Sorcery in the church today
Both Malachi and John foresaw the soon arrival of the Messiah. Malachi’s original prophecy stated, “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 3:1). John preached, “He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.” (Matt. 3:11).
Both saw the Messiah’s coming as a day of judgment and the application of much spiritual heat. Malachi wrote, “But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” (Mal.3:2-4). John cried, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:11,12).
Both saw the presence of Satan among God’s people. Malachi prophesied, “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 3:5). But who could be the sorcerers, adulterers, and oppressors? “But when he [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt. 3:7). The religious leaders were the sorcerers, adulterers, oppressors, and false prophets.
The religious leaders incriminated themselves with their own lewd parable. “Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
And last of all the woman died also.
Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.” (Matt. 22:24-28). “They all had her.” The Pharisees had come to Him to tempt Him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matt. 19:3).
Jesus’ response was an implied rebuke, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matt. 19:9). He had previously given the declaration, “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20). So we begin to see who Malachi was speaking of when he prophesied the Messenger’s swift witness against adulterers.
Another evidence that the religious leadership were the sorcerers and oppressors of Malachi’s prophecy comes from the subtle methods to circumvent the Law of God. “Corban” was a means authorized by the priests whereby the wealthy could keep the use of their possessions instead of giving it to their aging parents, so long as they pledged the donation of that wealth to the temple to be given after their death. This Christ exposed.
“God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is [Corban], by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” (Matt. 15:4-6). “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” (Matt. 23:14).
But, how could this be considered sorcery? The Lord had, since ancient times, described stubbornness to the calling of the Holy Spirit as spiritualism. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (1Sam. 15:23). Like King Saul, the rulers of Christ’s day showed their witchcraft and sorcery in their rebellion and refusal to accept the purity in the character of Jesus as undeniably abundant evidence that they were witnessing the wonderful works of the promised Messiah.
So the official priests and scribes and Levites, as well as the self-appointed Pharisees and Sadducees, were the sorcerers of whom Malachi warned and who Christ pointed out. Isn’t that interesting? Certainly they had read Malachi’s book without recognizing themselves in the prophecy. They no doubt, saw the Romans, the publicans, and the prostitutes as the wicked people Malachi pointed to. The religious leaders busied themselves with pulling out the dust specks from the eyes of the poor masses, so that the masses couldn’t suspect the logs in the leaders’ eyes.
So as it turned out, the roles were reversed. The first were last, and the last first. Did the religious leaders who everyone followed look like witches and warlocks? Not at all. They didn’t wear pointed hats with stars and moons in them. Yet they were doing the work of Satan, and being even more effective than the pagan Romans and the Egyptians because of their sanctimonious, holy-looking sacred robes. “They [made] broad their phylacteries, and [enlarged] the borders of their garments.” (Matt. 23:5).
All this was the life story of King Saul. He may have appeared to be innocent and righteous, but his heart had fallen away from God and he felt no compunction to return to the glorious sanctifying influence that comes from communion with God’s Spirit. He had an evil heart of unbelief. He did not desire to have with God what the Lord graciously had showed him through the deep friendship which his son, Jonathan, had with David. This should have convicted him of his great sin in departing from the living God, and it could have. But instead, he continued his charade of holiness in order to hold on to the good life which royalty gave him and his family, and to fight for the prestige that came with his high status.
So Satan came in and possessed him. God backed away and “the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul.” (1Sam. 19:9). Even this could have been enough to convince Saul to seek God again, and God would have happily received him with open arms; but the king persisted in his stubbornness to live apart from God. Saul faked the life of joy and peace and righteousness. He flattered himself in his own eyes, “until his iniquity [was] found to be hateful.” (Ps. 36:2). His heart was not renewed by gracious contact with the loving God, and selfishness oozed from him despite his goodly exterior. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Heb. 3:12). His condition was desperate—an evil heart—far from innocuous, though it appeared that way. As Satan took possession of him he fell into the group that is destitute of anything good: “beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.” (2Pet. 2:14).
Here is where the witchcraft comes into play. He beguiled his own unstable soul and that of others’ as well. Unable to demonstrate a life of walking with God, he led multitudes to follow his example of living an apparently moral and pious life without any connection with Jesus. Thus, during his early days under the mandate of the Lord, he had ridden the land of witches; but later, by departing from the Lord, he became the unsuspected high priest of sorcery in Israel.
Today, do we have Sauls for rulers of the Advent movement? Are all of our leaders really connected with God? Have they wrestled with God and found a friend in Jesus? Can they speak of Jesus in a convincing way, and preach Him from the New Testament as well as the Old? Do they rule like King David, justly in the fear and love of God?
And if they don’t, or cannot at the present, will they escape repeating Saul’s ill response to the Spirit’s call to get with Jesus and his tragic end? Will they seek Him out with all their heart, will they wrestle to know His grace, until they find Him? Because His promise to them is, “I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.” (Jer. 29:14). Or, will admitting to living apart from God be too much to risk for ministers of the gospel, as it was with Saul? If they repeat Saul’s choice to live apart from the Spirit of God, they join the ranks of sorcery, beguiling unstable souls, coming under Satan’s full control and ultimately receiving the mark of the beast.
The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.
As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.
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. Great Controversy, p. 588.
One indication that sorcery, or spiritualism, is making its way into our ranks is in the “praise music” which has become so popular of late, the acceptance of which our leaders have blessed. The old hymns retold what God has done, taught, and promised; they delineate God’s love for us, His justice and mercy for fallen man. But all this is surprisingly absent from praise music. The name of Jesus shows up repetitiously again and again throughout the new lyrics, but the gospel is subtly altered by words which express how much I love Him and how He is my all in all. Praise songs aren’t about Jesus; they are about how righteous the singer is. The lyrics are not about how good and loving the Redeemer is, but how good and loving the worshipper is. So, where is the singer focused? On self and a mushy, love-sick sentimentalism toward the holy God whose name is Reverend, just the thing Satan loves in order to mock the Creator in the worship service.
