Today, we're living in the most frightening, the most terrifying, the most momentous days of the history of this whole earth. Never before has any previous generation lived in times like these. Never has there been a time of world eruption, of world trouble, of world chaos such as we're living in today. And there is no peace, and there is no hope of peace and the future outlook is dark indeed, if it were not for the good news of 'The World Tomorrow!' But in the mean time, mankind is bringing himself to total oblivion. If God Almighty didn't intervene, there would no flesh be saved alive on this earth, so said Jesus Christ 1900 years ago. So say your world famous scientists today. And that's official.
Now we've been seeing in this most neglected and one of the most wonderful books in all of the Bible, the book of Hebrews which is the Priesthood book, we've been seeing how Jesus Christ is on the job today and has been for nineteen hundred years and more; night and day, on the job. As I've said before, in this series, you've heard a lot about Christ's ministry of 3 1/2 years, over 1900 years ago, we talk a lot about that, you've heard a lot about Christ hanging on a cross dead; you see pictures of Him hanging on a cross dead. You hear a little, about once a year, about the resurrection of Christ on Easter time, because Easter is supposed to celebrate the resurrection, actually it doesn't, believe it or not, startling as that may be. If you don't believe that, write for our booklet on Easter and it'll certainly startle you, it will shock you, but it's factual and it's absolutely truth and you can prove it.
Very few people, however, ever give a thought to what has Jesus Christ been doing since, and so we've been looking in this Priesthood book. He's on the job for you and me and if you don't know what He's doing, and if you don't realize the connection between His work, His job now, and you... well, I wouldn't give you very much for your chances of the salvation that a lot of you think you have. And a great many people are deceived and don't have what they think they have today, it's about time we begin to wake up and get our eyes open to the truth.
Now, here we've been, in this third chapter, and we've come to the place where Paul, the Apostle Paul, in writing this for us, had quoted from one of the Psalms, he had quoted from the Psalm 95, verses seven to eleven, where David in David's day had written,
"To day if ye [that's those in David's day] will hear his voice [now, that was hundreds of years after Moses. So, he said to them at that time], harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness [as they did back in Moses' time]:" (Hebrews 3:7-8)
At the time they were being led by Moses out of Egypt and on over to the Promised Land. That, my friends, was the picture, the type of our being led out of the slavery of sin, which is the transgression of God's law, in other words, going the ways that have seemed right to man and contrary to the ways of God. And being led out of the slavery that that has imposed. In other words, the way that seemed right to a man has only brought curses upon us and it's bringing final death.
And so, their being delivered out of Egypt was a type of our being delivered out of sin. And their journey through the wilderness on to the Promised Land was the type of our journey through this life. And the Promised Land, the Palestine that they were to enter into then was the type of our entering into the kingdom of God and the final rest from all of the curses that we've brought on ourselves by defying God and the way of God. And so David was saying to those people, "harden not your hearts as they had done back there when, he said, your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work for forty years."
"Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways [and so God said, He swore on His wrath that]... They shall not enter into my rest." (Hebrews 3:10-11)
And that generation did not. Everyone, except two of that generation died; never got into Palestine.
Now then, the warning of David was, that if they did not continue to obey God, if they continued in unbelief and in disobedience, they would never enter into any final rest from all of these troubles of this life, and the curses that we bring on ourselves.
Because of Unbelief Now, at the very last of the chapter, I want to go back and pick up something here that I want you to get: And to whom did He sware "that they should never enter His rest," (Hebrews 3:11) but to those who were disobedient, back in the days of Moses. So, we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief; unbelief that was shown in their disobedience. Now then, I want to show you again, my friends, because the next verse here, verse twelve, to us says,
"Take heed, brethren [now he's speaking of course to those who are already Christians, brethren are those who have been begotten of God, that have received the Holy Spirit of God, the ones that are already brethren, not to the people in the world, this is not an evangelistic appeal to get converted, this is a message to those who are converted]. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you [that is already converted Christians], lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12)
Now how did they depart from God? That is used as a type for the way we can depart from God.
We've gone back into the sixteenth chapter of Exodus and here we found that the Eternal had said unto Moses before the Old Covenant was given, before any of the law of Moses was given, before the Old Covenant had been made with Israel, He said, when they were grumbling because they had nothing to eat, and they were hungry, and God said, "Well I'll perform a miracle, I'll rain bread from heaven for you. And you shall go out, the people shall go out, and gather a certain rate every day that I may prove them whether they will walk in My law or not."
