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Looking Unto Jesus

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    33 THE SUBJECT CONCLUDED

    BEFORE closing, a retrospective view of at least some portions of the subject passed over, may be profitable. Much space has been devoted to the subject of the sanctuary, because that is the place where Christ performs his mediatorial work, and in “looking unto Jesus,” that necessarily comes into particular view, and demands careful study. The fault to be found with too many is, that in looking unto Jesus, while they think that they see Jesus, it is with a clouded imperfect gaze; they do not see the place where he ministers, nor the nature of the service he performs, nor the modus operandi of his work, nor the philosophy, beauty, and impressiveness of his priesthood as set forth in the type, nor, above all, the chronology of his ministration, which unveils before our eyes such startling conclusions. How wonderfully cleared and refocused would their vision become on these important points, if studied in the light of the sanctuary. A few questions and answers may therefore help to rivet this portion of the subject on the minds of some.LUJ 273.1

    To the question, “The sanctuary - what is it?” the answer has been plainly found. It is not the earth, not the land of Palestine, not the church; but, as revealed to us in the scriptures, it is, first, the dwelling which the Lord provided for himself here among men, in the tabernacle of Moses, and afterward in the temple of Jerusalem; and, secondly, it is the temple of God in heaven, his dwelling-place on high, where Christ presents his intercessions for lost men. This was not made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. Hebrews 9:8.LUJ 273.2

    To the question, “When is it?” the answer has come. In all its most important aspects, it is now. Beginning with Moses, fifteen hundred years before Christ, it becomes an object of ever-increasing interest, till, as we reach our own generation, and the work connected with it is about to close, the issues there to be decided make it an all-important center of consideration and study.LUJ 274.1

    To the question, “Where is it?” the answer is equally plain. During the typical dispensation, it was here upon earth; in the present antitypical dispensation, it is in heaven.LUJ 274.2

    What are its uses? - It is the center around which all the worship of God revolves, and to which every act of devotion points. And why? - Because it is the habitation of God, and there in the most holy, he placed the transcript of his will, the ten commandments; and there on the mercy-seat, the cover of the ark, is the focal point in the work of redemption, where “mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other.” Psalm 85:10. There reposes the law which shows transgression; and there is presented the blood which satisfies the law, and, so far as the sinner’s record is concerned, blots out the sin.LUJ 274.3

    What bearing does it have on the question of the law? - It shows its perpetuity and immutability beyond the possibility of any question. It reveals it to us as intimately connected with the gospel; for it reposes beneath the mercy-seat, where mercy for its violations is provided by the gospel. It reveals it as the foundation of God’s throne, the very principles of his government, as over it were the cherubim and the Shekinah of God’s presence.LUJ 274.4

    What are its relations, and how extensive? - The previous chapters of this work have partially and imperfectly answered this question. It relates to everything in the plan of salvation and has to do with every individual who comes within the range of Christ’s redeeming work.LUJ 275.1

    What prominence is given to it on the inspired pages of the book of God’s revelation to men? - Great prominence. The word occurs one hundred and forty-four times, not merely as casual mentions, but often as the theme of the discourse itself.LUJ 275.2

    What bearing has it upon the interpretation of the prophecies? - A bearing the most intimate. It shows that no prophetic period reaches to the coming of the Lord, but only to the comparatively short work called the “cleansing of the sanctuary,” which just precedes that coming. It thus saves us from the folly of time-setting. It clears up the mystery and explains the disappointment in the past Advent movement. It was by mistaking the sanctuary to mean the earth, and supposing that the cleansing of the sanctuary meant the purifying of the earth by the flaming fire in which the Lord Jesus is to be revealed, that the coming of the Lord was vainly looked for at the end of the 2300 days in 1844. But the prophecy only said, “Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” which is now seen to be the closing work of our High Priest in the temple above. It explains the parable of the wedding garment (Matthew 22:11-13), shows where that preliminary work of judgment comes in, which must precede the coming of Christ, and shows how and when that sentence which eternally fixes every man’s condition, whether he be filthy or righteous, unjust or holy, can go forth before the Lord appears. Revelation 22:11.LUJ 275.3

    How is its past history calculated to interest, or its present work to concern us? - Its past history interests us because it is the text-book from which we learn the nature of the present work of our great High Priest above, and the manner of his ministration; and its present work concerns us, because in connection with the declaration of the prophecies concerning it, we learn more definitely than from any other source, our proximity to the end.LUJ 275.4

    In what way are our dearest interests connected with it? - Our dearest interests are there because there is our only hope of life and salvation. There is to be found the only means that can cleanse our souls from guilt, and there the only Advocate who can plead our cause. If we accept his mediation on the free terms offered, our case will go well; if we reject it, all is lost. The court is now in session! its sittings soon will close, and its eternal decisions be rendered!LUJ 276.1

    These are the claims it now has upon our attention, the strongest and most urgent that can ever be brought to bear upon the hearts of thoughtful men.LUJ 276.2

    All through its history are epochs of interest. It was a point of great interest when the tabernacle was first erected in this world of ours, and an outward symbol of the work of salvation was given to men.LUJ 276.3

    It was a point of interest when the tabernacle gave place to the larger and more glorious structure of the temple, and when in the dedication of that temple the most imposing religious ceremony was performed which the world has ever witnessed.LUJ 276.4

    It was a point of still greater interest when the typical dispensation closed, and a transfer was made from the sanctuary below to the sanctuary on high. Henceforward we come directly to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and turn our attention to Jerusalem above. Hebrews 12:22-24.LUJ 276.5

