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Final Events
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Copyright © 2018 Jonathan Mukwiri 
 
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his booklet takes from selected writings of Seventh-day Adventist pioneers to present the picture of the final events culminating with Christ’s advent. “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” (Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church {T} Vol. 9, 1909, p. 11).

 

USA passing Sunday law for the Papacy

Here are events leading to the USA passing Sunday law for the Papacy (read the book: The Great Controversy, 1911 {GC}).

“The beast with two horns ‘causeth [commands] all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.’ Revelation 13:16, 17. The third angel’s warning is: ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.’ ….” {GC 445.2}.

“….when Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, and the world shall be enlightened concerning the obligation of the true Sabbath, then whoever shall transgress the command of God to obey a precept which has no higher authority than that of Rome, will thereby honour popery above God. .… As men then reject the institution which God has declared to be the sign of His authority, and honour in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremacy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance to Rome – ‘the mark of the beast.’ And it is not until the issue is thus plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the commandments of God and the commandments of men, that those who continue in transgression will receive ‘the mark of the beast’” {GC 449.1}.

“The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns shall cause ‘the earth and them which dwell therein’ to worship the papacy – there symbolized by the beast ‘like unto a leopard.’ The beast with two horns is also to say ‘to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast;’ and, furthermore, it is to command all, ‘both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,’ to receive the mark of the beast. Revelation 13:11-16. It has been shown that the United States is the power represented by the beast with lamblike horns, and that this prophecy will be fulfilled when the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which Rome claims as the special acknowledgment of her supremacy ….” {GC 578.3}.

“Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would – He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them” {GC 589.2}. As Satan did in Job’s time, so he is doing in our time!

“While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, 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. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous….” {GC 589.3}.

“And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God's commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity. Thus the accusation urged of old against the servant of God will be repeated and upon grounds equally well established: ‘And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.’ 1 Kings 18:17, 18. As the wrath of the people shall be excited by false charges, they will pursue a course toward God's ambassadors very similar to that which apostate Israel pursued toward Elijah” {GC 590.1}. Satan will instigate the false charges!

“Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives” {GC 592.1}.

“..dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected….” {GC 592.3}.

 

Satan impersonates Christ

“As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld.

“The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: ‘Christ has come! Christ has come!’ The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like the Samaritans who were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the least to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying: This is ‘the great power of God.’ Acts 8:10” {GC 624.2}.

 

Completion of the sealing of 144,000

John saw “four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth” and “another angel” “having the seal of the living God” crying “with a loud voice to the four angels” not to let loose the winds until “we have sealed the servants of our God” and John “heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand” (Revelation 7:1-4).

Many mistakenly think the number is symbolic. The 144,000 fit well the title of a “little flock” (Luke 12:32). They are a people who have been subject to a very rigid test. The prophet Daniel speaks of them: “Many shall be purified, and made white and tried” (Daniel 12:10). The Lord says, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). In the 1889 Testimonies to the Church, Ellen White says, “Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy, will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat” {5T 81.1}; “Soon God’s people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear to be genuine and true will prove to be base metal” {5T 136.1}; “Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed” {5T 213.2}. At Sunday law, many will fall, for “a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, [will] abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition” {GC 608.2}.

The 144,000, that John saw, are a literal number, composed of just the 144,000 individuals. It cannot stand for a larger symbolic but indefinite number, for in Revelation 7:9 another company is introduced which is indefinite in its proportions, and hence is spoken of as “a great multitude, which no man could number.” If the 144,000 were designed to represent a symbolic and an indefinite number, then John would have said, in verse 4, ‘And there were sealed a great multitude, which no man could number.’ But instead of this, he says, they were sealed 144,000, a number, which number can be easily enumerated.

The reason for this distinction is apparent if we take the innumerable multitude of verse 9 to be the whole host of the redeemed, who will have part in the first resurrection (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), and the 144,000 to be those who will be alive on the earth when Christ first appears. And that the 144,000 are the ones who will be thus alive, and meet Christ at His second coming, appears from the text where they are next mentioned, Revelation 14:1-5. The 144,000 are represented as coming triumphant out of the last religious conflict in this world (Revelation 13:12-18) and as being “redeemed from the earth,” and “redeemed from among men” (Revelation 14:3-4).

