Posts tagged Cross
The Pre-Advent Judgment 14: Conclusion on the Investigative Judment

In conclusion, it is clear from the Bible and the Bible only that the doctrine of the pre-Advent judgment is fully supported and that this doctrine does not contradict the foundational truth of righteousness by faith. An analysis of Ellen G. White shows that many of her statements, though seemingly legalistic, are no different from the many warnings in the Bible with regard to the day of judgment and when balanced with other statements are in fact not legalistic at all. Lastly, the pre-Advent judgment reveals to both men and angels that God is trustworthy, and it protects sinners from both careless Christianity and legalism. The message is clear, God is our judge and “If God is for us, who can be against us?”[1] “That’s investigative judgment.”[2]

Further Reading: 

Various Articles on the Investigative Judgment

Various Articles on the Gospel from an SDA Perspective

[1] Rom. 8:31.
[2] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 21.


Anderson, John T. Investigating the Judgment: A Revolutionary Look At God’s Total Fairness And Relentless Effort To Save Us. Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2003.

Arnold, Bill T. and Brian E. Beyer. Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2008.

Bear, James E. “Bible and Modern Religions, Part 1 :The Seventh-Day Adventists,” ATLA Religion Database [1956]: [accessed April 1, 2012].

Beem, Teresa and Arthur Beem. It’s Okay NOT To Be A Seventh-Day Adventist: The Untold History and the Doctrine that Attempts to Repair the Temple Veil. North Charleston: BookSurge Publishing, 2008.

Davidson, Jo Ann. Principal Contributor. Glimpses Of Our God: Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. Nampa: Pacific Press, 2012.

Doukhan, Jacques B. Secrets of Daniel: Wisdom and Dreams of a Jewish Prince in Exile. Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2000.

Goldstein, Clifford. 1844 Made Simple. Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1988.

—. False Balances. Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1992.

Graham, Billy. The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in Your Life. W Publishing Group, 1988.

Hardinge, Leslie. With Jesus in His Sanctuary: A Walk Through the Tabernacle Along His Way. Harrisburg: American Cassette Ministries, 1991.

Knight, George R. I Used To Be Perfect: A Study of Sin and Salvation. Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press, 2001.

—. The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism: Are We Erasing Our Relevancy? Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2008.

Lake, Jud. e-mail to author, January 31, 2012.

Moore, Marvin. The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation. Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010.

Pfandl, Gerhard. Daniel: The Seer of Babylon. Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2004.

Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 17th ed., 18; emphasis added. quoted in Marvin Moore, The Case for the Investigative Judgment, Its Biblical Foundation. Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010.

Shuler, John L. The Great Judgment Day: In the Light of the Sanctuary Service. Washington: Review and Herald, 1923.

Treiyer, Alberto R. The Day of Atonement and the Heavenly Judgment: From the Pentateuch to Revelation. Siloam Springs: Creation Enterprises International, 1992.

Weber, Martin. “Never Before Published Desmond Ford Dialogues About the 1844 Judgment, Ford And Weber Dialogue, Section II: Ford’s Critique Of Weber.” Scribd. [accessed Feb 1 and Mar 31, 2012].

—. “Pre-Advent Judgment.” SDA For Me. [accessed January 31, 2012].

—. “What's the bottom line relevance of the judgment in my life for Christ today?” SDA for Me. [accessed March 29, 2012].

—. More Adventist Hot Potatoes. Boise: Pacific Press, 1992.

White, Ellen G. Christ Object Lessons. EGW Writings. [accessed Apr. 1, 2012].

—. Early Writings. EGW Writings. [accessed Apr. 1, 2012].

—. Our High Calling. EGW Writings. [accessed Apr. 1, 2012].

—. Selected Messages, book 1.  EGW Writings. [accessed Apr. 1, 2012].

—. Selected Messages, book 2,  EGW Writings. [accessed Apr. 1, 2012].

—. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5. EGW Writings. [accessed Apr. 1, 2012].

