Back to ancient/ SDA's ............. Into the Library
R. B. Ainsley
© Duplication and distribution of this book is encouraged.
Based on chapters 12 & 13 of the book
"Behold your God" .
The WORD and the word — Singular or plural? - Two witnesses? - Gods way
Principles of Bible Interpretation - Where to get the principles - Private Interpretation
Dictionaries and Commentaries -Two sets of rules - The Bible its own interpreter
No contradictions or unsatisfactory solutions - A problem God faces - Saving truth
Another problem - Consistency — God does destroy but how? — Saul, king of Israel
The Jews - Peace and safety - Summary - Two more questions - He doesnt just leave
Why does God use those words? —
Appendix A — How does God destroy "in righteousness"?
Appendix B - As you sow, so shall you reap
Appendix C - Sodom and Gomorrah
Appendix D- How did mankind cause the Flood?
God will destroy the "wicked" but HOW?
This book is written in an endeavour to explain just how our loving heavenly Father, who is also a strict Judge, and whose Son is Jesus the loving Saviour of the New Testament who only ever gave health and happiness, can actually destroy those who reject and rebel against His kingdom.
Of necessity it is longer than we would like, but because this subject is so misunderstood, and so important to be understood, there seems little that can be deleted from it. It is the darkness of misapprehension of Gods character that is enshrouding the world in these days. Humanity is losing its knowledge of Him because His behaviour has been grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted.
At this time a message about God needs to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character needs to be made known. Into the darkness of the world true Christians should be shedding the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy and truth. "Behold", says the Scripture, "the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the LORD shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you". Isaiah 60:2.
It is hoped that this book is a small effort in that direction.
"Have I been so long time with you,
and yet have you not known Me, Philip?
He that has seen Me has seen the Father".
every student of the Bible
Why are there so many religions calling themselves Christian
when there is only one Christ?
Why are there so many differences in Christian doctrines
when there is only one Bible?
The problem is obviously one of interpretation.
First, of the Man, and second, of His teachings.
The WORD and the word
Singular or plural?
The fact that there are many different opinions of what the Jesus is supposed to be is clear evidence that there are many false interpretations of Gods WORD, for only one interpretation can be correct. The false are many, the truth singular. He is the "only begotten" of His Father. John 1:14.
The fact that there are many versions of what the Scriptures are supposed to say is clear evidence that there are many false interpretations of Gods word, for only one interpretation can be correct. The false are many, the truth singular. "Your word is true from the beginning: and every one of Your righteous judgments endures for ever". Psalm 119:160.
It is for this reason that the following words were penned.
1 "My son, if you will receive My words, and hide My commandments with you; 2 so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding, 3 yes, if you cry after knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding; 4 if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; 5 then shall you understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God". Proverbs 2:1-5.
Yet it is also written, "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death". Deuteronomy 17:6.
This text is often used as a basis for requiring two or more verses, or passages of Scripture, before believing a truth. However, in reality it is laying down the procedure to be used in an earthly courtroom when a person is on trial as the context clearly indicates. This is necessary in law because human witnesses often differ in essential facts as well as in their interpretation of them. Not lying, but not recalling the whole evidence. But our God is not like us as we will read below, and His word is not like ours. It can stand alone. A second passage underlying the first is of great value to the individual student that he or she has understood correctly, but is not necessary for the truth.
What is necessary for our understanding of Gods WORD, Jesus Christ, and His word, the Bible, is our appreciation of Gods character and ways because He says,
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts". Isaiah 55:8-9.
The Bible is Gods effort to reveal to us in the limited framework of human languages, the height, the depth, the length and the breadth of His love.
Like His Son, it is both human and divine. As such, it is a masterpiece perfectly designed for the human mind to understand. Yet it seems so complicated!
This is so because many do not know what the correct principles of Bible interpretation are. Many read it with merely human understanding, or with the "aid of the Spirit" and human understanding. Few allow the Spirit alone to be their Guide. Yet to begin studying the word of God without the correct principles of interpretation is to end up far removed from the truth.
And, in fact, the more intensely and enduringly the study is continued, the further from the truth the student will be!
Principles of Bible Interpretation
It is a common assertion for one who has been studying the Bible to say that he or she has been reading directly from the Scriptures for many, many years and therefore must have the truth. To many this claim is impressive, but to the true student it will mean nothing at all. He or she will merely ask, "Have you been studying it correctly?", for, in fact, few people ever approach the Bible with any real system of interpretation in their mind. They normally search through the word and form their own opinion as to what they think the verses mean. Many choose the passages that uphold a previously defined theory and ignore those which contradict it. This is a haphazard and dangerous practice indeed. It leads to an unbalanced point of view and allows, actually encourages, debate which neither side can win. Both go away feeling that the other is just stubborn or unbelieving.
In any attempt to understand Gods "way" we dare not do this, for we will soon have before us the very real problem of two sets of statements which can, and often do, say exactly the opposite of each other. This leads to confusion. The only safe way around this problem is to use the correct principles of Scriptural interpretation.
To use these, they must be understood. Our task is, first, to define them, and second, to keep to them.
Where to get the principles
It is from the Bible that we must obtain these principles, for not only does it give us the truth, it also informs us HOW its messages are to be comprehended.
Thus it contains the warning, "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation". 2 Peter 1:20. Some may be inclined to limit this thought to the foretellings of future events because of the use of the word "prophecy" but in its fullest sense the word means any revelations which come from the prophet. When this is understood, it will be recognized that every word of the Bible is prophecy. The "seers" of old gave many words of advice as well as foretelling the future, as did also the early Christian prophets.
"Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spoke to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel". 2 Chronicles 33:18.
"Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also". Acts 15:35.
We can now ask the question, "What is "private interpretation" as distinct from Scriptural interpretation?"
"Private interpretation" is that which comes into the mind of the student as his or her considered opinion of what any divine revelation is intended to mean. He or she arrives at a conclusion according to their understanding of words which have already been formed in their minds. Our minds contain a "dictionary" which we have built up over the years and to which we make reference whenever we read a story. When a word is encountered which is not already stored in our mind then often an outside source is consulted. Sometimes a comprehensive dictionary, but more often an acceptable Bible commentary which gives the meaning of the "original" language. Either way, such a one makes up their own mind on the weight of evidence and is often very proud of being their own man or woman and having independent views.
We may well define this method of Bible study as "definition by dictionary". It is a very common way to study the Bible, and we may be sure that if this method is used, then certain views will be established. For instance, when students of Gods word read in the Scriptures that God sent the Flood upon the earth, and that He destroyed men by raining fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah, they will, without thought or question, take the definitions of the words underlined as those words are already determined in their minds. Such definitions can only give them the picture of a God personally and directly using His mighty power to lash out and liquidate His enemies. They can come to no other conclusion. But is it correct? Is it the "truth"?
The limited, erroneous, nature of this method is exposed when it is seen that it often leaves its followers with unexplainable contradictions. They have no explanation of the other set of statements regarding Gods mercy, except to say that He must have "favourites", but this is vigorously denied in the Scriptures. See Acts 10:34-35. Often such "believers" conveniently ignore these opposing Scriptures, concentrating their study on the ones which support their chosen view. When confronted with the "contradictions" they find refuge in two devices. One is to try and "twist" the difficult declarations to fit their view.
This is not new, for Peter gives a description of this.
15 "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him has written unto you; 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen". 2 Peter 3:15-18.
The other is to assert that their view is supported by the "weight of evidence", as if the truths of Gods word are determined by numbers. Many of this opinion positively refuse to consider any opposing view.
Those who learn and adopt the Scriptural method of interpretation do not have this problem. They find that the whole of Gods word becomes one harmonious pattern of saving truth. They find that they can take those statements of Scripture, which to others are a contradiction, and see in them only perfect consistency. Therefore they welcome an alternative viewpoint.
Why then, is the method of defining by the dictionary, so certain to lead to wrong views of Scripture? It may be argued that the very purpose of the dictionary or commentary is to make clear what the words mean. If we do not use the dictionary to define our terms then to what shall we turn? How will we ever know the meaning of anything?
These are excellent questions.
Dictionaries and Commentaries
Within the dictionary or commentary are the definitions of the words as those words define human behaviour. This is the key point. In the area of human behaviour the dictionary is the undisputed authority and should be heeded. But the dictionary is compiled by people who do not understand or are even concerned with the divine behaviour. If divine and human behaviour were the same then there would be no problem, but they are not the same. They are very different indeed.
Let us repeat:
"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts". Isaiah 55:8-9.
Any one who would understand Gods character and His word must engrave these statements on his or her mind and continually refer to them during study. The student of Gods word must be self-programmed to test every assertion, every concept, and every idea forming in their own mind, by the words of this statement, for "the heart [or mind] is deceitful above all things". Jeremiah 17:9. How then, can we know Gods character? By looking at His Sons life, for He told us that He has come to make His Fathers "way" clear before us. John 17:4-9.
If, while reading the word of God, the student forms a picture of divine behaviour as being the same as human behaviour, then, in the light of Isaiah 55:8-9, the concept being formed must be wrong. Even the best of human behaviour cannot measure up to the way Gods thinks and acts.
But this does not mean that any other view of His behaviour is necessarily right either! What it does mean is that we must have two sets, two different sets, of definitions for the same key words. One set is already well known to us. It is our everyday use of words as they describe human behaviour. What needs to be developed in our minds is that other definition which defines the words as they are used by God to describe His behaviour. By this we mean such key words as "destroy", "wrath", "justice", "punish", "harden" and such like.
It is not education or the lack of it which matters.
All that is required is that you be willing to search out the truth. Are you "hungering" for Gods word? Moses was educated, David was not. Daniel was educated, Elijah was not. Paul was educated, Peter was not. But all were used by God because of their willingness to be taught by Him.
Two sets of rules
Man destroys. We know that. We also know how man destroys. We know how he goes about it and have no difficulty with this understanding. He willfully and deliberately, though sometimes reluctantly, sets out to annihilate his enemies.
The Bible says that "God destroys". See Genesis 6:7 etc. Therefore, it is a truth that God does destroy. But the Bible also says that His ways are not our ways, that they are totally different. From this we can conclude that His way of destroying is not our way. It is altogether different. Between them there can be no similarity.
Therefore when the word declares that God does destroy, it must be understood that this work is done in an altogether different way from how we would do it. Conversely, when the word is that God does NOT destroy, this also must be in a different way to humanity.
The Bible its own interpreter
Seeing the dictionary and commentary contain the meaning of words only as applied to human activity, where can we find the meanings of words used in the Bible? Here we must allow the Bible to be used as its own dictionary. Only when we have learned to use it in this way can a correct comprehension of its messages be received. God understands the problems facing humans trying to grasp His word through many centuries and languages, as well as the barriers of differing cultures. He intends His word to be an understandable message to young and old alike, to the educated as well as the uneducated, to the clever as well as the simple. It is a book for all men and women, and children, of all time. Therefore He has carefully incorporated within the Scriptures, means whereby a clear definition of the words as He uses them in describing His own behaviour may be found. There is no excuse for anybody in not obtaining the Scriptural definitions. They are there for the taking. God has provided them and it is our duty to search them out and, having found them, to apply them.
