God Worketh in You

The brilliance and wisdom of God is seen in His commanding us to do things which we ought to do, yet which we’re unable to do without His aid. He doesn’t command us in ignorance, unaware of our weakness, but as a way to engage His image in us, and work through us to achieve His purposes.

The fact that God is sovereign, in total control of all things, including us (Ep 1:11), suggests to some that we’re excused from engaging our will in obeying Him, as if to say, “I can’t do anything without Christ anyway (Jn 15:5), so why try?” The error produces passivity, an idleness of the mind and will, which turns out to be the chief basis of demon possession (Ep 4:27); if we don’t resist the devil he will retake in us the ground he used to have (Ep 2:2) and more. (2Ti 2:26)

So, though God is able to sanctify us without engaging our cooperation, He is pleased to work in and through us (Php 2:13), inviting us into our sanctification as participants and enablers, workers together with Him. (2Co 6:1) This doesn’t jeopardize His plan in any sense, it magnifies His omnipotence, but it does reveal something amazing in His agenda.

God is about making us, all of His elect (Mt 24:31), like Himself, training us up as saints such that we think and act like He does. (Ep 5:25-27) He engages His image within us with the very life and mind of Christ to conform us to Christ (Ro 8:29), reincarnating Himself in us (Col 1:27), calling us to act and strive and then working through our will: our willingness and intent to obey Him becomes the vehicle through which He manifests Himself.

God is putting us through the mill down here, through the ringer, so to speak, sort of like boot camp, refining us and sanctifying us, preparing us to rule and reign with Him. (Re 20:4) He will eventually give us unfathomable responsibility – like passing eternal judgement on the angels. (1Co 6:3) He wouldn’t let us participate with Him like this without utmost confidence that we’d call each situation correctly (Ro 15:14), exactly like He would. (1Co 2:16) He is capable of doing this in us, and He will, for His glory. (Ep 2:10)

articles    blog

Worthy of His Reward

The appeal of Communism and Socialism ultimately boils down to one thing – a willingness to trade personal freedom for free stuff, things we haven’t worked for. Whether driven by envy, fear or compassion, those who fall for shallow Marxian promises enable societal corruption and eventually suffer for it. The reason is simple: we’re motivated primarily by compensation for our own work, and this is by divine design. (1Ti 5:18)

The appeal of free stuff isn’t new; even when Christ was here we tried to use Him this way (Jn 6:26), yet God has benevolently designed us to work (2Th 3:10) and to be rewarded for it: He’s set up the entire spiritual and physical ecosystem around this principle. (1Co 3:8)

When governments engage in forced wealth re-distribution, they’re violating this basic life principle. Expecting people to act in a manner that’s inconsistent with how they’re compensated is to violate Nature itself. As we cease to reward people for their own labor, and let bureaucrats choose how we’re compensated and for what, we introduce incompetence and corruption on a massive scale. People simply can’t produce the same quality or quantity of value in such a system.

Best case, when those in power are wise, benign and just, and people are willing to work hard without regard to how they’re paid, we simply have an inefficient society — decreased productivity due to leveraging suboptimal competence and skill. Yet to the degree that those in control are corrupt, or people give in to irresponsibility and selfishness, such cultures degenerate into deception, alienation and slavery, crushing the human spirit.

The biblical model establishes a controlled free enterprise (monopoly prevention), enabling all to better themselves while providing a safety net which doesn’t reward irresponsibility and laziness; value creation opportunity is maximized while respecting human dignity and design. The basic means of production (in agricultural society it’s land ownership) is periodically (once in a lifetime) restored to a balanced equilibrium and crushing debt is forgiven. The tithe is set aside for the dispossessed who are unable to care for themselves, and able-bodied men who fall on hard times may indenture themselves for a season to pay debts, learn how to work efficiently and profitability, and get a fresh start.

