The Foundations and the Sabbath

 

 

Therefore leaving the principles of

the doctrine of Christ,

 let us go on unto perfection;

not laying again

 the foundation

of repentance from dead works,

 and of faith toward God,

 of the doctrine of baptisms,

 and of laying on of hands,

 and of resurrection of the dead,

and of eternal judgment.

 

Hebrews 6:1, 2

 

 

 

 

Behold the Cornerstone and the other stones,

pillars of our existence as the people of God!

 

Note how the Cornerstone touches every one of the other foundation concepts,

making them but further unfoldings of the person of Jesus Christ.

 

See through each pillar the facets also of truth about that day of the week

especially of which Christ Himself said He was Lord.

 

 

 

Fred Bischoff

www.scripturefirst.net


(1) The Doctrine of Christ

 

Christ the Son of God humbled Himself to minister to His creatures, serving first as Michael the archangel, then becoming the Son of man, and ultimately the Lamb of God. Wherefore He was exalted to become our High Priest at the Father's right hand, in the latter days to be the Judge of all the world, and finally to reign as King. Phil. 2:5-11.

 

The doctrine of Christ is rooted in the fact of who Jesus Christ is, His true position and identity. This point is the start, the fundamental prerequisite, the true reference point for the structure of truth, of reality. This question of "Who?" was the key issue throughout Christ's life on earth. (Matt. 4:3, 6; 16:13, 15; 27:11, 40, 42; Luke 4:22; John 6:42). And the answer Peter gave, by divine insight, Christ declared to be the rock upon which His church, we as His people, is built. Hell itself cannot move those founded on this truth:  "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt 16:16).

This cornerstone doctrine comprises all the roles of Christ that identify who He is. The span of these is given in Phil. 2:6-11. The context of this passage is Paul's yearning that the Philippians might have "one mind [soul] striving together for the faith of the gospel." (Phil. 1:27). He called for them to "be like-minded [think the same], having the same love [agape], being of one accord [soul], of one mind [thinking]." (Phil. 2:2). Since the "let" of Phil. 1:27, "let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ," is the same as the "let" of 2:5, "let this mind [thinking] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" [the "let" translates the imperative mood of the respective verbs], we see that the description of Christ in verses 6-11 is indeed "the gospel of Christ." What God did "in Christ" (2 Cor. 5:19) is indeed good news!

Not only was God "in Christ," but since Christ was the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:22), the Son of man, the race was also "in Christ." In a way deeper than we often think, divinity and humanity met in Him, for the purpose of revealing divinity and redeeming humanity. (Gal. 4:4, 5). Scripture tells us He did this for us, as our corporate Head and our Savior, in four areas, all because "God so loved the world."

(1) Christ the sinless Son of God was made "sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21), "made under the law" (Gal. 4:4), "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom. 8:3), and thus identified with the race where it was, "all under sin" (Rom. 3:9; Gal. 3:22), "under the law... all the world... guilty before God." (Rom 3:19).

(2) He "suffered for us" (1 Pet. 2:21), "condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3), thus learned the strength of our temptations (Heb. 2:18), "learned ... obedience" (Heb. 5:8), was "without sin" (Heb. 4:14), was made "perfect" (Heb. 2:10), and brought the race in Himself to obedience. (Heb. 5:9; Rom. 16:26).

(3) He "died for all" (2 Cor. 5:14), "for the whole world" (1 John 2:2) and thus identified with the race where it deserved to go, taking it there in Himself, so that "our old man is crucified with Him" (Rom. 6:6), and "we thus judge... all died." (2 Cor. 5:14).

(4) He was "raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:24, 25), and thereby brought the race in Himself to eternal life, "quickened... together with Christ, ... raised up together," and the result is that the race is even made to "sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5, 6).

The reality of what God did for the race "in Christ" is thus the gospel which all are called to believe (Mark 1:15). It is only those who steadfastly refuse to believe this that will in the end perish (John 3:16-18).

The overview in Phil. 2 of this good news is shown starting with Christ as the Son of God, "being in the form of God" (Phil. 2:6). We see seven positions of Christ, which correlate with the seven foundation truths. The whole of these illustrate the character of Christ in contrast to that of Lucifer. Christ "humbled Himself," and then God "exalted Him," illustrating that "before honor is humility" (Phil 2:8, 9; Prov. 15:33). Lucifer, in an inverse manner, said "I will ascend," but God said that he "shall be brought down" (Isa. 14:13-15). This battle over "who is the greatest" (Matt 18:1) is the core character question of the entire controversy with sin. This Christ sought to teach His disciples, and this He seeks to teach us now. This question and lesson has been answered and illustrated in the His own Person.

From position #1, as the Son of God "in the form of God," we see Christ in the very presence of Lucifer going down to be Michael, the archangel (Rev. 12:7; cf. Jude 9; 1 Thes. 4:16; John 5:25). While Lucifer wanted to exalt himself to the throne of God, Christ was willing to humble Himself to "the form of a servant" (Phil. 2:7; cf. Rev. 22:9) and serve as an angel to the angels!  And this position #2 was also that which we see Christ taking in the Old Testament, frequently appearing as the "angel of God" (Gen. 31:11, 13) and the "angel of Yahweh" (Judg. 2:1).

From position #2 He humbled Himself further in making "Himself of no reputation," "and was made in the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7). In this position #3 He tabernacled with us, as the last Adam, the Son of man, coming down, "not to be ministered unto, but to minister" (Matt. 20:28). And this ministry of obedient, humble service and of spotless victory over "sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3) led Him to position #4, the Lamb. "He humbled himself [further], and became obedient unto death" (Phil. 2:8), "to give His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20: 28) in the ultimate act of giving, of going down to meet the need of His creatures. And this death was not just any death; it was "even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8), forsaken and "cursed" by God (Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:23). No man took His life, in spite of the brutality He suffered. He laid down His life (John 10:18) as He entered into the experience of the ultimate result of sin, being cut off from the Father, the source of life (John 5:26; Rom. 6:23).

