EARTH'S FINAL WARNING
A New World Order Is Coming!
"It's a big idea: a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause . . . only the United States has both the moral standing and the means to back it up." George Bush, State of the Union address, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 18, 1991.
"Under the courageous leadership of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican State has assumed its rightful place in the world as an International voice. It is only right that this country show its respect for the Vatican by diplomatically recognizing it as a world state." Dan Quayle, Appeal to the US Senate, September 22, 1983.
"(John Paul II) insists that men have no reliable hope of creating a viable geopolitical system, unless it is on the basis of Roman Catholic Christianity." M. Martin, Keys of This Blood, page 492.
"United Nations--Leaders of the Security Council nations were in New York today for their first summit, ready to place the United Nations at the centre of a new world order and forge a common policy on peace making and arms control. . . .
"The gathering of leaders of the 15 Security Council nations marks the first time since the founding of the world organization in 1945 that the council, the most powerful U.N. body, has convened at the highest level." Birmingham News, Jan. 31, 1992.
"Willing or not, ready or not, we are all involved in an all-out, no-holds-barred, three-way competition. Most of us are not competitors, however. We are the stakes. For the competition is about who will establish the first one world system of government that has ever existed in the society of nations. . . . The competition is all-out because, now that it has started, there is no way it can be reversed or called off." (Malachi Martin in Keys of This Blood, 15)
"Those of us who are under seventy will see at least the basic structure of the new-world government installed. Those of us under forty will surely live under its legislative, executive, and judicial authority and control. Indeed, the three rivals themselves--and many more besides as time goes on--speak about this new world order not as something around a distant corner of time, but something that is imminent." M. Martin, Keys of This Blood, 15-16.
"Dream of Order. Like many revolutionary ideas, United Europe is not a new notion but an old one revived. The dream of order and unity once embodied in the Rome of the Caesars lived on through the Middle Ages (this period is correctly termed the Dark Ages) not only in the Roman Catholic Church but in the Holy Roman Empire." Time, October 6, 1961.
"What has been forged under the Treaty of Rome in the Common Market is a tightly knit, tightly centralized, tightly directed, tightly controlled new bureaucracy, which is obviously attempting to restore the economic structure of the Holy Roman Empire to Europe." Christian Science Monitor, 1962.
How Many Superpowers Are Left?
"PEACE on earth" is a theme popularized once each year by the Christian world as they celebrate Christmas. In truth, good men everywhere desire nothing greater than to have peace on earth in order that they might savor the joys of family, faith, friends and the fruits of honest toil. But how elusive world peace is proving to be!
The earth has in the past experienced varying periods of political and social rest during such world empires as the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman. History has well documented that at the fall of the Roman empire, Europe fragmented into ten separate nations. Over the many centuries, thousands and even millions of persons have perished as different strong-men have attempted without success to put the broken fragments back together again.
World War I was fought with the purported purpose "to put an end to war." The futility of that claim was clearly made evident by the conflagration of World War II. This truly global war came to an end only with the discovery and use of the mind-boggling power of nuclear fission. With the dawning of the atomic era mankind developed weapons of destruction so powerful and so fearful that we have been afraid that any conflict might lead to a nuclear holocaust with the strong probability of destruction of life on this planet.
Peace as the result of fear of mutual destruction has also proved to be less than ideal. Even with the threat of nuclear annihilation the earth has witnessed a multitude of minor armed conflicts and several major wars, such as those in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. Both major powers--Russia and the United States--have pulled out in frustration from wars they could not win with conventional weapons alone but in which they were afraid to unleash the nuclear genie.
Into this frustrating struggle to bring some form of unity and hope to this earth strode a personage and power offering a solution to the felt needs of mankind for peace and stability. In October of 1978, an obscure Polish archbishop, Karol Wojtyla, was elected as both religious head of the Catholic Church and civil head of the Vatican City. This present pope is apparently utilizing his dual role of leadership in an effort to implement his conviction that he is the pope who will return to the throne of the world, the throne the popes were forced to vacate in 1798 at the end of the Dark Ages. Many consider him to be the first modern-day pope possessing the potential of accomplishing such a goal.
The subtitle to the recently published book The Keys of This Blood (paperback edition) announced a series of events destined to change the world forever. It pointed out the main players in these events and their ultimate goal. The book's subtitle reads thus: "Pope John Paul II versus Russia and the West for control of the New World Order."
The author, Malachi Martin, a Jesuit and Vatican insider, takes a pro-papal view of this battle for control of the world. The book makes certain prophecies about the future of the world, and defines much of the Vatican's strategy to take control of it.
