The Face of Jesus

The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6–12 are God’s last message of warning of mercy to the world. Then John wrote, “I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle” (verses 13, 14).

What is it going to be to see the face of Jesus? Where there is no other message to be given to this world, the message of God’s last mercy is now being sounded and as a result Jesus is going to come. Every predicted ingredient in prophecy that Jesus was to come, and what would take place just before His coming is now occurring before our eyes. Political corruption, financial disaster, fantastic weapons of destruction, a great ecumenical movement producing a false revival in which men claim to be following God but openly defy Him. They are placing tradition above the law of God. They are proclaiming a revival without any repentance, without any transformation of life, without any obedience. They are claiming that all that is necessary is to believe, that all you must have is a faith, which is a presumption that there is no longer any moral standard. These are the things that God told us would happen.

So, in a day just like our day, the day in which we are alive today, when people are buying and selling and building and getting married, a day of uncontrolled crime when men’s thoughts are continually evil, something is going to happen. Suddenly there is going to be a darkness that is going to come to this world. Perhaps it could be best explained like the darkness of old Egypt where no one has ever seen anything quite like it. And in the darkness of night, as it settles, they will also see something they have never seen before, for you have never seen a rainbow without light. But there in the darkness surrounding this world will be a rainbow – not from hill to hill, from valley to valley, but a rainbow that will span the entire world and on every little hill here and there and in the valley, by the sea and over the dale, wherever there is a group of those who have decided to accept the three angels’ messages, there will be a little round circle of a rainbow over their group.

Then we are going to hear something that we have never heard since the day that Christ was on this world, for God is going to speak. We will all hear and understand when that great voice echoes through the universe, “Look up!” and we shall be able to look into heaven itself, for God will part the darkness where we are and there we will see up into the very city of God and there we will behold a great throne and we will see God sitting upon that throne. We will see Jesus coming in His chariot. Man has no conception of the greatness of that throne, miles in width. As Jesus comes we will watch in anticipation as He stands before God the Father and we will hear a conversation that will go like this: “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am” (John 17:24). When we hear those words the saints are going to give a shout that will encircle the world. It will be a shout the likes of which was heard around the Red Sea when Moses lifted his hand and they saw the armies of Pharaoh destroyed. Then there will be signs and wonders. Suddenly the sun will shine even though it is midnight, for the world has been turned upside down. Every law of nature will seem to be turned out of course – the streams will no longer flow, no water will come cataracting down the mountains, the heavens will be filled with angry clouds, but there will be one clear space of indescribable glory, and it is to this that we will keep our eyes glued. Then we will hear God’s voice the second time in which He will answer the request of Jesus when He says, “It is done.”

There will be a mighty earthquake. Those in California know what earthquakes are, but no one has ever seen anything like this one. There will be voices and thunders and lightning and a great earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. The mountains we love to go to will shake like leaves in the wind. Great jagged rocks weighing tons will be thrown out into the valleys below. The ocean will boil like a pot. Great tidal waves will engulf the cities that are as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah. Even the mountains will sink beneath the surface of the earth. As great hailstones of ice, 57 pounds in weight, come tumbling out of the sky, buildings will crumble. Nothing will stand. The tempests will roar like a hurricane; prisons will open; the saints who have been incarcerated will be set free.

Amid all this that startles and bewilders and wonders, God has another surprise. There will be the special resurrection. Everyone who has died accepting the three angels’ messages since the year 1844 will be brought up out of the graves to see the face of Jesus. I’m looking forward to that moment.

There will also be those there who condemned Jesus. God will bring them forth – Pilate, Herod, the priests, the soldier who thrust the spear, the ones who nailed Him to the cross – to see the face again of Jesus. There will be those raised up out of their graves who have been the most violent oppressors of God’s truth, like Nero, some of the popes of Rome, all brought forth to see the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as sheets of flame envelope the earth, as the lightning goes from one end of the heaven to the other and amid it all God will speak the third time. This time He will declare the doom of the wicked. It will be so frightening, it will be so tremendous, it will be so terrible that there are no words to describe it. Even the demons will be terrified. That is the time spoken of in Isaiah when it tells us that men will go into the streets. “In that day a man will cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He shall arise to shake terribly the earth” (Isaiah 2:20, 21, literal translation). But God will not forget His people.

As He sent the star of Bethlehem to announce that the great event was about to take place, so He will again send a star to give us courage, a star that will be four times brighter than any light you have ever seen in the heavens. When we see it we will know that it is the hope of our lives, that it is Christ coming, that we shall see His face and we shall sing and we shall rejoice and we shall repeat some of the memory gems like the one found in Psalm 46:1–3: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”

When God hears His people quoting these promises He will command an angel and say, “Open up the gates.” When the gates are thrown open the glory of the celestial throne of God is going to sweep down onto every little group wherever they are around this world and our faces will light up like the face of Moses.

