Editorial – Seekest Thou Great Things for Thyself? Seek Them Not.

John Harvey Kellogg was a visionary who also had the ability to get the entire Adventist denomination deeply in debt with his propositions for many medical buildings in the United States and Mexico for which there was not adequate funding. At the turn of the twentieth century the Adventist institutional indebtedness was approximately half a million dollars. To give some perspective regarding the size of this debt, physicians and ministers working for the denomination were only paid $12-$15 per week. Dr. Kellogg had a vision for Battle Creek to be the worldwide headquarters for the Adventist medical work.

At the same time, the leaders in the Adventist publishing work wanted to make Battle Creek a worldwide publishing center with the publishing house in Oakland, California, and the publishing work in Nashville, Tennessee, simply subsidiaries directed and controlled from Battle Creek.

Many reproofs and cautions against centralization were delivered, apparently in vain. But on February 18, 1902, the Battle Creek Sanitarium burned to the ground. On December 30, 1902, the Review and Herald building burned to the ground. God’s word does not return to Him void. If men will not listen to warning or reproof, He has other ways of speaking.

What happened in Battle Creek at the turn of the twentieth century is a warning to the whole world today. God gives warnings, reproofs, and rebukes. For 177 years, He has sent messengers all over the world with the three angels’ messages, the last message of warning and available mercy for the repentant. If we do not listen, what is going to happen?

“We are warned that the Lord will come suddenly, surprising the world in their idolatrous wickedness.” Letter 243, 1903

“The solemn fact is to be kept not only before the people of the world, but before our own churches also, that the day of the Lord will come suddenly, unexpectedly. The fearful warning of the prophecy is addressed to every soul. Let no one feel that he is secure from the danger of being surprised.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 336

Sudden Death

“Concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6

Suppose a sudden disaster occurred on planet earth, and all life came to an end except for one – you. The whole planet, everywhere you look, the cities and the great works of mankind are broken down and burned, utterly destroyed; only their charred remains, like broken skeletons, are left. There is no electricity, so there are no telephones, televisions, radios, no newspapers or magazines, no stores or food, no cars, buses, trains or planes. Who won the presidential election or the Super Bowl or the World Series, your promotion and all your fancy possessions, all your relationships are totally meaningless. Everywhere you look are the bodies of people, animals, birds scattered over the face of the earth. Many of them unrecognizable, many remaining just as they fell. The whole world is deafeningly silent and dark. Suddenly all of man’s proud accomplishments are now a thing of the past. And only you are left to survey it.

This will one day happen on planet earth. We find it spoken of in Jeremiah 25:31–33: “ ‘A noise will come to the ends of the earth—for the Lord has a controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth. And at that day the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground.’ ”

Isaiah describes it further in chapter 26, verse 21, “For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain.” All the dead, human, animal, and fowl, will be left lying on the ground, not to decompose, but to remain, preserved as they died, for all the years of the millennium.

We also see in Jeremiah 4 that there will be no light. The sun will not shine, and it will begin to be very cold. There will be no rainfall or snow. In this way the earth will become like a frost-free freezer, preserving the bodies of the dead. Jeremiah says, “I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; and the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth [this is Jesus’ second coming (Revelation 6)]. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord, by His fierce anger” (verses 23–26).

This is a description of when Jesus has come and taken the righteous with Him to heaven. God blots out the light of the sun for a thousand years and earth becomes a deep freeze, a place of perpetual preservation for those souls who died from the brightness of His coming. “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. ‘I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible’ ” (Isaiah 13:9–11).

But one soul, Satan, is left behind to live on this planet amid all the destruction during this thousand year period. Revelation 20 calls this earth “the bottomless pit,” and verses 1–3 tell us that an angel comes down from heaven “with the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.” The angel binds Satan to this devastated earth, this bottomless pit, for a thousand years. He has nowhere to go. With no one to deceive, he is left to wander this earth in darkness, to stumble among the fallen bodies of the dead and the remains of the broken cities.

At the end of the thousand years, Revelation 20:3, last part, says, “But after these things he must be released for a little while.” Jesus returns to the earth for the last time. He brings back with Him the light of the sun and all the wicked who had no part in the first resurrection will be raised to receive their judgments.

Let’s look back to the time before these unbelievable catastrophic events happen and see how God prepares us for them.

God is not willing that any should perish. He would love to save every soul who has ever been born. He wants to wake up the inhabitants of the earth. Sadly, only a very few respond. For most, in spite of all that God will do, they will not be awakened. In the days of Noah, only eight out of the whole world were saved, but God will still put forth every effort, His heart of love using any means to save every soul who will choose to be saved.

God uses prophecy to leave signs that we can recognize as we draw closer to the end. Seeing these signs, we can realize the end is near and prepare our lives. Prophecy warns us of judgments, but also extends the invitation to be saved from the wrath of God. The disciples asked Jesus when they should expect the last days and His coming. His response is found in Luke 21:9, first part: “But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” [Emphasis supplied].

Jesus says there will be wars. When World War I and World War II were fought, many people thought the end might be near. Had they read their Bibles, they would have read that there would be wars, but Jesus says that even after these things happened, “the end will not come immediately” (Luke 21:9, last part).

He continues in verse 11: “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” God now withdraws His sustaining hand from a sin-filled world as it sinks lower and lower day by day. He has shielded the world for thousands of years, but no longer. The world will begin to experience calamity upon calamity.

There have been disasters in the world throughout its history, and many have made the history books, but the difference between these past disasters and those we experience today is the rapidity with which the disasters come and their worldwide prevalence. Life just doesn’t exist for very long without a disaster somewhere in the world. It is an undeniable fact that today, disasters are rapidly increasing as we have never seen before. People don’t know what to expect next. The Bible says this would be so.

Revelation 17 and 18 describe for us the judgments that God has brought and will bring against the inhabitants of the earth, throughout history and through to the end of time. In Revelation 18:4–7, the angel says, “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow.” The Bible says the first will be last and the last first (Mark 10:31). And those who have been the richest will become the poorest and those who have been the most glorified will become the most dejected. Those who have been the most blessed will be left the most ravaged. “Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire for strong is the Lord God who judges her” (verse 8). The Bible says it will come quickly, suddenly. She’ll be sitting as a beautiful queen and suddenly there will come disaster upon disaster.

This method of judgment is coupled with the message of the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Revelation 14:6 and 7 reveal the second method used by God to wake up the people of the world: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ ”

Jesus tells more about these disasters to come upon the earth in Matthew 24. After talking about famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places, it says that these are the beginnings of sorrows (verses 7, 8). Verse 9, first part: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you.” It is when the disasters go forth that God’s message is also going to go forth to the world. The desire is that people will be moved to accept Christ, but instead, their anger is aroused and their conscience is pricked and instead of accepting the message, they turn against the messengers. “… and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (verses 9, last part, 10).

Yes, by and large, the world’s response to the invitation to accept the Lord will be no. While God is trying to wake people up, Satan is working to keep them asleep; and he has more success because most of the inhabitants of the earth are already his children. The Lord is using His two methods of judgment and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, but the devil has many ways of keeping people asleep. Jesus speaks of these in Luke 21:34–36. He says, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Satan keeps people so occupied with the things of this world, the cares of this life, that many are barely surviving and they don’t think they have the time to prepare for what God is telling them to expect.

Matthew 24:37–39 gives us the example of how it was in the days of Noah, “ … For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (verse 38). For 120 years Noah preached the message of sudden destruction and for all that time the majority of the people just went about their daily lives. They heard that the flood would come, but the devil was so successful at keeping them consumed with the things of this life that “the flood came and took them all away.”

The devil succeeded so well then that he is doing it again. But there is more. As he keeps us focused on the things of the world, the environment, society, politics, he surrounds us with the sights and sounds of evil until our hearts grow hard and we become insensitive to the sinfulness around us. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (verse 12).

Another effective method used by the devil is opposition from our family and friends. “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will send some of you to your death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Luke 21:16, 17). Matthew 10 also speaks of this in verse 21: “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.” But the devil isn’t finished.

While he keeps us occupied with the things of the world so that we don’t have the time to prepare our lives, while evil is all around us and our hearts grow hard and careless and while we are receiving opposition from those we love and care for the most, there comes a great revival, one that will deceive almost everyone. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). Now we see in 2 Corinthians 11:13, 14 that Satan becomes directly involved: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” He tells the people of the world that it is time to get ready for Jesus to come. We’ve seen the signs and now it is time to get ready. Where past revivals have been opposed, rejected, this revival will be accepted by all, almost.

There is a difference between Satan’s revival and God’s revival. God’s revival leads to sacrifice of self, obedience to God’s law, a change in life and character. Satan’s revival is based on emotion and excitement. The elements of a revival will be seen, but these things are not the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). There will be power, plenty of power, signs and many disasters, all meant to help bring about this revival.

A call to come to the altar and accept the Lord, to be saved and accept His miracle working power and the Holy Spirit will go out and people will come; but it will not be the Holy Spirit that they will receive. It’s a deception we find in verse 10: “And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” They have a love of religion, a love for preaching, a love for miracles performed, and a love for what they believe to be the Holy Spirit, but they do not have a love of the truth. “And for this reason God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (verses 11, 12). The devil will deceive them to believe that they are saved, that everything will be okay. They will be given a false confidence in their own experience rather than confidence in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Many religions today that have created teachings of their own based on another spirit that is not according to the Bible and the Bible only, have many sincere believers who believe that they have a love for the truth, but what truth? The Bible teaches that the purification and perfecting of our characters and lives are the necessary preparation for what is soon to come upon the earth. But the beliefs of these religions, for instance the Mormon Church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Catholic Church, are based on teachings not found in the Bible. They are taught that it is okay to do many things that are contrary to the Bible including that the Sabbath should be Sunday and preparation for the end does not include character perfection. The Bible tells us that the spirit of anti-christ claims the power to change God’s law. Thus we must assume that these religions are being influenced by the devil or one of his agents.

If nothing else works, the devil has one final tactic to keep us in a lost condition. We read about this in Hebrews 12:2, 3: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Have you ever been discouraged? The devil will work to bring discouragement in your life, but the Bible says when this happens to look to Jesus, and you will find courage and strength.

Luke 13:25 says that the time will come when the Master of the house will shut the door. Looking again at Noah’s day, the Lord shut the door then, too. What did that mean? Those who were not inside the ark were shut out. We find this applicable today in Matthew 7:21. It says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” There are many who listened to preaching week after week and heard the Holy Spirit speaking to them. They have prophesied and done many wonders in the name of God, but they find themselves now hearing the words from Jesus, “ ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’ ”(verse 23).

Why would Jesus say this to them? Because the preparation they had made for the end was not the necessary preparation. It is needful to have a love of the truth, to surrender our lives to the in-working of the Holy Spirit, and to seek to do the will of God and obey His law.

An incalculable number of people have died over the course of this world’s history. Many will be raised to life at Jesus’ coming. But the 144,000, those still living when Jesus comes, will be found with God’s character, His name written in their minds. Every person can develop God’s character. Not one sinner has fallen so low that God cannot make them over again, give them a new life, a new heart, a new mind and a new character. There’s not one person who cannot stand before the throne of God faultless and pure and holy, clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Imagine being sick and only having a month to live. If I were facing only a month of life, I think I would be very serious about what I did during that month. Would you? I’d want my heart pure and cleansed. I’d want to spend time in the Bible and on my knees asking the Lord to give me a heart like His.

