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The Gift
by Arthur Griffith

Mama and Daddy loved their little boy very much. As Christmas was coming, the little boy begged them, "Please get me a bicycle. I want one so much."

Christmas morning, there it was, brand new, and shiny. The little boy was so happy and hugged mama and daddy and went out to ride his new bicycle.

Out on the street he met the neighbor boy, also riding his bicycle. But the neighbor's boy's bicycle was old and worn out. The little boy showed off his new bicycle, and the neighbor's boy was jealous. He said, "But my bicycle has a bell on it." and he rang his bell. The little boy liked the pretty sound, and said, "I wish my bicycle had a bell." Then the Neighbor's boy said slyly, "I will trade with you." The little boy wanted the bell very much now, so without thinking, he said, "OK, I'll trade."

When the little boy got home, his mother asked, "What happened to your new bicycle?" The little boy said, "Oh, I traded it for this bicycle, that has a bell on it." and he rang the bell.

His parents felt bad because their son didn't trust them enough to believe that what they gave him was better than an old worn-out bicycle, even if it had a bell on it. But they hoped that when he was older, he would understand.

Long, long ago, God had a wonderful idea. He decided to do it. So he made a new planet, perfectly designed, with many protective devices, - like the radiation shield, the self regenerating atmosphere, the perfect watering system and the thermostatic temperature control, with underground water and above ground air keeping the temperature comfortable all over the world. He spent six days doing this and near the end of the sixth day He made a perfect man and woman and set them on this new, perfect world. And the sixth day ended.

On the seventh day. God appeared, and smiled to the man and woman, and said, "I am giving you one more perfect gift. I am blessing this seventh day of the creation week, and every weekend, I will come and visit with you, so we can always be close friends. The man and the woman were very happy for that.

But one day, when the woman was wandering in the beautiful garden alone (she should have stayed close to her husband) she saw an unusual sight. A beautiful flying serpent was in the tree in the middle of the garden that God had told them they should not eat fruit from. The serpent was eating the fruit.

The woman wondered if the fruit was poisonous. What would happen to the serpent? She came closer. Then, believe it or not, the serpent began talking to her. It asked "Did God really say you can't eat the fruit from all the trees in the garden?"

And the woman answered, "Oh, we can eat fruit from any tree in the garden except that one. God said that if we ate from it, we would surely die."

"Ha, Ha", the serpent laughed, "That is not so. I am eating it and I am not dead. You won't die either. See, the fruit has made me wiser, and given me new powers. I can talk now. God doesn't want you to eat this fruit because if you do, you will become gods, and know so much He can't fool you anymore."

The woman thought about that. She thought it would be wonderful to be a god and know so much, and do things she could not do now. The serpent picked a fruit and held it out to her.

Half reluctantly, she accepted it. It was soft and beautiful, and smelled delicious. "Eat it", the serpent encouraged. "You are holding it, and God said not to touch it. It hasn't hurt you, has it?" That sounded convincing, so the woman took a big bite. She seemed to feel new power surging through her body and imagined she was becoming a god. Excitedly, she gathered more of the fruit, and rushed to her husband, saying, "This fruit has given me a new feeling. Try it."

Alarmed, he asked, "Where did you get that? Did you take it from that tree God told us not to touch or eat of?" "Yes, she answered, "But it hasn't hurt me." In an agony of sorrow, the man thought, "I will lose her, and what is life worth without her? I will go with her." Quickly he seized the fruit and ate."

God was very sad because the man and woman didn't trust Him enough to believe He had given them all the gifts that were really good for them. But He still loved them. He found them hiding in the garden and told them that because they had disobeyed, they would have to die. His law demanded death to anyone who disobeyed it. That law could not be changed or the universe would collapse in confusion. But He would still give them another chance. He was Creator, so His one life could be a substitute for all lawbreakers He had created. He would die instead of them. The man and woman were heartbroken, but they accepted His promise.

Generations passed, and each one became more wicked and rebellious than the one before it. Finally God said, "Things have gone too far. Soon there won't be anyone left who is willing to let me save him. I will start over while I still have someone left."

So God looked over the world, and saw one family that would accept His plan.

"Noah." God said. "I am going to wash this world clean by a great flood of water. I want you to build a huge boat, to carry you and your family and whoever will come into it, over to the new beginning. You will take the best animals also, and I will give you all the plans. While you and your family are building it, you must give the warning to everyone you can, but I know they won't listen."

So Noah started working on the plans God gave him. His sons and some hired carpenters helped, and while he worked he preached about the flood that was coming. But everyone laughed.