One of the prophecies delineates the pope's strategy to eliminate the USSR. The fulfilment of that prophecy is now well-documented history. The presses of the world have correctly identified the pope's active role in the disintegration of Communism as symbolized by the downfall of the Berlin Wall November 9, 1989.
Now that the former Soviet Union is just a part of history, the players who remain in this battle to influence and to even control the future of mankind are the United States of America, the United Nations and Pope John Paul II. It is yet to be seen whether Communist China will develop or manifest a geopolitical agenda.
Just because one Jesuit author predicts that the New World Order is imminent is not enough to warrant undue alarm. The alarming factor about the issues raised in the book The Keys of This Blood is that they so closely parallel the prophecies written in the Bible over 2000 years ago.
To what lengths will the pope, the United States and/or the United Nations feel compelled to go to bring calm to the seemingly endless conflicts in the world today? What paths will be taken in attempts to bring peace amid the world's present social, political and religious unrest? Will a new world order or government be established in our day in an attempt to regain the relative stability of bygone world empires? We are not left to mere guesswork regarding these vital questions. History and prophecy combine to provide some most startling and sobering insights into the earth-shaking events which lie just before us and the whole world.
Are you ready to study the history and truth behind this subject?
Earth's Final Warning
Will Rome Rule the World Again?
To the Reader
We believe that among the Catholics there are many who are most conscientious Christians and who walk in all the light that shines upon them. It is not the purpose of this page to attack individuals but rather to address the history and biblically prophesied future of the Catholic system of religion.
THE apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, foretold the great apostasy which would result in the establishment of the papal power. He declared that the day of Christ should not come, "except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." And furthermore, the apostle warns his brethren that "the mystery of iniquity doth already work." 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 7. Even at that early date he saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the Papacy.
Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, "the mystery of iniquity" carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and the pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions. The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.
Man of Sin
THIS compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of "the man of sin" foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan's power--a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will. Satan once endeavoured to form a compromise with Christ. He came to the Son of God in the wilderness of temptation, and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, offered to give all into His hands if He would but acknowledge the supremacy of the prince of darkness. Christ rebuked the presumptuous tempter and forced him to depart. But Satan meets with greater success in presenting the same temptations to man. To secure worldly gains and honours, the church was led to seek the favour and support of the great men of earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan --the bishop of Rome.
Foundation of Error
IT is one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is the visible head of the universal church of Christ, invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. More than this, the pope has been given the very titles of Deity. He has been styled "Lord God the Pope," and has been declared infallible. He demands the homage of all men. The same claim urged by Satan in the wilderness of temptation is still urged by him through the Church of Rome, and vast numbers are ready to yield him homage.
But those who fear and reverence God meet this Heaven-daring assumption as Christ met the solicitations of the wily foe: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Luke 4:8. God has never given a hint in His Word that He has appointed any man to be the head of the church. The doctrine of papal supremacy is directly opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures. The pope can have no power over Christ's church except by usurpation.
Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and wilful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 3.
Detector of Error
SATAN well knew that the Holy Scriptures would enable men to discern his deceptions and withstand his power. It was by the Word that even the Saviour of the world had resisted his attacks. At every assault, Christ presented the shield of eternal truth, saying, "It is written." To every suggestion of the adversary, He opposed the wisdom and power of the Word. In order for Satan to maintain his sway over men, and to establish the authority of the papal usurper, he must keep them in ignorance of the Scriptures. The Bible would exalt God and place finite men in their true position; therefore its sacred truths must be concealed and suppressed. This logic was adopted by the Roman Church. For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. The people were forbidden to read it or to have it in their houses, and unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions. Thus the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with authority over church and state.
The Bow to Paganism
THE detector of error having been removed, Satan worked according to his will. Prophecy had declared that the Papacy was to "think to change times and laws." Daniel 7:25. This work it was not slow to attempt. To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number.
THE spirit of concession to paganism opened the way for a still further disregard of Heaven's authority. Satan, working through unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2:2-3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as "the venerable day of the sun." This change was not at first attempted openly. In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians. They were jealous for the honour of God, and, believing that His law is immutable, they zealously guarded the sacredness of its precepts. But with great subtlety Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honour of the resurrection of Christ. Religious services were held upon it; yet it was regarded as a day of recreation, the Sabbath being still sacredly observed. To prepare the way for the work which he designed to accomplish, Satan had led the Jews, before the advent of Christ, to load down the Sabbath with the most rigorous exactions, making its observance a burden. Now, taking advantage of the false light in which he had thus caused it to be regarded, he cast contempt upon it as a Jewish institution. While Christians generally continued to observe the Sunday as a joyous festival, he led them, in order to show their hatred of Judaism, to make the Sabbath a fast, a day of sadness and gloom.
