The first angel's message or the investigative judgment

By E. S. Ballenger


Note: E. S. Ballenger wrote three booklets: The First Angel's Message, The Second Angel's Message, and The Third Angel's Message. They are paged here the same as the originals (page numbers in brackets). These are very rare books and are really worth reading to understand Adventism and their false teachings.


Chapter 1: What is the first angel's message?


The battle of Armageddon represents the last of a series of judgments which terminate with the second coming of Christ at the beginning of the thousand years, or the millennium.

This series of judgments is announced by a solemn but joyful message recorded in Rev. 14:6, 7.

"And I saw another angel flying in mid heaven, having eternal good tidings to proclaim unto them that dwell on the earth, and unto every nation and tribe, and tongue, and people; and he said with a great voice, Fear God and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made the heaven and the earth and the sea and fountains of waters. " A. S. V.

The common version which reads "Having the, everlasting gospel to preach," is not in harmony with the original. The text has no reference to the gospel of salvation from sin through the death of Christ. This angel's good tiding is something very different.

The word "gospel" which appears in our common version occurs seventy-seven times in the New Testament, but this [2] is the only instance where it appears without the definite article "the" or some other definite modification like "my gospel," "our gospel," or "gospel of God." Here the Greek word "euaggelion" stands alone and is faithfully translated by the version quoted above.

If the term "eternal good news," or gospel, does not refer to salvation from sin, to what does it refer?

Bear in mind that the Greek word from which "gospel" is translated means good news, or good tidings. There are many kinds of good news, but not all good news is the gospel of salvation from sin. David said that Ahimaaz "is a good man, and cometh with good tidings, " (2 Sam. 18:27) but he did not bring the gospel of salvation from sin. The lepers who entered the abandoned camp of the Syrian army said, "This day is a day of good tidings, "but it was not the good news of salvation from sin; no, it was salvation from starving to death. (2 Kings 7:9.)

If a parent in any live Christian family should say to a child, "Bring me the book," the child without inquiry would bring the Bible. Without, the definite article "the" a child could bring any book and obey the request of the parent. Seventh-day Adventists have a phrase which is more common to their parlance than "the gospel" is to the New Testament. "The truth " is proverbial among them in print, pulpit, and pew. It means "the third angel's message." If [3] a stranger should bear testimony in one of their social meetings and use the expression, " I love truth," would they consider him a faithful S. D. A? But if he said, "I love the truth," he would be classified at once as one of them.

If a man should declare that he loved and obeyed "the truth" but did not keep the seventh-day Sabbath, they would at once accuse him of bearing false testimony; but if he said "truth" they would consider him a good prospect. The omission of the definite article "the" from the expression "the truth," is very significant to every S. D. A., and rightly so according to their creed. It is no less significant when omitted from before "gospel" in the first angel's message.

The angel tells exactly what his good news is. Refer back to the scripture as quoted and it will be clear to the careful reader what the good news of the message is. No, it is not " Fear God and give glory to Him," for that is not good news, but an exhortation in view of the good news. No, it is not worship Him that made heaven and earth," for that also is an exhortation. The good news is couched in seven words of everlasting glad tidings, "the hour of His judgment is come."

This good news is not salvation from the sins of a wicked world, but from its sinners. That the announcement, "the hour of His judgment is come" is indeed good [4] news is, abundantly shown in the same book of Revelation. Notice the following:

"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" Rev. 6:9, 10.

This loud cry of the blood of the martyrs for punitive judgment is answered with the statement that they "that dwell on the earth" will kill the brethren of these martyrs for a "little season," yet future, and then the cry for judgment will be answered.

When the hour comes for this bloody work of killing the saints to be ended forever in the destruction of those who have drunk their blood, will not the announcement that this judgment hour has come be indeed good news to the saints of both heaven and earth? And this is the good news of the first angel's message.

Notice that the souls under the altar are not begging the Lord to start an investigation to see whether an atonement should be made at the mercy-seat to silence the claims of a broken law for their death as transgressors of that law; but they are crying to God with a loud voice petitioning Him to "judge . . . them that dwell on the earth," those who [5] had slain them "for the word of God and for the testimony which they held."

Let us now notice those scriptures which record the answer of God to the cry of the martyrs for judgment upon their persecutors, and the joy and rejoicing which follows.

"And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments." Rev. 16:4-7.

"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters." Rev. 17:1.

This promised judgment is pictured in the 18th chapter.

Speaking to the nations whom Babylon has made drunk with the wine of her fornication, God says:

"Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow [6] give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall, her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." . . .

"Alas, alas, that great city Babylon. that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come." Rev. 18:6-10.

"Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye saints, and ye apostles, and ye prophets; for God hath judged your judgment on her. " Rev. 18:20, Revised Version.

"And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever." Rev. 19:1-3.

The word "judgment" or "judgments" in Rev. 18:10 and 19:2 certainly means God's punishment on the wicked, and not an investigation. By what authority can any one affirm that "judgment" in the first angel's message means something else, when they are all translated from the same Greek word?

By this time the reader must be deep [7] ly impressed with the truth that the announcement that the hour of God's judgment is come, is indeed "eternal good tidings," and it is good tidings because it announces the destructive judgments of God upon the persecutors of His saints and their eternal deliverance thereby. But the shouting has only begun.

