The Promise of His Return

Scripture: Revelation 22:12
Date: 03/31/2012 
Lesson: 13
God is coming again, we can be sure of this. We may not know the day or the hour of His coming, but we can trust that His promises are true and that He will come back to take His children home.
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church here in California on the west coast of the United States of America. We welcome you this morning - our extended Sabbath school family from across the country and around the world. I hope you had a wonderful week and you're ready to sit down and open up God's Word and study together with us. And, of course, before we do that we're going to sing your favorite hymn requests that have come in from all over the planet. The first one - we are going to be singing #632 - 'until then'.

This is from harold, keith, calmin, John, kay, and ramona in australia, mcdonald in barbados, ameidi in belize, brentnol and marilyn in british virgin islands, Mark and angie in California, eddy and appel in Canada, Christine in Connecticut, elinor in denmark, kelly and margaret in dominica, nirel in england, ben and dominique in florida, esma in honduras, cavell in Idaho, donna in Iowa, ella in Kentucky, valerie in Massachusetts, casey in Missouri, lynn in Nevada, bea and edith in New Jersey, pastor jorge, sue Ellen, josh, and Sarah in North Carolina, patricia in Pennsylvania, rene in the Philippines, cheryl in south africa, Christa in Virginia, and beverly in Wisconsin. This is a favorite, obviously, and it's a favorite here at central church too. #632 - And we'll sing both stanzas - 'until then'. 'Until that day, when my eyes behold the city' - have you thought about that? If you live to see Jesus come - and even if you don't - and you are raised to see him coming in the clouds and reaching heaven and seeing the new Jerusalem for the very first time. I don't think we're going to have any words to describe that.

Oh, yes. We will start singing, won't we? If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it is very simple. All you have to do is go to our website at '', click on the 'contact us' link, and you can send any hymn request in our hymnal and we will do our best to sing that with you sooner than later. #483 - 'I need thee every hour. This is our next song, #483.

This is from annette in Alabama, douglas in argentina, Frances, faye, and reizo in australia, pedro in barbados, sureshchandra and lucy in California, alexandra in Connecticut, sherace, busiku, theresa, abidan and glenda in england, the neckies family in grenada, dave in Indiana, shorey-ann and avia in jamaica, felix in kenya, mario, naomi, maryann, elizabeth, and Isaiah in new zealand, vern, sandie, and Timothy in North Carolina, inger in norway, siva in qatar, schneider in romania, chiemela in saudi arabia, Joseph in south korea, and niki in Texas. #483 - We'll do the first, second and fourth stanzas. Father in Heaven, we do need you. We need you every moment of every day. And thank you so much for promising that you are with us all the time.

I pray that we will never forget that you are with us and that when we make the choices throughout the day, that we will always remember that we want you with us and that we will always love you in our words and our actions. Please be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together right now. Be with our speaker and our extended Sabbath school family around the world. We look forward to the day when we can all meet together in heaven under the Tree of Life and sing songs to praise you. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Our lesson study is going to be brought to us at this time by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is our senior pastor here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. Thank you debbie, musicians, singers - we sure appreciate that. Morning. How is everybody? Good to see each of you here and we're thankful that you're joining us - those who are part of our Sabbath school class around the world.

And, you know, we get reports all the time - you can tell from The Song requests that come in globally that people call in and they say - or they write in and they say, 'you know, this is our church' because they're isolated but they have a satellite or they've got the internet. That's one reason that we sing before we study is, for some people, this is part of their worship before they study. And we put up the words on the screen and they say, 'we are' - they're singing right along with you. And it's just heartwarming to hear the reports and for those of you that might be in that category and you are isolated somewhere or for some reason you are not able to attend church and you want a place to belong to, e-mail us at Sacramento central - we'll tell you as much as we can do through the medium of satellite or the internet - we want to help you be connected. Just go to 'saccentral.

org' and you'll find out more about that there. In a moment we'll talk about the lesson - we have a free offer - and it's sort of a premium free offer we're making available today. If you have not read the book 'at Jesus' feet' - you know, I've written several books but I took the longest time writing this and this really came from my heart. We are going to give it to you for asking. If you would like a copy of this book, 'at Jesus' feet' - it just really covers the whole Gospel through the experiences of mary at different places in the Gospel story and it's just a wonderful study - I think I'm biased though.

We'll send it to you. Offer #791 - and call the number -study-more. Dial 866-788-3966 and ask for the book 'at Jesus' feet' and that's offer #791. We want to send that to our class participants. This is our last lesson today dealing with our study guide on 'glimpses of God' and we'll get to that in just a moment - lesson #13 - but probably a good time to introduce next week's lesson - and I'm really excited about this.

