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HAS THE JUDGMENT FOR THE LIVING COMMENCED?
"We are in the great day of atonement, and the sacred work of Christ for the people of God that is going on at the present time in the heavenly sanctuary should be our constant study." Testimonies, Vol. 5. p. 520.
"The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, ...." Great Controversy p . 488.
HAS THE JUDGMENT FOR THE LIVING COMMENCED?
"INCREASED LIGHT TO SHINE. A spirit of Pharisaism has been coming in upon the people who claim to believe the truth for these last days. They are self-satisfied. They have said, "We have the truth. There is no more light for the people of God.' But we are not safe when we take a position that we will not accept anything else than that upon which we have settled as truth. We should take the Bible, and investigate it closely for ourselves. We should dig in the mine of God's word for truth. 'Light is sown for the righteous, , and gladness for the upright in heart.' Some have asked me if I thought there was any more light for the people of God. Our minds have become so narrow that we do not seem to understand that the Lord has a mighty work to do for us. Increasing light is to shine upon us; for 'the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.'
" . . . Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God. "Counsels to Writers and Editors pp. 34,35.
"INVESTIGATION OF DOCTRINE.---There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrines will lose anything by close investigation." Counsels to writers and Editors p.35.
"The Lord sends light to us to prove what manner of spirit we are of. We are not to deceive ourselves. " Gospel Workers p. 302.
WHO IS THE SEVENTH OR LAST CHURCH OF REVELATION 1:11?
Rev. 1:11.--- "Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea."Rev.1:11.
"The message to the church of the Laodiceans is a startling denunciation, and is applicable to the people of God at the present time." Testimonies, Vol. 3 p. 252.
"The message to the Laodiceans is applicable to SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST who have great light and have not walked in the light." 2 Selected Messages p. 66.
WHAT DOES THE WORD, "LAODICEA" MEAN?
Laodicea may be infallibly recognized amidst the many "isms" of Christendom by the work she is doing--declaring the judgment. Indeed, this mark of identification is pointed out by the very name Laodicea, compounded of the two Greek words lao and dekei, the one meaning "people," also "speak," the other meaning "judgment," the two in one meaning the people declaring judgment. The church therefore, which declares, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come" (Rev. 14:7), is evidently the one called Laodicea. And it is almost as well known outside Seventh-day Adventist circles as within, that the Seventh-day Adventist church is endeavoring to carry the judgment message of Revelation 14:7, and is therefore unchallenged in her claim to the title, Laodicea.
WHAT HAS BEEN OUR MESSAGE SINCE 1844?
"And he said unto me, unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Dan. 8:14.
"The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. . . Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened,. . .
"The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross." Great Controversy pp. 488,489.
"For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record. As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ's work for the redemption of men is completed there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn work--to cleanse the sanctuary." Great Controversy p. 421.
Dan. 7:9,10---"I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened."
From the foregoing statements we may conclude that our message as a denomination since 1844 has been that of the anti-typical day of atonement which has been taking place in the Most Holy apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary. As we continue our study of this most vital subject we will find that this phase of the judgment is in two sections, first for the dead, then for the living.
JUDGMENT IS IN TWO PHASES:
"The work of judgment which began in 1844 must continue until the cases of all are decided, both of the living and the dead; hence it will extend to the close of human probation." Great Controversy p. 436.
"The bottles of God's wrath cannot be poured out to destroy the wicked and their works until all the people of God have been judged, and the cases of the living as well as the dead are decided." Testimonies to Ministers p. 446.
"The cases of the righteous dead have been passing in review before God. When that work shall be completed, judgment is to be pronounced upon the living." 1 Selected Messages p.125.
Here we see that the judgment for the dead is completed before the judgment for the living begins. Thus it is crystal clear that the judgment, the antitypical day of atonement, comes in two sections, first the judgment for the dead, and
then the judgment for the living. The judgment for the living as well as the judgment for the dead must be a work of separating the gold (wheat) from the dross (tares). The question uppermost in our minds is, will we know when the judgment for the living begins?
WHO ARE THE FIRST ONES JUDGED FOR THE LIVING?
"So in the day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God." Great Controversy p. 480.
"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 will close, and the door of mercy will be shut." Great Controversy p. 428.
1 Peter 4:17---"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
"He who presides over His church and the destinies of nations is carrying forward the last work to be accomplished for this world. To His angels He gives the commission to execute His judgments. Let the ministers awake, let them take in the situation. The work of judgment begins at the sanctuary. "And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar." Read Ezekiel 9:2-7. Testimonies to Ministers p. 430.