The winds are restrained till the sealing is accomplished such that when it takes effect, no further work of the gospel can be accomplished; hence with the sealing of the 144,000 completed, probation ends; the winds of destruction will sweep the world to desolation. “In a little while every one who is a child of God will have His seal placed upon him. O that it may be placed upon our foreheads!” {Review & Herald, May 28, 1889}.

“Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads, – it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved, – just as soon as God’s people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has begun already” (Ellen White, Manuscript 173, 1902){1MR 249.2}.

The sealing work refers only to the 144,000 as the only ones who receive the seal of the living God. Whoever then is sealed belongs to the 144,000. The sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7, being sealed as in “settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually,” must be understood in the context of the sealing message in Revelation 14. The message centres on worshiping one true God and keeping His Sabbath. Whoever settles into that message, “both intellectually and spiritually,” is sealed. The sealing started after 1844 when the third angel’s message was first proclaimed, all who die sealed since then till probation ends are part of 144,000 and at the close of the sixth plague they are specially raised to mortal life shortly before Christ appears and changed to immortality when Christ appears.

But “Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works” {5T 213.2}. “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement” (Testimonies, 1889){5T 214.2}.

 

Close of probation

“As yet the four winds are held until the servants of God shall be sealed in their foreheads. Then the Powers of earth will marshal their forces for the last great battle. How carefully we should improve the little remaining period of our probation!” {Review & Herald, November 27, 1900, par. 16}. “When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. Christ in the Revelation, looking forward to that time, declares: ‘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. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.’” Revelation 22:11, 12” {GC 490.2}.

 

First Plague

Revelation 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

“The description of this plague clearly reveals at once their chronology; for it is poured out upon those who have the mark of the beast, and who worship his image, — the identical work against which the third angel warns us. This is conclusive proof that these judgments are not poured out till after this angel closes his work, and that the very class who hear his warning, and reject it, are the ones to receive the first drops from the overflowing vials of God’s indignation” (Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation [hereafter referred to as “DAR”]) – {DAR 641.3}.

“There is no apparent reason why this should not be regarded as strictly literal. These plagues are almost identical with those which God inflicted upon the Egyptians as he was about to deliver his people from the yoke of bondage, the literality of which is seldom, if ever, called in question. God is now about to crown his people with their final deliverance and redemption, and his judgments will be manifested in a manner no less literal and terrible. What the sore here threatened is, we are not informed. Perhaps it may be similar to the parallel plague which fell upon Egypt. Exodus 9:8-11” {DAR 644.1}.

 

Second Plague

Revelation 16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

“A more infectious and deadly substance can scarcely be conceived of than the blood of a dead man; and the thought that the great bodies of water on the earth, which are doubtless meant by the term sea, will be changed to such a state under this plague, presents a fearful picture. We have here the remarkable fact that the term living soul is applied to irrational animals, the fish and living creatures of the sea. This is, we believe, the only instance of such an application in the English Version; in the original, however, it occurs frequently; showing that the term as applied to man in the beginning (Genesis 2:7) cannot be taken as furnishing any evidence that he is endowed with an immaterial and immortal essence, called the soul” {DAR 644.3}. By this plague, every living soul/creature in the sea dies!

 

Third Plague

Revelation 16:4-7: 4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

“Such is the description of the terrible retribution for the ‘blood of saints’ shed by violent hands, which will be given to those who have done, or wish to do, such deeds. And though the horrors of that hour when the fountains and rivers of water shall be like blood, cannot now be realized, the justice of God will stand vindicated, and His judgments approved. Even the angels are heard exclaiming, Thou art righteous, O Lord, because Thou hast judged thus; for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets. Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments” {DAR 644.5}.