You know, we did a backdrop for Amazing Facts a few years ago. We thought, 'how can we summarize Amazing Facts? We do so many different things.' You know, we do publishing, and public evangelism, evangelism training, broadcast radio/television, internet - and we said, 'Amazing Facts is evangelism.' And so, when I saw that the lesson was evangelism and witnessing, we got very excited because it - you know, we - it's just really the heart and soul of what we do, not only here at central church, but with my alter ego at Amazing Facts. And so, we're looking forward to studying this with you and for our class here, we will have some available after today's study. But today, we're going into lesson #13 dealing with the subject 'the promise of his return'. Now, if seventh day adventists can't get excited about the advent then your wood is wet, right? That's something that ought to get us excited and we're going to be talking about that.

But, by the way, something we started doing at the Sacramento central website - sometimes the teachers of our class here will read something or a quote or have some notes or a headline and they say, 'oh, I teach a class, how can I get that? You said it so quickly' or 'I didn't get the dates', or whatever. So, we've begun to post the notes that we're using from the lesson - humble notes that we might have. Some of them are pretty basic - and you know, I've got some notes here that I'll later send to our secretary. She'll put them up at the Sacramento central website. So when you go to the Sacramento central website you'll see a place that says, 'Sabbath school notes' - it'll have the broadcast and it will have the notes and - for whatever their worth - if you want them we'll put them up and usually they're there a day or two - if we teach Sabbath, by Monday we'll try and have the notes up there.

Don't forget, we record this three weeks in advance, so that's plenty of time for those of you who teach the lesson. And I keep forgetting to mention that. I wanted to mention it today. All right, now to the lesson for today. 'Promises of his return' and we have a memory verse and it's from Revelation 22:12, for our local class - and you can say it who are watching, please say it with me.

Revelation 22:12 - last chapter in the Bible, by the way. You ready? "And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every one according to his work." Jesus said, 'I am coming quickly.' You know, people read that and they think, 'wow, if someone calls me and says, 'I'm sorry I'm a little late for lunch, but I'm coming quickly', and you wait two thousand years, you'd think, 'well, that didn't seem quick to me.'' And so, if Jesus said, in the book of Revelation, 'I'm coming quickly' and here we are now , by human standards, it doesn't seem very quick. And a lot of people say, 'well, see, can't trust the Bible. He said he was coming quickly and he's been held up. What's taking so long?' Well, I want to turn - before I answer that - I want to turn to the prominent verse we're considering in today's lesson - Peter chapter 3 - don't ask me to do it now, but at one time I had memorized this entire chapter.

I still think I could do most of it but, again, don't test me on that now. - No I - did I say 2 Peter? Yeah I did. Peter chapter 3 - and here we have the - here we've got a passage that talks a great deal about the second coming. And I want to start, oh let's say here - verse 3, Peter 3, verse 3. "Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'where is the promise of his coming? For since The Fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.

" Here we are two thousand years later. By the way, the scoffers - it's not talking about scoffers in the world - there have always been scoffers in the world, but this is talking - something a little more unique - it's saying there will arise scoffers even in the church that will say, 'where is the promise of his coming?' That's what Peter is especially warning against. And he goes on to say, "but this" - verse 5 - "for this they are wilfully ignorant - they wilfully forget: that the Word of God - that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the waters and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water." In other words, it was years from Noah - or over 1600 years from creation to the destruction of the world back then. He preached for 120 years and they said, 'aw, it's never going to happen.' But it did. "But the heavens and the earth which now exist" - I'm in verse 7 - 2 Peter 3, verse 7 - "are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire to the day of judgment and perdition of unGodly men.

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing," - do not forget this. Forget what? "That with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is one day." So, when Jesus said, 'I come quickly' - when you live for billions of years, how long is a thousand? It's quickly. And if your life is seventy - three score and ten, maybe ninety - you're vegetarian - maybe a hundred if you're a vegan vegetarian. What is a hundred? You know, there are very few people - there's just a handful of people left in the world today that can say they were born in the 1800's. There are a few left.

I heard a lady died at 114 this last week. You heard about that, yeah, I see you nodding. Not too many left. Someday there won't be any left. And you realize that if you live years, when you die, the next thing you're aware of is the resurrection and the Lord comes.

How long is that compared to eternity? Our life is like a vapor and so, when Jesus said, 'behold I come quickly' - it's true for all of us. It is quick. You know, yesterday I became eligible for senior living. It's - yeah, just I don't know what to think about that but I can now move into senior gated communities - I'm old enough. Yep.

