The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 67: Ancient and Modern Sorcery
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God is not pleased with this course, and has expressed it in
the most explicit terms. This impatient haste to tear away the
veil from the future reveals a lack of faith in God and leaves the
soul open to the suggestions of the master deceiver. Satan leads
men to consult those that have familiar spirits; and by revealing
hidden things of the past, he inspires confidence in his power to
foretell things to come. By experience gained through the long
ages he can reason from cause to effect and often forecast, with a
degree of accuracy, some of the future events of man's life. Thus
he in enabled to deceive poor, misguided souls and bring them
under his power and lead them captive at his will.
God has given us the warning by His prophet: "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." Isaiah 8:19, 20.
Shall those who have a holy God, infinite in wisdom and [p. 688] power, go unto wizards, whose knowledge comes from intimacy
with the enemy of our Lord? God Himself is the light of His
people; He bids them fix their eyes by faith upon the glories that
are veiled from human sight. The Sun of Righteousness sends its
bright beams into their hearts; they have light from the throne of
heaven, and they have no desire to turn away from the source of
light to the messengers of Satan.
The demon's message to Saul, although it was a denunciation
of sin and a prophecy of retribution, was not meant to reform
him, but to goad him to despair and ruin. Oftener, however, it
serves the tempter's purpose best to lure men to destruction by
flattery. The teaching of the demon gods in ancient times
fostered the vilest license. The divine precepts condemning sin and
enforcing righteousness were set aside; truth was light
regarded, and impurity was not only permitted but enjoined.
Spiritualism declares that there is no death, no sin, no
judgment, no retribution; that "men are unfallen demigods;" that
desire is the highest law; and that man is accountable only to
himself. The barriers that God has erected to guard truth, purity,
and reverence are broken down, and many are thus emboldened
in sin. Does not such teaching suggest an origin similar to that
of demon worship?
The Lord presented before Israel the results of holding
communion with evil spirits, in the abominations of the Canaanites:
they were without natural affection, idolaters, adulterers,
murderers, and abominable by every corrupt thought and revolting
practice. Men do not know their own hearts; for "the heart is
deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Jeremiah
17:9. But God understands the tendencies of the depraved nature
of man. Then, as now, Satan was watching to bring about
conditions favorable to rebellion, that the people of Israel might
make themselves as abhorrent to God as were the Canaanites.
The adversary of souls is ever on the alert to open channels for
the unrestrained flow of evil in us; for he desires that we may be
ruined, and be condemned before God.
Satan was determined to keep his hold on the land of Canaan,
and when it was made the habitation of the children of Israel,
and the law of God was made the law of the land, he hated Israel
with a cruel and malignant hatred and plotted their destruction. [p. 689] Through the agency of evil spirits strange gods were introduced;
and because of transgression, the chosen people were finally
scattered from the Land of Promise. This history Satan is striving
to repeat in our day. God is leading His people out from the
abominations of the world, that they may keep His law; and
because of this, the rage of "the accuser of our brethren" knows
no bounds. "The devil is come down unto you, having great
wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
Revelation 12:10, 12. The antitypical land of promise is just before
us, and Satan is determined to destroy the people of God and
cut them off from their inheritance. The admonition, "Watch
ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation" (Mark 14:38), was
never more needed than now.
The word of the Lord to ancient Israel is addressed also to
His people in this age: "Regard not them that have familiar
spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them;" "for
all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord."
Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:12.
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