Monday, February 20, 2017

Satan's Church

Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)

You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.

"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth," (Joh 4:24)


     If any word of mine shall add to the number of the readers of this book I shall be glad to have written it; and I sincerely wish that all believers, and especially all ministers and Christian workers, might in some way be led to read it.
     The subject is vital to any right understanding of the age in which we live, and of the personal conflict which we wage; for the existence, personality, and power of Satan are awful facts and of immense present significance.
     We walk in the midst of his snares, hear on every hand his false doctrines proclaimed by men of blameless lives “transformed as the ministers of righteousness,” and are allured by the pleasure, place and power of his perfectly organized world-system.
     I know of no other book on Satan in which the dispensational aspects of the subject are so clearly stated, nor any other so severely Biblical.
C. I. Scofield.

     The world has been willing to comply with the wishes and projects of Satan to the extent of ceasing to believe that he really exists; this unbelief being most advantageous to his present undertakings. Yet the opinions of men have never changed the facts of Revelation, and, according to Scripture, Satan exists; still possessed with great power and influence over the affairs of men — a power and influence to be increasingly dreaded as this present age advances.
     The teachings of Scripture on this important subject are but little understood by Christians and seem to be entirely outside the thought of the world. It is, therefore, to be expected that any attempt to present this Truth will seem, to many, mere folly and fiction.
     The name Satan has by no means been lost. It has, however, been associated with a most unscriptural fancy. Without reference to Revelation, the world has imagined a grotesque being, fitted with strange trappings, who has been made the central character in theatrical performances; and by this relation to the unreality of the theatre, the real character of Satan has come to be only one of the myths of a bygone age.

     Scripture reveals a detailed description of the person and career of Satan; beginning with his creation; his original condition; his fall, and on to his kingdom with all its developments, and his final defeat and banishment. It presents a personage so mighty and so prominent in the world to-day that the Christian heart would fail, were it not for faith in the One who has triumphed over all principalities and powers.
This attempt to outline the Scriptures teaching on this character will be undertaken under certain general conditions:
First — The authority of the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments will be accepted without question.
Second — Evidence will be drawn from the Word of God alone, since no final light can be found on this subject other than it has pleased God to reveal in the Bible.
Third — There will be no discussion as to the actual existence of Satan; this being both assumed and taught from Genesis to Revelation.
These pages are prepared especially for believers; knowing that this body of truth will be wholly unnoticed or rejected by the Satan-blinded world. (2Co 4:4)
     There has also been a deep sense of the seriousness of the undertaking: both because Satan, by his present direct power, would, if possible, hinder any larger understanding of his projects and purposes; and because so great a warning has fallen from the lips of Christ against the sin of ascribing to Satan the things which are really of God. (Mat 12:22-32) The work has, therefore, been undertaken with some degree of reliance upon the keeping and guiding power of the Spirit of God, and is presented with the prayer that believers may have a clearer understanding of this important body of truth and be able to say with Paul, “We are not ignorant of his schemes.” It is also desired that some clearer vision of this mighty foe may be had which will cause the child of God to realize the overwhelming power of his adversary and be constrained to “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might;” that greater victory may be had in the realization of the whole will of God.

The “Career” of Satan
     This chapter is a brief outline of the past, present and future of Satan, which is taken up at this point so that the following chapters may be more easily studied and because of the fact that those passages which deal most directly with his earliest condition are closely interwoven with predictions of his future and final defeat.
     Revelation in regard to Satan begins with that dateless period between the perfect creation of the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1) and the desolating judgment which ended that period, when the earth became waste and empty. (Gen 1:2; Isa 24:1; Jer 4:23-26) One passage, (Eze 28:11-19) deals at length with Satan and his relation to that age. In this Scripture Satan is evidently described under the title of “The King of Tyre.” Like the Messianic Psalms, — wherein the Psalmist is apparently referring to himself, though statements are made and conditions described that could only be connected with the Messiah, the Son of God, — so, here, that which is addressed to “The King of Tyre” is, by its character, seen to be a direct reference to the person of Satan; for no similar person to whom this description could apply is revealed in Scripture. In the previous as well as the following chapters the final judgment of Jehovah is pronounced upon the enemies of His chosen people. Satan is distinctly numbered among these enemies in; (1Ch 21:1) and his record and judgment naturally appear in this list.
     Every sentence of this extended passage is a distinct Revelation and is worthy of long and careful study. Only a passing reference can be made to it here. The passage is as follows:

     “Again the word of the LORD came to me saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD, You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified And you will cease to be forever.” (Eze 28:11-19)

     This passage describes much of the early and latter career of Satan. Twice is his creation referred to in verse fifteen it is stated that he was created perfect, and in verse thirteen that perfection is set forth in detail by the suggestive symbols of precious gems. He was also “full of wisdom,” “perfect in beauty,” filling up the sum of perfection. In verse fourteen he is called the “anointed cherub that covers.” By this the purpose of the Creator is revealed. The general interpretation of this verse is that Satan was created as a guard or protector to the throne of the Most High. This is reasonable. Like the golden cherubim, covering the visible mercy seat in the Holy of Holies of the earthly tabernacle, he was created a guard and covering cherub to the heavenly center of Glory. It is expressly stated that he was located by the Most High upon the holy mountain of God, the mountain of God being a symbol of the center of God’s power, government, and eternal throne. (Psa 48:1; Psa 68:15; Isa 2:2) Over this exalted throne Satan was set as a covering cherub. He is also said to have been in “Eden, the garden of God,” which is evidently another Eden than that in which Satan appeared as a serpent. It is probably a reference to the primitive creation, and the whole passage suggests a position of great authority for which he was created and anointed; a position from which he fell, drawing with him a host of beings over whom he had governing influence and power.
     Again, it is stated that Satan was perfect in all his ways from the day he was created. It is important to notice both that he was created, and that he was created perfect. Since he was created, he is not self-existent, and never can be free from his dependence upon the Creator. He may vainly propose to become independent, and even be permitted for a time to act under that delusion; but that would only delay the inevitable judgment that awaits him. He was created perfect, or was a perfect fulfillment of the Creator’s intention. Satan was a free moral agent; capable of choosing evil, but not obliged to do so. That he chose evil must ever be his own condemnation; for the Creator had surrounded him with sufficient motives to choose the good.
     The crime of Satan is partly revealed in verse sixteen and this is followed by an exact description of his final judgment as it is predicted in the book of Revelation.
     The important teaching of this passage is of Satan’s first position and power — a power and wisdom sufficient to guard the throne of God from every possible enemy, and a glory and beauty that would become the highest officer in the Court of Heaven. By this Revelation his present position and power may be estimated.
     The Revelation next in importance is that of his crime: this is clearly set forth in, (Isa 14:9-20). Before reading this passage it should be noticed that the prophet’s Vision of Satan, here recorded, is from the time of his final judgment, and the prophet is looking backward over Satan’s whole career. Much that is still future is, therefore, referred to as though it were past. The passage is as follows:

     “Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. They will all respond and say to you, Even you have been made weak as we, You have become like us. Your pomp and the music of your harps Have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you And worms are your covering. How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. [The Abyss] Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, saying, Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home? All the kings of the nations lie in glory, Each in his own tomb. But you have been cast out of your tomb Like a rejected branch, Clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword, Who go down to the stones of the pit Like a trampled corpse. You will not be united with them in burial, Because you have ruined your country, You have slain your people. May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever.” (Isa 14:9-20)

     Here Satan appears under a different title. When he is seen in the primal glory, as described in, (Eze 28:11-19) he bears the earthly title of “The King of Tyre” and when fallen from that sphere, he bears the heavenly title of “Lucifer, Son of the Morning.” It is as though, being out of harmony with the Creator by his sin, he is out of harmony with every sphere in which he may appear. This glorious heavenly title, “Lucifer, Son of the Morning,” speaks of his first place in the celestial sphere, “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” (Job 38:7) It would indicate a position near to the unsurpassed glory of “The Bright and Morning Star,” “The Sun of Righteousness” who shall yet arise with healing in His wings.
     Satan is here again said to be fallen from heaven. Of this fall Jesus speaks in, (Luk 10:18) “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”
     The reference in both of these passages is not to Satan’s moral degeneration but rather to a great event when he was, because of his sin, driven from his place in glory and made to inhabit the earth and air (Eph 2:2; Eph 6:12; 1Pe 5:8). Yet he was granted the privilege of access to the presence of God. (Job 1:6; Rev 12:10)
     Referring to these texts: In the first two chapters of the book of Job, Satan is seen appearing in the midst of other heavenly beings, before the presence of Jehovah; and there seems to be nothing unusual in the presence of Satan in this celestial company. To the question of Jehovah, “From where do you come?” he replies, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” From this Revelation the important information is given that Satan, while inhabiting the earth and air, is free to appear in the presence of God. His occupation of the earth and air is also taught in, (Eph 6:11-12). Here believers are addressed as follows: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Another injunction to believers is contained in, (1Pe 5:8-9) “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith.”

     These two latter passages, taken together, restate with greater emphasis the Revelation in regard to the present abode of Satan. That the earth and the air are his present abode must be accepted on the Testimony of Scripture: in spite of the almost universal impression that he is now in hell.
     In addition to this statement in regard to Satan’s fall, the passage in Isaiah, which is under consideration, reveals two aspects of his present activity. He is first seen seeking to establish a throne for himself, and then as the promoter of confusion and terror in the Divine purpose in the world. This is followed with another statement of the certainty of his final judgment and banishment.
     The crime of Satan is concisely stated in the fourteenth verse as being a purpose in his heart to become like the Most High. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty; he who was created and placed as the “Covering Cherub,” with the high honor of guarding the throne of God, has corrupted his wisdom by reason of his brightness; he has struck at the throne he was set to protect. It was a purpose in his heart which would require the time of the ages to wholly destroy. There could be but one Most High, and the purpose of Satan to become like him could, naturally, be nothing less than an attempt to dethrone the Almighty.
     The secret purpose in his heart reveals his method to be, not a violent attack upon the throne: but, like Absalom’s, to steal the hearts of the unfaithful in the kingdom, and, through subtlety, to gain a government. He would thus become an object of worship, and attract attention from other beings to himself. To accomplish this, a hindering attitude must be assumed toward the purpose and projects of the Most High. No adequate appreciation can be formed of Satan’s present projects and devices, and the motive that prompts them, without a clear understanding of his age-abiding attitude toward the Person of God.
     There are two prominent events revealed in the history of Satan, falling within the period of time when he proposed in his heart to become like the Most High, and his yet future banishment and execution. The first of these was his meeting with and triumph over the first Adam; when he wrested the scepter of authority from man, by securing man’s loyal obedience to his own suggestion and counsel. This earthly scepter Satan held by the full right of conquest, seemingly without challenge from Jehovah, until the first advent of the Second Adam; this meeting of the Second Adam, Christ, with Satan being the second great event which is revealed during this period in his career. Only the unfolding of the coming ages can reveal the magnitude of this terrible conflict. A glimpse is revealed from time to time of the unceasing effort of Satan to triumph over the Second Adam, as he had done over the first. He met Him in the wilderness, offering Him all he had gained from the first Adam, even the kingdom of this world; if only he might become like the Most High, and receive the obedient worship and adoration of the Second Adam, the Son of God. Again he is seen voicing his attempt to dissuade Christ from His sacrificial death, through the impetuous Peter; and still again in the crushing attack upon the very life of Jesus in the Garden, when, it would seem, Satan attempted to take that life before it could be offered for the sins of the world.
     However victorious Satan may have been over the first Adam, it is certain that he met a complete and final judgment and sentence in the Second Adam; and that bruising of the serpent’s head was realized which was a part of the Adamic covenant. Referring to His Cross, Jesus said, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (Joh 12:31). And again in, (Joh 16:11). “And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” Still another Scriptural Testimony to this great defeat of Satan is recorded in, (Col 2:13-15) “having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” It is, therefore, clear that, though Satan may have triumphed over the first Adam and thereby become the god and prince of this world; he himself was perfectly and finally triumphed over and judged by the second Adam in the Cross.
     It is quite possible; however, that a sentence may be pronounced and made known some time before that sentence is actually executed. During such an interval a criminal is said to be under sentence awaiting his execution, which some higher authority has decreed. This period of sentence is that in which Satan appears in the present age; which age had its beginning with the Cross. Execution of this sentence would have banished him forever. That he is not banished is revealed in the fact that he, even after his judgment in the Cross, is referred to in Scripture as still being in authority over this world.
     An illustration of Satan’s present relation to this world may be taken from the history of Saul and David. It is natural that David, the first to occupy the Davidic throne, should be a type of Christ, the last and most glorious occupant of that throne. (Luk 1:31-33) As there was a period between the anointing of David and the final banishment of Saul, in which Saul reigned as a usurper, though under Divine sentence and David was the God-appointed king: in like manner there is now a similar period in which Satan rules as a usurper, though under sentence; and the actual occupation of the throne by Christ is still future. In this period Satan, the rejected monarch, still rules; hunting to the death all those who have allied themselves with Christ, the God-anointed King.
     Why Satan is thus allowed to continue his reign is perhaps but partly revealed. The real Church which is the Bride of Christ, is to sit with Him upon His throne, (Rev 3:21; 1Co 6:2-3; Mat 19:28) and the present age must continue until that glorious heavenly people are gathered out from the world by regeneration. Again, it seems the course of Divine wisdom to make a sufficient and final trial of every claim of His adversaries; and when this age, with all its developments, shall have passed by, every mouth will be stopped, and the whole world and Satan will know their own failure and sin before God. They will stand self-condemned; and nothing could accomplish this but the testing, by actual trial, of all the self-sufficient claims of Satan and man. The sin of man has brought him under sentence too; and grace alone withholds his immediate execution. (Joh 3:18; Rom 5:18-19) Though the day of execution is, in the purpose of God delayed; it is, nevertheless, sure; and the time is fast approaching when an awful destruction of self-enthroned beings will be executed; and He alone shall reign, whose right it is to reign; “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” (1Co 15:25) The Kingly Son shall yet arise and claim the nations of the earth and “You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.” (Psa 2:9)
     It would seem that Satan cherishes the expectation of actually accomplishing his purpose until near the end of his career. (Though the demon testimony of, (Mat 8:29) is suggestive on this point) Preceding his banishment to the pit, (Abyss) he is violently cast out of heaven and into the earth, according to; (Rev 12:7-12) and his activity, from that time on is limited to that sphere. He is no longer granted access to God. The passage is as follows:

     “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, Now the Salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” (Rev 12:7-12)

     Here Satan is pictured as being in great wrath as he is banished from heaven into the earth, “knowing that he has but a short time.” After this short time, which is a terrible tribulation in the earth, Satan is bound and cast into a pit of darkness; (Abyss) this being an event in the glorious return of Christ to the earth, where He will reign on the throne of His Father David for a thousand years. Satan is confined to the pit of darkness during the same period, at the end of which he is released for “a short time.” He then gathers an army for a last and terrible attack upon the government and people of God, which ends in his being banished to the lake of fire, where he meets his final and long predicted doom. These events are clearly stated in their order in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of Revelation.
     Satan is thus revealed as having been first created perfect in all his ways, mighty in power, and full of beauty and wisdom. While thus privileged, he proposed a stupendous project in his heart — himself to become like the Most High. Though cast down and yet having access to God, he is seen wresting the world scepter from man; and ruling as the god of this world, until the judgment of the Cross; and after that he still rules as a usurper. At the end of the age he is cast out of his access to heaven, into the earth; from thence to the pit of darkness; (Abyss) and, finally, is banished to the lake of fire forever. (Rev 20:1-10)
     This review of the career of Satan is made at this point in order to call attention to the direct and mighty influence he exerts upon the affairs of this world according to his varying positions and freedom.
     After Satan rebelled, humanity, too, was thrown into an abnormal and almost universal attitude of independence toward God; and this continues beyond the Cross with increasing confusion and darkness, to the end of the age. The only exception to this rebellion is the little company of believers; and how terribly real is the tendency to the self-governed life of the old nature, even among these! When Satan is cast out of heaven and limited to the earth, there is tribulation upon the earth of which Jesus speaks in, (Mat 24:21) and which is also referred to in, (Dan 12:1). When Satan is bound and put in the pit, and the Promised Kingdom of Christ has come, there is peace covering the earth as waters cover the face of the deep.
Can it be doubted that this mighty being is a living power, acting directly over the affairs of men, even in this self-glorying age?

