God — has not been perfected. Man’s image to this point is corrupt. Thus, God continues the labor of bringing man into perfection, a labor that does not, and cannot, fail, because “God is Love” (1 John 4:8) and “love NEVER fails” (1 Cor. 13:8).
It is important to understand here that every man reaches spiritual perfection at different points in time, and therefore this creation is not a blanket creation that happens all at once for all who achieve this perfection. For all who have not yet been perfected, the Sabbath rest has not yet appeared. It is quite an individualized process, this creation of the incorruptible man. Each man enters into the rest of God as he is perfected –brought to the power and wisdom of God, the Christ.
“And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:16-17).
Indeed, God’s work continues at this point, and He is not resting from anything.
“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly … So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:49, 54).
This is the victory. You are now perfected. Death is now defeated. Only THEN comes the Sabbath. The fact that “we shall also bear the image of the heavenly,” shows this event, from a scriptural event, to be a future event, and if it is a future event, it cannot be something that transpired in the past, and if it has not yet transpired, then man is not now “made in the image and likeness of God.” Hence, day six has not yet occurred, the Sabbath has not yet arrived, and so the creation process is not yet completed. “Creation week,” therefore, is still in progress. And if it is still in progress, then the scriptures, which speak of it in the past tense, cannot therefore be taken literally.
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (Heb. 4:9-10).
Absolutely! But God is still working in all those who have not yet been perfected. Why, then, does this scripture speak of God’s rest in the present tense, and not future?
“… God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17).
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Is. 46:10).
The Sabbath has not yet come because the work of God is not yet completed, in those in whom the work is not completed. Contrary to the popular notion that God is still resting, God is very much still actively at work perfecting his creation, which as we have already seen, is still a work in progress (I am speaking from a scriptural standpoint here). But what does all this mean? How do we know these words are not to be taken literally? He that has ears to hear, let him hear:
“The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).
We cannot discern spiritual things through the eyes of literalism. We have to “see” through another set of eyes. Once again, we cannot “see” because we are trying to “see” spiritual truth through our literal eyes (i.e., a faulty foundation), and of course, as we are coming to see, not only does that just not work, but neither does it make any sense.
However, even from a literal perspective, the question of a literal seven-day creation can now be eternally put to rest. From the spiritual perspective (the perspective from which the scriptures are written), not only was the creation not completed in a literal seven days, the creation is still ongoing for those who have not yet been “made in the image of God” (i.e., brought to Christ, “the power and wisdom of God”).
This leaves us with many questions. If God is still working, why is there so much suffering? Why is it that we apparently do not receive answers to our prayers? If scripture says “ask and it shall be given,” how is it that I am not receiving any of what I am asking for? These questions will all be answered in time.
On What Day Was Man Formed
We continue with the scriptural account of creation, which, as should be plain by now, is NOT a literal creation, but a spiritual creation. The understanding of the sensational significance of the spiritual creation account of scripture is truly mind-boggling. It all involves your transformation as a human being from spiritual corruption to spiritual incorruption – in other words, from a “spiritually dead” carnal being (i.e., without spiritual power, including the power to manifest, and one who cares simply for the “things of the world”), to a life-giving spirit, one who has the power to transform lives – both yours and others.
So if man was not formed on Day 6, then on what day was he formed? And of what significance is the day at all if we’re not speaking of a literal history? In order to properly comprehend the true meaning, we must apprehend certain scriptural symbology, and here is where it gets very interesting.
If you are willing to suspend for a moment your common concept of a Day Six formation of man, I will show you conclusively that man is actually formed on DAY THREE. It will be so clear you will wonder how you ever believed anything else. Pray for an open mind and heart to see the truth, for it is absolutely foundational to the construct you will build on top of it. I can promise you that these words are not mine, but are the words of spirit.
The scriptures note that man is formed of dust. The Hebrew word for man in this verse is adam (Strongs-H120), and sounds like the Hebrew word for ground (adamah) (Strongs-H127). The dry land (ground) out of which Adam was taken was created on Day Three. Notice:
“And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the THIRD DAY” (Gen. 1:10-13).
And now notice Genesis 2:7:
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).
Here is where we get into the very critical semantics aspect. Notice the word “formed” here. Man is not “created” in this verse, but merely “formed.” They do not mean the same thing. It is the breath (spirit) of God that makes this lifeless dust come to life, and thus man becomes (and not “man has”) a living soul. Once man is “formed,” then the creation process begins in earnest. This distinction (formed vs. created) is a critical one, as we shall see.
If you have ever played in a sandbox as a child, it is likely that you have at some point formed something out of the sand (maybe a castle, a car, etc.). Whatever you formed out of the sand was still sand; all you did was give it a particular appearance – a form and a shape, if you will. So it is with the formation of man. As man is formed out of dust, that’s what he is. Notice:
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19).
Again, man is formed of dust and so that is what he is, and it is that to which he returns.
In the summary account of Genesis 1, we find the perfection of man (created in God’s image and likeness) on Day Six, but not man’s original formation, which we find on Day Three (Genesis 2:7). This is made much clearer when we see that scripture uses various and sundry symbols, all extending from the ground, to describe man:
“… (for the tree of the field is man’s life) …” (Deut. 20:19).
