Has There Been a Delay? A Pastoral Look at the Second Coming

Preamble

This is not a scholarly discourse on the perceived delay of the Parousia. It is a personal pastoral reflection on something which has been at the very heart of Seventh-day Adventism from its inception and has been on my mind since my early childhood.

We are a community of faith that was conceived in the aftermath of the 1844 Great Disappointment. We were so persuaded Jesus would come in October 1844 that we sold everything and waited — and waited —- until our eager anticipation turned into bitter tears of a shattered sweet dream when Jesus didn’t show up.

We soldiered on nonetheless and soon came to terms with our misinterpretation of Scriptures. We rebuilt ourselves and in 1863 made the very same much anticipated, but yet unfulfilled event, the second coming of Jesus, the official, legal, and eschatological other half of our identity – Adventists.

The “Delay”

We have thus been preaching, teaching, praying, and singing about the coming of Jesus ever since. However, that Jesus didn’t come in no way does away with the scores of Scriptural promises that he will eventually come. One hundred and seventy three years on (1844-2017) today’s Blessed Hope is still yesteryear’s Blessed Hope, although one may legitimately sigh, “How much longer, oh Lord!”

What looks to us like a “delay” may not necessarily be so for God who lives outside of the constraints of time as we know it. There are at least 60 occurrences of delay in Scriptures such as in: Isaiah 48:9, Matthew 24:48, Revelation 6:10, and 10:6, etc.

Ellen G. White addressed the issue of the apparent delay over a period of 42 years between 1868 and 1910, five years before she died. It makes for some rather uncomfortable reading. Writing in the General Conference bulletin of March 30, 1903 she says, “I know that if the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His word, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan.” Sobering words indeed!

The interim between the “already” and the “not yet”

How we occupy between the “already” of the first Advent and the “not yet” of the Second Advent is crucial. We can doze off like the ten virgins and miss out on the banquet, like five of them did, when the Bridegroom finally arrived. We can say, “My Lord delays His coming” and squander the time and resources we have been given. We can even begin to doubt and start saying that things haven’t much changed since the promises were made some two thousand years ago and therefore how can we be so sure that there will be a second coming after all. Or we can join the scoffers as Peter predicted there would be (2 Peter 3:3-12):

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?

You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God hastening the coming of the day of God (Darby Version).

You should do what you can to make it come soon (New Life Version).

You should look forward to that day and hurry it along (Living Translation).

You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon (Contemporary English Version).

Earnestly longing for the coming of the day of God (JB Phillips Version).

Waiting for and hasting to the presence of the day of God (Young’s Literal Translation).

You should look for the day of God and do everything you can to make it come quickly (World English Translation).

On the other hand, we can go about God’s business, as never before, with renewed zeal, earnestness and conviction, tried and tested in the daily personal relationship we develop with the Lord to “hasten” His coming which is borne out of our deep desire to be with Christ for ever more. God has many who are unprepared. He exercises His patience wanting as many as possible to come to repentance and be saved. Several New Testament versions support the concept of our part in “speeding up” Christ’s coming, while the JB Phillips Version emphasizes the idea of “earnest longing.”

Could LOVE be the answer?

There are many ideas floating around in Adventism about why Jesus hasn’t returned. In my childhood and teenage years my peers and I we were absolutely certain Jesus would return in our generation. I even questioned the necessity of studying, preparing, and planning for an earthly future since there wouldn’t be one.

Whether or not we believe it’s presumptuous of us to think there is anything at all we can, or should, do to “hasten” the coming of Christ, one thing is crystal clear: Jesus will return when God decides Matthew 24:14 has been achieved:

The Gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (ESV)

God’s patience is not open-ended and indefinite.

At any rate, there are two aspects to the Second Coming: a personal and a global. We have dwelt on the global. On a personal level, however, Jesus will come in our lifetime. When we close our eyes in the sleep of death the moment we open them again it will be resurrection morn. We will see Jesus face to face at His return. It will be, and feel, like in the twinkling of an eye! Meanwhile, we are here and it seems to me there is something we need to make paramount in our daily lives. This is encapsulated in that little word “LOVE.”

Perhaps the central and most comprehensive theme in the writings of Ellen G. White is that of love. The phrase "God is love" provides the beginning and ending words in her five-volume treatment of the Conflict of the Ages, with more than 3,500 pages in between.

