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Friday: Further Thought ~ The Hour of His Judgment — 23 Comments

  1. The good news is that always God has made every provision for salvation. That indeed is wonderful news; He is not willing that any should perish.

    However, I'm not so sure it's all good news; rather, it is desperately urgent news to a world that is facing immanent destruction.

    In Noah's day, the good news was that God inspired Noah to build the ark of safety. The urgent news was calling people to enter the ark. The bad news, all the scoffing, intellectual arguments, and even religious arguments on the character of God, created universal doubting as to the urgency of the message and overrode God's message. Multitude thousands drowned.

    The ending of the 490 years. The 490 years gave the good news that Israel had a second chance to prepare for the coming of the Messiah and become the center of the good news of the Gospel to the world. What do we learn from this and how does it relate to our time? The good news is that Christ came, bringing salvation.

    The urgent news:
    John the Baptist came preaching:
    "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". Matt 3:2
    Israel was just years away from coming destruction.
    The appeal to worship God and fully accept His covenant and salvation was powerfully preached to them for seven years, by John the Baptist, by Jesus Christ the Creator Himself walking among them, by the apostles heralding His resurrection. Jesus wept over Jerusalem -- if only they would know the things that make for their peace, but it's hidden from their eyes (Luke 19:41-42)

    The Majesty of Heaven in tears! the Son of the Infinite God troubled in spirit, bowed down with anguish...O that thou, a nation favored above every other, had known the time of thy visitation, and the things that belong unto thy peace! I have stayed the angel of justice, I have called thee to repentance, but in vain. It is not merely servants, delegates, and prophets, whom thou hast refused and rejected, but the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer. If thou art destroyed, thou alone art responsible. "You will not come to me, that you might have life."?? [see John 5:40.] Great Controversy, pages 21 and 22

    The destruction came, terrible and totally unnecessary. If they would have listened and responded to the urgent message for their time...

    The three angels' message
    The whole world is facing destruction. The good news is that Jesus has made a wonderful way of escape. The judgment declares the saints, who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus, will enjoy everlasting life with Jesus! (Rev.14:12; Luke 11:28, Dan 7:27) This character change must come from an inner transformation by the power and grace of God, not just outward compliance.

    The message:
    Invite Christ into your life (Rev.3:20)
    Accept His rebukes and gifts (Rev.3:18,19)
    Repent, hold fast, watch (Rev.3:3; 3:19; 2:16)
    The dragon, beast, image, false prophet, seek to deceive and hold you in their power, till it is too late.
    Overcome, (repeated seven times in messages to the churches)

    Jesus, looking down to the last generation, saw the world involved in a deception similar to that which caused the destruction of Jerusalem. The great sin of the Jews was their rejection of Christ; the great sin of the Christian world would be their rejection of the law of God, the foundation of his government in Heaven and earth. The precepts of Jehovah would be despised and set at naught. GC 22.2

    The Jewish people claimed they were OK, for Abraham was their father. Can people be doing the same saying "We are Christ's; we don't have to change anything; we are Abraham's seed and heirs." (Galatians 3:29 John 8:33,39)

    It's a life and death message that is to go out into all the world. Yes, the good news is Christ offers life abundant and free, yet multitudes don't like the conditions and seek other answers.

  2. The valuegenesis study carried out in the early 90s in Australia among Seventh-day Adventist youth asked for responses on a number of statements on faith. In response to the statement, "The investigative judgment takes place in heaven before Jesus returns", 43% strongly believed but 37% did not know.

    There were 10 statements on Seventh-day Adventists' distinctive doctrines and this was by far the least understood. Another doctrine that was poorly understood according to the survey was the fate of the wicked. (strongly agree 62%, don't know 21%)

    As I recall, this survey was done among Seventh-day Adventist senior high school and university students. I don't know of a more recent study, but I would expect that a survey today would reveal somewhat similar responses.

    I will leave the readers to draw their own conclusions from these statistics, but will add that simply shouting louder what we believe is not going to work.

    • This is indeed a solemn thought, Maurice. From your perspective, what is it that the church should be doing to address this problem that it is not?

