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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

An excerpt from my book, The Seven Trumpets and the Investigative Judgment

Chapter 5

Revelation Chapter 8: The Trumpets Begin

Revelation chapter 8 ends the scene of all the future excitement in heaven, the victorious church of chapter 7 upon which John, like Jeremiah, so pleasantly lingered (see Jeremiah 31). With Jeremiah John could say, “Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me” (Jer. 31:26, cf vs. 25). John, like Jeremiah, was viewing the redemption of another humbled Israel. John must, however, leave the triumphant picture of eternity, and revert to the mustering church still earth-bound and marching against Satan. The scene of Revelation 7’s celebration must close in patient hope. The future eternal celebration must cease from John’s sight, for he must review the most solemn period of all Earth’s history, the final examination that decides who will be part of Revelation 7’s joyful, eternal kingdom of God, or who will refuse the war with self in order to gain the everlasting kingdom. Revelation chapter 7 provides the hope and encouragement that would be needed for the reader of The Revelation prior to continuing on to the distressing scenes of the seventh seal’s seven trumpets. Christ’s chapter 7 vision does for the reader what He did for His disciples when He gave them a break from their public labors. “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). Now, in chapter 8 the reader must hear His words to move forward in battle. “Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward” (Deut. 2:3) to fight for the church’s home in the heavenly land of promise, “in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established” (Ex. 15:17, cf Ps. 77:13; Heb. 8:1, 2).

On October 22, 1844, the seventh seal opens and there is a solemn silence in heaven for about a half hour (one week on earth, see verse 1). This occurs at the close of the 2,300 year prophecy of Daniel, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed” (Dan. 8:14, cf Dan. 9:25; Ezra 7:7). That prophecy began in 457 B.C. in the days of Ezra. The week of silence intentionally divides chapter 7’s eternal celebrations by the victorious church at Jesus’ coming from the next scenes of the church still militant against sin and Satan, which precede Christ’s final redemption and His celebrations (see Isaiah 25). The Revelation chapter 8 silence separates the final reward, seen in chapter 7, from the necessary struggles that culminate in that final reward. The day of reward will cause the redeemed to expel all sin from their heart, cleanse sin from the heavenly sanctuary, condemn Satan and his hosts (see Leviticus 16:12; Daniel 8:9-14, 23-25), and will forever hide every reminiscence of the great controversy (see Leviticus 16:16, 19, 30; Isaiah 65:17). Since the days of Adam, all who sought God’s love and grace, and obtained it, were recorded in the book of life (see Psalm 56:8). However, Jesus tells in His parable that not every soul fights to retain His grace all the way to the very end of life. (See Matthew 13:20-22; Matthew 24:13; Revelation 1:3; 2:25, 26; 16:15; Hebrews 2:1-3; 3:6; 6:4-8, 15; Romans 4:17-22; John 8:31.)

Jesus said that most do not strive for the fullest surrender that comes at life’s completion (see Matthew 7:13; Revelation 2:11; Hebrews 10:36, 38). They do not put their whole will and heart toward pleasing God or toward wrestling with His Law for the duration of their lifetime. They become indolent, temptation engulfs them, and they end up with an abrasive heart and character, and a spiritual experience of thorns and briers (see Isaiah 32:13, 16; 33:11-14; Matthew 7:15-17; 12:43-45; 1 Samuel 16:1). They miss the fullness of redemption, not doing like Abraham who continued pressing for the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (see Romans 4:18-22).

Therefore, an investigation by Jesus must ensue (see Ezekiel 34:17; Isaiah 40:10) and be recorded by all the angelic hosts (see Revelation 3:5; 14:6, 10; Luke 15:7, 10, 21; Daniel 4:13, 35). It must judge all whose hearts had confessed the Son of God, from Adam until the end of the judgment. Heaven must examine all who initially surrendered to the condemnation and goodness of God, who trusted in the pouring out of Christ’s soul for them, and ultimately whose candlestick Satan was or was not able to take away (see Revelation 2:5; Matthew 13:38-43; 22:12-14; Revelation 17:14). If their trust and obedience remained to the end, then the heavenly court will not blot out their names from the book of life.

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 (Rev. 3:5, cf Heb. 3:6; 10:39).

He that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matt. 10:22).

This infers that Jesus must blot out of His book some people. They will not keep His word and remain surrendered to the will of God; they will not keep setting their love on Jesus, enduring (see John 8:31; 14:21-23; Psalm 91:14-16; Revelation 3:11) until the end in the battle against their exceeding sinfulness. The sanctuary cleansing infers that there will be judgment on those who failed in that investigation (see 1 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Peter 2:18-22; 1 Peter 4:17; Psalm 73:17) by their rejoining Satan’s hosts (see 1 Timothy 5:11-13; 2 Timothy 4:10). But thankfully, the promise means blessing on everyone who, like their Master, patiently held the beginning of their confidence in God to the very last moment of life (see Hebrews 3:14; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8). It promises that through His continued, abundant grace from above, many do overcome. The great cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and the investigative judgment determine who of the final generation will stand when Jesus returns and who will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8, 9). When Jesus returns, He delivers those who, after the investigation and “a time of trouble, such as never was” (Dan. 12:1), are still “found written in the book” (Dan. 12:1, cf Rev. 13:8; 17:8).

