General Conference Bulletin, vol. 2




(Monday Afternoon, March 1, 1897.)

WHAT is left to us?—A rest, or a promise of entering into rest. Whose rest?—God’s rest. Who has entered into rest?—They who believe. When do they enter into rest?—When they cease from their own works. And when does one cease from his own works?—When be believes. “For we which believe do enter into rest.” What is the evidence that the rest is ready?—Because the works were finished from the foundation of the world. What is the evidence that the works were then finished?—Because God rested on the seventh day from all his works. And that this is the rest which God gives his people is shown from the fact that, still speaking of the seventh day, he says of unbelievers, They shall not enter into my rest. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.6

For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.7

What is he talking about in both places?—The seventh day. In one place he says of the seventh day, that God rested on the seventh day from all his works; and in another place he says of it, “They shall not enter into my rest.” When did God rest on the seventh day?—When he finished his work at the close of the six days of creation. What was the state of his works then?—They were very good. The earth was new, so that the rest of God pertains to the new earth, the new earth state. To be more exact, we should say that the new creation is the rest. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.8

Now what did Christ say about the works of God?—“This is the work of God that ye believe.” But what is the characteristic of all of God’s works?—They are perfect. They are just as good as they can be. Moreover, God rested from all his works, so that they are complete—nothing can be added to them, and nothing can be taken away from them; and when we truly believe, we get those works; but since God’s works are finished works, and so perfect that there can be no amendment, therefore he who gets the works of God, gets the rest of God. One of the perfect works which God made in the beginning, was man himself Man was God’s workmanship, created in Christ, Jesus unto good works; and those good works were created in Christ. God had already completed them, even before man was made. The works were finished from the foundation of the world, and man could walk in them, and walking in them, they would continually have rest in the rest of the Lord. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.9

But man fell, the works were lost, and the curse came upon all. Christ redeems us from the curse, being made a curse for us, and he was made a curse for us in being hung upon a tree. And so in him, in his cross, the new creation is effected,] we become new creatures. In the cross, then, we find the finished works of God, perfect and complete, that which man lost by sin. In the cross of Christ there is perfect rest, because in it the works are finished. Christ said, “It is finished.” Every one comes to Christ, finds there the perfect work, and finding that perfect work of God finished and complete, he gets rest. GCB January 1, 1897, page 5.10

As we said, the rest of God is the new creation. Now mark: What works are they which we get in Christ?—God’s finished works, the new creation. The very same works, then, that were finished from the foundation of the world. Therefore, in the cross in Christ, we are brought to the very same rest. The cross of Christ brings us right back to the creation, drops out, swallows up, and obliterates all the infinite blackness, and sin, and curse, and brings us right back again—to the new creation, to the same works, and therefore to the same rest as at the beginning. When the cross of Christ is preached, when the gospel is preached, there is no room whatever for anybody to say that the Sabbath was abolished at the cross? How could anybody imagine such a thing? The objection is taken away before it has a chance to be made, because in the cross of Christ we are brought to the rest which was ready from the foundation of the world, because the works were finished then. So the fourth chapter of Hebrews is the strongest Sabbath chapter in the Bible. But there is just as much in it for us to learn as there is for anybody else, because we who talk about the Sabbath must learn what the Sabbath is. It is God’s rest, and his rest has not taint of the curse in it. It has no imperfection in it; it is perfection itself. GCB January 1, 1897, page 6.1

We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, God’s good works, and these good works were prepared from the beginning, that we should walk in them. Walking in those good works already prepared and finished, we shall be having continual rest, the rest of the Lord. The Sabbath from the beginning,—and it is always the same as it was in the beginning, we must always go back there for the correct condition of everything,—the Sabbath is to mark God’s finished work. It, then, is God’s righteousness which man gets as a gift. GCB January 1, 1897, page 6.2

We see, then, that the man who does not believe the Lord, does not keep the Sabbath. He cannot keep the Sabbath; it is simply impossible. The Sabbath marks God’s finished, new creation; therefore the Sabbath is the seal of perfection. The keeping of the Sabbath, then, is simply the partaking of God’s perfection. See here: there is no opportunity for any one to say, “Well, you keep the Sabbath, expecting to be saved by it?—No, not by any means; because the Sabbath itself is evidence of the fact that God is Creator,—that he creates all things in Christ, and that man has no power. The keeping of the Sabbath is the acknowledgment of the fact that we can’t do anything. All we can do is to take what God has done for us. We have the statement, “Remember the Sabbath day [remember the day of the Sabbath] to keep it holy.” This commandment instead of being a burden to the poor laboring man, is a blessing to him above all others. GCB January 1, 1897, page 6.3

