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    April 13, 1891

    “Safety in the Time of Trouble” The Signs of the Times, 17, 15.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” Isaiah 33:14.SITI April 13, 1891, page 108.4

    This text is to some a stumbling-block in the way of their believing that the wicked are to be utterly and eternally destroyed. The difficulty arises from the supposition that the prophet means, Who of us shall suffer from the devouring fire, or, in other words, Who of us shall in the last day be found sinners? But that is not the idea of the text. The true meaning is found when we read the answer to these questions, which is found in verse 15: “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” From this we learn that the prophet does not mean to ask who among us shall be sinners, but who among us shall be righteous. And therefore, when he says, “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” he does not mean to ask who shall be punished with this fire, but who shall escape it. Thus the text has no reference whatever to eternal torment.SITI April 13, 1891, page 108.5

    But the question will be asked, How can it be said that the righteous shall dwell with devouring fire and with everlasting burnings? This will be understood after we have quoted a few texts. The Psalmist, speaking of the coming of the Lord, says, “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” Psalm 50:3. And again, “A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies around about.” Psalm 97:3. In Habakkuk 3:3-6, we find the following: “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand; and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow; his ways are everlasting.” From the sixteenth verse of this chapter we learn that this is the description of the time of trouble that shall just precede the coming of the Lord. It is the same that is referred to in the ninety-first psalm, where we read of the “terror by night,” the “pestilence that walketh in darkness,” the “destruction that wasteth at noonday,” and the plagues which the wicked shall suffer, and which the righteous will see, although they shall be unharmed by them.SITI April 13, 1891, page 108.6

    Now if with these texts we read Joel 1:15-20, which also describes the time of trouble, we shall understand about the devouring fire and the everlasting burnings. That text reads thus:—SITI April 13, 1891, page 108.7

    “Alas for the day for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. How do the beasts groan the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O Lord, to thee will I cry; for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee; for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.” Read also Joel 2:1-3.SITI April 13, 1891, page 108.8

    We find from this text that just before the coming of the Lord there is a time of trouble for the wicked, in which there is pestilence, and plagues, and devouring fire; and that the righteous witness these plagues that are poured out upon the wicked, but are protected. The enemies of the Lord will be consumed by the devouring fire, but those who are described in Isaiah 33:15 will be able to dwell with everlasting burnings. Of such a one Isaiah says, “He shall dwell on high;” David says, “He shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” While the meat is cut off because the corn is withered, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, “Bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure.” And while the wicked behold only a desolate wilderness, he “shall behold the land that is very far off.” This last reference also show that the time of the everlasting burnings is before the coming of the Lord.SITI April 13, 1891, page 114.1

    The thirty-fourth chapter of Isaiah gives the result of this time of trouble. There it is said of the earth that “the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch” (verse 9); and to show that it is the same everlasting burnings that accomplish this, verse ten says: “It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.” Now, to show that even this is limited in duration, and that the fire ceases to burn when that upon which it feeds is consumed, read the next chapter, especially the first two verses: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.”SITI April 13, 1891, page 114.2

    Happy indeed will be the lot of the man who in that awful time of trouble can say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust.” They who in this day of salvation wash their robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, can say in that day when God stands and measures the earth, scattering the everlasting hills, and causing the perpetual hills to bow: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 46:1-3. Who would not wish for such confidence in a time when fearfulness surprises the hypocrites? E. J. W.SITI April 13, 1891, page 114.3

    “What We Gain by Being in Christ” The Signs of the Times, 17, 15.

    E. J. Waggoner

    [Extract from a discourse, at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Battle Creek, Mich., March 22, 1891, by Elder E. J. Waggoner.]SITI April 13, 1891, page 114.4

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-4.SITI April 13, 1891, page 114.5

    Christ has all power, and he hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Notice that the past tense is used. This has been done for us. Then why don’t we have them?—For just one reason,—because we don’t take them. We have been mourning for so long, and saying that we want these things; well, we can have them, they have been given to us, and there is no reason why we should not appropriate them to ourselves.SITI April 13, 1891, page 114.6

    Suppose I come to you and say that I am very hungry, and that I would like something to eat. “All right,” you say, “just sit down here to the table, and we will get something for you.” Soon you place the best of what you have on the table, and tell me, “There it is, and now eat.” But I say, “Oh, I am so hungry, and I do want food so much!” “All right, take it and eat.” “But I am so hungry, and I do want something to eat; I have not had anything for days.” “Well, take it.” “Yes, but I do want food so bad.” You would say that I was out of my mind if I acted that way, and did not eat of the food that was so freely placed before me.SITI April 13, 1891, page 114.7

    Said one to me the other night, “If that is the way that the Lord does with these blessings that pertain to life and godliness, we are certainly foolish that we do not take them; but I do not think that the illustration is a fair one, because we cannot see these things that the Lord has to offer, and we can see the food.” Neither do I think that it is a fair illustration, because it does not half fill the bill.SITI April 13, 1891, page 115.1

    Have you not often thought you saw something that you did not see? Does not your sight often deceive you? Sometimes you thought you saw a thing that you did not see, and then again you saw things that when you came to look at them closely, were not as they really appeared to be. But the word of God never deceives. Therefore I am more sure of the things promised in the word of God than if I could see them. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” Romans 4:16.SITI April 13, 1891, page 115.2

    “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18. We must revise our logic a little in this matter. We think that anything that we can see is all right and sure. Therefore we get hold of a house or a piece of land or some other property, and think that we have something, because there is in our possession something that we can see. But the truth of the matter is that the only things that we can depend on are the things that we cannot see. We can see the earth, and we can see the heavens, but they are going to pass away. “But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:25.SITI April 13, 1891, page 115.3

    With the Psalmist we can say, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Psalm 46:1-3. Can we say that? Brethren, that time is coming. The earth will reel to and fro like a drunken man, and be removed like a cottage, and the mountains will skip away, and pass over into the ocean. That is going to happen, and there will be some people at that time who will feel perfectly calm and trustful; but they will not be composed of man and women who have never learned to say that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose. The man that doubts God now will doubt him then. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”SITI April 13, 1891, page 115.4

    He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? That promise includes all. “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours. Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. This is not in the future. All things are yours at the present time. Everything is ours, and therefore we can say with the Psalmist, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places, yea, I have a goodly heritage.”SITI April 13, 1891, page 115.5

    Yes, we have everything; we are children of the King, of the Most High. What difference does it make if people do not own us? God owns us, and he knows us; and therefore, if men heap on us reproach and persecution, the only thing we can do is to pity them, and labor for them, for they do not know the riches of the inheritance.SITI April 13, 1891, page 115.6

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