We continue, with this fifth installment, the serial publication of Herbert W. Armstrong's latest book Mystery of the Ages.
IT SEEMS incredible indeed! Higher education teaches technical courses in human physiology, anatomy, anthropology and psychology. The universities take man apart and study him minutely inch by inch. They study every facet and phase of man. They take the human brain apart and study it, yet the human mind remains a near-total mystery to even the most advanced psychologists. They do not know WHAT man is or WHY he came to be! That is the great Mystery Number 3 that has never been understood by humanity. Is he merely the highest animal species, descended by resident forces, with no intelligent planning or designing, by the process of evolution? Why does man have the thinking and reasoning ability and possess all the human fund of knowledge that is impossible for animals to have? Is he an immortal soul? Is he human flesh and blood with an immortal soul within him? Just what IS a human person, after all? And WHY? Why is mankind here on the earth? Did we simply happen? Or was there DESIGN and PURPOSE? We say there is a CAUSE for every effect. The effect, here, is man. Man is here. HOW—WHY did he come to be here? Was he put here, or did he just happen by blind, senseless, unintelligent processes of evolution? We ought to want to know! This is a mystery that has baffled higher education. Higher education during the twentieth century has come, with virtual unanimity, to accept the evolutionary theory. It no longer even considers the possibility of a designed and planned creation by a God of supreme mind, perfect intelligence, and limitless power. But the evolutionary theory cannot in any degree explain a paradoxical world of awesome accomplishment that is at the same time utterly helpless to solve its problems of mounting and continually escalating evils. It can give no purpose for human existence. Higher education contemptuously ignores, without any consideration whatsoever, the biblical truths revealing man's presence on the earth and the causes of the present state of civilization. Education in the civilized world today has become entirely materialistic. Education has become a combination of the agnosticism of evolution, the politics and economics of Karl Marx and the morals and social patterns of Sigmund Freud. Higher education remains in utter ignorance of the mystery of mankind and of human civilization. But higher education does not know. And it doesn't want to know! When we invade the questions of WHAT and WHY, the intellectuals—the custodians of KNOWLEDGE—shy away or stand up and fight. Of the questions WHAT and WHY is man, they are willingly ignorant! So, education shuts its mind, and its mouth in tight silence. Science doesn't know. Religion does not reveal, for it also doesn't know! Yes, incredible—but TRUE!
God Enters the Picture
WHY this willful ignorance? Because GOD is involved. Satan is hostile against God. Satan sits on the throne of this earth and has blinded the minds of the intellectuals as well as all other levels of society. Consider, for a moment, the most highly trained mind with several letters of advanced degrees following his name. He is highly trained in certain specific areas in which he has extensive, complicated and intricate knowledge. But ask him about some area of knowledge outside his specialized field and he is as much in ignorance as those who are lacking in the more advanced labyrinths of education. The primary divisions of this world's civilization—government, religion, education and science, technology, industry—all shy away from GOD. They want GOD to keep his nose out of their affairs! The mention of God embarrasses them. This ignorance cannot be explained except by the invisible and unaware influence of the supernatural evil power of Satan the devil and the unseen demoniacal spirit beings. When we read in Revelation 12:9 that all the world has been deceived by Satan, it does not exclude those of advanced intellect. Jesus Christ thanked God that the real truths are hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed to those who are babes in materialistic knowledge. In the first chapter of this book we have covered the questions of WHO and WHAT is GOD? And we find God is quite REAL. God is more than one single person—God is a family—God is the supreme divine family—he is the Creator of all that is, and he has an ultimate PURPOSE—the creation of perfect, holy, righteous and spiritual CHARACTER, in MAN made immortal, to become part of that God family. So the presence of MAN on the earth must have a definite relation to the PURPOSE of GOD the Creator. With these basically important questions and statements we must ask, WHY all the evils in today's sick and chaotic world? This world now faces, with no solution, its number one problem—the question of HUMAN SURVIVAL! Can human life on earth survive even through the short remainder of this twentieth century? Can humanity survive both the population explosion and the nuclear power his mind has produced that can annihilate that entire population? Consider now what has been covered about God's PURPOSE for the angels that sinned on earth. For that angelic rebellion leads directly to God's PURPOSE for MAN—to our question of WHAT and WHY is MAN?
Earth's Face in Devastation
Instead of improving, beautifying, completing earth's creation, the sinning angels brought it to desolation and ruin. Come now to Genesis 1:1-2: "In the beginning God created the heavens [RSV] and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep… ." The original Hebrew for "without form, and void" is tohu and bohu—meaning "waste, desolate, deteriorated." The word was is also translated "became." Thus possibly after millions of years, all had come to be oceanic surface—and light had been by angelic lawlessness turned into darkness. Let me here interject a biblical principle within the immediate context. There is this instruction in Isaiah: "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? … precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isa. 28:9-10). But most who try to apply this principle in biblical understanding take each "little" verse out of its context, to "interpret" their own ideas into it. The Holy Bible is unique among all books ever written. The very fact that its truths are revealed here a little, there a little means it is a coded book, not to be understood until our present time of the end as explained elsewhere in this volume. Those who have tried to read the Bible directly and continuously from the beginning have been bewildered. Many have simply thrown up their hands and said, as I myself did once, "I just can't understand the Bible." That is why Bruce Barton said the Bible is the book nobody knows. As I have explained elsewhere the Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle. Until the various pieces of a jigsaw puzzle are put properly together, the true picture does not emerge. Much, directly concerned with what is in Genesis 1, is filled in by other passages of Scripture in other parts of the Bible. So now, let's UNDERSTAND the background. Genesis 1:1: God created the heavens and the earth. We have already seen, in chapter two, that the heavens (or the universe) and the earth were created after the angels. Earth's angels had not completed the creation of the earth by improvement, development and beautification. Rather, they had brought it to desolation and ruin. The GOVERNMENT of GOD had been nullified on earth. And now, of all living beings in the universe, ONLY GOD could be certainly relied upon never to depart from the way of his law. No higher, more perfect being could be created than the cherub, Lucifer, who rebelled. Character cannot be automatically created by fiat. Godly spiritual character is the habitual action and conduct of the person or created entity to come to a knowledge of the true ways of God, and to exercise the will to follow those ways even against opposition, temptation or self-desire to the contrary. Character must be developed with the assent, will and action of the separately created entity. It is imparted by God and must be willingly received by that entity. So God now determined, or had predetermined, to accomplish the SUPREME creative feat—by reproducing himself! That was to be accomplished through MAN! God knew this must be brought about through MATTER.
