The Last Generation
God is ready for the challenge. He has bided His time. The supreme exhibition has been reserved until the final contest. Out of the last generation God will select His chosen ones. Not the strong or the mighty, not the honored or the rich, not the wise or the learned, but common, ordinary people will God take, and through and by them make His demonstration. Satan has claimed that those who in the past have served God have done so from mercenary motives, that God has pampered them, and that he, Satan, has not had free access to them. If he were given full permission to press his case, they also would be won over. But he charges that God is afraid to let him do this. "Give me a fair chance," Satan says, "and I will win out."
And so, to silence forever Satanís charges; to make it evident that His people are serving Him from motives of loyalty and right without reference to reward; to clear His own name and character of the charges of injustice and arbitrariness; and to show to angels and men that His law can be kept by the weakest of men under the most discouraging and most untoward circumstances, God permits Satan in the last generation to try His people to the utmost. They will be threatened, tortured, persecuted. They will stand face to face with death in the issuance of the decree to worship the beast and his image. (Rev. 13: 15.) But they will not yield. They are willing to die rather than to sin.
God removes His Spirit from the earth. Satan will have a greater measure of control than he has ever had before. True, he may not kill Godís people, but that seems to be the only limitation. And he uses every permission he has. He knows what is at stake. It is now or never.
God, to make the demonstration complete, does one more thing. He hides Himself. The sanctuary in heaven is closed. The saints cry to God day and night for deliverance, but He appears not to hear. Godís chosen ones are passing through Gethsemane. They are having a little taste of Christís experienceóthose three hours on the cross. Seemingly they must fight their battles alone. They must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor.
But though Christ has finished His intercession, the saints are still the object of Godís love and care. Holy angels watch over them. God provides them shelter from their enemies; He provides them with food, shields them from destruction, and supplies grace and power for holy living. (See Psalms 91.) Yet they are still in the world, still tempted, afflicted, tormented.
Will they stand the test? To human eyes it seems impossible. If only God would come to their rescue, all would be well, They are determined to resist the evil one. If need be they will die, but they will not sin. Satan has no poweróand never has hadóto make any man sin. He can tempt, he can seduce, he can threaten; but he cannot compel. And now God demonstrates through the weakest of the weak that there is no excuse, and never has been any, for sinning. If men in the last generation can successfully repel Satanís attack; if they can do this with all the odds against them and the sanctuary closed, what excuse is there for menís ever sinning?
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