With Satan’s takeover of the earth a new and unique opportunity arose in the universe. For the first time ever, angels and other intelligent beings had the opportunity to observe how God deals with those who go against Him.

Through the new and unfortunate circumstances taking place on the earth, the possibility of attaining greater insight into the character of God became a reality. To see God in action and examine how He has preserved intact the principles of agape love in all His dealings during the rebel- lion—these are things that “even angels desire to look into,” 1 Peter 1:12.

As we analyze the rise of the great controversy we too will see how God has kept inviolable His principle of agape love. We will now examine in particular three aspects of agape: freedom, equal access, and impartiality, all of which could only come to light in the context of rebellion.


Most of us can understand that freedom is an essential component of love—the two go hand in hand. In fact, love without freedom is not love.

A love relationship in which one party exercises control over the other ceases to be a love relationship and becomes a master/slave interaction.

It would stand to reason then, that if God is love, then He does not, in fact cannot control or usurp one’s freedom of choice in any way.

God placed man under law, as an indispensable condition of his very existence. He was a subject of the divine government, and there can be no government with- out law. God might have created man without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automaton. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. Such a course would have been contrary to God’s plan in dealing with the inhabitants of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan’s charge of God’s arbitrary rule {PP 49.1, emphasis added}.

Being under law—moral law—is an “indispensable condition” of humanity. We are either under God’s moral law or Satan’s moral law. Furthermore, “there can be no government without law.” This applies even to Satan: if he has a government then he has to have a law. Under God’s government there is freedom of choice: we can choose by which law to abide. This freedom makes us free moral agents—we are free to make our own moral choices.

God “might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the for- bidden fruit.” How would God have done that? By literally, physically holding his hand back? Or by placing a threat of punishment upon Adam’s head, which would have been just as efficient? But then Adam’s “obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced.” Literally holding Adam’s hand back or threatening punishment—either way would have involved force, which is contrary to God’s ways.

Love being the law of God’s government, His law is not something that God can enforce on His creatures, otherwise love would cease to be love. Thus by the sheer nature of the law of agape love, we have freedom of choice. Without freedom of choice our obedience would not be voluntary, but forced. This is not what God, whose essence is love, desires. Most of the world, however, believes that God is a control freak. But if God could indeed operate by force, then He wouldn’t be a God of agape love. He would simply be an impersonal ruler, a dictator, an autocrat—like Satan.

So here is a question—Would God stop respecting our freedom if we rejected Him or stopped obeying Him? This isn’t a trick question. But think of it… If God stopped respecting our freedom once we rejected Him, did we have any freedom in the first place? The answer is NO, and if that is so, then our freedom has to remain in place, even if we disobey God.

Here is another question—Let’s say we reject God and He punishes us. By punishing us, is God respecting our freedom? No. What kind of freedom is that? God would still be controlling us—through fear.

What if you told your children, “Kids, I don’t want you to go to the movies tonight because I hear rumours that there are riots out there and it wouldn’t be safe for you to go out tonight. But you are free to do what you want.” The children understand your reservations but decide they want to go to the movies anyway. After all, you gave them the freedom. When they get home you scold them severely and send them to their rooms without dinner. Were they really free? Can freedom and punishment coexist? Aren’t they in contradiction to each other?

Likewise, God told Adam and Eve, “Don’t eat of that tree because it is go- ing to bring great damage to you and the earth. But you are free to choose.” Adam and Eve exercised their freedom. Did God punish them? No. There can be no punishment in God’s kingdom. Why not? Because God is perfect

love and perfect love casts out fear, which is related to punishment.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment [GREEK KOLASIS: PUNISHMENT]. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:18, emphasis added)

There is fear in Satan’s kingdom of reward and punishment because he operates through punishment. Rebellion itself is proof that God is not controlling:

God’s government is a government of free-will, and there is no act of rebellion or obedience which is not an act of free-will {ST June 5, 1901, par. 4, emphasis added}.

