PREPARATION FOR THE FINAL CRISIS: EVENTS UNDER THE SUNDAY LAW NATIONAL APOSTASY BRINGS NATIONAL RUIN
''He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.'' Psalm 91:1.
1. SIGNS OF THE TIMES: TURMOIL IN THE CITIES ''As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.'' Luke 17:26.
It was no God's purpose that His people should be crowded into cities, huddled together in terraces and tenements. Light has been given me that the cities will be filled with confusion, violence and crime, and that these things will increase till the end of this earth's history.
It is time for our people to take their families from the cities into more retired localities, else many of the youth, and many also of those older in years, will be ensnared and taken by the enemy.
'Out of the cities; out of the cities!' - this is the message the Lord has been giving me.
The ungodly cities of our world are to be swept away by the besom of destruction. In the calamities that are now befalling immense buildings and large portions of cities God is showing us what will come upon the whole earth.
''When ye shall see these things, know that it [the coming of the Son of man] is near, even at the doors.'' Matt. 24: 33.
As God's commandment-keeping people, we must leave the cities. As did Enoch, we must work in the cities, but not dwell in them. The cities are to be worked out from outposts.
If in the providence of God, we can secure places away from the cities, the Lord would have us do this. There are troublous times before us.
2. THE LAST SIGN TO LEAVE THE CITIES: A NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW IN AMERICA ''When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whosoever readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.'' Matt. 24: 15, 16.
The time is not far distant, when like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and
solitary places. As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation [USA] in the decree enforcing the papal sabbath will be a [last] warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains.
A time is coming when the law of God is, in a special sense, to be made void in our land. The rulers of our nation, will, by legislative councils, enforce the Sunday law, and thus God's people will be brought into great peril. ''Come out of her my people... for her sins have reached unto heaven'' When do her sins reach unto heaven? When the law of God is finally made void by legislation.
The people of the United States have been a favored people; but when they restrict religious liberty, surrender Protestantism and give countenance to the papacy, the measure of their guilt will be full, and national apostasy will be registered in the books of heaven. The result of this apostasy will be national ruin.
3. DO NOT DEFY THE SUNDAY LAW BY WORKING ''Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.'' 2 Tim. 4:2.
To defy the Sunday laws will but strengthen in their persecution the religious zealots who are seeking to enforce them. Give them no occasion to call you lawbreakers. Keep right on your missionary work, with your Bible in your hands, and the enemy will see that he has worsted his own cause. One does not receive the mark of the beast because he shows that he realizes the wisdom of keeping the peace by refraining from work that gives offense, doing at the same time a work of the highest importance.
Sunday can be used for carrying forward various lines of work that will accomplish much for the Lord. On this day open-air meetings can be held. House-to-house work can be done. Those who write can devote this day to writing their articles. Whenever it is possible, let religious services be held on Sunday. Make these meetings intensely interesting. Sing genuine revival hymns, and speak with power and assurance of the Savior's love. Speak on temperance and health and on true religious experience. You will thus learn much about how to work and will reach many souls.
Sunday is a child of the papacy... In no case God's people to pay it homage. But I wish them to understand that they are no doing God's will by braving opposition when He wish them to avoid it.
4. ON SUNDAY: DO GOSPEL MEDICAL MISSIONARY WORK ''It is
time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.'' Psa.119: 126.
When religious aggression subverts the liberties of our nation, those who would stand for freedom of conscience, will be placed in unfavorable positions. For their own sake, they should, while they have opportunity become intelligent in regard to disease, its causes, prevention, and cure. And those who do this will find of field of labor anywhere. There will be suffering ones, plenty of them, who will need our help, not only among those of our own faith, but largely among those who know not the truth. The medical missionary work in connection with the giving of the third angel's message, is to accomplish wonderful results.
4. THE UNIVERSAL SUNDAY LAW IS DECLARED ''And no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.'' Rev. 13:17.
There will be a universal bond of union, one great harmony, a confederacy of Satan's forces. When our nation [USA] shall so abjure the principles of its government as to enact a Sunday law, Protestantism will in this act join hands with the papacy; it will be nothing else than giving life to the tyranny which has long been eagerly watching its opportunity to spring again into active despotism. 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.
