THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT DAY
"The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their
proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting chains under
darkness until the judgment of the great day."--Jude 6.
WE HAVE already discussed at considerable length the test or trial which came to the angels of God through the fall of man.* Such a testing of the loyalty of the angels of God was appropriate, yet would have been, we may say, impossible had it not been for man's creation under conditions practically what they were. This testing of these perfect beings existing under perfect conditions should have found them all loyal to the Lord and to his various arrangements, realizing that they were every way beneficial, the wisest and the best. We have seen how sin as a disease is figuratively represented in the Scriptures by leprosy; and that the temptation came along the lines by which humanity was different from other intelligent beings of God's universe in that humanity possessed the power of propagating its own species after the manner of the lower animals. This power was seductive, and the Scriptures show us that many of the angels preferred to leave their own estate or habitation that they might associate with humanity and participate indirectly in this human power of propagation. They should, of course, have settled it in their own minds that the divine programme for them was far better than they could have devised for themselves. They should have relied upon God's assurance that their plane of being was still higher than that of humanity: they should have been contented, happy in the exercise of the powers and qualities and blessings given them by the Father richly to enjoy. And this was true of many of them, but as the Scriptures show it was not true of all. The fall of these angels is referred to by the Apostle Peter (2 Pet. 2:4) and again in our text, and still more particularly in Genesis 6:1-5.
[R4068 : page 297] are alive, and thereby to corroborate Satan's original lie, "Ye shall not surely die," the very reverse of God's plain declaration, "Ye shall surely die."--Gen. 3:3,4.
We shall not here repeat the evidence that these wicked spirits--not content with operating through humanity as mediums--seek to "possess" or "obsess" them so as to use their bodies as if they were their own, succeeding in this largely in proportion as the subjects will yield their minds to the influence brought to bear upon them. We shall not here give the proofs that the human organization is such, by divine arrangement, that these evil spirits can be resisted, and only intrude into human privacy of thought as mankind may disregard the divine warning and give ear or heed or attention to the various tricks and devices for arousing curiosity of which they make use. We shall not repeat the proofs that in some instances, the will becoming broken down, a number of these fallen spirits get possession of an individual who, by their simultaneous communications and suggestions to his mind, becomes what we call deranged, insane. It is claimed that one-half of the inmates of the insane asylums are there by reason of such obsession, corresponding to the instances mentioned in the New Testament, in one of which the Lord inquired the name of the unclean spirit and got the answer "legion," for there were many possessing the afflicted one--the legion which, afterward permitted to go into the swine, crazed them so that the entire herd ran into the sea of Galilee and were drowned.
Our present inquiry is more particularly respecting the judgment of these fallen spirits, concerning which we read, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge angels?" (I Cor. 6:3.) Our text also refers to their judgment, saying, that their restraint in chains of darkness would be unto or until the "judgment of the great day."
CHRIST'S SERMON TO THE FALLEN ANGELS
We have already discussed the hope of these angels,
and have seen the manner in which Christ preached
to them by his death and resurrection--preached to
the spirits in prison which were disobedient in the days
of Noah--the angels which kept not their first estate.
We have seen that our Lord did not orally preach during
the time he was dead, and that he was dead the
three days he was in the tomb, and that he rose from
the dead on the third day. We have seen that his
preaching to these fallen spirits was after the manner
that the proverb suggests when it says, "Actions speak
louder than words." We may be sure that Satan and
all these fallen angels knew the Lord and observed
closely everything pertaining to his early life, death
and resurrection. Did they not declare, "We know thee
who thou art, the holy One of God"--the Messiah?
(Mark 1:24.) While the holy angels watched every procedure,
these fallen angels had a special interest in
this manifestation of God's love for humanity, which
brought the Redeemer from the heavenly plane to the
earthly one, and then cost his death to redeem Adam
and his race, because the penalty was death. They had
known God's character for justice; their own experience
was an illustration of it, and the experience of
mankind likewise testified to it. But here was taught
a manifestation of divine love and compassion, bringing
aid to the degraded race of Adam. They perceived,
too, in our Lord's resurrection that his obedience had
brought him a great reward and high exaltation, so
that he arose from the tomb a mighty God, a partaker
of the divine nature, while they wondered in amazement.
