By Janet Lisonbee
“On the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” [Gen. 2:2-3]
I have often wondered whether God really rested after He had created the earth and all things in it. It isn’t logical to me, because after He had created man, it appears His work really got started! He, Himself, stated, “This is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” [Moses 1:39] Is it possible that the account of the creation of the world was an overview of the plan of God and that the seventh day has yet to occur?
Enoch was told that the “day of the Lord” [Moses 6:45] would come in the last days and that the righteous would be gathered unto Zion, “which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.” [vs. 64] It is interesting to note that the Lord included Zion as part of His creations and then the rest comes.
Additionally, Enoch, in the vision, he heard a voice from the bowels of the earth saying,
“Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?” [Moses 7:48]
Enoch wept and cried unto the Lord, saying “When shall the earth rest? [7:58] The next verse records that he saw Jesus Christ ascend to the Father. Enoch cried unto the Lord saying, “Wilt thou not come again upon the earth?” [7:59]
In answer to those two questions, Jesus Christ answered, “As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfill the oath which I have made unto you…and the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened…and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve.” [7:61] “And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years.” [7:65]
If the “seventh day“ has not occurred yet, then we are still in the “sixth day” of creation in God’s plan. John S. Welch also supports this idea. He wrote, “I first turn to the idea that our creation by God, described in Genesis and the Book of Moses, is, in an important sense, still ongoing. By seeing that the earth’s creative cycle has not ended and that we are still in its sixth creative day, we can situate God’s omnipotence in this temporal world.” [BYU Studies, “Why Bad Things Happen at All” June 18, 2007, p. 77] He explained that chapter two of the Book of Moses is an account of a spiritual creation and that chapter three is the account of the physical creation of the world and of Adam and Eve. The Book of Moses continues on into the history of mankind; stopping with the story of Noah. Welch says, “It is significant, however, that the Book of Moses, never describes or mentions day seven a second time. The book ends, not with the completion of humanity and God resting from His labors, but with the commandment to have faith, repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost, an invitation to become perfected and completed in the future…Day seven in the physical creation is yet to come in the millennial or celestial age.” [IBID, pg. 80]
The Sabbath Day or the Day of the Lord, was instituted for two reasons: to commemorate God’s day of rest in regards to the creation and also the redemption of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. “Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.” [Deut. 5:15] It is interesting to note that Paul told the Colossians that the Sabbath Day was a “shadow of things to come.” [Colossians 2:16-17] Hence the Sabbath Day could be designed to be a type and a shadow of the great Millennium where the righteous enter into the rest of the Lord, and the deliverance of the righteous from the “prince of darkness”, for Satan will be bound a thousand years.
The scriptures are clear that the Lord’s rest is to enter into His presence. In the Millennium, the Lord will personally rule and reign. Alma taught that we must repent and do works of righteousness in order that we might enter into the rest of the Lord. The righteous who enter into the rest of the Lord, after this life, are in a state of paradise where they rest from all their sorrow, troubles, and cares. [Alma 40:12] The Millennium is also day of rest from strife, pestilence, war, sickness and sin.
However, the seventh day starts out in darkness. Several scriptural references illustrate this, for example in Joel 2:1-3, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” Amos also recorded, “The day of the Lord is darkness and not light.” [Amos 5:18]
Why would the “day of the Lord” or the Lord’s Day be darkness? It is interesting to note that in the scriptural account of the creation, each segment or “day” was written as “and the evening and the morning was the first day.” [or second or third day, etc.] In other words, the day started at night! This is why the Jews start the new day at sunset. It seems likely that the Lord would be consistent and start His day symbolically and literally with darkness.
There are other instances regarding the Lord’s second coming starting off in darkness. The Lord has likened Himself as the Bridegroom and the Church as the Bride. In the parable of the ten virgins, the Lord states, “And at midnight, was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” [Matthew 25:6] Likewise, Peter declared, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” [2 Peter 3:10]
The scriptures state that the darkness and destruction are a prelude to His actual coming. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” [Joel 2:31] “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty men shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” [Zephaniah 1:14-15]
The Nephites also experienced great darkness and destruction before Jesus actually appeared to them. “And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.” [3 Nephi 8:22] President Ezra Taft Benson stated, “The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming. [Ensign, May 1987]
The righteous Nephites/Lamanites were watching for the darkness that would precede the Lord‘s coming. “The thirty and third year had passed away; and the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.” [3 Nephi 8:2-3] There is no record if there was any preparation for those days of darkness, whether the righteous had gathered to escape the great destructions, whether they stored up food or any other precautions. The Lord did say that the more righteous were spared, however.
All of this darkness and destruction is aimed at the wicked. The earth will be cleansed before the Lord comes to reign. “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay down the haughtiness of the terrible.” [2 Nephi 23:9-11]
Paul, however, counseled the Saints, “For ye yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night… But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” [1 Thessalonians 5:2-6]
Likewise, the Lord told Joseph Smith, “And again, verily I say unto you, the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, and it overtaketh the world as a thief in the night—therefore, gird up your loins, that you may be the children of light, and that day shall not overtake you as a thief.” [D & C 106:4-5]
Just as the light of the morning follows the darkness of the night, so shall the second coming of Jesus Christ. In the Pearl of Great Price, we read: “For as the light of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” [JST Matthew 1:26]
The effect of Jesus Christ’s visit to the Americas was so great that these people lived in a state of happiness for many years. “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envying, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” [4 Nephi 15-16] Imagine how wonderful it will be when Christ reigns for a thousand years! “For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.” [Doc. & Cov. 29:11]
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” [Rev. 20:4-5]
The Sabbath Day should be our day of rest in that we strive to have the Lord’s Spirit with us, that we rest from our temporal labors and concerns, and that we remember the Lord’s great deliverance of our souls from the bondage of sin in preparation for the great Millennium yet to come.
Joseph Smith recorded, “We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things.” [Doctrine and Covenants 77:12]