Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, August 05, 2006

And Then There Is The Davidian View Of The IJ

At the Sabbath School Class I attended this Sabbath we were introduced to the comments of a Davidian, apparently a remnant of the Shepherd’s Rod movement. This presents an interesting take upon the whole quarter’s lesson. We can be pretty sure that at the end of this quarter Clifford Goldstein will have tried to explain the importance of 1844 and the Investigative Judgment. In general it will be that we the SDA church God’s remnant church represent the restoration of the sanctuary by our doctrines which reveal the true character or activities of Christ. Of course many study teachers have already indicated that it is our doctrines that are revealed in the 3 angel’s message of Revelation 14

The quarterly concludes the series of lessons with this:

Further Study:

Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, "God's Law Immutable," pp. 433-450.

Another important point about 1844 relates to the Adventist Church itself. As Adventists, our foundation was erected on the understanding that, while our spiritual forefathers, the Millerites, got the event wrong, they got the date, 1844, right. Thus, not just our heritage but the biblical foundation upon which our early pioneers worked stemmed from the 1844 foundation. Hence, it's important for us, as a people, to understand the biblical reasoning that leads to 1844. That we have grown since the early days in our understanding of this message is unmistakable; that we have a better grasp of what it means is unmistakable, as well. At the same time, however, by being firmly rooted in the biblical basis of 1844, we have the assurance that the prophetic foundation upon which our church was founded is, indeed, a foundation rooted in the Word of God itself. In short, it's important for us to be grounded in the 1844 teaching because it affirms the biblical basis upon which we, as a church, with our distinctive message, exist.

The last lesson study in the teachers edition lists its summary as:

Summary: The pre-Advent judgment, with the date 1844 and its teachings, is important for us because it affirms the biblical basis upon which we as a church, with our distinctive message, exist.

The lesson offers us the unique view of the Adventist church on Daniel and the several time prophecies of the Bible. The Adventist church is the only ones who see this meaning because it is the Adventist church that has been chosen and brought into existence to declare the teachings which are unique to the Adventist church. When you look at it that way it is no wonder no other Christians through history stumbled upon the Investigative Judgment.

The Davidian in Sabbath School today has taken this concept of Traditional SDA’s and their unique views and embraced it with meaning derived from other Old Testament books. After all if we can be so bold as to identify ourselves in the visions of Daniel and Revelation why not also of Ezekiel and Zechariah etc. The Davidian visitor told us of the importance that they see through Ellen White and the Bible within this framework of the Investigative Judgment. He pointed me to a website which expounds upon some of the comments he made in class. So rather then try to recount what he said I will mention some of his points by aid of the website messages.

The first thing is that there are two phases to the IJ. First is the judging of the dead out of the books in heaven. The second is extremely important as it has to do with the real Christians living at this time.

The Judgment as you know is in two separate and distinct sections, one following the other -- the Judgment for the dead first, and the Judgment for the living last. This we know is so and we must not let subversive influences, even if they be in Seventh-day Adventist's garb, cause us to lose sight of this truth. Our part of the Judgment message since 1844 has been, as you know, to proclaim the Judgment for the dead, not for the living as yet. What is the Judgment for the dead?—

We have been taught by Inspiration that it is to separate the good from the bad, not bodily, but in books, because before the resurrection, the dead have no being, or "portion" "in anything that is done under the sun." -- Eccl. 9:5, 6. This judgment work is to enable the angels to know who is to come up in the first resurrection, in the resurrection of the holy ones (Rev. 20:4, 5, 11-14), and who is to come up in the second resurrection, in the resurrection of the unholy ones. To this end declares Daniel "the Judgment was set, and the books were opened." (Dan. 7:10.)

Thus it is that Inspiration calls the judgment work, "the cleansing or the sanctuary" (Dan. 8:14); that is, each professor of religion that ever died since the beginning of sin, is now judged and the case of each decided either to bring him up in the first resurrection or in the second; either to blot out from the records the name of each impenitent sinner, or to blot out for ever from the Book the sins of each penitent sinner. This has been Heaven's work since the year 1844, and every informed Seventh-day Adventist knows it.

