Parallels in the Time of Trouble – Part II

In part 1 we began to examine the parallels between Christ’s experience in His “time of trouble,” and the final crisis of the ages that is soon to burst upon the remnant of spiritual Israel. We concluded with a passage from the pen of inspiration that bears repeating. “It will do you good, and our ministers generally, frequently to review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life.” Gospel Workers, 1892 edition, 246. Let us now continue “point by point…vividly grasping each scene.”

The Father’s Face is Hidden

“…the agony that racked His frame, and the unutterable anguish that filled His soul at the hiding of His Father’s face—speaks to each child of humanity, declaring, It is for thee that the Son of God consents to bear this burden of guilt.…” Desire of Ages, 755. Will the Father hide His face from His people in the time of trouble? For a short period, yes. “All the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah is applicable to the people of God, and every specification of the prophecy will be fulfilled. The Lord will not [utterly] forsake His people in their time of trial. He says, ‘For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.’” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1148. Though the Lord “will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” Hebrews 13:5, it will seem that way for “a small moment.” This is when the remnant will cry “…why hast thou forsaken me?”

Mocked and Scorned

“Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said… He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” Mark 15:30-31. “A maddened throng enclose the Saviour of the world. Mocking and jeering are mingled with the coarse oaths of blasphemy. His lowly birth and humble life are commented upon by the unfeeling mob. His claim to be the Son of God is ridiculed, and the vulgar jest and insulting sneer are passed from lip to lip.” Desire of Ages, 734. Will it happen again to a group of people “claiming to be the sons of God?” When? “…there shall come in the last days scoffers….” 2 Peter 3:3. “…there should be mockers in the last time.” Jude 1:18. “The time of trouble was upon us.…the wicked were all around us mocking us and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness, they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted us with words calculated to cut deep.” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 427. “The wicked had already begun to triumph, crying out, ‘Why doesn’t your God deliver you out of our hands? Why don’t you go up and save your lives?’ But the saints heeded them not. Like Jacob, they were wrestling with God.” Early Writings, 283.

“It was difficult for the angels to endure the sight [of Christ’s scourging and humiliation]. They would have delivered Jesus, but the commanding angels forbade them…Jesus knew that angels were witnessing the scene of His humiliation.” Ibid., 170. “…pitying angels had not been permitted to minister to their beloved Commander.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 168. Will the angels be restrained again? “Soon after they had commenced their earnest cry, the angels, in sympathy, desired to go to their deliverance. But a tall, commanding angel suffered them not. He said, ‘The will of God is not yet fulfilled. They must drink of the cup. They must be baptized with the baptism.’” Early Writings, 272. “With sympathizing tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress…But they must wait a little longer.” Great Controversy, 630.

“The worlds unfallen and the heavenly angels had watched with intense interest as the conflict drew to its close. Satan and his confederacy of evil, the legions of apostasy, watched intently this great crisis in the work of redemption.” Desire of Ages, 693. “We are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. The whole universe is looking with inexpressible interest to see the closing work of the great controversy between Christ and Satan.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 526.

Hopeless Invades the Soul

The watching universe could see Satan trying to crush out every ray of hope from Christ. “Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice.” Desire of Ages, 753. “…what was to be gained by this sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeeemer.…” Desire of Ages, 687. And a similar course of action will be pursued by Satan in the time of trouble. “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. 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.” Great Controversy, 618. (See also Great Controversy, 630, Early Writings, 283, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 121.)

“For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:10-11. “Was He not perfect before?—Yes. But He was made a perfect Saviour.” Signs of the Times, May 20, 1889. So too will Christ’s brethren have perfect characters before the time of trouble, but they will not yet have been made “perfect through sufferings.” Then will His prayer be answered, “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one….” John 17:23. “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10. “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 fire; their earthliness must be consumed that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected.” Great Controversy, 621.

Let us always remember, “God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him.… ‘Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.’ Philippians 1:29. And of all the gifts that Heaven can bestow upon men, fellowship with Christ in His sufferings is the most weighty trust and the highest honor.” Conflict and Courage, 278. (See also The Desire of Ages, 224.)

Darkness Covers the Earth

As Christ hung upon the cross, “Inanimate nature expressed sympathy with its insulted and dying Author. The sun refused to look upon the awful scene. Its full, bright rays were illuminating the earth at midday, when suddenly it seemed to be blotted out. Complete darkness, like a funeral pall, enveloped the cross. ‘There was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.’ [Matthew 27:45]. There was no eclipse or other natural cause for this darkness, which was as deep as midnight without moon or stars. It was a miraculous testimony given by God that the faith of after generations might be confirmed. In that thick darkness God’s presence was hidden.” Desire of Ages, 753. So also in the time of trouble, “…darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.…” Isaiah 60:2. “…throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth.” Great Controversy, 635.

