What is Jesus Doing Now?
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining me today as we explore another important topic that helps us see that we are in the time of the end. There are so many things happening in the world that threatens to undermine our salvation that we have to think about how we should live. We cannot just go through life blindly without considering the important issues that we are facing as we near the close of human probation and the judgment of the living.
Today, I plan to give you a very politically incorrect Bible study. At least it would be politically incorrect to some people in high positions in churches and organizations. But I have to tell you what God says. I cannot just tell you what most people tell you, because that isn’t what God says. It is a message on a doctrine that is so unwelcome these days because of its powerful implications. Pastors don’t speak much about it. Educators don’t explain it very much to their students. Many people are afraid of its consequences
But before we begin our rather important Bible study today, I want to invite you to join me in praying for our work in Australia. We are making great progress, but there are many souls in the throws of decisions for or against Christ that have been through our health retreat. Our Bible worker has told me that she is overwhelmed with interest in Bible studies and it seems awfully important to pray for these dear guests that have attended Highwood Health Retreat, that they will surrender their lives to Christ.
Secondly, I would like to also invite you to participate in our once-a-year request for your help with our work at Keep the Faith. This year we are working to match a $70,000 matching gift so that we can upgrade our very messy roads at Highwood Health Retreat.
Our roads on campus are shocking. I have not mentioned them to you before because we had other urgent priorities. Now this one has bubbled to the surface and is now on our hot list of priorities. They have potholes almost everywhere, and in some places there are mud slicks that make a huge negative impression on our guests when they try to navigate more than a quarter mile from the front gate to the health retreat. These campus roads were never done right. They don’t have enough culverts under them to drain the water properly, and none of them are cambered properly to drain the water off of them. So, they are a mess and we need to address that.
We are ready to start a new campaign on the Internet with ads and special offers, that promises to be very rewarding and which will be strongly attractive to people who need healing. God is resurrecting Highwood so that it will be able to do all that He wants to do.
We need your support in order to reach our matching goal. Please do whatever you can to help by sending your gift today. There is still time to do so. We don’t make any direct appeals for your help, other than at the end of each year. Your gifts and prayers mean so much to us, but at this time we need you to consider a special gift to help us reach our goal of a second $70,000. But wouldn’t it be amazing if we could triple those funds and match it twice for $150,000.
You know that Keep the Faith is doing its best to reach lost souls with the truth of God both through the monthly CD preachers that can go many places that I cannot go, and also through Highwood Health Retreat that offers healing and salvation to those who come through our program, most of whom are secular people that have no background in Christian living.
So, please help us reach our goal. It is vital that we give God the best opportunity to reach our guests with His love. We need your gift by the end of the year so that we can get the roads completed before the beginning of the program in the New Year.
I would also like to invite you to pray for souls who are receiving our monthly CDs, or who get them from friends, who do not realize that we are close to the end. They think they are ok spiritually if they are in their churches and pay their tithe, and do what the minister tells them, or rather don’t do what the minister tells them not to do. So, share your CDs with others. Offer them the pink card that they may fill it out and become subscribers too.
And one last thing. Here’s an extraordinary opportunity from Last Generation magazine. This is a witnessing magazine that my wife Betsy edits and produces. It discusses current events in the light of Bible prophecy for those who don’t know the Three Angels’ messages. It’s attractive and relevant and comes six times a year.
Right now, Last Generation has a special 2 for 1 subscription offer. That’s right, 2 subscriptions for the price of 1! You sign up for a subscription for yourself and for someone else—for only $15. Surely you can think of one person to whom you could send this magazine! And when you get your own copy, you can read it and then pass it on to someone else as well! Or, if you really like a particular magazine, you can order more copies to share. You can find all the order details in the insert in your packet this month.
Some of the issues coming up in 2017 include a special issue on health and wellness, plus an issue called: The Protestant Reformation—Is It Over?
This special offer of two subscriptions for the price of one will only be available through January 2017 and will not be repeated. After January, subscription prices will increase. So hurry, and mail in your two subscriptions today! Or call 540-672-5671. That’s 540-672-5671.
Now let us bow our heads in prayer so that we may ask for the Holy Spirit to speak to us in His own way through the word. Our Father in heaven, my message today is a most important message. We need Your Holy Spirit to come into our hearts and teach us what the Bible actually says about our times and what Christ is doing for and in us. I pray that we will have our eyes open that we may understand the scriptures and respond in righteousness to the things we hear from Him, in Jesus name, amen.
My friends, I’m exhausted. I’m completely exhausted. There has been such a chaotic election campaign in America that I, and many of my fellow Americans, are out of steam. We can’t take any more political rhetoric. We can’t handle any more scandals. We can’t trust anyone anymore to give us the truth. It is all distorted by lies, rhetoric and mud slinging.
But we’re just at the beginning of the slide into war, disasters and chaos according to the Bible. Now that the election is over, there are other crises to pay attention to. It’s as if one prophetic crisis follows on the heels of another. And as the world races to the bottom, we are headed for a religious crisis that is sure to overthrow the existing order and replace it with a religious monarchy that is so “politically correct” that anyone who even whimpers about it in the wrong direction will be cast as an enemy of the state.
