The 1844 Investigative Judgment



This doctrine is peculiar to Seventh Day Adventists. In short, it is the belief that on October 22, 1844, Jesus (Yeshua) went from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary to begin his final work of atonement. At that time he began investigating the lives of each individual that ever lived beginning with the dead. The object of this investigation is to determine who is saved and who is lost. Once the investigative judgment is complete, “Jesus” would return to earth.

The following are reasons why this doctrine is unscriptural:

1) 1844 is arrived at by counting solar years of 365.25 days, a calendar used by pagan Rome. The Hebrew calendar, a lunar calendar, consists of approximately 354 days a year. Since we are dealing with a Hebrew prophecy we must use the Hebrew calendar in our count.

2) In Daniel 8:14, the Massoretic text uses 2300 whereas the Consonantal text (from which the Septuagint was made) uses 2200. The latter text predates the former by several centuries. Also, Jerome’s commentary on Daniel is based on a third manuscript that also uses 2200.

3) The question asked in Dan.8:13 refers to the casting down of the sanctuary in verse 11. Therefore, the count should begin from that point rather than the decree to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

4) The primary fulfillment of Dan.8:9-12 is found in 1 Mac.4 where the sanctuary was cleansed after defilement by Antiocus Epiphanes. There may be a secondary fulfillment, but it too must begin at the same time the primary fulfillment does; at the casting down of the second temple.

5) In 1844, Atonement fell on Sept.23, not Oct.22. 

6) Two instances of cleansing the temple (sanctuary) are found in 2 Chr.29:5,15,16-18 and Ezek.45:18. Both were accomplished in the first month, not the seventh month. This shows that the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel does not necessarily refer to the Day of Atonement service.

7) The sanctuary in Daniel needed cleansing from defilement and desolation of the “little horn.” The Day of Atonement cleansing was from the sins of Israel.

8) The High Priest of Lev.16 took the blood of Yahweh’s goat directly into the most holy place and sprinkled it upon the mercy seat. Yeshua did the same with his blood (Heb.6:19,20; 9:24; 10:12,19). Yet, this doctrine teaches that Messiah did not enter the most holy place until 1844. Yahweh’s dwelling place was in the most holy place of the earthly tabernacle (Ex.25:22). Therefore, His dwelling place in the heavenly sanctuary must be in the most holy place. That is where His throne is. If Yeshua sat down at the right hand of Yahweh and is said to remain there until all his enemies become his footstool (Heb.10:12,13), then he could not have been ministering in the holy place for over 1800 years.

9) The Septuagint uses the Greek word “ekilasetai” for “make atonement” throughout Lev.16. The root words are found in Strong’s Concordance under #’s 2433-35. Those words were not translated “atonement” in the N.T.. Instead, they were translated “make reconciliation for” and “propitiation.” An important scripture uses the word “propitiation.” It is 1 Jn.2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Our sins have already been atoned for, not that they “will be” in the future.

10) E.G. White, in “The Great Controversy,” pg 552, says, “At the time appointed for the judgment – the close of the 2300 days, in 1844 – began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins.” This conflicts with Heb.1:3;10:18; 2 Cor.5:19. Our sins have been purged or blotted out already. It also conflicts with Heb.9:26 which says his sacrifice “put away” sin. The Greek word is # 115 in Strong’s meaning “cancellation” of sin.

11) The following passages show the judgment to take place at Messiah’s coming, not beginning in 1844; 1 Cor.4:4,5; 2 Tim.4:1; Mt.25:31,32. 2 Tim.4:1 says, “I charge thee therefore before [Yahweh], and the Master Yeshua Messiah, who shall judge the quick (living) and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;” Unless Yeshua returned in 1844, the righteous dead could not begin to be judged.

12) The faithful of Heb 11 have already been judged righteous (Heb.11:4,16). The Apostles were told by Yeshua that they would sit as judges of Israel in the Kingdom (Mt.19:28). Yeshua also said Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets would be in the kingdom (Lu.13:28). Based on these statements, why would these people have to undergo an investigative judgment? Paul also knew that he had a “crown of righteousness” awaiting him 2 Tim.4:7,8). He did not believe he still needed to be investigated.

13) 2 Tim.2:19 says, “Nevertheless the foundation of [Yahweh] standeth sure, having this seal, [Yahweh] knoweth them that are His.” Therefore, He does not need to investigate the books to know who will be saved. For whose sake, then, is the judgment? The Review and Herald, Oct 29, 1931 wrote, “because He is infinite; but men and angels do not know because they, both men and angels are finite. The reason for a judgment, then, is that finite beings may not only believe that God is just, but that they may know both the perfection of His justice and the depth of His mercy.” However, Mrs. White states that angels know as well as Yahweh. In Testimonies for the Church”, Vol 1, pg 544, she says, “Heavenly angels are acquainted with our words and actions, and even with the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Who is correct, the denominational literature or Mrs. White? If the latter is correct, for whose sake is the judgment?

14) John 5:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” “Condemnation” is translated from the same Greek word that is commonly rendered “judgment.” Therefore, righteous believers shall not be judged. This does not conflict with 1 Pe.4:17 where it says, “judgment must begin at the house of [Yahweh].” That judgment pertains to believers who are backslidden into the state of those mentioned in verse 15.

15) In 1850 Mrs. White wrote; “I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished, and that time can last but very little longer” (Early Writings, pg 58). On the same page she writes: “The sealing time is very short and will soon be over.” On page 67 she writes: “But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months.” A “few months” is mentioned because Messiah was expected to finish the judgment and return on Oct 22, 1851. The point is that she expected the Messiah to remain in the most holy place for only a few months more, yet, it has been about 143 years.

16) This doctrine puts the investigation first and the Atonement second. The Bible puts the Atonement first and the judgment second depending upon the attitude one assumes toward the Atonement (whether or not that person obeys the evangel).

17) In what way was the sanctuary cleansed by an investigative judgment? To say the sanctuary was cleansed once the judgment was completed makes more sense than to say it was cleansed before it even began.

18) In the pattern of the true, there was no investigation of the books prior to the atonement. All that was needed was repentance and their sins would be forgiven. Therefore, in the true fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, no investigation is necesssary. A sinner need only repent and accept the atonement provided for him.

19) Lev.16:16,17 reads, “And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.” These verses teach us that the High Priest would come out of the sanctuary once it was cleansed. He would then cleanse the brazen altar. In the antitype, Yeshua will return to earth once the heavenly sanctuary is cleansed. Since Dan.8:14 says the sanctuary would be cleansed at the completion of the 2300 evenings and mornings, Yeshua should have returned in 1851 if you add the seven “times” of verse 14, as Mrs. White and others expected. He didn’t return however, because once again, as in 1844, they misunderstood the fulfillment of the 2300 days.

20) Dan.7:9,10 is used by proponents of this doctrine to “signal the beginning of an investigative procedure” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe…A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, pg 321). An examination of those verses will reveal a judgment resulting in the destruction of the beast and a removal from power of the other beasts. Nothing is said about the saints themselves being judged. In fact, verse 22 shows that it is the saints that are sitting as judges. The right to judge was given to them as 1 Cor.6:2 and Ps.149:5-9 teach. 1 Cor.4:5 gives us the time when the saints will begin judging. It is after Yeshua returns to resurrect his people at the seventh trumpet. Reading the book of Revelation in order, without mixing up the time sequence of the chapters, reveals the resurrection in chapter 12 followed by the reign of the beast in 13 and its destruction in 19.

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