The Investigative Judgement
The phrase “Investigative Judgement” doesn’t appear in the Bible but the very principle of it is clearly taught there. In our judicial system, any court of law has several phases in carrying out the justice process. When a case is presented before the judge, there starts a process of investigation of whether a person is guilty or not. And once it has been carried out, there follows a pronouncement of judgment. After that, there is an execution of that judgement.
The Bible and the Investigative Judgement
1-There will be a judgement. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
2- The judgement is for all men. “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10).
3-The judgment will be for the righteous and the wicked. “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (Ecclesiastes 3:17).
4-There will be first an Investigative Judgement for the books of record will be opened. “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:10).
The “Book of life” includes the names of all the faithful. But the names of those who do not endure until the end will be taken out (Revelation 3:5). Many never had their names written there, for the book contains only the names of those who at some time in their lives confessed faith in Christ (Luke 10:20). Therefore, Jesus said, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Thus, there will be an investigative Judgement prior to the second coming.
5-There will be a pronouncement of verdict. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice” (Matthew 7:22,23).
Then, God will announce. “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). At this point, probation closes and the investigative judgement scene closes as well. “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12). So, after the Investigation and Pronouncement, Christ brings His reward with Him at the second coming.
6-There will be an Execution of Judgment. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them” (Revelation 20:11). “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14).
7-There will be a clearing of the righteous. “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:23).
8-There will be an “accounting worthy” of the righteous before the second coming. “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
The Bible teaches that there will be an “Investigative Judgement” to decide man’s accountability. This will be carried out before the second coming so that Christ can grant His rewards to the righteous when He comes back. This accountability is the imputed and imparted righteousness of God’s Son that the believer receives by faith.
In His service,