Sufficient Evidence

God has given in His Word sufficient evidence of its divine character. Yet finite minds are inadequate fully to comprehend the purposes of the Infinite One. “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33. Still, we can discern boundless love and mercy united to infinite power. Our Father in heaven will reveal to us as much as it is for our good to know; beyond that we must trust the Hand that is omnipotent, the Heart that is full of love.

God will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to obey until every objection has been removed will never come to the light. The unrenewed heart is at enmity with God. But faith is inspired by the Holy Spirit and will flourish as it is cherished. No man can become strong in faith without determined effort. If men permit themselves to cavil, they will find doubt becoming more confirmed.

But those who doubt and distrust the assurance of His grace dishonor Christ. They are unproductive trees that shut away the sunlight from other plants, causing them to droop and die under the chilling shadow. The lifework of these persons will appear as a never-ceasing witness against them.

There is but one cause for those to pursue who honestly desire to be freed from doubts. Instead of questioning that which they do not understand, let them give heed to the light which already shines upon them, and they will receive greater light.

Satan can present a counterfeit so closely resembling the truth that it deceives those willing to be deceived, who desire to shun the sacrifice demanded by the truth. But it is impossible for him to hold under his power one soul who honesty desires, at whatever cost, to know the truth. Christ is the truth, the “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” John 1:9; 7:17.

The Lord permits His people to be subjected to the fiery ordeal of temptation, not because He takes pleasure in their distress, but because this is essential to their final victory. He could not, consistently with His own glory, shield them from temptation, for the object of the trial is to prepare them to resist all the allurements of evil. Neither wicked men nor devils can shut out God’s presence from His people if they will confess and put away their sins and claim His promises. Every temptation, open or secret, may be successfully resisted, “not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6.

“Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” 1 Peter 3:13. Satan is well aware that the weakest soul who abides in Christ is more than a match for the hosts of darkness. Therefore he seeks to draw away the soldiers of the cross from their strong fortification, while he lies in ambush, ready to destroy all who venture upon his ground. Only in reliance upon God and obedience to all His commandments can we be secure.

No man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer. Entreat the Lord for wisdom to understand His Word. Satan is an expert in quoting Scripture, placing his own interpretation on passages by which he hopes to cause us to stumble. We should study with humility of heart. While we must constantly guard against the devices of Satan, we should pray in faith continually: “Lead us not into temptation.” Matthew 6:13.

Skepticism Toward the Bible

Erroneous doctrines among the churches remove landmarks fixed by the Word of God. Few stop with the rejection of a single truth. The majority set aside one after another of the principles of truth, until they become infidels.

The errors of popular theology have driven many a soul to skepticism. It is impossible for him to accept doctrines which outrage one’s sense of justice, mercy, and benevolence. Since these are represented as the teaching of the Bible, he refuses to receive it as the Word of God.

The Word of God is looked upon with distrust because it reproves and condemns sin. Those unwilling to obey its requirements endeavor to overthrow its authority. Not a few become infidels in order to justify neglect of duty. Others, too ease-loving to accomplish anything which requires self-denial, secure a reputation for superior wisdom by criticizing the Bible.

Many feel it is a virtue to stand on the side of unbelief, skepticism, and infidelity. But underneath an appearance of candor will be found self-confidence and pride. Many * In the complete book, The Great Controversy, readers will find the story of how most of the Christian world gradually departed from the teachings of the Bible delight in finding something in the Scriptures to puzzle the minds of others. Some at first reason on the wrong side from a mere love of controversy. But having openly expressed unbelief, they unite with the ungodly.

Dangerous Errors

Among the most successful agencies of the great deceiver are the lying wonders of spiritualism. As men reject the truth they fall a prey to deception.

Another error is the doctrine that denies the deity of Christ, claiming that He had no existence before His advent to this world. This theory contradicts the statements of our Saviour concerning His relationship with the Father and His pre-existence. It undermines faith in the Bible as a revelation from God. If men reject the testimony of Scripture concerning the deity of Christ, it is vain to argue with them; no argument, however conclusive, could convince them. None who hold this error can have a true conception of Christ or of the plan of God for man’s redemption.