Do you think I was happy about that? And then I wonder, 'well Karen is younger than me, can she come with me?' They said, 'oh yeah, it doesn't matter as long as one of you is 55.' So, but I thought, 'boy, life goes by fast.' It says it's like grass that springs up in the morning and fries in the late afternoon. So, it is short, but he said, 'a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day.' You know, most of the Jewish scholars believed in what we call the millennial week. That term was coined by j.n. Andrews, but it's really saying that history would last, because God rests on the seventh day, and because there's a thousand-year period of time that Revelation 20 speaks of - we call it the millennium - it's a thousand years where we live and reign with the Lord. It's a time of his resting from the work of salvation - that the plan of salvation is going to be all wrapped up in that 6,000 years.

Luther believed that. Uranius believed that. And you could go down through the church fathers. And so, when Jesus says, 'I come quickly' - if you're four thousand years through six thousand years, you're reaching the home stretch. It is quick.

And here he's telling us in the Bible, 'keep perspective'. Paul says, in 2 Thessalonians, 'if any man says to you that day is approaching' - matter of fact, I'd better not run ahead, that's in our lesson. I don't want to read that too soon. 'A day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day.' By the way, Peter is quoting psalm 90, verse 4. 'the Lord is not slack concerning his promise,' - some said, 'he promised to come quickly.

He didn't come.' Peter said, 'he's not slack as some count slackness,' - they're counting wrong - 'but he is longsuffering to usward.' Why is God patient? 'He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.' He wants all to be saved but 'the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night' - when it does come they'll think it's too soon - 'in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are therein will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we be in all holy conversation and Godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God in which the heavens will melt with fervent heat. So, nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found of him in peace without spot and blameless.' All right. I'll stop there - I could keep going but the idea being, if we are adventists - every Christian who is looking forward to the second coming is an adventist in that sense - then we should be diligent to live in a way that we are showing that we look forward to his coming, right? All right.

Well, let's delve into the lesson with that background. And I wanted to start out by reading 2 Peter chapter 3, at least verses 1 to 10, 'the beginning and the end' - now, how many of you are hearing about dates being set for the Lord's coming 2012? And some are all exercised over nebulous prophecies of nostradamus - and his prophecies all sound a little bit dubious to me - others say it's the mayan calendar that says that everything's going to reach its consummation December 21, I think, 2012. They made a movie about it and folks are all worked up and the media's talking about that - Amazing Facts is thinking about maybe getting a special website that addresses this. And how many of you remember just last year a ministry that was somewhat known - became a whole lot more popular when harold camping once again predicted the second coming - first may 21, 2011 and then, when that didn't happen, he said, 'well the real end is going to be October 21, 2011' and he began to, you know, shuffle and hem and haw. This last week his ministry issued a letter apologizing and saying they were wrong.

I don't know if some of you heard that announcement - it's posted at - yeah at their website. "Dear family radio" - I'm not trying to be unkind, I'm just saying at least they've come clean - I'm not going to read the whole letter to you, but they basically said, "let God be true and every man a liar. We've learned a very painful lesson in setting this date... We were wrong...while some good things happened" - they say, "from this" they acknowledge they were wrong - "we were even so bold as to insist that the Bible guaranteed that Christ would return on may 21 and true believers would be raptured, yet this is incorrect and a sinful statement. God allowed this to happen to get people's attention, but we were wrong.

" In other words, he worked it together for good. And so, there's a whole letter here. Maybe I'll post this with our notes or you can read it at their website if you like. But, setting dates - did Jesus say anyone knows the day and the hour? You know, there's a common misunderstanding - some people say, 'oh, seventh day adventists, your church is the one that set a date for Jesus coming.' Is that true? Did seventh day adventists set a date for Jesus coming in 1844? Were there any seventh day adventists in 1844? No. Many of the people who coalesced into the seventh day adventist church had experienced what they call 'the great disappointment' but the seventh day adventists weren't even formed until 1863.

So, matter of fact we are very careful about not setting dates because some of our founders went through that great disappointment that was really led by a baptist named william miller. But there's a lot of people that get that confused. They say, 'oh, seventh day adventists, you're the ones that set a date for Jesus' coming.' That is categorically not true. And then I'll meet people who say 'seventh day adventists, you believe in multiple wives, don't you?' I say, 'no.' 'Seventh day adventists, you're against blood transfusions.' I say, 'no.' And every - there's a lot of confusion about what different churches believe. We are Bible Christians that worship on the seventh day of the week and believe in the imminence of Jesus' coming.

