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"The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ...should shine unto them."2 Cor. 4:4.

During the Dark Ages doctrines of demons were foisted upon the Church by Satan's hosts of fallen angels. Millions were driven into the Church, but driven away from God and from the Bible. The theory was that all not members of the Church would surely go to eternal torture, but that by joining the Church they would have a chance of Heaven, even though the path led through Purgatory. Under these unscriptural teachings, Christianity has enrolled its hundreds of millions, very few of whom know anything about the real Christianity of the Bible – true discipleship of Jesus Christ.

We see them in Europe today – of all creeds – doing their best to destroy each other – to send each other to Purgatory or to eternal torture. About five per cent are estimated to be Mohammedans, Jews and infidels, and the remaining ninety-five per cent Christians. What a farce! What a hypocritical deception! The fact is that probably less than one per cent of all those millions would make any claim to be followers of Christ or of seeking to cultivate His Spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love. The great majority manifest the reverse spirit of anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife – works of the flesh and of the Devil. – Col. 3:8; Gal. 5:19-23; 1 John 3:8.

How few anywhere profess to be disciples or followers of Jesus and His teachings! Christian standards have been so lowered that today a Christian is not one who has surrendered his whole being to God and His service, and who has devoted himself to following the [SM129] Master's example, but merely one who refrains from profanity and such gross sins as murder and immorality. This change has come about as a revulsion against the thought that everybody except a mere handful of saints is enroute to eternal torture. Kind-hearted people could not think of their friends and relatives as suffering thus. They had the thought of eternal torture firmly fixed and let it remain, but moved down low the standard of worthiness for everlasting life.


Lucifer, the cherub, through ambition became Satan, God's opponent. He deceived our first parents into sin by his great falsehood, "Ye shall not surely die." (Gen. 3:4.) Since then he has supported that lie personally and through his demon hosts of fallen angels. These are not far off stoking fires in Hell and Purgatory, but right with humanity, perpetuating the original lie and convincing the world that Satan told the truth when he said, "Ye shall not surely die"; and that God lied when He said, "Thou shalt surely die." The doctrines of demons have so far succeeded that now practically everybody believes that lie, and the claim is made that the dead are more alive after death than before.

On this original foundation-falsehood Satan has built up various theories, all of which tend to delude humanity and to drive them away from God and from the promises of the Bible. He tells them that the dead are alive somewhere, and that at death the good and the bad immediately enter their rewards and punishments without resurrection. The errors are so skillfully framed as to teach that Heaven can be entered only through a number of passage-ways; such as baptism in infancy, confirmation, holy water, holy candles and holy burial, prayers, Eucharist and masses. Satan enlists on his side all who are interested in these various Heavenward helps. These have been reverenced; money has been paid to them freely; [SM130] they have made the success already suggested, and claim four hundred million Christians. But how few of these really know the true God or really love Him!


In the Bible, however, God sets forth the True Church of the First-borns, whose names are written in Heaven. Jesus is the Head over these; and they all are brethren, and not divided into clergy and laity. They are called saints. (Psalm 50:5.) God could indeed use force in gathering His Elect Church, but He will not do so. He will now gather merely those who have the hearing ear and the responsive heart. Of these He says, "They shall be Mine in that Day when I make up My jewels."

Then a New Epoch will open; and under the Headship of Jesus these jewels will constitute the Messianic Kingdom. Then the blessing of the world will begin. The first step in that blessing will be the binding of Satan, that he may deceive the people no more. Next will come the sweeping away of the ignorance and superstition which have been his web for entangling humanity. Thus all the blinded eyes will be opened, and all the deaf ears unstopped – all will see; all will hear; all will know of the Love of God, which passes all human understanding. (Isa. 35:5; Rom. 8:38,39.) Then the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the earth; and as a result every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God. – Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14; Phil. 2:10,11.

The outcome will be that all wilful sinners will be destroyed in the Second Death, while all others will be ushered into the perfection of life in a world-wide Eden. Then there shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying; for all the former things shall have passed away. "And He that sat upon the Throne said, Behold, I make all things new." – Rev. 21:4,5.

