The Signs of the Times


June 13, 1895

The Usurper's Authority Disputed


After his defection in heaven, the Lord declares of Satan that he abode not in the truth. After his sin, he became a rebel, an avowed antagonist of God, and for the purpose of working out his rebellion, he established an infernal empire, and unfurled the standard of rebellion, rallying around him the powers of evil. Satan worked upon such principles as would conform those who sympathized with him to his own corrupt standard, and would assimilate them with his own Satanic nature. It was his determined purpose to efface from man the image of God, and stamp upon the souls of his subjects his own image and superscription. He employed in his work the most deceptive methods, and was successful in leading men to cooperate with him in rebellion against God. Christ gives to him the title of “the father of lies,” “the accuser of the brethren,” “a murderer from the beginning.” By his bewitching power he instilled into man the same spirit of opposition and hatred of God as he himself had, and set up his throne as the rallying point for the confederacy of wickedness. ST June 13, 1895, par. 1

Satan claims the world as his kingdom, and counts as his subjects those who unite with him in opposition to the God of heaven, because they have chosen him as their ruler. He is unable to dethrone Jehovah; but he exalts himself as the ruler of this world, and plants his throne between the soul who would worship toward heaven, and the divine being Jehovah, who alone is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise, to whom alone belong all power, dominion, and might. Satan arranges his plans in such a way as to intercept the worship due to God, and to transfer to himself the adoration due to God alone. But the Lord did not leave the fallen race to the mercy of the devices of the enemy. He selected a people for himself, and gave directions for the erection of a temple for the benefit of those who would be his true worshipers, in order that the presence and the name of the Lord might not be forgotten in the earth. This temple of the true God was to stand as a protest against the usurpation of the enemy, a testimony to the fact that there is a living and true God, a proclamation of the character of Jehovah, and his right to the supreme regard of men. Satan was stirred with enmity toward the worshipers of God, and determined to seduce this people into idolatry, and cause the name of God to be blotted from the earth. ST June 13, 1895, par. 2

Satan determined to sit upon the throne of God in the earth, to sit in the temple of God, showing himself to be God. For ages he seemed to rule as though the world was entirely his own, and his assumption to supreme authority seemed undisputed. The powers of hell seemed to hold men under their control, and Satan revealed his hellish principles in taking possession of the human body, and plunging his subjects into misery and crime. To all appearances the world had become his subjects, with the exception of a small minority who dared to withstand his power and to dispute his authority. Through his agents he invented instruments of torture, and put his victims to cruel suffering, and then he charged his own attributes upon God, and indicted the law of God as the cause of men's misery. Temptation became a science in his hands, and men were educated to be sinners. The confederacies of evil were numerous, and every demon power had a part to act in carrying out the plottings of evil, and every worker was to be ready to spring into action to do his assigned work at an instant's notice. Could the curtain have been withdrawn so that men could have seen what measures were being taken to gain access to the human soul, could they have realized how successful the demoniacal plottings were to prove, they could have stood back with horror, and would have broken with Satan without delay. ST June 13, 1895, par. 3

But though men failed to see the deep plottings of the enemy of God and men, these plottings were not hidden from the hosts of heaven. They were known to God, and a way of escape was provided for all who would believe in the plan of salvation, devised from the foundation of the world. Jesus came to our world to oppose the usurper, and Christ was the object of Satan's hate. Christ was the rightful sovereign of the world, and Satan proposed to seduce him from his loyalty to the law of God. He led him into the wilderness of temptation, and tempted Christ, saying that if Jesus would bow down and worship him he would make him the king of the world. He declared: “All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” But Christ had come to the world to dispute the assumed authority of Satan, and to overthrow his claims to the kingdom of this world. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” ST June 13, 1895, par. 4

Christ came to reveal to the world, in the sight of heavenly intelligences, the true character of the Father, and to present his claims to the sovereignty of the universe. Jesus represented the character of the Father in a way to disprove the lying representations of the enemy, for the Son of God revealed the Father as a being full of mercy, compassion, goodness, truth, and love. Far from casting off the fallen sons of Adam, Jesus had come to take upon himself their guilt, woe, and misery, and to suffer the penalty of the law which man had transgressed. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He was the express image of his Father's person, the brightness of his glory. ST June 13, 1895, par. 5

Christ was the way, the truth, and the life. He came down from the royal courts of heaven, and appeared in untarnished glory, in perfection of beauty, in holiness of character, the chiefest among ten thousand, and the One altogether lovely. So unblemished was he that he could say, “Satan cometh, and hath nothing in me.” ST June 13, 1895, par. 6

But though no taint of evil could be found in the Son of God, though no flaw could be detected, though men could find no fault in him, yet, controlled by the Satanic hate of their leader, men rose up against the Prince of life, and with demoniacal fury they cried, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him.” When Pilate brought forth Jesus and Barabbas, and asked, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? they said, Barabbas.” They preferred a robber and a murderer to the Son of God, and when asked what should be done with Jesus, they cried, “Let him be crucified.” But the great object for which Christ had come to the earth was not defeated by his death and suffering. Though he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth, yet he revealed the love of God for a fallen world; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ST June 13, 1895, par. 7