Historical Revelations: History and the Lunar Sabbaths

HISTORICAL REVELATIONS

It is written in the law of Moses how to deal with a matter.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Throughout the New Testament, this law is reaffirmed over five times. Christ Himself endorsed the very Scripture, and said it was how the brethren ought to conduct themselves amongst each other.

What is the charge that needs witnesses? It is claiming that weekly cycle changes were made in history. However, to sustain that theory using only a few critical scholarly quotes from the last 150 years is the only basis which the Lunar Sabbatarian has. This study will not go into any particular depth regarding what the Lunar Sabbath theory is, but rather the historical objections that are clearly raised in the matter. We want to go deeper and further than 150 years and prove the truth of these matters for everyone to see. Before we go into the ancient history that shows the truth regarding the Seventh day Sabbath, let’s look at one of their quotes they use to prove their “history” of the week.

The 1943 Universal Jewish Encyclopedia volume 10 page 482, under the article “Week”, describing how they believe the seven day weekly cycle began, we read:

“WEEK” (in Hebrew shavua). The idea of the week, as a subdivision of the month, seems to have arisen in Babylonia, where each lunar month was divided into four parts, corresponding to the four phases of the moon. The first week of each month began with the new moon, so that, as the lunar month was one or two days more than four periods of seven days, these additional days were not reckoned at all. Every seventh day (sabbatum) was regarded as an unlucky day. This method of reckoning time spread westward through Syria and Palestine, and was adopted by the Israelites, probably after they settled in Palestine. With the development of the importance of the Sabbath as a day of consecration and emphasis laid upon the significant number seven, the week became more and more divorced from its lunar connection, so that by the time of the second Temple it was merely a period of seven days and no longer depended on the new moon. From Judaism the week passed over to Christianity, and through the influence of the later was generally adopted throughout the Roman empire;”
There are too many problems with the above statement to address them all, but it is a statement of history that comes from the very heart of Babylonian confusion. It is true that Babylon did have a reckoning of the week that was just like this, but regarding truth, that is about all that is true in the above quote. They say it is from Babylon that the Israelites adopted the weekly cycle, and then, even before the time Christ came (who observed and recognized the Sabbath as the other Jews did in the second Temple, see Luke 13:10-16), they forsook that method of reckoning the Sabbath. Thus when Christ came, He observed THE WRONG SABBATH. Wrong piece of “history” to use. We could look at their other claims to history and similar contradictions will appear, but instead, let’s not look to the false, but look to what history testifies they were observing. If it was a lunar Sabbath, surely there is history to sustain it, but if otherwise, there should be sufficient evidence to sustain that position also.

Now, these are historical sources, and while we do not necessarily uphold the particular writings or views surrounding these quotes as authoritative for doctrine, but they will suffice to sustain an accuracy of ancient history that may speak volumes against the lunar Sabbatarian viewpoint.

Since we know that Christ was in harmony with the 1st century Sabbathkeepers, let us look at what the Jewish people themselves said. First we will look at the Talmud, which was written around 200CE. It is often cited by Jews as a historical reference for beliefs held by the Jewish nation before the destruction of the temple in 70CE.

The Talmud speaks of two different schools of thought in the Jewish culture that generally opposed one another in their manner of observances, holding upwards to 300 differences of opinion recorded in the Talmud alone. One was called “Beth Hillel” (The most prevalent in the Jewish nation) and the other “Beth Shammai”. These “Bethels” or houses were prevalent from 50 BCE to 50 CE, which takes in the time of Christ’s ministry while upon the earth.

talmud1

The Talmud is not a reputable source of doctrine, but remains a valuable resource for historical documentation.

TWO OPPOSING HOUSES AGREE

Now the first example of what we find in the Talmud speaks of what should happen if ” a new moon falls on a Sabbath.” This is in sharp contradiction to the lunar Sabbatarian theory, who teach that any part of the weekly cycle and the new moon day cannot exist at the same period of time:

“R. Zera replied: The New Moon is different from a festival – Since its mention is included in the benediction on the sanctity of the day in the morning and evening prayers it is also included in that of the additional prayer. But do Beth Shammai uphold the view that the mention of the New Moon is to be included? Was it not in fact taught: If a New Moon falls on a Sabbath, Beth Shammai ruled: One recites in his additional prayer eight benedictions and Beth Hillel ruled: Seven? This is indeed a difficulty.” Talmud – Mas. Eiruvin 40b

It’s interesting that both houses did not find a controversy of if the new moon and Sabbath day can fall in the same place, but rather, IF IT DOES, how is it to be observed.

THE SIXTEENTH DAY SABBATH

In the Mishnah, a fundamental part of the Talmud, it speaks of what happened to the Passover lambs if the day after Unleavened Bread (which was the day the remaining portion of the lamb was to be burnt outside the camp) fell on a Sabbath day:

“Mishnah. The bones, and the sinews, and the nothar of the paschal lamb are to be burnt on the sixteenth. If the sixteenth falls on the Sabbath, they are to be burnt on the seventeenth, because they do not override either the Sabbath or the festival.” Talmud – Pesachim 83a

What is the issue here?

1) The Lunar Sabbatarians teach that it is impossible for the Sabbath to fall on any day other than the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 28th. Thus Sabbath would always fall on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread. Therefore the Sabbath falling on the sixteenth would have been IMPOSSIBLE.

2) It was the priesthood of the temple responsible for taking care of the remains of the lamb. So the early temple and priesthood observed the principle historically recorded above.

The same principle issue we find regarding the meal offerings recorded in the Talmud:

“Mishnah. A man may offer a meal-offering consisting of sixty tenths and bring them in one vessel if a man said, I take upon myself to offer sixty tenths, he may bring them in one vessel. But if he said, I take upon myself to offer sixty-one tenths, he must bring sixty in one vessel and the one in another vessel; for since the congregation bring on the first day of the feast of tabernacles when it falls on a Sabbath sixty-one tenths as a meal-offering, it is enough for an individual that his meal-offering be less by one tenth than that of the congregation.” Talmud – Menachoth 103b

With a Lunar Sabbath, there is never a time when the first day of the feast of Tabernacles falls on any day other than the Sabbath (15th day of the seventh month). So to say “when it falls on a Sabbath” would never need to be mentioned, for according to the Lunar Sabbatarians it ALWAYS FALLS ON A SABBATH.
The Talmud records so many historical points of interest, especially the arguments of various schools of thought in the Jewish nation, including controversial points. Yet never, not once, at all, is mentioned ANY CONTROVERSY regarding a difference of calculating the weekly cycle.

That is one witness of the Jewish nation historically. Let’s look at one or two more to establish the matter from the Jewish historical perspective.

2. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Josephus

The dead sea scrolls are considered some of the earliest dated and preserved extra-biblical scolls to ever be discovered. Much of this includes the history of both the Jewish nation, various Biblical books from the prophets, as well as some eyewitness accounts of the Messiah. Some of the books found among the extra-biblical scrolls were the Calendrical Scroll. This was written by the Essenes.

The dead sea scrolls are some of the oldest and best preserved texts in the world. Even though the older documents show signs of aging, they themselves are a testament to the history of the time.

The dead sea scrolls are some of the oldest and best preserved texts in the world. Even though the older documents show signs of aging, they themselves are a testament to the history of the time.

The Essenes were a sect from the time of the era of the second temple Judaism that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE, and some histories regard them as the priesthood which succeeded the line of Zadok. They were one of three major sects that existed at that time, along with the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Now what are the Calendrical scrolls that the Essenes wrote? They were the execution of priestly duties that the various houses would perform at the temple as priests in their appointed season. An example of the Calendrical scroll’s schedule order can be found in the Bible:

Luke 1:8-9 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, (9) According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
If ever there were a document to prove something for or against a lunar Sabbath, it would certainly be the Calendrical scroll. And far from being a modified Calendrical scroll, the “mishmarot” (the courses contained in the Calendrical scroll) are believed to be as old as second century BCE. Now, what do these courses say regarding the Sabbath? It states many, many things, but here is an example:

“[.. on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month] is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On the fou[rth day of the week is a holy assembly. On the twenty-fifth of the month is] a Sabbath. On the twenty-sixth of the month is the B[arley] Festival…” (4Q326)

Notice that it says on this particular course that on “the twenty-fifth of the month is a Sabbath”. But this is impossible according the the Lunar Sabbatarian’s weekly cycle. Many Lunar Sabbatarians know this, and claim that the Essenes kept a different Sabbath, independent of the lunar Sabbath, but can any historical records further substantiate this claim to prove whether that itself is true history?

In fact, an ancient Jewish historian by the name of Josephus, who wrote regarding the history of the Jews extensively, both living in the time of and writing about the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem in 70CE, also wrote extensively about the particular practices of the Essenes.

So did Josephus mention that the Essenes kept the Sabbath on a day that was different than the rest of Judaism?

Wars of the Jews 2:147 … Moreover, they are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food ready the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that day, but they will not move any vessel out of its place, nor go to stool thereon.

It is clear that the Essenes, who Josephus was here writing about, rested on the same seventh day as the rest of mainstream Judaism of that time, and on that very same time, were emphasized as being much stricter than their Sabbath-keeping contemporaries. If it was not so, he would not have said “on the seventh day” to mix up terms. He might have said “they are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting from their labors on the day they suppose to be the seventh day”, but not even this is intimated. How is it that the Essenes can keep a different Sabbath than Lunar Sabbatarians, but yet there are no Lunar Sabbatarians to be found at all anywhere in ancient history? Josephus wrote a great deal on the history of the Jews, but never was such a point touched upon, or even whispered about. Could it be becoming apparent that the Lunar Sabbath “history” is merely a fable that has been fabricated over the last two centuries?

In fact the dead sea scrolls are in agreement regarding when the Sabbath was observed, and that there was no historical record ever found that there was any dissension as to the weekly cycle, or a difference in calculating the seventh day Sabbath, not even amongst the various Jewish sects. While not all these scrolls are good for doctrine, these ancient writings are truly historical gems preserved by God.

Another point of interest is how often the seventh day should come. In the Scriptures, there is a command from God that His people were to sound a trumpet throughout the land when the Sabbath was to begin:

Numbers 10:2 Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.

josephus1

Josephus faithfully recorded much of the ancient Jewish history, both significant and minor details.

Josephus recounting a tower where the trumpet was to be sounded by one of the priests at the beginning of “every seventh day”:
Wars of the Jews 4:582 and the last was erected above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests stood of course, and gave a signal beforehand with a trumpet, at the beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the evening when that day was finished, as giving notice to the people when they were to stop work, and when they were to go to work again.
Now, if he says that it is every seventh day, are we to think that to mean that he means every seventh day from the day after the new moon and ending at the translation day or next new moon? Or does it mean just what it says, “EVERY seventh day”? Doubtless, just as it reads.

But so that we may know further the historical facts of what “every seventh day” means, we will now not leave ourselves with only two or three Jewish historical witnesses to establish the matter, but now we will also take two or three secular historical accounts that the matter may be established. That we can truly say we have two solid historical witnesses:

1) The Ancient Jewish Historical Witnesses
2) The Ancient Secular Historical Witnesses

Ptolemy was the General of Alexander the Great, who took over Jerusalem in 332 BCE. Now, Agatharchides, a 2nd century BCE Greek historian wrote about Ptolemy’s defeat of Jerusalem. From a strictly secular perspective, the Greek historian writes about the Jews resting “on every seventh day”:

“There are a people called Jews, and dwell in a city the strongest of all other cities, which the inhabitants call Jerusalem, and are accustomed to rest on every seventh day; on which times they make no use of their arms, nor meddle with husbandry, nor take care of any affairs of life, but spread out their hands in their holy places, and pray till the evening.
210
Now it came to pass, that when Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, came into this city with his army, that these men, in observing this mad custom of theirs, instead of guarding the city, suffered their country to submit itself to a bitter lord; and their law was openly proven to have commanded a foolish practice

Now, if both Josephus, a Jewish historian, and Agatharchides, a Greek historian, both use the words “every seventh day”, it becomes an impossibly difficult task for the Lunar Sabbatarian to defend his history, since they cannot sustain what they are teaching from a secular historical perspective as being “every seventh day”, because the Lunar Sabbath count isn’t EVERY seventh day, but has interruptions by both the new moon and the “translation day”.