A Great Earthquake

“The Roman officers in charge were standing about the cross when Jesus cried out, ‘It is finished,’ in a voice of startling power, and then instantly died with that cry of victory upon His lips.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 169. And in the closing of the time of trouble, “…the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done.’” Revelation 16:17 (See Great Controversy, 636.)

“Suddenly the gloom lifted from the cross, and in clear, trumpetlike tones, that seemed to resound throughout creation, Jesus cried, ‘It is finished.’” Desire of Ages, 756. And when that “great voice, as of a trumpet” is heard again in the time of trouble, it will again triumphantly ring through the very heavens (See Revelation 1:10.) “For the Lord himself shall descend…with the trump of God.…” 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

“…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible…” 1 Corinthians 15:52.

“The heaving earth, the rent rocks, proclaimed that it was the Son of God who died. There was a mighty earthquake (Matthew 27:54.)” Lift Him Up, 42. “When Christ cried out while upon the cross ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), there was a mighty earthquake….” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 304. But brethren, “…He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:26. When? “In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: ‘It is done.’ Revelation 16:17. That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, ‘such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.’ Verses 17, 18.” Great Controversy, 636.

Faces Shine Like the Sun

“‘…It is finished.’ ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.’ A light encircled the cross, and the face of the Saviour shone with a glory like the sun. He then bowed His head upon His breast, and died.” Desire of Ages, 756. “I looked upon the company, who, a short time before, were in such distress and bondage. Their captivity was turned. A glorious light shone upon them. How beautiful they then looked!” Early Writings, 272. “Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God, and they shone with glory as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai.” Ibid., 286. Praise God!

Earlier in Christ’s time of trouble, the Father had caused the divinity of His Son to flash forth. “As soon then as He had said unto them, ‘I am He,’ they went backward, and fell to the ground.” John 18:6. “A divine light illuminated the Saviour’s face, and a dovelike form overshadowed Him. In the presence of this divine glory, the murderous throng could not stand for a moment. They staggered back. Priests, elders, soldiers, and even Judas, fell as dead men to the ground.…prostrate and helpless at His feet.Desire of Ages, 694. And again, in the last time of trouble, God will manifest His glory through His sons who are “partakers of the divine nature,” at which time He will make the wicked “come and worship before thy feet.” 2 Peter 1:4, Revelation 3:9. “Those who were so eager to destroy the saints cannot endure the glory resting upon the delivered ones, and they fall like dead men to the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 354. “Their enemies, the heathen around them, fell like dead men; they could not endure the light that shone upon the delivered, holy ones.” Early Writings, 273. “…they would fall helpless to the ground. Then it was that the synagogue of Satan…worshiped at our feet.” Ibid., 15.

Satan’s Power Forever Broken

“…the Saviour cried out upon the cross, ‘It is finished.’ No longer had the enemy power to tempt or annoy Him.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 403. And how wonderful will be that day, as the time of trouble is closing, when “Satan and evil angels flee from the presence of the saints glorified. Their power to annoy them is gone forever.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 354.

“He knew that when He should exclaim, ‘It is finished,’ all heaven would triumph. His ear caught the distant music and the shouts of victory in the heavenly courts.” Desire of Ages, 679. So also will the Three “Angels” of Revelation 14 rejoice as Christ again proves victorious. “Soon I heard the voice of God, which shook the heavens and the earth.…I then heard a triumphant shout of victory, loud, musical, and clear.…rich, musical shouts of glory and victory were upon every immortal tongue.” Early Writings, 272, 273.

“…a shout of triumph rang through every world and through heaven itself. The great contest that had been so long in progress in this world was now decided, and Christ was conqueror.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 70. Our “great contest” (sometimes called the great controversy) has now been very “long in progress” in this world, but soon it too will be “decided.” “And when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image.” Early Writings, 286.

“But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.” Acts 3:18. How significant to us should be these words of Christ concerning the Apostle Paul: “…I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:16. And to us, He says: “…ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 10:22. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21. “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted. Hebrews 2:18. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:2-3. Until at last: “…Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. Praise the Lord!

“We tried to call up our greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that surrounded us that we could not speak them out, and we all cried out, ‘Alleluia, heaven is cheap enough!’ and we touched our glorious harps and made heaven’s arches ring.” Early Writings, 17 “Heaven will be cheap enough, if we obtain it through suffering.” Early Writings, 67. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18. Amen.