The Great Hope (Condensed)


Chapter 5—False Hope

The doctrine of natural immortality, first borrowed from pagan philosophy and in the darkness of the great apostasy incorporated into the Christian faith, has supplanted the truth that “the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. Multitudes believe that the spirits of the dead are the “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Hebrews 1:14. GrH_c 20.1

The belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living has prepared the way for modern spiritualism. If the dead are privileged with knowledge far exceeding what they before possessed, why not return to earth and instruct the living? If spirits of the dead hover about their friends on earth, why not communicate with them? How can those who believe in man's consciousness in death reject “divine light” communicated by glorified spirits? Here is a channel regarded as sacred through which Satan works. Fallen angels appear as messengers from the spirit world. GrH_c 20.2

The prince of evil has power to bring before men the appearance of departed friends. The counterfeit is perfect, reproduced with marvelous distinctness. Many are comforted with the assurance that their loved ones are enjoying heaven. Without suspicion of danger, they give ear “to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1 Timothy 4:1. GrH_c 20.3

Those who went into the grave unprepared claim to be happy and to occupy exalted positions in heaven. Pretended visitants from the world of spirits sometimes utter warnings which prove to be correct. Then, as confidence is gained, they present doctrines that undermine the Scriptures. The fact that they state some truths and at times foretell future events gives an appearance of reliability, and their false teachings are accepted. The law of God is set aside, the Spirit of grace despised. The spirits deny the deity of Christ and place the Creator on a level with themselves. GrH_c 20.4

While it is true that the results of trickery have often been palmed off as genuine manifestations, there have been, also, marked exhibitions of supernatural power, the direct work of evil angels. Many believe that spiritualism is merely human imposture. When brought face to face with manifestations which they cannot but regard as supernatural, they will be deceived and accept them as the great power of God. GrH_c 20.5

By satanic aid Pharaoh's magicians counterfeited the work of God. See Exodus 7:10-12. Paul testifies that the coming of the Lord is to be preceded by “the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. And John declares: “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.” Revelation 13:13, 14. No mere impostures are here foretold. Men are deceived by the miracles which Satan's agents do, not which they pretend to do. GrH_c 20.6