Chapter 7 - Spiritualism a Subject of Prophecy
WE come now to one of time most timely and important features of this whole subject; for God in his word has foretold and forewarned the world of the movement here passing under review. He has made known the time which it should appear, the character it would bear, and the work it is to do. He has also connected this with the great event of all-overshadowing importance to this world, of which it is a startling sign and sure precursor; namely, the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask the special attention of the reader to this part of the subject.
A word of digression may be allowed as to the place which prophecy holds in the word of God. Prophecy is that feature of the sacred volume which constitutes it a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Ps. 119: 105; 2 Peter 1: 19. It is that which enables that word to be a guide to the hosts of Israel through the weary journey and the gloomy shades of time, giving to every era its "present truth," and showing the progress of the slow-revolving ages toward the great consummation. It is the golden credential which the Bible holds up to the world of its genuineness and authenticity
Prophecy is peculiar to the Christian Scriptures. No other so-called sacred books contain this feature. It is not found in the Vedas, Shasters, or Puranas of the Hindus, nor the Zend Avestas of the Parsees, nor the Kojiki Nohonki, of the Shintos of Japan, nor the law books of Manu, nor the Koran of the Mohammedans, nor the Kan-Ying-Peen or Tao-Te-King of the Chinese, nor the Tripitakas of the Buddhists. The reason is obvious. Neither the minds of men nor of angels either good or bad, can read the future. Divine omniscience alone can see the end from the beginning and foretell the great events that shall mark the history of time world, and affect the interests of the church. It is this that stamps the Bible as divine, and lifts it immeasurably above all other books. It is indeed passing strange that all cannot see this. Instead of being a book that grows obsolete and out of date with the passing years, like the productions of men, it is the only book ever seen upon time earth which is ever abreast of the times in every age, and lifts time veil of the future before him who honestly and reverently seeks its pages for a knowledge of the truth. Those who ignore or despise the prophecies, rob the Bible of one of the brightest stars in its crown of glory.
To be entitled to claim credit as divine, any book or system should be able to show that it can correctly foretell the future. The spirits see this, and, knowing that they cannot do it, discountenance and discourage all such efforts. Here is a little of their teaching on the subject: --
"Ques.-- Why are so many predictions made through mediums, which prove false?
"Ans.-- Wonderful guesses are sometimes made by daring spirits.
"Q.-- Can you tell us anything of the future?
"A.-- Pharos says you must not ask questions of the future -- spirits who prophesy are not good spirits
" Q.-- Do you mean that it is not best for us to know the future?
"A.-- Souls on your plane are undergoing discipline, and it would cost more than it is worth to foretell the future of your state." -- "Automatic Writing," pp. 141, 142.
Spiritualists rail at God for prohibiting from Adam and Eve, in the garden, time tree of the knowledge of good and evil, to keep them in ignorance. What will they say to these spirits who coolly answer that "it would cost more than it is worth" to give them any knowledge of future events? This, perhaps, they will consider all right because it isn''t God who says it.
1. Let us then see what God has said of the time and work and significance of Spiritualism. Over seven hundred years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah wrote of our time, as follows: "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter, should not a people seek unto their God for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
Here is certainly a prophecy that a time would come when just such a work as Spiritualism is now doing would be a distinguishing feature of the age. The present must be the time referred to, because it has never been so in any past age; and the present meets the specifications in every particular. It shows that time only safety for any one now is to seek unto his God, and make the law and the testimony, the word of God, the great standard by which to try all spirits. 1 John 4: 1. And another great event is directly connected with this, that is, the second coming of Christ; for according to verses 16-18, the disciples then looking for him.
2. Matt. 24: 24: "For 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."
A deception of no ordinary power is here brought to view. It really results in the division of Christendom; for all but the elect are carried away by it. In its own claims, Spiritualism fulfils the "Christs" and "prophets" part of the declaration, claiming of course to be true, while the Bible says it is "false." The signs and wonders are beginning to be seen in the many "inexplicable" phenomena attending Spiritualism. But many more startling exhibitions, as will be presently shown, are yet to appear. We charge upon Spiritualism, so far, the fulfilment of this prophecy. But mark! this occurs when the Son of man is about to appear "as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west" (verse 27); and it is one of the prominent signs of that event. See the prophecy from verse 23 to verse 35. Mark and Luke also dwell upon the same prediction, as gathered from the lips of our Lord himself.
3. Heb. 10: 28, 29: "He that despised Moses'' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"
It is the bold stand which Spiritualism has taken against Christ and the atonement, that makes this scripture applicable to that work. The apostle is speaking of the times when the great "day is approaching "(verse 25); when it is but a little while, and he that shall come, Will come and will not tarry (verse 37), and the introduction of verse 29, in such a connection, becomes a prophecy that such an outbreak against Christ and his atoning work would be seen when he is about to come again. And the fulfilment we are now beholding in Spiritualism.
