Sunday, September 30, 2012

Largest Global Protestant Organization

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the largest, worldwide Protestant church with a single membership body that is united in doctrine and has a recognized, central leadership.

You can find a list of the world's largest religious bodies at There are a few larger Protestant churches such as the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) which are not global, and a couple of larger global Protestant churches that are not centrally governed, thus their status as a single religious body is debatable. The Anglican Communion and the Assemblies of God, for example, are composed of a number of somewhat independent and autonomous bodies.

The Adventist Church is listed among the "Largest Highly International Religious Bodies," and is the only Protestant Christian church in the list of "Most Ubiquitous Religious Bodies."

There are a few million more Seventh-day Adventists in the world than there are Jews.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Trumpet Interlude

Between the sounding of the sixth and seventh trumpets of Revelation, two stories are inserted. Like chapter 7's pause in the narrative of the seven seals, the story of the trumpets also contains an interlude. The trumpet interlude is Revelation 10:1 through 11:13. The two stories told in that break are the unsealing of the book of Daniel and the French Revolution. You can read my Revelation 10 commentary in The Patmos Papers. I haven't prepared the chapter 11 commentary yet.

It may be observed that the French Revolution actually happened before the unsealing of the book of Daniel, yet the order is reversed in Revelation 10 and 11. Why is that?

Both stories are about the advancement of God's Word. In order to emphasize this theme, an interesting literary device is employed that can be illustrated in a circular diagram:

A second reason for the reversed sequence is the placement of these stories in the overal literary structure of the book. You can view the complete chiasm structure of Revelation in The Patmos Papers. We find that chapters 10 and 11 are in a mirror relationship with chapters 13 and 14. Christ's work, begun in a cloud in Revelation 10:1, is brought to completion in a cloud in Revelation 14:14. And the two witnesses in chapter 11 are presented in contrast to the two beasts of chapter 13. This mirror pattern calls for the stories in chapters 10 and 11 to be told in this order.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Silence in Heaven

"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." Revelation 8:1.

In understanding this, we first of all need to rule out the application of the year-day principle in this case. We don't need to try to calculate this as prophetic time. The reason is that it happens after 1844. Revelation 10:6 indicates that after the experience described in Revelation 10, there would be "time no longer." What does "time no longer" mean?

"This time, which the angel declares with a solemn oath, is not the end of this world's history, neither of probationary time, but of prophetic time, which should precede the advent of our Lord." 7BC 971.

 " 'Time no longer' (Rev. 10:5, 6). This message announces the end of the prophetic periods." 2SM 108.

So there are no prophetic time prophecies after 1844. This means that the "half an hour" of Revelation 8:1, which takes place at the second coming of Jesus, is not prophetic time, but must be literal time. What, then, is it describing?

Sequentially, the opening of the seventh seal immediately follows the sixth. The events that unfold at the opening of the sixth seal are described in Revelation 6:12-17. Chapter 7 is parenthetical, a thematic interlude in the narrative. So in real time, chapter 8 verse 1 immediately follows chapter 6 verse 17. The silence in heaven (8:1) comes right after the question is asked, "Who shall be able to stand?" (6:17).

Fortunately, we have some inspired commentary on these verses. This passage is explained in both The Great Controversy and in Early Writings:

"Before His presence, 'all faces are turned into paleness;' upon the rejecters of God's mercy falls the terror of eternal despair. 'The heart melteth, and the knees smite together, . . . and the faces of them all gather blackness.' Jeremiah 30:6; Nahum 2:10. The righteous cry with trembling: 'Who shall be able to stand?' The angels' song is hushed, and there is a period of awful silence. Then the voice of Jesus is heard, saying: 'My grace is sufficient for you.' The faces of the righteous are lighted up, and joy fills every heart. And the angels strike a note higher and sing again as they draw still nearer to the earth." GC 641.

