Bible Study Guides – To Whom do Man and All His Possessions Belong? Part II

April 9, 2006 – April 15, 2006

Key Text

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

Study Help: Counsels on Stewardship, 20, 21.


“Tithes and offerings for God are an acknowledgment of His claim on us by creation, and they are also an acknowledgment of His claim by redemption. Because all our power is derived from Christ, these offerings are to flow from us to God. They are to keep ever before us the claim of redemption, the greatest of all claims, and the one that involves every other. The realization of the sacrifice made in our behalf is ever to be fresh in our minds and is ever to exert an influence on our thoughts and plans. Christ is to be indeed as one crucified among us.

“ ‘Know ye not that . . . ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. What a price has been paid for us! Behold the cross, and the Victim uplifted upon it. Look at those hands, pierced with the cruel nails. Look at His feet, fastened with spikes to the tree. Christ bore our sins in His own body. That suffering, that agony, is the price of your redemption.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 479.

1 For what purpose did Christ come into the world? Luke 19:10; 1 John 3:8, last part.

note: “Jesus is the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He is the Light of the world, and He bids us come unto Him, and learn of Him. Jesus was the great Teacher. . . . He had come to seek and to save that which was lost, and He could not permit Himself to be turned from His one object. He allowed nothing to divert Him. This work He has given into our hands. Shall we do it?” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 183.

2 In what way did Christ redeem man from death? Hebrews 2:9, 14.

note: “The weight of the sins of the whole world would be upon Him. He told them [the angels] He would die and rise again the third day, and would ascend to His Father to intercede for wayward, guilty man.

“The angels prostrated themselves before Him. They offered their lives. Jesus said to them that He would by His death save many, that the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of His Father as a ransom for man. . . .

“With a holy sadness Jesus comforted and cheered the angels and informed them that hereafter those whom He should redeem would be with Him, and that by His death He should ransom many and destroy him who had the power of death.” Early Writings, 150, 151.

3 What assurance have we that the lost possession will be redeemed? Ephesians 1:13, 14.

note: “Christ, by His sacrifice paying the penalty of sin, would not only redeem man, but recover the dominion which he had forfeited. All that was lost by the first Adam will be restored by the second. . . . That purpose will be fulfilled, when, renewed by the power of God, and freed from sin and sorrow, it [the earth] shall become the eternal abode of the redeemed. ‘The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.’ ‘And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.’ Psalm 37:29; Revelation 22:3.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 67.

4 How much will be redeemed? Revelation 21:4, 5; Psalm 104:29–31.

note: “The work of redemption will be complete. In the place where sin abounded, God’s grace much more abounds. The earth itself, the very field that Satan claims as his, is to be not only ransomed but exalted. Our little world, under the curse of sin the one dark blot in His glorious creation, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe of God. Here, where the Son of God tabernacled in humanity; where the King of glory lived and suffered and died,—here, when He shall make all things new, the tabernacle of God shall be with men.” Review and Herald, February 25, 1915.

“Christ’s plan is the only safe one. He declares, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.’ [Revelation 21:5; 11 Corinthians 5:17.] The Saviour gives no encouragement to any to think that He will accept a patchwork religion. Such a religion is of no value in His sight. There may at first seem to be some of self and some of Christ; but it is soon seen that there is none of Christ. The patches of selfishness increase till the entire garment is covered with them.” The Signs of the Times, January 8, 1902.

5 What relation will man then sustain to the creation? Revelation 21:7.

note: “There [on earth] the Eden life will be lived, the life in garden and field. . . .

“There man will be restored to his lost kingship, and the lower order of beings will again recognize his sway; the fierce will become gentle, and the timid trustful.” Education, 303, 304.

6 Through whom is this dominion to be restored? Micah 4:7, 8; Ephesians 1:10, 11.

note: “God’s original purpose in the creation of the earth is fulfilled as it is made the eternal abode of the redeemed. . . . The earth originally given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. . . .

“God created the earth to be the abode of holy, happy beings. That purpose will be fulfilled when, renewed by the power of God and freed from sin and sorrow, it shall become the eternal home of the redeemed. . . .

“The Son of God redeemed man’s failure and fall; and now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is reinstated in his first dominion.” The Adventist Home, 540, 541.

7 What relation does man sustain to the purchased possession in this life? Romans 8:16, 17.

note: “Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. In every affliction, God has a purpose for our good. Every blow that destroys an idol, every providence that weakens our hold upon the things of earth, and fixes our affections more firmly upon God, is a blessing. The pruning may be painful for a time, but afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. We should receive with gratitude whatever will quicken the conscience, elevate the thoughts, and ennoble the life. There are branches that are cut off for the fire; let us thank God if we may, through painful pruning, retain a connection with the living Vine; for if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with him.” Review and Herald, September 11, 1883.

“The brethren here are being tried by the gospel straightener. Some here who had to work hard to get a living have been complaining of their lot, and when asked to help in the cause of Christ, have thought very strange. . . . The promise is, if we suffer with Christ we shall also reign with him. The sufferings of the human race while under the curse, will not raise them to fellow-heirship with Jesus on his throne. This is the lot of mortals in this world. The heir of God, then, is required to suffer still more. Yes, his whole body is to be a living sacrifice unto God. He is to sacrifice his ease, his pleasure, his comfort, his convenience, his will, and his own selfish wishes, for Christ’s cause, or never reign with him on his throne.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 95.

8 What was the price for man’s redemption? 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 John 3:16.

note: “Hating sin with a perfect hatred, He [Jesus] yet gathered to His soul the sins of the whole world. Guiltless, He bore the punishment of the guilty. Innocent, yet offering Himself as a substitute for the transgressor. The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world’s Redeemer. The evil thoughts, the evil words, the evil deeds of every son and daughter of Adam, called for retribution upon Himself; for He had become man’s substitute. Though the guilt of sin was not His, His spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men, and He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

“Voluntarily our divine Substitute bared His soul to the sword of justice, that we might not perish but have everlasting life. Said Christ, ‘I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again’ (John 10:17, 18). No man of earth or angel of heaven could have paid the penalty for sin. Jesus was the only one who could save rebellious man. In Him divinity and humanity were combined, and this was what gave efficiency to the offering on Calvary’s cross.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 322.

9 Then to whom does man and all he possesses belong? 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

note: “God has laid His hand upon all things, both man and his possessions; for all belong to him. He says, I am the owner of the world; the universe is mine, and I require you to consecrate to my service the first-fruits of all that I, through my blessing, have caused to come into your hands. God’s word declares, ‘Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits.’ ‘Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase.’ [Exodus 22:29; Proverbs 3:9.] This tribute he demands as a token of our loyalty to him.

“We belong to God; we are his sons and daughters,—his by creation, and his by the gift of his only begotten Son for our redemption. ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] The mind, the heart, the will, and the affections belong to God; the money that we handle is the Lord’s. Every good that we receive and enjoy is the result of divine benevolence. God is the bountiful giver of all good, and he desires that there shall be an acknowledgment, on the part of the receiver, of these gifts that provide for every necessity of the body and the soul. God demands only his own. The primary portion is the Lord’s, and must be used as his entrusted treasure. The heart that is divested of selfishness will awaken to a sense of God’s goodness and love, and be moved to a hearty acknowledgment of his righteous requirements.” Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.

