We continue once again with our comparisons of the Seventh Day Adventist beliefs and that of the Bible Students. This subject was introduced in response to a comment made by one of our forum members who suggested that there are a lot of “astonishing commonalities” between the teaching of the two groups in regards to Revelation.
As of yet we have not discussed that specific subject as we felt we should first compare some of basic beliefs and teachings of our Seventh Day Adventist friends and see if Bible Students shared similar beliefs. We will address the issue of Revelation when we have completed our look at some of these fundamental beliefs of Adventists.
Thus far we have covered their beliefs with regards to the Sabbath, the Trinity, (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit), Creation, the Church, the Divinity of Christ and the New Covenant.
Not many commonalities have been found between the teachings of the two as of yet, so let us move on to our next subject,
The Second Advent
Seventh Day Adventist state:
“The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Savior’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is near. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times.”
What Will the Second Coming Be Like?
“The Second Coming is not a secret for only the most educated, or a prize for the rich. It’s not metaphorical or symbolic, or only happening on a spiritual plane, as once believed by many Christian communities. It is and will be a literal event described in Scripture.”
First of all, we must disagree with the idea that Christians once believed that the second advent would be a figurative or symbolic event, the majority of believers have always believed in a literal return of our Lord.
Now there are a few (even amongst Bible Students) who believe that his return is not an actual physical return, but that it simply means that at the time appointed he would turn his attention toward the work at hand, that like the Father in heaven it is unnecessary for him to physically leave heaven in order to accomplish his work, that he can just as easily manage it from there. Now whereas we believe this last to be true nevertheless we believe the Scriptures speak of an actual physical return of our Lord.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may SEND the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:19-21)
“For the Lord himself WILL COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1Thess 4:16)
As for the idea that the Second Advent is not a secret, we would say it depends on which part of the Second Advent you speak. The Second Advent or Parousia (presence) of our Lord, the Day of the Lord, is not a single day event, but something which encompasses the whole millennial age.
Now there are three initial stages to it:
1) the initial presence or (“thief in the night”) stage,
2) the “Epiphania” (or bright shining) stage, and
3) the “Apokalupsis” (complete unveiling) stage.
The Apostles Paul referred to initial stage in 1 Thess 5:2-4 when he stated:
"THE DAY OF THE LORD so comes as a thief in the night.... But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."
This implies an initial secret or hidden appearance known only to a few.
Our Lord himself confirmed this when He declared that He was coming as a thief and that for a time only those awake and watching for the signs of His presence would be aware of it. (Rev 16:15)
LATER, during the “epiphaneia” stage (the "bright shining", as mentioned in 2 Thess 2:8) thinking people in the world and many of His own professed followers, still asleep (presently), will begin to perceive from the conditions around them that a power greater than that of any human arm has taken control of earth's affairs.
Later still, the “apokalupsis” (complete unveiling) stage will be reached, when the presence of the Lord will become known to all through the gathering CLOUDS of trouble, and thus every eye will eventually discern His presence.
We will continue with this in our next post.
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