Asking God vs. Asking Satan

Created Free, with a Promise 4 “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed!” John 8:36 Asking God vs. Asking Satan All down through history from the time that our first parents rebelled and fell into sin, people have been lured into seeking favors from sources they either knew or suspected were forbidden by God. Why would they do this; and does it really matter if I claim to serve God and yet still seek help from ‘the other side’? Why would God forbid it? In our day all too many folk do not really think about the two sides in the supernatural, nor do they bother to find out about them. Many things today are called ‘unknown powers’ while they are only unknown to those who reject the Bible or do not bother to seriously look into it. In our last few lessons we have seen that there are very clear standards laid down for us to measure these things by, and we can know what God says about the claims and teachings of all these ‘powers’.

In the realm of healing agencies these days there are so many voices shouting out that they have the answers—some are advocating the natural, God-given healing means approved of God; some have a mixture of these and yet they slip in false ideas very subtly. (Remember Satan has to mix some truth with his errors or he would not fool anyone.) Then there are some that are really occult and yet claim to be utilizing ‘energy channels’, ‘hidden powers of the mind’, or ‘secret energies of nature’; then there are those that openly claim to be in touch with great healers and masters that are dead. Now none of us should be fooled by that last one anymore! We know that the dead “know not anything” and the spirits claiming to be dead people are just the angels of Satan playing ‘dress-up games’ to fool people. There are certain realms where people get lured into contact with forbidden or ‘unknown’ powers; perhaps the desire to know the future is one of the main ones. Wa nting advice in making decisions is another; also help with sickness, and then desire for power and riches; communication with dead relatives, and help in getting something we want, but have no right to. The first three we are invited to seek God for, and the last three, we are not to seek. So why do people run boldly to ‘where angels fear to tread’ instead of seeking the Lord in prayer? Let’s look at the tragic story of King Saul; if he would have truly repented and kept seeking the Lord in humility, God would have helped him. But though he admitted his sin somewhat, he never truly repented and when God did not answer him, his stubborn, proud heart determined to get his answer anyway. So he sought the witch, and the evil spirit that pretended to be Samuel, gave him a message that only drove him over into greater darkness and he ended up killing himself. “By the prediction of Saul's doom, given through the woman of Endor, Satan planned to ensnare the people of Israel. He hoped that they would be inspired with confidence in the sorceress, and would be led to consult her. Thus they would turn from God as their counselor and would place themselves under the guidance of Satan. The lure by which spir itualism attracts the multitudes is its pretended power to draw aside the veil from the future and reveal to men what God has hidden. God has in His word opened before us the great events of the future--all that it is essential for us to know--and He Created Free: Lesson 4 2 has given us a safe guide for our feet amid all its perils; but it is Satan's purpose to destroy men's confidence in God, to make them dissatisfied with th eir condition in life, and to lead them to seek a knowledge of what God has wisely veiled from them, and to despise what He has revealed in His Holy Word. “There are many who become restless when they cannot know the definite outcome of affairs. They cannot endure uncertainty, and in their impatience th ey refuse to wait to see the salvation of God. Apprehended evils drive them nearly distracted. Th ey give way to their rebellious feelings, and run hither and thither in passionate grief, seeking intelligence concerning that which has not been revealed. If they would but trust in God, and watch unto prayer, they would find divine consolation. Their spirit would be calmed by communion with God. The weary and the heavy-laden would find rest unto their souls if they would only go to Jesus; but when they neglect the means that God has ordained for their comfort, and resort to other sour ces, hoping to learn what God has withheld, they commit the error of Saul, and thereby gain only a knowledge of evil. “God is not pleased with this course, and has expre ssed it in the most explicit terms. This impatient haste to tear away the veil from the future reveals a lack of faith in God and leaves the soul open to the suggestions of the master deceiver. Satan leads me n to consult those that have familiar spirits; and by revealing hidden things of the past, he inspires confidence in his power to foretell things to come. By experience gained through the long ages he can reason from cause to effect and often forecast, with a degree of accuracy, some of the future events of man's life. Thus he is enabled to deceive poor, misguided souls and bring them under his power and lead them captive at his will.” PP 686-687. We are extracting some thoughts from the book “Dows ing” by Ben