By Pastor Hal Mayer
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There is a huge controversy going on in the universe. The Bible pulls back the curtain so that it can be seen and understood. This controversy is between good and evil; between Christ and Satan; between principalities and powers in the universe. But many do not understand the issues involved in the struggle, or how strong our enemy is. While the origins of evil are a mystery, they are not hidden. They are plainly revealed, and we are instructed to understand them, otherwise we will be swept away by delusion and deception.
But before we begin, Let us bow our heads in prayer. Our Father in heaven, Your great love is incomprehensible. You sent Your Son Jesus to come to our planet to die for us that we may be reconciled to God. What a great honor for ignorant and sinful human beings to find a place in the heart of God. Thank You for taking the risk to redeem the human race from destruction. We need Your Holy Spirit to teach us how to live like God and think like God thinks. We need the love of Jesus to be spread abroad in our hearts that nothing will cause us to turn our backs on Christ. We have a mortal enemy who is trying to keep us from knowing Christ. He is active today and every day. He has lost the war, but He is still permitted to tempt and harass us. Today, we pray that You will open the windows of heaven and bless us with Your presence as we study this important topic. But also we pray that You will help us to see that we must overcome the power of the Enemy and live righteously in this wicked and degenerate age. Please, Holy Father, make it plain for us today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Turn with me in your Bibles to the twelfth chapter of Revelation. Here we will find a very important text that will help us understand the times in which we live. Beginning with verse seven, we read the following: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
Who is this dragon called the Devil and Satan. He has many names actually, some of which are in these verses; the old serpent, the deceiver, the devil, Satan, Lucifer, the enemy, the great adversary, the father of lies, the Evil One, the Prince of Evil; and the list goes on and on. These names are all descriptive of his character.
How did one holy being created by God and Christ become such an evil pariah? How did one who was holy and unfallen become the archbishop of deceit? It didn’t start out that way. Lucifer was a glorious being, created for a special mission to glorify God. He was the highest and most authoritative angel in heaven. Listen to how the Bible describes him, beginning with Ezekiel 28:12.
“Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.”
Just imagine what a glorious being Lucifer must have been. He was the most beautiful of all angels in heaven. He was the fullness of the sinless creation of God up to that point. He was exalted to the position next to Christ. He had jewels and precious stones all over him and many different colors made his person most beautiful to look at in the glorious light of the throne of God. Lucifer lived in light. His name reflects the idea of light. These beautiful stones were not for his glory, like so often, jewels and diamonds are used today. He was designed to draw attention to the throne of God and to God’s love.
Because he was a created being however and therefore greatly inferior to Christ, Lucifer was to bring glory to his Creator. The Godhead had life that was unborrowed, underived and had existed from eternity. But Lucifer was a created being. His life was given to him by God. It was not from within himself.
But Lucifer was fantastically talented. The “tabrets” and “pipes” refer to his melodious voice. This being could really sing well. And angels loved to listen to him. Christ loved to hear him sing. His musical talent was to sing praises to the Creator. He led the heavenly choir and the richness of his music was, no doubt, compelling.
Everyone respected and loved Lucifer, and they looked to him for leadership. He was also given great responsibility. Verse 14 says that he was the “anointed cherub that covereth,” which means that he was the covering cherub for the throne of God and Christ. That means he was to minister to God and to Christ. He was to hover as a glorious living adornment above the throne. He was the anointed one, or the one called to a special mission in connection with God’s throne.
But that wasn’t all. Lucifer’s position gave him authority and power. He was in command, next to Christ of all the heavenly host. Christ let him orchestrate wonderful projects in heaven that would raise the level of praise and glory to God.
“Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God,” it says. This means that he was admitted to the inner sanctum of heaven where the throne room of the universe was. Very few had the privilege to be there. He “walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” This is referring to being in the throne room for that is where the stones of fire are. But it also refers to his authority, which emanated from God’s throne to him. He was really, really close to God and to Christ. Just imagine his exalted position in heaven! As a created being, he was the highest. There was no created being above him. No other angel was given this important place. He was next to Christ.
