NOTES: 12

PERSECUTION

  1. The accumulated, pent-up hostilities of the ages will be unleashed upon Sabbath-keepers. There will be a hatred kindled against Sabbath-keepers which is Satanic. Many Seventh-day Adventists will be persecuted to death before the close of probation. None will die after probation closes. 9T 16; 5T 449-454.
  2. “And the DEVIL was FURIOUS with the CHURCH, and went to make war with the REMAINDER of her CHILDREN which keep THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, and have THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.” Rev. 12:17; 19:10.
  3. “THE WHOLE WORLD IS TO BE STIRRED WITH ENMITY AGAINST SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS, because they will not yield to the papacy, by honoring Sunday, the institution of this anti-Christian power. It is the purpose of Satan to cause them to be BLOTTED FROM THE EARTH., in order that his supremacy of the world may not be disputed.” TM37.
  4. FC 3, 19, 20; GC 144, 599, 592, 608, 610, 626, 627, 629, 635; 5T 451, 453, 454, 712; 6T 401; EW 33, 34; 2SM 375; PK 717; 4SP 278; ST Jan. 31, 1900; RH April 14, 1869 – “to death”; RH Aug. 31, 1897 – “drunk with the blood of saints”; RH July 16, 1901; 9T 16.
  5. Severe persecution, even unto death, is predicted for some of God’s commandment, {Sabbath] keeping people in the last days. 2 Tim. 3:12; Rev. 16:4-6; Rev. 18:24; Rev. 20:4; Mt. 24:9; Rev. 13:15, 17.
The accumulated, pent-up hostilities of the ages will be unleashed 
upon Sabbath-keepers. There will be a hatred kindled against Sabbath-keepers 
which is Satanic. Many Seventh-day Adventists will be persecuted to death before the 
close of probation. None will die after probation closes. as per... 

9T 16
Satan is a diligent Bible student. He knows that his time is short, and he seeks at every point to counterwork the work of the Lord upon this earth. It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended. They will walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth. And Satan, surrounded by evil angels, and claiming to be God, will work miracles of all kinds, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. God’s people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought. God’s tried and tested people will find their power in the sign spoken of in Exodus 31:12-18. They are to take their stand on the living word: “It is written.” This is the only foundation upon which they can stand securely. Those who have broken their covenant with God will in that day be without God and without hope. 9T 16.1

The worshipers of God will be especially distinguished by their regard for the fourth commandment, since this is the sign of God’s creative power and the witness to His claim upon man’s reverence and homage. The wicked will be distinguished by their efforts to tear down the Creator’s memorial and to exalt the institution of Rome. In the issue of the conflict all Christendom will be divided into two great classes, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark. Although church and state will unite their power to compel all, “both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,” to receive the mark of the beast, yet the people of God will not receive it. Revelation 13:16. The prophet of Patmos beholds “them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God,” and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 15:2. 9T 16.2

The superficial and the evil-minded in the profession will seek to arouse prejudice against the man who faithfully discharges the duties of his profession, and to strew his path with obstacles; but these trials will only reveal the pure gold of character. Christ will be his refuge from the strife of tongues. Though his life may be hard and self-denying, and in the estimation of the world may be a failure, in the sight of heaven it will be a success, and he will be ranked as one of God’s noblemen. “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” 5T 449.1

***** 5T 449

Chapter 51—The Coming Crisis

“And 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.” In the near future we shall see these words fulfilled as the Protestant churches unite with the world and with the papal power against commandment keepers. The same spirit which actuated papists in ages past will lead Protestants to pursue a similar course toward those who will maintain their loyalty to God. 5T 449.2

Church and state are now making preparations for the future conflict. Protestants are working in disguise to bring Sunday to the front, as did the Romanists. Throughout the land the papacy is piling up her lofty and massive structures, in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions are to be repeated. And the way is preparing for the manifestation, on a grand scale, of those lying wonders by which, if it were possible, Satan would deceive even the elect. 5T 449.3

The decree which is to go forth against the people of God will be very similar to that issued by Ahasuerus against the Jews in the time of Esther. The Persian edict sprang from the malice of Haman toward Mordecai. Not that Mordecai had done him harm, but he had refused to show him reverence which belongs only to God. The king’s decision against the Jews was secured under false pretenses through misrepresentation of that peculiar people. Satan instigated the scheme in order to rid the earth of those who preserved the knowledge of the true God. But his plots were defeated by a counterpower that reigns among the children of men. Angels that excel in strength were commissioned to protect the people of God, and the plots of their adversaries returned upon their own heads. The Protestant world today see in the little company keeping the Sabbath a Mordecai in the gate. His character and conduct, expressing reverence for the law of God, are a constant rebuke to those who have cast off the fear of the Lord and are trampling upon His Sabbath; the unwelcome intruder must by some means be put out of the way. 5T 450.1

The same masterful mind that plotted against the faithful in ages past is still seeking to rid the earth of those who fear God and obey His law. Satan will excite indignation against the humble minority who conscientiously refuse to accept popular customs and traditions. Men of position and reputation will join with the lawless and the vile to take counsel against the people of God. Wealth, genius, education, will combine to cover them with contempt. Persecuting rulers, ministers, and church members will conspire against them. With voice and pen, by boasts, threats, and ridicule, they will seek to overthrow their faith. By false representations and angry appeals they will stir up the passions of the people. Not having a “Thus saith the Scriptures” to bring against the advocates of the Bible Sabbath, they will resort to oppressive enactments to supply the lack. To secure popularity and patronage, legislators will yield to the demand for a Sunday law. Those who fear God cannot accept an institution that violates a precept of the Decalogue. On this battlefield comes the last great conflict of the controversy between truth and error. And we are not left in doubt as to the issue. Now, as in the days of Mordecai, the Lord will vindicate His truth and His people. 5T 450.2

