Lessons From the Book of Amos – Part VIII

This article concludes our study of the Book of Amos. Amos was a prophet who had a burden to present and to make clear God’s cause and solution. The last chapter of any book usually consists of a conclusion, and that certainly is the case with the writings of Amos.

Amos is a difficult book to read. It was conceivably more difficult for Amos when he first gave his message to the Northern kingdom of Israel. Practically the whole book is composed of judgments—judgments that were to fall upon Israel as well as the sinful, surrounding nations and upon Judah, the Southern kingdom.

God Always Gives Hope

In the opening verses of Amos 9, we see that God is detailing the fact that no one is going to escape the judgments that are going to fall upon this people. One thing is certain, as I have read the words of Inspiration, and that is that God, even though He of necessity deals with people in a very severe way at times, never leaves them hopeless. He has to punish; He has to deal with sin, but through it all, there is hope. There is a light shining that says, “This can all change.” Where He pronounces woe, He pronounces mercy. Where He wounds, He heals. Where He pronounces judgment, He provides a way of escape.

This is what we find as we come to the close of the Book of Amos. Even though it begins with, and the majority of the book deals with, problems and trials and judgments and difficulties, God says, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel for you.”

This tells us something. It tells us, first of all, about the mercy of God. He is not only a God of judgment, but He is a God of mercy as well. He has to deal with all the issues, however, and that may take up more space than the solution does. There are nine chapters in the Book of Amos and eight and a half of those chapters deal with judgment! Just a final little portion deals with His mercy. But the book does end in hope—hope in spite of the doom that has been pronounced upon those who have departed from God.

Destruction is Coming

“I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered. Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.” Amos 9:1–4.

If the Old Testament were printed like the New Testament, with the words of Divinity written in red, these verses would be written in red. As a matter of fact, every verse in this chapter would be written in red, except for two, indicating that God was speaking. Amos states that he saw the Lord standing on the altar and then records the words that come forth from that place. It is there where those words would begin to be written in red.

The altar that is referred to is not a lone altar but the whole of the sanctuary that was located in Bethel, where Amos was conducting his ministry. The people who went to this altar to worship thought that everything was just fine, that all was well between God and themselves. They did not realize that they were on the very verge of destruction.

The Lord standing with the altar under His feet signifies that everything in this world is in subjection to Him. This is something that we must realize also—everything in this world is subject to God. It may not seem that way right now, but it is so nonetheless. God has control over it all. But then, God gives the command that destruction is to take place.

If we reflect on other Old Testament history, we find stories of destroying angels that God dispatched to do a work of destruction. Here is one of those instances. There are those who believe that God does not destroy and that, ultimately, those who have died through the centuries will, through some universal act, all be purified and end up in the kingdom of heaven—including the devil and his angels. That is heresy! If there is anything that can be observed as we read Scripture, it is that God is sovereign over all; God judges all things; He judges righteously, and when righteous judgment is finished, destruction takes place.


This being the case, I want to take you on a little trip, back to what took place in Jerusalem in 70 a.d. The Jews of that time had not learned the lessons of history. They had been given the messages of the prophets, such as Amos. They knew what was required of them, but they changed the messages in such a way that they became smooth messages. As a result, the Jews paid a price for their disobedience. Their temple was destroyed, because they failed to learn from the past. There is a lesson in this for us as well.

Do we have a temple? Yes, we do. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.” 1 Corinthians 3:17. We see these lessons come down through all the various eras of history to us, and we must learn from them. The Lord standing on the altar says, “Let everything shake itself down and fall on the heads of those who are seeking shelter there.” When the shaking begins, there will be no one who will escape. There will not be any place to hide where the Lord will not find them.

Where does the shaking begin? It begins in the house of God. God makes statements somewhat similar to what we have heard in recent newscasts concerning terrorists: You can run, but you cannot hide. That is what the Lord pronounces in Amos: “Mark it down. I will find you, and you will forfeit your lives.”

If the Jews of Jesus’ time would have read this material and understood it as it was to be understood, they would never have suffered the fate that they did. This is not recorded as just a history lesson for us, although there is history in it. These words have been inscribed so that we can make a spiritual application into our own lives from the events that have transpired in history. Ellen White wrote that “the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 338.

Lessons of Amos

We as Seventh-day Adventists have altogether too small of a view of what God plans to do in the end of time. There are some definite lessons for us, so I want to look at the whole picture that God has presented and that is being taught in Amos.

The nation of Israel is presented. We see that of this whole nation—all twelve tribes—the largest portion of the people abandoned the Lord and left His cause, never to be recovered again. The kingdom of Judah was left after this major apostasy of Israel took place. You would think that the ten tribes of the Northern kingdom would have served as an example to the two tribes of the Southern kingdom, but Judah did not learn, and as a result, they went into captivity. God wanted to redeem and preserve them, but most of them went into captivity in Babylon. Only a few who were vinedressers were left in Palestine. (See Jeremiah 52:12.) Only a small remnant of those taken came back to the Holy Land. We learn that of those who returned, the vast majority rejected the Messiah when He came. So this leaves, of the original number, a very, very small remnant. The whole scenario is repeated again with the Christian church!

