The Spirit of Prophecy Volume 4

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Mind, Character and Personality - Volume 2. Medical Ministry. Messages to Young People. My Life Today. Our Father Cares. Our High Calling. Pastoral Ministry.

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Patriarchs and Prophets. Peter's Counsel to Parents. Prophets and Kings. Reflecting Christ. Royalty and Ruin. Selected Messages - Volume 1. Selected Messages - Volume 2. Selected Messages - Volume 3. Sketches From the Life of Paul. Sons and Daughters of God. Special Testimonies on Education. Spiritual Gifts - Volume 1. Spiritual Gifts - Volume 2. Spiritual Gifts - Volume 3. Spiritual Gifts - Volume 4A. Spiritual Gifts - Volume 4B.

Steps to Christ. Supplement to Christian Experience. Testimonies to the Church - Volume 1. Testimonies to the Church - Volume 2. Testimonies to the Church - Volume 3. Testimonies to the Church - Volume 4. Testimonies to the Church - Volume 5. Testimonies to the Church - Volume 6. Testimonies to the Church - Volume 7. Testimonies to the Church - Volume 8.

Ellen White - The Spirit of Prophecy (Volume 1) - Chapter 1: The Fall of Satan

Testimonies to the Church - Volume 9. Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers. Testimonies on Sabbath School Work. Testimonies on Sexual Behaviour. Testimonies to Southern Africa. Through the preaching of the apostles and their associates, God would cause light to shine upon them; they could see how prophecy had been fullled, not only in the birth and life of Christ, but in his death and resurrection. The children were not condemned for the sins of the parents; but when, with a knowledge of all the light given to their parents, the children rejected the additional light granted to themselves, they became partakers of the parents sins, and lled up the measure of their iniquity.

The long-suffering of God toward Jerusalem, only conrmed the Jews in their stubborn impenitence. In their hatred and cruelty toward the disciples of Jesus, they rejected the last offer of mercy. Then God withdrew his protection from them, and removed his restraining power from Satan and his angels, and the nation was left to the control of the leader she had chosen. Her children had spurned the grace of Christ, which would have enabled them to subdue their [30] evil impulses, and now these became the conquerors. Satan aroused the ercest and most debased passions of the soul.

Men did not reason; they were beyond reason,controlled by impulse and blind rage. They became Satanic in their cruelty. In the family and in the nation, alike among the highest and the lowest classes, there was suspicion, envy, hatred, strife, rebellion, murder. There was no safety anywhere.

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Friends and kindred betrayed one another. Parents slew their children, and children their parents. The rulers of the people had no power to rule themselves. Uncontrolled passions made them tyrants. The Jews had accepted false testimony to condemn the innocent Son of God. Now false accusations made their own lives uncertain. By their actions they had long been saying, Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. The fear of God no longer disturbed them. Satan was at the head of the nation, and the highest civil and religious authorities were under his sway.

The leaders of the opposing factions at times united to plunder and torture their wretched victims, and again they fell upon each others forces, and slaughtered without mercy. Even the sanctity of the temple could not restrain their horrible ferocity.

The worshipers were stricken down before the altar, and the sanctuary was polluted with the bodies of the slain. Yet in their blind and blasphemous presumption the instigators of this hellish work publicly declared that they had no fear that Jerusalem would be destroyed, for it was [31] Gods own city.

To establish their power more rmly, they bribed false prophets to proclaim, even when Roman legions were besieging the temple, that the people were to wait for deliverance from God. To the last, multitudes held fast to the belief that the Most High would interpose for the defeat of their adversaries. But Israel had spurned the divine protection, and now she had no defense. Unhappy Jerusalem! All the predictions given by Christ concerning the destruction of Jerusalem were fullled to the letter.

The Jews experienced the truth of his words of warning, With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Signs and wonders appeared, foreboding disaster and doom. A comet, resembling a aming sword, for a year hung over the city. An unnatural light was seen hovering over the temple.

