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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 78

The Close of Probation

Picture 1 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
The Close of Probation
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Welcome to this lesson! Let’s pray together:
Our Heavenly Father,

The more we go on with the study of Your prophetic Word, the more we realize the importance of knowing what the future holds for us, in order to properly prepare ourselves for the events that are coming.

Please grant us again the great privilege of probing the future, and help us, by the Holy Spirit, to always remember all the valuable things you teach us.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.
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Picture 2 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 18:1,2,4 Comments
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying,

«Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird!» (...)

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying,

«Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.»
In our last lessons, we have seen that God’s people, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit following the latter rain, will mightily proclaim a final call to salvation to all the inhabitants of the earth, before the pouring out of the last plagues on Babylon and the whole world.
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Picture 3 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 7:3,4 Comments
«Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.»

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
So God calls us to take a stand for Him:
  • first by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins;
     
  • then, through the work of His Spirit within us, by putting His law into practice, including the observance of His day of rest, the Sabbath.
This is how we will receive the seal of God.
Revelation 14:12
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
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Picture 4 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 13:16,17 Comments
And [the beast coming up out of the earth] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. All those who refuse to receive the seal of God will then receive the mark of the beast.

This allegiance, either voluntary or not, will express itself through the observance of a false day of rest, Sunday, denoting a clear opposition to God’s commandment which requires the keeping of the Sabbath.
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Picture 5 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Proverbs 4:18,19 Comments
The path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day.

The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
Soon, each inhabitant of the earth will have received either the seal of God or the mark of the beast.

This will be the close of probation, fixing the eternal destiny of each one, according to his choice.
Matthew 12:30
[Jesus said,] «He that is not with Me is against Me.»
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Picture 6 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 8:3-5 Comments
And another Angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to Him much incense, that He should offer it with the prayers of all saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the Angel’s hand.

And the Angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth.

And there were voices, and thunder, and lightning, and an earthquake.
Probation being closed, Jesus will put an end to His intercessory ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.

The seven last plagues will then strike the earth.
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Picture 7 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 22:11,12 Comments
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.

And he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
The close of probation will conclusively seal the eternal destiny of each individual, and this is why Jesus says these strange words, before coming to gather His people.

In fact, from that moment on, it will no longer be possible for the sinner to repent and join the Church of God.
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Picture 8 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 15:5,6,8 Comments
And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.

And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues. (...)

And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power.

And no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
The end of Jesus’ intercession in the heavenly sanctuary, at the close of probation, is marked by the temple filled with smoke, which no one can enter.

This picture comes from the Old Testament...
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Picture 9 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Many times, the cloud of God’s glory filled the earthly sanctuary:
«Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud stayed thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.» (Exodus 40:34,35)

«It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers (...) praised the Lord, saying, “For He is good; for His mercy endures for ever:” that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.» (2 Chronicles 5:13,14)

«Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.» (2 Chronicles 7:1,2)
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Picture 10 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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1 Kings 8:10,11 Comments
And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud.

For the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.
Many times, the glory of God filled the earthly sanctuary, thus interrupting the ministry of the priests.

Likewise, when Jesus Christ, our High Priest, leaves the heavenly sanctuary, it will be filled with smoke, and Jesus’ work of intercession will come to an end.
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Picture 11 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Matthew 27:50,51 Comments
Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom.

And the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.
It is interesting to note that, at His death on the cross, Jesus put an end to the service of the earthly sanctuary, moving this service to the heavenly sanctuary.

The end of the earthly temple’s usefulness was marked both by the tearing of its veil, leaving the temple opened to everybody’s eyes, and by a mighty earthquake.

Now, let’s look at what follows...
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Picture 12 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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The opened temple and the earthquake mark the end of the heavenly service!
«And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightning, and voices, and thunder, and an earthquake, and great hail.» (Revelation 11:19)

«The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues. (...) And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done.” And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.» (Revelation 15:5,6; 16:17,18)

«And the Angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunder, and lightning, and an earthquake.» (Revelation 8:5)
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Picture 13 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Genesis 7:8-10 Comments
Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creeps on the earth, there went in two and two to Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were on the earth.
The close of probation strikingly calls to mind the account of Noah’s ark and the Flood. Let’s see this parallel.