A wise man or woman will reason (Isaiah 1:18) that if the word is a revelation from God (Ephesians 3:3), it must be consistent within itself, and with the life of the WORD. The character and works of Jesus Christ must be the standard of all reasoning. He said, "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very works sake". John 14:11.
As it is given for our instruction (2 Timothy 3:16), it must also be adaptable to our individual understanding. Therefore, endeavouring to lay aside all preconceived opinions, and dispensing with commentaries, a diligent student of the Bible will compare difficult Scriptures with other Scriptures by the aid of the marginal references and a concordance.
They will pursue their study in a regular and methodical manner, reading verse by verse, and proceeding no faster than they can understand without any problems of interpretation. If they find anything obscure, or out of harmony with the life of the WORD of God as seen on this earth, they will compare it with every other text which seems have a reference to the one under consideration.
Every other word must be permitted to have its proper bearing upon the subject until it ceases to be a difficulty and all are harmonized. In this way, whenever a passage hard to be understood is encountered, under the guidance of the Spirit of God (John 16:13), an explanation in another portion of the Scripture will be found.
No contradictions or unsatisfactory solutions
Notice the main points of this system.
First, there is the mental approach. We must reason that the Bible is consistent with itself. There can be no contradictions within the word. Jesus explained this principle in the following words:
25 "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come to you". Matthew 12:25-28.
Second, the spiritual approach. We must recognize that the books of the Bible were expressly collected and arranged for our instruction, therefore it can be understood by the reader. It does not contain all that has, or can be written on its subjects, but all that it does contain is sufficient. The Bible and the Bible only, is all that we require. There have been many other prophets, and many other prophecies written, but they are not necessary for the salvation and education of Gods people. See 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29, 11:2, Acts 21:9-10 for a few examples of them.
These two points are all we need:-
There are no contradictions
and we can understand every word.
When the student of Gods word believes this, there will not be any part thought impossible to understand, nor any that oppose one another. All will be made as plain as we are willing to accept.
But this does not mean that it will be easy. Jesus told us to dig as for hidden treasure and this requires some effort. He also said "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field". Matthew 13:44. The kingdom of heaven is defined earlier in this series of parables as being the word of God. Verses 18-19. Why must we work hard for it? Because there is not one of us who is not afflicted with the original problem in interpretation. The desire to think it out for ourselves! This is why we need to pray for guidance each time we read it.
And this is one of Gods great problems.
A problem God faces
The outstanding example of this is found in the experience of Christs apostles. They were born into a Jewish world where the great expectation was that the Messiah would come as an all-conquering king and force the Romans to leave Israel alone. As they grew up it was taught to them in school and church, and was the subject of conversation all around them for most of their adult lives. Regardless of His efforts to show them only a loving and saving Father, (One willing to lay down His life for His enemies: Romans 5:10), they even asked it of Jesus after His resurrection. "When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Acts 1:6.
These preconceived ideas of the disciples were the thorn in the side of their Master. One day John and James came to Him with a problem.
51 "And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 And sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him. 53 And they did not receive him, because His face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will You that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did? 55 But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, You know not what manner of spirit you are of, 56 for the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village". Luke 9:51-56.
They had not understood the true meaning of the passage they were referring to. Because of its importance in understanding the principles of Bible interpretation we will quote it in full here. It was an experience in the life of Elijah.
8 "And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite. 9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty [soldiers] with his fifty. And he went up to him, and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill [with God]. And he spoke to him, You man of God, the king has said, Come down. [A direct order to a man recognized as being under Gods command!] 10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume you and your fifty. [This will happen if you try and take me by force because it is dangerous to enter Gods presence without protection.] And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty [as a result of his behaviour and words. See Matthew 12:36]".
11 "Again also he [the king] sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he [also] answered and said to him, O man of God, thus has the king said, Come down quickly [with even more emphasis]. 12 And Elijah answered and said to them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume you and your fifty [to move into the area surrounding God will be fatal]. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty".
13 "And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him [with the right attitude], and said to him, O man of God, I pray you, let my life, and the life of these fifty your servants, be precious in your sight. 14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in your sight [He who is of a contrite heart God can protect from himself]".
15 "And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of [or for] him. And he arose, and went down with him to the king". 2 Kings 1:8-15.
The pained face Jesus turned to His disciples should have been enough for them. He had come to save His enemies, not destroy them as men would. He was the Son of God and should act in a different way, as He had explained in the Sermon on the Mount. He had said then, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good for them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven [for He is like that]". Matthew 5:44-45.
So with Elijah. He was a son of God and he acted in the manner shown him by his Master. He did not literally kill the soldiers. He was warning them of their danger, telling them that if they ventured into forbidden ground, they would die as a result of their own action. And this is what happened. Elijah was under the protection of God and when the third captain asked him humbly to follow him, he went gladly and saved those men.
If we were to read the Old Testament text without the benefit of the New we too might have fallen into the trap John and James fell into. But Jesus did not have the New Testament. He had asked for, and read with, the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He had applied the correct principles to the interpretation to the story and found out that God did not destroy those soldiers as men would have. Rather, He had left them to their own independent way and it was this that killed them!
Jesus had followed the rule of making the Scripture its own interpreter and by so doing He had avoided the perilous pitfall of private or human interpretation, which can only lead astray. He had read,
"Moreover all these curses shall come upon you, and shall pursue you, and overtake you, till you be destroyed; because you hearkened not to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you [for your safety]". Deuteronomy 28:45.
