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掩耳遮目

作者:乔·克鲁斯 牧师日期:2017-08-12 14:14:45浏览数:2988
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“路是小的。”

圣经中最令人惴惴不安的预言,往往与基督复临时得救的人数有关。耶稣明说,预备好承受天国的人实为少数:“你们要进窄门。因为引到灭亡,那门是宽的,路是大的,进去的人也多;引到永生,那门是窄的,路是小的,找着的人也少。” (太7:13-14)

藉着下面这个深入人心的反问,耶稣暗示得救的人数比我们期望或想象地还要少:“然而,人子来的时候,遇得见世上有信德吗?”(路18:8)论到末了的筛选,耶稣还说,“挪亚的日子怎样,人子的日子也要怎样。”(路17:26)众所周知,洪水灭世时得救的人仅仅是挪亚一家八口,基督再临时得救的人也是寥若晨星。其他圣经作者和先知使用了类似的词汇,说明末了忠心的儿女仅仅是“小群”、“少数”或“余民”。

得救之人固然是区区之众,凤毛麟角,而这一事实远不及他们灭亡的原因更令人震惊。显然,大批的信徒将被拒之天堂门外,尽管他们自称相信基督,也时常礼拜,甚至不惜耗费大量的时间,以耶稣之名行许多异能。耶稣说,“凡称呼我‘主啊,主啊’的人,不能都进天国;惟独遵行我天父旨意的人,才能进去。当那日,必有许多人对我说:‘主啊,主啊,我们不是奉祢的名传道,奉祢的名赶鬼,奉祢的名行许多异能吗?’我就明明地告诉他们说:‘我从来不认识你们,你们这些作恶的人,离开我去吧!’”(太7:21-23)

可见,末后的伪宗教必泛滥全地。不计其数的人将把时间、精力和金钱用于宣教,其中不乏显而易见的神迹,属灵的恩赐,以及热心的活动,所有这一切耶稣早已清楚说明。然而,这其中的许多人,终要被耶稣拒之天国门外。这绝非危言耸听,而是不得不令人诧异的事实。更多人应当睁开双眼,认清末后鲜为人知的特征,还要晓得如何避免目前普遍存在的属灵妄想症,该症将导致大批信徒走向灭亡。

这些人明明是以耶稣之名敬拜、事奉,为何却落得这般下场?这不免会令某些信徒对自己的得救感到绝望。如何晓得自己的信仰不属于这一类?让我们认真寻找问题的答案吧!人得救并不是取决于内心的诚挚,而是要在上帝的圣言中寻找并顺从真理。

顺从——真宗教的试金石

首先要明白的是,若非照上帝的旨意行,宗教活动便毫无用处。基督指出,即使人称呼上帝的名,甚至从事无私的慈善活动,若不顺从上帝的旨意,这一切都是徒然。请你牢记,切记,铭记——圣经所崇尚的是顺从,顺从才是真宗教的试金石。有人或许奉耶稣的名倾力于布道事工,不惜耗费时间,才干和金钱,然而,那人若不遵守上帝的诫命,终不得上帝的认可。

事实上,这些信徒由于不顺从耶稣,便为撒但开了一扇门。魔鬼悄悄地溜了进去,利用他们,奉耶稣的名行许多的异能,而他们却把这样的能力归于上帝。他们哀求说:“我们不是奉祢的名传道,奉祢的名赶鬼…吗?”这句话就足以证明他们行神迹的能力并非出自耶稣——尽管是奉了耶稣的名。既然耶稣“从来不认识”这些作恶的人,还有谁能行神迹呢?只有撒但。经上说,“他们本是鬼魔的灵,施行奇事。”(启16:14)

耶稣说,“我从来不认识你们,你们这些作恶的人,离开我去吧!”这是什么意思?人如何才能真正“认识”主?蒙爱的约翰告诉我们,“凡住在祂里面的,就不犯罪;凡犯罪的,是未曾看见祂,也未曾认识祂。”(约一3:6)“人若说‘我认识祂’,却不遵守祂的诫命,便是说谎话的,真理也不在他心里了。”(约一2:4 )认识祂意味着要顺从祂。依照圣经的道理,一个拒绝遵守上帝诫命的人不可能成为上帝的真儿女。故意违背诫命乃是斩断了与上帝的关系,赶走了为我们盖印的圣灵,使人成功地离开了蒙恩的位置。

是的,试验当今世界的诸灵就是这么简单。如今,不论是刺激人心的音乐,引人入胜的演讲,还是激动人心的见证节目,这一切都要经受试金石的检验,这试金石就是真理的创始者——耶稣基督所设立的顺从的条件。毫无疑问,上帝最初的要求从未改变。当年始祖若能始终保持顺从,就必不至失掉乐园;如今,人若想重归伊甸,也必须满足顺从的条件。“你们若爱我,就必遵守我的命令。”(约14:15)

爱并非律法主义

有一点我们不得不强调,一切可蒙上帝悦纳的顺从必须是出于爱。迫使人在形式上顺从,却缺乏个人对救主的爱,这与忽略顺从是同等致命的错误。耶稣曾屡次谴责法利赛人冷酷的形式主义。由于耶稣痛斥靠行为得救,许多人便急于做出假设,认为耶稣不看重顺从。我们当明白在耶稣的教训中,信心与行为保持着完美的平衡。耶稣指出,靠着顺从来赚取救恩是最恶劣的律法主义。然而,人若因为蒙了救赎而甘心顺服,这便是真宗教的试金石。真实的信心必定伴随甘心的顺服,这就如同昼夜的更迭一样确定。此外,人们已经滥用了“律法主义者”一词。我非常担心那些真诚的基督徒,他们出于爱主的顺从却被扣上“律法主义者”的帽子,而那些控告他们的人才是不顺从之人。应当切记,律法主义者是指企图靠赖自己的行为得救的人。那些因为爱上帝而不愿违背其诫命的人,他们绝不是律法主义者。常听人说,“一个不遵守律法,却拥有喜乐与爱心的基督徒,好过一个严格遵守律法,却没有爱心的基督徒。”何必衡量罪的程度?这二者全都错了。人的感觉与此没有任何联系。基督已经设立了衡量的标准。除非是出于“使人生发仁爱的信心”,否则都不予接受。

再回到那个令人不安的主题:地球上大部分人都将灭亡,其中不乏热心的、积极的宗教分子。圣经吩咐人要敬拜上帝,这也是真宗教的必要组成部分。然而,是否会有大批自称敬拜上帝的基督徒走向灭亡呢?耶稣说,“他们将人的吩咐当作道理教导人,所以拜我也是枉然。”(太15:9)这又是一个令人震惊的消息。人若拒绝真理,青睐人的传统,他们的敬拜也是枉然。

何时才是枉然敬拜?

