The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


IX. “Covenant With Death” and “Agreement With Hell”

It is essential that the Biblical side of this tremendous issue be clearly understood. Therein lies our only safety-the authoritative written counsels of Inspiration-the Holy Scriptures. The prophet Isaiah presents the classic example and gives its warning lesson. Ancient Jerusalem had been plagued with a “spiritistic cult of the dead.” But the prophet denounced it as making a “covenant with death” and as being an “agreement with hell” (she’ol, “the unseen world, the grave”). CFF2 1171.3


But in so doing, according to the prophet, this cult had “made lies our refuge,” and had “hid” themselves under “falsehood.” But, declared the prophet, God will erelong “sweep away the refuge of lies,” and then your “covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell [She’ol, “the grave”] shall not stand.” Destruction would assuredly come upon them. Here is the Biblical statement in full: CFF2 1171.4

“Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge o f lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it” (Isaiah 28:15-18). CFF2 1172.1


This covenant with death and agreement with’ the unseen world has been the earmark of Spiritism’s cults of the “spirits of the dead” throughout the ages. And it cannot be overemphasized that our only safety lies in following the authoritative written counsels of Inspiration. To the Word we must ever go. And specific guidance is given in Old Testament episodes. We ignore these only at our peril. CFF2 1172.2

Here the prophet Isaiah portrays the fatal folly of ancient Jerusalem’s attitude toward the “cult of the dead,” twice called by Inspiration the “covenant with death,” and the “agreement with hell” (she’ol, “the grave”). As a matter of fact, this has ever been the earmark of Spiritism’s cults of the “spirits of the dead,” spread in varied forms over the centuries. Open necromancy is a “covenant with death” and witchcraft an “agreement” with she’ol (“the grave”). CFF2 1172.3

Isaiah had forewarned that they would “fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” (v. 13). But they only scoffed, and insisted that through their “covenant with death” they would not die for their sins (as in Genesis 3:4). They openly jeered at the inspired counsels of truth and righteousness. Nevertheless, their covenant would assuredly be “disannulled.” Such is the lesson of Israel. Divine retribution is certain for disobedience in tampering with the occult. CFF2 1172.4


Such bold and unholy alliances can only be formed in defiance of God on the part of those who openly (or secretly) enter into such a covenant. As stated, the covenant of “self-attainment of deified immortality” is effected through the mysteries of Spiritualism in its various forms. That is the essence of every spiritistic religion. They are all based on the twofold postulate of spirit existence, spirit communication and intervention. CFF2 1172.5

Sometimes this has been held openly, in brazen defiance of God, as by the Satanists, or Luciferists, as they have sometimes been called, who knowingly and willingly gave themselves over to the worship of Satan and his fallen angels, entering into actual pacts with Satan. These have been graphically described by Shaw Desmond, Frederick Kaigh, and others in their histories, also involving the fearsome “black” and “white” magic and black mass. Such is demonism and the debasing degeneracy of Animism. That is the extreme. But for the most part it is in more subtle forms. CFF2 1173.1


For thousands of years heathen lands were the primary habitat of Spiritism. In Asia, Africa, China, and Oceania we see its baleful fruits-degradation, with debasing superstitions and evil practices, under the mediumship of thousands of priests, mediums, conjurers, magicians, and witch doctors. And these are still operative. Ancient Greece and Rome, though advanced in civilization, were likewise hotbeds of spiritistic manifestations. Now it operates in refined, scientific forms. But it stems from the same source. It is identical in essence. No, Spiritualism is not a “new revelation.” It is simply the ancient falsehood in continuity. CFF2 1173.2

Frank champions of the occult, state that Modern Spiritualism duplicates all the essential principles and phenomena of the magic, witchcraft, and sorcery of the past-the same powers and intelligences operating as of old, only in polished, genteel form. Instead of the open avowed demon worship of the past, the prince of darkness now operates under the guise of an angel of light. But the heathen oracles of old have their full counterpart in the Spiritualist mediums and clairvoyants of today. CFF2 1173.3


It was the postulate of man’s consciousness in death and the consequent belief that the spirits of the dead return to hover over and minister to the living that prepared the way for Spiritualism, both ancient and modern. It may be difficult to reject what purports to come from “glorified spirits.” But they are instead, as we have seen, only fallen angels, doing Satan’s bidding, appearing as messengers of light from the spirit world. This astute device constitutes a perfect counterfeit. It is Satan’s masterpiece. Thinking they are listening to their departed loved ones, those who heed the seductions of Modern Spiritualism are, instead, actually giving ear to “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”—devils, or demons, who are “speaking lies in hypocrisy” (1 Timothy 4:1, 2). It is a cruel, yes, a tragic deception. CFF2 1174.1

In these sophisticated times the term “witchcraft” is generally held in contempt, and the claim that men can hold intercourse with evil spirits is usually regarded as a relic of the Dark Ages. Modern Spiritualism, in new and cunning guise, and with adherents now numbering millions, has invaded the churches and made its way into high scientific circles, yes, into the courts of kings and the ranks of warriors and statesmen. Nevertheless, it is simply a revival, in fascinating disguise, of the witchcraft and sorcery condemned and prohibited of old. With such an adroit vehicle at his command Satan is deceiving multitudes and is making increasing numbers captive to his masterpiece of deception. CFF2 1174.2


That the phenomena of Modern Spiritualism are identical with those of ancient witchcraft and sorcery has been forthrightly attested by Spiritualist J. J. Morse in his Practical Occultism. We should note his question carefully, that its significance be not missed: CFF2 1174.3

“Shall we ... come down to the plain, simple truth, that the phenomenal aspects of Modern Spiritualism reproduce all the essential principles of the Magic, Witchcraft, and Sorcery of the past? The same powers are involved, ... the same intelligences are operating.” 28 CFF2 1175.1

This candid admission and its import cannot be overemphasized. These are the same evil forces and powers that God forbade in His repeated prohibitions of old. We tamper with them only at gravest peril. CFF2 1175.2