Bible Study Guides – “What Shall Be the Sign?”

May 14-20, 2000 

MEMORY VERSE: “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” John 14:29.

STUDY HELP: The Desire of Ages, 627–636.

INTRODUCTION: “After He had given the signs of His coming, Christ said, ‘When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.’ ‘Take ye heed, watch and pray.’ God has always given men warning of coming judgments. Those who had faith in His message for their time, and who acted out their faith, in obedience to His commandments, escaped the judgments that fell upon the disobedient and unbelieving. The word came to Noah, ‘Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me.’ Noah obeyed and was saved. The message came to Lot, ‘Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.’ Genesis 7:1; 19:14. Lot placed himself under the guardianship of the heavenly messengers, and was saved. So Christ’s disciples were given warning of the destruction of Jerusalem. Those who watched for the sign of the coming ruin, and fled from the city, escaped the destruction. So now we are given warning of Christ’s Second Coming and of the destruction to fall upon the world. Those who heed the warning will be saved.’ The Desire of Ages, 634.

“Signs in the sun, moon and stars”

1 What sign of Christ’s coming was John first shown? Revelation 6:12, first part.

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.” The Great Controversy, 304. (See also pages 304–306.)

2 What celestial signs did Jesus warn of? Mark 13:24. (Compare Revelation 6:12, 13.)

NOTE:: “Twenty-five years later appeared the next sign mentioned in the prophecy—the darkening of the sun and moon.” The Great Controversy, 306, 308.

3 What further celestial sign did Jesus warn of? Mark 13:25.

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.” The Great Controversy, 333.

“On the Earth Distress of Nations With Perplexity”

4 Besides the celestial signs, what did Jesus tell us of the state of mankind in the last days? Luke 21:25, last part.

NOTE: “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.” The Review and Herald, November 22, 1906.

5 How is the reaction to the increasing disasters described? Luke 21:26.

NOTE: “Not long ago a very impressive scene passed before me. I saw an immense ball of fire falling among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant destruction. I heard someone say, ‘We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon.’ Others said, ‘You knew? Why then did you not tell us? We did not know.’ On every side I heard such words spoken. Soon grievous troubles will arise among the nations—trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes. As never before we need to press together, serving Him who has prepared His throne in the heavens and Whose kingdom ruleth over all. God has not forsaken His people, and our strength lies in not forsaking Him. The judgments of God are in the land. The wars and rumors of wars, the destruction by fire and flood, say clearly that the time of trouble, which is to increase until the end, is very near at hand. We have no time to lose. The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecies of the eleventh of Daniel have almost reached their final fulfillment.” Maranatha, 25.

“Famines and Earthquakes and Pestilences”

6 What further calamities are signs of Christ’s coming? Matthew 24:7, last part.

NOTE: “Christ is coming soon. He declared that when there would be wars and rumors of wars, when there would be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places, we might know that the time of His second appearing is near. ‘When these things begin to come to pass,’ He declared, ‘then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.’ Christ represented this time by the parable of the fig tree. ‘Behold the fig tree,’ He said, ‘and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.’ The wickedness, the turmoil, the disturbances on every side, should be regarded by us as signs that the day of God is at hand. We are standing on the verge of the eternal world. We have no time to lose. It is high time to tell the people that Christ is coming. Let us warn them, visiting them at their homes, and talking and praying with them personally. By such efforts we shall win souls to Christ. If we come to God in faith, He will give us power and grace for every duty.” Peter’s Counsel to Parents, 33.

“Already the restraining Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the earth. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they may not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid his angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of His avenging wrath as no pen can picture.” The Review and Herald, January 11, 1887.

7 What restraining work was seen by John and what was its purpose? Revelation 7:1–3.

NOTE: “John sees the elements of nature—earthquake, tempest, and political strife—represented as being held by four angels. These winds are under control until God gives the word to let them go. There is the safety of God’s church. The angels of God do His bid-ding, holding back the winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree, until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads.…Angels are now restraining the winds of strife, until the world shall be warned of its coming doom; but a storm is gathering, ready to burst upon the earth, and when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will
be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.” Maranatha, 266. (See also Early Writings, 58.)

“Wars and Rumors of Wars”

8 How did Jesus tell His followers to react to political developments? Matthew 24:6, 7, first part.

NOTE: “The coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed. The Great Controversy is nearing its end. Every report of calamity by sea or land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is at hand. Wars and rumors of wars declare it. Is there a Christian whose pulse does not beat with quickened action as he anticipates the great events opening before us? The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God, as He comes to punish the world for its iniquity. We are to prepare the way for Him by acting our part in getting a people ready for that great day.” Review and Herald, November 12, 1914. (See also Evangelism, 240, 241.)

9 What final alliance will take place among the nations and whom will they combine against? Revelation 16:13–16.

NOTE: “The battle of Armageddon is soon to be fought. He on Whose vesture is written the name, King of kings and Lord of lords, leads forth the armies of heaven on white horses, clothed in fine linen, clean and white. Every form of evil is to spring into intense activity. Evil angels unite their powers with evil men, and as they have been in constant conflict and attained an experience in the best modes of deception and battle, and have been strengthening for centuries, they will not yield the last great final contest without a desperate struggle. All the world will be on one side or the other of the question.…On one side stands the Creator of heaven and earth. All on His side bear His signet. They are obedient to His commands. On the other side stands the prince of darkness, with those who have chosen apostasy and rebellion.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 982, 983.

