By Elder Lawrence Nelson
In our last two sermons we have discussed two members of the devil’s trio. The first is the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13, which the Bible clearly identifies to be the papacy. The second is the lamb-like, two-horned beast found in the same chapter which is the United States of America, established as a Protestant nation and described as becoming so apostate as to join hands with the papal power of Catholicism.
In this message I will discuss the third member which comprises the devil’s end-time trio which the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy reveal to be spiritualism. The following quotation from Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, p. 451 reveals what we are to expect from this evil, last-day union of the Papacy, apostate Protestantism and spiritualism. “When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. As the approach of the Roman armies was a sign to the disciples of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, so may this apostasy be a sign to us that the limit of God’s forbearance is reached, that the measure of our nation’s iniquity is full, and that the angel of mercy is about to take her flight, never to return.”
With this sad, heartbreaking introduction, let us pray. Our loving Father, in the name of Jesus we plead for divine guidance as we discuss this third power of spiritualism, which is an intricate member of the devil’s end-time trio. We realize that we are attacking the very dragon himself, which in Thy Word describes Satan as being able to produce wonder-working miracles of deception for the purpose to honor his papal mark of authority – Sunday worship. We plead that Thou wilt awaken Thy sleeping church to this danger. Help each member to become such students of Thy Word, through divine guidance, that we shall be able to resist this deceiving power of Satan and gain victory over his delusions, for we must discern truth from error. This we ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Let us now turn to the scriptures where we find this third part of the trio – spiritualism – which comprises the devil’s trio. Let us read Revelation 13:13, 14 and Revelation 16: 14, 15. “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.” “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
We begin with a question: “What major belief is held in common by the religions of this world (except God’s remnant) which makes it absolutely impossible to resist the power of spiritualism?” – We will find the answer in The Great Controversy p. 551. “The doctrine of natural immortality, first borrowed from the pagan philosophy, and in the darkness of the great apostasy incorporated into the Christian faith, has supplanted the truth, so plainly taught in Scripture that, ‘the dead know not anything.’”
This false doctrine of man’s consciousness in death opens the door for the supposed spirits of the dead to communicate with the living. This becomes a secret channel used by Satan to perform miracles by the impersonation of evil angels to deceive anyone who believes in the immortality of the dead. Inspiration informs us 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.
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.” Great Controversy p. 553.
Let us never underestimate what Satan is planning to do with his miracle-working power in this end time for we are told, “That mighty being who could take the world’s Redeemer to an exceedingly high mountain and bring before Him all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them, will present his temptations to men in a manner to pervert the senses of all who are not shielded by divine power.” Great Controversy p. 554. Can you imagine what it will be like when Satan appears as Christ performing unbelievable miracles to prove that he has changed the seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday worship and that all must keep Sunday holy – the first day of the week? Have you considered the result? The answer is very obvious. The entire world will be turned against Seventh-day Adventists with satanic zeal to force them to comply or die.
Consider the devil’s preparations that all will accept the manifestations of spiritualism as divine. In Great Controversy p. 556 we read, “Spiritualism, which numbers its converts by hundreds of thousands, yea, by millions, which has made its way into scientific circles, which has invaded churches, and has found favor in legislative bodies, and even in the courts of kings — this mammoth deception is but a revival, in a new disguise, of the witchcraft condemned and prohibited of old.”
I can testify to this by personal knowledge. During the months I spend in Europe while engaged in the General Conference youth work it became evident to me that spiritualism was spreading all through Europe. In Zurich, Switzerland while preparing for the Youth World Congress for all of our young people I was astonished to discover that this city, which for so many years had been a haven of Protestantism, had now become the European center of spiritualism.
In England, where men like John Knox had led tens of thousands to believe in Jesus Christ, I was amazed to find so many Protestant churches had become beer parlors. Still more astounding was to see many churches of the reformation now jammed to the doors in spiritualistic worship while England’s great cathedrals were practically empty. It is no wonder that the witchcraft of Harry Potter was born in England and is now sweeping the world with its sorcery – capturing the children’s imaginations with curiosity about ghosts and headless coachmen. They dwell on such themes as demons sucking out the soul, with blood oozing on the floor, of drinking such blood to obtain spiritual vitality, of werewolves portrayed as having good characters. These books are filled with lying, teaching the youth to be disobedient and even portraying the murder of parents by youth. This is all a product of spiritualism.
