The gospel & 1844: are they compatible?

1844

Why the gospel and 1844 are not compatible?

  • Seventh-day Adventist’s teach that in 1844, Christ began a work of judgment. This doctrine is their special gospel message to the world, and the reason for their existence. Ellen White said this teaching is the ‘foundation’ and ‘central pillar’ of the Advent faith (The Great Controversy, p. 409). Is this message compatible with the Biblical gospel?

Let’s see what the Bible teaches about the gospel

  • The gospel is called ‘the gospel of Christ’: It is about Jesus Christ’ (Romans 1:3).

  • The gospel is about Jesus Christ fulfilling the Old Testament: He fulfils its law and prophecy (Matt. 5:17).

He fulfils the law because He is the reality of all Jewish sacrifices and ceremonies.

His fulfils the law because His perfect obedience to God is the righteousness which the law demands of the human race.

  • The gospel is about a finished thing: His last words on the cross were ‘’It is finished’’. It is the good news of Christ’s finished work.

He ‘made atonement for sin’ (Rom 3:25), ‘destroyed death’ (2 Tim. 1:10), and ‘defeated the devil’ (Hebrews 2:14).  Man’s lost dominion has been restored in this one man, Jesus, ‘who reigns over all principalities and powers’ (1 Cor. 15:25).

  • The Bible presents the gospel as a historical thing that is done and finished.

‘Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached [past tense] to you before. It is this Good News that saves you. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said’’ (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

‘He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross’ (Col. 2:14,15)

‘When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honour at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven’ (Hebrews 1:3)

The New Testament gospel is not presented as if it were an Old Testament promise of what God will do. It is message of what He has done. If anyone preaches about a gospel not already finished, it is not the gospel (Gal. 1:8).

  • The Gospel is a final thing: ‘Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son’ (Heb. 1:1-2).

God did everything for our salvation when He acted in Christ. Christ is God’s final word to man. For there is no hint that the New Testament Christians are waiting for the Spirit (latter rain), the sealing, the verdict of the final judgment. They only wait for the Son of God to come from heaven (1 Thess. 1:10).

Hence, until Jesus comes, there is no way to go on from hearing the gospel to some higher knowledge of the gospel message or some more profound experience of God (latter rain).

  • The gospel is a complete thing: ‘For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole counsel or teachings of God’’ (Acts 20:27).

We need to guard against the idea that since we are in the last days, we need to preach aspects of Christ’s redemptive work which were not proclaimed by the apostles.

  • The proclamation of the gospel of Jesus is a last day event:’But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice’’ (Hebrew 9:26).

Calvary therefore was a last day event. The outpouring of the Spirit to proclaim the gospel took place at Pentecost, which was a fulfilment of what Joel preached would take place in the last days (Acts 2:16, 17).

  • The gospel is an all-sufficient thing: It gives us eternal life (John 5:24; 3:16); it gives us the seal of God which is the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13); No new testament believer waits for the Spirit, but by the Spirit he waits for the Lord (Rom. 5:5). In Christ, believer is now perfect, without fault, blameless in God’s sight (Col. 1:20).

It is denial of the gospel to talk about a future character perfection, sealing, as if there is something above and beyond hearing the gospel that has already been given to the New Testament church.

  • The gospel is a clear and certain thing: It is not a mystery or hidden thing. ‘’If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ..’’ (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

The clear message of the gospel is Christ is the promised one who died to take away our sins so that all who believe find forgiveness and life everlasting (John 3:16).

  • The gospel is a decisive thing: Those who obey the gospel are sealed and given life eternal. Those who disobey the gospel are judged already (John 5:24). This means that the final judgement is mysteriously present in preaching of the gospel (John 3:18). God doesn’t require any further judgement to decide who are his children.

1844 : does it match up with the Biblical gospel?

  • The date 1844 and the teaching on the two-phased ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary are the nerve center of Adventism. From this teaching comes a plethora of teachings like the investigative judgment, the remnant church, the special sealing, the latter rain, and Spirit of prophecy (Ellen White).

Because the gospel given to the apostles was a finished, complete thing, and no future addition to that gospel was implied, SDA teaching on 1844 actually denies the gospel. The SDA pioneers, and members do not appear to understand the gospel.

