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Facing Life's Record

In the typical [sanctuary] service, only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the Day of Atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period See 1 Pet. 4:17.

The books of record
The books of record in heaven, in which the names and the deeds of men are registered, are to determine the decisions of the judgment. Says the prophet Daniel: "The judgment was set, and the books were opened." The revelator, describing the same scene, adds: "Another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" (Revelation 20:12).

The book of life contains the names of all who have ever entered the service of God. Jesus bade His disciples: "Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20; see also Philippians 4:3; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 21:27).

"A book of remembrance" is written before God, in which are recorded the good deeds of "them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name" (Malachi 3:16). Their words of faith, their acts of love, are registered in heaven. Nehemiah refers to this when he says: "Remember me, 0 my God... and wipe not out my good deeds that have done for the house of my God" (Nehemiah 13:14).

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." Says the Savior: "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36, 37). The secret purposes and motives appear in the unerring register; for God "will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts" (1 Corinthians 4:5; see also Isaiah 65:6, 7).

The review process
Every man's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin.

The law of God is the standard by which the characters and the lives of men will be tested in the judgment. Says the wise man: "Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment" (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; see also James 2:12).

Jesus will appear in the judgment as the advocate of His people, 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; see also Hebrews 9:24; 7:25).

As the books of record are opened in the judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God's remembrance. The Lord declared to Moses: "Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book." (Exodus 32:33; see also Ezekiel 18:24).

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 (see Isaiah 43:25). Said Jesus: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels" (Revelation 3:5; see also Matthew 10:32, 33).

The divine Intercessor presents the plea that all who have overcome through faith in His blood be forgiven their transgressions, that they be restored to their Eden home, and crowned as joint heirs with Himself. He asks for His people not only pardon and justification, full and complete, but a share in His glory and a seat upon His throne.

A Savior and an accuser
While Jesus is pleading for the subjects of His grace, Satan accuses them before God as transgressors. The great deceiver has sought to lead them into skepticism, to cause them to lose confidence in God, to separate themselves from His love, and to break His law. Now he points to the record of their lives, to the defects of character, the unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer, to all the sins that he has tempted them to commit, and because of these he claims them as his subjects.

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. Christ will clothe His faithful ones with His own righteousness, that He may present them to His Father "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing" (Ephesians 5:27). Their names stand enrolled in the book of life, and concerning them it is written: "They shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy" (Revelation 3:4).

Thus will be realized the complete fulfillment of the new-covenant promise: "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:34; see also Jeremiah 50:20; Isaiah 4:2, 3

Probation Closes

We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service, while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life should afflict their souls by sorrow for sin and by true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The work of preparation is an individual work. We are not saved in groups. He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Jesus declares to all who would follow Him: "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2 Corinthians 12:9). "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:29, 30). Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them.

The investigative judgment will end
When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death, Christ will come, and His reward will be with Him to give to every man as his work shall be. Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. Christ in the Revelation, looking forward to that time, declares: "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" (Revelation 22:11, 12).

When Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above, He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, "It is done;" and all the angelic host lay off their crowns. Every case has been decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins. The number of His subjects is made up.

Probation closes silently
The righteous and the wicked will still be living upon the earth in their mortal state men will be planting and building, eating and drinking, all unconscious that the final, irrevocable decision has been pronounced in the sanctuary above. Before the Flood, after Noah entered the ark, God shut him in and shut the ungodly out; but for seven days the people, knowing not that their doom was fixed, continued their careless, pleasure-loving life and mocked the warnings of impending judgment. "So," says the Savior, "shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matthew 24:39). Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief, will come the decisive hour which marks the fixing of every man's destiny, the final withdrawal of mercy's offer to guilty men.

"Watch ye therefore... lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping" (Mark 13:35, 36). Perilous is the condition of those who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce the sentence: "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting" (Daniel 5:27).

Reunion at Last

When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the earth. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth unsheltered by divine grace into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible an that which came upon Jerusalem of old. While the wicked are dying, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants. They are waiting the word of their Commander to snatch them from their peril. In the hour of peril and distress "the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them" (Psalm 34:7). With earnest longing, God's people await their coming King.

Deliverance at midnight
It is at midnight that God manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The King of kings descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him. Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He cries: "Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise! "

All the redeemed come forth from their graves with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth. Christ's faithful ones, free from all blemishes and deformities, will appear in "the beauty of the Lord our God," [Psalm 90:17] in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord.

Meeting Jesus
The living righteous are changed "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." [1 Cor. 15:52] At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels "gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." [Matt. 24:31] Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.

Before the ransomed throng is the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. Now is fulfilled the Savior's prayer for His disciples: "I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." [John 17:24] With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord.

The Deceiver Chained

At the coming of Christ, the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth consumed with the spirit of His mouth and destroyed by the brightness of His glory. Christ takes His people to the City of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants. It appears like a desolate wilderness (see Isaiah 24:1, 3, 5, 6).

Foretelling the banishment of Satan, and earth's desolation, the Revelator declares that this condition will exist for a thousand years. After presenting the scenes of the Lord's second coming and the destruction of the wicked, the prophecy continues: "I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season" (Revelation 20:1-3).

A thousand desolate years
For a thousand years, Satan will wander to and fro in the desolate earth to behold the results of his rebellion against the law of God. During this time his sufferings are intense. Now deprived of his power, he is left to contemplate the part which he has acted since first he rebelled against the government of heaven, and to look forward with terror to the dreadful future when he must suffer for all the evil that he has done and be punished for the sins that he has instigated.

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.

While the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed. When the high priest, by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, removed the sins from the sanctuary, he placed them upon the scapegoat. When Christ, by virtue of His own blood, removes the sins of His people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of His ministration, He will place them upon Satan, who, in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final penalty.

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.



Copyright 2005 by Family Heritage Books. [some subtitles added]. Web page created: 02/15/07 Updated: 05/28/07