In reports of world news we learned that the recent motion picture of Harry Potter brought in more money in its box office during the first week than any other picture in past history. Satan is thus preparing the youth – even the small children – to be captured by his satanic miracles, which are to prove that he has the authority to change the Sabbath to Sunday worship. How do I know all this? Have I read these books? – No, indeed I have not. But I receive my information from authoritative book reviews.
Great Controversy p. 558 says, “There are few who have any conception of the deceptive power of spiritualism and the danger of coming under its influence. Many tamper with it merely to gratify their curiosity. They have no real faith in it and would be filled with horror at the thought of yielding themselves to the spirits’ control. But they venture upon the forbidden ground, and the mighty destroyer exercises his power upon them against their will. Let them once be induced to submit their minds to his direction, and he holds them captive. It is impossible, in their strength, to break away from the bewitching, alluring spell. Nothing but the power of God, granted in answer to the earnest prayer of faith, can deliver these ensnared souls.”
Now, let us take time to discuss the greatest spiritualistic movement in the world today, which is found within the Roman Catholic Church. Fifty-five thousand of the priests belong to the Marion movement, which believes and teaches that the apparitions of Mary are divine revelations. Millions upon millions of Catholic believers are captivated by the miracles performed by “Mary” and are convinced that her predictions are from God. It is common knowledge that crowds of fifty- to seventy-thousand often attend her apparitions. These messages from Mary usually originate with visionaries in every part of the globe. And why not, for the present pope, John Paul II, claims to hold daily communication with Mary and urges his followers to pray to her every day.
What’s even more amazing, Protestantism is beginning to give their attention to these apparitions because so many of the predictions are coming to pass. More and more the music of Catholicism is used in their music service. And why not, for the customs of Rome are found in Protestant homes in the Catholic nativity scenes every December 25. Not only Christmas but Easter, St. Valentine’s Day and Halloween have become part of apostate Protestantism.
But the most significant change in today’s spiritualism is to be found in the messages to Mary in her apparitions. Satan has not been asleep. He has taken note of how God has led His church out of the apostate Protestantism in the early 1800’s by giving His church a prophet to direct and counsel its leadership. Satan envisioned a prophet in his church could help him capture the world, so Mary has now been proclaimed the prophet of Catholicism. But what is more amazing is the wording found in Mary’s apparitions in discussing and predicting end-time prophecies.
She speaks continually using words and phrases that are so familiar to Seventh-day Adventists which are found in the Spirit of Prophecy. But there is one vast difference – Satan does not use scripture to explain scripture as Ellen White; instead the devil offers his false interpretations completely changing the meaning of God’s Word.
In a book, The Thunder of Justice , written by Ted and Maureen Flynn, (in which Malachi Martin wrote the forward and was published by Maxwell Communications), I discovered some four hundred pages containing hundreds of Mary’s predictions. This modern prophet of Catholicism speaks in her apparitions of end-time events as mentioned in the scripture – especially that of Revelation, in which she often uses words or similar expressions that are given by Ellen White when discussing these end-time prophecies.
I will now give you a partial list of these words and phrases used in Mary’s apparitions. I will not take time to give the page references but you can obtain the book and see for yourself. As I give these worded descriptions, you will note how Satan, through Mary’s voice, follows the expressions of Ellen White – that is, of course, if you are a student of the Spirit of Prophecy.
In Mary’s apparitions she discusses and explains the following: The Three Angels’ Messages – word for word; that Rome is to become the seat of the Antichrist; that the United States is to suffer defeat and national ruin. She often expresses a shortness of time; she mentions coming great famines and earthquakes. She tells of seeing tall buildings in New York falling down. (May I add here that this prediction was given nine years before September 11, 2001. Are you amazed? – So am I).
I continue: She tells of martyrs in the last days and of personal appearances of apostles such as Peter and Paul who will convince men of the truth. She also mentions that almost none will be ready for Christ’s Second Coming, and of Satan bringing fire down from heaven, and that God’s true church will be horribly persecuted. Mary tells of great miracles that will take place, of supernatural signs that cannot be explained by science, and signs in the sun, moon and stars that will be seen, and that there will also be a second Pentecost of divine power just before Jesus comes. Are you startled? – So am I.
Let me continue: Message after message stresses the need for conversion, victorious living, repentance, prayer and holiness. She speaks of the final battle between God and Satan that will be fought to the finish and that the Antichrist will be defeated. She speaks of so little time left to prepare for the final judgment and that we must keep all the commandments. Are you overwhelmed? – So am I. But there is much, much more. She speaks of the dragon, the beast with the ten horns, and the beast like a lamb and of the 666 – even of Satan appearing as Christ. She discusses the seal of God in the forehead and of the man with the writer’s inkhorn in his hand found in Ezekiel the ninth chapter; and of angels of heaven who will tell God’s chosen people what to do and that the angels will feed them. Do I hear you say, “This is unbelievable!” Well, I felt the same, but having read these things with my own eyes – it is absolutely true.