“And Then Shall the End Come”

10 What work is to be accomplished before the end comes? Matthew 24:14.

NOTE: “Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability. When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth
with power and great glory.” Acts of the Apostles, 111. (See also The Desire of Ages, 633, 634.)

11 What preparation is necessary before God’s people can complete their work? Ephesians 5:25–27. Compare Hebrews 10:22–25, 1 Corinthians 1:7, 8.

NOTE: “He [Paul] reminded them of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which they had received, and showed that it was their privilege to make continual advancement in the Christian life until they should attain to the purity and holiness of Christ.” Acts of the Apostles, 301. (See also Ibid., 600.)

“Take Heed That No Man Deceive You”

12. What repeated warning did Christ give to His people? Matthew 24:4, 11, 23–26. Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

NOTE: “Said Paul: ‘There’ shall ‘come a falling away…and that man of sin be revealed.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3. So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image to the beast. Satan will work with all power and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.’ (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10.) His working is plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight. To God’s people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth’s sake. But out of that night of darkness God’s light will shine.” Maranatha, 165.

13 What defenses do God’s people have against the prevailing deceptions? Matthew 24:26. Compare Ephesians 4:13, 14.

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. The Saviour has warned His people…and has clearly foretold the manner of His Second Coming. ‘There shall arise false Christs.…Wherefore if they shall say unto you, ‘Behold, He is in the desert;’ go not forth: ‘behold, He is in the secret chambers;’ believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ Matthew 24:24–27. This coming, there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world. 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?” The Faith I Live By, 346.

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

Nature Nugget – Eclipses

The Moon has no light of its own, but reflects light from the Sun. Eclipses occur when the Moon moves into a position of direct alignment with the Sun and Earth. There are two basic types of eclipses: lunar and solar. A lunar eclipse can only occur when the Moon is full and the Sun and Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth. The Moon passing through some portion of the Earth’s shadow causes the eclipse. The Earth’s shadow is composed of two cone-shaped components, one inside the other. The outer or penumbral shadow is a zone where the Earth blocks part but not all of the Sun’s rays from reaching the Moon. The inner or umbral shadow is a region where the Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. There are two main types of lunar eclipses. Partial lunar eclipses occur when a portion of the Moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow. Total lunar eclipses occur when the entire moon passes through Earth’s umbral shadow. Both these types of lunar eclipses are easily seen with the naked eye.

Solar eclipses occur when the New Moon passes directly between the Earth and the Sun causing a shadow to fall on the Earth. Like the Earth’s shadow during a lunar eclipse, the Moon’s shadow during a solar eclipse also has umbral and penumbral zones. And like the lunar eclipses, there are partial and total solar eclipses, depending on what part of the Moon’s shadow a particular part of the Earth passes through. During a solar eclipse, the Moon’s umbra shadow on the Earth creates a “path of totality” up to 200 miles wide that traces across the surface of the Earth. Within this zone daytime turns into an eerie darkness. Outside this zone, in the Moon’s penumbral shadow, some portion of the Sun’s bright disk remains visible. Solar eclipses are rare and are usually a once-in-a-lifetime event.

As the Moon reflects the Sun’s light to the Earth which is covered in darkness, so we as Christians are to reflect light from the Son of God to this dark, sinful world. We are not to let Satan get in the way and eclipse the light we receive and reflect from the Son to the world. “Satan’s work is to lead men to ignore God, to so engross and absorb the mind that God will not be in their thoughts. The education they have received has been of a character to confuse the mind and eclipse the true light. Satan does not wish the people to have a knowledge of God; and if he can set in operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses of the young that human beings will perish in darkness while light shines all about them, he is well pleased.” The Adventist Home, 401. “Satan is ever on the alert to deceive and mislead. He is using every enchantment to allure men into the broad road of disobedience. He is working to confuse the senses with erroneous sentiments, and remove the landmarks by placing his false inscription on the signposts which God has established to point the right way. It is because these evil agencies are striving to eclipse every ray of light from the soul that heavenly beings are appointed to do their work of ministry, to guide, guard, and control those who shall be heirs of salvation. None need despair because of the inherited tendencies to evil, but when the Spirit of God convicts of sin, the wrongdoer must repent and confess and forsake the evil. Faithful sentinels are on guard to direct souls in right paths.” Our High Calling, 92.

David Arbour writes from his home in De Queen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:

Signs for Us

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 23:37–24:5

The whole focus of the disciples was on the organization of the time. Even though they had walked year after year with Christ, they really had become somewhat conditioned to the belief that the system could dictate to God, and not that God would direct the system. They were more concerned with the organization than with the mission. As a result, when Jesus spoke about the temple, they had more faith in the temple than in God, and attempted to correct Him. They said, What do you mean that your house is left unto you desolate? And Jesus said, Listen, not one stone is going to be left upon another. This really confused the disciples when Jesus prophesied that the very temple, the center of their worship, would be destroyed. They wanted to know when these things would happen and what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the world.