"And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts [living creatures] fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia for the, Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Rev. 19:4-6.

Who has been reigning? "The woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Rev. 17:18.

Notice that all this tremendous rejoicing in heaven and earth, of the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures and the saints "small and great," is over the fact that the hour of God's judgment has come and He has by His punitive judgments delivered His saints from those who were persecuting them.

The first angel's message is therefore plainly, eternal good tidings from [8] God, when it announces that "the hour of his judgment is come."

The first angel will deliver his message when Babylon begins to declare "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow ": when, "all that dwell upon the earth shall worship" the beast, "saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" When all the world, except the faithful "remnant, "are intoxicated with admiration for the glory of the beast and the woman seated upon him, it will be considered high treason to declare that God is about to destroy that wicked combination. It will take men of more than ordinary faith and courage to give the first angel's message, and it will take more than human power to prevent these messengers from being wiped off the earth. But God will have faithful servants to deliver His message when the time comes and He will take care of them.



Chapter 2: The investigative judgment in Advent history


The first angel's message or "judgment message," as it is called in Advent parlance, was given by Wm. Miller and his followers prior to Oct. 22, 1844. They gave the correct interpretation of this message. The idea that a cleansing work was to take place in heaven never entered their minds. They taut that the judgment of the first message was the [9] destruction of the wicked.

After the great disappointment of Oct. 22, 1844, they lived in almost daily expectation of the Lord's return. As they continued to look and wait they were plunged into deeper and deeper perplexity. Explanations of their disappointment multiplied. As new theories were advanced the Advent band was divided into many factions. There were two outstanding differences of interpretation which resulted in parting the Advent believers into two very hostile camps. These two teachings related to the close of probation and the termination of the 2,300 days. The seventh-day Sabbath came in a little later which widened the breach between the two factions.

Early in 1845 one group began teaching that they had made a mistake in their reckoning and therefore the 2,300 days did not end in 1844. They readjusted their figures and continued to set dates for the termination of the prophetic periods and the coming of the Lord. For a time they also taut the "shut door" but in April, 1845 they met in conference at Albany, N. Y., and repudiated the "shut door," and went to work to convert sinners. This group turned against the seventh-day Sabbath and, were therefore called First-day Adventists.

The other group, led by James White and wife, Joseph Bates, and others, continued to stand stoutly for the termination of the 2,300 days in 1844, the "shut [10] door" and later, for the Sabbath. They of course were called Seventh-day Adventists. These outstanding differences which distinguished the two groups no well informed, honest Adventist will deny.

Both factions continued to set time for the Lord to return: the one by readjusting the time of the termination of the 2,300 days; the other by speculating on what was going on in heaven.

The followers of the Whites never varied from their teaching that the 2,300 days terminated Oct. 22, 1844. Having fixed the date their only explanation lay in the event that took place in 1844. Both groups were blessed with fertile imaginations and they made good use of them. One ran wild on shifting dates for the beginning and ending of the prophetic periods, while the other kept pace by portraying heavenly scenes and by this means shifted dates for the Lord to come.

Early in their disappointment the S. D. A.'s taut that Christ went into the presence of the Father to receive His kingdom and would therefore return to the earth after the coronation. This was of short life. Then He had gone into the most holy to make atonement: later they had to be sealed with the Sabbath. The last and most permanent theory, the one still taut, is known as the investigative judgment.

The investigative judgment as, taut by the denomination is an invention, and [11] not a discovery. It was the outgrowth of a series of very grievous disappointments.


The investigative judgment defined

We will let James White and Mrs. E. G. White define what they mean by the investigative judgment.

"The investigative judgment takes place prior to the second advent, and the resurrection of the just, that it may be known who are worthy of the first resurrection." James White, Life Incidents, p.323.

"This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing work in the sanctuary above." Mrs. E. G. White, Great Controversy, p. 428.

For brevity we will use I. J. for investigative judgment.

With these plain statements before them the Review and Herald, Oct. 29, 1931, affirms that the 1. J. is not to inform God, because He knows, "because He is infinite; but men and angels do not know because they, both men and angels, are finite. The reason for a judgment, then, is that finite beings may not only believe that God is just, but that we may know both the perfection of His justice and the depth of His mercy."

In this statement the denominational paper puts itself squarely against their own prophet in two points. First, Mrs. White and all the denominational litera[12]ture teach that the I. J. is for the purpose of informing God; and second, Mrs. White repeatedly states that the angels do know. In Test. Vol. 1, p. 544, she says: "Heavenly angels are acquainted with our words and actions, and even with the thoughts and intents of the heart." See also Vol. 2, pp. 181, 442, G. C. p. 486.

The R&H teaches that the dead are unconscious until the resurrection, therefore no I. J. can inform the dead till after the coming of Christ when they are returned to life. Also, the denomination including Mrs. White, teach that the I. J. is finished before the resurrection, that God "may know who are worthy of the first resurrection." If the I. J. is all finished before the first resurrection, then poor, finite men will never have the privilege of knowing either "the perfection of his justice" or "depth of His mercy."

Then how inconsistent to teach that an I. J. began in 1844, if God and the angels know "every secret sin" and "the thoughts and intents of the heart" and dead are unconscious till the I. J. is all finished.


