Summer 2015: The Overwhelming Surprise
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Summary: This is the first of a series of studies on the overwhelming surprise that is about to overtake the people of this world; what can we do about it, and how can we get ready for it.

[Editor’s Note]: The following excerpt is from the book “Another Ark to Build” by W.D. Frazee. This book contains a collection of Friday night vespers talks given at Wildwood. Although given during the ‘70’s, the sermons could easily have been given in the 21st century. If it was relevant back then, how much more so, will we find world events fulfilling the prophecies today. What does this all mean? It means that our redemption is nearer than when we first believed, in fact, even at the door. We see a world movement towards Sunday Law as never before in our lifetimes. For the first time in history, the Pope will be addressing the US Congress in the fall of 2015. The Sunday law is being touted as a civil right, and a benefit to families, and demand for this legislation is increasing. The Sunday Law movement correlates with the 2nd siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The 1st Sunday law attempt was in 1888, and the movement died down, correlating with the armies of Rome pulling back during the 1st siege of Jerusalem. Now, 127 years later, we are again about to face national Sunday laws, and this time, there will be no pulling back. God’s people in the meantime, should have escaped into the country where God would have them be secure from the violence about to hit the cities and the evils found therein, so that they can be alive to proclaim the loud cry message to the world. Readers who are interested in knowing further about preparation for the end times should contact Amazing Discoveries and read the book "Last-Day Events" by Ellen G. White.

Peace and Security

This is the first of a series of studies on the overwhelming surprise that is about to overtake the people of this world; what can we do about it, and how can we get ready for it. Our text is 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”

Notice the words “sudden,” “as a thief in the night”. The day of the Lord is coming as a great surprise to the people of this world. Notice the comment on this in 8T, p. 37: “Soon an awful surprise is coming upon the inhabitants of the world,” and again, p. 28: “We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.”

Now, Paul says that the “brethren are not in darkness”. God’s children walk in the light, so that which surprises the world is not to be a surprise to us. We’re to know what’s coming and get ready for it; but unless we get ready for it, we will be taken in the snare. The reason for knowing what’s ahead is so we can get ready.

There’s a very interesting point in this scripture we’ve just read, as to the timing of the overwhelming surprise. “When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” Several of the modern translations put it, “Peace and security.” In the public press these are the two great words. “Peace” and “Security”. ... Let me call your attention to the two great world powers that are leading out and will continue to lead out in this talk of peace and security. One is the Pope of Rome, and the other is the United States of America. When we turn to the book of Revelation, we find that the entire thirteenth chapter is devoted to presenting these two great powers. The first part deals with “the beast,” ... the papacy. ... The latter part of the ...chapter... is devoted to the two-horned beast... The United States of America. He is pictured in that chapter as joining hands with the Papacy. And that is what is happening right before our eyes. But as the Papacy – watch this point – as the Papacy is taking the lead in the world quest for peace, the United States is in a special sense talking about that word “security.” ...

[Security has been in the news in recent times ever since 2001, and increasingly so with whistleblowers like Edward Snowden revealing government spying in the name of “security”. Not only that, security is brought before the public in regards to medical care, anti-terrorism, old age pension, economics and more. Security is definitely a favourite word of the United States of America.]

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The thirteenth chapter of Revelation shows the Papacy and the United States of America joining hands in a great program that is to embrace the world: “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him,” that is, the papacy. And the two-horned beast is the inspiration to get all the world to do that. The twelfth verse says, “He causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.” The reason that people are interested in these two great powers today is that they’re hunting for peace and security. This is leading to combinations in every phase of life. Look at the common Market in Europe. [Or today, the European Union.] What’s the basis of it? They want peace and security.

What is the reason for these labor unions; these trade associations? What’s the basis of the ecumenical movement? Why are the churches trying to get together? Peace and security. And they will think that they have solved their problems by having these associations. With the papacy and the United States leading out, the whole world will think (for a very short time) that they either have this or almost have it.

Now, notice God’s answer to all this in the eighth chapter of Isaiah.... The eye of the prophet looking down the ages saw our time. Isaiah 8:9:

“Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries,” (Here’s the United Nations): “gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.” That is the remnant, those that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Not, notice, they are not to be in these combinations. That’s the thing I want you to see. I read:

“For the Lord speak thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people," saying, say he not, "A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, “A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” What’s driving them? Fear! Fear of want, fear of war, fear of many things.So, with the pope and the United States leading out, there must be combinations. The churches, the trade unions, the nations, the whole world must get together.

[Editor’s note: Secret societies are also unions that ensure economic stability – peace and security - for their members.]

But God’s people are told in advance, “Say ye not, A confederacy.” Don’t fear their fear, don’t get into that. “Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. And He shall be for a sanctuary,” a place of security.

