Satan's Climax in Deception
WE have seen in the previous chapter how the fallen Lucifer
has sought by subtle deception and by cunning devices to oppose the
Christ, the principles of His kingdom, and those who desire to become
true subjects of His realm. But his culminating deception, which is
sweeping more souls into his net of destruction than any other of his
ingenious devices, has been reserved in its full flower for the
generation in which we live. In its germ it is as old as the fall of
man; it has plagued the race to some extent in all generations; but in
its subtlety of sophistry and perfection of deceit, no generation has
seen it as we see it now. It has not superseded all or any of his other
devices; but it is the climax of his six thousand years of practice in
the art of deception and destruction.
The seed thought of that delusion was planted in the minds of Adam
and Eve on the day when they forgot their duty and their divine warning,
and yielded to the enticing blandishments of Satan. God had said to
them, when He uttered His prohibition against eating the fruit of a
certain tree, "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt
Aside from God, we cannot live; "for in Him we live, and move,
and have our being." Since the day when man sinned, man has lived
alone by virtue of the gift of Christ as his life. The lamb offered on
Abel's altar outside the closed gates of Paradise pointed forward to the
actual sacrifice of the Son of God on Calvary. "Christ was once
offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall
He appear the second time without sin ["apart from sin," R.
V.; or not as a sin offering] unto salvation." Heb. 9: 28. And He
declared of Himself: " I lay down My life for the
sheep." " I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man
cometh unto the Father, but by Me." John 10:15; 14: 6. Inspiration
says of Him, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
John 1:12. Peter, when forbidden by the Jewish rulers to preach Jesus,
boldly avowed, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there
is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be
saved." Acts 4:12.
Man has never been guaranteed life apart from Christ. Nowhere does
the divine Word indicate that beyond the gates of death there is an
eternity of conscious existence for all mankind, the wicked as well as
the righteous. It does promise life to all who accept and follow Christ.
But as God said in Eden, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou
shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17),. so He says again in His infallible
Word, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Eze. 18: 4, 20.
The death here referred to is not the natural death which all die from
old age or disease; for the righteous as well as the wicked die that
death. It refers to the "second death," from which there will
be no resurrection. Rev. 20: 6, 14, 15.
Satan declared to Eve, "Ye shall not surely die; . . . ye shall
be as gods." Gen. 3: 4, 5. "Mortal" means "subject
to death." God had taught man that he was liable to die, that he
was certain to die if he entered upon a course of disobedience; that he
was not immortal. Satan contradicted God, teaching man that he was then
immortal, not liable to die; that disobedience could not entail death.
God had put man on probation, a candidate for immortality. Satan taught
man that he was not a candidate for immortality, but the actual
possessor of it; that God could not end man's existence even for
disobedience, for once he had partaken of that fruit he had been
forbidden to touch, he would himself possess divine attributes.
Adam and Eve took the tempting bait, and the earth has been filled
with death and mourning ever since. Through all the ages following man's
sin, Satan has continued to whisper into the willing ears of millions of
earth's inhabitants, "There is no death; what seems so is
It will startle many a pious reader to see the statement or hear the
declaration that Satan was the. first exponent of the idea of man's
inherent immortality; but this is the fact, as recorded for our learning
in the inspired Book of God; and he promulgated the idea in flat
contradiction of one of the plainest and most emphatic declarations of
the Author of our being. The Spirit of inspiration asked the question of
one of Job's friends, and it is recorded for our consideration:
"Shall mortal man be more just than God?" Job 4:17. He
puts the wisdom and justice of God, the eternal one, in opposition to
that of man, the transient one; His immortality in opposition to our
mortality. He tells us further, in the plainest language which
Inspiration can use, that God "only hath immortality, dwelling in
the light which no man can approach unto." 1 Tim. 6:16. If God only
has immortality, certainly we do not possess it, all the sophistries and
deceits of Satan to the contrary notwithstanding. Says the apostle Paul
to Timothy and to us, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal,
invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever.
Amen." 1 Tim. 1:17.
