Day 32 Devotional Before United Prayer: (about 1:55 minute reading)
The 1888 Message and the Last Generation
Seventh-day Adventists have always had what might be called a “last-generation theology.” This theology teaches that the last generation of Christians that are living when Jesus comes will need to have developed a relationship with Christ as no other generation before them. This will be necessary because they will have to be faithful to God through the time of trouble (Revelation 13:12, 15), live in the presence of God without a mediator (Daniel 12:1), and stand in the presence of Christ in all His glory at His return (Jude 24) and not be consumed while all other inhabitants of earth will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
It is only those who understand and experience the 1888 message of righteousness by faith that will be able to endure these final events successfully.
Jones and Waggoner’s Understanding
Jones and Waggoner understood this. In the following statement A. T. Jones quoted Revelation 10:7, which states that when the seventh angel begins to sound, the “mystery of God” will be finished. Then he wrote:
But what is the mystery of God? “Christ in you, the hope of glory. God . . . manifest in the flesh.” Then in these days that mystery is to be finished in one hundred and forth-four thousand people. God’s work in human flesh. God being manifested in human flesh, in you and me, is to be finished. His work upon you and me is to be finished. We are to be perfected in Jesus Christ. By the Spirit we are to come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Lessons on Faith, 150)
The Necessity of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
As we have seen, the work of the Holy Spirit is essential in Christ manifesting Himself in His people. Christ lives in His children through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for the last generation of believers to understand and experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Of this, Ellen White wrote:
Nothing but the baptism of the Holy Spirit can bring up the church to its right position, and prepare the people of God for the fast approaching conflict. (Manuscript Releases, Vol. 2, 30)
She was very clear that receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is our only hope of being faithful to God during earth’s final conflict.
Personal Reading for Discussion:
The Dangerous Condition of the Church
According to the book of Revelation, the church is in a dangerous condition today (Revelation 3:14-21). She is described by God as being “lukewarm.” If her condition doesn’t change, she will be rejected by God, “spewed” out of his mouth. Therefore, before Jesus returns, the church must go through a major spiritual transformation. She must experience genuine revival and reformation. Ellen White understood this great need when she wrote:
A revival of true godliness among us is our greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. (Selected Messages, Book 1, 121)
Two things are necessary for revival to take place. They are prayer and the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s people. Ellen White indicated in the following statements:
A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer. (Selected Messages, Book 1, 121)
The baptism of the Holy Ghost as on the day of Pentecost will lead to a revival of true religion and the performance of many wonderful works. Selected Messages, Book 2, 57)
As God’s people personally experience the daily baptism of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will be living in them. He will begin to manifest Himself in their lives. It is essential they understand and experience righteousness by faith in order to understand how to let Jesus live out His life of victory over every temptation and sin in their lives. For this last generation must be living a life of complete victory over all temptation and sin. Although this is impossible in their own strength, as they learn how to let Christ live out His victory in them, they will have their own experience of victory.
A Time of Purification
Before the final events, a purifying work will take place in the hearts and lives of God’s children who respond to God’s call to be part of that last generation. In commenting on the prophet Malachi’s reference to this time of purification (Malachi 3:1-4), Ellen White wrote:
Says the prophet: “Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” [MAL. 3:2, 3.] Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above, are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort, they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative Judgment is going forward in Heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.
When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for his appearing. “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” [MAL. 3:4.] Then the church which our Lord at his coming is to receive to himself will be “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” [EPH. 5:27.] Then she will look forth “as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” (The Great Controversy, 425)
Notice several very important points in this statement. The prophet Malachi foretold of a time just prior to Christ’s second coming when a great refining process would take place among God’s people. This purifying process will cause God’s children to have spotless characters. They will have been conquerors over every temptation and sin in their lives. Ellen White wrote of this experience:
Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. (Christ’s Object Lessons, 69)
Note also, that Ellen White says the character of Christ will be “perfectly reproduced in His people.” This is not justification only where Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the sinner. She refers here to Christ’s perfect character being imparted to His people. Christ will be fully and perfectly manifesting His character in and through them. This happens only as they experience righteousness by faith in Christ alone. Also, it is the only way they can live in the sight of a holy God without a mediator.
When Ellen White referred to this purification process happening “through the grace of God and their own diligent effort,” she referenced to the diligent watchfulness they have practiced in order to allow Christ to shine out in their lives at every point of temptation. They have been putting forth diligent effort in studying God’s Word so they can be very aware of God’s will in their lives. They have also been diligent in keeping a moment-by-moment communion with their Lord and maintaining meaningful personal prayer time(s) with God every day.
These verses in Malachi are followed by God’s warning of judgment.
And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:5)
This judgment of the living takes place just before Christ’s work as our mediator ends and Jesus returns. We must have experienced the purification in verses one through four in order to be judged righteous. Since we can only be righteous in Christ, it is absolutely necessary for us to understand and experience righteousness by faith in Christ to the fullest in our lives; both justifying and sanctifying righteousness.
Day 32 Prayer Focus: Pray for
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
- Revival for yourself and the church
- God to lead you and the church to understand and experience the latter rain of the Spirit
- Those on your prayer list
Day 32 Going Deeper Discussion Questions: (based on pages 108 to 114 of “Righteousness by Faith” by Dennis Smith [pages 128 to 134 of the PDF version])
- What is the “last generation theology”?.
- What is “the mystery of God”?
- What is our only hope of being in the right position as the end time conflict approaches?
- What is the spiritual transformation the church needs before Jesus returns?
- What should be our first work?
- What are the two things necessary for revival to take place?
- What must be understood about Jesus’ reformation in us?
- What is righteousness by faith in the fullest sense?
- In Christ’s object lessons page 69 Ellen White writes when the character of Christ shall be perfectly reduced reproduced in his people then he will come to claim them as his own. Explain the process of how Christ character is perfectly produced in us.
- Read the following quote from Denis Smith’s book pg. 133 PDF and reflect on God’s revival and reformation and righteousness by faith in Christ in your own life?
Day 32 Heart preparation/challenge:
- Throughout the day ask God to remind you what He is speaking to you in today’s reading and going deeper discussions and to help you to apply them in your life.
- Read “Righteousness by Faith” by Dennis Smith pages 114 to 117 (pages 134 to 137 of the PDF file) in preparation for Day 33.
- Prayerfully answer Day 33 discussion questions in preparation to share on Day 33 Going Deeper segment of united prayer.