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The SDA 28 Fundamentals has IJ as one of those pillars that upholds the platform we stand on. To my surprise I have noted some of the saints around here do not think there is any Investigative Judgement. So let us see if there is a Investigative Judgement or not. I have also noted that the same Saints do not subscribe to the writings of E G White. So I would prefer that we use the Bible only.

The SDA church does have the Investigative Judgement as one of its 28 fundamentals Quoting:

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.)

28 fundamental Beliefs sdanet.org

The hour of the evening sacrifice arrives. The priest stands in the court of the Temple in Jerusalem ready to offer a lamb as sacrifice. As he raises the knife to kill the victim, the earth convulses. Terrified, he drops the knife and the lamb escapes. Over the din of the earthquake he hears a loud ripping noise as an unseen hand rends the veil of the Temple from top to bottom. What did the tearing of the veil really mean?

Across town, black clouds enshroud a cross. When Jesus, the Passover Lamb of God, calls out, "It is finished!" He dies for the sins of the world.

Type has met antitype. The very event the Temple services have pointed to through the centuries has taken place. The Saviour has completed His atoning sacrifice, and because symbol has met reality, the rituals foreshadowing this sacrifice have been superseded. Thus the rent veil, the dropped knife, the escaped lamb.

But there is more to salvation history. It reaches beyond the cross. Jesus' resurrection and ascension direct our attention to the heavenly sanctuary, where, no longer the Lamb, He ministers as priest. The once-for-all sacrifice has been offered (Heb. 9:28); now He makes available to all the benefits of this atoning sacrifice.

I have noted some of the saints here saying that the atonement was fulfilled on the cross. I wonder how this could be correct? We have many texts telling us that there is an ongoing Investigative Judgement happening in the heavenly courts at this very moment.

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Hello Jason

I am sorry for my disorganization, and I'm fully figured out how the site works. No I do not agree that the sacrifice of the Cross is different in the Day of atonement. I believe both sacrifices pointed to Christ, as did Able's sacrifice, and no other sacrifices which are necessary to point to what Christ would do for us. God, it's due to both the Day of atonement, and the daily sacrifice to remind us individually and collectively of Christ's great sacrifice or us. To separate the two diminishes what Christ did for us.

Leon

Thanks Leon My name is Ian But it looks like you was addressing the answer to me. I must say if you can see no difference on the sacrificed Lamb and the two Goats I feel there is no point to take this any further. 

All I can suggest is that you study the sanctuary a bit deeper.

Hello Ian

Sorry, for the name issue.

Ian, a persons with a different interpretation is still a bible reader, and the different perspective should be considered even if you disagree. Assuming that those who disagree with you have limited bible knowledge limits your ability to understand the text from different perspectives.

My point is that the sanctuary service in totality represents Christ sacrifice. Each event represents His covering of our sins, from the Priest to the entire Israelite community. As I stated from the original sacrifice, to passover, to the sanctuary. All represented Christ. When he died for yours and my sins the curtain between the holy and the most holy place was torn, and we were reconciled with God through his blood.

I would suggest that you read your entire bible in context to gain a deeper understanding of what Christ did for you. I also suggest you gain some understanding on how to think independently, instead of mirroring what you have been taught. This form of Christianity is easy and hinders your faith. This is the problem with the SOP, it does not require much, one just has to look to the words of Sister white to know how to act and what to believe.

Leon

Hi Leon

I seem to get a better picture of your idea of doing bible study. I must say it is not my idea for sure. 

To me there is more than one message coming out of the sanctuary. I am surprised that you lump it all together under Christ's atonement. Maybe you need to look deeper in to that yourself. I note you neatly skipped over the Day of Atonement sacrifices, the two goats are different to the Lamb, and represents more than Christs atonement.

Criticising my way of doing bible study does not help us in any way.

Reasoning,

I just said I had a different thought on Da.8. not right or wrong.

Example: Last week I saw a man beheaded on TV. I was appalled, it made me sick: I did not understand. In other words to me it was beyond belief.

Could Daniel have felt the same way when he saw a vision of the desecration of God's temple?

This is my own thought, not some one Else's idea. Think about it. To be open minded doesn't mean you accept everything you hear. It means you are willing to learn.

Meith

Peace,

 

 Keith: "I just said I had a different thought on Da.8. not right or wrong.

