HomeAdventist IssuesWhy the Investigative Judgment Doctrine Is Sound    


Why the Investigative Judgment Doctrine Is Sound — 154 Comments

  1. Inge, are you saying that the Father draws ALL (everybody in this world) to His Son. That’s not according to Scripture. Christ says “ALL (no more, no less) THAT THE FATHER GIVES ME WILL COME TO ME.” These are the SEED, the CHILDREN PROMISED to CHRIST from before the foundation of the world.(Rom 9:8; Gal 4:28). “Not one will be missing”.(Jer 23:4) You don’t accept that that there are those “who are of God” and those”of the Devil”; and “those who are being saved, and those who are perishing”.
    What is “prevenient grace”? This has not been clearly defined or described. Mike says it was evident in “as God has allotted to each a measure of faith”; but that is given to the body of believers, the Church. Apparently this “prevenient grace” does not affect the heart, because you say some reject the salvation grace because of the condition of their heart. Aren’t their hearts in the same condition? What is the purpose of the PG? God sends forth His word, His grace and it does not return to Him empty, for it MUST accomplish the very purpose for which it is sent. (Isa 55:11)
    You say PG is “grace extended to every sinner to enable sinners to repent”. You say “I failed to consider ... that God has given every one of his created beings freedom of choice”. If God equipped every one with freedom of choice, why would that one need “prevenient grace” to repent? They are free to choose to repent , aren’t they?
    By the way, please google Calvinism and see if that website doesn’t come up!

    • Thank you for asking questions that allow me to clarify.

      God initially gave humanity freedom of choice, but by choosing to distrust God and trust the deceiver instead, our parents forfeited their freedom and became slaves of Satan. This would have then humanity's fate except for God's prevenient grace brought to us through the Son of God.
      It is only through this grace offered to every human being that we have freedom of choice.
      Christ was and is the light that enlightens every human being that comes into the world and thus offers freedom of choice.See John 1:9-12)
      Also in light of the subject of this post see (John3:18-19)

      Jesus said He would draw all to Him when He is lifted up. John 12:32 Some will refuse to be drawn but others will come to Him.

      You appear to believe that God has predestined people without allowing them freedom of choice. (IOW you appear to believe in a form of Calvinism.)

      Why then did Jesus have to die? If salvation does not involve our choice, could God not just have chosen to save people without taking the risk of the cross?

    • Kenny, as I read the Scriptures, they clearly present two very different aspects of the salvation/damnation process which are happening simultaneously. To fully reconcile these two aspects can be very difficult, if not impossible, for our finite minds. The obvious reason for this difficulty is that it involves analysis of the attributes of the infinite God. If our minds could fully grasp His ways, then either He would not be infinite or we'd not be finite.

      One of these aspects is described in 2 Peter 3:9 and similar passages. Please note the following language from the New King James Version:

      The Lord is... not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

      Here we get a glimpse into the heart of God. He earnestly desires everyone to be saved, and it follows that He makes every sincere effort toward this end. This does not imply that the sinner has the ability to repent at will, but it does suggest that all who are lost will have perversely refused ample opportunity to do so. Jesus did say that, if the Son of Man were lifted up, He would draw all to Himself. Thus, in the end, God will not be responsible for having destroyed anyone. The finally impenitent will have destroyed themselves, having hardened their hearts against His persistent and infinite love until there was no remedy.

      The other aspect, equally undeniable to those who humbly receive the Scriptures as they read, is perhaps best described in Romans 9. Here it is accepted that God creates each human soul individually. Furthermore, even though our destiny for weal or woe will ultimately be decided by our own choices, it is acknowledged that God knows what those choices (and their outcome) will be even before we ever come into existence. Therefore -- and the logic of this is inescapable -- in deciding to go ahead and create someone who He sees will ultimately benefit from the Plan of Redemption, God is creating a "vessel of honour," a recipient of His grace and mercy, bound for Glory. These are the ones whom He "foreknows" in the most intimate sense, as you have so kindly pointed out.

      On the other hand, in deciding to proceed with the creation of someone who will ultimately refuse to have "this Man" (Jesus) rule over him, God is essentially making a "vessel of dishonour," who will serve only a temporary purpose in the grand scheme of things and will finally be destroyed.

      How God can know in advance that He is dealing with what will ultimately turn out to be a hopeless case, and yet make every loving and sincere effort to save even that individual, will probably always remain a mystery to mortals. Yet we apparently see exactly this dynamic in the way Jesus relates to Judas. One year into His public ministry, Jesus calls Judas "a devil." Yet He still gives Judas a part in the public ministry of the apostles, and He even washes Judas' feet in a final appeal for repentance -- and He very nearly succeeds. The case of Judas only becomes hopeless when he leaves the upper room, and even after that Jesus is kind to Judas, calling him "friend." This is all described in the "Desire of Ages" chapter simply called "Judas."

      Seeing that we have these two paradoxical aspects both unmistakably taught in the Scriptures, I think it is necessary in meditating on any particular Bible passage that we correctly discern which aspect is being described. That God's word always accomplishes its intended purpose (not returning to Him void) clearly fits into the second aspect (in which the vessels of honour are all saved, and not one is missing), if I am understanding the concept correctly.

    • Kenny, let me share an example of what some might be trying to say.

      Who did God command Noah to build the ark for? Who was invited to find refuge from the coming judgments of God?

      The offer of grace can be rejected and for most on this earth, it has been. Sin is more attractive than repentance to most, and most didn't want to leave behind what could not be taken onto the ark, and so they chose to remain with those things in unbelief. They became "believers" 7 days after the door was shut, and would then be willing, but the heart's desire had already been shown. They were not repentant for sinfulness, but for the death that resulted from the unbelief which still remained.

      We can repent because we're sinful or repent that our sin caused our ruin, without being sorry for the sin. Those who accept the offered grace do so by being sorry for being sinners and desiring the righteousness of God. Grace will supply the need when received by faith which is manifest in genuine repentance of the heart. This is grace accepted.

      "For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son(the GIFT of GRACE), that whosoever believeth in Him(the ACCEPTANCE of GRACE) might not perish...".

  2. Do we associate RISK with the Sovereign, Omnipotent God? God is not a man. Human reasoning leads us into heretical territory. Let us lay hold for dear life on the Word of God only.

    • Most of the language we use to describe God and his relationship to us is limited because of the limits of our experience and understanding. We use those words because they are the best that we have, but know that they fall short.

      For example (yes I know it is a poor example but it gives a bit of an idea): when most people look at the stars all they see are pin-points of light. They describe them as pretty. However, a scientist sees the light as spectra loaded with information about where those lights are and how they produce the light. A scientist has a whole language to describe the stars that ordinary people do not have. The word "pretty" is a very shallow word to describe the stars but for a lot of people it is the only word they have.

      Likewise, "risk" is a very shallow word in describing evil and God's plan for handling it, but for many of us it is the best we can do in the circumstances.

  3. All the doctrines come together to make a composite whole. I have no problem accepting the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment even without hearing about Calvinism and Arminianism (Classical or otherwise), because, to me, the doctrine makes plain sense.

    The Bible talks about:
    The Books that keep record
    The Sleep of Death (Jesus Himself called death a sleep)
    The dead in Christ being raised at His second coming
    The living in Christ, who are sealed, will be caught up with the dead
    The wicked dead, and the wicked who are alive at Jesus' coming (who will be killed by the brightness of his coming)

    This leaves everybody accounted for - the righteous dead and living, and the wicked dead.

    It is my understanding that when Jesus makes His pronouncement in Revelation 22:11 "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy; let him be holy still", everybody's fate would have been decided, that means a judgment would have already taken place - the Pre-Advent or Investigative Judgment.

    If we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, and carry out His mandate to take the Gospel to the world, we won't have to be dwelling on the Investigative Judgment or whether we accept or reject it. When we have Jesus, we will be kind, compassionate, be attentive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and have the fruit of the Spirit. This might sound cliche, but the Christian experience is a journey, not a destination. It's an everyday experience with Jesus. When we have Jesus, and keep Him at the center of our lives, He will keep us from falling. When take our eyes off Jesus, we fall, but His grace is sufficient for us when we are truly sorry for our sins and repent. He is also our Advocate with the Father, and our Intercessor. We are fully covered. If we reject Jesus' offer of Salvation, that's on us. Why would He want to save us? We will be miserable in Heaven, anyway.