The majority of the Christian church went into apostasy, but a smaller number of faithful few continued to maintain the faith. The Reformation breaks, the truth seems to be on track again, but then there is a turning back, and they begin to follow in mother’s footsteps and become harlots, just like her.

Out of the remnant is called those who would be faithful to the preaching of the Three Angels’ Messages. Yet, just like Judah of old, the majority of those who are called turn their backs and decide that the message given by God is no longer that important. That is why the servant of the Lord tells us that in the last days the majority of those who make up the church are going to go out of it. Is there a precedent? Is there history on which to base that conclusion? Absolutely! Over and over and over again, history has repeated itself.

Why is this happening? It is happening because the people have continued following the same thinking pattern as the Jews of old. No intervention has taken place in their lives. They have not experienced a dynamic conversion.

One thing we see as we study the last chapter of Amos is that there will be a remnant that will be saved. Ellen White says that it is a very small number. (See Testimonies, vol. 2, 445.)

So, here is God on the altar. He gives the command to destroy every vestige of worship that is conducted there; it is no longer acceptable. As a matter of fact, God says that it is an absolute stench in His nose. The words are, “Destroy it all. Search out those who are involved in Israel and destroy them also. Bring the pillars and the mantles down on their heads.”

As an interlude, Amos responds with an “Amen” to that which God declares. “And the Lord God of hosts [is] he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as [by] the flood of Egypt. [It is] he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord [is] his name.” Amos 9:5, 6. This is like saying, “Amen, amen,” to what is going to take place.

Blood Thicker than Water

The pace changes in verse 7. God asks a question: “[Are ye] not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the Lord.” What does He mean by this? Well, what is happening is a comparison between the heathen and those who are called His family. The Lord makes the point that, as far as He is concerned, there is no difference between those who compose the heathen nations and His own children. It is not, in the least, a racial issue or a racial distinction that is being made here. It is a spiritual distinction.

The children of Israel, as you know, were called and held by God in a special position. They had a rank, which was head and shoulders above all the other nations around the world. They were a special people. They were a “called” people. They were a people with distinction. But when they forfeited that distinction, God changed in how He viewed them. They then became as nobodies, as far as God was concerned. They had no status whatsoever. God used the Ethiopians because of their proximity to Israel, but the Ethiopians had no standing as far as a people whom God recognized. They were classified as heathen people. God says that those who were called at one point in time were no better than those who were not called, because they had forfeited their calling. They forfeited their calling because of their practices as His people. They had fallen out of favor with God, and now they were nobodies.

I do not quite understand how it can be that God calls His people and, should they forfeit their calling, says, “You are no longer My family. I do not want you anymore. I do not know you anymore. You are a nobody to Me.” God says, “My ways are not your ways, neither are your ways My ways.” As I thought about what transpired here, in light of that Scripture, the thought came to me, “We do not do that as family.” Many times our family members will fall out of favor with one another, but blood is thicker than water. Right? But with God, it is viewed differently.

We are all members of His family, if we stay within His family. If we choose to go a way different from God by going out on our own, He says, “You are no longer My family.” We, as human beings, cannot quite grasp this, because we have close blood ties to family. We have a tendency to view God in a different way and think, “I am really better than God, because I would not disown my own family.” But the reality of the whole thing is that God says, “You depart from My way and it is all over.”

When we are in Christ, we are somebody. When we are not in Christ, we are nobody. This is why the Lord tells us that there are “Many that will come to Me in that day, saying, Lord, Lord, I know You. Have not I preached in Your name? Have not I done many wonderful works in Your name?” And how does the Lord respond? He says, “You are a nobody. I do not even know you. Depart from Me.” (Matthew 7:21–23.)

Amos reminds the people who God is. In Amos 9:6, it says, “The Lord [is] his name.” His name, Jehovah, Yahweh—however you want to pronounce it, He is the Almighty God. He is the all-powerful One Who is able to save you, Who has gone to every possible length to save you. But if you depart from Him, He does not know you. That is the point Amos is trying to get the people to understand.

“[Are] ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the Lord. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? Behold, the eyes of the Lord God [are] upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as [corn] is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.” Verses 7–10.

The Way God Is

In the first eight chapters of Amos, 131 verses are filled with woe, judgment, and destruction. It does not seem that God has any desire or compassion to bring about some kind of recovery. This is why I have stated that Amos is a difficult book to read and to study, because most of it is filled with woe and destruction. But God desires to get a message across.

Is this really the way God is? Better mark it down. This is the way God is. He will go to every possible length to bring about an understanding of our condition so there will be a change of heart for our redemption.

The last five verses of the last chapter of Amos have real lessons for us. They hold out to the sinner the hope of recovery. Even though we may have gone far from the path He would have us take, God holds out His hands and He makes an appeal. He says, “Come unto Me, please. Do not let the day come when I have to say, ‘Depart from Me, I never knew you.’ ”

This is the heart of the messages of the prophets who have seen in vision the plain plan of God. It can only be for a time—the pain and the discouragement and the anguish—and then a great determination should come to God’s people to challenge for the kingdom. What we see taking place in the lives of those who have been called to be a covenant-keeping people has caused some to write them off altogether. If this is done, it is not the revealed will of God. God is saying, “The day is going to come when revival and reformation are going to take place. The day is going to come when My Holy Spirit is going to be poured out on all flesh. Some, it will soften and subdue. Others, it will harden and cause them to be blown away.”

