Sabbath, February 27, 2016
“Thus will be fulfilled Christ’s promise to His disciples, ‘I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.’ John 14:3. Those who have loved Him and waited for Him, He will crown with glory and honor and immortality. The righteous dead will come forth from their graves, and those who are alive will be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. They will hear the voice of Jesus, sweeter than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, saying to them, Your warfare is accomplished. ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew 25:34.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 34.
Promise and confirmation
1. What amazing, powerful promise did Jesus give His disciples before He left this earth? Who provided a special confirmation of this?
John 14:18, 1-3 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you…. 1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Acts 1:9-11 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
“For your sake I came into the world. I am working in your behalf. When I go away, I shall still work earnestly for you. I came into the world to reveal Myself to you, that you might believe. I go to the Father to cooperate with Him in your behalf. The object of Christ’s departure was the opposite of what the disciples feared. It did not mean a final separation. He was going to prepare a place for them, that He might come again, and receive them unto Himself. While He was building mansions for them, they were to build characters after the divine similitude.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 663.
Loud voice and sound of the trumpet
2. What is the first thing that will draw the attention of everyone in the world when Jesus returns? Who will accompany Him on His descent from heaven?
John 5:25, 28 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.
Matthew 24:31 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.
“Paul showed that those living when Christ should come would not go to meet their Lord in advance of those who had fallen asleep in Jesus. The voice of the Archangel and the trump of God would reach the sleeping ones, and the dead in Christ should rise first, before the touch of immortality should be given to the living.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 258.
“Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour… He comes, victor in heaven and earth, to judge the living and the dead. ‘Faithful and True,’ ‘in righteousness He doth judge and make war.’ And ‘the armies which were in heaven’ (Revelation 19:11, 14) follow Him. With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms–’ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.’ No human pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 640, 641.
Brilliant as lightning
3. What else will rivet the people’s attention all over the world? How will Jesus appear in the clouds of heaven?
Matthew 24:26, 27, 30 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. 27For 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…. 30And 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.
Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
“When Christ shall come to the earth again, not as a prisoner surrounded by a rabble will men see Him. They will see Him then as heaven’s King. Christ will come in His own glory, in the glory of His Father, and the glory of the holy angels. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, the beautiful and triumphant sons of God, possessing surpassing loveliness and glory, will escort Him on His way. Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 739.
“Christ is coming with power and great glory…. While all the world is plunged in darkness, there will be light in every dwelling of the saints. They will catch the first light of His second appearing. The unsullied light will shine from His splendor, and Christ the Redeemer will be admired by all who have served Him. While the wicked flee from His presence, Christ’s followers will rejoice.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 420, 421.
Change of the living and resurrection of the dead
4. What will bring an immediate change to the living, waiting saints? When the trumpet sounds, what will happen to God’s people who are sleeping the sleep of death?
1 Corinthians 15:51-54 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
“The earth mightily shook as the voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints. They responded to the call and came forth clothed with glorious immortality, crying, ‘Victory, victory, over death and the grave! O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ Then the living saints and the risen ones raised their voices in a long, transporting shout of victory. Those bodies that had gone down into the grave bearing the marks of disease and death came up in immortal health and vigor. The living saints are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and caught up with the risen ones, and together they meet their Lord in the air. Oh, what a glorious meeting! Friends whom death had separated were united, never more to part.” –Early Writings, p. 287.
5. After the living are changed and the sleeping saints rise from the dead, what will take place for all of them at once? What prayer of Jesus will thus be fulfilled?
1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16, 17 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him…. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
“Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1093; Maranatha, p. 301.
Hope, faith, and preparation
6. Has Jesus provided information about the exact date of His return? Even though many signs of the times are everywhere all around the world, what will happen to many people?
