FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 170
THE THREE ANGEL’S MESSAGE [continued]
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
“Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God…”
PART ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY
Their Works Follow Them
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” (Rev. 14:13)
Perhaps you have heard someone make the statement, “I’d rather burn out than rust out.” I think I understand what they mean by that approach to serving the Lord, but when it comes to the life of sonship neither alternative is viable. When we consider the pattern Jesus established in His sonship ministry we see revealed an altogether different attitude. Although He grew weary from ministering to the needs of the multitudes, there is never any indication in the Gospels that our Lord either “burned out” or “rusted out.” It wasn’t a matter of His zeal or His lethargy, for it wasn’t His will or His initiative at all! As a son He did only and always those things that the Father sent Him to do. He did only what He saw His Father do and He spoke only the words that He heard from His Father.
Jesus described Himself both as “Lord of the Harvest” and “Lord of the Sabbath.” His life portrayed the delicate balance between the outward labor of ministry and the inward rest that recognized that it was not He that did the works, but the Father who dwelt in Him. He knew that all His labors in the “harvest field” had to proceed out of Sabbath — that is, complete rest in His Father’s will, direction, and working. An understanding of how Jesus calls us both to His “yoke” and to His “rest” will help us as well to walk as sons of God in all that we are called to do!
The religious realm can cause one to be so caught up in its programs, activities, and works that it literally becomes a bondage. Well do I remember former years of pastoring churches when every weekend was crowded with such a whirlwind of feverish activity, meetings, visitations, etc., that come Monday morning I was completely exhausted mentally and physically, needing another Sabbath to rest and recuperate from the one I had just been through! I suppose I will make some enemies, but I must tell you the truth nonetheless. How much eager-beaver religious work is done out of a carnal desire to make good, draw the crowds, satisfy the people, and appear successful! How many hours of prayer are wasted beseeching God to bless and prosper projects that are geared to the glorification of men! How much hard-earned money is poured out upon men who, in spite of their tear-in-the-voice appeals, nevertheless seek only to make a fair show in the flesh, building bigger and bigger castles in the sand!
I have no hesitation in saying that a charismatic personality and a shrewd knowledge of human nature is ALL that any man needs to be a success in the religious circles today, including the “spirit-filled” ones. The church systems, for the most part, have accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity, and bluster signify that something significant is being accomplished for God. The simplicity that is in Christ is rarely found, nor intimacy with the Father, nor the power of the Holy Spirit. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations, committees, board meetings, basketball tournaments, religious splash parties, Sunday School picnics, puppet shows, building fund drives, business men’s banquets, so-called prayer breakfasts at which precious little praying is done, outreaches, concerts, dramas, revival meetings and a world more of feverish activities which occupy time, energy, and attention, but can never satisfy the deepest longings of the heart. The shallowness of the average Christian’s inner experience, the hollowness of his worship, the immaturity of his walk, his incredible ignorance of God’s great plan and purpose, the emptiness of his words, and that servile imitation of the world which marks the religious systems’ promotional methods all testify that the whole program, instead of being the divine out-raying of the Christ life, is naught but part and parcel of “the cares of this world.”
So now man WORKS…and WORKS…and WORKS…diligently pursuing religious observances, external forms, and activities of all sorts, and for all his effort he is able only to produce a pitifully small harvest of reality, eking out but a meager spiritual existence! How incredibly busy he is scratching and picking up the grub worms, insects, and scraps out of the dirt of his little chicken yard! Oh, to escape religiosity that we might learn to walk with God in the Spirit! And we rejoice to see how God is causing His elect to flee this realm! By the thousands they flee! And let me assure you, my brother, my sister, I have no intention of assuming the burden of paying for men’s programs, building men’s kingdoms, or joining in their efforts to save the world, when God already has a plan for the salvation of all nations which will work, while men’s efforts have failed. To hear some preachers tell it, by their glowing reports (hype) you would think that they had almost completed the job of world evangelization, and with only a few more millions of dollars, another TV network, an expanded relief program, and a few more crusades the kingdom will be here! The sad truth is, however, that the tidal wave of sin, sorrow, sickness, pain, ignorance, delusion, and death is greater in the earth in this hour than at any time since Noah entered the ark. But to remain continually bombarded by the appeal of all this activity and not become caught in its snare is an escape that only God can work in us and maintain for us!