A God of agape love has to provide absolute freedom to His creatures, otherwise He would cease to be agape. Absolute freedom implies that God cannot use punishment to control us. If God used punishment, His creatures would cease to be free agents. If they are not free agents, they are merely automatons, robots. But we are not robots. We all instinctively understand that freedom is our natural right.

All things in the universe were in complete harmony with God’s character of love until Lucifer challenged God’s “standard.” The covering cherub had complete freedom to rebel in heaven, otherwise God would have stopped him in his tracks. But he is still here ruling the earth—case in point. As far as he was concerned, Lucifer believed he had something far superior to God’s law and his heart was lifted up, even as he was falling. But God knew he was bringing disaster into being… and yet, even knowing this, He did not withdraw Lucifer’s freedom. 

Furthermore, Satan had freedom to “peddle” his “goods” to the entire universe. Not only did he have freedom to do so, but the other worlds and the angels themselves were free to leave God and join him if they so wished. Everyone’s freedom was inviolable and not once curtailed by God. We know that one third of the angels exercised their freedom to join Lucifer, while the rest of the universe used the same freedom to reject him.

Adam and Eve were given the same choice as the rest of the universe and the choice was a simple one: choose God or choose Satan—choose the Tree of Life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God created us as free moral agents:

God had power to hold Adam back from touching the forbidden fruit; but had He done this, Satan would have been sustained in his charge against God’s arbitrary rule. Man would not have been a free moral agent, but a mere machine (The Review and Herald, June 4, 1901) – {1BC 1084.2, emphasis added}.

The typical explanation of the Garden of Eden story illogically portrays God as threatening to kill Adam and Eve for disobeying Him. But if God was going to kill Adam and Eve, Satan would have capitalized on that point and used it against God; instead, he said “you shall not surely die.” God had said “that Tree will surely kill you,” and Satan, trying to hide the fatal consequences of his Tree, and wanting them to eat of it said, “No it won’t, go ahead and eat it.”

If God’s warning had been a threat, then Adam and Eve would have had no freedom of will to begin with. In this paradigm, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil becomes simply a test of obedience. And if it was a threat, then when Adam and Eve failed the test they would be punished by God—with death. But there is much more to this Tree. The Tree itself is the cause of all our problems. It is what the Tree symbolizes that causes death, not God.

We asked earlier: would God stop respecting our freedom if we rejected Him or stopped obeying Him? The logical answer has to be “no,” because if God stopped respecting our freedom once we rejected Him, then there would have been no freedom from the beginning.

A death threat is not compatible with freedom. Rather, it is intimidation, coercion and downright abuse. Most of us don’t usually deal with our children that way and we generally look down upon those that do. Then why would we think that God, who is perfect love, deals with us in this way? If God had threatened to punish Adam and Eve, then they never had freedom to begin with; and if they didn’t, neither do we.

This way of thinking is not only illogical but also blinds us to the enormous symbolism of the forbidden Tree and the principle it represents. It is with this principle that Satan has been ruling the earth and deceiving each and every one of us—the whole world, from “beginning to ending.” May we open our eyes and see it at last.

Death did come to earth as God had warned, but not by His hand. Then what really happened in the Garden? It is actually quite simple; God had asked Adam and Eve to not jump into the fire. Adam and Eve disregarded His advice and jumped. Who or what burned them, God or the fire? The answer is obvious.

Freedom and force are opposed to each other. If God gives freedom, He cannot also use force. God warns and counsels but then freely allows choices to be made. He shows us cause and effect and then leaves it with us to decide whether to listen or not. Such were His methods in dealing with Lucifer’s rebellion; the same methods are seen in His dealings with Adam and Eve. He warned Lucifer of the consequences of his choices and did the same for Adam and Eve. They all disregarded His warnings. Showing cause and effect, but upholding freedom are the ways in which God operates.

