18 The Stranglehold of the Enemy

By John ThielAudio: The Stranglehold of the Enemy

1888 was the beginning of the end of all things. What is dawning upon us now?

That which we have, for the last thirty or forty years, proclaimed would come, is now here; and the trumpet of every watchman upon the walls of Zion should raise the alarm.  {RH, January 1, 1889 par. 3}

What have Adventists proclaimed under the three angels messages?  Everything contained in those messages, the culmination of the Sunday enforcement that they were preaching would come and all the prophecies of the coming of the Lord.  It is now here.  As the messages of pioneer Adventism reached its culmination back there, what is dawning now?  If you and I would embrace and practice and preach all that they preached and practised over those thirty or forty years and preach that with power now, how would you fair? Jesus tells us how we would fair.

Matthew 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

What would happen to him?

Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

24:49 And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

What would be happening to you if you were today preaching and practising with power that which was preached and practised over those thirty and forty years? You would be smitten by their tongue and they will smite you without their tongue when you do not agree with something. What do you do to those who are telling you something? You smite them with your tongue and say rubbish, they are talking ridiculous material, I don’t agree. That’s what the foolish servant and the wicked servant are doing with those who are proclaiming the message as they did back then. What has been happening over that last 120 years? Even in our experience what has been happening? Have you been smitten? Some of us have some haven’t yet. Why? The reason comes to my mind.

If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us. {9T 29.2}

Satan has stolen a march upon us back in 1888 when Cestius surrounded the city of Jerusalem. He withdrew again but did Rome return? It did and it is the fact that we are here today as Satan has stolen a march upon us. When Titus came the people were unaware and when he came that was the final stranglehold. He stole a march and it took a march to bring people from Rome to Jerusalem and the people were not aware.

Again and again the Lord has sent His Spirit to change the attitude of His people by infusing into the church a living, working principle. But unconsecrated elements have been at work, and the church has been rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security.  {1888 746.1}

Is this the Seventh Day Adventist Church? Or is it the IMS Reform Church? Both. The churches who claim to be God’s people in Jerusalem are surrounded and they don’t know it. From 1888 all the doctrines of original Adventism are being debated and not livingly presented. If they were livingly presented God’s people would be aroused but because they are being debated Satan says;

‘It’s good you keep on debating. Keep on arguing among each other, that’s fine because if those doctrines you are debating over you continue to hold as a debating subject then I’ve got you because those very messages you won’t be practising because your still trying to sort them out.’

Meanwhile Jerusalem the city is being surrounded and the Romans are coming back. The had three and a half years of opportunity that were lost and since 1888 we have had a 120 years of opportunity and while we are rocking comfortably a march has been stolen upon us.  Satan’s steps are noiseless, his movements stealthy his batteries masked. What are the batteries? That is a term used for the army. The different platoons are the batteries that surround the city. They are masked, you can’t see them. What has been happening since 1888 on the Roman front?

Revelation 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

This is what has been happening, the restoration of the Roman power but not by the Romans but by protestants.

Revelation 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

What has been happening?

The Miracles of America

Have you become attracted by those miracles of America? Where do all the technological miracles come from? It started with the Germans but it ended up amongst the Americans. It was the Germans who developed the atomic bomb but the Americans picked it up and used it, that’s history. America had to do it, not Germany, that’s what’s written. All the technological capabilities had been picked up in America and today America is glowing with power and that power and that capability her miracle working capabilities are deceiving everybody into a state of carnal security.

Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

This is what’s been happening since 1888.

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [come] out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, [which] go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

Can you see the surrounding of Jerusalem by Titus’s armies? Explore how it is that these devils are stealing a march and have done so. Have a good look at where you stand today.

Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power–all will be unmasked. {GC 606.2}

If you are watching what would you have observed? You would have observed the fearful result of enforcing the observance of the church by civil authority. You would have watched the inroads spiritualism and the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power. The results of the enforcing of civil authority and the insidious governmental laws that were being passed that were actually working towards a particular end. You would have watched how spiritualism was actually coming into the Christian churches.

As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.  {GC 588.2}

Those of my generation have you seen that happening? The Protestant churches repelled in my time the Pentecostal movement. The apostolic church organisation, the business men full gospel association, these were Pentecostal spiritualism and the churches repelled them when I was young and now what’s happened? If you were watching you would have seen it.

The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.  {GC 588.3}

Have you heard all that? Are we surrounded?

