Seventh-Day Adventism

Briefly Tested by Scripture

To go to the writings of the Seventh-Day Adventists for a true delineation of their teaching will be just to them. To compare it with Holy Scripture will test its truth or error.

The Prophetess of the Movement

is Mrs. Ellen G. White, whose late husband, Elder White, was for long their leader. “The Visions of Mrs. E.G.White, a Manifestation of Spiritual Gifts according to the Scriptures,” is the title of a book of 144 pages, published by the Adventists defending her inspiration. Of her own words she blasphemously writes:
  “It is God, and not an erring mortal, that has spoken” (Testimonies, Vol. III., p. 257).

Yet one who has been intimate with her for years testifies* that he knows that her testimonies are not inspired. He says: “When writing them out she will often change what she has written, and write it very differently. I have seen her scratch out a whole page, or a line or a sentence, and write it over differently.” He further testifies that he has heard her read over her manuscript to her husband, who suggested many changes, which she would adopt, scratching out her own words and putting in his. As she is ignorant of grammar, the same writer says: “Of late years she has employed an accomplished writer to take her manuscript and correct it, improve its wording, polish it up, and put it in popular style, so that her books will sell better. Thousands of words not her own are thus put in by other persons, some of whom are not even Christians.” He further states: “She often copies her subject-matter without credit or sign of quotation from other authors. Indeed, her last great book, ‘The Great Controversy,’ which they laud so highly as her greatest work, is largely [mainly in its historical parts] a compilation of Andrews’ ‘History of the Sabbath’; ‘History of the Waldenses,’ by Wylie; ‘Life of Miller,’ by White; ‘Thoughts on Revelation,’ by Smith, and other books.” The Pastor’s Union of Healdsburg, California, investigated the matter, and published many instances of her plagiarisms.
{*Rev. D M. Canright, author of “Seventh-Day Adventism renounced after an experience of twenty-eight years, by a prominent Minister and Writer of that Faith.” Published by Fleming H. Revell Company, New York.}

In the Advent Review, July 2, 1889, we read:
  “RULE I.—We will not neglect the study of the Bible and the Testimonies.”

The Testimonies, Mrs. White’s writings, are assigned a place of inspiration—a sort of Appendix to the Bible. The same writer says: “A text from her writings is an end of all controversy in doctrine and discipline. It is common to hear them say that when they give up her visions they will give up the Bible too, and they generally do.” This is the testimony of one, who for long had been one of their prominent preachers and writers.

Her Standard Work

referred to, which has brought her in large royalties, is entitled “The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.” It contains 704 pages, and has run through numerous editions. The revised and enlarged edition, which I have almost exclusively used to show what the Seventh-Day Adventist teaching is, bears the date 1903, so it is an authoritative, up-to-date* account of their system and teaching.
{*The pamphlet being written in 1907. (ed)}

In the publisher’s preface we read:
  “We believe she has been empowered by a Divine illumination to speak of some past events which have been brought to her knowledge with greater minuteness than is set forth in any existing records,* and to read the future with more than human foresight.”
{*Please note particularly that all italics used in quotations from Mrs. White’s book are not hers, but the writer’s, with the desire to emphasise that part of the quotation to which he particularly wishes to call attention.}

To go no further, this unwarrantable assumption will be sufficient to open the eyes of any sensible person. We have heard of those who, assuming the prophetic mantle, have pretended to read the unrevealed future, but never one who claimed to reveal the unrecorded past. It certainly makes one uneasy in reading any history narrated by her, for one does not know what is fact or what is fiction, what is sober history, or what is mere imagination not found in “any existing records.” As to her ability to read the future with more than human foresight, the reader will have ample opportunity of judging.

The Beginning of the Movement

The Seventh-Day Adventists are an offshoot of the old Millerites, the followers of William Miller, of Low Hampton, N.Y., U.S.A. To get a clear idea of the movement, it will be necessary to sketch the origin of Millerism.

