1. A GROANING PLANET
a. What is the condition of the whole earth as a result of sin? Romans 8:22.
“The sin of man has brought the sure result,—decay, deformity, and death. Today the whole world is tainted, corrupted, stricken with mortal disease. The earth groaneth under the continual transgression of the inhabitants thereof.
“The Lord’s curse is upon the earth, upon man, upon beast, upon the fish in the sea, and as transgression becomes almost universal the curse will be permitted to become as broad and as deep as the transgression.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1085.
“As the ‘whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together’ (Romans 8:26, 22), the heart of the infinite Father is pained in sympathy. 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.”—Education, pp. 263, 264.
2. THE PLANNED RESTORATION
a. What is God’s plan regarding the earth? Revelation 21:5; Isaiah 65:17.
“The earth promised to the meek will not be like this, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. . . .‘There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.’ . . . Revelation 22:3.
“There is no disappointment, no sorrow, no sin, no one who shall say, I am sick; there are no burial trains, no mourning, no death, no partings, no broken hearts; but Jesus is there, peace is there. There ‘they shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.’ Isaiah 49:10.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 17, 18.
b. How should we respond to God’s plans for the future? What is said about those who dwell there? 2 Peter 3:13.
“There will soon be a new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. The Lord has instructed me that our physical and mental and moral powers will, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, be trained to carry on the work in all purity, in all goodness, without one thread of Satan’s science brought in to spoil the pattern Christ has given us. The powers and faculties that have been sanctified in righteousness will be employed, strengthened, and prepared to do the works of Heaven’s appointment.”—The Upward Look, p. 97.
“As a people are we sufficiently considering this warning? If we neglect to take heed, if we regard the warning with indifference, if we allow earthly, temporal things to take our attention, and we lose our realization of the essential character of prayer, we shall be found among those who are not accounted worthy to escape. The righteousness of Christ should be our first consideration. The service of God should be our first business.”—The Signs of the Times, December 5, 1895.
c. What further blessings will God bestow upon the faithful? Isaiah 65:21, 22, 25.
3. DESTRUCTION OF THE OLD
a. Before God can make things new, what must first happen to the old? 2 Peter 3:10; Isaiah 51:6.
b. What means will God use to destroy the world? 2 Peter 3:6, 7. Who will perish in this destruction? Luke 3:17.
“The feet of the wicked will never desecrate the earth made new. Fire will come down from God out of heaven and devour them—burn them up root and branch. Satan is the root, and his children are the branches.
“The same fire from God that consumed the wicked purified the whole earth. The broken, ragged mountains melted with fervent heat, the atmosphere also, and all the stubble was consumed. Then our inheritance opened before us, glorious and beautiful, and we inherited the whole earth made new.”—Maranatha, p. 351.
c. How should this knowledge of God’s plans of destruction affect our daily life? 2 Peter 3:11, 12, 14.
“There are attractions on every hand to draw the mind away from the contemplation of the coming of our Lord and Saviour; but it is absolutely necessary to bear in remembrance that ‘the great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly.’ The God of Heaven has multiplied warnings, entreaties, and instructions, that we may be prepared to stand in the time of the overwhelming destruction. We are not left in darkness. Those who meditate and act upon the instructions that God has given will cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit. They will keep in mind the command to ‘be diligent,’ to be holy in all their conversation and life. . . .
“We are approaching the time when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and we must make haste to depart from all iniquity, that our calling and election may be made sure. We are looking for new heavens and a new earth wherein the righteous shall dwell throughout eternity.”—The Signs of the Times, February 10, 1888.
4. ENTERING INTO GOD’S PAVILION
a. How will the righteous be protected during the time when God begins to pour out His judgments upon the earth? Psalm 27:5; 91:4; Isaiah 26:20.
“There are troublous times before us; the judgments of God are coming upon our world. The nations of the earth are to tremble. There will be trials and perplexities on every hand; men’s hearts will fail them for fear. And what shall we do in that day? Though the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and be removed like a cottage, if we have made God our trust, He will deliver us.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 354.
“The eye of God, looking down the ages, was fixed upon the crisis which His people are to meet, when earthly powers shall be arrayed against them. Like the captive exile, they will be in fear of death by starvation or by violence. But the Holy One who divided the Red Sea before Israel, will manifest His mighty power and turn their captivity. ‘They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.’ Malachi 3:17.”—The Great Controversy, p. 634.
“Before the Son of man appears in the clouds of heaven, everything in nature will be convulsed. Lightning from heaven uniting with the fire in the earth, will cause the mountains to burn like a furnace, and pour out their floods of lava over villages and cities. Molten masses of rock, thrown into the water by the upheaval of things hidden in the earth, will cause the water to boil and send forth rocks and earth. There will be mighty earthquakes and great destruction of human life. But as in the days of the great Deluge Noah was preserved in the ark that God had prepared for him, so in these days of destruction and calamity, God will be the refuge of His believing ones . . . [Psalms 91:9, 10; 27:5 quoted].”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 946.
b. What attributes of God can give us assurance for that time? 1 Timothy 1:17.
c. How do we know that God will always be ready to help His followers? Psalm 121:4–8.
5. OUR REFUGE TODAY
a. Which promises show God to be a refuge for us today? Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 9:9.
“In the Psalms David speaks of God’s being a refuge and a strong tower, a refuge and a fortress; unto Him we can run and we can be saved. How precious is the thought that God is our refuge and that He will be our helper in all times and in all places, and that in every emergency we have God with us. He says that He will give His angels charge over us to keep us in all our ways.”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, pp. 58, 59.
b. How can we have confidence in God? Psalms 62:7, 8; 46:1–3; 57:1.
“No one need despond who commits his soul to Jesus. We have an all-powerful Saviour.”—The Upward Look, p. 321.
“True prayer engages the energies of the soul and affects the life. He who thus pours out his wants before God feels the emptiness of everything else under heaven. . . .
“Your prayers may rise with an importunity that will not accept denial. That is faith.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 73.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What has God done to end the misery of sin on this earth? How can I do my part?
2. What will the new earth be like? What about its inhabitants?
3. What dual purpose does the fire have upon this old world?
4. As everything in nature is turned out of its course before Jesus’ second coming, what will happen to God’s people?
5. In what situations will God be a refuge and help to His people?