耶稣屡次劝勉人务要照着所明白的真理而行。“我若没有来教训他们,他们就没有罪;但如今他们的罪无可推诿了。”(约15:22)“你们若瞎了眼,就没有罪了;但如今你们说‘我们能看见’,所以你们的罪还在。”(约9:41)人若从圣经中明白了一点真理,却拒绝顺从,这就是犯罪了。这等人是在抗拒圣灵,而圣灵的首要任务是引人明白一切的真理。拒绝顺从会使人心地刚硬,及至圣灵最终收回,那人便犯下不可赦免之罪,难怪他们敬拜也是枉然。人拒绝顺从上帝的诫命,却听从人的道理,这乃是藐视圣灵的感动,唾弃了圣灵。根据使徒行传5:32的记述,唯有顺从之人才能被圣灵充满。

现在再来思考那个惊人发现(大部分人都将灭亡)的重大意义。绝大部分人都要灭亡,包括许多以基督之名行神迹、敬拜祂、并自称是主的儿女之人。灭亡的原因是什么?因为他们对上帝的爱不够,不能遵守祂全部的诫命。由于某些原因,这些热心的教会工人已经习惯了轻看上帝的律法。他们大都认为,“不顺从律法无法进天国”纯属律法主义的说法。撒但已经蒙蔽了他们的双眼,看不清爱与顺从美妙而亲密的联系。不计其数的改正教徒甚至认为,顺服与否不会影响自己最终的得救。

根深蒂固的传统在今日的基督教大行其道,显然,撒但已经成功操控了众人的思想,让人拒绝上帝道德律法的要求。撒但倡导廉价的救恩(有人称之为“纵容的爱”),并以此作为行骗的舞台。真理与错谬最终的较量势必围绕忠诚与不忠,顺从与违命而展开。其焦点将直接关乎第四条诫命,因为它囊括了上帝创造大能与权柄的显著标志。

星期日——人的传统

耶稣曾说,将人的传统当做道理教导人,拜祂也是枉然。而如今使众人偏离诫命的主要传统就是守星期日。几乎任何教派的任何一名基督徒都会捍卫并高举十诫中的九条。惟独安息日引发了人对上帝神圣律法的仇恨与偏见。

在整本圣经中,唯独十条诫命是上帝亲手所写,是谁鼓动人偏偏蔑视上帝的十诫呢?为何不计其数的人将顺从与律法主义混为一谈?此等悲剧大半要归罪于牧师,就是那些引人偏离顺从之途的牧者。在举办布道会期间常有人对我说,他们的牧师瞋目切齿,用长篇的演说抨击安息日。由于这些牧师无法在圣经中找到守星期日的证据,再加上信徒执意要刨根问底,这难免会令他们气急败坏,转而攻击律法的有效性。这类牧者通常会从两点入手,攻击上帝的律法:传统派的牧者会强调“律法的精义”,执意认为字据已不再具备效力。如此便能将律法中的第七日更改为星期日。另一班人信奉自由主义神学,他们主张日日都一样,无需规定敬拜的日子,而且声称信徒完全不必理会律法的要求。

圣经早已为罪下了定义:“违背律法就是犯罪。”(约一3:4)保罗说,“哪里没有律法,那里就没有过犯,”(罗4:15)任何攻击律法的行为都是在削弱人对罪的认识。雅各指出,干犯诫命中的一条就是犯了众条,哪怕违背一条,“仍是成了犯律法的。”(雅2:10-12)

打消人对上帝亲手所写之道德律法的信心,这难道不算是严肃的问题吗?人若对十诫的权威失去了信心,还能严肃地对待罪恶吗?显然不会。圣职人员教导人犯罪的怪象固然难以理解,但我们若研究末后的预言,就会明白这令人匪夷所思的现象。

显然,上帝不得不处置旧约和新约时代不忠心的牧人。误导群羊的牧人会遭受可怕的判决。若不报告临近的危险,守望者就要对所导致的伤亡承担责任。事实上,这等牧人已经成了魔鬼的差役。保罗说,“这也不足为怪,因为连撒但也装作光明的天使。所以他的差役,若装作仁义的差役,也不算希奇。”(林后11:14,15)

只有圣经会以直白的方式给这些牧人贴上标签。显然,在上帝眼中,这等人是撒但的帮凶,由于害怕宣讲真理,他们便散播自己的观点。时候已到,我们要看明撒但的阴谋,他正在诱惑传道人、牧师,就是身居高位的宗教领袖,以基督的名教导种种歪曲的教义。保罗预言,“因为时候要到,人必厌烦纯正的道理,耳朵发痒……并且掩耳不听真道,偏向荒渺的言语。”(提后4:3-4)

值得注意的是,这些教师“掩耳不听真道。”他们看到了真理,也明白,却不愿承认。上帝对他们的判决与旧约时代的祭司毫无二致:“其中的祭司强解我的律法,亵渎我的圣物,不分别圣的和俗的,也不使人分辨洁净的和不洁净的,又遮眼不顾我的安息日;我也在他们中间被亵慢。”(结22:26)

旧约时代的祭司遮眼不顾主的安息日,末后的牧师也要掩耳不听真道。多么可悲!换句话说,他们明明看见了真理,却掩耳遮眼,设法逃避。我常与牧师们谈论关于安息日的道理。有人坦承星期六的确是圣经中的主日,有人则以种种理由拒绝。还有少数人难以相信上帝对于当守的日子竟如此在意。他们推断,有人在第七日敬拜不方便,所以另择日期,上帝一定会谅解的。与我交流的牧师当中,甚至有人不接受圣经为上帝的默示。

心存疑惑的牧者

我惊讶地发现,怀疑和批判的态度已经让众多牧师丧失了对圣经的信心。甚至许多资深而保守的福音派信徒,也开始怀疑圣经是否真的是上帝的默示,并常常以此作为拒绝安息日的借口。

在奇妙真相的一次布道会中,我与南部浸信会的一位牧师进行了一下午的有趣讨论,那位牧师想就安息日的主题进行一次面谈。因为他的部分教友参加了奇妙真相的布道会,随后就对他的教训提出了质疑。于是,他生平第一次深入研究了安息日的主题,以便答复心存质疑的教友。这位牧师请我到他的办公室面谈,期间他说明了无法接受安息日的原因,而他的解释令我诧异。之所以吃惊,是因为在历史上,南部浸信会素以注重基本原则,相信圣经而著名。但这位1975年毕业于路易斯维尔南方浸信会神学院的年轻人,竟然不相信创世记中的创造过程!他否认大洪水的存在,并且断言进化论才能解释人类的存在。这位牧师还反对约拿和大鱼的故事。最后,我问他是否相信耶稣为童女所生。他竟然回答说:“我并不认为相信耶稣为童女所生与得救息息相关。”

