A People Preparing

In Luke 1:17, the angel said to Zacharias concerning his son, John the Baptist, “He will go before Him [the Messiah] in the spirit and power of Elijah … to prepare a people who are prepared for the Lord.” Jesus told His disciples that “Elijah has come already, and they did not know him” (Matthew 17:12), meaning John the Baptist was the Elijah prophet for the first advent.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful [or terrible or awesome] day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5, 6). Here again it is predicted that before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, God is going to send to us Elijah the prophet.

Again in the New Testament is predicted that before the coming of Christ in the last days, God’s people are going to have the gift of prophecy. Paul wrote, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:4–9, first part). Notice that the people waiting for Jesus to come will fall short in no gift; the testimony of Christ will be confirmed in them.

It is predicted again in Revelation the 12th chapter that God’s last day people are going to have the gift of prophecy. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring [the remnant of her seed], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17). The testimony of Jesus according to Revelation 19:10 is the spirit of prophecy. The dragon according to Revelation 12:9 represents the devil. A woman, all through Bible prophecy, in both the Old and New Testaments, represents a church. A pure woman represents a pure church and a harlot woman represents an apostate church.

Whole books of the Bible have been written with this symbolism; for example, the entire book Song of Solomon is a compacted, symbolic prophecy about Christ and the church. The first part of the book of Hosea is a prophecy concerning Christ and His church that has gone astray and committed harlotry. Ezekiel 23 is devoted to the church, where Israel and Judah are likened to two women who apostatized from the Lord.

The same symbolism is used in the New Testament. Paul said to the Corinthian church, “I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste [pure] virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2). In Ephesians he again uses the marriage relationship as a symbol of the relationship between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:25–27). Revelation talks about the bride of the Lamb who has made herself ready for the marriage dressed in fine linen, clean and bright (Revelation 19:7, 8).

In the book of Revelation two women are represented, the harlot woman (Revelation 17) and the pure woman (Revelation 12). It says, “The dragon was enraged with the woman” (Revelation 12:17). Translating these symbols this would read: “The devil was enraged with the church, and he went to make war with the remnant [the last church], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus [the spirit of prophecy].” According to Bible prophecy, God’s last day people will be a commandment keeping people. In the Hebrew language the fourth commandment with the Sabbath at its heart is the longest commandment of all, with 55 words. James says, “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). The commandments are not ten laws, but one law.

James makes it clear what law he refers to by quoting the sixth and seventh commandments (James 2:11), and God refers to the ten commandments as one law all by itself (Exodus 24:12). Concerning this ten commandment law, in Deuteronomy 4:13, Moses told the children of Israel: “He [God] declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tables of stone.” The commandments are called God’s covenant. In Psalm 89:34, God says, “My covenant I will not break [profane], nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.”

When Jesus was on earth, He made the strongest statement possible about the ten commandments. He said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle (just part of a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the smallest stroke in a Hebrew letter) of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17). This was spoken by the One who created the heavens and the earth and upholds them all by the power of His word. (See Hebrews 1:2, 3.) This means the One who has all power and authority would destroy the entire universe before He would allow a part of a letter of His law to fail. How audacious for any created being to think that the law is not important after Jesus makes a statement that strong. It is inconceivable that anyone could try to insult the Lord not only to change part of a letter but to change the longest commandment in the heart of the whole law.

In the book of Joel, it says, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders [signs] in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke [timeroth]” (Joel 2:28–30). The Hebrew word timeroth is smoke that comes up in a column and spreads out like a palm tree, a description befitting an atom bomb explosion. Twenty-five hundred years ago before atom bombs were invented, the Lord knew what would happen in the last days.

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord” (verse 31). Before Jesus returns, certain things are going to happen, a dark day, blood and fire and columns of smoke like palm trees. But during that time the Lord said He would pour out His Spirit in prophecy. He said your sons and daughters are going to prophesy.

“It shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (verse 32). When these things happen there will be deliverance and salvation in Mount Zion. Notice what it says in Isaiah 51:16, last part: “Say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ ” Zion is God’s people.

