Light years away, beyond galaxies and stars in a space of light and glory, a story began that connects us with the eternal One. This bright glory comes from God—from God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Self-existent, They have lived since all eternity, without beginning and without end, with strong love for one another such as no human words can describe. Perhaps we can grasp a notion of their deep unity by the fact that They call themselves ONE GOD. They are bound to each other as a father is to his son. In addition, the Father testifies that He longs for the Holy Spirit; and both of Them call the Son their companion—which is Christ.
True love, which is the very character of God, wants to share and to give. Therefore, God the Father and Christ begin to create the universe with all of its worlds. They create angels as free and intelligent beings, and cherish them as their very sons. In order to be close to them and to show them the character of God, Christ lives with them as their angelic Prince. He is called Archangel Michael—a name which means: 'The highest Messenger who is like God'. This is what God is like: He is an Angel to the angels. Even before becoming a human, He became an Angel.
All the inhabitants of the universe live in harmony under Christ's care and devoted guidance.
But then the incredible happens: One of the leading angels becomes proud. He rebels against God's unchangeable principle of love, and envies Christ in his divine position. He desires to be like God. Thus he becomes Satan—God’s enemy. In order to elevate himself, he degrades God in the eyes of the angels. He spreads lies about God and secretly sows mistrust and dissatisfaction among the other angels by misrepresenting God as being harsh and arbitrary...until he finally has one third of the angels on his side.
Unremittingly, Christ and the Father try to win this angel back. The Holy Spirit also speaks to his conscience. Patiently and compassionately They prove to him how untenable his accusations are. God knows that this angel is self-destructing and will die, for he is tearing himself away from his divine Father, Who is the source of life. But despite of all their efforts to win him back, he becomes ever more stubborn. Finally he claims that God has threatened him with death as a punishment since he thinks differently than God does. With a heavy heart, God has to let him go. However, the other angels and the inhabited worlds wouldn’t understand if Satan immediately died as a result of his separation from God. If this happened, it might appear to them as if Satan had been right all along, as if God had killed him. They would then serve God merely out of fear. Therefore God preserves Satan’s life, and gives him the opportunity to demonstrate his own form of government. Now all would be able to witness what ensues when God’s eternal principle of love is rejected.
Since Satan and his followers want to overthrow the kingdom of God they can no longer stay in Heaven. They must leave.
In the middle of this conflict-ridden time, God forms the earth and all living beings on it. He creates human beings in his own image. For Him, Adam and Eve are unique. He plants the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life as their place of residence. As a sign of his loyal covenant with them, He gives them his holy seventh day on which He rests and spends time with them. In addition He shares with them, to a certain extent, his creative power, for they will give birth to children—little people in their own image. Through this certain gift, it becomes obvious to the whole universe that God does not selfishly keep his power to himself, as Satan had claimed.
Still, Satan is not satisfied. He demands that God allows him to speak with the humans, in order that they can decide for themselves whom to follow. Otherwise they would simply be puppets. God doesn’t want Satan to constantly harass them though. He allows Satan to enter Eden only at a single location—the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Christ visits the garden every day and warns the humans of the danger. He tells them that they will die if they take and eat the bad fruit from this certain tree. Only the fruit of the Tree of Life represents eternal life. What will the humans choose to do?
However, Satan works with cunning. He hides himself on the Tree inside of a serpent which at that time is a still beautiful and wise creature. At one point, Eve comes along all by herself, stopping curiously at the tree, and so through the serpent Satan addresses her with his lies about God. He says that God's threat of death is a fraud, and that they would never die. It’s just the opposite, they would be able to decide for themselves what is truth and what is sin, and they would become like God. Will Adam and Eve believe him?
The whole inhabited universe now witnesses that both humans believe the lie: Eve takes the fruit, and brings it to her husband as well, and both of them eat it. Thus they decide against God and his truth. As a result, their characters rapidly change. When Christ visits them in the garden, they are suddenly afraid of Him even though they had only ever experienced goodness from Him. Further, they cast the blame and the responsibility on each other, in order to justify themselves in front of Him.
What has become of them? Their changed character and their lost state grieve Christ; but God still loves them, and He does not leave them to die the death they have brought on themselves. God had prepared a plan of salvation in advance in the case that this would happen. Christ first shares this plan with the angels. He tells them that because of Satan’s lies mankind has developed a false and harsh image of God. The power of Satan could only be broken if Christ would one day become a man and dwell among humanity in order to show them God’s true character, and ultimately to die for their sin. The whole universe is shocked. Their beloved Lord should die? Why? The angels voluntarily offer themselves to die in Christ’s place. Christ explains to them that only He himself is able to reveal the character of God since He too is God. Only God can show how God loves.
Christ also informs Adam and Eve that He will one day come as Saviour to die for them in order to save them. In addition to this, He has to instruct them to sacrifice a lamb, which represents Him. Only this will help them understand how awful death is and how terrible the effects are when men turn away from God, who is the Giver of life, and from his orders of love. However, Christ also assures them that even though their inner being has been ruined by their turning away from God, He is able to heal them if they trust Him, believe his Word, and wish to live according to his Word. He will then be able to change their character for the better and to restore perfect love in them.
