Come with me as we step back from the hubbub of our fast paced modern age and really look back through the kaleidoscope of time. I believe we may be several notches closer to the second coming of Christ than we first believed.
Look for a moment in your religious rear view mirror. Look at Matthew 24:14. It says, “The Gospel shall be preached unto the whole world and then the end will come.” The Gospel is now being preached to most of the world. About 98 percent of the world's population has the Bible available in a language they can understand. [Christianity Today / November 9, 1992.] “Through the tireless efforts of Wycliffe Bible translators and others, the Bible is now available in every written language on earth.” [Even at the Door p. 197] "Buddhism is on the decline in South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan," said Malaysian high priest K. Sri Dammananda Maha Thera, at a recent meeting of Buddhist leaders. "Every day we are losing our youth to Christianity."
On the other hand, there is a "spiritual ice belt" that stretches from west of Poland across western Europe, the northern U.S. and Canada, and includes Japan. "In that part of the world, there are 3,000 fewer Chriastians now than 24 hours ago, whereas in sub‑Saharan Africa, there are 16,000 more Christians than 24 hours ago." [Martin Marty]
It is easy to see why Spiritualism [Ephesians 6:12] is sweeping across the world. Our knowledge of these things makes us think that we are living in the last days. When you look at the books for sale in the bookstore, even sustainable living, and sustainability, are a part of New Age Spiritualism thinking where mother earth is often deemed more important than our Father God. You see all sorts of campaigns, “save the earth”. Let’s focus more on getting ourselves out of the earth.
According to a shocking new study just released by the Pew Forum of Religion “Nearly 70 percent of the world's 6.8 billion people live in countries with HIGH restrictions on religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities”. This multiplies the challenges to our evangelists because in many countries Seventh-day Adventist evangelists are not welcome.
In early 2010 more than 200,000 people died in a massive earthquake in Haiti. A few weeks later a monster 7.8 quake hit Chile. Matthew 24:7 says there will be earthquakes in the last days. These are end time scenarios. Signs are “thickening fast” according to Lincoln Steed, editor of Liberty Magazine.
In the past 5-6 years there has been a flurry of prophetic activity, as if the 4 Angels, with brooms in hand, are beginning to sweep off the platform and set up the stage props for the final scene. Any one of the events that we see in our religious rear-view mirror by itself would be important! But when we see them all happening at the same time, Adventists have reason to get excited!
Look at nuclear armament. Today there are approximately 26,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Some 25,000 of them are in U.S. and Russian arsenals. World leaders are working to dismantle these. The Bible calls this beating the swords into plowshares. [Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3]
But North Korea and Iran are dabbling with nuclear bombs. Did you know that the U.S. spends over $75 million every day preparing for nuclear war? "Twenty countries have the capability to make nuclear weapons, 15 are working to produce ballistic missiles. 9 probably have nuclear weapons now and more countries will follow." [Signs 2-92 p6]
"The collapse of the Russian economy is unleashing a flood of uranium ore and other nuclear materials onto world markets...it may be only a matter of time before ...tons of plutonium from spent Soviet reactors... reach the black market."
"We have entered a new and much more dangerous era of nuclear proliferation....The system has failed Now America and its allies may be facing a painful choice. Do we use military force to prevent (nations) from going nuclear, or learn to live in a world in which nearly every nation that wants nuclear weapons has them."
Second Timothy 3:1 "But mark this. There will be terrible times in the last days." Could it be that the stage is being set for the second coming of Christ.
We have heard all this before. Wars and rumors of wars and earthquakes. Jesus’ coming has been near for the past 100 years. Yet never in the past one hundred years have world events dovetailed as they do now. One Seventh-day Adventist minister said, “I don't preach on the 2nd coming anymore because things just don't seem to fit and because it upsets people too much.” But today, the puzzle is fitting together. Clifford Goldstein said: “Never have the pieces fallen so precisely into place. There were always major portions that did not fit." [Day of the Dragon 126]
Jesus Christ our Saviour is allowing the final preparations to be made to wind up this 6000 year conflict between Christ and satan. All is just about ready. The events of the last days are all lined up and on schedule.
