How Healthy is Adventist Eschatology? A Missiological Imbalance (Part 6)

(Sirje) #61

Well, where does the “official position” come from - where do we find it? For the average Joe/Jane it comes from credal book, “The 28 Fundamental Beliefs…”. For the more studious, they might go to the “SDA Bible Commentary”.

"The 28" (I have the older book when we had just 27 beliefs)

Under the heading "Characteristics of the Remnant
1) “those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12)
It further explains the testimony of Jesus to be one of the gifts of the Spirit. The Bible does not
say that. So, where do they get that?
2) They get that from Rev. 19:10, which says, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy”.

They have lifted this out of context, saying, "The remnant will be guided by the testimony of Jesus conveyed through the gift of prophesy≥. They have made "SPIRIT OF PROPHESY into a proper noun - a name we give EGW’s writings, “TheSpirit of Prophesy” books.

The real story, in context, is that an angel was giving John a vision of the remnant. John “fell at the angel’s feet to worship him”. The angel said, "You must not do that. I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God , for the testimony of JESUS is the SPIRIT of prophesy. The angel admonishes John not to bow before him because he is just a servant like John himself; but worship God, because the spirit (essence - #4151 Strong) of the prophesy I’m giving you is a testimony about Jesus.

This phraseology is used before in Acts 10:26 - When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying stand up; I too am just a man.

The other problem is the term “The faith of Jesus”. True to form, the church interprets this to mean “the same faith as Jesus had”. This puts the oneness on us to conjure up the depth of faith Jesus had. Actually, what it says “Faith IN Jesus”. SDA Concordance: Faith of Jesus OR, Faith IN Jesus , the LATTER being preferred. Yet the SDA choice seems to be “OF Jesus”. Why - because if it’s faith IN Jesus it’s too spiritual, leaving us nothing to do except BELIEVE. Adventism is all about “doing”.


According to the SDA official teaching as to the identity of the remnant - “They keep the commandments (Saturday Sabbath); and are guided by our prophet”. NO DIRCT MENTION OF FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST THROUGH WHOM WE HAVE LIFE ETERNAL LIFE - WHICH IS CENTRAL TO THE IDENTY OF A CHRISTIAN.

Paul writes: For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, HAVING BEEN RECONCILED, WE SHALL BE SAVED BY HIS LIFE. The sinless life of Jesus stands for ours, so that His death pays for sins. This will bring an automatic accusation of “cheap grace”. Again, context with the rest of Paul - sorrow for our sins; and a sincere heart.

(Frankmer7) #62

How about…In him was light, and that light was the light for all mankind?



(Frankmer7) #63

That may be the claim (though they are much older and not contemporary claims), but that is not the reality of how the shifting from Sabbath to first day happened. The myth that it all happened in the fourth century under Constantine in conjunction with the bishop of Rome has been debunked. The spontaneous and organic practice of meeting on the first day can be seen concretely as early as AD 135, and many believe the practice goes back into the late first century. The early Christians met to celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the first day, because that is when Jesus rose from the dead.

The idea of trying to substitute this for the seventh day sabbath, as a shift of sabbath, was a later invention that does find its roots in Roman Catholicism. It is certainly not supported by the NT. But, I believe, the idea of diversity in the observance of holy times is.

The point that Paul is making in Colossians 2, which includes the seventh day sabbath (against Adventist claims), is that no one should be judged or condemned regarding such shadowy observances. Even the rabbis recognized that the Sabbath was a shadow of the messianic age to come. And this is what Paul is saying, the reality of all these things is Christ! He has brought the age to come. Live in him in unity, and stop quibbling about food, drink, or the observance of holy times…all shadows of him and the rest and redemption that he has brought and will bring.

We continue to quibble amongst ourselves and with other Christian groups over shadows, when we could be enjoying loving unity in Christ, and the full rest and redemption that he brings, whatever we practice concerning worship times.



(Frankmer7) #64

Bingo on all you’ve written, Sirje!

That verse in Romans can also be understood that we shall be saved because he lives. Our faith is in a living Savior, the one who has risen from the dead, the one who imparts life to us. This makes faith and hope active, and alive…because he is active and alive!

The good news of King Jesus and his kingdom.




11/19/18 - #5 (65)

“Theology” and “eschatology” are disembodied abstractions.

They exist nowhere in time and space, and hence have no “self.”

Therefore disembodied abstractions do not have “experiences,” “religious” or otherwise.

Disembodied abstractions do not have agency.

Therefore, disembodied abstractions are incapable of such actions as:

  • correcting
  • reorienting
  • updating
  • interpreting

What we are lacking in this discussion are Agents, human and Divine.

For starters…

(Frankmer7) #66

I would assume that it’s the agents, human hopefully in touch with the divine, within whatever theological and eschatological interpretive traditions in which they function, that are carrying out these actions. I don’t think the author meant that ideas can correct themselves apart from such.



(George Davidovich) #67

It wasn’t my intent to get into a debate about the historical change from Saturday to Sunday, or even about the RCC, my comment was made to @Sirje in response to an SDA attitude that she says it exists. I am sure you have read the same books from Bacchiocchi I have, plus there is additional material available.
About the RCC claim, (1) old is irrelevant, they claim the RCC never changes. (2) The RCC has never rescinded their claim. (3) Have you read Dies Domini? If they had never made a claim to changing the day of rest this certainly qualifies, and (4) Have you been watching or reading the news coming from the Vatican on this topic for the last 20 years? Hope you dont have your head in the sand, but it sounds like your attention to contemporary events is very selective at best.
As far as Pau’s teachings go, and other “contested” Biblical verses they have all been vetted by many people with far superior theological background rhan me agaisnt the case you are making, I can look for and share references if you like.


