Just before Jesus died on the cross, he gave his disciples a prophecy that applies from Jesus’ own time until His second coming. This is recorded in Matthew chapter 24, and gives us a number of general and special signs of what is going to happen, ranging from the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in the year 70 to his own return. In addition to the prophecies in this chapter and a parable, we find three parables in chapter 25 that deal with the same theme.
The prophecies can be divided as follows;
A general prophecy about the signs of time and the end of this age, verse 3-14.
The fall of Jerusalem and the most important signs, verses 15-20.
The Great Tribulation, verses 21-28.
Signs in heaven before Jesus returns, verse 29.
The return of the Son of Man, verses 30-31.
The Son of man will not come until all signs are fulfilled, verses 32-35.
No one knows the day or the hour, verses 36-39.
To watch and to prepare is important, verses 40-44.
Verses 1 and 2 are an introduction to chapters 24 and 25, and verses 45-51 in chapter 24 and throughout chapter 25 Jesus gives us a total of four parables that deal with how we should prepare for the final judgment and how we should live until Jesus returns. Fortunately, we do not know exactly when Jesus will return, but with the help of the prophecies and the signs Jesus gives us, we can see that it is getting closer, and that we are closer than most of us want to believe.
The most important thing Jesus brings in these two chapters is a warning that is given four times, and although the words are different, the meaning is the same. We find this warning in chapter 24 and in verses 4, 5, 11 and 24, and here Jesus says that we must not be deceived.
See also ‘English; The end time begins; End-time events, part 2’.
The saviour is coming soon.
In the message to the church in Laodicea, which is the church in the end times, and which we find in Revelation 3:20, Jesus says: Behold, I stand at the door … … With this we understand that the return of Jesus is an event that will soon take place. Now it is the case that Jesus has been calling people ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin, and in this sense he has stood at the door ever since then, knocking on the door of all people’s hearts in the hope that we will open our hearts and let Him in. Jesus’ imminent return has also been both preached and expected since the days of the apostles, and many use this as an argument against this happening. The Bible is not to be trusted, say people, and are angry with us who believe that Jesus will return as He has said. Exactly this, this harassment, Jesus said would happen, and this therefore confirms the correctness of the prophecies. In Matthew 24:25 Jesus says, ‘Behold, I have told you before.’ He used parables to tell us about His return. In the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servant in Matthew 24:48, the wicked servant says ‘My Lord delayeth his coming‘, and in verse 50 Jesus says that ‘the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of.’
However, why has not Jesus returned yet? Do we find any indications of this ‘delay’? In Matthew chapter 25, we find two parables which both tell that there will be a ‘delay‘. The first of these we find in verses 1 to 13 and is called ‘the parable of the ten virgins‘. As always, Jesus used well-known incidents, events and traditions in his parables that the people could recognize themselves in, and in this parable, it is about a bridegroom who is going to get his bride, and some virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom to come and do it. This was taken from daily life in Jesus’ time, but He puts it into a larger context: his own return. The bridegroom is a picture of Jesus, and the virgins are a picture of the congregation – the Christian church. What Jesus wants to convey with this parable is that we as a congregation (the virgins) should be prepared for His return. As we see from the parable, some of the virgins are prepared, they have brought lamps and extra oil for the lamps, but the rest have not prepared themselves as they should and lack extra oil for the lamps. In verse 5, we find the text that is important in this connection: While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. It therefore took some time before the bridegroom in the parable came, which indicates a waiting period also for us – the Christian church – for which the parable is intended.
The second parable in Matthew 25 is found in verses 14 to 30 and is called ‘the parable of the talents‘. A talent is a monetary unit, and in Jesus’ time, a talent was equivalent to a fortune. (A talent of gold with a purity of 80% would be worth several million £ at today’s value.) What the parable is about here is how we manage what we have been given by God. The verse that is of interest to us here is verse 19, where it says: After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. Once again, we get an indication that it will be a long time before the Lord returns to pass judgment on all the people of the earth.
As we see from these three parables, we must expect a certain waiting period, and all the apostles were probably aware of this. Peter writes in his second letter chapter 3 and in verses 4-9 the following. … Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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. This is an explanation of why Jesus has not returned … and together with Habakkuk 2:3 For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry … does that make sense.