The Ages
     It is a conspicuous fact that the comparatively few errors and inconsistencies in translation, found in the English Authorized Version of the New Testament, serve to hinder, directly or indirectly, any clear understanding of the Teachings of Scripture in regard to the conditions and relationships of the world at the present time. Even the revision did not greatly relieve this confusion beyond the addition of some helpful marginal renderings. It would seem, if it were possible, that Satan, the author of confusion and the only one advantaged by it, had been able in some subtle way to keep in darkness that which would otherwise be light; thus preventing a Revelation of his own projects.
     The continuation of these misleading translations is most evident in the unqualified use of the English word “world.” The word which, in common usage, has a limited meaning is used, by the translators, as the one English rendering for at least four widely differing Thoughts in the original. So that, if the Truth contained in this important body of Scripture is to be understood, the student must not only know the various meanings which are expressed by the one word, but also be able to determine the correct use of the word in any single instance. This necessary effort to understand the real meaning of many passages has, therefore, placed the simple Doctrines they contain beyond the average reader of the Bible.
     The English word “world” as used in the New Testament may mean a distinct period of time, commonly known as an age; (As its original is a few times translated) or it may refer to the things created: the earth, its inhabitants, or their institutions. Two of these original meanings are used in connection with this present time. First, as to an age, or period of time:
     The ages are often referred to in Scripture, and the study of the exact conditions and purposes of each of them is not imaginary: but is rather the only adequate foundation for any true knowledge of the Bible. Not all the ages can be taken up in this Chapter, but only such as may be confused with the present one.
     The age of Law, which began with the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and ended, approximately, with the death of Christ, is mentioned by Zacharias in his Prophecy at the birth of John: “As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old.” (Luk 1:70) The same period is referred to by Peter in, (Act 3:21) “whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.” These references, it will be seen, are not to the creation of the world, as the English rendering would indicate: but to the beginning of that particular period in which the prophets spoke.
     The present age of grace, in which the grace of God has had its appearing unto Salvation, began where the age of Law ended, or with the death of Christ; and will continue until He comes again. The duration of this age is suggested by the Communion Table, which, being specific to this age, will continue to its end. Of this sacrament it is said: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.” (1Co 11:26)
     As a distinct period of time this age is mentioned by the word “world — age” no less than forty times in the New Testament. A few of these passages follow: “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Mat 12:32) “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mat 24:3) “And the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.” (Mat 13:38-39) “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:20) For the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. (Luk 16:8) “And seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Eph 1:20-21) “Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly [In fellowship with God through, (1Jn 1:9) ] in the present age.” (Tit 2:12) By these and many other passages, it may be seen that the present age is a particular limited period of time in which special conditions are to prevail, and definite purposes are to be realized.
     Judging from the mass of Christian writings and from utterances in public address and prayer, this age is assumed by many, without question, to be the Kingdom of Christ; though no Scripture is found to warrant that conclusion.
     There is a kingdom of God which embraces the entire universe, over which God is enthroned, and to this kingdom every enemy must finally be brought back to original subjection and adjustment, or be banished forever. This final victory is described in: (1Co 15:24-25) “Then comes the end, when He [Christ] hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.”
     There is a still more extensive body of Scripture which anticipates a literal kingdom of righteousness and peace upon the earth; this theme being the burden of the Old Testament prophets, and was announced by John the Baptist, by Christ and His disciples. This announcement was simple and plain: “The kingdom of God is at hand.” The expression “at hand” here used is significant; indicating not necessarily the immediate future, though the kingdom was definitely offered to that generation; but that the earthly kingdom was the next event which had been clearly announced by the prophets. When the Messiah had been positively rejected by the Jews, He began, alone, without even the sympathy of His disciples, to unfold this forthcoming mystery-age, which had been kept secret in the councils of God, and which was more perfectly revealed to Paul, the first messenger to the Gentiles. Of this Revelation of an as yet unknown age, Paul writes in: (Eph 3:1-11)

     “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles-- if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you; that by Revelation there was made known to me the Mystery, [Spiritual Thoughts] as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the Mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the Promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the Mystery [Church age Spiritual Thoughts] which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Eph 3:1-11)

     The same Truth is emphasized in: (Rom 16:25) “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the Revelation of the Mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past.”

     This new age of the Gentiles was also to have its hope centered in Jesus Christ, but in His sacrificial death rather than His kingly reign. It was to be an age in which the Gentiles were to be visited and a people called out from them for His own Person; (Act 15:14) and these people, who are the real Church, were to be built together upon a rock; (Divine RevelationSpiritual Thoughts) (Mat 16:17-18) their glorious Salvation and final heavenly perfection were to rest only on His perfect and finished work for them. By this Divine transformation He would secure, out of all nations, both Gentiles and Jews, a heavenly people; wholly fitted in quality to be His own body, His heavenly bride, and a kingdom of priests unto God.
     All this, though not revealed in past ages, was known in the councils of God, (Act 15:18) and is parenthetical in the history of the Jew. It is a delay of their earthly Spiritual, racial and political kingdom and in no way its fulfillment or substitute.
     Want of knowledge of the right divisions of Truth is also evident in the general impression that God has cast off His people, the Jews, and that the Gentiles are their rightful successors and the recipients of the blessings of their unfulfilled Prophecies. This confusion is due to a failure to distinguish between this and the following age.
     Two distinct lines of seed were promised to Abraham. One, an earthly seed, to be like the dust of the earth, without number, (Gen 13:16) centered wholly in the earth by a relationship of physical generation: the other seed were likened to the stars of heaven, without number, (Gen 15:5) centered wholly in the heavens by a relationship of Spiritual regeneration, which is the present answer of God to all true Abrahamic faith. (Rom 4:1-5) The earthly people found their origin in the physical fatherhood of Abraham: while the heavenly people find theirs in the shed blood of Christ. One had an earthly history from Abraham to their dispersion among the Gentiles — a history which will yet be resumed and the everlasting Covenants fulfilled in the faithfulness of God: the other has a transient earthly pilgrimage from the Cross to their completion; when the Spiritual believers will meet and marry their Bridegroom, and be forever with the Lord. (1Th 4:13-17)
     To one, Christ is the coming glorious Messiah, who will actually sit upon the throne of His father, David, (Luk 1:31-33) in a literal earthly kingdom; (Else all Scripture language fails) to the other, He is the glorious Head of the Body, and coming Bridegroom. One of these lines of seed are the favored subjects in the earthly kingdom: while the other is to be in His bosom as a bride, and be associated with Him in His reign. (1Co 6:2; Rev 3:21)
As these two lines of seed are everywhere distinct, there must be at least two separate ages for the accomplishment of these ends. What, then, are these ages?
     If it is believed that an earthly kingdom, with Messiah as King, is Promised the Jew, it must also be admitted that the Jew is not now enjoying that kingdom; nor has he had any semblance of a kingdom in all the centuries since his dispersion among the Gentiles. This age cannot, therefore, be the predicted earthly kingdom of Christ. Turning to, (Act 15:13-18) a description of the present age and that which will follow is found. The passage is here given: “After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, Brethren, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, AFTER THESE THINGS I will return, AND I WILL REBUILD THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID WHICH HAS FALLEN, AND I WILL REBUILD ITS RUINS, AND I WILL RESTORE IT, SO THAT THE REST OF MANKIND MAY SEEK THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, SAYS THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO.” (Act 15:13-18)
     It is recorded that, after His resurrection, Jesus was seen for forty days by His apostles whom He had chosen; and during this time He was speaking to them concerning the Kingdom. It was natural, therefore, for them to inquire, at the end of those days, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Act 1:6) And they had full warrant from the prophets to expect that great event when their Messiah came. They had not, however, grasped the meaning of the then dawning age of the gathering out of a Bride of Jews and Gentiles, and in this passage they are seen adjusting themselves to the newly revealed Divine program, and recognizing the God-appointed delay in the predicted earthly racial, political and Spiritual kingdom. While the Spiritual kingdom continues now inside every believer. (Mat 21:43; Luk 17:21; Act 28:23-31)
     In Acts 15: just referred to, the purpose and order of two distinct ages is set forth. The first age is described as the “taking from among the Gentiles,” that from among them a heavenly people may be called out, and is a description of this present age, which had its beginning in the very generation in which this passage was written; for no previous age could meet these conditions. The second age, here described, is that of a distinct rebuilding of the Davidic order, which is clearly separated from the former age by the return of Christ. This same order of events is also carefully maintained wherever these events are referred to in Scripture, and any confusion of the order is a positive violence to the truth. The revealed consummation of this Gentile age is always the return of Christ, who comes first to receive His own; and then to render judgment upon all the nations and to bind the enemy and place him in the pit. The same return of Christ is the necessary preliminary event before any kingdom of righteousness and peace can be realized upon the earth. No amount of enlightened sentiment can establish a kingdom without a king; and no universal blessedness can be experienced in this world until the enemy is dethroned and banished. Sadly has the world failed to include these two necessary Divine movements, in its vain dream and godless attempt at a perfected universe!
     The purpose of this age is then clearly defined as the visiting of the Gentiles to call out of them a people for His name; the called out people being the true Church, (As that Word signifies) which is made up of all the saved ones who have been saved since the Day of Pentecost, (And those saved in the time of Christ and remained alive after His resurrection) at which time the Spirit came to unite them into one body and to indwell them. They are the heavenly people, regenerate and complete in Christ, their Bridegroom and living Head.
     When this age is considered as the Kingdom of Christ it is usually thought of as in a state of development. This is a necessary conclusion in view of the presence of sin and failure in the world. But the setting up of the earthly kingdom is never described as the result of a process. Scripture deals conclusively with this question.
     In, (Dan 2:34-35) an image is described, which is defined as being a symbol of the then dawning Gentile world power (Which is still continuing. (Luk 21:24) The image is here made to represent both the development of world rule and its terrible and final ending. The image is seen to be gradually developing from one world government to another until the form of the image is wholly completed. Its ending is then precipitated by a shattering blow from a Stone, “cut out without hands.” By the same inspired interpretation, the “Stone” becomes both a symbol of superhuman power, being “cut out without hands;” and a type of Christ, the Ancient of Days, in His coming to the earth as a resistless Monarch; banishing all rule and authority. A portion of the whole passage reads thus: “You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Dan 2:34-35)

     This being a Divinely interpreted Prophecy as to the extent and ending of the present Gentile age, it should be noted that the Stone (Christ) strikes the image (The world system) with one destructive blow, and at the time when it has become fully developed. The blow is struck on the part of the image which is last formed. The great image is thus instantly and violently broken to pieces and is even blown away “like the chaff of the summer threshing floors.” In like manner, according to this Prophecy, the whole Gentile rule will suddenly be broken and will vanish.
     It should also be noted from these symbols that the Stone does not “become a mountain and fill the whole earth” until the great image has been scattered to dust. From this it is certain that there can be no development of the Kingdom of Christ on the earth before the final breaking of the kingdoms of the earth. This same order is recognized throughout all Prophecy. The King suddenly returns as lightning shining from one part of heaven to the other; Satan is violently seized and cast into prison; and a nation is born at once. The second Psalm connects the kingly reign of Christ — the time when He is set upon the holy hill of Zion — with the time when He shall claim the nations of the earth and “break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces as a potter’s vessel.” Also in, (Mat 25:31) “when He will sit on His glorious throne” the “blessed of My Father” are called to enter the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. And in, (Rev 12:7-12) where Satan is cast out into the earth and the execution of his sentence is begun, the announcement is made by a great voice in heaven, “Now the Salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come.” There is no evidence of a gradual process here; all is sudden and decisive.
     Again, this age is not the coming earthly kingdom for nowhere are the Promised conditions of that kingdom now to be found. The Old Testament Prophecies contain long and detailed descriptions of that glorious time; God’s ancient people shall become the chosen nation, restored to their own land; the enemy shall be banished; the earth shall be purified, and blossom as a rose. “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.” (Isa 11:6-9)
     “In that day I will also make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, The birds of the sky And the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land, And will make them lie down in safety.” (Hos 2:18) “And in that day The mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; And a spring will go out from the house of the LORD To water the valley of Shittim.” (Joe 3:18) “Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. Many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.” (Zec 2:10-11) “Thus says the LORD of hosts, In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zec 8:23) “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness. I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed. They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.” (Isa 65:17-21) “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah.” (Isa 35:5-6) “But this is the Covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD, I will put My Law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jer 31:33-34) “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isa 9:6-7) “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luk 1:32-33) “And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.” (Isa 11:12) “And He will judge between many peoples And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they train for war. Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.” (Mic 4:3-4)
Though blessings abound in the individual heart where Christ is enthroned, yet not one trace of this glorious transformed earth can be found in the present Gentile age.

The Course of This Age
     It is necessary to distinguish between rightly dividing the Word of Truth, and a critical attitude toward that Word; the former being an important duty in the believer’s life, according to, (2Ti 2:15) while the latter may easily become a wicked and misleading display of unbelief and the wisdom of this world. (1Co 1:19)
     Personal interest in the Word of God usually begins with the first understanding of its real divisions; and no one is prepared to understand the providence of God who does not first come to know something of the purpose of God as marked off by these great divisions. Especially is this necessary, as has been stated, for any clear understanding of the present age.
     Again, the power and force of the whole body of Scripture must depend, in a large measure, upon a belief in unfulfilled Prophecy. Such a belief is not general, even among Christians. They believe that Christ came in the flesh, suffered, died, and rose again, because that is all now a matter of history; but that belief is not greatly influenced by the fact that this was all exactly foretold by the prophets. Let those who are free to condemn the pious Jew for not recognizing the fulfillment of Prophecy in the first advent of Christ, beware lest they fail to rightly interpret the signs of these times, or look with positive unbelief upon the stupendous events that, according to Prophecy, are imminent to-day. It seems a sore test of faith to believe that which is predicted for the present age, though those predictions are being fulfilled in every detail. This prevailing attitude of unbelief usually arises from one of two errors; either Satan has been so estimated that it seems impossible for him to be the promoter of anything that is moral or good; (Of this error more will be said in the following chapters) or the exact meaning and purpose of this age has been disbelieved or misunderstood; and because of these conditions many enthusiastic Christians are found to be, not only working toward unscriptural and hopeless ends, but are actually contributing to the confusion and darkness that is prevalent to-day.
     The purpose and course of this age are not matters of prediction alone. Almost two thousand years of history may be considered in the light of these predictions; and while the age is not yet complete, and much that is reserved for the last days is still future, enough of Prophecy has now been fulfilled to indicate the certain fulfillment of all.
     Since there has been no universal conversion of men in even the most favored locality, it is evident that, thus far, there has been a separating and calling out of a few from the many; and the Divine purpose, as revealed in Scripture, which is to gather out a people from the Gentiles for His own name, has been verified. The blessing of God has been upon world-wide evangelism: rather than upon any fruitless attempts at world-wide conversion; for the individual or church that has become self-centered has, to that degree, sacrificed the power and blessing of the presence of Christ which was Promised in, (Mat 28:19-20) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations”—“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
     Again, the formation of the Kingdom has not been discernible in the present age. The Jews, to whom alone the Promises of an earthly kingdom belong, have continued a separate people under the unseen hand of God, without a country, or a vestige of national life. (Written in, 1909) Certainly none of the predicted and necessary events accompanying the establishment of their kingdom have been experienced, nor is there any trace of its Promised blessings. The fact that some Jews are now organizing and looking toward their native land, argues nothing for this age, more than that its end is very near, and that the way for their coming Messiah and national glory is being prepared. Just so, the conspicuous fact that all the marvelous present development of the resources of the earth has been limited to about the last eightieth of the present history of the age is evidence that the earth’s return to her former glory is already in preparation.
Belief in the revealed course of this age is, therefore, based upon history as well as the predictions of Scripture.
     The present age is different from all others by reason of the admixture of opposing classes of people; there being two distinct divisions (Not including the Jew as a nation) living and acting together, who are, nevertheless, removed from each other by a degree that is immeasurable. This fact necessitates many careful distinctions and special injunctions which are peculiar to the age.
     The fact that these two widely differing classes are present together, and are to continue so to the end of the age, is the teaching of the seven Parables in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. Very much, therefore, depends upon the correct interpretation of these Parables. Their meaning has been somewhat hidden by the use of the word “world” where reference is made to this period of time; and the fact that the conditions described are true of this age only, has not been generally realized.
     These seven Parables are but a description of the unfolding and development of these mixed elements to be found in Christendom throughout this age. The same program is again proclaimed by Christ, from the Glory, in the messages to the seven churches of Asia. (Rev 2:1-29; Rev 3:1-22) Here are seven letters to organized existing churches; yet these messages also reveal the outline of the churches — the believers growth level or lack of growth for this entire age; and there is perfect agreement in order and detail between the Parables of, (Mat 13:1-53) and the letters of, (Rev 2:1; thru Rev 3:22). The first two parables are interpreted by Christ Himself, and the interpretation of these sheds light on all that remains.
     Christ is the sower in both the first and second of these Parables, and the sowing is continued by His messengers throughout this age. The field is the world of men, which reveals a marked change from the responsibility of the Jewish age that was then closing; and the results of the sowing are most definite: not all the good seed sown comes to fruitage; and the wheat and the tares grow together until the end of the age. This interpretation is not fanciful, for it is given by Christ Himself; and the following Parables must necessarily agree with these. The third and fourth are of the mustard seed and the measure of meal. Though commonly interpreted to mean the world-wide development of the Church and the permeating influence of the Gospel, in the light of the interpretation of the previous Parables that can mean only the Gospel seed and the full realm of the Word in the soul of the believer by Thinking with it — as a large tree knocking out all other systems of thought. “Leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks [Body, soul and spirit; 30, 60 and 100] of flour until it was all leavened.” [Spiritual maturityhundredfold] The fifth Parable is of a treasure hid in a field, which pictures the world that Satan rules; and He defeated him for the ownership of it. The sixth here the same man, the Lord Jesus Christ, sells all that He has to purchase the Church and all believers; for He “loved the Church, and gave Himself for her;” (Eph 5:25) the pearl, by its formation and its power to reflect the light, being a wonderful type of the Church in her present formation and future place in glory. Both the treasure, (The body of believers) and the pearl, (The Church) are found in the world. The last Parable restates the Doctrine that the mixture of the Spiritual and carnal believers are to continue to the end of the age.
     The highest ambition of the great missionary, Paul, was to be all things to all men that he might save some, not all. He found that his preaching was a savor of “death unto death” as well as of “life unto life,” (2Co 2:15-16) and he clearly states in, (2Ti 3:13) “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Christ also predicted that the end of this age should be marked by such sin as provoked the judgment of the flood: “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luk 17:26-30)
     This Doctrine is often rejected as being pessimistic and disloyal to the progress of the world: yet has not the history of the age verified the teaching? And is not the coming glory nearer and more certain when depending upon His Promised return in resistless power and splendor, than when depending upon any human progress the world has ever known? One is the majestic movement of the Divine program in fulfillment of every Covenant: while the other is the vain dream of the world in its ignorance and disregard of the Testimony of God.
     Because of the presence of these two classes of believers in the world, there are two very distinct lines of Scripture descriptive of them. One body of Scripture directly applies to and governs the “wheat” or Spiritual believers, and one applies to the “tares” or the carnal believers.
     As it has pleased Satan to hide himself and all his projects from the unbelieving world, that which God has revealed in all faithfulness will be received only by those who have unquestioning confidence in His Word.
     According to Scripture, the relation of the carnal believer to Satan is far more vital than a mere pleasure-seeking allegiance. On two occasions Jesus spoke of  the “children of Satan,” (Mat 13:38; Joh 8:44) and Paul so addressed the unbeliever Elymas, the sorcerer, according to, (Act 13:10). The same class is also twice called the “children of disobedience,” (Eph 2:2; Col 3:6) and once it is called the “children of wrath.” (Eph 2:3)
     It is evident that these are descriptions of the same class of people, since both terms are employed together in (Eph 5:6) “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” The exact cause of that wrath is stated in, (Rom 1:18). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the Truth in unrighteousness;” the word “suppress” being the same as is used in, (2Th 2:7).  Therefore, the willing neglect and disregard for the Testimony of God by the world, has allied them with Satan, and placed them under the wrath of God, which must find its righteous execution in due time if grace is not accepted.
     Again, Satan is revealed as directing and empowering the children of disobedience: “in which you formerly walked according to the course [Thinking] of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” (Eph 2:1-2) The real force of this passage, also, is dependent upon the meaning of one word; the word “working” being the same as is used in, (Php 2:13). Where God is said to impart His wisdom and strength to the believer: “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Additional light may be had as to the Reality of this relationship from the following passages in which the same original word is used: “There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.” (1Co 12:6) “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” (1Co 12:11) “and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” (Eph 1:19-20) “For He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles.” (Gal 2:8) “For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” (Col 1:29) Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. (Eph 3:20) It is also said in regard to the energizing power of Satan, using the same original word: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” (2Th 2:7) “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” (Rom 7:5) In the last two passages quoted, the meaning is, like the preceding passages, of an imparted energy, and is, therefore, most suggestive.
     It may then be concluded from the Testimony of Scripture that Satan imparts his wisdom and strength to the carnal and unbelieving in the same manner as the power of God is imparted to the believer by God the Holy Spirit. There is, however, no Revelation as to the comparative degree of strength imparted by each. It should be further noted in this connection that this impartation of energizing power from Satan is not toward a limited few who might be said, because of some strange conduct, to be possessed of a demon; but is the common condition of all who are yet unsaved or carnal believers and therefore, still in the “power of darkness.”
     The relation between the unregenerate and Satan is still more vital, according to the original from which, (1Jn 5:19) is translated. “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. In this passage there are two startling Revelations in regard to this relationship. First: the word “in” is the same as is used everywhere of the believer when he is said to be in Christ, and in the case of the believer it signifies an organic union to Christ — as a branch is in the vine, so the believer is in Christ. Though the word, when used of the unregenerate, probably cannot mean the same degree of organic life-relationship as exists between Christ and the believer, yet it does denote a deep relationship; and Satan is the light, inspiration, and power, of all those whom he energizes.
     The second Revelation in the passage is found in the word “lies”—“The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” It might as well be translated “lies asleep;” for its condition is not only a fixed position in the evil one, but is also a condition of unconsciousness. The saved ones are said to be in the Father’s hand where no created thing can pluck them out, (Joh 10:29) and underneath are the everlasting arms: so the great mass of humanity is in the arms of Satan; and by his subtlety they are all unconscious of their position and relation. This is not at all strange. Even the believer has no present power to discern his glorious position and security in the Father’s hand, apart from the assurance of the written Word. Much less, then, can the unbeliever and carnal believer come to realize his own position in the arms of Satan, when, under the direction of Satan, he gives no heed to the Testimony of God.
     Still another passage should be noted in this connection. In, (2Co 4:3-4) Satan is described as the god of this world, blinding the minds of the unbelieving. The whole passage is as follows: “And if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving that the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God should not dawn upon them.” (R. V.) In this passage the unconscious condition is said to be the direct result of the power of Satan, and the blindness of their thoughts, it is stated, is along one particular line. To them the Gospel is veiled; and the Gospel here referred to is not the whole life story of Jesus, nor is it the “Gospel of the Kingdom;” but the Message of good news or favor; the exact terms of Salvation by grace alone. This Paul here calls “our Gospel,” for to him it was first unfolded in its completeness.
     The unregenerate are, then, unconscious of their position in the arms of Satan, and blind in their thoughts toward the Gospel of mercy and favor, — their only hope for time or eternity. Satan, like a fond mother, is bending over those in his arms, breathing into their minds the quieting balm of a “universal fatherhood of God” and a “universal brotherhood of man;” suggesting their worthiness before God on the ground of their own moral character and physical generation; feeding their tendency to imitate the true faith by great humanitarian undertakings and schemes for the reformation of individuals and the betterment of the social order. God’s necessary requirements of regeneration are carefully set aside, and the blinded souls go on without hope, “being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart. (Eph 4:18) How important, as a preparation for Salvation, is the illuminating work of the Spirit in conviction, by which He lifts the veil and opens the mind to a new Spiritual vision of the redemption and glory that is in Christ! Without this God-given vision there can be no understanding of the way of life, nor any intelligent decision for Christ or the Word of God.

