The Judgment Has Set

By John Thiel, mp3

Scripture reading: Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

The judgment has set, the books have been opened;
How shall we stand in that great day
When every thought, and word, and action,
God, the righteous Judge, shall weigh?

How shall we stand in a time of judgment? As we study the Bible, we see that God is a God of justice, and for everything that happens in His universe there are wrongs to be dealt with in a just manner, and because this planet has fallen into disrepute in regards to God’s laws, the judgment is something which is inevitable.

The judgment commences in the heavenly realm, as we see in Daniel 7, and the books are opened – books of record. The time of this judgment hour is identified in Bible prophecy.

Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

The book of Daniel would be closed until the time of the end, and the time of the end is written of in prophecy as commencing in 1798. In 1798 was the beginning of the time of the end for this planet. You will notice that at the time of the end, when the book of Daniel will be opened to the understanding of the people, the people will be running to and fro upon this planet. How true that is today. Ever since 1798 there has been progressive developments which have led us to our present day with an advance of travel all across the world. It also says, Knowledge shall be increased. That is so true in our time today.

So even if you don’t know 1798, the time of the end is clearly identifiable according to that scripture. We can see we are living in it, because travel has never been as profuse as it is now. People are travelling from one end of the earth to the other so fast. And now even through the internet.

Daniel 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

What will happen in the time of the end?

Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

In this time in which we are living, the wicked people will do wickedly. God is foreshadowing the condition of this planet, where wickedness and war and bloodshed and murder, etc. is just thickening around us. The wicked will do wickedly, and they will not understand what is going on upon this planet. But those who study their Bibles and are wise, by getting the wisdom from God, will understand what is going on. And one of the things that we need to understand in this time is the experience of being purified and made white and tried. What does that mean? Many shall be purified in the time of the end, and made white, and tried.

In the heavenly realm, where God dwells upon His throne, thrones were cast down, or set up, put in position, and there was the Ancient of days, God, the Creator of all:

Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

There in the throne-room of heaven there are two apartments, and for many years since His resurrection Jesus Christ has been our High Priest in the first apartment of the sanctuary. Then at a certain point in time He was to move into the actual first apartment, commonly called the most holy place, where the throne is situated. Then they all come into that second apartment, where God’s throne sits, and this is what happens:

Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.

The Son of man, in the language of the Bible, is none other but Jesus Christ, and He comes as our High Priest before the throne of God in this time of the judgment. As the books are examined, Jesus, who has come to this planet to give us eternal life if we will accept Him, is our High Priest there, pleading our cases before the Father in heaven, because the books record our life and sins. The experience of God’s people as Jesus comes to the Ancient of days, in the time when the books are opened, in the time of the end, is described in Malachi. What does it mean that God’s people would be purified in the time of the end?

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

This is a direct reference to Jesus, the Messenger of the covenant, the one whom Christians delight in. He comes to the temple during this time, this period of judgment. And what is brought to light when He comes there?

Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?

How shall we stand in that great day?

Malachi 3:2 …for he [is] like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

Fuller’s soap is something that they use when they melt down metal, to bring it to its perfection and purity.

Malachi 3:3 And 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.

As the books are opened, Jesus, the Messenger of the covenant, the one whom God’s people delight in, comes there; and as He comes there, it is going to be a period of refining, to purify the people of God. This is what is written in Daniel 12. In the time of the end there would be a purifying process. You can see how all the Bible links together the subject for us.

The purification of God’s people like gold and silver become purified, is their experience in this time of the judgment, the time of the end, when the books are opened. As these books are opened and the purification takes place this is part of the activity:

Revelation 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

You have here the sanctuary, the two apartments of the throne-room of God, and you have there the altar. What is going to be done during this time? The measuring of them that worship therein. As the books are opened the people’s lives are being examined in the heavenly sanctuary. They worship God in the heavenly sanctuary by faith; and as they worship Him there, God has a perfect record of their life, and they are being measured. You measure a person’s character differently to how you measure a body. You measure what they are like in their character.