"And, it shall come to pass [God said], that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily." (Exodus 16:5)
There would be enough each day for that day, God only gave them today's bread today but on the sixth day He gave them bread for two days. Twice as much. Well, then on the sixth day, Moses said, now
"This is that which the Lord hath said [He said that they went out and gathered twice as much each man, there was twice as much falling from heaven on that day and he said], This is that which the ETERNAL hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the ETERNAL [so]: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning." (Exodus 16:23)
Do your baking, your boiling and all of the preparation today. Today is a preparation, tomorrow is a Holy Sabbath. So, they laid it up until the morning and it did not breed worms and stink whereas every other day it had and here God was revealing whether time had been lost. (Exodus 16:22-24)
If you have any doubt about time having been lost and maybe we don't know which day God rested on at creation, write for our booklet, 'Has Time Been Lost?' That will give you seven lines of positive proof as to whether or not time has gotten mixed up. Have we gotten the calendar mixed up? Do we know which day is the same seventh day God rested on at creation? Well He was revealing to the Israelites there. Now, on that day it didn't breed worms and stink and every other day it did.
"And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the ETERNAL: to day ye shall not find it in the field." (Exodus 16:25)
Well, some of them thought it didn't make any difference. Some of them thought time might have gotten mixed up. So, they went out on this day to gather and they said we'll wait until the next day, the first day of the week; we'll rest on that day. We'll make that our rest day.
"And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the ETERNAL said to Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" (Exodus 16:27-28)
The Sabbath Given by God Here were God's commandments, here were God's laws, before the Old Covenant, before the Law of Moses had been given.
This is no part of the law of Moses, they didn't know there ever would be such a thing as the law of Moses, in fact there wasn't any such thing; it'd never been given. But God was saying how long will you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws and here was one of them that antedates the Old Covenant. Now the Old Covenant then couldn't take it away, the Old Covenant didn't bring it, it couldn't take it away. Here was the law of God, my friends, that the Law of Moses didn't bring and that the Law of Moses can't take away.
"The ETERNAL said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" (Exodus 16:28)
"See, for that the ETERNAL hath given you the sabbath," He didn't say that Moses gave it to you, he said, 'the Eternal has given it to you.' Now, listen my friends, most of you have always heard that Moses gave it to them. You know you have, open your Bible, Exodus 16:29 and see it.
"See, for that the ETERNAL hath given you the sabbath [not Moses], therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day [after that stern rebuke]." (Exodus 16:29-30)
Now then, next, I wanted you to turn over here to Exodus 32 now, and the first four verses:
"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount..." Now, this is after the Old Covenant had been made and Moses was up getting some of the Laws from God on the mount. He was up there for forty days and forty nights and what did the people do while Moses was away from them forty days?
Just let God send a leader; people will follow the leader. They want to follow a man instead of following God. And they'll follow the man, and if the man is a man of God, they're following God because they follow the man, but just let that man go away about forty days, and the people forget all about him. And they get back into their own ways again. My friends, most of you are like that; that's human nature! And my friends listen, that's the thing you were put on this earth to overcome! That's the thing you were put here to eradicate out of your nature! Why don't you begin to really follow God?
Now, Moses delayed to come down, yes, God kept him up there for forty days and then "...the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said to him, Up, make us gods [make some idol gods, in other words], make us gods which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." (Exodus 32:1)
You know, my friends, in my personal experience I've learned that's exactly the way people will act. I've had a little flock that had been raised up; people had been brought to God, which God had brought to Him, through my efforts. I hadn't done it, God had done it but He'd used me. But the people looked to me, and as soon as the work began to expand and I was taken to Hollywood and New York and Chicago and different places in order to get the work of God going on radio stations; coast-to-coast and all over the nation, I only needed to be gone about forty days and the people would say, "Oh, as for this Herbert W Armstrong, we wot not what's become of him, let's go off into some other doctrines and let's get off into others, and let's throw away this truth." I have seen it happen! What kind of human beings are we, anyhow?
And I found that they'd only been looking to a man in the first place. My friends, I'm not trying to get you to look at me. I'm trying to get you to look at Jesus Christ; He's your savior! HE'S ON THE THRONE OF GRACE and HE'S THERE NIGHT AND DAY! And you can go direct to Him anytime! Don't you know that? He is there, I'm merely a... just another human being to sort of help you a little, that's all. But God is the One that does it; I haven't any power. I just have a little faith and God has given me faith and I know He hears.