我真希望这样的态度在浸信会中只是个例外,可惜事实并非如此。那位牧师信誓旦旦地对我说,美南浸信会一半以上的牧师都站在他的立场。我巴不得他的推测有误,当然,我的确认为这个比例有些夸张。不过,我确信那位年轻牧师在神学院的大部分同学,正如这位牧师一样,已经不再相信圣经是上帝灵感的启示。

最后,经过进一步询问,他勉强承认了个人对于耶稣为童女所生的信仰,尽管他认为那并不重要。“教友们是否知道你对圣经的观点?”我问他。“绝对不知道!”他回答。他也不敢将自己的观点讲出来。我说,“戴夫,如果你的教会知道了咱们的对话,你一定会立即被解雇的。”我完全理解他为何不敢宣扬自己的信仰。

怀疑的浪潮越发汹涌,这也不足为奇。事实上,这恰恰是末时的征兆之一。我们正亲眼见证预言的应验。刚才所讲的只是耶稣即将复临的兆头之一。

你是否感到惊讶,这些神学院和著名的教派,怎么会在不知不觉中公然怀疑上帝的圣言呢?有一个原因是显而易见的。由于拒绝安息日,他们便打开了怀疑之门,开始质疑上帝六天的创造。而恰恰是这样的疑惑为他们接受进化论做了铺垫。上帝赐下安息日,以此提醒人晓得祂至高的创造权能。安息日代表了上帝身为独一真神的权威,安息日也是每周的提醒,让人牢记唯有上帝配受敬拜,唯有祂拥有创造和再造之能。安息日也是创造与救赎的记号,遵守这日能使人永不至被进化论和现代主义的邪说所迷惑。教会一旦拒绝了安息日,便是拒绝了最坚固的壁垒,而这壁垒能保护他们抵御致命的学说。任何一位进化论者或现代主义者都不会真正相信并遵守安息日。

安息日若能改变,圣经亦能如此

广为人接纳的反律法主义还会让人产生怀疑与困惑。教会试图摒弃十诫——上帝的道德律法,这无异于妥协了绝无错误的圣经教导。如果安息日能被废除,如果伟大的道德律法能作废,那么,几乎圣经中的任何部分也同样能废除了。可悲的是,讲台上的牧者正教导千万人如此行。

上帝如何看待在律法上搞破坏的人?先知玛拉基这样描写未能持守律法的牧者:“祭司的嘴里当存知识,人也当由他口中寻求律法,因为他是万军之耶和华的使者。你们却偏离正道,使许多人在律法上跌倒;你们废弃我与利未所立的约。这是万军之耶和华说的。所以我使你们被众人藐视,看为下贱,因你们不守我的道,竟在律法上瞻徇情面。”(玛2:7-9)

上帝谴责那些只偏爱部分律法的牧者。他们只传讲部分的律法,而非完整的诫命。他们“使许多人在律法上跌倒”,显然,人们是受到了他们的影响而去违背律法。在整本旧约圣经中,上帝概述了撒但废除律法的过程。

在结束这个主题之前,我想追踪此类预言的一条链环,而每一环都与一个共同的标记有关。众先知曾在他们的著作中提及这条线索,希望你能留意。

上帝的律法——防护墙

在整本旧约圣经中,上帝的律法主要是用墙垣作为象征。以赛亚曾明确指出,违背律法就好比破坏墙垣:“他们是悖逆的百姓……不肯听从耶和华的律法(law of the LORD)的儿女……故此,这罪孽在你们身上,好像将要破裂凸出来的高墙,顷刻之间忽然坍塌。”(赛30:9,13 根据英文KJV圣经直译)

请紧随我们的思路,我们要让其他受圣灵感动的圣经作者,进一步阐述这堵破裂之墙的基本概念。以西结说,某些违背律法之人要试图抹平墙上的裂口,掩盖他们的罪行。不幸的是,他们使用了伪劣的修补材料,墙壁看似完好,却完全无法通过验收。“愚顽的先知有祸了……没有上去堵挡破口,也没有为以色列家重修墙垣……就像有人立起墙壁,他们倒用未泡透的灰抹上。”(结13:3-10)

上帝斥责了这些属灵的领袖,因为他们没有修补破口和裂痕。作为墙垣的看守者,他们应当最先发现破裂之处,并立即发出警告,进行修补。而在这件事情上,祭司们不仅没有妥善修补,反而用上帝不许可的材料作为危险的替代品。未泡透的灰代表人企图用错误的教训来掩盖严重的过犯,而不是号召百姓回归完全的顺从。上帝不得不几次三番地警诫祭司,不可削弱祂律法的权威。玛拉基曾警告祭司:“你们使许多人在律法上跌倒……因你们不守我的道,竟在律法上瞻徇情面。”(玛 2:8-9)正因为这种态度,上帝才斥责他们用未泡透的灰补墙。

破裂的墙垣——干犯安息日

现在我们要确定律法的主要破口与第四条诫命有关。以西结书22:26-28再次提到了墙垣的主题。“其中的祭司强解我的律法,亵渎我的圣物……又遮眼不顾我的安息日……其中的先知为百姓用未泡透的灰抹墙,就是为他们见虚假的异象,用谎诈的占卜,说:‘主耶和华如此说’,其实耶和华没有说。”

这里我们看到律法中有一个特别的破口(干犯安息日),它与未泡透的灰存在着联系。同样,那些祭司或传道士要为这个错误负责。他们遮眼不看安息日,从而违背了律法。这是指他们明明看到了律法,却故意转脸,拒绝承认并遵守。那么,他们用未泡透的灰抹墙是什么意思?这也不难理解,他们用伪劣的材料来修补安息日的破口,而这样的修补无济于事。

他们设法使之看起来上帝已经认可了他们的做法,声称“‘主耶和华如此说’,其实耶和华没有说。”

问题:宗教领袖曾否妄图用虚假、毫无圣经依据的日子替代真正的安息日,并让人觉得这日子已经得到了上帝的许可?他们确实如此行了!他们不仅没有恢复第七日的安息日——异教曾渗入早期教会,使真正的安息日有了破口——反而将古代敬拜太阳的日子引入了教会。尽管毫无圣经依据,这些宗教领袖竟然将拜太阳的日子尊称为“主日”,还不断强调“主耶和华如此说,”“其实耶和华没有说。”

