"The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the Great Day" (Jude 6).
THE Bible's teaching that the earth's atmosphere is infested with evil spirits is now very generally disbelieved. As a result of this disbelief thousands of well-meaning people are being more easily entrapped by these evil spirits. The blight is physical, mental, moral and religious. The usual method of procedure is to arouse curiosity. While the quest for knowledge proceeds, an influence much like that of hypnotism affects the investigator, impelling him forward to further investigation.
Sometimes the curiosity is attracted through the outer senses at spirit séances, or with ouija-boards, etc. At other times it is by spirit rappings. Again, it may be by whisperings in the ear, inaudible to others. At other times the messages come through trance-mediums. These communications, while actually coming from devils, purport to come from dead human beings. This of itself gives to the communication a special charm to many. They feel honored in being sought out by the dead, and in being able to communicate with them. They are curious for information respecting the hereafter. They forget that they have been taught from infancy that the holy dead are far off in heaven, and that the unholy dead are far off in torment.
How fully this is forgotten is shown by a letter received from a Catholic lady. In it she tells how she first obtained clairvoyant powers—the gift of hearing and seeing what others could not hear and see. This, in turn, permitted her to communicate with the evil spirits, the fallen angels. These represented themselves to her as inmates of purgatory who had come to her for help. They solicited her prayers, and were getting her more and more under their control. Just in time she was rescued through reading some Truth writings. Since then she has exercised her will and prayers against having any fellowship at all with demons.
SUBTLE METHODS USED BY DEMONS
Not infrequently do these spirits impersonate the Heavenly Father and Christ, urge more prayer, accuse of sin, recommend the reading of the Scriptures, etc. This appears to be with a view to gaining the confidence and the relaxing of the will of their intended victim. Later on dishonorable suggestions are made. The Bible is scorned, prayer is laughed at, etc. If, then, the subject takes fright and seeks to break the hypnotic chain, the evil spirits laugh at him, swear at him, and sometimes tell him that they will shortly have him fully in their power, to roast him forever. If he attempts to pray, they intrude and interrupt and tell him that God would not hear him now, that he has gone too far, etc.
With some, the matter goes so far that the human will is broken down completely and the spirits obsess them and use their bodies foolishly—sometimes viciously, sometimes insanely, until finally they are pronounced dangerous and committed to asylums. We do not claim that all the insane are obsessed of demons, but that according to reports one-half of the inmates of asylums are obsessed by demons who live in them while they are mastering their wills. God, through His Word, has forewarned His people against these delusions. In permitting some, nevertheless, to fall into these traps, He is merely teaching a great lesson, viz., the terrible results of disobedience to and neglect of God's Word.
DOCTRINES OF DEMONS
St. Paul, in describing our day, declares one of its prominent signs to be that many will now give heed to these seducing spirits, whose teachings and practices lead away from God. He intimates also that through these misleading spirits many will come to hold doctrines of demons, or devilish doctrines (1 Tim. 4:1). It is a sad commentary upon our wonderful day of enlightenment that the most enlightened people should hold the most awful doctrine respecting the hereafter—eternal torment.
A doctrine of demons it most surely is which tells, to the dishonor of God's name, that 999 out of every 1,000 of humanity are to be eternally tortured, either because of Divine incompetence to make better arrangements for them, or because God willed and foreordained it so before creation. This doctrine of demons has enslaved many honorable people who would themselves scorn to make such a plan as they attribute to God.
Thank God, the time is not far distant when these seducing spirits will be completely bound and restrained, to deceive humanity thus no more. But the deception has so long prevailed that poor humanity is largely under its control. The falsehood leading up to all this error is Satan's first lie to our parents in Eden. There, contradicting the words of God, he said, "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). Ever since, for 6,000 years, he has worked along this line, and all the fallen angels with him. His message is, "Ye shall not surely die"—that when men seem to die, they become more alive than before they died.
By this error, that dead men are alive, Satan and the fallen angels, contrary to the teachings of the Bible have instilled into the whole world nonsensical, heathenish superstitions respecting heaven, purgatory and hell. The Catholics pray for those who go to purgatory, to help them out. Protestants do not so pray, most of them believing that the saintly few go directly to heaven and the unsaintly as directly to eternal torture. If this great lie wherewith Satan first seduced Mother Eve and murdered our race (John 8:44) could be fully eliminated from our minds and our creeds, it would mean a religious reformation to both Catholics and Protestants—back to the Bible and away from the domination and seduction of the lying spirits, the fallen angels, who impersonate humanity, dead and living.
