1. EVERYONE MUST KNOW
a. What important commission did Jesus give to His disciples? Acts 1:8.
“Before ascending to heaven, Christ gave His disciples their commission. He told them that they were to be the executors of the will in which He bequeathed to the world the treasures of eternal life. . . .
“They were not to wait for the people to come to them; they were to go to the people with their message.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 27, 28.
b. What must take place before the end of the world? Matthew 24:14.
“It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69.
2. PROPHECIES OF DESTRUCTION
a. Why is Jesus’ coming delayed, and what is in store for this earth, as we know it? 2 Peter 3:7–10.
b. Describe the prophecies of destruction in the dramatic climax of this earth’s history. Isaiah 13:6–9; 34:1–5; Revelation 6:14–17; 11:18.
“God permits the wicked to prosper and to reveal their enmity against Him, that when they shall have filled up the measure of their iniquity all may see His justice and mercy in their utter destruction. The day of His vengeance hastens, when all who have transgressed His law and oppressed His people will meet the just recompense of their deeds; when every act of cruelty or injustice toward God’s faithful ones will be punished as though done to Christ Himself.”—The Great Controversy, p. 48.
c. How does this parallel the Flood in the days of Noah? Genesis 6:13, 17; 7:23; Matthew 24:37–41.
“The Bible declares that in the last days men will be absorbed in worldly pursuits, in pleasure and money-getting. They will be blind to eternal realities. . . .
“Men are rushing on in the chase for gain and selfish indulgence as if there were no God, no heaven, and no hereafter. In Noah’s day the warning of the flood was sent to startle men in their wickedness and call them to repentance. So the message of Christ’s soon coming is designed to arouse men from their absorption in worldly things. It is intended to awaken them to a sense of eternal realities, that they may give heed to the invitation to the Lord’s table.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 228.
“Before the Flood God sent Noah to warn the world, that the people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened destruction. As the time of Christ’s second appearing draws near, the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in transgression of God’s law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 102.
3. THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES
a. How does Revelation describe the actual carrying out of God’s judgments on the earth? Revelation 15:7; 16:1–21.
“I saw that [God’s] anger was dreadful and terrible, and if He should stretch forth His hand, or lift it in anger, the inhabitants of the world would be as though they had never been, or would suffer from incurable sores and withering plagues that would come upon them, and they would find no deliverance, but be destroyed by them. . . . Then I realized, as never before, the importance of searching the Word of God carefully, to know how to escape the plagues which that Word declares shall come on all the ungodly.”—Early Writings, pp. 64, 65.
“Our own course of action will determine whether we shall receive the seal of the living God or be cut down by the destroying weapons. Already a few drops of God’s wrath have fallen upon the earth; but when the seven last plagues shall be poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation, then it will be forever too late to repent and find shelter. No atoning blood will then wash away the stains of sin.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 212.
b. Describe the scene when the destruction of the rest of the living is finished. Revelation 19:17–19.
“My attention was again directed to the earth. . . . After the saints had been delivered by the voice of God, the wicked multitude turned their rage upon one another. The earth seemed to be deluged with blood, and dead bodies were from one end of it to the other.
“The earth looked like a desolate wilderness. Cities and villages, shaken down by the earthquake, lay in heaps. Mountains had been moved out of their places, leaving large caverns. Ragged rocks, thrown out by the sea, or torn out of the earth itself, were scattered all over its surface. Large trees had been uprooted and were strewn over the land.”—Early Writings, pp. 289, 290.
c. At the culmination of the destruction of the earth, what is the last event? Malachi 4:1–3; 2 Peter 3:10.
4. A THREEFOLD MESSAGE
a. How are the judgment and the fall of spiritual Babylon described by the first and second angels of Revelation 14? Revelation 14:6–8.
“In the prophecy this warning of the judgment, with its connected messages, is followed by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. The proclamation of the judgment is an announcement of Christ’s second coming as at hand. And this proclamation is called the everlasting gospel. Thus the preaching of Christ’s second coming, the announcement of its nearness, is shown to be an essential part of the gospel message.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 227, 228.
b. How does the third angel present the final warning before the seven last plagues? Revelation 14:9–12.
“The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel’s message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. Men are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the visitation of God’s judgments, that all may know why they are to be inflicted and have opportunity to escape them.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 449, 450.
c. Who is represented by these “angels” (messengers) that “preach” the everlasting gospel to the people of the earth? Mark 16:15.
“The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people who accept the light of God’s messages and go forth as His agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of the earth. Christ declares to His followers: ‘Ye are the light of the world’ (Matthew 5:14). To every soul that accepts Jesus the cross of Calvary speaks: ‘Behold the worth of the soul: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Nothing is to be permitted to hinder this work. It is the all-important work for time; it is to be far-reaching as eternity. The love that Jesus manifested for the souls of men in the sacrifice which He made for their redemption will actuate all His followers.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 455, 456.
5. THE FINAL CALL
a. Just prior to the plagues, what special call is repeated to God’s faithful who are not yet united with the remnant church? Revelation 18:1–5.
“Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. . . .
“Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call.”—The Great Controversy, p. 390.
b. In order for the earth to be “lightened with his glory,” what characteristics must the angel (messenger) exhibit? Isaiah 52:7, 8; Matthew 5:16; Colossians 1:27.
c. What action plan does the apostle present to us in view of these realities? 1 Thessalonians 5:4–6.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is the urgent task which the Lord has left in our hands?
2. How do the condition and the destiny of earth today parallel those of Noah’s time?
3. Describe how God will bring this present world to an end.
4. What warning is to be given before the complete destruction of the earth?
5. How can we be sure to be on God’s side in the times ahead?