Miller was born in 1782, of humble parentage. His mother was pious, and early instructed him in Bible truths. Thrown into the company of Deists in early manhood, he embraced their views. After twelve years of unbelief, being far from satisfied with his negative beliefs, at the age of thirty-four, he began the study of the Bible. It resulted in his confession of the Lord Jesus as his Saviour, and he took his stand accordingly. His old companions assailed his beliefs, as they had once shared his disbeliefs. Miller studied his Bible to find an answer to their objections, as he himself wrote:
  “To ascertain if every apparent contradiction could be harmonized.”

An unlettered man, by occupation a small farmer, he asked for no further help than the marginal references of his Bible, and a Concordance. Independence of mind is a good thing up to a point, but if it leads the child to attempt to educate himself without the aid of a teacher; or the apprentice to learn his trade without the help of his master; or the Christian to refuse help from the gifts given by the ascended Lord to His Church, it can only work disaster. So with Miller. He asked no counsel or help. Alas! that independence of mind that led him into infidelity, now led him into error.

The Second Advent Comes into Prominence

As he read he saw that Scripture taught the Second Advent of Christ. He, however, fell into the error of trying to fix a date when that event would occur, ignoring such plain passages of Scripture as:
  “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36).

Yet Mrs. White says:
  “Angels of heaven were guiding his mind and opening the Scriptures to his understanding.”

So that although the Bible distinctly states that the angels do not know the day when Christ shall come, Mrs. White says they were guiding Miller’s mind. Further, this is a distinct slight upon the Holy Spirit, who, Scripture states, is the believer’s teacher, and the power by which his mind is guided into the knowledge of the truth.

Miller, desirous of fixing upon the time of the Second Advent, seized upon Daniel 8:14* as:
  “the prophecy which seemed most clearly to reveal the time of the Second Advent.”
{*“Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”}

Well might Mrs. White say, “seemed . . . to reveal.” Miller, she tells us, adopted the then generally accepted idea that the cleansing of the sanctuary meant the purification of the earth by fire.

Having fixed the period as 2,300 days, which without proof or reason he changed into 2,300 years, all he wanted, in order to fix the date of the Second Advent, was the starting-point of his period. Had he honestly read Daniel 8:13-14, he would have found the starting-point, viz., when the sanctuary of Israel began to be trodden under foot. Moreover, in the latter part of the chapter Gabriel explained the vision to Daniel. The ram with two horns illustrated the dual Kingdom of Media and Persia. The rough goat, the Grecian Kingdom, which, when broken up, was divided into four parts, as Daniel 8:22 explains. Then the King, who is to tread the sanctuary under foot for 2,300 days, is said to come “in the latter time of their kingdom,” which has been literally fulfilled by the Seleucidae, the Asiatic successors of Alexander, particularly by Antiochus Epiphanes. The angel here enlightened Daniel’s mind. There was no Scripture then to guide him as to it, therefore God gave him a vision, nor was the Holy Ghost then present, consequent on the glory of the risen Christ, to be the believer’s teacher and guide. Now with both Scripture and the Holy Ghost to guide, Miller rejects the plain God-given recorded interpretation of the angel, with the natural result, a humiliating blunder fraught with the direst consequences.

In chapter 8 he read the account of the sanctuary being trodden under foot. In chapter 9 he found the account of Daniel’s vision of seventy weeks. The former vision occurred in the third year of Belshazzar, the latter in the first year of King Darius, yet he treats them as if Daniel had dreamed them on two successive nights.

Mrs. White says at this point:
  “There was only one point in the vision of chapter eight which had been left unexplained, namely, that relating to time—the period of the 2,300 days, therefore the angel, in resuming his explanation, dwells exclusively upon the subject of time.”

Will the careful reader mark this? The vision of Daniel 8 begins with the sanctuary being trodden under foot, and the fierce persecution and slaughter of the Jews; on the contrary, the vision of Daniel 9 begins with the command to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem, and the Jews being in favour with the King of Babylon. Yet in spite of such plain proofs that the two beginnings cannot coincide, Miller made out they did. Why? He had got his period, but not its start. The vision of seventy weeks for him furnished the start.