And this was backed up by,
"As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come". Proverbs 26:2.
One of the answers to the question, "What shall I do to be saved?" is that we must lay aside our preconceived opinions, our hereditary and cultivated ideas, at the door of investigation. If we search the Scriptures to vindicate our own opinion, then we will never reach the truth. We must search to learn what the LORD says. If conviction comes as we search, if we see that our cherished opinions are not in harmony with the truth, we must accept the light given and give up our ideas. We need to open our hearts and our minds if we wish to receive "wondrous things" out of the word of God. Psalm 119:18.
The whole world lies in ignorance of God as He really is, and we who have lived in this world before we became Christians, have been unconsciously influenced by this atmosphere. Thus it will take time, even with the correct methods of study, to come to an accurate grasp of divine revelations. Gods truth being an expression of the mind of Infinity, it is too much to expect that a few short months will take a person from deep darkness to a correct understanding of the full truth. But unless sound and solid foundation principles are used, then this will never even begin.
It hardly seems necessary to quote the many statements from Scripture which tell us that the "wicked" will be as though they had not been, that we shall tread down their ashes, that they shall burn leaving neither root nor branch. Malachi 4:1-3. We know that the Bible shows us that the dead know nothing, that their very thoughts are gone. Ecclesiastes 9:5,10. This is one side of the question, but on the other side, are statements which clearly state that some of the dead shall burn forever. The most noteworthy of these is in Revelation 22:10. "And the devil which deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever".
As an exercise in the correct principles of Bible study, let this verse be taken and interpreted according to dictionary definitions of the key words to show us the wrong way of Bible interpretation. These words are, "for ever and ever". In our minds there already exists a clear definition which is in harmony with the written ones in the various dictionaries. It is:
"Forever" means a limitless time or endless ages, everlastingly, eternally, at all times, always, continually, incessantly.
If this definition is taken then the only possible understanding of Revelation 20:10 is that the "wicked" suffer eternally. One can only believe that their agonies will never come to an end. But what about the Scripture which says, "For as you have drunk on My holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yes, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been"? Obadiah 16. It is obviously impossible for the "wicked" to be as though they had not been, and to be burned up root and branch, and yet, at the same time, exist eternally. That is a contradiction which will dwell in our minds, and will continue to exist until the understanding of the messages of these verses is changed.
Note carefully that it is NOT the Scriptures which need to be changed, but our UNDERSTANDING of them.
This is a very different approach to the problem than that which is normally used. The usual procedure is to collect all the statements which appear to support the chosen side of the contradiction and ignore all the others. Sometimes, it is even suggested that some Scriptures should be changed, or that the writer did not have all the right information! But none of this is necessary if the correct way is followed. We can read of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire". Jude 7. Are those cities, apparently set afire long ago as a divine judgment, still burning? No. Furthermore, we are told that they were turned into ashes. 2 Peter 2:6. Therefore we may safely conclude that when that "judgment" fire of so long ago turned into ashes those upon whom it fell and then stopped consuming them, so the fire of the last day will do likewise. It is the fire that is "eternal", not its effect.
Following this line of thought, we will find that in the Bible the words "everlasting" and "for ever" sometimes signify a very limited time. Aaron and his sons were to offer incense "for ever" and to have an "everlasting priesthood". 1 Chronicles 23:13; Exodus 40:15. But this priesthood, with its offerings of incense, ended at the cross after an existence of some 1,500 years. See Hebrews 7:11-14. Jonah wrote, "The earth with her bars was about me for ever". Chapter 2:6. Yet this "for ever" was only "three days and three nights"! Chapter 1:17.
Once the correct method of interpretation has been found, it must be applied with unfailing consistency throughout the entire Bible. One system cannot be used in one area and a different one used in another if we would arrive at the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
This procedure does not mean that every word of the Bible will have a meaning different to that of the dictionary. Many will have the same meaning, but there will always be key words which do not. They are easily recognized, for whenever a word, when understood according to its common everyday usage, creates a serious problem, then it is time to search out its Scriptural meaning as against its common one.
God does destroy but how?
Now we can look at HOW God destroys.
Saul, king of Israel
A common story which we may select for illustration of the fact that God destroys is the one which tells us of the end of the first king of Israel. The record states,
3 "And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers. 4 Then said Saul to his armourbearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. 5 And when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died. 6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together". 1 Chronicles 10:3-6.
This is a simple, and therefore easily understood, account of Sauls death. There is a background to this event which helps to explain the reason for it. After a certain point in his life, Saul persistently rejected Gods appeals of mercy and obedience. See 1 Samuel 28:15. By these refusals he took himself further and further outside the circle of Gods protection until it was impossible for the LORD to help him. This was not because the LORD would not, but because He could not.
Nowhere in the record of Sauls history is there anything to give the idea that God wanted to raise His mighty hand and strike him down. The only action we see on Gods part is to exert all the influence of love and truth to save Saul from himself. This is reflected in the story of the prodigal son which the WORD of God told us about. Luke 15:15-32. However, when Saul would not be saved, God had no option but to allow him to leave. Saul went away and got what he wanted his own way. God did not leave him Saul left God. (It is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! Hebrews 10:31).
If God had maintained a connection with Saul against his will, this would have been for Him to FORCE His presence where it was not desired, and this the LORD cannot and will not do. He "knocks" and asks admittance.
Thus when Saul went forth to that final battle he knew that he went without Gods protection. It was for this reason that he had sought counsel from the witch of Endor, and it was for this reason that he died. Without Gods protecting presence, there was nothing to save him from the dreadful power of the Philistines, with the result that his destruction was a predetermined event. As Sauls life is considered, it is easily seen that he took himself away from God, placing himself where there was no defense from Satans power, and thus, in fact, he destroyed himself, yet God says that He "slew" him.
