Saturday, December 29, 2012

When all things become new

An audio overview of the lesson by Raul Diaz.

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This week's Script:

When all things become new

 Memory Text: “ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’ ” (Revelation 21:4, NKJV).

The lesson focuses on the events from the second advent forward.  The lesson’s main objective seems to be to distance Adventists from the beliefs of other Christian denominations.  As the lesson states on Friday, other denomination have a preterist (in the past; between the first and second advent of Christ) or futurist (in the future – before the second advent) understanding of the Millennium, ours is historist; that the millennium happens after Christ’s second Advent.  The language used by our lesson is a little disturbing: The millennium happens in heaven as oppose to earth.  Yet, in my experience, Adventists teach the millennium based on what happens here on earth and heavern: the Devil held captive on this planet, and the judgment in Heaven.  So, truthfully, the millennium happens both on heaven and earth. 

Now, as Adventists we believe that at least the part of what happens to the Devil is represented in the Day of Atonement activities.  Ellen White says,

In the typical service the high priest, having made the atonement for Israel, came forth and blessed the congregation. So Christ, at the close of His work as mediator, will appear, "without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28), to bless His waiting people with eternal life. As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin. The scapegoat, bearing the sins of Israel, was sent away "unto a land not inhabited" (Leviticus 16:22); so Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit, will be for a thousand years confined to the earth, which will then be desolate, without inhabitant, and he will at last suffer the full penalty of sin in the fires that shall destroy all the wicked. Thus the great plan of redemption will reach its accomplishment in the final eradication of sin and the deliverance of all who have been willing to renounce evil.  {GC 485 - 486} 

This is pretty straight forward.  Why is more judgment needed? 

“During the millennium the saints participate in a deliberative judgment that reviews the cases of the lost of this earth and the fallen angels. This judgment is evidently necessary in view of the cosmic nature of the sin problem. The course of the rebellion of sin has been the object of concern and interest on the part of other worlds (Job 1;2;Eph. 3:10). The whole interlude of sin must be handled in such a way that hearts and minds throughout God’s universe are satisfied with its treatment and conclusion, with particular reference to God’s character. It is especially important for the redeemed from earth to understand God’s dealings with those who called for the rocks to fall on them and deliver them from the ‘face of him who is seated on the throne’ (Rev. 6:16). They must be totally satisfied that God was just in His decision regarding the lost.”—Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology (HagerstownMd.: Review and Herald® Pub. Assn., 2000), p. 932.

Among the group that will be burning, are many who the redeemed held in high esteem.  The opening up of the books to the redeemed and there study of these books help them grieve and heal from the eternal loss of those they loved and admired.  This helps them see that what will happen after the Millennium – the burning of the wicked - is a strange act of Love. 

In the book of Early Writings pages 292 and 293 there is a full narrative of the events that will happen between the end of the Millennium and the final destruction of the wicked.  It is too long for this space.  But it is worth reading.  Suffice it to say that what is revealed during this time is that the wicked’s heart has not changed.  Even when they admit that Christ is the Lamb worthy of praise, they still want to kill Christ and the redeemed.  This is the final proof that their destruction is necessary.  There hearts have not changed. 

The fire that destroys the wicked and the earth purifies the earth. Sin and its consequences are forever banished.  As the John the Revelator says,

Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them,and be their God.
Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

They are beautiful indeed.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last Things: Christ and the Saints

Extenuating circumstances prevented a regular audio overview.  But, I wanted to drop a few thoughts.  

The Reason for Foretelling Prophecy

Typically we interpret prophecies very literally: this is what will happen when.  This is important.  When we give a wrong date as fulfillment we can end up with horrible heresies.  And, they give us a sign of the times we live in; like a road sign on our way somewhere.  The signs let you know, among other things, what direction you are going, what towns or cities you are approaching, any landmarks and/or facilities you should be aware of, even what speed you should go.

