The Gospel According to the Investigative Judgment
One of the great questions in the
We know from the Bible that there was some kind of judgment in heaven, that some of the angels sinned (II Peter 2:4), this sinning produced a conflict/war in heaven (Revelation 12:7-9), the wicked angels were cast out of heaven, and apparently ended up roaming the earth. The Bible does not indicate the specifics of a pre-casting out judgment of the angels but if God does not change and is the same today as He was then there may have been a judgment then that we are not specifically informed of in the Bible.
In the story of Adam and Eve God warned them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:17). When Adam and Eve ate of this fruit we know that they found out that they were “naked” and that they then clothed themselves with garments made out of fig leaves. Then that day God came to talk to them in the cool of the day and they hid from God. Now we know that no one can hide from God for God is everywhere. Yet God asked an odd question in Genesis 3:9 He, the all knowing, called out to Adam and asked “Where are you?” Now God either asked this question because He did not know, or He asked the question to help us understand how He handles the judgment. Then Adam responds and then God asks Adam if he had eaten of the tree? Adam then blames Eve. God asks Eve “What have you done?” Eve then blames God and the serpent. God does not ask the serpent but pronounces judgment on the serpent, and in the end of that judgment God alerts the one who is behind the serpent that He would die for Adam and Eve, and for all the sins of the world. Then God pronounces judgment on Eve, and then on Adam. And then God offers Adam an exchange of garments. God makes garments out of animal skins, and offers them to Adam and Eve in exchange for the garments of fig leaves that they had made. This is the wonderful part of the Judgment – that God offers a way out for all sinners if they will accept His offer. The final Judgment, the Executive phase of Judgment, never ever occurs without the offer of salvation through His grace and mercy. We must always remember that the weightier matters of the laws of God are judgment, mercy, and faith. (Matthew 23:23). We must also remember that God’s laws do not change, and neither does God. (Hebrews 13:8).
Our next judgment study is that of Noah and the Flood. All knowing God, He who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10), declares that He will not always strive with men because the thoughts of their hearts were evil continually. (Genesis 6:1-7). Now we know that the people were evil yet God chose to handle this case in an interesting manner. He would withhold final judgment until 120 years passed and then if there were no signs of repentance (Jeremiah 18:1-12) then the Judgment would occur that He stated 120 years before. This process suggests that God will allow an “investigation” a “time of probation” for mankind to have the option of accepting His grace and help through the ministry of Noah. Not only that but God offers a way out even if the people continue to sin for the 120 years. If they will, they can enter into the
The next judgment scene in the Bible, that we will explore, is that of
When Abram’s name was changed to Abraham (Genesis 17:5)– Father of many nations – God came to alert him that the son promised to Abraham was about to come and that because Abraham had entered into covenant with Him by faith, He would share many things with Him. God gave Abraham His covenant to be His God forever, and be the God of His seed. (Genesis 17:7). Because of His covenant God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision and restated that his son was coming soon. Then in Genesis 18 God came to Abraham again and restated the promise of a son and let Sarah know of this promise as well. Then because of the deep covenant relationship between them God let Abraham know of his intent to “investigate”
The next Investigative Judgment story that we will cover is that of
Again God blessed
When Moses came to Pharaoh he instructed Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Pharaoh refused the commands of God and God chose to use Pharaoh’s rebellion to display His power for the world to see and react to. (Exodus 3:16-20) God told Moses to alert Pharaoh of a variety of plagues and at any time he chose to humble himself God would deliver Pharaoh from the plagues. Each plague was an attack on one of the many Egyptian gods and would reveal the power of Jehovah over all of the gods of
As God took all of the people through the first three plagues, He displayed another level of power by setting a boundary between His people and the Egyptians in the plague of flies. (Exodus 8:20-24) This was to show His power to control events even down to the level of flies. God continued to reveal His power by bringing each plague in His order and He gave each person time to choose whom they would serve. Even in the middle of the plagues many Egyptians chose to cooperate with the God of Israel and prepared themselves, unknowingly, to be ready to leave
The next example of the Investigative Judgment that I would like to share with you is that of
As we know from Bible history
Now for our next example of how the Investigative Judgment works I would like to discuss the case of Jesus Christ of Nazareth with you. Jesus is unique in the history of the Bible in that He was both God and man. In the Bible both elements, His divinity and humanity, are spoken to in the Bible and many issues came up which required a judgment of His works, and His life. These examples were sometimes similar to our experience and other times very different. It is my intent to share a number of stories to describe the many aspects of judgment that Jesus went through and that the Father testified to in many ways. All of these events were to show that Jesus lived without sin and in harmony with God and thus was proven to be pure and without sin and thus to be a pure example, a pure sacrifice, and a pure Savior.
For example when Jesus was born the angels came over where He was born and sang a song to glorify the Father and to glorify Jesus and to testify that all was good with Jesus. This is a testimony that Jesus was beloved of God, and that God sent His choir to testify that Jesus was the Savior and was the Christ, the Lord. Luke 2:8-20.
