Fall 1999 Newsletter: The Final Generation
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The final demonstration of what the Gospel can do in and for humanity is still to come. Christ showed the way by taking a human body and in that body demonstrating the power of God.
We are to follow His example and prove that what God did in Christ, He can do in every human being who submits to Him. The world is awaiting this demonstration (See Romans 8:19). When it has been accomplished, the end will come. God will have fulfilled His plan. He will have shown Himself true and Satan a liar. God’s government will stand vindicated.

There is much spurious doctrine concerning holiness taught in the world today. On the one hand are those who deny the power of God to save from sin. Among this class are not only unbelievers and skeptics; but church members whose vision does not include victory over sin, but who accept a kind of compromise with sin.

On the other hand are those who flaunt their sanctity and would have us believe that they are without sin. In this class are such as have no just conception either of sin or of God’s holiness, whose spiritual vision is so impaired that they cannot see their own shortcomings and hence believe themselves perfect. Their conception of religion is such that their own understanding of truth and righteousness is superior to that revealed in the Word. It is not easy to decide which is the greater error.

The Bible teaches holiness indisputably:

The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)


For this is the will of God, even your sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

The Greek word hagios in its various forms is translated sanctify, holy, holiness, sanctified, and sanctification. It is the same word which is used for the two sections of the sanctuary and means that which is set apart for God. A sanctified person is one who is set apart for God, whose whole life is dedicated to Him.

Forgiveness and Cleansing
The plan of salvation includes not only forgiveness of sin, but also complete restoration. Salvation from sin is more than forgiveness of sin. Forgiveness presupposes sin and is conditioned upon breaking with it; sanctification is separation from sin, deliverance from its power, and victory over it. The first is a means to neutralize the effect of sin; the second is a restoration of power for complete victory.

Sin, like some diseases, leaves us in a deplorable condition—weak, despondent, disheartened. We as sinners have little control of our minds. Our wills fail us, and with the best of intentions we are unable to do what we know is right. In these situations, we feel hopeless, knowing that we only have ourselves to blame. Will no one take pity on us?

Then comes the Gospel. The Good News is preached to us. Though our sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. All is forgiven. We are “saved.” What a wonderful deliverance it is!

No longer are we tormented by our consciences. We have been forgiven. Our sins are cast into the depths of the sea.

However, as a disabled ship towed to the port is safe but not sound, so we are “saved” but not sound. Repair must be made on a ship before it is pronounced seaworthy, and our hearts need reconstruction before we can be fully restored.

This process of restoration is called sanctification and includes in its finished product body, soul, and spirit. When the work is finished, we are holy, completely sanctified, and restored to the image of God. The world is looking for this demonstration of what the Gospel can do for us.

In the Bible both the process and the finished work are spoken of as sanctification. For this reason the “brethren” are spoken of as holy and sanctified, though they have not attained to perfection (See 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Hebrews 3:1). A glance through the epistles to the Corinthians show that the saints there mentioned had their faults. Despite this, they are said to be “sanctified” and “called to be saints.” The reason is that complete sanctification is not the work of a day or of a year, but of a lifetime.

Sanctification begins at the moment a person is converted and continues through life. Every victory hastens the process. There are few Christians who have not gained the mastery over some sin that formerly greatly annoyed them and overcame them. Many who have been slaves to the tobacco habit have gained the victory over the habit. Tobacco has ceased to be a temptation.

On that point, we are sanctified. As we are victorious over one besetment, so will we become victorious over every sin. When the work is completed, when we gain the victory over pride, ambition, and love of the world, we are ready for translation.

We will be tried in all points. The evil one will come and find nothing. Satan will have no more temptations for us. On the day we will stand without fault before the throne of God. Christ will place His seal upon us. We will be safe and sound.

Thus it shall be with the last generation living on the earth. Through them, God’s final demonstration of what He can do with humanity will be given. He will take the weakest of the weak, those bearing the sins of their forefathers, and in them show the power of God. They will be subjected to every temptation, but they will not yield. They will demonstrate that it is possible to live without sin—the very demonstration for which the world has been looking and for which God has been preparing. It will become evident to all that the Gospel really can save to the uttermost. God is found true in His sayings.

Throughout the history of the world, God has had His faithful ones. They have endured affliction and great tribulation. But even in the midst of Satan’s buffetings they have, as the apostle Paul says, through faith “wrought righteousness” (Hebrews 11:33).

They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:37-38).

