If today were the last day of your life, how would you live it? If you knew that the world would end tomorrow, how would you live your life today? Sister White tells us we are to live as if today were our last day.
“The Lord requires us to perform the duties of today and to endure its trials. We are today to watch that we offend not in word or deed. We must today praise and honor God. By the exercise of living faith today, we are to conquer the enemy. We must today seek God and be determined that we will not rest satisfied without His presence. We should watch and work and pray as though this were the last day that would be granted us. How intensely earnest, then, would be our life. How closely would we follow Jesus in all our words and deeds.” – Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, page 227.
“We are incapable of looking into the future, which often causes us disquietude and unhappiness. But one of the greatest evidences we have of the loving-kindness of God is His concealment of the events of the morrow. Our ignorance of tomorrow makes us more vigilant and earnest today. We cannot see what is before us. Our best-laid plans sometimes seem to be unwise and faulty. We think, ‘If we only knew the future!’ But God would have His children trust in Him and be ready to go where He shall lead them. We know not the precise time when our Lord shall be revealed in the clouds of heaven, but He has told us that our only safety is in a constant readiness--a position of watching and waiting. Whether we have one year before us, or five, or ten, we are to be faithful to our trust today. We are to perform each day's duties as faithfully as though that day were to be our last.” – Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, page 358.
1. Characteristics of the Last Generation
It is important to know what the characteristics of the last generation of God’s people are. Some of the more important characteristics of God’s last generation who will meet our Lord Jesus Christ are given below.
- The last generation will pass through the time of trouble prophesied in Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:21.
- The last generation will not experience death but will instead be translated. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
- The last generation are made up of those who will have been preparing for translation. This preparation includes giving up meat eating. “Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view, and endeavor to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh eating we are in harmony with the light which God has been pleased to give us. All who are connected with our health institutions especially should be educating themselves to subsist on fruits, grains, and vegetables. If we move from principle in these things, if we as Christian reformers educate our own taste, and bring our diet to God's plan, then we may exert an influence upon others in this matter, which will be pleasing to God.” – Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diets and Foods, pages 380-381. “Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people to walk no more with them.” – Ellen G. White, Counsels on Diets and Foods, page 382.
2. The Omega Apostasy in God’s Church
God’s church is currently in apostasy. That does not mean that God’s church has become Babylon, although it does act like it has become Babylon or that it is in danger of becoming “sister to Babylon”.
The Spirit of Prophecy counsels God’s faithful people in His last day church not to despair, in spite of the “omega” apostasy that is still currently happening.
“Yet do not despair. We have been inclined to think that where there no faithful ministers there can be no true Christians, but this is not the case. God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. God has never made the flock wholly dependent on human instrumentalities. But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor.
“The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden wo have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the daytime we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, pages 80-81.
God’s church is being shaken and soon His faithful ones will stand out for Him.
“When trees without fruit are cut down as cumberers of the ground, when multitudes of false brethren are distinguished from the true, then the hidden ones will be revealed to view, and with hosannas range under the banner of Christ. Those who have been timid and self-distrustful will declare themselves openly for Christ and His truth. The most weak and hesitating in the church will be as David—willing to do and dare. The deeper the night for God’s people, the more brilliant the stars. Satan will sorely harass the faithful; but, in the name of Jesus, they will come off more than conquerers. Then will the church appear ‘fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.’
“The seeds of truth that are being sown by missionary efforts will then spring up and blossom and bear fruit. Souls will receive the truth who will endure tribulation and praise God that they may suffer for Jesus. ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ When the overflowing scourge shall pass through the earth, when the fan in purging Jehovah’s floor, God will be the help of His people. The trophies of Satan may be exalted on high, but the faith of the pure and holy will not be daunted.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, pages 81-82.
3. Calebs Needed
God requires His faithful people to be faithful and courageous in carrying out His last day commission of proclaiming the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and also another angel’s message of Revelation 18:1-4.
Unfortunately, a number of Seventh-day Adventist believers have displayed fearfulness in regard to proclaiming the Third Angel’s message. Sister White tells us that we are to proclaim the message with boldness and power.
“Satan has devised a state of things whereby the proclamation of the third angel’s message shall be bound about. We must beware of his plans and methods. There must be no toning down of the truth, no muffling of the message for this time. The third angel’s message must be strengthened and confirmed. The eighteenth chapter of Revelation reveals the importance of presenting the truth in no measured terms but with boldness and power.... There has been too much beating about the bush in the proclamation of the third angel’s message. The message has not been given as clearly and distinctly as it should have been.” – Ellen G. White, Evangelism, pages 230.
