There are many churches and sects and cults that have popped up over the years that have used the Bible to establish their authority and kingdom on the earth. Many of these groups warn of the destruction of the earth, and the evils of society. They argue that we should follow the God of the Bible and covenant to live holy Lives. They remind us of the soon return of Christ. All these points, we who are New Testament Christians can agree on, and therefore these churches become very attractive for those of us in the Faith. Yet for all this agreement, these groups are not under the New Covenant and what they offer in the end is man-made religion and counterfeit-Christianity.
There is great variety in these groups some heretical and others more orthodox; some are pure cults while others are Christians who are simply a little off. These groups include. Seventh day Adventist, The church of God (not the Pentecostal group) The United Church of God, The Worldwide Church of God, The Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Branch Davidians etc.
Typically we can trace the origins of these movements back to the movement of William Miller of the Millerites. Miller used the historicists system of Bible prophecy interpretation. HE predicted the end of the world repeated only to be proven wrong with every prediction. We also start to see a pattern with these particular groups. And so this article is written to address these corresponding issues.
I. Prophet or prophet? (Or maybe profit!)
1Co 14:32-33 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Many Adventists sects have a fascination with their leaders as Prophets. Most of the sects will claim a prophetic leader with visions of some sort.
Now I believe that the spiritual gifts are for today and that includes the gift of prophecy. Yet the Old Testament Office or administration of the Prophets ceased with the dawning of the New Testament and the ministry of John the Baptist. The New Covenant office or administration of Apostles ceased in the 1st century after the death of those who knew Christ.
Mat 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Act 1:21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Now it is true that we have people with the prophetic gift. There were also those considered messenger apostles (missionaries). These gifts still function yet no one has any authority to ad or take away from the written word of God.
Pro 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
Pro 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
II. Getting God right
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Exo 3:6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
Mat 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
1Jo 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Many of the Adventist sects had trouble accepting the doctrine of the trinity. Early seventh-day Adventist as well as Jehovah’s witnesses and others have tried to find other explanations for the Godhead. Yet these arguments are always brought up and they have been consistently refuted as these passages indicate.
III. Did He come yet? … Did He come yet? … Did He come yet?
Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
Mat 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
One key in interpreting Bible prophecy is that the attainment the date of the Second Coming is impossible. As we read this passage Christ not only makes it clear that no one will know the Second Coming, but that this will happen when the Second Coming is not expected.
Yet won’t the church always be expecting the 2nd Coming?
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ
If the Church has been taken up in the rapture, then this is all worked out. Many Adventist then rail against the pre-tribulation rapture because it gets in the way of this unbiblical historicism philosophy.
How do we know that end-times philosophies are contained in this tribulation period?
Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Dan 9:25-27 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Here we see that after the Messiah is cut off. (The cross) Jerusalem would be taken over. (72AD) Then after this the anti-Christ will make a covenant with the Jews in Israel for one week.(symbolizing sever years) In the middle of the tribulation period the Antichrist will take over and end the sacrificial system.
2Th 2:2-4 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
So the Second Coming will be after this tribulation period. Yet doesn’t that mean that we could calculate this tribulation period finding the 2nd coming of Christ? Yes, unless believers are taken up prior to the Second Coming. There is evidence of this because Jesus will be celebrating His marriage to the Bride(Church) before the second coming during the tribulation.
Luk 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
Believers are commanded to be ready and to have oil in their lamps(the Holy Spirit) because we do not know when the Christ will take us to the wedding.
Mat 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Here we see again the focus for the Christians is to be ready for Christ gathering and not on the oppression of the Antichrist. In fact, there several verses implying the escape from great tribulation wrath.
1Th 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Th 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
1Th 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
1Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Finally we see that the tribulation was made for the unbeliever not for the believer.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Th 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness
Therefore, the rapture has sealed the 2nd coming off from us. We need not speculate on this truth, but simply be ready for his soon return.
The 3 legs that uphold an Adventist cult:
Many cults have started as a result of the Millerite/Adventists movements these previous key issues are what supplies these cults with there stronghold. First, they raise up the leaders authority claiming their prophetic gifts. Then claim to have unique insight over other religious groups due to their strange style of interpreting the prophets. Finally they claim a heretical view of God asserting their authority over the very theology of the parishioners this makes the parishioner more depended upon the leaders of the church than upon God. At this point they demand separation from the world which leaves the congregation under the power of these cults. We must always be careful to maintain accountability in New Testament churches.