The Investigative Judgment In Progress Over 100 Years

The Judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. Forty years has this work been in progress. Soon—none know how soon—it will pass to the cases of the living." Mrs. E. G. White, Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 315. Published [13] 1884. If it had been in progress for forty years in 1884, it has now been in progress for over 100.


James White Stoutly Opposed the Investigative Judgmen

The theory of the I. J. is not only contrary to the Scriptures, but is also contrary to the teachings of the pioneers including Mrs. White. Capt. Bates taut the I. J. not many years after the disappointment, but James White vigorously combated Bates' theory. After quoting Matt. 25:31-33, he says:

"This scripture evidently points out the most important events of the day of Judgment. That day will be 1000 years long. —2 Pet. 3:7, 8. The event which will introduce the Judgment day, will be the coming of the Son of Man, to raise the sleeping saints, and to change those that are alive at that time....

"It is not necessary that the final sentence should be given before the first resurrection, as some have taught; for the names of the saints are written in heaven, and Jesus, and the angels will certainly know whom to raise, and gather to the New Jerusalem." James White, Word to the Little Flock, p. 24.

This was published in May, 1847, yet Brother Bates continued to teach his theory of the I. J. To meet this heresy of Capt. Bates, Mrs. White had a vision Jan. 5, 1849, in confirmation of her husband's position on the judgment. In this vision she says; [14]


I. J. Contrary to the "Visions"

"I, saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead, were separate and distinct, one following the other." Early Writings p. 36.

These quotations show that James White and his wife did not believe the I. J. would begin until after the first resurrection.

Mrs. White defined the wrath of God to mean the seven last plagues. (See Early Writings, p. 64). We can therefore substitute the "seven last plagues" in the above quotation for "the wrath of God."

It would then read, "I saw that the anger of the nations, the seven last plagues, and the time to judge the dead, were separate and distinct, one following the other."

This was given Jan. 5, 1849. Therefore, the seven last plagues must have come before this date, or the I. J. had not commenced.


I. J. Without Foundation In the Word of God

But we have more positive evidence on part of James White against the I. J. In the Advent Review of Sept. 1850, James White says: "Some have contended that the day of judgment was prior to the second advent. This view is certainly without foundation in the word of God....

"Daniel, 'in the night visions' saw that 'judgment was given to the Saints of the Most High,' but not to mortal [15] saints—not 'until the Ancient of days came,' and the 'little horn' ceased prevailing, which will not be until he is destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming.

" 'I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the dead at [not before] his appearing and his kingdom. —2 Tim. 4:1.

"The advent angel [Rev. 14-0, 7] 'saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him: for the hour of judgment is come,' does not prove that the day of judgment came in 1840, nor in 1844, nor that it will come prior to the second advent."

Language could not be stronger to show that the Whites did not believe in an investigative judgment up to the close of 1850, six years after the disappointment. Notice some of the strong expressions in this article: "that the day of judgment was prior to the second advent ... is certainly without foundation in the word of God." Notice that he also states most positively that the first angel's message "does not prove that the day of judgment came in 1840, or 1844, nor that it will come prior to the second advent."


Daniel 7:9, 10, 13, 14.

Also it is worthy of note that Elder White uses Dan. 7:9-11 to prove that the judgment could not begin prior to the second coming of Christ. For eighty-eight years this scripture has been used [16] by the denomination to prove that the I. J. began in 1844; while Brother White uses it as forcefully to prove that it could not begin prior to the first resurrection.

Since about 1857 till a few years ago the denomination has been united in teaching that Dan. 7:9, 10, 13, 14 announced the beginning of the I. J. Of the many proofs in support of this fact we cite but one. After quoting the above scripture Mrs. White says: "Thus was presented to the prophet's vision the opening of the investigative judgment." Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4. p. 307.

Some of the Bible students in the denomination have recognized the shallowness of such an application and have tried to correct the blunder.

In the Sabbath School Quarterly for third quarter, 1927, page 30, is found a lesson on the I. J. We reproduce two questions from this study: "Question 17. Who are to be judged after the saints are taken with Jesus to Heaven? 1Cor. 6:2,3, 2 Pet. 2:9 [Emphasis ours].

"Question 18. How is this judgment scene described? Rev. 20:4; Dan. 7:9,10."

This is the true interpretation of Dan. 7-9, 10, and agrees with the position of James White in 1850.

The S. S. Lesson teaches that Dan. 7:9-14 describes a judgment scene "after the saints are taken with Jesus [17] to heaven." Have the saints been taken to heaven yet? Then the judgment scene in 7:9-14 is still future. In spite of the honest efforts of the writers of the S. S. lessons to correct this aged error the denomination continues to teach the old blunder.

The I. J. is based on a more palpable error than the wrong application of Dan. 7:9-14—that is, the meaning of the term "within the vail." This will be considered in the next chapter.