Our first parents were free to obey God. If they did so, they would continue in the joy of knowing Him and believing in His friendship, forever eating from the Tree of Life. But they were also free to disregard His warning and partake of the Tree that would bring death. Freedom of choice was so vital that it would inevitably determine the fate of all beings and the destiny of the human race. Adam and Eve chose death, but even then their freedom was kept inviolable.

Most of us would probably have done things a little differently than God. We might have blocked Satan from contacting Adam and Eve. We might have shielded the couple from his influence. Or we might have placed the forbidden Tree in a secluded, inaccessible location somewhere out of sight, out of mind. Instead, God allowed Satan to be in the center of the garden—“in the midst”—right next to the Tree of Life. Does God take the concept of freedom and fairness a bit too far?

Had God blocked Satan in any way, Satan would really have had some good grounds to accuse Him. But it is not as if Satan had checkmated God, or as if God was acting out of a selfish desire to protect His own reputation—No! Freedom is part of His character; it is not in Him to violate it—He cannot do it. If He did, it would change His own character—and that would really bring chaos into the universe. God is too wise to allow that to happen.

Can you see that without complete freedom we wouldn’t be in the predicament we are in today? Think of it—Lucifer’s freedom remained intact, even though God knew he was going to harm Adam and Eve, harm the rest of His creation, and even God Himself! 

God knew that Lucifer would go to any extent to win the war, and to that extent he would introduce something absolutely dark and foreign to the universe. Know- ing that eternal destruction and ruin would be the result, and so many of God’s beloved children would be taken down in the process, God still respected Lucifer’s freedom. Neither did God use force to stop him, nor did He force Adam and Eve from believing Satan’s terrible lies about Himself. Nothing could be more evil than the law Satan introduced in the universe, and yet he was given complete freedom to promote it. How can God deal with evil this way, you may ask? Baffling, isn’t it?

These things speak volumes about God’s character, though. Only a God of agape love could grant such liberty. What value He places on the freedom of His creatures! If free will were not important to God, He would have put a stop to the rise of evil. But He did not do that; He allowed it to happen. This is clear evidence of the integrity of His agape love.

God’s character does not allow Him to act or react in any other way. If He used force or control, He would become arbitrary, and once He became arbitrary He would cease to be agape love. Thus great injustices and evil were bound to come into being, even against Himself. But He went further and continued doing good to His enemies, even sustaining their lives throughout their rebellion, because He does not repay evil with evil. God does not join evil in order to overcome it:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

From the lessons we learn from the Garden, we can see that we are not to ob- struct anything or anybody, even if we believe it to be opposed to what we regard as God’s truth. To do so would be contrary to God’s principle of freedom. Such methods are in themselves an indication that those who use them are not acting in harmony with God. Forceful or underhanded methods to present God’s truth are out of harmony with His principles. Thus, all who choose to oppose God’s truth have ample liberty to advance their views without fear of intimidation or punishment from Him, because He has given them complete freedom to do so.

Satan’s choices have been fatal to the universe. The entire creation groans under the misery of sin, and many people will eventually choose to lose the joy of spending eternity with God. God will forever feel the pain of losing the companionship of His lost children. But God is love, and freedom will always exist even if God Himself becomes a casualty. And isn’t that what happened? Wasn’t His Son nailed to the cross?

Adam and Eve were safe as long as they followed God’s counsel to not eat of the forbidden Tree. The only power God had in this situation was the power of His love, which the couple unfortunately disregarded. God’s “power” has been grossly misunderstood in that we have ascribed to Him a violence-based power. God provided freedom through His law, and as Lucifer deviated from the mind of God, he also deviated from freedom. Violence, if the reader recalls, arose in Lucifer, not in God. But we have also misunderstood the power of human choice. The choices we make have clear consequences because God has to respect our freedom. This means that if

we persistently choose a path that causes us to die, God cannot stop us. Such freedom is fraught with responsibility. There are really only two choices available to us: God’s kingdom of life and Satan’s kingdom of death. So the consequences of our choices are life and death. God will respect our choices. We must