It took them 120 years to build the big boat. And the flood came, just as God had said. After the flood, the three sons and their wives had children, and those children had children, but each generation was more wicked and rebellious than the one before it.

Ham was the "black sheep" of Noah's family. He may have married one of the "daughters of men" - from Cain's country, and been influenced by her. One of his great-grandsons was Nimrod, a leading rebel against God. Nimrod married a beautiful but immoral young woman named Semiramis. He became a powerful chief, a leader of his people, skilled in horsemanship and hunting. He trained an army of horsemen, and went on raiding forays. One day he said to his wife, "The people cannot forget God. We must give them a new religion. Then they will forget." So they planned how to teach their followers. The new god would be the sun. The new worship day would be not the seventh day but the first day. It would be called "Sun day" It still is. It would belong to Nimrod. The next day would be "Moon day" Semiramis claimed it. (Monday) This is how the pagan religion of sun worship began. This also is when the ancient idea of the divinity of kings began. Hirohito of Japan was worshiped as a god as recently as the last world war.

Nimrod was finally captured by his enemies and put to death, but then Semiramis spread the story that he had become a spirit god, and gone to live in the sun. The new false religion continued to spread, by teaching and by forcing it on captured peoples. But as the centuries passed, a few people here and there kept the true faith alive, at risk of their own lives. Their numbers continued to shrink, and finally God said, "I must step in before my people are all gone and Satan claims the earth as wholly his." In those days the center of civilization was in the fertile valley of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. In the land of the Chaldeans, God moved on Terah to move his family north, where they founded the city of Haran.

One member of this family was Abraham (then called Abram). God spoke to him directly, telling him to move out to the country to a place God would lead him. Abraham obeyed and took his family out. God promised to make him a great nation and bless the whole world through his descendants, and especially through one special Descendant, to be born from his line. Thus began the Hebrew nation. But God revealed to Abraham in a dream that his descendants would spend a couple centuries as slaves in Egypt, and then He would bring them out and give them a land of their own. If they would serve and obey Him, He would be their special helper and defender. He would make them the keepers of His holy Ten Commandments, written in stone by His own finger. They often rebelled against Him, but He forgave them and took them back when they repented. They were His special people. He wanted to make them a "kingdom of priests, an holy nation" - His missionaries to the whole world. But they failed, and worse still, when Jesus came they crucified Him. Three and half years after that, God withdrew their special status as His chosen people and gave it to the followers of Jesus.

These followers of Jesus were bitterly hated and persecuted, by the Jews, but they faithfully gave the message, and their numbers grew by leaps and bounds. All this time, they kept the holy law of Ten Commandments and rested on the holy Sabbath day, the day God gave to the first man and woman.

Without God's special protection, the Hebrew nation soon suffered terrible reverses. Their city was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans, and they were scattered all over the world.

Then Satan tried to use the Romans to do what He had not been able to do through the Jews, and the persecution intensified, but this too failed. The new chosen people claimed converts all over the world and even in the court of the Roman emperor, who claimed worship for himself, even as Nimrod did.

Satan realized that his plan was not succeeding. The more he killed the Christians, the wider their faith spread. So he decided on a different plan. He would stop attacking from outside and get inside to do his dirty work.

So the persecutions stopped, and now a flood of half-converted sun-worshipers came into the church. They brought their old customs with them, including Sunday, and after a couple hundred years had passed, it had nearly crowded out God's Sabbath of creation. Nearly, but not completely. Now the tables were turned and the church itself became the persecutor, and those who kept the pure teachings of Jesus became the persecuted.

Hidden away in Alpine valleys, they worshiped the God of creation according to His word, and slipping out quietly, spread His word abroad in handwritten copies to those who would hear. Often these messengers were captured and paid with their lives.

More than a thousand years of this passed, and finally God said, "It is time to be getting the world ready for my return. I will wake the world up and give them inventions to speed the gospel work." So He raised up an inventor who gave the world printing, and increased literacy so people could read the Word for themselves. The entrenched church fought back, but the Word won. So, little by little God pulled the people away from the pagan teachings that had crept into the church. Finally it came time to call them back to Himself fully with the Sabbath truth. Now the inventions for speed came rapidly. Steam boats, steam trains, telegraph, telephone, radio, automobiles, airplanes, high speed printing presses, television, & satellites that could relay the Word all around the earth almost instanteously. The King's coming must be announced to all. So He caused the fall of governments that had been holding their people in slavery and ignorance, permitting the Word once more to be preached among them. That Word calls the peoples of the world to "Worship Him that made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water." Revelation 14:7. It is a call back to the true Sabbath, the Sabbath of Creation.

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