This Age and the Satanic System
     It may also be concluded from the study of the ages that God has not been pleased to meet the presumptuous claims of Satan or of man by a simple denial of those claims; He has chosen, rather, to bring everything to an experimental test. One advantage of this method is obvious: every mouth will be stopped, and the entire universe of beings will see clearly the utter folly of that which might have been arbitrarily denied. Man can no longer claim that his conscience is sufficient to guide him to his highest destiny; since the whole race, when standing on that basis before God, so utterly failed that their destruction, by a flood, was necessary: in like manner, by the history of a most favored people in the age preceding the first advent of Christ, man has demonstrated his own inability to do right or to keep the Law. In the present age, man proves his separation from his Creator by his spirit of self-sufficiency and positive rejection of God. The present issue between God and man is one of whether man will accept God’s estimate of him, abandon his hopeless self-struggle, and cast himself only on God who alone is sufficient to accomplish his needed transformation. All Divine love, wisdom, and power have wrought to make these conditions open to man; and when this last and supreme effort of God has been rejected, the final pleading with man must be forever past, and the long delayed judgment upon sin be executed in righteousness.
     It has already been pointed out that Satan purposed in his heart to attempt all the functions of God; and, according to Scripture, that which he purposed is being permitted, to the extent of his ability, throughout the course of this age. Though his failure and defeat have been predicted from the beginning, yet it has pleased God to permit the satanic ambition to come to its own destruction, and to demonstrate its own weakness and wicked folly. No other solution is given of the present power of Satan and the terrible manifestations of his increasing authority yet to be experienced in the closing scenes of this age.
     Satan cannot direct the affairs of humanity who have been delivered from the power of darkness and are now united to Christ; (Unless they yield to his wishes) though they are in the world and their earthly lives are mingled in much of its history. These saved ones are the antiseptic salt, hindering, like the Spirit who indwells them, the untimely dissolution of humanity. Again, Satan’s dominion is limited in that “every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Rom 13:1) In this Scripture it is revealed that Satan, though in authority, is not wholly free from his Creator, and that any direction of the governments of the world which he exercises is by permission from God. Therefore, the efforts of Satan and man are not supreme, but must come to their predicted end when the eternal purpose of God has had its realization in the gathering out from the Gentiles of the heavenly people for His own name.
     A few tremble in the face of the social and industrial problems of the day; while the vast majority are confident that the sagacity of man is not only controlling iniquity, but is gradually developing an improved social order. Thus, man, in his vanity, assigns to himself that which is of God alone, for all the elements of corruption and tribulation are latent in the world to-day, and the mighty effort of God is required to stay its bursting into flame until the appointed time. Tribulation will, therefore, instantly begin when it is time for Satan to rule the unbelieving human race.
     Though under the restraining hand of God, Satan, according to Scripture, is now in authority over the carnal world, and the unsaved are unconsciously organized and federated under his leading. The fact that there is such a federation, although stated in Scripture, is obscured in translation. In at least thirty important passages the English word “world” is again used without qualification. In these passages reference is made to a great evil system or order over which Satan is in authority, the word “world” referring to the world of men, their evil undertakings, ideals and federation. This federation includes all of unsaved and carnal humanity; it has the co-operation of the fallen spirits, and is but the union of all who are living and acting in independence of God. This Satanic system has its own ideals and principles which are in sharp contrast to the Ideals and Principles given the redeemed: yet these two classes must mingle together as closely as the ties of human life can come.
The whole Truth concerning this federation is contained in those passages wherein the satanic system is mentioned.
     First, Satan is its governing head. Three times Jesus referred to Satan as the prince of the satanic system: “Now judgment is upon this world; Now the ruler of this world [Satanic system] will be cast out.” (Joh 12:31) “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world [Satanic system] is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” (Joh 14:30) “And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world [Satanic system] has been judged.” (Joh 16:11) Paul also refers to Satan as the “prince of the power of the air.” (Eph 2:2) and again as the “god of this world.” (2Co 4:4) In the latter passage, mention is made of the age or period of time only, as in, (Eph 6:12). “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
     From these Scriptures it must be conceded that the offer, which Satan made to Christ, of the then inhabited earth, was very real. The Scripture is as follows: “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship me, it shall all be Yours.” (Luk 4:5-7)
      It has sometimes been held that the claim of possession of the earth was a lie, this being asserted on the ground that Satan is exposed in Scripture as a liar. Such a conclusion is impossible for at least two reasons. It would have been no temptation had he not possessed the kingdoms he offered; and any such false claim would have been immediately branded as a lie by the Son of God. He is still further revealed as the recognized head of this world system in two additional passages: “Because greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world. [Satanic system]” (1Jn 4:4) “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world [Satanic system – human race] lies in the power of the evil one.” (1Jn 5:19)
     Returning to, (Isa 14:12-19) wherein Satan is described as “Lucifer, the son of the morning,” and where the prophet in vision sees the whole career of Satan in retrospect, it will be seen that Satan holds a mighty grip upon the world. Here it is said of him that he was the one who “weakened the nations” and who “who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home.” Every phrase in this remarkable passage is a Revelation. Undoubtedly there is reference here both to the fall of man and to the authority of Satan in the earth, as well as to his attitude of resistance toward Salvation which is by the grace of God, since it is said of Satan that he “who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home.”
     Second, the Satanic system, according to Scripture, is wholly evil. This is a hard saying; and is usually denied by those who do not realize that all Scripture estimates are made from the Standard of the holiness of God; and that the Satanic system, of itself and apart from the influence of God and His people, has never improved their own moral condition, but that they are individually under condemnation before God; (Joh 3:18) their borrowed interest in morality and charity being a poor commendation, in view of their fallen and Christ-rejecting attitude before God. They are also incapable of comprehending the Standards of God, whose Thoughts and Ways are above their thoughts and ways as the heavens are higher than the earth. (Isa 55:8-9) The quality and incapacity of the fallen race is accurately described in; (Rom 3:10-18) this description of them being as they appear before the holiness of God, stripped of all externals: “As it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE. THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING, THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS; WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS; THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN. THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”  (Rom 3:10-18) So, fallen humanity, federated under Satan, will appear and act when the restraining hand of God allows. Though the unsaved and carnal believers are moral, educated, refined, or religious, they are not righteous in God’s sight; for the charge here brought against them is that “there is none righteous, no, not one;” and “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The following Scriptures which directly refer to the character of the Satanic system are, therefore, the estimate of God upon those conditions which the world holds to be ideal: “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent Promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” [The old sin nature and the satanic system] (2Pe 1:4) “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world [The old sin nature and the satanic system] by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.” (2Pe 2:20) “Pure and undefiled religion [Spirituality] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” [The satanic system] (Jas 1:27) “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world, [Satanic system] is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world [Satanic system] makes himself an enemy of God. (Jas 4:4) “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world [Satanic system] and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.” [Spiritual Thoughts] (1Jn 5:4) “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world [Satanic system] is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” (Joh 14:30) “And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” [Satanic system] (1Jn 4:3) In like manner the believer is said to have been “rescued from this present evil age” (Gal 1:4) and “rescued us from the domain of darkness” (Col 1:13) “and not to be conformed to this world.” (Rom 12:2)
     These Judgments are made from the View-point of the purity and holiness of God. In His sight the highest moral, educational, and religious ideals that the unregenerate world can comprehend are but a part of the confusion and darkness of this age when coupled with a rejection of His Testimony in regard to His Son as their atoning Savior.
Thus, it is presented from the Scripture that the present age and its great federation is, in God’s sight, most unholy.
     Third, Satan is also set forth as having direct control of the physical well-being of his subjects, and at the same time as being able, by special permission, to gain access to the people of God: “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb 2:14) “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Act 10:38) “And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (Luk 13:16) “Then Satan answered the LORD, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face. Then the LORD said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him. So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:9-12) “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luk 22:31-32) “Because of the surpassing greatness of the Revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!” (2Co 12:7)
     By these passages, the emphasis of Scripture on the power and authority of Satan in this age may be seen. And though the exact limits of his power under the restraining hand of God are not revealed, it would be unreasonable to deny that he is the god of this age, the head of the great world system; and, though all unknown to them, the director of the affairs of unregenerate and carnal men. (1Co 2:14)
     Fourth, The works of the Satanic order are clearly outlined in several descriptive passages which also present that which is highest in ideal, and deepest in motive in the Satan energized mass of humanity. One passage, alone, contains the entire Revelation: “For all that is in the world, [Satanic system] the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” [Satanic system] (1Jn 2:16) The satisfaction of these same cravings was the temptation placed before Eve in the Garden: When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Gen 3:6) The real nature of these cravings is easily recognized as wholly self-centered and without thought of God or of any true character. Jesus Christ resisted these very same temptations and is the victor in the angelic conflict. (Luk 4:1-13)
     All “wars and fighting’s” among men are only a natural result of the evil qualities of this great federation. Jesus said to Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world. [Satanic system] If My kingdom were of this world, [Satanic system] then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” (Joh 18:36) It is a noticeable fact that the governments of the world depend upon physical power and a display of armament to maintain their position and authority, and the superior Law of love does not seem to be adapted to, or understood by, the elements that make up the Satanic order.
     Fifth, All earthly property is of the satanic order, which property the believer may use, but must not abuse: “But whoever has the world's goods, [Satanic system] and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1Jn 3:17) “But the worries of the world, [Satanic system] and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mar 4:19) “But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, [Satanic system] as though they did not make full use of it. (1Co 7:29-31)
     Sixth, The same world that crucified the Christ will also hate the saved one in whom He dwells: “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world [Satanic system] hates you.” (1Jn 3:13)
     Seventh, The impotency and limitations of the world order are most evident. Its leader, though mighty, is inferior to Christ: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; [The demons] because greater is He [Christ] who is in you than he [Satan] who is in the world.” [Satanic system] (1Jn 4:4) Its knowledge and understanding are limited: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world [The satanic system] does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1Jn 3:1) “But a natural man does not accept the things [Thoughts] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, [Gods' Thoughts] because they are Spiritually appraised. But he who is Spiritual appraises all things, [Spiritual thoughts] yet he himself is appraised [Understood] by no one. [Out of fellowship]” (1Co 2:14-15)
     “THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD.” (Rom 3:11) “And even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2Co 4:3-4) “They [The demons] are from the world; [Satanic system] therefore they speak as from the world, [The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life] and the world [Unbelievers and carnal believers] listens to them.” (1Jn 4:5) All the sorrow of this order is without hope: “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance [A change of mind] without regret, leading to Salvation, [Restoring to fellowship] but the sorrow [Guilt] of the world [Satanic system] produces death.” [Carnality] (2Co 7:10) And, finally, the whole order is temporal and passing: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness. (2Pe 3:10-11) “The world [The old sin nature and satanic system] is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1Jn 2:17)

