Are the Judgments of the Dead vs. the Living Supported by the Bible Alone?

Questions on the Judgment of the Dead vs. Judgment of the Living: Are BOTH Supported by the Bible Alone?

This response was initially provided by Garrick Augustus on March 29, 2020, and later expanded upon, by him, on April 2, 2020.  We encourage your participation in this vital conversation.

Below is my response to my WhatsApp Chat where active comparative Bible discussions are held on the classical SDA beliefs as compared with the “new light” brought forth from the Shepherd’s Rod message.

Big O:  If the investigative judgment starts with those who are dead, can it ever get to the living?  People die every day.  So wouldn’t that mean that it has to cover the living and the dead simultaneously at some point in time?

Little Sister: Regarding the investigative judgment, where, in the Bible, does it mention a separate judgment for the people in the world who were redeemed after the 144k does the loud cry? If judgment begins in the church, starting with the dead and transitions to the righteous living making probation done for the church, where does the Bible support judging the lives of the great multitude who were saved after the loud cry? (Anyone can answer this question.)

Inspiration’s answer

Whenever we have a theological question, most times we turn to Sister White as the end-all rather than to the Bible, and this question, while completely answered in her writings, I shall demonstrate the Biblical case for both aspects of the Judgment, both in the Church and in the World, both for the Dead and the Living!  First though, let’s analyze the Judgment in Israel, the type.

The Day of Atonement:  The Day of Atonement (DOA) was a special day of judgment upon the living in Israel ALONE!  This did not affect the lives of any of the surrounding heathen nations.

“27  Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you [Israel]; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 28  And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you [Israel]  before the LORD your God… 31  Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations [Israel]  in all your dwellings.” Lev. 23: 27, 28, 31

At this point, it should be noticed that the DOA Judgment was exclusively for Israel, and Israel alone!

“15 ¶  Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people [Israel], 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: 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.” Lev. 16: 15, 16

Again we see the forceful declaration from Heaven that this was intended and practically applied on behalf “of the uncleanness of the children of Israel,” even while all the heathen nations were surrounding them and washed over in sin.

The Harvest Rites: In Israel, God also illustrated the process of harvesting the world through the agricultural harvest ceremony, which served as an object lesson to His great plan of Salvation.  To this end, the harvest was uniquely divided into two separate segments: The First Fruit harvest, wherein the barley grain was harvested, which was followed by the Wheat harvest, known as “the greater harvest.”  The Barley Harvest: Barley is harvested in time for the Passover, the first festival in the year, and as such, becomes a type of the “first fruits” of the gospel age.  This is why the 144,000 are called “the first fruits” (Rev. 14: 4) unto God and to the Lamb, for they are the first to be harvested for eternal life among the living on earth after the Judgment has been opened in 1844! Central to this harvest is the barley crop, which was winnowed in at that time, and for which reason the first month was named “Aviv” or the more familiar Anglicized “Abib.”

“10  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11  And he shall wave the sheaf [firstfruits] before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.. 14  And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering [firstfruits/wave sheaf] unto your God: it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” Lev. 23: 10, 11, 14.

“On the fifteenth day of the month, harvest was begun by gathering a sheaf of barley, which was offered unto the Lord on the sixteenth #Le 23:4-11”—Smith’s Bible Dictionary/Abib.

“The Passover was followed by the seven day’s feast of unleavened bread… Barley was the earliest [first] grain in Palestine, and at the opening of the feast it was beginning to ripen. A sheaf of this grain was waved by the priest before the altar of God, as an acknowledgment that all was His. Not until this ceremony had been performed was the harvest to be gathered.”  {PP 539.4}

Wheat Harvest: Following the wave offering of the barley harvest (first of the first fruits), then commenced the official Firstfruit harvest, extending from the Sabbath after Passover through to the day before Pentecost.  On the Day of Pentecost however, which is 50 days from the waving of the sheaf, a finished loaf was baked and waved before the Lord, showing the completion of the firstfruits harvest!

“15 ¶  And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: 16  Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days [Pentecost]; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. 17  Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD… 20  And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest.” Lev. 23: 15-17, 20.

