by Ellen G. White
What We Should Be Doing During the Last Moment of Respite
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And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.—Revelation 7:1
What Does “Hold! hold! hold! hold!” Mean?
Revelation 7:1: And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, "My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!" Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, "Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads."
I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads. (Early Writings, p. 38)
What Will Happen When the Four Winds Are Released?
John beheld four angels standing on the corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. These symbols are illustrative of the troubles that will come upon the earth, but that the angels of God have been mercifully holding back until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads. (Manuscript Releases, 3:342)
We are amid the perils of the last days, and trying times are before us. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain. Drought, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, casualties by sea and land, will multiply. Life will be unsafe anywhere, only as the life is hid with Christ in God. Now, while the angels are holding the four winds, is our opportunity to seek the Lord most earnestly. (Ibid., 20:285)
Immorality, Decided Violence, and Persecution
We feel depressed, greatly depressed, as we see the world and its wickedness. The professed Christian world is enveloped in the darkness that covers the earth. We sigh and cry for the abominations that are done in the land. Why is it that all this wickedness does not break forth in decided violence against righteousness and truth? It is because the four angels are holding the four winds, that they shall not blow upon the earth. But human passions are reaching a high pass, and the Spirit of the Lord is being withdrawn from the earth. Were it not that God has commanded angelic agencies to control the satanic agencies that are seeking to break loose and to destroy, there would be no hope. But the winds are to be held until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. (In Heavenly Places, p. 96)
An Escalating of National Disputes
Old controversies which have apparently been hushed for a long time will be revived, and new controversies will spring up; new and old will commingle, and this will take place right early. The angels are holding the four winds, that they shall not blow, until the specified work of warning is given to the world; but the storm is gathering, the clouds are loading, ready to burst upon the world, and to many it will be as a thief in the night. (Special Testimonies, Series A, No. 1b, p. 38)
Terrible Destruction That Flattens Great Structures
The time is right upon us when there will be sorrow in the world that no human balm can heal. Even before the last great destruction comes upon the world, the flattering monuments of man's greatness will be crumbled in the dust. God's retributive judgments will fall on those who in the face of great light have continued in sin. Costly buildings, supposed to be fireproof, are erected. But as Sodom perished in the flames of God's vengeance, so will these proud structures become ashes. I have seen vessels which cost immense sums of money wrestling with the mighty ocean, seeking to breast the angry billows. But with all their treasures of gold and silver, and with all their human freight, they sank into a watery grave. . . . But amid the tumult of excitement, with confusion in every place, there is a work to be done for God in the world. (Maranatha, p. 175)
Religious Rights Denied
The time is fast approaching when we shall be made to feel the hand of oppression, because we demand our religious rights. Shall we then dishonor God by keeping silent, when his holy commandments are being trampled under foot?
We have been looking many years for a Sunday law to be enacted in our land; and now that the movement is right upon us, we ask, What are our people going to do in the matter? Do you realize that the night will soon come, when no man can work? Have you that intensity of zeal, that piety and devotion, which will enable you to stand when opposition is brought upon you? (Review and Herald,December 11, 1888)
What Should We Be Doing While the Angels Hold the Winds?
Work to Preserve Our Freedom
We as a people have not accomplished the work which God has committed to us. We are not ready for the issue to which the enforcement of the Sunday law will bring us. It is our duty, as we see the signs of approaching peril, to arouse to action. Let none sit in calm expectation of the evil, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter His people. We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be most earnest prayer, and then let us work in harmony with our prayers. . . . Man's necessity is God's opportunity. It may be that a respite may yet be granted for God's people to awake and let their light shine.
If our people continue in the listless attitude in which they have been, God cannot pour upon them His Spirit. They are unprepared to co‑operate with Him. They are not awake to the situation and do not realize the threatened danger. They should feel now, as never before, their need of vigilance and concerted action. (Testimonies for the Church, 5:713, 714)
While the Protestant world is by her attitude making concessions to Rome, let us arouse to comprehend the situation and view the contest before us in its true bearings. Let the watchmen now lift up their voice and give the message which is present truth for this time. Let us show the people where we are in prophetic history and seek to arouse the spirit of true Protestantism, awaking the world to a sense of the value of the privileges of religious liberty so long enjoyed. . . .
