Adventists really have a conceited view of their position of favor with God and their function in these last days. They believe that they have been called by God, a chosen people to spread the last warning message before the second coming of Christ. In an attempt to prove that they are the right church they will point out that they are the only people that keep all the commandments, including the fourth, and that they have the gift of prophecy in their church. They also believe that Jesus cannot come until most of the people in the Adventist Church are pretty well sinless. It seems they spend a lot of time making one another feel guilty about not being sinless yet and therefore persistently putting off the Second Advent.
Adventists basically believe that they have been entrusted with the responsibility of getting three particular messages to the world in these latter-days. They refer to these as the 'Three Angels' Messages'; they are found in the book of Revelation. It is important to understand these teachings as ground word for discussion about the Sabbath day in a later chapter.
The first message is given in Rev. 14:6,7. This depicts an angel flying in heaven proclaiming the everlasting gospel, indicating the hour of God's judgment has come and calling everybody to worship God the creator. Adventist consider themselves to be this angel messenger. They believe that this message was proclaimed around the year 1844. At that time it was erroneously believed that Jesus would appear in glory for His second Advent. But when that did not occur, one of the faithful had a vision in a corn patch. This vision instructed him that the true meaning was that Jesus had entered the heavenly sanctuary to begin the task of judging Christians who were still living. When this judgment was over, apparently Christ was to return at that time. We have already considered this doctrine previously noting that one of the Adventists own top evangelists lost his preaching license because of his contradictory views of this topic. In review, he had indicated that no serious Christian could possibly believe that Jesus is sitting in heaven going through records to judge the performance of people currently living on earth.
The second angel's message consists of Rev. 14:8. Adventists again consider themselves to be this other angel giving the message, "Babylon is fallen is fallen." This message doesn't seem to be quite as clear cut as the first. It has been delivered by Adventists to the world for quite some time now. Adventists consider all other denominations as forms of false worship. They feet that only their church is eligible to be classified as true worship of God. The message really is that people should leave their churches when they find some error and flock into the Adventist Church which supposedly has all the truth. This second message really paves the way for the next which is considered much more important for Adventists.
The content of the so called third angel's message is very serious indeed and is really the basis of Adventist theology. Needless to say it has been strongly endorsed by Ellen White. This third message is recorded in the Bible as follows, "And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, if anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also shall drink the wine of God's wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of His anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshippers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name." (Rev. 14:9-11)
In short Adventists believe that they are called to give a message to the world that the Pope is the beast spoken of in Revelation. They claim that his mark, that is the mark of the beast, is the observance of Sunday rather than the Old Testament sabbath, Saturday. They do a very convincing job in this department and I must confess that I swallowed this belief, hook, line and sinker for quite some time. This principle is studied and reinforced so often that almost anyone would believe it after hearing it that many times. However I do not claim that as my excuse for being taken in.
This passage gives the very strong warning that at some time in the future we will see a 'Beast' who will insist that people either worship him or God. There will be some method of telling how these people are divided into two classes by a 'mark'. This appears to be a rather final decision for those people living at that time and they must make a choice.
Adventists, and I must add, other denominations believe that the beast is represented by the papacy. There is considerable Biblical evidence supporting this view and perhaps we should go through some of that here. This is really an important subject as this passage quoted above carries with it one of the most serious warnings to be found in all the Bible. It is something we must not take lightly.
Let us first consider the so called number of the beast as it is depicted in the Bible and see if we can get anything from that. "This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is 666." (Rev. 13:18) Let me first point out that the number 6 is used in the Bible to denote imperfection as compared to the number 7 which always stands for perfection.
We look at people's names or titles and add the numerical value of the letters of those names. We can find several names which add up to a total of 666. Catholics apparently believe that Nero Caesar was the beast and that his name adds up to 666, although I have never been able to discover how they arrive at that conclusion. The Pope's official title is 'The Vicar of the Son of God'. It is inscribed in Latin across the front of the papal crown. The Latin rendition is 'Vicarius Filii Dei'. As you will see from the illustration [on the right], this name does add up to 666.