It is unfortunate that some members or leaders in the church have equated the preaching of the three angels messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and another angel’s message of Revelation 18:1-4 as “sharp thrust”. Well, did not Sister White warn us against making sharp thrusts in regard to making statements about the other church denominations, including the Catholics? Oh yes, she did, in the following statement, for example:
“Let not those who write for our papers make unkind thrusts and allusions that will certainly do harm, and that will hedge up the way and hinder us from doing the work that we should do in order to reach all classes, the Catholics included. It is our work to speak the truth in love, and not to mix in with the truth the unsanctified elements of the natural heart, and speak things that savor of the same spirit possessed by our enemies. All sharp thrusts will come back upon us in double measure when the power is in the hands of those who can exercise it for our injury. Over and over the message has been given to me that we are not to say one word, not to publish one sentence, especially by way of personalities, unless positively essential in vindicating the truth, that will stir up our enemies against us, and arouse their passions to a white heat. Our work will soon be closed up, and soon the time of trouble, such as never was, will come upon us, of which we have but little idea.” – Ellen G. White, Counsels to Writers and Editors, page 60.
When we analyse such a statement as the above in regard to making sharp thrusts, we find that Sister White does explain that sharp thrust refers to unkind words or statements. The question to ask is that when we proclaim the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and another angel’s message of Revelation 18:1-4 with Christian humility, love and kindness, would that be sharp thrust? The answer is that it is not so. Consider the following statement:
“Those who engage in the solemn work of bearing the third angel’s message, must move out decidedly, and in the Spirit and power of God fearlessly preach the truth, and let it cut. They should elevate the standard of truth, and urge the people to come up to it. It has too frequently been lowered to meet the people in their condition of darkness and sin. It is the pointed testimony that will bring them up to decide. A peaceful testimony will not do this. The people have the privilege of listening to this kind of teaching from popular pulpits; but those servants to whom God has intrusted the solemn, fearful message which is to bring out and fit up a people for the coming of Christ, should bear a plain, pointed testimony. Our truth is as much more solemn than that of nominal professors, as the heavens are higher than the earth.” – Ellen G. White, Early Writings, page 118.
We find that Sister White states very clearly that we are to give the pointed testimony of the third angel’s message to the world. A pointed testimony, given in Christian humility, love and kindness is not sharp thrust. A pointed testimony is not sharp thrust unless it is given by means of making sharp or unkind words or statements.
We have a duty to counter the influence of those who retard the work of the three angels of Revelation 14 and another angel of Revelation 18. One method used by such individuals in the church is by equating the preaching of the three angels messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and another angel’s message of Revelation 18:1-4 as “sharp thrust”. Sister White has this warning in regard to such individuals in the church:
“We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world. Unbelievers have a right to expect that those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will do more than any other class to promote and honor, by their consistent lives, by their godly example and their influence, the cause which they represent. But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.” – Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, Book 1, page 122.
Such individuals are also described in the following statement, in contrast with the faithful Calebs:
“‘He that is not with Me,’ said Christ, ‘is against Me.’ It is wholehearted, thoroughly decided men and women who will stand now. Christ sifted His followers again and again, until at one time there remained only eleven and a few faithful women to lay the foundation of the Christian church. There are those who will stand back when burdens are to be borne; but when the church is all aglow, they catch the enthusiasm, sing and shout, and become rapturous; but watch them. When the fervor is gone, only a few Calebs will come to the front and display unwavering principle. These are the salt that retains the savor. It is when the work moves hard that churches develop the true helpers.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 5, page 130.
We have seen that God has given us the commission of proclaiming the last gospel message of warning to the world in a Christlike manner, without sharp thrust. We have also seen that God requires us to be courageous and zealous in proclaiming the pointed message of the third angel with boldness and power. Let us not beat about the bush any more in the matter of proclaiming these last messages of mercy to the world, as admonished by God’s last day prophet Ellen G. White.
May we each be found individually faithful to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, thank You so much for showing us the need to be courageous in proclaiming Your last day messages of the three angels of Revelation 14:6-12 and another angel’s message of Revelation 18:1-4. Please help us not to shirk the responsibility which You have given to us of proclaiming these messages to the world. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
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Questions for Thought:
1. What are some important characteristics of the last generation?
2. How can we proclaim the last gospel message as contained in the three angels’ messages without sharp thrust?
3. Are Calebs needed for the last days?