The Son thought for a moment, drew a deep breath, and then said, “I’m not sure yet. He seems doubtful, or perhaps unhappy about something.” The Father asked, “Do you think it has anything to do with his assignment? He’s been on earth for a long time now.” “It’s possible,” said the Son. “He may think that we’ve forgotten him and are going to leave him stranded in the field.” The Father smiled. “If that were true, it would be ironic, would it not? He has no idea that Earth is to become the center of our operations, and that his assignment is the most important of all the other angels.” The Son nodded. “Ironic, to be sure, Father,” He said. The Father said, “I can scarcely wait for Lucifer to finish his preparations on Earth, so we can begin the next phase of the plan. Why don’t you go to Earth and talk with Lucifer. Maybe it will encourage him. But keep a sharp eye out. I’ve never had this feeling about an angel before.” The Son replied, “As you wish, Father.”
The scene fades. Multiple eons pass – Earth time. Another conversation takes place in heaven between the Father and the Son. “Welcome back, Son. How are things going down on Earth? Did you see Lucifer?” “Yes, Father, I did. We talked for some time. He took me on a tour of the building project, and I explained just how we want everything to look when he’s finished.” “Splendid. How’s he doing? Is he any happier?” “Well, I think you were right in the beginning. He definitely has an attitude problem. I tried to talk to him about it, but he wouldn’t open up. It’s even worse since we told him about the plan. It’s almost as though he resents the concept of a human being.” “You mean he wouldn’t talk at all?” “Not exactly. He talks, and he’s friendly, but his conversation is all superficial – not his true feelings. He asked all sorts of questions and made all sorts of suggestions, but I got the impression he would rather I just leave him alone and let him do things his own way.” “I see,” said the Father. “I might also mention that word has come back that he was discussing ideas with others – nothing overt, just a subtle undercurrent.” The Father’s brow furrowed. “Keep a close, Son.”
Eons again pass. We pick up another conversation from beyond space. “Father, things are deteriorating rapidly on Earth. Lucifer has drawn a tight circle around the angels with him. He filters all communications and only lets the angels know what he wants them to know. In addition, now that He knows our objectives, he counters our words in advance. When I spoke to the angels, much of what I said was met with disapproval, because Lucifer has imputed motives to me before I arrived. All they know is what he’s telling them. They think we’re unfair for creating man, who will eventually supersede them in glory. He’s got them all feeling like abuse victims, instead of the bright, beautiful, blessed creatures they are. There is talk among them of deconstructing the Earth’s surface to make it uninhabitable for man. Of course, all this is being done in secret. When I was there, everything looked fine – fine, this is, except for two things.” The Father looked up. “Oh? What two things?” “Well, I noticed fright off that Lucifer wasn’t as bright as he used to be.” The Father leaned forward on His throne. “And?” “And – now this is strange,” said the Son, “I noticed something different about his eyes, but I couldn’t put My finger on it at first. After a bit, it dawned on me. He doesn’t blink anymore.” “Doesn’t blink anymore?” exclaimed the Father. “No, Father, he doesn’t seem to have eyelids any longer.” “What?” “No, he doesn’t – not anymore. It makes him look almost reptilian.”
“Eons again pass. “Father, it’s turned to outright rebellion now. Should someone go down there and do something?” “No need of that, My Son. They will come up here. You see, I have known it would come to this for some time. As we speak, they’re planning to attack us in our own throne room.” “But, Father, the idea is inconceivable! They can’t overthrow their own Creator.” “I know, Son, but when they gave themselves to bitterness, irrationality was not far behind. But don’t worry. They will not succeed. In fact, even now, as they prepare to attack, I have an alternative plan. We will use their rebellion to help accomplish our master plan. We will allow Lucifer to infect man with his thoughts, and that will be man’s crucible for eternal life. Humans will learn how to overcome evil with good.” “Father, they’re coming!” “Let them come. Alert Gabriel and Michael. Gather the heavenly host and take Your position at My side, and do what I say when I say it.”