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. 5T 451.1

As the approach of the Roman armies was a sign to the disciples of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, so may this apostasy be a sign to us that the limit of God’s forbearance is reached, that the measure of our nation’s iniquity is full, and that the angel of mercy is about to take her flight, never to return. The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress which prophets have described as the time of Jacob’s trouble. The cries of the faithful, persecuted ones ascend to heaven. And as the blood of Abel cried from the ground, there are voices also crying to God from martyrs’ graves, from the sepulchers of the sea, from mountain caverns, from convent vaults: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” 5T 451.2

The Lord is doing His work. All heaven is astir. The Judge of all the earth is soon to arise and vindicate His insulted authority. The mark of deliverance will be set upon the men who keep God’s commandments, who revere His law, and who refuse the mark of the beast or of his image. 5T 451.3

God has revealed what is to take place in the last days, that His people may be prepared to stand against the tempest of opposition and wrath. Those who have been warned of the events before them are not to sit in calm expectation of the coming storm, comforting themselves that the Lord will shelter His faithful ones in the day of trouble. We are to be as men waiting for their Lord, not in idle expectancy, but in earnest work, with unwavering faith. It is no time now to allow our minds to be engrossed with things of minor importance. While men are sleeping, Satan is actively arranging matters so that the Lord’s people may not have mercy or justice. The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending. Its professions are mild and apparently Christian, but when it shall speak it will reveal the spirit of the dragon. It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger. We should endeavor to disarm prejudice by placing ourselves in a proper light before the people. We should bring before them the real question at issue, thus interposing the most effectual protest against measures to restrict liberty of conscience. We should search the Scriptures and be able to give the reason for our faith. Says the prophet: “The wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” 5T 452.1

Those who have access to God through Christ have important work before them. Now is the time to lay hold of the arm of our strength. The prayer of David should be the prayer of pastors and laymen: “It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.” Let the servants of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar, crying: “Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach.” God has always wrought for His people in their greatest extremity, when there seemed the least hope that ruin could be averted. The designs of wicked men, the enemies of the church, are subject to His power and overruling providence. He can move upon the hearts of statesmen; the wrath of the turbulent and disaffected, the haters of God, His truth, and His people can be turned aside, even as the rivers of water are turned, if He orders it thus. Prayer moves the arm of Omnipotence. He who marshals the stars in order in the heavens, whose word controls the waves of the great deep, the same infinite Creator will work in behalf of His people if they call upon Him in faith. He will restrain the forces of darkness until the warning is given to the world and all who will heed it are prepared for the conflict. 5T 452.2

“The wrath of man shall praise Thee,” says the psalmist; “the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” God means that testing truth shall be brought to the front and become a subject of examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated. Every controversy, every reproach, every slander, will be God’s means of provoking inquiry and awakening minds that otherwise would slumber. 5T 453.1

Thus it has been in the past history of God’s people. For refusing to worship the great golden image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the three Hebrews were cast into the fiery furnace. But God preserved His servants in the midst of the flames, and the attempt to enforce idolatry resulted in bringing the knowledge of the true God before the assembled princes and great men of the vast kingdom of Babylon. 5T 453.2

So when the decree went forth forbidding prayer to any God save the king. As Daniel, according to his custom, made his supplications three times a day to the God of heaven, the attention of the princes and rulers was called to his case. He had an opportunity to speak for himself, to show who is the true God, and to present the reason why He alone should receive worship, and the duty of rendering Him praise and homage. And the deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions was another evidence that the Being whom he worshiped was the true and living God. 5T 453.3

So the imprisonment of Paul brought the gospel before kings, princes, and rulers who otherwise would not have had this light. The efforts made to retard the progress of truth will serve to extend it. The excellence of truth is more clearly seen from every successive point from which it may be viewed. Error requires disguise and concealment. It clothes itself in angel robes, and every manifestation of its real character lessens its chance of success. 5T 453.4

We should exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures and should task the understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God; yet we must not forget that the docility and submission of a child is the true spirit of the learner. Scriptural difficulties can never be mastered by the same methods that are employed in grappling with philosophical problems. We should not engage in the study of the Bible with that self-reliance with which so many enter the domains of science, but with a prayerful dependence upon God and a sincere desire to learn His will. We must come with a humble and teachable spirit to obtain knowledge from the great I AM. Otherwise, evil angels will so blind our minds and harden our hearts that we shall not be impressed by the truth. GC 599.1

Many a portion of Scripture which learned men pronounce a mystery, or pass over as unimportant, is full of comfort and instruction to him who has been taught in the school of Christ. One reason why many theologians have no clearer understanding of God’s word is, they close their eyes to truths which they do not wish to practice. An understanding of Bible truth depends not so much on the power of intellect brought to the search as on the singleness of purpose, the earnest longing after righteousness. GC 599.2

The Bible should never be studied without prayer. The Holy Spirit alone can cause us to feel the importance of those things easy to be understood, or prevent us from wresting truths difficult of comprehension. It is the office of heavenly angels to prepare the heart so to comprehend God’s word that we shall be charmed with its beauty, admonished by its warnings, or animated and strengthened by its promises. We should make the psalmist’s petition our own: “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Psalm 119:18. Temptations often appear irresistible because, through neglect of prayer and the study of the Bible, the tempted one cannot readily remember God’s promises and meet Satan with the Scripture weapons. But angels are round about those who are willing to be taught in divine things; and in the time of great necessity they will bring to their remembrance the very truths which are needed. Thus “when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19. GC 599.3

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. GC 592.1

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. GC 592.2

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. GC 592.3

Conscientious obedience to the word of God will be treated as rebellion. Blinded by Satan, the parent will exercise harshness and severity toward the believing child; the master or mistress will oppress the commandment-keeping servant. Affection will be alienated; children will be disinherited and driven from home. The words of Paul will be literally fulfilled: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12. As the defenders of truth refuse to honor the Sunday-sabbath, some of them will be thrust into prison, some will be exiled, some will be treated as slaves. To human wisdom all this now seems impossible; but as the restraining Spirit of God shall be withdrawn from men, and they shall be under the control of Satan, who hates the divine precepts, there will be strange developments. The heart can be very cruel when God’s fear and love are removed. GC 608.1