    I have been a Seventh-Day Adventist for over 40 years, and I have yet to see a doctrine that I am ashamed of. Some things might not be easy to understand, but the bottom line for me is my relationship with Jesus. We can work out the small details when I get to heaven. I will have 1000 years to review the records

  4. I re-read the Investigative Judgment of GC 1888 and found these statements: “When the work of the Investigative Judgment closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death.” GC88 491. 1
    Those who in the Judgment are “accounted worthy”, will have a part of the resurrection of the just.” GC88 482.2
    “So in the great day of final atonement and investigative Judgment, the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The *judgment of the wicked* is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period.” GC88 480.1
    “Both the *living and the dead* are to be judged “out of those things written in the books, according to their works.” GC88 486. 1

    I am understanding from the statements that it is through the IG that our destiny is decided; that all professed believers, living and dead, are to appear before this court. I have some objections because Christ addressed this subject forthrightly when He revealed to the Jews His oneness with His Father:
    “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all Judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father... 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*. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has Life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have Life in Himself; and He gave him authority to execute Judgment, because He is Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming,in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good to a Resurrection of Life, those who committed the evil to a Resurrection of Judgment.”(John 5:21-29)
    “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. but he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:17-21)
    “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”(Eph 5:11)
    “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has One who judges him, *the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day*. (John 12:47-49)
    According to Christ the believers have eternal life and do not come into judgment. Only the *dead* come into judgment - those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ. Those who don’t believe are already judged by not believing. They are *dead*. They haven’t passed into life. So this death is the spiritual death that we are all born into, which some of us refuse to believe. The LIVING (Spiritual) do not come into judgment! The opened scrolls are the Words of Christ (John 12:47-49), the Light, that exposes the works of the *dead*. The second resurrection brings up the dead dead for the lake of fire. The first resurrection, salvation, gives eternal life to believers.

    • Thank you, Kenny, for all those texts that indicate that when we are in Christ, we do not have to appear in the judgment. It fits with the understanding that Christ is our Advocate and appears in our place so that we do not have to appear in the judgment.

      The quotations from GC appear to be saying something different, taken alone. But then, last night I was reading Peter's letter, and he also wrote that the Father will judge us according to our work. (1 Peter 1:17)

      So are there contradictions in these statements?

      I think not.

      Peter starts out his letter by assuring his readers of salvation in Christ. Then he goes on to say, "wherefore" act in accordance with our calling. Be holy ... etc. And James tells us that faith without works is dead. We are saved by grace through faith alone, and our "works" demonstrate whether or not we have genuine faith. Thus, even though we are saved by being "in Christ," in a way we are judged by our "works" because they demonstrate whether or not we are in Christ.

      The Bible and Ellen White also refer to "books" used in the judgment. That's human language for some sort of record. One of these books is called the "Book of Life." In this are inscribed the names of all who have at some time or other professed the name of Christ. Some have followed through on their profession and lived in genuine faith. Others were like the shallow ground where the seed sprouted and then died, and they turned their backs on Christ. Still others lived among God's people until the end of their days, but they were really "tares" (weeds that only *looked* like wheat). Thus the Book of Life alone (i.e. the profession of Christ alone) is not sufficient to judge the final destiny of each soul. Another record needs to be examined as well, and that's the record of how each person lived: Does it demonstrate that the person remained in Christ or turned his/her back on Him. The ones who remained in Christ do not appear in the judgment. All the texts you cited are applicable here.

      I see the "Investigative Judgment" like an investigative hearing in the western world. And investigative hearing determines whether or note there is sufficient evidence to make a case against the accused. If there is not sufficient evidence, no trial is held. In the same manner, the investigative judgment determines whether there is sufficient evidence against the accused - i.e. those who have claimed the name of Christ. If they remained in Christ, there is no evidence against them. Case dismissed. They do not enter into judgment.

      I'm sure, as you are, that God Himself does not need a period of time to judge, but the onlooking universe does. God is transparent with His created beings and lets them in on His decision-making process. And that's also the reason for the millennium - to allow the saved to see why their loved ones are not with them. They will see that those they loved would not be happy in the atmosphere of heaven because of the character they developed during their time on this planet.

      I trust this helps a little?

      • Inge, according to our doctrine, Investigative Judgment, our salvation is determined by it: “Those who in the Judgment are “accounted worthy”, will have a part in the resurrection of the just.” And “When the work of the IJ closes, the destiny of all will have been decided for LIFE or DEATH.”
        The Scriptures indicate that those who believe on the Lord Jesus have Eternal Life - they have passed out of death, the natural condition, into Life, Eternal Life. They are resurrected to Life. Those who don’t believe in the Lord Jesus remain *dead* and have thus been already judged.(John 3:16-21; 5:21-30)
        It is not the IJ that has determined these.
        What we have called the IJ of Rev 20 is just one phase, apparently, the final phase, of Christ’s general reign or judgment given to Him and His brethren in Dan 7; Rev 4,5. This last *Judgment* is about confirmation of decisions or judgments already made; that God’s righteousness may be vindicated; and especially the apportioning of *rewards*. “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”(Rev 11:18; 19:5) These bond-servants, saints etc are already saved! They are being rewarded according to their works. They have already been pardoned, justified, sanctified... (Rom 5:1) They will not be condemned on Judgment Day (John 5:24; Rom 8:1, but God will still judge their works (Matt 16:27; 25:31-46; Rom 14:10-12; 2 Cor 5:10; ) and reward them accordingly (Matt 6:1-6,16,18; 10:41-42).
        “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, the gift of God; *not out of works*, so that no one may boast.”(Eph 2:5-8; Acts 15:11)
        This *Judgment* is according to (not by) works out of things written in “books”- books of God’s Remembrance (Ps 56:8; Ps 139:4; Mal 3:16): the word of Christ(John 12:48), the Law(Gal 3:10); God’s eternal counsel(Ps 139:16); Book of Life(Luke 10:20; Rev 3:5; 13:8; 21:27; Ex 32:32,33; Ps 69:28; Dan 12:1; Phil 4:3)
        Christ said to the 70 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, ... but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”Luke 10:20 These are the elect, the chosen from before the foundation of the world; those whom God *knows* from eternity. It is not names of *professed* believers. Those folk from the unprepared soil, their names are not in the book of Life. They are not of God. If they had been of God they would have remained.(1 John 2:19) The sower didn’t prepare the soil. They *heard* the word, the seed that spilled over into their soil. They are those who are *unknown* to God.
        The rewards - to the Redeemed, those who are possessed of eternal life:Everlasting Life in the New Heavens and New Earth; to the Dead, the lost: the Second Death in the Lake of Fire.

        • Kenny, Adventists don't believe that salvation is determined by the IJ. Salvation is by grace through faith. The IJ determines if a person remained in Christ or not. It's a necessity once a person recognizes that both predestination and once saved always saved are not Biblical.

          I believe that in your case, talking about the IJ is premature. 1/3 to 1/2 of the Protestant world rejects both predestination and OSAS so this is not an Adventist issue. You will have the same problem talking to Methodists and Free-will Baptists and Pentecostals and many other Christian groups.

          Please identify if you believe in Predestination or in Once Saved - Always Saved. There is no point in us trying to guess at it and wasting our time responding to beliefs you don't actually hold. And, once you do clarify your position we will be discussing that and not the IJ.

    • Hey Kenny,

      My article is mostly intended for Adventists who already agree with the IJ doctrine but might misunderstand certain aspects of that doctrine. You evidently don't agree with this Adventist doctrine and therefore you will naturally disagree with my article since I was writing for a different audience.

      Let's say two people are having a discussion about Algebra and you have a disagreement with basic math. The fact that you disagree with basic math will inevitably cause you to disagree with Algebra as well since Algebra is built on basic math. It does not makes sense therefore to jump into the middle of the Algebra discussion until your issues with math are addressed first.

      However, I cannot discuss the Investigative Judgment with you until I understand where you are coming from. Are you Catholic or Protestant - do you believe in the Reformation principles of Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia?

      If protestant, are you a Calvinist or an Arminian - do you believe in Predestination or Free Will?

      If Arminian, do you believe that people continue to have free will AFTER they accept Christ or do you believe in Once Saved Always Saved?

      Until you clarify where you stand on these points, your posting of Bible text is not helping the conversation any. We believe in the same texts, but it's apparent that we interpret them differently because of our presuppositions.

      As far as your passages above regarding Christians not coming into judgment, I am pretty sure that your concerns have already been addressed. Not that the word JUDGMENT is used in two different ways in the Bible: The Investigative sense and the Executive sense. Take a look at Rev. 20:11-15.

      The Investigative component takes place in verse 12:

      'And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.'

      This is similar to a person being on trial in a court of law.

      The Executive component happens in verse 15:

      'Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.'

      This is similar to a person who has already stood trial and is now sent to jail or to capital punishment.

      The passages in John that you quote are referring to the Executive part of the Judgment not to the Investigative part.