The 144,000 are those who have looked only to Jesus as their perfect example. Those who are alive on the earth when Jesus is revealed are going to be like Him. They will be permitted to sit with Him on His throne because they will have had His experience. Revelation 3:21 says, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame.” “Those who place themselves under God’s control, to be led and guided by Him, will catch the steady tread of the events ordained by Him to take place.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 14.

The devil works determinedly to keep our focus on ourselves and the things of this world that are important to us.  He will even use our families, our jobs, and other necessary aspects of this life to keep us too busy to have time for what is spiritually needful. This statement found in The Great Controversy, 625, has always meant a great deal to me. It describes the need for watchfulness, prayer and Bible study in spite of how much the devil is trying to keep us otherwise occupied: “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only?”  Maranatha, 160. “Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way. …” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 443.

Everyone will be tested. Everyone will have to decide – Christ or Satan.

“Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something besides an imaginary religion, a religion of words and forms, where truth is kept in the outer court.” Conflict and Courage, 260.

We cannot imagine the disasters that will yet take place on this earth. But we are given hope in Psalm 91: “ ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him will I trust.’ … A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. … Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. … He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” (verses 2, 7, 9, 10, 15).

Pastor Marshall Grosboll, with his wife Lillian, founded Steps to Life. In July 1991, Pastor Marshall and his family met with tragedy as they were returning home from a camp meeting in Washington state, when the airplane he was piloting went down, killing all on board.

Do You Want Jesus to Come?

Sometimes we feel impatient for the second coming of Jesus Christ, thinking that He is taking His time. For many years I have preached with all my heart and with such a passion that Jesus Christ is going to come very, very soon. Sometimes I feel embarrassed when I say some things regarding Jesus’ coming, because even my children tell me that is the same as what I said 10 or 15 years ago. I have believed and expected it and yearned for it with all my heart.

I think of Noah who preached for 120 years of a coming flood. He built a big boat in a dry land that had never experienced rain. What a faith he had when it seemed so irrational. How would you understand why God would ask him to build a huge boat with one door on one side? Noah believed God and as he was building the boat for 120 years, he warned the world. His faith, his yearning expectation and fervent hope, believing God’s promise, kept him going.

Do you really want Jesus to come? If so, what is your bottom-line reason? Jesus said, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. … Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44). Jesus told His followers that His return could be imminent, even in their own generation. He spoke to them as if He were going to come back very soon.

In Revelation 22:20, Jesus said, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly,” to which John the Revelator added, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” God wants His people in every generation to believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon, so they will see the urgency in being ready to meet Him.

Every day some people die, which means for them that day, that very day, is the day of Jesus’ second coming, for at the resurrection they will have no knowledge of how long they have slept in their dusty graves. Every day probation closes for some people. They may be alive, eating, drinking, thinking, working, and walking, but they do not realize their probation has been closed against their destiny. It is important to be aware that life as we know it is temporary and that Jesus is coming soon.

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 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 4:16, 17). Certainly, the apostle Paul thought that Jesus Christ was going to come in his own time.

Today, we say exactly the same thing: Jesus Christ is going to come in our time. We believe and say that those who are dead in Jesus Christ will be resurrected and reunited with us and we will all be caught up in the air and see Jesus Christ together. Paul said, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6).

God knows that we need to believe that Jesus Christ is going to come in our own generation to help us to watch and be sober. God knows the way our minds work, the way we feel, the way we think, the way we anticipate, the way we analyze and understand.

Peter also said, “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). Peter was consumed by the expectation of the soon coming of Jesus Christ and gave his life for the salvation of other souls. When we lose this fervent hope of the soon coming of Jesus Christ, our enthusiasm in evangelism will die away. Adventist people in this world should be the most zealous people in evangelism. I am yearning to see Jesus in the air. That is my hope, my desire, my happiness, and my joy. Everything of my life depends on it. Everything about me hangs on that truth—the second coming of Christ and my hope that I may see His face in my own time.

But Jesus and His disciples said these things 2000 years ago. What about the end time prophet? “The crisis is fast approaching. The rapidly swelling figures show that the time for God’s visitation has about come. … but they [those who walk in the light] are not to sit in quiet, unconcerned expectancy of the ruin, comforting themselves with the belief that God will shelter His people in the day of visitation. Far from it.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 209. Ellen White wrote as if Jesus Christ was coming very soon in her own time. She encouraged people to be prepared for the visitation of the Lord.

If you have ever lost this kind of urgency in your heart, then maybe there is something wrong with your spiritual experience. I’m not talking about fanatical experiences or feelings; I’m talking about the deep down, bottom of your heart yearning and hope. Every morning when you get up you may say, Lord, “When are You going to come? I can’t wait until I see You in the air.” That’s the kind of yearning in your heart I’m talking about.

“The coming of Christ is nearer than when we first believed. The great controversy is nearing its end. The judgments of God are in the land. …

“But there are many, many in our churches who know little of the real meaning of the truth for this time. I appeal to them not to disregard the fulfilling of the signs of the times, which says so plainly that the end is near.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 252. This was written more than 100 years ago. The believers had such a fervent hope and yearning heart.

“We are living in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The hours of probation are fast passing. We have no time—not a moment—to lose. Let us not be found sleeping on guard. … Let the message of Christ’s soon return sound forth in earnest words of warning. Let us persuade men and women everywhere to repent and flee from the wrath to come. Let us arouse them to immediate preparation, for we little know what is before us.” Ibid. This too was written more than 100 years ago.

Why were the disciples urging on the people so long ago regarding the closeness of the second coming? I believe they said that for two reasons. They had believed that Jesus Christ was going to come soon. They were so longing to see Him that in every small sign they saw, they thought maybe that’s the last sign that Jesus Christ was going to come. They had a tendency to interpret every single sign, believing it to be the last sign for the second coming of Christ because they deeply desired to see Him soon.

After traveling for months over the past 15 years, I really want to go home and have a real vacation in heaven. I want to finish all this evangelism and go home and stay and rest with the Lord. Sometimes, while away from home, I wonder if my wife is going to really expect me to return soon, as she used to. When my children were young, they were always waiting for Dad’s coming. My wife would tell them, ten days and he will be home. They would mark it on the calendar. Seven days later, three days later, two days later, tomorrow! Because of our relationship, they always expected me to come soon. They loved me, I loved them. When they saw me in the airport, Dad! Dad! I’m here! Sometimes when I drive up to our home they burst in laughs, Daddy’s here! They cling to my arms, my legs. They are so happy to see me. Sometimes I wonder if my family members still feel the same way as they used to feel?

How long has it been since you have felt that fervent expectation for Jesus Christ’s coming? What kind of attitude should we have at this time for the second coming of Christ? The apostles Peter, John, James, and Paul were all anxiously longing to see Jesus in their lifetime, because they loved Him and wanted to be with Him. How much do you love Jesus? How much would you sacrifice for Him? Do you tell Jesus that you want to see Him? The apostles loved to read and recite again the words of Jesus, “I come quickly.” Those words sounded like a beautiful melody to their ears because they loved Jesus and longed to see His face. They expected to be delivered from the abuse and sufferings of this world.

Are you separated from your family? Are you being persecuted? Are you being misunderstood or wrongly accused? Are you being treated unfairly by your brothers and sisters? Does the world abuse you? Does the world treat you unfairly? Are you suffering for the sake of the truth and righteousness? Are you lonely and feel solitude? Do you want to be delivered from the suffering of this world?

The consequences of sin have been allowed to be played out for 6000 years in human history. It is when we are suffering that we long for Jesus’ second coming. When we are sick, we long for our heavenly home. When we are lonely, we want to see Jesus Christ in the sky. Throughout the inspired writings we see that these servants of God were expecting to be delivered from the suffering and pain of this world and wrote as if Jesus Christ was coming in their own time.

One Christmas, three young people from our China branch went to jail on Christmas Day. These young people, whether they are traveling for evangelism or visiting their families or hometown, always have some tracts or magazines in their backpack to share. Once, as they were passing by a large Catholic Church, they were compelled to go and distribute some of the tracts. Standing before the entrance of the church, they began to distribute a tract about the man of sin and nine points to identify the beast power as the papacy. As these young people were giving out the tracts to the Catholics coming out after the Christmas mass, they were suddenly surrounded. One of the priests who got hold of a tract became very angry; his face turned pale. They woke to the reality that something had gone wrong. The priest called the police, who locked the young men in jail. The accusation against these young people was that they were promoting hatred between the Christians.

Sooner or later, this same accusation will be brought against all those who share the truth of the three angels’ messages. These young people went to jail for two weeks. Later, they shared their experience with me. They said they had had a good time in the cell. In the prison they were allowed only one hour each day out in the sunshine. The prison cells were crowded, with a small bucket as a toilet in the corner. It was very difficult to live in that kind of condition for two weeks and yet they said it was like heaven in their hearts. They yearned to see each other during that one hour every day and couldn’t wait for that time of reunion.

When they got together for that one hour, they shared the Scriptures they had memorized and said they now understood the importance of the memorization of the Scriptures. They recited Scriptures and just held each other’s hands with tears in their eyes. They prayed and sang and studied the Scriptures together in that short period every day. They said that they really began to understand the sweet fellowship between believers. There was no time for hatred or factions or bad words or bitterness. Nothing like that is possible in that kind of situation. They said that they had been given a taste of heaven, the taste of sweet fellowship of the true remnant church. Friends, if we are really yearning for that kind of experience between God’s people, we want Jesus to come soon.

Ellen White wrote, “It is the duty of the people of God to have their lamps trimmed and burning, to be as men that wait for the Bridegroom, when He shall return from the wedding. You have not a moment to lose in neglect of the great salvation that has been provided for you. The time of the probation of souls is coming to an end. From day to day the destiny of men is being sealed, and even from this congregation we know not how soon many shall close their eyes in death and be habited for the tomb.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 189, 190.

We do not know when some of us are going to close our eyes and die, whether we are young or old or little. We do not know of our destiny for tomorrow. So, every day is the day of Jesus Christ’s coming. When we realize that, when we warn the world and preach and evangelize the world, our zeal will be doubled. When we say Jesus Christ is going to come soon, that will be the reality every day in our soul. When we say it, when we give out tracts, when we visit and knock on doors, that realization is going to be real for us every day. Who knows if the man that I meet or the lady I speak to today is being given their final invitation to know the Lord and their probation is about to close? Maybe they will die today or tomorrow.

“We should now consider that our life is swiftly passing away, that we are not safe one moment unless our life is hid with Christ in God. Our duty is not to be looking forward to some special time for some special work to be done for us.” Ibid., 190.

Friends, if you long for Jesus Christ—to see His face, if you are longing and expecting to be delivered from the sufferings of this world, if you feel every day that you do not want to stay in this world any longer, if you have that kind of feeling, you are going to expect Jesus to come soon and then your evangelism will be fervent. Do something about that. Don’t look forward to some special time for a special work to be done. Do it today. The work Jesus has left us to do, to spread the three angels’ messages, is the most important work in the world at this time.

