We are those inhabiters, aren't we. Woe is us. We inhabit the wrong place. We inhabit the place where the devil dwells. He lives here. His angels, they were kicked out, thrown out of heaven, cast out to this earth.
Woe means of something with adversity, something with trouble, bereavement, heartache, tribulation, trouble, discouragement, misery, a kaleidoscope of bad stuff. That's what we are in for. Have you experienced any of that in your life? I don't have to ask you to raise your hands.
In the other places of the universe, according to verse twelve, the people that are dwelling in the heavens out there, they are rejoicing. Only we are in trouble, because all of those inhabitants of those sinless worlds out there, they're happy. But woe to the inhabiters of the earth. Here's where the trouble is. They are rejoicing, we're living in a mess. But I am here to tell you that this mess is almost over. It won't be long when Jesus comes in a cloud of glory. He's going to come down to this planet. He's going to receive us unto Himself, and you are not going to have any more death, no more suffering, no more sickness, no more hospitals, no more funerals.
Isn't that great? Good news! Not much longer, and I firmly believe that my Savior, your Savior, Jesus Christ will arrive and will rescue us.
Now, He's not going to rescue everybody, just His sheep, His lambs. Are you a lamb? Are you one of His children? Are you one of His sheep?
Look at John 14:3. Jesus speaks of His own, and gives a promise to them, and He says, and this is a promise to you if you're one of Jesus' people, And 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. That's beautiful, isn't it.
Now, this world has always been a bad place. It's never been really great, that is, until sin entered. Before that, it wasn't too bad. At creation it was pretty good. In fact if you look in Genesis the first chapter you can read about what God said about this place. Genesis 1:10 God was naming the various things that were happening He was creating each day. He came to this day and He named the dry ground something interesting called "land," and the water He named the "sea." And then what did god say in verse ten? ...and God saw that it was good. Now when God says something is good, it is pretty good. "And it was good." The problem arrived when Lucifer made himself into a devil. Lucifer was this leading choir director up in heaven, and from the day that he was cast down out of heaven down to this earth, we have steadily gotten worse, because the devil just doesn't want things to go well with you, or your family, your checkbook, your health, your life, nothing.
So, just how bad are things? Well, we're losing our children. You're aware of that I guess. The March 6, 2000 of U.S, News and World Report makes this statement, and you're not going to believe this, but I'm going to read it to you anyway. I didn't believe it. Listen to this. "According to the Surgeon General of the United States, almost twenty-one percent of the children aged nine and up have a mental disorder." One out of every five of our kids has mental problems! Do you believe that? That's pretty tough, isn't it. That's hard! Our kids are going crazy! And the parents are going crazy trying to raise these kids. Have you ever tried to raise a kid? It's tough.
And wait until they get to be teen-agers! The parents are going crazy. One out of every five kids in America today is experiencing mental problems. They don't have any sense. And what brain they do have we say, "Well, go watch TV." That gets rid of the rest of it.
In fact, I read that more and more preschoolers are being treated with powerful psychiatric drugs. The number of two to four year-old children in America are on Ritalin and anti-depressants has increase dramatically in just the past eight years. It's no wonder that these kids, when they get a hold of a gun they want to shoot somebody. That's what they're trained to do from the "tube." And after a six-year-old shoots another six-year-old they go back to the coloring book. They don't even comprehend what they have done. We're raising a generation of zombies.
And not just the kids are that ill, it's the adults. Did you know that last year, 1999, according to this same issue, there were one hundred and thirty three million prescriptions for psychiatric medications in America. That's almost half of us. We're on psychiatric medications. Every other person!. And many of our large schools are hiring nurses to dispense medications at meal times.
What is it coming to? Revelation tells us. Let's go back to Revelation 11. Here's exactly what's going on. Revelation 11:18 (NLT), "The nations were angry with you, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants. You will reward your prophets and your holy people, all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. And you will destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth." Who is destroying this world? We are. And God is going to come and destroy those who are destroying the earth. Revelation is basically saying here that we are self-destructing.
We get on the web, and we get on pornography. We go to the store and something happens and we're mad. We are losing it! Losing it. And there are many other signs of the Lord's coming. I will tell you one, and that is that the sea is rising. I read something that shocked me the other day. U.S. News on the very cover said, "Arctic Meltdown!" Are you aware that the ice at the Antarctic and at the other pole, all the ice in the world is melting. Glaciers are receding. This is very serious stuff. If you ever want to go on vacation on the beach, you'd better go now. Because in a few years, according to this, if you wait a number of years you're going to see a beach of abandoned buildings sticking up through the water where the other beach used to be. It's happening. Things are changing fast, according to this article. Polar ice caps are in a melt-down. In Antarctica alone, nearly one thousand square miles of ice-shelf have melted. Do you have any idea what one thousand square miles would be? That's a big area. (About 10 by 100 miles) In the last two years , that's how much ice has melted.