It is the theme that undergirds and provides the context for all other themes in her writings. "Such love is without a parallel," she wrote in the first chapter of her classic book Steps to Christ.

The matchless love of God for a world that did not love Him! The thought has a subduing power upon the soul and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God. The more we study the divine character in the light of the cross, the more we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly we discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite and a tender pity surpassing a mother's yearning sympathy for her wayward child" (Steps to Christ, p. 15).

The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of God’s Character of love” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 413-415).

Isn’t our greatest challenge as a church, while we wait, pray, proclaim and work in order to “hasten” Christ’s coming, to cultivate an authentic and passionate love for God, an empathic, non-judgemental, and unconditional love for each other, and a burning love for the lost? Is it possible that when that love is fully reproduced in Christ’s followers the much anticipated latter rain will fall and salvation history will come to its grand finale in the Parousia?

Claude Lombart writes from the village of Binfield, UK, where he is in active retirement. He holds an emeritus pastoral credential from the BUC. Lombart has served in several countries in francophone West Africa, the Middle East, New Zealand, Scotland and England in leadership, departmental, teaching, pastoral, and counsellor roles. He is a regular contributor to several church papers and has recently published a book on successful relationships.

Image: Photo by Lori M. Sousa on Unsplash

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8417
1 Like

Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot ought to be experienced by every Seventh-day Adventist. Like the main character who endlessly waits for Godot to appear, clutching onto an old letter that says he will come, Adventism is saddled with a core belief that is increasingly untenable. We need to keep coming up with explanations to rationalise why we endlessly wait.

Let’s live well, let’s live fully, let’s live lovingly now and be agents of healing, light and the fullness of life in our communities. Not to evangelise people to a belief in a second coming, but because they are of great value and make life worth living. They also are the essence of Jesus. Let’s see this spirit of Jesus manifest through us as he comes into our lives and communities in spirit and lived out presence now.

Perhaps Godot isn’t coming in the way we expect.

Adventists have been waiting 170+ years. But to read the New Testament regarding the very soon end and return of Jesus shows it’s a wait that is nearly 2000 years long and counting.

Jesus’ 2nd Coming is a long held meme that resists fading away. Godot isn’t back and all our hoping won’t bring him around. Adventism has created a non biblical doctrine that SDAism is in control of God and that we are responsible for Godot not returning. That’s a guilty weight to bear, and also rather grandiose and arrogant.

10 Likes

Are you sure about that? Maybe it is and the only thing that will really bring about the second coming is a time when somehow man will reach a point where if something does not happen no flesh will survive.it seems to me to be the logical answer, If God is really outside of time, which makes sense to me then the end is not so much a time as simply the end, or rather stepping in right before the end.

Man now has the power to destroy himself. Recall the words of Jesus— As in the days of Noah,! It is not a perfect generation but a Wicked Generation. seems close doesn’t it?

2 Likes

He (Jesus) replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.”

4 Likes

I was forcibly struck, in attending a French Adventist Church, near a home I own in France, to read the words behind the pulpit :
BEHOLD I AM COMING SOON.

It was in French of course, but my French is fluent, and whereas our English KJV muddies the translation, BEHOLD I COME QUICKLY, the French Bible is clear : SOON, not quickly. The same emphatic translation in my Dutch New Testament :SOON !

This word, SOON, in Revelation Chapter 22 is emphatically repeated three times, in verse 7, in verse 12, and in verse 22.

With these three repetitions, preceded by the word SURELY, in verse 22, Christ appears quite confident that He is coming SOON. And these emphatic promises are being delivered in the first century AD.

Had His Heavenly Father not yet informed Him, that no way could He return before, at the earliest, 1844, since the prophet Daniel had delegated a specific task for Him on that date?

Why was he so confident He would return SOON, if nearly two millennia would need to elapse before 1844? Was He ill informed?

This surely becomes problematical for those who still cling to the Investigative Judgement doctrine?

Another extremely problematical pronouncement for Adventists, is EGW’s assertion in 1903, that the Second Coming could have already occurred had certain requirements been met.

Her implication is that the Second Coming Is a potentially MOVABLE EVENT.

