Thursday, January 22, 2009

WHEN GOD SPEAKS SEVEN TIMESby: Elder Lawrence Nelson
Ready or not, we have finally arrived at the end time when every person who is alive on earth will behold the most thrilling event every witnessed by mortals. The Bible portrays this in these cataclysmic words which are found in 2 Peter 3:10-12, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
And then in Titus 2:13 we read, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Let us pray. O loving Father, as we envision the Second Coming of Thy Son as pictured by Inspiration, we earnestly plead that Thy mighty Spirit will impress each of us with the conviction that now is the time to prepare for the final revival and reformation which will enable us to be ready to go home with Jesus when He comes. This we ask in His name, Amen.
For the next few minutes let us contemplate how God has invited you and me to prepare for the Second Coming by giving us three separate messages as found in Revelation 14, which if followed and obeyed will prepare us to be ready for this cataclysmic event. The first angel begins with the good news of the everlasting gospel revealing a loving Savior who has made possible our redemption on Calvary for every nations, kindred, tongue and people. This angel declares that a judgment is now taking place in heaven's sanctuary in which Christ, our High Priest, is able to forgive and take away our sins. It's a call to those who would be saved to worship God as a Creator by keeping holy the seventh-day Sabbath.
The second angel sounds an alarming message warning us of a world-wide structure of religious systems which have become drunk with the traditions of paganism by drinking of the cup extended through the ecumenical movement, which has been brewed by Roman Catholicism. God declares this world power is Babylon, which has fallen from Biblical truth.
And finally a third angel gives God's last call to all who would be saved to totally separate from Babylon's pagan doctrines because God's wrath is soon to be poured out upon all who worship the beast of Babylon or who make an image to her customs and traditions. This is absolutely God's last call for every individual to never accept the mark of the beast when Babylon will make it the law to keep Sunday as a holy sabbath day.
Nowhere else in the scriptures, other than Revelation 14, is to be found such a description of God's wrath as told by this angel - annihilating wrath, which will fall upon anyone who fails to heed this warning. Such pleadings of God, who desires all to be saved, concludes with a call for each individual to become a part of His remnant church which this angel describes as a people who keep the commandments of God and have a personal faith in Jesus. They believe that through His mighty power He can give you victory over every known sin and make ready a people who stand unafraid when they hear God speak seven times at the Second Coming of Christ. These people will be ready, together with God's sleeping saints, to be gathered together with Jesus and to go to the eternal home that He has prepared for them.
The following details I have gleaned from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and especially from the Great Controversy, the chapter entitled, "God's People Delivered." Everyone loves a thrilling story of what has taken place in the past, but this amazing true story is yet to take place. Someday, very, very soon, in a day just like our day when people are buying and selling, building homes and mighty skyscrapers, conducting weddings and getting a divorce, in a day of unstoppable crime of every description with men's thoughts continually evil; in such a time, when the majority defy God and His law with preaching that God is such a God of love that all anyone needs to do is just believe; in such a time as this, suddenly, a darkness, deeper than any night ever experienced, will come to this old world. And to the amazement of all a great rainbow will be seen in the heavens, which will encircle the entire earth. And that's not all, a small rainbow will hover over each small group of commandment keepers.
And then, and then it happens. God speaks for the first time. As He speaks He will shake the earth with just two words, "Look Up!" Immediately the black clouds of total darkness will part and the living saints obey God's command. They will look up into the heavens and see God the Father, and Christ the Son, seated on their thrones. The saints will listen to the conversation between the Father and the Son as Jesus speaks, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." John 17:24.
When we hear these words we shall give a shout of victory not heard since the deliverance at the Red Sea in the days of Moses. The time is at midnight. Signs and wonders will appear as the sun shines forth with all its glory. The wicked will be filled with terror. Streams will cease to flow. Angry clouds fill the heavens, but there remains one clear spot filled with indescribable glory.
This is the moment when God speaks the second time with these unforgettable words, "It is done." Just three short words in answer to the request of Jesus. Suddenly there is a mighty, world-wide earthquake as we are told in Revelation 16:18, "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great."
Mountains are shaken like blades of grass in the wind. The whole earth convulses in destruction. Ragged rocks are hurled in every direction. The sea boils like a pot. Mountains sink beneath the earth's surface and islands disappear. The whole earth heaves and swells like the ocean. Seaports, which have become like Sodom in wickedness, are swallowed up. Great hailstones, over 50 pounds in weight, drop from the sky and the earth's proudest cities are destroyed.
