Christ’s Work in the Sanctuary after the Cross
WAS ALL CHRIST’S WORK OF RECONCILING MANKIND TO GOD COMPLETED AT THE CROSS?
For the answer let’s turn to the book of Revelation. John wrote: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants things which MUST SHORTLY TAKE PLACE”.
Revelation was written years after Christ’s earthly ministry. His cry, “It is finished” had echoed decades before John wrote the book.
Obviously Christ wanted to reveal to people what He is doing and will do AFTER THE CROSS. Yes, the cross forms the foundation of all saving work — but Revelation REVEALS that Christ is still working in the great plan of reconciliation!
Both the Old and the New Testaments teach that Christ’s work of redeeming humans did not end with His death. Christ certainly completed the work He came to do while on earth as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) He prayed: “I have glorified you on the EARTH. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4) But Jesus’ earthly work — IS NOT HIS ONLY WORK!
The sanctuary has three phases:
- The outer court where the sacrifice is slain.
- The holy place where the priest ministers daily.
- The Most Holy Place, where the Priest ministers on the day of Atonement.
The work of Christ on earth was represented by the activities done in the courtyard of the sanctuary. The sacrifice was Perfect and complete, yet even as the atonement in the wilderness sanctuary was then carried on inside the sanctuary, so Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary to apply the atonement for each responsive individual.
Our Savior did not go straight into the Most Holy Place upon ascension, and then go on vacation as far as His work in saving mankind is concerned, leaving us to celebrate under a blanket coverage of grace.
The battle is not finished– in fact, Revelation shows that it intensifies. In Revelation 12 we are told that the dragon’s defeat only increases his great wrath and determination to devour and deceive God’s people. He seeks, with intense fury to thwart the work of Christ which seeks to “mix faith and obedience” in the believers hearts. For Hebrews 3:18,19 tells us that those who have not submitted unto obedience cannot enter into Christ’s eternal rest because they do not have faith. The gospel does not profit them because they refuse to mix obedience with faith (Hebrews 4:2,5). Therefore we see in Revelation 12:27 and 14:12 that the dragons wrath is directed against those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.”(Rev.12:27) And those who escape the damnation to fall on all who accept the dragons lies, are those who “with perseverance keep the commands of God and have the faith of Jesus.”(Rev.14:12) These are the “overcomers” Revelation 2 and 3 offers the eternal blessings to. These are the ones gain the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith! 1 John 5:4
Revelation, however, is written to reveal Christ! It pictures Christ as the Great High Priest working, first in the Holy Place, then moving in the Most Holy Place, as He deals with the sin problem, not only to rescue sinners from sins power, put also to demonstrate to the whole universe the true nature of sin. Sin reveals the evil character of Satan who set himself against God’s law. In direct contrast Christ reveals the true nature of goodness, and heavens law, which is the character of God Himself.
The book of Hebrews laid the groundwork in understanding Christ’s work as our Great High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary.
“Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is not of this creation” (Heb. 9:11)
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Heb. 4:14)
“He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood…He ever lives to make intercession for them. (Heb. 7:24-26)
“We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected” (Heb. 8:12)
Christ Jesus is ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, at the right hand of the Father, as High Priest and Mediator, RIGHT NOW.
Revelation expands this picture and REVEALS Christ.
- It shows Him as a ministering priest among the churches.
- It reveals the opening of the holy place in the heavenly sanctuary.
- It shows Christ’s work in the Holy Place beginning.
- It shows one door closing and another door opening in that sanctuary.
- It shows the time of judgment
- It shows the closing scenes during that judgment.
These are the things that must come to pass AFTER THE CROSS! The segments of prophetic visions in Revelation all center in the heavenly sanctuary. We see both linear and recapitulation progressions in these prophetic segments. It is the sanctuary scene, pictured at the beginning of each segment, that presents a linear prophetic line of Christ’s priestly work.
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection didn’t end His work of reconciliation; on the contrary, they laid the foundation for His heavenly priesthood. It was by His death, that His work in the heavenly sanctuary could begin. This is the focus of Revelation as well as Hebrews!
WHAT PERIOD OF TIME IS COVERED BY THE REVELATION?
