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Posts Tagged ‘1844’

This post presents yet another illustration of the subject matter addressed here.  I did not intend to post anything about the recent Doomsday prediction by Harold Camping and Family Radio even though it’s nearly identical to the failed prediction that spawned the Seventh-day Adventist organization in 1844.  That was.. until I saw a Sacramento Fox News station interview Doug Batchelor , a well-known Seventh-day Adventist media evangelist (see below).  I am still reeling from the irony of this station choosing a Seventh-day Adventist to comment on Harold Camping’s prediction, not that they are not more than qualified to understand his position, but this commonality they shared never came to the surface.  In fact the name of Batchelor’s denomination was never even mentioned, or included in the name of the church he pastors.  He was introduced as the pastor of the “Sacramento Central Church” but the ACTUAL name is the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Someone is hiding something in this broadcast on purpose.

I found it interesting to hear Batchelor decry a prediction which so closely mimics the very thing that Adventists continue to uphold as a move of God which brought end-time truth to the last-day “Remnant Church of Bible Prophecy”.  Batchelor claims he does not know any other group of pastors who would agree with Campings date calculations.  Interestingly, no other group of pastors outside Adventism agree that Jesus “began to finish” his work of atonement in 1844 either, or that this work is still taking place since that time.

The name of Doug Batchelor’s ministry association is “Amazing Facts” and I’m sure the listening audience would have found the real truth to be amazing facts indeed!  For an overview of the doctrine Adventists still proclaim as their explanation for their own Great Disappointment, read here or check out my Resource page for more links.

I post these things for informational purposes, for those researching.  But for Adventists and Family Radio members alike, I simply plead with you to read the Word alone in prayer, seeking the Truth, and stop relying on the interpretations of men who would profit from you.  Coming from someone that knows what it feels like to say, “I was wrong” and walk away – it’s NOT the end of the world.  Just the beginning.


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I would like to present some real-life examples which illustrate the parable I wrote a few weeks ago,  Deceitful Duck Logic.

A very common practice in  Adventism in order to gain converts is to rent a public facility for meetings and send invitations in mass mailings to the community.  The colorful invitations include promises to explain Biblical topics relating to end times and other subjects people may have questions about.  What they don’t include is any mention of who they are.  Most who attend these meetings are already Christians attending other churches, as these are the people with the most interest in prophecy subjects.

I heard the following account from a person directly involved.   Feel free to check out the facts of this if necessary.  In July 2009 the Adventist  “It Is Written” ministry rented the Performing Arts Theater in Lancaster, California for three weeks, at the cost of thousands of dollars a night.  They sent out over 200,000 invitations to the community and named the series of meetings  “Countdown to Eternity”.  An ex-Mormon and other concerned Christians decided that someone needed to at least inform the attendees about the identity of their hosts and their key beliefs.  After the meetings ended they passed out fliers to those leaving the building.  They delivered more than 500 in the first couple of meetings and many expressed their gratitude for the information.  Observers of the first meetings reported no one would have suspected they were not mainstream evangelical.  They promised to help their audience “understand prophecy better”.  No church affiliation had been indicated.

I have seen this method in action myself, on a smaller scale.  When our own small local SDA church organized similar meetings at the local college,  we were asked to lie in response to questions about the speaker – that our SDA pastor teaching the series  “may be the pastor of a church in the area in a few months”.  We did not agree to lie for him.

Recently another former SDA I know in Nevada received a brochure at her door.  She immediately recognized it as having the Adventist flavor, but no name was listed.  She called the number provided and this is what transpired:

I called the phone number on there.  When the lady answered I told her I had this brochure.  I asked what church was sponsoring it.  She said, “No church.”  I could not stand the lie, so I told her I was a former SDA and I recognized SDA doctrine when I saw it.   She  did a LOT of protesting and I kept on telling her she was not telling the truth.  That is when she admitted she was SDA.  I told her it was a lie to say she did not know what church sponsored this,  and that they had given it to the wrong person.  – Diana R. Lopez

A couple who are in the process of leaving the SDA denomination recently confronted the church’s practice of initially hiding their identity in evangelistic outreach activities.  The following is a response to this issue, a direct quote from the associate pastor of the high-profile Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary, Andrews University.

The discussion of whether our evangelistic advertising should include the church name has been a live discussion in the church ever since I can remember. Many agree with you that
all of our evangelistic advertising should always include the Adventist name. Most of our evangelistic meetings are held in our own churches because it’s less expensive than renting public facilities, and in these cases the advertising does include the church name by necessity. The other argument is that surveys indicate that the average person on the street confuses us with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc., and to include the Adventist name would not be communicating truthfully to such people.  I won’t claim that there is never an  attempt to deceive, but I think it’s safe to say that that is rare. Other motivations are involved. – Skip MacCarty

So we see the line of logic is “honesty requires us to not tell the truth.”  Of course the REAL question is, “Why do people confuse you with the other two cults?”  And another, “Why is it okay to lie in order to teach people they should keep the 4th Commandment?”

