The Path to the Throne of God

 

29. BEFORE THE THRONE


Heaven's Record Books. The Bible mentions three books, or sets of books, that are kept in the archives of the heavenly sanctuary, and were opened when the Judgment began. One of these books is called "The Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Rev. 13:. This book has to do only with those who have aveiled themselves of the great sacrifice of the Lamb of God, and have identified themselves with "the house of God." I Peter 4:17. It is different from the other books that "were opened," which Daniel and John mention. Dan. 7:10; Rev. 20:12. John calls it "another book," and Moses called it "Thy book which Thou (God) hast written." Ex. 32.31,32. It is God's family record book. In it God Himself has written the names of all who from the foundation of the world, beginning with Adam, have been adopted into His family, and have entered His service. Phil. 4:3; Rev. 21:27; GC 480.

Another book, or set of books, is called the Book of Remembrance. This book contains a record of the good deeds of "them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name," those who "spake often one to another." Mal. 3:16; GC 481. This book is so called because God delights to remember every good deed. These deeds never die, therefore the book in which they are recorded has sometimes been called the Book of Life, in contrast with the Book of Death. EW 52. Each one whose name has been registered in the Book of Life has a page or pages in this book written by his guardian angel.

Another record book which our guardian angel has been compelled to write for each one, has fittingly been called the Book of Sins or the "Book of Death!' In this book evil deeds are recorded. "Thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord God." Jer. 2:22. "Behold, it is written before Me: I . . . will recompense . . . your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord." Isa. 65:6,7. "The portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out according to their works, and it is recorded against their names in the Book of Death." GC 661.

Not only the wicked but the righteous have their evil deeds recorded in their Book of Death, for "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," Rom. 8:23, the difference being that the righteous have repented. Their sins have gone before to judgment, I Tim. 5:24, and forgiveness has been written after each one. It is in the holy of holies, the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, that these books are now open - opened for examination in the court room of the universe. When the judgment of the house of God closes, every evil deed of the righteous will be blotted out, and their Book of Death will doubtless be destroyed, their evil deeds never again to be "remembered, nor come into mind." Rev. 20:12; Isa. 65:17.


Type and Antitype. In the type, the earthly sanctuary, from day to day throughout the year sins were confessed and forgiven. "The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and placing his hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand, the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law which had been transgressed." PP 354. Thus the sin was in type transferred to the sanctuary. And what was done in type in the ministration of the earthly sanctuary, is done in reality in the ministration of the heavenly sanctuary. Here, "the sins of The repentant are by faith placed upon Christ, our Sin Offering and Sin Bearer, and transferred in fact to the heavenly sanctuary," where they are recorded in the Book of Sins - the Book of Death. GC 420,421.


"The Judgment Is Set." When our life in the holy place is ended, when our guardian angel has made the last entry in our Book of Remembrance and in our Book of Sins, through these life records, we approach the throne and appear before the great Judge of all the earth. Let us hope all our sins have, by repentance and reformation, gone "before to judgment," I Tim. 5:24, that our passport, sanctification, secured in the holy place, will be accepted. Neither parents nor friends can help us now. "Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me;" Jer. 15:1; "though . . . Noah, Daniel,

and Job" are there, "they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness." Eze. 14:14,16. We stand alone before the throne. Jesus, our Advocate, is there to plead His shed blood for all who have endured to the end. The angel witnesses are present with our life record books open, and we are "judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to (our) works." Rev. 20:12. Everyone has a case at court, and court is set. Just as truly as Christ would have given His life had there been but one soul to redeem, just so surely will He "examine the case of each individual with as close and searching scrutiny as if there were not another being upon the earth. Everyone must be tested, and found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." GC 490.