From what is now before us, we see that there are “two” distinct festivals that envelope the First Fruit harvest, the Passover and Pentecost.  Similarly, we shall see below, that there likewise are “two” festivals that envelope the Second fruit or greater harvest gathering, namely Pentecost and Tabernacles.  Of great interest too, is the fact that the First Fruit harvest was confined to the Spring, whereas the greater harvest (Second fruit harvest) was confined to the end of Spring and the beginning of Autumn, thereby making the Summer months the greatest period of harvesting.  It is for this reason that even till today, when harvesting is more mechanized, that schools give such a long holiday, for the greater harvest was gathered in at that time, and all hands were needed.  We shall see how this is also reflected in the gospel harvest.

Just as there was a Pentecost in the gathering of the grain harvest, similarly, there was a Pentecost to mark the spiritual harvest, and as the Gospel dispensation was opened when “the day of Pentecost was FULLY come,” (Acts 2: 1), it is clear that God has used these appointed times as eternal markers of the events of the Plan of Salvation, in both Testaments.  While we today do not need to offer the sacrifices and specific ritualistic offerings on those days, their commemorations are important events as they are tokens of our redemption, as verily as is the weekly Sabbath!

Fifty days from the offering of first fruits, came the Pentecost, called also the feast of harvest and the feast of weeks. As an expression of gratitude for the grain prepared as food, two loaves baked with leaven were presented before God. The Pentecost occupied but one day, which was devoted to religious service.”  {PP 540.1}

The Feast of Tabernacles (Booths): This festival was celebrated “in the end of the year,” marking the close of the harvest season.  It was also known as “the feast of ingathering,” from which we Adventists have patterned our Harvest Ingathering Campaigns.   This was a festival of much rejoicing and jubilation, for the arduous work of the hot summer months had past, and the bounties of a glorious harvest have been garnered in, thereby providing much-needed provender during the winter months, when no harvest was done.

“And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering [Tabernacles], which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.” Ex. 23:16

I should note here that the phrase “end of the year,” occurs in the 7th rather than the 12th month, and that the space between the opening and close of the harvest spanned six months.  Later, in Revelation 9 we will see prophecy speaking of “five months” which can ONLY be understood in the light of the ceremonial harvest given to Israel.  I won’t discuss that here.

The Truth of the Harvest in Antitype

That which we’ve discussed above shows that there are two segments to the harvest, and as such there are two judgments.  The First fruit harvest and the Second fruit harvest.  That there is a harvest (judgment) after the Pentecost is attested to in this abysmal cry of the lost, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jer. 8: 20.

This lamentation of the unsaved shows that the summer was a time during which they could be saved!  Jesus gave a parable of the harvest in Matt. 13, and to it we shall now turn to gain an appreciation for these two phases herein discussed:

“24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25  But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way… 30  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat [second] into my barn.” Matt. 13: 24, 25, 30.

The word “first” here means first in sequence and not as “firstfruits,” and similarly, the word “second” that I’ve embedded in the text, is for sequencing only.

From this parable we see that there are wheat and tares in “The kingdom of heaven” here on earth, a symbol of God’s church; not the church and the world combined.  The unconverted world only has tares, and ONLY in the Church are there both “wheat and tares.”  This is not to say that there are not people to be saved in the world, but that they must come into the Truth of the kingdom of God—His Church, in order to be saved, for the Church is Heaven’s agency of salvation on earth.  By Church, we are not here mentioning to necessarily have one’s name rostered on a church records book, but to come into the saving Truth of salvation which emanates ONLY from the blood of the Lamb through the Church of God on earth, as she receives it from Heaven.

Of significance is the fact that the “tares” are “first” gathered out of the kingdom, thereby leaving only the wheat to remain in the Church of God!  This should be abundantly clear!  The illustration below is a demonstration of discretely separating freshwater from extracting salt from watersalted water.  To do so the brine (saltwater) is boiled over a Bunsen burner, allowing the pure water to evaporate.  This vapor is then passed through a fractionating, or condensation column packed with icy water to act as a cooling catalyst.  As the hot vapor hits the cold surface of the heat exchanger (condenser), the heat is absorbed into the icy water, which is in the outer sleeve of the condenser, and the vapor in return rapidly cools into a precipitate (water droplets), in the inner sleeve of the condenser, then simply drains and collects into the beaker or measuring flask at the end of the condenser column. As this process continues to completion when all the water is boiled off, a white precipitate will remain in the flask above the flame, and pure distilled water will be collected in the flask at the end of the condenser column without the slightest particulate of salt in its composition!