In and through it all is a call for us to have greater and more determination, as well as diligence. It is a call to see us through to the end. And this is what God revealed to Amos. This is what God revealed through the New Testament prophets; this is what God revealed through Ellen White to us today. The vision that these prophets of God had, we need to understand and apply to our own lives. If we do not, we are going to be lost.

Amos has been asleep for a long, long time, but his words live on. Others have fallen asleep also, but they have left us with words of hope and encouragement. Ellen White and our church pioneers have gone to their rest, but we have volumes of material of instruction. It is all because of God’s great mercy and longsuffering that we have these materials today. I pray that all the writings, all the paper, all the ink, have not been expended in vain. May the messages that have been penned find the right place in our hearts and help us to see ourselves as we are. May we fall upon the Rock and plead for forgiveness. May we plead for the blood of Jesus to be sprinkled upon our records so when our names come forth in the judgment time, we will be as kernels of wheat which remain in the sieve and do not fall to the ground. May God help us to be able to see beyond the things of this world to the clear picture of eternity that is presented in the writings of the prophets. By His grace, may we be determined to have a place with the redeemed of all ages who will be able to stand beneath the tree and cast their crowns at the feet of the Saviour and say, “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb who has made salvation possible for us.”

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. He may be contacted by e-mail at: mikebaugher@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Bible Study Guides – The Impending Judgment

May 3, 2009 – May 9, 2009

Key Text

“Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.” Jeremiah 26:13.

Study Help: Our High Calling, 349; The Review and Herald, March 22, 1887.


“God does not send judgments upon His people without first warning them to repent. He uses every means to bring them back to obedience and does not visit their iniquity with judgments until He has given them ample opportunity to repent.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 179.

1 What calamity was predicted to come upon Judah? Jeremiah 4:5–8. What nation was identified as being the lion of verse 7? Jeremiah 50:43, 44.

Note: “All unexpectedly a new world power, the Babylonian Empire, was rising to the eastward and swiftly overshadowing all other nations.

“Within a few short years the king of Babylon was to be used as the instrument of God’s wrath upon impenitent Judah. Again and again Jerusalem was to be invested and entered by the besieging armies of Nebuchadnezzar.” Prophets and Kings, 422.

2 What prophecy, applicable to the time of the end, was given to Isaiah, Joel, and Jeremiah? Isaiah 24:1–8; Joel 1:15–18; Jeremiah 4:19, 20, 23–27.

Note: “That the expression ‘bottomless pit’ represents the earth in a state of confusion and darkness is evident from other scriptures. Concerning the condition of the earth ‘in the beginning,’ the Bible record says that it ‘was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.’ … Genesis 1:2. Prophecy teaches that it will be brought back, partially at least, to this condition.” The Great Controversy, 658, 659.

“In visions of the great judgment day the inspired messengers of Jehovah were given glimpses of the consternation of those unprepared to meet their Lord in peace. …

“ ‘I am pained at my very heart,’ Jeremiah exclaims as he beholds the desolations wrought during the closing scenes of earth’s history.” Prophets and Kings, 726, 727.

3 What promise is given to the faithful people of God living in the time of universal calamity? Jeremiah 30:5–7; Isaiah 26:20, 21.

Note: “The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress described by the prophet as the time of Jacob’s trouble. …

“Jacob’s night of anguish, when he wrestled in prayer for deliverance from the hand of Esau (Genesis 32:24–30), represents the experience of God’s people in the time of trouble.” The Great Controversy, 616.

4 What must we do to be among those who will be saved from destruction? Isaiah 55:6, 7.

Note: “Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. … Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.

“It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. God’s providence is the school in which we are to learn the meekness and lowliness of Jesus. The Lord is ever setting before us, not the way we would choose, which seems easier and pleasanter to us, but the true aims of life. It rests with us to co-operate with the agencies which Heaven employs in the work of conforming our characters to the divine model. None can neglect or defer this work but at the most fearful peril to their souls.” The Great Controversy, 623.

5 Why were the appeals of God through Jeremiah unable to save the people of Judah? Jeremiah 5:3, 23; 6:16, 17.

Note: “Israel’s experience from the days of the Exodus was briefly reviewed. God’s covenant with them had been, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.’ Shamelessly and repeatedly had this covenant been broken. The chosen nation had ‘walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.’ Jeremiah 7:23, 24.

“ ‘Why,’ the Lord inquired, ‘is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding?’ Jeremiah 8:5. In the language of the prophet it was because they had obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God and had refused to be corrected.” Prophets and Kings, 414.

6 Summarize the description of the predicted doom and its cause. Jeremiah 6:10–13; 15:1–4.

Note: “The time had come for deep heart searching. While Josiah had been their ruler, the people had had some ground for hope. But no longer could he intercede in their behalf, for he had fallen in battle. The sins of the nation were such that the time for intercession had all but passed by.” Prophets and Kings, 415.

7 What appeal did the Lord direct the prophet to make to the people? Jeremiah 3:22. What should this appeal cause us to consider in our day?