And in addition to this galaxy of faithful witnesses, many of whom were martyrs for their faith, God will have in the last days a remnant, a little flock, in and through whom He will give to the universe a demonstration of His love, His power, and His justice. Except for Christ’s godly life on Earth and His supreme sacrifice on Calvary, this remnant will be the most sweeping and conclusive demonstration of all ages of what God can do in humankind.

It is in the last generation living on the earth that God’s power unto sanctification will stand fully revealed. The demonstration of that power is God’s vindication. It clears Him of any and all charges which Satan has places against Him. In the last generation God is vindicated and Satan defeated.

Rebellion in Heaven
The rebellion that took place in heaven and introduced sin into the universe of God must have been a fearful experience both for God and for the angels. Until this time all had been peace and harmony. Discord was unknown; only love prevailed. Then unholy ambitions stirred the heart of Lucifer.

He decided that he wanted to be like the Most High. He would exalt his throne above the stars of God; he would sit “upon the mount of congregation, in the sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:12-14). This declaration of intent was tantamount to an attempt to depose God and usurp His place. It was a declaration of war. Where God sat, Satan would sit. God accepted the challenge.

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels” (Revelation 12:7). The outcome could have been foreseen. Satan and his angels “prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which decieveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out of him” (Revelation 12:8-9).

Though Satan was defeated, he was not destroyed. By his act of rebellion, he had declared God’s government at fault, and by the setting up of his own throne, he had made claim to greater wisdom or justice than God. These claims are inherent in rebellion and in the establishment of another government.

But God would give Satan an opportunity to demonstrate his theories. To remove every doubt in the minds of the angels and humanity, God must let Satan go on with his work. And so Satan was permitted to live and set up his government. For the last six thousand years he has been giving the universe a demonstration of what he will do when he has the opportunity.

In heaven, Lucifer had been one of the covering cherubs (See Ezekiel 28:14). This refers to the two angels who in the Most Holy Apartment of the sanctuary stood on the Ark, covering the mercy seat. This was doubtless the highest office an angel could occupy, for the Ark and the mercy seat were in the immediate presence of God. These angels were the special guardians of the law. They watched over it, as it were. Lucifer was one of them.

Ezekiel 28:12 says of Lucifer, “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” The meaning of the expression, “Thou sealest up the sum,” is not entirely clear. The reading is capable of varied interpretations. It seems evident, however, that the intent is to show the high position and exalted privilege that were Satan’s before he fell. He was a kind of prime minister, a keeper of the seal.

As in an earthly government, a document or law must have a seal attached to it in order to be valid. God seems to have apportioned to the angels their work, the same as He has given us our work. One angel is in charge of the fire (See Revelation 14:18). Another angel is in charge of the “seal of the living God” (Revelation 7:2).

Although, as stated above, the reading of Ezekiel 28:12 is not entirely clear, some feel justified in translating it, “Thou attachest the seal to the ordinance.” If this position is tenable, if Lucifer were prime minister and keeper of the seal, it gives an additional reason why he should wish to substitute his own mark for that of God’s seal when he left his first abode.

It is evident that Satan has been very active against the law. If God’s law is a transcript of His character, and if this character is the very opposite of Satan’s, Satan stands condemned by it. Christ and the law are one. Christ is the law lived out, the law become flesh. For this reason, His life constitutes a condemnation. When Satan warred against Christ, he warred also against the law. When he hated the law, he also hated Christ. Christ and the law are inseparable.

When Christ died on the cross He had demonstrated in His life the possibility of keeping the law. Satan had not succeeded in leading Christ into sin. Possibly he did not expect to be able to do that. But if he could have induced Christ to use His divine power to save Himself, he would have accomplished much. Had Christ done so, Satan could have claimed that this invalidated the demonstration God intended to make, namely, that it was possible for humans to keep the law.

As it was, Satan was defeated. But until the very last he continued the same tactics. Judas thought Christ would free Himself, thus using His divine power to save Himself. On the cross Christ was taunted: “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” But Christ did not falter. He could have saved Himself, but He did not. Satan was baffled. He could not understand. But he knew that when Christ died without his having been able to make Him sin, his own doom was sealed. In His death Christ was victor.

But Satan did not give up. He had failed in his conflict with Christ, but he might yet succeed with humanity. So he “went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). If he could overcome them, he might not be defeated.

