We are beginning a series today on the last day events. Today is first of four parts. Are we living in the last days? I think we are. I would invite you to take your Bible and open it to 2 Peter 3. This talks about the last days. 2 Peter 3:3, 4: First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." Are there scoffers in these last days? They're really are. There always has been scoffers. But they are getting worse. They are scoffing at everything. Scoffing about the nearness of the coming of Jesus Christ. You have seen scoffers. They abound.
Scoffers! I will tell you there are an abounding number of scoffers today, scoffing, even in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, "Jesus coming is a long way off. Don't even worry about it. The last days are not far in the future." I believe the last days are here. We have scoffers that says, "Well, you know that ground underneath Los Angeles is just as solid as it ever was. There isn't going to be any devastating earthquake." Not true. His coming, I think is just around the corner. Scoffers are saying: the ground under Los Angeles is solid. We aren't expecting any earthquakes in our life-time. We still have time to eat, drink and be merry. But God says in Luke 12:40, "You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him."
I think there are going to be many, many disasters in the last days, just before the coming of Jesus. One type of disaster will be bad weather. Look at Psalm 50:3 (NLT) Our God approaches with the noise of thunder and a great storm rages around Him..
Come over here to Revelation 7 in your Bible. The first verse talks about the wind. Revelation 7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then we have all kinds of signs around us that are going on. Have you ever heard of a name called "Charley?" And "Francis?" And "Ivan?" And "Jeanne" And there's even more coming. There's a lot of kids there, aren't there? Well, those aren't names that some people are very happy with. Those are big hurricanes. Some of them coming and splitting and turning around and coming back. We have the weirdest stuff going on. I think that eventually the angels will let go of the four winds. What do those winds represent? I represents trouble or strife or war in the last days. All kinds of problems. I think we will have great storms in the last days, raging in the last days. The winds are beginning to blow, and in the last days there will be great storms as well, raging. The Chattanooga Times, September 17, 2004, said we can expect "a pattern of great Hurricanes that will be more catastrophic and more numerous than ever before." And they say we are entering into a period of such weather that could last for thirty to forty more years. We're into global warming.
My wife and I have subscribed to a magazine for about the last thirty-five years called National Geographic. You've probably heard of it. On the front page it says, "Global Warning!" This is a warning from this trusted magazine saying that things are not what they used to be. Things are changing. We need to realize this. In fact, the September issue this year says there are various signs from the earth and they list these signs, dramatic signs from the earth. And they list all these things that are taking place.
Then it concludes with this statement: "What in the world is going on?"
Let me tell you what is going on. I have another book here that's the September 2004 issue of God. It's right up to date. Disasters are coming. The earth is heating up. The earth is melting down and things that normally happen in geologic time are happening in our lifetime. They really are. Signs of warming, in fact they say this is just a taste of the havoc that the next century could bring. Just a taste of what we're going through.
I hope you get what this trusted magazine is saying. "What in the World is going on?" Their fear is that human through our emissions and various things are destroying this planet. And Christians are not in doubt as to what is going on. We know what is going on don't we? The Holy Scripture reveals exactly what is happening. The end of the world is coming. What does God say about that? Look at Revelation 11:18. "The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great and for destroying those who destroy the earth." The time has come to destroy those who are destroying the world. Are we destroying the world? Are they right? Yes, we are destroying this world. But just before we self-destruct, the Lord comes. At the exact time that we just about destroy our planet, God says, just before we self-destruct, Jesus comes. The Lord comes to save us, to save His people. Praise the Lord, He comes to rescue His people. Are we beginning to destroy our planet? I think we are. That is exactly what is going on.
Our globe, known as planet earth, is actually sick and getting a high fever. It's getting a high temperature. We're in melt-down. "Global temperatures", I quoting again from this National Geographic, "are shooting up faster than at any other time in the past 1,000 years." If you want to go to Glacier National Park, you had better go right away because within 30 more years, there won't be any more glaciers there. They are almost all gone now.
