Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

March 16, 1897

The Perils of the Last Days

By Mrs. E. G. White

“As it was in the days of Noah, so also shall it be in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day the Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

Christ sees the wickedness on the earth today. He sees that the sins of Noah's and Lot's time are being repeated. What terrible revelations of crime are being made! Everything seems to be stirred with an intense activity from beneath. Excitement is continually kept up. Feasting, buying, and selling, are brought into the churches. The watchman cries, “The morning cometh, and also the night.” The night symbolizes prevalence of error, misinterpretation and misapplication of Scripture. Every species of delusion is now being brought in. The plainest truths of God's word are covered with a mass of man-made theories. Deadly errors are presented as the truth to which all must bow. The simplicity of true godliness is buried beneath tradition.

The doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul is one error with which the enemy is deceiving man. This error is well-nigh universal. But who told men that they would not die? Who told them that God has reserved a portion of his universe where the wicked are to suffer through the ceaseless ages of eternity, without a particle of hope?—It was the serpent. God said that sinners would die. Satan declares that they will not die. Many believe the oft-repeated lies of the serpent to be genuine truth. They echo his words when they assert that God has ordained that sin shall be immortalized in a place of torment.

This is one of the lies forged in the synagogue of the enemy, one of the poisonous drafts of Babylon. “All nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

Another false doctrine is that the first day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord. By traditions received from the Roman Catholic Church, the fourth commandment of the decalogue is made of none effect. By their acceptance of a spurious sabbath, men have dishonored God, and have honored the usurper, who thought to change times and laws. Many dangerous errors have been brought in to get rid of the true Sabbath. Men have taken the side of the great rebel, and rather than accept the word of God just as it reads, have placed themselves in a net of heresy. Satan is bringing the churches and the world into corrupt harmony upon this point.

Night, dark and portentous, is enclosing the Christian world. Apostasy from God's commandments is evidence of this night, deep, dark, and apparently impenetrable. Systems that make the truth of God of none effect are cherished. Men are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, and their assertions are taken as truth. The people have received manmade theories. So the gospel is perverted and the Scripture misapplied. As in the days of Christ, the light of truth is pushed into the background. Men's theories and suppositions are honored before the word of the Lord of Hosts. The truth is counteracted by error. The word of God is wrested, divided, and distorted by higher criticism. Jesus is acknowledged, only to be betrayed by a kiss. Apostasy exists, and will enclose the world till the last. Its hideous character and darkening influence will be seen in the maddening drafts dealt out from Babylon.

But before the Lord punishes men for their iniquity, he sends them messages of warning. Before he visits them with his judgments, he gives them a chance to repent. He remembered the sins of the Noachian world, but he did not punish them without warning them. For one hundred and twenty years this warning was sounding in their ears; but they did not repent. The last year of their probation found them more stubborn and defiant than ever. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.... And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” The inhabitants of Sodom, also, perished by fire, which was rained upon them from heaven, because they turned from God, and corrupting themselves, filled the earth with their polluted wisdom.

Had these men placed themselves under the control of the Spirit of God, had they co-operated with the heavenly intelligences, what a world of beauty and happiness we would now look upon! Had these long-lived, mentally strong men been vitalized by the Holy Spirit, they would have been a power for God.

Man can be exalted only by laying hold of the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. The finest intellect, the most exalted position, will not secure heaven. Satan had the highest education that could be obtained. This education he received under the greatest of all teachers. When men talk of higher criticism, when they pass their judgment upon the word of God, call their attention to the fact that they have forgotten who was the first and wisest critic. He has had thousands of years of practical experience. He it is who teaches the so-called higher critics of the world today. God will punish all those who, as higher critics, exalt themselves, and criticize God's holy word.

The world's Redeemer warned his disciples against the false teaching which was and would continue to be the greatest obstacle to the progress of the truth. “There shall arise false christs, and false prophets,” he said, “and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.” And Peter writes: “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” The leaven of false doctrine will be accepted in preference to the truth. “Beware,” writes Paul, “lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Under whose banner are we standing? Where are we? and what is Christ to us? By our course of action we decide our own destiny. By the society we choose, we determine what influences shall mold our character. If we choose the world, earthly influences make their imprint upon our minds, and though we may not realize it, we sink lower and lower; for if we do not grow in grace, we must deteriorate.

It makes every difference with the future eternal well-being of men whether they follow God's way or their own way. Their way may be entirely wrong. Are there many paths to heaven? If so, man may take any path that suits his fancy. But there is only one true way. Christ said to his disciples: “Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”

The Lord will uplift us if we will consent to be uplifted. He who recognizes God in Christ, who receives Christ as the world's Redeemer and his personal Saviour, enters in at the door. He does not climb up some other way. Of all such it is written, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” The truth, the light, the life, shining into our hearts, sanctifies and elevates us. What greater elevation can earth present? What greater honor can earthly potentates bestow? Man is taken from his degradation, cleansed from moral defilement, and made an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. His life is hid with Christ in God, and when he who is life shall appear, he also will appear with him in glory. This glory will be revealed at the second appearing of Christ. Then the saints will be exalted indeed. They will sit with Christ on his throne, and with Christ they will judge the world.

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” The end is near. Soon the Lord will come, with ten thousand of his saints; and Satan's system, which has destroyed so many that Christ came to save, will be broken up. Despotism is now seeking to obtain a foothold in every clime, but its day will soon be ended. “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.... Therefore shall her plagues come in one day; death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”

Satan is in controversy with Christ, and with all who follow in his footsteps. This conflict will continue until the voice is heard, saying, “It is done.” “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: an he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.... Ye, therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

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