Creation Was Perfect Until Good And Evil Was Adopted
Through the book of Genesis’ record of creation we perceive God’s invisible essence and His invisible attributes. When God created our earth it was such a breathtaking sight to behold, its splendor so magnificent that even the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God reacted with shouts of joy:
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7).
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:31).
God’s original pristine creation undoubtedly was far more glorious than anything we are seeing now. It visibly reflected the Creator. We are still in awe of the splendour of that perfect Creation even after all the damage that Satan, sin, and fallen humanity have done to it throughout the millennia. The creation of our cosmos was incomparable to anything heavenly beings had previously viewed, because for the first time they saw with their own eyes the process of creation. Their reaction gives us some sense of their state of mind as they saw its magnificent splendor, and they shouted for joy with such exuberance that their chorus of euphoric voices must have filled the entire universe.
Creation Was Very Good
When the entire work of creation, which God had contemplated and planned, was completed in its ultimate perfection, God unequivocally proclaimed that indeed it was very good. This declaration categorically affirms and confirms that God personally created an absolutely flawless habitat for Adam and Eve to reign over, the two of them being the apex of His creation. There was no trace of degeneracy, no hint of destruction, or the slightest shadow of death in God’s original creation. Nothing of Satanic origin had yet been allowed to deface the perfectly pristine creation of God.
After Adam and Eve sinned by obeying Satan, they gave up their dominion over the earth to the Destroyer. It was only after the Destroyer became the prince of this world (John 12:31), and only after the implementation of his rule of law, that the perfect creation of God began to be negatively impacted.
Who the Destroyer is, is clearly indicated in Revelation:
And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abbaddon, [DESTRUCTION], but in Greek he has the name Apollyon, [DESTROYER] (Revelation 9:11; emphasis added).
Jesus came to the earth to reveal the character of God and to enlighten the earth and the rest of the universe of the crucial and critical fact that Satan is the Killer and the Destroyer. In the following text we see that Jesus, in comparison to Satan, is the giver not only of life, but of abundant life:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Darkness, suffering, destruction and death came in by the thief, Satan, through our first parents to the human race, who had adhered to his law for governance. The destroying thief affected all Creation, from the animate to the inanimate.
God’s Character Of agape Love Should Have Been Seen Through Creation
In the creation record the invisible nature of God is visibly demonstrated. If rightly perceived and comprehended, the unadulterated splendour and magnificence of God’s creation should determine and confirm that Satan cannot deceive anyone who knows the character of the Creator. God’s perfect character is reflected in His perfect creation. However, it is obvious that Satan has deceived and does still deceive mankind, starting with Adam in the perfect world and continuing with those who inherited the imperfect. Just by observing His consummately exquisite creation, there should be no possibility for anyone to believe Satan’s misrepresentation that God is the destroyer of His own works.
The original creation reflected the character of the Creator more than adequately. There could be found no dissonance in it, even in its most miniscule components. Creation also resonated with the magnanimity of the Creator’s agape love in the most profound ways. The Creator’s masterpiece demonstrates in the most exquisite and sublime ways that He creates only the finest of everything, a fact easily verified by observation even today.
And yet, Eve was deceived. The deception came in when Adam and Eve partook of Satan’s principle of good and evil. Since they believed Satan’s lie, their minds were skewed and that perfect creation no longer could give them a correct understanding of God’s character. Since our minds are still in Adam and not in Christ, the perfect creation fails to do its work of revealing God’s character to us.
With this in mind it is easier to see that all subsequent marring of this perfect planet is the work of God’s adversary and of those who adhere to his principle. Cause and effect, not God, will destroy those who destroy the earth (Revelation 11:18).
Even Now, Creation Reveals God’s Character Of Love
God’s character, given the empirical evidence of the beauty of His creation, can be easily discerned. This is apparent even amid the subsequent destructive work of Satan and his emissaries after Adam and Eve gave their allegiance to him. If we only understood the nature of that original creation, we would realize how fully it reflected God’s agape love before Satan and sin started to deface it. The apostle Paul points us in that direction, when he says that if Creation is accurately perceived and analyzed, no one will ever believe that God is in any way its destroyer:
Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things (Romans 1:19-23; emphasis added).
The New King James Version has a notation for this verse which provides the word evident to replace the word manifest, and among them to replace in them. These corrections are closer to the Greek and superbly clarify the meaning of this passage. The translations that say what may be known of God is manifest in them or within them do not give the correct meaning. The clearest meaning, one that fits with verse twenty, is evident among them. Verse twenty tells us clearly that it is since the creation of the world that His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that were made. Thus God is evident among the human race by all that we may observe around us that still retains God’s perfect handiwork. Compare the above passage from the New King James to the Berkeley Version of the New Testament below:
Because whatever can be known regarding God is evident to them, for God has shown it to them. From the creation of the world onward His invisible qualities, such as His eternal power and divine nature have been discerned mentally through His handiworks; so that they are without adequate excuse. Because although they had knowledge of God, they failed to render Him praise and thanks as God. Instead, they indulged in their useless speculations until their stupid minds were all in the dark. Claiming to be smart, they played the fool. They even altered the glory of God immortal into images in the form of mortal men and birds, quadrupeds and reptiles [HAVING A CHARACTER LIKE SATAN] (emphasis added).
We Have No Excuse For Not Knowing God’s Character
The apostle Paul says that we are without excuse in not knowing the character of God because what may be known of God is evident among us, for God has shown it to us. What is evident among us that we may know what may be known of God? And how has God shown it to us? God has shown it to us by revealing the perfect creation that was completed in six days and by giving us the seventh day that God blessed and sanctified. Verse twenty confirms that God’s invisible qualities are seen through his handiworks, which is a reference to creation:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
What are God’s invisible qualities? They are His eternal power and divine nature. And what is God’s eternal power and divine nature but the essence of His being, that is, His agape love? For God is love (1 John 4:8).
How can we, who are living in a world that has long been affected by sin, and that is but a shadow of that perfect creation, still witness His eternal power and divine nature? We may witness it by knowing what is stated regarding Creation week and the seventh-day that He blessed and sanctified:
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made (Genesis 1:31-2:3).
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good (Genesis 1:31).
This very good applies to the totality of the finished work of creation in its perfection. The creation of the world by God, in its pristine perfection, reveals to us His invisible attributes which are clearly seen: that He is the Creator, and that any subsequent destruction of His creation is not His work, so that we are without excuse in not knowing His character. Therefore anything that mars this perfect creation is not the work of God but the work of Satan, and we are without any excuse in not discerning between the work of God and the work of Satan.
The Significance Of The Seventh-Day Sabbath – God’s Creatorship
The seventh day was to be a memorial of the fact that God is the Creator and not the Destroyer. This is what God did with the extra twenty-four hour time period: God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it to be a memorial to His creatorship so that we may conclusively know that any subsequent marring of His perfect creation is not the work of the Creator.
We Changed The Character Of God To Reflect Ours
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things (Romans 1:22-23).
We have changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—fallen man, man who has been living by the principle of good and evil. By believing that God is both the Creator and the Destroyer we became fools: professing to be wise, they became fools. We then changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.
In other words, when we ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we began to reflect the image of Satan instead of the image of God. In the next step, we made God to be like us, like corruptible man, and made Him into a God of good and evil, confusing the Creator with the Destroyer.
Man has also made God into an image made like creeping things, an image that ultimately evokes the character of Satan. The words creeping things are a reference also to the serpent, the fallen Lucifer. The serpent was the medium through which Lucifer chose to communicate with Eve.
The Sabbath Is A Memorial To The Creator And A Reminder That He Is Not The Destroyer
It is peculiar that God created an extra twenty-four hour time period in the creation week especially in view of the fact that He did not create anything on that particular day. He had, by the end of the sixth day, already ended His work which He had done. Far more unusual and amazing is the extraordinary significance God attributed to this day in connection with the holiness of His character. Incredibly, a complete twenty-four period of time was dedicated, consecrated, sanctified and blessed by God during creation week. Perhaps this noteworthy truth demands that we delve seriously into the reason for its sanctity.
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made (Genesis 2:3).
The Sabbath Was Given To Remind Us Of God’s Character
God blessed and sanctified no other time period except the seventh day. Throughout the Bible one can find no other day which He exclusively names as the Sabbath, as the day of worship. This is the day that He specifically commands us to remember in the fourth commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy:
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work; you, nor your son , nor you daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (Exodus 20:8-11).
The reason He bids us Remember is because the Sabbath’s profound spiritual significance would otherwise be forgotten, and we see that indeed, that is the case.
The Sabbath Was Given To Take Away Our Confusion About God’s Identity
On the seventh day God rested from all His work which God had created and made. He established this twenty- four hour time period to be an indispensable part in the revealing of His character as the Creator. This He confirms by blessing and sanctifying the seventh day, and instituting it as a memorial to Himself as the Creator. Through this memorial we are never to confuse Him with the Destroyer. Given all of these clues which He left for us, our ignorance in not correctly apprehending God’s character is inexcusable as already seen, according to the apostle Paul.
God Blessed And Sanctified The Seventh Day
God wanted to make sure that the irrefutable truth about His character of agape love is never compromised, denied, or neutralized in any way. Therefore, God did something out of the ordinary on the seventh day compared to His actions on the previous six days of creation. He created, instituted, and established an extra twenty-four hour time period that He gave to Adam and Eve and all their posterity for a very specific purpose. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it so that once a week, for the rest of time, man, who is the crowning act of His creativity and who was created before the seventh day was created, would remember that God is the Creator and not the Destroyer of His creation.
The Sabbath Was Created After The Creation Of Man
After the completion of His creation, we read: then God saw everything that He had made, an indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:31).
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (Exodus 20:11).
It was immediately after the sixth day that God gave Adam and Eve something that was so special that they were to observe it and celebrate it together with the Creator forever. The importance this day had for God, Adam and Eve and their future descendants, is evidenced by the fact that God waited to institute it until after the creation of Adam and Eve. We must not lose the significance of this reality.
As soon as Adam and Eve became conscious beings, they entered into the seventh day, the day which God blessed and sanctified, and which later came to be called the Sabbath. The word rest in this context has nothing to do with physical rest, because Adam and Eve had done no work whatsoever. They entered into the day of rest for a reason other than being physically drained. Therefore we must strive to understand what this rest means.
God Blessed And Sanctified The Seventh Day, Which Was Later Called The Sabbath
It is a settled issue that at the end of the sixth day God had ceased from all of His work of creating. Therefore He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. More relevant and significant information is given later on in the Scriptures about this particular seventh day of Genesis 2:2: The Lord specifically named this day the Sabbath day which He had already blessed…and hallowed (Exodus 20:10).
God Rested On The Seventh Day
God created an extra twenty-four hour time period which He blessed and sanctified. On this particular day He did not perform the same type of activity that he had carried out in the previous six days. Rather, on this day God does something radically different in comparison to the previous six days. The creative work that He performed on this day and which ended all His works which He had done was comprised of resting: Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which He had done (Genesis 2:3).
Creation Was Not Complete Without The Seventh Day
What was this last work which He did and after which He rested? It was the creation of a day which He blessed and sanctified. It was only with the addition of the seventh day that Creation was finally finished, complete. We tend to think that Creation involved only the physical beings and objects created on the first six days, but the seventh day is just as much a part of God’s creative activity as those things which are seen.
The seventh day’s importance is pivotal for all the creative work that preceded it, for it is the sign and seal of the Creator. The Creator is the One who creates and not destroys; the Sabbath is the sign of the One who loved His creation so much that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
The Sabbath Is Unique And Reveals The Unique Character Of God
Only one day in particular, and no other day, from Genesis to Revelation, was set apart by God. He personally entrusted this day with a unique sacredness, and He did it to reflect His character, to reveal the essence of His being. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. The seventh day is the only day of the week that has been divinely created to be sacred.
As God’s Character Is Unchangeable, So Is The Sabbath
For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob (Malachi 3:6).
Malachi 3:6 declares that God does not change. As the Sabbath reflects God’s character, it is exceedingly important that we understand why the Sabbath is unchangeable. As a day created to reflect God, the Sabbath must reflect His character in all aspects, and therefore it must always remain the same day. It cannot be changed under any circumstances whatsoever; otherwise it would convey the false impression that He is a capricious God with a variable personality. Were God to be anything other than agape love, any given adverse circumstances would cause Him to react differently from the essence of His being. Acting outside of His character of agape love would make the statement that He has a changeable character, and all of us who are against Him would indeed be consumed by Him. Human history itself is proof that God does not consume His enemies, for humanity is still here, and so is Satan, His arch enemy.
The truth that God is unchangeable cannot be disputed and can be proven from Genesis to Revelation. The character of God and Jesus, are the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The God of the Bible is immutable; therefore we are not consumed arbitrarily by Him for our sins. Whenever any such consuming happens it is the result of Satan’s work and not the deliberate activities of God. If the law is a description of God’s character, then a changeable God would result in a changeable law. If the law could be changed, Jesus would not have had to die to take care of sin; we would just adjust the law.
The Creator Was Jesus Christ
Quoting the Old Testament and speaking about Jesus Christ, the writer of the Book of Hebrews states:
You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands (Hebrews 1:10).
And again in the Book to the Colossians Paul writes:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Colossians 1:15-18).
Jesus Christ is the Creator who gave this day to Adam and Eve and created this day sacrosanct. Therefore only Jesus can boldly make the claim that He is the Lord of the Sabbath:
The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28).
Jesus Christ clearly stated that He is the Lord of the Sabbath. Since Jesus Christ is the Creator who created the extra seventh day, He is therefore the Lord of the Sabbath. When we read in Revelation 1:10 that John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, we may safely conclude that the day he is referring to is the same day over which Jesus claimed Lordship. The Lord’s Day cannot be any other day but the seventh day Sabbath, for there is no other twenty-four hour time period that is given this type of preeminence in the entire Bible. This day was instituted during creation week for the single reason that it was to memorialize God’s character of agape love as the Creator and not the Destroyer. Jesus did not establish, promote or predict any other day as the Lord’s Day except the day He is the Lord of, and that is the seventh- day Sabbath.
