The Great Controversy: The Foundation

The Great Controversy: The Foundation

Scripture: Genesis 3:15
Date: 10/06/2012  Lesson: 1
"The great-controversy motif is the overarching concept that gives cohesion to Seventh-day Adentist Fundamental Beliefs."

The Power of a Positive No (PB)

The Power of a Positive No (PB)
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Greetings from Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California in the united states of America. We are thrilled that you have tuned in to study God's word together with us and I know that you will receive a blessing today as you study with us with Pastor Doug - whether it's live on the internet streaming, through radio, television, later on on the internet, however you're joining us, I know that you will be blessed and you will be tuning in again. Our first song we're going to sing comes to us, first of all, it is called 'a shelter in the time of storm' and this is really exciting for us. Actually, sherle is going to put a picture up on the screen because there are 82 names from all over the world that have requested this song from 29 different countries. If I read them all we'd be here all day and I know we want to get to our study.

So these come as a request from Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Denmark, France, Guyana, India, Italy, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, England and Zimbabwe - and the United States too. And I was just thinking it would be really interesting to hear all of you sing together in your different accents and your different languages. But someday soon, very soon, we will be singing before the Lord himself and language isn't going to matter and race isn't going to matter - nothing is going to matter because we're all going to be under the umbrella singing to Jesus personally. I can hardly wait. If that is your goal and if that is your dream I invite you - hymn #528 - 'a shelter in the time of storm' - we'll sing the first, the third, and the last verses.

We are now taking Christmas requests - Christmas comes early here at Sacramento central and if you have a favorite Christmas hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming presentation, I invite you to go to our website. It's very simple - 'saccentral.org' - click on the 'contact us' link and there you can request any Christmas hymn in our hymnal and we will sing that with you on a coming presentation. As you know, we've been learning new hymns and we've actually found a couple of Christmas hymns as we've been going through so you can pick those too. This week it's hymn #25 - 'praise the Lord his glory show' - and this actually does come as a request from ali in malawi and Joseph and peachy in the philippines - hymn # 25 and we're going to sing all three verses and it's actually a really easy one so I'm lucky today. You know, I've always enjoyed songs that have ahhhleluia - in any song I've always enjoyed that - I don't know why but it's just something special and that's what I'm going to sing when we're in heaven - alleluia.

Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for the opportunity that we have to come and worship you and to cast our cares at your feet and our burdens and you have promised that you will just take them and you will carry us through and so we claim that promise this morning and we just thank you for bringing us together to hear Pastor Doug bring us your word and that we will apply it to our lives and that we will share the light that we receive with others that your coming may be soon. Lord, we long for that day and we look forward to seeing you face to face and we thank you that your promises are true and that you are always faithful. We pray these things in your precious name, amen. Our lesson study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central.

Thank you debbie and our musicians and jolyne. I wanted to thank you for singing along and I want to welcome everybody - those who might be visitors here at Sacramento central today - just curious, how many of you are visiting today? Let me see your hands. Welcome. Oh yes, I see a few. Glad to have you here and I want to welcome those who are tuning in - maybe for the first time - and we have our regulars and we have those who are part of the Sacramento central church family - they're the online members - I want to welcome you.

We do that because we have some folks who are scattered around the world but they're able to participate in church through either satellite or through the internet and so we just like to be able to serve in that way. If you'd like to know more about how you could be part of this Sacramento central internet church family just go to the website 'saccentral.org' and we'll talk to you about that. We have a free offer today - our lesson today is dealing with the Great Controversy. We're going to be talking about the battle between Michael and the dragon and the woman and the serpent and we have a free book - this is a new book and - by yours truly - it's called 'the Savior and the serpent'. You know that verse, it says, 'for as Moses lifted up the serpent, even so The Son of man must be lifted up'? By the way, that comes just before John 3:16 - very, very important verse in the Bible - talks about how you find this battle between the Savior and the serpent all the way from Genesis to Revelation.

We'll send it to you for free. We'd like you to then read it and share it with a friend. Just call the number on the screen, it's 866 - I always say the number because some are listening on radio - -study-more - that's 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #798. That makes it easier when you call in for them to know what book it is. We're beginning in a moment - I'll tell you, we're just starting a new quarterly but, you know, I think I still have time because we pre-record these studies a couple of weeks in advance - that gives us a chance to edit them.

