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;
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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;
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
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:"
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
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 &
(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 &
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 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:-
1st Part of the
Announced by Cyrus
king of Persia
2nd Part of the
Announced by Darius
3rd Part of the
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
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.".
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
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
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
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
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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