Keep On Truckin’

keep going

How many remember the bumper stickers or tee shirts of the image above from the 1970s?

Over the past few weeks I have been pondering a passage out of Genesis 8 again. I think I may have written on this in the past but I wanted to write something fresh on the subject.

Lets look at the passage again:

Genesis 8:22

While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.

There is commentary from several different Sages of Israel on this passage, this blog is not intended to get into those and I recommend studying the Sages comments with a learned Jewish teacher.

The main teaching that is derived from this passage is that the non-Jews, Gentiles, Noahide nations or what ever title that fits a person from the nations, is not given or commanded any form of a ritual Sabbath.

I will be honest, as one who has returned to the ancient path of walking with my Creator, I struggled over the teachings from the Sages of Israel pertaining this passage. But on the other hand, my six plus years of Jewish studies taught me to not jump into my own conclusions, give it some time and I will see what the Sages saw.

We of the nations need to learn to study the Torah as the Jewish people have for 3300 years. We cannot approach the Torah with a western, Roman, Greek mind-set or use study skills from those areas.

The rest of this blog will be delving into several points learned from this passage that explains the basic duties of the non-Jewish part of humanity.

I want to begin with something I have seen across the board with many who start walking the Noahide path or Genesis Walk as David Ben Shual has coined.

I have been involved in many Noahide Facebook groups and have read more questions about Sabbath, kosher and sacred times than I have about the 7 commandments. To be honest that disturbs me.

Seeing what the Sages saw:

As I have said in the past, the English language hides so much when the Hebrew is translated into it. So many derive wrong conclusions and make wrong decisions based on translation. Returning to the original language teaches way more than any translation can do.

Examining Genesis 8:22 in the Hebrew reveals a treasure – it is found in the last word,  matter of fact the last two words. The last word in English is ‘cease’, In the Hebrew, we find the word ‘Shabbat’ or Sabbath – the last two Hebrew words we find ‘no Sabbath’

Let me explain, many do not have proper Hebrew/Jewish knowledge of the word Shabbat/Sabbath. They see it as a day of rest from their jobs, some like the church I grew up in, the 7th day Sabbath was a church day; among others they tie the word Sabbath to any day of the week that they do not work or go to church or hold some kind of religious worship. They do not have an educated knowledge of what Shabbat/Sabbath really is according to the God and the Hebrew Scriptures.

Understanding what the Shabbat/Sabbath is according to the Hebrew Scripture is a key to understanding what the Sages teach on Genesis 8:22.

Diving into what Shabbat is.

The word Shabbat means to cease or stop – but the word translated as ‘work’ does not tell the whole story. So what was it that God stopped doing in Genesis 2 on the seventh day and what did God command Israel not to do on the seventh day?

The word that is translated as work in the English of Genesis 2 has a more literal definition of ‘creative activity’ or any actions that involves the creative process, down to its simplest form – like writing a letter or even to letters together that forms a word, they both were created from nothing to something that was not there before.

What God stopped on the 7th day was all His creative actions, furthermore, His command to Israel, was for them to do the same, they are to cease all creative activities on the 7th day . The Sabbath of the Torah is not a day of sleeping in, taking it easy or just a day off from the job. For Israel, it is a very busy day of service to God; for at least 25 hours the Jews are disconnected from this world, they refrain from all activities that involve any creative act so they can focus on the service of God found in prayer, study of Torah and other spiritual duties that does not involve any creative actions.

With what we have now learned about what Shabbat truly means, lets look at Genesis 8:22 again.

While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.

The verse in its plain simple teaching we find that the actions of the earth will not stop as long as it is here. Looking into the passage through Jewish hermeneutics, we see why the nations are not given a Sabbath like Israel.

From the time of Noah we are told to settle the earth, Genesis 8:22 shows us that our settling the earth is not to cease or stop – the words, seed time and harvest is key to understanding this. Everyday we are to use creative activities to carry on the work of the earth, the work of mankind to maintain the work of the Garden. Even during the seasons we are to use creative works to live when it is cold, hot, day or night.

This does not mean we cannot stop and rest or take time to enjoy the earth in which we are given – it just means we have not been given a ritual time of ceasing  all creative activities – we are to continue 7 days a week using all the creative actions given us to fulfill our part of creation.

The deeper understanding of Genesis 8:22, teaches that those of us born among the non-Jewish nations are to “Keep On Truckin’ ” 7 days a week, that is our Divine Duty.

Terry W. Hayes

Photo Credit: Internet

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