Home » The Judgment of the Living & the Close of Probation    


The Judgment of the Living & the Close of Probation — 93 Comments

  1. manea,
    Good article to remind us on the very contradicting topic in theology.And as you have said, it is because it is not understood by many people, and also people do not want to search/going deep in it.
    Just want to comment that, always when we come to religion matters- there are no three sides. We only have 2 sides- those who choose Christ and those who reject Christ (choose Satan). There is nothing like fence sitters. I had this thought when i was a child, that I will just remain in between, but remember James 2:9-10, if you do good 99% and bad 1%-in God's eyes you have done bad 100%.
    About the probation period, let us all be prepared as it will reach a time when Jesus will be moved out of the Most Holy room-when he will be saying-it is finished; Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong....

    • Fence sitters are people who might still change their mind and turn to Christ. They have not completely given themselves to Satan yet. God wants to wait and to give such people a chance, but by the time they make up their minds one way or another, more people are born and so on...

      • Fence sitters I call them lukewarm and the lord says he will speu them out of the mouth.Rev3:19And the lord offers the advice To buy the Gold tried in fire,that they may be rich, to buy white raiment and annointthere eyes with eyesalve Rev3:18

        • Yes, not all will be spewed out of His mouth. Some will repent and be saved. This is why Jesus waits patiently not willing that any should parish. But He cannot wait forever even though there will always be more people that are born and go through this.

          • I don't believe there is no such thing as a fence sitter. These so called fence sitters are simply people who have not chosen Christ(unbelievers). In that case there is no need for a so called catalyst. The preaching of the good news is nothing new and natural disasters, hard times and corrupt politicians are also nothing new so how are these things introduced by God as a way to speed up the decision making process?

          • I totally agree with your article, Mike, but some things might profit from clarification. "Fence sitters" might not have been the most accurate term for those believers and unbelievers who might yet change their allegiance, for better or for worse. Also, your description of the catalyst is a bit incomplete, even in terms of what we know. When the flouting of God's law is strongly enforced by human institutions, that will force a choice, and of course the maximum revelation of God's true character will give people the very best opportunity to choose Him. Those who refuse such an opportunity will have become hardened beyond any capacity for repentance. You are spot on that they will have time to show this, just as Judas did in the garden when Jesus called him "friend."

      • I am not sure there was a question asked. Two of the opinions offered were, one in paragraph 6, and one in paragraph 8. Both comments are to the affect that this is what God wants. There may be an element of uncertainty, that some would understand differently. One scriptural reference that is noteworthy Isaiah 55:8&9. When we are positive of our position and how and where we stand, we should ask also, what is the purpose? 2 Peter 3:9, is not interested in how many will be lost. There will be undoubtedly way more than since Adam. Judgement is a certainty, but this is not what I look forward to with anticipation. Nor do I have the ability, or the need to determine someone else's salvation of loss. The Love chapters such as John 1,2,3, might be more insightful than other chapters.

      • Why are believers or the children of God on *Probation*? Is God trying to find out if His work is up to par? His children are His creation or workmanship as He said, created for His good works.

        • Here is the #2 definition of the word "probation," from dictionary.com:

          the testing or trial of a person's conduct, character, qualifications, or the like

          Unless the Bible teaches that we are "once saved, always saved" -- incapable of apostasy, no matter what we decide -- it should be rather obvious that our qualifications for heaven must be tested. It's not a question of whether or not God's work is up to par. Rather, it's a question of whether or not He was allowed to do His work in the life of the individual. We do have a free will, after all, which God will not violate, and our ongoing consent is required in order for Him to do His transforming work in us.

          • It’s not about being tested for heaven. God bids everyone to come to the marriage supper, if they reject Christ, that’s the end of it.

            • Good point, Sam. While our every word, deed, or thought is examined, the purpose is to determine whether we are Christ's, or whether we have actually rejected Him, all the while pretending to be believers. This is how the martyrs are delivered from the power of the apostate church.

        • The apostle Peter in his letter write saying 1peter 5:12 for judgement must begin at the house of God,and if it begins at the house of God; how then shall it be with those who have rejected the gospel. In theology there are only two kinds of judgement. Investigate judgement and executive judgement. The judgement of dead and living before God,s people.

        • I spent a considerable amount of study on 2 Cor 5:10. It was very revealing to examine the supplied words and implications, then to sort out the original intent. I arrived at a conclusion which changed my perspective. Rev 20 spells out two phases of a judgment, one for righteous, the other for the lost. The common thought is that everyone stands before the throne to present their case, but only the lost have to do that. The righteous are judged "in absentia", that is, we won't be present in heaven when that decision is made: "Hence they will not be present in person at the tribunal when their records are examined, and their cases decided." GC88 482.2. If that is true, then what of 2cor 5:10? Each time Jesus speaks to our heart he is "judging" our sin and giving us opportunity to change with His power. We can decline. He wishes we would accept. This individual action is a judgment on sin in our hearts. He purges us through personal conversion/conviction. At the conclusion of His efforts we are found worthy.

      • So after The father realizes that minds are fixed for or against Christ and no one else is going to change their mind ,what will happen to those who are young are those who are still in the womb about to be born?

        • Paula, don't "those in the womb" normally go wherever the womb takes them? I rather think it will be no different in the end. Some will go to heaven with their mothers (and most likely fathers), and others may be as though they had never been. Their traits inherited from their rebellious parents would unfit them for heaven, and the Lord will do the most merciful thing possible.

