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Tuesday: The Final Crisis — 8 Comments

  1. I am a 4th generation Seventh-day Adventist and I admit freely that I am disappointed that Jesus has not come within my definition of "soon". I don't think that I am alone in this disappointment but the fact that he has not come has given me the opportunity to reflect and think carefully about the faith that we hold dear.

    It is in this context that I read an article by Michael Gerson, a Washington Post Columnist. The article was written for Christmas 2021 and the backstory was that he was dealing with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. He wrote the article with a very appropriate title: "Hope May be Elusive but Despair is not the Answer":

    The context of the Nativity story is misunderstood hope. The prophets and Jewish people waited for centuries in defiant expectation for the Messiah to deliver Israel from exile and enemies. This was essentially the embodied belief that something different and better was possible — that some momentous divine intervention could change everything.

    But the long-expected event arrived in an entirely unexpected form. Not as the triumph of politics and power, but in shocking humility and vulnerability. The world’s desire in a puking infant. Angelic choirs performing for people of no social account. A glimpse of glory along with the smell of animal dung. Clearly, we are being invited by this holy plot twist to suspend our disbelief for a moment and consider some revolutionary revision of spiritual truth.

    The final crisis has not played out soon enough for some of us but it is not an invitation to give into despair. Rather is provides us with a time to reevaluate what is essentially important to us and our Christian experience.

    The issue that is uppermost in my mind in this context is that we have not seen an uprising of political-religious intolerance to Seventh-day Adventist Christians but rather we have seen an overwhelming tide of indifference combined with secularism. That is the present-day crisis and I sometimes think that just being ignored and considered irrelevant is persecution. We can promote the idea of a final crisis, but we ignore the present crisis at our peril.

    (51)
    • Revelation 3 describes the end times as a period of apathy and increasing narcissism rather than persecution. Is it possible that all the persecution has been fulfilled?? Maybe worth consideration. Maybe The LORD is patiently waiting for The Remnant to be committed to spreading The Gospel and the promise of The New Earth to unbelievers and those who are apathetic. Christmastime or Season of Advent is a time where Seventh-Day Adventists have opportunity to celebrate with all humanity the Promise of 2nd Advent and The New Earth.

      (4)
  2. "There is a growing polarization...."

    Yes.

    Satan and his demons seem more busy than ever stirring up hurtful divisions to split families and friends. When I let my focus go to the various forms of rejections, my natural reaction is to want to withdraw, feel sorry for myself, and build some impermeable walls.

    But then...I'm picturing Daniel praying before his open window. He was being falsely accused by his peers who were prompted by evil spirits, and it would have been easy for him to close his shutters while praying, or move to another more private spot. No commandment against that. And yet Daniel refused to hide. Prayer was his strength.

    We followers of Jesus drop to our knees in a crisis and install windows (pray) in our walls to let in the Light (Jn. 8:12). We remain open to others in Jesus through prayer. We turn to His Word and are encouraged to read,

    “Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." (Rev. 12:10).

    We are not accused in Jesus. We read on, looking out our window at precious people all around us, and cry out,

    "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Rev. 12:12).

    We see how the Devil grasps at the opportunity to maintain his kingdom, to distress the people of God, and to dishonor the name of Christ. Spurgeon says,

    "Do not, therefore, dread the advent of greater opposition, nor the apparent increase in strength of those oppositions which already exist, for it has ever been so in the history of events that the hour of the triumph of evil is the hour of its doom. When Belshazzar profanes the holy vessels the handwriting blazes on the wall, and when Haman is at the king’s banquet of wine seeking the blood of the whole race of the Jews the gallows are prepared for him upon his own roof....(Satan) will not lose his subjects if he can help it, and so he puts forth all his strength to keep them under his power, and he is especially vigilant and furious when the power of grace is about to prevail for their salvation."

    Through the windows of our eyes and hearts and body language and actions, we are like lighthouses in a storm, showing the world that we trust God alone for the future, for their future, for our future.

    As the children's song says, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. ...Won't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine.... Hide it under a bushel, NO!, I'm gonna let it shine.... Let it shine 'til Jesus comes, I'm gonna let it shine."

    Is my life more wall or window? Why? Is there a person or situation I need to be more open to, pray about more?

    (30)
  3. Dogmas of the Christian world:

    1. "Let's hurry Jesus' return!" - Only God knows the hour, and this is already established. We are the ones who need to be worried and rush to be involved in our own individual Mission.

    2. "Jesus is late on His return." - His "so-called" delay, which is just the right amount of time, has to do with His mercy for us; thus, we have time to repent and get involved in the Mission. He can't ever be late!

