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Friday: Further Thought ~ The Bible and Prophecy — 16 Comments

  1. After a week of the refresher course, "Prophecy 101", what difference does it make. Are we better prepared for assessment or is it a case of SOS (Same Old Stuff)

    For Seventh-day Adventists, there is one lesson that is clear: We have run past the end of the numbers. There are no more numbers to count! When I send a Birthday greeting to some of my ageing friends who have a bit of a sense of humour, I give them the advice to keep counting. They know what I mean and often respond with their own challenge.

    But for us, in prophecy, we have quite simply run off the end. That is the challenge. We can review and refresh our view of prophecy as often as we like but the really relevant message for us is that we need to accept the challenge of doing our bit to share the gospel.

    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:18-20 NIV

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  2. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. Ps 48:14

    It is the end of our weekly lesson, we have learn so much, we have refreshed, we have relearn. But what do I now do with this knowledge? What is the purpose of knowledge?

    This world is in a huge mess. Chaos is all around us. From Pandemic, which brings its own problems, to wars, riots, hunger, etc. People you once trust now you not so sure. People are very uneasy and on the edge.
    So, how do we as SDA impact our homes (with unbelievers), work- if those are the oppressors, our communities. People not trusting people because of the color of their skin or ethnic background. Humans are looking for an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Humans said they are fed up with the same old things- forgiveness. The more they forgive, the more things get worse, the more people take them for granted and take advantage of them.

    Should we bypass all of these and just go and preach the straight message? Remember it is the straight message that will bring in the persecution. That message will anger many.
    People are been thought to look and wait for the church for guidance and direction. Then when members look to the church to say something and the church doesn’t say anything, then people feels the church has disappointed them and started looking elsewhere. People asked, is the church taking sides?

    Are we on fire for Christ in these times of uncertainties?

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  3. May God bless us all! For the time is near! Let's get ready to receive the Holy Spirit at last! Because the day of the final judgment is at hand! Let's purify ourselves and "hide" in Jesus, because He is our only safe port! God is infinitely more powerful than the dark forces! Let's be bold in Christ only, because our nature is sinful! LOVE can transform everything! And this is the LOVE of God for us!

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  4. Good day,I use to get the Sabbath School lessons daily in my email but I notice I haven't receive any since the quarter started could please activate it for me . Thanks.

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    • Sharon, I regret to have to say that the service we were using is no longer reliable, and there's little we can do to re-activate. But we're looking into alternatives. Please pray that we'll find a solution.

      (0)
  5. What do you believe?

    Protestants believe:
    Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
    Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
    Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
    Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
    Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.

    3 Main Views Protestants have of Salvation:
    Predestination – God elects who will be saved
    Free Will but OSAS – God offers us a choice but once saved always saved
    Free Will – God offers us a choice to accept His gift of eternal life, but we can still reject it after accepting it.

    2 Main Views of what happens after death:
    Go immediately to heaven if righteous
    Sleep in the grave until the resurrection at Jesus Coming

    God decides/judges/reveals who will receive Eternal Life.
    Peter: Act 10:42 MKJV And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained of God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.
    Paul: 2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ
    Jesus: Mat 7:21-23 MKJV Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. (22) Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? (23) And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!
    Paul: Act 17:30-31 Truly, then God overlooked the times of ignorance, now He strictly commands all men everywhere to repent, (31) because He has appointed a day in which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He appointed, having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead.
    Jesus: Rev 22:12 MKJV And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each according as his work is.

    Some are entirely at variance with the idea of God having to engage in a judgment process that would determine the faithful from the apostate, by virtue of His omniscience. However, such a judgment must necessarily take place. It is of no consequence if this judgment takes place in God’s mind, at death, in a judgment prior to the second coming, or in a judgement at or after the second coming, or even if the knowledge of the faithful and the apostate has eternally existed in God’s foreknowledge. These are nonessentials. The point is, God necessarily engages in a judgment process that separates the faithful from the apostate. The timing of this judgment is a separate issue.

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      • Hi Gary, yes the LORD offers to enter into His Everlasting Covenant with us - I will be your God, you will be My people and I will dwell with you - do we accept? I do!

