Seventh-day Adventists have always had what might be called a “last–generation theology.” This theology teaches that the last generation of Christians who are living when Jesus comes will have 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 and stand in the presence of Christ in all His glory at His return. God’s faithful followers will not be consumed while, all other inhabitants of earth will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. It is only those who understand and experience righteousness by faith who will be able to endure these final events successfully.
The work of the Holy Spirit is essential for Christ to manifest 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, p. 30).
She is very clear that receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is our only hope of being faithful to God during earth’s final conflict.
According to the book of Revelation, the church is in a dangerous condition today. To this church God warns, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will [vomit] you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:15-17). The church is described by God as being “lukewarm.” If the church’s condition doesn’t change, she will be rejected by God: “I will [vomit] you out of My 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 the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work” (Selected Messages, book. 1, p. 121).
There are two things necessary for revival to take place: prayer and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Ellen White pointed this out in the following statements:
“A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer” (Ibid.).
“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, p. 57).
As God’s people personally experience the daily baptism of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will live in them. He will begin to manifest Himself in their lives. It is essential that 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 life. This last generation must live a life of complete victory over all temptation and sin, which is only possible through Christ living in them.
Therefore, before the final events there will be a purifying work taking place in the hearts and lives of God’s children who respond to God’s call to be part of that last generation. “The prophet Malachi referred to this time of purification in Malachi 3:1-4:
“ ‘Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the Lord, as in the days of old, as in former years.’ ”
Notice several very important points in this statement. The prophet Malachi foretold 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 to be conquerors over every temptation and sin in their lives. This can happen only by daily receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and experiencing righteousness by faith in Christ alone.
Personal Reflection and Discussion:
1. What two experiences must God’s people have in order to be ready for Christ’s second coming?
2. What did Ellen White say was our greatest need?
3. What two things bring revival to God people?
4. What did the prophet Malachi say God would do among His people just before Christ returns?
5. How can God’s people experience this purification?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. Pray for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. Pray for God to revive you and His church.
3. Pray for God to purify you, as Malachi described, through experiencing righteousness by faith in Christ.
4. Pray for the individuals on your prayer list.”
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”