52 It is Done!
by Hubert F. Sturges, www.everlastingcovenant.com, December 2013
When Jesus therefore had received the
vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the
ghost. John 19:30
The covenant must finish its work on earth. The
time must come when the people of God fully display His love and grace.
Those who refuse God’s grace
and love demonstrate the character of
Satan. All people on earth will have made their final decision, and
Christ has fought and been victorious in the final battle (Rev.
16:16-21; 19:11-21). His people are ready to be gathered to Him. During
this end time, Jesus completes several significant actions.
Gospel to the World
The church, in its first love, spread the
news of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection (1 Cor. 2:2; 15:3, 4), and His
return in glory throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. To His disciples
Jesus had become a much-loved friend. They looked for His soon return.
Nothing else mattered. They sold their properties to support the new
church. They could not stop talking about Him; they talked about Him so
much that the people in Antioch began to call them “Christians,” a name
they gladly accepted!
Jesus commissioned the church to preach the
everlasting gospel to the world (Matt. 28:18-20; 24:14); but even
better, under the power of the Holy Ghost, they were to be witnesses of
what Christ had done (Acts 1:8). They almost reached this goal in the
Their task was not always easy. There was trouble
and persecution-from the unbelieving Jews, from the pagans, and then
from the apostate Christian church. Not only was there persecution, but
there were divisions and heresies that entered the church. Nonetheless,
for 1260 years, the church in the wilderness kept the light of truth
burning (Rev. 12:14).1
As the disciples began to die, they
realized that Jesus was not going to
return in their lifetime. They were
to look first for a “falling away,” when pagan philosophies would bring
unfortunate changes to the church.2
In spite of this, there would always
be a remnant who would make Jesus first in their lives and follow the
true faith as they understood it (Rom. 11:5; Luke 18:8).
As the Middle Ages passed, Christ led His
church step-by-step back to the true faith. The churches published the
Scriptures and made them widely available. They established missionary
societies. The people prospered and supported these activities. God’s
people learned again about the end-time judgment and Christ’s soon
These doctrines cut across the beliefs of many Christians,
causing opposition within the church. Through the prophecies, God
commissioned those who believed to bring the truth of the Gospel, true
worship, and the judgment before every nation, tribe, tongue, and people
before Jesus could come again (Rev. 10:11; 14:6-12; 18:1-4).
appeared to be an impossible task. The devil opposed Christ at every
turn, brought on trouble, and raised prejudice against God’s people. He
attacked the Bible and the law of God. He claimed that grace is not
sufficient to save and that Christians are no better than those who make
no profession, while the population of the world was increasing faster
than conversions to Christianity.
Christians can only weep that
there is truth in some of these claims and pray that God will show
Himself strong for His people. However, we look for a time when the
honest in heart will renew their consecration and take a new interest in
His Word. The Holy Spirit will come in even greater power than at
Where human agents cannot penetrate, God will send His
angels to bring truth to His people.
The gospel commission was to
“teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
Not only must the gospel go to all the world, but it must come in
full measure to the heart of every one of God’s people.6
issue, the seal of God and the mark of the beast, is the dividing line
between those who choose to serve God and those who do not. The people
of God make their decision by faith, and are finally prepared to see
Jesus come again. The 144,000
are sealed as the first fruits, showing
the completion of the work of grace in the lives of humanity. The
restoration of God’s people to the image of God is finished. The people
of the world, choosing the easy, popular way or making no decision at
all, are given the mark of the beast and are lost.Trouble,
Turmoil, and Plagues
As trouble increases on every hand, we can
know “the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he
knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). God’s people will
experience the fellowship of suffering for Christ. God’s people will be
tested by the two phases of a time of trouble. The first is a time of
intense activity by the church to carry the gospel to the world, which
will lead to persecution and martyrdom (Matt. 24:1-21; Rev. 20:4).
In the time of the end, God’s people will be blamed and persecuted
for the increased turmoil everywhere. As trouble increases, people will
determine to destroy the people of God-choosing a date to accomplish
this purpose in one massive effort (Rev. 13:15).
The second phase
comes after probation has closed and God has sealed the 144,000. At this
time, every person has made his or her decision for or against God, and
there is no more evangelism. The wicked will threaten God’s people, but
holy angels will protect them
(Dan. 12:1; Ps. 91). The angels will then
pour out the seven last plagues (Rev. 16), but God will protect His
people from these, too. Through all this, Jesus has promised, “Lo, I am
with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).
Time to Search the Heart
Meanwhile, Jesus continues His daily
ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, applying His blood for the
forgiveness of sins. In ancient Israel, there was also a Day of
Atonement once a year. The sanctuary was cleansed of the sins
accumulated during the past year. This pointed forward to divine
judgment at the end of earth’s history.
The true “Day of
Atonement” began in 1844 (Dan. 8:14) and was preached by William Miller
in New England from 1831 to 1844. He preached that the sanctuary to be
cleansed was this earth and that Jesus would come October 22, 1844. Of
course, Jesus did not come. After further study, it was found that the
sanctuary to be cleansed was the heavenly sanctuary.
was commissioned to “prophesy again” (Rev. 10:11). God’s people must
learn and accept the true faith and consent to the full work of grace in
their lives. The gospel and the judgment-hour message must be given “to
every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Rev. 14:6). The name
of every person who has entered into the service of Christ is listed in
the Lamb’s book of life. In the Day of Atonement, the record of pardoned
sins is blotted out, and, where sins are not forgiven, the names are
blotted out. It is a time of judgment. In the book of life, the names of
God’s people show no sins, only an uninterrupted record of victory in
When Jesus comes, He takes His people to live and reign
with Him for “a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4). This is a time for the
judgment of the wicked, for when Jesus comes, He brings His reward with
Him “to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12).
