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Seven yearly sabbaths

A Personal Panorama

 


 

Contents

 

The first yearly sabbath

After the "pass over"

Also a symbol of righteousness

 

The second yearly sabbath

Two sabbaths

The firstfruits

 

The third yearly sabbath

Sowing seed

 

The fourth yearly sabbath

 

The fifth yearly sabbath

 

The sixth yearly sabbath

 

The seventh yearly sabbath

True judgment

The eighth day

 

The seven special yearly sabbaths

 

Leviticus 23:37-38

These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations [rest from work days] ... besides the Sabbaths of the LORD.

 

There were seven special holy days which God established in the sanctuary system of the Old Testament in an endeavour to teach certain very important truths. These were:-

 

1. The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

2. The last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

3. The Feast of Weeks, commonly known as Pentecost.

4. The Day of Trumpets.

5. The Day of Atonement.

6. The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

7. The last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

These special days of rest, which were called sabbaths or holy convocations, were identified by the moon in contrast to the weekly Sabbath which is distinguished by the sun. The weekly Sabbath is always the seventh day, but these holy times were variable in that they occurred on different days of the week, always on the same date in the month, with one notable exception, in the same manner that the professed Christian world calculates Christmas day. Occasionally over the years the two different sabbath periods, the weekly and the yearly, would fall on the same twenty-four hour day, and this was considered to be a very special time, "a high day." John 19:31.

These special yearly sabbaths have two very different interpretations. One is their application to the individual Christian's experience - as personal symbols. The other is their application as prophecies - as historical symbols. We must take care to keep these interpretations separate in our minds, for in this article we are dealing with the personal application. Here they will represent the high points in the Christian walk.

 

The first yearly sabbath

The first of these seven came at the very beginning of the religious year, in the spring [March/April] of the solar year. God told the Israelites,

Leviticus 23:5-6

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's "pass over". And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD.

The first of the yearly sabbaths, the first day of the feast, therefore occurred near full moon. They were told,

Exodus 12:15-16

Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread [made without yeast]: even the first day [of the seven] you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an[other] holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.

The first harvest of the new season was also to be ready at that time, and thus the beginning of the religious year was set both by the season and the moon, as God had said. It is written of the sun and the moon, "Let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years" and this was one of those occasions. Genesis 1:14.

This first ceremonial sabbath is part of the seven day period which came to be called at times The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and at others the Passover, when the "pass over" day was included with it. Exodus 12:17; Luke 22:1. Both the first and the last of these seven days were special days with great meaning, and they were observed on the 15th and the 21st days of the month near the full moon and last quarter.

Because of the feast's closeness to the day of the Passover, it has often been confused with that day, but it commenced after the Day of "pass over", which was the 14th day of the month and very much a working day. They were separate and distinct festivals, teaching separate and distinct truths, even though literally following one another.

The "pass over" day was NOT a sabbath, it was a working day, and it was designed to show the spiritual truths of conversion through the entrance of the LAMB of God into the life as we are told, "For even Christ our Passover [Lamb] is sacrificed for us." 1 Corinthians 5:7. The "exit" of the "old man" was shown by the circumcision ritual which had occurred before this, for no uncircumcised person could partake of the "pass over" feast. Exodus 12:48. All who were Israelite born went through the ritual on the 8th day of their lives (Genesis 17:10-13), but for those adults who were new to the faith, there was the period between choosing the lamb on the 10th day and its death on the 14th for them to be circumcised.

 

After the "pass over"

In contrast, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was designed to show the effects and not just the presence of the indwelling Saviour, and therefore typifies the work to be done in the believer after the "pass over" experience. Leaven is used as a symbol of error in many instances in the Bible, as Jesus explained one day to His disciples. He said,

Matthew 16:6-12

Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees ... then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

In another place, God says,

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Know you not, that a little leaven, [that is, yeast], leavens the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened [now] ... Therefore let us keep the feast ... with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Just as yeast causes bread to rise by spreading right through the dough, so one error, whether in doctrine or action, will eventually dominate in the life. One cherished sin will, little by little, debase the character, bringing all its nobler powers into subjection to the evil desire. One sin cherished in the soul, one wrong practice retained in the life, and the whole being will be contaminated. One wrong trait of character, one sinful desire cherished, will even eventually neutralize all the power of the gospel. One wrong doctrine held onto will lead away from the truth imperceptibly until the believer is willing to accept any idea no matter how anti-scriptural.

