Understanding the Great Controversy

Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:15; Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:13; 2 Tim. 3:1–5; Hebrews 11; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:4–9

“All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God's adversary.”1

How It All Begins (Rev. 12:4–9)
The word “controversy” means a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion.2 I must agree with this explanation. Since from the beginning of the creation, there was conflict between God and Satan. It all started when a created being were endowed with the freedom of choice. Thought Lucifer has been a created being, but he has a lot of disagreement by his pride to the authority of the creator God and wanted to challenge God’s love in heavenly government. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into angels and to the world when he led Adam and Eve into sin along with his fallen evil angels. Revelation 12:4 says, “Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born” (NIV). This was the birth of the great controversy.

The Stage (2 Chron. 20, 21, 28; Heb. 11:4–10)
Understanding of the history, provide us the bigger view about our life is a stage where the two forces plays. We can be either for Satan and his misleading causes or for God and His saving plan. In the life of Cain and Able, the great controversy was between the will God and will of man. In the life of Noah was, whether to obey fully God and condemned the world or just be like everyone. In the life of Moses, his great controversy was to be the next Pharaoh mighty ruler of Egypt or just to be nomadic slave. In the life of Joseph, his great controversy was to avenge his half-brothers and prison them or to forgive them. In the life the queen Esther, her great controversy was just to maintain the status quo of being the fresh new queen or to risk her own life to save the disfavoured tribe. As for our father Abraham, his great controversy was to enjoy the present great land and vegetation, or to obeying God and go to places where he never have been before and somewhere deserted land. We could go on with name after names. Of course there are also people like King Saul, totally sided with the evil force by following his own desire. Not forgetting all those kings Ahaz, Ahaziah, and Jehoram, where they have surrendered to the evil power by disobeying God’s redemption plan.

The Continuation and Ending (Gen. 3:15; 1 Pet. 5:8)
Many people today agree that our world is a battleground of good and evil spiritual powers. The human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the worldwide flood. Since from then, the earth became the arena of the universal conflict and observed by the whole creation. Human history is much more than just the stage of human actions. It is indeed the scene of a continuous struggle between Satan’s deceiving strategies and God’s redemptive plan. Genesis 3:15 says “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and your will strike his heel.” That is why there is always a controversial issue between good and evil. This means between God and Satan, between dark forces and good forces. This conflict has been an on-going conflict ever since Lucifer lost his status in heaven and being cast down to earth. As he knows that there is little time left on this earth while he is working hard to get that his status back. The conflict has been more intense and severer as we speak of it. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV).

Global Reality (Gen. 2:16, 17; 2 Tim. 3:1–5)
As the world is coming to an end, so also the great controversy moves toward its end. Result of it, evil, temptation and sin have become more aggressive, more intense in it nature and more widespread in its geographical scope. Originally, in the Garden of Eden temptation was delimitated geographically to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After the fall of Adam and Eve temptation became the global reality with external (environmental) and internal (human nature) expression. Few years ago, our Christian homes were safe and conducive places for family and children in term of spiritual, moral values and physical and spiritual growth, but with the modern media and technology, even our sacred home become the den for evil forces.

Solution (Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:13)
The fact is that, all of us are involved in this “Great Controversy.” And the good news is that, “the great controversy between Christ and Satan, that has been carried forward for nearly six thousand years, is soon to close;”3 Colossians 1:13 says, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (NIV). We can never with this battle with our own strength. Only the supernatural power of God’s saving grace can rescue sinner from the dominion of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of Christ. Paul has made it very clear that in Ephesians 6:12, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (NIV). When we truly relied on the power of God, and acknowledging that, we are strong in the Lord, Satan tremble at his feet.

1. What is your on-going controversy in your life at this moment and how are you planning to overcome it?
2. What keeps you away from totally surrendering to the Lord and His will?
3. What would be your best strategies to win this battle?
1. Adventist.org, “Fundamental Beliefs,” http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html (accessed August 15, 2012).
2. Dictionary.com, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/controversy (accessed August 15, 2012).
3. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 518.

Benjamin Kipzanang, Jurong East, Singapore