(Waco TX) Questions Answered on Sabbath Observance--part #4
Unpublished (September, October 1958)
Vol. 13 The Symbolic Code Nos. 11, 12
QUESTIONS ANSWERED ON SABBATH OBSERVANCE PART 4
-- IS THE SABBATH ON SUNDAY? OR ON SATURDAY? ....3
Printed September - October 1958
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"I wish," writes still another Truth-seeker, "you could help me see for sure from the Bible that Sabbath falls on Saturday, and that Christians are required to keep It instead of Sunday."
Every Bible student knows that the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath; that It alone is holy, and commemorative of God's creation (Gen. 2:3). Then, too, the whole civilized world knows that Sunday is the first day of the week, and not a few know that it was originally a pagan festal day in honor of the mythical god of the sun. The fact thus follows that the day preceding it, Saturday, is the seventh day -- the holy Sabbath of creation. Besides, every honest Bible student knows that the Bible neither in the Old nor in the New Testament teaches any Sabbath other than the seventh-day Sabbath.
It must also be remembered that the only part of the Bible that God ever wrote with His own fingers is the ten-commandment law of which the Sabbath is a part (Ex. 31:18). In fact, He Himself not only personally wrote the Decalogue but also personally came down to deliver It to mankind amid the most awful, awesome, and solemn demonstration of all time. (See Exodus 19 and 20.) Think of it! God in person descended to the top of Mount Sinai, spoke the ten precepts of the law, and "ADDED NO MORE." Deut. 5:22.
Who can with eyes and ears opened whole-heartedly turn away from this strictly Heavenly thunder-and-fire-attested, stone-preserved Truth of the Scriptures? Surely you will most seriously consider to what purpose and of what worth are you making to yourself the Lord's special and most celebrated commemorative visitation, solemnizing the giving of His ten Heaven-born precepts of justice and peace, and happiness for all mankind -- the world's oldest, yet greatest, of all documents. What mad folly, indeed, that would do away with It? Has it ever occurred to you that to disregard His own personal handiwork in the Scriptures, is manifestly a thousand times worse than to disregard all the work that was done by the hands of all the prophets and all the apostles? Any wonder, then, that the Devil is working with such hatred and such wrath against it?
In this day of increased knowledge, all this adds up to the stark reality that to attempt to set up another day for the Sabbath is in itself supreme idolatry, blasphemy, and contempt directly against the Most Holy Himself.
In view of these awful considerations of Truth, no better off are those who declare Sabbath to be for the Jew only. They seem utterly to scorn the simple fact that there was no Jew when God created and Himself set the example of Sabbath keeping. The Saviour, too, declared that "the Sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27) -- not merely for the Jew, but for all mankind.
Furthermore, just as God commanded the Jews to keep the Sabbath holy, so He likewise commanded the Gentile, saying:
"Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting It, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger [the Gentile], that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from His people: neither let the eunuch [Gentile] say, Behold I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep My Sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and take hold of My covenant; even unto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger [Gentile], that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one [Jew or Gentile] that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to Him, beside those that are gathered unto Him." Isa. 56:1-8.
And if it must still be argued that the Sabbath is only for the Jews, then so much the more that It must also be for the Christians, because a "born again" (John 3:3) Gentile is no longer a Gentile. His second birth, says the scripture, has caused him to become a Jew, "for...if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:28, 29).
Having thus been cut off from the "wild" (Gentile) olive tree, and having thus been grafted to the "good" (Jewish) olive tree, such a one has become a member of the Jewish eternal family tree, says Romans 11:24; and Christ reaffirms that "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22), and that "unto him [Judah] shall the gathering of the people be." Gen. 49:10. So it is that the Kingdom of Christ is made up of Spirit-born Jews only. Even the name of the eternal capital city -- new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2) -- is compounded of the words Jew-risalem -- Jewish-peace. It, too, therefore, loudly declares that Christ's Kingdom is a Kingdom made up for and of spiritual Jews only.