In a similar way, we can liken the wheat and the tares comingled together, to the salt and water solution in the flask above the flame.  The harvest, therefore, is the work of separating the wheat from the tares, as the evaporation/condensation process separates the distilled water from the salty water solution, thereby leaving salt in one vessel, and pure water in another.  From this illustration, we now return to the parable:

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat [second] into my barn.” Matt. 13: 30.

It becomes obvious that the wheat and tares are placed is discrete bundles, as the water separated from the salt, and both are dispositioned accordingly.  The tares are burnt, and the wheat stored in His barn.  This is NOT the Second Coming of Christ, however, for at that time, the process is entirely in the reverse—the righteous are taken out and the unrighteous remain to be destroyed in the fires of the last day!

“16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17  Then we [the righteous] which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17.

At this separation, it is clear that the first to be gathered out (separated) are the righteous, both from among the dead as well as the living.  Care should be taken to see the sequence of events, for they are in direct reverse to illustrate the two discrete separation processes.  The reason for the “tares” to be first separated in the judgment in the Church, is because the purified church will remain on earth to be filled up with the end-times “saved” as in a “clean vessel.”  Thus, when Jesus returns, He will not find a defiled church, but, “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5: 27

But there is more to this parable (Matt. 13) than immediately meets the untrained eye, and Jesus continued in teaching its truths throughout the remainder of the chapter:

“38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matt. 13: 38-43

’The field,’ Christ said, ‘is the world.’ But we must understand this as signifying the church of Christ in the world. The parable is a description of that which pertains to the kingdom of God, His work of salvation of men; and this work is accomplished through the church.”  {COL 70.2}

While there as much to be said on these verses above, for brevity, we should now focus on v. 43, for it shows that when placed in the “barn,” the saints are actually placed “in the kingdom of their father,” but when and where is this kingdom, and what does it mean for the righteous to “shine” in it?

“1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise [teachers/preachers/evangelists] shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Dan. 12: 1-3.

It is clear that Michael stands up in the midst of “the time of trouble such as never was,” and at that time there was a mixed resurrection of both wheat and tares!  Of the wheat (righteous), we are told that they shall “turn many to righteousness” for they “shall shine” to the glory of God!  Note carefully that the verb “turn” is in the present active tense, and not in the past or future!  This means that from among the resurrected ones are preachers and teachers, evangelists who shall declare the everlasting gospel to a lost and dying world, during the Loud Cry of the Third Angel’s Message.

Let’s think of the church today in the era of coronavirus.  We are practically shuttered around the world!  And though today we can still operate over the electronic airways, those rights and privileges are only accessible to us because they are PAID FOR with money.  But when the time comes that no one can “buy or sell” save for those who ascribe to the mark of the beast system, then the Church would be practically finished, and Satan would have won!  But God does have a plan, and that plan is activated when Michael stands up to establish the pre-Advent kingdom for the final proclamation of “the everlasting gospel” under the ministry of the 144,000.

While discussing the need for evangelism, Ellen White declared that the Battle Cry of the Gospel must go forward, and sensing her own mortality made the most astonishing statement in defense of this truth: “The battle-cry is sounding along the line. Let every soldier of the cross push to the front, not in self-sufficiency, but in meekness and lowliness, and with firm faith in God. Your work my work will not be cease with this lifeFor a little while we may rest in the graves, but, when the call comes, we shall, in the kingdom of God, take up our work once more.”— Testimonies For The Church, Vol. 7, Ellen G. White, p. 17. Also published in {RH, January 20, 1903 par. 17}.

If it is assumed that “the kingdom of God” here referenced is either in Heaven or in the New earth, that would be most laughable, for long before even the Second Advent, during the time of the seven last plagues (Rev. 16), the Bible has made this declaration, “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.” Rev. 22:11.

There MUST come a time prior to the Second coming of Christ, and before the close of probation that the Church of God will be purified of sin (Ezek. 9) and its members (144,000) dispense the undiluted word of God to a lost and dying world.  It is to this that Sister White wrote in expectancy, just 12 years before her death.