Some years ago I received a letter from a precious friend of ours, Connie Asbill, which I am impressed by the Spirit to share at this time. She wrote, “Somewhere in my files I have a letter I wrote to you two or three years ago that never got mailed. It was about a dream Lorain had had probably twenty years ago in which she had to swim across a river to reach some set destination on the other side. It’s been so long ago, she may have forgotten it by now, but, evidently, it never left me, for just about the time I wrote that letter, it surfaced and began to tug at me. In the dream, Lorain went into the water and began to swim. She found it very hard work until she got out into the middle of the river; suddenly, a force came up from beneath her and began to transport her along to the other side. She made the point in relating the dream that she was still going through the same swimming motions, but now it was no longer work. It looked like the same thing, but it wasn’t the same thing because of the force that had come up beneath her to make sure she made it to the other side.
“Recently, Mike wrote to me and asked what entering into rest means to me. When I began my reply to his question, I found Lorain’s dream working its way into the discussion. As I wrote, I wondered if you would be at all interested in seeing what that dream has spoken to me in the intervening years. So, what follows in this letter is an excerpt I have lifted directly from my letter to Mike which is sitting on another screen right now in my computer waiting for me to transfer it. Here is what I have written Mike about rest and the meaning I see in Lorain’s dream from long ago:
“What is my concept of entering into rest? Well, basically, I think I would have to say that rest is something that happens inside, no matter what is happening in the circumstances surrounding us. It is a cessation of struggle under the legalistic code, among other things, and involves, I think, a death of ego which allows the true self, which is the spiritual self, to fully emerge. ‘He that hath ceased from his own labors hath entered into rest.’ The term ‘his own labors’ means to me ‘soulish labors,’ which, of course, is why Jesus said, ‘Come unto me all ye that labor (under the law) and are heavy laden (with burdensome demands for which no grace has been given to bear) and I will give you rest.’ And in another place He calls this ‘a rest unto your souls.’
“The soul rests that the spirit may fully work. And, as a dream Preston Eby’s wife once had seems to teach, we can be doing the same thing on the outside (i.e., still outwardly going through all the motions we were going through before) while experiencing rest on the inside. In Lorain’s dream, she was swimming laboriously across a fast-flowing river, and was finding the work of that swimming exhausting; but when she got half way across it, suddenly a force came up beneath her and began to bear her along. To any observer standing on the riverbank watching, she would appear outwardly to be still swimming in the same fashion that she was before. But now, you see, it had become easy: not because she was supposed to sit down in the middle of the river and do nothing, but because now grace, as an enabling force, had been given to allow her to do the work without having the sense of working!
“We see this in the life of Jacob when, for seven years he worked for Laban to win the beautiful Rachel for his wife. He was reaching for the kingdom, so to speak, for the inner marriage that brings word and life together to make of the twain one. That first seven years was labor! Well, we know that he got Leah because that was the proper order of things; but, note, that he also got Rachel. He had to keep working for another seven years to earn her, but those years seemed to him as nothing, the scripture tells us. The first seven years (the first half of the trip across the river) were hard; the last seven years (the last half of the trip across the river), although they comprised the very same work, were easy! He was under the works of the law throughout the first seven years and had nothing but the fruit of the law to show for it; but he was under the works of grace for the last seven years. Under the first, he worked to get what he wanted; under the second, he got what he wanted so he could work!” — end quote.
