The following material was recently presented at a conference Bible instructors' council. Miss Jenkins illustrated her study with a tree, the fruit of which consisted of the many isms and delusions that Bible instructors must meet as they study with the People. These errors center in the immortality doctrine first preached by Satan. The lower trunk of the tree is marked "Satan's Lies," and its three main branches are "Paganism," "Catholicism," and "Apostate Protestantism." L.C K.
Jesus called our universal enemy the father of lies. "He . . . abode not in the truth, °I because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own : for he is a liar, and the father of it." Satan has been perpetrating lies upon the human race ever since his fall, in order to sidetrack as many as possible from eternal life. His first recorded lie, "Ye shall not surely die," seems to be the underlying principle of most false religions. He would have us picture God as too loving and merciful to punish and destroy sinners, or else have us believe that there is in humanity an immortal soul that even God cannot kill.
Thus the earliest apostasies included ancestor worship, deifying the dead, dependence upon human works, penance, and gifts to earn salvation or to escape a hades of everlasting punishment. We read of witchcraft, reincarnation, transmigration of souls, and penance under such names as Baal worship, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Mohammedanism, Egyptian philosophy, spiritism, and devil worship.
During the early Christian centuries the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches carried on the idea of a never-dying spirit in man in such aspects of their worship as faith in images, the mass, purgatory, the Rosary, and candle burning.
When Protestantism drew its members from the established forms of worship, they brought with them some of these heresies, besides making up many new ones ; so that today Protestants who fail to stick to their foundation, "the Bible and the Bible only," have become apostates by taking the doctrines of men instead of a "Thus saith the Lord." Many of them, therefore, teach that people go right to heaven when they die. They propagate belief in inherent immortality, eternal torment, prayers to and for the dead, baptism for the dead, communication with the dead ; they deny the existence of sin, sickness, death, the law, and the devil.
Satan's masterpiece of deception will be the union of the dragon (paganism), the beast (Catholicism), and the false prophet (apostate Protestantism), in the worship of the beast and his image, by miracles, signs, and lying wonders, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. But the inhabitants of the earth are witnessing every evidence of God's love ; and His gospel is being carried to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Everything is being done to show men the truth that saves. If they will not receive the truth, God will allow strong delusions of Satan to ensnare them ; they will be without excuse.
Every plant that our heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. (Matt. 15 :13.)
The Root of All False Doctrine Is Satan's Original Lie: "Thou Shalt Not Surely Die"
We may laugh at childish pranks, slang, and waywardness, for which we punish children later. Weeds may claim a place in our gardens, and may even be beautiful when they are small. Lion's whelps may look like darling pets at first, but they take on the fierceness of the jungle when grown. Sin consists in missing the mark. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
The broad way leads to destruction, and "many there be which go in thereat." But, thank the Lord, there is a strait and narrow way which "leadeth unto life," and a few will find it. "Other sheep I have," Jesus said; "them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine." "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Today a message is going to the world to warn of Satan's delusions and to call earnest, honest people back to "the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." "I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Are we measuring our every act and motive, our beliefs and teachings, our faith and works, by the precious word of God? May we be aroused to see what awful consequences follow even the smallest deception ; may we purify ourselves as He is pure.