If His Second Coming was movable, and could have occurred in the nineteenth century, as EGW implies, then is God, by delaying His return, not complicit, codependent and an ENABLER of all the ghastly atrocities of the 20th Century
—the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Stalin’s gulag, the London Blitz and other egregious events?

Misery proliferates on this planet and could be aborted in a heartbeat with a speedy, expedited Second Coming! His interminable delay multiplies MISERY.

Another TOXIC concept conveyed by EGW in the Great Controversy, is that Christ cannot return before He is “VINDICATED “ by “ the universe “ .

This unfortunately portrays a God, as selfishly and compulsively obsessed with His eventual “vindication “ so that He deliberately delays His return to maximize the apparent evil that Satan can inflict, thereby enhancing His own image.

The Crucifixion, in all its grim, grisly, gruesome ghastliness should surely have been adequate evidence to the “universe “, that Satan was monstrous, in the murder of God’s own Son. No further “vindication “ should have been necessary.

If two further millennia of atrocities, genocides, natural disasters and cruel calamities, have not yet persuaded “the universe “ then surely other planets are populated, as in the movie PLANET OF THE APES.

Intelligent beings confronted with millennia of misery should surely have reached some appropriate conclusion by now—so EGW’S Great Controversy doctrine is suspect, when it requires “the universe “ to “vindicate “ God.

Adventists, unlike other main stream Christians, create complicated conundrums out of convoluted, contorted lines of reasoning, merely because they are regurgitated by someone claiming to be a “prophet “.

Response to Denis Hofer:
Absolutely, I agree that God’s VINDICATION, the clearing of His good name in the face of false accusations, is a supremely necessary element in the ultimate
conclusion of the “Conflirt of the Ages “.

What I find TOXIC, incomprehensible, and straining credulity, is that EGWs “universe “ by which I assume she means, the “.good Angels “ and “unfallen beings on other planets “. are so despicably dumb and dim witted that multiple millennia of atrocities (not to mention the egregious murder of God’s Son ) have not YET convinced them of God’s true character.

Had they been suitably convinced, Christ’s coming would/ should have occurred centuries ago.

EGWs “vindication” process is clearly, aberrantly awry, astray, and adrift.

It appears we have a multiple millennial duration and seemingly interminable “. hung jury “.
When will God declare a mistrial, break the gridlock, and abort this fiasco?

5 Likes

Thanks Claude for a positive pastoral look at the Second Coming!

@Danielle

And yes, we must keep our heart strings tuned to the tune of the blessed hope.

My grandfather was born within a year of the official foundation of our Adventist organization in 1863. Some of his siblings began life within five years of the birth of Ellen White in 1827. For me, then 1844 doesn’t belong to a long forgotten era. People, events and even thought patterns from the mid-C19th still have a huge impact on my life and that of my family at the beginning of the C21st. I’m happy to allow recaptured biblical truth from the mid-nineteenth century to impact my life and belief even today!

1 Like

Peter says, in view of the SC we should “live holy and godly lives.” This is very opened ended. It would differ from person to person in culture and historical time frames. Sure it would. Peter explains the delay is not due to our behavior but on God’s patience toward the unsaved. Jesus explains the delay in terms of mission accomplished in terms of preaching. Telling the story. It is while we wait, live holy lives, NOT if you can live perfect holy lives–then God will come.

The author asks, “Is it possible” to fully reproduce God’s love so the end will come? Why it is necessary to condition the SC on human perfection of love? Whatever this may mean, it ties God’s hands preventing him from coming to save and judge as He alone would see fit. Humans can tell the story of redemption, but as to living it perfectly–we never have or never will.

Even if it were true we could develop perfect unselfish love–how would church leadership model this?

3 Likes

Any human wishing to be a ‘son’, or ‘child’, of God when Jesus comes the second time, will have taken that Name . . . either ‘vindicated’, or not. Which would you prefer ? Even U.S. presidents do not take office until they are ‘vindicated’ by election.
How, then, is the ‘vindication’ of the good ‘Name’ (Hebrew, ‘Shem’) of God among humans – who are apparently the only inhabitants of the ‘universe’ to still not ‘get it’ about the importance of God’s vindication in the face of unfair accusations made against Them – a ‘TOXIC concept’ ?

