It's time, now, to stop a moment and get our bearings. We live in a world whose number one problem is threat of HUMAN EXTINCTION! A world gripped in the clutch of immorality, crime and violence. A world fraught with suffering, both physical and mental, a frustrated world staring at only hopelessness ahead! But WHY? Why are nations being overthrown at the rate of one a month? What has gone wrong with government, with religion, with higher education? — and WHY are more than half the world's people illiterate, poverty-stricken — many actually starving — living in filth and squalor? Yes, WHY? I mentioned earlier the confusion and inability to understand what one sees in a motion picture when he begins viewing at a point more than halfway through. If one's approach to understanding today's chaotic world starts from the vantage point of what we see today, he is, indeed, confused, bewildered! We must view the motion picture of REALITY from the beginning. That's why we have started this revelation of TRUTH at its farthermost prehistoric beginning. We have covered the actual beginning of all things, before the material universe was, with only the two SUPREME SPIRIT PERSONAGES — one called "the Word," who was with God. The Personage called "The Word" created all things, under direction of GOD! Their first feat of creation was the angels — individually created Spirit beings — apparently many millions in number. All these were existing in physically empty space. Then came the creation of our planet Earth and the entire physical UNIVERSE — created, apparently, simultaneously. The earth was populated by a third of all the angels! They were assigned to utilize the physical properties of earth — to produce from the earth — to enhance its beauty. In other words, to improve and finish, as it were, earth's creation. And now, a vital NEW TRUTH! What God had created was perfect in quality — but, like unfinished raw furniture, the earth's creation was to be completed by the angels. Thus the angels were to participate in acts of creation! Actually this earth was the proving ground — even as God endowed it to be for man today — to qualify the angels to perform the same creative finishing of the planets of the entire endless universe! And that has now become the transcendent potential of MAN! It was imperative that the angels work together, in peaceful and harmonious unison. For this purpose God placed over them HIS GOVERNMENT — based on the spiritual Law of God. That law is a way of life — the way of LOVE — of outgoing love to God and concern for the welfare of others. It is the way of GIVING — of helping, serving, sharing — of kindness, consideration and mercy. On the throne of God's government God had placed the supreme masterpiece of His creation — the super archangel Lucifer. This Lucifer, even as his angels, was endowed with an independent MIND — to think, reason, make choices and decisions. God's intention was to create within Lucifer and the angels, upon their decision, God's own holy and righteous character. But Lucifer led his angels into rebellion. Instead of God's way of LOVE — of GIVING — they had turned to GETTING — to vanity, sin, corruption, perversion of mind! From creation to destruction. Now to another point of NEW TRUTH! Haven't you wondered WHY Satan is still here, now subtilely swaying mankind into his ways of GETTING, seeking false values, and perversion of mind? Think on this! Think of it as GOD viewed it! I have previously explained how ONLY GOD, of all living beings, possessed this holy and righteous character — only GOD could be positively relied on never to depart from His way of LOVE. But God also knew there were not enough of Him! He wanted millions — even billions — of personages endowed with His holy and righteous character! That is why God had purposed to REPRODUCE HIMSELF, through MAN! So, (Psalm 104:30) God in six days RENEWED THE FACE OF THE EARTH — restoring it from the wasteness and decay caused by sinning angels — preparing it to become the proving ground of MAN to develop in man God's righteous character, and prepare him for the same transcendent potential that had been that of the angels! Genesis 1, we have seen, records the six days of renewing the face of the earth, preparing it for MAN. Come now to Genesis 1:25-26: "And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us [not me] make man in our image, after our likeness [form and shape]...." In other words, AFTER THE GOD KIND! For a very special relationship with God! But "God formed man of the dust of the ground ..." (Gen. 2:7) — not out of Spirit as angels had been formed. Now CONSIDER CAREFULLY! The first man, Adam, was given the opportunity to QUALIFY to replace the former Lucifer on the THRONE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD. But — note carefully this! — to qualify, Adam had to not only accept God's GOVERNMENT and way of life — it was imperative that he also HAD TO REJECT AND TURN FROM the way of Satan. He had to OVERCOME Satan and his way! Let me remind the reader at this point that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are an exceedingly BRIEF synopsis of events of the first more than two thousand years of human life on earth — up to the time of Abraham. Details must be filled in either by what is obviously implied, or by records found elsewhere in the Bible. God fully explained to Adam and Eve His GOVERNMENT His spiritual LAW and way of life — and that, upon Adam's right CHOICE, he could qualify, receive the Holy Spirit of God, begetting him as a SON OF GOD. Also God explained to Adam and Eve the CONSEQUENCES of rejection and disobedience: This was