We hear a lot recently about Christians needing to be tolerant, so I thought it might be good to take a little time this month to look at the subject from a Biblical point of view: God’s point of view on tolerance as it is expressed in the Holy Scriptures. Once we have an understanding of the things which God did in the past, we might know just what to expect of God today, and what we might do to emulate Him.
Please note that we are looking at eye-witness accounts, and the penman is merely working for the author: God, who commanded these things, and Jesus Christ, “The faithful witness” writing by the hand of Moses, David, Isaiah, and others. Let us begin at the beginning.
Moses wrote that Adam’s two oldest sons each offered a sacrifice to God Almighty. Somehow God conveyed to them that He accepted Abel’s offering, but did not accept Cain’s. Seeing Cain’s great displeasure, and wrath, God spoke to him explaining that his motives were not good, and therefore, “Sin lies at the door.” God also told him that, if he would improve his attitude, he would be accepted. Cain did not appreciate the lecture, but rather began to plan the death of Abel, and soon carried out his plan: killing Abel in the field.
Now, that was pretty bad behavior! So God confronted Cain again, and told him that life was going to be very difficult for him from that time forward. Cain, acting in form, began to try to get God to be a little more sympathetic, pleading that his sentence was more that he should have to bear. It was especially troubling to Cain that he would now be hunted by the avengers of blood, and be killed. Because of this complaint, God set a mark upon Cain, and commanded that no one should kill him, even though there is nothing in the narrative which would indicate to us that Cain was the least bit penitent.
It appears that God was relatively tolerant; considering the severity of the offense. Of course, God had an ulterior motive for allowing Cain to “walk away” from that show of hatred and violence. By leaving Cain alive, God let us see, in spectacular fashion, how that type of person would continue to bring forth evil upon God’s creation by his own wayward lifestyle, and that of his descendants. They became so bad that “It repented the Lord that He had made man on the Earth, and it grieved him at His heart.”
The Apostle John told us also, in 1 John 3:12, “Cain, was of that wicked one, and slew his brother, because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” We must consider that God had given no law to Adam concerning murder, and the Apostle Paul told us, “where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). Therefore, what God actually demonstrated in the case of Cain was righteousness. Cain surely did not get the Justice he was due, but you can never really walk away from any such manifestation of unrighteousness.
There is always also a negative reaction among the general public when such an offender seems to “get away with it.” It is the same effect as Solomon described in Ecclesiastes 8:11, saying, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
We have another account in which our eyewitness concluded the story of Cain, although Cain is not mentioned by name. About 1,525 years after God had judged the matter of the murder of Abel, God spoke of the fact that, as man multiplied upon the face of the Earth, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God particularly expressed His disappointment that the descendants of Seth: “The Sons of God” (Gen. 6:1-3) had intermarried with the wicked descendants of Cain. In so doing, that segment of mankind which should have been the “salt of the Earth” had “lost its savor.”
Therefore, God passed sentence upon all of them for their sins, but “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” God made an exception for all who would believe Noah’s message, and get in the ship with him. He then sent a flood upon the whole earth to rid it of the effect of Cain, and his sinfulness. The sin of Cain, and of all those who chose his way, finally caught up with them, though it had been delayed for a very long time, and justice was served.
Murder was always a sin, as Paul said, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law.” Man is made “in the image of God,” and in his heart, Cain “killed God.” The same is true of every person who takes the life of one of his fellow human beings.
When Noah, and his family, and all of the animals and birds had come forth out of the ark, Noah built an altar, and offered unto God one of every clean beast, and bird (Remember, there were seven each of all the clean ones), leaving three pairs of each. God was pleased, and that day, He gave unto all of mankind blessing and a covenant, and a law. The progenitors of all future humans were there that day, therefore all of these blessings and commandments were given to every nation which is upon the face of the Earth today. The history of the world shows that God has kept His side of the deal. Sadly, the nations of the world chose to set God aside and ignore all of His wishes.
The law which God gave them had four tenets; two of which are commandments to us to repopulate the earth, and two of which were about blood. He said, 1) “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” 2) “All that moves upon the Earth, and all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. But the Flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” 3) “Surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” 4) “And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.”
Today, almost the whole world has rejected God, and these four commandments which He has given to all of mankind; “Christians” included. Some defend this rebellion against God by insisting that to execute capital punishment would be to make ourselves like God, even as they themselves are the ones who are playing God by forbidding the execution of murderers.
It is bad enough that the unbelievers of this world would do such a thing, but the sins of many professing Christians are only amplified by the fact that they have forsaken the right way, and stand with the world in these things; magnifying themselves against God, and against His commandments.
(It is amazing to me that there are various nations today where Christianity is strong, in which the consuming of animal blood is common. It is also common for murder to be overlooked, or minimally punished, but the “avenger of blood” is commonly prosecuted with severe punishment. And what of multiplying upon the Earth? Today, some nations have a policy of negative population growth, whereas others have decided that careers and pleasure are more important than marriage and having children. It is easy to see why so many people are opposed to having the Bible read or displayed in public places. It would really cramp their lifestyle.)
All men stand in jeopardy before God today, especially those who claim to be followers of the God of the Holy Bible: our Creator and Savior. False teachers have mingled themselves with the kingdom of God, and have brought in damnable heresies, and swift destruction shall come upon them at the commandment of God. Sudden destruction shall come upon those false teachers, and those Christians who eagerly follow them, and they shall not escape (1 Thess. 5:1-11).
Before the flood, the descendants of Adam through Seth were “the salt of the Earth.” However, when they mingled themselves with the descendants of Cain, they lost that special something which moves the heart of God to endure the sins of the majority.
