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The Reformation Herald Online Edition

Run for Your Life

Run for Your Life
Liviu Tudoroiu

Civilization has increased the appetite for technological achievements. Research engineers and those with similarly computerized jobs have made science the new compass of our culture. All segments of society are affected in one way or another. As a result, the world is “migrating”—it is shifting more and more away from the old-fashioned country living style, to the conglomerate habitations of the cities. In consequence, many people flock to work on computers and office work, seeking their comfort zone and achieving the dream of prosperity. How few are those who are still in love with nature and prefer a humble lifestyle—working the fields, enjoying gardening, watching how the plants grow and finally having the peace that comes from God.

Country living is becoming more like a myth as new technologies demand greed, personally inviting/inciting people to abandon nature and merge with the dynamics of the cities.

Progress is the immediate result, of course—but in the long run, misery is creeping in. In the last year or so, hundreds of thousands of people have left the cities, and huge numbers have moved out of San Francisco, for example. New York—once the pride of the American nation, is experiencing the same kind of exodus. Those who feel the signs of the times, those who have a sense of awareness that something unique and unusual is coming upon the world, those who are in contact with the word of God, are actually starting to run for their lives.

How did our society arrive at this point?

Misery, pain, and death are the result of human departure from the originally established plan of creation. The quality of life is diminishing every day. So-called green laws and green technology weaken the barely-surviving world. Construction materials have skyrocketed in cost, the price of gas also, and food is becoming an issue. Empty shelves in the grocery stores testify of the storm that is approaching.

Officially, the leaders are “prophesying” that this year we’ll see a lot of death, so where can the people go and how can we run for our lives? Advanced technology can spot you wherever you are in no time, so for oppressed people to find a peaceable hideout is almost impossible.

The world is facing the time of Job. For better understanding, let us go through chapter 6 of this special book of the Scripture and read from 11 to 13:

“What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?”

These words uttered by Job are a reflection of today’s world. Statistics in France suggest that over one million people have died of the coronavirus; 1,780,000 have died of immune-deficiency syndrome, 6,000,000 of HIV. Tobacco kills 6,000,000 people every year as well.

One question that might be addressed is why the world has not shut down the tobacco industry, knowing that officially, that plant kills over 6 million per year. Why did we not react to these facts by shutting down all tobacco stores and in fact the entire tobacco industry? Meanwhile, we shut down the entire world under the guise of saving a number much smaller than that.

Alcohol, another plague of society, has caused over 3 million people to die—and yet this industry was not shut down, either. Why does the world somehow fail to maintain consistency under the same premise of saving lives?

We cannot go continue without recognizing also the 7 million people that have died of cancer and 3.4 million of faulty diet. And at last, I want to mention that we’ve had over 1,210,000 car accidents and other traveling events, yet the world still remained open.

Such apparent inconsistencies are very hard to reconcile in the mind of individuals that are doing proper math and can see through the issues. For most of us, it’s not easy to digest or comprehend the contradictory explanations that are given to the “herd.”  Run for your life, but where?

The world ends up in misery because we have a lot of questions without answers, and for that reason we have a lot of problems without solutions.

Lessons from Jacob

I am impressed to recall the attention of the reader to the time of Jacob’s flight. In a way, he was running for his life. Since he had lied to his father, he had to run away from his brother. After serving 14 years for his father-in-law who cheated him so many times, the Lord directed Jacob to return home. He took his wives and his possessions and left at an advantageous moment in the absence of Laban.

On the way, Jacob learns that a group of armed people led by Laban and his sons are furiously racing after him. Once that matter is settled, he soon receives another bit of news: his own brother is coming from the opposite direction with 400 men against him.

Even though Jacob had been running as a fugitive all his adult life, this is a specific moment in time when he cannot run for his life anymore. He cannot go back and is now out of solutions and does not know what to do. Death is in front of him, coming from the very place he missed so much. Run for your life—but where?

There is a surprising gap or discrepancy between Jacob’s expectations and God’s offer. The scenes of his betrayal are coming to view; his sin is hanging a heavy burden on his conscience and his heart.

Jacob despairs as he sees he is now running out of time. He realizes that God is his only refuge. He runs, but he is not running for his life. For the first time, he is running to the One that can lift the cross and remove the heavy burden of his soul.