Note: “By the great mass of the people the call to repentance and reformation was unheeded. Since the death of good King Josiah, those who ruled the nation had been proving untrue to their trust and had been leading many astray. Jehoahaz, deposed by the interference of the king of Egypt, had been followed by Jehoiakim, an older son of Josiah. From the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign, Jeremiah had little hope of saving his beloved land from destruction and the people from captivity. Yet he was not permitted to remain silent while utter ruin threatened the kingdom.” Prophets and Kings, 412.

“The Lord has often spoken to His people in warning and reproof. He has revealed Himself in mercy, love, and kindness. He has not left His backsliding people to the will of the enemy, but has borne long with them, even during obdurate apostasy. But after appeals have been made in vain, He prepares the rod for punishment.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1132.

8 How did God make it clear that even His patience has its limits? Jeremiah 9:25; 11:14.

Note: “Jesus is about to leave the mercy seat of the heavenly sanctuary to put on garments of vengeance and pour out His wrath in judgments upon those who have not responded to the light God has given them. ‘Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.’ Instead of being softened by the patience and long forbearance that the Lord has exercised toward them, those who fear not God and love not the truth strengthen their hearts in their evil course. But there are limits even to the forbearance of God, and many are exceeding these boundaries. They have overrun the limits of grace, and therefore God must interfere and vindicate His own honor.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 207, 208.

9 What very important work must men in responsible positions perform when wrongs exist among God’s people? Titus 2:15; Matthew 18:15–17.

Note: “We are certainly living in the closing days of this earth’s history. We need to devote much time to our spiritual interests, if we would experience the spiritual growth that is essential in this age. We are to make decided reforms. The Voice said: The watchmen need to awake, and give the trumpet a certain sound. The morning cometh; and also the night. Wake up, My watchmen. Voices that should now be heard presenting the truth are silent. Souls are perishing in their sins, and ministers and physicians and teachers are asleep. Wake up the watchmen!” Pacific Union Recorder, February 20, 1908.

10 How should we respond when admonished by God’s servants? Hebrews 12:13; 13:17.

Note: “Let none who claim to be the depositaries of God’s law flatter themselves that the regard they may outwardly show toward the commandments will preserve them from the exercise of divine justice. Let none refuse to be reproved for evil, nor charge the servants of God with being too zealous in endeavoring to cleanse the camp from evil-doing. A sin-hating God calls upon those who claim to keep His law to depart from all iniquity. A neglect to repent and to render willing obedience will bring upon men and women today as serious consequences as came upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which the judgments of Jehovah can no longer be delayed. The desolation of Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah is a solemn warning to modern Israel, that the counsels and admonitions given them through chosen instrumentalities cannot be disregarded with impunity.” Prophets and Kings, 416, 417.

Additional Reading

“God stands toward His people in the relation of a father, and He has a father’s claim to our faithful service. Consider the life of Christ. Standing at the head of humanity, serving His Father, He is an example of what every son should and may be. The obedience that Christ rendered God requires from human beings today. He served His Father with love, in willingness and freedom. ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God,’ He declared; ‘yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. Christ counted no sacrifice too great, no toil too hard, in order to accomplish the work which He came to do. At the age of twelve He said, ‘Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?’ Luke 2:49. He had heard the call, and had taken up the work. ‘My meat,’ He said, ‘is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.’ John 4:34.

“Thus we are to serve God. He only serves who acts up to the highest standard of obedience. All who would be sons and daughters of God must prove themselves co-workers with God and Christ and the heavenly angels. This is the test for every soul. Of those who faithfully serve Him the Lord says, ‘They shall be Mine, … in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.’ Malachi. 3:17.

“God’s great object in the working out of His providences is to try men, to give them opportunity to develop character. Thus He proves whether they are obedient or disobedient to His commands. Good works do not purchase the love of God, but they reveal that we possess that love. If we surrender the will to God, we shall not work in order to earn God’s love. His love as a free gift will be received into the soul, and from love to Him we shall delight to obey His commandments.

“There are only two classes in the world today, and only two classes will be recognized in the judgment—those who violate God’s law and those who obey it. Christ gives the test by which to prove our loyalty or disloyalty. ‘If ye love Me,’ He says, ‘keep My commandments. … He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. … He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.’ ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.’ John 14:15–24; 15:10.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 282, 283.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Time of Trouble, Part IV – The First Four Plagues and Jacob’s Trouble

July 31, 2005 – August 6, 2005

Memory Verse

“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” Revelation 16:1.

Suggested Reading: Revelation 15:5–16:9; Patriarchs and Prophets, 195–203; Prophets and Kings, 605, 606; Early Writings, 279–282.

1 Describe the destructive power that will be exercised when the plagues begin to fall. For Old Testament type, see Exodus 11:4–6; 12:29, 30; 11 Samuel 24:14–16. How many angels carried out this work of destruction?

note: “A single angel destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians and filled the land with mourning. When David offended against God by numbering the people, one angel caused that terrible destruction by which his sin was punished. The same destructive power exercised by holy angels when God commands, will be exercised by evil angels when He permits. There are forces now ready, and only waiting the divine permission, to spread desolation everywhere.” The Great Controversy, 614.

