Seventh-Day Adventists/Investigative Judgement


Dear Sal:
Can you give me valid reasons for rejecting the Investigative Judgement?
Thank you,

Dear Sister Lisa:

I have written about the Investigative Judgement (IJ) in the past in a somewhat detailed fashion. There is such a large amount of biblical evidence against the IJ that I feel sometimes that one can get lost or overwhelmed by it all. So I will answer this question by pointing out just one crucial error of the SDA doctrine of the IJ. Ellen G. White (EGW) taught that the phrase "within the veil" meant that Jesus upon his ascension into heaven entered the first apartment (the Holy Place) of the heavenly sanctuary.

"The ministration of the priest throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary, 'within the veil' which formed the door and separated the holy place from the outer court, represents the work of  ministration upon which Christ entered at His ascension. It was the work of the priest in the daily ministration to present before God the blood of the sin offering, also the incense which ascended with the prayers of Israel. So did Christ plead His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners, and present before Him also, with the precious fragrance of His own righteousness, the prayers of penitent believers. Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven" (The Great Controversy, pp. 420-421).

I believe I can show that EGW was completely wrong on what the phrase "within the veil" means and where Jesus entered upon his ascension. If she is wrong on these two related points then the whole IJ doctrine collapses. If the self-proclaimed messenger of God is wrong here then she cannot be trusted in her other pronouncements.

The phrase "within the veil" only occurs 6 times in the whole Bible. So let's review all these references and see what the Holy Spirit has to teach us about this phrase.

"And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place" (Exodus 26:33-34 KJV).

Here we learn that "within the veil", or "vail" as the KJV spells it, is the ark of the covenant. Therefore, "within the veil" could only mean the Most Holy Place or the second apartment of the sanctuary. The ark was never located in the Holy Place. There is no possible way to honestly misunderstand this reference as referring to the Holy Place or the first apartment of the sanctuary.

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat" (Leviticus 16:2 KJV).

Even though the text reads "the holy place" it obviously is referring to the Most Holy Place. For that is the place where Aaron as high priest could not enter but once a year on the Day of Atonement. Aaron could go into the Holy Place "at all times", but not into the Most Holy Place. Paul noted this very fact.

"Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the
people committed in ignorance" (Hebrews 9:6-7 NASB).  

The phrase, "within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark" makes this verse unmistakably refer to the Most Holy Place where the ark was kept.

"And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not" (Leviticus 16:12-13 KJV).

Again, the ark was located in the Most Holy Place. Therefore, this reference to the phrase "within the veil" refers to the Most Holy Place.

"Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat" (Leviticus 16:15 KJV).

Here we have blood being sprinkled on and before the mercy seat which is upon the ark. This, then, is another clear reference to "within the veil" obviously meaning entering the Most Holy Place.

"Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for everything of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death" (Numbers 18:7 KJV).

Only Aaron and his sons could enter the Most Holy Place "within the veil".

"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec" (Hebrews 6:19-20 KJV).

This is the lone New Testament reference for the phrase "within the veil". These verses instruct us that Jesus entered "within the veil" as our high priest. Again, the special privilege of the high priest was that only he was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place. Jesus as a better high priest than Aaron could do no less.

We have now reviewed all the Bible verses that contain the phrase "within the veil". While it is true that there were two veils in the ancient sanctuary one between the outer court and the Holy Place and one between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place it is obvious that without exception when the Holy Spirit mentions "within the veil" it refers to the Most Holy Place or the second apartment of the sanctuary. EGW was simply wrong when in the Great Controversy she said it referred to the first apartment or the Holy Place. "The ministration of the priest throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary, 'within the veil' which formed the door and separated the holy place from the outer court..."

EGW was apparently confused on the biblical meaning of "within the veil". She did not always write that it referred to the Holy Place. She my have believed that she could use the phrase as she saw fit even when at variance with the Holy Spirit's definition. In the following example she correctly used the phrase to refer to the second apartment or the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary. "I saw the Father rise from the throne, and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the veil, and sit down" (Early Writings, p. 55). This was a correct usage of "within the veil" as defined by the Holy Spirit.

EGW's misinterpretation of "within the veil" as in the Great Controversy quote above is directly linked to her assertion that Jesus upon his ascension entered the first apartment or the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. The question of whether or not there is actually a sanctuary in heaven is debatable. For this answer I will assume that there is a sanctuary in heaven.

I believe I can show with certainty to the unbiased person that EGW was wrong about the place Jesus entered upon his ascension. Stephen, the first martyr, saw Jesus at God's right hand in the first century. "But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:55 NASB).

Mark confirmed that Jesus upon his ascension went immediately to the right hand of God. "So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19 NASB).

Peter three times confirmed that Jesus was at the right hand of God in the first century. "...Jesus Christ,  who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him" (1 Peter 3:21-22 ESV). "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear" (Acts 2:33 NASB). "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:31 NASB).

Paul quite often and rather matter-of-factly confirmed that Jesus was at the right hand of God in the first century. "Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us" (Romans 8:34 NKJV). "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1 NKJV). "...After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3 ESV). "Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Hebrews 8:1 NASB). "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:12 ESV). "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2 NASB).

John even heard Jesus speak of his own location in heaven in the first century. "The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne" (Revelation 3:21 ESV).

All these references to "the right hand of God" and to the throne of God make it extremely clear that Jesus upon his ascension went into the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary. In the type on earth where did the ark of the covenant rest? It was always placed in the Most Holy Place. In fact the Most Holy Place was most holy because God dwelt there. Therefore, in the anti-type in heaven God's dwelling place is in the Most Holy Place. The EGW/SDA teaching that Jesus upon his ascension went into the Holy Place and ministered there until October 22, 1844 is without biblical support.

Thank you for the question. I pray that this answer enlightens you.

God Be With You,
Brother Sal

Seventh-Day Adventists

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I am privileged to be able to offer an alternative insight into the complicated world of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) theology. I will rely heavily on the Bible, but will also consider history and use logic in exposing deficiencies in SDA teachings. I would ask anyone who is considering becoming a SDA or if you are already in the SDA church, but are searching for the truth, to please allow me to offer a different explanation for the claims of the SDA. Remember : "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32). I can answer your questions pertaining to the beliefs and history of the SDA. I am not able to answer questions concerning spirituality or church discipline.


I have extensively studied the theology of the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) for a number of years. I have many books and tape sets produced by experts in this field of study. I have debated current members of the SDA church. I have a great desire to help these people see the truth.

M.S. degree in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics

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