The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. —2 Peter 3:9
By Ellen G. White
Between the first and the second advent of Christ a wonderful contrast will be seen. No human language can portray the scenes of the second coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven. He is to come with his own glory, and with the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. He will come clad in the robe of light, which he has worn from the days of eternity. Angels will accompany him. Ten thousand times ten thousand will escort him on his way. The sound of the trumpet will be heard, calling the sleeping dead from the grave. The voice of Christ will penetrate the tomb, and pierce the ears of the dead, “and all that are in the graves … shall come forth.”
“And before him shall be gathered all nations.” The very One who died for man is to judge him in the last day; for the Father “hath committed all judgment unto the Son: … and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” What a day that will be, when those who rejected Christ will look upon him whom their sins have pierced. They will then know that he proffered them all heaven if they would but stand by his side as obedient children; that he paid an infinite price for their redemption; but that they would not accept freedom from the galling slavery of sin….
Scenes From the Master’s Life
As they gaze upon his glory, there flashes before their minds the memory of the Son of Man clad in the garb of humanity. They remember how they treated him, how they refused him…. The scenes of Christ’s life appear before them in all their clearness. All he did, all he said, the humiliation to which he descended to save them from the taint of sin, rises before them in condemnation.
They behold him riding into Jerusalem, and see him break into an agony of tears over the impenitent city that would not receive his message. His voice, which was heard in invitation, in entreaty, in tones of tender solicitude, seems again to fall upon their ears. The scene in the garden of Gethsemane rises before them, and they hear Christ’s amazing prayer, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”
Again they hear the voice of Pilate, saying, “I find in him no fault at all.” They see the shameful scene in the judgment-hall, when Barabbas stood by the side of Christ, and they had the privilege of choosing the guiltless One. They hear again the words of Pilate, “Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus, which is called Christ?” They hear the response, “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas.” To the question of Pilate, “What shall I do then with Jesus?” the answer comes, “Let him be crucified.”
Again they see their Sacrifice bearing the reproach of the cross. They hear the loud, triumphant tones tauntingly exclaim, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” “He saved others; himself he can not save.”
Now they behold him not in the garden of Gethsemane, not in the judgment-hall, not on the cross of Calvary. The signs of his humiliation have passed away, and they look upon the face of God,—the face they spit upon,—the face which priests and rulers struck with the palms of their hands. Now the truth in all its vividness is revealed to them. It is the wrath of the Lamb that they have to meet,—of him who came to take away the sin of the world,—of him who had ever acted toward them with infinite tenderness, long-suffering patience, and inexpressible love. They realize that they have forfeited all the riches of his great salvation. As they look upon him who died to take away their guilt, they cry out to the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
My Life in Review
We are now amid the perils of the last days. The scenes of conflict are hastening on, and the day of days is just upon us. Are we prepared for the issue? Every deed, small and great, is to be brought into recognition. That which has been considered trivial here will then appear as it is. The two mites of the widow will be recognized. The cup of cold water offered, the prison visited, the hungry fed,—each will bring its own reward. And that unfulfilled duty, that selfish act, will not be forgotten. In the open court around the throne of God it will appear a very different thing from what it did when it was performed. The secret sin that appears as nothing now, when placed before men in the light of God’s countenance, will appear grievous….
How stands our account in the books of heaven? Have we chosen to be partakers with Christ in his sufferings? Have we been learning in the school of Christ his meekness and lowliness of heart? Have we stood by the side of Christ to bear his reproach? Have we taken his yoke upon us, and lifted the cross in self-denial and self-sacrifice? Have we helped to bear his burdens, and co-operated with him in his work?
Salvation’s Plan Complete
Satan has come down with great power, … but it is not necessary for any to be deceived; and we shall not be if we have fully taken our stand with Christ to follow him through evil as well as through good report…. The glorious memorial of God’s wonderful power is soon to be restored to its rightful place. Then paradise lost will be paradise restored. God’s plan for the redemption of man will be complete. The Son of Man will bestow upon the righteous the crown of everlasting life, and they shall “serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
This article is excerpted from one that first appeared in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald,now the Adventist Review, September 5, 1899. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.