Adventists Believe What?
I had the pleasure of attending a bible study tonight at a local Seventh-day Adventist church. One of the most interesting questions was raised and it sent my head into a tailspin. I wanted to share it with you and see if any Adventists and/or those outside of the Adventist faith had any thoughts on this question.
Seventh-day Adventists appear to have a very unique belief in regards to the end of time aka “the end of the world”. They are a movement that arose out of the Millerite movement in the middle of the 1800′s. The Millerite’s believed the imminent, visible Second Coming of Christ would take place in 1844 at the end of the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8:14. Jesus as we know did not return and out of that “Great Disappointment” , a small group from the various faiths of Christendom joined together and began what today the world calls the Seventh-day Adventists. For more information about this, there is a most interesting film called -http://www.theadventiststhefilm.com/. Today Seventh-day Adventists operate the largest Protestant health care system and education systems in the world. The second largest behind the Catholic Hospital and Education systems in total number.
The very unique beliefs of Adventism range from the belief that at death the body sleeps and awaits the judgment that they believe is currently taking place managed by Jesus Christ from a Sanctuary in Heaven. At the second coming, they believe Christ will resurrect those bodies of the ones that were faithful to him. They actually believe that one’s decisions will effect their eternal life, which some consider salvation by works. They believe strongly in the law of God and the role of faith and works. They see that the Sabbath of the 4th commandment never changed and therefore keep it holy.
Where it gets really interesting is there belief in bible prophecy. They believe that at the end of earth’s history, a crisis will arise over the issue of worship. According to them, Revelation 13 depicts the Papacy and the United States. They believe that the whole world will one day come back under the power of the Roman empire and specifically the unique mark that the Papacy has made in history: changing the day of worship from Saturday the seventh-day to Sunday the first day. To learn more on this idea, they refer to Constantine changing the day of worship to suit his pagan beliefs. Many Seventh-day Adventists even refer to this event as the National Sunday Law that will take place first in America and then internationally in the rest of the world.
They believe that when the Bible says in Revelation 13 verse 17, “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name”, that it means that the whole world will have to decide to follow the laws of man and worship on the first day of the week in order to continue to function in the global economy and continue to buy or sell. If one decides that they wish to follow the Biblical Sabbath, then they will be forced to not buy or sell and eventually perhaps even face death.
Let me repeat that for clarity and summary: Seventh-day Adventists believe that if you want to be saved eternally at the end of earth’s history then you have a choice to make that will decide your fate. They believe that when this law becomes forced and international you will given the ultimatum:
1. To obey the Biblical Sabbath and not buy and sell and be saved eternally based on this choice or
2. Honor sunday willingly or coerced into it and be authorized to buy and sell and be lost forever
The implications of this bold belief are very grand in scope. The one question that I must ask is this: If Seventh-day Adventists believe this, then that would mean that they are actively preparing to get into a situation where they will be prepared to not buy or sell right? Is it like a Noah’s ark situation perhaps? Noah prepared a boat to ride out the storm. Is there some boat or parallel they make with this ‘coming crisis’.
So here was the question raised at this study: Seventh-day Adventists must be buying land and growing their own food and cutting their ties with society and the world if they really believe this event of Revelation 13 is going to really happen right? Or perhaps they know prophetically exactly when it will take place and perhaps that is the reason they are not preparing as if it were imminent? If that is the case then why do they preach that message of Revelation 13 in all of their international evangelism events? What is the answer to these questions, so that if any of these ideas are true it may be revealed to those of us that do not know?
I am curious if you know a Seventh-day Adventist or perhaps you might be one reading this article. What are your thoughts? Perhaps this is not a fair assessment of the beliefs of the church. Please comment.