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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    IT seems fitting that at some time during this series of studies special attention should be directed to that feature which especially distinguishes this people; that is, the subject of the Sabbath.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.3

    I shall therefore this evening call your attention especially to the Sabbath question in its relation to the subjects which we have been studying together, as also, in a general way, in its relation to the special closing work for this time.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.4

    The Sabbath has a special and peculiar significance with reference to the very subjects which have occupied our attention during these studies. There is hardly one of the special topics which we have considered that does not seem, as it were, to culminate in the Sabbath, to which the Sabbath does not have a special relation. In the early part of our study, — and the same thought has followed throughout, — our attention was called to the special necessity at this time that we should come out of Babylon; that we should separate from the world. And certainly the Sabbath, when rightly understood, does have a special significance with reference to this question.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.5

    Read first in 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18:—GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.6

    Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.7

    In order to be members of this divine human family, we are called out, and invited to be separate; then we shall be received as sons and daughters in the family of God. If there is any one thing which will of itself separate from the world, it is the Sabbath and true Sabbath-keeping. Of course we can have a mere outward form in this as well as in any other matters; but true Sabbath-keeping does in itself separate from the world, so that while one is in the world, he is not of the world.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.8

    The familiar scripture which speaks of the experience of Moses and the people of Israel in the thirty-third chapter of Exodus, enforces this thought. Twelfth verse and onward:—GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.9

    And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayeth unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and sconsider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.10

    “So shall we be separated.” Dr. Young’s translation is, “So shall we be distinguished.” Both are correct. Both ideas are in the word; but the separation does not mean a separation merely by placing two things apart from each other; but it means a separation by one distinguished or exalted, so that although there should be a large company together, one would be separated from the rest of the company in this sense, while in the company, being specially exalted in some way.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.11

    That is the meaning of this text. So shall we be distinguished, exalted, and by this means separated, from all people that are upon the face of the earth.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.12

    But it was the presence of God in Christ that was to exalt them, or distinguish them, and thus separate them from all other people. But the very idea of Sabbath-keeping is the rest which was promised in this statement: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” And the very basis of the Sabbath is the presence of Christ in the Sabbath. So when Christ in the Sabbath is received and is recognized, his presence is sought, welcomed - his presence which has been in a speical and peculiar way put into the Sabbath, in the blessing that has been pronounced upon it - his presence gives rest, his presence exalts, his presence glorifies, distinguishes, and so separates. And the people whose God is the Lord, recognize that in this special way, in the observance of the very day which he hath commanded, they are indeed a distinguished people, — distinguished in point of privilege. For it seems very clear from the general tenor of the lessons we have been studying together, that when we study God’s plan of salvation and the provisions of his grace for us, everything is from the point of privilege on our side. And it is the privilege of the Sabbath, as well as the duty of the Sabbath; but there is blessing in it, and God desires that that blessing shall be upon us, and that in recognizing him, his presence, in the day which he has thus set apart and blessed, it itself should be a special blessing to us. So it is said of the Sabbath, as of the individual, that God blessed the Sabbath that it might be a blessing to us, just as he has blessed us that we might be a blessing to others.GCB March 5, 1895, page 480.13

    And there is a thought worth noticing there. It is said that God blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. If we should take directly into English the word that is translated “blessed” in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew word (Genesis 2:3), we should say God eulogized the Sabbath day; that is, spoke well of the Sabbath day. But when God speaks well of a thing, when God eulogizes either a person or a thing, one of two things must be true: before he speaks well of a person or a thing, there must be a sufficient cause in God’s mind for speaking well of that person or that thing. If that be not true up to the time of his speaking well of it, then the very fact that he speaks well of it makes it worthy of that; that is, his very word in speaking in that way makes it what he says of it.GCB March 5, 1895, page 481.1

    So when he has eulogized the seventh day, the Sabbath day, has spoken well of the Sabbath day, — and there is no record that he has ever done such a thing of any other day of the week, — it follows that in speaking well of that particular day as above other days, he distinguished that day by placing upon it something that made it worthy to be thus spoken well of. The very speaking well of it gave that character to the day.GCB March 5, 1895, page 481.2

