Murder in Heaven!

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

There was a time, when heaven was the murder capital of the universe.

A lot of people have the idea, that once we get to heaven God is going to wave some magic wand, or flip some switch in the back of our heads and presto! We won’t sin anymore. After all it will be impossible to sin in heaven, right? Wait a minute. Where did sin begin? in heaven! While it is true that there will be no sin in heaven, we need to carefully examine why. Some say, “Well, we will have different natures. We will be like the angels.” Yet Lucifer was an angel and he sinned in heaven! He even committed murder!

This is what Jesus said when He was talking about Lucifer who became the devil:

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, John 8:44 NKJV

What did Jesus mean by “he was a murderer from the beginning?” Was Lucifer committing murder in heaven? Yes, he was!

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. Matthew 5:21-22 NKJV

Murder begins in the heart.

The books of heaven record the sins that would have been committed had there been opportunity. -Ellen White, Signs of the Times, July 31, 1901

Did Lucifer have murder in his heart? Would he have committed murder if he had been given the opportunity? Yes, and Isaiah tells us why.

For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Isaiah 14:13-14 

In many countries, especially in the past, the only way to get the throne was to kill the person already on it. When Lucifer said, I will exalt my throne above God, he wanted to eliminate God and take His place. When Satan led people to crucify Jesus on the cross He was showing the universe the heart of his rebellion which was murder. He was also showing the universe what he wanted to do to God high in heaven had he been given the opportunity.

Murder seems very extreme. We have a hard time believing any of our church friends could do such a thing, but is it really out of the realm of possibility or reality? About a decade ago a serial killer in Kansas was caught after putting fear in his community for decades. Police traced a computer disk to the church where the killer served as president of his congregation. I have heard people “joke” that the only reason they did not kill an ex spouse or mean boss was because they did not want to go to prison. Sometimes we joke about things that are serious to us.  It’s not always the love in our hearts that keep us from murdering. For some it is only the fear of prison that holds them back. I am afraid the reality is, there would be more murders if it were not for prison. Heaven would not be a safe place if the people allowed to live there refrained from murder only because they did not want to go to prison.

Let’s take a deeper look at Lucifer’s murder plot back in heaven. Ezekiel sheds some light on this.

You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,Till iniquity was found in you. Ezekiel 28:15 NKJV 

Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; Ezekiel 28:17 NKJV

You can define iniquity by having a tendency to do wrong or bending the wrong way. In heaven, somehow Lucifer’s love for God, and later that of many of the angels as well, made a wrong turn and was bent towards himself. He fell in love with his own beauty and began to put himself first, even to the point of wanting to eliminate others who stood in his way of being number one. The longing to be number one leads to murder. Pilate was willing to murder Jesus so he could be number one in popularity. Judas was willing to have people attempt to murder Jesus to force Jesus to defend Himself and His disciples so they, Judas included, could all be the greatest, another word for being number one. We willfully sin, knowing sin put Jesus on the cross, because our “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” turn out to be greater than our love for Jesus. Whenever we put self first, we put God on the cross.

In a sports tournament a team must eliminate every single team in the tournament in order to be number one. Then as if being the number one team is not enough, there is an award for the most valuable player, so at the end one person stands alone as the greatest. In sports it should be all for fun and we should enjoy the friendly competition. Sin is not friendly in its desire for supremacy.

An investigation into the mystery of iniquity leads us to the conclusion that Lucifer became a murderer when he fell in love with himself to the point that meeting his own desires became more important to him than the life of God. When we sin our desires become more important to us than the life of God and we, along with Satan put Jesus on the cross.

In heaven, even the angels who remained loyal to God did not discern that Lucifer’s rebellion would lead to murder. The cross was a real eye opener for the entire universe. The cross exposed Satan’s true colors and revealed the love of God.

That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven. The significance of the death of Christ will be seen by saints and angels. Fallen men could not have a home in the paradise of God without the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Shall we not then exalt the cross of Christ? The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. Without the cross they would be no more secure against evil than were the angels before the fall of Satan. Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden, the paradise of bliss. All who wish for security in earth or heaven must look to the Lamb of God. -Ellen White, Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889. 

The cross and not the fear of prison will prevent murder from happening again in heaven, where murder first began. Being given an angelic nature will not prevent sin from reoccurring, since we realize sin began with an angelic nature. A magic wand or switch in the back of the head will not prevent sin in heaven. Only the cross will prevent sin from ever occurring again. The cross will keep us safe from murder, sin and apostasy as we continue studying the cross for eternity.

