The Investigative Judgment

During the Fall of 2007, while employed by the New York Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, I visited the cemetery Hiram Edson was buried at. For years Adventists spread reports that the Investigative Judgment originated in a divine vision given to Hiram Edson in a corn field. However a retraction was made after it became public knowledge that its true origins were not divine at all, but rather came from a theory devised by O. R. L. Crosier. The first to find fault with the Investigative Judgment was its creator. Crosier saw how his Investigative Judgment theory contradicted the plain testimony of scripture, and quickly abandoned it!

“I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the dead at (not before) His appearing. 2 Tim. 4:1.

Crosier saw how his Investigative Judgment theory contradicted the gospel itself, but by then it was too late! Ellen White had already endorsed it by one of her visions. For her there was no going back! The young prophetess would have lost her following if she were to admit one of her visions contradicted the Bible!

Hebrews 5:6

“Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

Note: The Levitcal Priesthood offered sacrifices continually, year by year. Melchizedek received tithe from Abraham ONCE. Hebrews 9 &10 emphasizes the work of Jesus Christ as our high priest occurred ONCE for all time, not continually. The investigative judgment theory has Christ doing His High Priestly work continually in the first compartment until 1844 and continually in the second compartment every since. Please read Hebrews 9 &10, and you will find this is precisely the point in direct context to Jesus Christ fulfilling the anti-typical Day of Atonement in heaven. 


Read article: Jesus Christ’s High Priestly Work

The gospel of salvation through faith in Christ alone, is two amazing things happening at the very moment the sinner believes and calls on the name of the Lord.

  1. God promises HE WILL NOT IMPUTE SIN against us.
  2. God promises to IMPUTE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST to us.

These two main pillars of the gospel disprove Crosier’s Investigative Judgment Theory.

Let’s look at the first. God promises not to impute sin against the sinner. When the sinner believes this promise through faith in Christ, then the sinner has been justified. The Adventist agree with this point as well, so there is no need for anyone to attempt to negate that point. For to do so would be to contradict well established beliefs within Adventism.

The Investigative Judgment is in the strictest legal sense “Double Jeopardy!”

When a man has been justified in a court of law, it is IMPOSSIBLE TO EVER JUDGE THAT MAN FOR THAT CRIME AGAIN. I am not endorsing “once saved always saved” here. So please do not misunderstand what I am saying. What I am saying is that so long as the sinner is under grace he is protected by this promise. God promises to NOT KEEP A RECORD OF SINS AGAINST HIM. The Adventist also teach that justification happens immediately upon accepting Christ. However what you need to understand is that the Investigative Judgment contradicts the very meaning of Justification, by requiring a man to stand in judgment for that which God has promised not to impute against him.

For the sinner saved by the grace of God there is only ONE trial he must face, which is also known as a “judgment.” That trial happened in under Pontius Pilate. Denial of this fact is to challenge the validity of Christ death on behalf of sinners. By accepting the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on his behalf, God and all heaven investigates the charges laid against the sinner, and find them to have all been paid in full at the Cross. There is no warrant, or charge remaining against the sinner which has not been fully atoned for by the death of the Son of God. No further investigation is necessary, since this sacrifice canceled sin leaving no trace of it to stand in judgment to condemn the sinner.

Strong’s Greek & Hebrew Dictionary for the word “IMPUTE”

“Greek Strong’s Number: 3049

English Words used in KJV:

think 9
impute 8
reckon 6
count 5
account 4
suppose 2
reason 1
number 1

middle from <G3056> (logos); to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (literal or figurative) :- conclude, (ac-) count (of), + despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think (on).”

Once the promise that God will not “impute sin” is accepted by the sinner, God immediately keep His promise, and ceases to “take an inventory” of his sins. That truly is good news!

“We may always take recourse to this fact, “that our sins are covered,” and that “God will not lay them to our charge.” Sin is not held against us for Christ’s sake….To give a short definition of a Christian: A Christian is not somebody who has no sin, but somebody against whom God no longer chalks sin, because of his faith in Christ. This doctrine brings comfort to consciences in serious trouble…. When the Law accuses him, and sin wants to drive the wits out of him, a Christian looks to Christ. A Christian is free.” Martin Luther Comments on Galatians 2:16

Ellen White taught that angels continue to take an inventory of our sins even after salvation. Her view of salvation allowed for imputed sin to remain as a matter of record.

Adventist believes that although forgiven a record still remains in heaven until the Investigative judgment clears him of all charges. Therefore his sins are still imputed against his record in heaven until the Investigative judgment ends, and the “sanctuary is cleansed” of that record. Therefore it is the Investigative Judgment, and not the cross that fulfills the promise to not impute sin against the sinner within Ellen White’s theology

I find this notion to be an offense to the gospel itself. Adventist teaches a DOUBLE JEOPARDY heavenly court system. How can a man be pronounced NOT GUILTY, i.e. justified, and still maintain that God needs to try the man in court a second time?

God who cannot lie has promised to FORGET the sinner’s sinfulness and life’s record of guilt. That promise is connected to the New Covenant itself. God who is all knowing promises to forget something. God cannot lie, and therefore has truly forgotten the sins. Adventist believes he needs a record to remind him after justification takes place; a life’s record which needs to be carefully re-examined; As though God’s forgiveness was only superficial until later on in the Investigative judgment when it becomes final.

Hebrews 8:12
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

This is the covenant! Once you accept it God who has promised, remembers your sins no more. There is no record to stand in judgment against you before God. Oh my brother and my sister, will you accept the New Covenant of Mercy promised by God today? Cease from your own works and enter into His.

The second part of the promise to NOT IMPUTE SINS is that He promises to never mention the sins ever again. If such a record did exist in Heaven after forgiveness was received, then simply opening that record book would break this promise to never mention them again.  God according to Evangelical Christianity keeps this promise! Adventist maintains their life’s sins remain in a book after justification, and assert that this book will be examined, and that His life must be shown to be in perfect obedience to the law in order to receive glorification at the second coming. Ellen taught that our ACTS and WORDS will then JUSTIFY us in that judgment. My Bible says that we are ONLY justified by the righteousness of Christ alone, and that any doctrine that says that my own good works of obeying the law will justify me in ANY judgment is in fact LEGALISM.

Notice how the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe, toned down this Great Controversy quote, to make it line up better with the Gospel.