    Now if God has spoken well of the seventh day as distinct from any other day, it is certainly safe for us to speak well of that day. If God has eulogized the seventh day above every other day, we may be sure there is reason for it, and we may be sure we are right in doing as he has done. There is therefore no reason for casting reproach upon that day, for speaking of it as the “old Jewish Sabbath.” — God never spoke that way of it. God spoke well of the seventh day. God eulogized the seventh day, and it is certainly proper that every one of his creatures should follow his example in this respect. It is true that God blesses us upon every day, yet it is also true that he has blessed this day as he has blessed no other day. Now the blessing that he has given to us is the same blessing that he has put upon that day. “Christ in you the hope of glory” is the special blessing that he puts upon us. That is the same blessing that he puts upon the day, — Christ’s presence in the day.GCB March 5, 1895, page 481.3

    Now when these two meet, and when we, in whom Christ dwells, meet the Sabbath, in which he puts his blessing, there is manifestly a double blessing which may be enjoyed upon that day, and which cannot be received upon any other day. That is, there is a blessing upon the Sabbath, when it is recognized as the Sabbath, that cannot be enjoyed on any other day, no matter what we call it; because our calling that day by a special name, or our giving it any special exaltation, does not do for that day what God did for the seventh day when he distinguished it and spoke well of it.GCB March 5, 1895, page 481.4

    So in the observance of the very day which God has thus blessed, that is, in receiving Christ in the Sabbath, and recognizing him in the blessing of that day, there is a blessing for us in that day, just as there is a blessing in Christ - the real Christ - that cannot be found in receiving any false christ as the Christ. There are false christs many, but in none of them is found the blessing and the salvation that is found in the true Christ. It is not a question of majorities. If we should follow that idea, there are more people upon the face of the earth who reject the true Christ then who receive him. It is a question of individual relationship to Christ, just as it is with reference to the day. What man may say or not say, what man may do or not do, with reference to that day, does not affect the character which God has given to it.GCB March 5, 1895, page 481.5

    It is said of Christ, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Then he was there in power and blessing, as it is recorded, “The power of God was present to heal them;” yet rejecting him as Christ, they rejected the blessing that was for them in Christ. So the Sabbath comes to every one. Those who receive it, — to them a special blessing comes; those who reject it receive none of its blessing. But the blessing is there, and their rejecting it does not take away the blessing. So at the present time we here see in a marked manner the test of this idea of separation from the world, — I do not mean simply in the outward fact, — although in itself it does outwardly distinguish a people if they outwardly observe the seventh day as distinct from any other day. While that does serve as an outward mark to distinguish them, I mean, especially the true idea of the Sabbath as God has made it, and not as man has made it.GCB March 5, 1895, page 481.6

    True Sabbath-keeping is in itself a separation from the world and from worldly things; and no man can truly keep the Sabbath according to God’s idea of Sabbath-keeping, who is not thus separate from the world; because, while there is the literal institution of the Sabbath on the literal day, which has its special significance at this time, as we shall note, at the same time in the very idea of Sabbath-keeping is the idea of nearness to God; and as nearness to God means separation from the world, so the true idea of Sabbath-keeping means coming out from the world, and drawing near to God. Thus the Sabbath cannot be truly kept without a drawing near to God, and that drawing near to God is a separation from the world, because the things of God and the things of the world are entirely distinct.GCB March 5, 1895, page 482.1

    So the Sabbath and Sabbath-keeping have a special significance just at this time in connection with this message, — this invitation which the Lord has sent with special clearness, that we should come out of Babylon, that we should arise and shine, for our light has come; but Jesus Christ is the light, and it is the presence of Jesus Christ in the Sabbath that makes it what it is. And the glory of the Lord will be seen upon us, and the glory of God and the truth of God are inseparable from the presence of God; and so the presence of God brings glorification. And so from whatever standpoint we may look at it, the Sabbath and Sabbath-keeping have a special significance at this time in connection with this invitation to come out of Babylon, and to be separate from the world.GCB March 5, 1895, page 482.2

