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Tuesday: The First Angel’s Message — 16 Comments

  1. The First Angel's message reminds us of the judgment and the creator. I know that we will immediately go into defensive mode and want to justify our beliefs on the investigative judgment and the timing of creation. However, the linking of these two concepts maybe requires a bigger picture. Are we so concerned about the defense that we forget to appreciate the creation and are only paying lip-service to the notion that we are to look after God's creation? As anybody who reads my comments regularly will know, I am passionate about bird photography. Part of the reason why I photograph birds is that I want to educate people about our birdlife and appreciate the contribution they make to our world. I also have this notion that if believe God is the creator, then we should take an active interest in his creation. What is the point of believing God is the creator if we only have a superficial or passing interest in His creation?

    I am not suggesting that we all become biologists or wildlife photographers. But perhaps we need to carefully consider what God has charged us with:

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen 1: 27,28

    Now I don't think that when God used the words "subdue" and "have dominion" he meant we could use nature how we liked. Rather, he was giving us the solemn responsibility of looking after nature. Consider the possibility that the judgment is about whether we have taken that responsibility seriously.

    [If you click on my name above you will be taken to my photography website. This is not a commercial site - just a collection of nature photographs for you to enjoy. Spend a little time appreciating God's creativity]

    Amen!(31)
  2. "These are the important messages to be preached with “a loud voice” to inhabitants of the earth."

    Is the first angel's message, as the first of three messages, merely something that is to be "preached" to 'those out there'? Or is this view perhaps obscuring a vastly greater significance of what is actually contained in this message?

    Two significant elements are worship and judgement. In this comment I will just focus on worship as that is the focus for this week's lesson.

    As per Ex 34:6-8, worship is a reflexive response (v8) irresistibly awakened by awareness and appreciation of the character and nature of God. Verses 6,7 have God outlining His nature and character.

    Bible commentators have noted that compassion is the first attribute listed and that all subsequent attributes arise out of this base of compassion. If you have ever considered the nature of these attributes, what commentators have said is truth. Unfortunately the English interpretation has skewed the meaning from the original Hebrew with respect to the latter part of v7. A more accurate translation that is supported by the Hebrew would be God saying, I do not (because I cannot) stop someone who chooses the ways of death rather than the ways of life (as per Deut 30:15-20). However, I will limit the impacts of that choice as much as I possibly can. This interpretation is entirely consistent with abundant compassion.

    God's own self-revelation is overarchingly characterised as compassionate. If we fast-forward to Jesus as the Word (logos) of God, we again see a manifestation of a character of compassion expressing itself in self-renouncing love. God's two most direct revelations of His nature and character are anchored in the foundation of genuine compassion.

    And what is compassion? It is an orientation toward another that is based on understanding the other's experience, situation, etc. What this means is that God actually gets our experience. He understands where we are at, how we got to being at that place, and also what is needed for us to be restored/redeemed. This matches so beautifully with Heb 4:15.

    So, on the one hand we have God and Jesus revealing the nature and character of God as compassionate, yet we have the majority of His church revealing the nature and character of God as authoritarian. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't most of Christianity believe and promote a view of God who 'commands' must do things a certain way, and that if we don't, He will be forced to have to 'judge' us and then cast us into the 'lake of fire'? While I have stated this rather bluntly, think about the more subtle expressions of this view that you will frequently come across.

    Could it be that the call to worship in the first angel's message is a call away from worshiping a God who is seen as authoritarian and back to a God who is compassionate?

    And why the reference to the creative capacities of God? What motivated God's creation? Was it authoritarianism or compassion? And what is the nature of creation? Does it run according to authoritarian 'rules' that have been arbitrarily made up (as Satan has implied: eg, Gen 3:4,5)? Or does it run on principles of reality that create order (ie Law) as opposed to the chaos that would reign by default without them?

    In light of what I have outlined above, I would offer that the 'wake-up' call to worship in the first angel's message is, at its heart, a call to 'wake-up', to open our eyes to look at what nature and character we are intentionally or unintentionally worshiping?

    Are we worshiping a God who is authoritarian or are we worshiping a God who is compassion?

    Does this question really matter, or am I making something out of nothing? In 2 Cor 3:18, Paul makes reference to a principle or 'law' of cause and effect: by beholding, we become changed into the likeness of that which we behold. If we view God as authoritarian in His nature and ways, how will we become towards others? On the other hand, if we view God's nature and ways as compassionate, how will we become towards others?