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  6. I believe in the 5 ‘Solas’ and I believe the Pre-Advent Investigative Judgement is based on 3 solid Biblical Foundations:

    1) Arminian Soteriology - people who were once fully saved can still lose their salvation and God has to differentiate between those who remain in Christ and those who do not.
    2) Arminian Theodicy - given that created beings have free will, God must win them over rather than coerce them. Therefore, He holds open/public judgment so that all created beings can discern for themselves if God's judgments are fair.
    3) Soul Sleep - since people do not get their reward at death but at the second coming, the judgment does not need to take place until sometime just prior to Christ's coming.

    On these three points alone, the pre-advent investigative judgment stands securely, whether or not we can offer conclusive proof for which decree starts the seventy weeks, for the day-year principle or on the interpretation of any Hebrew or Greek words or anything else.

    In addition, as far as Jesus in the sanctuary in Hebrews, there is no need for Jesus to enter any particular room at any particular time. Our only concern is with the distinction between the daily ministry and the yearly ministry of the high priest. Heavenly architecture, or geography, is irrelevant. The symbolism of the Old Testament sanctuary was not intended to be taken as a 1:1 correlation with its antitype. To be an accurate correlation, the high priest would have had to double as the sacrifice as well. And, there should have been only one sacrifice, not many. The earthly priest was a sinful human and needed a veil to shield him from the Shekinah glory while Jesus was holy, undefiled, separate from sinners, and could sit at the right hand of the Father from the beginning. None of this in any way detracts from the validity of a pre-advent judgment firmly planted in Arminianism and Soul Sleep. And, given that the IJ is solid, the correlation with the Day of Atonement ministry is clear simply because the symbolism lines up so well.

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  7. I need to give credit to Mike Manea and his articles:
    Why the Critics of the Investigative Judgment Have Failed?
    https://thecompassmagazine.com/blog/why-the-critics-of-the-investigative-judgment-have-failed
    The Top 4 Arguments Against the Investigative Judgment (and How to Answer Them)
    https://thestorychurchproject.com/bloghost//2017/01/the-top-4-arguments-against.html

    I have used them extensively in the above posts.

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  8. What is the LORD doing about suffering? Does He understand what you or I am going through?
    He set a date and He is right now in the process of restoring His sanctuary and will put an end to evil and suffering very soon. How do I know? He gave us a prophecy that gives us a date.

    The book of Daniel, much like Revelation, is a book steeped in suffering. Not only has Israel been subjected to decades of social injustice due to its long lineage of self-absorbed governmental corruption, but it has now been conquered, ransacked and exiled by the beastly empire of Babylon. Chapter one introduces us to the aftermath of this agonizing subjugation followed by the Babylonian attempt at re-education - a method of brainwashing conquered
    subjects in order to override their national and religious allegiances.

    We do not know the agony of suffering Daniel is acquainted with so we don’t even recognise it happening all around him. We seldom, if ever, stop to analyse the loneliness, hopelessness and anger Daniel would have experienced. The deep searching questions, the trauma of being uprooted from his homeland, of losing his autonomy and familiar environment while being forcefully thrust into a pagan society. How many sleepless nights would he have experienced? What of the death of his loved ones? Or the agony of seeing his countrymen turn their backs on God even more in order to fit into Babylonian culture? Would that have induced anxiety? Disappointment? Confusion? But it’s not just experiences of suffering popping in and out of Daniel's story that I am referring to, but to the very real stream of suffering that he found himself in - a system in which the threat of death loomed daily and potentially accompanied by the post traumatic stress induced by the constant fear of what is to come.

    Take this individual reality and multiply it by millions of people, and you end up with the “beasts” of Daniel 7. They are beasts because human empire is nothing more than a collective self that is driven by the impulse of self, resulting in the perpetuation of suffering on a grander, more systemic scale.