The Date Falsely Fixed

Suffice it to say that by a process of loose reasoning and careless chronology Miller came to the conclusion that the Second Advent would take place in the spring of 1844.

He had spent two years in the study of the Bible, when, in 1818, he had reached this point, being thirty-six years old. Why did he not at once warn an unbelieving world of its impending doom? But no, another five years were spent reviewing the evidences. Seeing they all lay in two chapters in Daniel, with the aid of marginal references and a concordance, he was fairly deliberate. Even then for a further nine years he contented himself with presenting his views in private. If the angels had guided his mind to know what Scripture tells us they did not know themselves; and, as he tells us himself,
  “It was continually ringing in my ears, Go and tell the world of their danger,”

how is it that though ostensibly learning his great secret when he was thirty-six years old, he did not publicly testify to the same until he was about fifty?

Miller’s Prophecy Proved False

As the spring of 1844 drew near public testimony as to the Second Advent was most active. The time passed, and nothing happened. Mrs. White says tamely:
  “Those who had looked in faith for His appearing were for a season involved in doubt and uncertainty.”

She dismisses with a few general meditations the fanaticism aroused by the expectation of an event which never took place. Others tell us that Adventists left their work, gave away their property, that crops were left ungathered, that their children were kept from school for years, because time being so short, they would need no education. Those children have now grand-children and great grand-children.

Disappointment opened the eyes of many, whilst others were driven into infidelity.

A Second Date Fixed

Miller and his followers set to work to study their proofs again. By summer they discovered that Christ would come, not in the spring, but in the autumn of 1844.

The amended date is thus announced:
  “That which led to this . . . was the discovery that the decree of Artaxerxes for the restoration, which formed part of the starting-point for the period of 2,300 days, went into effect in the autumn of the year B.C. 457, and not at the beginning of the year, as had been formerly believed. Reckoning from the autumn of 457, the 2,300 years terminate in the autumn of 1844.”

Then, as if to court destruction, the theory was next invented that the sanctuary was to be cleansed on the tenth day of the Seventh (Jewish) month, which in 1844 fell on the 22nd of October. This they took from the day on which the Great Day of Atonement falls.

Second Prophecy False

Now all was staked on this amended prophecy, so soon to be proved false.

And, mark you, Elder White and his wife were both involved in this time-setting. She again calmly writes:
  “Again they were doomed to disappointment. The time of expectation passed, and their Saviour did not appear.”

Why they? Why not we? Is this candid?

Miller—all honour to him for his honesty—wrote:
  “On the passing of my published time, I frankly acknowledged my disappointment . . . We expected the personal coming of Christ at that time; and now to contend that we were not mistaken is dishonest . . . I have no confidence in any of the new theories that grew out of that [Seventh-Day Adventist] movement, namely, that Christ then came as the Bridegroom, that the door of mercy was closed, that there is no salvation for sinners, that the seventh trumpet then sounded, or that it was a fulfilment of prophecy in any sense.”

Very few of the original Adventists accepted the new theories of the Seventh-Day Adventists. Miller never became a Seventh-Day Adventist. His honesty at the last fills one with the hope that he was not a mere charlatan, but a self-deceived Christian. Here we must part company with him.

Mrs. White writes:
  “I saw leading men watching William Miller, fearing lest he should embrace the third angel’s message and the commandments of God. . . . I saw a human influence exerted to keep his mind in darkness. . . . At length William Miller raised his voice against the light from heaven” (Spiritual Gifts. Vol. I. p. 167).

We shall see what this “light from heaven” was. She stated that:
  “To deny that the days ended at that time (1844) was to involve the whole question in confusion, and to renounce positions which had been established by unmistakable fulfilment of prophecy.”

Ridiculous Claims and False Signs

The reader will judge what is meant by “unmistakable fulfilment of prophecy”—consisting as it did of mere straws at which these deluded people clutched.

One, Charles Fitch, prepared a chart to illustrate the visions of Daniel and Revelation. This was considered as:
  “. . . A fulfilment of the command given to Habakkuk.”