        • I believe Satan's probation closed the same way probation closes for any human being. Probation closes when a person no longer feels the need to repent after rejecting the voice of the Holy Spirit for too long. At that point, there's nothing more God can do to save that person.

          • I agree, Inge, depending on what you mean by feeling the need to repent. Esau sought repentance with tears, but couldn't find it. The same is doubtless true of Judas. They very much wished to repent, but only for reasons of self-interest. There was no heart-breaking grief over what they had done to God. They were hardened beyond that possibility. That is the risk of presumptuously indulging in sin. There is an imperceptible hardening, and we never know when it will be too late for even God to be able to help us.

      • Great article! I know I'm a little late to the party here. I completely agree that the close of probation is not an arbitrary decision made on God's part, but rather when every human being has made up their own mind. I have read multiple
        times an Ellen G White quote where she says just this. But of course, now that I am trying to find it, I am having no luck. Do you by chance know of any quotes by E.G. White that say this? And can you reply with the quote and the reference please, if you do? There is someone I want to share it with. Thanks!

      • The investigative judgement of 1844 began with the dead and ends with the living.when the record of all the dead starting from Adam to the righteous Abel are completed then thus they pass onto the living. Early writings page 167-168

  2. Faustine, it seems from your comment that the choosing you propose us about doing good or bad. That is certainly not the case, it is whether we choose to believe that Jesus is able to overcome in our lives. We choose to live by believing Jesus. The books are examined to see if your name is present, which happens when you choose him. I can do no good except I can choose Jesus and his perfect life instead of mine

    • When we have Christ's imputed righteousness and the merits of his grace we are fully justified. All sins that will have not been repented of will stand as a record in the investigbtive-judgement. Executive judgement in Revelation 20 is what we call the final venedict. Or final sentence. In our earthly courts the members of the jury are the ones who pass venedict and the judge just comes validate the decision of the jury and thus when Jesus will utter the final words it is done he shall leave the heavenly sanctuary and put on vestments of judgement and the unrepentant sinners will face the wroth of God. The seven last plagues are poured immediately after probation closes. And God will withdraw his spirit from the earth. And then God's people are finally sealed.

  3. It is good to be reminded even though we know it already as 2 Peter 1:12 stipulates. It's also good to have some crucial topics like this one to be tackled as it has been so that no excuse has to be found in every believer.

    Thanks Mike!

  4. While the post focuses on the final "close of probation" for all humanity - a time after which no one will accept salvation offered by Christ - I think it is good for us to remember that probation "closes" for millions of people every day.

    When a person dies, probation closes for that person.

    When someone grieves away the Holy Spirit by yet another "small" decision to do it "my way," probation closes for that person.

    These things happen daily.

    What will be different some time not too far away is that God will allow things to happen on this planet that will bring everyone's character to the test. (I really like Mike's analogy to a catalyst in a chemical reaction.) Every person on this planet will feel the pressure to choose one way or another. Either they will choose to follow Jesus at great personal cost, or they will reject the call of the Holy Spirit and thus reject their final chance at salvation. Those who choose Jesus for the first time or keep choosing Jesus under great duress will not change their minds. Neither will those who have rejected the Holy Spirit.

    Let us choose Jesus daily in the small as well as the large choices in life, and He will be with us, no matter what trials lie in our future.

    • Thank you Inge for reminding us that our personal probation ends when we take our last breath. Consequently, our time is short regardless of when final probation closes (James 4:14).

      Many "fence sitters" tarry with their decision of who they will worship, believing there will be time to make the right decision later (perhaps when Sunday laws are established). This is a grave mistake because if they haven’t accepted Jesus by then, they probably never will.

      It boggles the mind to think of the many thousands of people in Noah's day who watched as the animals filed onto the ark in an orderly manner, something that Noah could not possibly have accomplished. And yet, not one person changed their mind, not one.

  5. Thanks, Mike for an excellent article, and thank you, Inge, for your comments. I too feel quite certain that probation never closes for any individual until that person has voluntarily and perversely hardened his own heart to the point where he is incapable of truly repenting even if he desperately wants to do so (for selfish reasons, of course). Esau and Judas seem to be examples of this in the Bible. There comes a time when even God can do no more for the stubborn soul bent on an evil course. Look at Pharaoh of the Exodus.

    Someone please correct me if I am mistaken, but my understanding is that the living cannot be judged either way until after their probation has closed.

    Lastly, if there were no general close of probation shortly before Jesus comes again:

    1) I could make no sense out of Revelation 22:11 being in the Bible, and

    2) I'd be hard-pressed to say in what sense Jesus' coming is like a thief in the night. It's the close of probation that arrives unnoticed.

    • RG, both of the references may be applied differently, in that If we understand differently,then what are the ramifications or consequences?
      Is our understanding of a particular position, going to make the final decision for or against our salvation? If that is the case, then we should make a list of all the right things, in order to insure our salvation. I see it as a daily relationship between each of us, and the Heart of our Loving God.

      • Yes, Paul, I do have an opinion on that. Provided we are in earnest and sincere in our love relationship with God and in our faith in Jesus Christ and His saving merits, I believe that we ourselves shall be saved regardless of whether or not we understand everything correctly.

        However, to the extent that we can understand things correctly and thus share them with others, I believe that will increase our ability to help them find their way. Every concept has consequences. In other words, there is a lot more to the Christian life than just assuring our own salvation. Indeed, I very much doubt that we can be saved in the end, if we didn't care enough about others to do all in our power to understand Bible doctrine. Everything in the Bible is there for a reason.

