The Cross Versus the Hellish Shadow of Satan

By John Thiel

This planet has fallen and Satan has become the prince of this world. Ever since the fall of this planet at the hand of Adam and Eve, we are all dwelling on Satan’s enchanted ground. Satan holds the people captive on this planet;

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, [and] consider thee, [saying, Is] this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; 17 [That] made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; [that] opened not the house of his prisoners?

We are living in the most solemn period of this world’s history. The destiny of earth’s teeming multitudes is about to be decided. Our own future well-being and also the salvation of other souls depend upon the course which we now pursue. We need to be guided by the Spirit of truth. Every follower of Christ should earnestly inquire: Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? We need to humble ourselves before the Lord, with fasting and prayer, and to meditate much upon His word, especially upon the scenes of the judgment. We should now seek a deep and living experience in the things of God. We have not a moment to lose. Events of vital importance are taking place around us; we are on Satan’s enchanted ground. Sleep not, sentinels of God; the foe is lurking near, ready at any moment, should you become lax and drowsy, to spring upon you and make you his prey. {GC 601.1}

If we are not aware of this we will indeed crash. What does it say? We are on Satan’s enchanted ground, sleep not.

Bear in mind, the time will never come when the hellish shadow of Satan will not be cast athwart our pathway to obstruct our faith and eclipse the light emanating from the presence of Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness. Our faith must not stagger, but cleave through that shadow. {TM 387.2}

As we near the close of this earth’s history, Satan redoubles his efforts to cast his hellish shadow over us, that he may turn our eyes away from Christ. If he can prevent us from beholding Jesus, we shall be overcome; but we must not permit him to do this. {Prt, December 29, 1892 par. 4}

It is double for the present time we are living in. But we do not need to be oppressed because something has been done for this dilemma.

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

Jesus was just casting out devils and they were criticizing him. Satan is the prince of this world and he claims this planet as his own but Jesus claims the strong mans house and he bound him and he is able to release every human being from this horrifying situation.  Here is a statement about what has been done to release us from this horrifying enchanted ground of Satan;

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Something has been done. I am sensitive to the morose things in life but this brings me comfort, a way of escape and I take hold of this with all my energies and I pray we all do this together. Jesus has taken me away from the strong mans enchanting powers to take us away from death and sin and destroy the one who has this power so that we might be released from the fear of death. Our stress levels are due to the appreciation of the fear of failure which means death. This is the stress level of everyone in the world and only Jesus can release us by understanding the dimension of the cross of Jesus, the atonement and the picture of Jesus being at one with you and me under Satan’s sophistry. The shadow of Satan’s morose enchantments and we have this precious understanding of the atonement which has been circulating among us for many years. I love to enlarge the powerful living realities of the cross to my own mind and I need it to relate to my brothers and sisters. What makes us so happy when we come to Jesus and to feel so free of this fear?

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

Jesus was warning the disciples what was coming and he was letting them know that he would not be able to talk to them much about this hereafter. Jesus spoke of an experience that we need to appreciate. To be able to meet a confrontation with the evil one and yet for him to find nothing in us that we would feel a need to respond and to be cast down under his shadow.

Not once did Christ step on Satan’s ground, to give him any advantage. Satan found nothing in Him to encourage his advances (Letter 8, 1895). {5BC 1129.2}

Jesus was of such a position that Satan could not floor him.

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

The Refined Sensibilities of Jesus.–Would that we could comprehend the significance of the words, Christ suffered being tempted. While He was free from the taint of sin, the refined sensibilities of His holy nature rendered contact with evil unspeakably painful to Him. Yet with human nature upon Him, He met the archapostate face to face, and single-handed withstood the foe of His throne. Not even by a thought could Christ be brought to yield to the power of temptation. {7BC 927.4}

Satan came to him and found nothing in him but what was his experience? A painful experience. It was a suffering, it was a negative and we need to appreciate what this really means. The precious example of Jesus we may behold. If we will open our hearts to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirits application of it we will be without sin and Satan will find nothing in us.

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Satan found nothing in Jesus because the seed of Godliness, the divine was in him.