Revelation begins by referring to the time period to be covered: The time from the cross–which provides for our need to be “washed from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5) to eternal glorification when He comes “With clouds and every eye shall see him”. (Rev. 1:6) It extends to the grand climax when God creates a New Heaven and New Earth and wipes away all tears and there will be no more death, sorrow or pain. (Rev.21:1-5) In the years between these events, Revelation reveals visions of beasts, which organize a tremendous assault to deceive the whole world and pull all people into the lake fire. Yet woven throughout are the promises of deliverance for the faithful. It reveals the Great Battle between the Dragon and Christ. Most importantly it reveals Christ’s work in dealing with the sin problem; in defeating the dragon and delivering His people to join in His glorious kingdom. Central to Christ’s work is the SANCTUARY–the heavenly sanctuary which is the head quarters for dealing with the sin problem. This sanctuary was opened “for business” at Jesus ascension. For only after His earthly work was completed could Jesus begin His work in the heavenly sanctuary.
WHERE IS JESUS IN THE FIRST VISION PRESENTED TO JOHN?
We see Him walking among the seven candle stands. This image relates directly to the sanctuary, specifically to the seven-branched candlestick (Menorah) found in the first apartment of both the wilderness tabernacle and the temple in Jerusalem.
The Greek word used here in Revelation 1:12 for candlestick is “luchnia”. It is the same word used in Hebrews 9:2 for the golden candlestick of the earthly sanctuary. The Septuagint (LXX), which is the Greek version of the Old Testament, uses the same word when describing the golden candlestick of the earthly sanctuary in the Holy Place.
In Revelation, John is told that the seven lampstands are seven churches. The lampstands in both the earthly and heavenly sanctuaries represent God’s people who receive the oil of the Holy Spirit and the light of Christ Himself.
When Jesus asked his followers in Matthew 5.16 to:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
He never meant for us to shine on our own. That would not bring God glory. But when seen in the sanctuary setting, where God’s people are the lampstands into which God’s Holy Spirit is to accepted and the light of Christ is to shine and be reflected forth.
The picture presented in these first chapters of Revelation is of Christ, in the heavenly sanctuary, tending the candlestick– ministering to the churches (God’s people) throughout the remainder of earth’s history.
The seven letters to the churches in Revelation two and three, correlate closely with the events of church history.
Ephesus…… 31-100 A.D….. Apostolic Church
Smyrna……. 100-313 A.D…. The persecuted Church
Pergamos….. 313-538 A.D…. The Church is established as the legally recognized church
Thyatira….. 538-1520 A.D…. The Church in the middle ages
Sardis…….. 1520- 1740 A.D…. The Reformation rises but stagnates
Philadelphia.. 1740 -1850… Time of great revivals, culminating with the Advent movement
Laodicea….. 1850- to end… The end time church.
The post reformation recognized the seven churches, and seven seals, as covering the Christian Era. This was well established before 1844. “The seven churches typify the church universal in its seven ages from Pentecost till the Day of the Lord.” Wrote Adam Burwell in 1835.
Adventists also believe, like hundreds of students of prophecy down through the centuries, that the seven churches of Revelation two and three represent the condition of the Christian church during various periods. The number seven indicates completeness, and is symbolic of the fact that the messages extend to the end of time. Revelation One, shows Christ walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks, which are the seven churches (1:20) with seven stars in his right hand (1:16) which are the messengers of the seven churches. (1:20) Thus is symbolized His relation to the churches.
This timeline will be considered later in our discussion, for a door is shut and another opened in the “Philadelphia Period.”
THE SON OF MAN WEARS THE GARMENTS OF THE PRIEST
John sees one “like the Son of Man” walking among the candlesticks. The phrase “one like the Son of Man (Revelation 1:13) is an exact translation of the Dan. 7:13 which is a description of the pre- advent judgment, a heavenly tribunal in which “One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven!”
The Son of Man, in Revelation 1:13, is dressed in garments worn by the High Priest in the earthly sanctuary service. (See Exodus 28:4, 29:5) The “robe” is translated from the Greek “poderes”. The “poderes” was a long robe worn by the Israelite high priest in his daily and yearly ministry. Hebrews tells us we have a High Priest in heaven, Revelation shows Him in that role.