Then we will behold the greatest theatrical feat that man has ever beheld. As the clouds roll back on a canopy of blue, they will see two hands appear in the sky. In these hands two tables of stone slowly open and there every individual in this world still alive will behold the Ten Commandments. With a finger of fire from the hand of God He will trace every one of the Ten Commandments. Can you see it? Can you see that finger? “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Too late for those who have made gods of their business. We’ll understand that God meant exactly what He said. Too late in this world for those who have made gods of sex. We will understand that God is unchanging.

Those that have made money and all the things of this world their god will see that finger trace, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” (verse 4). Oh I’ve seen them bow down to wood, to stone, to iron, to mud to worship, but they will know that God means exactly what He says. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (verse 7). Too late will the world see that God has meant exactly that we are to give reverence when we breathe the name of God.

Then the world will be startled, for it will read, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God …” (verses 8–10).

Seeing this, the people of this world are going to run to their preachers we are told, and ask, “Why did you tell us that the first day is the sabbath? Look!” And they will be set upon by the members of their church.

“Honour thy father and thy mother” (verse 12). Too late will the youth of this last generation realize that God means exactly what He says, that in the Lord we are to give reverence to our parents. We are to honor them. We are to care for them in their old age. We are to love them.

“Thou shalt not kill” (verse 13). There it is, blazing out in letters of fire. The murderer and the men of evil intention will see. Then there will be a great shocker. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (verse 14). Millions will realize then that the pill does not make it right. Millions will understand then that there is no cause for divorce other than adultery.

They will see, “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” “Thou shalt not covet” (verses 15–17), blazing in the sky for all to behold. Then God will speak for the fourth time and He will declare the day and the hour of the coming of Jesus. Our hearts will fill with hope, with joy. Our faces will shine like the face of Moses when he was on the mount and we’ll be watching in anticipation as the hour comes and, finally, the moment.

Suddenly someone will shout out, “I see it! I see it!” and we’ll all see that tiny cloud about the size of a hand, quickly coming towards us, growing in magnitude. First it is so bright that it looks dark and black, but as our eyes become accustomed we see the glory and the beauty and the wonder of it all. And we will begin to see that it is composed of myriads of angels, all the angels of heaven. And there riding on that cloud is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, with a rainbow above and the music – oh, the glorious music, not the trash we hear today – the music of heaven, not the kind that stomps your feet, but the kind that moves your heart.

As we look, we will see the face of Jesus. As we see how holy He is and we see how pure He is and how kind and how loving, how divine, we will automatically cry out, “Who shall be able to stand before Him?” And then the music will stop. The earth will stop its shaking. It will be so quiet. Every eye of the universe will be riveted on the Lord Jesus Christ as He stands and looks upon those who have stood and made their decision for God, deciding not to accept the mark and He will say, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV).

All the angels will lift a note higher and we will join and we will rejoice and we will sing with them as “the heavens roll together like a scroll, … as the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and say to the mountains and the rocks, fall on us; hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand” (Revelation 6:14–17, literal translation)?

As the wicked are scurrying into their holes, attempting to hide, Jesus is going to speak to the wicked. This will be the sixth time the voice of God is heard. He will say something like this, found in Proverbs 1:24 and 25: “I called, and ye refused; I stretched out My hand, but you would not regard; ye have set at nought all of my counsel, and would have none of My reproof” (literal translation). Can you picture Pilate? Oh, what he wouldn’t give at that moment, if only when he asked, “What is truth?” (John 18:38), he had waited for Jesus to answer. There will be the haughty Herod. He will remember how he smote the Lord, how he jeered. Oh, what he wouldn’t give in that moment; if only he had done what his heart had told him to do.

There will be the men who placed the robe upon His body; there will be those mocking soldiers, the one who drove the nails, the soldier who pierced His side. Once again they will look into the face of Jesus and the priests, the rulers who cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him” (Luke 23:21)! They will all try to run and to hide as they will be consumed by the brightness of His coming until there is none alive except the righteous.

Amid the reeling of the earth, the lightning and the thunder and the sobs of the dying wicked, then Christ will speak for the seventh and last time. His voice will ring out as He looks upon the graves of the sleeping saints throughout the ages and His voice calls, “Awake! Awake! Ye that sleep in the dust of the earth, arise” (Ephesians 5:14, literal translation)! And the whole earth will ring with the tread of an exceeding army from every nation and kindred and tongue and people.