Especially should we, with unwavering faith, seek God for grace and power to be given to His people now. We do not believe that the time has fully come when He would have our liberties restricted. The prophet saw "four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree." Another angel, ascending from the east, cried to them, saying: "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." This points out the work we have now to do. A vast responsibility is devolving upon men and women of prayer throughout the land to petition that God will sweep back the cloud of evil and give a few more years of grace in which to work for the Master. Let us cry to God that the angels may hold the four winds until missionaries shall be sent to all parts of the world and shall proclaim the warning against disobeying the law of Jehovah. (Ibid., pp. 716-718)
Awaken From Lethargy and Get Ready
But the churches are not awake. New life must enter into the churches. The last work of warning and mercy for a fallen world is being done. . . .
Now is the time to work, just now. There is not a moment to lose. All national, denominational, and sectarian distinctions between rank and rank, between caste and caste, are lost. The message is to be proclaimed in the highways and byways and hedges. Every human agent is merging his character under one of two heads‑‑the Prince of Life and the prince of darkness. To those who receive Christ He gives power to become loyal sons of God. They keep His commandments. The benediction rests upon them, "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Rev. 22:14). The commandment breakers are left outside with the false shepherds whom they believed, and with "whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" (Rev. 22:15). (Manuscript Releases, 15:222, 223)
The angel of God was to pass over the houses of the Hebrews with the blood sprinkled on the lintels and doorposts. This sign was to be respected.
But suppose that the inmates of the house were careless and did not gather their children with them in the house? Or suppose the children who had been born and brought up in Egypt thought this only a whim, and altogether unnecessary, and should refuse the entreaties of their parents, making some excuse as did those called to the marriage supper? Then the judgment of God would not spare, but the stroke would as surely come upon the firstborn of the Hebrews as the firstborn of the Egyptians.
What is the condition of those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus? If in families there are those who are refusing obedience to the Lord in keeping His Sabbath, then the seal cannot be placed upon them. The sealing is a pledge from God of perfect security to His chosen ones (Ex. 31:13‑17). Sealing indicates you are God's chosen. He has appropriated you to Himself. As the sealed of God we are Christ's purchased possession, and no one shall pluck us out of His hands. (Ibid., p. 225)
Don’t Be Focused on the Trivial
The Lord has shown me the danger of letting our minds be filled with worldly thoughts and cares. I saw that some minds are led away from present truth and a love of the Holy Bible by reading other exciting books; others are filled with perplexity and care for what they shall eat, drink, and wear. Some are looking too far off for the coming of the Lord. Time has continued a few years longer than they expected; therefore they think it may continue a few years more, and in this way their minds are being led from present truth, out after the world. In these things I saw great danger; for if the mind is filled with other things, present truth is shut out, and there is no place in our foreheads for the seal of the living God. I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished and that time can last but a very little longer. What leisure time we have should be spent in searching the Bible, which is to judge us in the last day.
My dear brethren and sisters, let the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ be in your minds continually and let them crowd out worldly thoughts and cares. When you lie down and when you rise up, let them be your meditation. Live and act wholly in reference to the coming of the Son of man. The sealing time is very short, and will soon be over. Now is the time, while the four angels are holding the four winds, to make our calling and election sure.(Early Writings, p. 58)
Study the Bible as Never Before
My brethren, do you realize that your own salvation, as well as the destiny of other souls, depends upon the preparation you now make for the trial before us? Have you that intensity of zeal, that piety and devotion, which will enable you to stand when opposition shall be brought against you? If God has ever spoken by me, the time will come when you will be brought before councils, and every position of truth which you hold will be severely criticized. The time that so many are now allowing to go to waste should be devoted to the charge that God has given us of preparing for the approaching crisis. . . .