  5. "When he comes his reward is with him" (Is 40:10, repeated in 62:11). We might ask what is that reward, and what is the work before Him. I propose we as humans have always been the work of heaven, the Apple of his eye, etc. Since before Adam fell, Jesus took the responsibility of our salvation upon himself. He declared we would be His before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4, Matt 25:34, etc.). It is no surprise to him who watches every hair on our head and feels our hearts what our thoughts have cherished. He knows our frame(Psalm 103:14). For Him to declare a person righteous or not so is easy. But that is not enough. There are angels who have seen things differently (Lucifer and the third of heaven). There are humans who want to know why their loved ones are not present in heaven. These must be resolved if there will be no more tears or crying (Rev 21:4).
    Rev 20 shows two groups for judgment. Those in the first Resurrection live with him 1000 years. They learn the reasons for their friends' absences. The judgment is finished on the books, but the application in the hearts of those who will live with him for eternity has some sorrow to resolve. Now we see through a dark glass, then face to face. Without pain or prejudice we will understand all His work was for His Glory.
    Those who are not with Jesus at that time are those who never choose him. Their names are not in the book of life. Their deeds must speak for their character, and they are found "wanting". Jesus died for them, but they did not receive Him. They were stony ground that grew only weeds/tares. They go with Satan to the bottomless pit, or as related in Leviticus 16, to a place unknown, literally a "void" just as in Gen 1 the world was dark. Their memory perishes (Is 26:14).
    Every Christian denomination believes in some form of investigative judgment. They simply call it by another name.

  6. The disappointment of 1844 parallels the experience of two followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-53). The combination of Scripture's revelations along with our observed history can inform present followers' walk with their Creator. We can, and should, learn from each other's life experiences (Rm 15:4) but Scripture warns us of potential pitfalls (2 Cor 10:12).
    The two on the Emmaus road, like the fellowship of 1844, were engaged in a religious discourse (Lk 24:19-20). That discourse was a product of their unfulfilled desire (Lk 24:21), which caused them observable distress (Lk 24:17). But had Jesus been in actuality Israel's Redeemer? Jesus comes to them providentially (God's grace) in the midst of their distress, and connects their distress to a "heart" problem involving their REASONING (Lk 24:15,25). Jesus diagnosed these good followers to be in possession of unsound doctrine. Doctrine, secular and religious (Mk 8:15; Mt 16:6,12), is the product of the human mind and has REAL life-consequences (Mt 23:13). Jesus' timely appearance and ministry of kindness (Lk 24:27,32) to these two disciples completely changed their disposition (Lk 24:52), all because "HE OPENED their UNDERSTANDING, that they might comprehend the Scriptures."(Lk 24:45).
    While God has sent many in the service of the church, among which I would list John, Paul, Apollos, Martin Luther and Ellen White to name a few, absolutely none of these servants exceeds or replaces Christ's MINISTRY...regardless of how profound God's revelation to them has been, is, or will be. While it may be convenient and necessary to label each servant's contribution, we must realize that OUR allure for all "ism" is a symptom of the ONE thing that ails ALL of us (1 Cor 3:4; Jer 17:9). It is that state of carnality, in all its myriad manifestations, that places us in opposition to our Creator (2 Cor 10:5; Rm 8:7), each other (1 Kings 12:26,33; 14:16) and even our own well-being (2 Kings 5:11-13). It is from this distressing state of carnality that Scripture reveals our ONLY escape route (1 Pt 2:24; 1 Cor 10:13). EVERYTHING about the individual that has and will ever offend God, others and even our own selves has a single SOURCE (Mt 15:18-19) and a single ORIGIN (Jn 8:44). As innocent as it may appear, partial and lack of knowledge is part of the spectrum of our diagnosed carnality (1 Cor 13:9-11; Hos 4:6).
    Like William Miller and the two on the Emmaus road before him, good present day Seventh-Day Adventists are in distress because we may be unaware that we have inherited some doctrinal concepts that might now have become the very tool to teach us to move away from a reliance on human intellect and embrace instead a humble walk with God (Mt 11:29; Jn 16:7,13). Only Jesus alone can save us from the consequences of what we all do, as naturally as breathing, which is think.

  7. One of your respondents ends his posts by saying, "Every Christian denomination believes in some form of investigative judgment. They simply call it by another name.”

    While I can’t speak for every Christian, I can speak for Adventists, generally, having been one all of my life. Obviously, I can also speak for myself, as I did.

    But even more, though I can’t certify it, I’m inclined to think that your speaker’s correct, at least when it comes to varieties of SDAs.

    For example, in your response to me, you said, "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."

    Well, I *am* one of those Adventists. I believe in all of those. Without these three events—let’s call them the Triad—heaven becomes a porous mess, and sin arises a potentially infinite number of times. In fact, it never ceases.

    The issue, at center, though, and which I was trying to have you address, deductively, is this: Is the traditional SDA narrative of these events correct, or is it incorrect?

    That is, is there another way that the Triad plays out? If overseen by an all-powerful God, it could be completed in a Pauline twinkling of an eye; an attosecond. One wouldn’t need 172+ Earth years for just the first part.

    Well, no, not quite, SDAs say. God needs to slow things down a bit because, "Heavenly beings need to be sure that the saints are safe to save." Those words, by Dr. Martin Pröbstle, appear in the 2013 fourth quarter Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide—which he authored—on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

    You may know him, or of him. You’ve certainly noted that his words are very similar to yours, above, where 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.”

    Pröbstle offers no Biblical evidence or support for his point. He just says it. As do you.

    Again, I’m an Adventist who believes in the Triad. But do these events look the way SDAs say?

    In the 1990s, mathematicians were trying to prove an answer to the following question: What two given shapes have the most volume, while taking up the least space?

    The answer, which was, in part, finally proven by Joel Hass and Roger Schlafly, is this: Two covalent spheres, joined at a 120-degree angle, like this one:


    Now, as it turns out, there is a 2nd answer that will also work. It’s called a torus bubble, and it looks like this:


    But as the *Scientific American* article, in which I first saw this apparition, soberly notes, “Torus bubbles do not exist in nature.”

    So, regarding the Triad—what does the Bible tell us about them?

    This is not a question of proof-texting. It’s asking: Does the SDA view on this matter exist in the Bible? Does it affirm that just one part of the Triad requires nearly 200 years? Or should SDAs, if they want to do what the Word says, get used to speaking the five words I most wished we made part of our repertoire: “The Bible does not say”?

    I think it’s the latter. I think the traditional SDA model of the Triad makes sense, kinda sorta, but, yet, it doesn’t at all. That is, not when you’re basing it on what the Bible actually says.

    Put another way, the traditional SDA model is the torus bubble of prophecy. And I think it’s time that SDAs—ones who care more about what the Bible says than they do the doctrinal track record of the church—stick a pin in it.


    • I will start with the IJ itself and hold off on the Close of Probation aspect till later. Also, I want to leave something else aside until later even though it's highly pertinent: the fact that 170+ years have passed since 1844.
      To begin, let's pretend we're having this conversation back in the 1850's and we're trying to determine if the IJ is solid Biblically. Once we do this, we can come back and re-ask the question of whether that reasoning still makes sense a century and a half later.
      One of the biggest problems with this doctrine in the SDA church is that we make our case for the doctrine backwards. We start with the prophecies of Daniel, we use Hebrews to link back to the OT sanctuary and then derive the Investigative Judgment from there. Moreover, as many critics of the doctrine have pointed out, we rely on this doctrine to inform our soteriology (doctrine of salvation). Picture for a second a pyramid standing on its tip; the slightest push would tip it over. Instead, we need to flip this pyramid around and place it on its proper base. And to do this, we have to start with the Soteriology.
      Now as far as our doctrine of salvation goes, we are first and foremost Protestants: we believe in salvation by grace through faith. I will assume that you fully agree that this reformation principle is overwhelmingly Biblical and will continue to the next point.
      Within Protestantism however, three major schools of thought developed regarding salvation by grace through faith revolving around the question of free will. Calvinism - no free will, Once Saved Always Saved Arminianism - free will to accept Christ but no free will thereafter to again reject Him and, Classical Arminianism - free will to both accept Christ and to later reject Him. These three schools of thought are all represented by major protestant denominations and about 1/3 of all Protestants in the world hold each of these view.
      Now I don't know which of these 3 views you most resonate with but the Adventist church believes that the Classical Arminian view is the one most supported by Scripture. In fact, any biblical support that can be offered for either OSAS or Calvinism is at most about 5% of the Bible as a whole vs. 95% for Arminianism.
      And, having arrived here, we have a situation where God has to differentiate between two types of saved people, which is the essence of the IJ. Thus, the SDA view of soteriology is already established before even looking at the IJ. This is the foundation of the pyramid.
      I will pause here to see if there are any comments.

  8. As my posted response to Inge might suggest:


    based on your description, I fall into the camp of Classical Arminianism: We have free will to both accept Christ and to later reject Him.

    God is not an abusive boyfriend, with whom one will commit ritual suicide if we stop seeing each other. ("If I can't have you, nobody will!!")

    So, that being a given, what say you?


    • I believe the essence of our IJ doctrine is held by more than just SDAs. Protestants believe God sorts the dead into "saved" and "lost" piles, which necessitates books and some kind of determination. I have outlined texts to support that.

