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The Investigative Judgment | Has Judgment Day Begun?

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
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We have restored on the WLC website, in the Scriptures quoted the Names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired authors of the Bible.  Click here to download the Restored Names Version (RNV) of Scripture.  The RNV is a non-WLC resource.  -WLC Team

Just as the earthly sanctuary required cleansing, so does the heavenly. But the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary involves the work of the final judgment. “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.” Acts 17:31.

A most startling truth found in the Scriptures is that Yahuwah has fixed a definite time for the beginning of the final judgment. It has been revealed to His people, even to the very day.

This is set forth in the prophecy of Daniel 8:14. The time for the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and the opening of the work of the judgment is unalterably fixed. The prophet records that he heard the divine numberer of secrets (margin) declare: Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Let us delve into the lesson.

Daniel Seeks For Understanding

1. Who is represented by the ram and its two horns?

The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. Daniel 8:20.

Answer: The Bible is perfectly plain. One of the ram's horns was higher than the other, indicating that one of the powers of this dual monarchy, Medo-Persia, was to be stronger than the other. Daniel 8 adds the point that the higher came up last. The Medes were at first the leading people, later the Persians were in the ascendancy. Alexander the Great, of Grecia, about 200 years after Babylon's fall, overcame the Persians under Darius III, at the battle of Arbela in 331 B.C. Phillip V. Meyers, General History, p. 59 [Daniel 5:30-31; Jeremiah 51:11].

2. Who is represented by the he-goat?

The rough goat is the king of Grecia. Daniel 8:21.

Answer: The goat represents Grecia, or Greece. This is clearly stated. The leopard, with four wings, in Daniel 7, indicated swiftness. The goat touched not the ground, so rapid was his movement. Both these symbols for Grecia are fitting. Medo-Persia was to become great Grecia was to be very great.

3. Who is symbolized by the great horn between his eyes?

The great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Daniel 8:21.

Answer: Alexander the Great, the first king, was to be broken when Grecia was strong. Alexander led Grecia to world leadership, then died of a fever following a drunken spree, at the age of thirty-two, in 323 B.C. Grecia was strong when Alexander was at the height of its glorious conquests.

The four horns represent the four divisions of Alexander's realm. The historian, Rawlinson, says, A quadripartite [fourfold] division of Alexander's dominion was recognized. This took place twenty-two years after Alexander's death; when, after the Battle of Ipsus, his warring generals divided the kingdom into four parts-east, west, north, south toward the four winds of heaven. The four horns correspond to the four heads of the leopard of Daniel 7.

4. What empire is represented by the little horn that grew out of one of the four winds?

In the latter time of their kingdom, when transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and under standing dark sentences, shall stand up. Daniel 8:23.

Answer: Bible prophecy did not name specifically the successor of the Grecian kingdom. Daniel's previous prophecies (Daniel 2 and 6) follow the pattern of the four world empires seen in history-Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The prophecy of Daniel 8 begins with the second, Medo-Persia, and presents three empires.

This last kingdom was the one that was to stand up against the Prince of princes (Daniel 8:25). Yahushua, the Anointed was that prince, and the Roman power put Him to death. So the little horn was Rome. The little horn came forth from one of the four winds. The Romans defeated the Macedonians in 168 B.C.

5. What long time period is introduced into the prophecy at this point?

And He said unto me, unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed. Daniel 8:14.

6. To what period of earth's history does the vision point?

So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, 0 son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Daniel 8:17.

Answer: A part of this prophecy is to reach to the time of the end. Since we are living in that time, we should prayerfully study to know the meaning of that portion of the prophecy which applies in our day.

Gabriel Explains The 2300 days

7. What happened to Daniel when the angel had proceeded thus far in his explanation of the vision?

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 Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days. Daniel 8:26-27.

