Our Days are Numbered
In the United States of America, the keepers of national security and national prosperity of the most powerful nation in the world, the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, have been attacked. We may be witnessing what could very well accelerate the shift of public trust from civil government power for security, to the church or religious power. History shows that when a nation suffers imponderable reverses and the civil government is perceived to be impotent to deal with the crisis, it turns to religion as a “city of refuge.” The same historical fact also reveals that when this happens, national religious bigotry blossoms very rapidly and persecution is not far behind.
Or it may precipitate the Third World War, if the United States resorts to “righteous” retaliation, justified, as it may seem to many. Violence breeds violence. But no military might can match or cope successfully with suicidal missions of religious convictions. When men are taught the terrible lie that death is the entrance to heaven or that a soul survives the body, what is there to stop desperate men from committing suicide as the ultimate release, or killing others as a means of gaining heaven, if the ones being destroyed are perceived as “enemies of the truth.”
Finding and punishing the perpetrators of such a history-making travesty of this magnitude hardly ever gets traced back to the real masterminds. Were the true masterminds of St. Bartholomew’s Massacre in France ever brought to justice by the world’s tribunal? It was called by historian Henry White, in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, the “. . . blackest in the black catalogue of crime, most horrible among the fiendish deeds of all the dreadful centuries . . . .” The Great Controversy, 271, 272. The king of France, then, will be blamed for “the butchery [that] continued for two months” where “seventy thousand of the very flower of the nation perished.” But who was behind it all? “The king of France, urged on by Romish priests and prelates, lent his sanction to the dreadful work. A bell, tolling at dead of night, was a signal for the slaughter. Protestants by thousands, sleeping quietly in their homes, trusting to the plighted honor of their king, were dragged forth without a warning and murdered in cold blood.” Ibid., 272. There will be scapegoats and fall guys galore, but never the ones who hatched, developed and engineered the scheme—not till the day when all the secrets of man are revealed in Heaven. All real wars, since the fall of man, have had a religious agenda in the background although not acknowledged as such by contemporary historians. Those who did acknowledge this fact were, and continue to be, discredited, not because they were inaccurate, but because they chronicled the truth. The same masterminds behind these religious wars of conquest are responsible for such misinformation campaigns as “the Reformation led by Luther was a rebellion against church authority.”
The papacy that has survived all individual popes, and the Roman Catholic Church, the “mother of harlots” (Revelation 17:5) has slowly returned to world prominence, quietly solidifying its worldwide power as prophesied in Revelation 13. All other world religions and denominations, including the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and historic Adventists as well, are splintering through internal dissension and intrigue over minor issues rendered major by spiritual myopia. Talk about the enemy from within! Sometimes we do not even need our enemies to vex us. We can discomfit each other and hand the victory to them.
“If We Lose Our Freedom, We Lose Our Nation”
A cryptic statement made by an U.S. Senator reflects the brave, yet confounded, spirits of officials at the highest echelons of government, over these well-coordinated “terrorist attacks.” It is an honest yet fearful admission of helplessness to say, “there were security lapses.” Post-war U.S. invincibility is now a myth, even as the Jews believed that Jerusalem’s walls were impregnable. Titus and his Roman horde desolated Jerusalem for at least six months in a.d. 70, literally leaving not “one stone upon another,” (Matthew 24:2) as Jesus tearfully prophesied 40 years prior.
But the “attack against freedom” to which many of our nation’s leaders referred to as “begging for retaliation against its cowardly perpetrators” was not on the incomparably more vital religious liberty issue—the ultimate freedom—but “freedom from fear of being attacked by terrorists.” Their declaration had more to do with losing temporal life and its advantages, financial wealth and stability—not freedom to worship God according to dictates of conscience as currently guaranteed by the First Amendment. It is always those things, opportunities, and the people who matter most that are taken for granted and ignored—until they are suddenly yanked away without a moment’s notice.
