The investigative judgment of those who in all ages have professed to be followers of Christ started in 1844, when our High Priest entered the most holy place of the Heavenly Sanctuary In the final atonement and judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God.
Their characters are examined according to the record of the books of heaven to determine who, through repentance of sin, and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. At the end of the investigation probation will close, and the door of mercy will be shut. This will be done before the second advent of Christ. Thus the destiny of each will forever fixed according to their spotless robe of character washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.
The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work and takes place at a later period.
Judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel? 1 Peter 4:17
The dead are to be judged out of the things written in the books. For it is impossible the sins of believers to be blotted out before the investigative judgment.
Apostle Peter states that their sins of will be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ. Acts 3:19, 20.
Christ will come when the investigative judgment closes. His reward will be with Him to give to every man as his work shall be.
Beginning of Christ’s ministration in the most holy place
At the end of the 2300 days prophecy Christ came to the most holy place of the Temple of God in Heaven. Daniel narrates it as coming at this time to the Ancient of Days:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. Daniel 7:13
He also brings in Daniel 8:14 the same coming of Christ for the cleansing of the sanctuary: Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
The prophet Malachi foretells this coming as well:
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:1
The coming of the bridegroom to the marriage represents the same event. It is described by Christ in the parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25.
In 1844 the proclamation, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, was given. In the parable, when the bridegroom came, they that were ready went in with him to the marriage. The marriage represents the reception by Christ of His kingdom. Thus at the appointed time the Bridegroom came not to the earth, as the people expected, but to the Ancient of Days in heaven, to the marriage – the reception of His kingdom.
His people should understand Christ’s work and follow Him by faith as He goes in before God. It is in this sense that they are said to go in to the marriage.
The investigative judgment is taking place before the marriage
In the parable of Matthew 22 Jesus speaks about the same figure of marriage. Before the wedding the king comes in to see the guests, if all are attired in the wedding garment. It represents the character which all must possess to be accounted fit guests for the wedding.
Moreover, it was a gift from the king. It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Savior. By wearing it the guests showed their respect for the giver of the feast.
The king’s examination of the guests at the feast represents the investigative judgment of those who profess to serve God. He who is found wanting is cast out. On the other hand, 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.
Thus after the investigative judgment when the cases of all Christ’s professed followers have been examined and decided, probation will close and the door of mercy will be shut.
The law of God is the standard of characters and lives
The cases of the righteous dead have been passing in review before God since 1844. When that work will be completed, judgment will be pronounced upon the living.
Before the final reward is given, it must be decided who are fitted to share the inheritance of the righteous. This decision must be made prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. For when He comes, His reward is with Him – to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12. Then, before His coming, the character of every man’s work will have been determined. Thus to every one of Christ’s followers the reward will have been apportioned according to his or her deeds.
Paul received the gospel of Jesus Christ, which made him a new creature. He was transformed. The truth was planted in his soul. It gave him such faith and courage as a follower of Christ that no opposition could move him, no suffering daunt him. People may make what excuse they please for their rejection of God’s law. But no excuse will be accepted in the day of Judgment.
For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Revelation 6:17. People have hardened their hearts against the Spirit of God, but the arrows of His wrath will pierce where the arrows of conviction could not.
Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law
I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart. Psalm 40:8
He said to His disciples: I have kept My Father’s commandments. John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ then our:
- heart is united with His heart
- will is merged in His will
- mind becomes one with His mind
- thoughts are brought into captivity to Him.
Thus we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.
Christ’s true followers will possess pure and spotless character
To the church it is given that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Revelation 19:8; Ephesians 5:27. The fine linen according to Scripture is the righteousness of saints. Revelation 19:8. It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Savior. The robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. I counsel thee, He says, to buy of Me . . . white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear. Revelation 3:18.
Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into Judgment. Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14
Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. All our righteousness are as filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Sin is defined to be the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:5, 4. But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law. He said of Himself, I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart. Psalm 40:8. When on earth, He said to His disciples, I have kept My Father’s commandments. John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments.
