THE HOPE OF THE AGES – THE CLIMAX OF THE GOSPEL
It is in doing the works of Christ, ministering as He did to the suffering and afflicted, that we are to develop Christian character. It is for our good that God has called us to practice self-denial for Christ’s sake, to bear the cross, to labor and sacrifice in seeking to save that which is lost. This is the Lord’s process of refining, purging away the baser material, that the precious traits of character which were in Christ Jesus, may appear in the believer. All dross must be cleansed from the soul, through the sanctification of the truth…. CS 165.1
Through the grace of Christ our efforts to bless others are not only the means of our growth in grace, but they will enhance our future, eternal happiness. To those who have been coworkers with Christ it will be said, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”—The Review and Herald, June 27, 1893. CS 165.2
The custom of supporting men and women in idleness by private gifts or church money encourages them in wrong habits. This course should be conscientiously avoided. Every man, woman, and child should be educated to practical, useful work. All should learn some trade. It may be tentmaking, it may be some other business, but all should be trained to use their powers to some purpose. And God is ready to increase the capabilities of all who will educate themselves to industrious habits. We are to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” God will bless all who will guard their influence in this respect.—The Review and Herald, March 13, 1900. CS 165.3
You desire to see the cause of God progress, but you make little personal effort toward that end. If you, and others who profess our holy faith, could see your true position and realize your accountability to God you would become more earnest colaborers with Jesus. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” There can be no divided interest in this, for the whole heart and mind and strength comprise the entire man. 4T 119.1
Says the apostle: “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.” When the poor, condemned sinner was lying under the curse of the Father’s law, Jesus so loved him that He gave Himself for the transgressor. He redeemed him by the virtue of His blood. We cannot estimate the precious ransom paid to redeem fallen man. The heart’s best and holiest affections should be given in return for such wondrous love. The temporal gifts you enjoy are merely lent you to aid in the advancement of the kingdom of God. 4T 119.2
I speak of the tithing system, yet how meager it looks to my mind! How small the estimate! How vain the endeavor to measure with mathematical rules, time, money, and love against a love and sacrifice that is measureless and incomputable! Tithes for Christ! Oh, meager pittance, shameful recompense for that which cost so much! From the cross of Calvary, Christ calls for an unconditional surrender. He promised the young ruler that if he sold all that he had and gave it to the poor, and lifted His cross and followed Him, he should have treasure in heaven. All we have should be consecrated to God. The Majesty of heaven came to the world to die a sacrifice for the sins of man. And how cold and selfish is the human heart that can turn away from such incomparable love and set itself upon the vain things of this world. 4T 119.3
But when the Master receives the talents, He approves and rewards the workers as though the merit were all their own. His countenance is full of joy and satisfaction. He is filled with delight that He can bestow blessings upon them. For every service and every sacrifice He requites them, not because it is a debt He owes, but because His heart is overflowing with love and tenderness. COL 361.1
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” He says; “thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” COL 361.2
It is the faithfulness, the loyalty to God, the loving service, that wins the divine approval. Every impulse of the Holy Spirit leading men to goodness and to God, is noted in the books of heaven, and in the day of God the workers through whom He has wrought will be commended. COL 361.3
They will enter into the joy of the Lord as they see in His kingdom those who have been redeemed through their instrumentality. And they are privileged to participate in His work there, because they have gained a fitness for it by participation in His work here. What we shall be in heaven is the reflection of what we are now in character and holy service. Christ said of Himself, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Matthew 20:28. This, His work on earth, is His work in heaven. And our reward for working with Christ in this world is the greater power and wider privilege of working with Him in the world to come. COL 361.4
But when we give ourselves wholly to God and in our work follow His directions, He makes Himself responsible for its accomplishment. He would not have us conjecture as to the success of our honest endeavors. Not once should we even think of failure. We are to co-operate with One who knows no failure. COL 363.1
We should not talk of our own weakness and inability. This is a manifest distrust of God, a denial of His word. When we murmur because of our burdens, or refuse the responsibilities He calls upon us to bear, we are virtually saying that He is a hard master, that He requires what He has not given us power to do. COL 363.2
The spirit of the slothful servant we are often fain to call humility. But true humility is widely different. To be clothed with humility does not mean that we are to be dwarfs in intellect, deficient in aspiration, and cowardly in our lives, shunning burdens lest we fail to carry them successfully. Real humility fulfills God’s purposes by depending upon His strength. COL 363.3
