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Sabbath School Lessons on Rebellion and Redemption
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 1: Crisis in Heaven *
Introduction: How did sin begin? The Bible records that Adam and Eve
were created by God. Why would God create something flawed, something
that had the potential for sin in it? The Bible also records that
Adam and Eve had help entering into sin. The "help" came in the form
of another creature that God created. Why would any God-created
creature promote sin? Since sin seems to be in existence before Adam
and Eve, where did it start? Let's dig into our study of the Bible
and see what clues it reveals!
- Sin Begins
- Read Isaiah 14:12. What kind of person does this seem to
be? (Someone important who came from heaven, but was "cast
down" to earth. Someone who has created trouble for the
nations on earth.)
- Read Isaiah 14:13-14. What is the cause of this person
being cast out of heaven? (This person has aspirations to
be above all others and to be like God.)
- That sounds like ambition. Ambition is good, right?
(How can a created being aspire to be the equivalent
- Read Revelation 12:7-9. Are there any parallels to the
person referred to here and the one in Isaiah 14:12? (They
were both cast down from heaven. Revelation refers to this
person leading the whole world astray, while Isaiah refers
to a person who laid low the nations. The situations sound
- Who else was cast down? ("His angels.")
- How badly did heaven want to get rid of this person?
(Enough to enter into a war over it.)
- Read Ezekiel 28:14-16. What do we learn about this person?
(Among other things, he was important in heaven, was
expelled from heaven (the mount of God), and he has a
problem with sin.)
- Are we reading about three different persons, or are these
three different accounts of the same person? (It seems
very unlikely that three people would have such a unique
description. I think we should presume that they are the
- Read Ezekiel 28:11-13. The mystery is solved! All three
of these descriptions are of the King of Tyre, right?
- If this is like figuring out a jig saw puzzle, there
are some aspects of this which clearly do not fit.
When we read Ezekiel 28:13-14 we learn this King of
Tyre was a "guardian cherub" heaven, but was also in
Eden. Who do you recall being in Eden? Did the cast
of characters include someone called the King of
- Read Genesis 3:1-4. What does it say about this person
that fits the description we read in Revelation 12? (He is
described as a serpent. That not only fits the description
in Revelation 12, but his placement in Eden also fits the
description in Ezekiel 28.)
- If this is really the same person described in these
four places in the Bible, how do you explain this
person being the King of Tyre? (If the serpent in
Eden was not really a snake, but was in reality the
former heavenly guardian cherub now known as Satan,
then how much of a stretch is it to say that the King
of Tyre was really Satan too? Perhaps just as Satan
assumed the form of a snake in Eden, so Satan
controlled the King of Tyre. Unger's commentary tells
us that "Tyre [was] a profligate, self-centered,
opulent, and worldly wise city" as a result of the
"effete and morally debasing" "Canaanite cults.")
- Read Revelation 12:12. We learn that heaven is rejoicing
that Satan has been tossed out, but those of us who live
on the earth should be very worried because Satan is angry
and "knows his time is short." What do you think "his time
is short" means?
- What clues do these texts give us about the origin of sin?
(That it began in heaven, that it involved coveting God's
position, and that this ambition turned into an actual war
which Satan lost. Satan and his confederates were ejected
- to the great relief and joy of heaven. But, this mess
showed up on our planet!)
- Let's go back and revisit the Eden story to see if we can
refine our conclusions. The Bible tells us that this is
how sin entered our world. Read Genesis 3:2-5. What is at
the bottom of this temptation? (To be like God. If Eve
eats the fruit she will be like God.)
- Based on what we have read so far, what is your
theory about how sin entered heaven? (It makes sense
that Satan would use whatever strategy had been
successful in heaven to bring sin to earth. Since
Isaiah points to a desire to be like God as being
part of the original problem in heaven, we see the
parallel problem with Eve. This suggests sin began
because one of God's most important created beings
coveted God's position.)
- If this suggestion is right, why did God permit this?
Why did He create beings in heaven and on earth with
the ability to covet? (God gave all of His creatures
the freedom to choose.)
- Why would God do that if it resulted in such a
terrible problem: war in heaven and now war on
- The title of this series is "Rebellion and Redemption."
Would you consider an ambition to be like God more
rebellion than ambition? What if you want to displace God?
What if you are willing to fight God for the top spot? (An
ambition that results in fighting to displace God is
- Is this attitude possible for humans today? Is it
possible for you?
- The Future of War
- When I was younger, I watched a lot more football than I
do now. One of the problems was that my work as a
litigator was high tension, and watching a game hoping
that my team would win was also high tension. Since I did
not need more tension, I recorded the game and only
watched it if my team won. I could enjoy the game secure
in the knowledge of how it would end. Read Revelation
12:10-11. Who is going to win the war on earth against
Satan? (We are.)
- How are we going to win? (Salvation has come through
the authority of the Messiah. We triumph over Satan
"by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their
- What kind of attitude do those humans who win the war
possess? (They are willing to die. They do not love
their lives so much that they are unwilling to die in
the conflict with sin.)
- How does that compare with the attitude that
created the sin problem in the beginning?
- As you likely know, the reference to the "Messiah"
and the "blood of the Lamb" refer to Jesus dying on
our behalf to pay the price for our sins. If we are
to have this same attitude, how would that play out
in our lives? What would that mean, as a practical
- Read John 12:31-33. We previously discussed how Satan
wanted to displace God and how humans might seek to
displace God. When Jesus calls Satan the "prince of this
world," has Satan displaced God? (He displaced God as the
"prince" of the earth - and we enabled Satan do it when we
chose sin. Whenever we choose Satan over God we have
displaced God to some degree.)
- How does Jesus say He will drive out Satan? (When He
is "lifted up." This is a reference to Jesus'
crucifixion. Jesus defeats Satan by being "lifted
up," but not the way humans would want to be lifted
up. The contrast between Jesus and Satan could not be
- Friend, have you examined your attitude? Are you in
rebellion against God? Do you choose Satan and thus
displace God as the ruler of your world? Why not ask the
Holy Spirit to help you give up your attitude of rebellion
- Next week: Crisis in Eden.
* Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.