Hester. This man was rescued from the powers of darkness by the Lord and he seeks to warn others from these dangerous pathways. Dowsing is the act of seeking to find hidden water or other things by use of some device like a forked stick, or pendulum. The subject of ‘Dowsing’ is interesting because many Christians, ministers, and even Adventist pastors practice this and try to claim it is only a natural agency. But what does the Bible show us? The Power Source Identified: “The Bible gives a most positive answer to this . The references may easily be found in both Testaments. They are described, and the inference is clear that they have been a commonplace occurrence in the life of mankind since Adam disobeyed. They are positively identified. There is clear warning that the spirits must be tested to prove their origin before having anything to do with them. The manner of testing them is made plain. The deceiving spirits are identified as evil angels-those who chose to be on the side of Lucifer who became Sata n, and whose one and only intention is to deceive mankind and to lead away from the one true God. “These deceiving spirit entities, benevolent, seemingly honest, sincere and wise, historically and presently lead mankind away from God by being tr uthful just enough to establish acceptance, and then the completely destroying lie is slipped in as innocently as if it were a continuation of the preceding truths. These lies are anti-God, every one of them. “So, there are spirit entities. There are two classes. Only one of them is amoral, lying, and hurtful. They are among us, and have been since Eden. They can mate rialize at will and convince us of reality that is not so. They are masters of the hoax. Eve, our first mother, and presumably the most intelligent wo-man ever to have lived was taken in by the first hoax lie, ". . . ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" without the least hint of the terrible consequences that accompanied the risk. They have been successfully hoaxing the intelligent among us ever since. According to the Bible, they were created as a higher classification of beings than man. Since their rebellion they have used this higher condition (which all of us know well) to defraud us. They fit every known need in an understanding of the occult. We submit that dowsing is an occult act, and has been known as such from ancient times.” The great cry today is to stop co ndemning the unknown. Those who wish to withhold acceptance until identification and proof are forthcoming are ridiculed. Those who warn that these ‘unknown’ things are ‘of the Created Free: Lesson 4 3 devil’ are denounced as extremists, and people have the idea, “If it works, it must be OK even if we don’t understand it.” But friends, don’t we even warn our children to “Never take candy or gifts from strangers”? How much more should we want to make sure who these occult powers are before we accept a gift from them? False prophets resent those who would warn that God has forbidden the very things they are promoting; because they claim to be doing this to ‘help people’, everyone is supposed to accept it completely. But remember, Satan can do good—that first forbidden tree was called “Knowledge of Good and Evil”—but God never lies; He never does, nor will He join in with evil. Asking God vs. Asking Satan: So why would people choose to ask something from the oc cult, when they are invited by God to ask Him for all their needs? We need to think about this more deeply. Why are results from prayer fairly uncommon and result s from requests to the occult power sources often so immediate, satisfactory, and attractive? The answer is found in history. Through the eyes of history, the present-day problem is suddenly made clear. Start with the early Hebrews; the "Children of Israel" made a covenant with God. The dictionary defines a covenant as "a binding and solemn agreement". In this historic covenant the people agreed to keep the "com-mandments" of God, and in return God agreed to keep the people safe, provide a home in the garden land of the world (in what is today a barren desert), and keep them healthy and prosperous. This covenant was for a purpose. These people were to be the earth's leaders, guided by God. What could be more ideal? Yet for some hard-to-understand reason the people broke this covenant time after time. On the surface it would appear that these "chosen people" were so stupid that they were unable to exercise good judgment. However this was not the case; even today, after many hundreds of years away from their original broken covenant, Jews are highly intelligent; So, why did they fail? In ancient Israel’s ‘people-to-God relationship’ the miraculous was almo st commonplace; there was almost direct contact with God through their religious leaders. It seems to us today that this would have been impos-sible to turn from. However, there is evidence that th ere were also miraculous happenings in the pagan world surrounding these people. There is evidence in the biblical references to the other gods, and there was an ongoing Satanic attempt to match the miraculous happenings of the true God relationship. However, there was one vast difference, and this is the key—then and today. God demanded right living, morality, and justice of his people. It was in the covenant. Paganism made no such demands. It