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. 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

In this time of persecution the faith of the Lord’s servants will be tried. They have faithfully given the warning, looking to God and to His word alone. God’s Spirit, moving upon their hearts, has constrained them to speak. Stimulated with holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they entered upon the performance of their duties without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord had given them. They have not consulted their temporal interests, nor sought to preserve their reputation or their lives. Yet when the storm of opposition and reproach bursts upon them, some, overwhelmed with consternation, will be ready to exclaim: “Had we foreseen the consequences of our words, we would have held our peace.” They are hedged in with difficulties. Satan assails them with fierce temptations. The work which they have undertaken seems far beyond their ability to accomplish. They are threatened with destruction. The enthusiasm which animated them is gone; yet they cannot turn back. Then, feeling their utter helplessness, they flee to the Mighty One for strength. They remember that the words which they have spoken were not theirs, but His who bade them give the warning. God put the truth into their hearts, and they could not forbear to proclaim it. GC 608.3

As the opposition rises to a fiercer height, the servants of God are again perplexed; for it seems to them that they have brought the crisis. But conscience and the word of God assure them that their course is right; and although the trials continue, they are strengthened to bear them. The contest grows closer and sharper, but their faith and courage rise with the emergency. Their testimony is: “We dare not tamper with God’s word, dividing His holy law; calling one portion essential and another nonessential, to gain the favor of the world. The Lord whom we serve is able to deliver us. Christ has conquered the powers of earth; and shall we be afraid of a world already conquered?” GC 610.1

Persecution in its varied forms is the development of a principle which will exist as long as Satan exists and Christianity has vital power. No man can serve God without enlisting against himself the opposition of the hosts of darkness. Evil angels will assail him, alarmed that his influence is taking the prey from their hands. Evil men, rebuked by his example, will unite with them in seeking to separate him from God by alluring temptations. When these do not succeed, then a compelling power is employed to force the conscience. GC 610.2

But so long as Jesus remains man’s intercessor in the sanctuary above, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is felt by rulers and people. It still controls to some extent the laws of the land. Were it not for these laws, the condition of the world would be much worse than it now is. While many of our rulers are active agents of Satan, God also has His agents among the leading men of the nation. The enemy moves upon his servants to propose measures that would greatly impede the work of God; but statesmen who fear the Lord are influenced by holy angels to oppose such propositions with unanswerable arguments. Thus a few men will hold in check a powerful current of evil. The opposition of the enemies of truth will be restrained that the third angel’s message may do its work. When the final warning shall be given, it will arrest the attention of these leading men through whom the Lord is now working, and some of them will accept it, and will stand with the people of God through the time of trouble. GC 610.3

Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud, God would not have heard his prayer and mercifully preserved his life. So, in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance. But while they have a deep sense of their unworthiness, they have no concealed wrongs to reveal. Their sins have gone beforehand to judgment and have been blotted out, and they cannot bring them to remembrance. GC 620.1

Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in His dealings with Jacob that He will in no wise sanction or tolerate evil. All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted their profession and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God and the more sure the triumph of their great adversary. Those who delay a preparation for the day of God cannot obtain it in the time of trouble or at any subsequent time. The case of all such is hopeless. GC 620.2

Those professed Christians who come up to that last fearful conflict unprepared will, in their despair, confess their sins in words of burning anguish, while the wicked exult over their distress. These confessions are of the same character as was that of Esau or of Judas. Those who make them, lament the result of transgression, but not its guilt. They feel no true contrition, no abhorrence of evil. They acknowledge their sin, through fear of punishment; but, like Pharaoh of old, they would return to their defiance of Heaven should the judgments be removed. GC 620.3

Though enemies may thrust them into prison, yet dungeon walls cannot cut off the communication between their souls and Christ. One who sees their every weakness, who is acquainted with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and angels will come to them in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from heaven. The prison will be as a palace; for the rich in faith dwell there, and the gloomy walls will be lighted up with heavenly light as when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises at midnight in the Philippian dungeon. GC 627.1

God’s judgments will be visited upon those who are seeking to oppress and destroy His people. His long forbearance with the wicked emboldens men in transgression, but their punishment is nonetheless certain and terrible because it is long delayed. “The Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.” Isaiah 28:21. To our merciful God the act of punishment is a strange act. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” Ezekiel 33:11. The Lord is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, … forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Yet He will “by no means clear the guilty.” “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.” Exodus 34:6, 7; Nahum 1:3. By terrible things in righteousness He will vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. The severity of the retribution awaiting the transgressor may be judged by the Lord’s reluctance to execute justice. The nation with which He bears long, and which He will not smite until it has filled up the measure of its iniquity in God’s account, will finally drink the cup of wrath unmixed with mercy. GC 627.2

When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God’s people. Says the revelator, in describing those terrific scourges: “There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image.” The sea “became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” And “the rivers and fountains of waters … became blood.” Terrible as these inflictions are, God’s justice stands fully vindicated. The angel of God declares: “Thou art righteous, O Lord, … because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” Revelation 16:2-6. By condemning the people of God to death, they have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been shed by their hands. In like manner Christ declared the Jews of His time guilty of all the blood of holy men which had been shed since the days of Abel; for they possessed the same spirit and were seeking to do the same work with these murderers of the prophets. GC 627.3

 

In that day, multitudes will desire the shelter of God’s mercy which they have so long despised. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11, 12. GC 629.1

The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants. To him that “walketh righteously” is the promise: “Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” Isaiah 33:15, 16; 41:17. GC 629.2

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls;” yet shall they that fear Him “rejoice in the Lord” and joy in the God of their salvation. Habakkuk 3:17, 18. GC 629.3

“The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul.” “He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”Psalm 121:5-7; 91:3-10. GC 629.4

Chapter 40—God’s People Delivered

When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honor the law of God, there will be, in different lands, a simultaneous movement for their destruction. As the time appointed in the decree draws near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to strike in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and reproof. GC 635.1