Moreover, the founders of the Christian church were all Jews by blood. And the thousands of converts that were added to the church on and after the Pentecost -- during the first three and one-half years -- were also all full-blooded Jews, but as they no longer called themselves Jews, but Christians instead (Acts 11:26), they all lost their national identity. So they, and also their brethren, -- the kingdoms of Judah and Israel -- who were dispersed throughout the world were, with the exception of a few Jews, assimilated by the nations, and thus down through the centuries all lost their national and racial identity. (Hos. 3:5). This being so, no Christian and no so-called Gentile really knows for sure whether he is a descendant of the Hebrew tree or of the Gentile tree. God only knows.
Though we are plainly told that the 144,000 guileless servants of God, the first fruits are made up of the twelve tribes of Israel -- first Jacobites after the flesh and second born of the Spirit (Rev. 7:4-8), and that the innumerable great multitude, the second fruits, are made up of all nations (Rev. 7:9) first of both Gentiles and Jews born after the flesh, and second birth after the Spirit, yet God can and will identify them all: "I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know Me:" says the Lord, "behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her." Ps. 87:4, 5.
Thus it is that all through the prophecies which point to this day and age God addresses the church not as Christian or as Gentile, but as Judah, Israel, Zion, Jerusalem and so on. Furthermore, all the covenants and all the promises are made to the descendants of Jacob. Aside from a privilege to join the Jews -- the church -- there is not one promise made to the Gentiles. When a Gentile, therefore, accepts Christ and joins His church, he then becomes a Jew and thus subject to share in the promises to the Jews and to keep the Jewish Sabbath if we must call It such.
You who want to be in Christ's Kingdom whether you be Jew or Gentile in the flesh had better now become full fledged Jews in the Spirit by accepting not only Christ, but also His Holy Sabbath, otherwise you shall certainly find yourselves outside of the City. God forbid "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" (Rev. 22:15) -- all the unrepentant law-breakers since the days of Cain. It will be heart breaking and soul terrifying to find yourselves in a crowd that is doomed to suffer the second death -- eternal death. "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt. 24:51.
As we have now actually come to the time in which the church is to be purified and unified (the tares taken out of it and burned up), the House of God made white and clean, no unrepentant sinner left in it, God beforehand makes it known to His people. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." Amos 3:7. This is the very reason for which this and other companion publications are now announcing that the great and dreadful day of the Lord (the Judgment -- cleansing the temple of God -- Mal. 3:2, 3, 1 Pet. 4:17) is at hand, all of them crying out loud throughout Laodicea, saying:
"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk [present Truth] without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread [not inspired by the Spirit of God]? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me [to Inspiration], and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." Isa. 55:1, 2. (Your soul rather than your bones or flesh, denotes that the food that is offered free of charge is spiritual, not physical. The only literature of revealed Truth ever given away, given without money and without price by millions of copies world over, is this Rod literature. Send your name for our mailing list.
"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi [the ministry], and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." Mal. 3:2, 3.
The scripture implies that their "offering" (labour) heretofore has not been in righteousness, but that after the cleansing it will be in righteousness. "...For there shall be no more any vain vision [false, uninspired] nor flattering divination [no bragging of spiritual achievements] within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God." Ezek. 12:23-25 .
Let us now understandingly listen to God's voice as He presently pleads through Isaiah's long concealed prophecies that are now unsealed for the first time and for our special good, saying:
"Awake, awake; put on thy strength [faith in the Word of God], O Zion [the rulers of the denomination]; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem [the under rulers], the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean [the sinner be put away forever]. Shake thyself from the dust, arise, and sit down [on thy God-given throne], O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck O captive daughter of Zion." Isa. 52:1, 2.
"...the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners [the uncircumcised and the unclean] in the congregation of the righteous." Ps. 1:5.