I believe with all my heart that Jesus may come at any time. Sadly, many Adventists have lost their fervent hope for the soon coming of Jesus Christ. “Our duty is … to go forward in our work of warning the world; for we are to be witnesses of Christ to the uttermost parts of the world.” Ibid.

“There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). No previous generations have had the kind of distress of nations seen in just about every country as is evident today. Terrorism is rampant everywhere. Every time we fly, security searches our body, our shoes, and our baggage. People are scared to death of the things that may come soon. They are fearful and in perplexity; men’s hearts are failing them for fear. “The sea and the waves roaring” is talking about disasters, especially natural disasters.

“And He spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees” (verse 29). The fig tree represents the Jewish nation, the trees the Gentiles, you and I, because it says in verse 24, “They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times [plural] of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This means for many years Jerusalem has been trodden by the Gentiles, Roman armies. Also, God’s church, spiritual Israel, spiritual Jerusalem, would be trodden under foot by spiritual Rome, which is the papacy. The “times,” plural, of the Gentiles were fulfilled. Then, around 1844, God has given the sign of heavenly things that are shaken. At the end, the nations of earth are going to be distressed and in perplexity when the seas and waves are roaring. We are looking at that right now, at this time. There has been no generation in the past when all these nations were so distressed.

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled” (verse 32). At the time of Jesus’ first coming, the apostles saw Jesus Christ in His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. So, in their generation the signs had been fulfilled.

In 1844, when God raised up the true remnant church, true spiritual Israel saw by faith Jesus Christ going before the Ancient of days, which is God the Father, according to Daniel 7. Jesus Christ went into the Most Holy Place where God the Father was sitting on the throne. Many books were open before Him, and Jesus Christ entered into that room, in the clouds, with the many angels.

So that generation actually saw by faith all the stars fall. They saw that heaven was shaken and then they saw Jesus Christ come in glory into the Most Holy Place.

Now in this generation, when the nations are in distress, with perplexity, natural disasters, and economic distress, Jesus Christ is going to appear. We are going to see Him coming in the clouds with the glory of the angels. We are going to see it. This generation shall not pass away till all these prophecies are going to be fulfilled.

This is the time we really need to have a fervent hope for Jesus Christ’s soon return. When we have that kind of urgency in our heart, then our message will be urgent. Then the way we work, the way we evangelize, the way we preach will be different and result in a great harvest of souls ready and waiting for Jesus to come.

Pastor David Kang was the director of Light for Life U.S. Ministry operation out of Commerce, Georgia. His sermons are broadcast weekly on New York and Virginia Korean television stations. Pastor Kang passed away in 2016 waiting for the return of His best friend, Jesus, to reunite him with those with whom he labored and tirelessly worked for while he could. He is sadly missed.

Watch the Signs

The “abomination of desolation” is first described in the book of Daniel (Daniel 11:31). A few days before His crucifixion, Jesus spoke to His disciples about this entity saying, “whoever reads, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15).

The meaning of the Hebrew word abomination in the book of Daniel is translated abomination or a detestable thing. Throughout the Old Testament the word is quite common and is almost always used in regard to detestable idols or something to do with idolatry.

In the New Testament the words eramus or eromosis are used for desolation or devastation.

Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come [notice the context]. ‘Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.’ ” (Matthew 24:14–18). (See also Mark 13:14–16).

The expression “abomination of desolation” is not used in the gospel of Luke, but it talks about the same thing. It says, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her (don’t return). For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:20–22).

This was the clear instruction given by Jesus just a few days before He was crucified. When they saw the abomination stand where it should not, they were to flee out of Jerusalem. If they were in the country, they were not to return to the city.

What exactly is the abomination of desolation?

There have been many different explanations, but here we will stick with inspired statements that tell us what we need to know.

“Jesus declared to the listening disciples the judgments that were to fall upon apostate Israel, and especially the retributive vengeance that would come upon them for their rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah. Unmistakable signs would precede the awful climax. The dreaded hour would come suddenly and swiftly. And the Saviour warned His followers: ‘When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains’ (Matthew 24:15, 16). When the idolatrous standards of the Romans should be set up in the holy ground, which extended some furlongs outside the city walls, then the followers of Christ were to find safety in flight. When the warning sign should be seen, judgment was to follow so quickly that those who would escape must make no delay. He who chanced to be upon the housetop must not go down through his house into the street; but he must speed his way from roof to roof until he reach the city wall, and be saved ‘so as by fire’ (1 Corinthians 3:15). Those who were working in the fields or vineyards must not take time to return for the outer garment laid aside while they should be toiling in the heat of the day. They must not hesitate a moment, lest they be involved in the general destruction.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 26, 27.

The signal to flee, according to this passage, was when the idolatrous standards of the Romans were set up outside the city walls. It was so important that they escape that there was no time for delay, not even to go to their house to get a coat.

Unmistakable signs were given by Jesus. “All the predictions given by Christ concerning the destruction of Jerusalem were fulfilled to the letter. The Jews experienced the truth of His words of warning, ‘With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again’ (Matthew 7:2).

“Signs and wonders appeared, foreboding disaster and doom.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 31.

What were some of these signs and wonders?

“A comet, resembling a flaming sword, for a year hung over the city. An unnatural light was seen hovering over the temple. Upon the clouds were pictured chariots mustering for battle. Mysterious voices in the temple court uttered the warning words, ‘Let us depart hence.’ The eastern gate of the inner court, which was of brass, and so heavy that it was with difficulty shut by a score of men, and having bolts fastened deep into the firm pavement, was seen at midnight to be opened of its own accord.

“For seven years a man continued to go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, declaring the woes that were to come upon the city.” Ibid.

How many Christians perished in the destruction of Jerusalem?

“Not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem. Christ had given His disciples warning, and all who believed His words watched for the promised sign. After the Romans had surrounded the city, they unexpectedly withdrew their forces, at a time when everything seemed favorable for an immediate attack. In the providence of God the promised signal was thus given to the waiting Christians, and without a moment’s delay they fled [in the fall of A.D. 66] to a place of safety—the refuge city Pella, in the land of Perea, beyond Jordan.” Ibid., 32.

The greatest sign was when the abomination of desolation stood, but before that there were many other signs that told it was time to get ready to go. When the abomination of desolation appeared, it was the last call for Christ’s followers who had listened to His warning to find safety in flight, and thus save their lives, so that not one Christian perished.

The first siege of Jerusalem, under the Roman army, happened under General Cestius. He surrounded Jerusalem with the Roman armies but, when it seemed favorable to attack, he unexpectedly withdrew his forces. When Cestius began to retreat, he planted the abomination of desolation, the banner of Rome, on the holy ground. When the Roman standards were planted there, right outside the city of Jerusalem, it was the sign for the followers of Christ to flee. All the predictions that Christ gave concerning the destruction of Jerusalem were fulfilled to the letter.

Ellen White wrote in Christ’s Object Lessons, 296, that when Jerusalem was destroyed, the whole area where the temple had been was plowed like a field.

In the spring of A.D. 70, when there were over a million Jews inside the city of Jerusalem for the Passover, the Roman army, with Titus at its head, returned and surrounded the city again. This second and final siege lasted from the time of the Passover in March/April until the city fell about August 30 of that same year.

Ellen White describes it this way: “Terrible were the calamities which fell upon Jerusalem in the siege of the city by Titus. The last desperate assault was made at the time of the passover, when millions of Jews had assembled within its walls to celebrate the national festival. Their stores of provision, which if carefully preserved would have been sufficient to supply the inhabitants for years, had previously been destroyed through the jealousy and revenge of the contending factions, and now all the horrors of starvation were experienced.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 32.

Horrible things happened. “The Roman leaders endeavored to strike terror to the Jews, and thus cause them to surrender. Those prisoners who resisted when taken, were scourged, tortured, and crucified before the wall of the city. Hundreds were daily put to death in this manner, and the dreadful work continued until, along the valley of Jehoshaphat and at Calvary, crosses were erected in so great numbers that there was scarcely room to move among them.” Ibid., 33.

The destruction of Jerusalem is a type of what is going to happen at the end of the world. “The Saviour’s prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon Jerusalem is to have another fulfillment, of which that terrible scene was but a faint shadow.” Ibid., 37.

This is a scary thought! History records that over a million Jews were slaughtered during the destruction of Jerusalem. We have no idea just how many were led away captive and taken to Rome. Some of them were killed by gladiators for their entertainment in the coliseum. Others were made slaves and sent all over the world. What happened then was to have another fulfillment.

Ellen White says that that terrible scene was “a faint shadow” of a future event. The word faint means small, almost insignificant.

She says, “The second advent of the Son of God is foretold by lips which make no mistake: ‘Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30). …

“Let men beware lest they neglect the lesson conveyed to them in the words of Christ. He has declared that He will come the second time, to gather His faithful ones to himself, and to take vengeance on them that reject his mercy. As He [Jesus] warned His disciples of Jerusalem’s destruction, giving them a sign of the approaching ruin that they might make their escape, so He has warned His people of the day of final destruction, and given them signs of its approach, that all who will may flee from the wrath to come. Those who behold the promised signs are to ‘know that it is near, even at the door’ (verse 33, last part).” Ibid., 38.

What is the abomination of desolation today?

Remember, this is a two-fold prophecy. We know what the abomination of desolation was to the Christians in Jerusalem, but what does it represent today? Christians must identify the banner or flag of Rome, today. It is Sunday worship. The abomination of desolation today is Sunday worship, the symbol, sign, and mark of Rome’s self-assumed authority.

Look back again at Matthew 24:14–18. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. ‘Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ [remember, Jerusalem was called the holy city] (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.’ ”

Notice, the gospel goes to all the world and then the abomination of desolation is planted.

Let’s look at the first fulfillment. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul said that the gospel had been preached throughout the world. He said, “If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister” (Colossians 1:23). This letter was written before A.D. 66.

“After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, at a time when every conceivable power of evil is set in operation, when minds are confused by the many voices crying, ‘Lo, here is Christ,’ ‘Lo, He is there,’ ‘This is truth,’ ‘I have a message from God,’ ‘He has sent me with great light,’ and there is a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith—then a more decided effort is made to exalt the false sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God Himself by supplanting the day He has blessed and sanctified.” Selected Messages, vol. 3, 406.

One of the signs that precedes the setting up of the abomination of desolation is a removing of the landmarks of the Seventh-day Adventist faith—a removing of the landmarks.

There is a good reason that the magazine we publish here at Steps to Life is called LandMarks of Historic Adventism. There are many baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist church who do not know the historic fundamentals of Adventism. That is why we hold that name—because a removing of the landmarks and the pillars of the Adventist church has been going on for a long time.

Let’s review the history of ancient Jerusalem and pay particular attention to the events surrounding the planting of the abomination of desolation. In The Spirit of Prophecy, volume 4, page 31, it says, “Signs and wonders appeared, foreboding disaster and doom.”

