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Sabbath: Earth’s Closing Events — 13 Comments

  1. In 1963 I attended Avondale College (Now Avondale University) as an immature 17 year old student. I took the Bible subject “Daniel and Revelation”. It was my first time in the Adventist education system and my first experience taking a Bible class that cost real money and for which I received a grade. Our major assignment was a 40 page essay. I chose the topic, “End Time Events” and wrote a description of the timeline of the events that would lead up to the Second Coming. I still have that essay and its grade tucked away in the back of a cupboard somewhere.

    You do not need to be much or a mathematician to realise that a fair bit of time has passed between then and now. Much of what I wrote in that essay is still in the future. There were about 100 students in that class and although I have not kept track of them, living near Avondale and taking part in Homecoming events, I see enough of them to realise that while some of them have kept the faith, many have not. And the main reason given by those who have left the faith is that the perceived timeline has not taken place.

    I have had over 60 years to think about what I wrote in that essay. The worrying thing is that I could put that essay up here on Sabbath School Net and many would say “Amen!” But, there has to be something about the Second Coming that is more important than an anticipated timeline. I have had over 60 years of listening to sermons about this event and that event and how they fit the timeline. And the more I hear those sermons, the more cynical I become.

    There is part of that “Daniel and Revelation” essay I wrote in my youth that has helped me to keep my faith. One section examines the “Kingdom Parables” in the Gospels and two key ideas keep cropping up.

    • The unexpectedness of Christ’s return, even for believers. The parable of the Ten Young Women is a case in point. They were expecting the Bridegroom to come but the time of his appearance was a surprise. Could Jesus come this afternoon while we are having our Sabbath Afternoon rest, or do we have to wait for our timeline to be fulfilled before he can come.
      I am reminded that the Jews in Jesus day had a timeline for the Messiah and they were so intent on that timeline that they missed Him.
    • The importance of occupying until the King returns. The message, Occupy till I come is very clear.
      I am reminded of the story of Abraham Davenport in the Connecticut Council during the dark day of 1780. He is reported to have said:

      I am against adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for an adjournment; if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought.

    I have to admit that at my age, death from old age is far more likely than experiencing end-time events. Whatever happens, I would like the epitaph, that I was engaged in my Heavenly Father’s business.

    I have some peaceful Sabbath viewing for you Birds in Action 2024

    • Thank you again Maurice for these wonderful pictures. Glory to God for His incredible creation. Am wondering how your atheist friends account for such exquisite beauty, color, and detail to have happened by chance across such a wide range of species?

      • Christ's second coming is sure, therefore, we need to be ready.
        1 day with God is like a 1000 years for us.

        Christ is definitely coming soon, but not in our timeline, but God's timeline.

        Let us be prepared!!

    • Good afternoon dear faithful friend:
      We are thinking along the same lines. My parallel thought is the warning that Jesus gives, "...but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." Matthew 25:29 KJV
      Hymn #375 in the Adventist Hymnal, "Work for the Night is Coming" echoes that same message of the parable of the talents.
      (Matthew 25:14-30)
      Is there any more darker night than the "outer darkness" that Jesus warns us about in verse 30?
      This week's memory verse is also a warning. As you mentioned in the parable of the ten virgins, (Matthew 25:1-13)
      to buy extra oil to have enough to meet our Lord.
      Dear brother, I was watching with my wife the mini series, "Qin Dynasty"
      (Mandarin with English subtitles) And in episode 27 is a dialogue between the king, Qin Shi Huang, (259-210 BC) and his wise counselor, Li Si. In the scene they are discussing the encyclopedia that the king's prime minister, Lu Buwei has just completed and is unamendable, even though there are inaccuracies in it. Li Si tells the king that everyone is afraid of even pointing out the errors to Lu Buwei because, "that's what power can do. It covers the eyes, and plugs the ears, so that people can't see or hear the truth. Then the judgement is endangered." When I saw that quote, Revelation 13:4 came to mind:
      And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? (KJV)
      It will be that application of power that will "cover the eyes, and plug the ears so that people can't see or hear the truth". Then will it be truly night, when man's work is done.
      Thank you for sharing your lifetime of experiences. I enjoy reading your thoughts.

    • Thank you for sharing the bird pictures. My husband is a birdwatcher and takes bird pictures too. We have moved to Ecuador from US nearly 3 months ago. We watched your slide show together. God’s creation is wonderful and such a variety and imagination.