Power Assured for the Children of Faith.–Christ in the weakness of humanity (Do you feel your weakness?) was to meet the temptations of one possessing the powers of the higher nature that God had bestowed on the angelic family. But Christ’s humanity was united with divinity, and in this strength He would bear all the temptations that Satan could bring against Him, and yet keep His soul untainted by sin. And this power to overcome He would give to every son and daughter of Adam who would accept by faith the righteous attributes of His character (RH Jan. 28, 1909). {7BC 927.7}

Whoever is born of God cannot sin because he is born or God. When Jesus the divine is in me, the divine mingles with human nature as it did in Jesus Christ, the same power that Jesus had will be ours. There will be not satanic power that can conquer us. But it is to those who accept by faith those realities. The precious example of Jesus is ours to embrace.

In human nature, as our substitute, as our surety, He laid hold upon the very hope that it is our privilege to take hold of, and that is infinite power. Through this, our Saviour overcame the temptations of the enemy and obtained the victory. For whom? Why, in our behalf. Why? That not one of the members of the human family need to stumble in the road that leads to everlasting life. Because He has traveled it before us, He knows every obstruction, He knows every difficulty that every soul upon the face of the earth must meet. He knows this, and therefore at His baptism, when He offered up His petition to heaven, that prayer cleaved directly through the hellish shadow of Satan that is thrown on your path, that is thrown on my path, and faith entered into that within the veil (Hebrews 619).–MS 12, 1895. {1MCP 185.1}

What did Jesus do? He was in the strong mans house, he was on enchanted ground and as he suffered the same temptations that cause you and me to fall but Jesus broke through the hellish shadow of Satan so that you and I can do the same. This is called the light of the cross and we are told to dwell in the light of the cross.

But the Communion service was not to be a season of sorrowing. This was not its purpose. As the Lord’s disciples gather about His table, they are not to remember and lament their shortcomings. They are not to dwell upon their past religious experience, whether that experience has been elevating or depressing. They are not to recall the differences between them and their brethren. The preparatory service has embraced all this. The self-examination, the confession of sin, the reconciling of differences, has all been done. Now they come to meet with Christ. They are not to stand in the shadow of the cross, but in its saving light. They are to open the soul to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. With hearts cleansed by Christ’s most precious blood, in full consciousness of His presence, although unseen, they are to hear His words, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. John 14:27. {DA 659.1}

Sister White had been in the experience of the shadow of the cross herself. She had difficulties in the church just as we do. Look at what she was shown;

Walk not in the shadow of the cross, but in the path where the Sun of Righteousness is ever shining, to impart life and vitality, and to give grace for grace. {ST, July 25, 1895 par. 2}

The cross speaks life and not death to the soul that believes in Jesus. Welcome the precious, life-giving rays that shine from the cross of Calvary. God would not deprive his people of blessings. It is Satan that interposes his shadow of darkness and creates misgiving and doubts, in order that we may not discern the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining from the cross of Calvary. Reach up for the blessing, believe for the blessing. {ST, July 25, 1895 par. 3}

I remember that my husband sometimes used to halt in the shadow of the cross, and he could see nothing but the dark side. He was sore tried and perplexed. He suffered being tempted. So sorely were we tried that I thought death would be preferable to the sufferings we endured. Clouds surrounded us, and everything was unfavorable to the light, hope, and courage of the soul. We are in the same danger now of not discerning the light that shines from the cross of Calvary. We have been halting in the shadow of the cross. At times we have failed to gather about us the warm, bright rays which come to us from an uplifted Saviour. Brethren, the cross speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, in behalf of every soul that receives Jesus Christ. When you are deeply shadowed, it is because Satan has interposed himself between you and the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness. In times of trouble the brightness is eclipsed, and we do not understand why the assurance seems to be withdrawn. We are led to look at self and at the shadow of the cross, and this prevents us from seeing the consolation that there is for us. We complain of the way, and withdraw the hand from the hand of Christ. But sometimes God’s favor breaks suddenly upon the soul, and the gloom is dispelled. {ST, July 25, 1895 par. 4}

We are in the same danger now of not discerning the light that shines from the cross of Calvary. {ST, July 25, 1895 par. 4}

When you are deeply shadowed it is because Satan has imposed himself between you and the bright rays of the cross and we don’t understand why God’s assurance has been withdrawn. We are led to look at self and the shadow of the cross prevents us from seeing the consolation that has been given for us. Have you ever said But oh it’s so hard. When you say this, what are you actually doing here? You are complaining and focusing on self. We will all come under this. We feel like we are going to die rather than go on living and it happens within the church but we have rejoiced in the glow of precious atonement revelations but how can it be. Let us consider carefully how the hellish shadow of Satan creeps in so that we can do what that sweep voice said to Sr White. Let it ring in our ears and awake out of sleep that we may conquer what Satan is trying to destroy us with. We have the answers and we must not sleep because if we do we will miss the fine thread of the answers that we need.

