I consider it a landmark day to be writing this final chapter to the book “SABBATH”on this 12th of August, 2003. The book has been posted and made available to readers since September, 2001, but I realized even then that the book was not finished. Like Moses who was allowed to see the inheritance of the children of Israel, the promised land of God, from a distance, but who was not allowed to enter in, in like manner I have also seen what the Father’s desire for us has been, but I have been unable to enter in.
I have seen that there is a place where God desires for all of His children to enter. It is a land of Sabbath rest where men and women cease from their own labors to do only the will of the Father. It is a place where all personal initiative ceases and where all that is done finds its origin in the mind of Yahweh, Who alone is worthy to be the source and originator of all words and deeds. The Son of God demonstrated to us what such a life and walk looks like. He was truly Lord of the Sabbath, for He was the manifestation of perfect rest. He never did anything of His own initiative, neither did He even speak a word that arose from self. Everything He said and did found its source in the Father.
In this book we have learned that it is the Father’s desire that ALL should enter into this place of rest. All must be conformed to the image of His Son. All must come to the place where they can also testify, “I never do anything of my own initiative. I only do the will of the Father.” We must be so perfect as to declare, “I do not even speak a word of my own initiative, but I speak only those things the Father has commanded me.”
Our great temptation is to deny that these things are truly the Father’s will for us, for we have never yet experienced such a perfect obedience, nor have we seen any man other than Yahshua Himself enter into this place of perfection and absolute rest. We may be tempted to believe that these things will only be attained and experienced in heaven, but listen to the words of our Lord as He taught His disciples to pray the will of the Father.
Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Our Savior prayed for God’s Kingdom to come, and for His will to be done on earth. When the will of God is done on the earth then the Kingdom of God will be seen among men. The coming of the Kingdom is synonymous with the children of God entering into this place of Sabbath rest. It is here on earth that Yahweh has determined that men and women should enter into this place of perfect obedience, and absolute rest, and should we doubt it we need to remind ourselves of the apostle’s warning:
For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.
What do these words mean, “For who provoked Him when they had heard?” Moses was sent to the Israelites to tell them that God had seen their toil and their groaning and He was going to bring them out of their place of cruel bondage and lead them into their own land. This is what they heard. They heard Moses speaking the mind and will of God that He would give them a land wherein were cisterns they did not dig, houses they did not build, vineyards they did not plant, and in this land they would be His priests to all the earth, no longer slaves subjected to harsh servitude, but free men.
Why did they not believe such wonderful things? Was it not that they looked at their ability to possess it based upon an examination of their own strength and abilities, rather than looking to God’s ability to perform what He had promised? They looked at the fortified cities with their massive walls. They saw that there were giants in the land, and they saw themselves as grasshoppers. They rightly judged that entering into this land and possessing it was impossible in their own strength, and they failed to reckon on God’s strength. Because they would not believe, God was angry with them and allowed an entire generation to die in the wilderness.
God was able to take them in. He chose Joshua (Yahshua) to lead them in, and He declared “I have given you every place where you will set your foot” and “no enemy will be able to stand against you.” Yet the apostle declares that this Joshua did not give the people rest, but there yet remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. There is another Yahshua whom God has sent who will lead the children of God into the true place of rest. This latter Yahshua will establish the children of God as kings and priests in the land, and they will walk in complete victory over every enemy, and they will fully possess their possessions.
Do you believe it? Or will you also be as those with whom the Lord was angry? Will you enter into the promises of God, or will your body die in the wilderness? It is those who believe who will enter in. The Scriptures show us how we must enter in, for Yahshua is our forerunner, and He is our pattern Man. Where He went, we are also to go, and the victorious overcoming life He walked in is also our portion.
When Joshua took the children of Israel into the land of promise, the first step was into the waters of the Jordan River. It is no coincidence that when our Lord began His ministry where He reigned victorious over every enemy that it too began as He stepped into the Jordan River.
Then Yahshua arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Yahshua answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Yahshua came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
The entire pattern of entering into God’s rest is revealed in these words. Baptism is a picture of death, and we all must enter into the promised land through the waters of the Jordan. We must all allow Christ to put us to death in our natural life which we have inherited from Adam that we might enter into the newness of life that belongs to the Heavenly Man.
Well did John the Baptist speak here when he said, “I have need to be baptized by You.” This is perhaps the greatest prophecy of this greatest of the prophets, but who has truly heard what he said? John said in another place:
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
When John said to Yahshua, “I have need to be baptized by You,” it was these two baptisms of which he spoke. John needed to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire, and so must all those who would enter into perfect Sabbath rest. What does it mean to be baptized with fire? The word “fire” in the Greek is “pur,” and from this Greek word we get our English words “pure,” “purity,” “purify” and “purge.” Fire has always been associated with purification, for it burns up all that is dross, all that is impure. It is the fire of God that burns up the wood, hay and stubble of our lives. It was the fire on the altar that burned up the sacrifice of flesh, and it is the fire of God that will also burn up our flesh in this day and hour.
