Persecution in the Last Days

By Brother Anderson

In her apocalyptic book Great Controversy Mrs. White describes a frightening end-time scenario. The wicked Catholics and apostate Protestants join together to pass a law enforcing Sunday observance, and a death penalty is imposed upon all who worship upon the seventh-day Sabbath. Mrs. White describes in vivid detail what happens when the universal Sunday law is passed:

"As the time appointed in the decree draws near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect [Seventh-day Adventists]. It will be determined to strike in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and reproof. The people of God--some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains--still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death." (Great Controversy, p. 635)

Ellen White: Righteous are in prison or hiding in forests/mountains

From the above quote we find that the righteous are either in prison or hiding in the forests and mountains. Mrs. White informs us that they have been driven from their homes by mobs:

"Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs..." (Early Writings, p. 56)

BIBLE: Righteous are in their homes

The Bible paints a different picture of Christ's Second Coming. In Luke 17, Jesus is describing the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and this passage also foreshadows the destruction of the world at the end of time:

I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Luke 17:34-36)

Notice from the above verse:

  1. Righteous and unrighteous men will be sleeping together in the same bed, apparently in their own homes.
  2. Righteous and unrighteous women will be working together, apparently preparing food in their own homes.
  3. Righteous and unrighteous men will be working together, apparently in their own fields.

Jesus also said that it would be like the "days of Noah" (Luke 17:26) and the "days of Lot" (Luke 17:28). Neither Lot nor Noah was hiding in the mountains or languishing in prison. They were living in their homes and working at their jobs prior to the commencement of the judgments of God.

While Mrs. White says the righteous will flee their homes before infuriated mobs, Jesus says the righteous and the wicked will be sleeping and working together in their own homes and fields when He returns.

This does not mean that there will be no persecution prior to Christ's return. Persecution started during the time of Christ and the Bible says that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12). Millions of martyrs have shed their blood for Christ down through the ages. Today, in our "enlightened" world, more Christians are being martyred than at any time in human history. Literally millions of Christians have been slaughtered in Sudan, and other parts of the world. We do not have to wait until a Sunday law is passed before we encounter persecution. Those who "live godly in Christ Jesus" are suffering persecution in various forms today.

In conclusion, Luke 17 teaches that the righteous and wicked will be together until the end. While Mrs. White envisions the righteous at the end of time separated from the wicked, hiding in forests and mountains, Jesus says the wheat and the tares will "grow together until the harvest" (Matt. 13:30).

Category: Bible vs. Mrs. White
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