"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 show 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." Matt. 24:23-26.
We have reason for believing that after 1881, there will be wonderful spiritual manifestations. The prince of the power of the air...[Devil and his angels, Eph. 2:2.]—The rulers of the darkness of this world [wicked spirits—6:12 margin] will now make a last great effort previous to their binding, at which time these powers will be subdued. [Rev. 20:2.] Those angels which kept not their first estate God hath reserved in everlasting [age-lasting] chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Jude 6. They were cast down to hell. ("Tartarus" lower atmosphere—our air.) 2 Pet. 2:4. For 6000 years these spiritual powers have been deceiving and misleading [R170 : page 6] mankind. These like the good angels, have also had power to appear as men, but they must always appear in the dark, for God had placed them under darkness. This fact recognized would explain many of the spiritualistic manifestations of to-day, which otherwise cannot be accounted for. Of late years many have been deceived into believing that they saw some of their dead friends.
Which will you believe, God or the Devil? Notice: "Ye shall not [R171 : page 6] surely die." Gen. 3:4. Now in his various manifestations and in personating dead people and appearing to their friends, is not the Devil carrying out and trying to corroborate the lie he started in Eden? Surely he is. Jesus well said of him: He is a liar and the father of it. John 8:44. If the Devil has succeeded in keeping up this lie for so long a time, and to-day has nearly all the world believing what he said; if he has done so much, and by manifestations in darkness has caused many to fall, what will be the result when he thus carries on in the light? For remember, that he was only to be confined in darkness unto the judgment of the great day, and as we have now entered upon that time or day, we expect much of his work to be carried on in the light. And spiritualists now claim that they can materialize in broad daylight. We would advise that all believe what God said, viz.: "Ye shall die, hence, ye can not see dead friends until raised from the dead." And the Devil does not do that work.
Paul says: "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Cor. 11:14. If so, and if he has the power to appear as an angel of light is he not liable to deceive? How significant then is our text, viz.: "There shall arise false Christs and shall show signs and wonders...and if any shall say to you...he (Jesus) is in the desert or secret chambers...believe it not." Notice that this takes place during the presence of Jesus. Vs. 27, E.D. It would seem then from our text that there will false Christs arise and show themselves as Jesus did after his resurrection, and many will be saying, lo, here or there. If Satan is transformed into an angel of light and is to appear thus, and if we look for Jesus to appear to us or come to us in the flesh, would it not be an easy matter for us to be deceived? We think so. We think that this warning of our Saviour is absolute proof that neither he nor any of the resurrected saints will so appear; hence, of any manifestations there may be, we will conclude that it is neither Jesus nor resurrected saints. Let no man deceive you; remember Jesus has foretold you, that it will not be so. The Devil will certainly try to take advantage of those who are so looking for Jesus, for he could not deceive those who believe in his presence as the lightning—invisible, who do not believe that He will appear in the flesh. The danger lies in our being led away from the truth so as to look for Jesus in that way, for we feel sure that those who still retain the truth, will, at the time the appearances take place, be in a safe condition. Our text says: "that if possible they shall deceive the very elect. Notice, it is not possible. We understand that the elect are at the time referred to in the spiritual body condition, though under the vail.
For this there is proof. We find Paul speaking in this way (1 Tim. 4:1): "Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines [teachings] of devils. Also (2 Tim. 3:1-9), "This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come....Men shall be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness ...[must be professed Christians] ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so also do these resist the truth." Here is the key. If we will now go back and look at the time referred to, we will get some light. (See Ex. 7:10-12). Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and his servants and it [the rod] became a serpent....Now the magicians of Egypt,...they did in like manner with their enchantments, ...and their rods became serpents,...but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. When Aaron smote the waters of the river with his rod, they became blood [verse 20], but also did the magicians of Egypt [verse 22]. Also, when Aaron stretched forth his rod, frogs came upon the land of Egypt, and likewise did the magicians. Ex. 8:5-7. Now you will notice that all this opposition took place after Moses and Aaron met in the Mount (Ex. 4:27), and yet it was while Aaron was spokesman unto the people and acted as prophet of Moses to Pharaoh. Verse 16.
