Most of us have heard or studied at some point that country living is the ideal, but it is not often talked about and for many of us, it has been a long time since we studied the subject.
While there are cautions in regards to moving out, plus there are reasons why many may not physically be able to move, being finance, health or other practical reasons, there is still the counsel to look at moving away from the city environments.
This difference between city living and country living is getting more distinct as we race to the end of time. While no environment is free from the curse of sin, there is no doubt that the cities have more atrocities than the country.
It would be well for me to sign off from my own words for the large part and let us read from the inspired writ the counsel for encouraging all into the country. Just bear in mind that the counsel offered here is now about one hundred years on, and will be intensified as we come closer and closer to the end of time.
“The time has come, when, as God opens the way, families should move out of the cities. The children should be taken into the country. The parents should get as suitable a place as their means will allow. Though the dwelling be small, yet their should be land in connection with it, that may be cultivated...More and more, as time advances, our people will have to leave the cities. For years we have been instructed that our brethren and sisters, and especially families with children, should plan to leave the cities as the way opens before them to do so. Many will have to labor earnestly to help open the way.” – 2 Selected Messages, p.360
“We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of enemies” – 2 Selected Messages, p.141
As already mentioned, there does need to be caution and careful planning before making the move.
“There is need of your moving – many from Battle Creek – and there is also need of your having well-defined plans as to what you will do when you go out from Battle Creek. Do not go in a rush, without knowing what you are about. . . . Those who have felt at last to make a move, let it not be in a rush, in an excitement, or in a rash manner, or in a way that hereafter they will deeply regret that they did move out. . . .
“Take heed that there shall be no rash movements made in heeding the counsel in moving from Battle Creek. Do nothing without seeking wisdom of God...
“There may be individuals who will make a rush to do something, and enter into some business they know nothing about. This God does not require. Think candidly, prayerfully, studying the Word with all carefulness and prayerfulness, with mind and heart awake to hear the voice of God. . . . To understand the will of God is a great thing. . . .
“We cannot have a weak faith now; we cannot be safe in a listless, indolent, slothful attitude. Every jot of ability is to be used, and sharp, calm, deep thinking is to be done. The wisdom of any human agent is not sufficient for the planning and devising in this time. Spread every plan before God with fasting, and with the humbling of the soul before the Lord Jesus, and commit thy ways unto the Lord. The sure promise is, He will direct thy paths.” – 2 Selected Messages p.361-364 (selected portions)
Once The Move Has Been Made
When we are ready to go into the country and counted the cost, God will direct us.
“Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation, where they can have orchards and where they can raise vegetables and small fruits to take the place of flesh meat, which is so corrupting to the life blood coursing through the veins. On such places the children will not be surrounded with the corrupting influences of city life. God will help His people to find such homes outside the cities.” – 2 Selected Messages, p.360
But we are not to leave the cities and colonise together to be huddled in one place among our own people.
“Many of the members of our large churches are doing comparatively nothing. They might accomplish a good work if, instead of crowding together, they would scatter into places that have not yet been entered by the truth. Trees that are planted too thickly do not flourish. They are transplanted by the gardener, that they may have room to grow and not become dwarfed and sickly. The same rule would work well for our large churches. Many of the members are dying spiritually for want of this very work. They are becoming sickly and inefficient. Transplanted, they would have room to grow strong and vigorous.
“It is not the purpose of God that His people should colonize or settle together in large communities. The disciples of Christ are His representatives upon the earth, and God designs that they shall be scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, as lights amidst the darkness of the world. They are to be missionaries for God, by their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour.
“The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which, as yet, they have scarcely begun. None should move into new places merely for the sake of worldly advantage; but where there is an opening to obtain a livelihood, let families that are well grounded in the truth enter, one or two families in a place, to work as missionaries. They should feel a love for souls, a burden of labor for them, and should make it a study how to bring them into the truth. They can distribute our publications, hold meetings in their homes, become acquainted with their neighbors, and invite them to come to these meetings. Thus they can let their light shine in good works.” – Test. for Church vol.8, p244,245
Warn The Cities
Once out in the country, our mission is to warn the cities from our country outpost and at the same time, it offers protection for our children.
“The cities are to be worked from outposts. Said the messenger of God, ‘Shall not the cities be warned? Yes; not by God's people living in them, but by their visiting them, to warn them of what is coming upon the earth.’" – 2 Selected Messages, p.358
“It is God's design that our people should locate outside the cities, and from these outposts warn the cities, and raise in them memorials for God. There must be a force of influence in the cities, that the message of warning shall be heard. – Evangelism, p.76
“We must make wise plans to warn the cities, and at the same time live where we can shield our children and ourselves from the contaminating and demoralizing influences so prevalent in these places.” – Evangelism, p.76
There certainly is need to emphasise the point of protecting our children from the contaminating influences of the cities, as it will get bad, even to much worse.
