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Ear th-T hea ter of

the Uni ver se


To every man and woman come the great questions of life:
questions of identity, of origin, of what the future holds. The
concerns of day-to-day living, the thrust of dramatic events in the
world, the increase of life-endangering circumstances, the
antagonism of nations, the instability of political and economic
systems around the world, the shortages of the necessities of life,
food and energy, the failure of the ecology and global warming, the threat
of over-population, and terrorism- all these press upon the mind of man an
insecurity, a foreboding of the future; an uncertainty of himself and
questions that demand to be answered.
The ability of men and women to endure stress and emotional
pain, to face the complexities of life is unlimited when they are
secure in their sense of belonging, are secure in their love relation-
ships and have an understanding of their true worth. But when men
and women are alienated, separated from those they love; when
their lives are filled with disappointment and heartbreak, when the
pain of existence is so intense and so nearly overwhelming that
comfort at any price is preferred over the apparent reality of their
lives, then distractions from reality and substitutes for peace,
whether in the form of powerful narcotics, the anesthetic alcohol,
hallucinogens, or the quick pleasures of loveless sexuality- all
these, when their initial euphoria is dissipated, leave the tired,
pained one still hurting, still lonely, often more desperate for
peace, security, self worth and personal love than before. To these
great abiding problems of all men the religions of the world have
addressed themselves. A thousand shrines and temples mark man's
effort to find identity in a relationship with a power beyond himself.
Cathedrals and spacious tabernacles ring with the ordered voice of
man in chant or hymn to bring to the senses by mortar, brick and
harmony, security in a system of reaching out for the infinite.
Likewise, in more modest forms, man seeks his security in the
closet of a palm reader, at the table of an astrologer or in the
community and fellowship of a nearby tavern. But when the sensual
reinforcements of these man-made supports are withdrawn, lonely
men and women discover what they need is a real and personal
relationship, a sense of belonging, of purpose, of being wanted.
Needy men and women of every age and time have been
sought by One who loved them from the very first. He has lived
with them, walked with them, suffered with them, and, in all this
seeking, expressed His love that will not cease. He is offering all that
man seems lost without-love, personal worth, security, a meaning in life,
a real sense of where man has come from, why he is here, where he is
going. From the man-made ways of simulating peace and security
He calls them to come to the fountain of life, happiness, and love.
Dawn ... the first light of the universe. Energy becoming mass,
the fusion of worlds in creation, a thousand ages of history written
in a day. "In the beginning God"-... from His throne to the limits of
existence extended the power by which the universe in perfect order
was maintained." The creation was the effect of law, law of motion,
of mass, of energy. From the infinite chemistry of the minutest atom
to the great galactic wheels, the universe turned upon an
established law of relationships. The stars in their courses followed
unerringly the paths which their Creator established. Within this
system was created life in countless orders and forms. Words were
populated. Between these worlds, with their varying styles of life
and development, the highest order of created beings moved as
communicators-messengers of divine will and purpose.
The messengers, surpassing by far the intelligence of all other
creatures, were the executors of the Creator's purposes, the
magistrates of His government. Their power of instantaneous travel,
their ability to imitate other life-forms, their musical and intellectual
abilities made them welcome visitors, honored ambassadors
throughout the vast complex of creation. In this ageless system there
was perfect harmony. Each object, each being bore a relationship to
every other: a relationship of service and love.
From the great star systems in perfect balance to the sub-systems
of life on each world, every element of creation made its contribution
of service. Each creature was designed for duty to another, each being
provided something necessary for other beings and received in turn a
generous share of pleasure in usefulness and the fulfillment of every
need. No need was unsupplied, no want unfulfilled. Throughout the
vast cosmos a single pulse of harmonious interaction provided for all.
The single principle upon which all this operated was the principle of
love.
The messengers saw the results of creative power but were not
actors in the creative process. To the one who stood first among these
messengers this limitation was a mystery and a disappointment. His
name, "Son of the Morning," described a person of such beauty and
bearing as to set in awe all other creatures. He stood first above all
created beings. To him thousands and ten thousands paid heed and by
his intelligence the missions of the messengers were directed.
While creation continued, its plans and purposes were not fully
revealed but it became obvious to this "Son of the Morning," whose
name was Lucifer, that the council of God and His Son was planning a
very different, important creative event. The court of the universe was
astir with curiosity. Lucifer wanted to participate in the Creator's plans,
to be a creator himself; to be, like God, a life-originator, to have a place
in the highest council. This was his plan for himself. The Creator
explained that only the Son, the One who had ever existed, One who
bore the image of God, could be included in the innermost council.
Though disappointed, Lucifer appeared at first to accept this definition
of his duty and with angels of his kind continued his work. But he
cherished his own plan and dwelt upon it until at last he would not be
content with God's plan; his plan was better.

