[Presented in church on May 5th 2018]
Time to move
I was born and grew up in the city, I was born in Manchester, England, a very large city and moved to Winnipeg in the 1970s. As a child and teen growing up in Winnipeg, I had a pretty free rein and my parents didn’t restrict my movements at all. We had fears as young people, but nothing compared to the fears that we have today. I used to take the bus to downtown Winnipeg to go to sports events, movies or shopping and not return home until late in the evening. This was in the days before cell phones, so my parents could never track my movements, and really didn’t have a need to. We were safe!
But all that has changed over the past number of years. In 1988, not long after our marriage, Judy and I decided that we didn’t want to raise our young son in Winnipeg because we could see the way the city was turning, and it wasn’t looking good. We moved from the city to a small town in eastern Manitoba, and since that time, we’ve never lived in a community larger than 3000 people, and I really don’t see that changing anytime soon. Inn a small community, we know everyone, and that can be good or bad, but at least we can feel the mood of those around us.
In the large cities, you are anonymous and as we’ve seen the people we need to fear the most fade into the background and we only hear about them when they do some horrific act. Its so sad because when these terrible acts occur, we’re barely phased anymore. It used to be acts of violence against individuals, but lately its begun to be acts of terror against large groups of people.
I remember in September 2001, watching in horror as planes were flown into the World Trade Centres in New York City. Then there are so many school shootings that we cannot keep track anymore. Not to say the mall shootings, or theatre shootings, or shootings just about anywhere that people join together, even in churches! Now the latest is to drive a vehicle through a large group of people. There is really no defense against these acts, and when the authorities figure out a way to prevent one type of violent act, a new one is discovered that is much worse and harder to prevent.
As many of you know, I struggle with the idea that Ellen G White and the Adventist Church are so closely connected and what her role in the church was. But even the biggest sceptic like myself cannot argue with her wisdom when it comes to living in the city or the country. I have a number of quotes from Last Day’s Events that I’d like to share. These quotes are from Chapter 7 – Country Living and Chapter 8 – The Cities. Although these chapters were written at the turn of the 20th Century, their ideas seem really appropriate to the events of today, and therefore really address the Last Day’s Events.
Although everything God had made was in the perfection of beauty, and there seemed nothing wanting upon the earth which God had created to make Adam and Eve happy, yet He manifested His great love to them by planting a garden especially for them. A portion of their time was to be occupied in the happy employment of dressing the garden, and a portion in receiving the visits of angels, listening to their instruction, and in happy meditation. Their labor was not wearisome, but pleasant and invigorating. This beautiful garden was to be their home, their special residence. – Spiritual Gifts 3:34 (1864). LDE 94.1
Get out of the cities as soon as possible and purchase a little piece of land where you can have a garden, where your children can watch the flowers growing and learn from them lessons of simplicity and purity. – Selected Messages 2:356 (1903). LDE 95.1
Out of the cities, is my message at this time. Be assured that the call is for our people to locate miles away from the large cities. One look at San Francisco as it is today would speak to your intelligent minds, showing you the necessity of getting out of the cities…. LDE 95.2
The Lord calls for His people to locate away from the cities, for in such an hour as ye think not, fire and brimstone will be rained from heaven upon these cities. Proportionate to their sins will be their visitation. When one city is destroyed, let not our people regard this matter as a light affair, and think that they may, if favorable opportunity offers, build themselves homes in that same destroyed city…. LDE 95.3
Parents flock with their families to the cities because they fancy it easier to obtain a livelihood there than in the country. The children, having nothing to do when not in school, obtain a street education. From evil associates they acquire habits of vice and dissipation. – Testimonies for the Church 5:232 (1882). LDE 97.3
Send the children to schools located in the city, where every phase of temptation is waiting to attract and demoralize them, and the work of character building is tenfold harder for both parents and children. – Fundamentals of Christian Education, 326 (1894). LDE 98.1
The cities are filled with temptation. We should plan our work in such a way as to keep our young people as far as possible from this contamination. – The Adventist Home, 136 (1902). LDE 98.2
It is time for our people to take their families from the cities into more retired localities, else many of the youth, and many also of those older in years, will be ensnared and taken by the enemy. – Testimonies for the Church 8:101 (1904). LDE 98.3
There is not one family in a hundred who will be improved physically, mentally, or spiritually, by residing in the city. Faith, hope, love, happiness, can far better be gained in retired places, where there are fields and hills and trees. Take your children away from the sights and sounds of the city, away from the rattle and din of streetcars and teams, and their minds will become more healthy. It will be found easier to bring home to their hearts the truth of the Word of God. – The Adventist Home, 137 (1905). LDE 98.4
