Bible Study Guides – Can We Know of the Time?

August 5, 2007 – August 11, 2007

Key Text

“But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Matthew 24:36.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 632-636.


“The times and the seasons God has put in His own power. And why has not God given us this knowledge?¾Because we would not make a right use of it if He did. A condition of things would result from this knowledge among our people that would greatly retard the work of God in preparing a people to stand in the great day that is to come. We are not to live upon time excitement. We are not to be engrossed with speculations in regard to the times and the seasons which God has not revealed. Jesus has told His disciples to ‘watch,’ but not for a definite time. His followers are to be in the position of those who are listening for the orders of their Captain; they are to watch, wait, pray, and work, as they approach the time for the coming of the Lord; but no one will be able to predict just when that time will come; for ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man.’ [Matthew 24:36.] You will not be able to say that He will come in one, two, or five years, neither are you to put off His coming by stating that it may not be for ten or twenty years.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 189.

1 To whom is Christ to appear with salvation? Hebrews 9:28.

note: “It is only to those who are waiting in hope and faith that Christ will appear, without sin unto salvation. Many have the theory of the truth who know not the power of godliness. If the word of God dwelt in the heart, it would control the life. Faith, purity, and conformity to the will of God would testify to its sanctifying power.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 15.

2 What are those called who look for Christ? 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5. Compare John 12:35, 36.

note: “It is by carrying out in our lives the pure principles of the gospel of Christ that we honor and glorify our Father, who is in heaven. When we are doing this, we are reflecting Heaven-given light upon the dark world around us. Sinners will be constrained to confess that we are not the children of darkness, but the children of light. How shall they know this? By the fruits we bear. Men may have their names upon the church book; but that does not make them children of light. They may hold honorable positions and receive the praise of men; but that does not make them children of light. . . . There must be a deep work of grace¾the love of God in the heart, and this love is expressed by obedience.” Lift Him Up, 266.

3 What is the light of this people? Psalm 119:105; John 8:12.

note: “Life is associated with light, and if we have no light from the Sun of Righteousness, we can have no life in Him. But this light has been provided for every soul, and it is only as we withdraw from the light that darkness comes upon us. . . . In the world about us there can be no life without light. Were the sun to withdraw his shining, all vegetation, all animal life, would have an end. This illustrates the fact that we cannot have spiritual life unless we place ourselves under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness.” Sons and Daughters of God, 281.

“The life of God, which gives life to the world, is in His word. It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out demons. By His word He stilled the sea and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God as He had spoken it to all the Old Testament writers. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ. It is our only source of power.” Gospel Workers (1915), 250.

4 What particular portions of the Scripture give light on the coming of the Lord? 11 Peter 1:19. What is prophecy? How was prophecy written? Verse 21.

note: “We must cherish and cultivate the faith of which prophets and apostles have testified¾the faith that lays hold on the promises of God and waits for deliverance in His appointed time and way. The sure word of prophecy will meet its final fulfillment in the glorious Advent of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as King of kings and Lord of lords.” My Life Today, 55.

“God committed the preparation of His divinely inspired Word to finite man. This Word arranged into books, the Old and New Testaments, is the guidebook to the inhabitants of a fallen world; bequeathed to them, that by studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way to heaven.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 944.

“The writers of the Bible had to express their ideas in human language. It was written by human men. These men were inspired of the Holy Spirit.” Ibid., 945.

5 What is said of the interpretation of prophecy? 11 Peter 1:20.

note: “Spiritual darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people. There are in many churches skepticism and infidelity in the interpretation of the Scriptures. Many, very many, are questioning the verity and truth of the Scriptures. Human reasoning and the imaginings of the human heart are undermining the inspiration of the Word of God, and that which should be received as granted, is surrounded with a cloud of mysticism. Nothing stands out in clear and distinct lines, upon rock bottom. This is one of the marked signs of the last days. . . .

“There are men who strive to be original . . . . In seeking to make plain or to unravel mysteries hid from ages from mortal man, they are like a man floundering about in the mud, unable to extricate himself and yet telling others how to get out of the muddy sea they themselves are in. This is a fit representation of the men who set themselves to correct the errors of the Bible. No man can improve the Bible by suggesting what the Lord meant to say or ought to have said.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 15, 16.