Well anyway, let's go on with this real rapidly now, in the seventh verse, this is in Exodus 32,
"And the ETERNAL said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people... have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of THE WAY [now I want you to notice what they did, they had turned away quickly out of THE WAY] which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it," (Exodus 32:7-8)
Now, what was it we read back here in Hebrews? David had written of these people, "they do alway err in their heart" as God had said. He was "...grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; they have not known MY WAYS." (Hebrews 3:10)
How Did They Turn Away From God? Now, in what general manner did they turn away from God? There were two things above all other things that they turned to their own way and away from God's ways and that was: In breaking the Sabbath and in worshipping idols! Here, they had made an idol. And God said, "They have not known my ways! They have quickly gotten out of THE WAY which I commanded them." God has commanded us a way, and that is why you are put on this earth is to learn that way and live it! Now, next, I want to read Leviticus 26 here. Here was what God had said through Moses in the day of Moses to those people. He said to them:
"Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image... to bow down unto it: for I am the ETERNAL your God [then He said]. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the ETERNAL." (Leviticus 26:1-2)
Just those two commandments He stressed. Why? Because those were the two that they seem to disobey more than any other. Now, listen, it doesn't make any difference, my friends, which command you break; if you break any one, you're guilty of all. You're guilty if you break anyone of them! Because it's like... and there are the ten general principles, the ten general broad principles of the ten commandments, and all the law hangs on that, and its all on the one word love, and on the two great commandments; love to God and love to neighbor.
And the first four commandments tell you how to love God and the last six tell you how to love your neighbor and all the Bible is merely an elaboration and magnification of that; the whole way of God is summed up in those ten spiritual principles, not moral code, but spiritual principles of life. It is the way of God! Now, it's like the ten links of a chain and you break any one link, you've broken the chain. But these are the two that Israel was continually breaking. These are the two then that God stressed. And He said:
"If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase [you'll have crops the year around]. And I will give you peace in the land...And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight." (Leviticus 26:3-4, 6, 8)
They would have become the greatest, mightiest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth. If they would keep His commandments!
"But [He said] if you will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments... I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, the burning ague [or fever], that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it...and ye shall be slain before your enemies [and]: they that hate you shall reign over you." (Leviticus 26:14; 16-17)
And, it was a 2,520-year punishment that God pronounced on them. If they didn't keep His commandments and He mentions two: Idolatry and Sabbath breaking, as the two sins that they were to avoid. Now, they were divided into two nations; and first Israel and then Judah, broke both the Sabbath and the command against idolatry. Those were the two commandments, my friends, for which they were driven into the greatest punishment that God Almighty has ever meted out to any race or to any people; his own chosen people because of those two great commandments. That's the way they didn't walk in his ways, that's the way they didn't have faith in God, that's the way they departed from Him.
Sabbath An Identifying Sign Now, here in the twentieth chapter of Ezekiel, God says beginning in verse 10: speaking of the House of Israel now:
"Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also [now in addition to that] I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the ETERNAL that [does] sanctify them." (Ezekiel 20:10-12)
He gave them the Sabbath as a sign by which they would know whom the true God is and be kept in the true worship of the true God. And the God that sanctifies or sets them apart as His people that would, in other words, identify them to the world as the people of God. It was the identifying sign, it identified God so they would know who God was. It identified them as His people. So, He gave them this particular badge of identification, as the very sign of God for that purpose. But, what happened?
"But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths [not the Jew's Sabbaths, these were not Jews, these were Israelites. And they were never Jews, never called Jews, the first place the word Jews in your Bible is mentioned, II Kings, 16:6 (read it after the broadcast is over, II Kings, 16:6) and there you will find these Israelites, Israel at war against the Jews and the Jews against Israel. A different nation altogether. The Jews were merely those of Judah that split off and seceeded and formed a new nation; the kingdom of Judah. Now] and my sabbaths they greatly polluted [not the Jewish Sabbaths, God says, My Sabbaths]: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. But [he said] I wrought for my name's sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out." (Ezekiel 20:13-14)
But, He talked to their children a generation later, verse eighteen.
"But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the ETERNAL your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths." (Ezekiel 20:18-20)
My friends, can you see, that their fathers that had walked in the ways of the Gentiles around them had kept a different Sabbath. And God says, don't hallow their ways, don't hallow their Sabbaths, but hallow my Sabbaths. There's a great difference.
I want to tell you my friends, this thing is more important, with God, than you even remotely dream of. Now, a carnal minded man will say, "Well, I can't see where it makes any difference." Well, neither did those people back there in the wilderness.
