We need the big picture. We
need to know that God is leading us. We need to have certainty of salvation. We
need to realize that we are living at stupendous times. Once we have these we
need to keep them ever before us. This is the big picture, the true guiding
“The prophecies which the great I AM has given in His Word,
uniting link after link in the chain of events, from eternity in the past to
eternity in the future, tell us where we are today in the procession of the
and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy
has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the
pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be
fulfilled in its order.
Today the signs of the times declare that we are
standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world
is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour’s prophecy of the
events to precede His coming: “Ye shall he
ar of wars and rumors of wars…. Nation shall rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and
earthquakes, in divers places.”
The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all
. Rulers and statesmen, men
who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all
classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They
are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element,
and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place,
― that the
world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis. Prophets and
Kings, pp. 536,
It’s so easy to get consumed
with the day-to-day cares and forget the big picture. Are we seeing the
collapse of Protestantism all around us? Has the Bible lost all of its truth
and power to save the hearts of men? To reveal the deceptions of Satan?
“Babylon the great is fallen,
is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul
spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For 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.” (Rev. 18:2,3).
Are we seeing a world
growing in atheism, being increasingly corrupted by the false prophet from
Babylon, and living without a knowledge of the goodness of God, therefore unable
to control their anger?
“The nations were angry,
and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the
saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy
them which destroy the earth.” (Rev. 11:18).
Aren’t the nations angry because the
God of love is hidden from their sight? Isn’t He unknown to them because they
have accepted the life of atheistic idolatry and self-indulgence? Aren’t we
seeing a world that has completely forgotten that there will be a day of judgment?
Aren’t they growing increasingly oblivious or arrogantly opposed to such a
concept? Isn’t the world so disbelieving in the Almighty that everything moral
is relative, that there aren’t moral absolutes from their Creator? Isn’t the
world hardening in its atheistic ways and thinking, and strengthening its influences
and draw upon a dwindling core of faithful to the old path wherein is the good way and rest for our souls?
We must inquire of our souls
and seek diligently to know, Are we becoming foolish virgins, less inclined to
love the word of God and the cleansing that it gives us? Is our fullness of joy
still in the things of God, so that our reserve of oil remains full, along with
the present lamp in our hearts? Are we stockpiling His admonitions, just in case?
Just in case the coming troubles take longer than we want to believe they will? We must afflict
our souls and ask ourselves, Can I live like this internet connected, finance connected world is not on the verge of a
stupendous crisis? Will I go to work just to pay the bills, like Babylon does?
Or just to save up for some future dream of “the good life”, like the Sodomites did? Remember Lot’s wife. Remember Sodom.
Remember Belshazzar. Remember the Babylonians. Remember their religious
celebrations and partying the night of their destruction
“And as it was in the days of
Noe, so shall it be also 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 Noe 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 that Lot
went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them
Even thus shall it be in the
day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30).
We need a guiding light. We
need the very presence of Jesus, for Him to keep reminding us of the times in which we
live. We need to be part of the purposes of God so that we can have the earnest
for the high standard that pleases Him. This is what Jesus did for the father of the Old Testament holy prophets and people.
“The Lord knew the evil
influences that would surround Jacob, and the perils to which he would be
exposed. In mercy He opened up the future before the repentant fugitive, that
he might understand the divine purpose with reference to himself, and be
prepared to resist the temptations that would surely come to him when alone
amid idolaters and scheming men. There would be ever before him the high
standard at which he must aim; and the knowledge that through him the purpose
of God was reaching its accomplishment, would constantly prompt him to
faithfulness.” Patriarchs and Prophets
Because of Jacob’s vision from
heaven, “there would be ever before him the high standard at which he must aim;
and the knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its accomplishment,
would constantly prompt him to faithfulness.” Jacob needed to “understand the
divine purpose with reference to himself, and be prepared to resist the
temptations that would surely come to him when alone amid idolaters and
Do we recognize a divine
purpose with reference to ourselves? Is God for us? Is our confidence in God? Can we say with certainty,
“If God be for us, who can be
against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
Does this verse apply to us? Haven’t
we set our love on Jesus? Can we sense that God has been for us, and still is?
