God's Investigative Judgment:
Is it for Real?
The Bible teaches that there are two judgments that are to take place in the plan of Salvation. The first of these is an investigation of those who have ever chosen or claimed to serve God, which, believe it or not, includes the power represented by the talking horn of Daniel 7 on the dreadful beast. This judgment is called the investigative judgment. The second of these judgments is a judgment of those who have not been saved to determine their punishment. But, God knows the end of history from the beginning, so He does not need to engage in such a judgment. Therefore, the logical questions are: why are there judgments at all since God knows everything? Who is judged? Why are they judged? Where are they judged? Who does the judging? And when are they judged?
Three parts of the Bible teach about the judgment before the second coming of Jesus. This is in addition to other evidence scattered throughout the Bible about the investigative judgment. The first of these is the Day of Atonement service that was done in the Old Testament Sanctuary. It was a day on which all were cleaned of their sins if they participated as required. Those who did not participate were to no longer have a part with the people of Israel, which is symbolic of the fact that those who do not have their sins cleaned off their record during the investigative judgment will not have a part with spiritual saved Israel - those Jesus takes to heaven with him when He returns the second time. Next is the book of Daniel, particularly Daniel 7 and 8. Three times it states that a judgment occurs between the taking away of the dominion of the talking horn and the end of the world. The last of these is the book of Revelation, particularly Revelation 11. Revelation 11 details that before the second coming, those who claim Jesus will be judged to determine their reward for following Him. For the evidence about these, either scroll down or else click on the links below.
Why Is There a Judgment If God Knows the Fate Of Everyone From the Beginning?
God has angels that do His work of administering the government of the universe. Although the Bible does not come out and plainly let us in on how extensive this activity is, we can get a glimpse of it from several texts in the Bible. God knows history from beginning to end and it is like an open book to Him. Yet His created beings don't know this same information because their minds are finite and they are bound to time, unlike God. Consequently, though He knows who on earth will be saved from the beginning of this world (now PLEASE! - don't confuse this with predestination - they are NOT the same!!!), His created beings don't know this and must have a chance to know God has been fair to everyone. Consequently, it makes logical sense that before the second coming of Jesus (which is to occur soon), God will permit investigation of the lives of everyone who has ever claimed salvation for themselves. Further, it makes logical sense that God would want this to be an open process so that everyone in heaven or elsewhere in the universe who has any interest in this at all, will be able to investigate so that they will be satisfied that a fair process has occurred in selecting those who will be saved.
So, this investigation is done for the benefit of the angels in heaven and other intelligent living beings who live elsewhere in this universe. This is called the investigative judgment and it is real. The term investigative judgment is NOT in the Bible but is a term invented to describe the process of this judgment now going on in heaven. It is taught in the Bible and is a judgment of the righteous that occurs BEFORE Jesus comes the second time in clouds of glory. It is NOT a judgment to determine the amount of punishment the righteous will receive should it be determined that they have turned away from the gift of eternal life. That comes later for them along with all other sinners. So, for the righteous, it is really not a judgment per se even, though it is called a judgment, but rather an investigation to show that God has been fair in making up his list of people who will be given the gift of eternal life.
The judgment of sinners is to occur AFTER the second coming of Jesus and evidently is more for the benefit of those who have been saved than anyone else, because they certainly are going to want to know why certain of their friends or relatives are not in heaven. At the same time, the amount of punishment to be handed out is determined when this future judgment takes place.
Defining Judgment as Used in the Bible
Before proceeding with the study below on the investigative judgment, the first issue is to define judgment as used in the Bible in regards to the final destiny of each person. There are two main meanings of judgment used in the Bible which are similar to the two phases of judgment typically used is courtrooms in much of the world today. The first is that of weighing evidence. This phase may include a decision about the reward/punishment to be given out. The second is the execution of judgment, which is giving out the reward/punishment for the life lived and choices made. Those who have accepted the life and death of Jesus in their place and have given their lives over to his control, will receive the reward of eternal life, which they will receive when Jesus comes the second time. Those who have chosen evil for their way of life, or refused the offer of Jesus, will receive the reward of punishment in hell and finally eternal death - once death takes hold on them, there will never be a resurrection for them. The decision for the reward of the righteous is made in the investigative judgment if they have accepted the life and death of Jesus and given Him control of their lives. The reward for all who have not done this will be decided in the judgment to be done during the millennium after Jesus returns the second time.
Below is a study of the investigative judgment that includes questions to which you should find the answers in the Bible. This is taken from a series of Bible studies, so you might find comments referring to another one of the Bible studies of the series. However, all you need to know about the investigative judgment is included in this lesson. The authors hope it helps you better understand this issue.
The Investigative Judgment Bible Study
In this study we will consider what the Sanctuary truth reveals about the closing events of this earth’s history. The purpose of this study is to strengthen your faith in Christ and prepare you to face the coming crisis that will transpire before the second advent and the end of the world.
One of the events that has to take place before Christ can come to take believers to heaven is the vindication of the saints against the accusations of the devil. Satan is “the accuser of the brethren ... which accused them before God day and night.” He is the great enemy of souls, and as such is determined that none of the believers make it to heaven.
Therefore, before the second advent can take place, Christ, our Great High Priest and Intercessor, has to vindicate the saints in the judgment. This is part of the good news of salvation.
This judgment of the saints is referred to as the Investigative Judgment. This is what we will examine in this study.
1. What change takes place to our status when we believe in Christ?
John 5:24 __________________________________________________
Note: at the cross the entire human race was executed in Christ, our substitute. Because of this supreme sacrifice every sinner, who by faith receives Christ as their personal Savior, passes from death (condemnation) to life (justification).
2. Will believers have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ?
Romans 14:10 __________________________________________________
Note: Since a believer has already passed from condemnation to justification, the question is often asked why believers have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The answer is because, as in all court cases, there is an accuser.
3. Who accuses the believers and how often does he accuse them?
Revelation 12:10 __________________________________________________
4. Who is on the believer’s side in this court case?
Romans 8:31 __________________________________________________
Note: What Paul is saying here is that since God is on the believer’s side, it does not matter who is against us. All three members of the Godhead are on our side in the investigative judgment. This is indeed good news!
