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"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." (Revelation 1:3).

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Christ Our High Priest & The Sanctuary

 

In the book of Exodus, we discover that an earthly tabernacle was made according to the commandment of God. The Lord raised up men and qualified them with more than natural abilities to perform the most ingenious work. God presented before Moses, "in the midst of the cloud... into the mount" (Exodus 24: 18), a miniature model of the heavenly sanctuary and commanded him to make all things according to the pattern shown him in the mount ( Exodus 25:8,9; Hebrews 8:1-5);

"And

let them

make me a

sanctuary; that I

may dwell among them.

According to all that I shew thee,

after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the

pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall

ye make it...unto the example and shadow of heavenly things..."

 

Precious and costly materials from Egypt were used as a free-will offering, to make Him a sanctuary, that He might dwell among them. (Exodus 25:1-7; 12:35, 36). After every part of the tabernacle agreed with the pattern, Moses blessed the people.

 

The Earthly Tabernacle

God Himself gave to Moses the plan of that structure, with particular directions as to its size and form, the materials to be employed, and every article of furniture which it was to contain. The holy places made with hands were to be "figures of the true", "patterns of things in the heavens" (Hebrews 9:24, 23) - a miniature representation of the heavenly temple where Christ, our great High Priest, after offering His life as a sacrifice, was to minister in the sinner's behalf.

The tabernacle was so constructed that it could be taken apart and borne with the Israelites in their journeyings. It was therefore small, being not more than fifty-five feet in the length, and eighteen in breadth and height.

The building was divided into two departments by a rich and beautiful curtain, or veil, suspended from gold-plated pillars; and a similar veil closed the entrance of the first apartment. These, like the inner covering, which formed the ceiling, were of the most gorgeous colors, blue, purple, and scarlet, beautifully arranged, while inwrought with threads of gold and silver were cheribim to represent the angelic host who are connected with the work of the heavenly sanctuary and who are "ministering spirits , sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." (Hebrews 1:14).

The sacred tent was enclosed in an open space called the court, which was surrounded by hangings, or screens, of fine linen, suspended from pillars of brass. The entrance of this enclosure was at the eastern end. It was closed by curtains of costly material and beautiful workmanship, though inferior to those of the sanctuary. The hangings of the court being only about half as high as the walls of the tabernacle, the building could be plainly seen by the people without. In the court nearest the entrance, stood the brazen alter of burnt offerings. Between the alter and the door of the tabernacle was the laver, which was also made of brass.

The Israelites' acts of devotion, their energy and liberality in bringing their free-will offerings to Moses are recorded for the benefit of the people of God. Their example in preparing material for the tabernacle so cheerfully is an example for all who truly love the worship of God.

External View Of The Earthly Sanctuary

 

The Furnishings Of The Earthly Tabernacle

God gave a pattern of the ark to Moses, with special directions how to make it (Exodus 25:10 - 22). The ark was made to contain the tables of stone, on which God engraved with his own finger, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 24:12;32: 15, 16). It was in the form like a chest, and was overlaid and inlaid with pure gold. It was ornamented with crowns of gold round about the top. The cover of this sacred chest was the mercy seat, made of solid gold. On each end of the mercy seat was fixed a cherub (angel) of pure gold. Their faces were turned toward each other and were looking reverentially downward toward the mercy seat, which represented all the heavenly angels looking with interest and reverence upon the law of God deposited in the ark of the heavenly sanctuary. These cherubs had wings. One wing of each angel was stretched forth on high, while the other wing of each angel covered his form. Above the mercy seat was the "Shekinah", the manifestation of the Divine presence; and from between the cherubim, God made known His will. As Moses was required to place the tables of the testimony, God's Ten Commandments, into the earthly ark, the ark was called the ark of the testimony.

The Ark Of The Covenant In The Most Holy Place

The first four commandments point to our love to God. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37, 38). The last six of the commandments point to our love for our fellow man. "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:39).

"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

When Jesus was asked, "what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" Jesus replied, "if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments". (Matthew 19: 16, 17). Jesus then defines some of the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 19: 18,19). Jesus says, "If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14: 15).

Paul under inspiration writes concerning Christ's new covenant, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 10:16, 17).