At this point, It should be a self-evident truth that if there is a separation of the wheat form the tares in the church, there likewise ought to, and of greater necessity, be a separation of the wheat from the tares in the world, in the special sense that the church must become sin-free, a total wheat loaf, at some point before probation has closed, in order to be so readied to harvest in the remainder of wheat (good seed) that are in the world in these last days.  To this the Bible is not silent:

“17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 1 Pet. 4: 17, 18.

In this passage it is crystal clear that the Apostle Peter saw that the judgment had a “beginning” and an “ending,” for he says it “begins” with “the righteous” and “ends” with “the ungodly.”  In other words, it “begins” in the church and “ends” in the world!  This is as clear as language can explain.

Big O’s Question now answered:

Yes, and yes, the Judgment does start with the dead, those who have first lived upon the earth, and ends with the living, but it does not preclude God from designating a cut-off period to separate one event from another.  For example, while there were many people on earth during Noah’s day, there was divine judgment placed upon the wicked of that day while they were alive!  Thus, for seven days before the rains fell, their probation had already closed, and their cases had already been decided!

That there is a day in time that God has predetermined as the cut-off period is germane to the Scriptures.   To this end, we will see that the Judgment is divided into two discrete sections punctuated by a “half-hour silence.”  Let’s inform ourselves of this truth that is totally unknown within the farthest reaches of the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination:

In Daniel 7: 9, 10, we are told that the “judgment is set and the books are opened,” but Daniel did not tell us about the phases of the judgment.  Then in Revelation, John saw the judgment in session complete with the Judge (God the Father), the witnesses (multitudes of angels), the Jury (24 elders), the Advocate (the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world), and the convicts—the four beasts, having four different faces!  W

“5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Rev. 4: 5.

It is crucial to respect the order (sequence) of celestial events at this opening session of the judgment: 1) lightnings, 2) Thunderings, and 3) voices.  With this understanding solidly riveted in our minds, we shall now examine the second session of the Judgment:

“1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour… 5 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: 1, 5.

After the judicial “recess” of half an hour” the judgment again resumed, but we should take particular notice of the Divine manifestations that were realized at its commencement: 1) voices, 2) thunderings, 3) lightnings, and 4) an earthquake!

That this second session of the judgment had convened during probationary time is evidenced by this salient fact: prayers were still being accepted in heaven! “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. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”

Clearly, “all saints” were still on the earth, and not in Heaven as our Denomination teaches!  Prayers were still being offered and accepted by God!  The judgment was still in session as the judicial scenery had not yet disbanded!  Therefore, we must look for that significant earthquake that will be renown around the world, as verily as was the great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, and that will be the divine indication on earth that the Judgment has officially turned over to the living on earth (not in heaven).  We are today living in the days of the Judgment for the living on earth, but that judgment is in three phases:

  1. The Investigative Phase—this is where we live today; God is examining our characters, and refining us in the blood of the Lamb, the sealing of the servants of God for salvation.
  2. The Executive phase—Ezekiel slaying of those who have not received the seal, those who continued in their “abominations” after being warned through the saints’ “sighing and crying” within their midst.
  3. The Blotting out phase—Another Quasi investigative Phase in heaven—during which time the names of the slain are removed from the ledgers of heaven based on the operation just accomplished in the separation done on earth.

The righteous and the wicked will still be living upon the earth in their mortal state–men will be planting and building, eating and drinking, all unconscious that the final, irrevocable decision has been pronounced in the sanctuary above. Before the Flood, after Noah entered the ark, God shut him in and shut the ungodly out; but for seven days the people, knowing not that their doom was fixed, continued their careless, pleasure-loving life and mocked the warnings of impending judgment. “So,” says the Saviour, “shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:39. Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief, will come the decisive hour which marks the fixing of every man’s destiny, the final withdrawal of mercy’s offer to guilty men.”  {GC 491.1}

It is my prayer that all our names shall be found written in the book from among the living of earth!

*Addendum:*

We took time to show the separation of the tares (first) from the wheat, but did not explicitly state that at the Second Coming of Christ the very reverse is shown, where the wheat (righteous) are FIRST separated from the tares!  In other words, the righteous dead are raised first, followed by the righteous living, in both groups, the unrighteous are “left behind,” to be burnt!  Also, for the Judgement in heaven, we saw that the opening session of the Judgment for the dead is ins direct reverse of the opening session for the Judgment of the dead, and it was attended also  with an earthquake.  This shows with divine accuracy the distinction between one judicial session versus the other.  The most compelling fact in it all, is the recession of the Judicial proceedings in heaven for the space of half an hour—seven literal days.  Below is an extract from my  online document, published in 2001, The “Half an Hour” Silence In Heaven…In The Symbolization of the Seventh Seal.

