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There is only one God–the Most High God–who created everything that exists; the Universe, time itself, galaxies, stars, everything on the earth, and all living things. He existed before all these things and created them just by speaking. The Most High God is more powerful than anything else, because He created everything else. He also created beings called, “angels,” to serve and worship Him, and He created men and women to bear his image–to represent Him–in the universe He created. The Most High God is supreme over all Creation.
When the Most High God created mankind, He created them perfect and put them in a beautiful garden. They were created so that they might be the children of the Most High God and spend their days in happy fellowship with their Father God. Most High God gave His children the pleasant task of taking care of the garden as they enjoyed all it had to offer. In the center of the garden He placed a tree, and of this one tree in the whole garden He said, “do not eat.” Mankind lived with Most High God in perfect fellowship and happiness … for a time.
When Most High God created the angels, He made them very beautiful and powerful. But one angel, called Satan, was too proud of his beauty and power. He wanted the worship and praise that only belongs to the Most High God, so he led some of the angels in a rebellion against the Creator, and these rebellious angels became known as demons. Satan and the demons are still in rebellion, and they want to destroy and ruin God’s creations, especially mankind, whom God loves.
That is why Satan went to the Garden, deceived the woman, and tempted her to eat from the one tree God had commanded to be left alone. God told the man and woman that this tree would bring them death, but Satan told the woman that wasn’t true, that it would actually give knowledge of good and evil. The woman believed Satan, disobeyed Most High God, and ate from the tree. Then she tempted her husband and he ate as well. They disobeyed their Father, God, and evil came into the world. Disobedience to God is called sin, and since God is holy and always does what is right, He must punish sin and evil. When the man and woman sinned they became God’s enemies. So man’s relationship with Most High God was broken and God made the man and the woman leave His perfect garden. They were separated from God by their sin. But God still loved them.
Sin is like a disease. When the first man and woman sinned it became a part of them and infected them. All their children were born with the same disease. Since the first man and woman were our ancestors, we all have this disease of sin as well. You can see it in yourself and everyone around you. All of us disobey God and do evil sometimes because we have this disease of sin. Our sinfulness separates us from perfect, sinless God.
We cannot live with God forever, as He wants us to, because we continually choose to do evil. Since God is absolutely perfect, He cannot accept us with even the slightest bit of evil in our hearts. We are doomed, and just as God said, we will die. When our bodies die our spirits will still be alive forever, but it will be the worst existence imaginable. We will be separated forever from the Most High God, who is the source of all goodness and happiness. But God still loves us, and He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him forever. So after the first man and woman broke the relationship, God had a plan to bring us all back and to rescue us from our sin.
As thousands of years went by and mankind lived generation after generation separated from God we forgot just how holy He is. We forgot how perfect and sinless He is and how perfect we must be to stay with Him. We quickly began to think that being nice to people most of the time was good enough. For this reason, God gave us a written law with commands such as, “do not murder,” “do not steal,” “do not want what isn’t yours,” and “do not lie.” Most High God gave us this Law to show men and women that it was impossible for them to meet God’s standards. There is not one human being alive who can perfectly keep all those rules and meet God’s standard of perfect holiness. The penalty for breaking even a single command of the law is eternal separation from Most High God. That is spiritual death.
To show man how serious the breaking of the Law was, He commanded men and women to make a blood sacrifice every time they sinned. They would have to kill a bull or a lamb or a goat and offer it to God to show that they understood that sin brings death, and to show that they still wanted to be His children. When they made their sacrifices God would withhold his justified wrath and punishment from them for a little while longer. Most High God was waiting until the time was right for Him to put His perfect plan for rescuing us into effect. Although the sacrifices of the animals didn’t take away the sins–it just postponed the punishment–God promised all mankind that He would one day make a perfect sacrifice for us so that our relationship with Him might be restored and we would once again be in a perfect relationship with Him.
For thousands of years this went on. Men sinning and then sacrificing animals to cover up the sin for a time, and God promising always to bring one who would save us and make the perfect everlasting sacrifice that would not just cover the sins but actually cure us of the disease of sin that is passed down to us generation after generation.
Around 700 BC a man named Isaiah lived in what is now the country of Israel on the Mediterranean Sea. Isaiah was given a message by Most High God and he wrote it all down in “The Book of Isaiah.” Isaiah said that God’s promised savior would come one day. He said this savior would be born to a virgin and would be called “God With Us.” He said that this savior would perform many miracles such as healing the blind, deaf, and lame. Strangely enough, Isaiah also said that God’s promised savior would be made fun of and spat upon, that he would be a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief and suffering. Isaiah said he would be pierced for our sins and that by the savior’s wounds we would all be healed. When the savior was killed, Isaiah said he would die along with some evil men and that he would be buried in the tomb of a wealthy man. Finally, Isaiah said this savior would take away the sins of many people. And Isaiah was only one of many who made such prophecies about the coming savior.
The Savior Comes
A little over 2,000 years ago, more than 700 years after Isaiah lived, a son was born to a woman living in the Middle East. The amazing thing was, the woman had never had sex with a man. God had caused the baby to grow within her. Although the baby was not born into a wealthy or royal household this was God’s promised savior who would make the perfect sacrifice to cure us of our sinfulness.
Some people who listened carefully to God and studied the holy books He had given realized who the baby was, but most did not. The baby, named Jesus, grew up in a small village on the very fringes of the Roman Empire.
Most people didn’t know he was from God, but when Jesus became a man, he started to show the world who he really was. He began to travel around with a group of men who wanted to be taught by him. He would go from town to town and teach large groups of people about what God wanted from them and about how much Most High God still loved them. He told everyone that he was God’s promised savior, and he proved that He was God’s savior by doing miracles that only God can do.