“(Martin) Luther came to understand justification as entirely the work of God. … Luther based his position on Predestination on St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians 2:8–10. Against the teaching of his day that the righteous acts of believers are performed in cooperation with God, Luther wrote that Christians receive such righteousness entirely from outside themselves; that righteousness not only comes from Christ but actually is the righteousness of Christ, imputed to Christians (rather than infused into them) through faith. … Faith, for Luther, was a gift from God; the experience of being justified by faith was “as though I had been born again.” His entry into Paradise, no less, was a discovery about “the righteousness of God” – a discovery that “the just person” of whom the Bible speaks (as in Romans 1:17) lives by faith.”


See Martin Luther -v- Ellen G. White for more information.

A Scene Adapted From Alcoholics Anonymous.

“Hello everyone, my name is David Curtis, and I am a sinner!”

Guess what? We are wretched sinners! However I have accepted the good news, and I simply believe it. According to your faith so be it unto you! You must believe brothers and sisters. Because of Christ we have been pronounced NOT GUILTY. Our cases have already been tried, and “IT IS FINISHED,” Christ said it with a “loud cry!” That is the “loud cry” we believe needs to go to the entire world with great power today. We have been justified by the blood of Christ. This we believe. God promises that he has no memory of our sins, that he will never mention them again, and that we are truly forgiven. Our sins are as far as the East is from the West. They have vanished like a black cloud, when the sun appears. There is nothing left of our sins as far as God is concerned, as though like a mountain they had been cast into the depth of the sea. God promises not to impute sin against us, which means he is not keeping record of all our wrongs, like a nagging wife would do. We have assurance from scripture that there is not a single sin recorded in heaven against us, once we have received God’s Covenant of Mercy!

A large percentage of Adventists have no real assurance of whether or not their sins are truly forgiven right now. They fear a coming judgment and are told they must be as perfect as the law itself in order to pass the test. Paul was extremely accurate when he used that word bondage in connection to those trying to be under the law today. Friend according to Ellen White you are “judicially” still under the law, and for that reason you believe you will be under the law’s investigating eye during the judgment. I have Good News for you, “judicially” we are no longer under that law, which means that legally the law has no power to condemn anyone who is in Christ Jesus. The law can rant and it can rave, it can accuse and it can condemn … but only from afar, because we have the Good News that “judicially” we are not under the law we are under grace.

Now let’s see how Adventism fails the second part of salvation. GOD PROMISES TO IMPUTE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST TO US.

We need not fear facing the judgment based on OUR acts and our words as Ellen taught. Only the unsaved need fear that judgment. We are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN! HALLELUIAH and HALLELUIAH! His garment is sufficient to meet all the laws demands for righteousness. ONLY HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS WORKS. I meant to say it just that way. My RIGHTEOUSNESS DOES NOT WORK. Even if I produced PERFECT OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW, the Bile says that righteousness would be FILTHY RAGS. I do not want to present myself in a judgment in such a garb as that. I want Christ’s righteousness covering me.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:28

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.  Galatians 2:16

But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Galatians 3:11

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24 RSV


All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of Heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life. – The Great Controversy p. 483.



“Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn. They go before us to the Judgment.” (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 311)

According to Ellen White “our acts,” i.e. our works “justify” us in the judgment, and account us “worthy of eternal life.”

Grace is un-merited favor.

“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt Romans 4:4

Grace alone makes us worthy of eternal life!

Had Ellen left out the word “justify,” an Adventist could say she was merely talking about the unsaved condition. Then this statement would have been completely in harmony with Scripture.

Matthew 12:36
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Christ here was referring to those not protected by His grace and mercy.

Unfortunately, the Adventist prophet contradicted scripture, because she did say that our acts, and our words justify us in the judgment. That could only refer to saints coming into judgment and being justified by their own works. That is legalism. Plain and simple legalism.


The Bible teachings that the judgment is only for the wicked. Christ promised the saints they would never come into judgment.

John 5:24 (RSV)
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Secondly no one is justified by their works, we are justified by the faith of Christ alone, when we “have believed in Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 2:16
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.


The Bible teaches that the repentant sinner is protected by the robe of Christ’s righteousness. He is sheltered completely in the sight of God by the righteous life of Jesus Christ. The shame of his sinful life is completely covered by this garment. The Law cannot penetrate this robe neither can it reveal the shame of his sins. The robe signifies forgiveness, adoption into God’s family, and a total acceptance by heaven.

The Investigative Judgment teaching inadvertently peels back this robe, and reveals the “righteous” persons own character, in an unprotected and naked state exposing the repentant sinners own works to judgment. Christ’s life record is not imputed to them, they must pass this judgment based on their own works. According to Ellen White the characters of God’s people must be able to stand on their own merit and be found in complete harmony with the Law of God during this investigative judgment in order to obtain forgiveness and eternal life.

Ecclesiastes 7:20
For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

None? Accept for Christ! The Bible truth is that Christ’s robe of righteousness, covers the shame of our sinful characters, from the condemnation of God’s holy law, so that in Christ we are accepted by God. Were God to actually judge the works of the saints, their most righteous deeds would be condemned as “filthy rags.” The Bible already makes this verdict. Such an investigative judgment would be futile, since not one deed could truly be called “righteous.”

Isaiah 64:6
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;

The only deeds with any merit in the sight of God were done by Jesus Christ. Cavalry justifies us of all charges. Christ has never sinned. So long as we are IN CHRIST we are viewed as though we too have never sinned.

Justification means that Christ has legally proven that the sinner is innocent of all charges, Again, justification is a pronounced verdict of innocent. There are no legal grounds to call innocent people back into judgment. As soon as a person is justified Christ himself by His own blood proclaims that no sin is imputed against him. Angels know it is impossible for God to lie, and have complete faith in God’s verdict that the redeemed are innocent of all charges. No judgment against the saints is necessary to prove these things to them.

“The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.” 2 Timothy 2:19

“Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man; for He knew what was in man.” John 2:24

Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him.” John 6:64

Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” Acts 15:18

“Can any hide himself in secret, that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith the Lord.” Jer. 23:24

“The word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and laid open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Heb. 4:12,13

“O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising. Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.” Ps. 139:1-4

E. J. Waggoner 1916

I want the truth that they (the above scriptures) contain to stand out so boldly that it will be apparent what a libel upon God it is to assume that He is under the necessity of investigating the record of men’s lives and characters, in order to ascertain whether or not He can take them to Heaven.

