By Herbert W. Armstrong
EVERY ONE OF US is being regularly TESTED! In school and college we had to take tests or exams every so often. But GOD has a special system by which He puts every one of us through a special examination week after week.
Let me tell you an experience of some 45 years ago. I was holding a series of Sunday night public meetings in the Chamber of Commerce auditorium in Seattle, Wash.
It was not a large auditorium, but I had it filled - around 300 present. At the close of the service, I hurried through a side aisle to the front door to shake hands with the people as they were leaving.
One woman paused and said: Mr. Armstrong, someone told me that Saturday is your day instead of Sunday. I do hope that was a false rumor.
No, I replied, smiling, Saturday is NOT my day - SUNDAY is my day. She was greatly relieved.
Oh, Mr. Armstrong, I'm so glad to know that.
Yes, I was still smiling, SUNDAY is my day. And Monday is also MY day, and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. But Saturday is NOT my day. It is GOD'S day. He made it HOLY TIME and commanded us to KEEP it holy.
The lady did not like my answer and with a jerk of her head sideways, walked on out.
The one thing uppermost in God's mind, and in His PURPOSE, is to RESTORE HIS GOVERNMENT in the KINGDOM OF GOD. His GOVERNMENT is based on His LAW. God's law is the basic SPIRITUAL law of LOVE. It is love to GOD and love to neighbor. It is further magnified into the TEN COMMANDMENTS. And there is one test commandment.
All sects and denominations of Christianity will accept the First Commandment - we should have no other gods before the true Creator. All will accept the Second Commandment against bowing down to worship idols. All admit it is wrong to take God's name in vain - even those who do it. All accept the Commandment about honoring one's parents. All accept stealing as a sin, all will accept the Seventh Commandment against committing adultery, the Sixth against murder, the Ninth against lying and the Tenth against coveting.
But that Fourth Commandment! It is not one of the negative commandments - it is POSITIVE! It says REMEMBER that God made the Sabbath day HOLY TIME, and told us to keep it holy! That Commandment people definitely don't want to keep!
The FOURTH Commandment is God's TEST Commandment! Not that many people do obey the other Nine. But they are willing to admit they should.
The Fourth Commandment is the one they will argue about. They will find every reason why they CAN'T obey that Fourth Command! How can we know time has not been mixed up? How can we know that Friday sunset today until Saturday sunset is the SAME identical time, in succession of weeks, that God rested on and blest? How can one keep it on a round earth? Saturday in San Francisco is not the same as Saturday in Tokyo. How could one keep it on the north pole where there are two days a year, and a day lasts about six months?
All those questions - and more - I asked my wife when she first began keeping God's Sabbath, and I thought it was religious fanaticism.
But I found the answers. On round earth we keep the Sabbath when the Sabbath comes to us wherever we are on earth. North pole? Who lives there? There is proof ABSOLUTE the weekly cycle of TIME has never been changed from the time of Adam's creation. All arguments evaporated! I had no excuse. NOR HAVE YOU!
Suppose you were invited to visit a royal king in his sumptuous palace. On entering you are filled with awe at the shiny polished floors, the rich rugs, the ornate ceilings and plush and luxurious chairs and tables.
Suppose you enter with muddy shoes from a rainy day outside, and track mud all over his beautiful polished floors and carpeting. You whip out a jackknife and begin carving your initials on his finest cabinets, tables and chairs.
Now the king has seen to it that all these things are in perfect immaculate condition, and he wants you to KEEP THEM THAT WAY! Would you not expect the king to be angered when you besmear and destroy the beauty of his palace? You would expect to be thrown out!
And when you besmirch and trample all over God's holy Sabbath - His day - HOLY TO Him, YOU MAY EXPECT TO BE THROWN OUT OF HlS KINGDOM - or rather, never allowed to ENTER!
Suppose you visit a very humble home of financially poor folk. The woman has one prized possession - a beautiful lace tablecloth. It was made painstakingly by her grandmother, and she prizes it highly. If you enter with muddy shoes, jump on that table, smear up that precious cloth, tear it, ruin it, how do you expect the poor lady of the house to feel? It has been made immaculate, and she wants it to be kept that way!
God took special pains to make every seventh day HOLY TIME. It is a space of time, from sunset to sunset. God gave mankind - gave YOU - the other SIX DAYS A WEEK for YOUR labor of earning a living, for YOUR pleasure, for YOUR interests and purposes.
But when you come, wherever you are on earth, to Friday sunset, you are entering GOD'S HOLY DAY. This is not your time. Do not STEAL it from God. He made it HOLY to HIM, so He commands you to KEEP it holy.
Whether YOU think it is holy - or whether it is holy TO YOU - makes no difference. It is holy to GOD! And you are desecrating something HOLY TO GOD when you use that time for your own work, pleasure or personal purpose, which ignores GOD.
On the other hand, God made the Sabbath to be a time of JOY - of DELIGHT - of REST, prayer, contemplation, Bible study, worship.
When I was 19 years of age I was timekeeper and paymaster in a southern Mississippi lumber mill. I had to do the job three men had been required to do before I came. I worked one night until 10, the next night until midnight, six days and nights a week. I was overworked. In six months I landed in the hospital with a severe case of typhoid fever. To just lie there in bed and REST was so DELIGHTFUL, after that six months stint of 18-hours-a-day labor, I realized, as never before, how DELIGHTFUL rest from work can be!
God says, 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 [eternal life]: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it (Isa. 58:13-14).
That's quite an IF and quite a PROMISE!
I have kept God's Sabbath and taught thousands of others to do so, and God has opened doors so that I have walked on the high places of the earth, and I shall inherit the heritage of Jacob in the Kingdom of God. HOW ABOUT YOU?
In the last few years even apostate ministers have begun to COMPROMISE with God's Sabbath, and teach their local congregations so. It happened in Britain. It happened in the United States. THOSE MINISTERS ARE NO LONGER IN GOD'S CHURCH.
God's Word says, For if God spared not the natural branches [Israel], TAKE HEED lest he also spare not thee (Rom. 11:21).
You, dear brother or sister in Christ - directly or indirectly my son or daughter IN THE LORD - YOU are being given a TEST - an examination as to your entrance into eternal life in God's Kingdom - every week!
WHAT KIND OF GRADES IS GOD GIVING YOU?
No matter how righteous you are in other matters, if you FAIL in this crucial TEST every week, you will inherit eternal DEATH in a lake of fire - not eternal life in God's KINGDOM!
IS God's Church a Sabbath-keeping Church? Are YOU a real Sabbath-keeping member?
JUDGMENT NOW IS UPON US, For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God (I Pet. 4:17).
So, as next Sabbath comes, I say to you, HAPPY SABBATH!
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