I. J. Not Indorsed for Ten Years After 1844

The investigative judgment as it is held today, was not introduced into the denominational literature aside from Capt. Bates' privately published pamphlets, for at least ten years after the disappointment. In the spring of 1854 Elder Loughborough suggested the idea of the I. J. in a private letter. The idea seemed to strike Uriah Smith, Assistant Editor of the RH, favorably, as his published comments on Elder L's letter indicate. The idea lay dormant for about three years before it received any consideration in the R & H. Smith and Loughborough were not among the pioneers until 1852, both being too young to take any part in the '44 movement. Evidently they were not conversant with the position taken by James White and endorsed by Mrs. White in vision regarding this subject before they connected with the work. [18]


James White and His Wife Reverse Themselves

The strong position taken by James White and his wife against the I. J. was too fresh in their minds, and too fresh in the minds of their followers, for them to reverse their position so soon. Elder White waited therefore, for about three years before endorsing the suggestion.

In the R. & H. of Jan. 29, 1857, James White reversed himself and endorsed the teaching of an I. J. For a number of years after the 1851 disappointment they floundered without any definite message regarding the advent. They felt most keenly the lack of something to mark the close of the 2300 days. Every explanation thus far had proved to be a dismal failure. The First-day Adventists were teaching that the 2300 days did not terminate in 1844. This the S. D. A.'s most stoutly combated. The people were demanding an explanation of what did take place in 1844 if the 2300 days ended at that time. They answer were completely without an answer. They had to find something to mark the termination of this long period, or capitulate to their most bitter enemies, the First-day Adventists. The I. J. offered their only escape. Therefore James White shut his eyes to his former position, and enthusiastically supported the I. J. which a few years before he had stoutly combated.

After James White had reversed him[19]self and was teaching, the I. J., Mrs. White had another vision which she was shown that the I. J. began in 1844. Her husband reversed himself in 1857, and Mrs. White followed suit in vision in 1858. Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1 p.198.


Moving the Throne of God to Fit the Creed

In order to bolster their false teaching on the I. J. they move God from the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary to the holy, or first apartment. Wherever the Bible speaks of the position of God it always represents Him as being in the most holy place. James White and Uriah Smith taught that God moved His throne into the first apartment at the ascension of Christ and remained there until 1844. Biblical Institute p. 80. This book was used as a textbook in Battle Creek College.

Elder S. N. Haskell gives a glowing account of this movement. "October, 1903, is the fifty-ninth anniversary of one of the greatest events that has ever transpired. The overthrow or the establishment of earthly thrones is as nothing compared to it.

"Prior to October, 1844, the glorious throne of the Creator of the universe had been in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary . . .

"In 1844 the throne was placed in holy of holies." Bible Training School, Oct. 1903, p. 68.

"Fifty-nine years ago the Investigative Judgment began. Christ arose, and the throne of God moved from the outer apartment in the heavenly sanctuary into [20] the most holy place. He was escorted by more than 100,000,000 angels. It was the grandest scene that heaven had ever witnessed. The Father rose from His throne in the outer apartment, and in a flaming chariot entered the holy of holies and sat down. Then Jesus rose up, and in a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire was borne to the holiest where the Father sat." Id p. 73.

It is a notorious fact that none of the positions held by the denomination were revealed to them thru the visions of Mrs. White. In every case when she was shown any point of doctrine it was always after some of the pioneers had discovered some point of truth, or what they supposed was the truth, after which she went into vision and saw simply what her fellow-workers were teaching previous to her vision. Whatever the pioneers taut whether truth or error, if her husband endorsed it, she without exception supported it in vision.

This fact is admitted by James White. In the R. & H. of Oct. 16, 1855, he says, "It should be here, understood that all these views as held by the body of Sabbath-keepers, were brot out from the Scriptures before Mrs. W. had any view in regard to them." [21]



Chapter 3: "Within the vail"


The L J. stands or falls on the meaning of the term "within the vail." For over 88 years the denomination has taut that "within the vail" meant in the holy, or first apartment of the heavenly temple. Proof of this is legion, but because of limitation of space we will introduce but one testimony —but one which no S. D. A. will dare to dispute. We quote from G. C. p. 420.

"The ministration of the priest throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary, 'within the vail' which formed the door and separated the holy place from the outer court, represents the work of ministration upon which Christ entered at His ascension."

But if it can be shown from the Scriptures that the expression "within the vail" is applied to the most holy apartment of the sanctuary, then Christ entered the most holy at His ascension and the argument that He waited till Oct. 22, 1844 before entering the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary falls to the ground.

"Within the vail" is a Bible therefore we must go to the Bible to what it means. My S. D. A. brother, are you willing to test your interpretation by this standard and abide by the evidence?

The phrase "within the vail" found [22] but once in the New Testament, but it appears five times in the Old. It being a borrowed term from the time of the tabernacle service we must necessarily go to the Old Testament for an explanation of its meaning. For the convenience of the reader we reproduce every example of its use in the O. T. in the order in which they appear.

Ex. 26:33. "And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy."

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

Lev. 16:12. "And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail."

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

Num. 18:7. "Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's [23] office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail."

Here we have five verses in which "within the vail" occurs, and there are, no other examples in the O. T. In every case, without a single exception, the term, refers to the most holy place. We challenge any one to deny this fact.


Without the Vail

If within the vail refers to the second apartment then without the vail must apply to the first apartment in which were located the candlestick, the altar of incense, and the table of shewbread. This expression is found four times in the Bible. We reproduce them all. Ex. 26:35. " And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side."

Ex. 27:20,21. "And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it."

Ex.40:22. "And he put the table the tent of the congregation, upon side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail."

