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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

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 cannot be 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 this doctrine were taught by others who were neither Seventh-day Adventists nor Millerites:

  1. 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:

  2. 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.

  3. 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 after 1783:

  4. 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]
  5. 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. 303.

  6. 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."

  7. 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 sample 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.

  8. 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.

  9. The 70 weeks and the 2300 days begin at the same time. This sounds similar to point 6, but while the Berlenburg Bible taught 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 from 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.

  10. The 70 weeks begin with the seventh year of Artaxerxes. This view was held by: Samuel Osgood, American soldier, legislator, and Postmaster General, in 1794; George Stanley Faber, prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral, in 1811; and Thomas Scott, Church of England commentator, in 1812.

  11. The 70 weeks begin in 457 BC. This view was held by: Robert Reid, Reformed Presbyterian minister of Pennsylvania and president 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.

  12. The first 69 weeks of the 70 end with Christ's baptism. The 1599 Geneva Bible's footnote for Daniel 9:25 plainly teaches this.

  13. 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 AD.

  14. 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 other aspects.

(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 true.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 be?
  3. 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 ([1] time + [2] times + ½ time = 3½ times or years; cf. Rev. 12:6, 14). [p. 54]
  4. 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, and 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, 784, 785).

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 judgment.

"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. 10:1, 2).

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 Scriptures."

A Response to the Video

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