A judgment is a revealing of actuality or reality. See 1 Kings 3:16-28 and Psalms 119:66. God is the Creator of reality. He is Judge in this fullest sense. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Colossians 1:16. “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.” Psalms 111:7. Whatever God provides, it can be seen as a divine judgment. No wonder David wrote, “I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.” Psalms 101:1.
There is a difference between investigative and executive judgment. Investigative judgment determines a reality by investigating it. Executive judgment applies/executes the natural or legal results of a determined reality. Suppose a batch of cookies is extremely tasty. Investigative judgment tastes one and declares it to be delicious. Executive judgment proudly sets the cookies out at a party. Suppose a purchased product is defective. Investigative judgment determines that it is flawed by testing or examining it. Investigative judgment closes with the defect pointed out. Executive judgment either throws it away or sends it in for a re-fund.
In first periods of Reform-line histories, we find investigative judgment. In Genesis 6:5-8 we see God investigating the pre-flood race. In the plagues which befell Egypt, we find the Lord investigating the extent of Pharaoh’s defiance. In the investigative judgment of Pharaoh, his character was found to be such that each divinely-given chastening only further hardened his heart. In the early life of Jesus, the Father’s investigative eye was ever upon Jesus. Also, fellow men were observant of the Savior’s development. The findings of the investigative judgment on Jesus – “he increased…in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52. After Christ’s resurrection and prior to his meeting with the eleven disciples in the upper room, Jesus ascended to heaven to investigate the success of His own mission to save mankind. “From God Himself [Jesus] heard the assurance that His atonement for the sins of men had been ample, that through His blood all might gain eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 790.3. Finally, the first periods of both the Millerite and Final Redemption Reform-lines saw chosen men engaged in very special, divinely-directed works of prophetic investigation. Miller studied under the reality that “the hour of his judgment is come” (Revelation 14:7); whereas, Pippenger investigated a climactic portion of Daniel, the true interpretation of which empowers a warning of terrible judgment visited upon those who worship the beast and his image (Revelation 14:9-11).
We note that of the members of the Godhead, the Father is the Investigative Judge. Daniel 7:9-10. The Great Controversy, 479.2.
In this event, Jesus comes and gives a special presentation of the message of judgment and salvation. Where does He come from? Christ taught that He comes down from the Father. John 13:3 and 16:28. This makes immediate sense in light of the Reform-line pattern. P1 reflects the Father, the Investigative Judge. E1 is a coming of Jesus with a message. E1 follows P1 just as Jesus comes from the Father.
E1 – P3:
When Jesus comes with a special message, what is mankind to do?
“This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:29.
Have faith in Jesus. Believe Him. Accept His message. Turn at Christ’s reproof. Fear God. Die to self, and choose to love.
To what extent is mankind to do this?
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…” Matthew 12:30.
“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12.
“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:37-39.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:21-23.
People must receive Jesus – the Word of God – unreservedly, and with every facet of their being and existence. Only in this way can they be His followers.
What does it look like to receive the Word of God with every facet of one’s being?
To begin to answer this question, we must determine what the main facets or components of a living human being are. A famous verse revealing these elements is Genesis 2:7.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
The form (body) + the breath of life = a living soul. Job 33:4 in connection with Psalms 33:6 show that the term “spirit” is used interchangeably with “breath.” Thus we see that the being which is a man or woman is composed of 1) a body (the carnal) and 2) a spirit (the spiritual). While these two components of a “living soul” must be joined for a soul to be alive, the body and spirit of a person are referred to separately in many Scripture passages. We are thus encouraged to make a distinction between them.
“The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.” 1 Corinthians 7:34.
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1.
Most people are not confused about what a “body” is. Some may be unsure of what a “spirit” is according to the Bible. A prayerful study can serve to eliminate any confusion. Read the following verses.
- 1 Corinthians 2:11 – the spirit of man is where his knowledge is.
- 1 Corinthians 5:3 – a man judges or evaluates with his spirit.
- Isaiah 54:6, Luke 10:21 – a man’s spirit is where his emotions are.
- Proverbs 29:23, 17:27, Ecclesiastes 7:8, Romans 12:11, 1 Peter 3:4 – the quality of a man’s spirit is his character.
- Proverbs 16:2 – God judges the spirit.
It becomes clear that the intangible significance (“hidden man of the heart”) of a human being is his or her spirit. This spirit has to do with the mind. Ephesians 4:23.
Now that we understand what the two main facets of a human being are – a spirit and a body – we can directly answer the question, “What does it look like to receive the Word of God into every facet of one’s being?”