Verse 15 says “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
What an exalted being Lucifer was! Yet, the Bible tells us that inside him something happened that caused him to sin. What could that be? How could someone created so lovely, so beautiful and in such an exalted position become evil, in perfect, peaceful heaven, no less?
Here is the reason. God is love. Love cannot be coerced or forced. Love has to have free expression. Every intelligent being is free to choose to love or not to love. This is the way God created all his angels and man too. We are all free to choose. If we choose to love God, which means that we will obey him, we shall live eternally. If we chose to not love God, we will accept Satan’s lies about God, and will love Satan instead. The result is that we will not live eternally.
Love can only come from the heart. We are made to love. But sin came in and threatened to destroy love. In fact, it did destroy love in the heart of Satan. And it would have destroyed love in the hearts of all men, had it not been for the love of Christ that led Him to sacrifice His life on the cross for our sins.
But there is no excuse for sin. There is no reason for its existence. Yet because of freedom of choice, the possibility of rebellion was always there. It has to be that way because if created beings were programmed only to obey, they would be robots, and would not have the capacity to love from the heart. True love only comes by a choice to love.
And where would freedom be if all were automated devices that just did what they are programmed to do? Where would true love be? That is the nature of freedom and love. They cannot be coerced. Freedom means that there are other alternatives to loving God. None of them are good, but they exist and can be acted upon.
But how could one, who was so perfect and who “sealed up the sum” turn his back on Divine Love, and cause others to rebel too?
The reason there are so many bad things that happen in this world is because Satan is trying to remove love from families, from churches, and from communities. Everywhere you turn, you see evidence of this. That is why we have so much violence, like mass murders, terrorists, war and all manner of bloodshed. Regard for human life is at an all- time low. It is because Satan controls those who have given themselves to him that violence exists. It’s almost like it was before the flood, when violence caused God to come to the conclusion that He had to intervene and destroy man and start over. And the closer we get to the end of time, the worse it will get on this planet. The love that God designed to make our lives happy will be stripped away by choices that people make.
Here is what Jesus said about this. In Matthew 24:12, referring to the last days, Jesus said, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” That’s why we have cold-blooded murder. That’s why we have cold relationships between many people. That is why we have hatred and malice, chilling emotions that lead to strife and bloodshed.
It is almost incomprehensible that there could be war in heaven. But it’s true. There was a violent physical war. Satan’s principles always lead to war and violence. Listen to verse 16 of Ezekiel 28. “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned…”
Here is what happened. Lucifer was so exalted in heaven that he thought he had the right to enter into the counsels of the Godhead. As Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Father would consult together privately, Lucifer thought he should be brought into those counsels. After all, he was next to Christ Himself, so why shouldn’t he be included in the counsel? Why shouldn’t he be as exalted as Christ?
In Lucifer’s heart there arose jealousy of Christ. He began to think that he would rule heaven better than Christ if he had the same responsibility and position. He felt as if he wasn’t appreciated and a certain insecurity developed in his soul. He wanted recognition and status more than anything else. This desire for self-exaltation was the root of Lucifer’s sin. He aspired to have the power and position that Christ had and he began to criticize Christ in his mind and heart.
With that envy, Lucifer could not remain in the presence of Christ. So he left his position as the covering cherub and began to stir discussion about whether the law of God was really necessary. He tried to stir up discontent among the angels.
Listen to what the book Great Controversy has to say about what happened in heaven. “God in His wisdom permitted Satan to carry forward his work, until the spirit of disaffection ripened into active revolt. It was necessary for his plans to be fully developed, that their true nature and tendency might be seen by all.”
You see, God knew that true love depended on freedom of choice, which meant that he would have to allow Satan to carry on this work of disaffection until it had matured and all the angels had enough information to make an informed choice to stay loyal to God, or join Lucifer’s ranks of rebellion.
I’ll continue reading. “Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, had been highly exalted; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong.”
Just imagine how difficult it was for the angels. They loved Lucifer and they were used to obeying him. They respected him for his intellect too, and many of them thought that he was truly concerned for the best interests of heaven.
