Dear Fellow Believers:

he Week of Prayer readings for 2008 are about signs. Signs are important, because Jesus identified them for us and imbued them with meaning. He knew that the Christian journey was going to be long and at times difficult for His servants. He used some of the natural phenomena, the social and political life, the spiritual condition of humans, the stages in the development of His plan for the human race as pointers that along the way would remind all of us about His soon return. In the study of the signs we will share with you their purpose and meaning, and the risks involved in making them the center of our hope or of ignoring them. We will encourage you to develop a watchful and balanced approach to current events in the light of biblical prophecy.

Signs related to the increase of violence could upset our inner peace, but their discussion seeks to strengthen our assurance of God’s grace and presence with us in the midst of violence and fear. Signs addressing moral corruption and the exploitation of the needy by the powerful should motivate us to preserve our holiness and to speak up for the oppressed. Then there are signs about the threat of spiritualism in its diversity of expressions. More than anything else, spiritualism represents a counterfeit to the biblical renewal of those who have put their faith in Jesus and are being guided by the Spirit. But the church also faces dangers from within the Christian world through false teachers and false prophets. The signs alert us to those dangers.

What is really important is that the signs are the signs of the coming of Christ. That should be our main focus—the coming of Christ in glory! That event and the signs themselves cannot be separated from the Christian responsibility of proclaiming the gospel to the whole world. For us, that is the true meaning of globalization. The need is global, the message is global, and the return of Christ is also global. As you read these messages, allow the Spirit to talk to you personally and be ready to renew your hope.

Yours in the Christian hope,
Jan Paulsen

Jan Paulsen is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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