Judgment of the Dead to the Living, the Present Truth Message

sanctuary

Seventh-day Adventists know well that the judgment for the dead started in 1844, in the heavenly sanctuary. But what is not so clear is the  subject of the judgment for the living. This should not be, because the Lord sent us the Elijah prophet to explain these things in detail. What you are about to read is deep. It delves into the aspects of the judgment for the living.

Recently I was on a phone study and the speakers discussed this very topic. Although not personally well versed in this deep topic, I could see that even among advanced present truth believers there is confusion about it. Some believed that the judgment for the living started in 1930  (when the Elijah message came to the SDA church), others believed that this judgment is yet future.

This is important my brothers and sister–very important. This passing of judgment of the dead to the living is about to take place yet nearly all SDA members (save the present truth students) know little or nothing about the specifics. Let us now look at this subject.

“Are all the living judged and sealed under the seventh seal? Or have some been considered before its opening?  To answer this question we quote Revelation 8:3, “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”  Note, the prayer is offered for all saints.  No one, knowing God’s truth, would dare pray for the dead, for it is abomination in God’s sight; much less would an angel commit such sin.

   The Psalmist declares that prayers for the dead are the invention of the heathen, “They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.  Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brakes in upon them.” (Psa. 106:28, 29.)  “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. (Psa. 115:17.)  If the dead praise not God, how can an angel offer a prayer for them before God?

   The phrase, “all saints,” has reference to all the living who are to be judged.  Evidently this is done under the seventh seal.  If “all,” then it is definite that all the living saints are counted under the seventh seal.  Thus, with the opening of the last seal, commences the judgment for all the living saints.  Let nothing confuse you on this point.  If we say the prayers of all saints had some connection with the dead, then they should have been offered at the commencement of the judgment — the opening of the first seal, for after the judgment the prayers cannot profit them.

   Note the words at the opening of the judgment for the dead in 1844: “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” (Rev. 5:8.)  Mark that no angel offered a prayer, but the prayers of the saints were presented by the beasts and elders through praise by harps, and golden vials full of odours, that is, there was no prayer offered for the dead, but their prayers which they had prayed, being recorded while they were yet alive, were presented before the throne. 

The 144,000 are sealed before the silence “of half an hour,” or at the opening of the seal, but they are judged in the period of the seventh seal, for the prayer was for “all” saints — the living.

   Is there any way whereby we can determine the time of the opening of the seal, and the commencement of the judgment for the living?  If God so faithfully revealed to the living the commencement of the judgment for the dead, it cannot be possible that He would keep secret the time of the judgment for the living.  If He did, we would have no present truth in the time of the last seal; neither could there be justice in such secrecy, nor could such judgment be legal. 

Therefore, a revelation of the judgment for the living, is of as great importance as the revelation of the gospel itself.  For the judgment (blotting out the sins) is the crowning act in the gospel of Christ.  Thus we conclude that when the seal is opened, and the judgment for the living begins, we must know it.  The day of atonement in its type proves the same, for the Israelites were well informed of the event, their duty, and the consequence.

   The date of that most glorious event for the righteous, but exceeding solemn for the wicked, will be made known at the fulfillment of the following verse: “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings and an earthquake.” (Rev. 8:5.) 

The casting of the fire from the altar into the earth is the outpouring of the Spirit of God.  We have stated before that the book of Revelation is a revealing of prophecies, and not a prophecy of itself.  Therefore, we find the prediction of this glorious event in Joel 2:28, 29.  The “voices, and thunderings, and lightnings,” denote the opening of the judgment for the living, as they also denote the opening of the judgment for the dead. (See Rev. 4:5.)  The earthquake will be the sign of the event.” (Shepherd’s Rod, vol. 2, p.219-221)

In the parable of the ten virgins, we know that there will be foolish virgins, who upon learning that they don’t have the necessary oil, will frantically go to those who do have extra oil (truth) in their possession. This truth for us as His remnant people is the knowledge of the judgment for the living message.

Those who have felt a serious need for truth, those who have not thought that they were all filled up with truth and in need of nothing, were guided into all truth (John 16:13). In short, we must have a sincere desire for truth today, and that truth for us, the present truth, is the judgment for the living message.

“..there must come a day of reckoning, a day when the names of those who are found unworthy of eternal life will be blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life — a proceeding for which the only correct term can be, “investigative judgment.”

   And now that the “time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God…,” “thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3), for “if it [the judgment] first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Pet. 4:17.

   Since, therefore, in the fullness of time, the judgment will begin in the house of God, the church, each one is confronted with the imperative need to know

How Names Are Retained In The Book.

   At the moment we accept Christ as our personal Saviour through the Word of Truth, — at that supreme moment God forgives us our sins, and the hands bloodstained by Calvary inscribe our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Then simultaneously the pen of angels begins in the heavenly ledger the life or death chronicle of our Christian experience separate from our past. Even “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matt. 10:30.

Therefore “suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error.” Eccles. 5:6. For in the investigative judgment the books are opened and the deeds done in the flesh are brought to light for a final reckoning before the Ancient of days. All who have stood fast to the end will then forever have their sins blotted from the books and their names retained therein; while all who are not overcomers will then forever have their sins retained in the books and their names blotted therefrom.

   Always man’s greatest test, and one which has ever involved almost an instantaneous decision, has been in the unrolling of the scroll — in the eclipse of a past message by a new one, — present truth. On every such occasion each one has had to decide: Shall I heed the new and unpopular truth and walk in its light, joining with those who are despised by nearly every religious leader in the land? or shall I allow myself to be deterred by the decision and counsel of the ministry in my church?

   When the judgment begins and the books open and the cases of each generation pass in succession in review before the judicial tribunal, some generations suffer an almost wholesale blotting out of names instead of sins. When the generation of Christ’s first advent is weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, a whole nation will be found wanting and their names will be wiped from the book.

And so in varying degree it has been at the introduction of every message in every age. “Different periods in the history of the church have each been marked by the development of some special truth, adapted to the necessities of God’s people at that time. Every new truth has made its way against hatred and opposition; those who were blessed with its light were tempted and tried.” — The Great Controversy, p. 609.

   Accordingly, “when a message comes in the name of the Lord to His people, no one may excuse himself from an investigation of its claims.” — Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, p. 65. Lay aside all prejudices, self-opinions, and ideas of men who bear not the mark of Inspiration, and who say in effect by their actions: “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (truth or prophets). Rev. 3:17.

   The Bible can be rightly explained only by the Spirit Who dictated it. He “will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come” that ye may “be established in the present truth.” And “whosoever…blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost [speaketh evil against the message] it shall not be forgiven” him: for it is the only means whereby we may be saved (John 16:13; 2 Pet. 1:12; Luke 12:10).

   Consequently, the greatest danger of the people has not been their listening to error but rather their rejecting present truth. “If a message comes,” saith the Lord, “that you do not understand, take pains that you may hear the reasons the messenger may give,…then produce your strong reasons; for your position will not be shaken by coming in contact with error.” — Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, pp. 65, 66. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12.

   Clearly, therefore, any attitude which disposes one not to make a candid investigation of any message that purports to be additional truth, must inevitably bring ruin upon oneself. While on the other hand he who accepts the truth but fails faithfully to live and to proclaim it, thereby brings upon himself ruin also — that against which Ezekiel warns:

“When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock [a message] before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezek. 3:20, 21. But the wicked shall “be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” Ps. 69:28.

Thus solidly established, the foregoing position on the investigative judgment makes all opposing positions Unfounded Conclusions.  (Tract 3, p. 8-12)

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