The Last Crisis
We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare
that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn
and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the
earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace
of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms
of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.
The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening
for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and
the final movements will be rapid ones.
The condition of things in the world shows that troublous times are right upon us.
The daily papers are full of indications of a terrible conflict in the near future.
Bold robberies are of frequent occurrence. Strikes are common. Thefts and murders
are committed on every hand. Men possessed of demons are taking the lives of men,
women, and little children. Men have become infatuated with vice, and every species
of evil prevails.
The enemy has succeeded in perverting justice and in filling men's hearts with the
desire for selfish gain. "Justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the
street, and equity cannot enter." Isaiah 59:14. In the great cities there are
multitudes living in poverty and wretchedness, well-nigh destitute of food, shelter,
and clothing; while in the same cities are those who have more than heart could wish,
who live luxuriously, spending their money on richly furnished houses, on personal
adornment, or worse still, upon the gratification of sensual appetites, upon liquor,
tobacco, and other things that destroy the powers of the brain, unbalance the mind,
and debase the soul. The cries of starving humanity are coming up before God, while
by every species of oppression and extortion men are piling up colossal fortunes.
On one occasion, when in New York City, I was in the night season called upon to
behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven. These buildings were warranted to be
fireproof, and they were erected to glorify their owners and builders. Higher and still higher
these buildings rose, and in them the most costly material was used. Those to whom these
buildings belonged were not asking themselves: "How can we best glorify God?" The Lord was
not in their thoughts.
I thought: "Oh, that those who are thus investing their means could see their course as
God sees it! They are piling up magnificent buildings, but how foolish in the sight of
the Ruler of the universe is their planning and devising. They are not studying with
all the powers of heart and mind how they may glorify God. They have lost sight of this,
the first duty of man."
As these lofty buildings went up, the owners rejoiced with ambitious pride that they had
money to use in gratifying self and provoking the envy of their neighbors. Much of the
money that they thus invested had been obtained through exaction, through grinding down
the poor. They forgot that in heaven an account of every business transaction is kept;
every unjust deal, every fraudulent act, is there recorded. The time is coming when in
their fraud and insolence men will reach a point that the Lord will not permit them to
pass, and they will learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of Jehovah.
The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and
supposedly fire-proof buildings and said: "They are perfectly safe." But these
buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to
stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.
I am instructed that when the Lord's time comes, should no change have taken place in
the hearts of proud, ambitious human beings, men will find that the hand that had
been strong to save will be strong to destroy. No earthly power can stay the hand of
God. No material can be used in the erection of buildings that will preserve them from
destruction when God's appointed time comes to send retribution on men for their disregard
of His law and for their selfish ambition.
There are not many, even among educators and statesmen, who comprehend the causes that
underlie the present state of society. Those who hold the reins of government are not
able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime.
They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis. If men
would give more heed to the teaching of God's word, they would find a solution of the
problems that perplex them.
The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ's second coming.
Of the men who by robbery and extortion are amassing great riches, it is written:
"Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers
who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the
cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have
lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day
of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you."
But who reads the warnings given by the fast-fulfilling signs of the times? What impression
is made upon worldlings? What change is seen in their attitude? No more than was seen in
the attitude of the inhabitants of the Noachian world. Absorbed in worldly business and
pleasure, the antediluvians "knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away."
Matthew 24:39. They had heaven-sent warnings, but they refused to listen. And today the
world, utterly regardless of the warning voice of God, is hurrying on to eternal ruin.
The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecy of the eleventh chapter of Daniel
has nearly reached its complete fulfillment. Soon the scenes of trouble spoken of in the
prophecies will take place.
"Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down,
and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. . . . Because they have transgressed the
laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse
devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate. . . . The mirth of tabrets
ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth." Isaiah 24:1-8.
"Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the
Almighty shall it come. . . . The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid
desolate, the barns are broken down, for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan! the
herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are
made desolate." "The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree,
the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered:
because joy is withered away from the sons of men." Joel 1:15-18, 12.
"I am pained at my very heart; . . . I cannot hold my peace, because thou has heard, O my
soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried;
for the whole land is spoiled." Jeremiah 4:19, 20.
"I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had
no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.
I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld,
and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down."
"Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's
trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." Jeremiah 30:7.
Not all in this world have taken sides with the enemy against God. Not all have become
disloyal. There are a faithful few who are true to God; for John writes: "Here are they
that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12. Soon the
battle will be waged fiercely between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. Soon
everything that can be shaken will be shaken, that those things that cannot be shaken may
Satan is a diligent Bible student. He knows that his time is short, and he seeks at every
point to counterwork the work of the Lord upon this earth. It is impossible to give any
idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when
celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended. They will
walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By means of the angels there will be
constant communication between heaven and earth. And Satan, surrounded by evil angels, and
claiming to be God, will work miracles of all kinds, to deceive, if possible, the very
elect. God's people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will
counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought. God's tried and tested people will find
their power in the sign spoken of in Exodus 31:12-18. They are to take their stand on the
living word: "It is written." This is the only foundation upon which they can stand
securely. Those who have broken their covenant with God will in that day be without God and
The worshipers of God will be especially distinguished by their regard for the fourth
commandment, since this is the sign of God's creative power and the witness to His claim
upon man's reverence and homage. The wicked will be distinguished by their efforts to tear
down the Creator's memorial and to exalt the institution of Rome. In the issue of the
conflict all Christendom will be divided into two great classes, those who keep the
commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image,
and receive his mark. Although church and state will unite their power to compel all, "both
small and great, rich and poor, free and bond," to receive the mark of the beast, yet the
people of God will not receive it. Revelation 13:16. The prophet of Patmos beholds "them
that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over
the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God," and singing
the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 15:2.
Fearful tests and trials await the people of God. The spirit of war is stirring the nations
from one end of the earth to the other. But in the midst of the time of trouble that is
coming,--a time of trouble such as has not been since there was a nation,--God's chosen
people will stand unmoved. Satan and his host cannot destroy them, for angels that excel in
strength will protect them.—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 11-17.