But there was more that Lucifer had in mind. Reading on. “God’s government included not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds that He had created; and Satan thought that if he could carry the angels of heaven with him in rebellion, he could carry also the other worlds. He had artfully presented his side of the question, employing sophistry and fraud to secure his objects. His power to deceive was very great, and by disguising himself in a cloak of falsehood he had gained an advantage. Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see to what his work was leading.” That’s Great Controversy, page 497.
Notice that Lucifer was greatly loved, and that he had a strong influence over heavenly beings. Please notice his tactics in order to gain control of the angels. He used secrecy, deception and fraud. He had to misrepresent the character of God in very subtle ways. He suggested, for instance, that God did not really love His created beings. He was really serving His own selfish interests by having all of heaven serve and glorify Him.
Lucifer’s goal was to replace the government of God and the constitution of heaven, the law of God, with his own constitution. Instead of liberty, Satan wanted to secure power and control over the angels and unfallen worlds. And he bent every deceptive device to accomplish his purpose. If he could have, he would have been a dictator. He would have brought the whole universe under his domination.
Interestingly, his course of action was the same as the globalists today. He was the first true globalist – or shall I say internationalist. And this was in the universe, before there ever was planet earth. Today, globalists use these same tactics to get their way. And that stands to reason, because they are inspired by his methods. Of course, Lucifer hoped to go beyond the angels and eventually get the worlds and the intelligent beings that God had created on them to join his side too. He wanted to rule the universe, not by the principles of love, but through the principles of force. That’s why in Isaiah 14 the prophet describes Lucifer’s ambitions in verses 13 and 14. “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.”
Control is the key word concerning rulership. Lucifer was determined to control. He wanted the same position and power that God had. Lucifer wanted control over heaven, but he couldn’t let the angels know that. He had to suggest a higher purpose, a larger aim.
Lucifer twisted definitions of things in his own way. For instance, he defined freedom differently than God did. Freedom, he said, meant that since the angels were holy, they don’t need laws by which to live. The law was restricting them and keeping them from true freedom. If they didn’t have the law, then they would be truly free. But in reality, Lucifer was seeking to put his own laws in the place of God’s. Globalists today try to suggest that we need to do away with national laws and sovereignty put in a universal law over the whole world controlled by a few elite men and women.
Lucifer used deception to create discontent. Claiming falsely that God’s law was coercive and controlling, he tried to suggest that if he were in charge there would be no laws to limit the freedom of heaven’s unfallen beings. The angels had been happy with heaven’s laws, but now Lucifer suggested that there was something wrong with them, and that there would never be true freedom and love until things were made right. He professed great loyalty and reverence for God and His law, but he suggested that perhaps there were a few things that could be improved.
Since their natures were holy, Lucifer suggested that the angels should be free to obey the dictates of their own will. This was a powerful deception. It took the attention away from God’s law, something Satan has been doing ever since, and replaced it with the will of the created being. By replacing the law of God with the mind of the created being, he effectively took away their moral guidance system. Eventually, in the case of human beings, he replaced the law of God with the laws and traditions of men.
This is self-exaltation because it replaces a higher law with a lower law. Today it is often spoken of as relativism. What is right in your own mind is what is right. There is no compass, no system of right and wrong. There is no need to reference a higher law. And the result is anarchy. Do you think Satan is doing that today with the inhabitants of this world? Every secular culture eventually leaves any reference for God behind and creates laws that are their own set of moral standards. Inevitably, this leads to laws that require disobedience to God’s law. Every person who lives his life outside of God’s law is living in relativism. He chooses his own right and wrong. There are many professed Christians today, who do this, aren’t there? Many of them believe that God’s Ten Commandment law is no longer binding. They think you can do as you please and God will still save you.
Creating dissatisfaction with the present order and offering to replace it with a new order – however vague and undefined – is a common tactic of globalists. At first they have to hide their true intentions, like Lucifer did in heaven. For instance, the globalists who established the European Economic Community said that it was only an economic cooperation, and that it would never become a political unity. But they were lying. Their intention all along was to resurrect the political union of Europe under the principles of the Holy Roman Empire.
