Jesus is coming in the generation since 1948. Jesus said learn the parable of the fig tree which is Israel which became a nation in 1948 http://sabbathsermons.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/the-prophecy-of-the-fig-tree/
In one post, Fundy, you say you cannot know the mind of God. Next post you tell me that you know God loves me. He did not love the Amalekites or Mrs. Lot. In Revelation he clearly did not love 7 Christian congregations, the Kings of the World or the Scarlet Woman. I do not read in the Bible about a God of universal love.
This return to Israel thing, Ariadne, beloved of the US religious right, is a great impediment to Middle East peace. There is a range of crackpot End Times scenarios there. Rapture? Mass Conversion of Jews? Divine Annihilation of Jews who not recognise JC as the Messiah? Does the Temple descend from Heaven?
You realise, of course, Fundy and Ariadne, that Muslims are convinced that God's promise to Abraham applies to them and not to the Jews. Some of them await the return of JC, not in his own right, but as the aide to the Mahdi.
Like you two, (and Patrick Rampy) the Jewish and Muslim apocalyptic Biblical/Koranic literalists are absolutely certain that they are right. Much remains unknown about the Universe. Holy Books are interesting guides to thoughts on these matters from the ancient Middle East. To regard them as the infallible Word of God is not only absurd. It is dangerous.
Best wishes to you both.
Ariadne Vassiliki...be careful about that interpretation...it is one espoused by the twisted mind of Arnold Murray of the Shepherd's Chapel.
In truth, to say that the fig tree represents the nation of Israel would be reading way more into the words of Christ than He intended. You're right that it is a parable which tells us to keep a watchful eye for the signs of His soon coming, which He had just finished telling His disciples about, because when we see these signs come to pass we'll know that His coming is near...just as when we see the leaves start to grow on the fig tree we know that summer is near.
But the interpretation you are giving is false, and not the Adventist position.
More to come...
From Amazing Facts founder Joe Crews:
"He gives us a whole chapter there in the gospel of Matthew telling exactly what great signs would mark the approaching end of all things. "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?" And so Jesus gave answers to those disciples who wanted to know about the end of things. This is the same question we're concerned about today, isn't it? We would also ask, "How can we know when it is near?" Jesus said, "I'll tell you how to understand. There will be certain great fulfilling signs to let you know when my coming is near." He said, "You must watch for this event and for that sign." And so He described in detail certain things that would have to take place near the very close of world history. After giving a long list, He said this: "Learn a parable of the fig tree, when his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves ye know that summer is nigh. And when you see all these things know that my coming is near." Now what are some of those things, friends, that we should be looking for today? Are we actually seeing today before our very eyes what Jesus spoke about? The final things? Well, let's see for a moment.
Notice Matthew 24:6, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Somebody says, "Well, we've always had wars, every generation has had its share of conflict, violence and warfare." Yes, that's true, but notice that Jesus went on to say something more about the kind of warfare that would be taking place in the very last days.
In verse 7 He said, "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines. ..." Now it's true that nations have been fighting each other in every age of the world's history, but there has not been world involvement until very recently. Jesus indicated that local battles and conflicts would not be the major sign of His coming, but that His coming would be preceded by world wars. He said, "... nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." Now the first world war actually took place back in 1914. Seven-eighths of the world was involved in that mighty conflict, and ten million soldiers died. It cost four hundred billion dollars. But then about twenty years later, more or less, another great war broke out which cost four times as much as that first one. In fact the cost of it is so stupendous that we can hardly pronounce it. But it was four times more than World War I. But was that the end of conflict? Of course not. We know all about the other wars that have consumed nations."
The sermon goes on into much more detail about the other signs Christ spoke of, and can be found at the Amazing Facts website, here:
The reason that teaching is so dangerous is not because the time is incorrect...because surely by the time Israel became a nation again in 1948 we were well into the time of the end...BUT it's so dangerous because it places prophetic emphasis on the literal nation of Israel, which is completely unbiblical.
This is the same line of thinking that produced movies like Left Behind, etc., and false teachings about Armageddon involving the Russians or Chinese or whoever attacking the nation of Israel in the middle east, etc...and the drying up of the river Euphrates meaning some nation is going to literally stop the flow of the little old Euphrates in the middle east so they can attack Israel, etc.
We, as Adventists, have let scripture interpret itself and found that the Israel which is spoken after Christ, esp. in the prophetic sense, as in Revelation, is *spiritual* Israel...which are all those around the world who are true followers of Christ and can be found in every denomination and walk of life.
True that as high as the sky is above the earth, so are His ways above our ways...and He is beyond understanding...but,
"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." - Deut. 29:29
And one of the things God has revealed to us is that it's because of His love for us that He sent Jesus Christ to die in our stead (John 3:16) and that He doesn't want even one single person to perish and miss eternal joy (2 Pet. 3:9).
Put those two revealed truths together and you've got a God, Creator of the universe, who loves you (YOU) so much that He would have, and did, die to save only you...even if you were the only person He ever created.
That is how I can say that our understanding God is like an ant understanding the vast cosmos, which is an infinite understatement, yet I can still say that I know for a certainty that He loves you so dearly, my friend.