Signs all around us indicate that this generation is going to be the final generation, the one that will go through a time of trouble.
Who are you to stand before the universe without a mediator and go through the time of Jacob’s trouble? Jacob was certainly forgiven, yet when he was going back to his hometown, he faced the enemy, his brother Esau with 400 soldiers who had come to meet and to slay him (Genesis 32). The same kind of trouble is to come upon you and me. We also will pray and plead with God as did Jacob. We must experience the Three Angels’ Messages, which are summed up in the sanctuary, consisting of the courtyard experience, the Holy Place experience, and the Most Holy Place experience.
To meet God at the mercy seat, we must first pass the altar of burnt offering with a thorough repentance experience—justification—then move on to the training of the Holy Place experience—sanctification. We then step into the Most Holy Place and stand before the Shekinah glory. God takes us through these three steps to enable us to face Him.
To be sealed is to be settled into the truth so that we will no longer be moved. This is not only being convicted intellectually, but also experientially, so that no matter what happens, we will not waver. No matter what persecution happens in our lives, we will not turn away from God or dishonor Him by breaking any of His commandments. Our characters will be sealed and perfected by being in Christ and overcoming each temptation day by day. Temptations come one at a time, and it is through the grace of God and by surrendering that we overcome them one at a time. Care must be taken on this journey though sometimes we will make mistakes and fall, because Satan knows our every weakness and causes us to trip. Our past mistakes become our teachers. We need not worry about the word perfection. God has promised to help with this work. He is able to finish a work that He started in us by His grace. Salvation is restoration, repentance, and keeping the commandments of God.
God knows everything and needs no records. Then, why does heaven have record books? They are for human beings and angels to see and to evaluate God’s judgment for fairness. There will be no doubts, no lingering questions in our minds about God’s judgment.
“But the plan of redemption had a yet broader and deeper purpose than the salvation of man. It was not for this alone that Christ came to the earth; it was not merely that the inhabitants of this little world might regard the law of God as it should be regarded; but it was to vindicate the character of God before the universe.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 68.
The whole process of the plan of salvation has to do with the vindication of God’s character and the redemption of the fallen race. The controversy between God and Satan was the law of God. It was under attack because Satan claimed that that it was not necessary, that it binds and restricts. Satan asserted that God’s law makes us servants and slaves, so he wanted to do away with it; we do not need it. The rebellion, started in heaven by Satan was the cause of the great controversy.
When the war descended to this earth, the issue that Satan attacked was the sanctuary in heaven. Satan said, “The people broke God’s law as did I and my soldiers, and yet You forgive them. You are going to save them throughout eternity. They are going to hold our former position. It is unfair. You cannot give salvation; You cannot have mercy upon those who broke Your law like we did.” The issue is the mercy of God. God will work the work of salvation in your heart so your life will demonstrate and display the power of His salvation. This is what the sanctuary message is all about.
“In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; … God could not be just, he urged, and yet show mercy to the sinner.
“But even as a sinner, man was in a different position from that of Satan. Lucifer in heaven had sinned in the light of God’s glory. To him as to no other created being was given a revelation of God’s love. Understanding the character of God, knowing His goodness, Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent will. This choice was final. There was no more that God could do to save him. But man was deceived; his mind was darkened by Satan’s sophistry. The height and depth of the love of God he did not know. For him there was hope in a knowledge of God’s love. By beholding His character he might be drawn back to God.” The Desire of Ages, 761, 762.
“The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him.” Ibid., 22. Knowing God, is loving Him. You see, we must understand this concept. What does it mean to love Him? To know God is to love Him. How can we love Him unless we receive the revelation through the sanctuary He revealed to us, showing the method of salvation?
“But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 109.
Obeying and living the commandments of God was just normal. The angels were very happy abiding in the law of God. It was their life. Living in the order of God and the commandments of God gave them peace, order and assurance. The law of God needs to be obeyed by willing love, willingness not as a duty or responsibility but out of love. “There is perfect unity between them and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are re-echoed, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8.” Ibid.
