ECHOES from EDEN, PART 20
END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
A SABBATH in EDEN
The Seven Days of God
The Day without End
We are His Workmanship
The Glory of God’s Sabbath
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY from all His work which He had made. And God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY, AND SANCTIFIED IT: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made."
In Genesis we have the Book of Beginnings. To its first three chapters we are especially indebted for divine light shining on the many questions to which human wisdom never could find the answer. In our search after the fullness of God, and a separation unto Him and His purposes, we are led thither too. The great reality of being separated unto God, of being conformed to His image, to be holy as He is holy, perfect as He is perfect, is there revealed. In the whole book of Genesis the Hebrew word for "holy" or "sanctified" occurs but once. But that once is so profound and dramatic, opening to us the secret treasure house in which we discover all that the Bible has to teach us of this heavenly blessing of being SEPARATED UNTO GOD. The full meaning of the precious word the Spirit would now unveil to our hearts is disclosed in what is here written of that wondrous act of God, by which He completed His creation work, and revealed how wonderfully it would be brought into relationship with Himself and His purpose in it gloriously fulfilled. When God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT, He lifted it up above other days, and set it apart to a work and revelation of Himself, excelling in glory all that had preceded. In this simple expression,
God sanctified the Sabbath day. He made it holy. Of the previous six days the keyword was, from the first calling into existence of the heavens and the earth, down to the making of man: God created. Suddenly a new word and a new work of God is introduced: God sanctified. Something higher than creation, that for which creation is to exist, is now to be revealed; God, omnipotent in might and power, is now to be known as God Most Holy. And just as the work of creation shows His Power, so His making holy the seventh day reveals His Character as the Holy One. And just as He alone is Creator, so He alone is Sanctifier; to separate unto Himself and make holy is His work as truly and exclusively as to create. Blessed is the child of God who truly and fully believes this!
God had pronounced all His works, and man the crown of them, very good, exceedingly good. And yet, they were not holy. The six days work had naught of defilement, sin, or death, and yet it was not holy. Man stood in the image of God – but in innocence, not holiness, brought forth by the hand of God, pure, innocent, undefiled, but to be sure, very unproven and untried. Had Adam been truly holy by nature he would not have sinned! No, my brother, God did not create Adam holy, He created him innocent, as a new-born babe, to be dealt with and eventually made holy. The seventh day needed to be specially set apart and MADE HOLY, for the great work of making holy the man, who was already good.
In Exodus, God says distinctly that He sanctified the Sabbath day, with a view to man's sanctification. It is altogether impossible to overemphasize the truth of this inspired word:
THE SEVEN DAYS OF GOD
The word "day" is one of the mysteries of scripture, unlocked only by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. The word Moses used in the Hebrew is yowm, pronounced, yome.
The word yowm, or "day," in Scripture, frequently means a solar day as we understand it, an earth time made up of 24 hours. Again, the word sometimes means a period of time, of greater or lesser extent, generally of indefinite duration.
The term “day” in scripture can refer to a twenty-four hour day, or it can mean a YEAR, or it can mean 1,000 YEARS.
In other instances the word "day" means time itself.
In view of the wide scriptural use of the term "day," it is strange anyone should conclude that the creative days of Genesis were only twenty-four hours in length – especially since Gen. 2:4 refers to the entire creative period as ONE DAY. It is the so-called fundamentalist viewpoint of Genesis which is in sharp contrast with the well-established facts of science. This viewpoint, simply stated, is that approximately six thousand years ago the sun, moon, and stars, together with our own planet, Earth, were created in just six twenty-four-hour days. Such a view cannot be substantiated in the light of science today. But this does not mean that the Bible itself, surveyed in the light of its own revealing testimony, is not scientifically correct! There is absolutely no conflict between the scriptures and science! The only conflict lies between science and what religion says the Bible says! The conflict is between scientists and what they think the Bible says – the faulty information fed them from the ignorant preachers and teachers of the religious world. If science can prove that millions of years elapsed during which this earth came into being as a shapeless, empty mass, well and good. The scriptures neither deny nor affirm these guesses of the scientists, but state simply that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Nothing is said as to whether that beginning was thousands or millions or billions of years past. And what is even more important for the student of God’s Word to note is that the six days of Genesis chapter one, during which the earth, already created, was undergoing stages of gradual preparation for human habitation, were not short periods of twenty-four hours. They were, rather, epochs of time sufficiently long to permit the accomplishment of the work assigned to each. Furthermore, the Bible speaks of "the day of temptation in the wilderness" which was forty years long – a forty-year day! Not only in the Bible, but outside of it as well, the term "day" often relates to a period of time longer than twenty-four hours, as well as to CONDITIONS and STATES OF BEING. We speak, for example, of Washington's day, of Lincoln's day, of the day of the horse and buggy, of the day of the Roman Empire, of the day of the great depression. These denote not only time periods but the conditions which existed during those time periods. My prayer to God is that all who read these lines may be quickened by the blessed Spirit of Truth to see clearly and understand fully that when God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, He did far more than bless a certain twenty-four period of time; rather, He blessed THE REALM OF HIS OWN REST AND GLORY, setting it apart for man, that man might know it and have entrance into it, experiencing and abiding in union with God in the high and holy and blessed realm of HIS LIFE, REST, JOY, PEACE AND VICTORY.