The Sabbath Was Made For Man
In the above passage from Mark, Jesus clarifies that it was the seventh-day Sabbath that had its origin in Creation, for He points back to Creation when He says that it was made for man. He later gave the Sabbath to Moses in the tablet of the Ten Commandments so that this knowledge would not be lost. Jesus further declares that the Sabbath was made for man.
As we have already seen, Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day and then were given the Sabbath on the seventh day. The order in which the creation of man and the Sabbath appeared is of extreme significance and sheds light on Jesus’ saying that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Additionally, mankind was in Adam and Eve when the Sabbath was made for man.
The word man in the Greek means a human being. It can be used to mean all of humanity and it can also be used to mean a certain man. That certain man is Adam. In the Hebrew Adam means “a human being (an individual or the species, mankind),” (Strong’s concordance).
When Jesus stated that the Sabbath was made for man He was referring both to Adam as an “individual,” and to the “species, mankind.” Therefore the Sabbath that was created by Jesus Christ for Adam was also created for the “human species, mankind,” and it was not confined just to the Jews, as it is erroneously understood by many.
The Sabbath Was Established To Show God’s Eternal Character To Man
Jesus explained the significance and importance the Sabbath has for mankind when He said the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. The principle represented by the Sabbath is God’s character of agape love which is His essence, and which preceded Adam and mankind. So it was immediately after Adam was created that the principle represented by the seventh day was given to him and to the rest of humanity (who were already in the loins of Adam).
Jesus, The Head Of The New Testament Church, Is Also The Lord Of The Sabbath For The New Testament Church
Jesus Christ is the head of the body, the church. All the followers of Jesus Christ are in agreement on this fact. If the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath, then when the church began, the Sabbath was already in existence for the church. Therefore the Son of Man is also the Lord of the Sabbath for it is a gift to the church.
The Creation Of The Seventh Day Does Not Say Evening And Morning As Did The Previous Six Days
There is a sublimely significant spiritual reason as to why the account of this specific seventh day does not conclude with the phrase so the evening and the morning was the seventh day, as did the description of the previous six days. That terminology confirmed that each day was a twenty-four time period made up by night and day. So why is it that the seventh day, which we all know for a fact was also a twenty-four time period, does not state so the evening and the morning was the seventh day?
In order to understand the spiritual significance of the meaning of day and night on planet earth, we need to understand that creation week is a mini model of the history of the earth. Each day of creation represents a thousand years; the six days represent the six thousand years during which God’s light and Satan’s darkness have run parallel to each other, thus day and night. The Bible informs us that after sin is eradicated from the universe there will be no more night:
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:5).
If night ceases to exist after sin is no longer a reality, then a question arises: why was there night in the six days of creation week, which was also before Adam and Eve sinned? This is puzzling, especially when we take into consideration what Jesus said about Himself, the Creator:
I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12).
As we have seen in the chapter titled “What is the Principle of Good and Evil,” the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did not have any inherent evil properties in it, per se. It only represented Satan’s character and rule of law of good and evil. God allowed Satan to have his principle in the middle of the garden, in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
He also allowed night to exist first with its attendant chaos in order to show that darkness, which represented Satan’s character and principle, was already present when He said let there be light:
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day (Genesis 1: 2-5).
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Night symbolizes the principle of good and evil, for it is the death principle. The existence of night during creation is further evidence that God had given Satan the freedom to introduce his principle in our earthly sphere. But God did not leave the world at the sole mercy of Satan, for His light is always there. The darkness is emphatically not of God, because as we have read in 1 John 1:5, God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. So we see that the presence of night and day in the six days of Creation is another way of showing what the two trees in the garden represented: light and darkness, God and Satan, God’s law and Satan’s law, life and death. During creation week the seventh day is not described as having morning and evening or day and night. The seventh day is the promise and assurance that God will be victorious in this cosmic controversy that has gripped our little planet for the last six thousand years. Satan’s principle, represented by darkness, night, is missing from the seventh day because the seventh-day Sabbath teaches us to rest in God’s love, as God rested in His love.
Satan’s principles are not a part of what the Sabbath reflects, and his lies about the character of God are non- existent in the principle that day represents.
When Lucifer renounced the principle the seventh-day Sabbath represents, he introduced his law of good and evil. As a result, his and his followers’ outcome will be destruction, as stated in Isaiah 14:12-20:
How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who will see you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house; but you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch, like the garment of those who are slain, thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit, like a corpse trodden underfoot. You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land and slain your people. The brood of evildoers shall never be named [THIS IS THE EARTH, SHEOL AND THE PIT, DURING THE MILLENNIUM] (emphasis added).
Those who are redeemed from Satan’s principles will experience the millennial Sabbath in the transcendent sphere with the Lord of the Sabbath. Furthermore, they will see what happens to Lucifer and his rule of law. The above passage describes this scenario when it says Those who will see you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ At that time, during the millennium, all the leaders of the earth who had adhered to Satan’s principles will be in their graves, in the sleep mode. They will be dead, and as such, will be oblivious to the condition of their environment. That is not so for Lucifer, who will not be joined to them in burial; he will have a thousand years to reflect on the destruction he has caused on his people.
What is the condition of the earth after the six thousand years of evenings and mornings, when the Second Advent has occurred? During the millennium the earth is described as being in total darkness, and left fully in the hands of the god of this world and his angels. It will also be depopulated, for no human beings will be left alive.
For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine (Isaiah 13: 10).
The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble; the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness (Joel 2:10).
The apostle John describes this period of time in Revelation 20:1-3:
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
During the millennium, the Destroyer, the King of violence, death, chaos and destruction, will reign supreme on the earth, and he is rightly named in Revelation 9:11:
And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon [DESTRUCTION], but in Greek he has the name Apollyon [DESTROYER] (emphasis added).
The chaotic condition of the earth described in this scenario will be a direct result of Satan’s principle of good and evil.
He and his angels will be confined to this earth, which will be in utter darkness. The absence of light, a symbol of God and His character, is what causes the earth to be in total darkness, and darkness, a symbol of Satan’s principle, will envelop the earth for a thousand years.
At this time Satan will be given complete autonomy and will operate freely, without the light of God, which will no longer be present to obstruct his activities. He will have unrestricted opportunity to do whatever he wants with the earth. When God and His creative power are removed from the earth, death, destruction and chaos will be the outcome. Satan and his angels will have a thousand years to reveal the power of the principle of good and evil, and they will attempt to recreate the earth and make it anew. However, since Satan is not a creator but a destroyer, the earth will still be found in its chaotic condition even after the thousand years. This will prove beyond doubt that he is not like God, as he had claimed to be.
The question still remains: why did God rest on the seventh day? What is the meaning of His rest? Since God does not need rest in the physical sense and yet He rested on the seventh day, this rest, therefore, must be a symbolic rest. In this symbolic act God showed that His agape love, which is the principle the Sabbath represents, will defeat the principle of good and evil, and that the Sabbath principle will be the elected law of the universe forever.
To summarize, then: night was a symbol indicating Satan’s evil principle which was already present in Satan and his angels, and which would be introduced in our earthly sphere once Adam and Eve obeyed Satan. God’s light would also be present separating and distinguishing between light and darkness until darkness is eradicated, never to arise again. Like the two trees in the garden, so is the application of the meaning of the six days of creation week: they indicate our God-given freedom of choice and His magnanimity in giving equal access to Satan. But the seventh day is devoid of Satan’s principle, which defames the pure character of God. God does not need physical rest but He rested on the seventh day, which he established as a sign and a seal of His agape love.
The Sabbath Is God’s Insignia That He Is The God Of agape Love
Additionally, the new earth has only one tree, the tree of life. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it to certify His character of agape love. The absence of the phrase evening and the morning in reference to the seventh day reveals God’s character. The new earth will be a continuous day and there will be no more night there. Likewise, God’s essence of agape love does not have a beginning nor does it have an end; it is as eternal as He is eternal, and is light continuously. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Revelation 22:13).
The Sabbath is the Creator’s seal and a sign to distinguish Him from the Destroyer
In addition to the Sabbath being a memorial to God’s essence as the Creator and not the Destroyer, the seventh day that God blessed, sanctified and called the Sabbath, is also His Seal and a sign between Him and His earthly followers.
Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generation as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed (Exodus 31:16,17).
Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them… I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments; and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God (Ezekiel 20:12, 20:19-20).
On this day God placed His Royal Insignia in connection with His character of agape love. He did it so that we will remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. How will we do this? Every Sabbath day that is solemnized for eternity we will know with certainty that God is the Creator and not the Destroyer and will experience genuine rest in Him.
How does the fourth commandment fit in with the moral law? It is imperative that we comprehend the profound moral and spiritual significance that God has attributed to this day. It is immoral to attribute to God the character traits of Satan the Destroyer; thus, for this reason the Sabbath is to be remembered as one of the moral laws of God within the Ten Commandments.
Were God A Destroyer In Any Way, Our Worship Of Him Would Be Motivated By Fear
If God were to be the Destroyer as well as the Creator, there would always be a lingering fear in our minds. We would always be afraid that if we commit any transgression we might trigger His wrath, and consequently suffer lethal punishment. How could we possibly experience rest with the Destroyer’s sword hanging over our heads? It is not possible to be at rest when fear is present; for that reason the apostle John wrote that there is no fear in love:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts our fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
There is no fear in love–dread does not exist; but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love – is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection” (Amplified).
All Destruction Comes From Satan
When we see chaos, degeneracy, depravity, destruction, disease and death happening on the earth, we are never to ascribe it to God, because these things are in conflict with His agape love. All such events should never be attributed to and claimed as the work of God, but should be rightfully ascribed to Satan and his emissaries who live by his principle represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
One would assume that the creation of Adam and Eve, God’s ultimate creative work during creation week, would have received the special mention that the seventh day did. One would think that some form of special sacredness and consecration would be placed on them because they were created in the image of God; but that is not so. Rather, it is attested that a twenty-four time period has been blessed and sanctified and given the preeminence that one would assume Adam and Eve would have gotten. Therefore, since they had the freedom of either revealing or not revealing God’s character of agape love, no dependence was placed on them requiring them to be a perpetual reminder of God’s essence of agape love. Nonetheless it is humanity that will either vindicate God’s name or defame it over the issue the seventh-day Sabbath represents.
The final showdown will be over the principle that the seventh-day Sabbath represents, for this twenty-four time period is blessed and sanctified, and reveals God’s character. The seventh-day Sabbath is the distinguishing seal and ensign that the Creator God of the universe is agape love. This sign reminds us that no works of destruction and death originate from Him or are sanctioned by Him.
Satan Took Moses’ Life; God Gave It Back, Confirming The Sabbath Principle
From the study of the Scriptures we can all agree that Moses died and was resurrected before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. To begin, we read the account of his death in the book of Deuteronomy:
So Moses, the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day (Deuteronomy 34:5, 6).
The account of his resurrection is found in the little Book of Jude:
Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you’ (Jude 9)!
The final proof that Moses was brought back to life by God’s life-giving principle is that Peter, James and John saw him on the mount of Transfiguration:
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses, and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him (Matthew 17:1-3).
Moses died and was resurrected. Elijah, the other person that was present with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, did not experience death but was translated:
. . .and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Kings 2:11).
Elijah represents those who in the final generation will not experience death, but will be translated. They will not experience death because they will have understood and lived by God’s principle of agape love.
Jesus Is The One Who Resurrected Moses
It was the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ that resurrected Moses and led Israel, as seen in 1 Corinthians 10:3-4, and 9:
All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ… Nor let us tempt Christ as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by the serpents.
How Is Jesus The Firstborn From The Dead?
However, in Colossians 1:18 we read the following regarding Jesus:
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (emphasis added).
How can Jesus be the firstborn from the dead when Moses was resurrected before He was? Jesus Christ was the firstborn from the dead because His resurrection happened by His own power:
I am the good Shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father (John 10:14-18; emphasis added).
The Power Of The Resurrection Is Agape Love
When Jesus spoke about the time when He would give His life for the world, He said: I have power to lay it down. The giving of His life was made possible only by the power of His agape love for humanity, and that giving took place when He died for our sins on the cross. The power of agape love is the ultimate power in the universe, for it is the essence of God. Jesus only had power to take it again, which He did when He resurrected Himself, because He had agape love as the principle that ruled His life. His resurrection power emanated from His power of agape love. The power of agape love comes first and ensures the resurrection power. Since agape love is the very essence of God, this power precedes all other powers of God.
The Seventh-Day Sabbath Represents Agape Love
God blessed and sanctified the seventh-day Sabbath and He asks us to keep it holy primarily and very simply because it represents His agape love. agape love and the seventh-day Sabbath principle retain preeminence over the power of the resurrection. Without agape love, the essence of God, there would not have been the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So the seventh-day Sabbath stays inviolable and does not change because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first day of the week.
Resurrection Day Should Not Be A Substitute For The Sabbath
Jesus never indicated in the slightest that as the Lord of the Sabbath He became the Lord of the first day of the week because of His resurrection. His Lordship of the Sabbath was never relinquished for the first day of the week because the Sabbath represented and will always represent His agape love.
Other Sheep Have I Which Are Not Of This Fold – What fold?
With whom is Jesus talking with when He makes the following statement: And other sheep I have which are not of this fold? There is no question that He is obviously in discussion with Sabbath keepers. So who is He referring to when He informs Sabbath observers that He has other sheep which are not of this fold? Jesus is reaching to all others who are not worshipping on the day He lays claim to be the Lord of; these also are very much His sheep. According to Jesus, He has other sheep who do not worship on the Sabbath. They are not of this fold, which means they are not yet worshipping on the Bible Sabbath. But Jesus states regarding them: them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
Did Jesus Change The Sabbath To The First Day Of The Week In His Last Will?
