"As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation, in the decree enforcing the papal Sabbath, will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains." (Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 464, 465)
So we have a clear instruction that when the "Papal sabbath" is enforced, this will be the signal for God's people to leave the large cities and to prepare to leave the smaller cities and towns for homes in the countryside. And we know from Revelation 13 that it is the earth beast (America) that causes the world to receive the mark of the beast. So when the Sunday law is enforced in the United States of America, God's people all around the world will have the final signal to leave the cities and move to the countryside.
Now there are some people who relate Ellen White's above statement to the attempt made in 1888 to enforce a Sunday law in America, and they say that this was the signal for God's people to leave the cities. Now I don't have any major issue against this thinking, because I would say that all of God's people should be looking to leave the large cities now. Why? Because the large cities are not the kind of places that God wants His people to dwell. And this is confirmed by inspiration ...
"The cities are filled with temptation. We should plan our work in such a way as to keep our young people as far as possible from this contamination. The cities are to be worked from outposts. Said the messenger of God, 'Shall not the cities be warned? Yes, but not by God's people living in them, but by their visiting them, to warn them of what is coming upon the earth.'"
But going back to this 1888 date as being the signal for God's people to leave the cities. There are certain quotes from Ellen White that suggest contrary to this thinking. Take a look at the following quote that was written in 1906 ...
"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. But until it is possible for them to leave, so long as they remain, they should be most active in doing missionary work, however limited their sphere of influence may be." (Review and Herald, September 27, 1906)
So here she is implying that the move out of the cities would be a progressive one, and that it would not be possible for all people to leave the cities straight away. And this is well AFTER 1888.
But should we just wait until the Sunday law is enforced in America to leave the cities, even if it is possible for us to leave? No, because we are also told by inspiration that the cities should be reached from OUTSIDE them, not by God's people living IN them.
"In harmony with the light given me, I am urging people to come out from the great centers of population. Our cities are increasing in wickedness, and it is becoming more and more evident that those who remain in them unnecessarily do so at the peril of their souls salvation." (Country Living, p. 9)
"Get out of the cities as soon as possible and purchase a little piece of land where you can have a garden, where your children can watch the flowers growing and learn from them lessons of simplicity and purity." (2 Selected Messages, p.356)
"Out of the cities is my message at this time. Be assured that the call is for our people to locate miles away from the large cities." (Manuscript Release 1518, May 10 1906)
The wickedness has been increasing in the cities over the past 100 years and they are no longer places that God's people should dwell. We should be thinking also of the influence that temptations in the cities can have over our children and make every effort to protect them from Satan's devices. So if you live in a city, and there is nothing stopping you from leaving, then you should start praying and planning to leave for a quieter place to live. And some of us who have the resources to secure a home in the countryside can place ourselves in a position to help someone else who may not have the finances to leave when the Sunday law is enforced.
Think of how you can help your family and how you can help others during this time and when the mark of the beast is enforced. God has really blessed some of us in order that we can be a blessing and help to others. But please, do not rush into this. Instead by prayer and supplication, put this issue before God and ask for His guidance and provision.
"Let everyone take time to consider carefully and not be like the man in the parable who began to build and was not able to finish. Not a move should be made but that movement and all that it portends are carefully considered - everything weighed." (Selected Messages, vol. 2, pp. 362, 363)
The superior benefits of country living are plain to see for any thoughtful Christian. And as far as possible, we should start relocating ourselves away from the cities now and secure for ourselves country homes in places God created for us to live, away from the temptations and wickedness of man made towns and cities.
So it is clear, not only from inspiration, but also from the reality of how wicked the cities are now, that we should be striving to leave. Especially the large cities. But if there is no way for you to leave, due to finances or some other reason, then take it to the Lord. Be faithful to Him. Trust in the Lord and let Him open up a way for you to leave.
Finally, think about this last thought also ... If you look at major cities like San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York and many other large urban areas, there are very few ways of escaping. So during a disaster, these routes of escape could either be destroyed, clogged by millions of people fleeing, or closed down by the government, which would force many people to stay within the city's confines - which in turn could be a death sentence for the unprepared. The major cities are death traps!