Seventh-day Adventists over the years have correctly identified and focused on the signs of the end of the world. We do believe in the second Advent of Jesus Christ because we are called Seventh-day Adventists and we think that His coming is near. So I would like to have you turn in your Bible to Matthew 24 and I would like to read verse 29. These are the words of Jesus. These are some of the signs of Jesus' coming. Matthew 24:29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven. Now knowledgeable Seventh-day Adventists know about the great dark day of May 19, 1780. This has been fulfilled, yes? Yes it has. And we know that night the moon did look like blood and we know that on November 13, 1833 the stars fell. This is something that is major and so we see that verse 29 is fulfilled. Do you agree?
But wait. Do not quickly overlook the last eight words in this verse. Look at the last eight words. It says the powers of the heavens will be shaken. What is that? What is a power of the heavens? Well that's talking about the sun, that's talking about the moon, that's talking about the stars. Has our sun been shaken? Have you ever seen that? Have you ever seen the moon shaken? Have you ever seen the stars shaken? Some people saw them fall.
So what does it mean the powers of heaven shall be shaken? Whatever that is, it's a scary event that is predicted many times in the sacred word of God. I would like to invite you to turn to Haggai 2:6. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, I will shake the heavens. Has that ever happened yet? Not that I know of. And look at Haggai 2:21. Speak to Zerubbabel saying, I will shake the heavens. This is a prediction that God will someday shake the heavens. I don't know that that has happened yet. Look over at Isaiah 13:13. This is mentioned many, many times in the Bible. I don't know why we don't think about this more often. Isaiah 13:13. I will shake the heavens and the earth shall remove out of her place in the day of His fierce anger. And then Isaiah 34:4 makes this statement. And the host of heaven shall be dissolved. All of those stars out there, the moon, the sun, all the host of them are going to be dissolved. Has that happened yet? And it continues on. And the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll and all their host shall fall down as the last leaf falls off the tree and as the falling fig from the fig tree. Look at Revelation. Revelation 6:14 says that the sky over our heads will be rolled up. The sky is going to be rolled up. All these verses predict some event that will be erase the visible things that are up there in the sky. They will be gone. The sun, moon and stars will be shaken out of the skies. They will be gone like a slate or a blackboard that is wiped clean.
Now what is this? Has this shaking happened yet? No, because they're all still there. The third book of the New Testament describes this event more clearly. Luke 21:26. People will be so afraid. Fear is injected in this scenario, so afraid they will faint. Have ever been that afraid in your life before? Wondering what is happening to the world because the powers of the heavens will be shaken. In other words it's going to be worldwide. It will be an earthquake in the sky. The sun and the moon and the stars will experience a gigantic quaking and this event will be in full view up in the skies and when the heavenly bodies are shaken raw panic will hit the streets of United States of America, everywhere in the world and this watershed sign will be seen up in the sky. You will see it. This sign has not happened yet. The sign is still in the future.
How do we know that? Sister White wrote a great landmark book called The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan and here on page 624 she says this. Fearful, here's this panic, remember we said this would cause panic, fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed in the heavens. When did she write this? 1888. Was that before or after the falling of the stars? Was that before or after the moon turning to blood and the sun being darkened? This is after. This is in our day, 1888 she wrote this. This hasn't happened. The book Maranatha, page 151, says after the falling of the stars, the next great event will be the departure of the heavens. The departure of the heavens.
For my entire life, every night I get out there like I did last night and I looked at the moon, the beautiful full moon last night, the stars were out there. It's always been the same, but it will not be the same forever. It has been so predictable that you can establish your longitude and latitude with a good sextant and an accurate time piece. But all this changes when the stars and the planets and the moon and these things begin their wild shaking and this is caused by the voice of God, by the way. The NIV says that men will faint from terror. They will be apprehensive of what is coming on the world.
Malachi Martin wrote a book called The Keys of This Blood and in this book it says that the pope is waiting for an event that will fission human history. It will be an event on public view in the skys, in the oceans and on the continental land masses of the planet and it will particularly involve our human sun. Interesting. That's what the Pope is waiting for. So a sky quake that will move the stars and our sun and our moon would also knock out our satellites. What would that do to the world? They will be shaken out of the sky and their fireballs will streak down through the skies as they come raining down on us. Global communication will come to a standstill. Ships navigate by that. Panic will set in. The world will be closed down because we depend on those ships from China to buy those doodads.
