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Monday: The Pre-Advent Judgment — 23 Comments

  1. Brothers/Sisters:

    Can somebody, please, show me where Jesus, the apostles, and the early church taught the Investigative Judgment? Can someone develop this idea completely from Scriptures for me. Bible only. I'm honestly seeking truth in this matter. Thanks.

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    • John 5:28-29, if there was no investigative judgment, how can the dead be raised to either the resurrection of life or death (which will be a thousand years apart)?

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    • Cris, the investigative judgment is well explained in Matthew 22:1-13, in the parable of the wedding banquet taught by Jesus Himself. Please, read it.

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    • God is a God of justice. And He is love. He could never do something to contradict Himself, because He is perfect. The judgment is not for Him; the judgment is for the Universe, so everyone else will be sure that those who were not saved stayed that way because it was their free choice. Now, the ones that are going to be saved are the ones who washed their whole soul in the blood of the Lamb, persisted with it and were considered righteous! The saved ones did not deserve to be saved because they are better, but because they also freely chose Christ to be their lawyer. It's as simple as it can be.

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  2. There is a tendency when this subject comes up to hotly defend our position on 1844, how we arrived at that date, and what we believe occurred then. In all of this we sometimes forget that the purpose of all of this is not to scare us into the kingdom of God, but to encourage us to develop a closer relationship with him. During my lifetime, and it has gone on for most of my adult life, the discussion and debate has gone on for long enough and vigorously enough to have caused many of my contemporaries to lose their faith. It is perhaps a little bit self-justifying to say that this is the shaking time to shake out those who for some reason or other need to be shaken out.

    I like to remind myself that the central theme of the Gospel is the relationship we are invited to have with Jesus. It is not about proving that we have got it right. We do not have to go through the historical and arithmetic gymnastics to get to 1844 in order to be saved.

    I am not saying this to diminish the importance of a judgment before Jesus returns. Obviously, when Jesus comes, the sheep and goats will be divided. But I am concerned that sometimes we get so concerned about the date and the event that we distract ourselves from the relationship we should have with Jesus, and by extension, with one another.

    Those of you who have followed a similar path to me will remember some of the rancor and unchristian accusations that have been leveled at one another over this topic. I have been there and done that and am appalled at some of those things we have said and done. I survived and remain a committed Seventh-day Adventist but the debate over the years has tempered my perspective. I have come to realise the importance of treating one another with respect, even when we disagree on belief. Our Christian behaviour towards one another should not be changed by our idea of a fellow member's belief.

    By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35

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    • Well said Maurice. Thank you for speaking wisdom and truth.

      I am not Adventist but attend Sabbath School and trying to learn more about the Lord. I'm working on the Pre-Advent Judgment lesson and I'm looking for additional help. I'd like to have more Bible references on the subject and if there's anything written by EG White I'd like to read that as well.

      Peace & Blessings!

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  3. Cris, you can find a good source that would answer your question clearly on the Website of Amazingfacts.org.

    Click for your search on „Final Judgement“ and there you will get a full explanation. I went through it and found it based on biblical facts.

    I hope you find this hint is of some help.

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  4. I was a teenager growing in a church environment within a College, in São Paulo. From time to time there were large events, well known by the whole community, such as weddings. And there was a special wedding to take place. A daughter of a wealthy family was going to get married, and they were going to spend a lot of money on a super feast! I wasn't officially invited, but I decided that I would not miss that party; no way! On the designated day I got ready, put on my most special suit and went with some friends to the wedding. The church was full! And the party happened in one of the nicest places for events in the city! As a teen, I could not miss that party, I just had to appear as a guest!

    The differences of the wedding cited in Revelation are:
    1) Everyone is invited! Everyone on earth is invited to be ready for the most amazing feast of all times, which is Jesus' return to this planet;
    2) The invitation is freely given, no matter the social status, race or age! The question is, "Do I want to go?";
    3) The host of the party Himself wants to get to know you and me better, because He loves us!

    That's why I say, let's not miss this party! Let's get prepared while there is time! Because whether we accept the invitation or not, we are all going to be judged by this King who invites us, and justly, according to what we've done through our free will!

    Knowing about future things in advance can give anyone a lot of advantages, right? So, let's get ready!

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  5. Please can someone explain whether there is a literal significance to the parable of the sheep and the goats.

    If so, when does the separation take place? Is it at Christ's second coming to justify why the living and the righteous dead are being taken to heaven, or is it during the executive judgement before the second death?

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    • If we consider that one of Jesus core purposes in coming to earth was to metaphorically shine (a) light on things that were in a state of darkness (John 1:4-5), why was Jesus trying (John 3:19) to do this? Jesus was (and is) hoping that when some will see things in their true light, it will serve as a 'wake-up' call for them to realise what path they are on and where it is actually leading (see Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). This was the purpose behind all of Jesus teachings, prophesying and therefore parables.

