FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
July 4, 2014
Are We Preparing for the Latter Rain?– Part XXXVII
A Sabbath-Keeping People (conclusion)
To all freedom-loving Americans at heart, Happy July Fourth! This annual American federal holiday isthe official day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom (Great Britain). The original declaration was prepared on July 2 by a Committee of Five, its principal author being Thomas Jefferson, assisted by John Adams, second president of the U.S., and leading advocate of the independence movement. The Continental Congress then debated on it, revised its wording and approved it on July 4. Today we celebrate the 238th Memorial Day of that Declaration of Independence.
Every Bible-believing, God-fearing Christian whose faith is maturing towards abiding trust in God’s Word, should now be celebrating weekly the day commemorating creation by keeping it holy. The first persons who celebrated the first Sabbath with their Creator were the father and mother of mankind in their yet sinless state. Unlike Independence Day and all other man-made memorial days and feast-days, the Sabbath memorial God made for man was declared without debate or revision by the Godhead through Jehovah Creator, Jesus Christ, “the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2: 9.
The Creation account states: “And God said, Let us make man in our image and in our likeness.” Gen. 1: 26. Instead of removing even “one jot or tittle” from the law, the Savior came to “magnify the law and make it honorable.” Isa. 42: 21; Matt. 5:18. This is the law of love that He wrote with His own finger on two separate occasions on two tables of stone and gave them to Moses atop Mount Sinai to give to the people. Sin is the transgression of this law (1 John 3: 4)–the first transgressors on earth being Adam and Eve, in Eden. Gen. 2: 15, 16; 3: 1-24; Rom. 5: 12-21.
Magnify is the untranslated Hebrew gadal, “to make large in various senses, as in body, mind, estate or honor, also in pride; advance, bring up, exceed, excellent; increase, lift up, nourish, promote, tower.”Honorable is the Hebrew adar, “to expand, i.e., be great or magnificent; become glorious, honorable.” Jesus glorified His law in His life and works, in the gospel. Satan, “the enemy of God and man,” hates this law particularly the Law giver (Isa. 33: 22; James 4:12) for it reveals God’s character of love, wisdom, power, mercy, justice, preeminence and authority in heaven and throughout the universe.
Below are familiar examples and instances recorded in the Scriptures of how Jesus magnified the law and made it honorable and glorious, revealing that everything begins in the heart. Rom. 12: 1, 2; 8: 1-8. All external forms of worship are but deceptions if the heart is not sanctified and the mind is not transformed by the renewal of the Holy Spirit. It is still carnal.
This is the sum and substance of therighteousness of the Pharisees—the compromising religion of man which transgresses every principleof God’s law and in its place, glorifies ceremonialism, traditions, man-made religious laws and the religion of Christianized heathenism. This is the religion—not Bible religion or the religion of Christ— that Karl Marx, German economist and Communist political philosopher ridiculed as “the opium of the masses or the people.” Of such nature are all religious laws that in history, and again in the near future, will be legislated and enforced by church-and state powers combined. See Revelation 13 and 17.
Jesus repeated the warning He gave to the prophet centuries before, saying:
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things that defile (or pollute) a man.” Matt. 15: 19, 20.
“You have heard that it was said to them of old. You shall not commit adultery [Exo. 20:13; Deut.5:18]. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman [or man] to lust for her [or him] has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt. 5: 27, 28.
“You have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill [Exo. 20: 13; Deut. 5: 17]; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, That whosoever is angrywith his brother without a [just] 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: 21, 22. The beloved disciple repeated it: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3: 15.
Heart is from the Hebrew leb, meaning, “feeling,” “will,” “intellect”; and the Greek kardia, “thoughts, “feelings.” This is what heart comprehends in the Bible.
The prophet of old declared: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jer. 17:9.
Elijah and the Faithful Messengers and Members of the Remnant Church
See Malachi 4: 5, 6: “The closing words of Malachi are a prophecy regarding the work that should be done preparatory to the first and second advent of Christ.
“Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented as faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah [Greek, Elias] to prepare for the way of Christ’s first advent.Our message must be as direct as was that of John. He rebuked kings for their iniquity. Notwithstanding the peril his life was in, he never allowed truth to languish on his lips.
In this time of well-nigh universal apostasy, God calls upon His messengers to proclaim His law in the spirit and power of Elias [Hebrew Elijah]. As the John the Baptist, preparing a people for Christ’s first advent,called attention to the Ten Commandments, so we are to give, with no uncertain sound, the message: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’ [Rev. 14: 6, 7]. With the earnestness that characterized Elijah the prophet and John the Baptist, we are to strive to prepare the way for Christ’s second advent.
“The hour of God’s judgment has come, and upon the members of His church on earth rests the solemn responsibility of giving warning to those who are standing as it were on the very brink of eternal ruin. All can do something in the work. None will be pronounced guiltless before God unless they have worked earnestly and unselfishly for the salvation of souls. Your duty cannot be shifted upon another. No one but yourself can do your work. If you withhold your light, someone must be left in darkness through your neglect. The Lord has a place for everyone in His great work.” – E. G. White, Faith I Live By (Devotional), p. 290.