    In another way in this closing work the Sabbath has a special signifiance. The work now is to prepare a people for the Lord’s coming, to prepare a people to welcome Jesus Christ in his own person, — a people in whom the image of God is perfectly restore, — a people in whom Christ is found so completely, and who are found so completely in Christ that all the dross and every stain of sin has been removed. It is sin that is to be consumed; but when sin is all through and through the individual, then sin cannot be destroyed apart from the individual. God’s purpose is that by his presence in us we shall be cleansed from sin; that all the dross shall be consumed before that manifestation of his visible glory. Then sin and sinners will be destroyed; but to those from whom sin has already been cleansed by this glory in his presence, to those who have thus been separated from the world and from sin, the glory of God then manifested does not destroy, but it is welcomed as the blessing of God.GCB March 5, 1895, page 482.3

    When God completed his original work of creation, and crowned the work by the creation of man in his image, then he rested, and pronounced all very good. And the Sabbath came at the close of that creative period as a sign and mark of the power that had created, and of the Creator who had exercised that power. But it was the sign of the completed work of creation. Then sin came in, and marred the work of God. Its effects were felt upon the earth as well as upon man, so that the mind of God, which had been expressed in his created works, was marred because the curse came upon the earth. His mind was also expressed in the creation of man; but that thought was marred, because that image was marred, and man no longer represented the thought of God, no longer was in the image of God. But God’s original purpose will yet be carried out, and all this time the work of creation has been going forward. We are created in Christ unto good works, and the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain, waiting for the time to come when this curse shall be removed. But when God’s mind is fully met, and the image of God again restored in man, then the Sabbath idea comes in again as the sign of this work completed, in spite of all the efforts of Satan to turn aside his thought, and to interfere with the accomplishment of his purpose.GCB March 5, 1895, page 482.4

    So in the glorious work of re-creation just before God’s original plan is consummated, and his mind is again met in man made over in his image, — just then the Sabbath, as the sign of his completed work, must be brought out again, as also with it the whole truth of God, especially concerning the law of God and the relationship of the law of God to the Christian, and the relation of the Sabbath to the law, and the relation of the Sabbath to the individual, — all that must come out clearly now, because the work is almost consummated, God’s original idea is almost met again, and again must come the same sign or mark as the token of that completed thought and that completed work.GCB March 5, 1895, page 482.5

    So when we speak of the present time as being the sealing time, when God’s people are sealed for the heavenly kingdom, then the true Sabbath has a special meaning and a special place in that work. Let us notice this thought as we read in REvelation 7 and other scriptures concerning this sealing. Revelation 7:1-3:—GCB March 5, 1895, page 482.6

    And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.1

    And then follows the statement that the number sealed amounted to 144,000. In the fourteenth chapter, first verse, the same company is mentioned again:—GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.2

    And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.3

    Now the significance of this, — the Father’s name written in the forehead as a seal of the living God, as a mark of the living God. Exodus 23:20, 21:—GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.4

    Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.5

    “Beware of him, and obey his voice, ... for my name is in him.” This was the angel of the covenant. — Jesus Christ; and the Father’s name was in him.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.6

    The Father’s name is defined in the thirty-fourth chapter, beginning with the fifth verse:—GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.7

    And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.8

    That is the Father’s name. But that is the Father’s character; and the Father’s character was in Christ, the angel of the covenant. And the law of God being simply an expression of what God is, an expression of the character of God, his name was there, his character was there, his law was there, — not as an outward garb, not simply as a certain number of precepts or commandments and prohibitions, — but the living law, the life and character of God, was there.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.9

    Now when we come to the closing work just before the second coming of Christ, the Father’s name is written in their foreheads, or they are sealed with the seal of the living God, or the character of God in Christ is fully reflected in them, or the law of God is written in their hearts, — all meaning this one thing, that the image of God is restored. Then the whole thought is that the character of God is to be revealed in its perfection just as it was in Christ, in the people that are prepared to stand in that time when they shall be without a Mediator.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.10