"And it shall come to pass that he that is left ['the remnant' -- after the sinners are 'cut off from among His people' in that day of cleansing; Judgment -- (Lev. 23:29)] in Zion, and he that remaineth [the 'remnant' derived by the cleansing] in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. [Thus shall it be] When the Lord shall have washed away [cleansed] the filth of the daughters of Zion [the Christian church, the mother of which was the ancient Jewish church], and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And [after this purification takes place then it is that] the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge and for a covert from storm and from rain." Isa. 4:3-6.
Brethren, you cannot afford to miss this future glory now at the eleventh hour -- the last, the Judgment hour.
And as to those who are trying to make the world believe that Christ nailed the Ten Commandments to the cross of Calvary, they are either dishonest in what they say, or else are ignorant of what the Scriptures teach. The Bible teaches that the law is "holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:12); that sin is "the transgression of the Law" (1 John 3:4), that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23), and that men ought to repent of sinning -- repent of breaking the law -- so that Christ by His spilled blood might pay the penalty of their having sinned against the law, and thus make them free from the law. Since the fundamental aim of Christ is to impel men to repent of sinning, of breaking the law, thereby to lift them to the Divine level of morality and keep them free from sinning, it is as absurd as it is blasphemous to conclude that He could even breathe the thought of ever abrogating the law. In fact had Christ destroyed the law, then from that moment onward there could never have been any more sin, and, therefore, never anything more to be forgiven of, and hence never need of Him any more! If this be so, then what a supremely wicked Book the Bible, and what a supremely cruel Being, God! And by contrast, what a hero Satan! O the foolishness of men -- Blasphemy of blasphemies! Truly, therefore, one would have to be another dolt indeed not to see that antinomianism in its every and its least expression is the most dread of Dragon-doctrine, and that it comes from carnal mind, for "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Rom. 8:7.
Since in both Old and the New Testaments, the Bible still forbids (1) having other gods, (2) making images and bowing to them, (3) taking God's name in vain, (4) still demands children having respect for their parents, (5) still condemns killings, (6) committing adultery, (7) stealing, (8) lying, and since finally It still makes positive that (10) to break one of the commandments is to break all of them (James 2:10), the conclusion is therefore sure and inescapable that all the ten commandments of the law are still in force, and that the Bible still demands our keeping them.
Who then could have done away with the law? Certainly not the Lord, not the prophets, and not the apostles, for they all kept and taught the ten-commandment law, and all laid special emphasis on its immutability and therefore irrevocable validity. Then what Dragon talk to say, "The moral law is done away"! Who indeed could honestly look himself in the face while denying that all antinomian devisings are but rationalizing means for dodging Sabbath observance? Of this be assured -- never will Heaven do away with the law which condemns sinning. Only the foolish, the lawless, the crooked, the sin-loving think it out of the way. But just let them be caught stealing or killing, and they will speedily find out then if they do not know now, that the law is still very much in force upon all, be they Jews or Gentiles, professors of religion or professors of atheism. No wonder that these law-hating religionists, the so-called Christians of this day, have no better reputation in society and no better credit in the business world than do the non-Christians. Wonder is that they have any standing at all! What a pity their plight, and what a tragic awakening will one day be theirs.
Let everyone know once for all that the only law which God did do away with is the law of the sacrificial ordinances (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14; Heb. 7:18-25). And He removed this law of sacrifices only because it, the shadow, the type, met its substance and its antitype in Christ's sacrifice of Himself for penitent sinners, and in His heavenly ministration for them, all in vicarious atonement for their sins -- in payment of the death penalty which the moral law imposed upon them for their having broken it. Thus the typical sanctuary with its ceremonial services was, in effect, transferred to the antitypical sanctuary in Heaven, where Christ our everlasting High Priest is now officiating, offering His Own blood, in our behalf. Hence the typical sacrificial law is the only law that was ever removed from earth.
In Paul's time as now there were troublemakers over the law. Especially troublesome were those who held to the rite of circumcision. They had succeeded in confusing some of the Galatians. Whereupon Paul wrote to the latter as follows: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the Truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?...Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing....I would they were even cut off which trouble you." Gal. 3:1-3; 5:1, 2, 12. The apostle Paul you readily note is against the law of circumcision -- the ceremonial law, not the moral law.