 

Also a symbol of righteousness

But sometimes leaven is used as a symbol of goodness, for righteousness begins with Christ at the rebirth, and then expands as the reborn Christian grows to maturity!

Thus Jesus said,

Matthew 13:33

The kingdom of heaven [in the individual] is like to leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

He meant that as sin expands and cuts off all righteousness, so righteousness can expand and cut off all sin. Therefore as righteousness is cherished so it will cause the actions of sin to cease in the Christian. This does not mean that the two can exist side by side as equals. Jesus also said, "No man can serve two masters". Matthew 6:24. We must first be rid of the "sin master" within for we cannot serve God with a divided heart. Our religion is not to be one influence among many others. Its influence is to be supreme, pervading and controlling every other. It is not to be like a dash of colour brushed here and there upon the canvas of the soul, but it is to permeate the whole life, as if the sheet were dipped into the colour until every thread of the fabric is dyed a deep, unfading hue. We have been told:-

Matthew 6:22-23

If therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light. But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness.

Purity and steadfastness of purpose are the conditions of receiving light from God, and he, or she, who desires to know the truth must be willing to accept all that is revealed. We can make no compromise with error. To be wavering and half-hearted in allegiance to truth is to choose the darkness of error and satanic delusion. Worldly policy and the undeviating principles of righteousness do not blend into each other imperceptibly like the colours of the rainbow, for between the two a broad, clear line is drawn by the Eternal God. The likeness of Christ stands out as distinct from that of Satan as midday does in contrast with midnight.

The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan, therefore Jesus always separates the contrite soul from sin and error and this is what is represented by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is a picture of the work of God in dealing with known sins early in our Christian walk. It is the first week in fifty-two!

In this ceremony the yeast represents known and revealed sin in the believer's life, especially the errors we hold in doctrine, and the seven days of the feast are a picture of the removal of these errors, and also the living in righteousness and truth thereafter.

The time begins with a yearly sabbath because the weekly Sabbath day of rest has special meaning to the believer. The first yearly sabbath is a symbol of the power of God in a certain area and signifies the believer's acceptance of the fact that he or she has received their Christian life by a total reliance on their Saviour's life, and a power out of and away from, themselves.

In this way we too can "keep the feast." We are to continue to ‘rest’ in God for sanctification as well as justification and thereby be complete Sabbath-keepers. Jesus has offered this rest to all in these words.

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all you that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest [literally - the keeping of a Sabbath]. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me for I am meek and lowly in heart. And you shall find rest [the first sabbath] for your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Later He repeated this offer for it is a sign of the New Covenant.

Hebrews 4:9-10

There remains therefore a rest [the keeping of a Sabbath, margin] to the people of God, for he that is entered into His rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from His,

To those who were with Moses in the exodus from the world of Egypt, He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14. Therefore, the first special sabbath is a sign to the believer's audience that he has accepted the power of God in cleansing him from his past life. This is why it comes immediately after the "pass over" day.

 

The second yearly sabbath

The second special sabbath came at the end of the seven feast days and was a sign to "the watchers and holy ones" that the believer was resting in Christ for his present life; that he had put away all the known sins and errors which the leaven represented, through that power, and was standing in conscious innocence before God, as Daniel had in the lion's den. He said, "My God has sent His angel, and has shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me; forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me." Daniel 6:22. This is not to say that the Christian is not sinning at all, for this is the last thing any Christian would claim, but is a proclamation that he or she is not committing any known sins. 1 John 1:8.

We should always remember that the tempter's agency is not to be accounted an excuse for one wrong act for there is always a "way of escape." 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for the deformities in their characters. It is these excuses which lead to sin! There is no excuse for sinning, except maybe ignorance, and this can soon be cured by asking God for light. A holy temper, a Christlike life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God.

Any sins of ignorance still in the Christian's life at the point of the second sabbath are covered by the first sabbath symbol.