So, we need to deal with a question that may make some of our listeners uneasy and maybe even revolt. It is certainly politically incorrect to say the things I’m going to say today in the churches. And it is rather unfortunate that we have come to a time when even the truth is considered to be treason, but that is what it is. So, I hope you are ready for what is coming on the world. I hope you are ready for what God wants to do with you. And I hope you are ready to face the consequences of God’s dynamics in your life.
So, to get us started, please turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Psalms, chapter 77:11-13. Let us think about these verses for a moment.
Here is what verses 11-12 say: “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”
These verses tell us what we should be doing. We are to remember the works of the Lord Jesus. He is the Lord. We are to think about and meditate on all His work and talk of what Christ does.
So, what does this mean? Yes, it means that we are to talk about the things Christ did, how He delivered ancient Israel from bondage in Egypt; how He did miracles for ancient Israel; how He confronted their idolatry on Mount Carmel and sent them into captivity in Babylon to correct and enlighten them; how He came to earth as a baby; how He lived and worked among the men, healing their diseases, raising the dead and offering them the way of salvation; how He was beaten, mocked and savagely raised on a cross; how His blood saved us and delivered us from sin. There are so many things to tell of His wonderful works for the children of men. But that’s about where it ends. In God’s church today there is very little discussion about what Christ is actually doing now in the heavenly sanctuary. Many people do not believe that there is a heavenly sanctuary. Many do not think that Christ is doing a special work for His people. Many do not want to bring their lives into harmony with God’s will.
This scriptural injunction doesn’t stop with what we read in the Bible. We are to consider what God has done for us in our own lives and what He can do for us in the future. We must also talk about what Christ is doing today in the heavenly sanctuary. We can talk about how He delivers us from danger; how He forgives our sins and iniquity; how He teaches us His truth and how He brought us from darkness into His marvelous light.
But there is one thing Christ does that is perhaps the most important for the last generation. And it is perhaps the least talked about. And it is not politically correct to talk about it most of the time. It is considered to be rather outside of popular theology. Most of God’s people could not articulate the key issues or principles.
But we should be talking about it. We should be explaining it and shouting it from the housetops, so to speak. It is so important that Satan wants to bury it under a heap of rubbish. The enemy wants to obscure it by so much confusion that we won’t get it. He is determined to prevent us from understanding it. He’s desperate, in fact, to prevent us from experiencing it, and he’s determined to do all he can in his power to prevent us from even thinking about it.
The concept I’m going to share with you today is so hot, so devastating to the enemy, that we are told that he “invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds, that they may not dwell upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted.” That’s the Great Controversy, page 488.
Listen to verse 13 of Psalm 77. “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?”
So, there is something so great about what Christ is doing in the heavenly sanctuary that Satan is determined to prevent people from even thinking about it. It is so potent that he is desperate to distract you from it by every thing going on in your life, which the Bible calls the “cares of this life.” Here it is in Luke 21:34. “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”
So, what does the enemy do? He gets you so involved in taking your kids to play soccer, or baseball, and consuming time on Facebook, YouTube and twitter, that you don’t have time to think about this all important issue. He fills up your time with superficial living and you neglect the most important thing you need for survival in these last days.
So, what is it that I am referring to? I am referring to the full and final ministry of Christ for you and me in these last climactic days. If we are going to survive the coming crisis, we need to know how Christ plans to get us through it so that we can cooperate with Him in our own survival.
It is vitally important for us to understand, for Psalm 77:13 tells us that it is our great God that is making a way in the sanctuary for His people. It involves the way of Christ. It involves understanding the way of salvation, which is found in the sanctuary. I’m not talking about the old way of salvation. I’m talking about the way of salvation for those living at the end of time, who have the most light from scripture on God’s will. I’m talking about those who have the most mature understanding of the Bible in all of history. I’m referring to what Christ intends to achieve with His people before the close of probation.
Now what sanctuary is the Psalmist referring to? Well, actually he’s referring to both the earthly sanctuary, which was a type of what Christ was and is doing in the heavenly sanctuary.
All of us know that Christ died for our sins and that the slaying of the lamb in the earthly sanctuary when a man sinned represented Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We all know that He is interceding for us before the Father in heaven and that Christ is our righteousness when we come to Him in true repentance and ask forgiveness. He justifies and cleanses us from the stain of sin and He takes the guilt on Himself. We are free and we can go home forgiven.
But that is not all that Christ is doing. Remember, we are to meditate on what He is doing now as well as His wondrous works in the past, and also tell others what He is doing now. We are living in the last generation. God has given to His remnant church the most complete light ever. It is the most mature understanding of scripture ever in the history of the planet. One reason God gave the sanctuary principles of the earthly sanctuary to the Israelites thousands of years ago, was so that we, in the last generation, will understand the heavenly sanctuary and what Christ is doing for us there now.
