Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

March 14, 1912

Nearness of the End

Mrs. E. G. White

Troublous times are right upon us. The fulfilling of the signs of the times gives evidence that the day of the Lord is near at hand. The daily papers are full of indications of a terrible conflict in the future. 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 and women and little children. All these things testify that the coming of Christ is near at hand.

The doctrine that men are released from obedience to God's requirements has weakened the force of moral obligation, and opened the flood-gates of iniquity upon the world. Lawlessness and dissipation and corruption are sweeping upon us like an overwhelming tide. In the family, Satan is at work. His banner waves even in professedly Christian households. There is envy, evil surmising, hypocrisy, strife, betrayal of sacred trusts, indulgence of lust. The whole system of religious principles and doctrines, which should form the foundation and framework of social life, seems to be a tottering mass, ready to fall to ruin.

Courts of justice are corrupt. Rulers are actuated by a desire for gain, and love of sensual pleasure. Intemperance has beclouded the faculties of many, so that Satan has almost complete control of them. Jurists are perverted, bribed, deluded. Drunkenness and revelry, passion, envy, dishonesty of every sort, are represented among those who administer the laws. “Justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity can not enter.” Men are rushing on in the mad race for gain and selfish indulgence as if there were no God, no heaven, and no hereafter.

The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ's second coming. The apostle James pictures the greed and oppression that will prevail. He says: “Go to now, ye rich men, ... ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton. Ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” This is a picture of what exists today. Be every species of oppression and extortion, men are piling up colossal fortunes, while the cries of starving humanity are coming up before God.

In accidents and calamities by land and by sea, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hail-storms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes,—in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. The visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. “The earth mourneth and fadeth away, ... the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”

The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. Merchants are still buying and selling. Men are jostling against one another, contending for the highest place. Pleasure lovers are still crowding to theaters, horse-races, gambling-hells. The highest excitement prevails, yet probation's hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agents to work, that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced, until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy be forever shut. The time is right upon us when there will be sorrow that no human balm can heal. Sentinel angels are now restraining the four winds, that they shall not blow till the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads; but when God shall bid his angels loose the winds, there will be a scene of strife such as no pen can picture.

The “time of trouble, such as never was,” is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality, but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation can not reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that trial every man must stand for himself before God. Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land, “as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters;” “they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness.”

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 finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of himself, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” 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.

“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself.”

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