Chapter

The Battle Over Worship

This last conflict over worship is actually the grand finale to a long drama that began in heaven before man was even created. The author of rebellion inaugurated this "creature versus Creator" war when he coveted the Creator's throne. Lucifer, a created angel, decided his superior beauty and intelligence qualified him to better rule the universe than his Creator. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, . . . For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:12-14). Working with stealthy deceit, he launched his campaign for the affections of the angels and was successful in attracting one-third of them (Revelation 12:4-9). Demanding the adoration due only the Creator, these created angels tried to bully their way onto God's throne. This forced God to take drastic measures. Revelation 12:7 records,"There was war in heaven." To protect the existence of the universe, God forcibly removed Satan and his angels from heaven.

But this was only the beginning of Satan's campaign for worship that would last thousands of years and cost millions of lives. Cast to earth, Satan next solicited Adam and Eve's worship and service. And it is by understanding our first parents' test over worship that we learn how to keep from worshiping the beast in the last days.

Why did Eve eat the fruit of the forbidden tree? Simply because she lacked trust in God. She trusted the serpent's word more than her Creator's. Adam also distrusted God, but unlike Eve, he was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14). Adam's decision to eat the forbidden fruit was a conscious, deliberate choice. He couldn't dream of life without Eve. Worse yet, He didn't trust God to come up with an acceptable solution to deal with Eve's disobedience that would leave him happy throughout eternity.

Our first parents' distrust led them to disobey. And their disobedience became an act of worship of the serpent. You see, worship and obedience are synonymous. "To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey" (Romans 6:16). When tempted by the devil to bow down and worship him, Jesus revealed that the act of worship is married to service and obedience. "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written,Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10).

When Adam and Eve trusted the lies of the serpent above the command of God, they entered into creature worship. They truly worshiped the beast. The last conflict in the world merely brings man full circle to retake Adam and Eve's first test. Will we obey and worship the beast or obey and worship the Creator? Both the first and last tests of this world's history contain the same elements: the serpent and his lies, worship, obedience versus disobedience, and the penalty of expulsion from the kingdom of God. Mankind's path back to the tree of life ultimately retraces the steps of our first parents and passes through the corridor of the same test: will we trust God enough to obey Him? Only those who trustingly obey God will enter the pearly gates. "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14).

Adam and Eve's worship of the beast laid the foundation for all false worship. Examine any false religion and you will find it is based upon distrust and disobedience of God. Paul makes this point in Romans 1:21-25, NKJV: "Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but... exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator."Whenever we know a Bible truth and refuse to obey it out of thankful hearts, we worship the creature instead of the Creator. We have put our own opinion and feelings above the revealed will of our Creator God.

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