Still another error is the belief that Satan has no existence as a personal being, that the name is used in Scripture merely to represent men’s evil thoughts and desires.

The teaching that the second advent of Christ is His coming to each individual at death is a device to divert minds from His personal coming in the clouds of heaven. Satan has thus been saying, “Behold, he is in the secret chambers” (see Matthew 24:23-26), and many have been lost by accepting this deception.

Again men of science claim that there can be no real answer to prayer; this would be a violation of law—a miracle, and miracles have no existence. The universe, say they, is governed by fixed laws, and God Himself does nothing contrary to these laws. Thus they represent God as bound by His own laws—as if divine laws could exclude divine freedom.

Were not miracles wrought by Christ and His apostles? The same Saviour is as willing to listen to the prayer of faith as when He walked visibly among men. The natural cooperates with the supernatural. It is a part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.

Truth Rejected Because It Involves a Cross

The less spiritual and self-denying the doctrines presented, the greater the favor with which they are received. Satan is ready to supply the heart’s desire, and he palms off deception in the place of truth. It was thus that the papacy gained its power over the minds of men. And by rejection of the truth because it involves a cross, Protestants are following the same path. All who study convenience and policy, that they may not be at *Broadminded acceptance or toleration of views regardless of whether they agree with the Bible. Vvariance with the world, will be left to receive “damnable heresy” for truth. 2 Peter 2:1. He who looks with horror upon one deception will readily receive another.*

The Whole Bible a Guide

Whenever the study of the Scriptures is entered upon without a prayerful, teachable spirit, the plainest passages will be wrested from their true meaning. The whole Bible should be given to the people just as it reads.

God gave the sure word of prophecy; angels and even Christ Himself came to make known to Daniel and John things that “must shortly come to pass.” Revelation 1:1. Important matters that concern our salvation were not revealed in a way to perplex and mislead the honest seeker after truth. The Word of God is plain to all who study it with prayerful heart.

By the cry, Liberality,* men are blinded to the devices of their adversary. He succeeds in supplanting the Bible by human speculations; the law of God is set aside; and the churches are under the bondage of sin while they claim to be free.

God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in discoveries in science. But even the greatest minds, if not guided by the Word of God, become bewildered in their attempts to investigate the relations of science and revelation. \

Human knowledge is partial and imperfect; therefore many are unable to harmonize their views of science with Scripture. Many accept mere theories as scientific facts, and they think that God’s Word is to be tested by “science falsely so called.” 1 Timothy 6:20. Because they cannot explain the Creator and His works by natural laws, Bible history is regarded as unreliable. Those who doubt the Old and New Testaments too often go a step further and doubt the existence of God. Having let go their anchor, they beat about on the rocks of infidelity.

It is a masterpiece of Satan’s deceptions to keep men conjecturing in regard to that which God has not made known. Lucifer became dissatisfied because all the secrets of God’s purposes were not confided to him, and he disregarded that which was revealed. Now he seeks to imbue men with the same spirit and lead them also to disregard the direct commands of God.

The Truth Sanctifies

The great deceiver has many heresies prepared to suit the varied tastes of those whom he would ruin. It is his plan to bring into the church insincere, unregenerate elements that will encourage doubt and unbelief. Many who have no real faith in God assent to some principles of truth and pass as Christians, and thus are enabled to introduce error as scriptural doctrine. Satan knows that the truth, received in love, sanctifies the soul. Therefore he seeks to substitute false theories, fables, another gospel. From the beginning, servants of God have contended against false teachers, not merely as vicious men, but as inculcators of falsehoods fatal to the soul. Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul, firmly opposed those who were turning men from the Word of God. That liberality which regards a correct faith as unimportant found no favor with these holy defenders of truth.

The vague and fanciful interpretations of Scripture and conflicting theories in the Christian world are the work of our great adversary to confuse minds. The discord and division among the churches are in a great measure due to wresting the Scriptures to support a favorite theory.

In order to sustain erroneous doctrines, some seize upon passages of Scripture separated from the context, quoting half a verse as proving their point, when the remaining portion shows the meaning to be the opposite. With the cunning of the serpent they entrench themselves behind disconnected utterances construed to suit carnal desires. Others seize upon figures and symbols, interpret them to suit their fancy, with little regard to the testimony of Scripture as its own interpreter, and then present their vagaries as the teachings of the Bible.