The people of God—some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains—still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen. Saith the Lord; “Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth … to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel. And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.” Isaiah 30:29, 30. GC 635.2

With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a  dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow, shining with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to encircle each praying company. The angry multitudes are suddenly arrested. Their mocking cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are forgotten. With

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near. 5T 451.1

As the approach of the Roman armies was a sign to the disciples of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, so may this apostasy be a sign to us that the limit of God’s forbearance is reached, that the measure of our nation’s iniquity is full, and that the angel of mercy is about to take her flight, never to return. The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress which prophets have described as the time of Jacob’s trouble. The cries of the faithful, persecuted ones ascend to heaven. And as the blood of Abel cried from the ground, there are voices also crying to God from martyrs’ graves, from the sepulchers of the sea, from mountain caverns, from convent vaults: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” 5T 451.2

The Lord is doing His work. All heaven is astir. The Judge of all the earth is soon to arise and vindicate His insulted authority. The mark of deliverance will be set upon the men who keep God’s commandments, who revere His law, and who refuse the mark of the beast or of his image. 5T 451.3

“The wrath of man shall praise Thee,” says the psalmist; “the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” God means that testing truth shall be brought to the front and become a subject of examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated. Every controversy, every reproach, every slander, will be God’s means of provoking inquiry and awakening minds that otherwise would slumber. 5T 453.1

Thus it has been in the past history of God’s people. For refusing to worship the great golden image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the three Hebrews were cast into the fiery furnace. But God preserved His servants in the midst of the flames, and the attempt to enforce idolatry resulted in bringing the knowledge of the true God before the assembled princes and great men of the vast kingdom of Babylon. 5T 453.2

So when the decree went forth forbidding prayer to any God save the king. As Daniel, according to his custom, made his supplications three times a day to the God of heaven, the attention of the princes and rulers was called to his case. He had an opportunity to speak for himself, to show who is the true God, and to present the reason why He alone should receive worship, and the duty of rendering Him praise and homage. And the deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions was another evidence that the Being whom he worshiped was the true and living God. 5T 453.3

So the imprisonment of Paul brought the gospel before kings, princes, and rulers who otherwise would not have had this light. The efforts made to retard the progress of truth will serve to extend it. The excellence of truth is more clearly seen from every successive point from which it may be viewed. Error requires disguise and concealment. It clothes itself in angel robes, and every manifestation of its real character lessens its chance of success. 5T 453.4

The people whom God has made the depositaries of His law are not to permit their light to be hidden. The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth. Obstacles must be met and surmounted. A great work is to be done, and this work has been entrusted to those who know the truth. They should make mighty intercession with God for help now. The love of Christ must be diffused in their own hearts. The Spirit of Christ must be poured out upon them, and they must be making ready to stand in the judgment. While they are consecrating themselves to God, a convincing power will attend their efforts to present the truth to others, and its light will find access to many hearts. We must sleep no longer on Satan’s enchanted ground, but call into requisition all our resources and avail ourselves of every facility with which Providence has furnished us. The last warning is to be proclaimed “before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings;” and the promise is given, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” and true God. Had the Hebrews been true to their trust, they would have been a power in the world. God would have been their defense, and He would have exalted them above all other nations. His light and truth would have been revealed through them, and they would have stood forth under His wise and holy rule as an example of the superiority of His government over every form of idolatry. 5T 454.2

***** 5T 454

The National Reform movement, exercising the power of religious legislation, will, when fully developed, manifest the same intolerance and oppression that have prevailed in past ages. Human councils then assumed the prerogatives of Deity, crushing under their despotic power liberty of conscience; and imprisonment, exile, and death followed for those who opposed their dictates. If popery or its principles shall again be legislated into power, the fires of persecution will be rekindled against those who will not sacrifice conscience and the truth in deference to popular errors. This evil is on the point of realization. 5T 712.1

When God has given us light showing the dangers before us, how can we stand clear in His sight if we neglect to put forth every effort in our power to bring it before the people? Can we be content to leave them to meet this momentous issue unwarned? 5T 712.2

There is a prospect before us of a continued struggle, at the risk of imprisonment, loss of property, and even of life itself, to defend the law of God, which is made void by the laws of men. In this situation worldly policy will urge an outward compliance with the laws of the land, for the sake of peace and harmony. And there are some who will even urge such a course from the Scripture: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers…. The powers that be are ordained of God.” 5T 712.3

 

Thus will the truth be brought into practical life, and thus will be answered the prayer of Christ, uttered just before His humiliation and death: “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” John 17:21. The love of Christ, the love of our brethren, will testify to the world that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Then will the message of the third angel swell to a loud cry, and the whole earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord. 6T 401.1

***** 6T 401

Our convictions need daily to be reinforced by humble, sincere prayer and reading of the word. While we each have an individuality, while we each should hold our convictions firmly, we must hold them as God’s truth and in the strength which God imparts. If we do not, they will be wrung from our grasp. 6T 401.2

And I saw that if God had changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day, He would have changed the writing of the Sabbath commandment, written on the tables of stone, which are now in the ark in the most holy place of the temple in heaven; and it would read thus: The first day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. But I saw that it read the same as when written on the tables of stone by the finger of God, and delivered to Moses on Sinai. “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers; and that the Sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God’s dear, waiting saints. EW 33.1 the sword, famine, pestilence, and great confusion in the land. The wicked thought that we had brought the judgments upon them, and they rose up and took counsel to rid the earth of us, thinking that then the evil would be stayed. EW 33.2

I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. [See page 85.] This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists, [see also appendix.] as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God’s chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us. I saw EW 33.2

In the time of trouble we all fled from the cities and villages, but were pursued by the wicked, who entered the houses of the saints with a sword. They raised the sword to kill us, but it broke, and fell as powerless as a straw. Then we all cried day and night for deliverance, and the cry came up before God. The sun came up, and the moon stood still. The streams ceased to flow. Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. But there was one clear place of settled glory, whence came the voice of God like many waters, which shook the heavens and the earth. The sky opened and shut and was in commotion. The mountains shook like a reed in the wind, and cast out ragged rocks all around. The sea boiled like a pot and cast out stones upon the land. And as God spoke the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people, He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth. The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah, and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder. It was awfully solemn. And at the end of every sentence the saints shouted, “Glory! Alleluia!” Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God; and they shone with the glory, as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked could not look on them for the glory. And when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image. EW 34.1