Example: Last week I saw a man beheaded on TV. I was appalled, it made me sick: I did not understand. In other words to me it was beyond belief. Could Daniel have felt the same way when he saw a vision of the desecration of God's temple?

This is my own thought, not some one Else's idea. Think about it. To be open minded doesn't mean you accept everything you hear. It means you are willing to learn."

 

 

  

  Brother Keith, I understand where your coming from, who can understand such cruel acts, how it's beyond belief.. I get where your coming from.

 Lets remember where talking about the 2300 days , and in that verse speaking about the 2300 days (evening and morning),  first Gabirel said the vision was to be sealed up, and then Daniel said he didn't understand the vision, and then what nails it is that Gabriel comes back in Dan.9 and says he has come back to explain the vision Daniel didn't understand. So when Daniel said "..I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it.", we know for sure the 2300 days was something he knew nothing about..

 It's not that he understood the 2300 days and "it was beyond his belief".. No, he really didn't understand it, or where it started from.

 

 But thank GOD, in Dan.9 HE gives us the start date (457BC) and it takes us to 1844 every time. Keith your friend Kenneth Cox agrees, do you agree with us? He says.

 

  Kenneth Cox : "Now, let me tell you something friends, if your intellectually honest, you can take that prophecy in Dan.8-9 and it'll take you to the fall of 1844 every last time." (Kenneth Cox, on a video of his on youtube called 'The time of the end', at the 27:45 mark in the video.)

 

 

  Blessings!

 

Reasoning,

No Ken and I don't always see eye to eye. However, we are good friends and attempt not to play Holy Spirit when it comes to how the other believes.

We are able to have open, candid discussions with out calling each other liars, or instruments of the devil.

Pastor Cox is always open to suggestions, and has been know to change some of his teachings when he was convicted that change was needed.

Once again, an open mind does not mean we accept every thing we hear as truth, it simply means we are willing to learn.

When we first became Christians we were like babes, God did not intend for us to stay that way. He wants us to grow in Him.

Think about our founders, they battled out many subjects and made many changes. Change didn't stop in the 1800rds.

We need to study, so as not to be among the very elect who could be deceived, if it were possible .

Keith

Reasoning,

I guess the real question is how, or maybe what suggest to you that the seventy week prophecy comes out of or off of the 2300 days. I'm not trying to argue the point but I have been told all my life that the seventy weeks comes out of the 2300days but I still can't get a solid hold on it other than from the SOP. If you were to tell me we believe it says so in the SOP, then I could buy it.

Here's another question the question in Dan. 8:13 is how long will the desecration and the trampling of the host last? The answer, 2300 days. Why couldn't that be literal evening and morning's literal days and find fulfillment with the desecration of the temple by Anchiocus ? Then the seventy weeks would stand alone and be fulfilled with the  Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem.

I'm not trying to alter our doctrine, it's just another way of looking at the same plan of redemption from a different prospective.

Remember we are Seventh-day Adventist. We believe the Seventh day Sabbath, the second coming of Christ. We keep the commandments of God and have faith in the witness of Jesus. We believe in spiritual gifts. We have one goal, this gospel of the kingdom to all the world

We are all given different spiritual gifts discernment is one gift I would love to have.

Then according to Heb. Christ is in the Most Holy place with the father making intercession for us. Which would be a pre advent judgment.

I'm not saying this at all correct, but the times do fit. I still have a hard time thinking of the Father and Christ moving their thrones from the holy to the most holy place on Oct.22,1844.

Probably silly questions, but I was taught in medical school, the only dumb question is the question you don't ask.

Keith

From

THE ADVENT HOPE FOR HUMAN HOPELESSNESS

 14 

THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT

Someone has said that in the new world there will be three surprises for the redeemed. First, there will be the surprise to discover that some of the "saints" most people expected to find there will not be there. Puzzled, and confused, some will ask: How can such a godly person as Mr. Smith be missing? Second, there will be the surprise to note that some of the "sinners" most people thought would never make it to the Kingdom in actual fact will be there. "How can Mrs. Morris be here when she did not attend church for several years?" some will wonder. Third, there will be the most pleasant surprise of all, namely, to find oneself there.

