Restore >> Library >> Time for Joy contents >> article 8: Under Seige ...
"And the dragon
will be the great test of loyalty
for it is
the point of truth
As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the state ought not to be tolerated; that it is better for them to suffer than for whole nations to be thrown into confusion and lawlessness.
The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments.
Christians of past generations observed the Sunday, supposing that in so doing they were keeping the Bible Sabbath; and there are now true Christians in every church, not excepting the Roman Catholic communion, who honestly believe that Sunday is the Sabbath of divine appointment. God accepts their sincerity of purpose and their integrity before Him. But when Sunday observance shall be enforced by law, and the world shall be enlightened conceming the obligation of the true Sabbath, then whoever shall transgress the command of God, to obey a precept which has no higher authority than that of Rome, will thereby honor popery above God. He is paying homage to Rome and to the power which enforces the institution ordained by Rome. He is worshiping the beast and his image. As men then reject the institution which God has declared to be the sign of His authority, and honor in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremacy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance to Rome -- "the mark of the beast." And it is not until the issue is thus plainly set before the people, and they are brought to choose between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. that those who continue in transgression will receive "the mark of the beast."
In changing the Sabbath to the first day of the week he [Satan] leads men to disbelieve God's declarations, and so to regard their own ways and plans that they appear exceeding wise in their own eyes and in their perverted judgment. Through human policy he leads men to regard the expressed commandments of God as of less force than human tradition, and to regard a deviation from that law which is always holy and just and good, as of little account. He sees that by thus preventing human agencies from walking as obedient children in harmony with God, he can hinder the accomplishment of God's work in our world.
As the controversy extends into new fields and the minds of the people are called to God's downtrodden law, Satan is astir. The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it. The clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their flocks. By every means at their command they will endeavor to suppress the discussion of these vital questions.
|"It is time for thee, Lord, to work:|
for they have made void
Therefore I love Thy commandments
yea, above fine gold."
Psalms 119:126, 127
[Satan says:] "Thus the world will be mine. I will be the ruler of the earth, the prince of the world. I will so control the minds under my power that God's Sabbath shall be a special object of contempt. A sign? I will make the observance of the seventh day a sign of disloyalty to the authorities of earth. Human laws will be made so stringent that men and women will not dare to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. For fear of wanting food and clothing, they will join with the world in transgressing God's law. The earth will be wholly under my control."
But when the world makes void the law of God, what will be the effect upon the truly obedient and righteous? Will they be carried away with the strong current of evil? Because so many rank themselves under the banner of the prince of darkness, will God's commandment-keeping people swerve from their allegiance? Never! Not one who is abiding in Christ will fail or fall. His followers will bow in obedience to a higher authority than that of any earthly potentate. While the contempt placed on God's commandments leads many to supress the truth and show less reverence for it, the faithful ones will with greater earnestness hold aloft its distinguishing truth
When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honor the law of God, there will be, in different lands a simultaneous movement for their destruction. As the time appointed in the decree draws near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to strike in one night the decisive blow which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and reproof.
With shouts of triumph. jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo, a dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night falls upon the earth. Then a rainbow, shining with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to encircle each praying company. The angry multitudes are suddenly arrested. Their mocking cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are forgotten. With fearful forebodings they gaze upon the symbol of God's covenant, and long to be shielded from its overpowering brightness.
By the people of God a voice, clear and melodious is heard, saying, "Look up," and lifting their eyes to the heavens, they behold the bow of promise. Again a voice, musical and triumphant, is heard saying: "They come! they come! holy, harmless, and undefiled. They have kept the word of My patience; they shall walk among the angels:" and the pale, quivering lips of those who have held fast their faith, utter a shout of victory.