Words of Warning -- Part 2
by Ellen White
THEN shall they deliver you up to be afflicted," Christ continued, "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." Matthew 24:9-10.
All this the Christians suffered. Fathers and mothers betrayed their children; children
betrayed their parents; friends delivered their friends to the Sanhedrin. Until he himself
was converted, Saul of Tarsus was exceedingly bitter against all who believed in Christ.
He then began to preach Christ and Him crucified, and the enemies of the gospel caused him
and Silas to be whipped, and thrown into prison.
Through the apostles, God gave the Jewish people a last opportunity to repent. But they
turned away from every entreaty. In the arrest, the trial, and the imprisonment of His
witnesses, God manifested Himself. He gave them words to speak, and a tongue and voice
with which to vindicate the truth and acknowledge Him as the Son of God. They were men of
whom the world was not worthy, yet their judges pronounced on them the death sentence.
They were not allowed to live and serve their God. By killing them, the Jews crucified
afresh the Son of God.
So it will be again. But it is over the seventh-day Sabbath that the battle will be
fought. The authorities of this world will rise up in their pride and power to make laws
to restrict religious liberty. They will assume a right that is God's alone, and, like
Nebuchadnezzar, will think that they can force the conscience, which only God can control.
Even now they are making a beginning, and this they will carry forward till they reach a
boundary over which they cannot step. Then God will interpose in behalf of His loyal,
Christ 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 should vindicate the truth;
for He would give them a mouth and wisdom that all their adversaries could not gainsay nor
resist. These words were fulfilled at the trial of Stephen, and at the trial of Paul, who
made Felix tremble as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgement to come.
Whenever persecution takes place, the spectators make decisions either for or against
Christ. Because of persecution, many will be offended. The principles of the truth cut
directly across their practice, and they will stumble and fall, apostatising from the
faith they once advocated. Many who have professed to love the truth will then show that
they have 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, scoffers, and mockers.
Those who apostatise in time of trial will bear false witness and betray their
brethren, to secure their own safety. They will tell where their brethren are concealed,
putting the wolves on their track. Christ has warned us of this, that we may not be
surprised at the cruel, unnatural course pursued by friends and relatives. "Little
children, it is the last time:" John writes, "and as ye have heard that
antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the
last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us,
they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made
manifest that they were not all of us." 1 John 2:18-19.
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." Matthew 24:11.
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 also spoken for the last days. Companies
inspired by Satan will be formed to deceive and delude. This will be a sign of the Second
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that
shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall
be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
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. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those
days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day."
Verses 12-20. Forty years afterward, at the siege of Jerusalem, the Christians obeyed this
warning; and not a Christian perished in the destruction of the city.
"Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day."
Christ made the Sabbath, and He never abolished it. The Sabbath was not rendered null and
void by the crucifixion, as many claim. Christ's death on the cross is an unanswerable
argument in favour of the changeless character of every precept of God's holy law.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:" Christ said;
"I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17. As the Head of the
human family, He lived every precept, every jot, every tittle, of the law. He lived in
humanity the life that He requires His followers to live, and therefore there is no excuse
for anyone to fail of reaching the standard of perfection.
Christ emphasises His words: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth
pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be
fulfilled." Verse 18. So long as the heavens and the earth remain, so long will the
Sabbath of the fourth commandment hold its claim on the human family.
The Sabbath was given to the world as the memorial of Creation. "Remember the
sabbath day, to keep it holy," God says. "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all
thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do
any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor
thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made
heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore
the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11.
God gave explicit directions concerning His Sabbath: "Verily my sabbaths ye shall
keep," He declared; "for it is a sign between me and you throughout your
generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. . . . Six days
may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever
doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children
of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for
a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in
six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was
refreshed." Exodus 31:13-17.
But human lawmakers speak, saying: "Verily, the first day of the week shall ye
keep, because it is the world's sabbath. The churches keep this day holy, and those under
our supervision shall keep it also, because it is so ordained on our statute-books. We
have chosen Sunday as the sabbath, and men must keep it."
But this day so universally exalted is a spurious sabbath, a common working day. It is
accepted in the place of the day that the Lord has blessed and sanctified; but the sure
result of this course may be seen in the punishment which fell upon Nadab and Abihu, the
sons of Aaron. As priests of God, these men had been commanded to offer always the fire of
God's own kindling, which was kept burning before God day and night. This was ever to be
strictly observed. But Nadab and Abihu drank wine too freely; and because of this their
minds were not keen, but confused, and they were unable to distinguish between the sacred
and the common. They took their censers, "and put fire therein, and put incense
thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there
went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD."
God has given full directions regarding His law, so that none need be left in darkness,
unless they choose darkness rather than light. But the apostasy of the Jewish nation
represents the apostasy that will be made by the world in the last days. Just as the Jews
chose darkness in regard to the message that Christ came to the world to bring, so men
today are choosing darkness. Sanctified and blessed by God, the Sabbath was designed to be
the great memorial of Creation, and a blessing to mankind. But men are trampling it
underfoot. It is the test of today, as Christ was the test when He was in our world in
human form. It will ever stand unmoved, a rock of offence to the Christian world, as was
Christ to the Jewish nation. As the rejection of Christ decided the eternal destiny of the
Jews, so the rejection of God's holy memorial will decide the fate of many professing
Men may ignore the Sabbath, they may trample it under their feet; but they cannot make
it less binding upon them. No one has any excuse for accepting the rubbish that has been
piled upon the Sabbath of the Lord. No one has any excuse for accepting a human sabbath,
created by him whom God designates as the "man of sin," who shall think
to change times and laws. He thinks to, but he does not do it; although he may
think thus to show his supremacy over God, he cannot change God's law; this is God's
prerogative only. God is over all kings and rulers. He is God, and besides Him there is
none else. (Emphasis in original).
The statutes of the Lord are to be reverenced and obeyed. God is Supreme Authority; and
when His law is set aside as a matter of no consequence, the transgressor must surely bear
the results of his own sin, though God bears long with him. Review and Herald, December 20, 1898.