10 From whom does man derive power to get wealth? Deuteronomy 8:17, 18.

note: “Men of property often look upon their wealth and say: By my wisdom have I gotten me this wealth. But who gave them power to get wealth? God has bestowed upon them the ability which they possess, but instead of giving Him the glory they take it to themselves. He will prove them and try them, and will bring their glorying to the dust; He will remove their strength and scatter their possessions. Instead of a blessing they will realize a curse. An act of wrong or oppression, a deviation from the right way, should no sooner be tolerated in a man who possesses property than in a man who has none. All the riches that the most wealthy ever possessed are not of sufficient value to cover the smallest sin before God; they will not be accepted as a ransom for transgression. Repentance, true humility, a broken heart, and a contrite spirit alone will be accepted of God. And no man can have true humility before God unless the same is exemplified before others. Nothing less than repentance, confession, and forsaking of sin is acceptable to God.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 536.

11 Can man therefore glory in what he possesses? 1 Corinthians 3:21–23; Jeremiah 9:23, 24.

note: “Men act out the true character of the heart. There are about us those who have a meek and lowly spirit, the spirit of Christ, who do many little things to help those around them, and who think nothing of it; they will be astonished at last to find that Christ has noticed the kind word spoken to the disheartened, and taken account of the smallest gift given for the relief of the poor, that cost the giver some self-denial. The Lord measures the spirit, and rewards accordingly, and the pure, humble, childlike spirit of love makes the offering precious in His sight.” Review and Herald, July 3, 1894.

Bible Study Guides – A Plan With a Purpose

January 28, 2007 – February 3, 2007

Key Text

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10.

Study Help: “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 926, 927; Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 149–152.


“Through the goodness and mercy of Christ the sinner is to be restored to the divine favor. God in Christ is daily beseeching men to be reconciled to God. With outstretched arms He is ready to receive and welcome not only the sinner but the prodigal. His dying love, manifested on Calvary, is the sinner’s assurance of acceptance, peace, and love.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 178, 179.

1 For what purpose does the gospel call come to us? Mark 2:17, last part.

note: “The Majesty of heaven, the only-begotten Son of the true and living God, opened the way for you to come to Him, by giving His life as a sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. But while He suffered all this for you, He is too pure, He is too just, to behold iniquity. But even this need not keep you away from Him; for He says, ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ [Mark 2:17.] Let perishing souls come to Him just as they are, without one plea, and plead the atoning blood of Christ, and they will find acceptance with God, who dwelleth in glory between the cherubim above the mercy seat. The blood of Jesus is a never-failing passport, by which all your petitions may find access to the throne of God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 251, 252.

2 What does salvation through Christ mean for us, here and now? Matthew 1:21; Revelation 1:5, last part.

note: “God has spoken, and He means that man shall obey. He does not inquire if it is convenient for him to do so. The Lord of life and glory did not consult His convenience or pleasure when He left His station of high command to become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, accepting ignominy and death in order to deliver man from the consequence of his disobedience. Jesus died, not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. Man is to leave the error of his ways, to follow the example of Christ, to take up his cross and follow Him, denying self, and obeying God at any cost.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 250, 251.

3 What does God offer us, and on what condition, as a first step in our restoration? Isaiah 55:7; Luke 24:47.

note: “Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption. The sinner receives the forgiveness of his sins, because these sins are borne by his Substitute and Surety.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1070.

4 Besides forgiving us, what else does God do in behalf of our salvation? 1 John 1:9. What aim is put before us, and what is our responsibility? Philippians 3:12–14; John 5:14; 8:11.

note: “Abstain from all evil. Common sins, however insignificant they may be regarded, will impair your moral sense, and extinguish the inward impression of the Spirit of God. The character of the thoughts leaves its imprint upon the soul, and all low conversation pollutes the mind. All evil works ruin to those who commit it. God may and will forgive the repenting sinner, but though forgiven, the soul is marred; the power of the elevated thought possible to the unimpaired mind is destroyed. Through all time the soul bears the scars. Then let us seek for that faith which works by love and purifies the heart, that we may represent the character of Christ to the world.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 195.

“It is by following in the path of obedience in simple faith that the character obtains perfection.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1137.

5 What did Paul say about the deliverance that Christ operates in us when we accept Him? Hebrews 2:15; Colossians 1:13. Sadly, how do some people cooperate with Satan rather than with Christ?

note: “Satan will move upon minds that have been indulged, upon men who have always had their own way, and anything presented to them in counsel or reproof to change their objectionable traits of character, is considered fault-finding, binding them, restraining them, that they cannot have liberty to act themselves. The Lord in great mercy has sent messages of warning to them, but they would not listen to reproof. Like the enemy who rebelled in heaven, they did not like to hear; they do not correct the wrong they have done, but become accusers, declaring themselves misused and unappreciated.

“Now is the time of trial, of test, of proving. Those who like Saul, will persist in having their own way, will suffer as he did, loss of honor, and finally the loss of the soul.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1163, 1164.

6 How does Christ make us free from the penalty of the law, under which we are condemned? Romans 6:14–18; 1 Thessalonians 1:10. What should we learn from the experience of the apostle Paul?

note: “The apostle Paul, in relating his experience, presents an important truth concerning the work to be wrought in conversion. He says, ‘I was alive without the law once,’—he felt no condemnation; ‘but when the commandment came,’ when the law of God was urged upon his conscience, ‘sin revived, and I died.’ [Romans 7:9.] Then he saw himself a sinner, condemned by the divine law. Mark, it was Paul, and not the law, that died.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 297.

7 How does faith in the gospel relate to the law of God? Romans 3:31. What warning are we given against transgressing God’s law? Romans 2:23–27; 8:7; 1 Timothy 1:9, 10.

note: “The law of God is the mirror to show man the defects in his character. But it is not pleasant to those who take pleasure in unrighteousness to see their moral deformity. They do not prize this faithful mirror, because it reveals to them their sins. Therefore, instead of instituting a war against their carnal minds, they war against the true and faithful mirror, given them by Jehovah for the very purpose that they may not be deceived, but that they may have revealed to them the defects in their character.” Review and Herald, March 8, 1870.

8 What do we lose through sin? Romans 3:23. What is to be restored in us through the gospel? 11 Corinthians 3:18. How? 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

note: “God is clothed with power; He is able to take those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and by the operation of the Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead, transform the human character, bringing back to the soul the lost image of God. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are changed from being rebels against the law of God into obedient servants and subjects of His kingdom. They are born again, regenerated, sanctified through the truth.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 332.

9 On what condition and for what purpose has God given us “the spirit of adoption”? Romans 8:14–17. What must reveal that we are adopted as God’s children? 11 Corinthians 6:16–18; 11 Peter 1:4.

note: “Let every one who desires to be a partaker of the divine nature, appreciate the fact that he must escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. There must be a constant, earnest struggling of the soul against the evil imaginings of the mind. There must be a steadfast resistance of temptation to sin in thought or act. The soul must be kept from every stain, through faith in Him who is able to keep you from falling. We should meditate upon the Scriptures, thinking soberly and candidly upon the things that pertain to our eternal salvation.” Review and Herald, June 12, 1888.

10 How are we enabled to resist the clamoring of our own carnal nature? Colossians 1:10, 11; Ephesians 3:16, 20.

note: “Man cannot transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change can be effected. The leaven—something wholly from without—must be put into the meal before the desired change can be wrought in it. So the grace of God must be received by the sinner before he can be fitted for the kingdom of glory. All the culture and education which the world can give will fail of making a degraded child of sin a child of heaven. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. All who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 96, 97.