A second example of Jesus being judged was at the dedication. God had told Joseph and Mary what to name Jesus and then in fulfillment of the law they brought Jesus to the temple and the priest circumcised Jesus and presented Him to the Father. Then one of God’s prophets, Simeon by name, came in to the temple, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and when he saw Jesus he was instructed by the Holy Spirit to testify that Jesus was the “glory of Your people
The third example of Jesus that I have chosen to write about is when Jesus went to His baptism. When Jesus approached John the Baptist, the Lord’s messenger, John did not want to baptize Jesus but he wanted to be baptized by Jesus. But Jesus encouraged John to baptize Him to set an example for all to be baptized, thus Jesus presented a perfect example. After Jesus was baptized the Father and the Holy Spirit testified to the fact that Jesus had pleased and obeyed the Father. (Matthew 3:13-17).
The fourth example of Jesus being “judged” was when He went into the wilderness at the direction of the Holy Spirit. In this experience Jesus was to fast for 40 days and then Satan would be allowed to tempt Jesus, three times. This temptation in the wilderness was to testify that any man, resting in the care of God, could withstand temptation all the way to death. Jesus allowed Himself to starve, to feel the calls of appetite at its fullest, and then allow Himself to be brought into close contact with His Arch-enemy – the fallen Lucifer – Satan. These temptations were not pretend temptations and Jesus felt them and yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) Satan was allowed to touch Jesus, and to move Him from place to place. (Matthew 4:5-8) In the end Jesus proved to be faithful and did not give in to any of the three temptations. At the conclusion of this great judgment God testifies to the results in Desire of Ages 131:
“After the foe had departed, Jesus fell exhausted to the earth, with the pallor of death upon His face. The angels of heaven had watched the conflict, beholding their loved Commander as He passed through inexpressible suffering to make a way of escape for us. He had endured the test, greater than we shall ever be called to endure. The angels now ministered to the Son of God as He lay like one dying. He was strengthened with food, comforted with the message of His Father's love and the assurance that all heaven triumphed in His victory. Warming to life again, His great heart goes out in sympathy for man, and He goes forth to complete the work He has begun; to rest not until the foe is vanquished, and our fallen race redeemed.”
Notice in the quotation above that God sent a message of His love and that all heaven had triumphed in His victory. This testimony is interesting for us because most of us tend to think of judgment as negative. In this story judgment declares that Jesus won the victory in this contest. This is an assurance for us for we will win the victory in Christ as declared in Daniel 7:13-14, 26-27.
The fifth example I want to share with you regarding Jesus on earth is Jesus’ experience with the Greeks in the temple in John 12:20-36. In this story Jesus is in the temple teaching and some Greeks, heathen, came and wanted to see Jesus. When Jesus comes out to meet the Greeks, for they were not allowed into the inner areas of the temple, the Father testifies to His approval of Jesus again for the third time, once at the Baptism, once at the transfiguration, and then at this time with the Greeks. (See Desire of Ages 621-625). Again the Father has “judged” Jesus and declares that Jesus has glorified His name and that the Father approves of Jesus.
The sixth example of Jesus being “judged” is in
The seventh example of judging Jesus is found at
When Jesus was about to die He stated that He was willing to surrender His soul into the care of His Father and then died. (Luke 23:46) When He resurrected on the third day, Sunday, He went immediately back to work to start His intercessory ministry for His people. One of the first acts that He did was to go to the Father to face the Judgment as to whether He had provided a perfect sacrifice for God and for God’s people. (John 20:17; Desire of Ages 790). We are assured of the Father’s acceptance of Jesus and that His blessing was added to the life of Jesus by Jesus’ own testimony in Luke 24:44-49 when He says “…Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you…” Jesus was accounted worthy to intercede for us and sits at the right hand of the Father to continue His ministry of us in heaven. (Acts 2:22-36; Acts of the Apostles Pgs 38-39)
In all aspects of Christ’s live He was monitored and investigated by God and by Satan, and by men and angels to see whether His life was spotless and in total harmony with God or had He in some manner failed to accomplish the tasks assigned to Him. God exalted Him to His right hand to co-rule with Him forever. Jesus was assessed to be without sin and a perfect sacrifice in every detail. Thus the Investigative Judgments that Jesus went through testified that He was perfect and was without sin and thus He had won His position as our intercessor and could offer His life to all who would accept this wonderful gift. The Investigative Judgment declared that He was worthy to be our God. (Revelation 5:8-13)
Our final example of the Investigative Judgment is the one which started in 1844 in accordance with Daniel 8:9-14 and Daniel 9:24-27 at the end of the 2300 days prophecy. This is the judgment which started in Revelation 14:7 “…the time of His judgment has come”. This is the judgment which Paul said was yet to come in Acts 24:25 and was the fulfillment of those prophecies in Daniel 7:9-14, 26-27. The judgment of 1844, at the end of the 2300 days, is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement described in Leviticus 16 in which God would cleanse His people and His temple and make ready a people to meet Him when He comes the second time.
