The Review and Herald

92/1902

1874

February 24, 1874

Redemption—No. 1

EGW

After the baptism of Jesus in Jordan, he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. When he had come up out of the water, he bowed upon Jordan's banks, and plead with the great Eternal for strength to endure the conflict with the fallen foe. The opening of the heavens, and the descent of the excellent glory, attested his divine character. The voice from the Father declared the close relation of Christ to his Infinite Majesty: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The mission of Christ was soon to begin. But he must first withdraw from the busy scenes of life to a desolate wilderness for the express purpose of bearing the three-fold test of temptation in behalf of those he had come to redeem. RH February 24, 1874, par. 1

Satan, who was once an honored angel in Heaven, had been ambitious for the more exalted honors which God had bestowed upon his Son. He became envious of Christ, and represented to the angels who honored him as covering cherub that he had not the honor conferred upon him which his position demanded. He asserted that he should be exalted equal in honor with God. Satan obtained sympathizers. Angels in Heaven joined him in his rebellion, and fell with their leader from their high and holy estate, and were therefore expelled with him from Heaven. RH February 24, 1874, par. 2

God, in counsel with his Son, formed the plan of creating man in their own image. He was placed upon probation. Man was to be tested and proved, and if he should bear the test of God, and remain loyal and true after the first trial, he was not to be beset with continual temptations; but was to be exalted equal with the angels, and henceforth immortal. RH February 24, 1874, par. 3

Adam and Eve came forth from the hand of their Creator in the perfection of every physical, mental, and spiritual endowment. God planted for them a garden, and surrounded them with everything lovely and attractive to the eye, and that which their physical necessities required. This holy pair looked out upon a world of unsurpassed loveliness and glory. A benevolent Creator had given them evidences of his goodness and love in providing them with fruits, vegetables, and grains, and had caused to grow out of the ground trees of every variety for usefulness and beauty. RH February 24, 1874, par. 4

The holy pair looked upon nature as a picture of unsurpassed loveliness. The brown earth was clothed with a carpet of living green, diversified with an endless variety of self-propagating, self-perpetuating flowers. Shrubs, flowers, and trailing vines, regaled the senses with their beauty and fragrance. The many varieties of lofty trees were laden with fruit of every kind, and of delicious flavor, adapted to please the taste and meet the wants of the happy Adam and Eve. This Eden home God provided for our first parents, giving them unmistakable evidences of his great love and care for them. RH February 24, 1874, par. 5

Adam was crowned as king in Eden. To him was given dominion over every living thing that God had created. The Lord blessed Adam and Eve with intelligence such as he had not given to the animal creation. He made Adam the rightful sovereign over all the works of his hands. Man made in the divine image could contemplate and appreciate the glorious works of God in nature. RH February 24, 1874, par. 6

Adam and Eve could trace the skill and glory of God in every spire of grass, and in every shrub and flower. The natural loveliness which surrounded them, like a mirror reflected the wisdom, excellence, and love of their Heavenly Father. And their songs of affection and praise rose sweetly and reverentially to Heaven, harmonizing with the songs of the exalted angels, and with the happy birds who were caroling forth their music without a care. There was no disease, decay, nor death anywhere. Life, life was in everything the eye rested upon. The atmosphere was impregnated with life. Life was in every leaf, in every flower, and in every tree. RH February 24, 1874, par. 7

The Lord knew that Adam could not be happy without labor, therefore he gave him the pleasant employment of dressing the garden. And, as he tended the things of beauty and usefulness around him, he could behold the goodness and glory of God in his created works. Adam had themes for contemplation in the works of God in Eden, which was Heaven in miniature. God did not form man merely to contemplate his glorious works, therefore he gave him hands for labor, as well as a mind and heart for contemplation. If the happiness of man consisted in doing nothing, the Creator would not have given Adam his appointed work. In labor, man was to find happiness as well as in meditation. Adam could reflect that he was created in the image of God, to be like him in righteousness and holiness. His mind was capable of continual cultivation, expansion, refinement and noble elevation; for God was his teacher, and angels were his companions. RH February 24, 1874, par. 8