Dangerous Seductions

The great controversy between Christ and Satan is soon to close, and the wicked one redoubles his efforts to defeat the work of Christ in man’s behalf. To hold people in darkness and impenitence till the Saviour’s mediation is ended is the object he seeks to accomplish. When indifference prevails in the church, Satan is not concerned. But when souls inquire, “What must I do to be saved?” he is on the ground to match his power against Christ and to counteract the influence of the Holy Spirit.

On one occasion, when the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan came also among them, not to bow before the Eternal King, but to further his malicious designs against the righteous. See Job 1:6. He is in attendance when men assemble for worship, working with diligence to control the minds of the worshipers. As he sees the messenger of God searching the Scriptures, he takes note of the subject to be presented. Then he employs his cunning and shrewdness so that the message may not reach those whom he is deceiving on that very point. The one who most needs the warning will be urged into some business transaction or will by some other means be prevented from hearing the word.

Satan sees the Lord’s servants burdened because of the darkness that enshrouds the people. He hears their prayers for divine grace and power to break the spell of indifference and indolence. Then with renewed zeal he tempts men to the indulgence of appetite or self-gratification, and thus benumbs their sensibilities so that they fail to hear the very things they most need to learn.

Satan knows that all who neglect prayer and the Scriptures will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind. His right-hand helpers are always active when God is at work. They will present the most earnest, self-denying servants of Christ as deceived or deceivers. It is their work to misrepresent the motives of every noble deed, to circulate insinuations, and arouse suspicion in the minds of the inexperienced. But it may be readily seen whose children they are, whose example they follow, and whose work they do. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16; also see Revelation 12:10.

Safety With Jesus

We may find shelter and deliverance in the superior power of our Redeemer. We carefully secure our houses with bolts and locks to protect our property and lives from evil men, but seldom think of the evil angels against whose attacks we have, in our own strength, no defense. If permitted, they can distract our minds, torment our bodies, destroy our possessions and our lives. But those who follow Christ are safe under His watchcare. Angels that excel in strength are sent to protect them. The wicked one cannot break through the guard which God has stationed about His people.

Danger

None are in greater danger than those who deny the existence of the devil and his angels. Many heed their suggestions while they suppose themselves to be following their own wisdom. As we approach the close of time, when Satan is to work with greatest power to deceive, he spreads everywhere the belief that he does not exist. It is his policy to conceal himself and his manner of working.

The great deceiver fears that we shall become acquainted with his devices. To disguise his real character he has caused himself to be so represented as to excite ridicule or contempt. He is pleased to be painted as ludicrous, misshapen, half animal and half human. He is pleased to hear his name used in sport and mockery. Because he has masked himself with consummate skill, the question is widely asked: “Does such a being really exist?” It is because Satan can readily control the minds of those who are unconscious of his influence that the Word of God unveils before us his secret forces, thus placing us on guard.

Evil Angels Oppose God’s Plans

Evil spirits, in the beginning created sinless, were equal in nature, power, and glory with the holy beings that are now God’s messengers. But fallen through sin, they are leagued together for the dishonor of God and the destruction of men. United with Satan in rebellion, they cooperate in warfare against divine authority.

Old Testament history mentions their existence, but during the time when Christ was on earth evil spirits manifested their power in the most striking manner. Christ had come for man’s redemption, and Satan determined to control the world. He had succeeded in establishing idolatry in every part of the earth except Palestine. To the only land not fully yielded to the tempter, Christ came, stretching out His arms of love, inviting all to find pardon and peace in Him. The hosts of darkness understood that if Christ’s mission should be successful, their rule was soon to end.

That men have been possessed with demons is clearly stated in the New Testament. Persons thus afflicted were not merely suffering with disease from natural causes; Christ recognized the direct presence and agency of evil spirits. The demoniacs at Gadara, wretched maniacs, writhing, foaming, raging, were doing violence to themselves and endangering all who should approach them. Their bleeding, disfigured bodies and distracted minds presented a spectacle well pleasing to the prince of darkness. One of the demons controlling the sufferers declared, “My name is Legion: for we are many.” Mark 5:9.

