Tag Archives: Jerusalem

A Solemn Warning to God’s People

7 Dec

There are too many of God’s professed people living in ease and comfort and continuing on with their lives as if nothing is about to happen.           For some time now I have heard people tell me that we must continue “living life as normal”, and that we cannot start living as if tomorrow           was our last day.  Now I would love to know where this teaching came from, because it is neither Biblical, nor does it come from the            spirit of prophecy.  What did Jesus even say?  He said in Luke 17:26 that “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also            in the days of the Son of man.” … What was it like in the days of Noah, when Noah was warning the people that the earth was soon           to be destroyed?  The people were “eating, drinking, marrying” etc, as if nothing was about to happen.  And Jesus is WARNING           us NOT to be like this.  Because what happened to those who carried on “living as normal”?  They were destroyed!

Ezekiel 9

If we as God’s people are not willing to heed the warning found in the message to the Laodicean church (Revelation 3), and this message             found in Ezekiel 9, then we have a problem.  God, in His mercy, is giving us plenty of warning to get right with Him.  In His mercy, He is             showing us that merely “knowing” the truth about the end times and the mark of the beast is NOT ENOUGH to get us through.             Because if we really had a love for the truth, then that truth would stir us into action for Christ Jesus and His people. So let’s take             a look at what Ezekiel 9 says and what the spirit of prophecy says about it.

Ezekiel 9:2-6 …’And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a              slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and              stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the              house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the              midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the              abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let              not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man              upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.’

So who is the one with the “writer’s inkhorn” by his side?  This is none other than the SEALING ANGEL who places the seal of God             upon all of God’s true people.  Take a look at what Ellen White says about the one with the writer’s inkhorn …

“I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven. An angel with a writer’s inkhorn by his side returned              from the earth and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and SEALED. Then I saw Jesus, who had been              ministering before the ark containing the ten commandments, throw down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said, “It is              done”. And all the angelic host laid off their crowns as Jesus made the solemn declaration, “He that is unjust, let him be              unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy,              let him be holy still”. (E.G.White, Early Writings, p.279)

Now you may say, “big deal! This is just confirming that God will seal those who refuse the mark of the beast”.  But is it             THAT simple.  Is it just a case of waiting until the Sunday law comes along, refuse to go along with it, and we will be sealed?  No, I’m             afraid it’s not THAT simple.  Because anyone who truly loves Christ Jesus will not sit back waiting for the Sunday law to come along.  They             will be ACTIVE in God’s work.  They will be ACTIVE in turning away from sin.  They will be ACTIVE in doing good works.  They will be ACTIVE             in getting the truth out there and warning the world.  Which is why people in the lukewarm Laodicean state are so wretched.  Because even             though they know the truth, they are doing NOTHING about it.  They think that they are safe and continue to live life as normal, waiting             to see what happens.

Now does God say in Ezekiel 9 that the sealing angel will seal those who merely “know” the truth and keep the sabbath day?  No.             The sealing angel with the writer’s inkhorn seals those who are sighing and crying for the sins that are committed in the earth and in             the midst of God’s people.  In other words, those who have been truly CHANGED by the truth.  Those who have humbled themselves             before God and turned away from sin themselves and are hurt and cry for the sins that are committed in the midst of the church. Those who             warn others with the truth they have been shown.

Ellen White states that Ezekiel 9 will be LITERALLY fulfilled.

“Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be literally fulfilled; yet the time is passing,              and the people are asleep. They refuse to humble their souls and to be converted. Not a great while longer will the Lord bear with the              people who have such great and important truths revealed to them, but who refuse to bring these truths into their individual experience.              The time is short. God is calling; will you hear? Will you receive His message? Will you be converted before it is too late? Soon, very              soon, every case will be decided for eternity.” (E.G.White, Manuscript Releases, Vol.1, p.260)

My friend, please heed the warning.  Please put the sacred truths that have been revealed to you into ACTION.  Do not be one of the many whom             the Lord will spue out of His mouth, because they didn’t have a love for the truth.  Please give your ALL to Christ Jesus now and let Him             use you to further God’s kingdom on earth.  Please get right with God now before it’s too late and probation closes forever.

What did God say will happen to those who do not have a love for the truth? … 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 …’And with all deceivableness of              unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send              them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.’

They will be deceived!

“While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure lover is seeking              indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments – it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce              the sentence: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” (E.G.White, Last Day Events, p.230)

“When probation ends, it will come suddenly, unexpectedly – at a time when we are least expecting it.              But we can have a clean record in heaven today, and know that God accepts us.” (E.G.White, Last Day Events, p.230)

The people are perishing.  Please do what you can to warn them!

Please heed the solemn warning found in Ezekiel 9

A Colossal City In Space.

10 Nov
Talk about a great city! New York, Tokyo, and London are nothing in comparison! Just wait until you grasp the amazing facts about this gigantic city that can travel through space. It’s all fact, not science fiction! The information in this Study Guide will thrill your soul and give you hope for the future.
God is the architect and builder of the holy city.

God is the architect and builder of the holy city.

1. Who is the architect and builder of this space city?

“Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16.

Answer:   The Bible declares that God is building a great city for His people. And this city is as real and literal as any you have ever known.

God's amazing city is located in heaven, His dwelling place.

God’s amazing city is located in heaven, His dwelling place.

2. Where is this amazing city that God is preparing?

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.” Revelation 21:2. “O Lord my God … hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place.” 1 Kings 8:28-30.

Answer:   This great city that is being constructed is, at this moment, in far outer space in God’s dwelling place, which is called heaven.

Notice the city's size compared to several states.

Notice the city’s size compared to several states.

3. How do the Scriptures describe this amazing space city?

Answer:   (A) SIZE “The city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.” Revelation 21:16. The city is perfectly square. Its perimeter is 12,000 furlongs, or 1,500 miles (a furlong is 1/8 mile). It is 375 miles long on each side.
(B) NAME The city is called “new Jerusalem” in Revelation 21:2.
(C) WALLS “And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits. … And the building of the wall of it was of jasper.” Revelation 21:17, 18. A wall 144 cubits, or 216 feet high (a cubit is 18 inches), surrounds the city. The wall is made of solid jasper, with radiance and beauty beyond description. Think of it! Nearly 20 stories high and solid jasper!
(D) GATES “And had twelve gates … On the east three gates on the north three gates on the south three gates and on the west three gates.” And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl.” Revelation 21:12, 13, 21. The city has 12 gates- three on each side – each one made of a single pearl.
(E) FOUNDATIONS “The wall of the city had twelve foundations … garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper the second, sapphire the third, a chalcedony the fourth, an emerald The fifth, sardonyx the sixth, sardius the seventh, chrysolyte the eighth, beryl the ninth, a topaz the tenth, a chrysoprasus the eleventh, a jacinth the twelfth, an amethyst.” Revelation 21:14-20. The city has 12 full, complete foundations each one made of precious stone. Every color of the rainbow will be represented, so at a distance the city will no doubt appear to be resting upon a rainbow.
(F) STREETS “The street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” Revelation 21:21.
(G) APPEARANCE “The holy city, … prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” “Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most  precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” “The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal [proportionate].” Revelation 21:2, 11, 16.  The city, with all of its precious stones, gold, and shimmering beauty, will be lighted with the glory of God. In its breathtaking majesty and purity it is compared to “a bride adorned for her husband.”

Heaven's fantastic tree of life brings unending life and youth to all who eat of it.

Heaven’s fantastic tree of life brings unending life and youth to all who eat of it.

4. What phenomenal feature of this majestic city assures every citizen eternal vigor and youth?

“In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:2. “Take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.” Genesis 3:22.

Answer:   The tree of life, which bears 12 kinds of fruit (and is in the middle of the city–Revelation 2:7), brings unending life and youth to all who partake of it. Even its leaves will contain marvelous sustaining qualities. This tree will yield a new crop of fruit each month.

The holy city will descend to earth and become its capital.

The holy city will descend to earth and become its capital.

5. Is it true that this amazing city will descend to this earth?

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. “The righteous shall be recompensed in the earth.” Proverbs 11:31.