    Below I have reproduced a summary of some of Ellen White's comments on this matter. You can read the entire section in Christ's Object Lessons for yourself and see if my summary is true to context.

    "“Behold,” says the Scripture, “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:2.

    It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth....The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them....Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy"(COL 415 ff).

    Amen!(15)
    • The first angel’s message without a doubt is truly about two issues mainly: Worship of the True God and The day of Judgement. And I agree with the author of this lesson that reverence to God is a requirement in worship. The significance of the Sabbath as a part of worship is linked to the message of the first angel is not in doubt is well elaborated in the Ten Commandments:

      Exodus 20:11 ”For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

      Our call to worship also requires us to play a role in reaching out to other nations; to unify the Nations with good news that God wants to save all of us, if we just accept His plan: that we may all Worship and Glorify Him. Worship underlies “the letter and spirit” of the Great Commission of Matthew 18: 16-20. The motive at times behind our reaching out to the rest of the world Adventist can be deemed suspect. “So that we hasten the coming of the Lord” sounds more about us, than those that God has sent us to.

      I further agree with Phil, in this context, that we are abusing the “judgement call”, portraying God as vicious, and ferocious; just interested in punishing His own people. That is a bad presentation of who God is. God’s goodness and mercy is every reason for us to glory Him and Worship Him. God has always been consistent and empathetic; calling out the nations is a sign of God’s love despite our weakness. This can further be justified in:

      1 Timothy 2: 3-6 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,”

      The angles message is really a call for us to reach out to the world and worship the true God and enjoy his mercy and goodness. The angels warnings should be taken as a call by God to God, and not a threat from God on the impeding judgement. Paul notes in Hebrews 1:14 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”, and that’s really the point in the first angels message, “flying directly overhead” with an eternal gospel (good news) to proclaim to all the nations, and people; God calling us to revere Him and Give Him Glory – Worship Him.

      “The hour of judgement is come,” – should not be taken from a negative connotation; on the contrary “because the hour of judgement has come” is more the reason we should glorify Him since it is an end to sin as we know it and that is God’s gift to man. God salvation plan has been consistently about his love for us. Though those who resist Him and rebel against Him, then too will fall to the fate of sin.

      Amen!(5)
    • Phil, God is compassionate to sinners because in the end He must be "authoritarian". He is the Sovereign and creator of all that exists outside of Himself, and will NOT allow sin/sinners to continue beyond the probation of earth. Sin offends God(and all who love Him) and He will/must end sin's existence, and since sin in not an individual entity, but a choice of individuals, this means He must bring such individuals to an end because of their persistent refusal of His grace to cleanse and power to free them from sin. His grace is offered to all who will forsake sin(the very essence of this first angel's message), give glory to Him(Matt 5:16), and worship Him(in the beauty of Holiness, Ps 29:2), so that He need not bring them to no longer exist for their sin, but grant them eternal life in Christ through their pardon and sanctification.

      God is not harsh, unless you are wicked, to whom God will seem very harsh, but it is only their blindness and guilt that gives them this perception.

      Our very existence as sinners proves God's grace doesn't it?

      Perhaps where you live/associate/worship the "majority" present God as "authoritarian", judgmental, and seeking to devour sinners(actually the true nature of Satan), but not where I have been living/associating/worshipping. Most present God as being non-judgmental to the point of overlooking sin and simply "loving" everyone and giving out passes to sinners. This is not supported by God's Word either, and will leave many without a shelter in the Day of the Lord's "wrath", which is interestingly the view of sinners only(Rev 6:15-17). We notice that the righteous love His appearing and shout for joy.

      God will/must have the last word and the final judgment, and will execute this judgment on the guilty(Ex 34:7) just as He states. The first angel reminds the world of this inevitable end for sinners, and thus calls for repentance because "God so loved the world...". A wrathful god would not call for repentance, offer grace, nor give fair warning to the unwary.

      You wrote: "Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't most of Christianity believe and promote a view of God who 'commands' must do things a certain way, and that if we don't, He will be forced to have to 'judge' us and then cast us into the 'lake of fire'?"