2 What effect has the final warning had on the wicked who have risen up against it? Revelation 12:17; 13:14–17.

note: “I was pointed down to the time when the third angel’s message was closing. The power of God had rested upon His people; they had accomplished their work and were prepared for the trying hour before them. They had received the latter rain, or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and the living testimony had been revived. The last great warning had sounded everywhere, and it had stirred up and enraged the inhabitants of the earth who would not receive the message.” Early Writings, 279.

3 With whom is the devil enraged? What accusations and persecution will result? Matthew 24:9; Revelation 12:17; 14:12. For biblical examples of the similar experience of God’s people in the past, see 1 Kings 18:17; Acts 21:28; 24:6.

note: “Those who honor the law of God have been accused of bringing judgments upon the world, and they will be regarded as the cause of the fearful convulsions of nature and the strife and bloodshed among men that are filling the earth with woe. The power attending the last warning has enraged the wicked; their anger is kindled against all who have received the message, and Satan will excite to still greater intensity the spirit of hatred and persecution.” The Great Controversy, 614, 615.

4 What specific judgments are being referred to in this setting? Revelation 16:1–9.

note: “Says the revelator, in describing those terrific scourges: ‘There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image.’ The sea ‘became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.’ And ‘the rivers and fountains of waters . . . became blood.’ [Revelation 16:2–4.] . . .

“In the plague that follows, power is given to the sun ‘to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat.’ Verses 8, 9. The prophets thus describe the condition of the earth at this fearful time: ‘The land mourneth; . . . because the harvest of the field is perished. . . . All the trees of the field are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.’ [Joel 1:10–12.]” The Great Controversy, 628.

5 What time frame is specified as to when these four plagues will begin to fall? Revelation 19:1, 2; 15:1.

note: “When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out.” The Great Controversy, 627.

“An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received ‘the seal of the living God.’ Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, ‘It is done;’ and all the angelic host lay off their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement: ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’ Revelation 22:11.” Ibid., 613.

6 What specific point in time will these four plagues precede? For Old Testament prophecy, see Isaiah 26:20, 21; 51:21–23.

note: “The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God’s people.” The Great Controversy, 627, 628.

7 What would happen to this world if these four plagues were universal? For Old Testament prophecy, see Joel 1:10–12, 17–20; Amos 8:3.

note: “These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off. Yet they will be the most awful scourges that have ever been known to mortals.” The Great Controversy, 628, 629.

8 What element is now absent from these four judgments that was present in the judgments that fell before the close of probation? James 2:12, 13.

note: “The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.” The Great Controversy, 629.

9 What is God going to do for His people at this time? See Old Testament prophecy, in Isaiah 33:15, 16; 41:17.

note: “The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied.” The Great Controversy, 629.

10 What will the world and the churches not know, and what will they continue when Christ ceases His ministration in the heavenly sanctuary? Revelation 22:11. See also Luke 13:34, 35; Mark 13:32–36.

note: “When God’s presence was finally withdrawn from the Jewish nation, priests and people knew it not. Though under the control of Satan, and swayed by the most horrible and malignant passions, they still regarded themselves as the chosen of God. The ministration in the temple continued; sacrifices were offered upon its polluted altars, and daily the divine blessing was invoked upon a people guilty of the blood of God’s dear Son and seeking to slay His ministers and apostles. So when the irrevocable decision of the sanctuary has been pronounced and the destiny of the world has been forever fixed, the inhabitants of the earth will know it not. The forms of religion will be continued by a people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn; and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear the semblance of zeal for God.” The Great Controversy, 615.

11 Because of these fearful judgments and the continuing Sabbath/Sunday controversy, what do the religious and secular authorities decide needs to be done with those who refuse to comply with the Sunday law? For New Testament type, see John 11:47–50; Revelation 13:15–17.

note: “As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument eighteen hundred years ago was brought against Christ by the ‘rulers of the people.’ ‘It is expedient for us,’ said the wily Caiaphas, ‘that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.’ John 11:50. This argument will appear conclusive; and a decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death. Romanism in the Old World and apostate Protestantism in the New will pursue a similar course toward those who honor all the divine precepts.” The Great Controversy, 615, 616.

12 What condition does the death decree bring on God’s people? Jeremiah 30:5–7; Genesis 32:24–30.

note: “The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress described by the prophet as the time of Jacob’s trouble. ‘Thus saith the Lord: We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. . . . All faces are turned into paleness. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble . . . .’ Jeremiah 30:5–7.” The Great Controversy, 616.

13 What should the people of God do to prepare for the “time of Jacob’s trouble”? Romans 13:1–14.

note: “Yet he [Jacob] leaves nothing undone on his own part to atone for the wrong to his brother and to avert the threatened danger. So should the followers of Christ, as they approach the time of trouble, make every exertion to place themselves in a proper light before the people, to disarm prejudice, and to avert the danger which threatens liberty of conscience.” The Great Controversy, 616.

14 During the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” who will try the people of God to the uttermost? What will be severely tested? For Old Testament type, see Zechariah 3:1. See also 1 Peter 1:7; 5:8; Revelation 12:12.

note: “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. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations and turn from their allegiance to God.” The Great Controversy, 618, 619.

15 What will happen to anyone who has an unconfessed sin on his or her record in the “time of Jacob’s trouble”? For biblical type, see Hebrews 12:16, 17. See also Revelation 22:11, 12; 1 Timothy 5:24, 25.

note: “Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud, God would not have heard his prayer and mercifully preserved his life. So, in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance.” The Great Controversy, 620.

