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Thursday: Ready for His Appearing — 14 Comments

  1. Luke records the story of the nobleman who gave three of his servants money to look after, with the instruction, "Occupy till I come." We like to apply this to others but we probably need to apply it to ourselves.

    The instruction was to "occupy till I come!", not, "Look for the signs that I am coming back. Given that we are told that the second coming of Jesus is to be unexpected, which is more important, knowing the signs, or being occupied so that the unexpected second coming is not a surprise.

    Readiness is not about knowing the timetable, but about living in such a way that the timetable does not matter. It took me a long time to work that out. In my first year at College, I wrote a paper on the signs of the end. It was a pretty good summary of what Adventists believe. I even used it as the basis of sermons a couple of times until I realised that I was using the timetable to justify my behaviour rather than occupying.

    That does not mean the signs are not useful. Rather it places the emphasis on what is really important in the present. We have been given a task to do - "Occupy!" And that does not mean sitting on your backside gazing into the future.

    • Maurice, as I read your comment, the phrase "occupy till I come" stood out to me. Expanding on your comment "sitting on your backside gazing into the future", it also does not mean thinking about the future, or even planning for it, without taking action. We must be doers of the word and not hearers only. Without the connection with the Holy Spirit encouraging us to action, we become stagnant and lose the heartbeat that gives us life.

  2. Maurice, thank you for mentioning the term occupy, which need not be understood as though we‘re saved through our works.
    To me, it denotes an impulse to be faithful and vigilant in our particular callings.
    After all, God has given us gifts, abilities, relationships and opportunities, which are spheres where we can do our job the way God has intended for us to do.

    Being ready implies I need to be spiritually and mentally alert to Satan‘s deceptions. Am I submitted to the word of God, rather being self-willed?
    Besides that, am I cultivating strong faith in the sovereign goodness of God which enables me to endure to the end through whatever suffering comes my way?

    What a great joy would it be, when the Lord finally says:
    Matth. 25:23 „ We’ll done, good and faithful servant- enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.“

  3. Since we were not created to die, our feelings towards death are normally traumatizing. That's probably why Christ offers us a different perspective, "dying to self and living for Him". While waiting for the Master to come back let us be diligent, and work our best within His will, always asking for the guidance of His Holy Spirit. Thus, everything else will be added. Our final resting time is getting closer! Maranatha!

  4. Jesus cannot return "today" as seven last plagues have to fall first and they will take an entire year for that. The Holy Spirit is available each and every day and "One day at a time" for us.

    • What you are saying is true, Pete, but what are the implications? Jesus warned us that He would return unexpectedly, so how can a later revelation of predicted end-time events nullify that?

      So far, I think I can see at least two possible answers:

      1) If our hearts are not right with God -- if we are consciously or unconsciously trying to pull one over on Him by putting off the need to devote ourselves to Him -- I think that we are likely to misconstrue the end-time prophecies. Events will unfold differently to our expectations, and we'll be subject to some unwelcome surprises.

      2) Arguably, it's not Christ's coming, per se, for which we need to be prepared; it's the close of probation. If we are not ready when that event takes place, then we are eternally lost. It will be like the door of Noah's ark closing seven days before the flood. You mentioned the plagues. I understand that probation will have closed before the plagues even begin. Meanwhile, by our life choices, we are developing a character for good or for ill. I'd say we have none too much time to get going in the right direction by exercising faith in Jesus now, giving Him our hearts from day to day, if we are going to become the people we want to be.

      Be blessed!

    • Brother Pete Villarreal:

      "Seven last plagues have to fall first and they will take an entire year for that."

      Will you please give me scripture to support "...an entire year..."?

      God bless you.

      • Revelation says "One Hour" and I guess that this to me means "One Year." How long did the 10 plagues of Egypt take? I am sure that God will not allow the last seven plagues to take longer than the 10 that He scourged Egypt with took. And by the way, in the sixth last plague, the words are there that say "Behold I come as a thief," Rev. 16:15. Now why would God also say there "...blessed is he that watches..." if probation has closed already before the first one starts to fall (as many Seventh-day Adventist evangelists claim)?