Jesus began by giving them a universal sign. He gave them the signs in things that existed in heaven and the signs that have existed all throughout creation ever since man was here. He first warned about deception. “Let no man deceive you.” What man can deceive us best? It is self-deception. Deception is what caused the angels to be thrown out of heaven.

In Revelation 12:4 it says, “And his [the devil’s] tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” The devil drew with his tail one-third of the heavenly angels. I praise God that the appeals of Jesus caused some to turn, but still one-third is billions and billions of angels.

The Bible is explicit on what his tail represents: “The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.” Isaiah 9:15. The tail would represent lies or deceit. Here the devil deceived all of these angels into believing him. The prophet of God tells us that at first they did not believe him but sympathized with him. They really got caught up in business that really wasn’t theirs. They felt sorry for him and started listening to him and before they knew it, they were cast out of heaven. Satan would love to go back to heaven.

It was amazing to me what I read in The Story of Redemption. When Satan saw an angel, he would tell him to come and when the angel came, he would ask that angel to go get Jesus for him and the angel went to get Christ. Satan then pleads with Christ to be able to come back to heaven offering to take any position, but Jesus wept at his woe—it broke His heart, because Satan could no longer be trusted. Heaven is based on trust. The Bible says that, “Iniquity will not raise its head again.” Sin is not coming back. In heaven we will not lose our ability to sin; we will just choose not to do it. Our love and appreciation for God will place us where we would never, ever consider doing anything contrary to His word. It will not be a forced thing.

Satan is the great deceiver; he even tried to deceive Jesus. Knowledge of the prophecies in the Word of God are landmarks to let us know where we are in time. At the end of Jesus’ life He knew that the only thing He could trust in was His Father and the Word. While nailed to the cross He knew that Judas would throw down the ransom money he received from the priests and rulers and that it would be used to purchase the potter’s field (Zechariah 11). He knew the prophecies!

We do not know who will stand when severely tested. Each of us needs to be sure that our faith is strong. All through the trial of Jesus, He continued loving his disciples while He watched them look from a distance. Then, while hanging there and in the final moments of His life He experienced what David had prophesied many years before. Psalm 22 says that dogs encompassed him and that He could feel pain all through His body. They took His clothes and cast lots for them. Everybody ran out on Him. Jesus looked and He heard the conversation of the soldiers planning to split up His garments. Jesus knew what the prophecy had said.

The devil tries to manipulate prophecy, but he cannot. If you will notice in Matthew 24:29–31 it says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and 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. And 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.” These events happen right before the coming of the Lord.

When all of the disciples comment on the same thing, it is something really worth paying attention to. Look at Mark 13:24–27. It says, “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”

Again, Jesus said that certain things are going to transpire. These prophecies are landmarks. It first said there would be signs, an earthquake, then a sign in the sun, then a sign in the moon and signs in the stars.

Right now, we are living during the sixth seal, between the signs in the heavens and the coming of the Lord. Revelation 6:12–17 says, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And 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. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

We know that on November 1, 1755, there was the great Lisbon earthquake. I believe that this fulfilled prophecy. Remember this great earthquake came just before 1798. Something big was going to happen in 1798. God started revealing these prophecies so that His people would understand that He was soon coming. There were three earthquakes, one at 9:00 a.m., one at 10:00 a.m. and one at 12:00 noon. At 9:00 a.m. people became afraid and at 10:00 a.m. they were really scared and by 12:00 noon they ran to the church to pray and thousands died there in church. God is not the author of fear. When these things happen we ought to get excited and exclaim that our redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28). We need to be resting in Christ, understanding what it means to rest in Christ and believe that He will keep us from falling and that He can save us, and not have a deceptive belief, while living in a known sin. This is not resting in Christ.

In Christ there is no sin, because the mind of Christ literally dwells in you. It is to have the faith of Jesus. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. It is literally Christ’s faith activated in my life. I don’t have the faith to believe that God is going to open up a body of water for me to walk across which is contrary to everything my humanity knows. But He has the faith and He is willing to activate that faith in our lives. You will never get that experience unless you go to God and plead for it.

Preachers started preaching that the Lisbon earthquake was a sign of the coming of the Lord and people believed. In 1780 when all of a sudden at noon time the sun went black like a light bulb that went out and the cattle started heading back to the barn, people became afraid. That night the moon became as blood. Preachers were preaching, churches were full and the people believed that it was a sign of the coming of the Lord. The Lord has given us these signs specifically for a reason.

In 1833 when the stars fell there were preachers, including William Miller, preaching all over the world that the Lord was coming. When they saw the stars fall, they looked at Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 and Revelation 6 and they said Jesus has to come, because the prophecy said that after these stars would fall, He would come. What happened? 1844 came and Jesus did not come to this earth, but went into the Most Holy Place in heaven. Prophecy was fulfilled, but the people did not understand it until a little later when God revealed more light.

