1. THE TIME OF BLOTTING OUT OF SINS
a. In relationship to the time of the apostles, when is the blotting out of sins to take place? Acts 3:19, 20.
“The work of the investigative judgment and the blotting out of sins is to be accomplished before the second advent of the Lord. Since the dead are to be judged out of the things written in the books, it is impossible that the sins of men should be blotted out until after the judgment at which their cases are to be investigated.”—The Great Controversy, p. 485.
b. What is happening on earth in preparation for the second coming while our sins are being blotted out of the books of heaven? Ephesians 5:25–27; 1 John 3:2, 3.
“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.”—Ibid., p. 425.
2. THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT
a. How does Daniel describe the judgment scene? Daniel 7:9, 10.
“[Daniel 7:9, 10 quoted.] Thus was presented to the prophet’s vision the great and solemn day when the characters and the lives of men should pass in review before the Judge of all the earth, and to every man should be rendered ‘according to his works.’ The Ancient of Days is God the Father. . . . It is He, the source of all being, and the fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment. And holy angels as ministers and witnesses, in number ‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,’ attend this great tribunal.”—The Great Controversy, p. 479.
b. Who joins in this judgment? Daniel 7:13, 14; Hebrews 9:24.
“The coming of Christ here described is not His second coming to the earth. He comes to the Ancient of Days in heaven to receive dominion and glory and a kingdom, which will be given Him at the close of His work as a mediator. It is this coming, and not His second advent to the earth, that was foretold in prophecy to take place at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844. Attended by heavenly angels, our great High Priest enters the holy of holies and there appears in the presence of God to engage in the last acts of His ministration in behalf of man—to perform the work of investigative judgment and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits.”—Ibid.
“[The righteous dead] will not be present in person at the tribunal when their records are examined and their cases decided.
“Jesus will appear as their advocate, to plead in their behalf before God.”—Ibid., p. 482.
c. How do we know that this coming of Christ is somewhere in heaven rather than to this earth? Psalm 11:4.
“From the Holy of Holies, there goes on the grand work of instruction. The angels of God are communicating to men. Christ officiates in the sanctuary. We do not follow Him into the sanctuary as we should. Christ and angels work in the hearts of the children of men. The church above, united with the church below, is warring the good warfare upon the earth. There must be a purifying of the soul here upon the earth, in harmony with Christ’s cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven. There we shall see more clearly as we are seen. We shall know as we are known.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 27.
3. Prior to the Coming of Christ
a. Does the marriage of Christ to His kingdom take place before or after His return to earth? What symbolism is used to represent the church? Revelation 21:2; Luke 12:35, 36; Revelation 19:9.
“The coming of the bridegroom, here brought to view, takes place before the marriage. The marriage represents the reception by Christ of His kingdom. The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is the capital and representative of the kingdom, is called ‘the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ Said the angel to John: ‘Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ ‘He carried me away in the spirit,’ says the prophet, ‘and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.’ Revelation 21:9, 10. Clearly, then, the bride represents the Holy City, and the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom are a symbol of the church. In the Revelation the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. Revelation 19:9. If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride. Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven, ‘dominion, and glory, and a kingdom;’ He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, ‘prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’ Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2. Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to ‘sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,’ at His table in His kingdom (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30), to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 426, 427.
b. In what role does Jesus come the second time? Revelation 17:14; 19:16.
“Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror. Not now a ‘Man of Sorrows,’ to drink the bitter cup of shame and woe, He comes, victor in heaven and earth, to judge the living and the dead. ‘Faithful and True,’ ‘in righteousness He doth judge and make war.’ And ‘the armies which were in heaven’ (Revelation 19:11, 14) follow Him. With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms—‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.’ No human pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor. . . . As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head; but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun. ‘And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.’ ”—Ibid., p. 641.
4. THE REWARD DETERMINED
a. When is the reward for the saints determined and when is it actually given? Revelation 11:18; 22:12; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.
“By the king’s examination of the guests at the feast is represented a work of judgment. The guests at the gospel feast are those who profess to serve God, those whose names are written in the book of life. But not all who profess to be Christians are true disciples. Before the final reward is given, it must be decided who are fitted to share the inheritance of the righteous. This decision must be made prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven; for when He comes, His reward is with Him, ‘to give every man according as his work shall be.’ Revelation 22:12. Before His coming, then, the character of every man’s work will have been determined, and to every one of Christ’s followers the reward will have been apportioned according to his deeds.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 310.
b. Since people are judged by the law, what needed to be revealed prior to the commencement of the judgment? Revelation 11:19; Acts 17:30; James 4:17.
“Said the angel: ‘If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.’ ”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 116.
c. What is inside the ark of the covenant and how do we learn about the heavenly sanctuary? Hebrews 9:4; 8:5.
“In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. On each end of the ark was a lovely cherub, with its wings spread out over it. Their faces were turned toward each other, and they looked downward. Between the angels was a golden censer. Above the ark, where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory, that appeared like a throne where God dwelt. Jesus stood by the ark, and as the saints’ prayers came up to Him, the incense in the censer would smoke, and He would offer up their prayers with the smoke of the incense to His Father. In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God.”—Early Writings, p. 32.
5. THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
a. Describe the day of atonement in the Levitical system and explain how the blotting out of sins was symbolized in it. Leviticus 16:29, 30; 23:27, 30.
“The actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation—a work of judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people; for when He comes, His reward is with Him to give to every man according to his works. Revelation 22:12.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 421, 422.
b. How should knowing this reality affect our daily choice? 2 Corinthians 6:2.
“Those who are quieting a guilty conscience with the thought that they can change a course of evil when they choose, that they can trifle with the invitations of mercy, and yet be again and again impressed, take this course at their peril. They think that after casting all their influence on the side of the great rebel, in a moment of utmost extremity, when danger compasses them about, they will change leaders. But this is not so easily done. The experience, the education, the discipline of a life of sinful indulgence, has so thoroughly molded the character that they cannot then receive the image of Jesus. Had no light shone upon their pathway, the case would have been different. Mercy might interpose, and give them an opportunity to accept her overtures; but after light has been long rejected and despised, it will be finally withdrawn.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 269.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How do we know that the time for the blotting out of sins must take place prior to the second coming of Jesus?
2. How do we know that the coming of Christ in Daniel 7 is in the most holy place in the temple in heaven rather than to this earth?
3. Explain how the marriage symbolizes Christ accepting His kingdom rather than a marriage to His church.
4. How only can one be judged fairly, thus showing the need to have the most holy place revealed before the judgment?
5. What event in the Old Testament typified the blotting out of sins?