I should have thought that the command to the prophet to “write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it” was fulfilled when he wrote the prophecy that bears his name, some 2,400 years before Charles Fitch came to prepare his chart. But Mrs. White possesses no ordinary comprehension as the reader will see.

The Lisbon earthquake was the fulfilment, they said, of Revelation 6:12; a darkening of the sun and moon twenty-five years later, of Mark 13:24; whilst a great meteoric shower on Nov. 13th, 1833, Mrs. White coolly tells us, constituted:
  “The last of the signs . . . which were promised by the Saviour as tokens of His second advent.”

The Situation must be Retrieved

So now, at all costs, an explanation of the failure of Miller’s prophecies must be found. In retrieving their position, the Seventh-Day Adventists introduced into their system teaching of the most wicked and anti-Christian character. They discovered now that the earth was not the sanctuary.

But in discarding one false theory they invented another, infinitely worse, for it cast into the shade the glory of the Lord Jesus, and denied the finished work of atonement on the cross. From Hebrews and Revelation they thought they discovered that the sanctuary was in heaven—the glorious counterpart of the typical sanctuary on earth.

Mrs. White’s Vivid Imagination

When Revelation 4 describes the Apostle John as beholding “the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne,” the angel “having a golden censer,” Mrs. White’s interpretation is:
  “Here the prophet was permitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven.”

Why the first? This is a plain example of her ability to give details of “greater minuteness than is set forth in any existing records,” even when the existing records are the Holy Scriptures.

Referring to Revelation 11:19, we read:
  “Again the temple of God was opened, and he looked within the inner veil upon the holy of holies.”

Why the inner veil? Mrs. White further says:
  “Thus those who were studying the subject found indisputable proof of the existence of the sanctuary in heaven.”

Assumption, no Proof

Why indisputable proof? Assumption is no proof. Such a clumsy piecing of ill-assorted patches one can scarcely imagine. Daniel writes of a sanctuary trodden under foot. But, say they, the sanctuary is in heaven. Who can tread it under foot there? They say the sanctuary is cleansed. But the sanctuary is in heaven. Is defilement in heaven? The Seventh-Day Adventists teach so. So blind can men become when they start to build a theological house of cards. Aye, and worse than blind.

The following extracts from “The Great Controversy” will surely open the eyes of all sincere followers of the truth. Seventh-Day Adventism deserves no quarter at our hands. It is an anti-Christian system, defiling, debasing, deceiving. Read carefully:
  “It was the work of the priest in the daily ministration to present before God the blood of the sin offering, also the incense which ascended with the prayers of Israel. So did Christ plead His blood before the Father on behalf of sinners, and present before Him also, with the precious fragrance of His own righteousness, the prayers of penitent believers. Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary of heaven.”

Christ’s Finished Work Denied

And all this in flat denial of the plain teaching of Scripture that the Lord Jesus, having offered one sacrifice for sins, has sat down on the right hand of God, having by His one offering perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

  “For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded on behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the book of record.”

Do Seventh-Day Adventists expect sensible people to believe such nonsense? Fancy pardon and acceptance secured, and yet sins remaining on record. It is as sensible as talking of a statesman, flung into prison for life, receiving a free pardon, and being restored to favour by his Sovereign, yet left to languish indefinitely in chains. Nor is this the worst that Mrs. White’s fertile imagination leads her to. So immediately follows:
  “As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed, there is a work of atonement for the removal of sins from the sanctuary. This is the service which began* when the 2,300 days ended.”
{*In 1844 according to Mrs. White!!! It is an insult to ordinary intelligence to be asked to believe this.}

So, according to Mrs White, the work of atonement is not completed. This in spite of the loud cry, “IT IS FINISHED,” uttered by the blessed Saviour on the cross.

Mrs. White at Utter Variance with Scripture

It is a pity, when the theory of a sanctuary trodden under foot in heaven, and needing cleansing in heaven, the work of atonement incomplete, believers pardoned and accepted and yet their sins still left on the books of record, was concocted, that she did not read Hebrews 10. There she might have learned of the work of the Saviour presented in all its perfection. God will remember the sins and iniquities of the believer no more. There is no more offering for sin. The way into the holiest, that is God’s presence, is open for the boldness of faith through the blood of Jesus. But the stream of deadly error flows on, growing deeper and darker.