 

Two sabbaths

Both sabbaths alike symbolise the power of God used in different areas of the life for different purposes. By this time we should know that in the work of redemption there is no compulsion - no external force is employed - that under the influence of the Spirit of God, each man or woman is left free to choose whom he or she will serve. Therefore, in the exchange that takes place when the individual surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom or sabbath-keeping.

But the later expulsion of sin is the act of the person concerned!

True, before conversion we have no power to free ourselves from Satan's control, but after we are converted and desire to be set free from a sin, and we in our great need cry out again for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of our mind are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and then they obey the dictates of our will in fulfilling the will of God.

 

The firstfruits

Between these two sabbaths which marked the beginning and the end of the feast, was the offering of the firstfruits.

It occurred on the 16th day of the first month immediately after the first sabbath, and was an actual sheaf of the harvest, the first one before the general reaping began, which was brought in to the sanctuary and waved by the priest in front of the LORD. God had told His people,

Leviticus 23:10-11

When you come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then shall you bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

Thus this day was an ordinary working day. There were other firstfruits of course, from other harvests, but this particular one was the first of all the firstfruits for the year and had special meaning.

It symbolises the notice to God and others, that Jesus Christ is alive and working in the life of the offerer: that He has been resurrected to a new life and has given one to the believer.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22

Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept [the sleep of the dead] ... for as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Spiritually, as well as physically, He waves us before His God and the universe.

 

The third yearly sabbath

After having put away all known sins the believer continues to grow in grace and knowledge, putting away any sins as they become revealed during the period symbolised by the next few weeks, until the third month of the year. Then he or she comes to the point in their lives which is the equivalent of the third sabbath. This is the Feast of Weeks, more commonly known as the Day of Pentecost.

It is the only one of the seven which is not decided by the number of the day of the month. Instead, it is calculated from the day of the firstfruits. God told them,

Leviticus 23:15-21

You shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. Seven [weekly] Sabbaths shall be complete [or past]: even to the morrow after the seventh [weekly] Sabbath shall you number fifty days ... And you shall proclaim on the self-same day, that it may be a holy convocation to you.

This method of calculation is made clearer in another place where God explains that it is the weeks that are being counted, not just the days. There He states, "Seven weeks shall you number to you. Begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the corn. And [then] you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God." Deuteronomy 16:9-10. Thus we see that God's name for the day is the Feast of Weeks.

The actual day of the feast was always to be the day after the seventh weekly Sabbath, thus making it always the first day of the week. This also gave the believer two sabbaths together, a double delight! This way of counting means that the actual date of the Feast of Weeks would vary from year to year, and that it was not always the fiftieth day from the day of Firstfruits, because it was counted from the weekly Sabbath which followed the day of Firstfruits. The double sabbath blessing was to show that the ceremonial being pictured here is not only set by a time sequence, but also relies on the believer's experience and desire, for it is a symbol of the infilling of the Holy Spirit for a particular purpose - to show his or her rest in Christ for the power to witness.

Jesus, after His resurrection, told His disciples that on their day of Pentecost which came on the fiftieth day of that year, they were to "Wait for the promise of the Father ... You shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me." Acts 1:4-8.

Sowing seed

Seven ‘weeks’ are required for us to understand that God desires us to have the fullness of His Spirit so that we may bring a particular harvest to Him. Without His Spirit we can do nothing, and our strongest attempts at this missionary work before this spiritual time are doomed to failure, even though this may not be apparent immediately. (Of course, we may have this blessing straight after we make the decision to follow the Lamb, if we accept the seven sabbaths immediately.)

But the mere argument of the truth in our own strength will not move any to stand with the remnant, for the truth is unpopular, therefore we as the servants of God must have the truth in our innermost parts. We must get it warm from Glory, as tongues of fire, and carry it in our hearts, pouring it out in warmth and earnestness to those that hear. A few who are conscientious may decide from the weight of evidence, but it is impossible to move many with a mere theory. There must be a Power attending the explanation of the truth, a living testimony to move them and we must learn to walk after Him, and not before.