The apostle John observed the original Ten Commandments in heaven, "And 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 of His Testimony was placed within the "most holy place" (also known as "the holy of holies" or the second apartment). The "most holy place" and the "holy place" were separated by a rich curtain known as the "inner veil" or the "second veil"; "and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place." (Exodus 26:33, 34). This curtain did not reach the top of the building. The glory of God, which was above the mercy seat, could been seen from both apartments, but in a much less degree from the first apartment.

Golden Alter Of Incense

 

Directly before the ark, but separated by the inner veil or second curtain, was the golden alter of incense (Exodus 30:1-10). The fire upon this alter was kindled by the Lord Himself, and was sacredly cherished by feeding it with holy incense, which filled the sanctuary with its fragrant cloud night and day. Its fragrance extended for miles around the tabernacle. When the priest offered the incense before the Lord he looked to the mercy seat. Although he could not see it he knew it was there, and as the incense arose like a cloud, the glory of the Lord descended upon the mercy seat and filled the most holy place and was visible in the holy place, and the glory often so filled both apartments that the priest was unable to officiate and was obliged to stand at the door of the tabernacle. The priest in the holy place, directing his prayer by faith to the mercy seat, which he could not see, represents the people of God directing their prayers to Christ before the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary. " And another angel came and stood at the alter, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden alter which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (Revelation 8:3, 4).

The incense, ascending with the prayers of Israel, represents the merits and intercession of Christ, His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to His people, and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God. Christ loved us "and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour".

(Ephesians 5:2). By blood and by incense God was to be approached - symbols pointing to the great Mediator, through whom sinners may approach Jehovah, and through whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant, believing soul.

Seven-Branched Candlestick

 

These sacred apartments had no windows to admit light. The seven-branched candlestick which stood toward the south of the tabernacle, was made of purest gold and was kept burning night and day, and gave light to both apartments. (Exodus 25:31-40: Leviticus 24:1-4). The light of the lamps upon the candlestick reflected upon the boards plated with gold, at the sides of the building, and upon the sacred furniture and upon the curtains of beautiful colors with cherubim wrought with threads of gold and silver,which appearance was glorious beyond description. No language can describe the beauty and loveliness and sacred glory which these apartments presented. The gold in the sanctuary reflected the colors of the curtains, which appeared like different colors of the rainbow. Jesus says, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12. See also John 1:4-10, John 3:19-21). In the New Jerusalem, Jesus the " Lamb of God" (John 1:29), is described as being the light of the City together with the Father (Revelation 21:23).

The earthly candlestick had seven lamps which were fed by olive oil. These lamps are described in the book of Zechariah, chapter 4. This holy oil which runs through the golden pipes represents the Holy Spirit which flows through the heart of those who practise the truth, the Spirit of God which works by love and purifies the soul. The seven lamps are described as being the " eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth." (Zechariah 4:10). The apostle John identifies that the "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne" of God in the heavenly sanctuary are "the seven Spirits of God". (Revelation 4:5). Where do the seven Spirits of God originate from? John further observes "a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." (Revelation 5:6). It is the Spirit of Christ which strives upon the human heart, which works by love and purifies the soul.

Table Of Shewbread

 

In the first apartment of the earthly sanctuary, or the holy place, were the alter of incense, the candlestick (or lampstand) and the table of shewbread which stood at the north.

The table of shewbread was overlaid with pure gold. (Exodus 25:23-30). On this table the priests were each Sabbath to place twelve cakes, arranged in two piles, and sprinkled with frankincense. The loaves that were removed, being ccounted holy, were to be eaten by the priests. (Leviticus 24:5-9).

The shewbread was kept ever before the Lord. Thus it was part of the daily sacrifice. It was called "shewbread", or "bread of presence", because it was ever before the face of the Lord. It was acknowledgement of man's dependence upon God for both temporal and spiritual food, and that it was received only through the mediation of Christ. God had fed Israel in the wilderness with bread from heaven (Exodus 16). Both the manna and the shewbread pointed to Christ , the living Bread, who is ever "in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:24). Christ said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven". (John 6:48-51).

Outside of the earthly tabernacle, stood the laver, which the priests used to wash their hands and their feet whenever they went into the sacred apartments, or approached the alter to offer a burnt offering unto the Lord. (Exodus 30: 18-31). Moses at the burning bush was directed to put off his sandals, for the ground whereon he stood was holy. (Exodus 3:1-5). So the priests were not to enter the sanctuary with shoes upon their feet. Particles of dust cleaving to them would desecrate the holy place. They were to leave their shoes in the court before entering the sanctuary. Thus was constantly taught the lesson that all defilement must be put away from those who would approach into the presence of God. Jesus offers to wash our sins by the cleansing of His Word. (Eph. 5:26).