This is a foretaste and a forewarning of how the element of surprise has never failed. It will be the same strategy used in the final national crisis, which will also be the final and ultimate religious crisis.
“Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is the Romish Church. She can read what is to be. She bides her time, seeing that the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their acceptance of the false Sabbath, and that they are preparing to employ the very means which she herself employed in by-gone days. . . . The Christian world will learn what Romanism really is, when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. Throughout the land she is piling up her lofty and massive structures, in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. She is stealthily and unsuspectedly strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage ground, and this is soon to be given her. In the near future we shall see and shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the word of God will incur reproach and persecution.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 397.
Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis
Definitions: Thesis: create the problem. Antithesis: manufacture and propose the solution. Synthesis: control the situation. This simple formula has been used in micro scale and macro scale for generations, increasing merely in sophistication and deadly affectivity. It began in heaven as the “mystery of iniquity.” The Problem: the Son of God was in the way of Lucifer’s ambition to be greater than the Creator. The Solution: create doubt in the minds of the angels by making it appear that he was working for their interest, ultimately resulting in rebellion. The Situation: Lucifer thought he finally had control of the situation until he and one-third of the rebellious angels were cast from heaven down to earth. What he attempted to accomplish in heaven, he simply repeated with more devilish cunning in the Garden of Eden, with devastating success. Since then he has been successful in destroying untold millions through the generations by this method employed by his agents on earth, both civil and religious.
The Decline of America’s Image of Invincibility
From the worldly point of view, the twin symbols of the United States’ might and wealth—the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., nerve center of military power, and the World Trade Center in New York, symbol of economic and financial strength, have been exposed as frightfully vulnerable. All the high-flying, budget-busting “star wars” and “missile shield technology” projects of the past and present administrations suddenly look so pitifully puny and futile. But according to The Great Controversy, page 441, America’s secrets of power and prosperity as one of the world’s greatest nations, are the principles known as Protestantism and Republicanism. The true basis of America’s success and prosperity will not be appreciated by the vast majority till they lose it—in the coming days.
Freedom Attacked, Freedom Defended
One of President George W. Bush’s earliest statements following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, was, “Freedom itself was attacked . . . Freedom will be defended.” O, that the leaders of this nation knew on what true freedom is based, as did past leaders such as James Madison, Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Ulysses Grant, and others. All the current brave talk and rhetoric, in spite of inspiring human endeavors crossing political party lines and race and religious differences, to collectively deal with the crisis, will not erase one stark fact—the ultimate enemy will come from within. It will be the least suspected, for it will present itself, as it has in past generations, culminating during the Dark Ages, as Christ’s representative on earth!
All world empires, beginning with ancient Babylon, ultimately crumbled when their time was up, according to the unfailing prophetic timetable of Daniel and Revelation. They fell by Divine fiat, through a fundamental flaw from within, which the enemy recognized and used to their advantage. The last and final world-wide spiritual Babylon will fall as did its type—by forsaking God and replacing His immutable, unchangeable law of Ten Commandments with man-made laws that ultimately counterfeit the seventh-day Sabbath memorial of creation with Sunday Sabbath, and enforcing it as a law of the land. This is the final apostasy that comprises the national crisis, which leads to national destruction.
Why New York?
God’s prophet of the end was shown, in vision, the fiery destruction of fire-proof buildings in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other major cities of the United States. Here are some excerpts:
“February 15, 1904: ‘When I was last in New York, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven. These building were warranted to be fireproof, and they were erected to glorify the owners. Higher and still higher these buildings rose, and in them the most costly material was used. . . .
“‘As these lofty buildings went up, the owners rejoiced with ambitious pride that they had money to use in glorifying self. . . . Much of the money that they thus invested had been obtained through exaction, through grinding the faces of the poor. In the books of heaven, an account of every business transaction is kept. There every unjust deal, every fraudulent act, is recorded. The time is coming when in their fraud and insolence men will reach a point that the Lord will not permit them to pass, and they will learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of Jehovah.