    But let us carry this thought further, and see the significance of the Sabbath in its relation to this idea. First in the relation of the Sabbath to the law. The fourth commandment is in a special sense the seal of God’s law, in that the fourth commandment contains the name of God, his authority as Creator, and the extent of his authority. It is true that other commandments mention the name of the Lord; but there is no other commandment that tells who he is, why we worship him, and how extensive is his kingdom. But he is the Lord, the Creator; and because of his being the Creator, our worship and homage are fittingly paid to him. Now as he is the Creator of heaven and earth, the extent of his authority is heaven and earth. And so in putting this commandment in the bosom of the law, he has put there the seal of his authority as Creator.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.11

    To take away this seal leaves an imperfect law; but the scripture says that “the law of the Lord is perfect.” And the word there used to express that idea of perfection is the same that is used in other scriptures, as in Ephesians 1:4: “We should be holy and without blame before him in love;” and as in the fifth chapter and twenty-seventh verse: “It [the church] should be holy and without blemish;” Jude, twenty-fourth verse: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless;” and as in 1 Peter 1:19, where Christ is spoken of as “a lamb without blemish.”GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.12

    Now just as Christ was without blemish, so it is the purpose of God that we should be without blemish; that we should be perfect, without blame; so the law of God is without blemish, — perfect. And when any change is made, and notably when any change is made in the commandment which contains the authority fo the Law-maker, it becomes an imperfect law.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.13

    But that law is the character of God; and when that law is written in the heart by God, that is the perfection of character, — the character of God; but if the law is imperfect, there must be an imperfect character. Therefore the perfection of character, the perfect image of God in the soul, cannot be attained aside from the most complete conformity to the character of God as set forth in his perfect law.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.14

    But in its relation to the closing work, the Sabbath is the seal of the law of God, and the people of God are being sealed. When we look at it in the light of the new covenant, which says that the law of God is to be written in the hearts, we see that the law of God is inseparably connected with the new covenant; and God, by his Spirit, is writing that law upon the hearts. When he has completed the writing of that law upon the heart, then the character of God in Christ is given to that individual fully. While it is yet imperfectly written, there may be some likeness; but when that likeness is to be complete, then the law must be written perfectly and completely.GCB March 5, 1895, page 483.15

    Now when the law has been thus perfectly written upon the heart, then just as with any other document, it is to be signed, sealed, and delivered. We become, therefore, the living law; we become the law in living personality, and we are the writing. Then, therefore, it is said that we are epistles, “known and read of all men.” We ourselves become the writing, and we are ourselves to be signed, sealed, and delivered. We are signed with the name of the One who executed the document; and he who executed this writing upon the heart, is none other than God, and so his name is to be there upon the forehead. And we - the gospel in personality, the living law - are signed with the Father’s name in the forehead.GCB March 5, 1895, page 484.1

    The law is first completely written, but now comes the signature, the name, of the one who executes the document, and so, after the law of the Lord is perfectly written in the heart, in the life, and we become in ourselves the gospel or the law in personality, then God puts his name on us, and we are signed. The Father’s name is written on the forehead, and we are sealed. The seal is put there as the token, as the mark, and there will be something special about it that will distinguish us. So as we are now considered as the document itself, we are distinguished from other documents executed by other persons or beings; we are distinguished from all other people upon the face of the earth. That sign or that seal is a mark or a token of deliverance, both past and to come, just as the Sabbath was made a token of deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. When they had been delivered from Egypt, the Sabbath commandment was respected, as we read in Deuteronomy 5:15:—GCB March 5, 1895, page 484.2

    Remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched-out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.GCB March 5, 1895, page 484.3

    The Sabbath was instituted in the first place as a sign of God’s creative power, and of him as Creator. Now there being such marvelous exhibition of that creative power in delivering the children of Israel from bondage, the Sabbath is taken as a sign, because it is the same creative power that delivered them; so he uses the same instituion as a sign, and it has an additional significance, — a sign of God’s power to create, and a sign of God’s power in delivering the children of Israel from bondage. But it is also a sign of God’s power which delivers from spiritual bondage, the Egypt of sin.GCB March 5, 1895, page 484.4