Building Character

“Christ, the Word, the revelation of God,—the manifestation of His character, His law, His love, His life,—is the only foundation upon which we can build a character that will endure.

“We build on Christ by obeying His word. It is not he who merely enjoys righteousness, that is righteous, but he who does righteousness. Holiness is not rapture; it is the result of surrendering all to God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father. When the children of Israel were encamped on the borders of the Promised Land, it was not enough for them to have a knowledge of Canaan, or to sing the songs of Canaan. This alone would not bring them into possession of the vineyards and olive groves of the goodly land. They could make it theirs in truth only by occupation, by complying with the conditions, by exercising living faith in God, by appropriating His promises to themselves, while they obeyed His instruction.

“Religion consists in doing the words of Christ; not doing to earn God’s favor, but because, all undeserving, we have received the gift of His love. Christ places the salvation of man, not upon profession merely, but upon faith that is made manifest in works of righteousness. Doing, not saying merely, is expected of the followers of Christ. It is through action that character is built. ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’ Romans 8:14. Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God.

“Do you desire to become a follower of Christ, yet know not how to begin? Are you in darkness and know not how to find the light? Follow the light you have. Set your heart to obey what you do know of the word of God. His power, His very life, dwells in His word. As you receive the word in faith, it will give you power to obey. As you give heed to the light you have, greater light will come. You are building on God’s word, and your character will be builded after the similitude of the character of Christ.

“Christ, the true foundation, is a living stone; His life is imparted to all that are built upon Him. ‘Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.’ ‘Each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord.’ 1 Peter 2:5, R.V.; Ephesians 2:21, R.V. The stones became one with the foundation; for a common life dwells in all. That building no tempest can overthrow; for—‘That which shares the life of God, With Him surviveth all.’

“But every building erected on other foundation than God’s word will fall. He who, like the Jews in Christ’s day, builds on the foundation of human ideas and opinions, of forms and ceremonies of man’s invention, or on any works that he can do independently of the grace of Christ, is erecting his structure of character upon the shifting sand. The fierce tempests of temptation will sweep away the sandy foundation and leave his house a wreck on the shores of time.

“ ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord God, . . . Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.’ Isaiah 28:16, 17.

“But today mercy pleads with the sinner. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?’ Ezekiel 33:11. The voice that speaks to the impenitent today is the voice of Him who in heart anguish exclaimed as He beheld the city of His love: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her own brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.’ Luke 13:34, 35, R.V. In Jerusalem, Jesus beheld a symbol of the world that had rejected and despised His grace. He was weeping, O stubborn heart, for you! Even when Jesus’ tears were shed upon the mount, Jerusalem might yet have repented, and escaped her doom. For a little space the Gift of heaven still waited her acceptance. So, O heart, to you Christ is still speaking in accents of love: ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.’ ‘Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ Revelation 3:20; 11 Corinthians 6:2.

“You who are resting your hope on self are building on the sand. But it is not yet too late to escape the impending ruin. Before the tempest breaks, flee to the sure foundation. ‘Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, of sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.’ ‘Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.’ ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.’ ‘Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.’ Isaiah 28:16, R.V.; 45:22; 41:10; 45:17.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 149–152.

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.

The 144,000, Part I

There are many questions concerning the 144,000. Some can be answered; others cannot. For instance, is the 144,000 a literal or a symbolic number? Are the 144,000 sealed before or after the latter rain? Will the 144,000 convert a great multitude to God’s truth? Why will the 144,000 be translated without dying? What are the character developments that are necessary to become a part of the 144,000?

In this article, we will not dabble into speculation nor will we claim any new light, but we will search for what has been revealed in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy.

From Scripture, we may read of the 144,000 in Revelation 7:2–4, 13, 14 and Revelation 14:1–5: “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 it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”

Different Standard

There are various members of our faith who are heard declaring that the 144,000 are no different from any other generation of God’s people. They say that God does not have two different standards, one for the 144,000 and one for all other generations. They insist that this is absurd. The 144,000 will be different only in that they will be alive when Jesus comes. Is this really true, or will the 144,000 be in some respect different? If so, what will make them different?

We first need to establish a very important truth. It is true that God does not have a different standard of salvation for the translated living and another for the resurrected, dead saints. Those who die must, at death, be right with God. They must be both justified and sanctified. As individuals, they must stop committing known sin, and invite Christ to dwell in their hearts by faith, and to give them the needed power to willingly obey their Lord. They will have been washing their robes of character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Although the standard of salvation for both the living last generation and the dead saints is the same, there is a difference. Why? Because the severe end-time trials and great tribulations that the last generation will pass through, such as experienced by no other generation, will develop, in the 144,000 living saints, characters that will become more like Christ’s character than that of any prior generation of saints. They will reach a character maturity that will reveal that they have won the battle over evil.

“The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 266.

So intense will become their hatred of sin that they would rather die than sin. The difference will not be in the standard of salvation but in the degree of character development to which they will attain.

God has given us some Bible examples for this very purpose, so that we can clarify and better understand this difference. Let us begin with the example of Moses.


Ellen White wrote: “Moses, wearied with forty years of wandering and unbelief, lost for a moment his hold on Infinite Power. He failed just on the borders of the Promised Land.” Prophets and Kings, 174.

Consider the personal lesson we should learn from the experience of Moses, when he sinned by taking the glory from Christ in producing water from the rock. Christ uses the life of Moses as an object lesson to help us understand that there will be a difference in the experience between those who die and are resurrected, and those who are translated. Just one sin, which was immediately repented of, kept Moses from being translated, but it did not keep him from being resurrected.

“Satan had been trying to find something wherewith to accuse Moses before the angels. He exulted at his success in leading him to displease God, and he told the angels that he could overcome the Saviour of the world when He should come to redeem man. For his transgression, Moses came under the power of Satan—the dominion of death. Had he remained steadfast, the Lord would have brought him to the Promised Land, and would then have translated him to heaven without his seeing death.” Early Writings, 164.

“Had not the life of Moses been marred with that one sin, in failing to give God the glory of bringing water from the rock at Kadesh, he would have entered the Promised Land, and would have been translated to heaven without seeing death.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 478.

We know that, in the lifetime of Moses, he committed more than one sin. In fact, he even murdered a man; he killed an Egyptian. Though he had confessed and forsaken his sins, God used this one sin, which Moses knowingly committed on the banks of the Jordan River just before crossing into the Promised Land, to impress us with the fact that the living saints must make an end of sin in their lives before they enter the heavenly Canaan. Nothing could be more plainly stated!

Though God had planned on translating Moses to heaven without seeing death, he was not then ready to be a type of those who would be ready to be translated. He must die. Soon after this, Moses did die, but within a few days, God resurrected him. He was taken to heaven to become a type of the resurrected saints of God; a type of those repentant ones who will not be required to go through the special end-time circumstances and great tribulations.


On the other hand, Enoch was a type of the living saints. Consider his record. The Bible says that he walked with God for 300 years before he was translated: “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.” Genesis 5:21, 22.

In the book, Reflecting Christ, 307, we read, “Enoch was a marked character, and many look upon his life as something far above what the generality of mortals can ever reach. But Enoch’s life and character, which were so holy that he was translated to heaven without seeing death, represent the lives and characters of all who will be translated when Christ comes.”