She says, “A comet, resembling a flaming sword, for a year hung over the city.” Ibid. Because the Chinese began documenting signs in heaven over 200 years before Christ, we have accurate records of the history of Halley’s comet from that time clear up to the present day. And we know then, that Halley’s Comet was seen by those in Jerusalem around February, of A.D. 66. Cestius began his siege a few months later. Halley’s comet was one of the major signs warning of impending destruction in Jerusalem.

“At the time of the siege, the Jews were assembled at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of the Tabernacles, and thus the Christians throughout the land were able to make their escape unmolested. Without delay they fled to a place of safety.” The Great Controversy, 31. This was in the fall and Halley’s Comet was in the spring.

The siege was not resumed by Titus until Passover time, A.D. 70, which was a little over three years later. Why is it that Jesus said in both Matthew and Luke that when that happens, flee? Don’t even come back down into your house. Don’t even come back from the field. Flee, right then. I don’t know if I know the complete answer to that question yet. I have been thinking about this and studying it for a long time. But, part of the answer had to do with the internal corruption that occurred in Jerusalem during that time.

The people were instructed by false teachers that no matter what happened, you should stay in the city to be protected, but that was an error. What the people were taught was exactly opposite of what Jesus had predicted. So if you believed what Jesus said, you fled and got out. If you listened to what the church said, you stayed in and perished.

“In their blind and blasphemous presumption the instigators of this hellish work publicly declared that they had no fear that Jerusalem would be destroyed, for it was God’s own city. To establish their power more firmly, they bribed false prophets to proclaim, even when Roman legions were besieging the temple, that the people were to wait for deliverance from God.” Ibid., 29.

The leaders instructed not to flee. Stay right there, and God will save you. Everybody who listened to their lie got slaughtered. It says, “To the last, multitudes held fast to the belief that the Most High would interpose for the defeat of their adversaries.” Ibid.

The greatest danger of coming back to the city of Jerusalem was the risk of being deceived by the false teachers saying that safety and security was in staying there and waiting for deliverance that would never come. Sadly, the majority of the people obeyed man instead of God. They showed that they loved man and their church more than God whom they professed to follow and obey.

Who represents Jerusalem today?

Now we come to a critical question. As the abomination of desolation is a two-fold prophecy, meaning that it is going to have another occurrence in the last days, then who represents Jerusalem today? Who is God’s chosen church, as was Jerusalem, that has been given the oracles of God?

Referring to the Seventh-day Adventist church, Ellen White said, “Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to walk in the light that God has given. Jerusalem was favored of God as the depositary of sacred trusts.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 67.

Has the Seventh-day Adventist Church been favored of God as the depositary of sacred trusts? Who is it that has all the publishing rights to the prophetic works of Ellen White? The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the depositary of sacred trusts.

“But her people perverted the truth, and despised all entreaties and warnings. They would not respect His counsels. The temple courts were polluted with merchandise and robbery.” Ibid.

“There was danger that Battle Creek would become as Jerusalem of old—a powerful center. If we do not heed these warnings, the evils that ruined Jerusalem will come upon us.” Ibid., 133.

“The same danger exists today among the people who profess to be the depositaries of God’s law. They are too apt to flatter themselves that the regard in which they hold the commandments will preserve them from the power of divine justice. They refuse to be reproved for evil, and charge God’s servants with being too zealous in putting sin out of the camp. A sin-hating God calls upon those who profess to keep His law to depart from all iniquity. Neglect to repent and obey His word will bring as serious consequences upon God’s people today as did the same sin upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which He will no longer delay His judgments. The desolation of Jerusalem stands as a solemn warning before the eyes of modern Israel, that the corrections given through His chosen instruments cannot be disregarded with impunity.” Ibid., vol. 4, 166, 167.

If we don’t listen to the warnings God has given to us, the ruin that came upon Israel will come upon us. Ellen White said in a letter in The Early Elmshaven Years, 45, 46: “For a week before I fully consented to go to Battle Creek [church headquarters], I did not sleep past one o’clock. Some nights I was up at eleven o’clock, and many nights at twelve. I have not moved from impulse, but from the conviction that at this time that I must begin at Jerusalem.”

This is a very interesting statement. Jerusalem represents the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Will the abomination of desolation, that is, the banner of Rome, Sunday worship, be planted in the headquarters of the professed Seventh-day Adventist Church?

In Ezekiel 8, the prophet in vision is told about abominations in the temple in Jerusalem. Then in chapter 9, it tells about the destruction that is going to occur because of these abominations and about the people of God who are sighing and crying for these abominations that are occurring within the church.

Years ago, while I was attending Walla Walla college and studying these prophesies, my teacher tried to explain to me that this was all about something that was going on in Ezekiel’s time. But that is not the case.

In Selected Messages, vol. 3, 338, it says, “Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us.” They spoke more for our time.

“All the great events and solemn transactions of Old Testament history have been, and are, repeating themselves in the church in these last days.” Ibid., 339.

“The last books of the Old Testament show us workers taken from the laborers in the field. Others were men of high ability and extensive learning, but the Lord gave them visions and messages. These men of the Old Testament spoke of things transpiring in their day, and Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel not only spoke of things that concerned them as present truth, but their sights reached down to the future, and to what should occur in these last days.” Ibid., 419, 420.

Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel are specifically mentioned that they had “their sights” clearly down on our time. When we read from Ezekiel, we are not just reading about something that happened several hundred years before Christ. We are reading about something that’s going to happen in the last days.

Ellen White said that the prophecy in Ezekiel 9 will be fulfilled to the very letter. (See The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1303.)

When Ezekiel mentions Jerusalem, he is talking about the Seventh-day Adventist church. When He talks about the temple, He is talking about the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist church. These abominations in Ezekiel 8 will be seen occurring within the Seventh-day Adventist church and we need to be aware of these things.

Ezekiel 8 verse 16 states: “So He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.”

This is what the faithful were sighing and crying about in chapter 9. Did you notice how many people there were? “About twenty-five men.”

In the 1901 General Conference Bulletin, on page 378, it says, “The general conference constitution.” Under article 1 it says, “This organization shall be known as the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.” [April 22, 1901-Extra # 17]

Under article 2, “Object. The object of this Conference shall be to unify and to extend to all parts of the world, the work of promulgating the everlasting gospel.”

Article 4, on the executive committee, section 1, on page 379, says: “The Executive Committee of this Conference shall be twenty-five in number.” Interesting!

This article is not intended to point a finger at anybody. God’s people interpret prophecy that has been fulfilled in the past and we try to understand prophecy that will be fulfilled in the future. However, if you look at history you will find that we have a very poor track record at recognizing when a prophecy is being fulfilled right in front of us.

Remember, Jesus came to His people and said, “This day” this prophecy is “fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). And what happened? They tried to kill him.

We have a very poor track record.

My dear friends, prophecy is being fulfilled right in front of our eyes, and the question is, Will we not recognize it until it is too late?

We had better pay attention and recognize the signs. They are like the handwriting on the wall and we would not want to miss them.

(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.

The King is Coming

I want to alert you to the fact that the King is coming; not an earthly king, but Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Our world of turmoil tells us that Jesus’ coming is near—Bible prophecies are just about all fulfilled. The information in this article is to alert us to the shortness of time and to the urgent need of getting our lives in order now, without delay, before it is too late to do so. This is an emergency situation—we must get our lives in order. Where we spend eternity is our own personal choice. Now is the day of salvation!

Yes, the King is coming—Jesus the Saviour of the World. John 14:3 tells us, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21: 28. “Yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Hebrews 10:37.

The tarryng time is about up. Why? One of the best predictions about Jesus’ soon return is found in Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

“We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Life Sketches, 196.

God, through His Word and through His messenger, Ellen White, gave us full warning how we can know the nearness of the return of Jesus.

The Last Crisis

We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.

The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the final crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.

The condition of things in the world shows that troublesome times are right upon us. The daily papers are full of indications of a terrible conflict in the near future. Bold robberies are of frequent occurrence. Strikes are common. Thefts and murders are committed on every hand. Men possessed of demons are taking the lives of men, women, and little children. Men have become infatuated with vice, and every species of evil prevails.

The enemy has succeeded in perverting justice and in filling men’s hearts with the desire for selfish gain. “‘Justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.’” Isaiah 59:14. In the great cities there are multitudes living in poverty and wretchedness, well-nigh destitute of food, shelter, and clothing; while in the same cities are those who have more than heart could wish, who live luxuriously, spending their money on richly furnished houses, on personal adornment, or worse still, upon the gratification of sensual appetites, upon liquor, tobacco, and other things that destroy the powers of the brain, unbalance the mind, and debase the soul. The cries of starving humanity are coming up before God, while by every species of oppression and extortion men are piling up colossal fortunes.…

“No earthly power can stay the hand of God. No material can be used in the erection of buildings that will preserve them from destruction when God’s appointed time comes to send retribution on men for their disregard of His law and for their selfish ambition.

“There are not many, even among educators and statesmen, who comprehend the causes that underlie the present state of society. Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis. If men would give more heed to the teaching of God’s word, they would find a solution of the problems that perplex them.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 12, 13.

Conditions in the Cities

“There is coming rapidly and surely an almost universal guilt upon the inhabitants of the cities because of the steady increase of determined wickedness. We are living in the midst of an ‘epidemic of crime’ at which thoughtful, God-fearing men everywhere stand aghast. The corruption that prevails is beyond the power of the human pen to describe. Every day brings fresh revelations of political strife, bribery, and fraud; every day brings its heartsickening record of violence and lawlessness, of indifference to human suffering; of brutal, fiendish destruction of human life. Every day testifies to the increase of insanity, murder, and suicide.

“The cities of today are fast becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah. Holidays are numerous; the whirl of excitement and pleasure attracts thousands from the sober duties of life. The exciting sports—theatergoing, horse racing, gambling, liquor drinking and reveling—stimulate every passion to activity.

“The youth are swept away by the popular current. Those who learn to love amusement for its own sake open the door to a flood of temptations. They give themselves up to social gaiety and thoughtless mirth. They are led on from one form of dissipation to another, until they lose both the desire and the capacity for a life of usefulness. Their religious aspirations are chilled; their spiritual life is darkened. All the nobler faculties of the soul, all that link man with the spiritual world, are debased.…

“Even the church, which should be the pillar and ground of the truth, is found encouraging a selfish love of pleasure. When money is raised for religious purposes, to what means do many churches resort? To bazaars, suppers, fancy fairs, even to lotteries and like devices. Often the place set apart for God’s worship is desecrated by feasting and drinking, buying, selling, and merrymaking. Respect for the house of God and reverence for His worship are lessened in the minds of the youth. The barriers of self-restraint are weakened. Selfishness, appetite, the love of display, are appealed to, and they strengthen as they are indulged.” Ibid., 89-91.

The Meaning of Conversion

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 11 Corinthians 5:17.

“The old nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited. The new birth consists in having new motives, new tastes, new tendencies. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ. When men who claim to be Christians retain all their natural defects of character and disposition, in what does their position differ from that of the worldling? They do not appreciate the truth as a sanctifier, a refiner. They have not been born again.…

A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. The religion of God is a firm fabric, composed of innumerable threads, and woven together with tact and skill. Only the wisdom which comes from God can make this fabric complete. There are a great many kinds of cloth which at first have a fine appearance, but they cannot endure the test. They wash out. The colors are not fast. Under the heat of summer they fade away and are lost. The cloth cannot endure rough handling.