symbolized by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For, warned God, "in the day that thou eatest thereof, THOU SHALT SURELY DIE" (Gen. 2:17). Then God allowed Adam and Eve to be tested by Satan. But Satan was subtile. He got to Adam through his wife Eve. Eve was deceived — but Adam was not. Eve "took of the fruit" of the forbidden tree, "and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat" (Gen. 3:6). So, "Now," said God, "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever; There fore the [Eternal] God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" — LEST he and his children go back and take of the tree symbolizing God's Holy Spirit (Gen. 3:22-24). In other words, when Adam deliberately took of the forbidden tree, to put it in modern twentieth century language, Adam said to God, "God, my Maker, I reject you as my God, I REJECT your way of life. I REJECT your GOVERNMENT over me. I elect to continue in the way I choose, I want you to keep your nose out of my affairs. I reject you as the source of basic knowledge — I have taken to myself the determination of the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong." And God replied, "I have set clearly before you the way of truth. YOU HAVE DECIDED — therefore I SENTENCE YOU and the world that shall come from you to 6,000 years of being CUT OFF FROM ME. Go, form your own governments. Form your own religions. Produce your own knowledge, cut off from revealed truth, and devise your own system of disseminating such false knowledge. Live according to your own distorted sense of values. But, during this 6,000 years I shall call into my service such as I shall choose, for the fulfillment of MY PURPOSE." Now WHY was it necessary to leave Satan on earth, free to sway and deceive all mankind for 6,000 years? There were TWO reasons: 1)Those God called to His service and to salvation during this 6,000 years, were required, as had been Adam, to QUALIFY to reign in the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. And how? By rejecting and overcoming Satan and his way — as well as by voluntarily choosing GOD'S WAY! 2)God's GOVERNMENT requires that the throne never be vacated. The former Lucifer must remain until a successor both qualifies and also is inducted into the office. And we might add a third reason. God ordained that 6,000 years of sinning human existence PROVE, for ALL TIME, that Satan's way can result only in evils, suffering, frustration, hopelessness, and death. God is allowing Satan to deceive and sway mankind for 6,000 years to PROVE this truth, not only to the human race, but to the other two-thirds of the angels. During this 6,000 years there have been three epochs, as differentiated from the two worlds of the antediluvian world culminating with the Noachian Flood, and this present evil world, which shall culminate with Christ's coming to usher in the WORLD TOMORROW. These three epochs are: 1) all the time from the Adamic creation of MAN to the Old Covenant made at Mount Sinai with Israel; 2) the epoch of the "Old Testament Church" (Congregation of Israel); 3) the Church of God of the New Testament. These will be discussed in chapter 9. But it should be clear, at this point, what is the CAUSE of today's world evils. The presence of Satan, and his invisible, subtile, yet super-powerful sway (see chapter 11 on human nature) over mankind is the basic CAUSE. The WAY OF LIFE Satan has injected into human minds — the way of vanity, lust and greed — of jealousy and envy — of competition and strife — of rebellion and deceit — these things we generally term "human nature" are the direct and specific cause. And all humanity has suffered the effect! Remember though, God had made an exception. He purposed to call those few HE would choose to do what He required. Some 1900 years went by. Apparently Adam's second son, Abel, had been called, for Christ called him "righteous Abel" (Matt. 23:35). Enoch "walked with God." Then God called Noah. He was perfect in his physical descent or generations, and also walked with God. God called him in order to save humans alive during the Flood. God called Abraham to forsake the life of Babylon — to come out, as it were, from Satan's civilization — and turn to God's way. Abraham had not sought God — yet he was a rare exception, in that he obeyed without question or excuse. Four hundred and thirty years after Abraham, God called Moses. Moses had been prepared for his calling, having been reared as a prince in the palace of Pharaoh. But Moses, humanly, protested. He had never sought God or the commission to which God called him. He protested, saying in effect, "Oh I can't do it, Lord. I have an impediment of speech — I stutter." So then God told Moses He had appointed his brother Aaron to be his spokesman. God said to Moses, in effect, "You WILL do what I command you!" And thereupon, he did. God had called Moses to lead the descendants of Abraham — by then numbering some two or three million — out of Egyptian slavery. To these "children of Israel" at Mount Sinai God made a proposition: If they would become HIS NATION, governed by His laws and statutes, He would make them the head-most nation on earth — with the tremendous national and temporal blessings (this life only) of becoming the most prosperous, most powerful, most peaceful nation on earth. The people agreed. Thereupon God entered into a COVENANT with them — later called "the Old Covenant," mediated by Moses. It was a marriage agreement, by which Israel agreed to obey her Husband (God), and God agreed to make them, on obedience, earth's number one nation. But Satan was still on earth, and