Of course, there's a lot more to our faith than that, but that's what our name holds forth. So not only do we believe that if we love the Lord - we believe we're saved by grace through faith, right? But we believe the ten commandments - the Sabbath is right up there with don't commit adultery and don't kill. We just think it deserves that same kind of recognition, right? After all, God said 'remember' so we are seventh day - not to be confused with those who typically go on the first day - adventists. Why adventists? Because we believe that we're living in the last age of the church - the church of laodicea - and there's a special message of preparing for the Lord's coming - we are to give those three angels' messages of Revelation 14 that people might receive the seal of God in their foreheads because the only alternative to the seal of God is the Mark of the beast. And so, there's a special message for people to get ready, to lift up their heads, to look - to be prepared for Christ's coming.

So - but we don't set dates, do we? But there is a promise and an expectation of his coming. John 14, verses 2 and 3, "in my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again." Did Jesus say 'I might. I could.

I may, it's possible" - or did he say it emphatically and with some certainty? "I will come again and receive you to myself." - We are caught up to meet him in the air, we are received to him - "that where I am you might be also." He's taking us back to the mansions he's prepared, right? Some people think that we spend the millennium here on earth and Jesus says that we spend the millennium living and reigning with him in glory - we're not reigning over the wicked during that one thousand years. Someone look up for me Hebrews 11:16. We gave a slip to somebody - who has it? Oh, over here? Mario - you or jessica have it? Close enough - one of you - just so we get the cameras lined up and, while you're doing that, I'm going to read Hebrews 11:9 and 10, "by faith he dwelt in the land" - speaking of Abraham - "by faith he dwelt in the land of promise as a - as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise;' - what's his promise? - "For he waited for a city that had foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Now God made a promise to Abraham. What did God promise Abraham when he said, 'come out of ur of the chaldees.' What did he promise? He said, 'stand here, look to the north and the south, the east and the west; everything your foot is treading upon.' What did he promise him? He said, 'I'm going to give this land to you.' But they dwelt as pilgrims - part of the time in the land of the philistines, part of the time in Egypt during a famine - in tents. And it says, 'he looked forward to - he waited for a city that had foundations' - Abraham was going to move into a city? He looked forward to a city with foundations? You mean he was waiting all that 175 years he lived? Did he ever receive the promise he was waiting for in his life? Or was he surrounded with canaanites that lived in the land? Will Abraham ever receive the promise that he will have that land that God said he would give his descendents? Yes.

When the new Jerusalem comes down, does it land over in australia? Does the new Jerusalem come down and settle in south africa? Or south America, or central America, or North America? Does it come down over the bermuda triangle to sanctify that notorious region? Where does it come down? Zechariah 14 - on the mount of olives. So, and what are the - what's the scope of the new Jerusalem? Roughly 1500 miles around - ,000 furlongs - it uses Bible measurements - that's 375 miles on each side. That means when you take the new Jerusalem and you plop it down on the mount of olives, it completely encloses all of the territory and then some that God promised to Abraham. And what's in that new Jerusalem? 'A city that had foundations whose builder and maker is God.' So will Abraham inherit the territory God promised him? Absolutely. It's going to be much better than what he saw.

Now, there'll be parks in there bigger than anything that he could imagine. You know - you want to hear an amazing fact? I maybe told you this - I was pulling into the - landing in Dallas and someone quipped to me they flew in and out of Dallas all the time - and we're taxiing and we're taxiing, we're taxiing, we're taxiing - any of you ever been to the dfw airport? And he said, 'do you realize that the dfw airport - the property of the dfw airport is bigger than the island of manhattan. In other words, you can sit all of New York city on top of just the dfw airport. Now, how many people live in manhattan? About seven - eight million. So there'll be city in the new Jerusalem, but there'll be plenty of area to roam around too.

And there'll be plenty of room for everybody. Okay, I didn't forget. Now we're going to do Hebrews chapter 11, verse 16. Hebrews 11:16, "but now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

" So God is preparing a place for us. We should have this expectation - you know, when I first read this in the Bible, frankly, I was a little disappointed because I thought all cities were bad. You know, I was born in los angeles; grew up in manhattan with my mom, then moved to miami with my dad, and then my mom moved to london; went to visit her there and then I moved to boston and just all these big cities. And I hated cities - that's why I ended up moving to the hills when I ran away from home. And so when God said, 'I prepared a city for you' - I thought, 'blech'.

But why do we say that about cities? Because in this world cities are typically bad - in this world. Why? Because cities have a lot of people. What's wrong with that? Because the human heart in its sinful condition is desperately wicked. So if you get a lot of wicked people together, you've got a concentration of sin. But what kind of people will be in the new Jerusalem? The just, the holy, the pure, the righteous - will you have to lock your door and alarm your gate? No, it's going to be a whole different kind of city.