The poor man who has nothing on earth in which to trust, who from day to day has nothing but his day’s work between him and ruin,—to him the Sabbath comes bringing the knowledge of God as the Creator and Preserver. He rests upon the seventh day not as a task, as a burden which God has laid upon him, but as a benefit which God has conferred upon him, because he knows the Lord so well, has so seen the Lord in his perfection, that he can trust him perfectly, knowing that he cannot do anything for himself, and that he is not obliged to depend on himself. Not even if he gained all his daily bread, is he able to do anything; but it comes from God? God provides it for him, and he simply gathers what God gives him; that is the lesson God desires us to learn. Of the birds and beasts the Psalmist says, “That thou givest them, they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.” The bird earns its living,just as much as man does. Yet how many men wish that they did not have any more care than the birds. They have just as much care as man need have. He has to work all day to provide for himself and those who depend upon him; but you say all the birds have to do is to pick their food. Yes; but that is all that a man has to do. He works and gathers, and then prides himself upon his superiority over birds; whereas the bird is the better off of the two, because the bird does not trust to himself, but trusts in the Lord. A man has to depend upon the Lord, but does not give the credit to him. GCB January 1, 1897, page 6.4

(A voice) What was that text referred to? GCB January 1, 1897, page 6.5

Psalm 104:28. It refers not only to birds, but to all the beasts. “That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.” So the Lord opens his hands, and people come and take, that is all. The man does not make it, or create it. God speaks to the earth, it brings forth abundantly, and man picks it up, that is all. GCB January 1, 1897, page 6.6

Now as to the keeping of the Sabbath: The Sabbath comes to this poor man, to make God known to him. “I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezekiel 20:12. It shows us God’s power to sanctify us,by showing that to him we owe our existence and its continuance. We leave out one day’s work entirely, to show what?—That we depend upon the Lord; that we take his Word, believe it, live upon it, and then, although to human calculation it may seem impossible for us to live if we keep Sabbath; may seem to be the ruin of us, because we shall probably lose our work, and have no prospect of getting anything more, the poor man can simply say, I live by the Word of the Lord, I trust him, he is the one who gives me my daily bread; therefore I will trust him for everything, and, as an indication of that fact, I will rest right here, according to his Word. Do you see? The Sabbath stands for perfect trust in the Lord. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,—to how many days in the week does that apply?—; Every day. The Sabbath is the seventh day, but the keeping of the Sabbath has reference to every day of the week; because, if I rest my body on the seventh day, and on the second or third or fourth day of the week I doubt the Lord, what does that mean?—Unrest. God himself has worked for me, for man’s support not only for a little while, but for eternity. When we mistrust the Lord, we forget that fact. Is a man trusting in the Lord when he is fretting or worrying, for fear this or that thing will not come out right?—No. Then when a man begins to worry and to go with a long face, what is he doing?—Breaking the Sabbath. He is not remembering the Sabbath, to keep it holy. He has the burden upon himself. Christ says, Come, and learn of me. My burden is light. What is his burden?—He bears the sins of the world, yea, the world itself. But he says, My burden is light. All the work and worry, the turmoil and sin, everything in the world, he bears it all and bears it easily. GCB January 1, 1897, page 6.7

Now, we have very little of the world upon us, but it is awfully heavy, is n’t it? Men sometimes think they have the whole world upon their shoulders, and that they have got to bear it. I do not know of any people on earth that are more liable to think they are overburdened, than Seventh-day Adventist preachers; why, you meet a conference president sometimes, and you would think that he had just come from a funeral. They have a burden bearing upon them, wearing them out. They have a burden in the work of the Lord; but what does Christ say?—Learn of me. He did not worry. He had as much on his shoulders, on his mind, as any ordinary person; he had as many persons coming to him and taking his time, but he did not worry, did not get excited, or agitated and flurried; no, not a bit of it; and he says, “Come, and learn of me. My burden is light.” It did not worry him at all. He could carry it so easily. That is keeping the Sabbath, resting in the Lord, depending upon him. Why?—Because he has done the work. We yoke up with him, and work with him, so that he does the works in us, and that makes the work easy, the burden light. GCB January 1, 1897, page 7.1

