Investigative Judgment From The Bible


This Bible study is to prove there are two phases of the Judgment – the investigative phase and the final white throne phase. Most religious leaders consider only the white throne judgment.  This study focuses on the first phase while affirming the truth of the final phase. To understand the first phase, we must ask the question:  Where and when does the investigative phase begin and proceed?  Scripture gives us clues below.


First, Jesus Himself stated that He was the only way to the Father.


John 14:6 King James Version (KJV)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.


David makes it clear that Jesus, the Way, is in the Sanctuary.


Psalm 77:13 King James Version (KJV)

13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

The apostle Paul in his letter to the Hebrews describes the earthly and heavenly sanctuaries below, describing our Saviour as the High Priest of the Heavenly Sanctuary:


Hebrews 8:1-5 King James Version (KJV)

Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on 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 pitched, and not man.

For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.


The apostle Paul continues on the sanctuary in chapter 9:

Hebrews 9:1-7 King James Version (KJV)

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:


Notice verses 3 - 7 above pertain to the most holy place, the key location of Christ’s judicial action in the Most Holy Place.

Not only does Jesus have priestly authority but judicial authority as well:

John 5:22 King James Version (KJV)

22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

The prophet Isaiah stated that Jesus would establish His government, His kingdom, with judgment and justice. Thus, Christ’s kingdom is established by His judicial actions performed in the Heavenly Sanctuary.


Isaiah 9:7 King James Version (KJV)

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.


So what happens in the heavenly sanctuary when these judicial actions take place?  When do they take place? Clues as to WHEN these take place are found in Daniel 9.  The angel Gabriel showed Daniel a timeline that is to be used in determining the approximate time when the actions regarding the judgment begin. Verses 24-25 are very important.


Daniel 9:21-27 King James Version (KJV)

21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.

23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.


In Ezekiel 4:6 and in Numbers 14:34 a day in prophecy is equal to an actual year.  Thus the seventy weeks equals seventy “sevens” or 490 years. The commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given by Persian king Artaxerxes in 457 BC when the Babylonian captivity of the Jews was at an end.


At a certain point in time, the heavenly sanctuary is justified, or cleansed, according to the following important scripture:


Daniel 8:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

From this date of 457 BC we can add 2,300 years to arrive at the year 1844.

NOTE: Rather than random date setting or taking other scriptures out of context to fabricate a date we are given permission by the angel Gabriel to calculate a time, AFTER the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 has been stated, when the prophetic timeline has been given in Daniel 9:24-25.


How is the sanctuary cleansed, or justified? Jesus our High Priest purges, purifies, or cleanses the heavenly sanctuary with His own blood! How? First He blots out OUR CONFESSED SINS from the books of the heavenly sanctuary when we confess and put them away.


Acts 3:19 King James Version (KJV)

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

The apostle Paul continues in the book of Hebrews regarding how Jesus’ ministry in the sanctuary is linked to the Judgment (first and second phases in context) and how Jesus returns the second time AFTER THE JUDGMENT IS FINISHED.


Hebrews 9:20-28 King James Version (KJV)

20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.


The apartment where Jesus performs his act of blotting out sin is in the Holy Place, but the first part of the Judgment takes place in the Most Holy Place. Jesus appears second time after this part of the Judgment is over.

This process of judgment is done from the books in Daniel 7:9-14.  It is an investigation of the books where all the works and sins of the professed people of God have been written (see Acts 3:19 and Eccl 12:14).  The following Scripture confirms this as well, stating that the investigative judgment starts at a certain time; more specifically, the year of 1844 as previously mentioned.

Rev 14:7

7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 

The prophet Daniel describes in vivid detail how the judgment takes place


Daniel 7:9-14 King James Version (KJV)

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.



The beast is not given to the burning flame until after the judgment scene of Daniel 7 is completed (verse 11) and in Rev 19:19 Jesus comes again to utterly quench a last rebellion of the armies of the earth against Him. Rev. 17:14 foretells this final rebellion against the Lamb Jesus. The passage is continued below:


12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.




Daniel 12 states that there are two resurrections, one to the resurrection of life and the resurrection of everlasting contempt (or damnation).

Dan 12:2

And many of them that sleep in the dust shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.


First, the dead are judged  from the house of God (Rev. 11:1 and 1 Pet 4:17).


Revelation 11:1 King James Version (KJV) 

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

1 Peter 4:17 King James Version (KJV)

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?


Measuring and judging are the same in prophecy:

Matt 7:1, 2

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Let us remember that judging unrighteously by sharp criticism, insults, put-downs, and discouraging comments is forbidden by the Word. However,  Jesus commands us to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24).


Those who are counted worthy (or overcome sin) in the investigative judgment will remain in the book of life.  Malachi 3:16 states that a book of remembrance is kept for those that feared the Lord and that thought upon His name. The book of life and book of remembrance may be very closely related, if they are not the same book itself.

Rev 3:5

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.


Revelation 11:15-19 King James Version (KJV)

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.


[Note: The dead are judged in Rev. 11:18-19 while they are still in their graves.]


19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.


Since the investigative judgment occurs in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, no resurrection of the dead can occur until Jesus leaves the Sanctuary and comes again the second time (Dan. 7:10-11, 22, 26-27; Heb. 9:27,28; 1 Thess 4:16, 17; 1 Cor 6:2-3; Rev 20:4-6) and gives the saints judgment over the wicked during the thousand years the saints live and reign with Christ. The wicked will not be resurrected yet until the final judgment in Rev 20:12, 13.


Rev 20:11-15 describes the FINAL WHITE THRONE judgment after the second resurrection of Daniel 12:2 takes place. The wicked dead are resurrected for the final judgment and sentence.

This concludes this study.

Thank you and God bless.

Rob Sterbenc