Lev. 24:3. "Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it [the [25] lamp] from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually."

As truly as the term "within the vail" refers to the most holy place, the term "without the vail," refers to the holy place. There are no exceptions.


Before the Vail

"Before the vail," like "without the vail" always refers to the first apartment. It is used but four times, as follows:

Ex. 30:6. "And thou shalt put it [the altar of incense,] before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony."

Ex. 40,26. " And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail."

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 vail of the sanctuary." Verse 17 is a duplicate of the 6th.

The word "vail" as applied to the tabernacle is found 22 times in the Old Testament, and in every case it is applied to the curtain between the first and second apartments. True, the door the tabernacle was a curtain, but the O. T. writers never called it a vail, much less "the vail." It is called "the hanging for the door" or "the door of the tabernacle," and "before the door of the tabernacle" always refers to the court, in front of the tabernacle.


The Vail In the New Testament

The word " vail " (or veil, as it is [25] spelled) referring to the temple is found six times in the New Testament. In Matt. 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Lu. 23:45 we find the account of the rending of the veil at the death of Christ. That the veil in these three gospels refers to the curtain between the first and the second apartments no loyal S. D. A. will dare deny, for Mrs. White says,

"At the moment in which Christ died, there were priests ministering in the temple before the vail which separated the holy from the most holy place. Suddenly they felt the earth tremble beneath them, and the vail of the temple, a strong, rich drapery that had been renewed yearly, was rent in twain from top to bottom by the same bloodless hand that wrote the words of doom upon the walls of Belshazzar's palace. The most holy place, that had been sacredly entered by human feet only once a year, was revealed to the common gaze." Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 3, pp. 166, 167. See also Desire of Ages, pp. 165, 756.

These citations show that Mrs. White taut that when the N. T. uses the term "the vail" without qualification, it means the curtain between the two, apartments. And let no one try to dodge the force of this fact by affirming that the temple in the time of Christ had but one curtain, for Mrs. White, at least twice speaks of the curtain that was rent at the time of Christ, as "the inner veil." See Desire of Ages, pp. 165, [26] 765. If it was "the inner veil" then have been an outer veil.

The other three uses of the veil in the N. T. are found in the epistle to the Hebrews. Heb. 9:3. "And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all." All agree that this refers to the most holy place. The fact that it calls it the second veil" has no significance, whatever, only to show that there was a curtain at the door, which no one denies.

Heb. 10:20. "By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say his flesh." (The 19th verse shows that it applies to "the holiest.")

We now come climax of the "the controversy; what does "within the veil mean in Heb. 6:19, 20? It reads "Which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."

In every place where the phrase "within the vail" is used in the entire Bible, without exception refers to the holy place. Wherever the word or "veil" or "veil" is found in the entire Bible, used in connection with the sacrificial services, it also, without exception, means the curtain between the first and second apartment, unless it is this one in Heb. 6:19. Mrs. White herself defines 'the veil" without qualification, as the curtain dividing [27] the two apartments.

With all this array of evidence, what authority has any one to teach that "within the veil" in Heb. 6:19 refers to the first apartment? There isn't a heresy in all the religious world so hopelessly without Bible foundation as the, teaching that "within the veil" means in the first apartment. If the S. D. A.'s have a right to teach that "within the veil" means in the first apartment, then the Sunday advocate has an equal or greater right to teach that "Sabbath" in the N. T. means the first day of the week. And my brother, they may drive you into a very uncomfortable corner unless you correct this outstanding blunder.


What Does It Mean?

If "within the veil" means in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, then Christ was in the most holy place when Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews. If Christ was in the most holy place in the days of Paul, then He did not move from the holy to the most holy in 1844.

The idea that Christ waited till 1844 to go into the presence of the Father is not only an unadulterated piece of imagination, without even the shadow support in the entire Bible, but is contrary to the united teachings of the Scriptures. Whenever the position of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary is mentioned, He is always placed in the holy of holies. Mark says, "He was received [28] up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. Mark 16:19. Peter places Him "by the right hand of God exalted." Acts 2:33; 1 Pet. 3:22. Stephen saw Him " standing on the right hand of God. " Acts 7:55. Paul, no less than seven times recognizes Christ at "the right hand of God. " See Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12;12:2.

No Bible student this side of John, aside from S. D. A.'s, ever thot of retaining Christ in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary a single day after His ascension. All the apostles, reformers, and Bible teachers recognized Him "at the right band of God," in the very presence of the Father; and there they directed their prayers. Mrs. White most certainly told the truth when she wrote that Satan answered all the prayers that were directed to the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, (see E. W. p. 261) for no well informed Christian ever thot of directing his prayers to any other place than the very presence of God, who has always been in the most holy place. To accuse any one who has ever prayed of directing his prayers to the first apartment is an insult to his intelligence; and for any one to teach that Christ remained in the first apartment till 1844 and then moved into the second apartment is a disgrace to his intelligence. [29]



Chapter 4: Use of the Books in Judgment


"The Book of Life"

The "book of life" has an important bearing on the study of the investigate judgment. It is found eight times in the N. T. and seven of these are in the book of Revelation.

God promises the "overcomer" that He "will not blot out his name out of the book of life" (Rev. 3:5); but warns that be "will take away his part out of the book of life" whoever takes anything is away from the words of the book of this prophecy." Rev. 22:19.