  “There must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin, and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of the atonement. The cleansing therefore involves a work of investigation—a work of judgment. . . . Those who followed in the light of the prophetic word saw, that, instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2,300 days in 1844, Christ then entered into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to his coming.”

Fancy believers, pardoned and accepted by the Father, waiting to have it decided whether or no they are entitled to the benefits of the atonement! Fancy the work of atonement not completed. Every true believer on the Lord Jesus must reject this grievous dishonour put upon his Saviour and His precious finished work.

Satan as Saviour

But the worst is still to come. Here we reach the high-water mark of blasphemy.

  “It was seen also that while the sin-offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as Mediator, the scapegoat typified SATAN, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed. When the high priest, by virtue of the blood of the sin-offering removed the sins from the sanctuary, he placed them upon a scapegoat. When Christ, by virtue of His own blood, removes the sins of His people from the heavenly sanctuary at the close of His ministration, He will place them upon SATAN, who, in the execution of the judgment, must bear the final penalty. The scapegoat was sent into a land not inhabited, never to come again into the congregation of Israel. So will Satan be forever banished from the presence of God and His people, and he will be blotted from existence in the final destruction of sin and sinners.”

There is no half-page in Mrs. White’s* book that contains such a tissue of false reasoning as the specimen just quoted. Sin in heaven, the work of Atonement incomplete, and, horrible above all conception, SATAN brought in as the one who is to bear the final penalty of sin, whilst thrown in at the end is the barefaced doctrine of annihilation. Fancy SATAN as SAVIOUR—a Saviour who cannot save himself, but is to be finally annihilated. Scripture is distorted, and the blessed Lord blasphemed as to His person and work. Need we go any further?
{*Seventh-Day Adventists sneer at the cowardice of a man attacking a woman. It is not the woman I attack, but the system of which she is the prophetess. As her writings are the most voluminous and authoritative amongst them. I have naturally chosen her chief volume to delineate their teaching. When the Seventh-Day Adventists are attacked, they shelter behind a woman, and shout shame on anyone who is so lacking in chivalry as to attack her. Such pseudochivalry would be false to Christ and His people. Silence would be condoning blasphemy. Blasphemy from a woman’s mouth is as much blasphemy as from a man’s, and ought to be as strenuously resisted. If Satan uses a woman, Satan must be resisted.

We may pity her ill-health, taking the form of hysteria, catalepsy and neurotic trouble, and in justice to her this should be pointed out. It does not minimise the seriousness of her teachings, nor exalt the discernment of the men who accept her visions and dreams as light from heaven, but it helps to explain the lack of mental balance in her writings.

Dr. William Russell, a chief physician in the Seventh-Day Sanatorium at Battle Creek, long a Seventh-Day Adventist, wrote in 1869 that Mrs. White’s visions were the result of a diseased organization or condition of the brain or nervous system.” Dr. Fairfield, likewise an Adventist, and for years a physician in the same Sanatorium, wrote in 1887 that he had no doubt that her visions were simply hysterical trances. Age itself has almost cured her.”}

How the Adventists became Seventh-Day Adventists

And now to come to the point where the movement earned the title of Seventh-Day Adventism.

As they materialised the sanctuary in heaven, they were forced to materialise everything. So besides an actual sanctuary in heaven, with candlestick, curtains, table of showbread and ark, they were forced to add within the ark the two tables of stone, and call upon all to put themselves under the law.

A Convenient Vision

Mrs. White at first refused to believe that the Fourth Commandment was more binding than any other. Elder Bates urged its great importance until Mrs. White had a convenient vision, in which she asserted she was taken to heaven, and shown the sanctuary and its appointments. A description of her vision is given:
  “Jesus raised the cover of the ark, and she beheld the tables of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written. She was amazed as she saw the Fourth Commandment in the very centre of the ten precepts, with a soft halo of light encircling it.”