      However, as John 3:19 sadly notes, many will shrink away from and try to evade the light (the truth of reality) and will mistakenly think they can actually do this and get away with it (eg Deuteronomy 32:28-29).

      The parable of the sheep and goats is talking about the same event and process described in 1 Corinthians 4:5. Although it can appear that unrighteousness seems to prosper in many instances, there will be a time when 'justice' - as per God's form outlined in Galatians 6:7-8 - will be fully manifest resulting in sin coming to its inherent end. This is both an attempt to warn (ie, wake-up call) those who are 'blindly' (Luke 4:18) on the path to perishing and encourage those who are becoming despondent (Psalm 73:2-3; Psalm 13; Revelation 6:10). All of this is in harmony with Jesus self-announced 'mission statement' as per Luke 4:16-19.

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    • Hello Gemma,
      As I read my Bible, I don't see Jesus making a distinction between the pre-Advent judgment (before His Second Coming) and the final judgment (after the 1000 years and the second resurrection). We can be certain that some kind of judgment is necessary in order for Jesus to take His followers with Him to heaven, and this parable is a good analogy to the pre-Advent judgment. Of course, the sheep are the followers of Jesus, the Shepherd. The goats do not follow Him but do their own thing. (Goats are knonw for that, by the way.)

      In a larger sense the parable of the sheep and goats applies to the post-millennial judgment as well, because then is when those who did not demonstrate their acceptance of salvation and the behavior to match will be "thrown into outer darkness."

      In the end, it doesn't make a lot of practical difference, does it? If we trust in Jesus and allow Him to change us day by day, we don't have to worry about judgment at all!

      P.S. In Matthew 24, Jesus didn't even make a distinction between the fall of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) and the final end of the world! Why? Because it didn't really make a practical difference to His listeners, and they were not ready to understand the larger picture.

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  6. Besides the above, I wish you to consider the logical approach.1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 depicts the righteous living and the righteous dead being passed through a selective investigative judgement that culminates just prior to the second coming of Christ. Revelation 22:11 KJV depicts a decree when humanity is divided into two classes, the unjust and the filthy OR the righteous and holy. Simply, the wicked or those that are covered by Christ's righteousness. This is known as the Close of Probation. A judgement has been instigated and the judge's decision is final and no more character building is possible. Matthew 25:31-46 also depicts two classes, the sheep and the goats, that have been judged prior to that time.

    Some scholars might direct you to Daniel chapters 7,9 but that is not in direct answer to your question. However Daniel (Daniel 12:13) believes that his judgement has been settled and his life will be restored at the second coming of Christ. He would remain in the grave till that time.

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  7. I believe in the investigative judgment.

    The answer to Louis question is absolutly there can not be a resurection of the righteous if there is no pre-judgement. The cart never goes before the horse.

    I agree with Maurice, our priority is to convey the Gospel of Christ, emphasizing the importance of a relationship with Christ on a daily basis.

    JC I accept the invitation. You emphasize a very good point. The invitation is there for all, let's take the gift.

    Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
    Revelation 3:20 NKJV

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  8. The only "Thrones and books" in Daniel 7:9-14 that I can relate to Revelation is in Revelation 20:4. This seems to be a judgement that takes place and with books too and during the millenium and not before that at all.

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    • Hi, Pete. My observation is that "thrones and books" are likely to be involved in any heavenly judgment. In Daniel 7, judgment is given by the "Ancient of Days" "in favour of the saints." In Revelation 20, the saints are sitting on the thrones, doing the judging.

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  9. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 states that ‘.. the dead in Christ will rise first’, and the living will be caught up with them as we rise together.

    Isaiah 57:1-2; 20-21 speaks of the righteous dead having rest, but the wicked dead do not enjoy ‘rest’ as both wait to be judged.

    Rev.20:13-14 speaks of ‘Death and Hades’ delivering up the “dead who were in them to be judged together with ‘Death and Hades’ and ‘cast into the lake of fire.’"

    These different events and places describe who is dead and where they are found. It seems to imply that there is already a 'knowing', a ‘pre-advent judgement’ which has been done to assign each a place to await the culmination of this age.

    Matt.22:1-14 - Jesus is explaining the kingdom of heaven. It always meant to me to be aware, to be ready to live according to God’s Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ; living in His Kingdom here on earth as we are assembled in the ‘wedding hall’ awaiting His arrival.

    All are invited - Jesus’ countrymen first, but they declined for various reasons. Then the call went out to all – ‘bad and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests’ – Matt.22:10.
    Those who are found not wearing the wedding garment will be removed from the wedding hall - ‘many are called, but few are chosen.' – Matt.22:14.

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  10. Biblical investigative judgment -- what happens?