Between the court entrance and the laver, stood the brazen alter of burnt offerings. Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon this alter with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolising the daily consecration and constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. (Exodus 27:1-8; 29:38-42). God expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be "without blemish". (Exodus 12:5). The priests were to examine all animals brought as a sacrifice, and were to reject every one in which a defect was discovered. Only an offering "without blemish" could be a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as "a Lamb without blemish and without spot". (1 Peter 1:19). The apostle Paul points to these sacrifices as an illustration of what the followers of Christ are to become. He says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1). We are to give ourselves to the service of God, and we should seek to make the offering as nearly perfect as possible. God will not be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer. Christ, without blemish and without spot, the antitypical Lamb of God, was nailed to the cross between the third and the sixth hour, that is, between nine and twelve o'clock. In the afternoon he died. This was the hour of the evening sacrifice. Christ had suffered death for every man. As our sins were upon Him, He sensed the Father's wrath and the separation that sin makes between God and man, and our Saviour cried, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).

 

Christ's Character Discerned Through The Fine Twined Linen And The Significance Of The Sanctuary Colours

By studying and meditating on the sanctuary, many questions in relation to Christ and His plan of Salvation may be answered. David understood this when he declared, "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?" Psalms 77:13). Already, we have seen how each of the earthly furnishings pointed to Christ. Each of these furnishings, within and without the sanctuary, were encased in a court yard. "All the hangings of the court round about were of fined twined linen." (Exodus 38:16). The walls of the courtyard were white and made of fine twined linen which is very durable. Walls are for protection. This spiritual lesson taught that salvation is a wall about us. The white walls also showed that it stood for purity, forgiveness and uprightness - all elements found in the righteousness of Christ, His character. Even the garments of the priests were also made of fine-twined linen, which, under no circumstances, could be rent or torn as they also represented the perfection of Christ's character. (Leviticus 10:6). It is interesting to note that Jesus appeared in the white linen garments of the priests in vision before Daniel the prophet. (Daniel 10:5,6. Compare with Revelation 1:13-15). Therefore, this wall that was made from linen represented Jesus. In Revelation 19:8, it say "...to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine twined linen, clean and white, for the fine twined linen is the righteousness of the saints". When one went into the courtyard of the sanctuary asking for the forgiveness of his sins and confessing them upon the lamb that represented Jesus, he was then surrounded by the righteousness of Christ.

The wall was about him. He was hedged in, protected from the enemy. That wall represented to him the righteousness of Christ and His justification. The Scriptures state, "Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord: This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter". (Psalms 118:19,20.) Jesus explains "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture". (John 10:9). Paul further explains that the inner veil of the sanctuary that was rent at Christ's death, points to

Christ's flesh. (Matthew 27:51; Hebrews 10:20.) It is therefore clear that the only way to obtain access to the Father, through the court gate, the door of the tabernacle and the inner veil, is through Christ. As Jesus stated, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6).

As the repentant sinner entered into the courtyard through the court gate, and confessed his sins upon the head of the innocent lamb which pointed to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross of Calvary, by excepting the merits of Christ's cleansing blood and His perfect righteousness, he was to acknowledge that he is called righteous. (Psalms 118:20). This is what the walls meant to the one who entered. Sin free, forgiven, cleansed and protected. (Read the experience of Job 1:8-10).

Hence we see that the courts of the sanctuary provided protection for the sinner. God has promised that "There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13). We should always keep in mind that whatever temptation comes to the one who has entered into the courtyard experience of Christ's acceptance of the penitent and forgiveness of past sins, it is tailored by God to be an experience, when overcome, to better develop the character for the hereafter. Knowing that God only lets temptations come to the Christian that He knows can be overcome, gives us courage and confidence that we can overcome anything with the help of Jesus. Like the apostle Paul, we ought to be able to say, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philipians 4:13).

The colors used in the sanctuary were also of great significance. For example, the doors or hangings that led into the most holy place which were made of fine twined linen (the court gate, the tabernacle door and the inner veil) contained the colors scarlet, blue and purple. Again, the garments of the priests were of the same colors. (Exodus 26: 31,36; 27:16;28: 6,8,15,33.)

