Sabbath, May 10, 2014

“Though enemies may thrust them into prison, yet dungeon walls cannot cut off the communication between their souls and Christ. One who sees their every weakness, who is acquainted with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and angels will come to them in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from heaven. The prison will be as a palace; for the rich in faith dwell there, and the gloomy walls will be lighted up with heavenly light as when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises at midnight in the Philippian dungeon.” –The Great Controversy, p. 627.

Initial effects of the sixth plague 

1. What will happen when the sixth angel empties his cup? What power is represented by the Euphrates River? 

Revelation 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

“What is the River Euphrates, upon which this vial is poured out? One view is that it is the literal River Euphrates in Asia. Another is that it is a symbol of the nation occupying the territory through which that river flows

[Turkey]. The latter opinion is preferable for many reasons….

“In this latter text [Revelation 16:12], all must concede that the Euphrates symbolizes the Turkish power.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 691, 693.

2. In this context, is the Euphrates to be considered as the literal river or as figurative? What do “waters” represent when the word is used symbolically? 

Revelation 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

“With these objections existing against considering the Euphrates a literal river, it must be understood figuratively as symbolizing the power holding possession of the territory watered by that river when it is observed as beginning to dry up. All agree that that power was Turkey. Hence we may look for the fulfillment of the specifications of this prophecy to affect definitely the Turkish nation….

“The Euphrates symbolizes the Turkish power;…

“The drying up of the river in this sense would be the diminution of the Turkish nation, the gradual shrinking of its borders. This is what has actually happened….

“For centuries the territories of Palestine and the Euphrates valley have been under the control of Mohammedan rulers, who were amenable to the Turkish nation. Logically, then, the Turk will come to his end before the kings of the earth debouch their armies in that territory. The end of the Turk opens the way for the battle of Armageddon.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 692, 693, 698.

Evil spirits in action 

3. What other entities are in action on the world stage during the sixth plague?

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

“John in the Revelation writes of the unity of those living on the earth to make void the law of God. ‘These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.’ Revelation 17:13, 14. ‘And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet’ (chap. 16:13).” –Selected Messages, book 3, p. 423.

4. For what deceptive purpose and terrible persecution do they go out to the kings of the whole earth?

Revelation 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

“The sources from which these spirits issue, denote that they will work among three great religious divisions of mankind, represented by the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, or paganism, Roman Catholicism, and apostate Protestantism.” –The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, p. 700.

“The spirits of devils will go forth to the kings of the earth and to the whole world, to fasten them in deception, and urge them on to unite with Satan in his last struggle against the government of heaven. By these agencies, rulers and subjects will be alike deceived. Persons will arise pretending to be Christ Himself, and claiming the title and worship which belong to the world’s Redeemer. They will perform wonderful miracles of healing and will profess to have revelations from heaven contradicting the testimony of the Scriptures.” –The Great Controversy, p. 624.

God’s intervention for His people 

5. Where will the forces of evil meet to complete their destructive work?

Revelation 16:16 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Joel 3:2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

Joel 3:9-12 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

“The powers of evil will not yield up the conflict without a struggle. But Providence has a part to act in the battle of Armageddon. When the earth is lighted with the glory of the angel of Revelation eighteen, the religious elements, good and evil, will awake from slumber, and the armies of the living God will take the field.” –Maranatha, p. 257.

“John also was a witness of the terrible scenes that will take place as signs of Christ’s coming. He saw armies mustering for battle, and people’s hearts failing them for fear.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 316.

6. Will the Lord permit the wicked to carry out their destructive plans to oppose and destroy the truth and His people? What is prophesied concerning this terrible moment?

Joel 3:12, last part … There will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

Revelation 16:15, first part Behold, I come as a thief.

“God’s judgments will be visited upon those who are seeking to oppress and destroy His people. His long forbearance with the wicked emboldens men in transgression, but their punishment is nonetheless certain and terrible because it is long delayed. ‘The Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.’ Isaiah 28:21. To our merciful God the act of punishment is a strange act. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.’ Ezekiel 33:11. The Lord is ‘merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,… forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Yet He will ‘by no means clear the guilty.’ ‘The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.’ Exodus 34:6, 7; Nahum 1:3. By terrible things in righteousness He will vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. The severity of the retribution awaiting the transgressor may be judged by the Lord’s reluctance to execute justice.” –The Great Controversy, p. 627.

7. Despite the complex situation, what blessing will God’s children experience at that time? 

Revelation 16:15, second part Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

“After John’s description in Revelation 16 of that miracle-working power which was to gather the world to the last great conflict, the symbols are dropped and the trumpet voice once more gives a certain sound: ‘Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.’ Revelation 16:15.” –Last Day Events, p. 249; Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, pp. 96, 97.

For meditation

Habakkuk 3:17-19; Psalm 121:1-8; Isaiah 33:14-16.

“Did He [the Lord] forget Joseph surrounded by idolaters in Egypt? Did He forget Elijah when the oath of Jezebel threatened him with the fate of the prophets of Baal? Did He forget Jeremiah in the dark and dismal pit of his prison house? Did He forget the three worthies in the fiery furnace? or Daniel in the den of lions?…

“Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 626, 625.