5. How do we know that God is on our side?
Romans 8:32 __________________________________________________
Note: With blood mingled with His sweat, indicating great distress, Jesus plead with His Father in the garden of Gethsemane, that if it were possible, could He remove the cup from Jesus. The Father’s reply was NO because He so loved the world. Without the cross, man would be lost.
6. Besides dying for our sins, what is Christ now doing for us?
Romans 8:34 __________________________________________________
Note: In Christ we not only have a perfect Savior but also an intercessor who will defend us against all the accusations of Satan. He is our advocate now and in the judgment (see 1 John 2:1).
7. What witness does the Holy Spirit bear to every believer?
Romans 8:16 __________________________________________________
Note: In the judgment, all three persons of the Godhead — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit — are on the side of the believers. With such a defense on our side, we can be sure that Satan has no chance in the judgment to win his case against us.
8. According to Peter, with whom does the final judgment begin?
1 Peter 4:17 __________________________________________________
Note: The term “house of God” refers to all those who by faith have accepted Christ as their personal Saviour and whose names are written in the book of life. In this judgment, Christ acts as their advocate and Satan as their accuser.
9. What will be exposed in the judgment of the believers?
1 Corinthians 4:5 __________________________________________________
Note: We humans judge each other by our outward acts but God judges us by our motives. Sometimes our acts are wrong even though in our hearts we want to do what is right (see Romans 7:19,20). This is part of our Christian struggle. But God understands and will judge us by the counsels of the heart.
10. What were we created in Christ to do?
Ephesians 2:10 __________________________________________________
Note: Not only did Christ save us from condemnation to justification but also from a life of sin to a life of good works. These good works do not save us, but they are evidence of our salvation.
11. What is dead if justification by faith does not produce good works?
James 2:17 __________________________________________________
Note: Genuine justification by faith always produces good works. However, the believer may not be aware of these good works since they are the fruits of the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 25:34-40).
12. The good works of the believer are profitable to whom?
Titus 3:8 __________________________________________________
Note: Good works do not save us but they do give evidence to others that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. People judge us by our behavior and they must see the love of Christ manifested in every believer.
13. What clear evidence proves that we are followers of Christ?
John 13:34,35 __________________________________________________
Note: The greatest proof we Christians can give to the world that we are born-again believers is by manifesting the selfless love of Christ. According to the Bible, such love is the true keeping of the law (see Galatians 5:13,14).
14. How is a person justified by God?
Romans 3:28 __________________________________________________
Note: We must constantly remind ourselves that we are justified, or declared righteous, before God by faith alone in Jesus Christ. Law-keeping does not save us but is the evidence of our salvation. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (see 1 John 5:1-3).
15. How will we be judged in the investigative judgment?
Revelation 20:12 __________________________________________________
Note: The Bible is clear that we sinners are justified by faith alone, apart from any good works we do (see Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5). Yet believers are judged and rewarded according to their works (see Matthew 16:27; John 5:28,29: 2 Corinthians 5:10). How do we reconcile this apparent contradiction? This will be answered in the next few questions.
16. What is the greatest proof we can give that we are justified by faith?
Matthew 5:14-16 __________________________________________________
Note: As Christians we are to be the light of the world. It is not by our words that we give evidence of this but by our works. As Jesus said, they shall know us by our fruits (Matthew 7:16-20).
17. What did (i) Christ redeem us from, and (ii) why?
Titus 2:14 (i) ________________________________________________
18. What did the works of Abraham prove?
James 2:22 __________________________________________________
Note: Abraham’s works proved that his faith was genuine. In the same way, our works of faith will be used by Christ, our advocate, to prove in the investigative judgment that our faith is true.
19. What kind of works will not justify a person before God?
Galatians 2:16 __________________________________________________
Note: We must not confuse works of faith, which is the fruit of the gospel, with works of the law. The phrase “works of the law” refers to good works or keeping the law in order to earn salvation. In English, we call it legalism. In contrast, “works of faith” are the fruit of the Spirit. While these fruits do not contribute toward our salvation, they do give evidence of it. That is why they will be brought up in the judgment, to prove our justification by faith.
20. According to the prophet Daniel, how many will stand before the judgment seat of God?
Daniel 7:10 __________________________________________________
Note: Daniel is here describing the investigative judgment of the saints. While the saints themselves will not be physically present there, they will be represented by their great High Priest and advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous (see Zechariah 3:1-4; Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus).
21. In this judgment of the saints, who will be vindicated?
Daniel 7:22 __________________________________________________
Note: The verdict in the investigative judgment will be in favor of the saints. It is only after Christ has vindicated us that He will come to take us to heaven. This is the blessed hope for which we are all waiting.
22. For how long will the saints rule with Christ?
Daniel 7:26,27 __________________________________________________
Note: This is the consummation of the ages. At this time, Satan and his kingdom will be forever destroyed. In its place, God will usher in His everlasting kingdom, where peace will reign forever. By faith, plan to be there.
Investigative Judgment Advanced Bible Study
The investigative judgment is an issue that is stated in Daniel 7, but many miss it. The author himself has read that chapter many times and knew that it was in that chapter, but failed to notice that it is stated there three times. Here is an outline of Daniel 7 and the judgment that is presented there:
Daniel 7:1-7 4 beasts
Daniel 7:8-14 which consists of the following steps:
(1) Talking Horn described (2) Thrones placed and Ancient of Days shows up and takes His seat (this must refer to God the Father because He is distinguished from the Son of Man, a reference to Jesus). Note that you cannot tell where these thrones are placed, but it is obvious that God has changed locations. Also note that more than one throne is placed for it says "thrones". (3) In verse 10, it becomes obvious that a judgment begins with millions of participants. (4) Verses 11-12, the beast continues to speak blasphemy (after the 1260 years) until it is destroyed by fire, something that we know will not happen until the end. (5) The one described as the Son of Man shows up and receives the kingdom and the saints also take possession of the kingdom, which means this must occur at the second coming.
