Sabbath, September 11, 2010

“Even in the midst of the great deceptions of the last days, when delusive miracles will be performed in the sight of men in behalf of satanic theories, it is our privilege to hide ourselves in Christ Jesus. It is possible for us to seek and to obtain salvation. And in this time of unusual peril, we must learn to stand alone, our faith fixed, not on the word of man, but on the sure promises of God.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 490.

Deceptive miracles

1. Is it possible for preachers to perform miracles even when they do not preach the message of God? Therefore, is it correct to consider miracles as a test of faith?
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Deuteronomy 13:1-4 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

“Today we need to speak the truth with holy boldness. The testimony borne to the early church by the Lord’s messenger, His people are to hear in this time: ‘Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.’ Galatians 1:8.

“The man who makes the working of miracles the test of his faith will find that Satan can, through a species of deceptions, perform wonders that will appear to be genuine miracles. It was this he hoped to make a test question with the Israelites at the time of their deliverance from Egypt.” –(Manuscript 43, 1907) Selected Messages, book 2, p. 52.

We need earnest preparation

2. What should grow in us, and what is the only thing that we can hold onto?
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

“Satan is a diligent Bible student. He knows that his time is short, and he seeks at every point to counterwork the work of the Lord upon this earth. It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended. They will walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth. And Satan, surrounded by evil angels, and claiming to be God, will work miracles of all kinds, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. God’s people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought. God’s tried and tested people will find their power in the sign spoken of in Exodus 31:12-18. They are to take their stand on the living word: ‘It is written.’ This is the only foundation upon which they can stand securely. Those who have broken their covenant with God will in that day be without God and without hope.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 16.

3. Therefore, who are in the greatest danger?
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).
Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

“Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest danger of falling under the power of Satanic delusions and the decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected, they will be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 621, 622.

4. Therefore, what should we take time to do?
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

“Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere. We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect communion with God. The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial, with his approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and friendship without it. We must take time to pray.” –The Great Controversy, p. 622.

False miracles will increase

5. When will Satan’s wiles and miracles reach their peak?
2 Thessalonians 2:8, 9 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.

Satan’s wrath, deceitful works, and acts of destruction will increase more and more the closer we approach the end and will reach their final climax in the great time of trouble.

“Fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed in the heavens, in token of the power of miracle-working demons…. By these agencies, rulers and subjects will be alike deceived. Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself, and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world’s Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing, and will profess to have revelations from Heaven contradicting the testimony of the Scriptures.

“As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air, ‘Christ has come! Christ has come!’ The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands, and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion.” –The Great Controversy, p. 624.

6. How far have satanic miracles already reached? Therefore, what is very near?
Mark 14:41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Some years ago, amazing miracles started taking place in South and Central America, performed by North American Protestant evangelists, mostly Pentecostal, who caused great agitation and admiration in that part of the world. Two of the most popular were H. and O., who travelled through all of the countries and islands of South and Central America. They had extraordinary success and were received with great excitement and enthusiasm by thousands of people in the large cities of those countries. Frequently about 200,000 people attended their meetings, and it was said that thousands were healed. Satan is working very openly. People who are tormented by sorrow, suffering, and all kinds of sickness throw themselves into his arms without a second thought. To explain such miracles, many of them say, ‘It does not matter where the power to work those miracles comes from; the main thing is that we are healed.” The world is ripe. Satan has almost everyone in his hands. Has not the time come for us to go to the people, fully determined to explain to the world who is actually working those miracles and seducing them? Surely. We want to fulfill our duty. Does God not permit these events to take place now so we may all wake up and fulfill our duty to give the world the message it has to hear before everything is destroyed?

The following appeared in a Mexican magazine: “Protestant evangelist T.H., who was born in Texas 50 years ago, came to Buenos Aires for the first time on April 14, 1955. Soon afterward, the Huracan and Atlanta stadiums were crowded with men, women, and children, rich and poor, many of them bedridden, blind, dumb, or epileptic, and all eager to hear him preach. Later, he preached in Rosario, Santa Fe, and Mar de Plata. 200,000 people attended the meetings.

“ ‘Glory be to God,’ shouts Brother H. in English, without minding that he does not speak a single word of Spanish. ‘Raise your arms to God!’ he shouts again, and a local evangelist translates: ‘Elevad los brazos a Dios!’ At the beginning, the crowd listens to him in perfect silence, but then they begin to move. Amid the groans and hallelujahs, the paralytics stand up and walk, the blind recover their sight, and the deaf can hear. At least this is what T.H.’s followers declare.”

It is time for our young brethren to make the decision to work in faraway countries to fulfill their duty before it is too late.

The means of defense

7. What means has the Lord given us to be protected from being deceived?
Ephesians 6:16, 17 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.
Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

“Our efforts to resist the attacks of Satan must be earnest and persevering. He employs his strength and skill in trying to turn us out of the right way. He watches our going out and our coming in, that he may find opportunity to hurt or destroy us. He works most successfully in darkness, injuring those who are ignorant of his devices. He could not gain advantage if his method of attack were understood.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 308.

“Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive.” –The Great Controversy, p. 625.

For meditation

“Christ’s example is before us. He overcame Satan, showing us how we may also overcome. Christ resisted Satan with scripture. He might have had recourse to His own divine power, and used His own words; but He said: ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ To the second temptation He said: ‘It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ Christ’s example is before us. If the Sacred Scriptures were studied and followed, the Christian would be fortified to meet the wily foe; but the word of God is neglected, and disaster and defeat follow.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 45, 46.