fostered unbelievable immorality, licentiousness and freedom from any restraint. If you read about their religious rites it shows a picture of such unbelievable brutality, depravity and gore to be mind-numbing to our present-day morality. This no-restraint society, plus what must have been an impressive display of occult manifestations and the use to which people could put them, appealed to the Israelites and these continually tempting, no-restraint religions, were just a step across the border. This is why God had told them to completely drive out these nations! The difference in religions is still with us today, even if we do not see the extremes or the supernatural manifestations today, the opposing forces are still there, and the same offer of benefits from the supernatural without any condition of right living is the same old temptation to paganism. To come before God and be heard, still requires re pentance, confession, and obedience. It includes a willingness to accept responsibility and giving over the will to God. So much false Christian teaching we are Created Free: Lesson 4 4

given today is sort of a total immersion in a gigantic love blob they call God, without any mention of the responsibility following conversion. It certainly shows up wh en answer to prayer is demanded; the reality is so different from the emotional theory. "Thy will be done" is the most difficu lt prayer to learn. None of this is a problem in approaching the occult for f avors. No right living; no change of character; not even the intention to do good, is required. And it is all bu ttered over with friendliness and good will. It is easy, immediate and inviting. “Come and talk to the spirits wi th us. Come join our humanism. Come practice sorcery (dowsing) with us. Come join us in our feasting and pa gan celebrations. We are such friendly, down to earth people. We are your brothers.” This invitation is as old as mankind. This is why, no matter if you are a good or evil man, you can practice divination successfully; you can get involved in the occult, it seems so easy. Is there any danger if we get a favor from ‘unknown’ or occult sources? It is all a matter of choosing whom you will serve. It is a fact that any involvement with the occult implies required loyalty to those powers. Whether you do or not, Satan considers this an agreement to serve on his side of the battle between good and evil. This whole idea is no longer a nightmare of the middle ages. The story-book idea of selling oneself to Satan fo r success is popular among the youth again today. Witchcraft is very much with us still, and the participants are proud and public about it. It is blatantly present in the rock music scene with stars confessing spirit instructions, dictation of words, music and inspiration. The average rock listener ri dicules this "superstitious" stuff, but those who have been in the professional scene and have had enough and have gotten out, tell it as it is. The acceptance of occult favors is no less than an agreement to serve these powers. “We know of people involved in the occult who are the most happy, loving, carefree, successful persons one could hope to find. They are walking advertisements for the desirability of such a life. They are valuable to Satan, and may continue to be so for some time to come. However, they are subject to sudden abandonment and any attempt to welch, cheat, or escape is dealt with mercilessly. The incidence of insanity and/or suicide runs high among those attempting such foolishness. “This writer is no armchair philosopher, savoring the taste of these stories and ideas, and spitting them out for your entertainment (or disgust). We have been there personally and have survived the hell of escape. We were reduced eventually to the level of an animal trying to hide and enduring the panic of finding no hiding place. Then someone suggested prayer in the name of Jesus Christ and it was tried as a drowning man grasps a thrown rope, and that release and escape was effected (and) has been the subject of daily thanksgiving during the ensuing years.” Steps into the Occult We are not suggesting that picking up the dowsing rod or calling in a witcher to locate a water well will certainly result in suicide or insanity. We do say it is the first step in the wrong direction. One can never be sure when the next step will be presente d, and just how tempting it will be. It is certain that the next step will be presented sooner or later. "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." This is the one unchangeable aspect of the least involvement with the occult. The following steps are not always experienced in the orde r we list them, but generally there is a logical order, one building on the last. Created Free: Lesson 4 5 1. Dowsing, using the Ouija Board, going to a 'reader', fortune teller, etc. Involvement with Halloween can be a first step also. 2. An opportunity that can be seized only through furthe r occult means. For instance, if one happens to be in need of further information that cannot be gotten in the yes and no answers of the dowsing device, it may be suggested that a visit to a medium will provide an an swer. By this time, that extra bit of information has become so necessary, this step is almost impossible to refuse. 