So, what verses 8-14 boil down to is this:
(1) talking horn is in power, (2) judgment occurs, (3) second coming.
This is repeated twice more in Daniel 7 with more details thrown in.
Daniel 7:19-22 is a repeat of this. Here is the description:
Daniel 7:19-20 In this, Daniel says he wants more details about the beast, the 10 horns, and the talking horn. Daniel 7:21 War is made upon the saints until judgment occurs. Daniel 7:22 Judgment occurs and the result is in favor of the saints Daniel 7:22 Saints take the kingdom (this refers to the second coming of Jesus)
So, again, verses 7:19-22 boil down to this:
(1) talking horn in power, (2) judgment, (3) second coming.
This is beginning to sound familiar!
Now, Daniel 7:23-27 is also a repeat of the above. Here is the description:
(1) talking horn in power for 1260 years (2) judgment is set and dominion is taken away (dominion taken away in 1798), (3) kingdom given to the saints who take it (second coming)
By now it should be obvious that there is a judgment between the time of dominion or power of the talking horn (which ended in 1798) and the second coming. The conclusion is inescapable.
There are some who claim that because the thrones are set in Daniel 7:9, and since God resides in heaven, he does not need to have thrones set up for they are already there, and so the judgment must be done here on earth. The trouble is, these verses make it clear that there is a judgment between 1798 and the second coming. At no time has anyone seen God and his angels going about the business of judgment here upon earth, so any conclusions that these thrones must be placed upon earth is erroneous. God could simply have changed locations to somewhere else in heaven and that would mean that the thrones would need to be placed wherever he was moving to. It cannot be proven that the judgment takes place upon earth based on these verses.
The fact that the judgment is given in favor of the saints (which implies it goes against the beast) indicates that this is the judgment of all who have ever chosen to serve Christ. That is because it obviously involves the Christian world. This judgment is not the judgment of selecting punishment, but rather one of satisfying the concerns of others in this universe and deciding the reward of the righteous. No punishment selection phase is mentioned in the description of this judgment.
Clearly, there is a judgment of some sort for all who have ever chosen to serve Christ. But to clarify the nature of this judgment, it is helpful to look to other sources in the Bible.
With the idea in mind that the investigative judgment involves all who have ever chosen to serve Christ, consider Revelation 11. This chapter is one of the most confusing in all of Revelation for many people, and yet much of it need not be so confusing. Right at the beginning of it, like some other chapters in Revelation, it introduces a setting for the chapter. In this particular instance, it introduces it by giving two time frames for the entire chapter through the use of symbolism. Here is what Revelation 11:1-2 says:
Rev 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
Rev 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
Note that a few mostly modern versions have the last phrase of verse 1 to read like this: "and count the worshipers who are in it. " This appears to be an incorrect translation intended to better convey the thought of what John is told. But the author has checked with his Greek-English interlinear, which is a direct word-for-word translation, and there is no indication that counting the worshipers was ever the intended meaning of the phrase, but rather instead it strongly conveys the idea of measuring the worshipers.
In verse 1, why measure the temple, the altar, and the worshipers? At the same time, why NOT measure the court outside the temple?
But notice it connects a time frame with the reason for NOT measuring the outer court. It says that this area is not to be measured because it is given to the gentiles. The gentiles will trample the holy city under foot for 1260 days (42 months). The holy city is used here as a symbol of the people of God. Thus time is connected with the reason NOT to measure the outer court. Logically, then, it is probable that time is connected with the measurement of the temple, the altar, and the worshippers, but one has to examine the remainder of Revelation 11 to see if that is so. Careful examination reveals that time is indeed connected to this measurement. And Daniel 7 backs up this idea.
Before explaining how time is connected to the measurement of the temple, alter, and the worshippers, let us digress for a minute and consider this question: What does God mean by the symbolism of measuring the temple, the altar, and the worshippers?
To answer these questions, go back to Daniel 5 to find out what measuring means in apocalyptic literature (Daniel and Revelation are both classified as apocalyptic literature by Bible scholars). Here the story is told of the party thrown by king Belshazzar. Suddenly, in the middle of the party, a hand writes strange characters on the wall, and nobody present could read them. Finally, Daniel is called and he is able to read them. What he says is that the words declare that the king has been weighed and found wanting, so his kingdom was being given to another. This event, as described in the Bible, is a supernatural event, for hands without a body don't write on walls, or anywhere else for that matter. This clarifies that a judgment by God had been made about Belshazzar, and as a result, he was to lose his kingdom. That very night, the Medes and Persians diverted the Euphrates River and sneaked under the gates barring the way over the river into the portion of the river between the 2 parts of the city that lay on both sides of the river. They gained access to it and took the city. Belshazzar died that very night.
Clearly, to be weighed was to be judged or Belshazzar would not have been told his kingdom was being given to another. Weighing is a form of measuring. So, in Revelation 11, when the prophet is told to measure the temple of God, the altar, and the people in it (those who worship God), he was telling us that at some time in the future, a judgment was to occur in which God, salvation, and the people of God will be judged in some fashion or another. The only question remaining is when is this judgment to occur? More on that a little further down.
Additional evidence that measuring is a Biblical synonym for judgment, consider Matthew 7:2 which says:
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Luke 6:38 makes the same statement and uses measure in the same way:
Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Sometimes the word measure is used in the Bible to imply that judgment is to be done. Here are a couple of examples where that is done:
Isa 65:6 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,
Isa 65:7 Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.
Jer 30:11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.
Revelation 11:2 corresponds to the time of the 1260 days of Daniel 7, during which no judgment is to take place. You can know that no judgment is to take place because there is no measurement during the 1260 days/years. Note that in Daniel 7, the judgment is to occur AFTER the 1260 days. Consequently, it would be logical to find in Revelation 11 that the judgment is to occur AFTER the 1260 days, and in fact that is exactly what happens. Here is a general outline of Revelation 11 so you understand that this is indeed so (see diagram further below for the same basic information):
(1) Revelation 11:1-2 gives information about the 2 time frames of the chapter. These were mentioned above. (2) Revelation 11:3-13 gives information about the 2 witnesses who die and are resurrected and are taken up towards heaven. This occurs during the 1260 days time period referred to in verse 2. (3) Revelation 11:14 says that the second woe (6th trumpet) was finished at that point. This ended during the summer of 1840, something that can be demonstrated by history. This also indicates that events prior to this in the chapter had to have occurred before this point in time, and things after this in the chapter proceed after this time. (4) Revelation 11:15-19 deals with events after 1798 to what is likely the 7th plague, which occurs just as Jesus comes.