Only by virtue of what Christ accomplished as the Lamb upon the cross, can He now function as High Priest. Priests in the earthly sanctuary could not function without the sacrifice. So Christ’s perfect sacrifice upon the cross enables Him to be our Perfect High Priest. The two roles are inseparable. John sees Jesus as High Priest and immediately Christ tells John, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more!!!
In the earthly sanctuary, one of the Priest’s duties was to keep the lamps burning. Here in Revelation we see Christ, our heavenly High Priest attending to the lamps.
CHRIST IN THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY
As we move on in Revelation to chapters 4 and 5 we see the setting for the second of seven major prophetic sequences in Revelation.
The scene is placed in the exalted, holy place of the sanctuary setting. Christ is inaugurated into his royal priesthood.
A magnificent picture of the sanctuary in heaven emerges in Revelation 4 and 5. “After these things I looked and behold a door standing open in heaven” and John saw “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne.” There are also golden bowls full of incense.
A door in heaven is open. (Rev. 4:1) What door is this?
The word “door” “thura,” in Revelation 4:1 appears many times in the Septuagint in direct reference to the door into the sanctuary. Leviticus 3:1 tells us the sacrifice is killed at the “thura” of the tabernacle.
And here in heaven we see the Lamb that has already been slain! The sacrifice was offered, and now the door into the heavenly sanctuary is open. The work of applying the atonement is to begin. But there is great consternation in heaven as to whether the work can move forward as the One to perform it must be “worthy”. It is then that we see Christ, as the Lamb slain, He is declared as worthy. Why is He worthy? Because of His sacrifice on the cross, the work of the sanctuary can begin.
His first work is to light the lampstands! Notice again the seven lampstands in Revelation 4, this time they are referred to as seven spirits. “Seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.” Remember the consternation — is anyone worthy? Before His ascension Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Promise of the Holy Spirit which would come upon them. And they would be witnesses “to the end of the earth”. (Acts 1:4-8) When Christ was accepted as the “ONE” worthy to begin the work in the sanctuary, He sent out His Holy Spirit to His messengers on earth. Compare this with Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost:
Acts 2.32-33 “This Jesus has God raised up, and has now exalted by His right hand, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he has shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”
Revelation 4 and 5 show Christ being exalted in heaven, His sacrifice declared worthy and acceptable, the work of the sanctuary begun, and THE HOLY SPIRIT given to the church upon earth. The day of Pentecost marked the opening of Christ’s work in the heavenly sanctuary. The first phase of His Priestly ministry had begun in the Holy Place.
IS THIS THE MOST HOLY OR THE HOLY PLACE?
Some contend that because God’s throne is a central feature in these chapters, it must mean that Christ began His ministry immediately in the Most Holy Place, for, they say God’s throne is only in the Most Holy Place. But the Bible does not confine it thus. Any place where God’s throne is, is extremely Holy. However, look in the last chapters of Revelation, and you will see God’s throne in the center of New Jerusalem where there is no temple.
Look in the first chapters of Ezekiel and you will see God’s throne on living wheels within wheels, accompanied by four beasts and angels, moving! God’s throne is central! He is as interested in our salvation as Christ is. God and Jesus are One! They work together. Why place human limitations on God and keep Him on a stationary throne, and then build a doctrine on such a limitation?
For the atonement day phases of Christ’s work, Daniel 7 describes to us that the judgment scene is preceded by THRONES BEING SET UP and the Ancient of Days TAKING HIS SEAT. This happens many years after 31 A.D. (after the beasts 1260 year reign) and shows that God’s throne is not stationary.
Besides we see in chapter 4 and 5, the furniture of the Holy Place not the Most Holy. We see seven lampstands and we see the twenty-four elders with golden bowls full of incense. This is part of the daily. It isn’t until later in the book of Revelation that judgment is announced, and then we see the furniture from the Most Holy.
THE FIFTH SEAL AND JUDGMENT
What timeline is shown by the seals? It is interesting that the first seal shows a white horse! There is a striking parallel here with Rev. 19. The white horse in Rev. 6:1 highlights the victory of Christ on the cross and the spread of His gospel, while the white horse in Rev. 19 shows Christ’s victory in the final conquest of evil at the second coming. The other three horses show the steady decline and turning into deadly falsehoods, that precious gospel.