Job’s suffering ended ‘soon’ after he refused to condemn God to justify himself (Job 40:8, 42:1-6) and prayed for his friends who did not refuse to slander God’s ‘Name’ by speaking lies about God. The ‘Satan’ introduced at the beginning of the book of Job had clearly done the same slandering in order to become such an ‘Adversary’ of God and of those ‘children’ called by God’s Name. Like it or not,the Christ of God will not return ‘soon’ this second time until ‘the Name of God’ is understood correctly, and welcomed by Their human children – unlike the ‘first coming’ when He was met by ‘Job’s’ slandering ‘friends’, even in His Father’s own house.

It is claimed by ‘other main stream Christians’ that David, Isaiah, John, Paul, and the author of Hebrews . . . spoke for God, in ‘Gods Word’, the Bible. ‘Spokesman’ in the Hebrew Bible is ‘nabiy’’, or ‘prophet’. The Bible is a collection of the writings of such spokesmen who agreed about God’s good Name – from Moses through John. (See Exodus 32:11-14, and Revelation 3:12)

The test of prophets speaking in God’s ‘Name’ is described in Deuteronomy 18. Which one of these tests has Ellen failed that Moses or John passed ? It was John who wrote in God’s Name for ‘that Prophet’ like Moses, Whom we are to listen to, “Behold I come ‘tachy’, without delay.” 3 times in Revelation . . . it was NOT Ellen.

All Ellen did was to try to present the former Biblical prophets in such a way as to NOT “create complicated conundrums out of convoluted, contorted lines of reasoning”. So, for trying to help us understand, we condemn her for ‘vomiting’ in our faces ? ! Look at all the ‘gems’ of truth from the Bible that she merely tried to place in ‘right settings’ for us. Much of what we ‘blame’ Ellen for, was in fact written by ‘Holy men of old’. If you can find better ‘vomit’, ‘soon’, then maybe Jesus won’t need to ‘vomit’ self-named and self-satisfied Laodiceans out of His mouth, before He can come, ‘soon’:

         “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” [Revelation 15:4.] (Ellen quoting the Apostle John, a ‘regurgitated’ prophet.) Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy has now been made plain. The results of rebellion, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, have been laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The working out of Satan's rule in contrast with the government of God, has been presented to the whole universe. Satan's own works have condemned him. God's wisdom, his justice, and his goodness stand fully vindicated. It is seen that all his dealings in the great controversy have been conducted with respect to the eternal good of his people, and the good of all the worlds that he has created. “All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.” [Psalm 145:10.] (Ellen quoting David, a ‘regurgitated’ prophet.) The history of sin will stand to all eternity as a witness that with the existence of God's law is bound up the happiness of all the beings he has created. With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare, “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”  (Ellen again quoting John, a ‘regurgitated’ prophet, from Revelation 15:3)

Before the universe has been clearly presented the great sacrifice made by the Father and the Son in man’s behalf. The hour has come when Christ occupies his rightful position, and is glorified above principalities and powers and every name that is named. (Ellen quoting the Apostle Paul, a ‘regurgitated’ prophet, in Ephesians 1:20,21) It was for the joy that was set before him (Ellen quoting the writer of Hebrews 12:2, a ‘regurgitated’ prophet),—that he might bring many sons unto glory (Ellen quoting the writer of Hebrews 2:10, a ‘regurgitated’ prophet),— that he endured the cross and despised the shame (Ellen again quoting the writer of Hebrews 12:2, a ‘regurgitated’ prophet). And inconceivably great as was the sorrow and the shame, yet greater is the joy and the glory. He looks upon the redeemed, renewed in his own image, every heart bearing the perfect impress of the divine, every face reflecting the likeness of their King. He beholds in them the result of the travail of his soul, and he is satisfied (Ellen quoting Isaiah 53:11, making even Isaiah a ‘regurgitated’ prophet ?). . . .” GC88 670-671

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
II Chronicles 7:14 . . . That’s why we want the ‘Second Coming’, isn’t it ?

I cannot blame God for not allowing Jesus to return to ‘harvest’ an unripe crop of souls who essentially blame God for sending prophets to speak in and for His own Good Name. That is the very reason why Jesus cannot come ‘soon’: We condemn Him to justify ourselves, instead of admitting that we are the ones with blind eyes who are naked, and who refuse to understand all that He has made very clear, if not flattering to ourselves.

