Seventh-Day Adventists/Entering the Most Holy Place


"Still bearing humanity, He ascended to heaven, triumphant and victorious. He has taken the blood of the atonement into the holiest of all, sprinkled it upon the mercy-seat and His own garments, and blessed the people. Soon He will appear the second time to declare that there is no more sacrifice for sin. - Signs of the Times, April 19, 1905 Paragraph 4

I recently stumbled upon this quote while reading this ebook from Dr. Ford: "Seventh-Day Adventism - The Investigative Judgement And the Everlasting Gospel". In the quote, Ellen White seems to suggest, if not declare, that Jesus entered the Most Holy Place upon his ascension. Of course other quotes from EGW do not appear to agree but that is not the bigger issue I want to discuss. It seems the traditional view of Adventism has shifted on this issue of when Christ's enters the MHP. (Perhaps in an attempted to marginalize Ford.)

Of course, Cliff Goldstein argues in his "Graffiti In The Holy of Holies", that Christ does not enter the MHP until 1844 to begin the Investigative Judgment. He employed the not so famous "ta hagia" argument to demonstrate his position. However what I am truly after is whether or not our pioneers (Edson, Smith, Loughborough, Crossier, Mr or Mrs White, etc) ever held the view that Christ was restricted to the first apartment until 1844? Was there at least the implied idea that Jesus either could not or would not enter the MHP to compete His atoning work until 1844 by those who first articulated the Sanctuary doctrine as we understand it now. The reason I ask this is because the new shift I have encountered is that Jesus did indeed enter the MHP at the ascension and that this verity has no bearing on the critiques of the IJ doctrine. Does the aforementioned quote from EGW represent a departure from an old established traditional view or is it somehow still harmonious?

Today, few correctly understand the theological development of the SDA’s, least of all when and how the IJ was invented.  Moreover, the issues about the IJ are much more complex than when Jesus entered the Most Holy Place.  

First, the SDA’s always thought that Jesus entered the MHP in 1844.  This is how they dealt with the great disappointment.  They never changed this view, even though you may hear otherwise from those today trying to defend the IJ.  

To correctly understand the IJ, which is also known as the Pre-Advent Judgment of the church, it must be viewed within its’ proper historical framework.  This framework is the development of the Three Angels Messages, which is an eschatological paradigm that governs all SDA doctrine and mission.

Unfortunately, modern Adventists are taught to think the IJ is a doctrinal pillar located in the 1st Angels Message of Rev 14.  Thus to challenge or remove it, is to repudiate the foundation of the Three Angels Messages as well as to reject Ellen White’s apocalyptic views.  But this is not true.  What the SDA’s teach today about the IJ is not a view held by any of the Pioneers.  None of them taught that the IJ was located in the 1st Angels Message at any time.  Nor would any of them embrace this impossible viewpoint.

Let’s set the record straight about the Judgment in the Rev 14.7 as understood by the Pioneers, including Ellen White.  Did the early SDA’s teach that the IJ was located in the 1st Angels Message, as all modern SDA’s have been taught?  And as all critics also claim?  Or is this official position only myth and legalistic propaganda?  

What did the Adventist Pioneers traditionally believe on this point?  This is the real question that must be addressed.  The answer is stunning and paradigm shifting.

To be clear; there is no doctrine of the IJ located in the 1st Angels Message as the modern SDA’s teach.  There never was.  This official view of church history is flat out false and very misleading.   But yet, both the modern SDA’s and their many critics are laboring under this very false view about the IJ and the Three Angels Messages.  

While all sides assume the IJ in Dan 8: 14 was viewed by the Pioneers as fundamental SDA eschatology, linked to Rev 14.7, it is not true.  No 19th century SDA, including Edson, Bates, Ellen or James White, or Uriah Smith, taught that the IJ was located in the 1st Angels Message.  The “hour of his judgment has come” was only a reference to the 2nd Coming of Christ in SDA eschatology.  Period!  

Moreover, Ellen White makes it clear that once a “message” is over, it is fulfilled prophecy that cannot be changed.  Thus there was never any contemplation to revise Miller’s Judgment hour Message in Rev 14: 7, which was all about the 2nd Coming and change it to mean the IJ.  While the Takoma Park SDA’s taught such theology, it was pure myth and misdirection that has ruined the Advent Movement.

Ellen White never moved away from Miller’s fundamental definition of the 1st Angels Message.  None of the SDA Pioneers taught that the IJ was the “judgment” under discussion in Rev 14.7.  They all knew better and so too, should we today.  But this is not what history shows happened.  The SDA’s allowed themselves to believe myths and legends that have destroyed Adventism.