      • Probation closes for SDA first,which happens at the sunday law , then the general close of probation for those who are not SDA after the loud cry goes out.

        • Hello be blessed. Can you give me references about what you have said that probation will end first to Seventh day Adventist!
          Also is there any direction about the period after closing up to SDA, to other Christians going the church of God?

          • Please read 2Cor 5:10. Everyone alive right now is being judged. The house of God is judged first. Eze 18:30,1Pet 4:17. Judgement is for us, in our favor and not for punishment. Dan 7:22. Judgement is to determine if we have chosen God, his Son, the whole plan. SDA are not first as presented in Bible. God's people are first. First is not the most righteous, but the most faithful, which should be equivalent, but men do not judge like God. This says the Holy Spirit is first given to believers, then to all who receive it. Everyone gets some, and some reject that counsel. Again 2Cor5:10. Judgement is not a summary, but a direction. It is counsel on an ongoing basis from the Holy Spirit. The sealing is a final action that God gives as a conclusion to a judged life. Everyone is sealed at their death because their faith and works no longer contribute any further, they Sleep. The last generation are sealed while alive to protect them from Satan who wants to kill the faithful. Reread 2 Cor 5:10. Not a future judgment, it's present and ongoing. We choose to accept God's counsel and it blesses us. We reject and we struggle. Talking to God benefits us, so we should pray for wisdom now, not after our death or wait until we are sealed. We aren't gathering good works for a judgment, we are judged as we go. Chew on that. Yes I am SDA, elder and 30 years in the church.

  6. Thank you so much for the interesting topic. By the way Jesus is seeking that is lost so we as the lost sheep we should try our best to find our back home before the close of probation lest we will be left out in the darkness.

  7. I have held this view for a long time. The Almighty does not \"close\" probation. When each decision is made He declares \"It is done\" all have decided and there is no purpose in prolonging the process further. Also remember the great flood, \"as it was in the days on Noah\", there were at that time infants and children destroyed whom, I presume, would have chosen badly had they been allowed to reach the age of decision. I trust His wisdom and I know His love.

    • I agree with and appreciate your comments, Chris. However, it seems clear to me that certain events must be permitted to transpire in order to test all of earth's inhabitants, so as to bring things to a "head," so to speak. It will be no accident that everyone on earth has simultaneously come to a final decision, either for or against Christ.

      Thus, by deciding when to allow these things to take place, God does effectively close probation within a relatively short time, and those who are unprepared for these events will not be able to pass their probation. That is why God has in mercy warned us of what is to come, so that we may prepare ourselves, and also help others to get ready.

    • Methusalah died awaiting the flood and knew the resurrection would come. His name means he was awaiting the flood destruction. He wasn't killed by the flood, he went to sleep, having done all he could to help the cause. We should live likewise.

  8. It´s important to know what is the God´s judgement. It´s not a punishment but essentially the best opportunity to choose or not the eternal company of Christ. This opportunity have a great price, time and space.

  9. In relation to this topic is the fact that scripture reveals a righteous people who are arrayed in robes made white in the blood of the lamb, "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing" which will stand upon the earth singing a "song" no other humans from earth can sing. Could this people be faultless before God? Is this possible, while still in this world while the enemy of souls arrays the world against them? (If true, then we must ask is if the lack of this yet taking place is the reason that the catalyst is being held back until this people is prepared[Rev 7:3, 2 Pe 3:11,12]?)

    If we believe the Bible, we must accept that such a people will exist, yet as we look at ourselves we wonder how can it be? If we look from ourselves unto Jesus, the person of faith must ask how can it not be with such exceeding great and precious promises by which we become partakers of the Divine nature? Can the voice that commanded light and all life to appear where before was only a "deep" also take a willing soul and perfect it through the power of His Word and Spirit? Wasn't it Word and Spirit that brought light and life to the empty void? (Is being empty a vital point to understand?)

    The next question most ask is answered in the earth's existence on that first Sabbath isn't it? The world only exhibited the power of God and did not look upon itself as having achieving of itself anything but a fulfilling of His power through Word and Spirit. The world and all within it simply revealed His glory and praised Him by fulfilling His Word (Ps 148:1-8). Can sinners choose to do the same?

    Probation closes for the earth while a remnant people willingly fulfill the will of God even when faced with death. This willingness to accept death rather than sin in order to spare their temporal lives is where their unchangeable choice is revealed to all others. They are fixed for eternity and have given up their very lives to the obedience and service of God, "loving not their lives unto death", and they overcome the accuser of the brethren "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony".

    Yes, a catalyst will soon bring every living soul to make a choice, but only faith can respond in perfect obedience to the will of God through His Word and Spirit.

      • Mike, I'm not sure I would agree with the church being the catalyst, though I could be mistaken. As I have come to understand it, when the powers spoken of in prophecy form an image and require all to bow, THAT would be the catalyst that requires everyone to make a choice. The church presents the truth in opposition to the falsehood being enforced, and every soul makes a choice based on the two opposing principles that will gather everyone's attention. While our message(truth) won't change, the atmosphere introduced by the command to worship the beast will give this message a greater relevance. Our message alone hasn't acted as the catalyst yet, as many think it presently irrelevant.

        Where I could be mistaken is the fact that we have not yet given our message as it was intended to be given: by being living examples of Christ. Those who remain faithful at the time of the final conflict will reflect Jesus fully if prophecy is true(which I firmly believe it is). Nothing happens until the faithful are sealed, and then the four winds are loosed. So clearly if not the catalyst, they affect it's being released, and through their opposing witness, help to make the choice very clear to every soul.

