A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church
by Bob Pickle
Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and Others
Discern Fact from Fiction
The Investigative Judgment and Shut Door, and Their Ramifications
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|#64 & #65: "Truly this doctrine of investigative judgment, unique to Seventh-day
Adventists, has colored
every other doctrine in the Movement. There has been much controversy and debate since it
supported from the Scriptures."—Dale Ratzlaff.|
#64: It's unique to Seventh-day Adventists.
This is a bit of an oversimplification, for almost all of the basic elements of
were taught by others who were neither Seventh-day Adventists nor
The work of judgment includes an investigation.
It seems pretty obvious that the judgment the Bible talks about must include
an investigation, or else it really wouldn't be a judgment. The word "investigation" was used
by Lactantius (d. 330 AD) in his description of
the judgment in Divine Institutes:
Nor, however, let any one imagine that souls are immediately judged after death. For
all are detained in one and a common place of confinement,
until the arrival of the time in which the great Judge shall make an
investigation of their deserts. Then they whose piety shall have been
approved of will receive the reward of immortality; but they whose sins and crimes shall have been
brought to light will not rise again, but will be hidden in
the same darkness with the wicked, being destined to certain
punishment.—Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7, p. 445, 446, italics added.
The righteous and wicked receive their rewards after the judgment,
not before. Adam Clarke, a prominent Wesleyan
commentator from Ireland, said as much in the articles of faith he wrote out not too long
XXIX. There will be a general judgment; after which all shall be
punished or rewarded, according to the deeds done in the body; and the wicked
shall be sent to hell, and the righteous taken to heaven.—J. W. Etheridge, The Life
of Rev. Adam Clarke, LL.D., p. 68. [p. 52]
The Day of Atonement was a day
of judgment. The Puritan writer John Owen back in 1680 listed three tasks
that the Old
Testament high priest did on the Day of Atonement: " '1. To offer sacrifices to God
for the people. 2. To bless the people in the name of God.
3. To judge them.' "—Bryan Ball, The English Connection, p.
Judgment begins with the professed people of God,
and the judgment of the wicked takes place later. Barton W.
Johnson was a Disciples of Christ commentator. In his 1891 People's New
Testament, in a comment on 1 Peter 4:17, he wrote: "The time
for judgment is come. It begins at the house of God, the church. In Matt.,
chapter 25, the righteous are judged first."
The 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 are 2300 years.
The list on this point would get a bit long if it included everyone. Here is a
of individuals who held this view: the writer of the anonymous pamphlet De
Semine in 1205 AD; Villanova in the 1290's; Nicholas of Cusa
in 1440; Sir Isaac Newton in 1727; and Judge John Bacon, a Congregational clergyman from
Massachusetts, in 1799. Jewish expositors who
held the same view include: Nahawendi in the 8th or 9th century; Bar Hiyya about the 11th
century; and Abravanel about the 15th century.
The 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are part of the 2300 years.
The notes found in the Berlenburg Bible, which was
finished in 1739,
state the same. This Bible was popular among German Baptists, and has the honor of being
the first Bible printed in America, in 1743.
The 70 weeks and the 2300 days begin at the same
time. This sounds similar to point 6, but while the Berlenburg Bible
point 6, it did not teach this point. Besides Johann Petri in 1768 (see #5), this view was held by: William C. Davis, Presbyterian minister
South Carolina, in 1811; Dr. Joshua L. Wilson, Presbyterian minister and General Assembly
moderator from Ohio, in a sermon first preached
in 1828; Alexander Campbell, founder of the Disciples of Christ, in an 1829 debate in Ohio;
and Samuel M. M'Corkle, a Disciples of Christ
layman from Tennessee, in 1830.
Did any of these folk get their ideas from William Miller? No, for
Miller didn't start preaching until 1831.
The 70 weeks begin with the seventh year of
Artaxerxes. This view was held by: Samuel Osgood, American soldier,
and Postmaster General, in 1794; George Stanley Faber, prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral,
in 1811; and Thomas Scott, Church of England
commentator, in 1812.
The 70 weeks begin in 457 BC. This
view was held by: Robert Reid, Reformed Presbyterian minister of Pennsylvania and
of Erie Academy, in 1828; and Miss Harriet Livermore, "first woman ever to speak publicly
within the walls of the U.S. Congress," in 1839.
The first 69 weeks of the 70 end with Christ's
baptism. The 1599 Geneva Bible's footnote for Daniel 9:25
The 2300 days end around 1843. This
view was held by: John A. Brown of England in 1811; Archibald Mason, Reformed
Presbyterian minister in Scotland, in 1820; and William Cuninghame, Esquire of Lainshaw
in Scotland, in 1826.