        • Well, Pete, if an apocalyptic day is a year, then I'd hope that one hour might be considerably shorter than that, as you seem to be suggesting. As to the question at the end of your comment, one possible answer might be that probation had certainly not closed at time of writing! So, the blessing pronounced on those who watch would definitely be pertinent to John's readers, including us today. And anachronisms seem to be commonplace in Scripture.

          Have a great Sabbath!

          • Also, I just finished reading in Chapter 18:8 of Revelation it is very clear that the plagues take "one day" and one day in prophecy is "one year."

          • Well now, but if we take the "Hour of His judgement" to mean the "Event or time of His judgement," then we have to take Revelation 18:8 and just take it to mean that "The event of His seven last plagues take (One Prophetic day---or one literal year.) So now for me, I take Chapter 18 as being under the Seventh and last plague and also because God says to "Come out of her, (Spiritual Babylon)" that even here probation has not closed yet for people. I mean, why would God say to come out and be not partaker of Babylons' sins and recieve not of her plagues" if probation has closed before the first plague started to fall?

            • Hi, Pete. You may have noticed that the book of Revelation tends to be thematic, and far from chronological. By the seven last plagues, I understand us to mean the bowl judgments of chapter 16. I don't see any reason to think that the call out of Babylon, in chapter 18, is chronologically connected with any of those judgments. Thematically, yes!

              Anyway, I believe I see a more reliable way to answer the question of whether or not probation is still open during the bowl judgments. First, Revelation 13:8 says:

              "All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the beast], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life..."

              Next, Revelation 14:9-10 says that all who worship the beast will receive God's wrath "full strength."

              Then, Revelation 15:1 states that, in the seven last plagues, the wrath of God is "complete." To my mind, this is a ringing declaration that the door of mercy is shut to those who are to receive the plagues -- to all who have not already come to repentance and faith in Jesus. Throughout the description of those plagues, we see it oft repeated that their recipients do not repent, etc. (See Revelation 16:9; 16:11; 16:21.)

              So, if probation were somehow still open during the plagues, it's hard for me to see what purpose that would serve. No one repents. Besides, doesn't God always show mercy to those who might still be reclaimed?

              The answer seems clear enough to me.

  5. Unreservedly, unwaveringly believing that mankind has a creator and Christ Jesus, His Son, was given to us by Him to bring His Truth and Light to us is mandatory for everyone who confesses to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Expecting the full power of the Holy Spirit to bring to light God’s Truth in one's life is not possible for those who are still sitting on the 'fence of indecision', separating believing from doubt.

    How could anyone claim to be a believer one day, and the next day disregard the teachings of Jesus Christ? Are we not ready for Jesus' return at any time when being faithful in our love for His Father like He was, trusting that we are kept safe by His Son who reflects the Father as we wait to be called to join His heavenly family? Ongoing faithfulness is ongoing preparation for the Savior’s return.

    There is not one day that the believer does not live inside the relationship with our Lord and Savior. The lesson writer noted: “.. that every single day of our life is our life in miniature.” Yes, life is difficult; incredibly sad and challenging things can happen at any time, but our relationship with Jesus Christ and our heavenly Father will only become stronger as we lean on them - Heb. 13:6.

    We either love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and our heavenly Father with all our heart and being all the time, or we do not – there is no other option.

  6. Whyhy would Revelation place the statement of "He that is unclean let him be unclean still...etc." at the very last chapter of that book in 22:11 and not anywhere in relation to any time before the plagues start falling etc.? And yet some go on to claim that this verse belongs somewhere before those plagues start falling? When did probation close for the people of Egypt and those 10 plagues? Was it not when the Angel of Death was sent at the last one and also after the Israelites had placed the blood of the passover lamb on their doorposts? Personally, I see probation closing after the last plague in Revelation after God sends the final scourge of it with the great stones of hail. We do not need another "Passover lamb" to be slain and for us to put on our doorposts anymore. Jesus fulfilled all that the "Passover lamb" signified at Calvary 2,000 plus or minus years ago. It is our faith in this fact that will get us through all the seven last plagues and also provide mercy and forgiveness to anyone until those great "Hail Stones" start to fall on the unrepentant people then at the very last plague then.


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