Prison walls crumble, setting free God's faithful who have been imprisoned for their faith. And then another wonderful surprise. A special resurrection takes place as some of the graves open all over the earth as the Bible foretold, "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Daniel 12:2.
At this time all who have died in the faith of the third angel's message arise, glorified. What a moment! I expect to see my mother and my father resurrected and together to see Jesus come. And there will also be a special resurrection of those who condemned and crucified Jesus. And this resurrection will include a third class who were the most violent oppressors of God's truth. They are to see the redeemed rescued and honored. Revelation 1:7 tells us, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him."
As sheets of flames envelope the earth God now speaks for the third time declaring the doom of the wicked. His words are not comprehended by all but they are distinctly understood by the false teachers who are overwhelmed in fear. Even the demons are terrified. This is the moment spoken of by the prophets of old, "Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth." Isaiah 2:10-12, 20, 21.
Amid the wails of these false watchmen and the fear of demons, who now openly acknowledge the deity of Christ, God does not forget His faithful few. Amid a rift in the clouds a star shines forth four times brighter than the darkness. This is to encourage the saints with hope and joy amid such cataclysmic events. The faithful become aglow with wonder and faith and love. They repeat the promise, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." Psalms 46:1-3.
As God listens to His saints He commands the clouds to part so that the glory of the New Jerusalem shines upon His faithful. Oh what a God! How wonderful! Next, God spreads His TV screen across the heavens. Two hands will be seen, each holding a table of stone. As every living soul watches, a pen of fire traces each word of the Ten Commandments. Can you see them as they are traced one by one in the heavens? "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Instantly millions will realize that their God has been the riches of gold and silver. Others will see that they have worshiped sports, sex, even the theater, as their god.
And now the second commandment: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image....Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them." Too late the pagans and the misled Catholics will see that God means exactly what He says in His law.
Next, the finger of fire traces, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Those who have made a habit of swearing discover how wrong they were.
And then the wicked will tremble as the finger of fire traces the words, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made haven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." Billions of the earth's inhabitants discover that God has not altered these words from His lips. Too late, they see that Sunday keeping has been inspired by Satan.
And then the youth will tremble. For they shall see the words, "Honour thy father and thy mother." The rebellious youth of this generation will then realize how wrong they were to follow the crowd.
And then appear the words traced in fire, "Thou shalt not kill," followed by the words, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." These commanding words prove beyond question that the present consensus that the pill, condoms and abortion make things right with God, was a lie. Those who live in a "shacking-up" relationship will be speechless.
Then the pen of fire concludes, "Thou shalt not steal," "Thou shalt not bear false witness," "Thou shalt not covet." Too late all will recognize that God's law is eternal – a transcript of His character, that this law is the basis upon which God judges between life or death.
It is impossible to describe the hour of despair of those who have trampled upon God's requirements. Too late the enemies of God's law, especially the false ministers and priests, see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the very seal of the living God. Too late, they now see the true nature of Sunday keeping - that it is the mark of the beast which God warned against.
Now the voice of God is heard for the fourth time declaring the day and the hour of the coming of Christ. Hope fills the heart of every saint. Their faces shine like that of Moses as he descended the mount. God also pronounces a blessing upon Sabbath keepers. The saints respond with a shout of victory. Soon there appears in the east a small cloud. It is a cloud of angels surrounding the Savior. Because of the distance it appears to be shrouded in darkness but it soon becomes brighter and more glorious as they behold the King of kings coming as a mighty conqueror surrounded by countless angels.
Every eye beholds Him. As the saints see His beauty of character, they cry out, "Who shall be able stand before Him?" Suddenly the angels stop their singing. The whole universe awaits God's answer. It is here that God speaks for the fifth time in answer to the saints' question. He speaks the loving answer, "My grace is sufficient for you." At these words the angels rejoice in songs of victory. The righteous are filled with unutterable joy as the Savior descends in clouds wrapped in flaming fire.
"Our God shall come and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous around him." Psalm 50:3.
This is the time when "the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." Revelation 6:15,16.
And now God speaks for the sixth time. Not to the righteous but to the wicked to awaken their memory that He has done everything possible that they might be saved. He declares, "I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof." Proverbs 1:24.