He communicated his desires to the other messengers, suggesting


that they were all deserving of a higher, more independent station. The
law for them was unnecessary. This suggestion from one who occupied
so high a position was accepted by many messengers as a valid
argument against the government of God. It was a controversy, the
very first. Should the system of law upon which the universe was
created be maintained? Or should a new principle of order be
established? On this issue turned the fate of countless worlds and
innumerable beings. God made every effort to reconcile Lucifer and the
messenger host to Himself, but to no avail. When the protest against
the government of God became so noisome that it interfered with the
continuing of communications to the near and distant worlds, when the
accusations of those who joined Lucifer in his rebellion threatened the
peace of countless peoples ... there was war in heaven, and Lucifer and
one third of the messengers were exiled. Thus closed a chapter in the
history of the universe and by these events the stage was set for
Earth, third planet of Sol, to become the theater of the universe.
Despite the exile of Lucifer and those messengers who sided with him
in the controversy, the progress of creation continued. Three persons
were involved in the design and execution of the earth creation plan-
One who is called the Eternal Father; His Son by whose word the
worlds were called into existence; and the Spirit, whose presence
was involved in every creative act.
The single most important creation of the universe was about to
be accomplished. The One who had existed from eternity was for
the first time to create a being in His own image, a being who
would share with Him creative powers, one who could by love
bring forth sons and daughters, who could himself initiate the
creative process that had been so coveted by Lucifer. The new
creation brought excitement to the heavenly courts. The center of
universal attention was in a remote and heretofore darkened
portion of the realms. Then, in a space in which no matter had
previously existed, there was earth, without form or continents, Now
in motion, reflecting the bright rays of the Creator's glory, the surface
is covered with water. A stratospheric vapor shield surrounds the
planet as continents appear dividing the waters.
With each rotation new features of this unique creation appear.
Vegetation covers the surface-trees, flowers, grass and herb, some
suggesting by their height a hundred previous seasons. The earth is
created with the evidence of history, and yet was called into
existence by the Word of the Son within the space of days.
Now across field and flower shines the light of a new sun, and a
second body of reflective light appears in the evening sky to mark, in
moon phases and tides, in days and years, the history of a world of
great destiny.
As the earth begins its fifth day, the waters tremble with new
forms of life, creatures of the deep both great and small. The skies
frame the flight of birds moving with certainty toward their homes in
jungle, forest and field. Then across the rolling green earth are
created creatures of every size and color, from the simplest wee
animals that peep and mutter, to the great herds commanding the
plains, the mighty giants of the jungle, and the forest dwellers with
their nests and quiet homes.
As the creation of animals came to be completed the messengers
drew nearer to the scene. A special work, an extraordinary work, was
about to be accomplished. Even Lucifer, excluded from heavenly
courts but free to travel among the planets, came close to observe a
divine creative encounter never to be repeated.
The Son came forth and from the very elements of the earth
created a form so like His own as to marvel every observer. In His own
image, reflecting His nature, His character, He made man. He gave to
man an aspect of His own power: power to create by choice,
power to decide, power to choose between alternative courses of
action.
This man, made in the image of the Son, was no robot destined to
carry out the programmed bidding of another, responding simply to
creature reflexes. This man was designed to reason, to decide, and to
carry out with his divinely granted powers the decisions which he
made. Adam came from His Creator's hand a noble being in
perfect health, prepared to continue the work of the Son on the Earth.
Adam was given the responsibility for the entire earth system. He was
to name and have under his care and guidance all the creatures of
the earth. His was to be a service of love so like God's that even the
messengers of God in seeing what was done on the earth learned
more of the One they daily served.
Man was not to bear this responsibility alone. It was to be
shared with one equal in purpose and worth with him. The Son gave
Adam sleep and formed from a small part of his body a creature more
beautiful than any other in the earth. God gave her to Adam for his
joy, to share his love and responsibilities, to be with him, a partner in
the creative process conferred upon him by God.
As Adam and Eve drew closer to each other in the awareness of
their divine mission and partnership, the Creator took their hands and
joined them as man and wife. Their love and joy in togetherness would
forever be a reminder of their relationship with Him and of His love
for them.
Lucifer, looking upon this happy scene, saw that which he had
coveted appointed to Adam and his fair wife. He could see in these
humans the potential of revealing to the entire universe the true
nature of God. He saw that his arguments that God unjustly denied
his creatures true freedom and Godlikeness would not stand against
the argument of a living example. Lucifer, once Son of the Morning,
turned from the scene determined that some way must be found to
eliminate this threat to both the foundation of his rebellion and his
desire to take the place of God!
At the end of the sixth day of creation, as the sun set upon the
completed work of the Son, God called Adam and Eve to share with
Him a rest from His creative work. He set aside a day to
commemorate His creative act, a reminder that would serve to
protect man in his allegiance to God.
The Son knew that even as He and the newly married pair
rested together a plot was forming to deprive them of their
happiness. By establishing as a permanent memorial one-seventh of
man's time during which he might retire from his service to his
world, the Son made provision for the day when the enemy of their
happiness would suggest that they doubt His word. Nothing was a
better reminder of the truth and power of the Creator's word than
the creative act. As long as man was loyal to that word and rested in
faith in that creative power," he would be safe from his enemy, the
one who would stop at nothing to have for himself all that man had
been given. The rest of God and man was more than a simple
physical rest. It was a relaxation from the schedule and
responsibilities of creation, a time of open sharing, of knowing and
being known. In knowing God, as Adam and Eve did that day, there
came a rest, a trust in the Great Provider for the fulfillment of every
need. As the hours of their togetherness passed they sensed a
kinship, a confidence, a faith in mutual love. Adam and Eve knew
that day that God accepted them fully and completely and rested in
the security of His plan for their future. As bearers of God's image
they would communicate to His universe an understanding of their
trust and confidence in His plans that would refute the charges
made against His government by Lucifer.
As the day closed in another fading sunset, Father and Son drew
the human pair in closeness to them; "Remember" ... this Seventh
day of rest, of trust, of confidence. As the evening shadows fell and
the creative family parted, Adam and Eve were sure they would
never forget the message of those Holy Sabbath hours. But soon,
too soon, man's rest with God would only be remembered as a
precious taste of Eden's dearest treasure.
The life of man in his garden home was one of happiness. His
work in the garden, his responsibility for the animals of earth, the
establishment and preparation of his home, were all sources of
pleasure. These activities provided him with a sense of productivity,
of being needed, and gave evidence of personal accomplishment with
its accompanying satisfactions. Angelic messengers frequently
visited Adam and Eve and told them the story of Lucifer's
dissatisfaction with the government of God and of his eventual
exile. They cautioned Adam and Eve against the enemy of God and
charged them to remember their hours of Sabbath rest with Him,
and their confidence in His providing for their every need.
In Eden two trees were different from the other trees of the
garden. One, named the Tree of Life, bore fruit to sustain man in an
immortal life. The second, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and
Evil, was forbidden to man because it represented an approach to
knowledge, power and life that was independent of God. God
provided the Tree of Life from which Adam and Eve could freely eat
not only as a source of life-sustaining elements but as a
demonstration of their dependence upon Him for the gift of eternal
life, a regular recognition of the source of all their life requirements.
The fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was forbidden
to them with relatively little explanation. The penalty for disobedience
was eternal separation and death. Their obedience by abstinence was a
demonstration that they, unlike Lucifer, trusted God and would accept
His decisions regarding what was best for them.
The two trees provided Adam and Eve with an opportunity to show
their loyalty and trust in their Creator both actively and passively. By
eating and not eating they displayed to God, the angelic messengers
and themselves, their faithfulness to the Creator's plan. There could be
no suggestion that Adam and Eve were only loyal because they had no
alternative. The untouched Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was
evidence that they chose to believe and obey their Creator even if it
appeared for a moment to be to their disadvantage.
The communication between God, man and the loyal messengers
was full and complete. The presence of God was a joy and a blessing to
man. The grandeur and beauty of Eden, the love shared by Adam and
Eve, all the provisions of the Creator, made the days of Eden the happiest
in the history of man.
Ordinarily Adam and Eve spent their time together in the garden. On
one occasion, however, Eve left the side of her husband, found her self
near the forbidden tree and was confronted with a talking serpent
coiled among its branches. She did not perceive the serpent to be
the fallen one about whom she had been warned by the messengers.
With his power to imitate life forms in full use, Lucifer called to
Eve and, by the act of speaking through the body of an animal,
suggested to Eve that the fruit of the tree did give knowledge. He
demonstrated his power of speech in admiring her beauty and gently,
so gently, suggesting that she would not die in touching and eating
the fruit, but rather that God was depriving her of a knowledge that
would make her equal to and like Him. Eve saw the serpent eat the
fruit, heard him speak to her desirable things, and she decisively took
the fruit, ate it, and then left the tree, taking to her husband a small
share.
When Adam saw the evidence of Eve's disobedience in her hands,
he felt the pain of their potential separation and expected she
would shortly die. But a strange new sense of her beauty drew
him closer. Her invitation offered more than even the serpent had
suggested. Adam felt he must choose between Eve and loyalty to
God. While Eve had been beguiled and deceived, Adam chose to
eat the forbidden fruit; to be with her rather than to trust and
obey the word of his Father. Thus Adam surrendered control of
himself and this world to the power of the fallen angel
messenger Lucifer.
Before an hour had passed, a chill in the air gave Adam and Eve an
awareness of their alienation from God. The sense of their nakedness
jarred them to form crude clothing. A feeling of shame and guilt sent
them running from the voice of God. But that very day God gave to
fallen man a promise, that even though the disobedience of man had
given to the enemy of God power over this world and over the future
generations of Adam, God would give to men and women the power to
become again His loyal sons and daughters.
Holding the attention of Adam and Eve and the evil messenger still
disguised in the form of a serpent, the Son promised that, though days
would be hard and life very difficult, better days would come. The
disguised enemy, the serpent, would finally be destroyed and the
world lost through Adam's disobedience would be reclaimed. Adam
hoped, Eve hoped; more than hoped ... believed the promise of God,
and believing they stepped back across the line, back to the side of
God, back to loyalty to Him.
The evil messenger, abandoning his disguise as a serpent, left
the garden even more determined that men and women, one by
one would be brought to his side; one by one led to disbelieve or
ignore the Creator's Word and take some substitute for it. To have
his way, to win eternal control of the world he must bring every man
to his side, hoping by doing so to establish a seat for his government.
Thus the struggle of man on the stage of history began. His direct
relationship with God had been broken, his understanding of the
divine nature breached. Now he would learn slowly often by trial
and pain. The simplest illustrations of the nature of God would be
necessary to his education. The next turn in his experience would
bring him face to face with a new enemy, one never expected or
necessary, an enemy called Death. From all the animals that God
made, the lamb was selected to illustrate in the most dynamic
manner the alternatives available to Adam: life through the Son, or
death as a result of sin. God had said that disobedience would bring
death. His Word could not be changed any more than the law which
operated the great star systems could be suspended. In love, God
determined to give man another chance. Disobedience would still
result in death, but God provided that the death resulting from man's
selfishness would be borne by Himself.
Adam was instructed to take a lamb, to slay it personally and
place it on an altar to God as a substitute for the death penalty that
his disobedience required. The innocent lamb, a meek and humble
creature, demonstrated the life that would be given as a substitute
for the penalty of the law. In the death of the lamb, Adam saw
immediately the cost of his disobedience and was instructed that
only the merits of innocence could restore his relationship with God.
Adam humbly, and with great sorrow, took the life of the lamb and
laid the lifeless form upon the altar. As his head bowed in remorse at
the death of an innocent creature fire streamed down upon the altar
and consumed the sacrifice.
The lamb represented the righteousness that Adam and Eve needed
and depended upon in their relationship with God. Accepting the
sacrifice as Adam and Eve's demonstration of their belief in the future
Lamb of God, the Son replaced their garments of fig leaves with a
symbol of His righteousness-perfectly fashioned garments which He
Himself had prepared from the skin of a lamb. Adam and his wife saw
that it was not by their works or acts of sacrifice that they were going
to be saved from the demands of the broken law. Even their best
efforts were insufficient to qualify them to present themselves to God.
But the merits of the One that the Lamb represented, the robe of
righteousness He clothed them with, were sufficient. They could rest
in the promise of the Saviour to come.
God then sent them from the garden home. Behind them they saw
a messenger with a glittering sword from which beams of light shown
in every direction, barring their return to the Tree of Life. Their lives
would now be occupied with cares and toil and daily effort to secure
food and provide for the necessities of life. The labor which was to
occupy their time was a blessing to them. It was part of God's training
for them to learn the lessons that would prepare them and the family
of man to enjoy again the Eden home.
Adam loved his wife and she conceived. Before the birth of their
first child they thought again of the promise that in the seed of Eve the
deliverer would come. They wondered if this first child might be the
Saviour promised to them. Their first son they named Cain; the
second they named Abel. As these two boys grew up together,
with the other children in their family, their personalities were seen
to be strikingly different. Cain chose farming as his occupation, Abel
provided care for the flocks. When these boys came to the age of
manhood, Adam again recounted to each of them the story of his
terrible mistake and instructed them in the provisions that God had
made in the offering of the lamb. He told them that the innocent
lamb represented the Substitute who was to come. He explained that
as heads of their own households they would offer the symbolic
sacrifice themselves and that God would accept it even as He had
accepted the lamb offered by Adam.
Abel offered the lamb just as Adam had instructed and as he
bowed himself before the altar, the fire of God flashed upon the
lifeless form and Abel knew that the provisions of the sacrifice were
sufficient to make him acceptable to God. Cain chose to offer his
works instead of a lamb. He collected the best of the fruit from his
garden and bowing his head before the altar worshipped, but no fire
flashed and the fruit was left unconsumed. It was the first worship in
which man offered his own works as a substitute for that which God
had provided. It was based, like all of the false systems of worship
that would follow in the ages of man, upon man's idea of what
God wanted rather than what God had provided.
While Cain was very sincere in his desire to please God with his
own works, what he offered was no more acceptable to God
than the crude garments of fig leaves had been in masking the
nakedness of his parents.
When Cain talked with his brother Abel, he complained that God
had dealt unfairly with him in not accepting his sacrifice. Abel
defended the justice of God in accepting only the offering of a lamb
rather than what Cain chose to bring. Cain was confronted with a
logic he could not answer and was furious with the thought that his
religion wasn't good enough. Enraged, he attacked Abel and
silenced his voice forever. Terrified with the consequences of his act
he fled to the Land of Nod, to the east of Eden, and thus the children
of Adam began to be dispersed on the face of the earth.
Adam lived to see his children numbered in the millions! Many of
Adam's sons lived more than 800 years and could share their own
experience and knowledge with 25 generations of their own children.
One man could become the progenitor of a nation in a few hundred
years. The long life of man made it possible for him to develop his
knowledge of science, engineering and architecture. Their
development was far beyond the common concept of primitive man
as a crude and uneducated being. These ancients were the engineers
and masons of a civilization extending across continents.
Adam saw in his children's lives the awful results of his disloyalty
in Eden. In vain he tried by example and instruction to reverse the
course of their lives. In Adam's own family, Seth took the place of the
first born Cain, and thus from Adam continued a line of men loyal to
God that would reach down to the first century A.D. and continue in
an unbroken chain a line of faithful men and women to our day.
These faithful ones, the heroes of God's plan, inheritors of His
promise, were actors for Him in the earthside aspect of the
controversy that had begun in heaven.
Enoch was one of those faithful to God's plan. He cultivated his
relationship with God. To family and friends, to the world of that
day, he was a witness to the power of God in the life of a man of
unreserved devotion. God determined that he should not die and
took Enoch from the earth as the first of those trusting in the merits
of the promised One, who should never taste death.
Noah, like Enoch, was faithful. He saw that the wickedness
developed in those first generations had become so great that the
works and thoughts of men were continually evil. The pervading
influences, the natural society of that day left little choice for good.
Everywhere wickedness increased. Little children in the company of
corrupt and licentious parents were educated in the systems
abounding with every evil man could devise. From their first im-
pressions they learned to imitate their parents, engaged in
corrupting practices, and became involved in a degrading, immoral
religion from which there seemed to be no escape. Freedom of choice
for the oncoming generations in the face of all these influences was no
longer assured and amid all this multiplying evil one voice spoke
clearly with a warning message which men wished to silence but dared
not.
The faithful messenger was Noah, a man given a mission by God to
prepare a house of faith for those who would accept God's way of
escape from a world of selfishness and sorrow. The warning message
was clear but required belief on the part of those who heard it. Noah
told them of something that was to happen that had never been seen
before, an event that would put an end to the world they knew and
give to believing men and women the chance to begin again.
Earth up to that time had been watered by an early morning mist
which furnished the moisture that surface vegetation required.
Underground water supplies existing within the immediate sub-strata
provided natural springs and infusions of water for the great forests.
The earth then rotated evenly on an untilted axis while the vapor
shield high above the earth provided for an equal distribution of
temperatures from pole to pole. A single season kept the earth
evergreen.
For 120 years Noah warned the people of a world-wide flood and
continued to build the house of faith, a house that demonstrated
Noah's faith that God would do what He said, faith that God would
deliver those who trusted and believed in Him. To every part of the
world the message of warning went: a flood was coming. No man or
woman on the earth was unaware of what God had said He would
do.
Throughout the land of Nod, in the gardens and parks east of
Eden, men ate and played, continued their flirtations with secret
religions, engaged in worship that was deeply sexual, debasing, vile
and exploitative. Marriage had become an everyday event, its
obligations and sacredness of little concern. Occupied with the pleasures
of life, distracted by the excitement of a sensual religion, drunk with
excesses of food and alcohol, the inhabitants of the ancient world
scarcely noticed the events taking place around them.
The approach of animals in pairs from every direction caused deep
concern in the hearts of those who had come near to believing Noah's
message. Wives said to husbands "I told you this would happen; let's go
in the ark as Noah said." But as days passed and nothing more seemed
to happen, their excitement died away, and men went on with their
daily lives, their concerns lost in the routines and pleasures of life.
When Noah and his family of seven went into the ark, it was a solemn
day in the land of Nod. Men paused to consider their course. When for
another day the door to the ark remained open, some thought to enter,
even prepared to do so, but at last did not, kept back by what their
neighbors might think. The reluctance of a wife or husband, child or
mother, bore a telling influence. Many had questions about how the
flood would happen and when. Some believed the flood was coming but
desired to save themselves their own way, rather than by the means
which God had provided.
Outside the ark were:
Believers preparing,
Half-believers doubting,
Unbelievers ignoring,
Scoffers laughing,
Scientists convincing.
There were even some:
Preachers reassuring…

