Understanding the Heavenly Sanctuary and Investigative Judgement

News June 26, 2020

Editor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to You Tube on June 26, from president of the Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson. Elder Wilson will release a new video each week, during the Coronavirus pandemic, which you can view here

Friends, once again we are meeting together at the end of the week, to connect, and to reflect for a few moments on what God’s Word has to say to us today.

As you know, the world is changing rapidly and yet, Praise God, His Word never changes! We read in Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

Last week we looked at the prophecies in Daniel 8, and especially at verse 14—“For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

As we know, the calculation of the time indicated in this verse leads to the year 1844—a year when many honest people expected Jesus to come. And while they were correct in the time calculation, they were wrong in the expected event. Assuming, as many Christians did, that the term “sanctuary” referred to the Earth, their conclusion was that Jesus would come and cleanse the Earth in 1844. 

However, through much Bible study and prayer these early Adventists learned that the “sanctuary” referred to in Daniel 8:14 is the Heavenly Sanctuary, where Christ is ministering today. They saw in Hebrews 8:1 and 2 that “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.”

The earthly sanctuary, built by human hands but following divine instructions, was a type of the Heavenly Sanctuary. It served as an object lesson, illustrating the plan of salvation. That plan included many aspects, including a sacrifice (representing Jesus) and the washing away of sins. Further, it included a special time, known as the “Day of Atonement,” when the High Priest entered the Most Holy Place and the sanctuary would be “cleansed” by the symbolic removal of sin. 

This important ceremony represents what began on October 22, 1844, when Christ entered the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary. We are given a glimpse into this Most Holy Place in Revelation 11:19, where we read, “Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple.” 

Today, Christ, our High Priest, is in the Most Holy Place, where the Investigative Judgment is taking place. 

Did you know that the Bible mentions judgment more than 1,000 times? Judgment is a concept seen throughout Scripture, but the Investigative Judgment is special. As stated in our Fundamental Belief #24, the Investigative Judgment “reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom.” 

Now, the idea of judgment can seem unsettling to some. After all, we are all sinners. And while that is true, praise God we have a Savior who is our Advocate and Judge! We read in John 5:22—“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” Furthermore, we know that when we surrender our lives to Christ, we are covered in His beautiful robe of righteousness, and through His Holy Spirit, we are given His power to overcome. In Revelation 3:5 Jesus assures us that “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

The work of Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary is vitally important. In the book, The Great Controversy, page 489, we read, “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. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. . . . Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands, His bruised body; and He declares to all who would follow Him: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ . . . Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them.”

Friend, today I want to encourage you to place your hope in Jesus, our Savior, our Advocate, our High Priest, and our soon coming King. He will never fail those who put their trust in Him.

Let me pray for you just now. 

Father in Heaven. Thank you for this marvelous understanding that you are the sacrifice you are, the high priest. You are the Coming King. You are our All-in-All, and you can justify us through your righteousness. You can sanctify us through your righteousness and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Thank you that we have been told that you began this precious investigative judgment. In 1844 and soon it will conclude for, we know that Jesus is coming soon. So Lord, we commit now our lives into your hands and through your grace, through your sacrifice, through your ministry, we can claim victory in Jesus.

We thank you for hearing us. We ask all of this in the precious, powerful name of our Savior, our Advocate and our Coming King, Jesus Christ. Amen.