God’s design works best because healthy individuals know their own skills and needs better than anyone else does, and are also in the best position to satisfy them given the needs and capabilities of those in their community. This positions everyone to work most efficiently and productively to generate value and improve everyone’s lot as a whole, creating a prosperous and sustainable society. Secondarily, it enables us to be charitable toward our neighbors (Ep 4:28), those in our community who we know to be conscientious, to assist them as needed without enabling laziness or irresponsibility. God’s design is best for everyone, yet only works well for a God-fearing people; no society works well for a wicked people.

articles    blog

Thou Shalt Not Covet

Lust, especially for men, can be an uncomfortable topic. Finding a woman attractive and giving her more than a passing glance is commonly understood to be sin, equivalent to adultery. As men are primarily visually oriented, it’s no surprise that men struggle here; it’s the focus of many an accountability session.

Women, on the other hand, don’t seem to find the topic troublesome at all and seldom discuss it, other than perhaps in confronting men. Evidently, most of us have bought into the lie that it’s primarily a masculine concern.

But what if, as in so many other ways, we’ve made up our own definition of lust, cherry-picking verses out of context to suit ourselves, and overlooking the heart of scripture?

God clearly defines lust in the 10th commandment – Thou shalt not covet (Ro 7:7): we’re forbidden to desire what belongs to another, such that we’d wrongly dispossess them if given opportunity.

This is different than thinking it might be nice to have what our neighbor does. Clearly, if we like our neighbor’s boat and offer him a reasonable sum — this isn’t lust, it’s basic economics: there’s nothing unholy or unloving here.

The definition of lust implies it violates the law of love in some way. (Ro 13:9) So, if a man finds a woman attractive, enjoys her beauty as he would a sunset, and seeks her welfare, where’s the harm? But in entertaining a plan to entice her, knowing she’s married, he’s crossed a forbidden line. (Pr 5:20)

We must define lust in the context of God’s Law (Ro 7:7), not in the context of common sentiment. Changing the definition of sin is harmful on so many levels. Finding a woman attractive is perfectly natural and wholesome, but seeking to use or defile her definitely is: it violates Torah. (Pr 6:29)

And we must not focus simply on sexual desire; lust relates to any unwholesome appetite: inappropriate diet (De 14:3), worldly attention and praise (Jn 12:43), materialism, the abuse or perversion of most any good thing. (Ep 2:3)

God has created us to enjoy beauty and pleasure, designing us specifically for this, and providing Himself as our ultimate satisfaction. (Ps 16:11) Unto the pure, all things are pure, but unto the defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled. (Tit 1:15) Yet some are weak by design, some through a soul wound, some taken by false teaching. Torah enables us to sort out what’s lawful from what’s merely taboo, and Christ offers us the wisdom to know how to build up and encourage others in joyful living for God without becoming overly focused on mechanics. (Ro 14:17)

God has given us richly all things to enjoy (1Ti 6:17), yet it’s better to forego than to encourage others to violate their conscience (1Co 8:12), or to bring a reproach on the name of Christ.

articles    blog

Add to Your Faith

In drawing us toward Himself, God tells us to add a number of personal traits to our faith, and to do so in a particular sequence, or with a given precedence or priority: first virtue, then knowledge, then temperance, then patience, then godliness, then brotherly kindness, and finally charity. (2Pe 1:5-7)

He says that with this interlocking foundation solidly in place we’ll be successful and productive in our spiritual life (8), but without this entire footprint in our character we’re blind, ignorant of the basics of our salvation. (9)

The implication is that if we’re missing one or more of these building blocks, or get them out of sort in some way, then we have an incomplete, improper foundation: we’re building on sand, and the result won’t play out well. (Mt 7:26-27) Perhaps it’s good to focus on each of these qualities and see how they interrelate to faith and to each other.

Virtue is moral excellence, Christ-like character, a willingness and intent to pursue the highest possible standard. Having virtue in faith keeps us from pride as we add knowledge (1Co 8:1) – not to impress but to enable us in worship (Ps 119:7) and service. (105) Apart from virtue we’re oblivious (Jn 1:5), ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Ti 3:7) To presume we can rightly comprehend the very first principles of the Kingdom without deep, practical reverence for God is deception. (Pr 1:7) Without virtue firmly in place, adding anything else to our faith is pointless.

