Speaker: Vasko Belovski
The Great Controversy, a conflict existing between two parties that became at odds with one other. This term has become very popular, specifically among Seventh-day Adventists because it was adopted as the title of the highest selling book that the church has ever published. But have we as a people properly understood all the reasons for the existence of the controversy? There seems to be a lack of understanding about one of the major issues associated with the beginning of this battle that originated in heaven. Yet this very issue played a major part in the dividing of heaven itself.
It is interesting to know that one of the original titles of the book, The Great Controversy, written by Ellen White, was called The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan. This title in itself gives us the answer as to who the two parties behind the controversy are. But the question still remains: Why?
Why was there and why is there still a controversy, specifically between Christ and Satan? What do we find in the Bible and the writings of Ellen White with respect to the answer to this important question?
In the book of Revelation 12:7, we’re told, and there was war in heaven, Michael, which we know to be Christ, and his angels fought against the dragon Lucifer, and the dragon fought and his angels. The word war in the original Greek is the word polemos, which literally translates as dispute strife or controversy. So what was the reason for this dispute in heaven? There is one very important reason that stands out among the rest, which every Seventh Day Adventist and every Christian around the world needs to know about, so that none end up on the wrong side of the controversy.
In the book of Isaiah 14:12-14, were given important insight with respect to the issue at hand. We read: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nation’s! For thou has said in thine heart, 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 cloud; I will be like the most High.”
It is crucial for us to pay attention to every word of every verse so that we fully comprehend the meaning of what God is trying to present to us. Notice that Lucifer desired to be like God. The verse could have simply stated that Lucifer wanted to be God, which he does, but the word like here gives a little bit more information, which is necessary in order to understand more about the controversy. Lucifer wanted to be like God because he was envious of Michael or Christ, because He’s the only begotten of the Father. He was the only being in the whole universe, who was like God. The word Michael in the Hebrew literally translates: is who is like God. And this is why the controversy began, and was centered around Michael and His angels who recognized and accepted the Son’s position in the universe, and Satan and his angels, who openly rebelled against Christ. In chapter 29 of The Great Controversy, Ellen White presents exactly what we have seen depicted in the Bible. She writes: “Before the entrance of evil, there was peace and joy throughout the universe. All was in perfect harmony with the Creator’s will. Love for God was supreme, love for one another impartial. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the Eternal Father,–one in nature, in character, and in purpose,– the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. By Christ, the Father wrought in the creation of all heavenly beings. “By Him were all things created, that are in heaven,… whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers;” and to Christ, equally with the Father, all heaven gave allegiance.” GC 493.1.
We clearly see here that Christ indeed, was and still is the only being in the universe who is like God. We also see that before sin became a part of this universe, heaven gave allegiance to only two beings. God, the King of the universe, also known as the Ancient of Days. And Christ, the Prince, the only begotten Son of God. Nobody else but God and Christ receive honor and allegiance, and no one else besides God and Christ were part of the Council of peace that Zechariah six talks about.
Just two paragraphs below, Ellen White continues: “But there was one that chose to pervert his freedom. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God, and who stood highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Before his fall, Lucifer was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled.” GC 493.3.
Do you see the hierarchy that existed in heaven before the origin of sin? Lucifer was third in authority, he was most honor of God and Christ and stood higher in power and glory than the rest of the heavenly host. Yet something mysterious took place and sin begin to form in his heart. And what was this sin associated with? “God himself had established the order of heaven; and in departing from it, Lucifer would dishonor his Maker, and bring ruin upon himself. But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed jealousy of Christ to prevail, and he became the more determined.”GC 494.2.
We further read: “He sought to create sympathy for himself, by representing that God had dealt unjustly with him in bestowing supreme honor upon Christ. He claimed that in aspiring to greater power and honor he was not aiming to self exaltation, but was seeking to secure liberty for all the inhabitants of heaven, that by this means they might attain to a higher state of existence.” GC 495.2
Why was there supreme honor upon Christ and not upon Lucifer? It was because as we learn from John chapter one, and Hebrews chapter one, Christ being begotten in the express image of the Father was of the same nature as God, meaning fully divine, and thus He could rightfully be called God, and hold the position of authority above all created beings.
As we read earlier, He was one in nature, in character, and in purpose with the Father. We further learn more about Satan’s rebellion in Spiritual Gifts, Volume One, where it says: “All the heavenly hosts were summoned to appear before the Father, to have each case determined. Satan unblushingly made known his dissatisfaction that Christ should be preferred before him. He stood up proudly and urged that he should be equal with God, and should be taken into conference with the Father and understand His purposes. God informed Satan that to His Son alone, He would reveal His secret purposes, and He required all the family in heaven, even Satan, to yield Him implicit, unquestioned obedience. But that he, Satan, had proved himself unworthy a place in heaven. Then Satan declared that he was prepared to resist the authority of Christ, and to defend his place in heaven by force of might, strength against strength.” 1SB 22.2
Lucifer wanted to be like God, to be equal with Him, as was Michael, His only begotten Son. Lucifer was jealous of the position that Jesus Christ possessed by inheritance, being the express image of His Father’s person, and the only other being that was part of the councils in heaven. He rejected the sonship of Christ and shared this course among the angels of this matter. In fact, we’re very clearly told by the pen of inspiration, that the fallen angels who followed Satan, were on a mission to obscure the fact that Christ was the only begotten Son of God. We read of this in Letter 42 – 1910.3. It says there:
“Angels were expelled from heaven, because they would not work in harmony with God. They fell from their highest state because they wanted to be exalted. They had come to exalt themselves, and they forgot that their beauty of person and of character came from the Lord Jesus. This fact the angels would obscure, and what was the fact that the angels wanted to obscure? That Christ was the only begotten Son of God and they came to consider that they were not to consult Christ. One Angel began the controversy and carried it on until there was rebellion in the heavenly courts among the angels.”
Friends, the great controversy that began in heaven amidst the family of God was initiated by an angel who allowed sin to take over his heart, and who will oppose Christ, His divine sonship, and authority over all heaven. Unfortunately, this very same controversy has yet again, been agitated. But this time among God’s family, on Earth, His church, we see those who have proudly stood up behind God and Christ, acknowledging that they are the only beings in the universe worthy of honor, worship and highest authority. And we have those who have blindly follow the deceptions of the enemy, denying Christ as the literal only begotten Son of God, and calling others to worship a trinity of gods. But friends, as we have seen from the divinely inspired evidence, the only third being that wanted equality with the Father, and the Son is none else, but the grand deceiver himself.
The Great Controversy is truly between Christ and Satan, and is more real today than ever before. Everyone is thus faced with an important decision. Are we going to be in harmony with God’s government and recognize Christ as the only being in all the universe that could enter into all the councils and purposes of God? Or are we going to deny His sonship and bring in a third being into the councils of heaven? Friends, the Holy Spirit is the omni presence of the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. It was Lucifer who craftily mingled truth with error in order to attempt to ascend to the highest position of heaven reserved only for the Father and the Son.
My appeal to you is that you take a stand together with Michael and His angels, and help others understand the importance of giving our allegiance to God in Christ alone, so that our lamps can be trimmed and filled with the oil of gladness, which alone can help us to be ready for the crisis ahead.