—. The Great Controversy. EGW Writings. [accessed Apr. 1, 2012].
The Pre-Advent Judgment 13: Character of God

As noted earlier, the judgment also exonerates the character of God. Marvin Moore sums this aspect of the pre-Advent judgment well. Moore writes that the “doctrine of the investigative judgment tells us that we serve a very transparent God.”[1] Imagine that God were not transparent but that instead He hid everything from His creation. Would that not imply that He had something to hide? The judgment however, shows us that God has absolutely nothing to hide.

Further Reading: Why The Critics of the Investigative Judgment Have Failed

[1] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 337
The Pre-Advent Judgment 12: Benefit for Man

The benefit of the pre-Advent judgment is not just for the angels but for man also. “The primary purpose of the investigative pre-Advent judgment is the final confirmation of salvation and vindication of God’s people.”[1] During the judgment, God shows the angels that those of us who have truly accepted Christ are “worthy” of salvation, not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done in our place. The judgment then, calls each of us to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”[2] What exactly does this mean? Does it mean that we should spend all of our days anxiously worrying about whether or not we truly have accepted Christ?

No, for that goes contrary to righteousness by faith. What this does is it simply invites us to honestly access whether or not we are hypocrites claiming Christ as savior. I once met a young man who did drugs and slept with different women all the time, yet according to him he was “saved” and therefore he didn’t worry about his eternal destiny. The judgment is a benefit for those with such a mindset because it shows us that only those who have accepted Christ as savior and Lord will be counted worthy. This young man was under a delusion of hope but the judgment breaks that delusion because it calls us to ask the question, Have I truly accepted Christ? Even today I still meet Adventists who are legalists and live as though their many good deeds can save them. Some think they are “worthy” because they are vegans, or because of their dress reform, or some other work, however, the investigative judgment destroys that delusion of false security by showing us that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.[3] The pre-advent judgment then reminds us that we are to come to the cross with the deepest and most complete dependence upon the merits of Christ and Christ alone. One benefit of the judgment then is that it presents the cross before us in such power that it protects us from licentiousness and legalism at the same time.

Further Reading: The Urgent Implications of the Pre-Advent Judgment

[1] ibid.
[2] 2 Cor. 13:5.
[3] Isa. 64:6.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 9: What Does it Mean to be Judged?

Nonetheless, doesn’t the very concept of being judged imply that God is looking for something wrong by which to accuse us? The Bible’s answer is no, for the title of “accuser” is one that is reserved for Satan “the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night.”[1] God on the other hand, is shown throughout the Bible to be the savior, not the accuser.[2] In his book More Adventist Hot Potatoes Martin Weber notes that:

…the ancient Hebrew meaning of judgment… was quite different from our Western legal system. Our society requires judges and juries to be strictly neutral. If they harbor a bias either in favor or against the accused, our law demands that they disqualify themselves. Not so in Bible times. Back then, the legal code required judges to abandon neutrality and take the side of the defendant. The defense of the accused was a duty so sacred that the judge refused to delegate it to a defense attorney. Instead, he himself served as the defender of the accused.[3]
This understanding paints a completely different picture of the pre-Advent judgment. Though many have twisted this doctrine and turned it into the icon for legalism, a biblical approach does just the opposite, for it teaches that right now, God is in heaven doing everything He can to save as many as possible. Thus, George Knight can say, “It is crucial to understand that God as our Judge is on our side. He is not against us or even neutral. He sent His son because He loves us and wants to save as many people as possible. And He will save all of those who will be happy in His kingdom. Thus judgment is not a fearful thing to a Christian.”[4]

Further Reading: 

Facing Life's Record (An Analysis of the Great Controversy's Scariest Chapter)

The Pre-Advent Judgment 6: The IJ and Assurance of Salvation

[1] Rev. 12:10.
[2] John 3:16-17.
[3] Martin Weber, More Adventist Hot Potatoes [Boise: Pacific Press, 1992], 81.
[4] George R. Knight, I Used To Be Perfect: A Study of Sin and Salvation [Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press, 2001], 54.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 6: The IJ and Assurance of Salvation