George Warnock, speaking of the difference between the toil and drudgery of Israel’s wilderness experience and the bountifulness and blessing of the land of Canaan, in its spiritual application, wrote, “In the Land we come to a prepared place…there is nothing in this realm that we can do by our own efforts. It is entirely the work of the Spirit; and because we are in union with the Spirit we are in union with the Son…doing only as He is doing…speaking only as He is speaking…thinking only as He is thinking. It is a place where we constantly ABIDE in the realm of the Spirit…flowing streams…brooks of water…fruitful vines and fig trees…corn and wheat and honey…houses built that we did not have to build…orchards planted that we did not have to plant. What a glorious day when the Body of Christ begins to enter into her heritage, and God’s people begin to realize that we no longer work for God (for we are co-workers with Him)…and we no longer launch crusades and programs for God…and we no longer build New Testament Churches…and we discover that what God has in mind for His people has already been prepared by the Spirit of God in the earth, and we simply become JOINED UNTO HIM and ABIDE IN THE LAND!
“Of course, when God’s people walk in this Way they will be recognized by the religious order as a strange, peculiar people…as it was with Jesus. If He would do the Father’s will…then He must leave the big meetings, and go out of His way to talk to a woman in need at the well of Samaria. It meant ignoring the pleas of His very close friends, as they implored Him to come and heal their brother Lazarus who was sick. It meant healing a man on the Sabbath day…when He could just as well have waited till the next day so as not to antagonize the religious order of the day. But when objections were raised Jesus replied, in effect, ‘Healing a man on the Sabbath day? Would you accuse me of that? That was not my plan at all! The Son can do nothing according to His own desire. I saw the Father healing the man on the Sabbath, and I only do what I see the Father doing. It was the Father, not I, who healed the man…for He has been working right up to this time, and now I am working together with Him. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these that ye may marvel.’
“It meant staying away from Jerusalem on the feast days, when He might have gone there as a miracle worker, and made a name for Himself. It meant setting His face to go to Jerusalem at the wrong time…when everyone there knew that it would mean certain death. In short, it meant choosing the cross according to the will of God, rather than taking His proper place as the Messiah. But He walked in the realm of a PREPARED LIFE…prepared by the Father, and as the Father showed the Son what He Himself was doing, these things did the Son likewise. Men only saw the visible form that came into being, and marveled at His miracles, at His wisdom, at His teachings, at all the wonderful works that He performed. But the Father simply showed the Son what He Himself was doing in the realm of the Spirit; and because the Son was abiding in the Father, He simply walked through the Land that God showed Him, and brought into open manifestation what the Father had already accomplished” — end quote.
What a revelation that is for every son of God! We are living in the hour when the purposes of God are being brought into sharp focus and fine-tuned in the understanding and heart of every member of God’s called and chosen elect. There is a beautiful and significant type in the order of creation as recorded in the first chapter of the book of Genesis. 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…and 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 or form, or very similar, so they called their all-night prayer meetings and implored, “God, do it again!” I do not hesitate to declare to you that such a prayer is utterly void of understanding and can never be answered, for God does not repeat the work of a first day, or a second — He marches on!
Let all who have received 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, and there is nothing you can do about it. You may even feel that you have “backslidden” or “failed God” in some way because that anointing has lifted and nothing works anymore. But all the old orders end, all the religious institutions organized into powerful kingdoms out of bygone times of refreshing are now just empty shells 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 AGES PAST, INCLUDING THE SONSHIP MINISTRY OF JESUS IN GALILEE! 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.” That church was built on the “first day,” and God isn’t going to do what He did on the first day over again! This is a new day, the birthing of a new order, the unveiling of a greater glory, for now His kingdom shall come, many sons shall be brought to glory, and His will shall be done in earth as it is 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!
I am sure that all can agree that the “early church” with all its gifts and glory and power did not bring the kingdom of God to subdue the nations and all things, nor did it deliver the groaning creation from the bondage of corruption. Its glory was eclipsed as the Headship of Christ and the power of the Spirit were usurped by the bishops and fleshly errors, eventually taking the form of Mystery Babylon, giving way to that which even secular history records as the “Dark Ages,” and in turn paving the way for the arising of Islam. Islam’s divine mandate was to judge this corrupt church, which it did in those early centuries, and God has used Islam as an instrument of His judgment upon apostate Christianity to this present day.