    Suffering is the context of Daniel. It is the context of Revelation. Both were written in exile. Both were written far from home. Both were written with a longing to be home. Both were written by a displaced, ostracised and outcast people. A people suffering. A people facing political and literal extinction at nearly every turn - the Jews in Persia, the Christians in Rome. The visions are bathed and immersed in struggle, in agony, in pain. War tugs at each text, two kingdoms locked in a cosmic conflict over the souls of men. And the enemy of men and God tramples on His sanctuary with one objective - to separate man from God forever. To immerse us in terminal cancerous suffering and a hopeless nihilistic fate that would strangle our very will to exist.

    The visions of Daniel are a narrative of struggle between two kingdoms. The struggle is marked by collateral suffering. This suffering is the result of separation from God. Even heaven despairs with the question, “How long?” To which an answer is given: “there will be 2300 evenings and mornings and then the sanctuary will be restored.” (Daniel 8:14) The answer has many layers of depth to it, but if we stick to the first layer it simply means this: The separation Satan is working to induce will not succeed. The sanctuary will be restored. God will reverse the evil of empire.

    But the restoration of the sanctuary is a historical process, not a moment in time. This means that before Jesus returns, God is engaged in the process of restoring his connection and his gospel to all humanity. But a line was drawn in the sand and God declared, no more. And thus began the Investigative Judgement, as the beginning of the end of suffering. The tribunal for universal social justice convened on that day, and is soon to close. The judgment is here. Separation is being erased. Suffering is being erased. The gospel is not just a message of forgiveness and future hope for salvation. The gospel is a message of restoration to God’s original design. And this restoration involves the very annihilation of suffering. God is not simply introducing a new kingdom, he is reversing the effects of the old.
    In this sense, the IJ is not simply God reversing suffering but reversing the perpetuation of suffering. However, this does not take place through human legislation or political science as the social justice warriors and evangelicals of the day insist - rather it takes place through the gospel reversing the impulse of self in the human heart. In order for suffering to end, the human heart must be healed of the beastly drive toward self-promotion and returned to the heavenly design of selfless love.

    God engages in this process of reversal in heavens sanctuary by reversing the work of evil (perpetuated by the church, human empire and human impulse). All of the kingdoms and the false church are judged and will be eradicated. Individually all of us are invited to allow God, through his grace, to reverse the impulse of self within and replace it with the design of love.

    Ellen White expressed this angle of the IJ well when commenting on Jesus’ cleansing of the
    earthly temple. She writes,

    In cleansing the temple from the world’s buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His
    mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,—from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul.

    The above are extracts from Marcos Torres’ book – The Death and Rebirth of the Investigative Judgment
    © 2017 Marcos D. Torres available from https://thestorychurchproject.com/bloghost/

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    • In regard to the description of Daniel offered above, I have not found such a description of Daniel in scripture. Daniel was Godly, and displayed the character of one who was above being frightened or feeling sorry for himself. I believe Daniel knew why he was a captive while a son of Abraham. He knew God, meaning he knew the scriptures/law. Read Leviticus 26, as Daniel surely did. He entertained no doubts, and from all I've read, it seems clear that he experienced the "perfect peace" of those who's minds are "stayed on [God]". The reports of his flawless work in which no fault could be found is the result of confident trust in God and obedience to His "commandments, statutes and laws" as God had observed in the life of Abraham(Gen 26:5). Daniel knew of Jeremiah and his appeals to the king and people to submit to the king of Babylon, and understood the will of God and obeyed the prophet of the Lord. How could he have trusted in God as he did otherwise? He would have known of Habakkuk as well, and his message from God with its encouraging 3rd chapter.

      Read passages such as Psalm 4:8; 23:1-6, Proverbs 3:21-26; 14:26, Ezekiel 11:16, which help us realize what Daniel understood even as a youth.

      The Bible gives an unerring account of Daniel's faith and courage under severe circumstances. And where do we read in scripture of the death of his loved ones? God preserved those who trusted in Him, and Daniel's character suggests a home where God was truly worshiped and obeyed. We can only offer suppositions where the word of God is silent, while we can speak with assurance of what the Bible does reveal as Truth.

      As for the brain-washing, Daniel never lost his right to worship the LORD until Darius, and that was only for 30 days. Until king Belshazzar, religious tolerance was generally found in Babylon, another exception being the golden image that was quickly forgotten that same afternoon.