The pre-Advent judgment is biblical. That much is clearly seen. However, one of the greatest attacks against the pre-Advent judgment doctrine is that anyone who believes it cannot have assurance of salvation. Marvin Moore once met a man who told him that, “…with a doctrine like that, no one can ever have assurance of salvation.”[1] The reason for this is that the pre-Advent judgment teaches that in 1844 Jesus began the work of investigating and judging both the saved and the lost. Therefore, many have come to teach and believe that unless you are living a perfect life by the time your name comes up in the judgment you will be eternally lost. Thus, former Adventist’s Teresa and Arthur Beem can say, “In the investigative judgment you will not be judged by your belief in Christ but by how well you kept the Ten Commandments.”[2]

Such a teaching is damaging to the Christian faith because it completely undermines the doctrine of righteousness by faith in Christ alone. Growing up, my wife was taught that she did not know when her name would come up in the judgment. If it did and she was found not “worthy” of eternal life because she was sinning at the moment (or some other reason), then she would be lost forever and not know it. She could continue to strive to follow Jesus for the rest of her life, but this would be in vain since she was already lost. Clifford Goldstein’s wife was taught a similar version of the pre-Advent judgment. Goldstein writes:
My wife [was taught]… ‘that the judgment is going on in heaven right now, and that our names may come up at any time. We can’t know when that happens, but when it does, our names are blotted out of the book of life if we are not absolutely perfect. We are lost. We won’t know it, and we may keep on struggling to be perfect, even though probation has closed for us and we have no hope.’ Cliff went on to say, ‘Such a teaching is not good news…[3]
Not only is such a teaching “not good news” it is also a vile distortion of what the investigative judgment is all about. Jud Lake, professor of theology at Southern Adventist University reminds us that according to Daniel 7, “The judgment was rendered ‘in favor’ of the saints. Jesus is our advocate and in the judgment [sic] we are acquitted [sic] because of His merits, not our own.”[4] Unfortunately, as George Knight pointed out in his book, The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism, “The tragedy of Adventism is that we made the pre-Advent judgment a fearful thing…. Spiritual insecurity and lack of biblical assurance was the result. ‘God is out to get you’ was the message…”[5] However, Knight goes on to establish that, “[t]he purpose of the judgment in the Bible is not to keep people out of heaven, but to get as many in as possible.”[6] Therefore, the accusation that the pre-Advent judgment is inherently legalistic and that it is impossible to have assurance of salvation and believe in the investigative judgment simultaneously is true but only part way. The accusation is true if one believes the distortions of the investigative judgment. But if one bases the investigative judgment on the Bible then the accusation no longer stands. Scripture is clear that, “by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”[7] Paul warns “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”[8] Therefore, to interpret the pre-Advent judgment to mean that believers must be absolutely “perfect” at every moment or else they are at risk of losing their salvation goes contrary to the truth that “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”[9] Once again, Moore offers a helpful insight when he writes, “…the judgment depends on whether we’re asleep in Jesus (if we’ve died before the judgment) or abiding in Christ (if we’re still living). It depends on whether we believe in Jesus, not on how well we’ve lived – that is, on our good behavior.”[10]