Jesus is coming soon, very soon, and therefore we cannot say like the evil servant in Matthew 24:48 that Jesus is delaying his return, but must do like the wise virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 and prepare ourselves the best possible way for a delay. We do not know the day or the hour of His return, because suddenly one day He will return to settle the account with all people on earth throughout all time.
The Lord’s Day.
The Lord’s Day is said, but what is the Lord’s Day? If you ask a regular churchgoer what the Lord’s day is, you will most likely get the answer that it is Sunday, this because the Sabbath has been changed by people after Jesus’ death. God says through the prophet Daniel that the little horn, which is identified as the papacy, will try to change God’s law by changing times and law i.e. the Sabbath, because it is only in the Sabbath commandment that time and law are linked together. And he* shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time, Daniel 7:25.
* He refers to the little horn in Daniel 7:8, which is thus explained as the papal power. However, the Bible itself is clear that the Sabbath has never been changed and it has two other explanations for the expression the Day of the Lord than the false Sabbath – Sunday. The phrase the Day of the Lord (the Lord’s Day) or the Lord’s holy day (NIV 1984) occurs 23 times in the Bible. 22 times as the Day of the Lord and once as the Lord’s holy day. In the Old Testament, the Day of the Lord is used 18 times and the Lord’s holy day 1 time. In the New Testament the Day of the Lord is used 4 times. In the Old Testament, the expression is used in connection with the judgment day or the end time (in the extended sense) 18 times, and 3 times in the New Testament. Once in the Old Testament the expression is put in direct connection with the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13), while once in the New Testament no other explanation is given than that it is the Day of the Lord (Revelation 1,10). When the author of Hebrews 4:1-10 connects the Sabbath to the time after Jesus’ return (a Sabbath-rest, verse 9 – NIV 1984), we can safely assume that the expression the Day of the Lord is connected to the end times. I therefore choose to look at the expression the Day of the Lord as both the literal interpretation of the Sabbath, and as the Day of Judgment. Other explanations do not give the Bible to the phrase the Day of the Lord. How someone can read Sunday into Revelation 1:10 can only be due to their having been seduced by Babylon’s intoxicating wine. Jesus said in Matthew 24:4. … Take heed that no man deceive you! Nevertheless, that is precisely what they have allowed themselves to do.
One way the Day of the Lord is described is that it is judgment day, also in an extended sense, and the other way the Day of the Lord is described is that it is the Sabbath, and then it is called the Lord’s holy day (NIV 1984). Let’s look at Isaiah 58:13-14. There we read. If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day. If you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy dayhonourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.
As we see here, great blessings will follow from calling the Lord’s holy day a great delight and keeping holy God’s Sabbath.
Here are the verses that deal with the day of the Lord, and which place the day of the Lord in the end times, as a day of judgment in the extended sense. Isaiah 13:6; 13:9 Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1; 2:11; 3:4; 3:19; Amos 5:18 (2 times); 5:20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7; 1:14 (2 times); Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5; Acts 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10.
Already the prophet Joel, who worked between 835 and 805 before Christ, said that the Day of the Lord’ is near (Joel 1:15). So did Isaiah, who lived 700 years before Christ (Isaiah 13:6), and still we are waiting for the Day of the Lord. Could it be that we are wrong about this day? In our day we equate Jesus’ second coming with the Day of the Lord, yet many will claim in our time that the Day of the Lord was the day when Jesus was born. However, that is not true. Because both Paul and Peter write to the Christian congregations respectively 20 years (1 Thessalonians) and 45 years (2 Peters) after Jesus’ death, that the Day of the Lord so cometh like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5,2) and that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (2 Peter 3,10). They thus refer to the Lord’s Day as a future event. In addition to this, at least the prophecy in Isaiah 13:6 is a so-called double prophecy, a prophecy that will be fulfilled twice in history. The context of Isaiah 13 tells us that the first fulfilment concerned the city of Babylon. When we are dealing with double prophecies, they will always stand as type and antitype; therefore, the second fulfilment must concern the antitypical city of Babylon in the end times, or the fallen church, which verses 9 and 10 show us.