Do we care more about the vindication of SDA women who wish to be ‘ordained’ . . . or do we care more about vindicating the Good Name of that God who ‘ordained’ the woman, Ellen, to be Their own Spokesperson ? Any woman who cares about vindicating God’s Good Name, more than her own, is already ‘ordained’, and by God Themselves, as was Ellen.

“I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” John 5:43 . . . Has anything changed among ‘God’s people’ since Christ’s ‘First Coming’ , 2,000 years ago ? If not, then who is to blame for any ‘delay’ ?

"Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: "
Luke 24:25 (On road to ‘Emmaus’, perhaps like ‘emetic’ – ‘causing vomiting’ or ‘regurgitating’. . . .)

First:
How are humans on planet Earth, not included in the “universe” ?
It might help in breaking the frustrating ‘gridlock’ if we humans acknowledge the central – if embarrassing – role that Earth has occupied in God’s scheme of ‘redemption’-by-vindication. And, while acknowledging that role of Earth’s humans, also, accept responsibility – not only in its negative form of ‘blame’ for sinning, but also in its positive form of ‘influence’, due to the fact that ‘Immanuel’ Himself is one of us. God, Himself, has elevated lowly humanity to the very throne of the ‘universe’, in Christ. So, wouldn’t it be nice if humans did not disown that ‘universe’ and / or Christ, our strongest human link to it ?

Second:
Ellen, like all other human ‘prophets’ was, like Christ, made of ‘fallen’ human flesh, and used ‘fallible’ human language. She even acknowledged to J.S. Washburn, regarding the ‘1888’ messenger(s) ( source: “Interview with J.S. Washburn, at Hagerstown, MD, June 4, 1950” page 1, quoted by Ron Duffield in, “The Return of the Latter Rain”, page 206):

". . . "EJW (Ellet J. Waggoner) can teach righteousness by faith more clearly than I can,"
said EGW.
“Why, Sister White,” [Washburn] said, "do you mean to say that E.J. Waggoner can teach it better than you can, with all your experience ?"
EGW replied, “Yes, the Lord has given him special light on that question. I have been wanting to bring it out (more clearly), but I could not have brought it out as clearly as he did. But when he did bring it out at Minneapolis, I recognized it.”

So, the admittedly fallible Ellen, herself – whom we wrongly think of as ‘the Spirit of Prophecy’, instead of stressing the infallible Holy ‘Spirit’ – acknowledged that God has had other such ‘inSpired’ ‘messengers’, or ‘spokespersons’, or ‘prophets’ within the Advent Movement (that could explain something even better then she could). A ‘Movement’ which stalled in the 1888-era when the ‘special light’ in the messages of those other ‘prophets’ – Waggoner and Jones – was ridiculed and ignored by too many SDA ‘shepherds’ in the pulpits, who then wrongly influenced the ‘sheep’ in the pews. . . and, thus, by our own mistakes – not Ellen’s, not God’s – we’re still here in this rotten confused world.

Yet, Ellen wrote a fascinating chapter – # 79, It is Finished – in The Desire of Ages, which gives very reasonable insights into the ‘delay’ of 2,000 years after it was ‘finished’. And, she also wrote the following regarding the ‘burden of woe’ resulting from the stalled Advent Movement ‘delay’ caused by persecuting God’s other SDA ‘prophets’:

 "We should be the last people on the earth to indulge in the slightest degree the spirit of persecution against those who are bearing the message of God to the world. This is the most terrible feature of unchristlikeness that has manifested itself among us since the Minneapolis meeting. Sometime it will be seen in its true bearing, with all the burden of woe that has resulted from it."  

{GCDB, February 7, 1893 par. 2}

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

So, it is the privilege of SDA-human responsibility to acknowledge just when and where and how ‘God’s own SDA people’ have neglected to advance the ‘Movement’ toward sufficient understanding of the ‘scheme of redemption’ that would enable the rest of the world – through the teaching of our best understanding – to make an intelligent decision between Christ and Satan, so that God can let the final events and deceptions before the ‘Second Coming’ ‘safely’ (for His own people) occur . . . We SDAs belittle the important role in the ‘universe’ which Christ has gained for us at its ‘Throne’, until we admit our own historic rebellious mistakes and seek help from Him to act responsibly – ‘Holy Spirit’, ‘Latter Rain’ informative, explanatory-perspective help which He has already sent, circa 1888 . . . but, too many of us SDAs still, stubbornly and defensively put up our ‘umbrellas’ to keep from getting ‘wet’. Who, alone, then, is responsible for taking those defenses down, and thereby speeding things up a bit in the ‘Movement’ ?