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Ps. 1:3).
“The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field” (Is. 40:6).
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit”: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5).
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Pet. 1:24-25).
If you still have doubts about the Day Three formation, let’s return to Genesis 2 and it becomes very plain. Here we find that man is actually formed before even the plants of the field. So it appears that man was actually the first of the things formed on Day Three, formed from “dust.” Now there are some I am sure that will have a problem with the individual scriptural pieces of this puzzle as outlined above, but in the aggregate, there can be no doubt that they fit perfectly. It is obvious that this conclusion is the only rational conclusion you can come up with through the study of the first two chapters of Genesis regarding the origin of man. Without this spiritual foundation, there is, always has been, and always will be, a mass of confusion regarding the apparent contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2. Once again, these are words of spirit; they are NOT literal history. But some will ask, if none of this is literal, then what does it all mean? What is the significance of Day Three vs. Day Six, and what does any of it have to do with spiritual perfection (salvation)? We will deal with all this later on. For now, just keep it in mind, as we are just laying the groundwork for further understanding on the spiritual plane. I will give you a hint, though. It has to do with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Once again, remember, Genesis chapter 1 is a summary, and what is a summary of the creation process without the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Details on this will come later. In the meantime, please feel free to do your own study. You may be shocked at what you find. But in order to have success in your study, you must understand that you won’t find it using “The Great Western Paradigm” (literal history). It is God who reveals truth, and that God is in you (Col. 1:27; Gal. 4:19; 1 Cor. 3:16).
We (you and I) will continue here to methodically dismantle The Great Western Paradigm, and as we do so, we will get a glimpse of how the temple of God is intended to be built ((hint: YOU are that temple – 1 Cor. 3:16), for this temple paradigm is the antithesis of the Tower of Babel that men sought to build in order to reach God. Though their intent was honorable, the language used in their attempt to construct it was not the language of God, and so the endeavor miscarried. As you will see, God’s house is a temple, NOT a tower (and we are that house — Heb. 3:6). Plain and simple, the sons of men wanted to see God, but they did not know how to go about it, and so they failed. There are specific instructions given for the building of the temple, and in order to aptly understand those instructions, we MUST understand the language of scripture – scriptural symbology. This language of God is an “inspired” language, not a literal history, for which no inspiration is requisite or necessary (no apologies for this redundancy – it will, in fact, continue throughout this website).
I’m glad you asked that question. “They who have ears to hear, let them hear.”
The essence of spirituality is to “become like God — to become “God-like.” This is what it means to be “spiritual,” to be the “offspring of God.” As the children of our parents, we eventually matured to be like our parents. When human beings are birthed into the world, we are first an embryo; then we progress to a fetus, then to a baby, a toddler, an adolescent, a teenager, a young adult, and finally, a mature adult. The process of growth and development from one stage to another necessitates patience and time. We were, even as embryos, what our parents were when they birthed us, just undeveloped. Along the way, we were nurtured, instructed and disciplined, all part of the necessary steps in the progression from one stage to the next. At conception, we are a long way from the goal which culminates in mature adulthood. Nevertheless, we are well on our way to that goal and, unless we are somehow shortcircuited, we will eventually get there.
The Bible outlines the steps to SPIRITUAL maturity, which means its study is designed to help us to become Godlike, that is, to understand the process of being created “in the image and likeness” of God, for as Jesus says:
“At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:20).
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8).
And what kind of “fruit” is it that the disciples of Christ will bear?
SPIRITUAL fruit, of course:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-25).
Now let’s look at what the Bible says about its own purpose:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16).
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:20-21).
Conspicuous by its absence in these verses as regards the purpose of the Bible, is any mention of literal history. We will continue here methodically to shatter The Myth of The Great Western Paradigm (the Bible as literal history), and bring to you the true meaning of “Christ IN YOU, your hope of glory.”
Genesis 1 / John 1
John 1 is the New Testament discourse on Genesis 1, and when you understand the SPIRITUAL ramifications, this study becomes truly fascinating.
Both Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 begin with the words “In the beginning.” Both scriptures are referring to the same beginning. When we allow Spirit to remove the blinders from our eyes so we can see, and to remove the stoppers from our ears so that we can hear, the light (pun intended) suddenly becomes dazzling.
The light referred to in Genesis 1:3 is none other than the Christ. Notice:
“… and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light … and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:2-5).
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not … That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:4-5, 9).
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
This is all allegory. Christ is the light that is brought forth on the first day of creation. Natural man, however, doesn’t understand the light (doesn’t “comprehend” it), and so he remains in darkness. Had the light truly dispelled the darkness, there would be no more night, and therefore no separation of day from night. However, natural man (man before his “conversion/perfection”) remains in darkness because he cannot “see” the dazzling light that has been brought to him, and therefore he suffers greatly (more on this later). Though he has eyes, he “cannot see,” and though he has ears, he “cannot hear.”
“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive” (Matt. 13:13-14).