The direction for our lessons this quarter – "Preparation for the End Time" – is presented in the quarterly on page 3, paragraph 3, which reads: "This quarter the focus is on the end time, but not totally. The real focus is on Jesus, but in the context of the last days and how to be prepared for them. Yes, we need to look at historical dates, at world events, at history itself, because the Bible talks about them in relation to the end. But even in this context, the Bible talks about Jesus—about who He is, what He has done for us, what He does for us, and what He will do when He does return. Christ and Him crucified must be the center of our faith; or as Paul said: "For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2, NKJV).
Getting to know Christ is preparing for the end time crisis. To know Christ is to receive Him and His righteousness. It is living by faith alone in His promises. The following from Mrs. White is right to the point: "If you would stand through the time of trouble, you must know Christ, and appropriate the gift of His righteousness, which He imputes to the repentant sinner" (RH Nov 22, 1892).
This week, in our first lesson, we observe the beginning of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. This Cosmic Conflict began in heaven by that Cosmic Maniac who attempted to unseat the Governor of the Universe. But he failed in his attempt. Instead he was expelled from his high position in the government of God and was thrown out of heaven. The conflict was relocated on earth after the representative of the promised race chose his wife, Eve who sinned against God, rather than Christ his Creator. Adam in his sin brought rebellion against God into the human race. That war started in heaven continues, without a break on earth, and will come to an end at the termination of the coming millennium when Satan and his combined forces of fallen followers – the untold millions both of angels and the resurrected wicked – will put forth their utmost effort to do on earth what Lucifer failed to accomplish in heaven. But their effort will be futile. The last battle of the war will be as physical as it was in heaven when Satan and those who followed him were physically driven out of Paradise. They did not leave voluntarily. They were thrown out.
We get insights into the Cosmic Controversy by considering the persons and works of Christ and Satan. The angel, Lucifer – the shining son of the dawn, later became ruler of darkness and named Satan the accuser. In the Old Testament book of Zechariah 3:1 we read of Satan bringing accusation against the high priest Joshua. Both the name "Satan" (a noun) and "accuse" (a verb) are from the same root word. Satan is the adversary who accuses mankind of the very evil he causes them to commit. By extension he accuses God who created man. These charges continue in the New Testament. Satan is called "the accuser of our brethren" (Revelation 12:10). The setting here was after Lucifer and those who followed him were compelled to leave heaven. They traveled to earth to do their nefarious work.
Both Jesus and Lucifer came from heaven to planet earth. Lucifer was thrown out; Jesus came voluntarily. And He did so in order to save us.
In Isaiah we get insights into the mind of the fallen Lucifer after being thrown out of heaven. No doubt this was his train of thought while still there. In Isaiah 14: 13-14 the personal pronoun "I" is used by Lucifer five times plus the adjective "my" once for a total of six times in relation to his selfish mind. Here is what he conceived in his corrupted mind:
"For you have said in your heart:
'I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.' "
In English (NKJV) there are 48 words recorded as used by Lucifer. In Greek (the Septuagint) there are 30 words by him and in the Hebrew language there are 24. In English, the use of personal pronouns is 1 out of 8 words; in Greek it is 1 out of 5 and in Hebrew 1 out of 4 words. Years ago I wrote in the margin of my Bible the following observation by someone writing about mental health (the source of which I neglected to record):
"The use of the terms 'I', 'me' and 'my' used once in 26 words is normal; used once in 12 words is considered abnormal; used once in 7 or 8 words is indicative of a mental problem." This being the case, we may conclude that Lucifer had and continues to have a severe mental problem. He became filled with himself and imagined he was equal with God.
On the other hand, Christ thought it not robbery to be equal with God. This is because He was and is God. Paul reveals this in his letter to the Philippian church. He wrote of the seven steps Christ took when he came to redeem us. These steps are found in chapter 2:6-8.
Jesus "who, being in the form of God,
did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
but made Himself of no reputation,
taking the form of a bondservant,
and coming in the likeness of men.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
Elder A. T. Jones, after presenting several translations of this passage, summarized it, then contrasted the mind of Christ with that of Satan as follows:
"The thought, then, which is expressed in the verses is this: 'Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be seized upon, to be violently striven for, and eagerly retained with solicitous desire, not a usurpation to be meditated, to be equal with God.' But he was already equal with God. He was already the one whose 'goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.' He was already the one who created all things 'that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.' He was indeed already God, equal with God. What, then, caused his mind to run in this channel, and to think it not a thing to be seized upon, striven for, and eagerly retained, to be equal with God,—in other words, to be that which, by eternal and inalienable right he truly was? Something caused it; and when we discover that, we have the key to the whole situation.
"From the nature of the case, it is evident that on the part of somebody there was a strife, a dispute, as to who ought to be equal with God. It is plain that on the part of someone there was manifested a mind, a disposition, earnestly to desire, to seize upon, and to meditate, a usurpation of such a position,—a position of equality with God. Who was that one? In whom did such a mind manifest itself? Not in Christ Jesus, for the mind that was in him thought no such thing. In whom was it, then? Ah! in that anointed cherub that covered, and who sinned; for the scripture says: '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. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.' Eze. 28:14-17." (A. T. Jones, "The Spirit of Christ as Manifested in His Work for the Salvation of Man," The Home Missionary Extra 3, November, 1891, pp. 7-8).
The devil has been defeated personally by Christ at every turn. After Christ ascended to heaven the devil turned his attention and energy to warring against God's people. This is revealed especially in the book of Revelation (see chapter 12 to 19 and in chapter 20 after the millennium when the devil will be loosed for a season and will think to take the City of God on earth by physical force. In chapters 12 and 13 we learn of apostasy in the Christian Church that will eventually swamp the world. The cruelty performed during the Dark Ages will be put into practice again. This will be generated from within the self-centered egotistical venal mind of Satan and imparted to those under his banner. However, the mind of Christ will again be triumphant over all the forces of evil as it is imparted to His followers. This will be accomplished during the time of the greatest proclamation of the everlasting gospel message of Revelation chapters 14 and 18 experienced and broadcasted by Christ's remnant church during the time when the latter rain will be poured out full strength as the faith of Jesus and the law of God are written so deeply within the minds of God's people "both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved" (MS 173, 1902, 4BC 1161).
In 1852 Mrs. White saw the explosive power of the proclamation of the message of righteousness by faith as it will be. It will be greater than the message of 1844 when, at that time, the everlasting gospel went to "every missionary station in the world" (GC 611). She "saw the latter rain … coming as [suddenly as] the midnight cry, and with ten times the power" (Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 5).
So now the question for you and for me is, which side of the "Cosmic Controversy" will we be found? Which side are we on now? Are we letting "the mind" of Jesus into us? or is that self-exalting devilish mind allowed in? The mind of Christ is received through His word which is His thought: "For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought … [is] The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name" (Amos 4:13).