The victory over sin and apostasy begins as we study the cross here on earth.

Hell In Light of The Cross-With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light of The Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

The Punishment of the Wicked

 

Brief overview: The wicked will be destroyed by fire. The punishment will be everlasting but the punishing will not. The wicked will die instead of being tormented for all eternity. See John 3:16Romans 6:23Obadiah 1:16Matthew 10:28Ezekiel 18:420.

 

Why it is important to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked:

I have a friend who is involved in a prison ministry that visits a juvenile detention center. My friend was telling me that they had recently shared thetruth about hell with the young men there. My friend said the Chaplin at the jail got very upset with him for letting the young men know that the punishment of the wicked is not an eternity spent in hell but rather death just like the Bible says in John 3:16 and Romans 6:23. The reason the Chaplin did not want them to know the truth about the punishment of the wicked was because he wanted the fear of being tormented for all eternity to motivate them to behave.

The teaching of people being tortured throughout all eternity is the most satanic false doctrine of all! It totally misrepresents the love and character of God making it impossible to love and know Him the way He loves and knows us.

Why it is important to understand the punishment of the wicked in the light of the cross:

Many churches use hell and fear as a motivation for doing good because they do not properly understand the love motivation. They do not understand the depths of Christ’s sacrifice in dying the second death. They make the Cross out to be a mere pain endurance marathon instead of seeing a Savior who was actually willing to say goodbye to life forever in order to save the world. When the early church saw the depths of Jesus’ love and sacrifice it turned the whole world upside down! Meaning it changed everything! It was God’s love that constrained, empowered and motivated them. This love is the only motivation that will actually succeed. Galatians 5:6 talks of a faith that works by love, not a fear of punishment. In John 14 Jesus says, “If you love Me keep My commandments”, not if you don’t want to go to hell you better keep my commandments. We must uplift the cross and the truth about the cross like never before. Young men in juvenile centers and people everywhere else need to know that there is a God who did way more than suffer for six hours on a cross. He faced the second death for them. He loved them more than He loved his own life. He loved them so much that when tempted to come down from the cross and go back to heaven He chose to die instead. Simply put, Jesus stayed on that cross for the young men in the juvenile detention center because the thought of heaven without them was hell to Jesus! When the love motivation receives its due power it will accomplish so much more than the fear motivation invented by men. Some people quote John 3:16 all the time while preaching of an eternal torment of sinners while that verse clearly says those who do not believe will “perish” instead of being tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

Further study on the punishment of the wicked

 

What is the opposite of eternal life?

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT

Note: Those who don’t believe perish. They are not tortured for all eternity. God did not kick Eve out of paradise just because she took a piece of fruit she was told not to. The serpent told lies about God’s love and interest in Eve’s welfare, that Eve and all mankind bought into. When Eve stopped believing in God’s love she stopped believing in her only Source of life. At the cross Jesus died for our sin of unbelief, and when we believe again in His love, we gain back the life we lost when we stopped believing in His love. This is the message of john 3:16.

What is the wages of sin?

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23 NLT

Note that the wages of sin is not eternal torment in hell.

What becomes of the soul or person that sins?

For all people are mine to judge—both parents and children alike. And this is my rule: The person who sins is the one who will die. Ezekiel 18:4 NLT

Note: KJV says soul, NLT says person. Both the KJV and NLT make it clear that the entire soul or person dies in hell and will not be tormented throughout eternity.

How long does the devil have?

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!
And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!
But terror will come on the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to you in great anger,
knowing that he has little time.” Revelation 12:12 NLT

Note: The devil does not have eternity in hell or anywhere else. He has but a little time left to exist.

What will happen to the devil or Satan?

You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate .You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.” Ezekiel 28:18-19 NLT

Note: Satan, like all sinners, will be annihilated and exist no more.

What happens to both body and soul in hell?

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 NLT

Note: Neither soul nor body are tortured throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Both are destroyed.

What is the final end of the wicked?

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all. But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Malachi 4:1-3 NLT

Note: There will be nothing left of the wicked – nothing but ashes.

 What does the lake of fire stand for?

Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. Revelation 20:14 NLT

What is God’s promise?

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”Revelation 21:3- 4 NLT

Note: Sinners cannot be eternally tormented in light of the promise that there will be no more pain. The promise is unconditional.

