Friday, May 18, 2018

Sabbath - Part Eight

The Prodigal Returns


There are no words that more accurately encapsulate the true meaning of Sabbath rest than the words of the Messiah, “yet not My will, but Thine be done.”

Luke 22:41-42
And [Yahshua] withdrew from [Peter, James, and John] about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, "Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done."

We have seen how Lucifer was the first Sabbath breaker as he repeatedly declared “I will.” In absolute contrast we see the Son of God proclaiming, “Not My will.”

This is the position of rest that was surrendered in the Garden of Eden. Adam went from a place of contentment with the Father’s will, to being dissatisfied with His will. Adam wanted to direct his own path. He wanted to decide for himself how he would lead his life.

Adam was the original prodigal son. As he was abiding in the place the Father had chosen for him, an unrest began to grow until finally it gave vent to action as he set himself to do that which was not the will of God. In a sense, all of mankind is represented in the prodigal son. We have all left the place of rest with our Father and have gone seeking our own fortune. We have lived either riotously or self-righteously. In either case we have directed our own course and have chosen to go a way that was not the Father’s will.

The Father has waited for us to come to our senses and to realize that things were better before we left His side. That which we thought was so confining and unbearable begins to look good after we find out how hollow life is apart from the Father. After we endure shipwreck and enslavement, moral destitution and abasement, we begin to consider how far we have fallen. The story of the prodigal son is the story of mankind.

Luke 15:11-24
And He said, "A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' And he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be in need. And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men."' And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.' And they began to be merry.”

The prodigal’s realization of his status was correct. Mankind is no longer worthy to be called sons of God, yet the Father is still willing to consider us sons. The son goes back to his father with the intent of willingly submitting himself to be a servant. He knows that the righteous thing is for him to live to do the will of his father.

When the saints of Yahweh realize that they too have taken the inheritance given to them and they have spent it as they pleased, according to their own will and desire, they will see that it also leads to a spiritual famine. It is quite possible to gain all that our soul desires and yet to remain destitute spiritually. Like the Laodicean church, we can appear wealthy and lacking in nothing, yet a true appraisal reveals that we are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

The father’s words upon greeting the son hold much meaning; “For this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again.” When we are living according to our own initiative, our own will and desires, we are dead. When we are being guided by the innate soulish sense of good and evil we are dead. The story of the prodigal son goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden for it is a retelling of the fall of man and an unveiling of the nature of the two trees that are named in the Garden.

The scriptures are full of contrasts: darkness and light; good and evil; rich and poor; love and hate, etc.. In the opening chapters of Genesis we see many contrasts. The light is separated from the darkness. The dry land is separated from the water. Should we not expect that there should be a distinct contrast between the only two trees named in the Garden of Eden?

Genesis 2:9
And out of the ground Yahweh God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

At first appearance these trees may not appear as opposites, but they are. One tree is called the tree of life, and we have this report concerning the other tree.

Genesis 2:17
“but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."

One tree is named the tree of life. The other tree brings forth death. These trees are truly opposites set in contrast to one another. By knowing this we can identify the nature of the trees.

We know that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents man living independent of Yahweh and His rule. This tree brings man to a place where he attempts to govern himself independently of His Creator. By eating of this fruit Adam and Eve had birthed in them an ability to determine right and wrong, good and evil within their own beings. But in gaining this ability they became separated from Yahweh.

The tree of life represents the exact opposite of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life brings one into union with the Father where all knowledge of good and evil finds its source in Him. The tree of life represents man in union with Yahweh. The tree of life is a place of rest where man has his head covered, where man refuses to act or speak of his own initiative, but where he receives every command, every direction from the mouth of God. The tree of life is the Sabbath tree.

In the parable of the prodigal, the wayward son represents every man. “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one of us to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). When we come to our senses we are led to return to the Father and we determine that we will now live to do His will. We know the righteous thing is to present ourselves as servants, knowing that we are not worthy to be called sons. Yet in His mercy Yahweh does call us sons. He declares, “This son of mine was dead: (he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; he went and lived according to his own will and desires and he walked in death.) Now my son has returned alive: (he has forsaken his own way and he has returned with the heart of a servant to do My will. Now My son is eating from the tree of life.)”

There is great hope for this son that was lost. He has discovered how barren and hopeless life is apart from the Father. He has discovered that living a self-directed life leads to death. He is able to see what true life is. He understands that man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. By experiencing the depths of his own depravity and his inability to govern himself he has seen his need and great dependence upon the Father. There is great hope for this son for he has now come to make a similar confession as did Yahshua; “No longer will I live for my will... I will live for You Father.”

Much of the church has missed the point of this parable of Yahshua. It is not enough to simply realize that you are headed for hell and you are in need of forgiveness for your sins. It is not sufficient to pray a sinner’s prayer if you do not have a similar heart change as did the prodigal son. What is needed is a realization that we are unable to govern ourselves. It is no solution at all to make a confession of Christ and then to continue to direct one’s own life according to the leading of the soul.

Much of the church remains in this place, however. They renounce the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they proclaim the praises of the tree of life, but even as they do so they are still eating of the tree that brings death. Much of the church proclaims Yahshua to be the Son of God. They know that He alone led a life that was pleasing to the Father, but they have failed to identify what made His life so pleasing. Yahshua said, “Not My will... but Your will be done.” This was the chief characteristic of Yahshua’s life. He lived to do the will of the Father. Yet many saints continue to live to fulfill their own desires. They look to Yahshua for salvation, but they have not identified what they truly need saving from.

Many saints wish to continue living their lives much as they did before they heard about Yahshua, but they want to know that their sins will be forgiven and they will go to heaven when they die. Little do they realize that the Father wants to conform their lives to the image of the One they look to for salvation. It is no salvation at all to remain in independence from the Father, being led by one’s own soul. Such a saint is still walking in spiritual death. The Father wants His elect to confess, “Not my will... but Your will be done.” The Father wants His elect to forsake the tree that leads to independence that it might be said of them as it was the prodigal son, “This child of Mine was dead, but now they are alive.”

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This is an excerpt from the book Sabbath.

http://www.heart4god.ws/sabbath-rest-of-god.htm

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sabbath - Part Seven

The Message of the Manna


The apostle Paul speaks much about the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness for forty years. They are given as an example for the church, and their failings are also mentioned as potential pitfalls for the saints today. Those whom Moses led out of Egypt struggled with the same issues that the church must face and overcome if they are to enter into the promised rest of God.

It is often underappreciated that those who have gone before us serve as examples, both good and bad, to today’s saints. The people of Israel who followed the pillar of fire and the cloud throughout their wilderness wanderings are referred to in scripture as “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). Paul clearly states that the church should pay careful attention to their failings, lest their same errors should be repeated.

I Corinthians 10:1-11
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play." Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Paul affirms repeatedly that the things we read about the Israelites in the Old Testament were written for those who are a part of the current age, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. What was the great struggle of the Israelites? It was this very issue which we are studying. Yahweh desired for them to be loosed from the bondage to the flesh, a bondage symbolized by the cruel taskmasters of Egypt. He desired that they should live to follow Him obediently, putting the flesh and its desires to death.

Paul states that the Israelites were not successful in overcoming the flesh, dying to all personal initiative and living only to accomplish the will of Yahweh, and for this reason God was not well-pleased with the majority of them. Could Paul have any meaning other than that the same peril exists for the church today? Is it possible that God might not be well-pleased with the majority of the church as well?

Paul mentions specific instances of failing among these Israelites. They were a grumbling and a murmuring people. Yahweh spoke to Moses of them in the following manner.