Through spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith; {GC 589.1}

Is that upon us? Have a look at what else we have to be watching for.

His temptations are leading multitudes to ruin. Intemperance dethrones reason; sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed follow. Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.  {GC 589.1}

What’s sensual indulgence? If it feels good, do it. That was a caption when I was a youth. ‘If it feels good, do it’. Oh it feels so good, then comes the consequence.

It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.  {GC 589.1}

How serious is this reality. Rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security we have been in two world wars and people are still thinking that it’s going to fine, lovely. They enjoy all the things of modern miracles and enjoying the experience of a sense of which is training the body to indulge in exercise of passion and then when our path is crossed and I’ve strengthened my passions, I’m going to become combated. Tell me have you suffered under that? That in your ability to argue a subject and your path is crossed and you become combative? That is smiting of the fellow servant. The fellow servant is simply passing on the beautiful truth and we combat. We’ve actually been under the influence of these approaching armies. Jesus is not like that. If you have been watching ever since 1888 you would have been watching the progress of immodesty. In 1888, they were just beginning to enter into mixed bathing but before that time they were separated and they still were totally clothed while they were swimming and from that time onwards the one piece bathing suits came in and they had mixed bathing. As time went on in my early years the bikini came in and if I would have walked in and caught a woman in her underwear she would have gone ‘Oh’ but if I walked in front of a woman at the beach she would have posed. That is the reality whether you like it or not and we have become so used to it that we don’t even bat an eye lid when we see. It used to be an embarrassment for a man to see a woman’s ankle but today and before my day the shear stocking came in and reformers were up in arms about it. When we were born we were used to it. Immodesty has degenerated and the fashions have become a common order of things. The indulgence of passions is a human right. If you have been watching you would have been seeing these silent noiseless steps. The movement of Satan is stealthy and his batteries masked. If you had been watching you would have observed the dependency that has been established by every human being upon this world.

As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. GC 608.2

You know these great orators that can preach so powerfully. In the days when I was young Billy Graham was a fantastic preacher and he brought people to Jesus they thought and said ‘Well what do we do now’? ‘Go back to you churches and go back to sleep.’ That’s really what was happening.

They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them.  {GC 608.2}

What did we read in Matthew? They will smite their fellowservants and misrepresent and accuse them by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them. This happened behind the Iron Curtain which now has been pulled down. Satan does not need it any more. He managed to turn brethren against one another in those countries and they were the ones who were the informers to the communist government of their former brethren. We would have been watching this and realising that the end is upon us. The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by Titus and as you look at the economy that has been manipulated by Jezebel, notice how dependent you become on the economy. When it says he will cause all to receive the mark so that you will not be able to buy and sell anymore and you are totally dependent and it is absolutely irrevocably dependent upon the economy of today, will you be able to escape? You will see things in nearly the same light and it doesn’t quite matter. If you were watching you would not be like the frog in warm water that has been gradually conditioned to the heating up of the water and wouldn’t jump out and when It go so hot it killed him.

That’s what happens to frogs. If you put them in warm water they don’t jump out and if you heat the water up gently they don’t jump out, they don’t even know it, until they drop dead. This is Satan’s work with you and me. When it comes to the family, what conditioning has Satan produced? Woman’s liberation, the family is broken up. Is that’s what happened? Oh to look after the house, I want to get a profession. Instead of realising the profession of a woman is to be a nurse, to be a child psychologist, to be a psychologist for her husband to strengthen him and support him to face the rough stuff out there instead of the woman having to go out and face it. But she has taken over his role and now the man looks after the home and the woman goes out to work. See the conditioning that has happened? We are surrounded by Satan’s evil spirits, those three unclean spirits and we are in a condition of expecting and accepting things that were out of the order of God’s direction.

In the medical world how dependant has society become upon the drug therapy? How dependant? So dependent that even the immunisation programs that have been installed so that things like TB and polio were eradicated and yes these were wonderful miracles but is that the only way to treat those diseases? God’s way is different and Gods people would not be caught by those kinds of things if they had followed the exact instruction that was given in those 30 and 40 years of Adventist revelations from the Bible. But sadly even those who claim to have believed those things are dependent upon them and if you take away the drugs will you be able to stand when you can’t buy insulin anymore? I was studying with a man who was a diabetic and he said ‘I suppose when we will have to run to the hills I’m going to be in trouble I am depended upon insulin.’ That’s a challenge. When you have to run because you are going to be attacked by the opposition and put into prison and where are told to leave the cities, leave all these things. Will you be able? Can we identify the dependency that has been established in each one of our lives upon that which Satan wants to captivate us with? What are the consequences of these creeping compromises upon the world history?