As an interesting aside it is rather remarkable that the prophetess of The Seventh Day Adventist Church also has a name which adds up to 666. Ellen Gould White is her complete name. As you can see from the illustration the letters also add up to 666. I am not suggesting we should consider Ellen White to be in the running as one of the possibilities for the beast. She just is not important enough to qualify for that position.
It is notable that whenever the term beast is used in the Bible it is used to denote a kingdom or nation. This is certainly true of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel in chapter 7. We find here described four great beasts. It appears that the subject we are currently discussing is represented as the fourth beast. It is described in verses 7 and 8. After the fourth beast comes a description which suggests the Second Advent of our Lord and His everlasting rule after that nine. "The four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most high shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, and ever." (Dan. 7:17-18)
Strictly speaking the papacy is not really a nation, kingdom or a great king. However I don't think this disqualifies him from the possibility of actually being the beast under consideration.
In the passage just under consideration describing the fourth beast we see a description, "A fourth beast, terrible and dreadful and exceedingly strong; ... it was different from all the beasts that were before; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things." (Dan. 7:7-8) Many Bible interpreters today do agree that the fourth beast represents the pagan Roman Empire. This empire did in fact break up into ten different kingdoms.
We read in verse 24 "As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings." It is pointed out that the little horn shall be different from the other ten and in several ways the papacy was quite different from the other ten nations. History also tells us that the papacy crushed three of these nations.
Let us carry on in Daniel 7:25. "He shall speak words against the most high, and shall wear out the saints of the most high, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hands for a time, two times, and a half a time." Interpreting this verse, Adventists will tell you that the pope has indeed in the past spoken great words and in fact the pope does claim some of the power which should be reserved for God alone. For instance he claims the power of modifying, explaining, and interpreting divine laws. He (and other priests) claim to have the power to forgive sin. When Jesus claimed to have this power the Pharisees accused Him of blasphemy as God alone can forgive sin.
Also from this verse we see the expression "He shall wear out the saints of the most high". Adventists claim this prophecy came true when the pope was responsible for widespread barbarous religious persecutions during the Dark Ages when many were put to death because of 'heresy'.
The phrase "think to change times and laws" is explained as the pope changing the sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday. Here the pope changes the time of the sabbath day and seems to fulfil this prophecy. A great deal of Adventist theology depends on the assertion that the pope changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. But as we shall see later this is just not true.
Adventists love to quote a question and answer given in a Catholic catechism. From this they insist that the Catholic Church admits that they were responsible for changing the day of worship.
Question: "Have you any other way of proving that the Catholic Church has power to institute festivals or precepts?"
Answer: "Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority."
We will see later that Sunday was being observed as the Lord's day long before the Catholic Church gave this particular claim.
Also in the last Biblical verse quoted there is a time period given in which the beast will persecute the saints. This time period is defined as "a time, two times, and half a time". After a rather complex manipulation, this time period can be calculated to be 1,260 years. Adventists claim that this time period began in 533 AD when the bishop of Rome became recognized as the Pope. However the pope did not exercise full authority until 5 years later in 538 when Justinian took the city of Rome from the Goths after considerable warfare.
Exactly 1,260 years later we find the French revolution in progress. France was considered by many to be the strongest supporter of the Roman Catholic Church but an Act of the French parliament actually decreed that God did not exist. In the year 1798, a French general marched into Rome and arrested Pope Pious VI. This pope died in exile and the great power wielded by the pope seemed to be diluted somewhat since that time. The papacy lost its great power over many European countries which it had enjoyed for many years. Around this time the papacy lost its great power and authority to persecute heretics and in fact the last executions occurred around 1775.