Knowledge is critical as a next step; ignorance of God, of ourselves, of our enemy, of the first principles of our faith, it alienates us from the life of God (Ep 4:18), incapacitates us and wastes our virtuous passion and skill on distractions and dead ends. (Ho 6:4) The enemy is quick to exploit our ignorance and capitalize on it to sideline us. (2Co 2:11) Faith and virtue in themselves are insufficient for the journey ahead; we must diligently pursue truth, to understand and apply it, to show ourselves approved of God. (2Ti 2:15)

Temperance keeps us balanced as we walk out our faith. It’s so tempting to become overly obsessed with minutia and lose the big picture in our walk. Even with all confidence, virtue and knowledge, it’s self-control, self-mastery (Pr 25:28), the ability to moderate and adjust our behavior (Php 4:5), to re-focus, re-calibrate, re-align and continually fine tune our motives as we learn and mature, this keeps us out of the ditch. (1Co 9:27)

Patience, cherishing God’s goodness through trial, keeps us from bitterness and equips us with endurance and tenacity, so we’re perfect and entire, lacking nothing for the long journey home. (Ja 1:4)

Godliness, a faithful orientation towards God and His testimonies (Ps 119:24, 31, 36, 59, 99, 111, 129) in this journey orders our steps in holiness such that we’re ever growing more and more into the likeness of Christ along the Way.

Brotherly kindness bears with others (Ga 6:2) in the confines and abrasions of close community with the meekness and gentleness of Christ (2Co 10:1), maintaining the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. (Ep 4:2-3) Without this we may ultimately do more harm than good, causing others to stumble and making their journey much more difficult. (1Co 8:12)

And finally Charity, the unconditional benevolence of God, is the capstone, the greatest of all (1Co 13:13), coloring and accentuating all our activity (1Co 16:14), keeping our motives rightly aligned with God’s heart. Without this, we are nothing. (1Co 13:2-3)

Each of these additions to our faith are the fruit of the Spirit working in us; they compliment faith to complete us in our maturity in Christ. Which piece can we afford to omit or neglect without the whole edifice collapsing? None? Let us then attend to this with all diligence, dig deep, and build on the rock as the Master bids. (Mt 7:24-25)

articles    blog

God’s Ministers

When should we resist civil authority? Under what conditions is God pleased with civil disobedience? When governments become corrupt (and which government isn’t corrupt at some level?), when should citizens revolt to try to improve their lot?

God says those having authority to enforce civil law are His ministers (Ro 13:4), He has given them a kind of higher, spiritual, moral power to define appropriate behavior in a society and to enforce an extended moral code (1) in addition to God’s Law, and we should support them financially to enable them to do this. (6) Anyone who resists these civil authorities will be justly condemned, as if they were resisting God Himself. (2)

Yet there’s an important distinction between resisting and disobeying: when ungodly authority demands that we violate God’s Law, then we must obey God as well as we can and suffer the consequences (Ac 5:29); yet we can disobey without fighting back (resisting), which is where God draws the line. (Mt 25:6)

For example, King David was anointed to be king of Israel by Samuel, but as long as Saul — also anointed by God as a rightful king — was alive David was not to resist Saul, to fight against or harm him. (1Sa 26:9) David didn’t obey Saul — he evaded and hid — but he also didn’t resist him, even though Saul was an ungodly man.

Further, Christ recognized the authority of the Roman government (Jn 19:11), even though it was ungodly. Neither Christ, nor Paul, nor any of the Apostles ever hinted at taking up arms against civil authority, as bad as it was. God eventually dealt with the empire and used it’s unbridled wickedness to spread the gospel and infallibly prove the Resurrection of His Son.

The Nazi government was exceedingly wicked, normalizing genocide and other horrible atrocities, moving godly Christians to resist (not just disobey), plotting to overthrow Hitler. Yet God also dealt with this nation in His time, and through it’s persecution of His people moved the world to resurrect the nation of Israel and enable millions of His people to re-settle there.