        If we would consider the coming controversy the catalyst, our part is indeed vital if this is to end soon. I pray it's our greatest desire to be those faithful witnesses.

        • Robert, I believe that, without God's people demonstrating God's character to the world, any requirement to bow to a figurative image will not provide a clear choice to this world's inhabitants. So, yes, God's people are part of the "catalyst."

  10. This is a very involved and lengthy discussion over probation termination, and prejudgment beginnings. Our definitions and textual references are for the most part from a personal time frame. To determine the reason for, or the procedure of, an investigative judgement, may be less important to Gods plan than we think. One possible example. God is sovereign. In Exodus 32:9-11,14 God relented, changed His mind, the same as Noah in Gen 6:5-8. I repeat, God is sovereign. God will complete His plan of salvation to its culmination. Our part is Matt 22:37-40.

    • The bottom line from all the input and ideas of the topics under discussion, and there are a number, is that unless anyone has First Hand, information, as can be visibly seen or audibly heard, by the ultimate Authority, the questions remain undetermined regardless of how insistent one may be. There is only what is given by Love and Grace and Matt 22:37-40. If we disregard that verse in favor of our determined opinions, then the opinions necessarily becomes superior in our narrow view.

      • Paul, I'm still not sure what you are saying but I really hope you are not saying that those four verses are the only ones that matter.

  11. Thanks, Mike Manea, for your work.


    At the outset of your essay, you seem to say that its factuality is based on the certainty of two probabilities, each preceded by the word "if": "If there is a judgment going on in heaven right now and if, when Jesus comes, His reward is with Him…."

    The second probability is certified by Rev. 22:12, from which you, clearly, took your wording.

    The first probability, above, digitally links back to another essay, by you. This essay makes contentions which are, as you seem to admit, highly debated. It forwards conclusions which are not unambiguous, despite the fact that many other SDAs declare a clear victory in this area.

    So, if your essay sails, or sinks, based on the verity of those two probabilities, my first question is, 1) does your essay make sense if your second probability is certain, but your first is unclear, uncertain, or untrue?

    Also, you say:

    "Probation closes before the Second Coming and not at the Second Coming because God wants to allow time to pass so that it is evident to angels and unfallen beings that people have made up their minds and are no longer going to change. Some period of time passes where, as much reason as God gives people to repent, no one does any more. And then, heavenly beings all agree that there is no point in waiting any further, and it’s time for Jesus to return to take His people home."


    2) How are these ideas supported Biblically? Specifically, I mean the timing of probation, and the direct responses of beings, other than God, to these matters; e.g., "And then, heavenly beings all agree that there is no point in waiting any further, and it’s time for Jesus to return to take His people home"? Where does the Bible say this?

    3) When you say "before the Second Coming and not at the Second Coming," how is this framed, temporally? For example, when does the Second Coming, temporally, begin; i.e., at the commencement of what action?

    When you say "before" it, could that mean, say, an attosecond before it? If not, by how much time must the close of probation precede the Second Coming?

    4) When you say, "God wants to allow time to pass so that it is evident to angels and unfallen beings that people have made up their minds and are no longer going to change," how do you support this from the Bible?

    Also, who are these unfallen beings, and what does the Bible say about them that allows us to verify what you've written, please?

    Thank you for your ideas. I look forward to your kind and generous responses.


    • Harold, those are very good questions. Maybe one day I'll write an entire volume on Adventist systematic theology and address all the potential issues that might come up. Most people however don't read more than a few paragraphs at a time so that is very limiting. This particular post was intended for Adventists who already believe there is an Investigative Judgment, a judgment of the living and a Close of Probation and I was only trying to correct a common misunderstanding. Moreover, last week I posted an article on the Sanctuary and the assurance of salvation and that article did not deal with what would happen to the people still alive when Jesus came.

      Many people tend to think that if someone believes something they should be able to provide a list of proof texts to support that position. In reality, Bible doctrines build on one another and some doctrines are more foundational than others. The proof texts that support a doctrine for me might not make sense to you because you hold a different position on doctrines that are prerequisite.

      I don't know if you're familiar with California geography but let's say we were both in Los Angeles and we were following the same set of directions except, at the very beginning of the trip you got on the 5 Freeway and I accidentally got on the 10. So now, even though we both take a right where the directions say to go right and a left when supposed to go left, we end up in completely different places because we took different turns early on.

      So to explain to you why Adventists hold this position on the close of probation I would need to know if you're pre-millennial, post-millenial or a-millenial, if you're pre-trib or post-trib, if you're a Calvinist, an Arminian or Once Saved Always Saved. Adventists are pre-millennial, post-trib, non-OSAS Arminians. If we disagree in any of these areas then we should probably discuss those topics first. Otherwise, I can share with you the texts on which we base our beliefs on the Close of Probation but I can already tell you that you will interpret those texts completely differently than we do.

      • And please don't take this to imply that we feel there is a high degree of uncertainty regarding our views. I'm just saying that, depending on where the wrong turn was taken, we might need to get back on the freeway and go back several miles, take the right turn and then begin driving in the correct direction once again.

          • That's like asking why sin arose in the first place. It's a mystery, and must always remain so. To explain it is to excuse it. Therefore, to explain it is impossible.

    • Harold, just to answer your question whether Mike's essay makes sense if all that we know is that when Jesus comes again He will bring His reward with Him, I would say, "Certainly."

      In your view, with that single fact, just what part about the close of probation, as Mike described it, would not make sense?

      • Thanks, Inge.