And this article goes on to say that thousands of additional square miles more are appearing to go next. The scientists are saying that this earth... and I'll give you a quote here: This earth is unstoppably entering a heat wave that could last for centuries." I won't last that long. It's going to end when Jesus comes. Right? And then when Jesus come the third time, it's going to really get hot. More than ice is going to melt.
So, the end-time disasters are taking place. And who is responsible for the melting of all this ice? The Bible says who is: We are.
End-time disaster are increasing. Come over here to Luke 21:11 (KJV), And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. We've had a lot of earthquakes, famines and pestilences. Just last year, in August 17, 1999, over in Turkey there were fifteen thousand people killed just like that in one earthquake. That could happen in Los Angeles, and how many would be killed? Big things are in the offing. October 1999 one "cyclone" hit in India and killed ten thousand people. Right now, in Mozambique, southern Africa, ten thousand people have died just from the rains, from the flooding.
Are these the disasters of the last days? What do you think? I'd like to answer that question by asking another question, and I want you to be very serious. Here's the question: Were there nations before the flood? Were there any nations before the flood? Now, if you can answer that question, you can answer the other question. The number one question is: Are the disasters that we are seeing today the final last-day disasters? Okay? Well, heres the questions: Were there any nations before Noah's flood?
Come over here to Daniel 12. Now, you may learn something if don't fall asleep during this part of the sermon. Be wide awake here. Okay? Don't miss this. A very important question. Daniel 12:1 (NIV), At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened of nations until then. But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered. Let's go through that verse again. Now, notice this. "At that time Michael stands up..." Now, who is Michael? It's Jesus Christ in my opinion. He is Michael. When Jesus stands up, what happens? The time of trouble begins. The last crisis on the earth begins. And that makes sense, because Jesus is our judge. And when the judge stands up, his chambers are empty and the judgment is over, and then you go into the verdict, and you go into the punishment. Okay? So, when the judge stands up, the time of trouble begins, the close of probation. This distress will be so bad that it is called "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation (KJV)."
So when did the first nation start? Well, let's go back to Genesis 10. Now, follow along with this. The very first mention of "nation" anywhere in the Bible is in Genesis 10:5. And here a list of the descendants of Noah, and notice what it says. (NIV)From these the maritime people spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language. So, now let's put Daniel in the context of Genesis 10:5. Put these two together and you can understand, now, what Daniel is saying. What Daniel is saying is that in the very last days that we are living in, just before the end of the world, there will come the worst time of trouble that the world has ever experienced since there was a nation. When was that? Since the flood. Do you get it? In the last days it's going to be as bad as it was during Noah's flood. Now, you're going to say, "But Pastor, if that's the case, we're going to all drown. We're going to all be killed." And that is a correct deduction. That is going to happen. We're all dead.
Look at a little book called, Maranatha (Devotional book by EG White,), p. 265. This refers to Daniel 12:1. This is one of my favorite books. It says, "And when Michael leave the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth and Satan has entire control. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds, the elements of strife will be let loose and the whole world will then be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old." What happened to Jerusalem? It was destroyed, you remember. Destroyed. It's going to be more terrible than that. It's going to destroy the world before the millennium. Remember what happened to Jerusalem: Totally destroyed. The Roman soldiers literally scraped all signed of the temple off the mount and Jerusalem itself was torn down and built up a new Roman city. And that's exactly what Noah's flood did.
I tread another one in Testimonies Volume A (Special Testimonies), p. 38. It says, "The armory of heaven os open. All the universe of God and its equipment is ready. There will be voices, thunderings, lightnings, earthquakes, and universal desolation." So you can see that these natural disasters that we're seeing today are not quite... They're harbingers of what is to happen, but they're not quite the real thing. They are the beginnings. It's happening. It's a wake-up call. We need to be ready because the real thing will happen the instant Jesus stands up.
Come over here to Matthew 24. This echoes Daniel 12:1. Matthew 24:21,22 (NIV), For then there will be a great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. I believe the angels today are loosening their grip on the four winds. I think we are seeing the beginnings of the rambunctious winds and their troubles that they will bring.
One problem in this world is Matthew 24:7. It says that in the last days "... There will be famines..." Are there famines today? Yes there are! Did you know that every year more than five million children, aged five and under, die from diseases that are related to malnutrition. That's a problem. And in twenty years, our farmer are going to have to grow forty percent more food than they grow today to feed the population. All that could be solved if were could all be vegetarians, there would be ten times as much food, but that's what are going to have to do. Where are they going to get all that food, because we're building houses and factories on the good land? I will tell you where they are going to get it: The farmers today are trying to join God in creation. What they are doing, they are creating genetically modified corn and rice and other crops that you are now beginning to eat if you buy at the grocery store. What will happen? I don't know. By adding genes from daffodils and from bacteria they have now produced a golden rice that can be sown in these third world nations which will produce beta carotene and double the iron content of the rice. I don't se why they don't get the genes from lightning bugs and put them in the rice and they could grow the rice twenty four hours a day. I don't know.
