The Law In Stone Vs The Law In Our Hearts

Sunday, 5-25-97 1:10 PM.

Scott Walker, broke the 6th commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” If this had happened in Moses’ day he would have been put to death. That was the law in stone with no mercy. When Peter cut off Malchus’ ear he was not even brought up on charges even though he was guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder, just for starters. Jesus healed Malchus’ ear erasing the crime. This is a good example of the mercy Jesus came to reveal by establishing the New Covenant of the Law in the Heart. Today the law in stone is not strictly enforced in the USA, therefore, Scott Walker was sentenced to life in prison instead of the electric chair or whatever method they use in Pennsylvania, if in fact, they even have a death penalty. Most states no longer have the death penalty or do not enforce it very often. But because of people’s fear and desire to stop the rising tide of crime state legislatures are passing stricter sentencing guidelines every year. There is also a movement for a stricter enforcement of the Ten Commandments, especially the Sabbath of the 4th commandment. As you will see (below) a judge in Alabama has already put the Ten Commandments up in his courtroom. If this trend becomes more popular which day of the week do you think the courts of this land will interpret to be the Sabbath of the 4th commandment? Saturday or Sunday? Where is all of this leading us as we move toward the year 2,000 and beyond?

In our study today we are going to go back in time and find out how the law began and God’s glorious purpose and ultimate plan regarding it. We will explore the development of the law of God throughout the history of Israel up to our own time. Our investigation will begin about 1491 BC at the burning bush with Moses where it all began. Over a period of time several sets of laws were given to Moses to govern the children of Israel after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. But the law didn’t start at Sinai. It has always existed. We are told that the angels were shocked when Lucificer asserted (in a subtle and accusing manner) that God had a law but that it was not good or fair. That’s when the Great Controversy began. Ever since then our Creator God has been revealing Himself to all of His creation. Knowledge, learning and understanding about God has been increasing with each generation, except during the dark ages. But in this, our present age, just before His return, His glory (character) is beginning to fill the earth in fulfillment of the ancient prophecies. John the Revelator saw in vision an angel coming down from heaven “having great power; and the earth was lightened with His glory.” Rev. 18:1.

During the last few days the Lord has really opened my eyes regarding the importance of understanding what Israel came to call the Law of Moses from Mount Sinai versus the law Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives. Although there is some overlapping, there are many ways to express these two sets of laws, such as The First or old Covenant and the Second or New Covenant. Some have referred to them as administrations, old and new. Others call it the Law in Stone versus the Law in the Heart or Flesh. Still others define them as The Law from Sinai versus the Law from Mt. Olivet or Mt. Zion.

The point is, no matter what name is given to these two law giving events we are still talking about the same set of laws. The law of God existed from the beginning, but its existence was in the form of a relationship between the Creator and all of His created beings. That slowly began to change after Lucifer rebelled and left heaven. Jude 6. He lied about God’s law even though it was not in a written form. He said it was unfair and arbitrary. This, I believe, is one of the reasons the Bible tells us that “angels” had a part in the giving of the law at Sinai. Christ allowed even the angels to participate in order to meet and stop these false charges. Much more will be said about this as we go along.

Until Sinai, there were no codified set of laws for the children of Israel. That is, nothing written on paper, parchment or stone. History records laws among other nations, such as the famous Hammurabic code, 2100, approximately 700 years before Sinai. The Mosaic law came into being to fill a specific needs. One of those needs was to help Moses govern a new nation of unruly slaves, set free out in the Sinai desert. Their only objective was to get over to the promised land as soon as possible for the “milk and honey.” The forty years of delay forged a personal relationship between God and His chosen people, the nation of Israel. Through patriarchs and prophets messages were given and recorded to be passed on down to us today 3,500 years later on whom the ends of the world (age) are come.

The law at Sinai consisted of several parts. First of all there was the TEN COMMANDMENTS which we refer to as the “moral law.” This was given first and was the only one that was both spoken and “written in concrete”, so to speak, in that it was engraved on stone with the “finger of God.” This is a most intriguing phrase used in Exodus 8:19, Exodus 31:18 and Luke 11:20. It basically means “The power of God.” Cf. Acts 8:10. In the case of the ten plagues on Egypt it referred to God’s permissive will in allowing Satan to bring the plagues. In the case of the Ten Commandment law we will learn that this law in stone was also His permissive will “in stone” until Jesus Himself came to reveal the law written on the fleshly tablets of His heart which is God’s perfect law, a transcript of His perfect character. All the rest of the laws of Moses were written on scrolls of parchment and placed on the outside of the ark. In contrast, the Ten Commandments were placed inside of the ark of the covenant signifying the heart or conscience of the believer. In addition to this there were laws governing the sacrificial service, which had to do with the killing of animals—shedding their blood for the remission of sins. This was called the “ceremonial laws.” Then there were the health laws and the civil laws which were used to govern the every day life and affairs of the nation. All of these laws together, as a whole, were called THE LAW OF MOSES.

Israel agreed to keep all of these laws not realizing they were signing their own death warrant. So, they soon learned that they could not perfectly keep the law no matter how hard they tried. Yet, this was the beginning of a wonderful education both for them and for Israel today. Our Creator, knowing all things from the beginning to the end, allowed all of this to take place because He had a plan. “God did what He had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan He had already decided to complete by means of Christ. God’s plan, which He will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head. For all things are done according to God’s plan and decision; and God chose us to be His own people in union with Christ because of His own purpose, based on what He had decided from the very begging.” Eph. 1:9-11 “Good News” edition.

God is love and He knows what He is doing. From the very beginning, at the tree of knowledge of good and evil, until mankind is restored to the tree of life in heaven, the Lord Jesus is daily, hourly working out His eternal plan of “growing us all up” into His very own image…the likeness and image of eternal perfection. Writing His perfect law of love on the fleshly tablets of our hearts just like Jesus. “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, ‘I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:7, 8. This concept is summed up very clearly in the following statement:

“The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power. Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts: when they repent, He imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and sends them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim His boundless mercy. He would have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess Christ-likeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love. He would have us bear testimony to the fact that He cannot be satisfied until the human race are reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His sons and daughters.” “Desire of Ages, Page 826.

Did you catch that, my friend? This is a comment on Isaiah 53:11 which predicts that in the ages to come Jesus will at last “see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.” In this amazing statement, in the last part of the most magnificent book of all her writings, Ellen G. White, in the final days of her life’s ministry penned this most astounding and eye-opening statement in which she clearly tells us what we are to proclaim as the gospel of Jesus Christ. First, that men may obtain a Christlike character…become just like Jesus. This is what He would have us bear testimony to, not only in word but in deed as well. Secondly, He would have us bear testimony to the fact that He, Jesus, will not be satisfied until the human race are restored. This could never have been accomplished through the first administration at Mount Sinai…the law given in stone. This was one of the theological questions that was so hotly debated during the 1888 crisis in Minneapolis. Can man attain righteousness by strictly obeying the letter of the law. Some said, “yes, man can perfectly keep the law because Jesus proved that it can be done. And we are to be like Jesus.” But other camps believe that we are not made righteous by keeping the law (Ten Commandments in Stone) but only by accepting the perfect righteousness Jesus has already wrought out for us in His perfect life and death. This theological debate continues on today. The only way to settle it in own heart is to continue to study and understand the true character of God. When you truly understand His character you won’t have to argue and debate anymore for you will begin experiencing His salvation, living it and sharing it as well.

God’s steadfast love is unequivocally declared in Jer. 31:3. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” KJV. And then in v. 31-34 God again predicts the new covenant Jesus began to proclaim on the Mount of Olives. “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” v. 33. But it doesn’t stop there. “And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” NAS. Jer. 31:4.

If you have read any of my former articles during the last several years you know that this subject of Universal Restoration or Reconciliation has been covered in various aspects. We also have many books and videos which give all of the proof necessary to anyone who is intellectually honest. In this article I wish to reveal aspects of the law and gospel we have not covered before combining it with truths we already know. On the day of Pentecost Peter said: “Repent then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out. Then the Lord may grant you a time of recovery and send you the Messiah He has already appointed, that is, Jesus. He must be received into heaven until the time of UNIVERSAL RESTORATION comes, of which God spoke by His holy prophets.” Acts 3:20, 21. NEB. Notice, friend of mine, that the text says all of God’s holy prophets have predicted this restoration message that must be preached before Jesus can return. Unless you believe this message you cannot have the Father’s Name written in your forehead which means you think just like Jesus and agree with His purposes and plans to restore all creation back to His throne. This is the mind of Christ which we are to have.