 

Surprise about God’s criteria for offering eternal life to some while allowing others to experience eternal death could give rise to feelings of doubt and mistrust about the fairness of God’s judgments. If allowed to persist, such feelings could threaten the eternal security of the new world. Rebellion against God could arise a second time and the redemptive mission of Christ into this world would have been in vain.

 

The eternal security of the new world will rest on the unquestioning attitude of trust, love, and obedience to God of its inhabitants. This attitude cannot be demanded, it can only be earned. A significant method used by God to gain and maintain the unconditional love and trust of His creatures is by making adequate provision for them to understand and accept the justice of His judgments. Numerous Scriptural passages to be considered in this chapter speak of God’s inviting the moral beings of His universe to participate in His final judgment process that will decide the eternal destiny of people and angels (Dan 7:10, 22, 26; Matt 19:28; 12:41, 42; 1 Cor 6:2-3).

 

Historically little or no attention has been given to the role which heavenly and human beings play in God’s final judgment. The focus has been primarily on the executive aspect of the final judgment. Even this aspect has been viewed primarily as a day of gloom and doom on which Christ will manifest His vengeance by inflicting punishment upon the wicked.

 

Objective of Chapter. The objective of this chapter is to ascertain the Biblical understanding of the judicial process which precedes and follows the Advent judgment. A brief analysis will be made of the most significant passages which refer implicitly or explicitly to the judicial process of the final judgment. The final part of the chapter will reflect upon the theological significance of the Biblical teaching on this subject. The study is divided into the following four parts:

 

1. The Pre-Advent Phase of the Final Judgment

 

2. The Post-Advent Phase of the Final Judgment

 

3. The Outcome of the Final Judgment

 

4. The Theological Significance of the Final Judgment

 

PART ONE: THE PRE-ADVENT PHASE OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT

 

1. Biblical Emphasis on Reality of Judgment

 

Reality More Important than Modality. The emphasis of the Scriptures is not on the dynamics of the final judgment, but rather on its inevitability and finality. To Bible writers the reality of the final judgment was more important than its modality. This observation applies to other Biblical truths such as the Second Advent and the resurrection. For example, no attempt is made by Christ or by most of the New Testament writers to differentiate between the resurrection of believers at the time of Christ’s Coming and the resurrection of unbelievers at the end of the millennium.

 

Jesus speaks of "the hour" that is coming "when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29). In this statement Christ presents the resurrection of the "good" doers and that of the evildoers as taking place contemporaneously (cf. Matt 25:32; Luke 11:32). Yet John the Revelator distinguishes between the two resurrections by placing the former at the beginning of the millennium and the latter after "the thousand years were ended" (Rev 20:4-5).

 

Fact More Important than Phases. To a scientific modern mind, those two statements stand in open contradiction. Yet Biblical writers had no difficulty in reconciling the two statements because for them the reality was more important than the modality of the resurrection. In fact, most of the references to the resurrection mention the fact rather than the phases or manner of the event.

 

The same principle applies to the Biblical references to the final judgment. In most cases the concern is to emphasize the reality and finality of the event rather than its modality. Yet as in the case of the resurrection so in that of the final judgment, there are some Biblical passages which implicitly suggest a Pre-Advent and a Post-Advent phase of the final judgment. A study of these passages offers a fuller appreciation of the dynamics of the final judgment.

 

2. The Pre-Advent Judgment in the Teaching of Jesus

 

The Notion of Reward. The notion of a Pre-Advent judgment is an underlying assumption of much of Jesus’ teachings. Such a notion is implied even in those numerous passages where the technical terms for judgment are not used. Jesus often spoke about receiving or missing God’s reward, which implies a previous evaluative judgment.

 

In Matthew 5 each of the Beatitudes contains a promise of reward (5:1-12). In verse 46 Jesus says: "If you love those who love you, what reward have you?" The same notion is found several times in the following chapter and throughout the Gospels: "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven" (Matt 6:1; cf. 6:2, 4, 5, 16, 18; 10:41, 42; Mark 9:41; Luke 6:23, 35).

 

The Time of Rewards. The time for assigning rewards or retribution is clearly given as the Second Advent: "For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done" (Matt 16:27; cf. 25:31-32). In this and similar statements, the Second Advent is perceived as the time for the assignment of rewards or punishments, and not for the evaluation of what each person deserves. In none of the statements of Jesus is the suggestion ever made that He will set up the traditional Grand Assize at His Return to investigate and determine the destiny of every person who ever lived.

