Our workers are, we believe, aware of the important research assignment made by the General Conference, upon which L. E. Froom has been working intensively for the past four years. We are happy to announce that the resultant manuscript has now been completed, with substantial parts. of it already in the hands of the publishers. Titled The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, and subtitled "The Conflict of the Centuries Over Life, Death, and Destiny," it constitutes a two-volume companion to the Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers set. This tracement carries us across the centuries, from 900 B.C. down to 1962, in its special field. It is destined, we believe, to create an interest in the religious world. Widespread discussion is bound to result.
Eight chapters in the concluding section depict the sinister rise and climax of the modern revival of Spiritualism, which is destined to play such an awesome part in earth's final crisis. The publishers plan to issue these excerpted chapters in advance, in inexpensive paper-back form, for wide distribution and promotional publicity. Interest in the complete work will thus be stimulated. To give Ministry readers a sample of its scope, content, and form, we here reproduce chapter VIII, presenting an almost untouched aspect of the question—"Occult Forces of the East Join Those of the West." This important over-all presentation meets a long-felt need, with an approach that is unique and compelling.—Eds.
Isaiah's intriguing expression, "replenished from the east" (Isa. 2:6), with its related "soothsayers" involvement, assumes new significance in the light of predicted developments to come during the latter period of Spiritualism's modern revival. Among the climactic "last times" developments in coming events, as foretold in the New Testament, will be the appearance of deceptive forces from the "east," according to Revelation 16:12. And this, as we have seen, is in immediate connection with the sinister emergences of the "unclean spirits" of verse 13 —these coming from the three all-embracing categories (1) of a resurgent paganism, as well as (2) a world-influencing Papacy, and (3) the growing apostasy in Protestantism. According to the inspired outline of Bible prophecy, the "east" is destined to play a definite part in Spiritualism's unprecedented eruption and final deceptions.1. COMING IMPERSONATION OF SECOND ADVENT.—One of the most daring, grandiose, and blasphemous aspects of Spiritualism's last-day schemes will evidently be an imposing attempt to impersonate the second coming of Christ in simulated grandeur. With that in mind, let us turn briefly to India and the East. Jesus has long been set forth, and personated, as one of the great avatars 1of India—an incarnation, embodiment, epiphany, or exaltation —repeatedly manifesting himself allegedly among the masters of the East.
In 1894 Baird T. Spalding,' an American research engineer, began a series of journeys, he states, seeking to trace the "great masters of Himalayas"—the avatars of India and Tibet. This quest he has left on record in his five-volume Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East (1937).' In the three and a half year period of his travels he recorded five alleged messages that a materialized "Jesus" gave as one of the mystic avatars, designed to impress the American traveler.' These avatars assertedly appear and disappear at will, and travel invisibly and instantaneously,' and this included "Jesus." His alleged words are recorded. But their subtlety and speciousness became increasingly apparent on scrutiny.2. TWIN LIES OF EDEN CONSTANTLY REPEATED.—All through Spalding's volumes the devil's twin lies of Eden are affirmed in varying forms— (1) "Ye shall not surely die" and (2) "Ye shall be as gods" (Gen. 3:4, 5). These paralleling and related concepts are stressed again and again. There can be no mistake as to the intent of these multiple assertions. From previous discussions it is obvious that the spirit being calling himself "Jesus," and whom the masters of the East are fellowshiping with and following, is a fraud and a deceiver.
The Eastern Vedantic philosophy, with its postulate of the transmigration of souls, holds that the spirits of the dead—including the avatars, born hundreds of years prior—pervade all things. Numerous references put forth the contention that "ye are gods." And similarly, the thesis of innate immortality is stressed by a succession of unequivocal declarations.' For example, Spalding speaks of "the Central Spark which is God in us all," and how all contain "the one life, the life of God." "3. PERTINENCE OF THIS SURVEY.—This survey of Spalding's portrayals is germane to our quest both because of its Eastern aspect and involvements and because of its undeniable relevance to the basic positions of Spiritualism. As just noted, both emphasize the alleged "deity" of man and the innate immortality of the soul. Both teach the ability of the subject to appear and disappear, to materialize and dissolve from view—the latter with special emphasis on the avatars, with "Jesus" placed in that category. Both discard the supreme authority of the Biblical scriptures, with Spalding commending the Buddhist sacred books as superior for the East.
