Adventist’s contribution to the development of Christian Doctrine: Judgment


The scenario to demonstrate the Adventist role in developing Christian Doctrine after the stagnation of the Reformation during Orthodoxy and deviations with Rationalism, Deism, Enlightenment criticism, all deterioration towards nihilism, here came Adventism with their advancing of the Judgment doctrine.

Ask any Catholic or Protestant regarding the doctrine of the Judgment then they have just one thing to say: “Well, one day all people will stand before the throne of God for Judgment”.

But God was not satisfied with this simplistic understanding of the Judgment. They thought it would be some separated to the right and some to the left and then those in the left will be burned with fire and they even develop all kinds of strange ideas about the Hell and how it will be.

The Millerite Movement was a failure but it’s success is that it gave rise to the correct understanding by Adventists as to what happened since 1843/44.

The Lutheran scholar Hengstenberg in his lectures around 1833 was suggesting that the 2300 days are years and sometime before the close of the century, and he actually gave a date, the sanctuary will be cleansed.

But the issue was always when did it start? 516? 457? or 428? which is just three theories to mention.

Adventists investigated and decided on Ezra 7’s time as 457 BCE for the starting-point of the 2300 days as years prophecy of Daniel 8:14.

With this introduction of the dating point of that event, in 1844, now one can begin to discuss the issue of Judgment.

Revelation 19:7-15 is a must for a correct understanding of the Judgment. Satan and his members that are resurrected for a battle with the saints safely in the city is the subject of verse 7. But then it is said that they will be thrown into a pool of fire. It is a short highlight by John to explain what eventually will happen to the evil.

John then thought it well to explain in detail how these evil groups were labeled as such.

The labeling process started, after the 1000 years [see verse 7] when Satan was loosed, [because he was bound before the 1000 years] and a throne was set up and God sat on it and Books were given Him and the Book of Life and He allocated them as evil and they went to be burnt in Hell. This is until verse 15. Notice that nothing is said about the saints in the city. Are they coming from the city to appear before the throne? No. They remain there for a battle is lurking [verse 7].

Now here comes the formula: If the date for the Second Coming of Christ cannot be calculated, then the starting-point of the 1000 years is not known and furthermore, the end-date of the 1000 neither and finally, the time the throne will be set up for Judgment is not known with the result of the Hell-event.

Return to Revelation 14:6-7 and it explains that the angel went with an everlasting gospel to be preached across the globe that the hour of His judgment has come.

Wait a minute: If the hour of Judgment has come, the 1000 years should be done for that is what we just read above?

This is the calculative error all denominations plus the Catholic Church did with these verses. But not Adventists.

Here is how it works: When Christ comes at the Second Coming there is no more good news to be evangelized across the globe since the blessed Hope is at last “Blessed” and no longer Hope. It is realized.

Thus, this angel preaching the hour of the coming of the Judgment, cannot talk about the hour after 1000 years because the 1000 years did not start yet because Christ did not come yet and besides if He does come preaching the hour of the judgment and evangelism across the globe is no longer essential.

1 Peter 4:17 had Peter expecting soon on the clock on this side of Christ’s Second Coming a day when the judgment was to start in the “House of God”. There you are. There you have your saints in the city of Revelation 19 judged: before the Second Coming not after it.

Daniel 7:22 indicated that the judgment is on behalf of the saints. It is in favor of them. It is not to harm them.

Thus the Sanctuary cleansing in Daniel 8:14 is a heavenly process that started after a definite calculation of 2300 years from 457 BCE, namely in 1843/44. Thus we have an Investigative Judgment in favor of the faithful saints before the Second Coming that is a known date Judgment but we also have a second Judgment later after the Millennium of which date it is not known but also the judgment is against the evil who would be eradicated into eternity as ad nihilo.

There you have your Investigative Judgment before the Second Coming and the Executive Judgment after a 1000 years with the saints already nicely in the New Jerusalem. Investigative in favor of the saints and Executive for the eradication of all evil.

No other denomination has this doctrine but funny enough, in the Pesher Habakkuk from Qumran, some members there or people in that era had a similar understanding as Adventists in this regard and this source also helps us to understand what Peter meant in 1 Peter 4:17. They knew it. Paul knew it. Peter Knew it, the twofold division of Judgment. But, somehow when the dark ages begun, the light of understanding was removed and only switched on during the Victorian Age.

There are other non-SDA scholars that also advocated a twofold separation of the Investigative and Executive Judgments out of honesty to the biblical text, but they were in the minority.