But regardless of their sincerity, of "doing their best," they were


nevertheless all outside the house of faith when the door of the ark was
closed. At that event an apprehensive, solemn silence settled on the
people around the ark.
When seven days had passed and no evidence of a flood was seen,
there was a great roar of laughter across the land about those crazy
Noahites and their boat. The laughter was loud enough to drown out
everything, everything except sharp claps of thunder and a sudden
shaking of the ground. The people were terrified by a startling
increase in the flow of the natural springs and the advance of strange
dark clouds across the sky. Then a torrent of water from the sky
converted their well engineered streets into fast flowing streams,
and an exodus from the cities of infidelity began.
An overpowering fear gripped the people. Their sensual music was
silent now, their food forgotten, their reveling ended. Men, women and
children in close columns, carrying with them their most precious
possessions, moved toward higher ground. Animals of every description
left the lowlands and as the waters inched relentlessly upward, they
jostled with man for the remaining dry land.
Some men and women clustered around the ark, prayed and
worshipped, trusted, had faith, became humble, gave their hearts
completely, did all that Noah had previously enjoined, finally pounded
for mercy against the great wooden shell, but to no avail; it was too
late, too late. Men and women tied themselves to the larger animals to
gain transport to the apparent safety of the mountains. Finally, as the
waters closed around the ark, the great ship lifted from the earth.
It was surrounded by a bobbing human sea.
Great tides swept across the fertile valleys; man and beast were
torn from their peaks of refuge. It was over so quickly, an entire
civilization destroyed.
A single family of eight persons with animals of every class and
species was borne but a few feet above the highest hill, and God's
promise of safety to Noah was kept, his family was safe.
This family was together for a journey that would pass a year of time
and bring them to a new world, a world of shocking contrast to that
which they had known.
A world of water produced extraordinary tides and a shifting of the
earth's axis to a position that would leave frozen poles and vast
glaciers. While the ark kept its precious cargo safely above the
waters, vast mountain ranges were forming below them, sea beds
reaching to depths of tens of thousands of feet were scooped out. Great
canyons grandly carved by water and wind were formed as the water
receded. The barren landscape of Mt. Ararat presented to the eight
human survivors a world far different from anything they had known.
When the door to the ark was opened and the settlers came forth, they
found a new edition of planet earth, a world of winters and summers, a
world of new circumstances and opportunities, a chance to begin again
the great adventure of man.
Even as the small party came from the ark the ground was showing a
new green. The surface life of the planet was beginning again.
Noah selected an offering from among the animals to point the
attention of his small family both forward and backward; forward to the
promised One, backward to the conditions of the covenant relationship
God had established with Adam. He recounted the mercy of God in
delivering them. He announced the promise of the rainbow that never
again would the world perish by water. But even as the animal was
offered, beside kneeling Noah stood doubting sons and their wives who
were shocked at the condition of their new world, so barren and even
cold. Ungrateful in their hearts for their deliverance they wanted the old
way, the way it was before. But the old world was gone, gone forever.
Noah's family stayed together at first, but as the size of their herds
increased and the population grew they moved from Mt. Ararat
down the great Euphrates valley southeast to the Persian Gulf. Along
this fertile valley they found pasture and new opportunities.
The great grandson of Noah, son of Ham and Cush, was Nimrod. He
became a skillful hunter and was first among men to train animals and
use them in seeking and returning game. He also was a curator of pre-
flood religion, not the religion of God, but the religion and wisdom of the
"ancients" and of the "secret one" whose name was hidden behind a
variety of mysterious symbols and numbers.
History describes Nimrod as an extraordinary man. In time he began
to fashion himself as "like unto the gods" and established in the cities
of his founding the worship of the sun and planets that in varying
formats were tainted with either the rites of sexual excess or the
extreme deprivation of normal human needs that through the ages
have marked man-made religions. He established the study of
astrology, forecasting the future by interpreting the signs of the sun
and stars. In the cities he founded, towers were built from which the
sunrise; could be worshipped and a record of this type of worship
is evident in the histories of the earliest civilizations.
The cities of this period each recorded a somewhat different
version of the flood. These stories, which, generally attributed the
flood to natural causes, were largely accepted by these early tribes
and the worship of the Creator rejected. By denying God, they denied
His promise that the world would never be flooded again and thus
men were constantly fearful that the world would again be visited
with the deluge of the century before. This fear and their religion of
the sun led them to the design and construction of a tower of Self-
sufficiency.
It was reasoned that, if a tower could be built to a height above
the level of the previous flood, men could save themselves by
climbing to the upper levels of the tower and thus be safe from
destruction by the waters. Broad ramps were built and the very
nature of the tower's construction was such as to give the
impression of safety and physical security.
Along the broad ramps leading up the tower were stations where
images were placed for worship. Near these stations were small
apartments in which the sensual rites of fertility and sun worship
were practiced.
Priests and worshippers together raised the mighty tower. It was
the most prominent feature of the Euphrates valley erected at the
center of what was to become the greatest city of the ancient
world.
While this tower was in the process of being built, as it reached
near to its planned height, the superstructure mysteriously shook, the
mortar and brick separated and the top portion cornered sharply and
fell.
The people were frightened and scattered. It is from this point
in history that the origin of variety in human language may be traced.
God saw the increasing wickedness of man and the potential of the
tower as a means of repeating the pre-flood conditions in a single
major city. God cut short their work and by the allocation of lan-
guages provided for the dispersement of men over Europe, Asia and
Africa. From the breaking off of the tower and the confusion of
tongues the place was named Babel, the Tower of Babel and later
Babylon.
Babylon, the most ancient empire of recorded history, extended
from the edges of the northern mountains to the border of
modern-day China; from the Mediterranean sea south to the Persian
Gulf. Near the edge of its southern border was the great city, Ur of
the Chaldees. Established about 2150 B.C., this city followed the
religion of the tribes of ancient Babylon in the worship of the sun
and moon. In Ur was established a mystical society based upon the
secrets of those termed to be the "ancients." These secrets of
ancient knowledge could be traced back before Nimrod, through his
father Cush, to his father Ham who had long associated with the
men alive before the flood, those who were the descendants of Cain
and the tribe of his exile. This Babylonian religion embodied the
elements of secret cults and societies traceable down through
history. With a membership based upon tribal and other rites, and
the advancement by degrees as in the progression of worship around
and up the great tower, these cults practiced the increasing dis-
closure of their secrets involving symbols of vague and unknown
meaning; stars, triangles, circles, numbers, amulets, crosses; the
symbols of sun, moon, planets and stars. Some numbers reoccurred in
a complex series but always resolved to the base number six. Behind all
of this there was the mark, the number, the name of the "secret one,"
sometimes referred to as the secret master, the one who existed
before man, who according to the ancients had received in space
a great injustice, whose throne had been cast down to the earth
and through whose worship it might all be regained.
Told a thousand different ways, in hundreds of new languages,
the story of Lucifer's lost kingdom became the basis for a variety of
different but strangely similar religions! The pointed stars of the
eastern cults and secret societies, the prophets and priests of the
mystical ancient mass (comparable with the mystics and
astrologers of more modern cults) all found common ground in the title,
sign and number of one whose name was always cleverly hidden in the
marks and symbols of these religions, a title that indeed reached back
to the very beginning. His name and number, the complex of legends
pointed to none other than the fallen one, the one wise, but disguised in
Eden, the one who promised life instead of death, who promised
wisdom and a knowledge of good and evil without penalty; the one
whose war with the Creator continued and continues and who made
and makes his principal enemy man.
The rites of these ancient temples proved that man was indeed his
enemy. Infants were sacrificed; women were sexually degraded. For the
sun god no human indignity was too great. These vicious religions
invaded the most private relations of the family, appealed to the vilest
appetites.
The master musician, formerly of heaven's court, brought music
to the temples of man; the music of sensual dance, with rhythms to
match peaks and valleys in human emotion, to override the
considerations of intellect. The forces of reason by which man might
see his danger were overwhelmed and the close integration of society
into this religious system made it almost impossible for the truth of
God's plan for the earth and God's love for all humanity to be
communicated.
In the city of Ur, surrounded by this system of degradation and
evil, lived a young man and his wife. To this man God communicated a
call to leave the city and go to a land he had never seen. The man
responded to God's call and the promise of a better life. Acting on faith,
he left Ur with his wife, father, and nephew. The four of them, with a
small band of sheep, some beasts of burden and household goods, left
the great city and began the long, 2300 mile journey up the Euphrates
Valley toward the land of promise.
As he passed the great cities along the way, he was honored by
their inhabitants as one who bore a special relationship to God. He had
been called to be another in the line of God's faithful men. Arriving in
the land of promise, near the warm waters of the Mediterranean, he
rested his family and then, faced with a famine, he went down into the
land of Egypt, returning later with a family that had become a tribe.
His nephew Lot was now fully grown and himself a man of wealth. At
this point they separated; the younger man turning back to the cities of
the plain; his uncle, toward the highlands, toward the mountain
called Moriah.
To this man, whom God called Abraham, were married two women.
To his first wife, Sarah, God promised a son in whose line the Messiah
was to be born. The second wife, Hagar, the personal servant of Sarah,
bore the first son of Abraham who was named Ishmael. It was because of
Abraham's unbelief, his doubt in God's promise," that he took Hagar as
his wife, and her son Ishmael became the apparent heir of Abraham's
wealth and the successor to the promise that Abraham's seed would be
as countless as the stars of heaven.
But Ishmael was not the son of promise. He was a son of doubt, not
of faith. God had promised that Sarah would bear a son, and in her
nineties, after her child bearing years were passed, a son again was
promised, and to Abraham and Sarah was born their first son, Isaac.
The birth of Isaac put some incredible strains upon the household
of Abraham. He had violated God's design for the human family' by
taking more than one wife. Now with Ishmael and Isaac both claimants
to the birthright and the promise, he eventually was forced to send
Hagar and Ishmael away, but in their departure they were blessed.
Ishmael, who had expected to take Abraham's place as tribal chief and
inheritor of the land of promise, became instead the acknowledged
father of the modern Arab nations who down through history have
warred against the descendants of the son of promise, Isaac, for the
Promised Land.
As Isaac came of age, God instructed Abraham to take this beloved
son and offer him as a sacrifice on Mt. Moriah. Abraham, who had
previously acted on the basis of his doubt in God's word, now yielded
to the instruction of God. He obediently took his son to the mountain,
tied him upon the altar and raised his knife to perform the painful,
heartrending act. As the knife moved toward the boy, Abraham's hand
was stopped by God. A ram was provided by God as a substitute for the
son. God's plan was to save the life of Abraham's son by substituting a
symbol of His own Son's life. The covenant of life made with Adam and
Eve was still in effect and was illustrated by the near sacrifice of Isaac.
The hope of the faithful was based upon the promise of the One to
come.
As an adult, Isaac took Abraham's place as the head of the tribe and
himself became the father of twins. Esau, the first born, was a hunter,
a man of the fields; his twin, Jacob, was more prone to a domestic life
and dwelt with his father and mother in the tent city of Isaac's tribe.
Tradition would have awarded the birthright to Esau, the first born.
But before the birth of the twins, God had promised that Jacob would
receive the birthright. Jacob was, like his grandfather, doubtful
of God's promise, and by bargain and fraud obtained the blessing of
the birthright from his father by using his way instead of God's way to
secure it.
Because of his brother's fury at being cheated out of the birthright,
Jacob was exiled from the society of his parents, and he set out alone
toward the home of distant relatives. Enroute he dreamed of a staircase
of messengers reaching between God and man and saw that the
connection between heaven and earth was unbroken. He received again
God's promise that his life and the lives of his children would be blessed.
He later learned, in a trial involving extreme fear and danger, the
lesson of faith in God's continuing relationship with Him, faith not in his
own works to secure what God had freely promised, but faith that God
would in His way provide for Jacob's every need. It was a promise claimed
in helplessness, a blessing realized in an hour of extreme personal
incapacity. It was a lesson of faith for all the ages of man.
Jacob was renamed Israel, Prince of God. He was the father of twelve
sons, each of them fathers of what would in history be called the
twelve tribes of Israel. Among his sons was Joseph, prime minister of
Egypt through fourteen years of extreme economic conditions; a
man by whom God provided, through years of feast and famine, a
lesson of dependence upon Him, an illustration of His care and
concern for all nations. During this time, Israel (Jacob) and the
brothers of Joseph were invited to come to Egypt where over a
period of some 200 years the generations which followed them were
enslaved.
To the great-granddaughter of Israel, Moses was born. Trained in
the military academy as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, he was certain
of his calling as the one who was to liberate his people from the
bondage of Egypt. His way was to excite a political uprising by
demonstrating that he was on the side of the people, but his way
didn't work. Less than three days after Moses demonstrated his true
political ambitions he was a hunted man, fleeing from Egypt in
disgrace.
For forty years Moses hid from the wrath of his government. In a
land some 400 miles from the Egyptian capital, he tended sheep and
surrendered his desire to be a liberator. When he had finally given up
on himself, God called Moses to be His man, to speak for Him.
Moses was to call the people of God, the children of Israel, from
slavery and darkness by the authority of the Creator rather than his
own. Moses now saw in himself nothing worthy, nothing to
recommend him to do God's work. As a shepherd he had learned the
lesson of faith in the One who gave him instructions and with a new
belief, not in his way but in God's way, he started for Egypt to give
Pharaoh God's message.
After two hundred years the government of Egypt had forgotten
the manner in which God had provided for them during the years of
famine. Steeped in the worship that had been inherited from Babylon,
their attention was centered on the religion of the sun, overseen by
Pharaoh, the self-proclaimed representative of God on earth. The
priests of Pharaoh worshipped him as a god, a human representative
of divine power and law.
He used God's people as slaves to construct the edifices of worship
that proclaimed his power. The pyramids and images of Egyptian
worship were the repositories of the secrets of the worship of
ancient Babylon. Pharaoh was the representative, not of God, but of
the hidden one of Eden.
Pharaoh may be seen as the spiritual successor to Nimrod and like
him claimed God's titles and prerogatives. In his claim he carried the
banner of the hidden one of Eden, the one who in heaven's courts
had desired for himself the attributes of God. The spiritual
descendents of Pharaoh, to the last hour of earth's history, would
make similar claims and exercise over God's people the same
control for the same purposes.
Pharaoh had no desire to release millions of slaves in response to
the command communicated by Moses. Every effort of Moses to
demonstrate God's right to call His people to worship Him was
resisted by the power of the sorcerers and magicians of Pharaoh's
court. In the face of these rejections Moses repeated the message,
"Thus saith the Lord, let my people go." The word of God was the
power by which His people were to be delivered from their enemy.
Pharaoh repeatedly resisted the call of God. As God in a series of
dramatic demonstrations removed His protection from Egypt, the
land was plagued with disaster and pestilence.
A final warning was given to every household of Egypt, a warning
that the firstborn of each family would forfeit his life if a mark of
God's mercy and protection was not set to cover the house. It was a
night of judgment, the hour of judgment for God's chosen people.
In accepting God's provision for their protection, the fathers and
mothers of Egypt were choosing to bring themselves and their
children into the covenant relationship of Eden.
The blood of a lamb was to be placed over the door of each
home as a mark, a seal, a sign of obedience to God's commandment
and an evidence of faith resting in the merits and protection of the
Promised One.
It was at midnight that the messengers of death passed over the
land of Egypt, at midnight that God delivered His people.
Pharaoh in desperation surrendered to the manifest power of God.
Those who had chosen to serve God left Egypt. They moved in mass,
a band of some 2,000,000, out of the capital city and from the land
of Goshen. They came as individuals, as families, some because
they had seen their neighbor's religion to be superior to their own.
Among these"called out ones" were the representatives of many
nations. Not only those who could trace their ancestors to Abraham
were in this multitude, but those who believed the call of God, those
who had seen the power of God as able to deliver them from the
hopeless conditions in Egypt.
To the edge of the great Red Sea they came, men of many races,
escapees from a collapsing society, from a nation whose ecology
mirrored the rebellion of its leaders.
Pharaoh, deprived of his slaves and egged on by his priests, was
determined to recapture the people of God. In a desperate effort he
marshaled his forces and personally led his armies to confront Moses
and regain the service of his slaves.
Camped at the edge of the great sea, Moses and the apparently
helpless children of Israel saw in the western sky the red dust rising
from the fast approaching Egyptian host. Beneath them they could
feel the ground tremble with the approach of the enemy, and
terrified, they pleaded for protection. The sun god's army in battle
array advanced on the unarmed people of God.
Looking out over the placid waters of the Red Sea, Moses lifted
his rod and the people saw the sea open before them, a wind drying
the sea bed ahead of them. The mass of humanity moved forward,
escaping the pursuing Egyptian host.
A mysterious fog encompassed the enemy force, confusing and
delaying them until they found themselves where the shoreline had
been and saw laying before them the open path of escape of their
former slaves. Believing the power of the Egyptian priests and
magicians could stay the waters, Pharaoh and his army charged
forward into the breach in a last determined effort to recapture the
people of God. As the army in full pursuit raced across the sea bed,
the water walls collapsed, and horse, rider, chariot, Pharaoh, man and
beast were destroyed in the toppling flood.
Every person who had chosen to follow the call of God to come
out of Egypt was delivered. Behind them the waters of the Red Sea
calmly presided in triumph over the Egyptian host. Before them was
the path to Canaan, the Promised Land, hope for a life of peace and
security, a taste of the Eden home that Adam lost, the earthly
fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham.
A few miles beyond the Red Sea the people established their
camp. They carried with them the evidences of two hundred years
of bondage in a hostile heathen land; a land where education,
religion, and government had been controlled and directed by the
priests of a man-made religion led by one who claimed to be nothing
less than the representative of God. Among their possessions were
the bright ornaments of jewelry which their Egyptian masters had
used in religious services. In their minds were the concepts of God
engraved by generations of animal worship; their bodies bore the
diseases of poor diet and careless living. Nevertheless God called
them His people. He chose to demonstrate through them the
principles of His government. He would endow them with physical
well-being by leading them to obey His laws of health. By establishing
His law of divine-human relationships, He would protect and prosper
His people. By giving Himself in establishing a personal relationship
with them, He would demonstrate in the lessons of everyday living,
the nature of His covenant of love that Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob and Joseph had accepted. He had led His people out of
slavery to a new life, a life in which He would give a Light to all the
world.
Moses, following a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, led
the movement of the people. Before many days, the water supply
brought from Egypt was exhausted and the people turned to Moses in
fear that they might die in the desert from thirst. In this emergency
Moses showed them they could depend upon God for their most
common need, as God provided pure, fresh water-from the bitter
pools at Marah.
Before many days, when their food supplies were exhausted,
they again turned in fear to Moses, and God used their need for
bread to teach His people an important lesson about their
relationship with Him.
Each morning, on the outskirts of their camp, a white breadlike
substance was found. The people were instructed to gather about
three quarts for each person of the household and prepare it for
their morning and afternoon meal. This they were to do for five
days. On the sixth day they were instructed to gather twice as much
of the food and prepare it ahead of time for a rest on the seventh
day. Few had observed the Seventh Day Sabbath rest day in Egypt.
Established at creation, it was a sign of the rest that God's people
could have in trusting Him to provide for all their needs, and a mark
of their allegiance to the authority of the Creator. But in the cen-
turies of Egyptian slavery, the rest day had been forgotten. The
lesson of the manna gathering was a lesson to remember, that in six
days of labor, God is providing for His people, providing enough
that they may rest on the Holy Seventh Day-the Sabbath and enjoy
a day of peace with Him.
Prepared to meet God, by the lesson of the manna and the water
freely supplied, they approached the mighty mountain of Sinai and
established a neatly ordered camp in its shadow.
The people were told to prepare themselves for a greater
revelation of their relationship with God by washing their clothes,
bathing themselves and setting their camp in order.
When the people were prepared and the precincts of the mountain
secured against any intruder, Moses was called to go up to the
peak of the Sinai mountain and was given, on tablets of stone, an
inscription of the principles of God's government of the universe-
principles of love, of service, of a personal relationship with the
Creator. It was a divine law by which the people of God could once
again have peace, happiness and security in their relationship with
Him. The law contained the principles by which man could
successfully relate to his neighbors and to God, the rules by which his
public and personal relationships could be honest and fulfilling.