They suggested that everything would be better in Europe if they were all united around a common principle of economy. They knew all along that if their economic model was adopted, which included the euro; it would lead to political centralization too. But there were not going to tell the people that, at least not at first. Eventually, however, once their plans were mature enough and there was no chance of stopping the process, then they came right out in the open about centralizing the power and control in Europe under one government.
For a while Lucifer didn’t really reveal his full plans to the unfallen angels. Some of the angels began to feel that Lucifer was, in fact, working in their best interests, and that he was right. They defended him to angels who would question the logic of what Lucifer was saying. This would deepen Lucifer’s ideas in their own minds and eventually confirmed them in their support for Lucifer. Lucifer took advantage of this and claimed that he had been unjustly treated when he was not as exalted as Christ. He suggested that if he was the leader of heaven the angels would arrive at a higher state of existence.
That’s what he did in Eden with Eve, and it is what globalists always suggest to their target citizens. If their plans are adopted, society will arrive at a higher state. Wars will cease, the economy will improve, jobs will be created, the political order will be stabilized, wealth will be created and evenly distributed, etc. Just like Lucifer in heaven, the globalists suggest that they are not seeking their own interests, but they are seeking the good of all society. Lucifer’s behavior in heaven is paralleled today.
Even the pope is suggesting that he be put in charge of the global economy. Recently Benedict XVI gave a speech in which he claimed that without an ethical and moral principle overseeing the economy, the nature of society will always be corrupt. He then suggested that no political entity can have the moral and ethical power and authority to properly manage the economy on behalf of all. If, on the other hand, a body of ethically minded and morally responsible individuals were in charge, things would be so much better.
Papal Speech 
The pope was trying to create discontent with the present order by emphasizing its ills. Then he presented himself as the solution to the problem in order to make society more just and more righteous.
He is essentially saying that he and the papacy should be in charge of the economy. There is no political entity other than the Catholic Church that has a moral compass, he claims. All politicians and world leaders act in their own self-interests. And on this point he is correct. But to place the papacy in charge of the economy will not make this less corrupt, but more so. The papacy has an open track record of economic corruption and injustice. But the pope also knows that if the Vatican is put in charge of the global economy, this will eventually lead to political control too.
The pope is saying that by giving him greater power, he will use it to ensure economic freedom for all, particularly the poor. This is what Lucifer suggested in heaven; that by seeking greater power, he was not trying to exalt himself, but rather secure freedom for all of heavens beings.
Eventually, Lucifer had the agreement of about one third of the angels. Revelation 12:4 says that he “drew the third part of the stars of heaven,” meaning a third of the angels. As he saw more and more of the angels come over to his side, he became more and more confident and open about his plans. He seeded distrust of God, and said that the law was standing in the way of freedom. To many of the angels, this was a completely new thought. They had never imagined that their freedom was restricted. They felt as free as anyone could be. But now Lucifer seeded distrust of God, and soon a lot of angels felt as he did. He left his position as covering cherub. After all, that spot was too close to Christ his rival. He could not work from there. Besides, he could not serve the one whom he was seeking to supplant.
Christ pled with Lucifer, but he only resisted more. Christ offered to forgive his rebellion and reinstate him to his position of covering cherub. But Lucifer had developed a pride in his heart and it would be too humiliating to acknowledge the wisdom of God’s law and heaven’s order. It is always pride that keeps us from repenting of our sins and acknowledging the justice of God’s law. It is pride that leads us to break the law in the first place.
Lucifer claimed in response to Christ’s pleas, that he was being misjudged and his motives misrepresented. He also claimed that Christ wanted to humiliate him before all of heaven.
As you can see, circumstances were developing that would lead to open conflict and war. God permitted Lucifer to mature his plans. He had to; otherwise the whole universe would not be able to see the evil of Lucifer’s character. God had to let it mature so that everyone could make an informed choice to be loyal to God, or be loyal to Satan.