After announcing to men that a cataclysm was imminent, Noah finally entered the ark.

Let’s note that the Flood did not begin immediately after the entrance of Noah into the ark, but rather seven days later.
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Picture 14 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Genesis 7:4,16 Comments
«For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.» (...)

And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded [Noah].

And the Lord shut him in.
So, those who obeyed God entered the ark, and God Himself shut the door.

Although there were still seven days before the Flood, probation, the «door» of God’s grace, was already closed.

It was then no longer possible to accept God’s offer of salvation and enter the ark.
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Picture 15 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Luke 13:25-27 Comments
When once the Master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, «Lord, Lord, open to us;» and He shall answer and say to you, «I know you not from where you are:» then shall you begin to say, «We have eaten and drunk in Your presence, and You have taught in our streets.»

But He shall say, «I tell you, I know you not from where you are; depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.»
Following the pattern of the account of Noah’s ark, Jesus also uses the notion of «shut door» to illustrate the close of probation.
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Picture 16 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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A shut door indicates that it is no longer possible to be saved:
«At midnight there was a cry made, “Behold, the Bridegroom comes; go you out to meet Him.” Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” But the wise answered, saying, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” But He answered and said, “Truly I say to you, I know you not.”» (Matthew 25:6-12)

«And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, “These things said He that is holy, He that is true, He that has the key of David, He that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens.”» (Revelation 3:7)
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Picture 17 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Matthew 25:10-13 Comments
The Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, «Lord, Lord, open to us!»

But He answered and said, «Truly I say to you, I know you not.»

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes.
The parable of the ten virgins, the subject of a future lesson, indicates that we know «neither the day nor the hour» of Jesus’ return, nor that of the close of probation which will take place shortly before Jesus’ return.
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Picture 18 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Matthew 24:38,39 Comments
For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. In Noah’s days, the Flood began only seven days after the close of the door of the ark.

Likewise, a delay, whose length only God knows, will take place between the close of probation and the pouring out of the seven plagues which will end with the return of Jesus, as we will see in future lessons.
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Picture 19 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Matthew 24:38,39 Comments
As in the days that were before the Flood, (...) Noah entered into the ark, and [they] knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. So, when God decides to proclaim the close of probation, the inhabitants of the earth will be unaware of it.

Like the week before the Flood, no particular event will take place, and people will continue to attend to their affairs.

But, when the plagues begin shortly afterward, the believers will then understand that the period of probation is closed.
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Picture 20 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Genesis 18:20,21,32; 19:1 Comments
And the Lord said, «Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now.» (...)

And [Abraham] said, «Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten [righteous] shall be found there.»

And He said, «I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.» (...)

And there came two angels to Sodom at even.
The delay between the close of probation and the execution of the punishment is clearly illustrated here.

God told Abraham that probation was closed for Sodom and Gomorrah, and, that very evening, He sent two angels to save Lot and his family before the destruction.
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Picture 21 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Genesis 19:15,23,24 Comments
When the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying,

«Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters, which are here; lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city.» (...)

The sun was risen on the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.
Before the coming of the angels, even Lot did not know that the probation of Sodom and Gomorrah was closed.

After a delay of, in that case, less than one day, fire and brimstone destroyed the two cities.
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Picture 22 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Daniel 9:24 Comments
Seventy weeks are determined on your people and on your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Let’s look at a last example of a delay between the close of probation and the execution of the punishment.

In this case, as we have seen in the lesson «The 70 Weeks», the Jewish people were granted a period of probation of 70 prophetic weeks, that is, 490 years, to repent and return to God.
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Picture 23 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Acts 13:45,46 Comments
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said,

«It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, see, we turn to the Gentiles.»
But the Jews did not take advantage of this 490-year period of probation which came to an end in A.D. 34, with the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr killed by the hand of the Jewish nation itself.
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Picture 24 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Matthew 23:37,38 Comments
[Jesus said,]

«O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you!

