Believe: He Will Come Back

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” 

Acts 1:9-11


From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of Ages, the chapter entitled “To My Father, and Your Father.”*

Christ had ascended to heaven in the form of humanity. The disciples had beheld the cloud receive Him. The same Jesus who had walked and talked and prayed with them; who had broken bread with them; who had been with them in their boats on the lake; and who had that very day toiled with them up the ascent of Olivet,—the same Jesus had now gone to share His Father’s throne. And the angels had assured them that the very One whom they had seen go up into heaven, would come again even as He had ascended.

He will come “with clouds; and every eye shall see Him.” “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise.” “The Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.” Revelation 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Matthew 25:31. Thus will be fulfilled the Lord’s own promise to His disciples: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:3. Well might the disciples rejoice in the hope of their Lord’s return.

When the disciples went back to Jerusalem, the people looked upon them with amazement. After the trial and crucifixion of Christ, it had been thought that they would appear downcast and ashamed. Their enemies expected to see upon their faces an expression of sorrow and defeat. Instead of this there was only gladness and triumph. Their faces were aglow with a happiness not born of earth. They did not mourn over disappointed hopes, but were full of praise and thanksgiving to God. With rejoicing they told the wonderful story of Christ’s resurrection and His ascension to heaven, and their testimony was received by many.

The disciples no longer had any distrust of the future. They knew that Jesus was in heaven, and that His sympathies were with them still. They knew that they had a friend at the throne of God, and they were eager to present their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. In solemn awe they bowed in prayer, repeating the assurance, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23, 24. They extended the hand of faith higher and higher, with the mighty argument, “It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34. And Pentecost brought them fullness of joy in the presence of the Comforter, even as Christ had promised.”

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ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.


This article is part of our 2019 September / October Issue
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Jesus is coming again. Your parents said it. Their parents said it. I’m sure the parents before them said the same thing. For what seems like ages we’ve been told, and talked about the soon coming of Jesus Christ. Living in a time when so much takes up the space in our minds how often do we think about this life we’re living being only a portion of what God has for us? Join us as we take on the challenge of being ready for the return of Jesus.

1 Read Acts 1:4-11; Isaiah 40:31

They had to have been astonished. The disciples just saw their teacher, leader, and friend float into the sky and then vanish from sight. To make matters more challenging, they had just been told to wait for the Holy Spirit. Doesn’t it seem like a lot of your relationship with God involves waiting? What have you had to wait on in your walk with Him? Tell us on Social Media using  #MessageMag

2 Read Acts 1:4-11; John 14:1-3

While the disciples are standing there staring into the nothingness, two men in white appear and tell them that the same way they saw Jesus go, is the same way He will return. Maybe you think it would have been easier to believe that He was coming back a few days, months, or years later. What about a couple thousand years? Is it harder for you to believe living in 2019? Is it harder to be ready in 2019? Tell us on Social Media using  #MessageMag

3 Read Acts 2:1-4, 22-24

After the disciples waited as instructed, they receive the Holy Spirit. Eventually Peter begins to preach about who Jesus was and what He did. That is what each of them did for the rest of their lives. Is that true for each follower of Jesus? Sharing the gospel and living in compromising situations? Is “fun” out of the question? What about the dreams I’m perusing? How can I be ready for Jesus while still dealing with the life in front of me? Have you ever asked any of these questions? Do you have any answers? Please Share on Social Media using #MessageMag

4 Read 1 Thess. 5:1-6; Romans 14:17-19

Chronologically speaking, Thessalonians is Paul’s first letter, and Romans is his last. Isn’t it interesting that the tone with which Paul talks about the life of a follower of Jesus changes from “get ready” to “do your best to be at peace with those around you”? The way the Apostle Paul talks about the second coming transitions from how soon Jesus is coming to how sure Jesus’ coming is. Maybe there is a difference in how one lives when something is “soon” in comparison to when it’s “sure.”  Tell us what you think on Social Media using #MessageMag 

5 Read Acts 2:40-42; Matt. Chapters 5-7

The Holy Spirit enabled Peter to preach and thousands of people were baptized. Thousands of people now looked forward to the return of Jesus. As the story goes, they didn’t just sit around, but they learned from the apostles. The apostles did the best they could to pass on what Jesus had passed to them. He taught them who they were and how they were to live the life God gave them. Can we be ready for his return by simply showing people a better way to live life? Is that enough? Share your thoughts with us using #MessageMag on FaceBook, Instagram or Twitter. 

6 Read Acts 2:40-42

It is interesting that Luke decided to include the fact that a part of the initiation into the faith was breaking bread, or eating together on a regular basis, with familiar and new faces. When we think about being ready for the coming of Jesus does being surrounded by strangers register as a prerequisite? It makes sense though because the same Jesus they saw ascend into heaven was always surrounded by strangers, doing the best He could to improve their lives.

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It has been said, “don’t be so heavenly minded, that you are of no earthly good.” In being ready for the second coming of Jesus we must be heavenly minded and earthly good. God pours into your life and simply desires you to do the same for the rest of His children. He knows that care for others will whittle away the hard parts of your heart and strengthen your faith. Nothing causes more friction than our interaction with people who are different than we are. God knew, to get to the welcome table in Heaven, He had to call us to break bread at tables down here. 

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Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2019 September / October Issue
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Bound Up In Unity

The Gospel According to Paul: Pray for Unity. Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, June 3, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 06.03.2018” on Spreaker.

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling” (Ephesians 4:1–4).