    Daniel 7:9-10 gives us a picture of the judgment, and it comes right after the blasphemous horn played its role.
    The contrast here is important as well, for the "horn" claims to be Christian, in fact it claims to represent Christ, while persecuting the saints.

    The question arises in this context -- who are the real Christians?

    I beheld till the thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, its wheels as burning fire.
    7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

    But surprisingly the one to be brought before this court is the Son of man -- Christ is brought before the Father as the representative for the human race.

    7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
    7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion,

    So, as the representative of the human race, Christ, having been declared worthy, (see also Rev. 5:12) is given the dominion which Adam lost.
    And next He presents the names before the Father and the angels of all who will inherit the earth thanks to His wonderful sacrifice and salvation.

    He presents the names of the overcomers, the believers in Him, whose sins are now blotted out of the books.
    But the ones who claimed to be Christians but had not repented and been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb will have their names blotted out.

    Rev. 3:5,4 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. ...they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

    Matthew 10.32-33
    Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
    But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
    Exodus 32:33
    And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
    Acts 3.19
    Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

    And back to Daniel we see the result

    Daniel 7:22 vindicating judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
    7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

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    • Ulrike – thank you for your succinct, clear, and convincing ‘explanation’ what happened regarding the ‘investigative judgement’. The points are clear and tie together the truth found in many different places in the Scriptures.

      I have found that it is best to let Scripture speak for itself. I am truly thankful that you have taking the time to care and bring it all together to form a simple, understandable picture.

      I have a questions: I hold that there are two 'investigations' taking place. Would you consider that the pre-investigative judgement takes place as we live, some as goats some as sheep, waiting in the ‘wedding hall’ for the Son of God/bridegroom/Jesus to appear to wed the bride/us? Matt.22:10

      Would you consider that the heavenly investigative judgement, written about in Daniel 7:22; 27, is the final judgement/decission which returns/brings the kingdom and dominion of the new earth under the authority of the Son of God and "the people of the saints of the most High – whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.?

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  11. Another passage I haven't seen mentioned yet is Zechariah 3 In that chapter a picture of a court scene emerges. Joshua is standing before heavenly beings, dressed in filthy garments (representing his sins). Satan is the prosecutor. He's insisting this person is a sinner, therefore he belongs to him. He can't be saved or forgiven.

    But Jesus is there defending Joshua. This person is "a brand plucked out of the burning" He says. "Take away the filthy garments from him". Then to Joshua who in repentance is standing there, Jesus says, "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” What a beautiful picture of the saving grace of Jesus, Who offers forgiveness and cleansing and defends us as His people.

    The judgment is not to show God anything; it is to show us and the watching universe that God is just and able to save as many as accept Him as their Lord and Savior.

    As Ellen White writes:

    "In the presence of the unfallen worlds, in the presence of the angels of heaven, in the presence of the angry adversary who has painted them in robes of blackness and moral defilement, urging that they be given into his hands, Jesus answered Satan’s malignant charge..." Manuscript 27, 1894

    In the investigative judgment Jesus defends His people saying, "These people are mine, with My own blood I have rescued them from Satan's destructive hold, they have chosen Me, they walk in my ways, and keep my commands, and will be with Me for eternity!"

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  12. Hi Brigitti,
    I'll answer the questions by sharing how I understand Scripture. Obviously judgment takes place at different times, each dealing with a slightly different aspect, yet all done to show the righteousness, the justice of God. And I realize not everyone believes the same.

    From what I understand there are three phases to the judgment.

    1. The pre-Advent judgment -- investigative
    Place: in heaven
    Present: The ancient of days (God the Father), Christ our advocate, and thousands upon thousands of angels.
    Not present: The people -- the individuals whose names come up are not present.
    Time: 1844 till the close of probation prior to the second coming.
    Purpose: To determine those who will be raised in the first resurrection and will ascend with Christ to heaven prior to the 1000 years. (Make up the wedding guest list)

    So basically I see Daniel 7 dealing with this first judgment. Daniel 7's judgment takes place in heaven and is in the context of the serious events on earth that need to be dealt with.
    It's the "judgment hour" of Rev. 14:7. It is also in Matthew 22, for Jesus is inspecting the "called" or professing believers to see if they have the robe of righteousness on and can be part of the wedding guest list.

    2. The Millennial Judgment
    Place: in heaven
    Present: God the Father, Christ our councilor and redeemer, all the redeemed people, who were vindicated in the previous pre-advent judgment and are in heaven during 1000 years, and thousands upon thousands of angels.
    Not present: All the lost individuals (they are not alive) nor are the fallen angels present.
    Time: 1000 year millennial period.
    Purpose: For the benefit of the saved to be fully convinced of the love and justice of God. To determine why those who are not saved, failed to be saved. To reconcile in the minds of the saved the justice of excluding the lost while saving others that they might be surprised to see in heaven, and it is also to determine the sentence of the lost.

