BEHOLD YOUR GOD
The Character of God In Relation to the Great Controversy
It is not possible to savingly understand the character of God if the study of it is isolated from the great controversy between Christ and Satan. There is very good reason for this. The study of God’s character is not merely a theme related to the great controversy—it is the very subject of the great controversy.
The awful struggle commenced at that point where with pride-blinded eyes, Lucifer could no longer see God as He is, but, seeing a very different character in Him, committed himself to war against God. Pride had surfaced before, but the ripening of this into active rebellion did not occur until he firstly had a misconception of the character of God. Somehow, Satan recognized the direct connection between the distortion of the truth about God, and the seeding of rebellion. Therefore, to achieve his objective of leading the inhabitants of the universe into opposition to God, he worked at deceiving them into believing God was a liar and destroyer. Every angel who believed him joined his ranks.
The same policy resulted in the overthrow of man. Millions upon millions have continued to hold mistaken views of God ever since, directly resulting in the multiplication of iniquity and immorality and the deepening and extending of the great controversy.
It was exactly at that point where misunderstanding of God’s character firstly began to form, that the spirit of rebellion formed. Ever since, wherever those misconceptions have been continued, that rebellion has raged on. Therefore, only when those misconceptions have been completely cleared away will the rebellion end and permanent, universal peace return.
This does not mean that God is seeking a personal vindication of Himself. That would be the last thing He would do. He is seeking the vindication of that which will ensure the eternal life and happiness of every one of His creatures throughout the full immensity of the universe.
God well knows, and almost six thousand years of demonstration should have proved to us, that Satan’s lying representations of God’s character and government have brought only misery and death to the world. It is from this that God is seeking to save. He knows, and we must come to know, that this is only possible as His character is revealed for what it really is. Therefore, it is to save us and not Himself that God seeks the vindication of His own character.
This can be better appreciated when it is seen that God’s law and government are an exact expression of His character. God does not have one code of behavior for Himself, while His government of the people is based on other principles. This is so with earthly rulers, but not with God.
This truth is made clear by comparing the testimonies given of God’s character with those in regard to His government. As these texts are presented, bear in mind that they are statements of what God is. He is righteousness. It is a principle that one does what he does because of what he firstly is. God then, being firstly and only righteousness, does only righteousness.
“Righteous art Thou, O Lord, and upright are Thy judgments.
“Thy testimonies that Thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.”
“Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is the truth.” Psalms 119:137, 142.
“The Lord is righteous.”
“The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works.” Psalms 129:4, 145:17.
These are statements of what God is. They are declarations of His state of being, and of the very essence of His nature. In Him is the sum of all righteousness and there is nothing in Him apart from righteousness.
Therefore, nothing but righteousness proceeds from Him. It is for this reason that Daniel could testify “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee.” Daniel 9:7.
Thus the words of God are righteousness. “I declare things that are right.” Isaiah 45:19. This being so, all the laws and commandments of God are also the expression of His righteous character. Because He is the righteous God that He is, He makes the laws He has made.
“Thy testimonies that Thou hast command are righteous and very faithful.”
“Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is the truth.” Psalms 119:138, 142.
“Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.”
“Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face.” Psalms 97:2; 89:14.
Therefore, the “law is a transcript of His [God’s] own character.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 315.
There came the time when Lucifer could no longer see this. Instead, he saw the law as one thing and the character of God as something else. It was at this point that he committed himself to rebellion, and the great controversy began.
How did he come to this point?
Lucifer was the brightest and highest of all the angels. He was the covering cherub, perfect in all his ways till iniquity was found in him. Ezekiel 28:15.
The time came when God had to say of him, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness:” Ezekiel 28:17.
Pride in himself developed in Lucifer. We do not know how long he had existed from the day of his creation until his fall. No revelation of this is given. However, it is certain that he must have lived a very long time, possibly millions of years. During this time, he had been constantly developing in all his talents and skills by the combination of the grace of God and his own diligent effort.
To some it may come as a strange thought that Lucifer grew in knowledge, wisdom, and skills during the entire period of his existence. But it is not to be imagined that God created him as a total being. Rather, he was created with the potential of limitless development. He was “educated and disciplined in the heavenly courts.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 167.
