Saturday, September 6, 2008

Redesigning God


Heaven Defiled?

The Investigative Judgment doctrine requires the defiling of Heaven. These are the words of Ellen White:


“The repentant sinner brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and placing his hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary.

“Such was the work that went on day by day throughout the year. The sins of Israel being thus transferred to the sanctuary, the holy places were defiled, and a special work became necessary for the removal of the sins. God commanded that an atonement be made for each of the sacred apartments, as for the altar, to ‘cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.’”36 p 198

She is teaching that only the blood representing sins that have been confessed are brought into the sanctuary. It is on this basis that she contends that the IJ only deals with those who have professed to be believers. Only confessed sins entered the sanctuary and thereby defiled it. By deduction, if no one in Israel had ever confessed his or her sins there would have been no need to “cleanse” the sanctuary. Please remember that Daniel 8:14 does not teach a need to cleanse the sanctuary from the sins recorded there. It teaches, instead, that it was desecrated by unbelievers who sacrificed a pig on the altar requiring it to be reconsecrated to the worship of the one true God.

This teaching is so contrary to Christianity as to constitute some other religion. We are told “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Heb 9:22 (NIV) All of this blood we are talking about in the old covenant is just a symbol of the blood of Christ. It is the blood that cleanses, not defiles. Then we are asked to believe that the blood of Christ that covers those who have confessed their sins to Him will defile Heaven itself so that it has to be cleansed. “As the sins of the people were anciently transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary by the blood of the sin offering, so our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded.”42 p 378 What a strange contortion of the truth of the gospel to suggest that the blood of Christ defiled the very core of Heaven when Jesus returned to Heaven. And the sanctuary, the very presence of God, remained defiled for 1800+ years.

The Bible is clear that the sins that have been confessed and forgiven are not transferred to the heavenly sanctuary. The tally of wrongs is destroyed, never to be reconstructed. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Heb 8:12 (NIV) “Their sins
and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” Heb 10:17-18 (NIV), “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin...If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9 (NIV) “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 (NIV) “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?” Romans 8:31-34 (NIV)

The well-known song “There is Power in the Blood” by Lewis E. Jones, is in the SDA Hymnal, though its words are at odds with the hymnal's theology.

"Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin’s stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There's wonderful power in the blood."

The contrast between those who are covered with the blood of Christ, and those who are not, is clear. “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” John 3:18(NIV) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." John 3:36 (NIV) Therefore, it would be those who do not confess their sins and accept the covering of Christ’s blood who would enter into judgment, not those who have repented and received his pardon. In other words, the Bible teaches that judgment is the inevitable result of the rejection of the Gospel. On the other hand, isn’t the very essence of the gospel the fact that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection have forever set us free from the condemnation of sin? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them.” 2 Cor 5:17-19 (NIV)

If there were no other scripture, this last assurance should put to rest the concept of the righteous entering judgment with respect to sin. The Investigative Judgment is diametrically opposed to the gospel of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ. The Bible states that those who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior have passed from death into life.
 They are born again.'Rest In the Arms of the Everlasting Father' by Ramone Romero Once a person is born it is impossible to become unborn. They will not enter into judgment with respect to salvation, but only regarding rewards. It is the wicked who will be judged with regard to salvation. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24 (NIV) “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 (NIV) "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24 (NASB)

In stark contrast stands the Adventist doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, teaching that the atonement was only started on the cross, and will not be finished until the resurrection; that the wicked will not be included in the Investigative Judgment, only believers. This in itself negates the teaching because the judgment has already taken place if God knows who comprise the wicked. Contrast this EGW statement with the Bible verses above: “So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God.”37 p 480 The context of Daniel 8:14, and the New Testament scriptures regarding the judgment in Revelation 14:7, 6:9&10, 16:4-7, 17:1, 18:6-10, 16:20 and 19:1-3 make it clear that the focus is not on professed followers of God, but on the wicked (Babylon).17 p 219

This causes great confusion and uncertainty in the minds of those who have been taught to believe that the judgment is focused on believers. They are told that their final disposition is in question until the time they are resurrected. They are saved by faith in Jesus, but… When they read the words, “For we must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” 2 Cor 5:10 (NIV) it is interpreted as a statement that their salvation depends on what they have or have not done rather than commendation for a job well-done. Therefore, while they are taught that they are saved because of Christ, they must reconcile that piece of information with the contradictory message that salvation also depends on their works. So the amalgamation becomes, “I am saved by grace and faith in Christ. If I am saved, I will obey the Ten Commandments, most especially the Sabbath. If I am not obeying the Ten Commandments, especially the Sabbath, then I must not be saved.”