And when this deceptive form of self-praise is united with pastors and leaders preaching sermons which exclude a knowledge of the character of Jesus and in His work to save us from sin, then we have a fully developed and perfected recipe for false worship, even in the Advent movement, where it appears that Jesus is our subject of interest, but in reality His affect on our faith is absent. Thus, we see in our day the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy quoted above, “As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things.”
What they desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method of remembering him. Ibid. p. 572.
I saw that Satan was working through agents in a number of ways. He was at work through ministers who have rejected the truth and are given over to strong delusions to believe a lie that they might be damned. While they were preaching or praying, some would fall prostrate and helpless, not by the power of the Holy Ghost, but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents, and through them to the people. While preaching, praying, or conversing, some professed Adventists who had rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost. Some even that used it were so far in the darkness and deception of the devil that they thought it was the power of God, given them to exercise. They had made God altogether such a one as themselves and had valued His power as a thing of nought. Early Writings, p. 45.
For the lack of knowing Jesus and preaching Jesus, Adventist preaching in America is now following on the heals of mainline Protestantism, whom the Lord took away in 1844, and which now exalts the supposed presence of the Holy Spirit and substitutes the worshiping of It in the place of the preaching of Jesus. The popular denominations would not suffer the scoffing against the present truth of Millerism in the 1840s, and thus, became the source of it. Since then, they have enjoyed the safety and comfort of popularity in America for 165 years, and have had nothing spiritually to struggle with and wrestle for.
“They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.” (Ps. 73:5-7).
Therefore, they could not know condemnation, and therefore, they could not need grace. Adventism has had its own period of ease and comfort for the past 90 years since the voice of Ellen White ceased, and as a body, is also left largely inexperienced with condemnation, or the need of grace. Now they want to claim that they have a relationship with God. But this cannot be if they have never wrestled with God.
“Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel [Protestantism] hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto Me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah [Adventism] saw it.
And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding [Protestantism] committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister [Adventism] feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that [Protestantism] defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
And yet for all this her treacherous sister [Adventism] hath not turned unto Me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 3:6-10).
We would do well to hear the above judgment of heaven against today’s Christendom, Adventism included. As He did with the ten tribes of Israel in 722 B.C., in 1844 the Lord took away the many denominations of Protestantism, and, like Judah, Adventism carried the torch of truth. But, how are we today? Today, as with Judah in the past, how are the fallen churches around us different from Adventism, caught up in worldliness and in the Charismatic movement? Shouldn’t the Lord judge us for all this? What does His word say?
“Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: and shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the Lord’s.
For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against Me, saith the Lord.
They have belied the Lord, and said, It is not He; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:
And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make My words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.
Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the Lord: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.
Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men.
And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.
Nevertheless in those days, saith the Lord, I will not make a full end with you.
And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the Lord our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken Me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.” (Jer. 5:9-19).
Doesn’t the Lord love His remnant church? Yes, He loves us as much as He did the Old Testament Jews. They were the apple of His eye, and so are we. Zech. 2:8;2SM 396. Yet, He still brought them affliction through captivity to Babylon. Who again reigns over the earth just before Jesus returns? “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Rev. 17:5). “For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” (Rev. 18:23).
Spiritualism will conquer the world. Will Adventism escape it? Current indications say, No. Satan is ravaging us, “for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.” (Num. 16:46).
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” (Rev 13:3). “And when they [the Lord’s preachers of law and grace] shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” (Rev. 11:7-10). “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Rev 18:1-5). “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Rev 11:11-13).
The Advent movement is a prisoner of hope and will sail through to the very day Jesus returns. The promise to us is, the Lord will “destroy; but make not a full end.”
The majority will dodge the condemning voice of Ellen White and apostatize, but salvation will come to the world through the Advent movement. The Adventist sorcerers will be desolated and destroyed, and the true Adventists will be the objects of the last great holocaust. But out of the time of trouble “such as never was” the message given us by Jesus through Ellen White will be the only safety to steer a right course through all the confusion of the very last days.
The Spirit of Prophecy, whose emphasis is obedience to the Law of God, is the sole means today to keep us from “walking in craftiness,” or “handling the word of God deceitfully.” (2Cor. 4:2). The counsels of Ellen White will have prepared the 144,000 who go through the last great conflict, so that “in their mouth was found no guile.” (Rev. 14:5). They are like their Master who was spotless, “neither was any deceit in His mouth.” (Is. 53:9). Hypocrisy is gone from among the Lord’s remnant people. Sorcery and falsehoods have been shaken out; spiritualism cannot enter. Through the wrestling for a friend in God and His gifts of repentance and obedience to His Law, they escaped the strong delusion that swept the world into the sorcery of the Charismatic movement, filled with professed Christians who “had pleasure in unrighteousness,” and who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2Thess. 2:12,10).
Devoid of any shame and guilt from the Law of God and of any wrestling to receive the blessing of peace with heaven, through the lawless and graceless Evangelical false worship and error-ridden doctrines and eschatology, Satanic control will be quarantined in all who were shaken out of the Advent movement, all who refused to be humbled by the high standards of the Spirit of Prophecy and receive the repentance that needed not to be repented of. The rest will “be quickened...together with Christ” and be “raised...up together”, and be “made...to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5,6). They will “ascend into the hill of the Lord”, they will “stand in His holy place”, they have “clean hands and a pure heart”, and have not “lifted up [their] soul unto vanity”. They “shall receive the blessing of the Lord, and righteousness from the God of [their] salvation.” (Ps. 24:3-5).