A Sabbath-Keeping Church
See Revelation 12: 17: “In the twelfth chapter of Revelation is represented the great conflict between the obedient and the disobedient. The sign of obedience is the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. The Sabbath is a test of this generation. In obeying the fourth commandment in spirit and in truth, men will obey all the precepts of the Decalogue. To fulfill this commandment one must love God supremely, and exercise love toward all the creatures that He has made.
“The time is coming when God’s people feel the hand of persecution because they keep holy the seventh day. . . . .The man of sin, who thought to change times and laws, and who has always oppressed the people of God, will cause laws to be made enforcing the observance of the first day of the week. But God’s people are to stand firm for Him.
“Let no one yield to temptation and become less fervent in his attachment to God’s law because of the contempt placed upon it; for that is the very thing that should make us pray with all our heart, and soul, and voice, ‘It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.’ Psalm 119: 126. Therefore, because of the universal contempt, I will not turn traitor when God will be most glorified and most honored by my loyalty . . . . ‘Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.’ Psalm 119: 127. When the law of God is most derided and brought into the most contempt, then it is time for every true follower of Christ . . .to stand unflinchingly for ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’ [Jude 3].”- Ibid., p. 291.
The Lord of the Sabbath Sanctifies the true Sabbath-Keepers
See Ezekiel 20: 12, 20: “All who regard the Sabbath as a sign [mark, seal] between them and God . . . will represent the principles of His government. They will bring into daily practice the laws of His kingdom. Daily it will be their prayer that the sanctification of the Sabbath may rest upon them.” – Ibid.,My Life Today p. 259.
“God never places before us a requirement without giving us the power to perform it. He never asks us to take one step in advance of Him. [As the Lord of the Sabbath] He leads the way, and we are to follow after. Following Him, we are in no danger of going astray. Thus only can we perfect a Christian character as stewards of the grace of God.
“To us has been entrusted the truths of the gospel for this time [present truth]. It is a wonderful, wonderful treasure, and the Lord desires us to have our eyes enlightened and our hearts quickened. He desires us to be nerved and strengthened by the power He will give us if we will only be true to Him. . . .Those who have access to the words written in the Scripture are without excuse if they do not thus cleanse their hearts from sin. By the lights shining from the throne of God upon our pathway, we shall be judged at the last great day.”- Ibid, Upward Look, p. 159.
HOW TO KEEP THE SABBATH DAY WITHOUT POLLUTING IT
The literal day in the Bible is 24 hours, divided into “evening and morning.” Each day begins with the dark part. The Creator ordained it so on the first day of creation. The sun, moon and starts were created on the fourth day. Genesis 1, 2. Thus the holy Sabbath hours begin at sundown Friday, called the Preparation Day (John 19:31, 42) and ends sunset of Saturday. These are the edges of the Sabbath. Many Sabbath keepers are sadly Sabbath polluters as well. See Isa. 56: 2, 6. Here’s how: First, this admonition:
“We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time. Before the setting of the sun let the members of the family assemble to read God’s word, to sing and pray.”- E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 356.
“Are you as careful as you should in keeping the Sabbath? You have something to do besides laying aside your work and amusements on that day. If you, on that day, lay plans of what you will do when the Sabbath is past, or talk of your work, amusements and clothes, you pollute [defile] the Sabbath. [But] when you are speaking of your hope in God, of Jesus and His soon coming, and of the beauties of the new earth, you are not speaking your words.
Of these things you may speak freely on the Sabbath. On six days you may talk business matters, and lay plans that are necessary; but the Sabbath is holy time, all worldly thoughts must, on that day, be dismissed from the mind. The [Sabbath] blessing of God will then rest upon you, and you will have the sweet consolations of His Spirit, and you will also have confidence when you approach the throne of grace [Heb. 4:16].“- Ibid, Youth’s Instructor, Feb. 15, 1853.
“We should not provide for the Sabbath a more liberal supply or a greater variety of food than for the other days. Instead of this the food should be more simple, and less should be eaten, in order that the mind may be clear and vigorous to comprehend spiritual things. Overeating befogs the brain. The most precious words may be heard but not appreciated, because the mind is confused by an improper diet. By overeating on the Sabbath, many have done more than they think to dishonor God.” –Ibid, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 357.
These are areas where the Holy-Spirit empowered work of Sabbath reform is to quickly take place among the ranks of those already observing the right day. It’s getting late now. Habits are forming into characters. Where are the antitypical Elijahs and John the Baptists to give these unpopular but vital warning messages as part of the preparation for the coming final Sabbath test, receiving the latter rain and the seal of God in the forehead, proclaiming the final loud cry of Revelation 18, the close of probation, and meeting Christ in peace when He comes in the clouds of glory?