3. After having experienced steps one and two, this important and most attractive new possibility to get information and advice is almost impossible to turn away from. This results in more active participation in other exciting psychic activities. 4. Some occult ability will suddenly be received. It may be telepathy, knowledge from the past; or glimpses into the future, and one is suddenly an active participant in occult manifestations. 5. The final step will be the preparat ion or indoctrination to receive a "control" or "guide" or "familiar spirit". This may start through vivid and unusual dreams, unexpected and alien (important) ideas, a distinct mental impression (astonishingly different from the usual), a nd finally, the awareness of something or someone (a presence) nearby, generally at the right hand side. Eventually, after a time of introduction, the ‘guide’ will establish an acceptable and recognizable method of communication. 6. Then, although the recipient is not only unaware of th e danger, and will not turn back even if warned, the trouble starts. The guide starts giving advice. This advice is valuable, re sulting in all sorts of advantages and good things. Then, if the advice is not taken, the guide pushes a little for compliance. Then the advice changes to demands—all for the 'good' of the recipient. The dema nds become stronger and instructions are given as though they must be followed. The person may resist, become angry, and demand to be left alone. It does absolutely no good, because although the guide will back off, it returns again and again endlessly, and there is no way to escape. It ends by demanding control of every decision, action, thought and wish. “The person who has had no brush with spiritism will find these details impossible to ac cept as reality. To this person, what we have written on this subject may easily seem to be ridiculous imag ination. However, there is one type of reader who will recognize every detail, fo r it will be as though we recounted his personal experience. “This is not all. The rest of the picture we have witnesse d personally. The person so afflicted begins to lose his own personality, and the change is noticeable to the horror of his relatives and friends. The person withdraws more and more from old associations because he or she recognizes what is happening and cannot control it. A different personality emerges and fear lives with him day and night. “At any time during this whole process a person, in desp eration, may successfully turn to God for escape, but the further one goes into the occult, the more awful he ll one experiences in the fight to break free and the longer it takes. The spirit will be expelled only to retu rn the moment the person's faith wavers, and it must be done all over again. Obviously, the whole thing can, and sometimes does, end in total 'possession' and the person becomes a thing, a zombie, inhabited by an evil spirit that is sadistic and absolutely merciless. (Like the demoniacs in the Bible!) “If the reader feels that this is a cheap attempt to fright en, he is half right. It is not cheap however, for reality never is. This is no witch's tale. It is the absolute truth. We only write it because we are driven by actuality, and with the help and daily protection of God. What we cannot say strongly enough is do not take that first step, and if you have already, wherever you are, turn to God again quickly!” Ben Hester. Maybe the above information will show why God has so strongly forbidden us to get involved in any occult practices? It is because He knows what liars these beings are, and the harm they want to do to His children and He earnestly wants to protect us! Did you know that God’s messenger Sister White was shown one of Satan’s planning sessions? Yes indeed! Here is part of what she wrote about what she saw. Created Free: Lesson 4 6 Snares of Satan Selected from the 1884 Gre at Controversy Chapter 27 “And (Jesus) said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven!” Luke 10:18 God does not sit down with Satan and inform him of His plans for the future; nor would He reply to him if he were to ask. No one would disclose a battle plan to th e enemy, would they? So basically, Satan has to get his information from the same source as we do; from the in spired writings. (However, he does not have the Holy Spirit to help him like we do.) Oh yes! Satan studies th e Bible because in spite of all the efforts the fallen angels make to get people to throw it away, they KNOW it is true, and they try to use it in a twisted way to trick people, just like Satan tried with Jesus! “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19. “As the people of God approach the perils of the last da ys, Satan holds earnest consultation with his angels as to the most successful plan of overthrowing their faith. He sees that the popular churches are already lulled to sleep by his deceptive power. By pleasing sophistry and lying wonders he can continue to hold them under his control. Therefore he directs his angels to lay their sn ares especially for those who are looking for the second advent of Christ, and endeavoring to keep all the commandments of God. “Says the great deceiver: "We must watch those who are calling the attention of the people to the Sabbath of Jehovah; they will lead many to see the claims of the law of God; and the same light which reveals the true Sabbath, reveals also