6 If the prophet did not speak according to his own mind, who is responsible for what he says? 1 Peter 1:10, 11. Then who instructed all the prophets what to write?

note: “All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ. It was the Son of God that gave to our first parents the promise of redemption. It was He who revealed Himself to the patriarchs. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses understood the gospel. They looked for salvation through man’s Substitute and Surety. These holy men of old held communion with the Saviour who was to come to our world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ and heavenly angels face to face.

“Christ was not only the leader of the Hebrews in the wilderness¾the Angel in whom was the name of Jehovah, and who, veiled in the cloudy pillar, went before the host¾but it was He who gave the law to Israel. Amid the awful glory of Sinai, Christ declared in the hearing of all the people the ten precepts of His Father’s law. It was He who gave to Moses the law engraved upon the tables of stone.

“It was Christ that spoke to His people through the prophets. . . . It is the voice of Christ that speaks to us through the Old Testament. ‘The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ Revelation 19:10.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 366, 367.

7 Does Jesus make known the definite time of His second advent? Matthew 24:36.

note: “Many who have called themselves Adventists have been time setters. Time after time has been set for Christ to come, but repeated failures have been the result. The definite time of our Lord’s coming is declared to be beyond the ken of mortals. Even the angels who minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation know not the day nor the hour. [Matthew 24:36 quoted.] Because the times repeatedly set have passed, the world is in a more decided state of unbelief than before in regard to the near advent of Christ. They look upon the failures of the time setters with disgust; and because men have been so deceived, they turn from the truth substantiated by the word of God that the end of all things is at hand.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 307. [Author’s emphasis.]

8 How near does Jesus come to giving us a definite time for His return? Matthew 24:34. What expression does the Saviour use which shows that the term “generation” means but a short period in this connection? Matthew 24:33.

note: “God’s people who profess to believe present truth, are not in a waiting, watching position. They are increasing in riches, and laying up their treasures upon the earth. They are becoming rich in worldly things, but not rich toward God. They do not believe in the shortness of time. They do not believe that the end of all things is at hand. They do not believe that Christ is at the door. They will act out all the faith that they really possess. They may profess much faith but deceive their own souls. Their works show the character of their faith. Many testify to those around them, by their works that the coming of Christ is not to be in this generation. According to their faith will be their works. Their preparations are being made to remain in this world. They are adding house to house, and land to land, and are citizens of this world.” Pamphlet 098, 20, 21.

9 What does Jesus expect His people to be doing when He is at the door? Matthew 24:42.

note: “Because we know not the exact time of His coming, we are commanded to watch. [Luke 12:37 quoted.] Those who watch for the Lord’s coming are not waiting in idle expectancy. . . . Those who are watching for the Lord are purifying their souls by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they combine earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to co-operate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls. . . . As Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses each declared the truth for his time, so will Christ’s servants now give the special warning for their generation.” The Desire of Ages, 634.

10 What will the unbelievers be doing in this generation? What do they say? What is said of their ignorance? 11 Peter 3:3-5. How could they have known differently?

note: “Many who professed to love the Saviour . . . did not wish to hear of Christ’s coming to judge the world in righteousness. They had been unfaithful servants, their works would not bear the inspection of the heart-searching God, and they feared to meet their Lord. Like the Jews at the time of Christ’s first advent they were not prepared to welcome Jesus. They not only refused to listen to the plain arguments from the Bible, but ridiculed those who were looking for the Lord.” The Great Controversy, 370.

“As the time of Christ’s second appearing draws near, the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in transgression of God’s law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon. But many feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin. Because their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of God’s moral government, they reject His warnings and deny the authority of His law.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 102.

11 What should those who know of this time be doing? Romans 13:11-14.

note: “In a time like this, shall those who know the truth be inactive, and allow the powers of darkness to prevail? Shall not those who believe the truth for this time be wide awake, and work with an energy consistent with the profession of faith they make? Shall not those who understand the truth of God make every sacrifice to win souls to Christ, to yield allegiance to the law of God? The day is far spent, the night is at hand, and it is essential to work while it is day; for the night cometh, in which no man can work. In a time like this, we should have but this object in view,¾the employing of every means that God has provided by which the truth may be planted in the hearts of men. It is for this very purpose that the word of God was sent to the world, that it might control the life, and transform the character. It is the duty of every Christian to strive to the utmost of his ability to spread abroad the knowledge of the truth. Christ has commissioned His disciples to go forth into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 201.