Perhaps the most obvious of these colors is the colour scarlet. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 1, verse 18 we read, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." God teaches us that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6), our characters are stained and sin-polluted. The motive of the human heart is to naturally do those things which are contrary to God's will. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). It was to meet our fallen nature and restore in us His moral character that Christ shed His life-cleansing, life-sustaining blood, who became "...sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21). "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). As the sinner would pass through the court gate, he would discern through the scarlet colour of the linen hanging by faith, the blood of Christ that was able to freely pardon his transgressions and by claiming its virtue, sufficiently able to keep the conscience clean and at peace with God.

The colour blue also has an important symbolic meaning. We are told in Numbers 15:38,39, "Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring." As the repentant enters the courtyard, the sinner beholds the colour blue which immediately reminds him of God's law, the Ten Commandments. In the Hebrew language, the word "Tekeleth" not only means blue but it also is the same word used for perfection and complete. Therefore the blue border on their garments as well as the blue used in the sanctuary, reminded the children of Israel of their obligation to the law of God. As Christ walked through villages, cities or countries, the people besought Him that "...they might touch if it were but the border of his garment; and as many as touched him were made whole." (Mark 6:56. See also Matthew 14:36). We may also observe that the justice of God's law is the foundation of His government and His throne. The prophet Ezekiel saw God's throne at least twice "as the appearance of a sapphire stone". (See Ezekiel 1:26 and 10:1). When Moses was to be given the Ten Commandments engraved in stone by God's finger, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders "...saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone." (Exodus 24:9, 10.) The colour blue will constantly be a reminder of God's perfect law. On a clear day, your eyes will observe the clear blue sky. The rivers, the seas, the oceans all reveal the same colour. God's protective care is all about us. Now we may see the importance of looking up when we may face temptation. For encouragement, look up, for it is from these heavens that our Lord and Saviour will appear from very soon.

Purple was the colour of the clothing of kings and princes. (Judges 8:26; Esther 8:15 and Jeremiah 10:9.) Notably, at Christ's trial in Pilate's judgment hall, Jesus was asked, "Art thou a king?" The Saviour replied, "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." (John 18:37.) In an attempt to mock Christ, , the Roman soldiers "...platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews!" (John 19:2, 3). They mocked His kingship. However, Revelation 19:16 describes Jesus coming in power and great glory with a name written on His vesture and on His thigh "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

As clearly seen, Jesus was the Door that led into the courtyard, the Holy Place and into the Most Holy Place. Jesus is The Way. As the repentant came to the sanctuary doors, he would see a red stripe that would remind him of the Saviour who would shed His blood to pay, in his place, the penalty of eternal death, the blue stripe would remind him of the eternal law as the standard of God's character and the purple pointed to the day when Christ would return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

 


The Daily Services Of The Sanctuary In The Holy Place

"Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the alter; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:" (Exodus 29:38,39).

The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden alter, and the special offerings for individual sins. (See Leviticus chapter 4).

Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the alter, with its appropriate meat offering, thus symbolising the daily consecration of the nation of Jehovah, and their constant dependence upon the blood of Christ. God expressed directly that every offering presented for the service of the sanctuary should be "without blemish" (Exodus 12:5). The priests were to examine all animals brought as a sacrifice, and were to reject every one in which a defect was discovered. Only an offering "without blemish" could be as a symbol of His perfect purity who was to offer Himself as "a lamb without blemish and without spot". (1 Peter 1:19).

We may also observe from this ritual service, that salt was added to every sacrifice; "...all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." (Leviticus 2: 13). This, like the offering of incense, signified that only the righteousness of Christ could make the service acceptable to God. Referring to this practise, Jesus said, "Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt". (Mark 9:49). "Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another." All who would present themselves "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" (Romans 12:1), must receive the living salt, the righteousness of our Saviour. Then they become "the salt of the earth", restraining evil among men, as salt preserves against corruption. (Matthew 5:13). But if the salt has lost its savor; (if there is no power for good) if there is only a profession of godliness, without the love of Christ, there is no power for good.

The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of the individuals. The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door to the tabernacle, and placing his hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner has transgressed. Bt this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood was not taken into the holy place; but the flesh was then to be eaten by the priest as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying "God have given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation". (Leviticus 10:17). Both ceremonies alike symbolised the transfer of the sin from the penitent to the sanctuary.

