Manuscript Releases, vol. 19 [Nos. 1360-1419]


MR No. 1403—Calamities and the Great Controversy

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 east, 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]. 19MR 279.1

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. 19MR 279.2

Frequently we hear of earthquakes, of tempests and tornadoes, accompanied with thunder and lightning. 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?” He will reveal Himself as the One who “maketh the clouds 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 for ever.” “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 on the earth, and it trembleth: He toucheth the hills, and they smoke.” 19MR 279.3

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. 19MR 280.1

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. 19MR 280.2

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! 19MR 281.1

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 Lifegiver comes to give them life. We are not to cast one word of reflection upon God or upon His manner of working. 19MR 281.2

All these 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 fulfill 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. 19MR 281.3

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 fulfillment of the Revelator's prophecy. [Revelation 13:4-18, quoted.] 19MR 282.1

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.” 19MR 282.2

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.—Manuscript 153, 1902. 19MR 282.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

July 7, 1988.

Entire Ms.