上帝查验墙垣

上帝当真允许人篡改祂完备的律法吗?耶稣说,“他们将人的吩咐当作道理教导人,所以拜我也是枉然。”(太15:9)无论涂抹多少未泡透的、含有杂质的灰也无法使墙垣完好如初。除非使用原始的材料——一周的第七天,才能通过上帝精密准绳的细致校验。祂是律法的设立者,墙垣的建造者,祂只接受自己最初设立的原原本本的律法,不能有丝毫的出入。“祂又指示我一件事:有一道墙是按准绳建筑的,主手拿准绳站在其上……主说:‘我要吊起准绳在我民以色列中’。”(摩7:7-8)准绳可以测量墙壁是否笔直,上帝也要用神圣的律法检验祂的百姓。耶稣说,若以人的吩咐当作道理教导人,他们敬拜也是枉然。“这就是你们借着遗传,废了上帝的诫命。”(太15:6)

通过基督的话我们得知,人要用传统废掉上帝的律法。因此,那未泡透的灰代表星期日敬拜的传统,它造就了律法的破口。结果有一段墙与最初完美的墙垣格格不入。

有人或许会说我们断章取义,他们认为在现时代这堵墙并不是指上帝的律法。先知以西结说,在末后,那堵用未泡透的灰涂抹的假墙,将要被最后的七灾彻底摧毁。“所以你要对那些抹上未泡透灰的人说:‘墙要倒塌……狂风也要吹裂这墙’。”(结13:11)

抹墙工被毁于大灾

圣经曾否论述大雹灾发生的时刻?约翰这样描述:“又有大雹子从天落在人身上…因为这雹子的灾极大,人就要亵渎上帝。”(启16:21)

这里有证据,在最后的七灾降下时,虚假的传统之墙将被摧毁。在以西结书13:14-15节,上帝在怒气中论到对这墙的判决:“我要这样拆毁你们那未泡透灰所抹的墙…墙必倒塌,你们也必在其中灭亡…我要这样向墙和用未泡透灰抹墙的人成就我怒中所定的。”祂的大怒是什么?

上帝指出,祂的大怒就是末了的七灾。“就是七位天使掌管末了的七灾,因为上帝的大怒在这七灾中发尽了。”(启15:1)看到那幅画面了吗?上帝在愤怒中降下冰雹,摧毁假墙。冰雹就是七大灾之一,代表上帝的怒气。用未泡透的灰抹墙之人的判决就是七大灾。

但我们如何确定这未泡透的灰一定就是星期日敬拜的传统?为了避免有人对这一点产生疑问,我们不妨来检验最后的证据。上帝的愤怒惟独要降在那些盖了兽印之人的身上。“若有人拜兽和兽像,在额上或手上受了印记…这人也必喝上帝大怒的酒。”(启14:9-10)

让我们一起进行分析。上帝圣言的真相就摆在我们眼前。既然最后的七大灾只降在接受兽印的人身上,而虚伪的抹墙工要造灾,因此可以得出结论:这些抹墙工必定是接受兽印之人。上文已经说明星期日的传统将被用作修补的材料。那么,守星期日与兽印是否存在关联呢?千真万确!我们有一本免费的小册子,专门详细阐述二者的联系,书名为《龙,兽,和妇人》。我们甚至无需深入研究这一主题,也能看出那些抹墙工人(改变上帝律法的人)乃是星期日传统的拥护者,他们要遭受七灾的刑罚,而这灾只会降在一切接受兽印的人身上。除非你是瞎眼的,否则人人都能看出兽印与守星期日的密切联系。

下面我们从旧约的先知书信中,对墙垣的象征意义进行更深入的探索。上帝深切关注祂律法中的破口或裂痕。祂说,“我在他们中间寻找一人重修墙垣,在我面前为这国站在破口防堵,使我不灭绝这国,却找不到一个。”(结22:30)

由于人们用传统修补破口,借此掩人耳目,修筑假墙,因此,上帝以先知为代表来寻求一位能够“重修墙垣”并“站在破口防堵”的人。这是怎样的画面?上帝是否寻找了有勇气恢复不受欢迎之真理的人?圣经有没有描写必有忠心之人修复墙垣,以通过上帝准绳的检验?

来看一看以赛亚如何描绘末后的画面吧!“那些出于你的人,必修造久已荒废之处。你要建立拆毁累代的根基,你必称为补破口的,和重修路径与人居住的。你若在安息日掉转你的脚步,在我圣日不以操作为喜乐,称安息日为可喜乐的,称耶和华的圣日为可尊重的……”(赛58:12,13)

这里清楚说明必有人修补破口,恢复原墙。这一点毋庸置疑。那些回归真安息日并清除人为传统的人,必要使安息日重新绽放光芒,上帝的百姓也必称这日为可喜乐,可尊重的圣日。摆脱了反律法主义者和自由派的错谬之后,上帝的律法必被靠恩得救的基督徒视为伟大的道德准则,这也恰恰表明他们与耶稣的关系是基于真实的爱。

通过收集圣经真理的重要线索,我们很容易对这段预言做一个迅速的总结。在末后,假牧人要竭力削弱上帝律法的权威。

影响力较大的宗教团体要联合起来,引导众人拒绝真正的安息日。他们将第四条诫命弃之不顾,使得那代表防护之墙的律法有了破口。当人用伪造的材料——星期日的敬拜——来修复破口时,上帝便要去寻找愿意修复破口的人,他们要转回遵守真正的安息日。凡试图更改上帝的律法,以太阳日取代安息日的人将会受兽的印记,他们难逃末后七大灾的刑罚。

最后,让我们用希望和保证来结束这段令人沮丧的预言,并非所有人都在拆毁或试图改变上帝的律法。在启示录中,上帝这样描述忠于祂的圣徒:“圣徒的忍耐就在此,他们是守上帝诫命和耶稣真道的。”(启12:17 )必有一班余民不随从人的传统。任何上帝诫命(要求)的替代品,他们一概不接受。作为末时代的使徒教会,这些圣徒的特征便是爱耶稣为至上,并遵守祂的诫命。这一小群忠贞之人便是撒但攻击的终极目标,这也是魔鬼与上帝的最终对决。约翰这样描写,“龙向妇人发怒,去与她其余的儿女争战,这儿女就是守上帝诫命,为耶稣作见证的。”(启12:17)

愿上帝赐你勇气成为余民教会的一员,这教会有耶稣的信心和见证,并遵守上帝全部的诫命。这些余民儿女才是真正的圣徒。

总之,要留意相关的经文环环相扣,说明了这墙垣(上帝的律法)的遭遇。

1. 墙垣代表上帝的律法。墙有破口表明上帝的律法遭受了破坏(犯罪)。“因为他们是悖逆的百姓、说谎的儿女,不肯听从耶和华的律法的儿女……故此,这罪孽在你们身上,好像将要破裂凸出来的高墙,顷刻之间忽然坍塌。”(赛30:9-13 根据英文KJV圣经直译)