Answer:   Yes, the majestic holy city will come down to this earth to become the capital of the earth made new. All the righteous will have a home in this city.

Sin and sinners will be eradicated by fire from God.

Sin and sinners will be eradicated by fire from God.

6. What will happen to sin and sinners?

“All the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up.” Malachi 4:1. “Fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Revelation 20:9. “The elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10. “Ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet.” Malachi 4:3. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13.

Answer:   God will destroy all sin and sinners with fire. This fire will melt the earth and turn everything into ashes. Then God will make a perfect new earth, and the holy city will be its capital. Here the righteous will live in joy, peace, and holiness throughout eternity. God promises that sin will not rise up again. See Nahum 1:9.

In His new kingdom the Lord will personally live among His people.

In His new kingdom the Lord will personally live among His people.

7. What refreshing, thrilling promises does God make to the people who enter His new kingdom?

Answer:   A. The Lord, in person, will live with them (Revelation 21:3).
B. They will never become bored. There will be pleasures forevermore (Psalms 16:11).
C.There will be no more death, pain, tears, sorrow, sickness, hospitals, operations, tragedy, disappointment, trouble, hunger, or thirst (Revelation 21:4 Isaiah 33:24 Revelation 22:3 Isaiah 65:23 Revelation 7:16).
D. They will not get tired (Isaiah 40:31).
E. Every saved person will be physically whole in every way. The deaf will hear, the blind will see, the dumb will sing, and the lame will be able to run (Isaiah 35:5, 6 Philippians 3:21).
F. Jealousy, fear, hatred, falsehood, envy, impurity, cynicism, filth, worry, and all evil will be forever shut out of God’s kingdom (Revelation 21:8, 27 22:15). People will no longer be burdened with the worries and the cares that drive them to distraction. There will be no more nervous breakdowns. Time will become eternity, and the pressures and deadlines of earth will be gone forever.

Today's mammoth oceans will not exist in God's new kingdom.

Today’s mammoth oceans will not exist in God’s new kingdom.

8. How will the new earth differ from our earth today?

Answer:   A. Vast seas as we know them today will be gone (Revelation 21:1). The oceans and seas cover three-fourths of the earth’s surface today. This will not be the case in God’s new kingdom. The whole world will be one huge garden of unsurpassed beauty, interspersed with lakes, rivers, and mountains (Revelation 22:1 Acts 3:20, 21).
B. The deserts will become gardens (Isaiah 35:1, 2).
C. The animals will all be tame. None will prey upon others, and a little child will lead them (Isaiah 11:6-9 65:25).
D. There will be no more curse (Revelation 22:3).
E. There will be no more violence of any kind (Isaiah 60:18). This precludes crime, storms, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, injury, etc.
F. Nothing defiling will be found in the new earth (Revelation 21:27). There will be no cigarette butts, tobacco juice, drunkards, taverns, alcoholic beverages, brothels, lewd pictures, or any other wickedness or impurity of any kind.

Children, playing together, will fill the streets of the new Jerusalem.

Children, playing together, will fill the streets of the new Jerusalem.

9. Will there be children in God’s kingdom? If so, will they grow up?

“And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.” Zechariah 8:5. “And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Malachi 4:2.

Answer:   Yes, there will be many boys and girls in the holy city (Isaiah 11:6-9), and these youngsters will grow up (Malachi 4:2). We have degenerated much in stature, intellect, and vitality since Adam, but all of this will be restored (Acts 3:20, 21).

10. When reunited with loved ones in heaven, will the saved know each other?

10. When reunited with loved ones in heaven, will the saved know each other?

Then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Answer:   The Bible clearly teaches that righteous loved ones who have died will be raised to join the righteous living in God’s kingdom (Isaiah 26:19; Jeremiah 31:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). And the Scriptures also teach that people in God’s new kingdom will know each other, just as people recognize each other on the earth today.

In heaven real people will experience real joys. The fondest hopes of the human heart will be realized.

In heaven real people will experience real joys. The fondest hopes of the human heart will be realized.

11. Will people in heaven be real, with flesh and bones?

“Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and … while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.” Luke 24:36-39, 41-43, 50, 51. “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11. “The Lord Jesus Christ … shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20, 21.

Answer:   After His resurrection, Jesus proved to His desciples that He was flesh and bones by having them feel Him and by eating food. This same Jesus of flesh and bones ascended to His Father and will come again to the earth. The righteous will be given bodies just like the body of Christ and will be real people with flesh and bones throughout eternity. The difference will be that the heavenly body will not be subject to death, decay, or deterioration. The teaching that the saved in heaven will be ghosts who float on mist clouds and do nothing but play harps has no foundation in the Scriptures. Jesus did not die on the cross to provide any such trivial and foolish future for those who accept His love and nobly follow His way of life. Most people have no interest in such an ethereal existence and, therefore, have little or no desire to enter God’s heavenly kingdom–often preferring it only because they fear hell. If only all people everywhere could learn the truth about God’s holy city and new earth, millions would begin to understand His love and would turn to Him with all their hearts. A person who misses out on God’s kingdom has made the supreme blunder of a lifetime.

No human tongue can describe the glory and delight of the pure music of heaven.

No human tongue can describe the glory and delight of the pure music of heaven.

12. How will the righteous spend their time in the heavenly kingdom?

“They shall build houses, and inhabit them and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit they shall not plant, and another eat: … mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” Isaiah 65:21, 22.

Answer:   The righteous will build their own homes in the new earth. (Each will also have a city mansion built by Christ–John 14:1-3.) They will plant vineyards and eat the fruit from them. The Bible is plain. Real people do real things in heaven, and they will thoroughly enjoy it all.

Heaven will bring us the privilege of becoming friends with Bible patriarchs and prophets.

Heaven will bring us the privilege of becoming friends with Bible patriarchs and prophets.

13. In what other thrilling activites will the redeemed participate in?

Answer:   A. Sing and play heavenly music (Isaiah 35:10 51:11 Psalms 87:7 Revelation 14:2, 3).
B. Worship before God’s throne every Sabbath (Isaiah 66:22, 23).
C. Enjoy never-fading flowers and trees (Ezekiel 47:12 Isaiah 35:1, 2).
D. Visit with loved ones, patriarchs, prophets, etc. (Matthew 8:11 Revelation 7:9-17).
E. Study the animals of heaven (Isaiah 11:6-9 65:25).
F. Travel and explore without ever becoming weary (Isaiah 40:31).
G. Listen to God sing (Zephaniah 3:17).
H. Realize fondest ambitions (Psalms 37:3, 4 Isaiah 65:24).
I. Greatest joy of allthe privilege of being like Jesus, traveling with Him, and seeing Him face to face
(Revelation 14:4 22:4 21:3 1 John 3:2).

Heaven will be far more glorious and rewarding than anything we can possibly imagine.

Heaven will be far more glorious and rewarding than anything we can possibly imagine.

14. Can feeble human language really describe the glories of the heavenly home?

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9.

Answer:   Not even in its wildest dreams can the heart of man begin to comprehend the marvels of God’s eternal kingdom. All that Adam lost will be restored (Acts 3:20, 21).

Jesus is preparing heaven for you personally. You matter to Him.

Jesus is preparing heaven for you personally. You matter to Him.

15. Is this kingdom being prepared for me personally?

“Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. “To an inheritance incorruptible … reserved in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:4. “I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2.

Answer:   It is prepared for you personally. The invitation from the Lord is to you personally. If rejected, friend, you will have no one to blame but yourself.

When Jesus lives in our hearts and abides in our homes, we are assured of a place in His heavenly kingdom.

When Jesus lives in our hearts and abides in our homes, we are assured of a place in His heavenly kingdom.

16. How can I be assured of a place in that great and glorious kingdom?

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in.” Revelation 3:20. “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.” Revelation 22:14. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7.

Answer:   The Bible makes it plain. It is simple. Give your life to Christ for cleansing from sin. When you do this, He also gives you power to do His will and keep His commandments. This means, of course, that you will begin to live as Christ lived and will overcome all sin. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things.” Revelation 21:7. In short, a person is prepared for heaven when he has heaven in his heart.


