(Waco TX) Faith and Work Bring Rest
Published April 1956
Vol. 11 The Symbolic Code No. 6
Vol. 11 No. 6
FAITH AND WORK BRING REST
Printed April, 1956
This publication is dedicated to the mission of conveying to Davidian present truth believers, edifying news and articles of timely significance. This comforter freely gives its time to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, and neither collects fees nor charges for its service.
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THE SYMBOLIC CODE
Mt. Carmel Center Waco, Texas
(The sermon selected for this issue of The Symbolic Code was delivered by Brother V.T. Houteff March 31, 1934 and again on June 16 of the same year. Thus we can see that double emphasis was given this subject pertaining to the faith and action needed to permit us to enter into our "rest." Obviously, this study was not to be lightly received but rather to be taken to heart by all Davidians. Also the very fact that it is now when the Kingdom is at hand, once again being called to our attention, only serves to underline the contents of this message as containing valuable "meat in due season" that we, as a people, are very much in need of. May these needs now be fully supplied as we carefully and prayerfully study this message and may evidence of our profiting by it be manifested in our lives by a great and all-encompassing exercise of simple faith in God's wonderful and sure promises to us resulting in forward moving action with present Truth.)
PRAYER THOUGHT: "Elijah had thought that he alone in Israel was a worshiper of the true God. But He who reads the hearts of all, revealed to the prophet that there were many others who through the long years of apostasy, had remained true to Him. 'I have left Me,' God said, 'seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.'
"If, under trying circumstances, men of spiritual power, pressed beyond measure, become discouraged and desponding; if at times they see nothing desirable in life, that they should choose it, this is nothing strange or new. Let all such remember that one of the mightiest of the prophets fled for his life before the rage of an infuriated woman. A fugitive, weary and travel-worn, bitter disappointment crushing his spirits, he asked that he might die. But it was when hope was gone, and his life-work seemed threatened with defeat, that he learned one of the most precious lessons of his life. In the hour of his greatest weakness he learned the need and the possibility of trusting God under circumstances the most forbidding.
"Those who, while spending their life energies in self-sacrificing labor, are tempted to give way to despondency and distrust, may gather courage from the experience of Elijah. God's watchful care, His love, His power, are especially manifest in behalf of His servants whose zeal is misunderstood or unappreciated, whose counsels and reproofs are slighted, and whose efforts toward reform are repaid with hatred and opposition.
"It is at the time of greatest weakness that Satan assails the soul with the fiercest temptations. It was thus that he hoped to prevail over the Son of God; for by this policy he had gained many victories over man. When the will-power weakened and faith failed, then those who had stood long and valiantly for the right, yielded to temptation. Moses, wearied with forty years of wandering and unbelief, lost for a moment his hold on Infinite Power. He failed just on the borders of the promised land. So with Elijah. He who had maintained his trust in Jehovah during the years of drought and famine; he who had stood undaunted before Ahab; he who throughout that trying day on Carmel had stood before the whole nation of Israel the sole witness to the true God, in a moment of weariness allowed the fear of death to overcome his faith in God.
"And so it is to-day. When we are encompassed with doubt, perplexed by circumstances, or afflicted by poverty or distress, Satan seeks to shake our confidence in Jehovah. It is then that he arrays before us our mistakes, and tempts us to distrust God, to question His love. He hopes to discourage the soul, and break our hold on God.
"Those who, standing in the forefront of the conflict, are impelled by the Holy Spirit to do a special work, will frequently feel a reaction when the pressure is removed. Despondency may shake the most heroic faith, and weaken the most steadfast will. But God understands, and He still pities and loves. He reads the motives and the purposes of the heart. To wait patiently, to trust when everything looks dark, is the lesson that the leaders in God's work need to learn. Heaven will not fail them in their day of adversity. Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible than the soul that feels its nothingness, and relies wholly on God.
"Not alone for men in positions of large responsibility is the lesson of Elijah's experience in learning anew how to trust God in the hour of trial. He who was Elijah's strength is strong to uphold every struggling child of His, no matter how weak. Of every one He expects loyalty, and to every one He grants power according to the need. In his own strength man is strengthless; but in the might of God he may be strong to overcome evil and to help others to overcome. Satan can never gain advantage of him who makes God his defense. 'Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.'
"Fellow Christian, Satan knows your weakness; therefore cling to Jesus. Abiding in God's love, you may stand every test. The righteousness of Christ alone can give you power to stem the tide of evil that is sweeping over the world. Bring faith into your experience. Faith lightens every burden, relieves every weariness. Providences that are now mysterious you may solve by continued trust in God. Walk by faith in the path He marks out. Trials will come; but go forward. This will strengthen your faith, and fit you for service. The records of sacred history are written, not merely that we may read and wonder, but that the same faith which wrought in God's servants of old may work in us. In no less marked manner will the Lord work now, wherever there hearts of faith to be channels of His power.