As Adventists, we look forward to Jesus’ return. We look forward to the day He will return and claim those He calls His own. We believe that this day is the day when God will reward the faithful, they will receive the victory wreath and join Jesus in Heaven and live forever with our God, Creator and Saviour. However, Jesus’ return is explained in many different ways in the Bible, and it is not always easy to see the deliverance and joy at the Saviour’s return. Just look at what some of the prophets say in the Old Testament:
Isaiah 13:6 says; Howl ye; for the day of the LORD [is] at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
Isaiah 13:9 says; Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
Ezekiel 30:3 says; For the day [is] near, even the day of the LORD [is] near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.
Joel 1:15 says; Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD [is] at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come..
Amos 5:18 says; Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! To what end [is] it for you? The day of the LORD [is] darkness, and not light.
All the prophets agree, and, all the texts in these verses speak of destruction, and a woe is even pronounced upon those who long for the day of the Lord. It therefore does not seem that the day of the Lord is a day we should look forward to. Rather, it seems that we should fear this day, yet we, the Seventh Day Adventists, look forward to this day with expectation, hope and joy. Why is it like that?
It is because we look forward to the conclusion of the cosmic conflict that has been raging ever since Lucifer fell into sin, causing men to sin against God’s commandments. When Jesus returns, which will happen very soon, it will be to deliver his people, and they are those which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17) and they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus ( Revelation 14:12, DNB 1930).
Nevertheless, as already mentioned, we have to expect a waiting period because the prophecies and Jesus’ parables say that it will happen. It is during this waiting period that we can manage the talents God has entrusted to us, by preaching the judgment, the return of Jesus, calling people to repentance and asking them to come out of Babylon. It is today that we have the opportunity to do it, because yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is out of sight; therefore, it is our duty to preach the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ today.
All Bible texts are from the King James Version 1611 / 1769 unless otherwise stated.
Gods Last Warning; the Midnight Cry, the Three Angels’ Message and the Loud Cry.
The midnight cry:
We find the midnight cry in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13; Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five [were] foolish. They that [were] foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
As usual, Jesus’ parables are full of symbols, and although we are now going to concentrate on the midnight cry, we need to know what these symbols mean before we can understand this parable. In this parable, God’s church on earth is compared to ten virgins. These ten virgins represent the two different Christian groups. The wise are those who prayerfully read and study the Bible and filled with the Holy Spirit, while the foolish are those who may not even read the Bible, and if they do, they at least read it only superficially, and completely lack the Holy Spirit. All Christians are waiting for Jesus to come again, both those who study the Bible and those who do not. In this parable, Jesus is referred to as the bridegroom.
All therefore have the word of God, which here are the lamps, but only a part of them, the wise, have the Holy Spirit, who is here compared to the oil. The foolish have not the spirit. As the waiting time is long, everyone falls asleep, except for the three angels in Revelation 14 and the fourth angel in Revelation 18. These angels cannot be other than those mentioned in Revelation 12:17 as the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, and which in Revelation 14:12 is mentioned like this, … they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
The midnight cry is linked both to the message of the three angels (Revelation 14,6-12) and to the loud cry (Revelation 18,4), and it is thus the others of her seed who preach this, those who keep God’s commandments and the faith of Jesus . When the message of the three angels and the loud cry complement and reinforce each other, the announcement rises precisely to a loud cry, and acts so that those who sleep hear a cry, and it is this cry that is the Midnight Cry: Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him!
The first time the midnight cry was heard over the world was in connection with the awakening of the Advent movement in the time before 1844. The cross-denominational movement, which the Advent movement was, had come to the conclusion that Jesus would return in 1844. They had even set a date that was in harmony with everything they read in the Bible – October 22, 1844. When William Miller discovered the meaning of Daniel 8:14 in 1818, he believed, as all Christians of that time believed, that the earth was the sanctuary to be cleansed at Jesus’ return. Miller, too, was a child of his time. All the calculations that had been made were correct, but the mistake they made was that they thought the earth was the sanctuary. They discovered this the day after Jesus was supposed to have come again, this led to the great disappointment, and the majority of those who had accepted the Advent message leaving the movement. Only those who were firmly rooted in the scriptures and who believed in what they had found remained in the Advent movement.
This message will be preached again in the absolute end times just before our Saviour and King, Jesus Christ, returns in all his glory to collect his own, and now even more strongly than it was preached in the first half of the 19th century. Nevertheless, not even a whisper will be heard without you and me shouting it out.