The decree enforcing the worship of this day is to go forth to all the world. As America, the land of religious liberty shall unite with the papacy in forcing the conscience and compelling men to honor the false sabbath, the people of every country on the globe will be led to follow her example. Foreign nations will follow the example of the United States. Though she leads out, yet the same crisis will come upon our people in all parts of the world.
5. PERSECUTION BY PROTESTANTS AND CATHOLICS ''Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.'' Matt. 10: 22.
The persecutions of Protestants by Romanism, by which the religion of Jesus Christ was almost annihilated, will be more than rivaled, when Protestantism and the papacy are combined.
When the leading churches of the United States, uniting with such points of doctrines as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.
Those who live during the last days of this earth's history will know what it means to be persecuted for the truth's sake. As the storm approached, 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 running with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light...They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbath-keepers 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.
6. LITTLE TIME OF TROUBLE HELD IN CHECK ''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.'' 1 Thess. 5:3.
While the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel. At that time the 'latter rain,' or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out.
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. Those who have moved to the country will be able to feed themselves and their families during that time.
7. TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE ''Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.'' Jere. 30: 7.
The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that has the mark of the beast... every earthly support will be cut off.
The Lord has shown me in vision, repeatedly, that it is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble [Jacob's trouble]. I saw that if the saints have food laid up by them, or in the fields, in the time of trouble when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it will be taken from them by violent hands, and stranger would reap their fields. Then it will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water would be sure at that time, and we should not lack, or suffer hunger.
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... When the fifth seal was opened, John the Revelator in vision saw beneath the altar the company that were slain for the Word of God and the testimony if Jesus Christ.
Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall... In this age antichrist will appear as the true Christ and them the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of our world.
I saw our people in great distress, weeping, and praying, pleading the sure promises of God, while the wicked were all around us, and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness, they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted us with words calculated to cut deep...
God's people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan would counterfeit any miracles that might be worked... They are to take their stand on the Living Word - 'It is written.'
The time will come then we shall be brought before councils and before thousands for His name's sake, and each one will have to give the reason of his faith.
The sealing time is very short and will soon be over. Now is the time, while the four angels are holding the four winds, to make our calling and election sure.
I was pointed down to the time when the third angel's message was closing. The power of God had rested upon His people; they had accomplished their work and were prepared for the trying hour before them.
When the work of the investigative judgment closes, [for the living], the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven.
7. FIRST PLAGUE FALLS: PROBATION IS OVER ''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.'' Isa. 26:20.
When the third angel's message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished their work. They have received ''the latter rain,'' ''the refreshing''... from the presence of the Lord,'' and they are prepared for the trying hour before them... Probation is over.
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 will be poured out... ''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 plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off. Yet they will be the most awful scourges that have ever been known to mortals.
Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble... The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.
8. DEATH DECREE AGAINST GOD'S PEOPLE ''The letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day.'' Esther 3:13.
These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous; they thought that we had brought the judgments of God upon them, and that if they could rid the earth of us, the plagues would then be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance.
The decree that will finally for forth against the remnant people of God will be very similar to that issued by Ahasuerus against the Jews at the time of Esther. 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 our 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.
It was an hour of fearful, terrible agony to the saints. Day and night they cried unto God for deliverance. To outward appearance, there was no possibility of their escape.
9. ANGELIC PROTECTION IN THE TIME OF TROUBLE ''For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.'' Psa. 91: 11.
The people of God are not at this time all in one place. They are in different companies, and in all parts of the earth. I saw the saints leaving the cities and villages, and associating together in companies, and living in the most solitary places. Angels provided them food and water, while the wicked were suffering from hunger and thirst.
...But there will be no security for the transgressor of God's law. Angels cannot then protect those who are disregarding one of the divine precepts.
The time of trouble is the crucible that is to bring out Christ-like characters. It is designed to lead the people of God to renounce Satan and his temptations.
The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger - a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. All who will lay hold of God's promises, as he [Jacob] did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded.
10. NO MARTYRS AFTER PROBATION CLOSES ''He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.'' Psa. 91:15.
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... Day and night they cry unto God for deliverance...
Like the captive exile, they will be in fear of death by starvation or by violence... If the blood of Christ's faithful witnesses were shed at this time, it would not, like the blood of the martyrs, be as seed sown to yield a harvest from God. Their fidelity would not be a testimony to convince others of the truth.