      The fact that people disagree does not make the truth invalid. It may make some of them ignorant, certainly stubborn.

      Let's review.

      Lev 16 has three main animals presented on that day. The daily which preceded that service is a lamb. The bull follows. The pair of goats finishes (the close of the day offerings repeat, as daily offerings). Each represents an aspect of the ministry of our Savior. They overlap. They do not designate a spacial location. The lamb service continues despite the bull service changes. The bull service ends when the goats blood is applied. All represent aspects of Jesus ministry, divided for our clarification.

      Lamb service is justification, the doing and dying of our Lord is the basis and the impetus of our names in the book of life. We maintain His good works by the Holy Spirit and these are written in the books of record. Note that the offerings are taken into the Holy place by the blood of the lamb and offered with the smoke of incense. Your contribution is taken to heaven, but you remain here on Earth.

      The bull moves those offerings, the blood, from the Holy to the most holy. This began in 1844. It was not completed in one day. It was not an instant conversion of the whole world. Dan 7:13. Jesus came to the place where the ancient of days did sit. The bull brought the records of his blood to the Most Holy for inspection. There the father reviews, then gives the judgment to the Son (in favor of the Son) as he had done by the resurrection and by the blood in favor of all who believe and receive him. The place where this happens is irrelevant. The action is what is important. As mentioned, the bull service began in 1844, just as at the cross the way of salvation was opened to heaven. A single event opened a door, but the application of that event continues today. Because the IJ began we now live in the day of atonement. We are the example to the world, not at some future date, it is today.

      The goat service is future. It begins when all are gathered to read the books. The goats blood is applied first in the Most Holy place. It is applied to clean heaven, and us who stand there have all tears wiped away. We understand and receive the cleansing. He then comes back to earth and cleans that. The second Resurrection has those persons revive but remain on Earth. Their books are read to them to validate their choices. They slept 1000 years of the finish of the bull service. They awake at the end of the goat service.

      • Michael, I would agree except in one or two thoughts on your sum of Lev 16.

        The Bull was to reveal the priest as worthy, the goat to propitiate for sinners who have repented. Both were applied in 1844. The goat's blood is offered for every sinner being investigated at the close of their probation, begining with the souls under the altar(Rev 6:10,11).

        The first lamb was to show HOW we are justified, the Lord's goat is the WHY of our justification. Without the law being propitiated by the Lord's goat, the morning and evening lamb would have no efficacy for sinners. There are no sins confessed on the Lord's goat, thus the sinless offering propitiates the Law, reveals God as just in justifying, answers satan's false charges and I would say convinces the unfallen worlds as well. Only a pure, sinless sacrifice could appease the law of Jehovah.

        Jesus' one-time sacrifice is understood in all the sacrifices which reveal facets of the whole. This is how earthly realities teach heavenly truth. No one sacrifice can reveal the full measure of the love of Christ. Even all the types cannot reveal the full "length and breadth and depth and height" of His sacrifice for sinners. Don't we also learn from the red heifer of Num 19, which is just one more facet of the great salvation given through Him who was "slain from the foundation of the world"? Without the Lord's Goat on the day of Atonement, even the red heifer would be worthless to sinners.

        • I should know better than to try to explain the sanctuary in anything less than 10,000 words is a mistake. However, your synopsis confuses me.

          "The first lamb was to show HOW we are justified, the Lord's goat is the WHY of our justification. Without the law being propitiated by the Lord's goat, the morning and evening lamb would have no efficacy for sinners"

          I see the process of justification coming from my acceptance of Christ's doing and dying. It is not a simple substitution, one man's good deeds for my evil ones. It is my acceptance that as the Creator he is the only one who could ever redeem me. He does not excuse my life, he kills the sinful life and paid the second death for my sins. Only the recreated resurrected life is available to me. My life and all my deeds counted for zero towards my sanctification or glorification. I accepted His perfect life for my Sanctification. I accept his resurrected body and character as my eternal life. I am dead.

          If I was a priest and took blood to the Holy place altar and sprinkled it on the curtain, I would need to be accepted in the courtyard first. That is the daily offering, it covers the actions of the whole day. My fellow priests have to dress me because I cannot provide righteousness (symbolized by garments). Thus the bull cannot symbolize that Jesus needed further acceptance. His resurrection proved his acceptance. 1844 was the shift in the paradigm from priesthood to judge. Jesus added his ministry of defending us to pleading for our forgiveness and adding power to our desire to live our his life. Lamb=forgive, then the whole business of examining the books starts afterwards. Forgiven people have an empty slate, nothing to judge. They are covered by the blood of Jesus, and contribute His righteousness as their defense.

          Note that the bull and the goats only happen once a year. Daily we are forgiven, daily we walk out justified, but the stain of our sin still sits upon the altar in Heaven. Jesus accepted our case in Heaven by dying for us. ROM 6:7 His dying for the world bought all the creation. My offerings make it applicable for me.

          What does the bull do? You propose that our Advocate needs further acceptance with the Father to enter the phase of judge. Why? His perfect life could not be improved. The books he presents to the Father are names of forgiven saints. Their deeds were wiped clean by His own blood. Lev 16 the blood of the bull is mixed with the daily lamb (a year's worth) and sprinkled over the ark in the MHP. Lev 17:11 Tells us it is His life.

          Getting long, if this much makes sense I can continue.

    • Alright. So we're agreed that salvation is by grace through faith but that there's freedom of will both to accept and to later reject Christ. A person can experience the new birth and initially have just as genuine a conversion and Christian experience as the next guy but, in the end, still turn from Christ and be lost.

      What this implies is that at some point, God will have to separate between two groups of Once Saved people and send some to heaven and some to hell. And, at its core, this is all the IJ is.

      I am mentioning this because the majority of high profile attacks against the IJ doctrine are actually roundabout attacks on IJ soteriology. They attack our views of Dan. 8 and question our translation of Greek terms in the book of Hebrews as a way to show us that the IJ is wrong and therefore that the Adventist IJ soteriology is necessarily wrong as well. The reason for this is that if Adventists are just wrong about how we interpret certain prophetic passages or how we translate certain terms, it doesn’t really matter. But if we’re wrong about soteriology, we’re more than wrong, we’re a cult, and people need to stay away from us. What most such critics fail or are purposely unwilling to see is that they are judging this Adventist doctrine through Calvinistic glasses and, by that same logic, that all classical non-OSAS Arminians should be classified as a cult as well since our views of soteriology are identical.

      The reason no other Calvinist and OSAS-Arminian denomination has accepted this doctrine is because such groups naturally disagree with a doctrine based in classical Arminianism. The reason no other Arminian group has adopted our doctrine is because the majority of them believe that people go to heaven or hell right after death and therefore any such judgment would need to take place then. A judgment starting this late in history makes little sense.

      When it comes to attacks against the IJ from inside the church, they are typically also led by people who come from a Calvinist/OSAS perspective, although this is not something they usually mention upfront since most Adventists instantly dismiss anything labeled Calvinist/OSAS. They attack instead the same peripheral issues that outside critics attack although it is evident that their main concern is with IJ soteriology. Their followers however don’t always pick up on the Calvinist/OSAS perspective behind the attacks.

      I should also mention that around the first part of the 20th century, a variant theology of the IJ was introduced by certain influential figures which is in fact heretical. And, another reason for the divisiveness is because some people mistake this variant theology with Adventist theology.

      Finally, in all Arminian denominations, unless a person comes to clearly understand that salvation is by grace through faith, the natural, default tendency is to fall into some form of Pelagianism/Semipelagianism (essentially salvation by works). Adventists are not immune to this but in our church this leads to a faulty view of the IJ and often, when this is rejected so is the IJ. So this is another reason for the divisiveness of the doctrine.

      I still need to address the question of why a judgment is needed as opposed to simply separating the saved from the lost, but this is already too long so I’ll come back to it.

      • Mike This is very old but I stumbled on to a question by an Arminian lady that I have two texts that were lost in a reply 5/13 / 16. I am sorry that is missing because I believe she was mislead regarding judgment time periods. I depend on Biblical proof not on other sources.

  9. I stumbled on this article and I am glad I read it.

    If you think that the presidential race of 2016 has been interesting, the 1800's in the USA must have been really interesting.

    It was during the 1800s that JW, LDS, and SDA were founded (probably with many other groups). Each group mentioned had its own Prophet(s) and somewhat obscure teachings, claiming exclusivity and tying that in with being a remnant church.

    This being an Adventist forum, my guess is that those reading would say "yes there are those other groups, but we are the true church". But JWs and LDS would be equally dogmatic.

    Not so many years ago the field of apologetics was found only in Evangelical circles. Now one will find defenders in not only the groups mentioned, a plethora of other Christian groups, and even Hindus and Muslims now defend their faith by attempting a logical and scholarly path.

    Obviously we need to search the scriptures, and listen to the Spirit. Not just the masticated words of what we have been told.

