May 22, 2005 – May 28, 2005
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.” James 2:10.
Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 9, 11–18.
With this lesson, we will start a series of studies on the closing events of this earth’s history that begin with the latter rain. The main references for these studies are the book of Revelation in the Bible and the last seven chapters of The Great Controversy. We are now entering upon the final struggle in the great controversy between Christ and Satan over the Law of God. The object of these studies is to understand, as much as is possible, the issues involved and the order of events that are remaining to take place along the path that leads to the Holy City. The first lesson begins with The Great Controversy, 582, “The Impending Conflict.”
1 Where did the controversy between Christ and Satan begin? What has been the purpose of Satan since the beginning of the controversy? Revelation 12:3, 7–9; Isaiah 14:12.
note: “From the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven it has been Satan’s purpose to overthrow the law of God. It was to accomplish this that he entered upon his rebellion against the Creator, and though he was cast out of heaven he has continued the same warfare upon the earth. To deceive men, and thus lead them to transgress God’s law, is the object which he has steadfastly pursued. Whether this be accomplished by casting aside the law altogether, or by rejecting one of its precepts, the result will be ultimately the same.” The Great Controversy, 582.
2 Upon what great conflict is the world now entering? Revelation 13:11–18.
note: “In seeking to cast contempt upon the divine statutes, Satan has perverted the doctrines of the Bible, and errors have thus become incorporated into the faith of thousands who profess to believe the Scriptures. The last great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the long-standing controversy concerning the law of God. Upon this battle we are now entering—a battle between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition.” The Great Controversy, 582.
3 What important doctrines of the Bible are being denied by multitudes, both in the world and in the church? Genesis 1:1–2:3; 3:1–19; Hebrews 2:17, 18; 9:11; Matthew 5:18.
note: “The Bible is within the reach of all, but there are few who really accept it as the guide of life. Infidelity prevails to an alarming extent, not in the world merely, but in the church. Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith. The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man, the atonement, and the perpetuity of the law of God, are practically rejected, either wholly or in part, by a large share of the professedly Christian world. Thousands who pride themselves upon their wisdom and independence regard it as an evidence of weakness to place implicit confidence in the Bible; they think it a proof of superior talent and learning to cavil at the Scriptures and to spiritualize and explain away their most important truths.” The Great Controversy, 583.
4 When people turn away from the truth and trample on the Law of God, whom are they rejecting? Hebrews 6:4–6. For Old Testament type, see Deuteronomy 31:20, last part; 1 Kings 19:10, 14; Ezekiel 20:13.
note: “In rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Law-giver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature.” The Great Controversy, 583.
5 What error strikes most boldly against the law of God? Hebrews 10:28–31.
note: “No error accepted by the Christian world strikes more boldly against the authority of Heaven, none is more directly opposed to the dictates of reason, none is more pernicious in its results, than the modern doctrine, so rapidly gaining ground, that God’s law is no longer binding upon men. Every nation has its laws, which command respect and obedience; no government could exist without them; and can it be conceived that the Creator of the heavens and the earth has no law to govern the beings He has made? Suppose that prominent ministers were publicly to teach that the statutes which govern their land and protect the rights of its citizens were not obligatory—that they restricted the liberties of the people, and therefore ought not to be obeyed; how long would such men be tolerated in the pulpit? But is it a graver offense to disregard the laws of states and nations than to trample upon those divine precepts which are the foundation of all government?” The Great Controversy, 584.
6 When the divine precepts are rejected, what spirit is implanted in the heart? For Old and New Testament types, see Genesis 4:3–7; Numbers 16:1–3; 11 Kings 2:23; John 6:60, 61, 64.
note: “Wherever the divine precepts are rejected, sin ceases to appear sinful or righteousness desirable. Those who refuse to submit to the government of God are wholly unfitted to govern themselves. Through their pernicious teachings the spirit of insubordination is implanted in the hearts of children and youth, who are naturally impatient of control; and a lawless, licentious state of society results.” The Great Controversy, 584.
7 If divine law would be cast aside, what would soon happen with human laws? For the ultimate biblical example, see John 7:19.
note: “Those who teach the people to regard lightly the commandments of God sow disobedience to reap disobedience. Let the restraint imposed by the divine law be wholly cast aside, and human laws would soon be disregarded. Because God forbids dishonest practices, coveting, lying, and defrauding, men are ready to trample upon His statutes as a hindrance to their worldly prosperity; but the results of banishing these precepts would be such as they do not anticipate.” The Great Controversy, 585.
