The Signs of the Times


April 28, 1890

The Words and Works of Satan Repeated in the World


Before Lucifer was banished from heaven, he sought to abolish the law of God. He claimed that the unfallen intelligences* of holy heaven had no need of law, but were capable of governing themselves and of preserving unspotted integrity. Lucifer was the covering cherub, the most exalted of the heavenly created beings; he stood nearest the throne of God, and was most closely connected and identified with the administration of God's government, most richly endowed with the glory of his majesty and power. The prophet writes of his exaltation, saying: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so; thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” ST April 28, 1890, par. 1

The angels had been created full of goodness and love. They loved one another impartially and their God supremely, and they were prompted by this love to do his pleasure. The law of God was not a grievous yoke to them, but it was their delight to do his commandments, to hearken unto the voice of his word. But in this state of peace and purity, sin originated with him who had been perfect in all his ways. The prophet writes of him: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Sin is a mysterious, unexplainable thing. There was no reason for its existence; to seek to explain it is to seek to give a reason for it, and that would be to justify it. Sin appeared in a perfect universe, a thing that was shown to be inexcusable and exceeding sinful. The reason of its inception or development was never explained and never can be, even at the last great day when the judgment shall sit and the books be opened, when every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body, when the sins of God's repentant, sanctified people shall be heaped upon the scapegoat, the originator of sin. At that day it will be evident to all that there is not, and never was, any cause for sin. At the final condemnation of Satan and his angels and of all men who have finally identified themselves with him as transgressors of God's law, every mouth will be stopped. When the hosts of rebellion, from the first great rebel to the last transgressor, are asked why they have broken the law of God, they will be speechless. There will be no answer to give, no reason to assign that will carry the least weight. ST April 28, 1890, par. 2

The change from perfection of character to sin and defection did come even in heaven. Lucifer's heart was lifted up because of his beauty, his wisdom was corrupted by reason of his brightness. Self-exaltation is the key to his rebellion, and it unlocks the modern theme of sanctification. Satan declared that he had no need of the restraints of law, that he was holy, sinless, and incapable of doing evil; and those who boast of holiness and a state of sinlessness, while transgressing the law of God, while willfully trampling under-foot the Sabbath of the Lord, are allied on the side of the first great rebel. If the sanctified, holy angels became unsanctified and unholy by disobedience to God's law, and their place was no longer found in heaven, think you that men, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, will be received into glory who break the precepts of that law which Christ came to magnify and make honorable by his death upon the cross? Adam and Eve were in possession of Eden, and they fell from their high and holy estate by transgression of God's law, and forfeited their right to the tree of life and to the joys of Eden. ST April 28, 1890, par. 3

Satan had told them that they were under restriction, under bondage to the law, and that they might be free and independent by disregarding the divine prohibition concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He informed them that they would be as the angels if they would but partake of its fruit, for they would then be able to discern both good and evil. But what angels would they be like?—Not holy angels, but like the angels who had left their first estate, who were reserved under everlasting chains unto the judgment of the great day. The holy pair had received the positive word of God in regard to what they should do, but they presumed on God's mercy, and ate of the forbidden fruit. ST April 28, 1890, par. 4

Is not the story of the fall repeated by thousands of lips today, and even from the pulpit do we not hear the words of the tempter, “Thou shalt not surely die”? Is not the law of God represented as a yoke of bondage which men are free to violate as they choose? Satan insinuated to Adam and Eve that they might reach a higher, happier state by violation of the divine command, and today the same falsehood is spread through the world, even by those who claim to be sanctified. Do not these who claim sanctification while violating the commands of God, become a false and fatal sign to the world? Do they not say to the sinner, “It shall be well with thee”? The Lord has defined sin as the transgression of his law, but they say they are saved in sin, and thus make Christ the minister of sin. These professed Christians are doing the very work that Satan did in Paradise, they are leading souls astray by precept and example. They say to the sinner, to the transgressor, It shall be well with thee; you will rise to a higher, holier state by violating the law of God. The lesson that is heard throughout the land is, “Disobey and live.” But how different is this teaching from the lessons of Christ. He declared: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” ST April 28, 1890, par. 5

If the law of God should relinquish its claims upon men, if its restraints were removed, the result would be a state of society in which lawlessness would be rife, and our world would be in a condition similar to that which existed before the flood, which brought down on the earth the wrath of God. If the law of God could have been changed, or altered in one of its statutes, it would have been so altered when sin originated in heaven, when the brightest son of the morning, who was good, noble, and lovely above all the beings that God had created, found fault with the precepts of that law in the counsels of angels. If ever a change was to have been made, it would have been accomplished when rebellion revealed itself in heaven, and so have prevented the great apostasy of the angels. The fact that no change was made in God's administration, even when the most exalted of the angels drew away from allegiance to God's law, is evidence enough to reasonable minds that the law, the foundation of God's government, will not relax its claims to save the willful transgressor. ST April 28, 1890, par. 6

Satan and his followers were expelled from heaven in consequence of rebellion, and the spirit of the evil one now works in the children of disobedience; Satan carries on his rebellion against God in this world. He seeks to corrupt all; but the instruments most favorable to his purpose of ruining souls, are men who have had great light and blessing from God; for they can accomplish more harm in making void the law than can those who have been less favored of heaven. They use the same flattering sophistry that Satan used in heaven and in Eden; they speak of the law as a yoke of bondage, and picture the liberty of him who disregards its claims, as a state of holiness and sanctification. Those who claim holiness and make a boast that they cannot sin, though at the same time living in transgression of the law, are in the same condition as the angels that sinned in heaven. They make great pretensions to the favor of Heaven, claim to possess exalted knowledge of spiritual things, while they go on in reckless disregard of the word of the Lord. ST April 28, 1890, par. 7

Satan deceives and corrupts the world and makes men believe that they are sinless and holy while sinning against God, but in so doing he is only carrying on his original work. He has introduced no new arguments, he has created no new empire of darkness from which to draw supplies for the furtherance of his deceptions. And sin that was sin in the beginning is sin today; and sin, the apostle declares, is the transgression of God's law. In these days it is Satan's determined purpose to intensify sin by making it legal in the children of disobedience. He is to reveal to the world and to heaven what is the order and result of a government carried on according to his ideas of administration and law. He is working with secret yet with intense zeal in both Church and State, to cause men to throw off all the restraints of God's law, and take a decided stand with him in the ranks of rebellion; but when his work is accomplished, the Lord will interpose, and vindicate his honor as the supreme Ruler of the universe. ST April 28, 1890, par. 8