Study your Bible as you have never studied it before. Unless you arise to a higher, holier state in your religious life, you will not be ready for the appearing of our Lord. As great light has been given, God expects corresponding zeal, faithfulness, and devotion on the part of His people. There must be more spirituality, a deeper consecration to God, and a zeal in His work that has never yet been reached. Much time should be spent in prayer, that our garments of character may be washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. (Testimonies for the Church, 5:716, 717)
The time is not far off when the people of God will be called upon to give their testimony before the rulers of the earth. Not one in twenty has a realization of what rapid strides we are making toward the great crisis in our history. The angels of God are holding the four winds, and this leads many to cry, Peace and safety; but there is no time for vanity, for trifling, for engaging the mind in unimportant matters. We must empty the soul temple of every defilement, and let the Spirit of God take full possession of the heart, that the character may be transformed.(Review and Herald, April 26, 1892)
Overcome Through Dependence on God
We must hang our whole weight on the world's Redeemer; he must be our dependence for strength. Without this, all our efforts will be unavailing. Even now the time has come when we must recognize this fully, or we shall be outgeneraled by a powerful, cunning foe. We must connect more closely with God; and all our plans and arrangements must be in harmony with his plans, or they will not prove effectual.
The Holy Spirit is grieved and driven away by the self‑sufficiency and rude traits of character which are cherished. These unhallowed elements must be burned out by the Spirit of God.
In dealing with our brethren, we must remember that they are children of God, and that he will teach one of his faithful workers as readily as he will teach another. There is no respect of persons with him. He would not have any man receive the idea that God will teach him only, and that all must come to his light. Brethren, go to Jesus, fast and pray, and wrestle with God. Let every one know for himself what the will of the Lord is; then he will not move blindly.
Yet brethren should esteem one another, counsel together, and pray together until there is unity among them. God wants us to work with an eye single to his glory. . . . May God make his servants wise through the divine illumination, that the mold of man may not be seen on any of the great and important enterprises before us. (Review and Herald, December 15, 1885)
Four mighty angels are still holding the four winds of the earth. Terrible destruction is forbidden to come in full. The accidents by land and by sea; the loss of life, steadily increasing, by storm, by tempest, by railroad disaster, by conflagration; the terrible floods, the earthquakes, and the winds will be the stirring up of the nations to one deadly combat, while the angels hold the four winds, forbidding the terrible power of Satan to be exercised in its fury until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. Get ready, get ready, I beseech you, get ready before it shall be forever too late! The ministers of vengeance will pour all the terrible judgments upon a God‑forsaken people. The way of obedience is the only path of life. May the Lord help you to see it in time to open your ears, that you may hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
What is my duty? What shall I do to save my children and to save many souls from the coming tempest of wrath unmixed with mercy? God claims every power, every capability of action to be invested in the doing of his work. Talents, possessions, everything that is great and noble in man he calls to be exercised in his work. Duty admits no rival, enters into no compromise with any opposing powers. The most precious friends and relatives must not step in between your duty and your God. The voice of duty is the voice of God in our souls. Obedience to its claims brings us into living personal agreement with the highest law in the universe‑‑brings man into alliance with God.
Let the churches be aroused. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." This message concerns all our churches. You can never employ your faculty of hearing better than in hearkening to hear what the voice of God speaks to you in his word. There is a rich and abundant promise to those who overcome. It is not enough to enter upon this warfare, we must pursue it to the end. We must know nothing of yielding. We must fight the good fight of faith to the very end. To the overcomer is promised the triumphal victory. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." . . .
It is our work to know our special failings and sins, which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness, and quenched our first love. Is it worldliness? Is it selfishness? Is it the love of self‑esteem? Is it striving to be first? Is it the sin of sensuality that is intensely active? Is it the sin of the Nicolaitans, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness? Is it the misuse and abuse of great light and opportunities and privileges, making boasted claims to wisdom and religious knowledge, while the life and character are inconsistent and immoral? Whatever it is that has been petted and cultivated until it has become strong and overmastering, make determined efforts to overcome, else you will be lost. It is these cherished sins, abhorrent to God, that make enfeebled moral courage, and leave you to choose to walk apart from God, while you retain a miserable, heartless, outward form. (Review and Herald, June 7, 1887)
As the olive trees empty themselves into the golden pipes, so the heavenly messengers seek to communicate all that they receive from God. The whole heavenly treasure awaits our demand and reception; and as we receive the blessing, we in our turn are to impart it. Thus it is that the holy lamps are fed, and the church becomes a light bearer in the world.