An important Scripture to understand is Ezekiel, chapter 8. Ezekiel was not preaching to the heathen but to God’s people. The church was in sin and God sent an angel who grabbed Ezekiel by the lock of his hair and suspended him between earth and heaven and showed him the people of God. Ezekiel was a true Christian and he did not want to see sin and he tried to turn. He saw all of these abominations and his heart was broken. The angel kept telling him to look further and finally, notice what he saw in verse 16: “And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.”

Ezekiel saw that God’s people were involved with sun worship. That is when he said it was time for the destroying angel to do his work. If you don’t believe that our people have been deceived, and they have bought into this Ecumenical Movement, it is time to open your eyes. I don’t study what the churches are doing because I am too busy working myself. But, I do know that when we have a Catholic cardinal open our General Conference session with prayer, something is wrong. At the last General Conference session, why, at the parade of nations, does the Vatican have a flag? Italy was there. God is trying to show us something but some of us still will not agonize with God. We still refuse to get our lives in order so that the Holy Spirit can use us to be effective workers for God. When this message goes forth, it will go forth by Seventh-day Adventists, the faithful ones, who are really praying and studying and according to Ezekiel 9 are crying and sighing for the abominations being done in the land and are not involved in gossiping or tearing down.

One of the top selling songs is Man in the Mirror. I went on the internet to read the lyrics. It says something like, “Who are you fooling? If you want change, you need to look in the mirror at yourself and change yourself and stop dealing with other people.” I said, Lord, are the rocks crying out? We have to start examining ourselves to make sure that we are on the path that God has placed us. There is no time to get caught up in surface issues; we need to take time to study and know the message; then preach it.

Stop wasting time and start studying. If you do not have a schedule for your time every day, make one. Your time belongs to God. No other gift has He given of which we have to give a more strict account. Study now and you will be prepared and not overwhelmed when the winds of strife are no longer held back and all breaks loose upon the world. Don’t be found with a form of godliness but denying the power thereof (II Timothy 3:5) and be exposed as a fraud.

Now is the time to develop an ear to hear the Holy Spirit saying, this is the way, walk ye in it [Isaiah 30:21] and stop running to man. Every day start your day with worship.

Once, in India, we were riding in a car that stopped because of a cow in the middle of the road. The driver stopped for that cow and did not even try to move it because it was believed that cows were sacred and we were told that if we attempted to move the cow we would be killed because that cow was sacred. Some Christians do not have as much reverence for the true God as those people had for that cow. There is no excuse not to have a personal relationship with God and to be able to go to Him and know that He is answering your prayers. All have squandered time, but we can redeem the time by not wasting any more, by giving God as much time as you possibly can and He will prepare you for the crisis or He will trust you to die. You have to be trusted to die, because you have to die in Christ.

We are in a war. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will find yourself weeping because there are so many people trapped in sin. You will find yourself losing your comfort to cause others to feel comfortable so they can know your God. You will constantly pray and ask God how you can reach somebody. It is Christ allowing you to feel His burden through you. Have the patience of the saints who keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12) and you will be sealed by settling into the truth, both spiritually and intellectually, because you have surrendered to God.

Pastor Stephen Lewis is an international speaker and director of The Present Truth Ministry. This article is from a sermon he preached at the Steps to Life Camp Meeting 2009. He can be contacted at:

Four Great Signs

Christ revealed the signs that would herald His second coming. John the Revelator watched as Christ opened the sixth seal recorded in Revelation 6:12, 13. The signs revealed to John in these verses are God’s announcement to the world that the time has arrived for Jesus to prepare to come to this earth again, this time as King of kings and Lord of lords to restore the kingdom of glory. These signs announce the opening of the great second-advent movement during which the great controversy between Christ and Satan will be concluded.

These great signs are referred to in the following Bible texts:

“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.” Revelation 6:12, 13.

Notice that man can do nothing to create or bring these signs to pass. They are totally supernatural and given under the direction of our Father in heaven. Daniel tells us that all these things will be fulfilled at the time of the end. Daniel 12:7, 9 says, “The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’ …He replied, ‘Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.’ ”

Daniel here mentions the 1,260-year time period. This time period ended in A.D. 1798, therefore, this date is seen as the time for these signs to take place. Daniel calls this “the time of the end,” and he says, “the power of the holy people has been finally broken.”

He is making reference here to the martyrs during the Dark Ages. This is the time when the dragon (Satan), working through the Roman Catholic Church, was severely persecuting the saints. This event is recorded in the fifth seal in Revelation 6:9–11 as follows:

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.”

John represents these martyrs as being alive and asking the question, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

“The cries of the faithful, persecuted ones ascend to heaven. And as the blood of Abel cried from the ground, there are voices also crying to God from martyrs’ graves, from the sepulchers of the sea, from mountain caverns, from convent vaults: ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth’ [Revelation 6:10]?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 451.

The fifth seal represents the period of church history from A.D. 538 to the time of the sixth seal. So we see that the fifth and sixth seals are directly tied to the opening of the great second-advent movement.

The four signs that herald the great second-advent movement are described in Revelation 6:12 and 13:

“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.”

  1. Great earthquake
  2. Sun turned black—sometimes referred to as the Dark Day
  3. Moon turned blood red
  4. Stars fell to the earth

There are five other texts in the Bible that describe these signs.

