Jesus is about to come, brothers and sisters, and things are not about to slow down; they are about to pick up. I want you to know, this is it! There is not going to be another church raised up to do what God has called this one to do. Some of the senior citizens in this church are being kept alive for the sole purpose of being able to tell the young people, the young preachers, “That is not right! Do not start conforming to the new groove.” Sometimes it becomes difficult when people start telling you, “You are old,” but your voice is needed, because hopefully, before our young adults and young people have their eyes completely gouged out, they will plead to lean on the pillars and be taught what is true Adventism.
Giving the Cry
Right now Jesus is sifting this church, and He is preparing a people to go out and give the final Loud Cry of the Fourth Angel’s Message of Revelation 18, “Come out of her, my people!!” This coming out is a physical coming out of a body of darkness. Many people are not in Babylon physically but their mind set is Babylonian. This is why God has to carefully start moving through His church to find those who really love those things that are true and honest and just and lovely and of a good report with virtue in them. He is looking for those who really appreciate the truth.
“He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. 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. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And He said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?” Ezekiel 9:1–8.
The Final Rebellion of God’s People
Here Ezekiel gives a picture of what transpires during the process of the closing of probation. This particular angel starts sealing God’s people on their forehead, and we understand that the sealing is a settling into truth; it is a process. What brings about this attitude of God where His glory, or His Spirit, leaves the church and comes up and gives this final command to the people?
It is important that we understand what brought this about so that we can really know and identify where we are today. This was brought about by a final rebellion of God’s people. The sins of God’s church had become so prevalent; the church had become so corrupt, and we are not talking about the people—God first looks at the pastors and the clergy, the leadership. In Ezekiel 8, we are told He came down, grabbed Ezekiel by a lock of his hair, lifted him up and suspended him between heaven and earth. And He said, “Look Ezekiel, I want you to see the people in My house, in My church, the way I see them. I do not want you to see them in the pews on Sabbath; I do not want you to see them so courteous; I want you to look at them when no one else is looking and see what is really taking place. Look into the hearts of the people.”
When Ezekiel looked he saw all types of filthy abominations. Ezekiel did not want to see this, because he loved the people of God. He started weeping, and God said, “No, Ezekiel, I want you to look further.” He looked further, and it got worse. God said, “No, Ezekiel, do not stop there; I want you to look even further.” Ezekiel looked further, and it got even more horrible! When he thought that it could not get any worse, the Bible says, “Ezekiel, No, I need you to take a deep look to see what my leadership is doing, to see what is really happening.” You see, we cannot put these people off on somebody else, these were Seventh-day Adventists of that day. These were God’s remnant people, the chosen vehicle to take a peculiar message to the world.
Is Your Back Turned?
“Look, Ezekiel, look at what they are doing!” All this time the glory of God was still in the church, still trying to war with the church and wrestle with them, but now it is time to make a separation. What happened to cause God to remove His glory? Notice what it says in Ezekiel 8:16, “And He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” They had started treating not only the Sabbath like a regular day, but they turned their backs on the true God and started worshiping the sun.
My question is, Do you think that our church is in a condition where they really believe God? Two years ago, the pope was not playing games when he wrote that letter calling on a national day of worship, saying that we need to restore the sacredness of the Sabbath, and he went on to call Sunday the Sabbath! The world is turning her back on God, and let me tell you something, brothers and sisters, we are relaxed; we are not crying out! That means our backs are turned, too!
When they chose to start worshiping this sun-god, Jesus said, “It is time! Go and seal my people.”
“What is the hurry?” asked the angel with the inkhorn. He said, “If you do not hurry, even the very elect will be lost!”
Sin is about to overwhelm this world like we have never seen it before, and if you are not preparing to be sealed, you are preparing to be seared.
Business as Usual is Folly
Let me tell you something—Jesus started to come! He started to come, but His coming was interrupted. As a matter of fact, it is put this way in Revelation 7—to be relaxed in a crisis situation is to be out of your mind! It is a state of unbelief that will cause you to be lost. To be able to continue business as usual and be caught up with the folly and concerns of this world, rather than trembling before the altar of God, making sure your life is right, is sure death.
