Signs of Christ's Soon Return
Our Lord's Great Prophecy
Christ forewarned His disciples of the destruction of Jerusalem and the signs to take
place prior to the coming of the Son of man. The whole of the twenty-fourth chapter of
Matthew is a prophecy concerning the events to precede this event, and the destruction of
Jerusalem is used to typify the last great destruction of the world by fire.--Ms 77, 1899.
Christ upon the Mount of Olives rehearsed the fearful judgements that were to precede
His second coming: "Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: . . . Nation shall
rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and
pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of
sorrows" [Matt. 24:6-8]. While these prophecies received a partial fulfilment at the
destruction of Jerusalem, they have a more direct application in the last days.--5T 753
Signs in the Heavens
At the close of the great papal persecution, Christ declared, the sun should be
darkened, and the moon should not give her light. Next, the stars should fall from heaven.
And He says, "Learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and
putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all
these things, know that He is near, even at the doors" (Matt. 24:32, 33, margin).
Christ has given signs of His coming. He declares that we may know when He is near,
even at the doors. He says of those who see these signs, "This generation shall not
pass, till all these things be fulfilled." These signs have appeared.[1.SEE THE GREAT
CONTROVERSY, PP. 306-308, 333, 334.] Now we know of a surety that the Lord's coming is at
hand.--DA 632 (1898).
Signs on the Earth
Jesus declares: "There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the
stars; and upon the earth distress of nations" (Luke 21:25; Matt. 24:29; Mark
13:24-26; Rev. 6:12-17). Those who behold these harbingers of His coming are to "know
that it is near, even at the doors" (Matt. 24:33).--GC 37, 38 (1911).
The nations are in unrest. Times of perplexity are upon us. Men's hearts are failing
them for fear of the things that are coming upon the earth. But those who believe in God
will hear His voice amid the storm, saying, "It is I; be not afraid."--ST Oct.
Strange and eventful history is being recorded in the books of heaven--events which it
was declared should shortly precede the great day of God. Everything in the world is in an
unsettled state.--3MR 313 (1908).
As one of the signs of Jerusalem's destruction, Christ had said, "Many false
prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" [Matt. 24:11]. False prophets did
rise, deceiving the people and leading great numbers into the desert. Magicians and
sorcerers, claiming miraculous power, drew the people after them into the mountain
solitudes. But this prophecy was spoken also for the last days. This sign is given as a
sign of the second advent.--DA 631 (1898).
We shall encounter false claims, false prophets will arise, there will be false dreams
and false visions, but preach the Word; be not drawn away from the voice of God in His
Word.--2SM 49 (1894).
I have been shown many who will claim to be especially taught of God, and will attempt
to lead others, and from mistaken ideas of duty they will undertake a work that God
has never laid upon them. Confusion will be the result. Let everyone seek God most
earnestly for himself that he may individually understand His will.--2SM 72 (1893).
An Experience With a False Prophet
Last night a young man, a stranger to us all, but professing to be a brother from
Victoria [Australia], called upon us and asked to see Sister White. It was evening and I
declined seeing him. We invited him to remain with us during the night, however, and to
take breakfast. After our usual morning worship, as we were about to go to our various
employments, this young man arose and with a commanding gesture requested us to sit down.
He said, "Have you any hymnbooks? We will sing a hymn, then I have a message to give
you." I said, "If you have a message, give it without delay, for we are very
much pressed to get off the American mail and have no time to lose." He then began to
read something he had written, which stated among other things that the judgement has now
begun upon the living. . . .
I listened as he went on and finally said, "My brother, you are not exactly in
your right mind. State plainly how your message concerns us. Please let us know at once.
Your mind is overstrained, you misapprehend your work. Much that you have said is in
accordance with the Bible, and we believe every word of that. But you are overexcited.
Please state what you have for us."
Well, he said that we must pack up and move at once to Battle Creek. I asked his
reasons, and he responded, "To give this message that the judgement has begun upon
the living." I answered him, "The work which the Lord has given us to do is not
yet finished. When our work here is completed we are
sure the Lord will let us know that it is time for us to move to Battle Creek, instead
of teaching you our duty." . . . I left him for Brother Starr to talk with further
while I resumed my writing.
He told Brother Starr that when Sister White spoke to him so kindly, and yet with such
authority, he began to see that he had made a mistake, that the impressions which had
moved him so strongly were not consistent or reasonable. Although our family is large,
consisting of ten members, besides three visitors, we decided to have this young man stay
with us for a time. We dare not have him go with people who will treat him harshly and
condemn him, neither do we want him to repeat his "revelations." We will have
him remain for a little time where we can associate with him and if possible lead him in
safe, sure paths.--Letter 66, 1894.
Gluttony and Intemperance
Gluttony and intemperance lie at the foundation of the great moral depravity in our
world. Satan is aware of this and he is constantly tempting men and women to indulge the
taste at the expense of health and even life itself. Eating, drinking, and dressing are
made the aim of life with the world. Just such a state of things existed before the
Flood. And this state of dissipation is one of the marked evidences of the soon
close of this earth's history.--Letter 34, 1875.