"In the vision of the prophet Ezekiel there was the appearance of a hand beneath the wings of the cherubim. This is to teach God's servants that it is divine power that gives success. Those whom God employs as His messengers are not to feel that His work is dependent on them. Finite beings are not left to carry this burden of responsibility. He who slumbers not, who is continually at work for the accomplishment of His designs, will carry forward His work. He will thwart the purposes of wicked men, and will bring to confusion the counsels of those who plot mischief against His people. He who is the King, the Lord of hosts, sitteth between the cherubim; and amidst the strife and tumult of nations, He guards His children still. When the strongholds of kings shall he overthrown, when the arrows of wrath shall strike through the hearts of His enemies, His people will be safe in His hands." -- Prophets and Kings, chapter 13, excerpts only.
The subject for today is taken from
Heb. 4:1-11 -- "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard It. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all His works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day.
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."
In Heb. 4:9 Paul tells us that there remaineth a rest and that to the people of God.
Heb. 4:2 -- "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."
The "them" in this verse refers to ancient Israel, and "us" refers to those of the Christian church or to God's people in the Christian dispensation.
A rest was promised to ancient Israel but because of unbelief they failed to receive it. This rest could not be the Sabbath, for they not only received the Sabbath institution but were also promised the rest that Paul speaks of. Nor could the rest be merely peace with God. It is something more.
"Joshua" (Heb. 4:8, margin) led ancient Israel into the promised land, but they did not receive the rest. Neither did God's people in Paul's time have it. Nor do they have it today.
"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." Heb. 4:9.
If we are the people with the last message, then we must be the ones who are to be among the first to enter into that rest. Since rest comes when one's work is done, it is only when we have done our work that we can have rest. What is our work? the work we must perform before we may have rest?
In verse 4 of this chapter Paul refers back to the time of creation. We shall therefore turn our attention now briefly to Genesis 1 which is a record of creation as you well know. There we are told that the earth and all that is in it was created in six days, and that God rested the seventh day. God rested on the seventh day, and Adam took part in the celebration or commemoration of the completion of God's work. Adam could not rest, for he had not worked. He could only keep the day holy as a memorial of the completion of God's work.
Gen. 1:27, 28 -- "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
This was the work God gave man to do. He created the earth to be inhabited. It was the duty of Adam and Eve to replenish the earth with saints and to bare rule over all the earth. Obviously this work has not yet been finished, for not all on earth is yet under subjection to man as God intended. The earth was originally created and provided with righteous people, but because Adam sinned all his children were born in sin. Had our first parents been faithful there would have been only righteous inhabitants. Since all born of Adam are sinners, there is therefore need for all to be born again. Then because sin entered all man's work is multiplied, for the additional labor to bring salvation by preaching the Word became necessary.
Gen. 3:16,17 -- "Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life."
God here greatly multiplied sorrow and conception. Woman-kind, because of sin, had to give birth to many more children than otherwise she would have had sin not entered. So, then, we see that the complete number that God wanted to inhabit the earth would of course have been made up sooner had Adam and Eve not sinned.
God rested the seventh day because His creative work was finished, but man's work was not yet done. Man's work in reality started where God's sole creative work ended. Therefore, man joins the Lord in resting on the Sabbath day in commemoration of the completion of the Lord's work, but the rest that is to be man's will be given him when his part of the work is finished. When the gospel work has replenished the earth with born-again people, then probation will cease and our work will be ended. Then will we enter into our rest, the rest Paul is speaking about.
The earth today (including the dead) is perhaps inhabited with the number God had intended should inherit the earth. But when all those who will not be saved are eliminated, the complete number may not yet be made up, nor is the gospel work finished. Regardless how great the world's population may be, if the people are not saved the earth is still empty in God's sight.
Adam was to carry on his work of replenishing the earth with saints (which is in reality an extension of creation itself) with the aid of the Trinity. It was the Word which wrought creation in the beginning and it is the Word that is to finish the work of the earth. The Word is nothing more or less than the Trinity speaking to us. God's commission to man joins him to the Trinity and shows that God wants us to be colaborers with Him. Man the mouthpiece, and the Bible the Word. Here we can see that God gave man a very great part in the work of creation, and He has given us His Spirit to aid us in doing it.
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come." Luke 10:1. The disciples were sent to every place wherever Christ Himself would come, showing that they would have Christ at their side while they were doing their work.
"And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me." Matt. 28:9, 10. All God required of His laborers was that they speak the Word.
