CQ Plus July 2-8 2011

To Worship God or Not? That Is the Question

Preface: This week’s lesson is about two classes of worshipers. The following article helps us to understand why these two classes exist and what the future holds for people in each class.

God created the angel Lucifer sinless and perfect in beauty. Lucifer, “son of the morning” (Isa. 14:12), was first of the covering cherubs, holy, and undefiled. He stood in the presence of God Almighty, and the ceaseless rays of glory surrounding the eternal God rested upon him. Heaven was a joyful place for the angelic beings. They delighted to do God’s will. It wasn’t until iniquity was found in Lucifer that chaos broke out in heaven.

“It was Satan’s desire for the supremacy that caused discord among the angels. The mighty Lucifer, ‘son of the morning,’ claimed the right to honor and authority above the Son of God; and this not being accorded him, he determined to rebel against the government of Heaven. He therefore appealed to the angelic host, complaining of God’s injustice, and declaring himself deeply wronged. His false representations won to his side one-third of all the heavenly angels; and so strong was their delusion that they would not be corrected; they clung to Lucifer, and were expelled from Heaven with him.”1

Lucifer, whose name was changed to Satan (“devil,” “adversary,” “accuser”), is the originator of sin. There was war in heaven. Satan and many of the angels tried to take the throne of God. This war was like no other war that our finite minds can comprehend. Satan and his host were defeated and cast out of heaven.

God placed Adam and Eve in the beautiful Garden of Eden. Everything they could ever want was there for them. God placed in the midst of the garden the tree of knowledge of good and evil and forbade Adam and Eve to eat from that tree. Angels of God warned them of Satan and cautioned them not to separate themselves from one another. One day, however, Eve wandered away from Adam and approached the forbidden tree. There, Satan entered the body of a serpent and deceived Eve.

The serpent “said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” ’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’ ” (Gen. 3:1‒5, NKJV).

Satan planted doubt in Eve’s mind, which led her to doubt God’s instruction. She saw that the fruit was good to eat, attractive, and able to depart wisdom, so she ate some of it and shared it with her husband. Thus Satan was able to gain dominion of the earth.

Fortunately, however, the “plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.’ Romans 16:25, R. V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency.”2

God blessed Adam and Eve with Cain and Abel. Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a shepherd. God tested these brothers with their offerings. Abel brought a sacrifice from the flock to his altar according to God’s directions. God respected Abel’s offering and received it. Cain brought fruit to the altar— disobeying God’s command. God didn’t accept Cain’s offering. These two brothers represent two classes of people—those who depend totally on God for salvation and those who depend on their own merits.

Later, when God saw that the wickedness of humanity was widespread, He told Noah to build an ark in order to save those who believed in God’s salvation. Noah preached 120 years, warning the people of God’s impending judgment. Noah’s hearers laughed and mocked him as many people today scoff at God by choosing lifestyles contrary to His Word. As God had an ark of safety at that time, we now have one in Jesus Christ, the Word of God. Soon God’s character will be vindicated and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Then, Satan and his host, along with all who chose to follow him, will be destroyed. Soon, everyone who chooses Jesus will enjoy eternal life.

REACT
1. How does the war between Christ and Satan affect you personally?
2. Consider your own lifestyle (your thoughts, attitudes, interests, and activities). Which class of worshipers does it most closely represent?
____________
1. Signs of the Times, October 25, 1893.
2. The Desire of Ages, p. 22.