MEETING THE CRISISWHEN SATAN COMMANDS SUNDAY WORSHIP #5
By: Elder Lawrence Nelson
Have you ever been caught in a mob riot? I can personally testify it is a most frightening experience. Years ago, while serving my Lord in the General Conference, I traveled to South America to encourage our youth to share their faith. One of the cities I visited was Santiago, Chile nestled between the Andes Range and the Pacific Ocean.
As we disembarked from the plane, we discovered this great metropolitan area had exploded overnight into a civil unrest. Without transportation, we located a small hotel that provided us room for the night. Being hungry we set out to find some place to get our breakfast. We had not gone far when we suddenly faced a large mob, armed with clubs and stones, rounding the corner. Immediately we turned back only to discover a large number of soldiers with water cannons coming to meet the mob, and we were caught in the middle.
We banged on the door but no one heard us. We tried several doors but they were all locked. Finally we found one door that opened and I still believe that an angel unlocked that door for us. We entered the building and shut and locked the door behind us. Fortunately, no one was home. Quickly we ran up the stairway into a large room where we could look into the street below.
I shall never forget the sight as the soldiers and the mob tangled. When the water cannon hit the mob many fell to the street and rolled like logs from the force of the water. Since the windows were open in the room where we were watching below, we were soon choking from the tear gas. In a few minutes it was all over. The mob disintegrated and the soldiers and water cannons rushed to attack another mob some blocks away, giving us an opportunity to return to the hotel.
Why have I related this hair-raising experience? Because I believe the time will soon come when many of God's faithful will find themselves facing a mob because they refuse to worship on Sunday – the day demanded to keep holy by the New World Order. Keep in mind this experience that I just related as we will discuss what the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy tells us will soon take place.
But first, let us pause here to pray for heavenly guidance. Oh loving Father, as we discover how Satan will personally reveal himself and take command in the coming battle of deception we know that we will only survive by Thy divine power. May we be led by Thy Spirit to be so fully consecrated to Thee that we may be worthy of Thy mighty power to help and protect the faithful from Satan's snares in this coming crisis. In Jesus' name, we ask, Amen.
Now let us open God's Word and read 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15. "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
For centuries Satan has planted the idea in almost all Christian religions that as the millennium begins Jesus will come to earth and establish His kingdom on this planet for a thousand years of peace. Now what do you suppose Satan is attempting to achieve in such a false teaching? The answer is simple: What he did not achieve in heaven he hopes to achieve here on earth. So in order to accomplish this goal he plans to personate Jesus in a false Second Coming. "As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ." Great Controversy p. 624.
In Bible Commentaries, Volume 7, p. 272 it says, "In the last days Satan will personally play a more direct role culminating his deception by personally counterfeiting the coming of Christ." Ellen White further explains, and I'm quoting, "In the last days [Satan] will appear in such a manner as to make men believe him to be Christ come the second time into the world." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, p. 698. These quotations give us a full explanation of 2 Corinthians 11:14 which reads, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
Let me again emphasize the question: What does Satan expect to achieve in personally counterfeiting the coming of Jesus Christ? - The Spirit of Prophecy answers, "That gigantic system of false religion (the Roman Catholic church under the leadership of the papacy) is a masterpiece of Satan's power -- a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will." Great Controversy p. 50. Ellen White continues, "The time is at hand when Satan will work miracles to confirm minds in the belief that he is God." Bible Commentaries, Volume 7, p. 975. And what will be the result, I ask? - "Men will be deceived and will exalt Satan to the place of God and deify him." Testimonies to Ministers p. 62.
This helps us to understand the fulfillment of the last end-time prophecies, for the New World Order is to develop a religeo-world empire that will usher in this long-expected millennium of peace. The Spirit of Prophecy confirms this; "Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium." Great Controversy p. 588, 589. This prediction about this millennium will be fulfilled before our very eyes in our day. "The spirits of devils will go forth to the kings of the earth and to the whole world, to fasten them in deception, and urge them to unite with Satan in his last struggle against the government of heaven." Great Controversy p. 624.
I believe the following Inspired statement is a good summary. "Fallen angels upon earth form confederations with evil men. In this age (that is our time) antichrist (that's Satan) will appear as the true Christ, and then the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of the world. Rebellion against God's holy law will be fully ripe." Testimonies to Ministers p. 62.