Man in God's Image
To prepare the earth for the creation of man, God renewed the face of the earth. This is explained in Psalm 104:30: "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." Now back to Genesis 1:2: The earth had come to be in a state of ruin. "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The first thing God did was turn darkness back into LIGHT as originally made. God said, "Let there be light: and there was light" (Gen. 1:3). So in six days God RENEWED THE FACE OF THE EARTH (this renewing was not its original creation, but restoring it to the condition of its original creation) preparing it for the creation of MAN! God separated the dry land from the oceans. He created then the plant life on the land, then the sea life in the water, the animal life. In the Hebrew in which Moses wrote, the vertebrates are called nephesh in verses 20, 21, 24. The translators correctly rendered nephesh in these three verses into the English words "living creatures." Yet in Genesis 2:7, speaking of man, the same word nephesh was translated "soul" because the translators falsely thought that only humans are souls. The word nephesh literally means "life of animals," referring to physical life and not spirit. Once again the earth was a perfect, but as yet unfinished, creation—lacking the finishing touches. As was written earlier, God creates in dual stages. This might be compared to baking a cake. First the basic cake comes from the oven. But it is not complete until the second stage is added—the icing on the cake. This beautifies, enriches and completes the cake. God placed Lucifer and his angels on the earth. But he intended them to complete the creation by putting on, as it were, the finishing touches to beautify, improve and enrich the earth. But the angels sinned, resulting in bringing chaos, confusion and darkness to this planet. Now God renewed the face of the earth for MAN, made to become in the character image of God and also in the likeness or form and shape of God. And God intended man to complete the finishing touches by improving and beautifying the earth—putting, as it were, the icing on the cake, as man's part in the final creation of the earth. Instead, man has ruined, polluted, defiled, deteriorated almost every portion of the earth his hands have touched or acted upon.
The Purpose of Man on Earth
WHY did the Creator God put MAN on the earth? For God's ultimate supreme purpose of reproducing himself—of recreating himself, as it were, by the supreme objective of creating the righteous divine character ultimately in millions unnumbered of begotten and born children who shall become God Beings, members of the God family. Man was to improve the physical earth as God gave it to him, finishing its creation (which sinning angels had deliberately refused to do) and, in so doing, to RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, with God's WAY of life; and further, in this very process FINISHING THE CREATION OF MAN by the development of God's holy, righteous CHARACTER, with man's own assent. Once this perfect and righteous character is instilled in man, and man converted from mortal flesh to immortal spirit, then is to come the INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL—man being BORN INTO the divine FAMILY of God, restoring the government of God to the earth, and then participating in the completion of the CREATION over the entire endless expanse of the UNIVERSE! That incredible potential of man will be fully explained in the pages that follow in this volume. God shall have reproduced HIMSELF untold millions of times over! So, on the sixth day of that recreation week, God (Elohim) said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). Man was made to have (with his assent) a special relationship with his Maker! He was made in the form and shape of God. He was given a spirit (essence in form) to make the relationship possible. Much more of that a little later.
The Soul Is Mortal
But God made MAN of MATTER! This was necessary for the supreme accomplishment God willed. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [air] of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). Man, formed from material dust of the ground, upon breathing air, BECAME a living soul. It does not say man is, or has, an immortal soul. What was formed from material ground BECAME a soul. The word "soul" is translated from the Hebrew in which Moses wrote, from the word nephesh. The Hebrew nephesh merely means a breathing animal. Three times in the first chapter of Genesis animals are called nephesh: Gen. 1:20, "moving creature" (Hebrew, nephesh); Gen. 1:21, "great whales, and every living creature" (Hebrew, nephesh); Gen. 1:24, "living creature" (Hebrew, nephesh). The translators in translating into the English language used the English word "creature," but in Genesis 2:7 they translated the same nephesh into the English word "soul"—man became a "living soul" (nephesh). Therefore the SOUL is physical, composed of matter, and can die. This is a TRUTH believed by very few denominations, and probably by no other religions—another PROOF that identifies the one true Church of God!
The Soul Can Die
The Creator's book reveals, contrary to fallible humanist teaching, that man was made from the dust of the ground, and this dust thus becomes soul, mortal—like all vertebrates. Man has continued to accept the first lie in human history—Satan's lie to mother Eve that man is immortal and cannot die. The soul is merely the breathing animal. All animals are biblically called "souls"—in Hebrew, nephesh. Therefore, if man is a soul as in Genesis 2:7, so also are the dumb animals. But there is a human spirit (I Cor. 2:11) in the human soul. This human spirit does not impart human life. Human life, like that of all vertebrates, comes from blood circulation, oxidized by the breath of air. But God reveals there is a spirit within every human. This spirit is not present in animals. The human spirit empowers the human brain with intellect—with ability to acquire knowledge, to think, reason, make decisions, produce attitudes of good or evil. Human and animal brain are fundamentally alike. Human mind superiority comes not from superior brain, but from the presence of human spirit within the human brain. Animal brain is supplied with instinct, not intellect. It may seem shockingly strange, because it is a dimension in knowledge hitherto untaught, but the real value of a human life lies solely in the human spirit, as it works in combination with the human brain. God formed man of matter, but after his own image and likeness as to form and shape. But the brute animal and man have the same breath, the same source of life. They die the same death. Human life is animal existence, but in the form and shape of God, and with the human spirit added to the brain.
