Following article was originally published on Canadian Watchman, October 1, 1933; pg. 6-7 and continued on pg. 14 , dealing with the pre-incarnate, begotten Sonship of Christ and how that fact became the underpinning for Lucifer’s rebellion and was also the catalyst for the original controversy between Christ and Satan.
Go back in your studies to the very beginning, to the Luciferian rebellion in heaven, if you would know the principles and the spirit that are involved in the religious issues of today. The principles of every spiritual and moral issue are to be found in that greatest of all controversies. The issue between Christ and Satan is, as it were, a mighty ocean with its deep and swelling tides that surge on through the ages and reach the utmost bounds of the universe, while the issues that men call great are but whitecaps on this mighty ocean that clash, break in pieces, and vanish away into nothingness.
The real question involved in this controversy is that of the Sonship of Christ. Is He God’s only begotten Son? The answer to this question is the answer to every other spiritual and moral question that can possibly arise. The question was first raised by Lucifer, the first of all the angels. The question involves principles that are eternal and strikes at the root of a fundamental law of heaven.
A proper understanding of these principles and this law will do more to remedy the evils in the world to-day than anything else we can do. There is a subtle poison that is corrupting the whole current of our lives, and its source lies deep within the human heart. We need to understand there is but one sure remedy for this evil and it is to be found in the life of God, poured out in the crimson stream of Calvary. But we cannot or will not apply this remedy until we see sin in its true light.
Sin was introduced into the universe when an angel, high and holy, transgressed the fundamental law of heaven and rebelled against God’s government of love. The infection spread like a moral plague until a crisis was reached, and a third of the angels had united with him in his evil work. It will be interesting and profitable to study the principles involved in this controversy in the light of God’s word. Here we will find the issues clearly drawn and there can be no doubt as to the final results.
The curtains are lifted as it were, and for a moment we are privileged to read from the statute books of heaven. Here is the record :
“I will declare the decree : the Lord has said unto Me, Thou are My Son ; this day have I begotten Thee.” Ps. 2 : 7.
The apostle Paul, in Acts 13 : 33, applies this text to the resurrection of Christ when He was brought again from the dead; but before the resurrection, even before He came to earth, Christ was God’s only begotten Son. When God gave Christ in the beginning, He gave His “only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Paul meant to convey the thought that just as surely as Christ was begotten in the first place, just in the same sense was He begotten when He was raised from the dead.
The resurrection did not make Christ God’s only begotten Son. If it did, the same could be said of Moses and others who have been raised from the dead. Back in eternity somewhere, in some way unknown to us, Christ was begotten; and on the day of this wonderful event, a decree was issued by the Father declaring this eternal fact which was incorporated in the laws of heaven. This was before any other creature had been created, for we are told plainly that the creative power was manifested through Christ, and “without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1 : 1 – 3 ; Col. 1 : 16.
What Is Sin?
The Bible declares that, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3 :4. When Lucifer, the first angel, was created, the law concerning the birthright was effective. It was by virtue of His being God’s only begotten Son that Christ was possessed with the power of creation. This law of His Sonship and this prerogative of God were written into the warp and woof of everything that was created. Everything and every created being in the universe owes his existence to Christ and to this fundamental law, for Christ created everything, even the angels. Were it not for Him and for this law that declares Him to be God’s only begotten Son they would have no existence.
The Bible not only says, “Sin is the transgression of the law,” but it also says, “The wages of sin is death.” Lucifer and all the angels were created with the prospect of eternal life before them. Their life, and the life of every other creature in the universe, came from Christ, the source of all life. He said : “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14: 6. He said this, not to declare a doctrine, but to express a truth, a fact that is eternal and all-comprehensive. He being the life, it will be seen that all other creatures and all living things are dependent upon Him for life. When they separate from Him they cease to exist and become nothing.
The condition upon which life is offered to the sons of men is that they acquaint themselves with God and come to know Christ as His only begotten Son. “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” John 17 : 3. “And this is the record, that God bath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son bath life; and he that bath not the Son of God bath not life.” 1 John 5: 11, 12.
Eternal Life through Faith
The knowledge of the Son of God that is essential to eternal life comes through faith. All who believe on Christ as the only begotten Son of God will not perish but have everlasting life. John 3: 16. To doubt and cavil here is dangerous beyond expression, and by so doing, one will surely forfeit eternal life. “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3: 18. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.” 1 John 5: 10.