God’s Demonstration
The demonstration God intends to make with the last generation on earth means much, to the people and to God. Can God’s law really be kept? This is the vital question. Many deny that it can be done; others say it can. When the whole question of commandment keeping is considered, the problem assumes large proportions.

God’s law is exceedingly broad; it includes the thoughts and intents of the heart. It judges motives as well as acts, and thoughts as well as words. Commandment keeping means entire sanctification, a holy life, unswerving allegiance to right, entire separation from sin, and victory over it.

Let us say it reverently: God must meet Satan’s challenge. It is not God’s plan, or a part of His purpose, to subject us to tests that only a chosen few can survive. In the Garden of Eden, God subjected Adam and Eve to the lightest test conceivable. No one can say that our first parents fell because the test was too hard for them. When they fell, it was not because they had not been provided with strength to resist. The temptation was not held before them constantly. Satan was not permitted to molest them everywhere. He has access to them at only one place, namely at the tree of knowledge. That place they knew. They could stay away from it if they wanted to.

Satan could not follow them everywhere. If they went where Satan was, it was because they wanted to. But even if they went there to examine the tree, they need not have remained there. They could walk away. And if Satan offered them fruit, they need not take it. But they took it and ate. And they ate because they wanted to, not because they had to. They deliberately transgressed. There was no excuse. God could not have devised an easier test.

When God commands us to keep His law, it does not serve the purpose He has in mind to have only a few of us keep it. It is not in line with God’s character to pick outstanding people of strong purpose and superb training, and demonstrate through them what He can do. It is much more in harmony with His plan to make His requirements such that even the weakest need not fail, so that none can every say that God demands that which can only be done by a few. It is for this reason that God has reserved His greatest demonstration for the last generation.

This generation bears the result of accumulated sins. If any are weak, they are. If any suffer from inherited tendencies, they do. If any have an excuse because of weakness of any kind, they have. If therefore, these can keep the commandments, there is no excuse for any one in any other generation not doing so also.

But this is not enough. God intends in His demonstration to show not merely that ordinary men and women of the last generation can successfully pass a test such as He gave to Adam and Eve; but that they can survive a test much harder than such as falls to the lot of common people. It will be a test comparable to the one Job passed through, and approaching that which the Master underwent. It will test them to the utmost.

Job’s Test

Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (James 5:11).

Job passed through some experiences that will be repeated in the lives of the chosen ones of the last generation. It may be well to consider them.

Job was a good man. God trusted him. Day by day he offered sacrifices for his sons. “It may be that my sons have sinned,” he said (Job 1:5). He was prosperous and enjoyed the blessings of God.

Then came “a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them” (Job 1:6). A conversation is recorded between the Lord and Satan that concerned Job. The Lord says that Job is a good man, which Satan does not deny, but urges that Job is God-fearing merely because it pays him to be so.

Satan says that if God will take away His mercies, Job will curse God. The statement is in the form of a challenge, and God accepts it. Satan is given permission to take away Job’s property and otherwise cause him sorrow, but not to touch Job himself. Satan immediately proceeds to do what he is permitted to do. Job’s property is all swept away, and his children are killed.

When this happened, “Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return thither: the LORD gave me, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:20-22).

Satan was defeated, but he makes another attempt. At the next meeting with the Lord, without admitting defeat, he argues that he had not been permitted to touch Job himself. If he had, he claims, Job would have sinned. The statement is again a challenge, and God accepts it. Satan is given permission to torment Job, but not to take his life. He immediately departs on his mission.

All that the Enemy can do, Satan does to Job. But Job stands fast. His wife counsels him to give up, but he does not waver. Under intense physical pain and mental anguish he remains steadfast. Again it is recorded that Job stood the test. “In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10). Satan is defeated and does not appear any more in the book.

In the succeeding chapters in the book of Job we are given a little insight into the struggle going on in Job’s mind. He is greatly perplexed. Why has all this calamity come upon him? He is not conscious of any sin. Why, then, should God afflict him?

He, of course, does not know of the challenge of Satan. All he knows is that out of a clear sky disaster has come upon him until he is left without family or property, and with a loathsome disease that nearly overwhelms him. He does not understand, but he retains his integrity and faith in God. This God knew he would do. This Satan said he would not do. In the challenge God won.

Humanly speaking, Job had not deserved the suffering that came to him. God Himself says it was without cause (Job 2:3). The whole experiment can, therefore, be justified only by considering it as a specific test devised for a specific purpose. God wanted to silence Satan’s charge that Job served God only for profit. He wanted to demonstrate that there was at least one man whom Satan could not control. Job suffered as a result of it, but there seemed to be no other way. A reward was afterward given him.