Upon the clouds were pictured chariots mustering for battle. Mysterious voices in the temple court uttered the warning words, Let us depart hence. The eastern gate of the inner court, which was of brass, and so heavy that it was with difculty shut by a score of men, and having bolts fastened deep into the rm pavement, was seen at midnight to be opened of its own accord.

For seven years a man continued to go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, declaring the woes that were to come upon the city. This strange being. To insult and abuse he answered only, Woe to Jerusalem!

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His warning cry ceased not until he was slain in the siege he had foretold. Not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem. Christ had given his disciples warning, and all who believed his words watched for the promised sign. After the Romans had surrounded the city, they unexpectedly withdrew their forces, at a time when everything seemed favorable for an immediate attack. In the providence of God the promised signal was thus given to the waiting Christians, and without a moments delay they ed to a place of safety,the refuge city Pella, in the land of Perea, beyond Jordan. Terrible were the calamities which fell upon Jerusalem in the siege of the city by Titus.

The last desperate assault was made at the time of the passover, when millions of Jews had assembled within its walls to celebrate the national festival. Their stores of provision, which if carefully preserved would have been sufcient to supply the inhabitants for years, had previously been destroyed through the jealousy and revenge of the contending factions, and now all the horrors of starvation were experienced. A measure of wheat was sold for a talent.

Great numbers of the people would steal out at night, to appease their hunger by devouring herbs and wild plants growing outside the city walls, though they were often [33] detected, and punished with torture and death. Some would gnaw the leather on their shields and sandals. The most inhuman tortures were inicted by those in power to force from the want-stricken people the last scanty supplies which they might have concealed. And these cruelties were not infrequently practiced by men who were themselves well fed, and who were merely desirous of laying up a store of provision for the future.

Thousands perished from famine and pestilence. Natural affection seemed to have been utterly destroyed. Children would be seen snatching the food from the mouths of their aged parents. The question of the prophet, Can a woman forget her sucking child? The Roman leaders endeavored to strike terror to the Jews, and thus cause them to surrender. Those prisoners who resisted when taken, were scourged, tortured, and crucied before the wall of the city. Hundreds were daily put to death in this manner, and the dreadful work continued until, along the valley of Jehoshaphat and at Calvary, crosses were erected in so great numbers that there was scarcely room to move among them.

So terribly was fullled the profane prayer uttered forty years before, His blood be on us, and on our children. He was lled with horror as he saw the bodies of the dead lying in heaps in the valleys. Like one entranced, he looked from the crest of Olivet upon the magnicent temple, and gave command that not one stone of it be touched. Before attempting to gain possession of this stronghold, he made an earnest appeal to the Jewish leaders not to force him to dele the sacred place with blood. If they would come forth and ght in any other place, no Roman should violate the sanctity of the temple.

Josephus himself, in a most eloquent appeal, entreated them to surrender, to save themselves, their city, and their place of worship. But his words were answered with bitter curses. Darts were hurled at him, their last human mediator, as he stood pleading with them. The Jews had rejected the entreaties of the Son of God, and now expostulation and entreaty only made them more determined to resist to the last. In vain were the efforts of Titus to save the temple; One greater than he had declared that not one stone was to be left upon another.

The blind obstinacy of the Jewish leaders, and the detestable crimes perpetrated within the besieged city, excited the horror and indignation of the Romans, and Titus at last decided to take the temple by storm. He determined, however, that if possible it should be saved from destruction. But his commands were disregarded. After he had retired at night to his tent, the Jews, sallying from the temple, attacked the soldiers without. In the struggle, a rebrand was ung by a soldier through an opening in the porch, and immediately the chambers about the holy house were in a blaze.

Titus rushed to [35] the place, followed by his generals and legionaries, and commanded the soldiers to quench the ames. His words were unheeded. In their. Blood owed down the temple steps like water. Thousands upon thousands of Jews perished. Above the sound of battle were heard voices shouting, Ichabod! The re had not reached the holy house itself when Titus entered, and, beholding its unsurpassed splendor, he was impelled to a last effort for its preservation.