"Then all faces gathered paleness, and those that God had rejected gathered blackness. Then we all cried out, 'Who shall be able to stand? Is my robe spotless?' Then the angels ceased to sing, and there was some time of awful silence, when Jesus spoke: 'Those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall be able to stand; My grace is sufficient for you.' At this our faces lighted up, and joy filled every heart. And the angels struck a note higher and sang again, while the cloud drew still nearer the earth." EW 16.

Revelation 8:1 tells us that this period of silence and suspense will last about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Chronological is Revelation?

The first half of the book of Revelation contains three, roughly parallel lines of prophecy (churches, seals, trumpets), each of which spans the period of Christian history. The last half consists of a single line of prophecy covering the last days. Scattered throughout the book are brief, non-chronological, thematic interludes. But apart from those, each individual line of prophecy is basically chronological in itself.

Below are the main scenes in the second half of the book, with their corresponding chapters in parentheses. Notice the chronological flow:

Beast from the sea (13)
Beast from the earth (13)
Three angels' messages (14)
The harvest (14)
Seven last plagues (15, 16)
Fall of Babylon (17, 18)
Second coming of Jesus (19)
Thousand years (20)
New earth (21, 22)

For greater detail visit The Patmos Papers.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Seven Spirits

The book of Revelation mentions seven spirits near the throne of God. They are not on the throne, but they are "before the throne." In this position of subjection to God, they are at His service. This cannot describe the Holy Spirit. Besides, the Bible says there is only one divine Spirit (Ephesians 4:4), not seven.

The best way to understand this Biblical expression is, as always, to compare Scripture with Scripture. In other words, find other verses that give us more information about it. I've done that, and I'd like to share what I found. Click on the link that follows for a comparison of verses from which we can conclude quite certainly that these spirits are seven angels who stand before God.

The Seven Spirits

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lesser Light

The Bible indicates that one of the characteristics of God's church in the last days is the presence of the gift of prophecy (Joel 2:28; Revelation 12:17; 19:10). Seventh-day Adventists believe that gift was manifested in the 70-year ministry of Ellen G. White.

The idea of having a modern prophet causes us to think about the nature of the gift of prophecy. Would the gift of prophecy in a modern person be the same as was experienced by ancient prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah? I say that it would.

Prophecy is mentioned in all three major New Testament listings of spiritual gifts, Romans chapter 12, 1 Corinthians chapter 12, and Ephesians chapter 4. The gift is described in passages such as Numbers 12:6; 1 Peter 1:10, 11; 2 Peter 1:21; and Revelation 1:1, 2. Whether in the Old Testament or in the New, the gift of prophecy was the same. A prophet is one to whom God speaks directly through a heavenly vision or supernatural dream. The message received does not come from the prophet's own mind, but is transmitted to the prophet by heavenly beings. We call this process divine inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16). That's how the Bible, written by such prophets, is actually the word of God.

There is no such thing as a half-inspired prophet whose message is only partially from God. Either a person is a prophet inspired by God or he is not. If a modern prophet was not just as much inspired as the ancient prophets, he would not be a prophet at all. We can't invent some new form of prophecy that is different from the kind the Bible describes, for it would have no biblical basis.

Certainly all claims to the prophetic gift must be tested by the Bible (Isaiah 8:20; 1 Corinthians 14:32; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). A message from God to a modern prophet will not contradict His previously written word. But once proven to be of God, the message bears the same divine authority.

Some people have been led to believe that Ellen White claimed to have a "lesser" quality of inspiration than the Bible writers had. That opinion is based on an incorrect understanding of a statement she made about greater and lesser light. But a more careful reading of her statement clears up the matter nicely. Here it is:  Greater and Lesser Light

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Alternative to Dating

Dating has become a recreational activity for many people. They do it for fun, with no intentions of marriage. But such a loose approach is the exact opposite of the principles necessary for the eventual development of a Christian home.

Here's a piece I wrote when I was working at an educational institution in the late 1980's. Although written specifically with the high standards of a school in mind, the theory is applicable to anyone who wants to follow a safe course in finding a lifelong husband or wife.

