By Ellen White
A message to Seventh-day Adventists in America and Australia, written June 2, 1906, six weeks after the April 18, 1906, San Francisco earthquake
The judgments of God will certainly fall upon all transgressors. The terrible earthquake that has visited San Francisco will be followed by other manifestations of the power of God. His law has been transgressed. Cities have become polluted with sin.
Study the history of Nineveh. God sent a special message by Jonah to that wicked city. "Arise," He bade Jonah, "go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me." Jonah was to "cry against" the city, but he was averse to bearing any such message. Instead of obeying, he "rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to
Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord" (Jonah 1:2, 3). Read the history.
Jonah seemed to suppose that his reputation as a prophet was injured. Many such messages as his would be given in our age, if the wicked cities would repent as did Nineveh.
Where are the watchmen?
The Lord declares that unless the cities shall change their characteristics, the saloons will be replaced. In the calamity that befell San Francisco, the Lord designed to wipe out the saloons that have been the source of great evils; and yet the officiating guardians, the men who are placed in responsible positions, prove unfaithful to their trust by legalizing the sale of liquor. Poisonous drugs are mingled with the liquor. Men form the habit of using these drugs, and the appetite for such things is very powerful.
Oh, that our cities might reform! Those who are placed in responsibility as guardians of the welfare of the people, should realize the responsibility of their position, and govern in accordance with the orders of God in His Word. God hath spoken plainly- "Thou shalt," and "Thou shalt not"-regarding our reasonable service. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:1, 2).
We have a God who is our Ruler. How can the great Governor of the world behold with any satisfaction these wicked cities full of violence and every type and stripe of crime? Our Creator has given in His Word a law to be obeyed. No one should lightly regard this law. Our courts of justice are perverted, and in the heavenly courts are condemned. Even eating, drinking, and dressing are carried to such excess as to become crimes. They are specified as last-day signs by our world's Redeemer, who gave His life a sacrifice to save the fallen race.
These men who are in office need the counsel and judgment of One who cannot err. How many seek this wisdom and place themselves under the control of God? The extravagance seen in the erection of buildings, in selfish gratification, in market-places, in unfair managing, creates poverty and distress. The guardians of the marts of trade will have a fearful account to render to God when the Judge of the highest court will take every individual case in hand.
Time, money, and strength that belong to God are wasted in superfluities. High and God-given capabilities are placed under the denominating influence of Satanic agencies who are playing a game of life for souls.
How many who are called wealthy are using their wealth to alleviate the necessities of suffering humanity? Oh, if human agencies could feel the need of placing themselves under the guidance of the Most High God as obedient sons and daughters of His! Then they could carry forward His purpose for them in this world. Shunning pride and extravagance, they would be able to form solid Christian characters and would become laborers together with God.
"Stand as the messenger of God anywhere, in any place"
Just before His ascension, the great Medical Missionary gave the gospel commission to His followers who believe on Him. This was after He had endured the agonies of the cross and died to open a way for every soul, that none need perish, but have everlasting life through believing on Him. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
As the crucified Saviour lay in the tomb, guarded by the Roman soldiers, "Behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men" (Matthew 28:2-4).
"In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher" (Matthew 28:1). As they approached, they saw that the great stone was rolled away and that a light was shining about the tomb. The body of Jesus was not there, but soon they saw an angel. [Matthew 28:5-20, quoted.]
I present this wonderful evidence we have of a power that is not created by ourselves, but that is out of and beyond ourselves. To as many as receive Christ, will be granted the privilege of becoming the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. And those who are His children will be given the power that is vested in Him.
The risen Saviour was with His disciples forty days, instructing them "of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). Just before His ascension He declared: "And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries." Acts 1:8-11.
For many months I have been troubled as I have seen how some of our sensible men whom God has used in His cause, are perplexed over the scientific arguments of
Satanic agencies. I have not known what to do. While I was studying over these things Sabbath night a week ago, I had a vision of speaking before a large company, where many questions were asked concerning my work and writings.
I was directed by a messenger from heaven not to take the burden of picking up the sayings and doubts that Satan is putting into minds. "Stand as the messenger of
God anywhere, in any place," I was bidden, "and bear the testimony I shall give you. If the Holy Spirit is not received but rejected, all your words will be as idle tales. Be free. Bear the testimonies that the Lord Jesus has for you to bear in reproof, in rebuke, in the work of encouraging and lifting up the soul; 'teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world'" (Matthew 28:20).
