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(#3 5980) God's Concept of Time - Shalom & Shabbat


FIRST POSTED ON 1 & 15 AUGUST 2018.

Shalom Aleichem and welcome to my Shabbat blog!

In this session, I want to talk a bit about how what God wants to say to us today - His Rhema for us in this Kairos moment - can be discerned from His Word when we approach it through the perspective of the 7 Days of Creation.

Now, in order to understand why God used the 7 Days of Creation to speak His Rhema to us from the Bible in His Kairos, we first need to understand how God sees Time.

In the spiritual realm, there is no time. What we see happening on earth - whether in the past, present or future - have all reached completion and are finished. There is no beginning and no end - you could say that all is one and done. Moreover, everything is perfect and at rest. Only God can bring about this perfect unity, because it is an expression of His perfect, complete and finished will.

The Hebrew word that describes this perfect finished state is Shalom. Now, many of us probably associate Shalom with the word “peace.” While Shalom does mean peace, it carries a much greater connotation and speaks also of completeness or wholeness, health and welfare, safety and soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. In short, Shalom is the one word that sums up what it means to be in heaven.

I want to mention two other Hebrew words that are related to the word Shalom. The first is Shelem, which means to pay for, while the other is Shulam, which means to be fully paid. Through these words, God reveals to us that the Shalom of heaven comes with a price. Someone had to pay for our peace, and this was none other than God’s only Son and the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

God gave us Time when He created the Heavens and the Earth. Time is always moving forwards and never stops. It is also temporary - we “run out of time” when we die, and time itself will finally run out when the world ends.

Now, since we live in time, how are we to visualise what eternity and God’s eternal will is like? This spiritual realm where time does not exist and where everything has already reached the state of Shalom completion, perfection and rest? We are like fish trying to imagine what it is like to live on land.

The answer is that we must view eternity - this “forever and ever” - not like an endless straight line but as a cycle, reflecting the nature of eternity which is more like a circle where there is no beginning and no end, where everything is one and done in God and at rest.

This was why God gave us the 7 Days of Creation, this weekly cycle that ends on the Seventh - or Sabbath - Day when God rested. He also gave us the monthly and annual cycles, and what we call the Sabbatical and Jubilee year cycles.

You will notice that each of these cycles follow a pattern of 7 and is connected to the idea of Sabbath - denoting completion, perfection, and rest. The Hebrew word for Sabbath, Shabbat comes from the root word Shin-Beit-Tav, which means “to cease, to end, to rest,” because in Genesis 2:1-3, we were told that after God completed or perfected His work of Creation on the sixth day, He ceased or ended from His work of creating and rested on the seventh [or Sabbath] day.

So besides this weekly Sabbath or Seventh day, we have what we call the 7 annual High Sabbaths - connected to 7 Jewish festivals that God commands Israel to celebrate over 7 months every year - the 7th or Sabbatical year, and 7th by 7th or Jubilee or Sabbatical of Sabbaticals year. We will learn more about their significance next time.

The Jews greet one another Shabbat Shalom, which means wishing you Sabbath peace, when they meet on the Sabbath. This simple greeting actually carries a very profound message, now that we realise that the 7 Days of Creation is God’s means for us to see His eternal will at work on this side of time and history. It tells us that, just as in the original Creation Account, there is a future Sabbath or Shabbat when this world will enter into God’s eternal Shalom. We will talk more about this next time but for now, Shabbat Shalom until we meet again here!

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