Said to the mountains and rocks - Expressions which denote the strongest perturbation and alarm. They preferred any kind of death to that which they apprehended from this most awful revolution.
From the face of him that sitteth on the throne - They now saw that all these terrible judgments came from the Almighty; and that Christ, the author of Christianity, was now judging, condemning, and destroying them for their cruel persecutions of his followers.
And, lo, there was a great earthquake - Before endeavoring to ascertain to what the sixth seal was designed to refer, it is proper, as in the previous cases, to furnish a particular explanation of the meaning of the symbols. All the symbols represented in the opening of this seal denote consternation, commotion, changes; but still they are all significant, and we are to suppose that something would occur corresponding with each one of them. It cannot be supposed that the things here described were represented on the part of the roll or volume that was now unfolded in any other way than that they were pictures, or that the whole was a species of panoramic representation made to pass before the eyes. Thus understood, it would not be difficult to represent each one of these things in a painting: as the heaving ground - the agitated forests - the trembling hills - the falling cities and houses - the sun blackened, and the moon turned to blood:
(a) The earthquake, Revelation 6:12; “There was a great earthquake.” The word used here denotes a shaking or agitation of the earth. The effect, when violent, is to produce important changes - opening chasms in the earth; throwing down houses and temples; sinking hills, and elevating plains; causing ponds and lakes to dry up, or forming them where none existed; elevating the ocean from its bed, rending rocks, etc. As all that occurs in the opening of the other seals is symbolical, it is to be presumed that this is also, and that for the fulfillment of this we are not to look for a literal earthquake, but for such agitations and changes in the world as would be properly symbolized by this. The earthquake, as a symbol, would merely denote great agitations or overturnings on the earth. The particular character of those changes must be determined by other circumstances in the symbol that would limit and explain it.
There are, it is said, but three literal earthquakes referred to in the Scripture: that mentioned in 1 Kings 19:11; that in Uzziah‘s time, Amos 1:1; Zechariah 14:5; and what took place at the Saviour‘s death. All the rest are emblematical or symbolical-referring mostly to civil commotions and changes. Then in Haggai 2:6-7; “Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.” That is, there would be great agitations in the world before he came. See the notes on Hebrews 12:26-28. So also great changes and commotions are referred to in Isaiah 24:19-20; “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage.” An earthquake, if there were no other circumstances limiting and explaining the symbol, would merely denote great agitation and commotion - as if states and empires were tumbling to ruin. As this is here a mere symbol, it is not necessary to look for a literal fulfillment, or to expect to find in history actual earthquakes to which this had reference, anymore than when it is said that “the heavens departed as a scroll” we are to expect that they will be literally rolled up; but if, in the course of history, earthquakes preceded remarkable political convulsions and revolutions, it would be proper to represent such events in this way.
(b) The darkening of the sun: “And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair.” Sackcloth was a coarse black cloth, commonly, though not always, made of hair. It was used for sacks, for strainers, and for mourning garments; and as thus worn it was not an improper emblem of sadness and distress. The idea here is, that the sun put on a dark, dingy, doleful appearance, as if it were in mourning. The general image, then, in this emblem, is that of calamity - as if the very sun should put on the robes of mourning. We are by no means to suppose that this was literally to occur, but that some great calamity would happen, of which this would be an appropriate emblem. See the Isaiah 13:10 note; Matthew 24:29 note; Compare Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 34:4; 1,3; Isaiah 60:19-20; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15-16; Amos 8:9. What is the particular nature of the calamity is to be learned from other parts of the symbol.
(c) The discoloration of the moon: “And the moon became as blood.” Red like blood - either from the smoke and vapor that usually precedes an earthquake, or as a mere emblem. This also would betoken calamity, and perhaps the symbol may be so far limited and modified by this as to denote war, for that would be most naturally suggested by the color - red. Compare the notes on Revelation 6:4 of this chapter. But any great calamity would be appropriately represented by this - as the change of the moon to such a color would be a natural emblem of distress.
