Lesson 1

The Cosmic Controversy

(Isaiah 14, Genesis 3, Revelation 12)
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Introduction: While driving on the freeway this weekend, I took into account what a driver was doing two lanes away. His actions created a chain of events that ended up affecting me. I mentioned to my wife that I try to keep track of all of the cars around me. She responded that when our daughter first started driving, she barely kept track of where she was driving. How about you? When you are driving, do you want to know what is going on around you? What about life? Would you like to know the "big picture" of what is going on around you in the world and the universe? That is the purpose of our new series of studies. How did we get to where we are? What cosmic events are shaping our future? Where are we in history? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. The Rise of Evil

    1. Read Isaiah 14:12. From where does this fallen being come? (Heaven!)

    2. Read Ezekiel 28:14. Where is this "guardian cherub" walking? ("The holy mount of God.")

      1. If you were to trace back to the beginning of the chapter in Isaiah (specifically Isaiah 14:4) you will see it refers to the "King of Babylon." If you trace back to the beginning of chapter 28 in Ezekiel (specifically Ezekiel 28:12) you see references the "King of Tyre." Does it seem reasonable that either the King of Tyre or the King of Babylon were in heaven or came from heaven? (These earthly kings were never in heaven. Instead, we should understand this like Jesus' message in Matthew 24. There, Jesus described two different things (His Second Coming and the destruction of Jerusalem)without sorting them out for His listeners. In Isaiah and Ezekiel we have references to humans and also another being.)

    3. Read Ezekiel 28:15-17. What happened to this "guardian cherub" who lived on "the mount of God?" (He was "expelled" and God "threw [him] to the earth.")

    4. Read Revelation 12:7-9. Who does this say was "hurled to the earth?" (Satan. This identification is unambiguous.)

    5. When we compare Revelation 12:7-9 with Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:17 we see a picture of Satan being driven out of heaven. It is reasonable to conclude that all three refer to the same event. Let's go back to Isaiah and explore this a bit more. Read Isaiah 14:13. How would you describe Satan's attitude while in heaven? (He was more than ambitious. He wanted to rule ("raise my throne") over the "stars of God.")

      1. What do you think are the "stars of God?" Read Revelation 12:4, Revelation 1:20 and Job 38:7. (These texts refer to angels and perhaps other created beings in heaven. Satan desired to rule at least all of the angels.)

    6. Re-read Ezekiel 28:16-17. What character traits do we find here? (Satan was violent and proud of his looks and intelligence. This pride corrupted his thinking.)

    7. Read Isaiah 14:14. What else did Satan want? (To be like God!)

    8. Read Genesis 3:1-5. What is at the heart of this temptation of Eve? (That she would be "like God.")

    9. Based on what we have studied so far, how do you think sin arose in heaven? (Pride. Lack of contentment. Ambition to be in charge, to be like God, to be God. When Satan tempted Eve, he appealed to the very factor that caused him to fall.)

      1. Notice that both Satan and Eve were perfect when they succumbed to this temptation. What does that tell you?

    10. What sin, what temptation should most concern you today? If you have this "big picture" view of the conflict between God and Satan, what problem should keep you awake at night? (Falling into the temptation of wanting to be like God. The sin of pride.)

      1. Read Genesis 1:26-28. How did God create humans? (To be like Him. To rule the creation.)

      2. This obviously calls for discernment! Where do we draw the line between the most insidious temptation and doing the job for which God created us? (Crossing the line has to be challenging our place in the world. The sin is being unwilling to be a secondary ruler. We must never want to go beyond the role that God has given us and try to be like God in the sense of taking over His place.)

      3. Let's be specific right now. What sins do you observe that reflect an attitude of taking over the role of God? Usurping God's position? Not honoring God as ruler over all? (Not believing that God exists! Disbelieving what the Bible says about things like the origin of humans, what is sin and what is not. Claiming God's role as the judge of others.)

  2. The Work of Evil

    1. Read Revelation 12:7-9. Where is Satan and where are his fallen angels now? (They are in our neighborhood! They were cast down to earth.)
    2. Let's consider the background for these verses. Read Revelation 12:1-4. The "enormous red dragon" appears to be another reference to Satan losing his position in heaven and taking a third of the angels with him. Who do you think is the woman?

    3. Read Revelation 12:5-6. Who is the child? (This has to refer to Jesus. He is the child born on earth who will "rule all the nations" and who "was snatched up to God and to His throne.")

      1. Does this clarify the identity of the "woman?" (Mary gave birth to Jesus. Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt after Jesus' birth ( Matthew 2:13-15). But, the symbolism here appears to go beyond Mary to refer to God's church.)

      2. Let's skip down a few verses to clarify the meaning of the woman. Read Revelation 12:17. How do you now understand the symbolism of the woman? (This very clearly goes beyond Mary, and is a description of the true church.)

    4. We now understand the meaning of the dragon, the child, and the woman. Read Revelation 12:13-17. What is the current work of evil? (To make war against the church, the followers of Jesus.)

    5. Look again at Revelation 12:17. How do you know if you are a target of Satan? How do you know if you are a part of the true church? ("Those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.")

      1. Let's see if we can flesh this out a bit more. What does it mean to be holding to the "testimony of Jesus?" (Read Revelation 1:9. John, who wrote revelation, says he is on this island "because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." John is talking about his work of telling others about Jesus being God. Those pursued by Satan are those who are proclaiming the gospel of Jesus.)

      2. What do you think is meant by obeying God's commandments? (Satan targets you if you lead a life of obedience to God.)

      3. Let's look at one more thing that John says about the testimony of Jesus. Read Revelation 19:9-10. What is John's error here? (Trying to worship the angel.)

        1. Who does the angel say that John (and we) should worship if we promote the "testimony of Jesus?" (God. The Holy Spirit is the power behind our witnessing for Jesus. We need to be sure we have our audience pointed to God, and not to us or anyone else.)

  3. The Work of God

    1. Read Matthew 28:18-20. If we do what Jesus commands, we will be targeted by Satan. What should give us comfort and assurance? (Jesus will be with us always - to the "very end of the age.")

    2. Read Revelation 14:8. What else should give us comfort as we do the work of Jesus? (Jesus is winning. He has won. Babylon has fallen!)

    3. Friend, consider your life. How are you relating to your pride? When you consider the teachings of the Bible, do you ignore some of them because you know better? If so, you need to repent today of this Satanic attitude. Why not decide, right now, to join those who promote the gospel of Jesus and obey His commands?

  4. Next week: Daniel and the End Time.

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