But in his very presence, a soldier thrust a lighted torch between the hinges of the door, and in an instant the ames burst out within the sanctuary. As the red glare revealed the walls of the holy places, glittering with gold, a frenzy seized the soldiers. Goaded on by a desire for plunder, and lled with rage by the resistance of the Jews, they were beyond control.

The lofty and massive structures that had crowned Mount Moriah were in ames. The temple towers sent up columns of re and smoke. As the lurid tide rolled on, devouring everything before it, the whole summit of the hill blazed like a volcano. Mingled with the roar of the re, the shouts of the soldiers, and the crash of falling buildings, were heard the frantic, heart-rending cries of old and young, priests and rulers. The very mountains seemed to give back the echo. The awful glare of the conagration lighted up the surrounding country, and the people gathered upon the hills, and gazed in terror upon the [36] scene.

After the destruction of the temple, the whole city soon fell into the hands of the Romans. The leaders of the Jews forsook their impregnable towers, and Titus found them solitary. He gazed upon them with amazement, and declared that God had given them into his hands; for no engines, however powerful, could have prevailed against those stupendous battlements. Both the city and the temple were razed to their foundations, and the ground upon which the holy house had stood was plowed as a eld. More than a million of the people were slaughtered; the survivors were carried away as captives, sold as slaves, dragged to Rome to grace the conquerors triumph, thrown to wild beasts in the amphitheaters, or scattered as homeless wanderers throughout the earth.

The Jews had forged their own fetters; they had loaded for themselves the cloud of vengeance. In the utter destruction that befell. Their sufferings are often represented as a punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God. This is a device by which the great deceiver seeks to conceal his own work. By stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy, the Jews had caused the protection of God to be withdrawn from them, and Satan was permitted to rule them according to his will.

The horrible cruelties enacted in the destruction of Jerusalem are a demonstration of Satans vindictive power over those who yield to his control. It is the restraining power of God that prevents mankind from passing fully under the control of Satan. The disobedient and unthankful have great reason for gratitude for Gods mercy and long-suffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one.

But when men pass the limits of divine forbearance, that restraint is removed. God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but he leaves the rejecters of his mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown, which yields its unfailing harvest.

The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. The destruction of Jerusalem is a fearful and solemn warning to all who are triing with the offers of divine grace, and turning away the pleadings of divine mercy. Never was given a more decisive testimony to Gods hatred of sin, and to the certain punishment that will fall upon the guilty.

The Saviours prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon Jerusalem is to have another fulllment, of which that terrible scene was but a faint shadow. The second advent of the Son of God is foretold by lips which make no mistake: Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he shall send [38] his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to. He has declared that he will come the second time, to gather his faithful ones to himself, and to take vengeance on them that reject his mercy.

As he warned his disciples of Jerusalems destruction, giving them a sign of the approaching ruin that they might make their escape, so he has warned his people of the day of nal destruction, and given them signs of its approach, that all who will may ee from the wrath to come. Those who behold the promised signs are to know that it is near, even at the door.

Watch ye therefore, are his words of admonition. If thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief. The world is no more ready now to credit the warning than were the Jews in the days of our Saviour. Come when it may, the end will come unawares to the ungodly. When life is going on in its unvarying round; when men are absorbed in pleasure, in business, in trafc, in money-making; when religious leaders are magnifying the worlds progress and enlightenment, and the people are lulled in a false security,then, as the midnight thief steals within the unguarded dwelling, so shall sudden destruction come upon the [39] careless and ungodly, and they shall not escape.

Chapter 2Persecution in the First Centuries When Jesus revealed to his disciples the fate of Jerusalem and the scenes of the second advent, he foretold also the experience of his people from the time when he should be taken from them, to his return in power and glory for their deliverance. From Olivet the Saviour beheld the storms about to fall upon the apostolic church, and, penetrating deeper into the future, his eye discerned the erce, wasting tempests that were to beat upon his followers in the coming ages of darkness and persecution.

