The Reformation Herald Online Edition

At the Brink of Eternity

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Sabbath, December 7, 2019
The Imminent Crisis of the Centuries
Edgar Ramos

“Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come” (Joel 1:15).

“The prophecies which the great I AM has given in His word, uniting link after link in the chain of events, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tell us where we are today in the procession of the ages and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order.”1

The disciples ask Christ about His return

Referring to the magnificent temple in Jerusalem, Jesus declared that the day will come when “there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).

“Christ’s words had been spoken in the hearing of a large number of people; but when He was alone, Peter, John, James, and Andrew came to Him as He sat upon the Mount of Olives. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?’ Jesus did not answer His disciples by taking up separately the destruction of Jerusalem and the great day of His coming. He mingled the description of these two events. Had He opened to His disciples future events as He beheld them, they would have been unable to endure the sight. In mercy to them He blended the description of the two great crises, leaving the disciples to study out the meaning for themselves.”2

The prophecies of Jesus are fulfilling

“Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour’s prophecy of the events to precede His coming: ‘Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. . . . Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places’ (Matthew 24:6, 7). The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living.”3

False prophets

One of the signs of the destruction of Jerusalem that Christ had announced was: “Many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).

“False prophets did rise, deceiving the people, and leading great numbers into the desert. Magicians and sorcerers, claiming miraculous power, drew the people after them into the mountain solitudes. But this prophecy was spoken also for the last days. This sign is given as a sign of the second advent.”4

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).

Every day the sad evidence increases that faith is diminishing in the sure prophetic word, and that in its place superstition and satanic sorcery captivate the intellects of many, including, ironically, a number of religious leaders. Others are misled by the mysticism of theosophy and other Eastern religions based on spiritualism. “The doctrine of man’s consciousness in death, especially the belief that spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern spiritualism.”5

Spiritualism today is amalgamated with nominal Christianity, performing miracles and lying wonders. Through spiritualism, the sick appear to be healed as Satan counterfeits the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

In this way Spiritualism, Catholicism and apostate Protestantism increasingly work together, just as John the Revelator described when he “saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet” (Revelation 16:13). The prophetic word is thus fulfilling before our eyes.

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Signs in the heavens and the earth

Jesus foretold that “there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations” (Luke 21:25). See also Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24–26; and Revelation 6:12–17.

“There shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:7).

“In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light” (Mark 13:24).

What is meant by “those days”? The prophecy of the 1260 years of the time of papal supremacy, lasted from the year A.D. 538 to A.D. 1798. The tribulation ended at least 25 years before the year 1798. Around that time, the following signs occurred as a fulfillment of prophecy.6

The great earthquake on November 1, 1755.

Signs in the sun and the moon on May 19, 1780.

Signs in the stars on November 13, 1833.

“When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33).

Approaching an even greater crisis

“The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place—that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis.”7

“Soon grievous troubles will rise among the nations—trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes.”8

Mortality and hunger

“Perilous times are before us. The whole world will be involved in perplexity and distress, disease of every kind will be upon the human family, and such ignorance as now prevails concerning the laws of health would result in great suffering and the loss of many lives that might be saved.”9

“There will be suffering ones, plenty of them, who will need help, not only among those of our own faith, but largely among those who know not the truth.”10

“Our world is a vast lazar house, a scene of misery that we dare not allow even our thoughts to dwell upon. Did we realize it as it is, the burden would be too terrible. Yet God feels it all. In order to destroy sin and its results He gave His best Beloved, and He has put it in our power, through cooperation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to an end. ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come’ (Matthew 24:14).”11

“The Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah, and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would—He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some, in order to further his own designs; and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them.

“While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. . . .

“Some will be tempted to receive these wonders as from God. The sick will be healed before us. Miracles will be performed in our sight. Are we prepared for the trial which awaits us when the lying wonders of Satan shall be more fully exhibited? Will not many be ensnared and taken? By departing from the plain precepts and commandments of God and giving heed to fables, the minds of many are preparing to receive these lying wonders. We must all now seek to arm ourselves for the contest in which we must soon engage. Faith in God’s word, prayerfully studied and practically applied, will be our shield from Satan’s power and will bring us off conquerors through the blood of Christ.”12

An age of violence

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:11, 12).

“In the days of Noah the overwhelming majority was opposed to the truth, and enamored with a tissue of falsehoods. The land was filled with violence. War, crime, murder, was the order of the day. Just so will it be before Christ’s second coming.”13

“The terrible reports we hear of murders and robberies, of railway accidents and deeds of violence, tell the story that the end of all things is at hand. Now, just now, we need to be preparing for the Lord’s second coming.”14

Actions of the trade unions

The prophet Joel foresaw a prevailing attitude in the last days: “Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong” (Joel 3:10).

“The labor unions are quickly stirred to violence if their demands are not complied with. Plainer and plainer is it becoming that the inhabitants of the world are not in harmony with God.