There is an angel going around, and at any minute he could place a seal upon your forehead or withdraw his presence and go back to the Father and say, “All that we can do, they refuse!” Do you not know that every single day the angel is giving that solemn report? Every single day the angel is going to the throne room of God and saying, “Everything that heaven can appeal with has been used, and they refuse! They want to hang on to their infidelity. They want to hang on to their carnal security. They want to hang on to those things that must perish, and they find joy in it!”
This is where we are. Right now there are things that we find greater joy in than we do in the study of God’s Word and in the teaching of His Word. Those things are idols! Our young people are not prepared for a crisis. Mrs. White says normally the anticipation of trouble is greater than the reality, but not so here! This is not the case when it comes to what this world is about to go through. She says the most vivid presentation could not describe what we must go through as a people. (See The Great Controversy, 622.)
What are we ready for? Some of us cannot handle it if our lights are out for two days. If there is a heat wave coming through town and we have air conditioning, we still murmur and complain. With wonderful comforts in life we are complaining! We are not ready! We are not preparing our children to be ready. We are preparing to act just like the children acted when Jerusalem was besieged. Do you know what they were doing? They were eating their parents because there was no food. The parents had led them to be caught up in worldly things. Oh, they talked about God, but the child could see that it was not in their heart, and if you do not have heart religion, you are simply breathing out demonic influence.
Why do you think Jesus says, “Give me your heart,” not your mouth? Jesus says, “I want you to go and I want you to seal. I want you to set a mark upon the people that cry and sigh for the abominations that are done in the land.” They are not self-righteous; they are crying! They are agonizing in prayer! Their whole life is consumed with trying to bring people to Christ.
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and He cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:1–3.
The Words were on His Tongue
Hurt not the earth! Ellen White says she saw this in vision; Jesus was about to turn; He was about to quote Revelation 22; it was on His tongue. Remember, brothers and sisters, the Word of God does not have to be acted on. Man’s word has to be acted on. If I say I would like you to have a handkerchief which I have, I have to walk over to you and give you the handkerchief. But when God says something, it is done. He does not have to move afterward. Jesus was about to say, “Let him that is filthy be filthy still; Let him that is unjust be unjust still; Let him that is righteous be righteous still; and he that is holy be holy still.” (See Revelation 22:11.) And upon Him saying it, it would have been done immediately! And Ellen White said when He turned to do it, He caught a glimpse of some people who, if they had a few more moments, would turn to God and be saved. She said immediately He started crying, ” My Blood, My blood, My Blood, Father!” And then another angel was dispatched and that angel said “Hold! Hold! Hold the winds!” (See Early Writings, 38.)
Now, brothers and sisters, we are told by that same divine inspiration that Jesus will not extend probation again. He will not do it! When Jesus says, “He that is unjust be unjust still,” you must be ready! You must be holy when He says that. Your life must be prepared. You must look radiant because probation is closing; it is closing on this earth. Jesus is about to step out of the Most Holy Place! We are hearing final cries, and they do not seem so urgent because we have weaned the Spirit of God, and we have become so light about God and holy things that we cannot hear the way we used to hear. It does not sound as clear.
Brothers and sisters, some of the things that we are participating in do not make any sense. Some of the things we put before God make no sense at all! Yet we are finding great pleasure. The tragedy is, the thought of God does not even come to our mind while we are doing it. We can sit down and watch two hours of TV without thinking of Jesus. We are engaged in some of the grossest sins, which are breaking the heart of Jesus, and the devil wants us to keep believing that time is going to just keep on going.
Periodically the California Highway Patrol sets up road blocks. You may just be driving down the street and see that everybody on that street has stopped, and when you stop, a couple of police officers pull up; one in back of you so you cannot turn around, and one in front of you so you cannot go forward. Then they start checking your car to make sure that it is up to code. When someone tells you, “Listen, if you go down 79th Street, the road block is up,” you are going to make sure you do not go that way if your car is not right.
God tells you that thousands of years ago an angel started coming with an inkhorn. You know that in 1844 he started sealing all the cases, and right now He is sealing people who may be reading this article. Even now probation could be closing on somebody reading this magazine. Right this minute!
Beyond the Time of Preparation
Notice what the Bible says in Daniel 12— often when we read this we think of preparation. We think that we have time, we think of it as a preparation stage. Now is the time that we need to BE prepared. We are beyond the time of preparation. Time is out! Every prophetic sign that Jesus said would take place prior to His coming has already taken place. Every sign! Not one is left, brothers and sisters, except the passing of a national worship day and the falling of the seven last plagues.
