An enemy may attack many ways; infiltration, frontal assault, a flank, even from the rear. Usually he will find your weak spot ó sometimes heíll hit right where you think you are strongest. When an attack is in progress, and it is discovered, an alarm is sounded or a trumpet is blown. A sneak attack or infiltration may result in a delayed warning, but nevertheless one is given.
Where is the alarm? Wake the guards! Are you all asleep?
We have been hit with a full frontal attack on one of our strongest fronts! ó Or havenít you noticed? Thousands upon thousands of our fellow "Christian soldiers" have been slain when the door to the Fourth Command was left unguarded, and the enemy swarmed into the flock, and trampled the Sabbath. Yes this was preceded by infiltration and enemy intelligence. But there was no general alert; no warning was sounded. Even the conspiracy buffs missed the grandest conspiratorial coup of the modern day Church. Why? Are we afraid to call a wolf a wolf or are we not paying attention?
Is the attack ended so we may now number the dead and say, "Too bad, but at least they didnít get me"? Maybe next time it will only be those in Oregon, or Ohio, or maybe only Tim or Mary, or my friend Charlie, or my spouse, but I escaped so no need to raise the flag.
First of all letís examine our position. What shape are we in to resist the next wave? (And there will be another and another.) There are many enemy sympathizers or accomplices (wittingly or unwittingly). They are in two camps:
1. Outside the Gates: Those like Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute, and Joe Tkach, Jr., orchestrated the overthrow of the Worldwide Church of God. According to an interview with Richard Nickels in the October 31, 1997, Journal "Mr. Tkach seems to have embarked with gusto on a mission to meet with Sabbatarian groups, such as The Church of God (Seventh Day), and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in discussions about the Sabbath. Why would Mr. Tkach do that, since his Worldwide Church of God no longer teaches the necessity of observing the Sabbath, even though most WCG congregations still meet on the seventh day?
"The facts are that Joseph Tkach has a very warm personal relationship with a number of people in the Church of God (Seventh Day)," said Mr. Nickels. "Joseph Tkach is meeting with . . . Sabbatarians, I believe, to get them to give up the Sabbath."
Notice it is the "organized" groups that are mentioned, and I believe, are more vulnerable. But we are all exposed. Nehemiah gives an example on dealing with such plots:
"Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;). That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner," Nehemiah 6:1-4.
2. Inside the Gates: How can you be for the Sabbath and against it at the same time (wittingly or unwittingly)? I have seen many examples of this; even in articles "promoting" the Sabbath and statements by Sabbath-keepers. Let me give you an example. "The vast majority of Christians are not Sabbath-keepers," Sabbath Sentinel, May-June 1995 pg. 11. Another writer from the same issue on page 14 states, "I personally believe that the majority of those saved for eternity will never (emphasis mine) have been Sabbath-keepers."
These and like statements are license to keep Godís Sabbath on Sunday or any other day. Using this reasoning, we could then say that those who, if they havenít repented, or did not believe, or are not baptized, or are commandment-breakers, etc., will enter the Kingdom.
Whether it is the Fourth Commandment or the Fifth Commandment or any other Commandment, I donít have the authority to say that any person not keeping the Commandments as written, will enter the Kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His Commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him," I John 2:4; "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life," Revelation 21:27; and "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book," Revelation 22:19.
If God wishes to make an exception, it is His prerogative. The Pope may give permission to keep Sunday and sanctify it; the Muslims may keep Friday; some may say any or every day is a Sabbath but God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.
Jesus said, "Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition," Mark 7:6-9.
We must remember that the Sabbath is a test command, to see if we will obey Him or not. Conversely, why would God withhold such a blessing as His rest, from one of His chosen ones? God is our fortress and our high tower. He will protect us if we trust in Him. Perhaps a renewed commitment to His Sabbath will be a step forward.
A Code of Conduct
I understand the command (paraphrased) "Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy"; that the seventh day was sanctified by God and was not changed by Him; that that day was given as a sign between Him and His people, showing that we are different from all others. We wear that sign proudly on our forehead and in our hand.
I will uphold and keep the Sabbath as a most valuable gift from my Creator.
ó written by Steven J. Kieler