The message of the three angels:
Fear God, and give glory to Him … // … Babylon is fallen, is fallen … // … If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark on his forehead, or in his hand …
It is written in the prologue to the three angels’ messages, in Revelation 14:1-5; And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders, and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they, which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they, which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Those who are described here are those who are in the clear in relation to God’s word, and they stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion. It also says that they follow the Lamb wherever he goes if it leads them to the foot of the scaffold. In God’s eyes, they are without fault and without blemish. The opposite of this group are those described in Isaiah chapter 48 and verses 1 and 18. Verse 1 says; Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, [but] not in truth, nor in righteousness. … // … Verse 18 says; O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:
Revelation 14:1-5 talks of those who are on dry land in relation to God. This is, as I said, the prologue, or introduction, to the three angels’ messages. We see the stark contrast to those mentioned in Revelation 14:1-5 in Isaiah 48. These are those who rely on manmade systems and/or the fallen church, in order to justify themselves. There are no systems or churches that can save man, nor are there any works that can save us. It is only God, and no one else, who can save man.
Babel or Babylon is mentioned in both of these books (Isaiah 48:14 and Revelation 14:8). To give the term Babylon, which is derived from Babel, a meaning in New Testament literature, the word Babel (as in Babel’s tower) is a word composed of the words Bab and El, which mean another way to God, and this means that people will find their own way to God by saving / justifying themselves. Another meaning we attach to the word Babel is confusion. This is because of the intermingling of pagan religions that was the case in the historical empire of Babylon. Almost all known religions merged in Babylon. This is extremely interesting, and it is important to keep this in mind when reading about Babylon both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, especially when we know that the apostles called Rome Babylon, (1. Peter 5:13).
The first angel’s message, Revelation 14,6-7.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. Saying with a loud voice. Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come, and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Revelation 14:6-7 is the first angel’s message and contains God’s seal, and the message that the first angel proclaims is that we live in the end times or the time of judgment – the investigative judgment. Verse 7 is quite clear on this: … Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is* come, and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters
* The verb form here is the present participle active, which indicates an ongoing action.
However, there are many who doubt that God holds an investigative judgment before He judges the nations. Nevertheless, investigating the case before a judgment is a principle that God himself has introduced, and which He has made use of several times in the Bible. I will give two examples of this
The first example is from when the people in Babel (Babylon) had started building the tower of Babel (see Genesis 11:4), we read in Genesis 11:5 that God did the following; And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. It is not because God did not know what was going on, but it was to show all other living creatures throughout the universe that God would investigate the matter through an investigative judgment before He judged them.
The second example I think of is when Abraham received a divine visitation (see Genesis 18). In verses 20 and 21 the Lord says to Abraham this; … Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. This time too, God knew what was going on, and once again, God chooses to make an investigative judgment before He judges the nations.
The text of the first angel’s message (Revelation 14:7) forces a couple of questions.
1) How can I fear God and honour Him in the right way?
2) Can I do it at my own discretion, as many seem to believe, or is there a definitive answer in the Bible to this question as well?
The answer comes in the next sentence, which says that I shall worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. This has a clear address both to creation: In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, Genesis 1:1 … // … and to the fourth commandment which contains God’s seal, and which begins thus: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy … Exodus 20:8.
Yes, it is so incredibly simple, yet so terribly difficult for the majority of Christianity, keeping God’s Sabbath, because the Sabbath is God’s seal on the covenant God himself made with his people, and which is the heart, not only in the fourth commandment, but is the heart of the entire Decalogue. For we shall worship Him who made the heavens and the earth, the sea and the springs of water, and we worship God in the right way by showing that we recognize God’s authority and keep holy the day God himself chose as his day of rest, regardless of what people may say. This is one of several reasons God gives us when he tells us Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy … When we keep the Sabbath we remember God as the Creator.
Another reason can be found in Deuteronomy 5:12-15, where God places the liberation and the exit from Egypt and that the people were saved from slavery there in connection with the fourth commandment, and it says so in verse 15. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day. Here the reason for keeping the Sabbath is to look to God as our Saviour.
Also in Exodus 31:13, we find a reason to keep God’s Sabbath: Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you. Here the reason for keeping the Sabbath is that God sanctifies us, and the Sabbath is at the same time God’s sign of His covenant with man.
The Sabbath is thus the sign of God’s covenant with his people, and shall remind us of creation and point us forward to salvation and sanctification. He created us, He saves us by bringing us out of our Egypt, He sanctifies us and He leads us into the fountains of His grace.
