The Review and Herald

798/1902

October 29, 1895

Satan's Malignity Against Christ and His People

(Concluded.)

EGW

From the moment that Christ entered the world, the whole confederacy of Satanic agencies was set at work to deceive and overthrow him as Adam had been deceived and overthrown. Could he win the victory over Christ, the world that God had created would become his empire. RH October 29, 1895, par. 1

When Christ was born in Bethlehem, the angels of God appeared to the shepherds, who were watching their flocks by night, and gave divine credentials of the authority of the new-born babe. Satan knew that One had come to the earth with a divine commission to dispute his authority. He heard the angel declare: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men.” RH October 29, 1895, par. 2

The heavenly heralds aroused all the wrath of the synagogue of Satan. He followed the steps of those who had charge of the infant Jesus. He heard the prophecy of Simeon in the temple courts, who had long been waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Ghost was upon him, and he came by the Spirit into the temple. Taking the infant Saviour in his arms, he blessed God, and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Satan was filled with frenzy as he saw that the aged Simeon recognized the divinity of Christ. RH October 29, 1895, par. 3

The Commander of heaven was assailed by the tempter. He had no clear, unobstructed passage through the world. He was not left free and without hindrance to win to his kingdom the souls of men by his gracious mercy and loving-kindness. From the time that he was a helpless babe in Bethlehem, when the agencies of hell sought to destroy him in his infancy through the jealousy of Herod, until he came to Calvary's cross, he was continually assailed by the evil one. In the councils of Satan it was determined that he must be overcome. No human being had come into the world and escaped the power of the deceiver. The whole forces of the confederacy of evil were set upon his track to engage in warfare against him, and if possible to prevail over him. The fiercest and most inveterate enmity was put between the seed of the woman and the serpent. The serpent himself made Christ the mark of every weapon of hell. Satan knew that he must either conquer or himself be conquered. Success or failure involved too much for him to leave the work with any one of his agents of evil. The prince of evil himself must personally conduct the warfare, since all other enterprises were inferior to this. He came in determined opposition against Christ from the very beginning of his work. “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him... And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” RH October 29, 1895, par. 4

Satan saw the image of God in the character and person of Jesus Christ. He knew that if Christ carried out his plan, his Satanic authority would be at an end. Therefore, the life of Christ was a perpetual warfare against Satanic agencies. Satan rallied the whole energies of apostasy against the Son of God. The conflict increased in fierceness and malignity, as again and again the prey was taken out of his hands. Satan assailed Christ through every conceivable form of temptation. Christ had come to die for the world, and Satan finally offered to him the kingdoms of the world, surrendering them to him without his striking a blow to obtain them. But the condition upon which this offer was made was one with which Christ could not comply. RH October 29, 1895, par. 5

“And the Devil, taking him up into a high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the Devil said unto him, 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.” He presented the world to Christ as a most dazzling, enchanting spectacle. But Christ saw that which Satan tried to veil from his eyes, and that which he flattered himself he had done. Christ had not exchanged his divinity for humanity; but he had clothed his divinity in humanity, and he gave Satan the evidence for which he had asked,—showed him that he was the Son of God. Divinity flashed through humanity, and the evil one could not resist the authority of the divine voice, as Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” RH October 29, 1895, par. 6

Failing to lead Christ into sin, the prince of darkness gathered together his human agencies in the religious world, and instilled into men the enmity which he felt against the champion of truth. He led them to reject Christ, to expel the Prince of truth from his territory. For a time success seemed to attend his efforts. Christ “came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” RH October 29, 1895, par. 7

Just previous to his crucifixion, the Saviour said, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me,” Though it was the hour of the power of darkness, yet in anticipation of his triumph, Christ could say, “The prince of this world is judged.” “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” Viewing the work of redemption as completed, he could, even in death, speak of the great final deliverance, and represent things that were future as if present. The only begotten Son of the infinite God could successfully carry through the great plan which made man's salvation sure. RH October 29, 1895, par. 8

The condition of the world at the time of Christ is well described by the prophet Isaiah. He says that the people were found “transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey; and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head.” RH October 29, 1895, par. 9

The condition of the world previous to the first appearing of Christ is a picture of the condition of the world just previous to his second advent. The same iniquity will exist; Satan manifests the same delusive power upon the minds of men. He is setting his trained agents to work, and moving them to intense activity. He is securing his army of human agents to engage in the last conflict against the Prince of life, to overthrow the law of God, which is the foundation of his throne. Satan will work with miraculous presentations to confirm men in the belief that he is what he claims to be,—the prince of this world,—and that victory is his. He will turn his forces against those who are loyal to God; but though he may cause pain, distress, and human agony, he cannot defile the soul. He may cause affliction to the people of God as he did to Christ, but he cannot cause one of Christ's little ones to perish. The people of God in these last days must expect to enter into the thick of the conflict; for the prophetic word says: “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” RH October 29, 1895, par. 10