Then, in Gospel Workers, 54, we read, “ ‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; . . . for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.’ [Hebrews 11:5.]

“To such communion God is calling us. As was Enoch’s, so must be their holiness of character who shall be redeemed from among men at the Lord’s second coming.”

This is such an important, provoking statement that the last sentence must be repeated: “As was Enoch’s, so must be their holiness of character who shall be redeemed from among men at the Lord’s second coming.”

Elijah was a type of the 144,000. He was a man of strong faith. He demonstrated this in the happenings of Mount Carmel, which are recorded in 1 Kings 18. However, after his lofty experience, “Depression seized him. . . . While under the inspiration of the Almighty, he had stood the severest trial of faith; but in this trial of discouragement, with Jezebel’s threat sounding in his ears, . . . he lost his hold on God.” Prophets and Kings, 161.

“Despondency is sinful and unreasonable.” Ibid., 164. So Elijah sinned, for “in a moment of weariness [he] allowed the fear of death to overcome his faith in God.” Ibid., 174.

Different Sins

Let us think this through for a moment. What was the difference between the sin of Moses and that of Elijah? While Moses committed sin just before he was to pass over into the Promised Land, not so in the experience of Elijah. As did Moses, he repented immediately, but he did not die soon thereafter. He lived on and demonstrated his strong faith in the Lord, which he quickly regained and maintained. God sent him back to Israel to finish bringing about a religious revival and a transformation in the land. When God finally asked him to call Elisha, a farm laborer, to replace himself, he spent some time teaching Elisha. He went from place to place with him, and from school to school, teaching him how to give the help that each needed.

Therefore, Elijah spent a number of years before he was translated demonstrating that he was a loyal, holy servant of the Lord. This is why God could declare, “Elijah was a type of the saints who will be living on the earth at the time of the second advent of Christ and who will be ‘changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump,’ without tasting of death. 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52.” Prophets and Kings, 227.

Absolute Necessity

Why is it necessary for the living saints who will be translated to be different in respect to the development of their characters? to have characters so mature that they will never again sin? What will make this maturity an absolute necessity?

First, they will be forced to meet the supreme test—that of a papal image of the beast. Second, after probation closes, they must be prepared to live sinlessly without a mediator in the sanctuary in heaven.

Let us consider the first test, the image of the beast. Some church members may have wondered, why is the Sunday sabbath, brought about by the image of the beast, to be the great test for the people of God by which their eternal destiny will be decided? Would we not naturally assume that this crisis would be a test for the world, for the unbelievers and the undecided?

The truth is that when God’s people are faced with this great test, they will be forced to make an immediate choice between life and death, as it were, between obedience and disobedience. If their characters were not already developed to the point to where they would rather die than sin, they would undoubtedly choose to sin, and thus come under Satan’s black banner. When brought to the test, God’s people will either receive the seal of God or the mark of the papal beast. Thus their eternal destiny will be forever decided.

In 1890, Ellen White wrote: “The Lord has shown me clearly that the image of the beast will be formed before probation closes; for it is to be the great test for the people of God, by which their eternal destiny will be decided. . . . [Revelation 13:11–17 quoted.] . . .

“This is the test that the people of God must have before they are sealed. All who proved their loyalty to God by observing His law, and refusing to accept a spurious sabbath, will rank under the banner of the Lord God Jehovah, and will receive the seal of the living God. Those who yield the truth of heavenly origin and accept the Sunday sabbath, will receive the mark of the beast.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 976.

What about the second reason, the close of probation? The saints who are to be translated must live through the final time of trouble, referred to as the time of Jacob’s trouble, without a mediator in the heavenly sanctuary. Probation will have closed for this wicked, old world.

Without an Intercessor

Are we aware of just what this means? It means that if a saint were to sin after probation closes, there would be no forgiveness available. I do not believe any of us now living fully realize what it will mean to live on this earth in such a chaotic condition and under such pressure of a death sentence without an intercessor.

“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.” The Great Controversy, 425.

Christ is our only example of a man who lived on earth without an intercessor. What was the experience of Christ while He was on this earth? “Christ declared of Himself: ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.” Ibid., 623.

I trust that this is causing you and me to do some very serious thinking. In order for anyone to live on this earth without a mediator, such a one must attain to the same sinless condition lived by Christ while He was on this earth.


Let us consider for a moment Christ in Gethsemane. In The Desire of Ages, 686, 687, Ellen White wrote: “Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which he had ever stood before. . . . Hitherto He had been an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.

“As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the power of darkness. . . . With the issues of the conflict before Him, Christ’s soul was filled with dread of separation from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world, the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom, and would nevermore be one with God.”

So, likewise, when probation closes, the saints will find themselves in a different position than they have ever been before.

Saints Enabled

How will the saints be enabled? Actually, it will be by following Christ’s earthly example. “Christ left his heavenly home, and came to this world, to show that only by being connected with divinity can man keep the law of God. In itself humanity is tainted and corrupted; but Christ brought moral power to man, and those who live in communion with him overcome as he overcame. We are not left in this world as orphans.” The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1896.

Unless the saints follow the example of Christ in joining their humanity with divinity, they will be among the lost who will be consumed at Christ’s coming. It is absolutely imperative that they have this special preparation, for God’s glory destroys all sin and sinners. Sin cannot exist in the visible presence of God, for God’s glory is a consuming fire.

The Bible is very clear in stating that the very presence of God will consume all who are found clinging to sin. 11 Thessalonians 2:8 tells us, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” As Christ nears this earth, his very presence will consume the sinner while consuming their sins.

Therefore, it is evident that all sin must be removed from the 144,000 in the days of preparation before they are sealed. That is the time in which we are living, for we are living in the preparation time. Times are tense. There is still opportunity for us to prepare.

Avoid Attractive Errors

Would to God that the ministers in God’s pulpits today would preach soul-stirring messages filled with divine conviction that would move the listener to sense the enormity of the sin problem, causing them to fall on their knees pleading with God for victory. Believe me, friend, this is no time for Celebration, with tame messages to satisfy the sinful nature, such as teaching congregations that they can continue sinning until Jesus comes.

Rather than representing so-called “attractive errors,” ministers should heed the counsel of Joel: “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for [it is] nigh at hand.” “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where [is] their God?” Joel 2:1, 16, 17.

This is the weeping time; a time for ministers to weep between the porch and the altar for all the sins that are being committed in the church. Certainly this is not a time for Celebration, for entertainment, or for preaching frivolous or smooth sermons to tickle the ear of the flocks. Rather, we ministers should sound such an alarming message that it will awaken the members of our churches from their Laodicean slumber to their need to sigh and cry for their own sins, as well as those of their fellow church members.

Ellen White informs us, “The abominations for which the faithful ones were sighing and crying were all that could be discerned by finite eyes, but by far the worst sins, those which provoked the jealousy of the pure and holy God, were unrevealed. The great Searcher of the hearts knoweth every sin committed in secret by the workers of iniquities.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 211.

So, God admonishes us to, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1. Ellen White asks, “What are you doing, brethren, in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity.” Ibid., 216. This is God’s last-day, preparation message. It is urgent, for time is short.