This is the work that the Lord would have every soul prepared to do at this time, when the four angels are holding the four winds, that they shall not blow until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. There is no time now for self‑pleasing. The lamps of the soul must be trimmed. They must be supplied with the oil of grace. Every precaution must be taken to prevent spiritual declension, lest the great day of the Lord overtake us as a thief in the night. Every witness for God is now to work intelligently in the lines which God has appointed. We should daily obtain a deep and living experience in the work of perfecting Christian character. We should daily receive the holy oil, that we may impart to others. All may be light bearers to the world if they will. We are to sink self out of sight in Jesus. We are to receive the word of the Lord in counsel and instruction, and gladly communicate it. There is now need of much prayer. Christ commands, "Pray without ceasing;" that is, keep the mind uplifted to God, the source of all power and efficiency. . . . Those who do not cultivate the spirit and habit of prayer cannot expect to receive the golden oil of goodness, patience, long‑suffering, gentleness, love.
Everyone is to keep himself separate from the world, which is full of iniquity. We are not to walk with God for a time, and then part from His company and walk in the sparks of our own kindling. There must be a firm continuance, a perseverance in acts of faith. We are to praise God; to show forth His glory in a righteous character. No one of us will gain the victory without persevering, untiring effort, proportionate to the value of the object which we seek, even eternal life.
The dispensation in which we are now living is to be, to those that ask, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. Ask for His blessing. It is time we were more intense in our devotion. To us is committed the arduous, but happy, glorious work of revealing Christ to those who are in darkness. We are called to proclaim the special truths for this time. For all this the outpouring of the Spirit is essential. We should pray for it. The Lord expects us to ask Him. We have not been wholehearted in this work. (Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 510-512)
What are you doing . . . in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth‑‑these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity. Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world‑loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God‑‑candidates for heaven.
Every individual soul, if he would receive the seal of the living God, must hear the Word of the Lord, and do it with exactitude. There must be no such thing as haphazard religion if men would have a place in the family of God.
Now is the time, while the four angels are holding the four winds, to make our calling and election sure. (The Faith I Live By, p. 288)
Results of Righteous Life Seen Even at Home
We need to offer praise and thanksgiving to God, not only in the congregation, but in the home life. Let the voices of His heritage be heard recounting the works of the Lord. Speak of His goodness, tell of His power. . . .
However black the clouds that roll upon the world at the present time, there is light beyond. Ignorance, superstition, darkness, unbelief strong and masterful, will meet us at every step we advance. But our faith must soar above all and see the bow of promise encircling the throne. We must reflect the light with pen and voice, praising God before the world. (In Heavenly Places, p. 96)
Help in Temptation
It is not safe for us, when going into battle, to cast away our weapons. It is then that we need to be equipped with the whole armor of God. Every piece is essential. (Testimonies for the Church,7:190)
While Satan is constantly seeking to blind their minds to the fact, let Christians never forget that they "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places." Ephesians 6:12, margin. The inspired warning is sounding down the centuries to our time: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8. "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Ephesians 6:11. (The Great Controversy, p. 510)
When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God and agonize with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty, but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus! Then would Israel move forward, strong in God, and in the power of His might. (Early Writings, p. 46)
Now Is Time to Work Earnestly
Everything in this world is in an unsettled state. The nations are angry, and preparations for war are being made. But though there is among the nations an increasing unrest, though they are mustering their forces, they are as if held back from action by an unseen power. The angels are holding the four winds until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. . . .
A moment of respite has been graciously given us of God. Every power lent us of Heaven is now to be used in working for those perishing in ignorance. 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 to those who know the truth for this time, this work has been entrusted. (Review and Herald, November 17, 1910)
John sees the elements of nature‑‑earthquake, tempest, and political strife‑‑represented as being held by four angels. These winds are under control until God gives the word to let them go. There is the safety of God's church. The angels of God do His bidding, holding back the winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree, until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads. . . .
Angels are now restraining the winds of strife, until the world shall be warned of its coming doom; but a storm is gathering, ready to burst upon the earth, and when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture. (Maranatha, p. 266)
The Lord is soon to come. The angels are holding the four winds, in order that God's people may do their long‑neglected work. We are not half awake to what might be done in our world. . . .