We also are able to put in the closed-captioning to send it out for those who are assisted in that way, but something exciting is coming - I think just about the time this program airs. I'm going to be traveling with some of the Amazing Facts team and some of the 3abn team and we're going to southern adventist university and we're doing a very special series of meetings for college students. Now, you know, we did a special series a few years ago reaching out to kids between 8 and 12, called 'Amazing Adventures' and then we went to Michigan and from a Christian academy there we did a special series for teenagers called 'miq - most important questions'. And now we're going and doing our best - with your prayers - to talk to college students. We're going to be doing four presentations from October 11th to the 13th.

There'll be two on Sabbath and it's called 'the ultimate purpose - up' and so we're going to do the Ultimate Purpose meetings - we invite you to tune in - it'll be on 3abn and, of course, it'll be on the internet. You'll find more information about that at the Amazing Facts website and we want you to pray. Now, the reason we're doing this - you know what the age is when people raised in Christian homes - what is the age when you typically see them drift? It's going to be during the college years, in particular. They might start rebelling during the teenage years but when they actually go to college and they're free to make their own choices, up to 70% of those raised in Christian homes will, at least temporarily, stop going to church during those years. They're asking a lot of questions.

They're making the most important decisions. They're at that crossroads in life - they're deciding who their life-long friends are going to be, who they might marry, what their career is going to be, their philosophy for life is all really - the concrete starts to set during those years and so this is a very important time - very important meetings. I hope that you'll pray for the 'ultimate purpose' meetings - once again, October 11th through th from southern adventist university there in collegedale, tennessee. Please pray for yours truly and the team that that will be an effective series of presentations. All right, now that that commercial is over we'll talk about our lesson.

Entering a new lesson and this is very important. 'Growing in Christ'. And I've been looking through in advance - I've been looking through and I guess I could summarize by saying, 'this is a great quarterly' - really great because it's an evangelistic meeting - it's sort of a combination of an evangelistic meeting and the baptismal vows all condensed into one quarter's study. Today, for instance, we're talking about the Great Controversy so don't miss these lessons and if you want to invite somebody to tune in, invite them to tune in during this quarter because it really is presenting the essence of the gospel and today's lesson, #1 is dealing with 'the great controversy: the foundation' and we have a memory verse, of course. And the memory verse comes from Genesis 3:15 where you first find the great - the first prophecy in the Bible, really.

Genesis 3:15 and this is from the new king James - hope you'll say it with me. Are you ready? "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Now this is really talking about the woman, eve, is really a type here of the bride of Christ or the church because adam is really the first adam - Jesus is the second adam - his bride is the church and here you've got a battle between the serpent who is a type of who? It's really a type of the devil and it's this war between the serpent and the woman and it talks about the seed of the woman or this Messiah who would come who would be this miraculous seed of the woman and you find that all the way through the Bible. Turn with me, for instance, if you go to Revelation chapter 12 - and we'll be referring back to this - Revelation chapter 12. Now we just read Genesis in our memory verse - Revelation 12, verse 7 talking about the controversy and its players, "and war broke out in heaven:" - now, a lot of what you read in Revelation - I just want to pause for a second and have you think about this - a lot of what you read in Revelation are prophecies that were going to come in the future - but not always. Sometimes in Revelation the Lord pulls back the veil and he shows something that may have happened in the past.

Here is one of those cases. God is showing why we have war on earth is because it first started with a war where? You know one thing that virtually every world religion agrees with is there is a war - there is some kind of spiritual war between good and evil that's being acted out here in the world between opposite and opposing forces. And I've looked into all kinds of world religions and studied into them - before I became a Christian I dabbled in them - and they all recognize that there's a war - it's a spiritual war and it's a war that's also happening in every person's heart and mind. Sometimes it's been portrayed as you've got a little angel on one shoulder and you've got a little devil on the other shoulder. And the reason that cartoon has persisted is because there's some truth to it.

We all get tempted and we have good thoughts and we want to do the right thing and we feel like the Spirit is urging us to do what is good and noble and right and true and we also have this dark side that, you know, we wouldn't want to have a little lcd screen on our foreheads where people could always see what you're thinking because we all have these thoughts. There's a carnal nature and there's a selfish side and we feel this battle going on inside between light and darkness, good and evil, Christ and satan. Now that's really who it is. So, it talks about - back to the verse again, "war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought," - now, it tells that you've got these principal players Michael and the dragon - the dragon is a symbolic name for who? For satan. Michael is a symbolic name for who? For Christ.