Likewise the Bible is very positive that in the end time the whole world will worship the dragon (which is Satan) and they will also worship the beast (the papacy). I am reading Revelation 13:4, "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast." Thus there is no doubt the main issue in this end-time test will be a matter of worship. At this time every individual in the world will be forced to make the decision: Who is the highest authority in your life? - The answer of course should be God the Creator who should be worshiped. "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:11.
But Satan's ultimate intention concerning those that worship their Creator is clearly revealed in a vision given to Ellen White in which she saw Satan with his demons in a meeting discussing how to deal with those who would not worship Satan by honoring Sunday as a holy day. She heard Satan state, "We will finally have a law to exterminate all who will not submit to our authority." Testimonies to Ministers p. 473. And listen to the results, "The whole world is to be stirred with enmity against Seventh-day Adventists, because they will not yield homage to the papacy, by honoring Sunday, the institution of this antichristian power. It is the purpose of Satan to cause them to be blotted from the earth, in order that his supremacy of the world may not be disputed." Testimonies to Ministers p. 37.
When this happens there will be only two groups of people in the New World Order when it is fully developed. The first is great Babylon, under the leadership of the papacy. Those involved with this power receive the mark of the beast. The second group are God's last remnant who receive the seal of the living God.
Please note in the following quotation that the last remnant have a designated name. "The whole world is to be stirred with enmity against Seventh-day Adventists." Testimonies to Ministers p. 37. In other words, if he eradicates God's people from the earth then Satan will win the great controversy. He will live forever and the whole world will worship him as God. This is his purpose, his goal, and his aim. And he expects to achieve this by first personally counterfeiting the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and second, eradicating God's people from the earth.
Revelation 13:15 clearly states that the "image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." In this verse are mentioned two words, "speak" and "cause." What do these words mean? "Speak" means legislation; "cause" means enforcement. So this indicates legislation and enforcement of a Sunday observance.
The next two verses say, "And he causeth all (that's enforcement), both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Revelation 13:16,17. I'm quoting, "Rome is aiming to reestablish her power, to recover her lost supremacy....Her former persecution will be repeated." Great Controversy p. 581, 582.
But beloved, we should not be afraid because we have the wonderful promise which says that when the death decree is issued none of God's people will be killed after the close of probation. Daniel 12:1 tells us, "At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." Praise God!
Satan is now using with great success two masterpieces as his main weapons in these last days. The Spirit of Prophecy names them for us. The first one, "Spiritualism is the masterpiece of (Satan's) deception." Signs of the Times, August 26, 1889. And the second, "That gigantic system of false religion (the Catholic system; the papacy) is a masterpiece of Satan's power." Great Controversy p. 50.
In the daily news today we learn of Satan using these two weapons right before our eyes. The first weapon is spiritualism, which he is using now with the apparitions of Mary and her message to the world that the coming of Jesus Christ is at hand. The end is near; be ready. Through this spiritualistic phenomena Satan is bringing the Catholic Church and the apostate Protestantism together with the whole world. The second weapon is the papal power as revealed in the United Nations' New World Order. Through these two weapons the devil is now preparing the world for his personation of Christ just before the real Second Coming.
Do you see how near the end is? O beloved, the end is very, very near. Now we have come to the very core of our subject in this tape, and please listen carefully. Which comes first, the National Sunday Law in America or the counterfeit of the Second Coming of Christ?
Two quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy should help us discover the answer. The first quotation reads, "The substitution of the laws of men for the laws of God, the exaltation, by merely human authority, of Sunday in place of the Bible Sabbath is the last act in the drama." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 7, p. 141. And the second statement says that Satan coming as Christ is the last great scene in the drama. [Review and Herald, September 10, 1903; Evangelism p. 622].
Now the question: What is the difference between these two statements? - The difference is that in the first statement it says the last act is the Sunday Law but in the second statement it says the last great scenes is the counterfeiting coming. As I see it, the conclusion is simple. God, through His last prophetess, predicts the Sunday Law will be the last act in the drama. Therefore if the Sunday Law is the last act of the drama, then Satan's counterfeit of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ must be before the last act in the drama.
