The "loud cry" is not strictly a Biblical expression. It is used often in the writings of the Spirit of prophecy, and is based on a description of the final warning message during the latter rain as set forth in Revelation 18 :1-4. Because the angel from heaven had "great power," he "cried mightily with a strong voice" and "the earth was lightened with his glory." Here is pictured the final announcement of the fall and demon possession of Babylon, accompanied by the divine call, "Come out of her, My people." The separation from Babylon is necessary in order to be emancipated from her sins and to escape her plagues.
The time of the loud cry is definitely located. It comes just before the close of probation and the falling of the seven last plagues, in which "is filled up the wrath of God." With a loud c ry or strong voice the call is given for God's people remaining in the religious organizations constituting Babylon to separate from what has "become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Babylon includes the mother and the large family of daughters, all of whom have fallen and been taken possession of by Satanic agencies.
The loud cry is not in itself the latter rain. It is rather the final message of salvation during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the fullness of divine power, a call which will bring every human being to a final and irrevocable decision. The latter rain furnishes the power so that the message can be quickly finished and "cut short in righteousness." As a result, "every truly honest soul will come to the light of truth." The distinction betwe'en the latter rain and the loud cry is made clear by the messenger of the Lord.
"At that time the 'latter rain,' or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out."—Early Writings, p. 86.
"I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven, descending to the earth, and again ascending to heaven, preparing for the fulfillment of some important event. Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. . . . The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel's message, as it swells to a loud cry. . . . I saw a great light resting upon them [God's people], and they united to fearlessly proclaim the third angel's message. . . . This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel's message in 1844."—/bid, p. 277, (Italics mine.)
Note also the following from the same book:
"I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth with great power. It had effect. Many had been bound ; some wives by their husbands, and some children by their parents. The honest who had been prevented from hearing the truth now eagerly laid hold upon it. All fear of their relatives was gone, and the truth alone was exalted to them. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth ; it was dearer and more precious than life. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered, 'It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.' "—Ibid., p. 271.
"Then will the message of the third angel swell to a loud cry, and the whole earth will be lightened with the glory of the Lord."—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 401.
The loud cry is so closely identified with the latter rain that it is difficult to distinguish between them except on the basis of the former being the message itself and the latter the power that makes it effective.
"Those who have held the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end will be wide-awake during the time that the third angel's message is proclaimed with great power. During the loud cry, the church, aided by the providential interpositions of her exalted Lord, will diffuse the knowledge of salvation so abundantly that light will be communicated to every city and town. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of salvation. So abundantly will the renewing Spirit of *God have crowned with success the intensely active agencies, that the light of present truth will be seen flashing everywhere.'—Review and Herald, Oct. 13, 1904.
It is evident that the purpose of the loud cry is to call out of Babylon all who had not previously made the separation. This must be done before probation closes and the wrath of God is poured out upon the finally impenitent. The Lord designates those called out as "My people." They are just as verily His people even before they hear the call as are those who are already in Zion and who are the instruments in the proclamation of the message to escape from the doomed spiritual city.
Why the great urgency to make the separation? Because Babylon has become completely possessed and controlled by enemy forces, has fallen to an all-time low level of spiritual life, and is thus a dangerous and unfitting dwelling place for the saints of the Most High. The sins of Babylon, like the tower of Babel in ancient Babylon, have piled up until they have "reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered their iniquities." Just as the angels hurried Lot and his family out of the doomed city of Sodom before its destruction, so the saints of God must be hastened out of the final spiritual city of destruction before the wrath divine brings it to a deserved end.
How many of God's true people will still be in Babylon when the loud cry calls them out? Here is the answer:
"Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ's true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. . . . The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as are 'lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God ; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.' Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Rev. 146-14, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world ; and it will accomplish its work. . . . Then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call, 'Come out of her My people.'"
"And in what religious bodies are the great part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith."—The Great Controversy, pp. 390, 383.
A Great Multitude Called Out
That those called out of Babylon during the latter rain and as a result of the loud cry will be a great multitude is evident from the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy. In Micah 2:12 we are told that "the remnant of Israel" will be a "multitude of men" ; and in Zechariah 2:11 it is said that "many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day." It is stated that "many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts," and will say to God's people, "We will go with you : for we have heard that God is with you." Zech. 8:22, 23. No longer do they say reproachfully of the remnant, "Where is their God?" The latter rain demonstrates that the Lord is in the midst of Zion and in full possession and control.
