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Monday: The Coming Crisis — 9 Comments

  1. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

    Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matt 5: 11,12KJV

    The notion of persecution runs deep in our story and is often misunderstood. One thing that is clear is that persecution defines the persecutor, not the persecuted.

    In the last few weeks, I have been reading several papers on early church history outlining the development of persecution in the first three centuries. Various Christian groups used their power to persecute other Christians. During the middle ages, persecution was used by the papacy as a coercion tool against Jews, Muslims, and other Catholics. Perhaps if any one group can lay claim to being persecuted the longest with the greatest harm, it would be the Jews.

    We sometimes like to put across the idea, if we are true believers, then we will be persecuted. I imagine that the 44 Branch Davidians who perished at Waco, thought they were true believers who died defending their faith. I am not here to defend or accuse them but there is a danger in seeing persecution as a vindication for our beliefs.

    There is something more important than predicting how the final conflict will play out. (My uninspired guess is that it will be quite different, and a surprise, even to us who think they have it worked out.) The really important part of this whole persecution thing is hidden in the fine print of the quote from Matthew 5 above:
    ...for my sake.
    The best preparation we can make for any future conflict is to get the relationship with Jesus right, in the present.

    There is a parable in Luke 18 about a pharisee and a publican praying. You all know the story well I am sure. But sometimes we read the story without the introduction:

    And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
    I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
    And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Luke: 18: 7-9 KJV

    Do we think that we are righteous and worthy of persecution, praising God for our wonderful knowledge? Or, are we humble enough to admit we are sinners and that our only hope is in Jesus?

  2. Claiming persecution is fashionable amongst some conservative Christian groups. Members with heightened anxiety are more easily controlled, more willing to donate and accept further misinformation. "Christians" boldly complain of "cancel culture" "coercion" "freedom and rights" "being cancelled", yet popularity of their videos and social media is definitive proof that their complaints are untrue.

    Ellen White explained that persecution will come, but we must be careful to neither complain of, nor invite it. The time will come when we don't have freedom to spread the gospel, so we must "make hay while the sun shines", and not be distracted from our mission by those who want us to live in fear.

    I am reminded of the response by Pacific Union Conference President, R R Bietz (March 21, 1961), to members excited by rumours of persecution. Pr Bietz expressed his disappointment that the election led many Church members to become prophets. Members were spreading conspiracies, rumours, and falsehoods from irresponsible sources.

    Pr Bietz quoted from The Coming Crisis, pp 57;
    "There will come a time when, because of our advocacy of Bible truth, we shall be treated as traitors; but let not this time be hastened by unadvised movements that stir up animosity and strife. I beg for you for Christ's sake, let no hasty, rash expressions fall from your lips, let no extravagant language be used, let nothing be uttered that will savor of railing, for all this is human. Christ has no part in it."

    Rumours of persecution must never be allowed to distract us from our mission. How different the world would be if Jesus' disciples had preached fear and anxiety, instead of preaching the Gospel. Reject anyone using fear, anxiety and rumours of persecution to "sell" their mission. Their mission is not from Jesus.

  3. The way we live demonstrates who and how we worship. Lifestyle is the result of our beliefs. The famous saying "practice makes it perfect" is true. What we live daily results from choices, which show which God we belong to. It is difficult for us humans to believe in a God who is perfect in love and that this love does not obligate people to love Him back. Enforcement of worship goes against God's principles. To me, the challenge is applying that in all my relationships.

  4. May I take the liberty of restating the point in time when Satan knew that he was defeated: ‘Ever since Jesus rose again, the enemy has known that he was defeated.’
    For me, the cross represents the love and dedication Jesus exhibited to benefit His brethren who expected the Law and the Prophets to be fulfilled – which He did through His death!
    But the man - Jesus - being resurrected by His Father, this testified to the Father's Love and Power by elevating Him to sit on His right side in heaven. This act confirmes God's Power over Creation.

    Abraham’s posterity, the Hebrew nation, was chosen by God to be the womb in which the Spirit of God in Christ could be 'incubated'. All the nurture and care a mother gives her unborn child, God provided until His Son was born. And now, with the world knowing of His birth and life, time is winding down for mankind to come the Jesus Christ to be saved.
    For mankind, Jesus' resurrection is the testimony to God’s faithfulness and power to provide eternal life for all who believe that His Son by His righteousness has fulfilled the Law’s demands so they may also inherit eternal life.

    Religious persecution is the hallmark of the adversary of God. As the faith and love of the Hebrew nation for their God experienced the refiner’s fire, so do we as Christians today; no one who truly desires to love God with all their heart and being will be exempt from experiencing temptations to give up on keeping God’s commandments and the faith of Jesus. This is all we have left to cling to in the end of days.

    Matt.22:37-39 - "Jesus answered him," 'Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.’

  5. "How quickly now do you allow, if at all, economic considerations to compromise your Sabbath keeping?"
    I am a bit disappointed with this comment. I wish it were stated .." to compromise your relationship with in God and others." Why is the emphasis on a day as opposed to the great commandment -to love God and others?

  6. Can someone explain the chronology of events as outlined in Rev 13?

    "beast" = civil government

    Rev 13:3 - One of the Sea beast's heads is healed (past tense)
    Rev 13: 3 - entire world "follows" this beast
    Rev 13: 5 - beast exercises authority for 42 months

    How can there be 1260 years (42 months) of Papal power (538 -1798) AFTER being "healed" (wounded in 1798, only begins a slow process of healing (as some Adventists suggest) at Lateran Treaty of 1929?

    As you can see, the Scriptural chronology does not fit the common SDA interpretation.

    And...when can it be said that the "wound" is actually "healed", after which the 42 months can begin?

    • Jeff, as I see it, a prophetic "beast" is not only a "civil government," but any identity - religious or non-religious - that exercises power over a group of people. Thus it can indicate a religious power. (Jesus indicated that His followers would not exercise power over others. Matt. 20:26)

      It seems you get your chronology and conclusion that the 42 months/1260 years begin *after* 1798 from Rev. 13:5. And there are others like you. Most Adventists probably see the 42 months as identical to the 1260 years; (If you multiply the 42 months by 30 prophetic "days," you arrive at 1260 prophetic "days"/years. Thus both figures are seen to the same period of time that ends in 1798.) Therefore Rev. 13:5 is not meant to indicate "Scriptural chronology" but the identity of the beast/power mentioned.

      The bottom line is that we cannot always agree on the details of prophecy, and that is okay. Jesus told us that the purpose of prophecy is that, when it is fulfilled, we shall "believe." (John 14:2

    • 7 times in scripture that period shows up. Time times and half, 1260 days and 42 months. A careful study of Dan 12 and Rev 11 relative to these periods would indicate that at least some are future and they are literal time. Then the beast power rises again after the deadly wound is healed. Then all the world wonders after the beast. Then the Latter Rain falls and the loud cry is given, after which Probation is closed. Then the 7 last plagues fall.


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