 

Since the time of Christ’s Coming is primarily the occasion for bestowing rewards or punishments, we may reasonably assume that the evaluative process that determines such decision takes place before the Advent. Some may wish to argue that there is no need for God to investigate the deeds and attitudes of each person to determine what they deserve, because He already knows it all. There is some truth in this argument, for God obviously does not need to seek for lacking information about His creatures. Yet, Jesus and other Biblical writers speak of a judgment that will investigate not only deeds, but also words: "I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter" (Matt 12:36).

 

The purpose of this investigation, as we shall see, is not to enable God to ascertain the truth about each person, but rather to expose and disclose this truth to His moral universe. Our immediate concern, however, is not to understand the purpose of God’s evaluative judgment but rather to acknowledge its reality and validity. We have already noted that a Pre-Advent judgment is presupposed by the fact that Christ comes not to institute a judgment process but to execute the judgment which has already taken place.

 

Human Accountability. The notion of a Pre-Advent judgment is also implied in Christ’s statements about human accountability. Jesus said that the extent of our accountability includes not only acts but also "every careless word" (Matt 12:36). Paul expresses the same thought when he writes that God will judge "the secrets of men by Christ Jesus" (Rom 2:16). Such a thorough investigation of the conduct of the billions of persons who have lived on this planet presupposes a Pre-Advent judicial process because, as noted earlier, the Advent judgment is primarily the moment of final abjudication or separation and not the institution of a judicial investigative process.

 

In some of His parables, Christ illustrates the principle of human accountability at the final judgment. In Matthew, for example, three parables are given following the Olivet Discourse which illustrate areas of accountability. In the parable of the Ten Virgins the emphasis is on the accountability for our spiritual preparation (Matt 25:1-13). In the parable of the Talents, the area of accountability is the stewardship of our resources such as time, money, and skills (Matt 25:14-30). In the parable of the Sheep and Goats, the area of accountability is our social responsibility toward the needs of others (Matt 25:31-46).

 

Dead Resurrected Already Judged. The accountability of each human being is obviously decided before Christ comes to call forth "those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29). The resurrection to life or to condemnation represents Christ’s executive judgment which presupposes the termination of the evaluative judgment. In this text Christ indicates that people will be resurrected not to be judged but already judged. If those who are resurrected to eternal life or death were still to be judged, we would have an incongruous situation whereby the results of the judgment would be meted out before the convening of the judgment itself.

 

The phase "resurrection of judgment" actually means "resurrection of condemnation," since it is contrasted with the "resurrection of life." This meaning is accurately rendered in the New International Version: "those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." The judgment that decides who "will rise to live" and who "will rise to be condemned" must obviously take place before the resurrection itself. This thought was expressed by Christ in a conversation with the Sadducees when He said that only "those who are accounted worthy" will "attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead" (Luke 20:35).

 

The Notion of Separation. The idea of the separation that will take place at the Coming of Christ between the saved and the unsaved also presupposes a Pre-Advent judgment. Jesus describes this Advent separation in a variety of ways. He compares it to the separation that takes place at harvest time between the wheat and the weeds. Note that the reapers are simply told: "Gather the weeds . . . gather the wheat" (Matt 13:30). There will be no need for them to ascertain which is the wheat and which is the weeds because by harvest time the distinction between the two has already been established.

 

Jesus illustrates the Advent separation also by the parable of the good and bad fish. In the parable the task of the angels is not to determine who are "the evil" and who are "the righteous," but simply to separate one from the other (Matt 13:49). The implication is that the determination of the status of each has already taken place.

 

A dramatic reference to the Advent separation is found in the Olivet Discourse where Jesus, speaking of the day of "the coming of the Son of man," says: "Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left" (Matt 24:40-41). The sudden separation between the saved and the unsaved presupposes a previous determination of their respective destinies.

 

The Sheep and the Goats. The Advent separation is also compared by Christ to a shepherd who "separates the sheep from the goats," by placing the former at the right hand and the latter at the left (Matt 25:32-33). In a similar fashion Christ "will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, . . . inherit the kingdom . . .’" and "to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, . . . into the eternal fire’" (Matt 25:34, 41).

