Just before Jesus was to tread those torturous steps leading to the cross at Calvary, His disciples asked Him, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world?” The Saviour answered, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilence’s, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Matthew 24:3, 6, 7.
Dear friends, how many of these prophecies are we seeing fulfilled? Even as I am writing this article, as a result of the trouble that is arising between nations, our government has a troop presence in many places in the world. We have moved to counter the massing of Iraqi troops on the border of Kuwait. We are deeply involved in Haiti’s internal problems and politics. Where will trouble arise next?
“The great conflagrations and the disasters by sea and land that have visited our country were the special providence’s of God, a warning of what is about to come upon the world. God would show man that He could kindle upon his idols a fire that water cannot quench. The great general conflagration is but just ahead, when all this wasted labor of life will be swept away in a night and day. The treasure laid up in heaven will be sage. No thief can approach nor moth corrupt it.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 49.
This century has witnessed many events unparalleled in recorded history. For example, when have there ever been universal wars like those that have taken place this century? Recently I stood at a monument to the inherent evil of human nature. In Poland, on a dank and dreary Monday,
Bob Vun Kannon and I were taken by our guide on a tour of the Auschwitz concentration camp where, according to German records, over one million innocent human beings perished for no other crime than that they were “politically incorrect.”
Friends, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 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. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” II Peter 3:9–12. [Emphasis supplied.]
The Lord is offering the last message of mercy to a rebellious and sinful world. He longs to pour out His grace and pardon upon all who will accept His invitation. Are you preparing in your life for “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time”? Daniel 12:1. Are you learning the beautiful, simple gospel of the gentle Jesus, and is the intensely practical teaching being applied in every aspect of your life? You cannot depend upon your pastor or anyone else to do this for you.
“All who are on the Lord’s side are to confess Christ. ‘Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.’ The faith of the genuine believer will be made manifest in purity and holiness of character. Faith works by love and purifies the soul, and with faith there will be corresponding obedience, a faithful doing of the words of Christ. Christianity is always intensely practical, adapting itself to all the circumstances of actual life.” The Youth’s Instructor, March 9, 1893.
Opposition to God’s Law began very early in this earth’s history. We have the account of His reckoning with that rebellion. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented [sorrowed] the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:5–8. Are we not seeing the same kind of heaven-daring rebellion in the world today?
Why did just one man find grace in the eyes of the Lord? “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Verse 9. Friends, Noah was not just professing faith in God; he was obedient, demonstrating his faith in his life! If we are living our faith, will we not also be keeping all of God’s commandments? “’Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.’ When the heart has a deep longing for God, when the mind contemplates the goodness and the loving kindness of God, when the soul hopes and trusts in the Lord, the Holy Spirit will be as a comforter to the soul. Jesus says, ‘If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ ‘Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.’ Shall we be obedient to these inspired words that come sounding down the line to our time? The purpose to which we are called is an exalted one. Peter says, ‘But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ How can you show forth His praises? —By the words that you utter. You can speak in such a way as to bless others, —to be a savor of life unto life in working the works of righteousness. ‘Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may be your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.’” The Youth’s Instructor, July 18, 1895.
The signs of the times are fast fulfilling. We do not know the day or the hour of Christ’s Second Coming—but we do know from the parable of the fig tree that “when her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near; so ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the door.” Mark 13:28, 29.
With this in mind, are you taking seriously your position as a part of the Lord’s remnant army? Are you prepared to stand for truth? Are you looking for souls as one who must give an account? Of the many souls that you come in contact with every day, have you considered that for some of them, today might be their last opportunity to accept the Saviour’s invitation of mercy?
Urgently pray for the wisdom that comes only from on high. Study your Bibles and the Spirit of Prophecy that you may be equipped with the truth as it is found in Jesus, prepared not only to save your own soul but also those whom the Lord brings within the sphere of your influence during this closing hour of probation’s time.