“In the face of this truth so often repeated, how can any thoughtful believer of the Bible teach that it is necessary for God to spend years in searching records, to find out who are true followers of Him, and who are not? We are expected to teach as a fundamental article of faith, that it has already taken God, assisted by hosts of angels, almost seventy-two years to go over the records (several times longer, by the way, than it was supposed would be required), and still the work is not done. It brings God down to the level of man.” – Extracted from his final manuscript, Confession of Faith.

Mrs.  White said all must pass through the investigative judgment to determine whether or not they will be saved; “Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated.” (GC 1888, p.  483).  The Bible clearly shows that the cases of many people have already been decided prior to the Investigative Judgment:

The Thief on the cross: More than 1800 years prior to the Investigative Judgment Jesus declared to the thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 22:43).  The thief’s case was determined in 31 A.D.  when he repented and accepted Jesus on the cross.  This proves that Christ needs no Investigative Judgment to determine who will be in heaven.  Why would he treat us any differently than the thief on the cross?

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: The Bible says Abraham was justified (accounted righteous) by faith (Rom.  4:2-5).  Nearly 1800 years before the Investigative Judgment supposedly began Jesus declared: And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.  Matt.  8:11 Apparently these men did not need to pass through the Investigative Judgment to determine their cases.

Moses: The Scriptures clearly states that Moses sinned, died and is now in heaven (Jude 9).  If everyone’s sins are NOT blotted out until AFTER the investigative judgment, how could Moses enter heaven?  The Bible clearly states that no sinner will enter heaven (Rev.  21:27).  Moses’ sins must have been blotted out prior to 1844!

Elijah: There is no mention of an Investigative Judgment when Ellen White relates how Elijah was taken directly to the throne of heaven: “There was yet a great work for Elijah to do; and when his work was done, he was not to perish in discouragement and solitude in the wilderness.  Not for him the descent into the dust of death, but the ascent in glory, with the convoy of celestial chariots, to the throne on high.”  Desire of Ages, p.  301.


Saved by Being a Morally Right Person?

Jesus taught:

Matthew 12:37

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Does this mean that “Our acts, our words…” or our good “characters” can “justify” or save us. Do we obtain forgiveness of our sins only by living in perfect obedience? That sounds more like an earned salvation rather than a gift, and If so what need have we of grace? Is the burden of our salvation dependant upon us living flawless lives and performing good works and practicing faultless speech? Does our good works make us eligible to have our sins blotted out  so that we “will be accounted worthy of eternal life,” as it is taught in Great Controversy? Do our own works make us worthy of Heaven? If so we must realize that we are all doomed. The truth is that it is impossible for us to keep either God’s law or the tongue. Romans 8:7; James 3:8.

The good news is that we can lay the burdens of our imperfect, sinful, insufficient lives at the foot of the cross and confidently place our faith in God’s love to accept us through Christ’s merits – not withstanding our failings and short comings! Yes the hymns are true, which sing “Jesus paid it all” and “nothing but the blood of Jesus?” We are justified by faith, not by works or right doing. Ask the Apostle Paul, ‘Is salvation truly “not of yourselves,” “not of works?” Is it truly the “gift of God?”’ Ephesians 2:8-9. If so then neither good deeds nor preaching ten thousand sermons are able to “bear their testimony to justify” us. Why? Because the only thing that can truly justify the sinner is the blood of Jesus Christ.

What are the Words that Justify Us?

Confession of faith in Jesus Christ

Romans 10:9
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Confession of sins

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Desmond Ford and Walter Rae Interview

Ellen White’s gospel is that, “man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection.” “Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime.” Acts of the apostles p. 482, 560. Don’t you believe it! Sanctification for all believers happened on the 14th day of the first month in the year 31 A.D. at exactly the ninth hour when Jesus cried out with a loud voice “IT IS FINISHED!” The bible is very clear on this point.

Hebrews 10:10,12,14
By the which will we are (present tense) sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL!
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of god; (This emphasizes His FINISHED work.)
For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Sanctification and perfection is done once and for all through an abiding faith in Christ broken body and spilled blood, not by the individuals own works of right doing performed over a lifetime!

Jesus | Author: John


John 17:19

And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.


Paul | Author: Luke

Acts 20:32

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.


Jesus | Author: Luke

Acts 26:18

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Author:  Paul

1 Corinthians 1:2

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:


1 Corinthians 6:11

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


Hebrews 2:11

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,


Author: Jude

Jude 1:1

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ,



He should never dare to say, “I am saved.

We are never to rest in a satisfied condition, and cease to make advancement, saying, “I am saved.” When this idea is entertained, the motives for watchfulness, for prayers, for earnest endeavor to press onward to higher attainments, cease to exist. No sanctified tongue will be found uttering these words till Christ shall come, and we enter in through the gates into the city of God. Then, with the utmost propriety, we may give glory to God and to the Lamb for eternal deliverance. As long as man is full of weakness–for of himself he cannot save his soul–he should never dare to say, “I am saved.“” Selected Messages Book 1 page, 315.

  1. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
  2. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17
  3. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. John 5:34
  4. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:9
  5. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Acts 2:21
  6. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47
  7. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
  8. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Acts 15:11
  9. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31
  10. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? Romans 8:24
  11. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
  12. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
  13. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:2
  14. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 2 Corinthians 2:15
  15. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.) Ephesians 2:5
  16. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8
  17. Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 1 Thessalonians 2:16
  18. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2 Thessalonians 2:10,11
  19. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4
  20. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9
  21. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Titus 3:5
  22. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. Revelation 21:24

The Seal of God is NOT strictly a future event reserved only for the 144,000!

2 Corinthians 1:22
WHO HATH (past tense) ALSO SEALED us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Ephesians 1:13
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, YE WERE (past tense) SEALED with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 4:30
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby YE ARE (present tense) SEALED unto the day of redemption.


The Gospel according to Ellen White is fundamentally flawed right to its very core!

The Investigative Judgment had so thoroughly warped Ellen White’s view of the gospel that it contaminated her writings through out her life time with a perversion of massive proportions, removing the “Good news” from the gospel itself! She came to believe that it was our own works that present us before the judgment making us worthy of eternal life. She came to believe that we are justified judicially through the works of the law. She adopted a view that it is our works that sanctify us. She taught that we are made perfect before God through our own earnest efforts to do right. Not to mention her Old Testament Mt. Sinai centered theology!  As beautiful as her writings may be, I can no longer regard them as safe to read.


1 Corinthians 5:6 (see also Galatians 5:9)
Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

Ellen White claimed an angel from heaven showed her these things.