Now tell me, why would Satan speak through Mary of such end-time truths? – Because he intends to mislead Seventh-day Adventists by proving that the papacy is God’s true church and has a prophet with divine guidance to prove it. And what is more startling, Mary has stated that she is planning on coming into your home to prove that she is the true prophet. Satan knows the scriptures more than any person on earth. I wouldn’t be surprised if he could quote God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation. He is planning, one of these days, to personally face us with these false interpretations which he has given through Mary concerning end-time prophecies, to disprove what God’s prophet wrote as the correct meaning. I beg you, take note. We will never, never be able to resist these evil interpretations of spiritualism unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit and know what God has spoken in His Word and substantiated by the divine light in the Spirit of Prophecy.
It may come as a big surprise to some of you, as it did to me, to learn that God has warned us that in the end-time crisis Satan will bring his teachings of spiritualism into our own Seventh-day Adventist Church. In Manuscript Releases , Volume 7, p. 188 I read, “The time has come when even in the church and in our institutions, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” At times I have been astonished to see and to learn of those who I thought were faithful members who have now left the faith. We have a tendency to shrug this off with the words, “This is the shaking time,” but have we ever questioned what is the actual cause of so many departing from God’s church? Inspiration tells us that it is the work of spiritualism.
Now I hear you ask: “ How can spiritualism accomplish such results within God’s church?” In Testimonies to Ministers p.112 she reveals the shaking will commence with the introduction of false theories into the church. Somehow most of us have over looked the fact that the devil has changed his methods from that of holding intercourse with evil spirits, which are condemned by the scriptures, to what now appears to be open acceptance of Jesus and His teachings. I quote, “It is true that spiritualism is now changing its form and, veiling some of its more objectionable features, is assuming a Christian guise. Even in its present form, so far from being more worthy of toleration than formerly, it is really more dangerous, because a more subtle, deception. While it formerly denounced Christ and the Bible, it now professes to accept both. But the Bible is interpreted in a manner that is pleasing to the unrenewed heart, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God’s justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight. The people are taught to regard the Decalogue as a dead letter. Pleasing, bewitching fables captivate the senses and lead men to reject the Bible as the foundation of their faith. Christ is as verily denied as before; but Satan has so blinded the eyes of the people that the deception is not discerned. There are few who have any conception of the deceptive power of spiritualism and the danger of coming under its influence.” Great Controversy p. 557, 558.
In many of our churches “love preaching” is the usual weekly diet fed to the members month after month. I receive many letters telling of this and stating that the law of God is seldom, if ever, mentioned. Having been an evangelist for many years I discovered it is absolutely impossible to have a sound conversion of anyone without preaching God’s law which leads to conviction and repentance. You may be surprised that it was one of God’s faithful leaders who pointed out to me that this “love preaching” without the law was of spiritualism.
As I pondered this truth I began to realize that Satan is using spiritualism today by entering our homes and urging us to become curious about some “new light” that we receive in the mail. Numerous pamphlets, papers, sheets of mimeograph, even books arrive in my home each week all intended to question my belief – hoping that I will think I have been following a false doctrine. Let me tell you something, I never read such material and quickly throw it into the garbage where it belongs, for God has counseled us, “Listen not a moment to the interpretations that would loosen one pin, remove one pillar, from the platform of truth. Human interpretations, the reception of fables, will spoil your faith, confuse your understanding, and make of none effect your faith in Jesus Christ. Study diligently the third chapter of Revelation. In it is pointed out the danger of losing your hold upon the things that you have heard and learned from the Source of all light.” Manuscript Release, Volume 1, p. 54, 55.
In a recent book by Colin and Russell Standish entitled Spiritism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church I would like to quote from page 28. “Our church is now experiencing an embolden attack upon the pillars of our faith, even by some men in high positions. Some are claiming that the sanctuary message and the investigative judgment are figments of the imagination of Sister White, that 1844 is a myth, that there is no actual sanctuary in heaven, and that Christ began the High Priestly ministry in AD 41. These amazing denials of Seventh-day Adventism all point to the fact that spiritism has dramatically eroded the church.”