the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and shows that the last work for man's salvation is now going forward. Hold the minds of the people in darkness till that work is ended, and we shall secure the world and the church also. "The Sabbath is the great question which is to decide the destiny of souls. We must exalt the Sabbath of our creating. We have caused it to be accepted by both worldlings and church-members; now the church must be led to unite with the world in its support. We must work by signs and wonders to blind their eyes to the truth, and lead them to lay aside reason and the fear of God, and follow custom and tradition. "I will influence popular ministers to turn the attention of their hearers from the commandments of God. That which the Scriptures declare to be a perfect law of liberty shall be represented as a yoke of bondage. The people accept their ministers' explanations of Scriptur e, and do not investigate for themselves. Therefore by working through the ministers, I can control the people according to my will. "But our principal concern is to silence this sect of Sabbath-keepers. We must excite popular indignation against them. We will enlist great men and worldly-wise men upon our side, and induce those in authority to carry out our purposes. Then the Sabbath which I have set up shall be enforced by laws the most severe and exacting. Those who disregard them shall be driven out from the cities and villages, and made to suffer hunger and privation. When once we have the power, we will show that we can do with those who will not swerve from their allegiance to God. We led the Romish Church to inflict imprisonment, torture, and death upon those who refused to yield to her decrees, an d now that we are bringing the Protestant churches and the world into harmony with this right arm of our strength, we will fina lly have a law to exterminate all who will not submit to our authority. When death shall be made the penalty of violating our Sabbath, then many who are now ranked with commandment-keepers will come over to our side. "But before proceeding to these extreme measures, we must exert all our wisdom and subtlety to deceive and ensnare those who honor the true Sabbath. We can separate many from Christ by worldliness, lust, and pride. They may think themselves safe because they believe the truth, but indulgence of appetite or the lower passions, which will confuse judgment and de stroy discrimination, will cause their fall. "Go, make the possessors of lands and money drunk with the cares of this life. Present the world before them in its most attractive light, that they may lay up their treasure here, and fix their affections upon earthly things. We must do our utmost to prevent those who labor in God's cause from obtaining means to use against us.

Created Free: Lesson 4 7 Keep the money in our own ranks. The more means they obtain, the more they will injure our kingdom by taking from us our subjects. Make them care more fo r money than for the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom and the spread of the truths we hate, and we need not fe ar their influence; for we know that every selfish, covetous person will fall under our power, and w ill finally be separated from God's people. "Through those that have a form of godliness but know not the power, we can gain many who would otherwise do us great harm. Lovers of pleasure more th an lovers of God will be our most effective helpers. Those of this class who are apt and intelligent will serve as decoys to draw others into our snares. Many will not fear their influence, because they profess the same faith. We will thus lead th em to conclude that the requirements of Christ are less strict than they once believed, and that by conformity to the world they would exert a greater influence with worldlings. Thus they will separate from Christ; then they will have no strength to resist our power, and erelong they will be ready to ridicule their former zeal and devotion.

"Until the great decisive blow shall be struck, our efforts against commandment-keepers must be untiring. We must be present at all their gatherings. In their large meetings especially our cause will suffer much, and we must exercise great vigilance, and employ all our seductive arts to prevent souls from hearing the truth and becoming impressed by it. "I will have upon the ground, as my agents, men hold ing false doctrines mingled with just enough truth to deceive souls. I will also have unbelieving ones presen t, who will express doubts in regard to the Lord's messages of warning to his church. Should the people re ad and believe these admonitions, we could have little hope of overcoming them. But if we can divert their a ttention from these warnings, they will remain ignorant of our power and cunning, and we shall secure them in ou r ranks at last. God will not permit his words to be slighted with impunity. If we can keep souls deceived for a time, God's mercy will be withdrawn, and he will give them up to our full control. "We must cause distraction and division. We must destroy their anxiety for their own souls, and lead them to criticise, to judge, and to accuse and condemn one an other, and to cherish selfishness and enmity. For these sins, God banished us from his presence; and all who follow our example will meet a similar fate."

