“We are living in the time of the end”–writes the Spirit of prophecy. “The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.
“The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.
“The condition of things in the world shows that troublous times are right upon us. The daily papers are full of indications of a terrible conflict in the near future. Bold robberies are of frequent occurrence. Strikes are common. Thefts and murders are committed on every hand. Men possessed of demons are taking the lives of men, women, and little children. Men have become infatuated with vice, and every species of evil prevails.
“The enemy has succeeded in perverting justice and in filling men’s hearts with the desire for selfish gain…. In the great cities there are multitudes living in poverty and wretchedness, well-nigh destitute of food, shelter, and clothing; while in the same cities are those who have more than heart could wish, who live luxuriously, spending their money on richly furnished houses, on personal adornment, or worse still, upon the gratification of sensual appetites, upon liquor, tobacco, and other things that destroy the powers of the brain, unbalance the mind, and debase the soul. The cries of starving humanity are coming up before God, while by every species of oppression and extortion men are piling up colossal fortunes.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 11.
Considering how serious and short our time is, what should be our greatest and first interest in life? What should we constantly do? How do we wish to be found when our Redeemer appears in glory?
Thorough spiritual preparation was necessary before the first coming of Jesus as a human being, as John the Baptist declared: “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He was the one about whom Isaiah the prophet had declared: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” Matthew 3:1-3.
If this was the case before His first coming, how necessary and urgent is this work today when Jesus is about to come in glory? After His ascension, the door of grace remained open and the church could continue to preach the gospel of salvation to all nations. But in the last days, when the work of grace will have accomplished its mission, this will not be the case. Saved will mean saved forever, and lost will mean lost forever. Dear brothers and sisters, now is the time for preparation and sanctification. Let us spend our time wisely, growing every day in Jesus Christ.
“In consideration of the shortness of time we as a people should watch and pray, and in no case allow ourselves to be diverted from the solemn work of preparation for the great event before us. Because the time is apparently extended, many have become careless and indifferent in regard to their words and actions. They do not realize their danger and do not see and understand the mercy of our God in lengthening their probation, that they may have time to form characters for the future, immortal life. Every moment is of the highest value. Time is granted them, not to be employed in studying their own ease and becoming dwellers on the earth, but to be used in the work of overcoming every defect in their own characters and in helping others, by example and personal effort, to see the beauty of holiness. God has a people upon the earth who in faith and holy hope are tracing down the roll of fast-fulfilling prophecy and are seeking to purify their souls by obeying the truth, that they may not be found without the wedding garment when Christ shall appear.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 306, 307.
Dear brothers and sisters in every country of the world, this is the solemn subject of the Sabbath School Lessons for this quarter. Let us study them carefully and apply them to our experience and daily life, for this is the message for our time. These lessons have been prepared with the great desire that when Jesus comes His bride will be found ready.
Therefore, may the Lord help us that in studying these messages we will be prepared for the full reception of the Lord into our hearts. Be assured, if we receive Him today, He will receive us into glory when the day of the great feast comes, for the wonderful promise is. “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:6-9.
–The brothers and sisters of the General Conference
Sabbath, July 3, 2010
“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.” –Welfare Ministry, p. 136.
The Euphrates and the time of the end
1. What will happen when the sixth angel pours his vial upon the great river Euphrates? What is prophesied to transpire at the time of the end?
Revelation 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
Daniel 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
“As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies recorded by Daniel demand our special attention, as they relate to the very time in which we are living. With them should be linked the teachings of the last book of the New Testament Scriptures.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 547.
“The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecy of the eleventh chapter of Daniel has nearly reached its complete fulfillment. Soon the scenes of trouble spoken of in the prophecies will take place.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 14.
2. When will this happen? Who will soon return?
Daniel 12:1, 2 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Revelation 16:13-15 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
“The return of Christ to our world will not be long delayed. Let this be the keynote of every message.
“The blessed hope of the second appearing of Christ, with its solemn realities, needs to be often presented to the people. Looking for the soon appearing of our Lord will lead us to regard earthly things as emptiness and nothingness.
“The battle of Armageddon is soon to be fought. He on whose vesture is written the name, King of kings, and Lord of lords, is soon to lead forth the armies of heaven.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 406.
It is time to wake up!
3. Therefore, what call must again be addressed to us?
Romans 13:11, 12 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
“… There are many, many in our churches who know little of the real meaning of the truth for this time. I appeal to them not to disregard the fulfilling of the signs of the times, which says so plainly that the end is near. Oh, how many who have not sought their souls’ salvation will soon make the bitter lamentation: ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved’!
