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

I had determined to remain silent in this forum indefinitely, but this topic is of such importance to me that I now want to speak.

Now that I’m in my 70s, my observation has become that we Adventists have been mistaken in trying to have a specific, firm answer for everything. We seem to have trouble with “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man…” Have we lost value of faith without certainty?

By this point in my life I’ve become frustrated when I hear Adventists saying “SOON”, because if Christ’s coming were going to be soon, I would not be here — Christ would have returned!

My direct ancestors were among the earliest Adventists 170+ years ago. In fact, they were the first Sabbath keepers in America. They all taught and believed “soon and very soon”. I remember my g-grandparents, my grandparents, and my parents believing and teaching this. Yet I have laid them all to rest now. Christ did not come “soon” from their perspective.

Years ago my wonderful pastor taught in a sermon that we should not love and serve God because of WHEN Christ will return! We should love and serve Him regardless. This has saved my faith. I don’t expect the second coming in the 20 or so years I have left. I don’t know how or when I’ll be reunited with my beloved parents. Yet I will still believe!

I love this poem:

Why, then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well?
Not for the hope of winning heav’n,
Or of escaping hell;

Not with the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord!
(17th C Latin, translated)

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Right on Peter.

And may I add Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

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Thank-you for sharing, Peter.

My gg grandfather came into Adventism in the 1880’s about 40 years after your relatives. He had been a minister in another denomination and then joined the Adventists. He worked as a lay minister for many years and his son became an Adventist minister.

I never met my g grandfather but knew my g grandmother. I used to visit her in her home that was decorated with “camp meeting” photo scrolls and SDA periodicals. She, too, would talk about the soon coming of Christ and how she wanted to see all of us in heaven.

That was decades ago now and even her grandchildren are quite old. There have been a few generations that have come and gone since the first SDA in the family and still…Jesus has not come.

Nonetheless…I have learned since that it does not matter when Christ returns but it does matter what we do while we are on this earth. We are His representatives here on this earth and need to do the work that He gives us. Nothing else truly matters or is important but this. I am glad that your faith was saved by this realization.

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Two factors you might want to consider. First, the prevailing objectives of the church is formulated by the ruling administration and their particular philosophical bent. It is at best fluid and dynamic. It is not set in stone. As an example are the Compliance Committees and its subsequent demise. Second, what fuels a church fellowship is the quality of relationship and not the quantity of objectives satisfied and met as in a checklist.

This frequently happens between parents and their emerging adolescent children, but seldom are these children “pushed” away by parents. The same should go for church families.

@GeorgeTichy

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It never ceases to amaze me that we understand being “born again”, “living water” and eating “the bread of life” as symbols of spiritual events…but can only interpret the second coming as a literal event.

For me, Christ comes again, when I accept him in my life. The thrill of understanding and living the life of love, free from guilt and condemnation, is beautifully pictured by the fantastic symbolism of Jesus coming in the clouds, with angels and trumpets…

This makes the second coming relevant here and now as a life changing spiritual event.

And yes, there may also be a literal second coming, but if that is the main focus of our life, we risk forgetting the elation of Him coming into our lives today.

Jesus said it all on the cross: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

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@GeorgeTichy, I find it strange that many people want to impose their company on those who do not like them. If someone does not like me and is frank enough to say so, I hit the road instead of hanging around and asserting my rights. In the end, both of you will be miserable because each one will be trying to force the other to see things differently.

I suppose those in the western world are used to getting rights if they complain hard enough; where I live, powerful people can violate your rights with impunity. You whose rights have been violated must decide whether you want to live your life mourning about trampled rights. Personally I chose to live on. If someone thinks I don’t deserve their company because my nose is ‘too long’, or my head is funny-looking, or I slurp when drinking tea, that’s their problem. When I leave their ‘space’, they lose out on what I could do for them.

I do not think the God of heaven is imprisoned in the Seventh-day Adventist church and I am wondering why even those who longer identify with mainstream Adventism still want to retain that name. We had the same problem this side politically. People split but each party still wanted to retain the name as if there was some magic to the name. Move on people!

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You might like Kurt Andersen’s book, “Fantasyland.”

Greg Carey, “Stories Jesus Told – How to read a parable,”
In his discussion about the 2 Weddings by Matthew he ends with this.
“Matthew shows us two wedding parties. Each wedding party includes
the joy and wonder that accompany the Kingdom of Heaven. Each
party invites us to marvel at the possibility that we might find one of
the most glorious images the Gospel has to offer – celebration in the
presence of Jesus.
Each challenges its hearers to examine themselves, ourselves, as to
whether we take our status for granted, whether we prepare appropriately,
and whether we remain ready even when Ordinary Time seems to
drag on.” pg. 48 [Abingdon Press]

Both the OT, NT especially, after Jesus proclaimed “I am coming soon”,
it is the development of a life-style of Imitating God in the every day life
that was proclaimed as the important thing. And enjoying the REAL
PRESENCE of the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit here on
Earth, and now. We can have the Mini-Appearing every day if we choose.
And in a sense, Christ DID return at Pentecost when He and the Father
sent the Holy Spirit.

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John 5:24, [ESV): “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

Why does this verse, quoting Jesus, get overlooked? Doesn’t this verse cast the Adventist narrative of the mechanics of an investigative judgment (a term wholly concocted and found nowhere in Scripture) into question, for Christians who believe? Since our IJ narrative is an extrapolation of what can actually be found in Scripture, wouldn’t John 5:24 carry more weight?

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Elmer,
Your parallel misses an important difference, our relationship with our children is similar to God’s relationship with us - He created us and we engender/procreate our children, that was originally intended to be an eternal relationship, we are wired that way. God never pushes anyone away and we don’t push our children away, we nurture guide and hope.
The church family is different, joining or participating in it is not genetic but spiritual, it is a an individual decision and self-ackowledgement that we want to connect or unite (at baptism) with a commmunity of people that have common beliefs, values and yes, even objectives, for example: we all want to be saved.

I personally enjoy and respect (as many do here as well) different opinions and perspectives from others, it helps us learn and grow, that is why we are here, correct?. But when the SDA family is openly ridiculed for something most of us consider our main objective, the promise of our Lord Jesus that he will return soon (or quickly) depending on which trranslation we use, dont be surprised if this is viewed as sowing discord. Discord is not something we should take llightly, much less paticipate in it. - Just two Bible references of 20+ on this subject:
Proverbs 6:16-19 - There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Romans 16:17-18
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

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So… Either you come to Jesus through EGW, or you go somewhere else?

George, you can add that to your list of Catholic similarities :slight_smile:

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Ed, you must have missed the post where Jeremy @vandieman categorized the Bible as “pathetic.” A better and far superior “bible” is EGW’s SOP writings because of the updated material through EGW’s conversation and visits with God in heaven.

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Having grandchildren myself and knowing that my grand-grandmother some hundred years ago already was convinced that Jesus will return “soon” - I can only state that this belief was an error, looking on six generations.
However, the message of the second coming of Christ is an important one and should not be discarded. I think we should more take into consideration that the teaching of Jesus does not focus on coming back soon, but instantly and suddenly.

All his parables about the second coming are focusing on this point:

  • like in the days of Noah - the flood is coming unexpected (Lk 17:26-30)
  • The faithful servant - “when he comes and knocks, they may immediately open to him” (Lk 12:35-48) or “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come
  • “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matth 24:43.44.)
    And many more.

On other places you will find the comparison with a thief as well: 1 Thess 5:2; 2Petr 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:5 …

The greek word for “soon” tachu ( ταχύς) can also been translated as “swift”, “quick”, “fast” or “rapid”.

To conclude: My understanding is that Christ will come suddenly and unexpected - even for some who are counting themselves as believers (parable of the 10 virgins).
This fits with the experience of my family and countless other Christians as well as with the wording of Jesus and the Apostles.

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Bill,
Reading my post attentively should have sufficed to understand what I was saying.
A second try, maybe?

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Yes. That comment is so futile that I won’t even comment on it. It’s sad that it’s also related to a cleaning effort based on spiritual arrogance and dysfunctional religious egocentrism. Nothing but a totally ineffective child-like whining.

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Welcome back George. We missed you the past 9 mos.

A person’s interpersonal relationship is developed in the home. First it is with the primary care provider, then is expanded to include the family members. It is further modified when the person leaves home and interacts with the world. That quality of relationship is what the person brings to the table when he joins a denomination. It is my experience after years of child and family psychiatry practice that our relationship with our children and our children’s relationship with their parents is exactly the relationship we have with God. How can it not be? We see this among neurotics and those who were subjected to child abuse. It is also evident among church members as clearly shown by how each has a different view God. Even with our highly esteemed GC president, the honorable Pastor Ted Wilson whose Compliance Committees were quickly undone by his own leadership group who obviously had a different view of how leaders should relate with church members. So I stand with my “parallels.”

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Your parallel is just fine. As is your picture by the way. :+1:

I hope people will not confuse this George, the legit one, with that George, my good friend Davidovich who is back. :wink:

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I don’t look anywhere close to that picture. It is an actual picture but aged by Apple’s “FaceApp” and created by my grandsons. :rofl:

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Well, since we met not long ago, I was wondering what had happened to you, and my comment was full of sarcasm. Who would tell, uh? :rofl:

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Elmer,
Thanks for your expert expansion of this definition, I wholly agree with it as well as with its effects and impacts. When we mix politics and personalities with our spiritual objectives all bets are off so I force myself to be very reticent.
When my dad became a church administrator in ADRA, in the days it was called OFASA in South America, he suffered a great deal from internal politics and even thought he always tried to keep it away from the children we lived the impacts it brought, so as I was somewhat or rather very individualistic about my own opinions then :slight_smile: I ended up using these real issues as a crutch and excuse to move away from the church. It took me 25+ years and lots of growing up to comeback.

I hope I am not using your couch yet

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