13 "So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; 14 And inquired not of the LORD: therefore He slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse". 1 Chronicles 10:13-14.
God did not raise His hand personally to slay Saul, for he killed himself just in time to save the Philistines from doing it. Yet the Scriptures, which are the very expression of Gods thoughts, described that event in these words, "Therefore, He slew him". This is what our heavenly Father says of Himself! He "killed" Saul by allowing him freedom of choice!
This is certainly not the way we would use the words. If they were used to describe human behaviour, then we would know that the slayer had come to the victim, not moved away from him; that he would have carried the sword in his hand, not been empty-handed; and that he would have brought the sword down upon the head of the one to be killed. This is our normal understanding of the situation. So foreign to us is Gods way of behaving that we find it difficult, at first, to think in this new way. Yet, in order to truthfully understand Gods thought as expressed in His word, the Bible, our minds must be re-educated to think His way. He was not allowed to protect, the man died, and He says it was His fault.
Let us see another illustration of this behaviour with the whole nation of Israel.
Centuries of loving appeals had been spurned, during which the prophets had been persecuted and martyred. Eventually the Son of God Himself came with personal messages from His Father. But they rejected Him even more emphatically than the past messengers, underscoring the intensity of their feelings by seeking nothing less than the most torturous and humiliating death for Him that they could find. He told them plainly what the result of their actions would be but they refused to believe Him.
9 "Then began He to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. 10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. 11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. 12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
13 "Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. 14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
"What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? 16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid". Luke 20:9-16.
And this was written centuries before:-
1 "Now will I sing to My wellbeloved a song of My beloved touching His vineyard. My wellbeloved has a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 And He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
3 "And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between Me and My vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it? Why, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
5 "And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge of it, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged [cultivated]; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
7 "For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: and He looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry". Isaiah 5:1-7.
Here too, God blamed Himself for their destruction. But He did not destroy the nation after Calvary. What did He do? He declared that Jerusalem was beyond hope, and then sorrowfully allowed them to have their own way, saying through Jesus, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them that are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not [let Me!]. Behold, your house is left to you desolate, for I say to you, You shall not see Me henceforth till you shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the LORD". Matthew 23:37-39.
In Matthew chapter 22 there is a parable which sets out the final two calls given to the Jewish people and their rejections of those calls. When the second call was complete, and as completely rejected, the kings reactions are described in these words. "When the king heard thereof, he was wroth [angry] and he sent forth his armies and destroyed those murderers and burned up their city". Verse 7. If we substitute the reality in the parable, the verse reads as follows:- "When God heard thereof, God was wroth, and God sent forth His armies, the Romans, and God destroyed the Jews and God burned up Jerusalem".
But, in fact, for the same reasons, and in harmony with the same principles, God gave Israel exactly the same freedom He had given Saul. Thus was removed from them the only effective defense from their many enemies. Their main one, the devil, had thirsted for centuries for the blood of the entire nation. Knowing that he could not touch them while the protection of God was about them, and knowing that while they were obedient it would always be there, he laboured with terrible success to lead them into total rejection through disobedience. Then he who has the "power of death" used it and killed them all through his servants, the Romans, forty years after the crucifixion. Hebrews 2:14.
The Jews had forged their own fetters. They had filled for themselves the cup of vengeance. In the utter destruction that befell them as a nation when the Romans destroyed their city; in all the woes that have followed them in their dispersion; in all the problems they face today; they were and are but reaping the harvest which their own hands have sown. Says the prophet, "O Israel, you have destroyed yourself, for you have fallen by your iniquity". Hosea 13:9. Even then He goes on to cry, "But in Me is your help", for it is never too late to change and return until death makes it impossible.
Peace and safety
We cannot know how much we owe to Christ for the peace and protection which we now enjoy. It is the restraining love of God that prevents mankind from passing fully under the control of Satan. The disobedient and unthankful have great reason to be grateful for Gods mercy and longsuffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one. See Revelation 7:1-3.
But when men pass the limits of divine protection, that restraint must be removed for God cannot remain where He is not wanted. God does not then stand towards the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression, but He leaves the rejecters of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown which must yield its unerring harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last totally rejected by the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the hate of Satan.
God described what He did to Saul and the nation of Jews in words very different from the ones we would use to describe what He did. God said, "I destroyed them". We would say, "They destroyed themselves while He was trying to save them". But He is not like us and He does not think like us. He takes the blame because He is NOT an accuser. He is a Saviour and a Saviour only. It is Satan who is a destroyer and a destroyer only.
When man destroys, he moves towards his victim with the deliberate intention to kill. When God destroys, He allows His subject to leave with no intention of killing.
When man destroys he uses a weapon. When God destroys, He carries no weapons but actually lays down the control of the destructive powers.
When man destroys, he guides the weapon to its target. When God destroys there is no personal effort of punishment. Whatever comes upon the rejecter is the outworking of the forces of death which he or she has set in motion.
Two more questions
At this point two questions are apt to arise.
What is the essential difference between the direct act of destroying, and that of allowing the person their choice to die?
If God does not in fact destroy as men do, then why does He use this word to describe His actions?
Does this not make the Scriptures confusing?