2. 假牧师们并未修补破口。反而用未泡透的灰,就是伪造的材料抹在其上。“愚顽的先知有祸了…没有上去堵挡破口,也没有……重修墙垣……就像有人立起墙壁,他们倒用未泡透的灰抹上。”(结13:3-14)

3. 墙的破口就是安息日,牧师虽然看见了,却选择遮眼不看。他们不但没有恢复真安息日,还用异教的星期日(未泡透的灰)作为替代品,并声称这是主的吩咐,而“主并没有如此说”。“其中的祭司强解我的律法,亵渎我的圣物,不分别圣的和俗的…又遮眼不顾我的安息日…其中的先知为百姓用未泡透的灰抹墙,就是为他们见虚假的异象,用谎诈的占卜,说:‘主耶和华如此说’,其实耶和华没有说。”(结22:26-28)

4. 假冒之墙(星期日)终必大昭天下,并在大灾(冰雹)中全然灭尽。“所以你要对那些抹上未泡透灰的人说:‘墙要倒塌,必有暴雨漫过。大冰雹啊,你们要降下,狂风也要吹裂这墙。’”(结13:11)

5. 冰雹是末后的七大灾之一。“又有大雹子从天落在人身上,每一个约重一他连得(一他连得约有九十斤)。为这雹子的灾极大,人就亵渎上帝。”(启16:21)

6. 这灾被称为“上帝的大怒”,“我又看见在天上有异象,大而且奇,就是七位天使掌管末了的七灾,因为上帝的大怒在这七灾中发尽了。”(启15:1)

7. 上帝的大怒要降给那些接受了兽印的人。“若有人拜兽和兽像,在额上或在手上受了印记……这人也必喝上帝大怒的酒。”(启14:9,10)

8. 上帝的大怒(大灾)要临到那些使用未泡透的灰(星期日)之人。大灾和毁灭证明,这些事情要在世界的末了发生,这些预言也同样适于我们的时代。“所以主耶和华如此说:‘我要发怒,使狂风吹裂这墙…又发怒降下大冰雹,毁灭这墙。我要这样拆毁你们那未泡透灰所抹的墙……我要这样向墙和用未泡透灰抹墙的人成就我怒中所定的……”(结13:13-15)

9. 上帝寻找妥善修补破口,恢复祂律法的人。“我在他们中间寻找一人重修墙垣,在我面前为这国站在破口防堵。”(结22:30)

上帝找到了修补破口的人。他们要恢复真安息日的应有地位。“那些出于祢的人…必称为补破口的,和重修路径与人居住的。你若在安息日掉转(或译:谨慎)你的脚步,在我圣日不以操作为喜乐。”(赛58:12,13)


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Narrow is the Way

Some of the most astonishing prophecies in the Bible have to do with the proportion of people who will be saved at the coming of Christ. Jesus clearly taught that only a comparative few would be ready to inherit His kingdom. He said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13, 14).

In Luke 18:8, by asking a very penetrating question, Jesus implied that the “few” might be even less than we could hope or imagine. “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Again, the Master spoke of the final separation in these words: “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26). Only eight people were saved from the flood and “as it was then” so shall it be at His coming. Other Bible writers and prophets use similar language to portray the “little flock,” the “remnant,” and the “few” who will prove faithful to the very end.

The fact that so few will be saved is not nearly as shocking as the reason given in the Bible for their loss. It seems obvious that great multitudes will be excluded from heaven even though they professed Christ, worshiped Him regularly, and spent much of their time doing wonderful works in His name. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

These verses reveal that the earth will be flooded with a lot of false religion in the last days. Millions will be spending their time, their effort, and their money in promoting a religion that involves apparent miracles, apparent spiritual gifts, and much enthusiastic activity. All of this is explicitly spelled out in the teaching of our Lord. Yet those many will finally be utterly rejected by Jesus and shut out of heaven. Talk about startling truth! More people need to get their eyes open to this little-understood situation that will characterize the end time. Then we need to find out how to avoid the vast spiritual delusions which will cause so many religious people to be lost.

Why will they be rejected in spite of their devoted worship and ministry in the name of Jesus? It has caused some people almost to despair of salvation. How can one know that his own religion will not finally be found in this category? Let us seriously look for the answers to these questions. Our salvation does not depend upon our sincerity, but upon finding the truth in God’s Word and obeying it!


Obedience is the Acid Test a Valid Religion

The first point we must understand is this: RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY IS QUITE USELESS IF WE ARE NOT DOING THE WILL OF GOD. Christ declared that calling on God’s name, and even leading out in great selfless humanitarian programs, will be wasted if obedience to God’s will is excluded. Mark this fact upon the table of your mind and never forget it—the Scriptures exalt OBEDIENCE as the distinguishing test of a valid religion. Those who engage ever so fully in the preaching of the name of Jesus—with time, talent, and money—and do not keep His commandments, cannot meet the approval of God. In fact, because they are not obeying Christ, such worshipers actually open a door by which Satan can enter unrecognized and work miracles through them, IN THE NAME OF JESUS, which they ascribe to the power of God. The plaintive plea, “Have we not prophesied . . . and in Thy name cast out devils?” is proof positive that their miracles had been done by some other power than that of Christ, albeit in His name. If Jesus never knew them, who else could work such miracles? Only Satan. The Bible speaks of “the spirits of devils, working miracles” (Revelation 16:14).

By the way, what did Jesus mean when He said, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”? How does one really come to “know” the Lord? The beloved John tells us, “Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” (1 John 3:6). “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). Knowing Him means we obey Him. Biblically, it is impossible to be a true child of God while refusing to obey the commandments of God. Willful disobedience cuts off the relationship, drives away the Holy Spirit by which we are sealed, and effectively removes the individual from the position of grace.

Now we begin to see how simple it is to test the religious spirits that are in the world today. It is time that we look past the stimulating music, the spellbinding oratory, and even the exciting witnessing programs and apply the test set up by the great Author of all truth—Jesus Himself. He made it exceedingly clear that the original requirements of God have remained unchanged. The condition of obedience which would have kept man in Eden becomes the condition for his restoration to Eden. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).


