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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195826
05/14/23 04:14 PM
05/14/23 04:14 PM
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The Sabbath and the End
It is sometimes mind boggling how it can be possible that every individual person in this world is special to God when there are billions of people on this planet and absolutely countless planets, and galaxies out there in the universe.
We tend to get a feeling of being lost in the crowd. Sure God loves the crowd, but ........

We've experienced the feeling one gets in a huge crowd, of being just an unidentified human, nothing more than an occupier of a small space, basically unnoticed and unimportant.

The song explains the dilemma:

In the stars His handiwork I see
On the wind He speaks with majesty
Tho' He ruleth over land and sea
What is that to me
I will celebrate nativity
For it has a place in history
Sure He came to set His people free
What is that to me
'Til by faith I met Him face to face
And I felt the wonder of His grace
Then I knew that He was more
Than just a God who didn't care
That lived away out there
And now He walks beside me day by day
Ever watching o'er me lest I stray
Helping me to find that narrow way
He's ev'rything to me.

Sabbath, to be a meaningful experience, needs to be understood from the sense that God walks beside "me" everyday, a very personal God, interested in all my work and projects, and He longs for special time with "me" personally, on the day He set aside for that purpose.

If we don't have that sense that God wants to spend that special time with "ME" and I want that special time with Him, then the Sabbath looses it's specialness and becomes only a cultural thing.

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195841
05/21/23 09:28 PM
05/21/23 09:28 PM
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CREATION SABBTATH

Does it matter which day we set apart as a special day for God?
Isn't the important thing just to worship Him; does the day matter?

One person, in a class, stated, "In the Old Testament, people worshipped on the 7th-day Sabbath to commemorate creation.
In the New Testament, people worship on the 1st day of the week to commemorate recreation, as Christ rose to recreate us. See Romans 6:4 and 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Sounds reasonable, EXCEPT:
1. Nowhere in the Bible does it say God blessed and sanctified a different day.
2. Jesus never referred to Sunday (1st day) with references of it being a new Sabbath.
3. The disciples never mentioned that Christ had instituted a new Sabbath day in honor of His resurrection, or of recreation.
4. There are other days one might consider, if man is left to choose a day. Without the death on the cross, on Friday, there would be no resurrection or new creatures recreated in Christ. So maybe Friday should be the day?

So basically, Sunday has no command or blessing as a new Sabbath from the Lord.

Yet, as we study the three angels' message, we see a struggle concerning right worship and wrong worship, with life-and-death results! The devil is out to war against those who worship God and keep His commandments. (Rev. 12:17) The saints are described as keeping the commandments of God. (Rev. 14:12) And the urgent call is to worship the One Who made (created) heaven and earth, the sea and fountains, (Rev. 14:7) using language that sounds very much like the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:11), which takes us back to Genesis 2:2-3.

So, does it make a difference?
Did it make a difference when Cain worshipped, bringing garden produce, while Abel worshipped, bringing a lamb?

God made the seventh day holy, set it apart for holy purposes and blessed it.

No where do we see Him blessing, making holy, and setting apart for holy use any other day, just the seventh day!
So what are we doing when we take a common day, and say it is holy and blessed?
Are we presenting our own works to God?

Can we bless, and make holy, a day of our c

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195842
05/22/23 09:04 PM
05/22/23 09:04 PM
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TWO CONTRASTING SYSTEMS

Babylon is fallen, fallen. that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

What solemn announcement does the angel make, and what did Babylon do to warrant such an announcement?

What is the answer in the context of the chapter?
The first angel's message is the call to:
1. Proclaim the everlasting gospel.
2. Stand in reverential awe before God giving Him glory
3. Recognize that He is our judge and judgment is taking place.
4. Worship our Creator Who made us and everything else.

The second angel's message basically proclaims that a great confusion of ideas and practices have obscured the initial crucial message and the main bodies that should have embraced that message have in fact rejected it.

As to freedom of choice.
That, like everything else the devil has confused, and has turned upside down and backwards.
God gave freedom of choice to
1.either worship, trust and obey Him, as our Creator and Redeemer.
2. or not to worship, trust and obey Him, establishing our own ideas of how to worship and live.