Galatians 1:8-9
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

I must speak very plainly for a moment. Ellen White said her writings were either from God or the devil. The Bible says we are NOW sanctified, that we are NOW made perfect, that we are NOW saved from our sins. Ellen White taught that all of these sound Biblical teachings were doctrines of devils. Jesus said that when we attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil we have blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. Friends, I know this will offend some, but the truth must be vindicated. The truth is what will set you free. The truth is a stone of offense, a sword that can hurt at first. But it cuts to the marrow and divides the light from the darkness, and the record needs to be set straight.

The devil is the one who wants you to wrestle with doubts about whether or not you have had your sins blotted out and forgiven right now, whether or not you have been washed and made clean. The devil is the one who wants you to stay as far away as possible from thinking you are right now at  this moment “judicially” saved from your sins. There is therefore NOW no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Your sins have no power to condemn you RIGHT NOW if only you will believe. It is the devil who wants you try real hard justify yourself before the judgment and think yourself worthy of eternal life through your own works. Because he knows the ONLY works righteous enough before God were done by Jesus Christ. And it is the devil who wants you to think your atonement with God is off in the distant future. He does not want you to know you have it now!

Romans 5:8-11

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom WE HAVE NOW RECEIVED THE ATONEMENT.

Friends, the Christians in the first century could quote Paul providing themselves with the assurance of salvation saying, “WE HAVE NOW RECEIVED THE ATONEMENT.” I invite you to lay aside the gospel of Ellen White… stop quoting her saying they had to wait until 1844 to receive the atonement! Mrs.  White said “all” must pass through the investigative judgment to determine whether or not they will be saved (GC 1888, p.  483). Christian martyrs died with the assurance that they were saved, and had there sins atoned for, and through the works of Christ were made worthy of eternal life. I invite you to return to the faith of our fathers. They knew nothing of an Investigative Judgment. They only knew what there Bible’s told them.

The context of Hebrews 9:12 is when the High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement ONCE a year. Christ performed this ONCE for all time, at His ascension. Not in 1844!
Hebrews 9:12
By his own blood he entered in ONCE into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.


“My mother was a modern woman… When the sun set and the fast of the Day of Atonement ended, she shot from the synagogue like a rocket to dance the Charleston.” 20th Century British Clergymen, Lionel Blue.

  • The Judgment in Light of the Gospel

    by Dale Ratzlaff

    Edited by Rolaant L. McKenzie

    The good news of the judgment is that Christ has taken our place. He was judged a sinner on the cross. There, He paid the price for all sin — yours, mine, past, present, future — once and for all! Our sins were laid upon Christ and forever judged. His righteousness was accredited to our account. This is the Gospel which transformed the lives of the apostles. This is the Gospel that is to be proclaimed to the world.

    There are three aspects to the judgment. First is the righteous life of Jesus, His death, His burial, His glorious resurrection, and His ascension to God’s right hand. Second, there is our response to this. We are truly judged by the Gospel. And third, when Christ comes the second time He will reveal the results of His choosing us and of our choosing Him. Those who respond to His gracious offer of salvation, the ones chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, will be ushered into the blessings of eternity with God. Those who have rejected the free gift of salvation will be assigned to the lake of fire.

    There is judgment in Christ. Isaiah 53:4-5 shows just one of the numerous types and shadows of the coming Messiah which found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Jesus truly was a bearer of our sorrows, afflictions, and iniquities. Shortly before He took on human flesh, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream concerning Mary and told him that Jesus would be the One to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21). When John the Baptist introduced Jesus at the Jordan River he called Jesus “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Throughout the ministry of Jesus we see Him steadily, with determination and forethought, moving toward the cross — the judgment of the world. He came to “give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). While He was with His disciples, Jesus kept pointing out that He would suffer many things, be killed, and be raised on the third day (Matthew 16:21). And Jesus declared, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out” (John 12:31).

    Jesus knew well what lay ahead of Him just before His betrayal. At the Last Supper He described His body as being given for His disciples, and he described the pouring of His blood as bringing about the new covenant (Luke 22:15-22). Later that same night, Jesus, looking forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit, said these insightful words about judgment and righteousness:

    And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged (John 16:8-11).

    These are very significant words. Notice that after the death and resurrection of Christ, sin is defined as not believing in Jesus. Righteousness is in the person of Jesus Christ who is at the Father’s right hand. Judgment deals with Satan who has already been judged. The message of the early Church was: he made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

    We are judged by the Gospel. Ephesians 1:4-7 teaches that we are chosen in Christ. We are predestined to be the adopted sons of God through Christ. In Christ, we have redemption through His blood due to the greatness of His grace. Scripture also teaches that we must respond to God’s gracious in Christ (John 1:12, 3:16-19). These verses indicate that believing and judgment are related. He who believes is not judged. Judgment is set forth in the context of one’s choice when confronted with the light of the Gospel of Christ. And this is diametrically opposed to the traditional SDA investigative judgment. Jesus clearly said that those who hear Him and believes has eternal life and does not come into judgment (John 5:24).

    This is the judgment of justification. It takes the reality of the past historical event of Christ’s substitutionary life and death, which provides the righteousness needed for us to pass in the coming future judgment day of God, and applies complete forgiveness of sin and imputed righteousness to the present experience of the believer. Therefore, Paul could say that we died with Christ (Romans 6:2, 7-8, 7:6, Colossians 2:20 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:11). We were raised with Him to newness of life and we are already seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12, 3:1). In other words, the truth of justification by faith is that the verdict of “not guilty” has already been given to those who believe! And that is the good news of the Gospel! And that is why true believers do not come into judgment, because they have already been judged in Christ (Colossians 1:12-14).

    The focus of the investigative judgment is on personal deeds in order that one might be found worthy of eternal life. The good news of the Gospel is that the Father has already qualified us, who believe in Christ, to share in the eternal inheritance in Christ. We have already been delivered from the domain of darkness. We now have redemption. The vindication of God’s justice in the way He saves helpless, ungodly sinners who were enemies of God has already been settled (Romans 3:21-26; 5:6-11).

    Adventists look to the future for the vindication of God when the “remnant” will fully reflect the image of Jesus. The Bible, however, states that the blood of Christ vindicated God’s character, and this was done by Christ without any help from some last-day remnant people.

