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been devoted to the chosen people. Now, after His ascension, He was still, in the persons of His disciples, to press the gospel of the new covenant especially upon the Jewish people — "to the Jew first," and "beginning at Jerusalem."
This last seven-year period, beginning in A. D. 27, ended in A. D. 34. By that time the opposition of the Jews was be
coming exceedingly bitter. As a people they were rejecting again the divine invitation extended by the risen Christ through His witnesses. About A. D. 34 Stephen was martyred. The same council that, against all evidence, had rejected the Messiah, again rejected the appeal of the Holy Ghost shining visibly on Stephen's countenance.
The believers in Jerusalem were driven out by persecution; and “they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” Acts 8:4. The Gentiles gave heed in Samaria, and the Ethiopian received the gospel on the road to Gaza. The gospel message had fairly passed the boundaries of Jerusalem and was on its way to the “uttermost parts of the earth."
Though the seventy weeks cut off upon the Jewish people and upon the holy city had ended, to the world's end the gospel of Christ's salvation is for that people as well as for all other nations.
The Ending of the 2300 Years It must not be forgotten that the angel was explaining to Daniel the vision and prophecy of the long prophetic period that was to reach to the cleansing of the sanctuary at the time of the end.
These events of the first seventy weeks of that period were “to seal up the vision and prophecy.” Dan. 9: 24. The shedding of the blood of the divine Sacrifice "to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness," set Heaven's seal to the vision. As surely as the great Offering had been made, so surely the cleansing of the sanctuary would be accomplished by the ministry of our High Priest in heaven.
And the exact fulfilment of the time schedule for this first portion of the prophetic period, set seal to the declaration that when the full 2300 years should run out, the closing ministry of Christ would surely begin in the heavenly sanctuary.
From 457 B. C., when the commandment of Artaxerxes to restore Jerusalem went forth, the measuring line of the 2300 years reaches to the year A. D. 1844. In that year the time of the prophecy came. Then the cleansing of the sanctuary was to begin.
The prophet John, in the Revelation, beheld the opening of this last phase of the ministry of Christ in the most holy place of the temple of God. “The temple of God was opened in heaven,” he says, “and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament." Rev. 11:19. The prophet heard voices saying, “The nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged.” Verse 18.
Again we must quote Daniel's description of the opening of this ministry in the most holy place of the heavenly temple. He saw thrones of judgment set up. He saw the moving throne of the Almighty, with its, wheels of flaming glory, take its position for the final work of our High Priest in the holy of holies above:
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down (placed), 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. 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.” Dan. 7:9, 10.
This was the scene enacted in the heavenly temple when the year 1844 brought the judgment hour. Then began in heaven the work of the investigative judgment, or the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, during which the case of every individual will come in review before God.
When that work of investigation is finished, the ministry of Christ for sin will end, human probation will close, and our Lord will quickly come as King of kings and Lord of lords, to gathe His redeemed, while all sinners will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming.” 2 Thess. 2:8.
In the vision of Daniel 8, as the great apostasy was seen warring against God's truth, the question was asked, “How long shall be the vision, ... to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden underfoot?” The answer was, in effect, In 1844 the cleansing of the sanctuary will begin in heaven,—the hour of God's judgment, that will give God's answer to sin and apostasy.
We are living in the great antitypical day of atonement, for which all heaven has been waiting. The end is at hand. And while that work is proceeding in heaven above, the Lord proclaims a special message on earth, lifting up again truths long trodden underfoot, and calling men to prepare for the coming of the Lord.
How Shall We Stand ?
“For the hour of His judgment is come."
“The judgment is set, the books have been opened;
How shall we stand in that great day
God, the righteous Judge, shall weigh?
“The work is begun with those who are sleeping,
Soon will the living here be tried,
His decision to abide.
“O, how shall we stand that moment of searching,
When all our sins those books reveal ?
Shall be granted no appeal ?”