Then, in the fifth seal, the blood of the martyrs cry out with a loud voice:
“How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Revelation 6:10
The four horses of Christendom have already galloped forth. The era of papal oppression, that little horn “which came up and made war against the saints and prevailed against them” (Dan. 7:21) for 1260 years (Daniel 7:25) has taken it’s toll.
But judgment has NOT YET BEGUN?
Daniel’s prophecy has declared that the Ancient of Days would came and judgment would be made in favor of the saints and against the beast (Daniel 7:22,25) after the 1260 day/years.
Now the injustice done to the sheer number of martyred saints who were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held, cries out: “How long, O Lord, until You judge?”
Notice what happens next? “Then a white robe was given to each of them.”
Judgment has NOT been going on before this. But NOW their cases are investigated. They were judged and vindicated. The sentences of the carnal, earthly courts are reversed. They were declared righteous! But they are still dead. For “it was said that they should rest a little longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.”
This shows that the investigative judgment began after the tribulation of 1260 years, those martyred during the ages past, are vindicated, but this is not the second coming. In the future there will be another time when the beast will put to death those who follow the word of God. In Revelation 20:4 we read that people will be martyred during the time when the beast and his image try to force their mark on the whole world. Yet, even here the promise is given that they will LIVE and reign with Christ. The investigative judgment is not at the second coming. The judgment is seen over and over again, to commence after the 1260 day/years of papal corruption and power. It is the sure promise that Christ will make the final decision as to who will receive eternal life — not some earthly powers which try to force false worship. It is very important to understand this. For it will help settle in the minds of God’s people the importance of the truths of the final crises.
HOLD THE WINDS TILL THE WORK IS FINISHED
The fifth seal demonstrated the need for an investigative judgment. A judgment when God’s faithful people, who have been falsely judged and condemned by the corrupt horn power, will be vindicated in the courts of heaven. Yet God’s judgment turns the tables and condemns those who are not faithful, it condemns the horn power and it’s followers to destruction.
The sixth seal reveals the time period beginning with the signs which signaled that the time of investigative judgment was near (Earthquake in 1755, dark day in 1780, star shower in 1833, signs which will be more graphically repeated just before the execution of judgment) and continues depicting the events on earth and it’s people as they are brought face to face with reality of the verdict of that investigative judgment and what it will mean to them when the sentences will be executed. It shows the sad picture of the condemned trying to escape the “wrath of the Lamb”. The cry goes forth “The great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
It will be a terrible time for those who neglected to confess and forsake their sins and allow the Heavenly Priest to cleanse and empower them to obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yet, here in the next chapter of Revelation 7, we see the great mercy of our Priest. An angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flies to the four angels who have the work of holding back the winds of destructive forces which threaten to hurt the earth. He is crying with a loud voice–“Hold,! Hold! Hold! Hold! Hurt not the earth! Not yet! Not yet! Not until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:1-3)
Why is it taking Christ so long to finish His work of investigating? We need not be ignorant of the answer, for our perception of time is not God’s perception. What to us is a lifetime, to God is like but a day. The sanctuary is kept open in mercy just a little longer but:
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some people count slackness; but is patient toward us; not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Yet those winds will not be held back forever.
Ezekiel talks about a heavenly Being, clothed with priestly linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side Who is commissioned to go and set a mark upon the foreheads of the people who sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst of the professed people of God. When the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn, reported the matter completed, destruction comes upon those who did not receive this heavenly mark. (See Ezekiel 9)
Revelation 14 shows us the result of this work. The 144,000 which were sealed in chapter seven, are now seen with the lamb, having the FATHER’S NAME WITTEN IN THEIR FOREHEADS. (Rev. 14:1) It was Jesus who saw that not all the remnant were sealed, and He raised His hands and pleaded that His blood be available to cover their sins and cleanse them from their sins for yet a little longer. A little longer — while the Holy Spirit strives to bring them fully to Christ, to accept His pardon, to have their sins covered with His blood, and to walk in complete trust in His ways and strength. Keep the sanctuary open a little longer, for once it is closed, those who are not sealed in their foreheads will be among those begging for the mountains to fall upon them.
But we see also see the positive side of the investigative judgment as white robes are given to a large multitude of people from all ages, as well as seeing the seal of protection and God’s name placed upon the 144,000 who will go through the great tribulation.
