Satan's policy in this final conflict with God's people is
the same that he employed in the opening of the great controversy in
heaven. He professed to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine
government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow.
And the very work which he was thus endeavoring to accomplish he charged
upon the loyal angels. The same policy of deception has marked the history
of the Roman Church. It has professed to act as the vicegerent of Heaven,
while seeking to exalt itself above God and to change His law. Under the
rule of Rome, those who suffered death for their fidelity to the gospel
were denounced as evildoers; they were declared to be in league with
Satan; and every possible means was employed to cover them with reproach,
to cause them to appear in the eyes of the people and even to themselves
as the vilest of criminals. So it will be now.
While Satan seeks to destroy those who honor God's law, he will cause them
to be accused as lawbreakers, as men who are dishonoring God and bringing
judgments upon the world.
God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan's constant
resort--to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce--is
compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the
conscience and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this, he works
through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the
enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God.
Those who honor the Bible Sabbath
will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral
restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down
the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be
pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will
be accused of disaffection toward the government. Ministers who deny the
obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of
yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In
legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be
misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their
words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives.
As the Protestant churches reject the clear, Scriptural arguments in
defense of God's law, they will long to silence those whose faith they
cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the
fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of
those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian
world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath.
The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or
compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will
be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying
love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and
legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular
demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which
has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the
soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet's words: "The
dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of
her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of
Jesus Christ." Revelation 12:17.