      • Issues like this take a lot of time to resolve and I do not have an answer that can be meaningfully condensed into one or two paragraphs. My experience with a lot of young people is that our arguments are too cerebral and it takes a lot to get one's head around all the maths, dates, and symbolism. They get the idea that Christ has died for them, that he intercedes for us and that there is a decision process to decide the saved and lost, but they regard that the timeframe is too complicated.

        I am currently reading about William Miller's calculations. Did you know that he had about 15 methods for calculating the date of 1843/4. I think that ultimately, he became so consumed with the date calculations that he could not look beyond them to the message.

        The takeaway lesson that received from this reading is that ultimately we need to put these things into perspective. And in that respect, I think that some of our young people have got the perspective right and I am loath to condemn them. I think of so many of my friends who have left not only the church but their faith over the years, not because they were shaken out but were pushed on this very topic.

        • "I think that ultimately, he became so consumed with the date calculations that he could not look beyond them to the message."

          It seems that Miller's contemporaries, who attended his lectures, thought otherwise. Many responded by giving their hearts to Jesus.

          To me, Maurice, salvation from sin is a really big deal! Our situation, since the fall of man, is awfully helpless and hopeless. The gospel brings relief from that, but I doubt that even God can save us, unless we show more than a bit of interest. I reckon that those young people, who find the "maths, dates, and symbolism" too complicated, could easily master much more in pursuit of a career.

          As I see it, the religion of Christ needs to be our whole life, not just some "feel good" pastime requiring no effort on our part. Just look at what Heaven has put into our salvation!

        • Hi Maurice – if not through the timeline, I am certain that the younger generation can grasp the truthfulness of needing to wait patiently for entering the kingdom of God as it is conveyed through the parable of the 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom – Matt.25:1-13. As I experienced it, knowing about 1844 makes waiting and ‘being ready’ more personal by bringing it closer through connecting it to our time. Actually, it was exciting to discover these connections established through prophecy.

          If understanding the timeline is too complex, then Jesus talking in Matt.24:3-31 about the end of the age and signs associated with the end, might just be too traumatic. Don’t you think that the severity or shock as one discovers the Truth is better than the bliss of ignorance? I would make an extra effort to bring the Truth represented in Daniel's prophecy through the timeline to anyone’s attention. It is not just a SDA thing, it is needful to know for anyone who cares to know that the time we are living in is the end of time. Rev.22:1-14.

    • Something that I relate to, Maurice, is your interest in how the gospel message is presented to nonbelievers and young people. I can share a quick bit of my own experience and pray it is helpful for reference.

      I was a cradle Seventh-day Adventist, and in a very active Adventist family. By "active" I mean, my Dad was a pastor for a time, my Mom led Sabbath School regularly and also preached from time to time, and as my older brother entered his 20's he also preached regularly; in fact our family was on a preaching circuit, often leading at several churches on a Sabbath. We also led musically with instruments and voice. I went to a 12-year Adventist school, with Bible classes every year. On top of all this, my Mom and brother also eventually had Sunday music jobs - organ and choir director - so our family often went to church both days. My Dad also held regular Bible studies and was a colporteur of Seventh-day Adventist materials. We had regular family worship, stayed the week at camp meeting, and I was a sincere youth and enjoyed Bible study.

      With all that said, I'm pretty sure that this lesson quarterly is the first time I've really immersed myself in the Sanctuary message. (Which is why my posts this week have been pretty lengthy - this study is an exciting understanding of the gospel for me.) I heard words like "sanctuary message" and "investigative judgment" and "sanctification" and so forth growing up, but applying it to what that means for me didn't happen.

      With all that "churchiness" that I grew up in, and including seeing my Mom kneeling in prayer for private worship, I would say my family's angle was more on self (dress, what people thought of us, performing music) and the pride of knowledge (getting A's in school and degrees, adding to a library of books and educating ourselves on world religions and random trivia, pursuing encyclopedic knowledge of all kinds) and fears and anxieties about the future or possible dangers (my grandmother's side came from a history of spiritualism and ghostly visitations), than on seeking Jesus first every minute of the day and applying our faith. I'm sharing that without any grudges or criticisms against my precious parents or the other adults who gave me what they had and who placed me in an environment to hear the gospel and meet Jesus. I am so grateful to God for them.