This is the time when God’s people have every question answered. As some
who were apparently wicked are saved, and some
who were apparently
righteous are lost, every man and angel must see that God is a God of
mercy and justice. It is only when the redeemed are finally brought into
the new earth that God wipes away all tears from their eyes and that the
reign of sin is forgotten for eternity (Isa. 65:17; 25:8; Rev. 7:17;
21:4).Armageddon: a Spiritual Battle
Just before the end,
the world is divided into just two classes. The Holy Spirit seals the
righteous remnant, and they are safe for eternity. The unbelieving,
deceived majority, through choice or neglect, receive the mark of the
beast. Every person makes his final decision to serve or not to serve
God. Then probation closes for all.7
The holy angels pour out the
seven last plagues as judgments against the wicked (Rev. 15; 16). The
plagues are both real and symbolic in some of their details. This is
especially true regarding the seventh plague-the Battle of Armageddon.
The logistics of gathering the world in the rather small valley of
Megiddo are impossible and unnecessary. It will not be a battle with
guns and tanks.8
The conflict at this time is not with the small
nation of ethnic Israel but is rather the final contest between Christ
and Satan. The followers of Satan work to destroy the righteous, but God
delivers them (Dan. 12:1). The death of God’s people after probation has
closed would not be a witness to people who have already made their
decision not to follow Christ. There will be no more martyrs for there
are no more decisions to make!
Christ then comes
with power and
magnificent glory. It is the glory of “all” the angels (100 million is
the largest number Bible writers could conceive of). The glory of Jesus
Christ outshines them all. Imagine that! The wicked try to hide
themselves in the rocks and the mountains. The righteous gladly welcome
their Lord.Cleansing and Restoration
As Jesus looks at
the unnumbered multitudes of the saved, He feels “the joy that was set
before him” for which He endured the cross. He is rewarded for the
sufferings of His life on earth by “the glory that should follow,” and
He is satisfied.9 Jesus welcomes His people.
When Jesus comes the
second time, the everlasting covenant has achieved its purpose. Grace
has changed the lives of those who have consented to its work. Jesus
Christ confirmed the covenant by His sinless life and His sacrifice on
Calvary. The gospel in which Jesus has taken our place before the
judgment so that we might live has been given to all people. The
144,000, who have made the deepest commitment to Him, are sealed. More
than any others, they are like Christ. The work of grace on the hearts
of sinful people has been demonstrated to all, as sinful people have
been transformed by looking into God’s glory. “But we all, with unveiled
face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed
into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the
Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18, ASV).
After the New Jerusalem comes down to
the earth, heaven is where God is. Happiness again reigns in heaven and
earth. All creation, in unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that
God is love.
I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold,
the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they
shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their
God. (Rev. 21:3)Endnotes
It was prophesied that there
would be a falling away in the church before Christ’s second coming. The
church was accepted into society, became popular, formal, and
increasingly worldly. Pagan doctrines and practices were brought into
the church. There was a true, persecuted remnant that kept the light of
truth burning for 1260 years until the Reformation dawned and the study
of the Bible was revived (2 Thess. 2:3; Dan. 7:25; Rev. 12:13, 14;
Paul prophesied a falling away in the church before
Christ returns (2 Thess. 2:3).3.
Daniel prophesied the end-time
judgment (Dan. 7:9-10; 13-14; 26-27; 8:14). Soon Christ will return to
earth (Matt. 24:14; 27-31; 1 Cor. 15:51-55; Rev. 1:7; John 14:1-3).
God promised that He will pour out His Holy Spirit in the end
time to finish the work of proclaiming the everlasting gospel (Joel
2:23, 28-32; Rev. 14:6-12; 18:1-4; Rom. 9:28; Acts 17:31).
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the
world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”
(Matt. 24:14). The meaning of “preach” is to “proclaim openly”
(Strong’s). The message of Christ is to be proclaimed throughout the
world. The angel told John after the bitter disappointment following the
sweet experience of understanding the little book of Daniel, “Thou must
prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and It is
Done! 295 kings” (Rev. 10:11). This occurred after the great Advent
awakening of 1840-1844. The message of judgment was given in many
places, though not at that time to all peoples. The message was rejected
by the popular churches.
“And I saw another angel fly in the
midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that
dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and
people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for
the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and
earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Rev. 14:6, 7). The
timeframe for Revelation 10:11 and Revelation 14:6 is the same.
God’s people are changed (2 Cor. 3:18; 5:17; Gal. 5:22; 2 Peter
Following the death decree for those who do not
receive the mark of the beast, probation will close for all (Rev.
13:14-17; 14:9-12; 22:11).8.
The battle of Armageddon is
described in Revelation 16:13-21. At last, God will say: “It is done”
Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set
before Him (Heb. 12:2; 1 Peter 1:11; Isa. 53:11).