12: How Long Is ETERNITY?

Several years ago the present writer wrote a tract, thousands of copies of which were distributed, in which he offered $100,000 for one Bible text. Many people looked for that text of Scripture in order to claim the reward, but no one was ever able to find it. This offer still stands. Here is that offer:

Part of God’s plan for our lives is a return to the day He appointed for His worship—the Biblical seventh-day Sabbath—in order that we may have that closer experience so much needed for the trials and duties of each oncoming week.

"For this reason, I hereby offer $100,000 to anyone who will give me one text from the Bible that proves that we should keep Sunday, the first day of the week, instead of Saturday, the seventh day. In order to change the day of worship from that which God commanded in Scripture to another day, we would need a definite Biblical command of God before attempting such a thing.

"You may look for this text in any Bible in any language, but the text itself must be readily located and clearly evident in all standard Bibles, such as the King James Version. For this purpose, added notes by commentators could not be accepted.

"It is our intention to continue this offer until it is claimed, that there may be no question as to the teaching of the Bible in regard to this important matter. We honor God when we obey Him. And His will for our lives is given in the Bible.

"As long as this offer remains unclaimed, it will be a standing witness to the fact that the seventh-day Sabbath, given at the creation of this world, continues to be the only true Sabbath for all of its inhabitants."—Vance Ferrell, Beersheba Springs, TN 37305 USA.

Actually, the study of God’s Word—and obedience to it—is worth far more than any amount of money! You and I want to know what the Bible says about everything that might effect our lives. We surely would not want to make any mistakes, and the only way to avoid making them is to do what the Bible tells us to do. Jesus once said, "In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). How important it is, in God’s sight, that we worship Him the way He told us. We dare not accept later teachings—after the Bible was finished—that would alter what God commanded us in Scripture!

One of the czars of Russia, walking in his park, came upon a sentry standing guard over a little patch of weeds. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

The sentry replied, "I don’t know. All I know is that the captain of the guard ordered me to stand over this spot."

The czar sent for the captain. "Captain, what is that man guarding?"

The captain answered, "All I know is that the regulations call for a sentry to be posted here."

The czar then ordered an investigation, but no one in the government of Russia could discover why that spot needed guarding. They opened the royal archives, and the mystery was solved. The records showed that, a hundred years earlier, in the late eighteenth century, Catherine the Great had planted a rose bush on that plot of ground and ordered a sentry posted there to keep people from trampling on it. Eventually the rosebush died, but nobody thought to cancel the order. For a hundred years men stood guard over a spot where a rosebush once had grown and didn’t know what they were guarding.

Year after year. None of the guards knew how long. Guarding something that wasn’t there.

It is only as we open the archives of God’s Word that we can understand God’s will for our lives today.

After the time of Christ and the apostles, a great apostasy began. It continued and deepened for over a thousand years. When the great Reformation began, in the sixteenth century, men such as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Knox tried to restore all of the Bible teachings. An important beginning was made, but the work they began was not completed at that time. Important Bible truths were yet to be discovered.

It is not men’s traditions that are needed today, but lifegiving Bible truth. God has a beautiful plan for your life, and that plan is to found in the Bible. It requires cheerful obedience; but, by the empowered grace of Christ, all that He asks we can do.

Part of God’s plan for your life is the Bible Sabbath. He says, "Abide in Me, and I in you" (John 15:4). Our greatest need is to be linked with Christ. And that is what we so much want! He tells us, "He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).

That first Sabbath must have been a beautiful experience. The first sunset Adam saw began on a Sabbath. On this first seventh day, the Creator rested; and Adam, in union with His Creator, kept this first Sabbath also.

The Bible Sabbath is something special that has come down to us all the way from the Garden of Eden. It is not "Jewish," for it was given to all mankind at the foundation of this world. It is a great blessing from our heavenly Father to us. It is worth finding; it is worth keeping.

Ever since Eden, God has planned for the Sabbath day to be a holy meeting time between Himself and man. You see, the Sabbath is a cord of love that binds people with their Creator. It does this by providing a closer fellowship with the Lord than they could obtain on the six working days.

Of course, some might think that this can be done by selecting our own day as the special holy day. But obedience to the Word of God is part of that worship and its blessings. How can we say we are worshiping God when we refuse to obey Him? For us, today, the day is the test—just as in Eden the tree was the test.