The Lord placed man upon probation, that he might form a character of steadfast integrity for his own happiness and for the glory of his Creator. He had endowed Adam with powers of mind superior to any living creature that he had made. His mental powers were but little lower than those of the angels. He could become familiar with the sublimity and glory of nature, and understand the character of his Heavenly Father in his created works. Everything that his eye rested upon in the immensity of the Father's works, provided with a lavish hand, testified of his love and infinite power. Amid the glories of Eden the goodness and wisdom of God were traced in everything the eye rested upon. RH February 24, 1874, par. 9

The first great moral lesson given Adam was that of self-denial. The reins of self-government were placed in his hands. Judgment, reason, and conscience, were to bear sway. “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” RH February 24, 1874, par. 10

Adam and Eve were permitted to partake of every tree in the garden save one. There was only a single prohibition. The forbidden tree was as attractive and lovely as any of the trees in the garden. It was called the tree of knowledge, because in partaking of that tree, of which God had said “Thou shalt not eat of it,” they would have a knowledge of sin, an experience in disobedience. Eve went from the side of her husband, viewing the beautiful things of nature in God's creation, delighting her senses with the colors and fragrance of the flowers and the beauty of the trees and shrubs. She was thinking of the restrictions God had laid upon them in regard to the tree of knowledge. She was pleased with the beauties and bounties which the Lord had furnished for the gratification of every want. All these, said she, God has given us to enjoy. They are all ours; for God has said, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.” RH February 24, 1874, par. 11

Eve had wandered near the forbidden tree, and her curiosity was aroused to know how death could be concealed in the fruit of this fair tree. She was surprised to hear her queries taken up and repeated by a strange voice. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden.” Eve was not aware that she had revealed her thoughts by conversing to herself aloud; therefore, she was greatly astonished to hear her queries repeated by a serpent. She really thought the serpent had a knowledge of her thoughts, and that he must be very wise. She answered him, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” RH February 24, 1874, par. 12

Here the father of lies made his assertion in direct contradiction to the expressed word of God. Satan assured Eve that she was created immortal, and that there was no possibility of her dying. He told her that God knew that if they ate of the tree of knowledge their understanding would be enlightened, expanded, and ennobled, making them equal with himself. And the serpent answered Eve, that the command of God forbidding them to eat of the tree of knowledge was given them to keep them in a state of subordination, that they should not obtain knowledge, which was power. He assured her that the fruit of this tree was desirable above every other tree in the garden to make one wise and exalt them equal with God. He has, said the serpent, refused you the fruit of the tree which is of all the trees the most desirable for its delicious flavor and exhilarating influence. Eve thought the discourse of the serpent very wise. She viewed the prohibition of God unjust. She looked with longing desire upon the tree laden with fruit which appeared very delicious. The serpent was eating it with apparent delight. She longed for this fruit above all the fruit of every variety which God had given her a perfect right to use. RH February 24, 1874, par. 13

Eve had overstated the words of God's command. He had said to Adam and Eve, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” In Eve's controversy with the serpent, she added the clause, “Neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Here the subtlety of the serpent was seen. This statement of Eve gave him advantage, and he plucked the fruit, and placed it in her hand, and used her own words, “He hath said, ‘If ye touch it, ye shall die.’ You see no harm comes to you from touching the fruit, neither will you receive any harm by eating it.” Eve yielded to the lying sophistry of the devil in the form of a serpent. She ate the fruit, and realized no immediate harm. She then plucked the fruit for herself and for her husband. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” RH February 24, 1874, par. 14

Adam and Eve should have been perfectly satisfied with the knowledge of God in his created works, and by the instruction of the holy angels. But their curiosity was aroused to become acquainted with that of which God designed they should have no knowledge. It was for their happiness to be ignorant of sin. The high state of knowledge to which they thought to attain by eating of the forbidden fruit plunged them into the degradation of sin and guilt. RH February 24, 1874, par. 15

The angels who had been appointed to guard Adam in his Eden home before his transgression and expulsion from paradise were now appointed to guard the gates of paradise and the way of the tree of life, lest he should return and gain access to the tree of life and sin be immortalized. RH February 24, 1874, par. 16

Sin drove man from paradise. And sin was the cause of paradise being removed from the earth. In consequence of transgression of God's law, Adam lost paradise. In obedience to the Father's law and through faith in the atoning blood of his Son, paradise may be regained. “Repentance toward God,” because his law has been transgressed, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, as man's only Redeemer, will be acceptable with God. The merits of God's dear Son in man's behalf will avail with the Father, notwithstanding his sinfulness. RH February 24, 1874, par. 17