Numbers 14:22-30
“Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs, which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.” And Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, "How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. Say to them, 'As I live,' says Yahweh, 'just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; your corpses shall fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.’”

The sins of the Israelites were threefold: they failed to trust Yahweh; they made idols and declared them to be God; and they were not content with His provision and will for them. I would like to look specifically at this last offense and how it can disqualify the saints from entering into the Sabbath rest of God.

We have previously defined Sabbath rest as being in a state of harmony with the revealed will of Yahweh. It is apparent that the Israelites were not in such a state of harmony. In fact, they were very dissatisfied with Yahweh’s will and provision for them. Even when Yahweh’s provision came in a miraculous and unheard of manner, it did not satisfy the fleshly longings of a carnal people.

Exodus 16:2-31
And the whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the sons of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by Yahweh’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. And it will come about on the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily." So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, "At evening you will know that Yahweh has brought you out of the land of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the glory of Yahweh, for He hears your grumblings against Yahweh; and what are we, that you grumble against us?" And Moses said, "This will happen when Yahweh gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for Yahweh hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against Yahweh." Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, 'Come near before Yahweh, for He has heard your grumblings... And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your Elohim.'" So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground. When the sons of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread which Yahweh has given you to eat... And they gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt... And the house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white; and its taste was like wafers with honey.

It seems a most remarkable thing that a people that had spent 430 years in a foreign land, most of the time serving as slaves, should find themselves suddenly delivered in a most spectacular fashion, and yet they should grumble continuously against the One who delivered them. Not only did the Israelites witness the miraculous and terrifying plagues that came against Egypt, but they were protected from the same plagues. Not only were they released from captivity, but they spoiled the Egyptians when they left, taking great wealth from them. Not only were they freed from their cruel taskmasters, but they saw the mighty Egyptian army perish in the Red Sea as Yahweh sent confusion upon them and then covered them with the waves of the sea.

Despite all of these miraculous events and a tremendous change in their fortunes, they grumbled at every inconvenience and they murmured against the good intent of Yahweh, accusing Him of not caring for them. Having barely left Egypt, they began to complain that they did not have all of the appealing things to eat that they had while they were slaves in Egypt. Clearly, knowing the will of Yahweh for their nation and performing His will was not the greatest of concerns to them. Their great concern was to satisfy their own fleshly cravings. Like the majority of Christians, they were concerned for what they could get out of their relationship with God.

In a most spectacular manner, Yahweh provided bread from heaven to meet the physical needs of the Israelites. The bread is even described as having a pleasing taste like unto wafers with honey. The manna that the Father provided had everything in it necessary to sustain life and to cause the bodies of the Israelites to be strong and healthy, but the flesh is not so easily satisfied. The flesh lusts after many things to satisfy its desires. It wants a rich variety of meats and delicacies. It not only wants to live, it wants to live in great pleasure. It wasn’t long before the manna was no longer pleasing to the Israelites.

Numbers 11:1-10
Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of Yahweh; and when Yahweh heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of Yahweh burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to Yahweh, and the fire died out. So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of Yahweh burned among them. And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, "Who will give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna..." Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of Yahweh was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.

How far removed were these people from the attitude displayed in Yahshua’s life. When Yahshua was in the wilderness for forty days without any food we are told that He became hungry. Yet even in His hunger He was content to wait for the Father’s provision to be manifested. Satan’s temptation to turn the stones into bread was akin to the sin of the Israelites. Satan was in effect saying to Yahshua, “You haven’t eaten for forty days. It is not reasonable that you should be deprived of food. It is a small thing for you to speak to these stones and turn them into bread. Why don’t you do so?”

Yahshua, however, saw the heart of the matter. To fail to wait on the Father’s provision was no different than the murmuring and complaining Israelites saying that they were not cared for by Yahweh. It was an issue of trust as well as an issue of being content with the will of the Father. If Yahshua had turned the stones to bread He would have demonstrated that He was not content to await the provision of Yahweh. He would be declaring that Yahweh’s will for Him in this matter was not acceptable.

Yahshua did not respond as did the Israelites, however. Instead He rebuked Satan with the words, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'" (Matthew 4:4). Yahshua understood that true life is found in being in harmony with the will of Yahweh. If it was Yahweh’s will for Yahshua to wait yet a little longer to be fed, then this was the essence of true life. Life would not be improved by feeding the desires of the flesh. Life would not be any fuller, richer, or vibrant by satisfying the longings of the flesh. The only true life is found in being in complete agreement with the will of God.

When the Israelites came to this same test they failed it. The Father also led them into the wilderness and He allowed them to become hungry. Would they look at all of the signs and miracles they had witnessed and proclaim, “I know the Father must have a perfect provision for us in this matter. He has shown His concern for us over and over. How can we doubt Him now? We will await His provision with patience and thanksgiving.”

This would have been an appropriate response, and one that would have found favor with Yahweh. Why did they not respond in this manner? It was because they did not want to have to suffer any inconvenience to the flesh. They had been taken out of bondage in Egypt, but they were still in bondage to the fleshpots of Egypt. They still lived to satisfy the carnal desires of their fleshly nature.

Seeking the will of Yahweh was not their aim and desire; satisfying their flesh was. Moses revealed to the Israelites that they were led to these tests to expose what was in their hearts.

Deuteronomy 8:3
"And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of Yahweh.”

Moses was declaring that the true essence of life is to know the will of Yahweh (that which proceeds out of His mouth) and to fulfill His desire and His will. It was this passage that Yahshua quoted when He was tempted. Yahshua knew the purpose of the wilderness testing, both for the Israelites and for Himself. Where they failed, He succeeded. He did not allow Himself to entertain any thoughts of dissatisfaction with Yahweh’s will for His life.

This is the message of the manna. Yahweh has a plan and desires for each one of His children. Will we be satisfied with His will for us? Will we be content to know His will and walk in obedience whether our flesh must suffer, or not? Will we resort to murmuring and complaining as the Israelites did? Will we be tempted to alter Yahweh’s provision and plan by acting of our own initiative as Satan tempted Yahshua to do?

This is not an easy matter to judge. It would have been a simple matter for Yahshua to turn the stones into bread. In our lives it is also a simple matter for us to seek our own will over the will of God. There are many things we can do to satisfy the longings of our flesh. All we need do is stretch out our hands in an act of our own initiative and we can have what our flesh desires. Multitudes do so every day, and multitudes fail to enter into the Sabbath rest of God.

If we are to walk perfectly before Yahweh we must seek His will at every turning and we must be ready to accept whatever His will is. We must not grumble or murmur. We must say, “My meat is to do the will of the Father. His will is what I live for. Accomplishing His will is my sole desire. I have no will of my own. I will not allow my flesh to dictate what course I will follow. I will put the flesh to death and follow the leading of the Spirit of God.”

The church knows little of such a walk today. The church is full of its own initiative. Few seek to even know the will of the Father in a matter, and should the Spirit make His will known there are even fewer who will willingly follow where the Spirit leads. The church today has conformed itself to the description of the church of Laodicea. The church has not crucified the flesh, but has pursued the fulfilling of the flesh’s desires until the following is true of her.

Revelation 3:14-21
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this... “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent... He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

A church that esteems the satisfying of the flesh’s desire has sought to fill itself with many things to gratify its longings. In gratifying them this church feels that it has gained all that is needed. It declares that it is not lacking in any way, yet Yahshua says that this church is wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. Vast is the disparity between the church’s view and Christ’s view of things.

Yahshua overcame the desires of the flesh. He did not love His soul life, not even at the cost of death on the cross. At the height of His greatest struggle between the will of the Father and the desire of His flesh to preserve itself, He declared, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Your will be done.” He states that those who overcome as He did will be worthy to sit down with Him on His throne.