Again, both extol Christ—the Spiritualists regarding Him as an outstanding medium, Spalding setting Him forth as a great avatar who has periodically appeared in India and expatiated on various subjects. Spalding, however, goes further, and boldly asserts the postulate of pre-existence and reincarnation. And the avatar contention prepares the way for an expectation of Christ's spectacular return, but in a false and deceptive form, thus beguiling and misleading all who accept his artifice. Here are a few specifics. Spalding says: "The ten commandments are not the objectified law of God at all." 11
The Trinity is depreciated, and the virgin birth of Christ.'
The Buddhist scriptures and the Bible are both considered as guides, but with a disparagement of the Bible not leveled against the other. The authority of the Bible is disposed of by declaring, "There are many mistakes in translation. . . as well as many false prophecies."
"Our (Western) Bible is of greater importance to the Western World for we do not understand the Bhagayad Gita," which is "best" for "the East." "
And this telltale statement:
"The translation of the Bible is in error where it says that man was created in the image of God. The 'in' should be left out so that it reads, 'man IS the image of God.' "154. PANTHEISM IS BOLDLY TAUGHT.—Moreover, pantheism is boldly asserted. Note it:
"You cannot make any differentiation between the individual soul and the Universal Soul, or the Over-Soul." "
"He will know that God dwells within him, and not only within him, but in everything about him, every rock, every tree, every plant, every flower, and every created thing; that God is in the very air he breathes, the water he drinks, the money he spends; that God is the substance of all things. When he breathes, he breathes God as much as he does air; when he partakes of food, he partakes of God as much as he does of food." "
"God is all life. I am inspired with life with every breath, and my lungs take in life with every breath, and it fills my blood stream with vitalizing life.""
Spalding refers to "Universal Force," or the primal "Universal Energy," and says, "This Divine Principle has residence within and permeates everything." " It is "permanent, everlasting, all-encompassing." That "energy" is called "God."
"God is the principle by which we abide."
"Further, the avatar 'merely lives close to Principle.' "
"God is that Supreme Intelligent Power that permeates every form and every atom of the whole universe."
Before continuing, let us probe a bit into the real significance of reincarnationism.
6. INDIA THE SPAWNING GROUND OF REINCARNATIONISM.—The doctrine of reincarnation is so vital in this survey of Eastern occultism and its penetrations into Western thought that an understanding of its origins, involvements, and historical ramifications is essential. It presupposes the immortality of the soul. It goes back to remote antiquity. It teaches that souls migrate from one body to another until complete purification has been achieved. It is fundamental in accepted Hindu thought, being held both in Brahmanism and Buddhism. Coupled with the Law of Karma, it teaches that each new birth is determined by the deeds of the previous life. It involves belief that souls emanated from the Supreme Spirit, and were then born on earth as separate existences. The soul, thus separated from the real source of its life, is bound to return to it, and become merged again into that divine entity with which it was originally one. But, having become contaminated by sin, it must strive to free itself from guilt and become fit for its heavenly career.
The doctrine of reincarnation and transmigration of souls was also found in Egypt as well as in Persia before the time of Zoroaster. But it was derived from Indian sources. In Grecia the belief was confined to the philosophers, who likewise received it from Egypt, and thence from India. Pherecydes so held. But it was developed by Pythagoras and Plato, at which time it had a remedial function. And the Neoplatonists adopted it as a natural inheritance. In the Christian Era, Origen held to the pre-existence of the soul. It was accepted by some of the Gnostics and Manichaeans. It was also found in certain obscure sects in Europe during the Middle Ages. It likewise survives among various savage tribes in Africa. But India was its spawning ground. And, as here noted, it has been brought sharply to the fore in the West by Spiritualism and theosophy. Such is the historical sweep of the doctrine. It is thus traceable back to the old original lies in Eden.
Spalding constantly says we are to apply to ourselves the term "I AM," descriptive of Deity and commonly employed by Jesus to Himself—I AM the way, the truth, the life, the door, the shepherd.
This much must be said: The inanities allegedly uttered by Spalding's "Christ" are puerile and degrading and misleading. They are as darkness in contrast to dazzling light when placed alongside our Saviour's words enshrined in the New Testament. Such is the essence of Spalding's investigation of the concepts and contemplations of the East with reference to immortality, the deity of man, the pantheistic notion of God, the claim of reincarnation, and the derogation of Christ—and expectation of a future appearance. It is the Eastern counterpart of Western Spiritualism. So, while East is East and West is West, they clasp hands across the undeniable basic tenets of Spiritualism. The "unclean spirits" from the "dragon" are stirring. Consolidation and climax are under way for the final deception.9. BIBLICAL PORTRAYAL OF INIMITABLE ADVENT.—Let none be deceived. The New Testament is explicit and detailed. The second advent of Christ will be with transcendent power and great glory (Matt. 24: 30, 31; 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 21:27). Christ will descend visibly from the clouds of heaven, just as He ascended into heaven (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 1:10; 4:16; 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 1:7). He will come in flaming fire for the destruction of sinners (2 Thess. 1:8, 9) and the redemption of His saints (Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:23). He will come with all His holy angels (Matt. 16:27; Mark 13:26, 27). These facts cannot be simulated or duplicated, but a false appearance will be attempted in some form.
