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Lesson 3

How Did We Get Into This Mess?

A young mother and father stand weeping over the still form of their son. A short while before he had been full of happiness and life. Now
he lay dead, the victim of a murderer. In a fit of rage and jealousy his own brother had lifted the weapon that had brought death to the first
family of our world.

Eve could have asked the same question that many other mothers have asked through the centuries when they have witnessed death and
suffering. "Why, God? Why did this have to happen to someone who was so kind and innocent?" However, this mother could better give the
reason for such a tragedy than any other mother, for it was through her disobedience that the flood of trouble, sickness, and death had
poured into the world.


I shall never forget the day my mother died. When I arrived home, her body had already been taken to the mortuary. Each of us children was
stunned. Then I went looking for my father. I found him in the basement sobbing and asking, "If God is so good and kind, how could He
take a mother who was needed so badly by her seven children?"


That question lingered in my mind for months as I grappled for an answer. I found that answer in the Bible, and I would like to share it with
you in this lesson.

1. With whom did sin and suffering originate? 1 John 3:8

Many people blame God for their troubles, but the Bible is clear that the originator of all the world's troubles is the devil!

2. Who was the enemy that sowed evil where God had sowed good seed?       Matthew 13:24-30, 37-40

All of the discord, sadness, sickness, death, and sin are the result of the work of the enemy of God. God does not tempt anyone. "Let no
man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man" (James 1:13)

3. From where did Satan come? Luke 10:18

There is an interesting story about the origin of sin and Satan...

4. What kind of being was this creature? Ezekiel 28:14, 15

The "cherub that covereth" is a description of the cherubim or angel that stood next to the throne of God in heaven (Psalm 80:1). This angel
was one of the most honored of all created beings. Although Lucifer was created perfect, he made himself into a devil by trying to set his
own will above the will of the Almighty.

5. What led to Lucifer's sin and rebellion? Verse 17

"Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. . . Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it
as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due alone to
the Creator. . . . The high honors conferred upon Lucifer were not appreciated as God's special gift, and therefore called forth no gratitude to
his Creator. He gloried in his brightness and exaltation and aspired to be equal with God" (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 35-37).

6. What goal did Satan set for himself? Isaiah 14:12-14

7. When the rebellion led by Satan reached a crisis, what happened?                   Revelation 12:7-9

At this time God could easily have blotted sin out of existence in one blinding flash. He could have eliminated Satan and the rebellious
angels that followed him. If God had done this, however, the other angels and the inhabitants of the universe would have served and
obeyed God out of fear of destruction. God wants our allegiance because we love Him. Therefore He allowed sin to run its course to
demonstrate to the universe the consequences of rebellion and disobedience to God. He did this to prove beyond a doubt the results of                      sin and the fact of His unchanging love for mankind.

8. After he was expelled from heaven, whom did Satan seek to deceive? Genesis 3:1-6

"No longer free to stir up rebellion in heaven, Satan's enmity against God found a new field in plotting the ruin of the human race. . . . The
tree of knowledge had been made a test of their obedience and their love to God. The Lord had seen fit to lay upon them but one prohibition
as to the use of all that was in the garden; but if they should disregard His will in this particular, they would incur the guilt of transgression"
(Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 52, 53).

"Our first parents chose to believe the words, as they thought, of a serpent; yet he had given them no tokens of his love. he had done
nothing for their happiness and benefit, while God had given them everything that was good for food and pleasant to the sight. Everywhere
the eye might rest was abundance and beauty; yet Eve was deceived by the serpent, to think that there was something withheld which
would make them wise, even as God" (The Story of Redemption, p. 37).


Satan never works openly. He used a snake as a medium through whom he could speak to and deceive Eve and her husband, Adam.
Instead of the happy labor God had given them in the Garden of Eden, now anxiety and toil would be their lot. They would be subject to
disappointment, grief, pain, and finally death.

9. As a result of man's fall, what does Satan now claim as his? Luke 4:5, 6

Adam was appointed the governor of this world to act in God's place as its ruler. When he was overcome by Satan, the domination of this
world was claimed by the deceiver of mankind. Read of the council held and the claim that Satan made that he had complete control of this
world in Job 1:6-8. The sons of God mentioned here must be the unfallen representatives of other inhabited worlds. As the ruler of this
world, Adam was called a son of God.

10. Who brings the suffering and trouble upon mankind? Job 2:7

11. Why does the devil work so viciously now? Revelation 12:10, 12

12. How will this wicked being finally be dealt with by God? Ezekiel 28:16-19

13. How does Satan now attempt to disguise himself and his activities?                       2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Satan has gone into the religion business. He is the master counterfeiter. he attempts to duplicate everything he can that God has
commanded or made. He mixes in just enough deception to get men to worship him while thinking they are worshipping God. We                         must not let him deceive us.

14. What is man's only defense against the devil's deceptions? Ephesians 6:11-17

"God has provided abundant means for successful warfare against the evil that is in the world. The Bible is the armory where we may equip
for the struggle. Our loins must be girt about with truth. Our breastplate must be righteousness. The shield of faith must be in our hand, the
helmet of salvation on our brow; and with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we are to cut our way through the obstructions
and entanglements of sin" (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 502)

15. How only can we gain the victory over this evil angel? Revelation 12:10, 11

This great impostor, the devil, who swayed a third of the angels of heaven by his false logic and cunning, is certainly more than a match for
us mortals in our own strength! We are safe only as we trust in God's power that we can receive through Jesus Christ.

"In the whole Satanic force there is not power to overcome one soul who in simple trust cast himself on Christ. 'He giveth power to the faint;
and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.' Isaiah 40:29" (Christ's Object Lessons p. 157)

16. How did Christ earn the right to finally destroy the devil? Hebrews 2:14

During His ministry on this earth, Christ was constantly harassed by the devil. Satan dogged His footsteps, continually trying to deceive or
destroy the Saviour before He could do the work that He had come to do. When Jesus was but a baby, Satan, working through Herod, tried
to kill Him by putting all of the male children under two years of age to death. God warned Joseph, and the family of Jesus hid in Egypt until
Herod died.

After His baptism, Christ was led into the wilderness for a time to be tempted by Satan. The devil tempted Christ on the very points where
Adam and eve had failed. Each temptation was met with a quotation from the Bible. Satan finally fled at the command of the Lord.


On several other occasions Satan tried to kill Christ by inciting a riot on the part of the Jewish rulers. But each time Jesus was protected.
Finally, however, Satan managed to still the voice of truth and the life of love by having Jesus put to death by crucifixion.


How he must have exulted when he saw Jesus die! Satan tried to keep our Lord in the tomb by having a guard put there. A Roman seal
was set upon it to keep the Saviour from being raised. But Roman guards and Roman arms were powerless to confine the Lord of Life
within the tomb! When Satan saw that the Lord had taken up His life again, he knew that his doom was sealed. Since that time, he has
gone about trying to do all in his power to deceive and destroy as many of God's children as he can. He can no longer influence the faithful
angels, God, or Christ, so he goes about as a "roaring lion" seeking to destroy all of God's children here on this earth. This is
the only way he can now bring pain to God.

17. Is it your desire to declare your loyalty to God in this great battle that is                   being waged on this earth?

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