The Little Horn, God’s Law, and How You have been Deceived
September 4, 2011 Bible Answers That Make Sense, Blogs, Design Law by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

A time tested military strategy is diversion. Create a ruckus in one area, get the enemy focusing on a distraction, and then attack from their blind spot.

Magicians, charlatans, and hucksters rely upon misdirection as the bedrock of their deceptive craft.

They get your attention focused on one action so you don’t notice their true intent and before you know it you are conned into believing they have power, wisdom, or have the best place to invest your money.

Yes, the greatest deceivers throughout history have learned the importance of giving your mind something tangible to embrace, something concrete to find wrong, or some actual danger to guard against. Then, when your mind is focused on the perceived problem, their real attack goes unnoticed. They know that when you believe you have identified the “trick,” figured out the “con,” or uncovered the “deceit” that you will be vulnerable to their real exploit.

Satan, the greatest deceiver in the universe, uses this strategy to near perfection. For years I, like many other Christians, was bamboozled into believing I knew the devil’s lie about God’s law, but I recently discovered I had only identified his misdirection. What about you?  Have you discovered Satan’s actual lie, or are you merely locked onto Satan’s diversion and therefore continue to embrace his real deceit?

Daniel 7:25 predicts that an evil power would arise and try to “change” God’s law.

Protestant Christians have historically understood this change occurred when a religious power changed the 10 Commandment law by removing the second commandment, which prohibited making images, splitting the tenth commandment into two parts (to keep the total number of commandments at ten after deleting number two), and by changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

It is without question that these “changes” to the Decalogue were instituted and the organization that made the changes proudly points to them as proof of its ecclesiastical authority on earth. Any student of church history can quickly document the historical evidence for this “change.” But it was ever only a diversion – Satan’s master misdirection, this open change to the Decalogue. Give the audience something tangible to focus upon, give them some concrete “change” to criticize and argue for or against, like the overt, admitted, and endorsed change in the 10 Commandments, while all along subtlely laying the groundwork of a more significant and egregious change to God’s law without them even realizing it. Diabolically brilliant! This is what the little horn power of Daniel 7 did.

So what is the real change to God’s law, the change Christians almost universally accept as truth? That God’s law is an imposed law put upon His creatures to govern their lives and test their obedience, rather than a natural law, a principle upon which He created life to operate. The little horn power didn’t merely change two commandments; it changed the very nature of the law itself!

So, straight up – Is God’s law imposed or is it natural? Was the law voted on by the Godhead, ratified, and enacted at a specific time in the past, or is it not created, not enacted, but eternally existent, because it is an extension of God’s eternal character of love? Is God’s law like human law, put in place by government and enforced by government? Or is God’s law the natural law upon which the great Creator actually built the universe to operate, like those of health (respiration, diet, rest, etc.)?

It only make sense that when the God who is love created, He constructed, built, and designed everything to operate in harmony with His own nature and character of love, because it is by Him that all things hold together (Col 1:17).  

This is exactly what Inspiration reveals:

  • Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10 (See also Galatians 5:14, James 2:8, Matt 12:37-40, Pr 12:28, Pr 21:21, Ps 19:7).

And one of the founders of the SDA church saw it the same:

  • In living for self he has rejected that divine love which would have flowed out in mercy to his fellow men. Thus he has rejected life. For God is love, and love is life. Christ’s Object Lessons, pg. 258
  • The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all created beings depended upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. The Great Controversy, pg. 493
  • But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus. Looking unto Jesus we see that it is the glory of our God to give. “I do nothing of Myself,” said Christ; “the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father.” “I seek not Mine own glory,” but the glory of Him that sent Me. John 8:28; 6:57; 8:50; 7:18. In these words is set forth the great principle which is the law of life for the universe. All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life.  The Desire of Ages, pg. 21

Inspiration is clear. God’s law is the law of love, and this law is the law upon which life is designed to operate. Break this law and it automatically results in ruin and death, unless the Designer intervenes to heal and restore.