The Daring Change
IN the early part of the fourth century the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public festival throughout the Roman Empire. The day of the sun was reverenced by his pagan subjects and was honoured by Christians; it was the emperor's policy to unite the conflicting interests of heathenism and Christianity. He was urged to do this by the bishops of the church, who, inspired by ambition and thirst for power, perceived that if the same day was observed by both Christians and heathen, it would promote the nominal acceptance of Christianity by pagans and thus advance the power and glory of the church. But while many God-fearing Christians were gradually led to regard Sunday as possessing a degree of sacredness, they still held the true Sabbath as the holy of the Lord and observed it in obedience to the fourth commandment. The arch-deceiver had not completed his work. He was resolved to gather the Christian world under his banner and to exercise his power through his vicegerent, the proud pontiff who claimed to be the representative of Christ. Through half-converted pagans, ambitious prelates, and world-loving churchmen he accomplished his purpose. Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly every council the Sabbath which God had instituted was pressed down a little lower, while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted. Thus the pagan festival came finally to be honoured as a divine institution, while the Bible Sabbath was pronounced a relic of Judaism, and its observers were declared to be accursed.
Creator's Seal Removed
THE great apostate had succeeded in exalting himself "above all that is called God, or that is worshipped." 2 Thessalonians 2:4. He had dared to change the only precept of the divine law that unmistakably points all mankind to the true and living God. In the fourth commandment, God is revealed as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and is thereby distinguished from all false gods. It was as a memorial of the work of Creation that the seventh day was sanctified as a rest day for man. It was designed to keep the living God ever before the minds of men as the source of being and the object of reverence and worship. Satan strives to turn men from their allegiance to God, and from rendering obedience to His law; therefore he directs his efforts especially against that commandment which points to God as the Creator.
Protestants now urge that the resurrection of Christ on Sunday made it the Christian Sabbath. But Scripture evidence is lacking. No such honours was given to the day by Christ or His apostles.
From Pagan to Papal Rome
IN the sixth century the Papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the Papacy. The dragon had given to the beast "his power, and his seat, and great authority." Revelation 13:2. And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5-7.
Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman's axe. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: "Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." Luke 21:16-17. Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield. For hundreds of years the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Thus says the prophet: "The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three-score days." Revelation 12:6.
The Dark Ages Begin
THE accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring, and cruel men, nay, more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised his power through them. Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity. When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God.
Days of Peril
THOSE were days of peril for the church of Christ. The gospel was lost sight of, but the forms of religion were multiplied, and the people were burdened with rigorous exactions. They were taught not only to look to the pope as their mediator, but to trust to works of their own to atone for sin. Long pilgrimages, acts of penance, the worship of relics, the erection of churches, shrines, and altars, the payment of large sums to the church--these and many similar acts were enjoined to appease the wrath of God or to secure His favour; as if God were like men, to be angered at trifles, or pacified by gifts or acts of penance!
The darkness seemed to grow more dense. Image worship became more general. Candles were burned before images, and prayers were offered to them. The most absurd and superstitious customs prevailed. The minds of men were so completely controlled by superstition that reason itself seemed to have lost its sway. While priests and bishops were themselves pleasure-loving, sensual, and corrupt, it could only be expected that the people who looked to them for guidance would be sunken in ignorance and vice.
The Haughty Pontiff
ANOTHER step in papal assumption was taken, when, in the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII proclaimed the perfection of the Roman Church. Among the propositions which he put forth was one declaring that the church had never erred, nor would it ever err, according to the Scriptures. But the Scripture proofs did not accompany the assertion. The proud pontiff also claimed the power to depose emperors, and declared that no sentence which he pronounced could be reversed by anyone, but that it was his prerogative to reverse the decisions of all others.
How striking the contrast between the overbearing pride of this haughty pontiff and the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who represents Himself as pleading at the door of the heart for admittance, that He may come in to bring pardon and peace, and who taught His disciples: "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" Matthew 20:27.
The Darkness Deepens
THE advancing centuries witnessed a constant increase of error in the doctrines put forth from Rome. Even before the establishment of the Papacy the teachings of heathen philosophers had received attention and exerted an influence in the church. Many who professed conversion still clung to the tenets of their pagan philosophy, and not only continued its study themselves, but urged it upon others as a means of extending their influence among the heathen. Serious errors were thus introduced into the Christian faith. Prominent among these was the belief in man's natural immortality and his consciousness in death. This doctrine laid the foundation upon which Rome established the invocation of saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. From it sprang also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent, which was early incorporated into the papal faith.