Rampant wickedness sets God’s harvester into motion. Look at Joel 3:13 “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down.... for their wickedness is great.” Did you know that Olympic contestants, coaches, trainers and officials were provided 70,000 prophylactics at the Sydney Games in 2000? They ran out and event planners had to order 20,000 more. [The Week, 3-5-2010]
Wickedness is on schedule. Are we as God's Holy people on schedule? Is my heart on schedule? We are a part of the great puzzle. All the other puzzle pieces are fitting into place. World events are poised for the final movements which will be rapid ones. We must not be caught packing our spiritual suitcases when we should already be down at the airport with our boarding pass in our hand watching the skies! What is the pass? The boarding pass is a saving relation with Jesus.
One church member said: "I'm ready to go to heaven but I'm not real anxious!" Folks, I'm getting very ANXIOUS to go home. How about you? Are you making more plans for your house or for God’s house? What consumes your planning?
When a man complains that the seats on the pews at church are too hard to sit there very long, and yet he goes down to the game and sits there on the bleacher for hours in a cold drizzle, what are his priorities? What statement does it make to his children?
Let's suppose we could give a last day events readiness quiz....
Which disturbs you the most?
--A soul lost to satan, or a scratch on your new car?
--Missing church or missing a day's work?
--A sermon 10 minutes too long or lunch 10 minutes late?
--When our church doesn't grow or your garden doesn't grow?
--Your Bible is unopened, or no time to read the newspaper?
--Neglect of church work or neglect of housework?
--Missing prayer meeting, or missing your T.V. program?
--Your tithe decreasing or your income decreasing?
--No time to pray or no time to play?
How did you do? Are we putting spiritual things first? Is Jesus first in your life? Living in the end-time requires special dedication. It requires a special connection with Jesus Christ. A deep love for Jesus.
Come over here to Matthew 24:12. "Because of an increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold."
Most will not have time for Jesus. Too many will get discouraged with life and quit. There will be many quitters in the last days. But God’s remnant will hold fast. The true Christian is one who holds fast to his beliefs at the very time when it is the most difficult to keep on believing.
I ran across something interesting this past Wednesday. One of the first things that the European Union is calling for is a European Sunday law. This was just voted on March 24. “As a matter of principle,” you can read this on the web-site, “all citizens of the European Union should be entitled to a work-free Sunday. A group of more than 70 organizations, including churches and trade-unions.” Trade-unions and churches getting together. Does this ring a bell to an Adventist heart? “Trade-unions and civil organizations is urging E.U. authorities to pass a Europe ’work-free’ Sunday law.” What country do you think might be next? Could our president do that? Are we living in the last days? I think we are.
How is your love for Jesus today? Is it growing warmer or colder? Matthew 24:13 says, “But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Jesus is our firm foundation. Have you put on His free robe yet? Wrap it around yourself. Do you really know Jesus? To know all the information about the events of the last days is not the most important thing.
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been money, God could have sent a meteorite shower raining down 1 million tons of gold coins. If our greatest need had been more things, God could have sent a scientist. If our greatest need was health-care, God would have sent a doctor. But since our greatest need was forgiveness and salvation, God sent us a Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who is fully qualified to be our Saviour.
Jesus is a wonderful Saviour. He provided a complete plan at no charge to whoever would accept it. If you stay in this old world long enough you will become bird food because the great bird banquet of Revelation is going to be held, and you will be on the menu. I suggest that you would focus instead on the menu at that silver table up in the new Jerusalem. The only way out is up.
