In a previous article addressing the Sunday law and its chain reactions, we focussed on the sequence of final events. In this article we will be focusing on how the final scenes will come about and how Sabbath keepers will be brought onto the world stage. But before we look at this final study, there are some questions that need answers.
HOW COULD HINDUS, BUDDHISTS, HUMANISTS OR ATHEISTS SUPPORT ENFORCED SUNDAY OBSERVANCE?
If the USA would enact a national Sunday law today, how many countries around the world would follow her lead? For example, how could Hindus or Buddhists, humanists or atheists support Sunday observance? And how supportive would the secular society in America and Europe be if they were deprived of Sunday shopping or sporting events? John prophesied that in the end time, “all the world wondered after the beast ” (KJV, Revelation 13:3). We read that “foreign nations will follow the example of the United States [the second beast of Revelation 13]. Though she leads out, yet the same crisis will come upon our people in all parts of the world” (White, Testimonies Vol 6, 395).
But how will these things happen?
In our world today, it hardly seems possible that one day secular people, who don’t believe the Bible and who believe that we arrived here as a result of a cosmic big bang, could ever support Sunday observance. Perhaps we can find our answer from inspiration. The Bible says Satan “deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the 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” (KJV, Revelation 13:14). This tells us that the whole world will be deceived by the miracles that will be wrought.
“Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world . . . Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time” (White, Great Controversy, 561).
DECEIVED BY COUNTERFEIT MIRACLES TO SUPPORT A COUNTERFEIT SABBATH
To summarize, it will be the great miracles performed through the full development of spiritualism that will deceive the whole world, and if possible, even the very elect. And Satan’s final personation of Christ will be his ‘trump’ card by which he will deceive the world into making void the law of God. Note the following: “Fallen angels upon earth form confederations with evil men. In this age antichrist will appear as the true Christ, and then the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of our world. Rebellion against God's holy law will be fully ripe. But the true leader of all this rebellion is Satan clothed as an angel of light. Men will be deceived and will exalt him to the place of God, and deify him” (Testimonies to Ministers, 62).
Here is depicted the vast confederacy of Satan, his evil angels and evil men. And Satan himself will personally supervise his crowning act of deception to enforce the counterfeit Sabbath. In fact, the whole world will see Satan, transformed into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) walking among them, performing miracles and duplicating the works and teachings of Christ.
SATAN’S CROWNING ACT OF DECEPTION
“As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself 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” (Great Controversy, 624). We are told that this will be a strong, almost overmastering delusion. (Note: this passage appears in the chapter of Great Controversy entitled “The Time of Trouble.” However, in reading the context beginning on p. 623, it becomes obvious that these pages are describing events before probation closes.)
The following passage further elaborates Satan’s act of deception:
Disguised as an angel of light, he will walk the earth as a wonder-worker. In beautiful language he will present lofty sentiments. Good words will be spoken by him, and good deeds performed. Christ will be personified, but on one point there will be a marked distinction. Satan will turn the people from the law of God. Notwithstanding this, so well will he counterfeit righteousness, that if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. Crowned heads, presidents, rulers in high places, will bow to his false theories. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 471, 472).
We are warned that Satan will also have his angels personate the apostles of Christ to counter the Sabbath truth. Note the following: “The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth” (Great Controversy, 557).
This new and apparently more exalted religion presented by Satan and his agents will become common ground to unite both deceived Christians and the secular minded:
Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world, and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium (Great Controversy, 588,589).
This will be hailed as the path to world peace. But what about those who worship Buddha, Confucius, or other deities? How can they be deceived? And what about atheists who support Communism or Marxist philosophies? What will persuade these people to join the grand movement to usher in the long expected millennium when they have not believed in or anticipated such an event?
SATAN’S PLAN FOR DECEIVING NON-CHRISTIANS
It seems from the following statement that Satan’s angels will also personate the deities of these non-Christian religions. “As we near the close of time, there will be greater and still greater external parade of heathen power; heathen deities will manifest their signal power, and will exhibit themselves before the cities of the world” (Testimonies to Ministers, 117-118).
If Buddha, Karl Marx or John Lenin suddenly appeared to the masses in China, to impoverished and repressed populations, or to idealistic individuals, and advocated a union with the new ideology, souls would be readily deceived. Without a knowledge or faith in the Scriptures, they would have no safeguard against the strong delusions of Satan and his angels. Revelation 16:13-14 depicts three unclean spirits going forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world to unite them into one confederacy of evil. The power of spiritualism will overwhelm the world.
SATAN DESIGNS A PLAN SPECIFICALLY FOR SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS
The next pressing question should be how will Satan’s delusions and miracles affect professed Seventh-day Adventists? Ellen White was shown that Satan has softened the minds of Seventh-day Adventists so they will succumb to his masterpiece of deceptions. She saw that Satan had “so concealed himself from view” that many hardly believed he exists. “And when he makes another advance move, they will not consider him as their enemy . . . but they will consider him a friend, one who is doing a good work” (Testimonies Vol 5, 294).
She also wrote, “ I have been shown that evil angels in the form of believers will work in our ranks to bring in a strong spirit of unbelief . . . These powers of evil will assemble in our meetings, not to receive a blessing, but to counterwork the influences of the Spirit of God . . . In this time evil angels in the form of men will talk with those who know the truth. They will misinterpret and misconstrue the statements of the messengers of God” (Selected Messages Vol 3, 410, 411).
This will be a time of great peril to God’s church. We are warned that when the son of deceit and false witness is entertained by a church that has had great light “that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is. Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan” (Testimonies to Ministers, 409).
How will the majority of church members react to these deceptions that have come into the church? “In the crisis, they would see force in specious reasoning that has had an influence on their minds . . . When the law of God is made void the church will be sifted by fiery trials, and a larger proportion than we now anticipate, will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” (Selected Messages Vol 2, 368).
Probably most Seventh-day Adventists feel secure against Satan’s personation of Christ, his masterpiece of deception, because they know that Satan will not be able to duplicate Christ’s coming in power and glory. However, suppose that Satan would declare that he, as Christ, hasn’t come in power and glory to resurrect the dead and take everyone to heaven with him, but rather to help enlighten the world with a revelation of his love and goodness in an effort to prepare the world for his second coming by teaching the masses of non-Christian faiths we’ve failed to evangelize? How would professed believers respond when their senses strongly indicate Jesus is indeed here?
Like us today, Adam and Eve were warned about Satan’s plan to deceive them. Perhaps Eve would have fled temptation had she seen Satan appear as a fallen angel lingering around the tree. However, she was caught off guard and entered into conversation with him, and as a result she was beguiled and captivated by Satan’s sophistry.
Satan’s masterful delusion will take place before the image to the beast is enforced. Who can stand in these last days? The answer is, “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4).