Introduction: In Lessons 11 and 12 we learned that Jesus is involved in a work of investigative judgment in the heavenly sanctuary that must precede His second coming. In this lesson we will learn when that judgment began.
1. When Jesus comes, will the results of the judgment, showing who is saved or lost, be already known or will it remain to be decided? Rev. 22:12 [The Further-study verse is Matt. 16:27.]
2. Has God foretold a specific day for His second coming? Matt. 24:33, 36 [Matt. 24:42-44]
3. Has God appointed a specific day for the judgment to begin? Acts 17:31 [Amos 3:7]
4. Will God’s people know and proclaim this set time? Rev. 14:6, 7 [Acts 24:25]
5. In Daniel 7:2-8, God revealed the successive rise and fall of earthly powers from ancient Babylon through the Papal power of the middle ages (the “little horn”), which came to an end in 1798. (See Lessons 7 and 15.) What did Daniel see happening in heaven sometime after this? Dan. 7:9, 10 [Rev. 5:8-11]
6. As Daniel’s prophecies each expand on the one before, the next prophecy gives the exact date for this judgment to begin. We noted in Lesson 12 that God’s throne, before which the judgment is held, is in the sanctuary in heaven. Another term for this judgment in the sanctuary is the “cleansing of the sanctuary.” This expression is used because the record of sins for those who pass the judgment will be cleansed and blotted out of the books of record (Lev. 16:16, 30, 34; Heb. 9:7-12, 23, 24; 10:16, 17; Isa. 43:25; Acts 3:19 KJV), while the names of those who do not pass the judgment will be blotted out of the book of life (Ex. 32:33; Rev. 3:5; Lev. 23:28-31). When does the Bible say that this “cleansing of the sanctuary” would begin? Dan. 8:14 [Ans: After 2300 prophetic days, or literal years. Remember, a day in prophecy equals one year. Eze. 4:6; Num. 14:34; Rev. 11:15-19]
7. The angel Gabriel explained to Daniel the whole vision of Daniel 8, except the last part, the starting date for the 2300 years (possibly because Daniel fainted). Did Gabriel come back to finish the explanation? Dan. 9:21-23
8. In explaining “the vision” of the 2300 years, Gabriel said that 490 years of it (70 weeks) were “determined” for certain purposes. (The word “determined” is from the Hebrew “chathak,” which literally means to “cut off.”) For whom were these first 490 years cut off? Dan. 9:24 [Ans: The Jewish nation. Matt. 21:43; Eph. 2:11-14]
9. In Lesson 9 we learned that this 490 year period lasted from 457 B.C. to 34 A.D. Four hundred and ninety years cut off from 2300 leaves 1810 years from 34 A.D. until the cleansing of the sanctuary, or the beginning of the judgment. What year would that be? [Ans: 34 A.D. plus 1810 years comes out to 1844 A.D.]
10. As the Passover in the spring (Jewish first month) symbolically pointed forward to Jesus’ crucifixion, what ceremony in the autumn (Jewish seventh month) symbolically pointed forward to the cleansing of the sanctuary? Lev. 16:29-34 [Note: As Jesus died on the very day of the Passover in 31 A.D., so the judgment must have begun on the Day of Atonement in 1844, which was on October 22. Lev. 23:26-32]
11. In light of the fact that the judgment has already begun, how should we live? Eccl. 12:13, 14 [1 John 2:3-6; 3:1-8]
12. Who has promised to be our advocate in this judgment? 1 John 2:1, 2 [Micah 7:9; Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25]
13. If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior by allowing Him to forgive our past sins and to write His law in our hearts, what attitude can we have toward the judgment? 1 John 2:28 [Ans: One of confidence. Heb. 10:19-23]
14. After the judgment is finished, what decree will God issue? Rev. 22:11, 12 [Note: As the door of the ark was closed seven days before the flood began, so probation will close shortly before Jesus comes. Matt. 24:37-41]
Commitment: God could have finished this judgment, which He began on October 22, 1844, long ere this, but He delays, for He is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). Yet He will not wait forever. God has already given us longer to repent than He gave the people of Noah’s day. Will you choose today, while probation lingers, to let Jesus be your advocate in the judgment by making Him the Lord of your life?
STEP 2 (Lessons 11-20): Accepting Christ’s Final Message
Return to the Bible study lesson contents.