5.2. “In Vain … All in Vain!”
A Divine Scriptural Condemnation –
declaring ALL but the True Doctrine and True worship is in Vain!
The Scriptures are emphatic:
ALL but the True Doctrine and True worship is “worthless worship”!
YOU can Test yourself –
The Bible has a Divinely instituted Test for you to know if you conform or not
In the face of this fearful Divine Condemnation that your worship may be “In Vain!” – Will you insist on continuing in your Faith (one of thousands of contending Faiths in the world today) which you have selected – or are you prepared to confront your belief head-on to ensure that you are not clinging to “worthless traditions?
“In Vain … All in Vain!”
The above caption is not simply intimidating cult jargon, as it may appear at first sight, but is the clear statement of the Messiah Himself in Mark 7:7, regarding True Worship “In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.“
An alternative translation in the Jerusalem Bible renders it this way: “The worship they offer Me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human regulations.“
Alarming statements, by the Saviour of Mankind Himself, Who is also the coming Judge (2 Cor.5:10; Matt. 25:31-33).
Do we truly comprehend the meaning of the term ‘in vain’? It denotes complete failure, notwithstanding much sincere effort; comforting self-assurances suddenly stripped naked; bitter self-reproach unable to soothe the piercing heartaches. Fear, oh fear! What have I done?
Too late … ALL IN VAIN! Dreams lie shattered and all that remains is the bitter disappointment that all had been merely a waste of time and effort – all because of stubborn erring along the way.
This is the staggering implications that Mark 7:7 brings home to us! This is how futile man’s hope is in the Heavenly Promises, if he is not prepared to accept the Plan of Salvation and do not live by every Command of the Creator and Saviour.
“How ingeniously you get round the Commandment of God in order to preserve your own traditions” (Mark 7:9).
Listen further to the Word of God: “Why call ye Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things that I say?” (Luke. 6:46). Won’t you refrain from stubbornly trusting in human traditions and rather follow this advice of the Almighty?
Divine Authority is meticulous and precise and does not hesitate to proclaim: “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.” (Matt. 7:21).
Open your heart also to the divine Promise in Ex. 20:6. “I show kindness (mercy) to thousands of those who love Me and KEEP My Commandments.” A solemn Promise based upon a Divine Condition, and confirmed by Messiah in John 14:15-21. “If you love Me, keep My Commandments … anybody who receives My Commandments and keeps them. will be one who loves Me . . . and I shall love him and show Myself to Him” (John. 8:51). “Verily, verily, I say unto you (a divine oath) if a man keep My saying (Word, Commandment), he shall never see death (eternal).“
Are you fulfilling your part of the Bargain – that is, of His Covenant? (Lev. 26:15). You lay claim to His Promises? Do you comply with His Conditions – or are you hanging on to “conditions made by man,” which may thus be ‘worthless’ by His estimation? Have you submitted yourself totally to His Will and do you obey Him implicitly – or are you sertving Him according to “the worthless traditions of mankind”?
Of course – everyone claims that he/she is correct and compliant.
But – how can all possibly be correct, when there are so many divergent ways of teaching – all contradicting of each other?
There should be no reason for doubt or divergence. for one may easily affirm for oneself, whether one is truly in the right or not. God has left us in no doubts and has instituted a Special Sign, a Code, by which He would know, and the world would know and recognize His special People. By their acceptance of and conforming to this Sign, they would identify as “His People”. It is declared in the Bible to be “A Sign between God and His very own People”
The Divine Test
This Divine Sign between God and His People is revealed in Exodus chapter 16.
Great multitudes of non-Jewish Bible believers have been taught that this Sign and the books in which they are revealed and defined, are “Part of the ‘Old’ section of the Bible which have been done away with by the Messiah.”
The sincere Bible student should therefore, at the outset, first investigate and decide whether this claim has any valid substance, or whether it may not constitute the very ‘traditions of men’ that our topic text defines as the basis of “Vain and worthless worship”.
To assist the doubtful reader in a reconsideration of the validity of the ‘Old Testament’, let us take a quick review of what life and religion is all about in true perspective:
God created mankind and all of creation for man’s benefit.
God afterwards, and because of the evil life style of humanity, regretted that He had made man and destroyed it in the Flood, but, for the sake of one righteous family (Noah, who conformed with His Requirements), He continued it.
He then called Abraham who also conformed, and promised that His eventual Kingdom on earth would be established through Abraham’s descendants who would be an uncountable masse “like the sand of the sea and the stars of Heaven” forming many nations, whom God would bring back from across the earth to the Land of Israel in the End Time. From amongst this people God would create a ruling Body through which He would then rule over the entire world.
The ‘Old’ Testament which traditions of mankind have so easily discarded, records the history of this elect nation and the relationship between this nation and their Creator; the conditions of this relationship; the punishments incurred by their non-conformance; the disappearance amongst the nations of the world of 10 of the 12 Tribes of this nation; the Divine Promise of their Return to their ancient Hebraic Roots and religion and to the very Land of Israel to encompass a vast territory of Land in the Middle East (which includes land areas of many nations today – Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, etc).
Does it seem feasible then, that such an important historic as well as futuristic record of evidence could be simply discarded as ‘no longer relevant”? If it contains the very conditions of the entire human relationship with its Creator? If current trends in the world reveal just such a Return by serious Bible students to what THEY term as their Hebraic Roots and which reflect the very same conditions as defined in the Writings of this ‘Old Testament’ – claimed to be the very Word of God?
With that in mind, let us turn to this ‘Old Testament’ for its definition of the very Sign which would identify the People of the Creator God of Israel and separate them from those who serve Him “In Vain!” – teaching the “traditions of men”.