"Men and women are in the last hours of probation, and yet are careless and stupid, and ministers have no power to arouse them; they are asleep themselves. Sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people!" Testimonies, Vol. 2 p. 337.
"Angels keep a faithful record of every man's work, and as judgment passes upon the house of God, the sentence of each is recorded by his name, and the angel is commissioned to spare not the unfaithful servants, but to cut them down at the time of slaughter. And that which was committed to their trust is taken from them." Testimonies, Vol. 1 p. 198.
"Many, I saw, were flattering themselves that they were good Christians, who have not a single ray of light from Jesus. They know not what it is to be renewed by the grace of God. They have no living experience for themselves in the things of God. And I saw that the Lord was whetting His sword in heaven to cut them down. Oh, that every lukewarm professor could realize the clean work that God is about to make among His professed people! Dear friends, do not deceive yourselves concerning your condition. You cannot deceive God. Says the True Witness: 'I know thy works.'" Testimonies, Vol.1 p. 190.
"This sealing of the servants of God is the same that was shown to Ezekiel in vision. John also had been a witness of this most startling revelation." Testimonies to Ministers p. 445.
Here we see that the sealing of the 144,000 of Rev. 7:1-8, and the marking of those who sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof as recorded in Ezekiel 9:1-11 are one and the same The marking and the sealing are the same event. Rev.7, tells us how many get the seal (144,000), and Ezekiel tells us what they have to do (sigh and cry) in order to obtain it.
Rev. 7:2-4.---"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."
"What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption (Letter 126, 1898).
"The angel with the writer's ink horn is to place a mark upon the foreheads of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel follows this angel (Letter 12, 1886)." 4 Bible Commentary 1161 E.G. White.
These statements concerning the judgment cannot refer to the judgment of the dead as it is only a separating of the names in the books of heaven, not a physical separating of human beings while they are alive here upon the earth.
"The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares. Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous." Testimonies to Ministers p. 234.
These statements must refer to the judgment for the living, in the time of the final harvest, when there is a literal separation.
"The time of the harvest will fully determine the character of the two classes specified under the figure of the tares and the wheat. The work of separation is given to the angels of God, and not committed into the hands of any man." Testimonies to Ministers p. 47.
"I then saw the third angel. Said my accompanying angel, "Fearful is his work. Awful is his mission. He is the angel that is to select the wheat from the tares, and seal, or bind, the wheat for the heavenly garner. These things should engross the whole mind, the whole attention." Early Writings p. 118.
According to Rev.7:2-4, the sealing of the 144,000 must take place before the releasing of the four winds ( the mark of the beast ). The Spirit of Prophecy confirms this as it says:
"The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast. We came near having this realized in California a short time since; but this was only the threatening of the blowing of the four winds. As yet they are held by the four angels. We are not just ready. There is a work yet to be done, and then the angels will be bidden to let go, that the four winds may blow upon the earth. That will be a decisive time for God's children, a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 152.
"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. We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ." 2 Selected Messages p.380.
The 144,000 have no guile in their mouths. See Rev.14:5.
"Our own course of action will determine whether we shall receive the seal of the living God or be cut down by the destroying weapons." Testimonies, Vol, 5. p. 212.
"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 will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ's righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 81.
"God's ministers are symbolized by the seven stars,..."Gospel Workers p.13.
"At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world. . . . These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.
"In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. . . .They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.
"The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: "Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.'
"Here we see that the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus "Peace and safety" is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together." Testimonies, Vol. 5 pp. 209-211.
We know this could not apply to Babylon at the close of probation as God's wrath upon Babylon is typified by seven (7) angels with seven (7) vials, not five (5) angels with slaughter weapons. The seven (7) last plagues fall upon Babylon, Jerusalem.
"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. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet's illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side. "And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
"Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of God's sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons. Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done" in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel." Testimonies, Vol. 3 pp. 266, 267.
"As we near the judgment, all will manifest their true character, and it will be made plain to what company they belong. The sieve is moving. Let us not say: Stay Thy hand, O God. The church must be purged, and it will be. God reigns; let the people praise Him. I have not the most distant thought of sinking down. I mean to be right and do right. The judgment is to set, the books are to be opened, and we are to be judged according to our deeds." Testimonies, Vol.1 p. 100.
"The desolation of Jerusalem stands as a solemn warning before the eyes of modern Israel, that the corrections given through His chosen instruments cannot be disregarded with impunity." Testimonies, Vol. 4 p. 167.
"But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor." Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 80.
