The Signs of the Times


April 22, 1889

Preparation for the Testing-Time


It is of the greatest importance to us that we obtain a knowledge of the Bible. Christ has said, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.” He has said again, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” He has also warned us to be on our guard against false doctrines. He said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” ST April 22, 1889, par. 1

Many false doctrines will be presented to us as the teaching of the Bible; but as we compare them with the law and the testimony we shall find that they are dangerous heresies. Our only safety is in becoming personally acquainted with the reasons of our faith. In the book of Revelation, we find warnings, injunctions, and promises given to John for the churches, and we need to understand these instructions more fully, that we may not be found in delusion. We should keep the condition of these churches as described in the Revelation before us, and discern our own spiritual deficiencies by the description of the deficiencies. We should heed the reproofs that are given to us in the counsel of the True Witness. ST April 22, 1889, par. 2

Christ has declared that “if any man do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.” The Lord of Heaven has not left his people in darkness. He has revealed to them his truth for this time. While many of the professed followers of Christ have lapsed away into error and apostasy, those who have walked in the light, not only hear, but read and understand, the prophecies of his word. The law of God will be made void in the world; its authority will be despised just as it was in Heaven in the first great rebellion; and God would have us intelligent to note the movement of the nations, so that we may see the signal of danger, and recognize the warnings that he has given us, that we may not be found on the side of the great deceiver in the crisis that is just before us. ST April 22, 1889, par. 3

God has made full provision in the Scriptures for our equipment against deception, and we shall be without excuse, if, through neglect of God's word, we are unable to resist the errors of the evil one. We need to watch unto prayer. We need daily to search the Scriptures diligently, that we may not be ensnared by some delusive error that seems like truth. ST April 22, 1889, par. 4

I found in traveling through Europe, that I was not acquainted with some of the minor laws of the country, and I was under the necessity of being informed as to the customs of the people lest I should be found a transgressor. But how particular we should be to understand the law of God, so that we may not be under condemnation as law-breakers. It is the willing and obedient that God will bless. If we are desirous of understanding the law of earthly Governments, how much more should we desire to know what God requires of us. If we are anxious to understand our duty, he will not leave us to be enshrouded in darkness, but will enlighten our understanding so that we shall know for ourselves what is truth. ST April 22, 1889, par. 5

We do not want to be found receiving dangerous error as truth. We do not wish to imperil our souls by rejection of God's messages of warning and counsel. Our greatest danger lies in our tendency to refuse increased light, and our only safety is to see and understand for ourselves “what saith the Lord.” Says the prophet, “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” The word of God alone is to be the rule of our faith and doctrine. A great contest is coming in regard to the law of Jehovah in our own day; but we read in Isaiah these words of instruction: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.” The controversy in regard to the law of God has begun, and we must be prepared to give a reason of the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear. We must know where our feet are standing. ST April 22, 1889, par. 6

Although the law of God will be almost universally made void in the world, there will be a remnant of the righteous that will be obedient to God's requirements. The wrath of the dragon will be directed against the loyal servants of Heaven. Says the prophet, “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” We can see from this scripture that it is not the true church of God that makes war with those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is the people who make void the law, who place themselves on the side of the dragon, and persecute those who vindicate God's precepts. ST April 22, 1889, par. 7

There are many who will tell you that if you keep the law of God you have fallen from grace. They make strong assertions for which they have no foundation, to lead people astray, for they do not know whereof they speak. The prophet says, “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” Those who are seeking to destroy the law are not of the class who are sealing the law among the disciples of Christ, but they are of the class who “shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” The dragon is represented as persecuting those who keep God's commandments. Evil angels conspire with evil men against God and his people. Persons of influence are stirred with a power from beneath; the energies of apostasy are united to deceive or to destroy the champions of truth. ST April 22, 1889, par. 8

John writes concerning scenes that have to do with our own time. He says, “The temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” That ark contains the tables whereon is engraven the law of God. On the Isle of Patmos, John beheld in prophetic vision the people of God, and saw that at this time the attention of the loyal and true followers of Christ would be attracted to the open door of the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary. He saw that by faith they would follow Jesus within the veil where he ministers above the ark of God containing his immutable law. The prophet described the faithful ones, saying, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” This is the class that excite the wrath of the dragon because they obey God, and are loyal to his commandments. ST April 22, 1889, par. 9

The winds of doctrine will blow fiercely about us, but we should not be moved by them. God has given us a correct standard of righteousness and truth,—the law and the testimony. There are many who profess to love God, but when the Scriptures are opened before them, and evidences are presented showing the binding claims of God's law, they manifest the spirit of the dragon. They hate the light, and will not come to it, lest their deeds should be reproved. They will not compare their faith and doctrine with the law and the testimony. They turn away their ears from hearing the truth, and impatiently declare that all they want to hear about is faith in Christ. They claim to be guided by the Spirit, and yet their spirit leads them contrary to the law of Heaven. They refuse to acknowledge the fourth commandment, which requires men to keep holy the Sabbath-day. They declare that the Lord has instructed them that they need not keep the Sabbath of his law. ST April 22, 1889, par. 10

The word of God declares, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.” It is not enough to nominally assent to the truth, we must have its principles interwoven with the life, and wrought into the very character. We may well be afraid of any class who refuse to compare their faith and doctrine with the Scriptures. There is safety alone in taking the Scriptures as our rule of life, and as the test of our doctrines. Martin Luther exclaimed, “The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the foundation of our faith!” Our work is to hold up the law of God; for Christ has said that “it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one tittle of the law to fail.” He has said, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” ST April 22, 1889, par. 11