Then the way was prepared for the introduction of still another invention of paganism, which Rome named purgatory, and employed to terrify the credulous and superstitious multitudes. By this heresy is affirmed the existence of a place of torment, in which the souls of such as have not merited eternal damnation are to suffer punishment for their sins, and from which, when freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven.
The Financial Angle
STILL another fabrication was needed to enable Rome to profit by the fears and the vices of her adherents. This was supplied by the doctrine of indulgences. Full remission of sins, past, present, and future, and release from all the pains and penalties incurred, were promised to all who would enlist in the pontiff's wars to extend his temporal dominion, to punish his enemies, or to exterminate those who dared deny his spiritual supremacy. The people were also taught that by the payment of money to the church they might free themselves from sin, and also release the souls of their deceased friends who were confined in the tormenting flames. By such means did Rome fill her coffers and sustain the magnificence, luxury, and vice of the pretended representatives of Him who had not where to lay His head.
The Creator Created
THE scriptural ordinance of the Lord's Supper had been supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the Mass. Papal priests pretended, by their senseless mummery, to convert the simple bread and wine into the actual "body and blood of Christ."--Cardinal Wiseman, "The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, Proved From Scripture," lecture 8, sec. 3, par. 26. With blasphemous presumption, they openly claimed the power of creating God, the Creator of all things. Christians were required, on pain of death, to avow their faith in this horrible, Heaven-insulting heresy. Multitudes who refused were given to the flames.
Millions of Martyrs
IN the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the engines of the Papacy--the inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.
POPERY had become the world's despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity, seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honoured and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power.
BUT "the noon of the Papacy was the midnight of the world."--J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, b. 1, ch. 4. The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests. Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God's law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint. Fraud, avarice, and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could gain wealth or position. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavoured to depose these dignitaries of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated. For centuries Europe had made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom.
THE lack of the knowledge of the Word of God allowed the Papacy to rule the world during the Dark Ages. Toward the end of that age, as an understanding of God's Word began to unfold, men began to protest the errors prevalent during that time. Those Protestant Reformers threw off the shackles of error and superstition, and began to let the light of God's Word shine. These men received the title of Protestants, because, as they understood the truth of God's Word they saw that they must protest and oppose the error of Catholicism if they would be true to God. Once again in the history of this planet the knowledge of God's Word had been forgotten. Compare the Reformers' understanding of the Papacy with the beliefs of this modern generation.
MARTIN Luther said, "I know that the pope is the Antichrist, and that his see is that of Satan himself. The Papacy is the general chase, by command of the Roman pontiff, for the purpose of running down and destroying souls."
Charles Spurgeon said, "We must warn with judicious boldness those who incline towards the errors of Rome; we must tell them of the black doings of Popery."
John Knox said the pope was "the very antichrist."
John Wesley said of the Papacy, "He is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure."
John Calvin said, "We call the Roman pontiff Antichrist."
Protestants Forget Past
TODAY the descendants of those faithful martyrs have forgotten why they call themselves Protestants. Consider the following.
"It is time for Protestants to go to the shepherd (the pope) and say, `What do we have to do to come home?'" Dr. Robert Schuller, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Sept. 19, 1987.
"Heads of American Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches who were meeting with Pope John Paul II on Friday hailed their first broadly representative discussion as a landmark on the road to greater unity. . . . The Rev. Donald Jones, a United Methodist and chairman of the University of South Carolina religious studies department, termed it, `the most important ecumenical meeting of the century.' . . . The Rev. Paul A. Crow Jr., of Indianapolis, ecumenical officer of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), called it a `new day in ecumenism' opening a future in which God `is drawing us together.'" The Montgomery Advertiser, Sept. 12, 1987.
"If Catholicism is to become more Catholic in the future, which is what I expect under the present pope, then theological differences will become sharper, but our alliances with Catholics against the secular culture can become deeper. I, for one, am ready for the trade-off." David Wells, Eternity Magazine, Sept. 1987.
"Protestant and Catholic charismatic teaching on the Christian life is to all intents and purposes identical. Is this not significant for the Christian future?" J. I. Packer, Christianity Today, June 22, 1992.
Protestantism has forgotten her roots. She was ordained to resist and denounce the errors of Rome. Now she is willing to embrace them. Now as the entire world is on the verge of Rome's final assault, the former enemies are forming alliances. The Protestant world has forgotten they are involved in an eternal battle, and because of their willing neglect of knowledge, they are destined to be destroyed.
Law and Order the Real Issue
FROM the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven it has been Satan's purpose to overthrow the law of God. To deceive men, and thus lead them to transgress God's law, is the object which he has steadfastly pursued. Whether it be accomplished by casting aside the law altogether, or by rejecting one of its precepts, the result will be ultimately the same. He that offends "in one point," manifests contempt for the whole law; his influence and example are on the side of transgression; he becomes "guilty of all." James 2:10.
