Where does the judgement of the living begin? and what is the sign?

It is important to understand that the judgement has two stages. The first is the investigation stage, and the second is the retribution or execution stage. The former always precedes the latter.
The investigative judgement itself has two phases; the judgement of the dead and the judgement of the living.

The investigative judgement of the dead began in 1844. On 22nd October 1844, Christ moved from the Holy Place into the Most Holy Place to complete His last phase of ministration in the heavenly sanctuary.
It has been almost 177 years now since the commencement of the first phase of the investigative judgement (which is of the dead). No one knows when the investigative judgement will move on to the second phase (that is of the living).

The retributive judgements, on the other hand, begin towards the ending period of the investigative judgement of the living (during the time of the close of probation). The book of Revelation prophesied these judgements as the last plagues.
“And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues….” Rev 15:6
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” Rev 16:1

But God has clearly revealed in the Scriptures, where the judgement of the living will begin and what is the sign of it’s commencement.

What is the truth?

Prior to any judgement, God, in His great mercy, always sends a warning message to His people giving an opportunity to repent and escape the coming retributions.

For 120 years, Noah warned the people of the coming flood and pleaded with a powerful message to repent .
“Many at first appeared to receive the warning; yet they did not turn to God with true repentance.” PP 95

Before the destruction of the city of Sodom by fire, “When Abraham rescued the captives from the Elamites, the attention of the people was called to the true faith.” PP 157. Thus affording the citizens of Sodom a divine opportunity to repent.

Before Nineveh was to be overthrown, “Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Jonah 3:4
Again, the warning was a call to repentance, and in this case the people heeded the call and repented, thus averting the retributive judgement on their city.

When John the Baptist began His ministry, the message he preached was that of Repentance.
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea. And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:1,2.
“John did baptize in the wilderness and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Mark 1:4

After baptism, when Jesus began His public ministry, he too began by preaching the message of repentance.
“…Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:14,15

“God has always given men warning of coming judgements. Those who had faith in His message for their time, and who acted out their faith, in obedience to His commandments, escaped the judgements that fell upon the disobedient and unbelieving.” DA 370

The Jewish nation rejected the call of repentance given by Jesus and John the Baptist, and instead, mercilessly crucified the Son of God. In doing so, they had sealed their destiny and probation had been closed for them. Judgements inevitably fell around 40 years later, in A.D 70, by the destruction of Jerusalem.

John had come in the spirit and power of Elijah. Note what the SOP says: “In his (John the Baptist) manner and dress he resembled the prophet Elijah. With the spirit and power of Elijah he denounced the national corruption, and rebuked the prevailing sins.” DA 46

This was a fulfillment of the prophecy recorded in Malachi; “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Mal 4:5,6

But this prophecy has a dual fulfillment.

Speaking of John the Baptist, the SOP says, ” In preparing the way for Christ’s first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord’s second coming.” DA 44

This means that before the second coming of Christ, there again is a warning message of repentance sent to His church by a group of God’s appointed in the spirit and power of Elijah, and in the spirit of John the Baptist and above all, in the Spirit of Christ, preparing the way for the Lord.

“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?” 1 Peter 4:17

The house of God is His sanctuary on earth, which is the church ( professing christians).

So the investigative judgement of the living begins from us, His church.

That means that the warning message of repentance first comes to the church through His faithful watchmen, before it echoes into the world for one last time.

A message of repentance is one of the most prominent signs of the coming judgements. God in His infinite love always sends a last warning; a last message of mercy to repent.

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