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  • Writer's pictureEconomia e Evangelismo

What are the signs of the end after all? - Part 2 (with the Adventist pioneer)

Some time ago, I wrote a post here on the blog with the title "What are the signs of the end after all?". Remember:

In that post, there was a possible conversation about the signs of the end between three representatives of three different schools of theological thought. Let's read that debate again:

SKEPTICAL: Jesus is not coming back.

MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST: Yes, He will come back, because social control in China is growing.

SDA SCHOLAR : Social control in China is Matthew 24:6. No one should be alarmed, for verse 14 (gospel to all nations) comes after and this and is the clearest sign of the nearness of Jesus' return.

MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST (silently and thinking to himself): good answer... I had not thought about it...

SKEPTICAL (chuckling): If the gospel is the clearest sign of the end, why doesn't the SDA Church preach it as they should? How much time will the SDA spend beating around the bush?

SDA SCHOLAR (with the answer on the tip of his tongue and quite willing to preserve his job and/or recognition): the gospel preached to all nations is not a human effort. It will be executed only when the Holy Spirit descends upon the Church in the latter rain. And even if it is so, there will be help from the angels.

SKEPTICAL: So the sign of the end is in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the latter rain? If we see this happening will we know the end is near? How will we know how to identify these events?

MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST (excited): I can answer that one! You know these things are happening when you start seeing news of miracles on the internet and amazing things happening! And when there are young people crying out to the Lord in Church camps!

SDA SCHOLAR (bored): the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which is the latter rain itself, can only be spiritually discerned and will only happen in God's timing.

MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST (silently and thinking to himself): good answer... I had not

thought about it...

SKEPTICAL: then the preaching of the gospel to all nations will only occur from a powerful,

punctual and invisible divine intervention?


SKEPTICAL: So is there really no observable sign?

SDA SCHOLAR: No, none.

SKEPTICAL: So the mystical sensationalist may be a lot more right than the two of us... Perhaps he perceived with the eyes of faith this powerful, punctual and invisible divine intervention.


SDA SCHOLAR: See... At some point true news will arrive, but these last news the mystical sensationalist brought, about social control in China, may not be a sign of the end. I particularly believe that it might not be.

SKEPTICAL: Do you believe this based on your spiritual discernment?

SDA SCHOLAR: You see... As I've said, we need to remember that it's just the beginning of the pains. The gospel still needs to be taken to all nations...

SKEPTICAL: I don't want to get into circular reasoning. The mystical sensationalist at least had a more direct approach..

MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST (proud): And I haven't even told you about the last agreement between the Vatican and the European Union, which is very close to being signed...

SDA SCHOLAR slaps his forehead.

I recalled afterwards, however, that there is still a fourth approach to final events. This approach is advocated by the ADVENTIST PIONEER. He understands the final events in light of the Great Controversy between God and Satan, according to which Planet Earth is a spectacle to a Universe filled with intelligent, thinking, mindful and free living beings, before whom Satan wishes to discredit the government of God and present him as unjust, arbitrary, inconsistent and inferior to His. The pionner also understands that, in light of this belief, God's people have a decisive role in future developments, since through a conduct aligned with the laws of God, which is given to them through the example of Christ, they can be a clincher in favor of the Creator and against Satan. In this context, he is sure that the second coming of Christ is not ultimately related to major geopolitical, economic or social events, but only to the formation of a people (Revelation 14) that claim the character of God. He further believes that these people will advance in world evangelism the more sanctified they are and that the more sanctified they are the greater their real commitment to world evangelism, which requires not just trust in the Holy Spirit, but hard work, courage, discipline and planning, as well as correct and intelligent administration of resources. The post ended with my promise to write a second conversation about the final events, in which, in addition to the SKEPTICAL, MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST, and the SDA SCHOLAR, would also feature the ADVENTIST PIONEER. I finally fulfill my promise here. Here's the updated conversation:

SKEPTICAL: Jesus is not coming back. MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST: Yes, He will come back, because social control in China is intensifying. SDA SCHOLAR: Social control in China is Matthew 24:6. No one should be alarmed, because verse 14 (gospel to all nations) comes later and is the clearest sign of the nearness of Jesus' return. ADVENTIST PIONEER: Yes. Even though the whole world is in complete upheaval, Jesus will not return unless the Great Commission is fulfilled. The signs of the end are not political, social or economic. Over the past 130 years, the world has been grappling with wars, frightening political and social experiments, suppressions of freedom and economic crises. These developments have been interspersed, however, with periods of relative stability and peace. This dynamic demonstrates that God has systematically "withheld the winds" of great world events and processes. MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST looks a little disappointed. SKEPTICAL: All right. If you both, PIONEER and SCHOLAR, agree that the gospel is the clearest sign of the end, why doesn't the church preach it as it should? How much time will the SDA still spend beating around the bush?