The living righteous will give a mighty shout as they see the saints come forth. And those who are resurrected will give a mighty shout and together we will praise the God of heaven, the God of life. Oh, wonderful redemption, for “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52), we will be given immortal, glorious bodies like unto His, never to have an ache again, never to have a pain, never to know a sorrow. Together those that have just been risen and those of us which are alive will find ourselves leaving this earth. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Don’t you like that? Oh, brother, sister, I long for that. Never to be parted, always to behold His face.

For seven days we are going to take that glorious trip past the moon. Let man have his rockets. Past the stars, past the galaxies by the millions and the billions. We are going to get a preview of what we shall be able to see throughout eternity. Somewhere along the way we are going to keep the Sabbath. That’s going to be the greatest Sabbath. Here we talk about it, but then “we shall know” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Then we shall realize redemption; then we shall feel redemption; then in our immortal bodies we shall know what salvation really is and we will know that the Sabbath is a sign of the power of God that He has recreated us. Oh, what a glorious Sabbath it will be.

Then we will find ourselves moving to that sea of glass outside the city. There, in the company of Jesus Christ, whose countenance is as bright as the noonday sun, with seven crowns upon His head, He is going to call us each by name. He is going to give us each a crown. On that crown is going to be a new name.

Then He will give each of us a harp. And though you may never have sung in this world, perhaps not even able to carry a note or play an instrument, the angel who took the place of Lucifer, will lift his baton and we will all play the harp and sing. We will all praise Him as we behold His face. I think one of the songs we will sing with the celestial music will be –

“Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;

Redeemed through His infinite mercy,

His child and forever I am.”

Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It! Fanny Crosby, 1882.

Glorious redemption! 

Then Jesus is going to say, “Follow Me.” With His own right hand He is going to open up that pearly gate. For the first time we are going to look down the street of gold straight to the center of that great city, and, oh, what a city – three hundred and fifty miles square. Nothing in the world can compare. We are going to look right straight down to that great throne. When we come up there Jesus is going to introduce us to the Father. Oh, what a moment. Perhaps He will look around and choose you and say, “Come with Me,” and you won’t be afraid. Together you will ascend the steps to the throne. Can you see yourself climbing higher and higher, miles into the air? You will finally reach the top and Jesus introduces you to the Father. What a moment!

The plan of redemption is beyond comprehension, that God can take a sinner and someday allow him to sit on the throne. Oh, lift your eyes, my dear beloved, to what is coming. Don’t get discouraged in this world! Keep your eye on the message! Keep your eye on Jesus Christ!

What a throne it is. The Bible says that the river of life flows forth from it. That is no little stream. In Ezekiel the 47th chapter you will find that the prophet began to measure it and as you measure it you will find it is over two miles wide. And then I read of the tree of life which has a trunk on this side and over there over two miles is the other side. That tree must be, for God does everything symmetrical, perhaps seven miles in height? After all, it grows 12 manner of fruits (Revelation 22:2) for the redeemed to have one every month. The redeemed are as the stars of the heavens. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Oh, what a wonderful, thrilling experience. Don’t miss it friend!

Then the greatest of all is going to take place. The two Adams are going to meet. Adam, our first grandfather. Can you see him there? Inspiration tells us he was more than twice as tall as any man alive today – 15, 16 feet in height. I don’t suppose you could put your arms around those biceps. A giant. Then we behold the lovely Jesus head and shoulders above him. As they meet each other, Jesus takes him by the hand and shows him the flowers from the Garden of Eden. Jesus takes him to the tree of life. He plucks it. He gives it to him.

When Adam looks around and sees all of his children, sees heaven, when he comprehends now what fully has come and he looks into the face of Jesus whom he crucified with his sin, he’s going to take that crown off his head, put it down at the feet of Jesus, and fall down and worship His Redeemer. Jesus will reach down and put the crown back on Adam’s head. With His mighty arm, He lifts that mighty giant to his feet, then puts his arms around him and hugs him. That is love.

I want to tell you my friend, I don’t want to miss that for anything in the world. I want to be there. By God’s grace, through His marvelous provision He has made it possible that all may be saved. Take courage friend. Keep your eye focused on that which will happen soon. It is not a long way off. Keep your eye on Jesus Christ. In the book of Jude, we are told in those wonderful verses, 24, 25: “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.”

For more than fifty years, Lawrence Nelson served the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a church pastor, evangelist, and then in Conference, Union, and General Conference leadership. When God laid upon him the responsibility to “tell it like it is” to alert the people how the church was leading them into the worldwide ecumenical movement, he was forbidden to preach in any church within the Oregon Conference. Elder Nelson passed to his rest on April 18, 2012.