In the Roman army a legion consisted of from three to five thousand men. At the command of Jesus the evil spirits departed from their victims, leaving them subdued, intelligent, and gentle. But the demons swept a herd of swine into the sea, and to the dwellers of Gadara the loss outweighed the blessing Christ had bestowed; the divine Healer was intreated to depart. See Matthew 8:23-34. By casting the blame of their loss upon Jesus, Satan aroused the selfish fears of the people and prevented them from listening to His words.

Christ allowed the evil spirits to destroy the swine as a rebuke to Jews who were raising unclean beasts for gain. Had not Christ restrained the demons, they would have plunged not only the swine, but also their keepers and owners into the sea.

Furthermore, this event was permitted that the disciples might witness the cruel power of Satan upon both man and beast, that they might not be deceived by his devices. It was also Christ’s will that the people should behold His power to break the bondage of Satan and release his captives. Though Jesus Himself departed, the men so marvelously delivered remained to declare the mercy of their Benefactor.

Other instances are recorded: The daughter of the Syrophoenician woman, grievously vexed with a devil whom Jesus cast out by His word (Mark 7:25-30); a youth who had a spirit that ofttimes “cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him” (Mark 9:17-27); the maniac, tormented by a spirit of an unclean devil who disturbed the Sabbath quiet at Capernaum (Luke 4:33-36)—all were healed by the Saviour. In nearly every instance, Christ addressed the demon as an intelligent entity, commanding him to torment his victim no more. The worshipers at Capernaum “were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.” Luke 4:36.

For the sake of obtaining supernatural power, some welcomed the satanic influence. These of course had no conflict with the demons. Of this class were those who possessed the spirit of divination—Simon Magus, Elymas the sorcerer, and the damsel who followed Paul and Silas at Philippi. See Acts 8:9, 18; 13:8; 16:16-18.

Guardian Angels

A guardian angel is appointed to every follower of Christ. “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” Said the Saviour, speaking of those that believe in Him: “In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father.” Psalm 34:7; Matthew 18:10. God’s people, exposed to the unsleeping malice of the prince of darkness, are assured of the unceasing guardianship of angels. Such assurance is given because there are mighty agencies of evil to be met—agencies numerous, determined, and untiring.

Angels Help

Angels of God and evil spirits are plainly revealed in Scripture and interwoven with human history. Holy angels that “minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14) are regarded by many as spirits of the dead. But the Scriptures present proof that these are not disembodied spirits of the dead.

Before the creation of man, angels were in existence, for when the foundations of the earth were laid, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Job 38:7. After the fall of man, angels were sent to guard the tree of life before a human being had died. Angels are superior to men, for man was made “a little lower than the angels.” Psalm 8:5.

Says the prophet, “I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne.” In the presence of the King of kings they wait—”ministers of his, that do his pleasure,” “hearkening unto the voice of his word,” “an innumerable company.” Revelation 5:11; Psalm 103:20, 21; Hebrews 12:22. As God’s messengers they go forth, like “the appearance of a flash of lightning,” so swift their flight. The angel that appeared at the Saviour’s tomb, his countenance “like lightning,” caused the keepers for fear of him to quake, and they “became as dead men.” When Sennacherib blasphemed God and threatened Israel, “the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand.” Ezekiel 1:14; Matthew 28:3, 4; 2 Kings 19:35.

Angels are sent on missions of mercy to the children of God. To Abraham, with promises of blessing; to Sodom, to rescue Lot from doom; to Elijah, about to perish in the desert; to Elisha, with chariots and horses of fire when he was shut in by his foes; to Daniel, while abandoned to become the lion’s prey; to Peter, doomed to death in Herod’s dungeon; to the prisoners at Philippi; to Paul in the night of tempest on the sea; to open the mind of Cornelius to receive the gospel; to dispatch Peter with the message of salvation to the Gentile stranger—thus holy angels have ministered to God’s people.