The Ten
Commandments
Exodus, 20:2-17
{The first four Commandments define our
relationship with God.}
I I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee
out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of
bondage.Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

"I am the Lord thy God" is a declaration of divine sovereignty and


everlasting dominion and rulership. The Ruler of the universe begins
His Ten Commandments with His emancipation of His people from the
cruel slavery of the world's strongest nation. After freeing His people,
He gave them a perfect law to keep. This perfect law was to protect
them from the greatest enemy of all, their own wicked hearts. In the
same way that God freed the Hebrews out of slavery, He desires to set
us free from the bondage to sin. Only by cooperating with God in
having His law written upon our hearts and mind will we be truly free.
This first commandment declares that the eternal God, who is the
Creator and Sustainer of all things, is alone worthy of our worship.
Anything that would lessen our love for God or interfere with the
dedication and service we owe to Him is forbidden.

II Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,


or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or
that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to
them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a
jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon
the children unto the third and fourth generation of
them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands
of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
This commandment forbids the worship of the true God by images or
similitudes. The attempt to represent God by material objects tends to
lower man's conception of God. And as his conceptions of God are
lowered, man himself becomes degraded.
This commandment also declares that God is a "jealous God." He
becomes jealous when we go after other gods. The very close
relationship that God wants with His people is represented as a
marriage. If we go after other gods, then we are guilty of spiritual
adultery, and God's displeasure is fitly called jealousy.
This commandment also declares that children can suffer from the
consequences of parental wrongdoing. The children themselves are
not punished for their parent's sins, except as they choose to practice
them. Typically, children will walk in the steps of their parents.
Therefore, by genetics and example children can suffer a great deal
as a result of sins committed generations ago. This fearful truth
should encourage all of us to following a course of right doing.
This commandment also promises mercy upon those who choose to
keep God's commandments. Thankfully, this promise is not restricted
to the third and fourth generation, but to thousands of generations.

III Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy
God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that
taketh his name in vain.
This commandment not only prohibits common swearing, but it
forbids us to use the name of God in a light or careless manner. God's
name should always be spoken with reverence and solemnity.

IV Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it Holy. Six


days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the
Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it
thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy
daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor
thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for
in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea,
and all that in them is, and rested the Seventh Day:
wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath Day, and
hallowed it.
The Sabbath commandment goes back to the time of Creation. It is to
be remembered as the memorial of God's creative power. It is to be
observed from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. (Note: Each day in the
creation week began in the evening, ending on the following evening
See Genesis 1:1 to 2:3.) Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens
and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who
keep the Seventh-Day Sabbath (Saturday) signify that they have given
their full allegiance to Him who gives them life. God has given man six
days to labor (Sunday through Friday), but the Seventh Day (Saturday)
He has reserved for Himself. God, of course, permits acts of necessity
and mercy to be carried out on the Sabbath, the sick and suffering are
at all times to be cared for, but unnecessary labor and your own pleasure
seeking are to be strictly avoided. See Isaiah 58:13-14 and Exodus
31:12-17.

{The last six Commandments define our


relationship with one another.}

V Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days


may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God
giveth thee.
This commandment not only requires children to respect and obey their
parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their
cares, to guard their reputations, and to comfort them in old age.

VI Thou shalt not kill.

All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred or
revenge, all acts of self-indulgence that brings injury to our own body,
and the neglect for caring for the needy or suffering-all these are, to a
greater or lesser degree, violations of the sixth commandment.

VII Thou shalt not commit adultery.

This commandment forbids not only acts of sexual impurity, but also
any time we purposely entertain thoughts and desires that are impure.

VIII Thou shalt not steal.

This commandment condemns stealing and slavery, and forbids wars of


conquest. It condemns theft and robbery. It demands strict integrity
even in the smallest affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and
requires the payment of just debts and wages. It declares that every
attempt to take advantage of another person's ignorance, weakness, and
misfortune is recorded as fraud in the books of heaven.

IX Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.


Any attempt to deceive another person is here included. By a glance of
the eye, a motion of the hand, an expression of the face, a person may
easily break the ninth commandment. All intentional overstatements,
every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or
exaggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a matter as
to mislead, is considered falsehood. This commandment forbids every
effort to injure our neighbor's reputation by misrepresentation or evil
surmising Even the intentional suppression of truth, by which injury may
result to others, is a violation of the ninth commandment.

X Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house,


thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-
servant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass,
nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.

The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, which is
Selfishness. It is the spirit of Satan to covet and live for Self. However, it
is the spirit of Christ to give and to sacrifice for the good of others.

