Bible Study Guides – Signs in the Heavens

July 14- July 20, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28.

STUDY HELPS: The Great Controversy, 299–316.

INTRODUCTION: The wonderful things to take place in our world—the greatest events of all ages—are incomprehensible to worldly minds; they cannot be explained by human sciences. The powers of heaven shall be shaken. Christ is coming in power and great glory, but His coming is not such a mystery as the things to take place before that event. Man must be a partaker of the divine nature in order to stand in this evil time, when the mysteries of satanic agencies are at work. Only by the divine power united with the human can souls endure through these times of trial. Says Christ, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ Then there must be far less of self and more of Jesus.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 332.

1 How did God answer Joshua’s request? Joshua 10:12–14.

NOTE: “The lengthening of the day not only provided additional time for the total destruction of the enemies of Israel but was a signal demonstration of the power of Israel’s God. It showed that the very gods whom the heathen worshiped were powerless before the true God. They worshiped the Canaanite god Baal and the goddess Ashtoreth. Both the sun and the moon whom they worshiped were shown to be subservient to Joshua’s command, under the direction of Israel’s God, Jehovah.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 226. (On Joshua 10:12.)

2 How did God use the sun to answer Hezekiah? 2 Kings 20:8–11.

NOTE: “Only by the direct interposition of God could the shadow on the sundial be made to turn back ten degrees; and this was to be the sign to Hezekiah that the Lord had heard his prayer.” Prophets and Kings, 342.

3 What happened to the sun at the crucifixion of Christ? Matthew 27:45.

NOTE: “When His mission began, the heavens were opened, and the glory of God encircled the Son of God; but when it ended, He hung upon Calvary’s cross, and even the sun which He had created, refused to shine upon the scene of His agony. Darkness, denser than that of midnight, enshrouded the Son of God.” Youth’s Instructor, June 23, 1892.

4 How did the disciples approach Jesus about the signs of the end of the world? Matthew 24:3.

NOTE: “Jesus did not answer His disciples by taking up separately the destruction of Jerusalem and the great day of His coming. He mingled the description of these two events. Had He opened to His disciples future events as He beheld them, they would have been unable to endure the sight. In mercy to them He blended the description of the two great crises, leaving the disciples to study out the meaning for themselves. When He referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, His prophetic words reached beyond that event to the final conflagration in that day when the Lord shall rise out of His place to punish the world for their iniquity, when the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. This entire discourse was given, not for the disciples only, but for those who should live in the last scenes of this earth’s history.” The Desire of Ages, 628.

5 What did Jesus say would happen in the heavens as signs of His coming? Luke 21:25, 26.

NOTE: “The future was mercifully veiled from the disciples. Had they at that time fully comprehend the two awful facts—the Redeemer’s sufferings and death, and the destruction of their city and temple—they would have been overwhelmed with horror. Christ presented before them an outline of the prominent events to take place before the close of time. His words were not then fully understood; but their meaning was to be unfolded as His people should need the instruction therein given. The prophecy which He uttered was twofold in its meaning; while foreshadowing the destruction of Jerusalem, it prefigured also the terrors of the last great day.” The Great Controversy, 25.

6 What did Jesus say would happen to the sun? Matthew 24:29, first part.

NOTE: “The Saviour gives signs of His coming, and more than this, He fixes the time when the first of these signs shall appear: [Matthew24:29–31 quoted].

“At the close of the great papal persecution, Christ declared, the sun should be darkened . . . .” The Desire of Ages, 631, 632.

“‘Almost, if not altogether alone, as the most mysterious and as yet unexplained phenomenon of its kind, . . . stands the dark day of May 19, 1780,—a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England.’—R. M. Devens, Our First Century, page 89.” The Great Controversy, 306.

7 What did Jesus prophesy about the moon as a sign of his second coming? Mark 13:24.

NOTE: “The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfilment: ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.’

“Christ had bidden His people watch for the signs of His advent, and rejoice as they should behold the tokens of their coming King.” Maranatha, 150.