These words bring to memory warnings despised, invitations refused, privileges slighted. As Pilate listens, he remembers his own words when he said, "I find no fault in Him." Haughty Herod recalls how he mocked the Savior. Those very hands which placed the crown of thorns on Jesus - now they tremble. The soldiers who drove the nails and pierced His side now try to hide. The very same priests who cried, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," are now speechless. These, together with today's ministers who declare that you don't have to obey God's law and that you can sin until Jesus comes, all such, together with the earth's wicked are all consumed with the brightness of Christ's coming.
And now for the seventh, and last time, the voice of God loudly cries out, "Awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust of the earth, arise." Instantly the whole earth rings with the tread of an exceeding great army from every nation, kindred, and tongue. Together these risen, immortal righteous, and the remaining living righteous unite in a great shout of victory. O what wonderful day! For the living righteous are now made immortal – "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
For the next seven days we shall travel to heaven. All will celebrate the Sabbath before entering the Holy City. As our journey ends on the sea of glass, just outside the city, Jesus gathers the redeemed around Him. Try to catch this picture with me. Jesus is crowned with seven crowns and with His own hand He places a crown upon each saint upon which is imprinted a new name.
Then the angels give a golden harp to each of the redeemed who will skillfully play and sing in unison. "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire and them that had gotten the victory over the beast and over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name stand on the sea of glass having the harps of God and they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Revelation 15:2, 3.
I believe that one of the songs that we shall sing will be "Redeemed how I love to proclaim it, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Redeemed through His infinite mercy his child and forever I am. Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Redeemed, redeemed, His child and forever I am."
And now the city becomes the center of attraction. Standing on the sea of glass we shall behold its walls made of jasper with twelve foundation. It's a city with no night, just never-ending days. Jesus opens those great pearly gates and bids us enter in to walk on streets of gold which leads us to that great white throne.
Picture with me the rainbow above the throne and the River of Life flowing out beneath the throne. It is here that Jesus presents us to God the Father that we may take the place of the fallen angels. Adam, who is some fourteen to sixteen feet tall represents the redeemed. He stands but a little lower than Jesus. The Savior points him to the Garden of Eden, "Transported with joy he beholds the trees that were once his delight--the very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. He sees the vines that his own hands have trained; the very flowers that he once loved to care for. His mind grasps the reality of the scene; he comprehends that this is indeed Eden restored, more lovely now than when he was banished from it. The Savior leads him to the tree of life and plucks the glorious fruit and bids him eat. He looks about him and beholds a multitude of his family redeemed, standing in the Paradise of God. Then he casts his glittering crown at the feet of Jesus, and falling upon His breast, embraces the Redeemer. He touches the golden harp, and the vaults of heaven echo the triumphant song: 'Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again!' The family of Adam take up the strain and cast their crowns at the Saviour's feet as they bow before Him in adoration." Great Controversy p. 648.
O beloved, never, never forget what Jesus did for Adam He will do for you and for me. "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." Jude 24.
And now a most precious promise is to take place. Are you ready for this? It's unbelievable but true. Christ now assumes His place with the Father on the great white throne. Are you listening? As He looks over the redeemed, that number as the stars of the heavens, as He looks over the vast multitude He sees you and He lovingly asks you to come up to the throne to ascend the stairs and to sit on the throne with God. Are you astonished? Don't you remember it says, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne." Revelation 3:21.
O what a marvelous salvation! Praise the Lord! I quote, "The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they will behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore-humbled himself to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His Father's face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on Calvary's cross. That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destines, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and the admiration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in rapturous song, 'Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood.'" Great Controversy p. 651.
Dear child of God, I cannot, I must not conclude this godly message without making a special appeal to you in the name of Jesus. Will you, just now, give your heart anew to such a loving Savior who died for you that you might live with Him? I urge you to determine, right now, this moment, that when the mark of the beast, so soon to be enforced by law, that you will stand firm and be faithful to God's commandments no matter what the cost may be. Will you make this prayer your prayer?
Dear Father, Our hearts thrill with a blessed hope to be with Jesus. We accept Thy offer of redemption. Forgive, we pray, our sins. Wash and cleanse us in Thy saving blood which was shed for us. Please help us to so completely transform our lives, by Thy grace, that we may wear Thy robe of righteousness. Give us a determination to rather die than sin, so help us God. This we ask in the precious name of Thy dear Son, Jesus, Amen.

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