"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that re may he accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:36.
How far will this investigation of cases extend? "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Eccl.
When and where are the open and the secret things recorded? "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the lord, and that thought upon His name." Mal. 3:16 (Rev. 20:12).
By whom is this record made? "Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?" Eccl. 5:6 (Matt. 18:10).
Who opens the judgment, and presides over it?" I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit... 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." Dan. 7:9, 10.
Who ministers to the Lord, and assists in the judgment? "Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him." Dan. 7:10. "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." Rev. 5:11.
Who else is brought before the Father at this time? "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." Dan. 7:13.
What is Christ's special work there before the Father and His angels? "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels." Rev. 3:5.
NOTE. - We have learned that during this judgment scene the dead are still in their graves. The record of each one's life, however, is in the books in heaven, and by the record their characters are well known. These records were made by the angels, who are there to present them as the names of those who have professed to be Christ's followers are called from the book of life ( Rev. 20:12). Christ is also there to appear in behalf of those who have chosen Him as their advocate. (1 John 2:1). He presents His blood, as He appeals for their sins to be blotted from the books of remembrance (Mal. 3:16). Those sins of which they had repented were forgiven when they confessed them (Acts 3:19-21); but they could not be blotted out until by a final examination of their life record it should be known that they had repented of all their sins, and were finally overcomers. If this is the case, then their names are confessed in the judgment. But if it is seen that though running well for a time (Gal. 5:7), they did not overcome, then instead of confessing their names before the Father and His angels, and blotting out their sins, Christ will blot out their names from the book of life (Rev. 3:5). As the place of judgment is in heaven, where the throne of God is, and as Christ is present in person, it conclusively follows that the work of judgment is also in heaven. All are judged by the record of their lives, and thus answer for the deeds done in the body. It is easy to see that such a work will not only decide forever the cases of the dead, but will also close the probation of all who are living, after which Christ will come to take to Himself those who are found to be loyal to Him.
Where will Christ receive His kingdom?" And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him." Dan. 7:14 (Luke 19:12, 15) (Rev. 11:15).
When He comes to earth, what title will He bear? "And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." Rev. 19:16.
What will be His mission to the earth? "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works." Matt. 16:27 (Rev. 22:12),
Where will the Saviour take His people? "In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2, 3.
During the one thousand years that intervene between the two resurrections, what will the saints do? "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned [in the sense of judging] with Christ a thousand years." Rev. 20:4.
Who will thus be judged by the saints? "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world [the wicked]? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?" 1 Cor. 6:2, 3 (Dan. 7:21, 22).
NOTE. - As the names of the wicked were not found in the book of life at the time of the investigative judgment, before the second coming of Christ, it was known that they were not "worthy" of eternal life; but the degree of punishment that they should receive is left for Christ and His saints to decide during the one thousand years before the second resurrection. The wicked angels. also, are to be judged at this time, in the same manner.
When will the saints judge the world? "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come." 1 Cor. 4:5.
How will the decision of the saints be executed? "And out of His [Christ's] mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Rev. 19:15.
Why is the execution of the judgment thus given to Christ?" For as the Father hath life in Himself , so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man." John 5:26, 27.
How will the opening of the investigative judgment be made known to the world? "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." Rev. 14:6, 7.
NOTE. - It is seen that there are two phases of the judgment brought to view in the Scriptures, the investigative and the executive. The investigative judgment takes place in heaven before Christ comes, in order to ascertain who are worthy to be raised in the first resurrection, at His coming, and who among the living are "accounted worthy" to be changed in the "twinkling of an eye," at the sounding of the last trump. It is necessary, therefore, for the investigative judgment to take place before the second advent, as there will be no opportunity for such a work to be done between the coming of Christ and the raising of the righteous dead, who are to be clothed with immortality in the act of rising from the grave. The executive judgment of the wicked occurs after the extent of punishment which they are to receive has been decided by the saints who were raised to sit on thrones of judgment (Rev. 20:4, 5) during, the thousand years (1 Cor. 6:1-3). The investigative judgment is that which is announced to the world by the angel's message of Rev. 14:6, 7.
The First Angel's Message
Has God appointed the day of judgment? "Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness." Acts 17:31.
To whom has this event been made known? "Surely the Lord God will do nothing but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." Amos 3:7.
Where is the announcement of the judgment made? "Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." Rev. 14:7.
What does the angel preach who makes this announcement? "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." Rev. 14:6.
By what is this angel accompanied before his work is accomplished? "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen... And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God." Rev. 14:8-10.
What will be the effect of the united work of these three messages? "And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap,. for the harvest of the earth is ripe." Rev. 14:15. (See Matt. 13:39.)
What takes place in connection with the harvest? "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of man, haying on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle." Rev. 14:14.
What was the appearance of an angel seen by John, as recorded in chapter ten? "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire." Rev. 10:1.
What did he hold in his hand? "And he had in his hand a little book open." Rev.
And what did the angel do?" And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth." Rev. 10:2, 3.
What was the burden of this message? "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer." Rev. 10:5, 6.
The book in the hand of the angel, from which he proclaimed this time message, was said to be "open." When was the only sealed book of the Bible, that contained definite time, to be opened? "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Dan. 12:4.
What does the prophet Daniel say about the judgment? " I beheld till the thrones were cast down. I 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." Dan.7:9, 10.
What did Daniel see the little horn (Roman Church) do after the judgment opened? "I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake." Dan. 7:11.
When did the angel say this judgment work, called the cleansing of the sanctuary would commence? "And he said unto me, Unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Dan. 8:14.
What did John do with the little book given him by the angel? And what effect did it have upon him? "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter." Rev. 10:10.
What was symbolized by his eating the book? "Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. " Eze. 3:1.
Were not the disciples disappointed in their expectations concerning Christ's work at His first advent? "When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, will thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? " Acts 1:6. See also Luke 24:19-21.
NOTE. - The disappointment of the disciples of Christ did not prove His mission false. As He rode into Jerusalem amid the shouts of "Hosanna!" from the delighted disciples, who supposed He would then take the throne of David and commence His reign, the Pharisees asked Him to rebuke the disciples. But Christ answered: "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out" (Luke 19:40). And why? Because the prophecies relating to His earthly work had predicted this entry into Jerusalem (Zech. 9:9), and it must be fulfilled, even should the stones be caused to fulfill it. Then the Lord in this event suffered His disciples to be disappointed; and yet they were fulfilling prophecy. When Israel left Egypt, under the impression that they would in a few days, at farthest, enter the promised land, they, too, were disappointed. But that did not disprove the divine call of Moses, nor show that the departure from Egypt was not ordered by God. In every great movement which God has inaugurated among His people, He has suffered disappointment to come, in order to test the faith of those engaged in it. It was so in the cases of Elijah, Jonah, and others. And so it was in 1844. God suffered His people to misapprehend the intent of the prophecy, and thus their faith was tested. The disappointment was due, not to an error in locating the beginning or the end of the 2300 days, but in the nature of the event to occur at the end of those days. They supposed the cleansing of the sanctuary meant the purifying of the earth by fire, at the coming of Christ.
What did the lord say should afterward be done? "And He said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." Rev. 10:11.
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