A Vigilant Foe

This vigilant foe is intruding his presence in every household, in every street, in the churches, in national councils, in courts of justice, perplexing, deceiving, seducing, everywhere ruining the souls and bodies of men, women, and children. He breaks up families, sowing hatred, strife, sedition, and murder. And the world seems to regard these things as though God had appointed them and they must exist. All who are not decided followers of Christ are servants of Satan. When Christians choose the society of the ungodly, they expose themselves to temptation. Satan conceals himself from view and draws his deceptive covering over their eyes.

Conformity to worldly customs converts the church to the world, never the world to Christ. Familiarity with sin will cause it to appear less repulsive. When in the way of duty we are brought into trial, we may be sure God will protect us; but if we place ourselves under temptation we shall fall sooner or later.

The tempter often works most successfully through those least suspected of being under his control. Talent and culture are gifts of God; but when these lead away from Him, they become a snare. Many a man of cultured intellect and pleasant manners is a polished instrument in the hands of Satan.

Never forget the inspired warning sounding down the centuries to our time: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11. Our great enemy is preparing for his last campaign. All who follow Jesus will be in conflict with this foe. The more nearly the Christian imitates the divine Pattern, the more surely will he make himself a mark for the attacks of Satan.

Satan assailed Christ with fierce and subtle temptations; but he was repulsed in every conflict. Those victories make it possible for us to conquer. Christ will give strength to all who seek it. No man without his own consent can be overcome by Satan. The tempter has no power to control the will or force the soul to sin. He can cause distress, but not defilement. The fact that Christ conquered should inspire His followers with courage to fight the battle against sin and Satan.

Grace from Christ

Christ implants in man enmity against Satan. Without this converting grace and renewing power, man would continue a servant ever ready to do Satan’s bidding. But the new principle in the soul creates conflict; the power which Christ imparts enables man to resist the tyrant. To abhor sin instead of loving it displays a principle wholly from above.

The antagonism between Christ and Satan was strikingly displayed in the world’s reception of Jesus. The purity and holiness of Christ called forth against Him the hatred of the ungodly. His self-denial was a perpetual reproof to a proud, sensual people. Satan and evil angels joined with evil men against the Champion of truth. The same enmity is manifested toward Christ’s followers. Whoever resists temptation will arouse the wrath of Satan. Christ and Satan cannot harmonize. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12.

Satan’s agents seek to deceive Christ’s followers and allure them from their allegiance. They pervert Scripture to accomplish their object. The spirit which put Christ to death moves the wicked to destroy His followers. All this is foreshadowed in that first prophecy: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.”

Why is it that Satan meets no greater resistance? Because the soldiers of Christ have so little real connection with Christ. Sin is not to them repulsive as it was to their Master. They do not meet it with determined resistance. They are blinded to the character of the prince of darkness. Multitudes do not know that their enemy is a mighty general warring against Christ. Even ministers of the gospel overlook the evidences of his activity. They seem to ignore his very existence.

Hope for Triumph Over Evil

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. This enmity is not natural. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, in harmony with Satan. Fallen angels and wicked men united in desperate companionship. Had not God interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an alliance against Heaven, and the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God.

When Satan heard that enmity should exist between himself and the woman, and between his seed and her seed, he knew that by some means man was to be enabled to resist his power.

An Argument in Man’s Behalf

All heaven saw God’s justice revealed. Lucifer had claimed that the sinful race were beyond redemption. But the penalty of the law fell upon Him who was equal with God, and man was free to accept the righteousness of Christ and by penitence and humiliation to triumph over the power of Satan.

But it was not merely to redeem man that Christ came to earth to die. He came to demonstrate to all the worlds that God’s law is unchangeable. The death of Christ proves it immutable and demonstrates that justice and mercy are the foundation of the government of God. In the final judgment it will be seen that no cause for sin exists. When the Judge of all the earth shall demand of Satan, “Why hast thou rebelled against Me?” the originator of evil can render no excuse.

In the Saviour’s expiring cry, “It is finished,” the death knell of Satan was rung. The great controversy * which had been so long in progress was then decided, the final eradication of evil made certain. When “the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; . . . all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1.

Never will evil again be manifest. The law of God will be honored as the law of liberty. A tested and proved creation will never again turn from allegiance to Him whose character has been manifested as fathomless love and infinite wisdom.