The Revelation chapter 8 sanctuary scene is a solemn event because it begins the preliminary spiritual judgments upon the world before Christ’s return. The preliminary investigation period must require soul-searching from everyone on earth. “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come” (Rev. 14:7). Is my mind fortified with truth so that I can stand in the day of battle as Paul valiantly fought for the gospel, and I will ultimately stand in the day of destruction? Does the love of God so control my heart that Satan cannot inspire me with hatred toward even one enemy in the persecutions? Can I accept correction? Can I be reproved? Can my appetites survive “the loss of all things”, “to be abased”, to be “hungry”, and “to suffer need” (Phil. 3:8; 4:12) during the time of trouble and Jesus’ return? Am I experiencing the Early Rain’s justification and sanctification by faith so that I can take part in the Latter Rain’s sealing and glorification by faith? Am I reconciling with the work of losing personal idols; do I “count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:8)? Are the heavenly agencies putting in me a love of the truth and giving me the Early Rain’s promised sprinkling from a cursed, evil conscience, giving me relief from the hounding of Satan for my past shame? Am I already washing my robe “white in the blood of the Lamb” and preparing to be the fully ripened fruit of the great tribulation” (Rev. 7:14)? Am I open to the heavenly agencies’ reproducing the character of Jesus in me (see 1 John 3:1-3), even perfectly reproducing it, as our Father in heaven is perfect (see Matthew 5:48)? Am I being sanctified by the truth that I preach, or am I a castaway? Am I understanding and experiencing the science of salvation, so that I will be among the 144,000 who correctly preach “the everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6) “in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matt. 24:14)?

Per the Old Testament atonement guideline, the investigation mandates such self-examination. “Whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day [during the Day of Atonement], he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls” (Lev. 23:29-32). “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23, 24). Therefore, examining our character and conscience in the light of the Law of God demands our special attention today. Yet, trusting in Christ’s redemptive suffering for us to give rest and victory over sin has not become obsolete in this closing period of Earth’s history, which we have called the investigative judgment. Trusting Christ will be a current requirement all the way to the end. This judgment period for investigating our characters should not cause us any misgivings because it motivates us by amplifying our need of the Son (see 1 John 3:3-7). So, the investigative judgment and the sealing are a good thing. The sealing comes by faith in the Son; everyone else lives under the wrath of God (see John 3:36).

John sees a High Priestly Angel standing at a golden altar before God (see Revelation 8:3). This altar can be none other than the altar of incense which guards the “second veil” (Heb. 9:3, cf Heb. 9:4) that had been set up at the entrance to the Most Holy Places of both earthly and heavenly sanctuaries (see Hebrews 8:2, 5). Therefore Christ’s incense goes up to His Father with the “with the prayers” (Rev. 8:3) of His children. There He intercedes before His Father for their heaven-borne requests and communion, giving them groans that they could not of themselves utter (see Romans 8:26; Galatians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 5:2). This scene of Revelation chapter 8 indicates a preparation to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary. The Angel is carrying a censer, officiating at the altar of incense. Thus, He is ready to enter the Most Holy on the Day of Atonement of October 22, 1844. Like ancient Israel crowding around the tent sanctuary in the wilderness, Christ is surrounded by “all saints” (Rev. 8:3, cf Lev. 23:29) ― His Millerite people who are praying for God’s grace to remain firm during that dark time of their desire to see Jesus.

Gary, a Bible student acquaintance, made this seventh seal introduction more concretely connected to the cleansing of the sanctuary and to the investigative judgment period. He showed me the comparison of the Revelation 8:3 over-abundant incense with its type.

Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: and he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail (Lev. 16:11, 12).

The “much” incense of the angelic High Priest in Revelation 8 is the antitype of the two handfuls of incense that Aaron needed both times he entered the earthly Most Holy Place on each annual Day of Atonement. Everything in Revelation 8:3 speaks of the ceremonial, typical events that took place yearly in the great, final seventh month Atonement, and therefore Revelation 8 speaks of the literal, antitypical commencement of the heavenly sanctuary cleansing. The earthly antitype is what Revelation 8 looks back on and uses it to show the antitype’s fulfillment during the last days seventh seal period.

As we saw in Revelation chapter 6, the sixth seal finished with the close of the Millerite movement, which had begun the proclamation of Christ’s return. Next, we saw Revelation 6:17-7:3 pause the seven seal storyline and insert the Revelation 7:4ff tangent. That tangent intimated much trouble ahead of them, but also wonderful hope afterwards. It gave a snapshot of a difficult battle for blotting out the sins of the 144,000, and a glorious victory in their ultimate atonement to the Father as the scene trailed off into a still more glorious eternity with Him and the Lamb (see Revelation 7:14-17).