It is the will of God that we know what hope God had when He blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, and rested from all His labors. It was that He might make us to know that He, the Lord, does SANCTIFY US, setting US apart unto Himself, to dwell with Him in His own day (realm) of rest and fullness, to be one spirit in Him.
The seventh day, God's Sabbath of rest, is an eternal day in which God is still abiding, a day eternally accessible to man! Of each of the creative days it is written, up to the last,
God sanctified the Sabbath day because in it He rested from all His work. The rest is something real. In creation, God had, as it were, gone beyond Himself to bring forth something new; in resting He now returns from His creating work into Himself, to rejoice in His love over the creation He has created, and to communicate Himself to it. In God we see two distinct stages to His work. The first was that of creation – until He had finished all the work which He created and made. The second, His rest when creation was finished, and He rejoice in what He had made, now to begin the higher work of COMMUNICATING HIMSELF TO THE CREATION AND SECURING ITS SANCTIFICATION AND PERFECTION. Oh! That God may give us eyes to see and hearts to understand how it is that God's seventh-day rest is a rest from work which is now finished, for HIGHER WORK TO BE CARRIED ON! It should not seem strange to us that God should rest from one kind of work by engaging in another. Do not the men of this world, business executives and the like, "rest" from their toil of the day by engaging in a game of golf? Who would contend that there is no "work" involved in playing golf? But while one "works" at the game is he not relaxed and refreshed by having "ceased from all his labors?"
In like manner God is now resting from all His works wrought in the external, physical creation. There is no evidence in either the Bible or science that God is now actively engaged in creating worlds, suns, stars, solar systems, galaxies, or living creatures, anywhere in all the unbounded heavens. He is today resting from all that work; but let it be thoroughly known that God is NOW ACTIVELY WORKING in the bringing forth of a higher and spiritual work – a NEW CREATION. As Adam was the crown of the first and physical creation and all men were fashioned in his likeness, so now Christ is the beginning of a NEW CREATION.
It is a wonderful fact that GOD WORKS on His Sabbath day – a higher work, a new creation. The Lord declares in
Jesus Christ is the firstborn of every creature and all creation. When the Holy Spirit says that Christ is the firstborn of all creation, He is emphasizing that new creation, the seventh-day creation, of which the believer is a member. Christ Himself was the first to rise from the dead, rising out of the limitation of the old creation, possessing immortality. He is the Head of His body, the church, because He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, the first to ascend out of the dominion of the physical creation of the six days, into the higher and transcendent glory of the God of the seventh day. As Christ arose in resurrection life, putting off the bondage and limitation of the earthly realm of the six creative days of Genesis, so shall we also be quickened, already in spirit, and now in soul and body, raised up to dwell with Him in His eternal day of rest and glory.
THE DAY WITHOUT END
I have shown how that on each of the six days of God's labor there was an "evening" and a "morning" marking the beginning and the conclusion of the work and purpose of God in each day. On the seventh day we read of no evening or morning, for the seventh day bespeaks a COMPLETED CREATION, God resting in Himself, the never ending day of the fullness of the glory of the Lord.