The picture which Inspiration has given of the antediluvian world represents too truly
the condition to which modern society is fast hastening.--PP 102 (1890).
We know that the Lord is coming very soon. The world is fast becoming as it was in the
days of Noah. It is given over to selfish indulgence. Eating and drinking are carried to
excess. Men are drinking the poisonous liquor that makes them mad.--Letter 308,
Deeds of Violence
In the days of Noah the overwhelming majority was opposed to the truth, and enamoured
with a tissue of falsehoods. The land was filled with violence. War, crime, murder, was
the order of the day. Just so will it be before Christ's second coming.--1BC 1090 (1891).
The labour unions are quickly stirred to violence if their demands are not complied
with. Plainer and plainer is it becoming that the inhabitants of the world are not in
harmony with God. No scientific theory can explain the steady march of evil workers under
the generalship of Satan. In every mob wicked angels are at work, rousing men to commit
deeds of violence. . . .
The perversity and cruelty of men will reach such a height that God will reveal Himself
in His majesty. Very soon the wickedness of the world will have reached its limit and, as
in the days of Noah, God will pour out His judgements.--UL 334 (1903).
The terrible reports we hear of murders and robberies, of railway accidents and deeds
of violence, tell the story that the end of all things is at hand. Now, just now, we need
to be preparing for the Lord's second coming.--Letter 308, 1907.
Wars and Disasters
The tempest is coming and we must get ready for its fury by having repentance toward
God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord will arise to shake terribly the
earth. We shall see troubles on all sides. Thousands of ships will be hurled into the
depths of the sea. Navies will go down, and human lives will be sacrificed by millions.
Fires will break out unexpectedly and no human effort will be able to quench them. The
palaces of earth will be swept away in the fury of the flames. Disasters by rail will
become more and more frequent. Confusion, collision, and death without a moment's warning
will occur on the great lines of travel. The end is near, probation is closing. Oh, let us
seek God while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near!--MYP 89, 90 (1890).
In the last scenes of this earth's history war will rage. There will be pestilence,
plague and famine. The waters of the deep will overflow their boundaries. Property and
life will be destroyed by fire and flood. We should be preparing for the mansions that
Christ has gone to prepare for them that love Him.--Mar 174 (1897).
Great Balls of Fire
Last Friday morning, just before I awoke, a very impressive scene was presented before
me. I seemed to awake from sleep but was not in my home. From the windows I could
behold a terrible conflagration. Great
balls of fire were falling upon houses, and from these balls fiery arrows were flying
in every direction. It was impossible to check the fires that were kindled, and many
places were being destroyed. The terror of the people was indescribable. After a time I
awoke and found myself at home.--Ev 29 (1906).
I saw an immense ball of fire fall among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant
destruction. I heard someone say: "We knew that the judgements of God were coming
upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon." Others, with
agonised voices, said: "You knew! Why then did you not tell us? We did not
know."--9T 28 (1909).
Earthquakes and Floods
The enemy has worked, and he is working still. He is come down in great power, and the
Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth. God has withdrawn His hand. We have only
to look at Johnstown [Pennsylvania]. He did not prevent the devil from wiping that whole
city out of existence.[2. ON MAY 31, 1889, AN ESTIMATED 2,200 PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES IN
THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD WHEN A DAM BROKE AFTER MANY DAYS OF HEAVY RAINS.] And these very
things will increase until the close of this earth's history.--1SAT 109 (1889).
The earth's crust will be rent by the outbursts of the elements concealed in the bowels
of the earth. These elements, once broken loose, will sweep away the treasures of those
who for years have been adding to
their wealth by securing large possessions at starvation prices from those in their
employ. And the religious world, too, is to be terribly shaken, for the end of all things
is at hand.--3MR 208 (1891).
The time is now come when one moment we may be on solid earth, the next the earth may
be heaving beneath our feet. Earthquakes will take place when least expected.--TM 421
In fires, in floods, in earthquakes, in the fury of the great deep, in calamities by
sea and by land, the warning is given that God's Spirit will not always strive with
men.--3MR 315 (1897).
Before the Son of man appears in the clouds of heaven everything in nature will be
convulsed. Lightning from heaven uniting with the fire in the earth will cause the
mountains to burn like a furnace and pour out their floods of lava over villages and
cities. Molten masses of rock thrown into the water by the upheaval of things hidden in
the earth will cause the water to boil and send forth rocks and earth. There will be
mighty earthquakes and great destruction of human life.--7BC 946 (1907).