House‑to‑house work is one very successful way of reaching souls. But it is not the only way that God has provided for the advancement of his work. Decided proclamations of truth are to be made. But in regard to this work, I am instructed to say to our people, Be guarded. In bearing the message, make no personal thrusts at other churches. Speak the truth in tones and words of love. Let Christ be exalted. Keep to the affirmative of truth. Never leave the straight path God has marked out, for the purpose of giving some one a thrust. That thrust may do much harm, and no good. It may quench conviction in many minds. Let the truth tell the story of the inconsistency of error.
People cannot be expected to see at once the advantage of the truth over the error they have cherished. The best way to expose the fallacy of error is to present truth. This is the greatest rebuke that can be given to error. Dispel the cloud of darkness resting on minds by reflecting the bright light of the Sun of righteousness. (Review and Herald, October 7, 1902)
We all need to be wide awake, that, as the way opens, we may advance the work in the large cities. We are far behind in following the light given us to enter the cities and erect memorials for God. Step by step we are to lead souls into the full light of truth. Many are longing for spiritual food. We are to continue working until a church is organized and a humble house of worship built. I am greatly encouraged to believe that many persons not of our faith will help considerably by their means. The light given me is that in many places, especially in the great cities . . . , help will be given by such persons. (Reflecting Christ, p. 241)
The message must go, notwithstanding the hard times. We must make special efforts in this direction now, while the angels are holding the four winds. Soon the time to labor will be past. Who does not want to have a part in this closing work? All can do something. Those who cannot give themselves can give of their means, and all can pray that the Lord will not only raise up laborers, but that the treasury, now empty, may be supplied with the necessary funds to extend the work. Pray, brethren, pray earnestly, that the hearts of some who are doing very little, and of others who have as yet done nothing, may be opened, and that the means that God has intrusted to them may be used to his glory. The truth must go to all nations, tongues, and people, and that speedily. (Review and Herald,November 3, 1885)
The Lord has revealed to us that the Laodicean message applies to the church at this time, and yet how few make a practical application of it to themselves. God has wrought for us; we have no complaint to make of heaven, for the richest blessings have been proffered us, but our people have been very reluctant to accept them. Those who have been so stubborn and rebellious that they would not humble themselves to receive the light God sent in mercy to their souls, became so destitute of the Holy Spirit that the Lord could not use them. Unless they are converted these men will never enter the mansions of the blest.
Some have been preaching the Word whose labors are tainted with impurity and licentiousness. They have done far more harm than good. Unless they shall turn from their evil ways, they will perish with the wicked. Others have carried the truth in a very indifferent manner; they have had no real burden of the work; they have gone backward rather than forward. It is high time for these to retrace their steps, for they have lost their first love. The Lord's injunction to them is, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." (Manuscript Releases, 15:306)
We should not work to the point where we exhaust our powers and cut short our days, but work in accordance with the laws of life and health, and do no more than we can do intelligently and with thoroughness. We have thought too much depended on what we could do, and have not depended enough on the Lord God of Israel to work for His people. God does not require any one of us to preach long discourses and offer long prayers, and raise the voice to a high pitch, and hold so many meetings that the physical and mental powers are nearly wrecked.(Ibid., pp. 353, 354)
What to Do With Material Possessions?
Live Sacrificially; Spend Your Money to Save Souls
The necessities of the work now demand a far greater outlay than ever before. The Lord calls upon His people to make every effort to curtail their expenses. . . . Let the money that has been devoted to the gratification of self flow into the Lord's treasury to sustain those who are working to save perishing souls. Let those who have houses and lands give heed to the message, "Sell that ye have, and give alms." "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse; that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" [Mal. 3:10].
The Lord is soon to come. We must work while the day lasts; for the night is coming, in which no man can work. Oh, many, many have lost the spirit of self‑denial and sacrifice. They have been burying their money in temporal possessions. There are men whom God has blessed, whom He is testing to see what response they will make to His benefits. They have withheld their tithes and offerings until their debt to the Lord God of hosts has become so great that they grow pale at the thought of rendering unto the Lord His own‑‑a just tithe. Make haste, brethren, you have now [the] opportunity to be honest with God; delay not. For your soul's sake, no longer rob God in tithes and offerings.