When you study Matthew 24 you read of earthquakes and pestilences and famines and wars and rumors of wars. You read of false Christs. Matthew 24 says that such things should not upset us in verse six. They have always continued. They have always happened since the beginning of the world, says verse six. It's sort of like Noah's rainbow. Each time Noah saw the rainbow it was a sign. Well yes, the rainbow is a sign that God will never again destroy the world by water. Each time we see wars we are reminded, not that Jesus is coming the next day because we've always had wars but every time you see a war you are reminded that Jesus will be faithful to His promise to come because Jesus does promise to come. In John 14:1-3 He says in my Father's house are many mansions, and if it were not so I would've told you. I go and prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also. So famines are a reminder that the world is sick. Wars are a reminder that Jesus is coming but not that He's coming imminently. Not that that type of coming.
So every time you see a sign in Matthew 24 you know Jesus is coming but let me have you look at Matthew 24 little more closely. Embedded with in Matthew 24 there are only two actual specific signs of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Only two. Because we've always had famines. We've always had wars and earthquakes and floods and fires and all this stuff. There's only two. And you know what these two are. Number one is Matthew 24:14. It says this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached into all world for a witness unto all nations and then Jesus will come. So Jesus' coming is right after we preach the gospel to the world. Now Seventh-day Adventists are very cognizant of that, and so we are out there preaching the truth. We're out there preaching the gospel to all the world. We're going on the Share Him and the Maranatha trips. We believe that we can hasten Jesus' coming and so we see that verse 14 is something that we can participate in.
Now the second and only true sign of the imminent coming of Jesus Christ is what? It's called THE sign. In fact it is the only sign in Matthew 24 that is called THE sign of Christ's coming and you know what it is because you've been an Adventist all your life. It is in verse 30. Look at Matthew 24:30. At that time THE sign. Now this is the real thing. THE sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn. Now this is not speaking of the actual coming. This is speaking of the sign of His coming. So you understand the difference between His coming and THE sign of His coming. So since Jesus' first coming was accompanied by these unusual signs in the sky, is it not anything but logic that tells you that His second coming will also be accompanied by unusual signs in the sky. Does that make sense? Because His first coming was, you can read some of those early signs in Luke 2: 8 to 14, Luke 23:44 and 45, so it's reasonable that His second coming would also be accompanied by unusual signs in the sky.
Now there is a Catholic magazine that was called Signs of the Times. There was a little bit of a conflict because ours was first, and so just recently they renamed their's, Signs and Wonders of the Times. In this Catholic publication, there are so-called visions from Mary predicting that THE sign that we read there in verse 30 will be a gigantic, brilliantly illuminated cross, huge, up in the sky. We don't know that. That's not what the Bible says. But the papacy is waiting for this watershed signal from the skies to move into leadership and actually begin the one world government. You can read that in Malachi Martin's book.
So this last sign is followed imminently by the actual second coming of Christ. So just before Jesus comes, THE sign of Jesus' coming, the sky sign, will appear in the sky. The Bible does not say what it is. This sign is up in the sky. It will be so awful, it will be so scary, that the populations of the Earth will panic and you can read this in Luke 21:26. Let's read according to The New Living translation. This will give you a little more insight. The courage of many people will falter because of the fearful fate that they see coming upon the earth because the stability of the very heavens will be broken up. Interesting isn't it? The stability of the very heavens will be broken up. Severe, never before seen disasters overwhelm all the systems of civilized governments, and these governments are unable to cope. Our authorities stand helpless and clueless as they are coping with floods, fires, hurricanes, storms, tsunamis and all these other things, then all of a sudden, then here the skies break up. It is a panic producing phenomenon.
Now during the final crisis, several important prophecies in the Bible are fulfilled. For years I have read Revelation 13 and I've wondered how in the world a one world government could ever happen. I think that it will come because of the raw panic caused by all these disasters, followed up by THE sky sign in the heavens. Look at what the sea beast does. Come to Revelation 13:7. Here is what the sea beast, the beast coming up out of the sea, does. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. He was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All the inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast, all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world, and in verse nine, he who has an ear, let him hear. Then another beast, the land beast, becomes a partner, they become friends together, the sea beast and the land beast become friends and that makes them even far more dangerous than either would be on their own. And he makes the entire earth worship the sea beast. The first beast. Revelation 13:11. Then I saw another beast, this is the land beast, this is the United States of America. He comes up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb but he spoke like a dragon and he exercised all the authority of the first beast in his behalf and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast whose fatal wound had been healed, and he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in the full view of men. Then in verse 14 it says, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. In verse 15 it says he caused everybody who would worship to be killed and then in verse 16 he basically forces everybody to receive the mark.