This experience in the life of Jacob has prophetic application for the end of time when the people of God will come to such a point without any solution.

All the heroes presented in this issue of our magazine show how most of the faithful ones reach the same terminus moment. Even though initially they are running for their lives, at the end they realize that running to save an earthly life is not worth the risk of sacrificing their relationship with their God.

They’ve had a human belief that because they had been faithful, the results of their work would be majestic—but when their expectation was not satisfied by God’s offer, they became disappointed. God’s offer did not satisfy their expectations.

The terminus in Christian life

Job expected good things to happen to him. Based on his faith, he was an exemplary man, and he truly could be considered righteous. But what came upon him in those 42 chapters was way beyond his expectation.

Jeremiah had a life full of sorrow. The most antagonized prophet of the Old Testament, he reached a state of total desperation when he saw the dead bodies of his co-nationals on the streets of Jerusalem. The book of Lamentations proves once again that God’s offer did not meet some human expectations.

Jonah, a rebellious prophet, overreached himself to the point of arguing with God because his expectations were not met. Nineveh was not destroyed. His expectations were not satisfied by God’s offer.

Elijah was one of the most powerful reformers in the deepest, darkest moments of Hebrew history. In the time of greatest apostasy, he stood for God with faithfulness. In the end, he was disappointed that the reformation did not occur, and God’s response was not according to his expectations. He ran for his life, and at the end—tired and disappointed—he recognized himself as overwhelmed.

John the Baptist, one of the purest lives displayed in the New Testament—the man who baptized Jesus, the man who had prepared the way for His advent—became disappointed on that dark night before his death. God’s offer did not satisfy his human expectations.

And the examples can continue, but what is the most important fact of this journey in Scripture is that after their great disappointment, all stop running for their lives. All finally give up their mere human expectations; all agree with God’s offer and are ready not to run, but rather to submit to God’s will.

We are living in the last generation in the history of this world—and we will be confronted with the same situation as they, and we’ll react in a similar fashion as they. Initially we will try to run for our lives, but in time our journey will come to a dead end. Then we will be pushed into a sudden attack from the side of the forces of darkness, we’ll be pushed against our will until the patience of Job becomes the patience of the saints—antagonized by the governments of the world, accused as national betrayers exactly as Jeremiah was. Why? For a message that is unpopular. In essence, Jeremiah’s message was “Jerusalem is fallen.” No one wanted to hear that news, but it was a reality telegram sent directly from the Majesty of Heaven.

Likewise, we, too, have a similar message at the crossroads of eternity: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen” (Revelation 18:2). We’ll be hunted in all countries of the world, like Elijah was in the time of the 3 years of dry heat, for having the courage to pray against the rain and for the rain, standing before the rulers of this world, but on God’s side uttering essentially the same words: “If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21), pointing to the real reason that leads to the world’s destruction, telling the powers that be that you and your house have caused it all because you have forsaken the commandments of God. (See 1 Kings 18:17, 18.)

Like Jonah, we’ll be pushed against our will to utter the words of doomsday and be swallowed by the Great Fish in the night of Jacob’s trouble. We’ll be struggling in the heart of the earth, trying to save ourselves till we run out of strength, saying with our last breath: “Salvation comes from Thee, O Lord. We tried to run for our life, but we reached a dead end. If there is something to be done, you are the only One that can save us.”

The people of God will condemn the sins of the modern “Herod,” speaking out against the immorality of the kings and leaders of this world.

“Now, as in former ages, the presentation of a truth that reproves the sins and errors of the times, will excite opposition. ‘Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.’ John 3:20. As men see that they cannot maintain their position by the Scriptures, many determine to maintain it at all hazards, and with a malicious spirit they assail the character and motives of those who stand in defense of unpopular truth. It is the same policy which has been pursued in all ages. Elijah was declared to be a troubler of Israel, Jeremiah a traitor, Paul a polluter of the temple. From that day to this, those who would be loyal to truth have been denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic. Multitudes who are too unbelieving to accept the sure word of prophecy, will receive with unquestioning credulity an accusation against those who dare to reprove fashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more. And the Bible plainly teaches that a time is approaching when the laws of the State shall so conflict with the law of God that whoever would obey all the divine precepts must brave reproach and punishment as an evil-doer.

