Chapter 19—Christ's Return
The Seventh Plague and the Special Resurrection
There is a mighty earthquake, “such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great” (Revelation 16:17, 18). The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side.... The whole earth heaves and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters.... Great hailstones, every one “about the weight of a talent,” are doing their work of destruction (verses 19, 21) ....
Graves are opened, and “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth ... awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). All who have died in the faith of the third angel's message come forth from the tomb glorified to hear God's covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. “They also which pierced Him” (Revelation 1:7), those that mocked and derided Christ's dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory, and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient.—The Great Controversy, 636, 637 (1911).
God Announces the Time of Christ's Coming
Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back. Then we could look up through the open space in Orion, whence came the voice of God.—Early Writings, 41 (1851).
Soon we heard the voice of God [The voice of God is heard repeatedly during the period immediately preceding Christ's return. See The Great Controversy, 632, 633, 636, 638, 640, 641.] like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.—Early Writings, 15 (1851).
As God spoke the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people, He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth. The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder. It was awfully solemn. At the end of every sentence the saints shouted, “Glory! Hallelujah!” Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God, and they shone with glory as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked could not look upon them for the glory. And when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image.—Early Writings, 285, 286 (1858).
I have not the slightest knowledge as to the time spoken by the voice of God. I heard the hour proclaimed, but had no remembrance of that hour after I came out of vision. Scenes of such thrilling, solemn interest passed before me as no language is adequate to describe. It was all a living reality to me, for close upon this scene appeared the great white cloud, upon which was seated the Son of man.—Selected Messages 1:76 (1888).
The Terror of the Lost
When the earth is reeling to and fro like a drunkard, when the heavens are shaking and the great day of the Lord has come, who shall be able to stand? One object they behold in trembling agony from which they will try in vain to escape. “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him” (Revelation 1:7). The unsaved utter wild imprecations to dumb nature—their god: “Mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne” (Revelation 6:16).—That I May Know Him, 356 (1896).
When the voice of God turns the captivity of His people, there is a terrible awakening of those who have lost all in the great conflict of life.... The gain of a lifetime is swept away in a moment. The rich bemoan the destruction of their grand houses, the scattering of their gold and silver.... The wicked are filled with regret, not because of their sinful neglect of God and their fellow men, but because God has conquered. They lament that the result is what it is, but they do not repent of their wickedness.—The Great Controversy, 654 (1911).
Jesus Descends in Power and Glory
Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man's hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour, and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth, becoming lighter and more glorious, until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror....
With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms—“ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” No human pen can portray the scene, no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor....The King of kings descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place.—The Great Controversy, 640-642 (1911).
The Reaction of Those Who Pierced Him
Those who have acted the most prominent part in the rejection and crucifixion of Christ come forth to see Him as He is, and those who have rejected Christ come up and see the saints glorified, and it is at that time that the saints are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. The very ones who placed upon Him the purple robe and put the crown of thorns upon His brow, and those who put the nails through His hands and feet, look upon Him and bewail.—Manuscript Releases 9:252 (1886).
They remember how His love was slighted and His compassion abused. They think of how Barabbas, a murderer and a robber, was chosen in His stead, how Jesus was crowned with thorns and scourged and crucified, how in the hours of His agony on the cross the priests and rulers taunted Him, saying, “Let Him come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He saved others, Himself He cannot save.” All the insult and despite offered to Christ, all the suffering caused to His disciples, will be as fresh in their recollection as when the satanic deeds were done.
The voice which they heard so often in entreaty and persuasion will again sound in their ears. Every tone of gracious solicitation will vibrate as distinctly in their ears as when the Saviour spoke in the synagogues and on the street. Then those who pierced Him will call on the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.—Letter 131, 1900.
“Awake, Ye That Sleep, and Arise!”
The clouds begin to roll back like a scroll and there is the bright, clear sign of the Son of man. The children of God know what that cloud means. The sound of music is heard, and as it nears, the graves are opened and the dead are raised.—Manuscript Releases 9:251, 252 (1886).
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth” [John 5:28, 29]. This voice is soon to resound through all the nations of the dead, and every saint who sleeps in Jesus shall awake and leave his prison house.—Manuscript 137, 1897.
The precious dead, from Adam down to the last saint who dies, will hear the voice of the Son of God and will come forth from the grave to immortal life.—The Desire of Ages, 606 (1898).
Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then, raising His hands to heaven, He cries: “Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise!” Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live.
And the whole earth shall ring with the tread of the exceeding great army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the prison house of death they come, clothed with immortal glory, crying: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). And the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory.—The Great Controversy, 644 (1911).
From Caves and Dens and Dungeons
In the fastnesses of the mountains, in the caves and dens of the earth, the Saviour reveals His presence and His glory.Yet a little while, and He that is to come will come and will not tarry. His eyes as a flame of fire penetrate into the fast-closed dungeons and hunt out the hidden ones, for their names are written in the Lamb's book of life. The eyes of the Saviour are above us, around us, noting every difficulty, discerning every danger; and there is no place where His eyes cannot penetrate, no sorrows and sufferings of His people where the sympathy of Christ does not reach....