Now, since the message of the Judgment for the Living is of far greater importance than the message of the Judgment for the Dead, it is but expected that the Bible will have more to say about the latter than the former. This is so because the Judgment for the Living has to do with the living themselves, with the message bearers, rather than with the dead. In importance, therefore, there is no comparison between the two. How will we get the message of the Judgment for the Living?--

The answer is clear to all: We will get it in the same way we got the one in 1844. Since it then came through Inspiration and through God's own chosen instrumentality, it is certain that the additional message ("Early Writings," p. 277), too, is to come in the same way; that is, by inspiration through God's own chosen agency. Indeed Truth is never revealed in any other way but by Inspiration. See 2 Peter 1:20.

The writer goes on to say that one can have received the message of judgment of the dead and still miss the judgment of the living. As the writer is not too concise I will just use some of his phrases to bring in what the judgment of the living is about and then his concluding paragraphs on the subject. I will say first that this seems to me to be very similar to the Traditional Adventist views of yesteryear.

What is the Judgment for the Living? In His parables Christ illustrates that the righteous, as good fish, are put into vessels; as wheat, they are put into the barn; and as sheep, they go into life eternal -- they are placed in absolute security. sealed for eternity. Here we see that the judgment work for the living is illustrated in several ways, and is variously called: "Judgment; "Cleansing of the Sanctuary" "Purify His Temple" "Harvest" “Mighty sifting," "purification of the church," As shown before, in the Judgment for the Dead the sinners are separated from the righteous in books only, but in the Judgment for the Living the sinners and the righteous are bodily separated one from the other as Inspiration through the prophet Ezekiel explains: Eze. 9:3-6.

And through the prophet Malachi we are told that the Lord will beforehand send a messenger, and that after he prepares the way, the Lord will suddenly come to His temple (the church) for no reason other than to purify it, especially to purify the sons of Levi, the ministry. See Malachi 3:1-3. Then, says the Spirit of Prophecy, "Only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it [Third Angel's Message] when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry." -- "The Review and Herald," Nov. 19, 1908. And to this "startling revelation" ("Testimonies to Ministers," p. 445) the prophet Isaiah adds:

After quoting Isa. 66:15-20. the writer says:

Since the slaughter predicted by the prophet Isaiah takes place among those who profess to be sanctified and purified (falsely believe to have need of nothing more), and since those who escape from among them are sent to the Gentiles to preach the gospel, five distinct and supremely important points stand out plainly: (1) since the victims of the slaughter are those who against their God-given knowledge indulge in swine's flesh and other abominations, and since those who escape are versed in the gospel work enough to be sent to preach it to the Gentiles, the slaughter, therefore, is seen to take place in the church; (2) those who escape, according to Ezekiel, are those who sigh and cry against the abominations, and thus receive the mark of deliverance, (3) since they are sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles after they escape the slaughter, they are "the remnant," those that are left, the future servants of God; (4) since they are to gather from the Gentiles all their brethren, all that can possibly be saved, they are the ones who finish the gospel work in all the world, (5) since there are two separations -- one from the church (Israelites), and one from the Gentiles, -- those who escape and those who are gathered in -- then the former are the first fruits and the later the second fruits -- those of Revelation 7:4, 7-9, one from the tribes of Israel, and one from the Gentile nations.

From this the writer moves to their abused status by the leadership of the SDA church:

This is what the phrase "religious liberty" means, my friend. Is this not the proper, honest, and honorable way to deal with the situation? Are you to follow men's sayings, or are you to follow Christ and His Truth? Tell those hostile Elders that their fight is not against "The Shepherd's Rod" but against God and against their own souls…

We come to you with the pure Word of God and all we request of you is to give us an unbiased and unprejudiced hearing when we call on You in your home. Since you see that this letter contains the plain untarnished Truth, then if you hear any one talking against it you can help him by asking him to give you something better on these scriptures if he has it, and if not, to let you alone.

A fitting place for me to end, in that it asserts that if you don’t have something better to explain the confusing Old Testament Prophecies don’t give them a hard time. The Davidian’s have a very much Old Testament way to view God, something that the Christian church has moved away from in the last couple hundred years. But something you still find among the more Fundamentalist Christians who assert that God will judge America or that hurricanes and Earthquakes are judgments of God. See Abundant Rest Blog on Church Judgment

Perhaps we should remember that not all the ideas that the SDA church has produced lead to well balanced Christian beliefs.

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