No one has had this much light in all 6000 years of earth’s history. We stand at the very last days, and God is working diligently to help us understand His real and ultimate purpose for His people. Yet so many of them turn their backs to the light. They run from God’s principles. They hide themselves in their fig leaves of religiosity, while eating their flesh meat, and drinking their coffee, while the real religion of Christ escapes them. Their superficial living causes them to think less of him and more of their earthly advantages. His truth is not desired, nor is it appreciated. They don’t want to change their lives to bring them into harmony with Christ’s character. So, how can He mature them into being like Him in all things?
Most people think that as long as they are baptized, attend church and pay their tithe that they will be in the kingdom of heaven. God overlooks their temper, their pride and their indulgence of appetite. They can tell a “white lie.” God will overlook that. They can engage in a little soft porn and God will overlook that. They think they can watch a Hollywood movie and God will overlook it. But friends, I’ve got news for you. You are going to be surprised, and maybe even react against what the Bible says will happen to you if you are in this condition.
Listen to what Paul says to the Hebrews about their earthly sanctuary. It’s found in chapter 8, verses 1 and 2. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
So, here is the clearest evidence that there is a heavenly sanctuary to which Christ has gone to sit with the Most High, the Majesty in the heavens. Wow! That’s no earthly majesty. Rome can’t match that majesty, even though they claim to be the vice-gerent of Christ on earth. No earthly monarch can claim that Christ sits by His side in rulership. This is talking about the great throne-room of heaven. And it is no small place either. It is huge, for there are tens of thousands of angels ministering before him. Listen to the description of God’s throne room in the sanctuary in the heaven of heavens. Its from Daniel 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.”
Friends, this is a massive place. Imagine how puny and overwhelmed you and I would feel in such a place with the scrutiny of all heaven on our lives. Yet that place is just the place for us. It is just the place we need to imagine in our minds. And we need to be there by faith. We are to talk about the work that goes on there says Psalm 77. We are to tell others what is happening in that place.
This is the “true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man.” And Jesus is there with His beloved Father, and He pleads His blood as evidence against the devil and in favor of the repentant sinner.
But most of us don’t truly repent of our sins. We like doing them, so how can God remove our sins and plead His blood us? How can Jesus apply His shed blood in our behalf? Most of us have no idea of the holiness and majesty and power of God. If we were in His direct presence we would be consumed. Most of us have no idea what it means to truly repent. We have a superficial way of saying sorry and asking for forgiveness. But we do not have real sorrow for sin. We do not agonize over our unlikeness to Christ as we should. We do not feel the pain over our wicked hearts that wounds Christ afresh whenever we sin. We don’t love Christ enough to really be sorry, mostly.
Most of us have refused to be convicted by the Holy Spirit whose job it is to bring conviction of sin and of true righteousness and of the judgment to come. Here it is from Jesus Himself in John 16:8, “And when he (the comforter) (the Holy Spirit) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
When we sin we are already judged. We get the eternal death penalty at once and there is no hope if we do not repent. But what is true repentance? It is not what most people experience. They are sorry for the consequences of sin, something like Judas had. But they feel no real pangs of sorrow for the sin itself.
True repentance arises from the love of Christ. You cannot truly repent unless you love Christ. For it is the love of Christ that moves the heart to repent of sin. Some people even make an outward reformation, but they have no real sorrow of heart for what they have done to Christ and the pain that it causes Him.
“But when the heart yields to the influence of the Spirit of God, the conscience will be quickened, and the sinner will discern something of the depth and sacredness of God’s holy law, the foundation of His government in heaven and on earth. The “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” illumines the secret chambers of the soul, and the hidden things of darkness are made manifest. John 1:9. Conviction takes hold upon the mind and heart. The sinner has a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah and feels the terror of appearing, in his own guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. He sees the love of God, the beauty of holiness, the joy of purity; he longs to be cleansed and to be restored to communion with Heaven.” That’s from Steps to Christ, page 24.
What a wonderful opportunity we have to live restored to communion with heaven? Why should we turn our backs on that? Yet many do. They are afraid of what it will cost them to truly repent. They don’t want to feel embarrassed. They don’t want to feel sorrow for sin and agony over their unlikeness to Christ. They think that if they surrender all to Jesus they will suffer persecution, ridicule, abuse, etc, needlessly. Or they are afraid to feel the terror of an offended God. Ministers emphasize the love of Christ and His forgiveness, but not the most necessary step of repentance to gain Christ’s forgiveness. They do not explain the Bible’s clear instructions on how to turn from sin in true repentance. Yet, understanding the holiness, purity and righteousness of God’s law is what we need. It will help us understand our desperate need of repentance.
But friends, we have a mediator. While ever there is human probation, we have a mediator. Jesus stands between us and certain death, the second death. He loves us deeply and longs to give us His purity that we may live righteously on this earth.
Most of us however, want to minimize sin and make it seem to our minds and the minds of others as if it is no big deal. When we see the defilement of our soul, we want to hide it even from God who sees all.
