March 31, 2013 – April 6, 2013
That I Might Live
“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” Psalm 33:6.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 33–43; The Story of Redemption, 13–19.
“The Son of God had wrought the Father’s will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; and to Him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 36.
1 THE GOD OF HEAVEN
- What characteristic is unique to the Godhead? Psalm 33:6, 9. How—and by Whom—were all things in the universe created? John 1:1–3.
Note: “The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate—a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. …
“The Father wrought by His Son in the creation of all heavenly beings. [Colossians 1:16 quoted.] Angels are God’s ministers, radiant with the light ever flowing from His presence and speeding on rapid wing to execute His will. But the Son, the anointed of God, the ‘express image of His person,’ ‘the brightness of His glory,’ ‘upholding all things by the word of His power,’ holds supremacy over them all (Hebrews 1:3).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34.
- What does Inspiration reveal about the throne of God? Jeremiah 17:12. How does this relate to the Son of God? Hebrews 1:8.
Note: “The Son of God shared the Father’s throne, and the glory of the eternal, self-existent One encircled both. … The Son of God had wrought the Father’s will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; and to Him, as well as to God, their [the angels’] homage and allegiance were due.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 36.
2 LIFE IN HEAVEN
- What are some of the fundamental characteristics of the government of Heaven? Psalm 89:14; I John 4:16.
Note: “The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 34.
“God’s love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan’s purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God’s law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God’s plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other’ (Psalm 85:10).” The Desire of Ages, 762.
- What characterized the relationship between the entire host of heavenly creatures and their beneficent Creator? Psalm 103:20, 21.
Note: “So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise. And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 35.
“All created beings live by the will and power of God. They are dependent recipients of the life of God. From the highest seraph to the humblest animate being, all are replenished from the Source of life.” The Desire of Ages, 785.
“When the Lord created these [angelic] beings to stand before His throne, they were beautiful and glorious. Their loveliness and holiness were equal to their exalted station. They were enriched by the wisdom of God, and girded with the panoply of heaven.” The Signs of the Times, April 14, 1898.
3 UNPRECEDENTED DISSONANCE
- What ambition was nourished by Lucifer, the highest created being? Ezekiel 28:12–15.
Note: “There was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Lucifer, ‘son of the morning,’ was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. He stood in the presence of the great Creator, and the ceaseless beams of glory enshrouding the eternal God rested upon him. ‘Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering. … 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’ (Ezekiel 28:12–15).
“Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. The Scripture says, ‘Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness’ (Ezekiel 28:17). ‘Thou hast said in thine heart, … I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. … I will be like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:13, 14). Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 35.
- What was the real cause of Lucifer’s dissatisfaction? Proverbs 13:10; Psalm 10:4.
Note: “Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he [Lucifer] ventured to covet homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself. And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 35.
4 TWO OPPOSITE WAYS OF WORKING
- How did Heaven’s reasoning with Lucifer exemplify God’s tender appeals to His erring creatures throughout all ages? What was Lucifer’s attitude?
Note: “In heavenly council the angels pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before him the greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the sacred, unchanging nature of His law. God Himself had established the order of heaven; and in departing from it, Lucifer would dishonor his Maker and bring ruin upon himself. But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 36.
- In sharp contrast to God’s methods, what means did Lucifer use to subtly dissuade many angels from their trustful allegiance to God? Psalm 55:21.
Note: “Leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father, Lucifer went forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels. He worked with mysterious secrecy, and for a time concealed his real purpose under an appearance of reverence for God. He began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient guide. They were not beings that could bring dishonor to God; all their thoughts were holy; it was no more possible for them than for God Himself to err. The exaltation of the Son of God as equal with the Father was represented as an injustice to Lucifer, who, it was claimed, was also entitled to reverence and honor.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 37.
“While claiming for himself perfect loyalty to God, he urged that changes in the order and laws of heaven were necessary for the stability of the divine government. Thus while working to excite opposition to the law of God and to instill his own discontent into the minds of the angels under him, he was ostensibly seeking to remove dissatisfaction and to reconcile disaffected angels to the order of heaven. While secretly fomenting discord and rebellion, he with consummate craft caused it to appear as his sole purpose to promote loyalty and to preserve harmony and peace.” Ibid., 38.
5 OPEN REBELLION
- Trace the final stages of Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven. Revelation 12:7–9.
Note: “He [Lucifer] nearly reached the decision to return [to God], but pride forbade him. It was too great a sacrifice for one who had been so highly honored to confess that he had been in error.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 39.
- How is Satan’s fall summarized? Isaiah 14:12–15. Why didn’t the Lord immediately destroy him? Ezekiel 28:17, 19.
Note: “Even when he was cast out of heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. Since only the service of love can be acceptable to God, the allegiance of His creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice and benevolence. The inhabitants of heaven and of the worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the nature or consequences of sin, could not then have seen the justice of God in the destruction of Satan. Had he been immediately blotted out of existence, some would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages, he must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, and that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might be forever placed beyond all question.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 42.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Why is the Son of God entitled to share the Father’s throne?
2 What can we learn from the heavenly plan of government?
3 How can we avoid even the initial steps of Lucifer’s personal disaffection?
4 What warning should we take from the way so many angels were influenced by Lucifer?
5 Explain the wisdom of God’s methods of handling this crisis.
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.