I shall read again from Great Controversy, page 498-499. “Even when it was decided that he could no longer remain in heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. Since the service of love can alone be acceptable to God, the allegiance of His creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice and benevolence. The inhabitants of heaven and of other worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the nature or consequences of sin, could not then have seen the justice and mercy of God in the destruction of Satan. Had he been immediately blotted from existence, they would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated. Evil must be permitted to come to maturity otherwise it can never be eradicated. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages Satan must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might forever be placed beyond all question.”
When Lucifer learned that he was to be expelled from heaven, he rallied his angels in a violent attempt to overthrow the throne of God. Revelation 12:7-9 reveals a good bit of detail. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devi, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Isaiah 14:12 says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 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. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
Jesus said in Luke 10:18 “I beheld Satan as lightening fall from heaven.” He was referring to that war we read about in Revelation 12.
Lucifer had claimed that it was the fault of Christ that he was in rebellion because Christ had set up an oppressive order in heaven that had to be overthrown if there was ever going to be peace. But Christ took the misrepresentation and just waited. In fact, He waited until the cross. At the cross, Satan’s malignant designs were manifested in all their gory detail.
Christ knew that the “mighty argument” of the cross would demonstrate to “the whole universe that the course of sin which Lucifer had chosen was in no wise chargeable upon the government of God.” That’s Great Controversy, page 500.
All the blasphemous temptations in the wilderness were Satan’s work. All the suffering and sorrow that Christ went through throughout His life on earth, was Satan’s work. All the hatred heaped upon Christ by priests and people; all the humiliation and shame piled upon Christ, revealed Satan’s true character. The war in heaven became a war on earth both against Christ and against His followers. When the angels of heaven saw what Satan did to Christ, of their own free will and of their own free choice, their affections for Satan, their former commander, were finally cut off. They saw that had he been given authority and power in heaven that he demanded, he would have ruled the angels the way he ruled men. Can you imagine their awe as they thought about what could have happened to them if they had joined Lucifer as many of their fellow angels had done? Now they were demons, given over to evil, and must be opposed more fully. The angels no longer opposed Satan merely out of principle. Now they could truly oppose him from deep within their hearts. They saw that unless he was opposed at every turn, there would be no hope for people to find their way to the courts of light and love through salvation.
Lucifer had “declared that, while the Creator exacted self-denial from all others, He Himself practiced no self-denial and made no sacrifice.” Great Controversy, page 502
In Christ’s magnificent sacrifice on the cross, all could see that neither God nor Christ was seeking their own exaltation. They were instead genuinely seeking the restoration of fallen man. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19
“It was seen, also, that while Lucifer had opened the door for the entrance of sin by his desire for honor and supremacy, Christ had, in order to destroy sin, humbled Himself and become obedient unto death.” That’s Great Controversy, page 502.
Christ had to suffer and die, not only for fallen man, but so that angels could see the real issues in the Great Controversy and fully understand the hatred and malice of Satan. God had to reveal to them too that the law of heaven, the law of love was unchangeable. He had to demonstrate that its precepts were just and righteous. The cross of Christ, on the other hand, demonstrated His love and mercy for the repentant sinner. Christ put these two great principles side by side throughout His whole life and ministry on earth, and especially in His death. He showed that justice and mercy were the foundations of the whole government and were also the great principles of His benevolent character.
The war with Satan has left no doubt in the minds of unfallen angels and of all the unfallen beings of the universe that God’s love is the most powerful agency. That Christ’s love is the greatest motivator there is. It is Christ’s love that motivates us to keep His whole law. It is Christ’s love that causes us to worship the creator on His unchangeable holy Sabbath day. It is Christ’s love that reveals His Ten Commandment law as the transcript of His character. They match up perfectly.
Satan had heard his death sentence in the Garden of Eden when Christ said that He would crush his head. When Christ said, “It is finished,” as he hung upon Calvary’s cruel cross, Satan heard his own death sentence again.
When Christ said, “It is finished,” he was saying that the battle had been won. Satan was now defeated. All his claims were deceptions. The father of lies was exposed and all the universe could see that. The cross, my friends, was not just for us. It was for all the unfallen beings in the whole universe as well. They had to see the mature manifestation of true hatred and true love in mortal conflict. They had to see the law of God successfully defended. They had been waiting patiently for a long, long time, 4000 years in fact, for this very moment.