 

Some have interpreted the description of the gathering of all the nations before Christ (Matt 25:32) as representing a universal investigative judgment conducted at the time of Christ’s Return. The description, however, contains only Christ’s invitation and condemnation (Come, . . . Depart . . .) with the respective explanation ("For I was hungry and you gave me food" or "you gave me no food"), but not an investigation of who did or did not act compassionately. The judicial process that led to this determination is presupposed as having already occurred.

 

The Wedding Garment. A Pre-Advent evaluation process is also presupposed in Christ’s parable of "a king who gave a marriage feast for his son" (Matt 22:2). When the original guests refused to come to the marriage feast, the wedding invitation was extended to as many as could be found and "so the wedding hall was filled with guests" (vv. 3-10). The king went to a great deal of expense not only in extending the invitation but also, according to custom, in supplying to each guest a beautiful robe to wear for the occasion. "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment" (v. 11).

 

Evidently the king examined the guests before the marriage feast began. In Revelation 19, the Coming of Christ is compared to the "marriage of the Lamb" (vv. 7, 17). The consistency of this imagery suggests that the marriage feast of Matthew 22 is an allusion to the celebration that will accompany the Second Advent. The Church, espoused to Christ by faith (Eph 5:32), waits, as in the parable of the Ten Virgins, for the Coming of the Heavenly Groom to celebrate the marriage feast. If this interpretation is correct, then the examination by the king of the wedding guests before the celebration of the marraige feast would represent an evaluation process that will take place before the Coming of Christ.

 

Ellen White offers this interpretation when she writes: "In the parable of Matthew 22 the same figure of the marriage is introduced, and the investigative judgment is clearly represented as taking place before marriage. Previous to the wedding the king comes in to see the guests, to see if all are attired in the wedding garment, the spotless robe of character washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb . . . This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing work in the sanctuary above."1

 

This brief survey indicates that the idea of a Pre-Advent evaluative judgment is an underlying assumption in much of Jesus’ teaching about the judgment. Each of the themes examined (reward, accountability, and separation) presupposes a Pre-Advent judicial investigation that determines who is "accounted worthy" to attain to the resurrection of life and who to the resurrection of condemnation (Luke 20:35; John 5:28-29). This notion of a Pre-Advent evaluative judgment is implicitly expressed, as we shall now see, by other New Testament writers.

 

3. The Pre-Advent Judgment in Paul’s Writings

 

Emphasis on Certainty. Paul, like Christ, emphasizes the certainty and inevitability of the final judgment, rather than its modality. He writes that "we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; . . . So each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom 14:10-12; cf. 2 Cor 5:10; Acts 17:31).

 

No explicit explanation is given by Paul regarding the time of this universal accountability before the judgment seat of God. Did Paul associate this universal accountability with the Coming of Christ? If he did, he failed to indicate it, especially in his references to the Second Advent, which he describes as the joyful reunion of believers with their Lord and not as the inauguration of a judicial process that will examine each person who ever lived.

 

Revelation Presupposes Investigation. The Advent judgment is seen by Paul as the disclosure (1 Cor 4:5) or revelation of God’s judgment rather that as a process of judicial investigation. In Romans 2:5, he describes it as the time "when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed."2 This revelation will consist of the executive act of Christ who will give "eternal life" to "those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality" and "wrath and fury" to "those who are factious and do not obey the truth" (Rom 2:7-8).

 

This revelation of "God’s righteous judgment" presupposes some prior process of investigation that determines who is to receive the gift of eternal life and who "the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thess 1:8-9).

 

Dead Judged While Dead. The same inference can be drawn from Paul’s reference to Christ "who is to judge the living and the dead" (2 Tim 4:1; cf. 1 Pet 4:5). The personal presence of defendants is unnecessary, because the existence of a perfect record of each life (Dan 7:10; Ps 69:28; Mal 3:16; Rev 20:12) provides all the necessary evidences for the heavenly court to see.

 

If the dead are judged while still dead, such judgment must precede the Advent judgment when the resurrection to eternal life or eternal death takes place. We noted earlier that people will be resurrected already judged. By the status of each person at the moment of the resurrection "God’s righteous judgment will be revealed" (Rom 2:5). The revelation of God’s judgment at the Second Advent presupposes the termination of God’s judging before the Advent.

 

Judgment Precedes Appearance of Christ. As Paul comes to the end of his letter to Timothy, he challenges him by reminding him of three vital things about Christ: "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, . . ." (2 Tim 4:1-2).