So - it's going to be beautiful. And will we also have country homes? It says, 'they'll go forth' - Malachi chapter 4 - 'we'll go forth and build houses and inhabit them. We'll plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them' - I'm mixing Malachi with - Isaiah. So, it's going to be wonderful. Someone look up for me acts 3, verses 20 and 21.

Now I gave that to somebody - who's got that? Over here? Hold your hand up. Let's get you a microphone. And I'm going to read - while we're getting ready for acts :20 and 21 - I'm going to read Daniel 2:44 - you know that great chapter of the image of Nebuchadnezzar? "And in the days of these Kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed; and that kingdom will not be left to another people; it will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever." Kingdoms, empires, dynasties, monarchies, countries, governments, rise and fall - we've seen it in the history all over the world - but is there going to be a kingdom that will never fall? You know, if the book of Daniel tells us anything, it tells us that while there's an ongoing turnover of earthly empires, God's kingdom is going to be the final kingdom to win and it will last forever. And that's something that even the jews - I mean, Daniel certainly was a prophet - they were looking forward to a different kind of kingdom than just the one they hoped to have in Israel. God's kingdom would last forever and they knew Jesus came to set that up.

Read for us now acts 3, verses and 21, please. Acts 3, verses 20 and 21, "and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Now I think we should care for the environment - we talked about that this month - and I think we should do everything we can to relieve suffering in the world. And I think that, as far as possible, we ought to vote our conscience that the freedom of the Gospel will remain intact as long as possible and there's a lot of things we want to do to try to help those angels hold back the winds of strife that someday will come - do we all know that someday it's all going to implode? Do we all know that? So should we just throw our hands in the air and say, 'well, it's all a mess, let's just let it go.' Or should we do everything we can, humanly, to do good while mercy remains? But ultimately, Jesus is going to have to come and restore everything. The climax of the plan of salvation is when God brings everything back to their perfect origin. There was a time when God first folded his hands - he put away his toolbox and he said, 'it's good, good, very good.

' And then after sin entered things have gone downhill since then. Is he going to restore everything? It's all going to be good, good, very good again. Matter of fact, he's going to restore it with an upgrade. It'll be even better in many ways. So we look forward to - so the second coming is not just Jesus coming back so he can deal with the devil and those who follow him, he's coming back to restore everything.

And this is our great assurance - let's go to that section. Someone look up for me Matthew 25:31 - got a hand right here - Matthew 25:31. And I'll read Matthew 24, verse 30. "And then shall appear the sign of The Son of man in heaven: and then shall all of the tribes of the earth mourn, and they will see The Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory." Will the saved mourn when Jesus comes? It'll be awesome for everybody, but I think we'll rejoice. Why does it say all the tribes of the earth? Because we're not a tribe of the earth.

Christians are citizens of another kingdom - we're from the tribe of spiritual Israel. And, of course, there'll be many literal Israelites in that tribe, but it's a different tribe. It's talking about all the tribes of the heathen - those who aren't part of God's literal or spiritual Israel - they will all mourn. But - keep in mind - Christ is also telling this to his Jewish followers there. Read now - you're going to read Matthew 25:31.

Yes. "When The Son of man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory." He's going to come - is he alone when he comes? How many angels are with him? How many? All the holy angels. You know, we had a discussion in our afcoe class this week - I'm going to throw it out here because Sabbath school - you're supposed to think. And I think - I've got to be careful not to be too dogmatic about this. Is The Father - God The Father - coming with Jesus when he comes? How would you like to vote? No don't - I'm not going to embarrass anybody - it might be a split vote and I'll tell you that the jury's out and I'll tell you why.

How many of you think The Father comes with Jesus when he comes? Let me see your hands. How many of you think that the father stays in heaven and Jesus comes without him. Oh that's - that vote has a slight edge. How many of you were afraid to vote because someone might see you on tv and you could be wrong? All right, let me tell you, the Bible says, 'then he will send Jesus.' So, on that side of the equation people say, 'well, The Father sends Jesus, that's means he goes from The Father and he stays - you know, The Father is minding the fort back in heaven.' But then it tells us Jesus is coming in the glory of The Father and he's coming on the right hand of power. Now, what power could be on the right hand of Jesus other than that of The Father and is the father left in heaven without any angels singing 'glory, glory, glory'? It could be that that phrase 'he will send Jesus' doesn't mean that he doesn't come also, but The Son goes before him.