To make sure, let us now quote the full statement about the Sunday Law being the last act in the drama. "The substitution of the laws of men for the laws of God, the exaltation, by merely human authority, of Sunday in the place of the Bible Sabbath, is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal God will reveal Himself. He will arise in His majesty to shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 7, p. 141.
The two statements that follow speak of the issue of a National Sunday Law in America and then the universal, worldwide Sunday Law. This is immediately followed by the seven last plagues which follow the close of probation and finally the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. In addition to this the Spirit of Prophecy says, "As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ.... He claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed." Great Controversy p. 624.
Notice also the sequence of the events in the following quotation, "Fallen angels upon earth form confederations with evil men. In this age (or, in this time) antichrist (that's Satan) will appear as the true Christ, and then the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of the world. Rebellion against God's holy law will be fully ripe. But the true leader of all this rebellion is Satan clothed as an angel of light. Men will be deceived and will exalt him to the place of God, and deify him. But Omnipotence will interpose, and to the apostate churches that unite in the exaltation of Satan, the sentence will go forth, 'Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death and mourning, and famines; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.'" Testimonies to Ministers p. 62.
Compare this with a statement in Maranatha p.193 where it says regarding America that it is the Sunday Law that makes God's law void. In the light of the evidence presented it seems to indicate that the counterfeit of the Second Coming of Christ must take place before the National Sunday Law in America. This amazing discovery has opened my eyes to the nearness of the end. Am I prepared to meet Satan face-to-face? Are you?
Here I must describe in detail how the Holy Spirit has pictured the coming crisis to me from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. All the necessary, predicted ingredients of this coming crisis are developing before our eyes. God says, "I come quickly," and God's last-day prophet declares, "The last movements will be rapid ones." Jesus gives us this warning message in Matthew 24:23-27, "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15, "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." An encounter with this counterfeit coming could happen to you.
Let us say that you have just parked your car and you are walking down the street to the corner on business. When you turn up the next street you are faced with an overwhelming surprise. People are running from all directions and you are forced to move with them. Suddenly you find yourself face to face with the devil; or is it Christ. In amazement you discover this majestic being, "bears the appearance [of Christ] in every particular." Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, p. 698. You are startled! Immediately you recall Maranatha 206 where you have read, "Satan will work miracles right in your sight, claiming that he is Christ." What will you do?
Is this Satan's crowning act? Great Controversy p. 624 says, "Satan himself will personate Christ.... In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that moral eyes have ever beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: 'Christ has come! Christ has come!' The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Savior uttered; he heals the diseases of the people."
You watch in amazement as cancerous growths disappear before your eyes. You see cripples jump and run for joy. The crowd proclaims him to be the Christ and then comes the final test. He claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday and commands all to hallow the day he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. You feel like he is pointing you out to the crowd. Then you hear his blessing is pronounced upon the worshipers of the beast and his image – the very class upon whom the Bible declares that God's unmingled wrath shall be poured out. Great Controversy p. 624,625.
What can you do? In this crowd there are some who recognize you. They know you to be a Seventh-day Adventist. As the crowd kneels in worship to this devil who is impersonating Christ they watch to see if you will kneel. If you are to remain standing you will soon discover a mob spirit developing to destroy you. Am I making this too real? O friend, make no mistake, this will happen to some of us. God may help you to escape as he did for me in the city of Santiago, Chile. You feel the need of fellow believers to extend courage and help, but you soon discover that your closest friends have been so deceived by Satan's deception that they shun you. Within a short time you are stunned to find out that since Satan is appearing all over the world as Christ, millions of Seventh-day Adventists have given up the truth and joined with Babylon.
The following quotation resounds over and over in your ears. I'm reading from Bible Commentaries, Volume 7, p. 911, "The church may appear as about to fall but it does not fall... the sinners in Zion will be sifted out. The chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal but nevertheless, it must take place."
In keeping with Satan's demands, a New World Order law is enacted demanding you to keep Sunday holy. For this counterfeit "Christ" claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday. Are you listening? "[He] commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed." Great Controversy p. 624. Suddenly you find yourself without a job and a law that you cannot buy or sell. Every earthly support is removed. You are hated, despised and held responsible for all the troubles in the world because you refuse to obey the counterfeit "Christ."