      I just think it is actually humility that allows the gospel message through. Not simplifying the message. In church, I often wrote my own sermons while the preacher was sharing because I thought the ones I was listening to were not as good as what I could say (being honest here...and praise God, He is teaching me the joy of listening to what He is saying to others). In college I thought I was smarter and more relaxed and people-loving than what I had learned in my sheltered upbringing, that I somehow needed to marry the Bible with evolution and worldly philosophies to be more "open-minded" and not become "conceited" about having the truth. (One of Satan's cleverest lies, I think, for those of us who have received truth...is to make us shy from it so as not to appear superior and to fit in. My boyfriend at that time in college kept saying to me, "What you believe is just that, what YOU believe. There is no objective truth.")

      What we can share with our kids in Bible classes and in worships is the truth that the Bible is reliable and Prov. 3:5-7 is wisdom. We can model what the Sanctuary message means for us... the sincerity and actual joy of dedicating a life to God and His Holiness. This week, I am inspired that God wanted Daniel to understand something that was to happen SOOO far in the future (Dan. 8:16). Daniel was a youth, maybe a teen even, when God started revealing Himself to him through prophecy. It was not too much for Daniel. He had developed a habit of obedience to God's Law (thinking of his refusal of the king's diet), his heart was with God (he always gave God credit and he trusted him in the most frightening circumstances), and he had a discipline of praying to God throughout the day (Dan. 6:10; 9:2-4). Speaking God's Word (1 Cor. 14:3), so that we know God in the completeness of what He has revealed to us, brings life eternal (John 17:3). Jesus tells us the purpose of prophecy (John 14:29). We see Bible story examples of how knowing the future helped them to be ready ... eg. Egypt was able to prepare for the 7 years of famine by trusting the prophecy and storing up food during the 7 years of plenty...another object lesson for us that now is the time to store up spiritual food for the spiritually lean time coming.

      So this is my testimony, as one who left the Adventist church for 30 years and has come back with a desire to know Jesus/God better, for me the Sanctuary message is a beautiful object lesson that flushes out the height and depth and width of what God is doing for us to free us from sin forever and restore communion with Him. I still have more to understand, but the fact that the earthly model was designed after the heavenly according to the Book of Hebrews lets me know that this core Seventh-day Adventist doctrine is at least on the track of truth and important for me to keep studying. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and thoughts, Maurice! We are blessed to hear.

      • Esther; welcome back. Like you I was gone from the church for many years… If you want to really understand the sanctuary service, you must couple it with the feasts. These seven feasts start at the Laver, the great wash basin, and run right through it. This will give you a good jump toward understanding the importance of each step in the sanctuary/feast rituals.

        Your brother, trying to stay in Christ…Royce

        • Thank you so much, brother Royce! What a blessing that God has created us in His image to be able to understand Him ever better.

      • Thank you for taking the time to tell your experiences, Esther. My experience is similar but different, I grew up as a 4th generation Seventh-day Adventist, went to Avondale College, taught in Church high schools for 16 years, and spent the rest of my life lecturing at Avondale College (Now Avondale University), I have experienced at first hand many of the church conflicts. Today I read analytical church history books about that period written by people I know about people I have worked with. Some of it is very hard to read. When we discuss issues here on Sabbath School Net they are often not just doctrinal issues but deeply personal issues as well. Sometimes I have to remain silent because readers will know who I am talking about and why.

        Something that I have learned from this experience is that the Gospel does not live in a vacuum. It lives in the hearts and minds of flawed people just like me, who struggle to come to terms with our understanding of things. That goes far beyond conformity to a church prescribed set of fundamentals. It has made me much more tolerant of those who think outside the box, yet retain their faith in Jesus. That is why you will often hear me quote, "By this shall all men know ..."

