“ ‘And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ ” (Josh. 24:15, NKJV). How does this text reveal what is, in many ways, the most foundational issue in the great controversy?
Prophecy provides us with a view of the closing scenes of the conflict between God and Satan. For a period of 1260 years (Dan. 7:25, 12:7, Rev. 11:2, 12:14, 13:5), Satan sporadically, but persistently, persecuted God’s people. In a final showdown written of in Revelation 12 and 13, Satan employs two earthly powers: a leopard-like beast (Rev. 13:1-10) and a two-horned beast (Rev. 13:11-17). And they employ all the tactics of Satan that were discussed in yesterday’s lesson.
Revelation 14 is a description of the countermove to Satan’s maneuvers that God uses during the final stages in the struggle in order to bring the struggle to an end. What does Revelation 14:6-13 tell us about the ways in which some of the issues in the great controversy are going to be made manifest?
From God’s perspective, a clear proclamation of the issues involved in the conflict (here represented as being sent by three angels) is necessary before the conflict comes to a close. Humanity needs to be intelligently informed in order for people to make up their minds about the issues.
In the final conflict there will be people who stand loyal to God. In Revelation 14 they are symbolized by the number 144,000, possibly representative of an innumerable people from all the nations of the earth (Revelation 7:4). But they remain obedient to the commandments of God in a time of great distress and are wholeheartedly devoted to the worship of their Creator God. They receive the approval of God and are victorious with Him while the impenitent are destroyed in the ensuing harvest (Rev. 14:14-20). The point is that one day this great controversy will be over.
One thing about the great controversy: no one can be neutral. You’re either on one side or the other. Anyone can claim to be on the Lord’s side (see John 16:2); how do you know, for sure, that you really are? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.