Job’s case is recorded for a purpose. While we grant its historicity, we believe that it has also a wider meaning. God’s people in the last days will pass through an experience similar to Job’s. They will be tested as he was; they will have every earthly stay removed; Satan will be given permission to torment them. In addition to this, the Spirit of God will be withdrawn from the earth and the protection of earthly governments removed.

God’s people will be left alone to battle with the powers of darkness. They will be perplexed, as was Job. But they, as did he, will hold fast their integrity. In the last generation God will stand vindicated. In the remnant Satan will meet his defeat. The charge that the law cannot be kept will be met and fully refuted. God will produce not only one or two who keep His commandments, but a whole group, spoken as the 144,000. They will reflect the image of God fully. They will have disproved Satan’s accusation against the government of heaven.

The Last Generation
God is ready for the challenge. He has bided His time. Out of the last generation God will select His chosen ones. Not the strong or the mighty, not the honored or the rich, not the wise or the learned, but common, ordinary people will God take, and through and by them make His demonstration.

Satan has claimed that those who in the past have served God have done so because God has pampered them, and that Satan has not had free access to them. If he were given full permission to press his case, they also would be won over. But he charges that God is afraid to let him do this. “Give me a fair chance,” Satan says, “and I will win out.”

And so, to silence forever Satan’s charges; to make it evident that His people are serving Him from motives of loyalty and right, without reference to reward; to clear His own name and character of the charges of injustice and arbitrariness; and to show to angels and people that His law can be kept by the weakest under the most discouraging and most untoward circumstances, God permits Satan in the last generation to try His people to the utmost.

They will be threatened, tortured, persecuted. They will stand face to face with death in the issuance of the decree to worship the beast and his image (See Revelation 13:15). But they will not yield. They are willing to die rather than to sin.

God removes His Spirit from the earth. Satan will have a greater measure of control than he has ever had before. True, he may not kill God’s people, but that seems to be the only limitation. And he uses every permission he has. He knows what is at stake. It is now or never.

God, to make the demonstration complete, does one more thing. He hides Himself. The sanctuary in heaven is closed. The saints cry to God day and night for deliverance, but He appears not to hear. God’s chosen ones are passing through Gethsemane. They are having a little taste of Christ’s experience those three hours on the cross. Seemingly, they must fight their battle alone. They must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor.

But though Christ has finished His intercession, the saints are still the object of God’s love and care. Holy angels watch over them. God provides them shelter from their enemies; He provides them with food, shields them from destruction, and supplies grace and power for holy living (See Psalm 91). Yet they are still in the world, still tempted, afflicted, and tormented.

Will they stand the test? To human eyes it seems impossible If only God would come to their rescue, all would be well. They are determined to resist the evil one. If need be they will die, but they will not sin. Satan has no power—and never has had—to make anyone sin. He can tempt, he can seduce, he can threaten; but he cannot compel. And now God demonstrates through the weakest of the weak that there is no excuse, and never has been any, for sinning.

If those in the last generation can successfully repel Satan’s attack; if they can do this with all odds against them and the sanctuary closed, what excuse is there for ever sinning?

The 144,000
In the last generation, God gives the final demonstration that people can keep the law of God, and that they can live without sinning. God leaves nothing undone to make the demonstration complete. The only limitation put upon Satan is that he may not kill the saints of God. He may tempt them, he may harass and threaten them; and he does his best. But he fails He cannot make them sin. They stand the test, and God puts His seal upon them.

Through the last generation of saints, God stands finally vindicated. Through them He defeats Satan and wins His case. They form a vital part of the plan of God. They go through the terrific struggles; they battle with unseen powers in high places. But they have put their trust in the Most High, and they will not be ashamed. They have suffered hunger and thirst, but they now “shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:16-17).

They “follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth” (Revelation 14:4). When at last the doors of the temple shall swing open, a voice shall sound forth: “Only the 144,000 enter this place” (EW, 19).

By faith they have followed the Lamb here. They have gone with Him into the holy place; they have followed Him into the Most Holy. And in the hereafter, only those who have thus followed Him here will follow Him there. They will be kings and priests. They will stand in the unveiled presence of God. They shalt follow Him “whithersoever He goeth.” They will not only be “before the throne of God” and “serve Him day and night in His temple,” but they will sit with Him in His throne, even as He also overcame, and is set down with His Father in His throne (See Revelation 7:15; 3:21).