Therefore, he developed according to the laws which govern all God’s creatures whether they be in heaven or on earth. God had made provision that each and all could grow in every faculty to the highest levels of achievement. This is accomplished by the exercise of “the grace of God and their own diligent effort.” The Great Controversy, 425. So it was with Lucifer, and marvellous was the progress made, until he became the brightest of all the creatures.
These exceeding riches which should have elicited only perpetual gratitude and loving service, instead served to undo him. The Scriptures describe this wealth as the abundance of his merchandise by which his soul was filled with violence.
“By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned.” Ezekiel 28:16.
The needless corruption of the covering cherub through the abundance of his merchandise, has repeatedly destroyed men. In those repetitions is to be clearly read the deterioration of the first sinner. When a people begin under the Lord’s personal leadership, they are small in number and poor in material wealth. Their sense of need is proportionately great, generating a strong sense of total dependency and faith. God’s liberal responses evoke gratitude and praise from them. This enrichment of spiritual and material wealth relieves them of the pressure of immediate necessity, but it introduces a danger against which a watchful guard must be established. That peril resides in the imperceptible but certain fading away of the positive sense of dependence on God. History verifies that most fail this test.
As the sense of dependence upon God wanes, material possessions come to be looked upon as the basis and guarantee of security. Thus it is an error to say that men lost faith. Instead they transfer it from the God who gave the gifts, to the gifts given by God. Increasingly, they become preoccupied with the accumulation of more of these material treasures until they
are totally absorbed thereby. As they successfully add house to house and land to land, they develop a strong sense of self-sufficiency. They see themselves as being the sole arbiter of their fate. They make themselves god in the place of God, and pride is the most distinguished aspect of their characters.
Every time a human being descends this path, he is but travelling the same way the original sinner trod. Thus Lucifer moved from the sincere, trusting, loving, and grateful child of God to the self-sufficient, proud devil. His life ceased to be centered on God and revolved instead, around himself. Thus he, and not God, became the standard by which he judged all things. Worse still, whereas in the days of his humility, he had been neither interested nor concerned in judging other individuals, now even the Son of God came under his critical measurement. That would have been serious enough, had it been possible for him to evaluate Christ, as He was, in contrast to himself, as he was, but so inflated had his view of himself become that he saw himself as being actually superior to the Divine One. Such a serious misjudgement was possible to that powerfully clear mind only because he had destroyed the power to think correctly by allowing pride to separate him from the source of all wisdom, as it is written, “Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Ezekiel 28:17.
Yet, to this point, no serious question had entered his mind in regard to God. For one thing, he had been far too preoccupied with admiring his own beautiful self to have cared much about his Father. He had known God all his life as being totally just, impartial, and omniscient.
Therefore, he “knew” without question that God was “as aware” as he was of his “splendid greatness,” and that, accordingly, God would promptly elevate him into a position befitting his shining glory. So, he glowed with pride in his confident expectation of forthcoming honors.
However, even though sinful pride was already filling Lucifer’s life, no question regarding God’s character and government had yet been raised. That was still to come. Neither had Lucifer entered into active rebellion against God. The great controversy, as a controversy, had not yet begun as an actual confrontation between Satan and God. It had started in the sense that conditions were developing which would cause its outbreak.
A careful study of Patriarchs and Prophets, 35, 36, makes this point quite clear. On page 35, the progression of evil in Lucifer’s sinful character development is described thus: “Little by little, Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation . . .” until “coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone.”
Up to this stage there is no description of any contest taking place between Christ and Satan, nor does the next paragraph bring the story to this point. It likewise deals with the developments leading to the opening of actual warfare.
“Now the perfect harmony of heaven was broken. Lucifer’s disposition to serve himself instead of his Creator, aroused a feeling of apprehension when observed by those who considered that the glory of God should be supreme. In heavenly council the angels pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before him the greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the sacred, unchanging nature of His law. God Himself had established the order of heaven; and in departing from it, Lucifer would dishonour his Maker, and bring ruin upon himself. But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined.”
The efforts of the fellow angels to save Lucifer only aroused a spirit of resistance, which strengthened to the point where “To dispute the supremacy of the Son of God, thus impeaching the wisdom and love of the Creator, had become the purpose of this prince of angels. To this object he was about to bend the energies of that mastermind, which, next to Christ’s, was first among the hosts of God.” ibid., 36.