He doesnt just leave
The answer to the first is that God does not depart from the sinner or nation. He is restricted by their determined and persistent rejection of Him. If He left because He had come to the end of His patience, or because time had "run out", then He would be a destroyer as men are. Even if He destroyed to save or protect His own, He would be a destroyer as men are, for some have done that. God is the great "technician" who is in charge of the power house of nature. When He has to let go of these powers in the vicinity of the rejecters, there is no one else who can control them and keep them from exploding in a horror of destruction. But an enemy has come in and hidden this truth from the majority even of those who profess to follow a loving God, and has given an entirely false view of the situation.
Our Father is like a man who has control of an atomic power plant for a city. While he is on duty nothing can happen that he cannot compensate for. However, if the people of the city hate the worker and forcibly remove him from the control room then he has two choices. To remain against their will by using greater force than they are using, or accede to their demands and leave them to their fate. Naturally, he will endeavour to warn them of their impending fate, but if he is not believed and is continually shouted at and pushed from the room then there comes the time when he must hand over if he will not use force.
He knows that when he accepts their decision, sooner or later the power plant will overheat and melt down, thereby releasing much radiation into the surrounding district which will affect not only those who ejected him, but many others as well. But what more can he do? Nothing! He must leave the town with the heaviest of hearts and be gone forever. No one can say of him that he is a destroyer. He acted out the character of a saviour only. He could not and did not save the people because they would not let him.
But He goes to the top of a nearby hill and waits, hoping and working that they will change their mind! Ezekiel 11:22-23 and Matthew 23:37-39.
God must do this because of His character. He must give us what we want once we make a determined request for it! But He will not hand over until ALL the responsible citizens of that area reject Him. In the end of time for Israel they cried, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar". John 19:15. Even then, He will continue to protect His own as He showed at the Flood. Those who were obedient survived that ordeal into a new world, and those who are obedient in any other ending situation are also moved over into a new one.
Why does God use those words?
It is not God who blinds the eyes of men or hardens their hearts. He sends them light to correct their errors, and to lead them in safe paths. It is by the rejection of this light that the eyes are blinded and the heart hardened. Often the process is gradual, and almost imperceptible. Light comes to the soul through Gods word, through His servants, or by the direct agency of His Spirit. But when one ray of light is disregarded, there is a partial benumbing of the spiritual perceptions, and the second revealing of light is less clearly discerned. So the darkness increases, until it is night in the soul. John 9:4. Those who rejected John the Baptist also rejected Jesus, and then, after His ascension, His disciples.
17 " For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God". John 3:17-21.
The outstanding example of this is the story of the Pharaoh of the exodus. God said of him, "I will harden Pharaohs heart and multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt". Exodus 7:3. To harden is to destroy so here again we have the same problem. The Scriptures plainly state that it was God who did it, and He did. Therefore He says that He did. But every reference which throws light on what God did, shows that His action was to send spiritual light and loving appeals through Moses and Aaron. These were designed to soften and save Pharaoh, not to harden him, but that which was sent to save destroyed him instead because he rejected it. "But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said". Exodus 8:15.
"For the scripture says unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised you up, that I might show My power in you [either way!], and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth". Romans 9:17.
God was not in the plagues, but in the time between them! Not causing them, but protecting from them. Every additional evidence of the power of God that the Egyptian monarch resisted, carried him on to a stronger and more persistent defiance of God. Thus the work went on, finite man warring against the expressed will of an infinite God, for we are told, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification.. " 1 Thessalonians 4:3. What a "catch 22" situation. The more God tried to save him, the more Pharaoh hardened his heart against His appeals. But a loving Saviour could not stop! He had to try and try again even though He was driving the man away from Him. The end result of Pharaohs way was that he could place the life of his first-born in jeopardy and still carry on.
We should all know and remember that the gospel truth ruins if it does not save. The soul that refuses to listen to the invitations of mercy from day to day can soon listen to the most urgent appeals without an emotion stirring the heart. God destroys, but not as men destroy, so He uses the same words as we do to catch our attention. Every effort on Gods part is to save, but it has an altogether different result in the lives of those who reject that saving power. This we must recognize. Therefore we can know that God is a Saviour, and a Saviour only. He destroys by trying to save, so that the more His saving power is manifest in the world and the more that power is rejected, the more swiftly and terribly are the rejecters destroyed.
Once this truth is clearly comprehended, it will be possible to view all Gods actions in a new and enlightened way. As a result, the whole of the Scriptures will emerge as one great harmonious truth.
How does God destroy
Nebuchadnezzar was chosen, and his kingdom of Babylon succeeded against the world, not because they were stronger than Gods people, but because the majority of those whom God had previously called had rejected their covering of righteousness and were now lower in the scale of human righteousness than the Chaldeans.
"Righteousness exalts a nation", we are told, and that means ANY nation. The Babylonians were AT THAT TIME the most righteous, or moral, of all the nations as is evidenced by the head of gold in Nebuchadnezzars dream, and therefore they were the strongest. They were not "good" but better than all the rest! They were like Abimelech in Abrahams time. He listened to the warning sent by God and did not sin against Abrahams wife, Sarah. At that time, he was more righteous than the liar who followed God! See Genesis 20:1-18.
When the nation of Israel refused Jeremiahs call to repentance and thrust away the protection of God, there was nothing more that He could do for them. He continued to protect the individuals who allowed Him that privilege, but now the "hammer of the whole earth" came into its own and easily conquered the rest. It was in this way that "the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God". The living God gave way to the wooden idols because His nation let Him down. But He would not blame them, for "they know not what they do", and so the Innocent took the condemnation Himself. He says, "He gave Jehoiakim into..."