In seeking to cast contempt upon the divine statutes, Satan has perverted the doctrines of the Bible, and errors have thus become incorporated into the faith of thousands who profess to believe the Scriptures. The last great conflict between truth and error is but the final struggle of the long-standing controversy concerning the law of God. Upon this battle we are now entering--a battle between the laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah, between the religion of the Bible and the religion of fable and tradition.
Infidelity prevails to an alarming extent, not in the world merely, but in the church. Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars of the Christian faith. The great facts of Creation as presented by the inspired writers, the Fall of man, the atonement, and the perpetuity of the law of God, are practically rejected, either wholly or in part, by a large share of the professedly Christian world. Many ministers are teaching their people, and many professors and teachers are instructing their students, that the law of God has been changed or abrogated; and those who regard its requirements as still valid, to be literally obeyed, are thought to be deserving only of ridicule or contempt.
IN rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Lawgiver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His Word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature. Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The god of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists--the god of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions--is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia.
No error accepted by the Christian world strikes more boldly against the authority of Heaven, none is more directly opposed to the dictates of reason, none is more pernicious in its results, than the modern doctrine, so rapidly gaining ground, that God's law is no longer binding upon men. Suppose that prominent ministers were publicly to teach that the statutes which govern their land and protect the rights of its citizens were not obligatory--that they restricted the liberties of the people, and therefore ought not to be obeyed; how long would such men be tolerated in the pulpit? But is it a graver offense to disregard the laws of states and nations than to trample upon those divine precepts which are the foundation of all government?
Sin No Longer Sinful
WHEREVER the divine precepts are rejected, sin ceases to appear sinful or righteousness desirable. Those who refuse to submit to the government of God are wholly unfitted to govern themselves. Through their pernicious teachings the spirit of insubordination is implanted in the hearts of children and youth, who are naturally impatient of control; and a lawless, licentious state of society results. While scoffing at the credulity of those who obey the requirements of God, the multitudes eagerly accept the delusions of Satan. They give the rein to lust and practice the sins which have called down judgments upon the heathen.
Society in Disarray
ALREADY the doctrine that men are released from obedience to God's requirements has weakened the force of moral obligation and opened the floodgates of iniquity upon the world. Lawlessness, dissipation, and corruption are sweeping in upon us like an overwhelming tide. In the family, Satan is at work. His banner waves, even in professedly Christian households. There is envy, evil surmising, hypocrisy, estrangement, emulation, strife, betrayal of sacred trusts, indulgence of lust. The whole system of religious principles and doctrines, which should form the foundation and framework of social life, seems to be a tottering mass, ready to fall to ruin.
The vilest of criminals, when thrown into prison for their offenses, are often made the recipients of gifts and attentions as if they had attained an enviable distinction. Great publicity is given to their character and crimes. The press publishes the revolting details of vice, thus initiating others into the practice of fraud, robbery, and murder; and Satan exults in the success of his hellish schemes. The infatuation of vice, the wanton taking of life, the terrible increase of intemperance and iniquity of every order and degree, should arouse all who fear God, to inquire what can be done to stay the tide of evil.
Scriptures Now Rejected
THE iniquity and spiritual darkness that prevailed under the supremacy of Rome were the inevitable result of her suppression of the Scriptures; but where is to be found the cause of the widespread infidelity, the rejection of the law of God, and the consequent corruption, under the full blaze of gospel light in an age of religious freedom? Now that Satan can no longer keep the world under his control by withholding the Scriptures, he resorts to other means to accomplish the same object. To destroy faith in the Bible serves his purpose as well as to destroy the Bible itself. By introducing the belief that God's law is not binding, he has effectually leads men to transgress as if they were wholly ignorant of its precepts. And now--as in former ages, he has worked through the church to further his designs. The religious organizations of the day have refused to listen to unpopular truths plainly brought to view in the Scriptures, and in combating them they have adopted interpretations and taken positions which have sown broadcast the seeds of scepticism.
Clinging to the papal error of natural immortality and man's consciousness in death, they have rejected the only defence 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; and as the only way to free themselves from a duty which 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. As the work of Sabbath reform extends, this rejection of the divine law to avoid the claims of the fourth commandment will become well-nigh universal.