What a beautiful thing to consider though, that God rested on the seventh day, and every seventh day is a memorial of our wonderful Creator, and His creative and sanctifying power.

Now that we have looked at this point of every seventh day being the Sabbath from both a Jewish and secular perspective, let’s bridge from there to more secular perspectives regarding how the secular world regarded the Sabbath-keeping Jewish people.

3. Roman Historians and Writers

Before launching more fully into the secular historical accounts, we need to address a very common argument from Lunar Sabbatarians upon Sabbath-keepers who observe the seventh day Sabbath “every seventh day”, which would fall on Friday evening to Saturday evening on the Gregorian calendar, that they are worshipping on the day of Saturn, an ancient pagan god associated with star worship. They make the charge that the Jews adopted the ancient Roman week. The argument may sound good on the surface, but when examining the matter more closely, it falls apart.

From Ham came Nimrod. From Nimrod came all the pagan religious of the world.

From Ham came Nimrod. From Nimrod came all the pagan religious of the world.

The truth is that “every seventh day” since creation, man kept the Sabbath. From Adam to Noah, the truth faith was passed on. Then Noah passed on the true faith to Shem, Japheth, and Ham. Some may realize that from Shem came Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and his seed, from which Christ came. These kept the Sabbath. Now Ham’s descendants included Nimrod, Canaan, Gog, and Magog, and a number of other famous pagan kings; from him came the kingdoms of Canaan, Sodom, Gomorrah, and Babylon, and all the great pagan nations of the earth. Yet Ham had inherited the truth faith, but all of these nations that came from Ham had evidently departed from that inheritance.

That almost all old pagan beliefs seemed to hold a traditional account of a flood is evidence that they had a common lineage, and even certain common features of the true faith, yet despite any resemblance some of these nations have whether more of less to the true faith, they did not worship the same God.

There is no historical evidence that the Jews adopted the practices of the worshippers of Saturn, but on the contrary, it speaks all the more of something different and more definitely consistent with history. Simply because the Sabbath falls on in the same period of time does not make Lunar Sabbatarian arguments conclusive. Either the worshippers of Saturn adopted the Jewish practice (which there is historical evidence for), which we will speak more on shortly, or else, they inherited that point of faith from Ham that they never fully departed from, even though the knowledge of God was wholly perverted into the worship of the creature rather than the Creator, if not altogether lost. Therefore the charge either way is not upon the people from which the Messiah arose from, but rather upon the worshippers of Saturn.

Does that mean that they all forsook the time period of the Sabbath as set apart? Not necessarily. Consider that there are Sabbath-keeping Trinitarian groups, as well as Sabbath-keeping non-Trinitarian groups. You can most certainly worship a different god on the same day. Now, regarding those who worshipped the god Saturn on the Saturn day, or Saturday, is not evidence at all that God’s people are worshipping anything less than the true God on the seventh day Sabbath.

More than this, that the seventh day Sabbath falls on the day which was called Saturday does not mean at all that the Jewish people called the seventh day “Saturday”, or taught that Saturday was the origin of the Sabbath. The truth is that the Jewish people never associated Sabbath with the word Saturday at all, but called every seventh day “Sabbath” and kept the line clear and distinct from any connection to false gods.

But we will be looking at quotes that are speaking from a strictly secular perspective of the Jewish nation, coming from those who knew nothing much at all of the God of Israel, but are, in a general sense, much more acquainted with the pagan practices of the surrounding nations. Now Lunar Sabbatarians are correct on this point: the Roman week was not based upon the cycle of the moon. But each day of the week was generally devoted to a different god. The secular sources here cited are not to cast a Day of Saturn reflection upon the Jews, but to show clearly that their day of Sabbath observance did indeed fall at the same period of time, and that there is undeniable secular historical evidence for this fact.

70 – 84 CE (AD)

Frontinus, a Roman Soldier who lived from c. 40 CE to 103 CE, wrote book on military strategy called Strategematicon in 84 A.D. In it, he writes:

“The deified Augustus Vespasian attacked the Jews on the day of Saturn, a day on which it is sinful for them to do any business.” Frontinus Stratagem 2.1.17.

In Latin, the book by Frontinus has “the day of Saturn” translated into “Saturnis”, from which comes the word “Saturday”. And this book was written only 14 years after Titus’ destruction of Jerusalem, which makes it a considerable piece of historical evidence from a first century eyewitness, connecting “the Jews…day on which it is sinful for them to do any business” with “the day of Saturn”, or modern Saturday.

63 BCE – 229 CE

Cassius Dio, a Roman Historian who lived from ca. 155 to 229 CE, using the historical annals of the Roman empire, wrote concerning three wars that the Romans and the Jews were engaged in with one another.

The first battle was during a time when Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, two brothers who were the offspring of the Maccabees, were engaged in a dispute over who would rule. The Romans, through the actions of Pompey, came in and settled the dispute, siding with Hyrcanus. While speaking of Pompey’s battle, the Sabbath is mentioned.

The setting is 63 BCE:

“Most of the city, to be sure, he took without any trouble, as he was received by the party of Hyrcanus; but the temple itself, which the other party had occupied, he captured only with difficulty.
For it was on high ground and was fortified by a wall of its own, and if they had continued defending it on all days alike, he could not have got possession of it.
As it was, they made an excavation of what are called the days of Saturn, and by doing no work at all on those days afforded the Romans an opportunity in this interval to batter down the wall
.

The latter, on learning of this superstitious awe of theirs, made no serious attempts the rest of the time, but on those days, when they came round in succession, assaulted most vigorously.
Thus the defenders were captured on the day of Saturn, without making any defense
, and all the wealth was plundered.

The kingdom was given to Hyrcanus, and Aristobulus was carried away.” Cassius Dio Roman History 37.16.1-4

It is very clear that the Romans had taken advantage of the fact that the Jews would not work on the Sabbath by making advancements upon them. And was this time called Sabbath? Again, the weekly Sabbath coincides with the Roman “days of Saturn.”

The second battle listed by Cassius Dio occurred in 36 BCE, is the one that resulted in the very first King Herod coming to power:

Cassius dio“The Jews, indeed, had done much injury to the Romans, but they suffered far more themselves.
The first of them to be captured were those who were fighting for the precinct of their god, and then the rest on the day even then called the day of Saturn.
And so excessive were they in their devotion to religion that the first set of prisoners, those who had been captured along with the temple, obtained leave from Sosius, when the day of Saturn came round again, and went up into the temple and there performed all the customary rites, together with the rest of the people.
These people Antony entrusted to a certain Herod to govern; but Antigonus he bound to a cross and flogged,— a punishment no other king had suffered at the hands of the Romans,— and afterwards slew him.” Cassius Dio Roman History 49.22.4-6

Notice that Cassius Dio reports the Jews as being in devotion to religion that they observed “customary rites” at the temple on “the day even then called Day of Saturn.” This indicates that the time period coinciding with Sabbath wasn’t only called the “Day of Saturn” during his lifetime, but it was called the “Day of Saturn” back in 36 BCE, even before Christ came. The time that the Jews themselves kept the Sabbath both before Christ and after Christ fell on that very same Day of Saturn.

Next, another experience related by him is in 70 CE, when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. This fell on the Sabbath, which again is called the “day of Saturn.”

70 – 229 CE

“Thus was Jerusalem destroyed on the very day of Saturn, the day which even now the Jews reverence most.
From that time forth it was ordered that the Jews who continued to observe their ancestral customs should pay an annual tribute of two denarii to Jupiter Capitoline.”
Cassius Dio Roman History 65.7.2

So when we look at Cassius Dio’s historical account, he relates that the Jews kept the same Sabbath on the same “day of Saturn” from 63 BCE up until his day, no later than 229 CE. His report also agrees with Frontinus’ account of the 70 CE battle. This is two witnesses from a secular perspective, but we will continue to relate more history from this perspective.

  1. 100 CE

The Historian Cornelius Tacitus (ca. 56CE – ca. 117CE), suggested that Jews kept the Sabbath out of laziness, and also associated the Sabbath with the Roman idol, Saturn, showing that the historian did not have much understanding regarding the faith and practice of the Jewish people:

They are said to have devoted the seventh day to rest, because that day brought an end to their troubles. Later, finding idleness alluring, they gave up the seventh year as well to sloth. tacitus
Others maintain that they do this in honor of Saturn
; either because their religious principles are derived from the Idaei, who are supposed to have been driven out with Saturn and become the ancestors of the Jewish people; or else because, of the seven constellations which govern the lives of men, the star of Saturn moves in the topmost orbit and exercises peculiar influence, and also because most of the heavenly bodies move round their courses in multiples of seven. From The Histories, Book V

The historian flips things upside down. Suggesting the possibility that the Jews inherited their religious principles of rest from those that honored Saturn. Yet the reverse is more likely to be true given the history of the descendants of Noah, that those who had inherited the principles of truth joined themselves to idols while maintaining the same day of worship.
Again, the fact that a pagan associated Sabbath keeping with Saturn demonstrates that the Roman week’s day of Saturn (Saturday) was the same period of time as what God gave His people as Sabbath day. Tacitus is an eyewitness from the first century and wrote this a mere 30 years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

THE JEWISH INFLUENCE OF THE SABBATH ON ROMAN CULTURE

Now that we’ve seen these, let’s turn our attention to how the Sabbath influenced the surrounding cultures. The Lunar Sabbatarian’s charge that the Roman week influenced the Jewish people, but Josephus writes that the opposite was the fact of the matter.


The masses have long since shown a keen desire to adopt our religious observances; and there is not one city, Greek or barbarian, nor a single nation, to which our custom of abstaining from work on the seventh day has not spread and where our fasts and the lighting of lamps and many of our prohibitions in the matter of food are not observed. Apion 2:282-283

Eviatar Zerubavel, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University, suggested the following regarding the seven day weekly cycle:

“. . . The planetary week [the week we presently found on the Gregorian calendar], however, was a relative newcomer compared with the Jewish week. . . [and] may have evolved from [it], and was undoubtedly influenced by it. Presumably the seven-day structure of the Jewish week came first, and later people began to call the days of the week after the names of the planets. Our modern week is a blend of both traditions.”

Eviatar Zerubavel, by study of the week in his respective field, came to the conclusion that the Jewish people had it first, and the Romans as Lunar Sabbatarians have asserted. These points suggest that the Jewish influence not only affected their contemporary culture, but even the world, and that should be even less a surprise considering how quickly the work of Christ spread with His first apostles to nearly the whole world in less than century.

119 CE

Even among secular historians, there is cause to believe that the Sabbath is closely entwined to the weekly cycle of the first century Romans. This is evidenced by the writings of a Roman historian by the name of Suetonius. Suetonius (ca. 69CE – 130CE) was the Roman Emperor’s secretary for a time. While describing the life of Tiberius Caesar (14 – 37 CE), he wrote:

“The grammarian Diogenes, who used to lecture every Sabbath at Rhodes, would not admit Tiberius when he came to hear him on a different day, but sent a message by a common slave of his, putting him off to the seventh day. When this man waited before the Emperor’s door at Rome to pay his respects, Tiberius took no further revenge than to bid him return seven years later.” Suetonius The Life of Tiberius 32.2

This reference from Suetonius is a strong indication that the influence of the seventh day Sabbath over the Roman week may well have been linked more than people have thought, just as Josephus said, but not as the Lunar Sabbatarians are teaching.

28 BCE to 1 BCE

Lastly, we’ll share a quote from a Poet named Ovid, (43 BCE to 17CE), referenced by J. Hugh Michael in his writing “The Jewish Sabbath in the Latin Classical Writers”:

Still more impressive is the witness of Ovid. In the Ars Amatoria he instructs the young Roman who is desirous of finding an object for his affections how he should set about his search.
The quest need not take him far a field: there is no lack of suitable damsels in Rome.
The poet even specifies the parts of Rome where the quest of the amorous youth is most likely to be crowned with success: he should not neglect ‘(Adonis lamented of Venus, or the seventh day observed as holy by the Syrian Jew.”
The first part of this direction can only mean that the youth should visit the Temple of Venus when her grief for Adonis was commemorated on the anniversary of his death.
Similarly the second part must mean that he should attend the Sabbath services held in the Jewish synagogues.
Is it possible to attach any other meaning to the advice that the youth should not avoid the seventh day observed by the Syrian Jew?
And what meaning is there in the counsel unless Roman maidens were wont to attend those services?
It is not easy to think that it was the poet’s intention that the young Roman should become enamored of a Jewess! The Jewish Sabbath in the Latin Classical Writers. J. Hugh Michael Victoria College, Toronto, Canada. The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 40, No. 2. (Jan., 1924), pp. 117-124

The work of the Poet Ovid which is referenced above is “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love), which was written in approximately 1 BCE. We’ve seen that the Romans were already observing the seven day week, but the Poet Ovid, who was a Scythian of the Roman Empire, was not of the Jewish faith, yet his poem does not fail to mention the seventh day kept holy by the Jews. Thus, we can see that the Roman culture was in fact being influenced in some manner in their association with the weekly cycle and the seventh day of the week.