The child of God will be terror-stricken at the first sight of the majesty of Jesus Christ. He feels that he cannot live in His holy presence. But the word comes to him as to John, “Fear not.” Jesus laid His right hand upon John; He raised him up from his prostrate position. So will He do unto His loyal, trusting ones.—That I May Know Him, 360, 361 (1886).
The heirs of God have come from garrets, from hovels, from dungeons, from scaffolds, from mountains, from deserts, from the caves of the earth, from the caverns of the sea.—The Great Controversy, 650 (1911).
From Ocean Depths and Mines and Mountains
When Christ comes to gather to Himself those who have been faithful, the last trump will sound, and the whole earth, from the summits of the loftiest mountains to the lowest recesses of the deepest mines, will hear. The righteous dead will hear the sound of the last trump, and will come forth from their graves, to be clothed with immortality and to meet their Lord.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:909 (1904).
I dwell with pleasure upon the resurrection of the just, who shall come forth from all parts of the earth, from rocky caverns, from dungeons, from caves of the earth, from the waters of the deep. Not one is overlooked. Every one shall hear His voice. They will come forth with triumph and victory.—Letter 113, 1886.
What a scene will these mountains and hills [in Switzerland] present when Christ, the Lifegiver, shall call forth the dead! They will come from caverns, from dungeons, from deep wells, where their bodies have been buried.—Letter 97, 1886.
The Wicked Are Slain
In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God's unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth—priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low. “And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried” (Jeremiah 25:33).
At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth—consumed with the spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ takes His people to the city of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants.—The Great Controversy, 657 (1911).
To sin, wherever found, “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them.—The Desire of Ages, 107 (1898).The glory of His countenance, which to the righteous is life, will be to the wicked a consuming fire.—The Desire of Ages, 600 (1898).
Destruction of the Wicked an Act of Mercy
Could those whose hearts are filled with hatred of God, of truth and holiness, mingle with the heavenly throng and join their songs of praise? Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamb? No, no; years of probation were granted them, that they might form characters for heaven; but they have never trained the mind to love purity; they have never learned the language of heaven, and now it is too late. A life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for heaven. Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; the glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would long to flee from that holy place. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God.—The Great Controversy, 542, 543 (1911).
The living righteous are changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal, and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels “gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers’ arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the city of God.—The Great Controversy, 645 (1911.We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass.—Early Writings, 16 (1851).
And as the chariot rolled upward, the wheels cried, “Holy,” and the wings, as they moved, cried, “Holy,” and the retinue of holy angels around the cloud cried, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!” And the saints in the cloud cried, “Glory! Alleluia!”—Early Writings, 35 (1851).
Oh, how glorious it will be to see Him and be welcomed as His redeemed ones! Long have we waited, but our hope is not to grow dim. If we can but see the King in His beauty we shall be forever blessed. I feel as if I must cry aloud, “Homeward bound!”—Testimonies for the Church 8:253 (1904).
The Angels Sing, Christ Has Conquered!
In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and the Son. The angels, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King and His trophies of victory—those who have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. A song of triumph will peal forth, filling all heaven. Christ has conquered. He enters the heavenly courts, accompanied by His redeemed ones, the witnesses that His mission of suffering and sacrifice has not been in vain.—Testimonies for the Church 9:285, 286 (1909).
With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord. The Saviour's joy is in seeing in the kingdom of glory the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation.—The Great Controversy, 647 (1911.In the results of His work Christ will behold its recompense. In that great multitude which no man could number, presented “faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,” He whose blood has redeemed and whose life has taught us “shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.”—Education, 309 (1903).
The Saints Given Crowns and Harps
I saw a very great number of angels bring from the city glorious crowns—a crown for every saint, with his name written thereon. As Jesus called for the crowns, angels presented them to Him, and with His own right hand, the lovely Jesus placed the crowns on the heads of the saints.—Early Writings, 288 (1858).
On the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a perfect square. Some of them had very bright crowns, others not so bright. Some crowns appeared heavy with stars, while others had but few. All were perfectly satisfied with their crowns.—Early Writings, 16, 17 (1851).
The crown of life will be bright or dim, will glitter with many stars, or be lighted by few gems, in accordance with our own course of action.—The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 6:1105 (1895).
There will be no one saved in heaven with a starless crown. If you enter, there will be some soul in the courts of glory that has found an entrance there through your instrumentality.—The Signs of the Times, June 6, 1892.
Before entering the city of God, the Saviour bestows upon His followers the emblems of victory, and invests them with the insignia of their royal state. The glittering ranks are drawn up in the form of a hollow square about their King.... Upon the heads of the overcomers, Jesus with His own right hand places the crown of glory.... In every hand are placed the victor's palm and the shining harp. Then, as the commanding angels strike the note, every hand sweeps the harp strings with skillful touch, awaking sweet music in rich, melodious strains.... Before the ransomed throng is the holy city. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in.—The Great Controversy, 645, 646 (1911).
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