But further, the "evening and morning" mark the duration of a day, a work accomplished, a purpose fulfilled; and each new evening and morning indicates a "going on" to another work, which work will also ultimately end, to give way to yet another work. Each day begins and ends. Typically, this reveals to us how each moving of God's Spirit accomplishes His purpose for that time and then becomes history. God marches on. I am convinced that one of man's great faults is that he always expects the future to be just a repetition of the past. If God moved in a certain way once, they were sure the next move would be in the same manner and form, so they called their all-night prayer meetings and implored, "Oh, God, do it again!" I do not hesitate to declare to
Let all who hear the call to Sonship know that every "day" of the Lord's "labor" ends, the way God has moved in your life in former times will end, all the old orders are ending, the glory of former revivals and movings of God's Spirit are passing away, all the religious institutions organized into powerful kingdoms out of bygone times of refreshing are crumbling and ready to collapse. And – let something else be equally clear, God has a new order arising, a NEW DAY is dawning, there is a growing consciousness that we are standing on the threshold of a glorious new moving of the Spirit in the earth, TOTALLY UNLIKE ANYTHING WHICH HAS BEEN SEEN IN PAST AGES. I do not say that a revival shall break out! A revival means the reviving of that which was once alive, but has died and needs reviving. This new day is far more than the reviving of some old order, including the old order of the "New testament Church." It is a NEW DAY, the birthing of a NEW ORDER, the unveiling of a NEW GLORY, for HIS KINGDOM SHALL COME and His will shall be done in earth as in heaven as the power of His endless and incorruptible life becomes manifested in full and complete redemption through a firstfruit company – even those who break through into His seventh day of DIVINE FULLNESS!
The "early church" with all its gifts and glory and power did not bring in the Kingdom of God, nor did it deliver the groaning creation from the bondage of corruption. Its glory was eclipsed, giving way to that which even secular history records as the Dark Ages. The Reformation in Martin Luther's day was unable to defeat satan, deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption, or bring in the Kingdom. All the mighty revivals of church history failed to deliver the groaning creation. The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have not done so either, neither shall they. All the methods and programs of religion, all the missionary and evangelistic crusades, all the deliverance ministries and healing campaigns, have in turn failed to turn this old world around from its pathway to destruction. The Bible Societies, the door-to-door witnessing, the tons of gospel tracts, the satellite television networks, the prayer meetings, and all the other feverish activity by the world's churches have not gotten the job done. None of the six days of labor, nay, all of them together, have not brought the blessedness of God's rest to creation. How unmistakably accurate is the prophecy spoken by our omniscient Father when speaking of man's rule over the earth He said,
We have passed through many "days" of God's dealings, revival after revival, move after move, revelation after revelation, and blessing upon blessing. Each has had its evening and morning. Each has come and gone. Thank God, the first rays of the light of A NEW DAY are even now painting the eastern sky! Thank God! a few of His chosen ones have arisen in the Spirit to behold the glories of the dawn and to drink in the intoxicating freshness of the morn! This is a day of days, as the six days of the old creation were but one day of creation, so this seventh day has been preceded by "days" of unfoldment, yet it is but one day in which God brings mankind into rest with Him in His glory. This seventh day is not like any other day in one important way. We have seen that God's Sabbath has no evening or morning. All the days of "labor" have this evening and morning, for they need it, and good as are the days when God's work goes on within us from evening to morning, cycle after cycle, while yet we need them, FAR MORE BLESSED IS THE ETERNAL DAY OF REST IN HIS GLORY WHEN HIS WORK IS COMPLETED AND WE AWAKE IN HIS LIKENESS.
This blessed realm of His fullness, of perfection, is the day of which John prophesied in the Spirit, saying,
When the fullness of God in His seventh day is realized in the body of Christ, then shall be fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
The seventh day is not merely a period of time; the seventh day is the REALM OF GOD'S REST, and finally, the seventh day becomes A PEOPLE. In Gen. 2:3 it is stated of the seventh day:
God is bringing forth a SABBATH PEOPLE, a people who ARE HIS REST in the earth, even a DAY OF THE LORD PEOPLE, a people who ARE HIS LIGHT. Jesus said,
WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP
The work of creation, whether the old or new, is wholly and entirely OF THE LORD.
