Our heavenly Father never sleeps. Jesus sees ahead. The Holy Spirit stands beside you with you in this place in your life right now. Nothing sneaks up on God. You experience surprise, I do; God sees it before. Nothing in this week's news surprised Him; nothing tomorrow.
Made in God's Image
God planned the creation of man. He foresaw the result of giving free choice. Some of our decisions would be wrong ones. He made us in His image but gave extreme freedom. We are given moral opportunities. God knows how to educate us about the truths of the universe, and to make space for us to fairly, honestly choose.
We make the choice. We join the team we choose. To know how we can live right in the end of days, we need to know how Adam could live right at the start of days. Let's begin at Genesis, chapter one, verses 26 and 27:
Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
All the creation before this was made made in masses--masses of dirt, water, air, and animals, in herds and flocks. The types are distinct in themselves. But when, all else created, the Creator comes to humans, suddenly there is an enormous break in sequence. That is where we come to man.
Man is unique. In all the Bible, only humans are created in God's image. Man and God share something no animal shares. God is holy; humans can be holy. God rests; humans can rest. Animals take physical rest, but, not made in God's image, they do not participate in moral decision-making. We do. They are incapable of resting spiritually. We are.
It is the highest boast possible to be made in God's image. There are things God apparently designed us to require: air, water, food, an environment with gravity (in a weightless environment astronauts suffer loss of muscle mass, calcium in weight-bearing bones, and suffer changes in fluid pressure in their eyes). But our greatest need is not physical--its spiritual.
God gave a day; a day for the end of days. He foresaw the challenges His created children would face. He engineered an enduring, effective solution. Foreseeing satanic rebellion, he prepared a firewall for us. Remember, He is holy; we are to be holy; He rests; we are to rest. We are the crown of creation; we are moral-capable. In this light, hear not only Genesis 2:1-3 but Exodus 20:8-11:
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
And now, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, in classic King James translation:
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 day, and hallowed it.
God created in the first six days. The climax of His creative work was humanity male and female, the very crown of creation. He rested, blessed, and sanctified. That is, He paused to signal completion because His creation was complete. He blessed the day and infused it with a property like no other day. He sanctified it; He set it part for holy use. Sabbath was made an eternal sign of God our Creator.
Infinite Creator and limited and delicate creatures: distinction between them is crucial. Made in God's image, still, we are but image. But to be in His image is infinitely higher than not to be. We love our furry pets but we are miles and miles and miles higher, echoing divinity, while again, we are infinitely less than divinity.
Sabbath was made by Jesus, because
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:3).
Sabbath is by and from Jesus all the way through. It is the ultimate Jesus day. In that light, we who were made to remember, are called by God to "Remember the sabbath day."
We are not to remember it in a mundane way. We are to remember with purpose--to do something no rock, no insect, no planet, no galaxy, no animal, no other primate can do: keep it holy.
We keep it holy because it is our God's Sabbath day. It is Jesus' Sabbath day. We do not work on the Sabbath day because God created in six days and rested on number seven and commanded us to remember and keep His day in His law. It is the only day holy in the way it is holy. It is His gift to us, His gift of communion for Him and us, a weekly anniversary to remind us in a world of beeping and buzzing and texting and tweeting who we are and who He is.
Effects of Unsabbathing
We mentioned earlier that humans are created to function best according to the parameters of our design. [See paper on "Effects of prolonged weightlessness on human body"]
Surely, likewise, the effects of prolonged unresting, prolonged unkeeping of the Sabbath, are spiritually debilitating. I can't give you a list of results showing exactly how leaving Jesus' Sabbath out of your life will affect you. But if it is a forever part of God's design parameters for human thriving, then not enjoying the blessing of Sabbath will be harmful.
Remember, it is not merely one day in seven we are talking about, but exactly the seventh day in the cycle. It is very particular, occurring between sundown Friday evening and sundown sabbath evening, every week.
Day for the End of Days
Is the Sabbath really this important? Is it sound reasoning to place it in importance right there with air and water and nutrition?
God's Church in the last days comes face to face with extraordinary apostasy. Deep in Daniel seven, it is prophesied that an antichrist power will arise and attempt to change "times and laws" (Daniel 7:25). The seventh day Sabbath is the one part of God's law that has to do with times and laws. It marks the creation every week and thereafter through eternity, the times of keeping the Sabbath. There it stands embedded in God's law. But the little horn power prophesied speaks great words and blasphemies against the Most High. Yes, he is opposed to the one place in God's law where God is pronounced Creator, where the disciple is called to worship Him on that basis. That's the fourth of the Ten Commandments--the Sabbath commandment.