“While the judgment for the living is in progress, every sin must be confessed and put away.  Those who would neglect this great privilege will find themselves involved in everlasting ruin – cut off from among their people, the living saints.  We now illustrate the difference between the opening of the judgment for the dead as compared with that of the living:

Event No. Judgment for the Dead (Rev. 4: 5; 6: 12) Judgment for the Living (Rev. 8: 5) Judgment on the Living in Seven Last Plagues (Rev. 16: 18)
1 Earthquake Voices Voices
2 Lightenings Thunderings Thunderings
3 Thunderings Lightenings Lightenings
4 Voices Earthquake Earthquake

“A close analysis of the above table will show that both judgments opened in reverse order.  While the judgment of the dead opened with an earthquake and ended with voices, the judgment of the living opened with voices and ended with an earthquake.  The same will be seen at the close of the Plagues–the finality of God’s judgments upon the living (Rev. 16: 18), [in the end of the world].

As we have seen, the silence divides the two pre-millennial Judicial sessions, the one for the dead and the other for the living, and the fire from the heavenly altar, the voices, lightnings, and thunderings, descend to earth.  These facts, along with a number of scriptures on the subject, besides the remainder of The Revelation, the chapters after the breaking of the seventh seal, prove that the Judgment of the living, the cleansing of the earthly temple, is something which takes place on earth, and not in heaven only!”—Garrick Augustus, June 21, 2001, [added].

Is this Complicated to you?

The idea of two separate and distinct judgments seem “complicated” to many SDA and this confusion arises not because it is not plainly taught in the Bible, but because it not endorsed by the SDA theologians.  Let me demonstrate this fact by citing a very plain passage of scripture:

“1 ¶  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall *suddenly come to his temple,* even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, *he shall come,* saith the LORD of hosts. 2  But who may abide *the day of his coming?* and who shall stand *when he appeareth?* for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3  And he shall sit as *a refiner and purifier of silver:* and he shall *purify the sons of Levi,* and purge them as gold and silver, *that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.*” Mal. 3: 1-3.

As SDA’s the part of this chapter that is most meaningful, is v. 8-10 (bring ye all the tithes unto the Lord…), but when we pause to see that this entire chapter meets its fulfillment, not in the Old, but New Testament era, we will appreciate that He knows more than we do, and in love has announced his plans to us in advance to give us time to make our calling and election sure in Christ.

A careful read of the above passage demonstrates that this “coming” of the Lord is first in his “temple” in heaven, but concluded in his temple on earth—his Church!  This is the aspect that causes confusion, because, we hold that Christ will return to earth only once since His ascension, and that is the last day this earth will remain intact—the Second Coming. Yet, we wonder why Michael (Jesus Christ) comes to earth in Daniel 12 and performs a resurrection unlike that of “the first resurrection,” having *both* righteous and unrighteous! This alone is a big giveaway that we are not speaking of one and the same event, and that of necessity, God has seen fit to enact a pre-Second Advent coming.  But all of these pre-Second Advent understandings will never be realized as long as we are contented that God last spoke *directly* to his Church in 1915, when EGW died.

In my book, one of the topics of greatest difficulty is this:  In assessing the Rod’s message, the Church leaders depended 100% on the writings of EGW as the standard by which the SR message should be measured, judged, and condemned!  We will be very disappointed in the end when we come to the bar of God and tell Him that we failed to believe because “Sister White” had a different take on various aspects of His Holy Word.  In this regard, I urge us to think of this passage:

“It is necessary now that *the minds of God’s people should be open to understand the Scriptures.* To say that a Message means this and nothing more, that you must not attach *a broader meaning to the words of Christ* than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God” (Review & Herald, October 21, 1890).