God works by whom He will. He sometimes selects the humblest instrument to do the greatest work, for His power is revealed through the weakness of men. We have our standard, and by it we pronounce one thing great and another small; but God does not estimate according to our rule. We are not to suppose that what is great to us must be great to God, or that what is small to us must be small to Him. It does not rest with us to pass judgment on our talents or to choose our work. We are to take up the burdens that God appoints, bearing them for His sake, and ever going to Him for rest. Whatever our work, God is honored by wholehearted, cheerful service. He is pleased when we take up our duties with gratitude, rejoicing that we are accounted worthy to be co-laborers with Him. COL 363.4
Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12. SD 337.1
Our life-work here is a preparation for the life eternal. The education begun here will not be completed in this life; it will be going forward through all eternity,—ever progressing, never completed. More and more fully will be revealed the wisdom and love of God in the plan of redemption. The Saviour, as He leads His children to the fountains of living waters, will impart rich stores of knowledge. And day by day the wonderful works of God, the evidences of His power in creating and sustaining the universe, will open before the mind in new beauty. In the light that shines from the throne, mysteries will disappear, and the soul will be filled with astonishment at the simplicity of the things that were never before comprehended. Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now we know in part; but then we shall know even as also we are known.55The Ministry of Healing, 466. SD 337.2
Think what it will mean to study through the eternal ages under the personal instruction of Christ! Amidst the present conflicts and temptations, in this our day of probation, we are to form characters that will prepare us to obtain a life that measures with the life of God.56Letter 264, 1903. SD 337.3
We are to have an eye single to the glory of God, and thus grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The more earnestly and diligently we seek for divine wisdom, the more firmly established we shall be in the truth.57The Youth’s Instructor, June 28, 1894. SD 337.4
By beholding Christ, by talking of Him, by beholding the loveliness of His character we become changed. Changed from glory to glory. And what is glory? Character,—and he becomes changed from character to character. Thus we see that there is a work of purification that goes on by beholding Jesus.58 Manuscript 10, 1894. SD 337.5
By Mrs. E. G. White
We can never see our Lord in peace, unless our souls are spotless. We must bear the perfect image of Christ. Every thought must be brought into subjection to the will of Christ. As expressed by the great apostle, we must “come into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” We shall never attain to this condition without earnest effort. We must strive daily against outward evil and inward sin, if we would reach the perfection of Christian character.
Those who engage in this work will see so much to correct in themselves, and will devote so much time to prayer and to comparing their characters with God’s great standard, the divine law, that they will have no time to comment and gossip over the faults or dissect the characters of others. A sense of our own imperfections should lead us to humility and earnest solicitude lest we fail of everlasting life. The words of inspiration should come home to every soul: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” If the professed people of God would divest themselves of their self-complacency and their false ideas of what constitutes a Christian, many who now think they are in the path to Heaven would find themselves in the way of perdition. Many a proud-hearted professor would tremble like an aspen leaf in the tempest, could his eyes be opened to see what spiritual life really is. Would that those now reposing in false security could be aroused to see the contradiction between their profession of faith and their every-day demeanor.
To be living Christians, we must have a vital connection with Christ. The true believer can say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” This intimate communion with our Saviour will take away the desire for earthly and sensual gratifications. All our powers of body, soul, and spirit should be devoted to God. When the affections are sanctified, our obligations to God are made primary, everything else secondary. To have a steady and ever-growing love for God, and a clear perception of his character and attributes, we must keep the eye of faith fixed constantly on him. Christ is the life of the soul. We must be in him and he in us, else we are sapless branches.
God must be ever in our thoughts. We must hold converse with him while we walk by the way, and while our hands are engaged in labor. In all the purposes and pursuits of life, we must inquire, What will the Lord have me to do? How shall I please Him who has given his life a ransom for me? Thus may we walk with God, as did Enoch of old; and ours may be the testimony which he received, that he pleased God.
To comprehend and enjoy God, is the highest exercise of the powers of man. This may be attained only when our affections are sanctified and ennobled by the grace of Christ: “No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” In Christ was “God manifested in the flesh, reconciling the world unto himself.” In Christ was the brightness of his Father’s glory, the express image of his person. Said our Saviour, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” In Christ is the life of the soul. In the outgoings of our hearts to him, in our earnest, affectionate yearnings for his excellence, in our eager searching into his glory, we find life. In communion with him we eat the bread of life.