The Satanic Host
     Christ inferred, in one of His controversies with the Pharisees, (Mat 12:22-30) that Satan is a king; and as such is in authority over a kingdom. This particular discussion was in regard to the fact that Christ had healed one “possessed with a demon, blind and mute.” The Pharisees claimed that the demon had been cast out by Beelzebub the prince of demons, or the one whom Jesus, later in the narrative, calls Satan. The passage is as follows: “Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, This man cannot be the Son of David, can he? But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons. And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
     By this Scripture it may be seen that the kingdom of Satan is a host of bodiless spirits. Although their origin cannot be definitely traced, it is probable that they were created as subjects of Satan in the primal glory, as he, also, was created as their prince and king. Satan, being in authority over these beings, doubtless drew them after him in his sinful attempt to thrust himself into the place of God.
     It would seem that Satan is in authority over two distinct orders of beings — the Satanic order of the earth, and the satanic host of the air. It is clear that he secured the scepter of government in the earth from Adam, by right of conquest: while his authority over the Satanic host is, undoubtedly, that which he has been permitted to retain from his creation. If Satan has thus kept his authority over these spirits from the beginning, it follows that they are in full sympathy with him and render him willing service. The following Scriptures emphasize the authority of Satan over these beings: “And if Satan cast out Satan, how then will his kingdom stand?” (Mat 12:26) “Then He will also say to those on His left, Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mat 25:41)
     The Reality and personality of this host of evil spirits is taught in Scripture; and a careful study of the numerous passages in which they are mentioned will reveal how God has provided complete instruction in His Word concerning this theme on which so much of the believer’s welfare depends.
These spirits are usually referred to in both the Authorized and Revised Versions of the New Testament as “devils,” but the word might better have been translated “demons.”
     In considering the service these beings render to Satan, it is important to distinguish between demon possession or control, and demon influence. In the one case the body is entered and a dominating control is gained: while in the other case a warfare from the old sin nature is carried on by suggestion, temptation, and influence.
Investigation of the Scriptures in regard to demon possession reveals:
     First: That this host is made up of bodiless spirits only. The following Scripture verifies this statement: “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, I will return to my house from which I came; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. [Morality without Spirituality] Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” (Mat 12:43-45) “The demons implored Him, saying, Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” (Mar 5:12)
     Second: They are, however, not only seeking to enter the bodies of either mortals or beasts; (For their power seems to be in some measure dependent upon such embodiment) but they are constantly seen to be thus embodied, according to the New Testament. A few of these passages are given here: “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.” (Mat 8:16) “As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” (Mat 9:32-33) “The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.” (Act 8:6-7) “It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.” (Act 16:16) “They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me! For He had been saying to him, Come out of the man, you unclean spirit! And He was asking him, What is your name? And he said to Him, My name is Legion; for we are many. And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. The demons implored Him, saying, Send us into the swine so that we may enter them. Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.” (Mar 5:1-13)
     Third: They are wicked, unclean, and vicious. Many passages might be quoted in proof of this statement: “When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.” (Mat 8:28) “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” (Mat 10:1) “When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.” (Mar 5:2-5) “They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth.” (Mar 9:20)
     It might be added that there seem to be degrees of wickedness represented by these spirits: for it is stated in, (Mat 12:43-45) that the demon, returning to his house, “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself.”
     The question is often raised whether demon possession continues at the present time. Although the authentic records of such control are almost wholly limited to the three years of the public ministry of Jesus, it is incredible that demon possession did not exist before that time, or has not existed since. In this connection it should be remembered that these beings are not only intelligent themselves, but that they are directly governed and ordered by Satan, whose wisdom and cunning are so clearly set forth in the Scriptures. It is reasonable to conclude that they, like their monarch, are adapting the manner of their activity to the enlightenment of the age and locality. It is evident that they are not now less inclined than before to enter and dominate a body. Demon possession in the present time is probably often unsuspected because of the unrecognized fact that demons are capable of inspiring a moral and exemplary life, as well as of appearing as the dominating spirit of a spiritist, medium, or through the grosser manifestations that are recorded by missionaries from heathen lands. These demons, too, like their king, will appear as “angels of light” as well as “roaring lions,” when by the former impersonation they can more perfectly further the stupendous undertakings of Satan in his warfare against the work of God.
     Demon influence, like the activity of Satan, is prompted by two motives: both to hinder the purpose of God for humanity, and to extend the authority of Satan. They, therefore, at the command of their king, willingly cooperate in all his God-dishonoring undertakings. Their influence is exercised both to mislead the unsaved and to wage an unceasing warfare against the believer. (Eph 6:12)
     Their motive is suggested in what is revealed by their knowledge of the authority and Deity of Christ, as well as by what they know of their eternal doom. The following passages are important in this connection: “And they cried out, saying, What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Mat 8:29) “Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God! And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be quiet, and come out of him!” (Mar 1:23-25) “And the evil spirit answered and said to them, I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (Act 19:15) “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (Jas 2:19)
     Of the methods of demons in the latter days of the age, the Scriptures bear special Testimony. They will cover their lies with the empty form of religion, and by every means make them to appear as the Truth, that they may draw both the saved and the unsaved from their hope in Christ: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.” (1Ti 4:1-2) A departure from the true faith is thus predicted to be the evidence of the influence of demons in the last days. This is none other than the great apostasy that must precede the “Day of the Lord” according to, (2Th 2:2-3).
     The believer’s security in this unceasing warfare is treated at length in another chapter. It may be noted here, however, that the God-appointed means for this victory are prayer and bodily control, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Mat 17:21) and in the appropriation of the Person of Christ as the believer’s sufficiency, as He is set forth in His saving power by the various parts of the “full armor of God” of, (Eph 6:13-18).
     Satan, though proposing to supersede the Almighty, is not omnipotent: but his power, and the extent of his activity are immeasurably increased by the co-operation of his host of demons. Satan is not omniscient: yet his knowledge is greatly extended by the combined wisdom and observation of his sympathetic subjects. Satan is not omnipresent: but he is able to keep up an unceasing activity in every locality by the loyal obedience of the Satanic host, who are so numerous as to be called “Legion.”

Satan’s Motive
     According to Scripture, the supreme motive of Satan is his purpose to become like the Most High and, though that purpose was formed even before the age of man, it has been his constant actuating motive from that time until now. It is also the teaching of Scripture that this present period of time is that in which Satan is in special authority; he being permitted the exercise of his own power in order that he, and all his followers, may make their own final demonstration to the whole universe of the utter folly of their claims and of their abject helplessness when wholly independent of their Creator. This is definitely predicted in, (2Ti 3:9) as the final outcome of the attitude of the world in its independence toward God: “But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all.”
     It has also been stated that the unsurpassed tribulation only awaits the hand of God, for all the required elements for such a condition are latent in the unregenerate heart. (Rom 3:9-18) In this terrible period of tribulation the greatest power of Satan will be exercised, and the wickedness of man will be revealed in his attempt to live in whole separation from God.
     Even fallen humanity would not, at first, acknowledge Satan as its object of worship and federal head; and such a condition of society wherein Satan will be received as supreme (As he will be in the person of the first Beast of; Rev 13:1) must, therefore, be developed by generations of increasing irreverence and lawlessness toward God. Thus it has been necessary for Satan to conceal his person and projects from the very people over whom he is in authority and in whom he is the energizing power. For this reason this class of humanity believes least in his Reality, and ignorantly rejects its real leader as a mystical person. When he is worshipped it is through some idol as a medium, or through his own impersonation of Jehovah; and when he rules it is by what seems to be the voice of a king or the voice of the people. However, the appalling irreverence of the world to-day is the sure preparation of the forthcoming direct manifestation of Satan, as predicted in, (Dan 11:30-37; 2Th 2:1-4; Rev 13:1).
   Satan’s policy of deception is described as extending to all the nations, and to the whole world: “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the Truth so as to be saved. (2Th 2:9-10) “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Rev 12:9) “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.” (Rev 20:2-3) “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. (Rev 20:7-8) He who was the measure of perfection, full of beauty and wisdom; he who made the earth to tremble; who shook kingdoms; has been willing to be ridiculed by the world as a being without Reality, that he might, in the end, realize his own deepest desire.
     Again, his own subjects have strangely neglected the plain teachings of Scripture on his real power and authority. To them he has been an imaginary fiend, delighting only in the torment of unfortunate souls; making his home in hell, and himself the impersonation of all that is cruel and vile: when, on the contrary, he is real, and is the very embodiment of the highest ideals the unregenerate world has received; for he is the inspirer of all those ideals. With his own he is not at enmity, and he, like the most refined of the world, is in no sympathy with the grosser forms of their sin. He would hinder those manifestations of evil if he could. And certainly he does not prompt them; for they are the natural fruit of an unrestrained fallen nature, according to, (Jas 1:14-15) “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mar 7:21-23) The dying drunkard, the fallen woman, and the suffering of the innocent are the evidences of Satan’s failure rather than the realization of his purpose.
     His own terrible sin before God would not be condemned in the eyes of the world, for it is that which they most idealize and praise. In his sin he aspired to that which is highest, and proposed to realize his ideal by his own self-sufficiency and strength. True, he has lowered his Creator, in his own mind, to a level where he supposes himself to be in legitimate competition with Him, both for authority over other beings and for their worship. Yet this unholy ambition and disregard for the Creator is a most commendable thing according to the standards of the satanic order. In the language of the world, Satan is simply “self-made” and every element of his attitude toward his Creator is, as a principle of life, both commended and practiced by the world.
     Though hiding himself, Satan has had the satisfaction, under limitations, of governing the affairs of men; and the delight, to a large extent, of receiving their worship. The greatest care was taken in the Law governing God’s ancient people that they should not offer their sacrifices unto demons, which was the practice of surrounding nations. (Lev 17:7; Deut 32:17) In violation of these special Laws, Rehoboam instituted special priests for the demons, (2Ch 11:15) while the worship of demons, according to the New Testament, is to continue throughout the age: “No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” (1Co 10:20-21) “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.” (Rev 9:20)
     Again: Satan’s ambition is leading him to make this age of his special opportunity as near perfect as his wisdom and power will permit. And in this connection it may be noted that Satan’s ambition was not to become a fiend, but rather to become like the Most High. He will, therefore, strive for all that is moral and good: yet at the same time do all in his power to draw men from their natural reverence of God, that, in due time, they may acknowledge himself without fear. The Satanic ideal of this age is, then, an improved social order, a moral and cultured people, who are devout worshippers of himself, though for the present they may imagine they are worshipping Jehovah through their empty religious forms and ceremonies, while they are really in a state of God-dishonoring unbelief, and all their thoughts are energized by Satan alone. The Satanic message for this age will be reformation and self-development, while the message of God is regeneration and Spiritual maturity by the power of God the Holy Spirit. (Joh 4:23)
     Satan, in his imitation of the Most High, is also working toward a universal kingdom of morality and peace upon earth, which will be temporarily realized under the reign of the Beast. (Rev 13:4) The difference between Satan’s ideal and the purpose of God, apart from the utter folly of the one and the glorious certainty of the other, is of both method and time. According to the satanic program, the present order of society, with himself on the throne, is to be developed into an ideal brotherhood, in which all men will practice that which is moral and good. According to the program of God, this is an evil age of darkness and pollution, in which the folly of Satan and man is to be proven, and out of which He is to gather the heavenly people for His own name. The kingdom of righteousness is then to follow, being ushered in by Christ-enthroning and Satan-dethroning events. There will then be a perfect humanity and social order for “all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest” and “righteousness and peace shall cover the earth as the waters cover the face of the deep.”
     The master passion of Satan leads him, not only to strive for the success of his own projects, but also to wage an unceasing warfare against Jehovah. These two lines of activity are inseparable; for he cannot establish and develop his own kingdom, and, at the same time, permit his subjects to be translated out of his kingdom into another, especially when they remain in the midst as a living power and Testimony against him. Nor can he reasonably allow the accomplishment of any of the projects of God; for it is predicted that at the completion of these his own doom will be at hand. The present time is, therefore, to Satan, the struggle for his own existence, as well as the realization of all that has been his ambition in the ages past. The warfare is no mere passing amusement for him, for he, in desperation, is facing a terrible and awful judgment if he cannot succeed in his purpose.
     The spectacle now presented to all enlightened beings of the universe, is that of a mighty celestial being, the god of the earth, who is by creation the full measure of perfection, both in wisdom and beauty, making his last and most desperate warfare, both to realize his own ambition and to thwart every movement of the Most High; knowing that in failure there is no ground for mercy, but only the terrible destruction that has been so long predicted. He knew when he formed this God-dishonoring purpose that it must either wholly succeed or he himself fall into terrible judgment. On the other side of the conflict there is perfect calmness and certainty as to the end, for the judgment and sentence are past; yet every true believer is implored to be instant in season and out of season in the present projects of grace, that the sufferings and separations of earth may be cut short in righteousness.
     Well may believers study their own motives in service in view of these vastly differing programs; and question whether there is in them a humble willingness to co-operate in the present purpose of God in preparing the Bride for the returning King: or whether they have carelessly fallen in with the Satanic ideal, which rejects the coming Kingdom of Christ by an unholy attempt to establish the present kingdom of Satan.
     The program of Satan, which the world calls “optimistic” rests on the Satanic purpose of a reformed society: the program of God, which is called “pessimistic” in that it discredits this age, rests upon the infinite wisdom, love and power of God; and is so certain and near that the believer is taught to watch, wait, and be ready for the first Divine movement toward this glorious end.

Satan’s Methods
     The two great activities of Satan, already mentioned, are referred to in, (2Th 2:4) in connection with the Man of sin, who will be Satan’s last and greatest manifestation. This being is spoken of as he “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship” These two activities are inseparable in that, while Satan is seeking to exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, he can keep his subjects or prolong his own existence only by an unceasing warfare in which he opposes himself against God. Whether Satan now believes that he may yet succeed in spite of the decree of the Cross and the evident superior power of God, is not revealed.
     It is still further revealed that the enmity of Satan is not only toward the person of God from whom he has everything to fear, but also toward every true child of God. Too much emphasis cannot be placed on this fact. Satan has no controversy or warfare with his own unregenerate people, but there is abundant Scripture to prove that he makes unceasing effort to mar the life and service of believers. The motive for this effort is all-sufficient: they have “partaken of the Divine nature,” (2Pe 1:4) and afford, therefore, a possible opportunity for Satan to thrust his fiery darts at the Divine Person. Thus the believer becomes a medium of connection between the Divine Person and the Satanic Order; for God literally loves the unsaved through the believer; (Rom 5:5) and on the other hand, the prince of the Satanic system, as well as many of his subjects, is seeking an opportunity for a thrust at the person of God. Several important passages on the latter point may here be noted: “These Things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (Joh 16:33) “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2Ti 3:12) “Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. (1Jn 3:13) “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1Pe 5:7-9) “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes [Literally, deceptive maneuvers] of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:10-12).
     The teaching of these passages clearly indicates the satanic enmity toward the believer, and the believer’s utter helplessness apart from the Divine sufficiency. They also reveal a degree of enmity which would result in the believer’s life being crushed out, were it not for the evident answer to the prayer of Jesus: “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” (Joh 17:15) Certainly there is abundant reason for the believer to expect the fiercest opposition from the satanic host in all his life and service; and faith alone insures his victory over the world.
     The believer is also the object of the Satanic attack because of the great fact that unto him is committed the great ministry of reconciliation; that by his testimony both in life and word, and by his prayers, the facts of redemption may be given to the world; and if Satan can but cripple the believer’s service, he accomplishes much in resisting the present purpose of God. No other explanation is adequate for the dark ages of Church history, the appalling failure of the Church in world-wide evangelism, or her present sectarian divisions and selfish indifference.
     This blighting satanic opposition can be detected in every effort for the Salvation of the lost. It may be seen in the fact that no personal appeal is ever made to the vast majority even in this favored land; or, when an appeal is made, it is easily distracted or diverted into the discussion of unimportant themes. The faithful pastor or evangelist is most sorely assailed, every device of Satan being used to distort the one all-important message of Grace into something that is not vital. The evangelist’s call for decisions is often cumbered with that which is misleading or is a positive misstatement of the terms of Salvation; thus the appeal is lost and the whole effort fails. The action of Satan may also be detected in that a humble messenger who is loyal to Christ and His Salvation by grace alone, will be almost unheeded at the present time: while the vast throng will be found supporting that which is religious only in its externals, but which is, in Reality, a gospel of morality and subtle denial of the redemption that is in Christ.
     Again, the opposing power of Satan may be seen in the matter of Christian giving. Millions are given without solicitation for education, culture, and humanity’s physical comfort, but real world-wide evangelization must ever drag on with its shameful limitations and debts. This warfare of Satan is even more noticeable in the believer’s prayer life; this being his place of greatest usefulness and power, is subject to the greatest conflict. In this connection it may be stated safely that there is comparatively no prevailing prayer to-day; yet the way is open and the Promises are sure. Then, also, if the believer cannot be beguiled into indifference or a denial of Christ, he is tempted to place an undue emphasis upon some minor Doctrine, and, in partial blindness, to sacrifice his whole influence for good through the apparent unbalance of his testimony.
     Satan’s warfare against the purpose of God is still more evident in his direct hindering of the unsaved. Not only are they constantly blinded to the Gospel, but, when God the Holy Spirit would draw them, their minds are often filled with strange fears and distorted visions. Their inability to cast themselves upon Christ is a mystery to themselves, and nothing but the direct illuminating power of God the Holy Spirit in conviction can open their eyes and deliver them from their gross darkness.
     Satan has always adapted his methods to the times and conditions. If attention has been gained, a complete denial of the Truth has been made; or, when some recognition of the Truth is demanded, it has been granted on the condition that — that which is vital in redemption should be omitted.
     This partial recognition of the Truth is required by the world to-day, for, while the direct result of the believer’s testimony to the Satanic system has been toward the gathering out of the Bride, there has been an indirect influence of this testimony upon the world which has led them to see that all that is good in their own ideals has been already stated in the Bible and exemplified in the life of Jesus, and that every principle of humanitarian sympathy or righteous government has been revealed in the Scriptures of Truth. Thus there has grown a more or less popular appreciation of the value of the precepts of Scripture and of the example of Christ. This condition has prevailed to such a degree that any new system or Doctrine which secures a hearing to-day must base its claim upon Scripture, and include, to some extent, the person and teachings of Jesus. The fact that the world has thus partly acknowledged the value of the Scriptures is taken by many to be a glorious victory for God; while, on the contrary, it cannot be proven that fallen humanity is any more inclined to accept God’s terms of Salvation than in the generations past.
     It is evident that this partial concession of the world to the Testimony of God has opened the way for counterfeit systems of Truth, which, according to Prophecy, are the last and most to be dreaded methods in the satanic warfare. In this connection it must be conceded that Satan has really granted nothing from his own position, even though he is forced to acknowledge every Principle of Truth save that upon which Salvation and Spiritual growth depends. Rather is he advantaged by such a concession; for the value and delusion of a counterfeit lies in its greatest likeness to the Real. By advocating much Truth, in the form of a counterfeit system of Truth, Satan can satisfy all the external religious cravings of the world, and yet accomplish his own end by withholding that on which man’s only hope depends. It is, therefore, no longer safe to blindly subscribe to that which promises general good, simply because it is good, and is garnished with the teachings of Scripture; for good has ceased to be all on one side and evil all on the other. In fact, that which is evil in purpose has gradually appropriated the good until but one issue distinguishes them. Part-Truth-ism has come into terrible and final conflict with whole-Truth-ism, and woe to the soul that does not discern between them. The first, though externally religious, is of Satan, and leaves its followers in the doom of everlasting banishment from the presence of God: while the latter is of God, and “has promise for the life that now is and that which is to come.”
     It is also noticeable that the term “infidel” has, within a generation, disappeared from common usage, and that manner of open denial of the Truth has been almost wholly abandoned. Yet the real Church (Spiritual believers) have by no means lost her foes, for they are now even more numerous, subtle, and terrible than ever before. These present enemies, however, have taken shelter under her branches; they are penetrating and appropriating her most sacred altars and institutions. These vultures are fed by a multitude, both in the Church and out, who, in satanic blindness, are committed to the furtherance of any project or the acceptance of any theory that promises good to the world or is apparently based upon Scripture; little realizing that they are often really supporting the enemy of God.
     A counterfeit is Satan’s most natural method of resisting the purpose of God, since by it he can realize to that extent his desire to be like the Most High. Every material is now at hand, as never before, for the construction of those conditions that are predicted to appear only in the very end of the age. In, (2Ti 3:1-5) one of these predictions may be found: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
     Every word of this Prophecy is worthy of most careful study in the light of the present tendency of society. The fifth verse is especially important in connection with the subject of counterfeits to the Truth: holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. Here it is stated that in these last days’ forms of godliness shall appear which, however, deny the power of God; (The filling of God the Holy Spirit and Thinking with the Word of God) and from these leaders the believer is warned to turn away. The important element in the true faith which is to be omitted in these forms is carefully defined elsewhere in Scripture: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for Salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom 1:16) “But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1Co 1:23-24) Therefore, that which is omitted so carefully from these forms is the Salvation which is in Christ. This is most suggestive, for “there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” and it is by Salvation alone that any deliverance can be had from the power of darkness. Without this Salvation Satan can still claim all his own. It is perhaps necessary to add that, judging from all his writings, this Salvation, of which Paul confesses he was not ashamed, was no less an undertaking than regeneration by God the Holy Spirit; and whatever other theories may be advanced, this is the Teaching of God the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul.
It, therefore, follows that one feature of the last days will be a form of godliness which carefully denies the power of God in Salvation and Spiritual growth to overcome the old sin nature.
     Again, Satan is “in the latter times” to be the promoter of a system of truth or doctrine: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some [Believers] will fall away from the faith, [Spiritual life] paying attention to deceitful spirits [Demon spirits] and doctrines [Thoughts] of demons, by means of the hypocrisy [Pretending] of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.” (1Ti 4:1-2) These predicted satanic systems are here carefully described. Their offers will be so attractive and externally so religious that into them will be drawn some “who shall depart from the faith;” [Spiritual life] they being enticed by seducing spirits. (Demon thoughts) These attractive systems are not only from Satan, but are themselves “lies in hypocrisy,” being presented by those whose conscience has been seared with a hot iron. No more illuminating terms could be used than these. A lie covered by hypocrisy means, evidently, that they are still attempting to be counted among the faithful; and the conscience seared would indicate that they can distort the Testimony of God and carelessly point other souls to the bottomless pit, without present remorse or regret.
     The doctrine of demons is again referred to in, (Rev 2:24) as the deep things [Thoughts] of Satan and this is Satan’s counterfeit of the deep things [Thoughts] of God which God the Holy Spirit reveals to them that love Him. (1Co 2:10)
     Thus there is predicted for the last days of this age, both a form of godliness which denies the power of Salvation that is in Christ; and a system known as the deep things of Satan or doctrines of demons, which calls some adherents from the true faith and speaks lies to themselves in hypocrisy. Can there be any doubt that these two Scriptures describe the same thing, since they also refer to the same time? The lies of one can be but the covered denial of Salvation in the other.
     Again, Satan has his assembly or congregational meeting which is his counterfeit of the visible Church. This assembly is referred to, both in, (Rev 2:9) and (Rev 3:9) as the “synagogue of Satan;” an organized assembly being as important for the testimony in the deep things of Satan as it has been in the Word of God.
     In Matt. 13 the tares appear among the wheat and their appearance is said to be after the sowing of the wheat. So, also, the “children of the wicked one” appear and are often included and even organized within the forms of the visible Church.
     The assembly of Satan, calling itself a part of the visible Church, is to have its ministers and teachers. This is stated in, (2Co 11:13-15) “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” Here is a remarkable Revelation of the possible extent of the Satanic counterfeit: “False apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves into apostles of Christ” and “ministers of righteousness;” yet these are shown to be only agents of the great deceiver, Satan, who is himself transformed into an angel of light. It is evident that the method of this deception is to imitate the real ministers of Christ. Certainly these false apostles cannot so appear unless they gather into their message every available form of godliness and cover their lies with the most subtle hypocrisy. Evil will not appear on the outside of these systems; but they will be announced as “another Gospel” or as a larger understanding of the previously accepted Truth, and will be all the more attractive and delusive since they are heralded by those who claim to be ministers of Christ, who reflect the beauty of an “angel of light,” and whose lives are undoubtedly free from great temptation. It should be noted, however, that these false ministers do not necessarily know the mission they have. Being unregenerate or carnal persons of the Satanic system, and, so, blinded to the real Gospel and Divine Thinking, they are sincere; preaching and teaching the best things their energizing power, the angel of light, is pleased to reveal unto them. Their gospel is one of human reason, and appeals to human resources. There can be no appreciation of Divine Revelation in them, for they have not come to really know God or His Son, Jesus Christ. As all this is true, how perilous is the attitude of many who follow attractive ministers and religious guides only because they claim to be such, and are sincere, and who are not awake to the one final test of Doctrine by which alone the whole covered system of Satanic lies can be distinguished from the Truth of God. In this connection John writes the following warning: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this Teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting. (2Jn 1:10) There yet remains one mighty element in the program of Satan’s counterfeits in addition to his outward forms, deep doctrines, church and ministers, — that is, the Man of Sin, the blasphemous counterfeit of the blessed Christ; who is yet to appear; who will be the very incarnation of Satan; and “whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the Truth so as to be saved.” (2Th 2:9-10) As the whole purpose of God in the ages has its consummation in the yet future coming of Christ, so Satan, in imitation of the program of God, has appointed a coming one (2Th 2:9) who will be his greatest manifestation, and upon whom he will bestow his greatest wisdom, power and attractiveness. The study of this mighty and imposing character can only be suggested in the following pages.
     The titles of Satan would indicate that he is attempting, also, in his own person, to counterfeit the Persons of the blessed Trinity. He appears as “the god of this world” in imitation of God the Father; he appears as the “prince of the world” in imitation of God the Son; and “the spirit that now energizes in, the children of disobedience” is his imitation of God the Holy Spirit, who dwells in and energizes believers in fellowship. (Rom 8:11-14) Thus his desire to be like the Most High has led him to a blasphemous attempt to imitate all the separate manifestations of the three Persons of the Godhead. But, since redemption, which he proposes to hinder, is the work of the second Person, God the Son, Satan more often appears as a counterfeit of Christ, both in title and undertaking; and this is the character in which he makes his last and most desperate effort before he is banished to the pit and his final judgment is begun.