“So it is with the religion of many. When the warp and woof of character will not stand the test of trial, the material of which it is composed is worthless. The efforts made to patch the old with a new piece do not better the condition of things; for the old, flimsy material breaks away from the new, leaving the rent much larger than before. Patching will not do. The only way is to discard the old garment altogether, and procure one entirely new.

“Christ’s plan is the only safe one. He declares, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.’…The patchwork religion is not of the least value with God. He requires the whole heart.

“Jesus gave His life…for us, and shall we not give Him our best affections, our holiest aspirations, our fullest service?” Maranatha, 237.


Is it necessary to be a sanctified person? Let us take a look.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.…The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work… Exodus 20:8–10.

“God has declared in His Word that the seventh day is a sign between Him and His chosen people—a sign of their loyalty.…

“The seventh day is God’s chosen day. He has not left this matter to be remodeled by priest or ruler. It is of too great importance to be left to human judgment. God saw that men would study their own convenience, and choose a day best suited to their inclinations, a day bearing no divine authority; and He has stated plainly that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.

“Every man in God’s world is under the laws of His government. God has placed the Sabbath in the bosom of the Decalogue, and has made it the criterion of obedience. Through it we may learn of His power, as displayed in His works and His Word.…

“Men could not place themselves more decidedly in opposition to God’s work and to His law than by upholding a day that is without one evidence of sanctity, and professing to worship Him on that day. Those who have corrupted the law by substituting a false sabbath for the holy Sabbath of God, and who compel the observance of this false sabbath, exalt themselves above God, and honor the spurious above the genuine.

“Sanctification is claimed by professed Christians who ignore God’s holy rest day for a spurious sabbath, But God declares that the sanctification coming from Him is bestowed on those only who honor Him by obeying His commands. The sanctification claimed by those who continue in transgression is a spurious sanctification. Thus the religious world is deceived by the enemy of God and man.…

“Men have sought out many inventions. They have taken a common day, upon which God has placed no sanctity, and have clothed it with sacred prerogatives. They have declared it to be a holy day, but this does not give it a vestige of sanctity. They dishonor God by accepting human institutions and presenting to the world as the Christian Sabbath a day which has no ‘Thus saith the Lord for its authority.” Ibid., 238.

Thought to Consider

How many believe there was a George Washington? Abraham Lincoln? Martin Luther? Adolph Hitler? How do we know they lived, existed? One would probably respond, “Have you not read history books?” My response would be that I have read history books, but why has mankind been reluctant to consider the greatest history book ever, the Bible, which not only covers history but explains the present and the future?

The Bible is the only book that contains all information needed to secure eternal life. The Bible contains much history that is necessary for one to know. Knowing the failures of mankind in the past is beneficial for us to understand the present time and what the future outcome will be, if God is not respected and obeyed.

The Book of Life

Revelation 20:12–15 speaks of the Book of Life. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

“When we become children of God, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and they remain there until the time of the investigative Judgment. Then the name of every individual will be called, and his record examined by Him who declares, ‘I know thy works.’ If in that day it shall appear that all our wicked deeds have not been fully repented of, our names will be blotted from the book of life, and our sins will stand against us.’” Signs of the Times, August 6, 1855.

“Moses manifested his great love for Israel in his entreaty to the Lord to forgive their sin, or blot his name out of the book which He had written. His intercessions here illustrate Christ’s love and mediation for the sinful race. But the Lord refused to let Moses suffer for the sins of His backsliding people. He declared to him that those who had sinned against Him He would blot out of His book which He had written; for the righteous should not suffer for the guilt of the sinner. The book here referred to is the book of records in Heaven, in which every name is inscribed, and the acts of all, their sins, and obedience, are faithfully written. When individuals commit sins which are too grievous for the Lord to pardon, their names are erased from the book, and they are devoted to destruction.” Ibid., May 27, 1880.

As you read this material and, on a daily basis, see the happenings in the daily news, would you not agree that the King of the universe has to come to put an end to this troubled planet?

Are you ready for Jesus’ soon return? Are you determined to get ready—stay ready? Friend, Jesus is coming soon, because the predictions of Matthew 24 are all just about fulfilled, especially verse 14. Study this chapter carefully. May God bless you with His help as you study this chapter and this article, so you may be ready for the soon return of our King of kings and Lords of lords. Eternal life is at stake. Let us not allow Satan to take it from us. Satan has nothing worthwhile to offer.

Satan would rather for us to have a form of religion than to have a true conversion experience.

The Great Controversy, 378, 379, relates to this matter in this manner: “It suits the policy of Satan that men should retain the forms of religion if but the spirit of vital godliness is lacking. After their rejection of the gospel, the Jews continued zealously to maintain their ancient rites, they rigorously preserved their national exclusiveness, while they themselves could not but admit that the presence of God was no longer manifest among them. The prophecy of Daniel pointed so unmistakably to the time of Messiah’s coming, and so directly foretold His death, that they discouraged its study, and finally the rabbis pronounced a curse on all who should attempt a computation of the time. In blindness and impenitence the people of Israel during succeeding centuries have stood, indifferent to the gracious offers of salvation, unmindful of the blessings of the gospel, a solemn and fearful warning of the danger of rejecting light from heaven.

“Wherever the cause exits, the same results will follow. He who deliberately stifles his convictions of duty because it interferes with his inclinations will finally lose the power to distinguish between truth and error. The understanding becomes darkened, the conscience callous, the heart hardened, and the soul is separated from God. Where the message of divine truth is spurned or slighted, there the church will be enshrouded in darkness; faith and love grow cold, and estrangement and dissension enter. Church members center their interests and energies in worldly pursuits, and sinners become hardened in their impenitence.

“The First Angel’s Message of Revelation 14, announcing the hour of God’s judgment and calling upon men to fear and worship Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and to arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this message, God had sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him. Had they received the message from heaven, humbling their hearts before the Lord and seeking in sincerity a preparation to stand in His presence, the Spirit and power of God would have been manifested among them. The church would again have reached that blessed state of unity, faith, and love which existed in apostolic days, when the believers ‘were of one heart and of one soul,’ and ‘spake the word of God with boldness,’ when ‘the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’ Acts 4:32, 31; 2:47.

“If God’s professed people would receive the light as it shines upon them from His word, they would reach that unity for which Christ prayed, that which the apostle describes, ‘the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ ‘There is,’ he says, ‘one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’” Ephesians 4:3–5.” [“One” emphasized in original.]

How tragic it would be if we, or those we love, should be unprepared for the Second Coming of our Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, let us study the Bible prophecies for ourselves so that we will not be deceived by any false Messiah, but rather, be ready for the real Lord Jesus when He comes in the clouds soon!

Signs of the Times

In Testimonies, vol. 9, 12–14, Ellen White wrote: “On one occasion, when in New York City, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven. These buildings were warranted to be fireproof, and they were erected to glorify their owners and builders. Higher and still higher these buildings rose, and in them the most costly material was used. Those to whom these buildings belonged were not asking themselves: ‘How can we best glorify God?’ The Lord was not in their thoughts.

“I thought: ‘Oh, that those who are thus investing their means could see their course as God sees it! They are piling up magnificent buildings, but how foolish in the sight of the Ruler of the universe is their planning and devising. They are not studying with all the powers of heart and mind how they may glorify God. They have lost sight of this, the first duty of man.’

“As these lofty buildings went up, the owners rejoiced with ambitious pride that they had money to use in gratifying self and provoking the envy of their neighbors. Much of the money that they thus invested had been obtained through exaction, through grinding down the poor. They forgot that in heaven an account of every business transaction is kept; every unjust deal, every fraudulent act, is there recorded. The time is coming when in their fraud and insolence men will reach a point that the Lord will not permit them to pass, and they will learn that there is a limit to the forbearance of Jehovah.

“The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings and said: ‘They are perfectly safe.’ But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines.

“I am instructed that when the Lord’s time comes, should no change have taken place in the hearts of proud, ambitious human beings, men will find that the hand that had been strong to save will be strong to destroy. No earthly power can stay the hand of God. No material can be used in the erection of buildings that will preserve them from destruction when God’s appointed time comes to send retribution on men for their disregard of His law and for their selfish ambition.

“There are not many, even among educators and statesmen, who comprehend the causes that underlie the present state of society. Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis. If men would give more heed to the teaching of God’s word, they would find a solution of the problems that perplex them.

“The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ’s Second Coming. Of the men who by robbery and extortion are amassing great riches, it is written: ‘Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.’ James 5:3–6.

“But who reads the warnings given by the fast-fulfilling signs of the times? What impression is made upon worldlings? What change is seen in their attitude? No more than was seen in the attitude of the inhabitants of the Noachian world. Absorbed in worldly business and pleasure, the antediluvians ‘knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away.’ Matthew 24:39. They had heaven-sent warnings, but they refused to listen. And today the world, utterly regardless of the warning voice of God, is hurrying on to eternal ruin.…”

Look how the next paragraph starts—and remember, Ellen White saw this vision nearly 100 years ago.

The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecy of the eleventh chapter of Daniel has nearly reached its complete fulfillment. Soon the scenes of trouble spoken of in the prophecies will take place.

“‘Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.…Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate.…The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth.’ Isaiah 24:1–8.

“Satan is a diligent Bible student. He knows that his time is short, and he seeks at every point to counter-work the work of the Lord upon this earth.

“…Fearful tests and trials await the people of God. The spirit of war is stirring the nations from one end of the earth to the other. But in the midst of the time of trouble that is coming,—a time of trouble such as has not been since there was a nation,—God’s chosen people will stand unmoved. Satan and his host cannot destroy them, for angels that excel in strength will protect them.” Ibid., 16, 17.

Review the events of the days surrounding September 11, 2001. We need to take a personal test question. Are we personally ready to face the trials that may confront us and for Jesus to come? I hope your answer is yes. On a personal basis, do you believe with heart and soul that Jesus’ coming is really soon—even at the door?

“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. Those who refuse to be hewed by the prophets and fail to purify their souls in obeying the whole truth, and who are willing to believe that their condition is far better than it really is, will come up to the time of the falling of the plagues, and then see that they needed to be hewed and squared for the building. But there will be no time then to do it and no Mediator to plead their cause before the Father.” Early Writings, 71.

Bible Study Guides – Signs in the Heavens

July 14- July 20, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28.

STUDY HELPS: The Great Controversy, 299–316.

INTRODUCTION: The wonderful things to take place in our world—the greatest events of all ages—are incomprehensible to worldly minds; they cannot be explained by human sciences. The powers of heaven shall be shaken. Christ is coming in power and great glory, but His coming is not such a mystery as the things to take place before that event. Man must be a partaker of the divine nature in order to stand in this evil time, when the mysteries of satanic agencies are at work. Only by the divine power united with the human can souls endure through these times of trial. Says Christ, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ Then there must be far less of self and more of Jesus.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 332.

1 How did God answer Joshua’s request? Joshua 10:12–14.

NOTE: “The lengthening of the day not only provided additional time for the total destruction of the enemies of Israel but was a signal demonstration of the power of Israel’s God. It showed that the very gods whom the heathen worshiped were powerless before the true God. They worshiped the Canaanite god Baal and the goddess Ashtoreth. Both the sun and the moon whom they worshiped were shown to be subservient to Joshua’s command, under the direction of Israel’s God, Jehovah.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 226. (On Joshua 10:12.)

