The Power of Satan
Ellen G. White
“Fallen man is Satan's lawful captive. The mission of Jesus Christ was to rescue him from his power. Man is naturally inclined to follow Satan's suggestions, and he cannot of himself successfully resist so terrible a foe, unless Christ, the mighty conqueror, dwells in him, guiding his desires, and giving him strength. God alone can limit the power of Satan. He is going to and from in the earth, and walking up and down in it. He is not off his watch for a single moment, through fear of losing an opportunity to destroy souls. It is important that God's people understand this, that they may escape his snares. Satan is preparing his deceptions that in his last campaign against the people of God, they may not understand that it is he. 2 Corinthians 11:14: "And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." While some deceived souls are advocating that he does not exist, he is taking them captive, and is working through them to a great extent. Satan knows better than God's people the power that they can have over him, when their strength is in Christ. When they humbly entreat the mighty Conqueror for help the weakest believer in the truth, relying firmly upon Christ, can successfully repulse Satan and all his host. He is too cunning to come openly, boldly, with his temptations, for then the drowsy energies of the Christian would arouse, and he would rely upon the strong and mighty Deliverer. But Satan comes in unperceived, and in disguise he works through the children of disobedience, who profess godliness. Satan will go to the extent of his power to harass, tempt, and mislead God's people.
He who dared to face, and tempt, and taunt our Lord, and who had power to take him in his arms and carry him to a pinnacle of the temple, and up into an exceeding high mountain, will exercise his power to a wonderful degree upon the present generation, who are far inferior in wisdom to their Lord, and who are almost wholly ignorant of his subtlety and strength.
In a marvelous manner will he affect the bodies of those who are naturally inclined to do his bidding. Satan exults for his own sake that he is regarded as a fiction. When he is made light of, and is represented by some childish illustration, or as some animal, it suits him well. He is thought so inferior that minds are wholly unprepared for his wisely-laid plans, and he almost always succeeds well. If his power and subtlety were understood, minds would be prepared to successfully resist him.
All should understand that Satan was once an exalted angel. His rebellion shut him out of heaven, but did not destroy his powers and make him a beast. Since his fall he has turned his mighty strength against the government of heaven. He has been growing more artful, and has learned the most successful manner to come to the children of men with his temptations.
Satan has originated fables (lies) with which to deceive. He commenced in heaven to war against the foundation of God's government, and since his fall has carried on his rebellion against the law of God, and has brought the mass of professed Christians to trample under their feet the fourth commandment, which brings to view the living God. He has torn down the original Sabbath of the decalogue, and instituted in its place one of the laboring days of the week.
The great original lie which he told to Eve in Eden, "Thou shalt not surely die," was the first sermon ever preached on the immortality of the soul. This sermon was crowned with success, and terrible results followed. He has brought minds to receive that sermon as truth, and ministers preach it, sing it, and pray it. No literal Devil, and probation after the coming of Christ, are fast becoming popular fables. The Scriptures plainly declare every person's destiny forever fixed at the coming of the Lord. Revelation 22:11, 12: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
Satan has taken advantage of these popular fables (lies) to hide himself. He comes to poor deceived mortals through modern Spiritualism (trinity of gods and any other false concept of God), which places no bounds to the carnally minded, and, if carried out, separates families, creates jealousy and hatred, and gives liberty to the most degrading propensities. People know but little yet of the corrupting influence of Spiritualism. The curtain was lifted, and much of its dreadful work was revealed to me. I was shown some who have had an experience in Spiritualism, and have since renounced it, who shudder as they reflect upon how near they came to utter ruin. They had lost control of themselves, and Satan made them do that which they detested. But even they have but a faint idea of Spiritualism as it is.
Ministers inspired of Satan can eloquently dress up this hideous monster, hide its deformity and make it appear beautiful to many. But it comes so direct from his satanic majesty, that all who have to do with it, he claims as his control, for they have ventured upon forbidden ground, and have forfeited the protection of their Maker.
When poor souls have been fascinated with the eloquent words of the teachers of Spiritualism (trinity of gods worship), and they have yielded to its influence, and afterward find out its deadly character, and would renounce and flee from it, some cannot. Satan holds them by his power, and he is not willing to let them go free. He knows that they are surely his while he has them under his special control. But if they once free themselves from his power, he can never bring them again to believe in Spiritualism, and so directly under his control. The only way for such poor souls to overcome Satan, is to discern between pure Bible truth and fables. As they acknowledge the claims of truth, they place themselves where they can be helped. They should entreat those who are experienced, and have faith, to plead with the mighty Deliverer in their behalf. It will be a close conflict. Satan will reinforce his evil angels who have controlled the individuals; but if the saints of God with deep humility fast and pray, their prayers will prevail. Jesus will commission holy angels to resist Satan, and he will be driven back and his power broken from off the afflicted ones. Mark 9:29: "And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
The popular ministry cannot successfully resist Spiritualism. They have nothing to shield their flocks from its baleful influence. Much of the sad result of Spiritualism will rest upon ministers of this age; for they have trampled under their feet the truth, and in its stead have preferred fables.