choose very carefully and wisely because of God’s great respect for our freedom. It is precisely because of God’s respect for our freedom that we are in danger of eternal death if we reject Him who is life. God could not spare the world from the consequences of Adam and Eve’s choice; they entered Satan’s death domain and God couldn’t stop it. The only solution God had to our predicament was this: to send us His Son, who would tell us the truth about Him. God’s truth has the power to change the course of our lives and the direction of this planet. Every choice has a consequence and because of His principle of agape love, God has to honour it:

Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him (Hebrews 2:1-3).

The “just reward” is to receive the consequences of the choices we made. If we choose the principles of death we will receive death, and if we choose the principles of life we will receive life.

God has given us a great salvation in His Son Jesus Christ. This salvation is a new understanding of who God is. This new understanding of God can save us from death and give us eternal life:

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).

God’s wisdom and principles are always dictated by His love, therefore every decision He makes, He makes in love. God’s ways, though it may seem like foolishness to some of us, are the only wise ways. God is wisdom personified. His ways are the only ways of life. When all is said and done, God’s ways will be seen as the only wise ways, and those that see His wisdom will exclaim:

Great and marvellous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints (Revelation 15:3)!


The tree of life was also in the midst of the Garden, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2: 9).

Equal access goes hand in hand with freedom. What does this mean? It means that both God and Lucifer have a level playing field in the universe. Lucifer’s freedom meant he had free access to Adam and Eve. God did not prevent him. It was in God’s very own Garden that Satan was allowed to reside and access Adam and Eve. Not only did God allow him in His Garden, but God allowed him to have a Tree to represent his principle of death. And that Tree was in the midst of the Garden, side by side with the Tree that represented God’s principle of Life.

This positioning of the two Trees reveals much about God. God could have banned Satan’s Tree to the back of the Garden somewhere out of sight. Instead, He allowed Satan equal exposure and opportunity to peddle his goods, even letting him take up residence right next to the Tree of Life. The two Trees’ central position shows that God gave Himself no advantage over His adversary.

Adam and Eve also had equal access to both Trees. They were warned about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but their freedom to eat of it obviously was not removed. It is true that Satan could only access the couple at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That is so because he only had juris- diction over that one Tree. The rest of the Garden was under God’s jurisdiction and there was nothing there for Satan to peddle. Satan was confined to this tree because this was his only claim in the Garden. Therefore, it was only at this tree that he could influence Adam and Eve. But God gave him a platform side by side with His own Tree of Life—and this says much about God.

Jesus gave a good example of equal access in the parable of the wheat and the tares. His interpretation of this parable is that the wheat and tares represent true and false believers who grow side by side. But there is something more here—we can amplify this principle and apply it to truth and error. Notice the following regarding words:

“He that sowed the good seed is the Son of man…. The good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.”

The good seed represents those who are born of the word of God, the truth. The tares represent a class who are the fruit or embodiment of error, of false principles. “The enemy that sowed them is the devil.” Neither God nor His angels ever sowed a seed that would produce a tare. The tares are always sown by Satan, the enemy of God and man {COL 70.3, emphasis added}.

In this parable, we see a God who allows the enemy to “plant” his followers alongside the true followers of God until their fruit is ripened. When the fruit is ripe, the fruit itself will be sufficient evidence as to which is true and which is false. The false children of the kingdom operate by iniquity, by the “false principles” Lucifer introduced and which transformed him into a violent being.

Would God allow truth and falsehood to grow side by side? Isn’t it a fact that truth and falsehood have grown side by side throughout history? The difference between truth and error has been almost indistinguishable, so much so that the serpent deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9) with the error of his principles. Thus, it will be only when we become mature that we will be able to discern between them — to know them for what they are, which according to the parable will be at the end of the world.