The time of this 'ceremonial sabbath' therefore depends on our understanding and experience, not the numbers of days. To get this understanding and experience we must have passed through the ‘rests’ indicated by the seven weekly Sabbaths. When we have had the ‘seven’ smaller encounters with God we shall be prepared for the greater one shown in the third ceremonial sabbath, for God is willing to give us a similar blessing to the one He gave the disciples on their day of Pentecost, when we ask for it as earnestly and as correctly.

He did not lock the reservoir of heaven after pouring His Spirit on those early Christians therefore we today may also receive the fullness of His blessing. At this very hour the fullness of His Spirit and of His grace is for all who need them and who take Him at His word.

 

The fourth yearly sabbath

Leviticus 23:24

In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.

Nothing appears on God's calendar for the 4th, 5th, and 6th ‘months’ of our lives, but during this time the harvests should have been gathered one by one, and now the 'autumn' has begun. There has been a time of great activity, but now the falling of the leaves warns that winter, that "great day of darkness", is at hand. Joel 2:2. If all is to be finished before that time, then a special effort must be put forth now, in the power of God. Therefore this sabbath symbolises the beginning of the final warning the believer will be able to give before his or her witness will be silenced. Coming at this point, near the end of their time, it should have a particular sound, based on his or her personal experiences with the LORD.

There were two trumpets in the sanctuary system, with different notes, and these were used in various manners on different occasions. Moses was told,

Numbers 10:1-4

Make you two trumpets of silver, of a whole piece shall you make them; that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps ... and when they shall blow with them [both], all the assembly shall assemble themselves to you at the door of the tabernacle ... If they blow with but one trumpet, then the princes [only], which are the heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves to you.

Long blasts, as at Mount Sinai, were calls of assembly, while short, urgent blasts were calls of alarm, or to warn of the start of their journeys.

Verses 6-7

They shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm.

The believer's message as shown by the sabbath of the Day of Trumpets will now have a special sound of joy, as well as of warning, as he looks forward to being with the LORD. "Also, in the days of your gladness," the LORD said, "You shall blow with the trumpets." Numbers 10:10.

The one sounding the warning will be endeavouring to share the joy he has in the LORD that others may have it also, and his knowledge of this gladness will be according to his union with the LORD. Peter's words to us are,

2 Peter 1:12-15 J B Phillip's translation

I shall not fail to remind you of things like this although you know them and are already established in the truth. I consider it my duty, as long as I live in the temporary dwelling of this body, to stimulate you by these reminders. I know that I shall have to leave this body at very short notice, as our LORD Jesus Christ made clear to me. Consequently, I shall make the most of every opportunity, so that after I am gone you will remember these things.

The LORD said,

Ezekiel 33:2-5

Speak to the children of your people, and say to them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman; if when he sees the sword come upon the land, he blows the trumpet, and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning, if the sword came and take him away, his blood shall be on his own head: he heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning. But he that takes warning shall deliver his soul.

In this work, as in all the others, the Christian watchman must rely entirely upon the power supplied by a loving Saviour, so that his efforts will bring forth fruit. He must rest in the LORD while he works! It must be by the grace of God and our own diligent efforts.

 

The fifth yearly sabbath

The next sabbath followed quickly after the period of the warning trumpets, for they continued to be sounded each day after the first time, and it is called the Day of Atonement. It occurred on the 10th day of the seventh month and all the people were advised to search their lives carefully and prayerfully on that day.

Leviticus 23:27-28

You shall afflict your souls and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.

This day was to be one of particular At-one-ment with God, a picture of the day of judgment, when Christ is to request that the believer be given to Him permanently. See John 17:24. This, being based on the believer's choice, can not be done until he or she has reached a state of not altering their decision. He, or she, must have so settled into the truth of God that they cannot ever be moved!

He, or she, must be sure of the rest of God!

In their last days they will feel as God feels at the plight of those on the earth who have not made up their minds, for God has said that He will "Set a mark upon the foreheads [i.e in the minds] of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof." Ezekiel 9:4. This is not any seal or mark that can be seen with the physical eye, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so that they cannot be moved.

Normally, such a situation can only become permanent after the death of the individual, for we are a very changeable race, and so the judgment is said to come after the close of the person's probation, at death. Thus it is written to us, "And it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment." Hebrews 9:27. But this is not always to be so, for there will come a time when one generation will make up their minds before they die and will not change at all after that. They, of course, will be the ones who will witness the second coming.