“And in view of this, what is the duty of the messenger of truth? Shall he conclude that the truth ought not to be presented, since often its only effect is to arouse men to evade or resist its claims? No; he has no more reason for withholding the testimony of God’s Word, because it excites opposition, than had earlier reformers. The confession of faith made by saints and martyrs was recorded for the benefit of succeeding generations. Those living examples of holiness and steadfast integrity have come down to inspire courage in those who are now called to stand as witnesses for God. They received grace and truth, not for themselves alone, but that, through them, the knowledge of God might enlighten the earth. Has God given light to His servants in this generation? Then they should let it shine forth to the world.”1

The surprise

At the end—after all the big disappointments—comes God’s offer that will surprise the heroes of the last generation. Initially they were unpleasantly surprised with what God offered them in the darkest moments of their life, because they thought they deserved better treatment. Yet now, after the entire chain of disappointment, God’s offer will make them feel they are unworthy of what He had offered them. So, we’ll have the same experience. “Heaven will be cheap enough, if we obtain it through suffering. We must deny self all along the way, die to self daily, let Jesus alone appear, and keep His glory continually in view.”2

Where we are today

My dear fellows, the time has come to leave cities, to leave the comfort of civilization, and run for our lives and for the life of our dear ones. The church should be ahead of the world. Why? Because we have the light, the word of God, in this global darkness. We have the principles of our faith reflected by the scriptures that give us the most beautiful guidelines of what we should do in the time of crisis.

Is the time at hand?

Globalism is rampant. The world is seeking a global leader; prophecy speaks about antichrist and the time of trouble. There is a void to be occupied. Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, claims that the main problem in society is not globalization. The problem is a lack of global governance. So, what he meant is that we are to be looking for a leader to occupy this position of high responsibility.

One of the most translated books in the world after the Holy Scripture is The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White. This book brilliantly confirms the fact that God is in control and is not caught by surprise in these events.

In another masterpiece by the same author, the explanation is given: “The authorities will make laws to restrict religious liberty. They will assume the right that is God’s alone. They will think they can force the conscience, which God alone should control. Even now they are making a beginning; this work they will continue to carry forward till they reach a boundary over which they cannot step. God will interpose in behalf of His loyal, commandment-keeping people.

“On every occasion when persecution takes place, those who witness it make decisions either for Christ or against Him. Those who manifest sympathy for the ones wrongly condemned show their attachment for Christ. Others are offended because the principles of truth cut directly across their practice. Many stumble and fall, apostatizing from the faith they once advocated. Those who apostatize in time of trial will, to secure their own safety, bear false witness, and betray their brethren. Christ has warned us of this, that we may not be surprised at the unnatural, cruel course of those who reject the light.”3

“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. 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. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God. . . .

“We should now acquaint ourselves with God by proving his promises. Angels record every prayer that is earnest and sincere. We should rather dispense with selfish gratifications than neglect communion with God. The deepest poverty, the greatest self-denial, with his approval, is better than riches, honors, ease, and friendship without it. We must take time to pray.”4

In the Dark Ages, the man in black—the priest—claimed to be conscience for the individual. Today, too often the man in white—the doctor—claims to be the conscience for the individual.

If there ever was a time when the people of God should be on maximum alert, watching for the events that point towards the second coming of Jesus, it is now. If there ever was a time when the church should consider temperance as a priority, that time is now. If there ever was a time when we should treat our body with more respect and very special care regarding the food, drink, and whatever we put into it, that time is now. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

And in dealing with the matter of Christian temperance, we see the need of proper diet not only for the body but also for the mind. So, positive thinking and bad news do not reconcile with one another—but reading the Bible, seeking hope and faith have power to override the daily bad news. This is to be the basis of our education, our faith, our trust. We are to be “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This different kind of priority and lifestyle will surely bring persecution from the majority who blindly ride along with the current of worldly popularity and political correctness. When we are at the terminus point and there is no human solution, Jesus nonetheless bids us, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:28–33).

The faithful few overcome the enemy of souls “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

Jesus explains: “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:34, 35).

May we courageously be of this number!

1 1. The Great Controversy [1888 edition], pp. 458, 459.
2 2. The Faith I Live By, p. 359.
3 3. The Desire of Ages, p. 630.
4 4. The Great Controversy [1888 edition], pp. 621, 622.