As the meeting of Moses and Aaron represents the change of the saints, then we know that the resistance spoken of by Paul (2 Tim. 3:8) is due after our change, and while we are yet here under the vail. These did deceive Pharaoh, but not Aaron, for Aaron had greater power than they. So, now, these false Christs (magicians of Egypt—the world) will deceive many, but they cannot possibly deceive us, for we (as represented by Aaron) will have been previously changed. The next plague following that of the frogs, was Aaron's bringing up lice on the land of Egypt. Ex. 8:16. But when the magicians tried, they could not do this,...and they say to Pharaoh, this is the finger of God. Verses 18-19. Yes, there will be a time, and not far distant, when the world shall realize that there is a higher power, and though Satan and his angels will in the next few years do wonders, yet they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be made manifest to all as was the folly of Jannes and Jambres. It will be noticed that it was only during two plagues that the magicians could stand before and do as Aaron did. They were not able to stand quite all the time that Aaron was spokesman unto the people. God says unto Moses and unto Aaron, take to you handfuls of ashes,...and they did so, and it became a boil upon the Egyptians and magicians. Ex. 9:8-10. This we understand to be where Aaron enters into the glory of Moses, and God says unto Aaron as unto Moses. This apparent change in the condition of Aaron is just the time that the seven plagues commenced, and there we believe the power of Satan will begin to be curtailed. We believe the same order will obtain here, viz.: while the saints are under the vail and acting as teachers unto the people, and during the three plagues, Satan will manifest great power, but when the church is glorified (Rev. 15:8,) which is just before the seven plagues, Satan cannot longer stand, and by the time all the plagues are poured out He will be completely bound and deceive the nations no more for a thousand years. Rev. 20:2,3. We find this event takes place when the saints are represented as seated on thrones. Verse 4. We found that the position on the throne and the glory were associated (Matt. 25:31-40), hence this takes place when the temple is glorified. Rev. 15:8. This harmonizes with the point where Aaron changes his position in the type.
But before this, we believe, the saints will have been changed, and though here under the vail, while there are great signs and wonders wrought by these false Christs, it will not be possible to deceive us. We, in this condition, will be in the secret place of the Most High and shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. [Psalm 91:1]. This is the position before the throne. But while we are safe, as was Aaron, there will be those who are mentioned in the type as "my people." [Ex. 8:23], and who evidently represent the "great company" upon whom the first three plagues come, effecting their deliverance from Babylon. [Rev. 18:4.] As the people of Israel were separated from the people of Pharaoh by the three first plagues, while Aaron was prophet, and they believed his words and signs, so here God's people will come out of Babylon [a worldly church] by the proclamation—"Fear God and give glory to Him, the hour of His judgment is come," [Rev. 14:6-9], made manifest by the vailed saints. And because they heed and believe the truth, they will be protected during the seven last plagues. God says to them; come my people, enter thou into thy chambers and shut thy doors. Hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation be over-past, for behold the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. [Isa. 26:20-21]. These [the great company] will doubtless be severely tried during the first three plagues. "Delivered over to Satan [opponents] for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." They evidently get free from Babylon because of the judgments which cause her fall, and therefore escape the seven last plagues and cease to partake of her sins and receive not further of her plagues, [Rev. 18:4], for "my people shall be willing in the day of my power." The above language seems due just prior to the pouring out of the seven plagues; and here commences the binding of Satan. So we read, [Isa. 27:1], "In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan, the piercing serpent, even Leviathan, that crooked serpent, and he shall slay the dragon, [that old serpent, the Devil and Satan, Rev. 12:9], that is in the midst of the sea [people]."
We have reasons for believing that those who are represented by Aaron will soon be changed, and soon now, we say, "Come out of Babylon, my people." Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of his judgment is come. [Rev. 14:7.] We trust that all who have ears to hear will obey the call. Those who will still continue to worship the beast and his image and will still support a worldly church [Babylon], [now being spewed out of God's mouth, Rev. 3:16], upon these shall not only come the first three plagues but also the seven—hence separate yourselves, for if any man worship the beast and his image, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his indignation. [Rev. 14:9-10.] Let us who are already separated quietly wait for our change and gathering together unto Jesus. Be holy, for without holiness none shall see the Lord.