Now, just for our friends who are viewing there are some churches out there who believe that Jesus, before he came to earth, was an angel. We do not believe that. We believe that the word 'Michael' means, well we know what it means, it means, who is as God - and that these - this is a name and a title that often refers to Christ prior to the incarnation. Jesus is the divine son of God, he is God The Son - we believe that - but one of the titles is the one who is as God. And you look at the evidence in the Bible - and 'angel' simply means messenger and so archangel means greatest or highest messenger or chief or leader of the other angels.

And so, I just want people - you almost have to stop and explain who Michael is so bear with me for just a minute as I do that. You find Michael - Joshua kneels before him, he says, 'take off your shoes, where you stand is holy ground.' Michael must be divine or God would not say to Joshua to worship - that he was holy ground - whenever anyone knelt before an angel the angel said, 'don't do it. Only worship God.' It tells us the Lord himself - speaking of the coming of Jesus - the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel. the Lord has the voice of the greatest messenger, the one who is as God, okay? It tells us that Michael resurrects. In the book of Jude, verse 9 it says, there's a dispute over the body of Moses and the devil - that's the serpent, the dragon - he wants to debate and say, 'no, Moses sinned, you can't take him.

' And Michael says, 'the Lord rebuke thee.' The very same thing that Jesus said when he was tempted by the devil here on earth. And then it tells us in Daniel chapter 12 that at that time "Michael will stand up the great prince that stands for the children of thy people and there will be a time of trouble such as there never has been." And that's when Michael stands up - that means intercession has ceased - he's getting ready to come. It's like, you know, you're no longer listening - the judge stands up, cases are closed, court is over. And so - it says, 'the prince that intercedes for thy people.' Who is the intercession - intercessor for God's people? Jesus. So you look at all of the places where Michael appears and it shows us that really this is just an old testament title for God The Son, Jesus.

So, anyway, here you've got this war in heaven: the devil and his angels and Christ and his angels and what brought about a war in heaven? The war on earth began with a war in heaven. By the way, it tells us - I'll get to that in a second, let me finish the verse - "so that great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and satan" - now notice those four titles there - dragon, serpent, devil, satan - do we have any question that they're all the same person? It's really clear in the Bible that this power of evil - you know sometimes he's called beelzebub - he's called the chief of the devils - he's the arch villain - he's consummate evil. He's the prince of darkness. I mean, you know, they've got all these names for the devil but this is the one who is fighting with Christ and his angels. How did he get angels? Where did he get his army? Well, long ago and far away there was no sin in the universe.

Everything was peaceful. All of God's creatures were good. Everything good comes from God. People are wondering, 'why would God make a devil to tempt people? I mean, wouldn't that make him an accomplice to sin if God deliberately said, 'okay, I've got my factory here - good angel, good angel, good angel - well, I'll try something different, I'll make an evil angel. I'm going to make an angel that will sin.

' Now, if sin is bad, if God makes an angel for the purpose of sinning, wouldn't God be an accomplice? See what I'm saying? But he didn't. The Bible tells us - matter of fact, let's turn in our Bibles quickly - turn to Ezekiel verse 28. In Ezekiel 28 you kind of get a little history here and you also have some in Isaiah 14 - why don't we look in - oh let's see here - verse 12. Now, I'm going to take my time explaining this and if I don't get through the lesson, that's okay. I want you to understand the Great Controversy and if you don't understand how a good God can somehow make a bad devil - or how does a bad devil come from a good God, you've just got to understand that God didn't make a devil, he made a beautiful angel.

All right, look at this prophecy, Ezekiel 28, starting at verse 12 - well, start at verse 11, "moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'son of man, take up a lamentation for the King of tyre, and say to him, 'thus says the Lord God.''" Now, it is not unusual in the Bible for God to begin giving a prophecy to a kingly power that may have been enemies of God's people and then he's really going behind the veil to the power ruling the power. In Revelation chapter 12 it talks about the dragon wants to destroy the man-child as soon as he is born. Did the devil try to destroy Jesus as soon as he was born? And he worked through what government? Rome. And what king? Herod. And so there was a power working behind herod to destroy Christ.

Here he's given this vision - the King of tyre - they were to the north - they were spiritual enemies of God's people and he says, 'take up this' - and then he goes and he talks in this vision - in this prophecy - about the devil. You see if you don't agree. "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in eden, the garden of God;" - was the King of tyre in the Garden of Eden? Was he perfect in beauty? Full of wisdom? No, it's talking about something else here. "Every precious stone was your covering:" - you know, even the high priest who was - is covered with all these precious stones - and so lucifer, before he fell was the chief of the angels and God made a perfect angel.