Paul is very explicit on the question of man's mortality, in his
letter to the Corinthian believers -- and to us. He says:
"Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep [die],
but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be
raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible
must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on
immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought
to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in
victory." Cor. 15: 51-54.
So long as there is death in the world there will be mortality.
Whatever or whoever may die or is liable to die, is mortal, not
immortal. Christ came into the world that He might bring "life and
immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Tim. 1:10. Without
Christ and the gospel no human being would ever see immortality. He is
our life, and only through Him can man have life and be crowned with
immortality at His coming.
But now in the desperate endeavor to clinch his deception upon the
race, Satan claims that the dead are still alive, that they have merely
passed through the veil between the two worlds, and are now living on a
fuller and grander scale than ever before. He seeks to demonstrate the
continued existence of the departed by personating the dead, by placing
before relatives of the deceased, communications which it is supposed
none but the dead could give, detailing incidents with which none but
the dead were familiar. Thus he "proves" that the lie he told
in Eden is the truth,-- that men do not die, and that God fabricated a
falsehood when He warned man that he would die if he transgressed!
Many a reader will wonder at Satan's purpose in seeking to prove that
the dead are not dead in reality, only missing from this world, and
gloriously alive in the other world. What has he to gain? Jesus Christ,
the upholder of God's government, the upholder of righteousness, has
given Himself for the redemption of man; Satan, the deceiver, has set
out to convince man that he needs no Redeemer. Christ died that we, who
were condemned to death because of sin, might have, through Him, eternal
life. Satan, in perpetuation of his lie in Eden, wishes us to believe we
have life without the interposition of Christ. The Prince of the
Restoration said, " I am come that ye might have life." The
word of the prince of ruin is, "You have life -- eternal life --
already, and you need no Christ to give it to you."
Paul, writing to the Romans, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
declared, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the
power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Rom.
1:16. In the counterfeit "gospel," every soul works out his
own destiny in the land beyond the tomb. It being true -- and Satan
knowing that it is true -- that outside of Christ there is no hope for
man, every soul whom Satan can deceive into accepting the idea that
Christ is unnecessary and the gospel nothing, is eternally lost; and
every soul lost helps to postpone the day of the consummation of the
gospel plan; helps to postpone the day when Satan will pay with his life
the penalty for his long career of deceit and rebellion.
Satan said to Eve in Eden, "Ye shall not surely die;" he
says to her descendants today: "The dead have not died; they are
living in happiness in a land of light; they are all about you; they
witness your grief at their absence." The old falsehood and the new
were spoken by the same lips, and spoken for the same purpose,-- to
oppose the establishment and maintenance of righteousness in the world,
and to fling defiance and insult at the powers that thrust him and his
rebellious hosts out of heaven.
All through the ages men have sought communion with the dead. Jehovah
forbade it; but in spite of His warnings and admonitions and pleadings,
the cult of necromancy has persisted, and witches and wizards have
practised upon the credulity of mankind. Every country has experienced
to a greater or less extent the pernicious activities of those
go-betweens from the nether world to the world of sentient human beings.
God took a people out of bondage in Egypt in fulfillment of His
promise to Abraham, and established them in the land of Canaan. They had
been surrounded by idolatry, Spiritism, and devil worship in the land of
their thralldom. They traveled through countries peopled by nations that
knew no other religion than that which cursed the land of the Pharaohs.
They settled in a land surrounded by peoples who worshiped and served
the creature more than the Creator, and talked with demons who
impersonated their dead. Therefore Jehovah's decree to Israel in the
Land of Promise was: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."
Ex. 22:18. Again:
"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 the times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a
necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the
Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive
them out from before thee." Deut. 18: 10-12.
Whatever Spiritualism (more properly, Spiritism) practises today is
condemned in toto in the above prohibitions. The practice of
mediums today includes what in olden times was known as necromancy,
witchcraft (wizardry), divination, and consulting with familiar spirits.
As surely as Jehovah condemned these things in ancient Israel, so surely
does He condemn them in spirit mediumship today. He had not one standard
in righteousness then and another today. What He condemned in the
nations surrounding Israel, He will neither approve nor condone in the
days in which we live.