Not even the Bible is immune to this principle of equal access—the Bible also contains truth and falsehood about God’s character. This freedom is inspired of God, and through it we can have a complete picture, a faithful account, of the great controversy. Paul’s admonition to Timothy regarding the Scriptures attest to this:

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been as- sured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from child- hood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14-16).

Notice that“the Holy Scriptures are able to make” us “wise for salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.” Christ teaches us how to recognize error and the truth. How does He do it? By giving us the truth about God’s character. Without the truth given to us by Jesus Christ we would be forever inside the maze of Satan’s lies from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Christ gives us the knowledge of the Tree of Life.

God did not sanitize the historical record found in the Scriptures. He inspired the writers to pen down things as they were. He also did not prevent Satan from infiltrating lies in there about His character. He did not prevent Satan from influencing human minds either. Elijah, Moses, David… etc… they all shed blood in the name of God. But Jesus comes along and tells the disciples, who want to follow their murderous example, that they don’t know what manner of spirit they have by wanting to do that. The spirit He was referring to, was of course, the spirit of Satan:

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village (Luke 9:51-56).

This is why Jesus came to earth. Only He gives the world the absolute truth about the character God, and this, the character of God, is the focus of the entire controversy. This is the most important piece of knowledge we must acquire, because it is in the knowledge of God that there is salvation for everyone, without exception. Thus, only Jesus’ revelation of the Father is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and no one can come to this revelation except through Him.

But while we may discard the Old Testament’s view of the character of God, we do not discard the Old Testament, or claim it to be uninspired—it too is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” It is through wrestling with the Old Testament that we come to Jesus, and they are the texts which testify of Him (John 5:39), the corner stone of our knowledge and understanding about the Father..

The equal access God provides in the Bible is mind-boggling. Each one of us can come to the Bible and choose our own conclusions. Even the Hebrew language provides this freedom of choice, because many Hebrew words can mean two opposite things. This means translators can choose a meaning that is according to their belief system. For instance, take the verse that says:

I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things’ (Isaiah 45:7).

The word “create” before the words “darkness” and “calamity”is the same word—bara’; this word means “to create,” but it also means “to cut down.” If we rewrote the verse with this new meaning, the text changes considerably:

“I form the light and cut down darkness, I make peace and cut down calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.’

As one who believes that God is not at all involved in the works of darkness, we choose to believe that this second translation is more accurate. How can we get confirmation? From Jesus Christ—the Lord cuts down darkness and calamity with the sword of the Spirit, Jesus Christ, who is the truth about God, and whose “sword,” His word, comes out of His mouth (Revelation 19:15).

Isn’t it interesting that the harvest is only at the end of the world? Why do you think that is? Could it be because the spiritual “latter rain,” the “rain” absolutely necessary for the fruit to ripen just before harvest, will be poured out only at the end of the world? The latter rain will be God’s last message of hope to a world entrenched in iniquity—a world steeped in Satan’s moral law. The truth about God will be given to such an extent that it will cause both principles to ripen.

Daniel spoke of this when he said in chapter 12:

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase….” And he said, “Go your way, Dan- iel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:4, 9-10).

The lies are so deceptive that only those who have the wisdom of God will discern them; at harvest however, the lies will be destroyed. Until then, Lucifer’s false “wisdom” will seem so close to the truth, appear so logical, that we are told “if possible even the elect” would be deceived, (Matthew 24:24). Only by look- ing at the truth can we distinguish error. We must know the truth and let it set us free or we will succumb to Satan’s deceptions. The fundamental truth that Jesus came to give us has to do with the true knowledge of the character of God:

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).

It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth {COL 415.3, emphasis added}.

Knowledge of the truth and the lies, the wheat and the tares, will grow exponentially in the last days. This is only possible because under God’s law of agape love there is equal access to Himself as well as to Satan. 


For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe (Deuteronomy 10:17).

Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes” (2 Chronicles 19:7).

