Three Angels Messages Part 34

            Welcome back to our study of Heaven’s last attempt to reach humanity, given in the Three Angels’ Messages, of Revelation 14. We are now studying the final part of the first angel’s message, the powerful words which state, “Worship Him Who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Just to review, we’ve seen that the background of the word “worship” is actually “worthship,” indicating that it refers to whatever we consider to be of highest value. Scripture that obedience is the highest form of worship, and that the first angel is calling us back to the true worship of the Creator God, which leads us to obey the commandment which specifies the seventh day of the week as His Sabbath, the memorial of His creative work.
We’ve seen that it is because He is Creator that He deserves our worship. We’ve also noted that the artistry of God’s creatorship is seen in the symmetry and beauty of proportion in nature, quantified as the “golden mean,” or “golden ratio,” expressed as 1.618, seen in the spirals of pinecones and the section of the nautilus shell, a ratio copied by architects and artists throughout history. And, we’ve seen that “irreducible complexity” supports instantaneous creation, the way the Bible describes how things came to be, and that while things in nature may appear, according to modern methods of measuring, to be very old, that may not be the case at all, since God made everything complete and whole.
            Today we’re going to look at the phrase “Worship Him Who made,” and see that it is derived from two ancient and important sources, each of which should be noted. The angel quoted from the Ten Commandments when he cried out, “worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea.” These words are drawn directly from the fourth commandment which reads, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work; you, or your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11.
            The language employed by the first angel unquestioningly draws our attention to the memorial of God’s creative act, the Sabbath. When the angel cries out, “Worship Him Who made,” our minds are logically directed to the memorial of God’s creation, the Sabbath. It was established by God as the sacred reminder of how our earth and atmosphere came to be. “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3.
            This divine reminder has been under attack from the very beginning, for Satan saw how great a blessing the Sabbath can be when faithfully observed. Satan hates the Sabbath, because it identifies God as the Creator; because by taking time off and spending it with Him it builds our relationship with God; because it outlines salvation as a system of grace (we rest in His work) and because it demonstrates God’s ability to bring His work to completion. The Sabbath is a statement that the same God Who took a glob of matter in “darkness” and “without form and void” and worked on it day by day through the power of His Word and made it “good,” can likewise take our lives, which spiritually are in “darkness” and “without form and void,” and through His creative Word re-create us day by day into something “good.” The Sabbath is a teaching tool for the Gospel.
            Satan inspired God’s children in Old Testament times to forget the Sabbath, leading to the discipline of captivity. Jeremiah 17:27. When they returned from Babylon, Satan induced them to heap mounds of unnecessary regulations and requirements upon the day of God’s blessing, making it cumbersome and burdensome, and obscuring its beauty. Thus when Christ came to this earth the first time, He was seen as a lawbreaker because He didn’t countenance their useless and distracting rules of Sabbath-keeping. It was Satan’s “set-up” for the Jews to reject Jesus.
            But Christ was not a law-breaker, at least regarding divine law. Christ restored the Sabbath to its original magnificence, stating, “It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” He didn’t come to change or remove the Sabbath. He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17, 18.
            What was a “jot” and what was a “tittle”? These were parts of Hebrew letters. Today we might speak of the “dotting of an ‘i’ or the crossing of a ‘t.’” What Jesus said was, “I have not come to destroy the Commandments; I have not come to remove a paragraph, a sentence, a phrase, a word, a letter or even a fragment of a letter from the law.” How much plainer could it be? Contrary to the teaching of some, He didn’t remove the Sabbath; He removed from the Sabbath those man-made impediments which dimmed its true luster.
            In the centuries following Christ’s ascension, Satan attacked the Sabbath again, inspiring the Church to substitute God’s day of appointment, the seventh day, with the first day, a common working day according to Scripture. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.” According to the Word of God, Sunday is an ordinary working day. In these last days the angel calls us to return to the simple obedience of the Ten Commandments, including the fourth which specifies the day of worship to be the seventh day.
            Someone might wonder, “Of what, specifically, is the angel speaking when he says, ‘Worship Him Who made heaven and earth’”? When the Scripture speaks of the creation of “heaven and earth,” we are not required to understand that the entire universe was created during the seven days of Genesis 1 and 2. The Bible alludes to “three heavens;” the first being the atmosphere where the birds fly; the second being the area of space occupied by the stars and the third being the dwelling of God Himself. Thus in vision, Paul was caught up to the “third heaven.” II Corinthians 12:2.
            When Genesis begins by saying, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;” when the fourth commandment says, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,” it is not speaking of the universe in its entirety, but of that “heaven” which became our solar system and the “firmament” or atmosphere of our planet. Thus the “new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1) of which John the Revelator speaks will not be a complete revision of the universe, but a cleansing of our atmosphere and solar system which has become polluted with sin.
