Christian Churches of God

No. 176

 

 

 

The Pre-Advent Judgment

(Edition 2.0 19960904-20000712)

 

Dr Samuele Bacchiocchi of Andrews University has recently done some research into the Holy Days and come to the conclusion that they have to be kept. This, of course, has always presented a problem for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, as the Atonement symbolism and the judgment of the elect have rested on a premise of Ellen G. White which is flawed. Sam Bacchiocchi is presented with the problem of making sense out of the Holy Days within his SDA cosmological view. This is extremely difficult for the reasons outlined in this paper. Judaism has a similar problem because it does not understand the Messianic advents and the formation of the Church. Thus their understanding of the judgment sequence is also flawed.

 

Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright © 1996, 2000  Wade Cox)

 

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The Pre-Advent Judgment

 


Dr Samuele Bacchiocchi of Andrews University has recently done some research into the Holy Days and come to the conclusion that they have to be kept. This, of course, has always presented a problem for the SDA church as the Atonement symbolism and the judgment of the elect has rested on a premise of Ellen G White which is flawed. Sam Bacchiocchi is presented with the problem of making sense out of the Holy Days within his SDA cosmological view. This is extremely difficult for the reasons outlined. Judaism has a similar problem because they do not understand the Messianic advents and the formation of the church. Thus, their understanding of the judgment sequence is also flawed. It is apparent that Sam Bacchiocchi is now faced with a problem regarding the pre-advent judgment. He has posed the following question:

The Question: Should our Seventh-day Adventist Church consider broadening the Day of Atonement typological base of the pre-Advent judgment by including the Feast of Trumpets?

 

Sam Bacchiocchi relies on the comments of Rabbi S. M. Lehrman that:

“The Bible which usually gives the reason for every observance does not do so in the case of Rosh Hashanah [New Year or Feast of Trumpets], deeming the spiritual well being of each individual too obvious to require comment. To subsequent teachers we owe the picture of a day of judgment on which all mortals pass before the Heavenly Throne to give an account of their deeds and to receive the promise of mercy.”

 

The comment regarding subsequent teachers is critical. The meaning of the feasts is found within the Bible. Rabbinical Judaism does not recognise the New Testament. Therein lies the problem. The second part of the problem is that of the Adventist understanding of the pre-advent judgment.

 

The Adventist understanding of the doctrine of the pre-advent judgment rests on an historical fiction. That fiction is that Christ entered the sanctuary in accordance with prophecy which determined the year 1844 as the time of the event.

 

This date was determined from a series of false premises.

 

The first false premise was that the Holy Roman Empire which prophetically occupied the span of 1,260 years, and the times, time and half a time in accordance with Revelation 12:6,14 (see Rev. 12:1-18), ended with the French Revolution. The Adventists under Miller and White held it began in 538 and ended in 1798 or such dates. This resulted in the Advent movement of 1842-44. They correctly reasoned that the Holy Roman Empire was the system of the Beast and the Whore. The Advent system did not fully understand either the duration of the neither empire nor what the mark of the beast represented. They made the following errors.

 

1. They decided that the Holy Roman Empire ended with the French Revolution. Some viewed the period as ending in 1798. E.G. White, among others, was of this school. They constructed a theology that held the two witnesses to be the Old Testament and the New Testament. They were trampled in the streets of Paris etc. The date of the advent was constructed around 1842. The dates were readjusted around Passover and then Atonement 1844. The advent did not materialise and it was left for the survivors, such as E.G. White, to make some sense out of this false prophecy.

 

Ellen White should have shelved the entire scenario and started again, looking for the error behind the logic. The error was simple. The Holy Roman Empire did not end in 1798 or even in 1814 as others in the Advent and Church of God movement stated. This other view was that Napoleon was the end of the Holy Roman Empire and they had to devise start points for this 1,260 year period. The beginning of the Holy Roman Empire was consequently fixed at various incorrect dates around Justinian’s restoration and from Busta Gallorum etc.

 

The problem was that Napoleon was not defeated until 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo and he was not part of the Holy Roman Empire. He in fact disbanded the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 and after his defeat in 1815 it was reconstituted as a German Confederation under Austrian Presidency.

 

The Empire lasted until 1850 when it was disbanded. The army was not finally disbanded until 1872. The last Inquisition was from 1823-1846 in the Papal States (see M. Martin, Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, p. 254). Thus, nothing could have happened until 1850. None of the American Adventists understood anything of this as they were ignorant of continental politics and took no part in the Napoleonic wars. There could have been no advent in 1844 as the Inquisition was still continuing and the 1,260 years had not been completed. The empire commenced in 590 CE from the declaration of Gregory I. The prophecy was thus a false prophecy.