CONCLUSION

These historical witnesses shut the door to any possibility to the Lunar Sabbath theory being historically true. Our Father has wonderfully preserved enough ancient history so that we needn’t be in darkness over the matter. Now that the light has shone, will you also walk in it?




Revisiting the Law: Because of Transgressions…

The law containing the feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths were for the body of Christ, and will be forever part of our worship of the true God at the heavenly Sanctuary, and there are ample Scriptural supports to substantiate this fact, but if that is so, why have these things been forgotten? It is because of apostasy that truth is lost sight of always; we are told that God takes away His holy times from an unholy church: “And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.” (Hosea 2:10-11)
Yet not only so, but the claim that the “מוֹעֵד – mô‛êd” appointed times of worship were not given to Adam as part of the worship of the heavenly Sanctuary, but rather only to Israel at Mount Sinai is a common one. To this we want to understand why at Mount Sinai the law was given. Many will say God “added” the law, using the verse: “What is the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” (Galatians 3:19) We are told that the law was “added” because of transgressions. Many wanting to disregard the law will say that the law was given because of sin, and the law was done away when Christ, “the seed”, came. Let us consider more closely what these texts are in fact saying.

THE ADDED LAW

We are told when this law was “added” because of transgression. “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the

“Which I have written…”

promise of none effect.” (Galatians 3:17) Here, the law being spoken of which was the added law was the law given at Mount Sinai. Yet when we look at the Greek word for “added”, it is “prostithēmi”, is also used in the following verse in relation to Mount Sinai: “And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they [the Israelites] that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more (prostithēmi): for they could not endure that which was commanded…” (Hebrews 12:19) The Israelites did not desire that God would speak anymore to them because of their sins. The ten commandments had already been sufficient to show them the sinfulness of their ways; yet the knowledge of God, His manner and form of worship, and His Sanctuary were lost sight of because of compromise with the manner and practices of the Egyptians which land they were in, therefore Moses went to receive the rest of the law. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law [Torah], and commandments which I have written; that you may teach them.” (Exodus 24:12) God gave Moses the law and commandments which He had written for the purpose of teaching the Israelites who had lost sight of God’s ways, and were in need of instruction “because of transgression”. We must recognize that the law, called in the Hebrew “Torah” meaning “Instructions”, was written by God well before communicating it to Moses.

In the Torah law, the appointed times, tithing, laws of inheritance, clean and unclean meats, types of offerings [thanksgiving/praise, consecration, trespass] etc. were given. In fact, we are told that Abel offered an acceptable offering, that Noah knew the distinction between clean and unclean animals, Abraham tithed, Joseph fled fornication & adultery with Potipher’s wife, and the laws of inheritance were well-understood. We are told of Abraham: “obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My law [Torah].” The statutes contained in the Torah, which many suppose were added at Mount Sinai as a new addition, were in fact spoken because of Israel’s continual backsliding and sin. God was giving to Moses that which He had already written in heaven, and which the patriarchs of old, the faithful fathers of Israel, had observed. The Torah law in fact explains what already existed, illuminating the book of Genesis and the early history of Exodus. It was light given to cast a light upon the history given in it’s pages. The Sabbath was already given as a Torah law before Mount Sinai, when God asked Moses of Israel, “How long will you refuse to walk in My commandments and my law (Torah)?” (Exodus 16:28). So important was this law, that it was not to be simply disregarded by the Gentiles as being exclusive for Israel as many now are teaching. In fact, we are told that “one law shall be to him that is homeborn, as well as to the Gentile that journeys among you.” (Exodus 12:49) God was plain that the Gentiles were not the disregard this law as many now are teaching, but to become established in it. It was when the gospel was especially being preached among the Gentiles, that only four statutes from the Torah law were given to the Gentiles who were gathering at the synagogues every Sabbath.

“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:19-21) Notice why the four statutes were given? It was because they did not want to “trouble” them, which literally means harass them further, or pressure them overly much, overwhelm them. They would learn the rest as Moses was preached every Sabbath day. We find an early church that faithfully observed the appointed times, Sabbath, feast days, and new moons: “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.” (Acts 13:42)

Though not knowing the intricacies of the law, the Gentiles observing the Sabbath was just as God required as a sign of salvation: “My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.Blessed is the man that doeth this…that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it…Also the sons of the Gentile, that join themselves to the LORD…every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain…” (Isaiah 56:1-7)

Yet this quickly began to change as unconverted Gentiles began to say that the Torah law could be changed because of Christ’s death, and the authority committed to them to change the times of worship and laws; these arguments which history shows were the leading arguments away from faithful instruction in God’s law are still employed today with much success in misleading many.

Yet this law is important in explaining the historical elements contained in Genesis, without which, those things in Genesis become dark and mysterious, with no anchor points in which to define their mention in Scripture. For example, the Sabbath is sanctified for mankind on the seventh day as God rests from all of His work. Further than this, the earth is given a means of keeping the appointed times of worship at God’s throne from the creation of the sun, and moon and stars on the fourth day. We are given a record of when these portions of the law began in Genesis. which are explained in the law that God had written and communicated to Moses.

The only Scripture that we are given that described any cessation of any point of the law were the sacrifices and offerings when the Messiah was sacrificed as the true sacrifice and offering by which our forgiveness, praise, thanksgiving, and consecration were secured (See Daniel 9:27). This brings clearly to view the heavenly sanctuary; Christ’s sacrifice and priesthood, and taken away the ceremonial elements contained in the law, to elevate the mind in a clear manner from the earthly service to the purity of heaven’s worship. Yet if some go to the extreme position of saying that the appointed times in the law were done away with when Christ died. However, we are told that this law was to be remembered before Christ returned, and obeyed to restore the blessing of God (Malachi 4:4-6); and that it was to be a sign upon the hand and forehead (in thought and in deed- Exo. 13:9), and a token that a man is walking in the Spirit of God (Ezekiel 36:27).

UNTIL THE SEED SHOULD COME

We are told that the this law was added because of transgressions- in being added, it means it continues to be spoken further “until the seed should come to whom the promise was made”. That means that the law is still being spoken today because of man’s transgressions; it means that it will continue to be spoken to convict of sin so long as there is sin to be convicted of until “the seed should come”. Who is that seed? “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16) That seed is definitely Christ, without a doubt. Yet what promise was made to Abraham and to Christ? “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13) The purpose of the law being spoken is because sin exists. Paul said “I would not have known sin but by the law…” (Romans 7:7). The law reveals sin, for “the strength of sin is the law”, and this declares condemnation to death. And “the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” It is saying that the purpose of the law being “added” was to reveal transgression, that we might be led to faith in Christ, that the promise of being an heir of the world to come might be given to us also. That law must be spoken until transgression and sin has led all who will receive it to faith in Christ, the seed to whom the promise was made, that sin may cease forever, and we might partake of that promise also through Him. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29) If we are Abraham’s seed through faith in Christ because of the law, then we are heirs of the world to come. Therefore, when Christ comes the second time, it is for all of Abraham’s seed in Him who will be joint-heirs with Him.

The law must fully do it’s work that Christ our high priest, by faith, may fully finish the transgression, make an end of sins, and bring in everlasting righteousness in us, that we might be the seed that is counted worthy of obtaining a share of His throne at His return. “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behpoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:16-17)  “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren…” (Hebrews 2:10-13)

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”(1 John 3:2-5) When it can be said of us that there is “no sin”, and we are pure, “even as He is pure”, then will “the Seed come to whom the promises are made.” Then will Christ say, “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion…To the law [Torah] and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:18-20) Far from taking away the law, with it’s appointed times, at Christ’s first coming, He establishes it, that we may abide in it at the wedding reception of His inheritance as king of the world to come, when the Lamb stands upon Mount Zion with the faultless 144,000 before the throne (Revelation 14:1-4, Daniel 12:1).




Let There Be Light: The Evening and Morning Sacrifice

All throughout the Bible, Sanctuary language is used to convey the ideas of salvation. At the beginning of man’s fall, we see the first evidence of this, when it says: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

What do you see? A sacrifice of living faith: the Lamb of God? Or just a sacrifice?

He requires no less of us than He did of the Jewish nation in sacrifices and offerings, but what does He require?

The first animal sacrifice was slain, foreshadowing the great Sacrifice of the Son of God at Calvary. From this time onward, every morning and evening was the time God declared they were to offer this sacrifice continually, until these shadows met their object, at which time, God purposed that there should be no more death by animal sacrifices, but inasmuch as there was no more animal sacrifices, there was to be, through the death of Christ, an abolition of death, which is “now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” 1 Tim. 1:10

This was foretold in Daniel 9:27 when Christ should “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”; that being said, sister White tells us “God requires no less of His people in these last days, in sacrifices and offerings, than He did of the Jewish nation….” Test. Vol. 2, pg. 573

So, if the sacrifices since the time of Adam, which continued throughout the time of the earthly sanctuary of the Jewish people until Christ, which sacrifices ceased at the death of Christ, there must be a better sacrifice God is desiring for us if He required no less of them, than He does of us in these last days. We’re going to look at:

 

1) The Sacrifice that God requires.

2) Why it is so important.

3) New light, that is precious old light, in the plan of redemption.

 

 

The Sacrifice that God requires:

In the Scriptures, we are told of the sacrifice that God requires, and what He does not require.

Psa 40:6  Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

 

Just like Jesus, at any time, if our ears are opened to what God is teaching through these sacrifices, pointing to a much greater object, we will realize He never desired, nor REQUIRED, the death of animals. As we seen however, there was a sacrifice God did require of His people, even from the earliest times. Of the death of animal sacrifices, we are told:

“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4

And,

“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” Hebrews 10:1

The death of animal sacrifices could not take away sins, nor make those who offered them perfect, so we see that there must be a better sacrifice, accessible even in those times.  Yet Jesus Christ, not being a shadow but the very object those shdows came from, was required even at those times. He is called the:

Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

It was only this Sacrifice that could take away sins, which God required of the Jewish nation, and even before this time. He is also called: “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revation 13:8) indicating that His sacrifice was good from the foundation of the world. This required sacrifice, the Lamb of God, was necessary to take away sins from the time of the very first animal sacrifice, which pointed to His death. These “shadows” could never be disconnected from their true object, or else those who offered them would receive no more benefit than the object itself could offer. In the case of the spilled blood of lambs, it meant absolutely nothing, and for those who didn’t look to the sacrifice of Christ, this visual aid could not help them in the least in bringing them to receive the blessings of His sacrifice. We are told of that Sacrifice available from the foundation of the world:

“after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:12,14

So we see that it is Christ, not the blood of animal sacrifices that God requires, which can take away sins, and which can perfect forever. Some say that it was through the law before Christ died that men were made righteous, but nothing a man could do could make him righteous; such souls do not realize that even from the first sin, Christ offered Himself as their Lamb if in faith, they would look to Him as their sacrifice. We are told that Abel offered “a better sacrifice” (Hebrews 11:4) “by faith“, and this sacrifice was the sacrifice of seeing Him who is invisible, because faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (v.1).

Yet with this required sacrifice in every dispensation of time, there was a manifestation of that sacrifice that was to be revealed in the continual evening and morning offering, as well as in the assemblies of God’s people:

“And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even; And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD:” 1 Chronicles 23:30-31

Every evening and morning offering, where they were to acknowledge the Lamb of God when bringing the animal sacrifices, was to be offered with praise and thanks. This hasn’t changed from the old testament, to the new. We are told in the epistle to the Hebrews, that the continual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving are the sacrifices in the Lamb which God requires:

“By Him (The Lamb of God) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15

 

Even in heaven, we are told of this sacrifice from Ellen White and the book of Ezekiel:

“The temple of God is opened in heaven, and the threshold is flushed with the glory of God which is for every church that will love God and keep His commandments. We need to study, to meditate, and to pray. Then we shall have spiritual eyesight to discern the inner courts of the celestial temple. We shall catch the themes of song and thanksgiving of the heavenly choir round about the throne. When Zion shall arise and shine, her light will be most penetrating, and precious songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard in the assemblies of the saints. Murmuring and complaining over little disappointments and difficulties will cease. . . . We shall see our Advocate offering up the incense of His own merits in our behalf. . . .

