Sabbath, September 18, 2010
“The work of Satan as an accuser began in heaven. This has been his work on earth ever since man’s fall, and it will be his work in a special sense as we approach nearer to the close of this world’s history. As he sees that his time is short, he will work with greater earnestness to deceive and destroy. He is angry when he sees a people on the earth who, even in their weakness and sinfulness, have respect to the law of Jehovah. He is determined that they shall not obey God. He delights in their unworthiness, and has devices prepared for every soul, that all may be ensnared and separated from God. He seeks to accuse and condemn God and all who strive to carry out His purposes in this world in mercy and love, in compassion and forgiveness.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 167, 168.
Spiritualism in ancient times
1. How old is spiritualism? Where were wizards and sorcerers found early in history?
Genesis 3:4, 5 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Leviticus 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 20:6 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
“Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden: ‘Ye shall not surely die.’ ” –The Great Controversy, p. 561.
“The great original lie which he told to Eve in Eden, ‘Ye shall not surely die,’ was the first sermon ever preached on the immortality of the soul. That sermon was crowned with success, and terrible results followed.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 342.
2. Who consulted a spiritualist in the old times, knowing that it was contrary to God’s will?
1 Samuel 28:7-19 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the Lord, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the Lord done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.
“Saul had a full knowledge of the character of necromancy. It had been expressly forbidden by the Lord, and the sentence of death was pronounced against all who practiced its unholy arts. During the life of Samuel, Saul had commanded that all wizards and those that had familiar spirits should be put to death; but now, in the rashness of desperation, he had recourse to that oracle which he had condemned as an abomination….
“Disguising himself, Saul went forth by night with but two attendants, to seek the retreat of the sorceress. Oh, pitiable sight! the king of Israel led captive by Satan at his will! What path so dark for human feet to tread as that chosen by one who has persisted in having his own way, resisting the holy influences of the Spirit of God! What bondage so terrible as that of him who is given over to the control of the worst of tyrants–himself!” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 676.
Origin of modern spiritualism
3. In the time of the apostles, what did modern spiritualism begin with? When and how did the more modern form begin?
Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one.
Acts 8:11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
Acts 13:6-8 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
“The mysterious rapping with which modern Spiritualism began was not the result of human trickery or cunning, but was the direct work of evil angels,…” –The Great Controversy, p. 553.
“The beginnings of modern spiritualism…. In 1848 mysterious rappings were heard in the home of the Fox family at Hydesville, a community about thirty-five miles east of the city of Rochester, New York. At a time when there were various conjectures as to the cause of the rappings, Ellen White announced, on the authority of the vision given to her, that they were a manifestation of spiritualism, that this phenomenon would develop rapidly, and in the name of religion would gain popularity and deceive multitudes, developing into Satan’s last-day masterpiece of deception.” –Early Writings, p. 300, Appendix.
Prophecies of the future
4. What does Satan know? Therefore, what does he plan to achieve through spiritualism?
Revelation 12:12, last part Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Revelation 13:13, 14 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
“The crisis is stealing gradually upon us…. The highest excitement prevails, yet probation’s hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied and entranced, until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy be forever shut.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 636.
“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…. 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.
He knows that the Lord’s coming is at the door. He is convinced that he cannot prevent this event, just as he could not kill the child Jesus. He has only one way, and that is to try to imitate Christ’s coming shortly before the Saviour appears. He will induce the whole world, through great signs and spiritualistic miracles, to reject God’s law and to acknowledge and worship him as christ, exalting Sunday as the day of worship. We are approaching this event; and the more frequent and powerful Satan’s miracles are in this world, the more convinced we should be that Jesus is coming very soon. Satan is in a hurry to deceive everyone and keep him bound under his spiritualistic delusion until the Saviour’s coming.
5. According to the Scriptures, what will happen before Jesus returns?
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
“It was by satanic aid that Pharaoh’s magicians were enabled to counterfeit the work of God. Paul testifies that before the second advent of Christ there will be similar manifestations of satanic power. The coming of the Lord is to be preceded by ‘the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. And the apostle John, describing the miracle-working power that will be manifested in the last days, declares: ‘He doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do.’ Revelation 13:13, 14. No mere impostures are here foretold. Men are deceived by the miracles which Satan’s agents have power to do, not which they pretend to do.” –The Great Controversy, p. 553.
6. Is it not amazing that inscriptions and signs have appeared in the earth, along with deceptions from the powers of darkness? What is behind this?
Matthew 24:3-5 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
“Now, in unmistakable language, our Lord speaks of His second coming, and He gives warning of dangers to precede His advent to the world. ‘If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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.’… As one of the signs of Jerusalem’s destruction, Christ had said, ‘Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.’… But this prophecy was spoken also for the last days. This sign is given as a sign of the second advent. Even now false christs and false prophets are showing signs and wonders to seduce His disciples. Do we not hear the cry, ‘Behold, He is in the desert’? Have not thousands gone forth into the desert, hoping to find Christ? And from thousands of gatherings where men profess to hold communion with departed spirits is not the call now heard, ‘Behold, He is in the secret chambers’? This is the very claim that spiritism puts forth. But what says Christ? ‘Believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ ” –The Desire of Ages, p. 631.
Is this not important for us? In what condition are we as the people of God, who through the holy angels and their Prince have thousands of times received the promise that the Lord will come soon? Do the children of God seriously believe in this solemn event, the most solemn of all? Do they show their faith by genuine repentance and works that reveal their conversion and preparation? May God in His grace grant this!
The time of distress is near
7. Therefore, what is just ahead of us?
John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
“Just before us is ‘the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.’ Revelation 3:10. All whose faith is not firmly established upon the word of God will be deceived and overcome. Satan ‘works with all deceivableness of unrighteousness’ to gain control of the children of men, and his deceptions will continually increase. But he can gain his object only as men voluntarily yield to his temptations. Those who are earnestly seeking a knowledge of the truth and are striving to purify their souls through obedience, thus doing what they can to prepare for the conflict, will find, in the God of truth, a sure defense. ‘Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee’ (verse 10), is the Saviour’s promise. He would sooner send every angel out of heaven to protect His people than leave one soul that trusts in Him to be overcome by Satan.” –The Great Controversy, p. 560.
“Among the most successful agencies of the great deceiver are the delusive teachings and lying wonders of spiritualism. Disguised as an angel of light, he spreads his nets where least suspected. If men would but study the Book of God with earnest prayer that they might understand it, they would not be left in darkness to receive false doctrines. But as they reject the truth they fall a prey to deception.” –The Great Controversy, p. 524.