And they watched in stunned silence as Christ was beaten, cursed, and mocked. They gazed in sheer astonishment as the leaders of God’s church openly demanded His crucifixion on the Roman cross. They viewed with horrible amazement as their heavenly commander was nailed to the cruel tree. They longed to intervene and save Christ from His enemies, but were strictly instructed that they had to stand down and let it happen. Their grief knew no bounds as they wept in horror over the death of Christ. Just imagine the mighty angels of God who, with one stroke, could have destroyed all the enemies of Christ, having to restrain themselves and just watch in dismay. Just imagine the impression that came over heaven when Christ cried out in triumphant agony, “It is finished!”
No doubt angels of heaven hovered close to Joseph of Arimathaea as he prepared his tomb for Christ. No doubt they hovered close to the disciples as they carefully and tenderly brought Christ down from the cross and wrapped his body for burial. They would have loved to do it themselves, but again, they were instructed to stand down and let Jesus be placed in the tomb by his earthly friends. They would have their chance to minister to Christ and his earthly family very soon indeed.
Satan was watching too. His countenance must have fallen with the words, “It is finished!” He had done everything thing he could to cajole Christ into sin. He had done everything he could to pressure Christ and force Him to let go of God. He had stealthily worked to have Christ arrested and tried at night, when no one would know about it. He had stirred the church leaders and many of the people into a frenzy demanding that Christ be crucified. He has infused men with so much of his own hatred and malice that they went all the way, and killed him. Now it was over. He had lost!
As the implications of Christ’s death began to settle in on his mind, Satan no doubt knew that he only had a matter of time until he too would be destroyed. His hatred of Christ still knows no bounds. He can no longer hurt Christ personally.
Yet Satan is still permitted to continue his work of deception and destruction on this earth among men. They were made in the image of Christ, and he must do all that he can to destroy them.
Now what happened in heaven, God has to permit on earth. God has to allow Satan to fully mature his plans for the human race, so that each person will be able to make their own free will decision. Because he knows his time is short, he goes about like “a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Satan is seeking to bring the whole world under his own banner in order to enforce his own laws, including worship laws, in opposition to the Ten Commandment law of Christ. He is doing this by gradually centralizing the control of all of earth’s resources into the hands of fewer and fewer people; those whom he can manipulate and use as his agents.
He has inspired global leaders with the same spirit of rebellion against the law of God. They are working to create globalization so that eventually they can impose a global religion upon the whole world that is contrary to the law of God. They have the same purposes as Nimrod in Babel, and the same principles that Nebuchadnezzar displayed in Babylon. Now they want to use them to rule a new world order that will also defy the law of God and eventually impose a universal worship, a Sunday worship law, that will force all that dwell upon the earth to worship Satan. Instead of Christ’s holy Sabbath day, which He established at creation, he is putting his own laws in place.
That’s what Sunday worship is all about. It is defiance against the law of God. It is the exaltation of man’s ideas above the principles of God’s law. It is the outworking of the same principle that Satan tried to establish in heaven. Satan tried to get the whole of heaven to be loyal to his dictatorship instead of to the law of love, Christ’s Ten Commandment law.
Friends, that is what the Great Controversy is all about. The Bible, in simple language, and in a few words reveals the great sweeping principles of the issues in this grand conflict. Yet, it is full of meaning for each of us. This knowledge pulls back the curtain so that the events that take place in our world make sense to us.
Why does God permit suffering? Why does he allow little children to be shot and killed? Why do innocent children have to suffer from sexual abuse of religious leaders? Why do blameless people have to die at the hands of terrorists? Why doesn’t God stop all the violence?
Friends, it is a loving God that hates sin so much, that He has to allow it to mature so that everyone can see Satan’s true character and make a free choice to love God. He knows how to take care of innocent victims for all eternity. If they are killed, it just gets them out of the way so that His higher purpose can be realized. He will look after them with mercy and love. I’m so glad that He is the judge and that He takes into account all the advantages and disadvantages that each person has in determining their ultimate destiny. We don’t have to worry about God being unjust in letting bad things happen to innocent people. It is Satan that is unjust in bringing on pain and suffering to those who do not deserve it.