8 What other things in society would also collapse as a result of rejecting the divine law? For an Old Testament example, see Judges 18.
note: “If the law were not binding, why should any fear to transgress? Property would no longer be safe. Men would obtain their neighbor’s possessions by violence, and the strongest would become richest. Life itself would not be respected. The marriage vow would no longer stand as a sacred bulwark to protect the family. He who had the power, would, if he desired, take his neighbor’s wife by violence. The fifth commandment would be set aside with the fourth. Children would not shrink from taking the life of their parents if by so doing they could obtain the desire of their corrupt hearts. The civilized world would become a horde of robbers and assassins; and peace, rest, and happiness would be banished from the earth.” The Great Controversy, 585.
9 What false teaching has opened the floodgates of iniquity upon the world? For Old Testament example, see Isaiah 42:20, 21, 24.
note: “Already the doctrine that men are released from obedience to God’s requirements has weakened the force of moral obligation and opened the floodgates of iniquity upon the world. Lawlessness, dissipation, and corruption are sweeping in upon us like an overwhelming tide. In the family, Satan is at work. His banner waves, even in professedly Christian households. There is envy, evil surmising, hypocrisy, estrangement, emulation, strife, betrayal of sacred trusts, indulgence of lust. The whole system of religious principles and doctrines, which should form the foundation and framework of social life, seems to be a tottering mass, ready to fall to ruin.” The Great Controversy, 585.
10 As in former ages, who does Satan work through to further his designs? For New Testament type, see 11 Peter 2:1–3; 1 Timothy 4:1.
note: “The iniquity and spiritual darkness that prevailed under the supremacy of Rome were the inevitable result of her suppression of the Scriptures; but where is to be found the cause of the widespread infidelity, the rejection of the law of God, and the consequent corruption, under the full blaze of gospel light in an age of religious freedom? Now that Satan can no longer keep the world under his control by withholding the Scriptures, he resorts to other means to accomplish the same object. To destroy faith in the Bible serves his purpose as well as to destroy the Bible itself. By introducing the belief that God’s law is not binding, he as effectually leads men to transgress as if they were wholly ignorant of its precepts. And now, as in former ages, he has worked through the church to further his designs. The religious organizations of the day have refused to listen to unpopular truths plainly brought to view in the Scriptures, and in combating them they have adopted interpretations and taken positions which have sown broadcast the seeds of skepticism.” The Great Controversy, 586.
11 What two papal errors have removed the defense against the delusions of spiritualism? See Genesis 3:4 for the origination of these errors. For Old Testament example, see 1 Samuel 28:3, 8–11.
note: “Clinging to the papal error of natural immortality and man’s consciousness in death, they have rejected the only defense against the delusions of spiritualism. The doctrine of eternal torment has led many to disbelieve the Bible. And as the claims of the fourth commandment are urged upon the people, it is found that the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is enjoined; and as the only way to free themselves from a duty which they are unwilling to perform, many popular teachers declare that the law of God is no longer binding. Thus they cast away the law and the Sabbath together. As the work of Sabbath reform extends, this rejection of the divine law to avoid the claims of the fourth commandment will become well-nigh universal. The teachings of religious leaders have opened the door to infidelity, to spiritualism, and to contempt for God’s holy law.” The Great Controversy, 586, 587.
12 To what do the religious leaders who reject the binding claims of God’s Law attribute the cause of the fast spreading corruption? For biblical types, see John 11:47–50; Acts 2:27–32; Jeremiah 20:9–13.
note: “Yet this very class put forth the claim that the fast-spreading corruption is largely attributable to the desecration of the so-called ‘Christian sabbath,’ and that the enforcement of Sunday observance would greatly improve the morals of society. This claim is especially urged in America, where the doctrine of the true Sabbath has been most widely preached. Here the temperance work, one of the most prominent and important of moral reforms, is often combined with the Sunday movement, and the advocates of the latter represent themselves as laboring to promote the highest interest of society; and those who refuse to unite with them are denounced as the enemies of temperance and reform.” The Great Controversy, 587.
13 What is one of Satan’s most successful methods of deceiving people? For biblical examples, see Genesis 3:1–4; Matthew 4:5, 6. See also Luke 4:9–11.
note: “But the fact that a movement to establish error is connected with a work which is in itself good, is not an argument in favor of the error. We may disguise poison by mingling it with wholesome food, but we do not change its nature. On the contrary, it is rendered more dangerous, as it is more likely to be taken unawares. It is one of Satan’s devices to combine with falsehood just enough truth to give it plausibility. The leaders of the Sunday movement may advocate reforms which the people need, principles which are in harmony with the Bible; yet while there is with these a requirement which is contrary to God’s law, His servants cannot unite with them. Nothing can justify them in setting aside the commandments of God for the precepts of men.” The Great Controversy, 587, 588.
14 What three powers compose the union that tramples on the rights of conscience? Revelation 16:13, 14.
note: “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” The Great Controversy, 588.
[All emphasis supplied.]