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The Wedding-/-Judgment


Twin messages

 

Both the prophecy of

Daniel 8:14:-

Unto two thousand and three hundred days;
then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,

 

and one we shall see in The Revelation:-

Revelation 14:7

Fear God, and give glory to Him;
for the hour of His judgment is come,"

point to Christ's ministration in the most holy place, to the judgment of investigation [one of three separate and distinct judgment times in the Bible], and not to the coming of Christ for the redemption of His people and the destruction of the wicked.

In 1844 the mistake had not been in the reckoning of the prophetic periods, but in the event to take place at the end of the 2300 days. Through this error the believers had suffered disappointment, yet all that was foretold by the prophecy, and all that they had any Scripture warrant to expect, had been accomplished. At the very time when they were lamenting the failure of their hopes, the event had taken place which was foretold by the message, and which must be fulfilled before the Lord could appear to give reward to His servants.

Christ had come, not to the earth, as they expected, but, as foreshadowed in the type, to the most holy place of the temple of God in heaven. He is represented by the prophet Daniel as coming at this time to the ancient/ of Days as we have read:-

Daniel 7:13

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came [not to the earth, but] to the ancient/ of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.

This coming is foretold also by the prophet Malachi as one of the last messages of the Old Testament:-

Malachi 3:1

The Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.

The coming of the Lord to His temple was sudden, unexpected, to His people for they were not looking to Him there. They expected Him to come to earth:-

2 Thessalonians 1:8

... in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.

But the people were not yet ready to meet their Lord. There was still a work of preparation to be accomplished for them, and they would have to learn what those words really meant. Light was to be given, directing their minds to the temple of God in heaven; and as they should by faith follow their High Priest in His ministration there, new duties would be revealed. Another message of warning and instruction was to be given to, and by, the church.

A special cleansing

The last Old Testament prophet went on to say:-

Malachi 3:2-3

But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.

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 before that time.

Ephesians 5:25-27

... Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water [and] by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort of co-operation they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.

When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing as He says:-

Malachi 3:4

Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant to the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a "glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing."

Then she will look "forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible [or awesome] as an army with banners." Song of Solomon 6:10.

The second advent

Besides the coming of the Lord to His temple, Malachi also foretells His second advent, His coming for the execution of the judgment, in these words:-

Malachi 3:5

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, says the Lord of hosts.

Jude refers to the same scene when he says:-

Jude 14-15

Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds.

 

This coming,

and the coming of the Lord to His temple,
are two distinct and separate events.

 

The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14;

the coming of the Son of man to the ancient/ of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13;

and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi,

are descriptions of the same event;

and this is also represented by the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage, described by Christ in the parable of the ten virgins, of Matthew 25.

 

The midnight cry

This parable of the ten bridesmaids has been, and will be, fulfilled to the very letter, for it has a special application to this time. It has been fulfilled in the past and will continue to be present truth till the close of time when it reaches its final meaning.

In the parable, the ten virgins had lamps, but only five of them had the saving oil with which to keep their lamps burning. This represents the condition of the church just before the second advent. The wise and the foolish have their Bibles, and are provided with all the means of grace; but many do not appreciate the fact that they must have the heavenly anointing. They do not heed the invitation,

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to Me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

In the summer and autumn of 1844 the proclamation, "Behold, the Bridegroom comes," was given. The two classes represented by the wise and foolish virgins were then developed - one class who looked with joy to the Lord's appearing, and who had been diligently preparing to meet Him; another class that, influenced by fear and acting from impulse, had been satisfied with a theory of the truth, but were destitute of the grace of God. In the parable, when the bridegroom came, "they that were ready went in with him to the marriage."

The coming of the bridegroom, here brought to view, takes place BEFORE the marriage, for the marriage represents the reception by Christ of His kingdom.

The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is the capital and representative of the kingdom, is called "the bride, the Lamb's wife." Said the angel to John: "Come hither, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." Then, "He carried me away in the spirit," says the prophet, "and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." Revelation 21:9, 10.

Clearly, then, the bride represents the Holy City, and the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom are a symbol of the church.

In the Revelation the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. Revelation 19:9. If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride at the same time.

Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, came to the ancient/ of Days in heaven to receive "dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." There He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2.

Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to "sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob," at His table in His kingdom to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb. Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30.

By faith

The proclamation, "Behold, the Bridegroom comes," in the summer (July) of 1844, led thousands to expect the immediate advent of the Lord. However, at the appointed time the Bridegroom came, not to the earth, as the people expected, but to the ancient/ of Days in heaven, to the marriage, the reception of His kingdom. Then the parable reads:-

"They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut." Verse 10.

They were not to be present in person at the marriage; for it takes place in heaven, while they are upon the earth, for it is also written that the followers of Christ are to "wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding." Luke 12:36. But they are to understand His work, and to follow Him by faith as He goes in before God (as did the Old Testament people in the work of their high priest). It is in this sense that they are said to go in to the marriage.