Adventist authors have emphasized over the years again and again that our standing in the judgment is not based on our works but Christ’s perfect work. Unfortunately many Seventh-day Adventist’s have had their faith damaged by the errors of their parents, teachers, and spiritual leaders who have taken a legalistic stance on the judgment. Leslie Hardinge, author of With Jesus In His Sanctuary tells us that “[i]n preparing for the judgment the important thing is not to think of what we have done wrong, or anything we might contribute, but on Whom we know.”[11] And in his little book The Great Judgment Day Adventist author John L. Shuler writes: “Our only hope in the judgment is to be hid in Christ (Col. 3: 3), clothed with His righteousness. His life alone will meet the requirements of the law by which we shall be judged…. Thus through the work of Christ in our hearts… we shall be accounted worthy in the judgment….”[12] Shuler goes on to say that “[i]f we are abiding in Jesus Christ, it is our privilege to face the judgment with perfect confidence.”[13] This is good news for many Adventists who have misunderstood the pre-Advent judgment, however, what a shame that God’s people would for one moment forget such a beautiful truth that “God’s justice was satisfied in Christ, who endured the death penalty instead of the sinner.”[14] Without it, our faith is no different than all of the other world religions that claim to know the path to salvation – a path that is always marked by works. Christ’s perfect atonement must forever be our theme and song, for it is the “power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…”[15] Clifford Goldstein put it well when he wrote, “This is the essence of the gospel, the good news. No matter who we are or what we’ve done, Jesus Christ can forgive everything and allow us to stand in the sight of God as perfect and as accepted by the Father as He was, because He will freely credit to us, as undeserving as we are, His perfect righteousness.”[16]

Just As I Am Without One Plea 
(The Truth About the Investigative Judgment)

Note: While the IJ does not contradict the gospel there are certain teachings that have been embraced by some Adventists that certainly do inspire a legalistic interpretation and application of the IJ. However, such teachings are not orthodox Adventism as the following article demonstrates:
REclaiming Adventism (A Response to the Testimony of former Adventist Eliana Matthews)

[1] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 19.
[2] Teresa and Arthur Beem, It’s Okay NOT To Be A Seventh-Day Adventist: The Untold History and the Doctrine that Attempts to Repair the Temple Veil [North Charleston: BookSurge Publishing, 2008], 114.
[3] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 20.
[4] Jud Lake, e-mail message to author, January 31, 2012.
[5] George R. Knight, The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism: Are We Erasing Our Relevancy? [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2008], 70.
[6] ibid.
[7] Eph. 2:8.
[8] Gal. 5:4.
[9] Rom. 3:24.
[10] Marvin Moore, The Case For The Investigative Judgment: Its Biblical Foundation [Nampa: Pacific Press, 2010], 32.
[11] Leslie Hardinge, With Jesus in His Sanctuary: A Walk Through the Tabernacle Along His Way [Harrisburg: American Cassette Ministries, 1991], 543.
[12] John L Shuler, The Great Judgment Day: In the Light of the Sanctuary Service, [Washington: Review and Herald, 1923], 117. Italics mine.
[13] Ibid., Italics mine.
[14] Alberto R Treiyer, The Day of Atonement and the Heavenly Judgment: From the Pentateuch to Revelation, [Siloam Springs: Creation Enterprises International, 1992], 221.
[15] Rom. 1:16.
[16] Clifford Goldstein, False Balances [Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1992], 147.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 5: The IJ is Not Entirely Unique to Adventism

The third aspect of the pre-Advent judgment I would like to explore is the allegation that it is an attempt “[i]n trying to defend 1844 after the failure of Christ's return.”[1] This critique presupposes that “the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the pre-Advent investigative judgment… [is a] unique Adventist contribution to biblical theology.”[2] However, “…it is misleading to say that the doctrine of a pre-Advent judgment in Daniel is unique to Seventh-day Adventism.

After all, many others have found a pre-Advent judgment in Daniel 7.”[3] If this is so, then the allegation that the investigative judgment is simply a “new way of explaining the Great Disappointment”[4] is not true. Indeed, Seventh-day Adventists are far from the only ones to ever discover the doctrine of the pre-Advent judgment. Gerhard Pfandl, author of Daniel: The Seer of Babylon identifies several non-Adventist theologians who have taught the pre-Advent judgment. “Lutheran Joseph A. Seiss, for example, wrote: ‘The resurrection, and the changes which pass… upon the living, are themselves the fruits and embodiments of antecedent judgment…. Strictly speaking, men are neither raised nor translated, in order to come to judgment. Resurrections and translations are products of judgment previously passed.”[5] In addition, Pfandl quotes Catholic author F. Dusterwald and Protestant interpreter T. Robinson as having understood the book of Daniel to teach a pre-Advent judgment.

