WHAT is Spiritualism defined to be?
"A belief that departed spirits hold intercourse with mortals by means of physical phenomena, as by rapping, or during abnormal mental states, as in trances, or the like, commonly manifested through a medium; spiritism."—WEBsTER. Spiritism: "The theory that mediumistic phenomena are caused by spirits of the dead."—WEBSTER.
NOTE.—The word Spiritualism (or Spiritism) is not found in the Bible, but there is general accord that Spiritualism is based upon the belief in the natural immortality of man, and that the spirit which leaves the fleshly body at death can and does return to communicate with the living through "the medium" and "the control."
SPIRITISM IN BIBLE TIMES
Did this doctrine exist in ancient times?
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:31. (See also 1 Chronicles 10:13, 14.)
NOTE.—"Rudyard Kipling, with his robust common sense, has warned intruders who seek to establish a traffic with discarnate beings that they are entering on a dangerous path.
"'Oh the road to En-dor is the oldest road
And the craziest road of all.
Straight it runs to the Witch's abode,
As it did in the days of Saul.
And nothing has changed of the sorrow in store
For such as go down on the road to En-dor!'
"That old road has never been more crowded than it is to-day."—JANE T. STODDARD, The Case Against Spiritualism (Hodder and Stoughton, 1919 ed.), Preface. (The extract from the poem "En-dor" from The Years Between, by Rudyard Kipling is used by permission of Mrs. George Bambridge, owner of the copyright.)
How does God regard sorcerers?
"And I will come near to you to judgment; and / will be a swift witness against the sorcerers." Malachi 3:5.
NOTE.—"Modern Spiritualism has its roots in necromancy, a practice hated in all ages by sober and reverent minds. It 'was only the worst type of sorcerer, according to Mr. Waite, who attempted to communicate with the spirits of departed men and women."—Ibid., p. 31.
"Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in The New Revelation,' admits that the op- ponents of spiritualism are guided in part by that strange instinct which warns men and women to keep off forbidden ground. The man who would violate a grave is naturally regarded with loathing."—Ibid., p. 34.
What does He say of the teachings of enchanters and sorcerers?
"Therefore hearken not ye to . . . your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, . . . for they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land." Jeremiah 27:9, 10.
Before their entrance into Canaan, what instruction did Moses give Israel concerning these things?
"There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God." Deuteronomy 18:10-13.
NOTE. —Abomination means "detestable, loathsome, hateful, shocking, hor- rid, revolting, execrable, odious."—Century Dictionary. Whoever consults or has to do with mediums or any who profess to receive instruction or communications from the spirits of the dead, disregards this plain instruction, and places himself upon the enemy's ground. Ever since Satan told that first lie in Eden, when he denied that death would be the result of sin, in the very face of death itself, he, working upon man's natural dread of death and upon his distress at the thought of being separated from loved ones, has been endeavoring to persuade men to believe that the dead are not dead, and that men do not die. Idolatry, heathenism, Spiritualism, occultism, and the whole brood of false isms of this kind, it will be noticed, deal very largely with death. This, of itself, indicates their origin, and should be a warning to all to let them alone—to have nothing whatever to do with them. They are from beneath, and not from above. However promising or pleasing they may be at first, they are downward and destructive in their tendency, and ultimately lead away from God, into unbelief of His word and into sin.
"Warning—It may be well to give a word of warning to those who find that they possess any unusual power in the psychic direction, and to counsel regulated moderation in its use. Every power can be abused, and even the simple faculty of automatic writing can with the best intentions be misapplied. Self-control is more important than any other form of control, and whoever possesses the power of receiving communications in any form should see to it that he remains master of the situation. To give up your own judgment and depend solely on adventitious aid is a grave blunder, and may in the long run have disastrous consequences. Moderation and common sense are required .
"It may be asked, do I recommend all bereaved persons to devote the time and attentions which I have done to getting communications and record-ing them? Most certainly I do not."—Ibid., p. 342.
Under the theocracy of Israel, what was the law concerning witches and those who had familiar spirits?
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Exodus 22:18. "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death." Leviticus 20:27.
NOTE.—This shows how dangerous and deadly everything of this character is in God's sight.
With what is witchcraft classed by Paul, and what does he say to those who are guilty of such things?
"Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies. . . . I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:20-23.
TESTING THE SPIRITS
What should one do if asked to inquire of a familiar spirit?
"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?" Isaiah 8:19.
NOTE.—Giving the sense of this passage, Dr. Adam Clarke says: "Should not a nation seek unto its God? " But this is exactly what Spiritualism teaches men to do—to seek unto the dead concerning the living.
What instruction does the apostle John give touching this subject?
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God." 1 John 4:1.
By what are we to try them?
"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 8:20.
Should we allow ourselves to be influenced by signs or wonders performed by those who would try to lead us away from God and His law?
"If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice." Deuteronomy 13:1-4.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE DEAD
How much do the dead know of what is going on among men?
"Thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away. His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them." Job 14:20, 21.
Do the dead know anything?
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing." Ecclesiastes 9:5. "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalms 146:4.
What scripture forever precludes the idea that the dead come back to earth to communicate with the living?
"Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun." Ecclesiastes 9:6.
Then when miracles are performed by spirits purporting to be those of our dead friends, to what shall we attribute them?
"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles." Revelation 16:14.
DECEPTION IN THE LAST DAYS
What will be one characteristic of last-day apostasies?
"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.
NOTE.—The following items illustrate a condition widely prevalent: " 'A lawyer with a national reputation, well known to me,' said J. L. Hall, of New York, 'never begins the preparation of a difficult case without getting "advice from the other side," as he describes the search. . . . Another distinguished man of New York City once asserted to me that he had his familiar spirit with which he talked as freely as with a human companion.' " —Washington Herald.
" Mediumship' is a word with ugly associations, as every honest-minded Spiritualist will admit. It used to be said that the Psychical Society found its chief occupation in exposing fraud and trickery. The great Russian authority, Aksakof, complained bitterly of the frequent transmission of obviously false messages. . . . The chief scandal of Spiritualism is the encouragement it gives to the immoral trade of fraudulent mediumship.' "—JANE T. STODDARD, The Case Against Spiritualism, pp. 43, 44.
How does Satan deceive the people?
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:14.
What role do his agents assume?
"Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness." Verse 15.
Will Satan and his agents attempt to counterfeit the coming of Christ, and work signs and wonders to confirm their preten- tious claims?
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:23, 24.
Note.—"As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan him- self 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. 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 gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered. . . .
"But the people of God will not be misled. The teachings of this false christ are not in accordance with the Scriptures. . . .
"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.' This coming, there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world." —E. G. WHITE, The Great Controversy, pp. 624, 625.
What will be one of the last great signs performed by this means, to fasten men in deception?
"And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." Revelation 13:13, 14.
What scripture shows that Satan is to work with special power and deceptive wonders just before Christ's second coming?
"Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteous- ness in them that perish." 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. (See also Revela- tion 12:12.)
While many will be deceived by these wonders, and accept of the false christs that appear, what will those say who have maintained their love for the truth, and patiently waited for Christ's return?
"And it shall be said in that day, Lo, THIS is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: THIS is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." Isaiah 25:9.
What warning has been given us through the apostle Peter?
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roar- ing lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8.
"WICKED spirits gather round thee,
Legions of those foes to God—
Principalities most mighty—
Walk unseen the earth abroad;
They are gathering to the battle,
Strengthened for the last deep strife;
Christian, arm! be watchful, ready,
Struggle manfully for life."