When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honor
the law of God, there will be, in different lands, a simultaneous movement
for their destruction. As the time appointed in the decree draws near, the
people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to
strike in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice
of dissent and reproof.
The people of God--some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats
in the forests and the mountains--still plead for divine protection, while
in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels,
are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost
extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of
His chosen. Saith the Lord; "Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a
holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth . . . to
come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel. And the
Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the
lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the
flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones."
Isaiah 30:29, 30.
With shouts of triumph, jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are
about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than
the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow, shining
with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to
encircle each praying company. The angry multitudes are suddenly arrested.
Their mocking cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are
forgotten. With fearful forebodings they gaze upon the symbol of God's
covenant and long to be shielded from its overpowering brightness.
By the people of God a voice, clear and melodious, is heard, saying, "Look
up," and lifting their eyes to the heavens, they behold the bow of
promise. The black, angry clouds that covered the firmament are parted,
and like Stephen they look up steadfastly into heaven and see the glory of
God and the Son of man seated upon His throne. In His divine form they
discern the marks of His humiliation; and from His lips they hear the
request presented before His Father and the holy angels: "I will that they
also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." John 17:24. Again a
voice, musical and triumphant, is heard, saying: "They come! they come!
holy, harmless, and undefiled. They have kept the word of My patience;
they shall walk among the angels;" and the pale, quivering lips of those
who have held fast their faith utter a shout of victory.
It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His
people. The sun appears, shining in its strength. Signs and wonders follow
in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and amazement upon the
scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their
deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The
streams cease to flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up and clash against each
other. In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of
indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many
waters, saying: "It is done." Revelation 16:17. That voice shakes
the heavens and the earth. There is a
mighty earthquake, "such as was not since men were upon the earth, so
mighty an earthquake, and so great." Verses 17, 18.
The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God
seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and
ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a roar as of a coming
tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a
hurricane like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The
whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is
breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way.
Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports
that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry
waters. Babylon the great has come in remembrance before God, "to give
unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath." Great
hailstones, every one "about the weight of a talent," are doing their work
of destruction. Verses 19, 21. The proudest cities of the earth are laid
low. The lordly palaces, upon which the world's great men have lavished
their wealth in order to glorify themselves, are crumbling to ruin before
their eyes. Prison walls are rent asunder, and God's people, who have been
held in bondage for their faith, are set free.
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." Daniel 12:2. 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"
(Revelation 1:7), 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
Thick clouds still cover the sky; yet the sun now and then breaks through,
appearing like the avenging eye of Jehovah. Fierce lightnings leap
from the heavens, enveloping the earth in a sheet of flame. Above the
terrific roar of thunder, voices, mysterious and awful, declare the doom
of the wicked.
The words spoken are not comprehended by all; but they are distinctly
understood by the false teachers. Those who a little before were so
reckless, so boastful and defiant, so exultant in their cruelty to God's
commandment-keeping people, are now overwhelmed with consternation and
shuddering in fear. Their wails are heard above the sound of the elements.
Demons acknowledge the deity of Christ and tremble before His power, while
men are supplicating for mercy and groveling in abject terror.