Is the second coming conditional? Well, we can debate and discuss, but above all we should see what God says. In 1 Corinthians 10:11 we read “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Everything that the Bible presents to us has been given for our admonition. The last spiritual Israel is now living on this earth and we are to dig deep into God’s word and see what He has shared with us.
I believe we can find a huge correlation between our experience today and the journey of the Israelites into the Promised Land. They are a type of God’s people upon whom the ends of the world are come. And what is the correlation between the two? Ellen White says:
“It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness. He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there, a holy, happy people. But “they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Because of their backsliding and apostasy, they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the Promised Land. In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed, and His people should remain so many years in this world of sing and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God.” —G.C. 458
Do we see the same in our church today? Could it be possible that God never intended for us to spend so much time on this earth? See God called us to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people”. I ask myself, am I this today? Paul writes in Romans 12 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” Do I seek the mind of Christ or have I allowed the love of this world to direct my life away from Canaan. Do I possess the faith that will help me to represent God here on earth and prepare others for heaven?
The Israelites of old didn’t. It wasn’t a long journey to make it near the Canaan border and 10 spies were sent out to check the land. Two of them, Joshua and Caleb, came back ready to go into the Promised Land, but unfortunately Israel was not. In Number 14 we read. “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them” (Num. 14:7-9). However instead of seeking that same faith the people of Israel picked up rocks to stone them.
Can we relate? I believe Seventh Day Adventism had its Joshua and Caleb and it was much more than 40 years ago. I believe that in 1888 E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones brought that same message of faith to Israel. Here is what Ellen White said back then.
“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.
The uplifted Saviour is to appear in His efficacious work as the Lamb slain, sitting upon the throne, to dispense the priceless covenant blessings, the benefits He died to purchase for every soul who should believe on Him. John could not express that love in words; it was too deep, too broad; he calls upon the human family to behold it. Christ is pleading for the church in the heavenly courts above, pleading for those for whom He paid the redemption price of His own life blood. Centuries, ages, can never diminish the efficacy of this atoning sacrifice. This message of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear and distinct lines, that the world should no longer say, Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, the law, but do not preach or believe Christ.
The efficacy of the blood of Christ was to be represented to the people with freshness and power, that their faith might lay hold on its merits. As the high priest sprinkled the warm blood upon the mercy seat, while the fragrant cloud of incense ascended before God, so while we confess our sins, and plead the efficacy of Christ’s atoning blood, our prayers are to ascend to heaven, fragrant with the merits of Christ’s character. Notwithstanding our unworthiness, we are ever to bear in mind that there is One that can take away sin, can save the sinner. Every sin acknowledged before God with a contrite heart, He will remove. This faith is the life of the church. As the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness by Moses, and all that had been bitten by the fiery serpents were bidden to look and live, so also the Son of man must be lifted up, that “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Unless he makes it his life business to behold the uplifted Saviour, and by faith accept the merits which it is his privilege to claim, the sinner can no more be saved than Peter could walk upon the water unless he kept his eyes fixed steadily upon Jesus. Now, it has been Satan’s determined purpose to eclipse the view of Jesus, and lead man to look to man, and trust to man, and be educated to expect help from man. For years the church has been looking to man and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel’s message in clear, distinct lines.” The Ellen G White Materials 1888 1337-1338
The question left for us today is: Are we ready to accept this by faith and have it reflected in our characters so we can give the loud cry, or are we going to continue walking in misbelief?