1. THE DESIRE TO KNOW THE FUTURE
a. When and why did some kings resort to satanic mediums for counsel? 2 Kings 1:2; 1 Samuel 28:6–8. What happens when we do the same?
“The Lord never turned away a soul that came to Him in sincerity and humility. Why did he turn Saul away unanswered? The king had by his own act forfeited the benefits of all the methods of inquiring of God. He had rejected the counsel of Samuel the prophet; he had exiled David, the chosen of God; he had slain the priests of the Lord. Could he expect to be answered by God when he had cut off the channels of communication that Heaven had ordained. . . . There could be no return but by the way of penitence and contrition; but the proud monarch, in his anguish and despair, determined to seek help from another source.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 676.
“If you depend upon men who do not love God and obey His commandments, you will surely be brought into very difficult places. Those that are not connected with God are connected with the enemy of God, and the enemy will work with them to lead us in false paths. We do not honor God when we go aside from the only true God to inquire of the god of Ekron.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 2, p. 1036.
b. What warning do we have about false prophets? Deuteronomy 13:1–3.
2. MISLED BY CURIOSITY
a. What led Adam and Eve to be deceived by Satan? Genesis 3:1–6.
“Age after age, the curiosity of men has led them to seek for the tree of knowledge; and often they think they are plucking fruit most essential, when, like Solomon’s research, they find it altogether vanity and nothingness in comparison with that science of true holiness which will open to them the gates of the city of God. The human ambition has been seeking for that kind of knowledge that will bring to them glory and self-exaltation and supremacy. Thus Adam and Eve were worked upon by Satan until God’s restraint was snapped asunder, and their education under the teacher of lies began in order that they might have the knowledge which God had refused them—to know the consequence of transgression.”—Ibid., vol. 1, p. 1083.
b. How can we avoid these snares of Satan? Isaiah 8:19; Ephesians 6:13, 16.
“Shall those who have a holy God, infinite in wisdom and power, go unto wizards, whose knowledge comes from intimacy with the enemy of our Lord? God Himself is the light of His people; He bids them fix their eyes by faith upon the glories that are veiled from human sight. The Sun of Righteousness sends its bright beams into their hearts; they have light from the throne of heaven, and they have no desire to turn away from the source of light to the messengers of Satan.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 687, 688.
“That time will soon come [when modern magicians would be permitted to imitate the work of God], and we shall have to keep hold of the strong arm of Jehovah; for all these great signs and mighty wonders of the devil are designed to deceive God’s people and overthrow them.
. . . Could our eyes be opened, we should see forms of evil angels around us, trying to invent some new way to annoy and destroy us. And we should also see angels of God guarding us from their power; for God’s watchful eye is ever over Israel for good, and He will protect and save His people, if they put their trust in Him. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
“Said the angel, ‘Remember, thou art on the enchanted ground.’ I saw that we must watch and have on the whole armor and take the shield of faith, and then we shall be able to stand, and the fiery darts of the wicked cannot harm us.”—Early Writings, p. 60.
3. COUNTERFEIT HEALINGS
a. When miraculous healings are performed, how can we know if these have been performed by God’s servants or by satanic agencies? Matthew 7:20–23; 1 John 2:3.
“Satan gives his power to those who are aiding him in his deceptions; 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 SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1087.
b. Why shouldn’t miracles form the basis of our faith? Upon what should our faith be established instead? Luke 24:27; John 5:39.
“The coming of the Lord is to be preceded by ‘the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10). And the apostle John, describing the miracle-working power that will be manifested in the last days, declares: ‘He doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do’ (Revelation 13:13, 14). No mere impostures are here foretold. Men are deceived by the miracles which Satan’s agents have power to do, not which they pretend to do.—The Great Controversy, p. 553.
“It was [Jesus’] purpose to enlighten [His disciples’] understanding and to fasten their faith upon the ‘sure word of prophecy.’ He wished the truth to take firm root in their minds, not merely because it was supported by His personal testimony, but because of the unquestionable evidence presented by the symbols and shadows of the typical law, and by the prophecies of the Old Testament. It was needful for the followers of Christ to have an intelligent faith, not only in their own behalf, but that they might carry the knowledge of Christ to the world. And as the very first step in imparting this knowledge, Jesus directed the disciples to ‘Moses and all the prophets.’ Such was the testimony given by the risen Saviour to the value and importance of the Old Testament Scriptures.”—Ibid., p. 349.
4. METHODS OF SATANIC ORIGIN
a. How does Satan attempt to imitate the work of God? Acts 19:13.
“Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.
“Young men and women will be lifted up and will regard themselves as wonderfully favored, called to do some great thing. There will be conversions many, after a peculiar order, but they will not bear the divine signature. Immorality will come in, and extravagance, and many will make shipwreck of faith.”—Maranatha, p. 168.
b. What other methods does Satan use to entrap souls?
“The apostles of nearly all forms of spiritism claim to have the power to cure the diseased. They attribute their power to electricity, magnetism, the so-called ‘sympathetic remedies,’ or to latent forces within the mind of man. And there are not a few . . . who go to these healers, instead of trusting in the power of the living God and the skill of well-qualified Christian physicians.
“The mother, watching by the sickbed of her child, exclaims, ‘I can do no more! Is there no physician who has power to restore my child!’ She is told of the wonderful cures performed by some clairvoyant or magnetic healer, and she trusts her dear one to his charge, placing it as verily in the hand of Satan as if he were standing by her side. In many instances the future life of the child is controlled by a satanic power, which it seems impossible to break.”—Evangelism, p. 606.
5. A STRONG AND FIRM HOPE
a. What is the only sure hope for the faithful? Does God always restore the sick to health? John 6:68, 69; Psalm 62:1, 2.
“There are cases where God works decidedly by His divine power in the restoration of health. But not all the sick are healed. Many are laid away to sleep in Jesus. John on the Isle of Patmos was bidden to write: ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them’ (Revelation 14:13). From this we see that if persons are not raised to health, they should not on this account be judged as wanting in faith.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 230.
“For the disheartened there is a sure remedy—faith, prayer, work. Faith and activity will impart assurance and satisfaction that will increase day by day. Are you tempted to give way to feelings of anxious foreboding or utter despondency? In the darkest days, when appearances seem most forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God. He knows your need. He has all power. His infinite love and compassion never weary. Fear not that He will fail of fulfilling His promise. He is eternal truth. Never will He change the covenant He has made with those who love Him. And He will bestow upon His faithful servants the measure of efficiency that their need demands.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 164, 165.
b. When tempted to resort to methods of healing inspired by Satan, how will the faithful sick ones respond? Psalms 43:5; 121:1, 2.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When we seek God’s counsel, what should be the condition of our heart?
2. How does Satan work to deceive souls, and how can we overcome him?
3. How can the miraculous healings performed by God’s servants be distinguished from those performed by satanic agencies?
4. What are some modern healing methods used by satanic agencies?
5. What has been, and will always be, the position of true believers when they pass through various trials and the future seems uncertain?