A True Story

A Seventh-day Adventist lady, whom I will call Rachel, lived in Oregon. She was studying God’s Word with a very godly woman. Now, Rachel had a certain problem insofar as the health reform message was concerned. Her teacher pointed out to her that the Spirit of Prophecy clearly reveals that no one will be among the living translated saints who was indulging in this certain vice. This shook Rachel up, and for two weeks she abstained. But then, forgetting her reform, she went back to the old practice with this comment, “I decided that I would go ahead and indulge myself and prepare to be among the resurrected dead rather than striving to be among the living who will be translated.”

What a dangerous reasoning! We are living in the end time, and God calls us to make preparation appropriate for the time in which we live. Surely we do not have the option of making such a choice as did Rachel. Rachel failed to realize that the standard of salvation is exactly the same for the dead as for the living. All known sins must be repented of and put away before death or before translation. If a certain practice is a sin for a living saint, one that would keep him or her from being translated, after one recognizes its sinfulness, if he or she should continue in this practice would he or she be eligible to be among the resurrected saints? This would be very questionable.

In this end time, we are admonished,

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.

In closing, I will reaffirm the words of Ezekiel the prophet, as he appeals to ministers and laymen alike. To everyone, both the saints who will be among the living and those who will die in the Lord, Ezekiel’s message from the Lord has the same urgency as do the messages of Joel and Isaiah. Ezekiel 18:30–32 says, “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn [yourselves] from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn [yourselves], and live ye.”

To be continued . . .

For over 60 years Pastor Lawrence Nelson served as an evangelist and minister for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of that time, he served 13 years as the director of evangelism for youth at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Upon retirement from the General Conference, he continued to pastor, but when, as a result of his stand for truth, he was denied the opportunity to continue his pastorate, he started Keep the Faith Audio Tape Ministry, recording his sermons and making them available to individuals. Before his retirement from this ministry in 2004, over 18,000 audio tapes were being sent around the world each month.

The 144,000, Part II

For over 6,000 years, man has succumbed to Satan’s temptations to break God’s eternal law, thus becoming subject to death, as we read in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin [is] death.” Satan hates God’s Law. He has made the claim that only a very few are obeying God’s Law in keeping the Sabbath, but even they will give up the Sabbath when faced by the coming crisis. This is why he will enforce Sunday worship, which God’s Word teaches us is the mark of the beast.

A worldwide law will enforce Sunday worship with a death penalty to those who do not obey. Thus, Satan claims that no man will keep God’s Law. But God has a plan for this last generation that will be living on this earth. Those whose names are left in the Lamb’s book of life after the investigative judgment are to be taken to heaven without experiencing death. The 144,000 will prove to the universe that God’s Law can be kept no matter what terrible persecutions Satan, through his agents, can inflict upon these saints during what God calls a “time of trouble, such as never was.” Daniel 12:1.

God proclaims of these 144,000, “Here is the patience of the saints, here [are] they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.

To refresh our memories, in the first part of this article, we noted that out of the tense end-time trials and tribulations there will be developed 144,000 living saints whose characters will have become more Christlike than that of any other generation of saints throughout the history of the world. Their characters will reveal that they have “gained the victory over evil so that they would rather die than sin.” The Great Controversy, 425.

The Latter Rain

What will make this possible? God has a great blessing reserved to pour out upon His last-generation church¾a blessing that has not been previously manifested because it has not been needed. In the end time, however, it becomes a necessity. It is called the latter rain. God knew that the last generation would need an extra supply of the grace of the Holy Spirit to prepare them to pass through the time of Jacob’s trouble and to meet Christ at His coming.

We read about this blessing in Joel 2:23, 24: “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month]. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.”

Besides empowering this last generation to proclaim the loud cry to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, which will be a last-day accomplishment, the latter rain performs something for the saints themselves. This work of grace for the saints may be likened to the ripening of the grain for the harvest, and this certainly will be harvest time for God’s church. In the Scripture just quoted from Joel 2:24, it explains that, when the latter rain falls, the threshing floor shall be full of wheat.

But let us keep in mind that it is absolutely necessary that these living saints receive both the early and the latter rain. “If we do not progress, if we do not place ourselves in an attitude to receive both the former and the latter rain, we shall lose our souls, and the responsibility will lie at our own door.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 508.

Ellen White further explained: “The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God’s grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Former Rain Necessary

“The latter rain, ripening earth’s harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection.” Ibid., 506.

The latter rain will accomplish in the saints an even further work of character refinement or perfection. Not only will this prepare the church for the coming of Christ, as stated in the previous quotation, but, also, in Testimonies, vol. 1, 353, we read, “It is the latter rain which revives and strengthens them to pass through the time of trouble.” So, it is no wonder that God, through His prophet Zechariah, stated, “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; [so] the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1. What a beautiful promise! But many of our people seem to be waiting for the latter rain to accomplish their victory over sin. We are forewarned that they are making a terrible mistake. This is not the purpose of the latter rain.

Prior preparation must be made before the latter rain can fall upon any one of us. “Many have in a great measure failed to receive the former rain. They have not obtained all the benefits that God has thus provided for them. They expect that the lack will be supplied by the latter rain. When the richest abundance of grace shall be bestowed, they intend to open their hearts to receive it. They are making a terrible mistake. The work that God has begun in the human heart in giving His light and knowledge must be continually going forward. Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit. It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 507.


Ellen White makes this very important statement: “Today you are to have your vessel purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord¾fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Selected Messages, Book 1,191.

Perhaps the first work of the latter rain will be to seal the saints of God in their foreheads. However, notice this quote, “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214.

Please note again the counsel that every defilement must be washed away in the blood of the Lamb. It is then, and not until then, that the latter rain will fall upon God’s people. It is then, and not until then, that God’s people will receive the seal of the living God. “Will this seal be put upon the impure in mind, the fornicator, the adulterer, the man who covets his neighbor’s wife? Let your souls answer the question, Does my character correspond to the qualifications essential that I may receive a passport to the mansions Christ has prepared for those who are fitted for them? Holiness must be inwrought in our character.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 446.

Again, this cutting truth comes loud and clear. Ellen White tells us, “Those who receive the seal of the living God must reflect the image of Jesus fully.” Early Writings, 71. I trust this alarming truth is awakening your heart as it has mine; for before the seal is placed upon the living saints, all must appear before the judgment seat of God to receive their award according to their works.

Time of Judgment

When does the final separation of the wheat and the tares begin? “The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 238. We are also told, “The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. . . . In this time the gold [that is, His own] will be separated from the dross [that is, the tares] in the church.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 81.

When God’s people are faced with the papal Sunday test, the Sunday sabbath test, the final separation of the wheat and the tares will take place. Those who pass this test will be sealed with the seal of the living God, and all who fail will receive the mark of the beast. It is by their own choice that their eternal destiny will be decided.

This is why it is said of those who decide to be faithful commandment keepers, “Their names are retained in the Lamb’s book of life, enrolled among the faithful of all ages. They have resisted the wiles of the deceiver; they have not been turned from their loyalty by the dragon’s roar. Now they are eternally secure from the tempter’s devices.” Can you just picture this precious experience, as “holy angels, unseen, were passing to and fro placing upon them the seal of the living God”? Testimonies, vol. 5, 475.


Now, let us inquire as to what the seal of God is and how the saints are blessed by receiving it. After the saints are sealed, their characters will “remain” as sinless as they were at the time of their sealing. Ellen White tells us, “When the decree goes forth [that is, the Sunday law] and the stamp is impressed [that is, the seal] their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity.” Ibid., 216. How amazing that is! God does have a plan.

