“The apostle Paul warned the church not to look for the coming of Christ in his day.
‘That day shall not come,’ he says, ‘except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Not till after the great apostasy, and the long period of the reign of the ‘man of sin,’ can we look for the advent of our Lord. The ‘man of sin,’ which is also styled ‘the mystery of iniquity,’ ‘the son of perdition,’ and ‘that wicked,’ represents the papacy, which, as foretold in prophecy, was to maintain its supremacy for 1260 years.”-Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 356.
“As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. . . . In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. . . . Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive.”-Pages 624, 625.
“In bearing the message, make no personal thrusts at other churches, not even the Roman Catholic Church. Angels of God see in the different denominations many who can be reached only by the greatest caution. Therefore let us be careful of our words. . . . Upon these themes silence is eloquence. Many are deceived. Speak the truth in tones and words of love.”-Ellen G. White, Evangelism, p. 576.
- Today many believe that the papacy has changed, and in some ways it has. Yet on the basic issues of salvation it still seeks to usurp all that Christ has done and is doing for us. It is still the power depicted in prophecy. How can we stand firm in our biblical position regarding Rome while, at the same time, doing it with Christian love, forbearance, and tact?
- As a church we are constantly being confronted with people who come up with new dates for final events, new charts, new conspiracy theories about this group or that. While we must remain open to new light, how should we deal with these challenges?
Summary: By correcting some of the Thessalonians’ wrong views about last-day events, Paul gave us precious truth on the topic. We must always remember, though, that the crucial issue of the last days is not the timing of events or even all the details, but which side of the great controversy we choose to be on.