Now God, foreseeing that which none of His creatures could, stepped in to give all a clear warning of what would be the outworking of this rebellion. He did not wait until the battle began, but He did it “before the great contest should open.” As we read, “But He who would have the will of all His creatures free, left none unguarded to the bewildering sophistry by which rebellion would seek to justify itself. Before the great contest should open, all were to have a clear presentation of His will, whose wisdom and goodness were the spring of all their joy.” ibid., 36.
Consequently God convened a great assembly at which He presented the true position of His Son and the reasons of Christ’s occupying His exalted place in heaven. Lucifer almost yielded, but did not, and then the great battle began by his “leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father,” and going “forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels.” ibid., 37.
This evidence shows that a great deal happened within Lucifer before he went out to war. The purpose of the line of thought being developed in this section is to show that it was when he lost the true knowledge of God’s character and replaced it with a false concept, that then, and not until then, did he enter into warfare against God.
The substitution in Lucifer’s mind of the false for the true concept of God’s character came as the result of his incorrect evaluation of God’s behavior. He attributed to God a motive which in reality was nonexistent. It developed in the following way.
During the time which elapsed between the first presence of pride in him and the committal to rebellion, Lucifer waited expectantly for God to elevate him to the position which, in his own mind, he judged as being rightly his. He could not see nor understand that God had no plans to pro-
mote him. It was not that God would not. He could not, because Lucifer could never occupy Christ’s place unless he was God as Christ was. He was not qualified and never would be.
When passing time did not bring Lucifer the fruition of his fond expectations, a stain of anxiety began to color the brightness of his hopes. He began an anxious surveillance of God in an endeavour to detect any indications of preparation on His part for Lucifer’s grand elevation. But, study as he might, he could find nothing to even suggest it.
The longer he searched and waited, the more deeply compounded his problem became, for while he correctly concluded that something was decidedly wrong, he utterly failed to comprehend where the error lay. The whole of the fault lay with himself. God had not changed but Lucifer had. He who had been the humble servant of God and his fellow creatures had become a proud self-server.
The understanding of Lucifer’s problem is simplified by its repetition in the lives of men ever since. To comprehend the development of evil in Lucifer, it is only necessary to observe the same process in man. Thereby it will be readily seen that when a person arrives at this point, the last thing he is inclined to do is recognize that the fault lies in himself. Everybody and everything else is to blame but never he.
So it was with Lucifer. He summarily rejected as unworthy of consideration any thought which might lead him to recognize that his evaluation of himself and the consequent assumption that he should be exalted to a position equal with Christ was the error. This left him with only one possible conclusion. It was that the fault lay wholly and solely with God.
Having arrived at this awful point, a radically new concept of God’s character thrived in Lucifer’s mind, intensified by the acute disappointment stemming from his realization that he would not be given the position which alone would satisfy his immediate craving for power.
Heretofore, he had correctly understood God to be perfectly just, fair and impartial. He rightly knew that God assigned positions in direct relationship to each individual’s fitness to fulfil the responsibility. It was in harmony with those convictions that Lucifer had expected God to exalt him. Those hopes would have been realized if Lucifer’s evaluation of himself had been correct.
But, when denied the position, he erroneously concluded that God was with great partiality favouring His Son. Lucifer was incensed. Such a reaction should evoke no surprise. Further, if Lucifer had been correct in his assessment of the situation, then his response was justified. God declares that He “is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34. Yet, to Lucifer’s mind, God was showing great respect to one person. This could only mean that God was a liar, for He had represented Himself as following out one principle, while in fact He practised another.
Partiality in itself is serious enough for it is impossible to show favor to one person except it be at the expense of another. In this situation, Lucifer
felt keenly that he was being called upon to pay a very large price in order that Christ might exclusively enjoy the special favors of God.
If God had stated that, while all the other creatures were to be elevated according to merit, Christ was in a class by Himself, and was consequently to be delegated a position which none of the others could have, then that would have been one thing. But to declare that Christ was not specially favored and then, as it appeared to Lucifer thought it was never so in fact, to be accorded the special position of a favored Son, was indeed to make God a liar and a deceiver.
If Lucifer’s evaluation had been correct, then he had every right to be incensed and was justified in calling upon God to reform His ways into consistency with His stated principles. This needs to be clearly understood. The fact that Lucifer was entirely wrong in his conclusions is what removes the justification from his rebellion.