Prepared Courtship

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Judgment

Most people don't want to think about the judgment. Maybe that's because they imagine themselves as a criminal on trial. In this study I talk about the difference between a criminal trial and a civil trial, and I show that the judgment is not a criminal case at all. In fact, the judgment is an essential process in God's efforts to save you!

Listen to the message  (41 min)

If you'd like to get the powerpoint slides for this message, click here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Faithful Souls and False Brethren

"From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth." Acts of the Apostles, p. 11.

Many earnest people have cited that statement to prove that God's true church consists entirely of such faithful souls. But is that what Inspiration really teaches? The Bible does not describe the church of the last days as free from corruption, but actually in rather disgusting terms.

A backsliding church is just what Satan wants. The world looks on and gloats that the religion of the Bible doesn't make people any better than without it. And many of the faithful are tempted to turn away from the organized body as no longer being God's church. "By bringing into the church those who bear Christ’s name while they deny His character, the wicked one causes that God shall be dishonored, the work of salvation misrepresented, and souls imperiled." Christ's Object Lessons, p. 71.

Click on this link for a brief Bible study showing how Scripture depicts the church of the last days:  The Condition of God's True Church Today

"Even in her best estate the church was not composed wholly of the true, pure, and sincere." The Story of Redemption, p. 323.

“How was it with the early church? Ananias and Sapphira joined themselves to the disciples. Simon Magus was baptized. Demas, who forsook Paul, had been counted a believer. Judas Iscariot was numbered with the apostles. The Redeemer does not want to lose one soul; His experience with Judas is recorded to show His long patience with perverse human nature; and He bids us bear with it as He has borne. He has said that false brethren will be found in the church till the close of time.” Christ's Object Lessons, p. 73.

"God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. . . . In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 80.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Church History Tour

In the spring of 2009 I had the privilege of taking the great controversy tour from Rome to Paris with Dr. Gerard Damsteegt. To receive academic credit, we also had to do some reading and write a reflection paper on what we learned in the whole experience.

I'm pleased to share that paper with you. Read it here

You can see pictures by clicking here.

I couldn't figure out how to put captions on the pictures, so here's a separate file of notations: Slide comments

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It Matters

Two trees in the midst of the garden
Grew in the very same way.
But it mattered which tree Eve partook of,
And the difference is still felt today.

It mattered which type of an offering
Was brought by Abel and Cain.
The Lord had respect unto Abel's,
But Cain's substitute wasn't the same.

It mattered to Nadab and Abihu
which fire they offered with sin.
“Isn't one fire as good as another?”
They tragically reasoned within.

David well knew God's instructions
How the sacred ark should be moved,
But ignored the crucial specifics
As the death of Uzzah proved.

“Why must I dip in the Jordan?”
Naaman asked in a huff.
“Aren't the rivers of Damascus far better?”
No, Naaman, they're not good enough.
“And why must I dip seven times?
Won't dip number one do the trick?”
Had Naaman ignored the specifics,
He'd have returned to his home still sick.

When God gives specific instructions
For a task that we're to do,
He intends for us to perform it
The way He has asked us to.

When He tells us we are to do it
In a certain particular way,
He doesn't intend us to change it
To suit what others might say.

He often specifies details
Extremely important to Him,
That people regard far too lightly
And make alterations at whim.

There's a purpose for each of God's precepts,
The “why” we may never have heard.
And we, though we may not discern it,
Are safe only in following each word.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Christ In You

"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 13:14

"Until Christ be formed in you." Galatians 4:19

"Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27

"Christ liveth in me." Galatians 2:20

"We are made partakers of Christ." Hebrews 3:14

"And of his fulness have all we received." John 1:16

"That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians 3:19

"Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Ephesians 4:13

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Galatians 3:27

"That we might live through him." 1 John 4:9

"For to me to live is Christ." Philippians 1:21

"Abide in me, and I in you." John 15:4

"And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." 1 John 3:24

"God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts." Galatians 4:6

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Romans 8:9

"As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and thou in me." John 17:21-23