Can we trust that promise?

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”  Revelation 21:5 NLT

The Ten Commandments In Light Of The Cross Part 6

 

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Thou shalt not kill.  Exodus 20:13

The Hebrew word for “kill” is “ratsach” which more specifically means to murder.  Murder includes malice and self serving motives for killing. This commandment is clearly not forbidding capital punishment as that would conflict with the rest of the Bible. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. Genesis 9:6

In light of the cross all selfishness leads to murder. In John 8 Jesus says Satan was a murderer from the very beginning. In heaven Lucifer, now Satan, wanted the throne of God. Isaiah 14 The only way you get the throne is to eliminate the person on the throne. Many of the angels did not realize that Lucifer actually had murder on his mind while in heaven, but on the earth, at the cross, he did to God here on earth what he wanted to do to him in heaven-murder Him! The cross is where both Satan’s and God’s characters were manifested. At the cross we see Satan willing to kill anyone who gets in his way of getting what he wants, and we see God who is willing to die and say goodbye to life forever if He can just save someone else.

Self will always try to rise to the top and eliminate whoever gets in its way. This is why Christ took human nature to the cross and crucified self for us all. “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

Love is being centered on the welfare of others. Hate, which leads to murder is being centered on self. The only way to overcome putting yourself first is to put others first. The only way to overcome hate is to love.  So “Thou Shalt not kill” could actually be translated, “You will not put yourself first.” At the cross Jesus put others first. At the cross Satan put himself first, and showed the universe why he was a murderer from the very beginning, when he first started putting self first.

Garments of Grace; From Exalted to CAST DOWN

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Study this week’s SS lesson here. Download the SS lesson guides to your cell phone here.

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15).

Some have the idea that we will keep sinning here on earth, and then when we  get to heaven our characters will be suddenly changed to where we can’t sin. They forget that heaven is exactly where sin began. The mystery of iniquity is when sin began in a perfect world. The mystery of godliness is when sin is overcome while living on a sinful planet. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:7 and Colossians 1:26-18.) Many people believe the solution to changing our sins is having a new nature and better flesh. However, Lucifer sinned with a perfect nature and Jesus lived a perfect life with a human nature.  Lucifer was not made a robot up in heaven. We are not robots here on earth and we never will be robots up in heaven. We always have had and always will have free choice. So how do we know sin will not occur again in heaven?  

The Spirit of Prophecy points out that whether we are in heaven or earth, there is only one solution for rebellion in the whole universe. “That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven. The significance of the death of Christ will be seen by saints and angels. Fallen men could not have a home in the paradise of God without the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Shall we not then exalt the cross of Christ? The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. Without the cross they would be no more secure against evil than were the angels before the fall of Satan. Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden, the paradise of bliss. All who wish for security in earth or heaven must look to the Lamb of God. {Signs of the Times, Dec. 30 1889}

The plan of salvation, making manifest the justice and love of God, provides an eternal safeguard against defection in unfallen worlds, as well as among those who shall be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Our only hope is perfect trust in the blood of Him who can save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is our only hope in this world, and it will be our theme in the world to come. Oh, we do not comprehend the value of the atonement! If we did, we would talk more about it. The gift of God in His beloved Son was the expression of an incomprehensible love. It was the utmost that God could do to preserve the honor of His law, and still save the transgressor.  {Our High Calling 45} 

 It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.  {Desire of Ages 83

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 1 John 4:17

The solution for perfection in heaven is available here on earth.

Revelation 12; Casting Satan Out of Our Hearts And Homes

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  Revelation 12:7-9

I do not think the war in heaven was fought with machine guns and army tanks. I believe it was a war of the minds. Satan, who was full of himself was trying to create and ego in the other angels as well. I don’t know, but I can imagine him coming up to another angel and saying, “That was a wonderful job you did on that project God gave you. Did He give you any special recognition for it?” The other angel replies, “Well no, I did not really need any….” Satan interrupts, “Oh that is too bad. You did such a wonderful job. You know, if I was God I would have thrown a huge banquet in your honor.” And thus, Satan began the war of the minds, attempting to make the angels think he cared more about them than God.

God could have eliminated Satan right then and there, but if He had, we would be serving God for fear of being wiped out too, instead of out of love. God had to allow Satan to grow into the weed that he is so that all could see later, why Satan had to be eliminated.