2 How did God use the sun to answer Hezekiah? 2 Kings 20:8–11.

NOTE: “Only by the direct interposition of God could the shadow on the sundial be made to turn back ten degrees; and this was to be the sign to Hezekiah that the Lord had heard his prayer.” Prophets and Kings, 342.

3 What happened to the sun at the crucifixion of Christ? Matthew 27:45.

NOTE: “When His mission began, the heavens were opened, and the glory of God encircled the Son of God; but when it ended, He hung upon Calvary’s cross, and even the sun which He had created, refused to shine upon the scene of His agony. Darkness, denser than that of midnight, enshrouded the Son of God.” Youth’s Instructor, June 23, 1892.

4 How did the disciples approach Jesus about the signs of the end of the world? Matthew 24:3.

NOTE: “Jesus did not answer His disciples by taking up separately the destruction of Jerusalem and the great day of His coming. He mingled the description of these two events. Had He opened to His disciples future events as He beheld them, they would have been unable to endure the sight. In mercy to them He blended the description of the two great crises, leaving the disciples to study out the meaning for themselves. When He referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, His prophetic words reached beyond that event to the final conflagration in that day when the Lord shall rise out of His place to punish the world for their iniquity, when the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. This entire discourse was given, not for the disciples only, but for those who should live in the last scenes of this earth’s history.” The Desire of Ages, 628.

5 What did Jesus say would happen in the heavens as signs of His coming? Luke 21:25, 26.

NOTE: “The future was mercifully veiled from the disciples. Had they at that time fully comprehend the two awful facts—the Redeemer’s sufferings and death, and the destruction of their city and temple—they would have been overwhelmed with horror. Christ presented before them an outline of the prominent events to take place before the close of time. His words were not then fully understood; but their meaning was to be unfolded as His people should need the instruction therein given. The prophecy which He uttered was twofold in its meaning; while foreshadowing the destruction of Jerusalem, it prefigured also the terrors of the last great day.” The Great Controversy, 25.

6 What did Jesus say would happen to the sun? Matthew 24:29, first part.

NOTE: “The Saviour gives signs of His coming, and more than this, He fixes the time when the first of these signs shall appear: [Matthew24:29–31 quoted].

“At the close of the great papal persecution, Christ declared, the sun should be darkened . . . .” The Desire of Ages, 631, 632.

“‘Almost, if not altogether alone, as the most mysterious and as yet unexplained phenomenon of its kind, . . . stands the dark day of May 19, 1780,—a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England.’—R. M. Devens, Our First Century, page 89.” The Great Controversy, 306.

7 What did Jesus prophesy about the moon as a sign of his second coming? Mark 13:24.

NOTE: “The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfilment: ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.’

“Christ had bidden His people watch for the signs of His advent, and rejoice as they should behold the tokens of their coming King.” Maranatha, 150.

8 What additional celestial phenomenon did Jesus say would occur? Luke 21:25, first part; Matthew 24:29.

NOTE: “This prophecy [of Matthew 24:29] received a striking and impressive fulfillment in the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. That was the most extensive and wonderful display of falling stars which has ever been recorded; ‘the whole firmament, over all the United States, being then, for hours, in fiery commotion! No celestial phenomenon has ever occurred in this country, since its first settlement, which was viewed with such intense admiration by one class in the community, or with so much dread and alarm by another.’ . . . R. M. Devens, American Progress; or, The Great Events of the Greatest Century, ch. 28, pars. 1-5.” The Great Controversy, 333.

9 What was the first warning Christ gave when asked about the signs of the end? Matthew 24:4, 5; Luke 21:8.

NOTE: “Satan is a cunning foe. And it is not difficult for the evil angels to represent both saints and sinners who have died, and make these representations visible to human eyes. These manifestations will be more frequent, and developments of a more startling character will appear as we near the close of time. We need not be astonished at anything in the line of deceptions to allure the unwary and deceive, if possible, the very elect. Spiritualists quote, ‘Prove all things.’ But God has, for the benefit of His people who live amid the perils of the last days, proved this class, and given the result of His proving.” Review and Herald, April 1, 1875.

“Rebellion and apostasy are in the very air we breathe. We shall be affected by it unless we by faith hang our helpless souls upon Christ. If men are so easily misled, how will they stand when Satan shall personate Christ, and work miracles? Who will be unmoved by his misrepresentations, professing to be Christ when it is only Satan assuming the person of Christ, and apparently working the works of Christ? What will hold God’s people from giving their allegiance to false christs? ‘Go ye not . . . after them’ (Luke 21:8).

“The doctrines must be plainly understood. The men accepted to teach the truth must be anchored; then their vessel will hold against storm and tempest, because the anchor holds them firmly. The deceptions will increase.— Letter 1, 1897.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 58.

10 What is one of the signs that the false prophets will perform? Matthew 24:24; Revelation 13:13.

NOTE: “I saw that soon it would be considered blasphemy to speak against the rapping, and that it would spread more and more, that Satan’s power would increase, and some of his devoted followers would have power to work miracles, and even to bring down fire from heaven in the sight of men. I was shown that by the rapping and mesmerism, these modern magicians would yet account for all the miracles wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, and that many would believe that all the mighty works of the Son of God when on earth were accomplished by this same power.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 168, 169.

11 What aspects of Christ’s second coming will Satan be unable to counterfeit? Matthew 24:27; Revelation 1:7.

NOTE: “Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the manner of Christ’s advent. The Saviour has warned His people against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the manner of His second coming. [Matthew 24:24, 26, 27 quoted.] . . . This coming there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world.” The Great Controversy, 625.

12 How are Christians to prepare as the signs are being fulfilled? 2 Timothy 2:15.

NOTE: “There is great need for studying the Word of God. From one end of the world to the other the message of Christ’s righteousness is to be sounded by human lips, to prepare the way of the Lord. The youth, the aged, and the middle-aged are to act a personal part in preparing their own souls for the great event that is soon to take place, even the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, and in so doing they will reflect light upon many other souls.” Review and Herald, July 22, 1909.

13 What words of caution did Christ give to those living just before His second coming? Luke 21:34.

NOTE: “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.” The Great Controversy, 625, 626.

14 What did Jesus say our responsibility is if we are to be ready when He comes? Matthew 24:42. Compare Mark 13:35, 36.

NOTE: “Because we do not know the exact hour of Christ’s coming, we are commanded to watch. ‘Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching.’ Those who watch for the Lord’s return do not wait in idle expectancy. They purify their hearts by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they unite earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to cooperate with divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls. These are the faithful and wise servants, who give to the Lord’s household their portion of meat in due season. They are declaring the truth that is now specially applicable. As Enoch, Abraham, and Moses each declared the truth for his time, so will Christ’s servants now give the special warning for their generation.” Review and Herald, November 13, 1913.

By Ruth Grosboll

Bible Study Guides – Signs of the Nearness of Christ’s Coming

August 19, 2007 – August 25, 2007

Key Text

“So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” Luke 21:31.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 268-270.


“The signs in the sun, moon, and stars have been fulfilled. Since that time earthquakes, tempests, tidal waves, pestilence, and famine have multiplied. The most awful destructions, by fire and flood, are following one another in quick succession. The terrible disasters that are taking place from week to week speak to us in earnest tones of warning, declaring that the end is near, that something great and decisive will soon of necessity take place.” Review and Herald, November 22, 1906.

1 What sign was to appear in the stars? Matthew 24:29.

note: “This prophecy received a striking and impressive fulfillment in the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. That was the most extensive and wonderful display of falling stars which has ever been recorded; ‘the whole firmament, over all the United States, being then, for hours, in fiery commotion! No celestial phenomenon has ever occurred in this country, since its first settlement, which was viewed with such intense admiration by one class in the community, or with so much dread and alarm by another.’ ‘Its sublimity and awful beauty still linger in many minds. . . . Never did rain fall much thicker than the meteors fell toward the earth; east, west, north, and south, it was the same. In a word, the whole heavens seemed in motion. . . . The display, as described in Professor Silliman’s Journal, was seen all over North America. . . . From two o’clock until broad daylight, the sky being perfectly serene and cloudless, an incessant play of dazzlingly brilliant luminosities was kept up in the whole heavens.’ R. M. Devens, American Progress; or, The Great Events of the Greatest Century, ch. 28, pars. 1-5.

“ ‘No language, indeed, can come up to the splendor of that magnificent display; . . . no one who did not witness it can form an adequate conception of its glory. It seemed as if the whole starry heavens had congregated at one point near the zenith, and were simultaneously shooting forth, with the velocity of lightning, to every part of the horizon; and yet they were not exhausted thousands swiftly followed in the tracks of thousands, as if created for the occasion.’ F. Reed, in the Christian Advocate and Journal, Dec. 13, 1833. ‘A more correct picture of a fig tree casting its figs when blown by a mighty wind, it was not possible to behold.’ _The Old Countryman,’ in Portland Evening Advertiser, November 26, 1833.” The Great Controversy, 333, 334.

2 What is said of the manner of their fall? Revelation 6:13. Was it the real planetary stars that fell?

note: “In 1833, two years after [William] Miller began to present in public the evidences of Christ’s soon coming, the last of the signs appeared which were promised by the Saviour as tokens of His second advent. Said Jesus: ‘The stars shall fall from heaven.’ Matthew 24:29. And John in the Revelation declared, as he beheld in vision the scenes that should herald the day of God: ‘The stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.’ Revelation 6:13.” The Great Controversy, 333.

“This language of the prophet (Revelation 6:13) has always been received as metaphorical. Yesterday it was literally fulfilled. The ancients understood by aster in Greek and stella in Latin the smaller lights of heaven. The refinement of modern astronomy has made the distinction between stars of heaven and meteors of heaven. Therefore, the idea of the prophet as it is expressed in the original Greek, was literally fulfilled in the phenomena of yesterday.” Henry Dana Ward, in Journal of Commerce, November 15, 1833.

3 In what marked way was this prophecy fulfilled?

note: There is a record of not less than 16 star showers between a.d. 902 and 1868. None of those previous to 1780 could be the one referred to by the Saviour. . . . The skeptic may ask, “How can you know which of these [star showers] is the fulfillment of the prophecy?” This is easily determined by reading Revelation 6:13. It is the one in which the stars fall as untimely figs. This was true only of the one in 1833. The astronomers speak of the shower of 1833 as the most important one that has yet been seen.

“November 13, 1833, there was the most wonderful display of falling stars ever beheld by men. Again thousands believed that the day of judgment had come.” The Story of Jesus, 176.

4 What signs were to follow the falling of the stars? Luke 21:25, 26.

note: “Since that time earthquakes, tempests, tidal waves, pestilence, famine, and destructions by fire and flood, have multiplied. All these, and ‘distress of nations, with perplexity,’ [Luke 21:25] declare that the Lord’s coming is near.” The Story of Jesus, 176.