To many of those living in the cities who have not a spot of green grass to set their feet upon, who year after year have looked out upon filthy courts and narrow alleys, brick walls and pavements and skies clouded with dust and smoke – if these could be taken to some farming district, surrounded with the green fields, the woods and hills and brooks, the clear skies and the fresh, pure air of the country, it would seem almost like heaven. – The Ministry of Healing, 191, 192 (1905). LDE 99.1
The physical surroundings in the cities are often a peril to health. The constant liability to contact with disease, the prevalence of foul air, impure water, impure food, the crowded, dark, unhealthful dwellings, are some of the many evils to be met. It was not God’s purpose that people should be crowded into cities, huddled together in terraces and tenements. – The Ministry of Healing, 365 (1905). LDE 99.2
The pursuit of pleasure and amusement centers in the cities. Many parents who choose a city home for their children, thinking to give them greater advantages, meet with disappointment, and too late repent their terrible mistake. The cities of today are fast becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah. The many holidays encourage idleness. The exciting sports – theater – going, horse – racing, gambling, liquor – drinking, and reveling – stimulate every passion to intense activity. The youth are swept away by the popular current. – Christ’s Object Lessons, 54 (1900). LDE 110.2
Terrible shocks will come upon the earth, and the lordly palaces erected at great expense will certainly become heaps of ruins. – Manuscript Releases 3:312 (1891). LDE 110.5
When God’s restraining hand is removed, the destroyer begins his work. Then in our cities the greatest calamities will come. – Manuscript Releases 3:314 (1897). LDE 111.1
The Lord gives warnings to the inhabitants of the earth, as in the Chicago fire and the fires in Melbourne, London, and the city of New York. – Manuscript 127, 1897. LDE 111.2
The end is near and every city is to be turned upside down every way. There will be confusion in every city. Everything that can be shaken is to be shaken and we do not know what will come next. The judgments will be according to the wickedness of the people and the light of truth that they have had. – Manuscript Releases 1:248 (1902). LDE 111.3
O that God’s people had a sense of the impending destruction of thousands of cities, now almost given to idolatry. – Evangelism, 29 (1903). LDE 111.4
The time is near when large cities will be swept away, and all should be warned of these coming judgments. – Evangelism, 29 (1910). LDE 111.5
I have seen the most costly structures in buildings erected and supposed to be fireproof, and just as Sodom perished in the flames of God’s vengeance so will these proud structures become ashes…. The flattering monuments of men’s greatness will be crumbled in the dust even before the last great destruction comes upon the world. – Selected Messages 3:418 (1901). LDE 111.6
God has not executed His wrath without mercy. His hand is stretched out still. His message must be given in Greater New York. The people must be shown how it is possible for God, by a touch of His hand, to destroy the property they have gathered together against the last great day. – Manuscript Releases 3:310, 311 (1902). LDE 112.3
I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only that I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power…. Death will come in all places. This is why I am so anxious for our cities to be warned. – The Review and Herald, July 5, 1906. LDE 112.4
On one occasion, when in New York City, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven. These buildings were warranted to be fireproof, and they were erected to glorify their owners and builders…. LDE 113.1
The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings and said: “They are perfectly safe.” But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines. – Testimonies for the Church 9:12, 13 (1909). LDE 113.2
As we near the close of this earth’s history, we shall have the scenes of the San Francisco calamity repeated in other places…. These things make me feel very solemn because I know that the judgment day is right upon us. The judgments that have already come are a warning, but not the finishing, of the punishment that will come on wicked cities…. LDE 114.4
All the warnings of Christ regarding the events that will occur near the close of this earth’s history are now being fulfilled in our large cities. God is permitting these things to be brought to light that he who runs may read. The city of San Francisco is a sample of what the whole world is becoming. The wicked bribery, the misappropriation of means, the fraudulent transactions among men who have power to release the guilty and condemn the innocent – all this iniquity is filling other large cities of the earth and is making the world as it was in the days that were before the Flood. – Letter 230, 1907. LDE 115.3
There are many more pages, and many quotes in the book (Last Day’s Events), but time doesn’t allow us to go through them all. But suffice to say that when I look at events that have occurred over the last few years, and with increasing frequency, it is certain that we are in the Last Days, and Christ’s return is imminent. We can really only hope He comes soon.
I look at Ellen G White’s writings with a little more interest, due to the fact that in this book alone she has such an accurate portrayal of events that occurred long after her death. She could see into the future, now we just have to be ready for what the future holds.
[Note: If you’re interested in reading a great book by Ellen G White, you can request a FREE copy of “STEPS TO CHRIST” on my FREE RESOURCES PAGE!]