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    31 THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

    WE have now brought our investigation of this subject down to the time when all cases have been examined and decided. The investigative Judgment in the most holy place has then transpired. The mystery of God is finished. Christ is no longer an intercessor. Probation has closed. We have endeavored to anticipate and answer all queries that properly arise in reference to this subject thus far; and we now turn our attention to what follows the work of this awful moment, upon the decisions of which hangs the gain or loss of an eternity of bliss.STTHD 298.1

    When Christ ceases to plead, and steps out from between God and rebellious and incorrigible man (for such are all those who at this time stand unreconciled to God), there is nothing to longer stay the vials of long-merited judgments from the shelterless heads of the wicked. Then can be fulfilled the punishment threatened by the third angel’s message against the worshipers of the beast, which is the visitation of God’s wrath with no mixture of mercy; Revelation 14:10; and then we can have, as described in chapter 15:1, the pouring out of those vials in which is filled up his indignation. Neither of these could be fulfilled while a divine mediator stood between God and men. For so long as God regards the pleading of his Son, which he will do so long as he pleads at all, he could not visit upon men judgment in which no mercy was mingled, nor pour out any vials filled up with wrath alone. This is proof that the third angel’s message is addressed to the last generation of men; for on no others can the punishment threatened be visited.STTHD 298.2

    We now propose to show that these judgments are the seven last plagues, and that they immediately follow the close of our Lord’s work in the sanctuary above.STTHD 299.1

    In the 15th of Revelation, verse 5, John speaks of the opening of the tabernacle of the testimony in Heaven. This is the opening of the most holy place of the sanctuary, as elsewhere explained. After this, seven angels come out of the temple having the seven plagues, represented as seven golden vials full of the wrath of God. They go forth to pour these out upon men, and the temple or sanctuary is filled with smoke,so that no man, or no being, as it might be translated, is able to enter therein, or carry forward a work of ministration there, till the seven plagues of the seven angels are fulfilled.STTHD 299.2

    In verse 1 of this chapter it is said that in these plagues is filled up the wrath of God, which shows that they are poured out after probation is ended, and the sun of mercy has withdrawn its last warming ray from this apostate earth.STTHD 300.1

    The statement of verse 8, that no one was able to enter into the temple till the seven plagues were fulfilled, is another proof of the same point, and if possible still more positive. For, ever since Christ commenced his work in Heaven, there has been some one in the sanctuary. So this scene has not transpired in the past, and it is certain that the seven last plagues have not yet commenced to be poured out. And until Christ closes forever his service as priest, there will be some being in the sanctuary; for there is no break in this work from beginning to end. The scene of verse 8 cannot, therefore, transpire till the sanctuary work is done.STTHD 300.2

    The prototype of this scene is found in Exodus 40:34, 35: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” This was at the commencement of the typical work here on earth, as the scene described in Revelation 15 is at the close of the real work in Heaven. Thus this work, so far as it relates to man, is bounded at its beginning and close with an overpowering manifestation of the glory of God. The great God takes sole possession of his own dwelling-place, and thus sets his seal to the work which has been accomplished therein.STTHD 300.3

    Passing out from the sanctuary, we are now called upon to look at the effects of the close of this work in scenes to transpire here among men. A dissertation upon the subject of the plagues is not called for in this place. See the subject discussed more at length in “Thoughts on the Revelation,” chapter 16. We only glance here at simply the most prominent features.STTHD 301.1

    As we have shown that these plagues are future, and are visited upon men at the close of probation, so there is just as clear evidence that they will be literal. The first falls upon the men who are guilty of that sin against which the third message is warning the world to-day.STTHD 301.2

    A sore, noisome and grievous, more corroding than the leprosy, more stinging than blains, more painful than boils, breaks forth upon those who, contrary to light and warning, have received the mark of the beast, and worship his image.STTHD 302.1

    The second vial throws the sea into the most infectious and deadly condition that can be conceived of: it becomes like the blood of a dead man. If this applies to the oceans of our globe, as we see not why it may not, we leave each one’s imagination to grapple with the problem, what the condition of the earth would be with three-quarters of it enveloped in this deadly substance.STTHD 302.2

    The third plague strikes at a still more vulnerable spot, and the rivers and fountains become blood; as if the earth in her last agony was pouring forth blood from every aperture, even as it oozed from the Saviour’s pores, as he wrestled with the world’s sin and darkness in lonely Gethsemane. This plague, as perhaps the preceding, will probably be of short duration, as it would seem that none could long survive should this cup of blood be pressed continually to their lips.STTHD 302.3

    The fourth plague lights up the sun with an unwonted flame. Vegetation withers beneath its scorching rays; the streams evaporate; the heat burns to the very bones of men; and an air of desolation spreads over the face of nature. Thus under these plagues the woes of men increase in a regular ratio: first, sores; then, as a consequence, fever and thirst; then blood to quench that thirst; and finally, blazing, glaring, intolerable heat from a sun on fire.STTHD 302.4

    The fifth angel pours the contents of his vial upon the seat of the beast, old Rome, gray and crumbling from its long years of sin. And the kingdom of the beast, the whole Catholic world, is full of darkness. The similar plague on Egypt, produced darkness so gross that it could be recognized by the sense of touch; and in the dark night following the dark day of May 19, 1780, even dumb animals were filled with such terror that horses could not be forced from their stables. So here the darkness summons around the followers of the papal apostasy its legions of undefinable terrors till they dare not stir, but gnaw their tongues for their pains and their sores.STTHD 303.1

    The sixth angel stations himself over the symbolic Euphrates, and pours his vial upon the Turkish empire; and its waters (people), which have for many years already been growing weaker, or drying up, will then be clean dried up, and the way of the kings of the East will be laid open, that they may come up to the battle of the great day of the Lord. Then the spirits of devils from the three great systems of false or apostate religion, the dragon, beast, and false prophet, paganism, popery, and a dead and backslidden Protestantism, go forth to gather the nations to the last strife. And they march up, goaded by their own sufferings and torments, the results of the previous plagues, and impelled by devils, to the valley of slaughter, the great antitypical Megiddo.STTHD 303.2

    The seventh angel hurls the contents of his vial around the globe. The air is tainted, and every breathing thing inhales the deadly miasma. Then the voice of God, which has once shaken the earth, is heard again, and shakes both earth and heaven. That voice proclaims the controversy ended. It is done. And the majestic utterance rends the earth with the mightiest convulsion it has ever felt. The cities fall; great Babylon is forced to taste the fierceness of God’s wrath; every island flees away, the mountains disappear, and when thus every hiding-place and refuge is taken away, the mighty treasures of hail which God has reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war, Job 38:22, 23, are dashed upon them out of heaven. The last prayer of the wicked is for rocks and mountains to hide them from the presence of the Lamb; but so completely are they transformed by sin that their last ejaculation is one of blasphemy against God; for the plague of the hail is exceeding great. Thus amid the convulsions of the last day, this poor earth, which has long groaned under the weight of the curse and been torn by the wild disorders of sin, is laid in its coffin for a thousand years.STTHD 304.1

    We ask the sinner to study well this picture, and haste, while a few precious hours of probation linger, to seek a shelter beneath that wing which shall safely cover the righteous during the time of trouble, and bring them everlasting deliverance at its close.STTHD 305.1

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