“The Saviour declared that before his second coming, there would be wars and rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places. The reports that reached us of the terrible earthquakes in Italy and Sicily tell of another fulfilment of the signs of the end. These calamities are becoming more and more frequent, and each report of calamity by land or sea is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is near. The world is filled with iniquity, and the Lord is punishing it for its wickedness. As crimes and iniquities increase, these judgments will become more frequent, until the time shall come when the earth shall no more cover her slain.” Review and Herald, November 17, 1910.

“In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. ‘The earth mourneth and fadeth away’; ‘The haughty people . . . do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.’ Isaiah 24:4, 5.” Counsels on Health, 461.

“Strange and eventful history is being recorded in the books of heaven events which it was declared should shortly precede the great day of God. Everything in the world is in an unsettled state.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 313.

5 Have the nations of the earth been particularly distressed since 1833?

note: “We are living in the very last days of this earth’s history. The terrible calamities that have recently visited our country show that the judgments of the Lord are falling on the world. The destruction of these cities is a warning to us to prepare for what is coming upon the earth. In the future there will be broken thrones and great distress of nations, with perplexity. Satan will work with intense activity. The earth will be filled with the shrieks of suffering, expiring nations. There will be war, war. The places of the earth will be in confusion, as from its bowels pours forth its burning contents, to destroy the inhabitants of the world who, in their wickedness, resemble the inhabitants of the antediluvian world.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 92.

6 What effect do all these things have upon the people? Luke 21:26.

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.

7 At this same time, what can be said of the mental improvement of the people? Daniel 12:4.

note: “There are many inventions and improvements, and labor-saving machines now that the ancients did not have.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, 155.

“All right inventions and improvements have their source in him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. The skilful touch of the physician’s hand, his power over nerve and muscle, his knowledge of the delicate mechanism of the body, is the wisdom of divine power to be used in behalf of the suffering. The skill with which the carpenter uses his tools, the strength with which the blacksmith makes the anvil ring, come from God. Whatever we do, wherever we are placed, he desires to control our minds, that we may do perfect work.” Review and Herald, October 3, 1912.

8 Name some of the principal inventions since 1833.

note: Reaper and mower, 1833; telegraph, electrotype, and phonography, 1837; photography, 1839; electric light and sewing machine, 1846; submarine cable, 1851; washing machine, 1858; bicycle, 1861; typewriter, 1867; telephone, 1876; phonograph, 1877; cash register, 1884; dishwasher, 1886; escalator, 1891; safety razor and vacuum cleaner, 1901; airplane, 1903; tractor, 1904; Model T automobile, 1908; talking motion picture, 1910; photocopier, 1937; color television, 1940; computer, 1942; handheld calculator, 1967; videocassette recorder, 1971; cellular phones, 1979; World Wide Web, 1990.

“Christ never flattered men; he never spoke that which would exalt their fancies and imaginations, or praised them for their clever inventions. But those who were deep, unprejudiced thinkers received his words, and found that it put their wisdom to the stretch to comprehend the spiritual truths which he revealed in the simplest language.” Sabbath School Worker, January 1, 1895.

9 What are we to know when we see all these things? Luke 21:31; Matthew 24:33.

note: “The Bible declares that in the last days men will be absorbed in worldly pursuits, in pleasure and money-getting. They will be blind to eternal realities. . . .

“So it is today. Men are rushing on in the chase for gain and selfish indulgence as if there were no God, no heaven, and no hereafter. In Noah’s day the warning of the flood was sent to startle men in their wickedness and call them to repentance. So the message of Christ’s soon coming is designed to arouse men from their absorption in worldly things. It is intended to awaken them to a sense of eternal realities, that they may give heed to the invitation to the Lord’s table.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 228.

10 What expression is used that shows the coming of the Lord very near? Luke 21:32.

note: “Christ has given signs of His coming. He declares that we may know when He is near, even at the doors. He says of those who see these signs, ‘This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.’ [Matthew 24:34.] These signs have appeared. Now we know of a surety that the Lord’s coming is at hand. ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away,’ He says, ‘but My words shall not pass away.’ [Verse 35.]” The Desire of Ages, 632.

11 Then what may we expect within the present generation? Revelation 6:14; Matthew 24:30.

note: “The end of all things is at hand. The Lord is soon coming. Already His judgments are abroad in our land. We are not only to talk of Christ’s coming, but in every action we are to reveal the fact that He is soon to be manifested in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Have we the wedding garment on? Have we personal piety? Have we cooperated with divine agencies in a wholehearted, unreserved manner, in weaving into our life’s practices the divine principles of God’s holy law? It is one thing to talk the law, and it is another thing entirely to practice it. It is the doers of the law that shall be justified before God; for those who do the law represent the character of God, and lie not against the truth.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 187.

12 What will Christ do when He appears? Matthew 24:31.

note: “The Lion of Judah, so terrible to the rejectors of His grace, will be the Lamb of God to the obedient and faithful. The pillar of fire that speaks terror and wrath to the transgressor of God’s law, is a token of light and mercy and deliverance to those who have kept His commandments. The arm strong to smite the rebellious will be strong to deliver the loyal. Everyone who is faithful will be saved. ‘He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’ [Matthew 24:31.]” Sons and Daughters of God, 358.

Bible Study Guides – Signs of Christ’s Coming Near

August 12, 2007 – August 18, 2007

Key Text

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 299-316.


“Let men beware lest they neglect the lesson conveyed to them in the words of Christ. As He [Jesus] warned His disciples of Jerusalem’s destruction, giving them a sign of the approaching ruin, that they might make their escape; so He has warned the world of the day of final destruction and has given them tokens of its approach, that all who will may flee from the wrath to come.” The Great Controversy, 37.

“In Matthew 24, in answer to the question of His disciples concerning the sign of His coming and of the end of the world, Christ had pointed out some of the most important events in the history of the world and of the church from His first to His second advent; namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, the great tribulation of the church under the pagan and papal persecutions, the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars. After this He spoke of His coming in His kingdom, and related the parable describing the two classes of servants who look for His appearing.” Ibid., 393.

1 Where did Jesus say there would be signs? Luke 21:25.

note: “We see and hear of confusion and perplexity, want and famine, earthquakes and floods; terrible outrages will be committed by men; passion, not reason, bears sway. The wrath of God is upon the inhabitants of the world, who are fast becoming as corrupt as were the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Already fire and flood are destroying thousands of lives and the property that has been selfishly accumulated by the oppression of the poor. The Lord is soon to cut short His work and put an end to sin. Oh, that the scenes which have come before me [Ellen White] of the iniquities practiced in these last days, might make a deep impression on the minds of God’s professing people.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 49, 50.

2 What signs did Jesus say would be seen in the sun, moon, and stars? Matthew 24:29.

note: “December 16, 1848, the Lord gave me [Ellen White] a view of the shaking of the powers of the heavens. I saw that when the Lord said ‘heaven,’ in giving the signs recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, He meant heaven, and when He said ‘earth’ He meant earth. The powers of heaven are the sun, moon, and stars. They rule in the heavens. The powers of earth are those that rule on the earth. The powers of heaven will be shaken at the voice of God. Then the sun, moon, and stars will be moved out of their places. They will not pass away, but be shaken by the voice of God.” Early Writings, 41.

3 When did Jesus say the sun would be darkened? Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24.

note: “The Saviour gives signs of His coming, and more than this, He fixes the time when the first of these signs shall appear: [Matthew 24:29-31 quoted].

“At the close of the great papal persecution, Christ declared, the sun should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light.” The Desire of Ages, 631, 632.

4 What is said of the character of this tribulation? Matthew 24:21.

note: “Christ gave His disciples a sign of the ruin to come on Jerusalem, and He told them how to escape: . . .

“From the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ passed on rapidly to the greater event, the last link in the chain of this earth’s history,–the coming of the Son of God in majesty and glory. Between these two events, there lay open to Christ’s view long centuries of darkness, centuries for His church marked with blood and tears and agony. Upon these scenes His disciples could not then endure to look, and Jesus passed them by with a brief mention.” The Desire of Ages, 630, 631.

5 What other great event did Jesus say would precede the darkening of the sun? Revelation 6:12.

note: “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.

“It was in Spain and Portugal that the shock manifested its extreme violence. At Cadiz the inflowing wave was said to be sixty feet high. Mountains, ‘some of the largest in Portugal, were impetuously shaken, as it were, from their very foundations, and some of them opened at their summits, which were split and rent in a wonderful manner, huge masses of them being thrown down into the adjacent valleys. Flames are related to have issued from these mountains.’ ”Sir Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology, page 495.” The Great Controversy, 304.

6 What is connected with the great tribulation that helps us to locate it?

note: There have been a great many tribulations through which God’s people have had to pass. If the Saviour had only spoken of a tribulation, we should have been at a loss to know which one He meant. But He connects with it three specifications that locate it beyond a doubt; first, it is a great tribulation; second, there never was one like it before, nor ever will be another like it again; third, there is a certain time called “days” allotted to it.

7 What persecution of the past will fulfill these specifications? Revelation 11:2-11.

note: There is one persecution, and only one, that meets the demands of the Saviour’s words, and that is found in the papal persecution, from a.d. 538 to 1798. It was great in extent and severity. There never was a time when so many of God’s people sealed their testimony with their blood. About 50 million people suffered martyrdom at the hands of this power. According to other prophecies, it was to have authority over the saints for “time, times, and dividing of times” (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:14); 1260 days (Revelation 12:6); or 42 months (Revelation 13:5), which literally signifies 1260 years.

“[Revelation 11:2-11 quoted.] The periods here mentioned–‘forty and two months,’ and ‘a thousand two hundred and threescore days’–are the same, alike representing the time in which the church of Christ was to suffer oppression from Rome. The 1260 years of papal supremacy began in a.d. 538, and would therefore terminate in 1798.” The Great Controversy, 266.

8 When would “the days” of the great persecution close?

note: The days began with the subjection of the Ostrogoths in a.d. 538, and, continuing 1260 years, would close a.d. 1798, when the Papacy as a persecutor was overthrown.

“The apostle Paul warned the church not to look for the coming of Christ in his day. ‘That day shall not come,’ he says, ‘except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed.’ 11 Thessalonians 2:3. Not till after the great apostasy, and the long period of the reign of the ‘man of sin,’ can we look for the advent of our Lord. The ‘man of sin,’ which is also styled ‘the mystery of iniquity,’ ‘the son of perdition,’ and ‘that wicked,’ [11 Thessalonians 2:7, 3, 8] represents the papacy, which, as foretold in prophecy, was to maintain its supremacy for 1260 years. This period ended in 1798. The coming of Christ could not take place before that time.” The Great Controversy, 356.

9 How does Mark speak of the tribulation and the days? Mark 13:24.

note: “These signs were witnessed before the opening of the nineteenth century.” The Great Controversy, 304.

10 Which closes first, the “tribulation” or “days”? What time did the tribulation cease?

note: The empress of Austria was the first European ruler to issue an edict of tolerance to Christianity, which took place in a.d. 1776. Owing to the work of the reformers, persecution ceased in the other states about the same time.

11 Then between what two dates would the darkening have to come to be a sign? Answer: Between 1776 and 1798. Was the sun darkened at this time? Give a description of the dark day in 1780.

note: “ ‘Almost, if not altogether alone, as the most mysterious and as yet unexplained phenomenon of its kind, . . . stands the dark day of May 19, 1780,–a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England.’–R. M. Devens, Our First Century, page 89.” The Great Controversy, 306.