We cannot know how God will judge believers who feel called to resist ungodly authority, and we can certainly sympathize, but it’s evidently not God’s way for us; He tells us to pray for our leaders that we may live in honest, peaceable quietness and godliness. (1Ti 2:2)

God tells us to submit to civil authority for God’s sake (1Pe 2:13-14), and makes no qualifications as to how fully the government is aligned with His Way.

During periods of revolution and political chaos, when military coups or stolen elections are in play, it may not be clear what constitutes proper civil authority, or when it’s reasonable to defend ourselves from those claiming to be in control, especially if they intend to harm us.

God help us, as He sends us forth as sheep among wolves, to be wise as serpents, harmless as doves (Mt 10:16), and strong in the faith. As hopeless as it may seem at times, God is in control of all things, and has a glorious purpose in all He allows. (1Pe 1:7)

writings    posts

Eye Hath Not Seen

Is it possible for the finite mind to conceive of something or someone superior to the infinite God? To anticipate anything more majestic, more beautiful, more glorious than the Creator of the universe? Or to conceive of some blessedness or pleasure exceeding what God provides for us in Himself?

If we’re capable of imagining something greater than God, something more worthy of worship, awe and admiration in any particular aspect of His being, God would be malicious in forbidding worship of this conceptualization of another deity, for by its nature it would be worthy of worship and beneficial to us to worship. This proves (by contradiction) that it’s impossible to imagine anything superior to God in any way; it’s inconceivable.

Being Creator of our soul, mind and body, God knows what will perfectly fulfill and satisfy us, and He has designed us perfectly, such that we are perfectly satisfied only by ultimate perfection: Himself.

How satisfying is God Himself, really? Well, until we know everything there is to know about Jehovah, our view of Him, and therefore our worship and admiration of Him, can be enhanced and improved, increasing our joy and delight in Him. And since a finite mind cannot ever fully comprehend the infinitude of God, our journey into pleasure in discovering God will be eternal and infinite. There is no upper bound to how much we can enjoy Him.

As a token of Jehovah’s amazing nature, of His willingness to lavish the most extravagant gifts upon us, God has already given us His Son. If He was ever going to withhold anything good from us, if there was ever anything of which we would be unworthy, or anything too much to ask of God, it would have been His beloved Son: Jesus Christ. Yet He didn’t even hold Christ back from us, but gave Himself up freely in Christ for us. (Is 53:10) What could possibly keep God from giving us what’s optimal for us in every possible way (Ro 8:32), and to actually Himself be that which supremely satisfies us?

The corrupt appetite may well long for something other than God (Ro 1:26), for something else than what He is and provides, which is invariably and infinitely inferior. (Ep 3:8) This is worshipping and serving the creature more than the creator (25); it’s an appetite and passion blind to the glory of God. (Ep 4:17-18)

But the transformed soul, walking in God’s perfect design, rejoices in God Himself with joy unspeakable and full of glory. (1Pe 1:8) The pleasure and ecstasy is limited only by the capability of the redeemed soul to experience it.

Truly, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the unregenerate heart the things God has prepared for those who love Him (2Co 2:9), for such is foolishness to the world. (14) But God has revealed Himself to us who know Him by His Spirit. (10)

Yet the above is often abused to reference the glories of Heaven itself, rather than focusing on God, as if the beauty and splendor of Heaven is the prize. As a bride focused on family, friends and trinkets rather than her husband, so do many long for Heaven as a reunion with loved ones and the splendor of a sparkling city. (He 11:10) It’s the carnal mind posturing itself again in center stage, choosing over and over again anything but God Himself as an ultimate objective, and thereby missing the Pearl of great price. (Mt 13:45-46)

Whom have I in Heaven but God? What could possibly exist anywhere that I should desire more than God? (Ps 73:25) Anything or anyone that even slightly comes to mind — it’s an idol, a lie. (1Jn 5:21)

articles     blog

Grace for Grace

Being saved by grace through faith (Ep 2:8), we might think salvation‘s all there is to grace. What else could we possibly need once we’re eternally safe?