In Daniel 8:14, it says, “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” It will be cleansed from the accumulated records of sin that have been defiling the heavenly sanctuary. God is going to cleanse it before He blots out the record of sins from the books in heaven. He has to prove individually that each person deserves to have the blotting out of sin, because he does not live under the condemnation of the law any longer. God has to prove it before the universe. Then sin is going to be blotted out.
God has used persecution to purge His church. All chaff and dross are going to go out from among us and the pure gold will remain. God has always used times of trouble to purge and cleanse and purify His church. When those crises come, our focus will be so clear; we are not going to waste our time, but instead will spend it on the preparation of our character and heart.
At that time, those of God’s people who have been following the truth and the everlasting gospel will have confessed all of their sins to Jesus who has blotted them out with His blood; but those who have not made that preparation will go out. Then there will be seen both a separation and unity between believers taking place within the true church.
The accumulated records of sin, which have been defiling the heavenly sanctuary, will be cleansed and it will be restored to its original condition. God’s character will be vindicated as the individual investigative judgment progresses.
“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling.” The Great Controversy, 425. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses our conscience by beholding the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross. We are touched by His love, and the sins will be melted away from us.
“Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” Ibid. Notice that this does not take place in heaven, but on this earth.
“When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.” Ibid.
“Excitement is not sanctification. Entire conformity to the will of our Father which is in heaven is alone sanctification, and the will of God is expressed in His holy law. The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 204. How many commandments? “All the commandments of God.” Are you shocked? Are you sanctified? This says that, “The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification.” What is the seal of the living God? Seventh-day Sabbath keeping. Why? Because it is the outward sign that within we are keeping all of the Ten Commandments.
God gave Abraham circumcision as a sign for holy experience. It is a symbol. Romans 4:11 says this is the outward symbol, which shows the faith experience in Abraham, which he had already before. We keep the seventh-day Sabbath because we are liberated from the power of sin. That is why we have fellowship with God on that particular blessed day. The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification. Proving ourselves obedient children to God’s Word is sanctification. The Word of God is to be our guide, not the ideas of man. We know that there are teachings among us different than this inspired Word of God, different teachings of justification by faith and righteousness by faith. It simply says, “The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification.” How much clearer can you get? “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14. Before we step into the Most Holy Place, we must have that sealing experience.
The light increases gradually in its conviction and understanding. Sometimes, some people have heard about the seventh-day Sabbath, yet their souls are not convicted unless they really study and hear. “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. This means that knowledge and understanding of the truth will be increased until the perfect day.
The truth we hold cannot be the standard or the criteria to judge everyone, because God judges everyone according to the light they have received. The light has been gradually advancing to the perfect day. So, God has to judge people according to the light they have received. What do we call the light that everyone has received in their own time and in their own generations? The present truth. Do we have present truth at this time? Absolutely. For instance, in regard to the righteousness by faith doctrine, Martin Luther had very little light. John Wesley understood more. He understood about overcoming; he understood about free will; he understood about having a perfect character. That is why he was defrocked; he was excommunicated from the former Presbyterian churches in England at that time. You see, gradually the truth has been restored to the original.
“In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that [particular] generation.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 127. Truth must be logical and reasonable; otherwise it is not truth. The truth must meet common sense. God works through our common sense. At the time of Noah was there a present truth? Yes, build the ark and enter into it. Now is that our present truth? Absolutely not! We have our own present truth for today, so when we preach present truth, it is going to expose the motivations of every individual in the current time, and they will be judged by it. At the time of John the Baptist there was present truth. But that present truth is not our present truth. The truth has developed and matured to perfection.