HOW ANGELS BECAME REPROBATE
So far as we can learn from those who have once been spirit-mediums, the trend of Spiritism is toward unchastity, impurity. And this agrees well with the Scriptural declaration relative to the sin through which these fallen angels first became reprobate. St. Jude (Jude 6, 7) and St. Peter (2 Pet. 2:4) tell us briefly of the fall of the angels—that they "left their own habitation" and "kept not their first estate." Both Apostles mention the circumstance in connection with human lasciviousness.
The story of the fall of the angels is given briefly in Gen. 6:1-4. After man's fall into sin, God permitted the holy angels to have communication with humanity. And because human eyes cannot see spirit beings, God permitted the angels to materialize. E.g., we note the case of the angels who visited Abraham on the plains of Mamre and for whom he prepared a veal dinner. We read in Gen. 18 that, materialized, these angels were like men, and were taken by Abraham to be men, as they ate and talked with him. It was subsequently that Abraham learned that they were really heavenly visitants. Such materializations occurred to others, e.g., Lot, Jacob, Balaam, Gideon, David, Zechariah, Mary, Peter, etc.
So it was with all the angels before the flood. They were permitted to materialize and to appear in every sense of the word as men. The record (Gen. 6) shows that some of the angels became lustful. We read (v. 2), "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." The angels, with powers and with knowledge superior to man's, acted as the masters of men, who were practically obliged to do their bidding. The result is stated in few words. The children of this misalliance, we are told, were giants as compared with the ordinary members of our race. And not only were they giants physically, but also intellectually—"They were men of renown." Poor humanity could not compete with this race. The result was that strife and contention and lustful, sinful practices abounded in all the earth, until God declared that every imagination of man's heart was only evil continually.
NOAH "PERFECT IN HIS GENERATIONS"
God had foreknown all this, and a canopy of waters which then surrounded the earth, similar to Saturn's rings now, was held in readiness to cause a flood, that sinful men and the human offspring of the angels might be destroyed. Only Noah and his family were found worthy of preservation to be the new start of humanity this side of the flood. The declaration of the Scriptures respecting Noah's family is, "Noah was perfect in his generations." He was properly generated or born—so were his children. There was no strain or admixture of the angelic stock in that family. The plain intimation is that the remainder of humanity were so degraded by the seductions of those fallen angels that they were not fit to live. The entire race had become corrupt.
Of course, the fallen angels were not destroyed in the flood, for they not only had the power to materialize, but also the power to dematerialize. It was at that time, however, that all of the fallen angels were put "in everlasting chains under darkness" (Jude 6), i.e., under restraints—not permitted again to materialize in the light, the limitation lasting "unto the judgment of the great day." Their chains or restraints are not physical, but are powerful enough to confine them to the earth's atmosphere, within which they may roam at will, though chained, or restrained from materializing in the light. The intimation of the Scripture seems to be that now, with the ending of this Gospel Age, just prior to the inauguration of the New Dispensation, these evil spirits are allowed to break their chains to some extent and in the light manifest themselves as human beings, in connection with the present great trouble time incidental to the change of dispensation.
THE ACTIVITIES OF THE DEMONS
Separated from God and the holy angels, and unable to assume human bodies, the sinful angels have probably had terrible experiences during the past 4400 years. True happiness is not to be expected among those alienated from God. Anger, malice, hatred, strife and other works of the devil are not compatible with the love, joy and peace which belong alone to a condition of holiness (Gal. 5:19-23).
Under such circumstances we cannot wonder that these fallen angels would seek association with humanity. Being under the control of Satan as the chief or prince of devils (Matt. 9:34), they have followed his course and propagated his first falsehood—"Ye shall not surely die." They have conjured to men's minds the hell of the heathen, the hell and purgatory of the Catholics, and, worst of all, the Protestant misconception of awful and unending torture for all except the saintly few.
