SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW)


Chapter 28

1-26. This History a Perpetual Safeguard—[Ezekiel 28:1-26 quoted.] The first sinner was one whom God had greatly exalted. He is represented under the figure of the prince of Tyrus flourishing in might and magnificence. Little by little Satan came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. The Scripture says: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” “Thou hast said in thine heart, ... I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; ... I will be like the Most High.” Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself. And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father has invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone. 4BC 1162.4

To the very close of the controversy in heaven, the great usurper continued to justify himself. When it was announced that with all his sympathizers he must be expelled from the abodes of bliss, then the rebel leader boldly avowed his contempt for the Creator's law. He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of their liberty, and declared that it was his purpose to secure the abolition of law. With one accord, Satan and his host threw the blame of their rebellion wholly upon Christ, declaring that if they had not been reproved, they would never have rebelled. 4BC 1162.5

Satan's rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages, a perpetual testimony to the nature and terrible results of sin. The working out of Satan's rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God's government and His law is bound up the well-being of all the creatures He has made. Thus the history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy intelligences, to prevent them from being deceived as to the nature of transgression, to save them from committing sin, and suffering its punishment. 4BC 1162.6

At any moment God can withdraw from the impenitent the tokens of His wonderful mercy and love. Oh, that human agencies might consider what will be the sure result of their ingratitude to Him and of their disregard of the infinite Gift of Christ to our world! If they continue to love transgression more than obedience, the present blessings and the great mercy of God that they now enjoy, but do not appreciate, will finally become the occasion of their eternal ruin. When it is too late for them to see and to understand that which they have slighted as a thing of naught, they will know what it means to be without God, without hope. Then they will realize what they have lost by choosing to be disloyal to God and to stand in rebellion to His commandments (Manuscript 125, 1907). 4BC 1162.7

A General Movement Represented—I ask our people to study the twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel. The representation here made, while it refers primarily to Lucifer, the fallen angel, has yet a broader significance. Not one being, but a general movement, is described, and one that we shall witness. A faithful study of this chapter should lead those who are seeking for truth to walk in all the light that God has given to His people, lest they be deceived by the deceptions of these last days (Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 17a, p. 30). 4BC 1162.8

2, 6-10. Soon to Be Fulfilled—[2 Thessalonians 2:7, 8; Ezekiel 28:2, 6-10 quoted.] The time is fast approaching when this scripture will be fulfilled. The world and the professedly Protestant churches are in this our day taking sides with the man of sin.... The great issue that is coming will be on the seventh-day Sabbath (The Review and Herald, April 19, 1898). 4BC 1162.9

12. Lucifer as Near as Possible Like God—Evil originated with Lucifer, who rebelled against the government of God. Before his fall he was a covering cherub, distinguished by his excellence. God made him good and beautiful, as near as possible like Himself (The Review and Herald, September 24, 1901). 4BC 1163.1

12-15 (Isaiah 14:12-14). Why God Could Do No More—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. 4BC 1163.2

There was no possible hope for the redemption of those 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 wonderful exhibitions of God's exalted power that could impress them so deeply as those they had already experienced. If they could rebel in the very presence of glory inexpressible, they could not be placed in a 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 (Redemption; or the Temptation of Christ in The Wilderness, 18, 19). 4BC 1163.3

15-19 (Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 12:7-9). Satan's Corrupt Working—There is a grand rebellion in the earthly universe. Is there not a great leader of that rebellion? Is not Satan the life and soul of every species of rebellion which he himself has instigated? Is he not the first great apostate from God? A rebellion exists. Lucifer revolted from his allegiance and makes war on the divine government. Christ is appointed to put down the rebellion. He makes this world His battlefield. He stands at the head of the human family. He clothes His divinity with humanity and He passes over the ground where Adam fell and endures all the assaults of Satan's temptations, but He does not yield in a single instance. 4BC 1163.4

The salvation of a world is at stake. He resisted the archdeceiver. In behalf of man He must conquer as a man, and in the very same manner man must conquer by “It is written.” His own words under the guise of humanity would be misjudged, misinterpreted, falsified. His own words spoken as the divine Son of God could not be falsified. 4BC 1163.5

It will be in the last great day when every case receives as his works have been; it will be the final and eternal condemnation of the devil and all his sympathizers and all who have served under his jurisdiction and have identified themselves with him. Will he have a reason to assign for his rebellion? When the Judge of all the world demands, Why have ye done thus? what reason can he assign, what cause can he plead? Bear in mind every tongue is silent, every mouth that has been so ready to speak evil, so ready to accuse, so ready to utter words of recrimination and falsehood is stopped, and the whole world of rebellion stands speechless before God; their tongues cleave to the roof of their mouth. The place where sin entered can be specified. 4BC 1163.6

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways ... till iniquity was found in thee.” “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” All this was the gift of God. God was not chargeable with this—making the covering cherub beautiful, noble and good. “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: ... thou has defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick.” In this place “traffick” is the emblem of corrupt administration. It denotes the bringing of self-seeking into spiritual offices. Nothing in spiritual service is acceptable to God except the purposes and works that are for the good of the universe. To do good to others will redound to the glory of God. 4BC 1163.7

The principles of Satan's working in heaven are the same principles by which he works through human agents in this world. It is through these corrupting principles that every earthly empire and the churches have been increasingly corrupted. It is by the working out of these principles that Satan deceives and corrupts the whole world from the beginning to the ending. He is continuing this same policy-working, originally begun in the heavenly universe. He is energizing the whole world with his violence with which he corrupted the world in the days of Noah (Letter 156, 1897). 4BC 1163.8