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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 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
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
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
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 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
"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
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.
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
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