We have all rejoiced in the precious love of Jesus, but we can’t rest in the sense of going to sleep. We can rest in the comfort of answers to problems we are still on Satan’s enchanted ground. We have rejoiced and then we have gone down and some people go down and stay down for a long time. How did it happen that stealthy unnoticed negativity that shadow that creeps and begins to affect that the joy of salvation is covered in mist and gets heavier and darker so that you lose what you rejoiced in? How does it happen?

What Happened In Heaven

We are all to understand that there is a fallen angel who was once next to Christ in honor among the heavenly host. His work of deception was done in so great secrecy that the angels in less exalted positions supposed that he was the Ruler of heaven. Satan made the representation that all wrong insinuations existing in heaven originated among the angels, while he himself had made suggestions which would never have been entertained by the angels, had he not created them. He artfully presented these things to God, as having come from the angels, while they all originated with Satan himself. . . . {TDG 256.1}

Think of this experience. Here we are joyful happy in heavenly joy and there comes a suggestion that I have caused this problem. And who was the one who sowed it and brought it to mind? The devil himself. This is very important. We all need to understand this because if we don’t we will fall every time. Then among the disciples didn’t Jesus call Judas a devil? To appreciate how this creeping shadow does its work. The hellish shadow of Satan in the apostle’s experience.

With Judas an element of antagonism was introduced among the disciples. . . . That which ruled him was the hope of selfish benefit in the worldly kingdom which he expected Christ to establish. Though recognizing the divine power of the love of Christ, Judas did not yield to its supremacy. He continued to cherish his own judgment and opinions, his disposition to criticize and condemn. Christ’s motives and movements, often so far above his comprehension, excited doubt and disapproval, and his own questionings and ambitions were insinuated to the disciples. Many of their contentions for supremacy, much of their dissatisfaction with Christ’s methods, originated with Judas. {CC 287.2}

He introduced controversies and misleading sentiments, repeating the arguments urged by the scribes and Pharisees against the claims of Christ. . . . He would introduce texts of Scripture that had no connection with the truths Christ was presenting. These texts, separated from their connection, perplexed the disciples. . . . Yet all this was done by Judas in such a way as to make it appear that he was conscientious. And while the disciples were searching for evidence to confirm the words of the Great Teacher, Judas would lead them almost imperceptibly on another track. . . . In all that Christ said to His disciples, there was something with which, in heart, Judas disagreed. . . . {CC 287.3}

The beautiful relationship of heaven harmony is undermined by questionings and dark controversy, feelings about what people are saying about this and that. In the early church the same thing happened again remember where it says but I have something against you – the reproof.

But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, encouraging suspicion and doubt, giving way to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour, and of the great love he had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others, they themselves erred. They forgot the lessons of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. {RH, February 25, 1904 par. 4}

Satan says we are going to get hold of those people are keeping God’s commandments.

We must cause distraction and division. We must destroy their anxiety for their own souls, and lead them to criticize, to judge, and to accuse and condemn one another, and to cherish selfishness and enmity. For these sins, God banished us from His presence; and all who follow our example will meet a similar fate. {TM 475.2}

He is casting his hellish shadow against us today. Unless we understand his tactics we will surely go to sleep.

There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence. Oh, that we each might become a savor of life unto life to those around us!.–RH, Mar 27, 1888. {2MCP 432.2}

When you have a thought or a feeling you can feel the shadow and that annoy the best of men and then we can get annoyed at the annoyance and the shadow gets worse and worse and worse. Indeed it is a hellish shadow. We need to be aware not only how it comes, but what to do;

Envy, jealousy, and evil surmising is a hellish shadow by which Satan seeks to intercept your views of the character of Christ, so that by beholding the evil you may be fully changed into its likeness (Letter 9, 1892). {3BC 1163.5}

This is how he does it. Have you ever had a thought that one person is being treated like this and I am being treated the other way. That is envy.  Jealousy and evil surmising. That is the dark shadow of Stan when I think this is what happened and I imagine all sorts of things this is evil surmising, the hellish shadow that Satan seeks to arouse. Floating rumors are frequently the destroyers among brethren. Make sure people are listening to the word of God but if they are still going off track then counsel them in much love and say it to them and nobody else.