As we enter the seventh day of creation, God is looking to find those in the church who will once more count the cost of following Him. There is no provision for the flesh promised. As Winston Churchill proclaimed to the residents of the English Empire as the threat of Nazi Germany loomed over Europe and all of the free world, “All I can promise you is blood, toil, sweat, and tears.”

The Father calls His children to count the cost and to follow the example of His Son. Those who lose their life will find true life, but those who seek to keep and protect their soulish and fleshly life will lose out on obtaining real life.

Once again Yahweh has brought His people to a wilderness where decisions must be made. Once again He is giving them manna to eat. Will the church be content with His provision, or will they long for the fleshpots of Egypt?

John 6:32-35
Yahshua therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." They said therefore to Him, "Lord, evermore give us this bread." Yahshua said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Never has the saying “You are what you eat” been more true. As we eat the Bread of Life we become like Him. As He did not seek to save His life, neither will we. As He sought above all to do the will of the Father, so will we. As He never did anything of His own initiative, neither will we. As He would not stretch out His hand to do anything that was not the will of the Father, neither will we.

Only in this way will we enter into the Sabbath rest set before us. Let us receive the manna that God gives us from heaven with thanksgiving. Let us not enter into the error of the children of Israel. This is Paul’s message to us and this is the message of the manna.

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This blog is an excerpt from the book Sabbath.

http://www.heart4god.ws/sabbath-rest-of-god.htm

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sabbath - Part Six

Paul Defines Man’s Struggle


Ever since Adam first sinned in the Garden of Eden, mankind has known striving and it has been with great difficulty that he has sought to enter into the Sabbath rest of Yahweh. A great war has raged as the Spirit has made known unto man the mind of Yahweh, yet man’s flesh has desired to go a different path, a path of its own choosing. Within the saint of God there is always this struggle present. The spirit of the saint agrees with the revealed will of God, yet the saint’s flesh wars against it.

Sabbath rest could be defined as a place where mankind finds contentment with the will and desires of Yahweh. Paul describes the struggle to find this place of contentment in the following scriptures.

Romans 7:18-23
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish... I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

Good and evil in this passage are not the same as the good and evil that arose from eating the forbidden fruit. This is not a good and evil of man’s own choosing. Paul defines good here as “the law of God.” It would be helpful here to define the law of God as His rule. Yahweh alone has the right of determination. Anything He declares to be good or evil must be so. Any command He issues must stand. He declares His mind and it is made known to man by His Spirit. Paul states that “in the inner man” he joyfully concurs (or agrees) with the law, or rule, of God.

Although the inner man may find perfect agreement with those things Yahweh reveals to be His will for mankind, there is a part of man that does not share this agreement. This is the flesh of man. The flesh of man was cursed when Adam sinned. The flesh of man always desires to seek and to satisfy its own longings. The flesh of man does not want to give up its own will and desires so that the will and desires of God can be fulfilled. Paul further describes this conflict to the Galatian church.

Galatians 5:16,17, 24
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please... Now those who belong to Yahshua the Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Paul is describing here a state of rest and a state of striving. The Spirit makes known the mind of the Father to the saint. If the saint responds in obedience then he has entered into Sabbath rest. However, the flesh must be overcome to enter into this rest. The flesh must be put to death for it opposes that which the Spirit reveals to be the mind of the Father. As we have seen, this opposition need not take the form of an apparently evil deed. All the flesh needs to do is propose another path other than that which the Father has revealed to be His will.

Many a saint has balked at the will of Yahweh in their life. Perhaps He has revealed that His will is something other than what their flesh desires. Yahweh may reveal that it is His will that a man sell all of his goods, give the proceeds to the poor, and embark on a path of faith following the Spirit wherever He leads. A man may say, “This does not appeal to me. I want to have my nice things. I will choose to keep these things. I will attend church regularly. I will give much money to the programs of the church. I will teach Sunday School. I will provide for my family. I will live a moral life, but I will not do this thing the Father has revealed to me.” Such a man is walking in disobedience and sin, no matter how righteous he appears on the outside.

How many saints fall into this pattern? There are myriads who appear to be the most faithful of church members, they are good and decent people to all external observation. They are active in their local fellowships. They have set their hands to do many good things, yet they have failed to do that which the Father has revealed is His will for them. They go on year after year in this pattern, finding acceptance within their peer groups and receiving the praise of man. They may even endure persecution due to the moral and righteous activities they have chosen to participate in, but none of it finds favor with Yahweh if it is not that which He has led them to do by His Spirit.

This is the great peril of the flesh. It is not just evil that it sets itself to pursue, but it seeks to define its own righteousness. A man may think that he merely needs to live a good life, to live a godly life, but it is a false godliness. It is a godliness that derives from Satan’s temptation to “be like God,” for such a saint has determined for themself what life they will live and what sacrifices they will make.

The saint of God must crucify his flesh and the desires of the flesh in order to enter into the obedience the Father demands of him. This is not easy, and for this reason it is infrequently practiced. The masses of Christianity are not content with the Father’s will for them. They prefer to choose a path that is more acceptable to their flesh. All the better for them, they think, if they can offer acceptable service to God and not have to deal too harshly with their own flesh. What they have not discerned is that there is only one acceptable service to God, and that is complete obedience to His revealed will.

Paul spoke about coming to this place of contentment where he found Yahweh’s will to be perfectly acceptable to him. To come to this place he had to crucify his flesh.

II Corinthians 12:10
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Philippians 4:11-13
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

How many saints and ministers can make a similar confession today? How many are content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties? How many would be content if in the fulfillment of the ministry Yahweh entrusted to them they had to endure humble means, going hungry, suffering need?

It is evident that the church today is not content that these things should be the Father’s will for them. They have devised doctrines that proclaim that this will never be the lot of the faithful saint of God. They have devised doctrines that state that it is always the Father’s will that saints should prosper, they should have plenty to eat, they should never suffer lack. Many have gone so far as to accuse any who do endure these same things that Paul endured as lacking faith, or walking in disobedience. Did Paul suffer these things due to disobedience? Did he suffer these things because he did not have as much faith as the “name it and claim it” crowd today?

These doctrines have been devised because the flesh of man does not want to be crucified. It wants to make some compromise with the Spirit. The flesh says, “I should not need to suffer in order to accomplish Yahweh’s purposes.” However, the clear testimony of scripture is that the flesh must not only suffer, but it must be crucified. It must be put to death.

In my own walk of obedience to the Father’s revealed will I have found that it has led to fellow ministers separating from me and rejecting me. Those whom I considered fellow laborers have condemned me and turned away. It has led to similar rejection by my own family, and I have found that it has led me to be placed outside of the main camp of Christianity. In pursuit of obedience I have endured the loss of many physical things. I have not been able to gather to myself houses and lands and many material comforts. I have not been able to seek to satisfy both the flesh and Yahweh. I have had to choose one over the other.

Did not Yahshua clearly foretell that all saints would have to make such a choice?

Luke 16:13
"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."

Many saints have made a decision as to which master they will serve, and they do not even realize they have done so. Many have chosen a course of compromise. They have not said with Yahshua, “I live to do the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Instead they seek to serve God and to hold onto the things that satisfy the flesh’s longing. In the end they do not satisfy the Father at all, for they have failed to fully count the cost of following Him.

Paul did count the cost. He lived to do the will of Yahweh and he was content with whatever circumstances to which this commitment led him. Paul knew contentment when he had a sufficiency, and when he knew lack. Paul knew contentment when he was well fed, and when he was hungry. Paul lived to do the will of the Father and he did not seek to coddle his flesh. On the contrary, he ruled over the desires of his flesh and put these desires to death.

