July 21- July 27, 2002
MEMORY VERSE: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” 11 Peter 3:11.
STUDY HELPS: The Great Controversy, 670–673; The Desire of Ages, 628–633.
INTRODUCTION: “The prophecies which the great I AM has given in His Word, uniting link after link in the chain of events, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tell us where we are today in the procession of the ages, and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order.” Evangelism, 193, 194.
1 What warning of the time of the end did God give in the sixth seal? Revelation 6:12, first part.
NOTE: “These signs were witnessed before the opening of the nineteenth century. In fulfillment of this prophecy there occurred, in the year 1755, the most terrible earthquake that has ever been recorded. Though commonly known as the earthquake of Lisbon, it extended to the greater part of Europe, Africa, and America. It was felt in Greenland, in the West Indies, in the island of Madeira, in Norway and Sweden, Great Britain and Ireland. It pervaded an extent of not less than four million square miles. In Africa the shock was almost as severe as in Europe. A great part of Algiers was destroyed; and a short distance from Morocco, a village containing eight or ten thousand inhabitants was swallowed up. A vast wave swept over the coast of Spain and Africa engulfing cities and causing great destruction.” The Great Controversy, 304.
2 What reaction is happening to men as they see the signs being fulfilled? Luke 21:25, 26.
NOTE: “The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.
“The Bible, and the Bible only, gives a correct view of these things. Here are revealed the great final scenes in the history of our world, events that already are casting their shadows before, the sound of their approach causing the earth to tremble and men’s hearts to fail them for fear.” Prophets and Kings, 537.
3 What unexpected occurrence will surprise the nations? 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
NOTE: “The advent of Christ will surprise the false teachers. They are saying, ‘Peace and safety.’ Like the priests and teachers before the fall of Jerusalem, they look for the church to enjoy earthly prosperity and glory. The signs of the times they interpret as foreshadowing this. But what saith the Word of Inspiration? ‘Sudden destruction cometh upon them.’
“Men are putting afar off the coming of the Lord. They laugh at warnings. The proud boast is made, ‘All things continue as they were from the beginning.’ ‘Tomorrow shall be as this day and much more abundant.’ 2 Peter 3:4; Isaiah 56:12. We will go deeper into pleasure loving. But Christ says, ‘Behold, I come as a thief.’ Revelation 16:15. At the very time when the world is asking in scorn, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?’ the signs are fulfilling. While they cry, ‘Peace and safety,’ sudden destruction is coming. When the scorner, the rejecter of truth, has become presumptuous; when the routine of work in the various money-making lines is carried on without regard to principle; when the student is eagerly seeking knowledge of everything but his Bible, Christ comes as a thief.” The Faith I Live By, 342.
4 What events precede the outpouring of God’s wrath? Revelation 11:18.
NOTE: “I saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead were separate and distinct, one following the other, also that Michael had not stood up, and that the time of trouble, such as never was, had not yet commenced. The nations are now getting angry, but when our High Priest has finished His work in the sanctuary, He will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out.” Maranatha, 258.
5 How does the Apostle James describe the condition between the poor and the rich? James 5:1–6.
NOTE: “Love of money and love of display have made this world as a den of thieves and robbers. The Scriptures picture the greed and oppression that will prevail just before Christ’s second coming. [James 5:1, 3–6 quoted.]
“Even among those who profess to be walking in the fear of the Lord, there are some who are acting over again the course pursued by the nobles of Israel. Because it is in their power to do so, they exact more than is just, and thus become oppressors. And because avarice and treachery are seen in the lives of those who have named the name of Christ, because the church retains on her books the names of those who have gained their possessions by injustice, the religion of Christ is held in contempt. Extravagance, overreaching, extortion, are corrupting the faith of many and destroying their spirituality. The church is in a great degree responsible for the sins of her members. She gives countenance to evil if she fails to lift her voice against it.” Prophets and Kings, 651.
6 What should be our attitude before Christ’s return? Isaiah 51:6. Compare Psalm 102:25, 26.
NOTE: “We need to look heavenward in faith. We are not to be discouraged because of apparent failure, nor should we be disheartened by delay. We should work cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in her bosom rich treasures for the faithful worker to garner, stores richer than gold or silver. The mountains and hills are changing; the earth is waxing old like a garment; but the blessing of God, which spreads for His people a table in the wilderness, will never cease.” The Ministry of Healing, 200.
