Chapter 2

The Great Controversy

The Great Controversy is also known as the struggle between the forces of good and evil. The forces of good include God the Father, Jesus Christ and His angels, and the human followers of God. The forces of evil include Lucifer, whom we now call Satan, and the angels and humans that side with him in his rebellion against God.

In the beginning there was God the Father who had a Son, Jesus Christ. That God had a Son was known to the ancients.

     "Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!" (Prov. 30:4)

Many also believe Jesus to be Michael, the archangel, a chief prince in the heavenly realms and the commander of the heavenly armies (see Joshua 5:14, 15, Dan. 10:13, 21, 12:1, Jude 9, Rev. 12:7). Whenever Michael, the prince is mentioned in Scripture, it is always in the context of a struggle against the powers of darkness.

Jesus points to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as being the three members of the Godhead, what we call the Trinity.

     Then Jesus came to [his disciples] and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:18-20)

Some view Jesus Christ as being a reflection of the physical embodiment of God the Father (John 14:8-10), and the Holy Spirit as His omnipresence. God is not some ethereal ambiguous vapor, but rather is a real distinct being with a form. The Bible says that God created Man in His image. In fact Genesis 1:26, 27 says,

     Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

One of God's uses of His creative abilities before He even created this world was the creation of the heavenly beings, including the angels. One of the first of these was an angel named Lucifer. Lucifer was an angel of the highest rank, a guardian or covering cherub serving next to the throne God. This is how the Bible describes him.

     ". . . This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "`You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. (Ezek. 28:12 -17)

He was extremely gifted angel. It has been suggested that he led the angel choir and was endowed with a special gift of music. The King James version of the Bible translates the above "settings and mountings" as "pipes and taberets".

     "on the day you were created, your pipes and taberets (your flutes and your tambourines) were prepared."

But because of his brightness, his wisdom and beauty, Lucifer wanted to become like God and Jesus Christ, especially in planning and creating things. But he could not, because he did not have within himself immortality or the ability to grant life. He wanted to be worshipped like God, rather than be a worshipper of God.

     "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star [KJV: Lucifer], son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'" (Isa. 14:12-14)

He was a created being, unlike the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which had within themselves inherent immortality. In jealousy, Satan began to discredit God and His Son in front of the other angels saying that God's rule and Laws were arbitrary, that the worship of God was against the best interest of the angels, that God did not have the angels' best interests in mind. Satan suggested that he could set up another government that was better than God the Father's. Subsequently, Lucifer led a third of the angels in a rebellion in heaven.

     "And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down --that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." (Rev. 12:7-9)

Christ said,

     "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." (Luke 10:18).

When God threw Satan out of heaven, God gave him the opportunity to prove his form of government here on this earth. Through time, the character of Satan and his government would be revealed, so that the watching universe might understand the terrible destructive nature of sin and the horrible consequences it leads to.

When God created Man and set him in the Garden of Eden, He also set a tree in it that was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

     "And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground --trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. . . . And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" (Gen. 2:9, 16, 17)

Mankind's obedience to this command was to be the test of their loyalty to God. Satan was permitted to come to this one tree to tempt Adam and Eve. He chose to appear in the guise of a serpent. Now this serpent was probably different from the snakes that we have now. There is very strong evidence that this serpent had legs and probably wings. Its appearance might have been quite similar to the dragon or winged serpent that Satan has taken as two of his symbols.

Footnote:  The dragon is a commonly used symbol among many of the pagan religions of the world, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, the religions of the Mayas, Aztecs and Incas of South and Central America, those who practice sun worship, modern paganism, Satanists, and others.   The winged serpent is also commonly found in these religions, especially in Egypt and South and Central America.  People who have experienced contacts with "aliens" from UFO's have several times reported that the beings wore the symbol of a winged serpent on their clothes.  Several New Age (modern occultism) proponents are calling for the return of the Great White Winged Serpent.  As we shall see later, they shall get their wish answered.

The Bible talks about God killing the multi-headed dragon of the deep, Leviathan on Judgment day.

It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert. (Ps. 74:13, 14)

In that [judgment] day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster [KJV-dragon] of the sea [abyss?]. (Isa. 27:1)

When God created the world, he created a dragon-like creature of the sea.  If you study Job 41, it gives a very vivid description of this dragon.   The devil took this "Leviathan" as a symbol of himself.  End Footnote

So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. (Gen. 3:14)

God would not have cursed the serpent to crawl on its belly if it had not been created with other forms of locomotion such as legs and/or wings.

Eve came near the tree and was deceived by Satan speaking through this dragon-like creature.

     Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:1-5)

The first two lies that deceived and continue to deceive mankind:   1) You will not die when you rebel against God, rather you will become wiser. And 2) Your eyes will become opened and you will become like the gods.   In fact, you can become a god!  These lies are still some of the greatest plaguing the world today.

Eve believed the serpent and took a bite of the forbidden fruit. Adam also fell when Eve tempted him with it, and together they fell. They rebelled against God and His command.

At this instant a number of things began to happen.

1) the scepter of power or dominion was wrested from Adam by Satan, and Satan became the prince of this world. The prince of the world was to be condemned at Christ's first coming.

     Jesus said, "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out." (John 12:30, 31)

     "When the Counselor comes, he will convict the world . . . in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned." (John 16:8-11)

2) The sentence of the first death was passed upon all Mankind who would descend from Adam.

     "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." (Hebr. 9:27, 28)

     "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." (1Cor. 15:21, 22)

3) A master plan, the plan of salvation was put in motion to redeem Man from the consequences or wages of his sin. To restore Mankind to a face to face relationship with God, to life immortal, to an Edenic heavenly paradise.

4) And finally, even though the scripture doesn't mention it, I believe a timer began counting down the years until Mankind could again be restored to life immortal. A countdown allocating 6,000 years for transgression on this world, to be followed by a Sabbatical 7th thousand years (the millennium) until the earth and heavens would be made new.

This theory was held even thousands of years ago as the Dead Sea Scrolls testify. It is based upon the weekly cycle of seven days, and that a thousand years is as short as a day in God's sight. In the following passages, the comparative colloquialism is used, but the phrases are still representative of ancient thought.

     "Lord, . . . Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. . . . For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." (Ps. 90:1-4)

     "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." (2 Peter 3:8)

The controversy between Christ and His angels and between Satan and his angels, those angels who followed Satan in his rebellion, is being continued here on earth. It will be played out to the very end of time.

Revelation provides an end of time look at that controversy between God and His earthly followers and Satan and his earthly followers.

Satan is here walking about like a lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pet. 5:8). Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, attempting to deceive the world. In 2 Thessalonians, the man of sin, of lawlessness coming to this world, sets himself up to be exalted as God, coming with great signs and wonders. God permits this delusion to take place so that it may polarize people into one camp or the other. Those who accept this delusion of Satan will be firmly condemned, believing the lie, rather than showing themselves loyal to God and worthy of eternal life.

Revelation tells us about this deception to come to this world. It is my prayer that by the time that you finish studying this book, your eyes will be opened. You will have a greater understanding of how deceptive Satan's workings are. But even a greater appreciation of how much more marvelous and great is God's infinite wisdom and power and His love for His people.

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