"The Books Are Opened." From the Book of Life, "Thy book which Thou hast written," the Father, who "presides" in the Judgment, calls a name, Is it my name? Is it your name? The record of our life that has been written in the Book of Remembrance is read by the guardian angel before the Father, Christ the Judge, and the angel witnesses. Here every generous and thoughtful deed, every kind word, every tender, loving thought prompted by God and done in His name, has been faithfully registered. Every prayer offered, "every temptation resisted, every evil overcome, every word of tender pity expressed, is faithfully chronicled." GC 481. Every little act of self- sacrifice made for Jesus' sake, every trial endured for Him - every one has been written, and all will come up in remembrance before the Father when our name is called.

Also, before the angel witnesses, is opened the Book of Sins, the book of death, containing the record of all our wrong doings. In this book has been entered with terrible exactness every wrong and idle word, Matt. 12:36,37, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, every secret sin, and every attempt to deceive. Unheeded warnings, neglected reproofs, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence of our example with its far-reaching results, all have been written by our recording angel. See GC 482. Are repentance and reformation written after each sin? Prov, 28:13.


The Judgment Seat, a Mercy Seat. How thankful we may be that Jesus, our Advocate, “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Heb. 4:15. How thankful that our Father's throne is a mercy seat; that "as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him!" Ps. 103:11. He is our Father, and "like a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him." Ps. 103:13. How our Father longs to cast all our sins behind His back, and "into the depths of the sea"! Isa. 38: 17; Micah 7:19. Such are the "loving kindness and tender mercies" with which our Father crowns His own. Ps. 103:4. With this assurance, we may be certain that the Judge of all the earth will do right. Gen. 18:25.

God will take into consideration even the conditions of each one's birth. "The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah!' Ps. 87:6. Whether a follower of His was born in Egypt, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, or Ethiopia, if he has experienced the second birth and has endured to the end, the Eternal writes him "in His census" as belonging to Zion "by birth." Ps. 87:4-6, Moffatt. Among the faithful, some were born in "Babylon," a synonym of rebellion against God; others were born "in Egypt," a synonym of idolatry and spiritual darkness; still others were born "in Zion," having light and truth and every spiritual advantage. Our Judge understands all this, and will act accordingly. He "seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart." I Sam. 16:7.

But "be not deceived; God is not mocked," Gal. 6:7, for although the Lord is “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,” yet He "will by no means clear the guilty." Ex. 34:6,7. This He cannot do. If He should "acquit the guilty" Moffatt, the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail; everything would be lost; the whole universe would be plunged down to ruin. No, No! This can never be, for our God is just and righteous. "He will make an utter end (of sin and sorrow, of pain and death); Affliction shall not rise up the second time." Nahum 1:9.

To backsliding Israel, God says, "I am weary of repenting." He calls not only for repentance but for a change of life. Some day His mercy will end. Then He will say, "0 Jerusalem. . . thou art gone backward; therefore will I stretch out Mine hand against thee, and destroy thee." Jer. 15:5,6.


Sins or Names Blotted Out - Which? David prayed, "Blot out my Transgressions," "blot out all mine iniquities." Ps. 51:1,9. To those who denied Christ before Pilate, Peter urged, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted “that your sins may be blotted out.” When? "When . . . He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was was preached unto you." Acts 3:13,19,20. In his passionate soul yearning for sinful Israel, Moses prayed, "If Thou wilt forgive their sin - ; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written." Ex. 32:32. And Jesus says, "He that overcometh . .

. 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." Rev. 3:5. “When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the Book of Life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God's remembrance.” GC 483.

Sins "crucify. . . the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame." Heb. 6:6. This is a fearful fact! Nevertheless, when I sincerely repent of and confess my sin, making proper restitution, Jesus assumes the guilt and grants me forgiveness. Every sin thus confessed has gone "before to judgment." I Tim. 5:24, and is marked forgiven in my book of death. But the sin is not then blotted out. Like the blood record on the veil in the type, its record remains in the book in the heavenly sanctuary. After this life is ended, or my probation closes, when my name comes up in the Judgment, if I have been faithful, Jesus confirms His forgiveness, and I am granted complete and eternal absolution from sin. Then, but not till then, my sins are forever blotted out, never again to come into mind. How wonderful!

