Friday, October 07, 2016

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #2 October 8, 2016

Fourth Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"The Great Controversy"

October 8, 2016

Here we are—at the beginning.  Really! Job is the beginning. It is the first book to be written by Moses, along with Genesis.
"The long years amid desert solitudes were not lost. Not only was Moses gaining a preparation for the great work before him, but during this time, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote the book of Genesis and also the book of Job, which would be read with the deepest interest by the people of God until the close of time" (ST Feb. 19, 1880)..
Since Job is written by the same author of Genesis it makes sense that the whole of Scripture should be read in the context of the great controversy between God and Satan, between good and evil, between light and darkness which the book of Job, more than any other, lays out from the first opening verses. This thematic overlap—light and darkness-- is interesting and apparent in these two books.  The book of Job opens with Job rising early in the morning to make intersession for his sons. Job is involved in Worship.

It goes on to state that "there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves, and Satan came also among them." Job 1:6 This clearly is a Cosmic setting.  Satan's previous title was Lucifer, or 'Lightbearer', but now he is called Satan or 'enemy' (adversary). This alludes to a cosmic conflict. God pointing out a true light-bearer on Earth--Job, while Satan points to a dark motive "Doth Job fear God for nought?" —directing his barbed accusation at this heavenly court and at God in particular.

Genesis opens with there being darkness on the face of the deep. Gen 1:2
God separated light from darkness Gen 1:4 and
God saw light and it was good Gen 1:5

The theme of darkness and light are primary in the book of Job too. It is no coincidence that Job is the book where the words 'darkness' and 'light' are most often used in ALL of scripture—light 35 times and darkness 24 times.

Ever wonder why there was darkness in God's perfect universe when this world was made? This was a mystery to me until two different preachers pointed me to this, this Summer. The context of man's creation was after war broke out in heaven. Rev 12:7-8 This dark earth, without form and void, was the residence of Satan--the former light-bearer.  If you refuse to receive and reflect light then darkness or night is the result. Reading Job is both a blessing and a chastisement bane. He seemed to have everything—family, wealth, spirituality and business acumen—so much like Moses that it is uncanny.  One thing that he lacked was anonymity—being able to blend into the background—but not for long.
After a meeting of the "Sons of God", and a conversation between God and Satan, a swarm of punishing paparazzi pounced on Job's idyllic life—literally all hell broke loose on him.  "Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." Job 1:8  Job did not have the Desire of Ages, but we do."
"The history of Job had shown that suffering is inflicted by Satan, and is overruled by God for purposes of mercy.  But Israel did not understand the lesson."—DA 471.4.
Are you learning this lesson that God has for you to learn? Whatever is happening to you God overrules for purpose of mercy. Prophets and Kings put it this way:
"Into the experience of all there come times of keen disappointment and utter discouragement—days when sorrow is the portion, and it is hard to believe that God is still the kind benefactor of His earthborn children; days when troubles harass the soul, till death seems preferable to life.  It is then that many lose their hold on God and are brought into the slavery of doubt, the bondage of unbelief.  Could we at such times discern with spiritual insight the meaning of God's providences we should see angels seeking to save us from ourselves, striving to plant our feet upon a foundation more firm that the everlasting hills, and new faith, new life, would spring into being."—PK 162.5
'Seeking to save us from ourselves', now there is a thought.  I need to be saved from myself. God's providence is able to do this. Jesus has saved me from myself. Praise God!

An aspect of suffering that the book of Job presents also leads to the need to understand what Satan's scope and boundaries in this controversy are. Elder Waggoner helps us out here.
"But while Satan has usurped the dominion which God gave to Adam, he does not have unlimited control of this earth. God did not give unlimited and supreme authority over the earth even to man and his uprightness; and so when Satan overcame man, it was not possible for him to get control of the earth to an unlimited degree. This fact Satan acknowledged, when he said to the Lord concerning Job, "Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?" Job 1:10. It still remains true that "the Most High ruleth and the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." {April 15, 1889 EJW, Bible Echo and Signs of the Times 122.4}
There it is.  God has a hedge around you (Ps 139:5) and me. In this shaking that is just before us, or that we are presently going through, we would have to come to realize that we are in a cosmic conflict with eternal consequences. This conflict started in Heaven.  It continued when man forfeited his standing through the Fall, and it continues in every aspect of our lives. 
"The Bible is its own expositor. Scripture is to be compared with scripture. The student should learn to view the word as a whole and to see the relation of its parts. He should gain a knowledge of its grand central theme--of God's original purpose for the world, of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption. He should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for the supremacy, and should learn to trace their working through the records of history and prophecy to the great consummation. He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives; and how, whether he will or not, he is even now deciding upon which side of the controversy he will be found.  {CT 462.1}

~Richard Kearns