For forty days Moses remained on the mountain. During those


days the people were to wait, to prepare themselves to receive
the blessings of the personal, individual relationship that God wanted
to exist between Himself and them. But even as they waited,
surrounded by evidences of God's love and concern for them, they
thought back to Egypt, to the gods they could see and touch, to the
feasts and festivals, to the pleasure filled halls of fertility worship, the
practices of religion that appealed to their senses instead of their
reason.
To the leader left behind in Moses' place they came with
demands that a god be prepared that they might worship it. This
image was to be an animal, a beast representing man's way of
coming to God, man's concept of godlikeness. The worship they
wanted would be mixed with mirth and music for man's pleasure and
his desire to dance the lustful dances of the worshippers of Babylon,
Ur and Egypt.
Even as the preparations for crafting a golden calf began, music
could be heard, its strong rhythm stirring the people. A feast was
prepared and the camp of Israel, with few exceptions, began the
worship of an image to a god they did not know, a god whose
face was hidden, as it had been hidden in Eden, behind the face of a
serpent. Some of those who protested the idolatry were put to
death. As the excitement and frenzy of the worship increased,
their actions were identical to those involved in the lustful feasts of
Molech, Baal and Osiris. The calf they worshipped was indeed Apis,
an image closely associated with sun worship and the religion of the
ancients.
It was not God who was represented by the image at the base of
Sinai. The image of the golden calf had been set up under the
pretext of representing God and making His worship easier, more
realistic, more personal to simple minds.
Behind this image and argument, another master moved to
secure the allegiance of God's people. The issue had not been changed.
It was the issue of ages past, God's way or man's way. The secret one
behind the mask and symbols, the one who had used before an
animal as a substitute for God, who had exalted the worship of the sun
on the Sun’s Day to substitute for the Seventh Day worship as clearly
defined by the Creator in the Ten Commandments, sought to
conquer God's people. The devil who played with human bodies,
appetites and passions was again seeking to demonstrate that man
would choose his way, as Adam had once chosen, as the
messengers had chosen. His cause would be forever established if by
some means every man alive would be brought into his system of
worship.
As he came down the mountain, Moses heard the throbbing
music. It was music he had heard long before in Egypt. He saw the vile
dancing, the worshippers bowing before the golden calf. In despair
he cast the covenant of stone before him and demanded the
defiling of God's people be stopped.
In the silence of confrontation, some saw their terrible mistake.
They contrasted their actions with their profession of days before;
they saw their guilt before God. They looked up and saw the pillar
of cloud, the symbol of His presence, His faithfulness to their
relationship. He had not abandoned them. He was as close to them as
ever. His covenant with them He had declared to be everlasting. They
were His chosen people and He would not forsake them. He would
lead them on to know Him and to see, in a sanctuary that they
would build, a representation of His plan for the restoration of a
complete relationship with Him.
As the sanctuary was prepared from the gifts the people
brought, its altar, candlestick and table of bread were
representative of something to come; a sacrifice, a light, a bread of
life that would come from heaven. The lamb symbol, the central
figure of the sanctuary, typified the future Lamb (Jesus) that would
show in a human life the fulfillment of all these symbols and the
procedural rules of the sanctuary service.
The pillar of cloud which hung over the tabernacle veiled the Son.
In like manner, within the sanctuary, the visible presence of God was
shielded by a veil from the area of daily services.
In the innermost portion of the tent of God, that place in which
He chose to come and live among His people, a box-like piece of
furniture called the Ark of the Covenant was placed. Above its gold-
plated frame two messengers were represented," observing with
intense interest the events taking place in the area representative
of the relationship between God and man.
Inside the ark were placed the tablets of stone upon which were
inscribed the principles of the law of God, the Ten Com-
mandments.
With this new understanding of God's love and of their
permanent relationship with Him, the children of Israel went
forward. Some grumbled about the hardships of life, some doubted,
some even turned back; but in love, God led His people onward to
new and richer experiences with Him. At one point, the camp of
Israel complained of their trials and hardships and charged both God
and Moses with making their lives difficult and unnecessarily hard.
The spirit and influence of these words gave the enemy of God the
very opportunity he needed. These complaints, so bitterly expressed,
deprived the people of the canopy of faith which had kept them
safe from the many unseen dangers all about them.
The area in which God's people had been encamped was infested
with snakes known for their powerful venom, which produced in a
healthy adult, a general paralysis, acute pain, the gradual loss of
vision followed shortly by death. As the complaining and faithless
protests of the people echoed the accusations of God's enemy,
Satan, the master of serpents brought, from beneath the tents of
Israel, thousands of the small but vicious vipers, and victims
throughout the camp cried with excruciating pain as the deadly
venom worked quickly to destroy them.
The unafflicted ran to Moses, and Moses turned to God. The
divine instruction was to raise up a brass serpent on a pole and
tell the people to look at it. The serpent on a pole represented that
someday Jesus would become sin for us and be lifted up on the cross.
If they would only look, they would live. It was God's way; simple,
requiring only faith in His word, but effective and instantaneous. Look
and live. Some refused to believe, it was too simple a remedy for
them to accept. Others hesitated, their eyes becoming glassy and
useless from the effect of the poison. They died for waiting too long
to accept the offer of God's mercy. But thousands looked and lived.
There was nothing more to do than look, believing that God
provides in every way for those who choose to be His people.
Days later, Israel marched toward the Promised Land. Their
days in the wilderness had been long and hard. The lessons of life
they learned there were not easy, but the camp of Israel was far
different from the collection of slaves and stragglers that had come
from Egypt's slavery.
The children of the men who had escaped from Pharaoh now
carried the sacred ark before the ordered ranks of the people of
God. Faithful ministers of the tabernacle bore its neatly folded
tapestries toward the land of promise. No complaining now, nor
turning back. These are God's people triumphant. In them is the
evidence of His power to deliver and to heal, to provide for those
who choose to follow Him, to give the love, happiness, and sense of
belonging that is the hope of every human heart.
As they approach the mighty Jordan, there is once again the
opportunity to doubt the willingness of God to provide for His
people. They see a rushing river with no bridge or shallow walkway.
The waters are deep, the river wide, and yet the lessons of the
wilderness, of complete trust in God, have been well learned. The
bearers of the ark move forward without hesitation. Even as they
come to the edge of the water and its wetness touches their feet,
there is no sign or signal of how they will be able to cross the rolling
current. But as they move forward in faith, the waters open suddenly
before them. The mighty Jordan spreads its waves and, like their
parents before them, they cross upon a dry riverbed, praising God
for their entrance into the promised land.
God greatly blessed His people over Jordan. The life of the
wilderness behind them, they became a great nation, and in their
loyalty to God was their strength.
Israel had both good kings and bad. With good kings the nation
prospered. With bad kings came hard and difficult times. King David
united Israel; his son, King Solomon, built a great temple to house
the services of God. But on every border there lurked, like serpents in
the sand, heathen tribes ready to entice and compromise, and by
compromise destroy their loyalty and prosperity as a nation under
God. The heathen neighbors of Israel were worshippers of Baal,
god of the sun, who by other names and forms had been enshrined in
Babylon, Egypt, and was, in fact, the legacy of the religious system
established by Nimrod at the tower of Babel. The worship of Baal
included rites of fertility, the sacrifice of children, the consecration of
young women often as temple prostitutes, to the service of the
temple and its priests, and senseless self-torture to appease a host of
gods.
These elements and earmarks of man-made religion were effective
in degrading and destroying the image of God in man. The heathen
populations, enchanted and enslaved by the worship of the sun, were
in fact in great darkness. Israel offered a single beam of hope, that a
God of love was calling all nations to be His, that He will accept man
where he is and as he is and lead him to a full understanding of
correct, righteous relationships, relationships of love and happiness.
To the temple built by Solomon, these nations came in awe of a
worship requiring no more than self-surrender. Many people in the
so-called heathen lands had rejected the systems of false worship
and longed in their hearts for a right relationship with God. The great
temple built by Solomon provided a means of illustrating to these
peoples the nature of God's plan for their lives.
Solomon, like his father and fathers before him, at first wanted
to accomplish things his way instead of God's way. Following the
custom of kings around him, he chose to form political alliances by
marrying himself into the royal families of border nations and even
the families of larger tribes. Into his court came a thousand wives,
each bringing her own religion and customs. Thus a new influence in
Israel was established, an influence that before many years saw the
setting up of the bull god Moloch and a temple of Baal within Israel's
capital city. That the first officer of God's service should be the one
by whom sun worship was established among His people is a
mystery of iniquity which few have understood.
Many of the people of Israel were seduced by the wild beating,
throbbing music (much like today’s music with it’s sensual beat)
and practices of these false religions into unfaithfulness to their
covenant with God. As years passed, and Solomon and his sons
passed from the scene, there was left in Israel a counterfeit of God's
plan, a false religion that eventually overwhelmed the faithful of
God's people so that even the royal house of Israel worshipped the
sun god Baal.
As in the days of Eden, God saw His children, His dear ones, led
away by their oldest enemy. To their rescue He sent a man with a
message and a vivid demonstration of the power of God.
Elijah was a true worshipper of God and was called to a unique
relationship with Him, to speak for Him, to be His prophet. The
heritage of Solomon's disloyalty to God had done its awful work; the
nation had fallen into idolatry both in the royal house and among the
people. God, through Elijah, sent a message to His people to call
the sincere of heart, the backsliding and those who wanted a better
life, from the worship of the sun god Baal and the moon god
Ashtoreth, back to a sensible, honorable relationship with Him.
Elijah was also to demonstrate, to a people deeply involved in a
pagan worship system, the simplicity and reasonableness of the
worship of God as contrasted with the senseless destructiveness of
the system designated by Lucifer, the evil one.
The day of the great test came. Upon the altar of Baal an
offering was placed and beginning at sunrise (as was the custom of
sun worshippers) the priests, using senseless languages and ritual
incantations, prayed the sun god to light their sacrifice. Their wild
dancing and mystic chants continue until the sun is at mid-day. As
the sun moves slowly across the afternoon sky, the frantic priests
begin to cut themselves, driving their worship to the point of death.
Neither the sensual displays of the morning nor the self-
abasements of the afternoon bring from heaven the desired sign. No
flame or smoke rises above the altar to Baal. The priests are
exhausted and frightened by the demonstrations of the uselessness
of their efforts.
At the beginning of the long evening twilight, Elijah
approaches a long-neglected altar once used to worship the Great
Creator God. The offering is humbly placed and the altar drenched
with water. Then Elijah with simple eloquence calls the people back
to the worship of their Creator. He kneels before the altar and prays:
"Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day
that thou art God ...." The moment the prayer is finished; streams of
fire from the sky consume offering, water, even the stones of the
altar. The people are held in silent awe by the dramatic display of
God's power. Conviction rests upon every heart, and they respond
proclaiming the Creator to be God. Some remember the offerings of
Cain and Abel, comparing the worship that is man-made in contrast
to that which God has provided.
Men and women were convinced that day that the worship of the
true God is not dependent upon priests or upon frenzied, mystic
chants. God is not commanded to come down by any word or work
of man. God has described how and when He is to be worshipped,
forbidding the use of images, chants and senseless babble. He
calls men to serve Him and each other sensibly, honorably, openly,
humbly, as He had commanded.
Man-made religion is useless to meet His requirements, but the
provisions He has made are sufficient to establish instantaneously a
lasting covenant of peace with Him. Israel that day turned again in
faithfulness to God. It was a new beginning. A reformation was begun
that would call men and women to remember to the end of time the
message of Elijah and its meaning for all generations.
As the years pass, the fortunes of God's people are found to be
directly related to their faithfulness to Him. In turning from Him
they are captured and enslaved by their enemies. In turning to Him
they are delivered and prosper, a light bearing nation sharing God's
love and message of mercy to men everywhere.
Daniel, another man selected by God to be His prophet, is called
to stand before the king of a world empire. It is new Babylon, the
first government to command every other nation. From sea to sea,
King Nebuchadnezzar reigned in a capital city of incredible
complexity in which the gods of ancient Babylon and the black arts
of sorcery, astrology and sun worship were thoroughly established.
Into this capital city were brought the slaves of the now
vanquished Jerusalem. Princes of Judah's royal house were required to
serve in the heathen capital and were educated in the colleges of
New Babylon.
Israel had failed to be the representative of God to the nations
around her. Now into a heathen court her princes came as slaves,
but under trial and difficulty their faith in the Creator was plain to
all.
Daniel stood first among these captives of the royal house. With
his companions Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego he represented
the Creator in the world court of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Early one morning King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and awoke
calling for his wise men, the astrologers and magicians of Babylon.
Assembling them before him, he demanded that they tell him the
details of his dream and interpret it. Only one man in his entire
kingdom could be found to explain the king's dream; Daniel, captive
of Judah. It was God's way of bringing His message to a mighty nation.
Through the faithfulness of a very few, all of Babylon was to be warned
of the deceptiveness of the religions represented by the so-called
wise men of Nebuchadnezzar’s court. The astrologers and magicians
upon whom King Nebuchadnezzar normally relied were helpless to tell
the king anything about his dream. Through Daniel it would be
clearly seen that God loved this king and was trying to
communicate His love and plan for the future of this mighty nation
and the nations that would follow it in history.
Daniel stood before the King and told him the exact details of
his dream. He described a great image with a head of gold, breast
and arms of silver, thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed
with potter's clay. He then opened to the king the interpretation of
his dream. He showed that Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom was repre-
sented by the head of gold. Mighty Babylon, a nation whose
commerce, temples, and political security were built upon gold;
whose king dressed in gold and ruled in a golden city. Babylon was
indeed well represented by the head of gold. The king's heart was
saddened as he saw that the breast and arms of silver were
representative of an inferior kingdom that was to take world
leadership from Babylon. He saw after the kingdom of silver a
kingdom of brass, and then a more inferior kingdom of iron which
yielded to divided kingdoms of iron and clay. All of these were to be
destroyed by another greater kingdom, the kingdom of the stone. It
certainly wasn't King Nebuchadnezzar's plan, but it was
God's pIan.
History records the absolute accuracy of the prophecy. Babylon
was followed by four successors exactly as the dream had shown.
In 538 B. C. the Medes and Persians surrounded the great
golden city and Babylon fell with little resistance into their hands.
This was the kingdom represented by the breast and arms of silver.
Next, Alexander the Great, in 331 B.C., marched across Europe and
Asia to carry the Greek culture even beyond the borders of the Medo-
Persian Empire. His armies stood at the site of Babylon, fulfilling
exactly the prophetic dream revealed by God to Nebuchadnezzar.
The prophecy of the kingdom of brass was thus fulfilled.
Greece, herself, in time became the vanquished of the iron-clad
Roman legions, subject to Roman law. Roman rulers controlled for
centuries the nations of western civilization. The kingdom of iron
in proper order rose and fell.
But what of the feet of iron and potter's clay and the prophetic words,
"they will not adhere?" What of the kingdom divided?
The pagan Roman Empire was divided politically into the nations
which became modern Europe, each different, each in one sense a
successor to the kingdoms before it. But regardless of treaty, of
intermarriage, of the march of great armies and two world wars, despite
the decisions of Yalta, NATO, the League and assemblies of United
Nations, there was no uniting of Europe. The prophecy would not
fail; Europe could not be united. But what of the common market, the
European Economic Community, the plans of men to unite by finance,
treaty and language the divided powers of old and new Europe?
The prophecy has not and will not fail. The efforts and plans of men are
useless; the prophecy is for all time, "they shall not adhere."
And now the kingdom of the stone, the stone that in Nebu-
chadnezzar's dream struck the statue on the feet and destroyed it and
filled the whole world with a new kingdom-what of that kingdom?
The kingdom of the stone is a picture of the end of modern
Europe and the nations contemporary with it, a picture of the end of
politics, the end of the world as we know it. The kingdom of the stone
represented the coming of the King of Kings with all His
messengers to claim the earth as His kingdom; an event about to
take place, something that will occur very soon. The prophecy will not
fail.
Nebuchadnezzar was disappointed. This was not his plan for
Babylon. At first he accepted the prophecy, but in his pride in the nation
he had built, he determined that his golden city must never fall. He
sought the counsel of his astrologers and magicians. They assured him if
every person of his kingdom, every person in the whole world, would
worship in the way that they would describe, his kingdom could be
forever established and the plan of God for the nations defeated.
Nebuchadnezzar accepted their proposition and caused to be built
on the Plain of Dura an image nearly identical to the one in his dream,
except for its composition. The great image of the plain was made
entirely of gold.
The measurements of the image were also reminiscent of the
numerology of Ancient Babylon. Even as the various artifacts of that
ancient worship had in code and open display carried the number six
both singly and in repetition, so the great image was constructed to carry
in its dimensions the number and sign of the one whose face it hid, the
masked one of Eden, Lucifer, the enemy of God.
To this golden image he called representatives of all nations. Every
people was represented-even the captive nation of Israel. The
musicians of Babylon were assembled, and at the sound of the
Babylonish music all the people were to bow down before the great
image. The magicians and astrologers assured Nebuchadnezzar that this
universal act of worship would break the prophecy of God and establish
the king of Babylon as the king of kings, the final successor to all the
kingdoms of the world.

Behind this mask could be seen the plottings of one who from the
very beginning had led men to defy God and instead worship a false
image. It was one more act in the great controversy. If men would choose
unanimously to serve the enemy of God, if every man would
surrender to the plan of the evil one (as Adam had), the promise of
God's perpetual intercession on man's behalf as presented to Adam and
Eve and the Serpent in the garden so long ago would be broken; the
enmity prophesied would cease to exist. The word of the Creator was at
stake and there were few that day on the plain of Dura willing to stand
in defiance of Babylon for the honor of God. Should they fail, should the
prophecy fail, the earth and its peoples would forever be subjects of the
evil one.
To the great plain of Dura they came, captains and kings, governors
and judges, generals of land and sea. The administrators of provinces
and states all assembled before the great image.
To all of these, to every nation, the message had been given. Whoever
would not bow down and worship the image would be thrown into the
oil-fueled furnaces which had already been ignited to intimidate those
gathered before the image.
The valley of Dura is hushed. At the base of the great image the
musicians perform a patriotic tune to prepare the vast assembly for
worship. The standards of the armies, the emblems of each nation
face the image. King Nebuchadnezzar, surrounded by his priests, is
seated before the golden statue. At a signal the trumpeters sound,
and as each instrument of the orchestra is added, a thrill is felt by
every heart as a nation bows together in reverence to the power
represented by the image of gold. The people of earth are
represented here, all bowing, all yielding to the desire of the king,
all but three young men-Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Three
men faithful to God. Three men to stand for Earth's freedom under
God in opposition to the priests and the king of Babylon. Three
faithful men who were rescued that day from the fiery furnace by
the appearance of the Son of God standing beside them in human
form. They would not bow down to the image of Babylon. They
would not worship this image to Babylon's god. They held to their
allegiance for the Creator.
Daniel also was a faithful servant and honored God
throughout his life despite the temptations and plots of Babylon's
court. To him, more than any other man of his day, was given in
vivid dreams and pictures, a revelation of the future of the
religious and political history of the world.
He was shown a great winged lion which represented Babylon, a
dreadful bear to picture the coming of the Medes and Persians, a
four-headed leopard to depict Greece and her leadership. And for
Rome he was shown nothing less than a dragon-like beast, a symbol
of the enemy who from the beginning had opposed God. Prophecy
was later to show this same dragon seeking to destroy an innocent
woman who was about to deliver a man child. It was a prophetic
revelation of pagan Rome and the determination of an empire to
destroy a Baby upon whom so much was to depend.
It was Caesar Augustus, master of the Roman Empire, who
required the census of the world that brought a young woman
named Mary with Joseph to Bethlehem! It was the army of imperial
Rome that marched to destroy every baby of Bethlehem. It was the
fear of the army of Rome and the ruthless King Herod that drove
the little family of Joseph of Nazareth to find refuge in Egypt. It was
under the military occupation of Rome that Jesus- the world's
greatest Teacher came, to live as a man among men. The Son of
Creation, the very Creator of the world, came forth in its darkest hour
to reveal His purposes for man, to express His love and to give His
life at the hands of military Rome that man might be saved.
His birth was announced by messengers to shepherds in the
field. Wise men followed His star across the land mass of Asia. To
trusting faithful servants or God, the fact of His arrival was clear as
the prophetic page which forecast the time, city, and circumstances
of His arrival.
Jesus grew up simply in Galilee, the adopted son of a carpenter.
He learned His trade and demonstrated to all He met the life of
peace and productivity that God would give to all men.
Jesus came to John at Jordan, the river through which He years
before had led His people on their journey to the Promised Land. He
was baptized that men might know by His example how they
should demonstrate their faith in Him. He went into the wilderness,
and after forty days without food, He was tempted in all the
weakness of human flesh. He withstood the tests of appetite,
presumption and self-sufficiency, the same temptations to which
Adam had so long ago yielded and by yielding had given to Lucifer the
control of the world. Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, claimed that
men had chosen him as their master and had thereby rejected the
government of the Creator. Jesus came to prove that man, by His
power could be obedient to the will of God; that God's way was
the path to true happiness.
Weakened by His fast and totally alone, the Son prayed to His
Father for food. Before Him appears a messenger, a majestic being
who suggests, "If you are the Son of God, make these stones into
bread."
He could, of course, do so. It was within His power to create, but
was that His Father's will? The use of the word, “if” suggests that His
Sonship was in question. He knew by faith that He was the Son of
God. He then destroyed doubt by repeating the words of Scripture: "It
is written, Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that
proceeds out of the mouth of God."
It was a triumph of the word of God over appetite, the very
test that Adam and Eve had failed. For in failing to accept the word
of God first and trusting Him to provide for their every necessity,
giving to Him their complete obedience even if everything was not
immediately clear, Adam and Eve had substituted the suggestion of
their enemy for the word of God. This was, in the extreme
conditions which Jesus faced in the wilderness, a reversal of Adam's
failure. In all the weakness of human flesh, Jesus overcame
temptation. It was an example, a power of life, upon which men of
all generations could depend.
Jesus came from the wilderness victorious over the tempter of
men. He came to be the Teacher of men," the Man from Galilee, One
who came with a message of love from God to you my friend!
He came to the great temple at Jerusalem. Here men each year
brought a sacrifice as Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
and Moses, as men down through history had brought their
sacrifices representing the innocent One who was to come to meet
the requirements of the law, to face for all men the penalty of death.
Jesus, in the temple courtyard, saw the lamb sacrificed and
understood the special significance of this symbol as applying to
Himself. He was to be the Sacrifice, the One who, though innocent,
would suffer the death of the worst sinner. By this act, a divine
transaction of love, of substitution, would be made effective. The
death of One with an Infinite Life would provide life for an infinite
number of men who would believe on Him.
This is what the lamb had always represented, but the temple
service that Jesus saw was a perversion of God's symbolism by
which the events of the future were to be depicted to the people.
Men brought their sacrifices to the temple and corrupt priests
would examine the lamb and declare it to be blemished in one way or
another. Because of an imaginary blemish it would be rejected and
men would have to purchase from the temple flock an offering
acceptable to the priests.
Because men came to the temple from many lands, and because
the priests refused to accept anything but temple money, money
changers were conveniently stationed near the great altar of
sacrifice. Never could anyone exchange his money at an equal
rate. There was always a healthy percentage for the money changers,
with a kickback for the priests who then sold at high prices the
lambs that were ‘approved’ by them. It was another way that the
enemy had devised of putting a man, in the form of a priest, be-
tween God and needy man. Jesus saw it all and determined to clear
His Father's house of this low form of thievery.
The priests saw Him standing at the end of the money changers'
tables. They heard Him say, "Take these things away; stop making My
Father's house a house of merchandise.
Suddenly those tables were overturned, coins clattered across
the floor, priest and money changer fled. No temple guard moved to
stop Him. The Lord had come to His temple; a new day was dawning for
Israel and for the world. Jesus was here at last.
He was an instant hero in His home country. The people of Galilee
hailed Him as a prophet. Those who lived away from Jerusalem, the
center of religion, had been disgusted with the ways of the crooked
priests and their temple thievery. The story of His direct confrontation
was told and retold around the coasts of Galilee. To the seaport towns
the Teacher from God went with the precious lessons of God's love
and care for all His creatures.
When He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain and
began to teach them saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be satisfied!