“Who is a God like unto Thee that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? Because He delighteth in mercy . . . He will have compassion upon us .

. . He will cast all our sins into the depths ef the sea." Micah 7:18,19. "Into the depths of the sea" is a striking figure. As one writer says its average depth is about two and one half miles, while its greatest depth, near the Island of Guam is nearly seven miles where no light ever enters. Thus our sins will not only be forgiven but forgotten, for God Himself says, "I will remember their sin no more." Jer. 31:34. Wonderful! Wonderful!

The Judgment of the dead of the house of God is now in progress, but so far as we know it has not begun on us who are living. The command to us now is not "Get ready" but "Be ready." "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matt. 24:44. Therefore it is important that day by day, before we go to sleep at night, every sin has been confessed and has gone before to judgment, and so much the more as we see the day approaching; for we know not what hour our life may be snuffed out and our probation closed.

My name or my sins - which shall be blotted out? Which shall it be for me? Which shall it be for you? A few more short years will decide. Only those enter the City of God whose names at that time "are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." Rev. 21:27. In this, our antitypical day of atonement, let us be sure that every day our sins "go before to judgment."

The saddest of all sad things in the Judgment is that some names once recorded in the Book of Life must be blotted out, an act typified by the "cutting off" from Israel on the earthly day of atonement. The Father keeps a personal watch over every one whose name has been written in "His Book," and over whom all heaven rejoiced when as a sinner he repented. Luke 15:10. After all His years of watchfulness and loving solicitude, what grief it must cause Him when a name once recorded must be blotted out!

Some enter the Christian life, but do not endure to the end. Matt. 10:22. Of such Ezekiel gives us this faithful picture: 'When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them . . . all his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned . . . ; in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." "Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness . . . and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall . . . surely live, he shall not die." "Therefore . . . repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so

iniquity shall not be your ruin. For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." Eze. 18:26,24,27,28,30,32; 33:12-20. What an appeal from the heart of the Almighty!


The Angel With the Golden Censer. There were many brazen censers, used by Israel on different occasions, Num. 16:39, but only one golden censer. The golden censer was used only by the high priest on the day of atonement, at "the ark of the covenant," "After the second veil." Heb. 9:4,3. On that day, after burning incense on the golden altar in the holy place, the high priest filled the golden censer with live coals from the altar. He then sprinkled incense on the coals and carried the censer into the most holy place, putting it on the mercy seat between the two golden cherubim. Lev. 16:12,13; EW 32,252.

When the high priest began his service in the most holy place, his ministration in the first apartment ceased - "There was no man in the tabernacle of the congregation;" that is, in the first apartment. Lev. 16:17. Likewise 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 apartnent began. . . and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners." GC 428, 429. This will continue until His ministry as Intercessor is over.

As the work of Christ the heavenly High Priest, is closing, John saw an Angel, "having a golden censer," who came to the golden altar and offered much incense with the prayers of all saints (those who afflict their souls during the Judgment hour) upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the Angel's hand. Rev. 8:3,4.

What act of Christ immediately follows this His last offering of incense? "And the Angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth (where Satan bears sway); and there were voices, and thunderings and lightnings, and an earthquake." Rev. 8:3-5. By this act, Christ delcares His work as Intercessor ended. The antitypical day of atonement is past, and probation for the human family is forever closed. Mercy is no longer extended to the impenitent, and the decree goes forth, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." Rev. 22:11,12; Eze. 9..9,10. Then the confessed sins of all the righteous as well as those "which had been confessed while He (Christ) was in the most holy place, were placed upon Satan, the originator of sin, who must suffer their punishment." GC 422. Here in this earth, which he himself has made a wilderness, he will be left to roam about until at last he is destroyed. Rev. 20:1- 3, 7-10. This was symbolized in the earthly sanctuary in the closing service of the day of atonement, when the high priest having finished his mediatorial work for the year, came out of the sanctuary, confessed the forgiven sins of Israel on the head of the scapegoat, and sent him into the wilderness to perish. EW 280,281; Also GC 422.