Lucifer fully believed that he had experienced a great awakening. He felt that he had thrown off the shackles of a terrible bondage. Strangely enough, he had not even known he was in such bondage till this point, but looking back he imagined that he could see wherein it had been true all along. He became hostile toward God and especially toward Christ for having, as he supposed, held them in deception for so long a time, and he determined to assert his rights and have the government of God reformed.
It was by these progressions that, for the first time ever, a misrepresentation of the character of God came into existence. At first it was entirely and only in Lucifer’s mind, but soon it would spread to others.
It was at this point where this false conception of God’s character became the fixed conviction in Lucifer’s mind, that he entered into active rebellion against God. The great controversy then began. Having thus begun in the heart of the first rebel, the mutiny extended to a section of the angels, and then to men as each in turn came to share the erroneous concepts of God’s character.
This is clearly stated in he following extracts:
“Sin originated in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven. He sought to gain control of heavenly beings, to draw them away from their Creator, and to win their homage to himself. Therefore he misrepresented God, attributing to Him the desire for self-exaltation. With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men. He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness. Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he drew men to join him in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled down upon the world.” The Desire of Ages, 21, 22.
“By the same misrepresentation of the character of God as he had practiced in heaven, causing Him to be regarded as severe and tyrannical, Satan induced man to sin.” The Great Controversy, 500.
“Adam believed the falsehood of Satan, and through his misrepresentation of the character of God, Adam’s life was changed and marred. He disobeyed the commandment of God, and did the very thing the Lord told him not to do. Through disobedience Adam fell; but had he endured the test, and been loyal to God, the floodgates of woe would not have been opened upon our world.
“Through belief in Satan’s misrepresentation of God, man’s character and destiny were changed, but if men will believe in the Word of God, they will be transformed in mind and character, and fitted for eternal life.” Selected Messages 1:345, 346.
By these statements the truth is confirmed that Satan’s objective of enlisting others in rebellion was achieved through the use of a certain very successful method. That method was to persuade angels and men that God’s character was that of a deceiver, an oppressor, and a liar. This was the method used, and to whatever extent it was successful, rebellion followed. A tracing of the fall of man certifies this.
Satan’s first recorded words to Eve were, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1. With that question Satan began the development of his purpose, firstly to fill Eve’s mind with a false understanding of the character of God and thereby to lead her into revolt. This first sentence therefore was a vital one. There had to be injected into it enough to make it effective as the opening sally of the contact. A.D. Jones outlines something of what Satan was actually saying in those words:
“But note the expression with which he opens the conversation. It is an expression which insinuates into her mind a whole world of suspicion. The common version translates it, ‘Yea, hath God said,’ etc. The Revised Version gives it the same. The Jews’ English version translates it, ‘Hath God indeed said,’ etc. But no translation can give it exactly. It cannot be exactly expressed in letters so as to form a word that would give it truly. Yet everybody in the world is familiar with the expression. It is that sneering grunt (*expressed only through the nose) –c-ugh!—which conveys query, doubt, suspicion, and contempt, all at once. ‘C-ugh! Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ And everybody knows that to this day among men there is nothing equal to this sneering grunt, to create doubt and suspicion; and no other expression is used so much by mankind for that purpose. And this is the origin of it.” Ecclesiastical Empires, 590, 591.
Thus Satan’s first words to Eve were designed to create suspicion and doubt of God. It was an idea which not only had never before been presented to Eve, but which under no circumstances had occurred to her. She had thought of God as being just, good, righteous, fatherly, and loving, but now it was strongly suggested to her that He was not what He had appeared to be.
The idea was startling, though she had nothing in her own experienced knowledge of God to give it the slightest support. All that she knew of God
positively denied it. Yet, like so many of her children since that time, she allowed the suspicion thus suggested to lodge in her thinking even though there was no visible foundation for it.
That she allowed doubt of God’s character to settle in her mind is evidenced by the way in which she misstated to Satan the words of God to them. Whereas God had said that if they ate of the tree they would surely die, Eve reported Him as saying that they were not to eat of it lest they die.
There is a decided difference between the two statements. The first declares the certainty of death, the second indicates only a possibility of it. What Eve really stated God as having said, was that they were not to eat of it in case they died. Thus Satan was immediately successful in having her turn the truth into a lie.
