FRIENDS, our heavenly Father is always thinking of His children. In fact, we are never out of His thoughts. In the Scriptures we read: “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep,” and He is constantly working things out for the best good of those that love and serve Him. God not only thinks of us and our needs during this life’s experience, but He earnestly desires that we should have a part in the world to come.
Oh, that men might lift their heads away from the soil from which they are endeavouring to extract a living, and look up and see the angel of God waiting to place a crown of eternal life upon their brows! this present life is only a fleeting shadow, but the life to come will be an eternal reality, and, too, all that God offers to us associated with the future life will be real and tangible.
We wish to tell you about the home that God has prepared for you in heaven. When Jesus left the earth, He said He was going to prepare mansions for His followers in His Father’s house. In John 14:1-3 we read: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Our heavenly home will surely be something worthwhile. Think who is designing it — none else but the Lord Jesus Himself. We read in the Bible that what the ear has not heard, nor eye seen, and what has never entered into the mind of men, God has prepared for those who love Him. I wish we could forget the old idea of heaven’s being a spirit-world where people are immaterial spirits, for, according to the Scriptures, heaven will be quite different from that. And here’s the proof. I am reading Philippians 3:20, 21: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” Good speed translates this passage as follows: “He will make over our poor bodies to resemble His glorious body.” Do you get the significance of that? Our bodies will be changed to resemble the glorious resurrected body of our Lord, and this change will take place at the appearing of our Lord. (1 John 3:2).
Let us now notice the significance of the fact that we are going to be just like Jesus was in bodily form right after the resurrection. When He met with His disciples He made it very clear to them that He was a real, material being. He stated this fact positively in Luke 24:39, where we read: “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.” And to doubting Thomas He said: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing.” John 20:27.
When Thomas reached out his hand and found that the Master was really there in person, and that He was a real, tangible being, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” We bring this proof of the tangible, material body of our Lord to you because the Scripture says we shall be like Him. Thus, when we come forth from the grave, or if we live to see Him come, we shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump, and these vile, mortal bodies of ours will be changed and we shall become immortal, tangible beings.
Next we answer the question, “Shall we partake of food in the kingdom to come?” It is interesting to note that Christ could and did partake of food after the resurrection. We read in Luke 24:41-43: “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them.
That we shall eat and drink in the life to come is clear from the statement of our Lord Himself, who said, as recorded in Matthew 26:29: “ I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” So you see, God’s heaven will be a very real place with real people in it.
It is spoken of as a place where houses will be built and crops harvested. The Lord says, through the prophet Isaiah, “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth. . . .And they [the inhabitants of the new earth and the New Jerusalem] shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.” Isaiah 65:17-23. I hope, when that day dawns, that I’ll be living in the midst of all my friends, so that I can have the joy of handing them some grapes from my vineyard in that glad day.
One thing that is uppermost in many people’s minds when they think about heaven, is whether they will know their friends and loved ones there. There is a statement made by the Apostle Paul which indicates that we shall know one another in heaven. In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we are told, “Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I would gather from this that we shall know others, and they will know us in heaven.
And then I think of that question that mothers especially are so fond of asking: “Will our children grow up in heaven, or will those that die as infants always remain babies?” We are assured that the babies will grow up in heaven, for Isaiah 65:20 declares: “There shall be no more thence an infant of days.”
But does that mean that babies and little children will not go to heaven? Never forget that it was the great Life-giver who said: “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.” And we can be sure that He will see them saved in the kingdom. Isaiah 11 depicts babes and sucklings in the new earth living in the midst of one-time ravenous beasts. In Malachi 4:2, we are told that, in that day we shall grow up as calves of the stall. And what a lovely picture there is in Zechariah 8:5, of boys and girls playing in the streets of the New Jerusalem! The streets are full of them, we are told.
One of the great pleasures that awaits fathers and mothers in heaven is to see the children grow up whom, with broken hearts and many tears, they had laid in the grave during their sojourn on earth. In that glad day the angels will place them in the arms of their parents, and they will have the joy of seeing them grow up in the atmosphere of the gloryland. Why, that thought in itself should spur us on to win the prize of immortal life, and join the loved ones beside the river of life.
We shall never grow weary in the life to come. The Bible says: “They shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Heaven, on the other hand, will not be a lazy man’s country. Having perfect minds and perfect bodies we shall constantly be so full of energy that we shall always be eager to do something.
At the end of 6,000 years the men of this world have just begun to discover some of the secrets of God’s great universe. Every day new discoveries are being made in every field of science. What a wonderful thing it will be in the life to come, to study with our perfect minds every branch of science, and understand for ourselves the wonders of God’s creation! Here we just begin to appreciate some of the wonders that God has prepared for man’s enjoyment when we come to the end of life; but in that day life will never end.
Just think of it! Heaven will be a place where death will never enter. In that land there will be no funeral trains, no farewell partings with swollen eyes and tear-stained cheeks. The aches that rack our bodies, and the fears that perplex and distress our minds in this life, will have no place there.
Perhaps you are saying just now, But what is required to get one’s name in the Lamb’s Book of Life that we may find admittance into the heavenly home? In Revelation 22:14 we read: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Friend, if you feel the Spirit tugging at your heart, urging you to make sure of entering through the gates into the city of God, do not delay. Your passport into the heavenly country can be obtained right now, at this very moment. Your name can be registered upon the book of life just where you are. If you ask the Lord Jesus to inscribe your name there He will do it. If you are willing to surrender your all to Him and follow in His footsteps, your name will be immediately written in letters of gold upon the white pages of the book of life.
It is not enough to be anxious about getting to heaven, we must make a definite decision to take out our citizenship papers for heaven. We must determine to do what we know to be right in the sight of God. We must walk in the light as He has been pleased to reveal it to us, and we must place our hands unreservedly in the hand that was nailed to the cross for us, and ask God to lead us through all the future of our lives until it is our privilege to be led through the pearly gates into the city of God. Think of that beautiful home that Jesus is preparing for you right now. Are you preparing to occupy it some day? Jesus said to the people of His day, “Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40. May that not be said of one who reads these lines. Eternal life in God’s new world is yours if you can but say, “I will,” today. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.
PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, we tank Thee for the provision that Thou hast made for our eternal welfare. We are glad to learn, dear Lord, that heaven is a real place, and that we shall know our loved ones and friends in the glory land. We are happy that Thou hast revealed to us “the way, the truth and the life.” We respond to Thy invitation to come and drink of the water of life freely. Continue to “shew me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths . . .for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.” In Jesus Name, Amen.


