The subject of the second coming of Christ—which is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible, has been the blessed hope of the church in all ages. It is the keynote of the last message—the present truth—to be given to the world.
“An understanding of the hope of Christ’s second coming is the key that unlocks all the history that follows and explains all the future lessons.”—Evangelism, p. 220.
As a people who profess to be anxiously waiting for the coming of Christ, we should be watching every sign pointing to this event. This will be the greatest event in the history of the world. Although we are not to attempt to set a date for our Lord’s return, we are told that, by watching the signs given by the prophets, the apostles, and by Christ Himself (especially in Matthew 24), we should know that the second coming of Christ is very near—today it is even at the door.
According to the apostle Peter, we are not only to look for, but also to “hasten” the coming of the Lord (2 Peter 3:12). We can actually “hasten” His coming by being prepared to meet Him (Luke 12:36–38; Acts 3:19, 20; 2 Peter 3:14) and by doing the work that He has entrusted to us (Luke 19:12, 13, 15; 14:23; Matthew 24:14). If we neglect to do so, we will be held responsible for “delaying” the coming of the Lord. While we are studying these lessons, all Sabbath School students will have a good opportunity to examine themselves individually in the light of these questions: By my life, have I been “hastening” or “delaying” the coming of the Lord? If I have good reasons to believe that I have been “delaying” His coming, how can I make a U-turn in my life and start doing, wholeheartedly, what the Lord wants me to do? Clear answers to these questions will be found in these lessons.
It is not enough for us to believe in the soon coming of Christ, to know everything written about it, and to preach it to others. There are very many professed believers in the threefold message who are “in the broad way” while professing to be “traveling the narrow way.” They are deceiving themselves and others. Their inconsistency leads sinners to harden their hearts with the excuse: “ ‘There is no distinction between us. We are alike; we dress, and talk, and act alike’ ” (Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 128). Such will be “weighed in the balance and found wanting” (Early Writings, p. 37). The present lessons show us how we can avoid this type of spiritual shipwreck.
May the study of these lessons lead each of us to deeper consecration as we come closer to Christ and closer to one another. Let us all unite in making intercession for the revelation of the Holy Spirit, for the closing of the work, so that we may be prepared in eager expectation as were the true people of God in 1844.
The General Conference Sabbath School Department