*EGW On the Close of Probation for the Church while it is STILL Opened to the World:*

Although the Bible is singularly clear on these two aspects of the Judgment (dead vs. living), Sister White did see flashings of both, but since it was not her fundamental message, God did not give her freedom to speak on that matter as much as she has on the dead.  Yet, the seeker for Truth will find, scattered through her writings, statements that do not fit the current Adventist theological model of a one-size-fits-all system of Judgment in heaven.  We have unambiguously clarified from the Scriptures alone, that there is a recession in the heavenly judgment as God transitions from the cases of the dead to those of the living (Rev. 8:1), as well as demonstrating from the harvest rituals the absolute Divine precedence given to both aspects of the harvest.  But for the most part, when a nominal Adventist is questioned about the Judgment of the living, s/he will almost by wrote memory turn to The Great Controversy for the answer, as shown below:

“Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. For many years this work has been in progress. Soon–none know how soon–it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review.”  {GC 490.1}.

Left to their own understandings, many SDA’s have conflated both judgments as one, thinking that only in heaven the transaction will occur, and earthlings will not know the distinct transition in heaven between one phase of the Judgment and the next.  This idea is only cherished because sufficient light was not given to Sister White, as the Judgment of the Living was definitely not her message!  Notwithstanding this fact, however, God has been gracious to us and has provided throughout her writings diamonds strewn in the sand, which if collected will demonstrate the basic truth herein disclosed, that there are two distinct closings of probation, one for the SDA Church, and the other for all those in Babylon’s domain.  Below I have compiled selected statements from her pen, attesting to this solemn fact, that the door of salvation will be closed to the church, even while it is STILL opened to the world!

“But I speak not my own words when I say that God’s Spirit will pass by those who have had their day of test and opportunity, but who have not distinguished the voice of God or appreciated the movings of His Spirit. Then thousands in the eleventh hour will see and acknowledge the truth.  {2SM 16.1}

 “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed” (Amos 9:13).  These [new] conversions to truth will be made with a rapidity that will surprise the church, and God’s name alone will be glorified.–Letter 43, 1890.  {2SM 16.3}, [added].

Multitudes are to be gathered into the fold. Many who have known the truth have corrupted their way before God and departed from the faith. The broken ranks will be filled up by those represented by Christ as coming in at the eleventh hour. There are many with whom the Spirit of God is striving.  {TDG 163.5}

“The time of God’s destructive judgments [in the church] is the time of mercy for those [in the world]   who have no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time.–Letter 103, June 3, 1903,  {TDG 163.6}  [added].

“At the eleventh hour the Lord will gather a company out of the world to serve Him. There will be a converted ministry. Those who have had privileges and opportunities to become intelligent in regard to the truth, and yet who continue to counterwork the work God would have accomplished, will be purged out, for God accepts the service of no man whose interest is divided. He accepts the whole heart, or none.  {20MR 320.1}

At the eleventh hour the Lord will call into his service many faithful workers. Self-sacrificing men and women will step into the places made vacant by apostasy and death. [This “death” is from the slaying work carried out by the five angels in Ezekiel 9: 4-7] To young men and young women, as well as to those who are older, God will give power from above. With converted minds, converted hands, converted feet, and converted tongues, their lips touched with a living coal from the divine altar, they will go forth into the Master’s service, moving steadily onward and upward, carrying the work forward to completion.”– Mrs. E. G. White.  {YI, February 13, 1902 par. 10}  [Added].

Clearly, the work had not yet reached “completion” when “apostasy and death” had made spaces “vacant” in the worldwide church, there was still a need of anointed evangelists to carry the work forward to its completion, to the very close of human probation!

“The broken ranks will be filled up by those represented by Christ as coming in at the eleventh hour. There are many with whom the Spirit of God is striving. The time of God’s destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who [now] have no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched, His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time.”–Letter 103, 1903.  {LDE 182.2}; [belong to original].

“The Lord has faithful servants who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you [the added]. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the daytime [the time of relative peace and safety] we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night [the time of trouble and confusion]  we behold their genuine luster.”–5T 80, 81 (1882).  {LDE 181.1}; [added].

“As the wind bloweth whither it listeth, and we cannot tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth, so it is with the Spirit of God. We do not know through whom it will be manifested.  But I speak not my own words when I say that God’s Spirit will pass by those [in the church] who have had their day of test and opportunity, but who have not distinguished the voice of God or appreciated the movings of His Spirit. Then thousands in the eleventh hour [from Babylon—the world] will see and acknowledge the truth. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed.” These [new]conversions to truth will be made with a rapidity that will surprise the church, and God’s name alone will be glorified.”–Letter 43, 1890 (Published in Selected Messages book 2, pp. 15, 16) {MR311 49.2}, [added].