“The Time Of Trouble.”

30 Oct

“At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which
standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time
of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to
that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered,
every one that shall be found written in the book.”1053
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. Angels are hastening to and fro
in heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his
work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world,
and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts
have received “the seal of the living God.” Then Jesus ceases His
intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands, and with
a loud voice says, “It is done;” and all the angelic host lay off
their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement: “He that is
unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be
filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and
he that is holy, let him be holy still.”1054 Every case has been
decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His
people, and blotted out their sins. The number of His subjects [614]
is made up; “the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of
the kingdom under the whole heaven,” is about to be given to
the heirs of salvation, and Jesus is to reign as King of kings, and
Lord of lords.
When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants
of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight
of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has
been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control
of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The
world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled
upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their
probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last
withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection
from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the
earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to
hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements
of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in
ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.
A single angel destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians,
and filled the land with mourning. When David offended against
God by numbering the people, one angel caused that terrible
destruction by which his sin was punished. The same destructive
power exercised by holy angels when God commands, will be
exercised by evil angels when He permits. There are forces
now ready, and only waiting the divine permission, to spread
desolation everywhere.
Those who honor the law of God have been accused of bringing judgments upon the world, and they will be regarded as
the cause of the fearful convulsions of nature and the strife and
bloodshed among men that are filling the earth with woe. The
power attending the last warning has enraged the wicked; their
[615] anger is kindled against all who have received the message, and
Satan will excite to still greater intensity the spirit of hatred and
When God’s presence was finally withdrawn from the Jewish
nation, priests and people knew it not. Though under the control
of Satan, and swayed by the most horrible and malignant
passions, they still regarded themselves as the chosen of God.
The ministration in the temple continued; sacrifices were offered
upon its polluted altars, and daily the divine blessing was invoked
upon a people guilty of the blood of God’s dear Son, and seeking
to slay His ministers and apostles. So when the irrevocable
decision of the sanctuary has been pronounced, and the destiny
of the world has been forever fixed, the inhabitants of the earth
will know it not. The forms of religion will be continued by a
people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn;
and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire
them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear
the semblance of zeal for God.
As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy
throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities
have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the
persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular
demand, will make them objects of universal execration. It will
be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of
the church and a law of the state, ought not to be tolerated; that
it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown
into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen
hundred years ago was brought against Christ by the “rulers of
the people.” “It is expedient for us,” said the wily Caiaphas, “that
one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation
ish not.”1055 This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree
will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of
the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the
severest punishment, and giving the people liberty, after a certain
time, to put them to death. Romanism in the Old World, and [616]
apostate Protestantism in the New, will pursue a similar course
toward those who honor all the divine precepts.
The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of
affliction and distress described by the prophet as the time of
Jacob’s trouble. “Thus saith the Lord: We have heard a voice of
trembling, of fear, and not of peace…. All faces are turned into
paleness. 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
Jacob’s night of anguish, when he wrestled in prayer for deliverance
from the hand of Esau,1057 represents the experience
of God’s people in the time of trouble. Because of the deception
practised to secure his father’s blessing, intended for Esau, Jacob
had fled for his life, alarmed by his brother’s deadly threats.
After remaining for many years an exile, he had set out, at God’s
command, to return with his wives and children, his flocks and
herds, to his native country. On reaching the borders of the
land, he was filled with terror by the tidings of Esau’s approach
at the head of a band of warriors, doubtless bent upon revenge.
Jacob’s company, unarmed and defenseless, seemed about to fall
helpless victims of violence and slaughter. And to the burden of
anxiety and fear was added the crushing weight of self-reproach;
for it was his own sin that had brought this danger. His only hope
was in the mercy of God; his only defense must be prayer. Yet
he leaves nothing undone on his own part to atone for the wrong
to his brother, and to avert the threatened danger. So should
the followers of Christ, as they approach the time of trouble,
make every exertion to place themselves in a proper light before
the people, to disarm prejudice, and to avert the danger which
threatens liberty of conscience.
Having sent his family away, that they may not witness his
distress, Jacob remains alone to intercede with God. He confesses
[617] his sin, and gratefully acknowledges the mercy of God toward
him, while with deep humiliation he pleads the covenant made
with his fathers, and the promises to himself in the night vision
at Bethel and in the land of his exile. The crisis in his life has
come; everything is at stake. In the darkness and solitude he
continues praying and humbling himself before God. Suddenly
a hand is laid upon his shoulder. He thinks that an enemy is
seeking his life, and with all the energy of despair he wrestles
with his assailant. As the day begins to break, the stranger puts
forth his superhuman power: at his touch the strong man seems
paralyzed, and he falls, a helpless, weeping suppliant, upon the
neck of his mysterious antagonist. Jacob knows now that it is
the Angel of the Covenant with whom he has been in conflict.
Though disabled, and suffering the keenest pain, he does not
relinquish his purpose. Long has he endured perplexity, remorse,
and trouble for his sin; now he must have the assurance that
it is pardoned. The divine visitant seems about to depart; but
Jacob clings to Him, pleading for a blessing. The Angel urges,
“Let Me go; for the day breaketh;” but the patriarch exclaims, “I
will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” What confidence,
what firmness and perseverance, are here displayed! Had this
been a boastful, presumptuous claim, Jacob would have been
instantly destroyed; but his was the assurance of one who confesses
his weakness and unworthiness, yet trusts the mercy of a
covenant-keeping God.
“He had power over the Angel, and prevailed.”1058 Through
humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring
mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened
his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart
of Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner’s plea. As an
evidence of his triumph, and an encouragement to others to
imitate his example, his name was changed from one which was
a reminder of his sin, to one that commemorated his victory. And
the fact that Jacob had prevailed with God was an assurance that
he would prevail with men. He no longer feared to encounter [618]
his brother’s anger; for the Lord was his defense.
Satan had accused Jacob before the angels of God, claiming
the right to destroy him because of his sin; he had moved upon
Esau to march against him; and during the patriarch’s long night
of wrestling, Satan endeavored to force upon him a sense of his
guilt, in order to discourage him, and break his hold upon God.
Jacob was driven almost to despair; but he knew that without
help from heaven he must perish. He had sincerely repented of
his great sin, and he appealed to the mercy of God. He would not
be turned from his purpose, but held fast the Angel, and urged
his petition with earnest, agonizing cries, until he prevailed.
As Satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will
stir up the wicked to destroy God’s people in the time of trouble.
And as he accused Jacob, he will urge his accusations against
the people of God. He numbers the world as his subjects; but the
little company who keep the commandments of God are resisting
his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph
would be complete. He sees that holy angels are guarding them,
and he infers that their sins have been pardoned; but he does not
know that their cases have been decided in the sanctuary above.
He has an accurate knowledge of the sins which he has tempted
them to commit, and he presents these before God in the most
exaggerated light, representing this people to be just as deserving
as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. He declares that
the Lord cannot in justice forgive their sins, and yet destroy him
and his angels. He claims them as his prey, and demands that
they be given into his hands to destroy.
As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins,
the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence
in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested.
[619] As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole
lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their
weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with
the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their
defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy
their faith that they will yield to his temptations, and turn from
their allegiance to God.
Though God’s people will be surrounded by enemies who are
bent upon their destruction, yet the anguish which they suffer
is not a dread of persecution for the truth’s sake; they fear that
every sin has not been repented of, and that through some fault in
themselves they will fail to realize the fulfilment of the Saviour’s
promise, “I will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which
shall come upon all the world.”1059 If they could have the assurance
of pardon, they would not shrink from torture or death;
but should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of
their own defects of character, then God’s holy name would be
On every hand they hear the plottings of treason, and see the
active working of rebellion; and there is aroused within them
an intense desire, an earnest yearning of soul, that this great
apostasy may be terminated, and the wickedness of the wicked
may come to an end. But while they plead with God to stay
the work of rebellion, it is with a keen sense of self-reproach
that they themselves have no more power to resist and urge
back the mighty tide of evil. They feel that had they always
employed all their ability in the service of Christ, going forward
from strength to strength, Satan’s forces would have less power
to prevail against them.
They afflict their souls before God, pointing to their past repentance
of their many sins, and pleading the Saviour’s promise,
“Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with
Me; and he shall make peace with Me.”1060 Their faith does not
fail because their prayers are not immediately answered. Though [620]
suffering the keenest anxiety, terror, and distress, they do not
cease their intercessions. They lay hold of the strength of God as
Jacob laid hold of the Angel; and the language of their souls is,
“I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.”
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.
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.
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
[621] 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.
Jacob’s history is also an assurance that God will not cast off
those who have been deceived, and tempted, and betrayed into
sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance. While
Satan seeks to destroy this class, God will send His angels to
comfort and protect them in the time of peril. The assaults of
Satan are fierce and determined, his delusions are terrible; but
the Lord’s eye is upon His people, and His ear listens to their
cries. Their affliction is great, the flames of the furnace seem
about to consume them; but the Refiner will bring them forth
as gold tried in the fire. God’s love for His children during the
period of their severest trial, is as strong and tender as in the
days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be
placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed,
that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.
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. Jacob prevailed because
he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence
of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of
God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as
he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling
to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly
for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how
few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn
out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the
stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express
sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to
the promises of God. [622]
Those who exercise but little faith now, are in the greatest
danger of falling under the power of satanic delusions and the
decree to compel the conscience. And even if they endure the
test, they will be plunged into deeper distress and anguish in the
time of trouble, because they have never made it a habit to trust
in God. The lessons of faith which they have neglected, they will
be forced to learn under a terrible pressure of discouragement.
We should now acquaint ourselves with God by proving His
promises. Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere.
We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect
communion with God. The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial,
with His approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and
friendship without it. We must take time to pray. If we allow our
minds to be absorbed by worldly interests, the Lord may give
us time by removing from us our idols of gold, of houses, or of
fertile lands.
The young would not be seduced into sin if they would refuse
to enter any path save that upon which they could ask God’s
blessing. If the messengers who bear the last solemn warning
to the world would pray for the blessing of God, not in a cold,
listless, lazy manner, but fervently and in faith, as did Jacob,
they would find many places where they could say, “I have seen
God face to face, and my life is preserved.”1061 They would be
accounted of heaven as princes, having power to prevail with
God and with men.
The “time of trouble such as never was,” is soon to open
upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now
possess, and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often
the case that trouble is greater in anticipation that in reality; but
this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation
cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial,
every soul must stand for himself before God. “Though Noah,
Daniel, and Job” were in the land, “as I live, saith the Lord God,
[623] they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver
their own souls by their righteousness.”1062
Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for
us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a
thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of
temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he
can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means
of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared
of Himself, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing
in Me.”1063 Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that
would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s
commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could
use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must
be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.
It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith
in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to
