MEMORY VERSE: “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.” Matthew 24:24.
STUDY HELP: The Great Controversy, 624, 625.
INTRODUCTION: “Satan’s superstitions will assume new forms. Errors will be presented in a pleasing and flattering manner. False theories, clothed with garments of light, will be presented to God’s people. Thus Satan will try to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Most seducing influences will be exerted; minds will be hypnotized.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 293.
“BEHOLD, I HAVE TOLD YOU BEFORE”
What warning against impersonation does Christ give? John 10:1–5. (See Matthew 24:5, 24.)
NOTE: “He has power to bring before men the appearance of their departed friends. The counterfeit is perfect; the familiar look, the words, the tone, are reproduced with marvelous distinctness. Many are comforted with the assurance that their loved ones are enjoying the bliss of heaven, and without suspicion of danger, they give ear ‘to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.’” The Great Controversy, 552.
“These evil angels, who assume to be dead friends, will either utterly reject God’s word as idle tales, or, if it suit their purpose best, will select the vital portions which testify of Christ and point out the way to heaven, and change the plain statements of the word of God to suit their own corrupt nature and ruin souls.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 298.
“The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth. They deny the divine origin of the Bible, and thus tear away the foundation of the Christian’s hope and put out the light that reveals the way to heaven.” The Great Controversy, 557.
“Satan is a cunning foe. And it is not difficult for the evil angels to represent both saints and sinners who have died, and make these representations visible to human eyes. These manifestations will be more frequent, and developments of a more startling character will appear as we near the close of time.” Review and Herald, April 1, 1875.
What will be the greatest deception of all? 2 Corinthians 11:14. (Compare Matthew 24:5, 23–27.)
NOTE: “As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The . . . great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. 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 mortal eyes have yet 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 up 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, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which 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. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion.” The Great Controversy, 624.
What Bible verses protect us against a current impersonation? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.
NOTE: “Statues weep human tears and blood, the young prophesy, religious communities sprout up, messengers receive warnings, Mary raises up an army of the devout and reported apparitions of Mary appear at a frequency never before seen in all recorded history.” The Thunder of Justice, Ted and Maureen Flynn, 4. The 55,000 strong Marian Movement of Priests began in 1972. “The current Marian times had their beginning in 1830 when Our Blessed Mother appeared to Catherine Laboure in the convent at Rue de Bac in Paris. . . .Sixteen years after Rue de Bac, on September 19, 1846, Our Blessed Mother appeared to children at LaSalette in the French Alps . . . In 1858, Our Blessed Mother appeared to a peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France. . . . Mary’s next major apparition was at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 to three children. . . . In 1961, Mary appeared in Garabandal, Spain. . . . In 1973, at Akita, Japan, Mary repeated that message. . . . In Medjugorje, in former Yugoslavia, six children in a rural village have been seeing Mary daily and receiving messages from the Blessed Mother since 1981.” The Thunder of Justice, 7, 8.
“Mary” claims to be the Virgin of Revelation [see Revelation 12:1] and to explain the Book of Revelation. She says the Red Dragon is Marxist atheism, the first beast of Revelation 13 is secular freemasonry and the two-horned beast is ecclesiastical freemasonry. The number 666 represents the date when freemasonry began through Islam! The apparition speaks of the mark of the beast and the Three Angels’ Messages. (Thunder of Justice, 100 – 102.) She even speaks of the appearance of Satan in human form. The remedy for the ills of the world, proposed on page 389, is restoration of Sunday observance. (Sunday is equated with the Sabbath, and the book reminds the reader that, in Old Testament times, Sabbath desecration was punishable by death.)
“ALL THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH SHALL WORSHIP HIM”
What move to establish a single worldwide worship is foretold in God’s Word? Revelation 13:8, 12.
NOTE: “Those religious bodies who refuse to hear God’s messages of warning will be under strong deception and will unite with the civil power to persecute the saints. The Protestant churches will unite with the papal power in persecuting the commandment-keeping people of God.” Last Day Events, 145.
“When Protestant churches shall unite with the secular power to sustain a false religion, for opposing which their ancestors endured the fiercest persecution, then will the papal sabbath be enforced by the combined authority of church and state. There will be a national apostasy, which will end only in national ruin.” Last Day Events, 134.
“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” The Great Controversy, 445.
What penalties will be imposed on those who refuse to conform to this worship? Revelation 13:15–17.