Is it not strange that we ever believed the monstrous falsehoods taught us by these doctrines of demons – that the dead are more alive than ever; that nearly all of them [SM131] are suffering untellable tortures, while the remaining small remnant look over the battlements of Heaven and rejoice in the misery of the unfortunates? Assuredly no human brain ever concocted such a Satanic theory! We challenge the ability of any man to sit down and deliberately concoct anything worse than what has been described to us as the Plan of the great Heavenly Creator, the Father of mercies, from whom cometh down every good and every perfect gift, and whose very name is Love. We have never found man or woman so fiendish as our God has been described to us.

Herein we see the Satanic cunning of our great Adversary: By establishing great religious institutions he has satisfied a certain mental craving, bound to assert itself in humanity. Yet by these false doctrines which blaspheme the Divine character and the Bible by misrepresenting them, he has driven far away from God nearly all, even of those who have professed church membership – "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him." – Titus 1:16.

Some may be disposed to say Satan would never teach about eternal torment; for it would be contrary to his interests and would keep people away from him. We reply that after eighteen centuries this theory is proven to be wrong, and Satan is proven to have been wise in his method. Mankind do not wish to serve Satan and sin. Naturally they would be, as the Apostle declares, feeling after God and desirous of finding Him; for every man has inherently some degree of reverence for a supreme Creator. Let me illustrate how Satan's lie operates:

A Christian lady who has become a Bible student, and who now dearly loves God and the Bible, told me her experience thus: "I was a Presbyterian, trusted that I was one of the Elect, and felt serene, but not without sympathy for the non-elect, who were to be tortured eternally. Then came the thought, Are you sure that you are one of the Elect? In distress I went to my pastor. In [SM132] substance he said, 'You are all right; you are one of the Elect. Do not bother your head about such questions.'

"But still I was troubled. Finally I feared that I would land in an insane asylum; for I could not lift my thoughts from my danger of eternal torture. To escape insanity I plunged into society, gave and attended social functions, and made my life one busy whirl, in which I had no time to think of God or Satan or the Bible. Oh, how changed everything is now, Pastor Russell! My heart always yearned for God, and now I know Him. I read His Book, and see its great Divine Plan of the Ages, showing a gracious blessing for the Elect on the Heavenly plane and a grand Restitution for the non-elect to perfection on the earthly plane. I ever thank God for the 'Studies in the Scriptures.'"

Have we not driven away from God and from the Bible some of the very best minds of the world, plunging them into business, pleasure, society, novel-reading, theater-going or intoxication – anything to stop themselves from thinking about the terrible possibilities of the future related to them by you and me who have been deluded by these doctrines of devils.


St. Paul describes Satan's work concisely in the statement which forms our text. If the true light of God shines into any heart, it begins a transformation work at once; hence Satan's anxiety to keep people from thinking of God as a reasonable and adorable Creator and from studying His gracious plan for human redemption. We see how the eyes of all have been much holden – the world seeing nothing at all, and Christians seeing little enough of the goodness of God. Thus St. Paul prayed for Christians that the eyes of their understanding opening, they might be able to comprehend the lengths and breadths, the heights and depths, and to know the Love of God, which passes human understanding. – Eph. 1:18; 3:19.

This Love of God was completely obscured by the [SM133] dense darkness of the medieval period, when the doctrines of demons got full hold upon the minds of the people, because the Bible was reprobated and out of use for twelve hundred years, while the people were misguided into thinking that so-called Apostolic bishops had the same authority as the original Twelve Apostles whom Jesus ordained. The creeds made by these bishops took the place of the Word of God until the beginning of the Sixteenth Century; and since then, it has been a battle for the Bible to get into the hands of the people and for the latter to realize their privilege of Bible study. Protestant bishops, in front of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, set the example of burning the New Testament, because those who would study it would thereby be ignoring these false apostles, who styled themselves Apostolic Bishops, and of whom Jesus said, "They are not Apostles, but liars." – Rev. 2:2.