        • Thank you for sharing more of your experience, Maurice. It’s such a beautiful characteristic of God that He doesn’t require conformity from us, but invites us to bring our questions and doubts to Him ….asking us only to trust His Word even when it rubs against our natural analysis. I’m sure that if Eve had trusted God and sought to understand Him better in a childlike spirit, He would’ve over time made it more and more clear to her why she needed to stay away from that tree. Don’t you think sometimes it’s almost as though God holds back details as a test, and then as we continue to seek Him with a pure desire to worship and obey, He gives us the understanding?

          Yes, Satan works hard to whip up conflicts within the Church! I’m honestly grateful that we can rest in the promise that as we individually and corporately bury ourselves in prayer and study, resisting Satan’s spirit of pride and accepting Jesus’ humility, the evil spirit of dissension will flee from amongst us. 🙏

    • I think some people are making attempts to present these ideas in new ways. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to mention names here, but Marcos Torres' Bible study "The Road" approaches these dates in a fresh, new way that I think has a better chance of making sense to the unchurched and our youth who are looking for a new perspective on old teachings.

    • I am writing this on Sabbath afternoon because I want to tell you what happened to me this morning. I was sitting in my pew before the service began when I noticed that sitting quite close to me was one of the retired theology lecturers that I know quite well. I went across to exchange greetings and then a whole lot of memories came flooding back. I had done a lot of work for him in 2012 on a value-genesis survey. I had actually formatted the survey so that it could be scanned through a page-feeding scanner. I had forgotten all this as it happened just as I was retiring and apart from the technical side of getting it working, I had not seen the reports generated from the survey.
      I asked my friend and former colleague what the results were like compared to the 1992 survey, particularly on the questions on the Investigative Judgment. He told me that they were way worse than the 1992 survey, but on the other hand, the responses on the gospel questions were way up.

      Then they started the song service and that ended the conversation. My singing voice is something that people call me blessed when I don't sing so I had a bit of time to think. I, first of all, thought that we were on the slippery slope of losing our identity and purpose then I had a bit of a brainwave.

      For some reason, I thought of John the Baptist. Remember, John's disciples came to him with the observation that people were going to Jesus rather than him. John's reply is poignant:

      John replied, “God in heaven appoints each man’s work. My work is to prepare the way for that man so that everyone will go to him. You yourselves know how plainly I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am here to prepare the way for him—that is all. The crowds will naturally go to the main attraction—the bride will go where the bridegroom is! A bridegroom’s friends rejoice with him. I am the Bridegroom’s friend, and I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:27:30 TLB

      I thought about those disappointing statistics again and I wondered if the 1844/time prophecies/investigative judgment thing has in fact, done what it is supposed to do; bring people to Jesus? Maybe it is time for its importance to decrease and the centrality of Jesus to increase.

      And I looked into the faces of the young people as they sang their Gospel songs and gave their sincere testimonies about the love of Jesus and I thought, "God's message is in safe hands!"

      • "Maybe it is time for its importance to decrease and the centrality of Jesus to increase."

        Perhaps this is correct, the way we've been teaching it. Had we made Jesus central to our teaching all along, including in our teaching of 1844 and the investigative judgment, maybe this need not have happened. In other words, it seems to me that, while the sanctuary doctrine is indeed central to our identity as a people, arguably we have never even understood what it was all about. It's all about Jesus. It always was, or should have been.

  3. Maurice, indeed there are persons for whom the plain and simple gospel that Jesus loves us and died in our stead will be enough to accept Christ. However, to understand what distinguishes us as SDA, some require a 'cerebral' presentation of our doctrinal beliefs and the substantiation of this fulfillment of prophecy in Daniel with attending calculation of dates is important. While we must present the Three Angels' Messages for all to understand, some need more details to accept it. God will grant understanding to those who desire.

  4. Addressing the last questions: 'What is the relationship between what is happening here [Day of Atonement], and what it should mean for us today'?