Friends, it is Christ that gives us repentance. We cannot repent of ourselves. We can only repent when Christ breaks our hearts and shows us our inner wicked and filthy self and the justice of the righteous law that we long to be made right in His sight. Ask Jesus to give you true repentance for your sins, my friends. It can only come from Christ. Ask Him to show you how wicked you are and how righteous is God. Listen to this from Steps to Christ, page 29.
“One ray of the glory of God, one gleam of the purity of Christ, penetrating the soul, makes every spot of defilement painfully distinct, and lays bare the deformity and defects of the human character. It makes apparent the unhallowed desires, the infidelity of the heart, the impurity of the lips. The sinner’s acts of disloyalty in making void the law of God, are exposed to his sight, and his spirit is stricken and afflicted under the searching influence of the Spirit of God. He loathes himself as he views the pure, spotless character of Christ.”
When we see God’s love and His righteousness, we long to turn away from our sin. That’s when true repentance sets in. When you see your wickedness compared to Christ’s love, you can’t bear to keep sinning. So you desire to turn from sin. You desire to be enveloped with Christ in His approval and love.
When a minister teaches that you do not have to turn from sin to receive forgiveness, he is teaching cheap grace. He is teaching a falsehood. You can only turn from sin through the power of Christ in your life, but you must turn from it by cooperating with Christ to gain the victory over it. Christ is at the center of it all. You get repentance from Christ. You get the turning from sin from Christ and you get forgiveness from Christ.
Friends, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is powerful. He will impute His righteousness to you if you truly yield yourself in true repentance to Him. True repentance means that you resolve in your heart to turn from sin. You start to practice reproving the devil and turning from his temptations. You will receive forgiveness of sins and a full restoration to communion with God. What joy! What freedom!
But then what? Is that all? Or is there more. My friends, there is more, so much more. We are living in the time in earth’s history when God has given full light to His people and consequently He requires of us more responsibility. Yet, most of God’s people have no idea that there is more than mere intercession and forgiveness of sin. They think that is all that is required of them.
Yes, that is the way it was for many centuries. A man sinned and repented, and was forgiven, he sinned and repented and was forgiven, over and over again.
But in the last days, Satan has made accusations that are still out there and not fully answered. Christ must answer the enemy’s allegations before He can return and claim His people as His own. You see salvation isn’t just about us. It is also about Christ. His character must be vindicated before the universe.
When I ask my students to explain the difference between what Jesus was doing before 1844 and what He is doing after 1844, their response is usually blank stares. They have no clue. And these are the very special spiritual students in my classes. These are the ones that already love the Lord and are committed to doing work for the master. They are the ones God will use to finish His work on earth, among others. They are destined for the front lines in the battle with the enemy. But they are clueless about what Jesus is doing in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary for the last generation.
Finally someone says, “He is interceding for us.” Yes, that’s true. He still intercedes for those who fall into sin. But Christ was doing that before 1844 as well. My question was, what is the difference? Then someone says, “He’s judging us.” And I ask them, “What does that mean?” More blank stares. Then someone says, “It is the investigative judgment.” And I ask them “What does that mean?” More blank stares.
The conversation goes right over their heads. Unfortunately, most of our young people are not being taught perhaps the most important truth for our times. Their parents weren’t taught it, so how can they be expected to teach their children. But more than that, most church members do not get an understanding of it from their pastors, evangelists and others.
Have you given this question much thought, my friends? What is the difference between what Christ did before 1844, and what He is doing now? If not, I suggest that you listen very carefully to the rest of my message today because I plan to show you precisely what our Savior is doing today for His people.
Please turn in your Bibles to Hebrews 8:1-2. Listen carefully to what it says. It is referring to Christ. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
What aspect of the sanctuary is this talking about? Friends, this is talking about the work of the high priest. When, in the earthly sanctuary did the high priest have a special work to do? It was on the Day of Atonement. The high priest, on the Day of Atonement went into the Most Holy Place to offer sacrifice for the accumulated sins of the people over the course of the year. They were then placed on the scapegoat and it was sent out into the wilderness to die. Likewise, Satan will have the forgiven sins of God’s people placed on him and he will perish in the lake of fire, the scripture says in Revelation 20:10. John the Revelator saw the end of Satan and the end of sin in vision. Here it is, “And the devil that deceived them was cast in the lake of fire…”
Bible time prophecies revealed that Jesus was going to change His work in the heavenly sanctuary in October of 1844. He was to go to the “Ancient of days” to conduct one of several judgments. Let’s read it again in Daniel 7:9, 10. “I beheld till 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.”
Think of that scene, my friend. Daniel the prophet saw in vision the realities of the heavenly sanctuary. It is huge for there are ten thousand times ten thousand ministering unto him. That’s 100 million beings, most of which are probably angels that excel in strength. Imagine the magnificent scene in that massive sanctuary in heaven. There is the glorious throne. On it sits our heavenly Father, who loves repentant sinners more than they’ll ever know on this earth, but hates the sin because it was instigated by His arch enemy Satan, and who sends His angels and the Holy Spirit to help separate us from sin so that He can bring us to our heavenly home. There is Christ, who stands between the repentant sinner and He pleads his blood as the payment for the sinner’s penalty.
