FRIDAY MORNING MANNA      

Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FOUR & FORTY– Part IX

The Fourth Commandment Under a Different Attack

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 58: 13, 14, N.K.J.V.    

Here is one successfully devastating way “Satan has stolen a march” upon Sabbath-keepers in these last days–by getting them obsessed with the unusual politics of the day, particularly in this unprecedented raucous U.S. presidential race with the two highly-controversial candidates representing the two major political parties in America, and the strange coincidence of the Philippine electorate electing by landslide victory a totally different breed (at least, for now) of a president in Rodrigo Duterte.

This present election cycle touts a couple of  firsts in American history, and SDA church history as well (although the denomination has never officially endorsed any political candidate as a matter of belief while other churches, such as the Roman Catholic Church and the  Iglesia Ni Kristo, etc., do), such as (1) the first presidential race with a woman candidate—Hillary Rodham Clinton, erstwhile Secretary of State (2) the presidential race where the first Seventh-day Adventist, Dr. Ben Carson, became a White House hopeful but pulled out and is now a Trump surrogate and defender—unless he follows after Paul Ryan,  McCain and other prominent GOP leaders, who no longer support Trump in the heels of the recently-released recording of Trump’s crass language against women in 2005. (See “Ben Carson Defends Trump: ‘That Kind of Banter Goes Around all the Time,’ by Caitlyn Dickson. Yahoonews Oct. 11, 2016.

“Vote for the lesser of the two evils,” some civic-minded, honest, and peace-loving  people suggest, trying to diffuse agitated situations among friends who are defending their particular candidates. But it has become increasingly difficult to keep a straight face and an uncreased brow with the blowback and backlashes from both sides after each debate, making one cringe. Instead of simmering down, both campaigns and candidates have been doubling down on their accusations against each other that have been picked clean to the bones by both official and self-appointed fact checkers empowered by the internet and the social media. This, in itself, has served to ramp up the unhealthy polarization of the electorate even more.  Its American politics in free-fall, someone observed. Jesus said, “A kingdom divided cannot stand.” It signals its enemies, real or imagined, that it is extremely vulnerable. This is exactly what the opportunist of prophecy is waiting and watching for, patiently biding its time. Then it will strike. Soon.

Sabbath-keepers engaging in political debates on the Sabbath? Once one gets started, it is a slippery slope–in keeping with the “downhill trajectory of America.” That observation is shared by an increasing number of citizens. Befuddled observers and commentators are bravely trying to figure out where all these leads to, outside of what Bible prophecy has long revealed would happen to America. See  Revelation 13.

It is alarming indeed how easily the devil can induces us to pollute the Sabbath while keeping the day itself. Some, like Peter who denied knowing Christ thrice “before the cock crowed,” as Jesus warned him earlier, in fatal self-confidence, y declare, “I will never receive the mark of the beast. I will choose imprisonment or even martyrdom than yield to the nationally, then globally-enforced Sunday law.” And yet many cannot even keep themselves in these times of peace and freedom from polluting or defiling the Sabbath now while the “four winds of strife” described in Revelation 7: 1-8 are still being mercifully held back by the four angels under Christ’s direction!

Q.. How do the Sabbath-keepers today, like ancient Israel, whom the prophet was rebuking for polluting defiling the Sabbath while rigidly observing in detail and even severity, the day, particularly by the scribes, elders, and Pharisees in Christ’s time?

A. Not by keeping another day or one day of the week as a sabbath, as many in mainstream Christianity do, particularly the “first day of the week,” which is the most ancient abominable form of spiritual idolatry–sun worship (see Ezekiel 8: 1-18), but as revealed in the following:

“We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment [not just the 11:00 o’clock “Divine Service”] is consecrated holy time. Before the setting of the sun let the members of the family assemble to read God’s word, to sing and pray.”- E. G. White, Vol. 6 Testimonies, p. 356.

“We should not provide for the Sabbath a more liberal supply or a greater variety of food than for other days. Instead of this the food should be more simple, and less should be eaten, in order that the mind may be clear and vigorous to comprehend spiritual things. Overeating befogs the brain. The most precious words may be heard but not appreciated, because the mind is confused by an improper diet. By overeating on the Sabbath, many have done more than they think to dishonor God.” – Ibid, p. 637.

(See Isaiah 58: 13, 14 again).  “Are you as careful as you should be in keeping the Sabbath? You have something to do besides laying aside your work and amusements on that day. If you, on the that day, lay plan of what you will do when the Sabbath is past, or talk of your work, amusements, and clothes, you pollute the Sabbath . . . But when you are speaking of your hope in God, of Jesus and His soon coming, and of the beauties of the New Earth, you are not speaking your words. Of these things you may freely on the Sabbath. On the six days you may talk of business matters, and lay plans that are necessary; but the Sabbath is holy time; all worldly thoughts must, on that day, be dismissed from the mind. The blessing of God will then rest upon you, and you will have the sweet consolations of His Spirit, and will also have confidence when you approach the throne of grace.” – Ibid, Youth’s Instructor, Feb., 1853.