When the Israelites came out of Egypt under His power in the exodus and then saw the bodies of pharaohs troops lying about on the waters edge, they stripped them of their armour and became a fighting force. This was against Gods instruction to them for He had said that He would "send the hornet among them [the nations of Canaan], until they that are left and hide themselves from you, be destroyed". It was His plan that as the unbelieving nations destroyed themselves by their behaviour then His people could walk in quietly and slowly and take over. But He would not blame them, for "they know not what they do", and so the Innocent took the condemnation Himself.
However, whenever His people were "hot for battle" the only thing He could do was show them how not to get too hurt themselves, and maybe care for their enemies. He told Joshua just before the attack on Jericho that he and his fighting men could have "Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour", which was reasonable in the circumstances. But this was soon translated into the thought that they would have to kill all the inhabitants of the city, "both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword", and destroy the buildings as well. However, it was Joshua who gave this command to the fighting men, not God. But He does not blame Joshua, for "they know not what they do", and so the Innocent took the condemnation upon Himself.
What a task for "mighty men of war"! To kill babies and little children; to kill helpless old men and women; to kill animals such as kittens, and birds like hens and ducks! But so far were they gone in their blood lust that this was not considered. It was a "holy" war! And ever since then our God has had to live with this stain on His reputation, put there by His most misguided followers. But He would not blame them, for "they know not what they do", and so the Innocent took the condemnation upon Himself.
Right up until the first advent of Jesus the majority of the followers of God and most of the men and women of the world have thought of the living God as a destroyer! He has been called a bloodthirsty, sacrifice-demanding, vengeful God of the Old Testament. But He does not blame them, for "they know not what they do", and so the Innocent takes the condemnation upon Himself.
Jesus knew this. He said, "You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbour, and hate your enemy. But I say to you [that this is not correct], Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father in heaven [for He is like that!]... " He had said to Abraham that the "iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full", meaning that He was still working with them in an endeavour to save them from themselves. Failure on His part in the time of Moses should have meant destruction such as came to the enemies of Israel in the time of Jehoshaphat, not death at the hands of the people of God.
On that day Jehoshaphat was told,
"You shall not need to fight in this
Set yourselves, stand you still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord will be with you... and when they began to sing and praise [the next day in front of their attackers] the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab and mount Seir...
" and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them.
"And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another".
They died as a result of internal differences!
God didnt have to persuade them, for they wanted to do this under the influence of sin. The desire to fight and kill our "brother" as well as our "enemy" has been with the human race since the sin of Adam. This is the reason God had to put a mark on Cains forehead.
Only as we read the Bible with this understanding will we be able to see a God of love in the Old Testament and have an answer to Habak-kuks problem. Then we too will know the Person whom Jesus came calling "Father".
As you sow, so shall you reap
In the laws of God in nature, effect follows cause with unerring certainty. Every seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. So it is in human life. He who lives for self is sowing to the flesh, and of the flesh he will reap corruption.
God destroys no man or woman personally. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed him or herself as God says. Hosea 13:9. Everyone who stifles the warnings of conscience is sowing the seeds of unbelief, and these will produce a sure harvest.
By rejecting the first warning from God, Pharaoh of old sowed the seeds of obstinacy, and he reaped obstinacy. Exodus 5:1-2. God did not compel him to disbelieve. The seed of unbelief which he sowed produced a harvest of its kind. Thus his resistance continued, until he looked upon his devastated land, upon the cold, dead form of his first-born, and the first-born of all in his house and of all the families in his kingdom, until the waters of the sea closed over his horses and his chariots and his men of war. His history is a fearful illustration of the truth of the words that "whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap". Galatians 6:7.
As the seed sown produces a harvest, and this in turn is sown, the harvest is multiplied. In our relation to others, this law holds true. Every act, every word, is a seed that will bear fruit. Every deed of thoughtful kindness, of obedience, or of self-denial, will reproduce itself in others, and through them in still others. So, in the same way, every act of envy, malice, or dissension is a seed that will spring up in a "root of bitterness" whereby many shall be defiled. Hebrews 12:15. And how much larger number will the "many" poison. Thus the sowing of good and evil goes on for time and for eternity.
Sodom and Gomorrah
"Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gommorah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground". Genesis 19:24-25.
Think upon these words. Just what picture do they suggest to you? Ask yourself the question, "What do these words tell me God did?" The normal understanding is the view that God, after working with great love and patience to bring these rebels to repentance, finally laid aside the garments of mercy, took hold of the mighty power of fire, and personally poured it out on their shelterless heads. The result was such total obliteration that no trace of those cities can be found today.
Certainly, if we were reading another book in which the actions of a powerful monarch were described in the same words, this is how they would be correctly understood. If the same interpretation is given to Gods actions as to mans, then the only possible picture which could be formed would be of God pouring down fire on the inhabitants of those cities. But the word of God expressly advises that Gods ways are entirely different from mans. This difference is not in one point or another, but is completely so in every area. When Christ came to earth He presented to us that which was exactly contrary to the representations of His enemy in regard to the character of God. It is Satan who achieves his aim by having Gods actions viewed as being identical to mans. And he is a liar! John 8:44. The more he can make God appear to be just like men, the better pleased he is.
But Christ works in the opposite direction. The more He can show that the ways of God and sinful man are different, the more successful He is in saving us from Satans deadly lies. The method used in the Bible to make its meaning clear is to express the same truth in two different places in two different ways. In the first case, what God did is clearly stated. Then He will use His own method of expressing or describing WHAT He did. By putting the two together it will be clearly seen what God means when He says, "I destroyed them". Remember, it is not important what we think the LORD means when He uses certain expressions. Our task is to be sure what the LORD meant when He spoke.
How did mankind cause the Flood?