In spite of their fear of being associated with JW and LDS, Adventism has done an amazing job in the last few decades of presenting itself as a mainstream Christian church which simply meets on Saturday.  I meet so few Christians who know what Adventists actually believe, or that they also have a prophet like the Mormons.   Evangelical factions exist within the denomination who do not hold to the historic precepts which launched the church into existence.  Yet the official stance from the organization remains unchanged in crucial areas that deviate from the tenets of orthodox Christianity.  For an overview of these differences, an excellent Evangelical Resource is “The Truth About Adventist Truth” – by Dale Ratzlaff, former SDA pastor.

Truth does not need to hide or deceive.  It is not afraid of being questioned or tested.  This practice alone tells me there is something wrong with Adventist “truth.”  I dearly love Adventist people.  I know many believe their message is so important it justifies the means.  But I also have a burden for unsuspecting prospects to not take the bait, but to be aware and discerning.

I have been given permission to share both the exit letters and church response which contain the above quotation. (links below) The church requested this couple always include its response with copies of their own letters.  While this couple is under no obligation to do so,  we are in agreement that the church response says much than their exit letters ever could have.

Dana Kendall’s Exit Letter

Scott Kendall’s Exit Letter

Pioneer Memorial Church Response

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“The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it,

but to lay a straight stick along side it.” -D. L. Moody

Intro to the teaching which led to the existence of the SDA denomination:

In 1844, a man named William Miller predicted the second coming of Christ, for the second time.  He had a large following of believers who had given up all their possessions in anticipation of the end.  After Christ did not return, some followers of William Miller claimed God instructed through visions that they were not wrong about the time, but rather about the event itself.  Their prophet claimed God himself had placed His hand over the truth in order to hide it from them, and test them.  After they proved themselves faithful, He revealed his true plan.  They began teaching that Jesus had finally in 1844 entered the Most Holy place in heaven’s sanctuary to begin the process of atonement for the sins of His people.  They believed the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament feast cycle foreshadowed this new phase of the ministry of Christ as our high priest.

But before this atonement can take place for any one person, an investigation has to be conducted.  Everyone who professes to believe in Christ became “pardoned” (a temporary stay until their case was fully decided) but their sins cannot be blotted out until it can be determined if they are in fact worth of eternity as judged by the Law.  This process is said to have begun in 1844 with the names of those who had already died (soul sleep being an important doctrine here).  After the dead were judged then the work could move to those who were still living.  When these are all finally complete, Jesus will return.  No one can ever know which phase the judgment process is in, or if your name has yet been cleared or not.  As an SDA, I was taught Jesus cannot return until the living actually stop sinning so His mediation of atonement in the sanctuary is no longer necessary.  We were instructed to never ever claim to “be saved.”  We had no possible way to know how our case would be judged because it didn’t depend just on faith, but our performance as well.

Their writings say the blood of Christ transferred sins to the sanctuary above,  and atonement finally ends with the sins “blotted out” but  later placed on Satan who is banished.  The blood of Christ does not cancel out sin so much as provide a catalyst to put them back on Lucifer who is seen as the scapegoat foretold by the Atonement day ceremonies of Israel.  Instead of Jesus being the “Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world” , Satan has the final work of taking away sin.

To contrast the difference between what evangelicals believe and what Adventism teaches happened in 1844, I want to start with the clear truth in God’s  Word in order to demonstrate the overall, and frequent teaching about salvation and faith.  This is a foundational truth in Christianity, and anything that dismantles or confuses this is a different gospel as warned about in the book of Galatians.  Many of these verses are paired with instructions about holiness and good works, of which I am a huge supporter.  But a changed life must be understood as the fruit of true saving faith and the New Birth, not a prerequisite for atonement.

After the Scripture are a few quotations, of many, demonstrating the “Investigative Judgment”  teachings from the writings of Ellen White.  This doctrine in question is still firmly holding its place in the official Fundamental Beliefs of the SDA organization, and the books these quotations are derived from still highly promoted and defended.

The Good News

John 5:24  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.

Hebrews 1:3  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (past tense)

Hebrews  6:19  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 9:11-12  But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (past tense)

Hebrews 9:24-26 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (put away.. Greek word there means “cancelled” according to Strong’s)

Hebrews 10:12-14 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (past tense… see a pattern here??)