As you can see, verses 3-13 deal with the 1260 days, while verses 15-19 deal with the other time frame given in verse 1. Since verses 15-19 follow the end of the second woe, we can see that verses 15-19 must occur after the summer of 1840, and run to the end of time for this world.
Looking at verses 15-19, one can see that judgment of the righteous is referred to here. Here is what verses 15-19 say:
Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.
Rev 11:16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God,
Rev 11:17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
Rev 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
But to continue, note that when the 7th angel sounds, it says that the kingdoms of this world become the property of Christ. This refers to the formal transfer of the kingdom that occurs at the end of the judgment of the righteous. It is at this point that the power over the world is transferred to Christ and He becomes king of this world. Before taking the kingdom, He first allows everyone in heaven to see whether he made the right choices about who He is going to save in His new kingdom. Then He takes possession of the kingdom. Shortly after that, He returns to Earth for the second time to retrieve His followers. This transfer of power is what is referred to in Daniel 7. Here is what it says about that in Daniel 7:
Dan 7:10 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 7:13 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 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
This sounds very much like Revelation 11:15, does it not? So as you can see, the judgment occurs first, and then Christ assumes power over the kingdoms of this world.
Revelation 11:18 says "and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great;". This is followed by verse 19, which is probably the 7th plague referred to in Revelation 16:21, which says: "And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.". This plague occurs when Jesus comes again. It is the last plague to occur upon humans before Jesus comes again.
But the point of this is that Revelation 11:18 says that the dead should be judged. Who does it say should receive their reward in that verse? "the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great". Indeed, you should be able to see by this that the judgment which occurs before Jesus comes again is over those who are the righteous. Now, Daniel 7 indicates that the judgment also involves the talking horn, which we can identify from history as being the Papacy. It fits here because it too claims the name of Christ and claims to be among the saints. God says that this judgment will go against it and in favor of those the Papacy has persecuted and those who truly are the saints and fear the name of God. Thus, many individuals within the Catholic Church will be saved along with many outside that church for it is those who truly serve God that will be judged worthy to be saved. But those within the Papacy who have persecuted others or taught others to do things that they personally know are not according to the will of God, will receive condemnation instead of salvation. Those who have not done God's will are to receive condemnation even if they are not part of the Papacy.
By now the reader should be able to understand Revelation 11:1-2, that the first verse is in fact referring to the time of the judgment that occurs after 1798, while verse 2 refers to events before 1798 during the 1260 days. This follows the pattern that could be said to be an AB-BA pattern, where "A" = the events of the judgment time, and "B" = the events before 1798 during the 1260 days/years. The first "A" is the judgment time frame, while the second "A" is the detailed explanation of that time frame. The first "B" is the 1260 days time frame before 1798, while the second "B" is the detailed explanation of events of relevance for this chapter during that time frame. So there is a mirror image pattern observed in this chapter.
The AB-BA pattern is also true of the subject matter of Revelation 11. Consider that verse 1 says to measure the temple, altar, and the worshipers there. These are all symbols of the church and the people in the church. Revelation 11:15-19 deals with the judgment time and it is the people who have claimed Christ who are judged during that time. This would correspond to the "A" part of the pattern. The "B" part of the pattern is for all those not inside the temple. Verse 2 says that the outer court is given to the gentiles because they will trample the holy city (a symbol of those who serve God) under foot for 42 months. This says that the "B" part of the chapter, verses 3-13, is dealing with activities of the gentiles during that time.
Below is a diagram of the AB-BA Pattern of Revelation 11. Note that the second A and second B are explanations of the first A theme and first B theme, both of which set up time limits for the fulfillment of the prophecy. Hopefully this helps the reader better understand Revelation 11 and its relation to time and judgment.
When Did the Investigative Judgment Begin?
The Second Woe - Ending Date
How can the reader determine when the judgment actually started? As has already been pointed out, the end of the 2nd woe occurs in verse 14 of Revelation 11. The Bible says that the 2nd woe was to continue for a year, a month, a day, and an hour in Revelation 9:15 ("And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. "). The 2nd woe was the 6th trumpet of Revelation 9. The first woe is known to have begun in the year 1299 and ended in the year 1449, which lasted for 150 years (the five months of Revelation 9:10 "And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. ", 30 days/years X 5 = 150 days/years, remember days are symbolic of years in Bible prophecy). The first woe covered the takeover of the Byzantine empire (the eastern Roman empire) and led to the fall of Constantinople to the Muslims. The first woe was the 5th trumpet of Revelation 9.
The second woe began immediately in the year 1449. Now a year in Bible prophecy is 360 days, so this would be 360 years. But it also was to continue for a month, day, and hour more. This would be 31 years and 15 days (1 month = 30 days/years, 1 day = 1 year, 1 hour = 1/24th of a prophetic day = 360 days/24 = 15 literal days). During the year 1840, a fellow by the name of Josiah Litch believed that he had come to understand this prophecy, and based on history he was able to predict that the Ottoman empire (which at that time was the Muslim empire that was controlling much of the Middle East and parts of Southeastern Europe (such as Bosnia), would fall during the summer of 1840. It happened just as he predicted. In a conference, the Ottoman empire signed an agreement with European nations putting itself largely under their control.
Some have dismissed this prediction because the results of his prediction was only a few months away from actually happening, and yet that ignores the fact that this was written into the book of Revelation about 1700 years before it actually happened. It sure was not obvious to the writer of Revelation that this was going to happen, but it was clear to God. He foresaw it and predicted it and proved it by telling John to write it into the book of Revelation.