    Notice that this takes place apart from law or outside the realm of old covenant law. In the new covenant, the focus is not on law, but on belief in Christ. Our complete justification is apart from works of the Law (Romans 3:28). Our salvation is not dependent upon our good works, but upon God’s mercy (Titus 3:4-7). Those who hear and then reject the Gospel are judged as unworthy of eternal life (John 5:39-40, 9:39-41). People are judged by their response to the good news of the Gospel. The light of the mercy of God has been brightly revealed in Christ. Now, the darkness of sin has no excuse.

    The second coming of Christ reveals God’s judgment. The verdict of the judgment has already been given (Romans 2:5). In that sense, it could be said to be a pre-advent judgment. However, this pre-advent judgment is not some investigative judgment where Jesus and the onlooking universe are pouring over the record books of heaven, measuring character to see who is worthy of eternal life. Rather, this judgment results from one’s response to the Gospel when it has been proclaimed, understood, and received or rejected. This last judgment simply reveals who by faith accepted God’s free gift of eternal life and who did not (1 Peter 1:7).

    In summary:

    Jesus, as our substitute, was judged in our place on the cross. He has paid the price for all sin for all time. He credited to our account. By His death on the cross, Jesus judged Satan and demonstrated God’s justice in the way God saves sinners.
    The good news of the judgment is that all who believe and trust in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ can say with assurance, “I’ve been acquitted!” We have already been judged in Christ. Those who reject the Gospel, judge themselves unworthy of eternal life.
    The second coming of Christ will be a revelation of how men responded to God’s gracious gift of salvation.

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).

  • Conclusions on the 1844 Investigative Judgment Doctrine

    by Wayne Willey

    Edited by Rolaant L. McKenzie

    What is so objectionable about the traditional Adventist doctrine of the investigative judgment?

    First, it ignores or minimizes the beautiful description of Christ’s heavenly ministry in the book of Hebrews and makes the description of Aaron’s earthly ministry in the book of Leviticus the ultimate model for Christ’s ministry in the presence of the Father.

    Second, it places Christ in the robes and role of Aaron and requires Him to perform the ministry of the Levitical priesthood for almost 2,000 years.

    Third, it makes the ministry of Jesus Christ, the One who brought the world into existence by speaking mere words, less effective than the ministry of a fallible and sinful human being named Aaron. On the ancient Day of Atonement, Aaron offered the sacrifice of a goat, brought its blood into the presence of God in the Most Holy Place and made an atonement for the people of Israel in just one day. But the traditional Adventist doctrine of the investigative judgment says that even though Christ offered the sacrifice of His own perfect life and brought His own sinless blood into the presence of the Father when He ascended to heaven, Christ has not been able to make a complete atonement for the people of spiritual Israel in almost 2,000 years. To say that the blood of a goat and the ministry of a sinful human priest in the old covenant type was more effective than the blood and ministry of the risen Christ in the new covenant is nothing less than blasphemy to anyone who truly understands the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet that is what the traditional Adventist doctrine of the investigative judgment teaches.

    Finally this doctrine robs the believer of the assurance of salvation in the present by making his/her salvation dependent upon some event which is to take place in the future. The Gospel teaches us that our salvation is assured by events which took place in the past — the death of Jesus Christ on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins and the sinless life of Jesus Christ which provides the perfect righteousness we need to be acceptable in the judgment. The Gospel gives the assurance that our sins have been forgiven and that we are now accepted by God because Jesus is our Saviour and Lord. The Gospel gives the assurance that God has already provided everything that will ever be necessary for salvation. The only thing that stands between us and salvation is whether we will continue to accept the gift of salvation on God’s terms by trusting in the life and death of Jesus or whether we will return to self-centered, futile and foolish attempts to earn acceptance with God and salvation by our own feeble works. God does not need more than 150 years to compile a list of those who were trusting in Jesus as their Saviour at the time of their death or at some future date. Surely it would not take God more than 150 years to search through the few billion names of people who have lived on earth and extract the names of those who “died in faith” and those who were “living by faith” at the Second Advent. God is more efficient than any computer human beings can devise.

  • Problems with the 1844 Investigative Judgment Doctrine

    by Wayne Willey

    Edited by Rolaant L. McKenzie

    The problem is not with the general concept of an investigative phase of judgment which will occur prior to the second coming of Jesus. Since Jesus promises to bring His reward with Him when He returns for His people (Revelation 22:12), there must be some type of judgment prior to the second coming. The problem is not with the general concept of a pre-advent judgment. The problem is in the details.

    On what basis is judgment given? Is judgment based on whether God offers forgiveness from all our sins (blanket coverage) or whether God offers forgiveness only for those specific acts of sin that we have been able to remember and confess?

    Many SDAs seem to think of the investigative judgment in legalistic terms. That is, every act of sin which we have ever committed must be remembered and confessed in order to be completely forgiven. Of course, such a concept would completely undermine, even destroy, a person’s assurance of salvation because that person could never be certain that he/she has confessed every act of sin.

    The essential message of Christ’s parable of the Pharisee and the publican is that a general confession that I am a sinner will be sufficient to secure justification; to be declared righteous by God.

    The primary question to be answered in the investigative phase of the judgment can be answered with a Yes or a No. The question? Did this person accept/trust God’s provision to save him/her from his/her sins? Yes or No? Believer or Unbeliever? John 3:18 says we are already condemned if we do not believe.

    Why is the judgment taking so long? While it may have been credible from a human point of view to talk about a long period of time being necessary to sift through the database of information about everyone who has ever lived on earth during a time when all data was sorted manually (as was the case 150 years ago), such a view is much less credible in the computer or information age where mere mortals are able to process massive amounts of information in seconds.

    The Book of Life can be compared to a database of everyone who has ever accepted the death of Jesus as payment for the penalty of their sins and the life of Jesus as their righteousness before God (righteousness by faith). That database would not need to contain very much data about each person in the database — the name or identification code of the person, the date on which that person came into the relationship of faith in God and that person’s status of believer or unbeliever at the end of life or at the Second Advent. How long would it take to process those three or four data fields for the few billion people who have lived on earth since creation? A desktop computer could process that amount of data in just a few hours.

    Why has the investigative judgment taken 150 years? Do SDAs believe that an desktop computer is more efficient than the Creator God who brought this world in existence by merely speaking words? To those who say that the investigative judgment began in 1844 and God has taken more than 150 years to perform the investigative judgment, one can only say as J.B. Phillips said, “Your God is too small!”

    God does not need more than 150 years to investigate who should be saved. God knows even the number of the hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30). In fact, keeping an accurate count of the constantly changing number of hairs on one’s head could be much more complicated than finding a phone number on a computer database. God knows those who are His (John 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:19) at any specified moment in time and those who have been His since the beginning of time.

