"... the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation ..." —Revelation 14:10
The last great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the long-standing controversy concerning God’s law. We are now entering the battle between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition.
God’s holy word is little valued. Many deny its foundational doctrines. The great facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man, the atonement, and the perpetuity of God’s law, are practically rejected, wholly or in part, by a large share of the professedly Christian world.
The iniquity and spiritual darkness that prevailed under Rome’s supremacy resulted from her suppression of the Bible; but what accounts for the widespread infidelity, the rejection of God’s law, and the consequent corruption, under the full blaze of gospel light in an age of religious freedom? Now that Satan can no longer dominate the world by withholding the Scriptures, he resorts to other means. To destroyfaith in the Bible serves his purpose as well as to destroy the Bible itself. And now, as in former ages, he has worked
through the church to further his designs. Modern seminaries and churches have refused to listen to unpopular truths plainly set forth in the Scriptures, and in combating them they have adopted interpretations and taken positions which have widely scattered the seeds of skepticism.
Clinging to the papal error of natural immortality and man’s consciousness in death, they have rejected the only defense against the delusions of spiritualism. The doctrine of eternal torment has led many to disbelieve the Bible. And as the claims of the fourth commandment are urged upon the people, it is found that the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is enjoined. As the only way to free themselves from a duty they are unwilling to perform, many popular teachers declare that the law of God is no longer binding. Thus they cast away the law and the Sabbath together. The teachings of religious leaders have opened the door to infidelity, spiritualism, and contempt for God’s holy law.
Yet this very class put forth the claim that the fast-spreading corruption is largely attributable to the desecration of the so-called "Christian sabbath," and that
the enforcement of Sunday observance would greatly improve the morals of society. This claim is especially urged in America, where the doctrine of the true Sabbath has been most widely preached.
Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.
As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan will appear as an angel of light. Evil spirits in disguise will perform miracles, healings, and many undeniable wonders (see 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Revelation 16:13, 14). As the spirits will profess faith in the Bible and respect for the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.
Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them. Satan determines to unite them by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Catholics, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.
Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and profrssing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith. At the same time he works as a destroyer. His temptations lead to intemperance, sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed. Satan delights in war. It excites the worst passions, and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood.
While appearing as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, Satan will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. "The earth mourneth and fadeth away," "the haughty people ... languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant" (Isaiah 24:4, 5).
And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. It will be declared that men are offending God by violating Sunday sacredness; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity.
Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the law of God. They will lament the great wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers that society’s degraded morals spring from the desecration of Sunday. Great indignation will be incited against all who refuse to accept their testimony. Satan will cause them to be accused as lawbreakers who are dishonoring God and bringing judgments upon the world. God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan’s constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this, he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to enact human laws in defiance of God’s law.
Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, breaking down the moral restraints of society thus, calling down the judgments of God on the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives.
As the Protestant churches reject the clear, scriptural arguments in defense of God’s law, they long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Dignitaries of church and state unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor Sunday. Even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17).