In the Lord’s prayer we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In heaven Satan was cast out along with all his lies. When we pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are giving Michael permission to throw Satan and all his lies out of our hearts, homes, churches and even communities.  If God can cast Satan out of heaven He can also cast Him out of your heart and home!

Was The Atonement to Appease an Angry God or an Angry Race?

I am writing from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

These are my thoughts as we study this week’s SS Lesson in Redemption in Romans.

 
 
 
 
 

 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

 

Was the atonement and sacrifice of Christ a matter of vengeance? Did God the Father send His Son to die because He needed to see someone suffer for the rebellion?   Do we serve a God that just has to see somebody suffer and pay the price for disobeying Him? Really, why did Christ have to die?

 

There is so much more to the atonement than we mortals can even begin to imagine. Satan would like us to be short sighted and only see God becoming a man and thus providing a human sacrifice to appease an angry God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. First of all, God is not angry with us, but rather we are angry with God. The atonement is not about us making peace with God it’s about God making peace with us! After the fall, it was not God running from man but man running from God. It was God who wanted to make an atonement, not man. When God came to earth the angels announced “Peace on earth good will towards man” not “God is over in Bethlehem and boy is He angry with you, you’d better go over there and talk to Him and see if you can get this thing straightened out!” God Himself had already straightened things out between us when He became “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

 

God did not need to see His Son or someone else suffer in order to be satisfied. Simply put, God says, “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” Proverbs 8:36 It is not that God wants to see someone suffer but rather that the sinner loves death. God does not want us to love death, He wants us to love life! Romans 8:7 tells us clearly what the problems is. God is not at enmity with us but rather “the carnal mind [is] enmity against God.”

 

So why is the carnal mind at enmity with God? Because we have bought into Satan’s lie that God is not a God of love. That He is really quite selfish and only thinks of Himself. The carnal mind also believes that only Satan and a lawless society can make us happy. Satan has deceived the human race into thinking that God is a selfish tyrant forcing people to worship Him and obey His laws because He is wrapped up in Himself. Satan has deceived the human race and even a third of the angels into thinking that Satan is more concerned about our welfare and happiness than God is.

 

This is why there needed to be an atonement. Not so that an angry God could see someone suffer, but so that humanity could see the real character of God and the real character of Satan. God provided an atonement not so much for our sin but because our minds and attitude need to be healed.  (Salvation comes from the word, “salvo,” which means healing.  The Bible states Jesus came to save his people from their sins.  What this actually means is Jesus came to heal us by removing Satan’s lies from our minds, which is the cleansing of the sanctuary). And not just for our attitude but also the attitude of the angels. In John 8, Jesus calls Satan a murderer from the very start. Who did Satan murder in heaven? Remember Jesus says if you want to commit murder, it is as if you already have. When Satan said he wanted to sit on the throne of the Most High there was murder in his heart as you can only take the throne if you kill the one already on it. Meanwhile, Satan is trying to convince the angels that God is selfish and he is the only one who cares about others. A third of the angels go with Satan while the others stayed but were not totally convinced about who was right.

 

The cross more than atones for sin, it also atones our attitude with God’s attitude. At the cross we see Satan and see his true colors. While telling the angels he was the only one who really cared for them, at the Cross we see Satan is willing to kill anyone who gets in his way of being number one. Satan is all about preserving self at the expense of others. Meanwhile, at the cross we see the true colors of God. While Satan accused Christ of being selfish, we see that Christ is willing to die in order to save the world. Christ wants to preserve others even at His own expense.

 

God did not need to see Jesus die in order to be atoned with us, but rather we needed to see Jesus die in order for our attitude to be atoned with His attitude. Christ’s suffering was not to appease an angry God but rather to appease an angry human race and the rest of the universe that had questions about His true character.

 

Satan uses pagan religions and pagan gods to skew our understanding of the Christian religion and the True God. In pagan religions, the people make human sacrifices to get the god to accept them. The Aztecs were making human sacrifices up until the 1500s in order to get the sun to rise. They thought the sun would not rise unless the gods saw them making a human sacrifice. In Christianity the exact opposite is true. The God sacrifices Himself to get the people to accept Him. God is not at war with humanity; humanity is at war with God. God the Father did not need to see his Son suffer to change His attitude towards us as much as we needed to see God suffer on the cross to change our attitude towards Him, thus the atonement.

 

 

 

May God richly bless our understanding of the atonement as we study this quarter and throughout all eternity.

 

 

 

Please also visit my personal website, In Light Of The Cross.