There will be deliverance in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call (Joel 2:28–32). The remnant are the people who keep the commandments of God and have the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). When you determine who these people are, join them, for they have the truth that will open the doors of heaven to you.

“Elijah the prophet” appeared in the person of John the Baptist to prepare a people for the first coming of the Lord. The purpose of the Elijah prophet the second time is to prepare a people for His second coming.

Now is the time to take advantage of the writings of this “Elijah” prophet, the special messenger for the remnant church whose writings will help us be ready for the second coming of Christ.

No one eats a pickup load of food in one day, but over a year, the food you eat would fill that pickup. The same principle applies for spiritual knowledge. By reading just a few pages of spiritual food each morning and night you can easily read 1500 pages in a year. At that rate, in a few years you will have done quite a bit of reading. The more you read, the more you will enjoy the spiritual feast and keep coming back for more and still more.

Every wonderful gift the Lord gives to His people the devil perverts into something many people think is awful. People are often afraid to read the Spirit of Prophecy thinking God just wants to take things away from them, like not being able to eat what they want to eat, or do something they want to do, or wear the kinds of clothes they want to wear, or enjoy their entertainment. But He wants to replace the things that harm with habits that will benefit. Wouldn’t it be best to know now the changes that can be made so we will be fit for a holy atmosphere in heaven when Jesus returns?

Ellen White tells us that if we were to study our Bibles well enough, there would be no need of her writings. Interestingly, the man Elijah did not write any books like Isaiah or Jeremiah or Ezekiel. Elijah told Ahab his purpose: “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord” (1 Kings 18:18). Elijah’s purpose was to call people back to worship God and keep His commandments. This was also the purpose of John the Baptist and is the purpose of the writings of Ellen White. Those who despise these writings designed to draw the reader to the word of God actually despise the Bible also because the purpose of each is the same—to prepare a people to meet their Lord.

Jesus told a parable of ten virgins (Matthew 25:1–13). The Elijah message, to get ready to meet the Lord, must be given before the virgins go out to meet the bridegroom because it was at midnight that the bridegroom came and only the faithful ones who had made the preparation of extra oil went into the banquet hall to the marriage feast.

When the ministry of John the Baptist began, the 70 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy were just about completed. This was to signal the Jews that the Messiah was about to come. The Elijah prophet was not sent to the Romans or the Greeks or the Egyptians; the Elijah prophet was sent to God’s professed people. In the same way, when the Elijah prophet came again, it came to those people who were looking for Christ to come the second time. The Elijah prophet arose among the people who were expecting the Bridegroom to come in the year 1844. God rose up his last day prophet, Ellen G. White.

People want to know if Ellen White passes the Bible test of a prophet because Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets” (Matthew 7:15). Notice, He did not say to beware of all prophets, but of false prophets. The test to see if a person has the true gift of prophecy is found in Isaiah 8:19, 20. It says, “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums [familiar spirits], and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Care must always be taken that the Scripture is not taken out of context. The Scripture here is not talking simply about preachers or teachers, but the test of a prophet. There are many preachers and teachers today who have still not come to the light of the true Sabbath of the fourth commandment who are preaching truth as they know it. Many of the Protestant reformers in the 16th century were also unaware of the true Sabbath, for they had not yet come to that knowledge. Also, none of those early Protestant reformers, Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Tyndale, to name a few, claimed to be prophets. The Lord used these faithful preachers to bring great blessings to the people of their time who were seeking for truth.

Isaiah’s test of a prophet is to see by which spirit that person is influenced. A false prophet is one who does not teach according to all the law and the testimony. A human teacher can make mistakes. That does not mean there is no light in what he says. We are given Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy to check out what we hear, and only believe what we find in inspired writings. “Truth, whether in nature or in revelation, is harmonious with itself in all its manifestations.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 258.

A true prophet under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is guided and directed by angels in heaven. Their message never contradicts what has already been established as the word of God. It will be in harmony with the law and the testimony.