In Acts 15 we read how the leaders of the new church met together with Peter and Paul regarding the subject of circumcision which threatened to split the church. At this historic meeting it was decided by the Jerusalem council, James, speaking as the leader of the council declared: “It is my opinion that we should not put obstacles in the way and annoy and disturb those of the Gentiles who turn to God: But we should send word to them in writing to abstain from and avoid anything that has been polluted by being offered to idols, and all sexual impurity, and [meat of animals] that have been strangled, and [tasting] of blood.” Acts 15:19. Amplified Bible. The LB says, “And so my judgment is that we should not insist that the Gentiles who turn to God must obey our Jewish laws.” v. 19. Then they added a little P.S. to the effect that since the ancient scrolls were read in the synagogues every Sabbath they would soon learn about the Ten Commandments and the health laws, for example. But new christian believers did not stay very long in the Jewish Synagogues. Paul found out after a few sermons that the regular Jewish worshippers did not want to hear the “Good News” about Jesus and began to speak abusively about Paul and his sermons. “Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: ‘We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.'” Acts 13:46. So, naturally, Paul and other christian preachers went everywhere forming churches for those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah.

Now, let’s talk about the laws which were “nailed to the cross.” Paul is very clear about this in his writings regarding how the circumcision that is to be performed under the new covenant is that of the circumcision of the heart. Rom. 2:29. “In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] stripping off the body of the flesh [the whole corrupt carnal nature with its passions and lusts].” Col. 2:11.

This horrible rite of circumcision was introduced through Abram (before his name was changed) listening to the wrong voice…yes, even the voice of the fallen angel Lucifer (Satan). Gen. 17:13. The simple logic of the dialogue between God and Abraham reveals that two different entities spoke to Him making two separate covenants each time in Gen. 15 and 17. The first voice makes a covenant based on Abram’s faith in God’s promise to multiply his seed to number as many as the stars of heaven. Then the second voice brought in a covenant based on the killing of animals. Now, which one do you think was the voice of the true God and which was the voice of the killer God who demanded the death of innocent animals? If you get the right answer to that question you will also know which voice spoke to Abraham in Gen. 22 telling him to kill his only son.

Again in Gen. 17 the first voice enters into a covenant with Abram based on the change of Abram’s name from Abram to Abraham. Abram simply meant “Father.” But Abraham meant, “Father of many nations.” Once more the covenant was not based on works but on Abraham’s simple faith in God’s word to fulfill His promise to make his seed multiply like the stars of heaven. So, that is how the rite of circumcision began. In John 7:22-24, Jesus did not claim to have started it but said that it was handed down from the fathers to Moses. Then after the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit led the new church to abolish it altogether. Acts 15.

The Law of Moses includes 1. The Animal Sacrifice system and 2. The Law in Stone, along with hundreds, possibly thousands of interpretations of that law, both civil, health and religious. Much of this was based on “tradition of the elders.” It grew more ponderous each year. “Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for The righteous Man Shall Live By Faith.” Gal. 3:11. Of course, we must remember that the Jews in Christ’s day were also under the PAX ROMANA, Latin for “Roman Peace,” or in other words under the Roman judicial system which took precedence over Jewish law. This was made very evident when the Jews took Jesus before Pilate, the Roman governor. This is proof they had no authority to execute anyone.

Pilate realized Jesus was innocent and tried to release Him. The Jews then told Pilate, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; every one who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” John 19:12. So, we know how Pilate then gave permission for Jesus to be crucified. Yet this very crime fulfilled the prophecy of Isa. 53 regarding how the Messiah would be slaughtered, shedding His blood, as an innocent lamb to atone for our sins. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Gal. 3:13. This is a recurring theme throughout Paul’s writings…that Jesus’ died in our place and that we are saved by the blood of the lamb. Many gospel songs have been written about it. “Redeemed how I love to proclaim it, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.”

We all love to sing those songs but it wasn’t until after I began studying the character of God that I finally understood the real meaning of the blood. The traditional explanation is based on the substitutionary theory of salvation. That God the Father sent His Son to die on the cruel cross to meet the demands of the law. But what kind of God does that make the Father out to be? Nothing but a blood thirsty God, the same as the heathen worship, who sacrifice virgins and their own children.

Let me prove to you that God has already shown in the past that He can and will forgive a person without the shedding of blood. The first example is Lucifer Himself. Even after He had rebelled and sinned against the government of heaven God was willing to take Him back…WITHOUT A BLOOD SACRIFICE. This is easily proven from the book “Patriarchs & Prophets,” page 39. “Such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only could devise, were made to convince him (Lucifer) of his error…Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong. He saw that ‘the Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works,’ Ps. 145:17…though He had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God…he would have been reinstated in his office.” Yes, God would have forgiven Lucifer without a blood sacrifice.

The second proof is from “Desire of Ages,” Page 157. “As Jesus came into the temple, He took in the whole scene. He saw the unfair transactions. He saw the distress of the poor, who thought that without shedding of blood there would be no forgiveness for their sins.” Remember, beloved, that Jesus was continually warring against the traditions and customs of the Jews by not only ignoring them but actually breaking them every opportunity He had. Never once did Jesus ever tell anyone to go buy an animal and offer it as a sacrifice to get their sins forgiven. He forgave them directly. “And Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer; Thy sins be forgiven thee. And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.” Matt. 9:2, 3; cf. Mark 2:5-9. He also forgave Mary of her sins, Luke 7:47 and Zacchaeus, Luke 19, as well as the woman caught in adultery, John 8:11 and no doubt countless others not even recorded. Yes, He forgave all of these individuals before one drop of His blood was shed on Calvary. And then to top it all off He did everything He could to talk them out of killing Him. Does that make a bit of sense, if in fact, the shedding of His blood was necessary to pay for our sins? Of course not.

Friend of mine, isn’t it time for us to start understanding the simple truth about Jesus and His blood and how our sins are forgiven? Yes, it is. In I John 5:8-10 we are told that the “spirit, and the water; and the blood,” “bear witness.” Beloved, Jesus did not come to pay a debt…He came as a testimony or witness of the love of God…to demonstrate this love…even to the extent of allowing us to nail Him to a cross. This is what we made Him do to prove that He loves us. This is how great a price we made Him pay. This is what it took to break our hard hearts and open our blinds eyes to the enormity of our rebellion and sin. And this explains why Paul said, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” Heb. 9:22. And he is absolutely right. Unless Jesus had been willing to let Himself be crucified on the cross we would never have known the real truth about Him…that no matter how much you hurt and torture Him He would never retaliate…never strike back or hurt you in any way…but only say, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” This is the real message of the cross. This is the true story of our blood redemption. The blood of Jesus is not a magical formula but a living truth and reality of the character of God…that God is totally “harmless” Heb. 9:27… and total, pure love. Jesus had to show us that the law could never forgive the sinner…the law in stone could only condemn. Jesus showed this by his life and death the real truth about the law…in Himself…that the ten commandment law lived out in a life of obedience to God gives life and never takes it…protects us from harm and danger.

Jesus revealed this to us through Peter’s impulsive act of swinging the sword in the Garden of Gethsemane. He cut off the high priest servant’s ear. Peter could have been brought up on at least five charges. 1. Assault with a deadly weapon. 2. Attempted murder. 3. Resisting arrest. 4. Obstruction of justice. 5. Protecting a man about to be arrested. But Jesus supernaturally released his tightly bound hands and healed Malchus’ ear. This immediately erased the evidence of Peter’s crime. No victim, no crime. Jesus then told them to let all the disciples go for He was the only one they really wanted. When the disciples heard this they could see that Jesus was not going to use His power to hurt and destroy the soldiers so they fled for their lives. But in this one selfless act we see how the law in the flesh works. There is both rebuke and forgiveness. In this case Peter suffered no punishment except the self-condemnation he felt toward himself for this rash act and also for later denying His Lord three times. Peter really had a lot to learn. But don’t we all! All the way through Jesus’ trial and crucifixion we can see the perfection of the law in Jesus’ heart being revealed. This is the true law of God that is a transcript of His very character. This is the law that is eternal. This was also the secret of Jesus’ power to raise Himself from the grave.

