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Tuesday: The First Angel’s Message – Part 2 — 12 Comments

  1. The linking of the Sabbath and Creator has special meaning for me. I have always had a strong interest in God's creation and as you probably know, I spend a lot of time photographing birds. Just in our local area, I have photographed 160 species of birds and through my exhibition of those photos on social media, the area has become known as a bit of a hotspot for birds among the birdwatching community. I often walk to Church on Sabbath morning, taking a couple of hours to get there, walking along the streams and through the bush tracks. What a way to prepare for Sabbath School and Church!

    To me, Sabbath is much more than just a couple of hours spent in church, listening to sermons and music. It is a special time to seriously connect with God as the creator.

    We are losing our connection with nature at an alarming rate. You can read any newspaper and watch on any media outlet and you will see the enormous impact that humanity is having on nature. We exploit it, wreck it and simply do not care. I look at the habitat loss, the extinction rate of birds, the pollution of our oceans, and the destructive and wanton use of natural resources to satisfy greed and power, and I fear that our natural environment will be completely lost.

    Should we, who look forward to the second coming of Jesus be concerned? I suggest that we should be. Acknowledging God as our creator is not just lip service. God has asked us to look after the earth and care for it. It is an active role, not just mental assent. If we associate our responsibility as custodians of God's creation with true Sabbath worship we have a link that makes sense in the First Angel's Message.

    Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Rev 14: 7

    The message is not a command to spend a couple of hours in church on Saturday instead of Sunday, but to acknowledge that God is the creator in the way we live and care for his creation. That is a bigger picture than we sometimes hear from Seventh-day Adventist pulpits.

    There is another verse in Revelation, that is relevant here too:

    And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. Rev 11:18

    I am not suggesting that we should become political activists to defend nature, but there are ways for us to fulfill our custodial role of God's creation and worship him at the same time. And, I might add, it is a way of connecting and sharing with unchurched folk as well. Time to think outside the box!

    • Thank you for your comments concerning our environment and as Christians we should not be so
      Heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.

  2. Similar to Maurice, I would like to also raise consideration of something “outside of the box”. I will need to touch on multiple simultaneous dimensions in order to do so as follows.

    Again, if we look back to the origin of sin within Lucifer/Satan as indicated in Isa 14:12-14 and Eze 28:12-19, the core issue was the change in Lucifer’s heart condition from its created state of self-renouncing (in the image of God) to self-exalting.

    Now when any created being exercises their freedom to instead embrace a self-referenced heart (ie core) orientation, this unavoidably also results in disconnection from life (because self-renouncing is the only perpetual basis upon which eternal life can actually exist). Reflecting this concept, John (eg, Jn 1:3; 8:12) and Paul (Rom 1:21ff) both portray living in harmony with self-renouncing love as “light” and “life” and, conversely, living in harmony with any other self-referenced motive as “darkness” and by extension death via perishing (eg, Jn 3:16). Of note, the Greek concept described by the word ‘perishing’ means to come to a complete end (utter 'runination') as a direct result of disconnection from that which alone promotes and sustains life - just the same as a light globe ceases to emit light when disconnected from the necessary power source.

    Paul, in Rom 1:21, also notes a parallel outcome that occurs when a created being exchanges self-renouncing love as their foundation for a self-referenced orientation. Their thinking also becomes darkened - that is, they misperceive and draw faulty conclusions (see also Eze 28:17 regarding “you destroyed your wisdom”).

    The dominant misperception that Satan seems to have concluded was in regard to God’s nature and character and by extension the nature and character of reality. In Isa 14:14, we see Satan (in his ‘destroyed wisdom’ state) apparently concluding that he could actually “be like the Most High”. That is to say, Satan believed that the created could in fact become the Creator. How could he come to this conclusion? Because in his ‘destroyed wisdom’ state he was convinced that reality existed on an arbitrary basis and could therefore be changed. We see this (mis)belief reflected in Dan 7:25 and also in 5 Testimonies 738.1. We also see the same phenomenon of ‘destroyed wisdom’ playing out in Adam at ‘the fall’ in Gen 3 when, for example, Adam believes he now needs to and can hide from God.

    In contrast to Satan’s ‘destroyed wisdom’ is the truth that God and reality operate exclusively on the basis of natural law where the principles of consistency and cause and effect are inseparably embedded. If you do such and such, every time a certain outcome will occur. If you live in harmony with all the natural laws/principles/constants that support reality, you will experience life. Conversely, if you live out of harmony with these laws/principles/constants, you will die via perishing (disconnection from life). Paul refers to these 2 principles as the law of the Spirit of Life and the law of sin and death respectively in Rom 8:2.

    Because these above-outlined awarenesses are foundational to true life, I would propose that at Creation God created a special day of ‘rest’ each week so that we would come to a complete stop, step back and renew/re-consolidate our ‘wisdom’ of the above-outlined bases upon which abundant life (Greek: zoe) alone is viable. This would help protect and preserve the inherent freedom of choice embedded in a self-renouncing-love-based reality. This is where I believe Sabbath fits into the picture - a weekly re-consolidation of each created being's fully-informed free choice to continue to embrace and live in harmony with the only viable way of life.

    Hence, I believe that the call in Rev 14:7 to worship God who created is a call to the same re-consolidation of true as opposed to ‘destroyed/darkened’ wisdom. It is a call to remember and reaffirm that, contrary to Satan’s (and his beasts’) nature and character that is based on arbitrary self-referenced desires and motives in conjunction with use of coercion, God’s way is natural-law-based self-renouncing love in conjunction with ‘informed consent’ free-will choice. Only one of these ways is capable of enabling and sustaining true life.