Ellen White’s writings do not contradict the Bible. In fact, Ellen White says her work includes much more than that of a prophet. (See Selected Messages, Book 1, 32.) There have been three times that I have known of since the history of the world that God has sent to His people somebody who was more than a prophet. The first time was Moses. The second time was John the Baptist. Jesus said that he is more than a prophet (Matthew 11:9; Luke 7:26). The third time is Ellen White.

The book of Numbers reveals another test. The Lord, speaking to Miriam and Aaron, “Then He said, ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face’ ” (Numbers 12:6–8, first part).

There are only a few cases in the Bible where we have record of the Lord speaking to a prophet in a vision and a dream. The most detailed description in all the Bible of this is Daniel’s vision (Daniel 10:1–17). Daniel said, “How can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me” (verse 17). Daniel asks, How is it possible for me to even be talking to you when there is no breath in me? Here is described the condition of a true prophet while in vision.

The word of any person claiming to be a prophet cannot be accepted unless they have had public visions and dreams that can be documented because of this Bible test. It must be seen that the prophet in a vision be not breathing.

Some experienced divers have trained themselves to hold their breath for a little over 3 minutes. To hold their breath much longer than that would cause you to eventually pass out and could cause brain damage.

Ellen White in vision did not breathe for periods of over 4 hours and many times in public she had visions that lasted up to 30 minutes. In the book, Prophet Of the End, Rene Noorbergen, documents some of these occurrences.

The work of a prophet must bear good fruit. In Matthew chapter 7 verses 15–20, Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous [plundering] wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad [rotten] tree bears bad [evil] fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

We are going through the shaking period in earth’s history and the history of the church. We are told that every wind of doctrine would be blowing. Ellen White has told us that the path of truth will lie so close beside the path of error that only by the Holy Spirit will you be able to tell the difference. When you look in her writings you see a balance which is absolutely astonishing, a balance to keep you from going off on tangents.

The writings of the Spirit of Prophecy produce good fruits in the church. When the members take heed of the counsel therein the church comes into harmony and into unity; it comes into line. The members all follow their great Leader and have the same goals. All kinds of problems in the church are solved.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:1–3).

This is an interesting test. Every single spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus is come in the flesh is not of God. John goes on to say that this is the way you will know it is the antichrist. The antichrist teaches that Jesus did not come in the flesh. In fact, it teaches that Jesus’ mother Mary was born from an immaculate conception whereby she did not inherit any original sin, therefore Jesus did not inherit any original sin; He was immaculate.

This is a principle teaching of the antichrist and is taught in almost all the Protestant churches. It has even found its way into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But a true prophet will confess that Jesus came in the flesh. Now in the flesh is a technical term that refers to coming in a fallen nature, coming in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8). God sent His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh. Do not say that He came in sinful flesh, which neither Scripture nor Ellen White believe. The Scripture says, He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, but it also says that in Him is no sin (1 John 3:5). A true prophet will teach this. Ellen White does teach this.

I found a book in which one of our pioneers documented over 100 predictions Ellen White made that had already come to pass in his lifetime. Jeremiah said, “When the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” (Jeremiah 28:9). Ellen White made many predictions some of which are coming to pass today.

The purpose of the Spirit of Prophecy is to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. Our work is to get the three angels’ messages to the world. When they accept it and they have the Spirit of Prophecy, they can become part of God’s last day people.

Ellen White predicted that as we draw close to the end of time, the devil’s temptations on appetite would become more severe and more difficult to overcome. That could not be more apparent today.

In 1973, when I started going to the School of Health at Loma Linda University, we were taught in a basic nutrition class that in the United States at that time, we were having an epidemic of obesity. Our instructor said there was a higher percentage of grossly overweight people in the U.S. than in any other country in the world. In fact, it was so bad that there was slightly over 40 percent of Americans significantly overweight. Today it is far worse, with between 60 to 70 percent overweight. Health practitioners are concerned, knowing that the consequence of this obesity will be the skyrocketing incidents of diabetes, cancer, and all kinds of degenerative disease that could absolutely overload the functioning of the health care delivery system.

We are living in solemn times. We don’t know yet what is going to happen during the time of trouble, but we have been told that unless you are under the Lord’s care, it is going to be more awful than one can imagine. Everything that we think we have in place is going to break down. We’re living in the time just before that time and our only protection is that which comes from the Lord. If we had time to do the research, I believe that we would find thousands of predictions that Ellen White made that have been fulfilled but there are certainly hundreds.

