THE SUBJECT OF THE SANCTUARY was the key which unlocked mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God's hand had directed the great advent movement and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people. They had expected Him to appear in glory to give reward to His servants. As their hopes were disappointed, they had lost sight of Jesus. Now in the holy of holies they again beheld Him, their compassionate High Priest, soon to appear as king and deliverer. Light from the sanctuary illumined the past, the present, and the future. See Hebrews 8, 9, 10.
But the people were not yet ready to meet their Lord. There was still a work of preparation to be accomplished for them. Light was to be given, directing their minds to the temple of God in heaven: and as they should by faith follow their High Priest in His ministration there, new duties would be revealed. Another message of warning and instruction was to be given to the church.
Sins investigated and symbolically removed
When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.
This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing work in the sanctuary above.
Opportunity continues until investigation finished
This subject was not understood by Adventists in 1844. But clearer light came with the investigation of the sanctuary question.
The passing of the time in l844 was followed by a period of great trial to those who still held the advent faith. Their only relief, so far as ascertaining their true position was concerned, was the light which directed their minds to the sanctuary above. As they waited and watched and prayed to know the will of God they saw that their great High Priest had entered upon another work of ministration, and, following Him by faith, they were led to see also the closing work of the church. They had a clearer understanding of the first and second angels' messages, and were prepared to receive and give to the world the solemn warning of the third angel of Revelation 14.
The Immutable Law
The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament" (Revelation 11:19).
The ark in the tabernacle on earth contained the two tables of stone, upon which were inscribed the precepts of the law of God. When the temple of God was opened in heaven, the ark of His testament was seen. Within the holy of holies, in the sanctuary in heaven, the divine law is sacredly enshrined—the law that was spoken by God Himself amid the thunders of Sinai and written with His own finger on the tables of stone.
God's law is eternal
Importance of the Sabbath commandment
The Spirit of God impressed the hearts of those students of His word. The conviction was urged upon them that they had ignorantly transgressed this precept by disregarding the Creator's rest day.
The duty to worship God is based upon the fact that He is the Creator and that to Him all other beings owe their existence.
In Revelation 14, men are called to worship the Creator; and the prophecy brings to view a class that, as the result of the threefold message, are keeping the commandments of God. One of these commandments points directly to God as the Creator.
The Sabbath a sign of loyalty to God
In contrast to those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus, the third angel points to another class against whose errors a solemn and fearful warning is uttered: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God" (Revelation 14:9, 10). A correct interpretation of the symbols employed is necessary to an understanding of this message. What is represented by the beast, the image, the mark?
The Bible predicts Satan's war against Christ
In chapter 13 (verses 1-10) is described another beast, "like unto a leopard," to which the dragon gave "his power, and his seat, and great authority." This symbol, as most Protestants have believed, represents the papacy, which succeeded to the power and seat and authority once held by the ancient Roman empire. Of the leopardlike beast it is declared: "There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. . . .opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." This prophecy, which is nearly identical with the description of the little horn of Daniel 7, unquestionably points to the papacy.
"Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." The forty and two months are the same as the "time and times and the dividing of time," three years and a half, or 1260 days, of Daniel 7—the time during which the papal power was to oppress God's people. This period, as stated in preceding chapters, began with the supremacy of the papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time the pope was made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.
The USA represented by lamblike beast
The beast with lamblike horns was seen "'coming up out of the earth."' Instead of overthrowing other powers to establish itself, the nation thus represented must arise in territory previously unoccupied and grow up gradually and peacefully. It could not, then, arise among the crowded and struggling nationalities of the Old World.
What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power, giving promise of strength and greatness, and attracting the attention of the world? The application of the symbol admits of no question. One nation, and only one, meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakenly to the United States of America.
"And he had two horns like a lamb." The lamblike horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the character of the United States when presented to the prophet as "coming up" in 1798. Among the Christian exiles who first fled to America and sought an asylum from royal oppression and priestly intolerance were many who determined to establish a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. Millions have sought its shores, and the United States has risen to a place among the most powerful nations of the earth.
USA to become intolerant
The lamblike horns and dragon voice point to a striking contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation thus represented. The prediction that it will speak "as a dragon" and exercise "all the power of the first beast" plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopardlike beast. And the statement that the beast with two horns "causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast" indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the papacy.
Such action would be directly contrary to the principles of this government, to the genius of its free institutions, to the direct and solemn avowals of the Declaration of Independence, and to the Constitution. The inconsistency of such action is no greater than is represented in the symbol. It is the beast with lamblike horns—in profession pure, gentle, and harmless—that speaks as a dragon. "Saying to them that dwell in the earth, that they should make an image to the beast."
USA will restrict religious freedom
When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of "heresy." In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.
Civil penalties for religious infractions
The beast with two horns "causeth [commands] 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" (Revelation 13:16, 17). The third angel's warning is: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." "The beast" mentioned in this message, whose worship is enforced by the two-horned beast, is the first, or leopardlike beast of Revelation 13—the papacy. The "image to the beast" represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas. The "mark of the beast" still remains to be defined.
After the warning against the worship of the beast and his image the prophecy declares: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Since those who keep God's commandments are thus placed in contrast with those that worship the beast and his image and receive his mark, it follows that the keeping of God's law, on the one hand, and its violation, on the other, will make the distinction between the worshipers of God and the worshipers of the beast.
