Confrontation
By Ellen G. White
 
 
Chapter 8 A Threat to Satan's Kingdom
 
 

 
 

At the birth of Christ, Satan saw the plains of Bethlehem illuminated with the brilliant glory of a multitude of heavenly angels. He heard their song, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." The prince of darkness saw the amazed shepherds filled with fear as they beheld the illuminated plains. They trembled before the exhibitions of bewildering glory which seemed to entrance their senses. The rebel chief himself trembled at the proclamation of the angel to the shepherds, "Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." He had met with good success in devising a plan to ruin men, and he had become bold and powerful. He had controlled the minds and bodies of men from Adam down to the first appearing of Christ. But now Satan was troubled and alarmed for his kingdom and his life.
 

The song of the heavenly messengers proclaiming the advent of the Saviour to a fallen world, and the joy expressed at this great event, Satan knew boded no good to himself. Dark forebodings were awakened in his mind as to the influence this advent to the world would have upon his kingdom. He queried if this was not the coming One who would contest his power and overthrow his kingdom. He looked upon Christ from His birth as his rival. He stirred the envy and jealousy of Herod to destroy Christ by insinuating to him that his power and his kingdom were to be given to this new King. Satan imbued Herod with the very feelings and fears that disturbed his own mind. He inspired the corrupt mind of Herod to slay all the children in Bethlehem who were two years old and under, which plan he thought would succeed in ridding the earth of the infant King.
 

But against his plans, Satan sees a higher power at work. Angels of God protected the life of the infant Redeemer. Joseph was warned in a dream to flee into Egypt, that in a heathen land he might find an asylum for the world's Redeemer. Satan followed Him from infancy to childhood and from childhood to manhood, inventing means and ways to allure Him from His allegiance to God, and overcome Him with his subtle temptations. The unsullied purity of the childhood, youth, and manhood of Christ, which Satan could not taint, annoyed him exceedingly. All his darts and arrows of temptation fell harmless before the Son of God. And when he found that all his temptations prevailed nothing in moving Christ from the steadfast integrity, or in marring the spotless purity of the youthful Galilean, he was perplexed and enraged. He looked upon this youth as an enemy that he must dread and fear.
 

That there should be one who walked the earth with moral power to withstand all his temptations, who resisted all his attractive bribes to allure Him to sin, and over whom he could obtain no advantage to separate from God, chafed and enraged his satanic majesty.
 

The childhood, youth, and manhood of John, who came in the spirit and power of Elijah to do a special work in preparing the way for the world's Redeemer, were marked with firmness and moral power. Satan could not move his integrity. When the voice of this prophet was heard in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight," Satan was afraid for his kingdom. He felt that the voice, sounding forth in trumpet tones in the wilderness, caused sinners under his control to tremble. He saw that his power over many was broken. The sinfulness of sin was revealed in such a manner that men became alarmed; and some, by repentance of their sins, found the favor of God and gained moral power to resist his temptations.
 
 


 




He was on the ground at the time when Christ presented Himself to John for baptism. He heard the majestic voice resounding through heaven and echoing through the earth like peals of thunder. He saw the lightnings flash from the cloudless heavens, and heard the fearful words from Jehovah, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." He saw the brightness of the Father's glory overshadowing the form of Jesus, thus pointing out in that crowd the One whom He acknowledged as His Son with unmistakable assurance. The circumstances connected with this baptismal scene had aroused the most intense hatred in the breast of Satan. He knew then for a certainty that unless he could overcome Christ, from thenceforth there would be a limitation of his power. He understood that the communication from the throne of God signified that heaven was more directly accessible to man.
 

As Satan had led man to sin, he had hoped that God's abhorrence of sin would forever separate Him from man, and break the connecting link between heaven and earth. The opening heavens, in connection with the voice of God addressing His Son, was like a death knell to Satan. He feared that God was now to unite man more fully to Himself, and give power to overcome his devices. And for this purpose Christ had come from the royal courts to the earth. Satan was well acquainted with the position of honor Christ had held in heaven as the Son of God, the beloved of the Father. And that He should leave heaven, and come to this world as a man, filled him with apprehension for his safety. He could not comprehend the mystery of this great sacrifice for the benefit of fallen man. He knew that the value of heaven far exceeded the anticipation and appreciation of fallen man. The most costly treasures of the world, he knew, would not compare with its worth. As he had lost through his rebellion all the riches and pure glories of heaven, he was determined to be revenged by causing as many as he could to undervalue heaven and to place their affections upon earthly treasures.
 

It was incomprehensible to the selfish soul of Satan that there could exist benevolence and love for the deceived race so great as to induce the Prince of heaven to leave His home and come to a world marred with sin and seared with the curse. He had knowledge of the inestimable value of eternal riches that man had not. He had experienced the pure contentment, the peace, exalted holiness, and unalloyed joys of the heavenly abode. He had realized, before his rebellion, the satisfaction of the full approval of God. He had once a full appreciation of the glory that enshrouded the Father, and knew that there was no limit to His power.
 

Satan knew what he had lost. He now feared that his empire over the world was to be contested, his right disputed, and his power broken. He knew, through prophecy, that a Saviour was predicted and that His kingdom would not be established in earthly triumph and with worldly honor and display. He knew that ancient prophecies foretold a kingdom to be established by the Prince of heaven upon the earth, which he claimed as his dominion. This kingdom would embrace all the kingdoms of the world, and then his power and his glory would cease and he would receive his retribution for the sins he had introduced into the world, and for the misery he had brought upon man. He knew that everything which concerned his prosperity was pending upon his success or failure in overcoming Christ with his temptations in the wilderness. He brought to bear upon Christ every artifice and force of his powerful temptations to allure Him from His allegiance.
 

It is impossible for man to know the strength of Satan's temptations to the Son of God. Every temptation that seems so afflicting to man in his daily life, so difficult to resist and overcome, was brought to bear upon the Son of God in as much greater degree as his excellence of character was superior to that of fallen man.
 

Christ was tempted in all points like as we are. As man's representative He stood the closest test and proving of God. He met the strongest force of Satan. His most wily temptations Christ has tested and conquered in behalf of man. It is impossible for man to be tempted above what he is able to bear while he relies upon Jesus, the infinite Conqueror.
 
 

 
 
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[Acts of the Apostles] [Child Guidance] [Christ's Object Lessons] [Confrontation] [Counsels on Diet and Foods] [Counsels on Health] [Counsels to Parents] [Counsels on Sabbath School Work] [Counsels on Stewardship] [Counsels to Writers] [Christian Service] [Christian jTemperance] [Desire of Ages] [Education] [Evangelism] [Fundamentals of Christian Education] [For the Glory of God] [Gospel Workers] [Healthful Living] [Last Day Events] [Letters to Young Lovers] [Medical Ministry] [Messages to Young People] [Pastoral Minstry] [Patriarchs and Prophets] [Selected Messages] [Sketches from the Life of Paul] [Southern Work] [Spirit of Prophecy] [Steps to Christ] [Story of Redemption] [Solemn Appeal] [Temperance] [Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing] [Welfare Ministry]