Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)



Ms 1, 1902

God’s Justice


January 6, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 14; CTr 289-291. +Note

God’s Justice

The rebellion against God’s law was begun by Satan in heaven. By this rebellion sin was brought into existence. There is only one definition of sin. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” [1 John 3:4.] 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 1

Jesus was made one with God. [See Patriarchs and Prophets, 37, 38.] His exaltation created envy and jealousy in Satan’s heart. Satan insisted that God had not dealt with him justly. He criticized God’s plan of government. He declared the divine law to be arbitrary, detrimental to the interests of the heavenly universe, and in need of change. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 2

Vital interests were at stake in the worlds that God had created. Would these supposed defects be made so apparent that the inhabitants of the heavenly universe would be justified in claiming that the law could be improved? Would Satan succeed in undermining their confidence in the law? 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 3

God in His wisdom did not use measures of force to suppress Satan’s rebellion. Such measures would have aroused sympathy for Satan, strengthening his rebellion rather than changing his principles. If God had summarily punished him, many would have looked upon him as one who had dealt with unjustly, and he would have carried a much larger number with him in his apostasy. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 4

It was necessary to give Satan time to develop his principles. He has had every opportunity to present his side of the question. He has been artful. As often as his position has been seen in its true light, he has changed to some other position. By making false charges, and by misstating the purposes and declared will of God, he has secured sympathizers. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 5


Adam and Eve were placed on trial and failed. God’s command was, “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.” [Genesis 2:17.] Satan deceived Eve, and she disobeyed God. The holy pair, not resisting temptation, were brought under Satan’s jurisdiction. The enemy gained supremacy over the human race, bringing in death, the penalty of disobedience. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 6

Jesus declared that He would bear the penalty of man’s sin and that He would conquer Satan by coming to the world and meeting the foe on his own battlefield. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 7

When Christ entered upon His campaign, Satan met Him and contested every inch of ground, exerting his utmost powers to conquer Him. Much was involved in this controversy. Intense interests were at stake. The questions to be answered were: Is God’s law imperfect, in need of being amended or abrogated? or is it immutable? Is God’s government stable? or is it in need of changes? Not only before those living in the city of God, but before the inhabitants of all the heavenly universe, were these questions to be answered. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 8

From the manger to the cross Satan followed the Son of God. Temptations beat upon Him like a tempest. But the more fierce the conflict, the more familiar He became with the temptations wherewith man is beset, and the better prepared He was to succor the tempted. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 9

The severity of the trial through which Christ passed was proportionate to the value of the object to be gained or lost by His success or failure. Not merely the interests of one world were involved. This world was the battlefield, but all the worlds that God has created were affected by the result of the conflict. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 10

In order that he might reign as supreme ruler, Satan sought to overthrow Christ. And he planned and carried out the murder of Christ for no other reason than that to the last he entertained the hope that Christ would not endure a death made as horrible as infernal wisdom could make it. He endeavored to prove the correctness of his assertion that Christ was not self-sacrificing. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 11

Actuated by satanic influences, men clamored for the crucifixion of Christ. All heaven watched the successive steps of Christ’s humiliation—His trial, rejection, and death. When on the cross He exclaimed, “It is finished,” the warfare was ended. [John 19:30.] The blood of the Innocent was shed for the guilty. The life that He gave up ransomed man from eternal death and sealed the doom of him who had the power of death—the devil. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 12

Satan sought to make it appear that he was working for the liberty of the universe. Even while Christ was on the cross, the enemy was determined to make his arguments so varied, so deceptive, so insidious, that all would be convinced that God’s law was tyrannical. He himself laid every scheme, planned every evil, inflamed every mind to bring affliction on Christ. He himself instigated the false accusations against One who had done only good. He himself inspired the cruel deeds that added to the suffering of the Son of God—the pure, the holy, the innocent. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 13

