Who shall be able to stand when Jesus returns in the clouds of heaven? This is the most important question we could ever ask. What must you and I do to inherit eternal life?
There was a group of people in the Bible who asked this very question, but acknowledged that they could not stand before God. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15–17.
They asked the same question we are asking, but too late. Let us not make that mistake.
One answer to our question is found in Revelation 7:1, 2. “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth neither the sea, nor the trees, [till what happens?] till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
In order to stand before the Lord, what must happen? We must be sealed. Just before the children of Israel left Egypt, the Lord told them that they were to kill a lamb and take the blood and put it on the door post. This was to be a sign for the destroying angel who was to pass over the city, that the firstborn in that house should not be slain. If there was no blood the first born died.
It will be the same at the end. We can see that, if we look in Ezekiel where it talks about the sealing. “And, behold six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen alter. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” Ezekiel 9:2–6.
This is very serious! Isn’t it? The mark is what made the difference. That is why it is important that we ask ourselves the question, “What does it take to receive that mark?” It is a life and death matter.
Can I be a member of a church and yet not have the seal of God in my forehead? Is it possible? “The Lord would teach man the lesson that, though united in church capacity, he is not saved until the seal of God is placed upon him.” Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 969.
A Perfect Character
In Revelation 14:1, it says the seal is the Father’s name. In Exodus 33:19 we are told that God’s name is His character. In Great Controversy, 434 it tells us: “The law of God is the transcript of His character.” “Now is the time to lay up treasure in heaven and to set our hearts in order, ready for the time of trouble. Those only who have clean hands and pure hearts will stand in that trying time. Now is the time for the law of God to be in our minds, foreheads, and written in our hearts.” Early Writings, 58. If the mind is filled with other things, present truth is shut out and there is no place in our foreheads for the seal of God. We can not be too careful about the things that we think and the things that we do.
“By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character.” Testimonies to Ministers, 506. Every act, every word, and every thought is to be in accord with the principles of the law of heaven.
What do the people have written in their foreheads? They have their Father’s name. “John saw a lamb on mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. They bore the signet of heaven. They reflected the image of God. They were full of the light and the glory of the Holy One.” Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 978. Then she gives some conditions if we want to have the image in our foreheads. “If we would have the image and superscription of God upon us, we must separate ourselves from all iniquity, we must forsake every evil way, we must have Christ formed within.” Ibid.
We know it must be pretty urgent because it says three times “we must, we must, we must.” Why does it says that? Because we cannot serve two masters. Jesus said it is impossible. You will either hate the one and love the other or you will hold to the one and despise the other. “We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s people unless we are such entirely. Every weight, every besetting sin, must be laid aside.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 83. [All emphasis supplied.]
Why do we want to hold onto these sins? The things of this world are very flammable. We know that when Jesus comes it is all going to burn up. If we are attached to it we will burn with it.
Not long ago I was burning some brush at my place in Idaho. You cannot get fires going very easily this time of the year, so I took some gasoline in a can and I poured it on. You have to be very careful that the gasoline is not connected to you because it is explosive. It is the same with sin. You must throw it away from you or you will get burned.
“Closely examine your own hearts, and in your lives imitate the unerring Pattern, and all will be well with you. Preserve a clear conscience before God. In all you do glorify His name. Divest yourselves of selfishness and selfish love.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 71. Destroying self is the greatest battle that we can ever fight. It is a terrible thing, and we all have a problem with it. Self! We just love it, and pity it, and feed it, and nourish it. We do a lot of things for self. But the Lord says “We must divest ourselves from self.”
“In every act of life you are to make manifest the name of God.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 107. In other words, we need to reflect the character of Jesus. We can have the form of Godliness, but what good is it if we do not reflect the character of Jesus?
“It is . . . the possession of a Christlike character, that will open to us the gates of Paradise.” My Life Today 340. That is the key. If we have a Christlike character we will walk right in.
“To have a Christlike character it is necessary to act in a Christlike way.” Mind Character and Personality, vol. 2, 552. How many of us are doing this? It does not seem that there are many, because there is a lot of gossiping going around, and many things that are not Christlike.
There is good news in The Desire of Ages, 311: “A Christlike life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God.” Is that good news? It is available to each of us. The problem is with me. I do not want it bad enough.
“We must now strive for eternal life with an intensity that is proportionate to the value of the prize before us. It is not money or land or position but the possession of a Christlike character that will open to us the gates of Paradise.” My Life Today, 340. We spend much time and money and energy to gain the things of this life.
What is a Christlike character?. A Christlike character is obedience to God’s commandments. Christ’s Object Lessons, 315. A Christlike character is expressed in “self-denial and self-sacrifice, Christlike patience and gentleness.” Review and Herald, April 16, 1901. “The character is fashioned after the divine similitude, and integrity, uprightness, and true benevolence are manifested toward the sinful race.” My Life Today, 54.
A Perfect Portrayal of Christ
I like the book Desire of Ages. If you have not read it, you should read it. It is a perfect portrayal of what Jesus was like when He was here on earth. I would like to give you some highlights because that’s what you want to learn. Let us look at a few statements, because the only way that we can stand in the day of God is if we are like Jesus. (The following quotations will be referenced only by a page number.)
“At all times and in all places He manifested a loving interest in men, and shed about Him the light of a cheerful piety.” 86.
“Jesus worked to relieve every case of suffering that He saw.” 87.
