May 7-13, 2000
MEMORY VERSE: “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12.
STUDY HELP: The Great Controversy, 423–425.
INTRODUCTION: “Says the prophet: ‘Who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.’ Malachi 3:2, 3. Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14. When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.” The Great Controversy, 425.
“The Judgment Was Set and the Books Were Opened”
1 What vision was Daniel given of the judgment? Daniel 7:9, 10.
NOTE: “Thus was presented to the prophet’s vision the great and solemn day when the characters and the lives of men should pass in review before the Judge of all the earth, and to every man should be rendered ‘according to his works.’ The Ancient of days is God the Father.…It is He, the Source of all being, and the Fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment. And holy angels, as ministers and witnesses, in number ‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands’ (Revelation 5:11,) attend this great tribunal.” The Faith I Live By, 209.
2 What are the books by which we are to be judged? James 2:10–12; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Revelation 20:12; Malachi 3:16.
NOTE: “The books are opened—the book of life and the book of death. The book of life contains the good deeds of the saints; and the book of death contains the evil deeds of the wicked. These books are compared with the statute book, the Bible, and according to that men are judged.” Early Writings, 52. (See also, The Faith I Live By, 210.)
“And Behold I Come Quickly”
3 How are we shown that the decisions of the judgment are made before Christ returns? Revelation 22:11, 12.
NOTE: See Christ’s Object Lessons, 310.
4 What warning are God’s people called to give the world as they preach the everlasting Gospel? Revelation 14:6, 7.
NOTE: “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 on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.’ Revelation 3:3.” The Faith I Live By, 211.
“One Like the Son of Man”
5 Who did Daniel see appearing before the throne of God in the judgment? Daniel 7:13.
NOTE: “Attended by a cloud of 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 judgment, and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 307, 308.
6 How does Paul express the confidence that we may have in the intercession of Jesus on our behalf? Hebrews 4:15, 16.
NOTE: “Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith, and, claiming for them forgiveness, He lifts His wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying, ‘I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of My hands.’ ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.’ [Psalm 51:17.] And to the accuser of His people He declares, ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?’ [Zechariah 3:2.] Christ will place His own signet upon His faithful ones, that He may present them to His Father ‘a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.’ Their names stand enrolled in the book of life, and concerning them it is written, ‘They shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.’” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 310.
“I Will Not Blot Out His Name”
7 What work is required of us if our sins are to be blotted out of the books of record? Acts 3:19.
NOTE: “The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin.…but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy. Repentance includes sorrow for sin, and a turning away from it. We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life.” The Faith I Live By, 127. (See also The Great Controversy, 483.)
8 What must the grace of God achieve in our lives in order for our names to remain in the Book of Life? Revelation 3:5.
NOTE: “The expression, ‘He that overcometh,’ indicates that there is something for every one of us to overcome. The overcomer is to be clothed in the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, and of him it is written: ‘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.’ O, what a privilege it is to be an overcomer, and to have our names presented before the Father by the Saviour Himself!” Sons and Daughters of God, 369. (See also Historical Sketches, 181.)
“His Bride Hath Made Herself Ready”
9 What triumphant proclamation in heaven will announce the end of the judgment? Revelation 19:6–8.
NOTE: “If we knew that in just one year from now, the Lord would come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, what a feeling of solemnity would rest upon us! How earnestly we should strive to prepare for His coming, that, clothed in the wedding garment, we might go in unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 109.
“And you that have not sanctified your souls by obeying the truth, do you expect that Christ at His appearing will make you ready? There will then be no atoning blood to wash away the stains of sins. It is while it is called today that you may, if you will, hear His voice, and harden not your heart, as in the day of provocation. It is today that the Spirit of God invites. It is today that the sweet voice of mercy is falling upon your ears. It is today that the heavenly invitation comes to you. It is today that in Heaven everything says, ‘Come.’ And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.” The Review and Herald, August 17, 1869.
10 How does Paul describe that readiness? Ephesians 5:25–27.
NOTE: “Do you want to find Jesus? He is at the feast. You may find Him here. He has come up to the feast. There are men and women that have brought Him with them; and now we want you to press through, and touch the hem of His garment, that you may receive of the virtue that is found in Him, and triumph in the God of your salvation. The waters of the fountain are freely opened for you; and will you drink? Will you come? Will you obey the gracious invitation? Come, for all things are now ready. Whosoever will, let him come and partake of the waters of life freely.…We make appeals to you, in the name of our Master, to get ready. We make appeals to you to rid yourselves of the pride of the world, the pride, and vanity, and folly, of life. Jesus loves you. Jesus pities you. The angelic host He sends to minister unto you. And now, while all Heaven is interested for you, will you be interested for yourselves? Will you begin to seek God earnestly for your own salvation? Will you work it out with fear and trembling? Will you be careful how you step before God? Will you have the approbation of Him whose arm moves the universe?” The Review and Herald, August 17, 1869.
“Let Him be Holy Still”
11 What solemn pronouncement will mark the close of the judgment? Revelation 22:11.
NOTE: “Jesus is in His holy temple, and will now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions of faults and sins, and will pardon all the transgressions of Israel, that they may be blotted out before He leaves the sanctuary. When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, then they who are holy and righteous, will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will then be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy, will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no priest in the sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father’s throne. Therefore what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath, must be done before Jesus leaves the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.” Early Writings, 48.
12 How does Paul emphasize the need for us to make our decision for Christ today? 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2.
NOTE: “We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes, He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.” Maranatha, 221.
13 How does the Bible picture the distress of those who put off the decision too long? Jeremiah 8:20.
NOTE: “O, that we would remember that it is court week with us, and that our cases are pending! Now is the time to watch and pray, to put away all self–indulgence, all pride, all selfishness. The precious moments that are now by many worse than wasted should be spent in meditation and prayer. Many of those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God are following inclination instead of duty. As they are now, they are unworthy of eternal life. To these careless, indifferent ones, I would say, ‘Your vain thoughts, your unkind words, your selfish acts, are recorded in the book of heaven. The angels that were present at Belshazzar’s idolatrous revelry stand beside you as you dishonor your Redeemer. Sadly they turn away, grieved that you should thus crucify Him afresh, and put Him to open shame.’” Maranatha, 39. (See also See The Great Controversy, 490.)