The Lord calls for every talent of means and ability to be put to use. When the reproach of indolence and slothfulness shall have been wiped away from the church, the Spirit of the Lord will be graciously manifested; divine power will combine with human effort, the church will see the providential interpositions of the Lord God of hosts, the light of truth will be diffused, the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. As in the apostles' time, many souls will turn unto the Lord. The earth will be lightened with the glory of the angel from heaven. . . .
At the same time there will be a power stirring everything from beneath. The working of evil angels will be manifest in deceptions, delusions, in calamities, and in casualties and crimes of no ordinary character. While God employs the angels of mercy to work through His human agents, Satan sets his agencies in operation, laying under tribute all the powers that submit to his control. . . .
Work, oh, work, keeping eternity in view. Bear in mind that every power must be sanctified. In yourselves you are powerless to do anything good. Christ declares, "Without Me ye can do nothing." Becoming partakers of the divine nature, you can do all things. Through Christ you can have power with God and with men.(The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1132-1134)
Don’t Store Away Provisions
The Lord has shown me repeatedly that it is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble. I saw that if the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time, and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness. If necessary He would send ravens to feed us, as He did to feed Elijah, or rain manna from heaven, as He did for the Israelites. (Early Writings, p. 56)
Put Property on Altar; God Will Reveal When to Sell
Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.
I saw that if any held on to their property and did not inquire of the Lord as to their duty, He would not make duty known, and they would be permitted to keep their property, and in the time of trouble it would come up before them like a mountain to crush them, and they would try to dispose of it, but would not be able. I heard some mourn like this: "The cause was languishing, God's people were starving for the truth, and we made no effort to supply the lack; now our property is useless. Oh, that we had let it go, and laid up treasure in heaven!" I saw that a sacrifice did not increase, but it decreased and was consumed. I also saw that God had not required all of His people to dispose of their property at the same time; but if they desired to be taught, He would teach them, in a time of need, when to sell and how much to sell. Some have been required to dispose of their property in times past to sustain the Advent cause, while others have been permitted to keep theirs until a time of need. Then, as the cause needs it, their duty is to sell. (Early Writings, pp. 56, 57)
Don’t Rush the Winds!
It is very strange that some of our brethren should feel that it is their duty to bring about a condition of things that would bind up the means that God would have set free. God has not laid upon them the responsibility of coming in conflict with the authorities and powers of the world in this matter. The withstraining hand of God has not yet been withdrawn from the earth. Let the leaders in the work bide their time, hide in Christ, and move and work with great wisdom. Let them be as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves. I have repeatedly been shown that we might receive far more favors than we do in many ways if we would approach men in wisdom, acquaint them with our work, and give them an opportunity of doing those things which it is our privilege to induce them to do for the advancement of the work of God. (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 203)
What Will Happen After Probation Closes?
I was pointed down to the time when the third angel's message was closing. The power of God had rested upon His people; they had accomplished their work and were prepared for the trying hour before them. They had received the latter rain, or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and the living testimony had been revived. The last great warning had sounded everywhere, and it had stirred up and enraged the inhabitants of the earth who would not receive the message.
I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven. An angel with a writer's inkhorn by his side returned from the earth and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed. Then I saw Jesus, who had been ministering before the ark containing the ten commandments, throw down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said, "It is done." . . . (Early Writings,p. 279)
I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.
I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of "refreshing" and the "latter rain" to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! (Ibid., p. 71)
When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, then they who are holy and righteous will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will then be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no Priest in the sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father's throne. Therefore what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath must be done before Jesus leaves the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. (Ibid., p. 48)
Don’t Let the Warning Go Unheeded
When the Saviour saw in the Jewish people a nation divorced from God, He saw also a professed Christian Church united to the world and the papacy. And as He stood upon Olivet, weeping over Jerusalem till the sun sank behind the western hills, so He is weeping over and pleading with sinners in these last moments of time. Soon He will say to the angels who are holding the four winds, "Let the plagues loose; let darkness, destruction, and death come upon the transgressors of my law." Will He be obliged to say to those who have had great light and knowledge, as He said to the Jews, "If thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes"? (Review and Herald, October 8, 1901)