Love Under Fire


Closing Work in the Sanctuary

Similarly, in the parable of Matthew 22 the judgment takes place before the marriage. Previous to the wedding the king comes in to see if all the guests are wearing the wedding garment, the spotless robe of character washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14). In God's examination, all who have the wedding garment on are accepted and judged worthy of a share in God's kingdom and a seat on His throne. This work of character examination is the investigative judgment, the closing work in the sanctuary above. LF 177.1

When the cases of those who in all ages have professed Christ have been examined and decided, then probation will close and the door of mercy will be shut. So in one short sentence, “Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut,” we are carried down to the time when the great work for our salvation will be completed. LF 177.2

In the earthly sanctuary, when the high priest entered the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement, the service in the first apartment ended. Likewise, when Christ entered the Holy of Holies to perform the closing work of the atonement, He ended His ministry in the first apartment. Then the ministry in the second apartment began. Christ had completed only one part of His work as our intercessor, in order to begin another portion of the work. He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners. LF 177.3

While it is true that that door of hope and mercy was closed by which for eighteen hundred years sinners had found access to God, another door had opened. God still offered forgiveness of sins through the intercession of Christ in the Most Holy. There was still an “open door” to the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ was ministering for sinners. LF 177.4

Now people could see the meaning of those words of Christ in the Revelation, meant for this very time: “These things says He who is holy, He who is true, ‘He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’: ... See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it” (Revelation 3:7, 8). LF 177.5

Those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement receive the benefits of His mediation, while those who reject the light get no benefit from it. The Jews who refused to believe on Christ as Savior could not receive forgiveness through Him. When Jesus ascended and entered the heavenly sanctuary to pour out on His disciples the blessings of His mediation, those Jews were left in darkness to continue their useless sacrifices and offerings. The door that before had given people access to God was no longer open. The Jews had refused to seek Him in the only way He could then be found, through the sanctuary in heaven. LF 177.6

The unbelieving Jews illustrate the condition of the careless and unbelieving among professed Christians who are willingly ignorant of the work of our High Priest. In the symbolic service, when the high priest went into the Most Holy Place, all of the Israelites were required to gather around the sanctuary and humble their hearts before God, so that they could receive pardon of sins and not be “cut off” from the congregation. How much more essential in this final Day of Atonement that we understand the work of our High Priest and know what duties are required of us. LF 178.1

Heaven sent a message to the world in Noah's day, and their salvation depended on how they treated that message (Genesis 6:6-9; Hebrews 11:7). In the time of Sodom, all but Lot with his wife and two daughters were consumed by fire sent down from heaven (Genesis 19). It was the same in the days of Christ. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, “Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:38). Looking down to the last days, the same Infinite Power declares concerning those who “did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved”: “For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11). As they reject the teachings of His Word, God withdraws His Spirit and leaves them to the deceptions that they love. But Christ still intercedes for humanity, and God will give light those who seek it. LF 178.2

The passing of the time in 1844 brought great trial to those who held the advent faith. Their only relief was the light that pointed their minds to the sanctuary above. As they waited and prayed, they saw that their great High Priest had begun another work of ministry. As they followed Him by faith, He led them to see also the closing work of the church. They had a clearer understanding of the first and second angels’ messages, and were prepared to receive the solemn warning of the third angel of Revelation 14 and give it to the world. LF 178.3