While the SDA’s claim to follow the Three Angels Messages, as defined by the Pioneers, the facts show otherwise.  Not only do they teach a very wrong definition, they also misunderstand the historical development of the IJ, which is a legalistic error associated with the 3rd Angels Message, not the 1st.  

When the Takoma Park apologists incorrectly inserted the IJ into the 1st Angels Messages, making it a fundamental and historical “pillar,” they doomed the modern SDA’s into following a counterfeit eschatology that has no endorsement from any of the Pioneers, especially Ellen White.  This is why the SDA’s are so confused, legalistic, and dysfunctional.  They have been following a very false and worthless path.  Adventism cannot function very well without the Three A’s.  It will eventually collapse, and this is what is taking place for all to see.

To better understand this point, here is some chronological context:  The start date for the 1st Angels Message is 1818, when Miller discovered this prophetic passage in Rev 14.  The end date is the Spring of 1844, when Christ did not return as predicted.  The IJ did not exist in 1844 or even 1854.  It was not invented until 1857, and not codified until the 1870’s.  

So how could the IJ possibly become a theological point earlier, when it did not exist?  It is not possible.

Uriah Smith associated the IJ with the 3rd Angels Message, not with the 1st, which had terminated and closed years before the IJ was invented.   Thus the facts are very different from what modern SDA’s have been taught to believe.  The IJ is not a “pillar” as the church teaches today, much less in the 1st Angels Message.  

The IJ is not the foundation of the Advent Movement, nor did it even exist in the timeframe of the 1st Angels Message.  It is great error.

According to Ellen White, and all the 19th century Adventists, the only Judgment pillar in the 1st Angels Message is the 2nd Coming.  This is what made the Adventists famous.  This is why they are called “Adventists.”  They were all about the 2nd Coming as the great Judgment Day and the end of the world.

Dr. Ford was correct all along.  He tried to explain these simple facts to the church leaders, but they hated the Gospel and refused to hear.  They were such legalists that they elevated the IJ as a great doctrine and falsified Adventist history in the process; forcing all to bow down to this pernicious IJ myth that is destroying the Advent Movement.

The modern SDA’s have confused themselves and everyone else in a futile attempt to defend the IJ.  Glacier View only made things worse as the leaders blindly supported Uriah Smith’s legalistic views, even as they hid documents in the White Estate to cover up Ellen White’s opposing viewpoints.  

The SDA’s today are very dishonest, which is too bad, because they do have some very important eschatology that needs to be updated.  

Moreover, Ellen White has much to say to all SDA’s.  Her voice has been manipulated and silenced for far too long.  Unless the SDA’s repent for so much false doctrine and manipulated history, and return to the original paradigm of the Three Angels Messages, they are doomed.

The Advent Movement is already dying.  Millions have left them, and more leave every day because people understand that the Bible does not teach the IJ and many other false doctrines that the SDA’s teach.  The SDA’s are an Old Covenant denomination when they should be  New Covenant.

Here is a quick survey of how Dan 8: 14 and the IJ has been revised and changed over the years:

The Changing Sanctuary Doctrine-1818 to present

While many SDA's think the Sanctuary/IJ/PAJ doctrine is an important fundamental that must be preserved at all costs, the facts are very different.

No Adventist teaching associated with Dan 8:14 has ever been "solid" or fully correct at any time.  From the very beginning of the Adventist Movement, there has ALWAYS been serious error with the Sanctuary doctrine.  Which is why Dan 8.14 has been changed and revised so many times.  And why it is still so wrong today.

First Two Interpretations of Daniel 8:14

From the very first attempt to understand Dan 8:14, Miller had the doctrine wrong when he declared that the Sanctuary was the earth to be "cleansed by fire" at the Judgment of the Second Coming.  When this event failed to take place, other Adventists, against his advice, revised the date for this "Sanctuary Cleansing" by proclaiming the end of the world on October 22, 1844.   

This was the first revision to Dan 8:14.  And it soon proved to be as wrong as Miller’s initial interpretation.  The expected Day of Judgment and the end of the world never took place.

Third Interpretation of Dan 8:14: The Heavenly Sanctuary Cleansed, -Not the Earth.  Hiram Edson.

Following the Great Disappointment of October 1844, the two previous Sanctuary positions were declared to be erroneous.  Dan 8:14 was dramatically re-interpreted by the SDA Pioneers to mean that the Heavenly Sanctuary was to be "cleansed" of sin prior to the Second Advent, NOT the Earth by fire, as Miller taught.   But even so, this early view was not the IJ, which would not be invented until 1857.