      What does YOUR Bible tell you? What did Jesus teach? This alone should be the lamp for your feet and light for your path. Simply immerse yourself into God's word, praying to understand God's will perfectly. Without this right understanding, we are prone to present an unbalanced view of God, no matter which way we lean.

      Amen!(4)
      • “What does YOUR Bible tell you? What did Jesus teach? This alone should be the lamp for your feet and light for your path. Simply immerse yourself into God's word, praying to understand God's will perfectly.”

        Hi Robert.

        For many years I did what I thought was ‘bible study’ based on the was I was taught - to simply read Bible texts and passages. When I did this, all the concepts that I was taught informed my reading of the Bible. I saw what I was taught to see.

        Then I came to a point in life where I started to get involved in people’s lives and found that the typical Christian phrases (described by some as ‘christianese’) were not able to be understood by many people. So I started to ask the question, what do these phrases actually mean?

        So I did something I had never done before. I read the Bible from cover to cover. And then I read it a second time - cover to cover. And I started to notice discrepancies between what I was reading and what I was taught and had believed to that point. I had no idea what to do about that, so I asked God to guide me to find out what was Truth - what I had been taught and believed up to that point, or what I was finding as I was reading the Bible anew. I had a preference, hoping that what I had been taught was True, because the prospect that it wasn’t was very uncomfortable.

        So, I began reading the Bible form cover to cover a 3rd time, taking note of key things that seemed at odds with what I had been raised with and wanting to understand what key phrases actually meant and how things worked. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me, I asked for the promised Wisdom in James 1:5. And I especially prayed for God to not allow me to mis portray Him as I would rather surrender my eternal life than do that. And I still do these things daily.

        Over time, I started to find verses coming to mind to compare and contrast with the passage/s I was studying at a point in time. Scripture was being compared with Scripture. I had never thought this was something I would actually experience for myself. And I started digging into the original Hebrew and Greek.

        And as I Did this, I started seeing things very differently to what I had been raised on and had believed. And this became really uncomfortable. But I was starting to see a picture of God that, although very different, was also far more coherent and cohesive. It was one that actually explained how things worked and matched how reality operates. Those phrases that I’d always heard but not understood were now clear.

        What I have written above took place over a period of about 15 years and is still ongoing. And every step of the way, my prayer continues that God not let me misportray Him. And each time I am most concerned about this in light of something that has arisen, God answers that prayer in His time. My other prayer is that of John the Baptist: that people will not look at me, that I will decrease because I want people to look to God.

        Why do I write this? Because I have done and continue to do precisely what you have said in your paragraph that I quoted above. And doing that is what has led me to find and share precisely the things that I write - so that others may be inspired to check these things out for themselves.

        Following one of the times I was most worried that what I was discovering was wrong because it was so different to what I had been taught, I came across this quote (and accompanying article) that really surprised me:

        “...Investigation of every point that has been received as truth will richly repay the searcher; he will find precious gems. And in closely investigating every jot and tittle which we think is established truth, in comparing scripture with scripture, we may discover errors in our interpretation of Scripture. Christ would have the searcher of his word sink the shaft deeper into the mines of truth. If the search is properly conducted, jewels of inestimable value will be found. The word of God is the mine of the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (R&H July 12 1989).

        Amen!(2)
        • Phil, my question is very clear: "what does your BIBLE tell you?" I never said: "what do PEOPLE say the Bible tells you?" There are few who will find the narrow way to life, so we must let "no man deceive" us. God's word will be made clear to all who learn and obey His will(John 7:17), and no human interpretation will be needed.

          I too was "taught" from my near-infancy until near the age of 30(36 years ago), when I began to search the scriptures for myself to see what GOD was telling ME. That changed my experience and I saw many things for the first time, though having previously read them often under the influence of human reasoning. Truth will set anyone free from falsehood, ignorance, misunderstanding, and most importantly, free us from ourselves and sin. One quickly understands the prophet's meaning when saying "Thy word was unto me the Joy and Rejoicing of my heart!...". The Living Water of Life refreshes and truly satisfies the soul.

          Reading further into your comment, and I see you have had a similar experience. So why do you feel that God does not require obedience of His creatures? How do you understand the command to not eat of the forbidden tree? Doesn't the consequences reveal the serious meaning of God's "command"? What is the meaning of the two tablets of stone written with God's own finger?