Review John 5:24 from both the NIV and NASB and 1 Peter 1:23 above, and settle this matter in your heart here and now. There are no provisions or exceptions - no ifs or buts - there are no modifiers in those scriptures. They are pure and simple. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16 (NIV)

Considering the weight of evidence from these scriptures, wouldn’t it be foolish to suggest that a church was raised up for the purpose of preaching an end-time investigation and judgment only for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior?



Jesus is Clueless?
According to the IJD Jesus himself doesn’t know who is “worthy to be saved” until He goes over their books and turns the last page. “This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God is that of the investigative judgment, the closing work in the sanctuary above.”37 p 428 Given this mindset, it is no wonder that Adventists were told over a hundred years ago, “We are never to rest in a satisfied condition, and cease to make advancement, saying, ‘I am saved.’… No sanctified tongue will be found uttering these words till Christ shall come, and we enter in through the gates into the city of God…As long as man is full of weakness--for of himself he cannot save his soul--he should never dare to say, ‘I am saved.’”39 v1 p 314 If even Jesus doesn’t know whether we are going to be saved until he reads our books, then how can we have the temerity to think that we know? This kind of uncertainty makes the doctrine of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ impossible. These are the roots of angst regarding salvation in Seventh-day Adventists. One can either believe the Investigative Judgment, or one can believe in salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ. It is impossible to believe both.

This situation is certainly not consistent with the omniscience of God. It turns Jesus into a CPA, relegated to bookkeeping, for the past 163 years. And even more inconceivable, it kept Him on the other side of a curtain, in a small room in Heaven, for 1800 years - unable to go into the presence of the Father.

The Incomplete Atonement

Perhaps the most glaring of the theological conundrums facing Adventism is the allegation that the atonement was not complete on the cross. This is antithetical to the gospel and inconsistent with the scriptures.

Ellen White claims in The Great Controversy: "For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record. As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ's work for the redemption of men is completed there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn work--to cleanse the sanctuary."p. 421

"In the service of the earthly sanctuary, which, as we have seen, is a figure of the service in the heavenly, when the high priest on the Day of Atonement entered the most holy place, the ministration in the first apartment ceased. God commanded: '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 comes out.' Leviticus 16:17. So when Christ entered the holy of holies to perform the closing work of the atonement, He ceased His ministration in the first apartment. But when the ministration in the first apartment ended, the ministration in the second apartment began. When in the typical service the high priest left the holy on the Day of Atonement, he went in before God to present the blood of the sin offering in behalf of all Israel who truly repented of their sins. So Christ had only completed one part of His work as our intercessor, to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners.”p. 428

The Bible, however, proclaims that the cross was enough. “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Heb 10:12-14 (NIV)

“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!” Romans 5:9 (NIV)

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.” Romans 8:1-3 (NIV)

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” Col 1:21-22 (NIV)

Much confusion has arisen in the body of Christ with respect to the status of Adventism within Christian fellowships. Walter Martin was a renowned expert on Para-Christian cults. After deliberation with four Adventist spokespersons, a book (Questions on Doctrine) was published. In it, Adventism’s traditional positions were modified to appease Martin’s requirements for removal from his list of cults. Once Martin’s book on cults was published (which gave Adventism a provisional nod into Christian fellowship), the book, Questions on Doctrine, was permanently withdrawn from publication. In an interview with Douglas Hackleman, reporter for Adventist Currents, Vol. 1 No. 1, July, 1983, Martin voiced some serious objections to Adventist positions on theology. The following is a discussion of Adventism’s teaching that the atonement was not completed on the cross.

“CURRENTS: What about Mrs. White's view of the atonement - that it wasn't completed until 1844? Doesn't that fall under the category you are talking about?