In a few brief utterances, of awful signicance, he foretold the portion which the rulers of this world would mete out to the church of God. The followers of Christ must tread the same path of humiliation, reproach, and suffering which their Master trod. The enmity that burst forth against the worlds Redeemer, would be manifested against all who should believe on his name. The history of the early church testied to the fulllment of the Saviours words. The powers of earth and hell arrayed themselves against Christ in the person of his followers. Paganism foresaw that should the gospel triumph, her temples and altars would be swept away; therefore she summoned her forces to destroy Christianity.

Christians were stripped of their possessions, and driven from their homes. They endured a great ght of afictions. They had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. Noble and slave, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, were alike slain without mercy. Wherever they sought refuge, the followers of Christ were hunted like beasts of prey. They were forced to seek concealment in desolate and solitary places. Destitute, aficted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy, they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

Long galleries had been tunneled through earth and rock to procure material for the vast structures of the capital, and the dark and intricate network of passages extended for miles beyond the walls. In these underground retreats, many of the followers of Christ, when suspected and proscribed, found a home; and here also they buried their dead.

When the Lifegiver shall awaken those who have fought the good ght, many a martyr for Christs sake will come forth from those gloomy caverns. Under the ercest persecution, these witnesses for Jesus kept their faith unsullied. Though deprived of every comfort, shut away from the light of the sun, making their home in the dark but friendly bosom of the earth, they uttered no complaint.

With words of faith, patience, and hope, they encouraged one another to endure privation [41] and distress. The loss of every earthly blessing could not force them to renounce their belief in Christ. Trials and persecutions were but steps bringing them nearer their rest and their reward. They called to mind the words of their Master, that when persecuted for Christs sake they were to be exceeding glad; for great would be their reward in Heaven; for so had the prophets been persecuted before them.

Like Gods servants of old, they were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Looking upward by faith, they saw Christ and angels leaning over the battlements of Heaven, gazing upon them with the deepest interest, and regarding their steadfastness with approval. A voice came down to them from the throne of God, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. The great controversy in which the disciples of Jesus yielded up their lives did not cease when these faithful standardbearers fell at their post.

By defeat they conquered. Gods workmen were slain, but his work went steadily forward. The gospel continued to spread, and the number of its adherents to increase. It penetrated into regions that were inaccessible, even to the eagles of Rome. Said a Christian, expostulating with the heathen rulers who were urging forward the persecution: You may torment, afict, and vex us.

Your [42]. It is but a stronger invitation to bring others to our persuasion. The more we are mowed down, the more we spring up again. The blood of the Christians is seed. Thousands were imprisoned and slain; but others sprung up to ll their places. And those who were martyred for their faith were secured to Christ, and accounted of him as conquerors. They had fought the good ght, and they were to receive the crown of glory when Christ should come.

The sufferings which they endured brought Christians nearer to one another and to their Redeemer. Their living example and dying testimony were a constant witness for the truth; and, where least expected, the subjects of Satan were leaving his service, and enlisting under the banner of Christ. Satan therefore laid his plans to war more successfully against the government of God, by planting his banner in the Christian church.

If the followers of Christ could be deceived, and led to displease God, then their strength, fortitude, and rmness would fail, and they would fall an easy prey. The great adversary now endeavored to gain by artice what he had failed to secure by force. Persecution ceased, and in its stead were substituted the dangerous allurements of temporal prosperity and worldly honor. Idolaters were led to receive a part of the Christian faith, while they rejected other essential truths.

They professed to accept Jesus as the Son of God, and to believe in his death and [43] resurrection; but they had no conviction of sin, and felt no need of repentance or of a change of heart. With some concessions on their part, they proposed that Christians should make concessions, that all might unite on the platform of belief in Christ. Now was the church in fearful peril. Prison, torture, re, and sword were blessings in comparison with this.

Some of the Christians stood rm, declaring that they could make no compromise. Others reasoned that if they should yield or modify some features of their faith, and unite with those who had accepted a part of Christianity, it might be the means of their full conversion. That was a time of deep anguish to the faithful followers of Christ. Under a cloak of pretended Christianity, Satan was insinuating himself into the church, to corrupt their faith, and turn their minds from the word of truth.