God’s law reaches the feelings and motives, as well as the outward acts. It reveals the secrets of the heart, flashing light upon things before buried in darkness. God knows every thought, every purpose, every plan, every motive. The books of heaven record the sins that would have been committed had there been opportunity. {5BC 1085.4}

So those books are a recording of our character, what we are like. Even if at the present we might not be doing it, yet if, had we opportunity, we would do it, it’s even recorded there.

By His law He measures the character of every man. {Ibid.}

How does this take place? We see this really clearly today with all the technology that we have. You can transfer pictures from one place of this planet to another. In fact you can transfer pictures from instruments that are sent into the solar system, like pictures from Mars; you can send them down to this earth.

As the artist transfers to the canvas the features of the face, so the features of each individual character are transferred to the books of heaven. God has a perfect photograph of every man’s character, {Ibid.}

In the days when this was written they didn’t have the technology that we have today. But today we can understand what is written here. In the heavenly sanctuary, in the throne-room of God, the books they have there are not books like they had in the ancient times, written by hand. They have a record of the living pictures of what is happening here on earth. As the technology in heaven is opened up there, they can see each person’s character as a living personality in a picture in front of them. So it is that God has a perfect photograph of every man’s character. What does He do in the time when the books are opened and the people’s lives are being examined?

God has a perfect photograph of every man’s character, and this photograph He compares with His law. He reveals to man the defects that mar his life, and calls upon him to repent and turn from sin (ST July 31, 1901). {Ibid.}

You get here a bit of a glimpse of God’s character. God has a perfect record of every person’s life in front of Him in this time when the books are opened, and He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. He wants everyone to be redeemed and saved. So what does He do as He wants to purify God’s people at this time? He reveals to man the defects that mar his life. God sees us the way we don’t see ourselves. We often like to put a good picture about ourselves, but when we get a glimpse of what we’re really like we don’t like to look at it. But God has got it there, and He wants us to see it. He reveals it to us if we will, and then He says, Now I want you to change; I want you to repent and turn away from those things that I’m showing you. This is the character of God in this time of judgment.

We are told that the wise will understand but the wicked will do wickedly. The wicked don’t care, they don’t care about God; they just keep on doing what they want to do. But the wise will understand, because the wise will search the Bible and they will see what to do. God says, You will understand what I am doing; I am purifying you.

The books are opened, God sees us as we really are, and He doesn’t want us to be destroyed by our wrong sinful life, so He reveals things to us.

1 Timothy 5:24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some [men] they follow after.

To those who are wise, who are God’s people, God opens their sins and their character beforehand. And then there are the wicked, and their sins will be opened to them when it’s over, when it’s too late. They will then stand in front of the Judge and will say, Oh oh, I haven’t used Your love to cleanse myself from the wrong of my life. But God, in His love and in His justice, is trying to save the sinner. He has provided the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, and now it is up to the people who receive this information that the Father has sent His Son to die for us, to believe in Him and come to Him so that they can be washed from their sins by the sacrifice of Jesus. It is this that we need to receive information on so that we can actually know what to do with our sinful and disobedient way of life, so that we will actually respond to the mercy of God and let Jesus Christ come into our life so that we might put away all our sins by His wonderful death and resurrection.

So there are those people who believe in Jesus Christ and whose sins are opened to so that they might repent. And to those who don’t want Jesus Christ, God says, Fine, I’m not going to force Him onto you; you will meet your judgment without His mercy. There is going to be a judgment. And it is true what the Bible says; in the time of the judgment those who are condemned to death will die. That’s a fact. But God does not want us to die. He has given us Jesus Christ. He has provided for us a way by which we can be forgiven and can come to God and ask for forgiveness. In the time of the end there are people living on this planet who will go through an experience of the application of the gospel of Jesus Christ to wash them from their sins, to clean them up. All through history, the people who have trusted in Jesus Christ and have asked for forgiveness were truly covered by His beautiful mercy and righteousness. But for those who are living now (and that’s you and me) there is something that we need to understand. This is what is written in Daniel, The wise will understand in the time of the end. What will they understand? What we have been reading, that Jesus has gone into the most holy place, the throne-room of God, and the books are opened, and God has there a record of us all and He is showing us the things that are marring our life. He reveals to us the things that mar our life, that destroy our happiness and peace, the things that we do that cause us problems. He wants to reveal them to us. How does He do it? What is the experience of this? How does God show us what we’re doing wrong?