… “The followers of Christ know little of the pl ots which Satan and his hosts are forming against them. But He who sitteth in the heavens will overrule all these devices for the accomplishment of his deep designs. The Lord permits his people to be subjected to the fiery ordeal of temptation, not because he takes pleasure in their distress and affliction, but because this process is essential to their final victory. He could not, consistently with his own glory, shield them from temptation; for the very object of the trial is to prepare them to resist all the allurements of evil.

“Satan is well aware that the weakest soul who abides in Christ is more than a match for the hosts of darkness, and that, should he reveal himself openly, he would be met and resisted. Therefore he seeks to draw away the soldiers of the cross from their strong fortification, while he lies in ambush with his forces, ready to destroy all who venture upon his ground. No man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer. Especially should we entreat the Lord for wisdom to understand his word. Satan is an expert in quoting Scripture, placing his own interpretation upon passages by which he hopes to cause us to stumble. We should study the Bible with humility of heart, never losing sight of our dependence upon God. While we must constantly guard against the devices of Satan, we should pray in faith continually, "Lead us not into temptation."” Created Free: Lesson 4 8 Asking God for Help: If we truly choose to belong to the Lord and obey Him, we are never left where we cannot call out to Him in prayer and receive help. Here is an experience that Sister White had in her early ministry when, as still only a girl, she had to face a lot of both human and satanic attacks. “While visiting my sisters in Poland, (USA) I was a fflicted with sickness. Those present united in prayer in my behalf, and the disease was rebuked. Angels seemed to be in the room, and all was light and glory. I was again taken off in vision, and shown that I must go about three miles to a meeting, and when there should learn what the Lord would have me do. We went, and found quite a large gathering of the brethren and sisters. None had known of an y special meeting. J.T. was there. He had boasted that he understood the art of mesmerism, and that he could mesmerize me; that he could prevent me from having a vision or relating a vision in his presence. There were many present who had heard this boast. I arose in the congregation. My visions came up fresh before me, and I commenced relating them, when I felt a human influence being exerted against me. I looked at J.T. He had his hand up to his face, and was looking through his fingers, his eyes intently fixed upon me. His lips were compressed, and a low groan now and then escape d him. In a moment I remembered the promise which the Lord had given me, that if I was in danger of being affected by a human influence, and would ask for another angel, one would be sent to protect me. I then turned to this man, and related what the Lord had shown me in Portland; and, raising my hands to heaven, earnestly cried, ‘Another angel, Father! another angel!’ I knew that my request was granted. I felt shielded by the strong Spirit of the Lord, and was borne above every earthly influence, and with freedom finished my testimony. The friends were comforted, and rejoiced in the Lord. J.T. was asked why he had not stopped my relating the vision. He answered, ‘Oh, some of you would have her talk.’ We returned to my sister's with strong confidence, rejoicing in God.” Life Sketches 88 223.

If we find ourselves facing trials and occult threats we too can ask the Lord for help and protection and for ‘an extra angel’. However, if we choose to play games with the enemy, we can be put into serious danger. If you have been involved in seeking after any kind of services or contact with things you now know are from occult sources, then do not wait any longer, repent and ask forgiveness from our loving Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus and ask for special help to cut loose from any ties you have to them. Also you must get rid of any object you may have in your home or any possession that is in any way linked to these things.

Come to Jesus fully and give Him all you heart and life— He is an ever-present help in trouble and you will never regret this choice! So, just how can we have this special relationship with our loving God? Obviously, the more we can learn about our wonderful God, the happier and healthier we will be; so for our next lessons we will explore extracts from a little book written by Glenn and Ethy l Coon back in the 1960s, called “The God I Love.” In these lessons we also are go ing to learn a lot more abou t the “Science of Prayer” and how to claim God’s precious promises to solve our problems and meet our needs. You have a real treat in store for you; but first we will repeat our special le sson on the ABC’s of prayer; so see you next week!

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