When we allow objects of minor importance to absorb our attention, to the forgetfulness of Christ, turning away from him to accept other companionship, we set out feet in a path which leads away from God and from Heaven. Christ must be the central object of our affections, and then we shall live in him, then we shall have his spirit, and follow his example.
If we would walk in the light, we must follow Jesus, the light of life. What constitutes the brightness of Heaven? In what will consist the happiness of the redeemed? Christ is all in all. They will gaze with rapture unutterable upon the Lamb of God. They will pour out their songs of grateful praise and adoration to Him whom they loved and worshiped here. That song they learned and began to sing on earth. They learned to put their trust in Jesus while they were forming characters for Heaven. Their hearts were attuned to his will here. Their joy in Christ will be proportioned to the love and trust which they learned to repose in him here.
A living Christian will cultivate gratitude of heart. He will seriously, earnestly recount the blessings of his life and the precious results of all his afflictions. He will recall every occasion upon which the hand of Christ has lifted up a standard for him against the enemy. The great love of Jesus, the infinite sacrifice made for man’s redemption, will be an unfailing theme for grateful, humble praise.
Those who are learning at the feet of Jesus will surely exemplify by their deportment and conversation the character of Christ. Their spiritual life is sustained in the closet, by secret communion with God. Their experience is marked less with bustle and excitement, than with a subdued and reverent joy. Their love for Christ is a quiet, peaceful, yet all-controlling power. The light and love of an indwelling Saviour are revealed in every word and every act. Outward troubles cannot reach that life which we live by faith on the Son of God. Its richest, purest joys are felt when Christ is the theme of thought and conversation.
The life of the soul cannot be sustained, except by the right exercise of the affections Heavenward, Christward, Godward. Repentance and faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins are essential, but not all that is required. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” “This is eternal life, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ”—to know him by faith, to receive him into the affections. To accept Christ as our Saviour, we must see him in his work of atonement, and believe that he is able and willing to do what he has promised. The Christian’s life is now but just begun. He must, as exhorted by the apostle, “go on unto perfection.” He must bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. If we believe in Jesus, we will love to think of him, love to talk of him, love to pray to him. He is supreme in our affections. We love that which Christ loves, and hate that which Christ hates.
I have deep anguish of soul as I think that many who have great light and great knowledge of Bible truths, and some even who have taken the responsibility of presenting these truths to others, have yet so little of the love of Jesus in their own hearts. Like the religious teachers whom Christ reproved, they say and do not. They are fruitless branches. A mere profession of godliness is of but little account. A nominal, theoretical belief of the truth is of but little value. The devils also believe, and tremble. We must have that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. Our experience in spiritual things must deepen and widen. We need more strength daily, and we may obtain it by constant communion with God.
The Christian life is never at a standstill. It is, it must be, progressive. Our love for Christ should become stronger and stronger. If the heart is devoted to Jesus, its love for earthly friends and worldly treasure becomes subordinate rather than supreme. As we by faith drink from the fountain of life, so will our joy and peace increase. Oh that we were more trustful, and firm, and true, that Christ might not be ashamed to call us brethren!
My brother, my sister, is your soul in the love of God? Many of you have a twilight perception of Christ’s excellence, and your soul thrills with joy. You long for a fuller, deeper sense of the Saviour’s love. You long to entwine your affections about him more closely. You are unsatisfied. But do not despair. Give to Jesus the heart’s best and holiest affections. Treasure every ray of light. Cherish every desire of the soul after God. Give yourselves the culture of spiritual thoughts and holy communings. Make haste to obtain a fitness for the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare for all that love him. The day is far spent, the night is at hand. Make haste to ripen for Heaven.
It is a great, a solemn work to obtain a moral fitness for the society of the pure and the blest. God’s word presents the standard to which we are to conform our life and character. We may choose to follow some other standard, which is more in harmony with our own hearts, but we can never thus gain the divine approval. Only by conforming to the word of God, can we hope to come to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” But we must do this, or we shall never enter Heaven. Without purity and holiness of heart, we cannot win the crown of immortal glory.