    How does the priestly ministry of Christ described in Hebrews differ from the 1844 Investigative Judgment Doctrine?

    In the Old Testament sanctuary services described in Leviticus, the sins of believers accumulate in the sanctuary for a year until the Day of Atonement when the high priest would go into the presence of God in the Most Holy Place to make atonement for the sanctuary and the people. The main point of the Old Testament sanctuary service was that the high priest in the earthly sanctuary/temple had direct access to God only one day each year — the annual Day of Atonement.

    In the New Testament sanctuary as described in Hebrews, Christ is now (at the time that the book of Hebrews was written prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.) in the presence of God (the Most Holy Place in the universe) interceding for His people (Hebrews 9:24). While Stephen saw a vision of Christ “standing” (present tense) at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56) when he was before the council in 34 A.D., the writer of Hebrews in 65-70 A.D. says that Christ had sat (past tense) down at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3; 10:12) where He “is sitting” (present tense – Hebrews 8:1; 12:2).

    What is the most significant difference between the ministry of Aaron and the ministry of Christ?

    When Aaron was high priest, the believer had to wait a year before the high priest took his sins into the presence of God in the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement. Now that Christ is our high priest, the believer has immediate access to God because Christ our high priest is in the presence of God every day.

    The traditional Adventist doctrine of the investigative judgment has Christ ministering outside the Most Holy Place for more than 1,800 years before He enters the Most Holy Place to begin the cleansing ministry foreshadowed in the ancient Day of Atonement services on October 22, 1844. The traditional SDA doctrine teaches that Christ’s cleansing ministry in the Most Holy Place has been going on now for more than 150 years.

    How is this description of Christ’s ministry a better way or an improvement over the Levitical priesthood which provided atonement once each year and completed that atonement in one day?

    Some would have Christ popping up and down or in and out of the Most Holy Place like a “jack in a box” offering the sacrifice of His blood for our sins. Others would have God sitting on a movable throne which rolls from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place. These people ignore the texts which say that Christ’s sacrifice only needed to be offered to the Father one time (Hebrews 10:12). “Now he is sitting at God’s right side, and will stay there until His enemies are put under His power” (Hebrews 10:13). These people also ignore the fact that no place in the universe can be more holy than the place that is made holy by the presence of God.

    When Christ stands up again, it will be to leave the presence of His Father and return to earth to gather His people. Until that day comes, Christ remains seated in the presence of His Father in the Most Holy Place in the universe where He has been since He returned to heaven after He rose from the dead nearly 2,000 years ago!

    The traditional SDA doctrine of the 1844 Investigative Judgment contradicts the description of Christ’s ministry which is provided in the book of Hebrews. It does so because those who initiated this doctrine focused most of their attention on the services of the Old Testament sanctuary described in Leviticus and gave very little attention to the services of the New Testament sanctuary described in Hebrews. We can understand that the Adventist pioneers were blinded by their great disappointment and grief because Jesus had not returned in 1844. What excuse do Adventists have today for maintaining a doctrine of the Investigative Judgment which contradicts the book of Hebrews?

  • The Rationale for the 1844 Investigative Judgment

    by Wayne Willey

    Edited by Rolaant L. McKenzie

    The roots of the 1844 Investigative Judgment lie with the 2,300 days prophecy of Daniel 8, the Year-Day Principle, the Heavenly Sanctuary, and the role of Jesus as High Priest.

    The 2,300 Days Prophecy

    Daniel 8:13-14

    Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled — the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?”

    He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.”

    This prophecy, in the context of Daniel’s vision about Medo-Persia and (Greece), and the sacrifices being interrupted, has ambiguous meaning, to say the least.

    Note that, even though Daniel found this the most disconcerting part of the vision (the only part he asked questions about), Gabriel, in his explanation, doesn’t seem too concerned about it (at least, he offers no explanation).

    Using the year-day principle, 1844 – 2300 (years) gives 455 B.C. or so. Daniel 8:9-12 speaks about the “little horn'” who wars the “prince of the host” and “takes away the continual sacrifice” and “throws down the base of the sanctuary.” For Daniel, this probably means the destruction of Solomon’s temple (the first temple).

    The destruction of the first temple happened in 598 B.C. The destruction of the second temple was much later, in 70 A.D. In any case, either one is not a candidate for 455 B.C.

    Current criticism of Daniel (The Anchor Bible), gives this as 1,150 days of sacrifice stoppages (evening and morning sacrifices) or the familiar three and a half years of “desecration” so familiar in Daniel (and matching very well with the approximate three and a half years of desecration brought by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 B.C.). Since basically all other clues point to final redaction of the book in this time period, this is almost certainly the original meaning.

    The Year-Day Principle

    Ezekiel 4:6

    “And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”

    The context here contains absolutely no clue that “day” means “year” in all prophetic writing in Ezekiel, much less the apocalyptic of Daniel. It is given clearly as a symbol that Ezekiel is to spend 40 days lying on his right side to mean the 40 years that Judah was evil, just as he lay on his left side for 390 days, to symbolize the evil of the northern kingdom.

    Support for this is given from the Daniel 9 prophecy that there are “seventy weeks” (490 years) from the order to rebuild Jerusalem until Jesus’ coming (Christian reading of the prophecy). The temple was started in 520 B.C., which gives about 30 B.C. for the first advent, which is about right.

    Again, current criticism (The Anchor Bible) of Daniel 9, taking into account the fact that Daniel here is worried about Jeremiah’s 70-years vision, gives very close agreement with actual events (certainly as close as the original writer in 165 B.C. had) from 594 B.C. to 165 B.C. (That is, seven weeks of years in captivity, then 62 weeks of years in the second temple, then a final week, half of which [score 3 and a half years again] is spent in desolation.).

    The Heavenly Sanctuary

    Revelation 15:5

    “After this I looked and in heaven the temple, that is, the tabernacle of the Testimony, was opened.”

    One reading of this is that the heavenly temple contains the sanctuary (the tabernacle) just as the first temple did.

    Another, more probable (I think), reading is that the writer of Revelation considered ‘tabernacle’ and ‘temple’ to be basically synonymous, especially for referring to vision items.

    In any case, the heavenly temple doesn’t seem to receive mention outside the apocalyptic writings, and so probably did not have any significant role in early Christian theology, at least.

