Editorial – Pre-Advent or Investigative Judgment

I [Ellen White] have been shown that many who profess to have a knowledge of present truth know not what they believe. They do not understand the evidences of their faith. They have no just appreciation of the work for the present time. When the time of trial shall come, there are men now preaching to others who will find, upon examining the positions they hold, that there are many things for which they can give no satisfactory reason. Until thus tested they knew not their great ignorance. And there are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe; but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness. When separated from those of like faith and compelled to stand singly and alone to explain their belief, they will be surprised to see how confused are their ideas of what they had accepted as truth. Certain it is that there has been among us a departure from the living God and a turning to men, putting human in place of divine wisdom.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 707.

Friend, how is it with you? Do you know what you believe? Do you know what the landmark doctrines of Adventism are, and can you substantiate them from the Scriptures?

Here are the landmark doctrines: “The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation to God’s people upon the earth, [also] the first and second angels’ messages and the third, unfurling the banner on which was inscribed, ‘The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.’ One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God. The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors of God’s law. The nonimmortality of the wicked is an old landmark. I [Ellen White] can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of the old landmarks.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 30, 31.

Another term for the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven is the judgment or the investigative judgment. Can you substantiate this from the Bible alone?

This doctrine is under attack both within and without God’s professed remnant people.

Any judgment, even in human courts, has three phases: the first or investigative phase is when hearings and court trials occur; the second phase is the sentencing; the third phase is the execution of the sentence. If you are acquitted in the first phase, you do not have to participate in receiving the second and third phases of the judgment. The same is true of God’s judgment.

Before Jesus comes, it will be determined who will be saved and who will be lost. (See Revelation 22:11, 12.) If you have not been acquitted in the first phase of the judgment, you will be sentenced during the millennium. (See Revelation 20:1–6.) The sentence will be executed upon you after the end of the millennium. (See Revelation 20:7–15.)

Contrary to what our adversaries thrust against us, the Bible clearly predicts a pre-advent or investigative judgment. In fact, the Bible even tells us who the prosecuting attorney is in this judgment. It is the devil. (See Zechariah 3:1–10.) The defending advocate of His people is Jesus Christ. (See Zechariah 3 and 1 John 2:1.)

If you are a beginning Bible student and want to study scriptures that clearly teach a pre-advent investigative judgment, following is a list of Scriptures to help you get started: (1) Daniel 7. Notice especially the language in verses 9, 10, 25, and 26. (2) Daniel 8. The continuance in rebellion and the depopulating or desolating rebellion are descriptions of the first major rebellion against God’s Law, which was paganism or heathenism and was continual for the first 4,500 years of human history. The second rebellion, the desolating rebellion, is a description of the apostasy of the latter times, which began to develop in the days of the apostles and became worldwide in scope 500 years later. It will continue until the Second Advent of Christ. (3) Zechariah 3; (4) Isaiah 2, 3, and 4; (5) Micah 4; (6) Matthew 22:1–14; (7) Hebrews 8, 9, 10, and 12; and (8) Revelation 11.