When the unsinkable Titanic sank, they could never say that they were unwarned. Warning after warning was sent to them saying that they were speeding into an ice field. But the messages on the radio were ignored. In fact, when a nearby ship sent an urgent warning, the Titanic was talking to Cape Race about what time the chauffeurs were to meet arriving passengers at the dock, and what menus were to be ready.
The Titanic responded to the warning: "Shut up. I am talking to Cape Race. You are jamming my signals." As they headed toward destruction and death, they were pre-occupied with trivia. Don’t let anything jam the signals. The signals are clear. Please heed the warnings.
It’s time for God’s waiting church to lay aside the trivial pursuits of life and become preoccupied with Jesus! It is later than we think! Daniel 11:27 says, “The end shall be at the time appointed.” Revelation 1:3 says, “The time is at hand.”
I believe we are living in the final moments of what is known as “time”. If that’s true, what should we be doing about it? No one knows when Jesus will come. We do know that the clock stops at midnight. Then time will be no more. Desire of Ages page 32 says Jesus was born at a predetermined time. She says: “When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born.”
Let us look at the face of a clock. We will focus on the hour hand.
The top of the clock is creation, about 4000 B.C. 3 o’clock would be the flood, about 2500 B.C. 4 o’clock would be the time of Abraham. 5 o’clock would be the time of Moses, about 1500 B.C. 6 o’clock is the time of David, 1000 B.C. 7 o‘clock would be the time of Daniel, about 500 B.C. Then 8 o’clock would be the zero year, the time of Christ’s birth. 9 o'clock would be about 500 A.D., the beginnings of the papacy. 10 o’clock would be the Crusades, about 1000 A.D. 11 o’clock would be the Reformation, around 1500 A.D. Then 11:58 is the time of the end, 1798 A.D. Each hour mark is 500 years, each minute mark is 100 years.
So 11:58, you have the time of the end, which was 1798. Then at 11:58 and 44 seconds, you have J.N. Andrews, who was the very first Seventh-day Adventist missionary, who went and began to preach the gospel to the foreign fields. This was in 1874 A.D. Then 11:59 and 57 seconds is our day. We‘re just seconds from midnight!
Great Controversy makes an interesting statement on page 371. “Though no man knoweth the day and the hour of His coming, we are instructed and required to know when it is near.” We don’t know the day. We don’t know the hour, but we are instructed and required to know when it is near.
J.N. Andrews taught this. He said the world will last 6000 years and then Jesus will come and take His people to Heaven. After that the world will rest for 1000 years. All of this reflects the creation week. God has assigned 7000 years, one week, to the probation and judgment of mankind. Creation lasted one week. Six days of creative activity were followed by one day of rest. Thus, it will be a period of 6000 years followed by 1000 years of rest. 7000 years in total.
For 6000 years the earth has been cultivated by its inhabitants. It will remain uncultivated and desolate during the seventh period of time known as the millennium when the world will rest. This is similar to the Jubilee of Leviticus 25:1-7. J. N. Andrews, James White and many of our Seventh-day Adventist pioneers taught this message. God has allocated “roughly 6000 years for the Great Controversy to run its course– the last 200 years of which would be called the time of the end.” [Even at the Door, by Ed Reid, p 228]
We don’t know the date of creation but we do know that 6000 years is all but over. It’s very near. Exceedingly little time remains before Jesus’ Second Coming. The zero hour is almost upon us.
So what do I as a pastor want you to do? Let’s close by reading First Thessalonians 4:16,17. “For 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. Then we who 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.” That’s a great thing.
Let us zealously, with all the effort we can possible muster, set our house in order because our time is running out. Become focused on Jesus and His will for yourself and your family.
Hymn of Praise: #222, Hark! Ten Thousand Harps and Voices Scripture: Revelation 1:1-3 Hymn of Response: #202, Hail Him the King of Glory Sermon Notes: Sermon notes available as PDF
Return to McDonald Road Sermons Index
Return to McDonald Road SDA Church Home Page
McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 4/9/10