Adventism and Spiritualism
Adventism and Spiritualism
John J. Grosboll
A question that is always on my mind is, How are we going to help Godís people to be prepared for the great crisis that is coming in the closing days of this world?
The story of the woman who was caught in adultery is recorded in John 8. Jesus told her not only that she was pardoned but that she was to go and sin no more. Then He stated: "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
The Jews did not like being told they were in the dark, and they started arguing with Jesus about it. Jesus explained to them, "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide [not remain] in darkness." John 12:46. In other words, Jesus is telling the Jews, "You are in the dark, but if you will look to Me, you will come out of the dark, and you will have light." Always remember that the experience of Godís people at the first advent is spoken of by Ellen White as a representation of the experience of Godís chosen people at the time of the second advent. (See The Great Controversy, 351.)
Earth Will be Dark
Now in the last days of the worldís history, the Bible predicts that the earth all over will be dark. "For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you." Isaiah 60:2. What is this darkness that is going to cover the earth and the deep darkness the people? "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Revelation 12:9. The devil deceives the whole world.
Revelation 16:13, 14 says, "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [coming] out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, [which] go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." The earth is going to be filled with darkness, spiritual darkness, as a result of the deceptions of the devil. How much of the world does mystical Babylon cover? All of it. Revelation 18:23 talks about Babylon: "The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived."
Do you believe we are living in the last days of this worldís history? If we are living in the last days, then what we just read in Revelation is happening, and we should be aware of it. What is the masterpiece of deception? "As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare." The Great Controversy, 588.
Last Great Deception
The last great deception is going to appear to be a Christian teaching, but it is actually going to come from the wrong spirit. Ellen White says, "Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power." Ibid. The devil himself professes to be a Christian!
The spirits will be professed Christians. They will go to church. They will profess faith in Christ. But it is a deception, a masterful deception. "The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism." Ibid.
Does the devilís plan to sweep all people into the ranks of spiritualism include the Roman Catholics? How about the Protestant churches? Are they all going to be deceived? "Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings [people who do not go to any church] will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium." Ibid., 588, 589.
The devil decides that through spiritualism he is going to get all peopleóthe Roman Catholics, all the Protestant churches, and all the people who do not go to any churchóand sweep them all into one big church. They are going to say, "This is the greatest religious revival there has ever been. We are now going to have the millennium of peace; the world is going to be converted. Christianity is finally going to triumph."
When I first studied these things, 30 years ago, I thought that it referred to all the other churches and the worldlings, but not to the Seventh-day Adventists. However, I have found that Ellen White gives warning after warning to Seventh-day Adventists. Do not think that, because you are a Seventh-day Adventist, you cannot be taken in by spiritualism.
One Form of Spiritualism
Spiritualism has more than one form. There is one form of spiritualism by which Adventists cannot easily be deceived but by which most of the rest of the world can be. Most other churches do not understand what happens to a person when they die. They think that, when you die, you do not really die; there is some part of you that goes on living. If some part of you goes on living, why could not that part of you contact somebody who is still living in the world? Through that misunderstanding of death, the devil will deceive millions and millions of people.
The Bible says that the dead know not anything. (See Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.) The dead are asleep; they are unconscious. That is how the Bible repeatedly describes death. Jesus spoke of death as a sleep in John 11:11Ė14. The dead are not up in heaven praising the Lord. "The dead do not praise the Lord, Nor any who go down into silence." Psalm 115:17. The dead do not know anything, the Psalmist says. Their anger, their hatred, their love, their envy has all perished. Most Christians today do not know that.
So when an apparition comes to them and says, "I am the Virgin Mary, and I have a message for you from the throne of God," they believe it. But friends, both Roman Catholics and Protestants have acknowledged for many years that Mary died. If Mary died, then she cannot be talking, because when a person dies, they cannot communicate with anybody until after they are resurrected. Job 7:9, 10 says, ". . . He who goes down to the grave does not come up. He shall never return to his house, Nor shall his place know him anymore." How long will he be in that condition? Job 14:12 tells us: "Man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens [are] no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep." When are the heavens (and the earth) going to pass away? When Jesus comes. "ĎHeaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.í" Matthew 24:35.
So one way the devil deceives people through spiritualism is by appearing as someone who has died. Incidentally, the Virgin Mary apparitions are encouraging people to keep Sunday, which is directly contrary to the commandments. The message given is contrary to Godís law and the Bible tells us that if a spirit does not teach according to the law and to the testimony, there is no light in it. (See Isaiah 8:20.) Light and darkness.
The foundation of spiritualism is the first lie that the devil told to Eve: "Then the serpent said to the woman [Eve], ĎYou will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat it [the fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.í" Genesis 3:4, 5.
But after Eve ate of that fruit, did she have more light? No, she had less light, and her mind was darkened by sin. She with Adam had to leave the garden. That began the experience that the Bible calls the darkness, the blackness, the awfulness of sin.
That was just the first experience where something that was dark was called light. In Isaiah 5:20, it says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light." There is a progression. First evil is called good and then good is called evil. That is the first step.