We know that Roman Emperor Constantine imposed the first Sunday worship law in AD 321. Rome had persecuted Christians before, but under Constantine Rome morphed into a pseudo-Christianity. Ellen White describes the change:
The noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world.'--J.A. Wylie, The History of the Reformation, b. 1, ch. 4. The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests. Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God's law the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint. Fraud, avarice, and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could gain wealth or position. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose these dignitaries of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated. For centuries Europe had made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom.
The condition of the world under the Romish power presented a fearful and striking fulfilment of the words of the prophet Hosea: 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee: ... seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.' 'There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.' Hosea 4:6, 1, 2. Such were the results of banishing the word of God (The Great Controversy, pp. 49-50).
Church and state were blended and religious worship was forced. Instead of God's holy Sabbath, the law of Rome made Sunday the day of worship. Keepers of God's true Sabbath were persecuted. But Jesus protected them and they survived. Revelation tells the story.
And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:13-17).
The woman is the Church of Jesus. Satan persecutes her and she is driven into the wilderness but God is protecting her. Satan tries to drown her, but God intervenes so she is not destroyed. Satan is persistent and goes to make war with her and with her offspring, the children or seed of the woman, God's end-time Church. After all the persecution, still the seed of the woman exists. What is it about her that is so striking? She has the testimony of Jesus, and, she keeps the commandments of God.
She is a strong church. Why? She is keeping God's law in His power. She is keeping His commandments. Many churches claim to keep the commandments. But there really is just one commandment they especially do not keep. Which one? The very commandment pointing to God as Creator! The Sabbath commandment. That is a mark of God's end-time people.
Consider this quotation you might have read before:
The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers; and that the Sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God's dear, waiting saints. I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God's chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us. I saw the sword, famine, pestilence, and great confusion in the land. The wicked thought that we had brought the judgments upon them, and they rose up and took council to rid the earth of us, thinking that then the evil would be stayed (Early Writings, p. 33).
Walls might not be too popular today. We are living in the soup of a cultural marxism that intentionally blurs and blends and homogenizes. In that light, for the one of the main teachings of God's Church to be a "separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers" is--what shall we say?--quite triggering! Here, right with the statement about the Sabbath being a separating wall is the affirmation that "the sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God's dear, waiting saints." So you see, that which separates is that which unites. When we are faithful, what we do is both separating and uniting. And that is needed. It's not fog needed now but clarity.
Did you notice also that there are many waiting, who are rescuable? They are in the culture but they are not trapped in the culture. The saints, we, are in the game so to speak, not assimilated, not culturally captive. And we have something to say to these who "have not rejected the light on it [the Sabbath]."
We should not miss this: part of our end-time latter-rain proclamation is very specifically the Sabbath. God's Church goes forth and proclaims the Sabbath "more fully." The proclaimation enrages other churches, and some come out and endure persecution. Then comes even more persecution, and at last, a death decree. Satan is still at war with the Church, and the Church is still strong enough that it stands apart from the culture. Remember that when all around we see such incredible apostasy on the part of the churches.
The leader of the Swedish Church is leading in removal of Christian images from churches and adding Muslim prayer rooms there. A Scottish priest just expressed the vile idea that the four year old British prince would one day "find a nice young man to marry." The fallen churches are joined in the moral cesspool. We, while avoiding any sense of self-righteousness, need to be steady Christians during the emergency and uphold the goodness of God in the midst of this cultural captivity. It's the end-time.
What to Do Now?
What is God calling us to do now? He is calling us to keep His Sabbath holy. We should not buy or sell today, nor randomly imbibe the media of the world. We should be with our family on Sabbath as much as possible. We should be with our fellow believers at church. Today is a special day when we can meet people and share prayers and tracts and booklets and books and Bible studies. Do you know someone that might be open to that today? We are countercultural. That gives people something curious to think about; its a doorway inviting them to think of another way to live.
On Sabbath, just by being ourselves and doing what we regularly do on Sabbath to follow Jesus, we are a living illustration of Jesus' kingdom.
God gave a day; a day for the end of days. He foresaw the challenges His created children would face and engineered an enduring, effective solution. He foresaw satanic rebellion and he prepared a firewall for us. He is holy; we are to be holy; he rests; we are to rest. We are the crown of His creation. His Sabbath is a gift to us.
Chewelah WA SDA 2017-12-02