Now he could and did boldly take the next step, which was to present the living God in a different character from that which is truly His. Satan said, “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be a God [margin], knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4, 5.
Satan here presents his arguments as to why God had placed those restrictions upon them. His assertions were that while God had assured them that they were to have unlimited development, the real fact was that God was afraid that they would ascend to an equality with Him. Once this occurred, then He would have to share with them all the riches He now had reserved for His own pleasure. This, Satan declared, God wished to prevent at any cost. This involved preventing them from partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, whereby such exaltation would be immediately effected. Therefore, the devil continued, He was forced to lie to them in order to protect His own position.
Thus the evil one impugned the motives of God and falsified His character. This was, is, and ever will be his method. The tragedy is that it works only too well.
There was no truth in Satan’s charges. God had not denied them the free use of that tree from the motive of self-protection. Neither had He made any of His laws for this purpose. Those principles of life were a love gift from God to protect them, not Himself. God needs no protection from anyone, nor is it His character to restrict anyone else to His own advantage.
From a heart which overflowed with boundless love, He had given them the whole of the world in which they lived. Nothing had been withheld. Even the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a gift to them, for it was a school designed to teach that which would be a perpetual protection. As they multiplied upon the earth, all that they had would have to be shared with the increasing population. Unless the lesson of absolute respect for the property of another was deeply educated into their minds, contention, strife, confusion, and open war would develop as men sought to wrest from each other that which they desired.
That they did not learn the lesson is well known, and the present awful situation in the world is a clear fulfillment of the prediction that if they partook of the tree they would surely die. Every death taking place today is the direct outworking of the violation of God’s counsels to them. They did not learn the lesson that the presence of the tree was designed to teach, and thus cast off the very protection which the Lord had desired to give them.
But this was not all. In electing to believe Satan’s lie, Adam and Eve transferred their allegiance from God to Satan. They put another god in the place of the true God. To do that was also to bring death upon themselves—practically instant death. They would certainly have died that very day had not Christ interposed.
“The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead, saying, ‘Let the punishment fall on Me. I will stand in man’s place. He shall have another chance.’” The Seventh-day Adventist Commentary, 1:1085.
It is most important to understand why the setting of another god in place of the true God would bring swift and certain death. This will be far more fully developed later in this study, so reference to it will be brief at this point. Yet sufficient must be said so that it can be seen that Satan was misstating the character of God to Adam and Eve in the Garden.
In the beginning the Lord made the heavens and the earth. To every Christian this truth is well known. But not so fully known is the fact that the Lord, moment by moment, sustains these worlds in space and keeps them on their ordered way. He did not set the universe in motion to be left forever independent of His sustenance and guidance. Not only did He make it all, but He eternally maintains it all.
This dual activity of God as Creator and Sustainer is revealed clearly in the written word. “God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds;
“Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:1-3.
“The hand that sustains the worlds in space, the hand that holds in their orderly arrangement and tireless activity all things throughout the universe of God, is the hand that was nailed to the cross for us.” Education, 132.
“God is constantly employed in upholding and using as His servants the things that He has made. He works through the laws of nature, using them as His instruments. They are not self-acting. Nature in her work testifies of the intelligent presence and active agency of a Being who moves in all things according to His will.
‘Forever, O Lord,
Thy word is settled in heaven.
Thy faithfulness is unto all generations.
Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
They continue this day according to Thine ordinances:
For all are Thy servants.’
‘Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He
In heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.’
‘He commanded, and they were created.
He hath also stablished them for ever and ever;
He Hath made a decree which shall not pass.’
Psalms 119:89-91; 135-6; 148:5, 6.
“It is not by inherent power that year by year the earth yields its bounties and continues its march around the sun. The hand of the Infinite One is perpetually at work guiding this planet. It is God’s power continually exercised that keeps the earth in position in its rotation. It is God who causes the sun to rise in the heavens. He opens the windows of heaven and gives rain.
‘He giveth snow like wool:
He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.’
‘When He uttereth His voice, there is a multitude of waters
in the heavens,
And He causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the
He maketh lightnings with rain,
And bringeth forth the wind out of His treasures.’
Psalm 147:16; Jeremiah 10:13.
