Tracing the theme of rest

Sabbath Rest for the People of God
By Graeme Goldsworthy
Authentic Media. 143 pages. £9.99
ISBN 978 1 788 930 277

Graeme Goldsworthy is a wonderful exponent of biblical theology. His forensic attention to detail coupled with his ability to show people the rich tapestry of inter-weaving biblical ideas makes all his writing valuable and interesting.

Homeward Bound is certainly in this vein. It is a very accessible, thorough and masterful exploration of Sabbath in its fullest sense. This book is not about what can and cannot be done on a Sunday (or a Saturday) which is what I had expected as I began to read. It is in fact a tracing of the theme of Sabbath, running from Creation to New Creation. A theme bigger, fuller and more central than we would think.

To explore this idea of Sabbath the author takes the reader on a journey through Scripture, showing that this key biblical idea extends well beyond taking one day off a week. In fact for Goldsworthy Sabbath is primarily an eschatological event rather than a temporal observance. It is only in the New Jerusalem, the eternal city, that humans will finally be home and finally be at rest. This whole journey centres on the completed gospel work of Jesus Christ who secures this rest, and then the second coming of Christ that ushers in this consummated eternal rest.

This is by no means a dry academic thesis. This book at times seems to be going in a slightly tangential direction but for the one who perseveres everything is tied neatly together by the end. Within its rich gleanings it is very pastoral and fills the reader with a deep sense of both longing and excitement instilled by Goldsworthy’s efforts to see Sabbath writ large across the pages of Scripture. In a restless, relentless world this book is a good tonic. In a world where there is a vain ‘quest for rest’, this book continuously lifts the believer’s eyes above the tumult to the promised rest to come.

This is an interesting book for anyone wanting to explore the theme of rest in the Bible as well as being a useful book to stretch people in the discipline of Biblical Theology.

Jonathan Gemmell, Director of Conferences
and Resources at the Proclamation Trust