From this abyss of death, by way of the resurrection, God "highly exalted Him" (Phil. 2:9). As typified by the priest-king Melchisedec (Heb. 7:1-3) He ascended to be "a great High Priest" at the "throne of grace," "set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Heb. 4:14-16; 8:1). As priest-king, He is pictured as both walking (Rev. 1:13) and seated (Rev. 3:21). But in position #5 He focuses His activity on being our advocate (1 John 2:1). Here in His intercessory work, He ministers to all, especially those who by faith see Him as their corporate Representative at the throne. And in the latter end of this work, He will take up the work of Judge (John 5:22; Rev. 11:18), typified by the ceremonial Day of Atonement. In this position #6, He who best knows the heart of man, stands to evaluate each person—to reveal to each Himself and to reveal each to himself. In the end of this work "every knee" shall bow before Him, and "every tongue" confess that "true and righteous are His judgments" (Phil. 2:10, 11; Rev. 19:2).

When His work of Priest is ended, He lays off His priestly garments, casts the censer (Rev. 8:5), and begins the execution of the sentences meted out in the judgment. In position #7, as "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16), the sentence of "every tongue" is fulfilled, "Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:11). "And He shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11:15).

An understanding of this doctrine of Christ, who He is, what His character is, and what He has done, is at the heart of the Sabbath. The mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5) is the spirit of the Sabbath. Out of His agape love, Christ came down to our level. First He did so at creation, from the elements of this physical world forming Adam. And again He came down to redeem His lost creation, humbling Himself to our flesh, and taking that flesh to the cross.

Christ's lordship was affirmed by His going down, by His giving. This humble work of service is the spirit of the Sabbath. This attitude affirmed the true meaning of the day, in contrast to false beliefs about it (John 5:16, 17; Mark 2:23-28). We now confess His lordship by acknowledging in all areas of our lives His OWNERSHIP by creation and redemption. All we are and have is His, twice purchased. We are stewards, ordained to show in our own lives His spirit of humble service by using what He has given us to meet the needs of others (Heb. 3:6; Matt. 10:8; Isaiah 58).

He has ordained signs by which we show our acceptance of the reality of His ownership, of who He is, and who we are in relation to Him. These signs are revealed in the law of firstfruits, summarized in Exodus 34:19-22. By returning to God the first portion of time and substance we thereby acknowledge that He is Lord of all. The Scripture shows God consistently requesting of man the firstfruits of his time, of his increase, of his harvest, and of his children. These were all called the Lord's, holy to Him. These were a specified proportion of time and increase. The proportion was a seventh of time and a tenth of increase. The specific part was the first seventh of time and the first tenth of increase.

The Sabbath is seen to be the first seventh when it realized that the seventh day was so numbered, not by man, but by God according to the days of creation. Man was not yet in existence on the first day. Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day. When the sun was going down on that day, one can imagine God explaining the increasing darkness to them:  "The setting sun signals the end of this day, and the beginning of your first full day, the seventh day of creation. That day will be especially Mine, holy to Me. I want you to give that day to Me."

And instead of the restricted, ritualistic limits many have imposed on these as on other ordinances God gave us as reminders and lessons, the firstfruits are to show by giving the part that the whole is also sanctified to Him (Rom. 11:16). With this understanding we see yet two other aspects of what Christ did. First, when the Son declared, "Lo, I come" (Ps. 40:7), when heaven sent "the first begotten into the world" (Heb. 1:6), when the Father "gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16), this act signified that all of heaven was dedicated to the salvation of man, sanctified or set apart for that purpose (John 17:19). And secondly, the "firstborn son" of Mary (Matt. 1:25; Luke 2:7) became, by means of His earthly birth, life, death, and resurrection, "the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29), "the firstborn of every creature" (Col. 1:15). Of this dead race He became "the first fruits of them that slept" (1 Cor. 15:20, 23), "the firstborn from the dead" (Col. 1:18). The race, in giving back to God its Firstborn, by an act of the Firstborn Himself, was thereby dedicated in whole back to God. Those who by faith see the race thus "in Christ" in heaven are said to have "come unto ... the general assembly and church of the firstborn" (Heb. 12:22, 23).

 

For thou shalt worship no other god:  for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.... All that openeth the matrix [womb] is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb:  and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the first-born of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before Me empty. Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest:  in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. Exod. 34:14, 19-21.

 

 

(2) Repentance from Dead Works

 

When we understand who Christ is and what He has done for us, we are convicted of our sins, of our dead works. If we respond positively to the Holy Spirit's revelation of the agape love of Christ, we come to abhor both the iniquity we have expressed out of our carnal natures and the human attempts we have made at righteousness. Rom. 6:17, 18; Phil. 3:8, 9.

 

The second foundation principle correlates with position #2 of the Doctrine of Christ. As Michael, Christ turned from the dead works that Lucifer espoused. Here the paths diverged, the Son of God in greatness going down, the beginning of His revelation of the deadness of sin, and Lucifer setting out on his attempted ascent to greatness, also destined to show in his end the death inherent in such rebellion.