The strongest testimony that we have that Christ is God’s only begotten Son is the fact that in Him “we live and move and have our being.” No stronger evidence can be given than this. To say that we do not live in Him is to deny the record that God has given of His Son. It is a flat denial of our own existence and a forfeiture of our right to live at all.
The supreme desire of the apostle Paul was to know Christ. “I count everything as loss compared with the supreme advantage of knowing Jesus my Lord. . . . I want to know Him in power of resurrection, and to share His sufferings and even death, in the hope of attaining resurrection from the dead.” Phil. 3: 7-11. Goodspeed’s translation.
This knowledge is worth more than earthly riches; for to know Him in the power of resurrection is to have a hope that expels the darkness of the tomb. Instead of the transient things of earth, it puts one in possession of eternal riches. Abel, Enoch and Abraham knew Christ, and of them it is said:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and
pilgrims on the earth.” Heb. 11 : 13. But how may we know Christ? “Canst thou by searching find out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection ?” Job 11 : 7. “0 the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord ? or who hath been His counsellor ?” Rom. 11: 33, 34.
There is One, and only One, who knows God, and that is His Son Jesus Christ our Saviour. He says: “I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” Prov. 8 : 30. No man has seen God, “save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father.” John 6: 46. Jesus came from the presence of God. He was His counsellor. He says: “As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father.” John 10: 15. He came from the bosom of the Father to reveal Him to us. He wants to introduce us to the Father that we may love Him as He does.
But in our sinful state we cannot understand God,—we cannot know Him. Our moral senses are so dull we cannot comprehend, but Christ can change our nature and open our eyes that we may see and understand. He will quicken our sensibilities, sending a life-current through our sluggish nervous system that will enable us to see as He sees and to feel as He feels. Then we will be able to comprehend the things of the Spirit. Then we will be able to know God, whom to know is life eternal.
Nothing was withheld from Christ. “It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.” Col. 1: 19. “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” John 3: 34. “And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” John 1 : 16. What an assurance! What a joyful thought! In Christ all fulness dwells, and we are receiving of His fulness! The Holy Spirit, the Teacher, is now given by measure unto Him, and He will teach us all things, ( John 14: 26) and will guide us into all truth.
The testimony of Jesus concerning Satan is very plain. Seventy men had been appointed by the Master to minister in His name. When they returned from a certain missionary journey they testified that the devils were subject to them. On the battle front of life these men had met and subdued devils in the name of Jesus Christ. They spoke of personal experiences, and testified not only to the identity and personality of devils, but they said these evil spirits were subjected by them under the direction of the Master.
The testimony of the seventy indicates military tactics, and the devils are represented as being opposed to the preaching of the gospel of Christ. The Son of God came to seek and save the lost, and His gospel is the “glad tidings” of His redeeming love. This message is opposed to the work of devils, proving they are not in sympathy with the uplifting and saving of humanity.
Satan a Being
The Saviour listened to the testimony of these worthy men, and as He did so He was reminded of the time when Lucifer, the prince of devils, was, for his sins, cast out of heaven. For one brief moment He drew back the curtain that hides the conflict of supernatural powers, and said: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10: 18.
This brief statement, coming as it does from the lips of the Son of God, is valuable testimony to prove the personality of Satan. From this testimony we learn that Satan was at one time in heaven. He said that He saw him fall from heaven. There can be no misunderstanding of such plain language. He spoke of the fall of this mighty angel as a visible descent, and as he fell, he appeared to the Beholder as a glorified being. His fall is described as being like lightning. This language is in perfect harmony with many statements in the Bible that speak of Satan as an exalted angel of light. His angelic name was Lucifer, which means, day star or lightbearer.
There is not the slightest intimation of doubt in the Saviour’s testimony. He simply referred to an experience that was perfectly clear and real to Him, and He described what He saw in language so simple and plain that, it will admit of no question at all. In the light of this testimony, how can any one who believes that Jesus Christ lived among men, that He died and rose again, disbelieve the personality of Satan.
Yes, there is a cause for the evil in the world, a master mind, and an infernal promoter is in the background, who knows the source of all iniquity and sin. He is an enemy of God and man. Surely such an one is answerable at the bar of justice, and there must be a judge sufficiently wise to meet out just punishment to the satisfaction of all concerned.
