God’s servant has written about the things taking place in our cities. His Word tells us that these things will happen. “I have seen the most costly structures in buildings erected and supposed to be fireproof. And just as Sodom perished in the flames of God’s vengeance, so will these proud structures become ashes.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 418.
Even at the Door
September 11, 2001, was just the beginning [the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, NY, and on the Pentagon in Washington, DC]; this is a foretaste, a warning of what is going to take place. How will we react as a nation? This one incident brought the United States to its knees. We said it did not, but it did. We have spent the time since then trying to get a grip, and many still have not bounced back. It devastated us. What if several incidents like that were to take place in different cities at the same time? Would fear be running rampant? How would the government react? Might such events bring about the Sunday law and the time that we have been talking about for years, a time when we will not be able to travel or enjoy the freedoms that we have today? We better believe it!
Jesus tells us that there is a lesson to be learned: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors.” Matthew 24:32, 33. We see the things that are taking place in the world today; do we not know that it is near, even at the door? The world is falling apart; men in high places are working very hard, but they can hold it together for only a short period of time—until God says, “That is enough.” Are you praying for the winds of strife to be held back? (See Revelation 7:1–3.) Friend, we need to be praying, because the signs all over the land today foretell His coming. We should know that we are living in a time of fulfilling prophecy.
Buried in Rubble
How many really thought, This is the end! on 9/11? Many miracles took place that day. As we listen to some of the accounts of people who were involved in this disaster, we are amazed. There were many people who cried out to God as never before; there were many people who turned to God right then and there. They had not looked for Him before in their life, but right then they needed a Saviour; they needed Somebody, and they lifted up their voice and cried, “God, if You are there, please, I need some help.” The many stories give us goose bumps, as we hear them.
One lady, trapped, prayed to God for somebody to help her. All of a sudden she saw a little ray of light; a hand came through the rubble, and she reached up and held that hand. A man talked with her, told her his name, and consoled her. When she was finally freed, she asked to meet this firefighter, but she was told there was no such man. No firefighter was there holding her hand, but Someone was there.
Do you think God does not care? Do you think God cannot get to you when you are buried beneath the rubble of this world? When it is impossible for man to reach you, God can reach you. He can be right there—reaching down to hold your hand, to encourage you and talk with you, until someone can come to your rescue. There is story after story of how God was there for His children on 9/11. He was there to hear every prayer at a very difficult time.
I have no doubt but that He was there. I believe that the only reason the fourth plane did not hit its intended target [United Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field] is because God said, No. God can rule those airplanes. God is not afraid of terrorists. He allowed so much to happen, but when it was enough, He said, That’s it! He stopped it, but He is warning us today. He is telling us that other things will take place.
Warning to the Cities
God’s servant had some things to say about New York: “His message must be given in Greater New York. The people must be shown how it is possible for God, by a touch of His hand, to destroy the property they have gathered together against the last great day.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 310, 311. God was in such a position at that point in time to say, It is going to be destroyed; something is going to happen. All eyes are turned toward buildings and the men who built them, and all the things that are going on in the world today, and God says, Just turn back to Me. We have gathered all of this property and all of these things, but by a simple touch, they can all be gone.
“Not many years ago, a brother laboring in New York City published some very startling notices regarding the destruction of that city. I wrote immediately to the ones in charge of the work there, saying that it was not wise to publish such notices; that thus an excitement might be aroused which would result in a fanatical movement, hurting the cause of God. It is enough to present the truth of the Word of God to the people. Startling notices are detrimental to the progress of the work.
“Under date of August 9, 1903, I further wrote regarding this sensational report:—
” ‘How comes the word that I have declared that New York is to be swept away by a tidal wave? This I have never said. I have said, as I looked at the great buildings going up there, story after story, “What terrible scenes will take place when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth! Then the words of Revelation 18:1–3 will be fulfilled.” The whole of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation is a warning of what is coming on the earth. But I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only that I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power. From the light given me, I know that destruction is in the world. One word from the Lord, one touch of His mighty power, and these massive structures will fall. Scenes will take place the fearfulness of which we can not imagine.
