In the previous article we explored the divine pattern as reflected in 1 Cor 8:6 speaking of the relationship of the Father and Son. Their relationship itself reveals this divine pattern comprising “Of Whom” where Father is the source and “By Whom” where His Son is the channel.
We cited several examples of how this divine pattern has been replicated in various levels of authority and leadership positions.
One place that this divine pattern is wonderfully revealed is in the 10 Commandments. If we study the law carefully we find that 8 of the commandments contain prohibitions while the 2 commandments at the heart of the law contain a positive blessing. Notice:
Gen 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Eph 6:2-3 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (3) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
If we arrange the commandments around these two commandments that have a positive blessing we might see something that resembles a fountain:
All the other commandments act as a guardrail to guide us to the source of the fountain found in the Sabbath and honouring our parents. Can we see that the fourth and fifth commandment follow the divine pattern:
Remember the Sabbath
Honour Your Parents
God designed that through our parents, we would be taught about the principles of His kingdom, His Law and of course His love.
Deu 6:4-8 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: (5) And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (8) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
Is it possible to see that as we approach the law through the divine pattern, the pattern that provides all blessing, that we will indeed flourish and be blessed. Please notice carefully what Ellen White says about the 5th commandment
This, says the apostle, "is the first commandment with promise." Ephesians 6:2. To Israel, expecting soon to enter Canaan, it was a pledge to the obedient, of long life in that good land; but it has a wider meaning, including all the Israel of God, and promising eternal life upon the earth when it shall be freed from the curse of sin. PP 308
Ellen White connects the honouring of our parents with having eternal life. How is this possible? When we see that all things come from the Father, the great source of all and flow through His appointed agencies then we can see that indeed when we honour our parents, we are honouring an authority that God has established.
Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God. PP 308
It is through our parents that our Father in heaven seeks to pour His love, His mercy, His grace. Our parents are a channel through which our Father wants to bless us, to speak His words of affection and tenderness. This principle is so important that God made His covenant with Abraham dependent on the right ordering of the family after the divine pattern.
Gen 18:18-19 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? (19) For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
God states that He would bring upon Abraham all that He has promised as Abraham commands his family and household after him, meaning that he leads his family to follow the divine pattern where his wife respects him as the head of the house and his children are taught to honour and respect their father. Please give this serious reflection:
The covenant was defendant on the right ordering of the Family after the Divine Pattern.
This is why Ellen White states:
“Society is composed of families, and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are "the issues of life"; and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences.” Adventist Home p. 15.
Those home influences are where we learn the divine pattern. As we honour our father and mother as a reflection of the divine pattern of Father and Son, we learn how to connect ourselves to our Father in heaven. If we disobey our parents and forsake the pattern reflected in our parents we will not be able to connect to the divine pattern in heaven.
“God designs that the families of earth shall be a symbol of the family in heaven. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God's plan, are among His most effective agencies for the formation of Christian character and for the advancement of His work.” Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 430.
Now I would like you to notice how this divine pattern in the home is extended to the wider community.
The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age. It also enjoins respect for ministers and rulers and for all others to whom God has delegated authority.” PP 308
Note carefully that the 5th commandment includes ministers and rulers and all others to whom God has delegated authority. Please underscore this point carefully:
Respect for ministers and rulers is part of the 5th commandment
There are many voices who cry, I only need my Bible and I am not under any man! This is a very cunning ploy of Satan to break the divine pattern. If we truly were not under any man then wives need not respect their husbands and children need not honour their parents. Many people forget that the only reason we have our Bibles is because God instructed the prophets to write down what He needed and also inspired men to publish and print the Bible.
This cry that “I have my Bible and am not under any man” is a reaction to the work of Satan to move the “By Whom” channel to the same level as the “Of Whom” source. When parents seek to commandment the conscience of their children in regard to worship they are placing themselves in a position above what God requires. As Ellen White indicated, the fifth commandment also applies to ministers and rulers. When those who fill these positions require of us something contrary to the Word of God, we cannot obey but this does not mean that we also cease to honour or respect them as the “By Whom” channel. We continue to honour them as far as the Word of God requires, no more and no less. As we continue in this series, we will study further how God deals with delegated authorities who assume positions that God alone can occupy. Yet we make the point that a violation of conscience by those granted authority does not grant us the right to completely disregard their authority and break the divine pattern.
It is in this context where Satan seeks to merge the “By Whom” channel with the “Of Whom” source that we understand the admonition of Jesus:
Mat 23:9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
This counsel does not negate the following:
1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
When our father or church leader seeks our submission in things that alone belong to God, they are merging themselves with God as an authority in our lives and this destroys the personalities of the “Of Whom” and “By Whom” structure. We cannot obey any command that violates this. It is Satan’s constant effort to elevate “By Whom” aspects of the channel to the same level as “Of Whom” positions in order to destroy them.
- He seeks to raise the Son of God to the same level as the Father in order to destroy the Son and the Father
- He seeks to raise wives to the same position as their husbands in order to destroy them
- He has sort to raise the writing of Ellen White to the same level as the Bible in order to destroy the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible
- He has sought to raise the words of men to the same level as the Bible through the 28 Fundamentals in order to destroy the church.
Whenever God’s people sense that those in authority over them are seeking to require more than their position grants them, Satan then moves those under that authority to completely reject that authority. As the people come out from under that protective authority, Satan is then better positioned to sweep them away with winds of doctrines, false shepherds and even loss of life.
Let us remember the divine pattern in every aspect of our lives and just as we behold Christ as a distinct person, holding a distinct authority over our lives as the ultimate “By Whom” authority, let us remember all the other “By Whom” authorities placed in our lives even when Satan moves them to merge with the “Of Whom” authority above them. Let us not be seduced into rejecting these authorities, but rather plead for them and ask God to bless them and held them regain their true identity and position as a reflection of the divine pattern.