“Never has there been a time when man’s position has been so critical as it is now. All things in nature and in the world at large are charged with intense earnestness. Satan, in cooperation with his angels and with evil men, will put forth every effort to gain the victory, and will appear to succeed. But from this conflict, truth and righteousness will come forth triumphant in victory. Those who have believed a lie will be defeated [This defeat is the result of the cleansing called forth in Ezekiel 9: 5-7]; for the days of apostasy will be ended. [Only thus will God have a church without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing to meet Jesus Christ at his Second Coming!].”–Manuscript 24, 1891  {MR311 50.2}; [added].

“When after Christ’s ascension the Spirit came down as promised, like a rushing, mighty wind, filling the whole place where the disciples were assembled, what was the effect? Thousands were converted in a day. We have taught, we have expected, that an angel is to come down from heaven, that the earth will be lightened with His glory. Then we shall behold an ingathering of souls similar to that witnessed on the day of Pentecost.”–Letter 25b, 1892  {MR311 51.3}.

Thus, from Scripture, Testimony, and sacred history, we have unequivocally demonstrated the absolute divine necessity for the judgment of the living, and the two closings of probation.  For God to lower the bar of acceptance into His kingdom during the Loud Cry, and accept those “thousands” would be against His character.  This same mentality prevails with Sunday-keepers who see God ah exacting harsh requirements of obedience to His holy Law during the Old Testament, and thereby rejected them on account of their denial of Messiah, yet turned around and, with open arms, accepted all the Christians who have been disobedient to the SAME LAW!  This we do know, God is NOT the author of confusion, and does not exact obedience upon one group, and disobedience on the other, yet judges the disobedient group (the Jews) more harshly than He does the other disobedient—the rebellious and open transgressors of His Law—the Christians!

******* This response was provided by Garrick Augustus, March 29, 2020 *******

For completeness, I shall post the conversation that ensued after the above answer was received:

Little Sister:  In short, I’m not in agreement with the 3 different judgment phases, Daniel 7:9-10, the SR’s dissecting of Daniel 12:1-3. It still doesn’t answer the questions posed that shows uniformity with SOP & Bible. It’s as though scriptures & words are taken out of context to fit the SR’s doctrine & it’s not making sense. I firmly believe the word of God is not so complicated to understand and interpret especially when we are all truthseekers and given the times we are living in. I’ll adhere with the Bible and SOP.

Garrick: [2:06 PM, 3/30/2020] Garrick Augustus: Be my guest sister. Funny enough, this quarter we’re studying how to study the Bible, maybe they will give you some tools. Especially maybe you want to look back on the tools we learned in the study of Daniel to see how the church has managed these areas of scripture. I’ve done my part, and the Holy Spirit is left to do His.

[2:08 PM, 3/30/2020] Garrick Augustus: Maybe you can break down Daniel 12 verses 1 to 3 for us, since I spent valuable time in breaking it down, please show us what you gather from it. That would help rather than just saying you don’t agree. I think it’s fair to the value of my time to say what you disagree with and give me a reason persuasively from scripture. Again we don’t have to agree, but at least do me the honor of respecting the time I’ve invested.

[2:40 PM, 3/30/2020] Garrick Augustus: In the interest of those looking on, given Little Sister’s objection about the three phases of the Judgment, I’ll provide this passage to consider. I was hoping I did not have to go to this detail, as I’m often accused of being too wordy, but when the foundation is not there, the construction is difficult.

“11 And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.” Ezek. 9: 11

Here, you’ll see (1) that the same Angel that was in heaven (v. 1-3) who also came down to earth, (2) and did a work of sealing (see v. 4) after which other 5 angels with him did the slaying (v. 4-7), then (3) after the slaying He (the sealing angel) went back to heaven, v. 11.