In the following centuries and millennia, God pours out his goodness on a fallen world, even though He is misunderstood by the people He loves. He tries everything to stir them, to bring them to their senses. He gives them commandments to lead them on the right path and to protect them. He tries to win their trust in order to save them. The whole universe is watching. And the question remains: Who is right? God? Or Satan, with his lie that God will destroy all who do not obey implicitly? Sometimes it seems that Satan is right. Thousands of people perish because they ignore God’s stirring in their hearts, and He has to let them go their own way of destruction, and finally has to let them die. Still, all men die, whether they are good or bad. However, God explains that this first death is like a sleep out of which Christ will resurrect at the end of the world. Those who have trusted God, He can impart eternal life to as He promised. But what about the lost ones? Will God destroy them as a punishment? Doesn’t this produce fear? Wouldn’t it be good if they obeyed because they feared punishment? God will clarify these issues—not merely by words, but by showing his own total commitment.
Thus God himself becomes man, that He may answer all questions. He commissioned a people to be witnesses for his truth, and He comes to them at a time when they seem to obey Him. Their spiritual leaders teach that all of their misfortunes in the past were God’s punishment for their disobedience. Therefore, they try to enforce obedience by creating additional laws.
Then Christ arrives on the scene. He is God himself, but becomes a man to men and a Son to the Father. He heals, pardons confessed sins, comforts and cares for everyone. What He proclaims and the life He lives does not fit into the severe image of God some hold onto. Therefore they reject the One who reveals God’s love to them. They have a punishing god who kills anyone who stands in his way. But because the Character is shaped according to one’s image of God, it moulded them too, and so they resolve to crucify and kill the One who loves them—since He stands in their way. And because it is Satan who incites them to do this, his attitude is finally completely unmasked too; he becomes the murderer of his God.
In the night before being sentenced to death Christ finally takes upon himself the sin of the world—the sin of separation from God. He is regarded as one of those sinners, which God has tried to reach in vain, which He finally has to give up and let pass into death. That’s how sin separates Christ from his Father. This separation is so incredible for both of Them that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ collapses with bloody perspiration on his forehead as He struggles with death. An angel sent by the Father has to strengthen Him that He will be able to take the last step to the cross.
When at the next day He has been sentenced and hangs on the cross of Calvary He exclaims: "My God, why have You forsaken me? Why have You given me up?" This separation breaks his heart. But in the minute of death, his trust in God wins, and He testifies to this with his last words: "It is finished. Father, into Your hands I commit my life." He dies, but in his death He is victorious. He has completed the plan of redemption.
During the holy day of rest, He lies in a sepulchre in the sleep of death. But on the following morning, He triumphantly rises from the dead—death cannot bind Him. He ascends to Heaven to his Father and to the angels. Will his work of redemption be confirmed, and did it answer the questions about God? Yes, it became very clear, not by fear, not by force or might is God able to save but by trust in Him, since obedience motivated by fear of punishment breeds rebellion—men with a punishing image of God killed their redeemer. But what about God, will He kill the lost ones, did He kill Christ? No, God didn’t lay a hand on Christ, but it is the sin that finally will kill the lost ones too. But was there anger or hatred in God’s face, while Christ represented a lost sinner? No, to God it was unspeakably painful to watch the suffering and death of Christ. God merely hates sin, since sin kills the people He loves, and He loves everyone just as much as his Son—He loves the lost sinners, too. And it breaks his heart to lose them. Thus it will be at the end of the world…since God’s character is always the same unchanging character of Love.
God predicted that at the end of the world, more than two thousand years after Christ's birth, a time will come when all of humanity will have the chance to know the truth: In contrast to a harsh image of God and earthly traditions and laws there will be made known God’s true character and His true Word, so that everyone will be able choose. And there will be people who believe Christ’s testimony of God’s love and live according to the biblical commandments of love.
At this point, the fallen angel will appear as an angel of light, as a false Christ. He will be considered to be the saviour in the present chaos of disasters and crises on earth. But he once more proclaims a false image of God, as if He would punish the world, and that his favour only could be regained if certain laws would be obeyed; therefore those who would stand in its way that it can be done would have to be eliminated. In contrast to these lies, the people, who believe Christ, will even the more cling to God and his goodness and remain loyal to His Word and his day of rest. In their distress, these faithful ones cry out to God. He protects them because now the end of time has been reached. The whole universe can perceive which decision everyone has made, since in the closing disasters no one will change his mind and change sides.
In this darkness Christ with his Father's glory and with all the angels will appear in the clouds of the sky, visible to everyone. The earth sinks into death and destruction, but Christ raises all true believers from their graves. They will be transformed with the living redeemed into youthful splendour, and Christ takes them home to their heavenly residence. For a thousand years, God will answer all of their questions. After this time, the lost will also be resurrected. But even though they will stand in front of God and will see his glory and recognize his love, still they won’t turn to God. Instead they hold on to their rejection and rebellion. By their own separation from their Life-giver they perish with Satan in eternal death from which there is no awaking or return. They will be as if they never have existed…and with his redeemed God cries over them.
Nevertheless, all the battles are finally over. Grief will be overcome, the past with its suffering, war and pain is gone and a new beginning lies ahead. God recreates the earth and dwells on it with his redeemed. Paradise will be re-established on earth. It surpasses anything a man could ever dream of. The peace and the beauty of the new world cannot be described. In these glorious surroundings the joyful redeemed will live forever in perfect harmony together with God, since all will have understood God's character. He has won their trust for eternity...for it is so true: God is love.
Wouldn’t we like to be there forever, too?
God loves you so much that He preferred to take death upon himself rather than to live in eternity without you ...
’God is love.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.’
i. John 4:8,16 Nkjv