3 Likes

Waiting for the return of a savior, whether a fictional Godot, the messiah of the Jews, the thirteenth imam of Moslems, Jesus Christ for Christians, L. Ron Hubbard the founder of Scientology, et als, is like standing in an ocean and waiting to get wet.
Jesus left and may never return but God in all of his creative glory remains eternally present.
Man was not banished from the Garden of Eden, he just gave it a new name and heaven can become a reality, no matter where you are, when one gets beyond the “truths” of organized religion.
To my mind the scoffers are those who espouse the supposed word of God but deny the power of God to communicate directly with any and all of his creations, or who attempt to derisively strip man of his inherent divinity.

1 Like

I am intrigued by two concepts that are nearly universal in our interpretations regarding the “delay” of the coming of the Lord. The first concept is that of a universe looking at the events of this world while God is waiting for “vindication” based on how those other worlds reflect on those events.

The Milky Way galaxy is only one of what NASA says are one hundred billion galaxies: (https://www.physics.org/facts/sand-galaxies.asp). The Milky Way galaxy is approximately 100,000 light years or about 30 kpc across. Our Sun lies about 8 kpc from the center of the galaxy. (https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/features/cosmic/milkyway_info.html). It would take light 100,000 years to travel the entire length of the Milky Way. An observer from another planet in the Milky Way would see the light from events on this earth that had happened up to 100,000 years after the events happened. If the waiting universe includes inhabitants from other galaxies, the light from this planet could take billions of years to reach them.

Observers from other worlds do not see events on Earth in real times! Why then do we continue the idea that these observers have been watching with bated breath for 2,000 years so that God could be vindicated. The concept of observers from other planets being able to observe events on this earth, and the concept that they can see these events in real times have no scientific or cosmological meaning.

The other concept that intrigues me comes from 2 Peter 3:9, that God is long suffering, not willing that any should perish but that all to should come to repentance. Underlying this concept is that there is a cohort of people who have yet to make up their minds and when whoever in this cohort makes up their minds, then Jesus will come. This concept implies that such a cohort is fixed without people entering or leaving.

According to the world population clock (www.worldometers.info/world-population/) global human population growth is about 83 million annually or about 1.1% per year. They estimate that there were 1 billion humans in 1800 but there are now about 7.6 billion humans in 2017. When Peter wrote, there were about 300 million humans on the earth.

What is the meaning of a delay when the human population is growing exponentially and is expected to exceed 10 billion by 2100? Suppose (for argument’s sake) that 30% of all persons born will be saved, while the rest (70%) perish. How are we to interpret Peter’s message in light of these more realistic cohort numbers? How will we interpret the real cohort effect on our eschatology? Our message to the world? Our interpretation of what the delay in the second coming of the Lord means?

2 Likes

NO DELAY NOW! In the context of 1000 years as a day (God gives us six days) Peter tells us “God is not slack” and the Greek word, braduno means NO DELAY. Please consider how this is so…