"All that dwell upon the earth shall wonder" (17:8) and "worship" the beast, "whose names are not written in the book of life" (13:8) ; and "whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (20:15). "They which are written in the Lamb's book of life" will have the privilege of entering into the, city. (2:27). The book of life is opened at the time the dead are judged. (20:12).

The third angel's message is a warning against "the worship of the beast and his image." This warning is given before the close of probation. The giving of this message completes the division of the world into two classes: those whose names are written in the book of life, and those who worship the beast [30] and his image. The book of life determines who are to be saved without any investigation.


When Are the Names Recorded In the Book of Life?

When the disciples returned from their missionary tour they rejoiced that the devils were subject to them thru the name of Christ. He said unto them, "Rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Lu. 10:20. When were they to rejoice? When were their names written in heaven? Surely they were privileged to rejoice then, because their names were at that time on record in the book of life.

Paul wrote to the Philippians to "Help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life." Phil. 4:3. When were their names written in the book of life? Evidently before the apostle Paul wrote that letter. If they remained faithful unto death, then their names are still there. Then has God been obliged to examine every deed of their lives to determine whether they "are worthy to have part in the first resurrection?"

Daniel says, "At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall found written in the book." 12:1.

If the name of every one who believes is written in the book of life when he be[31]lieves, and the book of life determines who shall be saved, then what is the use of God taking time to examine the record of every name, to determine who are to be saved?


"The Books Were Opened"

The Word plainly teaches that there shall be a judgment, and that books are to be used in that judgment. This fact is made plain in both the New And the Old Testaments. John gives us a picture of this judgment with associated events, in 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 shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth."

This judgment is again pictured in Rev. 20:12. "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Daniel draws another picture of the same scene. See Dan. 7:9, 10.

Notice, it is the dead and the dead only that are to be judged when the books are opened. James White taut the truth when he wrote that this judgment did not begin till after the first resurrection. This judgment does not [32] begin till after Heaven declares, "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. And behold I come quickly." Rev. 22:11, 12. This fiat goes forth before the return of the Master and certainly settles every case as to their salvation; therefore when the books are opened it is not for the purpose of deciding who are to be saved.


For What Purpose Are the Books Kept?

If the books are not kept for the purpose of determining who are to be saved then what are they for? Certainly God does not need a set of books to guide Him in making decisions, for as Elder White said, "The names of the saints are written in heaven, and Jesus and the angels will certainly know who to raise and gather to the New Jerusalem."

"We are made a theatre unto the world, and to angels, and to men." 1Cor. 4:9, margin. The intelligences of heaven not only understand our actions but they can read the thots and motives which prompt our actions. Not so with man; he is not able to go behind the actions, nor is he able to see the strivings of the spirit of God with sinful men. Many men and women appear to us as very saintly, while they are most corrupt at heart. If, when we get to heaven, some of our dear ones or friends, who seemed to us to be honest Christians, [33] are not there, we will be perplexed to know why. If we bad no means of learning the facts we would have cause to wonder whether God was just in excluding them. The books are for the purpose of enlightening the redeemed; and when we have examined their records, and have seen how God put forth every effort to save them and they rejected all His efforts, then we will be, satisfied with the justice of God and will unite in singing, "Righteous art thou' O Lord, and upright are thy judgments." Ps. 119:137.

The saints are to have part in the judgment. (See 1 Cor. 6:3.) This fact forces us to one of two conclusions, either the people to whom Paul was writing went to heaven before 1844, or else the I. J. does not begin till after the resurrection.

I hear some one quote Rom. 14:10, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ," and from that argue that the righteous as well as the wicked must be judged. If a seat had only the function of investigating or weighing evidence, such an application would be warranted; but a judgment seat is a place of sentence as well as a place of investigation. We must all stand before Christ for the purpose of receiving our sentence.

The righteous receive their crowns and the wicked their death sentence. If you object to this explanation because the two events are [34] a thousand years apart, then explain Jn. 5:28, 29, "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Here the two resurrections which are a thousand years apart, are spoken of as taking place in one hour. It is worthy of note that the word "damnation" in this text is translated from the same Greek word from which "judgment" is translated in the first angel's message.



Chapter 5: The Investigative Judgment Denatures the Gospel


One who believes the investigative judgment as taut by the denomination can have no conception of the gospel much less can he enjoy its blessings. The two are as opposite to each other as sin and righteousness.

The gospel is the good news of salvation from sin thru faith in the redeeming merits of Christ. Every one who knows and accepts the gospel has the assurance that he is "accepted in the Beloved;" he knows that he has salvation. How can one enjoy the good news so long as he must wait till God examines the books to see whether he is worthy of salvation? If God does not know who are to be saved till He ex[35]amines the books, then certainly none of His children can know it till after the I. J. makes its report.

This is one of the reasons—if not the reason—the denomination never knew anything about "righteousness by faith, for forty-four years, and then when it was presented to them at the Minneapolis Conference, in 1888, they did not accept it. (That it was rejected, see "Christ Our Righteousness," p. 86 Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 79, 80, 97, 401.) Those who rejected "righteousness by faith" exercised good judgment so long as they believed and taut the I. J.

Reader, ask the leaders to harmonize their theory of the I. J. with the following texts:

"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." 1 Jn. 5:12.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." Jn. 6:47.

