Love Under Fire


Chapter 39—The Time of Trouble

“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). LF 248.1

When the third angel's message closes, the people of God have finished their work. They have received “the latter rain” and are prepared for the difficult time ahead of them. The final test has come on the world, and all who have proved loyal to the divine law have received “the seal of the living God.” Then Jesus ends His ministry in the sanctuary in heaven and with a loud voice says, “It is done!” “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). Christ has made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins. “The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven” (Daniel 7:27) is about to be given to the heirs of salvation, and Jesus is to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. LF 248.2

When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers those living on the earth. The righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint on the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the unrepentant. They have resisted the Spirit of God persistently, and He has been finally withdrawn. Then Satan will plunge the earth's population into one great, final trouble. Angels of God stop holding back the fierce winds of human evil. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which ancient Jerusalem experienced. There are forces now ready, only waiting the divine permission, to spread destruction everywhere. LF 248.3

People will think that those who honor the law of God are the cause of the fearful conflict and bloodshed that fill the earth with misery. The power that accompanies the last warning has enraged the wicked, and Satan will stir up the spirit of hatred and persecution against all who have received the message. LF 248.4

When God withdrew His presence from the Jewish nation, priests and people still thought of themselves as the chosen of God. The services in the temple continued, and every day the priests pronounced the divine blessing on those who were guilty of the blood of God's Son. Similarly, when the final decision of the heavenly sanctuary has been pronounced and the destiny of the world has been decided permanently, the inhabitants of the earth will not know it. People from whom the Spirit of God has been withdrawn will continue the forms of religion. The prince of evil will inspire them to accomplish his wicked plans. LF 248.5

As the Sabbath becomes the special point of controversy throughout the Christian world, people will claim that the few who stand in opposition to the church and the state should not be tolerated, that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness. The same argument was brought against Christ. Caiaphas said, “It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish” (John 11:50). This argument will appear conclusive. A decree will finally be issued against those who honor the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them and giving the people permission after a certain time to kill them. Romanism in the Old World and apostate Protestantism in the New will pursue a similar course toward those who keep all of God's commandments. The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of distress that the Bible calls “the time of Jacob's trouble” (Jeremiah 30:5-7; see Genesis 32:24-30). LF 249.1