Yet He is not partial to princes, nor does He regard the rich more than the poor; For they are all the work of His hands (Job 34:19).

For there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11).

…but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors (James 2:9).

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).

Another aspect of God’s agape love is impartiality. Impartiality places every single human being on the same level. This can go two ways—it is a double edged sword. How? First, God sees each of us through the prism of His love. Through agape He sees us all as objects of His love and care, whether we are good or bad. There is no ladder of importance or hierarchy of worth with Him. We are all important and worthy to Him. He invites both the “good” and the “evil” to His wedding supper. The other side of the coin is that God will allow everyone who has knowingly and willingly chosen Satan’s ways to suffer the consequences of his king- dom. God cannot arbitrarily save us even if we try to bribe Him. Nothing will dissuade Him from allowing us to reap the consequences of our actions, because He will never subvert our freedom of choice. God will continually ask us, till the last moment, to turn from iniquity, but if we refuse to do it, He will allow us to go into the death domain that we have chosen.

The focal point of Jesus’ message is that to become sons of our Father in Heaven we must know that “He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). This is God’s impartiality. This is His “perfection”—His “entireness.” He is not partial—good to some and evil to others, as we human beings are. He is good to all—good to the “good” and to the “evil,” good to the “just” and the “unjust.” God’s inner character is “entire” and not “divided”—unchanging—thus He is impartial.

God’s goodness respects our choices. As such, He also allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices. The distorted thinking that God does not allow people to reap what they have sown is a major problem. This is made clear in the history of Israel:

The history of Israel was to be placed on record for the instruction and warning of coming generations. Men of all future time must see the God of heaven as an impartial ruler, in no case justifying sin. But few realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Men flatter themselves that God is too good to punish the transgressor. But in the light of Bible history it is evident that God’s goodness and His love engage Him to deal with sin as an evil fatal to the peace and happiness of the universe {PP 420.2}.

We will be able to understand this statement a little better as we reach the end of this book. God’s so-called “punishment” really entails Him letting go of those who reject Him. “Letting go” means giving us up to be entirely ruled by the accuser, the Destroyer, who is Satan. “Letting go” means God respects our freedom of choice; He cannot force us to live by His principles, which bring peace, love, happiness and joy.

To God, no man is common or unclean. Peter’s words to Cornelius reveal God’s impartiality towards all: “God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean,” Acts 10:29. In a vision, God showed Peter the principle of impartiality:

The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Rise Peter, kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’ And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common’ (Acts 10:9-15).

Peter was so ingrained in a false knowledge of God’s character that this message had to be repeated three times: “This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again” (Acts 10:16).

Yet even after this dream, Peter still did not completely understand what Jesus meant when He said that God “makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” The proof is that later on Peter entered into controversy with Paul regarding ritual purification requirements for Gentiles.

Peter’s dream was given to teach us that God shows no partiality between Jews and Gentiles. Jews represent those who profess to follow God, and Gentiles those who do not. Peter’s dream revealed that God treats those who live outside His principles with the same benevolence that He treats those that follow Him. God’s love for each of us is beyond what we can imagine. His main objective is to save all of us. But He never uses force, coercion or destruction towards anyone in order to achieve this goal. To say that He destroys some to save others goes against His principle of impartiality.

By adopting His ways, God’s followers glorify the true God of the uni- verse. Those who reject the God of agape love are free to choose how they want to worship Him because He will not annihilate them for not conform- ing to His ways. Were He a God that mixes love with force, they would be in trouble. And yet they are in trouble; because by choosing violence, they position themselves under the jurisdiction of the Destroyer, (Satan, accord- ing to Revelation 9:11) and under him they will suffer a most violent end.

Consider this verse one more time:

Now therefore, let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take care and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes” (2 Chronicles 19:7).

And this one:

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe (Deuteronomy 10:17).

Did you notice how iniquity is related to “taking of bribes?” We will talk more about this in the next chapter.