The seal of God is an indelible mark that the angels can read, but man cannot. “And even after the saints are sealed with the seal of the living God, His elect will have trials individually. Personal afflictions will come; but the furnace is closely watched by an eye that will not suffer the gold to be consumed. The indelible mark of God is upon them. God can plead that His own name is written there. The Lord has shut them in. Their destination is inscribed—‘God, New Jerusalem.’ They are God’s property, His possession.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 446.

You know, when you read and hear things like this, do you not feel like saying, Amen? “The sealing is a pledge from God of perfect security to His chosen ones (Exodus 31:13-17). Sealing indicates you are God’s chosen. He has appropriated you to Himself. As the sealed of God we are Christ’s purchased possession, and no one shall pluck us out of His hands.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, 225. Oh, how marvelous!

It is self-evident that when God’s people are faced with the seal or the mark of the beast that the reception of either the seal of God or the mark of the beast indicates that their names have come up in the investigative judgment, their destiny has been decided. Their individual probations have been closed. Note, also, that they must make the same preparation for the close of their probations as do those who die in the Lord; that is, in regard to sinning and defilement in their lives.

The latter rain does not fall upon them until after they have made this preparation. So, other than the tense end-time persecutions that favor character maturity, in which they live, the last generation of God’s people will have no more advantage before their probation closes than do those who die in the Lord. All mankind must make their preparation under the former rain. That is such an important point that I must repeat it. All mankind must make their preparation under the former rain, and that time is now.

Symbolic or Literal

As we ponder these observations that I have made of the experiences, the achievements, and the blessings of the 144,000, let us answer a question that is so often asked:

Is the term, the 144,000, a symbolic or a literal number? The answer: No one knows. We cannot speculate.

Here is some counsel from the Lord’s messenger on this subject: “Another question upon which we had some conversation was in regard to the elect of God that the Lord would have a certain number, and when that number was made up then probation would cease. These are questions you or I have no right to talk about. The Lord Jesus will receive all who come unto Him. He died for the ungodly and every man who will come, may come.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 315.

“Certain conditions are to be complied with on the part of man, and if he refuses to comply with the conditions, he cannot become the elect of God. If he will comply he is a child of God, and Christ says if he will continue in faithfulness, steadfast and immovable in his obedience, He will not blot out his name out of the book of life but will confess his name before His Father and before His angels. God would have us think and talk and present to others those truths which are plainly revealed, and all have naught to do with these subjects of speculation, for they have no special reference to the salvation of our souls.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 149.

We must ever keep in mind that that which has been revealed is all about which we need to be concerned. “It is not His will that they [His people] should get into controversy over questions which will not help them spiritually, such as, Who is to compose the hundred and forty-four thousand. This those who are the elect of God will in a short time know without question.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 174. That is amazing! And, so, with this, let us rest satisfied.

To be continued . . .

For over 60 years Pastor Lawrence Nelson served as an evangelist and minister for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of that time, he served 13 years as the director of evangelism for youth at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Upon retirement from the General Conference, he continued to pastor, but when, as a result of his stand for truth, he was denied the opportunity to continue his pastorate, he started Keep the Faith Audio Tape Ministry, recording his sermons and making them available to individuals. Before his retirement from this ministry in 2004, over 18,000 audio tapes were being sent around the world each month.

The 144,000, Part III

Who will comprise the great multitude of Revelation 7:9? In endeavoring to answer this question, there is much speculation, and all too often people come up with the same false answer. This does not need to be, for the correct answer to this question is clearly revealed to us, so that there can be no need to doubt. Ellen White applies this verse to that time after the earth has been made new, and the ransomed are seen after they are restored to their original homeland, the earth. Read carefully: “The seer of Patmos, looking down through the ages to the time of this restoration of Israel in the earth made new, testified:

“ ‘I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.’ [Revelation 7:9, 10.]” Prophets and Kings, 720, 721. It is plain to see that the Spirit of Prophecy applies the great multitude of Revelation 7:9 to the redeemed of all ages.

“Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan. . . . Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honor the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the ‘great multitude, which no man could number of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.’ Revelation 7:9.” The Great Controversy, 665.

We are counseled that in this end time, “many will be martyrs for Christ’s sake in standing in defense of the truth.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 397. Note that nearest to the throne will stand those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, and next to them will stand the 144,000 and the martyrs, and beyond these are the great multitude of Revelation 7:9.

“Suffering has been the portion of the people of God from the days of the martyr Abel. . . . None will be there who have not, like Moses, chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God. The prophet John saw the multitude of the redeemed, and inquired who they were. The prompt answer came, ‘These are they who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ [Revelation 7:14.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 78.

Please note that the great multitude, as well as the 144,000, had washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The 144,000 are a numbered group. The large multitude, which no man can number, are the resurrected dead from all the ages, which will include the martyrs.

Loud Cry

We now return to the theme of the sealed saints, the 144,000. Ellen White tells us: “The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. . . . Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.” The Great Controversy, 612.

“Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. . . . By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. . . .

“Thus light will be brought before thousands who otherwise would know nothing of these truths.” Ibid., 606, 607.

“The Spirit is poured out upon all who will yield to its promptings. . . . Multitudes will receive the faith and join the armies of the Lord.” Evangelism, 700. Oh, what a day that will be!

But what about these new converts? Will they have time to perfect the character developments necessary to meet Jesus and live? The Spirit of Prophecy answers this question. “But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months.” Early Writings, 67. Remember the divine counsel: “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26. Under the persecutions and tribulations of the last days, the eleventh-hour converts will accomplish in their character building in a few months that which it has taken us years to develop. Surely some of these converts will be numbered among the 144,000 and live to see Jesus come in the clouds of heaven.

What is this message the saints will give to the world during the loud cry? It will be a message that will so startle the inhabitants that they will listen. God’s servants will present the Three Angels’ Messages, as recorded in Revelation 14, which Inspiration calls, “The most fearful threatenings ever addressed to mortals.” The Great Controversy, 449.

This will be done, however, in the light of the saving righteousness and love of Christ. “The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God which closes the work of the third angel.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 19.

“As the third angel’s message swells into a loud cry, great power and glory will attend its proclamation. The faces of God’s people will shine with the light of heaven.” Ibid., vol. 7, 17. “Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13.” Maranatha, 20. Thus, the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.

Christ Our Righteousness

The 144,000 living saints are described as “first fruits” of the redeemed. The Scripture says, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Revelation 19:8.

However, the saints will ever be aware that they have no intrinsic righteousness of their own, that their own righteousness is as filthy rags. They know the King of kings furnished the beautiful wedding garments they are wearing. They will declare of themselves, “I have no righteousness of my own, but Christ is my righteousness.” Review and Herald, August 5, 1890.

“One interest will prevail, one subject will swallow up every other,—Christ our righteousness.” Review and Herald, December 23, 1890. “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth [shall be] excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, [that he that is] left in Zion, and [he that] remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, [even] every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 4:2, 3.

A Perfect Picture

After the last saint is sealed, but not until then, probation will close for the inhabitants of the wicked world. The seven last plagues will fall, after which Jesus will come. Then the great multitude is resurrected. Can you imagine the excitement? For when Jesus comes, the 144,000 will watch the graves of the righteous open, and they will recognize loved ones who are resurrected.

