GOD ON TRIAL FOR MURDER
For nearly 6,000 years now, God the Father and God the Son have been on trial for murder. Most of the angels were not sure until the cross. Revelation 12:10-12 indicates that there are beings on other worlds who “overcame” and “rejoiced” when Christ triumphed over Satan at Calvary. Even the angels desire to “look into” this matter, I Peter. 1:12.
Yes, the good and loyal angels had wondered, too. They sometimes wondered if Satan’s charges were true or not. It did seem like God sometimes destroyed. There were some things which did seem rather inconsistent, or at least unexplainable. But, they, by faith remained loyal to God in spite of these mysteries. The Great Controversy was revealing the true character of both God and Satan to men and angels alike, as well as unfallen worlds.
The prophets themselves “inquired” about the plan of redemption. They didn’t fully understand it themselves, even though they wrote the prophecies about it. They (the prophets) were finally told that these things would not occur during their lifetime (For example, this was told to Daniel. See Daniel 12:8,9,13) “but long years later, during yours. And now at last this good news has been plainly announced to all of us. It was preached to us in the power of the same heaven-sent Holy Spirit who spoke to them: And it is all so strange and wonderful that even angels in heaven would give a great deal to know more about it.” 1 Peter 1:10-12. Living Bible. The King James Version says, “which things the angels desire to look into.”
God never uses the methods of Satan. Force, coercion, compelling power are the principles of Satan’s government. God’s authority is based upon love, kindness and compassion. He never uses force. Truth and righteousness are the foundation of His government. Exodus 34:5-7; Psalms 97:2.
DO GOD’S ANGELS OBEY THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?
Are God’s angels under the same obligation to obey the law as we are? Yes, they are. “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word.” Psalms 103:20. Compare Revelation 14:6.
Up until Lucifer rebelled, no created being in God’s vast universe had ever questioned his goodness, love, mercy, or equity. Obedience was the spontaneous outgrowth of a perfect and abiding relationship with their Creators, God the Father, and His only Son. The foul miasma of sin sprang up in the heart of Lucifer. See Ezekiel 28:15.
Sin, is disconnecting yourself from God our Creator. This is what broke the perfect harmony, love, and fellowship of heaven. When Adam and Eve separated themselves from God, the same experience of disharmony came to planet earth. Broken fellowship always leads to sin, which in the original Greek simply means “missing the mark.” In essence, it is a demonstration of the misunderstanding and misapprehension of the character of God, which the Creator is in the process of correcting by allowing this Great Controversy to continue in the first place.
In order for planet earth to be restored and re-connected to the throne of God we must first understand that the law of God is a transcript of His very character. And fellowship can only be re-established by permitting Christ to reign in our hearts. Jesus came to earth as a fleshly embodiment of His holy law, so that the Father might once again become the center of our lives. And when we have fellowship with God we are at peace with ourselves and with our fellow men. Proverbs 16:7.
Yes, God’s angels are subject to the law of God, just as Christ was subject to it while upon earth. Galatians 4:4. Notice how strictly they obey it. “Although the angels in heaven who stand in the very presence of the Lord, and are far greater in power and strength than these false teachers, never speak out disrespectfully against these evil Mighty Ones.” 2 Peter 2:11. Living Bible.
Does God observe this same law? Yes, the pre-incarnate Christ of the Old Testament obeyed His own law, as we read in Jude 9. “Yet Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, when he was arguing with Satan about Moses’ body, did not dare to accuse even Satan, or jeer at him, but simply said, ‘the Lord rebuke you.’” Living Bible. Not only does Christ not kill angels or human beings, He doesn’t even slander or speak harshly to them. Jesus was really inviting Satan to behold His Father’s face and be reconciled. Matthew 18:10.
Many sincere Christians have been told that God does not murder but He does kill or destroy in order to punish sin and sinners whenever necessary, now and especially in the final judgment. This is neither correct or true because the Hebrew word for both words is the same, i.e. “Ratsach.”
Let us take a look at these two words, “Murder and Kill” in Strong’s concordance of the holy Bible. Both of these passages use Strong’s word number 7523, ratsach (raw-tsakh’) which is a primitive root. It is translated in the Authorized Version (KJV) as slayer, 15 times, murderer 13 times, kill 2 times, murder 4 times, slain 3 times, manslayer 2 times, killing 1 time, slayer 12 times, slayeth 1 time. The finite Hebrew meaning of ratasch is 1) to murder, slay, kill 1a) (Qal) to murder, slay 1a1) premeditated 1a2) accidental 1a3) as avenger 1a4) slayer (intentional) (participle) 1b) (Niphal) to be slain 1c) (Piel) 1c1) to murder, assassinate 1c2) murderer, assassin (participle) (subst) 1d) (Pual) to be killed. Thus we see “kill and murder”are from the same Hebrew word.