Can we doubt that these circumstances, as the Apostle
suggests, were a great sermon, a great lesson to them?
Bright, intelligent, wise, they doubtless reasoned that
if God had done so much for Adam and his race in
their degradation, he might not be unwilling also to
show them some favor at some time. Indeed if we will
but allow our minds to reason along this line we may
suppose that forthwith some of those fallen angels, inspired
by hope of a reconciliation to God at some time
in the future, began to mend their ways and to seek to
live more in accord with righteousness. We may assume
that these no longer exercised deception and wiles
against humanity, but that, though still restrained, they
are hoping and waiting for some leniency of the Lord
in the judgment of the great day.
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WHAT WILL THEIR JUDGMENT BE?
With the facts of the case before our minds--that there is to be a judgment, and that this implies a trial --we inquire what kind of a trial or judgment will it be? The word translated judgment in our text is in the Greek krisis, its primary signification being decision, determination, hence trial in order to reach such a decision. This implies that the decision in the case of these fallen angels is not yet rendered, and that some test or trial must come to them which will determine results. The word of the Lord gives us to understand clearly that, whatever God's dealings may be in the interim, the finality of his judgment is that none shall have eternal life except those who are fully in accord with himself and the principles of righteousness, and that all others shall be destroyed utterly and without hope of recovery. There can be no doubt then as to the result of the trial. Both the Apostolic statement that the fallen angels are reserved unto judgment, krisis, testing, and the further statement that the saints shall judge angels, show that the matter is not yet settled as respects all of these--shows that there is hope for such of these fallen ones as may heartily recognize their wrong course and return to obedience to the Lord.
When will this judgment take place?--at the beginning of the great day or at its further end, or throughout the day of Christ? We answer that the judgment of mankind requires and has appointed to it the entire period of a thousand years, because man--ignorant and deluded and impaired under the reign of sin and death and by the machinations of these evil spirits--will need to have the counsel and instruction and assistance of the various agencies which God has provided for his [R4069 : page 298] social, mental, moral and physical uplifting during the Millennium, and his trial or testing will be all the way along--as to his willingness to accept of and use and profit by the various blessed agencies which will then be in operation for his aid. So then the entire Millennial day is Scripturally called man's day of judgment,-- as the Apostle declares, "God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness." But as for the fallen angels, it is not said that the Millennial epoch as a whole is set apart as their judgment day, and indeed we can surmise that this would be neither necessary nor proper, because, never having come under the sentence of death, we are to understand that those spirit beings are as much alive and perfect in their organization as they ever were--that all the change possible to them has been in their mentality, their wills. Their knowledge is great, and not, like man's, confined to a knowledge of sin and evil things, for they had previously a knowledge of goodness, holiness and purity, and throughout all the various epochs of human history they have seen the divine dealings, first with Israel under the typical mediator Moses and the typical covenant, the Law; second they have seen Christ, the antitypical Moses, and have been witnesses of the proclamation of the Gospel throughout this age and of its influence upon those who are rightly exercised thereby, leading them to sacrifice and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. It would appear then that these fallen spirits have little to learn of either good or evil, and that any judgment or trial coming upon them would not need to be long drawn out, as in the case of humanity.
Their judgment would signify the bringing of them to a decision, a crucial testing of their hearts, their wills, as respects righteousness and sin--harmony with God or with Satan. In order to have such a testing, such a krisis, a peculiar condition of things would be necessary--a condition in which they would have an opportunity to do the evil or to resist the temptation and to do good. As we have suggested, no doubt some of them have acted upon the sermon of Christ's death and resurrection, and its manifestation of God's loving character and the hope that it inspires respecting their future. Such might be said to be in a condition of trial all through this Gospel Age--whether or not they would stand firm in their opposition to sin and to those around them, or succumb and yield and participate in the sins. But evidently, according to the Scriptures, we would expect that some crucial point of testing would be reached which would decide matters for all these fallen spirits--the "krisis of the great day."
