Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17

402/469

Ms 153, 1902

Calamities

NP

November 5, 1902 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in 19MR 279-282.

John the Revelator represents the forces of the earth as four winds, which are held in check by angels delegated to do this work. He declares: “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. And I saw another angel ascending from the earth, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” [Revelation 7:1-3.] 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 1

From this vision we can learn why so many are preserved from calamity. If these winds were allowed to blow upon the earth, they would create havoc and desolation. But the world’s intricate machinery is running under the Lord’s supervision. Hurricanes, threatening to break forth, are held under control by the regulations of the One who is the Protector of the trembling ones that fear God and keep His commandments. The Lord holds back the tempestuous winds. He will not suffer them to go forth on their death-mission of vengeance until His servants are sealed in their foreheads. 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 2

Frequently we hear of earthquakes, of tempests and tornadoes, accompanied with thunder and lightening. Apparently these are capricious outbreaks of seemingly disorganized, unregulated forces. But God has a purpose in permitting these calamities to occur. They are one of His means of calling men and women to their senses. By unusual workings through nature God will express to doubting human agencies that which He clearly reveals in His Word. He will answer the question, “Who hath gathered the wind in His fists?” [Proverbs 30:4.] He will reveal Himself as the One who “hath measured the clouds in His chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind.” “He bringeth the wind out of His treasuries.” “The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King forever.” “He gave to the sea His decree, that the waters should not pass His commandment: when He appointed the foundations of the earth.” “He looketh upon the earth, and it trembleth: He toucheth the hills, and they smoke.” [Psalm 104:3; 135:7; 29:10; Proverbs 8:29; Psalm 104:32.] 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 3

Local disturbances in nature are permitted to take place as symbols of that which may be expected all over the world when the angels loose the four winds of the earth. The forces of nature are under the direction of an Eternal Agency. Science, in her pride, may seek to explain strange happenings on land and on sea; but science fails of tracing in these things the workings of Providence. Science fails of perceiving that intemperance is the cause of most of the frequent accidents so terrible in their results. Men on whom devolve grave responsibilities in safeguarding their fellow men from accident and harm are often untrue to their trust. Because of indulgence in tobacco and liquor, they do not keep the mind clear and composed as did Daniel in the courts of babylon. They becloud the brain by using stimulating narcotics and temporarily lose their reasoning faculties. Many a shipwreck upon the high seas can be traced to liquor drinking. Time and again have unseen angels protected vessels on the broad ocean because on board there were some praying passengers who had faith in God’s keeping power. The Lord has power to hold in abeyance the angry waves so impatient to destroy and engulf His children. 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 4

The same Hand that kept the fiery serpents of the wilderness from entering the camp of the Israelites, until God’s chosen people provoked Him with their constant murmurs and complaints, is today guarding the honest in heart. Were this restraining Hand withdrawn, the enemy of our souls would at once begin the work of destruction that he has so long desired to accomplish. And because God’s long-continued forbearance is not now recognized, the forces of evil are already, to a limited degree, permitted to destroy. How soon human agencies will see blotted out of existence their magnificent buildings, which are their pride! 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 5

How often have those in danger of being destroyed by terrible outbreakings of winds and waters been mercifully shielded from harm! Do we realize that we have been spared from destruction only because of the protecting care of unseen agencies? Although many ships have gone down and many men and women on board have perished, God has mercifully spared His people. But we should not be surprised if some of those who love and fear God were to be engulfed in the tempestuous waters of the ocean. They would sleep until the Life-giver comes to give them life. We are not to cast one word of reflection upon God or upon His manner of working. 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 6

All the symbolical representations serve a double purpose. From them God’s people learn not only that the physical forces of the earth are under the control of the Creator, but also that under his control are the religious movements of the nations. Especially is this true with reference to the enforcement of Sunday observance. He who gave His people, through His servant Moses, instruction in regard to the sanctity of the Sabbath—as recorded in (Exodus 31:11-18)—will in the hour of trial preserve those who keep this day as a sign of loyalty to Him. God’s commandment-keeping people believe that He will fulfil His promise to protect them. By actual experience they know that the Lord sanctifies them and grants to them the seal of His approval as commandment keepers. Those who read the Scriptures with an intense desire to know what the Spirit saith unto the churches know that God lives and reigns. 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 7

In the last days Satan will appear as an angel of light, with great power and heavenly glory, and claim to be the lord of the whole earth. He will declare that the Sabbath has been changed from the seventh to the first day of the week; and as lord of the first day of the week he will present this spurious sabbath as a test of loyalty to him. Then will take place the final fulfilment of the Revelator’s prophecy: 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 8

“They worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” [Revelation 13:4-8.] 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 9

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” [Verses 11-18.] 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 10

In connection with this Scripture, the entire fourteenth chapter of Revelation should be studied much by God’s people. Verses nine to eleven bring to view the special message of warning against worshiping the beast and his image and receiving his mark in the forehead or in the hand. This warning is to be given to the world by those who are mentioned in the twelfth verse as keeping “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 11

Christ is the first and the last, the beginning and the end of the creation of God. Those who sincerely work for the salvation of souls will improve their capabilities to the utmost; and as they work unselfishly, they will have divine assistance. 17LtMs, Ms 153, 1902, par. 12