In Christian Leadership p. 62 Ellen White tells us, “When men standing in the position of leaders and teachers work under the power of spiritualistic ideas and sophistries, shall we keep silent, for fear of injuring their influence, while souls are being beguiled?” This is the reason why I could no longer preach in the churches of the Oregon Conference. I was doing my best to defend our believers from the inroads of spiritism but I learned that many of our administrators find it more important to uphold false pastors and leaders than the salvation of God’s flock who are being led astray.
Let me read again from the book written by the Standish brothers on p. 29. “No matter how insignificant we may feel ourselves to be, no matter how ineffective may be our protest, God is calling on us today to do what we can to warn our fellow church members against the beguiling influence of Satan in the church. If men, claiming to be pastors, teachers and ministers of the gospel, are teaching damnable heresies, there is a solemn obligation to meet them, oppose them, and warn the flock against them. High office does not give men the right to brandish their satanic sophistries before the people. It is a false concept of loyalty that is all too common that leads men and women to remain silent in such a time of spiritual crisis.”
Inspiration reveals with unmistakable clarity, “Modern spiritualism is but a revival in a new form of the witchcraft and demon worship that God condemned and prohibited of old. It is foretold in the scriptures which declare that ‘in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.’
“Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians points to the special working of Satan in spiritualism as an event to take place immediately before the second advent of Christ. Speaking of Christ’s Second Coming he declares that it is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And Peter describes the dangers to which the church was to be exposed in the last days says that as there were false prophets who led Israel into sin, so there will be false teachers, ‘who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them…and many shall follow their pernicious ways.’ 2 Peter 2:1,2. Here the apostle has pointed out one of the marked characteristics of spiritualistic teachers.” Patriarchs and Prophets p. 686.
Did you notice from this quotation that those who are bringing such heresies into the church Ellen White speaks of them as spiritualistic teachers? How few among us – and I include myself, who somehow never envisioned this amazing fact – realize that those who teach spurious philosophies and doctrines are agents of spiritualism. Listen, “The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, 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 their 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.” Great Controversy p. 588, 589.
There is an abundance of evidence that this ecumenical movement of today is causing many to sin like the children of Israel. This Ecumenical movement is determined that we become like the churches of Babylon. From every corner of the globe I hear that it is being preached that we can sin until Jesus comes. This is none other than the doctrine of spiritualism, which is deceiving the majority of our churches. Everyone who accepts the false teaching that Christians can sin until Jesus comes has accepted the lie of spiritualism which Satan presented to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
And what’s so amazing, it is not uncommon today to hear people who believe that Christ had the power to keep His people from sinning being told that they are legalists. Let me tell you that the Bible leaves no doubt as to this divine power of God. In Jude 24 I read, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.
“Satan is striving to gain every advantage. He desires to secure, not only students, but teachers. He has his plans laid. Disguised as an angel of light he will walk the earth as a wonder-worker. In beautiful language he will present lofty sentiments. Good words will be spoken by him, and good deeds preformed. Christ will be personified, but (and keep this in mind) on one point there will be a marked distinction. Satan will turn the people from the law of God. Notwithstanding this, so well will he counterfeit righteousness, that if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect.” Fundamentals of Christian Education p. 471, 472.
Believe me, spiritualism would become the most mighty, convincing power ever devised by the devil to captivate the whole world and force all to worship Satan as the god of this earth. Let us focus our thoughts once more on 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.”
Keep in mind that the devil has never forgotten the contest that he once lost with the Eternal God in the days of Elijah the prophet. Satan utterly lost the battle when God brought fire down out of a clear and cloudless sky in answer to Elijah’s prayer to reveal who is the actual God and Owner of the earth, exposing every false claim of Baal worship. This divine manifestation is recorded in the book of 1 Kings of the Old Testament and described with added detail in Prophets and Kings chapters ten and eleven in which the following battle between God and Satan is revealed by divine interpretation.
Apostasy had become so universal in the days of Ahab, king of Israel, that Elijah thought himself to be the only one left who had not participated in pagan sun worship. Yet we are told that God had a faithful remnant of seven thousand who had not bowed their knee to Baal. The apostasy prevailing in Ahab’s day was the result of many years of evil doing. Step by step, year after year, Israel had been departing from the right way. For generation after generation they had refused to make straight paths for their feet and at last the majority of the people had yielded themselves to the leadership of the power of darkness.
This is why God visited His people with severe judgments. The predictions of Elijah were meeting with terrible fulfillment for he had declared, “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” 1 Kings 17:1. For three years there had been neither dew nor rain. Mount Carmel was chosen by God for this final contest. This mountain had been a place of beauty, clothed with groves of beautiful trees and never-ending springs, with meadows filled with exquisite flowers – but now all this was under a withering curse.