    Lastly, I have found it not only informative, but also exciting to talk with those that have departed from groups, cults, or isms. They have a story to tell of Gods kindness.

    All glory to God.

    • This sounds interesting but was there a point?

      Yes, many strange groups have risen out of the 1800's and many more since. Adventists do sound weird to many Christians but that's mostly because they have not bothered to actually figure out what we teach. One of the few people who has taken the time to understand Adventist theology was Walter Martin. He wrote his assessment in the Appendix of his book Kingdom of the Cults:


      There are several areas where the Adventist theologians that talked with him could have done a better job explaining our position but overall, it wasn't bad.

      • Yes Walter Martin concluded that Adventism is part of Evangelical Christianity after the book question on doctrines, though he claimed the investigative judgment and Ellen White as a biblical interpreter are simply wrong.

        Curious though that on the John Ankerberg show he stated that he thinks the Adventists lied to him in questions on doctrines, and he was afraid that he would of labeled them a cult again....this happened after the expulsion of Desmond Ford.

        I disagree with Martin though, I think he and Barnhouse where to accepting, I personally believe the Adventist denomination is no different than Jehovah Witnesses, considering the Arian foundation of Adventism, it isn't difficult to see why I and others would make that comparison.

        • Actually it IS pretty difficult to see.

          Even assuming for a second that Adventists did have an Arian foundation (if by foundation you mean beginning), it is not sensible to judge a modern denomination on beliefs it hasn't held for a century now.

          But even the accusation that Adventists had an Arian beginning is nonsensical. Most Arian denominations have formed because a group broke off from a Trinitarian denomination for the very reason that they rejected the trinity.

          The first Adventists that came together were former Millerites who had gathered from every denomination around the belief that Jesus was coming. When Adventists first began to organize as a group, they had differences of opinion on almost every topic but they determined that they could unite as a body on the following essentials: the sanctuary understanding of 1844, the Law/Sabbath, the state of the dead, and the spirit of prophecy. They did not take a position on the trinity at all. Some of the leaders, like Ellen White, came from a Methodist background and were Trinitarian. Others like James White were semi-arian and still others, fully Arian. They chose not to split over the issue of the trinity but unite on the things they held in common. When the denomination finally did take an official stance on the subject, it was fully Trinitarian.

          As far as Walter Martin goes, what I appreciate about him is that he was the first to take a fair and systematic approach to the question. Not that as Adventists we particularly care what evangelicals think of us (since, at least in today's world, evangelicalism has nearly sunk into irrelevance). But the issues that Martin was concerned with were issues that we also viewed as consequential and by which we judged other denominations. So it only made sense that others should understand our position on those issues.

          Regarding why Martin began to have second thoughts later on, the story is more complex and not worth getting into unless you're really interested. But it was not that Martin was somehow tricked by the SDA church.

          • Arianism is still a serious issue within adventism.
            My former church made great use of the Clear Word in there bible study, and that paraphrase takes an Arain position.
            So why does the church still market this book? Its also intresting to me that James White died a strict opponent to the doctrine of the trinity, believing fully that Jesus was not God.
            If this is true according to the records, it brings me to question if he himself believed Ellen White to be a prophet. Surely she would of taught her husband the truth of the divinity of Christ, and as a prophet her words should of held authority in this matter.....yet her husband died a Arian....I find that very troublesome.

            Walter Martin is unfortunately with the Lord now(we may disagree on his state), so we can never know his final thoughts on Adventism, but his dialogue with William Johnson on the John Ankerberg show expressed his concerns with the adventist church.

            As for the sanctuary doctrine, it's foundation in Daniel 8 cannot be what adventism teaches it to be.

            How is it possible that with thorough exegesis of Daniel 8 the 1844 doctrine
            can be supported by honest Adventist theologians.
            I mean no offense, but I would like to understand how Rome can be the little horn of Daniel 8?
            I just don't see it friend, even as an Adventist I couldn't see it.

            If the daniel 8 foundation is in error how can we believe the 1844 doctrine?

          • Like I said, I can get into more details about Walter Martin if you're interested.

            Arianism is not at all a problem in the SDA church today although there are many offshoot groups still agitating the topic.

            The Clear Word has nothing to do with Adventism. It was written by some guy for his personal devotion and then he decided to publish it. The ABC store is not under GC oversight. I have found books at the ABC that claim the Adventist church is a Cult. Moreover, I'd be interested to see what exactly about the Clear Word led you to think it is promoting Arianism.

            Regarding James White, he was never Arian but semi-Arian, meaning he did not believe Jesus was created but that He was born of the Father. He believed Jesus was just as divine as the Father but that He did not exist from eternity but proceeded forth from the Father a long time ago before anything else was created. This was obviously wrong but not as problematic as pure Arianism. And, I've already explained that the pioneers had other priorities than debating Arianism.

            Regarding Daniel 8, your first mistake is thinking that this is the Foundation of the 1844 doctrine. If you've read my article above you should have understood that it is not. The foundation is Arminianism.

            Second, the reason you cannot interpret Dan 8 correctly is because you don't have any concrete methodology of interpretation. You interpret the chapter by first looking into history to see what happened and then adjusting your interpretation accordingly. You're basically interpreting Bible prophecy the way people interpret psychics or the horoscope.

            Say a psychic claims that in the future a very traumatic event will happen that will cause many nations to change their global policies. Well, all we have to do is wait until something major happens and then we can claim the prophecy was fulfilled. Such a process has zero value. It impresses no one. Its tantamount to saying, 'in the future something will happen.'

            For Biblical prophecy to have predictive value, we have to first derive a set of keys of interpretation from Scripture and then show that we are applying these keys consistently everywhere. We can then apply this keys to the specific prophecy and, only once we have derived our interpretation, can we then consult with history to see if the interpretation fits. If it does, then the Bible actually has credentials. It has something that makes it superior to the Koran or other 'holy books' because it is independently verifiable.

  10. Hey Mike I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    I agree most adventist fully accept the doctrine of the trinity, in fact most Christian's don't even know what Arianism is unless your oneness.

    Though the claim I made about Arianism stems from the many discussions and debates I had with Adventists who assist that the trinity is a man made ideology and that Jesus is not God, or that he became God.
    The thing most of these individuals had in common was that they used the clear word as a study tool.

    George R Knight in Question in Doctrines said "the denomination in the closing year of the twentieth century and the opening years of the twenty-first has witnessed a resurgence of anti-Trinitarianism and semi-Arianism on the basis that the earliest founders of the denomination held those views."

    You say the clear word has nothing to do with adventism....well I appreciate you distancing yourself from it, but does the General Conference take that same approach?
    On the official Adventist website under the heading "choosing a bible translation" the clear word is referenced As one of the most popular free paraphrase, similiar to the living bible and the message.
    Not to mention that this book was published by the Review and Herald, it seems to me that the General Conference endorses this book, considering that it's recomended on the official website.

    As for the clear words promotion of Arianism I find these texts suspect
    John 10:30
    John 14:8-11
    John 8:58....where's ego eimi

    There are others but I leave you with these three.

    As for James White...yeah it can be said he was a semi Arian, but as you said, he was still in error, and the question asked was why didn't he come to accept the truth of his wife as a prophet who taught the trinity?

    The trinity which he called an absurdity truely couldn't of been taught be a prophet of God of it truely was an absurdity...this is why I question of James really believed his wife's prophethood.Hope I explained my though well enough.

    I've read your post thoroughly...but it doesn't mean I agree with it. I don't believe the earliest Adventist interpretation of Daniel 8 had anything to do with Arminianism, you bring up good points in your post, but I do not believe the early Adventist pioneers where focused on the dealbate between Calvanism and Arminianism, also yes I am reformed...probably should if said that earlier.

    You also stated that I do not have a concrete method of interpretation, well my friend I never revealed my exegetical methods in light of Daniel 8, so I think it unfair to claim that my foundation isn't concrete.

    Now you claim we must "derive a set of keys of interpretation from scripture", this sounds like proof texting,for instance the day to a year principle is simply proof texting.

    This method doesn't present itself into Daniel 8 yet it's used universally by Adventists to substantiate this doctrine.

    When textual criticism is applied to Daniel 8 we have to look into the historical origin, and my claim is that when we do I cannot get the Adventist interpretation. I'm not even focusing on the fulfillment of this prophecy, I'm focusing on the method of interpretation, primarily the identity of the little horn.

