Should those who serve God obey:
a) the commandments of God
b) the commandments of man
The answer is not as simple as you might think. The war of good against evil is not a battle fought only against those who openly oppose Him. Even a church can hold beliefs and practices that are not in harmony with the Word of God. An entire family can be led into sin by just one of its members. When we add to God’s commandments and/or observe the commandments of men above the commandments of God, we are rebelling against the Lord, whether we know it or not. Did you know that this was how the rebellion on Earth began?
When God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, He gave them one simple commandment.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16, 17, emphasis added)
But Eve, in replying to the serpent, gave the following answer to his temptation.
“…We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Gen. 3:2,3 emphasis added)
Eve loved God and she was determined not to disobey Him. Maybe she added this additional measure to God’s commandment to ensure that she would not disobey God’s Word. But it was this very measure that worked against her. When Satan convinced her to partake of the forbidden fruit, she held it in her hand before she ate it (Gen. 3:6). She did not experience an immediate punishment as she thought she would from touching it. This emboldened her to take the next fateful step and transgress the actual command of God.
Adam’s dismay at Eve’s rebellion must have been unbearable, for he knew what the consequences of her actions would be. Despite Eve’s belief that she was in a higher state of existence (Gen. 3:5) and her urging him to join her in this supposed state, Adam knew he had a choice to make, the same fateful choice that we will all have to make in these last days. Note carefully where this choice originated. Adam was tempted to sin by a beloved member of his own family. In choosing to listen to Eve, Adam put the authority of man over God. In decreeing his punishment, God specifically singles out this sinful course.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it… (Gen. 3:17).
If the once holy pair stood upon the divine commandment God gave them, Satan would not have gotten a victory. Sin and its destructive entourage of afflictions would have never entered the world. The divine punishment for sin would have only come upon the devil and his angels. But now it is reserved for all who have joined Satan in his rebellion against God (Mt.25:41).
We will all have to take the same test of loyalty Adam and Eve took in the beginning of the world. Are you preparing to make a better choice than they did or are you preparing to make the same one? In these last days, obeying the Lord will ultimately set us apart from the world and from those who love it more than God. According to texts like Ps. 55:12-14 and Mt. 10:34-36, we see that many of our own friends and family members will exalt the authority of man over the Scriptures of God. This will make them as vulnerable to Satan’s last deception as Adam and Eve were vulnerable to his first deception on Earth.
We who serve the Lord should diligently review everything we believe in at this point in our walk. Is everything you believe is in harmony with the Scriptures? Are you obeying the Scriptures of God or the traditions of men? This is the time to prepare ourselves, so we can answer the question affirmatively. The answer is a.
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:2).
“And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Mt. 10:36).
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men…And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mk. 7:7,9).