4. Rev. 12:12: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
This scripture locates itself. It is when Satan knows that he has but a little time to work, and hence it must be in the last days. At this time he descends upon time world in an avalanche of wrath. "Wrath" is a misleading term. The words [GREEK CHARACTERS IN PRINTED TEXT] [GREEK CHARACTERS IN PRINTED TEXT] signify the strongest and most intense emotion of the mind. If the object is to accomplish some particular end, they would indicate the most intense, concentrated, energetic, and persistent efforts to that purpose, using every means, and bringing to bear every influence to reach the result in question. Satan, as we have seen, has an object in deceiving the human family, as far as possible, to their destruction, by signs and wonders. In this work, according to the prophecy before us, he will go to the extent of his power, and show his most potent signs. Bringing the supposed forms and features of the dead before living witnesses, is his most successful method at the present time. But as this work is, as yet, done largely in the dark, it gives more room for jugglery amid imposition. The time will come, however, when, in open light, counterfeit materializations of the dead will swarm on earth, and deceive, if it were possible, the very elect -- i. e., all who cannot meet the deception with the potent weapon-- "It is written, The dead know not anything, neither have they any more a portion forever [in the present state of things] in anything that is done under the sun."
5. Rev. 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, arid deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do."
This prophecy relates to some earthly government represented by a symbol with two horns like a lamb.
Verse 11. It is part of a prophecy beginning with chapter twelve, and ending with verse 5 of chapter fourteen. It is not the place here to introduce an exposition of this prophecy. It is only necessary to state that the position taken is that the lamblike symbol represents our own government, the United States of America. And the great wonders that he does, apply to the marvelous manifestations of Spiritualism. It is a significant fact that Spiritualism arose in this country, thus fitting itself exactly to the prophecy. The climax of the wonders brought to view in the text, making "fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men," has not yet been reached. More is therefore to be developed. Yea, this wonder-working power is to go forward till that which, in the time of Elijah, was the test between the false god Baal and the Lord Jehovah, is brought to pass, and fire is made to come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And the sad feature of this case will be that the multitudes, not perceiving the change of issue, will take the act down here to be a test of truth, as it was in the days of Elijah.
Taken in connection with other portions of the book of Revelation, this prophecy reveals clearly what the agency that works the miracles is. The dragon, representing paganism (Rev. 12: 3, 4); the beast, representing the papacy (Rev. 13: 1-10); and the lamblike symbol, representing Protestantism, or more specifically, Protestant America (Rev. 13: 11-17), constitute the symbols of this prophecy. For convenience, let us designate them as A, B, and C, respectively. C works his miracles in sight of B; B and C are again brought to view in Rev. 19: 20, and there C is called "the false prophet." We know the false prophet here is the same as C, because he works miracles before B, the same as C does in chapter 13: 14. All together, A, B, and C are brought to view in Rev. 16: 13, and unclean spirits like frogs are said to come out of their mouths; and then verse 14 tells what they are: "For they are spirits of devils, working miracles." This, then, not the spirits of dead men, is the agency that works the miracles of chapter 13:13, 14. We follow the subject so far, at this point, merely to identify the agency that works the miracles, and shall have more to say upon it. But before passing, we would remind the reader that here also the subject is connected with the second coming of Christ; for the prophecy of Revelation 13 ends with the redemption of the church which immediately follows. Rev. 14: 1-5.
6. 2 Thess. 2: 9-12: "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Here, again, we have the great fact brought out with still more startling emphasis, that there is to be a great outbreaking of Satanic power among men, just before and up to, the coming of Christ. And if we already see the preliminary and even far-advanced working of this power in Spiritualism, the world should stand aghast at the perils of the times in which we live. The coming of Christ is brought to view in verse 8, and verse 9 states that at that time Satan will be working with all power. The common version is calculated to obscure this passage. The words "even him" (verse 9) are wrongly and unnecessarily supplied. Literally rendered, the last clause of verse 8, and the first of verse 9 would read as follows: "Whom the Lord . . . shall destroy with the brightness of his [Christ''s] coming; of whom [Christ] the coming is, after [or at the time of] the working of Satan," etc. The word "after" is from, the Greek [GREEK CHARACTERS IN PRINTED TEXT] (kata), which when referring to time, as in this case, does not mean "after or according to," but "within the range of, during, in the course of, at, about," as in 2 Tim. 4: 1, where it is rendered "at."