Matthew 24 lists some signs of the end. in your Bible. This lists some of the great signs of the end. Ever since the 1800's, Adventist preachers have preached with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand. I don't apologize for still doing that. These are signs of the times. We need to know what is going on. Our people need to understand that time is short.
Look at the quagmire of vexation here in Matthew 24:21, 22: For then there will be 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.
The Bible says things will be so bad that if time continued, nobody would survive! Life on this planet would be extinct. No human beings left. Now in our ever widening search as human beings for more and more pleasure and more and more of what the world has to offer, we are destroying this world. We are making ourselves even more vulnerable to the events of the last days. You see, some of the troubles are that the great seas of the world are rising at alarming rates. Is that predicted in the Bible? I think it is.
Come over here to Luke 21. In fact, that National Geographic says, never before have so many human beings lived so close coast. To make it worse, more than a hundred million people, according to this magazine, now live within three feet of the average sea level. If the seas rise three feet, they're in a bath tub. That's very disconcerting. And we build our megalopolises, super big cities, concentrated on coastal plains or river deltas. And, where is the most expensive property? It's near the water. These people that are building in these coastal plains, on these river deltas, are going to be under water. Whole island chains will become submerged.
Look at Luke 21:25: . . . Nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Now, normally I don't mind sea waves. That doesn't bother us here in Tennessee. But I will tell you that if we lived right on the beach and they were roaring right in over our house then we would be perplexed. And that's what's going on. That's what this means.
Our planet is being challenged from the Antarctic to the Amazon . . . from Zimbabwe to Zanzibar. There is no place where you can flee to avoid the troubles in this world. In Alaska, for instance, the glaciers are in a meltdown. In Alaska alone, "Twenty-three cubic miles of water now runs off into the sea each year." (p. 25). Do you have any idea how much water this is? It is a lot of water! The ocean is rising. It's warmer now than it has been in the last 2000 years. And the so called "permanent" Larsen Ice Shelf is disappearing fast. 2,000 square miles of this shelf, some of it 700 feet thick, have disappeared and melted away. (US News &World Report, The Future of Earth, July 2004 page 18) That's amazing!
These are going on. These are reputable magazines. This is not some of those magazines you would buy as you are staring at in the checkout line at super markets. These are reputable magazines telling us that it is worse now than it has been in two thousand years. Do you know how big two thousand square miles of ice shelf is? Imagine a chunk of ice twenty miles wide, a hundred miles long and seventy feet thick. And it's all melted away. It's gone.
Revelation is true. We are destroying our world. "Today new homes in America are 38% larger than they were in 1975, despite a decline in household size" - (USN&WR, July, 2004, p. 87). So, what's happening here? We have more garages than ever to store our gas guzzlers. If time lasts another five to thirty years, we will see an end of cheap oil - (NGM June 2004, p. 88). There are several major crises just about to happen to planet earth. You think gasoline is expensive now, you haven't seen anything yet. Almost everything we touch is made from oil. Just the tires on your car represent over thirty gallons of oil that it took to manufacture them. And this continues. "As a nation, we are fatter, more indebted, more stressed than ever before. The planet cannot long support a species whose appetites cannot be satisfied. As a nation we fatter, more indebted and more stressed than ever." (USN&WR, The Future of Earth, July 2004 page 87) The Bible says it in a different way in James 5:5. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. In the last days we are consuming it all upon ourselves. That's what is going on! That is exactly what this magazine is saying.
"We live in an age of self-immersed materialism. Every three years the world's population grows by roughly the size of the United States" - (NGS Millennium map 9-30-98). More and more of us are selfish. Zechariah 1:6, New Century Version "They said, 'The Lord All-Powerful did as he said he would. He punished us for the way we lived and for what we did.'"
Our lifestyle is destroying us and destroying our world. The time has come to begin to pay for our sinful, selfish behavior, our gluttonous lifestyle. Look at Galatians 6:7. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." What a blessing that is. So what are we sowing?