Satan was determined to succeed in his temptation with the sinless Adam and Eve. And he could reach even the holy pair more successfully through the medium of appetite than in any other way. The fruit of the forbidden tree seemed pleasant to the eye and desirable to the taste. They ate and fell. They transgressed God's just command and became sinners. Satan's triumph was complete. He then had the vantage-ground over the race. He flattered himself that he had through his subtlety thwarted the purpose of God in the creation of man. RH February 24, 1874, par. 18

Satan made his exulting boasts to Christ and to loyal angels that he had succeeded in gaining a portion of the angels in Heaven to unite with him in his daring rebellion. And now that he had succeeded in overcoming Adam and Eve, he claimed that their Eden home was his. He proudly boasted that the world which God had made was his dominion. Having conquered Adam, the monarch of the world, he had gained the race as his subjects, and he should now possess Eden, and make that his head-quarters. And he would there establish his throne, and be monarch of the world. RH February 24, 1874, par. 19

But measures were immediately taken in Heaven to defeat Satan in his plans. Strong angels, with beams of light representing flaming swords turning in every direction, were placed as sentinels to guard the way of the tree of life from the approach of Satan and the guilty pair. Adam and Eve had forfeited all right to their beautiful Eden home, and were now expelled from it. The earth was cursed because of Adam's sin, and was ever after to bring forth briers and thorns. Adam was to be exposed to the temptations of Satan while he lived, and was to finally pass through death to dust again. RH February 24, 1874, par. 20

A council was held in Heaven, which resulted in God's dear Son undertaking to redeem man from the curse and from the disgrace of Adam's failure, and to conquer Satan. Oh, wonderful condescension! The Majesty of Heaven, through love and pity for fallen man, proposed to become his substitute and surety. He would bear man's guilt. He would take the wrath of his Father upon himself, which otherwise would have fallen upon man because of his disobedience. RH February 24, 1874, par. 21

The law of God was unalterable. It could not be abolished, nor yield the smallest part of its claim to meet man in his fallen state. Man was separated from God by transgression of his expressed command, notwithstanding he had made known to Adam the consequences of such transgression. The sin of Adam brought a deplorable state of things. Satan would now have unlimited control over the race, unless a mightier being than Satan was before his fall should take the field and conquer him and ransom man. RH February 24, 1874, par. 22

Christ's divine soul was exercised with pity that was infinite for ruined man. As his wretched, helpless condition came up before him, and as he saw that by transgression of God's law he had fallen under the power and control of the prince of darkness, he proposed the only means that could be acceptable with God, that would give man another trial, and place him again on probation. Christ consented to leave his honor, his kingly authority, his glory with the Father, and humble himself to humanity, and engage in contest with the mighty prince of darkness in order to redeem man. Through his humiliation and poverty Christ would identify himself with the weaknesses of the fallen race, and by firm obedience show man how to redeem Adam's disgraceful failure, that man by humble obedience might regain lost Eden. RH February 24, 1874, par. 23

The great work of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeemer taking the place of fallen Adam. With the sins of the world laid upon him, he would go over the ground where Adam stumbled. He would bear the test which Adam failed to endure, and which would be almost infinitely more severe than that brought to bear upon Adam. He would overcome on man's account, and conquer the tempter, that through his obedience, his purity of character and steadfast integrity, his righteousness might be imputed to man, that through his name man might overcome the foe on his own account. RH February 24, 1874, par. 24

What love! What amazing condescension! The King of glory proposed to humble himself to fallen humanity! He would place his feet in Adam's steps. He would take man's fallen nature and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam. He would overcome Satan, and in thus doing he would open the way for the redemption of those who would believe on him from the disgrace of Adam's failure and fall. RH February 24, 1874, par. 25

Angels on probation had been deceived by Satan, and had been led on by him in the great rebellion in Heaven against Christ. They failed to bear the test brought to bear upon them, and they fell. Adam was then created in the image of God and placed upon probation. He had a perfectly developed organism. All his faculties harmonized. In all his emotions, words, and actions there was a perfect conformity to the will of his Maker. After God had made every provision for the happiness of man, and had supplied his every want, he tested Adam's loyalty. If the holy pair should be obedient, the race would after a time be made equal to the angels. As Adam and Eve failed to bear this test, Christ proposed to become a voluntary offering for man. RH February 24, 1874, par. 26

