by Marcos C. Thaler According to God's Word, there will come a day when multitudes of people will look back and wished they had listened to those who were willing to share the Word of God with them and teach them. They will wish they had taken advantage of the small windows of opportunity God had given them to be educated concerning the ways of righteousness and the end of all things. After it is too late, and after probation (time of mercy and grace) closes for mankind, there will be a famine in the land, not of bread or of water, but of the hearing of the Word of God. It will not be found. They will seek it from coast to coast, but it will not be found. They will wish they had taken advantage of the opportunities God had opened for them to learn and become knowledgeable in His Word. Note the following scriptures: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it." (Amos 8:11,12) Sadly, it will be said of such individuals, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." (Jer. 8:20) This realization occurs after the cases of all humanity have been decided prior to Christ's Second Advent. Of heaven it will be declared, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Rev. 22:11,12) This event is called the "close of probation", because mankind is living on probationary time. Then there will be a time when that time of mercy will come to a close, and the line will be drawn in the sand. According to these clear scriptures, probation closes prior to the Second Coming of Christ. Christ is now ministering as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary (Note: Temple, Sanctuary, and Tabernacle are all referring to the same thing). So long as Christ is ministering with His High Priestly garb, so long as He is standing as mediator between God and man in the Holy of Holies, salvation, mercy, and grace is provided for sinners, that we may be justified in His sight. According to Psalms 77:13, we are told, "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary". This sanctuary is in heaven, "For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth." (Psalms 102:19). The Apostle Paul declares, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16). Thus we see, that by faith (not literally), we are to follow Jesus Christ, our High Priest, into the sanctuary of heaven. But when Christ ceases His High Priestly ministry and steps out of the Heavenly Sanctuary, probation for man closes. According to Hebrews 7-9, He is our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. But when He returns, He will not return in His priestly attire. He will return with the name, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" etched on the side of his vesture. See Rev. 19:14-16. So long as the sanctuary of heaven is open for service, so long as the door to the tabernacle is open, we may enter in and obtain mercy. This door of mercy to heaven's sanctuary closes before Jesus comes back. And we know not when this will transpire. But we will know that probation (that is, mercy and grace are still open and available---where it is possible to still repent and confess our sins) is closed for mankind after the 7 last plagues begin to fall: "(5) And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: (6) And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. (7) And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. (8) And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and NO MAN WAS ABLE TO ENTER INTO THE TEMPLE, TILL THE SEVEN PLAGUES OF THE SEVEN ANGELS WERE FULFILLED." (Rev. 15:5-8) Such was the case as in the days of Noah. After Noah was done preaching, the door to the ark was shut. For 7 days it rained while the ark was still on the ground, but no man could enter into the ark during those 7 days while it rained. See Genesis 7:4,10,16-18. Their probation had closed, the door of mercy was shut. Then the flood came, the ark was lifted off the ground by the waters, and the floods took all the wicked away. Likewise, the door to heaven's sanctuary will be shut, the 7 last plagues will fall, and then Jesus will return. The door to the ark was a prototype to the door to the heavenly sanctuary---which will be shut before Jesus comes. The pattern teaches us a lesson, and this is precisely why Jesus said, "as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man" (Matt. 24:37; Luke 17:26) When Christ is interceding on our behalf as our High Priest, He is our mediator between man and God in the heavenly sanctuary. But once Christ ceases His High Priestly ministration, there is no more mediator between man and God. The door to the Holy of Holies, where Christ is now interceding and pleading His blood before the original Ten Commandments (His Testimony) contained in the original Ark of the Covenant in the heavenly sanctuary (see. Rev. 11:19; 15:5), finally shuts. This door is the door that only Jesus can open and shut. Hence we read, "(8) And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (8) I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."(Rev. 3:7,8) No man can enter into God's temple when the 7 last plagues begin to fall. The door has been shut. Every opportunity has been given. After the 7 plagues have been fulfilled, Christ comes to gather His people while the wicked are destroyed, and then His people will be able to enter into the temple literally once they reach heaven. May we allow these facts to compel us to action and study God's Word like never before. May we take advantage of the fact that probation is still available for sinners. May we be thankful and take advantage that there are still those who are willing to teach us and help us understand the knowledge of the truth, and not be so afraid we will hear something that is not pleasing or "edifying" to us. There will come a famine in the land of the hearing of the Word of God. When we procrastinate and put off hearing God's Word, and being willing to be taught and helped, we increase the chances that we will miss the small window of opportunity God is giving us. Our hearts then harden, the whispers of the Holy Spirit grow dimmer, and our desire for truth weakens. "(2) Incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; (3) Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; (4) If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; (5) Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (6) For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (7) He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. (8) He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. (9) Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. (10) When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; (11) Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee." (Prov. 2:3-11) "Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end." (Proverbs 19:20) "Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge." (Proverbs 22:17) “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17) "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." (Proverbs 1:5) "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination." (Prov. 28:9) What must we do to be saved? "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."(Isaiah 55:6-9) "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Rev. 22:14) May we choose to be among that number, who seek God's Word and yearn and long to hear what the Lord may be trying to teach us through those human instruments He may send into our lives!