A word picture of this event is given to us by Ellen White: “Then Jesus’ silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazes on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raising His eyes and hands to heaven, and cries, ‘Awake! Awake! Awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise.’ Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened and the dead came up clothed in immortality. The 144,000 shouted ‘Alleluia!’ as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we are changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.” Early Writings, 16.

Then it is that the 144,000 and the great multitude of the resurrected dead ascend to heaven together. “As Enoch was translated to heaven before the destruction of the world by water, so the living righteous will be translated from the earth before its destruction by fire. Says the apostle: ‘We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.’ ‘The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.’ 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. 1 Thessalonians 4:16−18.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 89. Finally all will be over, and the saints can enjoy and explore their new world.

This brings us to a most beautiful setting, as described by Ellen White in her visit to the New Earth in vision, where she saw the 144,000 and the martyrs for their faith. “Mount Zion was just before us, and on the mount was a glorious temple, and about it were seven other mountains, on which grew roses and lilies. And I saw the little ones climb, or, if they chose, use their little wings and fly, to the top of the mountains and pluck the never-fading flowers. There were all kinds of trees around the temple to beautify the place: the box, the pine, the fir, the oil, the myrtle, the pomegranate, and the fig tree bowed down with the weight of its timely figs—these made the place all over glorious. And as we were about to enter the holy temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, ‘Only the 144,000 enter this place.’ And we shouted, ‘Alleluia.’

“This temple was supported by seven pillars, all of transparent gold, set with pearls most glorious. The wonderful things I saw there I cannot describe. Oh, that I could talk in the language of Canaan, then could I tell a little of the glory of the better world. I saw there tables of stone in which the names of the 144,000 were engraved in letters of gold. After we beheld the glory of the temple, we went out, and Jesus left us and went to the city. Soon we heard His lovely voice saying, ‘Come, My people, you have come out of great tribulation, and have done My will; suffered for Me; come in to the supper, for I will gird Myself, and serve you.’ We shouted, ‘Alleluia! glory!’ and entered the city.” Early Writings, 19.

From this, we learn that the 144,000 are to receive special honor throughout eternity. They are to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. What honor could be greater? She continues, “As we were traveling along we met a company who also were gazing at the glories of the place. I noticed red as a border on their garments. Their crowns were brilliant. Their robes were pure white. As we greeted them I asked Jesus who they were. He said they were martyrs that had been slain for Him. With them was also an innumerable company of little ones. They also had a hem of red on their garments.” Ibid., 18. We learn from this that the martyrs will also receive special honor throughout eternity.

God Vindicated

God’s character and government will finally be vindicated. “Satan has declared to his synagogue that man cannot keep the commandments of God. One soul saved would prove that statement false.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 94.

Although we will be perfectly satisfied, everyone with his position and sanction in heaven, still Ellen White admonishes, “Strive to be among the 144,000.” And how do we strive? Of first importance, we must strive to put an end to sin in our lives; to cleanse our souls of every defilement so that we can be prepared to receive the latter rain and the seal of the living God.

Ellen White sums it all up in these words,

“Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.

For over 60 years Pastor Lawrence Nelson served as an evangelist and minister for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of that time, he served 13 years as the director of evangelism for youth at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Upon retirement from the General Conference, he continued to pastor, but when, as a result of his stand for truth, he was denied the opportunity to continue his pastorate, he started Keep the Faith Audio Tape Ministry, recording his sermons and making them available to individuals. Before his retirement from this ministry in 2004, over 18,000 audio tapes were being sent around the world each month.

Bible Study Guides – The People, Part 11

December 25, 2005 – December 31, 2005

Key Text

“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7. “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thessalonans 5:4.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 212–216.

1 What are the true people of God referred to in comparison to the population of the world? Revelation 12:17. Compare Acts 1:12–15.

note: “In comparison with the millions of the world, God’s people will be, as they have ever been, a little flock; but if they stand for the truth as revealed in His word, God will be their refuge. They stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. God is always a majority. When the sound of the last trump shall penetrate the prison house of the dead, and the righteous shall come forth with triumph, exclaiming, ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55)—standing then with God, with Christ, with the angels, and with the loyal and true of all ages, the children of God will be far in the majority.” The Acts of the Apostles, 590.

2 Why will only a small proportion of the people who profess to be depositaries of God’s law ultimately be saved? Zephaniah 3:7, 13. Compare Isaiah 10:20–22.

note: “In Jeremiah’s time, the Jews believed that the strict observance of the divinely appointed services of the temple would preserve them from the just punishment of their evil course.

“The same danger exists today among the people who profess to be the depositaries of God’s law. They are too apt to flatter themselves that the regard in which they hold the commandments will preserve them from the power of divine justice. They refuse to be reproved for evil, and charge God’s servants with being too zealous in putting sin out of the camp. A sin-hating God calls upon those who profess to keep His law to depart from all iniquity. Neglect to repent and obey His word will bring as serious consequences upon God’s people today as did the same sin upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which He will no longer delay His judgments.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 166, 167.

3 What experience do the true people of God pass through that prepares them to stand on the sea of glass before the great white throne? Malachi 3:2–4; Revelation 3:8–11.

note: “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.” The Great Controversy, 425.

4 How does Zechariah represent the condition of God’s people at this time, and how does the Lord intervene to help them? Zechariah 3:1–3.

note: “As the people of God afflict their souls before Him, pleading for purity of heart, the command is given, ‘Take away the filthy garments’ from them, and the encouraging words are spoken, ‘Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.’ [Zechariah 3:4.] The spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness is placed upon the tried, tempted, yet faithful children of God. The despised remnant are clothed in glorious apparel, nevermore to be defiled by the corruptions of the world. . . . And the remnant are not only pardoned and accepted, but honored. ‘A fair miter’ [verse 5] is set upon their heads. They are to be as kings and priests unto God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 475.

5 In the vision, what is Satan doing? Zechariah 3:1.

note: “Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 380.

6 On what condition are the people of God permitted to keep the robe of Christ’s righteousness? Zechariah 3:7.

note: “The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 266.

“I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.

“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God.” Early Writings, 71.

“While Satan was urging his accusations and seeking to destroy this company, holy angels, unseen, were passing to and fro, placing upon them the seal of the living God. These are they that stand upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having the Father’s name written in their foreheads. They sing the new song before the throne, that song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. ‘These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.’ [Revelation 14:4.]” Lift Him Up, 377.

7 How are the 144,000 described in relationship to all of those who are redeemed? Revelation 14:4.

note: “ ‘These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ Revelation 14:4. The vision of the prophet pictures them as standing on Mount Zion, girt for holy service, clothed in white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints. But all who follow the Lamb in heaven must first have followed Him on earth, not fretfully or capriciously, but in trustful, loving, willing obedience, as the flock follows the shepherd.” The Acts of the Apostles, 591.

8 How many who had gotten the victory over sin did John see in vision standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb? Revelation 7:9, 10.

note: “Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the ‘great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.’ Revelation 7:9. Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs.” The Great Controversy, 665.

9 What one requirement did all of the redeemed fulfill? Revelation 7:14.

note: “In the parable of Matthew 22 the same figure of the marriage is introduced, and the investigative judgment is clearly represented as taking place before the marriage. Previous to the wedding the king comes in to see the guests, to see if all are attired in the wedding garment, the spotless robe of character washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Matthew 22:11; Revelation 7:14. He who is found wanting is cast out, but all who upon examination are seen to have the wedding garment on are accepted of God and accounted worthy of a share in His kingdom and a seat upon His throne. This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing of work in the sanctuary above.” The Great Controversy, 428.