Crime, Famines, Pestilence
Satan is working in the atmosphere; he is poisoning the atmosphere, and here we are
dependent upon God for our lives--our present and eternal lives. And being in the position
that we are, we need to be wide awake, wholly devoted, wholly converted, wholly
to God. But we seem to sit as though we were paralysed. God of heaven, wake us up!--2SM
God has not restrained the powers of darkness from carrying forward their deadly work
of vitiating the air, one of the sources of life and nutrition, with a deadly miasma. Not
only is vegetable life affected but man suffers from pestilence. . . . These things are
the result of drops from the vials of God's wrath[3. GOD TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR THAT
WHICH HE ALLOWS OR DOES NOT PREVENT. SEE EXODUS 7:3; 8:32; 1 CHRONICLES 10:4, 13, 14.]
being sprinkled on the earth, and are but faint representations of what will be in the
near future.--3SM 391 (1891).
Famines will increase. Pestilences will sweep away thousands. Dangers are all around us
from the powers without and satanic workings within, but the restraining power of God is
now being exercised.--19MR 382 (1897).
I have been shown that the Spirit of the Lord is being withdrawn from the earth. God's
keeping power will soon be refused to all who continue to disregard His commandments. The
reports of fraudulent transactions, murders, and crimes of every kind are coming to us
daily. Iniquity is becoming so common a thing that it no longer shocks the senses as it
once did.--Letter 258, 1907.
God's Purpose in Calamities
What mean the awful calamities by sea--vessels hurled into eternity without a moment's
What mean the accidents by land--fire consuming the riches that men have hoarded, much
of which has been accumulated by oppression of the poor? The Lord will not interfere to
protect the property of those who transgress His law, break His covenant, and trample upon
His Sabbath, accepting in its place a spurious rest day.
The plagues of God are already falling upon the earth, sweeping away the most costly
structures as if by a breath of fire from heaven. Will not these judgements bring
professing Christians to their senses? God permits them to come that the world may take
heed, that sinners may be afraid and tremble before Him.--3MR 311 (1902).
God has a purpose in permitting these calamities to occur. They are one of His means of
calling men and women to their senses. By unusual workings through nature God will express
to doubting human agencies that which He clearly reveals in His Word.--19MR 279 (1902).
How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood,
with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks
of disorganised, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man, but in
them all God's purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to
arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.--PK 277 (c. 1914).
Coming Events Are in the Hands of the Lord
The world is not without a ruler. The program of coming events is in the hands of the
Lord. The Majesty of heaven has the destiny of nations as well as the concerns of His
church in His own charge.--5T 753 (1889).
These symbolical representations [the fiery serpents in the wilderness] serve a double
purpose. From them God's people learn not only that the physical forces of the earth are
under the control of the Creator, but also that under His control are the religious
movements of the nations. Especially is this true with reference to the enforcement of
Sunday observance.--19MR 281 (1902).
In the great closing work we shall meet with perplexities that we know not how to deal
with, but let us not forget that the three great Powers of heaven are working, that a
divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His purposes to pass.--Ev 65 (1902).
As the wheel-like complications were under the guidance of the hand beneath the wings
of the cherubim, so the complicated play of human events is under divine control. Amidst
the strife and tumult of nations, He that sitteth above the cherubim still guides the
affairs of the earth.[4. SEE EZEKIEL 1:4, 26; 10:8; DANIEL 4:17, 25, 32.]--Ed 178 (1903).
In the annals of human history, the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires,
appear as if
dependent on the will and prowess of man; the shaping of events seems, to a great
degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the Word of God the
curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, above, behind, and through all the play and
counterplay of human interest and power and passions, the agencies of the All-merciful
One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will.--PK 499, 500 (c.
In sparing the life of the first murderer, God presented before the whole universe a
lesson bearing upon the great controversy. . . . It was His purpose, not merely to put
down the rebellion, but to demonstrate to all the universe the nature of rebellion. . .
.The holy inhabitants of other worlds were watching with the deepest interest the events
taking place on the earth. . . .
God carries with Him the sympathy and approval of the whole universe as step by step
His great plan advances to its complete fulfilment.--PP 78, 79 (1890).
The act of Christ in dying for the salvation of man would not only make heaven
accessible to men, but before all the universe it would justify God and His son in their
dealing with the rebellion of Satan.--PP 68, 69 (1890).
The whole universe is watching with inexpressible interest the closing scenes of the
great controversy between good and evil.--PK 148 (c. 1914).
Our little world is the lesson book of the universe.--DA 19 (1898). [5. ELLEN WHITE
STATES THAT THE UNFALLEN WORLDS AND THE HEAVENLY ANGELS WATCHED CHRIST'S STRUGGLE IN
GETHSEMANE "WITH INTENSE INTEREST" (DA 693). IN DISCUSSING CHRIST'S
FOUR-THOUSAND-YEAR BATTLE WITH SATAN AND HIS ULTIMATE VICTORY ON THE CROSS SHE USES SUCH
PHRASES AS "THE HEAVENLY UNIVERSE BEHELD," "ALL HEAVEN AND THE UNFALLEN
WORLDS HAD BEEN WITNESSES," "THEY HEARD," "THEY SAW,"
"HEAVEN VIEWED," "WHAT A SIGHT FOR THE HEAVENLY UNIVERSE!" SEE THE
DESIRE OF AGES , PP. 693, 759, 760.]