Satan turns everything around and says God demands a very restrictive regime and threatens extermination if one departs from that course.
He (satan) claims to give people many choices and the freedom to do whatever they desire and want,
no laws condemning or restricting them, they can do whatever makes them happy.

God says His law is the law of freedom, love and happiness. To turn onto another path, choosing to disregard His law brings one under the dark banner of enslavement to sin, misery and death. He is allowing those who chose to do so in this world to throw away His law and show where that leads, so people can see the truth of Satan's deceptions.

Satan says God's law is a law of bondage, to cast it off is the road to freedom and anyone rebuking sin and urging people to follow God's ways is intolerant, unloving, and destroying people's freedom. They are an enemy to liberty, and according to him, need to be stopped.

Of course there is the sin of controlling force over people's conscience. The stronger dominating the weaker. That is not Christ's way of love, but neither is upholding sin in any form, whether by force or by a wrong concept of love.
Christ loves the sinner and wants to lift them out of sin, He hates the sin.

In our society people tend to swing to the opposite pole, thinking it wrong to "train up a child in the way they should go", linking that with harsh and wrong methods, and thereby also condemning the loving but firm guidance so essential to help young people make the right choice.
It's even becoming illegal to call many things "sin", which the Bible plainly says is sin.

The world is full of confusion.
Truth has become a subjective, relevant thing.

One of the biggest problems is thinking obedience to God's laws is legalism! Thus of course Sunday seems a little thing if obedience to God's call to worship on the day He has blessed is considered "legalistic".

Obedience is not legalism.
Sanctification is part of the gospel, it is being set apart for holy purpose. God wants to set each of us apart to become holy through His sanctifying power and grace. He is our Creator and has set apart the 7th day, made it holy and sanctified (set it apart for holy purpose), and says it is a sign that He is our God and we are His people, and He is the One that sanctifies us. Ezekiel 20:12,20

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195843
05/22/23 09:14 PM
05/22/23 09:14 PM
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Great Controversy p 382
"Babylon is said to be ?the mother of harlots.? By her daughters must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world.

The message of Revelation 14 announcing the fall of Babylon, must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning of the Judgment, it must be given in the last days, therefore it cannot refer to the Romish Church, for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries.

Furthermore, in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation, in a message which is yet future, the people of God are called upon to come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many of God's people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith. At the time of their rise, these churches took a noble stand for God and the truth, and his blessing was with them.

Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the principles of the gospel. In the words of the prophet to Israel, ?Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty; for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.?But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel,?the desire of imitating the practices and courting the friendship of the ungodly. ?Thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown.?{GC88 382.3}

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195844
05/24/23 03:46 AM
05/24/23 03:46 AM
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THE JUDGMENT OF BABYLON -- COME OUT OF HER

Quote
Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6-12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world.--GC 390 (1911).


Rev. 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

The angel's messages are given by people under the power of the Holy Spirit.
When the latter rain falls, the amplified message will be given with great power!
Quote
The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel's message as it swells to a loud cry....I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth in great power. ?. Servants of God, endowed with power from on high
with their faces lighted up, and shining with holy consecration, went forth to proclaim the message from heaven. Souls that were scattered all through the religious bodies answered to the call, and the precious were hurried out of the doomed churches, as Lot was hurried out of Sodom before her destruction. God's people were strengthened by the excellent glory which rested upon them in rich abundance and prepared them to endure the hour of temptation. I heard everywhere a multitude of voices saying, "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." {EW 278.2}
I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power.. It was dearer and more precious than life. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered: "It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel." {CCh 339.3, EW 271}


Rev. 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,

As the churches refused to receive the first angel's message, refused the Creator?s Sabbath of worship, refused to accept a sanctuary message that included judgment, refused the power of the gospel to lift them from sin, they rejected the light from heaven and fell from the favor of God. They trusted to their own strength, and by opposing the first message placed themselves where they could not see the light of the second angel's message. But the beloved of God accepted the message, "Babylon is fallen," and left the churches.

18:2 b (Babylon) is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Clearly there is a serious spiritual disease in Babylon. The devil?s counterfeits have taken over. Not just one, but every conceivable deception is present.
Judgment is coming on the world, but it is on the house of God right now (I Peter 4:17). A gathering of unclean birds? vultures ? evil spirits. This is a harbinger of judgment coming on those who stubbornly hang on to the defiling practices and attributes of sin, hiding them under a cloak of religion. Refusing to surrender self to God, thus sinking ever deeper into satan?s deceptions .

