As the sixth day ended, the creation week was not yet complete. One more day and a major blessing remained to be given to mankind to aid it in accomplishing God's purpose for all.
God created the Sabbath by resting on it and sanctified it as a blessing for mankind to observe in a similar fashion. God did not need to rest because He had grown tired, as we humans do (Isaiah 40:28; see Psalm 121:4). He rested as an example to us, showing what we must do on the seventh day, as well as to sanctify it as a special day to accomplish His purposes in creating us.
He did not do this for any other day. The Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments, and as nearly the middle commandment, functions as a bridge between the law's two parts. It is the only one of the ten directly mentioned in the Edenic covenant.
Why has observance of this day fallen into such disrepute? It is not only disregarded by most, but even hated within some circles of the “Christian” world, as if keeping it is a curse. Though many do not necessarily hate it, they make no effort to observe it despite God singling the seventh day out as different from the other six days. The reason for this disregard is that, because it is so vital to our Creator's overall purpose, Satan has gone to great lengths to obscure its value.
Jesus states unequivocally in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” The Sabbath, a special creation, was made for the benefit of mankind. He did not make it only for the Israelites, who did not even exist when He created it. Jesus uses “man” here to stand for all humanity beginning with Adam and Eve. Jesus would certainly understand this, as He was the One who created the day for mankind (Colossians 1:15-19).
God specifically identifies Himself with no other day of the week. In Ezekiel 20:12-24, He specifically calls them “My Sabbaths” six times. He does not refer to them as belonging to Israel but to Himself. He also identifies Himself with those who keep the day, and explicitly establishes non-observance of the Sabbath as sin (Exodus 31:12-17)—and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)!
John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Five)