At last the larger portion of the Christian company lowered their standard, and a union was formed between Christianity and paganism. Although the worshipers of idols professed to be converted, and united with the church, they still clung to their idolatry, only changing the objects of their worship to images of Jesus, and even of Mary and the saints.

The foul leaven of idolatry, thus introduced into the church, continued its baleful work. Unsound doctrines, superstitious rites, and idolatrous ceremonies were incorporated into her faith and worship. As the followers of Christ united with idolaters, the Christian religion became corrupted, and the church lost her purity and power.

There were some, however, who were not misled by these delusions. They still maintained their delity to the Author [44] of truth, and worshiped God alone. There have ever been two classes among those who profess to be followers of Christ. While one class study the Saviours life, and earnestly seek to correct their defects and to conform to the Pattern, the other class shun the plain, practical truths which expose their errors.

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Even in her best estate, the church was not composed wholly of the true, pure, and sincere. Our Saviour taught that those who willfully indulge in sin are not to be received into the church; yet he connected with himself men who were faulty in character, and granted them the benets of his teachings and example, that they might have an opportunity to see and correct their errors.

Among the twelve apostles was a traitor. Judas was accepted, not because of his defects of character, but notwithstanding them. He was connected with the disciples, that, through the instructions and example of Christ, he might learn what constitutes Christian character, and thus be led to see his errors, to repent, and, by the aid of divine grace, to purify his soul in obeying the truth. But Judas did not walk in the light so graciously permitted to shine upon him.

By indulgence in sin, he invited the temptations of Satan. His evil traits of character became predominant. He yielded his mind to the control of the powers of darkness, he became angry when his faults were reproved, and thus he was led to commit the fearful crime of betraying his Master. In like manner do all who cherish evil under a profession of godliness hate those who disturb their peace by condemning their course of sin.

When a favorable opportunity is presented, they will,. The apostles encountered those in the church who professed godliness while they were secretly cherishing iniquity. Ananias and Sapphira acted the part of deceivers, pretending to make an entire sacrice for God, when they were covetously withholding a portion for themselves. The Spirit of truth revealed to the apostles the real character of these pretenders, and the judgments of God forever rid the church of this foul blot upon its purity. This signal evidence of the discerning Spirit of Christ in the church was a terror to hypocrites and evil-doers.

They could not long remain in connection with those who were, in habit and disposition, constant representatives of Christ; and as trials and persecution came upon his followers, those only who were willing to forsake all for the truths sake desired to become his disciples. Thus, as long as persecution continued, the church remained comparatively pure. But as it ceased, converts were added who were less sincere and devoted, and the way was opened for Satan to obtain a foothold. But there is no union between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness, and there can be no union between their followers.

When Christians consented to unite with those who were but half converted from paganism, they entered upon a path which led farther and farther from the truth. Satan exulted that he had succeeded in deceiving so large a number of the followers of Christ. He then brought his power to bear more fully upon them, and inspired them to persecute those who remained true to God. None could so well understand how to oppose the true Christian faith as could those who [46] had once been its defenders; and these apostate Christians, uniting with their half-pagan companions, directed their warfare against the most essential features of the doctrines of Christ.

It required a desperate struggle for those who would be faithful to stand rm against the deceptions and abominations which were disguised in sacerdotal garments and introduced into the church. The Bible was not accepted as the standard of faith. The doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed.

After a long and severe conict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and childrens children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with delity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrice of principle.

If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war. Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of Gods professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith.

The opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages [47] past imperiled their lives to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ. The early Christians were indeed a peculiar people. Their blameless deportment and unswerving faith were a continual reproof that disturbed the sinners peace.

Though few in numbers, without wealth, position, or honorary titles, they were a terror to evil-doers wherever their character and doctrines were known. Therefore they were hated by the wicked, even as Abel was hated by the ungodly Cain. For the same reason that Cain slew Abel did those who would throw off the restraint of the Holy Spirit, put to death Gods people.