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
“The times and seasons God has put in His own power. And why has not God given us this knowledge? Because we would not make a right use of it if He did. A condition of things would result from this knowledge among our people that would greatly retard the work of God in preparing a people to stand in the great day that is to come. We are not to be engrossed with speculations in regard to the times and the seasons which God has not revealed…. No one will be able to predict just when that time will come; for ‘of that day and hour knoweth no man.’ You will not be able to say that He will come in one, two, or five years, neither are you to put off His coming by stating that it may not be for ten or twenty years…. We are not to know the definite time either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ.” –Evangelism, p. 221.
7. Since no one knows the day or hour of Jesus’ return, what will God’s children do as they wait for Him to come back? What will be said about those who watch, wait, and are faithful and wise as they wait for that supremely glorious event?
Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
Matthew 24:45, 46 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
“I have borne you a message of the near coming of the Son of God in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. I have not presented before you any definite time, but have repeated to you the injunction of Christ Himself, to watch unto prayer, ‘For in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.’ The warning has come echoing down the ages to our time, ‘Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 137.
For additional study
1 Thessalonians 4:16, first part; 2 Thessalonians 1:10
“The world, who act as though there were no God, absorbed in selfish pursuits, will soon experience sudden destruction, and shall not escape. Many continue in the careless gratification of self until they become so disgusted with life that they kill themselves. Dancing and carousing, drinking and smoking, indulging their animal passions, they go as an ox to the slaughter. Satan is working with all his art and enchantments to keep men marching blindly onward until the Lord arises out of His place to punish the inhabitants of earth for their iniquities, when the earth shall disclose her blood and no more cover her slain. The whole world appears to be in the march to death….
“Jesus has told His disciples to ‘watch,’ but not for definite time. His followers are to be in the position of those who are listening for the orders of their Captain; they are to watch, wait, pray, and work, as they approach the time for the coming of the Lord.” –Evangelism, pp. 26, 221.
* * *
from the Computer Science School
in Coatepeque, Guatemala
To be read on Sabbath, February 27, 2016
The Special Sabbath School Offering will be gathered
on Sabbath, March 5, 2016
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
“In every place where there is a church, large or small, there a school should be established.” –(Letter 108, 1899) Selected Messages, book 3, p. 227.
According to the Scriptures and the Spirit of prophecy, it is God’s plan that educational institutions be established to advance the comprehensive education of mind, heart, and body with a Christian focus, educating children and youth in the special truths for this time.
In 2007 with the help of God, we acquired the rights to the Computer Science School (Colegio Científico de Estudios en Computación), which encompasses education on three levels:
- Primary Level
- Basic Level
- Advanced Level, with 6 pre-university high school diplomas (High School Computer Science with a Marketing focus, Accounting, Business Administration, Marketing and Advertising, Bilingual Secretary, and Secretary and Clerk).
Today this school is owned by the International Missionary Society, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Reform Movement, with the Spanish acronym SMIASDIMOR, in Guatemala. Our goal from the very beginning has been to provide the students at the primary, basic, and advanced levels with the knowledge of God’s word through a Bible course that is taught as well as daily devotionals. In addition, financial aid has been provided in this school year to two hundred students with scarce resources by distributing different levels of scholarships that were given by the General Conference Good Samaritan Department and the school.
We have obtained a loan to buy land, and it is the dream of the teachers, the administrative staff, and the students soon to see their own building erected. Therefore, with God’s help, we are progressing with the construction and need funds to make bricks for the first floor. The project consists of four modules housing a pre-university institution with the goal to become a university of the church in the near future.
We believe that God will continue to provide means through the generosity of His faithful children whose objective is also the desire for many people to come to the knowledge of His word and for this project to become a reality.
“Help will come to us. We expect to have a school building, in which the Bible can be taught, in which prayers can be offered to God, and in which the children can be instructed in Bible principles. We expect that every one who can take hold with us will want to have a share in erecting this building.” –Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 245.
Therefore, we appeal to all our dear fellow believers, friends, and visitors around the world: Please give your financial support in accordance with the blessings you have received from God so that this project may be completed with God’s help and your support.
For more information on the progress of construction of the private Computer Science School, go to www.cec.edu.gt.
–Danilo López Monterroso
General Conference Education Department Leader