The false system introduced a change in our understanding of God’s law, the idea that God’s government is like earthly governments, that He imposes law like we impose law. This idea undermines the creatorship of God because it removes God’s law as the basis upon which the Creator built His universe and instead makes His law an imposed set of rules He enforces upon His creatures.

We no longer see God as a being of consummate love who gives constantly of Himself for the good of His creation, but instead conceive of Him as a being who uses power to dominate, control and enforce conformity upon His creation.

As such we develop theologies organized around this change in God’s law, and construct solutions based on this lie.

It is by accepting this change to God’s law that the little horn power has infected Christianity with a false gospel and false god concept. This one change in the law has resulted in teaching:

  • God, in order to be just, must impose penalties for sin and therefore must inflict punishment upon sinners
  • In order to avoid punishing sinners God must have a legal penalty paid by someone
  • God sent His Son to pay our legal penalty and punished Him in our place
  • God will be required to exterminate His sinful children in the end if their legal penalty isn’t paid [ i ]

This lie has so perniciously infected Christianity that theologians of all denominations viciously defend it and aggressively promote it. It is this lie that distorts the character of God. It is this lie that obstructs the people of God from lighting the world for Christ’s return. It is this lie that Adventism was called into existence to remove!

One of the founders of the SDA church, understanding the true nature of God’s law, wrote this wisdom to Uriah Smith, editor of the Review & Herald in the 1890’s. But he was confused by long acceptance of the “change” and didn’t know what to do with her insights so he filed it away and it remained in the R&H files until the 1950s when it was published in the 1SM 235.

The law of ten commandments is not to be looked upon as much from the prohibitory side, as from the mercy side. Its prohibitions are the sure guarantee of happiness in obedience. As received in Christ, it works in us the purity of character that will bring joy to us through eternal ages. To the obedient it is a wall of protection. We behold in it the goodness of God, who by revealing to men the immutable principles of righteousness, seeks to shield them from the evils that result from transgression.

We are not to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin. The sinner brings the punishment upon himself. His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death. 

The law is an expression of God’s idea. When we receive it in Christ, it becomes our idea. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165)– cause them to stumble.

There is no peace in unrighteousness; the wicked are at war with God. But he who receives the righteousness of the law in Christ is in harmony with heaven. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). Letter 96, 1896.  —  Selected Messages vol 1, pp. 234 -235

The law is a principle of righteousness, originating in the mind of God and upon which life is built. Deviations from it do not require God to punish, but result in ruin and death, unless God intervenes to heal (Romans 6:23, James 1:15). Christ was sent to do just that, heal and restore, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17).

But those who have accepted the lie of an imposed law misunderstand the purpose of God’s written law. They fail to see it is a diagnostic tool needed to convict us of our condition and lead us to Christ for healing and instead see it as a concrete proof of an enacted set of rules to which we must adhere (Romans 5:20).

Satan, the diabolical deceiver, by diverting our attention to the concrete change in the Commandments, has blinded our minds to his real attack and has successfully infected Christendom with his twisted and utterly false concept of God’s law. Until we free ourselves of Satan’s imposed law concept we will be unable to take the gospel to the world and prepare the world for Christ’s return. We will be just like the Jews 2000 years ago, who, believing in an imposed law, crucified Christ and wanted Him off the Cross so they could observe the Sabbath. Sabbath keepers, keepers of an “imposed” day, killing their Creator and Savior, such is the result of believing in an imposed law!

If we don’t change our understanding of God’s law, if we insist on promoting an imposed law concept, then we will be like those misguided theologians, keeping the “law” while living in total opposition to the God of love!

I challenge you, reject the little horn’s distortion of God’s law, embrace the truth about God’s law/character of love and take the truth about God to the world!

[ i ] Please do not construe this article to say that if God doesn’t inflict punishment upon sinners then there is no punishment for sin. This article supports the reality that sin results in untold suffering and ultimately death, but argues it is a result of unremedied sin, rather than an infliction by God. This article supports the reality that salvation is only achieved through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and argues it was not for the purpose of paying a legal penalty, but for more important purposes necessary for salvation.


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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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