The Investigative Judgment, is the distinctive doctrine of Seventh Day Adventism codified to cover themselves after their belief that Christ would return in 1844 failed to come true, instead it was postulated by some of the early Adventists that it was actually at this point that Christ entered the Most Holy Place, this belief was later supported by the “prophet” of the group Ellen G White and found its way into most of her writings, part of the original doctrine included the shut door belief that no-one who wasn’t a Christian (or in some cases an Adventist) at the time in which Christ entered the most Holy Place could not come under Grace, however as the group grew both through converts and births this part of the doctrine was dropped.
Now I have found no Scriptural evidence for this doctrine and I worry about the consequences of this belief as from my study, the SDA legalism flows from this doctrine.
In fact the book of Hebrews where the drumbeat of εφαπαξ “once-for-all” in relation to Christ’s work on the Cross destroys the doctrine.
If we follow the writer’s argument throughout the book we find that he culminates in the comparison of Christ’s work and that of the High Priest in 9:7-10 for the High Priest and 9:11-14 for Christ:
In verses 7-10 we see the Atonement ritual being described, being performed by the High Priest
verse 11 Christ has appeared, a High Priest, herald of the good! and so he enters in to the place (v12a) and we have this strange reference in 12b it’s not with the blood that the Old High Priests used to use (cf. Lev 16:15ff), but his own blood, by his own blood he is doing this and as opposed to what the Old High Priest managed to get done (cf. v9) Christ has secured eternal redemption (12c) we are then reminded of the inefficiency of the atoning work done by the Old High Priest in comparison to Christ (13-14b), he has accomplished a purification! Our consciences are no longer weighed down by the dead works! We serve the living and reigning God! (14c) These are all in the past tense, Christ has come and has completed the ministry in which the Old High Priest used to continually find remembrance of the sins of Israel, yet because Christ has done it once for all time, there is now no longer any remembrance for sin.
We draw near to God, not by the “same sacrifices continually offered yearly, not perfecting those who rely on them.” (10:1) but by the “sanctification that comes through the offered up blood of Jesus Christ once for all.” (10:10) Jesus entered into the presence of God (9:24) this cannot be merely into the antechamber, the presence of God was only ever thought of in that place when it was leaving or entering the earthly temple as in the dedication, or in Ezekiel’s vision, because the earthly temple’s Most Holy Place is the place of the Ark and the Mercy Seat of God’s Judgment that is where His presence is, so too when the writer talks of Christ as our sure and steadfast anchor beyond the veil what is being talked about when we are told to draw near is that we are being called into the Most Holy Place, and why? Because of the confidence we have in the blood of Christ, in His office as a priest after the type of Melchizedek.
The doctrine of the Investigative Judgment relies on reading into this passage another ritual that is not being discussed immediately beforehand in v7-10, nor immediately afterwards in 9:15-10:4 which continue to parallel Christ’s sacrifice with that of the atonement and other High Priestly functions, namely that of a mediator, rather to justify this importation of ideas we jump down to 10:11, and ignore 10:14 and the following discussion of the forgiveness wrought through Christ’s atonement work.
I have been redeemed and I have been judged through the Cross of Christ, I need not rely on my own righteousness, it is but rags, however God made him who knew no sin, become my sin, so that in him, I might be counted as his righteousness.