8 What additional celestial phenomenon did Jesus say would occur? Luke 21:25, first part; Matthew 24:29.

NOTE: “This prophecy [of Matthew 24:29] received a striking and impressive fulfillment in the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. That was the most extensive and wonderful display of falling stars which has ever been recorded; ‘the whole firmament, over all the United States, being then, for hours, in fiery commotion! No celestial phenomenon has ever occurred in this country, since its first settlement, which was viewed with such intense admiration by one class in the community, or with so much dread and alarm by another.’ . . . R. M. Devens, American Progress; or, The Great Events of the Greatest Century, ch. 28, pars. 1-5.” The Great Controversy, 333.

9 What was the first warning Christ gave when asked about the signs of the end? Matthew 24:4, 5; Luke 21:8.

NOTE: “Satan is a cunning foe. And it is not difficult for the evil angels to represent both saints and sinners who have died, and make these representations visible to human eyes. These manifestations will be more frequent, and developments of a more startling character will appear as we near the close of time. We need not be astonished at anything in the line of deceptions to allure the unwary and deceive, if possible, the very elect. Spiritualists quote, ‘Prove all things.’ But God has, for the benefit of His people who live amid the perils of the last days, proved this class, and given the result of His proving.” Review and Herald, April 1, 1875.

“Rebellion and apostasy are in the very air we breathe. We shall be affected by it unless we by faith hang our helpless souls upon Christ. If men are so easily misled, how will they stand when Satan shall personate Christ, and work miracles? Who will be unmoved by his misrepresentations, professing to be Christ when it is only Satan assuming the person of Christ, and apparently working the works of Christ? What will hold God’s people from giving their allegiance to false christs? ‘Go ye not . . . after them’ (Luke 21:8).

“The doctrines must be plainly understood. The men accepted to teach the truth must be anchored; then their vessel will hold against storm and tempest, because the anchor holds them firmly. The deceptions will increase.— Letter 1, 1897.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 58.

10 What is one of the signs that the false prophets will perform? Matthew 24:24; Revelation 13:13.

NOTE: “I saw that soon it would be considered blasphemy to speak against the rapping, and that it would spread more and more, that Satan’s power would increase, and some of his devoted followers would have power to work miracles, and even to bring down fire from heaven in the sight of men. I was shown that by the rapping and mesmerism, these modern magicians would yet account for all the miracles wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, and that many would believe that all the mighty works of the Son of God when on earth were accomplished by this same power.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 168, 169.

11 What aspects of Christ’s second coming will Satan be unable to counterfeit? Matthew 24:27; Revelation 1:7.

NOTE: “Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the manner of Christ’s advent. The Saviour has warned His people against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the manner of His second coming. [Matthew 24:24, 26, 27 quoted.] . . . This coming there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world.” The Great Controversy, 625.

12 How are Christians to prepare as the signs are being fulfilled? 2 Timothy 2:15.

NOTE: “There is great need for studying the Word of God. From one end of the world to the other the message of Christ’s righteousness is to be sounded by human lips, to prepare the way of the Lord. The youth, the aged, and the middle-aged are to act a personal part in preparing their own souls for the great event that is soon to take place, even the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, and in so doing they will reflect light upon many other souls.” Review and Herald, July 22, 1909.

13 What words of caution did Christ give to those living just before His second coming? Luke 21:34.

NOTE: “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.” The Great Controversy, 625, 626.

14 What did Jesus say our responsibility is if we are to be ready when He comes? Matthew 24:42. Compare Mark 13:35, 36.

NOTE: “Because we do not know the exact hour of Christ’s coming, we are commanded to watch. ‘Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching.’ Those who watch for the Lord’s return do not wait in idle expectancy. They purify their hearts by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they unite earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to cooperate with divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls. These are the faithful and wise servants, who give to the Lord’s household their portion of meat in due season. They are declaring the truth that is now specially applicable. As Enoch, Abraham, and Moses each declared the truth for his time, so will Christ’s servants now give the special warning for their generation.” Review and Herald, November 13, 1913.

By Ruth Grosboll