THE GOLDEN CENSOR
Once the golden censor of Rev. 8, is filled with fire from the altar and is thrown to the earth it will be too late! The door of mercy will be shut. But prior to this event the trumpets will give warning.
For it is Christ, in His ministry as High Priest, Who filled the golden censor with much incense and offered it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. The golden censor is a very important part of His mediatorial ministry. The incense was part of the daily in the Holy Place, but it is also part of the Most Holy, when Christ moves into the second phase of His ministry. For in Hebrews 9:4 we find the golden censor in the Most Holy Place with the ark of the covenant.
Jesus intercedes for each of His people individually, before their names come up in the investigative judgment, and during the sealing time. Their imperfect prayers are mixed with Christ’s own prayers and righteousness. The incense represents the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness, which alone can make us acceptable before the Father.
CHRIST MOVES FROM THE HOLY TO MOST HOLY PHASE OF MINISTRY
So in Revelation we see Christ, beginning in the Holy Place. We see Christ— dressed in priestly garb– appearing among seven candlesticks: in another place we see Him as the Lamb among the seven lamps, we see the golden altar of incense. This imagery, all connected with the first apartment, shows that Christ’s activity in the heavenly sanctuary, at least in the first part of Revelation, is in the first apartment.
Then we saw the cry asking for judgment during the fifth seal. This cry comes after the four horses have ridden forth and corrupted Christianity. This cry shows the investigative judgment had not occurred before this time. We see that then, after those 1260 years, that investigative judgment was conducted and robes given to the many martyrs. (they were vindicated and declared righteous) This takes place before the resurrection — for they were to sleep (in death) a little longer. We see two groups of God’s people — the vast multitude from all ages who receive white robes, and the 144,000 who must receive a special seal just before Christ throws down the censor.
The actual scene of the judgment doesn’t come into the picture until chapter 11 of Revelation after the 7th trumpet sounds.
Just as in the Feast of Trumpets, before the Day of Atonement in Jewish history, called the people to prepare for the coming day of atonement, so the trumpets of Revelation highlight the coming of the “Investigative Judgment” in heaven.
Revelation 11 once again shows that judgment begins sometime after the 1260 day/years. This is the same time period mentioned in Daniel 7, which also portrays the judgement scene.
The call for the judgment comes after the seventh trumpet sounds. Immediately after the call that it is now time for judgment, we see second apartment sanctuary furniture! Our attention is focused on the ark of the covenant!
Revelation 11:2,3 “I will give power to my two witnesses and they will prophecy 1260 days/years even though they are dressed in sack cloth, (these 1260 days, or 42 months, are the same time period given in Daniel 7 for the time of the beast’s primary reign. It is also the same time period given in Revelation 13 as the time of the beast’s reign before it received it’s deadly wound from which it revived).
This time period, with it’s violent ending and attempt to “kill” God’s Holy Word, was to pass. Then we hear the 24 elders saying “The nations were angry and Your wrath has come, The time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants…and destroy those who destroy the earth.” Rev. 11:18
THEN THE TEMPLE OF GOD WAS OPENED IN HEAVEN AND THE ARK OF HIS COVENANT WAS SEEN IN HIS TEMPLE. Rev. 11:19
First let’s look at the phrase “Then the temple of God was opened”.
We saw a door being shut which no man can open, and a door being opened which no man can shut, during the Philadelphia church age. What does this door symbolize? Where is it located?
The seventh trumpet sounds centuries after Christ’s inauguration which was part of the Revelation four open door into God’s heavenly sanctuary scene. The door to the sanctuary was opened at Christ’s ascension! Is there another door in the temple of God–in the sanctuary of God! Yes, there is another door, which is opened when the seventh trumpet sounds. When the first door was opened in Rev. 4 we saw lamps and incense, but now, near the end of earth’s history we hear the cry, “the time has come for you to judge, that you should give reward to the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.” THE TIME OF JUDGMENT is introduced and THEN the temple is opened and the ARK of the covenant is seen.
We can look back to Rev. 3 and there we see it is during the Philadelphia Period, which ran approximately from 1750 to 1850, that a door is opened that no man can shut, and one shut that no man can open.