As we near the close of this earth’s history, Satan redoubles his efforts to cast his hellish shadow over us, that he may turn our eyes away from Christ. If he can prevent us from beholding Jesus, we shall be overcome; but we must not permit him to do this. {Prt, December 29, 1892 par. 4}

Satan wants us to occupy our minds with the things we have been reading, thoughts and feelings that annoy me, aroused by Satan, evil surmising and questioning doctrines like Judas did, even questioning if this is God’s church or not. This is exactly what Satan would do.

The pleasures of the world, life’s cares and perplexities and sorrows, the faults of others, or your own faults and imperfections–to any or all of these he will seek to divert the mind. Do not be misled by his devices. Many who are really conscientious, and who desire to live for God, he too often leads to dwell upon their own faults and weaknesses, and thus by separating them from Christ he hopes to gain the victory. {SC 71.2}

So many are in this darkness today. When we are thus polluted by this hellish shadow what shall we do? Is there something we can do to break this hellish hold? It is an enchantment brothers and sisters. At first it feels food to talk about someone else because they are worse than me. Or oh, there is sin in the camp. If there is sin in the camp deal with it in the right way, not by talking about it.  Here is what we do when the hellish shadow of Satan has had its effect;

Let us come out of the cavern of darkness. Let us educate our intellects to discern what Jesus is to us. Let us train our minds to stand on the mount before God in faith, strong in God under any and every temptation. . . . {OHC 136.5}

In the mount we shall have correct views of Jesus. Satan will not have power to cast his hellish shadow between our souls and Jesus, eclipse our view of Jesus, falsify Him, and encourage our hearts in cruel unbelief of His goodness, His mercy, and His love wherewith He hath loved us. {OHC 136.6}

Look at what Jesus did:

But when Satan throws his hellish shadow before us, we should reach in faith through the shadow to the light of life–to Him who has not only created man but who by His own blood has redeemed him. {UL 292.5}

Every time we feel the shadow don’t let it get worse, get out of it immediately by looking to Jesus and following his lead.

Let faith pierce through the hellish shadow of Satan and center in Jesus, our high priest, who hath entered for us within the veil. Whatever clouds overcast the sky, whatever storms surge around the soul, this anchor holds firm, and we may be sure of victory. {HP 127.5}

Have you ever had a bright sunny day and a thick cloud comes over it? What are we to do?

Look to Christ, behold the attractive loveliness of His character, and by beholding you will become changed into His likeness. The mist that intervenes between Christ and the soul will be rolled back as we by faith look past the hellish shadow of Satan and see God’s glory in His law, and the righteousness of Christ. {6BC 1097.3}

I will be free from these hellish shadows if we yield. I love the following statement.

Satan is active, and we must be active too. Satan is untiring and persevering, and we must be the same. There is no time to make excuses and blame others for our backslidings; no time now to flatter the soul [that] if circumstances had only been more favorable, how much better, how much easier [it would be] for us to work the works of God. We must tell even those who profess to believe in Christ, that they must cease to offend God by sinful excuses. {12MR 336.2}

The needy soul is to forget everyone and everything but God. Are we going to do that? If I didn’t do that I would be shattered by now. But I look to Jesus and I forget everyone and everything and I look to God and as I look back I see a totally different picture and you can do the same. While we may live on their enchanted ground we need to keep of Satan’s enchanted ground.

You should keep off from Satan’s enchanted ground and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. Through Christ you may and should be happy and should acquire habits of self-control. Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character. When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control. If you yield to your impressions and allow your thoughts to run in a channel of suspicion, doubt, and repining you will be among the most unhappy of mortals, and your lives will prove a failure. {5T 310.1}

Get off the ground of Satan’s enchantment, set you mind on the things of God, don’t think about your miserable relationship with others in the church. Don’t think about it, let alone.  Cease it and forget it. We have Christ our righteousness which is precious to my soul because I know how destructive the shadow of Satan is.

When Satan casts his hellish shadow athwart my pathway, I do not look at it or talk of it and glorify the devil by talking of him and his power and what a hard time I am having. No, I cleave right through the shadow, and by faith take hold of Jesus Christ. By beholding we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. Talk faith. Every doubt you express is a seed sown, and that seed will take root in some heart. We do not want to speak one word of doubt and thus praise the devil for his wonderful power to keep you in subjection. No, Christ has purchased me and redeemed me. Satan has no power over me.–MS 16, 1894. {2MCP 675.1}

Amen.

Posted on August 23, 2009, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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