join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our
ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. God’s
providence is the school in which we are to learn the meekness
and lowliness of Jesus. The Lord is ever setting before us, not
the way we would choose, which seems easier and pleasanter to
us, but the true aims of life. It rests with us to co-operate with the
agencies which Heaven employs in the work of conforming our
characters to the divine model. None can neglect or defer this
work but at the most fearful peril to their souls
The apostle John in vision heard a loud voice in heaven exclaiming,
“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for
the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he
knoweth that he hath but a short time.”1064 Fearful are the scenes
which call forth this exclamation from the heavenly voice. The
wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short, and his work
of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination in the time of
trouble. [624]
Fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed
in the heavens, in token of the power of miracle-working demons.
The spirits of devils will go forth to the kings of the earth and
to the whole world, to fasten them in deception, and urge them
on to unite with Satan in his last struggle against the government
of heaven. By these agencies, rulers and subjects will be alike
deceived. Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself,
and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world’s
Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing,
and will profess to have revelations from heaven contradicting
the testimony of the Scriptures.
As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan
himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to
look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes.
Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come.
In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among
men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the
description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation.1065
The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that
mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out
upon the air, “Christ has come! Christ has come!” The people
prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his
hands, and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed
His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and
subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he
presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the
Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in
his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the
Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which
he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping
holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to
listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the
strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like the Samaritans who
[625] were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the least
to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying, This is “the
great power of God.”1066
But the people of God will not be misled. The teachings of
this false christ are not in accordance with the Scriptures. His
blessing is pronounced upon the worshipers of the beast and his
image, the very class upon whom the Bible declares that God’s
unmingled wrath shall be poured out.
And, furthermore, Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the
manner of Christ’s advent. The Saviour has warned His people
against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the
manner of His second coming. “There shall arise false christs,
and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders;
insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very
elect…. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the
desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe
it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth
even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man
be.”1067 This coming, there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It
will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world.
Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures,
and who have received the love of the truth, will be shielded
from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the
Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To
all, the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation, the
genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now
so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield
to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis,
cling to the Bible, and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible,
prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day.
He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them
with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome
burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of [626]
this life, and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.
As the decree issued by the various rulers of Christendom
against commandment-keepers shall withdraw the protection of
government, and abandon them to those who desire their destruction,
the people of God will flee from the cities and villages and
associate together in companies, dwelling in the most desolate
and solitary places. Many will find refuge in the strongholds
of the mountains. Like the Christians of the Piedmont valleys,
they will make the high places of the earth their sanctuaries, and
will thank God for the “munitions of rocks.”1068 But many of all
nations, and of all classes, high and low, rich and poor, black
and white, will be cast into the most unjust and cruel bondage.
The beloved of God pass weary days, bound in chains, shut in
by prison bars, sentenced to be slain, some apparently left to die
of starvation in dark and loathsome dungeons. No human ear is
open to hear their moans; no human hand is ready to lend them
Will the Lord forget His people in this trying hour? Did
He forget faithful Noah when judgments were visited upon the
antediluvian world? Did He forget Lot when the fire came down
from heaven to consume the cities of the plain? Did He forget
Joseph surrounded by idolaters in Egypt? Did He forget Elijah
when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the
prophets of Baal? Did He forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal
pit of his prison-house? Did He forget the three worthies in the
fiery furnace? or Daniel in the den of lions?
“Zion said, Jehovah hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath
forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she
should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they
may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee
upon the palms of My hands.”1069 The Lord of hosts has said,
[627] “He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye.”1070
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 sung praises at midnight in the
Philippian dungeon.
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
none the less 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.”1071 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.”1072
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.”1073 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.
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,1074 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 [628]
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 are 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.”1075 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
In the plague that follows, power is given to the sun “to scorch
men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat.”1076 The
prophets thus describe the condition of the earth at this fearful
time: “The land mourneth; … because the harvest of the field
is perished.” “All the trees of the field are withered: because
joy is withered away from the sons of men.” “The seed is rotten
under their clods, the garners are laid desolate.” “How do the
beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they
have no pasture…. The rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire
hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” “The songs of the
temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God: there
shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them
forth with silence.”1077
These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth
[629] would bewholly cut off. Yet theywill be the most awful scourges
that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon
men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with
mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from
receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment,
wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.
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.”1078
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.”1079
“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.1080
“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 [630]
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.”1081
Yet to human sight it will appear that the people of God must
soon seal their testimony with their blood, as did the martyrs
before them. They themselves begin to fear that the Lord has left
them to fall by the hand of their enemies. It is a time of fearful
agony. Day and night they cry unto God for deliverance. The
wicked exult, and the jeering cry is heard, “Where now is your
faith? Why does not God deliver you out of our hands if you are
indeed His people?” But the waiting ones remember Jesus dying
upon Calvary’s cross, and the chief priests and rulers shouting in
mockery, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be
the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and
we will believe Him.”1082 Like Jacob, all are wrestling with God.
Their countenances express their internal struggle. Paleness sits
upon every face. Yet they cease not their earnest intercession.
Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies
of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who
have kept the word of Christ’s patience. With sympathizing
tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress, and have heard
their prayers. They are waiting the word of their Commander
to snatch them from their peril. But they must wait yet a little
[631] longer. The people of God must drink of the cup, and be
baptized with the baptism. The very delay, so painful to them,
is the best answer to their petitions. As they endeavor to wait
trustingly for the Lord to work, they are led to exercise faith,
hope, and patience, which have been too little exercised during
their religious experience. Yet for the elect’s sake, the time of
trouble will be shortened. “Shall not God avenge His own elect,
which cry day and night unto Him?… I tell you that He will
avenge them speedily.”1083 The end will come more quickly than
men expect. The wheat will be gathered and bound in sheaves
for the garner of God; the tares will be bound as fagots for the
fires of destruction.
The heavenly sentinels, faithful to their trust, continue their
watch. Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment-keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in
some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified,
will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty
guardians stationed about every faithful soul. Some are assailed
in their flight from the cities and villages; but the swords raised
against them break and fall as powerless as a straw. Others are
defended by angels in the form of men of war.
In all ages, God has wrought through holy angels for the
succor and deliverance of His people. Celestial beings have
taken an active part in the affairs of men. They have appeared
clothed in garments that shone as the lightning; they have come
as men, in the garb of wayfarers. Angels have appeared in human
form to men of God. They have rested, as if weary, under the
oaks at noon. They have accepted the hospitalities of human
homes. They have acted as guides to benighted travelers. They
have, with their own hands, kindled the fires of the altar. They
have opened prison doors, and set free the servants of the Lord.
Clothed with the panoply of heaven, they came to roll away the
stone from the Saviour’s tomb.
In the form of men, angels are often in the assemblies of the
righteous, and they visit the assemblies of the wicked, as they [632]
went to Sodom, to make a record of their deeds, to determine
whether they have passed the boundary of God’s forbearance.
The Lord delights in mercy; and for the sake of a few who really
serve Him, He restrains calamities, and prolongs the tranquillity
of multitudes. Little do sinners against God realize that they are
indebted for their own lives to the faithful few whom they delight
to ridicule and oppress.
Though the rulers of this world know it not, yet often in their
councils angels have been spokesmen. Human eyes have looked
upon them; human ears have listened to their appeals; human
lips have opposed their suggestions and ridiculed their counsels;
human hands have met them with insult and abuse. In the council
hall and the court of justice, these heavenly messengers have
shown an intimate acquaintance with human history; they have
proved themselves better able to plead the cause of the oppressed
than were their ablest and most eloquent defenders. They have
defeated purposes and arrested evils that would have greatly
retarded the work of God, and would have caused great suffering
to His people. In the hour of peril and distress, “the angel of the
Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth
With earnest longing, God’s people await the tokens of their
coming King. As the watchmen are accosted, “What of the
night?” the answer is given unfalteringly, “ ‘The morning cometh,
and also the night.’1085 Light is gleaming upon the clouds above
the mountain tops. Soon there will be a revealing of His glory.
The Sun of Righteousness is about to shine forth. The morning
and the night are both at hand,—the opening of endless day to
the righteous, the settling down of eternal night to the wicked.”
As the wrestling ones urge their petitions before God, the
veil separating them from the unseen seems almost withdrawn.
The heavens glow with the dawning of eternal day, and like the
[633] melody of angel songs, the words fall upon the ear, “Stand fast
to your allegiance. Help is coming.” Christ, the almighty victor,
holds out to His weary soldiers a crown of immortal glory; and
His voice comes from the gates ajar: “Lo, I am with you. Be
not afraid. I am acquainted with all your sorrows; I have borne
your griefs. You are not warring against untried enemies. I have
fought the battle in your behalf, and in My name you are more
than conquerors.”
The precious Saviour will send help just when we need it. The
way to heaven is consecrated by His footprints. Every thorn that
wounds our feet has wounded His. Every cross that we are called
to bear, He has borne before us. The Lord permits conflicts, to
prepare the soul for peace. The time of trouble is a fearful ordeal
for God’s people; but it is the time for every true believer to look
up, and by faith he may see the bow of promise encircling him.
“The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing
unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they
shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall
flee away. I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou,
that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son
of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy
Maker; … and hast feared continually every day because of the
fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where
is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hasteneth that he
may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his
bread should fail. But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the
sea, whose waves roared: the Lord of hosts is His name. And I
have put My words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the
shadow of Mine hand.”1086
“Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but
not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord Jehovah, and thy God that
pleadeth the cause of His people, Behold, I have taken out of
thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of My
fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: but I will put it into the [634]
hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow
down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the
ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”1087
The eye of God, looking down the ages, was fixed upon the
crisis which His people are to meet, when earthly powers shall
be arrayed against them. Like the captive exile, they will be in
fear of death by starvation or by violence. But the Holy One
who divided the Red Sea before Israel, will manifest His mighty
power and turn their captivity. “They shall be Mine, saith the
Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and
I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth
him.”1088 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 for God. Their fidelity would not be a
testimony to convince others of the truth; for the obdurate heart
has beaten back the waves of mercy until they return no more.
If the righteous were now left to fall a prey to their enemies, it
would be a triumph for the prince of darkness. Says the psalmist,
“In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the
secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me.”1089 Christ has spoken:
“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.”1090 Glorious will be the deliverance of those who have
patiently waited for His coming, and whose names are written in
the book of life.


