Ellen G. White:
“Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the 144.000 who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration (of prophet Ezekiel chapter 9) of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand.” – 3 Testimonies, p. 266.
The closing work for the church is a work that is very decisive for determining the destiny of the people of God in this time of the end. Nevertheless, not many of us would be willing to be aware of it. Most of us take for granted all the sermons from the pulpit that Jesus would descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God that we which are alive and remain shall be caught up into the cloud to meet the Lord in the air. It sounds very promising. But did you ever think of the prophetic words of God through His servant Malachi, addressed to us in this time of the end, when He said: “The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in. ……….. But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth?” – Malachi 3 : 1, 2.
Prior to the second coming of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords to receive us in the air, there would be a certain coming to His temple here on the earth. About this coming John the Revelator said: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the
Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.”—Revelation 14 : 1.
Seemingly it is easier for us to be caught up to meet Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords in the air, than to meet Him as mere a Lamb in His temple on the mount Zion, in the Palestine. That is why through His prophet Malachi the Lord warned us: “But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth?”
There are very many of those professed Christians in the time of the end, who may not abide the day of His coming, which shall not stand when He appeared, because they shall not be delivered from the slaughter weapons of the men of God.
The closing work for the church would certainly mean the purification of the church. And this would be carried out by setting up seals upon the foreheads of those who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the church, and the slaughtering of the wicked ones who are dominating the churches of God everywhere doing the abominations, in our midst. For this reason, Sister White said,
“The day of God’s vengeance is just upon us. The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land………. Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive him seal of God in their foreheads.”– 2 Testimony Treasures, pp. 67, 68.
“The mark of deliverance has been set upon those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’” – The Great Controversy, p. 656.
“But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of
Israel.”– 5 Testimonies for the Church, p. 80.
“The Lord will work to purify His church. I tell you in truth, the Lord is about to turn and overturn in the institutions called by His name. Just how soon this refining process will begin I cannot say, but it will not be long deferred.” – Testimonies to Ministers, p. 373.
May it be understood that only those who have been “sanctified by Christ’s righteousness” that shall be able to meet the Lord. They should have been purified and made white, because they have been justified by their faith. It is the only faith that could justify them that they may have right to the sanctification by Christ’s Righteousness.
The time of sealing = the time of harvest
The sealing time is a period, wherein the sealing of the servants of God will take place. In regard to this sealing, John the Revelator gave us the story as follows:
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea. Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our Lord in their foreheads.
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of
Israel. Of the tribe of
Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. ………etc.” --- Revelation 7 : 1 – 8.
When from Revelation 7 John only heard the number of them that were sealed, hence from Revelation 14 he had witnessed by himself the exact number, which is the 144.000 people who had been sealed on their foreheads with the name of His Father. He then identified them further as follows:
“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” – Revelation 14 : 4.
We have to know that ever since 1844 the Christian world had been divided into two classes of people: the fallen churches, categorized into the fallen
Babylon (Revelation 14 : 8) on the one side, and the Laodicean church or the Seventh-Day Adventists on the other side. Now the Laodicean church itself should have been divided again into two classes of people: the five wise virgins on the one side, and the five foolish ones on the other side.
Those redeemed from among men must have come out from the virgins. And since they were the first fruits of the harvest in the Church, there must come after them the second fruits of the harvest from out side the Church. Thus there are two harvests on the earth in the coming seasons, the first one in the Church, resulting in the gathering of the 144.000, and the second is from the outside, to result in the gathering of the unnumbered company of Revelation 7 : 9, of which no one could number.
As virgins, the 144.000 will be gathered through a process of setting up a mark of deliverance, or a seal, on their foreheads, whereas as wheat the 144.000 is to be gathered through the harvest. Thus the sealing or the harvest of the 144.000 will be carried out at the end of the sealing time or the harvest period. And the sealing or the harvest period would begin when the message of sealing or the harvest began to be proclaimed in the Church.
The beginning of the sealing time or the period of harvest
The angel in the prophetic word of Revelation represents two objects. The angel, who lifted up his voice to cry aloud, would represent a message of truth, whereas the angel who was silent is to represent a man or men of leadership. The three angels of Revelation 14 : 6 – 9 represent the messages of the Spirit of Prophecy by Sister White, whereas the angel of the
Laodicea represents the General Conference of SDA and its ministers. Which angel would represent the message of the sealing, could be seen from the following verses:
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea. Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our Lord in their foreheads” – Revelation 7 : 2, 3.
The message of the sealing of the 144.000 was first given to Sister White in her first vision in 1844 in
Maine, in the east of the
USA. The Readers may read for themselves in the Early Writings, p. 15. However, since the whole light on the prophecies revealing the destiny of God’s people in the time of the end, was not as yet revealed to her, then there must yet to come a new light of the angel of Revelation 18 : 1. This new light came in 1929, and the combination of new light of the message of the angel of Revelation 18 : 1 with the third angel message, will have resulted in the great light of THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, that is now enlightening the earth with its glory, beginning in our churches. In this regard Sister White:
“Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. ………This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844.” – Early Writings, p. 277.