I Corinthians 9:27
I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

Some debate who the author of the book of Hebrews is, but I have little doubt that it was the apostle Paul. There is too much of his other writings in this book. Paul constantly described by his example, his life, and his epistles the great struggle to enter into the Sabbath rest of God. In the book of Hebrews he comes out and clearly defines the issue of Sabbath and he gives the readers a true understanding of its meaning. To Paul it was certainly more than a list of rules and regulations describing a cessation from labor one day out of the week. To Paul it was the great struggle of mankind. It was the conflict between Yahweh’s will and man’s will.

Hebrews 4:9-11
There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.

Paul learned the secret of contentment. He learned to crucify his flesh that the will of the Father might be accomplished in him. Paul buffeted his body and kept it in subjection to the will of the Spirit. In the book of Hebrews Paul speaks much of the great struggle of mankind to enter into the Sabbath rest of God. He speaks much of the example of the Israelites who came out of the bondage of Egypt, yet they failed to enter into the promised rest of Yahweh. These same people are given as an example to the church today and the saints are warned against following the same example and falling short of their calling.

Of those over the age of 20 who left Egypt, only two men entered into the land of promise. The church should be warned lest the same percentages apply to them as well. Many have received spiritual salvation and have been loosed from the bondage of the flesh, yet many remain as though they were still enslaved. They seek to satisfy the flesh and to serve God at the same time, not realizing the impossibility of such a proposition.

Paul, by his life and words, demonstrated that the great struggle for the saint of God is to overcome the flesh and find contentment with the will of Yahweh. As we will see, this was the struggle for those Israelites who wandered in the wilderness for forty years.

---

This is an excerpt from the book Sabbath.

http://www.heart4god.ws/sabbath-rest-of-god.htm

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sabbath - Part Five


Headcovering, a Sign to the Angels

Knowing that the first Sabbath violation occurred in heaven among the angels, we should not be surprised to find there are more scriptural passages that relate to this original sin among them. One of the most enlightening and least understood scriptures is found in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. It is in his discourse concerning the issue of headcovering.

I Corinthians 11:10
Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Why does Paul instruct the Corinthian believers that it is the custom of the church for the women to have a covering on their heads, and what specifically does he mean when he says “because of the angels”? To find out we must look at this issue of headcovering and see what it symbolizes. The passage in which we find these words begins in this way:

I Corinthians 11:2-3
Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

The apostle Paul commends the Corinthian believers for holding to the traditions that he delivered to them as being the traditions of the churches of God. The word rendered as tradition here is also properly interpreted as precept and ordinance. It refers to the doctrines and practices of the church. As an apostle, Paul was instrumental in establishing the church in Corinth. In this foundational role, he delivered to them the basic doctrines and practices of the church as revealed by the Holy Spirit and proclaimed by the apostles.

At the end of this passage on headcovering, Paul concludes this matter by stating:

I Corinthians 11:16
But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

Throughout his discourse on headcovering, which covers 15 verses, Paul is speaking of that which is the teaching and practice of all of the churches of God. He begins by commending the Corinthians for adhering to these traditions that he delivered to them, and he concludes by rebuking anyone who would be contentious and disagree with these traditions. He states, “we (referring to the apostles) have no other practice, nor do the churches of God.” The custom of the church is to practice headcovering as Paul describes it in this passage. There is no other custom. No other practice is taught or accepted.

Paul establishes in these words that headcovering is not a Corinthian matter. It is the practice of all of the churches of God. He concludes that it is not proper or acceptable to have any practice other than that which has been delivered to them and described to be the practice of the churches. This is a universal matter. It is something that includes the whole church of God in its scope.

What is this custom of headcovering of which Paul speaks? He continues by declaring the heart of the matter.

I Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

The matter being discussed is one of government. It has to do with Yahweh’s established order in the kingdom of God. In the government of Yahweh, He is the head of all things. It is from Yahweh that all authority originates. Yahweh is the source of all rule.

In the government of Yahweh, He has determined that there should be authorities and there should be those who submit to these authorities. Recognizing the government of Yahweh, and submitting oneself to it, results in rest. Failing to recognize Yahweh’s government, or to submit to it, results in striving. He has set an order both among the Godhead and among all of creation.

Among the Godhead the Son takes the position of the Christ, the Sent One of Yahweh. He freely emptied Himself of His equality with Yahweh and He humbled Himself and learned obedience to the Father. He took the Father to be His head.

In essence, Christ has no head of His own. He does not determine His own way. He does not do His own will. He declares that He lives to do the will of the Father. He states over and over that He does nothing of His own initiative. He only does those things the Father reveals to Him. In His earthly walk, He was so perfect in this matter that He did not even speak a word of His own. He only spoke those things the Father commanded Him to speak. God the Father was and is the head of Christ, and Christ responds to this headship in perfect submission and obedience.

We further see, although Paul does not mention it here, that the Spirit of God also has a place in the established order of the Godhead. The Spirit is in submission to the Son. We find this stated in the gospel of John.

John 16:13-15
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.”

The established order in the Godhead has nothing to do with who is greater. It is a matter of government agreed upon in the Godhead. We are told that, as the Son,  Yahshua is equal to the Father. The Jews knew that Yahshua claimed this to be true and for this reason they attempted to stone Him as a blasphemer.

John 5:18
For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

In their essence, Yahshua declared that He and the Father were one (John 10:30, 17:22). The matter of order in the Godhead is not determined by who is greater, it is simply a governmental arrangement that has been established. As the Son, Yahshua is equal to the Father, but as Christ He steps into the role of a subordinate. He only does those things the Father instructs Him to do.

Among God’s creation there is also an established order. The order of creation is a matter that Yahweh has decided. Neither man’s will, nor the will of the angels have entered into the determination of the government of Yahweh. In this order we are told that Christ is the head of man and man is the head of woman.

There is also an order established among the angels, but this has no bearing upon man, so it is not discussed here by Paul, except in the one brief mention.

Christ being the head of man is the same as Yahweh God being the head of Christ. Man is to have no head of his own. He is to not will things of himself. He is to have no initiative of his own. As the sons of God are being conformed to the image of Christ, they are to walk as He walked. Although many would consider it almost blasphemous to entertain the thought, the saints of Yahweh are to get to the place where they can say as did Yahshua, “I do nothing of my own initiative. The very words I speak are not my words, but the words the Father gives me to speak.”

As Christ has Yahweh God as His head, and as man has Christ as His head, through the agency of the Spirit making known to man the will of the Son, man will ultimately be doing the will of the Father. All will be at rest. There will be no striving anywhere. This is the Father’s will, the will of the Son, and the will of the Spirit. I trust it is also the will of a chosen remnant of the people of God.

There is one more mention of the order of authority and headship in this passage. We are told that man is the head of woman. This is Yahweh’s established order. Woman is to have no head of her own. She is to have man as her head. If she is unmarried, her father is to be her head. If she is married, her husband is to be her head. She is to have no will or initiative of her own before man. She is to practice submission to man even as man is to practice submission to Christ and even as Christ practices submission before Yahweh God.

In other places in scripture we are told that this was always the practice of godly women ever since the creation of man and woman.

I Peter 3:5-6
For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

Even as man calls Christ Lord, and Christ has Yahweh as His Lord, woman is to have man as her lord. In each case, when the one under headship is submissive to their head, this finds favor with God and it results in peace and rest among His creation. To uncover one’s head is to enter into striving, and this brings the judgment of God.

This is the deep principle of which Paul is speaking to the Corinthians. There is an established governmental order in the Kingdom of God, an order that Yahweh has established by His own counsel, and when we recognize this order and submit to the one who is our head we will enter into Sabbath rest.

