The Investigative Judgment in Matthew

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In Desmond Ford’s Critique of the Third Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School, he asks the following question:

“Furthermore, if we placed a New Testament in the hands of the Lesson author and asked for evidence of an attenuated Investigative Judgment, to what would he turn?”

To the New Testament book of Matthew. Here the Investigative Judgment is taught by Jesus Christ himself:

Matthew 22:1-14
(1) And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
(2) The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
(3) And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
(4) Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
(5) But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
(6) And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
(7) But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
(8) Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
(9) Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
(10) So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
(11) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
(12) And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
(13) Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
(14) For many are called, but few are chosen.

There are 5 points we want you to notice here:

Point # 1: Once the wedding was furnished with guests, the king comes in to “see” those present. While seeing, he finds a man unprepared for the wedding (verse 11). With all the people that were present the king found one unprepared individual there. The king’s “seeing” and finding this certain individual must have therefore been an investigation he performed upon those who were there.

Point # 2: This is not a scene of heaven, but of earth, because both “good and bad” are present. This means that when the king “investigates” those present, he is investigating those upon the earth.

Point # 3: The king can be none other then God himself. If God, then he has to be in heaven, looking (investigating) down upon the earth, for God on earth would result in the destruction of the earth by reason of his glory. Therefore God, from heaven, is investigating both the good and bad people on earth.

Point # 4: After the king performs the “investigation” of the people at this wedding, he finds a man unprepared and as a result pronounces a “judgment” upon him (verse 13). This is therefore an “Investigative Judgment” because along with the investigation there was a Judgment.

Point # 5: This scene of the “Investigative Judgment” takes place before the Second Coming. Notice what Jesus says in Luke 12:

Luke 12:36-37
(36) And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
(37) Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Notice in verse 36 how it specifically says that Jesus will come “from” the wedding. If therefore the wedding and the marriage were the same event, how is it that he comes “from” the wedding to pick up his children? The marriage, says John the Revelator, is the Second Coming:

Revelation 19:7
(7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

If the above verse were read in context, you will find two very important points:

A) Just before verse 7, all those in heaven proclaim, “True and righteous are his Judgments…” (verse 2) God has performed a Judgment in heaven upon the wicked on earth before Jesus’ Second Coming. The greek word translated “Judgments” here is “krisis” which can be subjectively (for) or objectively (against). In other words, God just finished performing either subjective or objective Judgments upon people before the coming. This is why we read of both “good and bad” in the Investigative Judgment (the wedding) of Matthew 22. An objective Judgment was pronounced upon that “great whore” –verse 3.

B) Right after this verse, a scene of the Second coming of Jesus Christ is seen:

Revelation 19:11- 21
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God… And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

The fact that verse 7 says that the marriage “of the Lamb is come” and that his wife has “made herself ready” shows how both Christ and his bride (the true church) will be “united” with him at his Second Coming. The “marriage” is the “unity” of Christ with his bride the church… as a marriage is the unity of a man with his wife.

That the Investigative Judgement is taught by Jesus Christ himself should be good enough for our critics… we hope.

For further study, see:

A critique of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Critique of the 2006 Sabbath School Lesson
Who is the little horn of Daniel 8?
Jesus at the right hand of the Father


Impact peoples life in the most vital way


Training and materials for successful outreach

About The Author

Edwin Cotto

With over 13 years of experience in apologetics, evangelism and youth directing, Edwin has worked with various ministries both in English and Spanish. Having had the opportunity to travel to various states in the USA, and also to Venezuela and Mexico, he has enjoyed the privilege of conducting evangelistic meetings and apologetics seminars. His education includes training in the Medical Field, Adult Education at Valencia College, Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, and Evangelism with Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. He is furthering his academic studies in theology while also working as a bible worker for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Ordained as an elder, Edwin's passion for ministry begins first at home with his wife and kids.

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