God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” (AG, pg. 79)

 

Read the above carefully. Here is the sacrifice that God requires. Praise and thanksgiving by the Lamb of God who sits upon the throne for ever and ever; the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world a perpetual reminder of what has been accomplished for us. To praise God is to acknowledge His goodness, and to give thanks is to acknowledge the reception of something. As we see above, in the temple of God in heaven, the inner courts are opened for assembling, and giving the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. That continual faith in the Lamb, means that as He lives before God, we shall live also by Him, and we become in Him, and all we do by Him, a living sacrifice. This required Sacrifice manifested even in the inner courts in the celestial temple in heaven.

Now, we have seen that God requires a sacrifice, a continual testament to His goodness, which blessings were manifested towards God’s people, not only since the first lamb that was slain as a shadow of the True Sacrifice, but even that True Sacrifice is carried into eternity. This is exactly what we see pictured in Ezekiel’s Temple vision:

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened…And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the LORD in the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish.”  (Ezekiel 46:1,4)

The Lamb of God, the true Sacrifice, is the key to Ezekiel’s Temple vision. It is BY HIM (“the prince”) that we offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and are made acceptable. Does this mean that we must sacrifice animal sacrifices which Christ caused to cease at the cross? No, it does not, because God never required it. God does require something though.

If you only take away the animal sacrifices, what about the evening and mornings they were tied to? As we’ll continue to see even more, it does not take away the significance of God’s appointed times for consecration and blessing because they were required from the time which God ordained them and onward, because they were (and are) necessary for a living connection with Christ: necessary for the spiritual life of the people.

 

Giving Praise and Thanksgiving unto God that sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.

Giving Praise and Thanksgiving unto God that sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.

 

 

New Light that is Precious Old Light:

Since such a bold statement was made regarding the evening and morning sacrifices, I want to clarify, and address, a few points on the evening and morning sacrifice.

Each morning and evening, the Israelites consecrated themselves by the blood of Christ, and the shadow of these things they participated in (the slaying of the animal) was to point forward to that Good Thing (Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God which takes away their sins), but the receiving of that Good Thing did not hinge so much on the future timing of that sacrifice in the still-to-come year, month, day, or hour. We almost wholly unanimously agree that Christ died to fulfill prophetically the specifications of both the morning and evening sacrifices, as well as the Passover, on 31 A.D. The timing of His Sacrifice, and the manner of it, were full of prophetic significance, and were essential to the plan of salvation. However, there are some who are teaching that such a sacrifice, which God requires for all men to be saved, wasn’t available until Christ actually died, but Scripture clearly calls Christ “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” That Sacrifice can be received by all who believe, whether before the cross, or after the cross, because it is given to all who believe. Those prophetic fulfillments Jesus brought about wonderfully ratified these sacrificial blessings which all had received, but it did not hinder them from ever receiving them. It is not the physical blood of Christ that we need to touch, as though the timeframe of Christ’s death could prevent those who were outside of that from receiving salvation, but it is not the time in which the shed blood of Christ occurred that makes salvation possible to some, and not possible to others. Past and future are nothing, but faith exercised in God’s appointed manner will avail much. This is where many make a grave mistake, and many strange errors about God and the gospel take up residence into the minds of people.

The Scriptures tell us of this evening and morning consecration by the blood of Christ in a prophecy:

“Unto two thousand and three hundred days (evenings & mornings); then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

"And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true..." Daniel 8:26

“And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true…” Daniel 8:26

The original word for “days” here is evening and mornings. And in the same chapter, we read: “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true.”

How long did the prophetic period of the 2300 evenings and mornings extend? Until 1844. From the beginning of the count of the restoration of God’s people which was before Christ died, beyond the years of 31 A.D at the year of Christ’s death and resurrection. extending into 1844, to lead us into the Day of atonement. This is symbolic of the continual offering, the daily ministration that takes place for the salvation of men.

The lamb was “slain” every evening and morning, but surely we don’t say that Christ died 2300 times to bring us to 1844. He needed to only die once, and the rest of the period of time is consecrated by the blood that speaketh better things than that of Abel. In the testimonies, we read the following:

“The typical shadows of the Jewish tabernacle no longer possess any virtue. A daily and yearly typical atonement is no longer to be made, but the atoning sacrifice through a mediator is essential because of the constant commission of sin. Jesus is officiating in the presence of God, offering up His shed blood, as it had been a lamb slain. Jesus presents the oblation offered for every offense and every shortcoming of the sinner.”  (Selected Messages Volume 1 page 343)

This however, is not to say that we become carnal again every morning; but that His mercies are new every morning, because by the Lamb we live, and can come before God, being kept alive in Christ by faith through the Lamb, and entrust what was the purchase of that most precious blood for us to God our Father to finish the work He has begun in us. It also says that in preparation for His translation, ignorant sins which come to light, as He faithfully keeps us in the way, will be confessed, and cleansed of, and perfection of character will be wrought by the blood of the Lamb in it’s fullness.

Jude 1:24  Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Jude 1:25  To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

 

So let’s review:

These evenings and mornings are for-

1) Manifesting faith in the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

2) Abiding a living sacrifice in Him, holy and acceptable.

4) By Him to offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

5) A living connection with the risen Lamb.

6) Consecration unto perfection.

 

Moving Onto Perfection: A Glorious Revelation

So we see that continual faith in the blood of the Lamb is essential for our connection. Yet there is more light to be had upon this subject.

Remember that when saying that God did not require burnt sacrifice and offerings (which are a shadows of better things contained in the law, see Hebrews 10), He also says “Mine ears hast Thou opened.” (Psalm 40:6) Christ was speaking these words, and was saying: I can truly hear what You are saying, and in these sacrifices, “it is written of Me” (Psalm 40:7) ; Christ understood His mission, and what God required of Him, yet He wants to open our ears also in Christ. The Scripture says:

 

“He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.” Isaiah 50:4-5

When He opens our understanding to the precious truths in His law, (“and I was not rebellious”) as the gospel shines forth from it, it is “morning by morning”.

Pro 8:17  I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

The same words for morning are used for the morning sacrifice in the Hebrew. Also, the same words are used by Paul in the Greek form, “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (same word for morning sacrifice in Grk.).” 2 Corinthians 4:16

We see that in Hebrews (13:15), the apostle still believes in giving sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and we see that these were primarily the evening and morning sacrifices (1 Chron. 23:30), and that he also said we are renewed morning by morning. However, since that text from Paul seems inconclusive without more context, we’ll look at a few more texts from Paul, as well as that chapter more in depth. What more is there?

He said:

1Co 15:31  “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

Gal 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

I die daily, and follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.

I die daily, and follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.

Therefore, he saw the daily evening and morning consecration as necessary to being consecrated in the continued outflowing of grace. It is true that we die once to sin, but yet to the flesh, we die daily, a continual dying to the way of the flesh, that the way of Christ might be manifested in us; “inwardly”, we are “renewed” morning by morning. This is how we become that living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in Him.

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God (comp. Lam. 3:22-23), that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

This is when we are connected with Christ’s death, associating with it so fully, that the power of sin is broken, and a greater revelation is manifested in us.

Psa 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

 

Ellen White explains the purpose of the consecration sacrifice like this:

“Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, “Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.” This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.”SC, pg. 71

 

We are called to do this, that “day by day“, morning by morning, our lives “will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.” Thus, the evening and morning sacrifice will pour out the life of Christ into us, and we are made into the image of God. All this, by standing in the channel of blessing through the consecrations of our lives to the Lamb that sitteth upon the throne. What a wonder! This is the gospel, from the time of the first lamb’s sacrifice, to the perfection of the saints, and it will be the continual sacrificial song upon our lips: the song of the Lamb.

 

Now, because the Lamb of God is that continual offering by which we come unto God and are made “more and more” into His image, and He is also the Word of God by which all things “were made” (John 1:3) To see the ultimate, and full significance of the evening and morning process, we must understand these two points of His identity: that He is both Creator (The Word), and Redeemer (The Lamb).

Creative power, and redemptive power are one in the same power in the Scriptures. This the Scriptures do abundantly testify. For example:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse…” Romans 1:20

This word for power is the same word. But returning back to the chapter where Paul said “inwardly, we are renewed day by day”, the gospel can be very powerfully revealed as the same power as creation:

2Co 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

So it’s the same power. What does this mean? This Lamb, with our consecration in Him every evening and morning, when the sacrifice of sin and the flesh for the heavenly substance of much greater worth is made in choosing to walk with God, it is at this time, we see the flowing forth of His lifeblood to our souls. Because the Redemptive and Creative power are one in the same power, that power found of the lifeblood of the Lamb of God every evening and morning is the very same creative power of the Spirit/Life in the Word that transforms us. Paul testified of God, who by His creative power “commanded the light to shine out of darkness” who in His creating, declared “And the evening and the morning was the first day.” It is this redemptive and creative power, this lifeblood from the Word of God/the Lamb of God, that comes forth and makes us new morning by morning. As we awaken to the reality of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is our Redeeming Lamb, and Creative Word, and He rejoices over us, saying “Behold, I make all things new!” (Revelation 21:5)

We are told from the beginning, regarding that Word, that “God spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” and that is to be our experience in Him, and it is why daily consecration is so vital to a living connection with Christ. Our experience therefore is now one of victory over sin; one of new life; one where the battles and the wars are won because “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

We see the evidence of this Word at creation. And when He says “And the evening and the morning were the first day”, we see beginning the creative process continuing for six days, the evening and the morning each one, and man was made in God’s image by the molding work of the hand of God, and then came the holy Sabbath rest. This is the gospel which we preach.

 

2Co 4:3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

 

From the first Word of promise, accompanied with the first sacrifice, was to declare to all men who received His promise by faith: “Behold, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” This process is a daily process, a continual offering, that brings about a much greater revelation. This dying daily in the Lamb of God to the will of the flesh, and being renewed and empowered daily spiritually, means that the more this process unfolds, and we receive the life in the blood by faith, pouring forth from the side of our Great High Priest, the more and still more we will manifest His likeness in death, as ‘a sheep for the slaughter’ (Psalm 44:22, Rom. 8:36), ‘bearing in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus‘ (Gal. 6:17, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice Rom. 12:1), and thus will be manifesting the life of Jesus in us: it is thus, that we shall be a living revelation of Jesus Christ upon this earth to manifest His glory. By the evening and morning offering, He is not to ever be left without witnesses to His goodness upon this earth while He pleads His blood in heaven for the transgressors.

 

From the first Word of promise, accompanied with the first sacrifice, was to declare to all men who received His promise by faith: “Behold, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” This process is a daily process, a continual offering, that brings about a much greater revelation. This dying daily in the Lamb of God to the will of the flesh, and being renewed and empowered daily spiritually, means that the more this process unfolds, and we receive the life in the blood by faith, pouring forth from the side of our Great High Priest, the more and still more we will manifest His likeness in death, as ‘a sheep for the slaughter’ (Psalm 44:22, Romans 8:36), ‘bearing in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus’ (Gal. 6:17), and thus will be manifesting the life of Jesus in us: it is thus, that we shall be a living revelation of Jesus Christ upon this earth to manifest His glory. There is coming a day, when every heart will be manifested: the crucified with Christ and the crucifiers of Christ: they will be known by their fruit. So we can take comfort in His power to save, that by the evening and morning offering, He is not to ever be left without witnesses to His goodness upon this earth while He pleads His blood in heaven for the transgressors.

To clarify: All of this does not teach that Christ dies more than once, as some might be tempted to charge me with, but that at all times, man is dependent upon the blood of that One required sacrifice to make salvation possible, and to perfect us forever, and that that blood is available, while there is a Mediator between God and man, at any time, whether past or future. To put it more simply, His blood is the foundation of our new life, from Adam until the last soul saved at last, and the longer we continue in newness of life, this will always be the case: a continual testament to the infinite sacrifice of our God, and the Lamb, forever and ever. Amen.

od, and the Lamb, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Let His power be revealed, His goodness displayed.

