Time of Trouble

A TIME OF TROUBLE FOR THE WICKED

dreamHave you ever been awakened in the middle of the night by a frightening dream, and wished for the morning to come when the light of the sun would drive away the ominous feelings which your dream brought up from the recesses of your mind? I suppose this has happened to everyone, at least occasionally. But sadly enough, this is the experience of many people who see the Biblical descriptions of the end of time and the events surrounding the second coming of Jesus, and look upon it with fear and dread. What a strange paradox! The most wonderful and exciting event in the history of mankind is drawing near, and many are afraid to even think about its implications, and how it will affect them and their loved ones.

I do not mean to imply that sincere Christians do not want their Lord to come, for the Bible calls this “the blessed hope,” and so we long for His speedy and soon return. But it is the trials we anticipate BEFORE He comes that grips the hearts of many with foreboding, and causes them to secretly wish to avoid these scenes of suffering and trial.

adamEveYes, it is true that there will be trials for God’s people before He comes - we have these even now all around the world; for trial, suffering and persecution have ever been the lot of fallen man since our first parents sinned in the garden of Eden. But if we follow the example of Scripture, we will not major on these topics or possibilities, but focus on the goodness, love and protection which God promises, especially for those who live through until Jesus comes.

In our first “Morning Manna” paper, we looked at some of these promises. But I would like now to include some additional ones that are a great blessing and encouragement to me. So, without further adieu, let’s consider some of these important promises. I will also include some appropriate and supportive Ellen White comments.

“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues, for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.” Rev. 18:4, 5.

“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Isa. 26:20, 21 (KJV).

“What are the chambers in which they are to hide? They are the protection of Christ and holy angels.” RH 11/19/08.

“Just before we entered [the time of trouble] we all received the seal of the living God. Then I saw the four angels cease to hold the four winds (see Rev. 7:1-4). And I saw famine, pestilence, and sword, nation rose against nation, and the whole world was in confusion.” 7 BC 968.

“Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty.” EW 43.

trumpet“The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace…. And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, BUT ONLY THOSE PEOPLE WHO DID NOT HAVE THE SEAL OF GOD ON THEIR FOREHEADS. (See Rev. 7:1-4.

NOTE: Here we see how God carefully protects His own people when He allows Satan, the “star” which fell from heaven (Isa. 14:12), to exercise his power to torture those who have chosen to follow him.) Rev. 9:1-6.

“Fearful tests and trials await the people of God. The spirit of war is stirring the nations from one end of the earth to the other. But in the midst of the time of trouble that is coming, — a time of trouble that has not been since there was a nation, — God’s chosen people will stand unmoved. Satan and his host cannot destroy them, for angels that excel in strength will protect them.” 9 T 17.

“Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; He will shield it and deliver it, He will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.” Isa. 31:5.

“The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” Joel 3:16.

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed place of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely.” Isa. 32:17, 18.

“In the time of trouble we all fled from the cities and villages, but were pursued by the wicked, who entered the houses of the saints with a sword to kill us, but it broke, and fell as powerless as a straw.” EW 34.

“I saw that God will in a wonderful manner preserve His people through the time of trouble.” 1 T 353.

“I saw that our bread and water will be sure and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness.” EW 56.

shipSo it is the WICKED — not the righteous — who will suffer terror, anguish and loss during the time of trouble. How clever of the evil one to make it seem just the opposite! Like a trusty ocean vessel during a storm, the people of God will ride through the time of trouble in the safety of their Lord’s protection. The seas may be rough, but the destination is secure, for God is at the helm. Notice this description in Isaiah 13:4-11:

“The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war…. Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like a destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man’s heart will melt. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame…. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins.”

“’See, I am against you, O arrogant one,’ declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty, ‘for your day has come, the time for you to be punished. The arrogant one will stumble and fall and no one will help her up; I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her.’

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well. All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go. Yet their Redeemer is strong; the LORD Almighty is His name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that He may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon.’” Jer. 50:31-34.

So God is our defender during the time of trouble! Like a captive bride in this world of sin, God’s people have been under oppression too long. It is time to separate ourselves from the baubles and attractions of this world, and prepare to be rescued by our coming Bridegroom. He invites us to do that without delay!

“Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins. It is time for the LORD’s vengeance; He will pay her what she deserves….

“You who live by many waters and are rich in treasures, you end has come, the time for you to be cut off.” Jer. 51:6, 13.

onfenceDo you have loved ones and/or friends who are yet toying with their soul’s salvation, and are trying to be a part of both worlds — this one and the next? Or who are putting off their decision to follow Christ because it is inconvenient or seemingly unrewarding? Or because they have bought Satan’s lie that the time of trouble will be better for the wicked than for the humble followers of Jesus?

Perhaps it is time to plead with them as Lot did for his adult children in Sodom. Perhaps some will listen if they feel our love, and the love God has for us in delaying His coming so that not one person would be left unwarned. As Paul says in Romans 13:11-14:12:

“The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not is orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature….

“For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

But if we have on the beautiful robe of Christ’s righteousness, we have nothing to fear in the judgment. He has already provided for us to have an abundant entrance into His heavenly home. May we, along with our loved ones all be there, without the loss of one!

To all our friends who read this, we hope you find it to be of value in helping you to connect with others who are hoping for the soon coming of our Lord, and who are looking forward with anticipation to that event.

We invite you to share your ideas, stories of hope, and anything that might encourage others to rely upon and serve our Savior with faithfulness and joy. Also, please feel free to send us your prayer requests. We have had many answers to prayer, and would love to add yours to our list!