The Master Himself said that false christs would come (Matt. 24:5, 24; Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8), showing great signs and wonders, with the intent of deceiving "if it were possible" the "very elect" (Matt. 24:24). They will say "Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there" (Mark 13:21), but we are to "believe him not." Some will say He has come in the desert (Matt. 24:26). But the true second coming of Christ will be seen "as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (verse 27). The Second Advent will raise the righteous dead and gather the living saints from all over the earth (Matt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52; Mark 13:27; 1 Thess. 4:15-17). These specifications cannot be duplicated or simulated. Let no one be deceived.
(To be continued)
Footnotes and References
1 "Avatar" is the Hindu term for an alleged divine incarnation or manifestation of a deity visiting earth for some beneficent or retributive purpose. Thus Vishnu has supposedly manifested himself through nine great avatars. Buddha, it is claimed, was one of these avatars, and Jesus another. Then Hindus allege that when the tenth and last avatar comes he will destroy the earth.
2 Baird T. Spalding (died 1933), research engineer and metaphysician was born in India, as was his father. He lived for a time in'Cocanda, according to his own statement, and attended Calcutta University (Life and Teachings of the Masters of the East, vol. 5, pp. 30, 103, 104). Widely traveled and prominent in the metaphysical field, he wrote books that are still the best sellers of DeVorss and Company, the publishers their popularity growing and not diminishing by 1962—after 38 years.
The author of a study course based on Spalding's writings and tape recordings of his lectures states that travelers from the Far East have told DeVorss. manager of his later lecture tours and his traveling companion, of being in India while Spalding was there, and of having seen him there. (Personal letter to author from author of lessons, May 7, 1962.)
3______________ , The Life and Teaching of the Masters of the
East (1937), vol. 1. Foreword, p. 7. For the original sources see the standard 50-volume Sacred Books of the East (18991910), translated by twenty-one scholars, and edited by Frederick Max Muller. It was published by Oxford Clarendon Press.
4 Ibid., (1) vol. 3, pp. 44, 45; (2) pp. 52-56; (3) pp. 140-160-164.pp. 148-157; (5) pp. 181-186. See also vol. 7, pp.
5 Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 73, 74, 76.
6 Ibid., vol. 2, P. 19. vol. 1-, p. 31 ("The divinity within man"); p. 32 ("within me there is . . the form Divine"); p. 122 ("you of yourself are always Christ"); vol. 3, p. 52 ("that he is god; that he is merged wholly or amalgamated with god"); vol. 3, pp. 32, 36, 53, 54, 55, etc.; p. 140 ("together you and
7 [Christ) are god"); vol. 5, p. 52 (" 'ye are gods, and sons of the Most High' "); p. 92 ("the Divinity within"); p. 160 ("God is really you, the entire being of you"), etc.
8 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 62 ("We will never experience death, or any change called death"); pp. 30, 31, 32, 90, 96, 123 ("The Tree of Life is located . . . in the very depth of our own soul"); vol. 3, p. 158 ("all humanity is eternal and immortal").
9 ibid., vol. 1, p. 127.
10 Ibid., p. 135
11Ibid., vol. 4, p. 95.
12 Ibid., p. 101.
13 Ibid., vol. 3, p. 169.
14 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 104.
15 Ibid., p. 112.
16 Ibid., p. 120.
17 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 140.
18 bid., vol. 5, p. 178. (Italics his.)
19bid., p. 48.
20 Mid, PP. 48-50.
21 Ibid., p. 98.
22 Ibid., p. 100.
23 Ibid., p. 54.
24 Ibid., vol. 3, p. 167.
25 Ibid., p. 168.
26 Ibid., vol. 1, p. 155.
27/bid., p. 157.
28 Ibid., vol. 3, p.167.
29 /bid., vol. 5, p. 119.
30 bid., vol. 1, Foreword; vol. 5, p. 126.
31bid., vol. 1, p. 128.
32 Ibid., vol. 2, p. 12.
33 Ibid., vol. 5, p. 133.