  • Consequently, even today, the SDA gospel is being preached as a promise of what God will do for us if we fulfil certain conditions, and not as something finished! For example, He will blot out our sins if we pass the investigative judgment that began in 1844. If we keep the Sabbath, we will receive the seal of God. He will help us overcome every character defect so that we can receive the latter rain.

It’s no exaggeration to say that SDA community has lived and continue to live as an Old Testament community with a gospel of promise than a New Testament community with a gospel of something already finished.

  • The Old Testament revelation God gave through Moses, Daniel was veiled. But this was revealed or unveiled in the New Testament because ‘God has spoken’ (Hebrews 1:2) the final word about the essential meaning of the Old Testament. This means we must interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament. SDA’s generally do the reverse.

When the New Testament declares Dan 7:14, ‘He was given all authority’ was fulfilled in Christ (Matt. 28:18), we must not go beyond God’s final word.

  • Since Aaron went into holy of holies in the earthly sanctuary, SDA’s reasoned that Christ must have gone into heaven to do the same. SDA’s do not get that the book of Hebrews contrasts between type (symbol) and antitype (real) more than the parallels. Unlike Aaron, Christ made atonement ‘once and for all’ and then went into the presence of God (Heb. 1:3). That’s why Hebrews says nothing about a two-phased ministration in heaven.

The book of Hebrews know nothing about a further ministration to prepare His children for his coming, because, ‘For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy’’ (Hebrews 10:14).

  • Christ’s intercession in heaven is not that of an Aaronic priest standing before God to offer the blood. His intercession is that of a king seated on His throne, exercising the rights and titles gained by His finished work.

The 1844 teaching implies that the apostolic gospel was not complete, that it did not contain all the light necessary to prepare the church for translation. All this is opposed to the gospel ‘once for all entrusted to the saints’’ (Jude 3), which was a gospel containing all necessary things to prepare people for the Christ’s coming (Rom. 5:1).

  • What can we say about 1844? It rests on one solitary text – Daniel 8:14. There is no New Testament confirmation of either the date 1844, or the new phase of Christ’s work in heaven.

The truth is SDA’s have not been able to convince a single recognised Biblical scholar that their interpretation of Daniel 8:14 is worthy of a second thought. There is not an adventist in ten who would feel comfortable ‘proving’ the 1844 doctrine from the Bible. Yet SDA’s have to hold on to it, because it alone justifies the existence of Adventism as a movement with a special message.

  • Instead of a pre-advent judgment beginning in 1844, the New Testament knows only one pre-advent judgment. It is the apostolic gospel (John 3:17-19). By this gospel, all men are tested and are thereby declared righteous or guilty.

It’s time for SDA’s to wake up, and embrace the true gospel. For the gospel is about Jesus, something He finished, therefore it is final, complete, an end time event, all sufficient, clear, and decisive!

Adapted from: Are the gospel and 1844 theology compatible? By R. Brinsmead

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SDA’s Twist Three Angel’s Messages

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Have SDA’s got the Three Angel’s Messages right?

The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is ”to proclaim the everlasting gospel embraced by the three angels’’ messages’ (Revelation 14:6-12).

Interestingly, most SDA’s do not have a clue about the meaning of the Three Angel’s Messages. Just talk to a lay member. Not just that. SDA’s have built a mission statement based on a twisted interpretation of Revelation and the three angels. Here’s how it goes.

What do SDA’s teach on the three angels of Revelation 14? 

  • SDA’s teach that the first angel’s message was proclaimed and fulfilled in 1843/1844, through those (Millerites) who  were preaching the soon coming of Christ:

Ellen White, SDA prophet, wrote: ”Prophecy was fulfilled in the first and second angels’ messages. They were given at the right time [1844] and accomplished the work” (Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 235).

Further, when Revelation 14 says ”the judgement is come” (Rev 14:7), SDA’s teach that God began judging and investigating the righteous from 1844.

  • SDA’s teach that the second angel’s message is a call for Christians attending non-Adventist churches (referred to as Babylon) to leave those churches and join the true remnant church–the Seventh-day Adventists.

Ellen White wrote: ‘’As the churches refused to receive the first angel’s message, they rejected the light from heaven and fell from the favor of God(Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 134).

  • SDA’s teach the third angel’s message is a warning against receiving the Mark of the Beast, which is said to be worship on Sunday.