That in the foregoing words the Apostle is in no wise teaching the abrogation of the ten commandment law is made evident by His words in the following verses:
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." Gal. 5:19-21.
"(For not the hearers of the law [the ten commandment law] are just before God but the doers of the law shall be justified)." Rom. 2:13.
Then Paul goes on to explain that no one is actually justified by the keeping of the law (the decalogue) itself, but that it points out the sinner's transgression, pronounces his doom, then sends him condemned to Christ His Saviour Who alone, through the merits of His atoning blood which He shed in behalf of all sinners, can forgive him, justify him, then go on to sanctify him. Thus the Apostle writes:
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin [not the forgiveness of it]. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus....Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Rom. 3:20-24, 31.
(The reason that Paul's readers not infrequently encounter difficulty in understanding his epistles is that they read them as books instead of as letters. Hence, all who would understand them now, will keep in view the fact that he wrote them to groups with whom he had previous acquaintance and correspondence, of whose troubles and queries he had previous knowledge. It was in that vein that he wrote to them, so he knew what to say to them, and they well understood what he meant. Consequently, if we are to understand his letters, we must first become conversant with the conditions which called forth the letters. To do this one must, by studying each letter, endeavor to find out what were the recipients' problems that he has tried to solve. Otherwise there can only follow confusion as to what Paul is talking about. Read them in this fashion, and you will discover that they are not so difficult to understand as they seem to be).
And let none deceive you with their gross self-interest -- their vain words, fair speeches, and crooked interpretations. "By grace...through faith (Eph. 2:8), keep the Truth sanctified in your heart, and It will wash you in the blood of Christ, cleanse you and keep you clean, and clothe upon you the robes of His righteousness, -- His glorious character, -- "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." Eph. 5:27. "...if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:10,11.
No one who abides in the love of Christ will ever turn a deaf ear to His Word, whether revealed through Himself, through His apostles, or through His prophets. Such a one cannot possibly lose out, for should he, after being "born again," stumble into sin (not deliberately walk into it), then he has Jesus Christ, his advocate in Heaven, to plead his case, atone for his sin and cleanse him from the guilt of it for ever (1 John 2:1; 1:9).
Accordingly, the salvation of the faithful today as in all ages, has been eternally secured by Christ's sacrifice of Himself for all, in payment of the penalty of death upon all for their transgression of the law of God. This "so great salvation" did He secure, not by making the law valid for one age and void for another! God forbid. He secured it by the atoning blood of Christ for penitent sinners of all ages. "By grace through faith" in the wondrous efficacy of that blood, every penitent, pardoned soul is eternally freed from the condemnation of the broken law. O amazing mercy that leaves no mortal a chance for losing out if he wants to win!
Also seriously consider what wicked discrimination, what destructive confusion, what dreadful injustice;...What kind of a god do most Christians serve! Is it not the god of lawlessness for him to charge the God of love and justice to have demanded from His chosen people perfect obedience to His law and to have commanded the Gentiles entire disobedience to it!
The God of law and order in heaven and earth counsels us to "remember the Sabbath day, to keep It holy" (Ex. 20:8) and also to "remember the Law" which He "commanded unto [Moses] in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments" -- (Mal. 4:4), the law of the ten commandments (Ex. 20:1-17). (For the interpretation of it see chapters 21 to 23.) Inspiration also declares that "by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20); that "sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4); that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23).
If there is no law, then there is no sin, and there should be no death, and therefore no need for either a Bible or a Saviour.
Remember, too, that when the rich young ruler asked what he must do to have eternal life, Jesus' answer was: "Keep the commandments." And His answer today is the same. (See Rev. 22:14) When the ruler inquired which commandments he should keep, the Lord plainly told him: "Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Matt. 19:18, 19.
Here you see that the moral "law" and the "commandment" are synonymous. "Think not," He declared, "that I am come to destroy [or to put away] the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill [the prophecies concerning Me and My work]. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass [and they still stand], one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven....Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the Judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matt. 5:17-19, 21, 22.