Job 32:8 gives that the spirit is the part of man which is given divine inspiration. Man cannot fully avoid God’s inspiration (His judgment, His revelation of reality). Joel 2:28 predicts that the day will come when God will pour out his Spirit upon all flesh. “All flesh” includes both the righteous and the wicked. For the righteous the outpouring of the Spirit is a wonderful, empowering experience. But to a soul fully and irretrievably locked in the chains of sin, the full outpouring of the “inspiration of the Almighty” can only reveal the contrast between spirit and Spirit, this contrast being the “wrath of God.” Scripture makes it very clear that God will judge, whether or not man chooses to be judged. “The hour of his judgment is come,” whether or not we choose to fear Him and give Him glory. Revelation 14:7.
But man’s spirit does have the power to choose whether or not to accept God’s judgment! A man can mentally/spiritually choose to accept/believe the Holy Spirit’s personalized revelation of the Word, or he can “hate knowledge” by not choosing the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:29).
“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.” Proverbs 8:14. Hating evil naturally starts with the mind, but it doesn’t end there. To fully hate evil, one must physically will to avoid it. One must physically produce “the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11. One must actually keep God’s commandments by Christ’s miraculous, enabling power. One must tangibly give glory to God. This may be as simple as singing a song of praise, and it may be as complex as completing a graduate program.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13. How fascinating that the “whole duty of man” has only two components – fearing God, and living righteously – just as the whole of mankind is divided up into only two genders, male and female. We must turn to, respect, love, submit to, learn from, believe, trust, rely on, fear God before we can give Him praise, obedience, fruitfulness, expression, glory! So man was made before woman. The male gender is especially connected with the fear of the Lord in the Bible. “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence.” “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” Proverbs 14:26 and 1 Corinthians 16:13. It takes no great insight to realize that the gender most closely associated with glory, expression, and fruitfulness is the female. The connection between the “whole duty of man” and sexuality is very intimate. “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life.” “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Proverbs 14:26 and Philippians 1:11.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 is not just the conclusion of the whole matter, it is also the conclusion concerning E1-P3.
E1: Jesus comes with a spiritual message.
P2: A period follows in which man is to spiritually uptake the message (Fear God).
E2: The Lord gives a tangible sign of the message.
P3: A period follows in which man is to physically abide by and express the message (keep commandments, give God glory).
This section of a Reform-line covers the whole duty of man.
Why E1-P3? Because a P1 has come. Why should we “fear God, and give glory to him”? Because “the hour of his judgment is come.” Revelation 14:7.
When Jesus comes with a special testing message, all that man must do is believe/accept! But man must fully believe/accept Jesus. This means he must believe mentally and physically. He must uptake and output the message. He must receive the message spiritually and then obey/express the message physically. This is exactly what all the Reform-parables teach us. Nature says, “God has fully provided a reality (a judgment); to fully receive it, you must take it in and give it out. Only then will you be able to take it in again. Eternal life is sustained by the continual intake and output of God’s provided realities.”
Characteristically speaking, whereas Jesus comes down in E1, He gets up in E3. Then He declares, “it is finished.” At Calvary, Jesus was lifted up on the cross. John 3:14. Then he said, “it is finished.” John 19:30. At the end of the work for souls, Michael will stand up. Then, “All heaven…united with Jesus, as they heard the fearful words, It is done, It is finished. The plan of salvation had been accomplished. But few had chosen to accept the plan. And as mercy’s sweet voice died away, a fearfulness and horror seized them. With terrible distinctness they hear, Too late! too late!” Spiritual Gifts, Volume 1, 199.1.
Similar to how a period of investigative judgment begins any Reform-line, so a period of executive judgment concludes it. In Noah’s day, P4 was the Flood. In the Exodus Journey Reform-line, P4 was a time to die in the wilderness. At the end of Christ’s Reform-line, the Holy Spirit applied the reality of Christ’s identity as the slain Lamb of God, the Messiah of Bible prophecy, to the disciple’s experience thereby truly making them the bearers of the best news ever. P4 of the Pentecost Reform-line saw a severe persecution (shaking) of the Christian church. It also saw the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans – a direct result of the Jew’s rejection of the Messiah. Christ’s Object Lessons, 308.3. The last period of the Millerites reformatory movement saw the final warning of executive judgment, the Third Angel’s Message, come to light. Finally, P4 of the Final Redemption Reform-line will see the outpouring of the Seven Last Plagues.
Whereas the Father is most closely associated with the investigative judgment, the Holy Spirit is most closely associated with executive judgment.
- It is the breath of Christ that will slay the wicked. Isaiah 11:4.
- His breath is the Holy Spirit. Job 33:4; John 20:22.
- It is the sword which proceeds out of Christ’s mouth which slays the remnant of the wicked. Revelation 19:21
- This sword represents the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12.