Prophetic Lights



That this earth belongs to the Lord, no one will for a moment call in question. It is his, because he is the Creator. Says the psalmist: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.” Psalm 24:1, 2. When the prophet Daniel interpreted to King Nebuchadnezzar the dream which foretold his abasement, he told the king that he should be driven out from his kingdom, “till thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Daniel 4:25. And in Psalm 115:16 we read: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” This means simply that Heaven is God’s dwelling-place (Psalm 11:4), and that over it he has sole control, but that he has made man the tenant of the earth. When and how the dominion of the earth was given to man are told in the following verses:— PROLI 138.1

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28. PROLI 138.2

A dominion is a kingdom; to have dominion is to have kingly authority. Therefore since the earth was given to man for a dominion, the earth was designed for man’s kingdom. To this intent David speaks in the eighth psalm, where he says of man: “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” Psalm 8:5-8. The apostle quotes this (Hebrews 2:7, 8), and makes the additional statement that “now we see not yet all things put under him.” This being the case, it must be because man has lost the dominion, for it was certainly given to him. In these words of the apostle, therefore, we have at once a statement of the loss of the dominion first given to man, and a promise of its restoration. PROLI 138.3

The details of the loss of the dominion which at the first was given to man are given in the third chapter of Genesis. In the first part of the chapter we learn that the serpent beguiled Eve, and persuaded her to eat of the forbidden fruit, and that she in turn induced Adam to eat. Then God said to Adam: “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:17-19. And afterwards when Cain had killed his brother, the Lord said: “When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength.” Genesis 4:12. From this we learn that it is because of man’s disobedience that we do not now see all things put under him. PROLI 139.1

But when man lost the dominion of the earth, who gained it? Evidently the one to whom he yielded obedience. Peter says that “of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” 2 Peter 2:19. And Jesus said: “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” Luke 11:21, 22. Our first parents were overcome by the serpent, “which is the devil, and Satan” (Revelation 20:2), and therefore it was to Satan that they yielded up the dominion which had been committed to them. PROLI 139.2

That Satan is now the ruler of this earth, instead of man, is shown by many scriptures. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan is spoken of as “the god of this world.” Christ said that the wicked are children of Satan (John 8:44); and in Ephesians 2:2, “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” is called “the prince of the power of the air.” Satan is “the accuser of the brethren,” the one whom the followers of Christ are to “resist steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8, 9); and Paul says that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Ephesians 6:12. And none can doubt that it was to Satan that Christ referred, when he said: “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” John 14:30. PROLI 139.3

In the account of our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness, we have the most positive evidence that Satan holds the dominion that was given to Adam. The last and greatest temptation is thus described:— PROLI 140.1

“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8, 9. PROLI 140.2

Some may think that Satan lied when he made this promise to Christ, and that he knew that he did not have the power to fulfill the promise, even if he could have induced the Lord to comply with the conditions. There is no doubt but that Satan lied when he said that he would give all the kingdoms of the world to Christ, and that he had no intention of yielding up anything that he had; but if he did not possess the kingdoms of the earth, Christ certainly knew it, and in that case the offer of them to him would not have been any temptation. When Satan said to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread,” there was a real temptation, because Jesus was extremely hungry. When Satan placed Jesus on a pinnacle of the temple, and said, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down,” there was a temptation to show his divine power. And so when Satan showed to Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, offering to give them to him in return for his homage, there was a temptation, because Satan was offering that which Christ came into the world to redeem. Jesus did not tell Satan that he had no right to offer to him the kingdoms of this world, but simply refused to accept them upon the conditions imposed, thus tacitly admitting that Satan was “the prince of this world.” PROLI 140.3

In Ezekiel 28:12-17 we have an unmistakable reference to Satan. No other being could merit the following description: “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, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold.... PROLI 140.4

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.” That is a description of Satan before his fall, and also a statement of the reason of his fall. But let the reader take particular notice that the being thus described is called “the king of Tyrus.” Verse 12. The wisdom and power of the man who sat upon the throne of Tyre are described in verses 2-11 of this same chapter (Ezekiel 28), and he is called the “prince of Tyrus.” In this we have further inspired testimony to the fact that Satan is “god of this world,” working in the children of disobedience. Wicked rulers, like the king of Tyre, are only nominally kings; they are second in power to Satan, who rules through them, and is thus real king. But while Satan has usurped the dominion which God gave to Adam, he does not have unlimited control of this earth. God did not give unlimited and supreme authority over the earth even to man in his uprightness; and so when Satan overcame man, it was not possible for him to get control of the earth to an unlimited degree. This fact Satan acknowledged, when he said to the Lord concerning Job: “Hast thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?” Job 1:10. It still remains true that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” PROLI 141.1

It was stated, in connection with the reference to the temptation of Jesus, that Satan offered him that which he came into the world to redeem, — the dominion of the earth, which Adam lost. This will presently be made to appear. When Adam lost the dominion, he also lost his right to live; he forfeited his life to Satan at the same time that he forfeited the earth to him. So it is that Satan is “god of this world,” and has also “the power of death.” Hebrews 2:14. Now Christ came to redeem what Adam lost. And so when the apostle quotes the words of the psalmist, when he says that God set man over the works of his hands, but that “now we see not yet all things put under him,” he adds: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them, who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:9, 14, 15. PROLI 141.2

In order that Christ might redeem men from the curse of death, which came upon him when he yielded to Satan, he had to suffer the same curse. Says Paul: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” Galatians 3:13. And so, to redeem the earth, he bore its curse, when the crown of thorns was placed upon his head. Compare Genesis 3:17, 18 and Matthew 27:29. As Christ has, by death, gained the right to destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, he has also won the right to the dominion which Satan usurped. And so the prophet addresses Christ in the following language:— PROLI 142.1

“And thou, O Tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8. PROLI 142.2

In these words we have the promise of the restoration of the first dominion (see Genesis 1:28), not to Adam, who lost it, but to Christ, the second Adam, who redeemed it. Those who through faith recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who learn of Jesus to be meek and lowly in heart, will inherit the earth with Christ, when he shall take possession of it as his kingdom. PROLI 142.3

Having learned that this earth was designed to be Adam’s kingdom, and that he forfeited it, and that Christ has bought the title to it, and will one day call his own to share it with him, we shall now trace the chain of evidence from paradise lost to paradise restored. PROLI 142.4

When God pronounced the curse upon our first parents, and upon the earth, he also made known the way of escape from that curse. Christ, the deliverer, was immediately promised. To Satan the Lord said: “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. These words contain the promise of the Messiah, who, although he should be allowed to be bruised by Satan, should thereby gain the right to destroy Satan and all his works. PROLI 142.5

Time passed, and Satan seemed to get a still firmer hold upon the earth, for “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” Genesis 6:5, 12. In all the earth there was but one family who acknowledged and served God; all the rest of mankind were totally given up to the service of the devil. “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Genesis 6:13. PROLI 142.6

So the earth, with all its inhabitants, was destroyed by the flood. Noah and his family alone were saved; and when they came out of the ark, God said to them, as he had said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Genesis 9:1. He did not, as to our first parents, give them dominion over all the earth, for that was impossible; but in order that men might not be exterminated by the beasts, that had become savage by passing under the dominion of Satan, he said: “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.” Genesis 9:2. Thus did God interpose to limit Satan’s power, giving men a chance for life, that they might prepare for the complete possession of the earth when it should be restored. PROLI 143.1