Well, there’s so much more to salvation than being saved from Hell. Justification occurs the instant we trust Christ (Ep 1:13), believing on Him, fully persuaded that He’s paid our sin debt in full (Ro 4:21), and it’s certainly a key step in the salvation process. Yet there’s much more; we’re on an eternal journey into oneness with God Himself. (Jn 17:21)

The Way is one of sanctification, being set apart as holy in God, by God and for God. (1Co 1:30) This is why Christ set Himself apart to die for us (19), that we also might sanctified, holy, set apart, transformed into His likeness through the Word of truth. (17) There’s no other way to God. (He 12:14)

So, as we’re saved by grace, we’re also sanctified — equipped to live in God and for God, by grace, which is the enabling, the ability or power to seek God and live for Him. The divine life is impossible for us all on our own, yet abundant, inexhaustible grace (power and ability) is given — made available — to each and every believer (Ep 4:7), gifts enabling us to be more like Christ (8) in as many ways as we desire. (1Co 12:31a)

The power to live for God is truly at our disposal; it’s phenomenal, resurrection-level power (Ep 1:19-20a), and it’s ours for the taking. Just as we’re saved by faith, we access this sanctifying grace by faith. (Col 2:6-7)

Believing Christ lives in us and through us, by His power (grace) we expect Him to deliver us from sin, lies and our old man, and so He does as He promises. (1Co 1:9)

This grace to continuously reach out in Christ to access the grace we need from Christ to walk with Christ … is also from Christ (Ro 5:2): we need ability (grace) from God to appropriate the power (grace) to live for God.

In other words, we’ve already received all of Christ we’ll ever need, yet we also need from Christ grace for grace (Jn 1:16): God must enable us to appropriate the power He’s already given us to live for Him. So, this is what He provides; He gives us everything we need to live for Him, if we’re willing to seek Him out and receive Him. (2Co 6:1)

The opportunity before each of us is unfathomable — what shall we do with it? Shall the gift of the grace of God, given unto us by the effectual working of His power (Ep 3:7), be in vain? (1Co 15:10a) Only if we neglect to seek out the grace we need to walk in the power we already have to live for God; only if we’re content having divine power at our disposal, but never actually laying hold of it. How shall it go for those who neglect so great salvation? (He 2:3)

Let’s seek from Christ the grace we need to live for God, believing His life in us equips us in every way to actually live in victory for Him.

And as we find this grace in Christ and do actually overcome for Him, we know it isn’t merely us walking worthy of God, but the grace of God which is with us. (1Co 15:10b) By grace let’s live out the mystery and the miracle: Christ in us, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)

articles     blog

Receive the Grace

God says that by Christ we have access by faith into grace (Ro 5:2); in other words, the power to live the Christian life becomes available to us as Christ Himself enables us to know for certain that He is empowering us to live for Him.

Though God is the source of our strength to live for Christ, God doesn’t merely cause us live for Christ apart from our will, apart from our willing engagement with and pursuit of Him; there is a cooperation with God involved, yet it’s a cooperation which God also determines and enables. This access to grace involves a supernatural knowing (faith) as well as a supernatural willingness to become and to do.

So, it’s significant that God begs us to not receive His grace in vain (2Co 6:1); He pleads with us that we should not neglect His offer to enable us with the strength we need to live for Him. He challenges us and calls us out to act on His invitation to put this divine power into motion and actually live for Him.

Even though God is the Author and Finisher of our faith (He 12:1), and though without Him we can do nothing (Jn 15:%), He expects us to engage our will to walk in this divine power based on His invitation and promise.