By contrast the letter of the law, the law in stone, which God allowed the angels to give on Mt. Sinai was only an administration of justice with no relief or mercy except through the animal sacrifice system. The Creator permitted this to come into being in order to prepare the way for the Messiah, the true promised seed of the woman, Gen. 3:15. Acts 7:30 tells us that “There appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.” Now, just as on other occasions when God manifested Himself to Abraham, for example and now to Moses, the fallen angel Lucifer was allowed to be there and also speak to them, claiming to be the true God. And He did it with God’s permission. I don’t have time now to go through all of the dialogue the Lord had with Moses on the Mt. Sinai. But just let me say this. Whenever Moses protested, resisted and/or showed doubt Satan was allowed to speak in God’s name. But Satan is always controlled and limited. Let us look at the life of the greedy, false prophet, Balaam as an example of how God works through His enemies. “And the angel of the Lord said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shall speak.” Num. 22:35. Now, let’s go back to Exodus 4 with Moses on the Mountain.

Which Lord is giving him the miraculous signs and wonders to perform before the skeptical, hard hearted, unbelieving elders of Israel? Jesus did not encourage this sort of thing in the NT. “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” John 4:48. When the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, He said: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.” Matt. 12:39. So, which God on Mt. Sinai was allowed to give Moses the sign of the serpent crawling on the ground. That should be easy if you know that the serpent on the ground represents Satan but the serpent up on the pole symbolizes God’s power to heal. Jesus Himself compared His healing power on the cross to the serpent on the pole in Moses day. John 3:14; Num. 21. Gal. 3:19 further confirms Stephen’s testimony that there was an angel involved in the giving of the law on Sinai. “You who received the law as ordained by angels.” Acts 7:53. Paul also speaks of the work of angels in connection with the giving of the law in stone which was abolished or faded away in the glorious light of the gospel. In Heb. 2:1-18 Paul contrasts the two administrations of law for the purpose of showing how much greater and more glorious the administration of Christ is than the one given at Mt. Sinai “spoken through angels.” Heb. 2:2. His argument is that if the first law or covenant “spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord.” (Jesus, the Creator in person, no less). V. 3. In order for us to try and understand how and why God involved the angels in the giving of the law at Sinai we need to compare the way Jesus dialogued with Satan before the heavenly council regarding the tests and trials of the Patriarch Job. First of all, we know that Satan is an “accuser of the brethren.” Rev. 12:10. He had no doubt brought evil reports about the inhabitants of planet earth to the council before to strengthen his proposal that planet earth be destroyed again, as it had been at the time of the flood. Jesus met his arguments with the obedient life of Job. Satan obviously had accused Job of receiving special favors and privileges for his perfect obedience. So, Jesus posed a question to Satan before the entire universal council of the sons of God…all the representatives of the unfallen worlds. No doubt the good angels were represented there as well. The point is that Jesus was very public with his praise of Job. It is obviously a challenge for Satan to prove Jesus wrong about His servant Job. Satan immediately takes up the challenge and is given permission to destroy all of Job’s property, flocks and children. Satan destroyed them all, yet Job did not complain or blamet. He only praised the Lord. Satan was defeated. This must have been hard on his pride. Yet, he agrees to the very next challenge in which Jesus allows Satan to touch his body in any way he chose. Satan chose boils and covered him from head to toe. It must have been the most excruciating pain one could imagine. But the humiliation of losing everything was even greater. In spite of this Job never blamed God and Satan lost face again before the heavenly council. Although one might think Job is an isolated incident I rather believe that this kind of dialogue and interaction over each human being in the human race takes place every single day. If this is so, and I have no reason to doubt that it is true, then the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and the giving of the law at Sinai would afford even greater possibilities for the play and counter play of Christ and Satan over Moses and the nation of Israel. What could have been a greater stroke of Jesus than to allow Satan and his angels to not only witness the giving of the law but to host the event and take part in it. And this is exactly what I think happened. Satan was allowed to bring all of the fireworks and was allowed to participate in the announcing and writing of this law in stone.

Now, why would I think that? Because the same thing happened at the end of Job’s test. In the last chapters of the book of Job, 38 to 42 we see another example of God using Satan as His voice. We know this is Satan speaking but the script has obviously been very carefully edited by the Creator. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind.” But the real proof is that the very wording of some of the commandments are not in keeping with God’s perfect character of love. The wording is very negative not positive like the sermon on the mount. It is cold and unloving in keeping with the cold stone it was engraved upon. The very fact that it was “abolished” as Paul said or “faded away” in the glorious light of Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5 is strong evidence that although the Creator allowed it to be given, it was not an expression of His perfect will. This didn’t happen until Jesus came. But it was the best revelation of Himself that could be given at the time so He agreed with it and let it be announced very loud and clear like claps of thunder. Let’s take the 2nd commandment for example. In verse 5 of Exodus 20 God is assigned the trait of Jealousy which is synonymous with envy, a trait that is not in Jesus’ beautiful character. Notice also that God is accused of getting even with his enemies by visiting them with punishments for four generations. This is not according to His true character or an expression of who He really or what He is really like. The third commandment says that God will not hold the person guiltless who takes His Name in vain. The original Hebrew word means God will not “acquit” or “clear” the person who takes His Name in vain. Friend of mine, this is not how the true God talks or operates. But this was the way they thought He operated. This is the kind of God they thought He was and all the angels and Lucifer thought He was as well, so He ordains this law from Sinai and takes full responsibility for it. The rest of the commandments, although they also carry a lot of negativity with all of the “thou shalt nots,” do not cast a shadow on the Creator’s character. I personally believe that Jesus explained to Lucifer (Satan) that this law would give Satan legal grounds to test and try God’s people to break these laws. Once they broke the laws they would then have to go make a sacrifice. And guess whose original idea it was to sacrifice or kill innocent animals to get their sins together? Satan. Right. Leviticus 1:2, 3 clearly state that when any man brought “an offering unto the Lord (Satan)…he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord (Satan).” How much more involved could Satan have been in the day by day workings and rituals of Israel? It was truly an educational experience and a stroke of genius on God’s part. It was all part of His overall master plan.

Right from the beginning Satan studied the deeper meanings of the animal sacrifice system and figured out that one day the Creator Himself would have to come to fulfill all of these types as well as the prophecy of Gen. 3:15. I do not believe Jesus tried to hide anything from Satan or the universe. Everything was out in the open. How could it be secret when Jesus was inspiring the prophets to announce His coming. Isa. 53 is but one example. Every human being who had ever lived had come under the curse of death except for Enoch and Elijah. Satan felt sure that he could overcome the Creator if He actually came in a body of flesh the same as he was sure that he could cause Job to curse God. But he didn’t learn his lesson. Pride blinded him.

EGW even told us that in the last days we would preach the Sabbath truth more fully. Obviously, this has not happened yet. It probably will not happen until the Sunday law begins to get some attention and make some headway. The problem is that the people who are asleep now will not be able to detect the deceiver in his disguise and will be taken in by his logical arguments about the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, that it should be observed indeed, for it would be good for the “health and welfare of society” to have such a law. The prophecy is that Satan Himself will eventually appear (GC 624) claiming to be Jesus, and place his blessing on this law. This probably will not happen until a lot of debate and discussion has taken place. But look at how the pendulum is swinging back toward “family values” in this country. This is clearly seen in the anti-abortion movement and the women’s rights movement. Domestic violence is escalating along with all types of crimes. They cannot build new prisons fast enough to house all of the offenders brought into the courts today on every charge conceivable from spanking a child, unwanted touching, various types of harassment and/or menacing up to the more serious crimes of rape, attempted rape, robbery, attempted robbery, murder, attempted murder, etc. The list is endless. The courts are jammed and the cost of the fines and bails are escalating at an incredible rate. In 1990 the bail on a simple assault 4 charge was $650.00. It only cost $65.00 for a wife to bail her husband out. In 1997 the bail on that same charge is $1,000.00, 10% of $10,000.00. And if he/she misses his court date, for whatever reason, they swear out a bench warrant that carries a bail of $20,000.00. So, crime has become a very big money making business for the state. All the while the TV and film industries continue to grind out violent movies which are the main causative factor of robberies, car thefts, murders, rapes and domestic violence.

