Thursday, October 09, 2008

“Cosmic Crisis: The Disruption of God’s Established Order”

In this lesson Satan levels his charge against God. “God is a liar. God told you that you would die if you ate this fruit, but you will not die. God is withholding information from you that you need to know. That’s why you need to partake of this fruit, for by eating it you will become like God, knowing good from evil.” Man took the bait. Adam, as the firstfruits and father of the human race, sold us “up the river,” so to speak, and gave to this race sin and death in the fallen sinful human nature—both flesh and mind. Thus the bliss of innocence was removed from mankind. Man, who had previously known only good, now learned evil.

As our lesson study presents, this thought was developed in the mind of Satan while he was still in the paradise of heaven. A sinless mind conceived sin—a seeming oxymoron. Yet, obviously, it is possible for a sinless mind to commit sin. The choice is always up to the individual. Christ died that we might have the power of choice even though He, with His sinless mind in the fallen sinful human flesh that He took, could have sinned, but never did. And so the charge was made and the stage is set for the trial of God, the trial of the universe. We call this “the great controversy” and “the plan of salvation.”

God is now on trial. He is the defendant. He must answer the charge. The plaintiff, Satan, having conquered mankind, now claims to be the representative of the human race. This is why he attends the committee meeting in heaven called by God—and is challenged. See the story in Job 1, beginning with verse 6, where God asks Satan what he is doing there, telling him that he cannot represent the human race because there is at least one non-conformist, for Job follows God, not Satan. So we see that this trial is going to be won on the battlefield of the minds and lives of God’s people—His witnesses. These are the ones on the witness stand, living witnesses of who God really is.

There are four methods of qualifying to represent a group of people. (1) By creating them: the creator has ownership (and also control, should He choose to exercise it) of what he has made. (2) By being the first one: representation is self-evident, for Adam, being the father of the human race, became the first human representative. (3) By conquering them: the conqueror usurps “ownership” and control, which is what Satan did in the garden of Eden. (4) By becoming one of them (and winning their support): the method that Christ used to win back what was lost in Eden. What was lost by a human being was won back and reversed (and more) by another human being.

Only three of these methods are acceptable to God. God created each angel and each human being with a free mind to choose. When man chose to follow Satan rather than God it affected a change in God’s creation, for the race was no longer as God had created it, having taken on fallen sinful human flesh. Therefore, through deception, Satan conquered—and man chose a new representative.

God could have chosen simply to conquer back. He was (and still is) vastly capable of doing it. Instead, He chose to preserve man’s power of choice as God had given him at creation. So the battle lines were set. In order to qualify to represent man in this battle, God entered the realm of man by becoming one of them—100 percent God and 100 percent man. As the human race, by virtue of being a man Himself and the representative of the race, He won back all that was lost by Adam, and more.

In Psalm 76:8, 9; Judges 2:16; and 1 Samuel 24:15 we find that the work of the judge is to represent and deliver the defendant. In this case, let God be the judge, for He is capable of looking after the Defendant. Before the jury of the whole universe, this trial will play out—indeed has been playing out for more than 6000 years. We are in the final arguments of both sides; the judgment hour message is being given even now.

Satan had pointed to Adam’s sin as proof that God’s law was unjust, and could not be obeyed. In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam’s failure. ... For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation” (The Desire of Ages, p. 117, emphasis added).

“God is Himself on trial before the universe and Satan and evil men have always charged Him with being unjust and arbitrary, but in the judgment all the universe will say, ‘Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints’” (E. J. Waggoner, General Conference Bulletin, 1891, No. 3, page 1).

“He came into the world to demonstrate the unrighteousness of that argument that Satan was presenting in the courts of God, as the prosecuting attorney from this country. That is the thought; it is legal all the way through. ... And He conquered, and thus became, by right, the head of this dominion again, and of all who will be redeemed from it, and of the redemption of the dominion itself. And now that word also in the Greek which says that the accuser of our brethren ‘is cast down,’ conveys the idea of a prosecuting attorney, who comes into court, but he has no case any more, he is repudiated; he has no place for argument. Why?—because now we have an Advocate in the court, Jesus Christ the righteous. Yes; thank the Lord!” (A. T. Jones, General Conference Bulletin, 1895, “The Third angel’s Message,” No. 23, p. 448).

“And the word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,’ embraces humanity. God spoke to Jesus as our representative. With all our sins and weaknesses, we are not cast aside as worthless. ‘He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.’ Eph. 1:6” (The Desire of Ages, p. 113, emphasis added).

“I will be your representative in heaven. The Father beholds not your faulty character, but He sees you as clothed in My perfection” (ibid., p. 357, quoting Christ).

Although Jesus Christ has passed into the heavens, there is still a living chain binding His believing ones to His own heart of infinite love. The most lowly and weak are bound by a chain of sympathy closely to His heart. He never forgets that He is our representative, that He bears our nature. ... But exalted ‘to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins,’ will Christ, our representative and head, close His heart, or withdraw His hand, or falsify His promise? No; never, never” (Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 19, 20, emphasis added).

Christ is your representative. Is that OK with you?

Craig Barnes