The Sunday-Law Crisis

In the night season I seemed to be enumerating in my mind the evidences we have to substantiate the faith we hold. We see that seducers are waxing worse and worse. We see the world working to the point of establishing by law a false sabbath, and making it a test for all. This question will soon be before us. God’s Sabbath will be trampled under foot, and a false sabbath will be exalted. In a Sunday law there is possibility for great suffering to those who observe the seventh day. The working out of Satan’s plans will bring persecution to the people of God. But the faithful servants of God need not fear the outcome of the conflict. If they will follow the pattern set for them in the life of Christ, if they will be true to the requirements of God, their reward will be eternal life, a life that measures with the life of God. 2SM 375.1

At this time a very decided work in character building should be going forward among our people. We are to develop before the world the characteristics of the Saviour. It is impossible to please God without the exercise of genuine, sanctifying faith. We are individually responsible for our faith. True faith is not a faith that will fail under test and trial; it is the gift of God to His people.—The Review and Herald, September 30, 1909. 2SM 375.2

If ever we needed to manifest kindness and true courtesy, it is now. We may have to plead most earnestly before legislative councils for the right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Thus in His providence God has designed that the claims of His law shall be brought before men in positions of highest authority. But as we stand before these men, we are to show no bitterness of feeling. Constantly we are to pray for divine aid. It is God alone who can hold the four winds until His servants shall be sealed in their foreheads.—The Review and Herald, February 11, 1904. 2SM 375.3 

The coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth’s history. The days of Noah and of Lot picture the condition of the world just before the coming of the Son of man. The Scriptures, pointing forward to this time, declare that Satan will work with all power and “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. His working is plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight. To God’s people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth’s sake. But out of that night of darkness God’s light will shine. PK 717.1

He causes “the light to shine out of darkness.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. When “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Genesis 1:2, 3. So in the night of spiritual darkness, God’s word goes forth, “Let there be light.” To His people He says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1. PK 717.2

The spirit of persecution manifested by paganism and the papacy is again to be revealed. Prophecy declares that this power will say “to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast.” [Revelation 13:14.] The image is made to the first or leopard-like beast, which is the one brought to view in the third angel’s message. By this first beast is represented the Roman Church, an ecclesiastical body clothed with civil power, having authority to punish all dissenters. The image to the beast represents another religious body clothed with similar power. The formation of this image is the work of that beast whose peaceful rise and mild professions render it so striking a symbol of the United States. Here is to be found an image of the papacy. When the churches of our land, uniting upon such points of faith as are held by them in common, shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and sustain their institutions, then will Protestant America have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy. Then the true church will be assailed by persecution, as were God’s ancient people. Almost every century furnishes examples of what bigotry and malice can do under a plea of serving God by protecting the rights of Church and State. Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience. In the seventeenth century thousands of non-conformist ministers suffered under the rule of the Church of England. Persecution always follows religious favoritism on the part of secular governments. 4SP 277.2

April 14, 1896

Character of the Last Conflict

By Mrs. E. G. White RH April 14, 1896

The great controversy between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness has not abated one jot or tittle of its influence as time has gone on. The stern conflict between light and darkness, between truth and error, is deepening in its intensity. The synagogue of Satan is intensely active, and in this age the deceiving power of the enemy is working in the most subtle way. Every human mind that is not surrendered to God and is not under the control of the Spirit of God, will be perverted through satanic agencies. The enemy is working continually to supplant Jesus Christ in the human heart, and to place his attributes in the human character, in the place of the attributes of God. He brings his strong delusions to bear upon the human mind, that he may have a controlling power. He seeks to obliterate the truth and abolish the true pattern of goodness and righteousness, in order that the professed Christian world may be swept to perdition through separation from God. He is working in order that selfishness may become world-wide, and thus make of no effect the mission and work of Christ. RH April 14, 1896, par. 1

Christ came to the world to bring back the character of God to man, and to retrace on the human soul the divine image. Through his entire life, Christ sought by continuous, laborious efforts to call the world’s attention to God and to his holy requirements, so that men might be imbued with the Spirit of God, might be actuated by love, and might reveal in life and character the divine attributes. Christ came to be the light and life of the world, and his life was one of continual self-denial and self-sacrifice. The Lord Jesus valued every human being, and could not endure the thought that one soul should perish. His great heart of love embraced the whole world, and led him to provide complete salvation for all who would believe in him. In the character of Christ, majesty and humility were blended. Temperance and self-denial were seen in every act of his life, but there was no taint of bigotry, no cold austerity, manifested in his manner to lessen his influence over those with whom he came in contact. The world’s Redeemer had a greater than angelic nature; yet united with his divine majesty were meekness and humility that attracted all to himself. He speaks to all, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” RH April 14, 1896, par. 2

Christ is man’s example. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men…. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world…. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Christ, our Redeemer, comprehended all the necessities of man. He formulated the mighty plans by which fallen man is to be uplifted from the degradation of sin. In every circumstance, however trivial, he represented the Father. Though upholding the world by the word of his power, he would stoop to relieve a wounded bird. O that we all had an intelligent knowledge of Jesus Christ! Weary and worn as he often was, he pleased not himself. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.” Who are those that refuse to hear the voice of Christ!—They are those who do not hear and practise his word. They are those whose hearts were crowded and overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of this life; who are eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. They are those who will not receive the message of warning for these last days. RH April 14, 1896, par. 3

