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September 2006 Table of Contents

 
    October 29, 2006 - November 4, 2006
 
 

A Perpetual Covenant

 

Key Text

“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words.”  Isaiah 58:13.

 

Study Help:   The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 53–56; Prophets and Kings, 677, 678.

 

Introduction

     “Great blessings are promised to those who keep holy God’s Sabbath.”  Review and Herald, July 13, 1897.

     “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.  Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.  And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.  If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken [it].”  Isaiah 58:8–14. 

 

1    What identifies the true followers of Jesus?  Matthew 7:15–20; 11 Corinthians 6:14–18.

note:  “Not all who name the name of Christ are one with Christ.  Those who do not have the Spirit and the grace of Christ are none of his, no matter what may be their profession.  By their fruits ye shall know them.  The customs and practices that are after the order of the world do not carry out the principles of God’s law, and therefore do not breathe of his Spirit nor express his character.  Christlikeness will be revealed only by those who are assimilated to the divine image.  Only those who are being molded through the operation of the Holy Spirit are doers of the word of God, and express the mind and the will of God.  There is counterfeit Christianity in the world as well as genuine Christianity.  The true spirit of a man is manifested by the way in which he deals with his fellow-man.  We may ask the question, Does he represent the character of Christ in spirit and action, or simply manifest the natural, selfish traits of character that belong to the people of this world?  Profession weighs nothing with God.  Before it is everlastingly too late for wrongs to be righted, let each one ask himself, ‘What am I?’  It depends upon ourselves as to whether we shall form such characters as will constitute us members of God’s royal family above.”  Review and Herald, April 9, 1895.

 

2    How do we know that true Christianity is more than a profession?  Matthew 7:21–23; James 1:22–25.

note:  “A mere profession of discipleship is of no value.  The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many.  ‘Believe, believe,’ they say, ‘and you need not keep the law.’  But a belief that does not lead to obedience is presumption.  The apostle John says, ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’  1 John 2:4.  Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuineness of their work or of the ideas they advocate.  When persons will speak lightly of the word of God, and set their impressions, feelings, and exercises above the divine standard, we may know that they have no light in them.”  Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 146.

 

3    While the keeping of the Ten Commandments is the fruit of our relationship with God, which of the Ten Commandments serves specifically as a sign of our allegiance to God?  Exodus 31:16, 17; Ezekiel 20:12, 20.

 

4    How do we know that the seventh-day Sabbath was not given only to the Jews?  When was it instituted?  Genesis 2:3.

 note:  “Christ was the leader of the Hebrews as they marched from Egypt to Canaan.  In union with the Father, Christ proclaimed the law amid the thunders of Sinai to the Jews, and when he appeared on earth as a man among men, he came as a descendant of Abraham.  Shall we use the same argument concerning the Bible and Christ, and reject them as Jewish, as is done in rejecting the Sabbath of the Lord our God?  The Sabbath institution is as closely identified with the Jews as is the Bible, and there is the same reason for the rejection of one as of the other.  But the Sabbath is not Jewish in its origin.  It was instituted in Eden before there were such a people known as the Jews.  The Sabbath was made for all mankind, and was instituted in Eden before the fall of man.  The Creator called it ‘my holy day.’ ”  The Signs of the Times, November 12, 1894.

 

5    According to Exodus 31:16, how long was the Sabbath to endure?

note:  “Christ announced himself as ‘the Lord of the Sabbath.’  Beginning with creation, it is as old as the human race, and having been made for man it will exist as long as man shall exist.  Hallowed by the Creator’s rest and blessing, the Sabbath was kept by Adam in his innocence in holy Eden, by Adam fallen, yet repentant, when he was driven from his happy estate.  It was kept by all the patriarchs from Abel to Noah, to Abraham, to Jacob.  When the chosen people were in bondage in Egypt, many, in the midst of the prevailing idolatry, lost their knowledge of God’s law; but when the Lord delivered Israel, he proclaimed his law in awful grandeur to the assembled multitude, that they might know his will, and fear and obey him forever.”  The Signs of the Times, November 12, 1894.

 

6    Will there ever be a time when the people of God will not keep the Sabbath?  Isaiah 66:22, 23.

note:  “The children of Israel were to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations ‘for a perpetual covenant.’  Exodus 31:16.  The Sabbath has lost none of its meaning.  It is still the sign between God and His people, and it will be so forever.  Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people, free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederation with those who have not wisdom to discern the claims of God, so plainly set forth in His law. 

“We are to show that we are seeking to work in harmony with heaven in preparing the way of the Lord.  We are to bear witness to all nations, kindreds, and tongues, that we are a people who love and fear God, a people who keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath, and we are to show plainly that we have full faith that the Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven.”  Our High Calling, 345.