Multiple millennia, once again, pass. The great angelic rebellion was quelled. The earth has now been recreated and the plan the plan for God’s family has been set in motion. The one called the Son, with the passage of time, in a great act of humility, daring in faith, gave up His Godship, according to the plan, and became a human, in order that He might save man from the adversary.
Over time, there have been lots of questions about just how the Son of God experienced life as Jesus, the Man. If you think about it, memory is our identity. What did Jesus remember? Well, there’s an interesting statement in Luke 10:18.
Luke 10:18 – He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
So, Jesus, the Man, as He talked to the people of His day in Judea, recalled in His mind’s eye seeing Lucifer – now Satan – fall from heaven back to Earth. There’s a saying: He who forgets the lesson of history is doomed to repeat it. Jesus did not forget. He was there when He and the Father first suspected Lucifer’s deterioration. He saw the envy turn to bitterness. He saw the bitterness turn to madness. He saw the madness turn to rebellion. He even saw his appearance change. And He marveled at how Satan could forget who God was. He saw the power of God unleashed, and millions of years later, as a Man, He could still remember seeing Satan fall like lightning to the earth – a fiery reminder of the power of God.
Perhaps, more than any man, Jesus knew the reality of God’s promise to resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Jesus never forgot that lesson. And, when He came to Earth, He knew, though there were many nations, and many kings, and many religions, there were really only two governments – God’s and Satan’s. And He knew God’s government would replace Satan’s. He also knew that, if He wished to be a part of God’s government, He had to submit perfectly to it, because unlike you and I, He had no one to pay for His sins. His message to us was and is: God’s Kingdom is coming. Draw close to God, build a relationship with Him, follow His laws while there is time.
Well, we’re gathered here on one of God’s holy days – the Day of Atonement. We know that the preceding holy day, the Feast of Trumpets, pictures the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. We know that the meaning of this day in its name – to become at one with God – something that will begin to happen almost immediately after Christ returns.
Notice this scripture that most of us connect with this day. It’s in Revelation 20, verse 1:
Revelation 20:1 – Then I saw an angel – this is right after Christ returns – coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it, and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousands years were ended.
If we read this in context, we can surely see that this happens immediately after Christ returns. Satan, the great deceiver, is bound – prevented from deceiving people any longer. Once, the veil is lifted, everyone will see Jesus for who He really is, and that will usher in a time of peace and prosperity that has never been on Earth since the Garden of Eden.
So this is a truly happy day, because we’re here to celebrate the time when mankind is going to become at one with God at last. The reason I mention this historical lesson is this: feel-good gospel aside, obedience to God is the way to draw closer to Him – to become at one with Him. The way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ and Him alone. And He requires us to give ourselves to Him, as He gave Himself up for us. We hear that we can come to God “just as we are,” and that’s true. God will take us any which way, but He won’t let us stay that way. We have to repent, turn around and live differently, make hard choices, flee the devil and draw close to God, and then God will draw close to us. There will be no rebels in God’s Kingdom, nor will there be any unwilling slaves. Everyone that is there will want to be there and will want to follow God and God’s way. They will want to follow God’s rules. They will believe in them. They wouldn’t have it any other way. So, no room for Satan or those who think like him in God’s Kingdom.
When we talk about a relationship with God, we come as Lucifer and Jesus both did to the issue of government. Will we let God be our King? We don’t want, at some later time, to be found in Lucifer’s position – shot out of the sky to crash and burn. So we can use this attitude as a measuring stick to see if we’re for real or if we just talk a good talk while living our lives as we please, rather than as God pleases.
I’ve been thinking recently about how many Christians have been fooled into thinking they don’t need to obey God. They hear that they need to make Jesus the Lord of their lives, or give their hearts to the Lord, or some other general phrase, but, while those statements are true, they don’t explain how to do that. The boys in the theological seminaries work overtime at thinking up ways to make disobedience sound good. But, to me, if it quacks like a duck….