Some have tried to explain the open door as missionary opportunities. However doors of missionary opportunity, unfortunately, have a way of being closed by all sorts of people, but the door in Rev.3:7 NO ONE IS ABLE TO SHUT.
We need to look for consistency in our interpretation of the doors in Revelation. Revelation 4:1 says:
“Lo, IN HEAVEN, an open door and a voice saying come up here and see what will take place.” Yes, here we see that the open door is into the sanctuary in heaven.
Revelation 4 shows the beginning of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. In these chapters (Rev. 4 and 5) Christ is inaugurated as the “ONLY ONE WORTHY” to fulfil the tasks of salvation, for He is the Lamb slain.
At Christ’s ascension to heaven the door to the holy place was opened for mankind. A new and living way had been opened to the fallen race. All sacrificial offerings terminated in the one great offering of the Son of God. And Jesus entered by His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary. We see Christ by the seven lamps before the throne. We see the golden vials of incense. We see Christ, the Lamb slain, declared worthy to take up the work of salvation in the HOLY PLACE!
Yet, in our Rev. 3, text, we see Christ, who has the keys of salvation, close a door and open another door during the Philadelphia period. What does this signify? We can look in Revelation 11 for our explanation.
Revelation chapter eleven first refers to the 1260 year period (the prophetic years oft repeated in both Daniel and Revelation as the time of the church’s oppressive dominion) It refers to the Old and New Testament (the two witnesses) who have testified in sack cloth for 1260 years and their ultimate humiliation during the revolution but they are restored and receive honour. This brings us to the Philadelphia period, for indeed, during this period the Bible was widely distributed and read. AND THEN WE SEE the temple of God being opened!
Rev. 4 we see the door of the holy place in the heavenly sanctuary opened. Christ begins the work in the Holy Place. During the Philadelphia Church period in Rev. 3, which covers 1844 , a door was closed that no man can open– that was the work of Christ in the Holy Place which ended Oct. 22, 1844. The door to the Holy Place was closed, and the door to the Most HOLY place was opened.
The ark of the covenant contains God’s holy law. When judgment comes, God’s law will be the measuring rod by which people are judged. Are they in Christ, covered by His righteousness, following in His Will, or are they clinging to their sins and walking according to their own will?
“I watched till thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days took His seat,. . .and thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
Yes there will be a judgment. The devil knows this and his tactic in robbing people of eternal life is to fight against those who have “mixed faith with obedience” (Hebrews 4:2) For faith without obedience is dead, and obedience without faith is not only totally inadequate, but not even real obedience. Therefore the enraged dragon goes to make war against those “who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Rev. 12:27. And those who are the sealed saints of God are “those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Rev. 14:12
From this point on, judgment is often referred to:
Revelation 14:7 “The hour of His judgment has come.” Refers to the investigative judgment.
This is followed by the executive judgments upon the earth, Revelation 15-16, in the form of plagues. Then comes judgment against the false religious system: “Come and see the judgment of the great whore” Revelation 17:1
WHEN WILL PROBATION CLOSE?
How long will the ministry of Jesus within the sanctuary continue?
We are told we know not the hour. Over and over Christ has told us to “Watch for we know not what hour your Lord comes… Be also ready, for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.” (Matt. 24:42,44)
2 Peter 3:9, 11-12 reads:
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise (of coming again), as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved,(the earth and the things in it) what manner of persons ought we to be? In all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and HASTENING the coming of the day of God.”
Jesus prolongs His ministry in mercy to each one of us. He is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance. But probation will not last forever. He calls to us to respond “TODAY”. “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts (as did those who left Egypt with Moses) so they could not enter in (they died in the wilderness, they could not enter the promised land of rest) because of unbelief.”
et us not take for granted God’s longsuffering toward each of us.
For when the time has come for Christ’s ministry to cease– all decisions will be final.
“The time is at hand.
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. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 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.”
Daniel 7 tells us that judgment is made in favor of the saints.
It isn’t until all sin is eradicated and God’s people are living in that glorious kingdom that the need for a sanctuary is no longer. For then God truly is tabernacling with His people.
We NOW have a High Priest within the heavenly sanctuary ministering in our behalf. Let us not take this marvelous ministry of Christ for granted, but respond to His provisions and allow Him to blot out our sins from the books of heaven and from our lives.