"The great issue so near at hand will weed out those whom God has not appointed and He will have a PURE, TRUE, SANCTIFIED MINISTRY PREPARED FOR THE LATTER RAIN." Letter 55, 1886.
"When purification shall take place in our ranks, we shall no longer rest at ease, boasting of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing." Testimonies, Vol 8 p. 250.
"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." Great Controversy p. 425.
"The purging and cleansing will surely pass through every church in our land that has had great opportunities and privileges, and has passed them by unheeded." Testimonies to Ministers p. 414.
Isa. 4:3,4--"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: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning."
Many places in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy the truth is clearly borne out that God's church is going to be cleansed or purged, which is to commence the judgment for the living. After the church is cleansed, then she can go forth in the Loud Cry with great power, like the apostles, conquering and to conquer.
"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 p. 214.
"God's displeasure is upon His people, and He will not manifest His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are fostered by those in responsible positions." Testimonies, Vol. 3 p. 270.
"There is chaff among us, and this is why we are so weak." Testimonies, Vol. 1 p. 288.
"If the presence of one Achan was sufficient to weaken the whole camp of Israel, can we be surprised at the little success which attends our efforts when every church and almost every family has its Achan?" Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 157.
"I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God's chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us." Early Writings p.33.
"'The commencement of that time of trouble," here mentioned does not refer to the time when the plagues shall begin to be poured out, but to a short period just before they are poured out, while Christ is in the sanctuary. At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel. At that time the "latter rain," or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel,. . ."Early Writings pp. 85,86.
"...only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it (the third angel's message) when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry." Review & Herald, Nov. 19, 1908.
"Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation." Testimonies, Vol.1 pp.187,188.
"The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close." Great Controversy p.611.
"The time of God's destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time. Review & Herald, July 5, 1906" 7 Bible Commentary 979, E.G. White.
Here we see that the door of probation is closed for one class of people while it is still open for those who have never heard the truth before. Since judgment begins at the house of God, (1 Peter 4:17) it must be that probation closes for God's church before it does for the world (see: 1 Selected Messages p. 63). Thus we see, that the judgment for the dead must be completed (1 Selected Messages p. 125) before the judgment for the living begins. Both sections of the judgment are to be completed before probation closes for the world (see: Great Controversy p. 436). The Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible has made it very plain that the judgment for the living has Not yet commenced, and will not until the 144,000 are sealed. The judgment for the living begins with the purification (separation of the wheat and the tares) of God's remnant church, which will enable her to finish her God appointed work in the world to bring in the last great harvest (Christ's Object Lessons p. 69).
"Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. "Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer." Prophets and Kings p. 725.
"God does not send judgments upon His people without first warning them to repent. He uses every means to bring them back to obedience and does not visit their iniquity with judgments until He has given them ample opportunity to repent." Testimonies, Vol. 4 p, 179
"The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted, and those who were once converted, but have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?" Testimonies, Vol. 6 p. 371.
"Now we can clearly see why there must be a SIFTING OF GOD'S PEOPLE BEFORE THE LOUD CRY CAN BE GIVEN. The cause of weakness must first be removed before valiant service can be expected in the field. A GIDEON'S BAND IS MIGHTIER THAN THE HOST OF MIDIAN. God's people will never be prepared to attack the sins of Babylon as long as the principle of Babylon is in their hearts. THEREFORE THE GIVING OF THE LOUD CRY MUST BE PRECEDED BY A MESSAGE TO GOD'S PEOPLE, which will accomplish an entire separation from Babylon," Review & Herald, Feb. 4, 1902, by Elder Brunson.
Ezek, 18:30-32.--"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."
It is our earnest and heartfelt prayer that the reader of this booklet search his heart as never before, and make the proper preparation in order to receive the seal of God which will enable him to escape the coming judgment that is to commence at the house of God and come forth as gold tried in the fire, That he might be "among those that are left in Zion, those that shall be called Holy." Isa. 4:3.
May it be our privilege to be among that select group which the Spirit of Prophecy describes: "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 there saw 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." Early Writings p.19,
"When God was about to smite the first-born of Egypt, He commanded the Israelites to gather their children from among the Egyptians into their own dwellings and strike their door posts with blood, that the destroying angel might see it and pass over their homes. It was the work of parents to gather in their children. This is your work, this is my work, and the work of every mother who believes the truth. The angel is to place a mark upon the forehead of all who are separated from sin and sinners, and the destroying angel will follow, to slay utterly both old and young." Testimonies Vol. 5. p. 505.