Had Jesus, in any formal or informal way, intimated that He no longer was, or was not going to be, in the future, the Lord of the Sabbath (of the seventh day of the week), then it would be imperative that we take heed and follow His directive, but He never did that. Since Jesus claimed that He only is the ultimate path to the Father, it should settle for us that He is the only Person who can tell us that the day of worship has been changed:
I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).
The apostle Paul confirms that Jesus is the only foundation for truth:
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10, 11).
The Scriptures tell us that He will never change the seventh-day Sabbath, for it would be contrary to His character of agape love. Additionally, He made sure that we would not be deceived in this regard by saying:
Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches man so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-20).
The passage above is also referring to the Ten Commandments because in verse 21 Jesus says:
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment (Matthew 5:21).
One of the common arguments for denying the seventh- day Sabbath is that the Ten Commandment law was done away at the cross. This is surmised by taking the above verses from Mat. 5:17-20 in which Jesus says that He came to fulfill the law. Some have interpreted this verse to mean that the law was fulfilled at the cross and therefore is no longer applicable. Were that to be true, then murder, theft, etc… would be acceptable behaviours. That argument is totally unfounded, but is held forth as an attempt to do away with the fourth commandment, the commandment regarding the seventh-day Sabbath. The Sabbath has such profound spiritual significance both for God and humanity that He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. Would not God clearly inform us if He had any intention of deputizing another day to such preeminent importance? Much more so, given that He is the one who created the day and hallowed it to reflect the very essence of His being?
Jesus knew that He was going to die and be resurrected. One would expect that before His death, in His last will and testament, he would have categorically informed someone, in some way, that the first day of the week, the resurrection day, was to replace the seventh-day Sabbath. However, this never happened.
For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives (Hebrews 9:16, 17).
Was The Seventh- Day Sabbath Instituted For All Of Humanity Or Just For The Jews?
Did God want the entire human race to know that He loves them all with agape love, or did He just want the Israelites to know this truth for themselves, not caring for the rest of humanity? Did he want the entire human race to love each other or was this truth only for the Israelites? Did He want the rest of humanity to hate and kill each other? It is obviously not true that God wanted this knowledge confined to the Israelites. Who would want to know and worship such a God if that were true?
Unfortunately and tragically such a horrid portrayal of God is believed and promoted. The New Testament and Jesus’ direct commission denies that such was the case. Through Moses, God gave the Ten Commandments to the house of Jacob and the children of Israel (Exodus 19:3), to enlighten the rest of mankind about the moral law of God that is founded on God’s essence of agape love.
God’s Love Finds Infinite Ways To Speak To Us
We know that God has many ways through which He communicates revelations about Himself to humanity. One of these mediums through which He reveals His love for us is the Ten Commandments. If this is not comprehended from the outset, the spiritual significance of the Ten Commandments will remain dormant and not come to realization. Worse yet, it then becomes only a dictator commanding obedience, and its disobedience results in punishment meted out according to the extent of the nature of the insubordination.
Without the knowledge of God’s love for us, the Ten Commandments dictate a forced obedience; but with the knowledge of God’s love for us, they elicit a loving obedience. It is therefore imperative that from the start we see God’s love for us in the Ten Commandments. That has to take place before we can respond to Him ‘in’ and ‘with’ love:
We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
God’s Agape Love In The First Commandment
Let’s take the first Commandment of the Ten and see if it is not the case that God first loved us and then we love Him in return:
You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3).
Why is God commanding us not to have any other gods before Him? Is it because He so self-centred that He wants all the attention on Himself? Not for a moment is He so ego-centred that He demands all meditation to be focused on Him. On the contrary, He is the only one who from the essence of His being truly loves us. No other gods clamouring for our attention have that unconditional, self-sacrificing, selfless, other-centred, freedom-giving love for us.
When we start understanding this agape love that God has for us, we will respond to Him because of His love for us; we will respond in a positive manner and will not be interested in other gods, however they are presented to us. It will not be because we are duty-bound to obey Him that we will comply with His commands. It will definitely not be for fear of arbitrary punishment; and neither will arbitrary reward be a factor for compliance. The purity of His agape love for us will be the sole reason and motivation for our obedience. We will love Him because He first loved us.
The Ten Commandments Are Divided Into Two Parts: Love For God, Love For Neighbour
The Ten Commandments are based on God’s agape love for us first and foremost. Jesus encapsulated and enveloped the entire Ten Commandments in agape love. When we come to understand the extent God’s agape love for us, we will respond to Him in love, and that response is directly addressed in the first four commands, as condensed and stated by Jesus.
The love relationship between us and God can be thought of as a vertical relationship – earth to heaven, heaven to earth. The last six commands have a horizontal application; that is, they apply to our relationships with each other. We must first be grounded in our vertical love relationship with God before His love, working through us, can be materialized in our horizontal love relationship with our fellow humanity. Jesus condensed the Commandments into two, but that did not abolish the Ten:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. [THIS REFERS TO THE FIRST FOUR COMMANDMENTS]. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. [THIS COVERS THE REMAINING SIX COMMANDS]. On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37- 40; emphasis added).
Based on what Jesus, said Paul summarizes the latter six commands in these words:
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:8, 10).
God’s Love Must Be The Initial Cornerstone In Our Understanding Of The Bible
During Jesus’ first advent, the Bible was comprised of the Old Testament. The New Testament was obviously not yet in place. The phrase all the law and the Prophets in Matthew 22:40, refers to the totality of the Old Testament which was the Bible in Jesus’ time. Jesus, who came to reveal God’s true character of agape love, is the focus of the New Testament. His revelation of God’s love is unique and is the final authority on God’s character. Thus the entire Bible must be understood and interpreted only by Jesus’ revelation of God’s agape love. If this is not done, the Bible will give us a distorted view of God.
Is God love? Jesus Christ and the Bible unquestionably prove that this is the truth. Therefore, to have a correct understanding of God and the Bible, all knowledge in this respect must be based on this truth alone, that God is love.
The Far-Reaching Law Of Love
To the minds of His hearers, Jesus’ words love your neighbour as yourself, carried a restrictive meaning, based on what they had learned from the Old Testament:
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:18, 35).
To change their limited view and give a correct understanding of who is categorized as our neighbour, Jesus gives this story in Luke 10:25-37. We must keep in mind that the Jews viewed the Samaritans as the scum of the earth, and that a certain man in this episode is a Jew. Samaritans also had the same mindset toward the Jews:
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’ But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ Then Jesus answered and said: ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down the road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was a neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?’ And he said ‘He who showed mercy on him.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise (Luke 10:25-37).’
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34, 35).
The key here is to focus on the words as I have loved you, that you also love one another. Jesus’ commandment is not literally a new commandment because the Old Testament had already stated it, albeit with a constricted interpretation. In Jesus’ communication He refers to every human being. From Jesus’ perspective, whom do the words that you love one another as I have loved you incorporate? God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to the world. This includes every sinful human being in the world, and no one is excluded.
Love For All Will Reveal Jesus’ True Disciples
When we have God’s love for the world in us, a love which includes even our enemies, then we have truly become Jesus Christ’s disciples. Unequivocally, according to Jesus, His new commandment, more than anything else, will identify His disciples: By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Love For Enemies Will Be A Definite Sign Of Jesus’ Followers
Jesus expounds more definitively and candidly as to who is our neighbour and what it means that all will know, without exception, that we are His disciples:
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven, for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:43-45).
The apostle Paul elaborates on what Jesus stated in this manner:
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:6-10).
‘The Ten’ According To The Gospel Of Mark
The apostle Mark recorded Jesus’ abridged version of the Ten Commandments in this way in chapter 12:29-31:
The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
An addition in Mark’s gospel, not found in Matthew, states: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Jesus certainly hit His listeners’ right between the eyes with this quote from the Old Testament. The children of Israel had made the Creator God to be a God of dual character traits, a God who acted with violence and nonviolence according to what circumstances demanded; and this was true particularly in connection with the way they perceived God treated His enemies.
The Lord Is One Means That The Father And The Son Have One Unchanging Character
Through the quote from Deuteronomy 6:4 Jesus is trying to remind His hearers that to attribute to God these two behaviour patterns is blasphemous, for the Lord is one. The oneness of God has to do with the fact that He is only one thing: He is only agape love, which is the essence of His being; therefore the Lord is one. His nature is not a mixture of two antithetical principles: one of love for family and friends, and the other of violence and hatred towards enemies.
To make God into that kind of God is to make Him into our image, for that is who we are. In addition, when Jesus says I and My Father are one (John 10:30), He is also saying that there is no difference in character between Him and the Father.
The Sabbath Was Meant To Keep The Knowledge Of God’s Love Alive
Moses declared that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God (Exodus 20:10). Moses’ statement says that it is none other than the God of the universe who is the Lord of the Sabbath. Now who else had the boldness to make the same claim for Himself, that He was the Lord of the Sabbath? If any human being made such a blasphemous assertion, we would declare him to be a lunatic; but Jesus Christ did make this declaration about Himself.
The Knowledge Of God’s Love Was For The Whole World, Not Just A Few
God created, instituted, blessed the seventh day and sanctified it during creation week so that it would be a memorial to His character of love as the Creator. Just as His love was meant for the whole world, so was this day which He created to give the knowledge of His love; it was not meant to be a day just for the Jews, but for every human being. Inherent in agape love is always the desire to give the best that one possesses. God created everything to the pinnacle of perfection during creation week, and in His love He gave it to Adam and Eve and their descendants. He gave it. It was theirs until Satan took it hostage.
Satan Desecrated God’s Gift To Mankind And We Lost The Knowledge Of God’s Love
We are all keenly aware that the adversary desecrated God’s gift of love with his principle of good and evil. This principle has affected the entire human race because we don’t know anymore that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to every child of Adam and Eve. Satan has impregnated us all with his iniquitous nature, and we have all lost the knowledge that God loves us. The seventh day was given to all of us as a memorial that God is the loving Creator, so that when Satan does his evil works to the earth and to its inhabitants, it will be remembered by us that this is not the work of the God of agape love!
God Gives So We Can Give To Others In Turn
God commanded the Israelites to remember the seventh day as the Sabbath. So when God chose the children of Israel as His ambassador, they were commissioned to reveal His character to the rest of humanity through the Sabbath. It was definitely not so that they would keep it to themselves. We have mistakenly concluded that what was given to the children of Israel was exclusively for them only; that is false. When God gives, He gives so that we may give to others, and not so that we may horde it for ourselves.
Good And Evil Erased Our Knowledge Of A Loving God
Repeatedly, the Sabbath, as a sign, is brought to the forefront in God’s dealings with the children of Israel. God had desired for them to remember it and to share with others its profound spiritual significance, that God is the Creator and not the Destroyer. This truth about God’s character was darkened by the principle represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we started believing that God is both the Creator and the Destroyer. The children of Israel failed in exposing this lie because their minds were horribly skewed by the polytheistic belief that prevailed in their surroundings about vengeful and violent gods. They themselves had succumbed to the idea that God needed to be placated so that His wrathful anger could be appeased. Their minds were in bondage to such pagan concepts prior and during their slavery in Egypt, as well as subsequently. That is why, speaking of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah prophesied:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined (Isaiah 9:2).
Jesus, The Great Light, Brought Back The Knowledge Of A Loving God
The Israelites inexcusably failed to grasp and share with others the preeminent truth that emanated from the seventh day of creation week. Therefore they failed in knowing God’s character and did not recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah when He appeared when the fullness of the time had come (Galatians 4:4) at the first advent. If it was inexcusable for them, how much more inexcusable for us will it be if we fail to grasp the meaning of the Sabbath in connection with the character of God! This is the final chance that the world is being given.
Satan’s principle of good and evil will soon decimate the world, and if we fail to understand these stupendous themes, we will continue to ascribe to the loving Creator of the Universe the awful destruction that is about to take place. When in our minds God is the Destroyer and Avenger, whom do we have to turn to? No one will then be for us.
The Sabbath Becomes A Curse When Observed To Appease An Arbitrary God
If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 58:13,14).
The above passage was meticulously observed by the Jews, who created human rules and requirements, painstakingly keeping them; thus the Sabbath became an onerous undertaking and its spiritual reason was lost in the maze of a works-oriented religion. What does it mean that we should turn away our foot from the Sabbath, from doing our pleasure on God’s holy day, not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words? What are our ways? And what are God’s ways? And are they different from each other? All of our ways spring forth from the principle of good and evil. If the Sabbath is not observed with God’s agape love in us then we will be breaking all the commandments of God. Listen to what the book of James has to say in this regard:
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, is guilty of all, (James 2:10).
The fact that God’s agape love became nonexistent in the observance of the Sabbath had dire results. The worst consequence of all is that when the Messiah of agape love appeared in the midst of a people bereft of agape love, they naturally did what they believed their God would do, and they killed the Son of God.
Being A Sabbath Observer Does Not Ensure That We Are Worshipping The Lord Of The Sabbath
The children of Israel were unfortunately looking for a violent Messiah and not for a Messiah of agape love. Because they believed in a violent God, they expected a Messiah who would destroy their enemies and give them the global supremacy they coveted. Even though they were Sabbath keepers, they did not know the Lord of the Sabbath. They rejected Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of peace, who had done no violence, and who was their pre- incarnate bread of life (Isaiah 9:6; 53:9; John 6:35).
Their ancestors all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:3-5). Why did this evil happen to them, why were their dead bodies scattered in the wildness?
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (Galatians 6:7, 8).
He who lives by the principle of good and evil will die by the principle of good and evil. The Scriptures tell us that His chosen people could not be delivered from their warped view of God, therefore as their thinking and living was governed by Satan’s principle represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they reaped from that domain what they had sown. It was for exactly the same reason that their descendants experienced a similar fate in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD through the carnage that was perpetrated by the Roman army.