How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!

Behold, your house is left to you desolate.»
Thirty-six years after the close of the 490-year period of probation, that is, in A.D. 70, the punishment announced by Jesus against the Jewish nation was fulfilled.

The Roman army, led by general Titus, then destroyed the city of Jerusalem, and entirely demolished its temple.
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Picture 25 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Daniel 9:24,26 Comments
Seventy weeks are determined on your people and on your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins. (...)

The people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
Interestingly, the same prophecy of the 70 weeks, announcing a 490-year period of probation for the Jewish nation, ends with the punishment which followed the close of this period of probation: the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple.
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Picture 26 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 8:1 Comments
When [the Lamb] had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. We cannot know the moment of the close of probation, nor the exact length of the delay before the beginning of the seven last plagues and the return of Jesus.

But we know that Jesus, after putting an end to His work of intercession in the heavenly sanctuary, will return with all His angels to gather His people, leaving heaven empty for a prophetic period of «about the space of half an hour», as we have seen in the lesson «Silence in Heaven».

So the delay will assuredly be short.
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Picture 27 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 22:11,12 Comments
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still. (...)

Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
What will happen after the close of probation?

Since Jesus’ ministry of intercession is finished, the Holy Spirit will cease exerting His influence over the hearts of men in order to lead them to repentance.

So men will be completely given over to the power of evil.
Hosea 4:17
Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
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Picture 28 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 16:8,9 Comments
And the fourth angel poured out his vial on the sun; and power was given to him to scorch men with fire.

And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which has power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory.
Deprived of the presence and influence of God’s Holy Spirit, those who have not received the seal of God will no longer be able to find the path of repentance.

This is why, when the seven last plagues strike them, they will only be able to pronounce blasphemies against God.
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Picture 29 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Revelation 18:2,4 Comments
Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen! (...)

Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.
Let’s not imitate unrepentant men.

Let’s respond right here and now to God’s call, which invites us to come out of Babylon and join His Church, before the close of probation, before it is too late.
2 Corinthians 6:2
Behold, now is the accepted time.

Behold, now is the day of salvation.
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Picture 30 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Ecclesiastes 11:3 Comments
If the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall be. Nobody knows when God will close probation.

But there is another reason why it is certainly not wise to put off till tomorrow our decision to follow God.

Each one of us must take a stand for God right here and now, because death can strike us anytime, and this event would immediately put an end to the personal period of probation God grants us.
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Picture 31 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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2 Peter 3:10-12 Comments
The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening to the coming of the Day of God?
Let’s be wise, and accept today the sacrifice of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.

Then, let’s make Jesus the only Lord of our lives.
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Picture 32 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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2 Peter 3:17,18 Comments
You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
May each day of our life from now on be an occasion to deepen our relationship with God, and to learn what is His will, so that we may obey it without delay.

For this is how we will receive the seal of God.
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Picture 33 If I Were Told the Future Lesson 78
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Let’s pray to close this lesson:
Lord,

We thank You for Your loving patience toward us, and for the salvation in Jesus Christ which You still offer us today.

However, this time of grace, this period of probation, will soon come to an end, and this is why we ask You to grant us the latter rain, so that we may lead the greatest number of souls possible to the cross of Your Son, our divine Savior, before it is too late.

In His precious name we pray.

Amen.
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Lesson 78 - Test The test of Lesson 78 is waiting for you!