11/19/18 #6 (68)

The fact that we are only able to assume that we’re talking about actual agents, human and Divine, tells me that our discussion suffers from a lack of grounding.

We’ve put the theoretical cart before the actual flesh-and-blood horse, with all the attendant problems and miseries.

(Frankmer7) #69

They have made the claim, George. It just doesn’t fully match with the history of how the change actually developed. Adventism focuses solely on Constantine, Rome, and the papacy as the driving force, when in reality, the practice was growing centuries before. We exist partly because of the existence of our boogey men.

And, do you think that the Vatican, up to its eyeballs in sex abuse scandals, and losing its strongest bases in the world, such as Ireland, is really targeting this as their attempt to establish world dominion? Do we really think that Sunday worship will be imposed or adopted in Saudi Arabia, or upon over a billion non believers in China, or upon about a billion Hindu/Muslim adherents in India? I could go on.

We have a highly sectarian way of reading and interpreting apocalyptic prophecy, that puts us and the Sabbath at the center. Colossians, and what I’ve seen Adventist scholars like Bacchiocchi and others do with it, also come from the same vantage point. Apparently the scholar, Edmund Lohse, reacted to Bacchiocchi’s twisting of his reading and exegesis of Colossians 2.



(Cfowler) #70

As some of us have stated before…will there be churches built for all of these billions to attend? Seems beyond any reasonable thinking, IMO. I don’t think that this will be important to any type of World Government that will arise.

I do believe there will be a one world system (government, monetary and religious), but, it’s not going to be about a day, but a Who.

(Cfowler) #71

Why does that not surprise me? :wink:

(Frankmer7) #72

Yes, Carol. It’s all about who. I just don’t read Revelation in terms of any kind of conspiracy of the papacy or a world government of any type. I just see it differently, and don’t think that’s what John was saying. But these are things that can be discussed as we all gather around the who… Jesus.



(Cfowler) #73

I totally agree, Frank. These aren’t salvational issues, and can be discussed and viewed in different ways.

(George Davidovich) #74

Frank, sorry but what cliam are you referring to? you switch topics without even acknowledging or responding to the subject of your own previous comment, which I tried to address. Maybe you didnt read the Bacchicchi books I gave credit for.


It is simply not correct. The official position of the church is that the Bible is first and the EGW’s writings second. And EGW is clear that the purpose of her writings is to lead the people to the Bible.

This is not correct either. Maybe this has been your experience as a SDA but it has never been mine. And it is not the position of the SDA church.

We have to make a difference between how people live their faith and what the church is, in fact, teaching (even if, sometimes, the practice doesn’t always match the theory…alas).

(Frankmer7) #76


The RCC has made the claim of the change from Sabbath to Sunday as a sign of its authority. The claim of tying their authority to such is true, but the practice of Christians assembling to worship on the first day was not instituted by them nor by Constantine as popular Adventism tries to spin. It began centuries earlier, as early as the late 1st century, as Christians began meeting on the first day because that was the day of Jesus’s resurrection. It was not regarded as a substitute Sabbath, but a time to worship and celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. Why not? Without the resurrection our faith is futile, we are dead in our sins, as Paul stated. The adoption of this practice was much more grassroots and organic within early Christianity than Adventism’s or Roman Catholic claims.

This was the claim you seemed to be pointing to in your posts, and what I was trying to address. Sorry if it wasn’t clear.



Btw…I’ve read most of what Bacchiocchi has written about the Sabbath.



Again, we see what happens when we take a verse out of context. Col 2:16 says, at the beginning:

“Let no man therefore judge you…”

The word “therefore” implies that Paul was speaking about something and that he is coming to a conclusion. And what Paul was speaking about is found in Col 2:11-14:

"11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;"

Now, what is the handwriting of ordinances that was “against us”? Is this about the Ten Commandments. No, because they are not against us.

So, what is this is about? When we read the context, we see that Paul is speaking about things pertaining to circumcision and things related to “tradition of men” (verse 8). In Col 2:20-22, Paul even says:

"20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?"

So, the context shows that Paul is not speaking about the Ten Commandments but about circumcision and some traditions that some people wanted to keep.

In fact, we find the some subject in Acts 15 where Peter speak about the yoke… which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear" (Acts 15:10) with is the same things as the ordinances that were, according to Paul, “against us”.

And we know that Acts 15 is about the circumcision and the traditions that some people wanted the new converts to follow. To this, Peter said:

“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they (Acts 15:11)

Paul means the same thing when he writes:

"6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

In other words: Christ is enough. There is no need for circumcision or other traditions (which have been nailed to the cross).

This is what Paul is speaking about in Colossians 2:16. In the law of Moses, there were feasts that were considered as sabbaths (and they had nothing to do with the sabbath found in the fourth commandment). At the death of Jesus, all these feasts and celebrations were “nailed to the cross” and were not valid any longer but some, erroneously, still wanted to impose them to the new converts. And Paul just told the Colossians that they didn’t have to be judged according to these old practices.

(Sirje) #78

Yes, the Bible as interpreted by Ellen White.

There is the “official position”, and there is “practice”. What percent is the SS lessons EGW, compared to Bible passages? The entire SDA "eschatology was pre-determined through Miller and later, EGW. It was belief, searching for proof. Of course, much has changed, but much has not. The current generation of Adventists have very little idea where it all (teachings) came from, and what the official position of the beliefs are. Wilson is reminding them.

(George Davidovich) #79

Bacchiocchi was the SDA authority on this topic.
Instead of re-spinning “popular Adventism” you should read his book (one among others): From Sabbath to Sunday just to get started, and take the initiative in helping others correcting inaccurate historical understandings.


…who gave us Headship Ideology.

So many dots, so little time…