We will now pass along rapidly in the chapter:— GCB January 1, 1897, page 7.2

“Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein,”—into what?—The rest of God. But that rest is what?—Sabbath rest. But the Sabbath rest which comes to us (ninth verse),—“there remaineth therefore a rest,”—of what is that a part?—A part of the new earth. That is all. A part of the new creation, a bridge from the time that paradise was lost until paradise is restored. Every one that will keep the Sabbath is lifted up out of this pit into which we have fallen, to the light and joy and glory and blessing of the new earth, to taste the power of the world to come. Here we have the same thing as in the second chapter. “Unto the angels hath he not put into subjection the world to come;” but he has put it in subjection to the man Christ Jesus, and to us in him. In him we find Sabbath-keeping, because in him is found the new earth rest. Now it remains that some must enter in. In am glad of that. Not “some may;” “some must.” God has pledged himself. God is under obligations, not to man, but to himself; because he swore by himself. Some must come and enter that rest, in order to save his word in order to save God from breaking his oath. It must be so. GCB January 1, 1897, page 7.3

Now, that gives me courage. Some must enter in, the necessity that some must enter into rest is so great that the invitation is, Whosoever will, let him come; take anybody; the urgency is so great, that anybody in the world who will come can come and find rest. No matter what his condition, or what he has done, God says, Let him come, and I will take him. It is not an exclusive thing. It is not, Somebody may come in; there is room for a few, and we will take a selected few; but some must enter. There must be some recruits, therefore come along, everybody who will; come in and find rest. It must be that some enter in, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief, therefore the promise is left to us. For we know that had they believed, the work would have been finished hundreds of years ago, and the earth would have been restored. But because they did not enter in— GCB January 1, 1897, page 7.4

Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today after so long a time; as it is said, To-day if we will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.1

Why is there another day limited? GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.2

What is the object of that other day?—To give man another opportunity to accept God’s rest; for some must enter in, and he will give them another day in which to come. It is the day of salvation. and the only day of salvation is To-day. “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Open the gates of righteousness, and we will enter in. This day is for us to enter into God’s righteousness. Praise the Lord Let us be glad and rejoice in it. GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.3

For if, Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.4

There would have been no need of it,if Joshua had given them rest, and they had believed; that would have ended the matter. Jesus and Joshua are one word both meaning deliverer, saviour. It was not an accident that the one chosen to lead the people into the land of Canaan was named Joshua. Now here we have Joshua (Jesus) who does give us rest. In him we find perfect rest, even the rest of the world to come. By the way we love what the Lord has for us now by looking too for ahead. Now I do not want to start anybody to criticising people’s prayers; but I often think that the forms of expression that people fall into indicate perhaps something of their state of mind and in turn react upon their thinking. I do not know how extensive it is among people generally, but I think among us—and we are the last people in the world who should use it—you will find perhaps nine-tenths of the prayers close with, “Save us at last.” Now it does not worry me a particle about being saved at last, because if the Lord saves me now, from day to day, it will be all right in the end. If the Lord saves us at the present time, we need have no fear about the last. But I sometimes fear that we have our eyes fixed so for ahead, and desire so much to be saved at last, that we forget all about being saved now. Some say, “If I can only be saved at last in the kingdom of God, I shall be satisfied.” If I am saved now, I am satisfied. We put off the time of satisfaction. We are content to be dissatisfied now, if we can be satisfied hereafter. But I would rather be satisfied all the time. GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.5

So the Lord gives us heavenly rest in which to gain heaven. He gives us heaven here on this earth. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” Now, when he has ceased from his own works, what works does he have? who works him?—Why, God’s works, and God’s works will be manifested in him. That which makes us weary, and always weak in what we call the Lord’s work, is trying to perfect our own works. That is a thing that cannot be done, and the man who tries it worries himself out of it; but when he lets go, and lets God work in him, he can rest all the time in confidence in God. GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.6

“Let us therefore give diligence to enter into his rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief,” for unbelief keeps us from the work, and so from the rest of the Lord. “Is that rest present or future?”—That depends on us. If we have not entered into rest, of course rest is in the future for us, How far in the future is it?—Just as far in the future as our unbelief continues. If our unbelief continues forever, it will never come. If our unbelief ceases now, then the rest is for us now. GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.7

(A voice) What kind of labor must we do to enter into that rest? GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.8

Of course that is only a technical question because the literal rendering of the word is, Let us give diligence, instead of “Let us labor.” But yet we may take it as it is, and the question is easily answered. “This is the work of God, that ye believe.” That is the kind of work we are to do to enter into rest, because we who have believed, do enter into that rest. We get the rest by works, it is true, because rest must be preceded by works. What kind of works precede the rest?—Complete works; because if the work is not done, then you cannot rest. A man cannot rest from his work before it is done. He may stop because he is obliged to stop for a while, but he cannot rest from the work before the work is finished. Then if we are going to have perfect rest, it must be from a work that is finished. But whose work only is finished and perfect?—God’s work. We cannot do anything as it ought to be done. Therefore we may as well stop first as last, and accept God’s work, because that is the work that gives us rest. GCB January 1, 1897, page 8.9