        If by "the close of probation," Mike means either…

        a) When a person's natural life has ended, or

        b) A point, before Christ returns, when God, in His infinite calculus, decides—in so many words—that, as it pertains to sin, the human story "is not going to get any better than this," and that each person who has every lived is fit to be judged *as is*

        …I would agree with him.

        My objection, mostly, is to **SDA date-setting**; pretty much the lot of it. It all has very significant problems. I'm only the most recent person in our church to say so. To the degree that Mike's calculus depends on it, I object to it.

        Further, the Investigative Judgment narrative not only involves date-setting, but *place-setting*, as well; on the day the IJ began, Jesus purportedly "went somewhere" in Heaven. I object to this.

        As well, I object to "unfallen worlds" being forwarded as a reason, or aspect, of this, or any, SDA doctrine. Doing so requires a **xenotheology** that the Bible does not offer or support.

        So, to the degree that Mike's explanation requires us to believe this traditional SDA narrative of the Investigative Judgment, and the logic that affirms it, I object to his argument.

        You see, the Triad is a temporal sequence; one event happens, then another, then another, in time. So, it figures that they would be temporally related, or even temporally causal.

        I accept this. Here, Mike and I agree. The Triad has a "temporal shape," that, like this physical one,

        http://torus.math.uiuc.edu/jms/Images/double/sdb-156.jpeg makes sense.

        That God is researching human activity, at a speed and level of detail sufficient to answer the questions of beings on Uriala, Zaretus, Phanasare, e^{i \pi} + 1 = 0, and a googolplex of other "unfallen worlds," and that He has been doing so for a 170-Earth years-plus time span **may, in fact, be true**. I said this, as well, in the Spectrum essay.

        It may be true, in other words, like this torus bubble. The torus bubble is, like the 120-degree double bubble, an efficient shape:


        But, as you look at it, you reject it on sight, because it is absurd.

        Doctrines that rely on conjecture, and/or on extra-bilblical sources, must be treated the same way—as absurd.


  12. Mike thanks for comments,are the natural disasters and economic upheavals signs of second advent or catalysts? If catalysts,don't you think that we are being coerced to make a decision rather than using our free will?

    • Yes. If disasters were the sole catalyst, it would be coercion. The best way to think about this is to look at Biblical examples where this happened in the past. One of the best such examples is when probation closed on Israel as a nation. Their catalyst, besides a series of major tragedies, was Jesus' ministry in their midst for 3 1/2 years followed by the ministry of the Early-Rain-Energized apostles. This is why, the major component of a last day catalyst has to be the church.

    • Joash, whether coerced or choosing by free will is up to YOU. When Nebuchadnezzar compelled all to bow to his golden image, only 3 were not coerced wouldn't you say?

      Another image is coming and all will be coerced to bow, except those who live by faith. Only through unbelief can we be coerced into a wrong action against God.

      The catalyst must come and always will when Satan is no longer restrained. He will soon govern all who are not governed by the Lord and filled with His Holy Spirit.

    • Difficult circumstances bring out what is in the heart, and people make decisions according to the true condition of their hearts.

      The circumstances do not coerce anyone to decide to submit to God, and that is evident in the fact that people decide both for and against God in such circumstances.

      Besides, God does not bring on "natural disasters and economic upheavals." These are merely evidence that God is allowing Satan more rope, so to speak. And I believe that it is evident that people of this world actually want less of God's government, and that's why they get more of Satan's government.

      So, no, God is not coercing anyone by allowing the world to experience the effects of rejecting God's government.

      • Inge, Mike and Joash, what is the meaning of this language: "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

        Could this be considered a forced issue? Will anyone be free to "opt out" of the matter and remain neutral? Will atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, etc stand on the sidelines and watch the Christians argue the matter?

        The Bible teaches that only one group will not be coerced into this "worship" of the beast. Only those who's names are found written in the Lamb's book of life will not worship the beast. Will all others worship out of devotion or force? If not force, why the threats? What is the meaning of the mark on the right hand vs the forehead?

        Last question, is God forcing this issue upon the world or has He just stopped holding back the storm of persecution this will bring?

        • Yes, one way for God to speed up the process is to set up a test: if you don't do X you will be lost. Or, He can allow Satan to set up a test: unless you commit an act that will require the breaking of God's commandments, you will be persecuted/killed. However, such tests don't develop character, they only reveal it, like autumn reveals the evergreens. There is an opportunity for someone who might eventually turn to Christ to make that decision sooner.

          Because of this, the test is the thing that is being held back when the angel says to hold back the winds in Revelation. This is why the End will not come until the gospel is taken to the world as a witness.

      • Psalm 115:16
        "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men."

        It is no wonder that there is a verse in Revelation that talks about God destroying those who destroy the earth. God's mercy, perhaps, holds back the winds, which just might be the consequences of our own ill-informed deeds and rebellious actions...

    • Joash, Your comment about disasters, upheavals, and coercion, reminds me of a thought from Mrs. White :

      "The judgment of God are in the earth, and, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we must give the message of warning that He has entrusted to us... Men will soon be FORCED TO GREAT DECISIONS, and it is our duty to see that they are given an opportunity to understand the truth, that they may take their stand intelligently on the right side." (9Testimonies p.126-127)

  13. Thank you Inge, I was getting uncomfortable with the "coercion" concept. Allowing vs pursuing. Satan destroys and God is allowing men to pursue their hearts, although their choices have ill effects upon others.