He taught them righteousness, right doing, the benefits of a right


relationship with God. He healed them in love, taught them in hope
and gave to every man and woman the right, the power, to become
the sons and daughters of God. A new day had dawned upon the
world. Jesus was here!
The highest religious authority of that day sought to trap Him in a
clever scheme designed to destroy His influence with the people
and perhaps cost Him His life.
The rules of Israel called for anyone found guilty of adultery to be,
with his partner, put to death. This law had been established under
the jurisdiction of Moses when the children of Israel were fresh from
the immoral influences of their Egyptian slavery. Subsequently, the
rule of the kings and judges of Israel, followed by the law of civil
authorities, had left the law unenforced, as Israel no longer ruled
her people independently.
Early one morning, certain religious leaders went to a place
where they knew a guilty pair might be found and took the woman
screaming from her bed. She was led in open shame down the
streets of Jerusalem to the courtyard of the temple and thrust in front
of Jesus with the demand that He tell them what to do with her.
They pointed to the Law of Moses, which said she should be
stoned, and waited for His decision. If Jesus should release her, He
could be accused before the people as being morally soft, of not
upholding the traditional law. If Jesus should condemn her, which is
what they hoped He would do, they could have the Roman
authorities arrest Him as one who dared to take the prerogatives of
Roman law into His own hands. The priests were sure they had Him
and that there was no way out.
Jesus looked with pity upon the poor trembling girl. He felt her
shame and sorrow. He saw the hardened faces of the priests, heard
their bitter accusations. Jesus looked at these men and said, "He that
is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at
her."
Then, in the sand of the courtyard floor, He with His finger,
began to write. The priests leaned closer to see; every voice was
silent now, for in the sand before them were being written the
guilty secrets of their own lives. One by one they hurried quickly
from the too revealing scene, leaving Jesus alone with the terrified,
crying girl. Jesus said to her, "Did no one condemn you?" She said,
"No one, Lord." "Neither do I condemn you, go your way; from
now on sin no more."
It was in this way that Jesus revealed the truth about God's
compassion toward men and women. He did not come to condemn
man; He came to teach and love and re-direct the life of men to
more productive, more meaningful, more loving relationships. He
came that men might succeed in living.
As the word spread about Jesus, He became a hero to the people.
The children followed Him everywhere. Mothers brought their
little ones for His blessing, and He never turned away anyone who
sought Him. The crippled walked, the blind saw, lepers were made
whole, and a widow's child was raised from the dead. Thousands
were fed who came to hear Him.
Men and women, discouraged with their lives, were helped and
comforted. Jesus had come at last to His people and they wel-
comed Him, loved Him, honored Him in their homes. They followed
Him wherever He went, and by doing these things made even more
certain the hatred of the religious leaders who saw their influence
being destroyed by this Man from Galilee. Thev determined to kill
Him and thus end His influence over the people.
As the Passover season began in the third year of His ministry,
Jesus was more or less in hiding. Spies had been placed throughout
the land to tell the priests where He was. His movements were
plotted as plans were laid for His trial and execution by the
Romans.
Jesus carefully chose the place for His last meal with His
disciples. He selected an upper room, the location guarded with
care, and only His twelve disciples were to he with Him. The
circumstances of preparation, the secrecy required had been such
that no arrangements were made for a servant to be present to
wash the dust of the road from their feet, as was the custom.
To the disciples, so concerned about who should be the most
important, the thought of doing a servant's work and washing the
feet of their equals was beneath them. To these men Jesus gave an
important lesson, a lesson of service. He showed that the greatest of
men is the greatest of servants.
Peter didn't understand when Jesus knelt to wash his feet, and
told his Lord he would never let Him do such a thing! But Jesus
explained that there was a need for spiritual cleansing, which could
be called a re-baptism, to prepare them to face the trials of life
and to learn again the lessons that He had taught them.
That night He took the bread and fresh wine of the Passover
service and established a new covenant with His disciples and with
all men. No longer would a lamb represent what Jesus was to do.
Instead, the bread would show His broken body; the dark color of
the grape would remind them of the blood He was soon to shed.
To all who would choose, the assurance would be given that in the
life and death of Jesus was the power to restore any man or woman
to a right relation with God and to give them the power to live a life
of faithfulness for Him.
As the supper came to a close, Jesus prayed for every man and
woman who might ever believe in Him: "Father: I am no more in
the world and yet, they are in the world ... keep them that they may
be one even as We are."
Jesus rose from the Passover table and led His disciples from the
upper room out into the deserted street. The midnight hour had
come. The symbol of the Passover supper was now finding its ful-
fillment. In the original Passover it was the blood of an innocent lamb
that had delivered the firstborn sons from death. Now the Lamb of
God, His “first born,” would by His blood deliver Gods people of
every age from the death which Adam's transgression had brought
upon the world.
As they left Jerusalem through the east gate, the Master and His
disciples turned toward the Garden of Gethsemane. It had been in
Eden's garden that Adam had chosen his will rather than God's will
and lost control of the world given him. As Jesus knelt and prayed in
Gethsemane's garden "not as I will, but as Thou wilt" and again "Thy
will be done," the total obedience and submission of One Man brought
back the dominion lost by Adam.
Jesus surrendered His life to the requirements and penalty of the
law. He became the surety and bail for every man and woman who
would claim His merits and substitute His life for theirs. As the
weight of guilt pressed upon Him, He tasted the agony of eternal
death, eternal separation from His Father. The infinite capacity of His
divine nature made it possible for Him to bear the death that an
infinite number of men deserved. And thus was brought about the
divine transaction: the substitute of one infinite life for the
deserved death of multitudes of confessed sinners.
Jesus was dying. From His pores, perspiration and blood flowed
together. The penalty long deserved by Adam and his sons and
daughters was now being paid. He suffered the agonies of death and
separation that night that you and I might live.
It was at midnight that the wave of death had passed over the
households of Egypt, at midnight that God delivered His people. It
was at midnight that Jesus accepted the weight of sin and suffering,
substituting Himself for those who had and would believe in Him.
Noises on the western edge of the garden signaled the
approach of a mob, the light of their torches showing faces
determined to finish an evil work. Betrayed by Judas, Jesus is bound
and led away. This night He will endure not one, but seven trials.
Only in those trials conducted by the Jewish religious authorities
would He be found guilty.
He is brought before the Roman Governor Pilate and examined.
The charge is sedition. False witnesses testify that Jesus had
challenged Caesar's authority and proposed his overthrow. When
Pilate questioned Him privately, he found Him to be innocent of
every charge. When this verdict was announced, the courtyard mob,
incited by the evil priests, began the chant, "Crucify Him, Crucify
Him." We have no king but Caesar." Pilate ordered a bowl be
brought so that he could publicly -wash his hands before releasing
Jesus to the screaming mob, saying, my hands are innocent of the
blood of this man." Frenzied people responded with words that
would ring through history, "His blood be upon us and upon our
children."
Pilate, desiring in his heart to release Jesus, brought forth a
criminal who had also claimed messiahship but whose life style
and criminal activity had brought to him and his cohorts the
contempt of the nation. Pilate played the contrast well. He mentioned
to the mob the tradition of releasing one prisoner at the time of the
Passover and before them presented Jesus, innocent, kind, whose
every act of life had been of love and blessing to others. "Behold the
Man," Pilate said. And then he presented Barabbas, the embodiment
of every evil purpose, a counterfeit, a fraud, a fiend for whom a cross
of shame was already prepared, whose public execution would be a
small recompense to the people for the long chapter of evils written
by his life. The choice was given to these people, priests and national
rulers, a choice between the one sent by God, and one who had
served another master, an arch-criminal, whose work had been of
his father, the Devil.
The choice of who was freed and who was crucified can never be
explained in terms of justice or logic. No theory of a need to protect
the state or punish crime could justify the choice made in the
courtyard that Friday morning. The people called for the release of
Barrabas and the crucifixion of Jesus.
To the messengers of God observing the scene, the events of this
day made forever clear the true nature of the one whose voice
inspired the murder of the innocent One. Behind the priestly
plotting, the rigged trial, the hysterical mob, was the work and
influence of the ancient enemy of God. His true motives were now
clear, his rebellion exposed; it was God's Son he hated and
despised. He could in this circumstance make no claim of some
personal injustice, or cast upon God reproach for what he imagined to
be an arbitrary and unnecessary law. Satan's contempt for Jesus, his
manipulation of the courtyard mob, his control of the power of Rome
against Christ were actions which would forever defeat his
insinuations against the government of God. Satan would never
again find among the loyal messenger an audience for his
accusations. In his treatment and torture of Jesus, the deceiver was
forever unmasked before the heavenly messengers and the unfallen
worlds.
As Jesus was condemned, the viciousness of His enemy was fully
manifest. The Roman guards cruelly mocked and abused Him; the
tortures and insults to His person were devised by the enemy to
cause Him to turn from the cup of bitterness and by so doing to
abandon man to a fate of eternal enslavement to the enemy of God.
The sufferings of Jesus were made more bitter by the realization
that His rejection, condemnation and torture were carried out by
those He loved and came to save. The awful sense of guilt and
separation which He had accepted in Gethsemane blocked His
communication with His Father. No comfort or Comforter now
ministered to Him. He accepted the separation and death that man
deserved, in the cruelest manner imaginable, that those believing
and accepting their rightful place as the sons and daughters of God
might escape the death that sin paid as wages.
A thick branch of sharp thorns is pressed with stabbing pain upon
His head, a fool spits in His face, and the great cross prepared to
humiliate Barabbas is dropped upon His shoulders. Jesus was no
weakling. He did not complain about the burden of the cross.
Deprived of food, of water, of any rest or comfort, His back a criss
cross of mutilated flesh from the stripes administered at Pilate's
order; weakened from loss of blood and a mass of unseen wounds
from the hours of unprotected arrest, He staggered, fell, and
though brutally kicked and whipped, could not advance under the
awful weight of the cross. An onlooker was commanded to carry the
cross for Jesus, and though at first unwillingly, his service
unintended, he was surprised to find the cross no heavier than he
could bear, and like many who would follow him in history, he was
blessed by his service to Jesus that day.
The procession advanced slowly outside the city walls to a place
named Golgotha, "the place of the skull." In the evening twilight, the
eyes and face of a fleshless skull could be seen painted by shadows
across the naked cliff. On the highest point of this small hill, holes had
been drilled in the rock to receive the crosses. It was to this plateau
that the procession of Jesus, soldiers, priests and people proceeded.
Two companions of Barabbas were also to be crucified, and
arriving at Golgotha, each was placed upon their cross. Jesus, as the
inheritor of the cruelty reserved for the criminal Barabbas, was nailed,
hands and feet, to the cross. The cross was then lifted up and dropped
roughly into the hole prepared for it.
Beside Him were the two thieves. Before Him were soldiers,
priests, a disciple and friend, His mother, some who had joined the
jeering crowd as it left the city, the curious who surround every
public spectacle. Among them were men and women who wondered at
the nature of the crime so foul as to justify such punishment. They
could not know or imagine the crimes the cross of Jesus bore. The
crimes and cruelty of all ages, the lies, the thievery, the adulteries,
the murders of every age and time. Jesus bore your crime, my crime,
the sins of every confessing man and woman. It was justice for those
He represented, but was totally undeserved by the innocent One.
The thief beside Him calls for Him to save Himself. The second thief
sees in His calmness a royalty that bruise and blood could not hide.
"Remember me," he cries in pain and fear, "When you come into
your kingdom."' Jesus in peace grants his request, a place in His
kingdom, and to this nameless thief and thousands in centuries
afterwards, flows the promise of mercy even in the last hours of life-
mercy for the sinner from the dying Savior.
As the day wears on, a Roman soldier is convinced of the
Saviour's deity. As the last moments of Jesus’ life are being passed
in suffering beyond comprehension, as His heart is broken by the
weight of sin and the agony of His separation from His Father, His
voice sounds a last message, "It is finished!"` An earthquake sends a
shudder across the earth, in the great temple in Jerusalem an unseen
hand rends an irreparable breach in the veil which had protected the
privacy of the innermost chamber of the sanctuary. At the moment of
Jesus' death an unseen terror grips the temple priest as he is about to
offer the evening sacrifice, the knife falls from his trembling hand
and the lamb escapes. The meaning of centuries of animal offerings
is now replaced by the true Lamb of God. The temple has fulfilled its
purpose; its service is finished as the event to which it pointed takes
place outside the city.
As Jesus died and thunder rolled across the darkened sky, the
Roman soldier says, "Surely this was the Son of God!"
Two men, leaders of the nation of Israel who previously had not
publicly associated with Jesus, took his mutilated body from the
cross, prepared it for burial and placed it in a new tomb not far
from Calvary.
A guard of Roman soldiers was stationed around the tomb, and
the great seal of Caesar placed upon the banded stone which closed the
grave lest the friends of Jesus steal the body and fraudulently claim the
resurrection prophecy to be fulfilled.
Also beside the grave were the hosts of evil messengers led by
their master Satan. He would by any means possible attempt to hold in
death forever the Son of God. The Sabbath day of Jesus rest passed
and Sunday, the first day of the week began. In the early morning of
that first day, the radiance of a messenger from God's throne
renders the guard unconscious, the seal on the tomb is broken, and the
stone removed and Jesus, by His own power takes up His life again,
stepping forth from the grave a victor over death.
As He looks up to see the throne of God, Satan is seen falling!
The enemy at last is overthrown. The truth of God's cause has been
demonstrated to the universe, the victory is won! In triumph the
messengers share the glory of His resurrection.
The church in those early days was without money, buildings,
staff or budget, but not without power. They had the power Jesus gave
His believers, power from above. The same creative power that was
manifest in the formation of the world now moved upon His praying
believers and with this power they took the good news of His life, death
and resurrection to every nation of their day, speaking with power in the
languages of many different peoples. Men of God, called by God to
speak His words, established churches throughout the Roman Empire.
John saw these churches like candlesticks giving light to the cities of
his day. A larger, more encompassing vision presented them as a picture
of the church through seven periods of trial and development.
The church in the days of its purity was likened to a warrior on a
white horse. But ere long the fires of persecution burned and Christians
gave their lives to the flames or were thrown to wild beasts in the
arena. John saw in vision this period of history represented by a red horse
riding across the sky, a symbol of the blood of martyrs.
Israel was no longer a nation protected or espoused by God. Her
capital city, Jerusalem, was destroyed, her people scattered to all lands.
The cry, "His blood be upon us and upon our children" was fulfilled as a
nation ceased to enjoy divine protection as the chosen people of God.
But individuals of Hebrew heritage then and now have found,
equally with every other man and woman, the grace and mercy of God.
Now a black horse crosses the field of John's vision, the scene is one
of death and darkness for those faithful to Jesus.
The Roman emperor Constantine in a rare combination of pagan
expediency and Christian enthusiasm elected to become a Christian
himself and by his influence brought popularity to the church. Suddenly
infused into the church body was a new specie of Roman Christians, not
with new habits of life, but with only the name of Christian and bringing
with them the influences of pagan Rome. The worship of the sun on the
Sun’s Day, much a part of the pagan Roman worship, is now added into
the calendar of the Christian church and while the ceremonies are
named to celebrate New Testament events, the influence of old
Rome, as well as her name, is added to the church established by
Jesus. The Easter sunrise service, tree of fertility, a set of days called holy
(to become holi- days); rabbits with eggs, together with a ready-made
political organization was the legacy given to the state adopted
church. Constantine handed over the political keys of the fading Roman
power to the bishop of the capital city. These influences produced in
a few centuries a powerful church prepared to coerce, by force of arms,
the conscience of any who would oppose her. Centered at Rome, the
former capital of the dying empire, she practiced and prospered to the
wonder of the whole world.
Babylon had previously demanded the worship of every man before
the golden image on the plain of Dura. Now this composite of pagan
and sun-worshiper, the unique combination of one part Christian mixed
with one part Roman soldier, together with a liberal influence of the rites
of the Roman temple created a deadly political religious power before
whom churches, kings, governments and people bowed. The passing
of a few decades saw the rise of this power and the beginning of an age
so dark that the sense of human history was nearly lost. Across Europe
and to the borders of civilization, the world waited in darkness for a
light, a new hope, a new revelation of God's will for man.
The light from God began to shine forth again with the rediscovery of
His Word which had been hidden for centuries and held from the people
in a difficult dead language. The precious gospel was first carried from
town to town by the Waldensians whose isolated mountain homes
protected them against the deadly inquisitions and persecutions of the
dark ages.
A trained scholar was called by God to translate the Bible into the
language of the people. A new device, the printing press, produced
hundreds of copies of the Bible, God’s Word, which is the hope of the
world.
Among the later translators was a priest, Martin Luther, in every sense a
qualified scholar and gospel Lecturer. The spirit of this pious monk,
stirred the national successors to old Rome. The protest against the
excesses of the principal church raged through the Low Countries to the
very city of Caesar’s seat, upsetting priest and prelate, opening the light
of the free, unencumbered gospel to the people. The reaction was swift.
By suppression, by exile, by prison, by flaming death the pagan powers of
old Rome and Babylon which had lurked beneath the guise of
Christianity were fully manifest. The faithful of Jesus were driven from
their homes, from their farms and livelihood. Men, women and children
of different faiths and persuasions were to escape to a new world,
America, where the spirit of independence, and the independence of
spirit, was to have reign under spacious skies.