These doctrines of demons have increased the gulf between God and humanity and have made the Bible, the message of God's love, a book of terrors—not to be loved, but merely to be endured or kept as a fetish to secure possibly a cooler place in purgatory, or an escape from eternal torture. We may safely say that all the false doctrines of Christendom, represented in all of the creeds of the "Dark Ages," are doctrines of demons. Our minds became defiled—our hymn books, our creeds, everything.
Thank God that the light of the New Dispensation is now bringing to us the beginning of blessing—release from some of our darkness. The seeing of the true wages of sin—that it is death (Rom. 6:23), i.e., cessation of life, and not eternal torment—is one of the most important features connected with our enlightenment. When we learn that the dead are really dead, and, as the Bible declares, will not know anything (Eccl. 9:5, 10) until the resurrection, then we begin to see the beauty of God's plan—the need of Christ's death; the need of His Second Coming; the need of His Kingdom; the need of a resurrection; the need of an opportunity for all mankind to come to a clear knowledge of the great truth of redemption through the precious blood and to the opportunity then, by God's grace, of attaining eternal life —either during the Gospel Age, as New Creatures, under "the heavenly calling" (Heb. 3:1), to become spirit beings like unto the angels, or in the New Dispensation, during the more general salvation of the world to human perfection in an earthly Paradise.
CASTING OUT DEMONS
Our great Redeemer manifested His power by casting out demons from those who had become obsessed. And we read further that He commissioned His Apostles to heal all manner of disease, and to cast out unclean spirits (Matt. 10:1). We are told that they did this; and numerous instances of such works, in illustration, are given us. One man was obsessed by a legion of these spirits. No wonder the poor fellow was crazy. But after they were cast out he was clothed and in his right mind and became a disciple (Luke 8:26 36). St. Paul and Silas had an experience with an obsessed young woman who practiced soothsaying, fortune-telling, by the power of the evil spirit which possessed her. As the evil spirits recognized Jesus and cried, "We know thee, who thou art, Jesus," so this spirit knew the Apostles and, through the young woman's lips, cried after them, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation" (Acts 16:16-18). Neither Jesus nor the Apostles were willing to accept demon testimony; so they charged the evil spirits to come out of their victims.
The Scriptures indicate that there will be a surprising activity among the fallen angels in the close of this Gospel Age. The Master declared (Matt. 24:24) that the deceptions would be exceedingly subtle. However, due to God's use of the Scriptures to fortify His people, and because of His use of them to build one another up in the most holy faith, they will be able to stand in this "evil day" (Eph. 6:13), despite the prevalence of the ensnaring and deceptive errors. Neither fallen angels, nor principalities, nor powers, shall be able to separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:38, 39).
DEMONS GIVEN GREATER LIBERTY
Judging from the Scriptures, we need not be surprised if here in the end of the Gospel Age the fallen angels are measurably released from the Divine restraints and materialize in broad daylight—impersonating not only the dead, but also at times impersonating the living. Spiritists and mediums claim that such things are already beginning, and are likely to be accomplished on a large scale shortly. God's people, while resting confidently and at ease under Divine supervision, should be on the alert to resist everything akin to Spiritualism, Occultism, Hypnotism, and to warn their friends respecting these things. Numerous scientific and some literary men are being entrapped by these lying spirits, whose doings and powers they are investigating under the name of Psychic Phenomena. They are deceitfully told that the demons that make the communications are dead humans.
Thank God we are nearing the time when Satan shall be fully bound (Rev. 20:1-3), and every evil influence fully restrained. Not only will there then be a full cleansing from all physical obsession, but a still greater cleansing and freeing from the doctrines of demons.
MANKIND'S FALL INVOLVED ANGELS
So far we have discussed certain aspects of the bad angels, and have seen that they succumbed to the leaven of sin, which was first introduced by Satan's pride and rebellion, and was continued and increased by man's disobedience and fall from Divine favor. Some might be inclined to say, Why write about the angels and their fall? Why not rather confine our consideration to man? The answer is that man's fall had to do with the fall of the angels, as we have seen; and that since then the fallen angels have had much to do with man's further perversion mentally, morally, religiously, physically. St. Paul was not in error when he declared, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood [merely], but against principalities, against powers, … against wicked spirits in high positions" (Eph. 6:12).
