After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’ [Revelation 7:9–17.]
“Those whom the Lamb shall lead by the fountains of living waters, and from whose eyes he shall wipe away all tears, will be those now receiving the knowledge and understanding revealed in the Bible, the Word of God. . . .
“We are to copy no human being. There is no human being wise enough to be our criterion. We are to look to the man Christ Jesus, who is complete in the perfection of righteousness and holiness. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the pattern Man. His experience is the measure of the experience that we are to gain. His character is our model. Let us, then, take our minds off the perplexities and the difficulties of this life, and fix them on him, that by beholding we may be changed into his likeness. We may behold Christ to good purpose. We may safely look to him; for he is all-wise. As we look to him and think of him, he will be formed within, the hope of glory.
“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.
Scenes of the Second Advent
“For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. Deuteronomy 32:22.
“Every satanic agency is now at work with power from beneath. The day of death is not set before us in the Word as the great constraining motive impelling us to be wide awake and determined in improving our opportunities. What motive does God present in His Word to all His workers? . . . ‘The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly’ (Zephaniah 1:14). And before the coming of this last great day, we are to proclaim the last message of mercy to a fallen world, to prepare men and women for the Lord’s second coming.
“Everything that can be devised by the enemy to occupy the mind, and to divert attention from this message, will be devised. But we are to go forward in the proclamation of the Word of the Lord. The end of all things is at hand. The coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, is very near. . . .
“In the day of His coming, the last great trumpet is heard, and there is a terrible shaking of earth and heaven. The whole earth, from the loftiest mountains to the deepest mines, will hear. Everything will be penetrated by fire. The tainted atmosphere will be cleansed by fire. The fire having fulfilled its mission, the dead that have been laid away in the grave will come forth—some to the resurrection of life, to be caught up to meet their Lord in the air, and some to behold the coming of Him whom they have despised and whom they now recognize as the Judge of all the earth.
“All the righteous are untouched by the flames. They can walk through the fire, as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked in the midst of the furnace heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated. The Hebrew worthies could not be consumed, because the form of the fourth, the Son of God, was with them. So in the day of the coming of the Lord, smoke and flame will be powerless to harm the righteous. Those who are united with the Lord will escape unscathed. Earthquakes, hurricanes, flame, and flood cannot injure those who are prepared to meet their Saviour in peace. But those who rejected our Saviour, and scourged and crucified Him, will be among those who will be raised from the dead to behold His coming in the clouds of heaven, attended by the heavenly host—ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. . . .
“This scene has been presented before me as fully as I could bear to behold it. Then the scene has changed, and scenes of things existing at the present time have passed before me.—Manuscript 159, September 4, 1903, ‘A Message to Leading Physicians.’ ” The Upward Look, 261.
The requirements of salvation are perfect commandment keeping, including perfect Sabbath keeping.
“The Lord has shown me that the message of the third angel must go, and be proclaimed to the scattered children of the Lord, but it must not be hung on time. I saw that some were getting a false excitement, arising from preaching time; but the third angel’s message is stronger than time can be. I saw that this message can stand on its own foundation and needs not time to strengthen it; and that it will go in mighty power, and do its work, and will be cut short in righteousness.
“Then I was pointed to some who are in the great error of believing that it is their duty to go to Old Jerusalem, and think they have a work to do there before the Lord comes. Such a view is calculated to take the mind and interest from the present work of the Lord, under the message of the third angel; for those who think that they are yet to go to Jerusalem will have their minds there, and their means will be withheld from the cause of present truth to get themselves and others there. I saw that such a mission would accomplish no real good, that it would take a long while to make a very few of the Jews believe even in the first advent of Christ, much more to believe in His second advent. I saw that Satan had greatly deceived some in this thing and that souls all around them in this land could be helped by them and led to keep the commandments of God, but they were leaving them to perish. I also saw that Old Jerusalem never would be built up; and that Satan was doing his utmost to lead the minds of the children of the Lord into these things now, in the gathering time, to keep them from throwing their whole interest into the present work of the Lord, and to cause them to neglect the necessary preparation for the day of the Lord.” Early Writings, 75, 76.
A Divine Requirement
“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken [it].” Isaiah 58:13, 14.
“We need to understand clearly the divine requirements that God makes of His people. The law, which is the transcript of His character, no one need fail to understand. The words written by the finger of God on tables of stone so perfectly reveal His will concerning His people that none need make any mistake. The laws of His kingdom were definitely made known, to be afterward revealed to the people of all nations and tongues as the principles of His government. We would do well to study those laws recorded in Exodus 20 and in the thirty-first chapter, verses 12–18.
“When the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, and every man shall be judged according to the things written in the books, then the tables of stone, hidden by God until that day, will be presented before the world as the standard of righteousness. Then men and women will see that the prerequisite of their salvation is obedience to the perfect law of God. None will find excuse for sin. By the righteous principles of that law, men will receive their sentence of life or of death.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 225.
A World Agitated
“We are standing upon the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecies are fulfilling. Strange, eventful history is being recorded in the books of heaven. Everything in our world is in agitation. There are wars and rumors of wars. The nations are angry, and the time of the dead has come, that they should be judged. Events are changing to bring about the day of God, which hasteth greatly. Only a moment of time, as it were, yet remains. But while already nation is rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, there is not now a general engagement. As yet the four winds are held until the servants of God shall be sealed in their foreheads. Then the powers of earth will marshal their forces for the last great battle.
“Satan is busily laying his plans for the last mighty conflict, when all will take sides. After the gospel has been proclaimed in the world for nearly two thousand years, Satan still presents to men and women the same scene that he presented to Christ. In a wonderful manner he causes the kingdoms of the world in their glory to pass before them. These he promises to all who will fall down and worship him. Thus he seeks to bring men under his dominion.