But, prophecies are more than road signs.  Prophecies are an assurance from the prophecy giver that He is leading and guiding.  He knows the road.  And, we are not travelling on our own.  God is not just on the side lines cheering us on.  God is not just on the end line waiting with a towel and bottled water so we can refresh when we are done.  God is running with us.  In prophecy God tells us that things will be bad before they get good.  But, we are not alone.  If we allow God, He will take us through the hardship victoriously. 

He has promised us that He be with us.  And, below there are a few verses to remind us,

Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Several times in the book of John Christ spoke of not leaving us alone because He would send us a Comforter (the word in Greek – parakletos – means walking companion):

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Joh 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Speaking of comfort: He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear,

1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Lastly, Christ told us not to worry about what to say in times of hardship,

Mat 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Mat 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

Luk 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
Luk 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Luk 21:14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
Luk 21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

All this said, God still needs our permission to accomplish this in us.  Those that give God permission are His saints. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Christian Life

An audio overview of the lesson by Raul Diaz.

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Below is the Audio Script:

The Christian Life

“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16, NKJV).

The title of this week’s lesson is The Christian life.  The picture on Sabbath’s entry is portraying what seems to be the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  Is there a relationship between these two?  Studying this parable, albeit briefly, may give us answer.  If we recall Jesus was answering a question about, “who is my neighbor?”  A man is lying on the ground by the side of a road beaten badly.  A Priest on his way to serve in the temple crosses the street, away from this man, and continues on His way.  After this a Levite also passes by and does the same as the Priest.  Remember, working in the Temple was considered God’s work.  And, caring for the beaten man would have made them not only late but ceremoniously unclean, therefore unfit for serving.  A Samaritan – considered a sinner of the worst kind - who passed by, stopped to help the man, took him to a safe place cared for him, and made sure the man was cared for after the Samaritan left.  We do not know how much of a sacrifice this effort was for the Samaritan.  So, Christ asked the question, “who was a true neighbor,” in other words, “who truly did God’s work:  Those who worked in the temple or the one who stopped to help?”  Pharisees and Priests answered, “He who helped the needy.”  They would not say, “The Samaritan.”  The Priest and the Levite did the temple’s work, but not God’s work. 

Our lesson calls this social responsibility.  The point they try to make is that it is not enough to know and believe the right doctrine; you must also help others in need.  What this implies is that somehow there is a conscious choice to help others.  To make their point they used Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goat in Matthew 25.  This parable, however, seems to contradict what they are saying.  Let us take a close look.  We start reading on verse 34,

Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

The sheep seem not to know what Jesus is talking about.  They reply,

Mat 25:37 …Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  To which the Lord replied,
Mat 25:40 …, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

So, several things come out of this narrative.  1. There is no mention in the story of whether the sheep knew or did not know correct and enough doctrine.  2. What the sheep did was not a result of a conscious choice.  If that were the case they would have remembered.  3. Jesus is pleased with them.  4. The fact that doing unto others is as doing unto Jesus.  The sheep were sensitive, albeit unknowingly, about how Jesus felt, and they proceeded to relieve some of His pain and suffering. 

As we move on in the story, the goat’s reward was the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  They did not know about helping others is helping Jesus.  It seems as if they were expecting something different.  Many tie in this group with the group in Matthew 7, Let us read the passage,

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

The fact that Jesus says on both references, “Depart from me…” seems to make them, if not the same, in the same condition.  Notice, that the account in Matthew 7 Jesus call them, “ye workers of iniquity,” and on Matthew 25 he calls them “ye cursed.”  Are not the workers of iniquity cursed of God?  Remember, these were church going people, who performed miracles and prophesied in Jesus name.  Jesus was not pleased with them.

With who, then, is Jesus pleased?  He is pleased with those who have faith (Hebrew 11:6).  We know that faith comes through hearing and hearing through the Word of God (Romans 10: 17).  They heard the word and believed it and it was counted to them as righteousness (Romans 4: 3; Galatians 3: 6; James 2: 23); this means they were righteous.  Righteous is another word for just.  Just are the doers of the law (Romans 2: 13).  The law is summarized into to commandments: love God above all else, and your neighbor above yourself (Matthew 22: 40).  No surprise then that love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13: 8, 10; Galatians 5: 14).  But, love is also manifested in laying down your life (1 John 3: 16).  This is not just dying, it is living for Jesus and others (2 Corinthians 5: 14 - 16).  What the sheep did was an outgrowth of love. 