I’m interested in what those ten thousands times ten thousands are doing in their ministry. We are not told precisely, but they have something to do with the work of judgment that is going on. This is not the judgment involving the punishment of the wicked. This judgment is going on now according to the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, in which the angel answers the question of how long would the daily be (which is the holy place ministration of Christ). The angel says, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
So, the “cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary” parallels the time of the earthly sanctuary when the High Priest put the accumulated sins of the people on the scapegoat. That’s the typical Day of Atonement in the earthly sanctuary. But, when did that anti-typical Day of Atonement begin? Well, it’s not so immediately clear in these verses and a bit of prophetic understanding and a little math must come into play.
The angel in Daniel 9 answers this question in verses 24-26. “Seventy weeks are determined upon they people and upon thy holy city… Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” That’s 69 weeks.
Messiah means “to anoint” or the “anointed one.” Christ was anointed at His baptism in AD 27. The scripture says in verse 27 of Daniel 9 that in the midst of the 70th week, “He,” Christ, the Messiah “shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease…” which is referring to the rending of the veil at the moment of Christ’s death on the cross that signified the end of the Jewish system of rites and ceremonies. The type had met anti-type and there was no need of them any more.
So, in other words, using the day-for-a-year prophetic principle found in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, from the decree issued in 457 BC, to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, which included funding and gave the city state of Jerusalem its autonomy, there would be 69 weeks or 483 years until the beginning of Christ’s ministry, which opened exactly on schedule in AD 27 at His baptism. This coincides perfectly with the beginning of the 70th week. Then in middle of the 70th week, three and a half years later, Christ would be crucified in the “midst of the week.” Three and a half years after that, at the end of the 70th week, the Jewish nation would cease to be God’s true church at the stoning of Stephen in AD 34. God’s church would transfer to the New Testament church of the disciples.
Now, 70 weeks (or the 490 year prophecy) is only the first part of the 2300 year prophecy. The difference between 490 years and 2300 years is 1810 years. So, if we add the additional 1810 years to the end of the 490 years in AD 34, we come right down to 1844. So, what was so important about 1844? What is this “cleansing of the sanctuary?”
Listen to this interesting statement from the book Great Controversy, pages 428 and 429. “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 goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he comes out.” Leviticus 16:17. So when Christ entered the holy of holies to perform the closing work of the atonement, He ceased His ministration in the first apartment. But when the ministration in the first apartment ended, the ministration in the second apartment began…”
So, there are several aspects or phases of Christ’s work of atonement. The cross was only part of it. The cross of Christ was the sacrificial atonement and it was full and complete. There would be no more need for a sacrificial atonement. It only needed to happen once. In addition, there was also the Holy Place ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary in which He interceded for man just as the priest did in the earthly sanctuary daily throughout the year. The earthly priest placed incense on the alter and the smoke of it went up as a sweet smelling savor to heaven. This was the work of intercession for the daily sins of God’s people. This was the second phase of Christ’s ministry. And it extended all through the dark ages of ignorance and superstition, when the Papacy ruled the Holy Roman Empire. It extended right down to the time when the deadly wound was given to the Papacy by Napoleon’s general in 1798. It went even a little further beyond that to 1844 when Christ’s Most Holy Place ministry began.
You see, God had to have a way for sincere people to have forgiveness and salvation during an era of great spiritual darkness. They did not have much light. Satan was using the superstitions of the Roman Catholic Church to deceive the people into thinking that they were saved by works. During most of those years the Waldenses spread the light of the true gospel but it was only in limited ways because they were persecuted and hunted like animals, but also because the masses of people were uneducated and kept in darkness for the benefit of the church and their rulers.
Why did God permit such a time of darkness? It is because He had to permit Satan to show his hostility to Christ’s church just as he showed his enmity to Christ. That answered a number of questions in the great controversy. Otherwise, some would say, “Well, that was Christ. Satan wasn’t as hostile to Christ’s people.” But now we know, and the whole universe knows that our enemy is just as hostile to Christ’s true followers as he was to Christ.
God also had to show that He would have people who would be true to His law, even the Sabbath, right through the long dark night of persecution and conflict with Rome.
But now, there are still a few final questions to be answered in the great controversy. During the final phase of the atonement the cleansing of the sanctuary or the Day of Atonement would finally clear the record of accumulated sin in the heavenly sanctuary. The solemn anti-typical Day of Atonement has a similar purpose. It is the closing work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary just as the Day of Atonement was the closing work of the earthly high priest in the yearly round of rites and ceremonies. And it is all about cleansing from defilement.
Now we come back to our original question. What is Jesus doing in the Most Holy Place that He was not doing in the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary?
Well friends, let’s think about it. When the sinner repented of his sin during the ministration of the earthly tabernacle, he would bring his lamb to the sanctuary and confess his sins upon the lamb, which symbolically represented Christ, the Lamb of God. Then the lamb would be sacrificed and its blood sprinkled on the alter inside the Holy Place. That blood was like the record of his sin. And it was placed on the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement. In the anti-typical service, the record of sin is kept in books while Christ’s intercedes His blood for the repentant sinner.