"For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make, shall remain before Me saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord." Isa. 66:22, 23.
The prophets (the Old Testament), including Jesus (the New Testament), positively magnify and perpetuate the ten-commandment law, rather than do away with it. The Sabbath is to be kept, they declare, even in the New Earth. The whole "law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:12). David is in rapt Inspiration, too, declares, "Thy law is the Truth...all Thy commandments are Truth." Ps. 119:142, 151. And Paul concludes: "We know that the law is spiritual...." Rom. 7:14. Hence James' all-comprehensive conclusion: "whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.... Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." James 2:10, 19. The unrepentant law breakers, be they devils or humans, are lost forever. "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." 1 John 2:4.
"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Rev. 22:14, 15.
When the Lord was asked: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matt. 22:36-40.
Let us note carefully that the commandments were written by God Himself on two tables of stone. The first one contained the first four commandments -- those which demand love to God -- and the second table contained the last six commandments -- those which demand love to our fellow men. These two tables with their ten precepts -- four on the one and six on the other, the Lord summarizes them in two commandments and declares that they are the great commandments. All of the ten commandments, therefore, are great, there is no distinction between one and the other. So it is that on these commandments hang the law and the prophets -- the whole Bible -- that if these commandments fail then the whole Bible fails, that since the Bible cannot fail neither can the commandments fail, but he who does not repent for having broken them, and does not stop breaking them, will certainly fall to the bottom of the pit.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Eccles. 12:13, 14.
This is what the Bible teaches concerning the ten-commandment law, of which the Sabbath is a part, and this is what a Christian must believe, do, and teach if he expects to have a place in the Kingdom of God.
And now as the Truth on the law, particularly on the Sabbath, is ablaze like the burning bush on Horeb, and as its penetrating light exposes the subtle heresies that are trying everyone's faith to the limit, the voice of Inspiration admonishingly and challengingly asks: "...How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him...." 1 Kings 18:21.
How did Sunday, the first day of the week instead of Saturday, the seventh day, come to be observed as the Sabbath? For your answer, read history, article Sunday.
The fact that every prominent heresy ever taught came through men who were held in high esteem and respect as ministers of God, should in itself be the greatest of eye-openers. Tragic truth that it is, it solemnly adjures us never to lose out of reckoning the grim reality that no mortal on earth can afford to base his faith on another's conviction or reputation, but solely upon his own personal and unbiased examination of purported Truth. Such a one will ever trust for guidance only the Spirit of God Who "searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:10). He is the only one Who leads every God-trusting individual into all Truth (John 14:26; 16:13). There is no other safe course, no, none other that gives that "peace....which passeth all understanding...." Phil. 4:7.
"peace....which passeth all understanding...." Phil. 4:7.
Why are ministers led to devise heresies? -- Because the Enemy of souls knows that the laity, with but few exceptions, depend on the ministers and accept their opinions of freshly revealed truths, instead of trusting implicitly in the Spirit of God to guide them into all Truth through a personal examination of purported revelations. Moreover, never since the dawn of sacred history, has Truth found Itself born in halls of learning or in the minds of the so-called great and wise, but only when and where "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Pet. 1:21. And what is more, what few so-called great ever have come to study unpopular Truth, have been among the very last to embrace It, although among the very first to fight against it and to keep their flocks from It. Hence to remember and to guard vigilantly against this dominant deadly peril is a prime requisite to following Christ and to receiving the "so great salvation" (Heb. 2:3) which He hath wrought for us "by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:26), to satisfy the demands of the broken law (Rom. 8:3, 4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24).
The condemnation which Christ, "The True Witness," last pronounces is against "the angel [the ministry] of the church of the Laodiceans," not against the church itself, and not against the laity. (See Revelation 3:14-18).