Many who ought to be teachers, have hardly learned the alphabet of the Christian life. They need constantly that one teach them. They do not grow in holiness, in faith, in hope, in joy, in gratitude. Christ opened the way, at an infinite cost, that we might live a Christian life. He has told us just what that life must be,—consistent, uniform, Christlike,—that at its close we may say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith.” It was by faith in Christ that the great apostle maintained the consistency and beauty of his course. He suffered opposition, insult, persecution, imprisonment, with a firmness and meekness which none but Christ could impart. Our obligations are no less than were his. Our privileges are great, our opportunities abundant. Great light is shining upon us, but it will become darkness to those who refuse to follow its guidance.
Measuring ourselves by the Bible standard will give us no exalted view of our own goodness or greatness. The truths of the gospel and the teachings of the Holy Spirit, will produce in us brokenness of heart, hatred of sin, and an understanding of self. But wishing for holiness of heart and purity of life will not bring us into possession of these blessings. Mourning over religious delinquencies will never make one acquisition. There are thousands of sluggish hypocritical tears, of sighs and groans, that never bring to the soul one cheering beam of light, one manifestation of Christ’s approval.
It will cost us something to obtain a Christian experience, and to develop a true and noble character. It requires sacrifice and earnest effort, and this is why so little advancement is made by professing Christians. They do not go to the great source of wisdom, because they shrink from the toil, the cost, the inconvenience. They wish to have righteousness put upon them as a garment. But the white-robed throng of the redeemed ones, are those who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Christ has presented the matter as it is: “Agonize to enter in at the strait gate; for many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”
We have each a daily work to do, to correct our natural defects of character, and to cultivate the Christian graces. Only by the accomplishment of this work, can we hope to share in the reward of the righteous. Said Christ, “To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
God calls us servants, which implies that we are employed by Him to do a certain work and bear certain responsibilities. He has lent us capital for investment. It is not our property, and we displease God if we hoard up our Lord’s goods or spend them as we please. We are responsible for the use or abuse of that which God has thus lent us. If this capital which the Lord has placed in our hands lies dormant, or we bury it in the earth, even if it is only one talent, we shall be called to an account by the Master. He requires, not ours, but His own with usury.
Every talent which returns to the Master will be scrutinized. The doings and trusts of God’s servants will not be considered an unimportant matter. Every individual will be dealt with personally and will be required to give an account of the talents entrusted to him, whether he has improved or abused them. The reward bestowed will be proportionate to the improvement of the talents. The punishment awarded will be according as the talents have been abused.
The inquiry of each one should be: What have I of my Lord’s, and how shall I use it to His glory? “Occupy,” says Christ, “till I come.” The heavenly Master is on His journey. Our gracious opportunity is now. The talents are in our hands. Shall we use them to God’s glory, or shall we abuse them? We may trade with them today, but tomorrow our probation may end and our account be forever fixed.
If our talents are invested for the salvation of our fellow men, God will be glorified. Pride and position are made apologies for extravagance, vain show, ambition, and profligate selfishness. The Lord’s talents, lent to man as a precious blessing, will, if abused, reflect upon him a terrible curse. Riches may be used by us to advance the cause of God and to relieve the wants of the widow and the fatherless. In so doing, we gather to ourselves rich blessings. Not only shall we receive expressions of gratitude from the recipients of our bounties, but the Lord Himself, who has placed the means in our hands for this very purpose, will make our souls like a watered garden whose waters fail not. When the reaping time shall come, who of us will have the inexpressible joy of seeing the sheaves we have gathered, as a recompense of our fidelity and our unselfish use of the talents the Lord has placed in our hands to use for His glory?
I was also shown that the parable of the unjust steward was to teach us a lesson. “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.” If we use our means to God’s glory here, we lay up a treasure in heaven; and when earthly possessions are all gone, the faithful steward has Jesus and angels for his friends, to receive him home to everlasting habitations.
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” He that is faithful in his earthly possessions, which are least, making a judicious use of what God has lent him here, will be true to his profession. “He that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” He that will withhold from God that which He has lent him, will be unfaithful in the things of God in every respect. “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” If we prove unfaithful in the management of what God lends us here, He will never give us the immortal inheritance. “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” Jesus has purchased redemption for us. It is ours; but we are placed here on probation to see if we will prove worthy of eternal life. God proves us by trusting us with earthly possessions. If we are faithful to impart freely of what He has lent us, to advance His cause, God can entrust to us the immortal inheritance. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 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.