Let His power be revealed, His goodness displayed.




The Law in Christ

And took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross . . . !”
Colossians 2:14

“The words ‘abolish,’ ‘take away,’ ‘destroy,’ and ‘change’ have been so persistently connected with the law by some public teachers that there exists in the minds of many people the honest conviction that all which is expressed by these words was done to the law by Christ.

It is true that He came to “abolish” something, and to “take away” something, and to “destroy” something, and to “change” something; but it is important that we-should know just what it was that He abolished, and what it was that He took away, and what it was that He destroyed, and what it was that He intended to change by His work in behalf of man. This we can easily learn from the Scriptures.

WHAT WAS ABOLISHED.

It is said of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that He “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Tim. 1:10. Death is the result of sin. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

James 1:15. But “sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. Christ, therefore, came to abolish that which is the result of being out of harmony with the law (which is but the written transcript of the self-sacrificing character of God), and He did it, not by abolishing the law, but by bringing us into harmony with the law.

WHAT WAS TAKEN AWAY.

We read that Christ “was manifested to take away our sins.” 1 John 3:5. He is the sin-bearer, “Who His own self carried up our sins in His body to the tree, that we having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24, R.V., margin. Sin is lawlessness, and Christ was manifested to take away, not the law, but lawless-ness.

Note: In Jeremiah 4:4, the LORD tells us, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem . . .” And then in Colossians 2:11-13, this promise is fulfilled in Christ . . . “In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ !”

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; but the Last Adam was made a quickening (Life-giving) Spirit !” “For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God !”

I Corinthians 15:45 & Romans 6:10

WHAT HE CAME TO DESTROY.

The attitude of Christ toward the law is set forth in the prophecy which says: “He will magnify the law and make it honourable.” Isa. 42:21. In His sermon on the mount, which is itself but the interpretation of the princ-iples contained in the Words spoken from Mount Sinai, Christ said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am, not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matt. 5:17. He “came to explain the relation of the law of God to man, and to illustrate its precepts by His Own example of obedience.” [Desire of Ages (DA), p. 308]

But we are taught that “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8. The works of the devil are those which are contrary to God’s law. “The devil sinneth from the beginning,” and in every case “sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4-8

Furthermore, Christ came to destroy the devil himself. Satan had introduced into this world rebellion against God and His law, and Christ’s mission and work were to put an end to that rebellion and the instigator of it. In order to do that, He took our flesh, “that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” Heb. 2:14.

For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God . . . !”     Romans 6:10

WHAT HE CAME TO CHANGE.

It is a blessed thing to know that a change was wrought by Christ in giving Himself for man. There was certainly need that a change should be made. Men were far from righteousness, “being alienated from the Life of

God through the ignorance that is in them” (Eph. 4:18), “having no hope and without God in the world.” Eph. 2:12. “But God, Who is rich in mercy, … hath quickened us together with Christ, … and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-6. And thus “we all … are changed into the same imagefrom glory to glory.” 2 Cor. 3:18.

But more even than a change of character has been provided for us, for “we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.” Phil. 3:20, 21. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” 1 Cor. 15:51, 52.

Glorious change! A renewed character and a renewed body! This is the fulness of the Salvation provided for us in Jesus Christ. It thus becomes evident from the teaching of the Scriptures that Christ came to abolish, not, the law, but death; to take away, not the law, but our sins; to destroy, not the law, but the devil and his works; to change, not the law, but us. And He did all this “by the sacrifice of Himself !”   Heb. 9:26.

For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, hath made me _______ (your name) free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do (give new life), in that it was weak through the flesh . . . . God sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and in exchange for sin, condemned sin in the flesh . . .

     That the righteousness of the Law might be filled full in us, who walk not by the flesh, but by the Spirit !”
Romans 8:2-4 & Zechariah 4:6

Undated Armadale Campmeetings, 1895, “The Law in Christ; Or, the Relation Between the Law and the Gospel,”




Heaven’s Holidays

In the sanctuary that God instructed Moses to build as a pattern of the heavenly sanctuary, we find a wonderful abundance of eternal themes that the Most High desires for His children of every generation to understand.

History is marked with the witness of men who ever assumed to enter upon priestly duties independent of the explicit instructions laid down by God. For Cain, it was offering the fruit of his hands rather than the sacrificial lamb pointing to Christ For Korah, it was disregard of the order which God ordained for the ministration of the priesthood (Numbers 16:3). And Nadab and Abihu entering into the Sanctuary in their own time, in their own way (Leviticus 16:1-2). Or Jeroboam, who ordained a priesthood, and a feast of his own appointing (1 Kings 12:31-33). Yet in all this, it was a departure from the precept and plan of God’s word.

The Sanctuary times of worship were the daily evening & morning, Sabbaths, new moons, and annual holydays (see Numbers 28-29). Each of these were enjoined to a sacrifice executed by the priesthood on behalf of the worshippers (except on Passover, when the victim would be slain by the husband/father of every home) which signified that true and acceptable worship to Jehovah was only acceptable by the blood of Christ. It was at these times that the individuals, families, and congregations were to gather at the Sanctuary when the sacrifice foreshadowing Christ was offered; the sacrifice on occasions was accepted directly from the fire of God’s presence falling upon the altar of the sin-slain victim; yet in most cases, it was offered on the bronze altar of the earthly sanctuary, lit by the fire that comes from God’s throne (2 Chron. 7:1). This is highly instructional because it shows the beauty of what it means to worship in Spirit and in truth.

It is true that in the earthly temple, all things have their appointed season for special blessings and revelations from God as contained in the shadowy elements He ordained during the worship season. This is also true for the heavenly Sanctuary’s appointed times; from the which flow rich currents of water of life from the heart of God, of which the earthly is a pattern. What does this mean? To put it simply, it means that God has times of special blessings that He wants to give to His children. These times of special blessing were also times of worship. One special point for why the temple worship is associated with appointed times is because they cannot be divested of them. In Scripture, a congregation of people in the ancient Hebrew was called “עֵדָה (‛êdâh)”; this word means a company, an assembled host, etc. However, the temple on earth was actually properly entitled as “The Tabernacle of the Congregation” well over 125 times, most appearing in the first five books of the Bible. However, the Hebrew word for the “Congregation” is much different, and it’s proper name is very telling. It is “מוֹעֵד (mô‛êd)” which means “a fixed time or season; specifically a festival”. “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts (מוֹעֵד -mô‛êd).” (Lev. 23:2)

 

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations…”

If the tabernacle of the congregation (appointed times) on earth was a pattern of the heavenly tabernacle, how much more are His worship times regarded in heavenly places? In the mount Zion of heaven, is the place where His throne resides, as well as”the place of our Sanctuary”: “He sendeth thy help from the sanctuary; from Zion He strengthens thee” (Psalm 20:2) “The LORD bless you from Zion…” (Psalm 128:5), also called “His holy mountain” (Psalm 3:4).  Yet Satan seeks to destroy the order of heaven, with a special focus on the appointed times. Notice that in Lucifer’s self-exaltation, he desires to take the place of Mount Zion with it’s appointed assemblies: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation (appointed times), in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:12-14) Lucifer was a covering cherub of the Sanctuary of heaven before falling. Special mention is made of these covering cherubs in the construction of the temple pattern on earth, that two golden cherubs should be represented in veiled face holding sacred regard to the law of God; it was to that Sanctuary that Israel anciently assembled to during the appointed times. Now to what assemblies did Satan go to primarily? We note in the Scriptures that he deceived a third of the angels, and he deceived mankind in regards to God’s requirements. We are also told that he deceives the whole world, and chiefly through the Papacy, who prophecy tells us that “he thinks to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25) (click here for clear documented statements of the Catholic church believing to have the authority, and exercising it, to change God’s Sabbath and set feasts); it is this counterfeit of God’s Sanctuary through which Satan can not only deceive the world, but also the place of his worship times are given an appearance of Christian sanctity when having no real sanction in the Word of God at all (Rev. 13:2-4).

Historically, we see the creation of the earth, and Adam (called the “son of God” in Luke 3:38) placed at it’s head. We are told on the fourth day of creation, God ordained the sun to rule the days appointed, the moon to rule the nights appointed, and the stars appointed all as a celestial calendar to keep the appointed times pertaining to the heavenly Sanctuary, whether it was for all the universe or humanity’s appointed season to gather at the throne of God, the heavenly calendar was given for the purpose of knowing heaven’s appointed times of worship: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs of the appointed times (מוֹעֵד – mô‛êd), and for days of the year:” (Gen. 1:14) Furthermore, we are shown heavenly Jerusalem, the true church of God, as a woman clothed in time in the book of Revelation 12 which is symbolic of the heavenly Sanctuary; in chapter 17 however, we see another woman, called Babylon, the counterfeit church, symbolic of the sanctuary which Satan establishes (see here for more details on this). When Isaiah saw in holy vision the terrible scene of self-exaltation in Lucifer’s heart, and his desire to have the authority on Mount Zion, and to change God’s appointed gatherings, Isaiah saw jointly that Lucifer was also called “the King of Babylon”; thus we see with clarity two distinct sanctuaries, and two distinct kingdoms. Yet of the two women, we are told that the earthly woman, desolate of God’s presence, has more children (Isaiah 54:1-2), even the whole world worshipping, honoring, and gathering at her worship times; which are not of God, but are of Babylon, having their origin in paganism (i.e. Sunday, Christmas, Easter, etc). In fact, nothing of a pagan origin regarding the holidays so well loved in this world will be found among the heavenly.

REVEALING THE PATTERN OF PURE WORSHIP

It is because of the apostasy of Satan, and the deceptions he has perpetuated on this planet as “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), his church has counterfeited the church of Christ. As a result, many sincere followers of Christ have been deceived regarding the purity of the worship of the true God, yet remember that the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in “Spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). Employing symbolism to teach lessons of the heavenly sanctuary, Jehovah, the God of heaven, instructs Ezekiel to mark out the manner of pure worship.

“Son of man, show the house [the Sanctuary] to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, show them the form of the house, and the fashion of it, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form of it, and all the ordinances of it, and do them. This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house…and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies (מוֹעֵד – mô‛êd); and they shall hallow my sabbaths…the people of the land shall come before Jehovah in the solemn feasts…” (Ezekiel 43:10-12, 44:24, 46:9)

“Show them the pattern…”

It’s clear that God the Father would have His people remember His laws; and His ordinances. He has a law of the Sanctuary that is “most holy”; and we find those laws in the Most Holy place: the Most High God’s ten commandments (the foundation of His government), His everlasting priesthood (Aaron’s rod), His legal evidence of provision for His people (the manna), and the book of the law (The statutory laws and judgments of His government). The top of the mountain of Zion, where His Sanctuary is, is called most holy. Here we see the Sabbath, the new moons (Ezekiel 46:1), and the feasts, which are contained in the law, will be kept.  In speaking of this heavenly Sanctuary, the church and city of God, we are told to “look upon Zion, the city of our assemblies (מוֹעֵד – mô‛êd): your eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords of it be broken.” (Isaiah 33:20) 

When we see Zion, the heavenly city Jerusalem where we gather for the sacred assembly times of worship, we see a “tabernacle that shall not be taken down.” Despite this fact that there remains a sanctuary that shall never be removed or taken down, the Papacy, in presuming to have authority to change the law of God, “the place of His Sanctuary was cast down” (Daniel 8:11); for the Papacy “blasphemes His name, and His tabernacle” by supposing to have the authority which they claim is theirs. If the tabernacle of appointed times can be changed by a mere man who is not God, then the heavenly Sanctuary pattern is lost sight of. This is why Ezekiel is told to “measure the pattern” that they might be “ashamed of all that they have done”. It is because of the Papacy that Protestantism observes counterfeit times of worship that are not the times of Jehovah’s worship outlined in Scripture.