It says here, "you were the seal" - oh yeah - "you were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Every precious stone was your covering:" - and it mentions "the sardis, the topaz, the diamond, the beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes" - it's talking about the music, the resonance that would come from his voice - "was prepared for you on the day you were created." He's not born - this creature in this vision was created. What makes angels different from people? Most people, with the exception of adam and eve, are born. But the angels neither marry nor are given in marriage.

They are all created individually. They are ministering spirits. And then if you have any doubts left, verse 14, "you were the anointed cherub who covers." There closest to the throne of God are two angels that had the greatest honor - they were called the covering cherubs. You see them in Isaiah chapter 6 - they cry 'holy, holy, holy' - they are in the presence of God. Lucifer was the chief of the covering cherubs.

"I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones." - Amidst the flaming pavement of God's pavilion lucifer walked. - "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created." It's not talking about somebody who's born with a selfish nature, it's talking about this perfect beautiful, powerful, matter of fact, how long ago was lucifer made? Long time ago because God did not just start beginning to create with our universe. God has been creating for eons, right? And millennia. And so a long, long, time ago - we don't know when sin first happened, do we? And so whenever that was, some time long ago and far away in the remote recesses of time, something happened in lucifer's mind. Something changed and he became selfish.

I'll tell you, God makes his creatures free - perfectly free - and because we're perfectly free we have the freedom to choose to love God and that means in order to have freedom to choose to love God you must also have freedom to choose not to love God. So, God wants to be loved. For us to really love God he's got to say, 'look, I want the universe to know I am not making any creature love me, they're all free.' And just to prove they're free they've got two doors in front of them - everybody had two doors - one is 'love God' and the other is 'love yourself'. There's only two options - love and selfishness - that's all, love and selfishness. And so far, up to this point, every creature chose to love God because God is so lovable.

He is love and all his creatures naturally chose to love him. But lucifer, because he had so much power, he was the most powerful of all of God's creatures, isn't that right? He sang the best, he was the brightest, he was the best looking. And because he was the greatest and the best and the most powerful - have you heard the expression before 'power corrupts. Position corrupts. With position often comes power and absolute power corrupts absolutely'? And because lucifer had all that power - he saw all the other creatures kneeling and worshiping Christ and singing Christ's praises and praising God and somewhere something clicked - a thought came to lucifer - you know, all the other angels adored him when he walked by and there was only one time when they didn't adore him first - it's when they adored Jesus - and he began to think, 'how come I don't have that much power? How come I'm created and he's everlasting? How come I can't be from everlasting to everlasting? How come I can't be God?' I don't know exactly what the first thought was, but he began to want God's position.

Let me just finish this passage here in Ezekiel and then we'll go to Isaiah. "You were perfect in your ways" - I'm in Ezekiel 28:15 - "you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; I will destroy you, o covering cherub," - so who's he talking about? the King of tyre or lucifer? He's talking about the devil. "From the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before Kings, that they might gaze at you.

You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror and shall be no more forever." So even though the devil's going to burn day and night until he suffers more than anyone - he'll be cast in that lake of fire - Revelation 20 - eventually, he will be consumed and never will he be forever and ever. He is consumed forever and ever. Do you understand that? And so, this is a very important prophecy about where the devil came from and where he's going. He doesn't like this passage I'll tell you right now.

Look now in Isaiah chapter 14. We have a corresponding passage here. Go to verse 12. Interesting thing, it starts - in Ezekiel it's a prophecy talking to the King of tyre, if you go to Isaiah 14, verse 4, "you will take up this proverb against the King of Babylon." And he kind of segues from talking about the King into talking about the power behind the King, which was the devil. Verse 12, "how you are fallen from heaven, o lucifer, son of the morning!" Now is there any question about who it's talking about? "How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 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" - you know, as far as the ancients were concerned - we still have this - when you look at a globe, unless you live in australia, the top of the globe is always.

..north or south? It's always north. And so they always thought that the pinnacle of the universe was in the highest parts of the north and so that's why they use this. Now, I've been in australia where they turn the whole globe upside down - it's really weird. They've got the southern hemisphere as the top of their globe - some of their globes - which would be more practical if you lived down there. The farthest sides of the north - verse 14, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most high.