You are taken to court and you are charged with treason. And more surprising, you discover that those who you thought were genuine Christians are in the court to testify against you. Now you must stand alone - just as Christ stood by Himself when all His disciples fled and forsook Him. But Christ was not alone; for His Father was with Him even while on the cross.
Oh beloved, never forget Jesus will not forsake you. He will never leave you alone. He will give His angels charge over thee to keep thee. And don't forget the Lord's promise, "Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." Luke 21:14,15. Praise the Lord! God's word declares, "The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." Psalm 46:11.
Now before we conclude this study of the New World Order to enforce Satan's command to worship on Sunday, I would not be a faithful watchman on the wall of Zion if I did not tell you that we shall meet a similar problem within the church. Don't think for a moment that this will never happen, for probation closes for the church before it closes for the world. In 1 Peter 4:17 it declares, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
The prophet Ezekiel teaches the very same truth. In Ezekiel 9:3-6 I quote, "And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity. Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house."
This is why I appeal to you. Don't sleep peacefully until you know, beyond a doubt, that your heart is ready to be sealed by God's angel. This is why I must preach positively and with the words of Isaiah, "Cry aloud and spare not." Don't think for a moment that the judgment against our apostatizing church will never happen.
In the eighth chapter of Ezekiel verse 16 we read of some twenty-five Jewish clergy who stood in the very temple of God having turned their backs to the law of God and they faced the rising sun in worship to Baal, the sun god. "And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house and behold at the door to the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the alter, were about five and twenty men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east. And they worshiped the sun toward the east." What an abomination to God! God's professed ministers in Sunday worship.
But now comes the unthinkable. God, through His end-time servant, tells us that this will happen again. I am reading Letter H31A, 1894 in regards to this scripture. "The Lord reads the heart as an open book. The men who are not connected with God have done many things after the imagination of their own evil hearts. The Lord declares concerning them, 'They have turned onto Me their back, and not the face, though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them; yet they have not harkened to receive instruction.' We are amid the perils of the last days, the time will soon come when the prophecy of Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled...to the very letter." Notice that in this quotation the servant of God states that these ministers have turned their backs toward God and not their faces. This is exactly as it is described in Ezekiel 8:16 and it will be fulfilled again to the very letter.
So we may expect apostate Adventist preachers to openly encourage participation in the ecumenical movement of this New World Order of the papacy, knowing full well that the ecumenical movement of unity and love has but one purpose – to eventually lead our church members to worship on Sunday and receive the mark of the beast. "The Lord has a controversy with His professed people (Did you notice that, with His professed people...) in these last days. In this controversy men in responsible position will take a course directly opposite to that pursued by Nehemiah. They will not only ignore and despise the Sabbath themselves but they will try to keep it from others by burying it beneath the rubbish of custom and tradition.
"In churches and in large gatherings in the open air, ministers will urge upon the people the necessity of keeping the first day of the week. There are calamities on sea and on land: and these calamities will increase, one disaster following close upon another; and the little band of conscientious Sabbath-keepers will be pointed out as the ones who are bringing the wrath of God upon the world by their disregard of Sunday." Review and Herald, March 18, 1884.
And we are further warned, "Then there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith. A more decided effort will be made to exalt the false sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He has blessed and sanctified." Bible Commentaries, Volume 7, p. 985. And so friend, there you have it. The test will come from within as well as from without.
God has given us sufficient counsel whereby we can clearly draw the line between truth and error. I am reading from Faith and Works p. 45, "Satan has come down in these last days to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. His satanic majesty works miracles in the sight of false prophets in the sight of men claiming that he is indeed Christ himself. Satan gives his power to those who are aiding him in this deception. Therefore, those who claim to have the great power of God can only be discerned by the great detector, the law of Jehovah. The Lord tells us if it were possible they would deceive the very elect. The sheep's clothing seems so real, so genuine that the wolf can be discerned only as we go to God's great moral standard and there find that they are transgressors of the law of Jehovah."
Friend, will you now bow your head in worship to Christ, our Lord; and promise Him that you will never disobey His law, God helping you. Let us pray. Dear God, how grateful we are for this Divine counsel that in Thy law we may find our Defense. May we love Thy law. May we meditate upon Thy law day and night and faithfully teach Thy law to our precious children that they too might be prepared for the coming final test. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.