This new nation called the tired, the poor, the outcast; a nation with a
constitution crafted to contain the essential freedoms of religion,
speech and press. With the outrages of political tyranny and religious
persecution behind them, men determined that this new nation,
"conceived in liberty," would stand independent, secure from the
domination of king or church leader. Those who chose to serve
God had again been delivered from oppression and darkness. Across
this land a new gospel was preached, a gospel of the grace of God
freely bestowed, of baptism, of salvation. These truths were the
foundation stones of the family units which collectively produced the
society upon which a great nation was established. The concepts of the
reformation, instead of producing anarchy and bloodshed as had been
suggested by opponents, yielded order and tranquility; a prosperity
under God that was for the whole world an example of the power of
truth to refine and elevate a nation.
From this nation missionaries were dispatched to all the world bearing
yet another message from God. It was seen and described by John in
the Book of Revelation-a prophetic picture represented by three angel
messengers flying above the earth. It was a message for people who
would be true to God, a message of the everlasting gospel destined
to be preached to every "nation, kindred tongue and people." It
was a message which was to prepare a people to stand before God
in the judgment hour, to call men and women from the falsehood of
heathen religion, from the paganism of the dark continents and
scattered islands, to the worship of the Creator. It was a message
announcing that the hour of God's judgment had begun, that men
and women everywhere, one by one, were to have their cases
decided in a heavenly court. It was an hour in which all must
decide, as men and women in ages before decided; whether they
will serve themselves and have their religion their way or serve God
and follow His way, do His will and keep His 10 commandments
that exemplify love to God and to our fellow man.
It is a message which the fallen one, the enemy of Christ, will
oppose with every means available! But it is a message to be given
with great power, that same Power with which the church in its
purity had long before been endowed. The power of the Holy Spirit
given to Christian men and women, to the young and old, to point
out, as Elijah had pointed out, the corrupting practices that had
become a part of the Christian church over the centuries.
The power of the Spirit was given, not to glorify the message
bearers, but to set forth clearly for every Christian the true nature of
the compromises that had imposed a corrupt and degrading
perversion of the teachings of Jesus upon the early church through
the influence of pagan Rome. The power of the Holy Spirit was given
to impress men that the relationship with God, so long sought, was
not to be earned by prayer, or penance, or obedience to law or
tradition, but that righteousness by faith, by faith alone; faith totally
dependent upon the merits of Jesus would qualify any man, regardless
of his past, regardless of his circumstances, to stand in confidence
before the Father.
Now to the world, as never before, the evidence is presented,
the same evidence that gave force and vitality to the great reforma-
tion. These modern day message bearers demonstrate, as clearly as
Elijah had, as Luther had, that no compromise of religious practice
can earn God's blessing. The message is given with great power at a
time when the entire Christian world seems to be uniting under a
single standard. It is a message that unsettles those who would
reverse the reformation and by compromise and silence establish
an image, like the image of Dura's plain, that all men might worship
together. It is not an image of gold the symbol of old Babylon's
power; it is an image that characterizes the political-religious
complex of our present day.
The whole world is called to a modern plain of Dura there to be
confronted with a commandment to worship contrary to the
plainest teaching of God's word. To the faithful these moves are no
surprise; the sure word of prophecy has described them in detail.
They will, however, by no means compromise the gospel that has
been declared to be "everlasting;" they will at any cost obey the
commandments of God as they bear the testimony of Jesus to a fast
failing world.
The gospel of the three angel messengers ends with an awful
warning, a warning against the Mark of the Beast, a mark that is the
sign of the secret one, the enemy of God. It is a warning that in this
time of the end Satan will have great power to deceive, to enchant
and possess men and women, to call down fire from the sky, to finally
imitate Jesus Himself in an attempt to possess the Earth and its people
entirely. The warning is to everyone on the face of the earth, a
warning that all will understand but few will accept. It is a warning
against false worship, against idolatry that has even invaded the
precincts of the modern Christian churches as they have drifted away
from bible truth. The poignant prophetic picture of an impure woman
astride a scarlet beast, describing an immoral association with the
political powers of earth is the picture of a mighty, powerful,
worldwide Christian church. The immorality of this woman symbol
depicts her unfaithfulness to the husband she left long ago-Jesus
Christ. Her relationships with the kings of the earth vividly represent
the multiplex of political and religious alliances with which she is
involved, the intrigues of politics in which she exerts her power.
The great beast with seven heads upon which she sits represent the
powers over which she presides, those organizations which give her
support and power, the harlots of which she is the madam. Her
name is "Babylon the Great" for she carries the symbols and signs
of ancient Babylon. Her services of worship are the rituals of the
babylonish priesthood; the salvation she offers is dependent upon
the works and vain rituals of man rather than the righteousness of
God.
The last warning message was a warning against the same
dragon power that had tried to destroy the baby Jesus, the power
that executed the sentence of crucifixion upon Christ, the power that
persecuted Christians in the early church and in the dark ages. The
woman symbol, shown by John as riding the dragon power is alive
today, practicing today, prospering today.
The crafts of medicine man and new age astrologer, of frenzied
dance and ancient chant, the loud music of heathen drumbeats
joined to screaming guitars and vocals are the confused sounds of
“so-called Christian” worship today. Can you even imagine angels
playing rock “Christian” music before God’s Holy Throne? Into the
schools and churches founded by the great leaders of reform and
revival of centuries past march the philosophers, spiritualists, and
practitioners of sciences long identified with the satanic arts. Wit-
ness the church leadership that often opens wide the doors of the
church to the homosexual and immoral practices that God’s word
so unsparingly condemns and demeans the divinely appointed family
structure. Observe in the church the power of the séance chamber
with its murmers, peeps, and the wild babble of “speaking in
tongues”, attempting to demonstrate the new "power" of the church.
But beneath the cloak of religion seemingly enhanced with this new
power is the grand counterfeit, the work of the enemy of God. All
these sensual substitutes and demonstrations of spiritual power are
designed to hold upon enchanted ground the people who in their
heart would serve God rightly, honestly and openly with the love He
gives them for Himself.
As the message reaches those who would be faithful
regardless of the difficulties of following Jesus they leave the world-
loving churches to join those who will obey God rather than man.
Their choice is not a simple one. The pressures of family and
friends, employers and civil authority, are exerted to prevent their
response to the pleading call of God.
God's message is "Come out of her my people," come out of the
organizations and systems of this world, out of the thralldom of a
worship that lets any man, object, or false doctrine come
between you and the loving Savior, Jesus Christ.
The mark of the enemy can be found in any system based upon
the works of man. The sign of Satan may be a symbol or a number; it
may be placed in the mind of man or found in his activity, the work
of his hands.
The seal of God, His sign, instead or works is a sign of rest, or
trust and confidence in the righteousness that Jesus gives to every
man that ever asked.
As the conflict between the Sunday offering of man's design and
the Sabbath rest of God becomes more pronounced, the rapidly
combining forces of religion and government press upon every man
and woman the mark of a common, man-made religious require-
ment. When the faithful people of God refuse to comply with the
requirements of men, the force of economic pressure by employers,
professional and trade associations, and through the complex of the
vast credit and banking system is brought to bear; that all men
and women should be included in the great coalition of world's
religious systems.
The one single principle common to pagan cults and the
combining Christian churches, the point upon which all find agreement,
is the work of man, a doctrinal man made substitute for the Saturday
Sabbath, the 4th commandment requirement of God Himself. In the
symbols and images of the ancient sun worship, in the ways of ancient
Babylon and Pagan Rome, in these a common ground will be found.
Behind the facade, the apparent unity of political and religious systems
is the enemy of God, the secret one, the ancient master of disguise and
deception.
Those faithful to God, like Elijah on Mount Carmel, present in
contrast the true worship of the Creator. Not a complicated or
mysterious ritual, but a simple obedience to His ten commandment law
of love and service; of remembering the Sabbath rest that we have in
the righteousness that He gives to us.
As the final test is brought upon men around the world, the choice
between the Sabbath rest that God provides and the Sunday substitute
for that rest that Satan urges men to honor, is made clear to every soul.
Those previously confused or unenlightened on the great issue
before all men now recognize the call of the Savior they long have
served. The seal of God is given to those loyal to Him, who accept His
word and keep all His commandments. They are the remnant or
survivors of the long established spiritual heritage established by God
in the promise given in Eden. They are the spiritual offspring of the
faithful of all ages.
The mark of the beast is placed on those who will never serve God,
who have made gods of themselves and of other men along with false
doctrines not found in God’s Holy Word.
The work of the gospel represented by the three messengers flying
above the earth is now finished. The efforts of God's faithful servants
over the years of labor and trial as the gospel was given to the whole
world are seen to have been worthwhile as a people are prepared to
stand as representatives of the faith of Jesus.
As every case is being decided and the great warning message is
accepted or rejected by each man and woman; a final, nearly
overwhelming deception is planned to mislead the entire world. As
the guise of a serpent masked the deceiver of Eden, so now the evil
one undertakes the master counterfeit of all time, the impersonation of
Christ Himself. Visitors appearing to be from other worlds or demons
purporting to be resurrected loved ones give credence to the
preparations for the grand deception. Miracles and wonders beyond the
power of scientists to explain provide a demonstration of what is de-
scribed as the power of God. Around the world a grand new age of
human understanding seems to be dawning and rumors of Christ's
appearance on the earth in secret chambers and remote regions are
fast accepted by a population weary of strife and discord.
The universal call for the unity of all men is again sounded and
then,
in a splendor filled event into which all the world called to witness,
Satan appears as Jesus, healing the sick, raising the dead, uniting his
followers of various communions, creeds and cults. He acknowledges
the prophets of each of the great religions; he accepts their worship as
one who by other names had led them. His blessing is given to all men
and women who will now accept, regardless of their previous views, the
principle of united worship according to the commandments as
changed and devised by men. As the faithful of God's people refuse
this compromise of the unchanging 10 commandments of God, the
world at large, enchanted by the impersonations, seeks to silence
forever those who will not accept the clever counterfeit or worship as
he directs. Those who resist the universal worship are determined by
legislature and executive order to be worthy of death.
In the sanctuary in heaven Jesus, the High Priest, finishes His work
as intercessor for man. He casts aside the censor and pronounces
"He that is holy, let him be holy still."` The hour of decision has
ended; every case of the living has been decided before the judgment
bar of God. Jesus lays aside his priestly robe, dons the robe of King of
Kings and prepares to return to the earth to deliver His people in
the hour of their extreme anguish.
When the protection of human law is withdrawn from those
faithful to God the followers of the false Christ advance as vigilantes
to destroy those who refuse to worship as men direct. The restraining
influence of God's spirit and of the holy angel messengers is now
released and the earth is inundated by disaster followed by
calamity as the seven last plagues are poured out upon those who
have received the mark of the beast. These awful plagues
demonstrate to the whole world that the master deceiver is powerless
to prevent their ravages upon those who have worshipped him. And
around the world begins the great lament, the wonder at the fall and
destruction of the seemingly all powerful coalition of earth's
governments and the religions of man.
The fourth plague is poured out and the sun's heat scorches
the earth with a great heat. The sun indeed has its day, a day of
destruction, a day of awful anguish, a day without rest for the wicked,
a day for those who refused the Holy Day of God.
The plagues fall upon the great cities of the world and the fifth
plague upon Rome, the very city of the "beast," the center of his
worship, a city long associated with his kingdom and power.
Now, as the world witnesses the disasters of the plagues
enveloping the religious power which they so long had reverenced,
they begin to withdraw their support and the efforts to destroy the
people of God slacken as the cause of the wicked seems hopeless.
The sixth plague falls and the popular support of the religious-
political coalition is suddenly withdrawn! The whole world wonders
and sorrows at the fall of Babylon the Great, symbol of man's last
effort to rule the world.
As Satan and his forces see their hold on the people of earth
eroding "the spirits of devils working miracles"' go out to the
political powers of earth to gather them all for the last great battle
of earth and to enforce the penalty of death upon all who have
refused to worship the "beast and his image."
The failures of the attempts of ages past to destroy all of God's
people notwithstanding, the leaders and legislatures of the world are
urged on to finish the work and exterminate all on the earth who
would dare to honor the Creator and His bible mandated day of
worship.
The earth has come to the end of its history, millions have
perished, its great cities have been largely destroyed, the multiplied
establishments of vice, corruption and revelry leveled by the plagues.
Those who now continue in the active service of Satan pursue the
remainder of God's people in the most desolate regions of earth.
Their pursuit is suddenly interrupted as the world is encased in a
supernatural midnight-blackness and all eyes turn to the heavens as
voices, thunders and lightning break the harsh darkness.
Separated into small bands and the remnants of families, the
Creator's people look up to see the heavy overcast suddenly broken
by the signs of Christ's return. A special resurrection brings forth
those who participated in the crucifixion of Christ to face "Him who
they pierced", also raised are the champions of His cause, the faithful
of His last message to the world. In the hearts of His people is the
eager hope of seeing and being with Jesus. Their pursuers now silent
and forgotten, their eyes turn heavenward to see the dark clouds of
the sky rolled back, in the east a small black cloud, appearing at first
to be about the size of a man's hand, is seen moving rapidly across a
fast brightening sky. It grows larger, spreading across the heavens.
Angel Messengers in thousands and ten thousands are seen
accompanying the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus the crucified
and resurrected One has come to claim His people. The trumpet of
God is sounded, like a mighty roll of thunder its shockwaves reach
into the graves and around the world the faithful of every age are
resurrected. God's people then living are caught up with the
resurrected ones and are taken from the Earth to meet Jesus. The
message of the faithful messenger has done its work, a people have
been prepared.
From every tribe, from every nation and back-round, from every
race and kind are presented a people perfected. A people
representative of the faith of Jesus delivered to his disciples. A people
whose righteousness is not in their own works, but in faith and trust in
Jesus.
The resurrection of the faithful and the collection of the righteous
living unites loved ones. Families torn by death are together again.
The pain and tears of earth are all behind them now. They are given
new bodies without the touch of aging, disease or death. New hearts
without the pull or tug of old selfishness. New lives, new hopes. A new
future in which to enjoy the peace of a New Eden, a new home for
mankind.
Those faithful to God from every age are now brought together for
a thousand-year reign with Him in the New Jerusalem. The Holy City
becomes a universal center of celebration of the victory of God's
people over the wicked one. Here the records of earth are opened
and the judgments of God with respect to every individual disclosed.
While the sins of God's people have been eradicated and forgotten,
the records of the unrepentant are there, that all might see and
confirm God's justice in dealing with every man.
The wicked one during this time is isolated upon the earth. Alone
with the messengers he has deceived, he must contemplate the ruin
of a world and endure the passing of centuries, conscious of the loss
he has sustained in his rebellion.
As the thousand years draw to a close, Satan again is allowed to
exercise his power for a short time. The wicked are resurrected; the
earth is repopulated with the humanity of six millenniums. The giants
of Adam's and Noah's day, the builders of Babel's tower, the powerful
Pharaohs and kings of Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Rome; the unsaved
of every age, those who have chose to serve themselves, face another
grim morning. They come forth from their graves as they went into it,
aged and diseased, unrepentant, and unready to face their God.
They march across the broken surface of the earth ordered in
columns under the banner of the master they have long served.
Above them in the sky, a panorama of earth's history is displayed.
Before every man and woman, before Satan himself, pass the scenes
of their lives, the events of the great controversy between Satan the
evil one and Jesus the Creator. They see the fall of man in Eden, the
penalty paid by Christ. They recall the invitation of God's faithful
messenger to accept the mercy of Jesus. They bow, acknowledging
their true relationship to God and then, as though hypnotized and
mad, they rush relentlessly toward the city of God in a last desperate
effort to take it by force, to have it for themselves. As this last act of
rebellion demonstrates the control of the evil one over every
unrepentant sinner, fire falls in mercy from heaven and a lake of fire as
broad as the world engulfs and destroys them all. It is the separation
of the sinner from God forever and ever, nothing remains as a
reminder; sin and sinner, together with Lucifer and the disloyal
messengers are forever destroyed.
The fires of destruction become the fires of re-creation. The world
is bathed in fire. The elements are reduced to their simplest state and
the Creator again prepares the earth as a new, more glorious Eden
where the saved of all ages find an eternal home.
A world for His faithful children, a world more beautiful than ever
before, a world of peace and safety. A world where Jesus and the
redeemed of earth may dwell in happiness together. A world of
eternal, everlasting, never ending lives of love and service to God and
one another. My dear friend, I want to see you there! Please
study your bible daily and pray while daily sharing your faith with
others. Repeat after me, “I believe, help thou mine unbelief. God loves
you so very much that He left heaven to come down and try to win
back your loyalty. Heaven will not be the same without you! Please
submit your heart and life to Him. You be eternally glad you did!