  1. Note, that Isaiah 13:9, 10 connects these signs with the second coming of Jesus and the destruction of this earth. “See, the day of the Lord is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.”
  2. In Joel 2:10, 11, these signs are also given in the setting of the second coming of Jesus and the terrible destruction that takes place at that time. “Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. … The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?”
  3. Again, in Matthew 24:29, 30, we see that these signs are presented in connection with the second coming of Jesus. “Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.”
  4. Mark 13:24–26 says: “But in those days, following that distress, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”
  5. Luke 21:25, 27 says: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. … At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

The following statement gives us a little closer focus:

“Prophecy not only foretells the manner and object of Christ’s coming, but presents tokens by which men are to know when it is near. Said Jesus: ‘There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.’ Luke 21:25. ‘The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.’ Mark 13:24–26. The revelator thus describes the first of the signs to precede the second advent: ‘There was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.’ Revelation 6:12.” The Great Controversy, 304.

The Lisbon earthquake was the first of these signs to take place. History records show this event taking place in 1755. Also, some of the details as to the extent of the earthquake are described.

“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.

“At Lisbon ‘a sound of thunder was heard underground, and immediately afterwards a violent shock threw down the greater part of that city. In the course of about six minutes sixty thousand persons perished. The sea first retired, and laid the bar dry; it then rolled in, rising fifty feet or more above its ordinary level.’ ‘Among other extraordinary events related to have occurred at Lisbon during the catastrophe, was the subsidence of a new quay, built entirely of marble, at an immense expense. A great concourse of people had collected there for safety, as a spot where they might be beyond the reach of falling ruins; but suddenly the quay sank down with all the people on it, and not one of the dead bodies ever floated to the surface.’—Ibid., page 495.

“ ‘The shock’ of the earthquake ‘was instantly followed by the fall of every church and convent, almost all the large public buildings, and more than one fourth of the houses. In about two hours after the shock, fires broke out in different quarters, and raged with such violence for the space of nearly three days, that the city was completely desolated. The earthquake happened on a holyday, when the churches and convents were full of people, very few of whom escaped.’— Encyclopedia Americana, art. ‘Lisbon,’ note (ed. 1831). ‘The terror of the people was beyond description. Nobody wept; it was beyond tears. They ran hither and thither, delirious with horror and astonishment, beating their faces and breasts, crying, “Misericordia! the world’s at an end!” Mothers forgot their children, and ran about loaded with crucifixed images. Unfortunately, many ran to the churches for protection; but in vain was the sacrament exposed; in vain did the poor creatures embrace the altars; images, priests, and people were buried in one common ruin.’ It has been estimated that ninety thousand persons lost their lives on that fatal day.” The Great Controversy, 304, 305.

The next two signs occurred on the same day. During the daylight hours the sun was darkened as if it were night time, and during the night the moon had the appearance of being red as blood.

“Twenty-five years later appeared the next sign mentioned in the prophecy—the darkening of the sun and moon. What rendered this more striking was the fact that the time of its fulfillment had been definitely pointed out. In the Saviour’s conversation with His disciples upon Olivet, after describing the long period of trial for the church—the 1,260 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 1,260 days, or years, terminated in 1798. A quarter of a century earlier, persecution had almost wholly ceased. Following this persecution, according to the words of Christ, the sun was to be darkened. On the 19th of May, 1780, this prophecy was fulfilled.” Ibid., 306.

Here are a few more statements about this phenomenon:

“ ‘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.

“An eyewitness living in Massachusetts describes the event as follows: ‘In the morning the sun rose clear, but was soon overcast. The clouds became lowery, and from them, black and ominous, as they soon appeared, lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and a little rain fell. Toward nine o’clock, the clouds became thinner, and assumed a brassy or coppery appearance, and earth, rocks, trees, buildings, water, and persons were changed by this strange, unearthly light. A few minutes later, a heavy black cloud spread over the entire sky except a narrow rim at the horizon, and it was as dark as it usually is at nine o’clock on a summer evening. …’ ” Ibid.

“ ‘In most parts of the country it was so great in the daytime, that the people could not tell the hour by either watch or clock, nor dine, nor manage their domestic business, without the light of candles. …’ ” Ibid., 307.

“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.

The last of these four signs is the falling of the stars, occurring about 50 years later.

“In 1833, two years after 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 casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.’ Revelation 6:13. This prophecy received a striking and impressive fulfillment in the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. … ‘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.” Ibid., 333.

Some acknowledged this event to be a fulfillment of prophecy.

“In the New York Journal of Commerce of November 14, 1833, appeared a long article regarding this wonderful phenomenon, containing this statement: ‘No philosopher or scholar has told or recorded an event, I suppose, like that of yesterday morning. A prophet eighteen hundred years ago foretold it exactly, if we will be at the trouble of understanding stars falling to mean falling stars, … in the only sense in which it is possible to be literally true.’ ” Ibid., 334.

Above is quoted the first part of the sixth seal listing the four great signs that were to call the attention of the people to the second advent of our Lord. In the next reference Ellen White quotes the last part of the sixth seal that is a description of the second coming of Jesus.