The chosen people rejected God’s character of agape love which the Sabbath memorialized, and which Jesus, with such pain, wanted them to apprehend. He desperately yearned for them to accept His teachings about God’s character, because He knew the consequences of their refusal would be dire. With unimaginable agony for them within His heart, Jesus said these words:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate (Matthew 23:37, 38).
They reaped the consequences of their rejection of the truth about God’s agape love. Because they had chosen Satan’s principle and refused the message the Son of God had come to earth to deliver to the world regarding the love of God, they perished, and their house was left desolate.
We Repeat History By Remaining In Ignorance Of God’s Love
Is our generation repeating history, despite all Jesus Christ has taught us? Do we have the same distorted view of God that prevailed during Jesus’ ministry here on earth? Such a horrid belief about God has consequently resulted in humanity perpetrating unspeakable carnage in His name ever since Satan took control of Adam and Eve’s minds. We are very much aware of the fact that we humans have all been involved in much violence. Yet we continue to believe the same lies about God and the results continue to be the same.
We Christians have corporately and personally contributed to the chaos by attributing to God Satan’s character traits; and by believing and teaching that all the mayhem, destruction, death and carnage that has taken place since Adam and Eve is a punishment of God.
The apostle Paul draws from the Old Testament to describe the true condition of Sabbath keepers. According to him we are in such a condition because we believe that God is both the Creator and the Destroyer, because the true fear of God is not before our eyes:
There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:10-18).
Are We All So Depraved?
A countless number of people could never be classified as being a part of what Paul has so brutally categorized in the above verses. We would all agree, and it is a noted fact, that throughout human history not every human being was as depraved and debased as Paul has stated. So what is he really communicating?
Since Adam and Eve sinned, every human being, without exception, has failed to possess the ultimate and flawless knowledge of God. There was only one exception. Only one being, Jesus Christ, out of the entire universe has ever had the supreme, definitive and perfect knowledge of God. We need to understand this fact because it is of vital importance. If this is not understood correctly, we will fail to understand what Paul meant and why he used such strong language to lump the whole human race in such a way. Paul has correctly stated what was recorded about the human condition. Such categorization is not applicable in the least to Jesus, in Paul’s mind and for that matter in anyone’s mind who knows Jesus Christ the way He should be known.
The entire human race has been in the condition portrayed by Paul because not a solitary human being has had an unblemished knowledge of God. So if in the least possible way we taint God’s character with Satan’s character traits, we are what Paul has stated. We can be freed from such blasphemous lies about God by Jesus Christ alone, and as we are gradually set free, we will be delivered from the depth of our depravity because of our erroneous knowledge of God:
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him: ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8:31-32).
False View Of God In One Point Contaminates The Entirety Of Our Understanding
Once again, if even in the most infinitesimal way God’s character is demonized, then His entire character is contaminated and defamed by us. So if even in the most minuscule way, if even in one point we possess the wrong understanding of God’s agape love and attribute to Him violence, we are still in the uttermost dept of depravity as murderers and as character assassins of God’s character of agape love. James, the apostle, authenticates this fact by the following principle:
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For Judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:8-13).
To Whom Much Is Given Much Is Required
In the parable of the faithful and the evil servants Jesus warns that to whom much is given about the knowledge of God much more is required. What is required of those to whom much more is given is that they be faithful in demonstrating and giving to others the unadulterated understanding of God’s character. More so is this to be done by those living just before Jesus’ Second Advent.
But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48).
Those Who Deny God’s Nonviolent Character Will Sanction Or Use Violence
Once they denied God’s character of agape love of nonviolence, the people of Jesus’ time utilized violence on anyone and everyone that they were antagonistic towards whenever given the opportunity, including the very Son of God. What was subjectively in their hearts, they demonstrated overtly by their actions. This is confirmed by Stephen’s words, directed at Sabbatarians just before they murdered him:
You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it (Acts 7:51-53).
They did this because they believed and lived by the principle of good and evil.
Jesus Attests That The Entire Old Testament Testifies Of Him
That the entire Old Testament was a testimony of the coming Messiah is confirmed by Jesus Himself. While walking on the road to Emmaus with two of the disciples, Jesus gave them an understanding of how the entire Old Testament is a revelation of Himself:
Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:25-27).
Further on in the same chapter of Luke Jesus adds the following information:
Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures (Luke 24:44, 45).
Again, Moses, all the Prophets and the Psalms were the only Scriptures at this time, and comprised the whole of the Old Testament. We find further evidence that this is true in a previous incident before Jesus’ resurrection, when Jesus made the following statement to His Jewish audience in reference to the entire Old Testament:
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life (John 5:39, 40).
It is quite obvious that Jesus is referring to the entire Old Testament when He says that these are they which testify of Me. We can then conclude that when Stephen, in his discourse with His Jewish audience, categorically states these facts, he does not exclude any of the Old Testament prophets who had foretold about Jesus and His coming:
Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers (Acts 7:52).
Now we know that not every one of the Old Testament prophets were literally persecuted or killed by the fathers whom Stephen is talking about. So what is the meaning of Stephen’s accusation, that they persecuted and killed those who foretold the coming of the just One? Stephen classed them all as murderers because not one of them understood God’s character, which the Messiah had revealed. We can further say that even the prophets who wrote about Him did not completely comprehend the nonviolent agape love character of God, for it was only Jesus that completely revealed it.
Sabbatarians Of Jesus’ Time Failed To Live Up To What Had Been Given Them
One would expect Sabbatarians, to whom were committed the oracles of God, to whom much more is given, and from whom much more is required, to know that God is a Being completely devoid of violence. It is inexcusable for Sabbath keepers to fail to understand God’s nonviolent principle of agape love, for that is why the Sabbath originated. Thus, even though they worship on the Sabbath day, they nullify the Sabbath principle and the Commandment for its observance because they worship the God of violence. Thus while on one hand they attempt to keep the Commandment remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, on the other hand, at the same time they annul the Commandment, thou shall not kill (Exodus 20:8, 13).
Breaking Even One Of The Commandments Is Violence And Makes Us Killers
Tragically, these deceived and deluded Sabbatarians who were passionate about the observance of the Ten Commandments invalidated all the Commandments of God by breaking two of them. By believing in the God of violence, they broke the Sabbath commandment which attests to God’s character of nonviolence; thus they became violent and they broke the Commandment thou shall not kill.
The breaking of any of the Commandments automatically places one in the realm of being violent and using violence, and therefore of being the takers of life. Jesus said that the devil was a murderer from the beginning. We have already seen in the chapter “Lucifer and the War in Heaven” that this began when Lucifer rebelled against the law of agape love by introducing his law of good and evil.
By Breaking One Commandment, We Break All
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).
How can one say that if we break one of the Commandments we are guilty of breaking them all? Does that mean that if I kill I am guilty of committing adultery also? Or if I steal, am I guilty of not honouring my parents as well?
We can only understand this seemingly illogical concept when we realize that the spirit of the Commandments is broken by the use of violence, which is fueled by the incorrect belief that God is a God of violence. If God is a God of violence then it would follow that God would condone violence. When we know that there is not an iota of violence in God, then we will understand that breaking any one of the Commandments of agape love is violence, and is the same as breaking all of them because in agape love there is no violence. Whether we know or not that God is nonviolent, breaking any of the commandments will still be violence. When one commandment is disobeyed violence has resulted, and all the Commandments are violated and transgressed because everyone one of them is founded on agape love.
To Kill And To Commit Adultery Are Both Violent Acts
Let’s look again at how the apostle James explains this principle:
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not kill.’(KJV) Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do kill, (KJV) you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:8-13).
James makes the claim that if you do not commit adultery, but you do kill you have become a transgressor of the law of agape love. It is obvious to everyone that to kill is violence and is a transgression of the law of agape love. This is easily understood because of the observable violence involved in the act of killing. According to the law of agape love, however, adultery is just as much an act of violence as killing is. This applies to the rest of the Commandments as well, so that breaking any of the Commandments is violence.
James equates do not commit adultery with do not kill for a very special reason. Everyone understands that to kill is violent, but the violence of adultery is not so easily evident; neither is it as evident in stealing. That is why James used the two Commandments relating to killing and adultery, one clearly violent and the other not so evident, to show that they are both violent.
He could have said: For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not steal.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do steal, you have become a transgressor of the law. Had he equated do not commit adultery with do not steal he would have failed to communicate the spirit of the law of the Ten Commandments, which is nonviolence. Killing is clearly violent, while stealing and adultery are not. He wants to make sure that we understand that when we do anything to harm another human being we are using violence, even if the act does not overtly appear to be violent. Therefore, even when one commits an act that appears to have no overt violence in it, but which brings harm to anyone, that is breaking the law of agape love.
On the surface, adultery and stealing are not nearly as violent as killing. But adultery and stealing cause harm to all the parties involved and are just as violent as killing. There is then a new level of thinking regarding violence, which goes beyond the mere surface of our actions. Jesus expressed that truth when He said:
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not kill (KJV), and whoever shall kill (KJV) will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that every- one who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire (ESV) (Matthew 5:21,22).
So we see that the principle behind the Ten Commandment law is the nonviolent principle of agape love. When any of the Ten are broken, agape love is automatically missing, and violence is the result. The Ten Commandment law of agape love is violated when the principle of good and evil is used; Satan’s principle is inherently violent and is nonexistent in agape love.
Whenever we transgress any one of the Commandments we are using the principle of violence. Even unloving thoughts are saturated with violence and are bereft of agape love. They result in unloving actions, which are violence, and break the law.
A Debased Mind Is The Consequence Of Unbelief In God’s Principle Of agape Love Of Nonviolence
The consequences of not having the knowledge of God’s character are clearly given by the apostle Paul. It is important that we understand that it is the lack of the correct knowledge of God that causes the condition that Paul describes below:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them (Romans 1:28-32).
Failing to understand that God’s character of agape love has no violence in it at all, and rejecting this verity, results in a debased mind. A debased mind, spiritually speaking, is the consequence of a wrong knowledge of God. Those who have a false understanding of God can be honourable people, but with this false view, according to Paul, they have a debased mind. Inevitably then, one who has a debased mind believes that God is a violent being even though He is agape love. Thus we attribute to God a hybrid character which is the ultimate lie from Satan and which we have believed. Therefore, with this wrong understanding of God’s character we end up worshipping Satan instead of God.
Those Who Have A Debased Mind Are Deserving Of Death?
The apostle Paul goes even further to say that a person with this skewed understanding of God’s character has a debased mind deserving of death. It must be understood that when Paul says deserving of death he means that a person who has consciously chosen to believe the lie about God’s character has placed himself into Satan’s death domain and cannot see that God is the only source of life. Jesus, who came to show the true character of God and who is the only One who could show it, states the same thing by these words in the book of John:
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36).
Having a debased mind inevitably results in the breaking of the entire Ten Commandments which, when correctly understood, are the revelation of God’s agape love of nonviolence.
In the passage from Romans 1:28-32 Paul lists in great detail the consequences of not retaining God in their knowledge, and under close scrutiny we can see that he covers every aspect of the Ten Commandments. The first four, which teach us about God’s character, are addressed by the phrase they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, and thus they became haters of God. The remaining six Commandments that pertain to our relationship to human beings on the horizontal dimension are addressed by the words being filled with all unrighteousness.
To those who fit the above description, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them (Romans 1:18,19).
What Is The Wrath Of God?
In Romans 1:18-19 Paul also makes a reference to the Ten Commandments. All ungodliness is the transgression of the first four Commandments, and all unrighteousness of men is the transgression of the latter six.
We must ask ourselves in what manner is the wrath of God revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men?
First and foremost we must clearly understand that when Paul says from heaven he means the very Throne Room of God in heaven. From Heaven can also represent God Himself and the essence of His being, His agape love. We must also unmistakably understand that the wrath of God is definitely not just one aspect of His character, but on the contrary, it is the very essence and nature of God because the wrath of God is revealed by His agape love.
If not comprehended accurately and truthfully, the way in which the wrath of God is understood will with certainty result in the demonization of God.
Understanding The Wrath Of God
We can only understand the wrath of God when we understand that God, in His agape love gives humanity the freedom of choice at a risk to Himself that is beyond our comprehension. Only when the nature of agape love is understood, and only when we realize what sin has done to God and to His creation can we grasp the meaning of our God-given freedom to choose either Him or Satan.
Paul personally gives the most definitive answer to the important question of what the wrath of God is in the context of this passage. Notice that it is when humanity is adamant and determined in rejecting the correct understanding of God’s character of agape love, living in utter ungodliness and unrighteousness, that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven. Paul is saying that when God allowed people to exercise their God-given freedom of choice, with no restraint whatsoever, He gave them up to (Romans 1:24, 26, 28) their inclined preference; this is His wrath. Therefore, when people choose to enter into Satan’s violent principle of good and evil, God allows them to do so, consequently allowing them to suffer the consequences that are inherent in that principle, which ultimately involve all facets of death.
Agape love does not use force—not even to restrain people from living in evil. Only agape love can be used to turn people from evil. Agape love suffers and takes all the consequences of evil upon itself and is prepared to lose eternal life rather than utilize any method that is contrary to agape love. Therefore God gave them up to their ultimate choice of believing and living by Satan’s rule of law. ‘Letting go’ is the wrath of God because agape love can do nothing else but to release people to their choices.
Therefore God gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their heart, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things that are not fitting. . . . .that those who practice such things are deserving of death. . . . .and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (Romans 1:24-26,28,32,27).
The passage that says receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due confirms that it is the choices we make that determine our destiny.
A Little Bit Of Leaven Leavens The Whole Lump
James’ words for whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10), are echoed in the following statement by the apostle Paul:
Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? (1 Corinthians 5:6).