God made the heavens, and yet He rested not; He made the sun, the moon, and the stars, and yet He rested not; He made the earth, and yet He rested not; He made the herbs, and fruits, and the moving creatures of sea and land and air, and yet He rested not. But He made man, His image in the earth, and then He rested. But wonder of wonders, and marvel of marvels – MAN RESTED WITH HIM! God's last day was man's first day. Man's first day of life was lived out in God's seventh day. God rested from all His work, but man who had never worked began, not by working six days, but by RESTING WITH GOD! This is why the scripture states:
Let us SEE! Man did not make Himself, but he rested with the God who did. It was not man's, but God's rest. Man had done no work from which to rest. Open wide your heart and drink deeply of this fountain of truth: Man entered into God's rest! In this man became ONE WITH GOD, dwelling with HIM, resting in HIS accomplishment, without striving to produce anything out of his own labors. In this hour God is calling a company of sons into His Kingdom Realm, which is the realm of constant Peace, an everyday Sabbath, the realm of undisturbed and unending Rest. It is the realm of His “millennium” of the Spirit – of a continuing Sabbath that never ceases. That realm is in Christ. He is calling a company of sons into Christ
"And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will continue developing that good work and perfecting it and bringing it to full completion in you."
Could they but understand how it is that THEIR OWN EFFORTS ARE THE CAUSE OF THEIR FAILURE, because it is God alone who can perfect us in Christ Jesus. They would see that just as in the new birth they had to cease from their own working, and to accept in faith the promise that GOD would give them life in Christ, so now, in the matter of their perfection, their need is TO CEASE FROM STRIVING THEMSELVES TO PERFECT THE LIFE OF GOD WITHIN, AND TO ALLOW GOD TO DO IT.
What peace and rest, to know that there is a Husbandman who cares for the branch, to see that it grows stronger, who watches over every hindrance and danger, to see that fruit is borne! What peace and rest, fully and finally to give up our spiritual unfoldment into the care of GOD, and never have a wish or thought, never to offer a prayer or do anything in connection with it, without first having the glad remembrance that what we do is only the manifestation of what GOD IS DOING IN US! The perfecting in Christ is His work, but this He can do with power only as we cease interrupting Him by our self-working, as we accept in faith the dependent posture which bows low before Him, and honors Him, and opens the heart to let Him work. How such a faith frees the
Dear child of God, the life of sonship is indeed within your reach. He that established you with us in Christ IS GOD. What I want you to take in is this – that believing this promise will not only give comfort and good hope, but will be the means of your obtaining your desire. You know how the scripture teaches us that in all God's leadings of His people faith has everywhere been the one condition of the manifestation of His power. But contrary to what the so-called "faith preachers" tell you, faith is never centered in what "we" can do or accomplish in God. Faith is the ceasing from all nature's efforts, and all other dependence; faith is the putting ourselves quietly into God's hands for HIM TO DO HIS WORK. What you and I need now is to take time
Listen to what the Word teaches you:
LABOR TO ENTER INTO REST
Man's first blessed experience of rest with God was soon marred by sin – the sin of man's own anxiety about his inner life and development into the fullness of God – as he broke God's Sabbath rest with his own FLESHLY WORK, the carnal self-effort to MAKE HIMSELF LIKE UNTO GOD!
The fourth chapter of Hebrews makes it plain that God's Sabbath is not just a Mosaic law concerning one day in the week, nor is it the natural land of Canaan that the people of Israel look forward to entering, nor is it just the thousand year Kingdom age we are about to enter. The Sabbath Day is a relationship to God, a place where HE IS ABSOLUTE LORD and where the fullness of God is manifested in His people. It is the place of full redemption, release from the curse, where man is again admitted to the Garden of Eden, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, forever free from the slavery and toil of sin, sickness, sorrow and death.
In these words
We labor and strive and struggle to be what God wants us to be. We labor to be perfect, to overcome, to grow up into Christ, to put on the mind of Christ, to do the will of God, to break through into immortality and incorruption, to be a son. We labor to come out of the bondages of religious Babylon, to break her traditions and hold over our minds and hearts. Ah, beloved, how we labor to do everything except what God has commanded us to do! We are to LABOR TO ENTER INTO REST. We are to labor to stop laboring and LET GOD WORK. And in the new creation of the seventh day HE WORKS BY RESTING IN US, by communicating Himself to us in sweet fellowship and blessed relationship. Would you have God work mightily within you? Would you be changed, transformed, made holy? Don't work at it! Rest with God. Enter into His holy presence and abide there in intimacy of fellowship and vital union and you will discover by wonderful experience how it is that God works by entering in and resting within you. As you cease from your own labors and rest in trusting faith He comes in to dwell in the power of a divine life – to be what He is IN YOU.
