Sabbath, June 22, 2019
Lesson 25 – Signs of the Kingdom
“There are in the world today many who close their eyes to the evidences that Christ has given to warn men of His coming. They seek to quiet all apprehension, while at the same time the signs of the end are rapidly fulfilling, and the world is hastening to the time when the Son of man shall be revealed in the clouds of heaven…. It is sinful to be indifferent to the signs which are to precede the second coming of Christ…. ‘Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:6.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 260.
1. What prophecies concerning the kingdom of glory did the Saviour give? Besides the signs in nature, what conditions will exist among the nations?
Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.
Matthew 24:29 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.
“A world is represented in the destruction of Jerusalem, and the warning given then by Christ comes sounding down the line to our time…. Yes, they shall pass their borders, and destruction will be in their track. They will engulf the ships that sail upon their broad waters, and with the burden of their living freight, they will be hurried into eternity, without time to repent.” –Selected Messages, book 3, p. 417.
2. What will happen to the powers of earth and heaven? How will people feel when they see such frightening events?
Luke 21:26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
“There will be calamities by land and by sea, ‘men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.’ In just the same manner as He ascended will He come the second time to our world. ‘And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.’ Luke 21:26-28.
“Those in the world, having lost their connection with God, are making desperate, insane efforts to make centers of themselves. This causes distrust of one another, which is followed by crime. The kingdoms of the world will be divided against themselves. Fewer and fewer will become the sympathetic cords which bind man in brotherhood to his fellow man. The natural egotism of the human
heart will be worked upon by Satan. He will use the uncontrolled wills and violent passions which were never brought under the control of God’s will….” –Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 417, 418.
Jesus’ glorious appearing
3. After all these events occur, what powerful, glorious, long-expected event will take place? Who will appear triumphantly in the clouds of heaven?
Luke 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
“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…. 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.
4. What relation is there between signs of the end and the believers’ redemption? Therefore, what special attention should we give to the signs taking place around us?
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
“The words of Jesus Christ are spoken to us living down here in the close of this earth’s history. ‘When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.’ Luke 21:28. The nations are in unrest. Times of perplexity are upon us. The waves of the sea are roaring; men’s hearts are failing them for fear and for expectation of those things that are coming upon the earth; but those who believe on the Son of God will hear His voice amid the storm, saying, ‘It is I; be not afraid.’ Matthew 14:27…. We see the world lying in wickedness and apostasy. Rebellion to the commandments of God seems almost universal. Amid the tumult of excitement with confusion in every place, there is a work to be done in the world.” –Evangelism, p. 18.
5. How can we know that we are truly paying attention to the signs of the times? How aware of and prepared for Jesus’ coming are we, as He mentioned in the parable of the fig tree showing that summer is near?
Luke 21:29, 30 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
“Christ had bidden His people watch for the signs of His advent and rejoice as they should behold the tokens of their coming King. ‘When these things begin to come to pass,’ He said, ‘then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.’ He pointed His followers to the budding trees of spring, and said: ‘When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.’ Luke 21:28, 30, 31.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 308, 309.
The kingdom at hand
6. Having earnestly prayed and waited, what will the redeemed experience?
Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
“Heaven is worth everything to us. We must not run any risk in this matter. We must take no venture here. We must know that our steps are ordered by the Lord. May God help us in the great work of overcoming. He has crowns for those that overcome. He has white robes for the righteous. He has an eternal world of glory for those who seek for glory, honor, and immortality. Everyone who enters the city of God will enter it as a conqueror. He will not enter it as a condemned criminal, but as a son of God. And the welcome given to everyone who enters there will be, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew 25:34.” –Temperance, p. 114.
7. When will everything be finished? What assurance did the Lord give His children about this greatly anticipated event?
Luke 21:32, 33 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 33Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
“At the close of the great papal persecution, Christ declared, the sun should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light. Next, the stars should fall from heaven. And He says, ‘Learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that He is near, even at the doors.’ Matthew 24:32, 33, margin.
“Christ has given signs of His coming. He declares that we may know when He is near, even at the doors. He says of those who see these signs, ‘This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.’ These signs have appeared. Now we know of a surety that the Lord’s coming is at hand. ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away,’ He says, ‘but My words shall not pass away.’ Luke 21:32, 33.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 632.
For additional study
“Soon grievous troubles will arise among the nations–troubles 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, p. 25.
“Better than all the friendship of the world is the friendship of Christ’s redeemed. Better than a title to the noblest palace on earth is a title to the mansions our Lord has gone to prepare. And better than all the words of earthly praise will be the Saviour’s words to His faithful servants, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew 25:34.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 374.