One day I was in the lounge of an airport waiting to board my flight. There were 40 or 50 people in that area. I noticed particularly a gentleman who was sitting right in front of me, and I thought he must be a genuinely sincere Christian. It was lunchtime, and he had brought along his sack lunch. He opened the brown bag and, taking out a sandwich, he began to pray. I have never seen anyone pray over a lunch that long, that earnestly, or that sincerely. He then began to eat, and I saw that he was eating a ham and cheese sandwich. Do you know what? Legalism came out from my heart and I thought, “He’s eating ham and cheese. God certainly cannot bless him. He’s eating that sandwich, but he prayed so earnestly.” I changed my mind in a split second. No, I should not think this way. Certainly, God will bless him. He is practicing his Christian experience as far as he knows and understands. Certainly God will bless his meal and his prayer, even though ham will hurt his body’s cells. God will bless him, because he practices his own Christian religion according to what he knows. We have to take this into consideration. Certainly God does.
The present truth is very, very important, and we must understand the conviction and understanding of the gradually developing truth. Why does God need to restore all the truth to its original meaning to the perfect light? Why does God not just judge everyone according to the light of the cross? Why can’t God just save us as long as we believe the truth that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us? Why is that not enough? It is because the salvation issue has to do with the vindication of God, but it has a broader meaning and not just our own salvation. When we understand that, we will be willing to live, not only for our own salvation, but also for the glory of God. Our perspective of our Christian experience will become clearer. All of the light is needed for it to be restored to the original so that the whole universe can witness and see whether God’s plan of salvation is just or not.
God chooses to save. Can His mercy meet justice? Is Satan right in his accusation, or is God right? The issue is going to be settled before the universe in our individual lives as those present truths are applied to our own hearts and lives.
Finally, the stage is set and the true test is possible. When Satan says, “Oh, have you seen that?” Then God cannot say, “They just simply did not know.” All this time until the final generation appears, Jesus has been and is doing this.
Satan accuses, “Look at this; all of them kept Sunday.” Then Jesus will say, “Satan, be quiet and listen to Me. Have you seen and tried these people? 144,000 people; have you tried them? Were you able to overcome them?” Then Satan’s lips will be sealed. He tried his best, but he could not make them betray their trust.
And then God will say, “Do you recognize these people are keeping My commandments perfectly in their spiritual experiences? Now, I tell you that if I had given to all those past generations, whom I am resurrecting from the tombs, all of the fully restored truth, they would have come up accepting light like the 144,000. But this 144,000 are the weakest generation.”
We are a weak generation; we are not special people. We are degenerated people, the weakest people and yet used by God to prove the point, demonstrating before the universe, that by God’s power we can be saved utterly from the power of sin. God will be vindicated and Satan’s lips will be sealed forever. That is why God needs the final generation—you and me—those who go through the Most Holy Place experience, the blotting out of sin experience. God needs you; God needs me.
This does not mean just a lot of rules—that you should not read that novel or listen to that kind of music or eat that. You need to be careful for your own salvation; you will be judged by God. No, we have a better perspective. We have higher ground, higher experience, higher criteria and higher expectations. We are living and working for the glory of God, to honor Him in our lives.
Jude 3 says, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
While the truth is shining to the perfect light, everyone is judged according to the present truth of their own generations as they understand it. Throughout all these generations, there have been genuine good, righteous Christians. Truth has been restored little by little through the reformers and advanced far through the understanding of the sanctuary service after 1844. It is going to be restored perfectly to the perfect light. Then God is going to give a final demonstration through His people who understand and are convicted of the perfect truth, that perfect chain of truth.
Are you following the Shepherd wherever He leads? We are to follow Jesus through the courtyard, into the Holy Place and then into the Most Holy Place, guided by our Shepherd all the way.
I hope and pray that you make a choice right now to live to be saved, and to live to glorify God.
Pastor David Kang is Director of Light for Life Ministry operating out of Hartwell, Georgia. His sermons are broadcast weekly on New York and Virginia Korean television stations. Pastor Kang also frequently travels to Asia where he trains pastors. Pastor Kang may be contacted by telephone at: 706-377-1004.