“To us as to Israel the Sabbath is given ‘for a perpetual covenant.’  [Exodus 31:16.]  To those who reverence His holy day the Sabbath is a sign that God recognizes them as His chosen people.  It is a pledge that He will fulfill to them His covenant.  Every soul who accepts the sign of God’s government places himself under the divine, everlasting covenant.  He fastens himself to the golden chain of obedience, every link of which is a promise.”  Testimonies, vol. 6, 350.

“The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world.  It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation.  Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.’  So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power.  And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun.  ‘From one Sabbath to another’ the inhabitants of the glorified new earth shall go up ‘to worship before Me, saith the Lord.’  Matthew 5:18; Isaiah 66:23.”  The Desire of Ages, 283.

 

7    Why was the Old Testament written and given to us?  Romans 15:4; John 5:39.

note:  “The Old Testament . . . was not written merely for the ancients; it was for all ages and for all people.”  The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 254.

 

8    What example of Israel concerning the Sabbath is given to us?  Exodus 16:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 10:11.

note:  “Through Moses the Lord said to the children of Israel: ‘Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.’  ‘And the people went about, and gathered it [the manna], and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it.’  Exodus 16:23; Numbers 11:8.  There was something to be done in preparing the heaven-sent bread for the children of Israel.  The Lord told them that this work must be done on Friday, the preparation day.  This was a test to them.  God desired to see whether or not they would keep the Sabbath holy.”  Testimonies, vol. 6, 354, 355.

 

9    What was the reason some Israelites did not pass the test?  Hebrews 4:1–6, 9–11.

note:  “Unbelief greatly dishonors God.  Our lack of faith is withholding from us precious blessings which are hanging over us, and which God would have us receive and appreciate.  When we practise [sic] the Word, we shall be perfect in Him who is our righteousness.  If the Word is believed by us, soberly, meekly, if it is received and appropriated, it will give us a precious experience, that will make us wise unto salvation.  But, like the children of Israel, we are in danger of indulging a spirit of unbelief and murmuring.”  The Signs of the Times, October 4, 1899.

 

10  What special work will God’s people be doing in the end time in reference to the Sabbath?  Isaiah 58:12, 13.

note:  “In words of unmistakable meaning the prophet points out the specific work of this remnant people who build the wall.  ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’  Isaiah 58:13, 14.”  Prophets and Kings, 678.

 

11  What promise is given to those who engage in this most important work?  Isaiah 58:14; Revelation 22:14.

note:  “Great blessings are promised to those who keep holy God’s Sabbath.  [Isaiah 58:13, 14 quoted.]”  Review and Herald, July 13, 1897.

     “But you must not think that you have nothing to do, because Christ died for you.  You must repent of all of your sins, and give your hearts to God, and then believe that the blood of Christ will cleanse you from all sin.  Then if you keep all the commandments of God, the Sabbath with the rest, you may through the merits of Christ, be brought back to the tree of life.  This will be when Jesus comes to raise the righteous dead, and change the living saints.  Then you will have right to the tree of life, and eat of the leaves, and immortal fruit of the tree of life and live for ever in perfect happiness.  Read Revelation 22:14.  The Youth’s Instructor, August 1, 1856.

     “Let us consider that all these rich blessings are for those who keep the commandments of God.  What more can we desire?  What richer reward can we ask?”  Review and Herald, January 22, 1895.

 

Personal Review

     Constant Vigilance—“The time in which we are living calls for constant vigilance, and God’s ministers are to present the light on the Sabbath question.  They should warn the inhabitants of the world that Christ is soon to come with power and great glory.  The last message of warning to the world is to lead men to see the importance that God attaches to his law.  So plainly is the truth to be presented that no transgressor, hearing it, shall be excusable in failing to discern the importance of obedience to God’s commands.”  Gospel Workers, 148.

     “To Adam and Eve in Eden the Lord gave the use of every tree in the garden save one.  So the Lord has given to men six days in which they are to engage in common labor; but He has put His sanctity upon the seventh day, declaring it to be holy.  That day is to be sacredly observed as a memorial of creation.  ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all His work.’  [Genesis 2:3.]”  The Signs of the Times, March 31, 1898.

     Worshipers of Jehovah—“God rested on the seventh day, not merely to furnish an example to the Jews.  The Sabbath commandment is obligatory upon all men to the end of time.  And not only this, its observance is to be carried into the future world, to be perpetuated throughout eternity.”  Ibid., July 29, 1897.

     “Pointing to God as the maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods.  All who keep the seventh day, signify by this act that they are worshippers of Jehovah.  Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man’s allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him.”  Sons and Daughters of God, 59.

   
   

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