Matter of fact, we had a study last week about the centurion who sent to Jesus to heal his servant and he ends up coming also, following his servants - you remember we learned that from the verse - so, we welcome your input on that question. I personally think that - is the father ultimately going to move the capital to this planet? I'm tipping towards the idea that God The Father, son, and spirit are all involved in coming to claim us because it says 'God The Father so loved the world he sent his son to save us' - does The Father want to be here for the redemption and the climax? I think so but, like I said, I can't be dogmatic about that. I think we just need to think and if you get more verses on that, let me know. But we had an interesting discussion on that this week. He will send Jesus - now, where was i? I think we read that verse - all right - I think we want to read now Hebrews 9:28, "for Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.

To those who eagerly wait for him he will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." Is he still bearing our sins when he comes back? He will appear apart or without sin unto salvation. And so, those who eagerly wait for him. Should every Bible Christian be an adventist? Yeah. Now, you might be thinking, 'am I saying every Bible Christian should be a seventh day adventist?' Of course I think that. Don't you? I mean, otherwise, what part of being a seventh day adventist do I have questions about? I think - I think it's great for every - but I think that at least every Bible Christian - if you're going to be a Bible Christian - tells us that we should eagerly wait for - that's talking about believing in the imminent coming of the Lord.

There ought to be an expectation, an excitement. It's like the groom has gone to prepare the honeymoon and he's now coming for the bride. Should the bride be excited about the groom coming back? And so - yes - and so when a Christian says, 'well, when he gets here that's his business' - that's not the attitude of Christians. Christians ought to have an attitude where we are excited about the imminence of his coming and, in that sense, we are adventists looking for the soon return of Jesus. Now how many times does Jesus come to the earth? Three times.

Four times. He comes and creates it - in the beginning - Genesis, right? And he comes and he redeems it when he comes as Jesus the lamb. And then he comes in the near future, the second coming of Christ - we're caught up to meet him in the air - do his feet touch the ground at that point? That's where some people get the rapture - we're technically raptured up to meet him. Then at the end of the one thousand years when the new Jerusalem descends and his feet touch the mount of olives - boy, it's hard for me to hold all four of these up when I do it that way - that's then the fourth time he would come down - if you count the creation as the first time he came to the earth. So did he walk in the garden with adam and eve? Okay.

Anyway, so, we've talked about the second coming as the one that we're looking for now - that's when he's really coming again. I just confused you, didn't i? All right, 1 Corinthians 15:22, "for as in adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." Now, when does the resurrection take place? I'm going to read the rest of this verse, "but each one in his own order; Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ's at his coming. So when does the resurrection take place? You don't have to be a theologian to understand that verse. Those that are Christ's rise at his coming. Can everyone understand that? So the idea that they rise as soon as they die, the Bible doesn't teach that.

It says, the dead in Christ rise when the Lord descends with the trumpet. And I heard a pastor on the radio this week and, you know, I respect - I respect him but he was saying 'the Lord - as soon as you die your spirit goes to be with the Lord, but when Jesus comes back he comes then to get your body.' And he said 'that you might fully enjoy - but you are to some extent a conscious disembodied spirit up until the second coming.' And he was trying to explain what that disembodied spirit is doing without its body and it really needs its body so he comes back to get the body but he's getting a new body. And I'm thinking, 'why does he come back?' If you're going to give him a new body, you don't even need to come back, do you? Can't he just give you a new body when he - it's just very confusing. But the Bible is pretty clear, your next conscious thought - yes, you are with the Lord when you die in the sense that it's your next conscious thought, right? So, when someone you love dies in the faith, you can put yourself in their mind and vicariously say 'praise the Lord' - the next thing they know is coming out of the grave with a glorified body. But we live in a dimension of time - it hasn't happened yet - it happens at the coming of the Lord, right? So the idea of preaching that the Lord is coming - how far back does it go? Well, Enoch lived before Noah - I mean he lived a long time ago - well he lived - he was a contemporary of Noah, but he lived a long time ago.

It says 'he prophesied saying, 'behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints.'' That's all the holy ones, the angels - that was the biggest number they used back then. And now, I'm going to jump because I'm going to forget something. Both Matthew 24 and Luke 12 - Jesus tells a parable speaking of the last days. And this is really relevant - especially for seventh day adventist Christians that are living in 2012 - I remember in everybody got excited and thought the world was going to end - wait, I can go back further than that - I remember in '86, all the planets lined up - a lot of seventh day adventists said, 'this is it.' And then, you know, when we got into the gulf war, 'this is it.' In 1999 the, you know, millennium was coming, 'this is it. Y2k - this is it.

' Yeah, I know people that just fell off the grid back then. They thought, 'you've got to head for the hills' - and they stored up food. And then 9/11 - a lot of people said, 'this is it.' And there have been all kinds of things. Some people got excited, even in our church, about harold camping's dates, and said, 'this is it.' And so now folks are going, 'oh, you know, I don't if he's ever going to come. It seems like he's late.