  14. Great article on the probation period, we need to keep that thought in mind concerning where we are in the phase in life.Like in Revelation some sweet day the work is going to be wrapped up,by the Holy Spirit in what we don't accomplish," Let those who are filthy be filthy still,those who are righteous be righteous still,those who are just be just still.Keep lamps trimmed and burning stay alert ! Church for the Bridegroom cometh in the hour he think not!

  15. These explanations and questions has helped me to understand a lot I really don't know. Thank you all and may The Lord use you more in his work of saving souls.

  16. Correcting the scripture phase of the statement:Revelation 22:11 "He that is unjust,let him be unjust still;and he which is filthy,let him be filthy still:and he that is righteous,let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.Revelation 22:12 And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

  17. Forgive my broken grammar in advance.

    I believe also that when everyone has chosen to serve God supremely or Satan then God will close probation. Yes events will speed this process up. Years ago Dwight Nelson was a guess speaker at a event I was attending and I heard him speak pertaining to our judgment and probation closing and he said that we need to get right with God because our names could come up any day or time. I’ll never forget watching him snap his fingers demonstrating how fast our names could pass before God. I’m in no way bashing him and that may not be his view today. That was 18 years ago. I was in prayer meeting a few years ago and heard a teacher say maybe she had no hope because her name might have come up already. All this made no sense at all and my heart was full of pain for her. In the Old Testament the people had all day to fast and repent as long as the priest was in the Most Holy Place. I don’t read anywhere that some of the people had their probation closed earlier than someone else. Yes there came a time for the priest to leave the Most holy place and lay sins on scapegoat but up until then all had opportunity to make a decision to follow the lord or not. I read years ago somewhere where sister white made a comment to this effect but cant find it now.

    Can someone give me more biblical text and Spirit of Prophecy quotes pertaining to this?

    I do believe Pastor Nelson was right that we all need to get our act together. God bless each of you and lets pray for one another.

    • I appreciate the point that you are making, Andre, that probation will never be arbitrarily closed on anyone. On the other hand, we are not capable of repenting or of choosing God on our own. The Holy Spirit comes to us with appeals and opportunities to do so, and the longer we resist -- the more opportunities we neglect or refuse -- the more our hearts imperceptibly harden, and the more difficult it will become for the Holy Spirit to get through to us. If this process were to continue to the point where, like Judas when he left the upper room, there is nothing more that even God can do for us (beyond treating us kindly, as Jesus treated Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane), then our probation would be effectively closed regardless of where we are in the larger scheme of things. It's a sobering thought.

  18. Hello R. G. White and all.

    All you say I agree with 100%

    I wasn't really trying to make a point as much as I was wanting more bible texts and spirit of prophecy quotes to show whats been spoken of here.

    I have heard sermons on the topic saying that our names could come up in the judgement at anytime. This type of preaching leaves people hopeless when they're in a battle already. We should preach more about the Spirit and the great opportunity that we have before us. We too can lead a victorious live as Christ our example did. Everything that was given him is ours to claim through God's promises. We visit lots of churches and they are dwindling in membership. I think some are loosing hope. Even though we have a lot of light and we are obligated to give the world a warning of the things coming upon this world, I'm seeing not much of Christ love and righteousness presented.

    When I came into the church I became somewhat of a Pharisee until God finally made me see my own weaknesses and my condition even though what I was taught was right on. Now I fear the Pharisees more than the liberals, not that they are right but they can be reached easier than the Pharisee. (After all it was the ultra conservative Pharisees that wanted Christ dead.)

    This statement below gives me hope.

    Steps to Christ
    "We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged."

    We have to lift up Christ in every message. I surely hope we all can agree on this. "God is love" As we strive to give the three angels message by all means let us never forget about God's Love.

    Blessings now send me texts please.

    • Andre, for the one who is hid in Christ through faith, trusting the "exceeding great and precious promises" of God, there is no fear of judgment. For any who continue to harbor a sin(they know it is sin, understand God's will for them, but fail to repent of it), their next choice might forever fix them in their transgression, and thus they are sealed for eternity, though they keep this false hope that one day they will forsake their sin. God knows every heart and will be just and fair in every case. It is WE who are to believe and act according to faith. When God convicts us, we are to confess and repent without delay, since delay is unbelief.

      Our names come up on the judgment once we have become fixed in our faith or unbelief, and nothing will ever turn us from our determined course. No one knows the moment of this, but it is our choice always. Of course death removes any possibility of repentance doesn't it? So the death that comes to all mortals will also bring us to the judgment.

      Our perfect peace comes through faith in the promised salvation to all who believe and receive Jesus fully, taking His yoke, learning of Him, and following the Lamb of God "withersoever He goeth".

      The sooner we come to the judgment, the soon we will be with the Lord forever.

    • Andre Hawk, then there is the one in Selected Messages 1, page page 337, that includes what she says in Steps to Christ but also adds here, "...we shall fail often in our efforts to copy the Divine Pattern." So, it is not only our "shortcomings and mistakes," but also our "efforts" to (copy the Divine Pattern.) The "Close of Probation" idea at the "End of Time" comes from a verse in Revelation at the very last Chapter there: chapter 22:11; some SDA Pastors and Evangelists have placed this verse as belonging just before the First of the Seven Last Plagues starts to fall. However, EGW very clearly says in 1SM page 191 that God has not revealed just when probation closes or also when this message comes to a close. To me, the fact that this verse of Revelation is at the very last Chapter of this book means that it probably belongs at the end of the 1,000 year millenium when God brings His people from heaven to live forever on this earth.