“Satan is working to the utmost to make himself as God and to destroy all who oppose his power. And today the world is bowing before him. His power is received as the power of God. The prophecy of the Revelation is being fulfilled, that ‘all the world wondered after the beast.’ Revelation 13:3.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 14.
“The world is a theater; the actors, its inhabitants, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama. With the great masses of mankind there is no unity, except as men confederate to accomplish their selfish purposes. God is looking on. His purposes in regard to His rebellious subjects will be fulfilled. The world has not been given into the hands of men, though God is permitting the elements of confusion and disorder to bear sway for a season. A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama—Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are binding themselves together in secret societies. Those who are yielding to the passion for confederation are working out the plans of the enemy. The cause will be followed by the effect.
“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.
“John writes: ‘And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ Revelation 20:11, 12.
“Are we as a people asleep? Oh, if the young men and young women in our institutions who are now unready for the Lord’s appearing, unfitted to become members of the Lord’s family, could only discern the signs of the times, what a change would be seen in them! The Lord Jesus is calling for self-denying workers to follow in His footsteps, to walk and work for Him, to lift the cross, and to follow where He leads the way.
“Many are readily satisfied with offering the Lord trifling acts of service. Their Christianity is feeble. Christ gave Himself for sinners. With what anxiety for the salvation of souls we should be filled as we see human beings perishing in sin! These souls have been bought at an infinite price. The death of the Son of God on Calvary’s cross is the measure of their value.” Ibid., vol. 8, 27–29.
“My heart is filled with anguish when I think of the tame messages borne by some of our ministers, when they have a message of life and death to bear. The ministers are asleep; the lay members are asleep; and a world is perishing in sin. May God help His people to arouse and walk and work as men and women on the borders of the eternal world. Soon an awful surprise is coming upon the inhabitants of the world. Suddenly, with power and great glory, Christ will come. Then there will be no time to prepare to meet Him. Now is the time for us to give the warning message.
“We are stewards, entrusted by our absent Lord with the care of His household and His interests, which He came to this world to serve. He has returned to heaven, leaving us in charge, and He expects us to watch and wait for His appearing. Let us be faithful to our trust, lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping.” Ibid., 37.
The hundred and forty-four thousand are a special group that have overcome as Jesus overcame by the power of the Holy Spirit. They have the perfect character of Christ in holy living; their diet has been the diet of Eden; by beholding Jesus, they have come to reflect His image perfectly.
“But by beholding Jesus, talking of His love and perfection of character, we become changed into His image. By contemplating the lofty ideal He has placed before us, we shall be uplifted into a pure and holy atmosphere, even the presence of God. When we abide here, there goes forth from us a light that irradiates all who are connected with us.” The Ministry of Healing, 492.
They have walked with Jesus in this world as Enoch walked, and they have prepared their characters to go through Jacob’s trouble. They have been sealed by the seal of the Living God.
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:30–32.
The seal is a settling into the truth intellectually and spiritually so that you cannot be changed.
“Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads—it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved—just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already; the judgments of God are now upon the land, to give us warning, that we may know what is coming (Manuscript 173, 1902).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1161.
“The thirty-third chapter of Ezekiel shows that God’s government is a government of personal responsibility. Each one must stand for himself. No one can obey for his neighbor. No one is excused for neglecting his duty because of a similar neglect on the part of his neighbor (Letter 162, 1900).
“The thirty-third chapter of Ezekiel is an outline of the work that God approves. Those in positions of sacred trust, those honored of God by being appointed to stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion, are in every respect to be all that is embraced in the meaning of the word ‘watchmen.’ They are to be ever on guard against the dangers threatening the spiritual life and health and prosperity of God’s heritage.
“Upon us as ministers God has placed a burden of solemn responsibility. . . .
“God has declared to us, ‘Ye are the salt of the earth.’ The preserving influence that we may exert in the world, is bestowed upon us by the Lord. The bounties that we constantly receive from Him are to flow through hand and heart to those around us who have not yet become connected with the Fountainhead.
“When we see God dishonored, we ought not to remain quiet, but should do and say all that we can to lead others to see that the God of heaven is not to be thought of as a common man, but as the Infinite One, the One worthy of man’s highest reverence. Let us present God’s Word in its purity, and lift up the voice in warning against everything that would dishonor our heavenly Father (Manuscript 165, 1902).
Charge to Ministers
“Upon the ministers of God rests a solemn, serious charge. They will be called to a strict account for the manner in which they have discharged their responsibility. If they do not tell the people of the binding claims of God’s law, if they do not preach the Word with clearness, but confuse the minds of the people by their own interpretations, they are shepherds who feed themselves, but neglect to feed the flock. They make of none effect the law of Jehovah, and souls perish because of their unfaithfulness. The blood of these souls will be upon their heads. God will call them to account for their unfaithfulness. But this will in no wise excuse those who listened to the sophistry of men, discarding the Word of God. God’s law is a transcript of His character. And His word is not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen (Letter 162, 1900).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1164.
Elder Ron Spear served as field secretary for the Review and Herald, working at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. In the early 1980s, Ron Spear felt impressed that God was calling him to begin publishing a magazine that would feature the fundamental truths of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first issue of Our Firm Foundation came out in the fall of 1985. Many readers have said that the magazine reflects the spiritual values and content of the “old” Review and Herald. Hope International publishes many books, tracts, and study helps on doctrine, health, and current issues facing the church. Elder Spear may be contacted through Hope International by telephone at: 309-343-1844, or by e-mail at: email@example.com.