The Signs of
March 24, 1887
Religion and Health
By Mrs. E. G. White
"Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his
upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick; and he sent messengers, and
said unto them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god
of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.
But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite,
Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto
them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire
of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?
Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on
which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die." 2 Kings 1:2-4.
In this narrative we have a most striking display of the divine displeasure
against those who turn from God to Satanic agencies. A short time previous to
the events here recorded, the kingdom of Israel had changed rulers. Ahab had
fallen under the judgment of God, and had been succeeded by his son Ahaziah, a worthless character, who did only evil in the
sight of the Lord, walking in the ways of his father and mother, and causing
Israel to sin. He worshiped Baal, and provoked the God of Israel to anger, as
his father Ahab had done. But judgments followed close upon the sins of the rebellious
king. A war with Moab, and then the accident by which his own life was
threatened, attested the wrath of God against Ahaziah.
In his father's time this wicked king of Israel had heard and seen much of
the wondrous works of the Most High. What terrible evidence of his severity
and jealousy had God given his apostate people! And yet Ahaziah
acted as though these awful realities, and even the fearful end of his own
father, were only an idle tale. Instead of humbling his heart before the
Lord, he ventured upon the most daring act of impiety which marked his life.
He commanded his servants, "Go, inquire of
Baal-zebub the god of Ekron
whether I shall recover of this disease."
This idol was supposed, through the medium of its priests, to give
information concerning future events. It had obtained such general credence
that it was resorted to by large numbers from a considerable distance. The
predictions there uttered, and the information given, proceeded directly from
the prince of darkness. It is he who instituted, and still maintains, the
worship of idols, as a means of diverting the minds of men from God.
The story of Ahaziah's sin and punishment contains
a lesson of warning which none can disregard with impunity. The very spirit
of heathen idolatry is rife today, though under the influence of science and
education it has assumed a more refined and attractive form. Though we do
not pay homage to heathen gods, yet thousands in civilized and Christian
countries are worshiping at Satan's shrine as verily as did the king of
Israel. Every day adds sorrowful evidence that faith in the sure word
of prophecy is decreasing, and that in its stead superstition and Satanic
witchery are captivating the minds of men. All who do not earnestly search the
Scriptures, and submit every desire and purpose of life to that unerring
test, all who do not seek God in prayer for a
knowledge of his will, will surely wander from the right path, and fall under
the deception of Satan.
The mystic voices that spoke at Ekron and Endor are still, by their lying words, misleading the
children of men. The prince of darkness has but appeared under a new guise.
The heathen oracles of ages long past have their counterpart in the
spiritualistic mediums, the clairvoyants and fortune-tellers of today. The mysteries
of heathen worship are replaced by the secret
associations and seances, the obscurities and
wonders, of the sorcerers of our time. And their disclosures are eagerly received
by thousands who refuse to accept light from the word or the Spirit of God. They
speak with scorn of the magicians of old, while the great deceiver laughs in
triumph as they yield to his arts under a different form.
These Satanic agents claim to cure disease. They attribute their power to
electricity, magnetism, or the so-called "sympathetic remedies,"
while in truth they are but channels for Satan's electric currents. By this
means he casts his spell over the bodies and souls of men.
has made it our duty to preserve our physical powers in the best possible
condition, that we may render to him acceptable service. He has placed
it in our power to obtain a knowledge of the laws of
health. Those who refuse to make use of the knowledge that has been
mercifully placed within their reach, are rejecting one of the means which
God has granted them to promote spiritual as well as physical life.
Many are unwilling to put forth the effort that is necessary in order to
obtain a knowledge of the laws of life, and the
simple means to be used for the restoration of health. They do not place themselves
in right relations to life. When sickness comes as the result of their
transgressions of natural law, they do not seek to correct their errors, and
then ask the blessing of God on their course.
Not a few, in this Christian age and Christian nation, resort to mediums
rather than trust to the power of the living God. The mother, watching by the
sick-bed 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 hands of Satan
as though he were standing by her side. And in how many instances is the
future life of the child controlled by a Satanic power which it seems
impossible to break!
Again: I have heard a mother pleading with some infidel physician to save the
life of her child; but when I entreated her to seek help from the Great
Physician, who is able to save to the uttermost all who
come unto him in faith, she turned away with impatience. Here we see the same
spirit that was manifested by Ahaziah. The Lord our
God assures us that he is waiting to be gracious; he invites us to call upon
him in the day of trouble. How can we turn from him to trust in an arm of
Ahaziah sent his servants to inquire of Baal-zebub at Ekron; but instead of
a message from the idol, he heard the awful denunciation from the God of
Israel: "Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone
up, but shalt surely die." The Lord had cause to be greatly displeased
at Ahaziah's impiety. What had he not done to win
the hearts of sinful men, and to inspire them with unwavering confidence in
his care and affection? For ages he had visited his people with
manifestations of the most condescending kindness and unexampled love. From
the times of the patriarchs, he had shown that his "delights were with
the sons of men." He had been a very present help to all who sought him
in sincerity. "In all their afflictions he was afflicted, and the angel
of his presence saved them. In his love and in his pity he redeemed
them." Yet Israel had revolted from God, and the king turned for help to
the Lord's worst enemy.
The Hebrews were the only nation favored with a knowledge
of the true God. And when the king sent to inquire of a pagan oracle, he
proclaimed to the heathen that he had more confidence in their idols than in
the God of his people, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In the same
manner do those who profess to have a knowledge of
God's word dishonor him when they turn from the Source of strength and wisdom
to ask help or counsel from some agent of the power of darkness.
is it that men are so unwilling to trust Him who created man, who can, by a
touch, a word, a look, heal all manner of disease? Who is more
worthy of our confidence than the One who made so great a sacrifice for our
redemption? If the professed followers of Christ would exercise an
intelligent, consistent faith in the promises of God, instead of placing so
much confidence in deceitful agencies, they
would realize in soul and body the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.
There is danger in departing in the least degree from the Lord's instruction.
When we deviate from the plain path of duty, a train of circumstances will
arise that seems irresistibly to draw us farther and farther from the right.
Needless intimacies with those who have no respect for God will seduce us ere we are aware. Fear of offending worldly friends will
deter us from expressing our gratitude to God or acknowledging our dependence
upon him. We must keep close to the word of God. We need its warnings and
encouragements, its threatenings and its promises.
We need the perfect example that we find only in the life and character of
Angels of God will preserve his people while they walk in the path of duty;
but there is no assurance of such protection for those who deliberately
venture upon Satan's ground. An agent of the great deceiver will say and do
anything to gain his object. These workers of iniquity are not few; and their
path is marked by desolated homes, blasted reputations, and broken hearts.
But of all this the world knows little; and Satan exults in the ruin that has
Those who give themselves up to the sorcery of Satan may be able to boast of
great benefit received thereby; but does this prove their course to be wise
or safe? What if life should be prolonged or temporal gain secured? Will it
pay in the end to disregard the will of God? Oh, no; all such apparent gain
will at the last prove an irrecoverable loss.
No man can serve two masters. Light and darkness are no more opposites than
are the service of God and the service of Satan. The prophet Elijah presented
the matter in the true light when he appealed to apostate Israel: "If
the Lord be God, serve him; but if Baal, then serve him."
cannot with impunity break down a single barrier which God has erected to
guard his people from Satan's power. Our only safety consists in preserving
the ancient landmarks. "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak
not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."