If the man sinned again, he would bring another lamb. It’s blood record would be sprinkled on the alter and he would go home forgiven and free. If he sinned again, he would bring yet another lamb, confess his sin onto the lamb and it would be sacrificed and its blood was sprinkled on the alter in the Holy Place and he would go home forgiven and free. If he sinned yet again, the process would be done again. This could go on every day if needed, over and over again. That ministry of the Holy Place was very important because it would provide a way of salvation during a time of less mature light concerning God’s full truth.
The record of those sins, represented by the sprinkled blood would be kept in the Holy Place until the Day of Atonement, when it would then be symbolically placed on the scapegoat, which represented Satan, to be sent into the wilderness forever.
The same is true of the heavenly sanctuary. During the Christian era, after Jesus went back to his Father, the sinner could confess his sins to Jesus, who would plead his blood as sufficient to pay the sinner’s penalty, and Christ would take his sin and give him His righteousness, while the repentant sinner could go home forgiven and free. If he sinned again, he could do the same process. Each time he sinned he could come again for forgiveness and cleansing from sin. Christ would continue to plead his blood on behalf of the sinner.
But something changed in 1844 at the end of the 2300 years, according to scripture. Turn to Daniel 7:10 again. After the description of the majestic throne in the heavenly sanctuary with ten thousand times ten thousand, which Daniel saw in sacred vision, the scripture says, “the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
This is a different judgment than the final executive punishment of the wicked. This is a judgment involving books. What books? These are the books of record. You see, when we sin, the recording angel keeps record of our deeds. This is very important so that Christ can demonstrate the depths to which He has gone to redeem man. He can show that all these sins were placed on Him and He suffered and died for them all. Also, the exact record is kept so that no one can say that there was any cheating or fudging, to get sinners into heaven. You know, if that would happen, Satan would be very quick to accuse Christ of cheap grace. He would say that Christ really wasn’t serious about His law. After all, if someone could be a lawbreaker and get to heaven, why can’t he still be in the fellowship of holy beings? So everything has to be kept very clear and very precise. Christ has to protect the universe from any further disturbance from sin once the atonement is completed. Satan must have no wiggle room to accuse Christ and must admit that Christ is right in the end by his own lips.
So what is the work of judgment of the record that is on the books in heaven? Here is very interesting verse in Revelation 20:12. Listen to what this says about the books of record in heaven. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
Once you are dead, you have no further probation. You have no further opportunity to amend your life and bring it into line with God’s law. Therefore it is vital that you do it now while you have probationary time.
This heavenly investigation into the lives of those who have died is the same judgment that is proclaimed in Revelation 14:7. It is the judgment that happens while the proclamation of true worship, the worship of the Creator, is going on. So it has to be before the end of time. The first angel proclaims with a loud voice “Fear God, give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
This is a call to worship the Creator who made the seventh-day Sabbath at the end of creation. In keeping the Sabbath holy, we give glory to God. Breaking the Sabbath dishonors God who made the Sabbath and set it apart as holy right from creation. It shows that we do not place our relationship with God at the top of our priorities. It shows that we worship other gods. Worship is at the core of our lives. It is the bottom line in everything. Are we going to worship God? Or are we going to worship money? Or people? Or the beast – meaning Rome? Or Satan himself? Which is it?
What is the hour of His judgment? This is the time of judgment or the time of the end. This is the time before the close of probation that began in 1844 when the Sabbath would be proclaimed more fully than any previous era since Christ walked on this earth. It would also be a time of judgment that investigates the books and determines who is guilty of sin and who has been forgiven. It therefore determines who is worthy of eternal life and who is not. Revelation 22:12.
Now watch this. Revelation 3:5 says, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
You see, when you become a follower of Christ your name is placed in the book of life. Then as you continue to live you may well fall into sin, into old habits, for instance. You haven’t learned how to live in Christ and you haven’t learned how Christ overcomes your sins in your life. But you know you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ who forgives you and cleanses you from sin. He takes it upon Himself and in tender pity forgives you of your iniquity.
But, He has done that for almost 2000 years now, since He went back to heaven. He still advocates for His people and forgives them of their sins even though He is now in the Most Holy Place ministry, the final atonement during the anti-typical Day of Atonement.
But in the Most Holy Place there’s more. Christ has to cleanse the sanctuary as it says in Daniel 8:14. That cleansing is a most important work. It removes the sins of record that have been placed on the sanctuary. If we continue to sin, there are continually more sins of record put on the sanctuary books. How can Christ cleanse the sanctuary if His people continue to sin and bring more there.
So instead of blotting out the truly repentant from the book of life, the one who turns from his sins and lives in harmony with the character of Christ or the law of God, is preserved in the book of life. His sins will be blotted out of the book of record in the heavenly sanctuary once he stops committing them. What an amazing transaction! Christ gives Him power to live a holy life in harmony with God’s law. He loves Christ so much that he can’t bear to offend Him. So, he faithfully lives with Christ. Christ puts His Holy Spirit on him and he is empowered to overcome every temptation of the enemy.