The Last Night On Earth

23 Oct


One of the most dramatic verses in the Bible has been translated by Dr. Moffett in these words: “Evil on evil says the Lord, the Eternal … it is coming, the hour is striking, and striking at you, the hour and the end. Your doom has come.” Ezekiel 7:5-7.
Based on this startling text, our attention is drawn to the most solemn message ever heard by human ears. It is a warning to each person alive on this planet today, because every individual must pass through their last night on earth. What will it be like to begin living that final 24 hours of time?
Perhaps you’ve heard about the city of Pompeii which nestled in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius in old Italy long ago. In A.D. 79 that mountain simply exploded with volcanic fury and millions of tons of molten lava came pouring down upon Pompeii to completely inundate it, wiping out all its inhabitants. A friend of mine has walked over the hardened ash and pumice which still covers the excavated ruins of that ancient city. He described the contorted postures of the victims whose forms have been perfectly preserved by molding the space occupied by their decayed bodies.
I’ve often thought, “If the stones of the street could speak, what a story they would have to tell about that last night on earth for Pompeii.” The whole thing seems to come up before me as I think about it right now. The experience of an entire city full of people, overtaken without warning and thrust into eternity, whether they were ready or not. What will it be like when you and I face that same experience? Will it find us clinging to the same old sins that many of them were obviously committing as they were swept away by the sudden deluge of death?
Doubtless, many in Pompeii heard that initial explosion and had time to look up to see the terrifying wall of lava just before it engulfed them. We know nothing about their thoughts, but the graphic physical positions of their bodies reveal that sin had become a science, and few, if any, were thinking of death or the hereafter.
I wonder what Paul must have felt when he preached his gospel of grace to the inhabitants of Pompeii. Surely in his ranging over the chief cities of the Roman Empire he would have visited that center of vice and evil repute. But it is highly unlikely that the apostle received any favorable hearing from the dwellers in that seaport sin-city. Perhaps they expelled him out of hand, and Paul had to shake the dust from his feet as he departed.
It was from Pompeii that General Titus had drawn many of his soldiers for his infamous assault on Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Perhaps it was one of the citizens of Pompeii who threw the flaming torch which burned the magnificent temple to its foundations.
But now those veterans of foreign wars have returned to their home place to live out their years of retirement in unrestrained indulgence. Slowly the cup of iniquity fills to the very brim, and on a night of unusual revelry and drunkenness, the angel of death flies low over the streets of Pompeii. It is not hard to imagine how the final call of God was extended to every man, woman, and child on that last night. Before the angel of mercy folded its wings, the Holy Spirit pleaded at the door of each heart. Long after the music and dancing had ended, people tossed on their beds, wrestling with the powerful convictions of conscience, but one by one those tender impressions were suppressed and denied. The voice of the Spirit was drowned out by the fleshly clamor for more excitement and sin. The fate of Pompeii was sealed.
Lingering Over the Call
The Bible gives us another striking illustration of the last night on earth in the book of Genesis. A city was to be wiped out of existence because of its total abandonment to the perversions of iniquity. On the eve of its destruction, Lot made a final visit to his daughters and their Sodomite husbands who had made their home in the midst of the doomed city. But his urgent pleas were ridiculed as groundless fears. The Bible records that “he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.” Genesis 19:14. They actually laughed at the old man as he wept over their unconcern. How different it would have been had they known that it was indeed a judgment message from God. Eagerly they would have responded and hastened out of Sodom had they truly believed that it was their last night on earth.
But they didn’t know, and they didn’t believe. Most of us will never recognize when that fatal moment approaches in our own lives. Many are snatched by sudden accident and death without a second’s notice, much less a 24-hour alert. But suppose you did know that you had exactly two months, or two weeks, or two days. I’ve heard people say, “Oh, if I had that knowledge ahead of time, I could easily give up all my bad habits and make my decision to follow Christ fully.” Of course, but the truth is that none of us are privy to that information, and for many who are reading these lines, that last night is much nearer than we can think or imagine.
How very clever Satan is in exploiting this personal area of the unknown in each one of us. He well recognizes that procrastination is his most effective weapon in causing people to be lost. The longer the decision is postponed, the easier it is to wait a little longer, until finally the putting off process turns into a lethal addiction. The will waxes weaker and weaker as delay saps the initiative and makes it less and less likely that the individual will act before it is too late.
The Bible has some very sobering things to say about this subject of lingering over the call of God. When Paul reasoned with Felix about righteousness and judgment, we are told that the governor trembled and promised to call for Paul when he had a more “convenient season.” That better time never came, and as far as we know, Felix went down into a Christless grave at the end of his life. King Agrippa was also deeply convicted as he listened to Paul’s testimony about Christ. He cried out, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Acts 26:28. What a tragedy that, with all the trembling and conviction, neither of those Roman rulers actually moved to obey what they knew to be right. “Almost” is not enough.
It is sometimes the case that individuals are faced with choices that must be made within a few minutes which will affect the entire future direction of their lives. In these rare instances (and perhaps they are not as rare as we think) that golden moment of opportunity flashes into focus, remains only a few precious moments, and then disappears forever. It seems patently true that Felix and Agrippa faced the most significant and favorable opportunity to choose life over death, and they blew it. They waited too long, and their conviction faded and disappeared.
Men and women do the same thing today. They wait for more convenient circumstances – a different job, retirement, or financial security. They make promises to themselves and others that they will surrender to Christ and obey the truth just as soon as the time is right. Somebody else – Satan – hears those promises and he immediately begins to manipulate events that will make that right moment impossible. Those people keep waiting and waiting and waiting, and many of them will be waiting when the water turns to blood and probation’s door has closed on the human race. No wonder the Bible declares that “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2.
When the flood came and the door of the ark closed, it did not matter how near or how far a person happened to be at that moment. Those who were one foot out-side that door were just as lost as those who were miles away. After 120 years of pleading, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the earth, the hand of God closed the door, and the fate of a world was fixed and settled. Does that have anything to do with what is happening to the progeny of those eight ark survivors today? Indeed, it does. Because Jesus said, “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37.
Christ was referring to the end-time in which we now live. He said, “So shall it be.” Are there similarities with the antediluvian culture and lifestyle? We are told that “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. Does that appraisal of man before the flood match the perverted picture of Noah’s modern descendants?
For the answer to that question consult your morning newspaper and the local TV guide. Iniquity is rampant. Crime is out of control. Terrorists strike in unexpected places. No one would question that evil imagination marks the present age with its harvest of violence and lawlessness.
Is there also evidence that the Holy Spirit is striving with human hearts and confronting multitudes with their final invitation of mercy? As an evangelist, I can bear witness that there is a present raging controversy revolving around every living soul. Some who are reading these words are on the verge of making a decision that can mean life or death, and at the same time, Satan plays upon your ungrounded fears to try to hold you back from an all-out commitment. You are being tempted, like Felix, to wait for a more convenient season, but such will never come. To linger now is to become a part of the vast majority who were destroyed in the flood and who represent those who will be unprepared when Jesus comes again.
The Jordan River Place
Think for a moment what would have happened at the Jordan River if the priests had hesitated to move forward at the Lord’s command. The Jordan River was in flood stage(Joshua 3:15), and its angry waters had overflowed its banks and were raging. The roar of its rushing water resounded against the sky.
