Our Adventist understanding of the Bible’s great time prophecies informs us that the people of earth are living in the “the time of the end” since the year 1798. We understand further that since October 22, 1844 we are living during the great antitypical day of atonement – the time of the pre-advent judgment. The judgment must take place just before Jesus returns because He is bringing His reward with Him. (Rev. 22:12)
Since the great prophetic timeline has literally run out, the followers of Jesus now, in order to keep vigilant, must focus their attention of the “signs of His coming.” We find these “signs” primarily in Matthew 24, 25; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Timothy 3: and Revelation 13.
Wars and Terrorism
The “World Wars” of the twentieth century were unprecedented in history. More people were killed in the last century than in all other centuries combined! The Bible is clear, however, that these big wars were a major sign of the end – “But the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6, Luke 21:9). We have now entered a time of continual agitation, death, and destruction through terrorism.
All three synoptic gospels mention natural disasters as a sign of the end of the world. These disasters are now coming with more frequency and greater intensity. Some are even being called “SuperStorms.”
Collapse of Civil Society
Second Timothy 3:1-7 states that in the last days men will become selfish, hateful, and brutal. Actually Paul here gives 22 negative personal qualities. All 22 are evident in society today in pervasive abundance.
Looming Financial Crisis
Today we see a volatile stock market, U.S. national debt growing toward 19 Trillion dollars, student loan debt surpassing 1 Billion, and entire countries on the verge of bankruptcy. The rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. These conditions are signs of the end. (See Jas. 5:1-6; 2 Tim. 3:1,2; and Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 170.)
Decline of Morality
On June 26, 2015 the United States Supreme Court in the Obergefell vs. Hodges case ruled that the U. S. Constitution guarantees the right to same sex marriage. This ruling is directly contrary to the motto on our coins, pledge of allegiance, and etched in marble in the House of Representatives – “In God We Trust”. In addition, there is the explosion of pornography, rotten material on television and in the movies, and a great lack of will on the part of government leaders to show any concern.
The growing influence of the Roman Catholic Church in society and the political arena in the United States and around the world should awaken the senses of those who understand Revelation 13.
Courtship of Church and State
The growing influence of the Roman Catholic Church in society and the political arena in the United States and around the world should awaken the senses of those who understand Revelation 13. Pope Francis spoke to the European Parliament on November 25, 2014. This group of leaders represents 28 countries and over 500,000,000 people. The Pope’s address to the United States Congress on September 24, 2015 was unprecedented in American history. On the next day the Pope addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York where the Papal flag now flies permanently along with those of the member nations of the UN.
The Gospel is Going to all The World
Our church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, takes the gospel commission seriously. Our organizational structure with it’s Divisions, Unions, Conferences, and Missions provides a foundation for systematic evangelism and nurture around the world with the good news of Jesus’ soon return. In 2014 Adventist pastors averaged baptizing 3,197 new members every day of the week! That is 22,379 new members every Sabbath. The media ministries such as Adventist World Radio, Hope Channel, 3ABN, It Is Written, Voice of Prophecy and many others are covering the world with radio, television, and Internet websites and podcasts. Many new members trace their first contacts with God’s Church through the media.
The Logical Conclusion
With the knowledge that the great prophetic timeline has run its course and that the signs Jesus gave us to announce the nearness of His coming and the end of this world are being displayed in abundance, we can only logically conclude that the coming of Jesus is very near – “at the very doors.” We should be more convinced than ever that God is in control of world events, that the prophecies are true, and that His coming is sure.
It is likely that we will soon see the current “Sunday chatter” morph into Sunday agitation and restrictive laws. Soon we will also see and hopefully be involved in the fulfillment of Rev. 18:1-4 with a great out-pouring of the Holy Spirit’s power for transformation and for witnessing.
How Can the Work Ever be Finished
Some people may ask, “How can the work ever be finished with so many yet to hear the good news of the gospel and the coming of Jesus?” The answer is simply that God will step in to help finish the work. “For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth” (Rom. 9:28).
Ellen Whites describes the process of the finishing of the great commission this way: “There will be an accumulation of divine agencies to combine with human effort that there may be the accomplishment of the work for the last time. The work will most assuredly be cut short in a most unexpected manner…There will be thousands converted to the truth in a day, who at the eleventh hour see and acknowledge the truth and the movements of the Spirit of God…The accessions to the truth will be of a rapidity which will surprise the church. God’s name alone will be glorified. Finite man will wonder and adore” (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 754, 755).
What an exciting time to be alive and to be involved in giving the most relevant and timely message ever given to the world. The promise of Jesus still rings true, “I will come again.” Let us be of good courage.
G. Edward Reid works with Adventist World Radio as Assistant to the President for Planned Giving. He writes from Strawberry Plains, Tennessee.