In the Garden of Eden, God appointed the fruit of certain trees for Adam and Eve to eat of—and specifically told them that the fruit of one was not to be eaten. That tree was probably no different than all the others in most every way. It was probably just as pretty, with fruit that tasted just as good. But, regarding that one tree, God said No.

"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it. For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."—Genesis 2:16-17.

It was a simple test, but death came to the human race because it was disobeyed. There were lots of trees, but a special command of God specified which one. Simple as that. So simple that Eve thought it surely could not be that important. So she partook of that tree that looked so much like all the others.

There are a certain number of days in the week, but a specific command of God says we are to worship Him on the seventh day of each weekly cycle. Simple as that. So simple that many people imagine that it surely cannot be that important. So some select Sunday. Others select Friday while others excuse themselves saying that they "keep every day holy." Yet it is a command that God considered so important that He placed it in the middle of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).

God appointed man one special day on which to rest and worship Him. All the other days looked just like it. But, regarding that one day, God said Yes as the special weekly day of divine worship. To the other days, He said No as the day of special rest and worship. The other six days He declared to be common working days.

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.

"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day. Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hollowed it."—Exodus 20:8-11.

God intended that the Sabbath would be kept continually by His people through all time to come.

This beautiful Sabbath walk of God with man was to continue forever. That is why He called the Sabbath a "perpetual covenant" (Exodus 31:16-17). His holy seventh-day Sabbath will even be kept and honored by His faithful children in the New Earth.

"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship Me, saith the Lord."—Isaiah 66:22-23.

It should be quite obvious that the matter is settled: God has spoken, we must obey. He gave us the Ten Commandments, and He has never abolished them. And, of course, we know that to be true. If God abolished the Ten Commandments as the moral code of mankind, then we could with all impunity lie, steal, murder, commit adultery, worship heathen images—and still go to heaven and do it there too!

The only question remaining would be whether or not the weekly cycle has changed. And we will find a full and complete answer to that in the next chapter of this book. If we can today know which day is the seventh day of the week, then we are required to worship God on that day. That point will be explained in the next chapter; but, even without reading it, we can know that if God considered the Bible Sabbath to be so important—He would carefully guard the weekly cycle down through the centuries, so that there can be no doubt as to which day is the seventh-day Sabbath. The Bible Sabbath is a special test of obedience to God in these last days; and the weekly cycle has been preserved so that we can clearly decide where we shall stand in the matter.

How long is eternity? It can only be experienced to be realized. And God’s Sabbath will be part of that experience. When one understands that the Sabbath is a token of God’s love, as shown both in creation and redemption, it becomes very precious to him. So precious that he will happily, gratefully honor and worship God for the great salvation provided through Jesus Christ to all those that will be loyal to their God. And part of that worship will involve an obedient hallowing of His Sabbath.

Obedience is the key word here. We are not really loyal to God if we will not obey Him. On the other hand, those that genuinely love Him will gladly, cheerfully obey His every command.

That is Bible religion, and it is not complicated. It does not require educated people to spend long years in universities in order to tell the rest of us what the Bible means. Instead of waiting for the learned to "interpret" the Bible for you,—through earnest prayer and humble, reverent study of His written Word go directly to God for yourself and obey what you read! Contrary to what many people say, the Bible is always safe.

The Sabbath is a twofold sign of our relationship to God. It is a sign that He is our Creator (Exodus 31:17) and Redeemer (Ezekiel 20:12, 20). Every soul who accepts the Sabbath as this twofold sign is united in love and obedience, with Christ, in that walk that leads to heaven.

True Sabbathkeeping is a great blessing in many ways. Whenever we do what God asks of us, we are always blessed. One of those blessings is that, by faithfully keeping it, we are far less likely to ever leave God. In fact, slipping in our Sabbath observance will be one of the first indications that we are getting ourselves into trouble.

And now, for the first time in history,—a uniform worldwide law has been placed on the books of nearly every civilized nation on earth! And it is worded in such a way that it can be used to bring devastating enforcement on an international level—to the National Sunday Law when it is enacted.

"Obedience is to be rendered to all human governments, in subordination to the will of God. These governments are a recognized necessity, in the nature of the case, and their existence is manifestly in accordance with the divine will. Hence the presumption is always in favor of the authority of civil law; and any refusal to obey must be based on the moral proof that obedience will be sin . . It is too obvious to need discussion, that the law of God, the great principle of benevolence, is supreme, and that ‘we ought to obey God rather than men,’ in any case of conflict between human law and the divine."—James H. Fairchild, Moral Philosophy, 178-181.

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