The Dark Ages Repeated
SATAN'S policy in this final conflict with God's people is the same that he employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven. He professed to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow. And the very work which he was thus endeavouring to accomplish he charged upon the loyal angels. The same policy of deception has marked the history of the Roman Church. It has professed to act as the vicegerent of Heaven, while seeking to exalt itself above God and to change His law. Under the rule of Rome, those who suffered death for their fidelity to the gospel were denounced as evildoers; they were declared to be in league with Satan; and every possible means was employed to cover them with reproach, to cause them to appear in the eyes of the people and even to themselves as the vilest of criminals. So it will be now. While Satan seeks to destroy those who honour God's law, he will cause them to be accused as lawbreakers, as men who are dishonouring God and bringing judgments upon the world.
Compulsion by Cruelty
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 endeavours to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this goal, he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God.
Those who honour the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government. 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 colouring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives.
Light Exchanged for Darkness
AS the Protestant churches reject the clear, scriptural arguments in defence of God's law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath.
Liberty of Conscience Denied
THE dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honour the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favour, 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.
In contrast to those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus, the third angel points to another class, against whose errors a solemn and fearful warning is uttered: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." Revelation 14:9-10. A correct interpretation of the symbols employed is necessary to an understanding of this message. What is represented by the beast, the image, the mark?
Interpreting the Symbols
THE line of prophecy in which these symbols are found begins with Revelation 12, with the dragon that sought to destroy Christ at His birth. The dragon is said to be Satan (Revelation 12:9); he it was that moved upon Herod to put the Savior to death. But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian Era was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing religion. Thus while the dragon, primarily, represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.
The Leopard-like Beast
IN chapter 13 (verses 1-10) is described another beast, "like unto a leopard," to which the dragon--Satan and pagan Rome--gave "his power, and his seat, and great authority." This leopard-like beast, as most Protestants have believed, represents the Papacy, which succeeded to the power and seat and authority once held by the ancient Roman Empire. Of the leopard-like beast it is declared: "There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. . . . And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindred, and tongues, and nations." This prophecy, which is nearly identical with the description of the little horn of Daniel 7, unquestionably points to the Papacy.
"Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." And, says the prophet, "I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death." And again: "He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword." Revelation 13:10. The forty and two months are the same as the "time and times and the dividing of time," three years and a half, or 1260 days, of Daniel 7--the time during which the papal power was to oppress God's people. This period began with the supremacy of the Papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity." Rev. 13:10.
America in Prophecy AT this point another symbol is introduced. Says the prophet: "I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb." Verse 11. Both the appearance of this beast and the manner of its rise indicate that the nation which it represents is unlike those presented under the preceding symbols. The great kingdoms that have ruled the world were presented to the prophet Daniel as beasts of prey, rising when "the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea." Daniel 7:2. In Revelation 17 an angel explained that waters represent "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15. Winds are a symbol of strife. The four winds of heaven striving upon the great sea represent the terrible scenes of conquest and revolution by which kingdoms have attained to power.
Out of the Earth
BUT the beast with lamblike horns was seen "coming up out of the earth." Rev. 13:11. Instead of overthrowing other powers to establish itself, the nation thus represented must arise in territory previously unoccupied and grow up gradually and peacefully. It could not, then, arise among the crowded and struggling nationalities of the Old World--that turbulent sea of "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." It must be sought in the Western continent.
What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power, giving promise of strength and greatness, and attracting the attention of the world? The application of the symbol admits of no question. One nation, and only one, meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America. Again and again the thought, almost the exact words, of the sacred writer has been unconsciously employed by the orator and the historian in describing the rise and growth of this nation. A prominent writer, describing the rise of the United States, speaks of "the mystery of her coming forth from vacancy," and says: "Like a 'silent seed' we grew into empire."-G. A. Townsend, The New World Compared With the Old, page 462. A European journal in 1850 spoke of the United States as a wonderful empire, which was "emerging," and "amid the silence of the earth daily adding to its power and pride." --The Dublin Nation.
The "two horns like a lamb" well represent the character of our own government, as expressed in its two fundamental principles--Republicanism and Protestantism. These principles are the secret of our power and prosperity as a nation. Those who first found an asylum on the shores of America, rejoiced that they had reached a country free from the arrogant claims of popery and the tyranny of kingly rule. They determined to establish a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty.
Speaks Like the Dragon
BUT the beast with lamblike horns "spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed; . . . 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." Revelation 13:11-14.
The lamblike horns and dragon voice of the symbol point to a striking contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation thus represented. The "speaking" of the nation is the action of its legislative and judicial authorities. By such action it will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. The prediction that it will speak "as a dragon" and exercise "all the power of the first beast" plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopard-like beast. And the statement that the beast with two horns "causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast" indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the Papacy.
