The Close of Probation
I WAS pointed down to the time when the
third angel's message was closing. The power of God had rested upon His people; they had
accomplished their work and were prepared for the trying hour before them. They had
received the latter rain, or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and the living
testimony had been revived. The last great warning had sounded everywhere, and it had
stirred up and enraged the inhabitants of the earth who would not receive the message.
I saw angels hurrying to and
fro in heaven. An angel with a writer's inkhorn by his side returned from the earth and
reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed. Then I
saw Jesus, who had been ministering before the ark containing the Ten Commandments, throw
down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said. "It is done."
And all the angelic host laid off their crowns as Jesus made the solemn declaration,
"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be
filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy,
let him be holy still." Rev. 22:11.
Every case had been decided
for life or death. While Jesus had been ministering in the sanctuary, the judgment had
been going on for the righteous dead, and
then for the righteous living. Christ had
received His kingdom, having made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins.
The subjects of the kingdom were made up. The marriage of the Lamb was consummated. And
the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, was given to Jesus
and the heirs of salvation, and Jesus was to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
As Jesus moved out of the
most holy place, I heard the tinkling of the bells upon His garment; and as He left, a
cloud of darkness covered the inhabitants of the earth. There was then no mediator between
guilty man and an offended God. While Jesus had been standing between God and guilty man,
a restraint was upon the people; but when He stepped out from between man and the Father,
the restraint was removed and Satan had entire control of the finally impenitent.
It was impossible for the
plagues to be poured out while Jesus officiated in the sanctuary; but as His work there is
finished, and His intercession closes, there is nothing to stay the wrath of God, and it
breaks with fury upon the shelterless head of the guilty sinner, who has slighted
salvation and hated reproof. In that fearful time, after the close of Jesus' mediation,
the saints were living in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. Every case was
decided, every jewel numbered. Jesus tarried a moment in the outer apartment of the
heavenly sanctuary, and the sins which had been confessed while He was in the most holy
place were placed upon Satan, the originator of sin, who must suffer their punishment.
[NOTE.--THIS SUFFERING OF SATAN IS IN NO SENSE A VICARIOUS ATONEMENT. AS
INDICATED IN A PREVIOUS CHAPTER: "AS MAN'S SUBSTITUTE AND SURETY, THE
INIQUITY OF MEN WAS LAID UPON CHRIST." (SEE P. 225.) BUT AFTER THOSE WHO
ACCEPT CHRIST'S SACRIFICE HAVE BEEN REDEEMED, IT IS CERTAINLY JUST THAT
SATAN, THE ORIGINATOR OF SIN, SHOULD SUFFER THE FINAL PUNISHMENT. AS
MRS. WHITE HAS SAID ELSEWHERE, "WHEN THE WORK OF ATONEMENT IN THE
HEAVENLY SANCTUARY HAS BEEN COMPLETED, THEN IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND
HEAVENLY ANGELS, AND THE HOST OF THE REDEEMED, THE SINS OF GOD'S PEOPLE
WILL BE PLACED UPON SATAN; HE WILL BE DECLARED GUILTY OF ALL THE EVIL
WHICH HE HAS CAUSED THEM TO COMMIT."--THE GREAT CONTROVERSY, P.
Late! Too Late!
Then I saw Jesus lay off His
priestly attire and clothe Himself with His most kingly robes. Upon His head were many
crowns, a crown within a crown. Surrounded by the angelic host, He left heaven. The
plagues were falling upon the inhabitants of the earth. Some were denouncing God and
cursing Him. Others rushed to the people of God and begged to be taught how they might
escape His judgments. But the saints had nothing for them. The last tear for sinners had
been shed, the last agonizing prayer offered, the last burden borne, the last warning
given. The sweet voice of mercy was no more to invite them. When the saints, and all
heaven, were interested for their salvation, they had not interest for themselves. Life
and death had been set before them. Many desired life, but made no effort to obtain it.
They did not choose life, and now there was no atoning blood to cleanse the guilty, no
compassionate Saviour to plead for them and cry, "Spare, spare the sinner a little
longer." All heaven had united with Jesus, as they heard the fearful words, "It
is done. It is finished." The plan of salvation had been accomplished, but few had
chosen to accept it. And as mercy's sweet voice died away, fear and horror seized the
wicked. With terrible distinctness they heard the words, "Too late! too late!"
Those who had not prized
God's Word were hurrying to and fro, wandering from sea to sea, and from the north to the
east, to seek the Word of the Lord.
Said the angel, "They shall not find it. There is
a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but for hearing the
words of the Lord. What would they not give for one word of approval from God! but no,
they must hunger and thirst on. Day after day have they slighted salvation, prizing
earthly riches and earthly pleasure higher than any heavenly treasure or inducement. They
have rejected Jesus and despised His saints. The filthy must remain filthy forever."
Many of the wicked were
greatly enraged as they suffered the effects of the plagues. It was a scene of fearful
agony. Parents were bitterly reproaching their children, and children their parents,
brothers their sisters, and sisters their brothers. Loud, wailing cries were heard in
every direction, "It was you who kept me from receiving the truth which would have
saved me from this awful hour." The people turned upon their ministers with bitter
hate and reproached them, saying, "You have not warned us. You told us that all the
world was to be converted, and cried, Peace, peace, to quiet every fear that was aroused.
You have not told us of this hour; and those who warned us of it you declared to be
fanatics and evil men, who would ruin us." But I saw that the ministers did not
escape the wrath of God. Their suffering was tenfold greater than that of their people.
Copyright © 1974
The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.
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