You see, Satan has always claimed that it is impossible to keep God’s law and that God is unfair to require it. But God has always disproven him. There was Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Elijah, Daniel, etc., all of whom were sinners, but who learned to keep God’s law and love him with all their hearts.
Satan also argued that not even Christ could keep God’s law, but Christ overcame all the temptations that the devil threw at him all of his life, until He died on the cross, by the power of His Father living in Him. He was the only sinless man that ever lived. And He did it by God’s power in our flesh. What a defeat Satan suffered with that one!
But he keeps at it. Now he says, “Ok, one or two, perhaps, can keep God’s law, but not a whole group of people. That’s impossible!”
Jesus says, “Oh yes, I can. I can give a whole group of people the power to live by My law and overcome all your temptations. And they will keep my law constantly even though you throw the worst temptations at them and even though you put them under severe pressure. They will not yield to your evil temptations. It will be my power, but it will be operative in their flesh.”
This is the argument. But there is another issue. God’s law is the foundation of His whole government and it pervades the universe and brings peace and happiness to every corner of it. He gives all his intelligent creatures freedom of choice. He has to make sure that sin will never arise again, while making sure that every survivor that is given eternal life will still have free choice. The eternally saved person can still turn his back on God if he chooses. But he will not do it because he has learned the value of Christ’s amazing love, and the power of living by His law, which is really an expression of Christ’s character. He loves God so much and is so thankful for the absolute peace and tranquility of his soul that he would never forsake that for anything.
But that has to be learned on earth before Jesus comes. It can’t answer the argument of Satan if man does not have to learn to be loyal to Christ and His law on this earth. To give man license to live as he pleases on earth without having to do away with his sins, will just give Satan opportunity to make more accusations.
Now, let us add in another concept. The parable of the wedding garment is all about this same time, the judgment hour. Do you remember the parable in Matthew 22? The king invited those who were bidden to the wedding, but they refused to come, and they even killed his servants who came with the invitation.
That shows the hostility of the world to Christ. It shows the hostility of the Jewish church to Christ. But, even more, it shows the hostility of the church today to the last message of warning to the world.
So, the king sent out other servants to go into the highways and byways and invite anyone that would come into the wedding, both bad and good. Many gathered at his palace. To each of them was given a special wedding garment. This garment represents the righteousness of Christ that replaces our filthy garments of sin and selfishness.
Notice what the king did. Matthew 22:11 says, “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment…” So, the king did an investigation of the guests at the wedding. Here was a man who had been given a wedding garment but he disrespected the king and never put it on.
This inspection represents the investigative judgment of Daniel 7:10 and Revelation 22. It is going on right now in the courts of heaven. Notice what happened next in verse 12. “And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” The man was cast out of the wedding.
Those who do not have on Christ’s righteousness will be cast out of the book of life. By saying that those who overcome and have put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness will not be blotted out of the book of life, Christ is also saying that there will be those whose names have been put in the book of life that will be blotted out. In other words, those who do not overcome and those who do not have on Christ’s robe of righteousness will not receive eternal life. There is no such thing as once saved always saved.
One of the devious temptations of Satan is to get church members to think they are saved when they are not overcoming in Christ’s power. When Jesus says “to Him that overcometh I will give…” He is also implying clearly that “to Him that does not overcome I will not give…” Unfortunately, He will be forced to say, “I know you not… depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.” Luke 13: 27.
Malachi 3:2, 3 says, “Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? 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 unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
So, what is this coming? This is Jesus coming to the Ancient of days in Daniel 7:9. This is the beginning of the judgment in heaven of the books of record to see who has had Christ in their hearts and who is worthy therefore of heaven.
Now, let us read this very interesting statement from Great Controversy, page 425. After quoting the verse we just read, the author says, “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.”
In other words, the work that Jesus is doing now in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary is to purify a people, separate them from sin, and give them overcoming victory over every wrong thought and action.
Why? Here is a very important passage from Great Controversy that puts this into context. “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.” That’s page 425 also.
So, let us think about this for a minute. What is it that Christ is doing in the Most Holy Place in the heavenly Sanctuary? He is interceding for us, but it is more than that. He is our advocate who forgives our sins and offers His blood instead of ours, but it is more than that. He is our substitute that takes our guilt upon Himself, but it is more than that. He is doing something he has never done before. He is doing something that takes His people beyond where they have ever been before. And He is offering them power from on high to achieve something that has never been achieved before. Christ is preparing a people, a group of people, to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator.