THE GLORY OF GOD'S SABBATH
God's Sabbath of rest is the realm of His own rest in divine fullness. There is no toil
Both Paul and Peter were quite aware of a greater fullness to come in the last time. Paul says,
There was a generation of Israelites that said it was alright to go in and spy out the land of Canaan – and they enjoyed the luscious sample of the grapes and the figs and pomegranates immensely – but they did not want to go in and POSSESS THE WHOLE LAND. I do not hesitate to tell you that we also live in such a day! It is alright, they would tell us today, to speak in tongues, or receive gifts of the Spirit, or heal the sick, or perhaps raise the dead occasionally, or prophesy, or sing in the Spirit – these things are alright. But they do not want to hear any of this talk about Christ appearing in His saints, about Christ BEING FORMED IN A MANY-MEMBERED BODY. And as for a people entering into the fullness of God, as for a people overcoming sin and death, as for the "manifestation of the sons of God," that is definitely not for this day and age. True, they will admit, God has it for us; it is part of our heritage; but not for NOW. That will take place at the rapture, at the resurrection, or in the Kingdom age. We cannot now possess the land; there are too many giants in the way. There are cities with high walls surrounding them, fearful enemies riding in iron chariots. It is positively ridiculous to suggest that we can take the land – NOW!
It is alright, these declare, to enjoy the blessing of the Spirit occasionally, when the revival is going on at the church; but it is impossible to really enter into the realm of the Spirit so fully that you LIVE there constantly. It is alright to be healed, but not to enjoy divine health of divine life to such an extent that your days are lengthened without pain or feebleness or the abatement of your natural faculties, or until mortality is swallowed up of life and this corruptible puts on incorruption. It is alright to get deliverance from tobacco, alcohol, or other habits, or to conquer your temper, but not to be so positively freed from the carnal mind and nature until "sin hath no more dominion" over you. That would be perfection and, they say, you cannot have perfection until you die and go to heaven! It is alright to fight satan here on this earth and cast out a few devils, but you cannot ascend up in the Spirit into "the heavenlies" and literally knock satan off his throne and walk in the realm of power and authority
The whole question resolves itself into this: Are we going to remain in the condition of those who have been saved and baptized with the earnest of the Spirit? Or are we going to arise from the dusty sands of this great and terrible wilderness and follow our Joshua across Jordan into real, triumphant, overcoming power of the Spirit of God?
The Holy Ghost saith, TODAY. God is the eternal One. With Him there is no yesterday, neither is there any tomorrow. What we call past and future are with Him an ever-present Now; His life and His rest and His glory dwells in an ever-blessed, never-ending TODAY. God's Sabbath day is without evening or morning, an eternal day ever existing in the Now. TODAY! It is a wonderful word of promise, yea, a solemn command. It tells us that Today, this very moment, the wondrous love of God is for thee – it is even now waiting to be poured out in thy heart; that To-day, all that Christ has done, and is now doing, and shall ever do, He is able to do in thee – this very day it is within thy reach, if thou shalt believe. Even now Christ within you speaks that wondrous note of hope – TODAY!
For years the saints have been singing about what they are going to do when the battle is over. They are going to be with Christ, in heaven, enjoying the peace and rest of their inheritance. They are going to shout and dance over the hills of glory, drink at the eternal fountains, eat of the tree of life, and there shall be no more struggle, neither limitation, nor sorrow, nor curse, nor death. But the truth of the matter is simply this: the fruits of the land, the glories typified by the tree of life and the fountains of waters, are glorious and eternal realities to be appropriated HERE AND NOW, gained one by one, as the battle rages, and the saints of the Most High triumph over the enemy! Why fight if you don't intend to win? Each victory will carry a step further into the Kingdom of God. No, I cannot display all the victory of this land nor all the rest of God's Sabbath right now. But – I LABOR TO ENTER IN, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. TODAY! if you will hear His voice. TODAY! the hills are literally flowing with milk and honey; the river of life is gurgling and springing up within thy soul; and Christ who is our life has been impregnated as divine and incorruptible seed within the womb of thy believing heart. TODAY! let us arise and enter into Canaan, into the Garden of God, in to the Sabbath of the Lord our God!
To be continued