      Notice what we find concerning Daniel from the book "Education":

      "Unwavering in allegiance to God, unyielding in the mastery of himself, Daniel’s noble dignity and courteous deference won for him in his youth the “favor and tender love” of the heathen officer in whose charge he was. The same characteristics marked his life. Speedily he rose to the position of prime minister of the kingdom. Throughout the reign of successive monarchs, the downfall of the nation, and the establishment of a rival kingdom, such were his wisdom and statesmanship, so perfect his tact, his courtesy, and his genuine goodness of heart, combined with fidelity to principle, that even his enemies were forced to the confession that “they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful.” Daniel 6:4.

      I don't see such favor or advancement for any captive who is observed as angry, frightened, and hopeless.

      (1)
  9. Shirley - I read with interest your references to 'Arminian Soteriology'. Not familiar with the term, I googled it. Wikipedia gives an exellent, in-depth historical and theological definition and is worth reading by anyone not familiar with the philosophy of 'Arminianism'; here, I will just quote part of the definition:

    'Arminiamism' - Is a branch of Protestantism based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609) and his historic supporters known as Remonstrants.
    'Arminianism is a reclamation of early church theological consensus. ...and other groups prior to the Reformation have also confirmed that each person may choose the contingent response of either resisting God's Grace or yielding to it.

    The organized Seventh Days Adventist movement adopted teachings regarding Salvation from this branch of Protestantism.

    My personal understanding of Faith and 'judgement':
    Our Faith is a devine Gift from God. To 'enshrine' ones believes by turning them into the form of 'dogma' does the faithful great harm. Dogma limits one's faith-relationship with God and establishes another 'power' to which one claimes/establishes allegiance.
    Dogma can change because of 'new insight', which can happen through anyone at any time. One would then need to change ones 'believe' to remain 'faithful', or be called a 'heretic'. We know this happend at Jesus' time when Faith replaced established dogma.

    Faith, trust and believe are separate experiences.
    God asked me to believe in Him, to give Him my blind trust, and I either accept or reject His invitation. If I believe, my Faith will increase because God proves Himself to me to be trustworthy and my relationship continues by ever increasing my Faith.
    God gave the devine spark of Faith to me as His Gift to learn to recognize Him, because there is just no other way through which to communicate with us. We have to believe that He is first.

    We find that we gave this Faith to the only one that never changes, God our Creator. In Jesus is our Faith made to be the 'offering' that will save us. Jesus' faithful act (applied/experienced Faith) saved us. We trust that God's guiding Holy Spirit will continue to reveal Truth which guide us on the path to everlasting life.

    Being fore-known:
    Psalm 130:1-18 David describes his relationship with the God who made him and declares his Faith in Him. How strong is our trust in God through Faith? Increased trust strengthens Faith, Faith strengthens trust.

    God judges us by the degree of loyalty residing in our 'heart' - always has, always will. We find Him pleading with His People to show Him their hearts loyalty, not by the number of sin-offerings they gave Him.
    Psalm 51:12-17, v.16: For though desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offering. v.17: The sacrifices of God are a broken sprit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou will not despise.

    He grieved to find their hearts to be of 'stone' and promised to give all men a different heart, one which can recognize the Love He has for us. With this 'new heart' comes the ability 'to love Him with all our heart, mind and soul'.
    Matt.22:34-40. Individually manifested Faith is the 'work' by which we evidence that which we believe in.

    Luke 23:39-43 - Jesus recognized this 'heart of faith' in one of the condemned nailed to the cross beside Him. Only one gave evidence of his faith, the other man chided Jesus, telling Him v.39 - 'If thou be Christ, save thyself and us'.
    v.40 - 'But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

    Both had sinned and transgressed the law of men and God, but the one that had love for God in his heart was saved from eternal damnation.
    v.42 - 'and he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when though comest into thy kingdom'.
    This man believed in the Lord before Christ died on the cross, and he believed in God's Kingdom. This act of expressed Faith was accounted to him as righteousness at the moment of the confession of his Faith.