From the history of the children of Israel we know that Jesus had the most difficulty reaching Sabbath keepers. In an incident where He was conversing with His disciples, He warned them particularly about the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. These were the principal teachers of the Jews, and along with the scribes, they had educated their followers with a skewed view of God. Jesus gave His disciples the following warning:
Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Matthew 16:6.
As usual, the disciples failed to grasp the meaning of Jesus’ words:
And they reasoned among themselves, saying. ‘It is because we have taken no bread (Matthew 16:7).
Jesus corrects their understanding by informing them:
How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? – but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:11-12).
Jesus’ revelation of God’s character was in direct opposition to the teachings of the religious leaders and their followers. It was Jesus’ intent to alert the disciples to the fact that they needed to beware of the teachings of these religious leaders for they were misrepresenting God’s character. The very people who had been given the oracles of God, had a radically different understanding of God than what Jesus proclaimed. The God that Jesus was revealing to them was not the same God they were worshipping.
This applied particularly to Sabbatarians who believed in Him and believed Him:
They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him. As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:27-32).
Jesus Revealed The Nonviolent Character Of God
As we have already seen, Satan did his misdeed in the Garden with Adam and Eve’s minds by causing them to believe the lie about God. Their contaminated view that God is a killer resulted in their being afraid of Him. That is the reason they hid from Him after their disobedience. Jesus Christ has by His life, death and resurrection exposed this skewed view of God as a lie.
Unfortunately, even after Jesus’ revelation we continue to embrace the warped view of God that Adam and Eve had after they sinned. By His High Priestly work in the transcendent sphere, Jesus is currently still attempting to cleanse our minds of Satan’s lies regarding the agape love character of God, which has no trace of violence in it.
We have the event of the cross, which is the ultimate revelation of God’s character to help us know His nonviolent agape love. It is to us then that these words apply:
For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48).
There Was Almost No Knowledge Of Satan In The Old Testament
There are a few indirect references to the devil in the Hebrew language with a couched meaning attached to it. One such verse is Leviticus 17:7:
And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring (KJV).
The NIV interpretation is more in line with what is stated in the original Hebrew:
They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves (NIV).
However, Satan’s presence in the entire Old Testament would have been virtually nonexistent if it was not for four explicit references in the following Books and verses: 1 Chronicles 21:1; Psalm 109:6. In the book of Job he is mentioned in chapters one and two, and in the book of Zechariah in chapter three.
With such limited knowledge of God’s Adversary, the Destroyer, the Accuser, it is understandable that the writers of the Old Testament cannot be held fully responsible for blaming all evil on God. The entirety of the prevailing belief systems around them also did exactly the same. In their thinking God is sovereign and supreme, therefore evil acts were also attributed to Him. So we can rightfully conclude that the God they worshipped, and justifiably so because of their ignorance, was both the Creator and Destroyer.
The New Testament Is Filled With References To Satan, The Devil
We, to whom much more is given, cannot justify our ignorance in ascribing to God the evil acts of Satan and his emissaries. We are inexcusable, for we have been given informative evidence about Satan under his different names and classifications, from Genesis to Revelation, with a few in the Old Testament and the majority in the New Testament.
In addition, we have the cross event which in no uncertain terms reveals to us the nonviolent agape love of God. We have at our disposal information beyond anything that any previous generation had, to the effect that we may know the facts for such a time as we are living in, so that we will comprehend the truth about God’s character.
After all the knowledge given us by God on a golden platter, our failure to know God’s character as the Creator and Satan’s character as the Destroyer will seal our fate for weal or for woe. In light of all of this, when we ascribe or impute to God the death and destruction that is the fall-out for sin from Satan’s rule of law, and attribute to God the works of the Devil, we are in fact in a worse situation than the generations of the Old Testament times, and for that matter, of any previous generation. Imputing to God the death and destruction that originates from Satan and his rule of law, we are in actuality denying the existence of Satan as God’s antagonist. If God is the Creator as well as the Destroyer, then what is Satan? Is he a mere observer?
It is painful to observe how we continue to demonize God’s character, and mix His agape love with violence. We do so even after having been given the profound revelation from the cross and from the Sabbath! Both the cross and the Sabbath attest that God is nonviolent; nevertheless, we persist in imputing Satan’s character traits to God, and this is the height of depravity which the Bible calls the unpardonable sin.
It is extremely difficult for our finite minds to comprehend the unimaginable agony that God our Father is experiencing over our warped view of Him. Jesus wanted us to know that God is our heavenly Daddy. Regrettably, we, His earthly children, believe Satan’s lies about Him and therefore live in fear of Him. We view Him as a tyrant who will readily use violence toward us if we disobey His will for us.
Could we but understand God’s agape love and have an inkling of what we are subjecting God to by the lies we believe about Him, we would turn the world upside down to change our thinking. Our views and our behaviour speak volumes about who we are as Christians who have been given enlightenment above and beyond that of any other religious group.
The Sabbath Principle Determines How We Defend Ourselves
Some will vehemently claim that violence is needed at times, in particular when it comes to self-defence. They will make the argument that if our earthly father did not defend us from intruders he would be negligent; thus it is taken for granted that if our earthly daddy uses physical strength to defend us from a murderer or rapist, we would love him all the more. After all, how would we feel about him if he did not protect us from evil?
The answer to this problem requires an unshakable faith in the God of love. If we truly desire to follow Him, we need to learn to defend ourselves and our loved ones in a way that does not use violence. Then we will truly reflect His character and His principle of nonviolence.
We will come to know that God defends us with agape love and dies Himself, as He did in Jesus Christ, while defending us. We will appreciate that love far more than if He killed the enemy by the use of violence and saved Himself and us by the same satanic violent methods.
On the cross God allowed His Son to be literally murdered in the most inhumane way possible that was available in those days. He in His agape love suffered with His Son through the agony of the cross. All who come to understand God’s character will live by the principle of the cross and defeat Satan and his rule of law. This would mean they would not defend their loved ones with violence but would die with them or for them.
Such people will defeat Satan and his principle of violence by the principle of the cross according to the apostle John.
And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, and did not love their lives to the death (Revelation 12:11).
In this connection, the apostles Peter and Paul stated what they learned from Jesus about the principle of the cross:
For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow in His steps: Who committed no sin nor was deceit found in His mouth; who when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when he suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls (1 Peter 2:19-25).
Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Corinthians 10:1-6; emphasis added).
In this respect Jesus said that all of His followers will do what He did:
Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it (Mark 8:34-35).
The next verse indicates that if we reject God’s agape principle of nonviolence, which, according to Jesus we must apply even to our enemies, we will lose our souls:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:36-38).
The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor (John 12:23-26).
We Still See God As A Violent God
The tragedy of tragedies is that we actually want to continue believing the same lies about God that Adam and Eve believed when they obeyed Satan. This original lie, which Adam bought into, is that we need to be afraid of God because of a supposed violent streak in Him toward those who disobey Him.
God’s warning to Adam, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall surely die, (Genesis 2:17), was turned around by Satan, so that its new meaning would be: beware, God is out to kill you. Are we still interpreting the Scriptures and perverting God’s character in the same way as Adam and Eve did after they sinned? Take the following passages for instance:
For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)
Sin is Satan’s rule of law, and inherent in it is death, which is the wages of sin. Therefore, 1) Satan’s rule of law, 2) sin, 3) wages of sin and 4) death are all one and the same inseparable iniquitous principle. All four do not have anything in common with God’s character and His kingdom principle, but are directly in conflict with everything He represents and stands for. These are all at enmity with God. We are told that,
The last enemy [OF GOD] that will be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26; emphasis added).
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Hebrews 2:14).
When Jesus died on the cross He took upon Himself all the fall-out for sin that came from Satan’s rule of law of good and evil. Thus He revealed God’s love, which does not arbitrarily punish sinners. When this fact is known, believed and demonstrated, then the power Satan has over death is destroyed.
God does not destroy Satan the way Satan wants us to believe God operates. His destruction happens when he is completely left to his own rule of law, from within which he will experience his demise.
All four, as enemies of God will be destroyed: Satan’s rule of law, sin, wages of sin and death, for they belong to the death principle. The above verses clarify that death is not of God but is His enemy; therefore we cannot claim that God is responsible for the death of all who have died since the time of Adam and Eve. Death originated when Lucifer introduced his rule of law. God has never been involved in any act of killing.
How many of us have used this verse, for the wages of sin is death, to point out that God absolutely and assuredly will destroy sin and sinners with death? What about the very next words that follow them:
But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
It is the gift of God that destroys the death principle, and neither the first death nor the second death will be in existence in the future; there will be only eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus Christ’s life-giving law of agape love will be all in all.
Jesus Christ Tells Us Who The Killer Is
Do we not see the verse the wages of sin is death in the same way that Adam saw God’s warning? Do we not interpret it to mean that God destroys sin and sinners but saves only those who believe in Jesus Christ? Believe in what about Jesus Christ our Lord is the question that should be correctly understood and answered.
The answer is given by Jesus in one of His discussions with His Jewish listeners: believe in the message of Jesus Christ, who told us that God, His Father, kills no one.
I speak what I have seen with My father, and you do what you have seen with your father (John 8:38).
The contrast Jesus makes between His Father and His listeners’ father show that their father is he who was a murderer from the beginning. He is the killing agent. Will Satan commit suicide in the end? In one aspect yes he will. He was warned that inherent in his principle is death. All who commit themselves to his principle will die by it, including himself. In this way he chose to commit suicide. His law is a self-destructive principle that will implode, killing him and all of his followers.
Murderer From The Beginning
The original meaning of the Greek word for ‘murderer’ is ‘manslayer.’ It is with this understanding, conveyed in the totality of the context of His discussion with His Jewish listeners, that Jesus further elaborates on why He called Satan a murderer:
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).
It is the law introduced by Satan into the universe that makes him a manslayer from the beginning. As his law contains the principle of life-taking, he, therefore, through his law, causes and administers all death.
Because Our Nature Is Good And Evil, We See God As Good And Evil
The discourse between God and Adam in the Garden proves the point about Satan’s lies about God. This lie stemmed from Satan’s principle of good and evil which Adam and Eve believed in after they disobeyed God. The monstrous lie that Satan, through the principle of good and evil taught Adam and Eve is that God is someone to be feared. This principle told Adam and Eve that God executes those who disobey Him. It made His warnings sound like a threat and if you happened to disobey Him, then you shall surely die. It therefore said to Adam and Eve: “Be afraid of Him Adam, because now He is going to be your executioner.”
God Came Looking For Adam Without Condemnation
If we look closely at God’s behaviour after Adam’s disobedience, we will notice that His actions reveal the opposite of what Satan had conveyed. God went looking for His fear-filled children in the cool of the day to demonstrate to them His perfect love which casts our fear because fear involves torment. Let’s look again at the complete verse from 1 John 4:18, from the Amplified Version and transfer it in our minds to that scene in the Garden:
There is no fear in love – dread does not exist; but full- grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love – is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection.”
Adam and Eve hid from God because of the fear that they had learned from Satan’s principle of good and evil, which was now a part of their thinking. Satan made them see God as a violent Being who had rejected them for their disobedience. Now that they were experiencing forsakenness, they also believed God was going to kill them. This skewed view of God materialized after they disobeyed God’s counsel, because their disobedience entailed adopting a new system of principles which would cause them to lose their correct view of God’s character.
The cross confirms the veracity that the principle of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had negatively impacted Adam and Eve’s minds toward God.
On the cross Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me (Matthew 27:46)?’ Jesus was subjected to all the fall-out from good and evil even though God had not forsaken Him. God never leaves or forsakes anyone. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).
Contrary to their false expectation, what we see in God’s behaviour is evidence that Adam and Eve were not forsaken. He had no words of condemnation or the intent to punish. Rather, God in His agape love called out to them saying, where are you?
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and His wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself (Genesis 3:8-10).
The curses that follow, as previously addressed, are only a statement of the consequences of adopting Satan’s rule of law.
We, Adam And Eve’s Children, Are all involved in bringing In The Final Resolution Of The Cosmic Spiritual War
We are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and are all brothers and sisters and children of that first couple. We will all be given the privilege of playing a pivotal role in vindicating God’s character before the world, prior to the second advent of Jesus Christ. There is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11), for God is absolute and does not change according to circumstances, therefore His principles in dealing with each of us are the same across the board regardless of who we are.
All the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve will have the privileged responsibility of knowing and demonstrating God’s character of agape love. There is no partiality with God so every progeny of Adam and Eve, without exception, will demonstrate one of two things through their relationships to each other: whether they live by God’s law of agape love or by Satan’s law of good and evil.
The Sabbath Principle Will Play A Pivotal Role
The seventh day Sabbath and the principle it stands for will certainly be involved in the issues facing mankind at the end time. Again, what was the reason for which God had blessed the seventh day and sanctified it?
The reason God gave us the Sabbath so that death and destruction will not cause us to forget that the Creator is not the Destroyer, but that He is the God of agape love. The last issue facing the human race will involve the character of God, which is represented by the seventh- day Sabbath. Every child of Adam and Eve will reveal by their actions of violence or nonviolence, whether they are the worshippers of God or of Satan.
There is no denominational, religious, political, racial, economic, cultural, gender or geographic barriers in this last issue of the final phase of world history. We will all be involved in the decision of our fate, for weal or for woe, and there will be no exceptions. In that process, we will reveal whether we are the worshippers of the true God or whether we have as king over us the angel of the bottomless pit, who is none other than the Devil himself.
All Of Us Will Choose Either agape Love Or Good And Evil
The Bible says that God will render to each one according to his deeds (Rom. 2:6). The choices each one makes and the resulting actions will place everyone either for God or for Satan. Each one of us will reveal one of two things, and there will be no third option. To one another on planet earth and to the rest of the universe, we will each demonstrate in our life either God’s law of agape love represented by the sanctity of the seventh day, or Satan’s rule of law of arbitrary punishment, death and destruction. This is what the apostle John has to say to all of us:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another . . . If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also (1 John 4:7, 8, 11, 20, 21).