“It may be asked how the last generation of the wicked can be said to have shed the blood of saints and prophets, since the last generation of saints [the 144,000] are not to be slain. A reference to Matthew 23:34, 35; 1 John 3:15, will explain. These scriptures show that guilt attaches to motive no less than to action; and no generation ever formed a more determined purpose to devote the saints to indiscriminate slaughter than the present generation will, not far in the future. (See chapter 12:17; 13:15.) In motive and purpose, they do shed the blood of saints and prophets, and are every whit as guilty as though they were able to carry out their wicked intentions” {DAR 645.1}.

“It would seem that none of the human family could long survive a continuance of a plague so terrible as this. It must therefore be limited in its duration, as was the similar one on Egypt. Exodus 7:17-21, 25” {DAR 645.2}.

 

Fourth Plague

Revelation 16:8-9: 8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

“It is worthy of notice that every succeeding plague tends to augment the calamity of the previous ones and highten the anguish of the guilty sufferers. We have now a noisome and grievous sore preying upon men, inflaming their blood, and pouring its feverish influence through their veins. In addition to this, they have only blood to allay their burning thirst; and, as if to crown all, power is given unto the sun, and he pours upon them a flood of liquid fire, and they are scorched with great heat. Here, as the record runs, their woe first seeks utterance in fearful blasphemy” {DAR 645.4}.

 

Fifth Plague

Revelation 16:10-11 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

“An important fact is established by this testimony; namely, that the plagues do not at once destroy all their victims; for some who were at first smitten with sores, we find still living under the fifth vial, and gnawing their tongues for pain. An illustration of this vial will be found in Exodus 10:21-23. It is poured upon the seat of the beast, the papacy. The seat of the beast is wherever the papal See is located, which has been thus far, and without doubt will continue to be, the city of Rome. ‘His kingdom’ probably embraces all those who are subjects of the pope in an ecclesiastical point of view, wherever they may be” {DAR 646.1}.

 

Sixth Plague

Revelation 16:12-16: 12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. 13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. 15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

“What is the great River Euphrates, upon which this vial is poured out? – It is a symbol of the nation occupying the territory through which that river flows” {DAR 647.1}. It is “symbolizing the power holding possession of the territory watered by that river, which is the Turkish [government]” {DAR 648.2}.

“It is so used in other places in the Scriptures. (See Isaiah 8:7; Revelation 9:14.) In this latter text, all must concede that the Euphrates symbolizes the Turkish power; and being the first and only other occurrence of the word in the Revelation, it may well be considered as governing its use in this book” {DAR 648.3}.

“The drying up of the river in this sense would be the consumption of the Turkish [government], accompanied with more or less destruction of its subjects. Thus we should have literal judgments upon men as the result of this plague, as in the case of all the others” {DAR 648.4}.

The way of the kings of the East will be prepared by the drying up, or consumption, of the Turkish power. “For what is the way of these kings to be prepared? Answer: To come up to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. Where is the battle to be fought? – Near Jerusalem.” [Hitherto] the Christian nations of Europe have cooperated to sustain [Turkey] because they cannot agree as to the division of the spoils, when Turkey falls. [But] when they shall withdraw their support, and leave it to itself, as they will do under the sixth plague, that symbolic river will be wholly dried up; Turkey will be no more, and the way will be all open for the nations to make their last grand rally to the Holy Land. The kings of the East, the nationalities, powers, and kingdoms lying east of Palestine, will act a conspicuous part in the matter; for Joel says in reference to this scene, ‘Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat’ [Joel 3:12]. The millions of Mohammedans [Muslim] of Persia [Iran], Afghanistan, Toorkistan [region of: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan], and India will rush to the field of conquest in behalf of their religion.” {DAR 648.6}.

 

Turkey to plant his palace in Jerusalem

For the view that the King of the North in Daniel 11:40-45 is Turkey, see the book by Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation (Oakland, Cal.: Pacific Press Publishing House, 1882), in which book Ellen White said (and true Seventh-day Adventists agree) “is found solid, eternal truth for this time” (1899, 1MR 61.2).

Daniel 11:45: And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

This verse concludes the prophecy showing the working of the King of the North. This verse “is to be fulfilled; and its fulfillment must be accomplished by that power which has been continuously the subject of the prophecy from the 40th verse, down to this 45th verse.