Hence she calls on her followers to worship God as Creator on the seventh day. One looks in vain for any real sense of Christianity in her writings. Worship for her is connected with the claims of the Creator, whilst worship, founded on redemption, is ignored.

The Fourth Commandment is no more abrogated than any other part of the law, which will yet be written on the heart of Israel under the New Covenant. But Christians have died out from under it.* Therefore to bind the law upon the Christian is to deny the historical teaching of the Acts of the Apostles, to refuse the whole Christian position as in Christ risen from the dead, which truth is developed so fully in the Epistles, and to rob God of the fruit He seeks from us as abiding in Christ.
{*“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. 7:4)}

Observance of the Jewish Sabbath Insisted On

As to the Sabbath, Mrs. White says:
  “An acceptance of the truth concerning the heavenly sanctuary involved an acknowledgment of the claims of God’s law, and the obligation of the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment.”

Surely, if to keep the Jewish Sabbath instead of the Christian’s First Day of the Week, was a matter of such vital importance, the writers of the New Testament would have made it plain. Yet never once in the whole of the New Testament are we enjoined to keep the Jewish Sabbath. Seeing that many Christians of that day were converted out of heathendom, and lived in countries where such a thing was unknown amongst themselves as heathen, it would have been necessary to have enjoined them as to the particular day they should observe. But Scripture is absolutely silent on the point. On the contrary, allusions to the practice of the early disciples meeting on the first day of the week are sufficient to account for the fact that so-called Christian nations observe Sunday as a day of rest, a boon for which we cannot be too thankful to an over-ruling Providence, and which we grieve to see weakened in any way.

A Much Abused Text

A text that is much used by the Seventh-Day Adventists to press upon the believer that he is under the law is:
  “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled”* (Matt. 5:18).
{*Indeed the previous verse is important in this connection: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, OR THE PROPHETS I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” The prophets are as much referred to as the law, but Adventists are not exact.}

But when they press it they only take what is convenient and ignore the rest. The fact is they do not know that FOR THE BELIEVER the law has been fulfilled in Christ. Was the blessed Lord not the Substance of all the shadows, the Fulfiller of all the types? Is not “Christ the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes?” (Rom. 10:4) And does not Scripture say that the believer has “become dead to the law by the body of Christ? “ (Rom. 7:4). And again, “Ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14), which surely is plain enough.

Of course the Christian is not to use his liberty for an occasion to the flesh. The Christian will surely not steal or kill, or bear false witness, if he is true to Christ. But the way the Seventh-Day Adventists use this verse (Matt. 5:18) is dishonest and misleading. By their interpretation, they put it into plain opposition to other parts of Scripture, with which its true teaching harmonizes in every particular.

Yet, spite of all, Mrs. White would put the believer under the law, and is bold enough to prophesy that when men
  “reject the institution which God has ordained to be the sign of His authority, and honour in its stead that which Rome has chosen as the token of her supremacy, they will thereby accept the sign of allegiance to Rome—‘the mark of the beast.’”

Sunday Keeping—“The Mark of the Beast”

So that under certain conditions Sunday keeping will be “the mark of the beast.”

Mrs. White appeals to history to prove that the Pope of Rome arbitrarily changed the day of rest from Saturday to Sunday, but the evidence is all the other way. From earliest times, before a Pope of Rome was thought of, the early Christians were accustomed to observe the first day of the week as a day of rest and worship.

And now there remains only to briefly sketch the rest of this wicked system.

Eternal Punishment Denied

Mrs. White tells us that those who believe in the clear statement of Scripture as to eternal punishment
  “. . . are deluded by the sophistry of Satan. He leads them to misconstrue strong expressions of Scripture, giving to the language the colouring of bitterness and malignity, which pertains to himself. . . The theory of eternal punishment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the abominations of Babylon . . . They received it from Rome, as they received the false Sabbath.”

Mrs. White admits there are “strong expressions in Scripture” on the subject. Let her hold to their true and evident meaning, and her theory will go to the winds.