In the parable it was those that had oil in their vessels with their lamps that went in to the marriage. Those who, with a knowledge of the truth from the Scriptures, had also the Spirit and grace of God, and who, in the night of their bitter trial, had patiently waited in 1844, searching the Bible for clearer light - these saw the truth concerning the sanctuary in heaven and the Saviour's change in ministration, and by faith they followed Him in His work in the sanctuary above. And all who through the testimony of the Scriptures accept the same truths, following Christ by faith as He enters in before God to perform the last work of mediation, and at its close to receive His kingdom - all these are represented as going in to the marriage.

The investigative judment

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.

Job 29:14

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

Isaiah 61:10

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

See also Zechariah chapter three.

 

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, referred to in Daniel as, "the cleansing of the sanctuary".

When the work of investigation shall be ended, when the cases of those who in all ages have professed to be followers of Christ have been examined and decided, then, and not till then, probation for the world will close, and the door of mercy will be shut. Thus in the one short sentence, "They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut," we are carried down through the Saviour's final ministration, to the time when the great work for man's salvation shall be completed.

The sanctuary picture

In the service of the earthly sanctuary, which, as we have seen, is a figure of the service in the heavenly, when the high priest on the Day of Atonement entered the most holy place, the ministration in the first apartment ceased. God commanded: "There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goes in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he comes out." Leviticus 16:17.

So when Christ entered the holy of holies in heaven to perform the closing work of the atonement, He ceased His ministration of forgiveness and daily cleansing in the first apartment. But when the ministration in the first heavenly apartment ended, the ministration in the second apartment began and this still includes forgiveness. When in the typical service the high priest left the holy or first apartment on the Day of Atonement, he went in before God to present the blood of the sin offering in behalf of all Israel who truly repented of their sins. So Christ had only completed one part of His work as our intercessor, to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners.

This subject was not understood by the advent Christians in 1844. After the passing of the time when the Saviour was expected, they still believed His coming to be near therefore they held that they had reached an important crisis and that the work of Christ as man's intercessor before God had ceased.

It appeared to them to be taught in the Bible that man's probation would close a short time before the actual coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven. This seemed evident from those Scriptures which point to a time when men will seek, knock, and cry at the door of mercy, and it will not be opened. And it was a question with them whether the date to which they had looked for the coming of Christ might not rather mark the beginning of this period which was immediately to precede His coming.

Having given the warning of the judgment near, they felt that their work for the world was done, and they lost their burden of soul for the salvation of sinners, while the bold and blasphemous scoffing of the ungodly seemed to them another evidence that the Spirit of God had been withdrawn from the rejecters of His mercy. All this confirmed them in the belief that probation had ended, or, as they then expressed it, "the door of mercy was shut."

But clearer light came with the investigation of the sanctuary question. They now saw that they were correct in believing that the end of the 2300 days in 1844 marked an important crisis. But while it was true that that door of hope and mercy by which men had for eighteen hundred years found access to God, was closed, another door was opened, and forgiveness of sins was offered to men through the intercession of Christ in the most holy. One part of His ministration had closed, only to give place to another. There was still an "open door" to the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ was ministering in the sinner's behalf.

Now was seen the application of those words of Christ in the Revelation, addressed to the church at this very time:-

Revelation 3:7-8

These things says He that is holy, He that is true, He that has the key of David, He that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it.

 

The "shut door" in 34AD

It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement who receive the benefits of His mediation in their behalf, while those who reject the light which brings to view this work of ministration are not benefited thereby. The Jews who rejected the light given at Christ's first advent, and refused to believe on Him as the Saviour of the world, could not receive pardon through Him any longer. When Jesus at His ascension entered by His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary to shed upon His disciples the blessings of His mediation, the unbelieving Jews were left in total darkness to continue their useless sacrifices and offerings.

The ministration of types and shadows had ceased. Colossians 2:14. That "door" by which men had formerly found access to God was no longer open. The Jews refused to seek Him in the only way whereby He could then be found, through the ministration in the sanctuary in heaven. Therefore they found no communion with God. To them the door was shut. They had no knowledge of Christ as the true sacrifice and the only mediator before God; hence they could not receive the benefits of His mediation.

The condition of the unbelieving Jews illustrates the condition of the careless and unbelieving among professed Christians today, who are willingly ignorant of the work of our merciful High Priest. In the typical service, when the high priest entered the most holy place, all Israel were required to gather about the sanctuary and in the most solemn manner humble their souls before God, that they might receive the pardon of their sins and not be cut off from the congregation. How much more essential in this antitypical Day of Atonement that we understand the work of our High Priest and know what duties are required of us.

Men cannot with impunity reject the warning which God in mercy sends them. A message was sent from heaven to the world in Noah's day, and their salvation depended upon the manner in which they treated that message. Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was forced to withdraw from the sinful race, and they perished in the waters of the Flood.

In the time of Abraham, mercy ceased to plead with the guilty inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot with his wife and two daughters were consumed by the fire which fell down from heaven.

So in the days of Christ. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation: "Your house is left to you desolate." Matthew 23:38.

Looking down to the last days, the same Infinite Power declares, concerning those who "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved":-

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

As they reject the teachings of His word, God has to withdraw His Spirit little by little and leave them to the deceptions which they love.

But Christ still intercedes in man's behalf today, and light will be given to those who seek it. Though this was not at first understood by the adventist followers, it was afterward made plain as the Scriptures which define their true position began to open before them.

 

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