 

William Barclay notes the significance of the sequential order of the charge: (1) Judgment, (2) Appearance, (3) Kingdom. This sequence, he points out, reflects the logical progression that leads to the consummation of salvation-history. Christ’s judgment of the living and the dead is followed by His appearance which will usher in His eternal Kingdom.

 

The King James Version places the judgment at the time of Christ’s appearing in its translation: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom." This translation has been largely rejected by modern translators and commentators because of conceptual and textual reasons.

 

Conceptually the judgment would be linked not only to Christ’s appearance but also to His Kingdom. Nowhere does the Scripture suggest that Christ will judge the living and the dead in His kingdom. Textually, the preferred Greek text contains the two conjunctions "kai . . . kai" (and . . . and): "and by his appearing and his kingdom" (RSV). The New International Version, like the Revised Standard Version, accurately renders the Greek text: "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom I give you this charge: Preach the Word, . . ."

 

A Three-Parts Composition. Martin Dibelius and Hans Conzelman note that Paul’s charge "is to be regarded as formulaic, as in 1 Tim 5:21."4 In the latter text Paul’s charge to Timothy also contains three elements: "In the presence [1] of God and [2] of Christ Jesus and [3] of the elect angels I charge you . . . " (1 Tim 5:21). The structural similarity between the two charges supports a three-part composition for both.

 

Moreover, since Paul’s charge to Timothy is expressed by a liturgical formula, presumably it represents a basic Christian belief. Liturgical formulas express basic truths of the Christian faith. In such a case, Paul’s progressive sequence: Christ’s judgment of the living and dead, His appearing and His kingdom, presumably represents the prevailing understanding of the sequence of events leading to the consummation of salvation-history.

 

Second Advent Precludes Investigative Judgment. Of all the New Testament writers, Paul provides the most vivid and informative descriptions of the Second Advent. Our understanding of the manner of Christ’s Coming and of the events associated with it would be very deficient if we did not possess Paul’s descriptions of this event (1 Thess 4:13-18; 2 Thess 1:7-10; 1 Cor 15:51-58).

 

The Pauline descriptions, however, exclude the possibility of a universal investigative judgment being set up and conducted by Christ at His Second Advent. This can be seen by looking at the sequence of events given by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:

 

1. Glorious descent of Christ from heaven (v. 16)

 

2. Resurrection of the "dead in Christ" (v. 16)

 

3. Transformation of living believers (v. 17)

 

4. Meeting of believers with the Lord (v. 17)

 

5. Eternal communion with the Lord (v. 17)

 

The shorter description found in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 makes mention only of the immediate outcome of Christ’s Coming, namely, "eternal destruction" for the wicked and glorification for the "saints." Both descriptions of the Second Advent make no mention of or allowance for a universal judicial process conducted in conjunction with the Second Advent. The Coming of Christ is followed immediately, not by a judgment process, but by Christ’s executive act which resurrects/transforms believers and destroys unbelievers. Any process of evaluation and determination of each human destiny has already taken place before the Parousia.

 

A Prevailing Misconception. Many Christians mistakenly view the resurrection as the preliminary step to the final judgment. Thus, the judgment is regarded as an event distinct from the resurrection and taking place after it. This is not the teaching of Jesus or of Paul or of the rest of the Biblical writers who view the resurrection to life or to death as being the revelation and execution (Jude 15) of God’s righteous judgment.

 

J. A. Seiss perceptively notes in this regard: "The truth is, that the resurrection, and the changes which pass ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ upon the living, are themselves the fruits and embodiments of antecedent judgment. They are consequences of abjudications then already made."5

 

4. Pre-Advent Judgment in the Book of Revelation

 

Centrality of Judgment. The theme of judgment is central to the book of Revelation. The book opens with the vision of Christ executing the final judgment upon the wicked: "Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him" (1:7). Their reason for mourning is that Christ has come to execute judgment upon impenitent evil hearts. The book closes with the vision of the judgment before the Great White Throne (20:11-15) and with the promise "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done" (22:12).