Peculiar among those under authority is the practice of woman. She is to have a symbol of authority upon her head. The woman alone is given the privilege and honor of proclaiming the government of God and to give an outward testimony of her willingness to rest under that government. She does this by wearing a covering over her hair.

I Corinthians 11:4-10
Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying, disgraces his head. But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying, disgraces her head; for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake. Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

I have labored in other writings to go more into depth in this matter of headcovering, and indeed there is much more that can be said. However, I wish to not stray too far from the subject at hand, which is Sabbath rest. We saw in the previous chapter that Satan uncovered his head. He was not content to remain in the place in creation that Yahweh had established for him. Although he was perfect in beauty, full of wisdom and the sum of perfection, he was not satisfied. It was not enough that he was the anointed cherub that covered. He desired more. He did not want to submit to Yahweh’s order for him.

What is to be observed in this passage of scripture in I Corinthians is that it is the precept and practice of the churches of God to refuse to continue any longer with Satan in his rebellion. It is the precept and practice of the church to declare that they recognize Yahweh’s governmental order, and they freely accept and embrace it. As an outward testimony to this, the women of the church are to wear a covering over their heads. In doing so they are testifying that they find Yahweh’s governmental order acceptable. They do not wish to overthrow it as did Satan.

Paul states that women wear the covering “because of the angels.” The church is always being observed by both the holy and the fallen angels. As an outward and visible symbol the woman covers her head and in effect is stating that she has chosen to accept the place Yahweh has determined for her in His Kingdom. She seeks to neither rise above it, nor to fall below it. She refuses to take the path of Satan and to overthrow the government of God and to begin to walk in her own initiative.

By having a symbol of authority on her head, the holy women are giving a rebuke to the fallen angels, and they are giving a positive affirmation to those angels who did not follow Satan in uncovering his head. If women could understand how they are constantly being observed by the angels, and what a powerful witness headcovering gives, they would not so casually dismiss these words of Paul as something that was merely a custom of the time, or something that was simply a practice of the Corinthian church.

As one reads this passage, one can see that this was not a Corinthian matter. It was the practice of all of the churches of God. Furthermore, as one understands what headcovering symbolizes they will realize that it touches on the great struggle of all of creation. It relates to the issue of Sabbath rest and whether the saints of God will enter into God’s rest, or whether they will continue to uncover their heads and perform their own works.

Headcovering is a declaration of being in a condition of rest under the government of God.

As one looks at Christendom today they will find that headcovering is seldom practiced. This is in keeping with the days we live in. There are precious few saints that are truly walking in a position of rest before God. Myriads are following their own will and their own ways. They are speaking their own words. They are choosing for themselves what their activities will be. They are prophesying as it seems right to them. They are casting out demons according to their own counsel. They are building church buildings and creating their own kingdoms according to their own desires. They are asking the Father to satisfy their lusts and to prosper them in the mammon of the world. They are failing to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

In actuality, Christianity by and large has their head uncovered before Yahweh and in turn women in the church have their heads uncovered before their husbands and fathers. Many women know nothing of submitting to their husbands. Calling their husband lord is the height of absurdity to them.

Likewise, men know little of submitting to Christ. They do the things that seem good to them, and if Christ happens to ask them to do something they agree with they will do it. However, they know little of what it is to die to self and to follow Christ down paths that are not attractive to the flesh and to the soul.

Like many wives, men tell Christ that they will do what He asks if it seems good to them. The Father is merely letting us see in marriages within the church a reflection of the relationship between the church and Christ. There is currently little submission in either realm.

Paul stated in Ephesians 5:22 and following that the relationship between a man and his wife is a mysterious representation of the relationship between Christ and the church. It is my belief that the state of marriages within the church is an accurate reflection of the church’s relationship with Christ. Currently there is very little reverence, obedience, submission and love present. The church to a large extent has its head uncovered. But these things will change among a remnant of believers before we enter the 7th millennium and the Sabbath rest of God.

Knowing that Satan’s original transgression before Yahweh was uncovering his head, it is no wonder that he works so tirelessly to get all others to follow his pattern of rebellion. Even as he desired to be like God, he also enticed Eve by telling her that if she ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she would be like God. Even as he uncovered his head and abandoned his place in the order and government of Yahweh, so he entices men and women to do the same.

It requires humility to walk in submission to God’s order, but Paul in describing the last days to Timothy said that in these days men would be proud (II Timothy 3:2). Due to the pride of men and women today, even those in the church, there is little headcovering practiced. Like Satan, many have cast off the headship established by Yahweh and they declare this to be good. To be uncovered, however, is to fall from the place of Sabbath rest in God. It leads to barren lives that do not produce fruit that is acceptable and pleasing to the Father.

As we are poised to enter into the 7th day of mankind, the day that typifies Sabbath rest, a great upheaval must occur among the saints of God. Men and women must learn to cover their heads and to have no initiative or will of their own. They must return to a place of rest before God where they can say with Yahshua, “My meat, (that which gives me sustenance and life), is to do the will of the Father.” Yahshua said, “Those who do the will of My Father in heaven will enter into the kingdom of God.”

Is it not amazing that the Father has given a charge to the church to provide an outward sign and testimony that they have refused the error of Satan, the error of not being satisfied with Yahweh’s will for His creation? How the church has failed to discern that in casting off obedience in this matter, they are walking in the same original sin as Satan. Satan wanted to determine his own way. He wanted to do as he pleased. Many men and women in the church have this same attitude. They do as they please and they think that the Father should be satisfied with the offerings of their own rebellious will.

It was a minority of Israel who left the bondage of Egypt and entered into the promised land. Only two men out of a whole nation reverenced Yahweh enough, and demonstrated faith in Him that they were willing to go in and possess the land as directed. Paul states that the generation of those who perished in the wilderness are given as an example to the church today, and they are a warning of the consequences of disobedience.

The church’s failure today to practice the ordinance, precept, and custom of headcovering that the apostles delivered to the churches is more than just an external failure. The church’s failure is a spiritual one as well as physical. Not only have the majority of women scorned this instruction to cover their heads with a sign symbolizing their understanding and acceptance of the government of God, but the men and women of the church have by and large spiritually uncovered their heads before God. They prefer to govern their own lives and determine their own course and actions. The church is full of independence and of man’s initiative. Multitudes are unaware of the peril before them of failing to enter into God’s rest.

Let us apply all diligence in seeking to enter into God’s rest.

---

This is an excerpt from the book Sabbath.

http://www.heart4god.ws/sabbath-rest-of-god.htm

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sabbath - Part Four


Lucifer, the First Sabbath Breaker

We can gain yet more insight into this matter of Sabbath rest by looking at the scripture account of the first violation of Sabbath. As the book of Genesis opens, the first violation of Sabbath has already occurred, and the judgment of Yahweh has fallen upon the one who entered into striving. We see this judgment described even from the opening verses of Genesis.

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth became formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep...

Between verse one and verse two of Genesis a judgment fell upon the earth. This judgment resulted in the earth being made into a wasteland. This wasteland is described as being “formless and void” and covered in darkness. God did not create the earth originally as a wasteland, it became one due to rebellion and God’s judgment on this rebellion.

Isaiah 45:18
For thus says Yahweh, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), "I am Yahweh, and there is none else.”

Due to the errors the translators have incorporated into the most popular English translations of the Bible, this understanding of judgment falling between verse one and verse two of Genesis has been obscured and hidden to the masses. As one examines the scriptures, rightly dividing them, they see that a judgment did indeed fall and that the remainder of the first chapter of Genesis is not speaking of the first creation of the Earth, but of the re-creation of the Earth after it had been judged.