The Reformation in Martin Luther’s day cannot even be classified as a “revival,” but merely a “reform,” as the name indicates; it, too, was unable to defeat Satan, subdue the nations, bring in the kingdom, and deliver creation from the bondage of corruption. All the mighty revivals of church history have failed to deliver the groaning creation! The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have not done so either, nor shall they, for they have added their own brands of error and shame to the religious scene. 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, door-to-door witnessing, tons of gospel tracts, satellite television networks, 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! And why? we may ask. The answer has not far to come — the sad fact is that much of this activity has been the product of man’s self-effort and soulish zeal as he has planned and schemed within himself to work for God and by his work to accomplish God purpose! How unmistakably accurate is the prophecy spoken by our omniscient Father when speaking of man’s rule over the earth He said, “Six days SHALT THOU LABOR.” And before man could even get out of Eden to subdue the earth his rule and his labor became tainted by deception and sin! All of man’s grandiose schemes, efforts, works, programs, and endeavors to convert the world and bring the blessings and benefits of the kingdom of God upon all nations have not only been an incredible failure but, if for an instant we may descend to baseness of speech, they have been a colossal “flop,” for sin and sickness and deception and delusion and death and sinners abound more today than at any time in the history of the world!
The religious works or labor of man are like an ox which turns a millstone and walks a hundred miles per day. When he is loosed, he finds that he is in the same place! Carnal religion takes men on many journeys, leads them into multiplied pursuits, programs, outreaches, and labors of various kinds, but when the day is done they have made no progress into God. They have no doubt produced something which in some measure has blessed someone, but in their own experience nothing has been accomplished but walking in circles. In vain have they labored!
Some may think that we have strayed far afield from the subject of our text, but such is not the case. “Write thou, Blessed ones, the dead ones, those who are dying in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that THEY MAY REST FROM THEIR LABORS!” Ah, the message is just this — God is raising up a people who die to themselves, who die to the ways of the flesh and the carnal works of religion, who die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labors. Not rest from the Father’s work, just as Jesus did not rest from the Father’s work, but they rest from THEIR WORK, that only the Father’s work be done. That is the key! This is the ministry of sonship! Blessed are those who are dying in the Lord from henceforth, that they may rest from their own labors! And this, my beloved, is the only hope of creation!
We have passed through many “days” of God’s dealings, revival after revival, move after move, revelation after revelation, and blessing upon blessing. And how we praise God for each of them! 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 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. Not all have arisen to greet the dawn, only a few, God’s firstfruit company, are now dying in the Lord and entering into the rest of His more glorious day. 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 spirit, saying, “And there shall be no night there” (Rev. 21:25). No night! No darkness, no ignorance, no error, nothing in part, no dusk, a day filled with the effulgent glory of the Lord. No night! An eternal day, where the Sun of Righteousness never sets, a day with no end. Of this day it has also been revealed: “Behold, 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. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be there…and they shall see His face: and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there…for the Lord God giveth them light…” (Rev. 21:3-4; 22:3-5). Ah, beloved, such is the seventh day, a walk with God, uniting earth to heaven in blessedness, God and man dwelling and resting together, joined in one spirit. If we know it not, let us wait for it: to those who wait with patience and faith, it will surely come, and will not tarry.
When the fullness of His seventh day is realized in the body of Christ, then shall be fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And Gentiles (nations) SHALL COME TO THY LIGHT, AND KINGS TO THE BRIGHTNESS OF THY RISING.” (Isa. 60:1-3)
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 is A PEOPLE. In Genesis 2:3 it is stated of the seventh day: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” He did this because in it He rested. When God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, He set it apart unto Himself and lifted it up above all other days, specifically above all the days of “labor.” But in Exodus 31:13 God identifies the day with a people, showing how the one prefigures the other, and how the twain are one. “Verily my Sabbaths shall ye keep (lit., ye shall rest in my rest): for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth SANCTIFY YOU.” Here the day and the people are both so sanctified to God that they become ONE. As we enter into God’s rest, so that His rest becomes personified within us, WE BECOME HIS REST, HIS HOLY DAY, HIS SABBATH.