But what this means is that the events of Revelation 11:3-13 must occur before the summer of 1840. Everything after that applies to time after the summer of 1840, because in Revelation 11:15, which follows in the sequence of events, the 7th trumpet is blown and then begins the judgment and the third woe. So, the judgment must begin after the summer of 1840.
The Old Testament Sanctuary - Leviticus 16
But, can we be a little more exact? Yes we can! Here is how. In the old testament God told the Israelites to build a tabernacle, which was to be His meeting place with them. There were many ceremonies connected with this tabernacle, along with a number of feasts. The purpose of these ceremonies was to deal with the problem of sin and to symbolize the future of the plan of salvation for mankind. Because of this, there are things we can learn about the plan of salvation from the Old Testament sanctuary services that reach down to our time and even beyond. God did mean for it to be used as a symbol that even we can learn from, though we no longer need to carry out the ceremonies that were done in the sanctuary.
The Israelites were told to bring animals for sacrifices to offer if they wanted God to forgive their sins. The substitution of an animal's life for their own was to be an object lesson to them that sin causes the second death (the kind that will be experienced in hell) of the sinner, but God has provided a substitute for that. This substitute was Jesus, who died the second death on the cross for our sins (the second death is separation from God totally and completely, which is why, as He died on the cross, He asked why God had left Him). In the sanctuary services, the lamb or other animal was the stand-in for both the sinner and the eventual true substitute for the sinner, Jesus. This is the sort of service that went on daily in the sanctuary for hundreds of years.
Think about this for a minute. Jesus is the ultimate substitute for our sins. Those sins of ours caused Him to leave His heavenly home for this dangerous world and cost Him his own life. He took a real risk to Himself that He would sin and be forever separated from God. Yet fortunately, He succeeded, and as a result, the right life He lived for us on this world and the death He personally experienced, is ours simply by asking for it and giving our lives to Him. God will substitute the record of the life and death of Jesus in place of our own. That way we can be made right with God.
During the daily sacrifices of the Israelite sanctuary, sins were symbolically transferred to the sanctuary. These remained in the sanctuary until they were symbolically cleansed out of the sanctuary during the day of atonement once a year. You can read all about the day of atonement service in Leviticus 16.
Once a year, the day of atonement came and all Israel had to prepare for that day. On that day, the Israelites were to examine their lives and make sure any remaining sins were confessed to God and cleaned out of their life. It is for this reason that they were told to "afflict their souls" on that day (Lev 16:29).
So it is today that during the investigative judgment that is going on right now in heaven, we are to get our lives right with God and prepare to meet him. Those who do this will NOT have their names REMOVED from the book of life, which are entered there when they give their lives to Christ. The Israelites were told that if they did NOT engage in this examination of their lives, they were to have no more part in their nation and were to be cut off from the people of Israel. This was a symbol of what will happen to those who refuse to make their lives right with God during the judgment going on right now in heaven, because after this process is finished, God will come to this world to take the righteous to be with Him. Those who have NOT made their lives right with God will die when He comes because their names will have already been removed from the book of life. It this way, they are "cut off" just as the Israelites would be who refused to participate in the day of atonement activities.
But you may wonder if you are being told the truth about this, so let us examine what the Bible says about this.
First, the Israelites were made clean from their sins on that day. Here is the evidence for that:
Lev 16:30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
As you can see, on this day the Israelites were cleaned of their sins. We know that is true because God says so. That should be plain enough.
Next, were the sins of the Israelites transferred to the sanctuary by the daily sacrifices? Here is the evidence for that. God said it is blood that must be used to make an atonement for the soul. This means that blood is needed to reconcile man to God.
Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
The New Testament make a similar statement about this, for it says:
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
The purpose of this blood and remission of sins is to reconcile man to God. Here is what the New Testament says about that:
Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
So, blood is needed to reconcile man to God. The reason is that sin separates us from God and it causes the death of the sinner ultimately. But God sent Jesus to substitute for us, and that means His blood is a symbol of that death and the substitution of His life and death for our own. By this means, God is able to reconcile man to Himself.
But when an animal was sacrificed, how was this reconciliation done in the Old Testament through symbols?
Lev 4:5 And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:
Lev 4:6 And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the veil of the sanctuary.
Lev 4:7 And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
On a daily basis, the priest was to sprinkle the blood before the veil of the sanctuary (in the holy place) and on the horns of the altar of sweet incense, which also was inside of the holy place. The blood itself symbolized the blood of Jesus, and sprinkling it before the veil and putting in on the horns of the altar of sweet incense symbolized the fact that in the future, Jesus would die for mankind (the sacrifice itself symbolized his death), and would argue his own death and blood as reasons why God should forgive the sins of those who ask God's forgiveness.
But notice that the blood was sprinkled before the veil and some placed on the horns of the altar of sweet incense. There were no instructions to periodically clean the blood from the altar of sweet incense or to clean the floor of the tabernacle of the blood sprinkled there, or at least if there were any, we have no record of any such instructions. Why? The reason is that the blood was to remain in the tabernacle to symbolize that the record of sin of each person remains in the heavenly sanctuary records until the day of atonement, at which time the record was to be cleansed from the sanctuary.
There is further evidence that the record of sin was to remain in the sanctuary until the day of atonement.
Lev 16:14 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.
Lev 16:15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, 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:
Lev 16:16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
These 3 verses indicate that there is sin symbolically held in the sanctuary that must be cleansed. As you can see, it indicates that the atonement is made in the Most Holy Place upon the mercy seat just below where the presence of God was manifested. Where could those sins which were to be cleansed from the sanctuary come from? It certainly would not have come from the presence of the people in the sanctuary, for none of them ever set foot into the sanctuary building itself. One could say that it came from the presence of the priests, for they did set foot into the sanctuary itself. But this cannot be either because it says the atonement should be made for the uncleanness of the Israelite people and the priests, which is an all-inclusive term, so it cannot come from the priests alone (Lev 16:16).
Consider that the entire sanctuary service that was carried on daily was but a symbolic service of the life, death, and continued ministry of Christ as our High Priest forever in heaven. It also is symbolic of how God is dealing with the problem of sin. Consider that sin is not just a problem for those of us living on earth. It, by it's very nature, is a threat to the entire universe that God has created. By it's very nature, its acts in some ways like a communicable disease. It can spread, and where it goes, death and destruction will follow.