We see those unclean fowls again in the final battle (Revelation 19:17-21), when they devour all who refused to be cleansed and prepared for Christ? coming. Those foul spirts and birds are metaphorically already gathered in great numbers in so called ?spiritual? places, though still held somewhat in cages giving people a chance to escape out of Babylon before it?s too late.

It's not only in the secular world these unclean birds hang out. They concentrate on Babylon ? the woman who supposedly symbolizes God?s people, His bride. They have taken the churches away from loyalty and faithfulness to Christ and His commandments, and substituted the traditions and commandments of men?counterfeits ? which the Bible also classifies as adultery and fornication.


18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,


Wine ? a deceptive drink that seems to give a good feeling, but deadens the senses and alters the powers of the mind. It is administered in wrath? Whose wrath? Those demons wanting to rob Christ of His purchased possession; to rob Him of the people He died to save. They are pouring out this wine through human powers looked up to as spiritual Christian leaders, but whose teachings keep people benumbed and stupefied in sin. This counterfeit religion isn't just localized, it's being forced on the whole world! The wine being symbolic of false doctrine, false teaching, and corrupt practices.

18:3 and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her,


Christ?s true church receives her power from God. When empowered by the Holy Spirit their witness changes people?s lives. But Babylon fornicates with kings, using civic power to force her mandates upon the people.
Having forsaken the true source of power which alone ennobles and lifts people out of sin, Babylon seeks to force everyone into her mold of morality with civic and kingly power.
and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
Money plays a big role in Babylon. Fraudulent money (making money out of nothing) is what our whole economies are now floating on.

The money changers long ago discovered that control over a fraudulent money supply not only gave them control over the assets of the people, but in a very real way, control over the governments of the people. The system sucks money out of the common people, makes them more and more dependent on government, while the top guys multiply that money mathematically without any actual money backing it, and they get very rich.
Rev. 13: 17 shows this system will be used to force and control everyone. But it will crash.

18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Even so, our greatest threat is not the Plagues at the end! As bad as it will be,yet far worse is being spiritually unprepared, enmeshed in the deceptions of sin when Christ closes His intercessory work in the sanctuary and our names are missing in the book of life.

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195850
05/25/23 04:35 PM
05/25/23 04:35 PM
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Babylon -- the center of Idolatry.

Symbols often convey more than lengthy pages of explanation.
But we do need to understand the symbols.

Woman -- we've mentioned before, is symbolic of professing people of God.
Harlot woman -- one who is unfaithful to her profession as a follower of Christ

The harlot of Revelation 18 is symbolic and not any actual woman. To understand more about what this harlotry entails we look to other Bible passages which use this symbolism elsewhere in scripture.

Revelation depicts her harlotry with linking up with the kings of the earth. Worshipping power and control, rather than depending on and following Christ. Enjoying wealth and sensual pleasure instead of delighting to do God's will. (e.g. Revelation 18:7-9)

But we see more precisely in other Bible passages that harlotry almost always stands as a symbol for idolatry. In the Old Testament, we see that when Israel engaged in idolatry, she was depicted as a harlot or an adulteress (e.g. Ex 34:15, 16, Lev 20:6, Numbers 25:1, Judges 8:33, Psalm 106:39, Jer 3:1, Hosea 4:12).

What is Idolatry?
We see it in its raw form when people venerate images, kiss the toes of statues, pray to images thinking they are praying to God. Substituting things in the place of God.
Israel did that with the golden calf a Sinai. Exodus chapter 32, the Israelites brought gold, and Aaron formed it into a golden calf and announced "To morrow is a feast to the LORD."
Did they really think they were worshipping THE LORD JEHOVAH when they offered sacrifice, danced and played around that golden calf?
God didn't think so.

So idolatry goes far deeper than mere image worship. It is worship, but it is not in line with true worship of God. It is worshipping something of our own making instead of worshipping the Creator.
The person engaged in idolatress worship may even be deceived into thinking they are worshipping THE LORD when in fact they are worshipping something else. When the Christians substitute a sabbath of their own making for that which God commanded, they too worship that which humans own hands have made.