The Twofold Mission of Christ
Herbert. M. Kelley
Review and Herald – July 1, 1920
God Misrepresented by Satan
The character of God had been misrepresented by Satan; and the offer of GOD THE FATHER TO GIVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, and the willingness of the Son to give himself for the lost, removed suspicion respecting the character of God from the minds of all the heavenly Intelligences. Christ cleared up the situation by manifesting the character of God in man on earth. It was not strange that HE, BEING GOD, could reveal the character of God in himself; but the mystery lies in his ability to impart the righteousness of his own character to others, enabling them to show forth his praises, and thus undo what sin has wrought…
…Qualifications of the Mediator
Certain qualifications were requisite on the part of the mediator, and the high character of the parties to be reconciled made the demands exalted and imperative. God was one of these parties, and he was infinite; man was the other, and he was finite. The requirements were that the mediator be the ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER, THE SON OF GOD, DEITY INCARNATE; and ALL THIS HE WAS and even more,— HE WAS ONE WITH GOD, HE WAS GOD; AND BEING GOD, HE WAS POSSESSED OF INFINITE QUALIFICATIONS; and being the Son of man, the seed of the woman, he is our elder brother, and finite — the INFINITE-finite Mediator.
Selfishness and Satan
Herbert M. Kelley
Youth’s Instructor – June 18, 1929 p.3
He envied Christ because of His superiority, and out of the selfishness of his heart, he determined to force himself into a position much to be desired. He thought that his happiness would be full if he could occupy A POSITION EQUAL TO THAT HELD BY THE SON OF GOD. But alas! that beautiful angel learned, as many other sad hearts have learned, that suffering and misery await him who lives for self alone. NOT SIMPLY BECAUSE CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD, BUT BECAUSE HE IS DIVINELY QUALIFIED, will He be crowned King of kings and Lo
rd of lords. IT PLEASED THE FATHER THAT IN HIM SHOULD ALL FULLNESS DWELL, AND THESE INHERENT QUALIFICATIONS FITTED HIM TO BE IN THE HIGHEST PLACE IN ALL THE UNIVERSE OF GOD. Lucifer was equally fitted to fill the position given him, but because of the selfishness born in his heart, he became discontented with the position he held and desired for himself a higher place.
THERE WAS ONLY ONE POSITION HIGHER THAN THAT HELD BY LUCIFER AND THAT WAS HELD BY CHRIST. Suppose Lucifer should have been promoted to the position above, the one held by Christ. In the very nature of the case the angel just below should have been promoted to the position formerly occupied by Lucifer, and so on down until every angel would have been promoted, leaving the lowest place unoccupied. In the scheme of Lucifer, CHRIST WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPEACHED AND DETHRONED, AND THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO PLACE LEFT FOR HIM but the lowest place in the whole realm of God. Moreover, every angel was created and qualified to fill the original position occupied, and of course was unprepared to fill any higher position. Therefore, in Lucifer’s scheme, if it had carried, the whole organization of the universe would have been destroyed, and all because one angel wanted to live for self!
On His early death, this is found in the Review and Herald – May 18, 1944
Herbert M. Kelley was born April 10, 1886 ; and passed away at Herrin, Ill., on March 20, 1944, at the age of fifty-eight years. His sudden death came as a real shock to his many friends and acquaintances. Although not feeling well, he delivered his regular weekly radio address on Sunday afternoon, and his death came early Monday morning.
Elder Kelley had given thirty-three years of his life to the gospel ministry, and at the time of his death was serving as pastor of a small district of churches in southern Illinois. During his ministry he held many positions of responsibility. He started his labors in Illinois, and later was connected with Southwestern Junior College as Bible teacher. He gave many years of faithful service to the Florida Conference, having served as pastor of the large Orlando and Miami churches. He was educational secretary of that field for eight years, later moving to the Alabama-Mississippi Conference.
Elder Kelley was also an attorney at law, and at one time was a member of the Indiana bar. In his passing, the cause of God has sustained a real loss. Elder Kelley was a devoted laborer and a great humanitarian. He gave his life in unselfish service for others and was always willing to counsel and help individuals in solving their personal problems. He was a man of courage and optimism, and in the few hours of suffering preceding his death, he informed his companion that it was his desire to depart out of this world with the same courage that had characterized his entire life. Thus he fell asleep to await the call of the Life-giver on the morning of the first resurrection. He is survived by his faithful wife, two sisters, and one brother.
Funeral services were conducted at the First Baptist church in Herrin, Ill., by the president of the Illinois Conference, assisted by W. 0. Berry, and were attended by many believers and friends. Burial took place at Linton, Ind., with 0. K. Butler officiating at the service. Even though another faithful soldier of the cross has laid down his burdens, yet we sorrow not as those who have not hope, but look forward with eager anticipation to the time when “the dead in Christ” shall come forth from their dusty beds. — L. E. LENHEIM