Love is Not Legalism

We must not fail to emphasize at this point that element of love which must also attend all acceptable obedience. Forcing the forms of compliance without a personal love-experience with Christ the Savior is fully as fatal a mistake as omitting all obedience. Jesus had to deal with the cold formalism of the Pharisees over and over again. And because He so thoroughly condemned the program of salvation by works, many have hastily assumed that He considered obedience unimportant. Now we need to see the beautiful balance in Christ’s doctrine of faith and works. He taught that obeying in order to be saved is the worst kind of legalism, but obeying because we are saved is the acid test of a true religious experience. Obedience follows true faith just as surely as day follows night. Incidentally, the word “legalist” has been thrown around with too much abandon. I greatly fear that many sincere Christians have been accused of legalism only because their love for Christ led them to be more particular in their obedience than their accusers. Never forget that a legalist is one who believes that he can be saved by his works. The person who keeps the commandments because he doesn’t want to displease the God he loves is not a legalist at all. The old argument is often heard, “I’d rather see a happy, loving Christian who doesn’t keep all of the commandments than to see an unloving one who strictly obeys the law.” Why try to measure degrees of guilt? Both are completely wrong. Our feelings have nothing to do with it. Christ has established the standard of measurement. Nothing less than a “faith which worketh by love” will be accepted.

But let us return to the alarming proposition that most of mankind will be lost, including the fervent religious activists. Worship is commanded in the Bible and is a necessary ingredient of true religion, but will a host of worshiping Christians be lost? Jesus said, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). Another shattering statement of truth! People will engage in vain worship if they reject true doctrine in favor of man’s tradition.


When is Worship Vain?

On several occasions Jesus urged the necessity of walking in all known truth. “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin” (John 15:22). “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:41). When a man learns a point of truth in the Bible and refuses to obey it, he is guilty of practicing sin. Such a man is fighting the Holy Spirit whose primary work is to guide into all truth. This refusal to obey hardens the conscience, causing the Holy Spirit to finally withdraw and leads to the unpardonable sin. No wonder such worship is vain. By rejecting the commandments of God in favor of human traditions, the Holy Spirit is spurned. According to Acts 5:32 only those who obey are eligible to be filled with the Spirit.

Let us pause now and consider the profound significance of what we have discovered. The vast majority of people will be lost, including many who work miracles in Christ’s name, worship Him, and claim to know Him as His children. The reason they will be lost is that they do not love Him enough to keep all of His commandments. For some reason these ardent church workers have learned to look lightly upon the law of God. Most of them consider it legalism to believe that disobedience could keep them out of heaven. Satan has blinded their eyes to the beautiful, intimate relationship of love and obedience. Millions of Protestant Christians have actually been taught that their obedience or disobedience can have no effect whatever upon their ultimate salvation.

In view of the deep-rooted tradition of popular Christianity today, we can see how Satan has manipulated millions into a state of mind to reject the claims of God’s moral law. Under the twisted interpretation of a cheap grace (someone has called it “sloppy agape”) the stage has been set for the devil’s master strategy of deception. The final contest between truth and error will revolve around the basic issue of loyalty or disloyalty, obedience or disobedience. And the focus will be squarely on the fourth commandment which contains the great distinctive sign of God’s creative power and authority.


Sunday—A Tradition of Man

It seems more than coincidental that Jesus spelled out “traditions of men” as the false doctrine that would lead into vain worship. The chief tradition today which has turned multitudes from keeping the Ten Commandments is the doctrine of Sunday-keeping. Almost any Christian of any persuasion can defend and extol nine of the Ten Commandments. It is only the Sabbath which has stirred deep hatred and prejudice against the holy law of God.

Who inspired that attitude of contempt for the only part of the Bible which God wrote with His own hand? How have so many millions been led to equate obedience with legalism? The tragedy is that ministers have largely been responsible for turning people away from obedience. Repeatedly in my evangelistic crusades people tell me of angry tirades made by their own pastors against the Sabbath. Unable to give any Bible reason for Sunday observance, and frustrated by the insistent questions of their flock, many pastors turn to emotional attacks upon the validity of the law. I have found that these attacks generally follow two lines of argument. The fundamentalist group of preachers emphasizes the “spirit of the law” while insisting that the letter is not binding. This allows for the specific seventh day to be set aside for Sunday. The other group of more liberal theologians contends that no special day of worship is necessary and the believer is entirely free from all claims of the law.

Since sin is defined in the Bible as “the transgression of the law,” and Paul affirms that “Where no law is, there is no transgression,” any attack on the law serves only to weaken man’s convictions about sin (1 John 3:4; Romans 4:15). James tells us that the breaking of even one commandment is a violation of all ten, and constitutes transgression or sin (James 2:10-12).

Is it a serious matter to tear down confidence in this great hand-written moral code of God? Do men take sin more lightly when they lose faith in the authority of the Ten Commandments? Without question they do. The strange circumstance of ministers teaching people to sin is not easy to comprehend. It is only when we study the great lines of prophecy concerning these last days that we can begin to understand the phenomenon.

Apparently, God had to deal with unfaithful pastors in both Old and New Testament times. Some strong judgments had to be pronounced against the shepherds who misled the flock. Watchmen who would not tell the truth about approaching dangers were held accountable for the deaths which resulted. Such preachers are actually turned into agents of the evil one. Paul wrote, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15).

Only the inspired Book would label these ministers in such a blunt manner. Apparently, God looks upon such men as actual ministers of Satan because they fear to tell the truth and, instead, give their own ideas. It is time to understand the great conspiracy of Satan to lead men of the cloth—high-placed religious leaders—to teach perverse doctrines in the name of Christ. Paul predicted that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine . . . And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4).

It is interesting to note that these last-day teachers are described as turning their ears away from the truth. This means that they saw it, understood it, but did not want to acknowledge it. God made exactly the same charge against His priests in the Old Testament. “Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26).

The priests of the Old Testament hid their eyes from the Sabbath and the ministers of the last days would turn their ears from the truth. How tragic! In other words, they would see it but would try to get away from it by refusing to keep looking. I have often talked to ministers of various persuasions on the subject of the Sabbath. Some have honestly admitted that Saturday is the true Lord’s day of the Bible. Others reject it for various reasons. A few just could not believe that God was so particular about which day to observe. They reasoned that God would be understanding with those who found it more convenient to keep a different day than the seventh day. Some ministers that I talked with do not really accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God.


Preachers in Doubt

It is shocking to realize how skepticism and higher criticism have robbed many pastors of their faith in the Bible. Even many of the old-line conservative evangelical denominations are becoming riddled with doubts about the inspiration of the Scriptures. Often that is used to justify their rejection of the Sabbath.