    I believe that the early Adventists who formed this doctrine(yes I believe it was a coverup) did not have the historical information of Daniel 8 and that they further used this doctrine to push anti Roman Catholicism beliefs, commandments keeping, and salvation by faith and works.
    Thanks for allowing me to comment, but I do realise this is a old post....you do not have to respond or publish this if you don't feel in necessary to.
    God Bless

  11. Regarding Arianism, what I've said so far is sufficient. Responding further to you objections would only grant them undeserved legitimacy.  Here is a link I found addressing some of your concerns. If you have any further issues you could take it up with them. http://www.ellenwhiteanswers.org/media/pdf/Clear-Word-Pich.pdf

    Coming back to the topic at hand, first of all, my article does not claim that Adventists discovered 1844 because of the Calvinism-Arminianism debate. What I have written is an explanation of the MATURE Adventist understanding of the topic. Theology takes years, even decades to develop fully and moves beyond the pathway through which the concepts were first discovered. The question I addressed first of all was, whether the gospel as understood through the lens of the Investigative Judgment is heretical. And, I have demonstrated that the IJ gospel is no different than the generic Arminian gospel except that it takes into account the doctrine of soul sleep. Second, I have demonstrated that the only thing needed to arrive at the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment IS Arminianism and Soul Sleep. This is not to imply that Adventists originally arrived at the IJ this way but that, reflecting back on the doctrine now with mature understanding, even if we discarded every other doctrinal element, we would still have an Investigative Judgment as long as we kept Arminianism and Soul Sleep. This completely debunks the common accusation of critics that the IJ is built on top of a house of cards where, if any individual element is proven false (ex. day-year principle, Dan. 8:14, Jesus entering the first apartment of the sanctuary in Hebrews, etc.), the entire structure collapses. 

    Regarding your interpretation of Daniel 8, I want you to pretend that you don't know anything about world history and then show me how you interpret that passage. What concrete predictions can you pull out from the text alone? When you do this I will explain to you why your method of interpretation offers no predictive value, just like the prophecies of common psychics. I will then show you why the Adventist hermeneutics offers something meaningful that provides independent verification for the authenticity of the Bible.

  12. Thank you so much for this explanation. This explains it so simple and the psychology of people. What an eye opener. Even though I believe in the Investigative Judgement, this just simplifies it to it\'s core. I also like the examples and illustrations used. Keep up God\'s works. Thanks again.

  13. The bible truth is that there is NOTHING in Daniel 7 or Rev.14 describing an IJ of the righteous. I challenge you to show me one verse in these passages that talks about a judgement of the righteous. There is none. The only judgement described in these passages is the judgement of God upon the wicked. [redacted]

    • You are correct, of course. The "saints" are not judged because Christ takes their place. But please read the articles on the subject and subsequent comments, because it seems that in the rest of your comment [which was redacted] you replied to ideas that were not in the post but possibly part of your preconceptions.

      The "judgment" of the wicked is an executive judgment - as in the "destruction" of the wicked.

      Before that occurs there has to be a determination of who the wicked are and who the righteous are, and Christ gave us a glimpse of this in the parable of the sheep and the goats. See Matthew 25:32-34. This investigation into the actual character of those professing to be followers of Christ is thus clearly taught by Jesus Christ Himself.

      Another way of looking at the rightly named "Investigative Judgment" is to see it as a parallel to an "investigative hearing" in the British and American justice systems. And investigative hearing determines whether or not there is a genuine case against the accused. In the heavenly investigative hearing, Jesus is the Advocate of the righteous, and their cases are dismissed for lack of evidence.

      The Investigative Judgment teaching is thus soundly based both on logic (the necessity of distinguishing between the wicked and the righteous before the Second Coming) and the teachings of Jesus. There is more, but that requires an understanding of the Hebrew sanctuary services and the Day of Atonement. Since few are familiar with these, it is much easier to understand the necessity of an investigative judgment on the basis of what I just presented.

      (By the way, as an aside - the judgment of the wicked is *not* the only judgment presented in the Bible. According to the testimony of David and Paul, God is also judged. That ties in with the Investigative Judgment as well.)

  14. Dan. 7:22 says that judgement will be passed in favor of the saints. I don't understand how that could happen unless a judgement is made and there is some question as to whether they deserve God's favor or not. Rev. 14:12 says that the saints of God, keep the commandments of God. Again, I fail to see how that could be said of them unless someone is making a judgement as to whether or not they actually are keeping the commandments. These verses are also consistent with multiple Bible texts such as James 2:12 "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged according to the law that gives freedom" and 2 Cor.5:10 "We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ".
    My own bias on the judgement is that we can do nothing w/o Christ John 15:5, and given that this is so, the only question to be resolved is whether or not we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. There will be many consequences to that basic decision, but the real question in the judgement is: will we allow Christ to be the Guide and Ruler of our lives? To argue that there is no judgement of who is saved and who is not is nonsensical to me and inconsistent with a multitude of Bible verses that clearly state otherwise.

  15. Where will I find in the Bible the term, "Investigative judgement"? I can't find this anywhere. Some one told me that I won't know when my name comes up in the above.

    • You won't find it. It's a term we use to summarize a big theme in the bible. Kind of like the Trinity. You won't find that word either. The real question is, does this theme exist in scripture? And I believe the above article shows that yes, it does.

      Now to what someone told you, it's true. None of us know. But at the same time, we have nothing to fear if we have believed in Jesus. The judgment is good news for the believer.

    • Hello, Carol !
      You are correct, when you write, you can`t find the term Investigative judgement in the Bible, because there is no investigative judgement at all. Why would GOD need such a thing.
      The only judgement that will take place (and you can find that in the book of revelation),
      will take place, when Jesus returns. That is a fact. The big judgement will take place at the end of all times, everything else is not biblical. When you give your heart to Jesus you are saved. Period !
      Jesus will set you free from all wrong conceptions, because He is the only truth, the only way, and the only life, that leads to eternity. Stay close to the Bible and the Bible alone. GOD bless you ! Kind regards: Ewald

  16. Hi Carol;
    The word investigative is not in the Bible. Adventists have used the term "Investigative Judgement" to describe the scene depicted in Daniel 7:26,27. notice that this judgment occurs before the saints are given the kingdom.

    ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.

    ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’

    Much has been made by some that we will not know when our names come up. That is likely true, but the usually unstated corollary to the thought is that we will have no chance to change our minds if the judgment occurs at a point in our lives when we are out of God's will. Ellen White is often used to support this idea that there will come a time when there will be no chance to change our minds. She does talk of probation closing, but I see this as a description of the event described in Revelation 22:11.

    “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

    God does not say He would not have them back should they change their minds, but instead let them be what they will be. Their decisions are made and nothing God can do or say will change them.

    “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
    Judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?" Isaiah 5:4,5.

    God has done all that it is possible to do for them and they will not change, so He sadly allows those who are lost to be what they have chosen to be and to face the consequences of their choice. The good news is that the saved also have made their choice and will forever be saved. The investigative judgment is an opportunity for God to show what the decisions have been and to explain why the lost are lost and the saved are saved. I hope you find this helpful. steve

    • In Dan 7:25,26 the Horn, - whose dominion was of the Lord, the ‘people’ having been “given into his hands” for three and a half times (Dan 7:25; 2:38), - thought to assume God’s position and authority to “change times and laws”(Dan 2:21;4:17,26). His time was up but he wanted to hold on to his dominion and refused to cede to Christ and His saints. But even heathen Nebuchadnezzar had lifted God up as the only one qualified to establish kings and remove kings, “change times and seasons”(Dan 4:17,35; 2:21).
      The TIME for Christ’s Judgment, Rulership had come (1 King 3:9,10; Ps 72:1-4; 9:7,8; Jer 23:3-7; Ezk 34:17-20). The book of Daniel is wholly about changes and successions of empires or kingdoms. Christ’s kingdom and Judgment is the last and eternal one. The Father set it up in its ‘time’ according to His eternal Counsel and Plan. It is “written” in His Book (Ps 139:16; Acts 17:26,31), the books that were opened in Court (Dan 7:10). Before the universe God’s fair and transparent Judgment was made with respect to whom the kingdom rulership belongs. “When I select an appointed TIME, it is I who JUDGE with equity.” Ps 75:2. The kingdom, power, and authority was given by God’s righteous judgment to Christ and His saints (Dan 7:13,14,18,22. Christ then began His eternal Messianic kingship.
      I don’t believe this was as much an investigative judgment as we apply it.

      • Christ's saints will still have to identified, and many of His professed followers rejected. (See Matthew 7:21-23.)

      • Hi Kenny;
        I'm having a little trouble following you're message.. I will say that Daniel is about more than just empires and kingdoms. It's also about God's intervention in the lives of individuals who choose to obey him, who are faced with being burned alive or eaten alive. Who meet unhappy kings with messages of reprimand and doom. Who arrive in a heavenly court where books are opened and an investigation of the content of the books is made. Finally, the Highest Authority in the universe decides in their favor and they no longer are aliens and strangers in an alien land, but possess the kingdom (Daniel 7:22). I would agree that too much of our discussion has centered on the prospect of eternal loss, but the message is clear that we will not be lost. God is on our side and judges in our favor that we are worthy to inherit the kingdom. It's a beautiful message that should give hope and courage. God bless. steve.

  17. Hello,
    I know this is an older post, I hope you see this are able to reply because you seem well educated on the matter.