So, we have a problem with sin that must be effectively dealt with. Only God has that solution for sin, and it is found in Jesus. That is the main focus of the sacrificial system that was part of the sanctuary services.
But, it is equally true that God Himself has a problem. Sin is lawlessness, or disregard for God's laws, and that means anybody committing sin is choosing to place himself above God. God says that sin naturally results ultimately in death and destruction. Satan has claimed that is not so, that you can live however you want and never face death and destruction. Consider that he told Adam and Eve that they could do as they wished and would not die. But they did die, so he was wrong. He lied to them. If you have doubts about this, look at the world today. With the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that are spreading from nation to nation, is it likely that mankind will survive forever as he is without the intervention of God? I personally have serious doubts about that. I don't have unlimited faith in our governments to solve all of mankind's problems. That is totally unrealistic given the challenges facing them in the future - which may be worse than what we see today.
Certainly others in the universe have seen this and wondered about it. They had to know that either Satan is right or God is right. But Revelation 12 indicates that this question was largely settled at the cross for the inhabitants of heaven (and probably the other inhabited worlds) because it was at that time when Satan was cast to earth (meaning not literally but simply to indicate that he lost the war in heaven for the hearts and minds of the inhabitants there, so this became his only refuge).
Consequently, for the inhabitants of heaven, the only remaining question must be who is safe to save from this earth? Who can be trusted NOT to turn back to sin again in the future so that this problem will never arise again? Does it make sense to you that THEY would want to investigate the lives of those who are to be saved to be absolutely sure sin will not arise again among the "former rebels"?
So it is that there is an investigative judgment in heaven. But God taught this to the ancient Israelis through the sanctuary services. This was done through the use of symbolism so that it would make a strong impression upon their minds as to the ultimate cost of sin to God Himself. Symbols could potentially make a stronger impression upon their minds than merely telling them what Jesus would ultimately do for them. Here they could actually see the cost. An animal had to die in their place for them to obtain forgiveness. Unless a person was completely desensitized, that had to have an effect upon a person.
Consequently the services were symbolic in nature. Thus, during the daily sacrifices that occurred, the person would bring a sacrifice and offer it so that his sins would be forgiven. But when this was done, the priest was to take the blood of the sacrifice and take it into the Holy Place (the first compartment of the Sanctuary) and sprinkle it in front of the veil (but he was NOT to go into the Most Holy Place behind the veil because, if he did, he probably would die - Leviticus 16:2). Since it was the blood that was flowing through the veins of the animal that allows it to live, and sacrificing it meant that blood was removed from it's body so that it died, the blood became symbolic of the guilt of sin that causes death. Here are verses that makes it clear that blood can be symbolic of guilt:
Lev 17:11 for the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar, to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood which maketh atonement for the soul.
Lev 20:9 `For any man who revileth his father and his mother is certainly put to death; his father and his mother he hath reviled: his blood is on him.
2Sa 1:16 and David saith unto him, `Thy blood is on thine own head, for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I--I put to death the anointed of Jehovah.'
Eze 18:13 In usury he hath given, and increase taken, And he liveth: he doth not live, All these abominations he hath done, He doth surely die, his blood is on him.
Why was the priest to take the blood into the Holy Place and sprinkle it before the veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place? What would such an action symbolize? To answer that, consider that on the day of atonement, the priest first sacrificed one of the two selected goats and used the blood of the sacrificed goat for the cleansing ceremonies of the sanctuary. After the cleansing ceremonies were done, then he was to confess the sins of all the people over the head of the scapegoat. You should be able to see that during the cleansing ceremony, the sins were symbolically transferred to the priest because he performed the cleansing ceremony, and he in turn transferred them to the scapegoat by confessing the sins of the people over the head of the scapegoat. Thus the sins of the people present in the sanctuary were transferred to the scapegoat by way of the high priest. One goat was sacrificed, and that symbolized the sacrifice of the life of Jesus, and the other was sent into the wilderness to die.
The goat sent into the wilderness to die represented Satan. Sending him into the wilderness symbolized the abyss he will be sent into during the millennium (Revelation 20:1-3), and the death he must meet afterwards (Revelation 20:7-9). This symbolism of the two goats makes it clear that the sins of the people are symbolically cleaned out of the sanctuary and then transferred to the scapegoat.
Here is more evidence that the sins of the people were transferred to the scapegoat. The following verse makes it clear that the scapegoat takes the sins of the people with him out of the camp:
Lev 16:22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
This verse makes it clear that the scapegoat takes the sins with him as he leaves the camp. This would be symbolic of the fact that at the end of this world's history when Jesus comes again, Jesus will place the sins of those who have followed Him upon Satan. So it is that when the millennium is over, Satan will have to stand at the judgment bar of God to receive his sentence for the sins he has committed, and also for all those who have chosen to serve Christ.
This also makes it clear that the sins kept in the sanctuary are in fact transferred by the high priest to the scapegoat because there is no other possible way they could be symbolically transferred to the scapegoat.
There are those who claim that the scapegoat does not represent Satan, but that is illogical. Consider that the controversy between evil and good is centered between God and Satan. We know that the sacrificial goat represents Christ, so the other goat can only represent Satan because it is he who opposes Christ. Remember that these ceremonies represented future events in the plan of salvation, and this event of the scapegoat represents events that will occur after the investigative judgment is done and over with. That time has not yet come. We know that shortly after the investigative judgment is done, then Jesus come again. We also know that when Jesus comes, Satan is locked into the abyss (locked down to this world for the duration of the millennium). That being the case, and given that Satan has opposed Christ, it is only logical that the scapegoat MUST represent Satan and nobody else.
But all of this leaves a big question: If sins must be cleaned out of the sanctuary, they must have gotten there somehow beforehand, or else they would not be there to be cleaned out of the sanctuary. How did that happen?