” ‘But I have sent cautions to the brethren working in New York, saying that these flaming, terrifying notices should not be published. When my brethren go to extremes, it reacts on me, and I have to bear the reproach of being called a false prophet. . . .
” ‘The destroying angels are today executing their commission. Death will come in all places. This is why I am so anxious for our cities to be warned.’ ” Review and Herald, July 5, 1906.
Do you believe the prophet of God? Do you believe God’s Word? Absolutely! Friend, it is not finished yet, it is only the beginning. How will we endure; how will we deal with these issues when we see them come to pass? How is our faith and our love for Jesus today?
Destruction of Cities
I realize that we must work the cities. We are to go in, do our work, and then get ourselves out of there. Why? Because God’s servant said that these places are going to fall down; they are going to come to naught. The cities are going to be destroyed. One day these great buildings will be thrown to the ground by God’s power. This will certainly happen at the coming of the Lord, but Ellen White warned that some of these disasters would occur before Jesus comes. She wrote, regarding one of her visions: “On one occasion, when in New York City, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven. These buildings were warranted to be fireproof, and they were erected to glorify the owners and builders. . . .
“Men looked at the 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.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 12, 13.
On 9/11 the firemen realized how useless the fire engines were; they could not do a thing. However you associate these visions of current events, know that they are warnings that God has given us over and over.
Heed the Warnings
My question comes back as a challenge to you. I know that jobs are needed; I know that we need to support our families, but I do not know how any Bible-believing Seventh-day Adventist can decide to stay in the cities. If you stay, you can say, all you want, The Lord is going to take care of me, but friend, you may be at the bottom of the rubble pile when destruction hits your city. (Remember Lot’s family?) Because God’s servant has already told us that we need to get out, and she has told us what is going to happen. If the Lord’s servant told you, It won’t be long before the little town that you live in is going to be burned to a crisp, what would be your response? I would be saying, Get the suitcase!
How much warning do we need? Why do God’s people continue to live in these surroundings, knowing that this is just the beginning of the end. Let the government institute all the security precautions they want; they are not going to keep out the terrorists. The terrorists are living and operating right in our very midst today. They have other plans that are going to be put into action. This is simply a prelude for the devil to get his way and bring in the Sunday movement to get rid of God’s people who love Him and keep His commandments. All of these things are coming together to point a finger at God’s last day people, to rid the earth of them. The devil hates us, just as he hated Jesus, because we are a Sabbath-keeping, commandment-keeping people. This is his plan to bring in more restrictions of personal freedom by the government. After 9/11, 60–70 percent of the people who were polled said they were willing to give up a certain amount of freedom, in return for protection and security.
Have we Done Enough?
Have we not given enough already? How many of us are willing to say that we do not need to pass out literature and books anymore; we don’t need to preach our message anymore? That is right up some people’s alley, because a lot of Adventists do not want to preach the Three Angels’ Messages. They don’t want to talk about them, because it causes too many problems in the world. You better believe that God’s truth is going to cause problems in the world, when it is preached the way God wants it preached, when it is so plain and so simple that it cannot be argued against. Yes, it is going to cause an uproar. We are afraid to do it; we do not want that.
Someone once said it is good to put up signs along the highways and on marquees, but very few want to put signs in their own yard. I remember several years ago our church put a sign in the lot next to our building, and people were afraid someone would burn down the place. I said, “Let them burn it down. If God sees fit, let it burn. If He wants to keep it, He will protect it.”
God’s servant is warning us today, These buildings are coming down! “The ungodly cities of our world are to be swept away by the besom of destruction. In the calamities that are now befalling immense buildings and large portions of cities, God is showing us what will come upon the whole earth.” Counsels on Health, 268. Are you ready for it? Do you trust in God enough? Ellen White says that we are going to see trouble on every side. Is that happening? Yes, it is.