Daniel 11:35 And [some] of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make [them] white, [even] to the time of the end: because [it is] yet for a time appointed.

Did you pick something up? How does God purify and purge and make them white? “Some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them.” Remember, God has a record in the books of heaven of the wrong things that we would have done if we had opportunity. I remember as a youth I loved God, I didn’t ever want to sin, I didn’t ever want to do anything wrong. But then as I grew older I failed here, and I failed somewhere else, and I thought, But I didn’t want to do that! And it took me a while to understand what was going on. We stumble, and we fall, and we make mistakes, and then we wonder, But I wanted to do the right thing; why am I doing the wrong thing?? It shows us what we are really like. This is what God is trying to do. He is trying to show us what we’re really like. We often don’t think, I’ve got a problem. But then after a while we discover that when circumstances come across our path something that is in me comes up, and bang, I do it. God has to show me. So it is written that in purifying us God will bring circumstances across our path and we will fall, to purify us and make us righteous. That’s interesting.

To discover by falling that I am not as pure as what I thought I was, is part of the transaction. But when I fall I must not be overcome by the fall, but look to the gospel of Jesus Christ so that I don’t feel completely damned because I have sinned. Because it’s an embarrassment. It’s embarrassing to the Christian who doesn’t want to do the wrong thing, terribly embarrassing, especially as it happens in the view of other people. We hide ourselves from people because we fail. It’s a discouraging experience, but God says, No, I want to show you what you’re like so that you can be purified. I want to show you the things that you would have done if you had opportunity, by bringing circumstances about that will show you what you would have done.

Satan understands their weakness… {HP 30.3}

Satan, who is the enemy of God and man, he understands our weaknesses. He knows; he’s been watching us long enough. And what does he do?

…[he] manages to overcome them again and again. But let none be discouraged by this. {Ibid.}

How can you stop being discouraged when you make horrible mistakes in your life? Because God is permitting you to make the horrible mistakes, not to discourage you, not to condemn us, but to show us what we are like so that we will come to the gospel of Jesus Christ and let our sins be forgiven. And then, having made the experience of falling, we will learn from God’s word how to avoid doing that again, and we will confess to Him, Lord, I can’t do it on my own, I need Your help; and the power of the gospel will show you how.

The conflicts of earth, in the providence of God, furnish the very training necessary to develop characters fit for the courts of heaven. We are to become members of the royal family, the sons of God, and “all things work together for good” to those who love God, and submit themselves to His will. {OHC 316.3}

What is it? The conflicts of earth are there, in God’s providence, to furnish us with what we need to develop the characters that we want to have to be pure and live with the holy angels. It is the conflicts of earth. We don’t want them, do we? We don’t want conflict, we don’t want war, we don’t want discouraging circumstances; but we’re living amongst them, and God carefully orchestrates what people will do against us and what we do wrong, and He shows us, See now? It’s Me; I am using these circumstances to show you.

God knows what is for our best good. The peculiar discipline to which we are subject is discipline to bring out not the worst and most unlovely traits of character, but the meekness and loveliness of Christ, developing the precious graces of Christ. {OHC 317.2}

So He is working there, and yes, we fail; but it is for a purpose – to develop meekness, the loveliness of Christ, the beautiful love that we should have one for another. You know what it’s like, when we make mistakes we become more sensitive, Oh, I didn’t reveal this loveliness that I’m meant to have. What did I do wrong? And God helps us to show us what we did wrong. He leads us to ask ourselves, What was inside of me, so that I can change and be the lovely Jesus that He wants me to be? The things that we do not know about ourselves He will bring to the forefront.

Who are these people that will fall so that they might be purified?

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

A good man delighting in God, God is ordering his steps.

Psalm 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth [him with] his hand.