[1] Martin Weber, “Never Before Published Desmond Ford Dialogues About the 1844 Judgment, Ford And Weber Dialogue, Section II: Ford’s Critique Of Weber,” Scribd, [accessed Mar 31, 2012]. Note: The Millerites originally thought that 1844 marked the date for the return of Jesus. After Jesus did not come back many went back to their Bibles to discover what had gone wrong. In the process they discovered that Christ was not meant to return but that he was engaging in the second phase of His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary on that date. Thus, many critics have taken the pre-Advent judgment to be an attempt to “explain away” why Christ did not return.
[2] Gerhard Pfandl, Daniel: The Seer of Babylon [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2004], 68.
[3] George R. Knight, The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism: Are We Erasing Our Relevancy? [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2008], 70.
[4] Teresa and Arthur Beem. It’s Okay NOT To Be A Seventh-Day Adventist: The Untold History and the Doctrine that Attempts to Repair the Temple Veil [North Charleston: BookSurge Publishing, 2008], 107.
[5] Gerhard Pfandl, Daniel: The Seer of Babylon [Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 2004], 70.
The Pre-Advent Judgment 4: Did Christ's Ministry End at the Cross?

The second aspect that must be considered is that the pre-Advent judgment teaches that when the judgment began Jesus began a special work in heaven. That special work is the work of “cleansing the sanctuary.” During this time not only the wicked but also the righteous are said to be judged.[1] This judgment then is said to determine the fate of everyone who has ever lived. Opponents of the pre-Advent judgment often critique this doctrine by saying that it teaches that Christ work was not completed on the cross.

“We believe that the Bible teaches that the work of Christ is a finished work—finished on the cross”[2] they say. They then quote Jesus’ words just before His death when He says, “It is finished.”[3] According to this critique, the death of Christ marked the end of Christ’s ministry. Everything was fulfilled at the cross, therefore, how can we say that Christ began another phase of His ministry in 1844? 

While I agree that Christ’s work of salvation was finished at the cross and that nothing more is needed for the salvation of man, several texts can help us see that Christ’s ministry did not, as is often asserted, end at the cross. For starters, Paul tells us that “…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”[4] Therefore, it was not sufficient that Christ died for us, but He had to be raised again. Had Christ not risen, His work of redemption would have been incomplete and we are “still in [our] sins” and thus, “of all people most to be pitied.”[5] Evangelical Christian evangelist Billy Graham also agrees that Christ’s ministry did not end at the cross. In his book, The Holy Spirit, Graham says, “Quite clearly Jesus did not say that His death on the cross would mark the cessation of His ministry. The night before His death He repeatedly told the disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit.”[6] Christ not only sent us the Holy Spirit, He also “help[s] those who are being tempted” and “rescues the godly from trials.”[7] In addition to all of this, the ministry of Jesus would also be incomplete without the second coming. With this evidence in mind, I suggest that although Christ’s sacrifice is all-sufficient for man’s salvation, it is not unbiblical to teach that His ministry was not completed at the cross.[8]

Further Reading: Did Jesus Complete the Atonement on the Cross?

[1] “For thousands of years, from the times of the tabernacle in the wilderness until today, the Jews celebrated the cleansing of the sanctuary (Yom Kippur) – the Day of Atonement – as the great judgment day.” Clifford Goldstein, 1844 Made Simple [Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1988], 39. Thus, the cleansing of the sanctuary and the judgment are the same event.
[2] James E. Bear, “Bible and Modern Religions, Part 1 :The Seventh-Day Adventists,” ATLA Religion Database [1956]: 11, [accessed April 1, 2012].
[3] John 19:30.
[4] 1 Cor. 15:14.
[5] 1 Cor. 15:17, 19.
[6] Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in Your Life [W Publishing Group, 1988], 71.
[7] Heb. 2:18., 2 Pet. 2:9.
[8] It is however, unbiblical and heretical to teach that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough and that He needs to “do more” in order to save us. Hebrews is clear “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Heb. 7:27. Italics mine.