Many, many expositors could be added who felt that the 2300 days would end in 1843,
1844, or 1847, three dates that were essentially the
same. The 1843 group started with Artaxerxes' seventh year in 457 BC and calculated
forward to 1843. The 1844 group took into account the
fact that there was no year 0, making 2300 full years end in 1844 instead of 1843 (cf. #16). The 1847 group thought Christ was born in the year
0 instead of 4 BC. They then calculated back from Christ's time to determine when was
Artaxerxes's seventh year, and arrived at 453 BC instead
of 457 BC. Beginning the 2300 days at this four-year-off date, they then arrived at 1847
- Daniel 8:14 is talking about a) the antitypical Day of Atonement
services in b) the heavenly sanctuary. Of all the basic aspects
of the investigative judgment doctrine, these appear to be the
only ones that are truly unique to Seventh-day Adventists. Yet
they are very natural conclusions if one already believes the
(Information above not already referenced is taken from Leroy Froom's
Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers. See the summary charts in vol.
1, pp. 894, 895; vol. 2, pp. 156, 157, 194, 784, 785; vol. 3, pp. 252, 253, 744, 745; vol.
4, 396, 397, 404, 405. See also the pages in Froom cited
in these charts.)
#65: The doctrine of the investigative
judgment cannot be supported by the Scriptures. Let's see if that's
The Bible teaches that before God hands down a sentence or executes judgment, He
always investigates the facts of the case, even though
He already knows everything. First He searches hearts, then He rewards:
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he
said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because
I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee [p. 53] that thou wast naked? Hast thou
eaten of the tree, whereof I
commanded thee that thou
shouldest not eat? (Gen. 3:9-11)
And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not:
Am I my brother's keeper? (Gen. 4:9)
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men
builded. (Gen. 11:5)
And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because
their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see
whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if
not, I will know. (Gen. 18:20, 21)
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he
which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto
every one of you according to your works. (Rev. 2:23)
Repeatedly, Jesus foretold that God will separate the wheat from the tares, the good
fish from the bad, the sheep from the goats, the righteous
from the wicked (Mat. 13:30, 48; 25:32, 33). One would think He would precede this with
an investigation too, just like He did with Adam, Cain,
Babel, and Sodom. Indeed, Jesus foretold that right before the wedding, just such an
investigation will occur of all professed believers, all who
respond to the gospel:
So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as
they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished
with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not
on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend,
how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said
the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and
take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of
teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Mat. 22:10-14)
This wedding occurs at the end of time (Rev. 19:7-9). So near the end of time before
the rewards are passed out, an investigative judgment
will occur. But that's not all.
Daniel 7 discusses a succession of empires and ends with the judgment. Daniel 8
discusses a succession of empires and ends with the
cleansing of the sanctuary. Would not therefore the judgment and the cleansing of the
sanctuary be the same event?
"And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and
measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them
that worship therein" (Rev. 11:1). What does it mean to measure the worshippers? "For with
what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and
with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Mat. 7:2). So measuring the
temple, altar, and worshippers means that the temple,
altar, and worshippers are being judged.
It just so happens that these same three entities being judged in Revelation 11 are the
same three entities being cleansed on the Day of
Atonement in Leviticus 16. Revelation is thus tying together the Day of Atonement's
cleansing of the sanctuary with the judgment.
In fact, the Hebrew word for "cleansed" in Daniel 8:14 is used in Deuteronomy 25:1
to refer to judicial acquittal. Daniel 8:14 might therefore
be interpreted to mean, "then shall the sanctuary be acquitted in court." Thus Daniel 8:14
itself suggests a connection between the judgment
and the cleansing of the sanctuary.
And if all that's not enough, take a look at Revelation 10.
And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, . . . And
he had in his hand a little book open: . . . And the angel
. . . lifted up his hand
to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, . . . that there
should be time no longer. (Rev. 10:1-6)
Now compare this with Daniel 12.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end:
. . . How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And
I heard the man clothed in linen, . . . when he held up his right hand and
his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall
be for a time, times, and an half all these things shall be finished. . . .
And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till
the time of the end. . . . But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou
shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. (Dan. 12:4-13)
Several facts may be noted:
- The two passages are connected, since in both we have an angel
lifting his hand to heaven and swearing by Him who lives forever.
This suggests that the open book of Revelation 10 is the book
of Daniel, once closed but now unsealed.
- Daniel is told that his book is to be sealed until the "time of
the end." Then he hears the question asked, When will that end
- The answer given involves the 1260-day time prophecy, a prophecy
found seven times in Daniel and Revelation. Sometimes it is said
to be 1260 days, sometimes 42 months, and sometimes 3½
years ( time +  times + ½ time = 3½ times
or years; cf. Rev. 12:6, 14). [p. 54]
- After giving this answer, the angel tells Daniel a second time
that his book will be sealed till the time of the end, and then
he connects this time of the end with the "end of the days."