 

The rest of the visions are in a sense a series of judgments. First the church is warned about God’s judgment if she does not repent (2:5, 16, 26; 3:3, 16, 21). Then a series of judgments are predicted for the heathen world. They begin with the Seven Seals (6-7) and continue with the Seven Trumpets (8-14) and the Seven Plagues (15-16). They close with the description of God’s judgment upon Babylon (17-18), the beast and the false prophet (19:20), Satan (20:10) and all the wicked who ever lived (20:12-15). A crescendo is noticeable from the partiality of the preliminary judgments ("a third of"—8:7, 8, 11; 9:15) to the totality of the final judgment ("every living thing"—16:3; "all were judged"—20:13).

 

The theme of judgment is central in Revelation because it represents God’s method of finally overcoming the opposition of evil to Himself and His people. The martyrs who cry for judgment (6:10) are reassured that God will shortly vindicate them. When finally the redeemed stand beside the sea of glass they sing: "O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, . . . for they judgments have been revealed" (15:3-4).

 

Phases of the Final Judgment. The emphasis on the centrality and finality of God’s judgment in Revelation overshadows the concern to differentiate between its phases: Pre-Advent, Advent, Post-Advent judgment. Yet these distinctions are not altogether absent. For example, it is explicitly stated that "judgment was committed" to those who share "in the first resurrection" (20:4, 6).

 

Evidently this phase of the judgment is conducted after the Advent since its participants shared in the first resurrection associated with Christ’s Return. Similarly, the judgment before the Great White Throne presumably takes place after the Second Advent, since it is held before the One from whose "presence earth and sky fled away" (20:11)—a clear allusion to the Second Advent (6:13-14). Thus, the Book of Revelation implicitly recognizes certain distinct phases of the final judgment.

 

The Vision of the Lamb. The Pre-Advent judgment is presupposed in several places. The series of preliminary judgments mentioned earlier anticipate and foreshadow the final judgment. A more specific allusion to a Pre-Advent judgment can be seen in the vision of the Lamb holding the scroll of human destiny, sealed with seven seals (ch. 5). This scroll, which contains the complete destiny of mankind ("written within and on the back"—5:1), rests safely in the "right hand" of God (5:1), as the seven stars rest firmly in the hands of Christ (1:16).

 

There are at least three reasons why the sealed scroll seems to represent the divine decision-judgment regarding the destiny of every human being. First, the fact that only the Lamb that was slain is worthy to open it (5:9) implies that its content has to do with the decision regarding the salvation or perdition of human beings. Second, Revelation refers several times to "the book of life of the Lamb that was slain" which is said to contain "the names" of the redeemed (13:8; 17:8; 21:27).

 

Third, the only book that is ever opened in Revelation is "the book of life" during the judgment before the Great White Throne (20:11-12). It is said that "if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire" (20:15). The removal of the seals by the Lamb, which results in the manifestation of preliminary divine judgments upon mankind, seems designed to build up to the climactic moment when the suspense is broken by the opening of the book, which discloses who is to be punished with "the second death" (20:14).

 

Judicial Elements of the Vision. This vision of the Lamb holding the sealed scroll, technically speaking, does not appear as a judgment session. Yet under closer scrutiny the vision contains some clear judicial elements. The image of the Lamb, for example, which is used 29 times in Revelation, as John A. Bollier notes in his perceptive study on "Judgement in the Apocalypse," is "the predominant symbol representing Christ as Judge."6

 

The title "Lamb" is used interchangeably with "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (5:5). Thus the figure of the Lamb represents not so much the meek and mild aspect of Christ, but rather His victory which gives Him authority to judge. The wicked fear "the wrath of the Lamb" (6:16).

 

The Lamb is surrounded by living creatures, elders, and "many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands" (5:11). This vision is reminiscent of the judgment scene found in Daniel 7 where "a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; and the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened" (Dan 7:10).

 

Approval of Judgment. In Revelation the multitude of heavenly beings do not sit in judgment before opened books, but rather ascribe to the Lamb the right "to take the scroll and to open its seals" (5:9). They are satisfied to let Christ reveal and proclaim the final verdict regarding human destinies because they acknowledge that He was "slain" and by HIs "blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation." (5:9).

 

By acknowledging the right of Christ to open the scroll and reveal God’s verdict regarding human destinies, these heavenly beings implicitly approve the judgment process which has already taken place. Their approval is determined by their understanding of how God’s justice and mercy have been manifested through the Lamb who has ransomed people of "every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (5:9).