So here is a plain declaration that at the very time when Christ comes Satan will be working in the bight of his power, by signs and lying wonders (wonders to prove a lie) to keep the people under falsehood and deception. Verses 10-12 tell who his victims are, and why they become such: they are those who preferred the pleasures of sin to the practice of righteousness, and so would not receive the truth, nor the love of it. In all such cases God''s throne is clear. He always, as in this case, sets truth first before the people, gives them a chance, and calls upon them to embrace it, and be saved. But when men, as free moral agents, whom God will not force into his kingdom, refuse to receive the truth, shut their eyes, close their ears, and steel their hearts against it, and find their pleasure in unrighteousness, in going in just the opposite direction; -- what can God do for them? We leave the skeptic himself to answer. For more years than Spiritualism, in its present phase, has been before the world, several religious bodies have made a specialty of the great Bible truth concerning the state of the dead, and life only in Christ, which effectually shields all those who receive it against the rapping delusion.
7. Rev. 18: 2: "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, amid the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."
Among the many predictions given in the word of God touching the last days, is one which fore-tokens a wide-spread and lamentable declension in the religious world. The phrase which embodies it, is the one just quoted, "Babylon is fallen." The term "Babylon" is not intended nor used as a term of reproach, but rather as a descriptive word setting forth the very undesirable condition of "mixture" and "confusion" in the religious world. It is certainly not the Lord''s will, who prayed that all his people should be one, that scores or hundreds of divisions and sects should exist within his church. That is owing, exclaims the Catholic, to the Protestant rule of private judgment. It is not. It is owing to that Pandora''s box of mystical interpretation placed in the church by old Origen, that prince of mischief-makers. By this method, which has no method and no standard, the interpretations of God''s word will ever be as various and numerous as the whims and fancies that may find a place in the minds of men.
But all this confusion must be remedied in that church which will be ready for the second advent; for no people will be prepared for translation but such as worship the Lord in both spirit and truth. To bring the church to this point, a call has been sent to Christendom in the special truths for this time. Most turn away, but some are taking the stand to which these circumstances summon them. The process is simple. It is but to read and obey God''s word in the light of what is called the literal rule of interpretation. No other rule would ever have been thought of, if the Devil had let the minds of men alone. By this rule the true Sabbath would always have been maintained a perfect safeguard against idolatry in the earth; the law would have held its place as a perfect, immutable, and eternal rule of conduct, a safeguard against the antinomianism of all ages and the Spiritualism of to-day; the view that the dead remain unconscious in the grave till the resurrection, would always have been held, and then there could have been no purgatory, no masses for the dead, no Mariolatry, no saint worship -- in short, no Roman Catholicism, and no Universalism, nor Spiritualism; the true nature of the coming and kingdom of Christ would not have been lost sight of, and the peace and safety fable of a temporal millennium never could have existed.
To say nothing of other errors that would be corrected, suppose all Christendom stood together on these four simple truths, how much division could there have been in the Christian world? A second denomination could not have existed. And what would have been the condition of things? -- As different from the present condition as one can well imagine -- no paganism, no Roman Catholicism, no Protestantism, no multiplied sects, no Spiritualism, -- but Christianity, broad, united, free, and glorious. Some are taking their stand on these truths, and so will be shielded from the delusions of these last days, for which the way, by ages of superstition and error, has been so artfully prepared. Every one must stand upon them who is governed by the literal rule of interpretation; for they are read in so many words out of the sacred volume itself. But the churches generally reject them, often with bitterness, scorn, and contempt, and some even with persecution. And this is why Babylon has fallen.
That organization, called in Rev. 17: 5: "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots Abominations of the Earth," has been very generally applied by Protestants to the Roman Catholic Church; but if that church is the mother, who are the daughters? This question has been asked for many years. Alexander Campbell said: --
"The worshiping establishments now in operation throughout Christendom, incased and cemented by their voluminous confessions of faith, and their ecclesiastical constitutions, are not churches of Jesus Christ, but the legitimate daughters of that mother of harlots -- the Church of Rome."
Loreuzo Dow said: --
"We read not only of Babylon, but of the whore of Babylon, styled the mother of harlots, which is supposed to mean the Romish church. If she be a mother, who are her daughters? It must be the corrupt national established churches that came out of her."
The great sin charged against Babylon, is unlawful connection with the kings of the earth. The church should be entirely free from the state. But now the churches of America, which have for long years borne so noble a part, are clamoring for a union with the state, calling for a recognition of God''s name in the Constitution, and God''s law in the courts, and that the government be run on Christian lines. Old, antiquated laws which they find upon the statute books of various States, they are beginning to use to persecute those who differ in belief with them; and they seek for the enactment of more stringent Sunday laws for the same purpose. And when they shall succeed in getting full control of the state, they will have severed the last link that has held them to their high estate, show themselves true members of the Babylonian family, and sink in spirit and practice to the level of the elder Rome.