The fourth chapter of Hebrews makes it plain that God’s Sabbath Day is not just a Mosaic law concerning one day of the week, nor is it the natural land of Canaan that the people of Israel looked forward to entering, nor is it just a thousand year period of the “kingdom age” many are expecting. 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 a 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 the flesh and the world. In Hebrews 4:1-11 the shrouds of heaven are drawn aside and our wondering hearts bow in holy awe before the things that are there revealed. By inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostle penned these blessed words of divine instruction:
“Now since the same promise of rest is offered to us today, let us be continually on our guard that none of us even looks like failing to attain it. For we too have had a gospel preached to us, as those men had. Yet the message proclaimed to them did no good, because they only heard and did not believe as well. It is only as a result of our faith and trust that we experience that rest. For He said: As I swear in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest: not because the rest was not prepared — IT HAD BEEN READY SINCE THE WORK OF CREATION WAS COMPLETED, as He says elsewhere in the scriptures, speaking of the seventh day of creation, And God rested on the seventh day from all His works. In the passage above He says, “They shall not enter into my rest.” It is clear that some were intended to experience this rest and, since the previous hearers of the message failed to attain to it because they would not believe God, He proclaims a further opportunity when He says through David, many years later, “today,” just as He had said “today” before. Today if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest (this shows that the “rest” he speaks of is neither the seventh day of the week, nor entrance into the land of Canaan!), we should not find God saying, at a much later date, “today.” There still exists, therefore, A FULL AND COMPLETE REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD. And he who experiences HIS REST is resting from his own works as fully as God did from His. Let us then be eager to know this rest for ourselves, and let us beware that no one misses it through falling into the same kind of unbelief as those we have mentioned.” (Phillips translation)
In these words “enter into my rest” is the revelation of a deep spiritual mystery and a prophecy of what Christ should bring. The statement, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God,” would be better translated, “There remaineth therefore A KEEPING OF THE SABBATH UPON THE SABBATH” (see Greek-English Lexicons). The word “rest” is translated from the Greek sabbatismos — Sabbath. This Sabbath is spoken of as remaining in contrast to both the weekly Sabbath and the rest of Israel in Canaan. Read the passage quoted above carefully, and this is clearly evident. If God’s Sabbath was that land of rest that Joshua brought the people of Israel into when he took them over Jordan, then David would not have prophetically spoken of “another day.” From the days of Joshua to King David the people of Israel kept both the weekly Sabbath and enjoyed their rest in the land of Canaan. Yet they failed to ENTER HIS REST! Those were mere shadows and symbols; the real Sabbath rest remained, waiting its time, till Christ the true Joshua should come, and open it to us by Himself entering into it, and enabling us by the impartation of His own victory to also enter in.
Christ is the only one to proclaim, “Come unto ME, all ye that LABOR and are heavy laden, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find REST UNTO YOUR SOULS” (Mat. 11:28-29). Paul presents the truth of this powerfully in his epistle to the Colossians, wherein he says, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath: which are a SHADOW of things to come, but the body (substance, reality) is of Christ” (Col. 2:16-17). The Amplified Bible brings it out so beautifully, “Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath. Such things are only the SHADOW of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the REALITY (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) BELONGS TO CHRIST.”
Commenting on the passage in chapter four of Hebrews Bill Britton wrote: “Verse ten goes on to tell us that anyone who is still working at his own works, in his own power, operating by the natural mind, has not yet entered into God’s rest or God’s Sabbath. Then we have a solemn warning in verse eleven, ‘Therefore,’ he says, meaning, because of what we have just been saying, ‘let us labor to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.’ Those Israelites that wandered forty years in the wilderness have provided us with a vivid example of how we also can miss the glorious and eternal reality of the kingdom of God if we exhibit the same kind of unbelief. ‘LABOR to enter into His rest.’ How strange the wording of that statement! How can we labor to enter into rest? How can we work toward coming to the place where we stop working? When you try to lay down your own labors, when you attempt to turn loose of the control of your own life and give it over into the hands of God, when you cease to try to perfect yourself and put on the mind of Christ by your own initiative and energy, you will find it to be THE HARDEST WORK YOU HAVE EVER DONE! Yet, this is what the Spirit is calling for. This is how the Spirit is leading and directing us. Labor to enter into rest!”
