“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 KJV.
“Vividly they recall the Saviour’s parable of the husbandmen who refused to render to their lord the fruit of the vineyard, who abused his servants and slew his son. They remember, too, the sentence which they themselves pronounced: The lord of the vineyard will miserably destroy those wicked men. In the sin and punishment of those unfaithful men, the priests and elders see their own course and their own just doom. And now there rises a cry of mortal agony. Louder than the shout, ‘Crucify him! crucify him!’ which rang through the streets of Jerusalem, swells the awful, despairing wail, ‘He is the Son of God! He is the true Messiah!’ They seek to flee from the presence of the King of kings. In the deep caverns of the earth, rent asunder by the warring of the elements, they vainly attempt to hide.
In the lives of all who reject truth, there are moments when conscience awakens, when memory presents the torturing recollection of a life of hypocrisy, and the soul is harassed with vain regrets. But what are these compared with the remorse of that day when ‘fear cometh as desolation,’ when ‘destruction cometh as a whirlwind!’ Those who would have destroyed Christ and his faithful people, now witness the glory which rests upon them. In the midst of their terror they hear the voices of the saints in joyful strains exclaiming, ‘Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us.’
Amid the reeling of the earth, the flashing of lightning, and the roaring of thunder, the voice -of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then raising his hands to heaven he cries, ‘Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise!’ Throughout the length and breadth of the earth, the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live. And the whole earth shall ring with the tread of the exceeding great army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the prison-house of death they come, clothed with immortal glory, crying, ‘0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory?’ And the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory.
All come forth from their graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb. Adam, who stands among the risen throng, is of lofty height and majestic form, in stature but little below the Son of God. He presents a marked contrast to the people of later generations; in this one respect is shown the great degeneracy of the race. But all arise from their last deep slumber with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth. In the beginning, man was created in the likeness of God, not only in character, but in form and feature. Sin defaced and almost obliterated the divine image; but Christ came to restore that which had been lost. He will change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto his glorious body. The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave. The redeemed bear the image of their Lord. Oh, wonderful redemption! long talked of; long hoped for, contemplated with eager anticipation, but never fully understood.
The living righteous are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal, and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Friends long separated by death are united, never more to part. Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers’ arms, and together, with songs of gladness, they ascend to the city of God.
On each side of the cloudy chariot are wings, and beneath it are living wheels; and as the chariot rolls upward, the wheels cry, ‘Holy,’ and the wings, as they move, cry, ‘Holy,’ and the retinue of angels cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.’ And the people of God shout ‘Alleluia!’ as the chariot moves onward toward the New Jerusalem.
Before entering the city, the saints are arranged in a hollow square, with Jesus in the midst. In height he surpasses both the saints and the angels. His majestic form and lovely countenance can be seen by all in the square. Upon the heads of the overcomers the Saviour, with his own ‘right hand, places the crowns of glory. For every saint there is a crown, bearing his new name, and the inscription, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ In every hand is placed the victor’s palm and the shining harp. The commanding angels strike the note, and every voice is raised in grateful praise, every hand sweeps the harp-strings with skillful touch, awaking sweet music in rich, melodious strains.
Before the ransomed throng is the holy city. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency. Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying, ‘Your conflict is ended.’ The Saviour’s countenance beams with unutterable love as he welcomes the redeemed to the joy of their Lord.” EGW, SOP, Vol 4, 1884, pp. 462-465.
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