A very clear witness of this fact is the scripture from Isaiah above that says that Yahweh did not create the earth as a waste place. But we see in verse two of the opening chapter of Genesis that it has become a waste place. We need not stop there, however, for the very words and phrasing that describe the state of the world after Yahweh judged it are found duplicated in other passages of scripture.

Jeremiah 4:23
I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.

This scripture in Jeremiah serves as a key to unlocking our understanding of Genesis 1:2. We see the identical description of the earth given with all three elements being repeated; the earth is formless, void, and covered in darkness. We need only look to the context of this passage in Jeremiah to perceive that this is describing the judgment of Yahweh falling upon the earth.

Jeremiah 4:8-26
"For this, put on sackcloth, lament and wail; for the fierce anger of Yahweh has not turned back from us. And it shall come about in that day," declares Yahweh, "that the heart of the king and the heart of the princes will fail; and the priests will be appalled, and the prophets will be astounded... Your ways and your deeds have brought these things to you. This is your evil. How bitter! How it has touched your heart... Disaster on disaster is proclaimed, for the whole land is devastated; suddenly my tents are devastated, My curtains in an instant. How long must I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? For My people are foolish, they know me not; they are stupid children, and they have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know." I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were pulled down before Yahweh, before His fierce anger.

It is evident from the context of this passage that we are reading about the judgment of Yahweh falling upon those who are disobedient. In the midst of this passage we have a description of the results of His judgment. The earth is made formless and void, and light is removed from it. The fruitful land is made a wasteland.

Is there any doubt that what we read in the second verse of Genesis is describing a similar state of judgment? The phrase “without form and void” occurs in exact repetition in both of these verses. This understanding of the earth lying in a state of judgment is lost to much of Christianity due to the lack of understanding of the translators, and the traditions of the day. Most of the popular translations represent the opening verses of Genesis in the following way. (Note the highlighting)

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep...
(NAS)

This erroneous translation makes it sound as if God created the earth as a wasteland, when in fact He did not. Yahweh did not create the earth to be formless and void and covered with darkness. It became this way after rebellion occurred and His judgment fell.

The word the translators have erroneously interpreted as and is the Hebrew word wa. This word is used as a conjunction, and in many other places the translators have rendered it as but. We see this demonstrated in the very next chapter of Genesis.

Genesis 2:6
But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.
(NAS)

The word rendered but in this verse is the same word wa that the translators rendered as and in Genesis 1:2. Again, as we look at the word rendered was in Genesis 1:2, we see that it is equally rendered as became in many other instances. The word in the Hebrew is described in the following manner in Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary.

1961  hayah (haw-yaw);
a primitive root [compare 1933]; to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary):

Again, we need not look far to see that the translators understood that the word had this meaning.

Genesis 2:7
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became [hayah] a living being.
(NAS)

Why did the translators choose to render these words in Genesis 1:2 as they have done? It was simply because they either did not understand the scriptures, or they did understand, but it did not fit with the orthodox teachings of the day. Let us look one more time at how these scriptures should be properly rendered.

Genesis 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth became formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep...

What was the state of this original earth of Genesis 1:1 before it was judged? The scriptures reveal that it was in some ways similar to the earth that was re-created in the following verses of Genesis. There was a Garden of Eden upon that earth as well.

Ezekiel 28:12-15
Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says Yahweh God, "You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.’”

This passage of scripture is describing Lucifer before he sinned. He is described in type as the king of Tyre, but we can see clearly from this passage that no common king is being described. It is not a man that this passage speaks of, but an “anointed cherub” who had “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”

Lucifer is described in his beauty and perfection. He was adorned with many precious jewels. He had access to the presence of God. And we also see that God placed him in the Garden of Eden.

We never see recorded in Genesis a description of this Lucifer, this perfect and beautiful creature being in Eden. Rather, we see him first appear as a serpent. Lucifer was described as “full of wisdom” and the word for serpent comes from the same root as the word sapient, which means wise. Furthermore, we have this description of the serpent.

Genesis 3:1
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Yahweh God had made.

The word cunning speaks of wisdom that has been corrupted and has been turned to evil purposes. The first appearance of Lucifer in the re-created earth of Adam and Eve reveals that he has already fallen, iniquity has been found in him. Lest some should question whether the serpent is actually Lucifer, we will add the following scripture.

Revelation 12:7-9
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

When was Satan thrown down to the earth? It was after iniquity was found in him. It was after he rebelled against Yahweh. It was then that he was referred to as Satan (the adversary), and as the serpent. This is the only description we have of him in Genesis.

When did Lucifer exist in his perfect state in the Garden of Eden, as Ezekiel records? It was in a prior earth. It was the earth of Genesis 1:1, before the earth was judged, made formless and void and covered in darkness. In his perfect and beautiful state Lucifer (the Light Bearer) was in the Eden of God.

But something happened to cause Lucifer to fall from his once unblemished state and to become corrupted. Something occurred that led Yahweh to judge him and to cast him down to the earth along with the angels that followed him in rebellion. Something occurred which led Yahweh in His wrath to destroy the earth and make it a wasteland and to seal it in darkness as a judgment, awaiting a day when He would re-create it.

We find the account of Lucifer’s transgression in two passages of scripture. One is in the book of Ezekiel. Let us look at the remainder of this passage.

Ezekiel 28:15-18
"You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; it has consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the eyes of all who see you.”

We see a further description of Lucifer, and the account of his transgression in the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 14:3-15
And it will be in the day when Yahweh gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, "How the oppressor has ceased, and how fury has ceased! Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes, which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution. The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into shouts of joy. Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, 'Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.' Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; it arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; it raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. They will all respond and say to you, 'Even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us. Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you, and worms are your covering.' How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”

In both of these passages we see Satan associated with a king and a kingdom of the earth. Indeed, Satan is described as the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31, 16:11). He rules over the kingdoms of men, and these kings and kingdoms take on his characteristics. Even as he tempted Eve in the same way that he transgressed, to be like God, so he perpetuates his sin and his characteristics in the kingdoms of man. But clearly, this passage in Isaiah, like the passage in Ezekiel, is referring to Lucifer, not a mortal king. Satan was clearly cast out of heaven, and this is related in the following words.

"How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!”

Yahshua spoke to His disciples of witnessing this event.

Luke 10:18
And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”

What a tragedy that the greatest of created beings should transgress the will of Yahweh and be judged. More tragic still is that he led one third of the angels to follow his pattern of disobedience, and that he should tempt mankind to commit the same grievous error.

In examining this passage of scripture from Isaiah we can discern that Lucifer’s transgression was a violation of Sabbath. Lucifer was a created being and all created beings were to be subject to the authority of Yahweh. They were to have no initiative of their own. They were created for Yahweh’s pleasure and they were to find their highest fulfillment in doing that which Yahweh created them to do.

Lucifer, however, began to look at his own beauty, wisdom, and perfection and he thought it unreasonable that he should be subject to Yahweh in all things. He desired to determine for himself what his way would be. He no longer desired to be subject to God. He wanted to be like God, to determine for himself what was good and what was evil. Rather than being at rest, having no initiative of his own, he began to manifest self-will. This is revealed clearly in his words.

"But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”

Five times Lucifer said, “I will.” He was full of personal initiative. He began to want to determine for himself what was good and what was evil. He wanted to take unto himself that which belonged to Yahweh alone, the right of determination. He wanted to purpose and to choose for himself. He no longer wanted to be subject to another, not even the One who had created him.

This is the great transgression of Lucifer, he violated the Sabbath rest of God. He was not content to do the works of God, he wanted to do his own works. He was not God, but he wanted to be like God in having the ability to choose his own way.