          Do you believe God will not deal with sinners as He has told them throughout the Bible? Is Jesus a liar, who said even our words will either justify or condemn us? What exactly do you believe concerning the judgment and God's "wrath". What is the meaning of "fire that will not be quenched" or the "worm that does not die"? What is the meaning of Heb 4:12?

          What does your personal study lead you to conclude on these things?

          Also, is God either authoritarian or compassionate? Is He not both? Will He not have the last word, while at the same time giving "His only begotten Son" to die for you and me? Why the need for Jesus blood if God is not the Sovereign Authority?

          As I understand your original comment above, you seem to be dividing God and narrowing/limiting His true Sovereignty. Am I misunderstanding something?

          BTW, how does that quote (from COL) prove God is not the Divine Authority over all creation? Does His compassion cancel out His Sovereignty? Did Jesus' death cancel the Law, as many Christians claim?

          Again, what does your BIBLE tell you?

          Amen!(1)
          • I am not Phil, but having seen your advice several times to search the scripture and ask what does the Bible tell you, I have to ask the question; what if someone else follows that advice and comes to a different conclusion to you? I have read the Bible several times and on some issues, I can see how we can arrive at different conclusions. It would be very egocentric of me to say that my conclusion is the right one because I have studied it carefully and prayerfully, asking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and that everyone else who has come to a different conclusion has not come to the same conclusion because they are holding sin in their lives.

            I guess that if you and I were to sit down together and compare notes about our conclusions we would find several differences. Would it carry any weight for me to say that I started studying these issues at 18 years of age and have been seeing what God has been telling me for 55 years?

            For what it is worth, I recognize that what I believe God is telling me is seen through the filter of my background and experience. Even Paul recognizes that we see through filters:

            For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Cor 13:12

            In view of our limited vision, my preference is to be generous towards others. That is not an invitation to believe anything, but rather an attitude towards others who have different conclusions to me.

            Amen!(2)
          • Hi Robert.

            My study of the Bible tells me all that I have shared, do share and will share on this site - with the exception of techniques and strategies for application to practical matters that I offer occasionally - though even these are consistent with Biblical principles gained from my personal Bible study.

            Many of the questions you have directly asked me, I have already directly addressed in the longer comments I have written previously.

            My Bible study has led me to reconceptualise pretty much all the concepts you mentioned. For example, I do not see that God requires obedience - it is reality that ‘requires’ that I live in harmony or accordance with all the laws (principles of consistency that constitue abundant life and order) if I wish to live.

            Pick any natural law. For example, does God require that I breathe? Does God require that I eat food that will optimise the functioning of my body and therefore mind? No, it is the reality of the principles/laws that underpin abundant life that ‘require’ these things if I wish to live.

            Rather, my Bible tells me that God desires that I would choose to live (eg Deut 30:15-20), but He also frees me to choose and walk the broad path to perishing/self-destruction if that is my heart’s desire. God will try to “draw” me (as per Jn 12:32) away from making that choice, but if I persist to the point where I sufficiently harden my heart against Him/abundant life, He will release me to that option (as per Rm 1:24,26,28).

            And I believe moral ‘laws’ are also natural laws and therefore operate on exactly the same basis - being reality-based principles that have reality-driven consequences if I choose to ‘defy’ them. This is why sin is lawlessness - it is the defying of the laws that enable abundant life (in conjunction with the ‘life-energy’ - so to speak - imparted by God as the only Source of life). Laws, being principles of consistency, enable the order in the natural and moral world that makes abundant life possible. Lawlessness does the opposite leading to chaos which is incapable of supporting life and therefore by default results in non-life/death (as per Rom 6:23).

            I did some digging into the original languages meaning behind the word translated ‘command’. The concept is to outline the path that will need to be taken in order to arrive at a desired outcome. Again, not because God requires it, but because reality does.

            My Bible tells me God is compassion personified. And my Bible tells me God is neither authoritarian nor permissive. Rather, God is authoritative (Mk 1:22) - an attribute that is perfectly synchronous with compassion. And with self-renouncing love.

            No, I do not believe God will have the last word - He is not like that.

