|Volume 18 Number 6 June 2016||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Almighty God created the angelic host (Genesis 2:1; Isaiah 45:12; Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16), and many of them rebelled against their Creator (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:9). Consequently, it might seem that creating angels was a miserable experiment.
The Godhead created mankind (Genesis 1:26-27), and the first couple (Genesis 3:6), as well as the balance of humankind after them (Romans 3:10, 23), transgressed divine instructions provided to them. In such a condition, mortals were not suitable to be in the presence of a Holy God (Genesis 3:23-24; Isaiah 59:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9). Creating mankind, then, also appears to have been a miserable experiment.
Subsequently in the course of punishing wayward humanity, God on more than one occasion modified the created universe into which He had placed mankind (Genesis 3:15-19; 7:11-12, 20-23; 11:1-9). All that God had created, which He had styled as “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) and “very good” (Genesis 1:31), became less than what it had been. The universe and every component part within it is winding down and slowly deteriorating. Even the created world and everything else that God made from nothing (Hebrews 11:3) appear to be specimens of a miserable experiment.
When God endowed angels and mankind with freewill, He gave to them the capacity to make choices for themselves (Joshua 24:15; 1 Kings 18:21). Unfortunately, some of the angels chose to defy God. Regrettably, every human who has attained the ability to discern between right and wrong, likewise, has chosen at one time or another in his or her life to disobey God. Not only is the universe wearing out, often humans expedite its demise through the harvesting of the globe’s resources without land reclamation, as well as generally through pollution of land, air and water. What a colossal miserable experiment it must be concerning the failures of angels and people, plus the ruination of our planet home.
The first definition of “miserable” is, “being in a pitiable state of distress or unhappiness” (Merriam-Webster). The word “experiment” means, “test, trial… a tentative procedure… an operation or procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law, to test or establish a hypothesis…” (Merriam-Webster). The plight of the fallen angels, fallen mankind and the falling apart universe may seem from mankind’s perspective to be a pitiable state of distress and unhappiness resulting from a test in order to discover an unknown effect. However, from the divine perspective, such is not the case at all.
God was not experimenting when He created the angels, humans and the entire universe. Further, Deity was not attempting through creation to discover anything unknown to establish a hypothesis. Through divine foreknowledge rather (Isaiah 42:9; 46:10), God knew exactly what to expect from His creation, and yet, the Godhead chose to go through with creation anyway. In addition, God devised a plan of redemption whereby mankind could once more come into the presence of a Holy God (Titus 1:2-3; 1 Peter 1:18-20).
Perhaps the pinnacle of what might seem to have been a miserable experiment was when God Incarnate was murdered by the very human creation that God sent His Son to rescue. What restraint in the face of such ungratefulness our Lord Jesus Christ showed while being crucified on Calvary’s cross. He did not call down more than twelve legions of angels to destroy this world and mankind – this miserable experiment – and set Himself free (Matthew 26:53). The love of God and Jesus Christ exceeded wretched and sinful humanity all so that we would have the opportunity to be saved (Romans 5:8-10).
Dear Reader, resolve not to be a failed part of a miserable experiment. Human redemption is anything but a miserable experiment, but to carelessly disregard the efforts of God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf makes it all for us personally merely a miserable experiment. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (Hebrews 2:3 NKJV).
Changing the Future
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
What can possibly change the future? Americans are hearing a lot these days about change. Each presidential candidate promises positive change for America. What can really change the future? There is a group of individuals that week after week in congregations all over this world who are surely changing the future of our world in a very positive way. Who are these individuals? They are Bible class teachers! These, who without laud and noisy fanfare, continually prepare to teach and to share God’s Word. What is involved in becoming a faithful Bible class teacher?
Firstly, there is the consideration to teach. Before an individual steps foot into a classroom to teach God’s Word, he or she must seriously consider the warning, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1). The word “masters” here refers to an instructor or a teacher. James was certainly not discouraging teachers, but rather he was reminding those who would teach that there is great responsibility attached to the teaching of Holy Writ. Bible teachers deal with eternity, and as such, in a very real way, they hold the future of the souls that they teach.
Secondly, there is the command to teach. God’s directive is clear, “…teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19b-20a). Just think of the thousands of “nameless” individuals each week throughout the Lord’s church who are obeying this command. How many faithful missionaries, preachers and elders “got their start” in a Bible class? This is where many begin their biblical education. Talk about changing the future! God’s design has always been, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). God’s truth is consistently passed from one generation to another by those who teach.
Lastly, there is the compensation to teach. While there is usually little financial compensation given to those who teach God’s Word, there is a greater reward. Paul reminded teacher Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16). What greater compensation could be given (cf. Matthew 16:26)?
What can really change the future? God’s Word is the only thing that can really bring about positive change in our world today. No president, no government and no political party can change the future. Yet, those who handle aright (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word of God and share it continuously can make positive changes for the future. Become a faithful Bible teacher today and change the future. Our world needs you badly!