In 1885, a small group of the fledgling Seventh-day Adventist Church stepped off the Sydney train at Melbourne’s Spencer Street Station, They hadn’t been in Australia for more than a few days and at once started to look for lodgings and a place from which to operate as Christian evangelists.
Among the new arrivals from the United States was a printer who was central to the group’s outreach strategy, as the production of tracts, booklets and books was key in their ambitious plan to take the gospel message to the scattered populations of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region.
So it was that in January 1886, the first print run of a new magazine was completed and given away on street corners to anyone who showed interest. The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times was laboriously printed on a hand press; each large page full to the brim with comprehensive articles on Bible prophecy, fundamental Christian beliefs and social morality. The lead article, “Science and the Bible in Education” ran over the first two pages. The type was small and cramped by today’s newspaper standards, the columns narrow and there were no illustrations to break the monotony. The editorial on page 8 stated that this new publication would “advocate nothing that is not distinctly taught in Scripture” and that it would be “a chronicler of events which mark the times pointed out in the prophecies.” And because the content was different from anything else on the streets, the editor noted that he expected plenty of comment from the public. Would anyone read it?
“Is Protestantism True to Itself?” was the headline on the next print run and was a not-so-subtle jab at the religious controversy then consuming Melbourne. It was the first time the publication considered a contemporary event, thus setting a benchmark for reporting that would continue 120 years. Another lengthy article focused on the then publicly contentious issue of Sabbath-keeping. Advertisements promoted Bible meetings to be held in a tent on a corner block in North Fitzroy, not far from where The Bible Echo was being printed.
By 1896, The Bible Echo and Signs of the Times was no longer given away. Rather, it sold for a penny and had been reduced from 16 to eight pages. Though smaller, it was still crammed full of information, but with the occasional engraving now providing relief from the dense text. One lead article, uncannily resonating with the condition of today’s world, stated unequivocally that “we are [surely] living in eventful days and troublous times . . . . with war between China and Japan . . . massacres in Turkey . . . trouble between England and the United States. . . .”
By the end of the century The Bible Echo had become a newspaper and conscience to the general public and a “family” newsletter to a growing population of Christian believers.
a move for the best
In 1906, and for a number of reasons including access to hydro-electric power, the publishing house was moved to Warburton, a small timber-milling village in Melbourne’s upper Yarra Valley, at the foot of Mount Donna Buang. The magazine, now 20 years old, had simplified its name to Signs of the Times, as it is still known.
While there were significant changes in style, the focus of the magazine remained intact—to interpret world and local events through a Christian and prophetic perspective. By 1910 the Signs had shrunk again, this time to 12 standard A4 pages and included photographs, but retained the one-penny price.
he reduced content, however, reflected previous issues, but with condensed comments rather than long reports on world issues. Problems in China, both politically and with the opium trade, was a popular topic during the year, and lifestyle features, such as “How to Be Popular,” began to appear.
In the 1920s, following the horrors of World War I, Signs concentrated on continued world trauma as flood surges ravaged Arkansas after a massive hurricane. The editors were offended by the “growing stream of impure literature” and the prophetic implications in “Our Seething Planet” were as plain as “the cancer of lawlessness and unrest is rapidly spreading over the world.”
The year 1939 was a similar time of uncertainty as the world, after the Great Depression, lurched toward armed conflict in Europe. The editorial of the October 16, 1939, issue pondered the possibility of Germany breaking the Maginot Line in France (the war had broken out on September 3), while the headline article was on a growing belief in evolution. Before the end of the year, the world was at war and Signs featured one full page devoted to nothing else but the Bible text, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” On the following page was a sentence that could have been lifted from today’s media: “Millions of human beings in our troubled world tremble . . .” staggering world event dominated the January 1, 1946 issue. The atomic bomb had ended the war in the Pacific and the Signs wondered whether “science has gone too far.” The report concluded that there was something “greater than the atom,” that being the promise of salvation in Jesus Christ. This continual attachment of spiritual assurance to catastrophe set Signs apart from other papers of the day.
The potential of global nuclear war came under scrutiny in 1956. In a number of references to Armageddon, the Signs, now a popular two-colour magazine costing tuppence, showed pictures of people furiously digging bomb shelters as a fearful Cold War obsessed the world. The Signs urged readers to think beyond the fear.