The sermon Satan preached to Eve upon the immortality of the soul--"Thou shalt not surely die"--they have re-iterated from the pulpit, and the people receive it as pure Bible truth. It is the foundation of Spiritualism. The word of God nowhere teaches the soul of man immortal. Immortality is an attribute of God alone. 1 Timothy 6:16: "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto: whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen."
God's word, rightly understood and applied, is a safeguard against Spiritualism. An eternally burning hell preached from the pulpit, and kept before the people, does injustice to the benevolent character of God. It presents him as the veriest tyrant in the universe. This wide spread dogma has turned thousands to universalism, infidelity, and atheism.
The word of God is plain. It is a straight chain of truth. It will prove an anchor to those who are willing to receive it, even if they have to sacrifice their cherished fables. It will save them from the terrible delusions of these perilous times.
Satan has led the minds of the ministers of different churches to adhere as tenaciously to their popular errors, as he led the Jews in their blindness to cling to their sacrifices, and crucify Christ. The rejection of light and truth leaves men captives, and subjects of Satan's deception. The greater the light they reject, the greater will be the power of deception and darkness which will come upon them.
I was shown that God's true people are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. God requires of them continual advancement in the knowledge of the truth, and in the way holiness. Then will they understand the coming in of Satan, and in the strength of Jesus will resist him. Satan will call to his aid legions of his angels to oppose the advance of even one soul, and, if possible, wrest it from the hand of Christ.
I saw evil angels contending for souls, and angels of God resisting them. The conflict was severe. Evil angels were crowding about them, corrupting the atmosphere with their poisonous influence, and stupefying their sensibilities. Holy angels were anxiously watching these souls, and were waiting to drive back Satan's host. But it is not the work of good angels to control minds against the will of the individuals. If they yield to the enemy, and make no effort to resist him, then the angels of God can do but little more than hold in check the host of Satan, that they should not destroy, until further light be given to those in peril, to move them to arouse and look to heaven for help. Jesus will not commission holy angels to extricate those who make no effort to help themselves.
If Satan sees he is in danger of losing one soul, he will exert himself to the utmost to keep that one. And when the individual is aroused to his danger, and, with distress and fervor, looks to Jesus for strength, Satan fears he shall lose a captive, and he calls a re-enforcement of his angels to hedge in the poor soul, and form a wall of darkness around him, that heaven's light may not reach him. But if the one in danger perseveres, and in helplessness and weakness casts himself upon the merits of the blood of Christ, Jesus listens to the earnest prayer of faith, and sends a re-enforcement of those angels which excel in strength to deliver them. Satan cannot endure to have his powerful rival appealed to, for he fears and trembles before his strength and majesty. At the sound of fervent prayer, Satan's whole host trembles. He continues to call legions of his evil angels to accomplish his object. And when angels, all-powerful, clothed with the armory of heaven, come to the help of the fainting, pursued soul, Satan and his host fall back, well knowing that their battle is lost.
The willing subjects of Satan are faithful and active, united in one object. And although they will hate, and war with each other, yet they will improve every opportunity to advance their common interest. But the Great Commander in heaven and earth has limited Satan's power.
My experience has been singular, and for years I have suffered peculiar trials of mind. The condition of God's people, and my connection with the work of God, has often brought upon me a weight of sadness and discouragement which cannot be expressed. For years I have looked to the grave as a sweet resting-place.
In my last vision I inquired of my attending angel why I was left to suffer such perplexity of mind, and so often thrown upon the Devil's battle-ground. I entreated that if I must be so closely connected with the cause of truth, that I might be delivered from these severe trials. There was power and strength with the angels of God, and I plead that I might be shielded.
Then our past life was presented before me, and I was shown that Satan had sought in various ways to destroy our usefulness; that many times he has laid his plans to get us down from the work of God; he had come in different ways, and through different agencies, to accomplish his purposes; and through the ministration of holy angels he had been defeated. I saw that in our journeying from place to place, he had frequently placed his evil angels in our path to cause accidents which would result in our losing our lives; but holy angels were sent upon the ground to deliver. Several accidents have placed my husband and myself in great peril, and our preservation has been wonderful. I saw that we had been the special objects of Satan's attacks, because of our interest in, and connection with, the work of God. As I saw the great care God has every moment for those who love and fear him, I was inspired with confidence and trust in God, and felt reproved for my lack of faith.” Ellen G. White, Review & Herald May 13, 1862 The Power of Satan.