“No scientific theory can explain the steady march of evil workers under the generalship of Satan. In every mob wicked angels are at work, rousing men to commit deeds of violence.”15

“The trades unions will be one of the agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such as has not been since the world began.”16

Earthquakes and floods

“In fires, in floods, in earthquakes, in the fury of the great deep, in calamities by sea and by land, the warning is given that God’s Spirit will not always strive with men.”17

Tremendously catastrophic earthquakes have marked the 21st century. Over 806,000 people have lost their lives in earthquakes since the year 2000. Indeed, the Spirit of Prophecy explains, “The time is now come when one moment we may be on solid earth, the next the earth may be heaving beneath our feet. Earthquakes will take place where least expected.”18

Signs in nature

“The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:4, 5).

“Satan is working in the atmosphere; he is poisoning the atmosphere, and here we are dependent upon God for our lives—our present and eternal life. And being in the position that we are, we need to be wide awake, wholly devoted, wholly converted, wholly consecrated to God. But we seem to sit as though we were paralyzed. God of heaven, wake us up!”19

“God has not restrained the powers of darkness from carrying forward their deadly work of vitiating the air, one of the sources of life and nutrition, with a deadly miasma. Not only is vegetable life affected, but man suffers from pestilence. . . .

“These things are the result of drops from the vials of God’s wrath being sprinkled on the earth, and are but faint representations of what will be in the near future.”20

A moral plague

As of this writing, according to the Pew Research Center, there are 30 nations that perform marriages of individuals of the same sex, and 4 more countries recognize such marriages. Remember the pleading of Abraham in Genesis chapter 18 that God might spare the inhabitants of the wicked cities in his day.

“There is a strange abandonment of principle, a lowering of the standard of morality; the sins are fast increasing which caused the judgments of God to be poured upon the earth in the Flood and in the destruction of Sodom by fire. We are nearing the end. God has borne long with the perversity of mankind, but their punishment is no less certain. Let those who profess to be the light of the world depart from all iniquity.”21

The last sign that will announce the end of God’s grace

“[The second beast] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15).

“With unerring accuracy the Infinite One still keeps account with the nations. While His mercy is tendered, with calls to repentance, this account remains open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath begins. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. Mercy no longer pleads in their behalf.”22

“For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:5). When is this time?

“God keeps a record with the nations: the figures are swelling against them in the books of heaven; and when it shall have become a law that the transgression of the first day of the week shall be met with punishment, then their cup will be full.”23

The coming events are in the Lord’s hands

“The world is not without a ruler. The program of coming events is in the hands of the Lord. The Majesty of heaven has the destiny of nations, as well as the concerns of His church, in His own charge.”24

Conclusion

My beloved brethren, through the fulfillment of the signs, God has a purpose in allowing these calamities to occur. They are one of His means to call men and women to reflection and repentance.

As another year draws to a close, should not these judgments cause us, the people of God, to consider our ways?

“The end is near, probation is closing. Oh, let us seek God while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near! The prophet says: ‘Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger’ [Zephaniah 2:3].”25

It is our prayer that we may have a sincere experience of repentance and confession to our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

What are some current signs of the times?

1. A sign that Jesus will come again soon is the choice of the people of the world to seek pleasure instead of God.

“In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1–7). This passage describes the world of our time and its problems. People openly place pleasure above God and His claims.

They are always in search of “truth.” But when truth requires humility, recognition of God, a compassionate love for our “neighbors,” a respect for authority, and gratitude, then truth is ignored. Our world is fast sacrificing truth for what they experience as pleasure. In a supposed search of truth, they can never come to it.

2. A sign that Jesus will come again soon is the opportunity for the gospel to be preached in all the world as never before.

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

Recent changes in travel and communication provide the opportunity to spread the gospel in more of the world than ever before. Now is the time when the resources are available to fulfill this prophecy. Who will accept the challenge to cooperate with God to do what God said will be done?

3. A sign that Jesus will come again soon is the opposition to the message of the everlasting gospel as given by the three angels of Revelation.

First angel’s message: “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:7).

Lie used to oppose this message: God did not create this world and therefore worship should be made to humanity and glory given to the creature rather than the Creator.

Second angel’s message: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8).

Lie used to oppose this message: The world is not fallen, but rather progressing to the highest achievements and perceptions of truth.

Third angel’s message: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb” (Revelation 14:9, 10).

Lie used to oppose this message: God is so loving that He would not punish or destroy us.

These are indeed some current evidences of our Lord’s soon return!

References
1 Prophets and Kings, p. 536.
2 The Desire of Ages, p. 628.
3 Prophets and Kings, pp. 536, 537.
4 The Desire of Ages, p. 631.
5 The Great Controversy, p. 551.
6 (See The Great Controversy, pp. 304–308, 333, 334.)
8 Maranatha, p. 174.
9 Ibid., p. 185.
10 Ibid.
11 Education, p. 264.
12 Counsels on Health, pp. 460, 461.
13 The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1090.
14 Last Day Events, p. 23.
15 The Upward Look, p. 334.
16 Maranatha, p. 182.
17 The Upward Look, p. 340.
18 Testimonies to Ministers, p. 421.
19 Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 52.
20 Ibid., bk. 3, p. 391.
21 Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 601.
22 Prophets and Kings, p. 364.
23 The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 910.
24 Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 753.
25 Maranatha, p. 37.