Moreover since The True Witness Himself openly declares that they are the ones who feel in need of nothing more, that they are the lukewarm (satisfied and contented in their delusion) and determined to stay poor and blind, thus to be spued out, then what hope is there that they will ever arouse the laity to see and to accept freshly revealed Truth with which to heal the Laodicean malady? None whatever -- no, no more than there was hope for the Jewish laity ever to be enlightened by their priests and rabbis. Hence the inevitability of their trying to confuse God's message and to bar it from reaching their flocks. But Jesus' assures: "I am the good shepherd and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand." John 10:14, 27-29. "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." Luke 12:32.
To know which day God blessed, hallowed and set aside for mankind to keep is indeed commendable, but this knowledge alone is insufficient. To know how to keep It holy, and to really keep It, is of far greater importance. We should, therefore, not neglect to look into it.
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep It holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in It thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath lay, and hallowed It." Ex. 20:8-11.
The word "remember" would not have been included if men were not apt to forget the Sabbath, We are, says Inspiration, to keep holy not a Sabbath, but "the Sabbath." We are to keep It holy because It alone God blessed and hallowed. Now follow the examples of how to keep It holy:
"And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye w.l. seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a Sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in It there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws? See, for that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore He giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day." Ex. 16:22-30.
"And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day." Ex. 35:1-3.
Here, God's unfailing care over His people is demonstrated in type. If there is no food (manna) to be found tomorrow, He sends us a double portion today, and its preservation He makes sure. So it is that by keeping His Sabbath holy we cannot possibly be losing. He Himself in one way or another makes up the deficiency. The type therefore proves that the search for manna (livelihood) on the Sabbath is a wasted and fruitless sport, and that cooking and food preparations should be made on the day before the Sabbath. That needless work, such as building fire for the sole purpose of cooking on the Sabbath day, is prohibited. The type, moreover, shows that the penalty for deliberate Sabbath breaking is death -- the second or eternal death. Sabbath though, should be made pleasant and attractive for the children. Something special will make them love to see the Sabbath hours come in. Find out what would please them best that is within the bounds of Sabbath keeping.
Since if one is passing through a field, a garden or an orchard on the Sabbath day while hungry he may pick food and eat (Matt. 12:1) but not carrying any of it out of the field (Deut. 23:24, 25), and since the sick, human or animal must be watched and cared for on the Sabbath (Luke 14:5), it is understandable that if one is living in the frigid zones, where and when it is cold, he can have artificial means for keeping warm. Building fire for such cause is therefore permissible. Then too, we should remember in our Sabbath keeping program that "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Mark 2:27; that Sabbath keeping brings blessing not a curse, tyranny or poverty; that It brings joy over what God has enabled us to accomplish during the six working days. It enables us to rejoice and to look back upon our deeds and wholeheartedly and honestly be able to say "My work and deeds are faultless, they are very good." God reviewed His creative work on the Sabbath day and rejoiced over it. Then too, six days of honest work should bring all our work up to date rather than leaving part of it for another day -- no true Sabbath keeper is a time killer either.
"If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isa. 58:13, 14.
Thus is the Divine surety that God's Truth-seeking people will not be fooled. They will "let God be true, but every man a liar." Rom. 3:4. They will let no man take the place of the Spirit of God, Who leads into all Truth, for they know that only by using their own God-given reason and personal saving experience will they find their way into the kingdom of God. In short, they know that "though Noah, Daniel, and Job" be in the land, they shall deliver but their own souls...." Ezek. 14:20.
"If the law could be changed, man might have been saved without the sacrifice of Christ; but the fact that it was necessary for Christ to give His life for the fallen race, proves that the law of God will not release the sinner from its claims upon him. It is demonstrated that the wages of sin is death. When Christ died, the destruction of Satan was made certain. But if the law was abolished at the cross, as many claim, then the agony and death of God's dear Son were endured only to give to Satan just what he asked; then the prince of evil triumphed, his charges against the divine government were sustained. The very fact that Christ bore the penalty of Man's transgression, is a mighty argument to all created intelligences, that the law is changeless; that God is righteous, merciful, and self-denying; and that infinite justice and mercy unite in the administration of His government." -- Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 70.