    And as for the concept of worship, recall Moses reflexive reaction in Ex 34:8 and that of the 4 creatures and 24 elders in Rev 5:14. The reflex to worship arose in response to revelation of the nature and character of God. Now contrast this with the reflexive reaction of those in Rev 6:16 that is also in response to a revelation of the same nature and character of God. The former perceive God's nature and character positively while the latter perceive it negatively. Why two opposite pereptions and associated reflexive reactions to the same nature and character? Because the former share the same heart for self-renouncing love and consequently share in the same nature and character (termed having the ‘robe of Christ’s reghteousness’). Thus we worship that which resonates with our heart's desires and we a repelled by that which is out of harmony with our hearts desires (an example of natural law at work).

    Consequently, I would again propose that the three angel’s messages are way more directly and deeply tied to the very core of the actual issues underpinning the Great Controversy than we have realised.

    But study and check this out for yourself to see if it is so (as per Acts 17:11) and whether or not it reflects rightly dividing the Word of Truth (as per 2 Tim 2:15) that you may be fully persuaded in your own mind (as per Rom 14:5).

    • This message IS about the very issues of faith vs unbelief. Faith is demonstrated by our obedience in being one(echad) with God through Christ, while unbelief is demonstrated by "I will exalt myself above...".

      We exalt ourselves above God with every choice to depart from His "commandments, statutes and laws", which God said Abraham obeyed.

      "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."(1 Cor 10:31)

  3. One thing beautiful about worshiping God by free will is: say for instance our hearts perceived God negatively, and we can’t see a way out. We need not throw up our arms and say it is hopeless, I am a sinner there is no hope for me, it is natural law for me to go against God. There is a way out. Ask, believe, and claim the promise that God can transform us. The jailer and his family experienced this miraculous reversal of negative polarity to positive polarity, and were baptized. So can we be transformed(born again). Acts 16:31-34.

  4. How does the currency gets it's value?
    It is the security features in the currency gives it's value.
    Specific security measures are added to the currency that would be hard to reproduce.

    Satan is trying to imitate the character of God.

    You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.
    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.

  5. I believe that Revelation 13:17 and Rev 14:1 tell us that the real issue is whose name – character – do we have in our hearts and therefor whom do we worship.

    I believe that we are born selfish and only when we encounter the love of the Triune God do we desire to be changed to be like them.

    Psa 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
    Joh 3:6-7 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.

    The only way humans can be unselfish is if they have Jesus in their hearts.

    Joh 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and we will make Our home with him.

    If we have Jesus in our hearts then we will live by His Principles of Life just as the Triune God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit have always lived. Our character will be in harmony with their Character
    “All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.” Desire of Ages pg 668

  6. While the worship of God includes obedience to the Sabbath commandment, there is no real “keeping” a day “holy” if one is not holy themselves(James 2:10). The Psalmist writes: “Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness”. The true worship of God is manifested in being a partaker of His Divine nature. This only takes place when every trace of rebellion and unbelief is banished from the soul by God's grace through a living faith in His “exceeding great and precious promises”. The first Angel is calling sinners to be Holy, since none but holy beings can stand in the presence of God. “Come apart and be ye separate” is the call of God to those who would make a covenant with Him by sacrifice. There can be no union with the world if we would receive the seal of God. Holiness is worship. This is how one worships “in Spirit and in Truth” as Jesus described to the woman of Samaria by Jacob's well.

    The "fountains of water" mentioned by the first angel is nothing less than a direct reminder of the flood that God brought which took away the wicked in Noah's day. Yes, God made those great fountains, which the angel tells us clearly.

  7. True Sabbath worship is spiritual and *eternal* (Jn 3:3-8; 4:21-24; Heb 4:1-11). It is partaking in/of God’s rest. We cease our works completely, those of the flesh, like God did His finished work at creation. We die and are resurrected to new life, spiritual beings of the New Creation (1 Cor 15:44-49; Col 3:1-10). The children of God, born of the Spirit and led by the Spirit experience true Sabbath worship. They don’t go back to their old life in the flesh, that of the *six* days or years.

  8. How is our view of Creation and Salvation related? Simply, via our worship, we acknowledge His Kingship and Sheppardship.John 10:14-18(in direct relation to Rev.14:7,8)
    Why is resting on the Sabbath as God did so important? Weekly cycle of recognizing (A Re-Cognizance/of covenant relationship) a devotional allegiance of the Most High's reciprocating involvement in daily human life,true love; faith "of" Jesus.

  9. The word "ceased" in Genesis 2 describing God's ending of His creative work has a pictorial aspect to it. The idea is like a ship after a long journey coming to harbor, or a train reaching the station. All of the work of creation, crowing out with the creation of beings made in the likeness and image of the Creator, had a destination: the Sabbath. All of the wonderful wisdom and care, and joy found in each of the successive days in which God made a home for a new world full of living creatures, a realm for His co-regents in Man, arrive into the Sabbath in a resounding praise for what great things God had done. The Creator rejoicing and reveling in His new creation as it responds in heart joy toward their God.

    Hence, the Sabbath's importance as a reminder of that first purpose of this special day. And as we are recreated week by week in the inner man, we arrive at the Sabbath to again find our hearts giving thanks to what great things our Creator has done, is doing, and will ultimately do in the New Heavens and New Earth.


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