October 11, 2003 – October 17, 2003
“For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14.
Suggested Reading: Christ’s Object Lessons, 312–319
“God’s law reaches the feelings and motives, as well as the outward acts. It reveals the secrets of the heart, flashing light upon things before buried in darkness. God knows every thought, every purpose, every plan, every motive. The books of heaven record the sins that would have been committed had there been opportunity. God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing. By His law He measures the character of every man. As the artist transfers to the canvas the features of the face, so the features of each individual character are transferred to the books of heaven. God has a perfect photograph of every man’s character, and this photograph He compares with His law. He reveals to man the defects that mar his life, and calls upon him to repent and turn from sin.” The Signs of the Times, July 31, 1901.
1 What impressive scene was shown to Daniel in vision? Daniel 7:9, 10.
note: “Christ would have all understand the events of His second appearing. The judgment scene will take place in the presence of all the worlds; for in this judgment the government of God will be vindicated, and His law will stand forth as ‘holy, and just, and good.’ Then every case will be decided, and sentence will be passed upon all.” Review and Herald, September 20, 1898.
2 What did Paul say as to an appointed time of the judgment? Acts 17:31. Compare Romans 2:16; 14:10.
note: “Before any can enter the mansions of the blessed, their cases must be investigated, and their characters and their deeds must pass in review before God. All are to be judged according to the things written in the books and to be rewarded as their works have been. This judgment does not take place at death. Mark the words of Paul: [Acts 17:31 quoted]. Here the apostle plainly stated that a specified time, then future, had been fixed upon for the judgment of the world.” The Great Controversy, 548.
“[Daniel 7:13 quoted.] . . . 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 prophecy 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 perform the work of investigative judgment, and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.” The Faith I Live By, 209.
3 What worldwide message announces the judgment? Revelation 14:6, 7.
note: “It will be noticed that when the time comes for this message to go to the world proclaiming the judgment, the announcement is, ‘The hour of His judgment is come.’ This investigative judgment is the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, which was typified by the day of atonement in the yearly round of the earthly sanctuary. This ‘hour’ of God’s judgment, by a very sure line of prophecy, is shown to have begun in 1844. At this time Christ passed from the holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary into the most holy, and ‘the judgment was set, and the books were opened.’ See Daniel 9:24–27. [See also Daniel 7:10.] Thus the time for the judgment to begin is made clear.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912, 8.
4 When the judgment begins, what are opened? From what are the dead judged? Revelation 20:12. Compare Jeremiah 17:10.
note: “There is an unerring register kept of all sins committed. All man’s impiety, all his disobedience to Heaven’s commands, are written in the books of heaven with unerring accuracy.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1171.
5 What is written in the “book of life”? Revelation 3:5; 21:27.
note: “They [God’s people] will be constant to principle. They will do their work, not to secure a great name or great wages, not for the purpose of weaving self into all their works, and of appearing to be somebody in the world, but to be right in everything in the sight of God. They will not be half as anxious to do a big work as to do whatever they have to do with fidelity and with an eye single to the glory of God. Such men are great in the sight of God. Such names are registered in the Lamb’s book of life as the faithful servants of the most high God.” Counsels on Health, 285.
6 What is written in “the books”? Ecclesiastes 12:14; 11:9. Compare 11 Corinthians 5:10.
note: “[The law of God] is so brief that we can easily commit every precept to memory, and yet so far-reaching as to express the whole will of God, and to take cognizance, not only of the outward actions, but of the thoughts and intents, the desires and emotions, of the heart. Human laws cannot do this. They can deal with the outward actions only. A man may be a transgressor, and yet conceal his misdeeds from human eyes; he may be a criminal—a thief, a murderer, or an adulterer—but so long as he is not discovered, the law cannot condemn him as guilty. The law of God takes note of the jealousy, envy, hatred, malignity, revenge, lust, and ambition that surge through the soul, but have not found expression in outward action, because the opportunity, not the will, has been wanting. And these sinful emotions will be brought into the account in the day when ‘God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil’ (Ecclesiastes 12:14).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 217.
7 When the investigative judgment is finished, and the subjects of Christ’s kingdom are determined, what announcement is made? Revelation 22:11.
note: “When the third angel’s message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished their work. They have received ‘the latter rain,’ ‘the refreshing from the presence of the Lord,’ and they are prepared for the trying hour before them. Angels are hastening to and fro in heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received ‘the seal of the living God.’ Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, ‘It is done.’ . . . Every case has been decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins. The number of His subjects is made up.” The Great Controversy, 613, 614.
8 What takes place when Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above? Revelation 22:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17.
note: “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. . . .
“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. . . . 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.” The Great Controversy, 490, 491.
9 How long will the saints reign with Christ in heaven, and what will they be doing during that time? Revelation 20:4; 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3.
note: “After the saints are changed to immortality and caught up together with Jesus, after they receive their harps, their robes, and their crowns, and enter the city, Jesus and the saints sit in judgment. 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. The saints, in unison with Jesus, pass their judgment upon the wicked dead. . . . This, I saw, was the work of the saints with Jesus through the one thousand years in the Holy City before it descends to the earth.” Early Writings, 52, 53.
10 Who executes the decisions reached during the thousand years? John 5:26, 27.
note: “Christ has been made our judge. The Father is not the judge. The angels are not. He who took humanity upon Himself, and in this world lived a perfect life, is to judge us. He only can be our judge. . . . ” My Life Today, 335.
11 What acknowledgement will finally be made by all whose lives have passed in review before God? Philippians 2:9–11; Revelation 15:3.
note: “Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy has now been made plain. The results of rebellion, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, have been laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The working out of Satan’s rule in contrast with the government of God has been presented to the whole universe. Satan’s own works have condemned him. God’s wisdom, His justice, and His goodness stand fully vindicated. It is seen that all His dealings in the great controversy have been conducted with respect to the eternal good of His people and the good of all the worlds that He has created. . . . With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare: ‘Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints’ (Revelation 15:3).” God’s Amazing Grace, 373.
12 By what is every life tested in the investigative judgment? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Romans 2:12, 16.
note: “He who becomes a partaker of the divine nature will be in harmony with God’s great standard of righteousness, His holy law. This is the rule by which God measures the actions of men. This will be the test of character in the judgment.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 314.
These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912.