Since World War II, the idea of the fast food industry has developed. Today, with fast food outlets open 24/7, you can eat anything you want any time of the day or night, unlike sixty years ago when restaurants were only open during mealtimes. Now, at 9:30 at night or even later, you often see cars lined up, waiting to get their late evening snack. That snack is not apples or oranges or grapes, but burgers and French fries, the very things that are making our country sick.

We are living in the sickest generation, and it has seriously affected our church. We ought to be preparing for heaven, changing our tastes to a heavenly diet, but many are suffering with preventable diseases the same as those in the world. We are a sick generation.  Ellen White said that if Jesus does not come, the human race would become extinct. Seventh-day Adventists have had the health message for over 150 years, but so few are prepared to put these principles into practice. God’s remnant people are the last people that God will have in this world. Concerning the second advent movement, He says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

At the end of time there will only be two groups of people: the remnant and those in spiritual Babylon. They will either be part of the second advent movement, or they will be in Babylon. The Lord has given us precious truth and it is this knowledge that is designed to get you out of this world. When you tell others about it, it can get them out of this world – alive. Study the overwhelming evidence, for it is precious truth for this last generation, not for us to hold onto jealously, but to share with others.

The world is going to end soon and when everything comes to pass and Jesus returns, I want to be one of the remnant. Do you? “In Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:32).

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Question – How do I prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus?

How do I prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus?

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44.

God is a God of love. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to come and live on this earth and be tortured and crucified that we might be saved from this wicked world. He wants each individual to have eternal life with Jesus in a home where there will be no sorrow or heartache. If we are going to live with Jesus and be happy, we must be like Him. And this takes work.

On the way to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was conversing with His disciples: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. In order for us to be ready for the Lord’s soon coming, we must learn how to be like Jesus. What was Jesus like? If we study the four gospels in the New Testament, we get a good description of the Savior. A self-description is found in Matthew 11:29: “I am meek and lowly of heart.”

In Jesus’ sermon recorded in Matthew 7, He gives a depiction of the kind of people who would be in heaven. In our preparation, it would be well for us to put these characteristics into our lives. We cannot do this of our own power; we must ask for help from our Saviour, but he has promised in Mathew 7:7, 8 that if you ask, you will receive.

“And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:2–12.

These are the characteristics that Jesus prizes and will be found in those who enter heaven. We must ask for the help of Jesus to implement these in our lives.

May God bless you as you strive to enter the kingdom.

If you have a Bible question you wish to have answered, please e-mail it to: ruthgrosboll@stepstolife.org.

Question & Answer: How did Jesus prepare His disciples for His death and resurrection?

Several Scriptures reveal that Jesus told them how He would be treated but they could not accept His words.

“From that time forth Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offence to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’ ” (Matthew 16:21–23).

“Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said unto them, Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again” (Matthew 20:17–19).

See also: Mark 8:31–33; Mark 9:31, 32; Luke 9:21, 22; 18:31–34.

Further comment:

“Before His crucifixion the Saviour explained to His disciples that He was to be put to death and to rise again from the tomb, and angels were present to impress His words on minds and hearts. But the disciples were looking for temporal deliverance from the Roman yoke, and they could not tolerate the thought that He in whom all their hopes centered should suffer an ignominious death. The words which they needed to remember were banished from their minds; and when the time of trial came, it found them unprepared. The death of Jesus as fully destroyed their hopes as if He had not forewarned them. So in the prophecies the future is opened before us as plainly as it was opened to the disciples by the words of Christ. The events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble, are clearly presented. But multitudes have no more understanding of these important truths than if they had never been revealed. Satan watches to catch away every impression that would make them wise unto salvation, and the time of trouble will find them unready.” The Great Controversy, 594.

“… Jesus was carefully opening to His disciples the sufferings through which He must pass—that He would be crucified and that He would rise again the third day. But their understanding seemed dull, and they could not comprehend what He told them.” Early Writings, 161.