“May 19, 1780, stands in history as ‘The Dark Day.’ Since the time of Moses no period of darkness of equal density, extent, and duration, has ever been recorded. The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfillment: ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.’ Joel 2:31.” Ibid., 308.

12 When was the sign in the moon fulfilled?

note: “The intense darkness of the day was succeeded, an hour or two before evening, by a partially clear sky, and the sun appeared, though it was still obscured by the black, heavy mist. ‘After sundown, the clouds came again overhead, and it grew dark very fast.’ ‘Nor was the darkness of the night less uncommon and terrifying than that of the day; notwithstanding there was almost a full moon, no object was discernible but by the help of some artificial light, which, when seen from the neighboring houses and other places at a distance, appeared through a kind of Egyptian darkness which seemed almost impervious to the rays.’–Isaiah Thomas, Massachusetts Spy; or, American Oracle of Liberty, vol. 10, No. 472 (May 25, 1780). Said an eyewitness of the scene: ‘I could not help conceiving at the time, that if every luminous body in the universe had been shrouded in impenetrable shades, or struck out of existence, the darkness could not have been more complete.’–Letter by Dr. Samuel Tenney, of Exeter, New Hampshire, December, 1785 (in Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, 1792, 1st series, vol. 1, p. 97). Though at nine o’clock that night the moon rose to the full, ‘it had not the least effect to dispel the deathlike shadows.’ After midnight the darkness disappeared, and the moon, when first visible, had the appearance of blood.” The Great Controversy, 307, 308.

13 What did Jesus exhort His people to do when they saw these things begin to come to pass? Luke 21:28.

note: “The words of Jesus Christ are spoken to us living down here in the close of this earth’s history. ‘When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.’ [Luke 21:28.] The nations are in unrest. Times of perplexity are upon us. The waves of the sea are roaring; men’s hearts are failing them for fear and for expectation of those things that are coming upon the earth; but those who believe on the Son of God will hear His voice amid the storm, saying, ‘It is I; be not afraid.’ [John 6:20.] . . . We see the world lying in wickedness and apostasy. Rebellion to the commandments of God seems almost universal. Amid the tumult of excitement with confusion in every place, there is a work to be done in the world.” Evangelism, 18.

Unmistakable Signs of the Times

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 pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places.” Matthew 24:3, 6, 7.

Dear friends, how many of these prophecies are we seeing fulfilled?

“The great conflagrations and the disasters by sea and land that have visited our country were the special providences of God, a warning of what is about to come upon the world. God would show man that He can 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 safe. No thief can approach nor moth corrupt it.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 49.

The last century has witnessed many events unparalleled in recorded history. For example, when have there ever been universal wars like those that have taken place in the last century? An example is 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 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.

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.’ [Isaiah 43:10, first part.] 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.’ [James 4:8.] 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.’ [John 15:10,11.] ‘Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.’ [Colossians 4:6.] 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.’ [I Peter 2:9.] 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 by 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 with whom you come in contact 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 Bible 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.

[All emphasis supplied.]

Dennis Crystal lives in Montana and is director of Laymen United for Truth and can be contacted at: landmarks@stepstolife.org.

Bible Study Guide – Important Prophecies for the Last Days

December 20, 2009 – December 26, 2009

Key Text

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:10.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 635–652; Early Writings, 236, 237.


“Daniel is standing in his lot and in his place. The prophecies of Daniel and of John are to be understood. They interpret each other.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 949.

1 What will happen when Michael (Jesus) stands up to leave the heavenly sanctuary? Daniel 12:1.

Note: “An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received ‘the seal of the living God.’ [Revelation 7:2.] Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. …

“When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended.” The Great Controversy, 613, 614.

“The ‘time of trouble, such as never was’ [Daniel 12:1], is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God.” Ibid., 622.

2 What criteria determines whether our names shall be found in the book of life? Revelation 3:5. How do we know that there will be no second chance? Luke 13:23–25; Revelation 20:15.

Note: “I want to be among that number who shall have their names written in the book, who shall be delivered. I want the overcomer’s reward. The masterly temptations of Satan will overpower many who now profess to believe the truth. Their unworthy course of action, their denial of Christ, will make it necessary for God to blot their names from the book of life. But O, may it not be so with us!” The Review and Herald, March 26, 1889.

“When we become children of God, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and they remain there until the time of the investigative judgment. Then the name of every individual will be called, and his record examined, by Him who declares, ‘I know thy works.’ [Revelation 3:15.] If in that day it shall appear that all our wicked deeds have not been fully repented of, our names will be blotted from the book of life, and our sins will stand against us.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 987.

3 What promise is given to the “wise” and why? Daniel 12:3, 10; Matthew 13:43. What was Daniel instructed to do? Daniel 12:4, first part.

Note: “Honored by men with the responsibilities of state and with the secrets of kingdoms bearing universal sway, Daniel was honored by God as His ambassador, and was given many revelations of the mysteries of ages to come. His wonderful prophecies, as recorded by him in chapters 7 to 12 of the book bearing his name, were not fully understood even by the prophet himself; but before his life labors closed, he was given the blessed assurance that ‘at the end of the days’ [Daniel 12:13]—in the closing period of this world’s history—he would again be permitted to stand in his lot and place. It was not given him to understand all that God had revealed of the divine purpose. …

“As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures. Satan has led many to believe that the prophetic portions of the writings of Daniel and of John the revelator cannot be understood.” Prophets and Kings, 547.

4 What knowledge has increased since 1798? Daniel 12:4, last part.

Note: “But since 1798 the book of Daniel has been unsealed, knowledge of the prophecies has increased, and many have proclaimed the solemn message of the judgment near.” The Great Controversy, 356.

“The book of Daniel is now unsealed, and the revelation made by Christ to John is to come to all the inhabitants of the earth. By the increase of knowledge a people is to be prepared to stand in the latter days.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 105.

“The time has come for the light given him [Daniel] to go to the world as never before. If those for whom the Lord has done so much will walk in the light, their knowledge of Christ and the prophecies relating to Him will be greatly increased as they near the close of this earth’s history.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1174.

5 At the end of which prophetic period did the time of the end begin? Daniel 12:5–7. What events transpire in this time?

Note: “Already the Lord’s restraining power is being withdrawn from the earth, and Satan is seeking to stir up the various elements in the religious world, leading men to place themselves under the training of the great deceiver, who works with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in the children of disobedience. Already the inhabitants of the earth are marshaling under the leading of the prince of darkness, and this is but the beginning of the end.

“The law of God is made void. We see and hear of confusion and perplexity, want and famine, earthquakes and floods; terrible outrages will be committed by men; passion, not reason, bears sway. The wrath of God is upon the inhabitants of the world, who are fast becoming as corrupt as were the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Already fire and flood are destroying thousands of lives and the property that has been selfishly accumulated by the oppression of the poor. The Lord is soon to cut short His work and put an end to sin.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 49.

6 What did Christ predict would follow the long period of papal persecution? Mark 13:24, 25. What warning did He add? Matthew 24:37–39; Luke 21:34–36.

Note: “In the Saviour’s conversation with His disciples upon Olivet, after describing the long period of trial for the church,—the 1260 years of papal persecution, concerning which He had promised that the tribulation should be shortened,—He thus mentioned certain events to precede His coming, and fixed the time when the first of these should be witnessed: ‘In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.’ Mark 13:24. The 1260 days, or years, terminated in 1798. A quarter of a century earlier, persecution had almost wholly ceased.” The Great Controversy, 306.

“Who reads the warnings given by the fast-fulfilling signs of the times? What impression is made upon worldlings? What change is seen in their attitude? No more than was seen in the attitude of the inhabitants of the Noachian world. Absorbed in worldly business and pleasure, the antediluvians ‘knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away.’ Matthew 24:39. They had heaven-sent warnings, but they refused to listen. And today the world, utterly regardless of the warning voice of God, is hurrying on to eternal ruin.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 14.

7 What assurance was given to Daniel concerning his visions? Daniel 12:8–10.

Note: “As the message of Christ’s first advent announced the kingdom of His grace, so the message of His second advent announces the kingdom of His glory. And the second message, like the first, is based on the prophecies. The words of the angel to Daniel relating to the last days were to be understood in the time of the end.” The Desire of Ages, 234.

8 What blessing belongs to the true believers under the threefold message? Daniel 12:12; Revelation 14:13.

Note: “There are living upon our earth men who have passed the age of fourscore and ten. The natural results of old age are seen in their feebleness. But they believe God, and God loves them. The seal of God is upon them, and they will be among the number of whom the Lord has said, ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.’ [Revelation 14:13.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 982.

9 What event takes place at the commencement of the seventh plague? Daniel 12:2.

Note: “In the midst of the angry heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the sound of many waters, saying: ‘It is done.’ Revelation 16:17.

“That voice shakes the heavens and the earth. There is a mighty earthquake, ‘such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.’ Verses 17,18. The firmament appears to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. …

“Graves are opened, and ‘many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth … awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’ Daniel 12:2. All who have died in the faith of the third angel’s message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God’s covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. ‘They also which pierced Him’ (Revelation 1:7), those that mocked and derided Christ’s dying agonies, and the most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient.” The Great Controversy, 636, 637.

10 After this special or partial resurrection, how many living saints will there be on earth? Revelation 7:4.

Note: “The sky opened and shut and was in commotion. The mountains shook like a reed in the wind and cast out ragged rocks all around. The sea boiled like a pot and cast out stones upon the land. And as God spoke the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people, He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth. The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder.” Early Writings, 285, 286.

“The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 59.

Additional Reading

“The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ’s second coming. James the apostle pictures the greed and oppression that will prevail. He says: ‘Go to now, ye rich men. … Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.’ James 5:1–6.

“This is a picture of what exists today. ‘Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey.’ Isaiah 59:14, 15.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 91.

“The duty of old and young must be set forth in simple, positive language because our lot is cast in perilous times when it seems that truth must be overborne by falsehood and satanic delusions. In the time of testing and trial the shield of Omnipotence will be spread over those whom God has made the depositaries of His law. When legislators shall abjure the principles of Protestantism, so as to give countenance and the right hand of fellowship to Romanism, then God will interpose in a special manner in behalf of His own honor and the salvation of His people.

“The principles necessary for our youth to cultivate must be kept before them in their daily education, that when the decree shall go forth requiring all to worship the beast and his image, they may make the right decisions, and have strength to declare, without wavering, their confidence in the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, even at the very time when the law of God is made void by the religious world. Those who waver now and are tempted to follow in the wake of apostates who have departed from the faith, ‘giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,’ [I Timothy 4:1] will surely be found on the side of those who make void the law of God, unless they repent and plant their feet firmly upon the faith once delivered to the saints.

“If we are living amid those fearful perils described in the word of God, should we not be awake to the realities of the situation? Why keep so silent? Why make of the least importance the things that are of the greatest interest to every one of us? The Bible should be our dearest treasure and should be earnestly studied and zealously taught to others. How can this marvelous indifference continue upon those who have had light and knowledge?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 525.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.