NOTE: “We ought now to be heeding the injunction of our Savior: ‘Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not.’ It is now that our brethren should be cutting down their possessions instead of increasing them. We are about to move to a better country, even a heavenly. Then let us not be dwellers upon the earth, but be getting things into as compact a compass as possible. The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 152.
“We Ought to Obey God Rather Than Men”
What should be the Christian’s attitude towards earthly governments? Romans 13:1–7; Titus 3:1.
NOTE: “He who obeys the divine law will most truly respect and obey the laws of his country. He who fears God will honor the king in the exercise of all just and legitimate authority.” The Great Controversy, 278.
What principle will on occasion overrule our duty to obey the laws of our country? Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29.
NOTE: “When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be . . . it is our duty in every case to obey the laws of our land, unless they conflict with the higher law which God spoke with an audible voice from Sinai, and afterward engraved on stone with His own finger.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 201, 361.
Of what may those be accused who obey God rather than men? 1 Kings 18:17; Acts 17:6.
NOTE: “It is the same policy which has been pursued in all ages. Elijah was declared to be a troubler in Israel, Jeremiah a traitor, Paul a polluter of the temple. From that day to this, those who would be loyal to truth have been denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic. Multitudes who are too unbelieving to accept the sure word of prophecy will receive with unquestioning credulity an accusation against those who dare to reprove fashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more. And the Bible plainly teaches that a time is approaching when the laws of the state will so conflict with the law of God that whosoever would obey all the divine precepts must brave reproach and punishment as an evildoer.” The Great Controversy, 459.
“UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY”
What precious promises are for those who put their trust in the Lord? Psalm 91:1–4; Psalm 32:7.
NOTE: “The truth of God received into the heart is able to make you wise unto salvation. In believing and obeying it you will receive grace sufficient for the duties and trials of today. Grace for tomorrow you do not need. You should feel that you have only to do with today. Overcome for today; deny self for today; watch and pray for today; obtain victories in God for today. Our circumstances and surroundings, the changes daily transpiring around us, and the written word of God which discerns and proves all things, these are sufficient to teach us our duty and just what we ought to do, day by day.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 333.
If we are called to testify for our faith what promise may we claim? Matthew 10:19.
NOTE: “As the Spirit of God illuminates the minds of His servants, the truth will be presented in its divine power and preciousness. Those who reject the truth will stand to accuse and oppress the disciples. But under loss and suffering, even unto death, the Lord’s children are to reveal the meekness of their divine Example. Thus will be seen the contrast between Satan’s agents and the representatives of Christ. The Savior will be lifted up before the rulers and the people. . . . The servants of Christ were to prepare no set speech to present when brought to trial. Their preparation was to be made day by day in treasuring up the precious truths of God’s word, and through prayer strengthening their faith. When they were brought into trial, the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance the very truths that would be needed.” Desire of Ages, 354, 355.
What promises are we given of food and protection? Isaiah 33:15–16; Psalm 37:3; Psalm 111:5; Matthew 6:26.
NOTE: “In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell. It will finally be decreed that they shall be put to death. See Revelation 13:11–17. But to the obedient is given the promise, ‘He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.’ Isaiah 33:16. By this promise the children of God will live. When the earth shall be wasted with famine, they shall be fed. ‘They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.’ Psalm 37:19.” Desire of Ages, 121.
What promise do we have of protection during the plagues? Psalm 91:4–10; Psalm 34:6.
NOTE: “The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied.” The Great Controversy, 629.
Who will protect us? Psalm 91:11, 12; Psalm 34:7.
NOTE: “While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants . . . Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who have kept the word of Christ’s patience. With sympathizing tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress and have heard their prayers. They are waiting the word of their Commander to snatch them from their peril.” The Great Controversy, 629, 630.
What promise of Jesus may we especially depend on? Matthew 28:20, last part.
NOTE: “With intense interest the loyal angels and the inhabitants of the unfallen worlds are watching the controversy going on on this earth. Soon the conflict will be forever ended. Soon Christ will come to take to Himself those who have fought the good fight of faith.” Bible Training School, October 1, 1902.
“The world is enshrouded in the darkness of error. Satan and his angels are urging on their warfare against the truth. We must have help. But the help we need will not come from human beings. We must look to Him who has said, ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ Claim this promise. There stands among you the Mighty Counselor of the ages, inviting you to place your confidence in Him.” Signs of the Times, January 3, 1906.