Ellen G. White Writings

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Christ Triumphant, Page 200

Be Alert to Satan's Perversion of Scripture, July 12

The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him. Psalm 37:39, 40.

The wilderness temptation Christ endured was a personal conflict with the wicked one who had shown himself to be the author of sin. Satan was once a covering cherub in the heavenly courts, the angel next in power to Christ Himself. But he lifted himself up against God and induced some of the angels to join him in rebellion. There was war in heaven, and Satan and his followers were cast out. Expelled from heaven, Satan determined to set up a kingdom on this earth and win the human race to his side. But Christ pledged His word that if humans were overcome by temptation, He, the Son of God, would be their surety.

Christ came to our world to stand where Adam stood, to endure the temptations Adam failed to endure.... After His baptism, He went forth to the wilderness, and there He was tempted by the enemy. For forty days and forty nights He fasted; then, when He was an hungered, Satan came to Him as though he were a messenger from the heavenly courts, and tempted Him....

The enemy knew well the power of God's word. He knew that this word had supplied bread for the Israelites in their journeyings through the wilderness, and that the same word could now supply the necessities of Christ. But this was not God's plan. He designed that Christ should be treated as human beings are treated. He was not to exercise miraculous power in His own behalf, for if He did, Satan would say that His test had not been a fair one, because He had made use of supernatural power; and that He could not require human beings to keep all His requirements if the effort to keep them would destroy life....

Satan desired Christ to make Himself guilty of the sin of presumption by needlessly exposing His life. He did not repeat the whole of the quotation, but left out the words “in all thy ways,” that is, in the path of duty. If Christ had presumed on God's mercy by risking His life to give Satan evidence of His Messiahship, He would not have been in the path of duty.

All should become familiar with God's Word, because Satan perverts and misquotes Scripture, and people follow his example by presenting part of God's Word to those whom they wish to lead in false paths, withholding the part that would spoil their plans.—Manuscript 153, 1899.

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