Paul tells us that covetousness is idolatry -- see Colossians 3:5

Quote
Though we do not pay homage to heathen gods, yet thousands are worshiping at Satan's shrine as verily as did the king of Israel. The very spirit of heathen idolatry is rife today, though under the influence of science and education it has assumed a more refined and attractive form. (CCh 30)

Quote
Every vestige of business that breeds dishonesty, every thread of selfishness, is to be swept away by the latter rain. All idolatry is to be consumed. Let every altar be thrown down, save the one that sanctifies the gift and the giver--the cross of Calvary. {YRP 338.3}

Selfishness has come in, and has appropriated to itself that which belongs to God. This is covetousness, which is idolatry. {CS 84)

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195876
05/28/23 11:47 PM
05/28/23 11:47 PM
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SATAN'S FINAL DECEPTIONS
Comments on LessonnTen


Unleashed -- what happens when God's restraining Spirit is drawn back and the devil is unleashed to show the universe in full unrestrained display how he intends to rule this world?

Yes, he uses his human agencies to do his bidding and advance his goal of drawing undeserved worship to himself. But the chief focus of his wrath is not on the beast or his image, those are just pawns in his hands. The chief focus of his wrath is against the "elect", they that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony and faith of Jesus. (Rev. 12:17, Matthew 24:24, Rev. 14:12)

Is it possible that we too, could be deceived?
We sometimes read Matthew 24:24 and focus on the phrase "if possible" and turn it around thinking, see, it's not possible we would accept the deception, we don't have to worry. And yes, those securely anchored in Christ and His Word won't be deceived, but what happens to the many who FEEL they are safe and simply utter the words, "just focus on Jesus" don't worry about all this talk of deception? Then without watching and praying, when seeing miraculous things that SEEM to be uplifting Jesus happening around them will FEEL the deceptions are from God and that they are about Jesus, and will sadly be deceived.

Matt. 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

I agree we should not think of this as "them" vs "us", but rather we need to sink our anchors deep into truth and share what we learn with all who need the truth just as badly as we need the truth. We all need the truth as it is in Christ (not just the truth of forgiveness, but all His warnings and promises) we all need the full armor of God, (Eph.6:13-18) for this battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers (as in fallen angels) that want to take us all with them into the lake of fire, and deprive us of eternal life.

Yes, God is the ONLY ONE who can deliver us, and sustain us. And He will deliver all who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

May we all be like Noah, heeding the warnings from God, diligently seeking and walking with God and preparing for what is coming.

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195878
05/29/23 11:47 PM
05/29/23 11:47 PM
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Satan's Final Deceptions
There is a way that seems right BUT..
..

Originally Posted by Lesson
People are often told to follow their own conscience in order to determine for themselves what is right or wrong, good or evil, and then live accordingly. But the Scripture says that we are all sinners, all corrupted (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:9-18), and so to trust our own sentiments is almost a guaranteed way to, sooner or later, get it wrong and even to do wrong


Yes, God has given people a conscience through which the Holy Spirit can lead us to make right choices. Our conscience is an important gift from God to help us resist evil. But we can grieve away the Holy Spirit and end up following wrong spirits, who are only too happy to take over. We can turn the volume of our conscience down so that what seems more "right" in our own minds governs our choices, not what God tells us is right. We are all very capable of adjusting our conscience to fit our own sentiments and/or culture.

Our conscience needs to be fortified with the sure Word of Scripture and placed under the will of God.

When Luther stood before the tribunal in Worms, he did not say, ?My conscience is held captive by my culture and what others demand is the right way for us all to believe". No, he said, "Unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture, or by evident reason, I cannot, and will not recant, for my conscience is held captive by the word of God."

We need to be sure our consciences have been captured by the word of God. He has given us His word. It exposes the lies we tell ourselves to excuse and make us feel better, as well as exposing the lies our culture and the propaganda feed us through media which tends to shift our paradigm of thought and concepts of right and wrong.

Yes,
Originally Posted by lesson
"we must immerse ourselves in the Word of God, and from His Word, as we surrender to the Holy Spirit, learn truth from error, right from wrong, good from evil. Left to our own devices, or even to our own senses, we can become easy prey to Satan?s deceptions."

