Jesus is also our Sabbath rest, having rested from His labors in the tomb on the Old Covenant Sabbath. He is the Redeemer who cried out “It is finished” (John 19:21) so that we would be assured that He is the one who can give us “rest for our souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). He rose on the first day of the week–ushering in the New Covenant Sabbath, the foretaste of the eternal Sabbath rest with have by faith in Him.
For those who have decided to go back to Genesis at the beginning of 2018 as you restart your Bible reading plan, here are a few theological themes that emerge when we meditate on the opening two chapters of the Bible in light of the fullness of biblical revelation:
A Theology of Creation and New Creation
“The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” These are some of the very first words in Scripture. With each creative word, the Holy Spirit was animating what the Father had ordained and the Son had spoken into existence. The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit is the life-producing agent of the Godhead. The Psalmist says, “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth” (Ps. 104:30). The importance of the Spirit’s role in creation is understood as we consider His role in the work of the new creation.
When God destroyed the world with floodwaters, He covered the world with the waters that He had once separated when He created the world. This was covenant reversal. Instead of blessings coming from the divided waters, there was curse with the overflowing waters. Judgment and curse came from the same waters from which life and blessing had once emerged. When God had mercy on Noah and those with him in the Ark, He sent a strong wind to blow across the face of the waters. The Hebrew word for “wind” and ” Spirit” are one and the same–or, at least, have the same root. There is an intentional relation of the wind and the Spirit by our Lord Jesus in His regeneration discourse with Nicodemus in John 3.
The next typical act of re-creation (or new creation) in Scripture is the Exodus. When God brings Israel through the waters of the Red Sea, this great typical act of redemption in the OT is linked to the creation account. God caused the waters to blow back by a strong wind. In the same way as the waters were parted at creation, so they were parted at the Exodus. Then, dry land appeared. The Holy Spirit was effecting this typical new creation. Israel coming through the Red Sea, and their enemies being destroyed in the waters (as God’s enemies had been destroyed in the flood water) was a picture of death and resurrection. There were to come through the waters and be a new people to the Lord God.
In the fullness of time, the Angel Gabriel came to the virgin Mary and told her, “the Holy Spirit…will overshadow you.” As He hovered over the waters at creation, the flood, the exodus, so now He would come over the womb of the virgin and begin the work of bringing about the new creation through the incarnate Christ. As Sinclair Ferguson explained, “God brings light out of darkness. He brings His Son into the dark womb of a virgin.”
The Spirit who was present and active at Christ’s conception as the head of the new creation, by whom He was anointed at baptism (John 1:32-34), who directed Him throughout His temptations (Matthew 4:1), empowered Him in His miracles (Luke 11:20), energized Him in His sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14), and vindicated Him in His resurrection (1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 1:4), now indwells disciples in this specific identity.
Once Christ had finished the work of redemption–the securing of the new creation–through His death and resurrection, He ascended to heaven in order to pour out His Spirit on His people. The Apostle Paul draws together this most important truth when he writes, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, that He might redeem those who were under the Law so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father” (Gal. 4:4-6)!