Such action would be directly contrary to the principles of this government, to the genius of its free institutions, to the direct and solemn avowals of the Declaration of Independence, and to the Constitution. The founders of the nation wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular power on the part of the church, with its inevitable result--intolerance and persecution. The Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," and that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office of public trust under the United States." Only in flagrant violation of these safeguards to the nation's liberty, can any religious observance be enforced by civil authority. But the inconsistency of such action is no greater than is represented in the symbol. It is the beast with lamblike horns in profession pure, gentle, and harmless--that speaks as a dragon.
The Image to the Beast
SAYING to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast." Here is clearly presented a form of government in which the legislative power rests with the people, a most striking evidence that the United States is the nation denoted in the prophecy.
But what is the "image to the beast"? And how is it to be formed? The image is made by the two-horned beast, and is an image to the beast. It is also called an image of the beast. Therefore, to learn what the image is like and how it is to be formed we must study the characteristics of the beast itself--the Papacy.
Union of Church and State
WHEN the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the Papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of "heresy." In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.
It was apostasy that led the early church to seek the aid of the civil government, and this prepared the way for the development of the Papacy--the beast. So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image to the beast.
THE Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord there will exist a state of religious declension similar to that in the first centuries. "In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof." 2 Timothy 3:1-5. "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 Timothy 4:1. When this state of ungodliness shall be reached, the same results will follow as in the first centuries.
Formation of the Image
WHEN the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy , and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.
The Mark of the Beast
THE beast with two horns "causeth [commands] all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Revelation 13:16-17. The third angel's warning is: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." "The beast" mentioned in this message, whose worship is enforced by the two-horned beast, is the first, or leopard-like beast of Revelation 13--the Papacy. The "image to the beast" represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas.
AFTER the warning against the worship of the beast and his image the prophecy declares: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" Rev. 14:12. Since those who keep God's commandments are thus placed in contrast with those that worship the beast and his image and receive his mark, it follows that the keeping of God's law, on the one hand, and its violation, on the other, will make the distinction between the worshipers of God and the worshipers of the beast.
The Beast's Character THE special characteristic of the beast, and therefore of his image, is the breaking of God's commandments. Says Daniel, of the little horn, the Papacy: "He shall think to change times and the law." Daniel 7:25, RV. And Paul styled the same power the "man of sin," who was to exalt himself above God. One prophecy is a complement of the other. Only by changing God's law could the Papacy exalt itself above God; whoever should understandingly keep the law as thus changed would be giving supreme honor to that power by which the change was made. Such an act of obedience to papal laws would be a mark of allegiance to the pope in the place of God.
An intentional, deliberate change is presented: "He shall think to change the times and the law." The change in the fourth commandment exactly fulfils the prophecy. For this the only authority claimed is that of the church. Here the papal power openly sets itself above God.
WHILE the worshipers of God will be especially distinguished by their regard for the fourth commandment--since this is the sign of His creative power and the witness to His claim upon man's reverence and homage--the worshipers of the beast will be distinguished by their efforts to tear down the Creator's memorial, to exalt the institution of Rome. It was in behalf of the Sunday that popery first asserted its arrogant claims; and its first resort to the power of the state was to compel the observance of Sunday as "the Lord's day." But the Bible points to the seventh day, and not to the first, as the Lord's day. Said Christ: "The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath." The fourth commandment declares: "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord." And by the prophet Isaiah the Lord designates it: "My holy day." Mark 2:28; Isaiah 58:13.
Roman Catholics acknowledge that the change of the Sabbath was made by their church, and declare that Protestants by observing the Sunday are recognizing her power.
As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite "the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; . . . because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church's power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin."--Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, page 58. What then is the change of the Sabbath, but the sign, or mark, of the authority of the Roman Church--"the mark of the beast"?
Rejecting the Bible
THE Roman Church has not relinquished her claim to supremacy; and when the world and the Protestant churches accept a sabbath of her creating, while they reject the Bible Sabbath, they virtually admit this assumption. They may claim the authority of tradition and of the Fathers for the change; but in so doing they ignore the very principle which separates them from Rome--that "the Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants." The papist can see that they are deceiving themselves, willingly closing their eyes to the facts in the case. As the movement for Sunday enforcement gains favor, the papist rejoices, feeling assured that it will eventually bring the whole Protestant world under the banner of Rome.
