1. Modern spiritualism

Q. Had Ellen C. White made a mistake when she identified the "mysterious rappings" at the Fox sisters' house as the beginning of modem spiritualism?

A. The famous "mysterious rappings" were first noticed at the house of John D. Fox, in Hydesville, New York, at the end of March 1848 and, later, in 1848, the sisters Kate, Margaret, and Leah alleged hearing mysterious rappings from a spirit who identified himself as Mr. Splitfoot, who had died in that house, and with whom they communicated.

In August 1850, Ellen G. White had a vision in which she was shown that those mysterious rappings were part of Satan's work to deceive people in the last days. The contents of that vision were published in 1851 in Ellen G. White's first book entitled "A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White" (pp. 47-48), and published again in the book Early Writings (pp. 59-60) and Life and Teachings (pp. 168-170).

But in 1855, Kate and Margaret Fox admitted that they had been the authors of those mysterious rappings, without any supernatural involvement in the matter. This situation convinced some of Ellen G. White's critics that she had made a mistake identifying such rappings as of satanic origin. Later on, however, the Fox sisters clarified that the mysterious rappings were of supernatural origin, and that they had denied it in public due to the popular pressure they were facing. But that clearing up did not completely achieve the notion that the mysterious rappings were nothing but a mere farce.

Even if there had been doubts concerning the contradictory testimonies of the Fox sisters, we could never ignore the importance that the spirits attributed to supernatural manifestations. ... In 1948 the National Association of Spiritualism of the United States published the centennial Book of Modern Spiritualism accepting the experience at the house of the Fox family as the ushering in of modern spiritualism.

In June 1992, I personally visited the place where the house of the Fox family was built in Hydesville, New York, where there is a stone with the following inscription: "Place of birth and sanctuary of modern spiritualism. Built with the most generous contributions of the mediums and their friends around the world, to honor each spiritual medium from the days of the Fox sisters, in 1848, until our spiritual mediums for the present and the future. This stone was bought and placed by the Ministry of Spiritual and Divine Science and their friends, on the 4th of July 1855."

This means that the later testimony of the Fox sisters as well as the acknowledgment of the modern mediums themselves confirm the supernatural origin of the mysterious rappings, interpreted by Ellen G. White as of satanic origin.

2. Repentance of Satan

Q. How long did Satan have to repent? A. Some believe that the time of grace for Satan ended at the cross (John 19:30), since the days of Job he participated with the "sons of God" in a meeting "before the Lord" (Job 1:6-8). But the description of that episode doesn't suggest that the meeting took place in heavenly courts, and much less that Satan, after being expelled from heaven (Rev. 12:7-9), would have any access to salvation.

Ellen G. White clarifies that the time of grace for Satan and his angels finished with his expulsion from heaven. She states that "God, in His great mercy, bore long with Lucifer" and "again and again he was offered pardon, on condition of repentance and submission" but he never accepted the appeals of divine mercy (The Great Controversy, pp. 495, 496). Having lost his place in the heavenly courts, Satan requested once more to be reinstated in heaven, but Christ said that it was impossible. The same Satan left the presence of Christ "fully convinced that there was no possibility of being reinstated to God's favor" (The Story of Redemption, p. 27).

According to Mrs. White, after the fallen angels had abandoned heaven, there was no possibility or hope of redemption for those who had witnessed and shared the inexpressible heavenly glory, having seen God's terrible majesty and, before all this glory, they still rebelled against Him. There would not be any more new and marvelous exhibitions of God's exalted power that should impress so deeply as those they had already witnessed.