“We are living in the closing scenes of this earth’s history. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The hours of probation are fast passing. We have no time–not a moment–to lose. Let us not be found sleeping on guard. Let no one say in his heart or by his works: ‘My Lord delayeth His coming.’ Let the message of Christ’s soon return sound forth in earnest words of warning. Let us persuade men and women everywhere to repent and flee from the wrath to come. Let us arouse them to immediate preparation, for we little know what is before us.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 252, 253.
4. What should we be covered with, especially considering the earnestness of time and that not just the governments of this world but even individuals can easily obtain the most terrible nuclear weapons?
Romans 13:12-14 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
“The Lord is soon to come, and we must be prepared to meet Him in peace. Let us be determined to do all in our power to impart light to those around us. We are not to be sad, but cheerful, and we are to keep the Lord Jesus ever before us. He is soon coming, and we must be ready and waiting for His appearing. Oh, how glorious it will be to see Him and be welcomed as His redeemed ones! Long have we waited, but our hope is not to grow dim. If we can but see the King in His beauty we shall be forever blessed. I feel as if I must cry aloud: ‘Homeward bound!’ We are nearing the time when Christ will come in power and great glory to take His ransomed ones to their eternal home.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 253.
The hope that encourages God’s children
5. Who alone can be at peace in view of the greatly anticipated coming of the Lord? What have all of God’s people longed for throughout the ages?
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Revelation 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
“On rocky Patmos the beloved disciple hears the promise, ‘Surely I come quickly,’ and his longing response voices the prayer of the church in all her pilgrimage, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ Revelation 22:20.
“From the dungeon, the stake, the scaffold, where saints and martyrs witnessed for the truth, comes down the centuries the utterance of their faith and hope. Being ‘assured of His personal resurrection, and consequently of their own at His coming, for this cause,’ says one of these Christians, ‘they despised death, and were found to be above it.’ –Daniel T. Taylor, The Reign of Christ on Earth: or, The Voice of the Church in All Ages, page 33. They were willing to go down to the grave, that they might ‘rise free.’ –Ibid., page 54. They looked for the ‘Lord to come from heaven in the clouds with the glory of His Father,’ ‘bringing to the just the times of the kingdom.’ The Waldenses cherished the same faith. –Ibid., pages 129-132. Wycliffe looked forward to the Redeemer’s appearing as the hope of the church. –Ibid., pages 132-134.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 302, 303.
6. As what is the glorious manifestation of our Saviour described? With what eagerness did the Reformers await the coming of the Lord? When did Luther expect this to happen?
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.
“Luther declared: ‘I persuade myself verily, that the day of judgment will not be absent full three hundred years. God will not, cannot, suffer this wicked world much longer.’ ‘The great day is drawing near in which the kingdom of abominations shall be overthrown.’ –Ibid., pages 158, 134.” –The Great Controversy, p. 303.
7. In what manner will Jesus appear the second time? What did Melanchthon and Calvin, Knox, Ridley, Latimer, and Baxter say about this event?
“ ‘This aged world is not far from its end,’ said Melanchthon. Calvin bids Christians ‘not to hesitate, ardently desiring the day of Christ’s coming as of all events most auspicious;’ and declares that ‘the whole family of the faithful will keep in view that day.’ ‘We must hunger after Christ, we must seek, contemplate,’ he says, ‘till the dawning of that great day, when our Lord will fully manifest the glory of His kingdom.’ –Ibid., pp. 158, 134.
“‘Has not the Lord Jesus carried up our flesh into heaven?’ said Knox, the Scotch Reformer, ‘and shall He not return? We know that He shall return, and that with expedition.’ Ridley and Latimer, who laid down their lives for the truth, looked in faith for the Lord’s coming. Ridley wrote: ‘The world without doubt–this I do believe, and therefore I say it–draws to an end. Let us with John, the servant of God, cry in our hearts unto our Saviour Christ, Come, Lord Jesus, come.’ –Ibid., pp. 151, 145.
“‘The thoughts of the coming of the Lord,’ said Baxter, ‘are most sweet and joyful to me.’ –Richard Baxter, Works, vol. 17, p. 555. ‘It is the work of faith and the character of His saints to love His appearing and to look for that blessed hope.’ ‘If death be the last enemy to be destroyed at the resurrection, we may learn how earnestly believers should long and pray for the second coming of Christ, when this full and final conquest shall be made.’ –Ibid., vol. 17, p. 500. ‘This is the day that all believers should long, and hope, and wait for, as being the accomplishment of all the work of their redemption, and all the desires and endeavors of their souls.’ ‘Hasten, O Lord, this blessed day!’ –Ibid., vol. 17, pp. 182, 183.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 303, 304.
“Christ continues, pointing out the condition of the world at His coming: ‘As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ Christ does not here bring to view a temporal millennium, a thousand years in which all are to prepare for eternity. He tells us that as it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of man comes again….
“Because we know not the exact time of His coming, we are commanded to watch. ‘Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching.’ ” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 633, 634.