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195882
05/30/23 07:04 PM
05/30/23 07:04 PM
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"One of the pillars of Babylonian deception is a false understanding of death, which, centered on the idea of the immortality of the soul, prepares the way for the deceptive influence of spiritualism."

Demons personating departed loved ones, or appearing as messengers from heaven (i.e. Mary, Joseph, an apostle), or a "master" supposedly coming to enlighten the world. It's all happening, but we are warned those things will escalate in the last days.

One of the biggest jumps in technology can now allow people to talk to the dead. AI (artificial intelligence) promises you can actually communicate with dead loved ones.

"HereAfter" is a platform which lets the dead chat with you on demand, and it sounds just like the deceased, their voices having been recorded. Surviving loved ones interact with the customized voice avatar via smart speaker, mobile or desktop app, and it responds. Another program called "Black Mirror", even lets one see their loved one, and their facial expressions as they "chat".

Of course that technology is still in its infancy, but if it takes off, one can only speculate how easy it is for demonic participation.

And for those who don't believe in any "supernatural" involvement. That suits the devil fine. Not only does it cause people to deny the existence of God, it also takes away the realization there is an enemy going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. (1 Peter 5:8) Thus no need to fear, since a devil is only a mythical thing.

Scripture warns over and over that there will be supernatural displays that will deceive the world. Those supernatural displays will be extremely hard to dismiss.
Revelation 13:13-14, Matthew 24:24, 2Thess.2:9-10, Mark 13:22

Both sides will have miracles that will make it very evident there are supernatural forces involved over the destiny of every human being. We need to be committed and anchored in Christ and His Word, or the powers of evil will overwhelm us.

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Re: 2nd Quarter 2023 Three Cosmic Messages [Re: dedication] #195904
06/08/23 05:07 AM
06/08/23 05:07 AM
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The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast
Part One
Lesson Eleven


Two sides, and only two. Everyone will be on one side or the other.

What are the issues?

The central issues in the great controversy focus on loyalty, (who do we trust and obey) authority (who has the right to receive our trust and obedience), and worship (who is worthy to receive our reverence, worship, and adoration?

WORSHIP
Who is worthy to receive worship?

"Worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Rev. 14:7
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Rev. 4:11

AUTHORITY
Who has the right to be God and expect certain things?
The One who made us knows how we best operate!

LOYALTY
When we obey the commandments in loving trust and commitment we show that we trust the One Who gave us those commandments.
We are the servants of the one we obey
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

We see an illustration of the conflict in the garden of Eden.

Adam and Eve knew God, for they walked and talked with Him in the cool of the evenings. They knew He was worthy of worship for God had given them everything -- life, and a perfect garden environment, with everything they needed.

Yet they had one test, only a single tree which they were to leave alone, all the other trees were theirs,
That test may have seemed a trivial thing. Weren't there so many more complex things by which to sully their character? What's so wrong with eating a piece of fruit?

But the serpent was there. That fallen angel who wanted to be God in the place of God.

So that little test would reveal whose word Eve trusted. Did she believe what God said, or would she believe the deceptive lies of the serpent, who promised her godhood and everlasting life (both of which he could never give them)

That test also showed loyalty (or the lack of it) . Would Eve remain loyal to her Creator and obey Him, or would she show high regards and loyalty to a lying serpent?

End Time Conflict

Revelation gives us pictures of the adversary. -- a dragon (that same old serpent that deceived Eve), and two accomplices, a beast, and another beast actively seeking to institute a counterfeit worship through deception and force.
The world isn't perfect now, in fact it is in deep trouble, but the beast and dragon use that to their advantage. If we just worship according to their promises and force, the earth will be saved.

Who will we be loyal to?

Yes there is a test. A simple test to see who is loyal to whose authority?
Like in Eden it may sound too simple, after all aren't there more prominent things involving character, etc.

But again it tests loyalty -- Who do we trust and obey,.

Who do we accept as our Lord, worthy of worship, trust, and obedience.

In Eden there was no coercion, but now there will be much coercion, and it will take stamina, commitment and love, to remain true to our God and Savior, in this test, when the adversary is demanding obedience and worship to his counterfeit on pain of death.




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