Exodus 16 relates the event of the Exodus of God’s People (including a large contingent of Egyptians who wanted to follow the God of Israel, after having witnessed the great Care of this God for His People in the the awesome Miracles of the Ten Plagues to establish their release). He is now separating them from the nations and taking them to their own Land where His System would operate. After hearing their grievances so shortly after their release from slavery in Egypt, God announces to Moses their leader: verse 4, “I will test them and see whether they will follow My Instructions.” The rest of the chapter explains how this test is done by providing them with double the amount of ‘Manna (food) from Heaven’ on the 6th day of every week, so that they would not need to go out an collect this food on the 7th day, the Sabbath or to prepare food on the Sabbath. Bear in mind that in Egypt they were forced to work on the Sabbath of their forefather Abraham. And in their own Land they would be expected to observe the Sabbath of the God of Israel.
Exodus 31:17 “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.“
Exodus 31:13 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am YHVH, who makes you holy.“
For generations to come … You may have been told that this applies to Jews only. Yet, the same voices that taught you this, will also claim that “Jews are serving God ‘in vain’, for they are teaching the Commandments of men.”
Now let’s get this clear:
Jews are keeping the 7th Day Sabbath (Saturday) and have been doing so unbrokenly from the days of Moses. Surely this is the Sign that God referred to above … for their generations to come?
Is it not then the blatant statement that “this Sabbath is just for Jews and not for you as a follower of the God of Israel also,” which is according to the ‘traditions of men’? If you do not accept this Sign and neglect to abide by its agreement, does that not make YOUR worship “in Vain”?
If you do not fall under this Sign, how can you claim to be of ‘the people of the God of Israel’?
This ‘Jewish’ Sabbath also forms one of the 10 Commandments with the purpose of recognizing the God of Israel as the Creator of all.
You may be under the impression, having been taught and assured by your Faith Group, that you are already obeying Him and keeping His Commandments, but unless you comply with this Test Commandment, then you fail the Divine Test and run the risk of “worshipping Him in vain!”
There are many Faiths, the majority in fact, which explicitly teach that the Almighty has done away with His Laws and Commandments. “The Law has been nailed to the Cross”, they claim.
If you do not observe the divinely ordained Seventh-day-Sabbath (which incidentally is the very same day that YAHU’SHUAH, as a Jew, observed it), then Scripture defines your worship as “In Vain – being the traditions of men and rejecting the Traditions of the God of Israel.”
No doubt, the theological libraries are filled with statements and reasons to observe the MAN-made Rest day on the FIRST day of the week, Sunday?
Be sure, Mark 7:7 does away with all human additions and substitutions, classifying them as futile, in vain!
Time for Restitution!
Humanity has now come to the end of a long Road – the End is in sight – rather the Beginning of something beyond our imaginations, the resurrection of the Kingdom of the God of Israel, “which He has prepared for those who wait for Him (prepared)” (lsa. 64:4). NOW is the time to prepare; to search out the “worthless man-made teachings” in our customs, lest we serve Him IN VAIN!
You may reason that your church teaches differently; that the whole world keeps Sunday.
According to the Word of God and His Eternal Covenant; according to the Original True Faith, they are WRONG! For the highest authority, the Word of the Almighty, does not teach observance of the FIRST day of the week; neither did it foresee any such Change, as many believers teach! You will not find a Bible text, ‘Old’ or ‘New’ Testament which authorizes the first day, Sunday, to be the Holy Sabbath – it is merely ‘traditions of mankind’!
You shall therefore be wise to make a safe choice; to abide by the unfailing Word of God, or to build on the sand of human innovations; foolish theories invented to excuse their disobedience and stubbornness!
Won’t you read the following Advice from the Book of Matthew and give the Spirit of the Most High a chance to speak to your heart and mind?
The Narrow and Wide Gates
Matthew 7:13, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
You may reason that you are truly converted, reborn; you may even have proved your obedience by going through the waters of Baptism. You may feel completely self-assured in the fact that you have experienced “the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”
Friend, that is the very reason why you should then also continue to observe all things, “whatsoever He has commanded you.” (Matt. 28: 19). You will be wise to take the advice of the Saviour to the rich young man in Matt. 19:17, “If you wish to enter into (eternal) life, KEEP the Commandments!” If you are willing to accept this, and live by it, you no doubt will qualify according to Rev. 14:12, “Here are they that keep the Commandments of God and the faith of YAHU’SHUAH“.
The Angel’s Message of Rev. 14:6, 7 certainly is the Message for our time: “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His Judgment is come; and worship Him that made heaven and earth, and the sea and the fountains of water.“
Like in the time of the prophet, Elijah, the time has come to choose on which side we wish to be. “If YHVH (the Lord) be God, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him!“- (1 Kings 18:21). What a great challenge to professing believers! Prepare now to meet your God! “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Cor. 6:17).
Are you ready to be weighed by the Almighty, on His scale of righteousness? Will you be able to stand the Test? Or do you faintly hear the dooming announcement, “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting!” (Dan. 5:27). Do you read this notice on the walls of your congregation, your heart, or your life? Does your conscience prick when you are alone with the Truth; just you and Truth? Do you hear His Voice, softly . .. pleading:; . . . plaguing? YOU will know – only you!
WHAT are you going to do about the matter?
Flee into the Rock of your Salvation, where you may enjoy the safely with your Saviour by following the road to Righteousness and abiding in the Truth, as clearly proclaimed in His Word. Truth that is mighty to save and protect; Truth that shall free you; untangle you from the lies of Satan, lies which could bind you for eternal destruction! (Jo. 8:32, 38). Truth, that will annihilate the barrier between you and your Creator!
“O, what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
“If you know these things, blessed are you if you DO them.” (Jo. 13:17).