Yet even this practical working out of grace is itself another grace, or an additional divine enablement on a different level, such that everything we become for God and in God is also finally all from God and for God. We may only glory in Him. (1Co 1:31)

Paul illustrates this for us in his own experience: he is what he is by the grace of God (1Co 15:10a), and His grace (or enabling power) was not bestowed on Paul in vain (b) because Paul acted out this grace by laboring more prolifically than all the other apostles (c); but even this abundant laboring was not something Paul himself produced all in his own power — even this activity was due to the further enabling of God within him, equipping him to do so. (d)

So, until we both access divine power by faith, and then also act in accordance with our faith to see God’s grace working out in our life, we’re receiving the grace of God in vain. Both of these behaviors are each driven by grace, and are needed to fulfill God’s purpose in making grace available to us.

Perhaps it’s like being given a brand new cordless vacuum … exciting, but keeping it securely in the box out in the garage doesn’t clean the house. Surely, opening the box and putting it together helps, but still the house is filthy. Charging up the vacuum and turning it on, studying and admiring it — that’s moving in the right direction, but this still isn’t the point.

Amazing design and power may be at our finger tips, begging us to engage, but the vacuum still exists in vain. We may even write elaborately about the vacuum and tell all our friends how wonderful and innovative it is, but this is all still a sad waste of the vacuum. We may do all these things, and most sincerely, yet wonder to ourselves why this amazing gift isn’t working to clean our house.

It isn’t until we get off the couch, put our hand to the handle, and begin to move the empowered vacuum over the dust, actually using it per it’s design, that all the potential of the vacuum is realized and becomes practically useful. Until then the thoughtfulness of the gift, and all its power and design is in vain.

So, what aspect of our lives yet lacks the grace of God? What untapped power has God given us that’s still unopened in the box? (Ep 1:18-19) Where is it that we could we become more like Christ if He but enabled us? (Ga 4:19) He will show us the next step if we but ask, seek and knock. (Mt 7:7-8)

Then, as He shows us HIs way, step by step, we seek grace from God to believe, to know, to become, and to do the will of God. (Php 3:14-15)

articles     blog

Cannot Be Broken

Debates about which Bible version is best generally focus on peripheral concepts: archaic language, the age of certain Greek manuscripts, or theological clarity. The primary evidence is often overlooked: the consistency of the Majority Text proves it’s the most reliable — random copying errors don’t account for it, as KJV critics claim.

To illustrate, suppose 127 college students transmit a 1000-word short story, where the 1st student makes 2 hand copies from the original and gives the copies to 2 more students; those 2 students each make 2 more hand copies of their copy and pass those 4 copies on to 4 more students, who each make 2 more copies, etc. Seven copy generations yields 254 new manuscripts to compare with the original.

Assuming unintentional, random copying errors, one may easily note that the earlier in the transcription process a mistake is made the more prevalent the error will be in the total set of manuscripts. Additionally, it’s virtually impossible for any particular error to occur in more than half the manuscripts; the only probable way for any single error to be prevalent in the majority is for the very first student to deliberately introduce the same error into both of their copies, violating randomness.

This fact proves the Majority text, which is generally consistent within itself concerning supposed errors, has a single original source: the general consistency of the manuscripts can only be rightly accounted for in this way.

Carefully consider: there are only two possible sources for the Majority text — the autographs themselves, or another set of manuscripts deliberately constructed to supplant the autographs. This fact forced the revisers of 1881 to propose the myth of the Syrian Recension to justify their preference for the Alexandrian Text.

The patent absurdity of the Syrian Recension proves the Majority Text represents the autographs, and therefore that most modern translations are based on a corrupt manuscript witness. This is the only proper foundation for a KJV debate.

Arguments focused on archaisms in the KJV miss the forest for the trees. After a 3-minute tutorial on thee, thou and basic verb tenses, only a very small percentage (0.16%, or 1-2 per 1000) of the words in the KJV are archaic. Learning new words from time to time is a given for anyone pursuing truth; it’s why we have dictionaries.

Debating which version better supports orthodox theology is irrational: theology depends upon scripture, not vice versa — we may not rightly argue for the validity of scripture based on how it supports our beliefs. This debate is about which words were in the autographs, not the doctrines implied by them.