    3. "God's Grace is for all." Jesus's sacrifice is indeed for all, but only God is unconditional Love. God's Grace is conditional because there is a need for acceptance. As Christians, we must realize that an essential, proactive, saved life results from accepting Jesus' sacrifice for us every minute!

    (14)
  4. I have always struggled with Christianity's effort to make Jesus’ death on the Cross the focus of the believer's relationship with Him. Yes, His death was foretold in the scriptures of the Old Testament, but this does not mean that Christian’s ought to make the cross and His death the sole evidence to prove that He is God's Son and mankind's Savior.

    I consider His death to have taken place to benefit His Jewish people's expectation to see in Him the fulfilment of their prophecy which under their Law required Him to become a living sacrifice to atone for their sins. He was willing to lay down His life to fulfill the prophecy; at the same time ending the requirements of the Covenant of the Law by introducing the new Covenant of Faith to them and the rest of the world.

    As I see it, the final crisis confronts everyone alive with the call to live one’s life by faith as demonstrated by the LIFE of Jesus Christ. In His life, He embodied the Image of the Father who gave Him to show mankind who their true God is, that He sent Him to teach HIS children to understand who they are and live their life to give Glory to Him and so draw mankind to Him as well.

    Therefore, my focus regarding the final crisis of this earth and all its inhabitants is on the Life and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. His Life and faith in that His heavenly Father will resurrect Him, to demonstrate to man Who it is that holds the power over life and death.

    For me, our Savior's life and resurrection is the evidence that all who believe and are found in Him receive the resurrection unto life everlasting.
    So, I rather share this message which focuses on the Life and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, that He takes the burdens of this life on His shoulders and helps us to keep our foot on solid ground until the end.
    Our heavenly Father gave to mankind His Son with the promise that all who believe in Him and respond accordingly will be saved - Rom.10:8-10.

    (2)
    • Brigitte, in the past you have several times expressed your opinion that too much attention is given to the cross of Christ. According to Paul, that opinion is also held "by them that perish. (1 Cor. 1:18) The preaching of the cross is "foolishness" to them. You may want to re-consider your stance.

      It seems to me that you may not understand the meaning of the cross. Christ's whole life was a crucifixion of self - long before He was crucified on Golgotha. And He said clearly that no one who does not take up his cross daily can be His follower. (Luke 9:23 and Luke 14:27.. See also Mark 8:34, Mark 10:21, Matt. 10:38, Matt. 16:24, ) He did not say that no one who disbelieves His resurrection can be His follower. That is because the cross symbolizes the death to self that godly love requires. And that is why the cross is central to Christianity.

      The cross is what makes salvation possible. (See 1 Cor. 1:17, 18; Phil. 2:8, Col. 1:20, Col. 2;14, Heb. 12:2) Everything else is built on that foundation. There is no resurrection without the cross.

      Yet, while the cross is foundational and central to salvation. There is more. Christ's ministry in heaven makes effectual what His death accomplished. Through His Spirit He teaches His followers the meaning of the cross - that we must die daily. That there is no Christ-like love while self is all alive and ready to defend itself at the least provocation. And He produces this death, because we cannot crucify ourselves.

      Rather than too much attention being given to the cross, I tend to think that not enough attention is given to the teaching of the cross. Instead Satan has beguiled Christians into wearing pretty little necklaces with a dangling golden cross.

      The cross is important because it is a symbol of death. And each of us needs to die to self in order to be saved. There is no other way.

      May we say with Paul,

      I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

      [Btw, I have never known Christians to "make the cross and His death the sole evidence to prove that He is God's Son and mankind's Savior."]

      (6)
  5. Inge, thank you for your comments. "In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever. I will glory in the cross."

    "When He was on the cross, I was on His mind."

    Genesis 3:15 also tells us of the cross and the victory over Satan

    (2)
    • Thanks, Tom. Yes the concept of the cross is found throughout Scripture, even though the word "cross" may not be used. It's a symbol of self-sacrificing love, which is the law of life for earth and heaven. The crucifixion on Golgotha was the ultimate demonstration in terms humanity could understand. That is why "the cross" has such wide appeal and so many hymns feature "the cross." We just need to think more deeply about what it really means ...

      It also seems to me that Satan hates the concept of a self-sacrificing God and will attack the teaching wherever he can. After all, self-sacrificing love is the total opposite of his law of self-serving, me first, etc. At the same time, Satan seeks to pin his own character qualities on our Creator God with false teachings, such as eternal torment as well as in more subtle ways.

      (1)

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