After the flood, God chose a line of descent through Noah’s youngest son: Shem. The Lord then told us that Shem was the father of all the children of Eber: the Hebrews (Gen. 10:21). In the beginning of the third millennium from the creation of Adam, God chose Abraham, then Isaac, and then Jacob as the new lineage of people for His representatives upon the Earth. He nurtured them, and cultivated them through the Law of Moses.
Sadly, as time passed, Israel adopted the religion of the idolatrous nations around them, and forsook the God who had made them a great nation. Therefore, when Jesus came to fulfill the promises which He had made to the patriarchs of Israel, they were not able to believe it. So Jesus said of them, “Ye are the salt of the Earth: but if the salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
So Israel did not obtain what they were looking for; “but the election obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” The Elect of Israel obtained all of the promises which God had given to that nation. Within seven years (the seventieth week of Daniel 9:24-27) after they had rejected the Son of God, and had him crucified, the Jewish Church had reached perfection, and Jesus, by the Holy Ghost, had moved in among them. “The fullness of the Jews had come in.”
Almost immediately thereafter, Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus, and commissioned him to be His messenger: “the Apostle to the Gentiles.” The salt of the Earth: the nation of Israel had lost its saltness, and was cast aside; condemned “to be trodden under foot of men.” About 30 years later God brought in the Roman army to begin that great destruction of the nation of Israel.
By the steadfastness, and faithfulness of the Apostle Paul, and others who helped him in the work of taking the gospel to the Gentiles, the message went westward. It went throughout what is today Turkey, and then on to Greece, and as far as Rome. Then, because of the vastness of the Roman Empire, the message reached even to the British Isles. By the end of the first century A.D., the Church had fallen into apostasy, and by the early part of the fourth century, great doctrinal error prevailed, and the leaders of Christianity had begun to kill all those who would resist their apostasy.
It was more than a thousand years before God’s faithful began to break loose from that creature which God calls “Mystery, Babylon the Great.” As that break developed, Europe began to discover the “New World.” And the Light of the Gospel was finally reaching “Even unto the West.”
What a boon it was to Christianity! Christianity had finally found a place where it could flourish, and the Church itself could be restored. It took a long time, by man’s reckoning, but, in 1892/93, the ground-breaking began for the rebuilding of the spiritual Temple; and God gave us a sign so we would not miss the point: He inspired the beginning of the manufacturing of automobiles in America; marking the beginning of the last 120 years which Moses prophesied would precede the marriage of the Lamb (Gen. 6:3).
Then, in 1903, God began to raise up the Church by the prophet A.J. Tomlinson, but it was not to be all victory. The Church was to rise up, and, over a period of seventy to eighty years, to fulfill certain prophecies (Psalm 90:10). It was to be overturned three times, then lay dormant until the time should come for a man to rise up and prepare an Elect group of Gentiles “for His name;” that is the bride, the Lamb’s wife (Ezekiel 21:24-27; Acts 15:14-18; Rev. 19:7,8).
During the past 114 years, Christianity has flourished, and accomplished great things in the name Jesus Christ. However, in the last fifty years, another great apostasy has occurred. Great sins have crept into the churches, large and small. The people want their ears tickled, and there is an abundance of ministers who are obliging them. Sin, ungodliness, iniquity, and idolatry are everywhere, as God’s people have once again forsaken their task of being the salt of the Earth, and they have boldly taken up the ways of the world. God is not happy with them!
Large and powerful church organizations are openly accepting vile behavior by their highest officials. Idolatry of some kind or another is to be found almost everywhere: everything from keeping the “Yuletide” to basking in the covetousness of the prosperity doctrine (Jer. 10:1-8; Col. 3:5). God is beginning to do the same thing with Gentile Christianity that He did with Israel by the ministry of Jesus Christ. He is beginning to assemble His Elect, and is preparing to “take away the daily sacrifice,” because of the overspreading of abominations throughout Christianity.
Jesus prophesied of this time, saying, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man.” The salt has lost its savor once again, and God will now destroy all of Christianity except for those who follow the man who is spiritually called “Noah.” The time of great trouble, of which Jesus spoke, has begun to engulf the world. Jesus said, “There shall be distress of nations, with perplexity,” and it shall only increase as “The Day of the Lord” comes upon us.
I know there is among us great resistance to the idea of God choosing a man, and setting him over His people, but the Holy Scriptures can not be broken. A man who is called “The Messenger of the Covenant” (Mal. 3:1-3), must rise up, in this time of automobiles, and make the necessary preparations for the coming of our King (Nahum 2:1-4). He is even now going forth in the spirit and power of John the Revelator (Rev. 10:11); working at the job; just as John the Baptist went forth in the spirit and power of Elijah, to prepare for the first coming of Jesus.
One of the most important things this man will do, by Jesus Christ, is build a nation in fulfillment of Daniel 2:43,44, and in fulfillment of the allegory of Noah’s ark. It is that nation by which God will raise up a standard against the enemy when he shall “come in like a flood” (Isa. 59:19).
We see the foundation being laid for the fulfillment of Genesis 7:23, “Every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the Earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.”
Noah, and his family, foreshadow God’s anointed, and the bride, and the wedding party. All of the animals, and fowl, and creeping things foreshadow the “guests at the wedding;” clean and unclean, of Matthew 22:8-10.
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14). That time of decision is almost upon us. Will we demonstrate the faith of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, or will we bow before the coming edict which will demand that we obey them instead of worshipping God as we are called to do? No! Verily we will maintain our integrity with our God, and He will save us.
That is what we will do. What will you do?