Editor’s Letter – The Investigative Judgment

Israelites, throughout the year, brought their sin offerings to the sanctuary, confessing, repenting and forsaking their sins and they were forgiven (Leviticus 4 and 5). However, if they did not participate in the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:29, 30), they were still cut off from Israel. In the same way, even though a Christian has repented and confessed his sins and chosen to follow Jesus all the way in a life of obedience, he cannot be saved unless the Lord takes his sins away from him, or as some Scriptures say, unless his sins are blotted out.

This occurs during the end period of earth’s history in one day (Zechariah 3:9) and was symbolized by the service of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:30). Paul clearly says that this event occurs in the end of the ages (Hebrews 9:25, 26). Daniel speaks of it as beginning shortly after 1798 (see Daniel 7) and specifies exactly when this work would begin in Daniel 8:14—1844.

This work of cleansing the sanctuary or Investigative Judgment involves a judgment in favor of God’s holy people and a negative judgment of the continuance in rebellion, often translated the daily (Daniel 8:12) and a negative judgment likewise upon the desolating rebellion (Daniel 8:13). The continual rebellion was a constant worldwide rebellion involving every nation in the world for 4,500 years and the desolating rebellion which succeeded it is the apostasy of the latter times which has been getting worse now for over 1,500 years. So, in summary, the cleansing of the sanctuary involves a judgment involving every nation under heaven for the past 6,000 years.

In this judgment every person who has ever lived will find his destiny. If a person continues to live in sin and never overcomes it (study Revelation 21:5–7), his name will be blotted out of the Book of Life (see Exodus 32:33). But if a person overcomes his sins (the world, the flesh and the devil—James 4; Romans 6; I John 5), then his name will be retained in the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5) and he will be acquitted in the judgment and receive an everlasting reward when Jesus returns. The people who are keeping the real or antitypical Day of Atonement are those who are humbling themselves before God and pleading for the Holy Spirit in their lives that they may be overcomers through the merits of Jesus and thereby be ready to meet Jesus when He comes to receive a church (Ephesians 5:27).