And so in the sixteenth and seventeenth verses He says, “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples.” Here is the sealing message, the Sabbath put back in the law. “And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” While all the world is looking to confederacies, binding together in bundles in order to solve human problems, and get peace and security, God says to His people, Don’t get into that, look up. Look to the Lord. See how it is echoed in Isaiah 45:22: “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Right here we have the answer to the problem. This is the faith that will save God’s people and take us through the overwhelming surprise, - looking to God. And it is the opposite course, looking to man, that makes it impossible for these world combinations to solve their problems. (The Great Society cannot solve the problems of man.) They are beyond human help; as the Spirit of Prophecy says, “They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis.” – 9T, p. 13. It is impossible for the governments of this world, following the plans they are using, to solve the material problems of men. It’s even more impossible... for the papacy to solve the spiritual problems, because the people are educated to look to man instead of directly to Christ.

And so the message for today as He has given it to us in His Book is, “Behold your God.” Notice how Jesus puts it in Luke 21. Pointing past the destruction of Jerusalem and the Dark Ages, He comes to the time of the end. In the twenty-fifth verse He says, “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.” Have we seen those? Yes. They are past. “And upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” There’s the fear again. That’s what’s driving them to these confederacies. There are thousands of people today who a few short years ago wouldn’t have considered listening to the Pope, that are ready to follow him now. Why? They are afraid of something that they think is far worse than the papacy. [Editor’s Note: We see, in world news, political leaders paying homage to the Pope. Many of these leaders are members of secret fraternities. In some countries in Africa, the leaders have given up on spending to keep up the country’s infrastructure, and instead are building themselves underground bunkers and fortifying their houses for the hard times they know are coming. ]

Jesus says that men’s hearts in these last moments of time will be “failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” If we look where they look, we’ll fear their fear, and we’ll be drawn into these combinations. We’ll get into situations where we’ll think that the only way out of trouble is to link up one way or another with some of these confederacies. And so what does Jesus say? “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth night.”

Soon, very soon, all the people in this world will be divided into just two tamps, -- those who are looking to man, and those that are looking to God; those that are looking around them, and those that are looking up. Right there the line is drawn. ...

The Price of Peace

... Does God intend that His people shall be engulfed in this great disaster? No! “Ye brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” We are to be saved from this overwhelming surprise.

In order to be saved, we must be prepared. We must understand what is leading the world to these disasters and we must be kept, not merely from the end result, but from all the cause along the way. ... While the people of this world are talking confederacies, where will God’s people be looking? – upward to Him. That’s the answer. “When we look to man, trouble grows. When we look to God, trouble goes.” And we must learn that day by day in our own personal experience.

CC Jeffrey Bruno CC Jeffrey Bruno

In Review and Herald Nov 4, 1965, there is a most interesting report of a statement made by a leading Roman Catholic Cardinal commenting on the Pope’s visit to the United Nations. He says, “It is a striking thing that no responsible voice has been raised in protest against the Pope’s visit. As recently as ten years ago, a papal visit to the United Nations would have been considered an onslaught and an invasion, but today people are simply thrilled at the invitation of the Pope to visit the UN and his willingness to do so. The reason for this is that people are so frightened of war that they’re willing to try anything in desperation.”

The Cardinal spoke more truth than he realized. He put his finger right on the point. It is not a sincere turning toward God or religion in the right sense that is motivating the world to welcome the leadership of the papacy. What is it? Fear! ...

Notice the awful price that the people of this world are paying and will continue to pay, driven by their fear of war and fear of want. They are selling their souls for a mess of pottage and they won’t even get the mess of pottage. Esau got his lentils, but the people of this world are not even going to get that for which they sell their souls. ...

Proverbs 23:23 is right on the point. “But the truth, and sell it not.” Can truth be bought and sold? Apparently. In Revelation 3:18, the True Witness says, “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire... and white raiment... and eyesalve.” The eyesalve is the discernment to know what’s right and what’s wrong. “But the truth.” But once you have bought it don’t sell it! This is the terrible mistake the popular churches are making today. In Reformation days, men like Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Knox, and Wesley bought the truth, and it led them to separation from Rome. Today the Protestant churches are selling that glorious heritage. They are selling the truth which their fathers sacrificed everything to buy. That’s the price they are paying to get back in favour with Rome ...

Do you know that some of the creeds of Christendom are being revised in order to say this—watch this little change—no longer “the Bible is the Word of God,” but the revised statement is, “The Bible contains the Word of God.” Which do you believe? John 17:17 says, “Thy Word is Truth”. The Bible is the Word of God. .. The inroads of modernism, of higher criticism, are weakening the faith of Protestants in the Scriptures. These have prepared the way to accept a human court of appeal, in the person of the papacy, to interpret what is truth.

