We in the Church of God have come to regard the weekly
Sabbath and annual Holy Days and Feasts of the Lord, as
well....special. We have read in the Old Testament that those
Sabbath days were from God, are His, and were given to Israel as
a special covenant, as a sign between God and His people that
they would know it was the true God that did sanctify them, and
that it was He who made heaven and earth(Exodus 32:12-17).
The Sabbath days have become special to us. Possibly they
have been held up above many of the other commandments of the
Lord. Maybe this has come about because we live in a far
different society than when Jesus walked this earth. He came
unto His own it is written. The Jewish nation observed the
Sabbaths, it was part of their culture, every day every week life
to them. It was national. Not so today in most nations of this
earth,certainly not so in the Western World, where the 7th day of
the week is one of the fullest and most active days. It is harder
to observe the Sabbath days of God today in our world than at the
time of Jesus living in Judea.
So they are in many ways a "big thing" to people in the
Sabbath keeping Churches of God, a lot of emphasis is placed on
them, to the point where many make the mistake of getting into
the posture that this sign is the key to what is a TRUE
Christian. Many may have the mind set that, well of course accept
Christ as saviour, agree that God's Ten Commandments are not done
away with, but especially MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THE SABBATHS! For
some reason, that is the test of what makes you a true Christian.
Is the Sabbath from God? Sure it is! Did God give it to
mankind? Why yes He did! We are all familiar with the verses to
prove all that. Is the Holy Spirit that begets us as the children
of God the very nature of the Lord? Indeed so(Rom.8:9,14-16; 12
Peter 1:3- 4). If we have the Spirit, what does it shed abroad in
our hearts? Why the very "love of God" (Rom.5:5). Now what is the
love of God? 1 John 5:3 tells us, "For this is the love of God
that we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS....."
What else will the Spirit do for us? I am thinking about a
specific found in John 16:13. Yes, the Spirit will GUIDE US INTO
ALL TRUTH! What is truth? The answer is found in John 17:17.
Will the Spirit lead us and teach us the truth of God's word
concerning the correct Sabbaths of the Lord to observe, as found
in the word of God? Ah, you bet it will, just no way around it.
How can the very nature of God be in us WITHOUT that nature
obeying its own love which is the keeping of the commandments?
All logic says it can not, two plus two equals four, not three or
So the Sabbath days of God in our societies "stand out" for
the people in the very body of Christ, as I've said, maybe to the
point where many think this only is the true sign of a real
Christian, a person who will be in the FIRST resurrection at the
coming of Christ.
BUT IS THIS SO? Can it be possible that MANY Sabbath
keeping persons WILL NOT BE IN THAT FIRST resurrection, will NOT
INHERIT Eternal life when Jesus comes again to receive the saints
A STRAIGHT FORWARD QUESTION TO JESUS
WITH A STRAIGHT FORWARD ANSWER
As Jesus was going through the cities and villages teaching,
one came to Him and said: "Lord, will only a FEW BE
SAVED?......And He said to them, STRIVE to enter by the NARROW
DOOR - force yourself through it - for MANY, I tell you, will TRY
TO ENTER and will NOT BE ABLE......Then you will begin to say, We
ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.
But He will say, I tell you, I do not know where(what household -
certainly not Mine) you come from; depart from Me, all you
WRONGDOERS! There will be weeping and grinding of
teeth......."(Luke 13:23-28, Amplified Bible).
OooohhH! What a chilling and sobering answer, what a
straight forward answer to a straight forward question. I mean,
no interpretation needed here, pretty plain words!
Many are going to try to enter, be saved, but the door is so
NARROW that they will not make it! They will claim they "knew the
Lord" and had some close moments with Him, were listening to Him
in the streets. Do you suppose they were at church on
Do you suppose some, no, the MANY, who will fail to be
saved, could have been observing the Sabbaths of God?
We shall see this is indeed so!
Notice, Jesus did not say "depart from Me, you who have NOT
kept My Sabbaths." He said it was WRONGDOERS who were to depart
from Him. The Greek Interlinear by Berry translates the word as
"unrighteousness." They were working NOT the righteousness of
God. And what is righteousness? The Lord answers in Psalm
119:172, "....All thy commandments are righteousness."