The elders of Baal and Ashteroth stood under leafless, dead trees and there remained one broken-down altar of Jehovah. It was at this place that Elijah commanded King Ahab to bring all Israel, together with his army and 450 prophets of Baal. In anxious expectation the people wait for Elijah to speak. Looking first upon the broken-down altar of Jehovah and then upon the multitude Elijah cries out in clear, trumpet-line tones, “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1 Kings 18:21.
While Israel on Carmel was filled with doubt and hesitation, the voice of Elijah again breaks the silence. “I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.” 1 Kings 18:22 – 24. The proposal of Elijah is so reasonable that the people cannot well abate it so they find courage to answer, “It is well spoken.”
Outwardly bold and defiant, but with terror in their guilty hearts, the false priests prepare their altar, laying on the wood and the victim and then they begin their incantations. Their shrill cries echo and re-echo through the forest and the surrounding heights as they call on the name of their god saying, “O Baal, hear us.” The priests gather about their altar and with leaping and writhing and screaming, with tearing of their hair and cutting of the flesh, they beseech their god to help them. The morning passes, noon comes, and yet there is no evidence that Baal hears the cries of his deluded followers. There is no voice, no reply to their frantic prayers. The sacrifice remains unconsumed.
Finally the time of the evening sacrifice arrives and Elijah calls for the people to come near. They watch as he repairs the broken altar of the Lord. He digs the trench that is to be filled with sixteen barrels of water. Then, bowing reverently before the unseen God, he offers a simple prayer, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be know this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Here me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back again.”
No sooner is the prayer of Elijah ended than flames of fire, like brilliant flashes of lightning, descend from heaven upon the upreared altar consuming the sacrifice, licking up the water in the trench, and consuming even the stones of the altar. The brilliancy of the blaze illuminates the mountain and dazzles the eyes of the multitude. The people on the mount prostrate themselves in awe before the unseen God. They dare not continue to look upon the heaven-sent fire for they fear that they themselves will be consumed. They cry out with one voice, “The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” 1 Kings 18:39. Thus a remarkable decision was reached. The prophets of Baal are now put to death. Satan has been defeated.
The devil has never forgotten this fire from heaven, which awakened and changed the minds of all Israel to acknowledge and obey God. Ever since that day Satan has been studying the elements of nature. He has been putting into practice his knowledge with ever-increasing power. He now awaits the moment when he, not God, will bring fire down from heaven to deceive all that he is god of this world and he will demand that all Seventh-day Adventists be destroyed.
How can Satan do this? In this end-time, just like it was in the days of Elijah, God has a small remnant in number who will publicly challenge Satan’s attempt to control this world. They will fearlessly preach the Three Angels’ Messages of warning and reveal to the world the falsehoods of papal teachings. With mighty conviction born of the Holy Spirit’s latter rain a large number will take their place with God’s people. Praise the Lord!
As this battle develops Satan will succeed in causing all religions of the world to join in his Ecumenical movement to unite against God’s commandment-keeping people who are the only obstacle to his kingship of this world. The devil now decides to appear as Christ who has promised to return the second time. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14). He bears the appearance of Christ in every particular. (Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, p. 698).
And in Great Controversy p. 624, 625 we read, “Satan himself will personate Christ….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 ever beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: ‘Christ has come.’…He heals the diseases of the people….He claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day 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.” And as proof, Satan now commands fire to come down from heaven so all may believe that he has the power of divinity.
As in the day of Elijah, by calling down fire from heaven, he will command the people to accept the papal mark of authority, the mark of the beast, or be killed. Make no mistake, this fire is real. In Great Controversy p. 553 we read, “Men are deceived by miracles which Satan’s agents have power to do, not what they pretend to do.” This devilish fire will be a consuming fire, destroying whatever Satan chooses to destroy. The blaze of this fire will illuminate the earth for miles around. It will so dazzle the multitude surrounding the devil that the people will prostrate themselves before him proclaiming that the devil is God. With fear and trembling, the people are afraid that the fire will consume them also. Now, fully deceived by the miracle, they are ready to destroy the people of God who disbelieve. But praise the Lord, God will protect His faithful.
I ask you: Will you stand faithful? – Only if you have learned now, today, to live by faith. And this kind of faith comes only by much prayer and total obedience to God’s every command; trusting that God will save you because you have totally surrendered yourself to God. Only then, will you pass the final test for, “the just shall live by faith.”