In one Amazing Facts crusade I spent an interesting afternoon with a Southern Baptist minister who had requested an interview on the Sabbath subject. Some of his members were attending the Amazing Facts crusade and had questioned him about what they had learned. For the first time in his life he delved into the subject in order to find answers for his people. Then he asked me to meet him in his church office. I listened in amazement as he explained why he could not accept the Sabbath. I was amazed because the Southern Baptists have had the historic reputation of being fundamental, Bible-believing Christians. But this young man, who graduated from the Louisville Southern Baptist Seminary in 1975, did not believe in the Genesis story of creation. He denied the flood story and affirmed his belief in evolution as the explanation of man’s existence. He explicitly rejected the story of Jonah and the whale. Finally, I asked him if he believed in the virgin birth of Jesus. His answer was, “I don’t believe it is necessary to believe in the virgin birth to be saved.”

I wish I could tell you that this attitude is exceptional among the Baptists, but it is not. This pastor assured me that over half of the Southern Baptist ministers believed just like he did. I certainly hope he is mistaken about that estimation, and I’m frankly of the opinion that he was exaggerating the numbers. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that the majority of this young preacher’s classmates had lost their faith in the inspired Word while studying at the seminary, just as he had.

Finally, under close questioning, he weakly affirmed some kind of personal faith in the virgin birth even though he didn’t think it was too important. I asked him if his congregation knew about his views on the Bible, and he assured me that they did not. He did not dare preach the things that he believed. I said, “Dave, if your church knew what you have expressed to us, they would fire you on the spot.” I could understand perfectly why he was afraid to preach his convictions.

It should not be too great a surprise to see this wave of skepticism growing. Basically, it is one of the signs of the end of time. We are watching prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. What I have just told you is only one of the dramatic signs that Jesus is coming very soon.

Do you wonder how the seminaries and great denominations have drifted into this sort of open doubt of the Word of God? One reason is obvious. By denying the Sabbath they opened the door to doubts about the literal six-day creation. Another easy step led to the vast periods assigned to evolution. God gave the Sabbath as a divine reminder of His sovereign creative power. Representing His authority as the only true God, the Sabbath was to be a weekly reminder that the only God deserving of worship is the One who alone had the power to create and recreate. As a sign of both creation and redemption, observance of the Sabbath would be a perpetual protection against the evil of evolution as well as modernism. When the churches rejected the Sabbath, they also rejected the strongest bulwark which would have protected them from the kind of deadly disbelief which the young minister expressed. No man can be an evolutionist or a modernist who truly believes and keeps the Sabbath.


If the Sabbath Can Be Changed Then the Bible Can Be Changed

This state of confusing doubt is also the fruit of antinomianism which has been so widely espoused. By trying to do away with the moral law of the Ten Commandments, the churches have compromised the doctrine of an infallible Bible. If the Sabbath can be explained away, if the great basic moral law can be nullified, then almost any other part of the Bible can be rationalized. And it has been, by millions who were taught to do so by the preacher behind the pulpit.

What does God think about those who have created this shameful breach in His law? Through the prophet Malachi God describes the failure of His ministers to uphold the law: “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law . . . according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law” (Malachi 2:7-9).

God charges the preachers with being partial in the law. That means they preached part of it but not all of it. They caused people to stumble at the law, which indicates that they influenced people to break it. Throughout the Old Testament God outlined the development of a Satan-inspired program to set aside His law.

Closing this subject, I would like to trace one chain of such prophecies, all links of which are related by a common symbol. I want you to notice the connecting thread which is picked up by both major and minor prophets and woven through their writings.


God’s Law—A Protecting Wall

The chief symbol of God’s law seems to be that of a wall, and it is used extensively throughout the Old Testament. Isaiah dramatically represented disobedience to the law as a break in the wall. “This is a rebellious people . . . children that will not hear the law of the LORD . . . Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall” (Isaiah 30:9-13).

Follow closely now as we allow other inspired writers to enlarge upon this basic concept of the breached wall. Ezekiel indicated that some transgressors of the law would try to cover their act of sin by smoothing over the break in the wall. Unfortunately, they would substitute some weak, counterfeit material to make the wall look good but which would not prove to be acceptable at all. “Woe unto the foolish prophets . . .Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge . . . and one built up a wall, and lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar” (Ezekiel 13:3-10).

Here God rebukes the spiritual leaders for not making up the gaps and breaches in the wall. As the watchmen on the walls they were to be the very first ones to notice any weakness and to warn of the break immediately and make restoration of the defenses. In this case, not only were the priests not making proper repair of the breach but were condoning a dangerous substitute of weak materials which God could not approve. The untempered mortar represents an effort to gloss over the seriousness of the defect by false teaching instead of leading the people back to full obedience. Repeatedly God had to warn the priests against weakening the authority of His law. Malachi warned the priests: “Ye have caused many to stumble at the law . . . ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law” (Malachi 2:8-9). It was such an attitude that caused God to rebuke them for daubing the wall with untempered mortar.


The Wall Broken — The Sabbath Breach

Now we are ready to establish the interesting fact that the primary breach in the law had to do with the fourth commandment. The prophet picked up the theme of the wall again in Ezekiel 22:26-28. “Her priests have violated my law, and profaned mine holy things . . . and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths . . . And her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar saying, Thus saith the LORD GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.”

Here we have a specific breach of the law (Sabbath breaking) connected with the untempered daubing. Again, it is the priests, or preachers, themselves who are responsible for the error. As we have already noted, they have broken the law by hiding their eyes from the Sabbath. This indicates that they clearly saw it but deliberately turned away and refused to recognize or obey it. But what does it mean that they daubed the wall with untempered mortar? It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to see that they were trying to fill up the Sabbath breaking with counterfeit material that did not really restore the wall at all.

Furthermore, they would try to make it seem that God had approved what they had done, saying, “Thus saith the LORD GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.”

Question: Have religious leaders tried to put some false, un scriptural day in place of the true Sabbath and tried to make it appear that God condones it? Indeed they have! Instead of restoring the true seventh-day Sabbath, which had been breached by pagan infiltration of the early church, they brought in a day dedicated to ancient sun worship. Without a line of biblical authority they honored that day with the title “Lord’s Day” and continually say, “Thus saith the LORD, when the LORD hath not spoken.”


God Measures the Wall

Does the Lord indeed approve of this unholy tampering with His perfect law? Jesus said, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). No amount of daubing with foreign, untempered material can make the wall whole again. Only the restoration of the original material, the seventh day of the week, can satisfy the great plumbline of God’s scrutiny. He is the Author of that law—the builder of the wall—and He will accept nothing less than the full original strength and proportion. “Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in _his hand. . . . Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people” (Amos 7:7, 8). A plumbline is used to determine the exact straightness of a wall, and God will measure His people by His holy law. Jesus declared that even worship is vain and empty when the commandments of men are taught instead of His commandments. “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (Matthew 15:6).

