But, It Works

Several years past I received an invitation to attend a social gathering of a church of my denomination other than the one I attended; I accepted and joined the pleasant gathering.  While enjoying the occasion three men cornered me and exhibiting  a rude attitude.  Their mission was to straighten me out on the subject of water witching/divining as evidently they had come into contact with a book I authored which presented “witching” as an act of divination.

In their effort to “correct my understanding” of the issue of divining for water being an act of divination, a recent experience of one of the men, the head deacon of a large church presented his recent experience.  He wanted to drill a well on property he owned, but where to drill?  He was advised of a “diviner” who lived across the state. This diviner by holding a pendulum over a map or a legal land plot was known to be capable of locating water on property.  This head deacon and his wife prayed over the land plot paper asking for God’s blessing and sent it to the diviner.  The pendulum act was performed, location of water identified with a mark on the land plot document and was sent back to the deacon; the well was drilled; Yreka, water in abundance.  In a very rude attitude the three hammered me with “It worked, so it was of God.”  Therefore their message to me was that my identifying the act of water witching as being spiritistic/divination was in gross error.

I have in front of me a five page typewritten communication from an individual who uses muscle testing (applied Kinesiology) to make judgements and decisions.  While on the phone ordering supplements this person will use muscle testing to choose the best product, or if pictures are supplied of a variety of products the muscle test is again used to determine the best product etc. This paper written by the individual that uses muscle testing is an attempt to counter the admonitions and Bible texts she has received pointing out that the muscle testing act is a form of divination. Her conclusion is that whatever type of method used to gain information not otherwise available is of no concern, as long as the intent is to seek the answer from the Creator God. Is this concept correct and safe?

The thought that comes immediately to mind is that if her conclusion is correct, then with the use of a Ouija board and directing my questions to my Creator I could easily  and immediately obtain correct  heavenly answers to all life’s decisions.

The subject herein introduced is not that of the divining pendulum or a muscle testing themselves, that’s for another day, the subject of this article has to do with comments I have frequently faced over twenty-five years of publicly exposing spiritualistic practices in health and healing.

The subject is this article is: “WELL, IT WORKS, SO IT HAS TO BE OF GOD.”  To have someone propose that a particular physical activity, a belief in, a promotion of, or a healing by various practices, or an answer from some form of divination; is a hybrid of spiritualism tends to ignite an indignant response.  Let’s look a little deeper into how we can make judgement and decide as to whether or not a positive response to a particular act or request is from the Creator God or from His adversary.   If a person concludes that a healing or some positive response to divination etc., is proof-positive that the response is from our Creator God then we have no protection from deception.  Remember the devil can foretell events, give correct answers, and heal.

The three following Bible verses tell that the devil/Satan can perform miracles

  1. Revelation 13: 13,14  And he doeth great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceives them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; …
  2. Revelation 16: 13,14  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.
  3. Revelation 19:20   And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image….

For sure there are healings, correct answers to divinations, etc., by Satan; there would be no reason to compose this article if there were not.  If there were no beneficial responses to such acts no one would be using them.

The author E. G. White has considerable to say in regards to Satan being able to do miracles: so how can we tell which power has been the power to affect some healing or results in a beneficial response from divination or some form of therapy?

The coming of the Lord is to be preceded by “the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” [2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10.] And the apostle John, describing the miracle-working power that will be manifested in the last days, declares: “He doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do.” [Revelation 13:13, 14.] No mere impostures are here foretold. Men are deceived by the miracles which Satan’s agents have power to do, not which they pretend to do.  {GC88 553.2}

The question remains: how can one tell the devil’s miracle from that of Jesus Christ?

The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.  {GC88 593.1}

We find several interesting passages from the book Selected Messages Book 2, pp. 48-54 with title of: Miracles not a Test of God’s Favor which relates to our present discourse.  See quotations below.