    Jesus as High Priest

    Hebrews 3:1

    “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”

    Hebrews 4:14

    “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”

    Hebrews 6:20

    “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.”

    Jesus was pictured as high priest by the author of Hebrews. I couldn’t find any similar reference in Revelation, however, where Jesus is usually pictured as a judge, or triumphant king, and those kinds of roles. At any rate, Jesus is seen as a ‘high priest’ like Melchisedek was — that is, someone entitled, for mysterious reasons, to receive sacrifice from those who have the Blessing (i.e., Abraham). This is apparently to give us the assurance that Jesus has the stature necessary to perform the function of priest for anyone. Furthermore, there is no hint that this function is sacrificial in nature. Melchisidek the immortal High Priest just took tithes from Abraham.

    Preliminary Conclusions

    It seems, upon examination of the constituent factors composing this doctrine, that no evidence can be found that the 2,300-days prophecy relates in any way to judgment, that the year-day principle has any kind of remote validity to it, that the heavenly sanctuary is any more than a metaphorical and symbolic device, and that Jesus’ role as High Priest, in any case, is completely decoupled to His possible actions in any theoretical symbolic heavenly sanctuary.

  • Investigative Judgment Doctrine

    by Wayne Willey

    Edited by Rolaant L. McKenzie

    INVESTIGATIVE JUDGMENT. A Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) term for the preliminary phase of the great final judgment by which God intervenes in human affairs to bring the reign of sin to a close and to inaugurate Christ’s eternal reign of righteousness (Daniel 7:9, 10, 13, 14). This opening phase is called an investigative judgment because it consists of an examination of the life records of all who have ever professed to accept salvation in Christ and whose names are therefore inscribed in the “Lamb’s book of life.” Its purpose is to verify their eligibility for citizenship in God’s eternal kingdom. At the close of the investigative judgment the sins of those who have endured to the end are “blotted out” from the books of record and the names of all others are stricken from the book of life (Exodus 32:32-33; Revelation 3:5, 20:12, 15, 22:19). SDAs teach that in view of the fact that at His second coming Christ rewards “every man according as his works shall be” (Revelation 22:12; Romans 2:5-11), it is evident that this investigation of the life record takes place before He returns to earth to gather the elect. The divine proclamation, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come,” is specifically presented as preceding the Advent (Revelation 14:7, 14). [As defined by the SDA Bible Commentary, v.10, p. 669-673]

    The Millerite Adventists had been preaching for several years that Daniel 8:14 said Christ would return in or about the year 1843. After the year 1843 passed, they discovered an error in their calculation of the 2,300 years (there was no zero year in history) so they revised their date for the return of Jesus to 1844. Most of these Adventists expected Christ to return in the spring – about the time of the Feast of Passover. They had concluded that it would be appropriate for God to deliver His people from slavery in this world on the same day that He had delivered His people from slavery in Egypt. Others were teaching that the Day of Atonement which ushered in the year of Jubilee would be a more appropriate time for the deliverance and restoration of God’s people. The Adventists suffered their first disappointment when Christ did not return in the spring at the time of the Passover. After Christ did not return on the Passover, they began to focus on the possibility that Christ would return and usher in the Great Jubilee on the Day of Atonement in 1844.

    In August of 1844, an Adventist preacher named Samuel Snow claimed that he had been able to discover the exact day when Christ would return. Using the calendar of the obscure Karaite sect of Judaism which had been founded in Persia in the 8th century A.D., Snow claimed that Christ would return on October 22, 1844 – the Day of Atonement on the Karaite calendar. (The calendar used by the majority of Jews said the Day of Atonement would occur on September 23, 1844.)

    Bible scholars in most Christian denominations argued that no one would be able to calculate the time of Christ’s return because Jesus had said, “no one knows the day or hour” (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32). But the Adventists were certain that the “seventh month message” was “the true midnight cry” in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, so they dismissed the arguments of the non-Adventist Bible scholars. They preached “the true midnight cry” with great fervor.

    The passing of the 22nd day of October without the return of Christ led to bitter disappointment. Adventists still refer to the passing of that date as “the Great Disappointment.” Many of the disappointed Adventists decided the Advent Movement had been based upon error and returned to the non-Adventist churches where they had fellowshipped before they had become involved in the Advent Movement. But some of the Adventists remained confident that the Advent Movement had been right and tried to find a way to explain what had happened to them. Some claimed Christ had come, but not visibly. They claimed that Christ had come spiritually into the hearts of the Advent believers. A few claimed that Adventist believers had been right about the date, but wrong about the event which was to occur. So they began searching earnestly for some other event which might fit the prophecy. A small group of Adventists concluded that Christ had entered into a new phase of ministry in the second apartment of a heavenly sanctuary; that Christ had just begun a ministry similar to the ministry of Aaron the high priest on the Day of Atonement.

    There are some very obvious problems with each of these explanations for why Christ had not returned in the clouds of heaven on October 22, 1844. The idea of a spiritual coming contradicted the clear teaching of Scripture. First, Jesus said He would come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 26:64) in the same manner in which He had ascended to heaven (Acts 1:11). Revelation 1:7 says “every eye will see Him” when He comes. Only a literal and visible coming would fulfill these promises.

    The idea that Christ had begun a new aspect of ministry on October 22, 1844 similar to the ministry of Aaron the high priest in the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement was based on the description of the ministry of Aaron in the book of Leviticus. Christ was therefore made a priest after the order of Aaron.

    There are several problems with making Christ a priest after the order of Aaron. God clearly showed that the ministry of the sons of Aaron had come to an end by tearing the veil in the Temple which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place when Jesus died on the cross. The Jewish priesthood did not understand the significance of this event, so they merely replaced the torn veil and continued the Levitical services and rituals. Those Levitical services and rituals finally ended when the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

    In 1844, the disappointed Adventists concluded that the two apartments of the sanctuary on earth showed there was also a literal veil in the heavenly sanctuary which separated Christ from the Father. They said Christ had performed a ministry similar to “the daily” ministry of the Aaronic priesthood for nearly 1,800 years. Whereas the high priest of the Aaronic priesthood had gone into the Most Holy Place (the presence of God) once each year, this “new theology” of the sanctuary said that Christ, the Son of God, was not able to go into the presence of His Father in the Most Holy Place for 1,800 years – until October 22, 1844. This “new theology” of Christ’s “daily” ministry in the heavenly sanctuary not only contradicted the clear teaching of the Bible, it also contradicted the plain logic of godly reason.