“Thus was displayed the last of those signs of His coming, concerning which Jesus bade His disciples: ‘When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.’ Matthew 24:33. After these signs, John beheld, as the great event next impending, the heavens departing as a scroll, while the earth quaked, mountains and islands removed out of their places, and the wicked in terror sought to flee from the presence of the Son of man. Revelation 6:12–17.” Ibid.

Some people also saw in this phenomenon a herald of the coming judgment.

“Many who witnessed the falling of the stars, looked upon it as a herald of the coming judgment, ‘an awful type, a sure forerunner, a merciful sign, of that great and dreadful day.’—‘The Old Countryman,’ in Portland Evening Advertiser, Nov. 26, 1833. Thus the attention of the people was directed to the fulfillment of prophecy, and many were led to give heed to the warning of the second advent.” Ibid., 334.

How do the dates of these four signs compare with the end of the 1,260 years? Let us do a little comparison of the dates of these four signs with the end date of the 1,260 years, 1798, and the termination of the 2,300 year prophecy in 1844.

Notice that the four signs are calling our attention to the great second-advent movement and the termination of the 1,260-year prophecy occur just prior to the judgment hour message to cleanse the sanctuary of the new covenant in heaven.

Additional information regarding these signs can be found in newspaper accounts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in the eastern United States, in encyclopedias, in Bible commentaries and on the Internet.

The Lord has given the world ample warnings that the time has come for the judgment to begin at the termination of the 1,260 years. Even the power of the papacy was broken, at least for a short period of time. Here is a brief statement on this event:

“ ‘Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months’ [Revelation 13:5]. And, says the prophet, ‘I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death’ [Revelation 13:3]. And again: ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword’ [Revelation 13:10]. The forty and two months are the same as the ‘time and times and the dividing of time,’ three years and a half, or 1,260 days, of Daniel 7—the time during which the papal power was to oppress God’s people. This period, as stated in preceding chapters, began with the supremacy of the papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.’ ” Ibid., 439.

When the papal power was broken in 1798, it opened the way for the circulation of the Bible and the organizing of missionary societies. The Scriptures were not widely circulated before 1798. There was a change in attitude towards the Scriptures at this time. Remember what it says in Revelation 11:11, 12 at the end of the story of the two witnesses? It says, “But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them [the two witnesses—Old and New Testaments] and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.”

The following statement explains the meaning of this prophecy:

“God’s faithful witnesses, slain by the blasphemous power that ‘ascendeth out of the bottomless pit,’ were not long to remain silent. ‘After three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.’ Revelation 11:11. It was in 1793 that the decrees which abolished the Christian religion and set aside the Bible passed the French Assembly. Three years and a half later a resolution rescinding these decrees, thus granting toleration to the Scriptures, was adopted by the same body. The world stood aghast at the enormity of guilt which had resulted from a rejection of the Sacred Oracles, and men recognized the necessity of faith in God and His word as the foundation of virtue and morality.” Ibid., 287.

Concerning the two witnesses the prophet declares further: “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” Revelation 11:12. KJV.

“Since France made war upon God’s two witnesses, they have been honored as never before. In 1804 the British and Foreign Bible Society was organized. This was followed by similar organizations, with numerous branches, upon the continent of Europe. In 1816 the American Bible Society was founded. When the British Society was formed, the Bible had been printed and circulated in fifty tongues. It has since been translated into many hundreds of languages and dialects.

“For the fifty years preceding 1792, little attention was given to the work of foreign missions. No new societies were formed, and there were but few churches that made any effort for the spread of Christianity in heathen lands. But toward the close of the eighteenth century a great change took place. Men became dissatisfied with the results of rationalism and realized the necessity of divine revelation and experimental religion. From this time the work of foreign missions attained an unprecedented growth.

“The improvements in printing have given an impetus to the work of circulating the Bible. The increased facilities for communication between different countries, the breaking down of ancient barriers of prejudice and national exclusiveness, and the loss of secular power by the pontiff of Rome have opened the way for the entrance of the word of God. For some years the Bible has been sold without restraint in the streets of Rome, and it has now been carried to every part of the habitable globe.” Ibid., 287, 288.

The fact that these signs appeared, at the precise time when the two most important time prophecies were coming to an end and the circulation of the Bible increased, is clear Bible evidence that we have been living in the time of the end for more than 200 years.

All of the following texts list the second coming of Jesus as the next great event to take place: Matthew 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27, Joel 2:31 and Isaiah 13:9.

Also, the sixth seal in Revelation 6:12–17, which begins with the Lisbon earthquake, ends with the great day of God’s wrath at the second coming of Jesus. John also gives the most complete description of the second coming of Jesus in Revelation 19:11–21 to Revelation 20:1–3. There is abundant evidence that the second coming of Jesus is just before us.

These four supernatural signs, the end of the 1,260 years, the termination of the 2,300 years and the great increase in the circulation of the Scriptures all witness that we have entered the time of the end when Jesus will return to this earth the second time.

All of these things are calling the attention of the world to the opening of the great second-advent movement and the final judgment of the world just prior to His return to this earth.

[Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New International Version.]