We are aware that many will be inclined to laugh at what they designate as a superstitious belief—that fallen spirit beings are in close proximity with humanity—a continual power for evil, seductive, ensnaring and God- and Truth-opposing. Our knowledge of Spiritism comes mainly through the Bible, but is well supported by the testimony of many who have been rescued from the thralldom of Spiritism—a considerable number of these having been mediums. We should either take the Bible account as a whole, or should reject it as a whole. It is our constant effort to bring our own thoughts and words and conduct and those of others into full alignment with the Divine instructions of the Bible. We believe any other attitude to be dangerous in the extreme.
HOW DEMONS BLASPHEME GOD
The Bible styles the fallen angels demons—rendered in our A.V., devils. We charge these demons, and not our forefathers, with having perverted the true Gospel message. This thought is substantiated by the Apostle, who refers to their insidious teachings as "doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1). By every means they seek to put darkness for light and light for darkness. In the doctrines of the Dark Ages, now discredited, these demons blasphemed God by teaching that He had prepared a torture chamber and was overseeing the everlasting torture of nearly all humanity—all except the elect—at the hands of fire-proof devils with pitchforks. Thus the human mind was turned against the Almighty in dread. Thus humanity learned to think of Satan and his associates as in some far-off place.
Now, as greater illumination comes, and humanity gradually ascertains that the theory of a great torture place beyond the bounds of time was a fraud, these demons would lead truth-seekers in an opposite direction, and convince them that as there is no such torture chamber, neither are there any demons. But the Bible all the while has been telling us that these evil spirits are near us, in our atmosphere; and that they have power over us in proportion as we yield our wills to their suggestions and our minds to sin. So far from telling of Satan's being far off, St. Paul declares that he goes about through the earth, seeking whom he may devour, and that his host of fallen angels are a present power for evil throughout the world (1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 2:2). Similarly, Jesus tells us to pray, "Deliver us from the evil one." He says that Satan was "a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth" (John 8:44).
St. Peter tells us that the fallen angels at the time of the Deluge were tartarused. The noun tartarus is not used in the Bible; but the verb tartaroo derived from it is used once in the Bible (2 Pet. 2:4), and is mistranslated, cast down to hell. By tartarus the Greeks meant a prison for wicked spirits. Tartaroo would therefore mean to imprison. According to the Bible, the demons are imprisoned in the earth's atmosphere, in which they have been confined as in a prison, a place or condition of restraint, and in which they could manifest themselves only in the dark (Eph. 2:2; Matt. 12:24-27; Eph. 6:11, 12; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).
SATAN—GOD'S GREAT OPPONENT
The very name Satan signifies opponent, i.e., of God, and this name is well deserved, because he who was formerly known as Lucifer has arrayed himself against God and in opposition to every feature of the Divine Plan (Isa. 14:12-14). The Almighty could have destroyed Satan at any time, but He has permitted him for the past six thousand years to go on in his course, in order to demonstrate the evil character of sin, and to give opportunity, on the contrary, of demonstrating the beauty of holiness. Eventually, when the lesson shall have been taught to angels and to men, Satan and all who love sin will be utterly destroyed in the Second Death (Heb. 2:14; Rev. 20:10-15; 21:8).
Note the persistency of Satan, and his effrontery. God distinctly told Adam and Eve that disobedience would bring upon them the penalty of death. Satan contradicted the Almighty point-blank, declaring "Ye shall not surely die." And when our race found the truth of God's statement borne in upon them by death, Satan still sought to pervert the Word of God and the minds of men by telling humanity that they do not die really, but in appearance only; that in reality a dead man is much more alive than a living one. This absurdity has been repeated to our race century after century, until today mankind, as a whole, believe Satan's lie, and entirely discredit the Word of God.
The way back to God and to sanity of reasoning is the repudiation of Satan's falsehood and the acceptance of God's Truth. The dead know not anything. Their sons come to honor and they know it not; to dishonor and they perceive it not of them (Eccles. 9:5; Job 14:21). Satan's original lie is the basis of most of the superstitions of religion. If mankind believed God—that the dead are dead, and that their only hope of a future life is based on the resurrection—it would clear the world of a thousand superstitions. How could the dead suffer tortures in a Protestant hell or in a Catholic purgatory, if the dead know not anything, as the Bible declares? If the Truth prevailed, where would come in prayers and masses for the dead? And where would come in the belief of spiritists and others that they have communications with their dead friends—if, as the Bible says, "The dead know not anything"?
