June 4-10, 2000
MEMORY VERSE: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10.
STUDY HELP: Last Day Events, 11–17.
INTRODUCTION: “We are living in the last days. The closing scenes of this world’s history, which our Saviour foretold would take place just prior to His coming, are now being enacted before us. Concerning this time He said, ‘As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ The inhabitants of the antediluvian world were utterly unconcerned, and at the appointed time the flood came and took them all away. Had they believed the warning given by Noah, they would not have risked everything by going on in wickedness. Notwithstanding their unbelief, destruction came. Unbelief will not change the certainty of Christ’s Second Coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 178.
“My Lord Delayeth His Coming”
1 About what common attitude in the last days did the apostle Peter prophesy? 2 Peter 3:3–5.
NOTE: “God designs that His people shall fix their eyes heavenward, looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. While the attention of worldlings is turned to various enterprises, ours should be to the heavens; our faith should reach further and further into the glorious mysteries of the heavenly treasure, drawing the precious, divine rays of light from the heavenly sanctuary to shine in our hearts, as they shine upon the face of Jesus. The scoffers mock the waiting, watching ones, and inquire: ‘Where is the promise of His coming? You have been disappointed. Engage now with us, and you will prosper in worldly things. Get gain, get money, and be honored of the world.’ The waiting ones look upward and answer: ‘We are watching.’ And by turning from earthly pleasure and worldly fame, and from the deceitfulness of riches, they show themselves to be in that position. By watching they become strong; they overcome sloth and selfishness and love of ease. Affliction’s fire kindles upon them, and the waiting time seems long. They sometimes grieve, and faith falters; but they rally again, overcome their fears and doubts, and while their eyes are directed heavenward, say to their adversaries: ‘I am watching, I am waiting the return of my Lord. I will glory in tribulation, in affliction, in necessities.’ The desire of our Lord is that we should be watching, so that when He cometh and knocketh we may open to Him immediately.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 194, 195.
2 What is the real reason for this scoffing? 2 Peter 3:3, last part. Compare 2 Timothy 4:3.
NOTE: “The apostle does not here refer to the openly irreligious, but to professed Christians who have indulged inclination until they are enslaved by their own ungoverned passions,—‘led away with divers lusts.’ Such desire to hear doctrines that will not interfere with their sinful course, or condemn their pleasure-loving propensities. Hence they are offended by the plain words of the faithful servants of Christ, and choose those teachers who will praise and flatter them instead of rebuking their sins. These teachers ‘they heap to themselves’ as special favorites. Even among the professed ministers of Christ, there are many who do not preach the word, but the opinions of men. They have turned away their ears from truth. The Lord has spoken to them in His word; but they do not care to hear His voice, because it condemns their practices.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 323.
3 How did Christ contrast two attitudes among His professed followers concerning His Coming? Matthew 24:45, 48.
NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 635.
“The Words Which Were Spoken Before of the Apostles”
4 What is the testimony of the apostles concerning the Second Coming? Titus 2:13; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 3:10; 1 John 3:2, 3.
NOTE: Every New Testament writer, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude, speaks about the return of Jesus. “The apostles went forth with courage and hope, to do their Master’s work with fidelity. They knew that the most acceptable way of waiting for Christ was to work for Him. It was theirs to direct others to the coming Lord, and to teach them to wait patiently for His appearing. This work was given to every disciple of Christ.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 263.
5 Who was the earliest prophet to speak of the coming of the Lord in glory? Jude 14, 15.
NOTE: See Great Controversy, 299.
“A More Sure Word of Prophecy”
6 What time prophecy brings us down to the “time of the end”? Daniel 8:14. Compare Daniel 8:17.
NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 547.
7 When were the prophecies of Daniel to be understood? Daniel 12:4, 9.
NOTE: See Great Controversy, 355.
8 What prophecy describes the opening of the book of Daniel? Revelation 10:1–11.
NOTE: “John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel’s prophecies have their proper place in the First, Second, and Third Angels’ Messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time. The books of Daniel and the Revelation are one. One is a prophecy, the other a revelation; one a book sealed, the other a book opened. John heard the mysteries which the thunders uttered, but he was commanded not to write them. The special light given to John which was expressed in the seven thunders was a delineation of events which would transpire under the First and Second Angels’ Messages. It was not best for the people to know these things, for their faith must necessarily be tested. In the order of God, most wonderful and advanced truths would be proclaimed. The First and Second Angels’ Messages had done their specific work. This is represented by the angel standing with one foot on the sea, proclaiming with a most solemn oath that time should be no longer. This time which the angel declares with a solemn oath, is not the end of this world’s history, neither of probationary time, but of prophetic time, which should precede the advent of our Lord. That is, the people will not have another message upon definite time. After this period of time, reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844. The angel’s position with one foot on the sea, the other on the land signifies the wide extent of the proclamation of the message. It will cross the broad waters and be proclaimed in other countries, even to all the world. The comprehension of truth, the glad reception of the message is represented in the eating of the little book. The truth in regard to the time of the advent of our Lord was a precious message to our souls.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 99, 100.
“With Power and Great Glory”
9 Will the coming of Christ be secret or visible? Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:27, 30; Acts 1:9–11.
NOTE: “Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror. Not now a ‘man of sorrows,’ to drink the bitter cup of shame and woe, He comes, victor in heaven and earth, to judge the living and the dead. ‘Faithful and True,’ ‘in righteousness He doth judge and make war.’ And ‘the armies which were in heaven followed Him.’ Revelation 19:11, 14. With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms—‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.’ No human pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor. ‘His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as the light.’ Habakkuk 3:3, 4. As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head, but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun.” The Faith I Live By, 349.
10 What sounds will accompany the return of our Lord? 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Psalm 50:3, 4.
NOTE: See Great Controversy, 644.
“The Harvest of the Earth is Ripe”
11 How are those described who are ready for Jesus’ coming? Ephesians 5:27. Compare Ephesians 1:4; 1 John 3:2.
NOTE: “Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling.” Great Controversy, 425.
12 What will happen to God’s people when Jesus comes? 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
NOTE: We are told in this verse that “the dead in Christ” and “we which are alive and remain” will meet the Lord together. The Bible does not teach that the dead in Christ meet Him at some earlier time.
“There appears in the East a small black cloud.…The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth,…until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror.…As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head; but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun. ‘And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ …The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place. …Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints.…Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live.…All arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth.…The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal, and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Oh, what a glorious meeting!” My Life Today, 345.
13 What are we told of the fate of those who are not ready to meet the Lord? 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; Compare 2 Peter 3:10.
NOTE: See Great Controversy, 657.
14 What counsel are we, who look for Christ’s coming, given? 2 Peter 3:14, 1 John 3:3.
NOTE: “I cannot express to you the intense desire of my soul that you should all seek the Lord most earnestly while He may be found. We are in the day of God’s preparation. Let nothing be regarded as of sufficient worth to draw your minds from the work of preparing for the great day of judgment. Get ready. Let not cold unbelief hold your souls away from God, but let His love burn on the altar of your hearts.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 590.
“’I was pointed to the earth and saw that there would have to be a getting ready among those who have of late embraced the Third Angel’s Message. Said the angel, ‘Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye will have to die a greater death to the world than ye have ever yet died.’ I saw that there was a great work to do for them and but little time in which to do it.” Early Writings, 64.