            As we saw, the angel draws his command to “Worship Him Who made” from the language of the fourth commandment, inviting a return to the worship of the Creator God on the day He set apart and hallowed. But a careful reading of the first angel’s message reveals that it contains something beyond a quotation of the Sabbath commandment. The angel cries out, “Worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water.” (KJV) Nearly every word of that instruction is from the fourth commandment, except the phrase “fountains of water.” Nowhere in the Ten Commandments is that wording found. Where does it come from, and why is that significant?
            We find that the derivation of that phrase comes from the Flood story. At that time the “fountains” of the deep were broken up, yielding a deluge of water. Genesis 7:11; 8:2. (The Greek word in Revelation 14:7, pege, “fountain or spring,” is the same as in the LXX of Genesis 7:11 and 8:2.) This is important for us to see! The angel is directing our attention to the two great geological events of Genesis, the Creation and the Flood, both of which are denied by modern science. The Sabbath as a reminder of creation is of primary importance, because the return to obedience to the Ten Commandments is vital. Thus we are directed to “worship Him Who made.”
            But the angel also points us to the other cosmic event of antiquity; the Flood. He alludes to the “fountains” of water broken up at the Deluge. Why is that important? It’s relevant because the Flood event testifies to God’s system of justice and His plan for this planet. When human iniquity passed the point of divine tolerance, God took action and destroyed the earth, although providing an opportunity for salvation through the preaching of Noah. That is the lesson the angel wants us to see in his warning message recorded in Revelation 14!
In a similar way, this earth today is fast approaching the limits of divine forgiveness and is slated for destruction, not by water but by fire. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:37. “The world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fore until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” II Peter 3:6, 7. There is utmost urgency in the voice of the angel! Remember Noah’s ark!
            Today scoffers roam the earth disputing the biblical record of the Flood. They question the concept of a world-wide Deluge carving the earth into its present topography. Yet there is evidence; sufficient, yes even compelling evidence, to corroborate the Scriptural record of a world-wide flood. When Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mt. Everest in 1953, he encountered sea shells at the 26,000’ level. How did they get there? There is more than sufficient evidence to support the Flood story of the Bible, if the evidence is viewed with an open mind.
The Flood, we are told specifically, would be mocked in the last days. “Knowing this first; that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget; that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.” II Peter 3:3-6.
            Peter said that the denial of the Flood by modern scoffers would be a characteristic of the “last days.” Interestingly, it was in 1785 that Scottish geologist James Hutton presented some new ideas at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He postulated that the earth was much older than the time line represented by Scripture and that what we see in the earth’s topography was not carved by a world-wide Flood, as the Genesis story reveals, but instead he suggested that earth’s formations were the result of long periods of slow geological changes.
Later in 1832 the word “uniformitarianism” was coined by William Whewell. Peter’s phrase “all things continue as they were” could be a working definition for that term. In a fulfillment of Peter's prophecy, it was birthed in the “last days.” However, his radical ideas didn’t gain much support until Sir Charles Lyell, a lawyer, 45 years later wrote the three-volume work, Principles of Geology, in which he affirmed the concepts of Hutton, rejecting the Bible’s information concerning the Flood.
            The God Whom we are called to worship is the God of Genesis 1 and 2, Who created the “heavens and the earth” by His divine Word in six literal, 24 hour days. Because He is Creator, He deserves our worship and homage. Because He is our Master, He deserves our obedience by worshiping Him on the only day specified as holy in Scripture, the seventh day of the week. If God took the time to personally visit our planet in splendor and glory, such that even Moses said he feared greatly, lighting Sinai on fire with His presence and both speaking His holy law and inscribing it with His own finger in stone, should we not abide by His edict? As someone pointed out, they are correctly called the Ten Commandments, not Ten Suggestions.
            The God Whom we are called to worship is the God of Genesis 6-8, Who destroyed the earth when it became corrupt but saved Noah and those in the ark. God is not to be trifled with. He means what He says. He has a plan for this planet. Sin, the unwanted intruder, has been confined in time and space; in time to the roughly 6,000 years of time encompassed by the human race’s existence; in space to this world and wherever human foot has reached.
But God will deal with sin, once and for all. He will destroy sin and those who cling to it, not by water this time as during the Deluge, but by fire. He offers to us salvation in Christ, just as there was deliverance in Noah’s ark. The first angel calls us to worship this loving and caring God Who, for the sake of the safety and serenity of the universe, will not allow sin to continue indefinitely. The Good News is that He wants you to be a part of His great plan of deliverance, and live with Him forever!