Now these two beasts become more dangerous when they become friends. They run what is called a one world government with so much authority that it would make Adolf Hitler envious. How do they suddenly get all that power? I think it is because of all these natural calamities followed up by the sky sign. When the heavens actually disappear. That will cause such panic and confusion that men will faint from fear. Then those petrified, helpless, doomed people become willing to grasp at straws to save themselves. I think we can see the underlying panic here in Revelation 13. Revelation 13 does not depict normal times. You can't cause the entire world to ever think alike but somehow they do, and I think the motivation is here because of the signs that are going on.
Daniel 12 in the first two verses helps us set the precise timing for these events. Daniel 12:1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, that great Prince which stands for the children of thy people and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time, and at that time thy people will be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book. You're going to be delivered so don't be afraid of it. But it is a time of trouble. When is this time of trouble at its worst? Verse two. Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt. So when is this frightful time of trouble? Right before the resurrection. Right before they wake up. And when do they wake up? At the second coming of Jesus. So right before Jesus comes, there will be a terrible time of trouble and I think the sky sign is the crux. It is the peak. It is the moment of greatest fear and panic.
Matthew 24:29 to 30 says that Jesus' coming is preceded by the shaking of the powers of heavens. Isaiah described this further in Isaiah 34:4. All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved. Dissolved. All of the starry host, says Isaiah will fail. They will fall. They will be dissolved. They will be gone. In other words, God clears the sky of all objects so that the second coming can be seen better. And I think the weather will be perfect. It won't be bad weather. The skies will not be full of clouds. You will get to see Jesus come, because He clears the skies of all objects, including clouds, so that the attention of the world will be focused toward the open heavens and the open place Orion.
The papacy is waiting for this event to get world control and the devil is also waiting for this event because the devil is going to do something. You know what that something is. You understand that during a time of crisis people are much more willing to exchange their set of values for another set of values. In fact, Michael Barkins researched the effects of disasters upon people and a stark conclusion that he draws is this, and I'm quoting, disaster creates conditions particularly fitted to the rapid alteration of belief systems. In other words a crisis displaces familiar environments and structures around you, and people are left in a daze and in a state of shock. They are way more open to accepting new paradigms. New beliefs.
So this panic that sets in is the ideal time for the devil to pull off his greatest deception and I want to read this to you. It comes from Great Controversy, page 624. As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. Now that great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth he will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in Revelation, and of course that's Revelation 1:13, 14, 15. And the glory that surrounds the devil as he impersonates Jesus' coming is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have ever seen. They will say, Christ has come. The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them just as Christ blessed His disciples when he was upon the earth. I think you will see in his hands some scars, or what look to be scars. His voice is soft and subdued. Gentle. He performs miracles. He heals the diseases of the people of the world. Malaria. Cancer. And in this assumed character of Christ he claims to have changed the Sabbath, from Sabbath to Sunday. So he commands all the earth to hallow the day which he has blessed. So here's the worldwide sunday law. And those that persist in keeping holy the seventh day of the week are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels. That's Seventh-day Adventists.
Satan will attempt to be the CEO of the world. I believe that. It's brought out in the Bible. He's the antichrist. All of this will be brought about by many mega-disasters that overwhelm the world's resources and cause people to choose different values.
True Christians living in these last days, you are involved in a war. You just need to make sure you're engaged in the right war and you're on the winning side. Revelation 12:17 says the dragon was wroth with the woman. The church. And went to make war against the remnant of her seed which keep the Commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Do you think the Saints are going to be victorious over the dragon? They will. Revelation 15:2. I saw them that had gotten the victory over the beast and over his image and over the mark and over the number of his name. They were standing on the sea of glass. I want to be standing there on the sea of glass. I'm going to get that victory. How do we get that victory? First John 5:4 says this is the victory that overcomes the world even our faith. Do you have faith? Faith in Jesus?
Will some people escape all this trouble that comes upon the world? Look at Luke 21:36. Watch ye therefore and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man. So you can escape if you're watching. If you're praying. Are you watching? What are you watching? Are you watching… There's all kinds of things people are watching. Make sure you're watching the right thing. What should you be watching? Well you need to watch the skies, you need to watch the signs, but you need to keep your eyes on Jesus Christ. You need to be watching Jesus. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and when you see these things come to pass, should you be in a panic? You should rejoice, because your redeemer is coming. Heaven is just around the corner. So let's rejoice. Let's be happy that Jesus is coming because I think he's coming soon. May you be ready. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Hymn of Praise: #36, O Thou In Whose Presence Scripture: Luke 21:25-28 Hymn of Response: #598, Watch, Ye Saints Sermon Notes: Sermon notes available as PDF
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 12/3/10