Testimonies for the Church, Volume I., page 268:
‘I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine, and pestilence were abroad in the land. As these things surrounded God’s people, they began to press together, and to cast aside their little difficulties. Self-dignity no longer controlled them; deep humility took its place. Suffering, perplexity, and privation caused reason to resume its throne, and the passionate and unreasonable man became sane, and acted with discretion and wisdom.
My attention was then called from the scene. There seemed to be a little time of peace. Once more the inhabitants of the earth were presented before me; and again everything was in the utmost confusion. Strife, war, and bloodshed, with famine and pestilence, raged everywhere. Other nations were engaged in this war and confusion. War caused famine. Want and bloodshed caused pestilence. And then men’s hearts failed them for fear, “and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.’
There is no other reference in Ellen White’s writings what this ‘little time of peace’ could be. However she mentioned a period before the pouring out of the seven last plagues, the little time of trouble.
Last Days Events, Chapter 10, The Little Time of Trouble:
‘On page 33 [of ] is given the following: “... At the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully.”
This view was given in 1847 when there were but very few of the Advent brethren observing the Sabbath, and of these but few supposed that its observance was of sufficient importance to draw a line between the people of God and unbelievers. Now the fulfillment of that view is beginning to be seen. “The commencement of that time of trouble,” here mentioned, does not refer to the time when the plagues shall begin to be poured out, but to a short period just before they are poured out, while Christ is in the sanctuary. At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel.—.’
The time period of the seven last plagues, when Jesus is not in the heavenly santuary any more is called the great time of trouble. The great time of trouble comes after the little time of trouble, when the probation closes. We also know that the little time of trouble starts with the sunday laws and the latter rain comes during this period.
I think the two war period in the Testimonies for the Church, Volume I refers to the little and great time of trouble. These periods are separated by a little time of peace. God’s angels will hold back the winds for the last time so that the third angel’s message can finish his work. There will be peace and prosperity everywhere and the wicked will attribute this to the results of the sunday laws. I think 1 Thess 5:3 speaks about this time period: ‘For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.’
During this little time of peace the fourth angel joins to the third angel’s work and give it power. During this period of time sounds the warning: ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’
The destruction of Jerusalem is a prefigure of the destruction of the world. When the roman armies of Titus surrounded the city of Jerusalem in AD 66, they retreated for an unknown reason. The protectors of the city followed them, so that the city emptied for a short period of time and the christians had a chance to flee to the mountains. When the armies came back, the romans surrounded the city again and nobody could leave the city any more. I think this short period of time will also occur in the end time and this is what Ellen White wrote about.
In Matthew 24 we can see the same pattern. The real sign of the end time is not the wars and rumours of wars, nor the famine and pestilences. These things must happen, but the real sign of the end time is the little time of peace when the gospel is preached to every nation and kindred and tongue and people. When we see this we are very near to the end.