Greetings MOL Family!
Do you know that you are valuable? Why? Keep reading, to learn more…
Made In His Image
In all the Bible, there is a special book –the last one– which is set forth as the Revelation of Jesus Christ. And the theme of this book is Jesus. But not only Jesus as He was here in the flesh when He was here on earth, not only Jesus in His ministry in the heavenly Sanctuary; but Jesus, as revealed in the lives of His people, in the last church, the last generation. That’s the great goal of this book of Revelation, as it is the goal of the whole Bible – the development of a people who reflect the image of Jesus fully. The heart of this book of Revelation is the 14th chapter. Will you turn to it?
Here we see this group of people standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion. They are spoken of as the 144,000. Some of us may wish we knew more of just what is involved in that matter of the 144,000. But friends, the greatest thing about the 144,000 is the character – the character of the people who make up that wonderful group. And we are to strive with all our might, to be among the 144,000, we are told. Now, following the description of these people in the first five verses, we have the great three-fold message that develops them. Says John:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. – Revelation 14:6-7
Yes, it is a call to worship the One who made. I wonder what worship means. Could you worship somebody you didn’t know? No. And so, to worship God involves being acquainted with Him. Well, tell me this, could you worship somebody you knew, if you didn’t like him? No. And if we are going to worship the One who made everything, we will need to become acquainted with what He made, and we will need to have in our hearts and minds an appreciation of what He made. Is that reasonable? Yes. And surely, if I like what He made, I will want to work with Him to preserve, to keep what He made. Is that right? Yes.
You remember we studied, in our past lessons, Ecclesiastes 3:11:
He hath made every thing beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:11, Revised Standard Version
Do you believe that? Do you like the way He made things? Oh, yes. He is wonderful, and His work is wonderful. He is beautiful, and He has made everything beautiful. Now, the devil, as we studied, is in the business of perverting, twisting, changing, and destroying what God has made. If I worship God as Creator, if I admire what He made, the way He made it, I will want to be working with Him to keep it that way. Oh, how important that is. Of all that God has made, the most wonderful thing, of course, is man. Genesis 1:26 tells us that God’s thought was to make man how? In His image. So, in Counsels on Diet and Foods, we read:
Man is very dear to God, because he was formed in His own image. – Counsels on Diet and Foods, pg. 45
Why does God love you and me so much? Why, we were made in His image. That is what makes us valuable. And note that that value was revealed in redemption. God loved us so much, that He gave His Son to die for us. And when we look to Calvary, we discern something of the estimate that Heaven places upon man. But mark you, friends, that value was not established at the cross. It was established at creation. The cross reveals how much God valued us in the beginning, when He made us.
If you were the devil, what would you do about it? Wouldn’t you try to destroy the image of God in man? You see, satan hates Jesus, and he can’t get at Him up there in Heaven. He did all he could to make life miserable for Him when He was down here in this world. But when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the what? The woman, which brought forth a man child (Revelation 12). In other words, satan’s endeavor is by getting at the church, God’s people, to get at the heart of Christ. And, oh, how sad Jesus must be to see that image distorted, perverted, twisted, marred in His children.
The whole plan of redemption is a plan to bring us back to the original perfection – to restore in man the image of his Maker, that the beauty of the Lord our God may once more be seen upon us. And my dear friends, everybody is either working with Jesus to restore, or working with the great enemy to destroy. satan is trying to tear down. God is seeking to build up. Which shall I do? God is seeking to make us like Him. satan is seeking to change, pervert, mar, destroy. Oh, I think it is wonderful that we can work with God in this wonderful mission of restoration. What do you say?
Back To God’s Original Plan
In the book Education, I read:
Let pupils be impressed with the thought that the body is a temple in which God desires to dwell. … As in the study of physiology they see that they are indeed ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14), they will be inspired with reverence. – Education, pg. 201
Physiology, does it have something to do with it? Oh, yes. The study of this body is the study of the counterpart of God here in this world. This is not to make of man a god. Oh, no! But it is to make us God-like. And what a privilege we have, friends! And so, we study physiology; we study the way God made man. We study anatomy, the structure. We study the functions of the different organs. What for? Why, this says, we will be inspired with reverence. But the only thing that will inspire us with reverence in this, my dear friends, is to see in the body the image of God, the handiwork of God, and to worship Him who made us in His image – worship Him in admiration, and worship Him in a practical way, by cooperating with Him to keep what He has made:
Instead of marring God’s handiwork they will have an ambition to make all that is possible of themselves, in order to fulfill the Creator’s glorious plan. – Education, pg. 201
You remember what we read in Volume 6, before:
For Christ’s sake, whose witnesses we are, we should seek to make the best of our appearance. – Testimonies to the Church, Volume 6, pg. 96
This is the beautiful way, my friends. Beautiful characters, beautiful faces, beautiful bodies for God, from head to foot. Oh, friends, what for? To show ourselves off? Oh, no:
Fear God, and give glory to Him … and worship Him that made heaven and earth. – Revelation 14:7
Now, tell me, friends, suppose you come to see my garden. There are pansies there, and there are cosmos, and there are marigolds, and there are roses, and there are violets. Who made all those? God made them. But suppose you find that I have sprayed the marigolds so they are a pink color, and I have sprayed the roses and made them blue. You would either be disgusted, or if you liked that sort of thing, to whom would you give glory? Not to God, for He didn’t make blue roses and pink marigolds, did He? You would say, “Oh, my, what did you do to these?” Yes, indeed, what did I do to them? Did I improve what God made?
But you know, friends, there are some people who would just give anything for a blue rose. Oh, I think these lovely pink roses, and red roses, and yellow roses, and all the shades between, that God has made, are beautiful. What do you think?
Well, somebody says, “Isn’t there anything, then, for us to do, either with the garden or with ourselves? Just let things be? Ah, let’s watch something wonderful. Go back to Genesis. I want you to see something:
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. – Genesis 2:15
Did Adam and Eve have some work to do in Eden? Oh, yes. What were they to do with the garden? To dress it and to keep it. You remember the fourth commandment:
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. – Exodus 20:8
Who made it holy? God. We can’t make anything holy, but we can keep holy what He made holy. And Adam’s job was to keep the garden the way God had made it. Do you suppose he went around there with instruments to twist things and change things? Oh, no. He had a work of training the vines, we are told. But all that was in harmony with God’s plan. And the result was to give glory to whom? God. That’s right. And so, in all our contact with nature, friends, we are working with God, to keep what He made.
Now, even in Eden this was so. But when sin entered, God told Adam that He was going to give him more work, that there would be thorns and thistles to wrestle with, and that he would have to work so hard that he would actually sweat, but that it was for his sake. What is man to do as he works? To dress the garden and to keep it. And now there is more work, because the devil is working against God and against us all the time. So it takes far more work. But the whole purpose is to work to bring nature and ourselves back to God’s original plan.
Let us all strive to co-operate with God, that His image may be perfectly restored in us!
Join us next week, to study His beautiful way to bring this end to pass. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then!
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.