How do we answer that question? Have we made many mistakes? Grievous mistakes?
Seeming unpardonable mistakes? Nonetheless, have we sought God’s face anyway,
just in case He will hear us? Will we ask Him for a little blessing, “If that is all we deserve from You?” Will we recite His promises, and let them encourage us find the courage to look upward to Him because His promises say that His mercy endureth forever?
In shame and humiliation, has our prayer been to
God, “Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy holy Spirit
from me” (Ps. 51:11)? In spite of our status before the Law of God, has our
tenacious prayer been, “I also … will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the King,
which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish” (Est. 4:16)? Have we found when we did that, that
“nevertheless I live” (Gal. 2:20)? Because of persistent faith we live in His
sight. Importunate prayer makes strong, robust sons of God.
Are we examining ourselves lest saving faith silently slips away and we mysteriously become reprobate? Am I asking myself, Do I
still have peace with God? Have I left Him for the trinkets and tasty treats of this world? How recent is my sense of God’s acceptance by His grace and a renewed hope
in Jesus? Can I say once again, Does God have a plan for me? Am I in that plan? Am I diligently
keeping myself open to Him? Am I remaining unburdened regarding, and unattached
to, the world so that Jesus can use me? Is my status with the world so ready to
detach from it that I could leave it all for the gospel’s sake at a moment’s notice? Have we surrendered all, so we have nothing to lose, especially our peace with God?
Such a dedication to God
doesn’t imply being super-religious, fanatical, cloistered away from the world,
or so woefully paralyzed by last day events that I am not able to come to Jesus, as my
Comforter. But, it does mean being shamed and vulnerable before God and His Law. Then it
means the Father taking me to Jesus and me choosing to stay with m Master, according to
It means learning of
Jesus without forgetting the stupendous times in which we live. It means desiring
to share the good things I’ve learned about the goodness of my Friend and having a
ready answer to others concerning the hope that lies within me. It means
remembering that the final message to the world is the utmost concern today. The qualifications for giving that final message
are the biggest reason to keep studying the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. It means
overcoming self and appetites. It means gathering up precious promises in
scripture, in nature, in experiences of life. It means doing whatever the
Spirit of the Lord brings to mind for o preparing to see Jesus’ soon “coming in
the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matt. 24:30).
“Behold, what manner of love
the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:
therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are
we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know
that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He
is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is
pure.” (1Jn. 3:1-3).
“While the investigative
judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are
being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of
purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” Great Controversy
, p. 425.
“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.’ John 14:30. 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.
It is in this life that we are to separate
sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour
invites us to join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our
ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. God’s providence is
the school in which we are to learn the meekness and lowliness of Jesus. The
Lord is ever setting before us, not the way we would choose, which seems easier
and pleasanter to us, but the true aims of life. It rests with us to co-operate
with the agencies which Heaven employs in the work of conforming our characters
to the divine model. None can neglect or defer this work but at the most
fearful peril to their souls.” Great
, p. 623.
It means staying alert to the
times and getting ready to meet Jesus face to face.
“Whosoever committeth sin
transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye
know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.
Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him,
neither known Him.” (1Jn. 3:4-6).
“Watch ye therefore: for ye
know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at
the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:35-37).
“And then shall appear the
sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth
mourn.” (Matt. 24:30).
“Behold, He cometh with
clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all
kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Rev. 1:7).
Will we stand when He comes, and say, This is our God? Or, will we run away from Him with the careless world? Won’t our choice be as difficult as Christ’s choice was in Gethsemane? Yes.
“And the kings of the earth,
and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty
men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in
the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us,
and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath
of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to
stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17).
Are we being humbled? Are we
letting either the Law of God or the lessons of life lay our pride in the dust?