“‘The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings, and said, “They are perfectly safe.” But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.’” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 413.
“I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power.” Ibid., 412. (See also Testimonies, vol. 9, 12, 13.)
While the foregoing testimonies refer to the time when the enactment and enforcement of the Sunday Law take place in the United States, what happened to the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York is a clear sampling of what is yet to come—a great terror, an overwhelming surprise, a blinding force! The most powerful machinery to wound and kill human beings is being prepared.
Note the following statement: “Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise. . . .“ Maranatha, 138.
“The work of the people of God is to prepare for events of the future, which will soon come upon them with blinding force.” Ibid., 182.
“The Lord is removing His restrictions from the earth, and soon there will be death and destruction, increasing crime, and cruel, evil working against the rich who have exalted themselves against the poor. Those who are without God’s protection will find no safety in any place or position. Human agents are being trained and are using their inventive power to put in operation the most powerful machinery to wound and to kill. . . .” Ibid., 137.
Troubles Will Increase
Over 100 years ago, the Spirit of Prophecy warned: “Satan delights in war; for it excites the worst passions of the soul, and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite nations to war against one another; for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.
“Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. . . . It is God that shields His creatures, and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world has shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord does just what He has declared that He would do, He withdraws His blessings from the earth, and removes His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law, and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. . . .
“Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, is Satan exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon the inhabitants of the world. The beasts of the field will groan, and the earth will languish.
“And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon the faithful few whom the Lord has sent to them with messages of warning and reproof. It will be declared that the nation is offending God by the violation of the Sunday Sabbath, that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced, and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the nation, preventing its restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity. Thus, the accusation urged of old against the servant of God will be repeated, and upon grounds equally well established.“ The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 406, 408.
Scenario of What is to Come
So what does the future hold? The following listing gives you a brief, general scenario of what lies ahead according to prophecy. These events are not listed in any suggested chronological order.
- Troubles, crimes, calamities and disasters, both domestic and worldwide, increase. (See Review and Herald, November 17, 1910; Ibid., February 26, 1914.)
- Immorality, infidelity, and spiritualism increase; anti-typical spiritual Sodom and Gomorrah and atheistic Egypt reinstated. (See Maranatha, 153; Counsels on Health, 615.)
- Economy deteriorates. (See Signs of the Times, August 24,1904; The Upward Look, 362.)
- Religious fervor picks up; mainstream preachers go on the offensive to get people to return to church and “old, traditional” values are revived. (See The Publishing Ministry, 38, 39; The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 415.)
- Political leaders, at a loss for political answers, turn to religion. (See The Publishing Ministry, 38, 39.)
- Political and religious leaders join hands in an attempt to solve problems. (See The Great Controversy, 450.)
- Spiritualistic and miraculous manifestations increase. (See Early Writings, 85; Maranatha, 156.)
- Calamities increase. (See Christian Service, 155.)
- Religious fanaticism increases; more suicidal attacks by extremists; more mass suicides; bombings and public disturbances renewed with more violent color and religious discrimination and prejudice. (See Evangelism, 610, 611.)
- Every principle of the United States’ Constitution is repudiated. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 451.)
- Mainstream churches now join together in reversing themselves on their former position of anti-nomism; they now urge the nations to keep the Ten Commandments, where the fourth commandment is Sunday, not the seventh-day Sabbath. Moribund state Sunday Laws are revived. (See The Great Controversy, 573.)
- Sunday Law passes in Congress in the United States. Other nations and governments follow suit shortly. (See The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 477, 478.)
- The Latter Rain poured out on the prepared saints—their sins are blotted out as well as the sins of all who accept the final message—this is the judgment of the living. (See The Great Controversy, 611; Review and Herald, April 21, 1891.)
