By Vestal Chaffin
Sometimes we get tired and weary and need some rest but seemingly many go to the wrong place for rest. They go to some kind of sports, entertainment or contest of some sort. Our homes should be the best place for physical rest, peace and quietness. We as Christians look forward to our “resting place” in heaven. Those people who do not obey the gospel have no hope for rest but “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:10; 2 Thess. 1:7-9).
Today, we are living in the third dispensation of this old world. There was the Patriarchal dispensation which lasted about 2500 years. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5) and destroyed the earth with a flood. Then there was the Mosaical dispensation which lasted about 1500 years, and the people again forgot the rest that God had promised them (Heb. 3:18). Jeremiah describes Israel as a rebellious and sinful people. He says, “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place” (Jer. 50:6). We are living under the final and Christian dispensation. The two former dispensations ended with some what of a disgrace as far as man is concerned. This present dispensation will end with the destruction of this world (2 Pet. 3:10-11). How will it be in the end? Have we forgotten our resting place?
This old world is not our eternal abiding place of rest. Here we are only pilgrims traveling through this world to our eternal home. This world is not suitable for an eternal resting place, it is filled with sorrow and death. Man, like all earthly things, must pass away. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 5:1). All the pleasures and joys of earth are transient. They are only momentary compared to eternity (2 Cor. 4:18). Yet people will spend their leisure time seeking after pleasure, TV, sports, etc. rather than reading and studying God’s word and preparing themselves to go to heaven.
This world is not able to give us the things we need most. It makes no difference what we may have that is of a temporal nature. There are few, if any, that are completely satisfied. Man should be longing for something that this old world cannot give. When Job was afflicted with boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head, he expressed a desire not to live always. “So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe; I would not live always; let me alone; for my days are vanity” (Job 7:15-16). “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). He was looking forward to that rest that he would receive, “As a servantearnestly desireth the shadow . . .” (Job 7:2). When David was sorely oppressed by the wicked, he said, “And I said, O that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest” (Ps. 55:6). The apostle Paul was looking for something beyond this veil of tears that was far better than this life. He said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:2; 3:14). The apostle was always striving and pressing toward his goal, to reach that rest that was promised to the people of God (Heb. 4:9; Phil. 3:14).
Have we forgotten our resting place? If we sincerely desire to go to heaven, we will serve the Lord and make preparation to go there. Too many people today are wedded to this world and its pleasures and have no desire to go to heaven. Now is the time to serve the Lord, “the night cometh, when no man can work” (Jn. 9:4). They fail to lift up their eyes to him from whom all blessings flow, and in whom we “live and have our being” (Acts 17:28). If any one does not desire to go home to rest in heaven, he will not make any preparation. Jesus invites all who labor in his kingdom to come and receive rest. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).
Along life’s pathways, there are many decisions that must be made. We must decide to accept the Lord’s invitation or reject it. There is only one way to receive that rest, that is by accepting the Lord’s invitation. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). There are no detours or by-passes; we must accept Christ in his own appointed way to receive that rest. He has given us that one way to be reconciled to God (Eph. 2:16; 4:4-6). “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord” (Lam. 3:40). This is a personal decision. I cannot decide for you, neither can any one else. If you fail to make the necessary preparation now, in this life, no one can share his preparation with you in that great and final day. The five wise virgins could not share their oil with the foolish virgins (Matt. 25:1-13).
Therefore, we should give diligent heed to make the necessary preparation. “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it . . . Let us labour therefore to enter into the rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief ” (Heb. 4:1,11). Let us live the Christian life day by day, and strive to glorify God every day of our life. Let us fully add the Christian graces (2 Pet. 1:5-11), and finally enter the eternal kingdom. May we never, never, forget our eternal resting place.
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 24, p. 9
December 15, 1994