This brings us to the next point intended to describe the beast. In Rev. 13 we find a description of two beasts. One of these beasts seemed to suffer a mortal wound but recovered. "One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder". (Rev. 13:3) This wound is spoken of again in verse 12, "Whose mortal wound was healed" and again in verse 14, "The beast which was wounded by the sword and yet lived". This mysterious wound to the beast referred to in the Bible is explained by Adventists again on the basis of Pope Pious VI being taken prisoner by Napoleon's army. The pope died as an indirect result of this act of warfare which would seem to be signified by the word 'sword'. However, the papacy was immediately reestablished by election of a new pope in 1800. But the pope has never enjoyed the tremendous power he wielded prior to this historical event.
There are other Biblical passages which can be used to support the idea that the beast is represented by the papacy. There appears to be a lot of evidence incriminating the pope. I must confess to you that I am not certain how the Bible should be interpreted on this subject. At this time I reserve my judgment as to the real identity of the beast - - it might well be the pope.
In the foregoing, the Catholics have been taking quite a pounding from the Adventists. However Protestants should not feel too smug because they are not let off the hook. In fact, they play a great part in Adventist interpretations of the Bible. Revelation has a considerable warning about the "Image of the beast". Adventists believe that this term signifies the Protestant community which supports the Catholic practice of worshipping on Sunday.
The image of the beast is described in Rev. 13:11-17 and I will not go into it very deeply here. Suffice it to say that the image of the beast will insist that everyone receive the mark of the beast and those who don't will face execution. These are all very serious subjects but it is not my intention to study them particularly in this book. I do hope that these discussions will stimulate your exploring spirit so that you will open your Bible and study seriously, particularly the book of Revelation.
The major point I want to make in this chapter is the Adventist interpretation of "The mark of the beast". Adventists will try to convince you, with considerable success, that the mark of the beast involves the keeping of the sabbath day. They will point out that the pope has changed the sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. Since they consider the pope to be the beast, one shows his allegiance to the pope by worshipping on Sunday, whereas 'a true worshipper of God' will show his loyalty to the Creator by worshipping on Saturday. Superficially this seems to be a very foolish and even impossible doctrine. However, let me remind you that people are vulnerable for many different reasons. Adventist arguments to support this view can be extremely convincing. One should not study this subject lightly or simply out of curiosity. Without considerable guidance from the Holy Spirit, the student runs a high risk of being convinced of this Adventist doctrine. Let me point out that this is when the fanaticism really begins.
I must categorically say that I don't know what the mark of the beast is either. However I do feet certain that it does not represent observance of Saturday as opposed to observance of Sunday. The observance of a day in itself in fact becomes an idol. God has given us stern warning about worshipping idols.
Also we should consider the fact that Jews and other Christian sects observe the seventh day. According to Adventist arguments these people would not receive the mark of the beast but I don't think you will get any Adventist to agree that these other sabbath keepers belong to the 'true church'. However because they observe the seventh day they will not be subject to receiving the mark of the beast.
Adventists believe that sometime in the future a law will be passed by the 'beast', or the 'image of the beast', insisting that everyone keep the first day as the Sabbath day. Those who do conform to this edict will of course be deemed to have received the mark of the beast. Therefore Sunday keepers will be disloyal to God and Saturday keepers will run the risk of being executed by the civil authorities who passed the law in the first place.
Adventists have been watching for years to see this law appear. Anytime there is any 'persecution' against a Seventh Day Adventist for not wanting to work on Saturday, they immediately jump on this as evidence that this law is coming sometime in the immediate future. They in fact thrive on this type of persecution. Their lifestyle is built totally around the sabbath idol.
I wish I did know what the mark of the beast is so that I could avoid it in the future and be counted in God's camp. However I do have enough faith to trust that God will make this known to me at the appropriate time so that I can make the correct choice. Whatever the mark of the beast is, it is obvious that it is going to be very serious and difficult decision for all of us to make. If you discuss this in any depth with an Adventist they will be very careful to point out that you as a Sunday keeper really have not yet received the mark of the beast ... they don't want you to flee just yet.