  2. So wonderful to awaken and see God's love for me in your stunning photos of birds He has created. Thank you for sharing them with us! At your convenience, Brother Maurice, please direct me to what you have experienced spiritually through the study of birds.

    • There are three things that help me spiritually:

      • An appreciation for God's design and beauty
      • The peace that watching the detail of nature provides. It is a good time to think.
      • The opportunities it provides to share that appreciation with others. And that includes my atheist friends.
  3. Reading through the Scripture references for this week’s study, my attention was captured by Rev.18:1-4.
    Verse 3 - ”For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
    Verse 4 - ”And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”

    As I understand it, this Scripture passage describes the deception the world has fallen for – spiritual Babylon, leading to make life’s aim the amassing of power and influence to achieve material ends. Spiritual Babylon’s quest, using religious and secular power, satisfies the merchant’s quest for having the whole world to be their ‘marketplace’. The spirit of antichrist is its master.

    It is high time to again teach the Truth that, though we have a body, we are a creature endowed with the capacity to know our heavenly Father personally and worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Learning to walk by faith, laid out by the Word of God and taught through the Holy Spirit, is the real purpose of our life here on earth.

    As we live on this earth, we need to carefully guard against allowing our materialistic tendencies to care for ourselves in the way which seems right to us to absorb our attention; they can easily become the god which directs our path. Keeping the oil of the Holy Spirit in our ‘lamp’ fresh and in abundant supply, is where our spiritual focus ought to be to be prepared for the closing events.

  4. In the parable of the 10 bridesmaids, Jesus says that the bridegroom was “delayed”. I think that’s a message to us letting us know it’s going to feel like he’s been delayed, he’s later than expected, it’s taking too long…. I remember growing up if we were traveling or waiting for an event my little brother used to say “What’s taking so yong?” (He hadn’t learned to pronounce his “L” sound yet… so when he drew out the word “yong” it sounded particularly whiny and exasperated.) Maybe we’re asking Jesus the same thing? Everyone in the parable, all 10, got drowsy and fell asleep. This also describes the final church, the Laodicean church, in Revelation 3:14-22.

    The story about the college girl returning home… The father was working to get to her and I’m sure the girl was to do things too.. Reminds me of how Jesus said,“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” Matt. 25:13. Watching didn’t mean to lose sleep and keep getting up at night to look out the window and focus on the fear of a lot of end time events… what those 10 bridesmaids were supposed to do was to be ready to light the way for the bridegroom’s coming. We’re to be ready for “divine appointments” to share the gospel of Jesus with those around us, to keep our lamps lit and not hiding under a bushel basket. Praying that we use our oil and our lamps and gifts to do just that!

  5. I cried out in praise and HALLELUJAHS to God the Creator for the AWESOME design displayed in the variety of birds- not one a replica of the other!!

    Thank you Maurice for sharing the well-taken photos. They all warmed my heart and fill me with more love for our Creator.

    Thanks also for your comments. We MUST occupy while we’re alive or till He comes.

  6. Maybe God doesn’t expect us to focus on time-lines. Instead He instructs us to be resolute in the truth we find in His word, encouraging and not discouraging our fellow believers with dismissive attitudes regarding what we may perceive to be a delay in Jesus return. God’s word certainly is filled with His “sure word of prophecy”.

  7. I so appreciate Esther's focus on the lamps and their meaning in the parable of the 10 virgins. Something I had not considered before was whether or not the 5 prepared virgins also had their lamps go out. Since they had to trim their wicks, the lamps had definitely gone out. You cannot trim a burning wick. You have to cut the burnt part off the wick and reignite it. Does this mean they had actually stopped witnessing? Were they in a place of darkness so that they could not witness? The important thing is that they had enough oil left because they had made sure to get more, but they only had enough for themselves. When they heard the loud cry (carried presumably by the town crier -- those of the Adventist faith who stayed with the Master and never fell asleep so they could give the loud cry), they had enough oil to relight their lamps and meet the bridegroom so they could go into the wedding.
    I have been thinking for quite a while now that those giving the loud cry are a third party of people in the story, and, frankly, I would rather be among those people than the ones falling to sleep. I firmly believe a subgroup of Adventist people will. emit the loud cry which awakens those who are spiritually asleep in the church.

    And thanks so much for the lovely bird pictures! I subscribed to your channel, Maurice.


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