The Gospel, 1844, and Judgment
As Adventists, many of our "unique" doctrines
are not, really, unique. After all, other Christians (not many,
admittedly) into greater focus. keep the seventh-day Sabbath, as well.
Though a majority of the Christian world believes in the
immortality of the soul, other Christians understand that the dead
sleep in the grave until the resurrection, either the first or second.
Various "Adventist" teachings, i.e., eternal destruction (as opposed to
eternal torment) or the nature of the millennium, can be found
elsewhere too. In fact, almost all our doctrines are scattered
Except one: the 1844 pre-Advent judgment.
For some, this fact is worrisome; Why
don't more Christians see it, as well? For others, the
uniqueness of the doctrine points even more powerfully to the special
calling of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It's precisely because no
one else teaches this judgment that we have been raised to do so. From
this doctrine, perhaps more than any other, our distinct identity as
Seventh-day Adventists arises.
This quarter we will study the 1844 pre-Advent
judgment. But not in isolation. As the title suggests, we're going to
look at the judgment in the context of the gospel, because judgment
without the gospel is like law without grace: It leads only to fear,
condemnation, and death. On the other hand, judgment with the gospel
(like law with grace) leads to faith, assurance, and hope.
Perhaps the clearest link between the gospel
and judgment is the first angel's message: "And I saw another angel fly
in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach. . . .
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour
of his judgment is come" (Rev. 14:6, 7). As far as
God is concerned, the "everlasting gospel" includes judgment; how
foolish for us to make it any less inclusive.
Our study this quarter will be divided into
various parts. First, we'll let Scripture fill in the background for
the judgment and the whole plan of salvation.
Next, in the bulk of the quarter, we'll
establish the biblical basis for the 1844 judgment, seeing for
ourselves just what a solid basis we have for this teaching, rooted in
the Cross. For those whose knowledge of the doctrine began and ended
with an evangelistic series, this study will help firmly ground you in
this key truth. For those who have already studied it in depth, this
quarter will reinforce what you already know and, perhaps, help you
understand it even better.
We'll then look at some questions the teaching
faces, using them as a vehicle to better grasp the biblical basis for
the pre-Advent judgment.
Most important, we'll look at the judgment in
the context of the gospel, of Christ's death in our behalf, with the
understanding that because of His death we can have assurance in the
judgment. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom.
8:1). No condemnation now, and especially in the judgment.
Finally, we seek to answer such questions as:
What does a judgment whose beginning was dated in the nineteenth
century mean for us in the twenty-first? 'What does it tell us about
ourselves, our church, and, most important, about the God who promises
to return and take us home?
In the end, a proper understanding of the 1844
judgment will bring out Christ's death for us in greater clarity and
depth, especially as we await the Second Coming. Perhaps that's why we,
as Seventh-day Adventists, have been called to preach it, because it
does bring the Cross into greater focus, and as we near the
consummation of all things, how important that the Cross be understood
with all possible clarity. Thus, more than wanting you to come away
from these lessons with a better understanding of charts, dates, and
numbers, we want you to come away with a greater understanding of
Jesus, of the Cross, and of His ministry in heaven for us. If so, then
our work together this quarter will have been—through the grace of
God—richly rewarded and more than worth the effort.
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of
Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a series of helps
to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related
scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James
Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.
The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing versions
RTF for our
MAC friends (this is now a zip file); and HTML
Last updated on June 2,
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Principal Contributors: Clifford R. Goldstein
Editor: Clifford R. Goldstein
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti
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Editorial Assistant: Larie S. Gray
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Concept Design: Dever Design
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