            Why the need for Jesus blood? Brief answer: Self-renouncing love is the only basis upon which life is viable. The first Adam exchanged self-renouncing for self-exaltation and in so doing changed the default heart tendency of humanity and consequentially unleashed a cascade of consequences leading to non-life/death/perishing. This is how humanity ‘got broken’. And this is what needed to be reversed/fixed to redeem/restore/save humanity. So the second Adam, the Son of Man, entered humanity to do what the first Adam needed to have done - hold on to self-renouncing love no matter what. So Satan did his best on the second Adam to try and tempt Him to relinquish self-renouncing life just like he successfully got the first Adam to. But the second Adam would not, no matter what. The most ultimate temptation Satan could throw up was the worst form of death at the time - death on a cross. And the greatest expression of self-renouncing love is to lay down one’s life (Jn 15:13). So that’s what the second Adam did (Rm 5:19; Phil 2:8; Isa 53:12).

            Lev 17:11 tells us the life is in the blood. So what does she’d blood represent? A life laid down in self-renouncing love. So it was the second Adam’s ‘obedience’/living in perfect conformity to a life of self-renouncing love that restored humanity (as a species) back to its pre-fall connection with abundant life. It opened the way for ‘whosoever’ wanted to be restored back to Christlikeness to have the ability for such to occur.

            These are the things my Bible tells me when I dig deeply and go back to the original languages. And so I share what I find so others can check it out for themselves - just like the Bereans did (Acts 17:11).

            Amen!(3)
          • Maurice, my question to you is, do you believe Truth has more than one possible conclusion, even opposing, yet it is all still Truth? If yes, would this provide either certainty or unity?

            Phil, explain the matter of both Gen 3 and Ps 2 as you have come to understand them. What do these passages reveal about God's character, government, and purposes? What, if anything, do they tell us about His Sovereignty and whether or not He has the "last word"(meaning, that His will will prevail over any opposing will, and why, if so, that it must be this way?)

            Just to render a sharper focus on the passages above, consider Rev 4:11.(though the context of Gen 3, which follows and relates directly to Gen 1 & 2, would not really require this consideration)

            Does God require you to breath? Has He given you a law concerning breathing? Does He need to? How has He made you? Do you have another option? (perhaps you could explain your understanding of "require"?)

            Does God "require", let's say, the Sabbath to be kept holy by you or anyone at all? Will there be any "judgment" on anyone who "forgets" the Sabbath and teaches/forces others to do the same? What does your conclusion on this reveal about whether or not God "requires" man to keep the Sabbath holy?

            So if it is "reality" that requires a specific day to be hollowed, will it be "reality" that holds judgment over Sabbath breakers? So the "hour of His judgment" does not refer to God, but rather, reality? (I'm responding directly to your comment as I best understand it and the implications that arise from it)

            One last note: digging into the original tongues of scripture is an ambiguous project at best is it not? Modern Hebrew and Greek scholars are themselves often uncertain about specific words and their exact interpretation. So what have I concluded in my own study?: That God alone can impart the true meaning of His word to anyone desiring it, as He has promised. He can/will open our eyes as not even the perfect understanding of the original languages can do. Look at the horrible conclusions about God and Christ the best experts on Hebrew the world has seen were led to. There is only One True Teacher for God's word. (Ps 118:8,9)
            (Just sharing my personal experience on this matter of languages, though I still study into them, but do not rely wholly on what I find from the definitions of other men)

            p.s. I honestly appreciate the willingness of both of you to have a candid discussion, though we have sometimes opposing conclusions.

            Amen!(1)
          • Hi Robert

            Please, next time ask only one or two questions per reply as I am mindful of the migraines I am giving the moderators by my explanatory and substantive replies that become lengthy when I attempt to address the bulk of your questions.

            Having said that, in this instance I will try to address the questions you are asking via explaining some of the foundational elements of the view of things that I see so you can potentially understand better where I am coming from. I am not sure which specific matter you are referring to in Gen 2/Ps 2 as there are a range of matters. So if I do not answer your question, you will need to be more specific.

            Embedded in Satan's insinuation to Eve in Gen 3:4,5 is the allegation that God has been arbitrary, meaning that He has required Adam and Eve to do things one way when there is an equally viable (if not superior) alternative option. The subsequent 'experiment' of the ensuing history of humanity is evidence that there was not in fact an equally viable alternative as Satan insinuated. Rather, our history demonstrates that there is one way that leads to life (abundant) and any departure from that way leads to destruction and death (as per Deut 30:15-20 and Jn 10:10).