The ministration of the priest throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary, "within the veil" which formed the door and separated the holy place from the outer court, represents the work of ministration upon which Christ entered at His ascension. It was the work of the priest in the daily ministration to present before God the blood of the sin offering, also the incense which ascended with the prayers of Israel. So did Christ plead His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners, and present before Him also, with the precious fragrance of His own righteousness, the prayers of penitent believers. Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The apostle Paul writes under inspiration,

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." (Hebrews 9:11, 12).

 

The Day Of Atonement - The Annual Service In The Most Holy Place Of The Sanctuary

In the sin offerings presented during the year, a substitute had been accepted in the sinner's stead; but the blood of the victim had not made full atonement for sin. It had only provided a means by which the sin was transferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood, the sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed the guilt of his transgression, and expressed his faith in Him who was to take away the sin of the world; but he was not entirely released from the condemnation of the law. On the Day Of Atonement the high priest, having taken an offering for the congregation, went into the most holy place with blood, and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat, above the tables of the law.

As the sins of Israel were daily being transferred to the sanctuary, the holy places were being defiled and a special work became necessary for the removal of sins. Once a year, the priest entered the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. This work, once performed completed the yearly round of ministration. This occasion was known as the great Day Of Atonement. (Hebrews 9:7; Leviticus 16:34).

 

In preparation for the yearly service, the high priest would be arrayed in "holy garments" which consisted of a coat, breeches, girdle and mitre - all made from linen. (Exodus 28:6, 8, 15, 33-35). Before being attired with these garments, the high priest was to "wash his flesh in water, and so put them on". (Leviticus 16:4). In addition to the linen dress of the common priest, the high priest wore a robe of blue, ornamented with golden bells, and pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet. Outside of this was a shorter garment of gold, blue , purple, scarlet and white called an ephod. The ephod was sleeveless and over it was the breastplate, the most sacred of the priestly vestments. "Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually." (Exodus 28:29). Likewise, Christ our great High Priest bears the name of every repentant, believing soul upon his heart.

 

The Events Of The Day Of The Atonement:-

 

  • (Leviticus 16:4). Before the High Priest (e.g. Aaron) could begin the ministration in the Most Holy Place, he was required to "wash his flesh in water" and then he could be attired in the "holy linen garments". Symbolically, those who minister before God, are also required to be washed from our sins and to wear the holy garments of Christ's righteousness, to be filled with the Spirit of His character. (Ephesians 4:23, 24 and Galatians 5:22, 23).

  • (Leviticus 16:5). Aaron, the High Priest, was to "offer his bullock of the sin offering" which was to make an atonement for his household and himself.

  • (Leviticus 16:6-10). On behalf of the people, Aaron was to present before the Lord two goats at the door of the tabernacle. He was then to cast lots upon the two goats to decide which goat would be slain as a sin offering for the people and alternatively, which goat would be used to let go "for a scapegoat into the wilderness".

  • (Leviticus 16:11). Aaron was to kill the bullock, the sin offering for his house and himself.

  • (Leviticus 16:2,12,13). The Lord had spoken to Moses, that his brother Aaron, was not to come into the Most Holy Place (referred to as the "holy place"), all the time. As this apartment was known as the "Holiest of all" (Hebrews 9:3), where the manifestation of the divine Presence of God resided, no one was allowed to enter into this apartment of the sanctuary. Only the High Priest was permitted to enter into the Most Holy Place on one day in the year known as The Day Of Atonement or Yom Kippur. (See verse 17). This Day occurred "in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month" usually on September or October, on the tenth day of the New Year. This Day was implemented that an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins could be completed once a year. (Verses 29 & 34). In accordance with God's directions, Aaron was to "take a censer full of burning coals of fire" from off the alter of incense, and place "sweet incense" on the coals "that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, (the Ten Commandments), that he die not". (Verses 12 &13). God had said that "I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat." (Verse 2). With trembling the high priest went in before God and the people in reverent silence waited for his return, their hearts uplifted in earnest prayer for the divine blessing. Before the mercy seat the high priest made the atonement for Israel; and in the cloud of glory, God met with him. His stay here beyond the accustomed time filled them with fear, lest because of their sins or his own he had been slain by the glory of the Lord.

  • (Leviticus 16:14). Whilst in the Most Holy Place, the blood of the bullock was sprinkled by the High Priest "with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat" seven times. Thus the claims of the Law, which were positioned underneath the mercy seat, and which demanded the life of the sinner, were satisfied.

  • (Leviticus 16:15). "Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat".