Power to Protect – Calming the Storm
Once, when he and some of his students were crossing a large lake at night in a small boat, a huge storm came up and was about to sink the boat. Jesus commanded the storm to stop. He just said to the storm, “peace, be still.” Instantly the storm went away and the waves calmed. Jesus showed that he controlled the storm and nature as only God can.
Power to Provide – Feeding the 5,000
Another time, over 5,000 people had come together in an open place out in the countryside to hear Jesus teach about God and His promise. When evening came, the people had nothing to eat, and there was nowhere for them to get any food. When the huge crowd put together all the food they had there were only five loaves of bread and two small fish. Jesus miraculously fed the entire crowd with the bread and the fish. They ended up with more food left over than when they had started! Jesus showed that, like God, he had the power to satisfy our needs.
Power to Liberate – The Gadarene Demoniac
Another time, Jesus and the men that followed him around learning from him met a man who was completely controlled by Satan’s demons. The demons made the man incredibly strong and violent, and they drove him insane. Jesus commanded the demons to leave the man, and they did. The man was completely restored. By doing this, Jesus showed he was more powerful than the evil angels, just like Most High God.
Power over Death – Raising Lazarus
More impressive than all of these miracles, Jesus once went to visit the tomb of a friend who had died four days before. Jesus showed that, as God’s savior, he had power even over death. Jesus commanded his friend to rise from the dead, and he did!
Jesus did these things in front of many people to show that He was God’s promised savior. Many believed because of the miracles, but others were afraid of him and hated him.
Best of all, Jesus was totally and completely good. He never sinned at all. Not once. He was perfect, just as we could never be because of our disease of sin. Jesus was fully man and fully God. He was “God With Us,” just as Isaiah had said 700 years earlier. Jesus was God in human form.
Many people loved Jesus. They would follow Him wherever He went to listen to his teaching about Most High God. They would bring him the sick, the lame, and the blind, and Jesus would heal them, just as Isaiah had predicted. It was clear to the people that Jesus loved them and wanted them to become God’s children once more.
But some of the religious leaders of the day were jealous of Him. They were losing their control over the people. The people were paying more attention to Jesus than to the leaders, so the religious leaders ignored the miracles and refused to believe who Jesus was. Many times they tried to argue with Jesus, but how could they argue with the miracles he did?
After several years of trying and failing to discredit Jesus, they finally decided they would kill Him to keep him from saying anything more and from doing any more miracles. They arrested Jesus, and lied about him, and had Him condemned to death. Jesus was severely beaten by the Roman authorities and the Roman soldiers made fun of Him and spat on Him. He was whipped and beaten so badly that He was almost dead and was nearly unrecognizable. Then He was brutally executed in the Roman fashion. The Romans, at the request of the religious leaders, took two long boards and nailed them together in the shape of a cross. They set this cross upright in the ground like a tree and hung Jesus on it by nailing his hands and feet to the boards. Jesus, in terrible pain, bled as many of the people wept and cried for him. He was executed at the same time as two thieves who were hung on crosses right next to Him. After many hours, Jesus finally died.
The people had thought He was Most High God’s promised savior–that He was God in human form–here at last to save them from the power of sin and death, but now Jesus was dead. This Jesus, who performed miracles, and healed many, and raised some from the dead, and who lived a perfect life, never sinning once; this Jesus was horribly murdered. The Roman soldiers made sure He was dead by stabbing Him through the heart with a spear. After He died, some of his friends took him off the cross and laid Him in a small tomb. But Jesus had no tomb of his own, so a wealthy man gave his own tomb so that Jesus could be buried in it. Just as Isaiah had prophesied, Jesus died with wicked men and was buried in the tomb of a wealthy man.
[Dead Sea Scrolls – By the way, in 1947 a copy of Isaiah’s book was found in Israel in a cave near the Dead Sea. Archaeologists generally date this copy to have been written down anywhere from 70 to 150 years before Jesus was born.]
But that’s not the end of the story. Jesus was Most High God’s promised savior! He was, himself, the perfect sacrifice whom God had promised; the one that would take away our sins completely. When He died on the cross it was actually God sacrificing His own son, Jesus, to pay for our sins once and for all and to bring us back to Him. Just as Isaiah said, He was pierced (with nails and a spear) for our sins and by his wounds we are healed. God sacrificed His own son, just like a goat or a sheep, so that we could finally be restored to our relationship with Him. Sin was defeated! Death was defeated, and the proof came three days later.
Three days after his friends laid Him in the tomb, Jesus came back to life! He talked and ate with his followers and over 500 people saw him. Through Jesus, who is God’s son and God’s perfect promised sacrifice for us, God has saved us from the disease of sin that all started in the Garden. He finally gave us a way to come back to Him. He can accept us, even though He hates sin and is perfectly just, because the sin was paid for by Jesus on our behalf. We are finally free to return to God!
Most High God will not force anyone to return to Him. He gives us a free choice; now He has finally made a way for us to return to Him, our true Father, and to live forever with Him. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” One of Jesus’ followers wrote, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Do you want to come back to God and have Him as your Father again?
All you have to do is tell Most High God this is what you want. Most High God knows all things, so you can tell Him now and He will hear you. Say to God, “I realize I have sinned and am separated from you, but I now understand that you sacrificed your only son for me so that I could come back to you. Jesus is your perfect sacrifice, and I believe and trust in Him for the forgiveness of my sins.”
One of Jesus’ followers said, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” You confessed with your mouth, and you believe it, so you are saved! Your relationship to God is restored and He is your Father just as He planned all along.