The problem starts with our sun. Among its warming and beneficial rays are some known as ultraviolet and these in large quantities can be intensely harmful to humans, causing many skin cancers and cataracts. They are believed by some scientists to injure human immune systems as well, although this has not yet been proved. They can even be lethal under certain conditions. Too many also inflict damage to land and sea plants and through the food chains affect all of earths creatures.
To prevent these rays reaching the earth in harmful amounts while at the same time allowing the other beneficial rays to pass through easily, there is a layer of ozone molecules (O3) surrounding the earth at a height of about 40 kilometres or 25 miles. This bounces most of the UV rays back into space. The ozone, if measured at sea level pressures would only be about 3cm (about 1 inch), wide although it is much thicker in the lower pressures of the stratosphere. Thus the safety of humanity rests on a very fragile but effective protection which has endured for thousands of years.
However, in the 1920s scientists developed a very useful gas by combining chlorine (CL) with fluorine (F) and carbon (C). This gas, known as chloro-fluoro-carbon or CFC for short, was ideal for fly and hair sprays, air conditioners, and refrigerators, as well as other industrial uses. It was safe, easy to use in industry, and appeared to have no harmful side effects. One of its trade names is "FREON". Today it is also used as the "airhole" spaces in some plastic drinking cups, in many of the polystyrene containers of fast-food outlets, and as "air space" in packaging fillers.
However, when the 1968 Apollo mission crew saw our worldwide environment for the first time and showed us pictures of it, many people began to realise the earth is a gigantic spaceship with totally enclosed eco-systems, and have since restudied many of our ideas. By 1974 warnings of danger from CFCs were being sounded. In 1979 the United States banned their use in sprays and the apparent threat was averted. Unfortunately, a total ban did not occur and many other countries continued using them.
It is now known that when the CFCs are released into the atmosphere they begin to slowly rise up into the air. This occurs during industry testing, from leaks in air conditioners, and when old refrigerators and freezers are broken up, as well as aerosols. It takes from 12 to 24 months but eventually the CFCs rise above the ozone layer and become exposed to the full unfiltered rays of the sun. This soon breaks up the unity of the atoms of each molecule. The carbon and the fluoride atoms do not seem to play a part in the next process and for our purpose can be overlooked.
What happens is, the chlorine atom (CL) seeks out a spare oxygen atom (O) to combine with, and finds it in the ozone (O3), effectively turning it into (O2) and thereby weakening the ozone layer. The resulting "hole" or thinner layer allows the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays through to the earth in larger quantities.
The effects of the thinning of the ozone layer have been measured above the poles with the south pole "hole" being more than the size of the entire United States of America in 1986 and growing larger all the time since then. It is estimated that within 13 years from today (1997) the number of skin cancer patients will increase dramatically, with some scientists even believing that by the end of the next century some cities may have to have protective domes built over them. This is why we are today being warned about the need to protect ourselves and our children from the new and harmful effects of the sun. Sunburn warnings are a regular part of our weather forecasts now. Who knows what effect they are having on our immune systems which guard us against disease germs and viruses, and on the other living beings on our earth?
What has this to do with Noah?
Those who understand the character of God, "merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth", as Jesus explained to Moses, know that He did not actively cause the Flood. It was brought about by the selfish and careless actions of humans over a period of 120 years even though God tried hard to warn them, and we can now see how it could have been done. In the creation record we are told that the Creator put a layer of water vapour between the earth and the sun. He said, "Let there be a firmament [the atmosphere] in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters". It was this protective layer of water vapour above the atmosphere that somehow changed and then fell on the earth for 40 days and nights thereby causing the Flood. This change also affected the waters under the earth and they too joined in the general pandemonium. Because of todays events it is easy to see that the long-lived and clever race who inhabited the earth before the Flood could also have upset the balance of their ecosystem and brought about their own destruction.
Although God blames Himself for the Flood, this is because He is not an accuser (that is left to Satan), and He accepts the responsibility of having arranged the vapour in its chemical composition and position above the atmosphere. He did try to warn humanity of the consequences of their actions, and did manage to save eight people from the multitudes of the earth. This shows that this catastrophe was not His idea.
So what does that have to do with us?
Today we are being warned of God about a "noisome and grievous [vile-smelling and particularly hurtful] sore" which is to come upon all mankind. It is classed as the first of the seven LAST plagues, with the second and third plagues being effective upon salt water and fresh water, respectively. Then the sun itself is affected and becomes intensely hot, enough to "scorch men with fire". Revelation 16.
It does not take a genius to see that these also will all be self-inflicted. Especially in the light of the latest disclosure regarding the ionosphere. This layer of magnetic fields protects us from some major effects of the sun's solar wind and is visible as the "northern (and southern) lights". It has recently been revealed that back in the 1960's the United States Armed Forces exploded atomic bombs in that layer of protection in an endeavour to alter it and set it up a barrier against enemy missiles! Since then, the U.S. Navy has used it to communicate with their long-range submarines by bouncing radio waves off it's magnetic layers. Many other experiments have been, and are contining to be, carried out in the ionosphere. One of the original scientists connected with these experiments has also warned us that some of the equipment already in existence could be used to alter weather patterns.
Are we willing to take the warning, "As it was in the days of Noah..."?
And what are we going to do about it?
Back to "Temptation in the Wilderness"
Here are some other books on this subject which are available free of charge:
Back to ancient/ SDA's ............ Back to the Library
Chemical disclosures in recent years have also revealed the fact that many of our modern substances such as plastics, are rapidly polluting our wild life, and man himself, by leaching an array of chemicals which behave as oestrogens. These are causing fertility levels to fall dramatically in man and beast and causing many male creatures to become much more feminine, and even hermaphrodite.