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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON FIFTY-ONE The Signs of the Second Advent

    1. Christ declared that there would be signs of his coming both in the heavens and upon the earth. Luke 21:25-27.TDOC 140.1

    2. He stated the time when these signs would appear. Matthew 24:29, 30.TDOC 140.2

    3. A general apostasy in the religious world constitutes a sign of the last days. 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Luke 18:7, 8.TDOC 140.3

    4. The strained relations between capital and labor are indications of the last days. James 5:1-5, ARV.TDOC 140.4

    5. A most definite sign of the end is the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom to all the world. Matthew 24:14; Revelation 14:6-14.TDOC 140.5

    The signs fulfilled

    “Prophecy not only foretells the manner and object of Christ’s coming, but presents tokens by which men are to know when it is near. Said Jesus: ‘There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.’ ‘The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in, heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.’ The revelator thus describes the first of the signs to precede the Second Advent: ‘There was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.’ These signs were witnessed before the opening of the nineteenth century. In fulfillment of this prophecy there occurred, in the year 1755, the most terrible earthquake that has ever been recorded. Though commonly known as the earthquake of Lisbon, it extended to the greater part of Europe, Africa, and America. It was felt in Greenland, in the West Indies, in the island of Madeira, in Norway and Sweden, Great Britain and Ireland. It pervaded an extent of not less than four million square miles. In Africa the shook was almost as severe as in Europe.”-The Great Controversy, 304.TDOC 140.6

    “Twenty-five years later appeared the next sign mentioned in the prophecy, the darkening of the sun and moon. What rendered this more striking was the fact that the time of its fulfillment had been definitely pointed out.”-Id., 306.TDOC 141.1

    “May 19, 1780, stands in history as ‘The Dark Day.’ Since the time of Moses, no period of darkness of equal density, extent, and duration, has ever been recorded. The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfillment: ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.”-Id., 308.TDOC 141.2

    “Said Jesus: ‘The stars shall fall from heaven’ and John in the Revelation declared, as he behold in vision the scenes that should herald the day of God, ‘The stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.’ This prophecy received a striking and impressive fulfillment in the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. That was the most extensive and wonderful display of falling stars which has ever been recorded.” Id., 333.TDOC 141.3

    When traveling on a railway train, we sometimes read over the list of stations to be passed before we arrive at our destination, and as one after another is left behind, we note with increasing interest that the end of what may have been a long journey is rapidly approaching. When only one station remains on the list, we feel that it is time to be making the final preparations for leaving the train. All articles must be packed again, the final washing and brushing must be done, and everything must be in readiness for the announcement that our journey is at an end.TDOC 141.4

    In order that believers may know when the coming of their Lord is near, he himself has listed a series of signs which lead up to that event, and has told them when to look f or the first of the series. The sun would be darkened ‘immediately after the tribulation of those days.’ The light of the moon would fail, the stars would fall, the powers of the heavens would be shaken, the sign of the Son of man would appear, and then the Son of man himself would be seen coming on the clouds of heaven. Three of the signs mentioned by Matthew have been fulfilled, and only one remains before the sign, which marks the great crisis will close the series.TDOC 141.5

    The conditions in the world, the church, and the business community which would indicate the nearness of the great day are adding their emphatic testimony to that borne by other events, so that it will be impossible to plead ignorance as an excuse for not making the necessary preparation to meet the Lord. ‘Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.’ A little time remains in which to make the necessary preparation for meeting our Lord in peace. ‘Prepare to meet thy God.”TDOC 142.1

    A memorable year

    “The year 1919 was memorable for the extent and the intensity of the struggle between capital and labor. The number of strikes was unprecedented. In New York City alone there were more than one hundred strikes in progress at one time. The whole number of strikes officially reported was nearly two thousand. Most notable among these was the steel strike and the soft-coal strike. In each case hundreds of thousands of workers were directly involved, and hundreds of thousands of those employed in other industries were temporarily thrown out of employment as an indirect result. The whole country was kept in h state of unrest and turmoil, and the cost of living was greatly enhanced, on account of this industrial warfare.TDOC 142.2

    “The situation was forcibly set forth in the following paragraph from the announcement of a new book dealing with the social unrest:TDOC 142.3

    “Riots, strikes, social and industrial unrest of all kinds, communistic movements, socialistic movements, movements to nationalize industry a new crop of them springs up every night. On every hand, wherever you go, you find placards: ‘On Strike Keep Away!’ Thousands of people have to walk to their work or snatch a ride on some chance vehicle-because the car men are on strike. Thousands of others are thrown out of work for lack of materials because the railway men are on strike. Ships are held at their piers, while food spoils and millions in Europe hunger-because the dock workers are on strike. People wander from place to place throughout the big cities seeking homes, seeking apartments, but no new buildings are going up-because the construction men are on strike. Even the theaters send their patrons home-because the actors are on strike.”TDOC 142.4

    “We express no opinion concerning the merits of the case, but merely record these facts as constituting one of the many signs of the times indicating that the great climax of the world’s history is fast approaching.TDOC 142.5

    The crisis near

    “Everything in the world is in agitation. The signs of the times are ominous. Coming events cast their shadows before. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. Who can read the future? Where is security? There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly. Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. Restlessly are they waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. There are those who are waiting and watching and working for our Lord’s appearing. Another class are falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. Few believe with heart and soul that we have a hell to shun and a heaven to win.TDOC 142.6

    “The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. Merchants are still buying and selling. Men are jostling one, against another, contending for the highest place. Pleasure lovers are still crowding to theaters, horse races, gambling bells. The highest excitement prevails, yet probation’s hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced, until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy be forever shut.”-The Desire of Ages, 759.TDOC 143.1

    The Scripture a shield from delusion

    “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures, and who have received the, love of the truth, will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all, the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation, the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon his word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible, and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life, and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.”-The Great Controversy, 605, 606.TDOC 143.2

    Read the “Source Book,” pages 527, 528, 134-142, 162-167, 145, 146.TDOC 143.3

    The Star of day

    “Hope of our hearts, O Lord, appear,
    Thou glorious Star of day!
    Shine forth, and chase the dreary night,
    With all our tears, away!
    TDOC 143.4

    “No resting place we seek on earth,
    No loveliness we see;
    Our eye is on the royal crown
    Prepared for us and thee.”
    TDOC 143.5

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