Satan knew that if Christ was indeed the Son of God, the world's Redeemer, it was for no good to himself, that the Lord had left the royal courts of Heaven to come to a fallen world. He feared that his own power was henceforth to be limited, and that his deceptive wiles would be discerned and exposed, which would lessen his influence over man. He feared that his dominion and his control of the kingdoms of the world was to be contested. He remembered the words Jehovah addressed to him when he was summoned into his presence with Adam and Eve, whom he had ruined by his lying deceptions, “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.” This declaration contained the first gospel promise to man. RH February 24, 1874, par. 27

But these words at the time they were spoken were not fully understood by Satan. He knew that they contained a curse for him, because he had seduced the holy pair. And when Christ was manifested on the earth, Satan feared that he was indeed the One promised which should limit his power and finally destroy him. RH February 24, 1874, par. 28

Satan had peculiar interest to watch the development of events immediately after the fall of Adam to learn how his work had affected the kingdom of God, and what the Lord would do with Adam because of his disobedience. The Son of God, undertaking to become the Redeemer of the race, placed Adam in a new relation to his Creator. He was still fallen; but a door of hope was opened to him. The wrath of God still hung over Adam, but the execution of the sentence of death was delayed, and the indignation of God was restrained, because Christ had entered upon the work of becoming man's Redeemer. Christ was to take the wrath of God which in justice should fall upon man. He became a refuge for man, and although man was indeed a criminal, deserving the wrath of God, yet he could by faith in Christ run into the refuge provided and be safe. In the midst of death there was life if man chose to accept it. The holy and infinite God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, could no longer talk with man. No communication could now exist directly between man and his Maker. RH February 24, 1874, par. 29

God forbears for a time the full execution of the sentence of death pronounced upon man. Satan flattered himself that he had forever broken the link between Heaven and earth. But in this he was greatly mistaken and disappointed. The Father had given over the world into the hands of his Son for him to redeem from the curse and the disgrace of Adam's failure and fall. Through Christ alone can man now find access to God. And through Christ alone will the Lord hold communication with man. RH February 24, 1874, par. 30

Christ volunteered to maintain and vindicate the holiness of the divine law. He was not to do away the smallest part of its claims in the work of redemption for man, but in order to save man and maintain the sacred claims and justice of his Father's law, he gave himself a sacrifice for the guilt of man. Christ's life did not in a single instance detract from the claims of his Father's law, but through firm obedience to all its precepts, and by dying for the sins of those who had transgressed it, he established its immutability. RH February 24, 1874, par. 31

After the transgression of Adam, Satan saw that the ruin was complete. The human race was brought into a deplorable condition. Man was cut off from intercourse with God. It was Satan's design that the state of man should be the same with that of the fallen angels in rebellion against God, uncheered by a gleam of hope. He reasoned that if God pardoned sinful man whom he had created, he would also pardon and receive into favor him and his angels. But he was disappointed. RH February 24, 1874, par. 32

The divine Son of God saw that no arm but his own could save fallen man. He determined to help man. He left the fallen angels to perish in their rebellion, but stretched forth his hand to rescue perishing man. The angels who were rebellious were dealt with according to the light and experience they had abundantly enjoyed in Heaven. Satan, the chief of the fallen angels, once had an exalted position in Heaven. He was next in honor to Christ. The knowledge which he, as well as the angels who fell with him, had of the character of God, of his goodness, his mercy, wisdom, and excellent glory, made their guilt unpardonable. RH February 24, 1874, par. 33

There was no possible hope for those ever to be redeemed, who had witnessed and enjoyed the inexpressible glory of Heaven and had seen the terrible majesty of God, and, in presence of all this glory, had rebelled against him. There were no new and more wonderful exhibitions of God's exalted power that could ever impress them as deeply as those they had already experienced. If they could rebel in the very presence of the weight of glory inexpressible, they could not be placed in any more favorable condition to be proved. There was no reserve force of power, nor were there any greater heights and depths of infinite glory to overpower their jealous doubts and rebellious murmuring. Their guilt and their punishment must be in proportion to their exalted privileges in the heavenly courts. RH February 24, 1874, par. 34