THIS WORLD A PLACE OF CONFLICT
AGAINST whom do we wrestle?
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against princi- palities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [margin, "wicked spirits”] in high places [margin, "heavenly places"]." Ephesians 6:12.
To what place were the angels that sinned cast?
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Greek, tartaroo, a place of darkness], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." 2 Peter 2:4. What is Satan himself called? "The god of this world." 2 Corinthians 4:4. "The prince of this world." John 14:30. "The prince of the power of the air." Ephesians 2:2.
How numerous are these wicked spirits, or fallen angels?
"And He asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many." Mark 5:9.
TEMPTATION AND DECEPTION
What is the chief occupation of Satan and his angels?
"And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan." Mark 1:13. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8. (See Revelation 12:9, 12; 16:14.)
NOTE.—"Angels of God will preserve His people while they walk in the path of duty; but there is no assurance of such protection for those who de- liberately venture upon Satan's ground. An agent of the great deceiver will say and do anything to gain his object. It matters little whether he calls him- self a spiritualist, an 'electric physician,' or a 'magnetic healer.' By specious pretenses he wins the confidence of the unwary. He pretends to read the life- history and to understand all the difficulties and afflictions of those who resort to him. Disguising himself as an angel of light, while the blackness of the pit is in his heart, he manifests great interest in women who seek his counsel. He tells them that all their troubles are due to an unhappy marriage. This maybe too true, but such a counselor does not better their condition. He tells them that they need love and sympathy. Pretending great interest in their welfare, he casts a spell over his unsuspecting victims, charming them as the serpent charms the trembling bird. Soon they are completely in his power; sin, dis- grace, and ruin are the terrible sequel. "These workers of iniquity are not few. Their path is marked by desolated homes, blasted reputations, and broken hearts. But of all this the world knows little; still they go on making fresh victims, and Satan exults in the ruin he has wrought. "The visible and the invisible world are in close contact. Could the vail be lifted, we would see evil angels pressing their darkness around us, and work- ing with all their power to deceive and destroy. Wicked men are surrounded, influenced, and aided by evil spirits. The man of faith and prayer has yielded his soul to Divine guidance, and angels of God bring to him light and strength from heaven."—E. G. WHITE.
What are we admonished not to do?
"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil." Ephesians 4:26, 27.
NOTE.—Those who give vent to anger or retain old grudges, who parley with temptation or tamper with vice, who indulge in intemperance, pride, foolishness, or levity, or give way to any other weakness, give place to the devil; that is, they give the devil an opportunity to work through them—give him an advantage over them. We should therefore close every avenue to Satan and his angels. We should suppress anger, be sober and watchful, and nip in the bud every prompting to sin.
What spirits stand ever ready to deceive and ruin those who are off guard or bent on going astray?
"And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And He said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so." 1 Kings 22:20-22. (See 2 Thessa- lonians 2:10, 11.)
POSSESSED OF DEVILS
With what were many possessed in Christ's time?
"And they brought unto Him all sickCpeople that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils." Matthew 4:24.
NOTE.—Vampirelike, evil angels take possession of, and make their abode with, all over whose minds and bodies they can gain control. Only through Christ can this demoniacal captivity be broken. Until this is done, one in this condition is led captive by Satan "at his will." His self-control and power to resist temptation are gone. (See 2 Timothy 2:26.)
How do evil spirits sometimes treat those thus possessed?
"And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him." Luke 9:42.
THE LAST DAYS OF DEVILS
As we near the closing scenes of human probation, why may we expect an increase in demoniacal manifestations?
"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." Revelation 12:12.
NOTE.—Acquainted, as they are, with the laws of nature, Satan and his angels raise storms and scatter disease and death as far as lies within their power; and, as enemies of God, they likewise pervert the truth and dissemi- nate error as far as possible. Far better, also, than the inhabitants of the world, do they know that the end of all things is fast approaching, and that their time to work is short.
Concerning what have we been definitely informed?
"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.-Sir William F. Barrett realizes that the Bible condemns Spiritual- ism, for of mediumship he says: "These practices were condemned in unmeasured terms by the Hebrew prophets, and this irrespective of any question as to whether the phenomena were genuine or merely the product of trickery and superstition. . . . "The Apostle [Paul] saw clearly, as every Christian sees, that the founda- tion of religious life, which consisted of faith in a risen Lord, is seriously imperilled when the seen is substituted for the unseen, the phantasms of the Spiritualistic seance for the realities of the Kingdom of Heaven, which cometh not with observation. "The same peril exists to-day, and always will exist. This, every thoughtful and reverent mind must admit, and it is a distinct warning against making a religion of Spiritualism."—On the Threshold of the Unseen (1927 ed.), pp. 30-34. Copyright, 1918. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc.
What will be the final doom of Satan and his angels?
"Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41. "And the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." Malachi 4:1. (See Revelation 20:9.)