DEMONS IMPERSONATE THE DEAD
On the basis of human credulity—the supposition that the dead become more alive when they appear to die—the demons have advanced their deceptions, and sought to enthrall humanity. Invisible to men, yet fully informed respecting all human affairs, they can readily impersonate the dead. The fallen angels, deprived since the Deluge of the power to materialize in daylight, use as channels of communication such individuals as they can deceive into being their servants—mediums. Many of these are noble characters, and many of them the reverse; but vicious or ignorant or good, the demons use such as they can control, none being too debased for their service. Working on the credulity of their dupes, they use the lips or the pencil of the medium to describe the dead one, who is supposed to be very anxious to communicate with the living. And the description generally fits well to the dupe's last knowledge of the person—age, sex, clothing, all. So deluded do people become that they fail to remember that the children of two or ten years would, ten years later, if alive, be twelve or twenty years of age, and proportionately larger, and certainly not content to wear in a spirit land the same clothing they wore when last seen by the dupe. The demons' power to discuss matters known only to the dupe and the deceased carries conviction.
THE DEMONS' USE OF VISIONS
Frequently the demons give visions to captivate and impress those who are susceptible. Many well-intentioned people, forgetting that we have "a more sure word of prophecy," whereunto we do well that we take heed (2 Pet. 1:19), are greatly impressed by visions, feeling sure that they come as direct revelations from heaven. True, before the Scriptures were fully given, God sent certain visions for the instruction of His people; but now through the inspired Scriptures the man of God is thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:16, 17)—he needs no more visions.
But the demons, who operate through ignorance and superstition, give many visions, usually in the interest of Satan's lie—"Ye shall not surely die." Thus they may appear as the Virgin Mary, or some saint, or as a dead spouse, friend or relative. They impress the mind of their victim with beautiful visions of their loved ones, of heavenly glory, etc. They even take advantage of the weakened minds of those who are dying and give them visions, and thus through them seek to impress upon others that the dead are not really dead, but continue to live, either in heavenly bliss, or in eternal torment.
And the teachings of the denominations, that the dead are not dead, are helping on with the deception. The venerable minister, deceived by the doctrines of the Dark Ages, tells his hearers at the funeral that their deceased friend is hovering over them; and that if he could speak, he would say, "Weep not for me." The medium and the clairvoyant announce that they are under spirit control, and that the departed one can speak through them. Is it any wonder that the deception is a powerful one with many? The antidote for all the doctrines of demons is the message of the Word of God: (1) That the dead are really dead; (2) That Christ died on our behalf; (3) That at His Second Coming and Kingdom, "there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15).
Let those who deny that there are invisible evil spirits explain what Jesus meant when He gave His disciples power over all manner of disease, and over unclean spirits. Let them explain what the seventy meant when they returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject unto us through thy name" (Luke 10:17). It is for them to explain, too, what really took place at Gadara, where the Scriptures declare Jesus cast a legion of these evil spirits out of one man. That legion, permitted to go into the swine, were sufficient in number to craze the entire herd (Luke 8:26-33).
Let them explain also what St. Paul meant when he turned to rebuke the young woman who had the power of divination, and commanded the evil spirit to come out of her (Acts 16:16-18). Let them explain why her soothsaying prognostications were at an end, when once the evil spirit was gone forth. Let us remember that there is not a suggestion anywhere in the Bible that these evil spirits were ever human beings in any sense of the word, or at any time. Let us all remember also that these are the same evil spirits dealt with at the time of the Deluge after they had married women.
Immediately after the Flood, they began their attack upon humanity, their attack upon the Truth, their endeavor to make humanity believe the lie—that the dead are not dead. To what extent they succeeded in so deceiving humanity they prepared mankind proportionately to be their dupes. The goal of their ambition is possession; everything else is accessory. Many spirit-mediums recognize the demon character of the spirits communicating through them; they dread them and warn each other against the danger of allowing their wills to come fully under spirit influence, knowing that surely the result will be possession, demonization. Today this is usually called insanity, although many physicians realize the difference, and candidly say that not one-half the cases in insane asylums are due to functional disorder. The majority are cases of possession by evil spirits.