But the 40 years in the wilderness were ended and, at God’s command, Joshua told the priests to lead that host of millions through the Jordan River and get ready to possess the land of Canaan.
They were to step right into the roaring water and trust God to protect His people. Suppose those priests had pressed for a committee meeting to discuss the radical command to march the entire encampment into an apparent death trap. The people were already unnerved at the water’s swirling roar. Any hesitation on the part of the priests could have caused the people to panic and refuse to go forward. Everything was at stake. The Canaanites were watching. Any sign of fearfulness here could have brought them charging out to attack God’s people.
When the priests came to the water’s edge, it did not part. It seemed suicidal to step into those dangerous flood waters. But the priests kept walking until they splashed right into the water (Joshua 3:15). Then the waters at once stopped flowing, and the entire encampment went across into Canaan on dry ground.
Are you standing by Jordan’s storming waters today? There are 1,000 reasons why it seems folly for you to make a decision to go forward. It signifies a complete yielding of the entire life and a willingness to move forward in obedience- regardless of the consequences. It’s not easy. Are you saying, “Open up the way and I’ll go forward”? But God’s plan is just the opposite. He says, “You go forward and I will open up the way” (Matthew 6:33). The miracles come when we move forward by faith.
I’m just glad that somebody at the head of the line had strong faith when Moses gave the orders to go forward into the sea, and just as surely as the waters parted under their feet, so will the forbidding circumstances disappear as God’s people today move forward in obedience to Him. It is interesting to note that the next move was up to the people in the days of Moses, and the same is true for those who have departed from spiritual bondage. God cannot and will not make the decision for us, but as soon as we take the first step in obedience, He fills us with the power to overcome every obstacle.
Some might object that I am pressing too hard upon those who are lingering in the twilight zone of indecision. You may get offended by my strong urging for you to act quickly to follow Jesus. But please remember that I am addressing those who may be living their last night on earth. I do not believe it is possible to obey God too quickly, and somehow I don’t think anyone will ever chide me in heaven because I made the call to them clear, concise, and urgent. I’m very much in earnest about it because I have seen the results of waiting too long.
I could fill this book with emotional stories of those who postponed surrender until their hearts were cold and unresponsive. Further, I could give names and places where nightly attendees of the crusade meetings were taken in a moment by sudden accident or death. Time after time I have made calls for decision, not realizing that there were people in the audience listening to their last invitation to be saved.
Why So Few?
But why is it that such a comparative few respond to those calls for surrender? Why should anyone need to be begged to enter the glorious salvation of our Lord? I want to answer those questions in such a way that you will never forget it. Even Jesus confirmed that only a few would be willing to follow the narrow road to heaven. Most would choose the broad road of death where the great majority would be traveling.
Then we have that shocking statement by the Master to which we have already referred: “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37. How many were saved in those days from the global disaster? Only eight had the faith in God’s word to be shut in that monstrosity of a boat. They were the only survivors. Will there be any kind of proportionate number spared “in the days of the Son of man”? All agree that this is talking about the end of the world and the coming of Jesus.
I’ve heard the statement, “Oh, if I had lived in those days, I would have gone into the ark with faithful Noah.” How easy it is to say what we would have done under certain conditions of the past. Others have talked about the noble martyrs who died for their faith during the Dark Ages and have stated with great assurance that they would have gladly laid down their lives for the truth’s sake also.
Now it may be true that some would have died for their faith, but few have any conception of what it meant to stand for Christ during those terrible days. Those brave men and women who were burned at the stake, thrown to the wild animals, or tortured in medieval dungeons could have saved their lives by a simple motion of the hand. In most cases they were offered amnesty and immediate freedom if they signaled their willingness to renounce their faith. So the choice was very clear as they watched the dry faggots being heaped around them. They could suffocate in the midst of the punishing smoke and flame or else walk back into the comfort of home and family. Untold millions chose the heroic but horrible living death rather than deny their Saviour.
How many Christians of your acquaintance have that kind of self-sacrificing faith and love? Which ones would have followed the martyrs to the stake or the arena? Some might, had they lived in those days. But of one thing we can be certain: Only those who would rather die right now than to break God’s holy law would have proved loyal to Him during those years of severe persecution.
Unfortunately, we live in an easy, permissive age where self-denial is decidedly out of fashion. Truth has become very negotiable in the relaxed ecumenical climate of contemporary religion. Pluralism has become so acceptable that membership applicants are given a wide range of what they may believe or not believe. Very few, if any, issues of doctrine are considered important enough to even contend for, much less die for. There are notable exceptions, of course, but these are often found outside the comfortable contours of the so-called Christian West.
The Man Who Gave All
For example, every time I listen to people make excuses for not going all the way with Jesus, I think of Saddiq. It was on December 25, 1955, that I responded to the furious pounding on my door in Lahore, Pakistan. A typically dressed Moslem villager rushed past me into the house, crying out: “Baptize me quickly! Baptize me now!” After calming down somewhat, the man began to pour forth an amazing story. His name was Saddiq and he lived in the tribal areas of the Khyber Pass near the Afghan border where there was little or no government control. Moslem law was invested in each man who possessed a knife, an ax, or a gun.
Saddiq had a good job and a wonderful family, and he was also a faithful Moslem who prayed five times a day toward Mecca. But recently he had started listening to an evangelist friend of mine who was holding a tent meeting in the area. Every evening on the way home from work Saddiq would stand outside in the shadows absorbing the thrilling truths of the gospel. He dared not go inside for fear of being killed as an infidel, and when the altar calls were made, Saddiq could only commit himself in his heart to follow Jesus.
Later, he confided to his wife that he was going to become a Christian. The following day he returned from work to find his house empty. His father-in-law had taken everything and everyone from the home. He was never to see his wife and children again. A few days later, he was fired from his job, as relatives intervened against him. Then, he was waylaid by members of his own family and beaten almost to death. Fleeing for his life, Saddiq had come to the teeming city of Lahore and sought out someone who could help him finish the journey from Islam to Christianity. I was happy to oblige. We filled the baptistry and buried that courageous man with his Lord on that Christmas afternoon.
I saw the scars on Saddiq’s body as he came up out of the water – marks of devotion and sacrifice that he will carry for the rest of his life. He will also be a refugee and fugitive from the wrath of his own relatives for as long as he lives. Anyone who finds him will count it a duty to kill him.
I think often of Saddiq when I’m holding an evangelistic series, and most of the audience have been convicted by the same truths that my brother Saddiq learned outside the tent so long ago. But all do not respond in the same way he did. None of them face the lifelong loss of children, the constant threat of death, or the extreme physical persecution that will follow Saddiq the rest of his days on earth. A few, though, are being tested by the possible loss of a few dollars and perhaps even a few friends. They hold back and complain of the hardship and sacrifice involved in making the decision for baptism. The truth is that we don’t know what real self-denial and sacrifice are. Unless we are ready to give our lives for the truth’s sake, we are not worthy of the kingdom of heaven.
Sometimes we hear fervent saints declare, “If I had lived in the days of Jesus, I would have been one of His followers.” But do we know what was involved in such an open alignment with Jesus of Nazareth? Regardless of their status, people were cast out of the synagogue immediately. This meant they were boycotted in their business, disinherited from their families, and considered to be dead by all their friends. Would some indeed have made that choice if they had lived in Palestine 2,000 years ago? Yes, but only the ones who would rather die than sin in their current situation would have stepped out to follow the lowly Nazarene then.