"And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matt. 24:14. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matt. 28:19, 20. This commission extends down to us in the end of time; likewise also does the promise that He will ever be with us to aid us in our work. Yes, all God requires of us is to speak the Word, and He has pledged Himself to be with us to aid us.
Man was commanded to replenish the earth, to bring forth children. He was to teach his children and convert them as soon as they have sufficient knowledge; and he was to wipe out wickedness. Wicked men do not perish forever from the earth until after the gospel has been preached. There is then a lesson in this that we should not fail to see; namely, that the slower you work in God's service, the greater the sorrow. If the church had been faithful, much labor and means could have been saved. Therefore many others have to be brought into the world to take the place of those lost.
The Trumpets chart proves that man is to replenish the earth with righteous people only, for it was Noah's preaching that brought the flood which saved the righteous and destroyed the wicked antediluvians. It was the church's going out of Egypt that sank the Egyptian host in the Red Sea. And it is given to those who are to proclaim the gospel now to gather in the saints and wipe out all the wicked.
"The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of His inheritance: the Lord of hosts is His name. Thou art My battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; and with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider; with thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid; I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers." Jer. 51:19-23. God will accomplish all this by His church. Here we see that all the wicked are to be broken in pieces, and it is the work of the church that is to accomplish it. God's whole purpose is two-fold: to bring forth and to put aside; that is, to save the just and to put aside the wicked.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." Gen. 1:1-5.
There was light before the fourth day when the sun and the moon were created. Light was the first to be created. At this point it is interesting to notice how the days of creation and the seven trumpets somewhat coincide: (1) First day -- Spirit moved upon waters and light was created; First trumpet -- hail (water) and fire cast upon the earth representing the Truth preached by Noah to enlighten the people to escape the destruction by flood. (2) Second day -- waters divided by the firmament; Second trumpet -- affected the "sea." (3) Third day -- sea and earth divided and vegetation created; Third trumpet -- Star fell into waters. (4) Fourth day -- sun, moon, and stars created; Fourth trumpet -- sun, moon, and stars smitten. (5) Fifth day -- fowl created; Fifth trumpet -- concerned locusts having wings. (6) Sixth day -- beast and man were created; Sixth trumpet -- concerned horses and men, and it is in the sixth trumpet that God's Kingdom is to be restored and man is to fill the place that was intended that he should fill. (7) Seventh day -- rested; Seventh trumpet -- Mystery of God finished.
God finished His work on the sixth day of creation, and man will finish his part of the work in the sixth trumpet. Just as God rested from His work on the seventh day, so man, in the seventh trumpet at the close of probation when the gospel work is finished, will receive the rest of which Paul spoke. By this we see that it took God six days to do His work and it is taking man 6,000 years to do his. Then comes the millennium. All God's people are to keep the seventh-day Sabbath in commemoration of the completion of God's work before they will receive the rest which they themselves have earned. To enter into their rest, however, requires faith and belief which our forefathers did not possess.
Heb. 4:1 -- "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. "
It is for God's people today to have not just the promise of rest but it is for them to experience it in reality.
Heb. 4:2 -- "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."
At this time, the time in which the prophets longed to live, the gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached even more fully than it was to the early Christians. But it still will require faith and belief on the part of all who would enter into that rest. Those who do not now possess more faith and belief than our forefathers who could not enter because of their unbelief, will not be profited either.
Heb. 4:6, 7 -- "Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, He limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
The time is limited to a certain day "in David" -- the time Israel and Judah are gathered in -- "to day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
Heb. 4:8, 9 -- "For if Jesus had given them rest, then would He not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."
After the close of probation God is to make a memorial forever affirming that we have finished our work. The Sabbath points forward then to the rest which we may enter into forever when we have finished our work as God finished His.
Heb. 4:9-11 -- "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."
Are you growing daily in faith? Do you see that the just shall live by faith? If you are sure that you have sufficient faith, are you mixing it also with corresponding works? Are you doing all you can to help replenish the earth with saints? Brethren, these questions are solemn ones, especially when one contemplates the thought that the only way we can really rejoice in God's creation is to have a part in it. It was for this very reason borne of God's everlasting love for man that caused Him to grant to man so great a part in establishing the world after His righteous order, and the Lord has given us in this day an accurate and reliable blueprint in His eleventh-hour message so that none of us need err in knowing how great a privilege we have to be a true witness for Him in word, deed, and action. Let us not, therefore put off the work and thus prolong the world's sorrow and suffering, but let each of us be among those who shall fulfill the purpose for which we were created -- to verily help bring about complete and true "rest," an everlasting joy. God has faithful ones who will do it. Will you be one of them?