These are the five steps along which those who do not put themselves under the guidance of the Lord are in danger of being led by the demons. And every step of the way should be fought with a determination of the will, if the "wiles of the Adversary" would be escaped. The vacant, unoccupied mind is the more open to suggestions of the demons (Matt. 12:43-45). The purposeful, earnest, energetic, have a protection in their activity. But if suggestions, or imaginations, have been entertained, the second step may soon follow — diversion. The mind will be diverted from the lines of thought—study, prayer, or what not. The power of suggestion becomes so strong as to interfere with proper thinking and reasoning. This leads on to the third step — impression. Some are naturally more impressionable than are others, and can receive promptings, or suggestions, from the evil spirits with so little difficulty that they do not realize the source of the impression, but rather wonder if it is a power of their own. Really it is the outside power impressing them, and more and more bringing them under occult influence. Then comes the fourth stage, obsession, in which the victim gives way to a partial control of himself and of his will to the designing demons. Finally comes the last stage — possession — when the evil spirit gets full power and control of the will, and ignores the human will entirely.
This is not always accomplished without more or less of a struggle—sometimes covering years. In the struggle, sometimes by clairaudient powers, sometimes through mediums, the spirits will seek more and more the confidence of the dupe. If he be inclined toward evil, the leadings will be that way. If he have a religious tendency, he will be counseled to pray or read the Bible, then be chided, the object always being to bring him into full submission of his mind, in a manner that none should yield himself except to the Almighty, whom the evil spirits sometimes impersonate in their speech.
WITCHES, WIZARDS, NECROMANCERS
Many today laugh at the stories of witchcraft handed down from the past. Quite probably some executed as witches were good people, misunderstood by their neighbors. This does not, however, alter the fact that witches, wizards and necromancers are not mere myths. The Bible tells us of them as realities, and explains the demon power operating through them. In olden times, the Divine Law forbade any witch, wizard or necromancer (one claiming to have communications from the dead) to live in the land of Israel, or to practice their black arts (Deut. 18:9-14). Through the Prophet the Lord asks the people why the living should seek unto those who peep and mutter and claim to communicate with the dead [for wisdom, knowledge, guidance, etc.], and not unto the living God. "Should not a people seek unto their God?" (Isa. 8:19, 20).
We all remember the story of the Witch of Endor, and how King Saul, when he could not have communication with the Lord, sought it with Samuel the Prophet, who was dead. Saul saw nothing and heard nothing. The witch described to him an old man with a mantle, and Saul recognized the description as corresponding with that of the Prophet Samuel. The witch was guided by the demons, however much she might have supposed that the visions she saw and the words she heard were from the dead Prophet. Her prophecies were all from the evil spirits, the demons (1 Sam. 28:7-19; 1 Chron. 10:13, 14). So in all heathen lands, the demons have had to do with the people.
The lesson to God's people is full loyalty to God, strict attention to His inspired words through the Prophets, the Lord Jesus and the Apostles. These are the only sure protection against the wiles of the adversary. How glad we are that the lessons to angels and to men, built upon God's permission of a reign of sin and death for the past six thousand years, will soon be finished! How glad we are to know of a surety that the end will justify the permission of all the evil which has come to pass! How glad we are to know that eventually all the blinded ones will be enlightened, and that eventually all the willfully evil shall be destroyed, and that without remedy!
THE DOYLE INTERVIEW
WE HAVE BEEN asked to republish the interview that our former Editor, Prof. Paul S.L. Johnson, gave on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Spiritism to a special correspondent of the International News Service, and that was very widely published by newspapers carrying that service. We take pleasure in acceding to this request and will give the interview unabridged, including the correspondent's introduction. The full interview follows:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's lectures in the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on Spiritism are receiving pointed criticisms from prominent Philadelphians. Among others an effective answer to his claims has come from Prof. Johnson, who is one of the ablest Biblical Scholars of our times, and whose activities as an author, editor, lecturer and manager of the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement—an undenominational, non-sectarian Biblical movement of people in and outside of all denominations—have given him prominence throughout the English-speaking world. He claims that "Spiritism is revamped ancient necromancy—current among all ancient heathen nations as a part of their religion"—and that "the spirit-medium is the modern counterpart of the ancient heathen spirit-familiar and necromancer and of the less ancient Indian medicine man." Prof. Johnson declares that his understanding of Spiritism is not only the teaching of the Bible on the subject, but is also corroborated by multitudes of reformed spiritists, whose experiences with the spirits give incontrovertible evidence that they are the Devil's underlings—the fallen angels—palming themselves off as the dead.