“What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of
man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for
himself.” Testimonies to Ministers,
p. 456. Is our uncircumcised heart being humbled? Are we being justified? Born again? Having Christ’s peace and power?
“From the hour when he
received the birthright, Jacob was weighed down with self-condemnation. He had
sinned against his father, his brother, his own soul, and against God.” Patriarchs and Prophets
, p. 180.
“Yet it was with a deeply
troubled heart that Jacob set out on his lonely journey. With only his staff in
his hand he must travel hundreds of miles through a country inhabited by wild,
roving tribes. In his remorse and timidity he sought to avoid men, lest he
should be traced by his angry brother. He feared that he had lost forever the
blessing that God had purposed to give him; and Satan was at hand to press temptations
The evening of the second day found him
far away from his father’s tents. He felt that he was an outcast, and he knew
that all this trouble had been brought upon him by his own wrong course. The
darkness of despair pressed upon his soul, and he hardly dared to pray. But he
was so utterly lonely that he felt the need of protection from God as he had
never felt it before. With weeping and deep humiliation he confessed his sin,
and entreated for some evidence that he was not utterly forsaken. Still his
burdened heart found no relief. He had lost all confidence in himself, and he feared
that the God of his fathers had cast him off.
But God did not forsake Jacob. His mercy
was still extended to His erring, distrustful servant. The Lord compassionately
revealed just what Jacob needed--a Saviour. He had sinned, but his heart was filled
with gratitude as he saw revealed a way by which he could be restored to the
favor of God.
Wearied with his journey, the wanderer lay
down upon the ground, with a stone for his pillow. As he slept he beheld a
ladder, bright and shining, whose base rested upon the earth, while the top
reached to heaven. Upon this ladder angels were ascending and descending; above
it was the Lord of glory, and from the heavens His voice was heard: ‘I am the
Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac.’ The land whereon he lay
as an exile and fugitive was promised to him and to his posterity, with the
assurance, ‘In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be
blessed.’ This promise had been given to Abraham and to Isaac, and now it was
renewed to Jacob. Then in special regard to his present loneliness and
distress, the words of comfort and encouragement were spoken: ‘Behold, I am
with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring
thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which
I have spoken to thee of.’” Patriarchs
, p. 183.
“In mercy [the Lord] opened
up the future before the repentant fugitive, that he might understand the
divine purpose with reference to himself, and be prepared to resist the
temptations that would surely come to him when alone amid idolaters and
scheming men. There would be ever before him the high standard at which he must
aim; and the knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its
accomplishment, would constantly prompt him to faithfulness.” Patriarchs and Prophets
, p. 184.
Do we have Jacob’s experience
of conviction of sin, and his deep repentance? Do we have the faithful result
of that in his certainty of salvation? Has the Lord done for us what He did for
His repentant child and opened up our eyes to the near future and its difficult
time of troubles, and its temptations to leave the only true God and join in with
the merriment of the one false god who has lifted himself up to be equal with
the Godhead? Shouldn’t we have the certainty of salvation that Jacob had? Yes, all
scripture is profitable for doctrine. We must have that kind of certainty, we must fortify our minds with the truths of God’s word or we cannot
be one of the 144,000, and we will fail out of the hard test ahead of us. He will
bring upon the world a first time of trouble to punish us for our neglect toward His high, high standard counsels in the Spirit of Prophecy. But, it will all be for our benefit, as a last chance for Him to finalize His preparation of the
last generation who do stand with Him on Mt. Zion during that final trial.
“And they that are left of
you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the
iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. If they shall
confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass
which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto
me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into
the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and
they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember my
covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with
Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Lev. 26:39-42).
By the strong work and counsels
of the faithful and reproving Witness of Jesus, and by our strong confidence in His mercy for us we will see an
army of angels travelling up to and down from Mt. Zion where sits the Son
of Man on the right hand of Power. By faith we will “come unto mount Sion, and
unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable
company of angels.” (Heb. 12:22).
Won’t we strive to be among