Rev. 14: 8 was fulfilled in 1844. Since then the churches have been going down in spirituality and godliness, catering more and more to the world, indulging in carnal amusements, festivals, wife auctions, and kissing bees, to the very border line of decency, but especially filling up with the influences mentioned in Rev. 18: 2, till the leaven of Spiritualism is fast penetrating the whole mass. Yet there are a multitude of God''s people connected with these churches, who deplore the situation, and for whom a crisis is approaching. The cry is again to be raised, "Babylon is fallen, come out of her my people." We verily believe the time has come when that call should be made and heeded; for a little further progress in the evil path upon which we have entered, will surely provoke the just judgments of heaven. Verses 4, 5.
8. 2 Tim. 3: 8: "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith."
The first five verses of this chapter portray a dark list of eighteen sins which will characterize professed Christians in the last days; for those who bear the characters described, have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. The three following verses plainly describe certain members of the spiritualistic fraternity; and they are said to be of the same sort. This prophecy therefore becomes parallel to that which has just been examined. The fall of Babylon prepares the popular churches for Spiritualism. Here the practice of these sins in the churches, makes them of the same sort with Spiritualists, so that they fraternize well together. Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses by the wonders they were able to perform; so these will resist the truth through the wonders of Spiritualism. And this is in the last, days where we now are. So Babylon''s fall just precedes the coming of Christ.
9. Rev. 16:14: "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."
The work of the spirits reaches its climax in the scene here brought to view. Their last mission is to go to the kings of the earth to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. In this conflict, so far as this earth is concerned, the great controversy between Christ and Satan closes in the triumph of Him who rides forth on a white horse at the head of the white-horsed armies of heaven. The beast and false prophet are hurled into a lake of fire, and the remnant, the kings of the earth and their armies, are slain by the sword of him upon whose vesture is inscribed the all-conquering title, "King of kings and Lord of lords." Rev. 19: 11-21.
But before these spirits can thus influence the kings of the earth, they must make their way to them and bring them under their control. They have already shown great facility in this work, giving promise of what they will be able to do in the near future. A work by Hudson Tuttle, "What Is Spiritualism?" p. 6, names the following among the late and living crowned heads, nobility, etc., who have been supporters of Spiritualism: --
"Emperor Alexander, of Russia; Louis Napoleon, of France; Queen Victoria, of England; Prince and Princess Metternich; Prince Wittgenstein, Lieutenant Aide-de-camp to the emperor of Russia; Hon. Alexander Axahof, Russian Imperial Councilor, St. Petersburg, Russia; Baron Guldenstuble, of Paris; Baron Von Schick, of Austria; Baron Von Dirkinck, of Hoimfield, Holstein; Le Comte de Bullet, of Paris; Duke of Leuchtenberg, of Germany. Of England there are Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Lindsay, Lord Adare, Lord Dunraven, Sir W. Trevilyan, Countess Carthness, Sir T. Willshire, Lady Cowper, Sir Charles Napier, Sir Charles Isham, Bart., Colonel E. B. Wilbraham,of the English army," etc.
The late Alexander III, of Russia, and the queen of Spain are also reckoned among the number. Thus, so far as the agency of the spirits is concerned, there is nothing in the way of the speedy fulfilment of Rev. 16: 14.
The reader now has before him, in brief, the main outline of this momentous subject.
1. Spiritualism, so far as its phenomena are concerned, is not humbug and trickery, but a real manifestation of power and intelligence.
2. But the marvels and wonders are not performed by the spirits of the dead.
3. Evil spirits step in and counterfeit what are supposed to be the spirits of the dead, in which men have been taught to believe, simulating points of identity to any minute particular that may be required.
4. Besides starting on this false assumption, all their teaching shows that they are agents of evil, not of good, and their work is to degrade, not elevate.
5. The world by long resistance of the truth, has prepared the way for this deception, which the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience is not slow to improve.
6. Even the churches of Christ, by rejection of the truth, are preparing themselves for the same snare.
7. The Scriptures have plainly pointed out this great outbreak of time working of Satan, and invariably connected it with the last days amid the second coining of Christ.
8. Spiritualism is thus a subject of prophecy, and an infallible sign and precursor of the soon-coming end.
9. The great day of the Lord is near and hasteth greatly; and all things now call upon all men to prepare for its eternal decisions.
Is this the lesson? Who will heed it and thus escape the delusions and perils of these last days, and be finally saved in the kingdom of heaven?
 For a full argument on this point, fortified by testimony, the application of which is beyond question, see The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association (55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, Maryland, 21740, United States of America; Telex: "Randh," Hagerstown, Maryland ; WWW: http://www.rhpa.org) and The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan by Ellen G. White published by the Pacfic Press Publishing Assocation.