The apostle Paul shared that it was the will of God that all of the saints present their bodies as a “living sacrifice” upon the altar of God that their flesh might be destroyed. He expressed this in another way to the Galatian believers when he declared that those who walk after the Spirit “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Yahshua passionately expressed His desire when He said, “I have come to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled.” It was from the dust of the earth that man’s flesh was formed, and it is in this flesh which sin dwells. Yahshua came to cast fire on the earth of this flesh. Why did He long so earnestly for this work to begin? It was because He knew that the flesh being consumed, purged, crucified, buried in the waters of baptism, was necessary in order for the other baptism to be given, the baptism of the Spirit.
When John baptized Yahshua in the waters of the Jordan River, which mark the boundary of the land of promise, the way was being shown in which the body of Christ must enter into their inheritance. It is always through death. Those who resist the working of the cross in their life will not enter into the land of Sabbath rest. Those who refuse to take up the disciple’s cross will not come to a place of reigning as kings and priests. The word states:
II Timothy 2:11-12
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…
Saints, if we refuse to enter into the waters of the Jordan and be baptized along with our Lord, we cannot enter into the promised land of Sabbath rest. There is but One Way, and our Lord has shown it to us. All who try to enter by another way are thieves and robbers. The Lamb of God laid down His life, and the sheep who follow after Him must also lay down their lives. “We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Note then what happened as Yahshua came up out of the waters of the Jordan.
And behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.
These two things are absolute necessities for any who would walk as our Lord walked. If we are to make the confession He made, and we are to walk as He walked, never speaking or doing anything of our own initiative, but always doing the will of the Father, then we too must have an open heaven, and we must have the anointing of the Spirit of God resting upon us in power.
Any saint who is honest, and who has sought to walk in obedience to God for any length of time, will confess that they have seen their inadequacy and impotency revealed. Like Paul confessed, the desire to obey is present, but the performing of it is not. As Christ spoke of His disciples on the night of His passion, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” How often have we stumbled and fallen, to weep tears of regret and bitterness? What weakness is bound up in this sinful flesh!
And should we be called to ministry (and all saints are ministers in one fashion or another), consider how soon the Lord will lay us in the dust as we see our inability to walk as Christ walked. We do not see every demon present as He did. We do not speak a word and the unclean spirits flee. We are not able to heal everyone for whom we pray, or to raise the dead with a word. We cannot place the elements under our feet, walking on the waters and calming the storms with a word. We do not come forth victorious in every encounter with Satan. Yet this is what we have been called to. This is the land of our inheritance. This is our promised possession.
How strenuously do we deny that these things be so. We think that Christ walked this way, but He was God and we are not. We do not see Him as Joshua leading the entire nation into their inheritance, vanquishing every enemy and possessing the good land before them. It was not just Joshua who entered in and walked victoriously over the enemy. It was the entire nation of the children of God. Neither is it merely Yahshua who has been called to walk in the victory, power, authority, and Sabbath rest that He manifested in His life. He is the forerunner, but we are called to run behind Him.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Yahshua has entered as a forerunner for us…
As our pattern Man, Yahshua has shown us the way to enter into the Sabbath rest before us. We first must be baptized with Him in the waters of the Jordan. This is not merely some symbolic union that is depicted in the ordinance of baptism. We must have an experiential baptism. We must allow Yahshua to lead us through many wilderness places where our flesh is broken until we come to the place where we loathe the flesh and we despise the initiative and self-effort that we see within it.
We must all enter the wilderness as Moses who was a man “mighty in word and in deed,” men who have great strength in their own flesh and who wrongly think that this strength of the flesh can bring forth the kingdom purposes of God. We must all exit the wilderness as Moses did after forty years of tending sheep, declaring “God, I cannot speak. I cannot act. I have nothing to offer You.” Only then can the Lord place His great power upon us and through us destroy every enemy and every false god that stands before Him.
Do we not see this process of death plainly revealed in Scripture. Yahshua said that He never did anything of His own initiative, and He did not even speak a word of His own initiative. In action and in word He was completely dead to those things that arise from self. Compare this to the words spoken of Moses.
Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.
This power of Moses’ was a power that came from his flesh. In this power he attempted to deliver his people and failed miserably. How many ministers of God are trying to deliver God’s people and perform the will of God in their own power? I tell you that nearly the entire lot are doing so, and they are just as surely failing to accomplish God’s desire as was Moses. People, do not be driven by those who tell you that you must be out doing the works of Christ. If you have not been given the power of God to do such works, then all is vanity and striving after the wind. We must all learn the lesson of Moses.