God says to us as we approach the end of our earthly span, as He said to His Israel of old,

Leviticus 23:32

It shall be to you a sabbath of rest and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even [i.e. the going down of the sun], from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.

From sunset on what we would call the 9th day to sunset on the 10th day is God's reckoning of the Day of Atonement, and this is in line with normal weekly Sabbath-keeping.

However, the work of "afflicting the soul" commences with the warning blasts of the trumpets on the 1st day of the month, and continues while ever we have consciousness, reaching its height on the Day of Atonement.

It is a time for "fasting", or abstaining from the lawful delights of this world, such as has not been done before. In this way the earthliness that causes so much confusion in our minds may be cleared away. This "fasting" is not a punishment, nor is it meant to sway God's judgment, for He cannot be manipulated, nor does He punish. It is meant to be a time when we can make our "calling and election sure", by searching for any unconfessed sins or worldly practices which we may still have in our lives. We have been told, "Let a man examine himself [with the guidance of the Spirit of God of course] ... for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." 1 Corinthians 11:28-31.

All God does on the great Day of Judgment is to pronounce the fact of our lives.

Revelation 22:11

He that is unjust, let [or allow] him be unjust still, He says. And he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

So this fifth sabbath is to show our ‘rest’ in Christ's power and love for our own personal judgment. He who is the "Author" is also the "Finisher" of our faith. Hebrews 12:2.

 

The sixth yearly sabbath

Leviticus 23:33-35

The LORD spoke to Moses saying, Speak to the children of Israel saying,The fifteenth day of the seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day shall be a holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein.

This ceremonial began on the 15th day of the 7th month, and lasted for eight days, for of this time the LORD also said, "When you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath." Verse 39.

The year's harvests were all over and gathered and the time of relaxation had arrived. The people of God were advised to,

Leviticus 23:40-43

Take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days ... You shall dwell in booths [made from the branches] seven days: all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: that your [future] generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.

In Moses' time this feast also pointed back to the wilderness sojourn and illustrated the care with which God had led them in that experience and is therefore also an occasion for us to rejoice in what the LORD has done for us since we have left our ‘Egypt’. The point was made that they had had nothing to fear except they forgot the way the LORD had led them in the past. With this in mind they could expect and would receive, many more blessings from God. And so may we.

Revelation 22:12 Jesus warns us

And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

With these words the LORD Jesus Christ ushers in the personal sixth sabbath, for it marks the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles for the individual. This period of seven days living under the branches of trees instead of in houses sets before us the grand truth that we are to spend a period of time with the LORD after His second coming before resettling this world. This time of seven or eight days is a picture of the 1000 years that we will spend in heaven with Jesus Christ before His third advent. It is described thus:

Revelation 20:4-6

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them ... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection.

That this is to be only a temporary dwelling time is made clear in another place where God tells us that "Those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth ... the meek shall inherit the earth: and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Psalm 37:9-11.

But some of the believers will have loved ones who are not there with them at this time of rejoicing. Mothers and fathers will look for sons and daughters, and children will look for their parents. Others will look for their friends. How then can they be happy if they do not find them? God has said that there will be "Neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain", so what brings them to this state? Revelation 21:4.

During this period of ‘sabbath rest’, they will judge as God judges - by the heart - for we have read, judgment was given to them. Then as they see the internal desires of the missing ones as shown by the actions recorded in the book of judgment, they will rest in God for the lives of their loved ones. They will see that it is the wish of the absent ones to be absent! God loves them too, they will realise, but He may not bring them into heaven against their will for then they would not be happy.

 

The seventh yearly sabbath

The Feast of Tabernacles was not only commemorative, but typical. It not only points back to our sojourn on this earth as "strangers and pilgrims", but, as the Feast of Harvest, it celebrates the ingathering of the fruits of the earth. Hebrews 11:13.