(d) The falling of the stars, Revelation 6:13; “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth.” This language is derived from the poetic idea that the sky seems to be a solid concave, in which the stars are set, and that when any convulsion takes place, that concave will be shaken, and the stars will be loosened and fall from their places. See this language explained in the notes on Isaiah 34:4. Sometimes the expanse above us is spoken of as a curtain that is spread out, and that may be rolled up; sometimes as a solid crystalline expanse in which the stars are fixed. According to either representation the stars are described as falling to the earth. If the expanse is rolled up, the stars, having nothing to support them, fall if violent tempests or concussions shake the heavens, the stars, loosened from their fixtures, fall to the earth. Stars, in the Scriptures, are symbols of princes and rulers (see Daniel 8:10; Revelation 8:10-11; Revelation 9:1); and the natural meaning of this symbol is, that there would be commotions which would unsettle princes, and bring them down from their thrones - like stars falling from the sky.
Even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs - Mart., “green”; Greek, ὀλύνθους olunthousThis word properly denotes “winter-figs,” or such as grow under the leaves, and do not ripen at the proper season, but hang upon the trees during the winter (Robinson, Lexicon). This fruit seldom matures, and easily falls off in the spring of the year (Stuart, in loco). A violent wind shaking a plantation of fig-trees would of course cast many such figs to the ground. The point of the comparison is, the ease with which the stars would seem to be shaken from their places, and hence, the ease with which, in these commotions, princes would be dethroned.
(e) The departing of the heavens, Revelation 6:14; “And the heaven departed as a scroll.” That is, as a book or volume - βιβλίον biblion- rolled up. The heavens are here described as spread out, and their passing away is represented by the idea that they might be rolled up, and thus disappear. See the notes on Isaiah 34:4. This, too, is a symbol, and we are not to suppose that it will literally occur. Indeed it never can literally occur; and we are not, therefore, to look for the fulfillment of this in any physical fact that would correspond with what is here said. The plain meaning is, that there would be changes as if such an event would happen; that is, that revolutions would occur in the high places of the earth, and among those in power, as if the stars should fall, and the very heavens were swept away. This is the natural meaning of the symbol, and this accords with the usage of the language elsewhere.
(f) The removal of mountains and islands, Revelation 6:14; “And every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” This would denote convulsions in the political or moral world, as great as would occur in the physical world if the very mountains were removed and the islands should change their places. We are not to suppose that this would literally occur; but we should be authorized from this to expect that, in regard to those things which seemed to be permanent and fixed on an immov able basis, like mountains and islands, there would be violent and important changes. If thrones and dynasties long established were overthrown; if institutions that seemed to be fixed and per manent were abolished; if a new order of things should rise in the political world, the meaning of the symbol, so far as the language is concerned, would be fulfilled.
(g) The universal consternation, Revelation 6:15-17; “And the kings of the earth, etc.” The design of these verses Revelation 6:15-17, in the varied language used, is evidently to denote universal consternation and alarm - as if the earth should be convulsed, and the stars should fall, and the heavens should pass away. This consternation would extend to all classes of people, and fill the world with alarm, as if the end of all things were coming.
The kings of the earth - Rulers - all who occupied thrones.
The great men - High officers of state.
And the rich men - Their wealth would not secure them from destruction, and they would be alarmed like others.
And the chief captains - The commanders of armies, who tremble like other men when God appears judgment.
And the mighty men - Men of great prowess in battle, but who feel now that they have no power to withstand God.
And every bondman - Servant - δοῦλος doulosThis word does not necessarily denote a slave (compare the Ephesians 6:5 note; 1 Timothy 6:1 note; Philemon 1:16 note), but here the connection seems to demand it, for it stands in contrast with freeman. There were, in fact, slaves in the Roman empire, and there is no objection in supposing that they are here referred to. There is no reason why they should not be filled with consternation as well as others; and as this does not refer to the end of the world, or the day of judgment, the word here determines nothing as to the question whether slavery is to continue on the earth.
And every freeman - Whether the master of slaves or not. The idea is, that all classes of people, high and low, would be filled with alarm.
Hid themselves in the dens - Among the caves or caverns in the mountains. See the notes on Isaiah 2:19. These places were resorted to for safety in times of danger. Compare 1 Samuel 13:6; 24; Judges 6:2; Jeremiah 41:9; Josephus, Antiq. book 14, chapter 15; Jewish Wars, book 1, chapter 16.
And in the rocks of the mountains - Among the crags or the fastnesses of the mountains - also natural places of refuge in times of hostile invasion or danger. See the notes on Isaiah 2:21.