“MARTIN: The doctrine of the incomplete atonement is heretical. It was later changed into a modified Armenian device with the investigative judgment and was nothing more than a poor face-saving technique - as Dr. Barnhouse pointed out to Dr. Froom, to his great chagrin. It was just a way out of a nasty situation. She really bought the idea that this was the proper interpretation of Hebrews. She believed it. She was wrong. The people around her were wrong. She thought God had shown this to her because, I think, she tried to imbue a lot of her statements and doctrines with the divine seal of authority to get people to pay attention to her. Yes, I think she did that and I think that was sinful.”

Martin was on the verge of republishing his book, Kingdom of the Cults, and reinstating Seventh-day Adventism as a cult when he died prematurely in 1989. You can access the interview at: http://web.archive.org/web/20050224182337/http:/web2.airmail.net/billtod/martin.htm.
I would also strongly encourage you to watch the videos of Walter Martin’s interviews with former Review and Herald editor, William Johnsson. They can be accessed here: http://search.live.com/video/results.aspx?q=%22walter+martin%22+adventist&mkt=en-us&form=VIRE1
Contradictions

To illustrate briefly the contradictions inherent in the sanctuary doctrine, consider this. In The Desire of Ages Ellen White writes, “As Christ arose, He brought from the grave a multitude of captives… those who came forth from the grave at Christ's resurrection were raised to everlasting life.”37 p 786 How did this happen, when the Investigative Judgment didn’t begin until 1844, and the atonement had not yet been completed?


Another contradiction is seen in the necessity of a shut door teaching for the integrity of the Investigative Judgment. The “shut door” was the belief that in 1844, Jesus passed from the Holy to the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary. In the earthly service, on the Day of Atonement, the priest entered in to the Most Holy Place. No sins could be confessed on that day because, on the Day of Atonement, there was no daily sacrifice for sin. The Adventists taught that the Day of Atonement was a representation of the Investigative Judgment. To whom would people confess their sins if Jesus was no longer functioning as priestly advocate? The obvious next supposition would be that no one’s status with regard to salvation could be changed after that date. Therefore, since they were the only ones who “had followed Jesus” into the Most Holy Place, they were the only ones who had anticipated the date, searched their hearts and confessed their sins - they concluded that “probation” had closed for the human race on October 22, 1844.

By 1851, members were added to the group, necessitating a change in the Shut Door teaching. One could not be in the exclusive group of the “saved” while giving birth to lost children or marrying lost spouses. However, abandoning the close of probation as an integral part of the Investigative Judgment fatally undermined the integrity of the whole concept. Ellen White claimed she was shown, by her angel, that those who had rejected the IJ had fallen and become Babylon - lost. This proved to be a source of embarrassment that will be dealt with in the next chapter, along with other spiritual implications of the doctrine.27
The Bottom Line

The doctrine of the Investigative Judgment contradicts the words of scripture in every point. Below is a list of some of the more glaring errors of that teaching. Immediately after each erroneous assertion is the contrasting statement from scripture.


The teachings from the Investigative Judgment are listed first in orange.
The contrasting Biblical record follows each statement in brown.
1) The Investigative Judgment is based on Daniel 8:14 – “unto 2300 days then the sanctuary will be cleansed.” (KJV) Believed to be 2300 years (457 BC – 1844 AD)."For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state." Dan 8:14 (NRSV) 1150 days (3.5 months)
2) A day equals a year in bible prophecy.The context of Daniel 8:14 makes it evident that it is speaking of literal days (2300 morning and evening sacrifices).
3) The IJ began on October 22, 1844. This date is arrived at by a set of complicated interpretations of Daniel 9:25.Daniel 8:14, by historical record, refers to Antiochus Epiphanies’ desecration of the temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar.4) Daniel 9 sets the beginning of the 2300 years as Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem in 457 BC. The termination would occur in 1844.

“In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes--- in the first year of his reign… the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.” Dan 9:1-2 (538-515 BC - several years after the temple was already in use.)
5) After His resurrection, Jesus returned to Heaven and entered the Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary.
"He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption." Heb 9:12 (NIV)


6) In the Holy Place, He was engaged in forgiveness of sin for the living as they repented. He stayed there for 1800 years before going into the Father’s presence.
"For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence." Heb 9:24 (NIV)

7) On October 22, 1844, Jesus moved from the Holy to the Most Holy place.