For instance, when Scripture speaks of the Creator’s “Eternal power and Godhead” surely all will admit in that case that eternal means eternal, yet that is the very word used when we read of the angels “reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” And further, the word used in these two instances is employed nowhere else. Then it is significant that the only other word translated eternal or everlasting in the New Testament is always used in a literal sense. In Romans 16:26, it is used referring to God Himself—“according to the commandment of the everlasting God”—thus proving the force of the word beyond all question.

It is used interchangeably in reference to eternal life and eternal punishment: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). If the argument that eternal punishment does not mean eternal in the plain English meaning of the word, then it follows that eternal life is not eternal. But this would prove too much. The lack of principle in attacking the doctrine of eternal punishment, whilst calmly receiving the testimony of Scripture as to eternal blessedness, shows the animus in the mind of the reasoner, if such we may call him. Moreover, the effect of the denial of the doctrine of eternal punishment is to weaken the whole of Christianity. It enfeebles the full force of atonement, and is like removing one of the stones of the arch of a bridge, imperilling the whole structure.

I remember in Jamaica some years ago talking on this subject to two Seventh-Day Adventists. Their appeal was not to Scripture, or even reason, but to sophistry and sentiment. They argued that eternal punishment did not mean eternal punishing. I replied, “If that be so, then three months’ imprisonment does not mean three months’ imprisoning.” They looked foolish as this simple remark knocked the bottom out of their sophistry.

Further, Scripture tells us the fire of hell shall never be quenched. Granted that fire is a symbol of God’s judgment upon sin, the fact that it is never quenched proves that it is never exhausted, yet Mrs. White calmly tells us the day is coming when every sinner will be burned up in a literal sea of fire, and that finally, Satan having performed the closing work of atonement, will be likewise annihilated, and that the fire will be quenched, because there will be no fuel to feed it. From such grossly materialistic and unscriptural teaching we turn away and abide by the plain teaching of Scripture on the subject.

The Immortality of the Soul Denied

This is the necessary outcome of the denial of eternal punishment (in its annihilationist form), for if eternal punishment is true, then it follows as a natural sequence that the soul is immortal. If all in Christ pass into eternal blessedness, and all unbelievers into eternal punishment, then certainly the soul is immortal. Those who deny the immortality of the soul generally make the mistake of confounding immortality with eternal life, adducing 1 Timothy 6:16 (which speaks of God only having immortality) for proof that the soul is mortal, saying if only God has immortality then mortality must pertain to every creature. But the text clearly affirms immortality as belonging to God inherently, whilst other Scriptures clearly teach that man has immortality derivatively from God. If only God has immortality, then it follows the angels are subject to death. Seeing they have not sinned, this would prove too much. And as to man, he became a living soul when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.

The meaning of the word immortality is non-liability to death, and refers to the body in 1 Corinthian 15:53. At the coming of the Lord the dead in Christ will be raised incorruptible, whilst the living Christians will put on immortality. It is the body that in death goes to corruption, and in resurrection puts on incorruptibility. It is the living, referring to their bodies, that are mortal, subject to death, that at Christ’s coming will put on immortality: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Cor. 15:53)

It should be observed that the word translated immortality in Romans 2:7, and 2 Timothy 1:10, should be rendered “incorruptibility,” and is so rendered in the Revised Version. Death never means, as applied to man, the spirit ceasing to exist, but refers to the body. The sentence of death as passed upon man in the Garden of Eden carries a fuller thought than merely physical death, terrible as that is, and involves God’s judgment on sin and all that that implies.

If God intended to annihilate sinners at the end of the world He surely would have taught us this plainly from Scripture, but Scripture teaches the exact contrary. We have the parable in Luke 16, where the rich man dies, is buried, and in hades lifts up his eyes, being in torments. Evidently a parable is to illustrate the truth and this clearly proves the conscious existence of the sinner after death.

Moreover Scripture is plain as to the resurrection. The wicked shall come forth from their graves, body and spirit re-united, to be judged at the great white throne and cast into the lake of fire, but nothing is said of final annihilation. On the contrary, other Scriptures testify to the fire never being quenched, whilst Mark 3:29 speaks of “eternal damnation”; Jude 7 of “eternal fire”; Matthew speaks twice of “everlasting fire” and once of “everlasting punishment”; Hebrews 6:2 tells us of “eternal judgment” as connected with the foundation truths, with which all believers must begin.