The investigative judgment is now passing in the heavenly sanctuary
The time appointed for the judgment was the close of the 2300 days prophecy. Thus in 1844 began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins. All who have ever taken upon themselves the name of Christ must pass its searching scrutiny. All will be justified by their faith and judged by their works.
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:9.
The investigative judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon, none know how soon – it will pass to the cases of the living. In the presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it requires every soul to heed the Savior’s admonition – “Watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. Mark 13:33.
If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Revelation 3:3.
Opening of the judgment announced in Revelation 14
The message itself sheds light as to the time when the movement is to take place. It is declared to be a part of the everlasting gospel. Moreover, it announces the opening of the judgment. The message of salvation has been preached in all ages, but this message is a part of the gospel which could be proclaimed only in the last days. For only then would it be true that the hour of Judgment had come.
The prophecies present a succession of events leading down to the opening of the Judgment. This is especially true of the book of Daniel. But that part of his prophecy which related to the last days, Daniel was bidden to close up and seal to the time of the end. Not till we reach this time could a message concerning the Judgment be proclaimed, based on a fulfillment of these prophecies. But at the time of the end, says the prophet, many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Daniel 12:4.
Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Daniel 8:14
Both the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 and Revelation 14:6 pointed to Christ’s ministration in the most holy place. Moreover, to the investigative Judgment, and not to the coming of Christ for the redemption of his people and the destruction of the wicked.
Intercession of Christ in the most holy
In the service of the earthly sanctuary, which is a figure of the service in the heavenly, the high priest enters the most holy place on the Day of Atonement. Thus the door of hope and mercy by which mankind had for eighteen hundred years found access to God, was closed, another door was opened. Furthermore, forgiveness of sins was offered to them through the intercession of Christ in the most holy.
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; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. Revelation 3:7, 8
In the typical service, when the high priest entered the most holy place, all Israel were required to gather about the sanctuary. Moreover, they were required in the most solemn manner to humble their souls before God. Thus they might receive the pardon of their sins and not be cut off from the congregation. In the same manner it is essential in this anti-typical Day of Atonement we live in, to understand the work of our High Priest and know what duties are required of us.
We must by faith enter within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered. Hebrews 6:20.
Tares and wheat will grow together until the harvest
The harvest is the end of probationary time. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Malachi 3:18. Christ will decide who are worthy to dwell with the family of heaven. He will judge all according to their words and works. Profession is as nothing in the scale. It is character that decides destiny. On the other hand, the world has no right to doubt the truth of Christianity because there are unworthy members in the church, nor should Christians become disheartened because of these false brethren.
The Savior does not point forward to a time when all the tares become wheat. They grow together until the end of the world. Then the tares are bound in bundles to be burned and the wheat is gathered into the garner of God. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 13:43. Then the Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; Matthew 13:41.
As the sins of the people were anciently transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary by the blood of the sin offering, so our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded.
This necessitates an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigative judgment.
Thus those who followed in the advancing light of the prophetic word saw that instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, into the presence of God, to perform the closing work of atonement, preparatory to His coming.
We are in the investigative judgment
The work for the time is solemn heart-searching, to consider, watch, and pray. You are not bidden by the Lord to examine your neighbor’s heart. Let your investigative powers be put to work to discover what:
- evil is cherished in your own heart
- defects are in your character
- work needs to be done in your own home.
We should examine our motives and actions in the light of God’s holy law. We should ever ask, “Is this the way of the Lord?” The Lord will answer the earnest and sincere seeker. The petitions of honest inquirers are always heard by the Author of our salvation. He has promised:
The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way. Psalms 25:9
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:13. Then see that you have the oil of grace in your hearts. The possession of this will make every difference with you in the judgment. Those who say, Lord, Lord, and outwardly appear to rejoice in the Savior, while they do not the works of Christ, are not what they appear to be. Unless they are truly converted will be numbered with the foolish virgins.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4
The Lord will not save us in disobedience. His perfection of character binds Him to deal justly.
- GC88 480; COL 31; COL 71; SR 378; RH, Mar, 1881 – The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Version (KJV) Bible – BibleGateway
- Image courtesy – Pixabay
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