    A point of still deeper interest to us was reached when at the end of the 2300 days in 1844 the time came for the cleansing of the sanctuary, and the ministration was moved from the holy into the most holy place. Then the temple of God was opened in heaven. Then the scene took place described in Daniel 7:9, 10, 13, 14. Then the seventh trumpet began to sound. Revelation 10:7. Then was discerned, by faith, the ark of God’s testament there. Revelation 11:19. Then the position of the moral law was seen, enthroned in the very presence of Jehovah, immutable, eternal. Then was discovered the connection between this subject and the seal of the living God, the sealing work, the last message of mercy, and the closing up of the great Advent movement of the present generation. Then the mystery of God began to be finished, the atonement to be made, and the sanctuary to be cleansed. Then the foretold judgment hour began, and the church entered upon the great Sabbath reform. With this subject all portions of the messages of Revelation 14:6-12 are connected; this is the grand center and citadel of what can now be denominated, “The present truth.”LUJ 277.1

    Then it was seen that the time of probation could last but a little longer; for the final work in the sanctuary must be brief. Should it be otherwise, it would destroy the type, and show in the plan and work of God a want of consistency and harmony, which we know does not exist. And already for over half a century this work of examining the records of the lives of those who come into this portion of the judgment, has been going forward. The natural order would be, and doubtless is as follows: beginning with the human family at the opening of the world’s history, the examination passes down through successive generations, in consecutive order, till at length the cases of the last generation, the living, are reached, who come latest into this investigative judgment, and the work closes. And what generation has the work now reached? Has it come down to the age of Noah? of Abraham? of Job? of Moses? of Daniel? Has it reached the age of the apostles and the early Christians? Are their cases now in review before the great tribunal above? Has it come down to the setting up of the papacy, to the Dark Ages, when the Waldenses and other few faithful witnesses in obscurity and concealment kept the light of God’s truth alive in the world? Has it come down to the great Reformation, to the times of Luther? of the Wesleys? We know not. We know only that while the world is flattering itself with the cry of “peace and safety,” or is swallowed up in the mad rush of strife, or the race for wealth or pleasure, it is passing down with swift but silent tread, somewhere through these generations, and rapidly approaching the living. Then our cases will come up for decision, and our destiny be decided forever. And what is our attitude? are we waiting, watching, preparing?LUJ 277.2

    But with considerations of such thrilling interest, even, as these, our view of this subject does not end. We go forward a little in the future, and behold the sins of all the righteous loaded upon the head of the antitypical scapegoat, to be put away forever. We see that scapegoat, Satan, bound, and the saints forever free from his power. This is a point of transcendent interest to all the righteous. Then we take our first drafts from the cup of immortality. Our sins are borne away. They come up to trouble us no more. We cannot recall them; and even God says that he will forget them. Hebrews 8:12. He who instigated them will then have received them back again. Here the serpent’s head is effectually bruised by the seed of the woman. Genesis 3:15. Here the strong man armed (Satan), who has been shutting up even the followers of Christ in his prison-house, the grave, for six thousand years, will be bound by a stronger than he (Christ), and his house be spoiled of its precious treasures. Luke 11:21, 22. Then will the tares have been bound in bundles for the burning, and the wheat have been gathered into the heavenly garner. Matthew 13:30. Then our High Priest will have come forth from the sanctuary to pronounce the everlasting blessing upon his waiting people. Then we shall have come, not by faith merely, as we do now, but in deed and in truth, unto Mount Zion, and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. Hebrews 12:22-24. Then will the redeemed, placing the foot of triumph upon the world, the flesh, and the Devil, raise their glad voices in the song of Moses and the Lamb. Revelation 15:3. Glorious and longed-for day! The Lord hasten it in his time.LUJ 278.1

    One more scene remains: the kindling of those final fires prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41) at the end of the thousand years. Revelation 20:7-11. Here is also the perdition of ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:7. And here all the agents of evil, root and branch, Satan and all his followers, be they angels or men, are destroyed from the universe of God. Malachi 4:1. The deepest taint of the curse is burned out of the earth; the last vestige of disgrace is removed; and from the ashes of the old system, by a new act of God’s creative energy, who says, “Behold, I make all things new,” there spring forth a new heavens and new earth, to be the fitting abode of the redeemed forever. 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:5. And of Satan’s original rebellion, then nothing remains but the great and solemn lesson of sin and its fearful results, which will ever tend to confirm in uprightness and holiness all the happy intelligences which then remain in all the then happy universe.LUJ 279.1

    Thus triumphantly for God’s name and glory does his controversy with sin and sinners end. Here are finished the results of all Christ’s work as connected with the sanctuary. Redemption is successfully completed. The original purpose in regard to this world, that it should be the beauteous abode of holy beings, is carried out. Isaiah 45:18. The requisite number to people it is secured, and the earth is renewed to be their eternal abode. Here the righteous are called to inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. Such are some of the wonderful scenes that are presented to our view, while “looking unto Jesus;” for he is the sun and center of them all. In “looking unto Jesus,” here we are blessed and comforted, sustained and guided in our pilgrimage journey; but in the bright immortal world to come, the land that has seemed so far off, he will still be the center of attraction; for there we “shall see the King in his beauty.” Isaiah 33:17.LUJ 280.1

    And from this height of ineffable bliss, in rapturous unison with God, and Christ, and angels, and the hosts of the redeemed, away through the ever-revolving cycles of eternity, there will open before us boundless vistas ofLUJ 280.2

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