"He that believeth on the Son bath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." Jn. 3:36.

"He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotton Son of God." Jn. 3:18, A. S.V.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath [36] passed out of death into life." Jn. 5:24, A. S. V.

The two verses from the American Standard Version are true to the Greek. "Condemnation" in Jn. 5:24, in the Authorized Version is translated from the same Greek word from which "judgment" is translated in the first angel's message.

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life," and "shall not come into judgment;" while "he that believeth not the Son shall not see life," and "hath been judged already." This is a present condition, when one "believes," and not something to be longed for after the investigative judgment.

If the believers have "everlasting life" already, and the unbelievers are "Judged already," God must know it; then what is the use of God spending over a hundred years examining the books to "determine who are prepared for the kingdom of God," as the denomination teaches?

The I. J. robs one of the joy of the gospel and belittles God; reducing Him to a mere man, and a second rate man at that, for every well regulated business keeps the accounts of its servants or patrons strictly up to date.

Mrs. White in speaking of the I. J. says: "As the books of record are opened in the judgment the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Ad[37]vocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated." G. C. p. 493. According to this the names of all the worthies from Abel to John will have to be passed on in the I. J. which began in 1844.

According to Paul, Abel knew nothing of the I. J. or else he had the wrong "witness." Listen to Paul's testimony: "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous." Heb. 11 :4. In fact the same is said of the entire list mentioned in this eleventh chapter. The R. V. and the A. S. V. render the 39th verse, "And these all, having had witness borne to them thru their faith." Was that false witness? "God forbid." How ridiculous to teach that Abel, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, the two Johns, Peter, Paul, Timothy, and all the others whom God used mightily must have their names come up in the I. J. to determine whether they are "prepared for the kingdom of God." Even more ridiculous to think that God bad to wait till after Oct. 22, 1844 to know whether Abraham. Moses and Paul were "prepared for the kingdom."

If the Bible writers had known of the I. J. they certainly would have put a codicil to some statements. Paul should have said,

"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" if [38] he doesn't fall down in the I. J. Rom. 10:13.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith' henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness," if I don't lose it in the I. J. 2 Tim. 4:7, 8.

And John should have said,

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord if they get thru the I. J. Rev. 14:13.

"I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. . . . And white robes were given unto every one of them" after 1844 if they pass the I. J. Rev. 6:9, 11.

No doubt some of our critics will accuse us of being sacrilegious; but if applying a dogma is sacrilegious, what about the dogma that necessitates such an application? In no other way can these and many other scriptures be made to conform to the dogma of the I. J.

If the I. J. is a fact, then Christians thru the ages have been deceived in rejoicing in God's promises. What good are the following promises to one who believes the I. J.?

"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Ps. 103:12.

"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee." Is. 44:22.

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and [39] the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Is. 55:7. This promise is intended to apply while the penitent is able to think, and is not restricted to the period after 1844.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 Jn. 1:9. When? Most certainly when one confesses, and not in the I. J. If a sinner is forgiven and cleansed when he confesses must he and God wait till after his case is decided in the I. J. before rejoicing in the fact?

When is there "rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repenteth," when he repents or after he passes the I. J.?



Chapter 6: Conclusion


Building On a Faulty Translation

S. D. A.'s have been confirmed in their mistake by a superficial study of Acts 3:19. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." Upon this unfortunate translation they have fortified their belief that the sins of the righteous were not blotted out until just before the coming of the Lord, or during the I. J. Had they consulted any reliable translation they [40] would have discovered their mistake. The R. V. and the A. S. V. render it, "Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." To this agree no less than a dozen other translations we have consulted; in fact the Catholic translation is the only one that agrees with the Authorized Version.

"The seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord" is an immediate and frequent blessing to every Christian and not a future event associated only with the coming of the Lord. One who has never experienced a "season of refreshing from the Lord" and is putting it off till the Master comes, knows little of the joy of the Christian life.

Mrs. White says in Gospel Workers p. 302:

"We are to be established in the faith, in the light of the truth given us in our early experience ... We would search the Scriptures with much prayer, and the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to our minds . . . The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error.

"As the points of our faith were thus established, our feet were placed upon a solid foundation. We accepted the truth point by point, under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit. I would be taken off in vision, and explanations would be given me." [41]

Here we have a picture of the pioneers, including Mrs. White, spending as she says, whole nights in prayer and study of the Word, and then the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to their minds, and Mrs. White would go into vision and would be enabled "clearly to define what is truth and what is error." Mr. and Mrs. White and others studied the Scriptures with much prayer, and, as they claim, the Holy Spirit revealed to them that the I. J. "is certainly without foundation in the word of God; " and that those who were teaching that such a judgment began in1840 or 1844 were mistaken; that the Holy Spirit revealed to them that it was revealed to Daniel (7:9-11) that the judgment could not begin till the saints were made immortal and the "Ancient of days came," and the " 'little horn' ceased to prevail, which will not be until he is destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming;" that the Lord revealed to Paul that "the Lord Jesus Christ shall judge the quick and the dead at (not before) his appearing;" and therefore the first angel's message "does not prove that the day of judgment came in 1840, or 1844, nor that it will come prior to the second advent."