“The world over, cities are becoming hotbeds of vice. On every hand are the sights and sounds of evil. Everywhere are enticements to sensuality and dissipation. The tide of corruption and crime is continually swelling. Every day brings the record of violence – robberies, murders, suicides, and crimes unnamable.
“Life in the cities is false and artificial. The intense passion for money getting, the whirl of excitement and pleasure seeking, the thirst for display, the luxury and extravagance, all are forces that, with the great masses of mankind, are turning the mind from life's true purpose. They are opening the door to a thousand evils. Upon the youth they have almost irresistible power.” – Ministry of Healing, p.365
Contaminated Environment in Cities
Also to contend with will be contaminated elements detrimental to our health.
“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.” –Ministry of Healing, p.365
“Already sprinklings from the vials of God's wrath have been let fall upon land and sea, affecting the elements of the air. The causes of these unusual conditions are being searched for, but in vain.
“God has not restrained the powers of darkness from carrying forward their deadly work of vitiating the air, one of the sources of life and nutrition, with a deadly miasma. Not only is vegetable life affected, but man suffers from pestilences. Cholera and unexplainable diseases have broken out. . . .
“These things are the result of drops from the vials of God's wrath being sprinkled on the earth, and are but faint representations of what will be in the near future.” – 3 Manuscript Release, p.304
“Satan is working in the atmosphere; he is poisoning the atmosphere.” – 2 Selected Messages, p.52
“Satan is exercising his power... He imparts to the air a deadly taint and thousands perish by the pestilence.” – Great Controversy, p.590
“The noise and excitement and confusion of the cities, their constrained and artificial life, are most wearisome and exhausting to the sick. The air, laden with smoke and dust, with poisonous gases, and with germs of disease, is a peril to life.” – Ministry of Healing, p.262
So moving out to the country is highly recommended for all who can. Then what are our duties when we do get to live in the outlying areas?
“The time is fast coming when the controlling power of the labor unions will be very oppressive. Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one.” – 2 Selected Messages, p.141
“Men were to cooperate with God in restoring the diseased land to health, that it might be a praise and a glory to His name. And as the land they possessed would, if managed with skill and earnestness, produce its treasures, so their hearts, if controlled by God, would reflect His character. . . .
“In the laws which God gave for the cultivation of the soil, He was giving the people opportunity to overcome their selfishness and become heavenly-minded. Canaan would be to them as Eden if they obeyed the Word of the Lord. Through them the Lord designed to teach all the nations of the world how to cultivate the soil so that it would yield healthy fruit, free from disease. The earth is the Lord's vineyard, and is to be treated according to His plan. Those who cultivated the soil were to realize that they were doing God service. They were as truly in their lot and place as were the men appointed to minister in the priesthood and in work connected with the tabernacle. God told the people that the Levites were a gift to them, and no matter what their trade, they were to help to support them.” – Bible Commentary v0l.1, p.1112
Develop The Land
“Missionary families are needed to settle in the waste places. Let farmers, financiers, builders, and those who are skilled in various arts and crafts, go to neglected fields, to improve the land, to establish industries, to prepare humble homes for themselves, and to help their neighbors...
“This is the work we are called to do. Even the desert places of the earth, where the outlook appears to be forbidding, may become as the garden of God.” – Ministry of Healing, p.194
One classical example of this happening was in the case of Madison College. The two men, E A Sutherland and Percy Magan wanted a property to start the work in the south of USA. The old missionary boat, the ‘Morning Star’ broke down at the banks of the Ferguson farm. E A Sutherland and Percy Magan knew that place and in no way wanted anything to do with it. It was run down, had pigs grazing on it, but Ellen White had a glint in her eye and said, “Brethren, this is the place.” The two men laboured over that decision, but submitted to divine direction and after many years of labour and love to that property, that farm was a picture of production and was recognised around the world.
“But erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities, that those who wish to leave them will not be able. We must be preparing for these issues. This is the light that is given me.” – 2 Selected Messages, p.142
I can comment from experience that this has already happened. When the Christchurch earthquake struck on February 22, 2011, we saw prophecy fulfilled both physically and financially within minutes and hours. Many people living in the eastern part of the city in particular wanted to get out, but couldn’t because they were locked in. Physically, the roads were impassable as roads had dropped, but the bridges were still in their original positions, making a good half metre concrete wall to get over. Until help came, which was for some days before trucks could dump loads of gravel to form ramps so cars could drive out, no one could move. Secondly, people had mortgages on their properties, now the homes were uninhabitable and mortgages were still to be paid. The rental payments became exorbitant and it became very hard for people financially.
Yes, the government came to the aid of the people. Neighbours were amazing to help each other, but the main point was that prophecy was fulfilling right before our eyes.
Whether you get to the country or not friends, the counsel still stands that where possible, move out of the cities from what is coming, into the country.
– Much of this material drawn from ‘The Time of the End’, by James Hayward Snr.