FALSE BREAD, FALSE RIGHTEOUSNESS, FALSE SANCTUARY

Yet many take upon themselves the name of Christ, believing sincerely that these appointed times are of His tabernacle, when in fact it is the Papal sanctuary and their times of worship that they are ignorantly, whether willfully or otherwise. honoring. When they choose to have their own doctrine apart from Christ. Moreover, when receiving salvation by grace through faith, we are called “unto good works, which God has ordained beforehand that we should walk in them.” These good works are outlined in the law of God; it is being clothed in the righteousness of God (as the heavenly Jerusalem is depicted as a motherly woman, being clothed with the sun, standing upon the moon, and crowned with stars- all which are given “for signs and for appointed times” ), and walking even as He walked. When the churches of Protestantism follow after the Papacy, refusing the truth and setting themselves in their own traditions, yet still proclaiming to be of Christ and heaven, they may profess Christ, yet in works deny Him, taking hold of the Papacy under the guise of a profession. Instead of the heavenly Jerusalem as their mother, they take “the mother of harlots” (Rev. 17:5) whose ways they follow hard after. Yet those of the heavenly Zion, will be a remnant who are faithful to the ways of God, and stand true in the presence of God, and true to His name and tabernacle, unlike the fallen daughters of Babylon:

Seven women saying “We will eat our own bread…only let us be called by your name…”

“And in that day seven women [all of the fallen churches] shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread [doctrine], and wear our own apparel [righteousness]: only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach… And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem… And 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 daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.” (Isaiah 4:1-6) 

The women who cannot take hold of Christ, because they would keep their own doctrines and works, must take hold of a Christ who will accept them; this is another Jesus who gives the Pope authority to sit on his throne and change his laws. Thus we see the daughters of Babylon coming back to their mother because of a rejection of truth and light from heaven. Yet the remnant of Zion shall have a tabernacle which has not forsaken the assembling of themselves together as the manner of the Papacy and her daughters are. Yet the Ancient of Days would have us measure the pattern of the tabernacle, with it’s laws, ordinances, and assemblies, to understand the true form of godliness, that God might quicken that form with the fulness of divine power, and have us turn from the Papal darkness to the light of His presence.

And it is to this end that the very Bible speaks. It is to bring us back into intimate communion with the One whose throne is in the Most holy place. The tabernacle demonstrates God would heal people from sin and error.  We’re told healing streams are found there.

“And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” (Ezekiel 47:12)

That sanctuary Ezekiel saw was called Most holy. It is a glimpse of the streams of life that come forth from the very throne of God. Ezekiel is shown the outside of that Sanctuary, but in the very last chapter of the Bible, the throne of God is opened to man’s view; in fact, all of the final chapter of the Bible speaks of the Sanctuary, and in particular, the Most holy place. It brings to light the throne of God, the tree of life which is symbolic of the law of God, which originally was guarded by cherubim to keep that way of life being preserved throughout heaven, when Adam and Eve were driven out from the presence of the Source of life through sin. As pertaining to the judgments, it speaks of the blessings and the first dominion restored; it speaks of the curses being abolished forevermore, and the closing sentence of the gospel dispensation which continued for 6000 years. The very same Sanctuary that Ezekiel saw in prophetic symbolism, John the apostle sees in clear and distinct realities being brought to view:

“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads… 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.” (Rev. 22:1-14)

For this cause, we have a glimpse of the beauty of our God, His Sanctuary, and His holy gatherings which shall we shall assemble from Sabbath to Sabbath, one new moon to another (Isaiah 66:22-23), and from year to year to keep the solemn feasts (Zechariah 14, Nahum 1:15)

“The temple of God is opened in heaven, and the threshold is flushed with the glory which is for every church that will love God and keep His commandments. We need to study, to meditate, and to pray. Then we shall have spiritual eyesight to discern the inner courts of the celestial temple. We shall catch the themes of song and thanksgiving of the heavenly choir round about the throne. When Zion shall arise and shine, her light will be most penetrating, and precious songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard in the assemblies of the saints. Murmuring and complaining over little disappointments and difficulties will cease. As we apply the golden eyesalve we shall see the glories beyond. Faith will cut through the heavy shadow of Satan, and we shall see our Advocate offering up the incense of His own merits in our behalf. When we see this as it is, as the Lord desires us to see it, we shall be filled with a sense of the immensity and diversity of the love of God. 6T 368.2
God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.” Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 368




Pentecost 2017- The Marriage Supper: An Invitation To Blessing

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

The call to come and “take the water of life freely” was the invitation given by Jesus on the last great day of the feast of Tabernacles to partake of His Spirit in a deep measure. Christ was shadowing forth the final call to salvation before the time was past forever; these invitations to the marriage are always given inoutpouring-spirit2 connection to the great festivals of the Bible. In the beginning, God made the heavens, with it’s great calendar for “signs and for seasons, for days and for years” (Gen. 1:14); the sun to rule from one day to another, and the moon to reveal one month to another. The sun was the greater light, and the moon (literally “month” in the original Hebrew) the lesser light, from which the light of the sun came.

THE SABBATH FEAST- “My Sabbaths”

The feast of the Sabbath, as revealed in the weekly 7-day cycle, which is ruled by the daystar (the sun) was the first feast spoken of expressly in the Bible. It was given in memorial of creation (Gen. 2:3, Exodus 20:8-11), and declared the Creator’s power to create & sanctify and His authority to make time holy. It was on the Sabbath, that the first marriage given to man was especially enjoyed in the presence of God; His presence alone, visible or invisible, can constitute a true feast. Man, both male and female, had been made in the image of God and His Son (Gen. 1:1, 26-27, Prov. 30:4, Heb. 1:1-2); they were to reveal the covenant relationship that existed between the God & Christ, and between God and creation. Moreover, the word “Sabbath” comes from it’s Hebrew root word, “shâba”; which means perfect completion with an oath (a promise); or to commit oneself fully by promising seven times. This time was a promise that God’s presence was to abide with His creatures by sealing it with the Sabbath as a sign of His marriage to His people.

“Verily, My sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you…Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” (Exo. 31:13)

Sanctification is holiness; just as God sanctified the Sabbath, that the creation by His own hand may abide complete and entire in that Sabbath, He weilds in His creative hand the holy power of sanctifying His people. Furthermore, this sign of sanctification was “for a perpetual covenant” between God and His people. His sanctification is always enjoined to the marriage covenant, revealing the wonderful purpose of marriage is truly to be holy unto Jehovah. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word…” (Eph. 5:25-26) When the presence of the husband abides with his wife in marriage union, he is to be a reflection of what the presence of Christ is to His church.

THE TIMES OF REFRESHING

The Sabbath was the first feast. “Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.” (Leviticus 23:2-3) Unlike the Sabbath which is contained in the seven-day cycle, governed by the sun (Psalm 136:8), the rest of the feasts were united to the moon, which is the same word in Hebrew for “month”. God thus showing that the light of the Sabbath (like the sun) being the greater light crowns it’s light upon the other feasts (like the moon) as the lesser light; the light of the Sabbath was to be the head of the other feasts, and give them sanctity and honor, like a husband in covenant with his bride. Each of His feasts were sanctified time; they declared God’s redemptive power to create all things new; they also wonderfully illustrate the marriage covenant as a beautiful story of redemption that reveals the love of God for His church.

eden-homeThe Sabbath was a time where God Himself rested, giving those made in His image a pattern to reflect His glory. “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:17) When we look at this description, it tells us that the Great I AM is “refreshed” by the Sabbath. What does this mean? It means something for us, His people, who keep the sign of His rest. Just as He rested and was refreshed on the Sabbath, so are we to rest after His likeness, and be refreshed. The refreshing literally means “enlivened, taking in the breath of the soul. The Hebrew word is “nâphash” which means “to be breathed upon”; it is the parent word of “nephesh”, which means soul: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed (nâphach-the act of kindling or breathing into) into his nostrils the breath (neshâmâh- vitalizing breath) of life; and man became a living soul (nephesh- a breathing creature).” (Gen. 2:7) God being refreshed means He took in the breath of His life. On the Sabbath, and the feasts, this spiritual breath of life, which carries the presence of God enters and communes in our soul temple; it is the time of taking spiritual breath into the soul.

These promised times came with the promise of the presence of the Lord: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ…” (Acts 3:19-20) When we gather at a feast, it truly means we are feasting on the spiritual presence of the Lord; the life-sustaining bread from heaven, and being refreshed; it means spiritual mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Even so, during these feasts, all who knew the voice of God’s Spirit would gather “unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even unto His habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come…” (Deut. 12:5) The children of Israel were divided into a number of companies of tribes, each were a part of Israel, yet each had it’s own characteristics, qualities, and purposes which God would fulfill by them. To one of these companies of Israel, the rest of Israel were to gather; thus God shows that He would have His people, though they may be divided, united in one body; in one Spirit; by the presence of God breathing newness of life into their souls, and thus bringing the divided tribes into closer communion and worship than was possible at other seasons. As a great King, so the divine presence comes before His people who direct their worship toward His throne.

THE PRESENCE OF GOD- “My Feasts”

The presence of God has always been manifested, physically and spiritually, in greater measure during the feasts than at any other time. It was at Passover, where the protective presence of God, by faith in the blood of the lamb, spared Israel who were in Egypt, but not of Egypt. Likewise, spiritual Israel has a better Passover Lamb with a better celebration than the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; let us therefore keep the feast” (1 Cor. 5:8), because we are being saved from the death of this world, as Israel was saved from the death of Egypt; the blood’s protection was symbolic of the covering presence of Christ overshadowing their souls. Moreover, we are in the world, but not of it (John 17:13). Then Israel left their lives, their idols, their former practices in Egypt, and had participated in the feast of Unleavened Bread; signifying the removal of the leaven of sin and death in their lives (1 Cor. 5:9).

pillaroffireGod’s presence especially overshadowed His people during the feast that followed Passover in their deliverance, “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.” (Lev. 23:5-6) Notice that it is the Lord’s passover that was manifested in a special way to God’s people on the fourteenth day of the first moon of the year; Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Beginning on the fifteenth day, the seven day feast of Unleavened Bread was observed, the first day being a feast Sabbath rest, called “a holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.” God’s presence guided them further from Egypt; He manifested His Presence in another special manner to them. “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night…” (Exo. 13:21) Thus showing His protective covering and lighting the way by His own presence toward His people. There are many who are still so absorbed in Egypt’s thinking, who know not the time of God’s worship, that all they see is darkness rather than light at these times; they do not discern the presence of God where it seems dark, and thus, they receive none of the promised blessing. “And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.” (Exo 14:20) Yet there were Egyptians who left Egypt with the Israelites; those who forsook all, were numbered with Israel.

That same Presence promises to be in the sacred assemblies of the remnant of “Mt. Zion, the city of the living God: the heavenly Jerusalem…whose names are written in heaven” (Heb. 12:22-23): “It shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remains in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:…And 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.” (Isaiah 4:2-3) It was the next day, after the first day of Unleavened Bread, on the 16th of the month, after the feast Sabbath, where the firstfruits feast day was held (Lev. 23:11); where the high priest would present the sacrifice before God, and the firstfruit harvest of the land. This was the day when God opened the red sea as a symbol of fully dying to the old life of Egypt, and rising to a new life on the other side of the red sea in Arabia, as heirs of the promised land. It was also the day when Christ resurrected, and presented His sacrifice before the Father to be accepted, but not presenting Himself alone, but also other saints with Him: “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (Matt. 27:51-53) These firstfruits of the harvest were presented by Christ, the high priest before God the Father, and were the first to enter into the promised land of the rest of the harvest still to come. Thus we can see illustrated, God’s special blessings bestowed at these times.

THE SPECIAL PENTECOST

While the above is illustrating God’s acts of love towards His people on His feasts, this next point is the focus of our illustration, so pay special attention to the parallels which shall be drawn here.

From the time of the firstfruits, 50 days were to be counted, in which seven seventh-day Sabbaths would be found. At the fiftieth day, the Feast of Pentecost was observed. This was always in the first days of the third month; depending on whether the month was 29 days or 30, it would differ up to two days. It was the time the beginning of the third month when Israel reached Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1). God was placing His name there to worship Him on the feast of Pentecost and to proclaim His love to His people, as a bridegroom to his bride on the day of a wedding.

bride“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will hearken diligently unto my voice, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exodus 19:4-6) God here shows how He lovingly sanctified His people apart from the world, that they might enter into His marriage covenant. Like the Sabbath and the marriage union in the beginning, God unites this sanctified time with a sanctified union between Him and His people. He calls them to “hearken diligently unto My voice”; which is more appropriately spoken in the Hebrew “Hear” twice, or in Hebrew “shâma, shâma”, meaning “Hear intelligently from your heart.” It is the same word for the great love we are to have when in marriage covenant with God: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” (Deut. 6:4-6) In beholding His love, like a bridegroom, His love was to speak new life into their hearts, returning back to Him their love by submissive obedience to His commandments.