* The “great controversy” between Christ and Satan is over God’s character, His justice, and His law.

Banished From Heaven

Satan and his host threw the blame of their rebellion upon Christ; if they had not been reproved, they would never have rebelled. Stubborn and defiant, yet blasphemously claiming to be innocent victims of oppressive power, the archrebel and his sympathizers were banished from heaven. See Revelation 12:7-9.

Satan’s spirit still inspires rebellion on earth in the children of disobedience. Like him they promise men liberty through transgression of the law of God. Reproof of sin still arouses hatred. Satan leads men to justify themselves and seek the sympathy of others in their sin. Instead of correcting their errors, they excite indignation against the reprover, as if he were the cause of difficulty.

By the same misrepresentation of the character of God as he had practiced in heaven, causing Him to be regarded as severe and tyrannical, Satan induced man to sin. He declared that God’s unjust restrictions had led to man’s fall, as they had led to his own rebellion.

In the banishment of Satan from heaven, God declared His justice and honor. But when man sinned, God gave evidence of His love by yielding up His Son to die for the fallen race. In the atonement the character of God is revealed. The mighty argument of the cross demonstrates that sin was in no wise chargeable upon the government of God. During the Saviour’s earthly ministry, the great deceiver was unmasked. The daring blasphemy of his demand that Christ pay him homage, the unsleeping malice that hunted Him from place to place, inspiring the hearts of priests and people to reject His love and to cry, “Crucify him! crucify him!”—all this excited the amazement and indignation of the universe. The prince of evil exerted all his power and cunning to destroy Jesus. Satan employed men as his agents to fill the Saviour’s life with suffering and sorrow. The pent-up fires of envy and malice, hatred and revenge, burst forth on Calvary against the Son of God.

Now the guilt of Satan stood forth without excuse. He had revealed his true character. Satan’s lying charges against the divine character appeared in their true light. He had accused God of seeking the exaltation of Himself in requiring obedience from His creatures and had declared that while the Creator exacted self-denial from all others, He Himself practiced no self-denial and made no sacrifice. Now it was seen that the Ruler of the universe had made the greatest sacrifice which love could make, for “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. In order to destroy sin Christ had humbled Himself and become obedient unto death.

Disaffection Ripens Into Active Revolt

God in His wisdom permitted Satan to carry forward his work, until the spirit of disaffection ripened into revolt. It was necessary for his plans to be fully developed, that their true nature might be seen by all. Lucifer was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong. God’s government included not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds He had created; and Satan thought that if he could carry the angels with him in rebellion, he could carry also the other worlds.

Employing sophistry and fraud, his power to deceive was very great. Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see to what his work was leading.

Satan had been so highly honored, and all his acts were so clothed with mystery, that it was difficult to disclose to the angels the true nature of his work. Until fully developed, sin would not appear the evil thing it was. Holy beings could not discern the consequences of setting aside the divine law. Satan at first claimed to be seeking to promote the honor of God and the good of all the inhabitants of heaven.

In His dealing with sin, God could employ only righteousness and truth. Satan could use what God could not—flattery and deceit. The true character of the usurper must be understood by all. He must have time to manifest himself by his wicked works.

The discord which his own course had caused in heaven, Satan charged upon God. All evil he declared to be the result of the divine administration. Therefore it was necessary that he demonstrate the working out of his proposed changes in the divine law. His own work must condemn him. The whole universe must see the deceiver unmasked.

Even when it was decided that he could no longer remain in heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. The allegiance of God’s creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice. The inhabitants of heaven and of other worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the 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 the spirit of rebellion eradicated. For the good of the 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.

Satan’s rebellion was to be to the universe a testimony to the terrible results of sin. His rule would show the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. The history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy intelligences to save them from sin and its punishment.

When it was announced that with all his sympathizers the great usurper must be expelled from the abodes of bliss, the rebel leader boldly avowed contempt for the Creator’s law. He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of liberty and declared his purpose to secure the abolition of law. Freed from this restraint, the hosts of heaven might enter upon a more exalted state of existence.

