The Review and Herald

821/1902

April 14, 1896

Character of the Last Conflict

EGW

The great controversy between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness has not abated one jot or tittle of its influence as time has gone on. The stern conflict between light and darkness, between truth and error, is deepening in its intensity. The synagogue of Satan is intensely active, and in this age the deceiving power of the enemy is working in the most subtle way. Every human mind that is not surrendered to God and is not under the control of the Spirit of God, will be perverted through satanic agencies. The enemy is working continually to supplant Jesus Christ in the human heart, and to place his attributes in the human character, in the place of the attributes of God. He brings his strong delusions to bear upon the human mind, that he may have a controlling power. He seeks to obliterate the truth and abolish the true pattern of goodness and righteousness, in order that the professed Christian world may be swept to perdition through separation from God. He is working in order that selfishness may become world-wide, and thus make of no effect the mission and work of Christ. RH April 14, 1896, par. 1

Christ came to the world to bring back the character of God to man, and to retrace on the human soul the divine image. Through his entire life, Christ sought by continuous, laborious efforts to call the world's attention to God and to his holy requirements, so that men might be imbued with the Spirit of God, might be actuated by love, and might reveal in life and character the divine attributes. Christ came to be the light and life of the world, and his life was one of continual self-denial and self-sacrifice. The Lord Jesus valued every human being, and could not endure the thought that one soul should perish. His great heart of love embraced the whole world, and led him to provide complete salvation for all who would believe in him. In the character of Christ, majesty and humility were blended. Temperance and self-denial were seen in every act of his life, but there was no taint of bigotry, no cold austerity, manifested in his manner to lessen his influence over those with whom he came in contact. The world's Redeemer had a greater than angelic nature; yet united with his divine majesty were meekness and humility that attracted all to himself. He speaks to all, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” RH April 14, 1896, par. 2

Christ is man's example. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.... That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Christ, our Redeemer, comprehended all the necessities of man. He formulated the mighty plans by which fallen man is to be uplifted from the degradation of sin. In every circumstance, however trivial, he represented the Father. Though upholding the world by the word of his power, he would stoop to relieve a wounded bird. O that we all had an intelligent knowledge of Jesus Christ! Weary and worn as he often was, he pleased not himself. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.” Who are those that refuse to hear the voice of Christ!—They are those who do not hear and practise his word. They are those whose hearts were crowded and overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of this life; who are eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. They are those who will not receive the message of warning for these last days. RH April 14, 1896, par. 3

The agencies of Satan are at work to keep the minds of men engrossed with the things of this life, in order that he may work counter to the mission and work of Christ. Of Satan, Christ declares he “abode not in the truth.” Once Satan was in co-partnership with God, Jesus Christ, and the holy angels. He was highly exalted in heaven, and was radiant in light and glory that came to him from the Father and the Son; but he became disloyal, and lost his high and holy position as covering cherub. He became the antagonist of God, an apostate, and was excluded from heaven. He established his empire, and planted the standard of rebellion against the law of Jehovah. He invited all the powers of evil to rally about his standard, in order to form a desperate companionship of evil to league against the God of heaven. He worked perseveringly and determinedly to perpetuate his rebellion, and to cause men to turn from Bible truth, and to stand under his banner. As soon as the Lord through Jesus Christ created our world, and placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, Satan announced his purpose to conform to his own nature the father and mother of all humanity, and to unite them with his own ranks of rebellion. He was determined to efface the image of God from the human posterity, and to trace his own image upon the soul in place of the divine image. He adopted methods of deception by which to accomplish his purpose. He is called the father of lies, an accuser of God and of those who maintain their allegiance to God, a murderer from the beginning. He put forth every power at his command to win man to co-operate with him in apostasy, and succeeded in bringing rebellion into our world. RH April 14, 1896, par. 4

All the vast, complicated machinery of evil agencies is put into action in these last days. Through generation after generation, from age to age, Satan has gathered human agencies through whom to work out his diabolical purposes, and to bring about the enforcement of his plans and devices in the earth. The great putrid fountain of evil has been continually flowing through human society. Though unable to expel God from his throne, Satan has charged God with satanic attributes, and has claimed the attributes of God as his own. He is a deceiver, and through his serpentine sharpness, through his crooked practises, he has drawn to himself the homage which man should have given to God, and has planted his satanic throne between human worshiper and the divine Father. RH April 14, 1896, par. 5