If you take something that is dark, and you call it light, eventually, your whole definition, your whole frame of reference will get all confused. That is the underlying principle of all spiritualistic teachings. You take something that is dark, and you call it light.
We need to understand what the Bible says about spiritual darkness and spiritual light. First, let us find out what spiritual darkness is. "The way of the wicked [is] like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble." Proverbs 4:19.
What causes wickedness? Sin. What is sin? Sin is the transgression of Godís law. (See 1 John 3:4.) If you are living a life in which you are breaking Godís law, you are in the darkóspiritually. You cannot see. Many people in this world are just going along, living in sin, and they are in the dark. They do not realize that, at the end of the line, they are going to be destroyed. They do not know, because they are in the dark. The devil has told them, "You can keep on sinning, keep on disobeying the law of God, and still live." That is the basic, fundamental lie of spiritualism. That which is dark is called light.
By contrast, what does the Bible say is spiritual light? If you are in the dark, and you want to get out of the dark, then how do you turn on the light? "For the commandment [is] a lamp, and the law a light; Reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life." Proverbs 6:23. Jesus said, "I have kept My Fatherís commandments." John 15:10. In the life of Jesus we have an example of perfectly keeping Godís law. If we look to Jesus and follow Him, we will be in the light.
The devil says you can break Godís law and live. The Bible says, if you break Godís law, the end result is going to be death. In Psalm 119:105 we read: "Your word [is] a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." Psalm 119:130 says, "The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple." The Bible, Godís word, is spiritual light, and if you follow it, you will be in the light.
Dark Called Light
The devil takes something that is dark and calls it light. People are fooled, and they say, "This is great light!" But it is dark. In Luke 22:53 Jesus said, about the devil, "When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." The devil is in charge of all the spiritual darkness. This is the darkness that is going to cover the whole world and the deep darkness that will be upon the people. It is the deception that you can sin and still live.
What does the devil do with this darkness? 2 Corinthians 11:14 says, "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." He is really the prince of the power of darkness, but he transforms himself, and he puts a label on himself, and he says, "I am an angel of light." People today are fooled, just like Eve was fooled. And we read in the book of Revelation that this deception is going to cover the entire world. All nations are going to be deceived by these sorceries.
We have now covered the foundation principles of spiritualism. People like it when you just talk about foundation principlesóit does not get too close to home. But friends, that is not good enough for today. We have to understand how these principles of light and darkness get worked out in our lives, in our families, and in our churches. Otherwise we are going to be deceived by spiritualism.
Warnings for Adventists
Almost one-fourth of volume 8 of Testimonies for the Church is warnings to Seventh-day Adventists against spiritualism. The book Ministry of Healing contains over 60 pages of the same warnings. There are other scattered references throughout the writings of Ellen White. Are Seventh-day Adventists in any danger of spiritualism? Evidently. You see, we thought we were not in any danger because of our understanding of the state of the dead. We just assumed we were okay.
But when you are dealing with somebody who is a master at taking darkness and calling it light, unless you know and understand the principles from Godís word, you will be deceived and not even know it.
Come Out of Babylon
What are some of the practical ways that this works out so that people take darkness, and want to be in the dark; they do not want to be in the light? If you want to be in the dark instead of being in the light of Godís word, the devil is influencing your mind, and you probably do not even know it. Revelation 18:1 says, "After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated . . . ." Is this light or dark? This is light. It is such a great light that the whole world is lighted up.
This angel is telling the world, "You are in the dark, and if you do not get out of there, you are going to burn up." Verse 4 says, "And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ĎCome out of her [Babylon], my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues." If you are in the dark, you think you can go on sinning and still have eternal life. But the Bible says, if you do not come out of there, if you keep sinning, you are going to go to eternal destruction. If you do not quit, you are going to endure the seven last plagues. This is the light, and this light is going to cover the earth.
The word that is translated angel, the Greek word angelos, means messenger. When God sends an angel from heaven, how is that angel going to speak? It will speak through men, through human messengers. So if you are on the earth in the last days and the Lord chooses to speak through you, what message are you going to give to the people who are in Babylon all over the world? You are going to tell them to come out, because if they stay in Babylon and share in her sins, keep on sinning, they are going to suffer the seven last plagues. The whole world is deceived, according to Revelation 18:23, by this sorcery that you can keep sinning. It is the darkness that is called light.
If somebody starts preaching this message, to come out of Babylon and to keep Godís commandments and quit sinning, are they preaching light or darkness? They are preaching light.
The Devilís Response
If you were the devil, what would you do about it? The devil wants to keep people in the dark and tell them that the darkness is light, so the devil would want to stop that preaching. He gets representatives in Babylon to complain about the people being brought out of the darkness. He gets them to say, "We want them to stay where they are. We want them to stay in the church where they are. We want them to stay in the darkness."
Who does the devil use to try to stop the people who are preaching the light and to keep the people in darkness? In New Guinea the people that the devil used were the Seventh-day Adventists! It was a Seventh-day Adventist church organization that came to the street preachers and said, "Stop preaching this."