The Man of Sin
     Reference has already been made to a period of tribulation yet to come upon the earth. That period is referred to in Scripture by various figures: “The great tribulation,” “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” and “a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” It is also described as the culmination of the great apostasy which is predicted for the end of this age and which is emphasized in the later Epistles of the New Testament. These Epistles not only recognize a complete apostasy yet to come in this age, but teach that the beginning of that apostasy was apparent even then at the time when they were written. This teaching of the apostles finds its natural culmination in the last book of the Bible wherein the exact development of the apostasy and the conditions to prevail in the tribulation are recorded at length. All other references, both in the Old and the New Testaments, perfectly agree with this extended description.
     In reference to the time of the tribulation which is thus predicted, Paul states in, (2Th 2:3) “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it  [“the Day of the Lord”] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, ” thus showing that the tribulation precedes the day of the Lord; and in, (Rev 19:11-13) that day is seen to be the termination of the tribulation, which is previously described in that book. This period of tribulation is, therefore, to come before the Kingdom Age, and to be ended by the glorious appearing of Christ, the King.
     Again, the tribulation is to come after true Spiritual believers have been removed; for it should be remembered that the true believers are to be saved out of the “hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” (Rev 3:10) The mature believer, being a citizen of: “Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.”] (Heb 12:22-24)
     As has been before stated, the utter dissolution of humanity is latent in the un-regenerated and carnal heart, (Mar 7:20-23) and its own tribulation only awaits this removal of all Divine restraint. It is, therefore, both Scriptural and reasonable to conclude that the great tribulation will instantly begin upon the earth after the first part of the Bride of Christ is removed.
     Thus it may be seen that this period of unsurpassed trial upon the earth, when the blasphemous claims of Satan and man are to be proven and God’s Testimony is to be vindicated; and controlled by this event in the Second Coming of Christ: when He comes for His saints, (1Th 4:16-17) to gather to Himself His heavenly people, with His saints, (Rev 19:11-21) to be the complete fulfillment of all the Covenants of God with His earthly people.
     The actual duration of this period is marked off in, (Dan 9:24-27): “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, [End the fifth cycle of discipline] to make an end of sin, [Judgment] to make atonement for iniquity, [Baptism of fire] to bring in everlasting righteousness, [The millennial reign of Christ] to seal up vision and Prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. [The new Temple] So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm Covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; [The Communion table; (1Co 11:26)] (Dan 8:11-14; Dan 12:11) and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
     There are three distinct periods of time here indicated. First: Seventy weeks between the time of the vision, and the age of “everlasting righteousness” and “anointing of the most Holy place” or, from the time of the vision, to the earthly kingdom of Christ, which is yet future. Second: Sixty-nine weeks; beginning to reckon from the same time, or from the command of the King of Babylon to restore Jerusalem, and continuing unto the death of Christ, which is referred to as the “cutting off of the Messiah.” And lastly: One week, for the overspreading of abomination and that which is determined to be poured upon the desolate.
     History fortunately interprets the time here indicated: for, from the command of the King to rebuild Jerusalem, to the death of Christ was 483 years, or sixty-nine weeks of seven years each. This leaves but the one additional week of the seventy before the bringing in of the everlasting righteousness. That one week is here described as the time of most terrible desolation and overspreading of abomination, when the people are under a covenant with another prince. This present age is as a parenthesis in Jewish history and, as no account is made of it in these reckonings, the last unfulfilled week (Seven years) of the seventy, before the kingdom is established upon the earth; must be the time of the gathering out of all believers — an event which completes the purpose of this parenthetical age — and the final bringing in of the kingdom.
     The last period of seven years of desolation is however, to be shortened, according to the words of Christ: “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” (Mat 24:21-22) It should be noticed that this period cannot be confused easily with any other, for it is referred to as the time more terrible than any other that has ever been, or ever will be. (Dan 12:1-4; Joe 2:2; Mat 24:21-22)
     Reference has been made at length to the Tribulation period in order to make clear the exact conditions in which the Man of Sin is to appear; for this mighty world-ruler makes his advent in those days of earth’s darkness and gloom, and the world is left in its own helpless confusion. He appears in the Tribulation period as the agent of Satan after that mighty head of the satanic system has been cast out of heaven into the earth. (Rev 12:7-12) The time of the destruction of the Man of Sin is also revealed in that it is mentioned as one of the events in the glorious coming of Christ. (Dan 2:44; Dan 7:11-14; 2Th 2:8; Rev 19:20) He, therefore, appears as the culmination of the satanic effort, and a careful study of his person and character will reveal the fact that he is the most stupendous work of Satan in his enmity against God.
     In connection with the time of the Man of Sin, it is also to be noted that the believer is not directly warned against his person, but is, rather, warned against the conditions that are to prevail as a preparation for his coming. His description is set forth at length only in such passages as deal with the whole and final development of the age.
     It should also be remembered that the description of this person, like that of the person and work of Satan, is from the standpoint of the holiness of God; and that which the world will hail as its glorious ideal of perfection is, in God’s sight, the personification of rebelliousness, blasphemy, and treason.
     The order of the governments and rulers of the world in this Gentile age is revealed to Daniel in visions which are recorded and interpreted in the book of Daniel. In these visions the Man of Sin appears as the “little horn” of, (Dan 7:8) and is the last and most God-dishonoring world-ruler. He also later appears as the “desolator” of; (Dan 9:27) the “willful King” of; (Dan 11:36) the “abomination of desolation” or (Mat 24:15) the “Man of Sin” of; (2Th 2:4-8) and the Beast of; (Rev 13:4-8). His identity is certain, even though he appears under various figures and titles; for he, like Satan, is so unique in his character, time, and undertakings, that he cannot be confused easily with any other.
     In Daniel 2 the order of the kingdoms is set forth by the figure of the great image which, at the last, is suddenly and violently shattered by the “stone cut from the mountain without hands;” which Stone is Christ, the Corner Stone; and the Stone which the builders rejected. The feet and toes of this image are said to be the last manifestation of human government, and it is this part of the image that is violently shattered by the Stone. Of this termination of earthly rule it is recorded in, (Dan 2:44-45) “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
     From this chapter it may be seen that the setting up of the Messianic Kingdom is to be both sudden and destructive to all human governments, and that it is in no way the result of an age of development and progressive improvement.
     In Dan. 7 the Man of Sin appears, as has been stated, as the “little horn” among ten horns; which, like the ten toes of the great image, indicate the extreme end of human authority and power. In this vision the latter end of the kingdoms of the earth is seen to culminate in the one most daring ruler, the “little horn,” who has “a mouth speaking great things” and whose look is more imposing than all others; and he it is who makes war with the saints and prevails over them until the coming of the Ancient of days. The inspired interpretation of the vision is given in, (Dan 7:23-27) “Thus he said: The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.”
     In Dan. 11 the reign of the Man of Sin, the willful king, is Prophesied in detail; and the fact is stated that the reign and the blasphemous attitude of this last great ruler are both in the purpose of God. A portion of this remarkable passage is here given: “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures. He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.” (Dan 11:36-39)
     Beside the colossal disregard for God, this passage presents several important Revelations. First: The expression “the God of his fathers” would seem to indicate that the Man of Sin would come from a lineage of Christians. Second: His disregard for “the desire of women,” Third: nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. He will have personal love for himself to protect from “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.” 
     In the New Testament the Man of Sin is described as “if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” (Joh 5:43) “The man of lawlessness,” “the son of destruction;” (2Th 2:3) “that lawless one;” (2Th 2:8) and the “beast,” (Rev 13:1) and to him Satan gives all the domain and glory he offered to Christ. (Luk 4:5-6) Of the many references to him, two passages deal with him at length. In the first, (2Th 2:1-10) his coming is mentioned as directly following the apostasy on the earth; and in the second (Rev 13:1-8) as has been shown, his coming is said to directly follow the casting of Satan from heaven into the earth, (Rev 12:7-12) and continues until the glorious appearing of Christ, which is described in, (Rev 19:11-21).
     The former passages (2Th 2:1-10) it is predicted of this mighty person that he will assume to be very God, “sitting in the temple as God,” and winning the worship of the multitude by his miraculous power, signs, and lying wonders; deceiving all who perish, and who would not receive the love of the Truth (The Word of God) that they might be saved.
     Still another and more striking description of this person is given in the second passage just mentioned in; (Rev 13:1-8). The first, and, it would seem, most important thing that is stated of this being in this Scripture is that one of his heads was, as it were, wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed. Some have claimed this to be a reference to a previous political defeat followed by reinstatement to power. The expression is, however, most suggestive and significant as an attempt on the part of Satan to imitate, in the Man of Sin, that which was the supreme miracle of the Christ — His death and resurrection. The effort is plainly effective; more so than a mere shifting of political fortune could possibly be; for the statement follows: his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast. After they wondered, they worshipped. First they worshipped Satan, who performed the mighty miracle; and then they worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to wage war with him?” The terrible blasphemy of the Man of Sin has been emphasized in all Scripture references to him, and is here still more vividly pictured.
     The time he is to continue is said to be forty and two months, which would be one-half of the Tribulation period; and this statement is probably not at all figurative. By his overwhelming supernatural power and wisdom he gains authority over every living thing in the satanic system, excepting those recorded in the Lamb’s book of life. These are not brought under his governing power.
     The latter part of the chapter presents still another mighty person, who is also called a “beast,” but later appears as the false prophet; (Rev 19:20) and who exercises all the power of the first beast, and receives his power from the dragon, Satan. Much is said of this second “beast,” but his mission is in no way to attract attention to himself. He co-operates in gaining world-wide worship and authority for the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. The second beast seems to deal directly with the people and by his mighty signs and miracles, as well as by his authority; he compels loyalty to the first beast. Fire is called down from heaven; and a dumb idol is made to speak and live. He is able to establish a union of all people in trade, imposing a death penalty upon them. And by all these means he furthers the interests of the first beast. The Scripture here referred to is as follows: “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. [Satan] He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” (Rev 13:11-18)
     There is a deep suggestion, in the person of this second beast, of a counterfeit of God the Holy Spirit. He who came not to speak of Himself, but to glorify Christ and to unite all believers; leading them in worship and praise. This second beast is probably identical with “Anti-christ,” who appears under that title only in the writings of John, and who is there seen as the consummation of a long succession of false religious teachers who have denied the Christ and His sacrificial work.
     When the Testimony of all Scripture upon the Man of Sin is considered, he is seen to be a person whose superhuman power is plainly ascribed to Satan. He appears upon the scene, before the removal of the Spiritual believers during the Great Tribulation, (2Th 2:1-5; Dan 12:1; Dan 12:11-12; Rev 3:10; Rev 12:6-9) as the climax of all Satanic exaltation and opposition to God. He is the last and greatest of earthly rulers, and, from his position of unsurpassed influence, speaks great words and manifests great wisdom. He is externally religious, and the promoter of great righteous projects and principles which in God’s sight are only hypocrisy and blasphemy because of the subtle Christ-denying motive which prompts it all. His hold upon the public mind is by a process which is natural. Great miracles are performed by himself and by his prophet, — fire is called down from heaven; a dumb idol is made to speak and live; and he himself has been wounded to death and yet lives. By such supernatural works his assumption to be very God is accepted, and he becomes the world’s ideal of all that is supreme. The people are said to first marvel and wonder; then to worship at his feet; and at last, in mad devotion, they challenge the universe to produce his equal — “Who is like the beast?” they cry. He has been wounded to death and yet lives; he performs as great miracles as the world has ever seen; his teachings are based upon Scripture; and he must, therefore, be God manifest in the flesh. His wisdom, beauty and majesty are a seeming warrant for every element of adoration.
     Thus the Man of Sin will appear as the culmination of all the counterfeit methods of Satan; which method had its beginnings in the last days of the age. The subtle doctrines of demons will be adopted as creeds in assemblies and so called churches, and these deep things, with the satanic ambition for moral improvement, will be voiced by ordained ministers who appear as apostles of Christ and ministers of righteousness. Yet in God’s sight it is all a deep lie and hypocrisy, for they are distorting His truth and subtly denying His redemption and the Spiritual life.
     All this, as has been stated, is but the satanic preparation of humanity that they may wholly acknowledge him as their god, and that he may himself become like the Most High. This program is permitted in the purpose of God, for “for that which is decreed will be done.” (Dan 11:36) It will be only for a moment; for the resistless coming of the “Ancient of Days” will unveil all this deception, banish the enemies, and bring in His own long-predicted and glorious reign of everlasting blessedness upon the earth.