    Jesus' response confirmed and assured the sinner at that moment that he had been saved by God's Grace. The man might have heard Jesus preach and believed Him to be the Son of God.
    This sinner's Faith expressed his believe that the Son of God had the power to restore his life to him; that Jesus as the Son of God had the power to bring back to life those that are condemed by men to die and that they can live in the Kingdom of God!

    Yes, even the sinner being found by Jesus at the moment before the sinner's death will be saved if he accepts God's promise by Faith.
    God's Grace, God's recognition/acceptaince of the contrition of the sinner's heart and expressed through his Faith at that moment, is what bestowed the gift of eternal life to the sinner.

    v.43 - 'And Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee(,) today(,) thou shalt be with me in paradise'. It does not matter where the comma is placed - having access to the paradise now or later -, Jesus declared that the repentant sinner was safe and under His protection; that he was among those that would enjoy the promise of Paradies given to all who believe.

    Controversy arising from 'where to place the comma', is an expample of why we should rejecct ''faith' as established by dogma'. It showes us what dogma can do the simple Faith of the believer.

    The repentant sinner, nailed to the cross, did not go through the rigors of an 'investigative judgement' as discribed/prescribed by men to allow entrance into Heaven, nor do we. God KNOWS his children through the affiliation of their heart with Him. This affiliation, being fostered by Him, has started when He made us. Jer.1:5. It is now continued by us through applied faith.

    We come to recognize His presence in us when we listen to the still small voice urging us on to 'seek Him with all our heart, mind and spirit', the Holy Spirit guiding us closer and closer to find His revealed Truth.
    Luke 12:1-12 - speaks of the intimate knowledge of all creatures at any time, any place. v.7 - 'But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefor: ye are of more value than many sparrows'.
    v.1,2 - ..'Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
    You can see, matters pertaining to God are revealed to us individually through God's Holy Spirit - not taught through dogma!

    God is actively engaged in 'recording' anything related to man ever since the beginning of the time. It is build into the amazing fabric of His Creation. Nothing, no 'movement' on the fabric of His Creation, can escape His notice, because His 'Law' is perfect and administered by His Righteousness.

    All the believer needs to be concerned with is - to remain faithful in all circumstances. God will sort out the details as they come to light at the 'Judgement Seat of Christ' - Rom.14:10-13; 2.Cor.5:10;

    The 'Judgement Seat of Christ' does not determine our Salvation. We received many admonitions by the Apostles to walk circumspectly in our Faith: 1.John 2:1-6; John 3:16; Rom.8:1-4.

    We are saved through Faith in our God who gave us Jesus, His declared Son, our Savior. God declared the Salvation of men to have been sealed and assured by the act of Faith of His Son - John 19:28-30 - v.30 - ..'it is finished'.
    Rom.8:2 - 'For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death'.

    We continue to walk by Faith because our faithful, long-suffering and marvelous God who promised us deliverance from the power of death has fulfilled His promise.
    He gives this great and wonderful Gift of Faith unto Salvation to all who believe; it is needed until God calls us home.

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    • Bridgette, I am glad my comment encouraged you to do some research. I found the article by Marcos Torres on Why is Adventism Weird interesting as he explains the difference between Calvinism and Wesleyan/Arminianism beliefs and how Adventists took it a step further with the Sanctuary doctrine.

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      • Shirley - Thanks for the follow-up comments. Yes, I learned something I had no prior knowledge about. I hope as well that my comment inspired and strengthens your walk by Faith.

        Being an 'independent' believer, God lead me at this time to focus my faith-life on understanding and rightly interpreting the Scriptural message. Yes, there is always interest in gaining more insight by reading other's writings. Time limits these tempting excursions, though. 🙂
        Any Church history is a topic I am not familiar with. Outside of learning about Martin Luther's and other inspired 'Protestants'' efforts to separate from the Universal church to show that Faith in God reigns supreme, and attempting to comprehend the entrenchment of the all-permiating roots of 'Babylon' and its daughters in our society, time is spent applying my faith in various practical ways.
        Always asking God's blessings on the faithful when seeking guidance by His Holy Light !

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