' All right. That's when you really need to get excited, is when the church begins to doubt it - Jesus said, 'in such an hour as you think not, The Son of man comes' - right? Did the Lord tell us that one of the signs that would happen just before his coming would be the appearance of delay? If you look at the prophetic chronology, factored right into the second coming is a delay. It's scheduled. Have you ever scheduled a delay? I did a wedding one time and the bride came an hour late and she thought that would be fun. Nobody was having fun.

She thought that - she scheduled a delay - but the Lord has told us ahead of time so we know not to get discouraged. Luke 12, verse 42 - this is in your lesson - "and the Lord said, 'who then is a faithful and a wise servant, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant who his master will find so doing when he comes?'" Our job is to be distributing the food of the master to others. "'Truly, I say he'll make him ruler over all he has. But if that servant'" - in Matthew it says, "if that evil servant says in his heart, 'my master is delaying his coming.' And he begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day that he is not looking for him, and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers." Serious judgment - if that servant says in his heart and to others 'he's late. He's delayed.

All things continue as they were from the beginning. Where is the promise of his coming?' When Christians begin to doubt the imminence of Christ's coming - it's like that fool that said, 'I've got plenty of provisions, I'm going to eat and drink and boast myself up tomorrow.' And God said, 'you fool, tonight your soul is required of you.' the Lord came quickly for him. Matthew 24, "for if that evil servant says in his heart" - you know what Jesus tells right after Matthew 24:48? You go to Matthew 25 - it's the parable of the ten virgins. What happens with the bridegroom? "When the bridegroom was delayed." You remember when Moses went up the mountain to get the ten commandments and he said, 'I'll be back but he didn't say exactly when he'd be back and it says, 'when they saw that Moses was delayed.' This appearance of delay is something that God told us that we need to guard against. It's like in the Sabbath - he says, 'remember the Sabbath' - why did he say remember? Because we're prone to forget.

When it talks about the second coming he said there would be the appearance of delay. I think if you want to figure out where are we in the scope of time - we are living, right now, in that time of delay. I really believe that. And this is the time when the church is going to sleep - and you can't argue with me because Jesus said a hundred percent of those virgins went to sleep - five were wise, five were foolish, all of them went to sleep. The apostles went to sleep just before Gethsemane and on the mount of transfiguration they fell asleep and I think that's what's happening now.

We've got the greatest opportunity for preaching the Gospel we've ever had and the church is getting so distracted with the cares of this life that they're snoring spiritually. Someone look up for me Samuel 10, verse 8. We've got a hand over here - Samuel 10, verse 8. Not only did the Bible tell us that Moses was late - or apparently late - there's someone else in the Bible - some of you remember the story about Samuel and Saul - Saul ends up losing the Kingdom because, during a time of delay he was tested - he lost his faith. We're ready, go ahead.

You shall go down before me to gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do." 'Wait till I come. After six days, beginning of the seventh day I'll be there.' He was going to battle against the philistines. Samuel said, 'I will come and offer sacrifice. I'll tell you what to do.

' Twice he says 'wait for me.' But then you read in the - Samuel 13, verse 8 it says 'he waited seven days according to the time set but Samuel did not come.' Samuel was delayed. So you know what Saul did? He said, 'look, I don't know if he's ever coming and I don't want to go to battle and my army is starting to scatter - I need - someone needs to offer sacrifice so we can have - get the people together - I know I'm not the priest and I shouldn't do this, but what difference does it make? It's expedient for me to do it.' So Saul did what no king was supposed to do - only the levites were supposed to offer sacrifice for the nation - and he didn't wait. During the time of delay when he was being tested he lost his faith - he failed the test. And as soon as he was done Samuel came. And he said, 'you've acted foolishly, you're going to lose the Kingdom now.

' Moses finally came, didn't he? While they were waiting, during the time of delay, they were tested. And what happened when they were tested? They said, 'look, we better take things into our own hands. We don't know what's happened to Moses - he said, 'wait, I'll be back' but you know, something could have happened up on the mountain - he's up there in the cloud, there's thunder and lightning - he might have got struck by the lightning or...' And they said, 'we better take things into our own hands and we'll make our own God and we don't know what this God looks like" - and so they got - they compromised their worship - they made a statue of a golden calf and then they had a party - they worshiped - just like Saul, after their man-made worship - worshiped their own way, then he came. After cain worshiped his own way - he didn't want to do it the way God said, you notice that? Is there a big test on worship in Revelation? We're in that time of delay right now. And then Moses came and there was a judgment that happened.