11. MIDNIGHT DELIVERANCE: GOD'S PEOPLE ARE FREE ''In a moment shall they [the wicked] die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.'' Job 34:20. 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.
With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecations, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, as 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. There mocking cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are forgotten. With fearful forebodings they gaze upon the symbol of God's covenant and long to be shielded from its overpowering brightness.
It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of the saints... The powers of heaven will be shaken at the voice of God. Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back; then we could look up through the open space in Orion, whence came the voice of God.
After the people have heard the voice of God they are in despair and trouble such as never was since there was a nation and in this the people of God will suffer affliction. The clouds of heaven will clash, and there will be darkness. Then that voice comes from heaven and the clouds begin to roll back like a scroll, and there is the bright, clear sign of the Son of man. The children of God know what that clouds mean. The 144000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God.
When the voice of God turns the captivity of His people, there is a terrible awakening of those who have lost in the great conflict of life. The day of wrath to the enemies of God is the day of final deliverance to His church... The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus' coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people. Like peals of loudest thunder His words roll through the earth... The living saints, 144000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.
We need to study the pouring out of the seventh vial. The power of evil will not yield up the conflict without a struggle. In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: ''It is done.'' Rev. 16:17.
The mountains shake like a reed in the wind and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a hurricane like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way... Great hailstones, every one 'about the weight of a talent' are doing their work of destruction... Prisons wall are rent asunder, and God's people, who have been held in bondage for their faith, are set free.
12. THE SPECIAL RESURRECTION: THE JUST AND UNJUST ''And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.'' Dan. 12:2.
''Behold he cometh with cloud; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindred of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.'' Rev. 1:7.
It was at midnight that God chose to deliver His people... there was one clear place of settled glory, whence came the voice of God like many waters, shaking the heavens and the earth. There was a mighty earthquake. The graves were opened, and those who had died in faith under the third angel's message, keeping the Sabbath, came forth their dusty beds, glorified, to hear the covenant of peace that God was to make with those who had kept His law.
When Christ comes the second time, not as a prisoner surrounded by a rabble will they see Him. They will see Him as heaven's King... Then the priests and rulers will remember distinctly the scene in the judgment hall. Every circumstance will appear before them as if written in letters of fire.
CONCLUSION: ''But of that day and hour knoweth no man (no man maketh known - original version), no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.'' Matt. 24:36.
And I saw a flaming cloud come where Jesus stood. Then Jesus... took His place on the cloud which carried Him to the East, where it first appeared to the saints on earth - a small black cloud with the sign of the Son of man. While the cloud was passing from the Holiest to the East, which took a number of days, the synagogue of Satan worshiped at the saint's feet.
We all in solemn silence gazed on the cloud as it drew nearer and became lighter, glorious, and still more glorious, till it was a great white cloud. The bottom appeared like fire; a rainbow was over the cloud, while around it where ten thousand angels, singing a most lovely song; and upon it sat the Son of man... His hair was white and curly and lay on His shoulders; and upon His head were many crowns...
The earth trembled before Him, the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island moved out of their places. '
'And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains.''
The judgment scene will take place in the presence of the worlds; for in this judgment the government of God will be vindicated, and His law will stand forth as ''holy, and just, and good.'' Then every case will be decided, and sentence will be passed upon all. Sin will not then be attractive, but will be seen in all its hideous magnitude.
In the last scenes of this earth's history, war will rage. The powers of evil will not yield up the conflict without a struggle. But Providence has a par to act in the battle of Armageddon. The Captain of the Lord's host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct the battle.
The work of destruction begins among those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people, The false watchmen are the first to fall. They are none to pity or to spare. Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together.
''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.'' Isa. 26:21
... In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God's unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth - priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low.
''And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried.'' Jere. 25:33.
''I beheld and the earth, and lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens and they had no light. I beheld the mountains and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.'' Jere. 4: 23-25.
''And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.'' Rev. 20: 1, 2.
''When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.'' Luke 21:28.
With His love,
NOTE: Excerpts from the book Maranatha, 167-310 Other recommended studies: The Great Controversy, chapter 28-42. Early Writings, Medical Ministry, Counsels on Health.