Answer: The words rang in his ears, Unto two thousand and three hundred days: then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed. What could they mean? Daniel was deeply concerned about the 2300 days, but no explanation had been given to him. As chapter nine opens, we find Daniel still in distress over the unexplained portion of the vision, the 2300 days. Let us notice what happened. First of all: Daniel prayed for light on the Sanctuary.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of Yahuwah came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the Sovereign, the Elohiym, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto Yahuwah, my Eloah. Daniel 9:1-4.

Then, Gabriel came from Yahuwah to give him understanding on the 2300 days.

Whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Daniel 9:21-23

Read Daniel 9:24-27 again. Remember that the 70 weeks and the 2,300 days, or years, are associated. In Bible prophecy it is found that, when time is mentioned in a symbolic setting, the application of the time prophecy can be accurately calculated from history and using the rules which the Bible itself establishes. So try to remember, too, that, in prophecy, a day stands for a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6). The priestly calendar month contained 30 days and their year 360 days (Gen. 7:11; 8:3,4). Hence a month in prophecy would equal 30 years and a prophetic year would equal 360 literal years.

Note the following seven points based on Daniel 9:24-27:

A. Seventy weeks of seven days each would be 490 days, or literal years.

B. The 490 years are determined, or cut off, especially for the Jews (Daniel 9:24). They are cut off from the 2,300 years, leaving 1,810 years.

C. The period was to begin with the date the Persians gave command to restore Jerusalem. This was 457 B.C. (Daniel 9:25; Ezra 7:11-26). The Babylonians had conquered the Jews. The Persians were to restore Jerusalem. Yahuwah raised up Cyrus to perform His work (Isaiah 44:28).

D. The first 7 weeks (7 x 7 = 49 years) were for the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

E. The next 62 weeks (7 x 62 = 434 years) were to reach to the Messiah, or the Anointed One. Yahushua was anointed at His baptism, A.D. 27 (Matthew 3: 13-17; Acts 10:38). When the clock of eternity struck the hour, Yahushua was there on the bank of the Jordan River, to be baptized by John. When the fulness of the time was come, Yahuwah sent forth His Son (Galatians 4:4).

F. The 70th week of 7 years would reach from A.D. 27 to AD. 34. In the midst of this week, AD. 31, the Messiah was to be cut off, but not for Himself (Daniel 9:26). This was fulfilled when Yahushua was crucified. The Messiah was also to cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (Daniel 9:27).

When Yahushua died on the cross, the veil of the Temple of Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom by an unseen hand (Matthew 27:51). A human hand would have torn it from the bottom to the top. Yahuwah thus signified that the sacrificial service of animals was over. The Lamb of Yahuwah had been slain.

The remaining years of the 70th week, or the 490 years, reached to AD. 34. Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews, and the great persecution of the ekklesia at Jerusalem followed (Acts 7:59; 8: 1). The Jewish people as a nation had rejected the Messiah, and now He left their house desolated. The 490 years allotted to the Jewish nation were finished.

G. The 70 weeks, or 490 years, were part of the 2,300 years. Since the 490 years reach to AD. 34, the remaining 1,810 years of the 2,300 years would reach to 1844. If you have difficulty in figuring the date, 1844, and get 1843 instead (2300 minus 457 is 1843), just remember that it takes 457 full years before Yahushua and 1,843 full years after Yahushua to make 2,300. Also there is no year ‘0’. Since the decree went forth after a part of the year 457 B.C. had passed, the end of the 2,300 full years would fall after the close of A.D. 1843, well-over into the year of 1844.

At this time, the Sanctuary was to be cleansed. Many interpreters of prophecy living at that time thought the cleansing of the Sanctuary meant the end of the world. But the expression, cleansing of the Sanctuary, had a different meaning.

NOTE: The history of the Jews and their rejection of Yahushua is on record for our admonition. They did not understand the true nature, character, and purpose of Yahushua's mission to the world nor the time of the visitation of their judgment. Yet the prophecies were clear on these points. Israel need not have rejected Yahushua and brought such calamities upon their nation. Let us with earnest purpose and prayer determine to know Yahuwah's plan for us today, that we may cooperate with Him and accept fully the saving light of prophetic truth.