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, - Revelation 6:16. This language is found substantially in Hosea 10:8; “And they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.” It is also used by the Saviour as denoting the consternation which would occur at his coming: “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us,” Luke 23:30. It is language denoting consternation, and an awful fear of impending wrath. The state of mind is that where there is an apprehension that God himself is coming forth with the direct instruments of his vengeance, and where there is a desire rather to be crushed by falling rocks and hills than by the vengeance of his uplifted arm.
From the face of him that sitteth on the throne - The face of God - for he seems to be coming forth with the displays of his vengeance. It is not said that God would actually come forth in a visible form, lint their consternation would be as great as if he were to do this; the state of mind indicated by this was an apprehension that it would be so.
And from the wrath of the Lamb - The Lamb of God; the Lord Jesus. See the notes on Revelation 5:6. There seems to be an incongruity between the words “wrath,” and “Lamb”; but the word “Lamb” here is so far a proper name as to be used only to designate the Redeemer. He comes forth to execute wrath, not as a Lamb, but as the Son of God, who bore that name. It would seem from this that they who thus dreaded the impending terrors were aware of their source, or had knowledge enough to understand by whom they were to be inflicted. They would see that these were divine judgments, and would apprehend that the end of the world drew near.
For the great day of his wrath is come - Revelation 6:17. The threatening judgments would be so severe and awful that they would suppose that the end of the world was coming.
And who shall be able to stand? - To stand before him, or to withstand his judgments.
It is unnecessary to say that there has been, in this case, as in reference to every other part of the Book of Revelation, a great diversity of opinion respecting the events symbolized by this seal. Grotius applied it to the wars between the Jews and Romans under Nero and Vespasian; Dr. Hammond supposed that the defeat of the Jewish leaders in those wars was particularly symbolized; Mr. Brightman referred these symbols to the persecution under Diocletian; Mr. Mede, Dr. Cressner, Dr. More, Mr. Whiston, Mr. Jurien, Mr. Daubuz, Mr. Lowman, Dr. Newton, Mr. Elliott, and others, refer it to the defeat of the pagan powers, and the final suppression of those powers as opposed to Christianity; Vitringa regarded it as foreshadowing the overthrow of the anti-Christian powers of the western Roman empire; Cocceius explains it of the wars of the Emperor Frederick against the German princes in the sixteenth century; Dr. Woodhouse, of the day of vengeance at the end of the world; Mr. Cunninghame, of the same period as the seventh trumpet, commencing with the French revolution, and to be consummated by the visible advent of the Son of God; Prof. Stuart, of the destruction of Jerusalem; and Mr. Lord, of a series of events, part of which are fulfilled, three of them corresponding with the first three vials - the first expressive of the revolution of France, the second of despotism extending through several rears, and the third of the overthrow of that violent dynasty, at the fall of Bonaparte, in 1815.
It is not my purpose to examine these views; but, amidst this great variety of opinion, it seems to me that the obvious and natural application of the opening of the seal has not been adverted to. I shall suggest it because it is the most natural and obvious, and seems to be demanded by the explanations given of the previous seals. It is, in one word, the impending judgments from the invasions of the northern hordes of Goths and Vandals, threatening the breaking up of the Roman empire - the gathering of the storm, and the hovering of those barbarians on the borders of the empire; the approaches which they made from time to time toward the capital, though restrained as yet from taking it; the tempest of wrath that was, as it were, suspended yet on the frontiers, until the events recorded in the next chapter should occur, then bursting forth in wrath in successive blasts, as denoted by the first four trumpets of the seventh seal Revelation 8:1-13, when the empire was entirely overthrown by the Goths and Vandals. The precise point of time which I suppose this seal occupies is that succeeding the last persecution.