' Yet you shall be brought down to sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit." You know, as we're reading about where lucifer came from, and the fate of lucifer, two stories pop into my mind. It says here 'you're going to be brought to the pit.' King David had a beautiful son - what was his name? He had a lot of sons - they were probably all good looking but absalom was above and beyond. It says, 'from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.' He was very beautiful. And he also had a very beautiful sister named tamar - David married their mother a hinoam - the jesrealitess and she must have been very beautiful too. David was good looking.

Now that we think about it there were good genes in there somewhere. But he became proud and absalom stole the hearts of all the people of Israel. He created a rebellion in the Kingdom. Did lucifer do that in heaven with the angels? And finally there was a great war between those who followed David and those who followed absalom. Was there a war in heaven between those who followed lucifer and those who followed Christ? And at the end of the war, the forces of absalom are defeated.

Absalom is destroyed and he is placed in a pit and a great heap of stones is piled on him without a grave Marker and so, 'never shallt thou be anymore.' And it also said in Ezekiel, 'I'll bring forth a fire from the midst of thee and it will devour thee.' There's a wicked king named herod. He wanted to kill the apostles - he killed James, he wanted to kill Peter - and after Peter slipped through his fingers he was in his dazzling robes making a speech and the people said, 'it is the voice of a God and not of a man.' And herod liked that. He said, 'yes, I am a God.' And it said that he was devoured by worms that ate him from the inside out. By the way, Josephus specifically mentioned that he was filled with maggots and he died in great distress and pain and that's what's going to happen to lucifer - devoured from the inside out. So, you see, even in the stories of the Bible you can see the history of lucifer is repeated on many occasions.

What happened to Nebuchadnezzar when he walked on his balcony and said, 'is not this the great Babylon that I have built from my power and my majesty?' Me, me, me, i, i, i. All of a sudden he was struck - instead of thinking about how brilliant and clever he was he became a raving beast and these stories in the Bible about pride - 'a haughty spirit goes before a fall' - this is really what happened to lucifer. What brought - what made an angel into a devil? Pride. Isn't that right? Now, let me read - you know, I've got some verses for you to read but I'm not sharing, am i? Christ's object lessons, p. 154 - Let me read this to you, "the evil that led to Peter's fall, that shut the pharisee from communion with God, is proving the ruin of thousands today.

There is nothing so offensive to God or so dangerous to the human soul as pride." Nothing is "so dangerous to the human soul as pride and self-sufficiency. Of all sins it is the most hopeless, the most incurable." You know when you think, 'i want others to look at me. I want people to notice me. I want the attention.' And so often in my life I've gotten into trouble because I wanted everyone to look at me. Just a little personal thing between me and the Lord - I've had stitches three times in particular - you may have heard me share this - under my left eye, on my left hand - if they have a close up you'll see that cut right there - and on my left foot.

All three times I was showing off. I was jumping on a bike when I was 15 at this school in Maine - going over a jump and the girls were watching - teenage boy - bad combination. Famous last words, 'watch this!' And I went over this jump on my stingray bike and I was going to try and get real high and I pulled back too hard and didn't hit it quite right and the thing just totally flipped up on top of me - the back of it landed on my face and cut my eye. Some friends were watching me - I was going to say 'watch this!' - I could spear fish when I was living up in the cave and I did something that's a no-no - I cut towards myself in sharpening the stick - cut right down to the bone. I had to sew this up myself because I was up in the hills.

Then some friends came to visit me at the cave another time - I was going to show them how I could dive off this high rock into the pool. I said, 'watch this!' - Walking across the creek I'd walked across a thousand times before I stepped down and what I thought was a rock - it turned out to be a baby food jar - remember the little gerber baby food jars? I don't even know how it got there - I'd been there for years - it broke under my foot and cut my foot open. Always showing off - all three times. So I'm a hard case - the Lord's been working on me - but I suspect that you've had your episodes where there was some pride in there and the Lord had to bring you down a notch. We all wrestle with that.

Okay, where was i? All right, back to where this Great Controversy began - it started in heaven with a war in heaven. Someone look up for me 1 Timothy :6 - that's in our lesson. I think we gave out some verses. Timothy 3:6 - hold your hand up - I don't know who - right over here. And we'll get to you in just a second.

Before we do I'm going to read John 8:44 - John 8:44. If we're wondering about the devil, Jesus knows about him. "You are of your father the devil and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and The Father of it.