Now Sabbath breaking by ignoring it, or observing some other
day of the week but the 7th day, is breaking the commandments,
but UNrighteousness CAN BE MORE! You may be a perfect Sabbath
keeper and annual Holy Day observer, but still be working
unrighteousness, which will keep you from entering in at the
NARROW gate to be saved.
This was not the only time Jesus spoke so BLUNTLY. He told
His personal disciples in the famous "sermon on the mount" that:
"Not EVERY ONE that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, SHALL ENTER into
the Kingdom of heaven; BUT he that does THE WILL of My Father
which is in heaven. MANY will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast
out devils? and in your name done MANY WONDERFUL WORKS? And then
will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, you
that WORK INIQUITY"(Mat.7:21-23).
The Greek for "iniquity" is translated by Berry as
These people were doing SOME "wonderful" works! Do you
suppose keeping the Sabbaths of God were among those wonderful
works? Whatever, one thing is for sure, they were BREAKING THE
LAW, DOING LAWLESSNESS, as a way of life, during their life, for
it kept them out of the Kingdom. Just were not there in that
first resurrection to Eternal life at the coming of Christ.
Can Sabbath observers still be on the outside looking in? Is
Sabbath keeping only a part of being a true child of the Father?
Is there MORE to being a Christian than just accepting Jesus as
saviour, mentally acknowledging the commandments have not been
done away, and observing the Sabbaths of the Lord? Will Sabbath
keepers find themselves out in the cold and dark? Is hearing and
doing the sayings of Jesus MUCH MORE than observing ceratin days
as holy(Mat.7:24-27)? Ah, indeed it is!
The Pharisees as a group of religious people, observed the
Sabbath and Feasts of God, but in other areas they MISSED THE
BOAT! Jesus told His followers that unless their righteousness
exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees, they would not enter
the Kingdom(Mat.5:20). More pretty plain talk.
Now the Pharisees were very good indeed at keeping parts
of the law of the Lord. Turn to Matthew 23 and read verse 23.
Certain things mentioned here Jesus said they should keep doing,
but there were some WEIGHTIER matters of the law they had put to
one side. Such as JUDGMENT, MERCY, and FAITH. The keys to being a
true child of God is BROADER than what many sometimes think.
I wonder if the type of attitude exhibited by the Pharisees
in Jesus' day, is also alive and well among the people of the
Sabbath keeping churches today. Far too many not seeing the WHOLE
picture. Observing certain laws very well, while not seeing the
white-washing they do to other lawlessness.
Read all of chapter 23 of Matthew. Now ask yourself: Will
most of those scribes and Pharisees be in the first resurrection?
Remember now, they were observing the Sabbaths.
JESUS EXPANDS BEING A TRUE CHRISTIAN
The parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 is not only
interesting but very revealing. Please read verses 25 through 46.
Some will make it into the Kingdom, some will not. Notice,
Christ does not use the Sabbath observing law, the Festival
observance, the law of tithing, clean or unclean foods, the law
against observing pagan festivals, and some other well known
specific laws you could think about from the 10 commandments.
This parable is set AFTER Jesus has returned and is sitting on
the throne of His glory, judging all nations. It is a Millennium
parable. Presumably the nations during that time will have no
problem with observing the above mentioned laws, as such laws
will be the law of the earth under Christ's rule.
Yet some during this time may not make it into the Kingdom.
LOOK AT THE REASONS GIVEN BY CHRIST!
Wow! Being a true Christian is MORE than mere Sabbath and
It is getting down to some nitty- gritty practical LIVING
within the context of your fellow man. You could be the world's
best Sabbath observer/Feast keeper, and STILL NOT GET INTO THE
KINGDOM because you may have missed some other weighty matters of
Kind of sobering do you not think?
We will take another example along the same line from the
apostle John. Turn to 1 John and chapter three. We'll start in
verse 14, "We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we LOVE THE BRETHREN. He that LOVES NOT his brother
abides in death. Whosoever HATES his brother is a MURDERER: and
you know that no murderer has ETERNAL LIFE in him........But
whoso has this WORLD'S GOODS, and sees his brother HAVE NEED, and
shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, HOW DWELLS THE LOVE
of God in him? My little children let is not love(only) in word,
neither in tongue, but in DEED and TRUTH(verses 14-18).