God reinforced the weekly cycle of six days to work and the seventh as a Sabbath with yearly cycles the same. And after seven sabbatical years, the 50th was a jubilee.
But the jubilees came every 49 years (in Leviticus 25) because the 50th year was the 1st year of the next sabbatical cycle.
The famous time prophecy pointing to the Messiah (sadly missed by the Jews) was 70 weeks of years, 490, pointing to the time of the Messiah (anointing) in Daniel 9:24,25.
The 490 years spanned 10 jubilees 49 x 10, and it began with a jubilee event. Israelites were given freedom and if land had been sold, it came back to family ownership. A man could not impoverish his children permanently.
Fast-forward 40 more jubilees from the time of Christ (40 x 49 = 1960 years). This brings us to the 50th jubilee, the Jubilee of Jubilees when Pope John Paul spoke to the UN on the Day of Atonement in 1995—the day that Jubilee is supposed to be proclaimed in Leviticus 25:9,10.
Then there was a 20 year gap until Pope Francis’ UN visit to the UN on the Day of Atonement in 2015, but WHY a 20-year gap?
Peter says, “Be not ignorant, 1000 years are like a day, a day is like 1000 years, God is not slack…the day of the Lord will come.” 2Peter 3:8-10.
If we integrate the jubilees into 1000 years, 490 years is 10 jubilees + 490 more = 980. There are 20 years left over, signaled by the popes’ visits at the end!
This is excerpted from God Bless America? that is FREE today (Sabbath) on Amazon (search title + my name if link not allowed here) http://amzn.to/2grtEQx Amazon offers a free app so ebooks can be read on computer–saves cost of paper, ink and postage.

Great article “Has There Been a Delay? A Pastoral Look at the Second Coming” 29 November 2017 by Claude Lombart says:

“Isn’t our greatest challenge as a church, while we wait, pray, proclaim, and work in order to “hasten” Christ’s coming, to cultivate an authentic and passionate love for God, an empathic, non-judgemental, and unconditional love for each other, and a burning love for the lost? “

This ”empathic, non-judgemental and unconditional love for each other” has to extend to dissenters in the church. In his most recent book “What Unites Us” Dan Rather’s premise is to remind us about the importance of preserving respect for dissent in America. He goes on to say how we need dissenters and options in these turbulent times. In our Adventist church culture we have NOT valued, respected and cherished dissent and dissenters.
.We have dealt with dissent in the Adventist church by marginalizing the very significant issues that need to be dealt with. and those that If we take the issue of Gender Equality in Ministry Our natural tendency to maintain the status quo and not rock the boat, a flaw at once personal and organizational, results in bad—ethical, moral and financial-sometimes deadly—decisions. Here’s how Adventist leadership on all levels can encourage proactively all points of view. The key concepts include:
• All organized human groups are susceptible to suppression of views deemed contentious or disruptive to an organization’s foundational beliefs.
• Decisions are seldom better for inaction and or silence, and overcoming that is a key task for the leader of any organization.
• Candor should be rewarded and incentives designed to encourage opposing points of view.
• An aware, open, and inquiring senior team is critical to sound decision-making.

3 Likes

Anticipation and uncountable predictions of the Advent are so historically numerous as to be evidence the whole idea is faulty. The same for Jewish Messiah expectations. None of the billions of suffering people that have ever lived received deliverance from agony. It’s a fantasy of escape only. Neither pain nor death is now nor never deterred by it.

2 Likes

The lack of love in our hearts and minds is delaying Christ’s second advent, but it goes deeper than that.
In Revelation 14:1-5 we are told of a people, 144,000, who will be able to stand before God without a mediator; their characters perfected through Christ Jesus. This remnant, is what God is waiting for.
See, we all tend to believe that the gospel is all about us. In one way that is true, but in reality the gospel is all about how God proves to the universe that Satan is a liar, and that His way of governing the universe with love is the best way. This great controversy started in heaven when the chief angel, Lucifer, decided that he was better suited to rule the universe. He warred by going among the angels and using words to plant doubt in their minds about God’s loving goodness until finally he was ready to begin his revolt, and take over heaven. He lost and was thrown out of heaven. He became known by many names: Satan, the devil, the dragon, the snake. Because Eve did not trust the love she saw in God, she induced Adam to break God’s command and through their choice, Satan took over rulership of Earth. He is the accuser and is constantly using our human errors and missteps as examples of why God is not fit to rule the universe.
The Gospel is all about establishing the fact that Satan is wrong!
God choose a people from the lineage of Abraham to be His witnesses. He set up a sanctuary, with services that would proclaim the message of how to become pure to His people and to the world if they would take it, but being overcome with pride of position, just as Lucifer was so long ago, this people failed. But God always knew they would. He can see down through time. He had always planned to prepare a body for himself, and to be born as a human being. He always planned to experience all the hurts, cruelties, disappointments, and trials that we may face, and as Jesus Christ He did just that with one difference. He never gave in to Satan’s allures; He was the perfected human being. He was the true Israel.
In about 1834 people from all cultures, races and religions began to believe that Christ’s coming was soon. They gathered, they prayed, the waited and in October 1844 they experienced a great disappointment. Most went back to their former lives, but a few - being sure that October of 1844 was the end of Daniel’s 2300 day prophecy - continued to pray and study the Bible. From this remnant the Seventh-day Adventist Church was born. We have been established to finish the work -not of spreading the gospel, although that is one part =but to become purified through the gospel.
The gospel message teaches us that we are saved! The faith of Jesus Christ has made us whole, and believing this truth, through following the path Christ has made, we will become perfected. We wll live sinless lives while still here on earth. Jesus tells us, “Before me you had an excuse to sin, but now you don’t.” (John 15:22)
When God has a people who have totally surrendered to Christ and allowed the Holy Spirit to totally purge their characters of all the evil we contain, then and only then will Christ return.
It is up to us. We choose.