I want to read from another respected magazine. Most of you are familiar with this magazine. Here is the headline, it says: "Is the world Going Mad?" Would you want to print that in your magazine, or say tha from your pulpit? That's what it says. "Is the world going mad? What does it all mean? Is it really the breakdown of human intelligence. Are we a lot of little people struggling with problems too big for our powers? Is the world nearing the close...?" This is quoted from The Present Truth, Carlyle B. Haynes, July 1, 1937, page 7. We have always preached this haven't we? This is an original issue here in my hand, older than most people in this church. We have always preached that the World is going mad. Is the world going mad? It is probably madder? Is it coming or isn't it coming? I think it is. Is Jesus coming? What do you think? It sounds like He is.
You know, the months and years just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ are described very clearly in Matthew 24:29. I want to read this in several translations. It speaks about the time of trouble as being those horrible days in verse 29.
Luke 21:23 says that great trouble will come upon the land. Anther publication some of you may subscribe to. It's called, Business Week, August 16, 2004, p 62, speaks of great trouble coming upon our earth due to Global warming: "the effects on the planet could be dire. There will be flooding, ocean disruptions, shifting storm patterns with more violent and unpredictable climate events, reduced farm output, animal extinctions and droughts." That's what's coming. And it's upon us.
I believe we are entering the time of the Lord's Second Advent. This is one reason why we are called Seventh-day Adventists. We're called that because we believe the time is at hand for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We're looking forward to meeting Jesus.
Revelation 3:11, "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown." Jesus is coming soon. Now, that was said two thousand years ago, but it is just as accurate today as it was then. He is coming quickly.
If you want to know more details of last day events, I highly advise reading a very informative book called The Great Controversy, by EG White, especially the last chapters.
Luke 21:10,11. Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. These things are taking place. They're taking place now. We need to realize that. We're living in the last days.
Now, Jesus said that bad times would be there in the last days. I think He hit the nail on the head. Take earthquakes for instance, "Tokyo is overdue for a devastating earthquake. The most recent massive quake to rock Tokyo was in 1923 claiming the lives of more than 140,000 people." - The WEEK, Sept. 17, 2004 p21. Imagine the deaths and cost if a big one hit Tokyo today. Of course the building are earthquake-proof, aren't they? Imagine what it would do today. Many high end apartments in Tokyo rent for $10,000 per month. Would you like to live there? Los Angeles is overdue for a massive Earthquake. Jesus' glimpse into the future is solid, it's accurate, it's sure.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come."
How are Adventists doing? Are we participating in preaching the gospel to all the world? You bet we are! We have thousands of missionaries in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Adventist Review, July 2002, page 8 says that in 1960 there was one Seventh-day Adventist for every 2,427 people in the world. In the year, 2000 it was 1 for every 519 people in the world. And the projections are that by 2010, just five years from now, it will be one for every 301 people. We are getting lots of people introduced to the gospel of Jesus. We are preaching in 817 languages and dialects. We establish 6.5 new Adventist churches every day! The gospel is going to the world. And, many other Christian denominations are out there. We're doing a lot, but we've got a lot more to do. But we need to keep at it. We've got a ways to go, but God has richly blessed the spread of His Gospel. When it goes to the world, we go home! Is it going to the world? I think it is. I think His coming is very lose.
Friends, the last days are an opportunity. An opportunity. The last opportunity for a dying world. The opportunity for us to preach the gospel, the opportunity for you to give your heart to Jesus Christ. I wonder if there is anybody here who needs a saving relationship with Jesus? The end is near. Are you closer to Jesus than you were last year? Do you truly have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you Baptized? If not would you like to receive Jesus as your Savior and be baptized? Why not try one of our Bible studies found in our web page?
Hymn of Praise: #43, When Morning Gilds the Skies Scripture: Luke 21:25-28 Hymn of Response: #594, Heir of the Kingdom 040925#560
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last updated September 26, 2004 by Bob Beckett and Eric Koester.