In the great judgment scene of 1844 the same questions come up that have come up all through the history of this world. The great question asked by God’s new covenant witness Abraham will again be asked in the end – “…Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25. When it comes to us, to our family, friends, enemies will the Judge of all the earth treat every one fairly and will He slay the righteous as He has the wicked? (Genesis 18:25) All of these questions must be answered in this Judgment for when Jesus comes who will be saved?
Every judgment scene in the Bible has the same qualities; God hears about a problem, He goes to investigate it to see if these things are so, and then He pronounces a judgment – either good or bad, and then He solves the problem, and rewards or punishes as the judgment requires. We know that God does not change, as He has handled things before He will handle them again for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Jesus is the center of the Investigative Judgment, He is the primary witness for or against, and He is the primary grievant for He created all things. Jesus is the Judge. (See John 5:17-31 especially verses 22,27). In addition to those tasks Jesus is also the Creator, the Savior, and the Sacrifice. So no matter what happens in the Judgment Jesus is in the middle of this Judgment and His name will either be profaned or honored and glorified and sanctified. (Ezekiel 36:1-23). So Jesus is the focus of the Judgment because He is the primary Representative of the Godhead for He is the Mediator between God and man, and He is the focal representative of the Creation for He is the firstborn of all creatures for He created all things, in harmony with the Father and the Holy Spirit. (See Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 12:22-24; Romans 8:29)
In the time of the Investigative Judgment (1844-to the Close of Probation) the very first Individual that must be judged is Jesus Himself. As the Creator of all creatures, and the Creator and Redeemer of mankind, Jesus is the first One to be judged. Depending upon what happens at His judgment will dictate the judgment on the rest of Creation. In Daniel 7:13 the “Son of man” is brought before the Ancient of Days. His witnesses are His people. (Numbers 25:30; Deuteronomy 17:7; Joshua 24:22; Isaiah 43:9-12; Isaiah 44:8; Acts 1:8; Hebrews 12:1) Of these people there were false witnesses who condemned Jesus at His Investigative Judgment before Caiaphas and before Pilate, and there will be false and true at His Trial in heaven. (Job 10:17; Psalms 27:12; Matthew 26:20) None the less when the Investigation is completed and the Sword of the Spirit is used to discern the truth from error (I Kings 3:24-28; Ephesians 6:17) the Judgment of Daniel 7:14 will occur, and Jesus will be granted a kingdom and He will be declared King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Revelation 19:11-16).
Once the trial of Jesus is completed then He in turn becomes the Judge of the people who claim to have been Christians. This takes in all those who are church members, and even includes the Little Horn who has declared great words about God and who has even claimed worship, and has even claimed to be God. (Great Controversy 480; II Thessalonians 2:4). Each person’s name is investigated to see if what they have claimed is true or whether God ever knew them or not. (Matthew 7:15-23). If their claim is true then Jesus claims them as His own for He has washed them from all their filthiness and He has clothed them in His garments of Righteousness. (Zechariah 3:1-8) If their claim is false then Jesus rejects their claim to His mediation and removes their names from the Book of Life. (Exodus 32:31-33; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 22:19). Thus those who have overcome sin in the power, and faith of Jesus, and kept His commandments, and have maintained a surrendered relationship with Jesus will have their names maintained in the Book of Life, and all those who have been proven to not overcome sin in the power and faith of Jesus, and have not maintained a surrendered relationship with Jesus will have their names removed from the Book of Life and will end up on the side of Satan and will eventually be destroyed in the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15) Thus the Investigative Judgment will accomplish all of the purposes of God and will vindicate His name, His government, and His people.
In conclusion, the Investigative Judgment has occurred many times as we have seen above. The final phase of the Investigative Judgment started in 1844 at the end of the 2300 days prophecy of Daniel 8:14. This Judgment is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement of Leviticus 16. When this Judgment is completed then all of the wicked and all of the righteous will be separated and prepared for the second coming of Christ. Jesus will have found all of His children, and not a single one will be left out of His kingdom. (Amos 9:9) On the other hand not a single sinner will sneak into the
Many through time have feared the Judgment because of their focus upon themselves and have left out the Judge of the all the earth from their thinking. But the intention of the Judgment is to keep our focus upon Jesus for He is our only Hope and our only Help. When we have Jesus as the center of the Judgment then by beholding Him we will be changed into His likeness. (II Corinthians 3:18). With Jesus at the center of our thoughts we will be focusing upon His power, His grace, and His love. With Jesus as the center of our thoughts then the Investigative Judgment offers hope to all who want to be with Jesus for He will have confirmed the investigative phase of the judgment and all who will, will be with Him forever. All who want to be with Jesus will be saved and the Investigative Judgment will confirm the wisdom and power of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Amen, come Lord Jesus and take Your children home with You.