By these words Christ surely established that tradition will be used to nullify His law. Thus we can see how the untempered mortar represents the tradition of Sunday worship, which is applied to the breach in the law. The result is the institution of a section of wall which is alien to the original, perfect one.

Someone may object that we are taking verses out of context and that the wall symbol does not refer to God’s law in these modern days. The prophet Ezekiel indicated that the counterfeit wall would be daubed with untempered mortar in the last days, and that the seven last plagues would bring its total destruction. “Say unto them that daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall . . . and a stormy wind shall rend it” (Ezekiel 13:11).


Wall Daubers Destroyed by the Plagues

Does the Bible give us any information about the time of this great deluge of hail? John the revelator describes the event in these words: “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven . . . and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great” (Revelation 16:21).

Here is evidence that the false wall of tradition will be dealt with at the time of the seven last plagues. God speaks of that judgment on the wall as “my wrath” in Ezekiel 13:14-15. “So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar . . . and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof. . . . Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall and upon them that have daubed it.” What is His wrath?

God refers to the seven last plagues as His wrath: “Seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God” (Revelation 15:1). Do you get the picture now? His wrath in the destruction of the counterfeit wall is accomplished by the overflowing hail, which is one of the last plagues, also designated as God’s wrath. This places the judgment on the wall-daubers at the end of time when the seven last plagues are poured out.

But how can we be sure that this untempered mortar is truly the tradition of Sunday worship? In case there is any doubt remaining on this point, please weigh this final proof. The wrath of God falls ONLY upon those who have the mark of the beast. “If any man worship the beast . . . and receive his mark . . . The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God” (Revelation 14:9, 10).

Now let’s do some reasoning together. The facts of God’s Word are before us. Since the seven last plagues fall only upon those who have the mark of the beast, and since the counterfeit wall-builders receive the plagues, we have to conclude that the wall-builders have the mark. We have already shown that the Sunday tradition was used in the daubing. Does this mean that Sunday-keeping is connected with the mark of the beast? Indeed it does. For a full explanation of this fascinating connection, write for the free booklet, The Beast, The Dragon, and The Woman. Even without looking into the subject any further we can see that those who daub the wall (change God’s law) are Sunday advocates and that they also receive the plagues which fall ONLY upon those who have the mark of the beast. One would have to be blind to miss the fact that the mark is tied closely to Sunday-keeping.

Let us now pursue the wall symbolism further in the writings of the Old Testament prophets. God was deeply concerned about the gap or breach that had been made in His law. He is quoted as saying, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me” (Ezekiel 22:30).

In view of the diversionary tactics of daubing tradition into the breach, creating a false wall, God is represented by the prophet as searching for someone who will “make up the hedge” and “stand in the gap.” What a picture is presented here! Did God find those who would have the courage to restore unpopular truth? Does the Bible finally describe the faithful rebuilding of the wall to meet the specifications of God’s plumbline?

Let Isaiah take up the thread now and paint the final picture. “And they that shall be of thee (of God) shall . . . be called, The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable . . .” (Isaiah 58:12, 13).

Here, without any equivocation, we find a clear description of those who will repair the breach and restore the original wall. It is those who turn back to the true Sabbath, and who enter into the work of clearing the debris of tradition, so that the Sabbath may again glow as the delight of God’s people—a holy day and honorable. Freed from the false allusions cast by antinomians and libertines, the law of God will be recognized as the great moral standard of grace-saved Christians—evidence of a genuine love relationship with Jesus.

Gathering up these golden threads of Bible truth, we can summarize the prophetic story very easily and quickly. In the last days great thrusts will be made by false shepherds to weaken the authority of God’s law.

Influential religious groups will join forces to lead people to reject the true Sabbath. By setting aside the fourth commandment, a breach is made in the law which is represented as a protecting wall. While counterfeit material is used to restore the gap in the form of Sunday worship, God finds a people who will be called the repairers of the breach and who turn back to keeping the true Sabbath. Those who try to change His law by substituting the pagan day of the sun receive the mark of the beast and experience the punishment of the seven last plagues.

But let us close this discouraging prophetic picture on a note of hope and assurance. Not all will be found tearing down or trying to change God’s law. In the book of Revelation God points out His saints and describes them in these words: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). A remnant will not go along with the traditions of men. They will not accept any substitute for the requirements of God. As the last end-piece of the apostolic church, they are characterized by loving Jesus supremely and keeping His commandments. Satan’s final desperate battle against God will take place over the loyalty of this little group. Here’s the way John viewed that clash: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).

May God grant you the courage to be a part of that remnant church which has the faith of Jesus, the testimony of Jesus, and keeps all of His commandments. These truly may be designated as the saints.

In summary, note how link upon link of related texts show the fortunes and misfortunes of the wall—God’s law.


1. The wall represents God’s law. A breach in the wall represents breaking the law [iniquity] (Isaiah 30:9-13), “This is a rebellious people . . . children that will not hear the law of the LORD . . . therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall.”

 

2. False ministers did not repair the break. But they did try to mend the gap with weak, untempered mortar, a counterfeit material (Ezekiel 13:3-14), “Woe unto the foolish prophets . . . ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge . . . and one built up a wall, and lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar.”

 

3. The breach in the wall was the Sabbath, which the preachers saw, but hid their eyes from it. Instead of restoring the true Sabbath, they used the pagan Sunday [untempered mortar] as a substitute, claiming that the Lord said it was all right, when “the LORD hath not spoken” (Ezekiel 22:26-28), “Her priests have violated my law, and profaned mine holy things . . . and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths . . . and her prophets have daubed them with untempered mortar . . . saying, Thus saith the LORD GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.”

 

4. The counterfeit wall [Sunday] will be revealed and destroyed when the plagues fall [hail] (Ezekiel 13:11), “Say unto them that daub it with untempered mortar that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall and a stormy wind shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.”

 

5. Hail is one of the seven last plagues (Revelation 16:21), “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven . . . and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”

 

6. The plagues are called “the wrath of God” (Revelation 15:1), “Seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.”

 

7. The wrath of God [plagues] fall on those who have the mark of the beast (Revelation 14:9, 10), “If any man worship the beast . . . and receive his mark . . . The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.”

 

8. God’s wrath [plagues] fall on those who used the untempered mortar [Sunday]. The plagues and destruction prove that these events take place at the end of the world and that these prophecies apply to our day (Ezekiel 13:13-15), “I will even rend it . . . and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar . . . Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall and upon them that have daubed it.”

 

9. God looked for those who would repair the gap or breach in His law correctly (Ezekiel 22:30), “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me.”

 

10. God finds those who will repair the breach. They will restore the true Sabbath to its right place (Isaiah 58:12, 13), “And they that shall be of thee . . . shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of the paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day.”