By this course of action Satan has forged a chain by which he himself will be bound. The heavenly universe will bear witness to the justice of God in punishing him. Heaven itself saw what heaven would be if he were in it. The hearts of all in the heavenly universe were united in regarding God’s law as changeless. They supported the government of Him who, to redeem the transgressor, spared not His own Son from suffering the penalty of sin. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 14

In His ministry, Christ by word and deed vindicated the honor of God’s law. It was for this purpose that He came into the world. Yet He did not change the law. It is unalterable. It still remains holy, just, and good. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 15

When Christ ascended, and before the heavenly intelligences laid open the scene of the conflict and the fierce attacks that Lucifer made against Him to prevent Him from accomplishing His work on the earth, all the prevarications and accusations of him who had been an exalted angel were seen in their true light. It was seen that his professedly spotless character was deceptive. His deeply laid scheme to exalt himself to supremacy was now fully discerned. His falsehoods were made apparent, and God’s authority was forever established. Truth triumphed over falsehood. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 16

Not merely in the minds of a few finite creatures in this world, but in the minds of all the inhabitants of the heavenly universe, has the immutability of God’s law been established. Satan’s course against Christ was heralded to every world. When the issue was finally settled, every unfallen being expressed indignation at the rebellion. With one voice they extolled God as righteous, merciful, self-denying, just. His law had been vindicated. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 17

The heavenly universe witnessed the weapons that were chosen by the Prince of Life—the words of Scripture “It is written”—and the weapons used by the prince of the world—falsehood and deception. They saw the Prince of Life deal in straightforward lines of truth, honesty, and integrity, while the prince of the world exercised his powers of cunning, artful secrecy, intrigue, enmity, and revenge. They saw the One who bore the banner of truth sacrifice everything, even His own life, to maintain truth, while the one who bore the banner of rebellion continued his accusations against the God of truth. Then the heavenly worlds and heaven itself were amazed at the forbearance that God had so long shown Satan. God’s government was secure. His law was proved faultless. The Father, the Son, and Lucifer were revealed in their real relation to each other. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 18

When God expressed His abhorrence of Satan, and His indignation against him, the whole universe responded. They had been convinced. The last vestige of affection for the unfallen angels had been uprooted; the last tie had been severed. The Lord had demonstrated the wisdom and justice of removing Satan from heaven. A lying tongue was not to be permitted to live through eternal ages to influence unfallen beings. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 19


In the beginning Satan’s purpose was to separate man from God. And in every age he has carried out this same purpose. The same method of deception, the same logic that he used to deceive the holy pair in Eden, he has used in all succeeding ages. His plan of work has ever been one of deception. He claims to be religious. He has a synagogue in which there are worshipers. The greater portion of the so-called Christian world is under his power. He sways all classes. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 20

Constantly Satan works among the children of men. At times he assumes a cloak of piety, purity, and holiness. Often he transforms himself into an angel of light. He has blinded the eyes of men, so that they cannot see beneath the surface and discern his real purposes. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 21

God is omnipotent, omniscient, immutable. He always pursues a straightforward course. His law is truth—unchanging, eternal truth. His precepts are consistent with His attributes. But Satan makes them appear in a false light. By perverting them he seeks to give human beings an unfavorable impression of God. Throughout his rebellion he has sought to represent God as an unjust, tyrannical Being. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 22

But Satan’s hypocrisy has been unmasked by Christ’s life, trial, and death. Christ took upon Himself the nature of man and by His perfect life demonstrated the falsity of the claims of him who constantly accuses those that are trying to obey God’s law. And the blood of Christ shed on the cross is the everlasting, incontrovertible testimony that God’s law is as immutable as is His own character. The crucifixion of Christ was a murder instigated by Satan and carried out by men who had separated themselves from God. In the day of judgment, when the death of Christ upon the cross is seen in all its reality, every voice will be hushed. Every one will see that Satan is a rebel. 17LtMs, Ms 1, 1902, par. 23