“He spoke a word of sympathy here and a word there, as he saw men weary, yet compelled to bear heavy burdens.” 90.
“The life of Christ was marked with respect and love for His mother.” 90.
“The healing power of love—went out from Him to the sick and distressed.” 92.
“He manifested an interest in their secular affairs.” 151.
He spoke with solemn dignity in both look and tone. He expressed such earnestness that sinners were not offended, as they realized their humiliating position. See 173. How do I treat the so-called sinners? Do I look down upon them?
Peace by Compromise
“Jesus Himself never purchased peace by compromise. His heart overflowed with love for the whole human race, but He was never indulgent to their sins.” 356.
“He who taught the people the way to secure peace and happiness was just as thoughtful of their temporal necessities as of their spiritual needs.” 365.
“His love was not to be circumscribed to race or nation.” 402.
You can appreciate this if you came from another country. When I came to this country from Germany I could hardly speak English. I really appreciated the people that were understanding and kind.
“He seeks not to condemn, but to save . . . Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope.” 462. That is what we need to be like.
“Jesus was ever a lover of children . . . His gentle. Kindly manner won the love and confidence of children.” 511.
“His tender, pitying heart is ever awakened to sympathy by suffering. He weeps with those that weep, and rejoices with those that rejoice.” 533.
“[His] every feature expressed gentleness and resignation and the tenderest pity for His cruel foes.” 735.
“Jesus did not contend for His rights.” 89. We like to contend for our rights. If I am right, I am right, and I am going to fight for it. That is not what Jesus was like. He did not contend for His rights. He was always sacrificing Himself for the good of others. He was so emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself.
“The Saviour did not meet argument with argument.” 171. Are we arguing with people?
“He made truth beautiful by presenting it in the most direct and simple way.” 253.
“In all His intercourse with rude and violent men He did not use one unkind or discourteous expression.” 515.
Remember when Jesus was crucified? People were cruel to Him. As the King of the universe He had all power, He could have called legions of angels to destroy them, but He did not retaliate. Instead at this point He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
When He reproved, His words were spoken with the utmost gentleness. See 535.
“It was not Christ’s purpose to humiliate His opponents.” 594.
“He shunned all outward display.” 43.
“He did not strive for worldly greatness, and in even the lowliest position He was content.” 88.
He took “no measures to bring Himself to notice.” 137.
“He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment.” 330.
“He was willing and uncomplaining.” 89. Have you ever become discouraged?
I remember years ago, I worked as a colporteur in Germany. Someone encouraged me to sell books in Northern Germany. It was terrible. I could not sell one thing, all day. As soon as the people heard the word Christian, they slammed the door. You talk about discouragement. But Jesus never became discouraged. Do we need to learn that? The only way we can do it is by submitting to Him, because humanly speaking we cannot do it.
“Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage.” 330.
“Interrupted as He was, and robbed of His rest, He was not impatient.” 364.
“He hated but one thing in the world, and that was sin.” 88. That was the only thing that He hated, and that is the only thing that we should hate. The reason that we hold onto sin is that we do not hate it.
“He dwelt among men an example of spotless integrity.” 243.
“His language was pure and refined and clear as a running stream.” 253. This is also very important because the Bible tells us that, “By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37.
“His life was a rebuke to their sins.” 587.
“In principle He was as firm as a rock, His life revealed the grace of unselfish courtesy.” 69. Is that the way we are to be? In principle we need to be firm as a rock; we cannot be shaken.
“In His industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptations.” 72.
“He would not enter into controversy.” 89.
“He would not betray the secrets they poured into His sympathizing ear.” 92.
“Jesus had nothing to do with the various subjects of dissension among the Jews. It was His work to present the truth.” 253. That is something that we need to learn. He had nothing to do with subjects of dissension among the Jews. He just preached the truth, and He stuck with that.
“Jesus taught the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority.” 253.
“It was in faith—faith in God’s love and care—that Jesus rested.” 336. That is good advice. Many times that is all we can do.
“As the Son of Man, Christ would stand loyal to God.” 115. To whom are we loyal? Are we loyal to God, to His Word, or are we loyal to a man or a system?
“At a very early age, Jesus had begun to act for Himself in the formation of His character, and not even respect and love for His parents could turn Him from obedience to God’s word.” 86.
“He denied the right of the priests and rabbis to question Him, or to interfere with His work.” 211.
The Divine Superscription
Who shall be able to stand? “Those who enter the heavenly mansions will have the name of the Father and the name of the City of God written in their foreheads. They will bare the divine superscription and be partakers of the divine nature.” That I May Know Him, 103.
How do we become partakers of the divine nature? “When Christ took human nature upon Him, He bound humanity to Himself by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power save the choice of man himself. Satan will constantly present allurements to induce us to break this tie—to choose to separate ourselves from Christ. Here is where we need to watch, to strive, to pray, that nothing may entice us to choose another master; for we are always free to do this. But let us keep our eyes fixed upon Christ, and He will preserve us. Looking unto Jesus, we are safe. Nothing can pluck us out of His hand. In constantly beholding Him, we ‘are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ 2 Corinthians 3:18.” Steps to Christ, 72. We must always point our eyes to Jesus Christ and away from self. We will then be able to stand, and will receive the seal of God in our foreheads. May God give us the strength, courage, and the determination to submit to Him completely.