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 put on incorruption and immortality, to be a son of God. Ah, beloved, how we labor to come out of the bondages of Babylon, to break her traditions and hold over our minds and hearts. 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 in blessed relationship. Would you have God work mightily within you? Would you be changed, transformed, conformed to His image? Don’t work at it! Labor at resting with God. Enter into His holy presence, enter through His tabernacle door, enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; allow Him to draw you onward and inward into the Holiest of all and abide there in intimacy of fellowship and in vital union with Him 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 following words by Stephen Kaung bear precious confirmation to this beautiful truth. “Someone else reminded us of the very first sleep mentioned in the Bible and what happened. For this we must go all the way back to Adam. In the beginning God creates Adam; but He cannot find a helpmeet for him; consequently God puts Adam to sleep! Please notice, though, that this is not an unproductive sleep; it is not a sleeping which accomplishes nothing. On the contrary, in Adam’s sleep much is accomplished. God is the One who puts him to sleep; and while he is asleep, God is at work. God takes a rib from Adam and builds — He builds a woman with Adam’s rib! Oh, how beautiful if we can see it. Two contrasting pictures are drawn for us here. In the one case are those people who busily engage themselves in all sorts of undertakings; who, with extremely good intention and infinitely hard work, try to do something for God, but all in their own power and wisdom; and the result is, vanity. In the other case can be found those beloved ones of God, those who truly know God. With them, though, it seems as if God puts them to sleep; it seems as though God makes them rest; and while they enter into the rest of God, God does the work! And as they are resting in God, He builds a woman. Now we know that Eve is a figure of the church, she is a type of the house of God. Brothers and sisters, we must enter into the rest of God. As we continue in His rest, believing and trusting that God has accomplished the work already — that He is the One who has already done the work — then, at that very moment, in sleep He giveth; and the house of God is verily built!”
God is bringing forth a SABBATH PEOPLE, a people that IS HIS REST in the earth. As God brings His rest into us, and brings us into His rest, causing His rest to be personified in us, even righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, let the nations rage, let the people imagine a vain thing; let the storms of trouble blow, let sorrows spread as a cloud over the land, let the kingdoms of men tremble and fall, let the whole economic and political structure collapse and darkness cover the earth…God’s SABBATH PEOPLE ARE AT REST and unafraid, because they DWELL IN HIM. When men’s hearts fail them for fear in looking after those things that are coming upon the earth, these shall remain calm, cool, and collected, ready to give an encouraging word from the throne to him that is afraid. These saints so become ONE WITH HIS REST that they are undisturbed by the pressures without. They are upheld by His mighty hand, and they shall become a beacon of light to those who stumble in darkness. God is preparing His Sabbath people for the day of trouble and they shall stand in the midst of the land and many shall come to the brightness of their rising. “YE are the light of the world,” Jesus said. That is the same as saying, “YE are the DAY OF THE LORD!” You are God’s Sabbath Day ordained to bring rest to all the weary, troubled, tossed, fearful, and tormented of the world! Christ in you is the hope of this glory!
THEIR WORKS FOLLOW THEM
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” (Rev. 14:13)
Rest from “our labors,” His works raised up in us — these are the works that “follow us,” just as signs are said to follow those who believe! The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that this glorious gospel “at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them which heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His will…” Then we read, “These signs shall FOLLOW THEM that believe…” (Mk. 16:17). When John writes that “their works do follow them,” the Greek text reads, “their deeds, business.” Their business is the Father’s business; thus we could say of these sons, THEIR MINISTRY FOLLOWS THEM. It is not that they are out “beating the bushes” trying to stir something up for the kingdom of God. Rather, like Enoch, the seventh from Adam, who “walked with God, and was not, for God took him,” the “taking” was the result of his walk with God, it was just naturally that which “followed.” When we cease from our own labors, becoming workers together with God, results will automatically follow such a resting and relationship with the Father.
