How much time does our world have left? Increasingly destructive natural and man-made disasters suggest that the end is near. And while we cannot know how much longer this world will last, we have a broad idea of future events from the writings of Ellen White. In this brief article we can touch on only some of them. So here are seven must-know facts about last-day events.
1.Since 1844 there is no need for time-based prophecies. The conclusion of the longest time prophecy in 1844 marks the beginning of the final period of earth’s history. From this vantage point we can trace the outlines of final events, but we are warned that no new light will be based upondefinite or specific time calculations of these events. The years since 1844 provide ample evidence in support of Ellen White’s 1909 prediction that “great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.”1 But she also lamented that Christ would have come already if the church had succeeded in doing the work God called it to do. His return is deferred “in mercy, because if the Master should come so many would be found unready.”2
2. “Both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ.”3A wrong understanding of the gospel may leave people unprepared for the future. Through confession and repentance the believer is brought into harmony with God and His law. True sanctification is a progressive work, having likeness to Christ as its goal. At the same time, we are given this assurance: “If you are right with God today, you are ready if Christ should come today.”4
3.A false revival will sweep over the church, and genuine manifestations of the Holy Spirit will be ignored. The last-day message is designed to prepare a people for the Second Coming, but Satan will introduce an emotion-based counterfeit to draw minds away from the truths for this time. “We must not regard it as our work to create an excitement.”5 “It is through the Word—not feeling, not excitement—that we want to influence the people to obey the truth.”6
We are also warned that “we have far more to fear from within than from without.”7 Satan will seek to unsettle people’s confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy because he knows that he cannot have “so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded.”8
4.We must be sanctified by obedience to the truth and have a clear knowledge of Christ’s judgment ministry in order to survive the shaking. Satan seeks to divert our minds from Jesus so that we become preoccupied with worldly pursuits and pleasures. Soon, “the mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death…. Satan will sorely harass the faithful; but, in the name of Jesus, they will come off more than conquerors” through obedience to the truth.9
On the other hand, many Adventists will renounce their faith: “By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side.”10 Ellen White even states that “the church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall,”11 and that the majority of Christ’s true followers are in Babylon. “Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these,”12 notwithstanding that “by the vast majority they will be disregarded.”13
5.The final, glorious proclamation of Revelation 18 is a revelation of God’s character of love. As the end approaches, the witness of God’s people “will become more decided and more powerful.”14 “The last message of mercy to be given to the world is a revelation of [God’s] character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.”15 Their faces will shine, “miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers.” Satan also will work—with “lying wonders”—and “thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.”16
6.Whether a person receives the seal of God or the mark of the beast, the decisive factor is loyalty. The mark of the beast is “the sign of submission to earthly powers,”17 while the seal of God is for those remaining loyal to the divine authority. Although no one has received the mark of the beast yet, people will receive it not merely because they ceased “work with their hands on Sunday,” but because “with their minds … [they] acknowledge Sunday as the Sabbath.”18 Those who receive the seal of God will be protected in the time of trouble and will “reflect the image of Jesus fully.”19
Once “all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts” have been sealed, Jesus’ intercession ceases, probation closes, and the sins of God’s people are blotted out.20 “The coming of Christ does not change our characters; it only fixes them forever beyond all change.”21 There is no need for any “second probation,” because any who persistently resist the conviction brought by the Holy Spirit would “never be convinced” anyway.22
7.The latter rain will be more abundant than the early rain and helps prepare God’s people to stand through the time of trouble. Employing the biblical imagery of the harvest, Ellen White explains that “the ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God’s grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ.”23 Especially during the time of trouble, Jesus notes every difficulty His people face, and even “the prison will be as a palace.”24 But the wicked “have never trained the mind to love purity … 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…. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God.”25
Ellen White often sought to draw people’s minds to the glories of heaven and the new earth. The reward of the righteous, she wrote, “will be known only to those who behold it…. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.”26 Even then and there, the more we learn of God, the greater will be our admiration of His character and the more knowledgeably will we be able to testify that “God is love.”27
1 Ellen G. White, Last Day Events (Boise, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Assn., 1992), pp. 11. Note that undocumented ideas in this article are also drawn from this important compilation.
2Ibid., p. 37.
3 Ibid., p. 283.
4 Ibid., p. 74.
5 Ibid., p. 93.
6 Ibid., emphasis in original.
7 Ibid., p. 156.
8 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1980), book 1, p. 48.
9 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Publishing Assn., 1948), vol. 5, pp. 81, 82.
10 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Publishing Assn., 1950), pp. 608.
11 White, Last Day Events, p. 180.
12 White, The Great Controversy, p. 606.
13 Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1967), p. 343.
14 White, Last Day Events, p. 201.
15 Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1941), pp. 415, 416.
16 White, The Great Controversy, p. 612.
17 Ibid., p. 605.
18 White, Last Day Events, p. 224.
19 Ellen G. White, Early Writings of Ellen G. White (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1945), p. 71.
20 White, The Great Controversy, pp. 613, 614.
21 White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 466.