What the goat did was sin.  Yes, they may have tithed and go to church faithfully, participate in church programs, sing praises, preach and teach, give Bible studies, etc.  But the fact that Christ was not pleased with them, shows that all they did was out of faith, for anything outside of faith is Sin (Romans 14:23).  And, sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3: 4).  Which means that there was no faith in what they did, they did not lay down there lives for others, they lived for themselves, in the guise of living for Christ.  (So, for those who tithe not in faith, they are sinning.)

This then gives a different understanding to stewardship and marriage.  The steward does not live for himself, but for his Master.  He takes care of whatever the Master has given the steward to care for.  So, having “dominion” over something means you are its caretaker.  In marriage you learn to live for the other person.  It teaches us to become one, as Christ and the Father are one, and Jesus and we are one.  The reason for so many divorces is truly a lack of Godly, unconditional, self denying, other centered love.  A love we do not have naturally.  But we can acquire from God, if only we accept it.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Law and the Gospel

Due to extenuating circumstances there will be no audio version this week:

Here is the script, however:

The Law and the Gospel

 Memory Text: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3, 4, NKJV).

This verse presents a dilemma because depending on how you read it the emphasis could be on knowing Christ- (which would make keeping the law a fruit of knowing Him) or on keeping the law (which would make knowing Him a fruit of keeping the law).  Which one is it? 

We could try looking at the verse closer and see where it leads us.  Let us start within the expression, “that we know Him.”  In John 17:3, Christ stated that knowing Him (and His Father) is eternal life.  In John 6, Christ says that eating His flesh and drinking His blood gives life.  When we eat and drink we assimilate the food and drink; it becomes part of us.  So, although we do not think about it in this manner, there is an intimate relation between food and us.  What we eat and how we eat will eventually be revealed.  This is akin to knowing someone, the more time you spend with them the more the two assimilate each other.  In time it will be evident that the two spend a lot of time together.  To those around Peter it became evident that Peter was with Jesus; Peter now spoke like a Galilean (Matthew 26:73).  Peter in many ways acted like Jesus.  So, Peter’s speech was evidence that he was with Jesus.  Peter did not go around speaking like Jesus to prove that he was one of them.  It just came out.  When the disciples preached many said that it was evident that they had been with Jesus.  There was a transformation. 

The next expression is “Keeping the commandments.”  Who are these that keep them? Paul identifies the just as those who keep the commandments (Romans 2: 13).  The words just and righteous are the same word in Greek.  Abraham was just.  How was Abraham just?  He believed God’s words and it was counted to Him for righteousness (Romans 4:3).  Now, if Abraham’s faith made him just, and the just keep the commandments, it follows that only those who hear God’s words and believe them (since faith comes through Hearing and hearing through the word) keep the commandments (Romans 10:17).  The best way to know someone is to hear what they say and seek to understand them. 

What are the commandments?  We could argue that they are the Ten Commandments.  We typically also call it the Law.  The Ten Commandments speak of things we would do for others, not ourselves.  Not one of the commandments says anything about how you are to treat yourself, but how you are to treat God and others.  Christ stated in Matthew 22: 37 - 40,

Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This is a summary of the commandments.  It says in essence, put God and others first.  This is what Jesus did, he put His Father and others first.  So much that He went to die on the cross so others may live.  That is why the Father sent Him (Romans 5:8).  So, John puts it this way,

1Jo 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

In the Gospel according to John 15: 10 – 17, Jesus is quoted saying that this is the commandment He gives to us,

Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love…
Joh 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

And we see in this passage how laying down your life is related to abiding in Christ’s love.  So, is love related to the commandments?  Paul gives the answer,

Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

How do we relate faith to all of these?  Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4).  Anything outside of faith is Sin (Romans 14:23).   So, anything outside of faith transgresses the Law.  We have concluded that the law in essence says to love God and others above yourself,  So, not loving God and others above yourself or loving yourself above others – is transgressing the law, and it is not of faith, therefore it is a Sin.  So, if love fulfills the law and does not transgress it, love is not Sin therefore love is of faith.  This means that since loving God and others above yourself is laying down your life, then it follows that only those who lay down their life for others, as Christ laid His life down for us, are just or righteous; they keep the law.  So, how do we know you know Christ?  Because you willingly lay down your life for others as He laid His down for you. 

So, the question remains, why was the law given?    Romans says it was given to make sin, sinful; so that Sin may abound (Romans 5: 20).   Galatians says that it was given because of transgression (Galatians 3:19).  What transgression is it referring to?  Based on this verse in Galatians and what Paul says in Hebrews, the transgression was the unbelief of the Israelites in the wilderness (Hebrews 3).  What Paul is really saying is that the law was written on tablets because the Israelites refused to let God write the law in their hearts.  So, the written tablets would be a reminder of what of what is righteousness and in contrast to the Israelites what is Sin.  Paul says in 1 Tim 1: 8,

1Ti 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
1Ti 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
1Ti 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
1Ti 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

So, for who is the written law, moral law, 10 Commandments? It is for the wicked, the sinner, the trespasser.  Why?  For who is the MRI? Is it not for those who are sick? Why? It is to diagnose; for what purpose? To condemn so we can punish? No.  It is to convict so the person will go to the doctor for healing.

The commandments were given to expose sin and lead us to a Savior, to convince us of how terrible our condition is, and how we can do nothing to fix it ourselves, so we will stop trying and surrender to the One who has the remedy!  They were given to make Sin unattractive and grace attractive.  Had man been obedient there would have been no need for the law to be given.  Ellen White says,

If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his fall, preserved by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would have been no necessity for the ordinance of circumcision. And if the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, of which circumcision was a sign, they
would never have been seduced into idolatry, nor would it have been necessary for them to suffer a life of bondage in Egypt; they would have kept God's law in mind, and there would have been no necessity for it to be proclaimed from Sinai or engraved upon the tables of stone. And had the people practiced the principles of the Ten Commandments, there would have been no need of
the additional directions given to Moses. {PP 364.2}

Thus, the Gospel can be defined as the good news that through Jesus the law can be written in our heart and mind if only we allow the indwelling Spirit of God to do it.  This is God’s desire.  Nothing will please Him more.  Will we allow Him?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Church: Rites and Rituals

An audio overview of the lesson by Raul Diaz.

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Below is the Audio Script:

The Church: Rites and Rituals

Memory Text: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38, NKJV).

The lesson brings up three key words: rites, sacraments, and ordinances.  Historically they have been used interchangeably.  But they have different meanings.  We will not discuss that here.  Suffice it to say that neither rite nor sacrament appear in the King James Version.  The word ordinance appears twice in the NT, but never associated with baptism, foot washing or communion.  Ellen White uses ordinance for them.
These practices had no merit within themselves.  Lesson Sunday 1

However much importance we place on the “ordinances,” we must always remember that these are not conduits of grace or acts by which we earn salvation or gain merit before God. Sin, and what it has done to us, is way too serious a matter for rituals, even those instituted by Christ Himself, to be able to redeem us. Only the death of Jesus on the cross was sufficient to accomplish the salvation of beings as deeply fallen as we are. As we understand them, the ordinances are outward symbols of our acknowledgment of what Christ has done for us and of our union with Him (and all that this union entails), and they serve their purpose well. They are a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves.

baptism (Friday 1)

“Baptism is a most sacred and important ordinance, and there should be a thorough understanding as to its meaning. It means repentance for sin, and the entrance upon a new life in Christ Jesus. There should be no undue haste to receive the ordinance. Let both parents and children count the cost.”-Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 93.
Baptism is death unto Christ.  Recognition of your death in Christ. You died with Him.  It implies that whatever life you have you lived before was not right.  Your life is not your it is His.  It is out of gratitude.  All I left behind is dung.