16 What will be required of God’s people in the “time of Jacob’s trouble”? When is the preparation for this to be done? Revelation 2:10; 11 Corinthians 6:2.

note: “The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger—a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined.” The Great Controversy, 621.

17 Who will succeed as did Jacob? Ephesians 6:10–13, 18.

note: “His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of God’s promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God—how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch.” The Great Controversy, 621.

Signs – Which Direction are You Turning?

On November 1, 1755, an earthquake struck in the Atlantic Ocean. It is commonly known as The Great Lisbon Earthquake. The total duration of the shaking lasted ten minutes, comprising three distinct jolts. A devastating fire following the earthquake destroyed a large part of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, and a very strong tsunami caused heavy destruction along the coasts of Portugal, south Spain and western Morocco. Geologists today estimate that the earthquake approached magnitude 9. The effects from the earthquake were far reaching, with shaking felt in North Africa.

May 19, 1780, stands in history as The Dark Day. Since the time of Moses, no period of darkness of equal density, extent or duration has ever been recorded. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” Joel 2:31. The moon became as red as blood on the night of the Dark Day, May 19, 1780. Milo Bostick in Stone’s History of Massachusetts says, “The moon which was at its full, had the appearance of blood.”

On November 13, 1833, the skies over the eastern United States were lit up by thousands of shooting stars every minute. This display lasted for four hours preceding dawn that day.

These phenomena were the fulfillment of the signs given before the coming of Jesus. At first, the people were afraid and gathered themselves together to pray. However, when nothing happened they soon went back to their former lifestyles.

“We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.

“The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.” Lift Him Up, 356.

Then is described the condition of the world at that time. Ellen White says, “Bold robberies are of frequent occurrence. Strikes are common. Thefts and murders are committed on every hand. Men possessed of demons are taking the lives of men, women, and little children. Men have become infatuated with vice, and every species of evil prevails.” Ibid.

“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. Higher and still higher these buildings rose, and in them the most costly material was used. Those to whom these buildings belonged were not asking themselves: ‘How can we best glorify God?’ The Lord was not in their thoughts.

“I thought: ‘Oh, that those who are thus investing their means could see their course as God sees it! They are piling up magnificent buildings, but how foolish in the sight of the Ruler of the universe is their planning and devising. They are not studying with all the powers of heart and mind how they may glorify God. They have lost sight of this, the first duty of man.’

“As these lofty buildings went up, the owners rejoiced with ambitious pride that they had money to use in gratifying self and provoking the envy of their neighbors. Much of the money that they thus invested had been obtained through exaction, through grinding down the poor. They forgot that in heaven an account of every business transaction is kept; every unjust deal, every fraudulent act, is there 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 the lofty and supposedly fire-proof 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.

The day before 9/11 when the twin towers in New York came down, there was a special documentary aired on the television explaining how the buildings had been erected and how they had withstood the 1993 bombing attempt to bring them down. They were declared to have been built from the most costly material, were fireproof and that nothing could bring them down. Some, since the attack, claim that there had been bombs put inside, and that there was an explosion because of the way the building fell. No, the prophet of God said buildings would come down. Angels touched those buildings. That was our modern day sign, a wake up call. God said, “I am coming.” If you want to know how the people reacted in November of 1755 and how they responded in 1780 and again in 1833, just remember how the people responded after 9/11. All of a sudden, sports were no longer important and churches of all different denominations filled up.

In The Review and Herald, September 10, 1901, Ellen White says, “Satan has devised a multitude of ways in which to keep men from serving God. He has invented sports and games, into which men enter with such intensity that one would suppose a crown of life was to reward the winner.” The purpose of this is to take the minds of God’s people so that they will not think of God. But now, after a tragedy, everybody agrees, no baseball games, no football games; all of the evening talk shows and laugh shows were stopped. All of sudden, people who were not interested before, were interested in talking about God.

When I first moved into my neighborhood, my neighbors invited us over for little housewarming parties and would offer me beer, which I would refuse. I told them I am a minister and they would say, Well, my pastor is cool. My pastor and I are buddies and he knows that he can come to my house and have a beer and no one is going to know. I told him I don’t drink, but you can go ahead and drink. Because I refused to join them we were known as killjoys and are no longer invited to their parties. I would see neighbors run by my house to their parties thinking I did not see them with their wine bottles and beer, etc. When they got so far, often I would call out the door and ask them how they were doing.

But after 9/11, it was different. These same people who had shunned me now wanted me to come and pray in their homes. Everybody in our area would drive by and wave. Everybody was afraid. They became solemn and serious about God. This is the same way people responded in November of 1755 when the great Lisbon earthquake struck, and also how people responded in 1780 when the sun went black and the moon turned red. It is how people responded in 1833 when all the stars were falling. These were all events beyond their control and they were scared.