"Hereby we know that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." 1 John 4:13

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world canot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:17

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." John 14:18

"Because I live, ye shall live also." John 14:19

"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." John 14:20

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Daniel Arranged Chronologically

A couple of months ago I published an electronic book for the iPad that enables you to study the book of Daniel chronologically by kingdom. So all the prophecies in Daniel that relate to Medo-Persia, for example, are brought together. And all the prophecies that relate to Grecia are grouped together. This makes a great outline for the study of history. And by comparing what each chapter says about the same kingdom, we get a broader picture of the Bible's overall emphasis in regard to that kingdom.

I know of academies that have gone textbook free and are teaching all their classes on iPads. This would be a great resource for a school like that in teaching history and Bible prophecy together. This would also be a useful tool in conducting a Daniel seminar for the public. But anyone interested in better understanding the book of Daniel will find new insights here.

The electronic book is entitled, God Rules! The History of Daniel.

See the iTunes Preview

Friday, September 14, 2012

How To Be Saved

Jesus Christ

Matthew 1:21
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins."

1 Corinthians 15:3
"Christ died for our sins."

1 Peter 2:24
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."


1 John 3:4
"Sin is the transgression of the law."

John 8:34
"Whosever committeth sin is the servant of sin."

Matthew 6:24
"No man can serve two masters."

Romans 6:16
"His servants ye are to whom ye obey."

The ACT of Conversion

Jeremiah 3:13
"Acknowledge thine iniquity."

Joshua 24:15
"Choose you this day whom ye will serve."

Isaiah 56:4
"Take hold of my covenant"

A Personal Covenant with God

Exodus 32:29
"Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord."

James 1:21
"And receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."

How to Receive the Engrafted Word

Ask for it in prayer (Matthew 7:7, 8)
Acquire it through the Scriptures (Mark 4:20; 1 Peter 1:23)
Accept it by faith in Jesus (1 John 5:11-15)
Assimilate it into your life (Colossians 3:16, 17)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Satan's Character Not Discerned

"I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Luke 10:18.

"The scenes of the past and the future were presented to the mind of Jesus. He beheld Lucifer as he was first cast out from the heavenly places. He looked forward to the scenes of His own agony, when before all the worlds the character of the deceiver would be unveiled." The Desire of Ages, p. 490. (Emphasis supplied)

From the time of Satan's rebellion in heaven, the problem was not so much a misunderstanding of God's character, as it was of Satan's character.

"Not until the death of Christ was the character of Satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds. The archapostate had so clothed himself with deception that even holy beings had not understood his principles. They had not clearly seen the nature of his rebellion." The Desire of Ages, p. 758.

"Satan is a deceiver. When he sinned in heaven, even the loyal angels did not fully discern his character. This was why God did not at once destroy Satan. Had He done so, the holy angels would not have perceived the justice and love of God. A doubt of God's goodness would have been as evil seed that would yield the bitter fruit of sin and woe. Therefore the author of evil was spared, fully to develop his character. Through long ages God has borne the anguish of beholding the work of evil, He has given the infinite Gift of Calvary, rather than leave any to be deceived by the misrepresentations of the wicked one." Christ's Object Lessons, p. 72. (Emphasis supplied)

If God had acted differently, His own character would have been misunderstood. But rather than leaving any to be deceived, God gave His Son to die for us. It was not God's, but Satan's character that was not perceived by the angels. Nor is it discerned by those who follow him today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Marriage and Divorce

What is it exactly that makes a man and woman married? Does divorce automatically free you from your commitment to your spouse? Take a look at this:

Marriage and Divorce from God's Perspective

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More on the Great Controversy

Last week I posted two entries on the subject of the great controversy. Today I'd like to recommend an article by Jack Blanco that was published eight years ago in the Adventist Review on this subject. I'm always encouraged to find other writers who see it as I do. Here's the link:

The (Abbreviated) Great Controversy

Monday, September 10, 2012

What God Promises You

  • Renewal    2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Rest    Matthew 11:28-30
  • Acceptance    Romans 8:1
  • Peace of mind    Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 119:165
  • Peace with God    Romans 5:1
  • Companionship    Matthew 28:20
  • Comfort    Psalm 23:4; 2 Corinthians 1:4
  • Protection    Psalm 121:7, 8
  • Guidance    Psalm 34:8
  • Insight    Psalm 119:99
  • A reason to live    2 Corinthians 5:15
  • Personal value    Isaiah 13:12
  • Confidence for the future    Philippians 1:6
  • Forgiveness and cleansing    Isaiah 1:18
  • Assurance of eternal life    1 John 5:11-13
  • Supportive help    Isaiah 41:10; 2 Peter 1:4
  • Deliverance from your sins    Matthew 1:21
  • Ability to keep you from falling    Jude 24
  • Strength for every trial    1 Corinthians 10:13
  • Fulness of joy and pleasures    Psalm 16:11
  • Everything you need    Philippians 4:19
  • Beyond your highest dreams    Ephesians 3:20

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6, 7

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Daniel 11:45 and the Middle East Crisis

On February 12, 2011, the day after Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigned in the midst of the Arab uprisings, I gave a presentation on the Middle East in Prophecy, based on Daniel 11:40-45.

Watch my presentation on YouTube

Daniel chapter 11 is not a symbolic vision such as we find in chapters 2, 7, and 8. Chapter 11 is more like the explanatory verses that follow the vision in those earlier chapters. Below I have listed 12 reasons why the popular figurative interpretations of Daniel 11:40-45 don't work.

1. Symbolism and figurative language are not consistent with the nature of the chapter. Daniel 11 is not an encoded prophecy but an explanation in plain language.

2. We have inspired endorsement of William Miller's principles of prophetic interpretation. One of those principles is that scripture should be understood literally except when a literal interpretation doesn't work. Since a literal interpretation of Daniel 11 does work, we have no legitimate reason to interpret it figuratively.

3. The assumption that pagan Rome was the king of the north, when in fact it was never given that title in scripture, is problematic. Rome is presented, not as the king of the north, but as "he that cometh against him" (v. 16).

4. The lack of evidence that words such as "king," "north" and "ships" are figurative, and the lack of Biblical keys for interpreting them figuratively, suggest that these words are to be taken literally.

5. We have no inspired statement that an ism was ever the king of the south. Revolutionary France was spiritually called "Egypt" in Revelation 11 because it demonstrated certain characteristics of Egypt. But Daniel 11 says nothing about anything being spiritually called Egypt.

6. The papacy in 1798 was wounded by neither literal nor spiritual Egypt. The prophetic period assigned to the beast from the bottomless pit was three and a half years. "It was in 1793 that the decrees which abolished the Christian religion and set aside the Bible passed the French Assembly. Three years and a half later a resolution rescinding these decrees, thus granting toleration to the Scriptures, was adopted by the same body" (GC 287). According to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, the characteristics of France that qualified it to spiritually be called "Egypt" ceased to characterize it at the end of the three and a half years. Otherwise, the prophecy would have failed.

7. Babylon is never called the king of the north in Daniel 11 or elsewhere. Babylon is not even mentioned in Daniel 11, so there is no hook on which to hang a spiritual interpretation of Babylon in the chapter.

8. The attempt to associate the king of the north with literal Babylon lacks textual support. Babylon as a capital had been abandoned by the Seleucid kings before the first king of the north appeared in Daniel 11:6. Seleucus I, the only ruler of the dynasty ever to rule from Babylon, is never called the king of the north.

9. Neither God nor Jesus nor Satan are ever referred to in Scripture as "King of the North."

10. Neither Medo-Persia nor Greece are ever called the king of the north in Daniel 11 or elsewhere.

11. According to Daniel 12:1 probation closes at the time that the king of the north comes to his end. But from other prophecies we know that neither the papacy nor Western Christianity will come to an end until after probation closes.