Judgment Begins

8. How often was the earthly sanctuary cleansed?

He shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. On that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before Yahuwah. Leviticus 16:19, 20.

Answer: This building was cleansed once a year by a blood sacrifice. This yearly service was a service of atonement and  a day of judgment. As the people confessed their sins day by day and sacrifices were offered, blood was placed on the horns of the altar and the sins, in symbol, were transferred to the sanctuary. Then, once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, final opportunity was given for full disposition of sin. It was a solemn day indeed! It was now or never. It was the annual day of judgment [Judgment Day].

9. Was the heavenly sanctuary also to be cleansed?

Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed.“ Daniel 8:14.

It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For the Anointed is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of Yahuwah for us” Hebrews 9:23, 24.

Answer: At the close of the 2300 days (1844), the Sanctuary was to be cleansed. This was not the earthly Sanctuary, because its work ended at the cross. When Yahushua died on the cross, the old, or earthly, sacrificial system which pointed to His life and death was no longer necessary. As far as Yahuwah was concerned, the earthly sanctuary service ended. Then, after His death, Yahushua rose from the dead and ascended to heaven to begin His work as our high priest in the heavenly Sanctuary. Therefore it must have been the heavenly Sanctuary. In 1844, the hour struck for the beginning of that cleansing. At the time appointed, the great antitypical cleansing, or judgment. in the most holy place of the Sanctuary in heaven began.

In 1844, Yahushua entered the most holy apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary and began that work. There is no sin in heaven, but a work of judgment is being done in connection with the records of sin (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Revelation 20:12). Consider that when the fullness of the time was come, Yahuwah sent forth His Son (Galatians 4:4). At the end of the 483 years of Daniel 9, Yahushua was baptized and anointed by the Holy Ghost, just as predicted. That was in AD. 27 He was also crucified at the stroke of the prophetic clock. Just as the first part of the 2300-day prophecy was fulfilled at the time appointed, so the judgment hour began in 1844, at the end of the 2300-day prophetic period.

As the cleansing of the sanctuary was a day of judgment, the final day to get right with Yahuwah, so the cleansing of the heavenly Sanctuary is Yahuwah's appointed time for judgment. Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world (Acts 17:31). This judgment was future in Paul's day (Acts 24:25). It was judgment to come.

This is an investigative judgment, in which all cases must be decided before Yahushua comes, since He brings His reward with Him. During the millennium a study will be made of the cases of the wicked, with the redeemed saints assisting. The final sentences will be pronounced upon the wicked. Then the execution of the sentences will be carried out at the end of the 1,000 years, after the wicked are resurrected. So we have the three regular phases of judgment - the investigation now, the determining of the sentences during the 1,000 years, and the execution of the sentences at the end of that period.

Yahushua will come soon after the judgment ends. Here are the words of Yahuwah, indicating that, when the judgment ends, Yahushua's coming follows quickly:

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. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as His work shall be Revelation 22:11-12 (Revelation 14:6-7 for the judgment message).

The Judgment Scene

10. What judgment scene did Daniel see in vision?

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousand thousands ministered unto Him. and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10.

NOTE: The scene becomes very vivid as Yahushua comes to the judgment room.

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Daniel 7:13

Yahushua appears before Yahuwah, the Father, as our advocate.

If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yahushua, the Anointed, the righteous. 1 John 2:1 (Acts 17:31).

The Ancient of Days is Yahuwah, the Father (Daniel 7:9. 13). He is the great, unchanging, merciful, but holy Eloah. Myriads of angels attend the heavenly court. Yahushua is our advocate. Yahuwah created all things by Yahushua, the Anointed (Ephesians 3:9). He reconciled the world to Himself by Yahushua, the Anointed (2 Corinthians 5:18). And He will judge the world by Yahushua, the Anointed (Acts 17:31). Yahushua is our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Friend at the judgment bar of Yahuwah. He will plead our case and win it if we will let Him.