Source of the Pictures of this Lesson
Screen 1: In: «Photo Gallery 5,000 volume 2» by Media Graphics International, 13_214.JPG. Screen 2: Advertisement for «Amazing Facts - Millenium of Prophecy». In: «Adventist Review» (October 1999), p.23. Screen 3: STEEL, John. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 2» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.398. Screen 4: In: «Prophecy Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1989, Daniel lesson #11 («How the Little Horn Changed God’s Law»), p.1. Screen 5: BISHOP, Tom. «Truth or tradition». In: «New Pictoral Aid For Bible Study» (BREADEN, Frank), Australian Division of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1970, chart #28. Screen 6: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM232.BMP. Screen 7: PROVONSHA, Clyde. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 2» (WHITE, Ellen G.), p.536. Used by permission. Copyright ©1952, 1980 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 8: Unknown source. Screen 9: In: «The Bible Story, volume 4» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.151. Used by permission. Copyright ©1955, 1983 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 10: In: «My Book of Bible Stories», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1978, histoire #64. Screen 11: MANISCALCO, Joe. In: «Images from the Bible and Sacred History CD», Chosen Works, MLI Software, JM028.BMP. Screen 12: In: «La Révélation - le grand dénouement est proche», New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1988, p.233. Screen 13: RUDEEN, Herbert. In: «The Bible Story, volume 1» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.110. Used by permission. Copyright ©1953, 1981 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 14: BERRAN, Robert. In: «My Bible Friends, volume 4» (DEGERING, Etta B.), p.78. Used by permission. Copyright ©1963, 1991 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 15: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (October 1, 1990), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.21. Screen 16: STEEL, John. In: «God Cares, volume 2» (MAXWELL, C. Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1985, p.38. Screen 17: In: «The Bible Story, volume 8» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.182. Used by permission. Copyright ©1956, 1984 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 18: MUELLER, Carl. In: «The Living Bible Encyclopedia in Story and Pictures, volume 5», New York, H.S. Stuttman Co. Inc., 1968, p.632-c. Screen 19: «New York Stock Exchange». In: «Deluxe Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia CD - 2000 Edition», Compton’s Home Library, 1999. Screen 20: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (June 15, 1993), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.15. Screen 21: COLEMAN, Ralph Pallen. In: «The Way, the Truth, and the Life», Philadelphia, The John C. Winston Company, 1958, p.7. Screen 22: QUADE, Lester. In: «The Bible Story, volume 7» (MAXWELL, Arthur S.), p.12. Piture edited by Cyberspace Ministry. Used by permission. Copyright ©1956, 1984 by Review and Herald® Publishing Association, USA. All Rights Reserved. Screen 23: In: «The Bible Pageant, Volume 5: Warriors of the Cross» (NEFF, Merlin L.), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1950, p.45. Screen 24: STEEL, John. In: «God Cares, volume 2» (MAXWELL, C. Mervyn), Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1985, p.29. Screen 25: STEEL, John. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 1» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.15. Screen 26: Jean Williamson/Mick Sharp Photography, Wales. In: «Revelation» (LORIE, Peter), Simon & Schuster, Labyrinth Publishing Ltd, 1994, p.198. Screen 27: In: «Awake» magazine (April 22, 1998), Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 28: CONVERSE, James. In: «The Triumph of God’s Love, volume 2» (WHITE, Ellen G.), Pacific Press Publishing Association and Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, p.556. Screen 29: TANK, Darrel. In: «Ministry» magazine (June-July 2000), Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association, p.40. Screen 30: Picture Collection «ClickArt 65,000» by Broderbund, CD #4, RELCL018.JPG. Screen 31: In: «Prophecy Seminars», Seminars Unlimited, 1989, Daniel lesson #23 («The Day of Deliverance»), p.5. Screen 32: In: «The Watchtower» magazine (March 15, 1988), New York, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, p.1. Screen 33: In: «Photo Gallery 5,000 volume 2» by Media Graphics International, Photo124.JPG.
Any copyrighted images not bearing a statement of permission, are used for the purpose of non-commercial scholarly commentary or criticism in accordance with section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law, and with article 29 of Canada Copyright Act (Chapter C-42), which by law can be without the consent or endorsement of the copyright holder. Images lacking attribution are either known or assumed to be in the public domain, or have an as yet undetermined status. Anyone having knowledge of proper attribution for an image is requested to contact us via email below so that it can be correctly noted. It is our intent to comply fully with applicable laws regarding intellectual property rights.

Lesson 78 - Test The test of Lesson 78 is waiting for you!