If God’s Character Is His Seal, Then agape Love Is The Seal Of God For God Is Love
The agape love of God represented by the seventh-day Sabbath is the seal of God to memorialize that He is agape love and not the Destroyer. The Bible tells us that those who will know the love of God will be involved in portraying His agape love to every human being on planet earth. They will be critically involved in manifesting God’s love. This demonstration of unconditional, self-sacrificing love will occur when evil reaches its peak among humanity and this is not far in the future. Jesus warned us not to let this love grow cold when evil becomes rampant on the earth. In Matthew 24:12 He says:
And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold.
When evil reaches its highest point, there is a great danger that those who now have God’s agape love in their hearts will transition back to using the principle of good and evil because their love grows cold. And those who already have the principle of good and evil in their hearts will be even further hardened into it and will demand escalating punishment. They will demand the most severe forms of punishment conceivable in order to deter evil.
Now Is The Day Of Salvation From The Principle Of Good And Evil
We should not neglect to live-out God’s love now instead of delaying it with the expectancy that we will be prepared later in that future time period just before the Second Advent. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (1 Corinthians 6:2), salvation from the principle that brings destruction and death. God’s principle of agape love teaches us the opposite of the principle of good and evil and shows us that:
…where sin [GOOD AND EVIL] abounded, grace [agape] abounded much more (Romans 5:20; emphasis added).
Mankind’s reactions to lawlessness (where sin abounded), will reveal whether they have or have not lived by the law of agape love represented by the seventh-day Sabbath. This revelation will be most obvious when everyone will be confronted with evil particularly at its pinnacle. At this time all those who reveal God’s agape love in their lives by their actions will receive the seal of God, and those who do not live by God’s agape love will receive the mark of the beast.
God’s And Satan’s Followers Revealed
The seventh-day Sabbath was created and instituted, blessed and sanctified, to dogmatically confirm something of supreme importance and significance about God’s character that we are to emulate: that He is agape love and there is no violence in Him. The Sabbath was put in place to remind us that after sin is introduced in our earthly sphere and mayhem prevails, God’s character does not change from nonviolence to violence towards friend or foe alike. If God has revealed this about Himself to us, then we as His followers, when lawlessness shall abound, must not allow our hearts to be hardened or God’s agape love in us will become nonexistent.
Jesus cautioned us about something of grave spiritual significance. He warned us that just preceding His second advent when iniquity or lawlessness prevails and permeates the earth in the lives of people, the love of many shall grow cold:
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12).
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (KJV).
We all should make certain that this will not happen to us, that our love will not cool. When lawlessness will abound in others, our reaction will also reveal whether we are living by what the seventh-day Sabbath stands for or by Satan’s law of good and evil.
If we believe that God utilizes violence towards His sinful enemies, then all of us who are followers of such a God will imitate His actions. Thus the seventh-day Sabbath principle of God’s law of agape love, in which there is neither violence nor destructive work, will be denied and refuted by our reaction to lawlessness and iniquity that will abound. The line of demarcation drawn between God’s or Satan’s followers will be evidenced by our response to lawlessness. The use of violence or nonviolence will determine which camp we choose.
Any violation of God’s law of agape love is violence because there is no violence in agape love. If in any way we are violating God’s law of agape love in the horizontal dimension, we are guilty of being violent towards our fellow human family, even though it may not look as if we are overtly committing violence. When any harm is caused, it is violence towards the one harmed. When one steals someone else’s possession, one has hurt that individual, thus causing violence towards that person. The same principle applies to our dealings with our parents, to taking life, in whatever form that may be, to committing adultery, bearing false witness, and coveting. All of these are hurting someone.
The Seventh-Day Sabbath Commemorates God’s Character And Was Affirmed, Not Nullified On The Cross
The extra day had its origin in creation week and predates sin. It was instituted to be a memorial to the reality that God is agape love. In that light it would be preposterous to suggest that the seventh-day Sabbath was abrogated at the cross, and that it ceased to be what it was originally created to eternally memorialize.
The cross declared and confirmed that what the Sabbath represents is truthful, for it is through the cross that we see that God is agape love in that He took all the punishment for sin upon Himself.
God the Creator rested on the Sabbath day from His work of Creation. And God the redeemer rested on the Sabbath day from His work of redemption as He lay in the grave. Both occasions demonstrate that He is agape love.
The Cross Affirms The Sabbath
The divine significance of the seventh-day Sabbath relates to God’s character of agape love, and that love was affirmed and not nullified on the cross, so the Sabbath’s applicability has not ceased. What transpired on the cross substantiated this truth and definitely did not nullify the seventh-day Sabbath and the eternal principle it was designed to represent. The cross confirmed why God had created an extra twenty-four hour time period and called it the seventh-day Sabbath. The ultimate revelation of God’s character of agape love was demonstrated by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. On the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the totality of the fall-out for sin. He experienced the entirety of the punishment of sin, including both the first and the second death. Isaiah 53:8 confirms that:
For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken.
Jesus experienced both the first and second death on the cross because of His and the Father’s agape love for us so that we would not have to experience death, the wages of sin. Even though the first death is referred to in the Bible as sleep, it is part of the fallout of sin, because if there was no sin, the first death would be nonexistent. But the gift of God is eternal life which was given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). The first death is the literal death He underwent. Beyond that He also experienced the second death, the eternal oblivion, when He cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matthew 27:46).
Since Jesus lived and died by the principle of agape love He also experienced the resurrection because Satan’s principle could not hold Him in the grave. This He confirmed when He said: The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me (John 14:30). He told Martha: I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die (John 11:25).
What Jesus Experienced On The Cross
Jesus Christ was completely one with the Father in every sense of the word, unified by agape love. Only He could therefore experience such forsakenness. No one ever has or will ever have the same experience Jesus underwent because no one will ever be one in agape love with God in that ultimate sense. Some will experience the second death and be no more. But no one will have the same indescribable and unimaginable pain of separation from the Father which Jesus Christ encountered because no one has been united with the Father in the same manner that Jesus was.
The Lord Of The Sabbath Overturned The Results Of Sin
Even though Jesus took upon Himself the entire consequence for every aspect of all sins on the cross, Satan still is the prince of this world. Consequently, we continue living under his rule of law and continue to experience the end result of his hegemony. Jesus went about overturning the results of Satan’s evil law, proving that those consequences were not caused by the Lord of the Sabbath:
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan (Matthew 4:23-25).
Further evidence that Jesus Christ took upon Himself the consequences of sin is given in Matthew’s cross-reference from Isaiah proving that He is the healer and giver of life, and not the One who inflicts pain and suffering on people as a punishment:
When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses’ (Matthew 8:16, 17).
The First Death Is Part Of The Results Of Sin
Jesus bore on the cross all of the consequences for sin, and that certainly does not exclude the punishment that inseparably goes with sin, which is the first and the second death. Some claim that the second death was the only experience that Jesus underwent on the cross for humanity; therefore according to this reasoning the second death is the only death from which He saves us. This group believes that God does not punish anyone with the second death, but He does punish sinners with the first death and that is why we are still experiencing death. Once again the cross in no uncertain terms proves beyond a shadow of a doubt the inaccuracy of that erroneous belief.
The cross-reference that Matthew took is from Isaiah 53:4 which states: Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Literally translated it reads surely he has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains. The first death, the sleep death, is an extremely painful process for the majority of people and also for almost all those dear ones who are left behind. The pain on the faces of those who have lost their loved ones to Satan’s death principle is unimaginable except for those who are undergoing such an experience.
Did Jesus not take all of our pain and die the most excruciatingly painful death for the sins of humanity? The death on the cross is not referring just to the second death when He experienced the ultimate forsakenness. If we deny the verity that He also died the first death for the sins of humanity, we will fall into the fallacious claim that God does kill people with the first death. This assertion denies what God in Jesus Christ did for humanity on the cross.
If we claim and propagate that God still punishes with the first death, then we must also declare that he punishes with all manner of diseases, sickness, earthquakes, etc…for these are the things that are part of the first death. This belief is far more insidious than the belief that most have that God is personally involved in every aspect of death, including the second death. It is easier for this second group to see the light, even from the utter darkness that they are in, than for the first group who claim God kills in the first death and not in the second. These are in the twilight zone, and are neither in darkness nor in light. These are the people who definitely do belong to the Laodicean church which is lukewarm and neither cold nor hot (Rev. 3:16).
This misguided understanding depicts God as an arbitrary dictator, and justifies His harsh actions by giving the weak excuse that He knows best, and that He knows when and on whom He should use violence, even to the extent of committing genocide. The same weak reasoning claims that He needs to save the so-called good people from the evil ones, and He therefore is justified, in His infinite wisdom, in using violence against those that do not comply. He is also said to not only personally execute some, but to command others for the enforcement of the evil work of execution if and when He feels it is warranted. This is the reasoning behind the principle of Satan, and is not of God.
As Redeemer, Jesus Also Rested On The Seventh Day
After Jesus Christ had completed the work of redemption on the sixth day, the Preparation Day, He said, ‘it is finished!’ (John 19:31, 30) He then rested in the grave on the Sabbath day.
In His agape love God did not punish anyone with violent death; on the contrary, Jesus took the punishment required by the principle of good and evil upon Himself, to the extent of even dying a violent death Himself. Thus Jesus validated, authenticated and revealed that He is agape love, the Creator, who is also the redeemer and not the Destroyer. The thief is the one who kills and destroys with the first and second deaths, but Jesus gives life and that…more abundantly:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
The seventh-day Sabbath was instituted at Creation so that this truth would be known with certainty, so that when in the future death and destruction occurred it would be remembered that they are the inevitable results of Satan’s principle and not of God’s agape love.
The Sabbath Reveals God’s Eternal Character Of Love
The Commandment regarding the seventh-day Sabbath is given prominence by the extensive amplification it has been given in comparison to the other nine. The fourth Commandment was never a shadow that pointed to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross nor did it cease to have significance after the cross. Were that to be true, its applicability and continuance after the event of the cross would thus be nullified.
The cross, on the contrary, revealed that the Sabbath principle is as eternal as God’s character of agape love is eternal. The cross revealed who is the true nonviolent God, and unequivocally distinguished Him from the false god of violence, who is Satan. We have all fallen prey to the false god of violence when we claim that the God of the universe is violent.
The Sabbath Was Confirmed At The Cross
As stated earlier, there is a common error in our day that teaches that the moral law was abolished at the cross. If that is true, then the commandment thou shall not kill for instance, has been abolished along with the other nine. Are we now then free to kill, steal and break the others? Paul addresses this very subject by the inspiration of God, who knowing beforehand that His law would suffer such an attack, preempted the enemy by giving us the truth:
Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law (Romans 3:31)
The above passage is certainly referring to the Ten Commandments, the moral law of God, which includes the Sabbath. It is not addressing the ceremonial laws, which are the laws that pointed to the cross and were therefore abolished at the cross.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet’ (Romans 7:7).
Is there a problem with the law? Certainly not! It is sin itself that has created the problem with the law for us. Paul tells us what is the status of the law:
But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead (Romans 7:8).
Adam and Eve sinned when they obeyed Satan’s rule of law that was represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The whole human race has inherited the principle of good and evil from them and our lives are controlled by it. When the Ten Commandment law is viewed with this sin controlled mindset as arbitrary, then the law of agape love that is in the Ten Commandments becomes sin for us, even though the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good (Romans 7:12).
Because our minds operate by Satan’s law of good and evil, which is sin, we are no longer able to understand God’s law of agape love. God’s law is holy, His commandment is holy, just and good; but because our minds have been warped by good and evil we no longer are able to see agape love for what it is. The law says you shall not covet. If we had agape love we would automatically fulfill the law, because he who has agape love would not covet. If agape love was the supreme operating principle in our lives, we would not need to be told not to covet because there would be no desire to covet in us.
With the above understanding then, it is extremely crucial and critical that we answer the following question: is the Ten Commandment law sin? When Paul states certainly not he makes it clear that the Ten Commandment law is not sin. Jesus confirmed this by encapsulating the whole Ten Commandments under agape love.
Because agape love is the one supreme law of the universe, therefore sin is the transgression of the law of agape love. We sin when we interpret God’s Ten Commandments with the mind of good and evil rather than agape love. Such a mind works through fear and not agape love. It attempts to keep the law for two reasons: either in order to avoid punishment, or as the means of finding favor with God through good works in order to obtain the reward of salvation by merit. Either way, the underlying motive seen here is a selfish one, and has nothing to do with love toward God or neighbour. In this sense, and in this sense only, has the law been abolished, that we no longer keep the law for these selfish reasons. Now we may keep it in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23) because of the revelation of love that Jesus Christ came to give us. Jesus has abolished the old way of keeping the law, and has shown us how to live in the law of love, by living in continual love toward the Father and toward each other. This is the true meaning of being born again:
Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’ (John 3:5-7).
Was The Sabbath Done Away With At The Cross Then?
If the Ten Commandment law is sin, then the Sabbath law is also sin. This raises an exceedingly fundamental and decisive issue. We must clearly understand whether the Sabbath law is sin, and whether God has abolished this law, having nailed it to the cross.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not, (Romans 7:7)!
The apostle Paul has settled this issue for us. Yes, the law would be sin and would have been abolished at the cross if the underlying principle were not agape love. But this is obviously not the case for we know that agape love is the foundational principle that governs every one of the commands. If we view the law as a set of arbitrary commands with arbitrary reward for obedience and arbitrary punishment for disobedience, which is the mindset of the principle of good and evil, then the commands definitely generate sin, and they would have been abolished at the cross. If we conclude that the law was not abolished at the cross, then it follows that the seventh-day Sabbath was also not abolished or substituted by another day, for Jesus said:
For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).