As we can clearly see: all three phases are incontrovertibly clear from the Bible ALONE. When we attempt to use Sister White to countermand the Bible, then we have moved from the Protestant creed. Here is a gauge of how to know when your doctrine is foundationed on the principle of Sola Scriptura: If you can present the same basic truths to a Catholic, Baptist, or any other Sunday-keeper who do not know or accept EGW as an inspired source, and you find ALL your facts in the Bible, then you’re on your way! When we respect that God did not give all the light to Sister White, we will appreciate that there is more truth to be unveiled in His word. With this, I rest my case.

[6:19 AM, 3/31/2020] Garrick Augustus: Is this Complicated to you?

The idea of two separate and distinct judgments seem “complicated” to many SDA and this confusion arises not because it is not plainly taught in the Bible, but because it not endorsed by the SDA theologians. Let me demonstrate this fact by citing a very plain passage of scripture:

“1 ¶ Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall…

[6:19 AM, 3/31/2020] Garrick Augustus: As SDA’s the part of this chapter that is most meaningful, is v. 8-10 (bring ye all the tithes unto the Lord…), but when we pause to see that this entire chapter meets its fulfillment, not in the Old, but New Testament era, we will appreciate that He knows more than we do, and in love has announced his plans to us in advance to give us time to make our calling and election sure in Christ.

A careful read of the above passage demonstrates that this “coming” of the Lord is first in his “temple” in heaven, but concluded in his temple on earth—his Church! This is the aspect that causes confusion, because, we hold that Christ will return to earth only once since His ascension, and that is the last day this earth will remain intact—the Second Coming. Yet, we wonder…

[6:20 AM, 3/31/2020] Garrick Augustus: In my book, one of the topics of greatest difficulty, is this: In assessing the Rod’s message, the Church leaders depended 100% on the writings of EGW as the standard by which the SR message should be measured, judged, and condemned! We will be very disappointed in the end when we come to the bar of God and tell Him that we failed to believe because “Sister White” had a different take on various aspects of His Holy Word. In this regard, I urge us to think of this passage:

“It is necessary now that the minds of God’s people should be open to understand the Scriptures. To say that a Message means this and nothing more, that you must not attach a broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God” (Review & Herald, October 21, 1890).

Big O:  Please do not revert to the lashing of SDAs because someone read and disagreed. The fact is the article has a few moving pieces. I was not able to keep it all together in one read. I like how it started but some[how] it started to get complicated. I was then wondering if it was consistent all the way through. I have held my view because I need to re-read it.

[11:14 AM, 3/31/2020] Garrick Augustus: It is a misread on your part. I’m not lashing or lashing out at anyone for their disagreeing with me. Just FYI, I was the instrument God used to bring Little Sister to the Advent Message, but I don’t feel I have a right to tell her what to believe and how to think, no more than the Pastor who baptized me into the SDA faith to tell me to disband the SR message, based purely on his opinion.

If you thought I was lashing out, as I stated above, I was merely making a historical statement, citing ideas from my book which I’ll produce below:

“Courts adjudicate cases based on the departure of the issues in the arguments from settled law, not just on the whims of the judge or jury. The courts cannot become a law unto themselves and determine that one is guilty of a crime not defined in the law. Similarly, when God judges us, He does it on the merits of His great Law. If His Law is broken, the guilt or condemnation is assigned to the sinner, and only the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, can atone for the sin and cleanse the sinner. In like manner, we will, in the next chapter, examine the Bible to see if the Rod has fallen in volition of Its precepts, and judge whether or not the methods applied by the Adventist leaders were Scriptural and honest. When dealing with the Adventist’s allegations of error, always ask yourself these questions: If I were a Baptist or any other non-Adventist Protestant, would I be swayed by the methods of proof presented by the SDA theologians against The Shepherd’s Rod? How does the Rod’s testimony stand up in the light of the Scriptures? Are they sustained there or not?” –G. Augustus, 2018, What Every SDA Should Know About the SR, p. 216, emphasis added.

[11:14 AM, 3/31/2020] Garrick Augustus: From this, you can see that I prepared my readers to be objective in their analyses, and not just jump to conclusions based on what the SDA Denomination believes. This has been the most solid evidence in my book that has caused it to be so effective, for I go to the primary source of the Church, Rod, and the Bible. So, contrary to what anyone may imagine, I am delighted to have my views challenged, and in the book invite my antagonists, if there be any, to an open comparative theological discussion (not debate). It is for this reason that MTZ exists, to help us all to sharpen our spiritual swords while following the Lamb to Zion’s summit!

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