But in man's behalf, Christ met the specious temptations of Satan, and left to man an example as to how to overcome Satan in the conflict. He exhorts his followers, saying, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Satan has made masterly efforts to perpetuate sin. He arrayed all his civil agencies to war against Jesus Christ in an active, desperate conflict, in order that he might bruise the heart of infinite Love. He seduced the people to bow to idols, and thus gain supremacy over earthly kingdoms. He considered that to be the god of this world was the next best thing to gaining possession of the throne of God in heaven. In a large measure he has been successful in his plans. When Jesus was on earth, Satan led the people to reject the Son of God, and to choose Barabbas, who in character represented Satan, the god of this world. The Lord Jesus Christ came to dispute the usurpation of Satan in the kingdoms of the world. The conflict is not yet ended; and as we draw near the close of time, the battle waxes more intense. As the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ draws near, satanic agencies are moved from beneath. Satan will not only appear as a human being, but he will personate Jesus Christ; and the world who has rejected the truth will receive him as the Lord of lords and King of kings. He will exercise his power, and work upon the human imagination. He will corrupt both the minds and the bodies of men, and will work through the children of disobedience, fascinating and charming, as does a serpent. What a spectacle will the world be for heavenly intelligences! What a spectacle for God, the Creator of the world, to behold! The form Satan assumed in Eden when leading our first parents to transgress, was of a character to bewilder and confuse the mind. He will work in as subtle a manner as we near the end of earth's history. All his deceiving power will be brought to bear upon human subjects, to complete the work of deluding the human family. So deceptive will be his working, that men will do as they did in the days of Christ; and when asked, Whom shall I release unto you, Christ or Barabbas? the almost universal cry will be, Barabbas, Barabbas! And when the question is asked, “What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?” the cry again will be, “Crucify him!” Christ will be represented in the person of those who accept the truth, and who identify their interest with that of their Lord. The world will be enraged at them in the same way that they were enraged at Christ, and the disciples of Christ will know that they are to be treated no better than was their Lord. But Christ will surely identify his interest with that of those who accept him as their personal Saviour. Every insult, every reproach, every false accusation made against them by those who have turned their ears away from the truth and are turned unto fables, will be charged upon the guilty ones as done to Christ in the person of his saints. RH April 14, 1896, par. 6

Those who love and keep the commandments of God are most obnoxious to the synagogue of Satan, and the powers of evil will manifest their hatred toward them to the fullest extent possible. John foresaw the conflict between the remnant church and the power of evil, and said, “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.” The forces of darkness will unite with human agents who have given themselves into the control of Satan, and the same scenes that were exhibited at the trial, rejection, and crucifixion of Christ will be revived. Through yielding to satanic influences, men will be transformed into fiends; and those who were created in the image of God, who were formed to honor and glorify their Creator, will become the habitation of dragons, and Satan will see in an apostate race his masterpiece of evil,—men who reflect his own image. RH April 14, 1896, par. 7

Men were imbued with a satanic spirit at the time when they decided that they would have Barabbas, a thief and murderer, in preference to the Son of God. The demoniac power triumphed over humanity; legions of evil angels took entire control of men, and in answer to Pilate's question as to whom he should release unto them, they shrieked out, “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas.” When Pilate spoke again to them concerning Jesus, the hoarse cry was raised, “Crucify him, crucify him.” Through yielding to demoniac agencies, men were led to take their stand on the side of the great apostate. Unfallen worlds looked upon the scene with amazement, unable to comprehend the degradation that sin had wrought. Legions of evil angels controlled the priests and rulers, and gave voice to the suggestions of Satan in persuading and tempting the people by falsehoods and bribes to reject the Son of God, and to choose a robber and murderer in his stead. They appealed to the very worst passions of the unregenerate heart, and stirred up the worst elements of human nature by the most unjust accusations and representations. What a scene was this for God to look upon, for seraphim and cherubim to behold! The only begotten Son of God, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, was mocked, insulted, taunted, rejected, and crucified by those whom he came to save, who had given themselves to the control of Satan. RH April 14, 1896, par. 8

Christ said, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” “They shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogue ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.... Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The agencies of Satan are having their last chance to develop before the world, before angels and men, the true principles of their attributes. The people of God are now to stand as representatives of the attributes of the Father and the Son. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” RH April 14, 1896, par. 9