The Signs of the Times


February 20, 1901

Words of Warning


Christ foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, as well as of the temple. His words were spoken in the hearing of a large number of people; but when He was again alone, Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to Him, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” ST February 20, 1901, par. 1

Jesus did not answer His disciples by taking up separately the destruction of Jerusalem, and the last great day of His coming. The city of Jerusalem represented the world, and the utterances regarding its destruction are to be connected with the world's more terrible destruction. In speaking of Jerusalem, His prophetic words reached beyond that event to the conflagration that will take place in that day when the Lord shall rise “out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” The description of the two events is mingled, and the entire subject is a warning to those who shall live in the last scenes of earth's history. ST February 20, 1901, par. 2

“Take heed that no man deceive you,” Christ said. “For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” False messiahs will appear, claiming to work miracles, and declaring that the deliverance of the Jewish nation has come. These will mislead many. Christ's words were fulfilled. Between His death and the siege of Jerusalem, many false messiahs appeared. But this warning is given to those also who live in this age of the world. The same deceptions practised prior to the destruction of Jerusalem will be practised again. The events that took place at the overthrow of Jerusalem will be repeated. ST February 20, 1901, par. 3

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, there were rumors of wars. Men wrestled for the supremacy. Emperors were murdered. Those supposed to be standing next the throne were slain. “All these things must come to pass,” Christ said, “but the end is not yet. ST February 20, 1901, par. 4

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” The rabbis, Christ said, would declare that the signs that appeared were tokens of the advent of the Messiah. But be not deceived; they are the beginning of His judgments. The people have not repented, and been converted, that I should heal them. The signs that they argue are tokens of their release from bondage, are signs of their approaching destruction. ST February 20, 1901, par. 5

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” All this the Christians suffered. Mothers and fathers betrayed their children; children betrayed their parents. Friends delivered their friends up to the Sanhedrin. ST February 20, 1901, par. 6

Thru the apostles God gave the Jewish people a last opportunity to repent. He manifested Himself thru His witnesses, in their arrest, in their trial, and in their imprisonment. He had told His disciples that they would be delivered up to councils; but He told them also that they were not to be anxious as to how they might vindicate the truth, for He would give them a wisdom that all their adversaries could not gainsay nor resist. Yet their persecutors wrought out their purpose in killing Stephen, Paul, Peter, and other Christians, men of whom the world was not worthy. In killing them the Jews crucified afresh the Son of God. ST February 20, 1901, par. 7

On every occasion that persecution takes place, the witnesses make decisions, either for Christ or against Him. Those who show sympathy for the men wrongly condemned, and are not bitter against them, show their attachment to Christ. ST February 20, 1901, par. 8

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” False prophets and false Christs did arise, deceiving the people, and leading great numbers into the desert. Magicians and sorcerers, claiming miraculous power, drew the people after them into the mountain solitudes. But this prophecy was spoken also for the last days. This sign is a sign of the second advent. Satanic agencies will be prepared to deceive and to delude. ST February 20, 1901, par. 9

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” In times of trial many will be offended because the principles of truth cut directly across their practise or their income. Many will stumble and fall. They have professed to love the truth; but they will then show that they had no vital union with the True Vine. They will be cut away, as branches that bear no fruit, and will be bound up with unbelievers. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” ST February 20, 1901, par. 10

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand); then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains; let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house; neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” This warning was given to be heeded forty years after, at the destruction of Jerusalem. The Christians obeyed, and not one of them perished in the destruction of the city. ST February 20, 1901, par. 11

“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.” Christ, who made the Sabbath, did not abolish it, nailing it to His cross. The fourth commandment was not rendered null and void by His death. It was to be held sacred forty years after His death; even as long as the heavens and the earth remain, so long will it hold its claim upon the human family. ST February 20, 1901, par. 12

“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth; behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Here, again, the warning concerning Jerusalem is blended with the warning of the second advent. ST February 20, 1901, par. 13

The disciples heard Christ's words; but they did not fully understand them. They did not know why He connected the perils at the overthrow of Jerusalem with the perils attending His second advent. The Holy Spirit must guide them into all truth, bringing to their remembrance all things that Christ had said to them. But those who live in this age may understand the general warning, and should appropriate it, applying it to the period where it belongs. ST February 20, 1901, par. 14

“This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” ST February 20, 1901, par. 15

Mrs. E. G. White