Should the claim that Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17’s use of “ratsach” mean “Thou shalt not murder,” and only this meaning can be taken as true, then this claim leaves a huge hole in solid Biblical interpretation. Why? Because it is obvious that the word, “ratsach” also means “to kill.” No one accidentally “murders” because murder is always intentional and premeditated. Our study of the Word of God must be intellectually honest in order to arrive at a correct interpretation. To select a preferred definition of meanings of original words as the only possible interpretation is what many denominations have done in order to sustain their doctrines and thus have distorted the obvious meaning of God’s holy word.
We must be bound by honesty to embrace an interpretation that includes accepting all the definitions that come forward from an original word in Scripture. In this case, we see then that “ratsach” means “to kill” as much as it means “to murder.” Is there a second witness to this conclusion about the use of “ratsach” in Exodus 20:13 and Deut 5:17? Yes, there is. Jesus Himself gave it to us in Matt 5:21. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment….” This passage uses Strong’s word number 5407 foneuw phoneuo fon-yoo’-o from 5406; ; v, which is translated in the Authorized Version as 1) to kill 10 times, 2) do murder 1 time, 3) slay 1 time; out of 12 occurrences. It is obvious that the word, “phoneuo” has the preponderance of meaning to be 1) to kill, slay, while the lesser meaning is 2) to commit murder. Furthermore, Jesus clearly shows us that Exodus 20:13’s and Deuteronomy 5:17’s use of “ratsach” does not mean solely “to murder,” but also means “to kill” as well. In confirmation, the context of verse 22 shows that Jesus felt that anger alone leads to killing another, hence the guilt of breaking the law in Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 would stain that person’s heart as much as the act of killing itself. See also Luke 18:20 which is also from 5407 in Strong’s. The Bible student who believes that God does not murder, but kills, after understanding this light must ask the Holy Spirit to help him reevaluate all the passages in Scripture on whether God breaks His own law and kills.
In conclusion on this matter, let us remember that in the original language codices there was no inspired punctuation. As a result some passages have been given the wrong meaning. An example is Lamentations 3:38, which reads as a question in the KJV, but in reality is a statement about God’s true character. “Out of the mouth of the most High proceeded not evil and good.” When taken as a statement, instead of a question, the meaning of the text is entirely changed. That God will, because of His holiness, not even speak evil. How much less will He kill? God lives by His own law. God counsels Christ, who is God, in Proverbs 3:1 “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments.” Jesus, who reveals the Father, kept His own law. We know by Jesus’ example that the Father keeps His own law too.
So many Christians misunderstand the true meaning of God’s vengeance. Let us reason together on this from Romans 12:14,17: “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” Is God the Father like that? Yes, He is. We see the Father in Christ praying for His enemies as He was hanging on the cross. He was simply letting his Father live out His own instruction He gave in Matthew 5:43-45. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that hate you.” Did Jesus live this way Himself? Yes, He did. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34.
BUT DOES THE FATHER ACT LIKE THAT TOO?
Matthew 5:45 proves that the Father does act like that, too. “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Notice how the Living Bible renders it: “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44.
Since God never changes (Numbers 23:19,20; Psalms 89:34; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17), His character is the same in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament. Jesus and His Father have always acted like this. Although it would appear in the Old Testament that God was a different kind of Person than Jesus portrayed in the New Testament, He really has been the same all the time.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: (that is, let God handle it) for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19.
Vengeance is from the old French “venger” and from the Latin root,”vindicare,” from which we get our English word, “vindicate,” meaning “to clear from criticism, censure, suspicion.”
The way God clears His name, and ours as well, will be in keeping with His divine character of love and not according to our fallen, carnal way of dealing with people and circumstances. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts then your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9. “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.
Special Note: As you go through this book, you will find the recurring concept that God always takes the blame. Chapter 2 dealt with this, but there is much more to learn for this is a frequent and continuous theme throughout the history of the Great Controversy. In the first two chapters of the book of Job, God is really the one who is on trial in the person of His servant Job. What most people are not aware of is that Job was tested all through the book of Job when his closest friends accused him of harboring some kind of secret sin for which God was punishing him. And then at the close of the book we find from chapters 38 to 42 a voice speaking to Job in a very harsh and haughty tone. For years I did not realize that this was actually Satan who was allowed to speak to Job in this manner. Why? Because this is what Job thought God was like, therefore the true Lord allowed the kind of god Job believed was punishing him to speak to him.
“Out of the storm cloud,” Job 38:1. We know this voice is not the true God for he commanded Job to sacrifice animals. Job 42:8. This reveals the real speaker behind all these strong words.