            Consequently, I believe, that there is in fact ONLY one way that reality/life can and does viably and abundantly exist (I don’t believe sub-abundantly is a viable possibility aside from God’s grace work of the current temporary ‘suspension’ of the inherent consequences that our planet should have experienced in Gen 3 for the purpose of 2 Pet 3:9). Science too finds that the tolerances for life to viably and optimally work are extremely narrow and that the minutest of variation in these tolerances would render life non-viable.

            I therefore believe (and I acknowledge that though it is an evidence-informed belief, it is nevertheless a faith-based belief because I cannot absolutely prove it) that God, being Omniscient, knew the one and only way that reality viably works and inhabits that way (from eternity) and creates in accordance with that way. By this, I mean God employs reality in His Creative works. Therefore, my premise is that God creates something that way because that is the only viable way that it works, not because He simply decided it would be that way. Hence, contrary to Satan's claim, God is not arbitrary.

            I believe there is suggestion in Gen 1:1,2 that supports what I have outlined above. There is strong contrast in these verses between the creative works of God in Gen 1 and the absence of viable life in Gen 1:2 with the latter being the default state outside of the one and only way that life can/does viably exist and God dwelling within that way. 1 Tim 6:16 tells us that God dwells within unapproachable light and Jn 1:4 (for example) links light and life. At the core of John’s gospel is the repeated linking of Light with Life - that they are synonymous - and the contrast with darkness (which is biblically synonymous with non-life). Taken together, these things suggest there is merit in a view that (a) there is only one way that life actually works, (b) that God dwells within this way and lives/acts/creates in accordance with that way/reality, and (c) that any other ‘way’ outside of that is non-viable (dark, empty and void: Gen 1:2).

            So, I believe that God operates through and consistent/harmoniously with reality. This is why I believe that reality requires being in harmony with all the Laws/principles that constitute reality if I want to live abundantly. I believe that God is the source of ‘life-energy’, but that in order for life to exist, there is need of both (a) ongoing connection with the Source of life and (b) living in harmony with all the Laws/laws/principles that constitute reality and therefore enable/support life.

            With reference to the term ‘require’ in this context, I mean “of necessity” - the same as I outlined regarding the Hebrew concept for command: that which is necessary in order to arrive at an intended outcome. Thus, if I wish to live, one thing I need to do of necessity is operate in harmony with the laws that ‘govern’ respiration: I will need to breathe.

            I believe that God is ‘Sovereign’ - but consistent with Isa 55:9 principle, I do not believe that God’s expression of this attribute is the same as how humans would express that attribute. Thus, I believe God is the ultimate, overarching One who inhabits eternity and who also upholds eternity, yet interacts with His Creation in a non-typically Sovereign-like manner (eg: Isa 57:15; Phil 2:5-8; Jn 3:16).

            Consequently, in view of all that I have said above, I believe that God and reality are inseparably interconnected (you can’t have one without the other and still have viable life). I believe that viable life/reality is contingent upon living in harmony with the Laws/principles that support its existence (via their creation and maintenance of order as opposed to chaos), and that God dwells within that reality and creates everything in accordance and harmony with that reality. Thus, I believe that God does not in fact possess the attributes that have been (mis-)ascribed to Him by the typical portrayal of Him as 'Sovereign' in an authoritarian way.

            Satan can do nothing to change the reality of God and the way God operates in perfect accordance and harmony with reality. But Satan can and (according to Ellen White as per the COL 415ff quote previously presented as an example of many references she made to this point) successfully has, does and will continue to misportray God via instead transposing his own characteristics upon God. Via Jesus own summary declaration in Jn 10:10, it is the thief that is the source of steal, kill and destroy while God is the source of abundant life. These are presented as mutually exclusive, black-and-white concepts. Why would Jesus ascribe “destroy” exclusively to the thief, if He knew full well that He too was going to destroy people at the end of time? There are many problems, in my opinion, with God being the source of destruction. Yet, the misportrayal as God being such is entirely consistent with Ellen White's assertion that Satan has ascribed his own characteristics and attributes to God.

            Consequently, yes, I do actually believe that it is "reality" that requires (necessitates) things, and that it will it be "reality" that exerts what is typically portrayed as ‘judgement’ - as far as being the driving-force behind ensuing ‘consequences’ that will ensue. Now I am not saying that God is not involved in ‘judgement’ - but again I maintain on the basis of Isa 55:9 that God’s judgment is not like our judgment.

