The concept of submission and free will seem to be in opposition to each other in the human mind, and yet, this is the very heartbeat of heaven itself. The relationship between God and His Son is modelled after this pattern. Agape amongst all the heavenly hosts is made manifest by worship and adoration to God by a heartfelt, freewill response. When you think about it, worship by its true definition can only be of free will. Love can only be expressed in the framework of free will. Adoration and praise can only come as a heartfelt response. Do we get this understanding from the verses below or is there a brass mirror hindering us?
Rev 14:6-7: "And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to 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."
In our fallen world, ultimate authority of an individual can only mean one outcome, dictatorship. Submission is only understood under a cloud of fear that's expressed in the behaviour of compliance under duress. Love does not come into the equation of obeying such power. Therefore our thoughts of submission are polluted with the concept of it being a sign of weakness against an antagonistic power. Satan used this effectively to bring about the downfall of a third of the angels and the entire human race.
"God in His great mercy bore long with Lucifer. He was not immediately degraded from his exalted station when he first indulged the spirit of discontent, not even when he began to present his false claims before the loyal angels. Long was he retained in heaven. Again and again he was offered pardon on condition of repentance and submission."—The Great Controversy, 495, 496.
At the heart of Satan's rebellion was his aversion to submitting to the ultimate authority of God and especially towards Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.
"Rejecting with disdain the arguments and entreaties of the loyal angels, he denounced them as deluded slaves. The preference shown to Christ he declared an act of injustice both to himself and to all the heavenly host, and announced that he would no longer submit to this invasion of his rights and theirs. He would never again acknowledge the supremacy of Christ. He had determined to claim the honor which should have been given him, and take command of all who would become his followers; and he promised those who would enter his ranks a new and better government, under which all would enjoy freedom. Great numbers of the angels signified their purpose to accept him as their leader. Flattered by the favor with which his advances were received, he hoped to win all the angels to his side, to become equal with God Himself, and to be obeyed by the entire host of heaven." PP 40.1
All the elements that rule this world under the control of Satan can be found in the above quote. Disdain, lying, denouncing, misrepresenting, jealousy, pride, accusations and power seeking.
As we think about the restoration of heaven before the fall and being part of a people preparing to meet Jesus upon His return we have to ask ourselves the question. Do I know Him? I used to read these words in the Bible as Jesus rejection of the hypocrite but could it really mean their rejection of Jesus? Mat 7:23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. Would the God who gave His only begotten Son reject anyone?
Isn't it Jesus who was and still is, rejected by the world? Isa 53:3: "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." And where is this rejection primarily centered? His claim to be the Son of God? Yes, but more so His claim to represent one hundred percent the character of His Father. John 14:8-9: "Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us. Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?"
When you look to Jesus what do you see? Isa 53:2: "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." and paralleled with this verse John 6:44: "No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
Are you drawn by the spirit of God when you read the gospels? Do you feel that tender, loving, compassionate, gentle, submissive spirit of Jesus displayed in His life, miracles, teachings and dealings with lost humanity? Have you partaken of His sufferings? Do you feel the pain of His rejection as He continues to reach out to save? Do you long for His pain to end? Do you understand that He still carries the cross of our sin and suffering? Isa 53:5: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed."
The word of God needs to pass from an intellectual examination to a living relationship. A longing to be like Jesus and the deepest desire for the communion of His presence. Why would anyone be against the Sabbath or the appointed times if it provides a chance to be with Him in spirit? Have you felt His presence? Have your eyes filled with tears because of His love and has this caused sorrow for your sin? Have you felt His forgiveness and acceptance? Don't you know what a one-sided relationship this started out as and for the most part continues to be? All these longing impulses originate from God. He continues to draw us. Jer 31:3: "The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you."
The Law of God is a transcript of His character. It is spiritual and its underlying principles are relational. Relationships built upon the agape love of God. The God who promised from the transcript of His own character that, "Thou shalt not kill." Exo 20:13 and Jesus who revealed the character of His Father perfectly never killed anyone. Instead, we killed Him. In John 17:4 it says: "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." Our wonderful God, the source of life alone, what are the words of His Son? John 17:3: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Life eternal, by knowing the Life. No death from His throne.
Do not allow him who said in Isa 14:13 ":... I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God ....." to deceive you. There is no freedom in his kingdom. Satan is the destroyer. He shall never be like the most High.
Does the God you worship draw you by cords of love? Can your heart freely give itself to such a God? Can obedience, submission and freewill abide together here?
1Jn 3:2: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." amen.