We are coming right upon the time when Satan is to work with all manner of bewitching influences, and those who are charmed with them now, or give them the least countenance now, will be all ready to be swept right in to act a part with the devil then. Evil angels are working all the time upon the hearts of men. Satan is working with everyone who is not under the control of the Spirit of God. It is the lying wonders of the devil that will take the world captive, and he will cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men. He is to work miracles; and this wonderful, miracle-working power is to sweep in the whole world. It is now just beginning.  {2SM 51.2}

The man who makes the working of miracles the test of his faith will find that Satan can, through a species of deceptions, perform wonders that will appear to be genuine miracles. It was this he hoped to make a test question with the Israelites at the time of their deliverance from Egypt.–Manuscript 43, 1907.

… Men under the influence of evil spirits will work miracles. They will make people sick by casting their spell upon them, and will then remove the spell, leading others to say that those who were sick have been miraculously healed. This Satan has done again and again.–Letter 259, 1903.  {2SM 53.2}

We need not be deceived. Wonderful scenes, with which Satan will be closely connected, will soon take place. God’s Word declares that Satan will work miracles. He will make people sick, and then will suddenly remove from them his satanic power. They will then be regarded as healed. These works of apparent healing will bring Seventh-day Adventists to the test. Many who have had great light will fail to walk in the light, because they have not become one with Christ.–Letter 57, 1904.  {2SM 53.3}

(Emphasis above added)

From the above statements we realize that a correct answer or response from a diviner, or a healing from some healer’s modality etc., cannot be considered proof that it is a result of the power of the Creator God.  Then how can we tell?  Remember the quotation above that it will be impossible to distinguish between the true and the counterfeit except by the Holy Scriptures.  “By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.”  (Emphasis has been added in above quotations)

The story of the first great deception in the Garden of Eden carries with it some important principles in deciphering Satan’s methods of deception.

  1. Satan’s ground.  In Eden it involved a physical location and locations can also apply today, however there are many things, situations, etc., that constitute Satan’s ground.  For Eve it was placing herself at the location of the tree where Satan had access to her.  What was the result or influence upon Eve when approaching the forbidden tree?“He approached Eve, not in the form of an angel, but as a serpent, subtle, cunning, and deceitful. With a voice that appeared to proceed from the serpent, he spoke to her, and his conversation was like the words which today wise and wicked angels speak thru various agencies. As Eve listened, the warnings that God had given faded from her mind. She yielded to the temptation, and as she tempted Adam he also forgot God’s warnings. He believed the words of the enemy of God.“  {ST, May 29, 1901 par. 2}We have reached the perils of the last days, when some, yes, “…many, shall depart from the   faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” ( I Tim. 4: `) Be cautious in regard to what you read and how you hear. Take not a particle of interest in spiritualistic theories. Satan is waiting to steal a march upon everyone who allows himself to be deceived by his hypnotism. He begins to exert his power over them just as soon as they begin to investigate his theories.–Letter 123, 1904.  {MM 101.5}Flee from those places, attitudes, practices that constitute Satan’s ground.
  2. Use of a Medium:  The serpent was chosen to be the medium in the Garden because of its beauty and attractive appearance.  Satan often hijacks” a perfectly proper practice or subject to weave his deception into and a person not well acquainted with his theories sees no harm.  When investigating Satan’s wiles for ones use, his influence— power is immediately exerted over one.  Warnings from writings or council from those that do see the danger is overcome by ready answers Satan brings to the deceived.A minister who once was deceived by a particular mind therapy shared with me his story.   During that time of involvement the devil gave to him answers for every warning presented to him.  By diligent study of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy writings he gained the victory and only then did he realized the deception he had been under.
  3. Parleying with Satan: Eve should have immediately moved away from the forbidden tree but she stayed to parley with this voice that appeared to come from the serpent. Man is no match for the devil.  We need to stay away from any investigation of his wiles intended for one’s personal use.
  4. Mixing truth with Error:  This principle of Satan is perhaps the most deceptive of all.  Just a smidgen of error mixed with a beautiful truth can eventually pervert a truth totally.  In discussing this principle I often point out the insidious action of the poison botulism.  It is produced by a bacteria and only grows in an alkaline solution with absence of oxygen, is tasteless, colorless, is not destroyed by heat or cold,  makes no gases so is impossible to detect until it has been consumed and its resulting deadly paralysis takes effect.  Mixing the devil’s wiles with God’s truths will lead to the same end.