As we realize how it is that God commends His agape love toward us, in that Christ has come down while we were yet sinners, and rescued the race from the pit of sin, dying "for us" (Rom. 5:8); as we grasp that He bore "our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24), we have the most powerful appeal God has to call us from sin to righteousness. We are told to see by faith that we are "dead with Christ," "dead... unto sin," and "alive unto God," walking "in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4, 8, 11). It is this goodness of God in the gospel that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4). This is Christ being uplifted, drawing all to Him (John 12:32). This call from sin to holiness is also the spirit of the Sabbath as it embodies the rest that results when one has "ceased from his own works" (Heb. 4:10).

When we respond to this drawing, we experience true FREEDOM from all forms of sin or dead works (John 8:34-36). Dead works are to be seen in contrast to "good works" (Eph. 2:10) or the works by which faith is "made perfect" or complete (James 2:22) and which are "by love" (Gal. 5:6). Sin, being "whatsoever is not of faith," is thereby dead works (Rom. 14:23). These are described in Scripture as "our works" (2 Tim. 1:9). These are outright "works of the flesh" (Gal. 5:19) or "works of darkness" (Rom. 13:12), the multiple expressions that the wickedness of our carnal hearts produces, as well as the attempts in our own strength to be good, "works of the law" (Gal. 2:16; Rom 9:32 cf. 3:28).

The only thing that our flesh can perform is dead works. From these we need cleansing, which the blood of Christ (the ultimate manifestation of His agape love) alone can supply. A heart-felt appreciation of the fact that my sin killed Christ leads to a rooting out from my heart my love for sin. This is the change of mind that is repentance. When this hatred of sin and love of righteousness (God's working in us "to will"; Phil. 2:13; Rom. 7:14-25) is combined with the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (God's working in us "to do"; Phil. 2:13; Rom. 8:1-14), the result is that we then "serve the living God" (Heb. 9:14). We "have the firstfruits of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:23; cf. Gal. 5:22, 23). This turning from our old life to the new life in Christ is the "turn" that the work of the end-time Elijahs will accomplish under God (Mal. 4:5, 6). It is also the "turn away" that results in entering into the fullness of Sabbath observance (Isa. 58:13).

Repentance and freedom from dead works means the recovering of the image of God in man, the redemption of man from the condition of sin, reversing the sequence of Genesis 2 to 3. It means returning to the rest of the Creator who had created man in His image, with the spiritual dimension of man under God's Spirit controlling the psychological and physical dimensions. The Sabbath is the outward evidence of the inward reality of the freedom that comes in turning from sin, turning to rest in Christ. Those that have turned from dead works find Sabbath rest. This repentant turning away from evil and toward good is the beginning of what the Scriptures call sanctification. And the sign God has given of such is the Sabbath.

 

Moreover also I gave them My sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am Yahweh that sanctify them. Ezek. 20:12.

 

 

(3) Faith toward God

 

A heart response to a revelation of Jesus Christ (who showed us a faith working by agape love) not only involves turning from the old life, but turning toward God. This choice to believe what God has done, is doing, and will do, is the Bible faith that focuses on God. Far beyond an intellectual assent, it is the vital link to God that, as in Christ's life here, makes one fruitful. John 3:16; Gal. 5:6; Rev. 14:12; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17-19.

 

This third foundation truth corresponds to position #3 of the Doctrine of Christ. As the Word made flesh (John 1:14) He was the expression of the faith of God (Rom. 3:3; Mark 11:22) toward the human race. This faith working by love (Gal. 5:6; John 3:16) is the amazing plan of God in our Saviour Jesus Christ to restore in sinful humanity that which in Adam they had lost, namely, faith and love. This righteousness (Gen. 15:6; Eph. 6:14; 1 Thes. 5:8) is produced in sinners reflexly—God's faith creating faith, and God's love creating love.

As the Son of Man, Christ also revealed faith as He lived by faith in God, clearly giving us an example. His identity while here as the Son of Man was known, affirmed, and lived by faith in His Father (John 6:57). The Spirit, given without measure to Him (John 3:34), produced in Him faith (Gal. 5:22). This faith that Christ had is one of the precious possessions of His followers, especially of those at the end of time (Rev. 14:12). It is compared with gold "tried in the fire," but is actually "much more precious." (Rev. 3:18; 1 Pet. 1:7). Christ has offered and given His faith, the "faith of Jesus," to any who would have it through all of earth's dark time of sin. (Rom. 3:22; Gal. 2:16, 20; 3:22; Phil 3:9; these in the original are "faith of Jesus" and have a different and deeper implication than "faith in Jesus" as in Gal. 3:26; Col 1:4; 2:5).

The reality of faith having its center in a personal God means that faith itself is not the end but only the means (Mark 11:22). It is the instrument by which one enters into communion with God Himself. It is the hand that reaches out and grasps in greater fullness that which God has already wrought in Christ for all. This God-centered relationship is a life that results in a new IDENTIFICATION, one defined by God Himself. Mankind's true identity, by faith accepted by the repentant sinner and entered into in actuality, is defined by God's two great acts in behalf of man, both in the person of Jesus Christ. The Son of God both created and redeemed us. As He created all, so He redeemed all. But it only those who wholeheartedly believe this fact (Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8; Rom. 10:9) and maintain their belief to the end (Matt. 10:22; 24:13) that, not having rejected that redemption identity, will be saved at the end for eternity.