Throw into this mix all of the false charges of rape, attempted rape, child abuse and molestation against family members ranging from fathers, brothers, cousins and in-laws and you have a time of trouble that has already begun in this nation. In fact, the USA has more people in prison, on a per capita basis, than any country in the world. And the end is no where in sight. Beloved, the stage is all set for a “Get Back To God Movement…” a revival the likes of which you have never heard or seen. We are right on the edge of it today. Remember that the false always precedes the true. So, you will see the false revival first before the true comes on the scene. And it will definitely involve the fourth commandment. Obviously, the fourth commandment has never been preached in the true spirit of the law in the fleshly tables of the heart. Why? Because it is impossible without a correct understanding of the character of God…that He does not destroy.

Now, there is another point that I need to make regarding the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai which will be difficult for many to understand unless they have thoroughly studied and understood the third level of the character message. Once again this level deals with the angels involvement in the giving of the law. Before we go back to Sinai let us first notice how Jesus has permitted Satan to speak in His name in times past. I have already tried to prepare you for this understanding but more preparation is needed or we will not understand. I include myself for I am learning as I type each sentence. The sword of truth cuts both ways. The teacher always learns more than the student because he is right on the cutting edge. It is indeed an exciting experience. Ok. My first point here is that when Satan comes as Christ in this last hour of this present age we are in, He will be able to almost deceive the very elect. The only reason He fails in this attempt is because they have fully entered into the Father’s heart and truly know who the real Jesus is. Because of that they will be able to detect the deceiver in His disguise.

Now, what above all else would deceive most of God’s commandment keeping people? It would be that Satan would come not only as a reformer but as the original lawgiver…not only as Moses, which would deceive the Jews for sure, but also as God Himself who appeared as the true Jehovah on Mt. Sinai. And what if he presented the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 as the ultimate standard of conduct everyone should be living by? Would not everyone buy it? Well, we have already seen a judge in the south exalting the decalogue by putting it right up on the wall of his court room. Of course, a change in the numbering of the days of the weekly cycle would need some revamping…like making Monday the first day so Sunday would appear as the 7th day. Could that be arranged? Well, it already has been done. Throughout Europe such a calendar already exists and I have seen them here in the USA although it is not widely used or known. It is called the “business calendar.”

In one of my past issues of GLC Newspaper I wrote a front page article entitled, “Detecting the Deceiver In His Disguise.” We know that Satan is a mighty angel of light. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Cor. 11:14. The other day I saw an ABC special on TV on the subject of “Street Magic.” This young man was doing card tricks most people have not only never seen but never even heard of. He would have people pick a card out of the deck or sometimes just think about it. Then he would somehow make it appear on the top of the deck. I can’t remember all of his tricks but one that was a real mind blower was when he made the card appear in the inside of the window of the restaurant they were standing outside of. Up to this point they were oooohing and aaaahing over his magic but this just nonplused everyone into silence and awe. I mean how could he make the card go on the other side of the window? I don’t know. It truly was magical and mysterious and possibly of the occult and witchcraft. I am not expert enough to make a judgment about his magical powers. Houdini was also able to fool the public but logical explanations have been given for his tricks, as far as I know. But when he levitated off of the sidewalk, right on camera I was convinced this guy truly could almost deceive anyone, even the elect. My point is that if a human being has that much power to trick people how much more deceptive will Satan be when he comes as Jesus? The Bible tells us how great his magic will be. “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” Rev. 13:13. Has this ever happened before? Yes, it has. It happened in Elijah’s day three times. The first time is recorded in I Kings 18:38. Elijah prayed, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” That was truly an all consuming fire. But was it from the true God. No, it wasn’t. How do I know? Because God never uses or involves Himself with literal fire. God’s fire or the Fire of God is His very own presence as in the Tongues of Fire on the Day of Pentecost. This was the true “Fire of God.” Another occasion was when Cleopas and his friend were walking to Emmaus and Jesus appeared to them. He walked with them and opened up their minds regarding the truth about Messiah. Luke 24:13-32. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Later when He broke bread with them in His familiar way, they recognized Him and He immediately vanished out of their sight. Notice their response. “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

This my friend was the true “Fire of God,” that burned within them as Jesus expounded the truth to them about Himself. God’s fire is not literal. He has nothing to do with literal fire for it is all outward show which leads to pride. Now we will go to the other two times literal fire was manifested in the days of Elijah. Satan is the king of pride who does this, like the fire he brought in the mountain to frighten Elijah. “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” I Kings 19:13. The margin says, “That is, a delicate whispering, as of the breeze among the leaves.” Then in 2 Kings 1:9-15 we read about how Elijah called down fire on two captains and their company of 50 soldiers because they had no respect for Elijah. The question comes, Why would Satan want to kill his own soldiers to save Elijah and make Elijah look like a man of God? The answer is simple. Satan will destroy anyone God allows him to destroy for Satan is a killer and destroyer. None of those soldiers belonged to Satan. He did not create them. Jesus created them but allowed them to die for reasons we cannot fully comprehend. Their time was finished. God will explain it to them in the future judgment in the ages to come. The most conclusive proof that this fire was not from Jesus was the fact that when James and John asked Jesus to do the same thing Christ refused to do it. “But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:54-56. So, obviously, Elijah had the wrong spirit. But Elijah lived in a different age…a different time zone in which this was permitted.

Literal fire also fell in the days of Job. “While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” Job 1:16. We all know this was Satan because of the agreement that was made in the previous verses, 9-22.

Now, we are ready to go back to Mt. Sinai to learn more about the Ten Commandment law that was given by the hands of angels. The first time God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Ex. 3:2, the Bible says that the bush was not consumed by this fire. When Jesus appeared among men the only kind of fire he taught and spoke about was the fire of His love and truth that burned in the hearts of men. But when the law was given Deut. 5 tells us that “the mountain did burn with fire,” which seems to indicate a literal fire because the elders spoke to Moses about it they were so afraid. “We have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die.” Deut. 5:23-25. So, it would seem that both kinds of fire were in the mountain…the literal kind from Satan and the non-literal kind from Jesus. Certainly the voice that spoke and the smoke and the lightnings and shaking of the mountain was not from Jesus because Isa. 14:16, 17 identify Satan as the one “that made the tremble, that did shake kingdoms?” Paul even confirms this in Hebrews 12:18-24 where he contrasts the law given at Sinai with the peaceful kingdom of Mt. Sion. “For you are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest…so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But you are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,…And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” When God speaks it is with a still small voice, very quiet and humble. The voice that thundered out the Ten Commandments was not a still small voice. It was very frightening. All of Israel were totally terrified. No wonder the Jews in Christ’s day did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. How could this man be the God of Israel? He is too quiet and humble. We want the thunderous God of Sinai with all of its power, glory, fear and bluster and with all of its signs and wonders. But Jesus was there in the mountain with Moses and Satan the same as He was with Elijah later on. In Exodus 24 we gain some more insights about this same mountain top experience. Notice in vs. 1 that the true Lord tells Moses to come up “unto the Lord,” but to “worship ye afar off.” Jesus did not want them to get too close to this Lord because this God is a killer. John 8:44.