We Are His Children

With all this talk of the gospel of Christ, I want to underscore benefits we have barely touched. It is a privilege to experience the gospel of Christ. This gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to all who believe. And this gospel message transforms us into saved children of the heavenly King!

Having become His children, we also become His ambassadors, spreading hope to all who are willing to listen. We have said this multiple times throughout the series. However, Paul says something special in Ephesians 3 that we have not seen before. He said that a secret of God’s grace was unfolding to the apostles and prophets during his time.

The way of salvation through Christ, which also made it possible to make non-Jews heirs according to the promise God made to the father of the faithful,

“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:10–12).

Foundation for Unity

What a privilege to be among those who accept the gospel, which was revealed in a special way never before seen in this world or by the heavenly intelligences. God’s character of love, mercy, and justice is finally being vindicated for the entire universe to see.

Now, today’s theme text makes sense! There is nothing more detrimental to sharing this special news than disunity among so-called believers.

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon all God’s people who tarried in the upper room. They were on one accord, and shared all they had with one another so nobody who needed, lacked. All who gathered for Peter’s special message that day, regardless of their primary languages, heard him speak in their own languages.

Bonds of Peace

Miraculously, God provided a special unction and power to accomplish His will. If we ever hope to accomplish His will in our day, we need to allow God to bind us together in peace, love, hope, patience, and our high calling so we can participate in the greatest work this generation has ever seen—the spreading of the everlasting gospel into all the world.

I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, are you?




Confusion to Clarity

Pentecost and the Spirit through the prism of God’s purpose for you.

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sabbath, January 31, 2015
Based Upon Acts 2

Acts chapter 2 is among the most referenced chapters in the New Testament by Christians around the world. In some sense, the events spoken of could be considered the birth of the Christian church. It marked the beginning of the era of the Holy Spirit. While He has ever been present upon the earth (it is His nature to be ever-present), and we have seen His work of anointing, power, and influence, from the creation until the first century, we had never seen His power more pronounced than on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus had completed the earthly mission phase of the Plan of Redemption, and now He must return to heaven to get the beginning aspects of that phase started. But, He could not leave His people comfortless as He departed. Thus, He gave them instructions on how to receive the fulness of His “other self,” the Holy Spirit, so they could propagate the gospel and prepare for His Coming.

What happened on the Day of Pentecost? I would like to share a different perspective of that wondrous event, because there is no dearth of commentary on the commonly held understanding of the day.

You may recall back in Genesis chapter 6 that the Lord confessed His utter displeasure with how things were going down here. He created a perfect earth, and formed perfect people to propagate the human race to bring Him glory in the universe. With so many angels who chose to riot in heaven with the fallen Lucifer, what better way could there be to bring honor to the name of God, than to create a people after His own image, who would demonstrate the power of volitional obedience? Yet, through volition, humans also chose to riot against their God. Thus it was that while their minds were only on evil continually, the Lord was compelled to destroy the unrepentant inhabitants of the earth through a worldwide flood. If the devil was paying attention, he should have recognized the foreshadowing of his own demise in the decimation of this event. As always, there were those who did love God and whom He could preserve through faith. Through the line of Noah, the Lord began to propagate the human race again following the flood.

It was not long after this flood that the people started on their slope downward again. The built a tower under the direction of Nimrod, that was intended to “reach the heavens” and to “make a name” for them. Does this sound familiar? Did not the devil assert himself in hopes of ascending the Throne of God? Did he not also want to take the name of, “Most High God” upon himself? Well, we see where that led him. And destruction in the end is his lot. Nonetheless, he propagandized the people of Nimrod’s day to assert themselves in the same way he did before his expulsion from heaven. We must not miss the apparent coincidence that the people wanted to reach the heavens with their skyscraper following a flood that covered the whole earth. Could they have been attempting to protect themselves from another flood, although the Lord covenanted not to do that again? This is very possible. Whatever the case, the Lord saw their building plans as the utmost in pride and they (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) went down and “confused” their languages, lest they should unite and perform any form of wickedness they could conceive. This marked the first large-scale event of Babylon (confusion). God confused their languages at the Tower of Babel, because He needed to place limits upon what they would accomplish in their proud affront to His throne.

We are rounding the corner now. Do not miss this: What God needed to confuse in the days of Nimrod (Babylon), He has been slowly, yet steadily un-confusing, until the final call of Revelation 18:4, which was forecast in Jeremiah 15:45-47. On that wonderful Day of Pentecost in the first century church, our God shot the silver bullet at all confusion. Since we cannot be trusted to be clean and holy on our own, the Holy Spirit came and indwelt the waiting saints. Immediately, as they received His power, the diverse languages of the people were no longer a barrier to truth! Each person heard the message of salvation in his or her own languages, and they were all amazed. When speech and language necessarily became an impediment to human pride, the Lord gave His Spirit to destroy pride and give a clarion call for all who are willing to repent, to come out of confusion. With a Loud Cry, the Lord will culminate that call to any and all who are willing to live for Him by faith.

Are you living in confusion, friend? Is there anything in your life that the Lord has been speaking to you about, that you have been shuffling aside? Have you found that your life is becoming more complicated because of this? There is hope. God is calling all of His people (those who are willing to submit to Him) out of this confusion. We can be holy, even as our Father in heaven is holy. The world will soon be a whirlwind of religious and political confusion unlike we have ever seen.

The time is now to be equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit to hear and obey all that He has to say.

There is no reason for anyone reading this to continue in confusion. It’s simple: Ask the Lord to give you His Spirit, so you can hear His voice. He will do it.

Our devotion was lengthy today, but I think it was worth your time.