Reality for man is revealed first in the Genesis 1 and 2 facts, which show that for which Christ made man, as well as that which He made for man. The cornerstone of these truths is that man was made in God's image; this is his true and ultimate identity, to reflect his Maker, body, soul, and spirit (1 Thes. 5:23). And for mankind God provided that which met his needs as created. In a reflection of God's loving care, He gave mankind dominion over a perfect environment.  He instituted marriage, outlined the ideal diet, and placed man in useful activity. He described a simple limit to man's access of the garden as a sign by which His authority could be loyally acknowledged, paralleling God's ongoing sign–the Sabbath, which also "was made for man" (Mark 2:27). This weekly reminder dating from Eden was to turn man's heart repeatedly toward His Maker, recalling God's original invitation to rest in His accomplished work of creation, not in an idleness that says man has nothing to do, but in an active contentment and affirmation of who God is and what He had done, especially in His creation of man. All of these we now accept by faith in the word of God (Heb. 11:3), for none of us were there to see Christ do it, though we have abundant evidence that it was and is so.

But the intrusion of rebellion blighted the perfection of what God made. And had the Son of God only been the Creator from the beginning (Col. 1:16), but not also the Redeemer, the slain Lamb from the foundation of our world (Rev. 13:8), man's identity would have been lost forever. We can praise God that before man's greatest need was experienced, the Son committed Himself as our surety. Christ's redemption of lost mankind provided all that was, is, and will ever be necessary to secure the race from sin and for eternity. Thus Christ could affirm along the way redemption's step-by-step completion (John 17:4; 19:30; Rev. 21:6).

Jesus Christ's faith led Him to identify with us. And He affirmed the creation realities in His redemption, thereby fulfilling the law that defines those realities (Matt. 5:17). It is by faith that we accept that identity and identify with Him. We thus understand, accept, and enter into that redemption on a personal level. We believe that Christ has accomplished for the race exactly what He says He has. It is thus by faith that we establish the law (Rom. 3:31). God's law identifies reality for us, that is, who we are in reality by creation and redemption. The center of that law is the fourth commandment, explicitly chosen by God for man to show that he is resting in God's creative and redemptive work, accepting God's identity of him.

It is the reality of our individual faith responses that determines in the end our inclusion or exclusion from God's elect (Rom. 11:20). This faith union results in serving Yahweh, loving His name, keeping the Sabbath, and offering to God that which He has provided, prayer through the incense of the High Priest, and blood through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Isa. 56:6, 7; Rev. 8:3, 4; Heb. 9:14). This experience God has intended "for all people," but only those who believe it will have it in the end.

The God-ordained outward sign of the reality of thus being "in Christ" is the seventh-day Sabbath. Belief in Christ, partaking of the faith that the book of Hebrews elucidates, is the rest that Jesus Christ brings to those who are in Him. This identification with Christ that true Sabbath observance reveals is the corporate position we hold as members of the human race, redeemed by Christ, reconciled to God. It is when we believe this that the experience of John 3 and Hebrews 4 takes place individually:  we have eternal life, we rest, in Christ. God's sign and seal identify this reality.

 

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.... For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, "And God did rest the seventh day from all His works."... For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Heb. 4:1, 2, 4, 10.

 

 

 

(4) Doctrine of Baptisms

 

Jesus Christ reveals to us the only effective way to remove sin:  before honor is humility. Before man receives the reward he has chosen, he is given opportunity by the humble ministry of the Son of God to separate from sin. A long-suffering God offers purification by the Spirit, by the word, and by suffering before the cleansing by fire. The highest honor we have is fellowship with Christ in His suffering. Prov. 18:12; Heb. 12:11; Tit. 3:5; Eph. 5:26; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2:21.

 

The fourth foundation principle is illustrated in Christ in position #4 that He took. The ultimate in going down took Him from the Godhead to become man, for what purpose?  "For the suffering of death" He became one flesh with us. As the Lamb He was "by the grace of God" to "taste death for every man" (Heb 2:9). So the abyss of the cross shows the depth to which God would go to assure man's salvation, and the cleansing of the universe from sin.

But Calvary's cross was not the only one that He bore, just the final and full one, as the Lamb experiencing the ultimate baptism. It was Christ's willingness to bear His daily cross that led Him to Golgotha. The daily baptism which the water baptism symbolized (Matt. 3:15), and which was directed both by the Spirit with which He was baptized (Matt. 3:16; 4:1; John 1:32, 33; 3:34) and by the Word of God with which He was baptized (Matt. 3:17; cf. 4:4, 7, 10), led to His baptism of suffering as the Lamb (Luke 12:50). As the daily baptism taught Him obedience (Heb. 5:8) in the same way that it teaches us, the baptism at Calvary brought cleansing and obedience to the race (Heb. 9:14). This "suffering of death" (Heb. 2:9) affirmed the law that states the "wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23; 8:2). By taking that death at our hands and for us and as us, Christ also paid the price, freed us from the condemnation of that law, and gave us life (Rom. 8:2).

That which prepared the Son of man for His baptism of death was that which marked His life from the earliest years. From the first He left His own desires in order to be about His "Father's business" (Luke 2:49). To the end His constant attitude was "not My will, but Thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). And this denial of self to serve His Father was not a repudiation of His identity, rather a fulfilling of it. This other-centeredness is the core character quality of God Himself.

We see then the baptisms of trial that He underwent throughout His life here. Misunderstood in early years by His parents though obedient and in submission to them (Luke 2:51, 52), maligned by those who rejected the explanation of His birth (John 9:29), opposed by those who were supposed to be guardians of truth (John 5:16), unappreciated by many who were blessed by His ministry (Luke 17:17), and even hindered by the carnal, mistaken ideas of His own disciples (Matt. 16:22), He walked the road to the cross, being made "perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10).

His submission to this purifying process in our behalf declares Him to be the Master Purifier. The pinnacle of this process for Him was the literal blood He shed from Gethsemane to Calvary.  Thus His blood is said to be the most powerful purifier, being the ultimate evidence of that which He experienced for us.  Those understanding, appreciating, and entering into His experience, by faith themselves experience the core baptism and in reality can declare with John that He "washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Rev. 1:5).