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body." Heb 10:19-20 (NIV)

8) In the Most Holy Place, He began going over the books of records of those who professed to be believers (from the beginning of time) to see if there were unconfessed sins.
"Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin." Heb 10:17-18 (NIV)


9) As each person’s book is closed, he or she is either judged worthy, or not, to be in the first resurrection. But still, the sins are not blotted out of the books.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)

10) Finally, Jesus comes to the books of the living. Their records are reviewed and God makes the judgment as to whether they are to be saved or lost.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24 (NASB)
11) If professed believers are sinning when their books are completed, and if one unrepented sin is left on the books, they are lost.

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13 (NIV)

12) When the last book, of the last living soul is closed, probation closes for the world.

"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." Romans 6:22 (NIV)

13) From this point forward the saved “are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator.”


"Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." Heb 7:25 (NIV)

14) Jesus takes the sins of the saved and places them on the head of Satan who bears the guilt of sin into the lake of fire.
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)

15) Satan is annihilated.

"And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Rev 20:10 (NIV)
16) It is by destroying Satan, with the sins of the world on his head, that sin is purged from the universe forever, and the plan of redemption is complete.

"This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Tim 1:9-10 (NIV)

The Final Word

Jesus speaks the final word on the subject in John 5:24 when he assures us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not 'The Plundering of Sheol' by Ramone Romerocome into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” No one has greater authority than our Savior Himself. He lovingly gives us the confidence to draw near. He is not standing over us with threatening scrutiny to see if we digress in some point, and thereby forfeit salvation. Instead, He emphasizes that He is telling us the truth when He draws us to Himself in faith and declares that our faith in Him results in a new creation. We no longer have to fear judgment, because we will not face judgment with regard to salvation. That has been decided the moment we received His death on the cross, in substitution for our lives. He has already faced the judgment with His sinless life, and He passed the test. Now when our lives are held up to the Light, the Father sees the Son and is well pleased. To Him we look perfect. When the accuser rehearses our sins before Him the Father says, “What sins? I remember those sins no more.” “By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Heb 10:14 (NIV) Hallelujah!


Summary

Even a superficial review of the teachings contained in the Investigative Judgment expose glaring contradictions to the Bible. How could any student of the Bible conclude that: the atonement was not complete on the cross; Jesus has to read one person’s book at a time to know whether or not they were saved; it would take Jesus over 160 years to read the books; Jesus’ blood defiled Heaven; Jesus did not enter into the presence of God (the Most Holy Place) for 1800 years after His ascension?

How can the Seventh-day Adventist Church continue to hold to a doctrine that requires uncertainty about final salvation, while saying that they believe in salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ? It can’t be both ways. Either “he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24) or “We are never to rest in a satisfied condition, and cease to make advancement, saying, ‘I am saved.’… No sanctified tongue will be found uttering these words till Christ shall come, and we enter in through the gates into the city of God…As long as man is full of weakness--for of himself he cannot save his soul--he should never dare to say, ‘I am saved.’”40 V1, p. 314 It is my deep prayer that you will take comfort in knowing that as you accept the atonement that was completed for you on the cross, you can, by the authority of scripture, declare for all the world to hear, “By the grace of Jesus Christ, I am saved.”

This can be the last day of your life in which your salvation is in doubt. Take hold of His free gift and lift up your heart in this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I confess this day that I am a sinner in need of redemption. I repent of my sins, and by your grace turn away from them. Forgive me for the darkness in my heart. I believe that You died for my sin, and that your sacrifice on Calvary was completely sufficient for me. I receive your free gift of salvation. I declare by faith that I am no longer a slave to the law of sin and death, but thru your powerful blood I have, today, passed from death into life for all time and eternity. Praise your precious name, Lord Jesus. Amen


Faith or Fear? Table of Contents

The Investigative Judgment doctrine is the pillar, or, to put it another way, the hub of Adventist doctrine. All of the other "unique" doctrines are spokes that eminated from that hub, including: the Sabbath, the interpretation of the three angel's messages, the state of the dead and the SDA church as the remnant church of Bible prophecy. It was the development of this doctrine that also installed Ellen White as the prophet of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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