SDA SCHOLAR: (with the answer on the tip of his tongue and quite willing to preserve his employment and/or recognition): The gospel preached to all nations is not a human effort. It will only be performed when the Holy Spirit descends upon the Church in the latter rain. And even in that case, the angels will be the main preachers. MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST (excited): Yes! It's already happening everywhere! On the internet there are news and more news of miracles, which never end! There are young people prophesying and seeing visions, especially in church camps. Angels are evangelizing the countries of the Middle East and there people are accepting Jesus through dreams! Before the Covid-19 pandemic ends, Jesus will come back! SDA SCHOLAR: That's not what I meant. I said that WHEN the Holy Spirit descends, there will be signs and wonders and the gospel will be preached. I didn't claim it's happening now. SKEPTICAL: Really, you didn't say anything. You just dodged the question. Are the Adventists going to sit on the church pew watching services while the latter rain doesn't come? SDA SCHOLAR: Of course not! The SDA has several great evangelistic actions! Our young people give musical and theatrical performances in city parks, give soup to beggars and hand out glasses of water to drivers at traffic lights! SKEPTICAL: Is this a sign of the end? Is Jesus coming back? SDA SCHOLAR: See... This issue of why Jesus hasn't returned yet is complex. I myself have preached a sermon titled "Why hasn't Jesus come back yet?" I'll send you the link to the last one I preached for you to watch, but it's a complicated subject... And the latter rain needs to be poured...

ADVENTIST PIONEER: If you allow me to say, my Brother SDA SCHOLAR, the subject is not all that complicated and nebulous. Jesus said, "Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness." Adventists need sanctification and mission. These two things working together, Jesus' return will be hastened. When you say that the latter rain must be shed, you forget that WHEN ANY LIGHT IS REJECTED WHILE IN THE EARLY RAIN, the grain does not develop. To receive the latter rain, the Adventist must, during the early rain, repent from all the light that was rejected and accept it once and for all. Without that, there is no latter rain. Jesus did not return because we reject the light given, including that which guides us to use more wisely, in accordance with God's will, the resources for world evangelism. SKEPTICAL: So you recognize that the Adventist Church doesn't really preach as it should! Did you see? That's precisely why I don't pay tithes... It's throwing money away! SDA SCHOLAR, hitherto unflappable, is suddenly quite restless. ADVENTIST PIONEER: I ask you please, Brother Skeptical, to listen to me. I understand your disgust. In fact, the Adventist Church does not preach the gospel as it should, among other things it fails. The infallibility of the Church, moreover, is a Catholic doctrine. Most of the resources that God has given to his people, mainly in the form of workers and money, are used in the wrong places, among people who are tired of hearing the "good news" of the gospel, which are no news for them anymore. Churches are reformed and beautified, leaflets end up in garbage cans, Bible studies are always for ex-Adventists, pastors are always among those already evangelized, never evangelizing... When 80% of the tithes collected in the associations remain within their own domains, the effect cannot be different... However, I ask you, please, to keep sending forth tithes. Look for workers or ministries who work in countries left in the dark without Adventist presence or send the tithes in your power straight to official Adventist missions in needy places. Doing this way, they resources will reach people who are really in need of the gospel. At this moment I am doing exactly that: I'm looking for brothers or ministries in other countries to send them tithes. Join me in this quest!

SKEPTICAL: Look, it all looks very nice, but the truth is that even if our members or pastors are sent to the most incredulous of Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist countries, it will come to nothing, because our message has lost its power... It's all empty words, devoid of faith and true biblical knowledge. These hollow words are just the result of a mediocre, laid-back Christian, up to his neck in the dirtiest sins. Can such a Christian hasten Jesus' return? ADVENTIST PIONEER: No, it cannot. As I said before, we are in this condition because we have sinned by rejecting all the light that has been given to us. I ask you, Brother Skeptical, to recall the history of our church. We were very close to living what God expected of us, which would enable us to finish the work here on Earth, but we hardened our hearts and returned to the desert, refusing the invitation to enter Canaan. The history of the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference and its aftermath is crucial. We need to repent and accept that Jesus gives us the victory over sin and that we can walk with God just like Enoch did. Several important instructions were given to us: life in the countryside, in the midst of nature, attention to physical, mental and spiritual health and fortification of the family. In addition, we need to remember that God's will was that the resources He gave us, namely, spiritual gifts, money and tools, were meant to be used to attract people WHO DO NOT KNOW THE GOSPEL, IN ALL FIELDS OF THE PLANET and especially in those places WHERE FEW OR NO ONE HAD THE CHANCE TO MEET JESUS. The field of work is the whole world. If you would like to read more about this, I recommend the book Evangelism by Sister White as well as the Spalding and Magan collection. An Adventist lay brother has also written a book entitled Evangelpolis and Mobile Goals Evangelism, which has several excerpts from Sister White's texts advising on a complete reform in the use of evangelistic resources, which is light given and rejected. SKEPTICAL: I understand...

MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST (enthusiastic): Do these books tell incredible stories about angels performing great miracles and preaching the gospel all over the world? ADVENTIST PIONEER: Sorry to disappoint you, Brother MYSTICAL SENSATIONALIST, but they don't deal with that. The role of angels in spreading the gospel needs to be better clarified, but I'm afraid the subject has to be left for a future post... SDA SCHOLAR: I'll be ready! A big hug to everyone! Lucas

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