The First Angel's
"The Everlasting Gospel"
The Wedding Garment
"And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment" (Matthew 22:11).
"In the parable of Matthew 22 . . . the investigative judgment is clearly represented as taking place before the marriage."The Great Controversy, p. 428.
A SYMBOLIC WEDDING
1. What does the marriage in the parable represent? Matthew 22:2.
"By the marriage is represented the union of humanity with divinity; the wedding garment represents the character which all must possess who shall be accounted fit guests for the wedding."Christs Object Lessons, p. 307.
"At an infinite cost to heaven, provision has been made for all, that they may receive grace and sanctification of the Spirit, and be numbered with the blood-washed throng."The Review and Herald, March 28, 1899.
2. What other lessons do we need to learn from this symbolic marriage? Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 11:15; 21:2.
"The marriage represents the reception by Christ of His kingdom."The Great Controversy, p. 426.
"God has made every provision whereby our thoughts may become purified, elevated, refined, and ennobled. He has not only promised to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, but He has made an actual provision for the supply of grace that will lift our thoughts toward Him and enable us to appreciate His holiness. We may realize that we are Christs possession and that we are to manifest His character to the world. Prepared by heavenly grace, we become clothed with the righteousness of Christ, in the wedding garment, and are fitted to sit down at the marriage supper. We become one with Christ, partakers of the divine nature, purified, refined, elevated, and acknowledged to be the children of Godheirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ."Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 660.
AN EXAMINATION BEFORE THE WEDDING
3. What must take place before the weddingand how does this affect us? Matthew 22:11.
"Previous to the wedding the king comes in to see the guests, to see if all are attired in the wedding garment, the spotless robe of character washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb (Matthew 22:11; Revelation 7:14). He who is found wanting is cast out, but all who upon examination are seen to have the wedding garment on are accepted of God and accounted worthy of a share in His kingdom and a seat upon His throne. This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing work in the sanctuary above."The Great Controversy, p. 428.
"Read carefully and critically the parable of the wedding garment, and make a personal application of the lessons it teaches. There are those who, having heard the truth, assent to it, yet are not transformed by it. The truth has not been received into the soul, and therefore it can not carry forward its work of purification in the life. Their family, their neighbors, do not see in them the marked change which they have a right to expect. Those who make a profession of faith, and yet remain unchanged in habit and practice, are represented in the parable by the man who came to the feast without a wedding garment."The Review and Herald, February 26, 1901.
4. How does the righteousness of Christ become the righteousness of the saints? Revelation 3:18; 19:8.
"By the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which Christs true followers will possess. . . . It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour."Christs Object Lessons, p. 310.
"By His perfect obedience [Christ] has made it possible for every human being to obey Gods commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness."Ibid., p. 312.
"Are you ready? Have you the wedding garment on? That garment will never cover deceit, impurity, corruption, or hypocrisy. The eye of God is upon you. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. We may conceal our sins from the eyes of men, but we can hide nothing from our Maker."Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 220, 221.
WHILE PROBATION LINGERS
5. What condition must we be reaching now, while Christ is still mediating in our behalf? John 14:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
"Jesus did not allow the enemy to pull Him into the mire of unbelief, or crowd Him into the mire of despondency and despair. But many poor souls are feeble in moral power because they do not do the words of Christ.
"Christ in the weakness of humanity was to meet the temptations of one possessing the powers of the higher nature that God had bestowed on the angelic family. But Christs humanity was united with divinity, and in this strength He would bear all the temptations that Satan could bring against Him, and yet keep His soul untainted by sin. And this power to overcome He would give to every son and daughter of Adam who would accept by faith the righteous attributes of His character."The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 927.
"Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself, The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me (John 14:30). Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Fathers commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.
"It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ."The Great Controversy, p. 623.
6. While a work of purification is going on in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:23), what is to be taking place among the followers of Christ on earth? Malachi 3:2, 3.
"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. 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 Gods people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14."The Great Controversy, p. 425.
A BLESSING OR A DISAPPOINTMENT
7. What blessing is offered to those whose sins will be blotted out? Zechariah 10:1; Acts 3:19, 20 [compare RSV].
"The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are the times of refreshing to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said, Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out [in the investigative Judgment], when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus (Acts 3:19, 20)."The Great Controversy, p. 611. [1888 edition; E.G. Whites comment in brackets.]
8. On the other hand, what disappointment comes to those who know the present truth, yet neglect the opportunity to obtain the needed preparation? Jeremiah 8:20.
"All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted their profession and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God and the more sure the triumph of their great adversary. Those who delay a preparation for the day of God cannot obtain it in the time of trouble or at any subsequent time. The case of all such is hopeless."The Great Controversy, p. 620.
"I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of refreshing and the latter rain to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing."Early Writings, p. 71.
READY TO MEET CHRIST
9. When the work of purification is completed, and the investigative judgment is over, for what event will Christs followers be prepared? 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:27.
"When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years (Malachi 3:4). Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing (Ephesians 5:27)."The Great Controversy, p. 425.
10. What contrast will be seen between those who are unready and those who are ready for Christs second advent? Revelation 6:1417; Isaiah 25:9.
"When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own."Christs Object Lessons, p. 69.
"The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people. Like peals of loudest thunder His words roll through the earth. The Israel of God stand listening, with their eyes fixed upward. Their countenances are lighted up with His glory, and shine as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked cannot look upon them. And when the blessing is pronounced on those who have honored God by keeping His Sabbath holy, there is a mighty shout of victory.
"Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a mans hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. . . .
"Before His presence all faces are turned into paleness; upon the rejecters of Gods mercy falls the terror of eternal despair. The heart melteth, and the knees smite together, . . . and the faces of them all gather blackness (Jeremiah 30:6; Nahum 2:10). The righteous cry with trembling: Who shall be able to stand? The angels song is hushed, and there is a period of awful silence. Then the voice of Jesus is heard, saying: My grace is sufficient for you. The faces of the righteous are lighted up, and joy fills every heart."The Great Controversy, pp. 640, 641.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
a. How only can we partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb?
b. What is our responsibility before the supper takes place?
c. How is the wedding garment obtained?
d. Why is confession and forsaking of sin vital to our salvation?
e. When will Christ return?
FOR FURTHER STUDY
vol. 5, pp. 217223
Christs Object Lessons, pp. 307319.
Now is the time to read it!
Because our faith will soon be severely tested, we should be prepared to give an answer for our beliefs. Therefore, during 1999 we will study all of the Three Angels Messages and "That Other Angel." These lessons are presenting very controversial points of doctrine, and the book The Great Controversy is an essential aid in understanding these studies. We urge you to begin reading this book today!