The fourth commandment, the Sabbath commandment, is not only part of God’s law. It is, as I said, the heart of the law because it shows us who the Creator is, His domain and what He has created, and this in turn tells us who is worthy of our worship. But, many seem to want to forget this, because they say that God’s ten commandments are not found in the New Testament, and that they are therefore no longer valid. However, just look up the following scriptures:
First commandment: Matthew 4:10; Revelation 19:10.
Second commandment: 1 John 5:21; Acts 17:29.
Third commandment: 1 Timothy 6:1.
Fourth commandment: Matthew 12:1-14; Mark 2:27-28; Hebrews 4:4.
Fifth commandment: Matthew 15:4; Matthew 19:19.
Sixth commandment: Romans 13:9; James 2:11.
Seventh commandment: Matthew 19:18.
Eighth commandment: Romans 13:9,
Ninth commandment: Luke 18:20.
Tenth commandment: Romans 7:7.
Many will surely rush in and say that we are not saved by the law, and that is absolutely right. We are not saved by the law, but by God’s grace alone. The law is like a mirror that shows us our sin, and that points to the only one who can save us, Jesus Christ. But, are we saved if we do not keep the law? Of course not. The woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11) is a good example of this problem. The scribes and Pharisees wanted Jesus to sentence her to stoning, and Jesus gives them the right that adultery is a sin and that the punishment is death. But Jesus says to those who wanted to judge her; He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (John 8:7). With this, He says that the woman is a lawbreaker. No one casts the first stone and no one condemns her. Then follows one of the most important verses in relation to the validity of the law in Christian times; Neither do I condemn thee, says Jesus and with this He places the woman safely under God’s boundless grace before He continues to place her under the law by saying; Go, and sin no more! (John 8:11). Why was Jesus so concerned with following the law if He was going to abolish it shortly afterwards?
We know that to sin is to break the law. Also in Old Testament times, before Jesus died on the cross, people were saved only by God’s grace, not by the law, but they received countless reminders that they had to keep the law in order to remain saved.
Admittedly, many would argue that the Jews in Old Testament times were saved for a year at a time, when every year they had to sacrifice an animal to be cleansed of sin. That is about right, but how is it nowadays? Do not we also have our sacrifices to bring to the Lord? In our days, we bring forth our daily sacrifice, or at least we should, because our daily prayer is our daily sacrifice (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4). In Old Testament times, it was in faith that God saved them through the blood of the animal they sacrificed. When God saw their sincere repentance, he looked with favour on the animal sacrifice they had brought forward as an act of faith, but they were saved by God’s grace alone – and they were also encouraged to keep God’s commandments and laws. Yes, more than that. They were to tie them as a sign around their hand, they were to wear them as memorial notes between their eyes and write them on the doorposts of their houses. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates, (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
When the Jews in Old Testament times were saved by grace and grace alone and at the same time were asked to keep all God’s commandments and laws, we must expect the same to be the case today, precisely because yesterday, and today, and for ever, (Hebrews 13,8). We see the same pattern in the story of the woman who was taken in adultery. She experienced being placed under God’s grace by both being saved from condemnation and stoning. First, all those who wanted to condemn her disappeared in turn, and then Jesus says that he does not condemn her either, and in the next moment places her safely under the law by saying: go, and sin no more! Why did Jesus say that she should sin no more if He intended to annul the law only a short time after this?
If I keep a legislation, then I accept a higher authority than myself, and it is that authority that made the law. If I keep God’s law, as God wants me to keep it, then I approve of God’s authority. If I accept God’s authority, what kind of righteousness do I accept when I keep God’s law? I accept Jesus’ righteousness by keeping His law, as He wants me to do it. This can never become legalism, for the one who keeps the commandments in the right way is in reality righteous by the grace of God. As long as I do not accept or acknowledge the laws of men, but acknowledge God’s law and dominion over me and my life, then I acknowledge my dependence on Him and find myself in harmony with Him, His will and desires, and He will justify me because of my faith.
If, on the other hand, I recognize man-made laws and commandments, then I give these people the honour and recognition that only God is entitled to, and I place myself outside intercourse with my Creator, Saviour and Redeemer. Then it helps me very little that I call myself a Christian, a follower of Christ, because he will answer me as he says in Matthew 7:21-23; Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
A global crisis.