    I grew up SDA. Honestly I have struggled with this topic as well.

    I think your explaining of things is probably the best I have heard on the topic. However, there is one area that I am not sure I agree or understand.
    When you say that Armenian views think we can "loose" or other wise have our salvation "taken away" I do not understand where this comes from. My understadning was that the view held that humans could reject the gift of Grace.
    In fact, in the outline you share comparing both sides I did not see where it said the Arminain view thinks we can "loose"our grace that was given.....

    They think it can be rejected. I think this is a big difference that you did not cover. "loose" implies that it can be taken away, or taken back. This is much different than the person altogether rejecting it? wouldn't you agree?

    Further more you did not lay out the areas we are to be judged on as far as how we stop from loosing our salvation? Do the Arminian views hold that we can not sin at all? Not even a little? What sins cause our salvation to be lost?

    I bring these up because I feel the bible is clear that our salvation is not dependent on works. To my knowledge the bible does not say anything about "keeping" our salvation.

    It talks about works and being judged for sure, but this is in regards to rewards. I might be wrong and not know my passages well enough. I am curios as how we keep from "loosing" our salvation?

    I also look back on the Bible talking about ALL sin being equal. So I would find it odd if your reply says one sin will cause us to loose our salvation, while other sins are ok.

    This also seems to come off as if one we are truly saved by Salvation then we will no longer ever have anymore sin in our life?

    I have noticed in my church alone there is differences on this topic. Some people seem to think a "true" believer has the Lords salvation and thus will not sin... AT ALL, with Gods Grace... Others seem to think sinning is still a thing when you have Gods salvation, they just make it a note to repent and do better....of course these are all wonderful people. By sin I am meaning "wasted moments" or being angry on the road with traffic, or being grumpy with a wife, or saying a bad word, ect....

    That is probably my biggest question. Do we keep our salvation if we sin??
    OR is our salvation lost the moment we sin? And by sin I mean any sin, as the Bible is clear that sin is sin, and sin equals death regardless of size...

    I just want to make sure I understand. I also do not want to "loose" salvation. But honestly I have not been taught the proper ways to keep it?
    Side note, I kinda fall into the camp that thinks you can keep your salvation even with little sins. Of course one must accept and truly repent for those sins.... But I worry when some SDA say true salvation means that I would have no sin in my life AT ALL.... Jesus himself said " there is no one good but the father" So how can I even come close to having no sin?

    • Hi Aaron, this is a good comment. In the article, we did not clarify the difference between losing salvation and rejecting salvation because we were simply differentiating between the Arminian view and the OSAS view. The OSAS view claims that once you are saved your eternal destiny is forever sealed, while the Arminian view claims that a person can still turn away from Christ. We did not explain under what circumstance that can happen because it wasn't the scope of the article.

      Regarding sinless perfection being necessary to be saved, this is not an Adventist teaching but belongs to a group known as LGT (Last Generation Theology) that holds a different view than the Adventist position.

      Finally, regarding whether a person will lose their salvation every time they sin, I wonder if you'd be willing to read another one of my articles on this wesite. Search for my name, Mike Manea, in the search bar above. An article should come up called, How Adventism Ended the Gospel Wars that I believe addresses your question. Let me know if you have any other questions on this.


      • Thank you for the very quick reply. I am happy to hear back from you as I believe I could learn a lot from you on this topic. As you said it is a topic that brings a lot of debate and questions. I do not want to debate by any means, but I am eager to ask some questions and can more understanding on the topic, as you seem very well versed on the subject.

        Big question to start. Adventist believe that we are being Jesus is judging our Works and that this judgment is necessary in order to complete the Atonement of the Lamb and thus in order to determine if we are allowed to keep the gift of Salvation? Is this correct?

        Arminia views hold that we are to be judged, but they differ because they do not think works are judged with regards to salvation. They believe that salvation is a gift, and this can be rejected by the person based on free will.... But they also hold that the gift is for everyone, and that the gift is not taken away or "lost" based on being judged on works? Is this correct on their views as well?

        I think this is the main difference. Both surely believe we are to be judged at some point point he future. That is not the area of disagreement. The area of disagreement and why people are turned off, or argue the IVJ is because it teaches that our works will be judged by God, and based on this Judgment of works, we will either be allowed to keep our gift of salvation, or have this gift taken away forever. Or have it lost from us.

        This is a big difference. Is it possible to address this and explain why Adventist view of the possibility of salvation being taken away is the correct view? Do you you have an article that talks about this difference?

        First, it makes sense that you did not go in depth with regards differences to rejecting vs. loosing salvation.
        I know you have a limited space to put a lot of information.
        Are you able to help me understand more on the topic though?

        I guess my main confusion comes with understanding how we loose our salvation. I know what it means to turn away from God or reject God. From my understanding and studying the topic, the Arminian view holds that we can Only reject God. and that is the means that we loose our salvation.

        I also learned that this view holds that God does not take away our salvation based on works. The issue arises when people bring up faithfulness. Because if I understand correct, are you saying our salvation can be lost or taken away based on our faithfulness?
        This seems reasonable. However, confusion comes when we ask our self how this faithfulness is to be judged?
        The answer most people give is God judges ones faithfulness by their Works.... I think this is where the discussion becomes harder, because this is somewhat circular reasoning. Something like this:

        "Our salvation is not based on works"
        "Our salvation CAN be lost or taken back based on our faithfulness to God"
        "Our faithfulness to God is judged by God right now based on our works or good deeds"

        See the confusion? I Think my main question in this response is can you clear up this confusion with this circular reasoning?
        From my understanding Armininan views do not believe that our salvation will be lost or taken from us based on the works we do? I might be wrong in this understanding? Please help clear this up if I am wrong.

        Most Arminian viewed Churches I have gone to are very focused on Grace. Saying that we are saved as long as we accept Jesus and do not reject Him. They do not beehive that Once we are saved than God chose us and we can no longer physically reject God. They make it clear that we can reject God.... But every Arminian View I have ever been taught made it clear that salvation was given with our meriet. There is no strings attached. The idea the Armianian view holds that our salvation can be lost or taken back based on God judging us is a very very new thing to me. I have never heard this message taught, and i struggle to find any information online.

        In this article you tied Classical Arminain views and Adventist views together. And rightly so, I think they do hold a lot of the same beliefs. However, when it comes to Judgment, I see that the Arminian view holds that we are Judged with regards to us rejecting God or not. This is much different than being judged on works. Furthermore they also teach that the judging of works is for rewards and NOT salvation.

        On the other side, My Adventist church teaches that the Judgment going on right now by God is judging our works, our merit, our good deeds. Not with regards to reward. But with regards to salvation.

        With that said, I would say that this article is very much correct in saying that Armiania and Adventist believe in Judgement. I think this is very clear on both sides. What is not so clear is what exactly the two views think is being Judged, and more importantly what standard?

        My last Big MAIN question is this is how would you say we are to reconcile the two differences on the views of judgment? More important than that question. AS an Adventist, are we to believe that the judgment going on right now is indeed in regards to our salvation? Is God judging us to either be saved or not saved?

        1. Adventist believe we are being Judged right now. God is looking over our works with regards to SALVATION, going line by line and name by name. Judging our works, and if we are truly faithful. Adventist teach that we can loose salvation by, either rejecting God, or by not being holding up Gods law, and not sinning. (or at least this was the old teaching of the previous generation)

        2. Arminina seem to believe and preach that, yes, we are to be judged at some point. BUT, they preach that this is in regards to rewards and NOT with regard to our salvation.They teach that salvation is indeed secure, as long as the receiver does not reject that salvation....

        This is a huge difference in teaching and in belief. The arguments for or against the investigative judgement go much deeper than just admitting that God will judge us.... Most Christians do beleive that we are to be judged one day.....

        The key point is WHAT is being Judged and with regards to what.
        Our works being judged? Is it with regards to our salvation?
        Sadly, I think this is the bigger issue people outside the Adventist church have. Because the Adventist view is the opposite of what they think we are being judged by.

        We believe that our works will be judged, and it is with regards to our salvation.

        This is the reason why people take issue with the INJ
        not because we are to be judged.

        Also thank you, I will look for that article and be sure to read it. Hopefully I will have a chance to read it before you reply.
        Thank you again, I look forward to gaining more understanding from you

    • Aaron, I am quite certain that you and I have never met. I don't know anything about you. Yet I'm going to tell you the most important thing about yourself...you are a sinner. I hasten to add that you are not alone! That declaration is the result of my own belief of what Scripture says (Rm 3:9-12,23; Eccl 7:20), combined with a God-given knowledge of my own self. You and I, Cain and Abel, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, Ellen White and Adolf Hitler, Saul of Tarsus and Mother Theresa, all share one common identity...that of sinner. This list would stand at about 7.5 billion names at present...and I don't know how many billions more--minus One--from the past, or into the future. Your salvation and mine is a gift of God's loving interest in your welfare and mine (Jn 3:17).