However Ellen White in her writings is quite specific as to who has received the mark of the beast. "With the issue (the seventh day sabbath) thus clearly brought before them, whoever shall trample upon God's law to obey a human enactment receives the mark of the beast; he accepts the sign of allegiance to the power which he chooses to obey instead of God." (The Great Controversy, p. 530) "While one class, by accepting the mark of submission to earthly powers receive the mark of the beast, the other, choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receives the seal of God." (p. 531) There is no doubt that Ellen White would believe that I have received the mark of the beast personally. Besides, since I have delivered the Adventists' third angel's message to you, that is the 'truth about the sabbath', then you will also receive the mark of the beast if you don't fall in line and start observing the seventh day sabbath.
This is where Adventists really get their high feelings. The fact that they are doing something that other people aren't, that is keeping the seventh day sabbath, they feel elevated above everyone else. They experience a false sense of security and counterfeit happiness. This legalism is responsible for their smug, self-righteous attitude which literally pours out of them. If you personally know any Seventh Day Adventists you will know exactly what I am talking about.....
If I have made a mistake, and future developments indicate that Saturday keeping versus Sunday keeping does turn out to be the mark of the beast, then I will have a chance to change my mind. Of course I do not believe that this will ever happen but I must remain alert to discover what the real mark of the beast is when it does appear. We all must remain alert and watch.
I just want to bring forth a couple of examples to show that Adventist interpretation of the book of Revelation is questionable to say the least. Going back to the Adventist so called second angel's message we read; "Another angel, a second, followed, saying, fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of her impure passion." I do agree that Revelation has a lot of symbolic phrases. Adventists feel that the word 'Babylon' stands for false religion in general. Their second message has already been proclaimed for quite some time. "The spirit of world conforming and indifference ... has gained ground in the churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination." (Great Controversy p. 344) Any church but the Adventists' is considered by them to be practicing false worship. All other churches are counterfeit religion they say. Remember, they insist that they are the only true church!
Adventists fail to realize that perhaps Babylon means exactly what it says . . . the city of Babylon. They generally believe that Babylon was destroyed centuries ago never to be in existence again. But I have some interesting news for them.
There is a prophecy in the book of Isaiah concerning Babylon. "And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, splendor and pride of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. It will never be inhabited or dwelt in for all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there." (Isa. 13:19,20) It is a fact that Babylon was completely destroyed when invaded by the Medes and Persians. But notice that in the Biblical quotation above, God has pointed out that "It will never be inhabited or dwelt in for all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, etc."
Something very interesting is happening now. The city of Babylon is being rebuilt by the government of Iraq. This project is their national pride and all of the riches they are gaining from selling vast amounts of oil are being poured into restoring this city. It could well become the financial and commercial center of the world as is indicated in the book of Revelation.
To show you that the Iraqis are serious I quote you this interesting piece of news. "An archaeologist who is field engineer for the Iraqis government's Babylon restoration project, is resolved to change the slow pace of the work. For the last nineteen months, he has been running the excavation from a little office where he studies charts and sleeps most nights on an iron bed. 'We are trying to restore Babylon to the way it was, one of the seven wonders of the world.' He said 'Babylon is a special place, world civilizations spring from Babylon. It's worth all the attention we give it.' The Iraqis government is spending about six million dollars a year on a ten year project to explore the ruins scientifically, preserve as many as possible and restore them artificially when necessary with building materials similar to those used millennia ago. The effort flows from the increased pride and Iraqis nationalism fostered by President Hussein's Socialist Party rule and fuelled by an estimated 14 billion dollars this year in oil revenues. 'Not a million or two, but whatever we want, without limit.' In another reflection of Iraqis pride, the project has an entirely Iraqis staff - - the 750 workers along with more than 50 archaeologists and other specialists." Jerusalem Post, Nov. 15, 1979)
The aim of the Iraqis government is to restore Babylon to its original beauty and glory by the year 1982. This sets up the possibility of all predictions concerning Babylon in the book of Revelation to be fulfilled sometime in the near future. While Adventists are sitting around believing Babylon to represent false worship, the original city is in fact being rebuilt. A major part of their theology must go down the drain.