Jehovah pronounced a curse upon Egypt for her practice of Spiritism.
He declared through the prophet Isaiah:
"The spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I
will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols,
and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits [spirit
mediums], and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into
the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them,
saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts." Isa. 19: 3, 4.
This prophecy has been literally fulfilled.
In his warning to the Israelites concerning these deceptive and
wicked practices, Jehovah gives the reason for the warning:
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek
after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God."
Lev. 19: 31.
The practice of these abominations was defiling to His people, and
God was seeking to perfect a pure people, a clean people, a godly
people. This they never could be so long as they permitted themselves to
hold communications with the spokesmen of Satan in the persons of
necromancers, wizards, witches, and consulters with familiar spirits.
In Leviticus another command is given concerning these classes of
"A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a
wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with
stones: their blood shall be upon them." Lev. 20: 27.
God does not propose to take halfway measures with those who neglect
or defy His wish in these matters. It was a capital crime in the
judgment of Jehovah, and a capital penalty was meted out for it.
And His warning touched not alone those who had familiar spirits, but
it reached those also who had dealings with such persons. We read:
"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.
Sanctify yourselves therefore, and he ye holy: for I am the Lord your
God." Lev. 20:6, 7.
The command is plain as to what our duty is in this matter; and the
teaching is also plain, that if we are to be sanctified and holy, we can
have no part in the practices of Spiritism.
Jehovah has given us many warnings in reference to these things; and
He has also indicated to us that when Spiritism grows rampant in the
earth, the time of Christ's coming is near. This is found in the
writings of the prophet Isaiah. The Lord's spokesman in the eighth of
Isaiah is giving instruction to God's people concerning what they are to
do in the time when they are looking for the Lord to come. They are to
have no part in the confederacies of this world; they are not to fear
what the world fears; they are to sanctify the Lord of hosts, and let
Him be their fear and their dread; they are to bind up the testimony
(stand for the integrity and immutability of God's whole Book); they are
to seal God's law among His disciples (or restore the broken seal of the
ten commandments, which is the fourth commandment); they are to wait
upon the Lord, whose face is hidden from His formal and professed
church; and finally, they are to look for Him.
In the time when God expects His church to be doing that, however, he
informs us that a different movement will be on foot in the world, a
spiritistic movement; for in the same chapter is this significant
"When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have
familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should
not a people seek unto their 'God? for the living to the dead?"
Isa. 8: 19.
The Revised Version reads: "On behalf of the living should they
seek unto the dead?" That is what Spiritists are doing all over the
world,-- seeking to the dead on behalf of the living. The question which
Jehovah asks through His prophet indicates that such a time is most
serious. The question really means, "When you see the multitudes
seeking to the dead on behalf of the living, is it not high time that
those who would be God's faithful children should be found seeking
Him?" And the answer which the form of the question demands is,
"It is indeed high time."
One who has given much earnest consideration to the theme we are
studying, makes this striking comment upon the subject:
"The facts of history concur with the statements of revelation
in forcing upon us the unwelcome conviction that the human race is
subject to the malevolent influence of an organized and all-pervading
demonism. Alike in the career of nations and in the phenomena of
personal destiny, the presence of demoniacal skill and power is often
prominent, frequently dominant, always evil."--" Footprints
of Angels in Fields of Revelation," E. A. Stockman, p. 2.
The writer of this extract has spoken only what Inspiration long ago
warned us concerning:
"We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of
this world, against spiritual wickedness ["wicked spirits,"
margin] in high places [" heavenly places," margin]."
Eph. 6: 12.
In every heathen country which the heralds of the gospel have sought
to open up to evangelical missionary effort, they have found the
malevolent forces of Satan intrenched, fortified, and battling with all
their might against every effort of the missionary.
Among practically every heathen people the missionary has found devil
worship in some form and often in many forms. He has found the native
island peoples consulting with the spirits -- the professed spirits of
the dead; and these have manifested intense dislike to the missionary
and his work. The natives themselves who have manifested a disposition
to follow the teachings of the missionary, have on numerous occasions
been annoyed and not a little frightened by the violent demonstrations
of invisible visitors, who professed to be the spirits of their dead.