The Man with a Writer's Inkhorn. When Christ throws down His censer, His people are left without a Mediator. EW 280. Then a man "clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side," Eze. 9:2, is commanded to go through Jerusalem and set "a mark upon the foreheads" of those who with heart and soul have devoted their all to the services of the day of final Judgment. Eze. 9:4. What is this mark? Is it not the Father's name, Rev. 14:1, which seals His loyal children as His own? Finally the man in linen reports that his work is done. v. 11.


The Six Men with Slaughter Weapons. Those who have not participated in the services of the antitypical day of atonement do not receive the mark, and are cut off from Israel - subjects for the work of the angels with slaughter weapons in their hands. Eze. 9:2,5-7. So terrible and so extensive is this work that Ezekiel fell upon his face, crying, “Ah, Lord God! wilt Thou destroy all the residue (the remnant) of Israel in Thy pouring out of Thy fury upon Jerusalem?” v. 8.

Christ, the Deliverer. When the work of intercession is over and probation has closed, at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of Thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time." Dan. 12:31; GC 613. "And after these things" - after the close of the sixth seal, Rev. 6:12-17, the sealing of the 144,000 is finished. Rev. 7:1-8. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Dan. 12:2. "All who have died in the faith of the third angel's message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God's covenant of peace with those who have kept His law." GC 637. Then the seventh seal is opened - that seal which is characterized by "silence in heaven," Rev. 8:1, because all the inhabitants of heaven have left and are accompanying Christ at His second coming to claim His redeemed. "And at that time Thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" - the Book of Life. Dan. 12:1.


Duration of the Judgment. According to the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, this work of Judgment began more than one hundred years ago. Does one hundred years seem a long time? Certainly God could do it in less time, but let us remember that He is dealing now, not with material things as at creation - water, and earth, and air, - but with the souls of those who were created in His own image and whom His Son died to redeem. Moreover, Satan must have no excuse to say that God was partial or that He acted unjustly. 0 no! Beginning with the patriarchs, all whose names have ever been written in the Book of Life are called, one by one. "Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated." GC 483. Have all their sins been confessed? Have their sins gone before to judgment? Have they "endured unto the end" of their lives? If so, Jesus confesses their names before the Father, Matt. 10:32; Luke 11:8, all their mistakes and failures are forever blotted out, and their names are retained in the Lamb's Book of Life. Rev. 3:5.

For such a work is one hundred years a long time? In one hundred years there are 876,600 hours. If an average of half an hour is allowed for each case, only 1,753,200 cases could be considered, sins blotted out, and names confessed by Christ before the Father, or names and good deeds blotted out, and sins retained. A much longer time, one thousand years, will be given to the judgment of the wicked. Rev. 20:4,6.


"Get Ready!" The Sands of time are now nearly run out. When the cases of the righteous dead have all been considered, Judgment will begin on the living. Then your case and mine will come in review before Jehovah, the Ancient of Days. How thankful we can be that Jesus is now pleading for His people, "not as a petitioner to move the Father to compassion, but as a conqueror who claims the trophies of His victory." GW 154. When the Judgment of the righteous living is completed, the blotting out of sin will be finished, the "household of God" will be made up, Eph. 2:19, and Jesus will come to take His children to their eternal home. John 14:3. "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly." Zeph. 1:14. Am I ready? Are you ready? "Get ready! Get ready! Get ready!" is Heaven's appeal to us today. EW 64-67; 119.


The Judgment is set, the books have been opened, How shall we stand in that great day,

When every thought, and word, and action, God, the righteous Judge, shall weigh?


How shall we stand in that great day?

How shall we stand in that great day? Shall we be found before Him wanting?

Or with our sins all washed away?

- F. E. Belden