The Great Controversy
The Great Controversy is also known as the struggle between the forces of good and evil. The forces of good include God the Father, Jesus Christ and His angels, and the human followers of God. The forces of evil include Lucifer, whom we now call Satan, and the angels and humans that side with him in his rebellion against God.
In the beginning there was God the Father who had a Son, Jesus Christ. That God had a Son was known to the ancients.
Many also believe Jesus to be Michael, the archangel, a chief prince in the heavenly realms and the commander of the heavenly armies (see Joshua 5:14, 15, Dan. 10:13, 21, 12:1, Jude 9, Rev. 12:7). Whenever Michael, the prince is mentioned in Scripture, it is always in the context of a struggle against the powers of darkness.
Jesus points to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as being the three members of the Godhead, what we call the Trinity.
Some view Jesus Christ as being a reflection of the physical embodiment of God the Father (John 14:8-10), and the Holy Spirit as His omnipresence. God is not some ethereal ambiguous vapor, but rather is a real distinct being with a form. The Bible says that God created Man in His image. In fact Genesis 1:26, 27 says,
One of God's uses of His creative abilities before He even created this world was the creation of the heavenly beings, including the angels. One of the first of these was an angel named Lucifer. Lucifer was an angel of the highest rank, a guardian or covering cherub serving next to the throne God. This is how the Bible describes him.
He was extremely gifted angel. It has been suggested that he led the angel choir and was endowed with a special gift of music. The King James version of the Bible translates the above "settings and mountings" as "pipes and taberets".
But because of his brightness, his wisdom and beauty, Lucifer wanted to become like God and Jesus Christ, especially in planning and creating things. But he could not, because he did not have within himself immortality or the ability to grant life. He wanted to be worshipped like God, rather than be a worshipper of God.
He was a created being, unlike the Father, Son and Holy Spirit which had within themselves inherent immortality. In jealousy, Satan began to discredit God and His Son in front of the other angels saying that God's rule and Laws were arbitrary, that the worship of God was against the best interest of the angels, that God did not have the angels' best interests in mind. Satan suggested that he could set up another government that was better than God the Father's. Subsequently, Lucifer led a third of the angels in a rebellion in heaven.
8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down --that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." (Rev. 12:7-9)
When God threw Satan out of heaven, God gave him the opportunity to prove his form of government here on this earth. Through time, the character of Satan and his government would be revealed, so that the watching universe might understand the terrible destructive nature of sin and the horrible consequences it leads to.
When God created Man and set him in the Garden of Eden, He also set a tree in it that was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Mankind's obedience to this command was to be the test of their loyalty to God. Satan was permitted to come to this one tree to tempt Adam and Eve. He chose to appear in the guise of a serpent. Now this serpent was probably different from the snakes that we have now. There is very strong evidence that this serpent had legs and probably wings. Its appearance might have been quite similar to the dragon or winged serpent that Satan has taken as two of his symbols.Footnote: The dragon is a commonly used symbol among many of the pagan religions of the world, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, the religions of the Mayas, Aztecs and Incas of South and Central America, those who practice sun worship, modern paganism, Satanists, and others. The winged serpent is also commonly found in these religions, especially in Egypt and South and Central America. People who have experienced contacts with "aliens" from UFO's have several times reported that the beings wore the symbol of a winged serpent on their clothes. Several New Age (modern occultism) proponents are calling for the return of the Great White Winged Serpent. As we shall see later, they shall get their wish answered.
The Bible talks about God killing the multi-headed dragon of the deep, Leviathan on Judgment day.
When God created the world, he created a dragon-like creature of the sea. If you study Job 41, it gives a very vivid description of this dragon. The devil took this "Leviathan" as a symbol of himself. End Footnote
So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. (Gen. 3:14)
God would not have cursed the serpent to crawl on its belly if it had not been created with other forms of locomotion such as legs and/or wings.
Eve came near the tree and was deceived by Satan speaking through this dragon-like creature.
The first two lies that deceived and continue to deceive mankind: 1) You will not die when you rebel against God, rather you will become wiser. And 2) Your eyes will become opened and you will become like the gods. In fact, you can become a god! These lies are still some of the greatest plaguing the world today.
Eve believed the serpent and took a bite of the forbidden fruit. Adam also fell when Eve tempted him with it, and together they fell. They rebelled against God and His command.
At this instant a number of things began to happen.
1) the scepter of power or dominion was wrested from Adam by Satan, and Satan became the prince of this world. The prince of the world was to be condemned at Christ's first coming.
2) The sentence of the first death was passed upon all Mankind who would descend from Adam.
3) A master plan, the plan of salvation was put in motion to redeem Man from the consequences or wages of his sin. To restore Mankind to a face to face relationship with God, to life immortal, to an Edenic heavenly paradise.
4) And finally, even though the scripture doesn't mention it, I believe a timer began counting down the years until Mankind could again be restored to life immortal. A countdown allocating 6,000 years for transgression on this world, to be followed by a Sabbatical 7th thousand years (the millennium) until the earth and heavens would be made new.
This theory was held even thousands of years ago as the Dead Sea Scrolls testify. It is based upon the weekly cycle of seven days, and that a thousand years is as short as a day in God's sight. In the following passages, the comparative colloquialism is used, but the phrases are still representative of ancient thought.
The controversy between Christ and His angels and between Satan and his angels, those angels who followed Satan in his rebellion, is being continued here on earth. It will be played out to the very end of time.
Revelation provides an end of time look at that controversy between God and His earthly followers and Satan and his earthly followers.
Satan is here walking about like a lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pet. 5:8). Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, attempting to deceive the world. In 2 Thessalonians, the man of sin, of lawlessness coming to this world, sets himself up to be exalted as God, coming with great signs and wonders. God permits this delusion to take place so that it may polarize people into one camp or the other. Those who accept this delusion of Satan will be firmly condemned, believing the lie, rather than showing themselves loyal to God and worthy of eternal life.
Revelation tells us about this deception to come to this world. It is my prayer that by the time that you finish studying this book, your eyes will be opened. You will have a greater understanding of how deceptive Satan's workings are. But even a greater appreciation of how much more marvelous and great is God's infinite wisdom and power and His love for His people.