It embraces the preparatory arrangements of these hordes of invaders - their gathering on the frontiers of the empire - their threatened approaches toward the capital - and the formation of such vast armies as would produce universal consternation. A brief notice of these preparatory scenes, as adapted to produce the alarm referred to in the opening of the sixth seal, is all that will be necessary here; the more complete detail must be reserved for the explanation of the four trumpets of the seventh seal, when the work of destruction was consummated. These preparations and threatened invasions were events sufficiently important in their relation to the church, to what preceded, and to the future history of the world, to be symbolized here; and they are events in which all the particulars of the symbol may find a fulfillment. Anyone has only to took on a chart of history to see how appropriately this application of the symbol follows, if the previous explanations have been correct. In the illustration of this, in order to show the probability that these events are referred to by the symbols of the sixth seal, I would submit the following remarks:
(1) The time is what would be naturally suggested by this seal in its relation to the others. If the fifth referred to the persecutions under Diocletian - the last great persecution of the pagan powers in attempting to extinguish the Christian name - then we should naturally look for the fulfillment of the opening of the next in some event, or series of events, which would succeed that at no very distant interval, and that pertained to the empire or power that had been the prominent subject of the predictions in the previous seals. It would also be natural to look for some events that might be regarded as conveying an expression of the divine feeling in regard to that power, or that would present it in such an aspect that it would be seen that its power to persecute was at an end. This natural expectation would be answered either by some symbol that would refer to the complete triumph of the Christian system, or by such a series of judgments as would break the persecuting power itself in pieces. Now the threatened irruption of the northern barbarians followed the series of events already described with sufficient nearness to make it proper to regard that series of events as referred to.
(2) the events were of sufficient importance in the history of the empire to deserve this notice in the foreshadowing of what would occur. They were connected with the breaking up of that mighty power, and the complete change of the aspect of the world, in a political and religious point of view. A new order of things arose in the world‘s history. A new religion became established. New kingdoms from the fragments of the once-mighty Roman empire were founded, and the affairs of the world were put on a new footing. These mighty northern hordes not only spread consternation and alarm, as if the world were coming to an end, but they laid the foundations of kingdoms which continue to this day. In fact, few more important events have occurred in history.
(3) this series of events was introduced in the manner described in the opening of the sixth seal. I have already said that it is not necessary to suppose, in the fulfillment of the symbol, that there would be a literal earthquake; but nothing in the symbol forbids us to suppose that there might be, and if there were we could not but consider it as remarkable. Now it so happens that the series of events pertaining to the Gothic invasions is introduced by Mr. Gibbon in the following language: “365 a.d. In the second year of the reign of Valentinian and Valens, on the morning of the twenty-first day of July, the greatest part of the Roman world was shaken by a violent and destructive earthquake. The impression was communicated to the waters; the shores of the Mediterranean were left dry by the sudden retreat of the sea; great quantities of fish were caught with the hand; large vessels were stranded on the mud; and a curious spectator amused his eye, or rather his fancy, by contemplating the various appearances of valleys and mountains which had never before, since the formation of the globe, been exposed to the sun. But the tide soon returned, with the weight of an immense and irresistible deluge, which was severely felt on the coasts of Sicily, of Dalmatia, of Greece, and of Egypt; large boats were transported, and lodged on the roofs of houses, or at the distance of two miles from the shore; the people, with their habitations, were swept away by the waters; and the city of Alexandria annually commemorated the day on which fifty thousand persons had lost their lives in the inundation.
This calamity, the report of which was magnified from one province to another, astonished and terrified the subjects of Rome; and their affrighted imagination enlarged the real extent of the momentary evil. They recollected the preceding earthquakes which had subverted the cities of Palestine and Bithynia; they considered these alarming strokes as the prelude only of still more dreadful calamities, and their fearful vanity was disposed to confound the symptoms of a declining empire and a sinking world,” vol. ii. pp. 115,116. Mr. Gibbon then proceeds to detail the evils of war, as greatly surpassing the calamities produced by any natural causes, and adds (p. 116), “In the disastrous period of the fall of the Roman empire, which may be justly dated from the reign of Valens, the happiness and security of each individual was personally attacked; and the arts and labors of ages were rudely defaced by the barbarians of Scythia and Germany.” He then proceeds with an exceedingly interesting description of the origin, the habits, and the movements of the Tartar nations, particularly the Huns, as they moved to the West, and precipitated the Gothic nations on the provinces of the Roman empire, until Rome itself was thrice besieged, was taken, and was sacked (ii. 116-266).
The earthquake referred to occurred in 365 a.d. The movements of the Huns from their territories in the neighborhood of China had commenced about 100 a.d., and in 375 a.d. they overcame the Goths lying along the Danube. The Goths, pressed and overcome by these savage invaders, asked permission of the Romans to cross the Danube, to find protection in the Roman empire, and to cultivate the waste lands of Thrace (Gibbon, ii. 129,130). In the year 376 they were transported over the Danube, by the permission of the Roman emperor Valens; an event which, according to Mr. Gibbon, in its ultimate result, was the cause of the downfall of the empire; for they learned their own strength; they were attracted by the riches of the capital and the hope of reward, until they finally drew the Western emperor to Ravenna, sacked Rome, and took possession of Italy.
