Investigative Judgment: Your Hope for the Future!
Sacred Scripture closes with a comforting promise . . . and a solemn warning: “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12, KJV1) For nearly 2,000 years, Christians everywhere have clung to the promise of the Saviour’s soon return. Countless martyrs courageously laid down their lives for truth in the hope of the promised resurrection. The warning this verse also contains has been overlooked by many because it has not been understood. The Saviour’s statement that when He returns His reward will be with Him is a clear statement that prior to the Second Coming, the destiny of every soul who has ever lived will already have been decided. There is no second chance. When Yahushua returns, it is all over.
It is of vital importance for all to clearly understand this point of doctrine. Satan has led many to put off making a full surrender to Yahuwah through the belief that the judgment does not occur until the Second Coming. However, a point in time is coming when it will be forever too late; the door of salvation will at last be closed.The divine law is clear: disobedience to the law of Yahuwah brings death; obedience is the price of eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Because every son and daughter of Adam ever born has sinned, this is an automatic death sentence for every human being. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of [Yahuwah].” (Romans 3:23)
It is solely because of Yahuwah’s unfathomable, boundless love, that infinite wisdom devised a plan whereby fallen, sinful humanity could be given a second chance. “For Yahuwah so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but may have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, RNV2) In mercy, the entire human race has been granted a period of probation – a time in which to demonstrate whose side he or she is on: Yahuwah’s or Satan’s. There is no middle ground for “No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve Yahuwah and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24, RNV) Probation is: “The act of suspending the sentence of a person convicted of a criminal offense and granting that person provisional freedom on the promise of good behavior.”3 The death of Yahushua guaranteed every person a second chance – probationary time. Probation: Trial; examination; any proceeding designed to ascertain truth; . . . the state of man in the present life, in which he has the opportunity of proving his character and being qualified for a happier state.4 For the vast majority of people who have lived throughout earth’s history, their individual probation ends at death. However, the final generation is different. The Bible clearly states that there will be a group of people which are alive at the Saviour’s return and who will be caught up into the clouds with Him after the dead have been resurrected: For this we say to you by the word of Yahuwah, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of Yahushua will by no means precede those who are asleep [in death]. For Yahushua Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of Yahuwah. And the dead in Yahushua will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the air. And thus we shall always be with Yahuwah. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.) Probation ends a short while before Yahushua returns to take His faithful, loyal followers to Heaven. The book of Revelation was specifically given by Yahuwah to prepare people for this event. “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still:
and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22:11) When Yahushua comes, all will have been decided. Those who have chosen sin and Satan will continue to make the same choice, regardless of how much time were granted them. Likewise, those who are loyal to Yahuwah will continue to love, serve and obey Him. No future decision or action would ever turn them from their loyalty. When probation closes, the irrevocable sentence will be pronounced “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still . . . He that is holy, let him be holy still.”
Because human probation closes before the second coming, an investigation into the heavenly books of record must take place beforehand. This doctrine of an investigative judgment is clearly presented in Scripture. Daniel was shown a preview of this solemn event, along with the powers that would war against Heaven in the person of the saints. Daniel stated: I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, . . . thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set and the books were opened. (Daniel 7:9 and 10.) In keeping with His character of love, Yahuwah does not condemn for sins of ignorance. Yahushua’s constant assurance was, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11, NKJV) At Mar's hill in Athens, after revealing Yahuwah and Yahushua to the ignorant audience, Paul proclaimed: “The times of this ignorance [Yahuwah] winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in
the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30 and 31.) Those who love Yahuwah do not see obedience as a burden. Rather, they love much because they have been forgiven much. It is in their heart to conform their will to the divine will. When the Holy Spirit convicts their minds of a certain area of their life that is not in harmony with the mind of Yahuwah, they willingly choose obedience over rebellion. “As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in [Yahushua]. Holiness finds that it has nothing more to require.”5 “Holiness” is simply complete and total agreement with Yahuwah. When it is in the heart to obey, Yahuwah accepts this as man’s highest service. As the heart, softened by divine love, is transformed into the divine image, obedience to the divine will becomes a natural outpouring of one’s own deepest desires. This is the fulfillment of the promise: Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. . . . you shall be My people, and I will be your [Elohim]. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. (Ezekiel 36:25-29, NKJV) The close of probation is no arbitrary act by an impatient Creator. Rather, it is simply the acknowledgment that all have made their final choice in the great controversy between Yahuwah and Satan. The investigative judgment that precedes the close of probation is for the purpose of revealing the hidden heart. Looking back on his long, dissolute life, Solomon penned the grave warning: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear [Yahuwah], and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For [Yahuwah] shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret
thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 and 14.) This is the work of the investigative judgment and the result determines who receives which reward: eternal life? Or eternal death? To hide the truth of the investigative judgment, Satan has brought forth twin errors that have deceived multitudes, leading them to continue in sin. The first is the belief of “once saved, always saved.” This error makes a person complacent in his beliefs. Truth is ever advancing and all who would bring their lives into conformity with Yahuwah, will ever be seeking to know more of His will. The belief that because you were once saved, you are always saved, has two dire results: 1. It produces the Laodicean condition: “I know everything necessary to be saved; therefore, anything new is either unnecessary or wrong.” 2. It perpetrates Satan’s lie that Yahuwah forces the human will because if you have once been saved you cannot do anything that would change your mind. The second error Satan has used to combat the truth of an investigative judgment is the belief that the saved will sin and go on sinning until Yahushua comes. This not only contradicts clear Scripture, it also belies the power of Yahuwah to transform minds. Any doctrine that teaches obedience to Yahuwah’s law is always the focus of Satan’s worst attacks. The doctrine of the investigative judgment and the need to render obedience in all areas of one’s life has been the object of intense debate amongst various Christian denominations. There are two main areas of objection that have been raised against this Biblical doctrine: 1. The denial of a sanctuary in Heaven; 2. The denial that Yahushua has a special work to do in the Heavenly sanctuary that mirrors the work of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. The first objection is easily answered in Exodus. When Yahuwah gave Moses instructions for the construction of the earthly sanctuary, He said, “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” (Exodus 25:9, NKJV) It was so important that Moses copy exactly the heavenly sanctuary he was shown in vision, this instruction was repeated: “And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” (Exodus 25:40, NKJV) The earthly tabernacle and its high priestly service were to teach mankind of the Heavenly sanctuary and the work to be done there by the High Priest, Yahushua, in the work of salvation. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which Yahuwah pitched, and not man. . . . For if he [Yahushua] were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of Yahuwah when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he [Yahushua] is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (See Hebrews 8:1, 2, 5 and 6.)
Some have denounced the doctrine of the investigative judgment by citing various New Testament verses which refer to Yahushua entering the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary upon His return to Heaven. They claim this disproves two distinct phases of Yahushua’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. On the contrary, these passages confirm that Yahushua perfectly conformed to the Old Testament types. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Most Holy Place twice. Leviticus 16 explains the duties of the high priest on Day of Atonement. Before he could make atonement for the congregation of Israel, by bringing the blood of the goat into the Most Holy Place, he was instructed to make atonement for himself. A full and complete atonement could be done only by presenting the blood of the sacrifice in the Most Holy Place. Thus, Aaron was told to “offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself and for his house” before he could mediate as High Priest to the children of Israel. (See Leviticus 16:6.) This is what Yahushua did when He entered the Most Holy Place in Heaven upon His immediate return from earth. Yahushua was the great anti-type, the fulfillment of all the sanctuary symbols including the investigative judgment. The truth of Yahushua’s work in sinners behalf in the Heavenly sanctuary is a most precious, most encouraging truth. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Yahushua the Son of Yahuwah, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (See Hebrews 4:14-16.) Now, while probationary time still lingers, make your calling and election sure. Commit to bringing your life into total harmony with the will of Yahuwah. For, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
The beautiful truth of the investigative judgment is that if there is anything in your mind that needs to be changed, it will be changed before the close of probation. Praise the Father and the Son that full and complete atonement is possible for believers today. Confess today. Obey today. Trust today that when Yahushua comes you may meet Him in peace.
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All Scripture taken from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.
Restored Names Scripture (Click here to download the Restored Names Scripture.)
Farlex, The Free Dictionary.
Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.
E. G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p.162.