“We shall see troubles on all sides. Thousands of ships will be hurled into the depths of the sea. Navies will go down, and human lives will be sacrificed by millions. Fires will break out unexpectedly, and no human effort will be able to quench them. The palaces of earth will be swept away in the fury of the flames.
“Disasters by rail will become more and more frequent; confusion, collision, and death without a moment’s warning will occur on the great lines of travel. The end is near, probation is closing.” Messages to Young People, 89, 90.
Why are these disasters coming on the cities? Why is God saying to get out of the cities, and why will the majority of Adventists not listen? We always say that we are going to get out of the cities; how much more warning do we need? We have heard it over and over; God says to get out of the cities! When we see these things taking place, know that this is just a prelude to what is going to be happening; it is just the beginning. We must get out while we can, because He says the time will come when we cannot leave. (See Country Living, 11.) The time is coming in the United States of America when we will not be able to go from one city to another. When Martial Law is enacted, we cannot move about the country. Things are going to happen, whether or not we believe they can. God says that the cities have become the hotbed of vice. He is looking down from Heaven, and He says, That is just about enough!
Ellen White says that everywhere we look in the cities we see evil, enticements. The tide of corruption is swelling every day. Every day brings violence, robberies, suicides, murders, and crimes unnamable. Think about these things. She says that life in the cities is false and artificial. It is! It’s not real, with all the stone and concrete and with all the make believe that is going on, the intense passion for getting money, the whirlwind of excitement and pleasure. (See Country Living, 5, 6.)
I have had people tell me, “I wouldn’t live any place but the city, because there is always something going on. The best thing about New York City is that it is a city that never sleeps; everybody always has something to do. No matter when you get up or when you go to bed, something is going on.” When we were young, we always longed to stay up until 11:00 p.m. or midnight. My Dad said we never needed to stay up that late, because we would just find more things to do that we probably should not be doing. “Whatever you need to do,” he said, “you make sure you get it done before 10:00.” Strange how the most villainous things happen in the wee hours of the day.
What is our Work?
What is the answer? God tells us what to do. We must leave the cities; we must get away from them. What is our work today? Mrs. White writes: “The work of the people of God is to prepare for the events of the future, which will soon come upon them with blinding force. In the world gigantic monopolies will be formed. Men will bind themselves together in unions that will wrap them in the folds of the enemy. A few men will combine to grasp all the means to be obtained in certain lines of business. Trades unions will be formed, and those who refuse to join these unions will be marked men.” Country Living, 10. Are you seeing it? I have never before seen such gigantic corporate monopolies. God’s servant saw these things and warned us of what was to come.
Are we ready today? God promised that He would do nothing but what He would warn His people, and He is warning us that the time is near, even at the door. Notice what is taking place in the economy; notice what is taking place in the cities; notice what is taking place on every side—it all tells of the soon coming of Jesus. We need to heed His warnings! If we will return to Him, if we will be still and know that He is God, He is calling us today to come back to Him before it is too late.
We have a work to do to warn the world of what is soon to come upon them as an overwhelming surprise. (See Prophets and Kings, 626.) Sad to say, most Seventh-day Adventists will be just as surprised and caught off guard, because we have not prepared.
Do we want to be ready for Jesus to come? Are we thankful for God’s servant today? Are we thankful for the Word of God today that tells us of these events? If we are, then we are going to go out and tell our neighbors and friends. Tell them what the Word of God has to say. We will not have to be embarrassed that perhaps it won’t happen, because it is going to happen; in fact, it is happening now.
Are you ready?
Pastor Kenny Shelton is speaker for the television ministry of Behold the Lamb in Herrin, Illinois. He may be contacted by e-mail at BTLM@GTE.net or by telephone at 1-800-238-2856.