For generations these natives have been in virtual slavery to their pondas
(spirits of the dead); they have consulted these spirits on every
important occasion, summoning them by their own methods, knowing
instantly when their summons was answered, and acting in harmony with
the answers received. They need no one to tell them that there are
invisible intelligences abroad in the world; but their experience with
them has been limited to necromancy and wizardry. Of the loving ministry
of good angels they have had no knowledge. Of the love-inspired
watchcare of a heavenly Father they have lived through the dark
centuries in pitiable ignorance.
In his second epistle the apostle Peter states that "God spared
not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Greek, Tartarus,
a place of darkness], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be
reserved unto judgment." 2 Peter 2: 4. Their habitation of darkness
is in this world. Their leader is spoken of in the Bible as "the
god of this world" (2 Cor. 4: 4); "the prince of this
world" (John 14: 30); and "the prince of the power of the
air." Eph. 2: 2. He is not alone; for one of his followers, when
Christ demanded his name, replied, "My name is Legion: for we are
many." Mark 5: 9. The apostle Peter has told what is the occupation
of the leader of that fallen host: "Be sober, be vigilant; because
your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom
he may devour." 1 Peter 5: 8.
Concerning the activity of these hosts, another author has said:
"In undiminished possession of their intelligence and
strength, they constantly assault us in every weakness, through every
avenue, by every means, by methods foul or fair. . . . When they
cannot destroy, they cease not to worry, torment. They inspire evil
tempers; arouse dark passions; instill ill will; beget malice, envy;
impose care, fear, distrust; suggest deceit, fraud, and all the forms
of crime." " Supremely do they revel in the criminal domain.
They foster falsehood, incite revenge, fan jealousy, beget quarrels,
help on thefts, robbery, and arson, further divorces, plan
defalcations, instigate murders."--" Footprints of Angels
in Fields of Revelation," pp. 9, 10, 22.
The evil work of these spirits who personate the dead is not confined
to any country or continent or race of mankind. It has been a frequent
experience of missionaries in China and Korea to find persons as truly
demon possessed as any with whom the Christ and His apostles were
confronted in the days of the ministry of Jesus. Now as well as then
those under demoniacal possession are the sport and the plaything of the
evil spirits that possess and control them.
No cult has swept the world with such marvelous rapidity as
Spiritism. While it has existed in all ages, it has never before made
such sweeping conquests among the people who profess to be the servants
of Jehovah. This development is peculiar to our day. More than that, the
demonstration of Spiritism which we see today is one of the most
striking signs of these times, and a direct fulfillment of the prophetic
The apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy, uttered this prediction:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and
doctrines of devils." 1 Tim. 4: 1
It is to be noted here that this demonstration of spiritistic
deception and demonistic doctrines was to be a characteristic of
"the latter times," or the time of the end. This is the age of
spiritistic propaganda. Nearly every church in the world has, as a
portion of its membership, persons who believe in the idea that the dead
come back to communicate with the living. Almost every denomination has
among the tenets of its faith the idea that the soul lives on as a
conscious entity after the body has been given to the tomb. Believing
that, they can give no logical reason why a living, conscious entity
should not return to the place of its former abode, to mingle with its
living loved ones left behind. Believing that, they are on common ground
with the Spiritist, and every wall of their citadel has been thrown down
to make Satan's conquest a certainty.
It will be asked, "Are there not many in all the churches who
believe in the immortality of the soul, and yet repudiate
Spiritism?" There are. They remember the admonitions and solemn
warnings of Scripture against wizards, witches, necromancers, and
consulters with the dead generally, and so repudiate the thing, while
admitting the whole foundation upon which the thing itself rests. It is
so logical, however, to believe that, if the dead are still conscious,
still capable of loving those whom they loved when here in bodily form,
they should want to mingle with their loved ones, that the majority can
see no reason why they should refuse to believe they do come back. The
evil one has prepared this trap, and they who step into it may expect
him to spring it.
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