And would it be the same for the days of Noah? We’ve already learned that only eight were willing to risk the censure and ridicule of being a member of Noah’s boat church. How many modern saints would have dared take a public stand for the outrageous project of building a huge ship on the side of a dry hill? Probably no other religious group in world history has endured more negative publicity than Noah and his family.
Noah’s Last Sermon
It has always been fascinating to me that Noah probably hired helpers to construct the ark, and they perished later on because they rejected the very means of salvation in which they invested much of their lives. And these were the people who had the greatest reason for believing that a flood was coming. Day after day they listened to the earnest message of the old patriarch as he pleaded with relatives and friends to avail themselves of this way of escape. The Bible calls Noah “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) which indicates that he might have spent more time calling for decisions than driving nails into the ark.
How can we explain the amazing resistance to the powerful, Spirit-filled appeals of Noah and his sons? It seems almost a classic example of majority influence. The dread of being different has driven many sincere people to reject, out of hand, the appeal of conscience and sound judgment. It happened in Noah’s day, and it still happens today. Prejudice and emotion, once aroused, has a greater influence on decision than all the logical truth in the world. None of the antediluvians could deny the persuasive evidence of those animals marching two by two and seven by seven into the completed ark, but the jeering multitude reminded them of the cost of non- conformity. They dared not be different and show any support for the unpopular little group of religious standouts.
I’ve tried to imagine the dynamics of that last appeal Noah made to the crowd of curious onlookers. The sounds of construction have ceased, and the tools have been put out of sight. The animals are all safely on board, and Noah’s family has finished transferring all their possessions into the massive windowless vessel. Of all the sermons which have ever been preached in the history of man, this is the one I would have preferred to hear. The drama of this moment was captured by our Lord Jesus when He said, “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Another last call – another final sermon, if you please – will be given to the doomed inhabitants of this equally wicked age. This time the destruction will not be by water but by fire. Yet, there is a terrible parallel between the urgent message of Noah and that of the faithful ones who will give the loud warning cry that the world is about to be destroyed again.
Jesus described the indifference with which that message will be received. “They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:27. What a commentary on the paralyzing effect of sin! People continue, business as usual, while the last moments of probation slip away.
Has any other preacher operated under the emotional stress that constrained Noah that day? He was fully aware that in a few moments the door behind him would close forever on any hope of salvation for the human race. Only the words of this final sermon could make a difference for any living soul. The Scriptures indicate that Christ by the Holy Spirit was preaching through Noah to the spirits of those sin-bound people (1 Peter 3:18-20).
I’m sure there were tears in Noah’s voice and on his cheeks as he pleaded with them to join him in the ark. Many in the audience were lifelong neighbors, and perhaps Noah even called them by name as he pressed his appeal for decision. A solemn conviction held the crowd motion-less as the old man paused to wipe his eyes. Then, there was a restless stirring as some began to edge forward as though they would join the little group, but they were instantly drawn back by the hands of relatives or friends.
I cannot enter fully into Noah’s feelings as he turned to join his family in the ark for the last time, but I have a strong kinship with him in that lonely last call he extended to the crowd. I’ve felt it every time I close a crusade and give the final invitation. I always personally know individuals in that audience who are fighting the Spirit of God. They believe the truth, tremble with conviction, and are almost persuaded to come forward. That’s the way it must have been with Noah as he turned to beseech just one more time. But finally he had to bring the meeting to a close and walk, weeping, through the open door. And suddenly that door began to move on its hinges, and within seconds it had swung shut with a solid thud.
There were nervous cries from some as the door closed, and then, a babble of excited conversation. “My, have you ever heard anything like that in your life?” one voice came out above the others. “Do you think he really could be correct about a flood?” asked another. But, then, there was sharp dissent, and some were pointing to the cloudless sky to loudly affirm what had been heard repeatedly since the ark project began, “It never has rained, and these people are wild fanatics to believe such foolishness.”
For two or three days apprehension continued to grip the community, especially as they passed the tightly closed ark each morning on their way to work. But by mid-week it seemed obvious to all that Noah’s prediction had been totally wrong, and even those who had been stirred deeply with conviction were embarrassed by their former concern. To cover their chagrin, some of them began to make mocking comments to anyone who would listen. By the seventh day not one sympathetic sentiment was to be found favoring the cloistered family.
And then it happened! Clouds seemed to appear out of nowhere, and drops of rain began to spatter against the hungry earth. Screams and cries rent the air as men, women, and children fled toward any shelter available. But then the water was pouring in torrents from the heavens, and out of huge cavernous cracks in the ground. Those who were able to struggle to higher levels were quickly overwhelmed and dragged to their deaths, while the great cypress ark floated gently and safely on the rising waves.
“As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man.” A few faithful ones, counted as fools and fanatics, but courageous enough to follow unpopular truth and proclaim a special warning that the end is near, will be saved. Have you heard it? Do you grasp the lesson our Lord was teaching in the Noah sermon? “As it was … so shall it be.” No ifs or ands or buts – “So shall it be.” The last night on earth will come for everyone when the heavens split wide open, and the glorious retinue of angels provide a dazzling freeway of splendor for the King of kings and Lord of lords. It will be unexpected, and it will be too late for those who waited till the door of mercy closed.
Gambling For Time
Just as the probation of the antediluvian world ended seven days before the flood, so the probation of the planet will close seven plagues before Jesus appears. During those desolating, end-time seven last plagues, the Bible says no one can enter the temple in heaven (Revelation 15:8). There will be no intercessor for the human race. The great edict will have gone forth, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still … and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly.” Revelation 22:11,12
Millions are waiting in the vain hope that some special event will signal that they can quickly make the necessary preparation to meet the returning Lord. Like Felix, they intend to take advantage of that “more convenient season.” And while they linger, their hearts grow harder and their wills more indecisive. They lose the precious ability to judge their own need, or discern the panoramic signs of the end.
During the excavation of the ruins of Pompeii, they found the skeleton remains of a woman who was apparently running from the fiery river of lava that was pouring down the side of Mt. Vesuvius. Clutched in her bony, skeletal hands were two jeweled earrings. It was not hard to figure out exactly what had transpired in the experience of that woman. It was obvious that she had been alerted to the approaching destruction and had dashed back in the house to save the baubles in her hands. But the delay made it impossible to outrun the stream of death, and she was overtaken and buried under the lava.
Let me ask you a question. What was wrong with that woman? Where did she make her big mistake? The answer is easy. She thought she had more time than she really had. That is the same mistake that the majority of human beings are making today as the holocaust of destruction approaches. There is not an unbaptized, uncommitted individual in the world who is not making that mistake. They want to be saved and intend to do it someday, but they calculate that there is still plenty of time.
Are you one who has been postponing the day of decision, that unreserved surrender of your will? Please let me address you for a moment. There is a small chance that you may be right and that you will have another opportunity – but it is only a chance! There is another chance that you are dead wrong. You are gambling over the salvation of your soul. You are playing a deadly game of Russian roulette over eternal life. Every day that passes, the stakes go higher and higher, and your chances of winning become less and less. The cards are stacked against you. Why gamble that you will have another chance in the future? You don’t have to gamble. You have a chance right now.
The door of the ark is still open, and it’s only a step inside. Why not settle the uncertainty this very moment? Surrender your will and say Yes to the loving Saviour, who longs to give you His peace and assurance.