Prof. Johnson replied as follows to the questions:
In reply to your request for an interview on the questions that you ask respecting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's spiritistic propaganda, I offer the following: I agree with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's intimation to the effect that he has not a soft head. On the contrary, he has an unusually full and level head, and better still, a good, kind heart. It strikes me that he has only one empty lobe in his brains. This vacuum in his head is the absence of correct knowledge on the nature of the spirits with whom he communicates in spiritistic séances. This lack of knowledge on the subject combined with his brilliant mind and kind heart makes him an advocate of Spiritism. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the best detective stories in existence, has failed completely as a detective; for the persons that he is investigating have completely deceived him and thrown him off the track as to their identity, plans and works, if the Bible is true in its teachings on the subject, as I believe it is, and if the testimony of undeceived former spirit-mediums is to be accepted.
Replying to the question, How has Conan Doyle been deceived as to the identity, plans and works of the spirits that he has been investigating, I would say: According to the Bible—corroborated by the experience of multitudes of reformed spiritists—the spirits that appear in séances are not at all dead human beings, but fallen angels—devils, or demons—who impersonate the dead. This is my reply to his request for an answer, as his claimed due, to his question as to the identity of his communicating spirits—the familiar spirits referred to in the Bible.
These demons are wonderfully intelligent, knowing all of us intimately, even in the minutest particulars that most of us think are completely secret from everybody except our loved dead and ourselves. They are also deeply deceitful, being the "lying spirits" of the Scriptures (1 Tim. 4:1). They use their knowledge and cunning to palm themselves off as our dead friends and relatives.
All of us know that when death severs us from loved ones there is left an aching void in our hearts, which yearn for the return of fellowship with the departed. The fallen angels, taking advantage of this longing, through Spiritism impersonate our friends and relatives, the more thoroughly to gain influence over us to their advantage and our harm. The great success that they have achieved in this matter attests their wonderful knowledge of us and their almost unbelievable deceitfulness.
The activity of fallen angels—demons—palming themselves off as our dead friends and relatives is what genuine Spiritism is—nothing more and nothing less. Thus Spiritism is simply revamped ancient, necromancy; and the medium is the modern counterpart of the ancient spirit familiar, necromancer, and the less ancient Indian medicine man.
The question, why the spirits that Conan Doyle has been investigating might not be his son; mother, etc., I would answer thus: According to the Bible and human experience the dead are dead, and therefore are unconscious; consequently they do not think, know, hear or feel—in a word, they neither do nor can do anything. They will remain in that unconscious state until the resurrection. Therefore they cannot communicate now with us. Hence the spirits that claim to be our dead are "lying spirits"—the fallen angels.
Where does the Bible teach such things? We are distinctly told in Job 14:21 and in Isa. 63:16 that dead parents know nothing of their children. In Psa. 146:4, and Eccles. 9:5, 6, we are told that the dead do not think, know, remember, feel or do anything else; and most emphatically are we in this passage told that they have nothing more to do under the sun, that is, on this earth. Instead of their progressing in righteousness or retrograding in unrighteousness, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle thinks, the Scriptures teach us that they do not praise the Lord; that their love, hatred and envy have ceased; and that where they are there is no work, device, wisdom or knowledge (Psa. 6:5; 115:17; Eccles. 9:6, 10; Isa. 38:18, 19).
"What of Conan Doyle's claim that the dead marry?" Such a thing is impossible while the dead are dead, because of their unconsciousness; and it will be equally impossible after they are resurrected, because, as Jesus said (Luke 20:35, 36), in the resurrection they will be like angels—sexless.
Certainly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Oliver Lodge, etc., in their delusions on Spiritism, are exemplifying the fulfillment of the Scriptural prophecy which says: "The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall come to naught"; for in dealing with Spiritism they deal with devils, who, trickily pulling the wool over their eyes, dupe them as to the real identity, character and purposes of their communicating spirits, who are the fallen angels—demons.
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