Let's look at another very interesting point concerning the city of Babylon. In the passage from Isaiah quoted above we note that "Babylon . . . will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them." What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? They were both destroyed by 'everlasting fire. That does not mean that the fire burned forever, but the resultant destruction of those cities is everlasting. They will never exist again according, to God's word. However note that Babylon did not meet this fate in its first destruction many centuries ago. Babylon did not burn up when it was over thrown by the Medes and Persians. God indicates to us that Babylon will be destroyed 'like Sodom and Gomorrah and that suggests that Babylon must burn up with fire. That has not happened so this Bible prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. It will be destroyed by fire next time!
Let us go back to the book of Revelation. It is necessary to read all of chapter 18 and the first part of chapter 19 to get the full details concerning Babylon. Let's look at a few important passages. "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, ... for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness. Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, come out of her my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities ... so shall her plaques come in a single day, pestilence, and mourning and famine, and she shall be burned with fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. Then the kings of the earth who committed fornication and were wanton with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning; they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, 'alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon!' In one hour has thy judgment come? And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of cold, silver, ... and in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth." (Revelation 18:2,24) Here we see a very livid description of total destruction of the city of Babylon by fire. Babylon is depicted here as being the financial capital of the world and the destruction of Babylon is mourned by kings and merchants who no longer can do business with her.
This revelation about Babylon is much different than the Adventist rendition and this one point alone almost totally destroys Adventist theology. If it is possible that they could be so wrong about one simple word, 'Babylon' in the Bible, imagine how wrong they could be about more complex abstractions such as the 'Beast' and his 'mark'. However we must remain very cautious, some of the teachings of the Adventists may be true and we will have to decide which ones.
Having the above knowledge about the new city of
Babylon, this certainly throws a pail of cold water on the Adventists' so called second
angel's message. How are they going to reconcile this? This has been a teaching of Ellen
White year after year. This illustrates the danger of following a false prophet. The mind
becomes closed forever concerning other possible interpretations of the Bible when a
hero's rendition is followed blindly.
Ellen White and the Jewish Temple
Adventists teach that the destruction of the Jewish temple in the year 70 AD was a final event. They insist that the Jewish temple can never be rebuilt. One Adventist publication tells the story of Julian, Emperor of Rome and his attempt to rebuild the temple in about 300 AD
This mighty ruler, with all the power of the civilized world at his command, failed to rebuild that temple. He under-took this project in an attempt to endear himself to the Jews and undermine the faith of Christianity. One of his biggest problems was the imagined threat that Christianity represented to the Roman Empire.
While trying to restore the ancient glory of the temple of Jerusalem, strange things happened. Horrible balls of fire kept breaking out around the foundations, making the project inaccessible to the workmen. The attempt to rebuild the temple was abandoned.
Justinian felt that by rebuilding that temple and strengthening the Jews in Jerusalem, he could disprove a Bible prophecy and discredit Christianity. "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled". (Lk. 21:24)
This prophecy has now been fulfilled! Jews are once again in control of Israel and Jerusalem after several hundred years absence, as was foretold in the Bible.
There is no prophecy saying the Jewish temple will never be rebuilt. In fact, the great synagogue is being rebuilt in Jerusalem now. It is expected to take seven years to rebuild it; the same time as it took to build the original Solomon's temple. Construction began July 1, 1974 and is slated for completion in 1981.