The Two Witnesses

16 Oct

Revelation 11


11:1-2 Two groups of people are mentioned here, “them that worship” and “the Gentiles.” The first group represents God’s true church, spiritual Israel, while the second represents a false and corrupt church that professes to worship God but is not true to him. God’s true people are “measured,” or judged, while the others are not. The Pre-advent Judgment which began in 1844 is just like the ancient Jewish Day of Atonement in that the only ones being judged are those who have confessed their sins and had them transferred to the temple. Accordingly, this judgment is to determine whether those who profess to be Christians are really Christ’s faithful people.

“The Holy City” represents God’s true church, also called Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:9), and we see in verse 7 its opposite, “the Great City,” called in Revelation 18 “Babylon, which is any system of false religion. Revelation 18:2, 10, 16, 18, 19, 21. The false church is seen to “tread” the true church “underfoot” for “forty and two months.” This refers to the same 1,260 year period of Papal domination seen in Daniel 7:25 and in Daniel 8:10, 23-25.


11:3-4 “The two witnesses,” which are said to be “two olive trees” and “two candlesticks,” represent the Old and New Testaments. The olive trees represent the power of the Holy Spirit. The candlesticks symbolize the spiritual light of the scriptures. Psalm 119:105; Zechariah 4:1-14. The two witnesses were to “prophesy…in sackcloth.” Symbolizing mourning and became dominant and eclipsed Bible truth; also the Bible was not readily available to the common people. There are several reasons for this:

1. It was only available in Hebrew, Greek and Latin;
2. It had to be copied by hand so there were few copies;
3. During religious services both scripture reading and sermons were in Latin;
4. The church’s stance was that since the common people could not understand the Bible, the clergy must interpret it for them;
5. Even after the Bible was translated into the common language of the people, the church forbade them to read it.


11:5-6 There is a penalty for misrepresenting Bible truths and teaching error, Revelation 22:18. Here the “two witnesses” are represented as bringing Some Old Testament style punishment on those who “hurt” the scriptures by their false teachings. Medieval Europe suffered terribly from wars, famines and disease that killing millions of people because of the church’s rejection of the scriptures

11:7-10 At the end of the 1,260 years when the “two witnesses” “have finished” prophesying “clothed in sackcloth” the beast comes out of the “bottomless pit” to “make war against them,” “and kill them.” The excesses and corruption of the Papal Church System and the church-supported aristocracy got so bad that their firmest supporter, France, because their worst enemy. This nation not only rejected Catholicism but God Himself; they cast out all morals and everything Christian and set up a new religion glorifying man, reason, and intellect of gods.

During “The Reign of Terror” in France, the Bible was not only openly rejected but was also forbidden and publicly burned. For “three days and a half” (symbolizing 3.5 literal years) the Bible would appear to be “dead.” For three and a half years the Revolutionaries of France did all in their power to oppose and destroy the Bible.

France embraced an atheistic philosophy/religion and became part of the “great city” of false religions. Its characteristics are symbolized by “Sodom and Egypt where also our lord was crucified.” “Sodom” is a notorious Biblical symbol for sexual perversion. Genesis 19:4-11; Jude 7. “Egypt” symbolizes atheism: “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” Exodus 5:2. “Where also our Lord was crucified” represents Christ, crucified in the person of His faithful followers when they are persecuted. John 13:20; Matthew 25:40, 45. In Hebrews 6:4-6 those who once loved Christ and are guilty of willful apostasy are said to “crucify… the Son of God afresh.” France during the French Revolution embraced sexual licentiousness and atheism, rejected the Bible, and persecuted all Christians, both the true and the false together.


11:11-12 The scene here is of the “two witnesses” as they are given new “life” and exalted in the sight of their enemies. After the French Revolution, protestant Europe looked back on its extremes with disgust, and sought with fervent effort to elevate the Bible to greater prominence than ever. The British Bible society, established in 1804, and the American Bible Society, established in 1816, began distributing large numbers of Bibles. In 1804 the total number of Bibles in circulation was about four million in over fifty languages. Today there are billions of Bibles in hundreds of languages making it the world’s most widely circulated book

11:13 The French Revolution and the Empire which followed it under Napoleon Bonaparte left Europe in shambles

11:15-18 The seventh trumpet is the final judgement to come upon the earth. Christ sets up His kingdom, and rewards his faithful people. They receive a home in Heaven, a crown of life and live with Jesus forever. Satan and his angels and all who have chosen to reject the kingdom of Christ, and those who have persecuted the saints, will receive their final reward as well. God will “destroy” them in the lake of fire intended for Satan and his angels

11:19 Once again we are presented with a view of the Heavenly Sanctuary. In prior scenes we saw only the first compartment, the Holy Place. Now we move into the second section- the Most Holy Place containing the Ark of the Covenant, in which the Ten Commandments of God’s law are enshrined. The Most Holy Place in Heaven “was opened” to begin the Judgment in 1833. At the time Christ began His ministry in the Most Holy Place of heavenly Sanctuary. Daniel 9:22-25.



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