Heaven Can No Longer Wait
Veteran attorney Lewis R. Walton argues a "living demonstration that the gospel works" will hasten Jesus' return.
Where is the Adventist Church in the stream of prophecy?
Overdue! As early as 1883, Ellen White said that Christ could have come “ere this” – a statement she repeated, with growing urgency, in 1890, 1898, and finally 1901, when she warned the advent might be delayed “many more years” because of disobedience. Evidently heaven wanted the Advent message to be the world revolution later usurped, for a time, by Karl Marx – who wrote his first draft of the Communist Manifesto in1844!
But there is a point beyond which heaven cannot wait. And that brings us to question number two: Will the Advent occur soon?
That question suggests great caution: Matthew 24:36 makes it clear only the Father knows the day and hour. But world events suggest a high level of anticipation. Yes, evangelists in the 1920’s projected stereopticon images of zeppelins and biplanes as signs of the end. But consider the perils weface:
- The global economy, like an interlinking house of cards, seems poised for the crisis pictured in Revelation18.
- Anarchy: In the suffering streets of Europe and America, one senses the first hints of end- time anarchy, described in GreatControversy.
- Globalism: Revelation 17 predicts a time when all nations on earth have “one mind” and “make war with the lamb.” And their enforcement mechanism is an economic embargo foretold in Revelation 13 – the very mechanism nations usetoday.
- Physical danger: Some world religions, increasingly popular among the young, preach an imminent and fiery eschaton, and nation states that subscribe to this eschatology are acquiring the weapons to bring it about – together with missiles to deliver them. When that happens, there will be (as Ellen White predicted) “no safety in any place or position” absent God’sprotection.
- Think about the prediction in Rev. 11:18: “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest … destroy them which destroy the earth”. The prophecies of Revelation are materializing with graphicclarity.
- Signs within: the parable of the wheat and tares suggests that some end time events occur within God’s church. From their study of Daniel, the very book Jesus urged us to read (and “understand”), Adventism’s pioneers discovered the unique truth of the end-time judgment, described in Rev. 11:18. When the foundational truths of the Advent message are challenged from within, Jesus’ parable takes on sobering end-time implications.
How much more dangerous can our world get before we wake up?
How soon is soon? That question suggests another: how much more dangerous can our world get before we wake up? We are living in a fool’s paradise if we can watch this happen and retreat into the anesthesia of amusement parks and wide-screen TVs. What a tragedy it would be if those entrusted with the Advent message woke up – only to discover they had slept 1000years toolong.
Has my Adventist perspective changed over time? Yes! Early generalizations about end time crises are now clarified by a reality so obvious that even newscasters are starting to get it – and I can say that, having once been anewscaster.
How does one recognize we have reached the last moments? Jesus warned that when the abomination of desolation predicted by Daniel sought entry into holy ground, the end was near. For Jerusalem, this was Roman invasion into the holy ground near the temple. But a physical temple no longer stands. Today, the holy ground is the temple of the mind (“which temple ye are”). When religious coercion, contrary to the express command of God, demands entry into the mind, it is high time to turn loose of thisworld!
And that is where the Sabbath comes in. Ellen White said it best: “As the approach of the Roman armies was a sign to the disciples of the impending destruction of Jerusalem, so may this apostasy be a signal to us that the limit of God’s forbearance is reached.” (5 T451).
But even that begs the question. The only sure sign of the end is the fulfillment of Matt.24:14 — the gospel is proclaimed to the world, and “then shall the end come.” And today’s social media and 24/7 news could accomplish that in a matter of days, once end-time truths become worldwide issues. That will be catalyzed by people who really deliver the Advent message by livingit.
Perhaps, as in 1901, heaven has been waiting for a living demonstration that thegospel
Lewis R. Walton is a veteran attorney whose firm, Walton & Walton, is headquartered in Bakersfield, California, USA.