The SDA Pioneers teach that Jesus went into the Most Holy Place on October 22, 1844, instead of cleansing the earth with fire, as Miller taught.  Edson first promoted this corrective view.  However, this was NOT the IJ or even the concept of a Pre-Advent Judgment.  There were no books being opened, much less a judgment of the saints taking place.  Such views would come later.  

Hiram Edson

Ellen White wrote:  “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...Then a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire, surrounded by angels, came to where Jesus was. He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat. There I beheld Jesus, a great High Priest, standing before the Father. ..”  Early Writings, page 55.

By 1845 there had been THREE revisions of Dan 8:14, and there were at least THREE more to come. Why?  Because this process of error and reinterpretation would continue well into the 20th, and even the 21st century.   

In fact, there was never a time within the history of the Adventist Movement when Dan 8:14 and the Sanctuary doctrine was without error or debate. Even today, the IJ is very controversial, wrong, and polarizing.   Few realize how many times this dubious doctrine has been adjusted, revised, and changed over the years.  The IJ is a doctrine of sand, not a solid pillar of theology, like the 2nd Coming, which it has displaced.

Fourth Revision of Dan 8: 14; Battle Creek, Michigan- The Investigative Judgment

As the Adventist Movement went forward after the Millerite disappointment, the Battle Creek SDA's, in the late 1850's, made further revisions to the Sanctuary Doctrine.  Here is the original IJ from Uriah Smith.  This FOURTH revision added the concept of a Celestial Judgment of the saints to Edson’s generic teaching about the "Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary."

This is when the legalistic teaching that the individual characters of the saints would be judged to see if they were good enough to be saved.  Uriah Smith also taught that the atonement was not complete at this point, because the IJ had not been fully completed.  The IJ would also become known as the Pre-Advent Judgment of the last church.  Prior to the 1850’s, there was no concept of a PAJ or IJ.

This FOURTH revision slowly developed within Battle Creek and became famous, thanks primarily to Uriah Smith, the long time Review Editor.   He is the champion of the IJ, even writing a large book in the 1870’s that detailed this evolving and unique SDA doctrine.   Only in the late 20th century did this doctrine come under debate.  It was a minor doctrine for the Battle Creek SDA’s, as compared to the Sabbath.

Uriah Smith’s doctrine of the IJ was an extremely legalistic teaching that was very different from the earlier (Third) doctrine of "the Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary."  However, at no time did Edson or Uriah Smith teach that the IJ was linked to the Judgment in the 1st Angels Message.  It was only connected with the 3rd Angels Message, never to the 1st.

The FIFTH IJ Revision in Takoma Park

Following the great 1888 Battle Creek schism and the relocation of the denomination to Takoma Park, the Sanctuary Doctrine would not remain static.  It would soon undergo its FIFTH revision; a change, which would never have been approved by Edson, Uriah Smith, Ellen White, or any of the Pioneers.  

Surprisingly, the Takoma Park apologists began to incorrectly teach that the IJ was anchored in the 1st Angels Message of Rev 14: 7.  They taught that this “judgment hour” message was the IJ, even claiming that this is what Ellen White believed.  

However, this new view was a 20th century fabrication.  Although SDA leaders, like Froom and Arthur White, proclaimed the IJ to be part of the 1st Angels Message that could never be challenged or changed, it was not true.  The White Estate and the Review promoted so much propaganda on this point, supposedly from Ellen White, that this new and impossible position became normative for all 20th century Adventists.  

LeRoy Froom, an Adventist leader wrote that if the church didn't have the Investigative Judgment message that, "One would have no justifiable place in the religious world, no distinctive denominational mission and message, no excuse for functioning as a separate church entity today." Movement of Destiny, p. 542.

Today, it is assumed by both the SDA’s, and their critics, that the IJ is located in Rev 14.7.  But yet, no Pioneers teach this point, least of all Ellen White.  It is totally false.  Thus generations of modern Adventists have been deceived by their SDA leaders on this critical point.  And the scam continues to this very day.  

Ellen White would never approve of the doctrine of the IJ as taught by the church in the 20th or 21st centuries.  She would have condemned Glacier View and defended Dr. Ford just as she had done with EJ Waggoner in the 1888 debates.  She would also have been shocked that the White Estate would so flagrantly misrepresent her views about the 1st Angels Message and the IJ, outraged that that they would use her name to promote false doctrine that she never endorsed.

