This is the first post in a series I am blogging on the Investigative Judgment. To kick this off I am going to cover the teaching of Ellen White that Jesus did not enter the Most Holy in heaven until 1844. Without this piece of the Investigative Judgment the rest of the doctrine falls with it. To summarize, Ellen White taught that when Jesus Christ first ascended into heaven he entered only the first apartment of the temple in heaven where he performed an intercessory mission until October 22 1844.
According to the motif, on that date Jesus entered the Most Holy section of the temple in heaven for the first time. This is very important to SDA because in their early days the advent movement lead by William Miller had predicted that the world would end on that date. When the second coming didn’t happen it was a huge blow to all of those who held the belief. Many had sold their farms and possessions expecting to leave the planet.
Shortly after what SDA call the “Great Disappointment” a member of the advent movement claimed to receive a vision.
“Heaven seemed to open to my view, and I saw distinctly and clearly, that instead of our high priest coming out of the most holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, that he for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary; and that he had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to this earth” -Hiram Edson 1844 Cornfield Vision
This vision was given a prophetic blessing by Ellen G White when she affirmed with the following:
“Thus those who followed in the light of the prophetic word that, instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the Most Holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to his coming.” The Great Controversy, p. 422
What I am addressing in this post is that a fundamental flaw in this view is that the Bible clearly teaches Jesus went to the Most Holy place directly after his ascension. There is no teaching in scripture that he waited ~1811 years first. Please review the verses pasted below:
“So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19 ESV
“that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,” Eph 1:20 ESV
“But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56 ESV
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Rom 8:34 ESV
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Col 3:1 ESV
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Heb 1:3 ESV
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Heb 6:19-20 ESV
“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,” Heb 8:1 ESV
“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” Heb 10:12 ESV
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2 ESV
“who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” 1 Ptr 3:22 ESV
“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Rev 3:21 ESV
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? Matt 22:44 ESV
Please notice the following verbiage that is used in the above passages, particularly that there was no time gap in between the ascension and the arrival of Christ to the right hand of the Father.
“is seated at”
“he sat down”
“who is at”
Clearly these phrases are all in the past or present tense, not in the future. In response many SDA will assert that Jesus had to pass through the Holy Place before getting to the Most Holy because of the construction and layout of the earthly temple. The problem with that argument is that by the time the apostles are writing the above verses Jesus was already in the Most Holy place in the universe. They refer to it as a place that he both already went to and currently resided in the first century. For SDA theology to be correct Christ would have had to enter into the most holy place on Oct 22, 1844.
Some SDA assert that the throne room must be in the holy place instead of the Most Holy. This doesn’t even work with their system of teaching. The reason for that is SDA believe that the ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary is an anti-type fulfillment of the earthly sanctuary. If this were true one would have to note that God resided in the Most Holy of the earthly sanctuary, therefore to be in keeping with that motif the same must also be true in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
For the record I don’t believe there is any Biblical reason to assume that the temple on earth was a replica of the one in heaven. That is an SDA-ism not cleary taught in scripture anywhere. But even if it were true, the fact is that in the earthly temple God always dwelt in the Most Holy. In these verses Jesus is sitting right next to God the Father, so even if the temple in heaven is the same then that is where Jesus would have gone immediately to in ~33 A.D. not 1844.
Bear in mind, as the quotes above from SDA teaching clearly state, for the Investigative Judgment to be relevant with regards to the date of Oct 22 1844 then all of the above scripture must be false. You have to choose between Ellen White and scripture on this, you can’t have both.