    Scripture: Rev.20:24 1Cor.6:2-3

    3. The third judgment and executive judgment
    Place: on earth, some in but many outside the Holy City.
    Present: God the Father, Christ our King, and every person, all who ever lived, including Satan and the fallen angels.
    Not present: --all ARE present
    Time: after the 1000 years
    Purpose: To show the lost, why they are lost even though God wanted and made provisions to save them. The lost all acknowledge the justice of God; even Satan acknowledges God's justice. And not until then does the cleansing of the earth from all sin and those who cling to sin begin with fire.

    Scripture Rev.20:22-23,14-15, 2Peter 3:7,10, Mal.4:1-3

    In both the pre-Advent and the final judgment the books are opened. It's the same books, but different stages in the process.

    In the pre-Advent judgment things could still be changed in those books (sins erased, names retained or blotted out) up until probation closes. It's the judgment which actually defines the lost versus the saved.

    In the second as well as the final judgment the books are studied to see whose names are there, and whose name is not there, and why. But there are no more spiritual changes in those last two judgments as the saved are already with Christ and the lost are lost.

    But yes, the white throne judgment in Rev. 20 declares Jesus as the rightful KING of this earth.
    After the cleansing fire, the earth is recreated, and sin with all it's woes will be forever gone.

    Anyway -- that's how I understand it at this point, I'm sure there are more insights to be shared and different points to emphasize.

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  13. Hi Pete,
    I fully agree that Daniel 7:9,10 happens before the 1000 year millennium, the whole investigation begins before any rewards of eternal life or rejection of eternal life take place, it begins before any resurrection takes place, to determine who

    "have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-30)

    The apostle John (who is also the writer of Revelation) here explains Jesus assured the people that He and the Father together make a "just judgement".

    The Book of Life is being investigated in Revelation prior to second coming. Revelation 2 and 3 depict the churches. Basically all who profess to be Christians are represented here. All who are registered in the Book of Life as followers of Christ. The rewards of the overcomers are named. We like to read about those rewards, but the message makes it plain there are conditions for receiving these rewards. They are for the overcomers. (Something we can be only as we are connected with Christ).

    So, who receives the rewards? Those whose names are not blotted out of the book of life. Yes, we find that in Rev.3:5-6 Jesus is telling the Sardis church there are a few who walk with Jesus, and He will present their names before the Father and the angels and will not blot out their names from the book of life, but clothe them in garments of white.

    The sad part of that is, there are many who are not overcomers and are not walking with Christ, who will have their names blotted out of the book of life (compare Ex. 32:33).

    So now in Revelation 20. Yes, the chapter begins at the beginning of the 1000 years. Christ's second coming has taken place, and Satan is bound in the bottomless pit (the desolate earth). (Rev 20:2) The unsaved are all dead for the 1000 years but they will live again. (Rev. 20:5) The righteous are in heaven as priests with Christ (Rev. 20:6).

    This chapter doesn't stay at the beginning of the 1000 years. It's at the end of the 1000 years that the unsaved are raised. Rev. 20:5.

    So, it's after the 1000 years that all these dead now stand (they are alive) in front of the white throne of Christ. Yes, it's the same books that were opened in Daniel 7, but it's a different time; there is a difference. The search is made to see IF their names are in the book of life.

    The blotting out of sins or names has already taken place previously. The decision was made before any resurrections took place. Now it is just a matter of showing everyone that God's judgment is just and righteous, before the final execution takes place.

    So, to my understanding, Daniel and Revelation fit together perfectly.

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  14. I think that people, both in the Seventh-day Adventist church and in other Christian communities have a problem when we call it "the investigative judgment" instead of just "judgment". For some, they have a serious problem with this (even some have left the church, but I think that those were looking for any excuse to leave), but there doesn't have to be so much debate over this topic.

    "Investigative judgment" or "judgement", it's the same thing; it's like saying "H2O" or "Water". Here's how I know it's the same. Peter sums it all up very nicely (at least for me):

    1 Peter 4:17
    "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" NKJV

    But then again, there's going to be someone that will try to pick apart this verse as well; so, I'm not even going to attempt to explain this verse, but it's saying the same thing as the "Investigative judgment" or just the judgment.

    I agree with Sister Inge; she said:
    "In the end, it doesn't make a lot of practical difference, does it? If we trust in Jesus and allow Him to change us day by day, we don't have to worry about judgment at all!"

    Let's stop debating with one another and use our energy to show Jesus' lost sheep how to have a relationship with Jesus, and that way, they will experience Jesus' love day by day.

    God's blessings to all, and Happy Holidays.

    (PS. We Seventh-day Adventists are lovers of good debate, lol!)

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