“The whole of the fifty-first chapter of Isaiah is worthy of close, earnest study, and we would do well to commit it to memory. It has a special application to those who are living in the last days.” Review and Herald, December 1, 1896.
7 What was Jesus concerned that he may not be able to find when He returns? Luke 18:8, last part.
NOTE: “As the time of their probation was closing, the antediluvians gave themselves up to exciting amusements and festivities. Those who possessed influence and power were bent on keeping the minds of the people engrossed with mirth and pleasure, lest any should be impressed by the last solemn warning. Do we not see the same repeated in our day? While God’s servants are giving the message that the end of all things is at hand, the world is absorbed in amusements and pleasure seeking. There is a constant round of excitement that causes indifference to God and prevents the people from being impressed by the truths which alone can save them from the coming destruction.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 103.
8 What will the people be saying just before the second coming of Christ? 2 Peter 3:3, 4.
NOTE: “Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God’s word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised. So it will be now. Before the Lawgiver shall come to punish the disobedient, transgressors are warned to repent, and return to their allegiance; but with the majority these warnings will be in vain. . . . [2 Peter 3:3, 4 quoted.] Do we not hear these very words repeated, not merely by the openly ungodly, but by many who occupy the pulpits of our land? ‘There is no cause for alarm,’ they cry. ‘Before Christ shall come, all the world is to be converted, and righteousness is to reign for a thousand years. Peace, peace! all things continue as they were from the beginning. Let none be disturbed by the exciting message of these alarmists.’ But this doctrine of the millennium does not harmonize with the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Jesus asked the significant question, ‘When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?’ Luke 18:8. And, as we have seen, He declares that the state of the world will be as in the days of Noah. Paul warns us that we may look for wickedness to increase as the end draws near: ‘The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.’ 1 Timothy 4:1. The apostle says that ‘in the last days perilous times shall come.’ 2 Timothy 3:1. And he gives a startling list of sins that will be found among those who have a form of godliness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 102.
9 What did Paul predict would happen before the end of time? 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.
NOTE: “The apostle was undoubtedly thinking of the great apostasy that was soon to develop in the church, and which would continue to imperil it until the second advent of Christ.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 348. (On 2 Timothy 4:3.)
“The ministers of Christ today are in the same danger. Satan is constantly at work to divert the mind into wrong channels, so that the truth may lose its force upon the heart.” Gospel Workers, 312.
10 Is there any way to tell when the end is near? Matthew 24:6, 33.
NOTE: “These lessons are for our benefit. We need to stay our faith upon God, for there is just before us a time that will try men’s souls. Christ, upon the Mount of Olives, rehearsed the fearful judgments that were to precede His second coming: ‘Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.’ ‘Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.’ While these prophecies received a partial fulfillment at the destruction of Jerusalem, they have a more direct application to the last days.
“We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The Lord is at the door. There is soon to open before us a period of overwhelming interest to all living. The controversies of the past are to be revived; new controversies will arise. The scenes to be enacted in our world are not yet even dreamed of. Satan is at work through human agencies. Those who are making an effort to change the Constitution and secure a law enforcing Sunday observance little realize what will be the result. A crisis is just upon us.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 753.
11 As we see prophecy being fulfilled, how should we conduct ourselves? Jude 21.
NOTE: “Many . . . professed Christians dress, talk, and act like the world, and the only thing by which they may be known is their profession. Though they profess to be looking for Christ, their conversation is not in heaven, but on worldly things.” Early Writings, 108.
12 What will happen to those who are preparing for Jesus’ soon coming? 1 John 3:1–3.
NOTE: “Such transformation of character as is seen in the life of John is ever the result of communion with Christ. There may be marked defects in the character of an individual, yet when he becomes a true disciple of Christ, the power of divine grace transforms and sanctifies him. Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, he is changed from glory to glory, until he is like Him whom he adores.
“John was a teacher of holiness, and in his letters to the church he laid down unerring rules for the conduct of Christians. ‘Every man that hath this hope in him,’ he wrote, ‘purifieth himself, even as He is pure.’ ‘He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.’ 1 John 3:3; 2:6. He taught that the Christian must be pure in heart and life. Never should he be satisfied with an empty profession. As God is holy in His sphere, so fallen man, through faith in Christ, is to be holy in his sphere.” The Acts of the Apostles, 559.
By Ruth Grosboll