Did Sunday, The First Day Of The Week, Replace The Seventh Day Sabbath?
In the entirety of the New Testament there are eight references to the first day of the week, which is Sunday. If this day were to replace the seventh- day Sabbath, one would expect it to be clearly stated in one of these eight references. There are however many unmistakable divine commands given for the sacredness of the seventh-day Sabbath as the day for worship. If the day of worship was changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week, why is not the same compelling, convincing and authoritative command given for the first day of the week? Nowhere in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, are we told by God that Sunday, the first day of the week, will replace the seventh day of the week for worship. Below are all the passages in the New Testament that address the first day of the week:
(1) Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb (Matthew 28:1).
(2) Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen (Mark 16:1, 2).
(3) Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons (Mark 16:9).
(4) Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other woman with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared (Luke 24:1).
(5) Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb (John 20:1).
(6) Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’ (John 20:19).
(7) Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2).
(8) Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight (Acts 20:7).
The first thing we must note from the above passages is that Sunday is always called the first day of the week and not the Lord’s Day. Not once is it referred to as the Sabbath, and not in one of these references do we read that God blessed the first day of the week and sanctified it. Additionally, not once in the entire Bible does it say: Remember the resurrection day to keep it holy.
It is a historic and accepted fact that all of these references were written decades after the cross. It is interesting to note that even after such a length of time had elapsed between the actual events and the recording of those events, these references do not once state that the seventh-day Sabbath was replaced by the first day of the week as the day of worship. The writers of the Bible were clearly not worshipping on the first day of the week; this is an unbiblical tradition that began gradually after the apostles’ demise.
The verse usually used as an argument to prove that the seventh-day Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week is the one which states that the apostles met on the day of the resurrection. This verse is listed as item number (6), where we read that the apostles were assembled for the fear of the Jews and not to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection as a worship day. Quite to the contrary, at this time they did not even know or believe that Jesus had resurrected!
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen (Mark 16:14).
With passion, precision and boldness the apostle Paul would later confront every issue that was not theologically in agreement with what he had learned from Jesus Christ. He challenged all, regardless of who they were, exposing error and stating the correct biblical position. One glaring example was his anathema for compelling compliance to the Jewish ritual of circumcision. We can easily visualize such passion as we read Philippians 3:2-3:
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Paul knew that a single deviation from the truth could lead God’s precious children away from the glorious gospel of grace, and He remained firm and faithful to the commission entrusted to him:
For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
Thus, Paul continued keeping the Sabbath after His encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In light of what was just stated above, one would believe that Paul, who became a Christian after Jesus Christ’s resurrection, as the result of a personal encounter with Him, would be definitive in declaring that the seventh- day Sabbath had been nullified and replaced by the first day of the week. One would surely expect clarity on that extremely important subject from someone like Paul, given his passionate personality and training as a theologian. As a Jew he tells this about himself:
My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee (Acts 26:4, 5).
A Jew, and even more notably a Pharisee, was especially meticulous when it came to this preeminent day of worship. In fact, the seventh-day Sabbath was observed with such inflexibility and severity that if it had been abolished, Paul would certainly have declared it. A passionate individual like him would have undoubtedly and clearly told his flock that the first day of the week had now become the avowed day of worship instead of the seventh-day Sabbath; but he does not do that.
The two verses listed in item number (7) in the list are not stating that on the first day of the week there would be a spiritual assembly when collection should be done as a congregation. Paul is stating the very opposite. Each of you is to put aside and keep by him a sum in proportion of his gains (The New English Bible). Keep by him means ‘at home,’ and not in some gathering so that no collections are done when Paul goes to Corinth.
In item number (8) the event occurs on Saturday night after the seventh-day Sabbath is over and the first day of the week commences and it goes on till midnight. It is a farewell gathering for Paul who is to depart the next day to visit other churches. The breaking of bread was a daily ritual of theirs and it also happened on this evening:
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart (Acts 2:46).
What Is The Memorial For The Resurrection?
The main reason given for the observance of the first day of the week is that it is said to be the memorial of the resurrection. Again, that is not a biblical position. The biblical memorial of the resurrection is baptism by submersion. We commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ during baptism, when we go underwater and then are raised from our submerged condition.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin (Romans 6:1-6).
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ [HIS PRINCIPLE OF agape LOVE] (Galatians 3:27; emphasis added).
Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead (Colossians 2:12).
There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21).
The Old Covenant Mindset Was Done Away With At The Cross
Keeping the law as a means to find favor with God and obtain salvation is the approach of the Old Covenant. It is the type of ingrained thinking that Jesus and the New Testament writers so intensely and with great difficulty attempted to overturn. The apostle Paul makes the distinction between the two Covenant mindsets when he compares Moses, who had the mindset of a servant, with Jesus, who had the mindset of a Son.
In Hebrews 3:1-11 we are admonished to take into consideration Jesus Christ as the one person who has something very special to teach us, and the comparison is made between His and Moses’ understanding of God:
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all his house (Hebrews 3:1-2).
Jesus Christ was appointed by God and was faithful to God in the revelation He gave us of God’s character of love. We see as we read further that His teachings have preeminent prominence over Moses’ teachings because He Himself is Divine:
For this One [JESUS CHRIST] has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honour than the house (Hebrews 3:3).
Humanity is God’s house for it is God who created humanity. As the builder of the house, Jesus has more Honour than the house. His testimony, therefore, is worthy of more honour than the testimony of Moses who was but a human being:
For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God (Hebrews 3:4).
Moses’ Flawed Knowledge Of God
As we continue, we see that Moses was faithful to God’s calling, but within the limited knowledge which he had of God. We see that his knowledge was flawed in that he interpreted everything, including the law, from the perspective of the principle of good and evil, the Old Covenant mindset. Moses, who represents all that have the same mindset, saw the Ten Commandment law as belonging to the system of arbitrary reward and punishment, and that outlook kept him in a condition of slavery. Moses and the people of the Old Testament served God out of fear and not out of love, with the exception of Enoch and Elijah who were translated. Jesus, on the other hand, had the mind of a Son, and served His Father out of love:
And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end (Hebrews 3:5-6; emphasis added).
Notice Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if… the word if here refers not to works of the law, but holding fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. We are to hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the good news Jesus proclaimed to the human race, that we are the children of God, heirs according to the promise given to Abraham; we are God’s house. We are loved, forgiven, accepted, and we are to hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of such great news.
Moses Prophesied That One Would Come Whom We Should Hear
What does it mean in the above passage when it says that Moses’ experience would be a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward? Those things which would be spoken afterward, according to Moses himself, would be the revelation of God’s true character, and pointed to the future appearance of Jesus Christ who would reveal the Father:
The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ ‘And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him’ (Deuteronomy 18:15-19).
That the above passage is a reference to Jesus Christ is confirmed by the fact that this passage is quoted by Peter in Acts 3:22-23, when he preached about Jesus Christ after Pentecost in Solomon’s Portico:
… and that He may send Jesus Christ who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people (Acts 3:20-23).
Notice that Peter adds the words in all things, whatever He says to you. After quoting the above passage from Deuteronomy, Peter closes his speech with the following words:
To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities (Acts 3:26).
The entire world, and in particular those who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, must take heed to what Moses has stated. More specifically yet, the Christian world must come to know the true from the false Messiah, because God has told us clearly that it was Jesus Christ He was referring to as He spoke through Moses, whom Peter quoted.
Notice that Jesus is called a Servant in the above verse. There is a vast difference between Jesus’ faithful servitude and Moses faithfulness as a servant. Moses’ mindset of a servant makes him indeed a servant and He obeys God as a servant obeys a master out of fear. The apostle John confirms Moses’ partial knowledge of God when He said:
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:17-18).
This verse indicates that Moses did not entirely know grace and truth. Jesus’ mind of a Servant makes Him a loved and loving Son who does what He sees His Father doing and who therefore, through agape love, always serves others just as the Father does. For this reason He is in the bosom of the Father in a way that Moses was not:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Phillippians 2:5-8).
Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner (John 5:19).
Jesus Himself explained to His disciples what His type of servitude means:
Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves (Luke 22:24-27).
The Law Came Through Moses
When prophesying about the coming Messiah, why did Moses say Him you shall hear? Why not ‘me’ you shall hear? Because what Jesus Christ had to give to the world was beyond what Moses could give. All that Moses gave the children of Israel was filtered through fear, through lack of understanding the love of God, through the principle of good and evil. That is why the people asked, in utter petrification, that they hear not again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die. Here again is clearly seen their mindset of fearful servitude:
Then he [MOSES] took the book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient (Exodus 24:7).
Thus, it was with a mindset of abject fear that the children of Israel said all that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient. In complete fear they would attempt to be obedient to God in every way possible, but with that mindset they had no concept of God’s love whatsoever.
Be Not Afraid
Whenever an epiphany from the transcendent sphere occurs for humans it is always stated do not be afraid because we are so prone to fear from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The book of Hebrews, on the other hand, informs us that we are to have the very opposite frame of mind:
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
The apostle John succinctly informs us that without understanding God’s agape love we will, with the old covenant mind, remain fearful of God. God, however, wants us to have the new covenant mind, which is the direct opposite of the old way of believing in Him:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
The book of Hebrews further points out that there was something wrong with the old Covenant:
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah –‘not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the days when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: ‘I will put My laws into their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbour and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD, for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ In that He says, ‘A new covenant’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away (Hebrews 8:7-13).
Notice that the old covenant lost its value because the people did not continue in God’s covenant. They did not continue to follow the God of love. To them, God became a harsh and exacting master, and obedience to the law became a dry exercise in obeying rules and regulations rather than obedience from a heart filled with love for God and appreciation for the wisdom of His law of love.
Grace And Truth Came Through Jesus Christ
God promised that the Messiah, Jesus, would turn the people away from their iniquities by giving them the correct knowledge of God and turning them from fear to love:
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:17-18).
If we take up again the passage from Hebrews 3 verses 7- 11; 4:3, 4, we will see that it addresses this whole mindset of the children of Israel in the Old Testament. Because of this mindset they could not enter into God’s rest, which interestingly enough, is a reference to His holy Sabbath. They could not enter God’s rest because they always went astray in their heart, and they have not known God’s ways:
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me. And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest’…although all the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’ (Hebrews 3:7-11; 4:3, 4).
We Are Admonished To Believe In The God Of agape Love
We are admonished to not follow their example in the remaining verses of Hebrews chapter 3:12, 13:
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Please notice that the word unbelief here is used in the context of departing from the living God. It is not used in the context of believing in the existence of God, but of departing from the living God who is the source of life, and not of death.
Good And Evil Teaches A Warped View Of God
The deceitfulness of sin is the lies from the principle of good and evil, and are the same lies about the character of God that Adam and Eve fell prey to. They are the lies which turned them away from God in fear.
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’ For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief’ (Hebrews 3:14-19).
Entering God’s Sabbath rest can happen only through the true knowledge of His character, which the seventh day represents. As we continue into Hebrews chapter 4, we see that the significance of the seventh-day Sabbath is paramount in entering into God’s rest, which is the rest that comes from the knowledge of His true character of agape love:
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it (Hebrews 4:1-2).
Faith In God’s Character Is Required In Order To Enter Into His Rest
The gospel was preached to the Israelites, but their hearing of the gospel was not mixed with faith. Again, what kind of faith does this refer to? The Israelites believed in God, and they had seen His miraculous works for forty years. The faith being addressed here has to do with the correct understanding of God, which they did not have.
For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest.’ Although the works were finished from the foundation of the world (Hebrews 4:3).
We can enter into the rest that comes from the correct knowledge of God’s unconditional love only when we understand and accept the teachings of Jesus Christ, who said:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
Jesus promises to give us rest from the hard labor involved in the servitude to God through the fear that Satan’s reward and punishment system engenders. He showed us that we may call our heavenly Father Abba, daddy, whose yoke is His agape love:
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30).
Some people see the yoke as a burden, but a yoke is designed to lighten a burden and make it easier to bear. We may be yoked to Christ and he takes the weight of good and evil away by giving the knowledge of agape love, thus lightening our burden.
There Remains A Sabbath Rest For The People Of God
As we have already discussed in this chapter, the reason God rested on the seventh day was because through Creation He had demonstrated His agape love. None can enter, or join God in His rest, unless they have the knowledge and belief that God’s character of agape love has no violence:
For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’; And again in this place: ‘They shall not enter My rest’ (Hebrews 4:4-5)
The reason God states in the above verse that they shall not enter His rest, is because they did not believe in His character of agape love of nonviolence that the seventh- day Sabbath rest represented. This was stated after the cross. It is impossible to rest when fear is present.
In the next passage we see that those who did not enter into God’s rest did not enter because of disobedience to the truth regarding His character. We are told, however, that in the future some will enter it:
Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts’ (Hebrews 4:6-7).
Therefore, for us, to whom this promise is given, let us not harden our hearts to the truth of God’s nature of agape love.
The True Knowledge Of God Is Needed In Order To Keep The Law
God has revealed things to us, things that are necessary for us to keep the law of love. The revelation involved here is that God Himself is agape love, and that is the knowledge that is necessary for us to keep the law of agape love:
The secrets things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deuteronomy 29:29).
There Is Nothing Left If The Knowledge Of God’s Unconditional Love Is Rejected
We are told that those who once knew God’s love and now no longer believe it have a very bleak future indeed. Since they have decidedly rejected that God is agape love, all they have to look forward to is the inevitable and irrevocable ultimate damnation. This finality is reached when the truth has been proclaimed and finally rejected. In fact, that is the condition that Lucifer and his angels find themselves in. They were once enlightened and had tasted the heavenly gift:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Hebrews 10 :26-27).