(4) aslight reference to the series of events in these periods of consternation and conquest may show more closely the nature of the alarms which would be caused by the prospect of these dreadful invasions, and may prepare us for a better understanding of the successive calamities which occurred under these invaders, when the empire fell, as described by the four first trumpets of the seventh seal. I shall copy from the tables of contents of Mr. Gibbon‘s history, under the twenty-sixth, thirtieth, and thirty-first chapters:
d 376The Huns and Goths.
d 100The emigration of the Huns.
d 375Their victories over the Goths.
d 376The Goths implore the protection of Valens.
d 376They are transported over the Danube into the Roman Empire.
d 376They penetrate into Thrace.
d 377Union of the Goths with Huns, Alani, etc.
d 378Battle of Hadrianople.
d 378The defeat of the Romans.
d 383-395The settlement of the Goths in Thrace and Asia.
d 395Revolt of the Goths.
d 396Alaric marches into Greece.
d 398Is proclaimed king of the Visigoths.
d 400-403He invades Italy.
d 406Radagaisus invades Italy.
d 406Besieges Florence.
d 406Threatens Rome.
d 406The remainder of the Germans invade Gaul.
d 407Desolation of Gaul.
d 408Alaric marches to Rome.
d 408First siege of Rome by the Goths.
d 408Famine, plague, superstition.
d 409Alaric accepts a ransom and raises the siege.
d 409Fruitless negotiations for peace.
d 409Second siege of Rome by the Goths.
d 410Third siege and sack of Rome by the Goths.
d 410Respect of the Goths for the Christian religion.
d 410Pillage and fire of Rome.
d 410Captives and fugitives.
d 411-416Fall of the usurpers Jovinus, Sebastian, and Attalus.
d 409Invasion of Spain by the Suevi, Vandals, Alani, etc.
d 415-418The Goths conquer and restore Spain.”
d (5) This would coincide, in the effects produced on the empire, with the consternation and alarm described in the passage before us. The symbols are such as would be employed on the supposition that these are the events referred to; they are such as the events are suited to suggest. The mighty preparations in the East and North - the report of which could not but spread through the empire - would be appropriately symbolized by the earthquake, the darkened sun, the moon becoming like blood, the stars falling, the departing heavens, and the kings and great men of the earth fleeing in alarm to find a place of safety, as if the end of the world were drawing near. Nothing could have been so well adapted to produce the consternation described in the opening of the sixth seal, as the dreaded approach of vast hosts of barbarians from the regions of the North. This alarm would be increased by the fact that their numbers were unknown; that their origin was hidden; and that the advancing multitudes would sweep everything before them.
As in other cases, also, rumour would increase their numbers and augment their ferocity. The sudden shock of an earthquake, the falling stars, the departing heavens, the removal of mountains and islands, and the consternation of kings and all classes of people, would be the appropriate emblems to represent these impending calamities. In confirmation of this, and as showing the effect produced by the approach of the Goths, and the dread of the Gothic arms, in causing universal consternation, the following extracts may be adduced from Mr. Gibbon, when describing the threatened invasion of Alaric, king of the Visigoths. He quotes from Claudian. “‹Fame,‘ says the poet,‘ encircling with terror her gloomy wings, proclaimed the march of the barbarian army, and filled Italy with consternation.‘” Mr. Gibbon adds, “the apprehensions of each individual were increased in just proportion to the measure of his fortune; and the most timid, who had already embarked their valuable effects, meditated their escape to the island of Sicily, or to the African coast. The public distress was aggravated by the fears and reproaches of superstition. Every hour produced some horrid tale of strange and portentous accidents; the pagans deplored the neglect of omens and the interruption of sacrifices; but the Christians still derived some comfort from the powerful intercession of the saints and martyrs,” ii. 218,219. See further illustrations in the notes on Revelation 8:7-13.