    The book of Hebrews clearly teaches that the old order of the priesthood of Aaron ended when Christ ascended and entered “within the veil” (Hebrews 6:19-20), going into the presence of the Father (Hebrews 9:24) to be our High Priest. Christ’s ministry as High Priest is more effective than the ministry of Aaron and his sons. The death of Christ the Lamb of God on the cross was a better sacrifice than the animals Aaron offered every day and on the Day of Atonement once each year. Christ’s perfect sacrifice of atonement only needed to be offered one time to be effective forever (Hebrews 10:12). Our Day of Atonement took place more than 1,960 years ago when Christ went into the presence of His Father. Christ sat down at God’s right hand (Mark 16:19; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12) where He is waiting until God puts His enemies under His power (Hebrews 10:13).

    There are other problems with applying the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 to Christ’s ministry in heaven. Those disappointed Adventists who looked to a new phase of Christ’s ministry in a sanctuary in heaven were not aware that the measurement of time at other locations in the universe will be considerably different than the measurement of time on earth. For example, let us look at the two planets which are closest to Earth. While a “day” (one rotation of the planet) on Mars is only about six minutes longer than a “day” on earth, the “year” (one revolution around the sun) on Mars is equal to 687 “earth days” rather than 365 days. A day on Venus is 243 “earth days” while the year is only 225 “earth days” – so each “day” on Venus is almost twenty “earth days” longer than the year! A change of location changes the measurement of time. The prophecy of Daniel 8:14 says that the sanctuary was to be “cleansed” (KJV) or restored to its rightful state (NASB) after 2,300 evenings and mornings (days). Is the time stated in Daniel 8:14 to be fulfilled in earth time or in the time of some other location? If Daniel 8:14 is to be fulfilled in heaven, how long is a day in heaven? In 2 Peter 3:8, we read that there is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years. To Him the two are the same. If a prophecy is given in earth time (2,300 days) and is to begin with a specific event on earth (the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem), then it is only logical to expect that prophecy to be fulfilled in some other event which will occur on earth. If the fulfillment of a time prophecy is to take place at some location other than earth, then we would have no single, uniform standard for measuring the period of time which had been stated in the prophecy.

    What was the proper state or purpose of the sanctuary? Was the sanctuary on earth to be merely the center where people gathered to worship God? Was the sanctuary merely to be the place for offering sacrifices? Or was the sanctuary and its services also to be an object lesson of how God would save humanity?

    The sanctuary was the center where people gathered to worship God. The sanctuary was the place where the priests offered sacrifices. But the primary purpose of the sanctuary and its services was to give the people of Israel graphic object lessons of how God would save those who would place their trust in Him and His plan to save them from the penalty of their sins.

    The people of Israel lost sight of God’s purpose for the sanctuary. They became so involved in the rituals and forms of the services in the sanctuary that they lost sight of the purpose of the sanctuary. After the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., the Jews shifted the focus of their worship from the services of the Temple to the teaching of the Law, which then became the central focal point in the services of the synagogue.

    Christians have not done much better than the Jews when it came to understanding the purpose of the sanctuary. Rather than seeing the sanctuary and its services as graphic object lessons which teach the basic principles of the plan of redemption, the sanctuary was “spiritualized” to become a symbol of the earth, the universal Church or the individual believer. Therefore, the cleansing of the sanctuary was to be the cleansing of the earth by fire (as the followers of William Miller believed), the cleansing of the universal Church by the Holy Spirit or the cleansing of the individual believer from sin (as many perfectionists, including Seventh-day Adventist perfectionists, still believe).

    The Great Disappointment in 1844 discredited most of those symbolic interpretations of the sanctuary which had developed and accumulated over hundreds of years. Those symbolic interpretations had distorted the simple object lessons of the sanctuary and its services. After the Great Disappointment in 1844, Bible scholars in various denominations began to study the purpose and meaning of the sanctuary and its services. Many of those Bible scholars published books about the sanctuary and its services during the next 25-30 year period. Those books showed how the symbolic lessons taught in the sanctuary were fulfilled in Christ. Some of the books which were written by these scholars are still considered the best books ever written on the subject of the sanctuary and its services (Edersheim’s The Temple and Its Services, Fairbairn’s Typology of Scripture, Jukes’ The Law of the Offerings and Soltau’s The Tabernacle, the Priestly Garments, and the Priesthood). These new studies focused on the sanctuary as a graphic teaching tool or a series of object lessons about God’s plan to save humanity. The sanctuary had been restored to its rightful state.

    Why were none of those great books which explained the spiritual lessons taught by the sanctuary and its services written by people who were known to have been active in the Advent Movement in 1844? It seemed Adventists were not writing those books about the lessons to be learned from the sanctuary and its services because the majority of the Adventists who passed through the Great Disappointment had become totally preoccupied with defending a date (October 22, 1844) and their experience in the Advent Movement; and they were more interested in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation and uniquely Adventist doctrines like the Sabbath, the judgment and the second coming than they were in the message of the Gospels about Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension. As a result, they did not see the graphic object lessons about the plan of salvation which were so clearly taught in the sanctuary and its services. It would be more than fifty years before a new generation of Adventist writers such as Uriah Smith (Looking Unto Jesus (1898)), F.C. Gilbert (Practical Lessons from the Experience of Israel (1902) and Messiah in His Sanctuary (1937)), S.N. Haskell (The Cross and its Shadow (1914)) and M.L. Andreasen (The Sanctuary Service (1937)) would publish books which would show how the sanctuary and its services provided a series of very graphic object lessons on the plan of salvation through Christ.

    Why were so many of those early Adventists willing to accept ideas which were based on so little Biblical evidence? Why were so many of those early Adventists willing to accept ideas that plainly contradicted the clear teaching of the Scriptures? Because they were only human, like the rest of us.

    Most people find it very difficult to deny past spiritual experiences. Most people also find it difficult to admit when they have been wrong, especially in matters as important as religion or theology. Therefore, it is understandable why so many of the disappointed Adventists in 1844 found it relatively easy to accept new concepts which may have seemed to offer an explanation for why Jesus Christ had not returned to earth in 1844.

    People who are in the midst of a severe emotional crisis are not able to do the careful and accurate evaluation of information necessary to make the best decisions. Times of crisis are not the best time to make major decisions or make major changes in one’s life. Times of crisis are not the best time to form new doctrines. In times of crisis, we will do better by focusing on what is really essential. That is, maintaining our relationship with God. We will have all eternity to learn correct doctrine from Christ Himself.

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