      Although there is a relationship, you and I won't be lost or saved because we are Arminian, Calvinist, Adventist or atheist. You and I will be lost because we are the offspring of beings who chose to disobey their loving Creator (Rm 5:12; 7:14). Their choice introduced and locked us into an unavoidable reality in the way you and I actually THINK and, as a result, live (Gen 6:5-6; Rm 8:6-8). It is the present characteristic functioning of the human mind that makes you and I a problem for God, ourselves and each other. Adam and Eve began the cycle (Gen 3:6) in direct contradiction to their Creator's truthful and clearly communicated knowledge (Gen 2:16-17). That cycle, without the Creator's intervention, only produces individuals with deceived minds (Jer 17:9; Isaiah 53:6). Deceived minds (Isaiah 44:20), now intent on staying away from its Creator (Gen 3:8; Col 1:21), ironically seals its fate by its own attempts to care for itself (Gen 3:7,21; Isaiah 31:7; Act 14:11-15). It produces and consumes its own productions in repeated cycles, until we meet our own demise--much like two persons locked in a sealed space with no fresh supply of air.

      Conversely, the good news of the Gospel is that as unavoidable as the heredity of our deceptive, duplicitous minds in Adam, so is the hope of restoration to singleness of mind in Christ (Rm 5:14,18; 1 Cor 15:21-22). Aaron, you, me and all of our billions of fellow-descendants in Adam are depicted in the object lesson of Jesus' dead, decaying friend Lazarus. This man doesn't know or care that he is dead and decaying (a deceived mind, effectively blocks one's access to truthful knowledge), or that he has a compassionate Friend (Jn 11:35-36,38) with the benevolent DESIRE and ABILITY to reverse death and decay--in the present! Jesus made it completely clear that His ability was NOT some future reality (Jn 11:23,25,40,42), as Martha believed (Jn 11:21,24,39). The good news of our salvation is that without our choice, our minds come on to this Earth, unavoidably deceptive and duplicitous--but unavoidable doesn't mean inescapable.

      Saul of Tarsus, whose destructive mind (Gal 1:13) God transformed into the Apostle Paul, considered himself devoted to God (Php 3:5-6). His fallen and deceived mind, becomes triggered by erroneous religious concepts (Act 15:5). This deceptively benign but potent concoction of a "dragon" (Rev 12:3-4,9), resulted in the life history of Saul of Tarsus (Act 9:4-5; Jn 8:44). Thanks only to God's benevolent intervention operating outside of Saul's choice (Gal 1:15-16), we have an apostle's significant contribution to the NT portion of Scripture (Col 1:25-29). Through this transformed man's ministry, we have received very important revelation regarding human salvation (Rm 5:18; 1 Cor 15:22). Yes, Paul taught that humanity's unavoidable exposure to sin in Adam, mirrors the same unavoidable exposure to salvation in Christ. I become concerned when our concepts and discussions regarding human sin and God's solution for it, becomes so highly theoretical that it loses its practical application for our living. Jesus expresses similar concern that the relevance of His people's witness not be lost (Mt 5:13) due to a compromised mind (Mt 13:15-16; 1 Jn 5:13,20).

  18. I stumbled on this great article and since the discussion has continued, I'd like to cast my two cents in. I was educated exclusively in Adventist schools for my 17 years of academic work. For some of us, I think the problem with the IJ is the way it was taught in academy bible class. It went something like this: God is working His way through the books, with the dead being reviewed first and then the living. When your name comes up, if you do not pass the trial, it's over right then and there. Toast at 18? I believe this Adventist mythology rises to the level of spiritual malpractice or abuse.
    This concept colored my response to Adventism for four decades, although I never officially left the church. A personal crisis of faith in my 50's led me to Isaiah 53, the four gospels, and Ephesians 2. I was liberated from the shackles of misguided theology by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the very picture of God. I learned of a truly loving God who wishes for all to come to a true knowledge of Him and be saved. And that His imparted and imputed righteousness is the basis for my salvation and security in Christ. I praise God for the godly teachers He brought into my life. It's all about Jesus. Theology must be grounded in the gospel or it risks distortion and error.

  19. Thank you both for some insightful comments.

    Before addressing Aaron's questions, I need to make several disclaimers.

    First, every theology has adherents that, while claiming to follow that particular theology, don't have an academic-level understanding of that theology, and are liable to misrepresent it in some way. I'm only going to concern myself with the academic version here.

    Second, chances are that someone might disagree with something I say and point to something Ellen White has written to the contrary. However, Adventist theology is accountable only to Scripture so I will not entertain EGW-based arguments.

    With that said, the claim that we're going to be judged by works is not an Adventist problem but a scriptural problem. Parts of Scripture make it abundantly clear that salvation is by grace through faith while others speak of a works-based judgment, whether explicitly or via parables (ex. the sheep and the goats, Matt. 25).

    Because of this, the three protestant traditions, Calvinists, Arminians and OSAS, have each developed ways to harmonize this. Moreover, all three make room for what we might as well call a 'Rewards Judgment,' i.e. a judgment that does not affect salvation but gives different types of rewards to those who already are saved.

    Calvinists harmonize the two elements by saying that both justification and sanctification are predestined. We are not saved by works, because God is the one who decreed that we should accept Christ. Yet he also decreed that the elect will grow in Christ and persevere, so that in the judgement, they can be judged by their works.

    Arminians, including Adventists, argue that salvation is by grace through faith, but that human beings have free will both to accept and to later turn away from Christ. Those who remain in Christ however WILL experience sanctification (if the branch abides in the vine, it will grow - John 15), and therefore, can be judged by their works. In this case, neither Calvinists not Arminians assume that the judgment expects perfection; rather, the judgment is there to demonstrate that the person has in fact chosen to remain in Christ, as this can be seen in the way they live their lives.

    The third group, OSAS, is the only one that has a theological conflict with the idea of a works-based judgment and therefore applies this judgment entirely to Rewards, as having nothing to do with salvation.

    So while I might have used the word 'lose' in the article to differentiate between those who claim OSAS and those who don't, losing vs. rejecting salvation is not something that differentiates Adventists from Arminians. If salvation is lost, it is because the individual has chosen to turn away from Christ. Only he who has the Son has life. This is true for all Arminians.

  20. I think the first thing is to identify and use the bible to discourse at lent the following questions

    1. What is \"judgement\"?

    2. what is \"judgement day\" and when will it be?

    3. Is there two types of judgements?

    4. what scriptural bases Is there (use the scripture alone with no mention of past denominations) to believe that that there is a judgement going on now?

    6. What is the bases for the \"now\" judgment and the bases for the future judgement?

    7. Will those judge now be raised to be judged again on judgement day?

    None of you have done so.

    However let me quickly say this. The bible do not teach \"investigative judgement\" as thought by E G While and Seventh day Adventist from the scriptural backings of Daniel, Liviticus and Hebrew used,

    However the bible does teach that (1) there is a sort of judgement going on today. (2)There is a sort that will come during the second coming of Christ (the destruction of the wicked at Armagedon),(3) The judgement during the judgement day (involving both the resurrected unrighteous ones), (4) The final judgement of Satan and his host at the final test (end of 1000 years reign)

    (1). This judgement is not the future judgement that will be on the judgement day (1000 years reign of Christ), neither is it any sort of investigative as the SDA teach, but it is also a final judgement for the wicked who died before armagedon or second coming of Jesus.

    This judgement is decided now at the death of a person and the bases of this judgement is the \"word\", the good news being preached today.

    \" Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged. Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.  Now this is the basis for judgment: that the light has come into the world, but men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked\" John 3:18, 19. NWT

    Noticed the phrase \"bases for judgement\", \"judged already\", and \"wicked\".

    Today any who continues in willful sin after hearing and knowing what the bible says and dies in it, the bible says \"have been judged already\" because such a person is wicked.

    And the bible says about such a person \", there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left\" Heb 10:26.

    The person could no longer repent at death, and there for have paid for all his sin with his life and therefore will not be resurrected to be judged again.

    Roman,6:7 says that \"one who has died has been acquitted 9pardoned) from his sin\". That is the principle of God\'s justices, \"for the wages sin pays is death\" verse 23.

    There is no investigative judgement as long as a person is still alive, the person can change, and at death, there is nothing like investigative, the person receives ultimate judgement as a wicked with no hope of resurrection.

    Read Ezikiel 18:24, and at death says Eccles 5:9 \'they do not have any farther reward\' no farther charge or judgement on a dead person because the person has attuned for his sin with his life and that\'s all for a wicked person.

    When the bible uses the word \"judgement\" it should be understood according to its context and a reader should find out which judgement among the four listed at the onset is meant.

    Let us stop being confused.


Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and considerably shorter than the original post. First and last name required.

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

Please leave a comment long enough to say something significant and preferably significantly shorter than the post on which you are commenting.

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>