PS- Here is some additional Sabbath material for your serious


consideration!

Rome's Challenge to
Protestants:
"Why Don't You Keep Holy the Sabbath Day?"
Excerpts from "Why Don't You Keep Holy the Sabbath Day?"
pages 3-15, in The Clifton Tract, Volume 4, published by the
Roman Catholic Church in 1869.
I am going to propose a very plain and serious question to those who
claim to follow the Bible and the Bible only to give their most earnest
attention. It is this: Why do you not keep holy Saturday the Sabbath Day?
"The eternal command of Almighty God stands clearly written in the
Bible in these 4th commandment words: “Remember the Sabbath day,
to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but
the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou
shalt not do any work.” Exodus 20:8-10.
"You will answer me, perhaps, that you do keep the Sabbath; for that
you abstain from all worldly business and diligently go to church, and
say your prayers, and read your Bible at home every Sunday of your
lives.
"But Sunday is not the Sabbath day. Sunday is the first day of the week:
the Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week. Almighty God did not
give a commandment that men should keep holy one day in seven; but
He named His own day, and said distinctly: 'Thou shalt keep holy
the Seventh Day'; and He assigned a reason for choosing this day
rather than any other a reason which belongs only to the Seventh Day
of the week, and cannot be applied to the rest. He says, `For in six days
the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is,
and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the
Sabbath day and hallowed it' Exo dus 20:11; Genesis 2:1-3.
Almighty God ordered that all men should rest from their labor on the
Seventh Say, because He too had rested on that day: He did not rest on
Sunday, but on Saturday. On Sunday, which is the first day of the week,
He began the work of creation; He did not finish it. It was on Saturday that
He ended His work which he had made: and God blessed the Seventh
Day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work
which God created and made. Genesis 2:2-3.
"Nothing can be more plain and easy to understand than this; there
is nobody who attempts to deny it. It is acknowledged by everybody
that the day which Almighty God appointed to be kept holy was
Saturday, not Sunday. Why do you then keep holy the Sunday and not
Saturday?
"You will tell me that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, but that the
Christian Sabbath has been changed to Sunday. Changed! But by
whom? Who has authority to change an express commandment of
Almighty God? When God has spoken and said, 'Thou shalt keep holy
the seventh day,' who shall dare to say, Nay, thou mayest work and do
all manner of worldly business on the seventh day: but thou shaft keep
holy the first day in its stead? This is a most important question, which I
know not how you can answer.
"You are a Protestant, and you profess to go by the Bible and the
Bible only; and yet, in so important a matter as the observance of
one day in seven as God’s holy day, you go against the plain letter
of the Bible, and put another, the sun’s day in the place of that day
which the Bible has commanded. The command to keep holy the
seventh day is one of the Ten Commandments; you believe that the
other nine are still binding. Who gave you authority to tamper with
the fourth? If you are consistent with your own principles, if you
really follow the Bible as you say, and the Bible only- you ought to
be able to produce some portion of the New Testament in which this
fourth commandment is expressly altered."
Excerpts from "Why Don't You Keep Holy the Sabbath Day?" pages 3-15, in The Clifton Tract,
Volume 4, published b y the Roman Catholic Church in 1869.

Vatican Admits Sunday is NOT


The Biblical Sabbath
In a recent Catholic Church newsletter, it stated, "Perhaps the
boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did,
happened in the first century [actually it happened in the fourth
century]. The holy day, the Seventh Day Sabbath, was changed from
Saturday to Sunday. ‘The Day of the Lord’ [Dies Domini] was chosen,
not from any direction or command noted in the Holy Scriptures, but
from the Church's sense of its own power.... People who think that the
Scriptures should be their sole authority, should logically become
Seventh-day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy." Saint Catherine
Catholic Church Sentinel Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995.

NO SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT
"Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claim to observance can be
defended only on Catholic principles... From beginning to end of
Holy Scripture there is not one single passage that warrants the
transfer of weekly public worship from the Sabbath, the last day of
the week to the Sunday, the first.” Catholic Press, Sydney,
Australia, August, 1900.

THE VATICAN'S MARK OF AUTHORITY


"Sunday is our mark of authority....The church is above the Bible,
and this transference of the Sabbath observance is proof of that
fact." The Catholic Record, London, Ontario, September 1, 1923.

CATHOLIC CATECHISM
"Question: Which is the Sabbath day?" "Answer: Saturday is the
Sabbath."
"Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?"
"Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the
Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336) transferred the
solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."
The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, by Peter Geiermann,
page 50.

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