For this cause, they were called to wash their garments and sanctify themselves three days for this great festival. “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God…And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire…and the voice of the trumpet sounded long…” (Exo. 19:16)
The voice of the trumpet was to be sounded every feast day (Num. 10:1,2), and God’s presence was enthroned upon the mountain in fire. It was on this very day, that God spoke the law of His covenant from the mountain to His people, which were written on “the tables of the covenant”, which by His own finger (Exodus 31:18). It was on the following day, that the blood of the covenant was placed upon them (Exodus 24:8). Yet for disobedience to the covenant, 3000 perished, because they worshipped the gods of the land they had just come out from (Exodus 32:28).

THE PROMISE OF THE LATTER RAIN

Yet God promised that those who would keep His ways would be blessed with rain in due season. “These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel… beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb…Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do…That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day:” (Deut. 29:1,9,12) The promise of the covenant was clear: “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God… The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season.” (Deut. 28:1-2,12)

holy-spirit-fire2The rain was given for the ripening of the harvest, as symbolized in the feasts. The prophet Hosea recognized the rain as being God’s presence in the feast days: “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hos. 6:3) When the apostles were gathering together on Pentecost to keep the feast, the spiritual presence of God came down in fire upon them, as it did physically in Sinai (Acts 2:3) with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. What happened there when the apostles were baptized with the Spirit was entering into a marriage covenant. Few have realized this in it’s significance.

Christ had visited them on the day of resurrection, the firstfruits feast day, at the beginning of the count to Pentecost. Before departing, He promised “ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5) It was that same Spirit that casted out devils in the name of Christ, which Spirit was said of Christ to be “with the finger of God” in Luke 11:20, and “with the Spirit of God” in Matthew 12:28. The physical finger wrote upon the tables of the covenant, but the spiritual finger which casts out devils and sin writes the law of the covenant “in fleshy tables of the heart.” The words so long commanded to them finally understood as seen in the love of Christ’s blood; finally, it penetrated their minds in a way that would reach the heart. Instead of 3000 souls lost through disobedience to the covenant, 3000 souls were converted when they received the blood of the covenant. Lastly, the outpouring of the Spirit was a marriage union between Christ and His church: “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor. 6:16-17)
Thus this Pentecost was a marriage covenant that the church was “joined unto the Lord”, partaking of His Holy Spirit. God’s presence was manifested wonderfully at the feast, just as at Sinai in a special manner.

And the prophet Joel spoke about the outpouring of the Spirit of God in the former and latter rain as revealed at these sanctified times, as the apostle Peter boldly proclaimed: “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” (Acts 2:16-18)

THE INVITATION

There remains an invitation to be given to receive the blessings of the latter rain; times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord are still necessary for the spiritual life of the people of God today, and especially more now as we enter into the closing scenes of man’s probation. The call from the Spirit and the Bride who is joined to that Spirit, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” This water of life is the Spirit that Christ promised at the feast of tabernacles, bringing the spiritual presence of Christ into the soul to prepare people for the great wedding feast in heaven. These feasts are to receive the breath of God for souls that are spiritually dead in their walk, and need to be joined in Spirit to Christ.

We are told to ask rain in the time of the latter rain (Zechariah 10:1), “which is rain in due season;” it is a call to come up from the Egypt of the world, wherever God’s people are scattered, and to gather together where He chooses to place His name for a large outpouring of His Spirit. “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast… And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King… even upon them shall be no rain.” (Zech. 14:16-17) This is that spiritual Jerusalem, that is spiritually present wherever God’s people gather together in heeding the call of the voice of the Spirit to “come”. But many will not come. They make excuses. They won’t receive the rain. Like the Egyptians who only saw darkness where the Presence of God was as a dark cloud to them, the Israelites saw most precious light in the feast. Even so, it is now. Christ gave a parable about the marriage feast.wedding-feast-1

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.” (Matt. 22:2-3)

“And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”
(Luke 14:17-20)

Instead of being in one accord to come and receive the blessing of God’s presence at the feast; the men are in one accord to make excuses why they do not come. Many do the same thing today for not coming to the feast gatherings. For example:

1) A piece of land was purchased- Merchandise, non-essential priorities
2) Oxen being proved- Work
3) Married a wife- Church/doctrinal excuses- a covenant relationship with a church but not with God.

Can we afford not to receive the latter rain blessing to fit us for the marriage feast? To receive as much of the presence of God as we can receive? Will we let excuses keep us from the refreshing that God wants to give to us to prepare us for Christ’s return? This is an invitation to enter into a most precious marriage union with God. “The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pen­tecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant” (Christ Object Lessons, pg. 121)

In 1888, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists were given light from heaven that they rejected from the messengers: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world….When Brother Waggoner brought out these ideas in Minneapo­lis, it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lips I had heard…” ( 1888 Materials, 348) The light from heaven was the beginning of the marriage covenant message of the manifest presence of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, but because there was prejudice in the minds of the conference leadership because they held different beliefs on the covenants.

Night before last I was shown that evidences in regard to the covenants were clear and convincing.  Yourself and…others are spending your investigative powers for naught to produce a position on the covenants to vary from the position that Brother Waggoner has presented. Had you received the true light which shineth you would not have imitated or gone over the same manner of interpretation and misconstruing the Scriptures as did the Jews… The covenant question is a clear question and would be received by every candid, unprejudiced mind, but I was brought where the Lord gave me an insight into this matter. You have turned from plain light…” (Ellen White, Letter to Uriah Smith, March 8, 1890)

“Now I tell you here before God, that the covenant question, as it has been presented, is the truth.” (Sermon Transcript, March 8, 1890, Battle Creek.)

 Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit [i.e. the “latter rain”] that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in car­rying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world (1888 Materials, 1575)

“They said, This is only excitement; it is not the Holy Spirit, not showers from heaven of the latter rain. There were hearts full of unbelief, who did not drink in of the Spirit, but who had bitterness in their souls. On many occasions the Holy Spirit did work, but those who 1479 resisted the Spirit of God at Minneapolis were waiting for a chance to travel over the same ground again, because their spirit was the same… Afterward, when they had evidence heaped upon evidence, some were convicted, but those who were not softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit’s working, put their own interpretation upon every manifestation of the grace of God,and they have lost much.” (1888 Materials, 1479)

The evidences were beautifully realized for the truth about the marriage covenant; light was to come to God’s people if they would receive it. The invitation to receive the Spirit was there, but the “latter rain” message was called only excitement. Reasons were given to make of no effect all of the evidence God was supplying to the leadership, and the message was never received, and never advanced further. This time of the latter rain… what was it? When calculated according to the calendar God gave in creation, the 1888 message of the latter rain came exactly at the time of the feast of Tabernacles! It was the time of the feast, it was the message of the covenant, and God’s presence was coming to them in a special manner at the time of the latter rain! Yet it was rejected… they did not obtain the blessing God wanted them to receive.

Shortly after this time, in 1893, Ellen White was in Australia, where the work was beginning through campmeetings. She wrote about the campmeetings, calling them the feast of tabernacles, and in 1895, urged them to come to the feast “for all things are ready”. W.W. Prescott began sharing messages which Ellen White endorsed highly. With Jones and Waggoner of 1888, she said Prescott was also presenting the messages of the covenants, showing he was one of the few who received the message when others were rejecting it. “I am much pleased to learn that Professor [W. W.] Prescott is giving the same lessons in his class to the students that Brother [E. J.] Waggoner has been giving. He is presenting the covenants. John thinks it is presented in a clear and convincing manner.” (Letter 30, 1890) The messages he shared by Prescott was declared to be a feast with vitalizing power by the Spirit of God: “We are at this time in our camp-meeting having a feast of precious things. The word is presented in a most powerful manner. The Holy Spirit has been poured out upon Brother Prescott in a great measure…. Brother Prescott has been bearing the burning words of truth such as I have heard from some in 1844. The inspiration of the Spirit of God has been upon him. Unbelievers say, “These are the words of God. I never heard such things before.” We have had the truth presented in clear lines. Bro. Prescott has never had such power in preaching the truth as he has had since coming to this meeting. The unbelievers sit with their eyes riveted on him in amazement, as the truth comes forth from his lips, vitalized by the Spirit of God. When I consider the responsibility resting upon all who hear this heaven sent message, I tremble at the word of the Lord. Who will receive the message sent to them?” November 6, 1895 (Letter 25, 1895 to S. N. Haskell, unreleased). When the time is calculated, this too, was the Feast of Tabernacles; the printing of the messages in America from the General Conference headquarters was resisted because they believed it taught doctrinal error regarding the law of God and what was nailed to the cross.

Yet in all of this, they did not see that it was the time of the feast; the light on the law of statutes containing the feasts were covered by the hand of God until the marriage covenant message was received and studied out. This would open up the sacrifice of Christ more fully in the feasts, pouring out more of His spiritual life on His believing people. When Christ is in His rightful place, and as we stand in living connection with Him, then-and only then- can we safely be opened up to more light on the feasts divested from powerless ceremonies, and lifeless observances of the law.

PERSONAL TESTIMONY

The invitation must go forward. I (Christian Israel) am about to take my ministry to Portugal, where I will enter into solemn covenant with my bride-
ruxandra-christian2to-be in the presence of God. We had decided that June 4th would be the date, as so many things pointed to this date as being the one God was directing us to; suggested by my fiance also out of a few conveniences, to which I agreed. The thought kept pressing itself upon my mind, the desire for us to hold a two-day campmeeting on marriage and the image of God in the place where we would be married, two days before the actual wedding. She agreed to this; it would be how we would begin our married life- united in setting Christ before the people, and uniting our lives in Him together in this way.

Going to Europe in late February, I endeavored to find where the feast gatherings were being held. I messaged one sister from Germany, who said there was nothing really established there. As I looked at the times for the feasts and when they would be, so I might plan accordingly, I found something that caused great anticipation and joy. The day we had set to begin the marriage meetings, the meetings of the marriage covenant, where we desired the presence of God was promised to us. It was Pentecost. The promise of the presence of God; of a large outpouring of His Spirit; of power. We’re believing He has chosen to set His name there; His presence promised as we enter into ministry together, approving of our union. It was not uncommon for the days to extend themselves in the feast gatherings when it was a joyous assembly. Pentecost will fall on June 2nd this year. It is followed by the seventh-day Sabbath, and the marriage ceremony shall be on Sunday.

The church was not aware when setting the dates for their conference, that God would provide such great messages of truth, or at just such a perfect timing for the latter rain. Likewise, my bride-to-be, when suggesting the time, knew nothing of the time where Pentecost would fall, nor did I when I suggested the two day extension. We are fully believing God for a wonderful manifestation of His Spirit, but who will come to this marriage feast to partake of the blessings our heavenly Father is eager to pour out on us all? Come to the marriage feast! Come partake of the light of heaven! Come and bring your influence to the Lord’s side, to aid in establishing the work in Europe! Come and receive the living waters from heaven; a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord!

“Let all who possibly can, attend these yearly gatherings. All should feel that God requires this of them. If they do not avail themselves of the privileges which He has provided for them to become strong in Him and in the power of His grace, they will grow weaker and weaker, and have less and less desire to consecrate all to Him. Come, brethren and sisters, to these sacred convocation meetings, to find Jesus. He will come up to the feast; He will be present, and will do for you that which you need most to have done. Your farms should not be considered of greater value than the higher interests of the soul. All the treasures you possess, be they ever so valuable, would not be rich enough to buy you peace and hope, which would be infinite gain at the cost of all you have and the toils and sufferings of a lifetime. A strong, clear sense of eternal things, and a heart willing to yield all to Christ, are blessings of more value than all the riches and pleasures and glories of this world.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pg. 600

It is with an earnest longing that I look forward to the time when the events of the Day of Pentecost shall be repeated with even greater power than on that occasion. John says, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory” [Rev. 18:1]. Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue.”  Bible Commentary Volume 6, pg. 1055 (1886)

***Confirmed languages and available translators at this feast will be in English, German, and Portuguese.

For more information and to confirm plans, please contact me at 352-208-6079, or better to e-mail me at Christian_isr@live.com.
Let him who has an ear heareth the invitation of the Spirit….

pentecost-invitation




The Heavenly Sanctuary: Was there feasts before Mt. Sinai?

