Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

May 3, 1906

The Great Controversy

Mrs. E. G. White

The warfare that began in heaven did not end there. When Satan was cast out, there were cast out with him a large number of angels whom by his sophistry he had led to rebel against God. They came to this earth, and the same deception by which Satan caused the fall of the angels, he practised upon Adam and Eve. They fell under his temptation, and ever since there has been waged an unceasing, desperate conflict between good and evil. This earth is the scene of the conflict, the field of the battle between the forces of Satan and the forces of Christ. Until the end there will be warfare between satanic agencies and those who accept Christ, those for whom he gave his life, that they might have power to obey the law of God. This conflict, which is outlined in the Word of God, concerns us individually, and in it we are now to be intensely interested.

When Adam apostatized, he placed himself on Satan's side; his nature became evil, and he became separated from God. Had there been no interference on the part of God, Satan and man would have formed an alliance against heaven, and together they would have carried on a battle against God. There is not a natural enmity between fallen angels and fallen man. Naturally both are united in rebellion against good. Evil, wherever it exists, will always league with evil against good, so that naturally fallen angels and fallen men are linked in a desperate companionship.

But as soon as man transgressed, God gave the promise that he would put enmity between Satan and the seed of the woman. This promise is the key that opens to the world the grand plan of redemption. When Satan had succeeded in causing the fall of our first parents, he supposed that the whole of the human race would come under his control, that he and his sympathizers could induce men to join them in rebellion, as he had induced the angels to join him. He thought that he would have human beings as his allies against heaven, and that he could dethrone the Omnipotent One, and once more take his place in heaven.

When Satan heard the word, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed,” he knew that man would be given power to resist his temptations. He realized that his claim to the position of prince of the newly created world was to be contested, that One would come whose work would be fatal to his evil purposes, that he and his angels would be forever defeated. His assurance of certain power, his sense of security, was gone. Adam and Eve had yielded to his temptations, and their posterity would feel the strength of his assaults. But they would not be left without a helper. The Son of God was to come to the world, to be tempted in our behalf, and in our behalf to overcome.

There is enmity between fallen human beings and Satan only as man places himself on God's side, and yields obedience to the law of Jehovah. This brings to him power to withstand Satan's attacks. It is through Christ's sacrifice that man is enabled to obey. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Son of God, bearing human nature, and tempted on all points as we are tempted, met and resisted the assaults of the enemy. And in his strength human beings can gain the victory, meeting the tempter, yet not overcome by his artifice and his presumptuous presentations. By accepting Christ as a personal Saviour, men and women can stand firm against the temptations of the enemy. Human beings may have eternal life if they will accept the principles of heaven, and allow Christ to bring the heart and mind into obedience to the law of Jehovah.

Christ saw the meaning of Satan's wiles, and till the end of his test and trial, he stood firm in his resistance, refusing to swerve from allegiance to God. He took his stand on the foundation of truth, and from this foundation he would not move, even for the offer of the whole world and the glory of it, which Satan promised should be his if he would fall down and worship him.

The way in which Satan tempted Christ, he is today tempting every soul. He seeks to hold men under his reasoning. The Saviour warns us against entering into controversy with him or his agencies. We are not to meet them except on the Bible ground, “It is written.” The less that we have to do with the arguments of those who are opposed to God, the firmer will be our foundation. We are to repeat as seldom as possible the sentiments of Satan's forming. Let every tempted soul keep looking at the principles that are wholly from above, remembering the promise, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman.” Ministers, physicians, church-members, enmity against Satan is a gift from God, and the power provided by God is your efficiency.

The plain evidence given in the Word is the evidence that we are to present. The words that God has given, it is safe for us to speak to the opposing forces. “It is written” was the only weapon the Christ used in his contest with Satan.

It is by loyalty to God's law that every soul who shall enter the pearly gates into the city of God will be tested. The Saviour has worked out the salvation of every one who will receive him and believe in him. Christ is to be received by faith, in the full belief that he is the propitiation for our sins. He took upon himself the iniquities of the fallen race, and suffered in the sinner's stead. To lay hold by faith upon Christ, to become a partaker of the divine nature, is the sinner's only hope. Through the efficacy of the atonement made, man may return to his allegiance. Through accepting the righteousness of Christ, he may become loyal to the law of God, united to the Father and the Son.

In the great controversy now going on, God's servants are to put on every piece of the gospel armor, and fight manfully for him. We are wrestling with no human foe. God calls upon every Christian to enter the warfare and fight under his leadership, depending for success on grace and help from above. In God's strength we are to go forward. Never are we to yield ground to Satan. Why should we not, as Christian warriors, stand against principalities and powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world? Satan will place temptation before us. He will try by stratagem to overcome us. But in the strength of Christ we may stand firm as a rock to the principles of heaven.

In this warfare there is no release. Satan's agents never pause in their work of destruction. Those who are in Christ's service must guard every outpost. To save perishing souls from ruin is our object. This is a work of infinite greatness, and man can not hope to obtain success in it unless he unites with the divine Worker.

The terrible condition of the world today would seem to indicate that apparently the death of Christ has been almost in vain; that Satan has triumphed. The great majority of the world's inhabitants belong to Satan's kingdom. Satanic agencies are not yet subdued. Christ has not yet set up his kingdom on the earth. “We see not yet all things put under him.”

But we have not been deceived. Notwithstanding the apparent triumph of Satan on the earth, Christ is carrying forward his work in the heavenly sanctuary. The word of God portrays the wickedness and corruption that should exist in the world in the last days. As we see the fulfilment of the prophecy, our faith in the final triumph of Christ's kingdom should be increased. We should go forth with courage to do our appointed work.

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, ... Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

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