The only answer available from the services the Israelites were instructed to perform on a daily basis, is through the blood of the sacrifice that is taken into the sanctuary and sprinkled before the veil. Since blood symbolizes the guilt of sin, taking it into the sanctuary and sprinkling it before the veil and leaving it there afterwards, makes it clear that the guilt of sin is taken there symbolically and left there.
There are those who claim that no sins were transferred to the sanctuary, but Leviticus 16 says the following about this:
Lev 16:16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
Where was this atonement to be made? In the holy place. Why? There were 2 reasons stated for why the high priest was to make an atonement for the holy place: (1) the uncleanness of the Israelites, and (2) because of their sins.
There were several locations where this atonement was to be applied: (1) the holy place, or in other words the sanctuary itself (or as it was also called, the tabernacle), and (2) the altar outside of the sanctuary building itself.
From this it should be abundantly clear that sin was in fact transferred into the sanctuary, contrary to suggestions by some that this did not happen. Furthermore, the scapegoat ceremony makes it clear that there were sins in the sanctuary that must be removed, so they got there somehow.
The result of this was that atonement was made once a year for all the sins of the people and it cleansed the sanctuary of the guilt of sin carried into it on a daily basis by the priests. Here is a verse that clarifies this:
Lev 16:30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
Lev 16:33 And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.
Lev 16:34 And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.
It was true that by the daily sacrifices, the person was forgiven of his sins. Yet Leviticus 16 tells us that there was uncleanness from sin over the people and the sanctuary that had to be washed away on that day. Why? If the sins were forgiven, then why would this be so and what would the ceremony of cleansing be symbolic of in the future? That answer to this is found in what the priest did on a daily basis combined with the day of atonement ceremonies. Daily he took the blood of each of the sacrifices and went into the Holy Place and sprinkled it before the veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (but remember, he didn't dare go inside the veil). This had to have symbolically transferred the guilt of sin from the person to the sanctuary itself (there was nothing else that could possibly have transferred the sins into the sanctuary). Thus the transfer of sins into the sanctuary did occur on a daily basis.
But this leaves a big question. If the person is forgiven of his sins by the daily sacrifices, then why is there guilt to be cleansed out of the sanctuary on a yearly basis? It would appear that should not be the case because God promises He will forgive and cast the sins into the depths of the sea. So, how can there be guilt on the sanctuary and the people that remains until the day of atonement after the sins were forgiven? What would that guilt be symbolic of in the future?
The only reasonable answer to this is that there must be some sort of record of sin itself that is symbolically transferred into and recorded in the sanctuary by the sprinkling of the blood inside of it. Why else would it be that on the day of atonement, the sins of the people were then transferred to the scapegoat, who symbolized Satan? There is no other logical reason that this could be. The fact that the sins symbolically remained there until the day of atonement symbolizes that some sort of record of sin must exist in heaven.
What did all this mean? To answer that question, consider that the sanctuary on earth was patterned after the sanctuary in heaven. There are those who claim that there is no temple or sanctuary in heaven, but that is a false claim. The Bible says there is a sanctuary in heaven. Here are a couple of verses that shows this to be so:
Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and ....
Exo 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
Exo 25:9 According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
Now some would claim that in Exodus, God was talking about only a diagram he showed Moses, but writers in the New Testament evidently disagreed because it not only made reference to the temple in heaven in Revelation 11:19, but in the book of Hebrews, it specifically mentions that Jesus went into heaven as our high priest. Here is what it said about this:
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Now a high priest must have a sanctuary in which to work. This verse in the book of Hebrews is telling us that after Jesus died, he went to heaven as our high priest. Here are two more verses in Hebrews which sheds some additional light upon this:
Heb 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Heb 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
This makes it clear that Jesus has entered into the veil. This could only have happened after Jesus went to heaven. So, for there to be a veil (which is a clear reference to the veil within the sanctuary like it was on earth, which was patterned after the one in heaven) there must be a sanctuary in heaven as well.
Next, consider that in the Old Testament sanctuary, which was a symbol of what was to come, there were 2 parts to the ceremonies the people knew about: (1) the visible ceremony that took place outside the sanctuary which the people participated in by bringing their sacrifices to the priest to be sacrificed and which they could actually see, and (2) and invisible part, in which the priest went into the sanctuary and did various things which were ceremonies that the people could NOT see because they were not allowed into the sanctuary building itself. Notice that the visible parts were the portion that were symbolic of the sacrifice of Jesus here on earth, but the invisible parts - now that is something else. What would they symbolize?
Before considering the clues about this, do take note that there were 2 types of invisible services in the Old Testament sanctuary services. These were the (1) daily services, and (2) the day of atonement services.
You can get a clue about the invisible services from several sources. First, reconsider Heb. 4:14, which indicates that Jesus has passed into the heavens and is now our high priest. Like the priest of old, after the sacrifice is made (which Jesus certainly has already done), He must then apply his sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. In Old Testament times, the sprinkling of the blood in front of the veil would be sufficient for this purpose. That sprinkling of blood before the veil was symbolic of something that Jesus would do in the future after the cross. Jesus, on the other hand, only has to sacrifice himself once for all sins, and then can offer the evidence of his shed blood and death in order to obtain forgiveness for our sins. He does not need to sprinkle the blood of an animal in front of the veil, or His own for that matter, each time someone asks for forgiveness for his or her sins. He only needs to present the evidence of his own death to obtain that forgiveness. Note that because he does this to obtain forgiveness of our sins, this is the equivalent of the daily services of the Old Testament sanctuary.
But what about the ceremony of the day of atonement? What does that mean? What did it symbolize in the future that God would be doing?
The clue to that is found in Daniel 8:14. Here it says the following:
Dan 8:14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
Now in the earthly ceremonies, when was the sanctuary cleansed? Answer: On the Day of Atonement!
So there must be the equivalent of a day of atonement in heaven. That idea does make sense, does it not? Otherwise, there would be no cleansing of the sanctuary at the end of the 2300 days. The day of atonement is the only cleansing of the sanctuary that God has ever told us about.