The agencies of Satan are at work to keep the minds of men engrossed with the things of this life, in order that he may work counter to the mission and work of Christ. Of Satan, Christ declares he “abode not in the truth.” Once Satan was in co-partnership with God, Jesus Christ, and the holy angels. He was highly exalted in heaven, and was radiant in light and glory that came to him from the Father and the Son; but he became disloyal, and lost his high and holy position as covering cherub. He became the antagonist of God, an apostate, and was excluded from heaven. He established his empire, and planted the standard of rebellion against the law of Jehovah. He invited all the powers of evil to rally about his standard, in order to form a desperate companionship of evil to league against the God of heaven. He worked perseveringly and determinedly to perpetuate his rebellion, and to cause men to turn from Bible truth, and to stand under his banner. As soon as the Lord through Jesus Christ created our world, and placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, Satan announced his purpose to conform to his own nature the father and mother of all humanity, and to unite them with his own ranks of rebellion. He was determined to efface the image of God from the human posterity, and to trace his own image upon the soul in place of the divine image. He adopted methods of deception by which to accomplish his purpose. He is called the father of lies, an accuser of God and of those who maintain their allegiance to God, a murderer from the beginning. He put forth every power at his command to win man to co-operate with him in apostasy, and succeeded in bringing rebellion into our world. RH April 14, 1896, par. 4

All the vast, complicated machinery of evil agencies is put into action in these last days. Through generation after generation, from age to age, Satan has gathered human agencies through whom to work out his diabolical purposes, and to bring about the enforcement of his plans and devices in the earth. The great putrid fountain of evil has been continually flowing through human society. Though unable to expel God from his throne, Satan has charged God with satanic attributes, and has claimed the attributes of God as his own. He is a deceiver, and through his serpentine sharpness, through his crooked practises, he has drawn to himself the homage which man should have given to God, and has planted his satanic throne between human worshiper and the divine Father. RH April 14, 1896, par. 5

But in man’s behalf, Christ met the specious temptations of Satan, and left to man an example as to how to overcome Satan in the conflict. He exhorts his followers, saying, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Satan has made masterly efforts to perpetuate sin. He arrayed all his civil agencies to war against Jesus Christ in an active, desperate conflict, in order that he might bruise the heart of infinite Love. He seduced the people to bow to idols, and thus gain supremacy over earthly kingdoms. He considered that to be the god of this world was the next best thing to gaining possession of the throne of God in heaven. In a large measure he has been successful in his plans. When Jesus was on earth, Satan led the people to reject the Son of God, and to choose Barabbas, who in character represented Satan, the god of this world. The Lord Jesus Christ came to dispute the usurpation of Satan in the kingdoms of the world. The conflict is not yet ended; and as we draw near the close of time, the battle waxes more intense. As the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ draws near, satanic agencies are moved from beneath. Satan will not only appear as a human being, but he will personate Jesus Christ; and the world who has rejected the truth will receive him as the Lord of lords and King of kings. He will exercise his power, and work upon the human imagination. He will corrupt both the minds and the bodies of men, and will work through the children of disobedience, fascinating and charming, as does a serpent. What a spectacle will the world be for heavenly intelligences! What a spectacle for God, the Creator of the world, to behold! The form Satan assumed in Eden when leading our first parents to transgress, was of a character to bewilder and confuse the mind. He will work in as subtle a manner as we near the end of earth’s history. All his deceiving power will be brought to bear upon human subjects, to complete the work of deluding the human family. So deceptive will be his working, that men will do as they did in the days of Christ; and when asked, Whom shall I release unto you, Christ or Barabbas? the almost universal cry will be, Barabbas, Barabbas! And when the question is asked, “What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?” the cry again will be, “Crucify him!” Christ will be represented in the person of those who accept the truth, and who identify their interest with that of their Lord. The world will be enraged at them in the same way that they were enraged at Christ, and the disciples of Christ will know that they are to be treated no better than was their Lord. But Christ will surely identify his interest with that of those who accept him as their personal Saviour. Every insult, every reproach, every false accusation made against them by those who have turned their ears away from the truth and are turned unto fables, will be charged upon the guilty ones as done to Christ in the person of his saints. RH April 14, 1896, par. 6

Those who love and keep the commandments of God are most obnoxious to the synagogue of Satan, and the powers of evil will manifest their hatred toward them to the fullest extent possible. John foresaw the conflict between the remnant church and the power of evil, and said, “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.” The forces of darkness will unite with human agents who have given themselves into the control of Satan, and the same scenes that were exhibited at the trial, rejection, and crucifixion of Christ will be revived. Through yielding to satanic influences, men will be transformed into fiends; and those who were created in the image of God, who were formed to honor and glorify their Creator, will become the habitation of dragons, and Satan will see in an apostate race his masterpiece of evil,—men who reflect his own image. RH April 14, 1896, par. 7

Men were imbued with a satanic spirit at the time when they decided that they would have Barabbas, a thief and murderer, in preference to the Son of God. The demoniac power triumphed over humanity; legions of evil angels took entire control of men, and in answer to Pilate’s question as to whom he should release unto them, they shrieked out, “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas.” When Pilate spoke again to them concerning Jesus, the hoarse cry was raised, “Crucify him, crucify him.” Through yielding to demoniac agencies, men were led to take their stand on the side of the great apostate. Unfallen worlds looked upon the scene with amazement, unable to comprehend the degradation that sin had wrought. Legions of evil angels controlled the priests and rulers, and gave voice to the suggestions of Satan in persuading and tempting the people by falsehoods and bribes to reject the Son of God, and to choose a robber and murderer in his stead. They appealed to the very worst passions of the unregenerate heart, and stirred up the worst elements of human nature by the most unjust accusations and representations. What a scene was this for God to look upon, for seraphim and cherubim to behold! The only begotten Son of God, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, was mocked, insulted, taunted, rejected, and crucified by those whom he came to save, who had given themselves to the control of Satan. RH April 14, 1896, par. 8

Christ said, “If they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” “They shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogue ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them…. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The agencies of Satan are having their last chance to develop before the world, before angels and men, the true principles of their attributes. The people of God are now to stand as representatives of the attributes of the Father and the Son. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” RH April 14, 1896, par. 9

August 31, 1897

What the Revelation Means to Us

By Mrs. E. G. White

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those sayings which are written therein; for the time is at hand.”