The doctrine of baptisms (water, Spirit, Word, and fire) reveals the means by which God cleanses from sin. For us, for our sake, Christ experienced the baptisms God ordained to purify from sin and to symbolize this purification. He stated in His prayer, "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (John 17:19; cf. 17:17; Eph. 5:26).

The Spirit and Word work together through the trials of life to remove sin from us. SUFFERING purifies us of our own faults (1 Pet. 2:20) if we will learn from such experiences. But suffering for our own faults is not fellowship with Christ. It is only when we graduate from suffering for our own mistakes that we enter the school of Christ, learning obedience by suffering as He did (1 Pet. 2:20, 21). As Christ suffered for us (1 Pet. 4:1), we suffer because of doing right and because of other peoples' mistakes and their reactions against our doing right. This experience Scripture calls suffering for Christ's sake, for righteousness' sake (Matt. 5:10, 11; 10:18, 22; 16:24, 25; 24:9; Acts 9:16; Phil 1:29).

As we thus suffer, we affirm as did Christ that it is sin that leads to pain and even death. This purification not only prepares us for ministry but is itself a process by which God ministers His grace through us to those who cause our suffering (1 Pet. 2:24). It is God's strongest appeal through us to others, especially those responsible for our pain. This privilege was that offered and promised to James and John when they sought mistaken privilege. "Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with" (Matt. 20:23).

The spirit of joy in trial, tribulations, and temptations (James 1:2-4, 12; 1 Pet. 3:14) is the spirit of the Sabbath. "The heritage of Jacob" promised to the Sabbath keeper (Isa. 58:13, 14) is the benefit of the trials of life, leading one to overcoming. Jacob after his time of trouble was renamed Israel as a result of his overcoming (Gen. 32:28). Overcoming is the result of suffering, the process God has ordained for purification and sanctification. It is thus also that the Sabbath is the sign of the God who sanctifies us (Ezek. 20:12), who sanctified Himself for us (John 17:19).

A review of the gospels shows that Christ's ministry to the needy especially on the Sabbath was the precipitating factor of much of His fiercest opposition (Luke 6:11; 13:14; John 7:23) and ultimately of the plan of His enemies to bring about His baptism of death (Mark 3:6; John 5:16). It is a similar level of intense trial that will come to God's faithful at the end-time, those who "worship Him that made," and refuse to "worship the image of the beast" (Rev. 14:7; 13:15; compare Rom. 1:25). This experience is described also as "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:5-7). It is when we enter into the experience of the sufferings of Christ that we are prepared for such a final trial. And it is then that we understand in a more complete way how the Son of man, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, was also the Lord of the Sabbath.

 

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:  therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath. Mark 2:27, 28.

 

 

(5) Laying On of Hands

 

In the recovery from sin, one has had a vision of Christ, turned from his wicked ways and toward God, and been cleansed from sin. This healing process takes place, not of ourselves, but at the hand of God. Moreover, as God lays His hand on us to heal, He also lays His hand on us in ordination to mission, the reason for the existence of the church. Mark 10:16; Luke 4:40; 5:13; Acts 6:6; 9:12, 15, 16; 13:3; Rev. 1:17.

 

The fifth foundation pillar parallels Christ's experience in that, after humbling Himself to the pit of the cross, the Father began to exalt Him. The first step of this process was the resurrection that in a sense catapulted Him to the right hand of the Father, from "the suffering of death" to being "crowned with glory and honor" (Heb. 2:9). As the typical priest was anointed (Lev. 8:12) and the holy places dedicated, after which the people were blessed and the "glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people" (Lev. 9:23), so Christ ascended on high, was installed as our High Priest (position #5) in the temple above "on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Heb. 8:1, 2), and, being thus exalted, blessed the people in the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:33). From the heavenly sanctuary He bestows yet the gift of the Holy Spirit to heal from sin and to ordain for ministry (Eph. 4:8).

The laying on of hands affirms then that the way in which God works for us is the way in which He intends to work through us for others. After His hands (working as His Spirit and His Word) lead us through the cleansing baptism of trials, those same cleansing, healing, supporting hands commission us in service. That which God has given us both makes us indebted to others and shows us how we are to minister to their needs (Matt. 10:8). The Agency that brings this about is the Holy Spirit who washes us (1 Cor. 6:11) and imparts gifts to us (1 Cor. 12:11) for ministry (Eph. 4:11-13). The impartation of the Spirit is by the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17; 19:6), at times involving specific gifts (1 Tim. 4:14). Christ Himself experienced the anointing of the Spirit to a specific ministry (Luke 4:18, 19).

The fact that the Spirit is mediated to others through human hands affirms the plan of God to accomplish His work in cooperation with man, as "laborers together" (1 Cor. 3:9). He ties His own honor to the work of His followers in representing Him (Rom. 2:23, 24). Moreover, the means God uses to bestow His gifts reveals the way in which He works through the AUTHORITY structures He Himself has established. He has entrusted some into the hands of others, not for abuse and exploitation, or for depriving or neglecting them, but to minister to them. Such is the authority of the church (Matt. 16:19; 18:18), as well as the family and the government. This is how God Himself runs the universe. Each then is to work to discern God's will and to acknowledge that by the properly ordained methods of ministry and empowering.

The power and order of the church depends on this functioning of the Holy Spirit. The human body is used to show how the differing gifts of the Spirit are to work together (1 Cor. 12). This work of healing and of ministry is integral to the church's purpose of being. There is authority over evil (Luke 9:1) and authority for ministry (Acts 13:2, 3).