12. Any interpretation of Daniel 11 that involves 20th-century world developments invalidates the inspired statements that Christ could have come in the 1800s. How could Jesus have come before all of Daniel 11 was fulfilled? In order for the inspired statements to be correct, the whole chapter would have had to be fulfilled in the 1800s. And according to the pioneer view, it was, except the last verse, which they proclaimed as imminent.

The main objection I have heard to this literal geographical reading of Daniel 11 is this:  How can you introduce into Daniel 11 a kingdom that isn't found in chapters 2, 7, and 8?  My answer is simple:  Daniel 11 isn't about kingdoms. It's about the kings and rulers of territories. All of the individual kings of the north and south are exclusive to chapter 11. No new territories are introduced in Daniel 11 that aren't found in the earlier chapters.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Great Controversy in the Gospel of Mark

Mark's account of the life of Jesus presents the great controversy as the clash of two kingdoms. Throughout the book the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14, 15) and the authority of Christ (Mark 1:22, 27) are emphasized. To Mark, Jesus faces one conflict after another and meets each confrontation successfully. More than once is the Sabbath a point of contention, because it is the sign of Christ's authority. Mark describes the development of Christ's kingdom, the appointment of leadership, and the parables Jesus told as to the nature of His kingdom. From the book's opening assertion (1:1) to the final acknowledgment by His executioner (15:39), Jesus' authority as the Son of God is declared. The preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, initiated by Jesus in chapter one, is commissioned to all His disciples in chapter 16. View the detailed outline

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eight Essentials for the Christian

Personal spirituality does not flourish automatically. It must be nurtured. The Bible prescribes several specific "care and feeding" requirements, without which one's Christian experience simply cannot survive. The items listed in this study have been selected because of their impact upon the vitality of spiritual life. For a vibrant Christianity, each one is essential. See the 8 Essentials

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Free iPhone App

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you'll want to get Faith Points, my free Bible study app. With questions and Bible answers on thirty-one points of faith, it will give you a month of daily Bible readings.

Go to iTunes Preview

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Great Controversy Issue

The plan of salvation is set in the context of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. The gospel must address the fundamental issues in that conflict, whatever they happen to be. So if, as many suppose, the great controversy is fundamentally a dispute over the character of God, then the plan of redemption is merely a campaign to convince people that God is love. In that model, the judgment gets turned upside down, so that instead of us being judged, God is the one who is on trial. This is all just as Satan would have it. Introducing pseudo issues is part of his strategy.

In a political campaign, contending candidates often resort to attacking their opponent’s character. But multi-billion dollar political races are not held merely to evaluate the characters of those who enter. The politicians’ real object is to win the election and take the office.

The real great controversy issues are that Satan has rebelled against God’s government, he disputes Christ’s authority, and he wants to win the allegiance of all created beings to himself.  Read more . . .

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Harvest

In my last post I pointed out that Bible prophecy focuses on the making up of Christ's kingdom, which takes place before Jesus comes back to earth. The making up of His kingdom was also the focus of Jesus' parables. He sought to turn His hearers' thoughts "from the hope of a worldly kingdom to the work of God's grace in the soul." COL 62. "For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:21. His kingdom is made up as His people experience the work of the gospel in their lives. That work will culminate in a final harvest — Christ's character fully reproduced in His people. This is the establishment of His kingdom to which all prophecy points.

"Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church." COL 69.

"For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations." Isaiah 61:11.

"And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." Mark 4:26-28.

"The divine Husbandman looks for a harvest as the reward of His labor and sacrifice. Christ is seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts of men…. The object of the Christian life is fruit bearing  the reproduction of Christ's character in the believer, that it may be reproduced in others." COL 67.

"But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." Mark 4:29.

"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man [compare Daniel 7:13, 14], having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe." Revelation 14:14, 15. This harvest marks the close of human probation.

"The harvest is the end of probationary time." COL 72. "When the work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation between the good and the evil, and the destiny of each class is forever fixed." COL 123.