In view of all these conditions and considerations we hold that we are now living in this krisis time--that the restraint of darkness placed upon these fallen angels was to last only until the crisis or judgment of "the great day." Our understanding is that this great day of the Lord began chronologically in October, 1874, and from what we can learn it is since that date that "materializations" have become more and more common. Admitting that there are many frauds along this line, we consider that the evidence is too strong to be disputed that there have been numerous genuine manifestations --materializations--in which the spirit personating the dead has assumed a material body, possessing weight and various qualities similar to a human. Not only have such cases been reported in the public press, but some friends of the Truth who at one time were identified with Spiritism have corroborated these. A sister in the Truth who was at one time a spirit medium assures us that not long since in the parlor of her own home, the door being shut, a spirit materialized before her in the form of a man who spoke to her. His request being refused he threateningly caught her by the arm with a firm grasp, but at that instant her brother opened the parlor door and the materialization instantly dissolved.
Another sister in the Truth, who had been less directly connected with Spiritism, informed us that recently one of the demons personating her deceased sister, opening the spring lock, walked into her room while she was wide awake and tried to choke her, afterwards leaving, as she had come, through the door.
Another case was that of a brother who at one time had made some slight investigations of Spiritism, but ceased when he obtained light as to its demon origin. An apparition representing his wife appeared to him in his room as he was walking toward his bed, and reached out a hand while walking by his side. He, recognizing the source of such manifestations, and remaining firm to his resolution to have nothing further to do with the spirits in any sense or degree, refused to take the hand, and instead turned his heart to the Lord in prayer for deliverance from the Adversary's power; then the apparition vanished. It would appear that, for some reason we cannot explain, these evil spirits have special power and liberty with those who have at any time yielded to curiosity in connection with spirit manifestations. Here we have a fresh reason for our repeated advice that the Lord's people totally refuse to have anything to do with spirit mediums, seances, hypnotism and clairaudience--this latter a development of the powers of the ear whereby the spirits may be heard without the ordinary sounds of speech. Attempts of the demons to intrude upon us are usually associated with something or other to excite our curiosity, and our advice is that the Lord's people restrain their curiosity and resent such intrusions as dangerous beginnings, the end of which we cannot surmise.
"MY SOUL BE ON THY GUARD"
The proper course to pursue, when these evil spirits attempt to intrude upon us, is to look to the Lord with faith and confidence, and in the name of the Lord Jesus to command the evil one to depart. We need have no fear of their power against us so long as we are the Lord's and are walking in our daily life not after the will of the flesh but after the Spirit. Remember our Lord's words to Pilate, "Thou couldst have no power at all against me except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11); and again the Apostle's assurance, "We [R4069 : page 299] know that all things work together for good to them that love God--to the called ones according to his purpose." (Rom. 8:28.) Greater is he who is on our part than all they that be against us. If the Adversary had power to injure us he would have done so long ago-- "The angel of the Lord encampeth about them that reverence him, and delivereth them."--Psa. 34:7.
Our surmise is that this loosing and liberating from the chains of darkness will increase, perhaps very rapidly; that these fallen spirits are permitted to gradually invent a method by which they can accomplish such materializations, and that the knowledge of this and their proficiency in it will be permitted to develop during the remaining seven years of this harvest time, and constitute not only a trial for them, but have much to do also with the perilous times for the Church and the world which the Scriptures indicate should now be expected.