Where all this will end only God knows. I think it will end in the destruction of the world. What will happen to the world when all this frankenstein food is widely distributed? There are some worries here. It's risky, because in the tropics, where this rice is to be grown, the tropics house the wild relatives many crop plants, and there is a greater chance there that foreign genes could escape into nature, and then what's going to happen? More woe to the inhabiter. That's what's going to happen. You ain't seen nothin' yet. Bad times ahead. But I believe that God will come soon and deliver His people before we destroy ourselves.
I think that the destruction of the world is at hand. One person said, "Well, the world is coming to an end. You'd better get ready." Another person said, "Don't worry about it. We can get along without the world." Is that true? Yes, it is, as long as you've got Jesus. If you've got Jesus, you can get along without this world. Isn't that right? But if you don't have Jesus, all that's staring you in the face is death. That's all. That's the reward.
So, there are many signs in the world today. You know what went on this week. I love our Roman Catholic friends and people, but I will tell you that a statement was made by the papal leaders this week that says the Roman Catholic Church apologizes for all of the atrocities that have been done over all the years, the dark ages, the killing, the torture chambers. Apologizing for all that. Did you listen very carefully? They are not apologizing for anything that the church did. The church is infallible. What they are apologizing for is what some of the member of the church did, what the people did, not what the church did. And, therefore, because they have apologize, of course now that the apology has been made, they are inviting all the departed brethren, all the protestants to come back. Are they coming back? They are.
Are you aware that in 1999, the membership of the Baptist church in the United States went down one percent while the same time the membership in the Catholic church went up. What does that mean? Well, come over here to Revelation 13:3. Here's the answer. The Bible is so clear on these things. If you've been hearing Mark Finley, you've been hearing some fantastic end-time preaching. Revelation 13:3 (NIV), What is happening? Here's what's happening: One of the heads of the beast seemed to have a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
I think the end is near. I want to ask you, do you belong to Jesus? If you belong to Jesus you don't have to worry about the end, do you. He is your Savior. I want you urge you every day to be studying your Bibles, be immersing yourself in the Word of Truth, to be making callouses on your knees, ought to be in prayer every day. When you wake up in the morning, pray. When you go to bed, pray. Pray throughout the day. And you need to be working for Jesus and witnessing to Jesus.
Two weeks ago, my wife and I were at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. We went to church there. We had a terrible time finding the church. Elder S.S. Wills is building a brand new one there. It's a fantastic church. When we went into Sabbath School, my wife and I, and my mother and my dad doubled the Sabbath School attendance. It's kind of a small church, but it's growing. For church service they had about twenty or twenty five members, but they are building the most beautiful sanctuary. It is really nice. Just nice.
We took a walk that afternoon on the beach there at Hilton Head, we had never been there in our lives, and on that beach I noticed that some of the sand was black. I thought, "That can't be, because there's no volcano around here." You know, no volcanic rock to disintegrate or the black ash. Why would this be here? So I took my pocket knife (I'm kind of a scientifically minded person, I've embedded a magnet in my pocket knives so it's always with me) and swiped it through the sand and I had a big bunch of black granules that stuck to my knife. I thought, "That is iron. This beach is full of iron."
I got to thinking about that on Sabbath afternoon. You know, I couldn't tell what it was. There was no way I could separate that iron form that sand. But it's just like Jesus Christ. Jesus is coming someday soon, and like my magnet He's going to come down and separate His people from the world. And I want to be caught up to that magnet, to Jesus Christ. And I be caught up to be with Jesus if I am of the right substance. And what is that substance? To be fully surrendered to Him, to be one of His children. Are you one of Jesus' children today? If you are, you're home free. You're going to be saved.
It's my opinion that if you don't resist, you're going to be saved. God is going to save you unless you put on the brakes, unless you refuse, you stop attending church, you shut your Bible, you let a layer of dust get on it, you don't pray any more, if you don't resist, you're going to be saved. God wants to save you. In the meantime, let's be wide awake, because Jesus is coming. His coming is near.
I'm so happy to be a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, aren't you? We love Jesus and we believe His coming is soon. Let's sing a song for our closing hymn, number 214, We Have This Hope. This is a hymn that was written by a Seventh-day Adventist, and I appreciate the message of this hymn.
Hymn of Praise: #71, Come, Thou Almighty King Scripture: Revelation 12:7-12 Hymn of Response: #214, We Have This Hope
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