It is crystal clear now that the sealing time, or the beginning of the harvest period, must begin in 1929. It is impossible that the sealing time should begin in 1844, due to the fact that the message was not yet fully comprehended up to the time Sister White died in 1915. This is proven from her own pen when she said:
“When men pick up this theory and that theory, when they are curious to know something it is not necessary for them to know, God is not leading them. It is not His plan that His people shall present something which they have to suppose, which is not taught in the Word. It is not His will that they shall get into controversy over questions which will not help them spiritually, such as, Who is to compose the hundred and forty four thousand ? This those who are the elect of God will in a short time know without question.” – 1 Selected Messages, p. 174.
The Harvest of Revelation 14 : 14 – 16
(The First Harvest)
John the Revelator said:
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” – Revelation 14 : 14 – 16.
We are now living in the time of the end. The only harvest which is soon to come to be realized in this sealing time is none other than the sealing of the 144.000 Israelites of God. Therefore the sealing or the harvest predicted in Revelation 14 : 14 – 16, must inevitably meet its fulfillment in the sealing of the 144.000 only. Jesus Himself will be seen to stand with the 144.000 on the
Zion. On the one hand Jesus was seen to John the Revelator as a Lamb, or a mediator in the heavenly court, showing us that the investigative judgment in the heavenly sanctuary was not as yet come to an end. Whereas on the other hand He was shown as the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown with a sharp sickle in His hand, showing that besides coming to reap the harvest, He is also coming to establish the long awaited kingdom of Heaven and David the king, on the long awaited promised land and its location in the Palestine. This is also to fulfill His own promise when He said: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in His throne.” – Revelation 3 : 21.
Especially for the Laodiceans living in this time of the end, the Lord is speaking in force through Revelation 3 : 14 – 22 to us. He said: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in His throne.He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said unto the churches” – Revelation 3 : 18 – 22.
“The Spirit said unto the churches”, means the message to the seven churches in
Asia, which is now represented by the seventh or the Laodicean church. The Spirit is now speaking, revealing to us through THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY all the counsels from Jesus. “Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the 144.000.” – Review and Herald, March 9, 1905.
Despite all the 144.000 would obey the counsels of the Lord and overcome, there would be only one of them to be granted privilege to sit with Jesus as a crowned king.
And regarding the other angel who came out of the temple, the Revelator said:
“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe…” – Revelation 14 : 15.
The other angel which came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice, must represent the message of the sealing. This is the only new light which belongs to the people of God in this time of the end. And all the light of truth could be found only in the SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.
The Harvest of Revelation 14 : 17 – 19
(The Second Harvest)
John the Revelator:
“And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.”--- Revelation 14 : 18.
The angel that came out of the temple in heaven, which also having a sharp sickle, must represent the 144.000 Israelites of God. Having been purified prior to their moving to the kingdom of heaven in the
Palestine, they were represented here as though they came out of the temple in heaven. With the sharp sickle in their hand they were to reap in the second harvest. But the other angel that came out of the altar, which had power over fire, must be none other than the angel who officiated before the golden altar of Revelation 8 : 1, 3-5. Since Jesus is the only High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary who officiated before the golden altar, then He also had power over the fire which represents the Holy Spirit. He is to commission the 144.000 to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom unto the entire world, with great power of the Spirit of the Latter Rain, to speed up the accomplishment of the work, at the close of the time of probation.
Regarding Revelation 8 : 1, 3 – 5 John said:
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. … And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightenings and an earthquake.” – Revelation 8 : 1, 3 – 5.
We have to know that during the half an hour silence in the heavenly sanctuary, Jesus was on the earth standing with the 144.000 on the
Zion in the
Palestine. (Revelation 14 : 1). After commissioning them to go to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom unto the entire world, He was again seen as an angel came and stood before the golden altar. He then took the censer and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth. That is how He empowered them with the Holy Spirit of the Latter Rain, before sending them into the vineyard.
After accomplishing their work of reaping in the second harvest, hence came the close of the time of probation. Then the following verses would be fulfilled during the time of the seven last plagues:
“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great vine press of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and the blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” – Revelation 14 : 19 – 20.
The servant of the Lord said: “Here we are again told that there are two reapings: one by the Son of Man, and another by an angel. The reaping by the Son of Man precedes the reaping by the angel. ‘The Son of Man,’ therefore, gathers the first fruits, and the angel gathers the second fruits. (The vines, not the fully ripe grapes, he casts in the wine press). The Son of Man Himself obviously reaps the first fruits because His servants ( figuratively the angel of the church of Laodiceans) are in no condition to do such a work, for they themselves are ‘wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,’ and know it not (Revelation 3 : 14 – 18).” --- 2 Timely Greetings, No. 44, p. 37.
* * *