This was the same warning Jesus had given Moses in Ex. 19:21. “And the Lord (Jesus) came down upon Sinai, on the top of the mount:…And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge (contest or argue with) the people, lest they break through unto the Lord (Satan) to gaze, and many of them perish, And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.” Moses argues with Jesus on this point so Jesus again tells Moses: “let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord (Satan) lest he (Satan) break forth upon them.” Ex. 19:24. Then in Ex. 23:20, 21 Moses is warned again about this Angel that was to “keep thee in the way…Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my Name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak;” v. 22. Ok, here we have the key point in all of this explanation about the law given at Sinai. Even though the voice that was bellowing out these Ten Laws was not the actual voice of Jesus Christ, as we know Him in Matt. 5, speaking in a very kind and loving tone of voice (remember God never changes, Mal. 3:6) God intended for the children of Israel to understand that this was His voice and His law that He was ordaining. Now there is another key word. Everything that God “ordains” is said to be from Him. We are told that “God ordained the thorn and the thistle.” “Steps to Christ,” page 1. He also “ordained” the animal sacrifice system which was not His perfect will which He did not speak at all. But He allowed it and permitted it and claimed that it was His law for whatever He allows He claims to be doing. “Obey his voice, and do all that I speak.” Ex. 23:22. This is obviously why Jesus had to come in a body of flesh so that all of mankind, the angels, fallen and unfallen, as well as all the inhabited universe could see and hear the unvarnished, total, perfect will of God the Creator so no created being could ever have any doubts about His true character. And it was all planned out ahead of time down to the smallest detail.

In Exodus 24:1-18 we have another example of the two laws. From vs. 1-11 you have the animal sacrifice system…the ceremonial law. In vs. 9-11 you have a being appearing to them claiming to be God. Of course, Moses and everyone obviously thought this was the true God. But because the true God was invisible at this time the being that appeared to them was the pretender God…the imposter God. But He was allowed to do it for that was the true God’s will for Israel at that stage. He was also involving Lucifer (Satan) in the symbols pointing to the coming of the Redeemer. Because the Bible tells us that Jesus never gives up hope… “Beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things and hopeth all things,” Jesus was obviously hoping that Lucifer would have a change of heart somewhere along the way. Of course, we know He didn’t. Neither did Israel. In fact, their hearts only became harder with every animal they slaughtered. This is a most fascinating aspect of God’s character. That He is always hoping against hope that people will do the right thing. This is brought out in Isa. 63. Read the whole chapter. “For He said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit: therefore He was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them.” Isa. 63:9, 10. Notice that Jesus claims to be their enemy even though it was Satan who was their enemy…He is always a friend to sinners. And it says that He fought against them. Again He takes the blame for Satan fighting them but you could also say that He was resisting them, as He resisted Balaam on his donkey.

In Ezek. 20:24, 25 we find God saying that because they did not execute His judgments and despised His statutes, and had polluted His Sabbaths, and went after idols He allowed them to receive bad laws. But notice how He says that He gave it to them Himself. “Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live; And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord.” “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee:” Jer. 2:19.

We are now ready to go to the Mount of Olives with Jesus as He announces the laws of His kingdom or government. Matt. 5 records not only the Beatitudes but the ushering in of God’s perfect law in the flesh through the first perfect medium, Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise of Jer. 31 that God would write His perfect and ultimate covenant in our hearts. The concepts Jesus spoke revealed for the first time in the history of the world the great depth and breadth of the love of God. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Matt. 5:7. “Blessed are the pure in heart…blessed are they which are persecuted…” Such an idea had never been expressed before. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” vs. 7-12. Never a man spake as this man spake.

Now let’s notice v. 17. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” There are basically two schools of thought on this verse. The first simply explains that Jesus did indeed fulfill the law of Moses, which included the Ten Commandments, by nailing them to the cross. But when He rose from the grave on the first day of the week, He reinstated nine of the commandments, except the fourth one (Sabbath), which He replaced with Sunday. Of course, I do not believe this theory.

The second theory is that Jesus abolished all of the law of Moses except for the Ten Commandments, which was never part of the ceremonial law in the first place. Therefore, He did not abolish or do away with the Sabbath, which is a memorial of Creation. I have always basically agreed with this second theory even though I have never felt it totally answered the objections of the critics. But up to now it has been adequate, mainly because the Ten Commandment law was placed inside of the ark, representing the mind/conscience. But now with a greater understanding of the four levels of the character of God we can give a much better answer without sacrificing any of our beliefs. We are simply expanding on it which is what present truth does…it is a dynamic that never stops progressing.

Let me use another illustration. The old model T Ford was glorious in its time. But the day came when the model A came out and later on even newer models each a little better than the one before. And each new model had a glory of its own but the newer ones were somehow always more glorious causing the former models to “fade away.”

And that is how Paul explains the “glory” of the law of Moses which he calls the “ministration of condemnation or death.” vs. 7, 9. He is clearly talking about the Ten Commandments because it was the only one written in two tablets of stone. In our eagerness to defend the Sabbath commandment we have fallen into a serious error of trapping ourselves into the same legalistic administration the Jews of Christ’s day trapped themselves into by refusing to move into the heart of Jesus where the original “law of God” resides in all of its blazing glory. “For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it.” 2 Cor. 3:9, 10. People today are no longer driving model T Fords. Why? Because they have something much more “glorious.”

Now, let’s go to 2 Cor. 3, where Paul clearly teaches that the Ten Commandments was the “ministration of death, written and engraved in stones,” simply because the law can never save us. Furthermore, he tells us that this “ministration of condemnation” v. 9 (although glorious in its day) has been “abolished.” This is the KJV and I believe the word “abolished” does not give the correct rendering of Paul’s meaning. I like the NAS better which uses the phrase “fading away.” This correlates with what Jesus said in Matt. 5:17. “I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” The KJV uses the word “destroy” instead of “abolish.” What did Jesus mean when He said that He did not come to “destroy” the law? This is where an understanding of the original Greek words is so important. “Kataluo” is the Greek word Jesus used in Matt. 5:17. It means to literally destroy or dissolve or overthrow. Jesus said that was not what he had come to do. Instead he said that He had come to “fulfill” (Greek is Pleroo) meaning to “level up, finish, complete, fully preach, perfect.” Of course, this is just what Jesus did. How appropriate and fitting that He was a carpenter who knew how to level, plumb and square which was just what He did with the law in stone. This brings to my mind a prophecy of Isaiah in which all wrongs would be made right and all problems would be solved… everything would be made perfect, before and during the coming of the Messiah. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isa. 40:3-5. This was also a prophecy of the work of John the Baptist as a forerunner of the Messiah. Yet, even John the Baptist did not understand the nature and character of the Messiah…His real mission and work. John tried to bring a revival of true godliness to Israel, to prepare their hearts to receive the message and work of the Messiah. And that is our work today as well. What a difficult and almost thankless task it seems to be at times. Yet, how exciting it is to see the character message developing year by year and the power it has to change lives in those few who do accept it.

Another illustration the Lord brought to my mind today to help me understand how He has been perfecting His true law of love in our hearts from the very beginning is that of a picture puzzle. We all have put a puzzle together at some time or other in our lives. I remember the ones I used to help my grandpa put together back in Indiana when I was about nine or ten years old. How exciting it was to see the picture developing little by little. It usually took us several days to put one together so we had time to guess and wonder what it was because some of them didn’t have the picture on the top of the box or the box had been lost. But that is a good illustration of how the story of the Great Controversy is slowly being understood as one generation after another keeps putting more and more of the pieces of the puzzle together. And here we are now, the last generation putting the final pieces of the puzzle together…seeing the complete character of God in the face of Jesus Christ. What an honor and privilege we have of working together on this project. Thank you, my friend for your prayers and donations of love to help me keep on keeping on.

Each month and year we are getting a much clearer picture of what actually took place in the past and is even now taking place at each level or stage of the ongoing development of truth. It is like a ladder to heaven. Each rung is important but as you ascend the ladder or go up the steps you get closer to the top. Each step or “experience,” if you please, is indeed a “stepping stone” closer to heaven. And each time you take another step you leave the last step or experience behind or in the past. As you continue to ascend that last step you just took, that rung on the ladder, is no longer necessary but it was an important part of the process. And you may even need to recall it, for purposes of comparison, to realize how God was with you through that step or experience, but you do not need to go back down the ladder, although you probably could and some people do, just like you might go back to the old Model T, but look what you lose. Would you want to have to drive that old Model T to work, to the store and on trips? Would you be happy to go back to the “good old days?” I don’t think so when you consider the loss in time, gas mileage, speed, space, comfort and safety conditions in weather to mention only a few.

