Friday, October 05, 2012

“The Great Controversy: The Foundation ”

Insights #01 Oct. 6, 2012
Fourth Quarter 2012 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“The Great Controversy: The Foundation ”
For the week of Oct. 6, 2012

The Great Controversy: The Foundation

During this quarter we will study some of the “28 Fundamental Beliefs” of our Church. We need to keep in mind what the author’s introduction states regarding these fundamentals. They “are not a creed in the sense that one could not expect any further development of the truths expressed in them (or that even more teachings could be added).” [1]
This quarter’s first lesson is about the Great Cosmic Controversy theme as revealed to us in Scripture. This theme is foundational for the entire quarter and should be remembered as we study the lessons, especially, for this quarter. The Great Controversy theme truly is predominant in the Bible. This conflict is about the prolonged cosmic contention existing between the former covering cherubim, Lucifer, and his Creator. Central to the conflict is God’s love.
The founder of this dispute is Lucifer. No sane reason can be presented for the existence of his opposition. This is an unexplainable mystery. How could a perfectly created being, made in God’s image, become a devil (Eze 28:15)? It is the “mystery of iniquity.” He turned against God who loved him with an everlasting love. In turning from God’s love, Lucifer made choices that led to his diabolical hatred of God. Had he been able to do so, he would have torn God from His throne and would have placed himself there because this was the meditation of his heart (Isa 14:12-14).
There is another “mystery” infinitely greater than the “mystery of iniquity.” It is the “mystery of godliness.” This mystery is about God, His character of love, and His plan for our redemption. The plan of redemption is simply the carrying out of God’s original plan in the creation of mankind – that they are to be in the image of God (Gen 1:26, 27; Rom 8:28). The plan involved the suffering of “Seed of the women” and the eventual destruction of the devil including all evil (Gen 3:15). The plan of redemption also promises forgiveness to all who have faith in Christ alone. And it promises to restore the image of God in those who have a heartfelt appreciation for what God has done for them, in Christ.
The Great Controversy began in the mind of Lucifer and this while he was in the very presence of God. He undoubtedly knew God better than any other created being. He would have revealed God’s love, throughout the far flung universe, in all the power of his angelic majesty and ability. But, in time, through his God given ability to choose, he became the creation of his own confused and perverted imagination.
Before war broke out in heaven, it raged within the mind and heart of Lucifer. The conflict between good and evil first began there; then worked its way out in his life and in the lives of others such as Adam and Eve and one third of the angels. “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords” (Psalm 55:21). Out of the abundance of his heart he spoke and acted. That war continues. What was, still is. “Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord.” (Proverbs 6:14)
Lucifer, the morning star, closest to the Source of Light, began to think that he was the source of his own light. But his taper came from God – from the blazing glory that radiates from His person. The Bible pictures the glory of God as fire (Dan 7:9,10). He is called a “consuming fire” (Ex 24:17; Deut 4:26; Heb 12:29). But He “fireproofed” Lucifer before he sinned. God continues to give him existence. This is essential because every intelligent person in the universe, one day, will be fully convinced and will acknowledge that Lucifer was wrong in starting his controversy with God.
The word “consume” means an intensive and complete destruction. This consuming fire of God is the source of energy millions upon millions of times more intense than all the combined power of all the atomic bombs of mankind. The atomic bomb cannot vaporize everything. But the fire of God can. Although Eze 28:12-17 informs us of the time when Lucifer was “fireproof,” the time is coming when he will be flammable – at the end of the millennium (Rev 20:7-10).
This Great Controversy involves all of us. We will either fight God or accept Him. In either case we will be involved in God’s fire. Either you and I will be refined by His fire (Mal 3:2; 1 Pet 6,7), or like Lucifer, flammable, at the end of the millennium (Matt 25:41; Rev 20:15).

The choice is ours.
Today Jesus invites us into His sin consuming fire. He offers us His faith and His garment of righteousness (Rev 3:18), both of which were tempered by the fierce fires of temptation when He dwelt on earth (Heb 4:15,16; 5:7-9; 2:18; Rom 5:19). Consequently the “faith of Jesus” and His righteousness are now eternally fireproof.
We need to remember that the everlasting fire is in heaven and not in hell (Isa 33:14). In heaven, God’s people will be forever “fireproofed ” (Isa 33:15). God has sent His message that, if believed, will both purge and make us “fireproof.” It is the message of His righteousness presented in the most alluring terms in His counsel to Laodicea (Rev 3:18). Those only who are made righteous by faith in Christ alone will be made fireproof that will last throughout eternity.
The ongoing cosmic conflict between good and evil – the Great Controversy – is described accurately in the books we know as “The Conflict of the Ages.” This series begins with Patriarch’s and Prophets and ends with The Great Controversy. Patriarchs and Prophets begins with three words and The Great Controversy ends with the same three. The first is a declaration. The last is the affirmation formally and explicitly of those three words. We will close this Insight with the last paragraph of the series and the three words:

“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate,  in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.”[2]

-Jerry Finneman

[1] Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, October – December, 2012,  pp 2,3.
[2] Ellen White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, p. 678.