We are told of a great high throne that existed in heavenly places “from the beginning”, which is “the place of our Sanctuary” (Jer. 17:12). Careful study of the Sanctuary and it’s services may yield much wonderful light to the people of God in these last days; indeed the Sanctuary itself is full of instruction for us. The throne in the heavenly Sanctuary was the archtype of the sanctuary patterned after it upon the earth; the purpose of which was to dwell amongst His people as King of His people: “And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” (Exo. 25:8) Now, it’s evident that the heavenly Sanctuary was first, or else the pattern could never have been designed. We’re told that this pattern “serves unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (Heb. 8:5)

While the reality did indeed exist in heaven, it was necessary to have a shadow of the true object existing alongside of it to help the mind go forth from the seen shadow to the unseen, yet living, reality.

The throneroom is called the Most Holy place; which throne is called “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” The risen Lamb of God, Christ, was seated on His Father’s throne of glory, “the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5). We’re told “Even He has build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His [the Father’s] throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zechariah 6:13) Christ is both High Priest upon His Father’s throne, and the Lamb of God. Yet where this is a Sanctuary there is a priest. Furthermore, even before Christ came to this earth, He was the “Lamb…who was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:20).

When examining the sacrifices of the burnt offerings of lamb, bull, goat, dove, etc. it is important to realize that these were emblematic of Christ’s sacrifice, and that “it was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin;” (Heb. 10:4) but Christ was “the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:19); those sacrifices ever attended the sanctuary, and without the sacrifice pointing to Christ, not so much as a prayer could be accepted upon the altar of burnt offering. It was the fire of God’s throne, His Presence, where “a fiery stream issues and comes forth from before him” (Dan. 7:10) which kindled the coals of the altar. These coals were brought into the golden altar of incense, where prayer is continually offered; thus signifying that apart from the Lamb of God, no prayer is brought before God.

THE TIMES OF WORSHIP

These sacrifices were always enjoined to times of worship where the congregation would assemble. Every evening and morning, a sacrifice was laid upon the altar for the congregation. On the Sabbath, a double portion of the sacrifice signifying Christ was offered. On the new moons, even more sacrifices specified were done to signify the work of Christ, and on the feasts and solemn days; specific sacrifices were meant to carry to the understanding heart beautiful and wonderful spiritual truths (i.e. taking away our sins, taking away our ignorance, etc.), as well shadow forth prophetic signification. They are found specifically in Numbers 28-29.

We recognize that there is worship in heaven united to “better sacrifices than these” (Heb. 9:23). Among the worship in heaven, it consists of “an innumerable company of angels” and “just men made perfect” whose lives are upheld by Christ as part of the church of heaven, called “Mount Zion…the city of the living God” (Heb. 12:22,23). Additionally, there are men bought by the blood of the Son of God, who are “a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) These three classes are those whose worship belongs to God upon the throne, and are enjoined to Christ in their various spheres of existence, even as the sacrifices on earth were always enjoined to the temple worship down here below.

THE ANGELS
Angels of God in awesome, wing-veiled face declare “holy, holy, holy” to God the Father (Isaiah 6, Gen. 4,5) “in His holy temple” (Hab. 2:20); and these surround His throne. In fact, the angels are said to use the instruments of the Sanctuary and to do the service of the Sanctuary in heaven under the High Priest, Christ their Commander. It is by virtue of Christ that “angels [are] ascending and descending on the Son of man” (John 1:51). As the sons of Aaron in the earthly sanctuary were connected to Aaron’s high priestly ministry to minister to mankind regarding the sacrifices, even so, the angels of the heavenly sanctuary minister to mankind by virtue of Christ’s high priestly ministry. In like manner, as the success of Aaron’s special work at the end of the year was the basis of all their daily ministration, even so it is with Christ and His angels. Isaiah, catching a glimpse of the heavenly throne room in the temple, sees an angel bringing the message of the Lamb of God to him in symbolic vision, “having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar…and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. ” (Isaiah 6:6,7) Do we suppose that the angels work upon any manner of timing? “When truth in it’s simplicity is lived, then God will work through His angels as He worked on the day of Pentecost…” (Ms 21, 1906) We here see that angels, also called elsewhere “flames of fire” worked on the day of Pentecost, the very time of worship in the Sanctuary; as the blood of the special Pentecostal sacrifices were poured out in the earthly temple, even so the life of Christ was poured out from on high from the heavenly. We can further gather that they do these special acts in regards to the sacrifice of Christ, as declared from the following: “Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, “My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!” Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, “Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.” When the Feast of firstfruits, symbolizing Christ and His resurrection, was come, a sheaf of wheat would be waved up and down as an offering before the Creator; here an angel is doing exactly this, and says to hold until the seal, which is “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”, is poured out in full measure into our hearts.

The angels are shown to be in connection with perfect order which Satan seeks to disrupt the order which characterizes all heaven, this inevitably includes the order pertaining to worship. “Angels work harmoniously. Perfect order characterizes all their movements. The more closely we imitate the harmony and order of the angelic host, the more successful will be the efforts of these heavenly agents in our behalf. If we see no necessity for harmonious action, and are disorderly, undisciplined, and disorganized in our course of action, angels, who are thoroughly organized and move in perfect order, cannot work for us successfully….Satan well knows that success can only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. It is his studied effort to lead professed Christians just as far from heaven’s arrangement as he can…The Lord did not leave His holy tabernacle to be borne indiscriminately by any tribe that might choose. He was so particular as to specify the order He would have observed in bearing the sacred ark and to designate a special family of the tribe of the Levites to bear it… they were required to observe perfect order.” (1 Testimonies for the Church, p. 649-651)

Please notice the perfect order that angels work in unison with is in reference to “His holy tabernacle” and it’s order and priesthood. It was not to be done in whatsoever way the angels, or man, dictated it should be done; explicit instructions were given to carefully guard the order of heaven. These angels bear messages of the Lamb of God to the minds of mortals in large measure on these times of sacred assembly; because Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb, is the chief focus of what these assemblies are regarding.

Speaking on this, the apocryphal book, Sirach, gives insight into this truth:
“He made the moon also to serve in her season for a declaration of times,and a sign of the world. From the moon is the sign of feasts, a light that decreaseth in her perfection. The month is called after her name, increasing wonderfully in her changing, being an instrument of the armies above, shining in the firmament of heaven; The beauty of heaven, the glory of the stars, an ornament giving light in the highest places of the Lord. At the commandment of the Holy One they will stand in their order, and never faint in their watches.” (Sirach [Ecclesiasticus] 43:6-10)

JUST MEN MADE PERFECT
We are further shown a glimpse of the throne of God; “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
(Job 1:6-7)

Here we see that the sons of God are gathering before the Lord, to “present themselves”, or another word means “to stand” before the Lord. But who are the sons of God? The Scripture tells us enough information regarding who they are. We are told in the Luke’s account of the genealogy of Jesus that “Adam…was the son of God” (Luke 3:38); the head of the human race, “the first man”, was declared to be a son of God; he was given dominion over this world, called the earth. However, the Bible speaks about other worlds also. “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Hebrews 1:2) We’re further told that “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,” (Hebrews 11:3) This language cannot be mistaken. There are more worlds than just this one. Upon it were “righteous” who were “made perfect”. The sons of God were the heads of the worlds without number, and Adam was the son of God over the earth, and Christ was Son of God over the entire universe; thus the dominion of the sons of God were to be subject to God the Father in the likeness of Christ’s subjection; and were to receive the power to reflect this pattern of dominion held by God and Christ on a smaller scale.

It was these sons of God that gathered before the presence of God the Father. Further evidence of this was that Satan presumed the earth to be his, and that it was his right to be at the heavenly convocation. In heaven, where there is perfect order, and a heavenly tabernacle of appointed times, we shall not go further to presume that this was just an assembly call at some unappointed time to the throne of God, but rather an assembly at the Sanctuary in heaven according to His sacred assemblies. Neither do we assume that the occasion was the Sabbath; the day upon which the heads of the worlds ought to have been rejoicing with their people in their collective creation. No, rather we find that it is a time when those representing their various world families would come to the Most Holy place. More evidence may be gathered from the Hebrew word for “There was a day…” when they came to present themselves; in the Hebrew it is Hayaw Yom; this means “there existed a day” when the sons of God would present themselves. We find in Scripture a similar principle for the feasts and the Sanctuary upon the earth:

“Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:” (Deut. 16:16)  “Anciently the Lord instructed His people to assemble three times a year for His worship.” More specifically, it was required that all men of the land were required to come to the yearly festivals. God has made “man the head of the woman” (1 Cor. 11:3), and together to have dominion over their home, with their children under their authority and jurisdiction; similarly to the realm of heaven. Likewise, men, as privileged to be amongst the redeemed, will reign together with Christ, having a share of His throne, and called “sons of God” (1 John 3:1) [Sidenote: This does not say that women are not the daughters of God, or hold a share of the throne- nor that they were not called to attend the feast, because they were also invited to come if able.] “Again the people were reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath. Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the men of the nation were to assemble before the Lord, bringing to Him their offerings of gratitude and the first fruits of His bounties. The object of all these regulations was stated: they proceeded from no exercise of mere arbitrary sovereignty; all were given for the good of Israel. The Lord said, “Ye shall be holy men unto Me”–worthy to be acknowledged by a holy God. (Patriarchs and Prophets, pg. 311)

These assemblies were holy and appointed gatherings of the holy sons of God, of which Satan had no share. In fact, Job was counted as the rightful representative. Job as a faithful priest of the home, as a son of God, offered sacrifice before God for his sons when the days of feasting came in case they should have sinned; thus the sacrifice is enjoined to the feast by the representative priest of the home. This illuminates with vivid distinction the illustration of Job as representing the Son of God in heaven, while upon the earth. It was then that Satan was permitted to leave, and he wasted no time, but we are told he went forth from the assembly in heaven. It is at this time that we find Job’s family feasting when a mighty wind comes upon the house to destroy them. As a son of God in Adam’s stead, even his own wife tempts him to sin, not realizing that she has, inadvertently, done as Eve did to Adam in being a vessel to bring the son of God down through sin. Yet we see Job overcome where Adam fell, despite being severely tried in the fire.

Like the sons of God must leave their respective worlds, even so the men were to leave their respective homes. Likewise, Job, like the sons of God in heaven, was separate from his family in almost symbolic fashion. The parallels may be found to be strikingly similar when compared.

Connecting this point of the sons of God worshipping in heaven, we turn to men upon the earth more fully. The tabernacle of the appointed times manner of worship was never confined strictly to sacrifices, or to an earthly tent; it was symbolic of the worship of the God of heaven and earth, and the true manner of worship was not as strictly confined as men had made it to be in the time of Jesus, but He rather said “believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father… The hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth; for the Father seeks such to worship Him.” (John 4:21-23)

While the physical earthly tabernacle was stationary, the worshippers were not to be confined to one place to worship; although the time of worship would remain the same; every evening and morning, Sabbath, new moon, and appointed holy days.

“The Jewish tabernacle was a type of the Christian church. ….The church on earth, composed of those who are faithful and loyal to God, is the “true tabernacle,” whereof the Redeemer is the minister. God and not man pitched this tabernacle on a high, elevated platform. This tabernacle is Christ’s body; and from north, south, east, and west, He gathers those who shall help to compose it.” Ms142-1899

The Christian church has it’s times of worship, the antitype of the Christian church on earth, as well as the Sanctuary church in heaven. The holy priesthood was to “offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”  Adding more significant to this reality, was that Peter delivered the message of the Lamb of God on “the third hour,” (Acts 2:15) a direct channel in time to when Christ was laid upon the cross (Matt. 15:25), the time of the morning worship sacrifice which took place in the tabernacle upon the earth; no less at the very day of Pentecost this took place. The time was regarded on earth, from the Throne of heaven and the blood of the Lamb wrought powerfully in such an occasion.

We cannot with safety conclude that the God of heaven has no order or worship which He ordains in heavenly places. In fact, there is more reason to believe He does, than not. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of reasons for worship on the time of the feasts in heaven, these are some of the more conclusive and sound reasons behind the matter. We’ve primarily focused upon the matter of the feasts in heaven in relation to the heavenly sanctuary, but more points will be brought out in our next piece on this subject “Revisiting the Law: Because of Transgression…”