Man's Creation Not Yet Completed
Man was created to have a relationship with his Maker. Therefore he was made in his Maker's form and shape, with contact and relationship made possible by the presence within him of the human spirit. But man's creation was not completed. He was made mentally and spiritually only "half there." He needed the addition of God's Spirit to unite with his spirit, begetting him as a child of God—uniting him with God—ultimately enabling him to be born into the very GOD FAMILY. Pause here a moment. Notice once again the duality in God's creative process. The first man Adam was a physical creation with the human spirit added. When man's creation is finally complete, he will be a spiritual creation, formed wholly of Spirit. When man receives the Holy Spirit of God the very Spirit and mind of the immortal God is injected into him. It joins with his human spirit. The Spirit of God cannot be received by, or injected into, the brute animal because the animal has no spirit within itself with which the Spirit of God could combine. At this point, let me inject a truth that, at the time this is being written, is probably the most controversial question at issue among the Western world's population—the question of abortion. The human spirit enters the human embryo at conception. It is this spirit that may, upon adult conversion, be united with the Holy Spirit from the great Creator God, impregnating that human with God-life as a child of the living God, in a state of gestation, though as yet unborn. To destroy an embryo or a fetus in a mother's uterus is to MURDER a potential future God Being. Therefore, abortion is murder. Now back to our original question: "What is the only real value of a human life?" Human life is animal existence but with human spirit empowering the brain with intellect. The human spirit in man makes possible the union with the Holy Spirit and mind and immortality of God. When mortal man dies, the body reverts to dust, and the spirit returns to God.
Life After Death
The departed human spirit at death is in fact a spiritual mold, of itself unconscious, yet in the resurrection bringing into the resurrected body all the memory, knowledge and character as well as form and shape of the person before death. The human spirit of itself cannot see, hear, think or know. The only real LIFE, inherent and self-containing, lies in the Holy Spirit of God, united with the human spirit. The value of a human life lies in the human spirit and its potential of being united with God's Spirit—which is God-mind and God-life. Philosophers think of human worth as of supreme value in itself alone. They speak of "human dignity." They speak of the innate "god" powers within each human. They advocate SELF-confidence, self-glorification. They make mortal man to think of himself as immortal God. Much to the contrary, the sole value of human life lies in the human spirit and the potential of being begotten of God, later to be born VERY GOD, a child in the GOD FAMILY. Man is not "god" within himself, but only mortal flesh and blood with a brain empowered with intellect by the human spirit. Therefore, man of himself is infinitesimally of less value than the self-professed wise of this world suppose. But, once begotten by the Supreme God through the very LIFE and Spirit of the living God dwelling in him, a human being's potential is of infinitely greater value than the world has understood. God creates, as previously explained, by the principle of DUALITY. So it is with the creation of MAN. It is accomplished in TWO STAGES: 1) the physical phase, which began with the first man, Adam; and 2) the spiritual state, which begins with the second Adam, Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:45-46). So also, man was made from his creation (and birth) with the one "human" spirit that became an integral part of man. But he is mentally and spiritually INCOMPLETE; he was made to need another Spirit—the HOLY SPIRIT of God—and when that gift of God is received, God's "Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:16)—in the begotten (or first stage) of man's spiritual creation. This is clearly explained in I Corinthians 2. "… Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart [mind] of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (verse 9)—spiritual knowledge. The natural mind can receive knowledge of material and physical things. Also it can have a sense of morality, ethics, art, culture not possessed by the dumb animals. But in the realm of good and evil it can know and perform what is good only on the human level, made possible by the human spirit within man. But this sense and performance of good is limited to the human level of the human spirit that is innately selfish. It can possess and express love on the human level, but without the Holy Spirit of God it cannot possess or express love on the God level, nor can it acquire knowledge of that which is spiritual, as revealed in I Corinthians 2.
Only God Reveals
"But God hath revealed them [spiritual things] unto us by his Spirit…" (verse 10). Notice particularly spiritual knowledge is not revealed by a Person called the Holy Spirit. It is revealed by God, and to us today through God's Spirit, which may be received only as God's gift through his mercy and grace. God is the revealer. The Holy Spirit is the instrumentality by which we may comprehend that which only God can reveal. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? …" (verse 11). If the Holy Spirit is the third Person of a Trinity, then is not the spirit in man also another man? A cow, sheep or dog cannot know the things a MAN knows—and neither could a man, except by the spirit of man that is in him. For example, such knowledge as chemistry, physics and technological and scientific knowledge. Likewise, the natural man with this one spirit is limited—"even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." ONLY when the Holy Spirit enters, combining with the "human" spirit, can a man come to really comprehend that which is spiritual—"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (verse 14). The most highly educated view all things through the eyeglasses of evolutionary theory. Evolution is concerned solely with material life and development. It knows and teaches nothing about spiritual life and problems—and all the evils in the world are spiritual in nature. That is WHY the most highly educated are, overall, the most ignorant—they are confined to knowledge of the material, and to "good" on the self-centered level. Knowledge of God and the things of God are foolishness to them. But, of course, God says, "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (I Cor. 3:19).