I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine, and pestilence were abroad in the land. As these things surrounded God’s people, they began to press together, and to cast aside their little difficulties. Self-dignity no longer controlled them; deep humility took its place. Suffering, perplexity, and privation caused reason to resume its throne, and the passionate and unreasonable man became sane, and acted with discretion and wisdom.  {1T 268.1}

My attention was then called from the scene. There seemed to be a little time of peace. Once more the inhabitants of the earth were presented before me; and again everything was in the utmost confusion. Strife, war, and bloodshed, with famine and pestilence, raged everywhere. Other nations were engaged in this war and confusion. War caused famine. Want and bloodshed caused pestilence. And then men’s hearts failed them for fear, ‘and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth {1T 268.2}

Has this prophecy happened? What happened? War bloodshed, privation and want and all its consequences even the depression that caused so much want all that was prophesied. Not many of God’s people realised we’ve got to press together and this is what raised the SDA Reform movement when they pressed together. But even the world woke up. We have to stop this from happening again so they developed the Council of Nations. There was a little time of peace and then what happened next? Once more the inhabitants of the earth were presented before me and again everything was in utmost confusion, strife war, and bloodshed, with famine and pestilence raged everywhere other nations were engaged. The Second World War covered more nations that were engaged in the First World War. It caused famine, want, bloodshed and pestilence. When that war was over then men’s heart’s failed them for fear for looking after those things which were coming on the earth. What were they scared of after the First and Second World War? Communist control and the cold war. Everybody was holding their breath and now what’s causing everyone to hold their breath now? Global warming, terrorism, disease and they are working like crazy to try to control it all. It’s all getting out of hand. It’s the city of Jerusalem surrounded by the Roman soldiers again. Is it upon us? This whole scenario of what people who would be watching is actually caused deliberately. If you study the back ground behind the wars and behind the terrible events that have happened since then, they have been deliberately caused for one purpose. For the ushering in of the millennium of peace. If you study it carefully you will find it. In Revelation it tells us that the American nation is behind all this for one of it’s objectives.

Revelation 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

He causes all to receive the mark of the authority which the Papacy of the Catholic Church itself says that Sunday is the mark of their authority. It’s for the objective that ultimately the whole world will be under one religious control and it will be the ushering in of the grand millennium. The Catholics are talking of it.

The Lords Day of Alliance

I quoted their motto in my previous study – “Helping the churches since 1888”. Did you know that the Lords Day Alliance commended at the same time that the Seventh Day Adventist commenced it’s organisation in the 1860’s? The Lords Day Alliance was concentrating on up lifting the Sunday to be accepted across the world. The events of 9/11 brought new opportunity to lift up Sunday sacredness. Was 9/11 just a terrorist action? It was a deliberate action to a deliberate result. Here they have actually identified it. The Lords Day Alliance says that event brought a new opportunity to lift up Sunday sacredness and all the other events have all been orchestrated and manipulated to that end. You and I have grown up in it. All who have not severed their affection and their dependency upon these insidious marches of the enemy will be trapped. If you wanted to leave the city when Titus surrounded the city of Jerusalem, could you have gotten out? No way. Could you have gotten out between Cestius and the 3.5 years? Yes. How close are we of being able to get out or not being able to get out? The Jews were bound and besieged, they couldn’t get out and this is the theme of our very study right now. The siege of spiritual Jerusalem right now is in the stranglehold of the enemy. You sometimes feel that you are already strangling and that you find it so hard to do the things that the truth of Historic Adventism practised and preached. It’s so hard because we’ve been surrounded and strangled spiritually and you want to do according to your conviction.