This dual work of the Spirit, in and through us, for purifying and for ministry, is clearly and eloquently elaborated in Isaiah 58. This likewise is the spirit of the Sabbath. It is significant that it was on the Sabbath that Jesus Christ announced His Spirit-empowered ministry (Luke 4:16-19), and that His work of ministry was frequently done on that day (Luke 4:31; 6:7). That this honored God and did not break the Sabbath is clear from Isaiah 58:13. His "pleasure" on His holy day includes the ministry acknowledged by the authority He bestows. In fact the Sabbath is itself the sign of that authority.

Authority is God-ordained order. Specific signs of authority are often called seals, badges, or insignias of the authority invested (e.g., policeman, president, corporation, etc.). The Sabbath is the sign to His people of who God is, of His authority as Creator and Redeemer. A sign has specificity; that it, the one in authority chooses it and only he can change it. When the chosen sign is more than a material object that is unique, when it is one object among others of a similar kind, this specificity is critical.

An illustration of this fact is seen in the Garden of Eden, where the test God gave, in the context of Lucifer's rebellion, was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was a specific tree, not just any that Adam or Eve felt like choosing. God specified the tree from which they were not to eat. As a result of being singled out by God, it became the sign by which Adam and Even could chose to acknowledge God's authority and their loyalty to Him. In the midst of telling man about eating, He commanded, "Don't eat of this tree."

So the Sabbath is a sign or seal of His authority over all His creatures and especially over His church. It is not just one day in seven. God was very specific. He singled out the seventh day of creation, man's first day. By honoring the day He has chosen we acknowledge His authority, that He is in charge. In the midst of telling man about working, He commanded, "Don't work on this day."  Man was to cease from his own work and in a special way enter God's rest and invite others to do so. Thus we see how after sin entered, the Sabbath still is the sign of the work He desires to do in us and through us.

 

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, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thing 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:  for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isa. 58:13, 14.

 

 

(6) Resurrection of the Dead

 

As the new birth is a resurrection from being dead in trespasses and sins to being alive in Christ Jesus unto holiness, so God affirms His provision for dealing with the death of the person. The resurrection of Christ not only illustrates the newness of life of those born again from sin, but also guarantees the recovery from sin's result, that is, death. Eph. 1:19, 20; 2:1, 5; Rom. 6:4-6; 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:16, 20, 26, 56, 57.

 

The sixth foundation principle correlates to position #6 that Christ took to meet the emergency caused by sin. In the end of His work as our High Priest, He takes up the work of Judge, which involves a complete demonstration of all aspects of the resurrection of the dead. This work of judging, of being Judge, actually overlaps the roles of High Priest and of King. It spans from the last activities of High Priest to the first activities of being King. The priestly judging is a final work of cleansing which still involves mediation along with investigation. The kingly judging is a work of carrying out the sentences, the rewards of each.

The priestly judging was clearly shown in the earthly sanctuary system by events on the Day of Atonement. The High Priest moved His activities into the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies). There He carried out a special application of blood (see Lev. 16) on the mercy seat. The blood of the Sacrifice was applied in the setting of intercession (incense), law and mercy (tables of stone under mercy seat), and Yahweh's immediate presence (Shekinah glory). During this time the people were to afflict their souls. The effect was to cleanse from all sins in a final way at the end of the year's cycle while there was still mediation.

Since the year's cycle represented over and over the handling of sin by God in the plan of salvation, the work at the end of that year would show the work of Christ at the end of mediation. It is thus that the series of the seven plagues in Revelation, with the announcements of judgment before, during, and after them, are given in the context of the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place (Rev. 11:18, 19 & following to end of the book). Revelation clearly depicts judgment in the setting of the temple opened to the Holy of Holies.

The final cleansing in reality, of which the earthly sanctuary activities were a type, will occur in response to the messages of the four angels in Revelation (14:6-12; 18:1, 2) given when the "hour of His judgment is come" (14:7). Those among the living who by faith see Christ in this final work of atonement afflict their souls and enter into the experience of being cleansed from all sin by the blood of the atonement.

It is important to note both the Father's and the Son's role in this judgment. "The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22), and the Son said of the one who refuses to believe, "I judge him not: ... the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:47, 48). It is thus by the words of Christ that the last day judgment under the mediation of the High Priest takes place; that is, a person's response to the final preaching of the gospel through the words of Christ will mature the "crops" of righteousness and of wickedness, readying them for harvest (Rev. 14:14-20). There will be seen in this Day of Atonement time a complete development of good and of evil, unequaled in earth's history, approached only by the days of Noah and of Lot (Luke 17:26, 28).

But neither was the typical Day of Atonement nor will the final judgment be complete with the end of mediation for sin among the living. All "shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God" (Rom. 14:10, 11). Thus is seen the role of Christ as Judge in verses 10 and 11 of the sequence of Phil. 2, when in His exaltation He reaches a point at which "every knee should bow" and "every tongue should confess." This is the high point of the role of Christ as Judge, when every person who has ever lived faces the judgment of what they and all others including Lucifer have done with the Word, and acknowledges that God is just and right, and that the reward each will receive is deserved and what each has chosen.

But since only the living at the end decide for or against Christ, how can the above confessions take place when "the dead praise not the Lord" (Ps. 115:17)?  Here then is seen the absolute necessity of the physical application of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Christ Himself makes this connection very clear:  "The Father... has given Him [the Son] authority to execute judgment.... For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:26-29).

So we see that Christ's role of Judge (overlapping His roles of High Priest and of King, spanning from mediation, investigation, and cleansing to execution, from mercy to justice) applies both to the living and to the dead, to all flesh. This understanding that God is God of all flesh Christ clearly used to refute the belief of those that said "that there is no resurrection." The dead will be raised, and it is thus that "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Matt. 22:23, 32).