Do not take up the unbelief of anyone in order to tru to convince him
When I awakened from the vision, I was praying with great fervor and earnestness, and could not cease praying. My soul was strengthened; for the words had been spoken:
"Be strong, yea, be strong. Let none of the seducing words of ministers or physicians distress your mind. Tell them to take the light given them in publications. Truth will always bear away the victory. Go straight forward. Do not take up the unbelief of anyone in order to try to convince him. If the Holy Spirit is turned from, all your words will not help remove, for the time being, the false presentations. Satan stands ready to invent more. If the evidence that has been given is rejected and falsified, all other evidence will be useless until there is seen the converting power of God upon the minds of those in error. If the convincing representations and impressions of the Holy Spirit evidenced for the past half century will not be accepted as trustworthy evidence, nothing will hereafter bring them to their senses, because the bewitching guile of Satan has perverted their discernment. They have been convinced again and again as the Holy Spirit has borne witness, and all that words can say will not be as forcible as the impression made by the Holy Spirit of God."
Go forward, be of good courage
If the Spirit of God be entertained in the place of the underworking of evil spirits on mind and heart, all who have been working against God will come to their right bearings. A great work is to be done now in convicting souls. The message must in no case be changed from that which has been. As has been foretold in the Scriptures, there will be seducing spirits and doctrines of devils in the midst of the church, and these evil influences will increase; but hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end.
Let not souls be drawn into Battle Creek. Warnings are to be given. A message similar to that borne by John the Baptist is to be heard. But beware of men; for they will seek to divert the mind from the necessity of heeding the true issues for this time. Carry on the work now for those who need the truth and who have not exchanged evidences of the truth for fallacies and scientific presentations of Satanic origin.
The time has about come when Satan will work miracles to confirm minds in the belief that he is God. All the people of God are now to stand on the platform of truth as had been given in the third angel's message. All the pleasant pictures, all the miracles wrought, are presented by the enemy in order that if possible the very elect shall be deceived. The only hope for anyone is to hold fast the evidences that have confirmed the truth in righteousness. Let these be proclaimed over and over again, until the close of this earth's history.
The perils of the last days are upon us. Devote not precious time in trying to convince those who would change the truth of God into a lie. Proclaim the third angel's message. Bear a straightforward, clear-cut message.
These words I was speaking before a perplexed company just before I called upon them to take their stand on the right side. If someone chooses another position, let him alone. Labor for the class of people who have never had the evidences of truth. So long as men hold fast to men, and believe men in the place of the Word of God, you cannot help them. You are working against principalities and powers, as is represented in Ephesians.
Receive the truth; stand in the truth
Whoever chooses to pursue the course marked out in the scriptures regarding those who shall depart from the faith, cannot be helped by you. All your reasoning will be as idle tales. They have been warned, and further words are useless, for you are meeting Satan through human agencies.
Take the banner of truth and hold it aloft, higher and still higher. The Lord calls for faithful minute men. Go into the cities that need the truth as we have taught it for years. No one feature of our faith is changed, and the unbelievers in our cities need to hear the last message of warning.
It is Satan's plan to produce these variances to keep the mind on dissensions and Satanic problems until the last woe shall have come upon the world. Our time is too precious now to be lost through confusion. Every step we have taken is recorded in the past messages given. Repeat these things to the world.
Gather not at Battle Creek; spoil not the minds of youth, physicians and ministers. Set at work in the cause of God every soul who has heeded the words of warning given. Trust not the men who for years have been denying their faith and giving heed to seducing spirits.
I have been instructed that it is not extravagant display which is now to be regarded as one of the best means of giving the last message of mercy to our world. We must go forth in the simplicity of true godliness. Our sanitariums, our schools, our publishing houses, are to be God's instrumentalities to represent the humble manner of Christ's teaching. In a marked manner the Lord will be the strength and power and verity of the truth for this time. Maintain simplicity and pray in faith constantly. Wherever you are, your only safety is prayer. In living faith claim the promises. Hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end.
Beware of the leaven of evil
Some souls may never see the truth as it is; for Satan has skillful workers who understand how to lead astray and to deceive. Tares are mixed in with the wheat. Beware of the leaven of evil. Let everyone remember that he is now on test and trial for life, eternal life.
God now calls upon all who choose to serve Him, to stand on the platform of eternal truth. Let those who have brought about the present state of things, by making the division that exists, stop to consider seriously before going any farther. Change your course of action.
"Choose you this day whom ye will serve." "If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him" (Joshua 24:15; 1 Kings 18:21).
Unto all I am commissioned to say, Talk less, criticize less. There is no time to be indifferent now. Should not this terrible earthquake, which has caused almost complete destruction in one of the largest cities of America, awaken a most earnest spiritual interest to seek the Lord while He may be found? Call upon Him while He is near.
Let not our ministers dwell upon commonplace matters in their discourses. Now is a time when there should be a humbling of the heart before God. Seek Him while He is to be found on the pardoning side, and not on the judgment side. Wake up, my brethren and sisters in Australia. You have no time to lose. Call upon the Lord while He may be found.
Ellen G. White, 1827-1915, received the spiritual gift of prophecy, and the fruits of her life and work accord with the biblical tests of a true messenger of God. To this day, her counsels are an incalculable blessing to God's people around the world.