They didn't know God's ways, the ways of God they had not known and you were born without knowing the ways of God and if you haven't been taught the ways of God, you don't know them, my friends. It's about time we realize that. You didn't know anything the day you were born! You've been brought up in this world, learning the ways of the world: not the ways of God. You've got to unlearn the ways of the world and begin to learn the ways of God if you're ever going to be able to walk in them. Now, I must hurry, I want to cover this ground this time, so, He said,
"I am the ETERNAL your God; walk in MY statutes, and keep MY judgments, and do them; And hallow MY sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the ETERNAL your God. Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness." (Ezekiel 20:19-21)
And, verse twenty-three:
"I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries [why? Here they were driven out in 2520 years of slavery as God had said back there in Leviticus 26. Now, why?]; Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths [had polluted God's Sabbaths], and their eyes were after their fathers' idols." (Ezekiel 20:23-24)
Idolatry and Sabbath breaking, the two great sins of Israel, that's why they'd been driven out, my friends, into slavery and captivity for 2520 years.
What About The Jewish People? Now, what about Judah, the Jewish people? Alright, Jeremiah seventeen gives that, now here it is, the very last verse, the twenty-seventh verse, Jeremiah seventeen, and here was what Jeremiah was inspired to say...well, in the twenty-first verse,
"Thus saith the ETERNAL; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction." (Jeremiah 17:21-23)
Are you willing to receive instruction? Listen, my friends, all your life you have been receiving the instruction of this world. And maybe of some of this world's religions. And not the religion of God in your Bible.
And if you haven't heard it before it's because you've been brought up in this world. You've been reared in it, the world that does not know the ways of God, that has departed from the ways of God. Your Bible says, "Prove all things!" You think you have proved it? No, you haven't. You haven't really proved these things, because your Bible says things that you don't believe it says. And you believe things that the Bible doesn't say but just exactly the opposite. You know, I know you don't hear this kind of preaching, do you? Well, it's going to stir you up and make you think a little bit! But I still say, don't believe me; I'm not going to mislead you. I'm just trying to get you to look into your Bible. Now, here are the ways of God. It's in your Bible. Open your Bible and read it with your own eyes. Now, verse 27,
"But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day [says God], and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched." (Jeremiah 17:27)
And you turn over to the very last chapter in Jeremiah, the very last chapter now, in the book of Jeremiah, and you will find where that absolutely happened: And here it is, the fifty-second chapter of Jeremiah and the thirteenth verse:
Where Nebuzaradan, the general of the army of King Nebuchadnezzar entered into Jerusalem and, verse 13
"[he] burned the house of the ETERNAL, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire." (Jeremiah 52:13)
Now, my friends, let's get back to this and see. Here in David's day,
"Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in [the same way they did] in the day of temptation in the wilderness [your fathers]:...have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest." (Hebrews 3:8-11)
Now, that's quoted from David, in the Psalms, 95: Verses 7-11. But now, Paul, speaking to us in this time now, and that's for us in this twentieth-century because all those things are written for our learning and admonition, and here it now is in the New Testament, in Hebrews 3:12,
"Take heed, brethren [that's brethren in Christ, in this day of grace], lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12)
That's the way they departed and that is given as an example for you and for me. So, while it is said today, in this day of the twentieth-century, this most crucial day, this most terrifying day of all the history of this world, "To day, if you will hear his voice harden not your hearts as in the provocation," I have shown you how they did it. God says for us not to do it as they did it.
Hebrews Four Now then, chapter four.
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest [and the rest promised us now, is the rest of the very kingdom of God. A spiritual rest when this mortal shall become immortal, this human shall actually be made divine; by a resurrection from the dead or by an instantaneous changing from mortal to immortal. So], Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." (Hebrews 4:1-2)
Because of their disobedience. And I've just shown you what that disobedience was.
"For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise [now, how did they disobey? How did they depart from the ways of God? By, breaking the Sabbath and by idolatry. Now, hear], he spake in this certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest on the seventh day from all his works." (Hebrews 4:3-4)
He showed them which day was the seventh day by the raining down of manna from heaven! He drove them out and punished them 2520 years and the Jewish people are still under that divine punishment because of Sabbath breaking, my friends.
"And [then] in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest [now that is the Greek word katápausín, which means spiritual rest]. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David [in the Psalms again now], To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day [if they had had rest then, there wouldn't have to be another day today now for us to get salvation]. There remaineth therefore a rest [and here the word is sabbatismos, not the Greek word katápausín but the Greek word sabbatismos which means the literal keeping of a seventh day Sabbath] to the people of God." (Hebrews 4:5-7, 9)
There it is. Hebrews 4:9 And that's for us today.