1. THE EVERLASTING THRONE
a. From the descriptions of the position and power of the Son of God, what can we learn about God’s govern-ment? Psalm 45:6; Hebrews 1:1–3.
“Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun. An unseen hand guides the planets in their circuit of the heavens.”—Education, p. 99.
b. What do we know about the law which forms the basis of this kingdom? Psalm 19:7; Matthew 22:37–40.
“The law of God is an expression of His very nature; it is an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth.”—Steps to Christ, p. 60.
“The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all created beings depended upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—homage that springs from an intelligent appreciation of His character.”—The Great Controversy, p. 493.
2. A RIVAL KINGDOM
a. Through the figure of the king of Tyre, how does the Bible describe the fall of Lucifer? Ezekiel 28:11–15.
“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.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 493, 494.
b. How did Lucifer, now called Satan, challenge God’s government? Isaiah 14:12–14.
“Leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father, Lucifer went forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels. He worked with mysterious secrecy, and for a time concealed his real purpose under an appearance of reverence for God. He began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient guide. They were not beings that could bring dishonor to God; all their thoughts were holy.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 37.
c. What did this challenge result in? Revelation 12:7–9; Luke 10:18.
d. Having been cast into the earth, what position did Satan assume? Job 1:7; John 14:30.
“Satan’s dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God’s, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan’s hands, Christ still remained the rightful King. . . . Satan can exercise his usurped authority only as God permits.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 129, 130.
3. THE CONTROVERSY ON EARTH
a. What was the original position in which human beings were placed? Psalm 8:4–6.
b. Through the serpent, how did Satan seek to draw Adam and Eve into the controversy? Genesis 3:1, 4, 5.
“By partaking of this tree [in the midst of the garden], [the serpent] declared, they would attain to a more exalted sphere of existence and enter a broader field of knowledge. He himself had eaten of the forbidden fruit, and as a result had acquired the power of speech. And he insinuated that the Lord jealously desired to withhold it from them, lest they should be exalted to equality with Himself. It was because of its wonderful properties, imparting wisdom and power, that He had prohibited them from tasting or even touching it. The tempter intimated that the divine warning was not to be actually fulfilled; it was designed merely to intimidate them. How could it be possible for them to die? Had they not eaten of the tree of life? God had been seeking to prevent them from reaching a nobler development and finding greater happiness.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 54.
c. Through Satan’s temptations, what happened to the human race? Romans 6:16; 5:12.
d. How was humanity’s dominion lost on the earth? Genesis 3:24; 9:2.
“Under the curse of sin all nature was to witness to man of the character and results of rebellion against God. When God made man He made him ruler over the earth and all living creatures. So long as Adam remained loyal to Heaven, all nature was in subjection to him. But when he rebelled against the divine law, the inferior creatures were in rebellion against his rule. Thus the Lord, in His great mercy, would show men the sacredness of His law, and lead them, by their own experience, to see the danger of setting it aside, even in the slightest degree.”—Ibid., pp. 59, 60.
4. HOPE IN A COMING KING
a. Describe the promise embedded in the curse upon the serpent. Genesis 3:15.
“This sentence, uttered in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. While it foretold war between man and Satan, it declared that the power of the great adversary would finally be broken. Adam and Eve stood as criminals before the righteous Judge, awaiting the sentence which transgression had incurred; but before they heard of the life of toil and sorrow which must be their portion, or of the decree that they must return to dust, they listened to words that could not fail to give them hope. Though they must suffer from the power of their mighty foe, they could look forward to final victory.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 65, 66.
b. How was this promise to be fulfilled? John 12:31, 32; 1 Timothy 3:16.
“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, RV). 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. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, ‘that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).”—The Desire of Ages, p. 22.
c. In what royal language did the prophets describe the character of the coming Messiah? Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 9:6, 7.
“This hope of redemption [of humans and their forfeited dominion] through the advent of the Son of God as Saviour and King has never become extinct in the hearts of men. From the beginning there have been some whose faith has reached out beyond the shadows of the present to the realities of the future.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 682.
5. TWO CLASSES DEVELOPED
a. Comparing the following verses, describe the two classes of people that developed within the human race. Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:1; Romans 1:21, 22; Ephesians 2:1–3.
“As men increased, the distinction between the two classes [of worshippers] became more marked. There was an open profession of loyalty to God on the part of one, as there was of contempt and disobedience on the part of the other.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 80.
b. How does the experience of Cain and Abel illustrate the state of humanity? Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12.
“Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world till the close of time. One class avail themselves of the appointed sacrifice for sin; the other venture to depend upon their own merits; theirs is a sacrifice without the virtue of divine mediation, and thus it is not able to bring man into favor with God. It is only through the merits of Jesus that our transgressions can be pardoned. . . . There is no other provision made whereby they can be released from the thralldom of sin.”—Ibid., pp. 72, 73.
c. What choice is presented to each child of Adam today? Romans 6:16.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How do we know that the law of God has existed from eternity?
2. How did Lucifer challenge the very foundation of God’s government?
3. How is humanity today still being deceived by the serpent’s lies?
4. What was the hope which animated the faith of the believers in ancient times?
5. Identify the modern equivalents of Cain and Abel.