Ellen G. White Writings

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The Investigative Judgment in the Writings of Ellen G. White, Page 6

cleansed? To those who were repelled at such a thought, Ellen White observed that the cleansing of “both the earthly and the heavenly sanctuary” was “plainly taught” in Hebrews 9:22, 23 (The Great Controversy, 417). Explaining the heavenly by the earthly, she wrote:

“As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation—a work of judgment.”—C 421-2.

But why was an investigation necessary? Weren’t sins, when confessed, immediately forgiven and forever forgotten? Forgiven, yes, Ellen White explained, but not yet forgotten. She noted that, in the type, “the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement.” So, in the antitype, “the blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement.” After the dead are “judged out of those things which were written in the books,” “then by virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or cleansed from sin” (Patriarchs and Prophets, 357, 358). (See also The Great Controversy, 420.)

Chapter 5—The Heavenly Records

Ellen White finds ample Biblical evidence for books of record in heaven. She cites Revelation 20:12, Philippians 4:3, and other texts, for the book of life; Malachi 3:16 for the book of remembrance; and Ecclesiastes 12:14, Matthew 12:36, 37, and other references for the books which contain a record of the sins of men (The Great Controversy, 480, 481). She refers to the names of these heavenly books somewhat loosely. The book of life contains “the names of all who have ever entered the service of God” (The Great Controversy, 480), as well as “the good deeds of the saints” (Early Writings, 52). The book of remembrance also includes “the good deeds” of God’s children, with a record of wrong actions as well. The youth were warned:

“Men may forget, men may deny their wrong course of action, but a record of it is kept in the book of remembrance, and in the great day of judgment, unless men repent and walk humbly before God, they will meet this dread record just as it stands.”—The Youth’s Instructor, April 4, 1905.

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