What a contrast this is with the Son of God. Yahshua was God, yet He did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped or held onto. Instead, He freely emptied Himself and took upon the form of a bond-servant, one who lived to do the will of another.

Lucifer was not equal with God, but he desired to become equal. Yahshua was equal, but he laid His equality aside. What a rebuke this is to the error of Satan. The Son of God humbled Himself when that which was created through the Son of God would not walk in the same humility.

Satan came and tempted mankind to repeat his error, to desire to determine their own way, to find right and wrong, good and evil within themselves, rather than looking to Yahweh to know these things. Yet the Son of God made it possible for us to return to the position of humility and submission that Adam abandoned.

Philippians 2:5-13
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Yahshua the Messiah, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross... So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

To will and to work for His good pleasure rather than our own is Sabbath rest. This is what Lucifer rejected. He was not content to will and to work for Yahweh’s pleasure. He wanted to pursue his own pleasure. To do so is to set oneself in opposition to God. To do so is to enter into striving.

Five times Lucifer said, “I will,” thus demonstrating an initiative of his own. Seven times in the gospel of John we have Yahshua’s recorded words that He did nothing of His own initiative. As an eighth witness it is also recorded that the Spirit does nothing of His own initiative (John 16:13). In seeing this we can ascertain that the great struggle of all creation is to come into this place of rest where the creation also does nothing of its own initiative. Will mankind follow Yahshua into the Sabbath rest of God, or will they continue with Satan in a place of striving?

We read in the scriptures that Satan’s initiative led to his being cast out of heaven along with the angels that joined him. The wrath of Yahweh was revealed and the earth was made a barren, fruitless wasteland and was covered in darkness. This is equally the state of any man’s life that chooses the path of initiative. Their lives become darkened as they have no understanding of Yahweh’s will for their lives. Though their lives may be full of activity, all of their fruit will be unacceptable before God. Their lives will become a barren wasteland. They will fail to fulfill the purpose for which they were created.

The promised land of rest is a fruitful land flowing with milk and honey. Those who would enter in must turn away from the error of Satan, they must choose to have no initiative of their own. They must seek only to know the mind of the Father and to do His will. Only then will they know Sabbath rest.

---

This is an excerpt from the book Sabbath:

http://www.heart4god.ws/sabbath-rest-of-god.htm

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sabbath - Part Three - The Tree of Strife


Having read the previous chapter, you should be starting to get a glimpse of how truly foundational is this issue of the Sabbath. It is tragic that such deception and darkness has overtaken the body of Christ until the meaning of Sabbath has been reduced to a set of doctrines regarding the cessation of labor during one day of the week. The only understanding among the majority of the saints is that Sabbath refers to some desire that the Father has that mankind should not work one day out of seven. For most Christians, the true significance of Sabbath remains hidden.

As we have seen, Sabbath actually refers to man dying to all personal initiative. It pertains to man being truly governed by Yahweh so that all of his actions and all of his words have their origin in Him. Sabbath is man ceasing from his own labors and entering into a state where every moment of life is in harmony with the revealed will of the Father. This requires that man must always be sensitive to the voice of the Spirit, for it is the Spirit of God that discloses to the saint the mind and will of the Father.

I Corinthians 2:10-12
For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God.

When Yahshua walked the Earth He said that He was always beholding the Father. He did not begin His earthly ministry until the Spirit descended upon Him and abided with Him. Yahshua is our example and it is to Him, and the pattern of obedience in which He walked, that we are being conformed (Romans 8:29).

For this reason it is essential that the saint who would walk in true Sabbath rest should be in constant communication with the Spirit of God. Unless we know the mind and will of the Father, moment by moment, we cannot walk as He would have us. In the 8th chapter of his epistle to the Romans, Paul tells the saints in Rome that those who are mature sons of God are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14).

In every decision, at every turning and crossroads, man is not to have any initiative of his own. He is not to decide the course he would take. Man is not to be led by his own passions and desires, by the leading of his soul. Man is to have no will in any matter other than to know the Father’s will and to do it. This is to be his highest aim and single objective.

It will necessarily and frequently occur that the desires of our souls will be in contradiction to the revealed will of the Father. Sometimes the gulf between our soulish desires and the Father’s desire will be exceedingly great. In these times we are to put to death the desires of the soul that we might follow obediently the course the Father has determined for us. This is the subject of Yahshua’s following discourse.

Matthew 16:24-25
Then said Yahshua to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”

The life Yahshua is speaking of is the soul life of man. It is the mind, will, and emotions of man. Man’s mind can contrive many paths to walk down that seem good and acceptable. Man’s emotions can passionately urge the pursuit of a particular course. Man’s will can determine to walk down paths of his own choosing. Solomon stated that “there is a way that seems good unto a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25). The apostle Paul also spoke of the necessity of turning away from the desires of our flesh that we might walk the path that the Spirit guides us down.

Romans 8:13
For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

How did man come to be in this state where present within him is an innate sense of good and evil that is out of harmony with the mind of God? The opening chapters of Genesis reveal the answer.

When Adam, whose name means man, was originally created he did not have an innate soulish sense of good and evil. Adam received his guidance and his understanding of what was good from God. We are told that God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden and He gave him the charge to tend it. We are also told that God caused many trees to grow from the ground, some of which were good for food, but the fruit of one tree was forbidden.

Genesis 2:8-17
And Yahweh God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground Yahweh God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil... Then Yahweh God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. And Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."

At this point in Adam’s life, he had no internal sense of good and evil. He neither had this capacity in his soul, neither did he have the indwelling Spirit of God to make known the will of God to him. Adam walked with God and communed with Him on an external level. The Father made known His will to Adam through means of this relationship. It is revealed a bit later that it was the manner of God to walk in the Garden and to meet and speak with Adam there.

Genesis 3:8-9
And they heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden. Then Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"

Adam, in his original created form had no sense of good and evil present within him. All of his ways were determined by communication with Yahweh. Yahweh spoke to Adam and made known to Adam that which He would have him to do. Both good and evil were made known to Adam by direct communication with Yahweh God. Yahweh told Adam the things that were good and desirable; Adam should tend the garden and eat of its trees. Yahweh also told Adam what constituted evil. There was only one thing that was described as being outside of the will of Yahweh. Adam was not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Things were very simple for Adam. If he did the things Yahweh commanded him to do he was walking in obedience and adhering to good. If Adam did the one thing Yahweh commanded him not to do he would be walking in disobedience and this would be evil. Both good and evil for Adam were made known through direct communication with Yahweh. In this we see that good equates to doing Yahweh’s expressed will, while evil is doing that which is not His will.

We know the tragic occurrence that took place in the Garden of Eden. We are told that the serpent came and deceived Eve. He tempted her to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree. What he revealed in the temptation is highly important.

Genesis 3:5
"For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Let us examine these words closely. The temptation that Satan brought to Eve was the temptation to “be like God,” and the particular attribute that was characterized as unique to God was the ability to know “good and evil.” Up until this time neither Adam nor Eve were able to determine good and evil themselves. There was only one who determined good and evil, and this was Yahweh. What Yahweh declared to be good was good, and what He declared to be evil was evil. He alone could make such judgments. He alone had the authority to determine what was allowable and what was forbidden, what was righteous conduct and what was unrighteous conduct. Yahweh alone could determine what activities should be performed, and which should be abstained from.

In all of creation, Yahweh did not create a single being that was endowed with the  authority to determine for itself good and evil. All created things came forth from Yahweh, and for all things to be at rest they had to be in a state of perfect harmony with His will. No created being had the authority to will things of its own initiative. All things found their will in the mind of the One who was the Creator.