the 60s and 70s

Colour covers, rather insipid by today’s standards, featured in the following decade. More personality profiles appeared in print and a regular feature entitled “The Meaning of Events” was a popular segment. The layout of the magazine was typically “1960s,” moving away from an overuse of text to the utilisation of space and original illustrations clearly reflecting the culture of the day. Page layout moved to a three-column format, in spite of strong pressure not do this as it was deemed “modern and American.” The articles were changing in nature, too, becoming more “chatty,” but without losing the spiritual punchiness of earlier issues.

The 1970s was a decade of technological innovation. Offset presses and punched-tape typesetting changed the face of the printing industry. Suddenly there was more freedom in layout and design and this was reflected, albeit slowly, in the production of Signs of the Times. In content, the magazine had so many regular segments that they almost overwhelmed feature stories. A vast array of experienced writers contributed month-by-month in one-page Q&A Bible studies, Scripture-based homilies, poems, lifestyle and medical questions answered, quizzes of all kinds and a page for children. This decade saw the greatest subscription level in the history of the magazine, with some 75,000 printed monthly.

changing with the times
But the days when people read for leisure were in decline. Television was now firmly entrenched in nearly every home. People began to watch rather than read. To counter this decline in readership and stay competitive with the rising sophistication of popular magazines, a significant change in format took place in 1991 when the Signs moved to a smaller size, albeit with 64 pages. This was a calculated marketing risk as the core subscriber base, generally conservative and ageing, had become comfortable over the years with the familiar larger size. The smaller “Reader’s Digest” shape evolved slowly into a tacit acceptance that it was a necessary (and ultimately successful) stratagem. As late as 2000, people were still heard to refer to “the new size” of the Signs.
As gently as possible, the size change was accompanied by a deliberate move to highlight personalities on the cover—a positive role-model philosophy—and to freshen up the layout with computer-graphic design. Contents included more health and lifestyle features to compensate for the demise of a sister publication, Good Health. This provoked some criticism that the traditional doctrinal and prophetic messages were being diluted. Not so! Only the packaging was different.
Today’s Signs of the Times is a colourful, classy, even trendy magazine that wears with pride the heritage of 120 years. It has won accolades for both editorial content, individual articles and creative illustration. And it even has its own website—
It would be fair to say that the Signs of the Times magazine has enriched and often changed the lives of thousands of individuals in Australia and New Zealand since its inception in 1886. A conservative estimate suggests that at least 25 million copies have been printed over that time, not including the occasional special large-run edition. Marketing and sales have moved from free handouts on busy Melbourne streets to illuminated lightboxes in airports, national subscription campaigns and magazine racks inside and outside shops and facilities across the Pacific.
Times, tastes and values change. But the basic philosophy underpinning the Signs of the Times has remained constant just as the presentation has evolved so as to connect with the public. The original editorial viewpoint that the magazine should “advocate nothing that is not distinctly taught in Scripture” and that it would be “a chronicler of events which mark the times pointed out in the prophecies” is still as valid today as it was when the first edition was printed. It needs to be.
Today’s global village is more hazardous, more unpredictable and anxiety-ridden than any age in history. If there was ever a time for Christian reflection on local and international events and their relationship to Bible prophecy, it is now. As a constant in this hectic world, Signs of the Times continues to offer comfort, assurance and hope. It’s telling the world—as it always has—that God loves us, and wants the best for our lives and our world.