1. WHILE THE LAST MOMENTS LINGER . . .
a. Explain Christ’s plan for us in contrast to Satan’s. Luke 22:31; John 9:4.
“Satan . . . knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and His truth.
“Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 488.
“Zeal for God moved the disciples to bear witness to the truth with mighty power. Should not this zeal fire our hearts with a determination to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ and Him crucified? Is not the Spirit of God to come today, in answer to earnest, persevering prayer, and fill men with power for service?”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 22.
“Every power lent us of heaven is to be used in doing the work assigned us by the Lord for those who are perishing in ignorance. The warning message is to be sounded in all parts of the world. There must be no delay. The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth. Obstacles must be met and surmounted. A great work is to be done, and this work has been entrusted to those who know the truth for this time.”—The Review and Herald, November 23, 1905.
2. THE INTENSITY ESCALATES . . .
a. What must we realize about the threefold confederacy aiming to tear down God’s law on a global level? Revelation 16:13, 14; 1 Thessalonians 5:3, 4.
“As the controversy extends into new fields and the minds of the people are called to God’s downtrodden law, Satan is astir. The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it. The clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their flocks. By every means at their command they will endeavor to suppress the discussion of these vital questions. The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and, in this work, papists and Protestants unite.”—Maranatha, p. 172.
“Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience. . . .
“Papists, Protestants, and worldling will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium.”—Ibid., p. 190.
b. What sentiment of the psalmist can surely be echoed today? Psalm 119:126.
“The time in which we live is one of marked depravity. Religious restraint is thrown off, and men reject the law of God as unworthy of their attention. A more than common contempt is placed upon this holy law. . . .
“Men are now passing the boundary line, and the Lord is permitting the enemy to do his will. . . . The tread of the Lord will be heard upon the land and upon the water. For His own honor’s sake, God is now about to repress iniquity. He will soon, very soon, vindicate the claims of His law.”—The Review and Herald, November 23, 1905.
3. THE FINAL EXIT
a. Name one warning Christ gave that has a distinct application in our day—as a final sign that the mission is accomplished. Matthew 24:15–19. What factors should we consider at this late hour? Revelation 3:11.
“It is no time now for God’s people to be fixing their affections or laying up their treasure in the world. The time is not far distant, when, like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and solitary places. As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation in the decree enforcing the papal sabbath will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains. And now, instead of seeking expensive dwellings here, we should be preparing to move to a better country, even a heavenly. Instead of spending our means in self-gratification, we should be studying to economize. Every talent lent of God should be used to His glory in giving the warning to the world. God has a work for His colaborers to do in the cities. Our missions must be sustained; new missions must be opened. To carry forward this work successfully will require no small outlay. Houses of worship are needed, where the people may be invited to hear the truths for this time. For this very purpose, God has entrusted a capital to His stewards. Let not your property be tied up in worldly enterprises, so that this work shall be hindered. Get your means where you can handle it for the benefit of the cause of God. Send your treasures before you into heaven.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 464, 465.
b. Amid the impending woe, where does God want us to focus? Isaiah 26:3, 4.
“Think of Jesus. He is in His holy place, not in a state of solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand of heavenly angels who wait to do His bidding. And He bids them go and work for the weakest saint who puts his trust in God. High and low, rich and poor, have the same help provided.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 205.
4. KEEPING OUR FOCUS
a. Explain the real issue at stake in the final test—and how, according to the apostle Peter, we are to be daily preparing to meet it. Revelation 13:11, 15–17; Acts 5:29.
“The time will come when men will not only forbid Sunday work, but they will try to force men to labor on the Sabbath, and to subscribe to Sunday observance or forfeit their freedom and their lives.”—The Review and Herald, April 6, 1911.
b. What gracious promises reveal the tender watchcare of our heavenly Father in that trying hour? Psalms 31:19, 20; 91:5–7; Isaiah 26:20, 21.
“[Isaiah 26:20 quoted.] What are the chambers in which [God’s people] are to hide? They are the protection of Christ and holy angels. The people of God are not at this time all in one place. They are in different companies, and in all parts of the earth.
“I saw the saints leaving the cities and villages, and associating together in companies, and living in the most solitary places. Angels provided them food and water, while the wicked were suffering from hunger and thirst.
“During the night a very impressive scene passed before me. There seemed to be great confusion and the conflict of armies. A messenger from the Lord stood before me, and said, ‘Call your household. I will lead you; follow me.’ He led me down a dark passage, through a forest, then through the clefts of mountains, and said, ‘Here you are safe.’ There were others who had been led to this retreat. The heavenly messenger said. ‘The time of trouble has come as a thief in the night, as the Lord warned you it would come.’
“In the time of trouble just before the coming of Christ, the righteous will be preserved through the ministration of heavenly angels; but there will be no security for the transgressor of God’s law. Angels cannot then protect those who are disregarding one of the divine precepts.
“In the closing period of earth’s history the Lord will work mightily in behalf of those who stand steadfastly for the right.”—Maranatha, p. 270.
5. A GLORIOUS DELIVERANCE!
a. With what sober thoughts should we be fortifying the mind right now? Mark 8:38; Revelation 22:7, 12.
“We are anxiously awaiting [the Lord’s] coming. We need to keep the armor on. We need to be all that the name Christian signifies. We need to live in habitual communion with God our Saviour, abiding in Him.
“Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. . . . Shall we then be timid and cowardly because of the trials we meet as we advance? Shall we not meet them without repining and complaints?”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, p. 167.
b. What happens when Jesus returns? Psalm 50:3–6; 1 Thessalonians 4:16–18.
“Soon appeared the great white cloud. On it sat the Son of man. . . .
“No language can describe the glory of the scene. The living cloud of majesty and unsurpassed glory came still nearer, and we could clearly behold the lovely person of Jesus. He did not wear a crown of thorns but a crown of glory. . . .
“On either side of the cloudy chariot were wings, and beneath it were living wheels; and as the cloudy chariot rolled upward, the wheels cried, Holy, and the wings, as they moved, cried, Holy, and the retinue of holy angels around the cloud cried, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. And the saints in the cloud cried, Glory, Alleluia. And the chariot rolled upward to the holy city.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, pp. 206, 208.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Today, as everyone is so busy, what plot does the enemy of souls have?
2. Explain the threefold union of Revelation 16 and its global deceptive power.
3. The serious message of country living has been taught since the 1880s, but at what point does it become irreversibly necessary for the believers’ safety?
4. Is the test looming on the horizon simply about resting on Sunday? Explain.
5. What should be foremost in our mind as we prepare for Jesus’ return?