Were the forty years that Moses spent in the wilderness before God sent him to Egypt wasted years? Was Moses wasting his life when the people of God suffered in cruel bondage? Was it a sign of his selfishness and lack of compassion that he did not go back and try to deliver them again, through whatever means that he might employ? No! Moses wanted to deliver his people, but he was an honest man who realized that the ability to perform this work was not in him.
How many are the saints today who are less honest? How many are told, and tell others, that those who are compassionate for the world will be out winning souls and bringing forth the kingdom of God, and that they must not wait for God to empty them and then empower them? Oh how deluded we have been! As I look at all the gimmicks and programs and plans of human effort to win souls and bring forth the kingdom I am greatly grieved. A world of men and women who are mighty in their own carnal words and deeds has gone forth to bring forth the kingdom of God on the earth, and to deliver the inhabitants of the earth from bondage. They may manage to slay a single Egyptian, and encouraged by this achievement they go on tirelessly as they believe that the kingdom of the enemy is being destroyed by their efforts. And all the while Satan laughs with derision, for the church grows darker and darker while gross darkness creeps over the earth.
What is needed is for the children of God to flee to the wilderness, acknowledging their inability to bring forth salvation for the earth. In the wilderness they need to experience the emptying that Moses knew, so that no longer will they ever seek to perform the works of God in the strength of their own words and deeds. They must remain in the wilderness until they confess, “God, I have nothing to offer You. I cannot even speak.”
See then the cleverness of Satan’s corrupted wisdom. By driving the children of God to spend their lives in one activity after another, in this program and that campaign, and to get them to engaged in works done in the power of their own flesh, falsely thinking that this is the voice of God driving them to these things, they never enter into the wilderness where God can truly prepare them for Kingdom works. Satan is such a deceiver that the saints are made to feel guilty if they do not immediately embark upon some work and effort in the name of God. To go to a place apart where God can bring forth a death to their soulish life is a luxury they feel they cannot afford. The enemy speaks to them and tells them that they are lacking in compassion if they are not somehow ministering every day. By such deceit does the enemy prevent the children of God from receiving the power that Moses finally attained in order to destroy the kingdom of the enemy.
Saints, have you not come to see yet that the kingdom of the enemy is not being toppled through your puny human efforts? Can you not see darkness everywhere entering into the church, rather than light into the world? The reason is plain. The people of God are trying to bring forth the kingdom through the strength of man, rather than by the power of God. The power of God is not entrusted to those who have not been broken, so this breaking is the first order of business for all those who receive the salvation that is found in Yahshua.
Observe how the apostle Paul immediately upon being saved began to reason with the Jews in the city of Damascus. He had great debate with them, but we are not told that there was any fruit. We then read that God sent Paul to the wilderness where nothing more is heard from him for many long years. This was his period of breaking. This is where he died to all those things which he was formerly so proud of, his Jewish heritage, his great education, his own Pharisaical righteousness, the strength of his natural life.
If Paul were in the churches of today they would not have allowed him this period of breaking and emptying. They would have said, “Look boys, we have a winner here. This man is something. He has education. He has connections. He is zealous for God. Let’s put him to work immediately.” Think of all the things that might be done in this way. Paul could be the figurehead for many different ministries. He could write books on how to debate the Jews. He could go out immediately and tell one and all about his experience on the road to Damascus. And in all his busyness, he would miss out on the preparatory work which alone could ready him to do the works of God.
But pastors today would cry out, “How can you tell him to delay in acting. The world is lost and going to hell today. Every day babies are aborted and children abused and the lost are dying. We need him to work today.” And because of such thinking the works are all man’s works, and the power needed to bring forth the kingdom is nowhere present. Thus the Scripture is fulfilled that in the last days men would have a form of godliness without power.
So we see in the baptism of Yahshua a picture of what is required in order to have the heavens opened to us and for the Spirit to descend in power. The working of death precedes the life of power.
Throughout this book it has been declared that it is the will of God for all of His children to come to a place where they only do the works they see the Father doing. This is the example that Yahshua set before us, and it is the only thing that will satisfy God. Many will come to God in the day of judgment and declare that they did many works in His name, but because these works were not His will, nor done at His command Yahshua will declare, “I never knew you.” There is only one way in which we can avoid these tragic words being spoken over our lives. We must KNOW with a certainty what the will of the Father is at all times. We must know what words He would have us to speak, and we must be careful to speak only these words. The requirement for this level of intimate knowing is that we must have the heavens open before us as they were before Yahshua.
Therefore Yahshua answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.”