That’s an amazing statement. A good man will fall? Yes, no matter how much we love God and we want to be good – and God recognises that we want to be good. He says, Now I am going to direct your path. You believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour? You are a just man, because you are justified by God’s mercy through Jesus Christ. Now you are justified, you are a good man, at heart you want the right thing, but you will fall. But when you fall, you will not be utterly cast down, because the Lord upholds you. We have experiences of history in the Bible. The first that comes to our mind is that of King David. Didn’t he fall. But God upheld him, because he was a man whose heart was right with God.

What is the difference between a good man and a wicked man?

Proverbs 24:16 For a just [man] falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

Can you see the difference in the Bible between a wicked man and a good man, a just man? The just man is the person who accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and wants to be obedient to all God’s commandments, but he may fall, yet he will rise again. He falls seven times maybe, and rises up again; whereas the wicked, rejecting Jesus Christ and not wanting to have anything to do with Him, they just go deeper and deeper into wickedness. That’s the difference between a just man and a wicked man. God knows those who may fall but will rise again, because He will order their life. And though they have sinned they will plead with God, Have mercy on me. In this time of judgment this following scripture of Micah is very relevant. Remember, Satan understands our weakness and manages to overcome us again and again. “But let none be discouraged by this.” Why? Because we are the people who want to do the right and are happy to love God and do His bidding, but we make mistakes, we sin. Here is the cry of someone who really wants the right thing but falls. He says to the devil:

Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD [shall be] a light unto me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness.

What will God do? He will permit the people to fall so that He can then raise them up again through the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ. Here we have the Bible telling us really clearly the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the good and the bad. What is it? The good is the person who is not perfectly sinless but who has a heart that is in tune with God and wants to follow God. That person who accepts Jesus as His personal Saviour, this is the person that is being examined in the books of heaven; and God is saying, There are still some character defects here, and I am going to have to show you. How is He going to show us? You have to do what you have to do, and you will discover what’s in you that you didn’t know was there. But don’t despair! I am here to save you.

Can you see a mentality of God that is often not understood by genuine believers? If they have fallen they often think they didn’t want to make these mistakes, they didn’t want to sin against God, but they feel that now they have sinned and they think, Oh, I’m lost. Don’t let yourself go down that path. Don’t be discouraged, says the Spirit of God.

In seasons of temptation we seem to lose sight of the fact that God tests us that our faith may be tried and be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus. {TMK 282.2}

He wants to purify us so that we will be ready when Jesus comes.

The Lord places us in different positions to develop us. If we have defects of character of which we are not aware, {Ibid.}

Things I would do if I had opportunity. I’m not aware of them, so what does He do?

He gives us discipline that will bring those defects to our knowledge, that we may overcome them. {Ibid.}

I’ve got the problem and I don’t know it, so He will bring circumstances about that will so work upon me that it will reveal to me, This is how you would do it. You would react to that in a way that is totally wrong. But I thought I didn’t have that problem! Well, now I know I do. And as He shows me this, remember, He is showing me the things that mar my life. This is what your problem is. Come to Me, come for forgiveness.

It is His providence that brings us into varying circumstances. In each new position, we meet a different class of temptations. How many times when we are placed in some trying situation we think, “This is a wonderful mistake. How I wish I had stayed where I was before.” {Ibid.}

“I’m brought into a situation which can’t be right, because look at the wrong I’m doing here! It’s a big mistake.” No.

But why is it that you are not satisfied? It is because your circumstances have served to bring new defects in your character to your notice, but nothing is revealed but that which was in you. . . . {Ibid.}

As God reveals it to you, you say, “But if it wouldn’t have been for such and such a person saying such and such a thing to me, I wouldn’t have done it!” But it’s there! So when someone says something to me that churns me and makes me angry and makes me do something wrong, it is showing me what is there; and the Lord is saying, Can you see yourself? I can see you, but you couldn’t see yourself. Now you see yourself. Now you know what you need. You need the gospel of Jesus Christ to cleanse and purge you. They will fall, that they might be purged.