The work of judgment rests firmly then on the truth of the resurrection. And both are illustrated in the principle of DESIGN. The work of the Creator had been marred by the rebellion begun by Lucifer. This sin had led to death. In bringing to an end this diversion into sin and death, Christ the Creator will work both in judgment and in resurrection to assign responsibility and to restore the original design of His creation. This will bring, for the first time since sin entered the earth, full rest for the earth. In the Old Testament Day of Atonement, in an act symbolizing (in the atoning process) the assignment of responsibility and the continued absence, in the one responsible, of the spirit of sacrificing self, "all the iniquities" were placed on the scapegoat and he was banished to "a land not inhabited" (Lev. 16:21, 22). So at the end, in fulfillment of these symbols, Lucifer will be "bound" and banished for 1000 years after which he will be cast "into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:2, 10). This work of Christ will bring rest from the activities of the evil one. The Creator will here lay the foundation for the completion of the re-creation of His sin-scarred world to its original design of beauty.

The Sabbath is the God-ordained sign affirming this design, for the day originated in Creation week. On it the Creator Himself rested from His completed work of exquisite design. The Designer of all "on the seventh day ... ended His work which He had made," and He "blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it:  because that in it He had rested from all the work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:2, 3). In the end time, during "the hour of His judgment," the first of the four final messages of God to the world specifically calls on "every nation, kindred, tongue, and people" to "worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" (Rev. 14:6, 7). In commemorating the six-day creation design, the Sabbath serves to remind regarding, and reinforce, the basic creation realities of Genesis 1 and 2.

As we remember the day which points to the Creator, "the sabbath of Yahweh God," in God's appointed way, we affirm this concept of design, seen in creation and reaffirmed in the physical resurrection of the dead which is essential for judgment and re-creation. The Creator and Designer of all is amazingly Himself "the first fruits of them that slept," having been "declared to be the Son of God ... by the resurrection from the dead" (1 Cor. 15:20; Rom. 1:4).

 

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, 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 hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11.

 

 

(7) Eternal Judgment

 

In response to the questions sin raised about God, about His universe, about His government, and about His simple declarations as to how things are, the judgment is the culmination of realization and demonstration that God was right–that obedience does lead to life, and sin does lead to death. The effects of this stupendous revelation will last forever, preventing for eternity a recurrence of sin. Gen. 3:1-4; Rom. 6:23; Rev. 15:3, 4; 19:1-3; 20:10, 14, 15; 22:5.

 

The seventh foundation principle interfaces with position #7 of the doctrine of Christ. That which every tongue confesses is "that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Phil. 2:11). This lordship of Christ will culminate the exaltation of Him by the Father, and will be manifested at the same time that the judgment is meted out on sin and death, and on all who are irretrievably identified with those destroyers of God's creation (Rev. 11:15-18).

The full revelation of the reality of sin and death was first shown on the cross, when this same Lord in an ultimate way was made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) and tasted death for every man (Heb. 2:9). That cross was, as we have seen in regards to position #4 of the doctrine of Christ, the pinnacle and abyss of the revelation of God in Christ, and as such is the core of the gospel. This revelation at Calvary in Christ both of the reality of sin and death and of God Himself was the only revelation necessary in which humanity needed to have experienced the "sin-leads-to-death" truth. God had prepared another ultimate, and this time final, revelation of the destructive end of sin, but it was "prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41), not for mankind. The only way that human beings can be caught in that final, conclusive manifestation of "sin-leads-to-death" is to refuse to believe that they died in Christ, that is, refuse to believe the gospel. This refusal of unbelief, and this alone, Christ said is the condemnation that comes upon any human being that results in his perishing (John 3:16-18).

This judgment on sin and death, and on those clinging to sin and death, is spoken of in Scripture as "eternal" or "everlasting" "fire," "punishment," or "destruction" (Matt. 18:8; 25:41, 46; 2 Thes. 1:9). Since Christ said of those who suffer such judgment that they shall "perish" (John 3:16), and Jude states that Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the judgment of the same, namely "eternal fire" (Jude 7), it is clear that this fate is the opposite of the everlasting judgment on those who by believing the gospel are forever identified with obedience and life. The judgment on these is "eternal" or "everlasting" "life," "redemption," or "salvation" (John 3:15, 16; Heb. 5:9; 9:12).  They will live forever because they, in contrast to those who reject God, will be able to dwell in the everlasting fire that is God's presence (Isa. 33:14, 15; Dan. 7:9, 10; Heb. 12:29). Christ in His Revelation to John calls the eternal fire the "second death" (Rev. 20:14; 21:8) for the wicked. As the first death is that from which there is a resurrection (as we have seen under foundation #6), so the second death for sin and sinners would be that from which there is no resurrection (Ezek. 28:19). It is in this sense that the judgment on evil is eternal or everlasting, and that death itself (the first death) suffers the same fate as sinners (Rev. 20:14).

The One who is in charge of executing this everlasting judgment on all is the One who for the human race was judged to be both sin (2 Cor. 5:21, identifying with us) and righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30, in His victory), and who also for mankind experienced the second death (no hope of a resurrection; Gal 3:13; Matt. 27:46) and eternal life (Rev. 1:18). He who was thus qualified as our High Priest (Heb. 2:17, 18) in mediation and in atoning judgment was also thus qualified to be the King in executing judgment and in reigning (Heb. 9:27, 28). He is therefore pictured in Revelation as One called "Faithful and True" who "in righteousness... doth judge and make war.... His name is called The Word of God.... And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords" (Rev. 19:11, 13, 16). As Lord and King He will righteously give to each what they have chosen, an awesome work of reward (Rev. 22:12). With mercy's work finished by the unchangeable decisions of all living, leaving them "still" where they have chosen to stand (Rev. 22:11), He will come forth to carry out what has been called "His strange work," "His strange act" (Isa. 28:21), to reveal Himself and thereby reward each (Isa. 33:10).