A sense of duty to my brethren and sisters and a desire that the blood of souls might not be found on my garments have governed me in writing this little work. I am aware of the unbelief that exists in the minds of the multitude relative to visions, also that many who profess to be looking for Christ and teach that we are in the “last days” call them all of Satan. I expect much opposition from such, and had I not felt that the Lord required it of me, I should not have made my views thus public, as they will probably call forth the hatred and derision of some. But I fear God more than man. EW 76.1Read in context »
True, there had been a failure as to the expected event, but even this could not shake their faith in the word of God. When Jonah proclaimed in the streets of Nineveh that within forty days the city would be overthrown, the Lord accepted the humiliation of the Ninevites and extended their period of probation; yet the message of Jonah was sent of God, and Nineveh was tested according to His will. Adventists believed that in like manner God had led them to give the warning of the judgment. “It has,” they declared, “tested the hearts of all who heard it, and awakened a love for the Lord's appearing; or it has called forth a hatred, more or less perceivable, but known to God, of His coming. It has drawn a line, ... so that those who will examine their own hearts, may know on which side of it they would have been found, had the Lord then come—whether they would have exclaimed, ‘Lo! this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us;’ or whether they would have called to the rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. God thus, as we believe, has tested His people, has tried their faith, has proved them, and seen whether they would shrink, in the hour of trial, from the position in which He might see fit to place them; and whether they would relinquish this world and rely with implicit confidence in the word of God.”—The Advent Herald and Signs of the Times Reporter, vol. 8, No. 14 (Nov 13, 1844). GC 406.1
The feelings of those who still believed that God had led them in their past experience are expressed in the words of William Miller: “Were I to live my life over again, with the same evidence that I then had, to be honest with God and man I should have to do as I have done.” “I hope that I have cleansed my garments from the blood of souls. I feel that, as far as it was in my power, I have freed myself from all guilt in their condemnation.” “Although I have been twice disappointed,” wrote this man of God, “I am not yet cast down or discouraged.... My hope in the coming of Christ is as strong as ever. I have done only what, after years of solemn consideration, I felt it my solemn duty to do. If I have erred, it has been on the side of charity, love to my fellow men, and conviction of duty to God.” “One thing I do know, I have preached nothing but what I believed; and God has been with me; His power has been manifested in the work, and much good has been effected.” “Many thousands, to all human appearance, have been made to study the Scriptures by the preaching of the time; and by that means, through faith and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, have been reconciled to God.”—Bliss, pages 256, 255, 277, 280, 281. “I have never courted the smiles of the proud, nor quailed when the world frowned. I shall not now purchase their favor, nor shall I go beyond duty to tempt their hate. I shall never seek my life at their hands, nor shrink, I hope, from losing it, if God in His good providence so orders.”—J. White, Life of Wm. Miller, page 315. GC 406.2
God did not forsake His people; His Spirit still abode with those who did not rashly deny the light which they had received, and denounce the advent movement. In the Epistle to the Hebrews are words of encouragement and warning for the tried, waiting ones at this crisis: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:35-39. GC 407.1Read in context »
A form of godliness will not save any. All must have a deep and living experience. This alone will save them in the time of trouble before us. Then their work will be tried, of what sort it is. If it is gold, silver, and precious stones, they will be hid as in the secret of the Lord's pavilion. But if their work is wood, hay, stubble, nothing can shield them from the fierceness of Jehovah's wrath.... TMK 303.4Read in context »
The power of love was in all Christ's healing, and only by partaking of that love, through faith, can we be instruments for His work. If we neglect to link ourselves in divine connection with Christ, the current of life-giving energy cannot flow in rich streams from us to the people. There were places where the Saviour Himself could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. So now unbelief separates the church from her divine Helper. Her hold upon eternal realities is weak. By her lack of faith, God is disappointed, and robbed of His glory. DA 825.1
It is in doing Christ's work that the church has the promise of His presence. Go teach all nations, He said; “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” To take His yoke is one of the first conditions of receiving His power. The very life of the church depends upon her faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord's commission. To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim. DA 825.2
Christ intends that His ministers shall be educators of the church in gospel work. They are to teach the people how to seek and save the lost. But is this the work they are doing? Alas, how many are toiling to fan the spark of life in a church that is ready to die! How many churches are tended like sick lambs by those who ought to be seeking for the lost sheep! And all the time millions upon millions without Christ are perishing. DA 825.3Read in context »