Maurice Hoppe is retired and volunteers at Steps to Life. His primary responsibility is working with the Training Program for Ministers and Church Leaders and the Training Program for Lay Workers. He also conducts a Bible Correspondence School from his home with emphasis on Bible prophecy. He may be contacted at:

Bible Study Guides – Heaven’s Blessings

February 10, 2013 – February 16, 2013

Key Text

“Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment: Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.” Psalm 104:1, 2.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 2, 118–124; The Ministry of Healing, 274–276.


“Let your judgment be convinced that exercise, sunlight, and air are the blessings which Heaven has provided to make the sick well and to keep in health those who are not sick.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 535.

“The Lord has made every provision so that we may have a rich, abundant, joyful experience. … Life is associated with light, and if we have no light from the Sun of Righteousness, we can have no life in Him. But this light has been provided for every soul, and it is only as we withdraw from the light that darkness comes upon us. Jesus said, ‘He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’ (John 8:12). In the world about us there can be no life without light. Were the sun to withdraw his shining, all vegetation, all animal life, would have an end. This illustrates the fact that we cannot have spiritual life unless we place ourselves under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness. If we put a flowering plant in a dark room, it will soon wither and die; and so we may have some spiritual life, and yet lose it by dwelling in an atmosphere of doubt and gloom.” Sons and Daughters of God, 281.

“The Christian conflict is a battle and a march, calling for endurance. Difficult work has to be done, and all who enlist as soldiers in Christ’s army with these false ideas of pleasantness and ease, and then experience the trials, it often proves fatal to their Christianity. God does not present the reward to those whose whole life in this world has been one of self-indulgence and pleasure.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 28.


  • What was created on the first day of creation? Genesis 1:3.
  • What was made on the fourth day? Genesis 1:16.
  • How do we know that the light of the sun is necessary for optimum health? Genesis 1:18.

Note: “The sun is a God-given physician.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 25.

“The course we recommend will not deprive you of life or injure you. You will derive benefit from it. You need not be rash or reckless; commence moderately at first to have more air and exercise, and continue your reform until you become useful, a blessing to your families and to all around you. Let your judgment be convinced that exercise, sunlight, and air are the blessings which Heaven has provided to make the sick well and to keep in health those who are not sick. God does not deprive you of these free, Heaven-bestowed blessings, but you have punished yourselves by closing your doors against them. Properly used, these simple yet powerful agents will assist nature to overcome real difficulties, if such exist, and will give healthy tone to the mind and vigor to the body.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 535.

  • Upon whom does God bestow His blessings? Matthew 5:45.

Note: “The One who gave His life that we should not perish is the divine Teacher, and He appeals to every blessing of the natural world, the showers that fall upon the earth, the dew, the glorious sunlight, given alike to thankful and unthankful. The bounties of God’s providence speak to every soul, confirming Christ’s testimony to the supreme goodness of His Father.” The General Conference Bulletin, October 1, 1899.


  • How does the Bible describe the light of the sun? Ecclesiastes 11:7. What blessing do we receive from the Sun of Righteousness? Malachi 4:2.

Note: “Blessed and beneficent are the rays of light from the Sun of Righteousness who is now pouring His enlightening, healing beams upon everyone who will open the windows of the soul heavenward.” The Upward Look, 257.

“Christ is the wellspring of life. That which many need is to have a clearer knowledge of Him; they need to be patiently and kindly, yet earnestly, taught how the whole being may be thrown open to the healing agencies of heaven. When the sunlight of God’s love illuminates the darkened chambers of the soul, restless weariness and dissatisfaction will cease, and satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and energy to the body.” The Ministry of Healing, 247.

“By such [useful] employment [suited to his or her strength] and the free use of air and sunlight, many an emaciated invalid might recover health and strength.” Ibid., 246.

  • What blessings does God want to give us by opening our eyes to the light of truth? Acts 26:18; Mark 4:26–28. What benefit do plants and human beings receive from the sun?

Note: “The pale and sickly grain-blade that has struggled up out of the cold of early spring puts out the natural and healthy deep green after enjoying for a few days the health-and-life-giving rays of the sun. Go out into the light and warmth of the glorious sun, … and share with vegetation its life-giving, healing power.” My Life Today, 138.

  • Who and what are our sources of spiritual light? Psalm 27:1; Proverbs 6:23.


  • What happens when we do not appreciate and walk in the spiritual light? John 12:35; I John 1:5.
  • How can we use sunshine as a healing agent? How are we blessed as the “daystar” arises in our hearts (II Peter 1:19)? John 8:12; 17:13; 16:33.

Note: “Invalids too often deprive themselves of sunlight. This is one of nature’s most healing agents. It is a very simple, therefore not a fashionable remedy, to enjoy the rays of God’s sunlight and beautify our homes with its presence. … Our own folly has led us to deprive ourselves of things that are precious, of blessings which God has provided and which, if properly used, are of inestimable value for the recovery of health. If you would have your homes sweet and inviting, make them bright with air and sunshine. Remove your heavy curtains, open the windows, throw back the blinds, and enjoy the rich sunlight, even if it be at the expense of the colors of your carpets. The precious sunlight may fade your carpets, but it will give a healthful color to the cheeks of your children. If you have God’s presence and possess earnest, loving hearts, a humble home made bright with air and sunlight, and cheerful with the welcome of unselfish hospitality, will be to your family, and to the weary traveler, a heaven below.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 527.