The servant of the Lord tells us that the reason the book, The Great Controversy, deals with the controversies of the past, the apostasy in the early ages, the rise of the papacy, the Dark Ages, and the Reformation is simply this: What has been, will be again. The last conflict into which we are even now entering is the climax of an age-long controversy. The issues are the same. The unseen forces are the same. And Rome that led the Christian world away from the Bible and set up the Pope as the representative of Christ, Rome which in the Dark Ages slew the saints of God, is the same Rome under whose leadership all the world will be united to war against God’s remnant….

Now notice the attitude of the true believers at the time the papacy was in process of formation. Here are the faithful few who would not go along with the Bishop of Rome and his hierarchy. “To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference and even war.” – GC p. 45 This has been the position of Christ’s followers in all ages: not to make trouble unnecessarily, not to push minor points of difference; but when it comes to a vital principle, no ecumenical idea justifies the selling of truth.

In the seventeenth chapter of John, we have the Saviour’s earnest prayer for unity among His believers, but in that same prayer is this text… “Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth.” So the great question before Protestantism today is this, Which is more important, truth or unity? And there are thousands, yes millions, who are willing to sell the truth in order to secure unity. …

The only thing, dear ones, which will keep us from being engulfed in this world movement for security and peace, the ecumenical movement, is a love for truth, so that we would rather have any war than give up truth. Our desire for peace must never degenerate into a willingness to compromise. And this must be manifest in the details of our personal lives. If we get in the habit of sacrificing principle so that we will be well thought of, we are on the road to Rome. No question about it. The remnant will be those who overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and who love not their lives unto the death. (Rev 12:11)…

Speaking of this apostasy in the early ages, we read in GC p.49, “Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church.” How did this compromise come about? “Almost imperceptibly”, that is unnoticed like the twilight falls. Well, this was the twilight, and as the darkness settled upon the Christian world, it came “almost imperceptibly”. That is the devil’s game, to make the advances towards the world so small that the person who resists one of those advances is looked upon as silly, odd, unreasonable, stubborn.

And it isn’t always in direct defiance to what God says that this compromise begings. “Rome began by enjoining what God had not forbidden, and she ended by forbidding what He had explicitly enjoined.” – GC p. 290. Rome began by telling people to do things that God had not plainly said they shouldn’t do. Let me illustrate. Here is Christmas for the birth of Christ, Easter for the resurrection. Is there a verse in the Bible that says don’t celebrate the birthday of Christ, don’t celebrate the day of His resurrection? No. So Rome began by introducing things that weren’t expressly forbidden in the Bible. She ended by forbidding what He had definitely told people to do, and the Sabbath is the great outstanding example. When men get in the habit of accepting as religious guides those who tell them to do more than the Bible says, they will inevitably end up following those guides to do what the Bible has forbidden. And this is the path that Protestantism so-called has been following for many years.

“As the Protestant churches have been seeking the favor of the world, false charity has blinded their eyes. They do not see but that it is right to believe good of all evil; and as the inevitable result, they will finally believe evil of all good.” – GC p. 571. This is what is responsible for their current attitude towards the papacy. The popular thing in the Protestant churches today is to pat everybody on the back, and for the moment even Seventh- day Adventists are riding on the ride of popular favor, the ecumenical spirit. Many in the popular churches are ready to welcome Seventh-day Adventists as a part of the great Christian world. But the same spirit that leads them to welcome us is leading them to welcome Rome. We need to look very carefully at the hand that’s stretched out to us, remembering that it is also offered to the Vatican. Let us not be flattered by the spirit of compromise. That hand which has been extended toward Rome will eventually be used, not to welcome us, but to smite us.

We need to look deep into our own hearts and see if there is anything in our souls that responses to this spirit of compromise. Are we weary of the war? Are we tired of the toil? Do we long for release from the conflict, and will we, in order to buy that release, sell the truth? That’s the question. Will we give up conscientious convictions; will we soft-pedal the Word of the Lord? God forbid!

For a short time this world is going to be united… all the nations will unite to oppose God in the person of His witnesses. Where will you and I be? On one side or the other. We’ll either be with Jesus and His remnant church, conscientiously standing for what the Word of God says, all ten of His commandments, or else we’ll be with the great popular movement which has sold the truth in order to buy peace….

Oh friends, when the voice of God ends the captivity of His people, when His law is seen in the sky, there will be a terrible awakening among all these churches that have combined together in compromise to buy peace. The union which the great apostate has cemented will fall to pieces. … The whole world is going to be plunged into the scenes of the French Revolution. Peace? Not peace. Sacrifice of the truth can never lead to peace.

And so it means much to you and to me this morning to answer the question, Do we love the truth enough to die for it, enough to live for it? Or are we willing to compromise?

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