It points forward to the great day of final ingathering, when the LORD of the harvests shall send forth His reapers to gather the tares together in bundles for the fire, and the wheat into His barn. Matthew 13:30. At that time the wicked, those who permanently reject the salvation of the LORD, will all destroy themselves in their vain attempt to attack the city of God. This is surrounded by His glory, sometimes called "The crystal sea", and sometimes the "sea of glass mingled with fire". Revelation 15:2. That fire, which is the very life of God in action, is said to "come down from God out of heaven and devour" those who have rejected His last plea for their salvation. Revelation 20:9.

When this event occurs, the saints of God will rest in Him over the fate of their loved ones, and also for the fate of the untold millions who perish with them. They will recall His words which were fulfilled at His second advent,

Revelation 6:15-16

And the Kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the LAMB.'

The saints will be standing on that "sea of glass", fully energised by the power of God and they will see it as the glory of the LAMB while the attacking ones see it as His "wrath"! Then they will know, without a doubt, that not one in that vast throng wants to be with Jesus for they do not love Him, but hate Him, and would rather be separated from Him by death than forced into His presence. They will watch while each one forces his or her way further and further into that "lake of fire", intent only on reaching Jesus to kill Him.

They will watch while their former friends and loved ones die the eternal, or "second" death. Revelation 20:14.

Yet they have been promised that they will feel "no sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4. How can this be?

 

True judgment

God will judge the wicked, the rejecters, as they desire. He will allow them to have that which they desire above all else - separation from His presence. This He must do if He is to be consistent, for He also gives to His saints that which they desire above all else - to be in His presence evermore. The angel of the waters says of Him, "You are righteous, O LORD, which are, and were, and shall be, because You have judged thus." And John the Revelator adds, "And I heard another out of the altar say, 'Even so, LORD God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments'." Revelation 16:5-7. Thus both angels and martyrs concur with God's judgment.

Revelation 19:11

Heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.

It may take all the Sabbath-keeping faith we have now to understand and accept this statement, because it does not mean what men normally see it to mean, for God destroys no man.

When those who are called "wicked" rush into the holy area around the city which contains the throne of God, they destroy themselves, for they are heedlessly entering into the very power of God. This power, He has repeatedly warned, destroys sin, and therefore those who cling to sin are destroyed also!

Psalm 50:2-3

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. A fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him.

The very protecting love of God which surrounds His people will be the means of the destruction of their loved ones, yet they will see no conflict in this for they will know that it is the result of the actions of the unrighteous, the "wicked", those who have repeatedly refused to be saved, and who at this very moment are rejecting the last offer of salvation! The saints will see and experience what that rejection means to a loving Father, for they are at last "made in His image."

The martyr will now have no desire for revenge against his or her former persecutors. The white robed ones will have no desire to force their views upon the impenitent, so all will see the terrible justice of God in allowing the rejecters their choice. It is the love of God and they will rest in that. They, with Jesus, can look any of the dying ones in the eye and know that they did all they could for them and have no regrets at all, for they know that this choice has been made in the full and clear light of salvation. Such a rejection must be honoured by those who "judge in righteousness." Such a rejection must not mar the knowledge that God is good.

The eighth day

This last sabbath comes at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles, and is separated from it somewhat in that it is called the "eighth day." Leviticus 23:39.

This shows that it is not just an end, but also a beginning.

The number 7 indicates perfection or completeness and was the end of creation, while number 8 indicates a new creation. It is the number 1, as well as the number 7, in a different setting. A beginning and an ending. It is the first and the last of an octave of music - a picture of the heavenly harmony. When that day ends, the great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.

 

The seven special yearly sabbaths

We have the seven special sabbaths in our personal religious ‘year’ which are symbols of the seven special times when we have opportunity to rest in God. They are:-

1. The rest in Christ for our past life.

The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

 

2. The rest in Christ for our present life.

The last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

 

3. The rest in Christ for the power to witness.

The day of the Feast of Weeks.

 

4. The rest in Christ for our final warning.

The day of the Feast of Trumpets.

 

5. The rest in Christ for our personal judgment.

The day of the Feast of Atonement.

 

6. The rest in Christ for judgment of our loved ones.

The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

7. The rest in Christ for the death of the wicked.

The last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

In this way all of our Christian experience is Sabbath-keeping.

 

oooOooo

 

Did you know that there have been Christian weekly Sabbath-keepers in every century and in many countries since Calvary? Try this site for a chart.


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