Dorian threatening the eastern seaboard, yet another mass shooting – this one in Texas! There are just too many devastating stories on the news. My mom, Allegra McNemar Wiant, in the 1940’s used to just not listen to the news (or later wouldn’t watch it) because it was too depressing. I just have to remind myself that we are living in the last days and we see the signs mentioned in Matthew 24 and other places (that I like to call “Global Warning”) – especially verse 14. But we have to believe that there is hope and joy in our future and peace now, if we truly believe God is in control.
I can share some good news! Our church was privileged to have Patricia Parsons, Elkins Area Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, www.samaritanspurse.org/occ, come to share with us bringing Yuliya Shubina, who evidently works with Samaritans Purse. She now lives in USA, but originally was from the Middle East and didn’t say from where exactly. She wanted to help us understand a little more about the goals of Shoebox Ministry. Ms. Shubina was recipient of a shoebox gift when she was nine years old. She lived in the Asian country that used to be part of Russia. Times were difficult, to say the least, but the box was a source of joy to her. She had with her the little stuffed puppy that came to her almost two decades ago, along with the greeting card and picture of the little girl who had packed and sent the box. They remained “pen pals” over the years and since Yuliya moved to this country, she has met that friend. The beautiful part of the story is that because of it, Yuliya came to know the Lord and is happily working to let other people know how they can bring joy to the needy. If you want to learn how to pack a shoebox, visit the site above for Samaritans purse, or you can call the First Baptist Church here in Buckhannon and talk to or leave a message for Cathy Vance, who was the one who arranged to have Yuliya and Patricia come to our church to tell us about.
Not every church is able to do everything, so it is wonderful when Baptist churches can give others of us the opportunity to help through a beautiful project like Operation Christmas Child, sending Christmas gifts to some who may have no other gifts through the season. Also, I am glad for what the Methodists (true to their name) have developed in this intricate “method” or organization that gives help to the needy in many ways. Many churches help with lunches on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The delightful Brother Roy of the Catholic Church helped us through the paces as we prepare to launch an Adventist lunch at the Parish House once in a while. His flock provides all the Wednesday lunches and other churches provide the other two days. I am told Parish House is almost always in need of volunteers to help in many different ways, so if you (or your group) want to help out, go there and I am told they will put you to work at the Parish House, The Clothes Closet, or somewhere. Our Seventh-day Adventist group is going to start helping them. I am told they expect vegetarian meals, since many Adventists are vegetarian. Our first day will be October 7.
Number 25 of the 28 Fundamentals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is quite appropriately
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
[The “Seventh-day” of the week is the day that God made “holy” (Genesis 2:3 NIV). The KJV version says that “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it” (Genesis 2:3 KJV), which means He set it apart as holy. In the fourth commandment God asks us to “keep” holy the day He had already “made” holy (Exodus 20:8). This can be said of no other day of the week. “Adventist” part of our name is obviously because we believe in the Second Advent of Jesus. The term advent is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”.]
From the beginning of our existence as a people, Seventh-day Adventists have sung songs about the “blessed hope” of the second coming of Jesus (Titus 2:13). As the second half of our denomination name suggests, we expect Christ’s coming to be literal. We believe that Jesus will return soon, though the actual time of that event has not been revealed. Because we believe the day is coming when we will see Jesus return in triumph, surrounded by all His holy angels, we are a happy people, and our songs reflect that joy.
The reason Jesus will return is that He loves His
human brothers and sisters and wants them to be with Him. He said to His disciples, “I am going [to Heaven] to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2, 3). Jesus will take all His loved ones to heaven, both those who are alive at the time He comes and those who, having died, are resurrected when He comes (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). The Second Coming will bring to an end all earthly powers that exist at that time, establishing in their place the kingdom of God, the last of the kingdoms predicted in Daniel 2. Since history records that all of the other parts of the prophecy of Daniel 2 have been fulfilled, there can be no doubt that God’s kingdom will be established just as predicted.
SIGNS OF JESUS’ COMING
While no one but God knows the actual moment of the Second Coming, it is possible to know through a study of the prophecies and the signs of His return, that it is near, “right at the door” (Matthew 24:33). When Jesus spoke to His disciples on the Mount of Olives shortly before His crucifixion, He outlined a series of signs by which His followers can recognize when His coming is near (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). There will be signs both in the heavens and on earth (Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25, 26), and the everlasting gospel will be preached in all the world (Matthew 24:14). The apostle Paul predicted the rise of the antichrist, “the man of lawlessness,” prior to Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 2:3). James described social unrest and economic injustice (James 5:1-7), and Peter anticipated skepticism about “the promise of His coming” (2 Peter 3:4, KJV).
In addition to watching carefully the signs of the return of Jesus, we should learn everything we can about how He will come, because false “christs” will appear in the last days and deceive many people (Matthew 24:4,5).
WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE
Jesus’ coming will be personal and literal. According to the word of the angels, “this same Jesus” will return to earth the same way He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:11). Jesus’ second coming should not, however, be confused with His spiritual presence in the lives of His people since His ascension. Neither should it be confused with His spiritual presence in the lives of the people since His ascension. Neither should it be confused with the coming of the Holy Spirit as Christ’s Representative.
Jesus’ return will be very visible (Matthew 24:26, 27; Revelation 1:7). Multitudes—indeed the whole earth, both believers and unbelievers—will see Jesus and His angels when they come. There will be nothing secret about His arrival. We will see it and hear it. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 Paul said that Christ will return “with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God.”
The return of Jesus will be glorious. He described it to His disciples as lightning that lights up the sky from east to west (Matthew 24:27, 30). Also, at that time, the resurrection of the righteous dead will take place (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
As we continue looking for Jesus’ coming, we need to do everything we can to make the world a better place, always keeping in mind, however, that our ultimate goal is to prepare ourselves for the world that lies ahead.
A favorite song for many people, which for many years was the theme song of the Voice of Prophecy radio broadcast, describes our anticipation of Jesus’ second coming: “Lift up the trumpet, and loud let it ring, Jesus is coming again. Cheer up, ye pilgrims, be joyful and sing, Jesus is coming again!”
For further study: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 14:14-20; 19:11-21.