I walk a lot late at night near our home. Suppose I am out walking late some night and I observe a neighbor’s roof is on fire. I know that they are home and since the home is dark, I have reason to believe that they are asleep and totally unaware of the danger they are facing. I do not hear a fire alarm going off, so its either not installed or not working.
Now, you have to realize that these neighbors are very nice people, very good Christian people. Moreover, I REALLY hate to ruin their day by telling them bad news. Now, I can do either of two things. I can ignore the fire and go walking on my merry way, in which case they may be killed by the fire or seriously injured, or I can go up to their door and begin banging on the door and ringing their doorbell and yell fire as loud as I can, hoping that they hear me and get out before its too late. Of course, I also hope that they don’t shoot me through the door, thinking that I am some madman out to hurt them.
If I go my way and do nothing, nobody will know about it except me. And even if other people somehow did find out afterward what I failed to do, the authorities cannot prosecute me for not notifying my neighbor for there is no law that requires I intervene. I am completely safe in this world if I do nothing. But my neighbors will likely be dead. Assuming nobody found out what I failed to do, what would you think of me were I to quietly tell you a couple of years later that I let my neighbors die in a fire because I chose not to do anything when I knew they were in serious danger? Oh, I did not want to disturb them and they are such nice people I did not want to ruin their day by telling them their house was on fire. By telling them such bad news, I would be hurting them! But which is worse, ruining their day or letting them die?
But if I get involved and notify them that they have a major problem, there is some risk, albeit unlikely, that they will refuse to believe me and will simply slam the door in my face. Fortunately, the word “fire” tends to get people’s attention, so its probable that they will at least hear me out and will come outside to see if I am telling the truth to them. Thus, I am likely to be successful in saving their lives.
We as Adventists are faced with a similar situation. We have evidence from the Bible that God is about to destroy the kingdoms of this world and its religions with it. Many will be destroyed if they don’t get out of the way of the fire that is coming. And the only way most of them can know how to get out of the way is if we tell them about their problem. While we should be reasonably discreet about our approach on doing this, we do need to tell them whenever the opportunity arises and they are in a mood to listen to reason. If we do not tell them, are we any better than we would be by letting a neighbor die in a fire because we did not want to bother them, hurt them by ruining their day or even get involved at all?
Revelation 14 tells us of 144,000 virgins, which if you study it the point should be clear that these are Adventists. We are the people who are to give the three angels’ messages. If we don’t give those messages to the world, then what of those who will die because we did not bother to tell them about what was coming?
I had a coworker years ago who overheard me (while at work) tell another person a little about what Revelation 13 predicts about the United States. My coworker, a fellow whose first name was Al, later asked me about this. I briefly told him a little about it and then nothing more was said. I felt prompted that I should follow up on his interest, but because of problems in my own life, I did not do so. But did think about it every now and then over intervening years. A couple of years ago I happened to open the local newspaper and passed through the obituary section where I happened to see his name mentioned, so I stopped to read a story of how he had dropped dead while preparing to teach a scuba diving class, the last one before he was to move to Hawaii and teach scuba there. My heart skipped a beat because I suddenly remembered his interest in Bible prophecy and how I had failed to follow through on that. Its something that most not happen again in my life!