" Jesus said he's a murderer, he's a liar and he's a rebel - rebelled against God's power. Now what happens sometimes is we've got to be careful. When a person is exalted into a position where there's some authority or power, they can be faced with the same temptations that the devil had. Paul talks about that. Go ahead and read for us Timothy 3:6.

1 Timothy 3:6, "not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil." All right, so when the devil had all this authority he became puffed up with pride. And anyone ever seen a peacock strut? They try and make themselves fluff out and be as big as possible to impress the females. Well, the devil wanted to impress the other angels and he began to say, 'you know, God really isn't very fair when you think about it because he's got this law out there and we don't really have a choice, you know, if we disobey we die. We ought to be free to choose for ourselves and we really only have one option - it's either worship God or nothing. But I believe that we'd be happier and we'd have more freedom if I was in charge.

' And I don't know what all of his campaign slogans were but he began to, basically, try to undermine God among the angels saying, 'God isn't fair. How come we don't have the same power as God? How come we can't create like he creates? We're just these ministering angels that he says, 'go here. Go there.' And we're just doing everything he says.' And they thought - some of them were thinking, 'yeah, but we have joy. This is our pleasure. We love God.

' Others were thinking, 'oh, maybe you're right. How come we - how come we're just slaves? How come we're just being ordered around the universe by God? We ought to be in charge.' Lucifer said, 'follow me. You'll be free.' Have you ever heard that before? How many people follow a misguided leader because they're promised wonderful things? The devil said to eve, 'oh, God's keeping things from you. You eat this fruit then you'll be like God. He's trying to keep it from you.

Follow me.' The devil still tells a lot of people 'follow me - I'll make you rich and famous. You'll be a movie star. You'll have power. Who wants to be a millionaire? Follow me.' And the devil will still use those same strategies today. 'You'll be famous.

' Just if you channel surf through the typical American television it's just absolutely diabolical. The devil uses the same kind of slogans for humanity that he used for the angels and he tells us to sin. 'Sin and you'll really enjoy yourself. You'll have peace. You deserve it.

' How many commercials I've heard someone say, 'don't you deserve this?' People ask me, 'doug how are you doing?' I say, 'better than I deserve.' Because if you think about what you deserve - the penalty for sin is death. And I know right now I'm doing better than I deserve - so are you. Right? And so the devil, he incited this rebellion. When a person is promoted too quickly sometimes you'll find they can't handle it. You've got to let your humility catch up with your authority.

And if a person has a big position. Moses wasn't ready when he thought - to lead God's people - he needed 40 years taking care of sheep. David wasn't ready to be king even after he was anointed - he needed to run for his life for several years and develop some humility. Joseph wasn't ready to rule Egypt until he spent some time in prison and sweeping carpets for potipher, right? And sometimes if a person just goes right from college to ceo they can't handle it and they start ordering everyone around feeling a little self-important and - so Paul's talking about that. Even in the church a person can be given authority too quickly and it's not good for them.

Someone look up for me 1 John 3, verse 8 - somebody has that. We've got someone back here. Okay, we'll get - we'll have you read that in just a moment. Hebrews 11, verse 4 - still talking about this battle between good and evil - the controversy and its players - it says, "for by faith abel offered to God a more excEllent sacrifice than cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks." Right there in the beginning, these two sons of adam and eve - what were their names? Cain and abel. One worshiped God the way God said and he talked to his brother and he plead with his brother and he said, 'we need to follow God.

' Cain said, 'I'm going to do my own thing. I don't like the way God's telling us to worship - it's - that's bloody. Animals? Let's offer fruit. I'm good at that. You offer sheep - you're a shepherd.

I'll offer fruit - I'm a farmer.' And he said, 'no, there needs to be a shedding of blood for forgiveness of sin.' And right there at the beginning there was a conflict about how to worship God. And one brother, who worshiped by his own designs and imagining became angry and persecuted and killed the brother who worshiped according to God's word. And that's going to happen at the end of time. Those who worship by man-made laws are going to persecute and kill those who worship according to God's word. And so you see this battle between good and evil.

Following the devil - and, by the way, the devil wants - he believes in worship. Absolutely the devil believes in worship. He even told Jesus, 'worship me I'll give you everything.' The devil wants worship - he's not against worship. He's for religion. Sometimes we think the devil's against religion.

All right, read for us John 3:8. I think we're ready. 1 John 3:8, "he who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose The Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." All right, so is there any question, according to the Bible, where sin came from? The devil sins from the beginning. Now, one reason God is so merciful to us is we have been as a people, as a race, as a world - we have been, basically, tempted to sin.

We have been caught on this battleground. We didn't have a choice after adam and eve fell - we've been born with these selfish natures and God loves us and he wants to give us a fair chance. And I don't think when lucifer first rebelled - God didn't wipe him out right away. Now, matter of fact, what would have happened? Some people always think, 'if God is good and God's all-powerful, then after lucifer sinned why didn't God snuff him out? Couldn't God have just wiggled his ears and made the devil disappear? God could have snapped his fingers and a bolt of lightning would have come through the cosmos and just vaporized lucifer.' How come God didn't do that? What if he did do that? Suppose you're part of a factory company. You work for the boss and you're all thinking, 'you know, we're not getting very fair wages, we should maybe talk to the boss and ask for a raise.

' And so, you get a representative and he goes in to talk to the boss and ask for a raise and he's vaporized. Well you might keep working there but you're not going to like it very much are you? And you might not ask for a raise but you're not going to like the boss - you're never going to trust him again and you're probably going to make defective products. Does God want any of his creatures motivated by fear or anger? He wants us to serve him because we love him. So when the devil put up these false accusations, how do you deal with that? You know, we're right now in the heat of, you know, major political issues for our country - every four years is a presidential race and invariably there'll be political ads. And the ads invariably accuse the opponents - I'm not taking any sides here, I'm just telling you it usually - the mud goes both ways.

And sometimes things outrageous are said and if you say nothing to defend yourself people will think it must be true. And if you say something to defend yourself you look guilty. And it's like a lose-lose situation. I've had people say just totally crazy things about me. Somebody one time said, 'doug's got property up in covelo.

That's where Amazing Facts gets its money, because he's growing marijuana up there.' I'm glad you laughed. And I thought to myself, 'do I try to prove that wrong? Or do I just have to let it go and say - you know there's nothing you can do about it - when you hear things like that there's nothing you can do about it. See, right now I feel like I need to invite you all home to show that's not. I've had the pastors come to my house - they'll be my witnesses. But in any event, God said, you know, 'the devil's made all these accusations.

I just need to show who I am and he'll show who he is and the universe will have to see.' He had to let it play out and it ultimately played out. You know where the greatest concentration of truth was? At the cross. At the cross is where you see the Lord's love and forgiveness and you see the devil's venom and vitriol and hate. And you just see them contrasted. Jesus is saying, 'father forgive them.

' And the devil fills this mob and they're just trying to mock him and deride and get as much suffering out of the innocent son of God. Even pilate said, 'i find no fault in him. He's done nothing wrong.' But you really see the devil's love for power and Christ's power of love there at the cross. And so that was the best - that's why he said, 'if I am lifted up I will draw men to me.' Because they'll see the love of God there - they'll see the selflessness of God and the selfishness of lucifer - satan - at the cross. All right, so we talked already a little bit about lucifer's fall.

What is God's weapon in this battle between good and evil? Look at Revelation 12:17 - who has that for us? We've got a hand right here. We'll read that in just a second. What is the best weapon that God has? Well, here on earth it says that there'd be enmity between the devil and his seed and Christ and his seed - the woman's - the seed of the woman. You know, every mother from the time of eve until mary hoped that her baby would be the Messiah. And it's interesting that you've got - and you've heard me say this before - you've got seven miracle births in the Bible.

All of the miracle births - can you name them? They were barren women who had babies. Let's see, Sarah had Isaac, right? By the way, all three patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - all of their wives initially were barren. Did you know that? Sarah had trouble having a baby. Rebecca had trouble having a baby. Rachel had trouble having a baby.

But through God's intervention - they weren't all necessarily miraculous but they all finally had babies. It took rebecca, I think, twenty years before she finally got pregnant. How many of you have known a family that tried and tried - they adopt and then they get pregnant. Anyway, so you've got Sarah, rebecca, rachel, the shunammite woman, hannah, Samson's parents, elizabeth - John the baptist's mother, and then after that you finally have the miracle birth of Jesus. But it never says mary was barren but he is a miracle birth.

So you've got these - and they're all baby boys because they're all types of Christ. Have you ever looked at them? Was Isaac a type of Christ? He goes up the mountain with the father as a willing sacrifice - with the wood on his back as Christ had the cross on his back. Was Jacob a type of Christ? The patriarch with the twelve sons - as Jesus had the twelve apostles - who wrestled with God for his family. Was Joseph a type of Christ? Rachel's son? What a powerful type of Christ in the Bible. Here betrayed by his brothers and sold for the price of a slave.

The shunammite woman has a boy who's out in the field working with his father and he dies and is resurrected - as Christ is in the field and he dies and is resurrected. Samuel, is he a type of Christ? Hannah's son? He is a judge and a priest and a prophet as Christ is our judge, our priest, and our prophet. And then, of course, John the baptist the forerunner of Christ. Samson - is he a type of Christ? Single-handedly delivers God's people from their enemies. The final act is one of spreading out his arms and laying down his life just as Christ did.

So there are all these types of Christ. And then the final miracle baby boy is not Jesus - it's in Revelation - the woman who's being chased. All right, you were going to read a verse - you thought I forgot. Actually, I did, but I just remembered. Revelation 12:17, "and the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

" Now this woman you see in Revelation 12 - who happens to have twelve stars above her head - some say that's mary and you'll see in a number of catholic churches - you'll see mary standing on the moon - you see a lot of this picture - mary standing on the moon - she's shining - she's got radiant light beams coming like sunbeams coming out of her clothing and she's got twelve stars above her head. And they believe mary was this woman because it says the dragon wants to devour this baby who's born and the baby's obviously Christ so it must be talking about mary. Well, but it's saying that the dragon pursues the woman into the wilderness. It's not talking about mary, it's talking about the church. The church is the bride of Christ.

The church brings forth Christ to the world. The church fled into the wilderness as it was persecuted. In the old testament the church fled into the wilderness after being persecuted there in Egypt and he fed her there and in the new testament the church, again, flees into the wilderness during the persecution of rome and during the dark ages. So this woman in Revelation 12 - Jesus said to the church, 'you are the light of the world.' The light that you see - the woman with Revelation 12 - sun, moon, stars - all light that God made - she's shining with the light of God's creation. The woman in Revelation 17 - gold, pearls, precious stones - it's earthly beauty - very different.

One is the bride of Christ one is the counterfeit. Babylon. And so she brings forth the man-child - the woman in Revelation 17 has daughters. Isn't that what it says? So they're totally antithesis of one another. All right, so she keeps the commandments of God and has the testimony of Jesus.

That very simply is saying that God's church is going to have the Word of God - the law and the prophets. 'Bind up the testimony. Seal the law among my disciples.' The Word of God is called the law and the testimony. The commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. And that means that God's people in the last days will have - the Word of God will be the foundation for what they teach and they'll also still have the spiritual gifts in their midst.

These are the two witnesses - the law and the prophets - that you find in Revelation 11 - the new and the old testament. It's the Word of God. The Word of God is a sword with how many edges? Two edges - and so in the mouth of at least two witnesses let everything be established. All right - and the devil, of course, has been attacking the church. Hebrews 8:1 and 2, "and now this is the main point of the things we are saying: we have such a high priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the lord erected, and not man.

" So what do we do to fight the devil? How does - what resources do we have? Do we have somebody seated at the right hand of God who intercedes - he ever lives to make intercession for us? We have a high priest that right now has access - matter of fact, through Christ we can personally, boldly come into the presence of God, the Bible tells us. And Christ has built his church on the truth of His Word. That's what he said to Peter. Oh, one more verse, Deuteronomy , verse 17 - who got that one? Right here. Let's get a microphone quickly.

Go ahead mike. Deuteronomy 32:17, "they sacrificed to demons, not to God, to Gods they did not know, to new Gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear." So it's talking about there's two kinds of worship here. You've got the true worship and the counterfeit worship and that's under the section 'satan's fight'. Satan's number one fight is an attack on the character of God. He doesn't want people to know who God is so he misrepresents God and that's what all this counterfeit worship and idolatry really does - it misrepresents the character of God.

Well friends, we did run out of time. I hope we learned something about where the controversy began. Please, if you missed it, ask for the free offer. It is a new book - it's called 'the Savior and the serpent'. We'll send it to you just ask for offer #798 when you call the number on your screen.

God bless you and look forward to studying again together next week. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who is behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed.

Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'. If you've been encouraged by today's message and would like to know more of what God's word says to you today, Amazing Facts invites you to visit our educational website at 'www.Bibleuniverse.com'. At Bible universe you'll discover exciting truths that will fill you with peace and purpose. The mysteries of the Bible will unfold for you at your own pace. Visit 'www.Bibleuniverse.com' today. Expand your universe.

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