The Fatal Omission
     To some extent it has been necessary to anticipate the subject of this chapter in dealing with those counterfeits which are predicted for the last days, when there will be found “forms of godliness, denying the power thereof,” and also the deep “doctrines of demons” which are “lies in hypocrisy.” This chapter deals with that which is so vital in the true faith, and which is to be so carefully omitted in the false; that which makes the true so potent, and without which the false becomes an immeasurable deception. Everything depends upon this one point of distinction; for, according to Prophecy, it is the only difference that is finally to exist between the false and the true. The issue is, therefore, as important as life itself.
     It has already been seen that the method of counterfeiting, if successful, will require Satan to appropriate and incorporate in his false systems every available Principle of the true; for the deception of the counterfeit depends wholly upon its likeness to the real. Herein is revealed the reason for calling that a lie or deception which is externally so like the Truth. Certainly there could be no greater pitfall for souls than a system which seems to be the Truth of God, and yet robs its followers of any basis for a true hope, and it will be found that the most terrible condemnation of Scripture is uttered against such systems and their promoters.
     In seeking to discover the actual point of difference between the false and the true, it will be well, first, to consider the present perverted relation which exists between the Creator and the fallen human creature; for herein is revealed the necessity of that which God proposes to accomplish by redemption.
     Two important points in Satan’s doctrine were announced by him in the Garden of Eden when he first approached the woman, and these two declarations have been an important part of the world’s creeds throughout the history of man. The first was a bold denial of a positive statement of God, when Satan said: “You surely will not die!” Whether Satan intended here simply to deny the Truth of God’s statement, or whether he overestimated his own resources and proposed to shield them from their God-appointed doom, is not clear. Certainly the latter view is in keeping with Satan’s original purpose, as well as with his evident sincerity. It is quite reasonable to conclude that, if he could be so misguided as to attempt to be like the Most High, he would willingly have undertaken to protect man from judgment which followed as a result of loyalty to himself. Satan is striving, at any rate, to direct the lives of those who are under his power into a degree of self-development that will be a substitute for the revealed purpose of God for men; Salvation and growth to Spiritual maturity.
     The second announcement of Satan assured the woman that they would, by this independent action, “be as God;” and this, so far from promising death, seemed to them the immediate realization of the highest human ideal. It was undoubtedly the original purpose of God in creation that humanity should eventually become like Himself. By what process of development this was to have been accomplished, had not sin entered, has not been revealed. It is enough to know that even after man had fallen from his high estate through sin; this Divine purpose was not abandoned, though the problems involved were immeasurably increased: and now, through the unsearchable riches of His grace, the realization of that which surpasses all human dreams has been made possible, even to fallen and polluted man.
     The consummation of the transforming work of God is thus described: “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image [Thinking and Virtue] of His Son.” (Rom 8:29) “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1Jn 3:2) “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col 3:4) “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” (Jude 1:24) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Php 3:20-21)
     It is natural that Satan should suggest to humanity that which had been the object of his own unholy ambition; and especially is it natural, since by such a separation of humanity from its God, he could claim that authority over them, and secure that worship from them, which he so much craved.
     There are, then, at least two distinct methods proposed for the uplifting of humanity, and these are brought into sharp contrast; for one is of Satan, and the other is of God. Since both these methods claim to aim at the same end — though one ideal is not worthy to be compared with the other — the method, alone, forms the first point for discussion.
     Under the Satanic control, man has always been strangely influenced in the matter of his relation to his Creator. He, too, has been willing to assume a hopeless position of independence toward God; and, under that abnormal relation, he has gone out alone to grope his way; blindly seeking to build his own character, and by education and cultivation to improve his natural old sin nature heart, which God has pronounced humanly incurable. (Jer 17:9) He has also bent his inventive skill to the development of means by which God-imposed labor may be avoided; and much of his selfish greed springs from a desire to purchase a substitute who shall bear for him the discomfort of a sweating brow. “God is not in all his thoughts KJV or; All his thoughts are, There is no God. NASB” (Psa 10:4) nor has he any disposition to claim the help of God upon the terms upon which it is offered. The Satanic method for life prompts him to become a god by a process of self-help and development of his finite resources.
     It is very possible and natural to introduce much of religious form into the world system of self-help; for there is a great field for religious exercise for the one who is attempting to make himself Godlike, and there is endless material for supplication and prayer that all available assistance may be secured to aid one in that humanly impossible task. A devout spirit is, therefore, a natural part of the satanic doctrine, and the predicted “forms of godliness” will naturally appear.
     There is a vast difference between an individual supplicating God to save him: and one supplicating God to help him save himself. The latter is a natural part of the satanic plan and has no promise of Divine favor upon it. All such religious exercise, though full of outward forms and deep sincerity, leaves its moral aspirants doomed, alike with the most degraded, to an everlasting separation and banishment from the presence of God: “These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” (Col 2:23) Such prayer and religious practice do not really place the saving work in the hands of God, but mockingly ask Him to give His sanction and assistance to that which wholly dishonors and really disregards Him, and which is also both unreasonable and impossible.
     Though the process by which un-fallen man would have reached a higher development has not been revealed, it is certain that he would have been then, as now, wholly dependent upon the Creator. Man’s present independence toward God is the blindest delusion of the fallen nature; for complete independence cannot even be assumed in the least of all temporal things: how much less is it possible in that which is Spiritual!
     Again, the self-saving principle is utter folly, since God must demand a quality which no human can present. (Rom 3:10-12) God’s requirement is not unreasonable, however, for He also proposes to bestow, in grace, all He ever demands. The absolute holiness of God demands no less than holiness in all who are acceptable to Him; yet He has never mocked man by asking him to make himself acceptable, or even to attempt to do it by Divine help. True Salvation is wholly a work of God. It is said to be both a finished work and a gift, and, therefore, it lays no obligation upon the Saved one to complete it himself, or to make after payments of service for it; though the Saved one is called upon to serve from another and more glorious motive. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1Jn 3:16)
     The Divine terms of obtainment into God-likeness are clearly stated in the Scriptures; (Luk 8:5-15) but the hopeless estimate God has placed upon the human old sin nature at its best; (Psa 39:5) and the logical necessity that man shall receive, as a gift, all that he has, and be forever a debtor to the Divine giver, — these things have always been rejected by self-sufficient and Satan-inspired humanity. These terms are the only possible or reasonable relations that could rightfully exist between fallen humanity and its Creator. Here Satan has blinded the minds of the lost lest they should believe, and he has made that which is reasonable and natural seem to be unreasonable and unnatural. They are unable to abandon their Satan-inspired sense of self-sufficiency and independence of God and receive from Him, as a gift, every possession commendable in His sight.
     The controversy between Satan-ruled man and God is one of method; whether it shall be one of self-righteousness and character building: or one of bestowed righteousness and Divine nature by the fruit of God the Holy Spirit. Will man try to save himself: or humbly submit to being Saved by Another? Will he try to conform himself to what little he knows to be good and true: or will he be transformed by the power of God into that which is no less than the image of Christ? (Rom 12:2) Will he present the sacrifice of a sincere effort to be moral and religious: or accept the God-provided sacrifice for all sin, in the shed blood of Christ? Will he try to establish himself before God on the ground of his own works: or rest in the finished work of Christ for him? Will he try to improve his fallen sin nature: or partake of the Divine nature and become a Son of God by the power of God, through faith in Christ Jesus?
     One method, it may be seen, depends wholly upon self for its realization; Promises glory to man alone; and has its origin at that unknown time when Satan proposed in his heart to become like the Most High. The other method is dependent upon God alone, and, therefore, demands an attitude of faith toward Him and His Word for its realization. It issues in glory to the Creator, Who alone is worthy to be praised. The latter, in contrast with Satan’s method, had its origin in the purpose of God, which He purposed before the foundation of the world. Therein, transcendent blessings are offered; stores of grace are unfolded; and the omnipotent power of God is seen working for the transformation of His human creatures. These two methods are confused only because they seem to aim at the same general result. In Reality their results, like their methods, are not only incomparable, but they are as far removed from each other as God’s Thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts.
     The Revelation of God in regard to Salvation might have been limited to the fact that He, rather than man, was to accomplish the work; and while much that is involved in the mighty undertaking of redemption has not been, and probably cannot be, reduced to the level of human understanding, He saw fit to reveal much that was necessary, on both the Godward and the man-ward side, in providing this way of Salvation. No human conception of the atonement is complete, yet, as the all-sufficient sacrificial death of Christ is clearly stated in Scripture, its value, though unanalyzed, may be appropriated; for man is not saved by what he comprehends or understands, but his Salvation is made possible by his attitude of willingness and expectation toward the transforming power of God.
     In determining the exact points of the Truth that is to be omitted from the Satanic counterfeit, it is important to distinguish between the Person and work of Christ. In the one is included His teachings and example, both in His life and death: in the other is included His substitutionary, sacrificial, and atoning death for the sins of the world. There is no controversy as to the value of the teachings and example of Jesus; but the wisdom of this world is displayed in ever-increasing antagonism against the blood of the Cross. This enmity has never been founded on the Word of God, for Scripture does not deny itself. The opposition appeals to pride and human reason, and dares to challenge the plain statements of Scripture on this particular point. Very much is thus omitted; for all the meaning of sacrifice in the Old Testament and all the Promises of redemption in the New Testament, are inseparably related to the blood of the Cross. It may be to the Jew a stumbling block, and to the Greek foolishness; yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, “it is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
     In Ephesians, the eternal purpose of God is said to be the complete perfection of souls: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love.” (Eph 1:4) And that transformation is also said to be by the blood of Christ: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” (Eph 1:7) In like manner the object of this transformation is said to be that the Church may be the present and eternal manifestation of the wisdom, love and power of God: so that the manifold wisdom [Thoughts] of God might now be made known through the church [Believers] to the rulers and the authorities [Angels and demons] in the heavenly places. (Eph 3:10) “So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:7) “And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” (Eph 1:19-20)
     There is also a strong contrast of figures used in the Old Testament which accurately emphasizes the mighty power of the Creator in the regeneration of a soul. In, (Psa 8:3) the creation of the solar system is mentioned as the work of the “fingers” of God: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained” but in, (Isa 53:1) where the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ is referred to, it is spoken of as the effort of the Creator’s arm: “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” The suggestion here given, that the creation of a universe is the work of His fingers, and the regeneration of souls is the work of His mighty arm, is not overdrawn; for the price of redemption cannot be measured by corruptible things, such as gold and silver: but is purchased at the price of the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1Pe 1:19)
     The Scriptures abound in statements that regeneration, and the whole transforming work of redemption, are accomplished on the ground of the sacrificial blood of the Cross; (I.E. Spiritual death and judgment) and if these statements of Scripture are rejected, the discussion never can be one of interpretation of Scripture, but becomes a question of the authority of the Testimony of the Bible. A few of these passages are here given: “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. (Isa 53:4-6) “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mat 20:28) “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Joh 1:29) “Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.” (Rom 3:25) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (Rom 5:8-9) “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Co 5:21) “Who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” (Gal 1:4) “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” (Heb 10:11-14)
     “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1Pe 2:24) “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.” (1Pe 3:18) “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1Jn 2:2)
     From the foregoing passages it may be seen that, according to the Scriptures, the stupendous transformation of regeneration is not only the greatest Divine undertaking, but is directly accomplished by the sacrificial death and judgment of Jesus Christ, and is sealed in security by God the Holy Spirit of Promise.
     The sacrificial death of Christ presents the only gateway for fallen man from the power and final doom of Satan to the glory and transcendent light of God; and there is nothing strange in the Satan-inspired “offence of the Cross” which is often garnished with culture, worldly wisdom, and religious forms. Even in Paul’s time there were those who were enemies of the Cross of Christ: “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction,[No reward] whose god is their appetite, [The old sin nature] and whose glory is in their shame,[At the judgment Seat of Christ] who set their minds on earthly things.” [Human thoughts — worries, lusts, religions, traditions, superstitions, morality, etc., — all the energy of the human sinful nature] (Php 3:18-19) These were evidently recognized believers — leaders in the Christian faith, who were undoubtedly ardent admirers of the Person of Jesus, as revealed in His earthly life and example: yet Paul does not hesitate to mention his own tears at the fatal omission in their lives of the filling of God the Holy Spirit and their mind set on Spiritual Thoughts; for they were enemies of the cross of Christ.
     Again, it is predicted in, (2Pe 2:1-2) that a fierce enmity against the Cross should appear: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, [False thoughts] even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the Truth will be maligned” Here again the denial is against the purchase or redeeming work and Spiritual nature of Christ rather than His Person. They are offended at the Lord who bought them, though they may be devoted to the Lord who taught them. These Satanic agents are here, as before, described as those who seem to be teachers in the true faith, yet they bring in damnable heresies, in all covered subtlety, which crystallizes in a denial of the redemption that is in Christ. Being only blinded unregenerate or carnal men, they may suppose themselves to be ministers of righteousness and apostles of Christ; their humanitarian dreams may inspire tireless effort and zeal; their doctrine may become world-wide in its influence; and they may drive their mighty ecclesiastical machinery by the Injunctions of Scripture: yet if the curtain could be lifted, their “angel of light” would be found to be Satan; working through them to resist the purpose of God; and themselves the ministers of Satan; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron, daring in their exalted position to devitalize the Word of God of its power unto Salvation and Spiritual maturity; dragging immortal souls after them into judgment.
     It is not strange that there is resentment against the Mystery of the Cross which does not exist against any other inexplicable fact in the world. It is not strange that the ministers of Satan, appearing as the apostles of Christ and ministers of righteousness, should fortify their lies and hypocrisies by contending for every phase of revealed Truth; grounding their authority so positively in the Scriptures of Truth: yet subtly omitting, or violently denying, the one and only point upon which the Interests of God and Satan divide. It is not strange that there is a wide call for a “restatement of the Truth,” which usually proposes to omit the new birth and substitute self-effort to be good, and character building, in the place of the filling of God the Holy Spirit and Thinking with the Word. It is not strange that the wise and cultured of this world feel their aesthetic natures shocked by the blood of the Cross, yet entertain no sense of their own abhorrent pollution in the sight of the infinitely holy One. It is not strange that the world assumes to have advanced beyond that which is repeatedly said to be the manifestation of the wisdom of God; branding as bigots, insincere, or ignorant, all who still hold to the whole Testimony of God. It is not strange that the atonement by blood is omitted, for it is Satan’s hour and the power of darkness, and the true child of God must patiently bear the ever-increasing reproaches of his crucified Lord, until the glory dawns and the shadows flee away.