            There are some interesting insights into ‘judgement’ by John in Jn 3:18,19 and Jn 12:48 that are inconsistent with the typical view of judgment. These verses portray judgment as the existence (or more precisely unveiling/revealing of the existence) of a reality principle in operation: the Light has come into the world yet people loved (heart-desired self-exaltation to the point of irreversible hardened hearts) darkness rather than light for fear that the light would expose (reveal) their evil deeds. This concept of revelation/disclosure is further expressed in v21. It is also consistent with the reference to the process of judgment as a revealing process described by Paul in 1 Cor 4:15. So, I believe the Bible supports a view of ‘judgement’ as a revealing whereby each person’s eternal destiny will be revealed to be the inherent result (via reality) of each person’s heart-desire choice whether to live life according to self-renouncing love (and all that goes with that) or whether to attempt to live life according to self-exaltation, self-indulgence, etc. Thus, judgment is not God deciding where people will spend eternity - it is God revealing each person's unseen heart-desire. A correlation will be seen between those in eternal life and hearts based on self-renouncing love compared with those who will be absent from eternal life and hearts based on self-exaltation. The evidence will speak for itself - no need for a determinative judgment.

            I believe that the view of God I find in the Bible is coherent and consistent and in no way diminishes Him and His eternal capacities, but rather enhances these.

            As per the principle expressed in Deut 30:15-20, there are 2 and only options: a way that leads to/results in life and a way that leads to/results in non-life. Both of these options are anchored in reality and are therefore reality-based. God has chosen the former and desires that all members of His creation would choose the same. But because abundant life only works within a context of self-renouncing love and its inseparable link to freedom, there is the option to depart from abundant life as Adam and Eve, unfortunately, did via instead embracing the path of self-exaltation and its accompanying lawlessness (which Paul refers to as the law/principle of sin and death (Rom 8:2).

            As a consequence of the reality of inheritance (as per Rm 5:12-14), humanity was consequently plunged into a terminal state under the first Adam. The Bible describes this state as “perish” (eg Jn 3:16, 2 Pet 3:9) and it is due entirely to reality. So, Jn 3:16,17 and 2 Pet 3:9, for example, portray a God who has put a redemption, restoration plan in place to actually fix the reality-based cause of the problem which incorporates addressing (a) the terminal nature of humanity as a species (under the second Adam as per Rm 5:19) and (b) the need for each individual who chooses to accept the grace-based offer, to individually be fixed/restored progressively and ultimately back to abundant life. This is all reality-based and is brought about by a reality-based God who uses reality-based remedy to bring about a reality-based resolution and who displays all this reality for all to see.

            Finally, with respect to interpretation of original languages, there is no getting around the fact that it is an interpretive process. Even if God had dictated every single word of the Bible, there would still be an element of interpretation because we do not have the language of heaven nor the conceptual capacities to exactly perceive and understanding everything. But that doesn’t mean we can’t understand anything and shouldn’t try under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to exercise our capacity to learn and grow in our understanding of God’s “higher ways”. In my opinion, an interpretation that leads to a coherent and cohesive view of God and reality, is one that better reflects the principle of comparing scripture with scripture because a consistent picture begins to emerge.

            All I know is that I have committed myself fully to God, and I like David “thirst” to know Him and His ways. I continuously ask God to guide me in reading and understanding His Word, to grant me Wisdom and Discernment that I may not misrepresent Him. And what I have outlined above is what I have found (and continue to find and expand) since doing this. (It would actually be a whole lot easier to just go with the status quo - a lot less time, effort and opposition.)

            Amen!(0)
  3. We owe everything to God. If we indeed have this sense, we will not worship some other god. Otherwise we will be rebels. Because worship has to do with reverence, honor. Although we may seem to aknowledge God, we only really worship Him if we respect and honor Him. Our actions show whom we really worship!

    Amen!(7)
  4. The first angel's message in Rev 14:6,7, centers on sinners receiving the “everlasting gospel”, which is the “power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes”, allowing the one transformed by the grace of God to “fear God”, “give glory to Him”, and to “worship Him”. This message is the last clear call to forsake sin, deny oneself, and follow by faith the pattern of Jesus' life, who obeyed always the will of God.