We experience in our days that something is about to happen on this planet. Only two to three years ago, around 2019, scientists claimed that what we were experiencing was a global warming caused by human activity. Today it is called climate change, without them blaming it on man-made. The political narrative to be indoctrinated is that we can reverse this climate change by buying and selling so-called climate quotas, i.e. nothing, because it is politically agreed that a rise in temperature must not exceed a certain number of degrees. If it does, the world comes to an end. I don’t think it’s possible to control the climate through political decisions, just as it’s no use deciding politically that it should only rain at night. Enough about that.
If people had feared God and given Him the glory, instead of taking credit for the progress that has been made, things would certainly be different on earth. Then God’s presence would be more visible to us, and God’s Spirit would be present to a greater extent than it is now. Now God is withdrawing His Spirit from the earth because of the sin committed by mankind collectively.
In recent times, we have a prophet of God who has told us something more about what will happen in the time just before Jesus’ return. Ellen G. White says the following in 1897: In the last days of this world’s history, wars will rage. There will be plague and famine. The sea will go over its shores. Property and lives will be lost due to fire and floods, 2EGW MAR 174.6 … … and in Manuscript Releases vol. 3, from the same year she writes: In the event of fires, tsunamis and earthquakes, in accidents on land and at sea we are warned that Spirit will not work on men forever.
Even when it comes to these prophecies, most people will say that there have always been wars, and there have always been fires and floods, hunger, diseases and earthquakes. That is so true, but there is still one thing that distinguishes our time from earlier times (the time before 1950 AD). The number of fires has shown an exponential increase, as have the other disasters that Ellen G. White talks about. In 2020, there were 80 armed conflicts (wars) in the world at the same time, which is a new «world record». Those who doubt this can only open the window to look out over the world to see an unprecedented scale of these disasters, and the reason for this is that God is withdrawing His protective spirit from a world completely under Satan’s control. When people don’t want to listen, and they don’t want to turn to God, there comes a day when God says enough is enough. We have examples of this happening in the past. In Noah’s time when God sent the flood over the earth because, the wickedness of men had become so great that they thought of doing evil from morning to night. Israel, the ten-tribe kingdom or Northern Kingdom, was conquered by Assyria and those who were not killed during the siege were taken as prisoners ‘beyond the river’. Since then they have been gone. This happened because they broke all God’s commandments and laws. The Jews were taken captive to Babylon because they had also broken all God’s commandments and had introduced idolatry even into God’s temple in Jerusalem. One day, and very soon, God’s spirit will be completely withdrawn from the whole earth and then people will be at the mercy of Satan’s evil.
If we go to the Old Testament, we find a couple of verses in Isaiah that say something about what the world will be like just before Jesus’ return. First, we can look at Isaiah 24:4-6; The earth mourneth [and] fadeth away, the world languisheth [and] fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under 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: therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.
How do we experience the earth? Even scientists say that we consume more each year than is renewed. By the end of July, we had used up the estimated amount of renewable raw materials and the same scientists are warning us of a warming of the planet that we have not seen before. On 17 August, we could read in an online newspaper that it is expected that 100 million people, just in the USA, will soon live in a zone where the temperature will rise to over 50 degrees Celsius at its hottest. And if we look at what Europe is like this year, 2022, there is a drought over large parts of the continent which has led to large forest fires in several places, and large lakes have almost dried up. Much of this can be corrected with a rainfall-rich autumn, winter and spring, but there are clear signs that something is about to happen to the planet.
Then we can look at Isaiah 51;6 which says. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner, but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
I say this is an incredibly accurate description made about 2,800 years ago that the earth will age like a garment. If we look at all that is happening to the planet that we haven’t seen before, the description Isaiah made is as accurate as it gets. Sinkhole is a key word here. More and more often, we read about sinkholes of all sizes appearing, from the very small and almost harmless to the very large ones that swallow entire blocks.
The sum of all the prophecies and warnings tell us that the end is near. Everything that Jesus has said on this subject when he was here on earth, together with all the prophecies we have from Genesis up to our time have predicted what this planet will be like just before Jesus’ return. What we see out in nature testifies that the prophecies and warnings are about to be fulfilled to the last letter.
Dear reader. Jesus is coming soon, therefore the three angels’ messages are more important than ever before, and the first angel’s message points us to the Creator and says. … Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.