1. ANIMATED BY GOD’S PROMISES
a. Very early in history, what was the seventh patriarch from Adam shown in vision—and how did it motivate him in a powerful way? Jude 14, 15.
“By the spirit of prophecy [God] carried [Enoch] down through the generations that should live after the Flood and showed him the great events connected with the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. . . .
“In prophetic vision he was instructed concerning the death of Christ and was shown His coming in glory, attended by all the holy angels, to ransom His people from the grave. He also saw the corrupt state of the world when Christ should appear the second time—that there would be a boastful, presumptuous, self-willed generation, denying the only God and the Lord Jesus Christ, trampling upon the law, and despising the atonement. He saw the righteous crowned with glory and honor, and the wicked banished from the presence of the Lord, and destroyed by fire.
“Enoch became a preacher of righteousness, making known to the people what God had revealed to him.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 85, 86.
2. JOYOUS CONFIDENCE
a. Describe the way God’s people in Old-Testament times expressed their hope in Christ’s second coming. Psalms 50:1–4; 96:11–13.
“The coming of Christ to usher in the reign of righteousness has inspired the most sublime and impassioned utterances of the sacred writers. The poets and prophets of the Bible have dwelt upon it in words glowing with celestial fire.”—The Great Controversy, p. 300.
b. With what exalted language did the prophet Habakkuk describe Jesus’ return? Habakkuk 3:3–6.
c. What comforting, encouraging promise is repeated to New Testament believers, and how should this influence us in a mighty way? Acts 1:10, 11.
“The Saviour’s parting promise upon Olivet, that He would come again, lighted up the future for His disciples, filling their hearts with joy and hope that sorrow could not quench nor trials dim.”—Ibid., p. 302.
“[Acts 1:11 quoted.] Precious, indeed, was this promise to those sorrowing disciples, that they should again see Jesus who was greatly beloved by them all. Precious also is this promise to every true follower of Christ. None who truly love Jesus will be sorry that He is coming again. And as they approach nearer to the coming of the Son of man, the true lovers of Jesus will look forward with joyous hope and will seek to get all ready to behold Him whom their souls loveth, who died to redeem them.
“Jesus is coming! But not to listen to the woes of mankind, and to hear the guilty sinner confess his sins, and to speak pardon to him; for everyone’s case will then be decided for life or death. Those who have lived in sin will remain sinners forever. Those who have confessed their sins to Jesus in the sanctuary, have made Him their friend and have loved His appearing, will have pardon written for all their sins, and they, having purified their souls ‘in obeying the truth,’ will remain pure and holy forever.”—The Youth’s Instructor, April 1, 1854.
3. WORTHY OF OUR SERIOUS PREPARATION
a. How can we gain courage from the hope expressed by Paul? Titus 2:11–13.
“We are pilgrims and strangers who are waiting, hoping, and praying for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. If we believe this and bring it into our practical life, what vigorous action would this faith and hope inspire; what fervent love one for another; what careful holy living for the glory of God; and in our respect for the recompense of the reward, what distinct lines of demarcation would be evidenced between us and the world.”—Evangelism, p. 220.
“God designs that His people shall fix their eyes heavenward, looking for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. While the attention of worldlings is turned to various enterprises, ours should be to the heavens; our faith should reach further and further into the glorious mysteries of the heavenly treasure, drawing the precious, divine rays of light from the heavenly sanctuary to shine in our hearts, as they shine upon the face of Jesus. . . .
“The desire of our Lord is that we should be watching, so that when He cometh and knocketh we may open to Him immediately.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 194, 195.
b. How will Jesus appear to those who are eagerly awaiting His return? Hebrews 9:28 (last part).
“Christ, at the close of His work as mediator, will appear ‘without sin unto salvation’ (Hebrews 9:28), to bless His waiting people with eternal life.”—The Great Controversy, p. 485.
“Jesus is coming as He ascended into heaven, only with additional splendor. He is coming with the glory of His Father, and all the holy angels with Him, to escort Him on His way. Instead of the cruel crown of thorns to pierce His holy temples, a crown of dazzling glory will deck His sacred brow. He will not then appear, the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; but His countenance will shine brighter than the noonday sun. He will not wear a plain seamless coat but a garment whiter than snow—of dazzling brightness.”—The Youth’s Instructor, April 1, 1854.
4. LONGING FOR HIS RETURN
a. What message in Luther’s sermons resonated with the teaching of Paul with regard to the final-judgment hour? Hebrews 9:27.
“Luther declared: ‘I persuade myself verily, that the day of judgment will not be absent full three hundred years. God will not, cannot, suffer this wicked world much longer.’ ‘The great day is drawing near in which the kingdom of abominations shall be overthrown.’ ”—The Great Controversy, p. 303.
b. What conviction did other Reformers have, and what is likewise to be our main priority today? Revelation 16:15.
“ ‘This aged world is not far from its end,’ said Melanchthon. Calvin bids Christians ‘not to hesitate, ardently desiring the day of Christ’s coming as of all events most auspicious’; and declares that ‘the whole family of the faithful will keep in view that day.’ ‘We must hunger after Christ, we must seek, contemplate,’ he says, ‘till the dawning of that great day, when our Lord will fully manifest the glory of His kingdom.’
“ ‘Has not the Lord Jesus carried up our flesh into heaven?’ said Knox, the Scotch Reformer, ‘and shall He not return? We know that He shall return, and that with expedition.’ Ridley and Latimer, who laid down their lives for the truth, looked in faith for the Lord’s coming. Ridley wrote: ‘The world without doubt—this I do believe, and therefore I say it—draws to an end. Let us with John, the servant of God, cry in our hearts unto our Saviour Christ, Come, Lord Jesus, come.’ ”—Ibid.
“The return of Christ to our world will not be long delayed. Let this be the keynote of every message.
“The blessed hope of the second appearing of Christ, with its solemn realities, needs to be often presented to the people. Looking for the soon appearing of our Lord will lead us to regard earthly things as emptiness and nothingness. . . .
“It cannot now be said by the Lord’s servants, as it was by the prophet Daniel: ‘The time appointed was long’ (Daniel 10:1). It is now but a short time till the witnesses for God will have done their work in preparing the way of the Lord.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 406.
5. ACTIVELY WAITING FOR THE DAY OF PROMISE
a. Explain the responsibility of all who are serious about meeting the Master in peace when He returns. Amos 4:12 (last part); Zephaniah 2:3.
“Christ says, ‘I know thy works’ (Revelation 2:2). He knows whether you are living a life of perfection and if you love to talk and think of Him, and whether it is your joy to praise Him. Do we expect to get to heaven at last and join the heavenly choir? Just as we go into the grave we will come up as far as the character is concerned. . . . Now is the time for washing and ironing. It is the time to wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“When the lawyer came to Christ and asked, ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ the answer was, ‘Keep the commandments.’ Here a positive question is asked by the lawyer, and he receives an answer just as positive.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, p. 262.
b. What will be the deep sentiment of all who wholeheartedly embrace Christ’s promise that He will come back soon? Revelation 22:20.
“I want to honor Him that sitteth on the throne. I want my voice to echo and re-echo through the courts of heaven. Will you be there? Then you must educate your voice to praise Him on earth, and then you can join the heavenly choir and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. God help us, and fill us with all fullness and power, and then we can taste of the joys of the world to come.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 128.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What should I consider about the depth of my longing for Jesus’ return?
2. Why are the promises concerning Jesus’ return to provide us strength?
3. Why is it important to cultivate a real desire to share this truth with others?
4. How did the 16th century Reformers inspire faith in Christ’s return?
5. We are saved by faith, so what reveals genuine commitment in our faith?