IV. Ya gotta have soul! … Where’s you spirit?
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2Co 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
2Co 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
2Co 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
2Co 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Most Adventists make the astounding claim that man does not have an immaterial spirit. This puts an awkward spin on their doctrine, leaving them with more secular a philosophy. It is probably a speculation based off of modern Jewish rabbis and in opposition to Greek philosophy. The most prominent passage they would use in support of this concept is found in the book of Ecclesiastes.
Ecc 9:4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ecc 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
Here the passage teaches the dead know nothing. However, is Solomon talking about the dead spirits or simply the corpse? Remember that Ecclesiastes is a wisdom book and the only Bible book dealing in philosophy. This genre strictly deals with observational knowledge. He could observe the inactivity of a corpse but he could not deal with the spiritual world since he has not experience that.
Ecc 3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Ecc 3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
Ecc 11:5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
Yet at the end of this book we see that indeed Solomon believes in a spirit which escapes the body.
Ecc 12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Ecc 12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Ecc 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
The scriptures are also clear we have a spirit and a soul.
1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
V. Who is your husband?…
Rom 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
Rom 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
Rom 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Rom 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
Rom 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
The majority of Adventists tend to see the law as a part of the gospel and thereby infusing good works with salvation. Here, we see in this passage that having fidelity to both covenants would be like trying to have fidelity to two husbands. They simply can not co-exist simultaneously.
Gal 2:16-3:3 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Here we see in the raw works of Paul the refutation of works based justification by faith plus works. In order to raise up works we have to decrease the work of Christ upon the cross.
VI. A Sabbath by any other day…
Mar 2:18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
Mar 2:19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
Mar 2:20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Mar 2:21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
Mar 2:22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
Mar 2:23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
Mar 2:24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
Mar 2:25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
Mar 2:26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
Mar 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
Mar 2:28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Many Adventist claim not only that Christians are under the Sabbath but that to reject the Saturday Sabbath is apostasy and joining the Beast of Revelation. But let us look at what Christ is really teaching concerning the Sabbath.
We see in Jesus’ first reaction to the Pharisees that the disciples were not bound to rituals; but to Christ, who was now with them, and it was a time of celebration. He also declares that there is a new covenant with new rituals about to take place with the new Bottles.
The Pharisees try again to bind the apostles with tradition, yet Jesus shows David “the man after God’s Own heart” not being enslaved by religion and therefore Christ would not let his followers be enslaved either. The purpose of Sabbath Keeping is not to be burdened, but to in fact set the follower free. That’s why you are not supposed to work on the Sabbath. How could not working be counted as a good work? (… It’s just ludicrous.)
Rom 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Rom 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
Rom 14:6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Rom 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
Rom 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Here we see the scriptures actually telling us that we have religious liberty in terms of the subject. How can militant Sabbath keepers be taken seriously as Biblicists?
Heb 4:2-11 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The Sabbath was looking forward to a future rest. The People of God rested on the seventh Day in order to better understand the hope of salvation. They would labor six days a week illustrating the toils of this life. But the world would under go a seventh dispensation in which we will enter the rest of God.
VII. Burn baby burn! Is there an everlasting fire?
Mar 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mar 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mar 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mar 9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mar 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Mar 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
It is quite obvious that the fires of hell are never going to die down. Quite frankly it is quite odd for Godly people who claim to believe in the scriptures attempt to reject the doctrine. Could it be that they reject this doctrine because they fear it themselves? Earlier we have seen where they doubt the power of salvation and if this is so then perhaps they are trying to escape damnation by other means. This points us back to the fact that the Adventist churches are not New Testament Churches.
Many might argue that the annihilation hell would fulfill the action of burning. However scripture teaches that the unsaved are resurrected.
Joh 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Therefore they will not perish as they are in a permanent state of destruction.
1Co 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
We must pray that Adventists would cling to the true faith of the New Testament, and not to the counterfeit of the NT, or else they will learn of the truth of eternal fire.