A Fresh Paradigm

The more that I learn about the truth of how Jesus took over the role of representing this world before the universe to displace Satan's assertion of authority here, the more insights I am starting to see throughout Scripture. I am starting to understand that maybe Hebrews could be an explicit exposé on this very topic and we have missed it because of our dim perceptions of this central theme. I would like to explore this book from this perspective and see what connections may begin to become clear.

Just from a cursory look at the first chapter there are many clues that seem to jump out at me. Maybe listing them as they come to my attention will open the doors to discover many more things. And these insights are not just intellectual exercises but rather are parts of the puzzle that unveil the picture of reality like most have never thought about before but that is true nonetheless.

Grasping a correct 'big picture' of what is really going on instead of the human-centered obsession with salvation being all about getting our skins into heaven is vital to helping us to come into right relationship with God's plans for us. I have been learning for many years how the real issue in the great war we are engaged in between good and evil is much more about vindicating God's reputation before the entire universe instead of obsessing about trying to rescue sinners from the hands of an angry God. Religion has done more to perpetuate the deceptions of Satan and misconceptions about God than any other source. But in these last days the glory of God will fill the whole earth with the real truth about what is actually going on and all who are willing to embrace this truth and allow God to use them as truthful witnesses about who He really is will enjoy the natural rewards of becoming purified so as to be able to live and thrive in His glorious and very intense presence.

It is necessary to have some of the facts in place to make sense of how Hebrews counters the false assertions of Satan to be the legitimate prince of this world. If we don't have a grasp of the real contest that has been going on for centuries we can't make much sense out of what we see in this book. Adventists in particular have been blessed with behind the scenes insights into this great war like no other people on the planet. Yet they have largely abused or misapplied many of these insights as they have, like the Jews of old did, moved toward a defensive spirit about these things or worse an abusive spirit. Instead of seeking to move into even greater light we have entrenched ourselves into thinking we already had all the light there is to have, and as a result we have lost much light we could have had by this time. Unless we move forward with advancing truth and light we become stagnant and slip into even greater darkness than those who have not had access to that which was entrusted to us.

The insights and light given to the messenger for this church was not to replace anything in Scripture but was to get us to dig much deeper and show us how the pieces and clues fit together that we find there. But too many times we want to make her writings the main basis of our beliefs instead of allowing them to enhance our perceptions of what is really taking place. It is very easy to make an idol out of Ellen White's writings and rest in the assumption that her ideas have more authority than the Bible. We don't want to admit that fact, but the way in which we handle her writings betray this to those who have a more objective view of how we think and speak and use her writings.

Yet in spite of our abuse and prejudice and stubbornness and resistance to move forward into new light, there will be some who are humble and willing to learn and be taught by the Holy Spirit and Jesus promised for those who are willing. The Word of God is yet to be mined effectively to expose the many riches that we could be enjoying if only we could let go of our preconceptions and misapprehensions that blind us to some of the most important themes that run all throughout inspired writings.

Lucifer started this great war in heaven when he because jealous of Jesus who, in my opinion, was so similar to Lucifer that they may have appeared to be clones of each other. I believe that given the nature of how God has related to humanity after sin entered this world, that it is quite likely that God also lowered Himself by forming the Son into the likeness of an angel so as to make Himself more approachable by the created angels. But this created the potential for misunderstanding by making it appear that the Son might also have been created since He did not look any different than other angels. The created beings had to take it on faith that Jesus was not just another one like them just as humans also have to do the same.

As many of us know the sad history of how sin began in the mind of Lucifer, he began to entertain jealousy in his heart about the special privileges that Jesus enjoyed as one of the Godhead that Lucifer did not participate in as they met together to plan the creation of this planet and a special, new order of beings that would reflect their image more perfectly. As Lucifer resisted the love and compassion and even the warnings of God that his course of action would only result in harm, sin began to take shape in his thinking and antagonism toward God became woven into his very character.

The primary focal point of Lucifer's resistance and complaints about God's government was always his jealousy of the Son of God. Lucifer felt that God was withholding legitimate privileges from him as he refused to acknowledge the fact that he simply did not have the same capacities and abilities as the eternal Son. Because he allowed jealousy and pride to pervade all of his thinking and as a result the love and humility of God drained away from his soul, he came to the point where he insisted that the selfless love that defined the core essence of who God is simply did not exist to start with. This was the only way that Satan – now turned accuser – could make his claims and accusations against God make any sense and be appealing to other intelligent beings.

Because we are born into the world filled with false assumptions about God promoted by this great accuser, it is very difficult for us to distinguish many of the lies of Satan because they are already woven into so much of what we assume is truth. Particularly our opinions about how God feels about us and the very nature of love itself prevents us from grasping the real issues of the great controversy that Satan launched against the ways and the principles of God's government. We have been led to assume that the problem with God is a legal issue and that God is the one upset because we have broken His laws and now must be punished. But this thinking is filled with many of the false assumptions that Satan used to mislead one third of the highly intelligent angels of heaven while they were still clear-headed and not predisposed to believing lies about God like we are.