This incorrect and legalistic position about the IJ has had dire consequences for modern Adventists.  It has fractured and stalled this eschatological movement because it elevated the IJ into the status of a  "Pillar" that was unknown to the Battle Creek Pioneers, even as it subordinated the great pillar of the 2nd Coming.  

In short, the IJ has ruined the modern Advent Movement, turning it into a denomination that focused on personal behavior and legalism instead of the Protestant Gospel and the 2nd Coming.

Those, like Dr. Ford, that would not accept the many failed revisions of Dan 8:14, would be ostracized from the Adventist Movement and considered traitors.  But the fact of the matter is this:  the SDA’s went to war to protect a false version of the 1st Angels Message, and a false view of the Gospel, as well as false view of Ellen White.  Pity.

After Glacier View in 1980, the 5th revision to Sanctuary doctrine became part of the new official Creed called the 27 Fundamentals.  This Takoma Park error created great confusion and controversy that has effectively derailed the modern Adventist Movement.

In fact, the outcome of Glacier View created such a major schism within the Adventist Community that it precipitated a massive exodus from the church unparalleled since the Battle Creek debacle at the turn of the 20th century.  Millions left, and more leave all the time.

With such a large IJ backlash taking place, it didn't take long for the leaders to realize they had made a serious mistake by elevating and enforcing Uriah Smith’s legalistic views.  Therefore they went to work to make more adjustments to the ever-changing Sanctuary doctrine.  They would now try to make it seem more Gospel friendly, even as they still pretended it was sourced in the 1st Angels Message, when that point was never true.

The SIXTH, Post-Glacier View Revision; Silver Spring, Md.

Glacier View was an instant disaster for the SDA’s. This is where Dr. Ford debunked the IJ and declared that Jesus had entered the Most Holy Place directly after his Ascension.  Not in 1844.  Such a correct, New Covenant position stunned the church, even as Dr. Ford explained that the Pioneers never viewed the IJ as if it were  “the judgment pillar” located in the 1st Angels Message.  But the leaders refused to believe the facts or repent for their obsession with 1844.  Or with their gross legalism that underscored this false doctrine.

Notwithstanding the exile of Dr. Ford in 1980, the Adventist leaders quickly realized that the IJ was not sustainable or defendable.  While they understood that Dr. Ford’s view of the Gospel was clearly more popular than Uriah Smiths doctrine of the IJ, they wanted to find a way to keep both.  Thus the leaders tried, once again, to reconfigure Dan 8: 14, making it sound more Gospel friendly.  This would be the 6th revision.

The post Glacier View leaders now declared that Dan 8: 14 was not about who was "good enough" to be saved--but rather--who had saving faith in Christ. Such a spin does not represent the original Battle Creek doctrine of the IJ, nor does it make any theological sense.  It is just more double-talk from those that refuse to repent for false doctrine.

Instead of the saints and their characters being on trial, as Uriah Smith taught, the SIXTH version placed God on trial, claiming that he needed to prove that he was just and fair to the universe.

Uriah Smith would not have supported this revised position any more than he would have supported the fifth version that had also incorrectly placed the IJ in the 1st Angels Message.  But regardless, this new, post Glacier View spin about the Sanctuary/IJ/PAJ is being promoted by the Denomination today, along with some additional claims, as if Glacier View had never taken place. And it is this 6th and latest version that is being presented to the church through the Review and the Sabbath School lessons.

The strategy to promote the sixth IJ revision required a new policy, which the leaders called "pluralism."  This stunt allowed the divided Denomination to embrace either the fifth or the more recent and Gospel friendly, sixth version of the Sanctuary/IJ/ PAJ doctrine.  

Such a compromise was designed to stop the post Glacier View schism and allow the church to move forward without having to admit that they had been wrong about Dan 8:14, or Glacier View, or anything. Instead of repenting for the error of the IJ, and locating the correct Pre- Advent Judgment in the New Testament, the leaders continued to craft propaganda rather than apologize to Dr. Ford.

Today, after SIX versions of Dan 8:14, no one should be under any illusion that the Sanctuary/IJ/PAJ doctrine is solid or unchangeable, much less correct. As if it has not undergone numerous and repeated revisions that has dramatically changed its’ meaning over time.  The fact of the matter is that Dan 8:14 is the most problematic, revised, and controversial doctrine in the SDA church. Unless this passage is correctly resolved, the SDA’s are doomed.