  • If we have accepted Christ, the light of the world, how are we to reflect light upon others? Psalm 42:11; Matthew 5:16.

Note: “God’s people have many lessons to learn. They will have perfect peace if they will keep the mind stayed on Him who is too wise to err and too good to do them harm. They are to catch the reflection of the smile of God, and reflect it to others. They are to see how much sunshine they can bring into the lives of those around them. They are to keep near to Christ, so close that they sit together with Him as His little children, in sweet, sacred unity. They are never to forget that as they receive the affection and love of God, they are under the most solemn obligation to impart it to others. Thus they may exert an influence of rejoicing, which blesses all who come within its reach, irradiating their pathway.” Medical Ministry, 45.


  • What lesson should all men and women learn from the effect of the sun upon the grass and the flowers? James 1:10, 11. In what sense is a true Christian compared to a palm tree in the desert? Psalm 92:12; John 6:35; 7:37.

Note: “See the weary traveler toiling over the hot sand of the desert, with no shelter to protect him from the rays of the tropical sun. His water supply fails, and he has nothing with which to slake his burning thirst. His tongue becomes swollen; he staggers like a drunken man. Visions of home and friends pass before his mind as he believes himself ready to perish. Suddenly he sees in the distance, rising out of the dreary sandy waste, a palm tree, green and flourishing. Hope quickens his pulses; he presses on, knowing that that which gives vigor and freshness to the palm tree will cool his fevered blood and give him renewed life.

“As is the palm tree in the desert—a guide and consolation to the fainting traveler—so the Christian is to be in the world. He is to guide weary souls, full of unrest, and ready to perish in the desert of sin, to the living water. He is to point his fellow men to Him who gives to all the invitation, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink’ (John 7:37).” In Heavenly Places, 240.

  • What kind of spiritual clothing do we need in order to cross the “deserts” of this world? Revelation 3:18; 19:8; Zechariah 3:3, 4.

Note: “The people must not be left to stumble their way along in darkness, not knowing what is before them, and unprepared for the great issues that are coming. There is a work to be done for this time in fitting a people to stand in the day of trouble, and all must act their part in this work. They must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and be so fortified by the truth that the delusions of Satan shall not be accepted by them as genuine manifestations of the power of God.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 389.

  • For what purpose has God placed us in this world? Philippians 2:15, 16; I Peter 2:9.


  • What assurance makes life in this world worth living? Psalm 27:1; Romans 8:31.

Note: “I [Ellen White] hope that you will keep under the direct rays of the Sun of Righteousness, that the bright beams from the face of Jesus Christ may shine with brightness upon your heart, and that you may reflect their bright rays to others.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 710.

  • What is the most precious heavenly gift placed within our reach, and on what condition is it offered to us? Isaiah 55:1, 7; Luke 14:33.

Note: “Money cannot buy it, intellect cannot grasp it, power cannot command it; but to all who will accept it, God’s glorious grace is freely given. But men may feel their need, and, renouncing all self-dependence, accept salvation as a gift. Those who enter heaven will not scale its walls by their own righteousness, nor will its gates be opened to them for costly offerings of gold or silver, but they will gain an entrance to the many mansions of the Father’s house through the merits of the cross of Christ.” God’s Amazing Grace, 179.

  • What kind of sunshine should we have in our home? Ephesians 4:32.

Note: “Home should be a place where cheerfulness, courtesy, and love abide; and where these graces dwell, there will abide happiness and peace. Troubles may invade, but these are the lot of humanity. Let patience, gratitude, and love keep sunshine in the heart, though the day may be ever so cloudy. In such homes angels of God abide.” The Ministry of Healing, 393.


1 Why does God give all people sunshine?

2 Sunshine kills bacteria. What sin will the light from the Son of God remove from our life?

3 Am I walking in all the light that has been revealed to me from God?

4 Can I get too much from the Son of light?

5 Have I really received the gift of Christ, and am I truly thankful?

Great Light Shines

“It is not for lack of knowledge that God’s people are now perishing. … Light, precious light, shines upon God’s people; but it will not save them unless they consent to be saved by it, fully live up to it, and transmit it to others in darkness. God calls upon His people to act. It is an individual work of confessing and forsaking sins and returning unto the Lord that is needed. One cannot do this work for another. Religious knowledge has accumulated, and this has increased corresponding obligations. Great light has been shining upon the church, and by it they are condemned because they refuse to walk in it. If they were blind they would be without sin. But they have seen light and have heard much truth, yet are not wise and holy. Many have for years made no advancement in knowledge and true holiness. They are spiritual dwarfs. Instead of going forward to perfection, they are going back to the darkness and bondage of Egypt. Their minds are not exercised unto godliness and true holiness.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 123, 124.

Heaven’s Interest in Our Welfare

“How strongly and brightly shines the mercy and lovingkindness of God in His dealings toward His heritage. … All heaven has the deepest interest in our welfare, that Satan shall not control us and conform us to his character. ‘For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall’ (Malachi 4:1, 2).” This Day with God, 123.

© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.