The issue is the Ten-Commandment Sabbath
Roman Catholics acknowledge that the change of the Sabbath was made by their church, and declare that Protestants by observing the Sunday are recognizing her power.
The enforcement of Sundaykeeping on the part of Protestant churches is an enforcement of the worship of the papacy—of the beast. Those who, understanding the claims of the fourth commandment, choose to observe the false instead of the true Sabbath are thereby paying homage to that power by which alone it is commanded. But in the very act of enforcing a religious duty by secular power, the churches would themselves form an image to the beast; hence the enforcement of Sundaykeeping in the United States would be an enforcement of the worship of the beast and his image.
God's wrath will punish
In the issue of the contest all Christendom will be divided into two great classes—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark.
Preparing for Trial
Wherever the Word of God has been faithfully preached, results have followed that attested its divine origin.
Revivals brought deep heart searching humility. They were characterized by solemn earnest appeals to the sinner. The fruits of such revivals were seen in souls who shrank not at self-denial and sacrifice, but rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer reproach and trial for the sake of Christ. Men beheld a transformation in the lives of those who had professed the name of Jesus. Such were the effects that in former years followed seasons of religious awakening.
But many of the revivals of modern times have presented a marked contrast to those manifestations of divine grace which in earlier days followed the labors of God's servants. It is true that a widespread interest is kindled, many profess conversion, and there are large accessions to the churches; nevertheless the results are not such as to warrant the belief that there has been a corresponding increase of real spiritual life. The light which flames up for a time soon dies out, leaving the darkness more dense than before.
A spiritual revival separates God's people from false churches
Bible reveals false revivals
There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God's Word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements. Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that God's blessing is not bestowed. And by the rule which Christ Himself has given, "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16), it is evident that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God.
In the truths of His word, God has given to men a revelation of Himself; and to all who accept them they are a shield against the deceptions of Satan. It is neglect of these truths that has opened the door to the evils which are now becoming so widespread in the religious world. The nature and importance of the law of God have been, to a great extent, lost sight of. Here is to be found the secret of the lack of the Spirit and power of God in the revivals of our time.
God's law not abolished by Christ's death
The claim that Christ by His death abolished His Father's law is without foundation. Had it been possible for the law to be changed or set aside, then Christ need not have died to save man from the penalty of sin. The Son of God came to "magnify the law, and make it honorable" (Isaiah 42:21). He said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law;" "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law" (Matthew 5:17, 18). And concerning Himself He declares: "I delight to do Thy will, 0 my God: yea, Thy law is within My heart" (Psalm 40:8).
The law of God, from its very nature, is unchangeable. It is a revelation of the will and character of its Author. God is love, and His law is love. The character of God is righteousness and truth; such is the nature of His law.
Reconciliation starts with sin conviction
The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no remedy. While it promises life to the obedient, it declares that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. He must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed, and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice. Thus he obtains "remission of sins that are past" and becomes a partaker of the divine nature.
Law still applies after conversion
Without the law, men have no just conception of the purity and holiness of God or of their own guilt and uncleanness. They have no true conviction of sin and feel no need of repentance. Not seeing their lost condition as violators of God's law, they do not realize their need of the atoning blood of Christ. The hope of salvation is accepted without a radical change of heart or reformation of life. Thus superficial conversions abound, and multitudes join to the church who have never been united to Christ.
It is the privilege of everyone so to live that God will approve and bless him. It is not the will of our heavenly Father that we should be ever under condemnation and darkness We may go to Jesus and be cleansed, and stand before the law without shame and remorse.
Jesus empowers victory
Such are the fruits of Bible conversion and sanctification; and it is because the great principles of righteousness set forth in the law of God are so indifferently regarded by the Christian world that these fruits are so rarely witnessed.
A Look at the Record
"I beheld," says the prophet Daniel. "till thrones were placed, and One that was Ancient of Days did sit: . . . the judgment was set, and the books were opened" (Daniel 7:9, 10, R.V.).
The coming of Christ here described is not His second coming to the earth. He comes to the Ancient of Days in heaven to receive dominion and glory and a kingdom, which will be given Him at the close of His work as a mediator. Attended by heavenly angels, our great High Priest enters the holy of holies and there appears in the presence of God to engage in His last acts of ministration in behalf of man—to perform the work of investigative judgment and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.
Record books in heaven examined
There is a record also of the sins of men. "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Every man's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. (Eccl. 12:14; Matt. 12:36)
Jesus - the Christian's lawyer in the judgment
Jesus will appear as their advocate, to plead in their behalf before God. "if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).
All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life.
Satan - the prosecutor
Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith, and, claiming for them forgiveness, He lifts His wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying: I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of My hands. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, 0 God, Thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17).
Judgement began in 1844
Only the love which is shown by works is counted genuine. Yet it is love alone which in the sight of Heaven makes any act of value. Whatever is done from love, however small it may appear in the estimation of men, is accepted and rewarded of God.
The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, "whither the forerunner is for us entered" (Hebrews 6:20). There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption.
It is time to confess and turn away from sin
There must be deep, faithful searching of heart The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. The purity and devotion of one will not offset the want of these qualities in another. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon—none know how soon—it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Savior's admonition: "Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is" (Mark 13:33). When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death.