Revelation 10, verses 5 and 6, "the angel who I saw standing on the land, he raised his hand up to heaven and he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be" - now king James says "time no more." The new king James, I think more accurately, translates this "there should be delay no more." How can God say there'll be no more delay unless there's supposed to be a delay to start with? There is a delay that is scheduled in the last days. Isn't that what it - how can he say 'no more delay' unless there was a delay? Does that make sense? And so, people are saying, 'where is the promise of his coming?' the Lord is saying, 'hold on. Hold on.' Somebody said, 'success is what people miss when they find out that they quit just a little too soon.' So many people will never know how close they were to success because they quit just before they made their great discovery or their breakthrough and they were just right on the verge and they gave up. And now, especially, is the time when we need to hold on when other people are losing their moorings and they're looking around and they're compromising their faith. Now is the time God says to hold on to the Scriptures and to hold on to the truth and don't compromise your worship.

Habakkuk - someone has Habakkuk 2, verse 3. Got that right here? We'll get you set up for that. And while you're getting ready for that, I'm going to read Hebrews 10, verses 37 to 39. Hebrews 10:37-39, "for yet a little while, and he who is coming will come and will not tarry." Is the Lord going to come? Does he promise that? It'll look like he's tarrying, but he won't. "Now the just will live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure" - don't retreat.

Don't give up now. "For we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but those who believe to the saving of our souls." You know the ones who end up saying 'where's the promise of their - of his coming'? You know what else Peter says? 'There will arise scoffers walking after their own lusts.' What is the principle reason that people stop waiting for Jesus and they give up during the time of delay? They're distracted by the lust of the flesh and sin. And so, in order to kind of soothe their conscience - they want to sin - they say, 'aw, he's probably never going to come' - 'my master delays his coming' - and then they begin to eat and drink with the drunken. All right, read for us Habakkuk chapter 2, verse 3 please. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie: though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

" It says, 'though it tarries, it will not tarry.' Does that sound kind of like a contradiction? In other words, it appears to tarry but it's really right on time. How many of you believe the Lord knows everything? Does Jesus now know the day and the hour of his coming? When he was on earth and he set aside his divine attributes, he did not know then - he said, 'even The Son does not know but The Father only.' He knows now - I mean God The Father is not hiding that information from Jesus. So, the Lord knows everything. There is a time - is he going to come right on time? You know, he's going to wait as long as he can because he doesn't want anyone to be lost, but there's going to be a time when the boat's going to have to leave the harbor. Like that last marine helicopter that flew off the embassy there in saigon.

Some of you have seen that - they were trying to evacuate as many as they could before the fall of saigon and finally they said, 'look, we will' - they just pushed the envelope as far as they could and they finally took the last ones they could take and they couldn't make another trip back because they knew they'd just be shot - the city had been taken. the Lord is going to take as many as he can - he's holding off as long as he can - that's why we need to pray for not only ourselves but our loved ones. Some of us are saying, 'Lord, I'd like you to come right now.' I personally would like him to come right now because I'm just sick and tired of all the sin in the world - as someone said, 'I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.' But I don't want him to come yet because - probably like you - I've got some loved ones that if he came now, I wonder if they'd be ready. But I believe his coming is near and so that should mobilize us and motivate us and energize and excite us. It should affect our lives, our planning, our investing - everything ought to be touched by the truth that we think Jesus is coming soon.

And I trust that you believe that too, friends. He said, "be ready, for The Son of man is coming in an hour you do not expect." Matthew 24:44. Christ said, 'behold, I come quickly.' It will happen. Thessalonians 2:1-3, "now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken or troubled, either by spirit or by word or letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come until there comes a falling away first, and the man of sin is revealed, The Son of perdition.

" It's talking about a falling away where? In the world? The world's already fallen. Falling away in the church. And that happened, didn't it? But this is one verse where he said, 'yes he's coming quickly but some things have to happen first.' A lot of what's supposed to happen before Jesus' coming has already happened. There are still some things that have to happen but these final events are going to happen quickly and for us, we don't know if we've got another day - he could come for any one of us quickly, right? So we want to be ready now. Amen friends? Just before we say farewell, I want to remind those who joined us along the way, if you did not hear, we have a special free offer this week we're giving to anyone who calls and asks - the book 'at Jesus' feet: the Gospel according to mary magdalene' - we encourage you to get it, read it and then share it with others.

I trust it will inspire you. It's offer #791 and just call -788-3966 - We'll send it to you. Thank you for studying with us and don't forget we'll post these notes online at the Sacramento central website ''. God bless you and you have a great day.

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