In the days of Noah, when the animals boarded that ark, directed by an unseen hand, everybody was interested and intrigued. These were intelligent people, some of whom lived to be 950 years old; they were not cave men. You can only imagine what inventions there were and what your computer skills would be like with 900 years of experience. When the people saw this, everybody was frightened, just like now. But, in those next seven days after the door of the ark had been shut, when nothing else happened, they went back to business as usual. Fear will never convict a person to be loyal to God. The prophet of God says that when that angel swirled around in the sky, dropped down and got hold of that massive door of the ark and shut it, everybody was afraid. There was quiet. If the rain had started right then the people would have said, “Lord, if you would only have given me a few more days, I was going to get on board.”

Instead, God allowed that emotion to wear off. The first day, everybody was praying; the second day everybody was praying. You can just imagine Wednesday night prayer meeting—all the churches were filled just like they were after 9/11. But when nothing happened, somebody cracked a little joke and before you knew it, by Thursday, they were all laughing and saying that Noah was a wild fanatic. All of the preachers were preaching on that next Sabbath and planning on doing whatever they do after sunset Saturday.

Out of nowhere on that eighth day, dark hellish clouds came together and with combustion that man had never experienced, from the top and from the bottom. Water came from everywhere but by then it was too late for help. Then, the people wanted God and cried to Noah but the door was shut and the opportunity to be saved was passed.

Some today are trapped in regard to their siblings, children and parents who do not want to know their God. It comes to a point when each needs to ask, Who is my brother; who is my sister; who is my mother—they that do the will of my Father. When Noah entered that ark he had many family members who remained outside. The Bible said his father had more children, so there must have been sisters and brothers and maybe his mother was still alive, screaming for help when the rain started falling. Noah had to keep trusting in God—his name means rest. Salvation is an individual decision and Noah rested in his confidence in God.

“There are not many, even among educators and statesmen, who comprehend the causes that underlie the present state of society. Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 13.

Few understand the time in which we are living. Shortly after these disasters we are being told that the economy is coming back and everything is going to be good. This is not true; we are at the end of time. God did not leave us without a witness. In detail He tells us to listen. We must believe in the prophets. These testimonies were not written for one hundred years ago; they were written for our warning today.

Because nothing more happened right away after 9/11, people have become relaxed again. Now we see the economy is gone and is not coming back. Everybody is crying for the government to support them. Take care of us; take care of us; you are responsible for us! They are going to take care of us with their many schemes, but not without a cost. There is healthcare—at what cost? Save your home—at what cost?

This dear little lady prophetess is trying to tell us, through the Holy Spirit, that we should have our houses in order. There is no time to pretend that you have an experience that you don’t really have. Only you know what goes on when no one else is looking but God. Only you know how interested you really are in His Word. We need to ask God for help now for He will not cast us out, but some will not consistently ask. Are we too busy being occupied with the cares of this world to seek Him with all of our hearts? Do we leave the sanctuary after a seed of truth has dropped into our hearts and then not allow it to take root because of casual talking and neglecting to pray and praise God for what He has done for us? We should be able to go home and spend time in prayer, pleading with God for help, lest we perish. Ask Him for help and then linger to hear His voice. The prophet of God said that when she was 15 years old, she used to wait until her twin sister was asleep and then get out of bed and plead with God and agonize with Him and tell Him that she would not go to bed until He blessed her. She said that sometimes the sun would come up before she slept, but the Lord blessed her because she had prevailed in prayer. You have to search and ask God and the promise says that you will receive it. It is worth asking for.

The world in this condition cannot continue to go on indefinitely. Are you ready for Jesus to come? Have you really embraced eternal life? The Bible says that this is life eternal that you know Jesus (John 17:3). Do you really know Him? Jesus desires to have an intimate, personal relationship with you. The younger you are the easier it will be without having to fight through all of the different things you have conditioned yourself to believe. John the Baptist was a young man, preaching and doing ministry before Jesus came and commenced His ministry. When Jesus approached where he was baptizing, He said, “This is the Lamb of God” (John 1:36). God wants us to know Him, to recognize Him like John did. How angels must weep seeing so many unprepared and not interested in getting ready to go home.

Whatever the enemy of souls offers you, it is only temporary. Life in this world is so short. “Why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.” Ezekiel 18:31, 32. To those who reject the offer of eternal life God asks, Why will you die? Take a look at your life and ask, Are the pleasures of this world worth losing heaven over? The Lord says that He has no pleasure at all in your death, so why will you die?

Isaiah 5:4 says, “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” What more could God have done for you? These are pertinent questions. When the world turns their back on you and when nobody else understands, the Lord says, Come; it is going to be alright. Choose life and spend eternity with Jesus, the One who loves you and shed His innocent blood that you might live. Though you have rejected Him and spat in His face in the past, when you are ready, He says, Come. He never mentions the spit. He says, I want to give you My victory. When we walk in the flesh, we crucify Him afresh. Jesus has a personal interest in seeing you in heaven. You were created for His pleasure and for His joy. He wants to save you.

“Why will ye die, O house of Israel?” “What could have been done more to my vineyard?” Make your choice today. Make a decision right now to give your heart to the Lord. He longs to create in you a new heart right now.

“A new heart also will I give you.” Ezekiel 36:26.

Pastor Stephen Lewis is an international speaker and director of The Present Truth. This article is from a sermon he preached at Steps to Life Camp Meeting, 2009. He can be contacted at www.thepresenttruth.org.

Editorial – Watch: the Time of Reckoning is Near

“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:35–37 KJV).