Few today correctly understand the complex and checkered history of the Sanctuary doctrine.  The IJ has brought great perplexity and schism to modern Adventism and it has to be honestly addressed and resolved.  The IJ/ PAJ is ruining the Advent Movement.  This false and impossible doctrine must be exposed for what it is, and removed, if the Advent Movement plans to return to the original Three Angels Messages.

Today, the failure to correctly understand Dan 8: 14 and the Three angles Message of Rev 14 is destroying the Advent Movement.  The confusion and error over the concept of the Pre-Advent Judgment has left the SDA church mired in theological chaos and endless schism that will never be resolved until the Seventh and final interpretation of the PAJ emerges.  

As the world becomes more fearful of an apocalyptic event, the Adventists have nothing worthwhile to say.  They have no Gospel based eschatology at the very time when one is needed.  How strange? They have misunderstood the very Judgment in Rev 14 that gave them birth, repudiating the Three Angels Message in the process.  What a great mistake they have made.

It is time for the Adventist Community to understand the truth about Dan 8:14 and the Three Angels Messages.  The Gospel meaning of the Pre-Advent Judgment is a very different doctrine from what the confused SDA’s have taught.  The sooner they become honest, apologizing to Dr. Ford, the better for the Advent Movement.

As for Clifford Goldstein; he is a paid apologist, thus his loyalty is to defend those that pay his salary.  Clifford is neither a scholar nor a historian.  He is bought and paid for by the hierarchy.  Thus he promotes worthless propaganda and many errors.  

The same goes for all that work for the Old Covenant minded SDA’s.  Church workers, including Pastors, are not allowed to be theologically open or honest about the IJ, Ellen White, or Adventist history.  All are forced to follow a false, Old Covenant style Gospel and embrace a fraudulent, broken version of Adventism that has no support from Ellen White.

The White Estate is the most dishonest.  They have promoted a false and manipulated church history, badly misrepresenting Ellen White’s views in the process.  Unless they repent and set the record straight, the SDA’s will continue to self-destruct for all to see.  This process is already taking place.  Few have anything nice to say about Adventism, which is sad, because they invented modern eschatology and thus they have much truth that needs to be better understood.  

I hope this answer has helped you better understand the history of the Dan 8.14 and the IJ.

Here is some links for further study:

Desmond Ford's New Book

IJ / Pre-Advent Judgment

The Judgment in the 1st Angels Message

IJ Discussion: Tom Norris & Herb Kersten

The IJ/Pre-Advent Judgment

Gospel regards,

Tom Norris for All Experts.Com & Adventist Reform

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Tom Norris


I can answer most any question about church history and theology, starting from 1818 when William Miller articulated the 1st Angels Message that became the foundation of the Adventist Movement. While this first prophetic message terminated in the spring of 1844, it was followed by what Adventists refer to as the 2nd Angels Message, which dates from the spring of 1844 until the great disappointment of October 22, 1844. By 1847, the 3rd Angels Message had been developed and this Sabbatarian theology represents the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Moreover, I can explain the historical and theological development of the SDA denomination from its beginning and on through the great Battle Creek schism that forced the SDA's to retreat to Takoma Park. Here the 20th century church recovered from their internal battles that had erupted at the 1888 General Conference in Minneapolis over the definition of the law and the Gospel. Fearing another repeat of this disaster, President Daniels, determined to hide this debate. However, this policy led to more conflict, especially over the role and authority of Ellen White, a unique and accomplished religious writer that had remarkable spiritual gifts. However, by the decade of the 1970`s, the church once again erupted into debate. The hierarchy settled the turmoil in 1980 with the trial of Dr. Desmond Ford at Glacier View. Here Dr. Ford was exiled because he supposedly disagreed with Ellen White over the Fundamentals. But this controversial action resulted in another major schism that is still in progress today.


Tom Norris was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist in Takoma Park, Md. He attended SDA grade and High schools, moving on to study Adventist theology at Columbia Union College. He also spent significant time conducting independent research in the General Conference Archives and the Ellen G. White Estate. Over the years he has also interviewed a number of prominent Adventist scholars, theologians, and Pastors ranging from the late Arthur White to the exiled Dr. Desmond Ford. In addition, he has amassed a large private library, which includes numerous rare books and manuscripts about Adventist theology and history. He is presently the online editor of Adventist Reform, and can be found at Adventist for Tomorrow answering questions online about SDA theology and history as well as promoting Adventist Reform.

Tom Norris attended SDA grade and High schools, moving on to study Adventist theology at Columbia Union College. He also spent significant time conducting independent research in the General Conference Archives and the Ellen G. White Estate.

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