It was for the same reason that the Jews rejected and crucied the Saviour,because the purity and holiness of his character was a constant rebuke to their selshness and corruption. From the days of Christ until now, his faithful disciples have excited the hatred and opposition of those who love and follow the ways of sin.

How, then, can the gospel be called a message of peace? When Isaiah foretold the birth of the Messiah, he ascribed to him the title, Prince of peace. When angels announced to the shepherds that Christ was born, they sung above the plains of Bethlehem, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. The gospel is a message of peace. Christianity is a system, which, received and obeyed, would spread peace, harmony, and happiness throughout the earth. The religion of Christ will unite in close brotherhood all who accept its teachings.

It was the mission of Jesus to reconcile man to God, and thus to his fellow-man. But the world at large are under the control of Satan, Christs bitterest foe. The gospel presents to them principles of life which are wholly at variance with their habits and desires, and they rise in rebellion against it. They hate the purity which reveals and condemns their sins, and they persecute and destroy those who would urge upon them its just and holy claims.

It is in this sensebecause the exalted truths it brings, occasion hatred and strifethat the gospel is called a sword. The mysterious providence which permits the righteous to suffer persecution at the hand of the wicked, has been a cause of great perplexity to many who are weak in faith.

Some are even ready to cast away their condence in God because he suffers the basest of men to prosper, while the best and purest are aficted and tormented by their cruel power. How, it is asked, can One who is just and merciful, and who is also innite in power, tolerate such injustice and oppression? This is a question with which we have nothing to do.

God has given us sufcient evidence of his love, and we are not to doubt his goodness because we cannot understand the workings of his providence. Said the Saviour to his disciples, foreseeing the doubts that would press upon their souls in days of trial and darkness, Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is [49] not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. Those who are called to endure torture and martyrdom, are but following in the steps of Gods dear Son. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise.

Again, the righteous are placed in the furnace of afiction, that they themselves may be puried; that their example may convince others of the reality of faith and godliness;. God permits the wicked to prosper, and to reveal their enmity against him, that when they shall have lled up the measure of their iniquity, all may see his justice and mercy in their utter destruction. The day of his vengeance hastens, when all the transgressors of his law and the oppressors of his people will meet the just recompense of their deeds; when every act of cruelty or oppression toward Gods faithful ones will be punished as though done to Christ himself.

There is another and more important question that should engage the attention of the churches of today. The apostle Paul declares that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. The only reason is, that the church has conformed to the worlds standard, and therefore awakens no [50] opposition. The religion current in our day is not of the pure and holy character which marked the Christian faith in the days of Christ and his apostles. It is only because of the spirit of compromise with sin, because the great truths of the word of God are so indifferently regarded, because there is so little vital godliness in the church, that Christianity is apparently so popular with the world.

Let there be a revival of the faith and power of the early church, and the spirit of persecution will be revived, and the res of persecution will be [51] rekindled. Chapter 3The Roman Church The apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, foretold the great apostasy which would result in the establishment of the papal power. He declared that the day of Christ should not come, except there come a falling away rst, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

And furthermore, the apostle warns his brethren that the mystery of iniquity doth already work. Little by little, at rst in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, the mystery of iniquity carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work.

Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the erce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, [52] and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and his apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions.

The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, arrayed in robes of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church.

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Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ. This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of the man of sin foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false Satan once endeavored to form a compromise with Christ. He came to the Son of God in the wilderness of temptation, and, showing him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, offered to give all into his hands if he would but acknowledge the supremacy of the prince of darkness.

Christ rebuked the presumptuous tempter, and forced him to depart. But Satan meets with greater success in presenting the same temptations to man. To secure worldly gains and honors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of earth, and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced [53] to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan,the bishop of Rome. It is one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is the visible head of the universal church of Christ, invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. More than this, the pope has arrogated the very titles of Deity.