We could use the same illustration with our houses, clothes and other modern conveniences. And what about the computer? I remember so well the old typewriters I had to use back in the 60’s and 70’s for correspondence, newsletters, etc. How happy I was when I got my first IBM Correcting selectric. I just couldn’t imagine anything better. Then newer models began coming out and finally the computer began replacing even the best electric typewriters. But I was afraid to try a computer. Besides I didn’t have the money and it was just too complicated. A friend of mine predicted, Mike, once you start typing your articles on a computer you will never go back to any typewriter. Well, after much prayer for the needed funds the Lord helped me buy a 286 IBM Compatible which we began using for our database. But I continued with my Royal that I had been using for about three years. I really wasn’t ready to start typing my articles on this computer. Finally, the day came when my typewriter went in the shop and I was forced to learn how to use the computer. Day by day I learned more and more until I began doing about half of my articles on the computer and half on the Royal. Then we upgraded to a 386 which was stolen. Although we got it back it was damaged but good enough for a friend’s daughter to use for college. She was so happy and felt it was a gift from the Lord. So, then I upgraded to a 486 through a gift from a friend.

Today, I cannot imagine going back to the old IBM Selectric even though it was truly “glorious” in its time. But now that glory has faded away into the sunset just like the Model T. And so it is in our spiritual life…our theology, if you please. When Jones and Waggoner preached the 1888 message EGW said it was a glorious new message that made all of the old “glorious” sermons of the past seem as “dry as the hills of Gilboa.”

Beloved, that is exactly how I feel about my relationship with Jesus in regard to the character of God message. The past has been glorious. Each of the four levels of God’s true character have been glorious but they become even more glorious as the splendor of Christ’s eternal character continues to unfold. Paul tells us that the ministration of death was so glorious Moses had to put a veil on his face. “Yet that old system of law that led to death began with such glory that people could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For as he gave them God’s law to obey, his face shone out with the very glory of God—though the brightness was already fading away. Shall we not expect far greater glory in these days when the Holy Spirit is giving life?” 2 Cor. 3:7, 8. “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Prov. 4:18. “But the good man walks along in the ever-brightening light of God’s favor; the dawn gives way to morning splendor, while the evil man gropes and stumbles in the dark.” LB Prov. 4:18, 19.

From the very beginning Jesus has, so to speak, masterminded the whole Great Controversy, knowing in the final analysis that it would all come out right in the end. At each step of the way He is in the process of teaching, disciplining and restoring His very own image in each of His creatures. But, But Mike, I can here someone asking, what about the evil angels and Satan Himself? Is God in the process of reconciling even them? I feel this is a fair question because it is the very one I myself asked back in 1987 when I first received Charles H. Pridgeon’s book, “IS HELL ETERNAL OR WILL GOD’S PLAN FAIL?” I had not asked for the book to be sent to me, but the Lord obviously wanted me to read it even though I had made it clear that I was not interested in re-printing the book, let alone reading it after I looked through it briefly. But in the intervening months the Lord had begun to touch my heart in a deeper way about the lost and dying…even the evil angels. I could not understand why, but from time to time I would sometimes cry when I thought of the pain Jesus would feel at the end of the 1,000 years when He said goodbye for the last time, not only to all the wicked, but all of His lost angels as well. We need to ask ourselves a question. Why would Jesus keep them alive for 6,000 years if they are all going to die anyway? Is He just using them to prove that He is right? Obey my rules or suffer the consequences! Why would He bring back all of the wicked dead for the final judgment knowing full well ahead of time that not even one of them would respond to His final appeal? What could His motive possibly be? Was it just to prove to the righteousness that His way is superior? To give them the satisfaction and reward of seeing all of their enemies burn and squirm in the lake of fire? The more I thought about it the more it bothered me. This could not be the way a God of love would operate?

So, now I had this book in my hands. Once again I began leafing through its contents but this time looking at the chapter titles more closely. My eyes fell on Chapter XXVI. “Concerning the Salvation of Angels and Demons.” “Ok, God,” I said. “I am going to give this book one shot. I will read this chapter and if I am convinced that you can save even Satan, I will read the rest of the book.” Quickly I turned to page 259 and began to read. The author went into the creation of the angels quoting from Isa. 14 and Ezek. 28 explaining how one third fell. Then I read these words. “Satan and his coadjutors (followers) are the great(est) sinners in the universe. They were sons of God, now they are prodigal sons. God does not hate any of His creatures, even when they sin; He hates the sin but not the sinner. His heart still yearns over them. The flight of time does not change God’s love, Death and Hell do not alter His affection. The hosts of fallen angels are fallen sons of God.”

Never in my life had I read such words. The very idea stunned me. I stopped in my reading and looked up, pausing to take a breath because it seemed that time was standing still for me and I was not breathing. God does not hate Satan. He is a fallen son that His heart yearns over just like in the parable of the prodigal son. Incredible. I had so much hatred in my heart for Satan because of all of the suffering he had caused through the centuries and for torturing and killing people, especially Jesus on the cross. Then I read on page 261 that there is no text in Scripture that tells us to hate Satan, nor any of God’s creatures, no matter how fallen they are. Nor should we bring any kind of railing accusation against him. Jude 9. But each time the Lord led me to a higher level of comprehension of His character there had been a tremendous struggle…a resistance. But each time He had helped me to win the struggle and find greater joy and peace in His eternal power to save the lost and dying to the uttermost.

Pridgeon next referred to Acts 19:14-16. This is the story of how an evil spirit attacked the seven sons of a man named Sceva, who was chief of the priests. The leader of the evil spirits said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” Then the evil spirits were allowed to attack them, tearing their clothes off, leaving them naked and wounded. His point was that the evil spirits on this occasion and at various other times (Matt. 8:31; Luke 10:17) acknowledged the authority of our Lord and His servants. This is truly amazing. Just think if missionaries were in a savage country and heard about a man who kept insisting upon the authority of Christ and His Name being used by those alone who had the right to use it, they who witnessed it would say that there was something in that savage upon which God could work. He then gives the illustration of a “nidus.” “God always limits sin in the creature, so that there is a NIDUS or ground left for Him to work upon, and whatsoever He cannot overrule for good, He restrains.” p. 263. A nidus is a “place where spores or seeds are developed.”

The next point Pridgeon makes is that the death of Christ was great enough to encompass even the evil angels. “Everything on earth, and also in heaven has been reconciled by His death on the cross.” “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Col. 1:19, 20. Also in Col. 2:10 we read that Jesus is the Head of all principalities and power. John 1:1-3 and Heb. 1 clearly teach that Jesus is the Creator of all things which would, of course, include all of the angels, fallen and unfallen. Col. 1:16. Pridgeon makes a powerfully logical point on this text when he argues: Col. 1:19 tells us that all fullness dwells in Him. We know that besides all the fullness of God, all creation was in Him, so that when He died all creation died in Him as a seed, and when He arose all creation rose in Him. In reference to His resurrection and glorification He is called the first-born of all creation (Col. 1:15), and as a result of His death and resurrection, the whole creation is to be made anew: even those who never fell will receive a higher glory, and all those who fell, being in the seed, will be in the resultant harvest. Then shall be fulfilled that word, Phil. 2:10, 11: ‘In the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Page 265. On the next page he refers to I Pet. 1:10-12 which tells us: “Which things the angels desire to look into.” We usually interpret this text as referring to the holy angels. But there is no such narrow distinction. Why shouldn’t the evil angels also be looking, watching and trying to figure out what God is trying to do for them and with His people regarding how to help save them? Of course, we do not know if any of them believe that Jesus’ death was for them too. From what the Bible tells us they have consistently rejected Jesus’ efforts to save them, so there is no reason for us to believe that they are looking into the plan of salvation for the purpose of finding out how to be saved, per se. But, I think they are curious and whatever information they receive now into their minds will bring forth a harvest later on in that great day of judgment in the ages to come which Jude 6 refers to:

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved (preserved/protected) in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” So, there is coming a day when the minds of the evil angels will be opened by the light of God’s eternal love. We know this is true of most of mankind in general, who also have rejected God’s salvation.