  • (Leviticus 16:16,18,19). "And he shall make an atonement for the holy place (which is the Most Holy Place), because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation (which is the Holy Place), that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness." The High Priest was to take the blood of the bullock and of the goat "and put it upon the horns of the alter" (of incense). He was then required to sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times against the golden alter to "cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel". Then in his character of mediator the priest took the sins upon himself, and leaving the sanctuary, he bore with him the burden of Israel's guilt.

  • (Leviticus 16:20-22). At the door of the tabernacle the High Priest laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, and confessed over him "all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat". (Verse 21). And as the goat bearing these sins was sent away, they were with him regarded as forever separated from the people. Therefore, in the typical service, the yearly round of ministration closed with the purification of the sanctuary, and the confessing of the sins on the head of the scapegoat. As we see that the service was performed "unto the example and shadow of heavenly things" (Hebrews 8:5), we may see the antitypical significance. Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands that Satan shall suffer the final punishment. Christ's work for the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin, will be closed at the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear the final penalty. As in the typical service, the sins of the children of Israel were borne away in the wilderness, forever separated from the congregation, so in the final atonement in the heavenly sanctuary, the sins of the truly penitent are to be blotted from the records of heaven, no more to be remembered or come to mind. (See Revelation 1:18 & 20:1-3,7-10,14,15).

  • (Leviticus 16:23,24). After the confession of all of the sins of Israel upon the head of the scapegoat, the High Priest was to come into the Holy Place of the sanctuary, and take off the pontifical linen garments which he put on when he went into the Most Holy Place. He was then required to wash his flesh in water, and to put on the white linen dress of the common priest. After this, the High Priest came out into the courtyard and offered the burnt offering for his house and himself, and a burnt offering for the people. As the High Priest laid aside his pontifical dress, and officiated in the white linen dress of a common priest, so Christ emptied Himself, and took the form of a servant, and offered sacrifice, Himself the priest, Himself the victim. (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:14; 1 Peter 1:19).

The Day of Atonement was also a day of judgement, where a work of investigation occurred before any confessed sins were blotted out. The whole ceremony was designed to impress the Israelites with the holiness of God and His abhorrence of sin, and further, to show them that they could not come in contact with sin without becoming polluted. (Leviticus 16:26,28). Every man was required to afflict his soul while this work of atonement was going forward. All business was to be laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel were to spend the day in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting and deep searching of heart. Those who failed to afflict their souls were "cut off" from among the people. (Leviticus 16:29 & 23:27-30).

On that Day, the whole aim of the atonement, was that the children of Israel may be cleansed from all their transgressions. Likewise, Jesus Christ our High Priest of the heavenly sanctuary calls us to be sanctified and cleansed "with the washing of water by the word", that you "may be clean from all your sins before the Lord". (Leviticus 16:30; Ephesians 5:26; Hebrews 7:22,25). "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10). He who came from the heavenly courts to save man from eternal death, He whom men despised and rejected, He who suffered the ignominious death of the cross - He alone is to pronounce the sentence of reward or punishment.

 


THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY     

 

The Antitypical Cleansing Of The Heavenly Sanctuary And The 2300 Year Prophecy

The blood of bulls and of goats were used to cleanse the earthly sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. However, "the patterns of things in the heavens" required better sacrifices than these". (Hebrews 9:23). The "heavenly things" are to be purified or cleansed by Christ's "own blood" for the Lamb of God appeared in the world "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself". (Hebrews 9:12, 26).

As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering, and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary; so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ, and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary.

When did Jesus commence the work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary from sin in the Most Holy Place ?

 

The answer to this question is found in the book of Daniel. In chapter 8, the prophet foresaw the succeeding earthly kingdoms struggling for world-wide dominion. For example, he beheld the arising of the kingdoms such as the "ram which had two horns" (verse 3), being succeeded by the "he goat" (verse 5). These kingdoms represented Media and Persia, and the Greek kingdom respectively (verses 20 & 21). Daniel further beholds a "little horn" power which succeeds the Greek empire (verse 9). The little horn power is seen magnifying itself, and is even seen casting down the truth to the ground and prospering (verses 11 & 12. A fuller explanation of this power will be looked at later in this tract). In response to the destruction caused by this power, Daniel notes the conversation of "one saint" speaking to another (verse 13). The other saint replies,

"Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed". (Daniel 8:14).

