Cottonwood Seventh-day Adventist Church

51 W Mingus, Cottonwood Arizona 86326 928 634-2821

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The Investigative Judgement in Scripture

    Some while ago a noted Adventist Theologan set about to challenge some details of Adventist history saying there was no basis for the doctrine of the investigative judgement in scripture.  This article will show that indeed the teaching of the investigative judgement is found in scripture.   Let's begin with some background.

                                  William Miller Preaching the Judgement Hour Message

    In the 1840's a farmer named William Miller began studying his bible and ran across the text unto two thousand three hundred days and then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.  Daniel 8:14. Miller interpreted the text to mean the cleansing of the earth by fire at the second coming and through careful study of Daniel 8 and 9, began to preach the Lord's soon return on October 22, 1844.   The basis for this date is taken from the starting date for the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 457 BC.  Using a day for a year principle in Bible prophecy, this takes us 2300 years to October 22, 1844.  There is much more to this prophecy which predicted when Jesus would come and begin his ministry when he was baptized and his death on the cross.  William Miller began preaching his teachings and the soon return of Jesus throughout the 1840s up until October 22, 1844.  The day came and the believers anxiously awaited their Lord's return only to be sadly disappointed.  This is known as the great disappointment.  

                                                   Miller's Prophetic Time Chart

    After the disappointment, careful reexamination of the scriptures was made.  The date was substantiated, but prayer was made as to just what event had taken place.  After the disappointment, Hiram Edson and O.R.L. Crozier met in prayer at Edson's farm to pray for wisdom and understanding.   They had prayer and were walking through a cornfield when Edson received an impression, some have said a vision that the sanctuary was in heaven that was to be cleansed rather than on earth.  It was from this beginning that the doctrine of the investigative judgement in heaven began in 1844 was formulated which is a teaching of the seventh-day adventist church.  
   Looking back there are several passages of scripture which support the teaching.  When Daniel received his visions, the angel told him to seal up the book as it was for many days, even unto the time of the end.  Daniel 12:4  It was not until the 1840's when Miller began to study the book of Daniel that it was opened.   Revelation 10 paints a picture of the experience of those who opened the book as sweet as honey in the mouth and the disappointment as bitter in the belly.  The great disappointment was indeed bitter which came after having receiving with joy the message of the cleansing of the sanctuary thought to refer to the 2nd coming of christ.  "And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book.  And he said unto me, Take and eat it up and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey."  Revelation 10:9, 10.
    The teaching of the investigative judgement is that the dead are judged in heaven and their names placed in either the book of life or the book of damnation.  The investigative judgement began in 1844.  The 2300 day prophecy of Daniel is the last time prophecy in the Bible.  Rev 10:5-7 We are living in the time of the feet of iron and clay.  When this process is completed and the names of all are found in either of these two book, Jesus announces behold I come quickly to give every man as his work shall be. Rev 22:11, 12
    Revelation 11 foresees further experiences of the early advent believers when it talks of a great earthquake in verse 13 and  specificly mentions the time when the dead would be judged in verse 18.  "And the nations were angry, and they wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints ..." Rev 11:18.   In verse 19 is mentioned that the temple is seen in heaven.  "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings and voices, and thundering and an earthquake and great hail.   Rev 11:19.  It was not long after the great disappointment that Ellen White received a vision showing the ark of the covenant in the most holy place of the temple where the ten commandments are therein between the covering angels with a halo of light over the 4th commandment drawing attention to the seventh day Sabbath.  Early Writings pp 32-35 These texts and others confirm the sanctuary doctrine and investigative judgement from scripture.  

Reference:   Excerpt from Early Writings pp 32-35 by Ellen White.  
The Lord gave me the following view in 1847, while the brethren were assembled on the Sabbath, at Topsham, Maine.

We felt an unusual spirit of prayer. And as we prayed the Holy Ghost fell upon us. We were very happy. Soon I was lost to earthly things and was wrapped in a vision of God’s glory. I saw an angel flying swiftly to me. He quickly carried me from the earth to the Holy City. In the city I saw a temple, which I entered. I passed through a door before I came to the first veil. This veil was raised, and I passed into the holy place. Here I saw the altar of incense, the candlestick with seven lamps, and the table on which was the shewbread. After viewing the glory of the holy, Jesus raised the second veil and I passed into the holy of holies.

In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. On each end of the ark was a lovely cherub, with its wings spread out over it. Their faces were turned toward each other, and they looked downward. Between the angels was a golden censer. Above the ark, where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory, that appeared like a throne where God dwelt. Jesus stood by the ark, and as the saints’ prayers came up to Him, the incense in the censer would smoke, and He would offer up their prayers with the smoke of the incense to His Father. In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were four, and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God’s holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious—a halo of glory was all around it. I saw that the Sabbath commandment was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to break them all, as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes.
Early Writings

Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs Item 24:

24. Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary:
There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent. (Heb. 8:1-5; 4:14-16; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; 1:3; 2:16, 17; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6; Lev. 16; Rev. 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:12.)


Cottonwood Seventh-day Adventist Church
51 West Mingus Ave | Cottonwood, AZ 86326