World Cut Off from God
Now back to the first human, Adam. Remember God's PURPOSE in creating man on the earth: 1) to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth and by regulating human life through that GOVERNMENT, a) complete the physical creation of earth where angels turned it to ruin, and b) in the process complete the creation of MAN by developing righteous spiritual CHARACTER; and 2) to establish the KINGDOM OF GOD, and eventually the incredible human potential of finishing the creation of the vast UNIVERSE! This supreme PURPOSE required:1) that MAN reject Satan's WAY, embracing GOD'S WAY OF LOVE, based on God's spiritual law; and 2) that man be made first of matter so that, if he was led into Satan's way of "GET," he could be CHANGED, converted to GOD'S WAY of LOVE, or if he refused to change, his life would be blotted out without further or continuous suffering just as if he had never been. Spirit beings, once a finished creation (as were the one third of the angels who became evil characters), could not be changed! Spirit, once its creation is completed, is constant and eternal—not subject to change. But physical matter is constantly changing. Through God's master plan for his spiritual creation, to be covered later, it had been master-planned by God and the Word that the Word would divest himself of his supreme glory, and in due time take on him the likeness of human flesh, as Jesus Christ, making possible the spiritual phase of the creation of MAN—God REPRODUCING HIMSELF! What a MASTER PLAN for the extreme ULTIMATE in creative accomplishment! How GREAT is our God, in mind, purpose, planning, designing, as well as CREATING—from the tiniest germ or insect to the most huge sun, dwarfing our own great sun to insignificance! And the incredible human potential is that the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD is, in MAN, reproducing himself—man can be born into the GOD FAMILY! The first human, Adam, was created with the potential of qualifying to replace Satan, the former Lucifer, on earth's throne, restoring the GOVERNMENT OF GOD. But it was necessary that he resist and reject Satan's "GET" way, which was the foundation of Satan's evil government, and choose GOD'S WAY of his law—the way of LOVE (GIVE), the basis of God's government! His Maker talked first to Adam and Eve—instructed them in the GOVERNMENT and spiritual LAW of God—though in Genesis 2 only the most condensed summary of God's instruction to them is revealed. Satan was restrained from any contact with them until God first had taught them.
The Two Symbolic Trees
In the gloriously beautiful Garden of Eden in which God placed them were two very special symbolic trees. Little has been heard about these trees and their tremendous significance, except what most people have heard about "Adam's apple." The forbidden tree, however, probably was not an apple tree. The real significance of these two symbolic trees explains the very foundation of the world. In them is the answer to the great mystery of our time in this modern twentieth century. Today we live in a world of awesome progress and advancement, yet paradoxically of appalling evils. The baffling question today is, Why cannot the minds that can learn to fly to the moon and back, transplant hearts, produce computers and technological marvels, solve their own problems? Why no peace in the world? We cannot understand the mystery of today's events and conditions unless we go back to the very foundation of the world, and learn what developed from its origin to the pulsating, confused present. The world began at the time of these two special trees. We hear virtually nothing in the biblical misteaching of today about the tree of life, and almost nothing about the forbidden tree. But now consider, God had created a man out of the dust of the ground. But God creates in dual stages. The man was not yet physically complete. God wanted him to "multiply and replenish the earth." But the man could not do that because he was not yet physically complete. So God put him into a deep sleep (anesthesia) and performed an operation, removing a rib and forming a woman from it. They became one family. The physical creation of man was completed. They could reproduce their kind. But the man God created was mortal. He had only a temporary physicochemical existence kept alive by circulation of blood, oxidized by the breath of air, and fueled by food and water from the ground. He did not have LIFE inherent—self-containing life. But he did have a human spirit that, united with God's Holy Spirit, could beget him with eternal life.
Immortal Life Offered
But God offered to him immortal LIFE through this symbolic tree of LIFE. God did not urge or compel him to take it—he merely made it freely accessible. Adam could eat of all the trees of the garden except the one forbidden tree, of "the knowledge of good and evil." What if Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE? You probably never heard that question answered. That symbolic tree is offered today to those called and drawn by God to Jesus Christ. There is one difference between the original Adam and the called Christian. Adam had not yet sinned and no repentance was necessary if he had chosen the tree of life. Otherwise the repentant and believing Spirit-begotten Christian is in the same position Adam would have been had he taken of the tree of life. Adam would have received the Holy Spirit of the immortal God to join with his human spirit. Of course, since Adam was required to make a choice, he would have rejected the way of Satan by taking the tree of life. But again, what would have happened, had Adam taken the tree of life? He would have received the Holy Spirit of God to unite with his human spirit. The man was not mentally or spiritually complete until receiving the Spirit of God. This would have united him, mentally and spiritually, with God. He would have been begotten as a child of God, just as is the converted Spirit-begotten Christian. He would have received the Holy Spirit of God to join with his human spirit, begetting him as a son of God, imparting to him the earnest of immortal life, and making him at one with God. As in the case of the Spirit-begotten Christian today, where "Christ in [us is] the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). And again, the mind of Christ is in us (Phil. 2:5), so the very mind of the Eternal would have been in Adam. But instead the mind and attitude of Satan entered into him and worked in him, even as it has in all his children that have composed this whole world. We read in Ephesians 2:2, that Satan, as prince of the power of the air, does indeed actually work within humans. At this juncture, we explain a point that might be misunderstood. In the temptation by Satan, Eve was deceived, but Adam was not (I Tim. 2:13-14). Adam disobeyed God and sinned deliberately. But even though he was not deceived in this original temptation, his deliberate disobedience of God's explicit command cut him off from God, producing a state of mental perversion and opening his mind to the deceptions of Satan. From that moment, Adam and all his children after him were receptive to the sway of Satan. Satan began to work in the mind of Adam, even as God would have worked in his mind had he taken of the tree of life.