    My throughts are, because both sanctuaries – His Presence/abode/seat of God’s Power and Authority – require holiness and need to be cleansed of anything ‘disturbing’ this state of Holiness. God chose to place His Presence with His people Israel in the Holy of Holies; Jesus now cleanses the Holy of Holies in heaven - Heb.9:23-24.

    ‘We know that we do not fight against flesh and blood when being tempted into sin by the devil’s schemes; we struggle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ - Eph.6:12.
    Therefore, I believe that which the Sanctuary on earth has been cleansed of, and the sanctuary in heaven is now beeing cleansed of is the spiritual distortion/residue/defilement caused by any act of sin by the people of God. His Presence represents/reflects/is God’s Holiness, and no one and nothing is allowed which brings any defilement into the parameters of His Presence - His Seat of Holiness. Heb.9:23-24.

    Therefore, the consequences for those who do not ‘make atonement for themselves before God’ is severe; “for any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from this people."
    This warning has echoed throughout time as the clarion call to all who are under the voice of the Holy Spirit – “repent [change your inner self – your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt.3:2 AMP; Matt.24:24.

  5. The problem as I see it, is that so much confusion has been added to something that really isn't that complex, that people just shrug it off as not real truth.

    When the teachers and or parents aren't committed to a belief, and add a lot of doubts, the students (unless previously grounded) probably will not bother to learn it.

    As to the math? It's really just simple grade 3 (at the most) math.
    It's not algebra, or calculus or anything advanced like that.
    It's like: In what year did Robert die? He was born in 1906, he got married in 1927, had a son in 1931, immigrated to America in 1934, and died at the age of 85.
    In what year did he die?
    If one needs the answer to get some legal government paper work, they will figure it out!!!!

    Grade three students can do math like that.

    Has our education system failed so badly in teaching math, that our young people can no longer do simple math, or figure out simple problems?

    Well, I've worked for Sylvan learning center where kids come who never learned math in school. It's sadly true, a lot of kids these days can not do simple adding or subtracting without a calculator! But that's the failure of the school system. A lot of these kids quickly picked up the ability to do math, when someone just took the time to teach with hands on materials the simple process.

    The same with this prophecy.
    It's easy to teach if one believes it.
    Simple and straight forward.

    God restored Israel after their captivity giving them 490 more years.
    Christ came seven years before the end of that time. He lived, died, rose again.
    As a nation the Jews tried to stamp out the gospel with persecution thus the 490 years ended in tragedy.

    The gospel was taken to the world. 2300 - 490 (get out your calculator if you can't do it otherwise) means there is still 1810 years left. So something important happens when those 1810 years are history.

    We are living in 2023? That number is bigger than 1810! That means those 1810 years ended some time ago. When? Get out the calculator again. Even without the calculator, a person should realize they ended sometime in the 1800's. The message is clear -- we are living in the very end of time!!!

    Heaven is wrapping up the records, and finalizing who is saved and who chose sin over being freed from sin.

    A precise focus on the dates aren't even the most important. They show us where we are in time, but like a map, if a person can't add up all the mile posts on the journey but see they have passed all the towns on the map, they know they are on the right road and are almost at the end of the trip.

    The reason this subject is very difficult to teach isn't because it is so difficult, it's because a lot of doubts and outright resistance, and "don't really see it's importance", or "it was just a big cover up to hide a mistake", gets embedded in the teaching thereof. A person can hardly talk about this subject in an unmoderated group without being heckled by doubters and scoffers.

    A salesman knows, if he really believes in his product, it sells a whole lot better, than if he's trying to sell a product he doesn't really believe in.

    If we want this message to go out, we must first believe in it ourselves and sense the urgency in which God gave it.

    • "When the teachers and or parents aren't committed to a belief, and add a lot of doubts, the students (unless previously grounded) probably will not bother to learn it."

      Hi, Ulrike. As we've been studying and discussing these lessons, I've noticed something about the doctrine of 1844 and the investigative judgment. If we really understand and accept what it's saying, that will totally destroy and annihilate any hope that we may have thought we had in ourselves. It has to be all about Jesus, His blood and righteousness.