And diminishing the value of the KJV by claiming certain verses are incorrectly translated, when the reasoning of its translators is no longer available, is subjective at best and does more harm than good. No imperfection in the KJV causes us to believe or act improperly as we trust and obey it (unlike most newer translations – e.g. His Virgin). This should be the whole of the matter … it’s the very reason we have the Word of God. What’s left to discuss?

God inspired His Word in written form to accomplish a purpose, which is unfulfilled merely by the autographs: to enable His elect, in many ages and nations and languages, to be mature and complete, thoroughly and completely equipped unto all good works. (2Ti 3:16-17)

God didn’t inspire His Word in vain: He says the scripture cannot be broken. (Jn 10:35) We can be sure He has preserved His Word across time, and across languages, sufficiently to achieve His purpose. That’s exactly what God does — faithfully keep His promises. So, find His Word in a language you can understand today; trust it, memorize it, and obey it as the very Word of God.

articles     blog

The Seventh Day

I am intrigued by the fact that God blesses the seventh day (Ge 2:3), because it doesn’t actually exist: the seventh day is an abstract concept, like the number 7 — a concept describing a certain pattern or collection.

It isn’t that abstractions aren’t real, perhaps in some sense they’re more real, more permanent than what they represent. And the fact that God blesses this abstract concept of the seventh day, and how He actually does it, fascinates me.

The first sabbath day, the seventh day of time, is unique since it’s the very first day in which God doesn’t create something new and amazing; He rests, or ceases from creating, not because He’s tired, but because He’s finished: His work is complete, and it’s very good. (Ge 1:31) This first sabbath is indeed special.

To commemorate the 7th day, to help us remember the day God rested (Ex 20:11), God sets apart every 7th day, sanctifies each one until the end of time, making them distinct and different. But how does He actually do this?

You see, the very next day, the 8th day of existence, is just like the 7th day in every respect; from the 6th day on God doesn’t make the days materially different from each other — no special cosmic event marks any particular day. It’s only in the conscious mind where these sabbath days can possibly be distinguished, so that’s where God must sanctify them. We aren’t told explicitly how God does this, but there’s a clue in why He does it.

Christ, as Lord of Sabbath (Mk 2:28), reveals that sabbath is made for Man (27): God designs sabbath for the welfare of Mankind. This includes Adam and Eve, and every one born since.

However, if Adam doesn’t start keeping track of which day it is, starting on the 7th day, counting how many days have elapsed since the first sabbath, he won’t know when the next sabbath day is, or any sabbath after that. The fact God makes the sabbath for Man implies God tells Adam about the first sabbath and commands Adam to start keeping sabbath, to rest from his work every 7th day. Adam must understand that he’s to start counting the days and keeping track of them, else the sabbath will be lost. This he evidently does.

In other words, God’s sabbath command actually depends on unfaithful Man keeping track of which day it is, or the sabbath will be lost and God’s design in vain. So, what does Man do with this gift?

Man begins to defy God on every level imaginable (Ge 6:5), yet by the time Noah boards the ark, he not only knows what day of the year it is, he records exactly which day it is (Ge 7:11), and exactly what day the earth is completely dry. (Ge 8:13-14) Noah’s concern with time, keeping track of what day it is and telling us about it, indicates (to me, at least) that he’s stewarding sabbath, keeping it alive for us, along with the animals.

And by the time Israel’s being delivered from bondage hundreds of years after Noah, God doesn’t have to explain to Moses what day of the week sabbath falls on; He just tells Moses to remember sabbath, as if Moses already knows what day this is. (Ex 20:8) Evidently, Man’s unwittingly been keeping track of sabbath for God ever since He sanctified it, observing a 7-day week as a pattern of organizing life, even though, for the most part, he hasn’t been observing sabbath.

God does according to His will in Heaven and in Earth; no one can thwart His purposes. (Da 4:35) As He’s built so much of nature on mathematical patterns, He has imbedded the 7-day concept into the very fabric of civilization.

articles     blog