“And mark, also, how applicable the language to that power: ‘He shall come to his end, and none shall help him’ [Daniel 11:45]. This plainly implies that this power has previously received help. And what are the facts? In the war against France in 1798-1801, in the war between Turkey and Egypt in 1838-1840, in the Crimean war in 1853-6, and in the late Russo-Turkish war [1877-8], Turkey received the assistance of other powers, without which she would probably have failed to maintain her position” (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, p. 376).

“So the prophecy says the king comes to his end, and none help him, and he comes to his end, as we may naturally infer, because none help him; because the support previously rendered is withdrawn” (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, p. 377).

“This movement on the part of Turkey is the signal for the standing up of Michael; that is, it marks this event as next in order” (Uriah Smith, 1882 edition, p. 389).

 

Battle of Armageddon

The spirits of devils “gather them to the battle of that great day of God ... gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Revelation 16:13-16). “The nations of the world are eager for conflict; but they are held in check by the angels. When this restraining power is removed, there will come a time of trouble and anguish. Deadly instruments of warfare will be invented. Vessels, with their living cargo, will be entombed in the great deep. All who have not the spirit of truth will unite under the leadership of satanic agencies. But they are to be kept under control till the time shall come for the great battle of Armageddon ... The battle of Armageddon will be fought, and that day must find none of us sleeping. Wide awake we must be” (Ellen White, Letter 112, 1890){Mar 257}.

Armageddon is Greek name of the place, derived from the Hebrew ‘Har Megiddo,’ meaning ‘Mount of Megiddo’, but more of a ‘hill’ than a ‘mount.’ In Bible history, Megiddo was a place overlooking the plain in the tribe of Manasseh and a place of significant battles. First, it was at Megiddo where Barak and Deborah destroyed Sisera’s army (Judges 5). Second, it was at Megiddo that Pharaoh Necho slew Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:20-25; 2 Kings 23:29-30). The latter battle caused great lamentation in Judah. Pharaoh Necho matched his great armies and came through the land of Judah to attack the Assyrian stronghold of Carchemish. It was in God’s plan that the king of Egypt should do this, and when Josiah thought to arrest the progress of his army, Pharaoh-Necho sent him a warning message from God, saying that he was not come against Josiah, and had no desire to meet him in battle; “for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that He destroy thee not” (2 Chronicles 35:21). Notwithstanding this warning, Josiah persisted in his attempt to stop the king of Egypt, and was fatally wounded in the battle at Megiddo. There was great lamentation at his death in all Judah and Jerusalem.

The battle of Armageddon will be a physical battle between nations as was the ancient battles fought at Megiddo. The battle of Armageddon will not come by an unreasonable decree. It will be the natural outcome of the envy of the nations. All that now hinders it is the angels holding back the political strife, while God’s Spirit is striving to turn men from their own ways. When that Spirit is rejected, the crash will not be long delayed. The “King of the North” will play a part in leading up to the battle of Armageddon. “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:45).

In the book, Bible Handbook {BHB} 1919, by Stephen Nelson Haskell, we read this: “The battle of Armageddon takes place under the sixth plague when the river Euphrates is dried up” {BHB 128.6}. “When a river is used in a figurative sense, it refers to the people living on the border of that river; thus, Turkey is the country referred to by the drying up of the great river Euphrates” {BHB 128.7}. “The drying up of this river, or the Turkish nation, is equivalent to Turkey’s coming to his end with none to help him” {BHB 128.9}. “Every nation at this time has an interest to serve and will be gathered” {BHB 129.1}.

 

Seventh Plague

Revelation 16:17-21: 17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

“Thus has Inspiration described the last judgment which is to be inflicted in the present condition of things upon those who are incorrigibly rebellious against God. Some of the plagues are local in their application; but this one is poured out into the air. The air envelops the whole earth; it follows that this plague will envelop equally the habitable globe. It will be universal. The very air will be deadly” {DAR 653.1}.

