Sabbath, February 1, 2014
“Christ represented His Father to the world, and He represents before God the chosen ones in whom He has restored the moral image of God. They are His heritage…. No priest, no religionist, can reveal the Father to any son or daughter of Adam. Men have only one Advocate, one Intercessor, who is able to pardon transgression.” –That I May Know Him, p. 73.
Jesus, the Advocate
1. As the books are opened and each case is examined, as what does Jesus appear before God? With whom does this mediation begin and end?
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
“Jesus will appear as their advocate, to plead in their behalf before God. ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ 1 John 2:1. ‘For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.’ ‘Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.’ Hebrews 9:24; 7:25.
“As the books of record are opened in the judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 482, 483.
Some accepted, others rejected
2. Why are some names rejected and blotted out of the book of life?
Ezekiel 18:24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
Exodus 32:33 And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
“Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. Names are accepted, names rejected. 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. The Lord declared to Moses: ‘Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book.’ Exodus 32:33. And says the prophet Ezekiel: ‘When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity,… all his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned.’ Ezekiel 18:24.” –The Great Controversy, p. 483.
3. What is essential to receive eternal life?
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
Romans 3:24-26 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
“All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life. The Lord declares, by the prophet Isaiah: ‘I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.’ Isaiah 43:25. Said Jesus: ‘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.’ ‘Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.’ Revelation 3:5; Matthew 10:32, 33.” –The Great Controversy, p. 483.
A just trial
4. What characterizes God’s work in investigating every action? For whom does the divine Intercessor plead?
Psalm 50:6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself.
Isaiah 5:16 But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.
Psalm 50:5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
“The deepest interest manifested among men in the decisions of earthly tribunals but faintly represents the interest evinced in the heavenly courts when the names entered in the book of life come up in review before the Judge of all the earth. The divine Intercessor presents the plea that all who have overcome through faith in His blood be forgiven their transgressions, that they be restored to their Eden home, and crowned as joint heirs with Himself to ‘the first dominion.’ Micah 4:8. Satan in his efforts to deceive and tempt our race had thought to frustrate the divine plan in man’s creation; but Christ now asks that this plan be carried into effect as if man had never fallen. He asks for His people not only pardon and justification, full and complete, but a share in His glory and a seat upon His throne.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 483, 484.
Work of the accuser
5. Even as the judgment is being conducted in heaven, what does Satan continue doing on earth?
Zechariah 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
Revelation 12:12, last part … Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
“While Jesus is pleading for the subjects of His grace, Satan accuses them before God as transgressors. The great deceiver has sought to lead them into skepticism, to cause them to lose confidence in God, to separate themselves from His love, and to break His law. Now he points to the record of their lives, to the defects of character, the unlikeness to Christ, which has dishonored their Redeemer, to all the sins that he has tempted them to commit, and because of these he claims them as his subjects.” –The Great Controversy, p. 484.
“As Satan accused Joshua and his people, so in all ages he accuses those who seek the mercy and favor of God. He is ‘the accuser of our brethren,… which accused them before our God day and night.’ Revelation 12:10. Over every soul that is rescued from the power of evil, and whose name is registered in the Lamb’s book of life, the controversy is repeated. Never is one received into the family of God without exciting the determined resistance of the enemy.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 586.
Defense of the believers
6. How does Jesus defend His people in the heavenly court?
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Zechariah 3:2 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
“Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith, and, claiming for them forgiveness, He lifts His wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying: I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of My hands. ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.’ Psalm 51:17. And to the accuser of His people He declares: ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?’ Zechariah 3:2. Christ will clothe His faithful ones with His own righteousness, that He may present them to His Father ‘a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.’ Ephesians 5:27. Their names stand enrolled in the book of life, and concerning them it is written: ‘They shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.’ Revelation 3:4.” –The Great Controversy, p. 484.
Seeking pardon through Jesus Christ
7. Who alone can give a person sincere repentance, forgiveness, and good works?
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Isaiah 26:12 Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
“Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon–none know how soon–it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Saviour’s admonition: ‘Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.’ Mark 13:33. ‘If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.’ Revelation 3:3.” –The Great Controversy, p. 490.
Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 11:29, 30; Mark 13:33, 35, 36.
“Sins that have not been repented of and forsaken will not be pardoned and blotted out of the books of record, but will stand to witness against the sinner in the day of God. He may have committed his evil deeds in the light of day or in the darkness of night; but they were open and manifest before Him with whom we have to do. Angels of God witnessed each sin and registered it in the unerring records. Sin may be concealed, denied, covered up from father, mother, wife, children, and associates; no one but the guilty actors may cherish the least suspicion of the wrong; but it is laid bare before the intelligences of heaven. The darkness of the darkest night, the secrecy of all deceptive arts, is not sufficient to veil one thought from the knowledge of the Eternal. God has an exact record of every unjust account and every unfair dealing. He is not deceived by appearances of piety. He makes no mistakes in His estimation of character. Men may be deceived by those who are corrupt in heart, but God pierces all disguises and reads the inner life.” –The Great Controversy, p. 486.