Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

March 28, 1900

The Enmity of Satan

In Nazareth Christ made the announcement that His work was to restore and uplift, to bring peace and happiness. He came to this world to represent the Father, and He revealed His divine power by giving life to the dead, by restoring the sick and suffering to soundness and health. He was in this world as the tree of life.

Satan is at war with Christ, the divine Restorer. His agents are leagued against the Saviour's work of elevating and ennobling man. The first death in our world was caused through the working out of Satan's principles; and ever since that time, Christ and His followers and Satan and his followers have been two distinct parties. Satan is ever seeking to imbue men with his own spirit and attributes, and those whose hearts are not subdued by the grace of Christ will be guided by the same spirit that decoyed the angels from the heavenly courts. Those who break the law of Jehovah and try to compel their fellowmen to obey man-made laws are in the service of Satan.

In Christ's words to the Pharisees and lawyers, and their conduct toward Him, are presented the distinguishing features of false religion. “He said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchers of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchers. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute; that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple; verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.... And as He said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge Him vehemently, and to provoke Him to speak of many things; laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him.”

On another occasion Jesus said to the Jews: “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered Him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man; how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house forever, but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill Me, because My word hath no place in you.”

What stern truth is here spoken! How many there are who boast that they are not in bondage to any one, when they are bound to the most cruel of all tyrants! They have placed themselves under Satan's training, and they treat God's people as he directs them to. How many there are who hear the word of truth, but hate the message and the messenger, because the truth disturbs them in their deceptive practises!

“I speak that which I have seen with My Father,” Christ continued; “and ye do that which ye have seen with your Father.” Two classes are plainly brought to view in these words,—the children of light, who obey the truth, and the children of darkness, who reject the truth.

In their bigotry and self-righteousness the Jewish teachers answered Jesus, “Abraham is our Father.” “If ye were Abraham's children,” Christ said, “ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God; this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father.”

Urged on by the accusing spirit of him whose advocates they were, the Jews answered, “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” How many there are who, like the Jews, call God their Father, and yet hate with intense hatred the word of truth!

“If God were your Father,” Jesus said, “ye would love Me; for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do ye not understand My speech? even because ye can not hear My word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.” “Then took they up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

The converting, transforming grace of God changes the spirit and attributes of him who accepts the truth. He is imbued with the Spirit of Christ. Satan sees this, and he is filled with hatred against Christ and His servant. But there is no enmity between Satan and the human agent who has become so deluded that he wars against God and His holy law; for this is the very work in which Satan has been engaged since his fall.

God's people can expect nothing less than persecution; for their Master was persecuted, and He says to them: “The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me.”

As Christ was being tried, Pilate placed Him side by side with Barabbas, saying to the people, “Whom will ye that I release unto you?” There they stood,—Christ the Son of God, and Barabbas the thief and murderer, bearing in his countenance the marks of Satan's attributes.

The priests and rulers persuaded the people to choose Barabbas, and in answer to Pilate's question the hoarse cry was raised, “Release unto us Barabbas.” “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” Pilate asked, and again, like the bellowing of wild beasts, the cry went forth, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” And all heaven heard the cry.

A messenger had been sent to Pilate by his wife, with the warning, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.” But Pilate did not heed the heaven-sent message. Instead, he used Christ's trial as an occasion of making friends with Herod. A corrupt confederacy was formed between the two rulers.

And when Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing against the multitude, he released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified.

Be astonished, O heaven, and be everlastingly ashamed, O inhabitants of earth! With sorrow and indignation the angels heard the choice made by the people and the sentence passed upon Christ. But they could not interfere; for in the great controversy between good and evil, Satan must be given every opportunity to develop his true character, that the heavenly universe, and the race for whom Christ was giving His life, might see the righteousness of God's purposes. Those under the control of the enemy must be allowed to reveal the principles of his government.

Those who see and obey the light of truth will be harassed and oppressed; for enmity will ever exist between Christ and Satan. If God had not interfered with Satan's evil working, men would have leagued against good in an alliance to dethrone God. Satan caused the fall of part of the heavenly angels by rebelling against God's law, and he is the instigator of every injustice done to God's children. He inspires his agents to do all they can to hurt Christ by bruising the bodies of His children. But God is present at every tribunal before which His children are called to stand. He marks how men condemn His servants and silence their voices. He records every act of injustice, every act of oppression. As the blood of Abel cried to Him from the ground, so the prayers of His servants who are imprisoned in dungeons or linked with the vile in chain-gangs, rise to Him. The cruelty done to God's servants is recorded as done to Christ in the person of His saints, and the time is coming when God Himself will avenge their wrongs.

John writes: “I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with Him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps; and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders; and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand.... These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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