Yes, blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors. But they do not rest from work — for the Father works and the sons do what they see the Father doing. Man is formed for action, and action is essential to his fulfillment. A heaven of rest, where we do nothing but float around in white nightgowns strumming harps and fellowshipping with the saints from the ages, but without work, which, sad to say, is about the highest idea many around us have of the Christian heaven — and not a few of our popular hymns sing too much of that sort of heaven — how soon it would bore and weary us! How little would any son of God in the image of the Father care for such a place! Better far the struggle and challenges of this present walk with God than such meaningless indolence! But no! Such a view is an idle unspiritual fancy and delusion. We are called to be kings and priests unto God, and “they shall reign for the ages of the ages,” says the Spirit. Methinks that reigning is work! Reconciling the world is work! Subduing the nations is work! Restoring all things is work! Delivering creation from the bondage of corruption is work! To every son of God the Master says, “The works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works than these shall ye do; because I go to my Father.” Ah, yes, greater works…because I go to my Father. These are works out of His resurrection power and His exaltation to the Father’s throne! These are the works that will deliver creation from the bondage of corruption; not just healings and bread and fish multiplied to feed the natural man, but miracles of incorruption and immortality that lift creation out of this gross material realm into the life of the Spirit! These are the works that “follow them” who have died in the Lord!
I am sure most of my readers are familiar with the old song, “Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown?” There is no scripture to indicate that the saints will wear “starry crowns,” but there is scripture that is greater by far! It is the privilege of all who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship to dwell upon the bright hope of this marvelous promise, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever.” There are untold trillions of stars throughout the billions of galaxies known to astronomers. A few years pass away and all things earthly gather the mold of age and the odor of decay as the desert winds blow the swirling sands over the crumbling ruins of ancient empires. But the stars shine on in their glory as in the beginning! Centuries and cycles have gone by, kingdoms have arisen and slowly pass away. Yet the stars’ brightness is not dimmed, nor their force abated. The dew of youth still seems fresh upon them. No faltering motion reveals the decrepitude of age. These shine on in undiminished glory through all the ages of time, for they are the lights of the ages.
Thus shall those wise and blessed sons of God shine who turn the inhabitants of the world to righteousness. Thus shall their ministry and their years roll on from age to age until that wonderful age of the ages, the dispensation of the fullness of times wherein everything in heaven and on earth and throughout all realms is gathered together into one in God’s Christ and God becomes All-in-all. What glories lie beyond this, we cannot yet know, but sonship does not only entitle one to residence in God’s limitless and eternal domain, but to the ownership and rule of that domain. Ah, the sons of God are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ their Lord, who is the heir of ALL THINGS! Heaven is not a mansion over the hilltop, nor the gratifying of the needs and desires of this vessel of clay. It is not that which will bring creature comfort. It is not a state of eternal creature enjoyment and rest. The celestial realm is something infinitely higher! It is eminence, power, majesty, glory. It is becoming the same kind of Being as the One who made the worlds, and will bring, not inactive rest with fluttering wings and strumming harps, but activities and accomplishments far surpassing that of earth’s mundane limitations. And it includes kingship and priesthood over God’s eternal and infinite domain. It is dominion and power and influence far beyond that which carnal minds can contemplate or even imagine. Oh, that it were possible to lift men up above the shadows, and give them just a glimpse of something higher! The words of our text are just a seed, but my, what a mighty tree of truth grows from the simple statement, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.” As we learn to rest from our own soulish works, to become laborers together with God in His great kingdom work, we enter a stage of action; we become active agents in the greatest development program ever conceived. A whole universe awaits our touch and guiding hand! Let us be about our Father’s business!
To be continued…
FROM CANDLESTICK…, Pt. 170 [J. Preston Eby] ~ BIBLE STUDY 1