So why do you suppose they do this? Well, I have an idea about that. In the fourth century – that’s nearly three hundred years after Christ died – so there were three hundred years of Christians following Christ just the way He gave it to us – the church gave up on one of the Ten Commandments – three hundred years after Christ. Up until then, all Christians, including all the original apostles, observed the seventh day Sabbath. So, if they accept the Ten Commandments back, they would have to take that one back, too. They’d have to start worshipping on the seventh day, rather than the first. And everyone knows, that would just cause way too much trouble. So they’ve found ways to talk about being loyal to God without talking about the law, which is the loyalty standard that God goes by.
Sometimes I watch TV preachers on Sunday morning. They really get down on what they call Judaizers – people who follow the law of God. They connect the law with the Jews. They forget that God gave that law to them. They tell us we’re free now from that old law. I remember years ago, reading a man named Brinsmeade – an ex-Adventist – who forsook the Sabbath. He made a startling statement. He said, “Jesus freed us from God.” That’s what many Christians have made of Jesus. Because of Him, we don’t have to do those old laws anymore. We don’t have to do what God said in the beginning. We have the Holy Spirit now, they’ve been taught by the theological seminary adherents. So go play golf, go to work, do whatever you like. Don’t follow Jesus’ example of Sabbath observance. I mean, there it is right there. Jesus kept the Sabbath. And you can read in the New Testament – a long time after He died – and no mention of any change.
But here’s what Jesus Himself said about His law. Let’s read it in Matthew 5:17.
Matthew 5:17 – Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. And of course, that’s what everybody thinks. Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.
Now, some people try to twist that into meaning that, since He fulfilled them, we don’t have to keep them anymore, but that doesn’t say that. What He really meant by that was, He was going to live them perfectly as an example for us.
Let’s read again in verse 18:
V-18 – Truly I say to you, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so, the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Did you catch that? Did you catch that? “Whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” So that really let’s us know that Jesus wants us to obey His laws!
V-20 – For I tell you, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of scribes and Pharisees – who were very rigid and legalistic in their approach – you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
“Unless your righteousness” – righteousness is the obeying of the law – “exceeds that of scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” So, instead of doing away with the law, like everybody seems to think, He amplified it. The law, at one time, informed our behavior. Now it informs our behavior and our attitude.
Besides this, did you know that, after Christ returns, all His Old Testament laws will come back into effect? Yes, that’s right. They’re all going to be kept again. There’s going to be a temple. There’s going to be sacrifices. There will be the Passover and the other holy days. And there will be the Sabbath, observed every seventh day by people worldwide. Jesus, who set an example for us, observed all those things, except for the sacrifice, because He is the sacrifice.
So, actually, God has placed those people, that modern Christians look down as hardliner extremists, on the cutting edge. They’re the wave of the future – doing what God has always told them to do – to keep His law, to be close to Him. God’s law is the way into God’s heart. God’s law is the natural response to Christ’s sacrifice. “I want to be just like you, Jesus.” And how was He? Well, He perfectly observed His own law. So, we’re not talking about the letter of the law, as observed by ancient Israel, but the spirit of the law, as expounded by Christ.
At some time in the future, out past space and time, a conversation will take place. It might go like this:
The Father speaks. “Events on Earth are whirling into the vortex. The time is near, My Son.” “Yes, Father, as You will. Have you noticed My brethren, Father? Look at them. Through all the temptations and traps of Satan, they have remained faithful to You.” The Father smiles, “They’re really incredible, aren’t they? I know for certain now that they are loyal to Our way. I know they worship Me, not other gods or people. They won’t turn away from Our ways. Our ways have become their ways. Our relationship is in tact forever. They have become like us in their hearts. Our mysterious plan is now completed. We have created beings with Our own character.” The Father pauses and then says, “We need not wait any longer. The job is done.” The Son nods slowly as He glances at the Father. As Their eyes meet, the Son instantly understands the implied command. With eagerness, He rises from His throne, takes His sword and shield, mounts a magnificent white charger, and signals the seventh angel to sound his trumpet.