Now that is getting down to brass tacks in what is a whole
true Christian. You may be obeying a lot of the up front, well
known commandments of the Lord like keeping the Sabbath, clean
and unclean foods, not committing adultery, not using the words
"God" and "Christ" in profanity from your mouth, but IF YOU ARE
NOT DOING THE ABOVE that John spoke about, or if you are hating
someone, the LOVE of God (which is the Spirit of God, the eternal
life seed) IS NOT IN YOU! You are not a begotten child of the
Lord, and if you remain in this condition you will not inherit
eternal life at the coming of Christ.
So far we have talked about why some individuals may not
enter the narrow gate to be saved. Could there be whole church
groups, or large segments of church congregations that observe
the Sabbaths and yet fall short in other lawlessness, and so
miss the first resurrection. Indeed it could be so!
Turn to the book of Revelation. Yes, you know where I'm
going to. The second and third chapters. The seven Churches! We
shall not worry about if these are church eras, it does not
matter for our purpose. They were seven literal church
congregations at one time. They were the true begotten children
of God, with His Spirit in them originally. The church at Ephesus
had some righteous ways, were in sink with the Lord on some
points. Yet they had FALLEN and were told to REPENT.....or else!
Now look at the church at Pergamos. Doing some things right,
maybe most things right, but a few sins had crept in such as
IDOLATRY and FORNICATION(probably both physical and spiritual).
They were told to REPENT!
The church at Thyatira had much the same problems as
Pergamos. They had fallen into the DEPTHS of Satan. The Sardis
church was there but was spiritually dead in the main, most had
defiled their garments, some few remained faithful. The church at
Laodicea was riddled with so much vanity from physical and
spiritual wealth, they became blind to their real condition. God
was ready to spew them out of His mouth as unpleasant water.
These were God's churches, they were probably still
observing the Sabbath, some may have gone off into observing
idolatrous pagan festivals. They had some of the marks of
following the true God, but large segments of the people needed
to repent and get back on the right track, or they would never
enter the narrow gate for eternal life.
WILL MANY BE SAVED?
What about the conditions of the religious world just before
the return of Christ? What did Jesus say about it? Matthew 24:24,
"For there shall arise false Christs, and FALSE PROPHETS, and
shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were
possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
It would get so bad that IF it was possible even the ELECT
would be led astray. Jesus did say that MANY would be called, but
FEW CHOSEN! When it was all said and done, there would be
relatively a small group for the first resurrection, who would be
faithful and unspotted to the end. Who would be covered
COMPLETELY in a garment of white. For Jesus knew a whole true
Christian was much more than a Sabbath keeper or Festival
observer. He knew a real child of the Father's would have to be
busy LIVING BY EVERY WORD OF GOD just as He taught(Mat.4:4). And
to find those people on the earth when He returned.......well
Jesus put it this way: "Fear not, LITTLE LITTLE flock(the Greek
is a double diminutive - very little); for it is your Father's
good pleasure to give you the Kingdom"(Luke 12:32).
And again in Luke 18:8, ".....when the Son of man comes,
shall He find THE FAITH(original Greek) on the earth?"
The Bible shows there will be true faithful Christians on
this earth when Jesus returns, but relatively not many, like the
sprinkle of salt over the meal.
There are literally millions of Sabbath keepers today, but
there are MANY tares among the wheat. It must be so until the
YOU CAN BE A WHEAT TO ENTER THE NARROW GATE
Are you feeling low after all this serious plain talk from
the lips of Christ? Ah, our Saviour does not leave us without
showing HOW we can endure to the end and make sure we go through
the narrow gate into life.
"According as His DIVINE POWER has given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of
Him that has CALLED us to GLORY and VIRTUE: Whereby are given
unto us exceeding GREAT and PRECIOUS PROMISES: that by these you
might be partakers of the DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the
corruption that is in the world through lust. And besides this,
giving all diligence, ADD TO YOUR FAITH virtue; and to virtue
knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance
patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly
kindness; and to brotherly kindness love.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you
that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ.......give DILIGENCE to make your
CALLING and ELECTION SURE: FOR IF YOU DO THESE THINGS, YOU
SHALL NEVER FALL: For so an entrance shall be ministered (opened)
unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet.3- 11).
Ah, along with 1 Cor.13 this section of scripture would make for
a very profitable in-depth Bible study.
Brethren, let us pray for one another.