- The Final Loud Cry of Revelation 18 goes forth throughout the world. Many miracles follow. (See The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 429, 430.)
- Standard after standard will be left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord’s army join the foe and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy unite with the commandment-keeping people of God. (See Testimonies, vol. 8, 41.)
- The Sunday Law will now be enforced, first, by inducements and fines. (See The Great Controversy, 607.)
- All faithful Sabbath-keepers throughout the world suffer persecution in varied forms and in different degrees. (See Early Writings, 33, 34.)
- Sunday Law now enforced by death penalty. There are many martyrs, as a witness. As a result, more people are converted. (See The Great Controversy, 615, 616.)
- The seal of God is placed upon foreheads of the faithful. (See Early Writings, 38.)
- Probation closes. (See The Great Controversy, 490.)
- Holy Spirit fully withdrawn from the earth; Jesus casts down the censer and declares, “It is done,” signaling the end of the Investigative Judgment. Four winds of strife let loose. (See Early Writings, 279, 280; The Great Controversy, 614.)
- Seven last plagues begin to fall. God finally announces, “It is done.” (Revelation 16:17.) To the living saints it is like “voice of many waters,” to the living wicked, it sounds like terrible “thunder.” (See Revelation 19:6; Last Day Events, 272.)
- This voice of God opens up the graves for the Special Resurrection of two classes of people:
- Those faithful of the Advent Movement who died in the faith of the Third Angel’s Message, keeping the Sabbath holy, and
- Those who pierced Jesus’ side at the cross and the most violent persecutors of God’s people. (See Early Writings, 285; The Great Controversy, 637.)
- The 144,000, who have lived through six of the seven last plagues under the protection of the heavenly angels, and the specially resurrected saints now hear the voice of God
- Announcing the day and hour of Jesus’ coming, and
- Delivering the everlasting covenant to them that kept the law when the world made it void. (See The Great Controversy, 640.)
- Midnight Deliverance—the final anti-type of the midnight deliverance of ancient Israel at the Passover in Egypt. The universal death decree has gone into effect. Some try to slay God’s people but their swords fall like straw. (See Early Writings, 284, 285.)
- In the east, God’s living Israel, the church triumphant, see the unmistakable sign of Jesus’ appearing—a “black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand.” (See The Great Controversy, 640.)
Message of the Hour
What we desperately need now is genuine and thorough repentance over our sins of self-righteousness (Laodiceanism) and Christ’s unity among brethren! Stop magnifying the faults of others! Never pass judgment on others based on your own personal convictions and opinions. Help one another overcome weaknesses and acquire good habits through education and example. Encourage and motivate one another to carry forward the work and message of the third angel in love, patience, longsuffering, tact, consistency, and mercy.
Remember ancient, literal Israel—the type of modern, spiritual Israel, the Seventh-day Adventist people? As God’s people, they were far from perfect, even as is modern Israel! But whenever one of them sinned, whatever sin it was, and repented, the priest did not condemn him. A divine remedy for forgiveness of sins by confession and offering of an animal sacrifice as the symbolic substitute and surety was available through the sanctuary services. After the blood was spilt and obtained, the priest interceded in the holy places for the repentant sinner. The same is true for spiritual Israel today through a much better hope, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and His all-powerful mediatorial work as our great High Priest during this anti-typical Day of Atonement! In and through Christ alone there is complete justification and perfect, progressive sanctification by living faith that works by love and purifies the soul from sin. This is the amazing, enabling, empowering, sin-destroying, saving grace of Christ!
Secrets of Unity
“The secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ. The reason for all division, discord, and difference is found in separation from Christ. Christ is the center to which all should be attracted; for the nearer we approach the center, the closer we shall come together in feeling, in sympathy, in love, growing into the character and image of Jesus. With God there is no respect of persons.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 259.
“But spiritual success comes only to those who have learned meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ.