Many have entertained the idea that the book of Revelation is a sealed book, and they will not devote time and study to its mysteries. They say that they are to keep looking to the glories of salvation, and that the mysteries revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos are worthy of less consideration than these.

But God does not so regard this book. He declares: “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.”

The book of Revelation opens to the world what has been, what is, and what is to come; it is for our instruction upon whom the ends of the world are come. It should be studied with reverential awe. We are privileged in knowing what is for our learning. But do we treat the word of God with the reverence which is his due, and with the gratitude which God would be pleased to see? “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

The Lord himself revealed to his servant John the mysteries of the book of Revelation, and he designs that they shall be open to the study of all. In this book are depicted scenes that are now in the past, and some of eternal interest that are taking place around us; other of its prophecies will not receive their complete fulfilment until the close of time, when the last great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven will take place.

The final struggle will be waged between those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus and that apostate power which will deceive all who dwell upon the earth. “And 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 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. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 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: 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.”

We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Many of the prophecies are about to be fulfilled in quick succession. Every element of power is about to be set to work. Past history will be repeated; old controversies will arouse to new life, and peril will beset God’s people on every side. Intensity is taking possession of the human family. It is permeating everything upon the earth. And for what?—Games, plays, amusements; men are rushing and crowding, and contending for the mastery. That which is common and perishable is absorbing their attention, so that things of eternal interest are scarcely thought of. Human beings, possessed with energy, zeal, and perseverance, will place all their God-given powers in co-operation with Satan’s despotism to make void the law of God. Impostors of every caste and grade will claim to be worthy and true, and there will be a magnifying of the common and impure against the true and the holy. Thus the spurious is accepted, and the true standard of holiness is discarded, as the word of God was discarded by Adam and Eve for the lie of Satan.

Many have so long chosen their own standard, rejecting the infallible standard that will judge them at the last day, that they are themselves deluded. They misconstrue the teaching of the word of God; and steadfastly setting their face against his commandments, they exalt the precepts of men. The expressions from many professed ministers of the gospel indicate a more than common bitterness against, and contempt for, the law of God. As in David’s day, that law is despised. It is treated as an innovation, and rejected as the rule of life.

Those who have once been convicted of the truth, but have resisted the Holy Spirit’s influence, walk and work in co-partnership with Satan, the first apostate. Blinded by the sophistry of him who was once found in the heavenly courts, they join his ranks. The apostle Paul, speaking of this says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” Those who have turned away from a plain, “Thus saith the Lord,” will be blinded in a superstitious faith in every kind of apostasy, and will be led into that terrible iniquity which God’s word represents as being drunken with the blood of the saints.

When this enmity against the law of God becomes so intense, we may know that Satan is imbuing human minds with the same hatred of truth and of the precepts of God as turned the heart of Cain against his brother Abel. In this time of prevailing iniquity it is essential that we individually draw nigh unto God. His voice is heard, saying: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” It is possible for men to go so far in disobedience that it will be necessary for God to arise and let them know that he is God, and that he will interpose, and punish the world for its iniquity.

The time is now approaching when God will vindicate his honor, and bring this unrighteousness to an end. Of this time the apostle Paul speaks when he says: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.” When the attractions of the horse-race are all-absorbing; when the excitement of the cricket-match runs high; when the fascination of the gambling hall is strong; when parties are indulging in luxurious feasts, and revelry is at its height; when all are forgetful of God and of eternity, and “Peace and safety” is the cry that is heard, “then sudden destruction” will come upon men, “and they shall not escape.”

And will the true child of God be carried away by the prevailing iniquity? Will the chosen of God be tempted by the universal scorn which he sees put upon the law? Will he think less of that law, and give it less honor and obedience?—No; the prevailing apostasy will fill his soul with zeal for the honor of God. He sees that the heavenly universe is stirred with indignation because of the ingratitude of man, for whom the Lord has done so much, and God’s law becomes more precious as it is trampled upon by unholy feet. In proportion as it is ignored and brought into contempt by one class, it will be valued and honored by the other. Those who co-operate with God by obedience will exclaim, with the psalmist: “They have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.”

Jesus, who knew no sin, and in whose mouth no guile was found, came to sow the world with truth. When charged with evil by the Pharisees, he stood up boldly before his accusers, and said, “Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” The convicting power of God had deeply stirred the hearts of these teachers, but they turned their faces persistently from the light. They resisted the work of the Holy Spirit of God. Sufficient evidence of the divinity of Christ had been given them. More evidence would not have changed the current of their feelings, but would only have hardened them in unbelief.

Christ declared, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” [“]If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” To his disciples he said, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “He that hateth me hateth my Father also.” “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

We know that the world, sensual and corrupt, love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Error and false prophets are chosen before the gospel of Christ. But shall we discard the standard of character which the God of heaven has given to our world, and venture to erect a standard of human invention? God desires that his commandment-keeping people shall arise to the emergency, and co-operate with the heavenly agencies in uplifting the standard of righteousness, setting forth to the world the message of heaven.

Each should feel that it is required of him to consecrate every hour to the service of Christ. The Son of God was given that we might be renewed, refined, elevated, ennobled, that God might see his image restored in the heart of man. But the Lord cannot take away our sin unless we shall co-operate with him in the work. The inquiry of each should be, “Am I cleansed from sin? Do I hate sin, and love righteousness? Am I prepared to make any and every sacrifice for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord?” Professed Christians who have a divided heart will not be in the Lord’s army; for the Lord accepts no such enlistments. This is not a sentimental and spasmodic service. In these times we need an assurance from heaven to enable us to stand firmly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

The benediction pronounced upon those who keep God’s law is, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads…. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

July 16, 1901

A Present Help in Every Time of Trouble

Mrs. E. G. White RH July 16, 1901

In the world there are false theories which deny the existence of Satan, or make him so hideous as to encourage doubt of his existence. The world has no just conception of Satan. He is not thought of as the prince of the world, the general of a vast rebellion, a being logical and philosophical, possessing a powerful intellect. But thus it is. The adversary of God and leader in the great controversy waged against the world’s Redeemer, his deceptive powers have been sharpened by constant practice; and in the final crisis he will deceive to their own ruin those who do not now seek to understand his methods of working. RH July 16, 1901, par. 1