    The wholehearted reception of this last appeal to sinners will fit one to dwell in the presence of God with holy angels, and “with all them which are sanctified”. There is no other way or means to be saved from the 2nd death. Only in the gospel of Jesus Christ can a sinner be saved.

    Amen!(2)
    • Let's be clear, it is Christ's faithfulness, not ours, by which we are saved. This is the righteousness by faith message which E.G. White indicated was the three Angel's message "in verity" (Review and Herald, April 1, 1890).

      "Christ did what every individual has failed to do, and that is: He alone was faithful to God in everything He did. Our hope is in Christ’s faithfulness, not our own."

      from: https://ssnet.org/blog/tuesday-the-basis-of-our-justification/

      Amen!(0)
  5. When was “the Sabbath” changed from a day of rest to a day of worship? Was it God who dubbed His rest a “memorial of creation”? God did say that He blessed and sanctified the “seventh day” because “in it He rested from all His work which God had created to make” (Gen 2:2,3); and He “was refreshed” (Ex 31:17). This was not a celebration of creation. It was a celebration of rest, not of labor or work. God needed to be refreshed/restored/renewed! God had subjected Himself to working like a human, constrained/restricted by day and night(Jn 9:4), to time in days, knowing that His creation would soon rebel against Him... God had absolutely and perfectly finished/completed His work. He re-enters His domain, eternity(timeless). He did not establish for Himself a cyclic “24hr day of rest” after which He must/would go back to His work. His work was finished. Actually the sun never did set on His “rest day”(Heb 4:3,4). We don’t find “and the evening and the morning was the 7th day”. And that is no mistake.
    God is Spirit and He died in His Son so that we may “enter into His rest” (Matt 11:27:30; Heb 4:3-11). Christ did not die so that we might rest/cease/desist from physical work, that which the type “Sabbath” given to Israel affords (Dt 5:15; Ex 31:13,17; Ezk 20:12,20; Col 2:16,17). Christ died to give rest to our sin cursed souls, spiritual, bringing an end to our evil, dead works, to our sin slavery, so that we may worship God in spirit and truth. This is the Sabbath rest that remains for the Christian who must be “diligent to enter that rest”. The Sabbath given to Israel (who were in the flesh) memorialized their delivery from Egyptian slavery, and hard labor/work, physical (Dt 5:15; Ex 16:22-25; 20:8-11). It is a type of the true rest (Gen 2:2,3; Matt 11:27-30; Heb 4:3-11).
    The prophets forecasted that Israel’s Sabbath would become an abomination to God, and that He would bring an end to it (Isa 1:11-17; Hos 2:11,12; Jer 6:20,21; Amos 5:21-24; 8:9,10). Christ’s great conflict with Israel was concerning this very Sabbath. He was demonstrating to Israel, through His signs, that He was the fulfillment of the Sabbath sign, the Sanctifier, the Lord of Sabbath (Ex 31:13,15; Ezk 20:12,20). There was the impotent at Siloam Pool. For 38 years (Israel’s years wandering in the wilderness till those condemned to death die Dt 2:14) carried about on a pallet, and working hard to heal himself but couldn’t because of impotency - Israel’s condition under Law. But Jesus showed up and brought an end to his life of dead works. He brought rest from his impotency to the extent that he would now take up his pallet and carry it, even on their Sabbath. How offensive that was to the “keepers” of the Sabbath! But this was the Lord and Sanctifier of the Sabbath. They should have recognized Him right then from Ezk 20 and Ex 31. Whom were they worshipping at this moment? Israel had made idols of God’s gifts to them, like Lucifer...(Ezk 16:8-17). There is false worship.They adored their rest, and rightly so, but God’s rest transcends, eternally, the type and figure rest (2 Cor 3; Heb 10:1; 12:18,22-24). Shouldn’t rest in Christ supersede the type rest?

    Amen!(5)
  6. The first angels message is a compassionate call to every one to recognize, find the need for, desire, worship, relate to, communicate with, accept, commit to, love, and share Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. “This loving God is revealed in a discussion of His law. “The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire), and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. [Exod. 20:13-17; Lev. 19:18.] Love does no wrong to one's neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law. Besides this you know what [a critical] hour this is, how it is high time now for you to wake up out of your sleep (rouse to reality). For salvation (final deliverance) is nearer to us now than when we first believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Christ, the Messiah).”
    ‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:9-11.

    Amen!(3)

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