 

This vindication of the justice of God’s government is a vital function of the Pre-Advent judgment, to be discussed later. At this juncture we conclude that the vision of the Lamb holding the sealed scroll in its own unique way implies a Pre-Advent judgment in which heavenly beings express their approval of God’s final judgment and of Christ’s right to reveal that judgment by opening the seals.

 

The Announcement of Judgment. A clearer portrayal of the Pre-Advent judgment is found in Revelation 14. This chapter contains three distinct visions, each introduced by the phrase: "Then I looked . . ." (14:1, 6, 14). The first vision present the 144,000 singing the song of triumph before God’s throne (14:3). They are said to be the "first fruits" of the redeemed (14:4). This vision introduces the next two visions, the first of which announces God’s judgment (14:6-13) and the second of which describes its execution (14:14-20).

 

The function of the introductory vision is to offer to believers the assurance of divine vindication on the day of the judgment. In the light of this setting the proclamation of God’s judgment that follows is not a moral deterrent, but a moral stimulant to live "chaste," "spotless" lives (14:4-5) in the expectation to "follow the Lamb wherever he goes" (14:4).

 

The second vision describes three angels flying in mid-heaven, proclaiming three judgment messages. The first angel declares: "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water" (14:7). The second angel announces God’s judgment upon Babylon (14:8) and the third warns people about God’s judgment upon those who worship the beast and its image (14:9-11).

 

The Last Call to Repentance. The third vision portrays dramatically the execution of the final judgment by Christ at His Coming by means of the imagery of the harvest (14:14-20). It is noteworthy that the harvest of the earth is preceded by the announcement that "the hour of his judgment has come" (14:7). This announcement is designated as the "eternal gospel" (14:6). This means that the time of judgment that precedes the execution of the final judgment at Christ’s Coming is not a time of no return, but rather the time when God sounds the last call to repentance. The Pre-Advent judgments in Revelation, as aptly stated by John A. Bollier, "are educative in purpose rather than vindictive or retributive. They are meant to bring both the church and the world to repentance."7

 

The Timing of the Judgment. The timing of the announcement that "the hour of his judgment has come" is significant. It comes, as noted by John A. Bollier, between the end of the first two series of judgments (seven seals and seven trumpets—chs. 6 to 13) and beginning of the last series of judgments (seven plagues, punishment of Babylon, of the beast, the false prophet, Satan and the wicked—chs. 15 to 20).8 What this means is that the judgment announced by the first angel begins before the outpouring of the seven last plagues, which terminate with the Coming of Christ (16:15).

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THE INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT

 Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D., Andrews University

Hell Jason

While I love many of  statements and work of Samuele Bacchiocchi, , and respect his boldness to present the truth about how the sabbath day was changed, I cannot agree with this statement:

     "Someone has said that in the new world there will be three surprises for the redeemed. First, there will be the surprise to discover that some of the "saints" most people expected to find there will not be there. Puzzled, and confused, some will ask: How can such a godly person as Mr. Smith be missing? Second, there will be the surprise to note that some of the "sinners" most people thought would never make it to the Kingdom in actual fact will be there. "How can Mrs. Morris be here when she did not attend church for several years?" some will wonder. Third, there will be the most pleasant surprise of all, namely, to find oneself there.

I do not believe that any saint while questioning God about who is in heaven. Anyone that knows God realizes he is kind and merciful and fair. I myself, upon receiving salvation will be grateful to the God that had given me, and happy for anyone else who has been able to receive mercy. Additionally, I don't think It will be a surprise for the saints that they are in heaven, because most have formulated a long-term relationship and loyalty to God. In my opinion, this entire philosophy places God on the level with humans, and with human reasoning. God does not reason as we do, and he is omniscient. Why would anyone question him. It makes sense, to have faith based on the evidence that he is given and he loves us, and we'll take care of us. we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling,  as for another man's salvation that is between him and God. If that man is in heaven I trust that God has a reason for him to be there, and I am happy that he has been able to be saved. Just as the early Christians trusted Paul who formerly persecuted the church, I will trust those who God has chosen because he has proven to me, to be infinitely wise.

Leon

Heaven Leon

As you said it's your opinion, but what are you basing this opinion on ? What's the purpose of the 1000 years in heaven ? 

Hello Jason,

I am basing it on my relationship and experience with Jesus Christ through the influence of the Holy Spirit. I do believe that is reference enough.

Leon

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