  19. Thanks for comments but I think you missing the point. I want help proving what has been agreed upon already. All that's said I agree just please show me text and Spirit of Prophecy quotes because others are using Spirit of Prophecy quotes to justify their position. They say your name could have already come up and this is causing others to be hopeless. I don't believe that but I can't find a specific quote I once read that says that. I have already shown from Day of Atonement what takes place but I want more text please.

    Keep it simple as Christ taught.

    Thanks for comments but please give me specific text and quotes.
    Blessings to all.

    • Did you know, Andre Hawk, that EGW also said that "There is more light to come to God's people? And did you also know that she said that the fact that our people had been holding for many years "certain doctrines" as being truth for many years (she wrote about this in 1891) that this was no proof that "Our ideas were infallible," or that "all of our expositions of scripture were without a flaw"? Our only safety is to Personally seek God's Holy Spirits guidance of Holy Scripture.

  20. I have the following Questions please help;

    1. On probation
    Can one know if his or her probation hs been closed?
    If yes..there are those pipo who live but there probation has been closed and once probation has been closed 4 them meaning they cnt be forgiven
    now y wil some continue living while their probation has been closed?

    • Luckson
      There is a day of atonement. We use that term to designate the idea that God has a single day to finish his work. I am not there except as my name is on the book to be judged. I am there on the book as "the house of God" gets judged first. Along with my name are all the other Christians who have accepted His works as their own. I don't know that day is happening unless God let's me in on His secret, but i don't need to know. Its a day of culmination, not procrastination. Nobody stumbles upon that hall and suddenly is convinced they need to believe.

      Probation is a process, not a day. Probation started for the human race in earnest in 1844, but individually at their birth. As humans we want to know what is happening to us. God reveals what is happening corporately in Daniel 8:11-14,25 so to this we must know, it's not about us, it's about God.

      John 15:15 speaks to the believers. Vs 16 tells us it's about Him, not me. Reassurance is mine because i believe and have passed from death to life, but the judgment is about God getting resolution for his creation. Rev 14: worship the Creator who made heavens and earth, the seas and stars. It is He who chooses.

  21. The following is something I wrote on September 13 of this year--before I read your article about the investigative judgment on the Intelligent Adventist website. This is the way I have been explaining the close of probation since the 1980s. Until I read your article about the close of probation, I had never heard or seen any adventist explain that the close of probation need not be understood as arbitrary.
    My parents were adventists before I was born (1944). They read their Bibles (King James translation) to my siblings and me and they also read several of Ellen White’s books to us. I attended adventist schools for 12-1/2 years and, during that time, I attended adventist Sabbath Schools (and studied the lessons) and adventist worship services and adventist camp meetings (almost every year). We listened to the Voice of Prophecy on the radio almost every Sunday--and we didn’t do anything else while that program was on the radio.

    I never doubted (and still don’t doubt) that human probation will end. I’ve even seen some evidence that other Christians than adventists have had some concept that probation will end. But there was something about the WAY I was taught about that in adventist schools that convinced me I would need to find a better way to explain the close of probation than the way (ways?) it was being explained to me. It seemed to me that many (most?) of my adventist teachers thought that God will ARBITRARILY close human probation.

    My God is not a ghoul! We could discuss some of the related doctrines that have been popular among adventists in the past and that I don’t hear taught anymore but here is how I currently understand the close of probation.

    I think each person’s probation closes when he makes his final choice between God’s way of ruling the universe (by love) vs. Satan’s way (coercion). In the past, most people’s probation has closed when they died but I also believe there will be future time when events on this planet will be of such a nature that people will be unable to postpone making a final choice. I believe there will be a false messiah who will create a false sense of peace (similar to pax Romana)--a messiah who will deceive every human who is expecting a millennial kingdom on Earth.

    In the process of deciding whether to obey that final false messiah, people will decide in favor of one or the other of the two methods of ruling the universe. They won’t be saved or lost by their decisions but, on the basis of those decisions, they will do things or fail to do things of such a nature that, while they are doing them, the sky will split open and it will suddenly be abundantly clear, not only that everyone has already made a final choice but on which side of the cosmic conflict they have placed themselves.

    Some people will look up and say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)

    Other people will say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16 & 17)

    Why will one group say, “we have waited for him”? (The repetition of the phrase in Isaiah 25 seems to be for emphasis.)

    I think it will be because everyone else will have been so desperate for relief from natural disasters or economic, political and military problems that they have chosen to ignore the words of Jesus himself with regard to the manner of his return and the nature of his kingdom.

    Will there be a time before the second advent of Jesus when a voice of mysterious import will be heard in heaven saying, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still” and he that is holy, let him be holy still”?

    I believe so. But I believe it will be an announcement that each intelligent human on Earth as already made his final choice--not an announcement that God has arbitrarily decided to deprive people of their free moral agency.

    If someone finds this explanation helpful, please let me know. On the other hand, if someone thinks there are Bible texts that are antithetical to this explanation, let me know that too.

  22. That makes four of us. Mike Manea, you, my wife and me. Presumably, our children also don’t believe that the doctrine of a pre-advent cleansing of the sanctuary necessarily implies that God will ARBITRARILY close human probation. I need a LOT more encouragement that there are other members of our denomination who DON’T teach that.

    Sally and I lived in Utah from 1982 until 2007. LdS teach that “God” gave Adam and Eve two “commandments” that were mutually exclusive, i.e. they couldn’t obey both. 1: To procreate. 2: To not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    Their teaching seems to imply that sexual activity between men and women is always sinful but that isn’t the worst problem (from my perspective). If earthly parents were to give their children mutually exclusive directives, we would consider them to be unfit parents.