As a result of the vision, Daniel was not able to endure the rest, and consequently, "fainted, and was sick certain days" (verse 27). The remainder of the vision continues in chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, where the prophet in the middle of prayer, observes Gabriel the angel or messenger of God (verse 21). The aspect of time, concerning the commencement of the 2300 day prophecy is given in verses 25-27. It is clear that the 2300 prophetic days are literally 2300 years when using the bible interpretation. For example, a prophetic day may be seen as a literal year when we study Ezekiel 4:6; "...I have appointed a day for a year". Again, we may notice the same principle in Numbers 14:34 referring to the forty years in which the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness; "After the number of days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years..." It may be found that the 2300 day for a year prophecy began when the commandment of Artaxerxes for the restoration and building of Jerusalem went into effect, in the autumn of 457 B.C. This decree may be found in Ezra 6:14; "...And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia". From this scripture, it is clear that the commandment to build and restore Jerusalem is a threefold commandment:-

 

Ezra 6:14

The Threefold Commandment

Ezra 1:1,2

1st Part of the Threefold Commandment

Announced by Cyrus king of Persia

Ezra 6:8-12

2nd Part of the Threefold Commandment

Announced by Darius the king

Ezra 7:1,12-24

3rd Part of the Threefold Commandment

Announced by Artaxerxes king of Persia

 

Therefore, taking the commandment to rebuild and to restore Jerusalem as the starting point, we may find perfect harmony in the application of all the events foretold in the explanation of the period in Daniel 9:25-27 (See diagram of the 2300 day-prophecy). Sixty-nine weeks, the first 483 of the 2300 years, were to reach the Messiah, the Anointed One; and Christ's baptism, and anointing by the Holy Spirit in A.D.27. All events exactly fulfilled the specification. In the midst of the seventieth week, Messiah was to be cut off. Three and a half years after His baptism, Christ was crucified, in the spring of A.D.31. The seventy weeks, or 490 years, were to pertain especially to the Jews. At the expiration of this period the nation sealed its rejection of Christ by the persecution of His disciples, and the apostles turned to the Gentiles in A.D.34. The first 490 years of the 2300 having then ended, 1810 years extended to 1844. "Then", said the angel, "shall the sanctuary be cleansed". All the preceding specifications of the prophecy had been unquestionably fulfilled at the time appointed.

Leading up to the autumn of 1844, the Christian world held that the earth, or some portion of it, was the sanctuary. The great Advent Movement was led by William Miller and his associates, and they understood that the cleansing of the sanctuary was the purification of the earth by the fires of the last great day, and that this would take place at the second advent. Hence the conclusion that Christ would return to the earth in 1844. But that appointed time had passed, and the Lord had not appeared. However, God had led his people in the great advent movement; His power and glory attended the work, and He would not permit it to end in darkness and disappointment, to be reproached as a false and fanatical excitement. This Great Disappointment was foretold in the book of Revelation; "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter...Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings". (Revelation 10:10,11). The books of Daniel and the Revelation are one. One is a prophesy, the other a revelation; one a book sealed, the other a book opened. John sees the little book of Daniel unsealed, and he sees that Daniel's prophecies have their proper place in the first, second and third angels' messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the book was the message in relation to time. The first and second angels' messages were to be proclaimed up to the autumn of 1844, and no further light was to be revealed before these messages had done their specific work. The comprehension of truth, the glad reception of the message, is represented in the eating of the little book. The bitterness in the belly referred to the disappointment in 1844. However, all three angels' messages are to be revived and are to be preached to all nations and peoples. Only then will Christ come on "a white cloud". (Revelation 14:6-12,14).

With earnest prayer, some of those who had proclaimed that Christ would return in 1844, reviewed their position and studied the Scriptures to discover their mistake. As they could see no error in their reckoning of the prophetic periods, they were led to examine more closely the subject of the sanctuary. In their investigation they learned that there is no Scripture evidence sustaining the popular view that the earth is the sanctuary; but they found in the Bible a full explanation of the subject of the sanctuary, its nature, location, and services.

The actual cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation - a work of judgement. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people; for when he comes, His reward is with Him to give to every man according to his works. (Revelation 22:12).

The subject of the sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844.

Both the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed," and the first angel's message, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come," pointed to Christ's ministration in the most holy place, to the investigative judgement, and not to the coming of Christ for the redemption of His people and the destruction of the wicked.