busy. The Israelites turned to spiritual adultery, worse than a human harlot. God called Jonah for a special mission to warn the city of Nineveh of impending destruction. Jonah tried to run away from God on a ship. But when God calls one for a special mission, God sees to it that the mission is performed! God called the prophet Isaiah. He protested he was a man of unclean lips. But God cleansed his lips. Then Isaiah answered, "Here I am. Send me." God called the prophet Jeremiah. Indeed he was, like Jesus later, sanctified before he was born. Yet he held up his hands and protested, "But I am too young." God said sternly, "Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee." Jeremiah went! The apostle Paul, originally named Saul, burned up energy and zeal persecuting the Church of God. But God struck him down, brought him to his senses, and he then became one of the greatest of the men of God since Adam. I, myself, certainly did not choose God. I chose the profession of advertising and journalism. When I was 25, an angel, in an intensive dream to my wife of a few days, revealed that God was calling me to His service. I was merely embarrassed. Becoming a minister of Jesus Christ was the last thing I should have wanted to do. "I don't know whether that dream had any meaning," I said. "Why not tell it to the minister of the church on the corner — maybe he can tell you whether it means anything." As Jonah, Paul and others had been allowed to go their own way for a while, this unusual dream was soon forgotten — for the time. One decade went by. Then God stirred me to the most intensive, almost day-and-night, study and research of my life, resulting from dual challenges that struck at my vanity. This intensive Bible study resulted in sweeping my mind clean of all previous religious assumptions, then opening my mind to the UNDERSTANDING of God's Word — bringing me to a real repentance — being CONQUERED by God and His Word in unconditional surrender — and, in living FAITH turning over to HIM a life I felt was worthless. I humbly gave it to Him, if He could use it. And, like others He has conquered before me, He has used it these fifty-one years! Back, now, to the thread of our story. In His due time, God sent forth His only begotten Son — the former "Word" who had been eternally with God. He was the "Second Adam." Like the first Adam, He had not only to BELIEVE and OBEY God — but also to reject and overcome Satan and his way! Oh yes! He was TEMPTED in all points like the rest of us sinning mortals — only HE NEVER SINNED! Satan was still around. He was vehemently aroused at the appearing of this Second Adam. Jesus was the Messenger of the NEW Covenant, bearing the Message of that Covenant from God. That Message was HIS GOSPEL! Satan was deter mined to prevent that Message from being proclaimed! For it included the abolition of Satan from earth! He tried to have the Christ-child killed as an infant. But God saved His Son Jesus! For some thirty years, Jesus had faced temptations from Satan, but had safely overcome! Then came the most severe temptation ever thrown at any man. Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights without a morsel of food or a drop of water. But this fasting brought Him even closer to God His Father. Though physically weak, He was spiritually STRONG. The story of that temptation is revealed in the first eleven verses of Matthew 4. It was the most titanic contest ever fought. Jesus was tempted as no man had ever been. Yet He resisted and over came Satan, and remained faithful to GOD'S way! Satan's very effort to overthrow Jesus resulted in Jesus' qualification to replace him and restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. More, to establish the KINGDOM OF GOD, which is the FAMILY OF GOD, ruling with the GOVERNMENT OF GOD! Jesus had been required to OVERCOME SATAN — to resist and defeat him, in order to QUALIFY to sit on the THRONE OF THE WHOLE EARTH! But what about those God has called, from Abel until now? Notice something that seems to have escaped all churches, theological seminaries, and students of the Bible. Notice what Christ Himself said, in Revelation 3:21: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." To him that overcomes — overcomes WHAT? Notice, over comes even as I also overcame." What was Jesus required to overcome, to qualify to sit, first, now, on His Father's throne, and, next on His own throne — the throne of David, in Jerusalem! CONSIDER! Think on this! If Jesus was required to over come Satan — the former Lucifer — who is still on the throne where God originally placed him — in order to QUALIFY to succeed the disqualified Lucifer on that throne — should we humans be required to do less, in that we ALSO may sit on that throne with Christ? Mark well this fact! What Jesus is quoted above as saying applies ONLY to those called BEFORE Christ's return in ALL POWER AND GLORY — to sit with Him when He sits on that throne! I have said repeatedly, THE WORLD AS A WHOLE is CUT OFF from all contact with God — for 6,000 years dating from Adam! Jesus said plainly, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). Unless CALLED — drawn — by God the Father, ALL HUMANITY IS TOTALLY CUT OFF FROM GOD! What, then? Is there injustice with God? Are all others LOST? — condemned without a chance to the ultimate second death in "the lake of fire"? Positively NO! I will show you that those NOT CALLED are simply NOT JUDGED. They are NOT "lost" — neither are they "saved." What a tragedy that those professing Christianity have been them selves CUT OFF from this TRUTH! But first, notice what Jesus also said, recorded in Revelation 2:26-27: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron...." Those called and drawn by God must keep on overcoming Satan "unto the end" of this life! But they not only then shall sit with Christ in His throne — they shall, under Him, RULE over all nations. This shall be the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy of 7:18.