Now, Revelation 8:1 picks up the seven seal storyline again. And please notice first, that before the Angel begins His cleansing and throws down His censor, the seven angels who will blow the seven trumpets are already involved and are standing by for their great work (see Revelation 8:2) during the seventh seal. Therefore, this scene of angels and their trumpets before and after of the Day of Atonement scene says that the rest of chapter 8 and all of chapter 9 are connected to the high priestly Angel’s work as He prepares to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary.

This says that because Revelation 8 angelic trumpeters are standing by and because this seventh-seal heavenly sanctuary scene are directly connected to the sixth seal that was paused at Revelation 7:3, then the Revelation chapter 8 sanctuary scene and the seven trumpets that follow it all happen during the seventh sequential seal of the mystery book concerning God. Therefore, Revelation 8’s seventh seal, which must naturally pick up the storyline just where the sixth seal left off, must place all seven trumpets after the early American Millerite October 22, 1844 Great Disappointment of Christ’s return shown in the sixth seal.

Like the Exodus Israel hoping for an immediate entrance into “the Sanctuary” (Ex. 15:17) when they were only eleven days away from Canaan, those involved in that sixth seal pronouncement soon will enter into heaven as Jesus promised (see John 14:1-3), but not without a period of training to overcome Satan’s battle against the final pronouncement.

Chapter 7’s thrilling intermission bridges between the sixth and seventh seals, and then its tangent of glory closes in order for the seven seals prophecy to transition back into a somber, even a stern, setting in order for Revelation 8 and 9 to finish the seventh seal trumpet activities. And as we said earlier, both Revelation chapters 6 finished and 7 began at the terrifying end of God’s merciful Judgment Day warning by the Millerite movement and its Great Disappointment of 1844. Therefore, the Revelation 8 scene opens on October 22, 1844 with a period of silence before God. The week of silence sets the heavenly stage with a serious atmosphere for a determined battle between God and Satan during a final investigative judgment.

Judgment Day could have come in 1844 or shortly thereafter. And God had every right to terminate the church dispensation by His appearing, though no one would have been ready for that day of terror. He didn’t return because the human race merited another 170 years of existence in its sins. But, God’s forbearance and grace must overrule His due justice at this time in order to produce a group which will perfectly show His ability to attract humanity away from their lustful idols to the purity and disinterested love of His coming kingdom. Then He can return in power and glory, and reap a great harvest.

So, upon opening the seventh seal Christ, “the angel of his [Father’s] presence” (Isa. 63:9, cf Ex. 23:20) stands before the altar of incense. He is about to enter the Most Holy Place to blot out from the heavenly sanctuary all the sin of the saints since Adam left Eden.

Into the second [compartment of the tabernacle] went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people (Heb. 9:7).

But, before our Angel High Priest goes in in order to prepare the world for His return Jesus must first be cleansed of the open shame with which His Protestants have sullied His name. He must offer “for himself” before the Ancient of days. Then He must “make an atonement for … his house” (Lev. 16:11), preparing a body of Protestants for their unprecedented ministry of preparing the world for His second advent. The Mother of all living goes nowhere and does nothing without His family. He moves no faster than His children can keep up with Him. He says, “I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure” (Gen. 33:14). “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion” (Isa. 8:18).

The Old Testament type for the annual Judgment Day showed this in the requirement for Aaron to first cleanse himself and his family prior to cleansing the sanctuary for the nation. (See Leviticus 16:11, 29.) And Aaron’s house included his anointed servants, the Levites.

I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary (Num. 8:19, cf Num. 3:9).

He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness (Mal. 3:3).

This cleansing He can accomplish only by pruning and purifying His Protestant church. First, as in the days of Gideon, He must remove the Protestants who are incurably worldly and spiritualistic, and have no interest in fighting for heaven, but would demoralize the Protestant army fighting in the investigative judgment. Then He can train and lead His holy army, newly sealed and subordinated under Him, to cleanse “the people” (Heb. 9:7), that is, the greater bulk of His righteous church sprinkled throughout the other world religions. Jesus will cleanse the holy and righteous, and discard the incurable unjust and filthy.

Therefore, not the first Most Holy entrance in 1844 by Jesus ― the Most Holy entering first for creating and cleansing a family that would be drawn out from Protestantism ― but the second and great Most Holy Place entrance of Jesus will occur anti-typically at the end of the trumpets period to cleanse the earthly sanctuary for the saints throughout the world and to fully cleanse the heavenly sanctuary. This should grow clearer to the reader as we study the fifth and sixth trumpet events. But, Christ can enter the Most Holy Place the second time to cleanse it only after first cleansing His remnant Adventist and Protestant peoples as Aaron did his children and Levites. The final Adventist generation is God’s special group of children who will demonstrate for Him the true sacrifice of praise (see Revelation 7:10). Then Jesus can enter the second time to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary, give the Latter Rain to the world, and return to take all of His redeemed home. Amen!

Jesus casts down His censer and the first trumpet blows. As He throws down His censer to the heavenly floor, out of the sky on earth fall the coals from His censer, “burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD” (Lev. 16:12), and “his own blood” (Heb. 9:12, cf vs. 7). “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth” (Rev. 8:7).

It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity (Isa. 40:22, 23).

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