A World Held Captive
Thus, from that moment, Satan had spiritually kidnapped Adam, and all his human family has ever since been held captive by Satan. God would have revealed to Adam God's way of life—which is God's spiritual law. That law is the way of outflowing love—but it would have been "the love of God … shed abroad in [human] hearts by the Holy [Spirit]" (Rom.5:5). Human natural carnal love cannot fulfill God's holy law. But, even as a human embryo has been begotten by human parents, and just as the embryo must develop through the process of gestation before being born, so is the Spirit-led Christian, and so would have been Adam. But he would have experienced a direct connection and contact with God. I like to compare this to the umbilical cord connecting the newborn baby with its mother. Its human life and physical nourishment have been supplied during gestation from the mother to the child. God's spirit LIFE is imparted to the Christian through the Holy Spirit. Also, spiritual knowledge is imparted by God but through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:10). Full comprehension of God's LAW (his way of life) is imparted by God through the Holy Spirit. But the law of God requires action and performance, and LOVE is the fulfilling of God's law (Rom. 13:10), and it can be fulfilled only by the love of and from God (Rom. 5:5). So Adam would have had the in-depth spiritual knowledge to live God's way, and also would have been supplied with the divine love that, only, can fulfill that perfect law of love and put it into action. He would also have received by the Spirit of God the very FAITH of God. He would have received knowledge, guidance and help from God. He would have had reliance on God to intervene in matters beyond his control. In such matters God supernaturally does for us what we are unable to do for ourselves. In other words, God fights our battles for us.
Rejecting God's Law and Government
But instead Adam chose a different kind of knowledge—he took TO HIMSELF the knowledge of good as well as evil. He relied wholly on himself—both for the KNOWLEDGE as well as power of performance of good as well as evil. He REJECTED reliance on God and chose the course of SELF-reliance. The only righteousness he could acquire was SELF-righteousness, which to God is like filthy rags. Adam and Eve took of the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil." Taking of its fruit was taking to themselves the knowledge of what is good, and what is evil—deciding for themselves what is right and what is sin. This, of course, meant rejection of GOD'S LAW, which defined for them the right and the wrong. The glorious archangel Lucifer, as God originally created him, was the pinnacle of God's creative power in a single being. Few today remotely realize the great power, now turned to cunning deception, possessed by Satan. Apparently Adam completely underestimated him. The wily Satan got to Adam through his wife Eve. He did not say, "CHOOSE MY WAY!" He appeared as a subtile serpent. He cleverly deceived her. He put DOUBTS in her mind about God's veracity. He put a sense of injustice and resentment within her. He deceived her into believing God had been unfair—selfish. He subtilely injected vanity of mind. He misled her into thinking it was right to take of the forbidden fruit. Adam, not deceived, nevertheless went along with his wife. With her, he took to himself the determination of what is right and what is wrong—thus DISBELIEVING what his Maker had said, REJECTING God as Savior and Ruler—rejecting God as the source of revealed BASIC KNOWLEDGE. He believed and followed Satan's WAY!
Adam's World Sentenced
When God "drove out the man" from the Garden of Eden, and barred reentrance—lest he go back and receive eternal life in sin (Gen. 3:22-24)—God PRONOUNCED SENTENCE! God said, in effect: "YOU have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic source of knowledge—you have rejected power from me through my Spirit to live the righteous way—you have rebelled against my command and my government—you have chosen the 'GETTING,' 'TAKING' way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being cut off from access to me and my Spirit—except for the exceedingly FEW I shall specially call. And that FEW shall be called for special service preparatory for the kingdom of God. They shall be required to do what you have failed to do—reject, resist and overcome Satan and his WAYS, and follow the ways of my spiritual LAW. "Go, therefore, Adam, and all your progeny that shall form the world, produce your own fund of knowledge. Decide for yourself what is good and what is evil. Produce your own educational systems and means of disseminating knowledge, as your god Satan shall mislead you. Form your own concepts of what is god, your own religions, your own governments, your own life-styles and forms of society and civilization. In all this Satan will deceive your world with his attitude of SELF-centeredness—with vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition and strife and violence and wars, rebellion against me and my law of LOVE. "After the world of your descendants has written the lesson in 6,000 years of human suffering, anguish, frustration, defeat and death—after the world that shall spring from you shall have been brought to confess the utter hopelessness of the way of life you have chosen—I will supernaturally intervene. By supernatural divine power I shall then take over the government of the whole world. With reeducation, I will produce a happy world of PEACE. And on repentance, I shall then offer eternal salvation to all. After a thousand years of that happy world to come, I will resurrect from death to mortal life all who have died uncalled during this present 6,000 years. Their judgment shall then come. And on repentance and faith, eternal life shall be offered them. "During this 6,000 years, when I myself shall cut them off from me, they shall not be eternally judged. Only, as they sow during their lifetimes, they shall reap. But when I open eternal salvation to them, there shall be no Satan to hinder or deceive them—no Satan for them to overcome. Those few called during this first 6,000 years shall have to reject and resist Satan's pulls and overcome. But those who overcome shall sit with me in my throne, and have power under me to rule all nations under my Supreme Rule."
Origin of Self-Reliance
What does all this mean? Adam the first human rejected knowledge from and reliance on God. He chose to rely on his own knowledge and abilities. The modern world, developed from Adam, relies wholly on human self-reliance. The psychology taught in our day is self-reliance. Rely on the innate powers within you, they teach. An atmosphere of self-reliant professionalism pervades most modern university campuses. It is the spirit of vanity. The university student is induced to think of himself as becoming a professional—that is, he considers himself elevated above those who have not had his brand of education. Through the basic concept of the evolutionary theory, he feels himself completely above those who believe in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. He regards them with disdain.