Hebrews 10:17-23  then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.  Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Romans 3:20-29  For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.  It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.  For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.  Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,  ( see the law implied as belonging only to the Jews?)

Romans 5:1,2  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Romans 10:9-11  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Galatians 2:16  yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 2:21  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Galatians 3:11  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Galaitans 3:24  So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 5:4  You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. (This is SERIOUS error!)

Ephesians 1:7-9 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ

1Peter 1:13  Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Titus 3:4-7  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Ephesians 2:5-9  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Rom 11:6  But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

CONTRAST TO THE FOLLOWING:

“This work of examination of the character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing work of the sanctuary above.  When the work of investigation shall be ended, when the cases of those who in all ages have professed  to be followers of Christ have been examined and decided, then , and not till them, probation will close, and the door of mercy will be shut…..  So when Christ entered the Holy of Holies to perform the closing work of the atonement, He ceased His ministration in the first apartment….  So Christ had only completed one part of His work as our intercessor, to enter upon another portion of the work, and He still pleaded His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners. ” Great Controversy p. 428, 429

“Every man’s work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness.  Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling.  Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel.

The Law of God is the standard by which the characters and lives of men will be tested in the judgment…

Those who in the judgment “accounted worthy” will have a part in the resurrection of the just.” GC p. 482

“All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their name in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life.” GC  p. 483

And what if we do not accept this claim to new truth?

“It is those who by faith follow Jesus in the great work of the atonement who receive the benefits of His mediation in their behalf, while those who reject the light which brings to view this work of ministration (i.e. investigative judgment) are not benefited thereby… (sins not blotted out)  …. The condition of the unbelieving Jews illustrates the condition of the careless and unbelieving among professed  Christians, who are willingly ignorant of the work of our merciful High Priest.” GC p. 430    (my comments in parentheses)

Blood of Sacrifice… Cleanse or Defile?

“As the sins of the people were anciently transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary by the blood of the sin-offering, so our sins are, in fact, transferred to the heavenly sanctuary by the blood of Christ. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. This necessitates an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of his atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigative Judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem his people; for when he comes, his reward is with him to give to every man according to his works. [REV. 22:12.]”            (The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume Four, page 266, paragraph 1.)

The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atonement; so in the type the blood of the sin offering removed the sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the Day of Atonement.

“In the great day of final award, the dead are to be ‘judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ Revelation 20:12. Then by virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or cleansed, from the record of sin. In the type, this great work of atonement, or blotting out of sins, was represented by the services of the Day of Atonement–the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary, which was accomplished by the removal, by virtue of the blood of the sin offering, of the sins by which it had been polluted.

“As in the final atonement the sins of the truly penitent are to be blotted from the records of heaven, no more to be remembered or come into mind, so in the type they were borne away into the wilderness, forever separated from the congregation.

Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands that Satan shall suffer the final punishment. Christ’s work for the redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear the final penalty. So in the typical service, the yearly round of ministration closed with the purification of the sanctuary, and the confessing of the sins on the head of the scapegoat.”   (Patriarchs and Prophets, page 357 paragraph 5-page 358 paragraph 2.)

Summary

Atonement has a completely different meaning in Adventism than evangelical theology – not completed at the cross, in process right now as we speak, doesn’t cancel sin, only transfers from earth to heaven and then to satan, and isn’t given unless the professed believer is first found worthy.  The final sin bearer is satan and not Christ.  Is this the gospel found in scripture?

If you have believed this I pray that as you read this your eyes are opened to see the beautiful simple truth of scripture.  It does not require complicated time lines and arguing over definitions of words.  It’s simple and it will set you free.  It is no small thing to change the Word of God and teach a lie.  We must repent and ask God to forgive us for not trusting His Word and precious promises to us through the Son.   It is not my wish that anyone I know be deceived and led to trust something other than Jesus Christ for their eternity.  Praise God, His work is complete, His forgiveness is total, and His promises are not revoked.   The Word teaches clearly that since the sacrifice of Jesus, all believers have the privilege to enter the Holy of Holies before the presence of God – boldly, in full assurance of faith.  If Jesus Himself could not enter until 1844, then we have not had access either and the Word of God is not true.

Above all, I challenge you to read the New Testament from beginning to end without any outside commentary or input, in deep prayer for God to reveal His truth to you.  If you truly want the truth, you will find it.

Note:  If you read an earlier version of this post I apologize for the overall tone and I have taken out some of the more personalizing statements.   I do not wish to come across as having this anger toward people, because I do love all the people involved.  I do however share Paul’s opinion of a “different gospel” .  Please forgive my failure to express that.

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