What the serpent offered Eve was the ability to do something that was reserved for the Creator alone. Eve could determine her own way. She could decide for herself what activities were good and which were evil. She could, within her own being, find the ability to govern herself.

Some saints have the mistaken idea that the tragedy of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was that evil activities came forth. They look at Cain murdering Abel, they look at the selfishness, lying, coveting, adultery, and all manner of evil that came upon the Earth and they say, “This is the great evil of eating of the forbidden tree.”

The great evil was not these things. The great evil was that man began to look within himself to perceive what was right and wrong. Man ceased to always look to Yahweh to discern what His will was. Man now had his own initiative and a will that was severed from the will of God. It was not that man began doing bad things that was the great tragedy, it was that man began to have a will of his own that initiated things apart from the mind of Yahweh.

If man had eaten of the forbidden fruit and then he had always chosen to follow that which he determined to be good and right, he would have been just as much of a transgressor as one who always chose to follow the course that his soul told him was evil. It didn’t matter whether man was doing good or evil. What mattered was that man was now finding his sense of what was good and evil in a place other than the mind of Yahweh.

This is the intent of the scripture we previously looked at from Matthew chapter 7. Yahshua said that many will come to Him on the day of judgment saying, “Didn’t we do many good things in Your name; we cast out demons, we prophesied, we performed miracles” (my paraphrase), but He will respond that they are lawless and they will not enter into the Kingdom of God.

It matters not whether we choose a path of good, or whether we dedicate ourselves to do evil. If that which we do is based upon our own soulish sense of good and evil then it is detestable to the Father. Only those who do the will of the Father in heaven will enter the Kingdom of God, and we will only know the will of the Father as He reveals it by His Spirit.

We must die to that part of us which was quickened and made alive when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree. We must return to a place where “knowing good and evil” is again only an activity of Yahweh. We must quit being “like God,” usurping His authority in determining what is good and evil, and we must seek to always know His mind.

It is not the evil deeds of the soulish man that are such a subtle snare to the saint of God, it is the innate and fleshly knowledge of what is good. The saint, thinking that he can determine good himself, looks within his soul to find the path he should walk down. His mind may see no evil in the path he has chosen. It may appear wholly decent and good, even godlike, but this is the very peril of the fruit from which Adam and Eve ate. The serpent spoke to Eve and said, "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God..." (Genesis 3:5).

When the serpent deceived Eve, he knew the temptation would be set before Adam to choose a path of independence from Yahweh. Adam need not look to Yahweh to tell Him what was good and what was evil. Adam need not always seek to know the mind and will of God. Adam could determine these things within his own being. He could choose his own path. He could follow his own righteous inclinations and think himself righteous for following a course of his own choosing.

The saint of God does this as he sets himself to perform activities that seem good, but which he has no specific command from the Father to do. The saint can do something that has the appearance of righteousness, such as prophesying or casting out demons, but it is only truly righteous if the activity was initiated by the Father.

Paul informs the readers of the book of Hebrews that the one who has entered into the Sabbath rest of the Father is the one who has ceased from his own labors. It matters not whether the labor is good or evil, if it did not originate with Yahweh, it is man’s labor. This is striving. This is the fruit of eating of the forbidden tree. What the serpent actually set before Adam was the temptation to violate the Sabbath rest of Yahweh. Man, from the fall of Adam, has been in a state of strife for he has been willing and initiating many things that the Father did not command.

The great tragedy today is that the body of Christ has not discerned that it is this innate sense of good and evil that they must die to in order that they might perceive by the Spirit what the good and perfect will of God is in their lives. Most saints have not discerned that they must die to the habit of looking within their soul to find the path they should walk down.

Rare is the saint who can separate the voice of the Spirit from the voice of his own soul. When the saint looks within to see what he should do and he is met with the soul’s answer of the good path before him, a path that eschews evil, he decides that this is the path he must choose and that he must look to God to help him walk this path. Such a saint fails to understand that he must die to the good he finds within his soul that he might discern the voice of the Spirit and find empowerment to walk the path God would have him walk.

This is a most important matter, and one that cannot be stressed too much. I would guess that one out of a hundred thousand decisions made in Christendom today are actually at the leading of the Spirit. All else arises from the soul of man. Look to yourself. Are you listening to the voice of your soul, or the voice of the Spirit of God? Do you recognize that there is present in your soul a sense of righteousness that does not have its source in God? Have you falsely supposed that the sense of right and wrong within your soul is in harmony with God’s will for your life?

The saint of God who has been born again of the Spirit must learn to discern the difference between the voice of his own soul and the voice of the Spirit. Many, failing to discern that there is a soulish sense of good and evil present within them, wrongly assume that they are walking according to the will of God when they have only consulted with their own soul and they have not yet discerned the witness of the Spirit of God.

It may seem to some that I am belaboring this point, but it is a most critical point, perhaps the most critical matter in all of the Kingdom of God, yet it is not perceived by the majority. Consider the way the apostle ends his treatise on entering into Sabbath rest in the book of Hebrews. Some have felt like he was suddenly changing topics in the following verses, but they are all of a consistent theme.

Hebrews 4:11-12
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

In order to enter into Sabbath rest we must be able to separate between the voice of the soul and the voice of the spirit. We must refuse the good course the soul brings to mind that we might follow the leading of the Spirit of Christ. We only enter into Sabbath rest as we cease from the works that arise from the soul’s sense of good and evil.

Let us end this chapter by taking another look at Yahshua’s words, the words of the One whom we are to imitate.

John 5:30
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

Yahshua’s life was an example of perfect Sabbath rest. He initiated no activity of His own. He only went those places the Father directed Him to go by the Spirit. He only performed those deeds the Father revealed that He should do. He was even perfect in His speech, only speaking what the Father commanded Him to speak. He did the will of the Father in heaven.

It should be noted to the one who would contend that Yahshua did command His disciples to cast out demons, heal the sick, etc., that a very important matter preceded this charge. Yahshua was not giving His disciples a general command for them to participate in these activities as they saw fit, according to their own understanding. He desired that they be led of the Spirit in all that they did. He commanded that they should walk even as He walked, and He always did that which the Spirit revealed to Him to be the will of the Father. We find in scriptures that when He commissioned His disciples to go forth and minister as He had ministered that He very notably commanded that they were to receive the Spirit before they began to minister.

John 20:19-22
When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Yahshua came and stood in their midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  therefore Yahshua said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

Luke 24:49
"Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."

Yahshua did not begin His ministry until after the Spirit descended upon Him and rested on Him. In the same way, His disciples could not begin their ministry until after Pentecost when the Spirit was given to them. Why was this so?

It is the Spirit that discloses Yahweh’s mind to us. The saint cannot know what the Father would have them do until they receive the Spirit. Yet many do not know this is the reason the Spirit has been given to them. They often fail to see the necessity of the Spirit guiding them into all of their activities for it seems easy enough for them to determine what their activity should be. The scriptures state that the saints of God are to do those things which the Father has prepared beforehand for them.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Yahshua the Messiah to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The saint of God who would turn away from the tree of strife, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, must return to a place where they are discerning the mind of the Father. He no longer walks with man in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening. We must have another way to discern His mind. The way He has provided is the indwelling Spirit of God who searches the mind of the Father and makes His will known to us.

Those who would enter into the 7th day of creation since Adam must come to a place of rest in their being. They must enter the Sabbath rest of God by ceasing from their own activity and works. They must do only that which the Father reveals by His Spirit.

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This is an excerpt from the book Sabbath.

http://www.heart4god.ws/sabbath-rest-of-god.htm

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063