“It is by His power that vegetation is caused to flourish, that every leaf appears, every flower blooms, every fruit develops.” The Ministry of Healing, 416.
Unquestionably, God is the only being with the power to make the world in the first case. Likewise, He is the only One Who can sustain it in its order and system. Therefore, if any one of His Creatures in any part of the vast universe—except where the presence of a Saviour provides a delaying factor—puts another god in place of the real God, then the power of God as an upholder of the might forces of nature will have been removed from that place, and as surely, they will become uncontrolled forces of terrible destruction. In that very day, those who have made the fatal mistake will die, not because God will strike them down, but because they have placed themselves where life is impossible.
Comment by Ron: The above paragraph is a major thesis of Fred’s entire book. Read it again and absorb it well. End comment.
The only reason that such a cataclysm of destruction has not obliterated this earth is because of the merciful interposition of Jesus Christ. Therefore, God’s instruction to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden not to partake of the tree was given to protect them from destruction. In no sense was it given by God to protect Himself or His own position. There was no trace of self-interest in the work of God. Rightly understood, the “restriction” placed upon the first couple was a true revelation of the perfectly righteous
character of God. It was an act of kindness and mercy. It was the work of a Saviour, not that of a despot.
But this is not the way in which the devil represented God.
Instead, he craftily insinuated that God had a completely selfish motive in refusing them permission to touch the tree, that His purpose was to protect His own position, reserving it to Himself alone, so that He was assured of being the one who alone enjoyed the high honor of being supreme ruler. He claimed that the special tree constituted a threat to these divine determinations, for it was possessed of magical powers capable of elevating those who ate of it into a position of equality with God. He maintained that because God did not want that to happen, yet living in fear that it would, He had lyingly told them that to eat of the tree was to bring death upon themselves.
Thus Satan represented the God of love and selfless devotion to the good of His creatures, as being a self-seeking despot Who sought only His own good at the expense of His subjects. He represented the God of truth as a liar.
Eve believed that misrepresentation of God’s character.
When she believed it, then she rebelled against God and threw in her lot with the arch-rebel. She accepted another god in place of the real One and would have died that very day but for the fact that Jesus stepped in and said, “Let the punishment fall on Me. Man shall have another chance.”
The study of the appearance of sin in heaven and on this earth established the very close connection between the misrepresentation of the character of God and the appearance of rebellion. It was when Lucifer in heaven first formed an incorrect concept of the character of God, that his rebellion began. When in turn, he was able to convince a section of the angels of his new views of God, they joined him in his mutiny, while upon earth Adam and Eve threw in their lot with him when they, too, obtained these false views of the character of God.
This is the way it began and this is the way in which it has been maintained throughout the sorrow-filled ages since that time.
“It is Satan’s constant effort to misrepresent the character of God, the nature of sin, and the real issues at stake in the great controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of the divine law, and gives men license to sin. At the same time he causes them to cherish false conceptions of God, so that they regard Him with fear and hate, rather than with love. The cruelty inherent in his own character is attributed to the Creator; it is embodied in systems of religion, and expressed in modes of worship. Thus the minds of men are blinded, and Satan secures them as his agents to war against God. By perverted conceptions of the divine attributes, heathen nations were led to believe human sacrifices necessary to secure the favor of Deity; and horrible cruelties have been perpetrated under the various forms of idolatry.” The Great Controversy, 569.
“Satan’s effort to misrepresent the character of God, to cause men to cherish a false conception of the Creator, and thus to regard Him with fear and hate rather than love; his endeavours to set aside the divine law, leading the people to think themselves free from its requirements; and his persecution of those who dare to resist his deceptions, have been steadfastly pursued in all ages.” ibid., Introduction, x.
Therefore, the subject of the character of God is not something apart from the great controversy. It is right at the very heart of it. It is impossible to understand the real issues being contested unless the characters of God and Satan are understood.
Inasmuch as the destiny of every soul hangs upon the position he occupies in the great controversy, it follows that the better he understands God’s true character then the more successfully will he enter into the battle against evil and at last find eternal life.
The truth of this must be seen when it is recognized that the particular weapon the devil uses to lead souls into rebellion against God is the misrepresentation of His character. The more he is able to convince men of these deceptions, the more they enter into unrighteousness and rebellion. This is the witness of the Word of God and of history. In the light of these facts, what study could be more important than the one here being pursued?