The matter of greatest importance in the universe is not the salvation of men, important as that may seem. The most important thing is the clearing of God’s name from the false accusations made by Satan. The controversy is drawing to a close. God is preparing His people for the last great conflict. Satan is also getting ready. The issue is before us and will be decided in the lives of God’s people. God is depending upon us as He did upon Job. Is His confidence well placed?

May the Church of God appreciate the exalted privilege given her! “Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 43:10). There must be “no strange god among you; therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God” (Isaiah 43:12). May we be witnesses indeed, testifying what God has done for us!

All this is closely connected with the work of the Day of Atonement. On that day the people if Israel, having confessed their sins, were completely cleansed. They had already been forgiven, now sin was separated from them. They were holy and without blame. The camp of Israel was clean.

We are now living in the great antitypical day of the cleansing of the sanctuary. Every sin must be confessed and by faith be sent beforehand to judgment. As the high priest enters into the Most Holy, so God’s people now are to stand face to face with God. They must know that every sin is confessed, that no stain of evil remains.

The cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven is dependent upon the cleansing of God’s people on Earth. How important, then, that God’s people be holy and without blame! In them every sin must be burned out, so that they will be able to stand in the sight of a holy God and live with the devouring fire.

Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from the holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him: his waters shall be sure (Isaiah 33:13-16).

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Who is Jesus?
Is Jesus really who He says He is?
Did Jesus Ever Exist? Was Jesus the Messiah? Is What Christianity Teaches True? The Godhead and the One True God Movement Is Jesus God? Jesus: The Mercy Seat Why Did Jesus Have To Die? Six Purposes for Christ's Life and Death on Earth What Day Did Jesus Die? The 70-Week Prophecy Jesus, the Recycled Redeemer Names of Christ in Revelation
How will Christ return, and what will it mean for His people?
The First Beast—Comparing Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 Revelation Identifies End-Time Babylon The Second Beast of Revelation 13 Identifying the Antichrist The Final Confederacy Walking Through Daniel The Seven Plagues Walking through Revelation
Religious Trends
What are the trends in the religious world today? Sun Worship, The UN and the One World Religion, Eastern Mysticism and Spiritism... Just what do all these things mean in light of Bible prophecy?
Babylonian Religion Sun Worship The Charismatic Movement Politics and the Papacy Paganism and Mary Wealth Redistribution Spiritism throughout Religions Catholic Pentecostalism Unity at All Cost? Sustainability Pentecostalism The Charismatic Movement and Spiritual Gifts Paganism and Christmas Manifesting the Charismatic Spirit The New Age Movement Paganism in our Culture The United Nations' Global Government The History of Tongues Secret Societies Revival and the "Power of God" Signs and Wonders What’s So Bad about Spiritual Formation? Zionism
Most people can understand the reasoning behind nine of the Ten Commandments—don't kill, don't lie, don't steal. But what about the Sabbath Commandment? Why would God give such a law? Why should we follow it?
What is the Seventh-Day Sabbath? Creation and the Sabbath The Weekly Cycle Why Sunday? Sabbath FAQ
The Second Coming of Christ
How will Christ return, and what will it mean for His people?
Signs of The Second Coming of Christ The Second Coming of Christ Viewpoints How Christ will Return What will Happen to God's People? What will Happen to the Rejecters of God? Will there be a Secret Rapture? The Millennium of Peace
The Bible
Can the Bible be trusted to provide answers to our questions? Does it contain truth? Learn about the evidence that proves the Bible's authenticity.
Archaeology Confirms the Bible Choosing the Books of the Bible Studying Scripture Scripture is Inspired by God Testing the Gospel of Thomas Testing the Gospel of Judas The Spirit in Scripture The Lost Books of the Bible The Gospel Story Spiritual Gifts
Christian Living: Sin and Salvation
Consider the crucial points of the Christian life.
Christian Living Good God, Bad World. Why? God's Plan to Eradicate Sin Salvation By Faith The Ceremonial Feasts Pointed to Christ
Is there more to death than the fact that it is the opposite of life? What are the false doctrines involving the immortality of the soul?
Death: Understanding the Terminology A Biblical Understanding of Death The Resurrection of Lazarus Spiritism Hell and Purgatory An Immediate Afterlife? The Parable of Lazarus