God's Festivals Portray the Master Plan Being Worked Out Here Below
We now come to an eye-opening revelation, indeed! God gave His annual Festivals, with their seven annual Holy Days (Sabbaths) to His "Church" — then called the Congregation of Israel — in the days of Moses! They were intended to picture to the people of God, repeatedly every year, His Master Plan of redemption — leading to the incredible HUMAN POTENTIAL! These Festivals were ordained to be kept FOREVER! Jesus, the apostles, and the early Church of God, ALL OBSERVED THEM! But, so far as the author knows, only one Church continues to observe them today — the Worldwide Church of God! They reveal a startling TRUTH, otherwise obscured from human knowledge! The human race began with Adam. But spiritual salvation and qualification for the transcendent HUMAN POTENTIAL begins with CHRIST. The physical human creation began with Adam — but the SPIRITUAL CREATION begins with the Second Adam! It BEGINS with the forgiveness of sin — following real repentance — being conquered by God — and the living FAITH that believes what Christ says! Therefore the first of these Festivals was the PASSOVER. It pictures to God's people annually the shed blood of Christ — the "Lamb of God" sacrificed to pay the PENALTY of sin we humans have brought on ourselves, in our stead. Then followed the Festival of UNLEAVENED BREAD — seven days in which no leaven may be eaten, or found in the houses of God's people. Leaven puffs up — as does VANITY, the epitome of sin. This Festival lasts seven days, immediately following the Passover — with the first and last of the seven being annual Holy Days (holy convocations). These first Festivals come in the spring — the fourteenth through the twenty-first days of the first month of God's SACRED year. They, with the Feast of FlRSTFRUITS, (PENTECOST in the New Testament) fall in the spring — representing, as at Jerusalem, the FIRST, or early, GRAIN HARVEST. The Feast of Firstfruits (Pentecost) reminds God's people every year that they, prior to Christ's Second Coming, are merely the comparatively very small FIRST spiritual harvest — while all but the few God has called are CUT OFF from God and His spiritual salvation. The remaining four Festivals come during the autumnal harvest time — picturing the MAIN spiritual harvest. These occur at the time of the main harvest of foodstuffs, in the fall of the year. The fourth Festival, a single Holy Day, is the Feast of TRUMPETS. It pictures the coming of Christ in supreme POWER and GLORY to rule all nations — and to open spiritual salvation to ALL THEN LIVING! The fifth annual Festival is another single Holy Day — a FAST day. It is called, in the Bible, the DAY OF ATONEMENT. It is observed by Judaism as "Yom Kippur." This most solemn day pictures Christ's banishment of Satan, that humanity at last may be made "AT ONE" with God. Therefore it is called the day of AT-ONE-MENT, or "Atonement." A humanity CUT OFF from God cannot be AT ONE with Him — until Satan is removed, and ALL shall be called and drawn by God — IF they will — to spiritual salvation through Christ. Five days later follows the Festival of TABERNACLES for seven days. This festival pictures the PRINCIPAL spiritual harvest — during the thousand years that Christ and those who have qualified, shall rule all nations. Satan will be banished — into the biblically symbolic "bottomless pit." Overcoming Satan naturally will no longer be a requirement. The first of these seven days is an annual Sabbath. Then, the next day following the Feast of Tabernacles is a one-day Festival — also the seventh annual Sabbath. It pictures a resurrection to judgment of all previously uncalled by God — all who ever lived — billions who lived under Satan's way and died uncalled — neither then "lost" or "saved" spiritually. These billions will be resurrected MORTAL — as they were — flesh-and-blood humans. Then they shall look back on the 6,000 years of Satan's sway — of human wrong-doing, sin, and consequent suffering, anguish and death. Then, for their first time, God shall call them. Satan will be banished forever! But they still shall have to make their own DECISIONS! With the 6,000-year record of world evils swayed by Satan, and the 1,000-year record of humanity taught by Christ and immortal saints, they may look at the record — and compare. We may HOPE that virtually all, if not all, will yield themselves to God's call, and receive spiritual salvation and ETERNAL LIFE! But that is not yet all! There then (Revelation 20:13) shall follow a final resurrection of those who had been called to spiritual redemption during all 7,000 years, and who had rejected God's loving mercy, and rebelled, KNOWING the Truth! They will then be required to REALIZE FULLY what they have rejected and rebelled against. They shall all have died once — and now they shall die the second and final, eternal DEATH, in the lake of fire — described in II Peter 3:7, 10. But their days of suffering shall be over as revealed in Malachi 4:1-3. They shall be left neither root nor branch — they shall be ashes under the soles of the feet of those living. They shall be as though they had not been (Obadiah 16-17). But of the saved immortals, "... there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Rev. 21:4).