Discontent Among the Angels

Leaving his place in the presence of God, Lucifer went forth to diffuse discontent among the angels. With mysterious secrecy, concealing his real purpose under an appearance of reverence for God, he endeavored to excite dissatisfaction concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that they imposed unnecessary restraint. Since their natures were holy, he urged that angels should obey the dictates of their own will. God had dealt unjustly with him in bestowing supreme honor upon Christ. He claimed he was not aiming at self-exaltation but was seeking to secure liberty for all the inhabitants of heaven, that they might attain a higher existence.

God bore long with Lucifer. He was not degraded from his exalted station even when he began to present false claims before the angels. Again and again he was offered pardon on condition of repentance and submission. Such efforts as only infinite love could devise were made to convince him of his error. Discontent had never before been known in heaven. Lucifer himself did not at first understand the real nature of his feelings. As his dissatisfaction was proved to be without cause, Lucifer was convinced that the divine claims were just and that he ought to acknowledge them before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. If he had been willing to return to God, satisfied to fill the place appointed him, he would have been reinstated in his office. But pride forbade him to submit. He maintained that he had no need of repentance, and fully committed himself in the great controversy against his Maker.

All the powers of his master mind were now bent to deception, to secure the sympathy of the angels. Satan represented that he was wrongly judged and that his liberty was abridged. From misrepresentation of the words of Christ he passed to direct falsehood, accusing the Son of God of a design to humiliate him before the inhabitants of heaven.

All whom he could not subvert to his side he accused of indifference to the interests of heavenly beings. He resorted to misrepresentation of the Creator. It was his policy to perplex the angels with subtle arguments concerning the purposes of God. Everything simple he shrouded in mystery, and by artful perversion cast doubt upon the plainest statements of God. His high position gave greater force to his representations. Many were induced to unite with him in rebellion.

Why Is There Suffering?

Many see the work of evil, with its woe and desolation, and question how this can exist under the sovereignty of One who is infinite in wisdom, power, and love. Those who are disposed to doubt seize upon this as an excuse for rejecting the words of Holy Writ. Tradition and misinterpretation have obscured the teaching of the Bible concerning the character of God, the nature of His government, and the principles of His dealing with sin.

It is impossible to explain the origin of sin so as to give a reason for its existence. Yet enough may be understood concerning the origin and final disposition of sin to make fully manifest the justice and benevolence of God. God was in no wise responsible for sin; there was no arbitrary withdrawal of divine grace, no deficiency in the divine government, that gave occasion for rebellion. Sin is an intruder for whose presence no reason can be given. To excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, it would cease to be sin. Sin is the outworking of a principle at war with the law of love, which is the foundation of the divine government.

Before the entrance of evil there was peace and joy throughout the universe. Love for God was supreme, love for one another impartial. Christ the Only Begotten of God was one with the eternal Father in nature, in character, and in purpose—the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. “By him were all things created, that are in heaven, . . . whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.” Colossians 1:16.The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all created beings depended on their accord with its principles of righteousness. God takes no pleasure in forced allegiance, and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.

But there was one that chose to pervert this freedom. Sin originated with him, who, next to Christ, had been most honored by God. Before his fall, Lucifer was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. “Thus saith the Lord God; 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. . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. . . . Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” “Thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God.” “Thou hast said, . . . I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation. . . . I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Ezekiel 28:12-17; 28:6; Isaiah 14:13, 14.

Coveting the honor which the Father had bestowed upon His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power which it was the prerogative of Christ alone to wield. A note of discord now marred the celestial harmonies. The exaltation of self awakened forebodings of evil in minds to whom God’s glory was supreme. The heavenly councils pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before him the goodness and justice of the Creator and the sacred nature of His law. In departing from it, Lucifer would dishonor his Maker and bring ruin on himself. But the warning only aroused resistance. Lucifer allowed jealousy of Christ to prevail.

Pride nourished the desire for supremacy. The high honors conferred on Lucifer called forth no gratitude to the Creator. He aspired to be equal with God. Yet the Son of God was the acknowledged Sovereign of heaven, one in power and authority with the Father. In all the counsels of God, Christ was a participant, but Lucifer was not permitted to enter into the divine purposes. “Why,” questioned this mighty angel, “should Christ have the supremacy? Why is He thus honored above Lucifer?”

