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messengers_cover (24K)
15 The Final Conflict title (7K)

"... 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).

15a_spirits of deception title (4K)

What is spiritualism?
Spiritualism is the belief that the dead survive as spirits which can communicate with the living, and any practice arising from this belief. —Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary.

Can the spirits of the dead speak to us?
Absolutely not! The Bible is very clear that:
• The dead know nothing (Ecciesiastes 9:5, 6);
• They cannot visit their former habitations (Job 7:9,10). "It is impossible to reconcile any portion of spiritualist beliefs and practices with the explicit, repeated teaching of Scripture that the soul sleeps at death until resurrected by Christ." —D. Bertson, former spiritualist of California.

Do spirits exist who can speak to us?
Yes! The Bible speaks of three types of spirits who can speak to us:
• The Holy Spirit (Acts 10:19);
• Holy angels (Acts 10: 22);
• Fallen angels (Matthew 4:5, 6).

Is there a way to tell the difference?
• Yes! In fact we are commanded to try [test] the spirits (1 John 4:1).
• They must agree with God’s law and testimony (Isaiah 8:20).
• They must confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [i.e., that Jesus’ claim to Messiahship is true] (l John 4:2, 3).

What is the strategic aim of these fallen angels?
They are trying to gain man’s cooperation in their rebellion against God through:

Occult practices such as spell-casting, witchcraft, fortune telling, astrology, etc. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12);

Paganism, idolatry, and sun worship in many parts of the world (2 Kings 17:15-17);

Devils, and seducing spirits, which he sends to teach deceptive doctrines with power, signs, and lying wonders, especially in these last days (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10; Revelation 12:12; 1 Timothy 4:1; Jeremiah 27:9,10);

The impersonation of dead relatives and apostles who undermine Bible truth with supposedly more advanced information (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14; Galatians 1:8, 9; Matthew 24:24);

The mark of the beast, an apostate worship law that brings the world into open conflict with God’s law (Revelation 12:17; 13:11-17; Isaiah 8:16; Ezekiel 20:12, 20).

How successful are they?
• They have deceived almost all of modern Christianity into accepting the idea that the dead (including Mary the mother of Christ) are conscious and able to communicate with us. The Bible identifies this union of "Christianity" and spiritualism as Babylon (Revelation 18:1-5).
• Nearly the whole world will be seduced by spiritualism into accepting Satan’s false gospel that exalts Christ’s name, but not His nature or purposes as revealed in Scripture (Revelation 13:14; 16:13-16).
"Visitants from the dead are lying spirits who, for sinister reasons of their own, are impersonating the deceased." —D. Bertson, former spiritualist of California.

15b_is man immortal title (3K)

The belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modem spiritualism. But none need be deceived by its lying claims. The Bible declares that the dead know not any thing, that their thoughts have perished; they have no part in anything that is done under the sun (see Ecciesiates 9:5, 6; Psalm 46:4).

The declaration of the serpent to Eve in Eden—"Ye shall not surely die"—was the first sermon ever preached upon the immortality of the soul. After the Fall, Satan bade his angels make a special effort to inculcate the belief in man’s natural immortality; they were to lead them on to conclude that the sinner would live in eternal misery. How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense ofjustice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented in an eternally burning hell; that for the sins of a brief earthly life they are to suffer torture as long as God shall live. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die" (Ezekiel 33:11)?

Can we wonder that our merciful Creator is feared, dreaded, and even hated? The religion of the Bible, full of love and goodness, and abounding in compassion, is darkened by superstition and clothed with terror. Thus millions have become skeptics and infidels.

A large class to whom the doctrine of eternal torment is revolting are driven to the opposite error. They see that the Scriptures represent God as a being of love and compassion, and they cannot believe that He will consign His creatures to the fires of an eternally burning hell. But holding that the soul is naturally immortal, they see no alternative but to conclude that all mankind will finally be saved. Such a doctrine, presuming upon God’s mercy, but ignoring His justice, pleases the carnal heart and emboldens the wicked.

God has given in His word decisive evidence that He will punish the transgressors of His law. Those who flatter themselves that He is too merciful to execute justice upon the sinner, have only to look to the cross of Calvary. The death of the spotless Son of God testifies that "the wages of sin is death." Every soul that refuses to become a partaker of the atonement provided at such a cost must bear in his own person the guilt and punishment of transgression.

• "The Egyptians were the first to assert the doctrine that the soul of man is immortal." —(Herodotus, Greek Historian, 484-425 B.c.). The History of Herodotus Bk. 2, Ch.123 Harvard University Press Ed., vol.1, p. 425.

Plato (427-347 B.c.) taught that the soul is divine, uncreated, immortal and passes through many incamations.-(r’lato, Phaedo).

Philo (20 B.c. - A.D. 47) a mystic Jew, tried to fuse Platonic and Egyptian philosophy with Judaic teachings. He taught that the soul is immortal, and the lost suffer eternal torment

Christians did not adopt "soul immortality" until certain North African church fathers, influenced by Plato, espoused it about A.D. 200.

Based on the heathen notions of immortality, the Roman Catholic church adopted the unscriptural doctrine of purgatory.

Our hope of enjoying immortality should not rest on the heathen concept of the immortality of the soul as taught by the ancient pagan philosophers, but on the sure word of scripture.

• Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life."

• Ezekiel 18:4 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."

• Matthew 7:13 "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction."

• Revelation 20:6 "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power."

• Revelation 21:8 "Shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

• Revelation 20:9 "And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."

• Psalm 37:20 "But the wicked shall perish,... into smoke shall they consume away."

15d_angels (3K)

They come from realms of glory, breasting
Murky clouds of poison wrath, dark
Doubt, fear, sorrow, and grief unresting.
On healing wings, swifter than a lark,

To this blue, vapor-clad sphere they come—
To this garden, turned battlefield,
Where each mouth’s a sword, each heart a drum,
And but few, a brave few, to mercy yield.

They come—from lurid dreams to waken
A race that trudges to its doom.
They speak. Every stronghold is shaken,
That Christ’s love alone may have heart-room.

Down they come, with cleaving, clarion call:
"Christ’s truth prevails; His reign is nigh;
Flee Babylon, whose sins are her fall.
Join, 0 faithful friend, in this loud cry."

—Brian Jones
15c_sleep_title (3K)

The state that we generally think of as death is referred to in the Bible as a sleep. Christ said, "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:26). His people who have "died" are merely sleeping. Even the wicked who have "died" are not referred to as dead. The Bible says they are "reserved to the day of destruction" (Job 21:30; see also p. 27, 28).

Daniel 12:2 "Them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
John 11:11, 14 "He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth;... Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."
Matthew 27:52 "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose."
1 Corinthians 15:20 "But now is Christ become the firstfruits of them that slept."
Acts 7:59, 60 "And they stoned Stephen, ... he fell asleep."
1 Corinthians 15:18 "Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ ..."
Ephesians 5:14 "... Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead."
Psalm 13:3 "... Lest I sleep the sleep of death."
I Kings 11:43 "And Solomon slept ... and was buried."
I Kings 2:10 "So David slept ... and was buried." "The patriarch David... is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day" (Acts 2:29).

Copyright 2005 by Family Heritage Books.
Web page created: 01/04/06 Updated: 07/16/07