Finally the people, feeling after the True God and His true Message, and wondering why the bishops kept it from them, made such a stir about the matter that both Protestant and Catholic bishops gave them the Bible in English, but with dire threats that if in reading they got anything different from the creeds that the bishops had made, they would roast to all eternity. Ever since, the Bible has been obliged to fight for every inch of ground it has gained – fighting against bishops and clergy who, if they could not keep it from the people, did their best to make it support the doctrines of demons – the clergy themselves being deceived also, and verily thinking that they were doing God service.


During the past fifty years general education has come. Satan realized that he must adopt a new course. As St. Paul foretold, he affected to be an angel of light, a leader into new light. (2 Cor. 11:13-15.) He got hold of the colleges and seminaries, and now sees to it that practically everybody of college education has his religious [SM134] faith entirely destroyed, so far as a Divine Revelation is concerned. Surely not five out of every hundred ministers and others graduated make any pretense of believing in the inspiration of the Bible, when they are speaking privately and confidentially! They are too intelligent to believe in eternal torture, and experience a revulsion of feeling against the Bible, which they mistakenly believe teaches these Satanic delusions.

As a result, we have thousands of ministers drawing salaries totalling millions of dollars annually, who outwardly pose as God's servants, ministers of His religion revealed in the Bible, but who in reality are hypocrites. Privately they will confess that they do not believe that man was created in God's image and fell from it. Neither do they believe that Jesus redeemed man from the fall; for they say, There was no fall. Neither do they believe in a coming Time of Restitution, which the Bible declares is the great hope for the world. (Acts 3:19,23.) They are hypocrites pure and simple. As the Apostle Paul declares, they "speak lies in hypocrisy, having their consciences seared with a hot iron." – 1 Tim. 4:1,2; Isa. 56:11.

There are exceptions to this general rule. They are found amongst the less educated ministers, whom their educated brethren style "mossbacks." There are others whose consciences are not entirely seared, and who are in great distress, wishing to be honest, but fearing the cost. They say little about the future, occasionally work in a little Truth, and are generally very unhappy. I have hope for many of these yet, that they will get right with God and take their stand for truth and righteousness, casting all their cares and fears upon the Lord – fears respecting their living and provision for their families, respecting their good names, which will be cast out as evil, as mine has been, if they will firmly stand. The time of decision is here. Whoever is not for God and for the Truth is against the same. [SM135]

The great leaders of Ecclesiasticism seem to have no conscience. If approached by their confiding flocks, they dodge the questions with deceptive phrases, fearing not God, neither regarding man, but merely looking for gain, each from his own quarter – his denomination.

It is the duty of all who see the Truth clearly to act positively. (2 Cor. 6:17,18.) Whoever lends financial aid or moral support to the great systems which are opposing the true teachings of God's Word, and assisting in the perpetuation of Satan's lie, is a partaker of the evil deeds and will share in the woes soon to come.


Recently a young business man told me of his experience. He inquired of his pastor, "Is there a Hell of eternal torture for all except the saintly?" The cheerful answer was, "Yes, certainly." The young man had been reading and thinking, and told the pastor his conclusions. As he left the study, the pastor put his hand on the young man's shoulder, saying, "George, I do not believe in eternal torture, either. But, you know, we must preach it; otherwise, what would become of the world? They would go from bad to worse."

What does that young man think of his pastor now? – a liar, a hypocrite, a blasphemer of God – all to hold his place in the religious firmament – justifying himself by saying, "Let us do evil that good may come; let us blaspheme God's name, that we may lead the people, and drive them away from God and the Bible!" We know of no worse crime that humanity could commit than that of blaspheming God's holy name. In the Jewish Law this sin was placed ahead of all sins relating to fellowmen. That minister is merely a sample of about nine-tenths of the entire clergy, so far as we are able to know from their creed professions and their private denials of these. St. Paul's words surely appeal to every true Christian when he declares that the Love of God and of Christ – not fear – constrains us.