Our lesson says

The New Testament uses several images to describe what baptism means. First, baptism symbolizes a spiritual union with Christ (Rom. 6:3-8), involving participation in His suffering, death, and resurrection, as well as the renunciation of one’s former lifestyle. In this way, baptism is linked with repentance and the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38); the new birth and reception of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13); and, consequently, entrance into the church (Acts 2:41, 47).

Foot wash
Both Peter and Judas participate. This means that Although each may participate it does not mean that each is repented and clean; it is a matter of choice. 

We call it the ordinance of humility.  But, it is Not only humbling for washing someone else’s feet.  Consider Peter interaction with Jesus in John 13.  Jesus says unless I wash your feet you have not part with me (John 13: 8).  So, it is called the ordnance of humility not only because you act as a servant in washing someone else’s feet, but also because it is a recognition that only Christ can truly cleanse us.

Lord’s supper

The Lord’s Supper replaces the Passover festival. So there is a lot of parallels. The Passover met its fulfillment when Christ, the Paschal Lamb, gave His life. Before His death, Christ Himself instituted the replacement, the great festival of the New Testament church under the new covenant. Just as the Passover festival commemorated Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt.   (Passover is symbolic of coming out of Sin, Egypt is Sin).  Putting in a converted mind in an old nature body (new wine in old bag).  The Lord’s Supper also commemorates the deliverance from Sin.  The blood, grape juice, and the water represent Jesus blood.  Bread represents His body.  Not only broken for us but that we take it in. 

The Passover lamb’s blood applied to the lintel and doorposts protected the inhabitants from death; the nourishment that its flesh provided gave them the strength to escape from Egypt (Exod. 12:3-8). So, Christ's sacrifice brings liberation from death; believers are saved through the partaking of both His body and blood (John 6:54) - John 6:54

New International Version (NIV)
54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

Those who partake Jesus’ blood and flesh bring eternal life.  What is sternal life?  In John 17: 3 it says that it is knowing Christ and the Father.  Knowing Christ and the Father is eating the flesh and drinking the blood.  It is through the Word that we know Jesus and the Father the best, and the hearing of the Word yields faith (faith come though hearing and hearing through the Word.)

Going back to John 6.  There we find that many were offended at Jesus’ words in verse 54 and stopped following Him.  Eating flesh and drinking blood was offensive to many so they stop following.  Ellen White says they fought conviction.  Conviction that what they desired is not what Christ was working toward.  They wanted national prominence.  They knew Christ was going away from that.  Remember, He had no place to lay His head. 

Ellen White says of the Passover,

“The Passover pointed backward to the deliverance of the children of Israel, and was also typical, pointing forward to Christ, the Lamb of God, slain for the redemption of fallen man. The blood sprinkled upon the door-posts prefigured the atoning blood of Christ, and also the continual dependence of sinful man upon the merits of that blood for safety from the power of Satan, and for final redemption.”-Ellen G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 201. 

So, communion also prefigures our continual dependence upon the merits of the blood of Christ.  Also, in communion we look to remember the cross and look forward to the time of His return.

1 Corinthians 11:26
New International Version (NIV)
26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

With these words we see how closely entwined the Second Coming and the Communion service are. That makes so much sense, too, because the Second Coming is, really, the culmination of what happened at the cross. One could argue that the biggest reason for the First Coming-which included His body being broken and His blood shed for us-was the Second Coming. The First Coming is what paved the way for the Second.

Each time we partake of communion, we dwell on the Cross and what it accomplished for us. Yet, what it accomplished for us cannot be separated from the Second Coming. In fact, what Jesus did on the cross for us doesn’t reach its ultimate culmination until the Second Coming.

Matthew 26:29
New International Version (NIV)
29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

He is waiting to drink from the fruit of the vine with us.  Will we not haste the day when this happens.