Satan resolved to bend all his energies to defeat the plan of redemption. When the Redeemer came to this world, His path from the manger to the cross was marked with pain and sorrow. At every step He encountered the enemy, who sought in every way to turn Him from His purpose of love. And Satan works against Christians today as he worked against their Leader. He who in Eden used Eve to tempt Adam, uses men in this age to tempt their fellow men. RH July 16, 1901, par. 2

The great master of evil conceals himself, working behind the scenes. He lays his plans with wonderful ingenuity, so arranging matters that men will not have time to think of the things of eternity. As his instruments do the work assigned them, he directs and controls. He gives all who will serve him plenty to do. He can keep mind and hand employed. He fills those under his guidance with ambitious hopes for worldly greatness. RH July 16, 1901, par. 3

Thus Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men, and he is succeeding in a way surprising even to himself. Men are straining every nerve to gain earthly treasure, but when eternal riches are offered them, they turn carelessly away. Very easily the enemy persuades them to renounce their supreme good. Satan hides Christ and heaven from their view, because they choose to have it so. Led by him, they worship the world and the things of the world. Too late they will find that they must stand before God without a fit preparation, to hear the words, “Depart from me,” and to be forever banished from the divine presence. RH July 16, 1901, par. 4

In his work Satan pretends to be very religious. He finds this the most effective way of carrying on the work he began in heaven. Under his guidance the Christian world has made void the law of God by tearing down the seventh-day Sabbath, and exalting in its stead a common working day. As men depart further and further from God, Satan is permitted to have power over the children of disobedience. He hurls destruction among men. There is calamity by land and sea. Property and life are destroyed by fire and flood. Satan resolves to charge this upon those who refuse to bow to the idol which he has set up. His agents point to Seventh-day Adventists as the cause of the trouble. “These people stand out in defiance of law,” they say. “They desecrate Sunday. Were they compelled to obey the law for Sunday observance, there would be a cessation of these terrible judgments.” RH July 16, 1901, par. 5

The civil power is called to the aid of the Church in persecuting those who keep holy the seventh day. The Church and the world are united in trampling upon God’s commandments, and those who obey these commandments they threaten with death. John declares, “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.” The decree goes forth that no man shall be allowed to buy or sell save he that has the mark or the number of the Beast. RH July 16, 1901, par. 6

As God’s people approach the final crisis, they must with increasing power proclaim the message He has given them. The warning must be given to the churches. God’s requirements must be laid before those who are transgressing His law. They must be made to understand that this is a life and death question. God’s remnant people are to fill the earth with the cry of the third angel. RH July 16, 1901, par. 7

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” These are they who are repairing the breach in the law of God. In the face of bitter opposition, they take their stand under the banner of Prince Immanuel, proclaiming, bravely and fearlessly, the message He has given them. RH July 16, 1901, par. 8

God watches over these faithful witnesses, and abundantly rewards their confidence. The way to His throne is always open to them. He sees and supplies their wants. They find their safety in looking to Him. When Jehovah gives them His protection, and says of them, Ye are laborers together with me, they are safe in the midst of the greatest danger. Satan tries to deceive them, but God lifts up for them a standard against the enemy. Those who work righteousness have an ever-present help in time of trouble. In every time of need He is near. When they are tempted, He stands as their defense, saying, “I will guide thee with mine eye.” I will deliver thee from perplexity, and be a covert for thee against the strife of tongues. RH July 16, 1901, par. 9

The cause is the Lord’s. He is on board the ship as commander-in-chief. He will guide us safely into port. He can command the winds and the waves, and they will obey Him. If we follow His directions, we have no need to be anxious or troubled. In Him we may trust. He bestows His richest endowments upon those who love Him and keep His commandments. He will never forsake those who work in His lines. RH July 16, 1901, par. 10

Satan will strive to retain every soul in his strong power. He will not willingly relinquish his dominion over men. Therefore the work of advancing the gospel will meet with great opposition from his synagogue. His last effort will be a desperate one, but his overthrow will be complete. RH July 16, 1901, par. 11

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” John saw the remnant people of God when they had gained the victory over the Beast, and over his Image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. Redeemed and glorified, they stood on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And he says, “They sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” As they surround the throne of God, they see their Saviour bearing upon His glorified body the marks of the crucifixion, and from myriads of voices peals forth the chorus of praise, “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” RH July 16, 1901, par. 12

Satan is a diligent Bible student. He knows that his time is short, and he seeks at every point to counterwork the work of the Lord upon this earth. It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended. They will walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth. And Satan, surrounded by evil angels, and claiming to be God, will work miracles of all kinds, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. God’s people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought. God’s tried and tested people will find their power in the sign spoken of in Exodus 31:12-18. They are to take their stand on the living word: “It is written.” This is the only foundation upon which they can stand securely. Those who have broken their covenant with God will in that day be without God and without hope. 9T 16.1

The worshipers of God will be especially distinguished by their regard for the fourth commandment, since this is the sign of God’s creative power and the witness to His claim upon man’s reverence and homage. The wicked will be distinguished by their efforts to tear down the Creator’s memorial and to exalt the institution of Rome. In the issue of the conflict all Christendom will be divided into two great classes, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark. Although church and state will unite their power to compel all, “both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,” to receive the mark of the beast, yet the people of God will not receive it. Revelation 13:16. The prophet of Patmos beholds “them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God,” and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 15:2. 9T 16.2

2 Timothy 3:12 King James Version (KJV)

12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Revelation 16:4-6 King James Version (KJV)

And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

Revelation 18:24 King James Version (KJV)

24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Revelation 20:4 King James Version (KJV)

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Matthew 24:9 King James Version (KJV)

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Revelation 13:15-17 King James Version (KJV)

15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

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:

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.

 

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