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Bible study lesson 02

Lesson 02 - The Great Controversy (part 1)

Purpose:

  • To show that there is a cosmic conflict between God and Satan with earth as the main battleground

 Theme:

  • God is a God of love

Bible verses to read:

  • Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31
  • Matthew 13:24-30, 37-39
  • Luke 13:10-16
  • Luke 10:18
  • Ezekiel 28:12-18
  • Isaiah 14:12-14

Origin:

Where did evil come from?  Did God make Satan?  Let us study together and see if we can find these answers in the Bible.

Let's turn to Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31.  Note all the times the word "good" appears in these verses.

- According to these verses, what was the original condition of the earth?

  • Answer (highlight to read): God made the earth and everything in it good.

Let's turn to Matthew 13:24-30, 37-39 and read Jesus' parable of the wheat and tares (weeds).  Note the word "good" is verses 24, 27, 37, and 38.

- According to these verses, how much responsibility did the land owner take for the appearance of the weeds?

  • Answer: None - it was an enemy who sowed the weeds.

- According to Jesus, who was that enemy?

  • Answer: the Devil

Let's turn to Luke 13:10-16 and read the story of a woman bound with an infirmity for 18 years.

- According to Jesus, who bound the woman?

  • Answer: Satan

The word "Satan" is actually a Hebrew word which means enemy or adversary.

Let's turn to Luke 10:18.

- According to this verse, where did Satan come from?

  • Answer: Heaven

There are two main passages in the Old Testament that describe the fall of Satan.  Turn to Ezekiel 28:12-28.

- Question: Isn't this passage about the king of Tyre, not Satan?

  • Answer: No, this isn't about the king of Tyre if you read the passage carefully.  The king of Tyre was an evil man and what this passage does is that it takes us behind the scenes to the origin of evil.  This passage transitions from an instance of evil to the origin of evil.  For example, Adolf Hitler was an evil man, but evil did not originate with Hitler.  The same goes for the king of Tyre.

- According to these verses, was Satan originally made evil?

  • Answer: No, he was originally made perfect!

 - According to these verses, what happened to Satan?

  • Answer: He became corrupted by his beauty and pride.

Before we continue on with the lesson, let's look at verse 14 and let me explain some of the words that would have been naturally understood by the Jews at the time:

- Ezekiel 28:14

  1. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you;
  2. You were on the holy mountain of God;
  3. You walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones.

- Anointed cherubs were angels in God's immediate presence covering His glory.  They were also called covering cherubs.

- When God reveals Himself, He often does so on mountains:

  • Sinai (Exodus 19:11)
  • Moriah (Genesis 22:2, 16)
  • Olives (Zechariah 14:4)
  • Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2)
  • Zion (Psalm 74:2)
  • Calvary (Luke 23:33)

- In these examples, God's immediate presence was on those mountains, so in saying the holy mount of God, the Jews would recognize that as a reference to being in God's immediate presence.

- In Revelation 15:2, John sees saints standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire.  If you have sapphire stones mixed with fire, you would get fiery stones.  So in saying the midst of fiery stones, the Jews would recognize that as a reference again to being in God's presence.

Hebrew poetry works in the repetition of ideas, whereas English poetry works in rhyme and meter.  The repetitions of 1. covering cherub 2. mountain of God and 3. fiery stones would be understood to mean that you were VERY close to God.

Hebrew poetry works with repetition of ideas whereas ours works in rhyme and meter… this repetition of A B C would be understood to mean that you were VERY close to God.

- According to verse 16, why did God cast Satan out?

  • Answer: Because he sinned (read verse 17 again).

- Note that the Hebrew word for "trade" is the root of the Hebrew word for "to gossip" i.e. Satan was selling gossip.

Now, let's turn to Isaiah 14:12-14.

- According to verse 12, what was Satan's original name?

  • Answer: Lucifer

- According to verse 12, why is Lucifer referred to as a star (son of the morning)?

  • Answer: Compare this verse to Ezekiel 28:13, where Lucifer was covered in precious stones.  Naturally in God's presence, Lucifer would reflect God's light.

- Note how many times the phrase "I will" appears in these verses

- This is clearly a war of wills.  Notice the repetition of upward motion 12 times:

  1. Ascend
  2. Heaven
  3. Exalt
  4. Above
  5. Stars
  6. Mount
  7. North
  8. Ascend
  9. Above
  10. Heights
  11. Clouds
  12. High

Can you see now that according to Scripture, evil originated in an angelic rebellion against the government of God?

 - Why did God create Satan in the first place if He knew there was going to be a rebellion?

  • Answer: If God pointed a gun at you and told you to love Him, could you really love Him?  We can be commanded to do a great many things, but love cannot be commanded.  God is not forcing Himself onto others; God gives freedom.  Love requires freedom!

- To give another example, in marriage, what makes "I do" so special is that "I don't" is an option.  Love involves risk.   If God did not give us the free will to choose, we would be nothing more than robots worshipping and praising God. 

In the second part of this lesson, we are going to find out what Satan truly wants and what all this has to do with us...