And over-riding it all is God’s grand purpose to finally destroy sin and evil, when it has matured. But there is something else. Why does it drag on so long? The Bible again pulls back the curtain and we see a merciful God. Listen to what it says in 2 Peter 3:9. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” and consequently eternal life.
The Lord Jesus is not delaying because he is dilatory, or sadistic, or for any wrong motive. He wants to save as many as possible. So He works to win them through heavenly angels who are now fully dedicated to opposing Satan tooth and nail to the very end of time; through the Holy Spirit who is working to woo men to repentance and surrender; through dedicated servants of God on earth who lead souls to the Savior. Oh my friends, don’t you want to be part of that great army of workers in cooperation with heaven to reach lost souls with the truth about God? I certainly do.
Revelation 12:17 tells us that Satan, or the dragon “was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus Christ.”
So Satan is still out there, my friends. He is still making war against Christ in the person of His followers. He is angry with Christ, and he is angry with the women, which represents Christ’s church. He is especially angry with the last church of Christ on earth, the remnant church because they keep the very commandments of God that he tried to overthrow in heaven. They have the commandments and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Their lives testify that Christ lives within them. This last church is very special because it is at the center of the controversy because they are loyal to Christ, Satan’s arch enemy.
The Great Controversy still rages on. Yes, the end is clear. The result of the war is already determined. But it remains for you to decide which side you are on. If you are on Christ’s side, then all the agencies of evil are arrayed against you. But you also have all the agencies of heaven to help you. You should not be surprised if you have trials and trouble that are very hard from time to time. But it should also not surprise you that Christ will see you through them. You must keep the faith. You must be valiant in fight. In weakness, you must become strong in Christ. You must be a loyal soldier of Jesus.
Let me read it to you from Hebrews 11 beginning with verse 32. “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
You see, my friends, these people are our examples. They fought in faith. And you and I must do the same. They won their battles by faith, and so can you and I.
Notice that they are waiting for us to be made perfect. How are you made perfect? You are made perfect through temptation and trial, by the power of Christ. When you suffer for Jesus’ sake, count it all joy. Temptations and trials may come, but they do so much for you, if you live by faith in Christ. You can be an overcomer! Listen to what the apostle James has to say.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” That’s James 1:2-4.
It is in faith that we overcome Satan. Christ overcame him by faith in His father’s love and power. We overcome him by the faith of Christ.
Listen to what will become of Satan who once walked among the stones of fire on the mountain of God.
This is also from Ezekiel 28:16 – 19. “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”
Friends, I can hardly wait until it is all over. I can hardly wait until Satan is destroyed. I just don’t want to live in this world of sin any more. I know you probably feel that same way. We must live righteously in this present world so that Christ can demonstrate that He does, in fact, have a people that He can trust will not yield to Satan’s temptations and then He can put them through the final crisis.
We are living in solemn times, my friends. Our lives are on probation. The time will come when that probation will close. Are we doing all we can to win others to God’s sacred truth for this time? Are we reaching out to our neighbors and friends that don’t know Christ or don’t know the end-time message for these last days, and helping them find their way? Are we working in harmony with heaven to save the lost?
I pray that you are indeed working hand in hand with Christ and the holy angels and the Holy Spirit to live righteous lives so that Christ’s character can be seen in you. I need the Holy Spirit in my life, and I know you do too. Without that important agency, we would be hopelessly lost.
Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, through Jesus Christ we pray for forgiveness of our sins and for the restoration of righteousness in our lives. Please send the Holy Spirit to help us overcome Satan and implant Christ’s character of love in our own hearts. Help us to see the magnificent issues in the controversy between Christ and Satan and why the enemy is still active. Give us victory over his devices. Let us live for Christ before all those around us. In Your strength, help us to resist his temptations that so often come our way. Vindicate Your character of love in our lives. May Your presence be with us, I pray, as we near the end of time, in Jesus’ name, Amen.