How can one test healing practices, statements, or teachings that are not named in the scriptures?  Yoga, Reiki, acupuncture, iridology etc., are names not found In the scriptures.  Yet there are names of various forms of witchcraft that are in the scriptures such as soothsayers, sorcery, divination, astrology, magic, etc. What is the answer to this dilemma?

I suggest looking at the over-all message of the Bible to compare with the overall message of the belief systems from which most of these subjects/practices in question arise.  The Biblical story is “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Gen. 1:1;  “…By the breath of His mouth”  “…for He spoke and it was done.” Ps. 33:6,9 Identifies the source of all power of creation.  All His creation is under his fixed physical laws; man also exists under His moral law. Correct health and healing methods will be in harmony with those laws.

In contrast there is this story of a great DUALISTIC cosmic impersonal force that blended to ONENESS creating the cosmos, earth, and man. Man is the Microcosm of the Macrocosm, (sun moon and stars).  In this story all creation supposedly has this cosmic force (believed to be an impersonal creator god) permeating and flowing through in a dualistic status of good/evil, yang/yin etc.  This teaching is the primordial evolutionary story of origins.  The mortal body must perform certain physical and mental acts to bring one’s duality to oneness to escape reincarnation, obtain immortality, and move on into godhood in Nirvana/spirit heaven.  This is the core belief of Eastern religions, paganism, Theosophy, and the New Age/Progressive movement.

To attain liberation from reincarnation and secure immortality certain physical acts such as Eastern style meditation, yoga, yoga exercises, use of essential oils, martial arts of all types, tai chi chuan, acupuncture/acupressure, visualization practices, and cleansing of chakras are performed. This is a counterfeit of God’s plan of Salvation wherein by faith in the merits of the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Divine Son of God a person is granted life eternal.

All acts and practices having their origin from the Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, Taoism are based in astrology according to their own writing.  This would cover Eastern style meditation and its hybrids, yoga and its exercises, essential oils and aromatherapy, visualization and various others practices that have as the explanation for their power as coming from the balancing of the pantheistic dualistic cosmic force supposedly flowing through their bodies. In Taoism we have martial arts, acupuncture, acupressure, meditation, like vs. like, acts which have the same background philosophy.

When we compare these acts to the Bible we find they have the explanation for their power from an anti-Biblical philosophy, divination similarly.

The following outline should be a help to decide as to the merits of a questionable belief or practice.



Set 1. What is the origin of the method?  By whom, where, when, why?
Was it tested by independent scientists and were the results positive?
Does it have a history of occult or mystical associations?
Does its originator have a history of psychic and or Eastern mysticism beliefs?
What is the long term history of the originator?
Set 2. What other treatment methods does it utilize or associate with?
Who uses it?  Is it similar to other alternative treatment methods yet with a slight variation and with a name change?
Set 3. Is it said to balance, unclog, infuse, or correct energy?
Does it find the power of correction or healing from inside our bodies, from self?
Where does it lead to?  Do the proponents of it claim that it raises level of consciousness?
Do you receive electric like shock sensations, feeling of great warmth, deep love, tingling  of your body or extremities, etc.?
Set 4. Does the treatment harmonize with known laws of science?
Does it promote known laws of health and point to God’s laws of health?
Is there solid data from science testing that supports it value?
Does it have a track record of observation by qualified appraisers?
What are the critics saying about it and what are their credentials?
Set 5. What or who receives the credit for healing?
What qualifications does the promoter or practitioner have?
Is their life in harmony with God’s commandments?
God does not heal through Satan’s agents.
Set 6. What is the teaching of the cause of disease and how does the therapy relate to the proclaimed cause.  Eastern dogma says that disease is a result of an imbalance of a cosmic force/life force/chi (and 100+ other synonyms) and therapy for such is to affect a balance of the proclaimed force.  Is there a teaching or concern for following the laws of health.

Questions above were originally in Mystical Medicine by Warren Peters M.D.
Adopted by Biblical Research Committee of General Conference of SDA in their article Seventh-day Adventists and the New Age Movement (1987
A couple questions (set 6,7) have been added by Edwin Noyes M.D. MPH