“The gathering of the nations having taken place under the sixth vial, the battle remains to be fought under the seventh; and here are brought to view the instrumentalities with which God will slay the wicked. At this time it may be said, ‘The Lord hath opened his armory, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation’ [Jeremiah 50:25]” {DAR 653.2}.

 

Special resurrection at the great voice of the Father

At the beginning of the seventh plague, when a “great voice out of the temple” (Revelation 16:17) is heard, there will be a special resurrection of the saints to complete the literal number of 144,000. This special resurrection should not be confused with the resurrection of the great multitude of all the righteous, for the general resurrection comes later by the last trump of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:52).

“Those who die after having become identified with the third angel’s message, are evidently numbered as a part of the 144,000; for this message is the same as the sealing message of Revelation 7, and by that message only 144,000 were sealed. But there are many who have had their entire religious experience under this message, but have fallen in death. They die in the Lord, and hence are counted as sealed; for they will be saved. But the message results in the sealing of only 144,000; therefore these must be included in that number. Being raised in the special resurrection (Daniel 12:2; Revelation 1:7) which occurs when the voice of God is uttered from the temple, at the beginning of the seventh and last plague (Revelation 16:17; Joel 3:16; Hebrews 12:26), they pass through the period of that plague, and hence may be said to come “out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14), and being raised from the grave only to mortal life, they take their stand with believers who have not died, and with them receive immortality at the last trump (1 Corinthians 15:52), being then, with the others, changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Thus, though they have passed through the grave, it can be said of them at last, that they are “redeemed from among men” (Revelation 14:4), that is, from among the living; for the coming of Christ finds them among the living, waiting for the change to immortality, like those who have not died, and as if they themselves had never died” {DAR 634.1*}. This is “solid, eternal truth for this time”!

Revelation 14:13 is significance here. After John saw the work of the third angel, he exclaimed: “Here is the patience of the saints” (verse 12). And then, John heard a voice from heaven command him: “Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth;” and the response of the Spirit was, “Yea, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13). “From henceforth” must signify from some particular point of time. This time is marked by the commencement of the third angel’s message. The numbering of the 144,000 started after 1844 when the third angel’s message was first proclaimed by Adventist pioneers. “From henceforth,” those who die in that message are to be among the 144,000.

Before the resurrection of all the righteous (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), is a special resurrection. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). The righteous in that special resurrection will be among the 144,000. In this way, “their works do follow them.” These works are held in remembrance, to be rewarded at the Judgment; and the persons receive the same recompense they would have had, if they lived and endured all the perils of the time of trouble.

Those who come up in the special resurrection embrace a limited number of both righteous and wicked (Daniel 12:2; Revelation 1:7). Those who, in this special resurrection, come up to everlasting life (though not then made immortal) are those who belong to the 144,000 because they have died in the third angel’s message; and those who rise to shame and contempt are those who had a part in Christ’s crucifixion. That such a resurrection, embracing these two characters, will take place, the scriptures referred to plainly enough affirm; and the only point where the prophecies make a place for its occurrence is at the time mentioned in Revelation 16:17. This is at the time of the beginning of the seventh plague, when the voice of the Father from the throne utters the solemn words, “It is done”!

That this is the voice of God, not of Christ (for that comes later when Christ calls all righteous to life: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we are told: “Then I saw the four Angels cease to hold the four winds. And I saw famine, pestilence and sword, nation rose against nation, and the whole world was in confusion. Then we cried to God for deliverance day and night till we began to hear the bells on Jesus’ garment. And I saw Jesus rise up in the Holiest, and as He came out we heard the tinkling of bells, and knew our High Priest was coming out. Then we heard the voice of God [referred to in Revelation 16:17] which shook the heavens and earth, and gave the 144,000 the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. Then the saints were free, united and full of the glory of God, for He had turned their captivity. And I saw a flaming cloud come where Jesus stood and He laid off His priestly garment and put on His kingly robe, took His place on the cloud which carried Him to the east where it first appeared to the saints on earth, a small black cloud, which was the sign of the Son of Man. While the cloud was passing from the Holiest to the east which took a number of days, the Synagogue of Satan worshiped at the saints feet” (The Day Star){DS March 4, 1846 Par 2}. Notice here, it “took a number of days” between the voice of God and the coming of Christ.