He styles himself Lord God the Pope, assumes infallibility, and demands that all men pay him homage. Thus the same claim urged by Satan in the wilderness of temptation is still urged by him through the church of Rome, and vast numbers are ready to yield him homage. But those who fear and reverence God meet this Heaven-daring assumption as Christ met the solicitations of the wily foe: Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. The doctrine of papal supremacy is directly opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures.

Memory recalls the home of his innocence and purity, the peace and content that were his until he indulged in murmuring against God, and envy of Christ. His accusations, his rebellion, his deceptions to gain the sympathy and support of the angels, his stubborn persistence in making no effort for self-recovery when God would have granted him forgiveness,-- all come vividly before him. He reviews his work among men and its results,--the enmity of man toward his fellow-man, the terrible destruction of life, the rise and fall of kingdoms, the overturning of thrones, the long succession of tumults, conflicts, and revolutions.

He recalls his constant efforts to oppose the work of Christ and to sink man lower and lower. He sees that his hellish plots have been powerless to destroy those who have put their trust in Jesus. As Satan looks upon his kingdom, the fruit of his toil, he sees only failure and ruin. He has led the multitudes to believe that the city of God would be an easy prey; but he knows that this is false.

Again and again in the progress of the great controversy has he been defeated and compelled to yield. He knows too well the power and majesty of the Eternal. The aim of the great rebel has ever been to justify himself, and to prove the divine government responsible for the rebellion. To this end he has bent all the power of his giant intellect. He has worked deliberately and systematically, and with marvelous success, leading vast multitudes to accept his version of the great controversy which has been so long in progress.

For thousands of years this chief of conspiracy has palmed off falsehood for truth. But the In his last great effort to dethrone Christ, destroy his people, and take possession of the city of God, the arch-deceiver has been fully unmasked. Those who have united with him see the total failure of his cause. Christ's followers and the loyal angels behold the full extent of his machinations against the government of God. He is the object of universal abhorrence. Satan sees that his voluntary rebellion has unfitted him for Heaven.

He has trained his powers to war against God; the purity, peace, and harmony of Heaven would be to him supreme torture. His accusations against the mercy and justice of God are now silenced. The reproach which he has endeavored to cast upon Jehovah rests wholly upon himself. And now Satan bows down, and confesses the justice of his sentence. Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy is made plain. God's justice stands fully vindicated. Before the whole world is clearly presented the great sacrifice made by the Father and the Son in man's behalf.

The hour has come when Christ occupies his rightful position, and is glorified above principalities and powers and every name that is named. It was for the joy that was set before him,--that he might bring many sons unto glory,--that he endured the cross and despised the shame. And inconceivably great as was the sorrow and the shame, so great is the joy and the glory. He looks upon the redeemed, renewed in his own image, every face In their perfect purity and surpassing joy he beholds the result of the travail of his soul, and he is satisfied.

Then, in a voice that reaches the assembled multitudes of the righteous and the wicked, he declares, "Behold the purchase of my blood! For these I suffered; for these I died; that they might dwell in my presence throughout eternal ages.

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Notwithstanding Satan has been constrained to acknowledge God's justice, and to bow to the supremacy of Christ, his character remains unchanged. The spirit of rebellion, like a mighty torrent, again bursts forth. Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of Heaven.

He rushes into the midst of his subjects, and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury, and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end.

All Things Prophecy: Volume 4

The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception. With the fury of demons they turn upon them, and there follows a scene of universal strife.

The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that shall burn as an oven. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men, --"the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. The wicked receive their recompense in the earth. They "shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts.

All are punished according to their deeds. The sins of the righteous have been transferred to Satan, the originator of evil, who must bear their penalty. Thus he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit. His punishment is to be far After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on.

In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch,-- Satan the root, his followers the branches. The justice of God is satisfied, and the saints and all the angelic host say with a loud voice, Amen. While the earth is wrapped in the fire of God's vengeance, the righteous abide safely in the holy city. Upon those that had part in the first resurrection, the second death has no power.

Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin. One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of his crucifixion. Upon his wounded head, his hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. admin