Without A Wedding Garment

11. What should we understand about the judgment?

A. Heaven's court will take into consideration not only what a man did, but why he did it.

There will be complete understanding of all factors and therefore complete justice. There will be no mistakes as in earthly courts, where innocent men have sometimes paid the penalty for other men’s' crimes. Were you ever accused of something you did not do? It will not be so there. Were you ever given credit for a good deed you did not do? It will not be so there.

Though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith Yahuwah. Jeremiah 2:22. Elohim shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing. Ecclesiastes 12:14

This is possible because there is a record of every man's life. Yahuwah knows all. The eyes of Yahuwah are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3).

B. We will be judged from the books of record in heaven.

The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books. Revelation 20:12.

One of these is the book of life (Revelation 13:8; Daniel 12: 1; (Philippians 4:3). And there is a book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16). Also there is another book of iniquity (Jeremiah 17:1; Job 14:17; Deuteronomy 32:32-36; Isa 65:6,7; Hosea 13:12).

And there is one, and only one, remedy. That is the blood of Yahushua. This precious lifeblood of Yahushua is available to all who will freely confess all sin and walk in the light of truth (1 John 1: 7-9). The blood reveals Yahuwah's merciful plan to forgive our sins. His justice and mercy together declare the breadth of His love. Friend, let His love warm and win your heart. He wants only your allegiance of love. Yahushua is ready to be your advocate before Yahuwah and present His blood for you.

The Law Of Liberty

12. What is the standard in the judgment?

Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:10-12 (James 1;22-25; Ecclesiastes 12;13-14).

Answer: The holy, eternal, immutable, unchangeable Ten Commandments will be the standard in the judgment. The law that says, Thou shalt not kill, etc. (James 2:10-12), will judge us; so Solomon concluded, Fear Elohim, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For Elohim shall bring every work into judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

We are born with a weak and fallen nature. This is the hereditary “law of sin and death.” But when Yahushua became the Son of Man, He conquered sin by combining human nature with His divine nature, thereby “condemning sin in the flesh.” He now offers us His divine nature “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us” also. We are born again when we by faith surrender the will to Yahushua and are filled with His Spirit, and, thus strengthened, begin to live a life of righteousness.

13. What motive should prompt us to keep Yahuwah’s law?

If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. See (2 Corinthians 5:14; John 15:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)

Answer: The test of a genuine Christian is given in the word of Yahuwah. Yahushua say, If ye love Me, keep My commandments.John 14:15.

He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. . . . If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me.John 14:21, 23 24.

How Shall We Stand?

14. Are Yahuwah’s commandments burdensome to those who are truly born again?

For this is the love of Yahuwah, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of Yahuwah overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:3, 4. (Psalm 119:47, 77, 97, 174).

15. Why will many who think they are born again be disappointed on judgment day?

Not every one that saith unto me, Master, Master shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Master, Master have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23 (1 John 2:36, 28).

16. What assurance is given to those who are faithful till the end of Yahushua’s intercession?

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25.

NOTE: All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of [Yahushua] as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of [Yahushua], and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of [Yahuwah], their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life. The Great Controversy, page 483.

By virtue of the atoning blood of Yahushua, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or cleansed, from the record of sin. Patriarchs and Prophets, page 357, 358.

17. Who will be admitted into heaven?

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14 (Revelation 14:12)

Our salvation cost Yahushua His life, but He offers salvation to us freely if we will but surrender our sinful natures to Him who promised to “take away our sins” (1 John 3:5) and to write His law on our hearts. We will be judged according to Yahuwah’s law, for our works show whether we have been born again (1 John 2:29). “Let no one deceive you” on this point (1 John 3:6, 7).

Are you daily, by His grace, working to form a character that will stand the test of the investigative judgment?