The signs of the times are ominous

Everything in the world is in agitation. The signs of the times are ominous. Coming events cast their shadows before. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and by land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. Who can read the future? Where is security? There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly. Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. Restlessly are they waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. There are those who are waiting and watching and working for our Lord’s appearing. Another class are falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. Few believe with heart and soul that we have a hell to shun and a heaven to win. Desire of Ages, p. 636

HATE CRIME BILL

Prescient Obama has now signed the so-called HATE CRIME BILL into law.

This laws intent is to characterize Judeo-Christian moral teachings about the homosexual lifestyle being wrong as a hate crime.

This law, in effect criminalizes Christianity.

Hate Grimes in other countries have already been used to prosecute Christens for speaking out against same-sex “gay marriage” and other parts of the radical homosexual Agenda.

Our Father Cares

Signs in the Heavens

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. Joel 2:31.

In the Savior’s conversation with His disciples upon Olivet, after describing the long period of trial for the church–the 1260 years of papal persecution, concerning which He had promised that the tribulation should be shortened–He thus mentioned certain events to precede His coming, and fixed the time when the first of these should be witnessed: “In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.” The 1260 days, or years, terminated in 1798. A quarter of a century earlier, persecution had almost wholly ceased. Following this persecution, according to the words of Christ, the sun was to be darkened. On the 19th of May, 1780, this prophecy was fulfilled.

“Almost if not altogether alone, as the most mysterious and as yet unexplained phenomenon of its kind stands the dark day of May 19, 1780–a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England.”– R. M. Devens, Our First Century, p. 89. . .

The intense darkness of the day was succeeded, an hour or two before evening, by a partially clear sky, and the sun appeared, though it was still obscured by the black, heavy mist. “After sundown, the clouds came again overhead, and it grew dark very fast.” “Nor was the darkness of the night less uncommon and terrifying than that of the day; notwithstanding there was almost a full moon, no object was discernible but by the help of some artificial light…..”–Isaiah Thomas, Massachusetts Spy: or, American Oracle of Liberty, vol. 10, No. 472 (May 25, 1780). . . .
The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfillment: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” Christ had bidden His people watch for the signs of His advent, and rejoice as they should behold the tokens of their coming King.

The Violent Earth

I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake. Rev. 6:12.

Prophecy not only foretells the manner and object of Christ’s coming, but presents tokens by which men are to know when it is near… The revelator thus describes the first of the signs to precede the second advent: “There was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.”

These signs were witnessed before the opening of the nineteenth century. In fulfillment of this prophecy there occurred, in the year 1755, the most terrible earthquake that has ever been recorded. Though commonly known as the earthquake of Lisbon, it extended to the greater part of Europe, Africa, and America. It was felt in Greenland, in the West Indies, in the island of Madeira, in Norway and Sweden, Great Britain and Ireland. It pervaded an extent of not less than four million square miles. In Africa the shock was almost as severe as in Europe. A great part of Algiers was destroyed; and a short distance from Morocco, a village containing eight or ten thousand inhabitants was swallowed up. A vast wave swept over the coast of Spain and Africa, engulfing cities, and causing great destruction.

It was in Spain and Portugal that the shock manifested its extreme violence. At Cadiz the inflowing wave was said to be sixty feet high. Mountains, “some of the largest in Portugal, were impetuously shaken, as it were, from their very foundations.”…–Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology, p. 495…. “The earthquake happened on a holy day, when the churches and convents were full of people, very few of whom escaped.”– Encyclopedia Americana, art. “Lisbon,” note (ed. 1831)… It has been estimated that ninety thousand persons lost their lives on that fatal day.

How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man; but in them all, God’s purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.

Tenderness, appreciation, devotion

Many there are who bring their precious gifts for the dead. As they stand about the cold, silent form, words of love are freely spoken. Tenderness, appreciation, devotion, all are lavished upon one who sees not nor hears. Had these words been spoken when the weary spirit needed them so much, when the ear could hear and the heart could feel, how precious would have been their fragrance! Desire of Ages, p. 560