10 Identify the similarities between Revelation 7:15–17 and 22:1–5. See if you can find seven similarities.

note: “In the City of God ‘there shall be no night.’ None will need or desire repose. There will be no weariness in doing the will of God and offering praise to His name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close. ‘And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light.’ Revelation 22:5. The light of the sun will be superseded by a radiance which is not painfully dazzling, yet which immeasurably surpasses the brightness of our noontide. The glory of God and the Lamb floods the Holy City with unfading light. The redeemed walk in the sunless glory of perpetual day.” The Great Controversy, 676.

Bible Study Guides – The Saints Taken to Heaven

September 4, 2005 – September 10, 2005

Memory Verse

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9.

Suggested Reading: Revelation 22:1–8; The Great Controversy, 645–652, 657; Early Writings, 287–289.


In the previous lesson, we learned that when Jesus comes the second time, He comes as “King of kings and Lord of lords” to fight the coalition of Revelation 16:13, 14 in what is called the Battle of Armageddon. During the battle, Christ frees the subjects of His kingdom from the captivity of Satan. We were told about the resurrection of the sleeping saints and how they, with the living saints, receive immortality and are caught up together to meet their Lord in the air.

In this lesson, we will learn about their journey to the Holy City and their reception into the kingdom of glory.

1 Describe the gathering of the saints in preparation for the trip to heaven. See Isaiah 26:19; 1 Corinthians 15:51–55.

note: “The living righteous are changed ‘in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.’ At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels ‘gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.’ Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers’ arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.” The Great Controversy, 645.

2 Describe the winged chariot as it moves upward with the saints toward the New Jerusalem. Compare Ezekiel 1:22–28.

note: “On each side of the cloudy chariot are wings, and beneath it are living wheels; and as the chariot rolls upward, the wheels cry, ‘Holy,’ and the wings, as they move, cry, ‘Holy,’ and the retinue of angels cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.’ And the redeemed shout, ‘Alleluia!’ as the chariot moves onward toward the New Jerusalem.” The Great Controversy, 645.

3 When Jesus comes, is His reward with Him? Revelation 22:12.

note: “Before entering the City of God, the Saviour bestows upon His followers the emblems of victory and invests them with the insignia of their royal state. The glittering ranks are drawn up in the form of a hollow square about their King, whose form rises in majesty high above saint and angel, whose countenance beams upon them full of benignant love.” The Great Controversy, 645, 646.

4 What three emblems (items) of victory are presented to the saints during this ceremony? Revelation 2:10; 7:9; 15:2.

note: “Throughout the unnumbered host of the redeemed every glance is fixed upon Him, every eye beholds His glory whose ‘visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’ Upon the heads of the overcomers, Jesus with His own right hand places the crown of glory. For each there is a crown, bearing his own ‘new name’ (Revelation 2:17), and the inscription, ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ In every hand are placed the victor’s palm and the shining harp. Then, as the commanding angels strike the note, every hand sweeps the harp strings with skillful touch, awaking sweet music in rich, melodious strains. Rapture unutterable thrills every heart, and each voice is raised in grateful praise: ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.’ Revelation 1:5, 6.” The Great Controversy, 646.

5 When Jesus opens the gates of the Holy City for the saints to enter in, what is the scene they behold? Revelation 22:1–5; Genesis 2:8–15.

note: “Before the ransomed throng is the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency.” The Great Controversy, 646.

6 Will God’s people (His church) be victorious commandment-keepers? Revelation 22:14; 15:2; 14:12; 1 Corinthians 15:56, 57; 1 John 5:4.

note: “The church militant is not in this world the church triumphant. From generation to generation, the enemy has been marshaling his forces against God. . . . But God’s children will not be frightened from their purpose by the proud, presumptuous opposition of evildoers. By faith they see a crown of life awaiting those who are victorious, and they press forward toward the mark for the prize of their high calling in Christ Jesus.” Review and Herald, July 26, 1898.

“The Church militant is not the Church triumphant. Unless the people of God wage a valiant warfare against every species of sin, they will never pass through the portals of the holy city. And we shall have no second trial. Now is the accepted time, the time in which we are to obtain the education that will enable us to live in the heavenly courts. The whole heavenly universe is watching with the deepest interest to see who in this primary school is practicing the lessons of Christ.” Ibid., December 31, 1901.

“The injunction to each one of us is, ‘Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.’ The ardent desire of the apostles was to know God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. Jesus lives; he is before the Father in the heavenly courts, making intercession for those who are still upon the earth in the turmoil and strife of life; for the church militant is not yet the church triumphant.” Signs of the Times, July 24, 1893.

“Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying: ‘Your conflict is ended.’ ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ [Matthew 25:34.]” The Great Controversy, 646.

7 Who does Jesus present to the Father after they enter the Holy City? John 17:9, 12, 24; Isaiah 8:18; Jude 24.

note: “Now is fulfilled the Saviour’s prayer for His disciples: ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’ ‘Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy’ (Jude 24), Christ presents to the Father the purchase of His blood, declaring: ‘Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me.’ ‘Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept.’ Oh, the wonders of redeeming love! the rapture of that hour when the infinite Father, looking upon the ransomed, shall behold His image, sin’s discord banished, its blight removed, and the human once more in harmony with the divine!” The Great Controversy, 646.

8 When Jesus and the redeemed gather around the great white throne, what is the cause of the unspeakable joy they experience? Matthew 18:12–14; Luke 15:4–7.

note: “With unutterable love, Jesus welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord. The Saviour’s joy is in seeing, in the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation. And the redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed, those who have been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving sacrifice. As they gather about the great white throne, gladness unspeakable will fill their hearts, when they behold those whom they have won for Christ, and see that one has gained others, and these still others, all brought into the haven of rest, there to lay their crowns at Jesus’ feet and praise Him through the endless cycles of eternity.” The Great Controversy, 647.

9 What group receives special recognition at this time? Revelation 15:2, 3; 14:1–5.

note: “Upon the crystal sea before the throne, that sea of glass as it were mingled with fire,—so resplendent is it with the glory of God,—are gathered the company that have ‘gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.’ With the Lamb upon Mount Zion, ‘having the harps of God,’ they stand, the hundred and forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men; and there is heard, as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of a great thunder, ‘the voice of harpers harping with their harps.’ And they sing ‘a new song’ before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb—a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience—an experience such as no other company have ever had. ‘These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.’ These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are counted as ‘the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ Revelation 15:2, 3; 14:1–5. ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation;’ they have passed through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured the anguish of the time of Jacob’s trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through the final outpouring of God’s judgments. But they have been delivered, for they have ‘washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ ” The Great Controversy, 648, 649.

10 What will be the song of the redeemed? Revelation 5:9, 12.

note: “The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they will behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore—humbled Himself to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His Father’s face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on Calvary’s cross. That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and adoration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end, they break forth in rapturous song: ‘Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood!’ ” The Great Controversy, 651, 652.

11 Whom do we address when we pray? Matthew 6:9.

note: “The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. In the light that streams from Calvary the attributes of God which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. Mercy, tenderness, and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. While we behold the majesty of His throne, high and lifted up, we see His character in its gracious manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title, ‘Our Father.’ ” The Great Controversy, 652.