What part of Daniel was sealed so that it could not be understood until the end of the
1260-day time prophecy? The head of gold in chapter
2 was identified as being Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom of Babylon. Daniel 8 identifies the next
two empires as being that of Medo-Persia and
Grecia. These things were never sealed. They've always been understood.
But there was one part that was specifically said to be sealed:
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred [evening-morning]; then
shall the sanctuary be cleansed. . . . Understand, O son of
man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. . . . And the vision of
the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou
up the vision; for it shall be for many days. . . . and I was astonished at
the vision, but none understood it. (Dan. 8:14-27)
Thus the one part specifically said to be sealed until the end of the 1260 days is the
2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14. It is that prophecy,
therefore, that is unsealed and opened in Revelation 10. When the angel in Revelation 10:6
declares, "There should be time no longer," he must
therefore be announcing the approaching end of the 2300 days.
Do you see the point? While Revelation 11:1 ties together the judgment with Leviticus
16's cleansing of the sanctuary, Revelation 10 ties
both these subjects together with the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14.
Before moving on, we should address a few questions that are sometimes raised
regarding the identity of the horn that desolates the sanctuary
in Daniel 8. The four universal kingdoms brought to view in chapters 2 and 7 of the book of
Daniel, as most agree, are Babylon, Medo-Persia,
Grecia, and Rome. In Daniel 8, since the ram and goat are identified by Gabriel as being
Medo-Persia and Grecia, one would think that the horn
that comes after them and waxes "exceeding great" should be the next kingdom in the series,
Rome. Some, however, identify this horn as being
Antiochus Epiphanes, a Grecian king of the Seleucid dynasty. Yet there are some problems
with this view:
[The ram] became great. . . . Therefore the he goat waxed very
great . . . . a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south,
toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. (Dan. 8:4-9)
Clearly, the little horn must become greater than either Medo-Persia or Alexander's
Grecian empire in three directions in a precise order.
Antiochus's conquests, pseudo-conquests, and failures never attained to the glory of
Cyrus the Great or Alexander. He went east last, not second,
and perished there. In stark contrast, Rome excelled all in might, annexing Carthage to its
south first, Macedonia, Syria, and Egypt to the east
second, and Judea third. Thus Rome fulfilled the prophecy to a "T," even getting the order
of conquest right.
The position that Daniel 8's little horn had something to do with pagan and/or papal
Rome was held by such greats in the past as Martin
Luther (1522), Philip Melanchthon (1543), Heinrich Bullinger (1557), George Downham
(1603), Sir Isaac Newton (1727), the Berlenburg
Bible (1743), Thomas Newton (1754), and John William Fletcher (1800) (Froom,
vol. 2, pp. 269, 270, 289, 290, 343, 535, 662, 685, 688, 703,
In the typical service only those who had come before God with confession and
repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin offering,
were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the Day of Atonement. So in
the great day of final atonement and investigative
judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God.—Great
Controversy, p. 480.
If one reads through the first chapters of Leviticus, one finds that through the blood of
the sin offerings, the sins of the repentant were
transferred to the sanctuary throughout the year. It was these sins that the sanctuary was
cleansed of on the Day of Atonement. All this in Old
Testament times was but a symbol of the gospel. The sins of the penitent are transferred to
the heavenly sanctuary through the blood of Jesus.
It is these sins that the sanctuary is being cleansed of during the investigative
"But," says the objector, "it is the little horn that defiles the sanctuary in Daniel 8, not
the sins of God's people." To this we reply that as the
above quote indicates, Adventists have always said that the investigative judgment involves
"the professed people of God." Rome during most
of its 2000 years of dominance in international affairs (c. 200 BC - 1798 AD) definitely
qualified as being part of that group.
Moreover, the only passage that describes the Day of Atonement services prefaces that
description with, "And the LORD spake unto Moses
after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died"
(Lev. 16:1). The two sons of Aaron were Nadab and
Abihu, two priests that went astray by substituting the wrong kind of fire for what God had
specified to be used in His worship services (Lev.
Daniel 8 prefaces the cleansing of the sanctuary with a description of the little horn.
The authorities [p. 55] referred to above identified this little
horn as being, at least in part, priests who had gone astray by substituting a different form of
worship than the one God had specified in the Bible.
Thus we have yet another connection between Daniel 8 and the Day of Atonement services
of Leviticus 16.
Most certainly, the doctrine of the investigative judgment can be "supported from the
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