Yahshua did not begin His ministry until after John baptized Him and the heavens were opened to Him. Immediately we read that the voice of the Father is heard and then we read that the Spirit begins leading Yahshua. During His entire ministry Yahshua was able to do the works of the Father and speak His words because He had an open heaven before Him. He testified that the Father shows Him all things that He Himself is doing. How can we walk in this same place, and do even greater works than Christ did, unless we too have an open heaven set before us? I tell you that we cannot, and will not be able to do so.
In this late hour when Christ will raise up a remnant to walk in power and authority before Him in the earth, it will initially be only a very small number who will know both an open heaven and the anointing to carry forth His desire. The reason is that there are only a few who have allowed Christ to baptize them with the fire of purging and purification. Most have shunned the cross and sought to protect their flesh. Many have given themselves wholly over to the deceptions of a prosperity doctrine and messages of ease and comfort. Splashing around in what they call “the river of God,” they have despised Christ’s invitation to join Him in the fiery lake where the strength of the flesh is consumed and totally broken.
Yahshua was also a man mighty in words and deeds. The crowds marveled at His doctrine saying, “Never did a man speak like this.” The multitudes noted that He spoke with power, and not as the Scribes and teachers of the Law. There are many charismatic speakers today who can whip the crowds into an emotional fervor, but this is merely a counterfeit power, and not the true power of God. It is the power that Moses had before his strength was broken.
Yahshua was also a man mighty in deeds. He did all the things that He saw the Father doing, and the people marveled. He healed blind, deaf, lame, and sick. He raised the dead. He cast out demons. He ruled over the natural elements, and He gave this same authority and power to His disciples who would follow after Him. For a period of time the world saw the saints walking in this same power, for they did not shrink away from the working of the cross in their lives. But as the church drifted into a message of ease, the ability to see into the heavens and the power to do the works of God was seen less and less. Men and women were satisfied to simply do what they could in their own strength, and they devised false doctrines to abrogate the need for miracles and signs and wonders.
A day is soon coming when the Spirit will once more come in power upon a company of those saints who have followed the Lord into places of refining, and death to all reliance upon the flesh. These ones will shine forth as brilliant lights in the midst of gross darkness. The church will wonder where they received this power, and demand of them an answer, but most will not receive their words. These ones will enter into their inheritance as kings and priests to the world. They will see into the heavens and know what the Father is doing and perform the same. These ones will be lords of the Sabbath, and thus the words spoken of Christ will find earthly fulfillment, namely that He is “King of kings and Lord of lords,” for His kings and lords will follow in His footsteps.
I do not say that those who have not yet experienced this baptism of power will not hear the Lord speak to them in some measure, nor that the Lord will ever call them to some task until that day. We see the disciples of Christ walking in some measure of authority before the day of Pentecost, for the Lord commissioned them and sent them out to preach the kingdom and cast out devils and heal the sick, and we do see these things done in some measure today. Yet this is not the same as entering in fully to the place of Sabbath rest and power to which we are called.
There is a pattern seen in the lives of those whom the Lord called to some special work. They are often given a brief period of success, as David knew in his early days in Saul’s household, or as Joseph knew in Potipher’s, but then a time of breaking and refining comes forth, often for a prolonged period, and the end of this work is that the natural strength of the man is broken and it is replaced with a total surrender to, and dependence upon, God.
Even so, in my life I knew days when the Lord had called me to function as a minister to His body, only to see these days cut short before they bore any perfected fruit, and a wilderness period then ensued. This wilderness period is filled with trials, and suffering and an absence of things that appeal to the flesh and soul of man. It is a time when self-confidence and a reliance upon our own strength is replaced with humility and a leaning wholly upon the Savior. A remnant of saints have been enduring these same experiences, which all must pass through in order to enter into that good land before them. This is the pattern that God has established by His own counsel.
If you have found that the message of this book has pierced your soul and stirred up the spirit within you, then I encourage you to press into these things. The apostle has instructed us in this way, “therefore let us be diligent to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11). The first step in this exercise of diligence is to believe what it is that God has said He will do for those who believe. Search the Scriptures and see if these things are true. Do not allow the walled cities and giants in the land to deter you. All enemies before us will be as prey as our conquering leader Yahshua leads us into battle.
Second, follow wherever the Lord leads. The overcomers spoken of in Revelation are marked by this distinction, “they follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” Many in turning back from paths of difficulty and suffering are forfeiting things that will cause them to weep and wail and gnash their teeth when they are fully revealed unto them. Then their shortsightedness will be seen to be as Esau’s when he sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Rather, let us be like Jacob who wrestled with the angel all night and said “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The children of God are called to be lords of the Sabbath, and possessors of the promises of God.
May many enter into God’s rest.
This has been an excerpt from the book Sabbath.
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