Christ's judgment on sin and death, which reaches its final culmination in His executing at the beginning of His reign as King the sentences of the judgment, actually was affirmed first in His life as a man, which we noted qualified Him for His later roles. He judged sin by victory over it in complete obedience even to death, as in humanity, "in the likeness of sinful flesh," through dependence on His Father He "condemned sin in the flesh." (Rom. 8:3). He judged death by victory over it in resurrection to life (1 Cor. 15:20, 57), for "His soul was not left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption" (Acts 2:31). By thus recovering the race from sin and death to obedience and life, He affirmed the reality of these relationships that God had declared to our first parents (Gen. 2:17). In this affirmation in human flesh, He validated the principle of RESPONSIBILITY of all flesh to the law of God that defines both obedience and sin. He had originally created man to live in harmony with the law, since it was written in the hearts of Adam and Eve before sin. And His plan in salvation has also been to rewrite the law there (Heb. 8:10).

So His work as a man was prophesied to "magnify the law, and make it honorable" (Isa. 42:21). This is why He stated so clearly what was not and what was His purpose in coming in human flesh. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:  I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matt. 5:17). Since the law can be thought of as simply God's statement of reality, of what He is like and thus how He has made things in His universe to operate, it is clear why Christ in His incarnation, life, death, and resurrection was working to confirm its validity and mankind's responsibility to it. And when we see what He has done in all of that, and respond from our hearts affirmatively, "we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31; 6:17).

It is only by this faith in Jesus Christ, this faith of Jesus, that we can also magnify and make the law honorable in our lives. His agape love that led Him to come on His mission of salvation, even to the depths of the cross, is that which motivates those who believe, and that alone by which faith can work (2 Cor. 5:14; Gal. 5:6). Because of this work of Christ we understand how and why in the beginning of Christ's reign all "shall be judged by the law of liberty," and in the continuation for eternity of that reign "righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne" (Jam. 2:12; Ps. 97:2). Forever it will be said of Him, "Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is the truth" (Ps. 119:142).

In Christ's endless reign as King will be seen the eternal nature of the judgment rendered against sin and death, and for obedience and life, against those choosing sin, and for those choosing righteousness. All will then know that God's goal has ever been for every creature of His to live in harmony with the way He created that creature to live. In the everlasting completion of His work of redemption, man will experience in an ultimate sense the rest that God had offered him through out the history of the earth in the Sabbath.

There is a real sense in which from the beginning God's work has been completed. It was thus that He could call man to rest in the Sabbath. As God's work of creation was finished before He invited man to rest, so His work of redemption was completed. It was completed in plan before the foundation of the earth. It was also repeatedly completed yearly in type in the Old Testament sanctuary. It was completed in one Man, Jesus Christ in His incarnation, life, death, and resurrection. And it will be completed in mankind in the end of time. After each completion, man was, is, and will be called to rest.

The Sabbath is the sign of this rest, rest from our own works to save ourselves and rest in the Lord who sanctifies us to obedience to His law. This redemption that God has wrought, of which His day is the sign, affirms the validity of His law, of which His day is the heart. Divergence in the beginning from this law was the awful choice called sin, which had inevitable consequences, the ultimate being the death of Christ, the Son of God, the Creator who is Lord of the Sabbath. As man experiences by a faith response the redemption wrought in Christ, he acknowledges responsibility to and comes into harmony with God's law. Thus partaking of the holiness of Christ, he is enabled to "keep" the Sabbath day holy.

Those redeemed by Him are pictured sharing the throne with the King forever as a result of the eternal judgment on the righteous (Rev. 3:21; 22:5). Christ, who was the author of their faith in Him, will be seen to have been also the finisher of it (Heb. 12:2). We shall then joyfully affirm that He indeed is "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (Rev. 22:13). His reign will be one of peace, with God and His separated children once again dwelling together. Then it will be declared, "the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God" (Rev. 21:3).

 

And hallow My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am Yahweh your God. Ezek 20:20.

 

 

 

Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and has made us unto our God kings and priests:  and we shall reign on the earth. Rev. 5:9, 10.

 

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing! Rev. 5:12.

 

Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever! Rev. 5:13.


An Overview of What We Have Covered

 

 

Foundation Concept

Corollary Doctrine of Christ Position

Corollary Basic Principle

Sabbath

Texts

Other Related Concepts

1

Doctrine of Christ

Son of God

Ownership

Exod. 34:14, 19-21

-"Who is the greatest?"

-Corporateness of mankind

-Gospel

2

Repentance from Dead Works

Michael

Freedom

Ezek. 20:12

-Elijah

-Sanctification

3

Faith toward God

Son of Man

Identification

Heb. 4:1, 2, 4, 10

-Creation

-Redemption

-Law

4

Doctrine of Baptisms

Lamb

Suffering

Mark 2:27, 27

-Time of trouble

5

Laying on of Hands

High Priest

Authority

Isa. 58:13, 14

-Holy Spirit

-Church

6

Resurrection of the Dead

Judge

Design

Exod. 20:8-11

-Day of Atonement

7

Eternal Judgment

King

Responsibility

Ezek. 20:20

-Law

-Everlasting

Son of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King

 

 

 

 

Michael

 

 

 

Judge

 

 

 

 

 

 

Son of Man

High Priest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamb