Do We Still Believe Jesus is Coming Soon? Our Adventist Conundrum

Imminent doesn’t mean immediately.
As SDA’s we have ideas that lots of prophetic things must happen before the second coming. That’s not true. All the significant things have already happened for a long time. Therefore indeed the coming is always imminent according to God’s intended timing. Our task is to be constantly ready in life or death by totally believing in the Gospel of salvation.

6 Likes

And I think, jeremy, we could ask why there are so many skeptics about the fundamental non-negotiable doctrines of the SDA church who still hang around the church and bicker?

If I were a Roman Catholic or member of any other denomination, and realized I did not agree with the fundamentals of the church, I would not hang around and bicker on and on but simply “hit the road.”

Many have done this and I admire their integrity even if I disagree with conclusion. They don’t hang around and bicker endlessly about a ministry they consider bogus.

Much of my spiritual journey was formulated and stimulated by the “Brinsmead Awakening”. Primarily because he published massive Protestant material in the Present Truth magazine. When he decided the SDA message was bogus, he hit the road. Bless his heart, at least he was an honest person even if I disagreed with his final conclusion.

I am not going to change the RCC. Neither will any of you change the fundamental doctrines of Adventism as defined EGW, Protestantism and the bible.

1 Like

You are absolutely right. Change is more effective when it happens to the beholder, instead of outside of the beholder. For this reason, a deeper understanding of the many factors that influence our behavior can shed light as to why we behave the way we do. I may never be able to change Adventism but an understanding of its dynamics can make me live comfortably with Adventism.

5 Likes

Bill, I understand this rationale, but it is also important to be sensitive to everyone’s personal experience and to respect it. It’s way too easy to just push people away insensitively, without knowing their heart or their life’s history.

Then there is the issue of roots, both social and familial.

If I lived in a place where there were only ultra-conservative SDA churches, with intolerant and doctrinally strict people, I would never attend those churches, I would look for another Denomination where I could go to worship on a weekly basis. Been there, done that.

I am glad that right now I live in an area where there are several SDA churches where a person like me, who base their faith on the Sola Scriptura principle, can go to worship, are respected and accepted, and not just shooed away.

11 Likes

Yes. No one might have dared asking but I am glad the soon coming of Jesus did not happen in those generation. What is not acceptable to me is making the soon coming as a sales speech to get millions of church members. The GC does not believe in the soon coming. Do they not have the Investment Management Committee? This committee will not only serve them in their lifetime but to the future GC officials also.

4 Likes

I disagree, and there are plenty of denominations that also believe in Second Coming, but successfully avoid the wolf crying practice, and manage to be fairly proactive.

The problem with wolf crying is that in Adventism it’s predicated on a score of calamities before the “good event”. So, people almost welcome and want calamities because these signal the end of their suffering. It’s the equivalent of a guy who wants the entire financial system to collapse because he struggles with his mortgage.

In the end, it’s not a healthy attitude one can structure a church around. And a church driven by that mentality will likely result in people sitting and waiting, and pontificating.

7 Likes

an-Ovation1203

2 Likes

The 144,000 are people not defiled by a woman. If a woman in Revelation, symbolizes a church, not one of them is an SDA or belonging to any denomination.

3 Likes

None of us individually change anything other than our behavior (if that), but collectively we are the “denomination”. Denomination isn’t a set of rules, but people who execute and act these out into reality.

These concepts are not beyond reform, especially in context of the next gen who will not believe these to be viable. You would be very pressed to find a person in their early 30s who takes EGW seriously. GC more and more reads like a fantasy than reality. Of course, you would also be pressed to find a person in their early 30s in Adventist Church, but those who stay don’t do so because of EGW.

7 Likes

The typical answer would be is that woman in that context would be the impure woman that defiles everyone, or the false church that rides the beast.

But, again, all of this is secondary to the point that the reality that we presently live in is something that neither Biblical writers nor Adventist founders expected.

If either of them were transported into our American suburbia, they would think they died and went to heaven, given the abundance and exceptional amount of comfort we find there with all of the magical technology, refrigerators with food, and grocery stores that supply it with ease in the middle of the coldest winter.

So, we project certain perception of the past projection on the very future that we live in… which none of these writers expected or described. And instead of cherishing our present and figuring our how to build on it and make it more sustainable and symbiotic… we end up mentally putting a sledgehammer through it because of the future that was painted for us.

And all of this is predicated on a rather selfish motive of finally getting to heaven.

And that’s what bothers me the most, I guess. There are a lot of people who worked to bring us the “heaven” we have now. Yet, lack of imagination from people in the past sets the trajectory towards neglecting now… And instead preparing for the disasterous future, which actually structures this self-fulfilling prophesy of calamity.

Hence, environment doesn’t matter. Responsible planning for the future likewise doesn’t matter. Future generations don’t matter either … all that matters is ME in HEAVEN.

5 Likes

it isn’t heaven that has the compartments…it’s the sanctuary in heaven…there is a sanctuary in heaven, which is “the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man”, Heb 8:2…

how can it be face-saving to get the date right, but the event wrong…i think getting a major event involving christ wrong is a lot worse than getting a date wrong, especially since jewish time calculations aren’t superimposable onto ours…

as for that cornfield, hiram edson experienced a supernatural vision, just like stephen did soon after pentecost…these kinds of supernatural events are extremely rare, but when they do occur, they trump any and every other knowledge seeking process…we should be praying for more supernatural visions, where heaven intervenes to communicate directly to us…we shouldn’t be minimizing them…

actually jesus’ message was about counting years…he opened his ministry with “the time is fulfilled”, Mark 1:15, which is an obvious allusion to the time prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, which in turn is part of the broader 2300-yr time prophecy in Daniel 8…and jesus did talk about architecture, when he promised to prepare us each a place amongst the many mansions in his father’s house, John 14:2…obviously he would have talked more about the heavenly sanctuary, but unfortunately, his disciples couldn’t handle it at the time, John 16:12…

but before we jump on them too much, think how incomprehensible and staggering it would have been had christ explained to the disciples that their world in the temple at jerusalem - the HP, the MHP, the priests, the high priest, the sacrifices, the altars, etc - was merely a small inkling of the much larger world in heaven, about to be inaugurated by what they were about to witness on calvary, and that that larger world would unfold over thousands of yrs away from human sight…the truth that everything they knew was merely typical was a huge step for them…we see only scattered evidence, most notably in the book of Hebrews, which wasn’t written by one of the twelve, that they understood and accepted this truth…

i think the present truth that the disciples were called upon to believe was a lot harder than our present truth…at least we aren’t steeped in practically insurmountable confusion about what is typical, and what is antitypical, reality…understanding what is antitypical, and actual, is much more accessible for us, especially now that we’ve had egw for more than 100 yrs…

i disagree…i think it’s perfectly fine to be seeking redemption in order to avoid being lost, which is what we are from the moment we’re conceived…and god encourages us to think this way…John 3:16, the most famous verse in the bible, explains to us that god gave us jesus in order to save us from being lost…jesus told the pharisees that if they refused to believe that he was their god, that they would die in their already lost condition, John 8:24…

i think you’re putting way too much confidence in science, which today is, and tomorrow is something very different…let’s enjoy online, air travel, molecular medicine and our comfortable BMW’s, yes…but at the same time, let’s hang onto the basic realities of time and place…i’m not convinced that heaven is simply empty space, and that we’ll be nothing more than shape shifting gases when we get there…

3 Likes

Jeremy,
You seem to be content in your understanding of the Bible and all the different aspects of faith, life and redemption. I’m sincerely happy for you. I also remember my formative years in the church and I actually miss them - assurance that I was in the right place, thinking the right thoughts. Time, life, and a deeper experience with the church, both in the pew listening, and in front teaching (and listening), has given me a different perspective - and I keep mentioning that in talking with you, in hopes of convincing you that there are other ways of looking at it all without casting judgment. God relates with us each one differently. I’ll hope and pray that your perspective takes you where you want to be; and I hope you’ll do the same for me.

I seldom agree with you; but with respect to science, I strongly disagree. I would much rather listen to an honest seeker of scientific knowledge, than a narrow-visioned man who claims to have been called by God, certain of the little he knows. The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certitude. Science is awesome; and particularly, quantum physics, as it investigates God’s second book.

Time is an allusion. The reason there is so much counting and dating in the Bible is because men wrote the words within their own time with all that was going on around them - kings coming and going; nations rising and falling - large spans of “time”. Take a rocket off the earth’s surface and time becomes irrelevant and incalculable, obviously because at some point, the sun we use to measure time, ends up being a minor speck, and eventually, invisible.

Anyway, Happy Sabbath.

9 Likes

Hebrews 8:2 – “the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
Is this statement by the Hebrews writer ACUALLY!! talking about
the Incarnation??
John 1:14 actually says in Greek “The Word became flesh and TABERNACLED
among us.” Meaning that God was in a Human Body called a TABERNACLE.
And God is STILL in that Human Body called Jesus Christ, who is sitting at
the “right hand of the Father.”

6 Likes

Fantastic questions…with some possible scenarios. It is feasible that at some point the church will schism which could create a “branch” that modifies some of the theology/doctrine. These “modifications” could be more appealing to a wider audience enabling it to continue and perhaps even grow throughout the entire world.

Without “modifications”, the church continues to decline in the Developed Countries and grow in the Undeveloped Countries. It does not change any of its “message” because there will always be “True Believers”. The “message” will continue because it will still have a certain appeal- albeit mostly to a different generational audience in Undeveloped Countries. However, the church may struggle financially because the membership in the Developed Countries decline who fund most of the Undeveloped Countries growth.

1 Like

Eugene, is this a bunch of Adventists shouting at some Catholics, cursing at them for not starting the persecution they are supposed to carry against the SDAs?

6 Likes

i think we may be witnessing the reality of “once an adventist, always an adventist”…adventism is too good to truly leave…people may have reservations about various aspects of it, but there really isn’t anything better, or more complete…

but aside from this, Spectrum has become something of a unique phenomenon…it’s really the only space, anywhere, where people can candidly discuss religion without having to agree with control freak moderators…i can’t say i’m too surprised that people of all persuasions follow things here, even though it’s adventist…after-all, everyone has a feeling for religion, even if it isn’t defined in their mind…perhaps in time we’ll see a few bhudists, hindus and muslims here, which should really make things interesting :wink:

i’ve been concertmaster of calgary’s central united church orchestra - calgary’s oldest cathedral - for several yrs now, and i can tell you i’ve never even once heard any minister talk about, much less preach, the second coming of jesus…i’ve known some of the members in this church going on several decades, and i haven’t seen any evidence that this denomination believes in the second coming…the closest we get is at xmas, when the message is about christ coming to dwell in the heart through faith…that really is it…

over the yrs, my string quartet has played in all of calgary’s mega and not so mega churches of all denominations…never once has the subject of christ’s second coming been part of any message i’ve ever heard…i usually help myself to pamphlets that are available on the way out…i haven’t seen anything about the second coming here, either…

i’m not saying there isn’t a belief in the second coming outside of adventism…i’m just saying it’s a well-kept secret that after many, many yrs, i’ve seen no evidence for…

there’s no question that there are people with weaker minds who seem to feast on some of the more sensational aspects of adventist eschatology…but these people would have the same issues were they outside of the church…over-all, though, i think most adventists i know handle the necessary cognitive dissonance that surrounds the subject of the second coming and the end of the world quite well…i don’t think things should change just because a few people tend to lose it on this subject…the point is that if our end-time prophecies are true, and i think they are, they should be part of our overt belief system, whether people handle it well or not…

1 Like

George, no this is an approving crowd for what Matthew Quartey wrote about the Second Coming. This represents my great enthusiasm and support for Matthew’s viewpoint.

1 Like

In relation to the quote above, haven’t we ever wondered why the Holy Spirit didn’t simply disabuse Paul and others of that misconception…maybe through a vision or a dream? Why were they all permitted to perseverate in a delusion?

Could it possibly be that God wanted him, and the other members of the gospel spreading team to have a sense of urgency? That it was part of His plan? Isn’t it funny how we limit God and try to apply our own methods of analysis on things which we weren’t meant to understand in the first place (Deut. 29:29)

And while we may not have full understanding of the events to come in this present moment, a pastor friend of mine used to say that SDAs would be well served to read more science fiction, in order to better appreciate the phantasmagorical scenes of the book of Revelation. And as I understand it, some of Jesus’ remarks, if translated carefully, often refer to events happening ‘fast’ in succession, rather that ‘quickly’ on a scale of time.

Thank you for this wonderful, insightful article!

1 Like

Catholics say that too. :wink:

5 Likes

Jeremy stated “once an Adventist, always an Adventist”… too good to
truly leave…isn’t anything better, or more complete.
I believe we see here on Spectrum a small microcosm of at least the
1st world church.
Groups who give on-going thought and study about what they believe
the Bible speaks.
It appears that these persons mirror James White in 1870 who said the
Adventist members “Generally Believe” [in at that time, 5 major doctrines]
the announced Doctrines as they come up. [There are several more now
than when I was baptized.]
Groups who are comfortable with variant readings of the 28. Or consider
that some of the 28 are NOT NECESSARY for Salvation or a Relationship
with God. But STILL have a number of Core Beliefs so they Do Not
Throw ALL the 28 out. And move on to an entirely New Christian Religious
group.
These may consider “Understanding ‘Truth’ to be progressive”, and so
“progress” in their understanding as they see it revealed to them.
However, they may find it difficult to participate in S.S. discussions as
others are not able to understand their journey and believe their “soul”
is in jeopardy. And so they will sit there, quietly, and listen. And be
careful what they might say in a group.

5 Likes