Now being aware that the Jewish temple is being rebuilt, this sets up exciting possibilities for more prophecy to be fulfilled in the near future. This again concerns an Adventist doctrine and is rather difficult to follow. Adventists rely heavily on the book of Daniel using the prophecies there to support their cause. One of the major Adventist doctrines involves the cessation of the sacrifice and oblation in the middle of the week, as a consequence of the power of anti-Christ. "And he (anti-Christ) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week (seven years); and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Dan. 9:17 KJV)
Adventists look on this seven year period as the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. They claim this ministry was cut off in the middle of the week, that is after three and a half years when Jesus was crucified. At that time, according to Adventists, the animal sacrifices used by the Jews stopped forever.
It seemed like a very logical explanation to me when I went through this Bible study with them. It was really quite impressive. However thinking back on it there is no reason to believe that the Jews stopped their sacrifices the day Jesus was crucified. Jews have existed ever since that time and I would assume that their system of sacrifices persisted at least until the destruction of the temple some 35 years later. Anyway, it does not seem logical that the anti-Christ would 'confirm the covenant with many', if that included Jesus Christ.
We have already seen that the temple in Jerusalem is about to be completed. It is expected that the Jewish people will reinstitute their system of animal sacrifices. This certainly will not coincide at all with Adventist interpretation of the Bible.
There is a more reasonable interpretation of this prophecy in Daniel which is traditionally known as the 'Dispensational Interpretation of the Scriptures'. In short this suggests that anti-Christ will agree to a covenant with the people of Israel for a period of seven years which will give the land of Palestine to Israel as their everlasting possession. Despite confirming this covenant for seven years, the anti-Christ will actually break the covenant after three and a half years and cause the Jewish sacrifices and the oblation to cease again. This interpretation leaves this prophecy of Daniel to be fulfilled sometime probably in the near future. This is in direct contrast to Adventists theology which teaches that this prophecy has been fulfilled at the time of Christ. Of course Adventists could not possibly entertain this future possibility as they had already previously decided that the temple could never be rebuilt in Jerusalem and therefore there would never be any sacrifice to be cut off. Again we see how one error leads into another. These errors as usual are confirmed by the teachings of the false prophet, Ellen White.
To be fair about this topic I must quote the verse immediately preceding that quoted above. "And after the 62 weeks, an anointed one (the Messiah) shall be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the Prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war; desolations are decreed." (Dan. 9:26) This sentence does in fact talk about Jesus' crucifixion but this idea cannot be carried on into the next verse and be assumed to be the interpretation there as given by Adventists. The temple was destroyed a few years later by the Roman army. The fact remains that the sacrifice and offering will be cut off again at some time in the future.
In these two examples concerning Babylon and the Jewish temple, we see how Adventist theology has erred considerably. They maintain that these prophecies have been fulfilled in the past but we see that they are to be future events. Circumstances at this time, with the completion of Babylon and the erection of the Temple in Jerusalem, set the stage for the fulfillment of prophecies in God's word. It is all very well to be aware of these errors, but this knowledge should provoke a significant response from each of us. We are about to see all of God's prophecies fulfilled in our time ... possibly.
In studying chapters Luke 21 and Matthew 24 we will be convinced that very little is left to occur before the Second Advent. Closing events will occur very rapidly; as we have already seen, Babylon will be destroyed in one day, she will suffer her plagues in a single day. (This term single day may represent the period of one year as is customary in interpreting Bible prophecies using the day year principle) The lesson here is that we should heed the words of Jesus, "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Lk. 21:27-28) He indicates that closing events will take place quickly. "When you see these things taking place, you know that the Kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all has taken place." (Luke 21:31-32)
Adventists traditionally translate the word 'generation' to mean the Jewish race. They indicate that many races have been wiped off the face of the earth but Jewish people will always exist until the Second Advent. A more reasonable translation of the word generation is exactly what it denotes. Jesus is really pointing out that when the signs at the end of time begin to occur, they will all be fulfilled and happen within a time period of one generation.
We need only to look around us to become awesomely aware of Jesus' words; "As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, ... they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Mt. 24:37-39) How many of us will be prepared? - - a very sobering question.