Many are the ways by which Satan works through human influence to bind his captives. He secures multitudes to himself by attaching them by the silken cords of affection to those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Whatever this attachment may be, parental, filial, conjugal, or social, the effect is the same; the opposes of truth exert their power to control the conscience, and the souls held under their sway have not sufficient courage or independence to obey their own convictions of duty.  {GC 597.1}

What are these silken cords? Satan has so managed to create human social activities so that everybody has become dependent upon the status quo that if there is any one of us that want to pick up on the old primitive ways your relationship with your families, your sweet heart, husband, mother, father, brother and sister have become so entwined that your own conscience tells you that you should be doing something but because there is enticing from loved ones and you fall into their wants and you are caught. Examine yourself. Would you be prepared to do what duty says even if it’s just a tiny little thing? It doesn’t really matter to your mind and your relative pulls you the other way and you say ‘I’ll come with you’ and you missed your duty. That’s what happens to young lovers, the duty to be in the study of God’s word they draw each other away from that duty and they disappear and they are not there on duty to hear the word of God. But that is just a tiny little incident. It says the silken cords are affection parental, filial, conjugal and social and the affect is the same. They oppose the truth and exhort their power to control the conscience. We have just been through an exercise where our attachments to those who are our brethren are in danger of holding us back because we have attachments. That is Satan ploy.

Our restaurants must be in the cities; for otherwise the workers in these restaurants could not reach the people and teach them the principles of right living. And for the present we shall have to occupy meeting houses in the cities. But ere long there will be such strife and confusion in the cities, that those who wish to leave them will not be able. We must be preparing for these issues. This is the light that is given me.–General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.  {2SM 142.4}

There will such a time that we must be prepared for these issues because those who wish to leave the cities will not be able. Did you notice that the leaving of the cities, because the cities are going to receive the first stroke of destruction that has been prophesied my God. Haven’t you seen it? Earth quakes, floods and devastation in those cities because everybody is dependent upon them. There was no food and there was disease and death because of it.

The Silken Cords of Affection

Adam was told not to eat of the fruit wasn’t he? What was the silken cord of affection that made him eat of it? His tender love for his wife. Satan uses the same principles today. For many today their fate is sealed like the Jews in Jerusalem but they calmly sleep on in carnal security. If the truth came to them and they wanted to change they can’t. I have experienced this many times in the ministry. For what I uphold from Gods pure simple word when I study with the people they begin to see and say, ‘where is this leading? I can’t go any further because I know what is required from what we are studying.’ I have lost many a student not because they were not interested in what I was studying with them and they knew where it was leading. Others who stuck with it wanted baptism. One young woman of whom I brought up to the point of baptism said, ‘I’ve got a gun to my head now because if I don’t get baptised I’m dammed.’ The attachment to the world was such a nature that it was like a threat to her that if she didn’t get baptised she was going to miss out on God but if she did get baptised she’s going not going to be able to succeed in the world. It is dreadful and I have seen others who have come and have accepted and loved it and then through Satan’s sophisticated way’s that I have just detailed they go and fall on their face and then they shake themselves and come back up and say, ‘Oh that was too hard’ and they try again and finally through much earnest attention they manage to rid themselves of the chains that have brought them down.

Filial, Conjugal, Social

What does conjugal mean? Lots of people don’t know and some people won’t like me saying this but conjugal means the tie that belongs between husband and wife in the marriage bed. That’s what conjugal means. If you examine carefully what is being said here, you will shake yourself from the terrible insidious influences of Satan in the sensual world as well. You will come away from a wrong concept that has been installed in men and women today because if you study very carefully the true relationship between husband and wife, it is spiritual that can governs and controls the physical not the other way around. But in the world and in the church it is the other way around. People don’t want to know that and I marvel that when the pure truth is placed before humans today they will argue with you. Young people will argue with people of adult years who have far more experience than the young people. I mused to myself that young little upstarts come to somebody who has had experience in the medical field and they try to tell him he is wrong. I marvel but I marvel in the sense with what I just shared with you.

Satan has stolen a march upon the whole human race today and only those who will set their face like a flint will be able to still get out of city because it’s not completely closed yet. You have to find your way through some very serious obstacles but you can still make it. The power of God is still available but your flesh and your human attachments will be torn from you. We are in that time now. You and I may embrace the powerful content of the everlasting covenant today that we have studied and that which was contained in the year 1888 when it was presented by Waggoner and Jones. That beautiful message of revival is still available. Don’t try to argue about it. Don’t try to prove whether it is wrong or right. Just get engaged in it. As we become revived by the power of that message we may still escape today because it will empower us to get out of the gates that are rapidly closing in upon us. May God help us. I feel like weeping because I see so few who understand this.

Amen.

Posted on March 9, 2011, in Sermons by John Thiel, The Consummation of the Everlasting Covenant. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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