Sabbath, July 21, 2012
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.” Revelation 12:7.
1. Where did the first war break out, and why did it happen?
Revelation 12:7, 8 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.
Isaiah 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art 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.
“Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation…. Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself. And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 35.
“Lucifer was envious and jealous of Jesus Christ…. His heart was filled with envy and hatred. Christ had been taken into the special counsel of God in regard to His plans, while Lucifer was unacquainted with them…. He aspired to the height of God Himself…. Why should Christ thus be honored before himself?” –The Story of Redemption, p. 14.
“Sin originated in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 21.
2. Is it possible for the creature to fight against the Creator? Consider the motive of the war caused by Satan.
Ezekiel 28:14, 15 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.
“Sin began with Satan when he was an exalted angel in heaven. He had great honor there among the angels. The first sign of his dissatisfaction was the manifestation of his desire to be equal with God, to be worshiped as God. He tried to falsify the word of God, and pervert His plan of government before the angels. He claimed that God was not just in laying rules and laws upon the inhabitants of heaven. He represented that God was not self-denying, and that Christ was not self-denying; why, then, should the angels be required to be self-denying?” –Review and Herald, March 9, 1886.
“From the opening of the great controversy it has been Satan’s purpose to misrepresent God’s character and to excite rebellion against His law, and this work appears to be crowned with success….
“Satan’s enmity against God’s law had impelled him to war against every precept of the Decalogue.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 338, 337.
“God could have destroyed Satan and his sympathizers as easily as one can cast a pebble to the earth; but He did not do this. Rebellion was not to be overcome by force.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 759.
War against the law
3. What objections did Satan present in heaven, and what does he continue to insinuate today? Why?
Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
Psalm 119:89 For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.
“From the first the great controversy had been upon the law of God. Satan had sought to prove that God was unjust, that His law was faulty, and that the good of the universe required it to be changed. In attacking the law he aimed to overthrow the authority of its Author. In the controversy it was to be shown whether the divine statutes were defective and subject to change, or perfect and immutable.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 69.
“That the law which was spoken by God’s own voice is faulty, that some specification has been set aside, is the claim which Satan now puts forward….
“Since ‘the law of the Lord is perfect,’ every variation from it must be evil. Those who disobey the commandments of God, and teach others to do so, are condemned by Christ.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 763, 308, 309.
4. Could Satan ever be equal with God, the Creator? The papacy has exalted itself above God by attempting to change His sacred law. What was Satan’s motive in claiming that God’s law needed to be changed?
Matthew 5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
“Only by changing God’s law could the papacy exalt itself above God….
“But when Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, and the world shall be enlightened concerning the obligation of the true Sabbath, then whoever shall transgress the command of God, to obey a precept which has no higher authority than that of Rome, will thereby honor popery above God.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 446, 449.
Satan’s deception in regard to the law
5. What deception did Satan use in heaven to attack God’s law?
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
1 John 5:2, 3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
“He began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient guide. They were not beings that could bring dishonor to God; all their thoughts were holy; it was no more possible for them than for God Himself to err.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 37.
6. Comparing the claim of Satan that God’s law is faulty with the statement that the law is the transcript of the divine character, what conclusion do we reach?
Psalm 111:7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.
Psalm 119:72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
Psalm 119:126-128 It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.
Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
“The law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 52.
“The law is an expression of the thought of God; when received in Christ, it becomes our thought. It lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin. God desires us to be happy, and He gave us the precepts of the law that in obeying them we might have joy.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 308.
7. What is the result of Satan’s assertion that God’s law cannot be kept? How did Jesus counteract that lie?
1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
“In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned….
“But God has given no commandments which cannot be obeyed by all. His laws sanction no unreasonable or selfish restrictions.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 661, 204.
“Satan had claimed that it was impossible for man to obey God’s commandments; and in our own strength it is true that we cannot obey them. But Christ came in the form of humanity, and by His perfect obedience He proved that humanity and divinity combined can obey every one of God’s precepts.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 314.
8. Why does Satan present the transgression of Adam as an evidence that God’s law cannot be kept? What is the result of transgression?
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
“In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 761.
“He [Adam] seized the fruit and quickly ate it. Then Satan exulted. He had rebelled in heaven, and had gained sympathizers who loved him and followed him in his rebellion.” –Early Writings, p. 148.
“Satan had pointed to Adam’s sin as proof that God’s law was unjust, and could not be obeyed.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 117.
9. If a person disobeys God’s law or believes that it is impossible to obey it, on whose side is he standing?
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
1 John 3:8, first part He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
For review and meditation
• What could God have done with Satan during the war in heaven?
• On earth, what war did the adversary instigate and with what results for those who follow him?
• Knowing what God plans to do with His law in you, what is your desire?