 

2. Ellen White attempted to allegorise the false prophecy into a heavenly occupation of the Temple. She then, quite incorrectly, claimed that Christ had entered the sanctuary in 1844 and that was the event that had been predicted. The Advent movement, by this reasoning, was not wrong; it had merely misinterpreted the event. This failure to deal with error thus crippled the message of the last days for half a century. Christ entered the sanctuary on his ascent. Hebrews 8:1-2 shows that Christ sits as High Priest and minister of the sanctuary of the true Tabernacle. This was so in the first century so that the elect could be reconciled to God. This event happened on Sunday 18 Nisan or 9 April 30 AD (see the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159)). Hebrews 9:12 shows that he had already entered in once and once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption for all. This was the view of the entire early church for almost nineteen centuries. If Christ did not enter the sanctuary until 1844, then the martyrs and saints of the early eras are dead in vain. This view of the 1844 entry to the sanctuary was absurd and heretical but is classic cult psychology, i.e. rationalise rather than admit error. The view thus prevailed, unchallenged, in a sector of the church.

 

3. The 1844 scenario failed to take into account another prophecy which was not then understood. This prophecy showed that the advent could not occur for another 190 odd years. That prophecy was misunderstood by Russell and the Jehovah’s Witnesses and proved their undoing also regarding 1914 in prophecy. The prophecy relates to the fall of Egypt and the Time of the Gentiles (see the papers The Fall of Egypt (No. 36): the Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms). This prophecy has seen the entire Egyptian Coptic Church seek reunion with Rome from 1996 after being apart since 451 CE.

 

The pre-advent judgment started from the conversion of the church at Pentecost 30 CE. The judgment of this world commenced from the first advent, not the second (Jn. 12:31).

 

The church comes under judgment from baptism. For the time has come that judgment begins with the household of God and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1Pet. 1:17). Judgment had already begun at the household of God in the first century CE before Peter wrote.

 

In that way we were all predestined, chosen, called, justified and hence glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). Christ qualified. Satan is already judged. Our time of judgment is now. The world will be judged at the Last Great Day.

 

The Feasts of Trumpets and Atonement do not typify judgment. They typify intervention and reconciliation. The Trumpets represent the shout of the coming of Messiah and the fall of the kingdoms of this world. There are two trumpets (Num. 10:1). This event was prophesied not only in Revelation but also in Joshua at Jericho (see the paper The Fall of Jericho (No. 142)) and in Esther (see the paper Commentary on Esther (No. 63)).

 

Atonement has a duality in the sanctification process. The first type is as the Priest Messiah represented by the linen attire. The second type is as the King Messiah typified by the royal raiment of the High Priest. The Azazel goat represents the binding of Satan so that this rule of King Messiah can take place. That is why the sequence is as it is in Leviticus 16:1-34.

 

The symbolism was clearly understood to represent two Messiahs, the Messiah of Aaron and the Messiah of Israel and that these two were the one Messiah. This was understood from before the time of Christ and the understanding is recorded in the DSS at Damascus Rule VII and the fragment from cave IV (see Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English for explanation).

 

The meaning is that the Priest Messiah atoned for and reconciled Israel from the crucifixion, resurrection and advent.

 

Our judgment is now. The Corinthian fornicator was handed to the adversary so that his life might be saved on the last day (1Cor. 5:5). He appears to have repented and was restored to the church. The world is not judged now. It is judged after the Millennium at the Last Great Day which represents the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11 ff. That is why the Last Great Day is a feast in its own right. It represents the preparation for the coming of the city of God to the world after the millennial reign of Christ as King Messiah with the saints for one thousand years. The second resurrection is a resurrection to judgment or decision from a tribunal, i.e. correction (krisis), and not to damnation as the KJV has it (Jn. 5:29). The view that the rest of the world is damned is a gross imputation against the nature of God (see the paper The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143)).

 

Ellen G White adopted the view of Jerome regarding the heavenly Millennium which had been rejected by the Sabbath-keeping churches for seventeen centuries as heresy. She did this because she could not make sense out of the structure around this 1844 prophetic failure. Instead of abandoning this error, Adventism has been crippled by it ever since. Her Scriptural errors regarding the Millennium are very serious. That is the subject of a separate paper.

 

New wine cannot be put in old or faulty skins. Proverbs 16:3 says that if we give our ways to the Lord then he will establish our thoughts. It is not the reverse process. When God has opened our eyes to the feasts, we have to keep the feasts and we will then progress in understanding.

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