The Sabbath is the great test question. It is the line of demarcation between the loyal and true and the disloyal and transgressor. … It is the seal of the living God” (Ellen White, Selected Messages Book 3, p. 423)

Problems with SDA teachings 

Fulfilled in 1844?

  •  The Bible says the 3 angels messages were to go:

“…to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Rev. 14:6).

  •  But the Millerite Movement in 1844 was largely confined to the Northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 followers in Britain, and a handful of believers in a few scattered places in Europe.

    How could a message that reached less than 1% of the world’s population–mainly English speakers–be a fulfilment of a prophecy that was to go “to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people“?

Judgment of the righteous in Revelation?

  • There is not a hint anywhere in Revelation 14 of a judgment upon the righteous or any investigation of the righteous. This is a SDA invention. The judgment is a judgment of vengeance and punishment of the wicked. In the book of Revelation, the souls of the martyrs (righteous) are heard crying out for vengeance/judgment:

    ”How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:1)

  • Hence, the ‘judgement is come’ is not for the righteous, but the wicked. The Bible is very clear that believers will not come into condemnation: ”Whoever hears my word and believes him [Jesus] who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged [condemned] but has crossed over from death to life” (Jn 5:24).
  • True, the Bible says God will judge both the righteous and the wicked. Since, judgement is mysteriously present in preaching of the gospel (John 3:18), those who disobey the gospel are judged already (John 5:24). Hence, God doesn’t require any further investigation to decide who are his children.
  • If there is a time for judgement, it is at his appearing, and not before or from 1844. : ‘I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom‘ (2 Timothy 4:1)

SDA’s have no basis contextually to say that the judgement specifically in Revelation is on the righteous, and there is certainly no investigative judgement. The context points to a judgment of the wicked.

Are all the protestant churches Babylon?

  • In Revelation 18, Babylon ”is the great city as a woman who commits fornication with the kings of the earth” (Rev. 18:3).

The great city…is…where our Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:8). All Christians agree that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, which is what the Bible refers to as Babylon.

  • Moreover,  speaking about “Babylon”, it says that “in your streets flowed the blood of the prophets and of God’s holy people and the blood of people slaughtered all over the world” (Rev. 18:4). Sound familiar? It should. Jesus Christ said:

As a result, you will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time” (Matt. 23:35).  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers!” (Matt. 23:37).

The identification of “Babylon” leaves no room for any doubt. On the authority of Jesus Christ himself, “Babylon” was old Jerusalem, not some other past, present of future city or non-Adventist churches.

Sunday is the mark of the beast?

  • Contrary to SDA teachings, the third angel’s message warning on the mark of the beast has nothing to do with a day of worship (Saturday). Not once in the New Testament is Sunday ever referred to as the Mark of the Beast. The Seal of God is the Holy Spirit, not a sign of an obsolete covenant God made with Israel. “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit..” (Ephesians 1:13). Jesus and His Apostles emphasized that true Christianity is a matter of the heart. The Mark of the Beast are those who do not have the Holy Spirit. See: Sabbath in the Bible 

Seventh-day Adventism has elevated an obscure and easily-misunderstood passage in the book of Revelation to a position of prime importance to their church. Unfortunately, they have misinterpreted the meaning of this passage, resulting in a twisted and warped understanding of their relationship to other Christian churches.

SDA’s twist Revelation!

  •  John explains repeatedly in his book of Revelation that it deals with things that were about to happen shortly after the book was written.

”This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1). See also: Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:11; 22.

  • In the SDA mind-set, all those inspired expressions become meaningless, since Adventists claim that ‘soon’ means exactly the same as ‘distant’, ‘remote’ or ‘indefinite’. Naturally, that’s utter nonsense. When God caused the false prophet Balaam to predict Israel’s future, he knew very well the difference between ‘soon’ and ‘distant in time’ (Num. 24:17), and when God told Daniel about the future, he specified that a significant portion of his prophecy was for distant times (Dan. 8:26; 12:4, 9).

Revelation can be a daunting book

  • The author said ”Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book” (Rev. 22:10) because the events were shortly to come to pass, so I take him at his word that a good part of the book refers to 1st century events. However, I leave open the door for the latter half of the book to be more geared towards the time of the end. I also will acknowledge that some of the prophecies may have dual fulfilment—the first fulfilment being in the 1st century, and then a repeat and more complete fulfilment at the end of time.