Thus was established in the "early days of the message" by "the pioneers" under "the power of the Holy Spirit," and was confirmed by Mrs. White in vision, as well as by Paul and by Daniel, [42] that the I. J. "is certainly without foundation in the word of God," and that the first angel's message does not teach that the I. J. will come "prior to the second advent" because such a judgment is unnecessary, for Jesus, and the angels will certainly know whom to raise, and gather to the New Jerusalem, without an investigative judgment.

So it is plain to be seen from their own teachings that we are on the "firm foundation," established by "the pioneers " in the " early days of the message" and are "contending earnestly for the faith once delivered "to the pioneers, while the Whites and their followers, since 1858, are the "heretics," who have departed from the sure foundation established by the pioneers and their prophet. It is against them that a warning should be sounded for being unsound in the faith, instead of against "the Gathering Call heretics."

According to their present-day teaching, the only event that marked the termination of the great prophetic period, the 2300 days, was the announcement of Christ's moving from the first to the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary to begin the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and an I. J. This according to their teaching, is the most important prophetic period of the entire Bible. It inaugurated "the greatest and most important religious movement this world has ever witnessed." [43]

Yet the great cornerstone of this greatest movement in the history of the world was not believed or taut by the body for twelve years after the termination of this great period. This great movement had gone into history twelve years, before the body endorsed the invention of the I. J.

According to their present position the great religious awakening which God instituted under the leadership of William Miller, the movement which God so marvelously blessed and directed, which marked the beginning of the "greatest religious movement this world has ever witnessed," never even caught sight of the great event which marked the termination of the 2300 days until years after the movement had gone into history as a great delusion. It was not only not given to the world, but was stoutly combated by the pioneers for at least six years after 1844; and was not taut by the body for twelve years after the great event had passed into history. Could anything be more inconsistent? Could God be put in a more ridiculous position than to record in His Word the longest and most important prophetic period in the entire Bible, and then launch a great world-wide movement to proclaim the termination of that period and not reveal to His messengers who were heralding this message to the world the event which God intended to mark the close of this "greatest and most important" period for twelve [44] years after the period terminated? Then when they did settle upon an event to mark the close of this period twelve years after the failure of the great awakening, it was "without foundation in the Word of God." It was not only without foundation in the Word of God, but is directly contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. The fact should not be lost sight of that according to their own present teaching the only event which marks the close of the 2300 days is the I. J. It should also be remembered that James White used all of the scriptures which they now use in support of the I. J. to show that no judgment began in 1840 or 1844.

The unscriptural invention of the I. J. has led many intelligent men to most inexcusable blunders. In fact their position on the first angel's message has brot forth a bountiful hatch of untenable positions. Chief among these is their position on the atonement, which leads them to teach that: The day of atonement began in 1844.

"The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross." G. C. p. 489.

Christ did not make the atonement when he shed his blood upon the cross. Let this fact be fixed forever in the mind." Uriah Smith, "Looking Unto Jesus", p. 237.

"Our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ," and thus defiles the sanctuary. S. of P. Vol. 4, p. 266.

This same "blood removes the sins of his people from the heavenly sanctuary" and thus cleanses the sanctuary. Do. p. 267. S. of P., vol. 4, p. 266.

Satan bears the sins of the redeemed. Do. p. 267. G. C. 422.

This list might be continued ad libitum but our limited space forbids.

We have shown that no kind of judgment began in 1844; that no kind of angelic message was given during the Miller movement: therefore the first angel's message has never been given, and consequently there is nothing to mark the close of any prophetic period in 1844. If the first message has not been given then what about the 2nd and 3rd?

No one can get a correct understanding of the early history of the denomination without reading the first three documents put out jointly by the pioneers. They represent the teachings and activities of the leaders of SDAs for at least the first seven years following the great disappointment. They have never been honestly represented to the laity, or correctly reproduced in their papers or commonly advertised books. They contain facts denied by many of their leaders and grossly misrepresented by their early historian. These documents are:

A Word to the Little Flock; a pamphlet of 24 pages, published by James White in 1847. It contains Mrs. White's first Vision complete including portions left out of all editions of Early Writings.

The Present Truth: a series of eleven numbers of an 8-page periodical, edited by James White from July 1849 to Nov. 1850. It also contains some of Mrs. White's visions, which have never been republished complete in any of her books.

The Advent Review: published by James White and four other pioneers, in 1850. It contains 48 pages, and is largely given to accusing First-day Adventists of departing from the truth because they refused to believe the "door of mercy" was closed to all the world, Oct. 22, 1844, and were working for the salvation of sinners.


NOTE: (By Robert K. Sanders) The Investigative Judgment has been going on for 155 years as of 1999 according to the non biblical teaching of Ellen G. White. Do you really believe that it takes God 155 years or more to judge the world and determine who will be saved and who will be lost? Did you notice the saints listed in Hebrews 11, were Judged worthy to enter the City that was built without hands before Ellen G. White's Investigative Judgment, Eph. 1:4 makes it plain God knows the saved before the creation of the world. (Eph 1:4 NIV) "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love"


Ballenger's related books

Second Angel's Message

Third Angel's Message

Robert K. Sanders, Founder and Editor of Truth or Fables, 1997–2012
Life Assurance Ministries assumed ownership of Truth or Fables in 2012
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