    The doctrine--or implication--that God will arbitrarily close human probation seems very nearly as egregious to me.

    Sally and I are now living in Orrington, Maine. Where on Earth can we find a Seventh-day Adventist congregation that has frankly and explicitly rejected the teaching--including the implication--that God will arbitrarily close human probation? We would like to recommend that our neighbors attend their services.

    • Hi Roger,

      I myself believe that God will forgive sin as long as sinners will repent. During the last plagues in Revelation it does not say God will not forgive. It says sinners do not repent. My personal understanding of Scripture is that probation closes because sinners stop repenting, and not because God stops forgiving. But we need to be careful. The farther we go and continue in sin the harder it becomes for us to repent.

    • If I may add further to this important conversation.

      I did my Honours research on the topic of stereotyping. Stereotyping is a sub-conscious process whereby our mind tries to fill-in-the-gaps of that which cannot be seen in order come to an understanding. How does it fill in the gaps? Our mind uses all that it has available to it - our own experience. This process results in the formation of assumptions that we typically don’t realise we have made and are using because they are sub-conscious. What this means is that, as humans, we have a default tendency to ascribe our motives to another without realising we have done so. This includes our attempts to understand God.

      We can’t avoid stereotyping due to it’s subconscious nature. But we can train ourselves to afterwards consciously reflect upon and question the assumptions that our sub-conscious has generated. I believe this may be one of the reasons God pointed out that His thoughts and ways are not like our ways (Isa 55:8,9).

      I believe we, as humans, have understandably though problematically, made many unconscious assumptions that God operates like we do - with the offering of forgiveness being but one.

      Unlike humans who typically offer forgiveness contingent upon repentance, it appears that God actually offers forgiveness unconditionally. In fact, forgiving is who God is rather than merely what He does. That is, forgiving appears to be a core part of God’s compassionate character (as revealed, though grossly mistranslated from the Ancient Hebrew, in Ex 34:6,7).

      God offers forgiveness as a gift - like He does with many other things (recall the first words of Jn 3:16, for example. And as a gift, forgiveness is not offered on the basis of anything we have done to deserve that gift. That’s the first point. God’s gift of forgiveness is unconditional.

      HOWEVER, our capacity to benefit from that offered gift is conditional. We will not experience the healing potential of God’s forgiveness until we repent. Repent in the Greek conveys the idea of stop, turn around 180 degrees, and walk in completely the opposite direction to the way we had been going/doing (because sin and righteousness are 180 degrees opposite ways to each other).

      God is unchangeable. He will never cease to be forgiving and therefore he will never cease to unconditionally offer forgiveness as a gift (though in the earth made new, such will not be needed by His creation). HOWEVER, any one of us can resist the Hols Spirit’s invitation and conviction to repentance and, by repeatedly doing so, harden our heart as Pharaoh did. Then God’s unconditionally offered forgiveness lies unused by us.

      When seen through the perspective of what has been outlined above, Jesus cry on the cross for God to forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34) makes sense. Jesus wasn’t in the habit of saying things just for the sake of saying things. The was a reason Jesus devoted some of his last recorded words on the cross to this topic. It was a message Jesus really wanted humanity to hear and understand. It was vitally significant. Perhaps it was hearing these very words that led the thief on the cross to repent and receive salvation only a few verses later (Luke 23: 42,43).

      I believe this world will be brought to conclusion at the second coming on the same basis as it was at Noah’s flood. God, not being willing that any should perish, but desiring that all would come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9) so that they would benefit from His freely offered gift of forgiveness and more, waits until the very last person has confirmed their habitual tendency of their heart. Have a look at Gen 6:5 in conjunction with Gen 7:1. The second coming will not be a totally new phenomenon - the same thing has already happened in principle at the flood. Jesus actually alerted us to this (Matt 24:37) even though He went on to only point out one specific example of how it would be the same.

      Finally, the concept of probation is a human construct that has been applied in an effort to label and describe a phenomenon. As such, I believe it conveys some accurate understanding, but also some misunderstanding. The accurate part is that there is a time limit to the phenomenon. The inaccurate is that it is God who is limiting the time. It is not, it is reality that is limiting the time, just like it did back at the timing of the flood. It is the reality that humanity will again reach a point where everyone who is alive at that point will have cemented the tendency of their heart. Consider 2 Pet 3:9 where Peter is responding to the implied claim that God is taking too long!

      Perhaps it is timely to consider that God’s ways are different to our ways and, armed with this awareness, revisit the concepts and conclusions that we have developed thus far to see if perhaps we may have inadvertently read too much of our own ways into things?

      “... in closely investigating every jot and tittle which we think is established truth, in comparing scripture with scripture, we may discover errors in our interpretation of Scripture. Christ would have the searcher of his Word sink the shaft deeper into the mines of truth. If the search is properly conducted, jewels of inestimable value will be found. The Word of God is the mine of the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Review & Herald, July 2, 1908, Art A pgph 15).

      May God bless us if we choose to do this....

  23. In the sanctuary we have an example of the timing of the close of probation. When the books are read jesus stands in the 3rd compartment, the Most Holy Place. He finishes the judgment (examines the books) then Leviticus states that He cleans the Holy place on the way out. This signifies the sealing of God's people happens after the judgment is finished. There is a elapsed time before He (Jesus) then presents in the clouds to pick up the saints. This is signified by moving from MH to court. Beyond the court are those outside the curtain (unbelievers, those who do not move their hearts into the places to be cleansed). None of this is arbitrary.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>