The Review and Herald

797/1902

October 22, 1895

Satan's Malignity Against Christ and His People

EGW

Speaking of Satan, our Lord says that “he abode not in the truth.” He was once the covering cherub, glorious in beauty and holiness. He was next to Christ in exaltation and character. It was with Satan that self-exaltation had its origin. He became jealous of Christ, and falsely accused him, and then laid blame upon the Father. He was envious of the position that was held by Christ and the Father, and he turned from his allegiance to the Commander of heaven and lost his high and holy estate. Though the angels had a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, though they were happy in the glorious service which they did for the King of heaven, yet, through his crooked representations of Christ and the Father, the evil one deceived a great company of angels, drew them into sympathy with himself, and associated them with himself in rebellion. Satan and his sympathizers became the avowed antagonists of God, established their own infernal empire, and set up a standard of rebellion against the God of heaven. All the principalities and powers of evil rallied to the work of overthrowing the government of God. RH October 22, 1895, par. 1

Satan accomplished the fall of man, and since that time it has been his work to efface in man the image of God, and to stamp upon human hearts his own image. Possessing supremacy in guilt, he claims supremacy for himself, and exercises over his subjects the power of royalty. He cannot expel God from his throne, but through the system of idolatry, he plants his own throne between the heaven and the earth, between God and the human worshiper. He intercepts every ray of light that comes from God to man, and appropriates the worship that is due to God. RH October 22, 1895, par. 2

Satan has wrought with deceiving power, bringing in a multiplicity of errors that obscure the truth. Error cannot stand alone, and would soon become extinct if it did not fasten itself like a parasite upon the tree of truth. Error draws its life from the truth of God. The traditions of men, like floating germs, attach themselves to the truth of God, and men regard them as a part of the truth. Through false doctrines, Satan gains a foothold, and captivates the minds of men, causing them to hold theories that have no foundation in truth. Men boldly teach for doctrines the commandments of men; and as traditions pass on from age to age, they acquire a power over the human mind. But age does not make error truth, neither does its burdensome weight cause the plant of truth to become a parasite. The tree of truth bears its own genuine fruit, showing its true origin and nature. The parasite of error also bears its own fruit, and makes manifest that its character is diverse from the plant of heavenly origin. RH October 22, 1895, par. 3

It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the human mind. We can see the extent to which he exercises his power by the disloyalty that is in the world. Even the churches that profess to be Christian have turned from the law of Jehovah, and have erected a false standard. Satan has had his hand in all this; for by directing men to false standards, he misshapes the human character, and causes humanity to acknowledge him as supreme. He works counter to the holy law of God, and denies God's jurisdiction. It is at his throne that every evil work finds its starting-point and obtains its support. RH October 22, 1895, par. 4

Satan has charged injustice upon God, and at various times has set in motion all his supernatural agencies, in order to cut off from men the knowledge of God, to turn their attention from the temple of God, and to establish his own kingdom in the earth. At different times he has almost succeeded in spreading idolatry throughout the world. The history of the past shows that he has striven to obtain the mastery upon earth, and that his strife for supremacy has seemed to be almost wholly successful. He has worked in such a manner that the Prince of heaven has seemed to be lost sight of. It has seemed that the confederacy of idolatry has borne supreme sway, and that Satan had indeed become the god of this world. But the only begotten Son of God has looked upon the scene, has beheld human suffering and misery. With pity he has seen how his human agencies have been blinded by the deceptions of the enemy, and have become victims of Satanic cruelty. He has seen how Satan has exalted men simply for the purpose of casting them down, how he has flattered them, in order to draw them into his net and destroy them. He looked upon the schemes by which Satan works to blot from the human soul every trace of likeness to God; how he led them into intemperance so as to destroy the moral powers which God gave to man as a most precious, priceless endowment. He saw how, through indulgence in appetite, brain power was destroyed, and the temple of God was in ruins. He looked with compassion upon men who were becoming corrupted, ruined, murdered, and lost, through choosing a ruler who chained them to his car as captives, and yet these slaves were so bewildered, so beguiled and deceived, that they were actually pleased with their slavery as they moved on in gloomy procession toward eternal ruin,—to death in which is no hope of life, toward night to which comes no morning. He saw human beings possessed by devils, saw Satanic agencies incorporated with men, saw the bodies of men become the habitations for the degrading indwelling of demons. Man, made for the dwelling-place of God, became the habitation of dragons. The senses, the nerves, the passions, the organs of man, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the grossest, vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men, and human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed. Such was the prospect upon which the world's Redeemer looked. What a horrible spectacle for the eyes of infinite purity to behold! Wherein can he behold his image? And yet God, the infinite One, “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son [for such a world!], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” RH October 22, 1895, par. 5

Christ came to our world, sent of God to take human nature upon him. The mysterious union was to be formed between human nature and the divine nature. Christ was to become a man, in order that he might unfold to men as fully as possible the mysteries of the science of redemption. But the scheme of redemption far exceeds the comprehension of the human mind. The great condescension on the part of God is a mystery that is beyond our fathoming. The greatness of the plan cannot be fully comprehended, nor could infinite Wisdom devise a plan that would surpass it. It could be successful only by the clothing of divinity with humanity, by Christ becoming man, and suffering the wrath which sin has made because of the transgression of God's law. Through this plan the great, the dreadful God can be just, and yet be the justifier of all who believe in Jesus, and who receive him as their personal Saviour. This is the heavenly science of redemption, of saving men from eternal ruin, and can be carried out through the incarnation of the Son of God, through his triumph over sin and death. In seeking to fathom this plan, all finite intelligences are baffled. RH October 22, 1895, par. 6

Before the world was created, infinite Wisdom provided for the terrible possibility of man's disloyalty. Though man transgressed God's law, yet the law was not weakened in the slightest particular. It stands fast forever and ever as his eternal throne. No hope could be found for man through the alteration of God's law, but God so loved the world the he gave himself in Christ to the world to bear the penalty of man's transgression. God suffered with his Son, as the divine Being alone could suffer, in order that the world might become reconciled to him. RH October 22, 1895, par. 7

(Concluded next week.)