Spiritualism in Adventism
When you have somebody preaching the light and somebody else is trying to keep the people in the dark, they are under the control of supernatural forces of evil. And the church organization in New Guinea, which is under the control of the church organization in Australia, which is under the control of the church organization in Maryland, tried to stop the preaching of the light!
When things like that are going on, there is spiritualism right in the Adventist Church, because they are trying to put out the light and turn on the dark. You think that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not in danger of spiritualism? The whole organization is permeated by the influence of demons that are trying to stop the preaching of the three angelsí messages all over the world. I just gave you an example in New Guinea.
Have no Fellowship
In Ephesians 5:11 we read: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose [them]." 1 Corinthians 5:11Ė13 says, "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother [that is a member of the church], who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortionerónot even to eat with such a person. For what [have] I [to do] with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside [that is outside the church], God judges. Therefore, [put away from yourselves the evil person]."
The Apostle Paul is telling us that if the Spirit of God is in the church and there is light in the church, to not have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Expose them if somebody continues in sin. Now we are not talking about somebody who slips and falls into sin and repents and wants to come back to the Lord. We are talking about the person who insists on living a life of sin, like the man in 1 Corin-thians 5 who decided he was going to live with his fatherís wife.
He says, "Put those people out of the church." Do you believe what the Bible says? The Bible says you are not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness in the church. If somebody refuses to keep the law of God, and they are living in open sin, they are to be disfellowshiped. You are not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.
What does the devil say; what does the devil do? Remember he is the master of darkness, of wickedness, of sin. The wicked are the people who are living in sin, but the devil calls it light. He says, "Just accept everybody together." He uses the parable of the wheat and the tares to persuade people on this point. (See Matthew 13.) A tare represents somebody whose heart is not right, but on the outside they are living according to the commandments.
The devil uses and misrepresents this parable to try to convince people that they have to let all the sin stay in the church. Do you know what will happen to the church if you allow sin in it? This is what has happened in Adventism, and it is the result of spiritualism. It is spiritualism that teaches people to have the darkness and light mingled all together. If you took half a cup of sewer water and half a cup of pure water and poured it together, would you be willing to drink half of it? Well, that is what spiritualism teaches. Just mingle it all together.
The Bible says, do not have anything to do with it. What will happen if you do? "Your glorying [is] not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?" 1 Corinthians 5:6. What will happen to the church? It will ruin the whole church if any open sin is allowed in. It is calling darkness light to allow people living in open sin in the church. It is the result of spiritualism, and it completely wrecks the church.
Do you know what the devil also does, in addition to saying to people to let all the sin in the church? If there is a preacher who says, "I do not believe we should have this sin in the church," the devil will have all those people who do not want sin in the church disfellowshiped.
That, my friends, in a simple sense is what happened in Hungary. Over 1,000 people were disfellow-shiped in Hungary because there were a few preachers who said, "There is open sin in the leadership of the church here, and it needs to be dealt with." The response was: "We are not going to deal with that. We are going to deal with you and get you out." What did they do? They put darkness for light. That is a spiritualistic teaching. That is the way the devil gets control of the professed people of God. It is happening all over the world.
People say, "Just preach love. Do not deal with these things." When you turn on the light, people want to stay in the dark. It is an evidence that evil spirits are at work in our churches all over the world, because we are putting darkness for light.
In 2 Corinthians 6:14 we read: "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?" If you put darkness for light, you are just going to be in the dark, and you are going to eternal destruction.
What About You?
The Lord says, "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18. The world says, "Let us get everyone together. Get all the people who are living in all kinds of sin and let them all come together into one great, big church." God says, "Get out from that. Righteousness does not have any fellowship with lawlessness. Light does not have any fellowship with darkness. Get out from that and be separate. If you do, you will be my child, and I will be your Father."
Where are you headed, friend? Are you with the mass of people in this world who are breaking Godís law? It is called light, but it is really darkness, the Bible says. Or are you willing to come out and be separate and say, "Lord, I am going to follow you all the way. Whatever you want me to do, that is what I am going to do. And whatever you do not want me to do, that is what I will not do." Come out from the darkness. Choose to follow the light. You cannot mix light and darkness. You cannot mix obedience and disobedience. As soon as you mix them, it is disobedience. As soon as you mix it, it is dark.
Do you want to be one of those who is not having fellowship with lawlessness and darkness and unrighteousness? Do you want to say, "Lord, I am willing to be separate. I am willing to be all by myself, if I have to." There are a lot of Godís people all over the world by themselves right now. But they are acknowledged as Godís children, because they will not join with the wickedness. Do you want to be one of them? It is a big group, but they are mostly separated right now. You will find out, at the end of the world, that it is a huge group.
Do not accept or believe the devilís lie. Watch. The labels have been switched. Darkness is not light, no matter how many times the devil says it is. God says, "Be separate. Come out, and I will be a Father to you and you will be My child, really, not just by profession, but in reality."
The spirits of devils are at work in Adventist families and churches today. But Jesus said, "He that follows Me will not stay in darkness, but he will have the light of life." John 8:12.
To be continued . . .
October 2002 Table of Contents