I have been convicted to re-examine my priorities in the light of the foregoing and  recalibrate my priorities, again. One thing stood out immediately: drastically reduce precious time, which is rapidly diminishing in the probation time hour-glass, trying to keep abreast political developments by watching/listening/reading the educated opinions of so-called experts and pundits, as well as forwards on these topics received via email and cell phone. These saved time and energy will be reinvested into studying and reviewing the prophecies and “fortifying my mind with the great truths of the Bible” to get my bearings straight, my head in the right place, and my heart at peace. “Be still, and know that I am God,” I head in my mind, prompting a closer self-examination. Do I really know God and the gospel as much as I should after all these years? One Scripture after another were brought to my attention. Here’s a few: “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings.” Dan. 2: 21, K.J.V. “Kings” here mean kingdoms. See Ps. 34: 4-9; 56: 4; Prov. 29: 25; Luke 21: 26.

What is sad is that the character-besmirching campaign ads and epithets funded by millions upon millions of dollars directed against each other by both candidates of the supposedly largest Christian nation in the world are euphemized as “political rhetoric,” when, in fact, not a few are craftily-worded inaccuracies, malicious exaggerations, and skewed statistics. Some are, in fact, outright lies as pointed out by the fact checkers. Many have come to accept these half-truths and demagoguery as normal, a part of American “democracy.” What a shameful spectacle and unChristlike example to the non Christian nations and polytheistic religions of the world.  Christ’s name is ridiculed.

Apostle Paul warned: “For all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Rom. 14: 10; 2 Cor. 5:10. The Creator and Savior of mankind made it plain as to how Heaven views all these hidden and obvious motives, words, and actions,, saying:
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure [of his heart] brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men speak, they will account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt.12: 34-37, NKJV.

Apostle Peter wrote:
“For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Pet. 3: 10-12; cf. Ps. 34: 12-16.

Of Himself, Jesus declared to “the Jews who persecuted Him and sought to kill Him,” (v 16)…. “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.” John 4: 16, 21, 22.

The following excerpts from the SOP came to mind, and I encourage all—youth, parents, and grandparents to contemplate on these in the face of the cascading fears of what either a Trump or Clinton presidency will bring to the “future of America,” the next generation of our children and grandchildren, and the world-at-large:

“The power exercised by every ruler on earth is Heaven-imparted; and upon his use of the power thus bestowed, his success depends. To each the word of the divine Watcher is, ‘I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me.’ Isa. 45: 5. And to each the words spoken to Nebuchadnezzar of old are the lesson of life: ‘Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor: it might be the lengthening of thy tranquility.’ Daniel 4: 27, K.J.V.

“To understand these things,—to understand that “righteousness exalteth a nation, that ‘the throne is established by righteousness’ and ‘upholden in mercy’ (Prov. 14: 34; 15: 12; 20: 28); to recognize the outworking of these principles in the manifestation of His power who ‘removeth kings, and setteth up kings’ (Dan. 2: 21),—this is to understand the philosophy of [true] history.

“In the word of God only is this clearly set forth. Here it is shown that strength of nations, as of individuals, is not found in the opportunities or facilities that appear to make them invincible; it is not found in their boasted greatness. It is measured by the fidelity with which they fulfill God’s purpose.” – E. G. White, Education, pp. 174-175.
“Every nation that has come upon the stage of action has been permitted to occupy its place on the earth, that it might be seen whether it would fulfill the purpose of ‘the Watcher and Holy One.’  Prophecy has traced the rise and fall of the world’s great empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. With each of these, as with nations of less power [such as America, Russia, China, etc.], history repeated itself. Each had its period of test, each failed, its glory faded, its power departed, and its place was occupied by another. “- Ibid, pp. 178-9.

Rise and fall of nations: Books of Daniel and Revelation make plain
“From the rise and fall of nations as made plain in the books of Daniel and the Revelation, we need to learn how worthless are mere outward and worldly glory. Babylon, with all its power and magnificence, the like of which our world has never since beheld, —power and magnificence which to the people of that day seemed so stable and enduring,—how completely has it passed away! As ‘the flower of the grass’ [James 1: 10], it has perished. So perished the Medo-Persian kingdom, and the kingdoms of Grecia and Rome! And so perishes all that has not God as its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose, and expresses His character, can endure. His principles are the only steadfast thing our world knows.”- Ibid, Prophets & Kings, p. 548.

(Continued next week)