Salvation Closed Off
Upon Adam's making this fateful and fatal decision, God CLOSED OFF THE TREE OF LIFE (Gen. 3:22-24) from the world sired by Adam, for 6,000 years. That is, except in the case of chosen prophets for the writing of the Bible, and of the Church called out of this world by Jesus Christ. But even Jesus said plainly: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). God thereupon, at the very foundation of this world, laid out a 7,000-year master plan for accomplishing his purpose. It was Satan who deceived Eve. Adam then sinned deliberately in partaking of the forbidden fruit. The whole world since has been deceived (Rev. 12:9). Let us pause here momentarily. Let us realize this was the very foundation of the world in which we still live. At this point, Satan must have gloated. He must have believed God was defeated—that God through Adam had failed to overthrow Satan's rule on the throne of the earth. But God says, "My purpose shall stand." God's 7,000-year plan will accomplish God's purpose in overwhelming and magnificent glory. Understand this point, which has been a mystery to the world. When God closed off the tree of life, he closed off the redemption and salvation of mankind for 6,000 years, until the second Adam, Jesus Christ, after 6,000 years should return to earth in supreme power and glory to unseat Satan from his throne and to rule all nations of mankind. The first man Adam had been given the opportunity to choose God's government, to restore that government to the earth, and to unseat Satan from the throne of the earth. Since he failed, salvation cannot be opened to humanity generally, until Jesus Christ, the second Adam, has accomplished what the first Adam failed to do—namely, to unseat Satan and to sit on the throne of the earth, restoring the government of God to this earth. The closing of the tree of life from the human family marked the foundation of the present world still ruled invisibly by Satan. How, then, was God going to accomplish his purpose? At that very foundation of this world it was determined by God that the Word would be born on earth as the sacrificial Lamb of God to redeem mankind from the rule of Satan the kidnapper (Rev. 13:8). But how, then, was God ever to accomplish his purpose of reproducing himself through the humans to be born during that next 6,000 years?
Salvation Through Resurrection
At that very foundation of Satan's world it was also decreed (Heb. 9:27) that God had appointed that all humans should die once, and after that, by resurrection from the dead, would come the judgment. Meanwhile mankind as a whole would not as yet be brought to judgment—neither condemned nor saved. It was at that time decided that as in Adam all humans should die, so in Christ the same "all" should be brought back to life by a resurrection to judgment (I Cor. 15:22). This very resurrection of all who died in Adam has been a mystery to the whole world deceived by Satan. Even today traditional Christianity celebrates the resurrection of Jesus on the pagan Easter every spring, but says nothing about the future resurrection of the billions who have died in Adam. That resurrection will be explained later in this volume. Meanwhile, when Christ should come as humanity's sinbearer, he would found the Church of God. The purpose and function of the Church will be fully covered in chapter six of this book. Pause right here! Understand what Satan has blinded the entire world from seeing. Realize what a deceived traditional Christianity has not understood. This is of supreme importance! The world of traditional Christianity has been deceived into supposed Christian teaching of the immortality of the soul, of those who "profess Jesus" going immediately upon death into a heaven of eternal idleness, freedom from responsibility and bliss in ease and laziness; in those who fail to "accept Jesus" going at death to a definite place of eternal continuous burning fire called hell where they shriek and scream in indescribable pain and agony forever and ever without hope. The teaching has been that man is an immortal soul and already has eternal life. It denies (Rom. 6:23) that the penalty for sin is death and that man can have eternal life only as the gift of God. The false traditional Christianity teaching might be compared to taking a one-way railroad trip. This trip is your life's journey. At the end of the line a switch is automatically set that will send you straight to a lasting burning hell of indescribable pain and torture. But if, at any time during life's journey, you profess to "accept Christ," the switch at the end of the line, at that point, is turned to shoot you straight to heaven. Much supposed "Christian" teaching has been that God created the first man a perfect immortal being, but that when God was not looking Satan stole in and wrecked this wonderful handiwork of God. Salvation is then pictured as God's effort to repair the damage, and to restore mankind back to a condition as good as when God first created him. In doctrine after doctrine they have believed and taught the diametric opposite of the truths plainly revealed in the Bible.
Satan's First Lie
They have taught Satan's first lie that man is an immortal soul. This teaching, when one stops to give it thought, is that "saved mothers" who have died and gone to heaven are continually conscious of their lost sons who are shrieking and screaming in indescribable torture of hell fire. But what is the real truth of God's holy Word? Do the dead know what the living are doing? My wife told me shortly after our marriage that after her mother died, when she was only 12 years of age, she thought her mother in heaven was seeing everything that she did. I quote now from an article in The Plain Truth, March 1985: "Scripture plainly reveals that when you die you are dead. According to the Bible, the dead don't hear anything, see anything, think anything or know anything. The dead have absolutely no awareness of any kind: 'For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished …' " (Eccl. 9:5-6). The Bible's message is clear on this point. Death is death beyond any shadow of doubt. The apostle Paul wrote that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). Death, by definition, is the absence of life—not just separation from God. Scripture even warns us to make the most of life now while we have the opportunity: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (Eccl. 9:10, Revised Authorized Version). It couldn't be more plain. But what about those who want to cling to the cherished belief in floating off to heaven after death if good, or sinking to hell if bad? Listen to the apostle Peter's response. If anyone deserved to go to heaven, it would certainly be someone after God's own heart, wouldn't it? David was such a person (Acts 13:22). But Peter was inspired by God to say, David is "both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day" (Acts 2:29, RAV), and further, "David did not ascend into the heavens" (Acts 2:34). Jesus himself also said that "no man hath ascended up to heaven," where God's throne is (John 3:13).
Will We Each Live Again?