“The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they shall not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture. …

“Could the curtain be rolled back, could you discern the purposes of God and the judgments that are about to fall upon a doomed world, could you see your own attitude, you would fear and tremble for your own souls and for the souls of your fellow men. Earnest prayers of heart-rending anguish would go up to heaven. You would weep between the porch and the altar, confessing your spiritual blindness and backsliding.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 408.

“When Jesus ceases to plead for man, the cases of all are forever decided. This is the time of reckoning with His servants. To those who have neglected the preparation of purity and holiness, which fits them to be waiting ones to welcome their Lord, the sun sets in gloom and darkness, and rises not again. Probation closes; Christ’s intercessions cease in heaven. This time finally comes suddenly upon all, and those who have neglected to purify their souls by obeying the truth are found sleeping. They became weary of waiting and watching … .They became indifferent and careless, as though His coming were yet in the distance. But while their interest was buried up in their worldly gains, the work closed in the heavenly sanctuary, and they were unprepared.

“If such had only known that the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary would close so soon, how differently would they have conducted themselves, how earnestly would they have watched! … Those not found waiting and watching are finally surprised in their unfaithfulness. The Master comes, and instead of their being ready to open unto Him immediately, they are locked in worldly slumber, and are lost at last.”  Testimonies, vol. 2, 191, 192.

Pen of Inspiration – Heaven’s Judgments on the Wicked

Sabbath [February 16, 1895] … Byron Belden, Sarah Belden, and Sister May Lacey accompanied me to my appointment at Prospect [New South Wales]. … Our meeting closed quite late.

As we left the house we saw a storm coming. The blackness grew deeper—so portentous that we drove with our colts as fast as we dared. When we were almost home the fury of the gale struck. Large hailstones began to fall—as large around as a hen’s egg, but not as long. The horses could not keep their footing and twice slipped down on their haunches, for the road was slippery clay. The great hailstones frightened the young horse, for they were striking her with terrible force. I said, “Byron, get out at once.” He had not considered this the best thing to do, thinking he could control the horse better where he was, in the carriage. I said, “Go to her head; talk to her. Let the horses know it is not you that are beating them.” He jumped out at this suggestion. I said, “May Lacey and Sarah, get out.” They did but they cannot tell how. The colt was about frantic. She is a strong, sound colt, but broken to the harness only a few months. But she did not kick, neither did she break into a run, but tried to get away from something terrible.

I got out next, May and Sarah helping me. Then they helped me, one on one side and one on the other. The wind was blowing with such force that hats were taken from our heads and cushions were blown from the wagon. The heavy carriage cushions, umbrellas, and heavy carriage robes were blown into the field, and were flying in every direction. But we were all out from the carriage, Byron firmly holding the young frightened horse. Had it known its power, it could have freed itself from his grasp and torn everything to pieces and killed itself.

What a scene! Sister Belden, May Lacey, and I reached the house hatless. I grasped my hat in my hand as it was blowing before me on the ground. All of us three women were in the home drenched. Byron was with the poor terror-stricken new horse. Sarah Belden caught up a shawl and ran out again in the fast-falling hail. We could not see them although they were in full sight of the house. The fast-falling rain made it impossible to discern anything distinctly. We could only lift up our hearts to God for His help.

Byron said afterwards he did not dare to stir up the horses, fearing my horse would become uncontrollable. The colt was finally led close to the paddock fence, and Sarah Belden tried to untackle the traces but could not. She then climbed over the fence and held the horse’s head over the fence while Byron unhitched the traces and let the horse free. He then led her down to the yard, taking her through the front yard grounds. Sarah Belden came into the house drenched to the skin. After the storm had spent its force, Byron again took the colt and attached her to the wagon and picked up the scattered things which had been blown about, and brought them to the house.

This is the sharpest experience I have ever had in a carriage in a storm. When the blackness deepened, with the clouds in the south, I supposed it would be no ordinary storm that we should have, and I thought of the day when the judgment of God would be poured out upon the world, when blackness and horrible darkness would clothe the heavens as sackcloth of hair. We have no question but our prayers were answered and the angel of God stood by the horses’ heads. Nothing was broken. The Lord preserved us, and His name shall be glorified. But I was deeply impressed. My imagination anticipated what it must be in that period when the Lord’s mighty voice shall give commission to His angels, “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth” (Revelation 16:1). …

When the plagues of God shall come upon the earth, hail will fall upon the wicked about the weight of a talent. The hail had struck Brother Belden. One stone struck him on the back of the head, raising a large lump. Another stone struck him very near the temple. The bruise still shows upon the hands of Sister Belden. But what must it be when the hail shall be so much increased in size, falling upon those who would not care for and obey God but insulted Him and despised all His mercies? …

The Lord has a people whom He will preserve. John beheld the “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” (Revelation 7:1, 3) till the seal of the living God shall be placed upon those who love God and keep His commandments. …

And if we have been mercifully shielded from accident, if lightning and tempest have passed us by unharmed, if the waves that talked with death have submerged the proud vessels but have brought the one on which we sailed to the harbor, let us bow in gratitude to God and thank Him that the power of mighty angels, at His bidding, have held back the winds and waves that they did not destroy.

Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, 217–221.