Why, or rather when do we need a mediator? It is because we sin. The mediator, Jesus Christ, mediates for the repentant sinner and places His own blood in place of our own as the penalty for our sin. So, what does Christ have to do in order to organize a group of people to live in the sight of holy God without a mediator? That means He has to have a people that actually stop sinning. Christ actually has to cultivate in us the power of His Spirit to overcome every sin, and overthrow every temptation, so that we are living representatives of His character in the world gone mad after the enemy. That means they have nothing in them that is in conflict with Christ’s character. That means that they have no anger management issues. That means they have no deceit in them. They have no greed. That means they have no lust, no hatred, no envy, no jealousy against anyone else. And in the midst of chaos, persecution and trial, Christ will have a people that will represent Him 24-7-365.
To live in the sight of a holy God does not mean that we must do this alone. It does not mean that Christ has abandoned them. Christ stands by their side. He sends His Holy Spirit to them in greater measure to overcome the enemy and seal them for eternity. Christ gives them power, overcoming power, and they cooperate with Him even in the severest temptations that Satan can muster. They are so united to Christ, so close to Him that Christ can use them to demonstrate that there is a people that can be completely loyal to God’s law and Christ character (which are the same thing). Christ will stand by their side. He will give them all that they need to overcome the enemy.
What a wonderful experience that is, my friends. I want to let go of sin. I want to overcome the enemy. I want to live in Christ through the most difficult time in history. I need Christ’s righteousness in my life every day so that I will not fall into temptation.
But it is only Christ’s power that can make that happen. I have to cooperate with him and do what He has placed in my power to do. But it is Christ that does the overcoming. My power is weak. My resolve is weak. My promises are like ropes of sand. But Christ’s power is strong. Christ’s resolve is strong. Christ’s promise hold. So, I can rely on them. I don’t have to be tossed around by the enemy. As long as I hold on to Christ and learn everything I can from scripture about His will, I will grow in Christ and become like Him in character.
Listen to this interesting description of what happens when Christ finishes His Most Holy Place ministry in heaven, when He no longer mediates for the unrepentant sinners. Look what happens to them. But more importantly, look what happens to the righteous, who have been overcomers in Jesus name and power. They have defeated Satan at every turn. This is from Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1, page 199-201.
“Then I saw Jesus lay off his priestly attire, and clothe himself with his most kingly robes–upon his head were many crowns, a crown within a crown–and surrounded by the angelic host, he left heaven. The plagues were falling upon the inhabitants of the earth. Some were denouncing God, and cursing him. Others rushed to the people of God, and begged to be taught how they should escape the judgments of God. But the saints had nothing for them. The last tear for sinners had been shed, the last agonizing prayer offered, the last burden had been borne. The sweet voice of mercy was no more to invite them. The last note of warning had been given. When the saints, and all heaven were interested for their salvation, they had no interest for themselves. Life and death had been set before them. Many desired life; but did not make any effort to obtain it. They did not choose life, and now there was no atoning blood to cleanse the sinner. No compassionate Saviour to plead for them, and cry, Spare, spare the sinner a little longer. All heaven had united with Jesus, as they heard the fearful words, It is done. It is finished. The plan of salvation had been accomplished. But few had chosen to accept the plan. And as mercy’s sweet voice died away, a fearfulness and horror seized them. With terrible distinctness they hear, Too late! too late!
“Those who had not prized God’s word were hurrying to and fro. They wandered from sea to sea, and from the north to the east, to seek the word of the Lord. Said the angel, They shall not find it. There is a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. What would they not give for one word of approval from God? But no, they must hunger and thirst on. Day after day have they slighted salvation, and prized earthly pleasure, and earthly riches higher than any heavenly inducement and treasure. They have rejected Jesus, and despised his saints. The filthy must remain filthy forever.
“A great portion of the wicked were greatly enraged, as they suffered the effects of the plagues. It was a scene of fearful agony. Parents were bitterly reproaching their children, and children reproaching their parents, brothers their sisters, and sisters their brothers. Loud wailing cries were heard in every direction. It was you who kept me from receiving the truth, which would have saved me from this awful hour. The people turned upon the ministers with bitter hate, and reproached them, telling them, You have not warned us. You told us all the world was to be converted, and cried, Peace, peace, to quiet every fear that was aroused. You have not told us of this hour, and those who warned us of it you said were fanatics, and evil men, who would ruin us. But the ministers, I saw, did not escape the wrath of God. Their sufferings were ten fold greater than their people’s.”
Oh friends, I need Jesus. Don’t you? I need to experience His love and power in my life to mould my character after His own. I need the Holy Spirit to teach me the way of righteousness during this solemn Day of Atonement. Friends, I pray that you will also yield your life to Jesus. For we are nearing the very end. Your life can be free of sin. Your soul can walk in purity of heart before God. You can live a life of righteousness, just as Enoch did. May God bless you to this end.
Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank you Lord for the Bible that gives us so much information about Your work in the holy of holies. Please Father, we need Your Spirit to control our lives and give us victory over sin. We cannot depend on ourselves. We need to learn to live fully dependant on Christ so that he can overcome sin in our lives that we may live in the sight of a holy God without sin. Oh Father, we earnestly pray for Satan to be defeated so that Jesus can finish His work in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary and return to take us out of this wicked world and put an end to sin. Thank you for hearing and answering our humble prayer, in Jesus name, amen.