Although the death of Jesus was foreordained by God Himself, in that He knew ahead of time what Satan would do, it was actually Satan who planned and executed the death of Christ. It was meant for evil but overruled by God for good. However, Satan and his evil angels were ignorant, to a large degree, regarding the enormity of their sin as well as the blessed outcome by Jesus’ power to resurrect Himself and use His own death and resurrection as a mighty symbol of salvation through all succeeding generations. In his book, “People of the Lie,” Dr. Scott Peck points out that in his encounters with evil spirits he discovered that these entities have no comprehension of love, compassion or mercy. After I read that it occurred to me that God, in His infinite wisdom and planning, knew in advance what it would take to bring all of His creation to a knowledge of Himself and the grand purpose for which He had created all things. Paul makes an astounding statement about these evil spirits regarding their ignorance of God’s love, wisdom, grace and power. “We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 2 Cor. 2:8. Again Pridgeon comments: There was evidently much ignorance on the part of evil men and the evil angels. In the typical teaching of the old dispensations, it is sins of ignorance that are provided for in their sacrifices (Lev. 4:1; Num. 15:28). How much more in the anti-type, the precious blood of Christ, is there provision for all sins of ignorance! This is not implying that there is not full punishment for sin; but it is establishing the principle that men and angels were in large part ignorant in their great sin of crucifying Christ, and, therefore, because of their ignorance, there is provision for them in the death of Christ. Our Lord had this in mind, for He saw all who were instigating and executing His crucifixion, He called it the ‘hour of darkness,’ that is, Satan’s hour; but looking at all of them, men and evil angels, He prayed, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ Luke 23:34. That prayer of our Lord has been in part and will be fully answered; for every prayer of His is in accord with God’s will, and no prayer of His will ever go unanswered. Well, you can see how powerfully persuasive these arguments are. But He just continues on and on piling one proof on top of another until there is no way to refute it. It is not only in keeping with the love of God and the sweet, forgiving spirit of Christ, but it’s all so logical that no truly intellectually honest person would be able to reject the facts and logic of it all. At least that has been my experience as well as many others I have known when they began to study the issue.

In Heb. 2:14 we read that “through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Without realizing it Satan and evil men brought about their own overthrow. The Greek word “destroy” means to render “ineffective,” to “conquer.” God’s method of conquering is always to overcome evil with love, to destroy His enemies by making them His friends. Our Lord is not satisfied with simply punishing His enemies, He also disciplines them as a Father teaches his own son. God even goes so far as to convert them into His friends. 2 Kings 6:21-23. In I John 3:8 we read that Jesus was manifested so that He could “destroy the works of the devil.” This word for destroy means to loosen or unbind and to set at liberty. It also means to demolish, break, declare to be lawful and to admit to privileges. So, in destroying the works of the enemy, God will do all these things and more. He will loosen or “break” all the wicked from their sins in order that they may become His own again. This is what Psalm 2:9 predicts will happen. “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” When the Divine potter sees a flaw in a vessel He is making, he breaks it in order to mold it again…not to throw it away on the trash heap.

Furthermore, all of God’s judgments on ancient Israel were always to bring them back to Himself in humble repentance so that He could lift them up again. So all of God’s judgments on everyone, even the evil angels, are but part of the process of salvation for all of His creatures. When we look at the judgment through the eyes of our Blessed Redeemer we see an altogether different picture. For example, what would be Jesus’ attitude toward all of His creation on the great judgment day (day of decision) if in fact He had just finished asking His Father to forgive everyone for crucifying Him on the basis that they did not understand—were ignorant of the terrible sin they were committing? Well, we already have it on record what Jesus’ attitude was, for He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Because God lives in the “eternal now” the judgment (decision) Jesus declared on behalf of all the wicked at Calvary continues on to this day and on into the ages to come until the final judgment at which time all of the wicked will enter into this revelation that God has declared them to be innocent and forgiven them. The only thing left for them to do in this time of fiery judgment of the Lake of fire is to accept it by bowing and confessing (avowing or affirming) the Name of Jesus. Phil. 2 tells us that this is an event on God’s agenda which He will bring to pass at His own appointed time after He raises all of the wicked from their graves. A study on the word “Aion” (Age or Ages) would make this very clear. We also have videos and books which go into much more detail and give much greater explanations and better arguments than I am able to give in this one article.

In 2 Peter 2:4 the point is made that if God did not spare the (evil) angels that sinned from punishment, He certainly would not spare human beings who are on an even lower level or scale of creation. Pridgeon comments on this passage: The argument in this passage is, Can you expect Him to spare guilty men? The answer is emphatically, No. We will be justified in continuing the line of reasoning thus: –If God has prepared a way of salvation for His sons who as men are on a lower plane than angels, will He not prepare a way of salvation for His sons who are on a higher plan? As soon as we read the word ‘judgment’ in reference to angels we have hope for them, for the path of judgment is His path to convict them and to get them ready for His great salvation. Page 272. The judgment day of God has so often been portrayed as the day when God will get even by destroying all of His enemies. In reality the day of judgment is the day of salvation for it is the day when God will reveal to all of His creation the “Movie in the Sky,” or “Panoramic View” of the history of the great controversy. This will be the beginning of the lake of fire. Because the word “lake” means a body of water and water is a symbol of people (Rev. 17:15) we know the lake of fire represents people suffering in some kind of fire. When you study the meaning of God’s fire you begin to realize that this lake of fire is not a literal fire but a symbol of 1. The love of God as revealed to all of these people and 2. Their reaction to it and the suffering that comes as a natural consequence of their reaction.

As a result of this incredible revelation every knee will finally and eventually bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord and this confession will bring glory to God. Phil. 2:6-11. The Greek word “confess” should be translated “avow” or “affirm.” It is much stronger in the original. So, it is impossible that this bowing down and confessing at the great judgment day, after the 1,000 years, could be false. It will be a true confession. In addition to that the Bible clearly says: “And that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” I Cor. 12:3. So, it is absolutely impossible for this confession to be forced or faked. It has to be a genuine experience. Paul also refers to this same conversion event in Rom. 14:11. He is quoting from Isa. 45:23. Let us read it together, beginning with vs. 22. “Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other. I have sworn by myself and I will never go back on my word, for it is true—that every knee in all the world shall bow to me, and every tongue shall swear allegiance to my name.” Isa. 45:22, 23. LB. These are undeniable proofs that cannot be proven false or heretical. There is also the matter of the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. Most people would be surprised to find out that the word “brimstone” is the same word as “divine.” Furthermore, the verb derived from the same word means “to fumigate” or “to purify” or “to dedicated to a god.”

The bottom line here is that the Lake of Fire and brimstone is simply the Lake of Divine Purification. God’s fire is simply describing His very Presence which in essence is His love and glory which will fill the earth. The wicked will be faced with this. So, it is not a literal fire but a revelation of truth. Well, as you can imagine after I finished that one chapter I read some others and was convinced. I developed a little study of my own which I used to help people see this concept in a nutshell. First I begin with Eph. 1, using the phrase, “will of God.” Paul uses this phrase several times showing that whatever God wills and intends, He carries out to completion in His own time and way and nothing can stop His perfect will, intention and Divine purpose. Next I read 2 Peter 3:9 which tells us that the Lord “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Then I go to Phil. 2:6-11 which we have already covered showing that every knee will bow and every tongue confess and this encompasses the entire created realm in heaven above and earth beneath. Nothing is excluded. If they desire more information and/or proof I can add to these texts as needed.

Now, all of the above is level four. Briefly, I want to deal with level three which has to do with the topic of the two Lords. Throughout the great controversy Jesus has always allowed Satan to be very close to Him. So, wherever you find Jesus trying to help human beings Satan is there also trying to cause problems. Zech. 3:1 is just one example. “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist Him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”

In spite of what Satan does God teaches everyone lessons through all of the trials and afflictions of life. When we praise God for all things, I Thess. 5:18/Eph. 5:20, we are able to enter His great heart of love where we learn even more of His boundless love, mercy, grace and wisdom. This is probably the clearest and most vivid example of how the great controversy has been carried on from day one when Lucifer first rebelled. But there are other examples, each of which gives us more clues as to the ongoing relationship and battle that has raged on now for almost 6,000 years. When Jacob wrestled with the angel both Jesus and Satan were there. If you need more proof just read Patriarchs and Prophets. One of the most famous of all is the book of Job which details a tremendous court scene somewhere in the universe in which all of the sons of God came together and Satan came also. The first two chapters of this book is a dialogue between Jesus and Satan about Job…whether he was perfect or not. Jesus said that he was and Satan said he wasn’t. We could also refer to the resurrection scene of Moses when Jesus came to raise Moses from the grave. This brief encounter is recorded in Jude 9. “Michael (Christ), the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Patriarchs and Prophets would give you an in-depth analysis of this encounter.