We know that God must keep some sort of record of our sins, for he does say the following:
Psa 51:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
This verse above would strongly suggest that David is asking God to erase the record of his sins. But since we know from the symbolism of the sanctuary in the old testament that the record of sin must somehow remain until the day of atonement, it makes sense that the word "forgiven" or something equivalent is written beside the record of his sin, and the record of the sins forgiven is then permanently removed duning the day of atonement. He can be forgiven because of the sacrifice of Jesus, just like the sacrifice of the animal allowed the sinner to be forgiven.
This forgiveness was an action that the sinner could not see because he had to remain outside of the sanctuary building, but he believed that the priest had taken the blood and sprinkled it before the veil, so that he would obtain forgiveness from God for his sin. Likewise, when we ask for forgiveness for our sins, Jesus argues the merits of his own blood so that we may be forgiven our sins. And likewise, the record of those sins remains until the day of atonement, at which time they will be erased if they are forgiven, just like it was with the Old Testament times and the original earthly sanctuary.
It took a bit of faith on the part of the believer who brought his sacrifice because he had to believe that the priest would actually do the job he was supposed to do, which was to take some of the blood of the animal and sprinkle it before the veil. But since the believer could not see the priest do this, he had to trust the priest. Likewise, with Jesus, we have to trust Him to some degree because we cannot physically see Him doing His work in heaven. But since we know He keeps His word, we can trust that He will do as He promises.
Those whose sins have not been forgiven will have their name removed from the book of life (Oh yes, Jesus does have a book of life and one can have his name removed from it - see Revelation 3:5 for evidence of this). And notice that the day of atonement ceremonies in which the sins are cleansed from the sanctuary are part of the ceremonies that the sinner could NOT see. Thus it symbolized what Jesus would do after He returned to heaven. The visible part was where He offered his own life. The invisible part occurs afterwards.
Now remember those two goats on the day of atonement? One was sacrificed as a symbol of Jesus' sacrifice of His own life for our own. That was part of the visible ceremony and was done first, so therefore this was symbolic of something that humanity was able to actually witness when Jesus died on the cross. After the blood of the sacrificial goat was used in the cleansing ceremory, then the other goat was sent into the wilderness after the sins were confessed over his head. This too could be seen, just as the righteous will see and know that Satan is forced to remain here on earth during the millennium (what Revelation 20:1-3 calls locking the devil up in the abyss), and afterwards to face the penalty for what he has done.
At the end of the real day of atonement, the sins of those who have had their sins forgiven will be applied to both Jesus and Satan. Jesus, because he will have already made a sacrifice of His own life for our own (and won't need to do it again), and Satan because he originally caused sin and led people into sin. So, in the final death, Satan will have to pay not only for his own sins, but for those individuals who are saved as well. Is it any wonder that he is desperate to keep us out of heaven? He has known for centuries that this is what that ceremony meant. Once Jesus died, he knew his doom was sealed and his destiny was to suffer not only for his own sins, but for all the sins of those who are taken to heaven. Jesus died in our place so that we can have life, but Satan also has to ultimately pay for what he has caused. Thus it is that Satan is one desperate fellow.
Now you have enough information to determine when the judgment begins.
Daniel 8:13-14 tells you when the judgment of investigation begins. It says this:
Dan 8:13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spoke, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?
Dan 8:14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
Here the question is asked about how much time the vision covered and when its end would be. The answer was that the sanctuary would be cleansed at the end of 2300 days. If the reader has read the page about the beginning of the 70 weeks (which is also the beginning of the 2300 days), then you know that this begins in 457 BC. There are those who claim that the 2300 days should be seen as 1150 days, but this is erroneous because scholars say that research shows that the original language indicates the words used were evening-mornings, which is Biblical language for a full day, not a half day. Thus you would move forward 2300 years (days are symbolic of years) from 457 BC, which would carry you to 1844. Therefore, the investigative judgment began in 1844.
Someday this investigative judgment will end and then the day of salvation closes forever. We must all be ready for that day. After that, the 7 last plagues of Revelation 16 fall, and then Jesus comes again. There will be no more human history on earth after that time until after the millennium is over.
Since we are nearing the end of this world's history, the investigative judgment going on in heaven is nearing it's close. We have not much time before Jesus will say these words which will fix everyone's destiny forever:
Rev 22:11 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.
It is clear that at the end of the investigative judgment, Jesus will say these words because at that time, the destinies of everyone on earth will have been decided and all heaven will agree with the list of names that God has made up of those who will be saved.. In other words, there would be no purpose to any further changes, so Jesus will declare that all destinies are fixed at that point. Pray and make every effort to be sure your name is on that list of those bound for heaven! Repentance and confession of sins and faith in the work that Jesus does in heaven on your behalf is necessary for this to happen.
Hopefully this helps the reader understand this important issue.
Biblical Prophetic Timeline
The timeline above is broad and leaves out some details but it gives the general picture. Note that the 2300 days and the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 begin at the same time. That is true because the 70 weeks are determined (or taken) from a longer period of time (the 2300 days is the only longer time period mentioned) and set aside for the Jewish people to bring in righteousness - which they did NOT do. Click here if you want more information about when the 2300 days and the 70 weeks begin.
From the evidence presented from Daniel 7, Revelation 11, Leviticus 16, and other verses from various parts of the Bible, it should be clear that there is an investigative judgment of those whose names are written in the book of life before Jesus comes the second time. So, the final question should be "what does this mean for me as a Christian?" Does it mean I have to be terribly afraid? Does it mean that I have to fear for my future?
The author does believe that the Bible does NOT teach that once a person is saved, he is saved no matter what he does. The Bible is very clear that it is possible for a person to turn away from Christ and no longer walk with Him and then be lost in hell. However, the investigative judgment is about vindication of God's decisions. If you are following Christ and trusting in Him, then by faith in Him, you will receive the reward for following Christ. That is the promise of God. Then, the investigative judgment is an opportunity to prepare to meet Him, for he is coming soon! That is what it is all about for us as humans on this world that is becoming increasingly dangerous and given over to doing wrong - because the Spirit of God is less and less felt in the lives of people, something predicted to happen as we approach the end of this world's history. So, what will you do about this?