That is why I believe it is vitally critical that our perceptions about God must improve dramatically before we can make any sense out of the many clues about the true nature of the great controversy as well as the plan of salvation that God has revealed to rescue us from this horrific mess we are in. As long as we continue to cling to dark views of God that Satan has insisted are true and that religion has imposed on us, we cannot have the capacity to appreciate the much grander truths and realities that are central to God's government that is under such fierce attack.

When Satan lost his welcome in heaven and was expelled because no one there would allow him any more audience for his rantings against God, he and his duped and highly discontented followers ended up on this earth to engage the minds of brand new beings who had never been exposed to the arguments that everyone else had already taken sides over. Approaching brand new subjects who did not know what was going on was the perfect test for Satan's theories and assertions that it was impossible for people to respond and live in just the pure atmosphere of love alone. Satan insisted that God's government based on love was untenable in the long run and that this law of love was impossible to rely on to keep subjects from rebelling. The way to prove this was to test a control group scientifically who had never been exposed to the arguments from either side to see what the outcome would prove. But tragically the outcome appeared to prove God wrong and vindicated the assertions of Satan that indeed it was too difficult to obey God simply from love and appreciation of His character and that other elements were needed to keep subjects in line.

Lucifer had claimed that he was aware of hidden flaws in God's system of government and that he had come up with a better system of government that simply needed to be developed long enough to be perfected and that his ideas ultimately should replace heaven's system. Satan became very angry when he was pushed out of heaven and lost access to freely being able to banter and harass beings from all over the universe who came there to conduct their business. But he was also determined to establish a beachhead somewhere in God's universe where he could have a based from which to spread his rebellion and further his designs to rule the entire universe eventually.

Note these insights from Ellen White who received special revelations about what is going on behind the scenes.

In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice. When men broke the law of God, and defied His will, Satan exulted. It was proved, he declared, that the law could not be obeyed; man could not be forgiven. Because he, after his rebellion, had been banished from heaven, Satan claimed that the human race must be forever shut out from God's favor. God could not be just, he urged, and yet show mercy to the sinner. {DA 761}

Satan desperately wanted to regain access back into heaven, but because the welcome mat had been removed by the loyal angels, possibly the only way he could return there was to somehow gain credentials as a representative of one of the created worlds so that he could attend the councils held in heaven attended by the reps from each planet. So he set about to see if he could somehow convince Adam, the assigned representative for this planet, to relinquish his title and position to Satan.

This is the context of what we read in Genesis as Satan cunningly approached Adam through his greatest weak spot, his passionate love for Eve. By deceiving Eve first and then using her to seduce Adam into relinquishing his birthright as holding dominion over all the earth, Satan was able to accomplish his purpose and immediately placed the king and queen of this world into his slavery and instilled into them many of the attributes of his own character.

This issue of who is the rightful representative of this world is one of the core themes that I believe we have missed in most of theology. We have not grasped the significance of this battle over accreditation as we might term it in our vernacular. But Satan did in fact wrest the control and governance of this planet away from Adam and immediately asserted himself into the councils of heaven insisting that he was now to be considered the rightful ruler of this world.

But there were serious issues immediately raised by Satan's assertions that he must be accepted as the head of the human race and the prince of this world. And those issues need to be flushed into the open more clearly by examining the clues we have from both the Bible and the insights provided for us by the one God gifted in the early days of our church. I believe all of these things can be found in the Bible and we should be careful to search them out. But our job can be made more efficient if we are willing to believe that God gave us some big clues through the insights of the one He empowered to help jump-start our thinking again and help us to see the bigger issues that have long been obscured.

Understanding this context of the issue over who has the right to represent humanity in the councils of heaven and as such to speak for us and dominate this world is vital also to understanding much more clearly the mission of Jesus to this world. For a long time I have struggled with the misconceptions taught by religion inferring that Jesus came to appease an angry Father waiting to punish sinners. But the more I have seen these distorted ideas discredited the more I have wondered what the real purpose of the cross was in place of the lies swirling around that story. Only recently has the real truth of what the cross is all about begun to emerge to my understanding, and this truth is intensely compelling.

I am now beginning to see that the real issue that Jesus came to deal with was not at all a problem with an angry God but rather the problem of who has legitimate right to represent humans in this universe. Jesus came to contest the credentials of Satan, to expose him as a fraud and to Himself replace him and take over the role of rightful control of this planet. This theme emerges again and again in the gospel accounts and I believe might be the main focus of Hebrews if we saw it in its true context.

One more thought I want to add here. While it cannot be proven conclusively, I agree with James Wilder in his careful analysis of Scripture in coming to the conclusion that quite possibly the book of Hebrews may have been written by Luke, and that Luke was the unnamed man who was one of the two disciples who enjoyed a personal and very intensive Bible study given by Jesus on their way home to Emmaus the evening after His resurrection. The book of Hebrews may well have been the content of that study that Jesus took them through as He explained to them from Scripture what was really going on and why He had come to this earth to live and die and be resurrected. This fits perfectly in the context of the bigger picture and also explains many details in the stories of these events and people.

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