Modern Devices
     It has been the privilege and duty of the Church throughout her history to be looking for the return of the One to whom she has been espoused. Had her eyes never wandered from that expectant gaze, she would have been saved much sorrow and shame at His coming, for she has lost her Scriptural character and much of her witnessing power whenever she has said “My master is not coming for a long time.” It is then that she has fallen to beating the manservants and the maidservants, and has become drunk with this world and the old sin nature AGAIN. (Mat 24:48-51)
     True devotion to Christ must naturally issue in a deep desire to be with Him and to see Him face to face; and though it is quite possible to have been misled or untaught in regard to the conditions of His coming, the contemplation of such a Promise from Him can but kindle a glowing hope in a truly devoted heart. It is a direct contradiction to claim supreme affection for Him, and yet be careless of His Promised return, or wholly contented while separated from Him. The world, that cannot comprehend such devotion to Christ, will easily chide the believer, and denounce him for what they now call his “other world-ness” when his affections are set on things above, “where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God,” and when his heart rejoices in the certain hope that “when Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
     It was necessary for Satan to rob the Church, to a great extent, of her “blessed hope” of Christ’s return, before he could attract attention to his own attempts at world improvement, and establish his own authority as ruler over this age. Expectation along the God-appointed lines must be abandoned, for the most part, before humanity can be federated, and religious institutions be made to co-operate in the satanic program.
     This vital key-Truth of the imminent return of Christ was, therefore, first discredited, and then followed by an attack upon the Deity of the Son of God and His sacrificial death; which attack is ever increasing, and must increase to the very end. The body of Truth concerning the Lord’s return is so extensive that there have always been some humble and devout souls who have dared to believe His Promises, and thus the Church, to some extent, has been keeping her watch.
     The mighty tool in Satan’s hands for the destroying of the hope of Christ’s coming has been a simple one: zealous souls have been found who, ignoring the statements of Scripture, would attempt to fix the day of His coming. Then, as their Prophecy failed, the world and many in the Church have laughed them to scorn. Unfortunately they came to laugh also at the very Promise of God, saying, “Where is the Promise of his coming?” and in so doing they have fulfilled some of the very things that are predicted for the end of the age: “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, [Sin natures] and saying, Where is the Promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” (2Pe 3:3-4) Thus Satan’s authority is being established.
     The exact time of Christ’s return has not been revealed; nor will it be announced by a prophet. Nevertheless, “for you are all sons of light and sons of day” and “are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief.” (1Th 5:4-5) It is their privilege to rejoice in every Promise of His coming, and to recognize every new indication of His nearness, as eagerly as the betrothed awaits her beloved. The true believer’s glory, as well as his union with loved ones in Christ, is imminent, and by faith he can look beyond the days of the earth’s greatest anguish, and, seeing the triumph of all blessedness, he can rejoice in the hope of His Lord’s coming, and be praying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
     It is, therefore, impossible to know how much of time yet remains for the development of Satan’s rule and the gathering out of the Bride; and yet it is evident that within the last generation the exact fulfillment of those things which are predicted for the last days has begun, and is even now developing faster than the mind can comprehend.
Not all the signs of the times have a place in these pages, but only such as are directly connected with the working of Satan.
     Since the blood redemption of the Cross is the central Truth and value of the true faith, it being the “power of God for Salvation” (Rom 1:16; 1Co 1:23-24) any counterfeit system of doctrine which would omit this essential, must force some secondary Truth into the place of prominence. Any of the great Scriptural subjects which are of universal interest to humanity, such as physical health, immortality, morality, or religious forms, may be substituted in the false systems, for that which is vital. And while those subjects are all found in their proper relations and importance in the true faith, the fact that people are universally inclined to give attention to them furnishes an opportunity for Satan to make a strong appeal to humanity through them; using these subjects as central truths in his false and counterfeit systems. Many are easily led to fix their attention upon the secondary things, and to neglect wholly the one primary thing; especially is this true since the secondary things are tangible and seen: while the one essential thing is Spiritual and unseen; and Satan has blinded their eyes toward that which is of eternal value.
     A system of Doctrine may, then, be formed which includes every Truth of Scripture save one; exalting the Person of Christ, but not His atoning work and Spiritual life, and emphasizing some secondary Truth as its central value. This system will be readily accepted by blinded humanity, though the real power of God unto Salvation has been carefully withdrawn.
     Naturally it would be supposed that such Satan-inspired systems would have no value or power, since there could be no Divine favor upon them. Such a supposition would be possible only because of the prevailing misunderstanding as to the real power of Satan. If the description given of him in Scripture is accepted, he will be seen to be possessed with miraculous power; able to perform such marvels that the whole world is led to wonder and then to worship. He is free also to bestow this miraculous power upon others. (Rev 13:2) So it is no marvel if his ministers, who appear as the ministers of righteousness, are able to exert superhuman power when it is directly in the interest of the satanic projects.
     The great power of Satan has doubtless been active along these lines during all the ages past; for it is impossible that humanity should have worshipped other gods blindly without some recompense, and it is Satan himself who has been thus worshipped. (Lev 17:7; 2Ch 11:15; Rev 9:20)
     It is not final evidence, therefore, that a system of Doctrine is of God simply because there are accompanying manifestations of superhuman power; nor is it final evidence that the Almighty has responded, simply because any form of supplication has been answered. The Divine movements are, of necessity, limited by the Laws of His own holiness, and access into His presence is by the blood of Jesus alone; by a new and living Way which was consecrated for us through His flesh. (Heb 10:19-20) Assuming to come before God in prayer, but ignoring this Truth, is but to insult, with pollution, Him who is infinitely Holy and pure. Satan, who is aspiring to the place of the Almighty, may answer the prayer of his own subjects, even though that prayer is blindly addressed to the Supreme Being. Surely the Satan-ruled world does not come before God by the blood of Jesus and or filled with God the Holy Spirit. (Joh 4:23-24)
     Though false systems of doctrine have always existed, counterfeits in hypocrisy are a distinct characteristic of the last days of the present age. And it is a most significant fact that within the last generation such systems have appeared and are rapidly multiplying: systems that borrow every phase of the true faith, but one, and are obvious in that they emphasize some secondary Truth with what seems, at times, to be miraculous power. Multitudes are being won to these creeds, both because of their apparent religious aspect, and by the actual results they accomplish.
     There is probably no subject of more universal interest than that of physical health; and but recently “Christian Science” has appeared, which chiefly emphasizes physical health. While it gathers into itself some elements that are foreign both to Christianity and to Science, and appropriates much from the field of psychology, it assumes to be an infallible interpretation of Scripture, and makes Jesus its highest exponent and teacher. Yet it positively denies even the Reality of sin and the sin natures’ need of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Its followers are won and held by these religious claims, and by the actual physical and mental transformations that are secured. Nothing but ignorance will attempt to deny that, to some extent, its claims are real. That it has assemblies, ministers, and mysteries deep and profound, and that it is able to demonstrate its claims of physical transformation, does not lift if above the level of Satan’s power. That it denies even the need of the blood of the Cross, separates it, in spite of its claims, from the God of the Scriptures, and brands it with every characteristic of Satan’s counterfeit.
     Another subject already mentioned which is of common interest to humanity, is immortality. How persistently man has sought to see beyond the veil! And yet how little of fact has been discovered, beyond that which it has pleased God to reveal in His Word! How strong is the desire of the heart to follow the departed into the great unseen! And how subtle is “spiritism” in its election of a phase of the immortality question as its bait to beguile sorrow-crushed souls into a disregard of their only hope in the blood (judgment and Spiritual death) of Christ.
     This system has existed from the earliest ages and has the unqualified condemnation of Scripture; yet in the last half-century it has taken new interest and dignity to itself under the modern title of “Psychical Research.” With boldest assumption it claims to be the only safe exponent of truth, and to be working in the interests of science; changing science being accepted as more trustworthy than Divine Revelation. It offers as final evidence for its assumptions, what are represented to be the statements of deceased people.
Less is made of the Scriptures in this system: yet here, as might be expected, there is violent opposition to the Doctrine of Regeneration. (Tit 3:4-6)
     It cannot possibly be denied that there is an intelligent response to the human appeal from the Unseen; and messages are being received and mysterious acts are being performed with increasing frequency. It cannot, however, be proven that this response is from the spirit of the person named, for a lying spirit could easily know enough of any person’s life to represent him in every detail. That the whole system could be of Satan is evident, and since it denies man’s only hope of redemption, it is no part of the real Truth of God. It, too, bears all the marks of the workings of Satan.
     Another system of thought called “New,” but which is as old as human philosophy, appropriates every phase of metaphysical belief. The central idea of the “New Thought” is the complete development of man, — body, soul, and spirit. Every possible human power is utilized; there is recognition of the Creator; the Word of God is appropriated in convenient texts; and Christ is claimed by its followers to be the complete example and embodiment of all their ideals. Newly stated theories of psychology are included in this system, and the whole teaching stands as the embodiment of all the ideals of the one who first suggested to humanity that they, by their own efforts, become as God. The system wholly denies Scriptural regeneration, both as to its necessity and as a fact; and is a veritable worship of self, as predicted for the last days. (2Ti 3:2) It substitutes the development of the will as a power for victory in the life, in place of the God-provided victory over sin by God the Holy Spirit. Its followers seem to be utterly blind to the plainest Truths of the Scriptures, and are marveling at what they suppose to be a discovery; when, perchance, they are able to comprehend some secondary Truth of the Word of God. This system, like “Christian Science,” numbers its followers by the hundreds of thousands. They support many periodicals, and their teachings are read and accepted throughout the world.
     In all these doctrines there is included much of the precious Truth of God, but this is employed only as a bait to cover the relentless hook of Satan, by which he seeks to draw human souls away from God and into perdition. Not one positive word is said of the future state of man, or of his fitness to meet his God, and any belief in immortality is borrowed from the Revelation of God; for the systems themselves are given over to distracting and diverting man from the thought of his need of a Divinely wrought preparation for eternity. It is commonly stated by the followers of these systems that it is of little importance what one believes, for it is the life that counts. Thus the great and necessary fact that any true character as well as any eternal blessedness depends upon what one believes, rather than on the life, is discredited.
     These systems are mentioned only as examples of the almost innumerable false doctrines that are sweeping the world to-day. They often reappear under new and misleading titles. The Truth they acknowledge, and many forces they employ are God’s gracious provision for His saints; yet when these Truths and forces are used alone, where the real purpose of God is skillfully omitted, they become only the hypocrisy that covers and garnishes a lie.
     Again, many are deluded by the emphasis upon the mere outward forms of the visible Church. When these forms are analyzed, they appear to represent a church ministered to by a recognized ordained minister who depends upon his own personality for his power; and who preaches ethics and morality drawn from Scripture texts and other ethical writings. Prayers are offered, imploring the Almighty to aid humanity in its attempts to commend itself to Him by a more or less faithful practice of religion. The pleasures of music as an art are provided at fabulous cost, in place of the praise that is inspired by the Spirit of God. Social gatherings are held, to take the place of the unity of God the Holy Spirit and the love of the brethren. Humanitarian appeals for the betterment of the world are made, in place of the evangelical regeneration by the Cross; and not one reference to the real Gospel is made from one year to the next, unless it is in a covered denial. The sleeping congregations are seemingly satisfied with a mockery of the Truth, and are content with a doctrine that proposes to educate souls into hell, and which encourages them to make a few efforts toward self-development while on their certain road to perdition. It is no longer good form in society to be without some church relations, yet the one and only true basis for Salvation may never have been comprehended or accepted by a multitude of these members. Truly the god of this world is accomplishing his end, and his blinded followers are coming to be numbered with the faithful.
     The last development of the earth history of the visible Church is predicted to be a condition in which the Church is saying, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” The passage continues, “and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. [Change your mind] Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My Voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:17-20) If Scripture language and figure mean anything, this is a description of an unregenerate and or carnal Church over which the Lord is pleading. It is from this Church that He has withdrawn; and is seen outside, standing and knocking. His hope is not centered upon reforming the whole mass of professing members; for his offer is to the individual “anyone” with whom He will then have personal communion and fellowship.
     Sad is the spectacle of these churches; meeting week after week to be beguiled by the philosophy of men, and raising no voice in protest against the denial of their only foundation as a church, and of their only hope for time and eternity! Far more honorable were the infidels of the past generation than these ministers. They were wholly outside the Church. But now, behold the inconsistency! Men who are covered by the vesture of the Church, ministering its sacraments, and supported by its benevolence, are making an open attack upon that wisdom of God which made Christ Jesus the only ground for all righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. The predictions for the last days are thus not only being fulfilled by false systems and doctrines, but they are found in the visible Church itself. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; [God's Declaration of Reality] but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the Truth and will turn aside to myths.” [Human traditions] (2Ti 4:3-4)
     Great religious activities are possible without coming into complications with saving faith. It is possible to be more concerned over the untimely death of one hundred thousand drunkards than with the Christ-less death of twenty million human beings; or to be wholly concerned with the educational and physical needs of the heathen, and to neglect their greatest need in regeneration. (A new human spirit; Gal 6:15) Thus Satan may gain his own ends, even through some so-called missionary undertakings, for in this manner he can beguile untaught saints to limit their work to the lines of his highest ideals. It is possible to fight against sin and not present the Savior; or to urge the highest Scriptural ideals and yet offer no reasonable way of attainment.
     There is a strange fascination about these undertakings which are humanitarian, and are religious only in form and title. And there is a strange attraction in the leader who announces that he is not concerned with the Doctrines of Scripture, because the helping of humanity is his one passion and care: yet all his passion is lost and his care is to no real end unless coupled with a very positive message of a particular way of Salvation, the true understanding of which demands a series of most careful distinctions.
     Recently the word “pragmatism” has been brought into popular use to denote the test by which the pragmatists measure all systems, theories and doctrines. The pragmatic inquiry when applied to any system, theory, or doctrine may be understood to mean, “does it meet its claims in practice?” Although much is being made of this phase of pragmatism, the test is as old as the race, and verified by Scripture, for Jesus said, “You shall know them by their fruit.” However, the burden of testing claims has never before been so great, for the world was never so filled with new and strange theories as now. And these modern systems that deny true Salvation in Christ are growing mightily under this test. They offer comparatively little and are usually able to meet their claims. “Christian Science” does, to some extent, change the condition of mind and body. “Spiritism” offers a demonstration from the invisible, and the demonstrations appear. “New Thought” proposes a development of the whole natural man, and thrives by the practical test of “pragmatism.” The same is true of all other similar systems and doctrines, and will be true of those that may yet appear, since it is the very program of Satan as it is revealed in his last blasphemous counterfeit of the Son of God; for it is written in, (Rev 13:3-4) that they first wondered at the miracles of the Man of Sin, and then worshipped. Woe to the untaught soul who stands wondering to-day at the marvels of this evil age, if he be without a sense of the importance and value of the priceless blood of the Cross! The step is not far, for such a one, to the place where he falls in worship: worship of a being who is supposed to have forgotten abhorrence of sin and abandoned all eternal Covenants of mercy by blood alone; a being who is supposed to be glad that the world has outgrown the old unbearable estimates of sin and redemption, and into whose presence the worshipper is supposed to be free to come on the ground of his fallen human nature, or the “universal fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.”
     Who can be the god of these systems? The energizing power in these people? And the answerer of their prayers? Surely not the God of the Scriptures, who cannot deny himself, and whose word cannot be made to pass away! Revelation sets forth but one other being who is capable of these undertakings; and it not only assigns to this being a great and sufficient motive for all such activity, but clearly predicts that he will thus “oppose” and “exalt himself” in this very day and age.
     Much of the secondary Truth is the present inheritance of the child of God: yet, if there is a choice to be made, the deepest wisdom will perceive that all the combined secondary values that Satan can offer are but for a fleeting time; are not worthy to be compared with the eternal riches of grace in Christ Jesus.