This voice of the Father shakes both heaven and earth, but speaks deliverance to the people of God (Jeremiah 25:30; Joel 3:16; Hebrews 12:26, 28). Of this time, Ellen White, speaks very clearly, as follows: “That voice shakes the heavens and the earth … Graves are opened, and ‘many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth ... awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’ All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. ‘They also which pierced Him,’ those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory, and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient” (The Great Controversy, 1911, pp. 636-637).

Those who have died in third angel’s message are still regarded, in God’s sight, as an integral part of the living 144,000; for when the covenant of peace is spoken to them, those of them who are then in their graves are raised up to hear it with the living. They are raised up glorified; and the living saints are then also glorified; but none of them are made immortal, yet. Of this, speaking of the moment when Christ appears, Ellen White says: “The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ At the voice of God [referred to in Revelation 16:17] they [the living saints] were glorified; now they are made immortal, and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air” (The Great Controversy, 645). Those who were raised at the voice of God to hear the covenant of peace with the living, were also glorified at that time (another point of identity), and made immortal at the same time with the risen saints of a great multitude.

The special resurrects rise at the voice of God, it takes “a number of days” {DS March 14, 1846 Par 2} before Christ appears; they are raised to the plane of mortality only; they take their stand with the living saints, as a part of them, though glorified, not yet made immortal; they are alive on the day of Christ’s appearing in the same condition as the saints who have never died, and then, with them, are made immortal, changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and caught up to meet the Lord in the air. The specially risen are as emphatically “redeemed from the earth,” and “redeemed from among men,” as those living who do not go into the grave at all.

Referring to Mrs Hastings, who had passed away, that she would be in a special resurrection, Ellen White said: “I saw that she was sealed and would come up at the voice of God and stand upon the earth, and would be with the 144,000” {Ellen White, Letter 10, 1850}. The phrase “with” does not mean in addition, for 144,000 saints are alive at Christ’s first appearance.

That the 144,000 come “out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14) does not exclude those who come up after six plagues are poured (Revelation 16:17). Raised at the beginning of the seventh plague, they pass through the whole period of that judgment, and witness all its accumulated calamities. The plagues are cumulative. The first does not cease when the second begins; but the second adds its horrors to the first, the third adds to the others, and so on to the seventh. For example, under the fifth plague, the people are still suffering from the sores of the first plague (Revelation 16:2, 10-11). In the seventh is found the climax of all the plagues. Whatever suffering that falls to the lot of the saint on account of plagues (though “angels will shield the righteous” {GC 629.2}), those raised at the voice of God pass through the same as those who have not been through death. The accumulative horrors of the seventh plague will overbalance all the others; and those who are delivered from it are thus said to have come “out of great tribulation,” though having not been at the start of the other six plagues.

 

Death decree and Jacob’s time of trouble

After the seven plagues were poured out: “These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous, and they thought that we had brought them down upon them, and if they could rid the earth of us, then the plagues would be stayed. A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob’s trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. Then the 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God” {R&H, August 1, 1849 Par 14}.

“It was at midnight that God chose to deliver His people” {EW 285.1}. In that hour, after the specially resurrected saints are together with the living, making up the 144,000, God made known the day and hour of Christ’s coming: “And as God spoke the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people, He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth. The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder. It was awfully solemn. At the end of every sentence the saints shouted, ‘Glory! Hallelujah!’ Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God, and they shone with glory as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked could not look upon them for the glory. And when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honoured God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image” (Early Writings, 1882){EW 285.2}.

 

Coming of Christ and resurrection of great multitude

“At His coming the righteous dead will be raised, and the righteous living will be changed. ‘We shall not all sleep,’ says Paul, ‘but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.’ 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. And in his letter to the Thessalonians, after describing the coming of the Lord, he says: ‘The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.’ 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.” {GC 322.1}. Oh, what a joy that will be! “Oh, what a glorious meeting! Friends whom death had separated were united, never more to part” {EW 287.1}.

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