But there is more to this life than living for the present life. The Great God put humans here on this earth for a marvelous, eternal purpose, not even understood by this world's humanly devised religions. We are on this earth for a wonderful reason. It involves the answer to why we humans were made mortal and suffer through the gamut of emotions and troubles, or experience the good times of human life. Even though when we die we are dead, we will not remain dead forever. The dead in their graves will live again! Read what Jesus says: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of [judgment]" (John 5:28-29, RAV). There is an accounting for our behavior in this life! Every human being who has ever lived will ultimately give an accounting and be in a resurrection. I have explained earlier that the spirit in man of itself does not see, cannot hear, cannot think. The brain sees through the eye, hears through the ear, and thinks as it is empowered by the spirit. At death, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:7). The spirit is the depository of memory and character. The spirit is like a mold. It retains even the human form and shape of the deceased, so that in the resurrection to judgment those who have died shall look as they did in life, retain whatever character they established in life, remember everything that was stored in their memory. But in the meantime, in death, there is no consciousness—they "know not any thing" (Eccl. 9:5). The most universal false teaching, believed by virtually all churches called Christianity, except the one and only true and original Church of God, is that ALL are automatically "lost" unless they profess Jesus Christ as Savior—and that now is the only day of "salvation." But the truth is that those cut off from God are NOT YET JUDGED! Few UNDERSTAND this basic master plan of God. The reader cannot possibly be more surprised at the truth revealed in this volume than was the author, more than 58 years ago. The WHOLE WORLD has been deceived, as God's Word foretold! One deceived is not aware of the deception! Don't underestimate Satan!
Humans, Cut Off from God?
One, reviewing the multiplied evils in the world today, might think MAN has cut himself off from God. But it is GOD who cut off mankind from him. And WHY? Does that seem to make God appear unfair? Quite the opposite! Let us make that point clear. Adam, by choosing to take of the forbidden tree, cut off himself and his family after him from God. Yet because all humans born from Adam have sinned, each human has in fact cut himself off from God (Isa. 59:1-2). The Person in the God family who spoke with Adam was the Logos or "Word" who was later born as Jesus Christ. Adam had no contact with God the Father. When the Word closed the tree of life, all mankind was cut off from God the Father until Christ would come to earth in supreme power and glory to take from Satan the throne of the earth and to restore the government of God over the entire earth. Meanwhile Christ, the second Adam, came at his first appearing to reveal the existence of God the Father (Luke 10:22). Until that time, the world had no knowledge of the existence of God the Father. That is one reason the religion of Judaism had believed that God consists of ONE PERSON ONLY. That is the reason theologians have lost, or rather never possessed, knowledge of the fact GOD is a FAMILY into which we may be born as part of that very God family. That, also, explains why, on reading in the New Testament of God the Father, and also of Jesus being God, they came up with the false theory of the Holy Spirit being a "Ghost," or third Person of a Trinity, thus blaspheming the Holy Spirit and LIMITING God and doing away with all knowledge that converted humans can become members of the very divine God FAMILY. Thus Satan blinded "Christianity" from the truth and purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have overlooked a most important truth: the resurrection from the dead. They celebrate a pagan Easter acknowledging the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. But they overlook entirely the plain biblical teaching that all who ever lived are to be resurrected from the dead, although in the time order of three distinctly different resurrections. The only hope the Holy Bible gives for the vast humanity of this dying world is the hope of a resurrection from the dead, but that is a positively sure hope. All this will be completely covered and full scriptures given in the chapters to follow. What a tragedy that, as plainly stated in Revelation 12:9, this whole world has been deceived and blinded from the truth by Satan the devil, still sitting on the throne of the entire earth. The real truth is startling, but you will find it plainly revealed in your own Bible. Follow it as you carefully read this book. Consider! When God drove Adam and Eve out from the Garden of Eden, he set angels to bar mankind from reentering. Suppose the Eternal had left the gate into Eden open. Man had already taken of the forbidden tree. Man had already turned to sin. What would have happened? Probably the whole of sinning mankind would have surged back in to take of that tree of LIFE! Without any repentance—without even FAITH in God or in Christ—mankind would have helped himself to RECEIVING ETERNAL LIFE. THINK a moment!
God Not Unfair
How UNfair would God have been, had he allowed that! Man, with all his sins—and sin has a habit of increasing in the one who indulges in it—would have become immortal—living forever while suffering the pains, mental, physical and spiritual, that sin would bring on him! Man does not seem to realize that he now is the SLAVE of sin. Sin has cut him off from God the Father. Few understand that we are not saved by the death of Christ. We are reconciled to God the Father by Jesus' death. We are saved by his life (Rom. 5:10). Man does not realize that only a real repentance—turning from sin—and the living FAITH of Jesus Christ can FREE him from that penalty! Sin enslaves! It punishes! It brings sorrow, remorse, anguish. It inflicts physical injury, sickness and disease. It produces frustration and hopelessness. The most UNfair, UNkind, cruel thing God could have done once Adam and Eve had taken the forbidden tree would have been to leave the way open into the garden, with free access to all comers to the tree of LIFE—symbolic of the gift of ETERNAL LIFE! But what did God do? He drove out the man and the woman. He barred reentrance. He, however, made salvation and eternal life in extreme happiness and bliss become available to ALL the human family. But, with godly wisdom, he set a time order and conditions! For the first 6,000 years—now almost completed—all but the predestined FEW were cut off. On this point the entire world of traditional Christianity has been deceived. Here is a most important truth: Satan sitting on earth's throne tried to kill the Christ child. He then tried to tempt and disqualify Jesus just before the Christ started his earthly ministry (Matt. 4). Satan caused the martyrdom of most of the apostles. He caused intensive persecution against the Church. He caused a violent controversy to flare up in the early months and years of the Church disputing whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel OF Christ, or man's gospel ABOUT Christ. Satan caused the latter to win out, and in less than 20 years a false and counterfeit gospel ABOUT Christ was being proclaimed by all but the persecuted FEW who loyally remained as the small and persecuted true original Church of God.
Is Now the Only Day of Salvation?