      Therefore, this doctrine will be anathema to those who are cherishing self-righteousness, even unconsciously. Between that, and the likelihood that this doctrine may have often been presented in a self-righteous or conceited way -- making it seem unacceptable (or at least unimportant) to some whose focus is on the gospel -- it's no wonder that this doctrine receives a lot of opposition at worst, and ambivalence at best. That's too bad, because it's all about what Jesus is doing now, for us, for the human race, and for the entire universe.

      As it has been said: When I look at myself, I don't see how I can be saved. But when I look at Jesus, I don't see how I can be lost.

  6. The most crucial part of all this Judgment that is going on right now in Heaven is a fact that was consummated a long time ago, our essential and only way out, the proof which can free us from guilt, from the ultimate consequence of our actions, from eternal death because God Himself gave us this chance out of Love! The keen fact of this scenario is what we already know will take us back to freedom and is something none can do! It was given as a gift from God! He granted us a safe pass ahead of the sentence; what a Father! I don't have to fear the Heavenly Judgment because God's most precious Grace was given to us in total, nailed on the cross!

  7. Totally agree, R. G. White. As one whose career it now is to work with young people, the thought is always foremost: The task at hand, be they five or thirty-five, is to promote a personal encounter with Jesus.

    How shall I escape ...? Hebrews 2:3.
    Praising God for the work of the gospel through the Holy Spirit, which has guided us throughout history, to the fulfilment of Scriptural prophecy! Praising God for His advanced provision of, "a great salvation!"
    Beholding the Lamb, through the Sanctuary service, reflects the eternal value of the good news of the judgement.
    The enemy's subliminal tactics for our destruction, is already matched/outdone by God's plan for our eternal salvation.

    Do we acknowledge and accept our Redeemer's atoning sacrifice? Then,... Praise God! We have nothing to fear!

  8. Maintain till Christ comes is not just about monetary maintence, it is also about our continuing a relationship with Christ until He comes in the air and then with all splendor and glory wisks us off on a seven day journey(~24 light years away), to beyond the Orion, or in the mist of the Orion to spend 1 thousand years in Heaven, after making a soft landing on the sea of glass, and partaking in a banquet prepared for us where our Saviour has been holding off to partake in grape juice until He shares with us a banquet table with a length farther then the eye can see.

    "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
    Matthew 26:29 NKJV.

    So it is our privilege to continue to spread the good news of the gospel. And the judgement, that we are in the midst of now, starting in 1844. The math. 2300-490 = 1810. 1810 + 34 = 1844. 🙏 we continue or maintain till He comes. Let us watch and be ready, for we know not the hour.

  9. I heard 3ABN radio's Sabbath School Panel broadcast yesterday afternoon. (It's on YouTube). one of 3ABN's pastors, Pastor Ryan Day, commented that the Seventh Day Adventist church is the only denomination that teaches the 70 weeks prophecy. (Others go only up to the 69 weeks or 69-1/2 weeks and assign the rest of the prophecy to the end time). He became a Seventh Day Adventist Christian when he discovered the truths contained in this prophecy. Praise the Lord! How many others have? Probably we will know when we meet in Heaven.

    Esther, I have to share with you that I left the church for 30 years as well. Romans 5:8 kept coming to my mind. From where? I can only say the Holy Spirit was speaking to me, preparing and inviting me to study His word! A song "When He was on the cross, I was on His mind" caused me to weep when I heard it. What a blessing it has been.

  10. Thank you for sharing, Tom. That’s interesting that a Bible text kept coming to you, because it did for me too! Mine was John 14:1-3…. “I go to prepare a place for you.” I often wondered why that text kept coming into my head, and why God needed to have time to prepare a place for me. It was only in studying this week that I heard a new beautiful interpretation as one additional angle… Someone said that God has gone to His High Priestly role in heaven to prepare the way for us there, through judgment, acquitting us before all the universes and heavenly hosts….and also to prepare a clean, sin-free place within our very own selves, His Father’s Temple or House, (I’m one of His many mansions!), so that where God is we may be also.

    Praise the Holy Spirit for preparing our hearts for God’s healing Word!


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