In the seventh chapter of the Revelation is a description of the final gospel harvest as the result of the preaching of the threefold message of Revelation 14 while the angels are holding in check the winds of war and human passion. Verses 1-8 picture the sealing of the 144,000, who are "redeemed from the earth" and are designated "the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb." Rev. 14:1-5.
After describing the sealing of the numerable first-fruit sheaf, the prophet wrote: "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." Rev. 7:9. The gathering of the definite number composing the first fruits is followed by the reaping of a harvest so great that it cannot be numbered. It is gathered from the same far-flung fields of the earth to which the threefold message is proclaimed. (See Rev. 14:6.)
The identity of the "great multitude" is settled by the question and answer of the elder for the benefit of John as recorded in Revelation 7:13-17. They live through the seven last plagues because they come "out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Verse 14. There can be no doubt but that the 144,000 live on earth during the falling of the plagues and come out of the great tribulation with white robes, but the question and answer clearly refer to the great multitude who are the only ones spoken of in the chapter as having "white robes." They experience the hunger and thirst and the blazing heat of the sun which comes during the plagues. "They have seen the earth wasted with famine and pestilence, the sun having power to scorch men with great heat, and they themselves have endured suffering, hunger, and thirst."---Ibid., p. 649.
We are told that the latter rain will be "much more abundant" than the former rain, and therefore we can expect as great results, if not greater. It is surprising how many Spirit of prophecy descriptions have been given us of a great ingathering of souls by the last message, and especially under the loud cry phase of its proclamation. Among these are the following :
"God rebukes His people for their sins, that He may humble them, and lead them to seek His face. As they reform, and His love revives in their hearts, His loving answers will come to their requests. He will strengthen them in reformatory action, lifting up for them a standard against the enemy. His rich blessing will rest upon them, and in bright rays they will reflect the light of heaven. Then a multitude not of their faith, seeing that God is with His people, will unite with them in serving the Redeemer."—Review and Herald, Feb. 25, 5922.
"In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world's insignia; the other was led by the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust, as company after company from the Lord's army joined the foe, and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with the commandment-keeping people of God."—Testimonies, vol. 8, P. 45.
During the shaking time companies will go out, but as a result of the latter rain tribes will come in, and tribes are much larger than companies. There is danger of overemphasizing the loss during the shaking, and forgetting the great ingathering that follows, which will far more than make up for the apostasies. Here is another thrilling picture of the time when God does great things for His people:
"Many . . will be seen hurrying hither and thither, constrained by the Spirit of God to bring the light to others. The truth, the Word of God, is as a fire in their bones, filling them with a burning desire to enlighten those who sir in darkness. Many, even among the uneducated, now proclaim the words of the Lord. Children are impelled by the Spirit to go forth and declare the message from heaven. The Spirit is poured out upon all who will yield to its promptings, and, casting off all man's machinery, his binding rules and cautious methods, they will declare the truth with the might of the Spirit's power. Multitudes will receive the faith and join the armies of the Lord."—Evangelism, p. 700.
The seed sowing in preparation for the in-gathering of this mighty harvest will be accomplished largely through the scattering of the printed page "like the leaves of autumn." In The Great Controversy, page 612, we are told that when the fatter rain comes, the seeds of gospel truth have been sown and the arguments presented, and that the purpose of this Spirit visitation is to bring conviction. It is stated that "the publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence." Note the following :
"Our publications are now sowing the gospel seed, and are instrumental in bringing as many souls to Christ as the preached word. Whole churches have been raised up as the result of their circulation."—Christian Service, p. 146.
"'God will soon do great things for us, if we lie humble and believing at His feet. . . . More than one thousand will soon be converted in one day, most of whom will trace their first convictions to the reading of our publications.' "—Review and Herald, Nov. to, 1885.
"In a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power, and who lightens the earth with his glory."—Testimonies, vol. 7, P. 140.
What an incentive for our colporteurs and people to faithfully distribute our truth-filled literature everywhere "in season and out of season." The returns in souls saved are often long delayed; and therefore the temptation to become discouraged is greater than in some other lines of missionary activity ; but in the end the harvest will be abundant and certain and the regard great. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Ps. 126:6.