The Worship of the Beast
BUT Christians of past generations observed the Sunday, supposing that in so doing they were keeping the Bible Sabbath; and there are now true Christians in every church, not excepting the Roman Catholic communion, who honestly believe that Sunday is the Sabbath of divine appointment. God accepts their sincerity of purpose and their integrity before Him. But when Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, and the world shall be enlightened concerning the obligation of the true Sabbath, then whoever shall transgress the command of God, to obey a precept which has no higher authority than that of Rome, will thereby honour popery above God. He is paying homage to Rome and to the power which enforces the institution ordained by Rome. He is worshiping the beast and his image. As men then reject the institution which God has declared to be the sign of His authority, and honour in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremacy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance to Rome--"the mark of the beast." And it is not until the issue is thus plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the commandments of God and the commandments of men, that those who continue in transgression will receive "the mark of the beast."
The Fearful Threatening
THE most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel's message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. Men are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the visitation of God's judgments, that all may know why they are to be inflicted, and have opportunity to escape them. It is represented in the prophecy as being proclaimed with a loud voice, by an angel flying in the midst of heaven; and it will command the attention of the world.
Two Classes Develop
IN the issue of the contest all Christendom will be divided into two great classes--those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark. Although church and state will unite their power to compel "all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond" (Revelation 13:16), to receive "the mark of the beast," yet the people of God will not receive it. The prophet of Patmos beholds "them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God" and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 15:2-3.
The Two Great Errors
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.
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 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 Commandeers the New World Order
THROUGH Spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith; but at the same time he works as a destroyer. His temptations are leading multitudes to ruin. Intemperance dethrones reason; sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed follow. Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God. Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would--He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favour and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them.
While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation.
AND then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God's commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; 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 their restoration to divine favour and temporal prosperity. The miracle-working power manifested through Spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. 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 the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday. Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept their testimony.
Satan Personates Christ
AS the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. 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 yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: "Christ has come! Christ has come!" The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which 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. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like the Samaritans who were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the least to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying: This is "the great power of God." Acts 8:10.
Detecting the Deceiver
BUT the people of God will not be misled. The teachings of this false christ are not in accordance with the Scriptures. His blessing is pronounced upon the worshipers of the beast and his image, the very class upon whom the Bible declares that God's unmingled wrath shall be poured out.
And, furthermore, Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the manner of Christ's advent. The Saviour has warned His people against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the manner of His second coming. "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. . . . Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; 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." Matthew 24:24-27, 31; 25:31; Revelation 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. This coming there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known--witnessed by the whole world.
The Bible Only
ONLY those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.
What to Do Now
AT this point let us change our focus from past history, and the crisis that lies just ahead, and consider the heart of the matter.
You can be God's child just now--this very minute--if you will. God has already done all that a God can do, until you accept what He has done. God loved you so much "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
HAVE you received that gift? All who receive Him are given power to be God's children. "But 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. You belong to God. He made you. So you are also His by creation. He redeemed you. So you are His by redemption. But He will not take you by force; you must choose to be His; you must acknowledge His rights, and your relationship. When you yield to Him, then you are His. See Romans 6:16. Just the minute that you surrender your life to His guidance, that minute He takes control. Then it is a minute-by-minute walk with God. Led by Him, you are His child. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Romans 8:14.
Do you know that sin is the transgression of God's law? "Whosoever commiteth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4. See also Romans 5:13 and 7:7.
Do you know that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord? "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all the work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2:2-3. See also Exodus 20:8-11.
The New Birth
WITH an earthly friend we make connection with a look or a touch. With Jesus we make union with our thoughts. You believe God's Word. You believe with the heart. See Romans 10:10. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17. Then the faith of Jesus comes by studying God's Word. See Revelation 14:12. We must study to show ourselves approved unto God, and then obey present truth. See 2 Timothy 2:15. Then that word (in your heart) begins the new life. which is the "new birth." See 1 Peter 1:23. Then, keep drinking the milk of the Word, and so, "grow." See 1 Peter 2:2. Do not wait for some feeling. Take God at His Word, no matter how you feel.
BY loving obedience to God's commandments our love for Him is expressed. "And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him." 1 John 2:3-5. Whatever you want, ask God for it, then thank God for it. Now it is yours. See Mark 11:24. Of course you must ask according to God's will. See 1 John 5:14-15.
God says, "I will cleanse you." "I will give you a new heart." "I will put my Spirit in you." Ezekiel 36:25-27. Ask Him to do it. Thank Him that it is done, because He promised. Confess your sins to Him. Ask Him to forgive them. Thank Him that He has done it. 1 John 1:9; Matthew 7:7, 11; Philippians 4:6, 19. The Bible is full of promises; all yours, regarding this simple plan.
Walk With Christ
DOES God want you, dear reader, to be His child? The answer is, Yes, Yes, Yes! Now the question is, Do you, dear reader, want to be God's child? If your answer is Yes, then by the authority of God's Word, you are a child of God. Put your hand into His and stay with Him. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." Isaiah 26:3-4.