These deceived "Christians" taught, and still teach, that now is the ONLY day of salvation, and that their counterfeit salvation of just "accepting" Jesus Christ, without the repentance of turning from sin and the obeying of God's law, would send people as "immortal souls" immediately to heaven upon death. Satan has blinded the minds of those of "traditional Christianity" to the fact that God closed off the tree of life until the glorified Jesus Christ comes in supreme power and glory to restore the government of God over the whole earth. It was decreed, I repeat, that it was appointed to humans once to die, and after death is to come the resurrection to judgment (Heb. 9:27). Meanwhile the world of Adam is not being judged, though in the final judgment all shall be held to account for their sins. But, meanwhile, God has made certain exceptions for a definite purpose. God raised up prophets for the very purpose of being part of the foundation of the Church. Jesus called disciples OUT OF THIS WORLD to be taught to teach others and in the coming millennium of the restored kingdom of God, to rule and teach under King of kings Jesus, when the tree of life will be opened to all flesh. The Church was called to be trained to become rulers and teachers in the kingdom of God WHEN the tree of life shall be opened. Meanwhile the Holy Spirit has been closed to all but the prophets and the called-out-ones of the true Church. The prophet Joel foretold it shall come to pass afterward—after the 6,000 years of this world of Satan—that God will pour out his Spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28). Meanwhile it was necessary for God's purpose that the Holy Spirit be given to the prophets and those specially called out for training to become rulers and teachers under Christ, when the government of God is restored to the earth over all nations. In calling out the Church, Jesus said plainly, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him …" (John 6:44). The Church is merely the "firstfruits" of salvation. This entire truth will be made more clear in chapter six.
Why the Second Adam?
To review: Approximately 4,000 years from Adam, God sent Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, overcoming Satan, qualifying where the first Adam failed, to replace Satan as RULER on the throne of the whole earth. Those who, as Jesus did, overcome Satan, their own selves and sin (the "called," that is), will sit with Christ in his throne when he comes to set up THE KINGDOM OF GOD and to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, which the former Lucifer rejected and ceased to administer! Those very few called, beginning with "righteous Abel" up to now and on to Christ's return to earth, have had to do what Adam refused to do—REJECT THE WAY OF SATAN, who rebelled against the GOVERNMENT OF GOD! Who, then, is a real Christian? Only those who have been, and are being, led by the Holy Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9, 11, 14). And none can receive the Holy Spirit until that person 1) REPENTS—of his sins, his transgressions of God's law; and 2) has complete faith in Jesus Christ—relying on Christ—which includes BELIEVING Jesus Christ. I mean, believing what he says—his WORD, the Holy Bible! Thus, the called-out-ones after real repentance and belief Christ reconciles to God the Father and we receive the Holy Spirit impregnating us as children of God. At this point let us clear up another question. Why could not Cain, Abel and Seth, the firstborn children of Adam, have repented and purely on that repentance have received the Spirit and life of God? God's law could not be a law except there be a penalty for its infraction. Adam had sinned. All his children had sinned and incurred on them the death penalty. They and no person after them could be freed from the penalty of that law until Christ, their very Maker, had paid that death penalty in their stead. Therefore, no salvation was possible until the crucifixion of Christ. Only Jesus' atonement could reconcile any human to God the Father. Now, what of these and all the others—the THOUSANDS OF MILLIONS? Up to now, unless called and drawn by God, they simply have not yet been judged! I do not mean they shall not have to give account for their sins. They shall, indeed! But their judgment is COMING. Judgment has begun in the true Church of God (I Pet. 4:17). Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father … draw him …" (John 6:44). No MAN CAN come to Christ otherwise! But the Church is merely the FIRST harvest. In Satan's deceived world many have come to a counterfeit Christ who is supposed to have done away with his Father's commandments. They even worship Christ. But Jesus himself said plainly: "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men… . And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition… . Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye" (Mark 7:7, 9, 13). Deceived millions do not realize that they are worshiping Christ in vain. They have been deceived into, worshiping "another Jesus."
Every Human Shall be Called
When Christ comes as KING OF KINGS and LORD of lords, he will reign for the next thousand years. EVERYBODY living from his coming will be called. After that thousand years shall occur the "Great White Throne Judgment" of Revelation 20:11-12. All who ever lived from Adam on, who were uncalled by God, shall be resurrected MORTAL in human flesh and blood as they were in their first life. Then they shall give account for the sins of their former life. The penalty of those sins is death. They shall then learn that Jesus Christ had paid that death penalty in their stead. But on real repentance and faith they shall be forgiven and receive God's Holy Spirit, begetting them to ETERNAL LIFE. GOD'S WONDERFUL MASTER PLAN WILL CALL EVERYONE WHO EVER LIVED TO RECEIVE ETERNAL SALVATION, but on real repentance and belief of God's truth. But, there is a time-order in resurrections (I Cor. 15:22-23). "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward …" (two other resurrections revealed in Revelation 20:11-13 are not covered in I Corinthians 15). Those called in the millennium, and those in the Great White Throne resurrection and judgment, shall NOT have Satan, then, to overcome. HOW WONDERFUL are God's ways—even though hidden now from most of humanity bringing so much suffering on themselves! As the apostle Paul exclaimed: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Rom. 11:33). In MAN, God is reproducing himself! The word for God in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim in the original Hebrew. It is a name, like church or family or group. God said, "Let US"—not ME—"make man in OUR image." God truly is a family into which we, literally, may be born! WHAT, then, is man? He is a living being made from the dust of the ground. He is CLAY, and GOD is the Master Potter, molding, shaping, forming our CHARACTER—if we respond when he calls and draws us to him. With our willingness he is infusing into us HIS VERY OWN SPIRITUAL HOLY, RIGHTEOUS and PERFECT CHARACTER! WHY is man? God created man on the earth to build in us what the sinning angels refused to let God build in them—his perfect CHARACTER! He is, in his time-order and way, developing us to become VERY GOD—each of us—and to finish the creation of the unfinished UNIVERSE! But, for NOW, we still live in this deceived world led by Satan.