These fallen angels (demons), still in opposition to God, will doubtless ignore the Lord's restraints and use their discovery of the new power or new method of materialization. Those having respect to the Lord and his will would of course refuse to use such powers as he had condemned and forbidden and restrained, and thus their loyalty to the Lord would be demonstrated. Indeed we may be sure that whichever of these fallen angels have repented of their wrong course have abstained from all attempts to communicate with humanity in harmony with the Lord's prohibitions. We may be sure, then, that when spirit mediums tell us they communicate with both good and bad spirits this is not the case, that none of the good seek to communicate [R4070 : page 299] with mankind, and that those who do represent themselves as good spirits are, as the Scriptures declare, "lying spirits," who sometimes use the "cloak" of good admonitions for the purpose of trapping mankind and deceiving them. In a word, then, all of the demons who communicate with mankind are wicked spirits, and as these become conscious of their power to materialize and become proficient in the use of the same we may expect that their vicious natures will lead them to beset mankind with the grossest immoralities and every evil work. Neither should we forget the Apostle's declaration that one of the delights of these demons is to personate the pure, the good, as an "angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14), that they might thereby the more effectually accomplish injury: for it seems to be one of the delights of the evilly disposed to entrap others into sin and wrong doing. When we remember Christendom in respect to these matters we almost tremble for the results that may follow the permission of such materializations:
MANY UNPREPARED FOR "STRONG DELUSIONS"
(1) They do not understand about these demons; they make light of the casting out of devils by the Lord and the apostles, and think that they erred and called diseases demons.
(2) On the other hand they do not believe that the dead are dead, but that they are bodiless spirits.
For a long time Christian people have been deterred from any intercourse with the demons personating their dead by an undefinable fear, but now Christian Science has taught many of them to fear nothing, but to say, "Everything is good, there is no evil, there is no devil, there are no demons," and additionally some of the lights of science have lately been investigating psychic phenomena, as it is called, and able professional theologians have declared that there is truth connected with it somewhere and that it is worthy of investigation. Looked at from this standpoint, is not Christendom in general standing on the brink, as it were, of terrible delusions and ensnarements? To this picture we must not forget to add the Apostle's testimony respecting this very time. He declares that because Christendom has not received the truth in the love of it, but has preferred a lie--preferred to believe that the dead are alive when the Scriptures declare that they are dead and without hope except in a resurrection from the dead-- therefore God will send them strong delusion that they may believe a lie because they had no pleasure in the truth--that they all may be condemned--shown to be unworthy a place amongst the Elect of the Kingdom. Respecting this time the Lord also through the Prophet declares that "because this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which has been taught them, therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work amongst this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."--Isa. 29:13,14.
Our conclusion then respecting the judgment time for the fallen angels is this--that during the Millennial Age, when righteousness shall be laid to the line and justice to the plummet, and when nothing shall be permitted to hurt or to injure in all God's holy Kingdom, it would be impossible for those fallen angels to have any special trial in connection with mankind--indeed their trials would then seem to be over--surely they will then have less opportunity and therefore less temptation than at present. We reason therefore that their judgment in this great day is in the immediate present and within the next few years--that the permission for them to find and use means of materialization and communication with mankind will furnish the special trial and testing of these angels which is called their judgment, their krisis, their testing time, and that it will prove which of them are sorry for sin and at heart now loyal to God, and which are otherwise. And at the same time this matter has been so gauged as to bring it within the period of man's day of trouble--"the day of wrath."
The declaration that the saints shall judge angels must not be forgotten. We are to remember that the majority of the saints have already passed beyond the vail into the condition of heavenly glory and wisdom, and that with their Lord they would represent the entire [R4070 : page 300] Church, including those of us who are on this side the vail. What they will have to do with the judging, with the bringing of this krisis time upon the fallen angels, we know not, but we believe them to be entirely capable for any work that the Lord may assign to them. Furthermore it is possible that the saints on this side the vail may have something to do with the judging of these fallen angels. In this very article we are endeavoring to set forth their responsibility and how the repentant ones will be distinguishable from the unrepentant, the evil. The coming of this very matter to their attention will serve the more particularly to test them--to show them the krisis or decision time into which they have come. Furthermore it is possible that in the period of their expected activities the saints on this side the vail who know the truth respecting the nature of man and the deceptions of these demons may have more to do than we at present know of in the way of reproving them, exposing them, condemning them, judging them.