9T 17 - God's word to His people is: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, ... and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters.” “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18; 1 Peter 2:9. God's people are to be distinguished as a people who serve Him fully, wholeheartedly, taking no honor to themselves, and remembering that by a most solemn covenant they have bound themselves to serve the Lord and Him only. “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:12-17.
5T 753 - These lessons are for our benefit. We need to stay our faith upon God, for there is just before us a time that will try men's souls. Christ, upon the Mount of Olives, rehearsed the fearful judgments that were to precede His second coming: “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.” “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” While these prophecies received a partial fulfillment at the destruction of Jerusalem, they have a more direct application to the last days. We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The Lord is at the door. There is soon to open before us a period of overwhelming interest to all living. The controversies of the past are to be revived; new controversies will arise. The scenes to be enacted in our world are not yet even dreamed of. Satan is at work through human agencies. Those who are making an effort to change the Constitution and secure a law enforcing Sunday observance little realize what will be the result. A crisis is just upon us. But God's servants are not to trust to themselves in this great emergency. In the visions given to Isaiah, to Ezekiel, and to John we see how closely heaven is connected with the events taking place upon the earth and how great is the care of God for those who are loyal to Him. The world is not without a ruler. The program of coming events is in the hands of the Lord. The Majesty of heaven has the destiny of nations, as well as the concerns of His church, in His own charge. We permit ourselves to feel altogether too much care, trouble, and perplexity in the Lord's work. Finite men are not left to carry the burden of responsibility. We need to trust in God, believe in Him, and go forward. The tireless vigilance of the heavenly messengers, and their unceasing employment in their ministry in connection with the beings of earth, show us how God's hand is guiding the wheel within a wheel. The divine Instructor is saying to every actor in His work, as He said to Cyrus of old: “I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me.”
See link below for Signs of Times, July 10 of 1893.
Ev 703, 704 - God Provides These Opportunities—A crisis is right upon us. We must now by the Holy Spirit's power proclaim the great truths for these last days. It will not be long before everyone will have heard the warning and made his decision. Then shall the end come.... God is the great Master Worker, and by His providence He prepares the way for His work to be accomplished. He provides opportunities, opens up lines of influence, and channels of working. If His people are watching the indications of His providence, and stand ready to co-operate with Him, they will see a great work accomplished.—Testimonies For The Church 6:24 (1900). National Crisis Brings Religious Awakening—Today men and nations are being tested by the plummet in the hand of Him who makes no mistake.... Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour's prophecy of the events to precede His coming: “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.... Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place,—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.—Prophets and Kings, 536, 537 (1916). Our Duty in the Moment of Respite—Angels are now restraining the winds of strife, until the world shall be warned of its coming doom; but a storm is gathering, ready to burst upon the earth, and when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.... A moment of respite has been graciously given us of God. Every power lent us of heaven is to be used in doing the work assigned us by the Lord for those who are perishing in ignorance.... God's people should make mighty intercession to Him for help now. And they must put their whole energies into the effort to proclaim the truth during the respite that has been granted.... Every day we have been associating with men and women who are judgment bound. Each day may have been the dividing line for some soul. Each day someone may have made the decision which will determine his future destiny.—The Review and Herald, November 23, 1905. Significance of the Conflict—We do not understand as we should the great conflict going on between invisible agencies, the controversy between loyal and disloyal angels. Over every man, good and evil angels strive. This is no make-believe conflict. It is no mimic battle in which we are engaged. We have to meet most powerful adversaries, and it rests with us to determine which shall win. We are to find our strength where the early disciples found theirs.—The Signs of the Times, February 17, 1914.
PK 537 - The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis. The Bible, and the Bible only, gives a correct view of these things. Here are revealed the great final scenes in the history of our world, events that already are casting their shadows before, the sound of their approach causing the earth to tremble and men's hearts to fail them for fear. “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof; ... because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate.” Isaiah 24:1-6. “Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.... The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.” “The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.” Joel 1:15-18, 12.
``As an overwhelming surprise? ``
“… NEARLY ALL who profess to believe present truth Seventh-day Adventists are UNPREPARED TO UNDERSTAND the work of PREPARATION for this time.”