It is coming in contact with difficulties that will give you spiritual muscle and sinew. You will become strong in Christ if you endure the testing process and the proving of God. . . . Remember when trials come that you are a spectacle to angels and to men, and that every time you fail to bear the proving of the Lord you are lessening your spiritual strength. You should hold your peace from complaining, and take your burden to Jesus, and lay your whole soul open before Him. Do not carry it to a third person. Do not lay your burden upon humanity. Say, “I will not gratify the enemy by murmuring. I will lay my care at the feet of Jesus. I will tell it to Him in faith.” If you do this you will receive help from above; you will realize the fulfillment of the promise, “He is on my right hand that I should not be moved”. {TMK 282.3}

Even though I fall, I will not be completely moved into hopelessness. He is at my right hand. Isn’t that what the Bible teaches us? Jesus was there, He was made to be sin for us. He was on the cross, suffering with my guilt and sin. He is right there beside me in the bottom of the pit.

God’s Word declares, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried” (Daniel 12:10). Only he who endures the trial will receive the crown of life.  {TMK 282.4}

What does it mean to endure the trial? As my sin is opened up before me, I don’t give up in discouragement; I continue to go on, until finally all my sins have been revealed to me and I have repented of them. I have recognised what causes my fall, I have seen my inward condition and I surrender all to God in conscious awareness of my weakness.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. {OHC 49.1}

So we say, Yes, right! I don’t want to sin anymore!

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1. {Ibid.

How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour…. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor those who are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of the Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks up to Him, grasps Him as the One who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father. {OHC 49.2}

If you make failures and are betrayed into sin, do not feel then you cannot pray … but seek the Lord more earnestly.  {OHC 49.3}

Isn’t that often the way it is? When people do something wrong they can’t even come to God and pray. “I’m too bad, I can’t pray.” No, pray all the more! Flee into the arms of God, and He will receive you. He is doing this to show us.

The blood of Jesus is pleading with power and efficacy for those who are backslidden, for those who are rebellious, for those who sin against great light and love. {OHC 49.4}

The blood of Jesus is pleading for them. That’s important to understand. When I sometimes think, I’ve been rebellious; the blood of Jesus is pleading.

Satan stands at our right hand to accuse us, and our Advocate stands at God’s right hand to plead for us. He has never lost a case that has been committed to Him. We may trust in our Advocate; for He pleads His own merits in our behalf…. He is making intercession for the most lowly, the most oppressed and suffering, for the most tried and tempted ones. With upraised hands He pleads, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16. {Ibid.}

This is what God is like. He is a just God but a merciful God at the same time. This is profound. When we fall we can rise again through Jesus Christ who is our Lord.

We are to grow daily in spiritual loveliness. We shall fail often in our efforts to copy the divine pattern. We shall often have to bow down to weep at the feet of Jesus, because of our shortcomings and mistakes; but we are not to be discouraged; we are to pray more fervently, believe more fully, and try again with more steadfastness to grow into the likeness of our Lord. As we distrust our own power, we shall trust the power of our Redeemer, and render praise to God, who is the health of our countenance, and our God. {1SM 337.1}

I don’t want to sin, I love Jesus. I don’t want to make mistakes, but I don’t know myself. So God leads us to help us to know ourselves, by bringing us into circumstances which cause us to fall because we are ignorant of certain aspects of our character. As we fall, the Lord says, “Can you see? I love you; I’m showing you what is marring your life. Don’t despair. Look to Jesus, I love you; you will not be like the wicked who will utterly fall. You will recover yourself, you will come to Jesus. Weep at the cross, and you will be forgiven as you break your heart before Him.” As you do that, when you fall next time, remember how you fell the time before and learn, and watch closely, so that as you discover your weaknesses you can see where the danger comes and you will conquer it. You will learn to develop the character and the loveliness in the midst of the negative experiences. And all the way along you will rely on the merits of Jesus’ perfect love and grace for you. We will together keep our eyes focused on Jesus and trust Him for His saving work upon our character. The righteous, the just man, falleth many times, but he riseth again. That is the difference between him and the wicked.

May God help us to be among that company written of in Daniel. The wise will understand, though the wicked won’t. May God remind us of what we studied so that we can be the wise who will understand this experience.


Posted on 02/02/2017, in Divine Service Sermons, The Day of Atonement, The Investigative Judgement and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. smith Adams

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