“We should remember that the world will judge us by what we appear to be. Let those who are seeking to represent Christ be careful not to exhibit inconsistent features of character. Before we come fully to the front, let us see to it that the Holy Spirit is poured upon us from on high. When this is the case, we shall give a decided message, but it will be of a far less condemnatory character than that which some have been giving; and all who believe will be far more earnest for the salvation of our opponents.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 72.
“Every association of life calls for the exercise of self-control, forbearance, and sympathy. We differ so widely in disposition, habits, education, that our ways of looking at things vary. We judge differently. Our understanding of truth, our ideas in regard to the conduct of life, are not in all respects the same. There are no two whose experience is alike in every particular. The trials of one are not the trials of another. The duties that one finds light are to another most difficult and perplexing.
“So frail, so ignorant, so liable to misconception is human nature, that each should be careful in the estimate he places upon another. We little know the bearing of our acts upon the experience of others. What we do or say may seem to us of little moment, when, could our eyes be opened, we should see that upon it depended the most important results for good or for evil.” The Ministry of Healing, 483.
“We cannot afford to let our spirits chafe over any real or supposed wrong done to ourselves. Self is the enemy we most need to fear. No form of vice has a more baleful effect upon the character than has human passion not under control of the Holy Spirit. No other victory we can gain will be so precious as the victory gained
“We should not allow our feelings to be easily wounded. We are to live, not to guard our feelings or our reputation, but to save souls. As we become interested in the salvation of souls we cease to mind the little differences that so often arise in our association with one another. Whatever others may think of us or do to us, it need not disturb our oneness with Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit. [1 Peter 2:20 quoted.]” Ibid., 485.
The truly heart-converted Christian is known by his fruits—the very first of which is meekness, learned from the school of Christ. Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.” Matthew 11:28. Working out our own salvation by our own self-righteousness is going to wear out our life forces in a very short time. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18. He who struts around like a peacock today will be nothing but a feather duster tomorrow. Premature spiritual and physical death is the result, but Jesus came to give life, and to give it more abundantly, hence, He pleads, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29. Meekness and lowliness of heart—not appearance nor words—is the condition for the divine rest that our Gentle Shepherd promises to the rest-less, stressed-out yet proud Christian.
“Where the Spirit of God is, there is meekness, patience, gentleness, and longsuffering; there is a tenderness of soul, a mildness which savors of Christ. But these fruits are not manifested by the unconverted. The more real need there is for this class to humble themselves before God, the less sense they have of their real standing, and the more self-confidence they assume. The more they claim to be led by God, the more overbearing they are to all around them, the more incapable of receiving any reproof, the more impatient of contradiction, and the less they feel the need of counsel. Instead of being meek and gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy, love, and good fruits, they are exacting and tyrannical; instead of being swift to hear and slow to speak [or write], they are slow to hear and swift to speak.
“They are unwilling to learn of anyone. The temper is fiery and vehement. There is a set determination, a fierceness in the very looks and deportment. They speak and act as though they would take the work out of God’s hands and pass judgment themselves upon those whom they consider in the wrong.
“A true disciple of Christ will seek to imitate the Pattern. His love will lead to perfect obedience. He will study to do the will of God on earth, as it is done in heaven. He whose heart is still defiled with sin cannot be zealous of good works; and is not careful to abstain from evil, is not vigilant and watchful over his own motives and conduct, is not jealous over his unruly tongue; he is not careful to deny self and lift the cross of Christ. These poor, deceived souls fail to keep the first four precepts of the decalogue, defining the duty of man to God, neither do they keep the last six commandments, defining the duty of man to his fellow men. [See Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; John 14:15; Romans 14:10.]
“The fruits of the Spirit, ruling in the heart and controlling the life, are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, bowels of mercies, and humbleness of mind. True believers walk after the Spirit, and the Spirit of God dwells in them.—Manuscript 1, October 9, 1878, ‘Church Difficulties.’” This Day With God, 291.
[All Emphasis Supplied.]