    Now we are the document, and we are signed, sealed, and delivered; and we are to be delivered again. We have been delivered from spiritual bondage; we have been delivered from the world. Although we are in the world, we are not of the world; and the document is complete, the law is completely written, and now comes the signing and the sealing and the delivering; and the Sabbath stands all the time as the sign, the seal, the mark, the token, and I may say further that it is a sign of deliverance from the literal trouble of which we read in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel. I will not take time to read the scripture so familiar to you; but this mark, this sign, is a token of deliverance from all that evil. So it is the token of deliverance of the soul from literal trouble, and it is a token of perfect deliverance.GCB March 5, 1895, page 484.5

    But you may ask of what significance is the particular day itself in all this. Is not all this idea met in the Sabbath institution? and is there not the idea of a particular day in all this? I call your attention to a thought that it seems to me may serve to illustrate the thought as to the relation of the particular day in all this. The Sabbath is the seal of God, of God’s law. In a certain sense, the whole law is in the Sabbath; yet the Sabbath is placed there as one of the ten precepts. Now consider the ten precepts as the seal to be impressed. Consider the ten precepts as being but the image of God, the image of Christ, to be impressed upon us so that that image may be perfectly restored in the soul. Ordinarily documents were attested by a seal in olden times, instead of by the name, as in later times.GCB March 5, 1895, page 484.6

    In later times the name came to be regarded as more certain than the seal, but in earlier times the seal itself was used. Each king and each officer, and often a private individual, had a seal of his own. It therefore became necessary that this seal should be kept with great care, lest some one with no authority to use it should have access to it. Therefore the keeper of the great seal was one filling an office of great responsibility. Is it not true that unto them, the Jews, were committed the oracles of God? Were they not keepers of the great seal? and are not those who are keeping the commandments of God at this time the keepers of a great seal?GCB March 5, 1895, page 484.7

    But further to protect against the improper use of the seal, it was sometimes the case that the seal itself was divided up into different parts, and one part placed in the hands of one person, and another part placed in the hands of another person. So several persons must be together before the seal could be used. Now suppose there were intentions of fraud, and here are several persons who are keeping the several parts of this seal. They get them all together except one, and his portion of the seal is missing; but they think, having nine tenths of the seal, it will not make so much matter about the little corner, and they will make something else to put in there; and then they can use it for the seal. Now, is that the man’s seal? — No. Although nine tenths of the seal are there, one part is lacking, and you can put in no other part, and have that man’s seal.GCB March 5, 1895, page 485.1

    Here is God’s law, altogether perfect, altogether it is the character of God, — ten precepts expressing that name of God. Now suppose we take nine of them, and instead of taking the tenth, we put in a man-made piece; is that God’s seal any longer? Is any part of it God’s seal? Taking out a part of it, and making a change of even one tenth of it, destroys it as God’s seal. It is another seal entirely. So the result of destroying that tenth is to destroy the whole. Just so in this case, the result of changing the one commandment, and putting a counterfeit in its place, is to change the whole law. It then becomes the seal of some other authority. When we admit the power to change one tenth, we admit the authority to change the whole. And while we may outwardly appear to have the seal of God, and while there may be nine tenths of it that outwardly corresponds to the original seal, the fact that one tenth is thus taken out, and what man has made is put in its place, entirely destroys God’s seal.GCB March 5, 1895, page 485.2

    It seems to be clear that the Sabbath and the Sabbath day, — the Sabbath as God made it, — occupies the pinnacle in all the system of God’s truth; and at this time, when the light is shining much clearer, and when God is preparing a people for his coming and his glory, and he is to work as never before in completing that work of restoring the image in the soul, there stands not only the Sabbath institution, but the original Sabbath day, as the pinnacle in the whole system of truth.GCB March 5, 1895, page 485.3

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