1 Like

Marilyn, there’s an epiphany waiting for you. To trigger it, just break what you wrote into a list of propositions (easy) and then find unambiguous primary evidence for each one (uh-oh).

1 Like

What does this mean?

How do you know this? What IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ? That Jesus is human OR that Jesus is God/Man?

Harrpa,

In answer to your question, we will turn to scripture.

  1. God is the Supreme Being. He gives life, and without Him there is no life.
    a) “I give you charge in the sight of God, who quickens (gives life) all things…” (1 Timothy 6:13)
    b) “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life.” (Job 33:4)
  2. Sin separates beings from the Life Giver (Isaiah 59:2), but what is sin?
    a) “…you have been rebellious against the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 9:7)
    b) “For you have said in your heart…I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14)
    c) “Whosoever rebels against your commands, and will not listen to your words…” (Joshua 1:18)
    Sin is rebellion against the authority and ruler ship of God. All have rebelled, so although walking, talking and breathing we are all dead!
    What is the purpose of the gospel? The purpose is found in a very familiar verse which most people, even non-believers, know by heart. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) So what IS the gospel?
    The good news is that Jesus Christ IS human. God had always planned to come to earth and live among us as one of us, (1 Peter 1:18-20) for how can you be a just judge if you have not walked in the shoes of the accused? So God in human form didn’t live the life of just any human being. Instead, He suffered everything we might be called to suffer. Born of an unmarried, teenage girl He was a bastard. Because Herod wished to kill Him, He was a refugee. While fleeing to Egypt Joseph, his step-father, left an established business, so when they returned He was poor. He lived in a ghetto. He was homeless, betrayed by friends, accused unfairly, declared guilty while innocent. BUT, despite all this Jesus believed God. He had studied scripture, He applied what He learned to His life, He was in constant communion with God (prayer), and followed the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. He BELIEVED! This is how Jesus was able to live a sin free life! And what Jesus did, we can do by first believing this gospel. We must keep our eyes on Jesus: live as He lived, do as He did. He is our example! Jesus demonstrated to the entire universe that a human can live sin-free. Then, because He is the Word of God, Jesus was able to take every sin that had been or ever would be committed upon His own shoulders, and when He died on that cross they all died too. Jesus took all our sins to the grave with Him! We are all freed from sin and death thus able to reject the standards of this world, and instead live by the standards of God. (Romans 12:2) We are able to be one with the Father. (John 17:21) No longer dead, we live in newness of life! (Romans 6:4) This is the good news, and the power of God, but it is foolishness to those who do not believe. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
    Following in the footsteps of Jesus, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our corrupt character will be changed into the pure, lovely character of our Savior, Jesus Christ. The 144,000 spoken of in Revelation 14:1-5, is to be raised up from the midst of Seventh-day Adventists, God’s remnant people. When God has people living on this earth who have been purified of sin, His witnesses to the universe that His way of ruling is better than Satan’s way of ruling, Jesus will come and this Great Controversy will be ended.
1 Like

Jesus lived well, fully and lovingly as The Supreme Healer par excellence. He was fullness of life personified. We follow in His footsteps. This same Jesus also promised He will come again so we can be with Him physically for eternity, minus sin and the ravages thereof. Nobody controls God. He is the Sovereign of the Universe and will do what He has to do, when He has to do it. Meanwhile He has given us our marching orders as spelt out in several NT Scriptures.