Judas is another example of someone who did not believe in God’s unconditional love. Jesus tried to let him know, even up to the very end by calling him friend, thus showing him that he was accepted and forgiven. Judas could not believe it, and took his own life. Peter on the other hand, although he wept bitterly at his own betrayal of Jesus, was assured by the look of love the Saviour gave him after the three denials, and he knew that he had been forgiven.
The word adversaries in the verse above is the Greek word hupenantios, hoop-en-an-tee’-os. The definition of that word is as follows, from Strong’s Concordance: “From
G5259 and G1727; under (covertly) contrary to, that is, opposed or (as noun) an opponent: – adversary, against.” The meaning here refers to someone who is opposed to the truth, or contrary to it, rather than an enemy. This Greek word is used only one more time in the New Testament:
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary [HUPENANTIOS] to us. And He has taken it out of the way having nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14; emphasis added).
Joshua Is a Type Of Jesus, The One Who Leads Us Into True Rest
The children of Israel did eventually enter into Canaan, the Promised Land, under the leadership of Joshua, who was a type of Jesus. Jesus will lead the spiritual children of Israel into the true spiritual Promised Land, of which the first one was only a type:
For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:8-11).
Notice that those who enter into God’s rest will also cease from their works, as God ceased from His works on the seventh day. Why is that so? Those who enter into the rest that comes from the knowledge of God’s character will cease from trying to appease an angry and exacting God, and will enter into a filial relationship with the Father. They will no longer serve God under harsh servitude. Knowing that they are loved unconditionally will so change their hearts that they will no longer live in constant fear of rejection and punishment, but will live in an atmosphere of continual grace and acceptance with God. They will cease also from the works of the law of good and evil.
The Sabbath Principle Is Eternal As God’s Character Is Eternal
From the first Sabbath day forward into eternity this twenty-four-time period that was brought into existence at Creation will always be commemorated as the Creator God’s Sabbath:
For behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind…The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,’ says the Lord…For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘so shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,’ says the Lord (Isaiah 65:17, 25; 66: 22, 23).
When we look at the Sabbath from this perspective and with a spiritual mind dwell on this sacred time period, we will never claim that God is a destroyer. Once again, we are without excuse for not knowing that God is the Creator and not the Destroyer.
The Majority Of All Believers In God Claim That He Is Both The Creator And The Destroyer
When we consider the size of the world population, Sabbatarians are a small minority. But among this minority there is an even smaller minority who believe that the true reason for worshipping on the seventh-day Sabbath is grounded on what has been stated so far: 1) that God is agape love, and that because of His agape love He cannot be arbitrarily involved in any acts of destruction and death; 2) all such occurrences of violence are from the effects of sin and are intertwined with Satan’s principle, as represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, all human beings who are involved in death and destruction, knowingly or unknowingly, are adhering to Satan’s principle of good and evil, for God is not arbitrarily involved in any such activities. As stated, only a token minority of Sabbatarians have this belief.
The majority of Sabbatarians, like their predecessors in the time of Christ, espouse the traditional view that God is both the Creator and Destroyer. They are in agreement, as far as this particular belief is concerned, with those who worship on Sunday, the first day of the week. Sunday is clearly a day of worship which is adhered to by tradition and not from a biblical standpoint.
Regardless of which day of the week God is worshiped, however, there is an overwhelming commonality in all the religions of the world, and that is that God is both the Creator and also the Destroyer.
What Day And What Belief Would Jesus Classify As Traditional, The First Day Of The Week, Or The Sabbatarians’ Belief That God Is The Destroyer?
Jesus classified the belief that God is both Creator and Destroyer as tradition and not divine revelation, irrespective of the day of worship issue. The Bible reveals that the flawed belief that God is both Creator and Destroyer will be a common ground, uniting all believers and unbelievers in a common cause. This issue will be the agent that will cause a global unification involving all of humanity. This may at present appear unfeasible, given that today’s fragmented religious community has branched out into so many groups that it is almost impossible to enumerate its diversity. In addition, one may wonder what believers and unbelievers could possibly have in common that would cause them to unite.
Referring to the time just before His second advent, Jesus told us that we are to pay particular attention to the fact that we are not to be deceived. He warned us that under no circumstances whatsoever must we allow ourselves to be duped into what many will claim, in God’s name, to be God’s directives. What this means is that some will claim that they, followers of God, are privileged to know His teachings and as such they will demand that everyone conform to those teachings. Would Jesus classify such people as adhering to deceptive tradition, a tradition that is not divinely mandated? It would appear that this was indeed the first and foremost essence of Jesus’ warning:
Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8).
If all of Jesus’ statements in the above passage are referring to only the beginning of sorrows, what will the earth be like when the closing stages of sorrows will have reached their climax? The picture given here is one in which unimaginable chaos will prevail in every area of human existence. When the earth reaches such a state, these conditions will be thought to be punishments from God upon the inhabitants of the earth. It will be widely believed that God is punishing us for the prevalence of evil in our midst and for those things that are not in conformity to His teachings.
Worship Will Become Mandatory To Appease A God Supposedly Angry At Evildoers
The Bible paints a scenario in which those believers in God who have not understood His true character will not only demand that mandatory worship be instituted, but that it be according to what they believe. They will think that the reason for the destruction happening on the earth is the prevalence of all evil such as is not in conformity to their belief. They will reason that all activities contrary to God’s directives must be stopped. They will firmly believe that the methods used as punishment on the so-called ungodly are immaterial. Each religious group will have its own belief system, and each will consider as evil those who do not adhere to their respective belief. The one thing they will have in common is that the God of violence they worship allows them to utilize violence on those they perceive to be evildoers. Force and execution will be the order of the day toward actual or perceived evil.
The only general consensus among these believers is the certainty that God takes care of evildoers by punishing them with whatever methods are required. It will be widely believed that the earth is experiencing the violent wrath of God due to humanity’s sinful activities. Evil will undergo such a crescendo on planet earth and will reach such a climax that drastic action will be required. Religionists will demand that mandatory worship be instituted on a global scale, because they think God is globally punishing the inhabitants of the earth with global chaos. They will blame the pain and suffering and general chaotic condition of the earth on those whom they perceive to be evildoers and will accuse them of bringing the wrath of God upon the world.
Some Will Claim Freedom Of Choice
There will be some who will not want to be forced into mandatory worship but who wish to live their spiritual lives in the way they deem appropriate. They will claim that this is a personal matter between them and their God. This claim will not be acceptable to a majority who demand that God has to be worshipped in a certain way.
The majority will say that this is an intolerable and objectionable way of worship which denies what God wants and as such is therefore evil, and is unacceptable to God and to them. They will further hold that it is because of such heresy that God is punishing the world through all kinds of disasters.
The scribes, who were the religious scholars of their time, and the Pharisees, who were the conservative expositors of the Bible, confronted Jesus in connection with one of their important traditions, one that had nothing to do with the commandments of God. Jesus ignored their question on the particular ritualistic practice they challenged Him on. What He did instead was focus on the commandment of God that through their tradition they had nullified.
The same has been done to God’s preeminent commandment that was instituted to reveal His essence and that had its origin during creation week. A traditional belief has supplanted the truth as to why the seventh-day Sabbath was given. This tradition has its roots in Satan’s principle from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and is still prevailing today.
If Jesus were here with us today, would He inform us with grave concern and disappointment that we have grossly erred in replacing the Seventh-day Sabbath with a day He never instituted, authorized or sanctioned? He would, most likely with deep sadness, also inform Sabbatarians that they have desecrated the sacredness of the day He personally created to be a memorial to the essence of God, by believing in a tradition that has nothing to do with Him or His Father. This tradition had its origin in the Garden of Eden and was birthed when Adam and Eve obeyed Satan and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tradition upholds the principle that teaches that the Lord of the Sabbath is both the Creator and the Destroyer.
Jesus would probably be far more displeased and dismayed with the Sabbatarians than with any other day of the week worshippers. Why would that be the case, since the former are already Sabbath worshippers? Which group’s tradition would He most likely address first, the Sabbatarians’ or the first day of the week worshippers’? Would He address present-day Sabbath keepers in the same manner He addressed Sabbath worshippers two thousand years ago when He said why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition (Matthew 15:3, 6). Thus, even though the context of this passage refers to the fifth commandment which states, Honor your father and your mother (Exodus 20:12), the desecration of the principle of agape love is nullified by their tradition in both the commandments.
Would He say to Sabbatarians, ‘why do you believe that the God of agape love is also the Destroyer? How can you believe such an error, given that the express reason for which the Sabbath was instituted was so that it would serve as a memorial of God’s agape love, a memorial to confirm that God is not responsible for evil, so that when destruction happens you may be reminded of its meaning?’
In His ministry, Jesus went first to the scribes and Pharisees and all of their followers in the Jewish faith because to them were committed the oracles of God (Romans 3:3). Keeping in mind that they adhered to the Sabbath commandment with uttermost sincerity, it is especially interesting to note that it was with them that Jesus faced the gravest challenges, because they thought they knew God, when in fact they did not know the Lord of the Sabbath of the Bible. They did not know the Lord of the Sabbath for the simple reason that they had completely lost the spiritual significance of the Sabbath: that God is agape love in whom there is no violence. The God they worshipped on the right day was the traditional gods that other belief systems had, and which had originated with Satan.
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus saying, ‘Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’ He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honour your father and mother;’ and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’ – ‘then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. ‘Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’ (Matthew 15:1-9).
The commandments of men that they taught as doctrines of God in essence were that God is both the Creator and Destroyer. All men believe the same error because all religions believe and teach this lie.
The Gospel Of The Kingdom Of God Is His law Of agape Love Which Is Antithetical To Satan’s Kingdom Rule Of Law
The fundamental, God-centred reason for the seventh-day Sabbath worship is overwhelmingly rejected by believers and unbelievers alike. God created the seventh day as a memorial to His character of nonviolence. Satan has taken the world captive in denying the gospel of the kingdom which is God’s nonviolent character of agape love. The results of violence that have permeated the world speak volumes in favour of the God of nonviolence, because the majority of the world that believes in violence believes that their God is violent.
How different would life be on planet earth if the world’s religions and in particular the Christian community accepted the nonviolent nature of God’s agape love and lived it! The truth about the character of God is the last message to go out to humanity before the world comes to an end through the violence that is inherent in the principle of good and evil:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
Satan understandably does not want the end to come because he wants to continue to be the prince of this world (Jn.14:30) and carry on his evil work on our world and its inhabitants. He does not want to see his kingdom come to an end for he delights in making God and all of His earthly children suffer by the carnage that is perpetrated under his law of violence that governs his kingdom. Conversely, our God wants all this to come to an end; therefore we have been commissioned to preach this gospel of the kingdom. This preaching involves our demonstrating the gospel of the kingdom, as a witness to all the nations. When this gospel of the kingdom is demonstrated in our lives as a witness to all the nations, then the end will come (Matthew 24:14), according to Jesus Christ.
This gospel of the kingdom that Jesus is referring to needs to be comprehended and apprehended before we can demonstrate it as a witness to all the nations. As we scrutinize and analyze the totality of the life, death, resurrection and the heavenly ministry of Jesus Christ, we find one dominant subject matter is His all consuming passion, and that is the gospel of the kingdom. The object of His fervent dedication is to reveal to everyone, as the light of the world, the character of the God of the universe. Once this is known and lived then we should not abide in darkness.
The darkness that Jesus wants to eradicate is the totality of Satan’s lies duping us into believing that God is both Creator and Destroyer. This certainly is not the gospel of the kingdom. Therefore with a passionate plea to all of us, He reveals the God of the universe and the gospel of the kingdom.
Then Jesus cried out and said, ‘He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak (John 12:44-50).
The Gospel Is God-Centred And Is The Good News About God
The gospel of the kingdom is all about God, about His character of agape love; it is not about us. We have made it all about us when in reality it is all about God. It is God centred, not man centred. The good news is about how the kingdom of God functions and about how radically different it is from the way the kingdom of Satan operates.
Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man (Genesis 9:6).
All who have not understood the gospel of the kingdom, God’s nonviolent character of agape love, will be violent and will shed man’s blood. Their own blood shall in turn be shed by men who believe in the violent principle of Satan. This is the eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth principle, and their blood shall be shed by those who also believe in violence.
With a mind that has been sealed by the belief that God the Creator is also the Destroyer, they will use violence when violence is used against them and will blatantly refute Jesus’ claim:
But I tell you not to resist an evil person, but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also (Matt. 5:39).
Such passive reaction, as taught by Jesus, becomes impossible in the lives of those who believe in the principle of violence. Such cannot comprehend the kingdom of God unless they believe these words of Paul:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5).
Only Jesus Christ Taught And Lived The Nonviolent agape Love Principle Of God
The principle, upon which the seventh-day Sabbath of Creation week is founded, was affirmed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and confirmed by what the gospel of the kingdom is. The cross ratified that the essence of God is agape love, and proved that He never has nor ever will utilize Satan’s principle to either defeat or punish him nor his followers.
Both the creation of the seventh-day Sabbath and the cross prove in no uncertain terms that this is the gospel of the kingdom. When we understand and demonstrate this gospel of the kingdom in our lives, in the horizontal dimension, then the passage this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14), will be fulfilled. Jesus Christ promised that when we finally choose to live by the seventh- day Sabbath principle of the gospel of the kingdom that He will come for us:
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work (Revelation 22:12).
Jesus is coming to give the reward of eternal life to those who chose to live by the tree of life principle. They will be translated without experiencing death. The reward that Jesus gives is inherent in the work of demonstrating God’s agape love in our lives in the horizontal dimension. This reward is given without the possibility of Satan obstructing its beneficence, for once we choose to enter God’s kingdom principle in this final phase of world history, Satan no longer will have the power of death over us. This reward is not some arbitrary act of God but is the innate result of the works of agape love in the lives of His children.
He [JESUS CHRIST] who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).
This is also our longingly passionate response, our desire and plea.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen (Revelation 22:21)