The great and solemn day when the characters and the lives of men should pass in review before the Judge of all the earth, was presented to the prophet Daniel in vision:-

"I beheld", says the prophet Daniel, "till thrones were placed, and One that was Ancient of Days did sit: His raiment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool; His throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgement was set, and the books were opened" (Daniel 7:9,10. Revised Version).

The Ancient of Days is God the Father. Says the psalmist: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God." (Psalm 90:2). It is He, the source of all being, and the fountain of all law, that is to preside the judgement. And holy angels as ministers and witnesses, in number "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands," attend this great tribunal.

"And, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away". (Daniel 7:13,14). 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. It is this coming, and not His second advent to the earth, that was foretold in prophesy to take place at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844. Attended by heavenly angels, our great High Priest enters the holy of holies and there appears in the presence of God to engage in the last acts of His ministration in behalf of man - to perform the work of investigative judgement and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.

In the typical 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 judgement the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God.[ The judgement of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period. We will look at this event later in this tract.] "Judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?". (1 Peter 4:17).

The books of record in heaven, in which the names and the deeds of men are registered, are to determine the decisions of the judgement. Says the prophet Daniel: "The judgement 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 Books Of Record In Heaven

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). Paul speaks of his faithful fellow workers, "whose names are in the book of life." (Philippians 4:3). And the revelator says that those only shall enter the city of God whose names "are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27. See also Exodus 32:32, 33).

"A Book of Rememberance" 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, O my God,...and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God." (Nehemiah 13:14). In the book of God's rememberance every deed of righteousness is immortalized. There every temptation resisted, every evil overcome, every word of tender pity expressed, is faithfully chronicled. And every act of sacrifice, every suffering and sorrow endured for Christ's sake, is recorded. Says the psalmist: "Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?" (Psalms 56:8).

There is a Record of the sins of men. "For God shall bring every work into judgment, withevery 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 Saviour: "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). Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered in 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.) The apostle James admonishes the brethren: "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." (James 2:12).

 


The Investigative Judgement - Facing Our Life Record

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. Names are accepted, names are rejected. 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). "When the righteous turneth away from righteousness, and committeth iniquity,...all his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned." (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, 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. 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 I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels." (Revelation 3:5).

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). Thus will be realised the complete fulfilment of the new-covenant promise: "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." "In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and their shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found." (Jeremiah 31:34; 50:20).

The work of the investigative judgment and the blotting out of sins is to be accomplished before the second advent of the Lord. Since the dead are to be judged out of the things written in the books, it is impossible that the sins of men should be blotted out until after the judgment at which their cases are to be investigated. But the apostle Peter distinctly states that the sins of believers will be blotted out "when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ." (Acts 3:19, 20). When the investigative judgment closes, Christ will come, and His reward will be with Him to give to every man as his work shall be.

Sins that have not been repented of and forsaken will not be pardoned and blotted out of the books of record, but will stand to witness against the sinner in the day of God. Sin may be concealed, denied, covered up from father, mother, wife, children, and associates; no one but the guilty actors may cherish the least suspicion of wrong; but it is laid bare before the intelligences of heaven. God pierces all disguises and reads the inner life.

In the judgment the use made of every talent will be scrutinised. How have we employed the capital lent us of Heaven? Will the Lord at His coming receive His own with usury? Have we improved the powers entrusted us, in hand and heart and brain, to the glory of God and the blessing of the world? How have we used our time, our pen, our voice, our money, our influence? What have we done for Christ, in the person of the poor, the afflicted, the orphan, or the widow? God has made us the depositories of His holy word; what have we done with the light and truth given us to make men wise unto salvation? No value is attached to a mere profession of faith in Christ; 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.

Satan hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful mediator. He knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and His truth.

The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or occupy the position which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. The sanctuary in heaven is the very centre of Christ's work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects and be able to give an answer to everyone that asketh a reason of the hope that is in them.

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 of the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight of the mysteries of redemption.

Through defects of the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome. But Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands, His bruised body; and He 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.

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 now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. 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. Though all nations are to pass in judgment before God, yet He will examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being on earth. Everyone must be tested and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

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 Saviour's admonition: "Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." (Mark 13:33). "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." (Revelation 3:3).

When the work of the investigative judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death. 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 to every man according as his work shall be." (Revelation 22:11, 12).

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 into the ark, God shut him in and 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 Saviour, "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.

 


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