The Believer’s Present Position
     Since the Bible contains God’s message to the people of the ages, it must be rightly divided if the body of truth concerning any particular age or people is to be clearly understood. There are, undoubtedly, many things in common in the various ages, and, because of that fact, the superficial use of the Scriptures has been to treat the entire book as a direct message to all people of all time. This method, as has been stated, has resulted in great confusion as to the Divine program.
     When that portion of Scripture which directly applies to the present age has been discovered, that, too, must be divided; for the present time is a period of mixture among the people of the earth — the saints of God tenting among the citizens of the Satanic system, and having nothing in common with them beyond the ordinary things of this earth life.
     Again, that particular body of Truth which applies to the child of God in this age may be divided, and a portion be called “Positional Truth” in that it unfolds the believer’s present relation to the Godhead, the heavens, and the present world; while another may be known as “Life Truth” (The Spiritual life) in that it is a particular statement of his present responsibility in conduct and service, and also includes the provisions of God whereby he may fully accomplish the whole will of God. A partial study of Life Truth is reserved for the next and last chapter; while this chapter is to be devoted to the believer’s present position and separation from the world.
     The importance of Positional Truth is suggested by the fact that, in the context of Scripture, it precedes the statement of Life Truth; forming the basis of its appeal. As an illustration of this it may be seen that the order of the Doctrinal Epistles is first, to state a great Positional Truth, which is then followed by an appeal for a life consistent with the Truth revealed. The first great section of the book of Romans, (Chapters 1–8) sets forth the fact of a great and full Salvation and Spiritual life; this is followed, (Omitting the dispensational parenthesis of Chapters 9–11) by the closing section, (Chapters 12–16) which is a detailed description of the life a saved person should live, and which opens with this appeal: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your Spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (Rom 12:1) So, in the first section of the letter to the Ephesians, (Chapters 1–3) the believer’s position is unfolded, and this is followed by a section, (Chapters 4–6) which is a series of injunctions for a heavenly walk; this section opens as follows: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3)
     No appeal for faithfulness in the Christian life will be found to be adequate or effective that does, not follow this same order or that is not based upon some great revealed fact of the new life in Christ. It is probable that the present neglect and disregard for Positional Truth has, in spite of moral exhortation, borne its legitimate fruit in a time-serving worldly Church.
     It is a beautiful example of the harmony of the Scriptures that, while the evil of the present age is so-clearly described, the true child of God is most carefully separated from its relationships, and is seen to be in a position so independent of all the authority of the world, that he can walk with the Lord in unbroken communion and fellowship, even while surrounded by this Spiritual darkness. And, though the Scriptural statements as to the ever increasing darkness of this age be rejected, no meaning can be given to these passages that separate the believer from this world, without the recognition of the black background of the failure and sinfulness of this age. It is noticeable that the modern systems take no notice of the difference between the saved and the unsaved, as they also make little of the future state. This is in accordance with the fact that both of these Truths are wholly dependent upon regeneration; and that is the one Truth these systems are originated by Satan to resist.
     The believer’s position is set forth in at least seven positive Revelations, three of which concern his change from the darkness of Satan to the light of God; (Act 26:17-18) two concern his relationship to the heavenly sphere; and two concern his relationship to the Satanic order. A careful study of these important passages will reveal the great Reality of Redemption.
     The first Divine movement for the Salvation of an individual, after the prayer of intercession by God the Holy Spirit, is illumination by the by God the Holy Spirit. This same work is also mentioned as the “convicting” or “convincing” ministry of God the Holy Spirit. In this part of the Divine undertaking, the blinding by Satan is temporarily removed and the soul beholds, by Divine vision, the Lord of glory and the way into eternal life through Him: but woe to the soul thus favored, who repeatedly turns from that vision in rejection! Of such it is written: For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany Salvation, though we are speaking in this way.” (Heb 6:4-9) Here there is pronounced a permanent return to the awful blindness of Satan for the one who rejects the illumination of God the Holy Spirit; but there is also offered an ever-widening of vision and glory to the one who accepts the Lord as He is revealed by God the Holy Spirit, for he then comes into possession of the “things that accompany Salvation.”
     This illuminating work of God the Holy Spirit is mentioned by Paul in his words to King Agrippa, wherein he describes his own commission to service. He claimed to have been appointed by the Lord who spoke to him from the Glory. He relates that by this commission he was sent “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Act 26:18) This is the exact order of the Divine movements in redemption; the illumination of the Spirit is placed before everything else. There is probably no more neglected Doctrine in modern evangelism than this preliminary work of God the Holy Spirit: yet it is the Divine preparation for the intelligent action of the human will; and if the right choice is made, it unveils the eyes for all the coming ages.
     This important illuminating work of God the Holy Spirit is completely described in, (Joh 16:8-11) as being a Revelation of the judgment of all sin and condemnation of every person; not being righteous as Christ, now in heaven; and the realization of the sin of rejecting Him. (EVERYONE is convinced of these three FACTS) The passage is here given: “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” The true child of God is, then, one in whom God the Holy Spirit has formed in lifting the blinding by Satan and revealing to some extent, even now, the surpassing glory of Christ. Sin, too, has become a terrible Reality, and the Cross and the precious blood have become the basis of his confidence toward his God.
     Another Revelation of the present position of the believer is that he has partaken of the Divine nature through regeneration by God the Holy Spirit. This Doctrine is stated in many passages, a few of which are here given: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (Joh 1:12-13) “Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, You must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (Joh 3:5-8) “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Joh 10:10) “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” (Gal 6:15) “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” (Tit 3:5) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2Co 5:17) “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent Promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (2Pe 1:4)
     The Reality of this mighty transformation is in no way evident in present visible things, but must be accepted by faith. It is no less than a translation from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Col 1:13) And by it one is said to be delivered from this present evil age: “who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” (Gal 1:4) and, also, according to the above passage, “to have escaped the corruption that is in the world.” [Satanic system]
     The new life that is thus imparted is none other than the very life of Christ: “But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Rom 8:9) “To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col 1:27) It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. (Gal 2:20) “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; [In fellowship] examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?” (2Co 13:5)
     The third great fact of the believer’s present position in separation from this world is that the Holy Spirit is given to him, at the moment of his regeneration, to indwell and fill him, in place of the energizing power of Satan who is “working in the sons of disobedience.” [Believers not staying in fellowship with God the Holy Spirit] “The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom 5:5) “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things [Thoughts] freely given to us by God.” (1Co 2:12) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1Co 6:19)
     Another phase of the believer’s position is revealed in the fact that he is said to be a citizen of heaven; his home center or citizenship having been moved there from the earth. His name would, therefore, appear only among the celestial beings, in any true census of the universe. The Reality of this unseen relationship is brought out in several passages: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Php 3:20) “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- for we walk by faith, not by sight-- we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (2Co 5:1-8)
     Again, as to the believer’s position in that which is termed in Ephesians “the heavenly places,” — though the supplying of the word “places” is very misleading. The meaning of the word “heavenly” here is not so much of locality as of experience: as is indicated by the use of the same word in other passages where the believer is said to be “heavenly” in standing and relationship. (Heb 3:1; Eph 2:6) See also; (Mat 18:35; Joh 3:12; 1Co 15:48)
Dr. C. I. Scofield makes the following statement on this important phase of the believer’s position:
     “The Christian is ‘heavenly’ by calling, (Heb 3:1) by citizenship, (Php 3:20) by inheritance, (1Pe 1:4) and by resurrection life, (Eph 2:6) as a member of that body of which the Head is actually in heaven. The heavenly (Or ‘in heavenly places,’) therefore, is the sphere of the believer’s present association with Christ. This is shown by the constant context, ‘in Christ Jesus.’ The believer is now associated with Christ in life, (Col 3:4; 1Jn 5:11-12) position, (Eph 2:6) suffering, (Rom 8:18; 2Ti 2:11-12; Col 1:24; Php 1:29) service, (Joh 17:18; Mat 28:18-20) and betrothal. (2Co 11:1-3)
     “The believer is to be associated with Christ in Glory, (Joh 17:22; Rom 8:18; Col 3:4) inheritance, (Rom 8:17) authority, (Mat 19:28; Rev 3:21) and marriage.” (Eph 5:22-32; Rev 19:1-9)
     “The believer’s ‘Spiritual blessings,’ (Eph 1:3) therefore, are to be possessed or experienced only as he lives in the sphere of his joint life, joint position, joint suffering, joint service and joint marriage pledge with Christ. In so far as he lives as a natural man whose interests (Thoughts) are earthly, and avoids the path of co-service and (If need be) co-suffering, he will know nothing experimentally (Experientially) of the exalted blessings of Ephesians. ‘It is sufficient that the servant be as his Master.’ Christ took account of Himself as a heavenly Being come down to earth to do His Father’s will.” (Scofield Bible Correspondence Course, Book 2; page 288.)
     Thus it may be seen that the believer is not only a citizen of heaven, but that he has also been brought into a position where many privileges of the heavenly experience are open to him.
     In like manner, the believer’s position in relation to this world is not only a separation from the world by nature and purpose; but he is also said to be a stranger and a pilgrim among the inhabitants of this dark age. “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1Pe 2:9-12) The same expression of “strangers and pilgrims KJV” is used, also, in regard to the faith descendants of Abraham: “All these died in faith, without receiving the Promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Heb 11:13) This same wide difference between the people of this world and the people of God is also stated in passages where the world is understood to be the system over which Satan now rules: “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life [Old sin nature life] in this world [Satanic system] will keep it to life eternal.” (Joh 12:25) “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (Jas 4:4) “Do not love the world, [Satanic system] nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1Jn 2:15-17)
     The word “lust,” constantly used in description of the satanic system, has a much larger meaning in the Scripture than its present popular use, where it refers only to that which is sensual. In these passages quoted, it refers to the whole Satan-inspired ambition of humanity, and includes their principle of self-help, and their struggle for all that, to them, is highest and best. It is unlawful, in that it disregards the Truth of God; and it is related to that which is physical, because it magnifies the finite being and its resources.
     Two other striking passages concerning the relation of the believer to the world are here given: “By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, [In fellowship] so also are we in this world.” [Satanic system] (1Jn 4:17) “As You sent Me into the world, [Satanic system] even so have I also sent them into the world.” [Satanic system] (Joh 17:18)
     The last Revelation of the believer’s position to be mentioned here, is in regard to his service for the world. The unbounded love of God has called him into fellowship with Christ in the great work of this age; and in that connection he is under commission to evangelize, by a process of witnessing, to the uttermost parts of the world. In this undertaking he is Promised the immediate presence of Christ, to whom all power, both in heaven and in earth, has been given. (Mat 28:18-20) The language of the inspired Book describes such witnesses as “Ambassadors for Christ”: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2Co 5:20) And the ambassador’s message is also given in the next verse of the same passage: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” [We who knew no righteousness]
     Nowhere does the saint need more direct teaching of God the Holy Spirit than in regard to the relation he sustains to this world. In spite of the similarity of his earth life to that of the world’s people, he must reckon himself to be dead in Christ and raised to newness of life. Expecting the world to misunderstand him and even to hate him, and must “conduct ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders.” We are called upon to “use this world but not make full use of it;” and that which is of itself pure and good may become undesirable to us at times, because its use would further the interests of Satan.
     Some have taken the extreme position of assigning to Satan the material universe and everything that is in the world to-day; not recognizing the fact that no material or physical thing is evil of itself. God created all things good. Satan has created nothing, and his present relation to the world is only as a permitted usurper who appropriates and devastates the things of God in the interests of his own ambition. He is the leader in a great and terrible rebellion against the government of God: but the natural universe, like all the powers of the human mind and will, belongs primarily to God, the Creator; and by title of inheritance, they belong also, to the child of God: “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” (1Co 3:21-23) Yet, since Satan is making use of many good things to cover his evil purpose, the child of God must, for the present, discern the hidden evil and, in loyalty to his Lord, reject everything that may further the workings of Satan. The Scripture is very clear on this point, and discusses one issue as an example of all similar issues. This discussion in Scripture is of food which of itself is perfectly good, but may be a means of great harm when associated with the purposes of evil. The passages are as follows: “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this [Think this]--not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.” (Rom 14:13-21) “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we? All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience' sake; FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience' sake. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.” (1Co 10:19-33)
     The question becomes a practical one, in view of the present progress in discovery, science, and psychology. A theory must not be rejected because it is new or mysterious; for the marvelous inventions of the age are often as useful in spreading the Gospel as in furthering the interests of Satan. The newly acquired knowledge of the universe may be as valuable to the progress of good as to the advancement of evil.
     There can be but one final test as to what shall be accepted and what shall be rejected, and that must be made by the individual alone before God. (Rom 14:22) In connection with any such question we may ask, “Is the real work of redemption hindered, or its true basis rejected? Is this a direct denial of the Truth, by which souls will be hindered, or is it a counterfeit which may decoy them away from their only hope in the priceless blood of the Cross?” Beyond this, a child of God may safely be “all things to all men that he may save some.”
     The Christian can see more of beauty in the world, make larger use of its learning, and more fully appreciate its good, than can the children of this age: yet he must now, above all things else, be content with his limited commission, and be zealous of the interests of his Lord and King. Much of his present perplexity would be relieved if he could but realize that he is temporarily tenting where an enemy rules, and where he is the object of that enemy’s fiery darts, yet hedged about by the omnipotence of God; called to bear the one message of redemption by the Cross, in the capacity and hidden dignity of an ambassador from the throne of the Most High; even now possessing a glory which shall soon be unveiled in the presence of his Lord; waiting for that morning when his Lord shall come again and receive him unto Himself.

The Believer’s Present Victory
     An exalted position is usually accompanied with great responsibility. This is certainly true, according to Scripture, in the case of the believer in his heavenly position. For when he is seen as a citizen of heaven, and a partaker of those associations, he is also required, both by Scripture and by reason, to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which he has been called.” The statement of these heavenly demands upon the child of God forms a distinct body of Truth, and there are at least three such bodies of Truth in Scripture, each appearing as a rule of conduct for some special people in some particular time. The Mosaic Law was given primarily to God’s ancient people through Moses; but it has a message still, as it reflects the holiness of God and prepares for the Salvation which is in Christ. So the “Sermon on the Mount,” with the Injunctions of John Baptist, and the early teachings of Christ were given with the coming kingdom age in view and, therefore, form an important Revelation in regard to that time when “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.” Though there are some common Principles running through all these separate Teachings; that Scripture which applies directly to the people of this parenthetical age of the Church will be found only in portions of the Gospels and in the Epistles of the New Testament.
     No appreciation of the provisions of God for a victorious life can be had until the demands which the believer’s position imposes are realized. These demands are in no way the standards of the world, for the believer is not only a citizen of heaven in position, but is called upon even now to fulfill all the Standards of that sphere. As an illustration of this fact, a very few of these heavenly Ideals and Injunctions are given here: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your Spiritual service of worship.” (Rom 12:1) “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” “Abstain from every form of evil.” (1Th 5:16-22). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no Law.” (Gal 5:22-23) “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3) “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:30) “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and Spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” (Eph 5:17-20) “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Eph 6:13) “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Col 3:1-2)
     These requirements are evidently heavenly in character, and demand nothing less than that which is becoming to that sphere. They are, therefore, beyond human strength; for what human power is able to always giving thanks for all things”? Or to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit? Who can be filled with God the Holy Spirit, or rejoice in tribulation? In fact, these demands are often treated as impractical ideals, rather than present requirements; while in Reality they are binding on every child of God. To fail in them at any point, will not un-save one; (Psa 130:3; Rom 4:5) but that failure will profane the heavenly citizenship, dishonor God in whose grace he is standing, (Rom 5:2) and give the enemy occasion to accuse the brethren before God; for Satan judges the Christian on the basis of the heavenly Thoughts rather than the standards of earth. No one can contemplate these impossible responsibilities without a sense of utter helplessness and insufficiency.
     Again, the believer must not only meet the impossible demands of a heavenly position, but he is called upon to face a world-ruling foe, who, with all his kingdom and power, is seeking to break and mar that life into which the Divine nature has been received. The Revelation that Satan is going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, presents a Truth that should disarm the believer of all self-confidence and cause him to dread, above all things else, the subtle devices of this foe. In this connection, (Eph 6:10-12) may well be restated: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” In view of this opposition of Satan, it is still more evident that the requirements of the Christian life are beyond any human power.
     So, also, there is a fallen human nature within the child of God, which is prone to dishonor God, and is itself beyond the control of the human will. This important and much misunderstood Doctrine is taken up at length in, (Rom 7:14-25). “For we know that the Law is Spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God [Spiritual life] in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
This battle between the old nature and the new is then, never gained for God by human power or by religious exercise: but through The Filling of God the Holy Spirit and Divine Thinking Alone!
     Thus the believer is confronted with a threefold impossibility as he contemplates his heavenly responsibility. First: The heavenly position demands a manner of life that is beyond any human possibility. Second: The enemy is stronger than he, and can thwart every resolution to do better. Third: His own fallen nature entices him to do positive evil when he would do good. Notwithstanding this threefold impossibility, there is a clear call to a victorious life, wherein every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ, (2Co 10:5) and if he fails by one degree, he will dishonor the God who has called him.
     Where, then, is the relief from this dilemma? It is found only in the power of God. He has provided a complete Salvation from the dominion and power of evil, which is a real victory — the only victory for the believer in this present life and conflict. It is a second form or tense of Salvation, for it is possible to be saved from the condemnation and penalty of sin, and still for a time to be under its dominion and power. Salvation from the power of the world, the flesh, and the devil, may be secured as freely and completely as the Salvation from the penalty of sin, and on the same terms; yet its terms and conditions are so unlike the methods of the world that often it seems unreal, even to Christians.
     No instructed person expects to be free from condemnation, or justified before God, by reason of his moral character; nor can there be freedom from the power of sin by reason of the resolutions of the human will. Though the Christian life is impossible by human strength, it is within the power of God; and He offers to supply all that He requires, even to a completely victorious life. Since it is necessarily a Divine undertaking, the human part can be no more than an attitude of expectation or faith toward God, — an attitude which reckons self to be helpless, and God alone to be sufficient. It is a perpetual realization of the Principle of faith and, therefore, at every point, contradicts Satan’s principle of self-help.
     Here, as in every human effort to be God-like, Satan’s ideals and methods are so thrust upon the world that the natural dependence of the creature upon the Creator is made to seem a weak and unreasonable thing. This worldly mind has found a place in the Church and to a large extent, in spite of the Teachings of Scripture; and it is often as difficult to inspire true expectation toward God in the Christian mind in the matter of daily victory, as it is to move the self-righteous and self-sufficient unbeliever to believe on Christ for regeneration.
     True dependence upon the sufficiency of God is thus born of a vision of the utter inability of the natural man (The old sin nature) to meet the demands of the heavenly citizenship. The world citizen may wrestle against flesh and blood to realize his moral ideals: but he has no heavenly Standards to fulfill; no mighty foe to face; and no conflict of natures. Therefore, his low ideals may often be reached by reason of his own resolution and will. Especially will this method be adequate for the unregenerate, as the energizing power of Satan is working in him to cause him both to will and to do the purpose of Satan: (Eph 2:2) but the faith Principle is the only possible way to victory for the child of God; and it must be faith alone in the Word of God.
     As the soul may be eternally lost, while calling upon God to help him save himself: so the saint who only seeks the assistance of God in the exercise of his own power toward a correct manner of life, may be a dishonor to God constantly. The Principles of faith and of works can no more be mixed in the one case than in the other. They both present human impossibilities and, therefore, demand the power of God. The Scriptures are clear on this point, both in Precept and example:
     First: The power of God is the believer’s sufficiency in meeting the heavenly demands: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Php 2:13) “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.” (2Co 3:5) “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (1Co 15:10) Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Gal 3:3) “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (Eph 6:10) The latter passage is but the natural culmination of the whole Revelation of the believer’s citizenship and its responsibilities. Therefore, the final counsel is to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
     Second: The conflict with the enemy can be a victory only by the power of God. A remarkable Revelation is given in the Scriptures of the attitude of the angels toward Satan, and this attitude can well be considered by fallen man. In, (Jude 1:9) Michael, the archangel, is seen in controversy with Satan over the body of Moses. There is no Revelation as to the time or the occasion of this controversy. It is stated that Moses was buried in secret and was later seen in his transfigured and glorified body, so that it is possible that the removal of the body of Moses from the domain of Satan was the occasion here referred to. The passage is as follows: “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke you!” In like manner in, (2Pe 2:10) the false teachers of the end of this age are said to disregard the heavenly powers (Do not give credit to Satan and the demons for living through EVERY person) which angels dare not do. “And especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.” There is also probably a just regard, on the part of the angelic beings, for the fact that Satan is the “anointed” of God. (Eze 28:14) As David would not lift up his hand against Saul because he was the “Lord’s anointed.” (1Sa 24:6) Christ is said to be anointed; (Psa 2:2) so also is the believer. (1Jn 2:27) But it is also shown here that the superior wisdom and strength of even Michael, the archangel, and all other celestial beings, is never lifted in conflict with Satan. They rely only upon the same power that is Promised the believer, and well may the believer be instructed by their example.
     There are two passages where the child of God is directed to resist the devil. The context, however, in both passages warns him that it must be in utter dependence upon the power of God. He must be wholly submitted to God and it must be done through a steadfastness of faith. The passages are as follows: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and [God will make him] flee from you.” (Jas 4:7) “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, [Stay in fellowship] knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” (1Pe 5:8-9) And the faith Principle is mentioned among the believer’s armor in, (Eph 6:16) as the “shield of faith” by which all the fiery darts of the enemy are to be quenched.
     Third: True character may be realized by the power of God, in spite of the tendency of the fallen nature. This character, however, is that which is directly Promised by the power of God: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no Law.” (Gal 5:22-23) “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and Truth.” (Eph 5:9) “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; [Demons] because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1Jn 4:4) Thus the true God-honoring nature is seen to be the result of the power of God, and it is only possible to the one who has entered His rest resting from his own works and thoughts, as God did from His. (Heb 4:1) “This is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.” (1Jn 5:4) This victory demands a constant exercise of faith. Faith is never finished here, and any true progress in the Christian life is “from faith to faith,” and it is also said of the one whom God has constituted just, that he shall “live by faith.”
     The same objection is often raised against the application of the faith in God's Thoughts Principle as a means to the consummation of a victorious life, as is raised against the same Principle for regeneration. In this objection it is inferred that when this method is adopted, there is no adequate incentive or motive left for the individual. Such objections arise from a misunderstanding of these Doctrines.
     It is useless to undertake the impossible in any case; and in the matter of Salvation from the penalty of sin, the only work which it is possible for God to accept as the ground of redemption is that which is already undertaken and fully completed by Christ on the Cross. By this finished work the believer is provided with a perfect standing before God, and is raised to the exalted position of an ambassador for Christ. That privilege of service does not affect the grounds of his Salvation, but opens to him the glorious possibility of rewards. (1Co 3:9-15) In the matter of Salvation from the power of sin, the human will may be employed as an instrument through which the power of God may be manifested. The following passages reveal how directly He proposes to be the real power in the believer’s life: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Php 2:13) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations [False thinking] and every lofty thing [Pride] raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.(2Co 10:3-5) “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Php 4:13) “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (Joh 15:5)
     It is assumed that the believer has recognized the perfectness of the will of God and has thrown his whole being open to His power and guidance. As a little child may avail himself of the wisdom and experience of his parents through obedience, so the believer has become willing to do whatever the infinite wisdom and love of God may choose for him. When thus committed to the will of God, and in true faith depending on Him, the mighty power of God the Holy Spirit will work in him and through him to the glory of God. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16) “For the Law of the Spirit of life [In fellowship with the Divine nature ] in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” [The carnal nature] (Rom 8:2) Salvation and the Spiritual life in any form is, therefore, not of works, lest any man should boast.
     It remains to be seen, in view of the perilous position of the believer in the enemies’ land, that God has not only provided every needed force for conquest and victory, but has given positive Promises for the security of the one He has received on the ground of the shed blood of Christ, “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land?” (Job 1:10). “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” (Joh 10:29) “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1Co 10:13) “Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:33-39)


No comments: