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    February 17, 1896

    The Kingdom of God; or The Great Controversy Between Good and Evil

    WWP

    W. W. Prescott

    October 23, 1895 Armadale Camp-meeting Talk

    “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it in heaven.” Matthew 6:10.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.1

    It may help us to understand more clearly our own relation to God, and what the service of God means-what religion really is-if we study the fact that the cross of Jesus Christ has to do with more than this earth. We take altogether too limited a view of God’s plan of salvation if we confine its working simply to this world of ours.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.2

    In this petition the contrast is drawn between heaven and earth, and the prayer is that the will of God may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. The fact that God’s will reigns supreme there, makes heaven what it is; and because God’s will is not done here, makes this world what it is.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.3

    THE UNIVERSE INTERESTED IN THE PLAN OF SALVATION

    Let us first notice two or three scriptures which will call our attention to the thought that heaven has been affected, and is still affected, by God’s plan of salvation. Sin has affected more than this world, and more than this world depends upon God’s plan of salvation. In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul says, “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in Him.” Ephesians 1:9, 10. “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:19, 20.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.4

    It may seem at first thought somewhat strange that there should be anything in heaven needing to be reconciled by the blood of His cross, but so it says. God’s plan of salvation extends further than reconciling those that are on the earth. There is something to be reconciled that has to do with things in heaven.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.5

    REBELLION IN HEAVEN

    In the Revelation John says, “And there was war in heaven.” We are accustomed to the idea that this earth only has been in a state of rebellion; but this scripture says that there was war in heaven. “Michael and His angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.6

    “Michael and His angels fought.” Michael is Christ. Three very simple scriptures will show us that. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, He disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” Jude 9. There we find that Michael is spoken of as the archangel. And in Thessalonians Paul says, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The Lord Himself shall descend with the voice of the archangel. But we read in John 5:25, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God,... and shall come forth.” Michael is the archangel; the Lord will descend with the voice of the archangel; and it is the Lord’s voice that calls the dead from their tombs.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.7

    “And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent.” Not in the sense that we use the expression-that old serpent himself-but that ancient serpent, that one that caused the trouble in Eden. There was war in heaven, and the old serpent, the one that caused trouble in Eden, and is still causing trouble here, raised the rebellion, led in the fight, and was cast down to the earth.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.8

    Is there any way by which we can tellBEST February 17, 1896, page 52.9

    WHAT CAUSED THE TROUBLE IN HEAVEN?

    I think we can tell very easily by reading the experience of Christ with Satan when He was here on this earth. “Therefore when they were gathered together Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him.” Matthew 27:17, 18. It was envy on the part of Satan against Christ that caused the war in heaven in the first place, and those who are opposed to Christ will have the same disposition to-day. Speaking of the experience of those who had been converted, and of what they had been before that, Paul says, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Titus 3:3. Envy is characteristic of the natural heart, as we see from Romans 1:29: “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy.” It was envy that set up the opposition to Christ when He was here in the flesh,-simply the carrying forward of that same feeling that set up the strife in heaven. What is envy?-The desire of one to occupy a higher position than he does, a feeling of great self-worthiness. Love never feels like that; “love envieth not.”BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.10

    The Scripture points out very clearly that it was a feeling of envy on the part of Satan that led to all the trouble in heaven. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations? For thou hast said in thine heart,” notice the next five statements, and see how everyone of them begins, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14. Ezekiel also speaks of Satan, “Thus saith the Lord God, Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold; the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 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; I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” Ezekiel 28:12-17. From these scriptures you will see that it was a feeling of envy on the part of Satan that led to the difficulty in heaven.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.11

    Christ was begotten, not created; Satan was created, not begotten. As the only begotten Son, Christ could enter fully into the councils of God. Because he could not do this as Christ did, envy sprang up in the heart of Satan, and he began to determine, I will exalt myself. He began to stir up rebellion, to say, God is arbitrary, and he began also to get his sympathisers. “We are in slavery, and I have a better plan of government. Choose me as leader, exalt me, and then I will exalt you.” Do you not see the same principle that has been in the world ever since the fall? You exalt me and I will exalt you,-perhaps.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.12

    SATAN’S DISAFFECTION

    Satan succeeded in getting enough followers to make a rebellion in heaven. Being cast out there he determined to set up his kingdom in this earth, and show to the universe that he could run a government. Gradually he would extend this government till he took away from God the dominion, and then “he would be like the Most High;” he would be God.BEST February 17, 1896, page 52.13

    He started in just the same way that he started in heaven, by creating dissatisfaction. He said to the woman, “God knows that in the day you eat of the tree of knowledge, you will be as gods. The reason He gave why you should not eat of the tree, is not true. He told you that you would die, but that is not so. The fact is, that when you eat of the tree, you will be like Him. He does not want that, so He is keeping you down. If you listen to me and eat, you will be as gods.” And they tried it. In doing that Adam proved false to God, and passed everything into the hands of Satan.BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.1

    ADAM AND HIS DOMINION

    Adam was in a special sense the son of God. “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” Luke 3:38. He was a son of God in a different sense from what we are. The Scripture says, “Beloved now are we the sons of God.” But we are the sons of God by re-creation; Adam was the son of God by creation in the first place. He was set here to have dominion over this part of the universe as God’s representative. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” God made Adam His premier, and placed the dominion in his hands, recognising him as His representative in this earth.BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.2

    THE DOMINION USURPED BY FRAUD

    The devil, cast out of heaven by this war, comes to the earth, and by misrepresentation induces Adam, Christ’s representative, to hand over to him the dominion of this earth. He takes possession of it by lying and fraud; and determines to carry out here what he failed to do in heaven. This is recognised in the Scripture. Christ said, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you; for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” 2 Corinthians 4:4. Satan refers to this fact in the temptation of Christ in the wilderness. “And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.” Luke 4:4-7. He got possession of this world, and set up his kingdom, and today he says, “I am king.”BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.3

    ON WHICH SIDE ARE WE?

    And whose are we? and with whom are we sympathising in this government of the earth? From this standpoint, religion resolves itself into this question, Shall I be loyal to God in this great controversy that began in heaven and is now transferred to this earth, or shall I serve Satan? Whose subject shall I be in this great controversy?BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.4

    NATURE OF THE TWO KINGDOMS

    Satan set up his kingdom by fraud and usurpation, and he maintains it by force. Those are his characteristics. But God is love. His kingdom is founded upon love, and the only power He uses in His kingdom, is the power of love.BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.5

    The charge Satan brought against God was that He was arbitrary, determined to have His own way, and did not love His people. He promised, if the angels would follow him, to set up a better kingdom. Now it remains for this pledge to work out. While God can see the end from the beginning, created beings cannot; and had He at the first crushed out the rebellion by force; had He suppressed it by mere force, there would still have been in the minds of created beings a question of God’s justice. So God lets Satan work out his plan, that all the universe may see the contrast between Satan’s plan and God’s plan. AndBEST February 17, 1896, page 53.6

    THIS WORLD IS THE THEATRE

    on which a drama is being enacted which is commanding the attention of the universe. We are called to be actors in this drama. The question to be worked out is, Which plan of government is the better, Satan’s or God’s? To which one will God’s created beings give their allegiance? When God sends out His servants, what is their work? “Delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles unto whom now I send thee. To open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” Acts 26:17, 18. The question is one of loyalty to God. This may help you to see the meaning of some things which have possibly been doubtful to you.BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.7

    THE CASE OF JOB

    The case of Job is a remarkable one, and has probably been in the mind of every one who has ever had the Bible in their hands. Turn with me to the first chapter of the book of Job and follow his case with this idea in view. “There came a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” What right had he to be there? These sons of God were God’s representatives in the different parts of the universe. Adam was a son of God, and he was put on this earth to have dominion under God over it. But he betrayed his dominion, and Satan stepped in and took his place, and so, when a council was called for the representatives of God to come together to counsel about their territory, Satan came also. The roll was called, and Earth answered, Here. But it was Satan, not Adam, who answered. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. The Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives but to save them. He went about doing good.BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.8

    “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil?” “Then Satan answered the Lord and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” These are the very characteristics of Satan.BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.9

    Do you see, the Lord says to Satan, “My servant Job, although he is in your territory, yet he remains loyal to Me.” “Oh yes,” says Satan, “but that does not prove anything. Anyone would do that for the regard that you show him. It is not love that binds Job to you. He is serving you for his reward. Anybody would do it.” Do you see the complaint there? “You have put a hedge round him. Unfair. He is in my dominion. I should think anybody would be loyal to you on those grounds.” And that was said in a council in which there were representatives from all the universe. He there made the same charge that he made in heaven. And instead of deciding the matter there in an arbitrary way, the Lord said, “Behold all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” You know how it went. One after another his possessions were taken from him, and last of all his children were slain, and he was left perfectly alone. Then he was advised to give up everything. “But in all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”BEST February 17, 1896, page 53.10

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