Then when Jesus came in a body of flesh Satan was allowed to carry him to a high mountain as well as to the pinnacle of the temple for the last two of the three temptations. I often have wondered what Jesus said to Lucifer as they were flying through the air together. I have imagined Jesus was very kind to him and once again invited him to come back with him as He did in Ezek.28:12-15 and Matt. 16:23, when Jesus said, “Get thee behind me Satan.” Christ was actually giving Satan an invitation to return. Ok, the point I am trying to make is that all throughout the great controversy Jesus has always allowed Satan and his angels to be very close to Him. Actually, He is the One who chooses to be close to them, as Psalm 139:7, 8 tells us: “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? (This is a Hebrew parallelism in which the words Spirit and Presence are synonymous, i.e., meaning the same thing) If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” Remember, friend of mine. Jesus is the Creator. Lucifer is a created being. So, we see here in Psalm 139 (read the whole chapter) how intimately involved the Creator is with His creation. Lucifer is part of that creation, the first and highest of all of His angels. The Scriptures show a wonderful progression of understanding from generation to generation as the Great Controversy continues on. Now, in this age before the 1,000 years begin, we see a small portion of His creation coming to enough maturity to realize what has been going on now for these 6,000 years. They are called the “Wise.” Dan. 12. They lose all of their fear of Satan and death and grow up into the full stature of Christ in their character. These are known as the elect or the chosen or the 144,000, the bride of Christ.

In order for Lucifer (Satan) to be restored the Creator must permit Lucifer to be closely involved with the human race. You can see this all through the book of Genesis. God allows Satan to wreak havoc with the human race. But in the process the good and bad angels are all learning along with the human race and the whole universe. “Our little world is the lesson book of the universe.” DA 19. (first page of chapter one). “God With Us.” Almost everything that is written about the Great Controversy in the old testament tends to make a believer in God very angry at the devil. Every generation of God’s people believed that the way to gain the victory was to take a sword and go out and kill as many of the devil’s heathen as possible. With few exceptions, such as Joseph and Daniel, almost everyone believed in the carnal weapons of man. Even Elijah took the sword and killed 450 prophets of Baal. From about 400 BC until John the Baptist Israel had no prophetic voice. The problem was that even John the Baptist believed in the sword.

So, no one really understood the true character and mission of the Messiah and the incredible love He has in His heart for all of His creatures. The New Testament is a record of Jesus’ life and works and the writings of a few of His followers who give more information and interpret His life and enlarge and expand on His teachings. Now here we are almost 2,000 years later and modern Israel, as well as the religious world in general, are not in much better spiritual condition than they were when John the Baptist came on the scene. So, in a very short time God’s people are learning and growing up very rapidly.

At every stage the law has been given to God’s people, Lucifer has been involved. For example, when the first king was chosen, it was not God’s perfect will but He allowed it. Satan led the people to clamor for a king. God reluctantly accepted it then wrote laws to try and control the situation and save thus the people from the worst effects of their wrong choice. The same is true of divorce, flesh food and the use of the sword. The killing of innocent animals had begun outside the gates of Eden. It was God’s permissive will, not His perfect will. We already have touched upon circumcision and the idea of the imposter or pretender God. The Creator permitted that too, but only because it was part of “growing up” His first angel, Lucifer. When we come to Mt. Sinai we see in Exodus 19 the presence of another “god” whom the Creator tries to identify so Moses will watch out for or beware of Him. “Then the Lord said to him, Go, get down, and you shall come up, you and Aaron with you; but let not the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest He break forth against them.” Ex. 19:24. The key word is “break through,” or “break forth.” Satan is the Lord of “Breaking Forth,” which means to make a breach or destroy for he is the destroyer god. The translators of the Bible versions do not realize that this lord or god is really Satan so they translate Lord and God with capital L and capital G. Kenneth Taylor, the author of the Living Bible took this verse to its logical conclusion if you are going to believe in a killer God. Notice what he did. “Don’t let the priests and the people break across the boundaries to try to come up here, or I will destroy them.” Ex. 19:24.

He changed the third person relative pronoun “he” to the first person singular “I.” And not one person has ever made a comment about it, let alone protest. Why? Because the theological world agrees with him. Well, why not? The entire old testament agrees with him. Moses and Elijah and even John the Baptist agrees with him. Only Jesus disagrees. And the final elect will also disagree. Now, if the animal sacrifice system was not God’s perfect will (And He clearly says in Jer. 7:21, 22 that He did not give it)…but His permissive will, then the logical conclusion is that the true God did not speak the animal sacrifice law. However, He did permit Satan to speak it but only with His permission. In other words, everything that happens, good or bad, must first go through the throne room of the universe and have His signature and Divine stamp of approval on it before it can happen. Now, I am going to show you how this works.

Listen: “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.” Exodus 23:23. Sound confusing? Well, it does at first but after you study it a few times you will be able to see what Jesus is saying. The first angel is Satan and the second angel is Jesus. They both were in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night. Jesus was the light side of the cloud and Satan was the dark side of the cloud. Exodus 14:19, 20. I have written about this in both of my books and many articles. Now when you read Patriarchs and Prophets it will make sense who is flashing lightning down from the cloud and killing people. This happened when Israel broke the law…the law in stone with all of its abridgements and interpretations.

Nevertheless, it is still God’s law, His permissive law, but not His perfect law. Now, please watch this very carefully for if you do not understand this concept it will prevent you from understanding the difference between God’s perfect law in the flesh and heart of Jesus Christ and the law given in stone which was the Ten Commandments. There is a very important difference God’s people have never understood before. And we must understand this difference or we will accept the law in stone into our hearts instead of the New Covenant law Jesus came to give us. That is what makes professed christians “stony hearted” believers. Of course, every commandment is still in force. In fact, it is even stronger. For example Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill…But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Matt. 5:21, 22. In vs. 38 Jesus told them that if you look upon a woman with lust you have already committed adultery. This is the law in the heart. The difference is that it is now spiritual not just the letter of the law which kills. This kind of interpretation began in 1888 but was rejected.

Now, beloved, if you will please notice what is going on in our own nation right now, today, as you read this, then you should be able to see where we are headed with this law in stone. We already have one judge who has put up the Ten Commandments in his court room. What does this mean? Is he doing that because he believes in the true, 7th day Sabbath (Saturday) of the fourth commandment. No way Hosea. He will take that Sabbath commandment and read Sunday into it every time, just like the Sunday keepers have always done. And as I have shown with pictures in previous issues of this paper they already have a calendar in which Monday is the first day of the week and Sunday is the 7th day. So, can you see where we are headed with this Stony hearted, Ten Commandment law? It is time to wake up my friend and smell the brew that is being cooked up for God’s people. The final events are upon us. The deceptions are going to be so great that it will almost deceive the very elect. Matt. 24:24. We must dig deeper into the Word of God. We must pray more fervently and share more earnestly and frequently with those the Lord sends to us. May this Mighty, loving God of Israel continue to bless and keep you and yours as you do this is my sincere prayer for you, my beloved friend and reader. Your friend always in Jesus, Pastor Mike Clute.

PAUL CRIED OUT IN DESPAIR:

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God; (The law in our heart Jesus came to place in our mind/heart) but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life (law in the heart) in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak throught the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. Rom. 8:1-3.

UNDER THE LAW

UNDER THE LAW WITH IT’S TEN FOLD LASH, LEARNING ALAS HOW TRUE, THAT MORE I TRIED, THE SOONER I DIED WHILE THE LAW CRIED, YOU! YOU! YOU!

HOPELESSLY STILL DID THE BATTLE RAGE O WRETCHED MAN MY CRY. AND DELIVERANCE SOUGHT BY SOME PENANCE BOUGHT, WHILE MY SOUL CRIED, I! I! I!

THEN CAME A DAY WHEN MY STRUGGLES CEASED AND TREMBLING IN EVERY LIMB. AT THE FOOT OF A TREE WHERE ONE DIED FOR ME I SOBBED OUT

IM! HIM! HIM!

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