The book Evangelism says, when the law comes that makes man worship on a false day, and you know what I am talking about, at that time the commandment keeping people are going to be confronted first and instantly; probation is either going to close on you or you are going to have the final sealing. At that time you cannot shape character because you become afraid and emotional. Mrs. White describes these people; she says she saw many of them running without a shelter during the time of trouble. Why were they running? Because they believed they were all right with God. Why were they fleeing? Because they thought that last minute confession could change their character, but it would not change it.
God knew that the only reason why they were praying was because they knew that trouble was coming. Like Judas of old, who cast the coins down and confessed because he was afraid of his judgment not of what he had done. Here we are living in a time when we think we can get prepared. No! It is right now! Everyone should be prepared right this minute! Do you think you are ready for it?
An Overwhelming Surprise!
Mrs. White states that the church is not ready for what is to soon overtake us as an overwhelming surprise. An overwhelming surprise! That means you are not going to be ready. It is going to shock you. God is crying throughout the earth, “Get ready! Get ready! Get ready!” and you are worried about who is going to win some foolish NBA championship. God is not in that. God is not in it even when it is not on the Sabbath. The Spirit of Prophecy says that Satan invented sports to keep God’s people’s minds off of the Word. (See Review and Herald, June 13, 1907.)
Do you think that there is ever a time to lend your mind to an invention of Satan? I know, for some of you, that I just tore your god out of your heart. Let me tell you something; you are going to have to face it, because now, every time you watch sports, these thoughts are going to come to your mind, and the minute they stop is when God’s angel reports and says, “Nothing we do is going to arouse him.”
God has to get the earthliness out of us, brothers and sisters. That whole spirit of competition came from heaven,— Satan competing against Jesus. And he tells you, “Oh, good sportsmanship. It is okay to lose as long as you have a good attitude.” If you lose in this game of life, you pay with your soul and your attitude will not be good!
When it is Too Late
It is time for God’s remnant church to start looking different, talking different, and to have a different flavor about their whole lifestyle. Why? Because the Loud Cry must come from you! Yes, millions of people who love God are not Seventh-day Adventists. As a matter of fact, our prophet says the majority of God’s true people are not in the Seventh-day Adventist church. The majority! She says millions of Catholics are true, devout Christians, and they are going to hear the final cry and follow God with all their hearts. But the cry is going to come from those few who are sealed, and when that law is passed, brothers and sisters, the Latter Rain has already fallen because it is the message of righteousness by faith, a true indwelling of Christ that causes you to have the full power of the Holy Spirit and to radiate this message.
Millions are going to come out of those churches. They are going to stand on the side of the people of God, and then probation is going to close worldwide. When it closes worldwide, “…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. [Or written to life.]” Daniel 12:1. In other words, when Michael stands up, that is it. The deliverance at that level is not deliverance out of sin, the deliverance at that level is deliverance off this earth.
That time of trouble—when the plagues start falling on this earth and eyes start coming out of their sockets because of the radiant heat of the sun; when blood is everywhere and there is no water to drink; millions are dying of scorching boils, blisters and thirst—men start cursing God. They curse God because the Holy Spirit has withdrawn Himself, and they are incapable of praising God now. You see, when Jesus stands up, that is a symbol of the close of probation.
Let me give you an example. Acts 7 was a symbol of the close of probation. One of the things that happens when someone is in negotiation is that they sit down at the table together, and Jesus is sitting down at the table right now, He is negotiating on your behalf. Satan is the prosecuting attorney, and he is desperately accusing, calling every sin, even sins you do not realize, to account. We start living carelessly, and we are sinning without even thinking about it, but Satan is taking strict account. If you think a video recorder can reproduce what we do, what do you think the devil, with his skills and powers, can do?
Satan has pled his case, and now Jesus gets to the point. He pleads His case and now He stands up. The negotiation is over. That is it. He has done all He can do; that is it. You who are unjust, you stay that way. You filthy? Stay filthy; you righteous, stay righteous; you holy, you stay that way. That could happen at any moment to any one of us, as well as to the whole world. When Michael stands up, probation closes!