It follows, then, if Scripture teaches the doctrine of eternal punishment (and it does), that the soul of man must be immortal, for if all in Christ are blessed for ever, and all out of Christ are punished for ever, then all exist for ever.

Soul-Slumber After Death

One false theory invariably leads to another, and every false doctrine in some way or other assails the person and work of Christ.

So we are not surprised when Mrs. White says:
  “Upon the fundamental error of natural immortality rests the doctrine of consciousness in death, a doctrine, like eternal torment, opposed to the teaching of the Scriptures, to the dictates of reason, and to our feelings of humanity.”

In appealing to the teaching of Scripture, Mrs. White exhibits either ignorance or wilfulness, for the thought of soul-sleeping is never once found in Scripture. Sleep, as relating to death, is only connected with Christians, and always has reference to the body. So we read “Many bodies of the saints which slept arose” (Matt. 27:52). “Devout men carried Stephen to his burial” (Acts 8:2), i.e., his body. The Lord Himself comforted the dying thief by saying, “Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” His body was left on the cross and then buried, whilst that very day his conscious soul was with the Lord. The Apostle Paul wrote of “having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” There is no hint as to soul-sleep, but instead the joyous anticipation of his spirit being with the Lord the moment he was absent from the body.

Seventh Day Adventism Completely Condemned by Scripture

We have seen how they defile heaven with their sanctuary-theory, deny the efficacy of the work of Christ by their false assertion that the work of atonement is not completed, drag in Satan as necessary to complete that work, deny eternal punishment, the immortality of the soul, its consciousness after death, put their adherents under law, thus denying the whole system of Christianity, so that they are “fallen from grace,” bringing themselves under the fearful sentence of the Apostle, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than ye have received let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9). Solemn words!

Further, their silence condemns them as much as their assertions. I cannot find one plain statement in their writings stating that they believe that the Son of God is God the Son. This non-confession of the person of Christ is the spirit of anti-Christ according to Scripture. Seventh-Day Adventists have no true idea of the worship of the Father, no Scriptural thought of the Church, which is Christ’s body, or of the house which is God’s temple and dwelling place, or of the heavenly calling, prominent and vital as these things are in Christianity.

Mrs. White’s Imagination

The rest of Mrs. White’s book, dealing with the final winding-up of things, reads more like a religious novel of the worst type, in which imagination has positively become intoxicated, revelling in details as wild as they are wicked. Certainly we can apply her own words, it is “opposed to the teaching of the Scriptures, to the dictates of reason, and to our feelings of humanity.” When she turns this earth into a literal lake of fire (the only lake of fire she knows), she thus describes it:
  “The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire . . . The earth’s surface seems one molten mass—a vast seething lake of fire . . . The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made not only to suffer for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit . . . After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flame the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch, Satan the root, his followers the branches.”

Of all the lurid literalising of details of judgment, I have never seen anything so offensive to the feelings of humanity, not to say anything as to its utter variance with the teaching and tone of Scripture.

I could give many more quotations from the book, but it seems to be idle to take time up with such puerilities as discussing Adam’s height when he is raised, and his joy at seeing the vines his own hands had planted in an earthly paradise blooming in a heavenly one, and childish nonsense after this order ad nauseum.

It may be asked how it is that Seventh-Day Adventism has held on its way so long and secured so many adherents. The writer unhesitatingly ascribes the fact to Satanic power, and classes its followers with Christadelphians, Mormons, Christian Scientists and Dowieites.

The fact that they have flourished as a sect so long, and numbered their adherents by thousands is no proof that they are correct, or Mohammedanism, with its 200,000,000 votaries, judged by that standard, would carry off the palm for being right and true.

May God graciously use what has been written to deliver some already snared, and preserve any who stand in danger of being caught in Satan’s wiles.

And now permit me to turn from this sad but necessary exposure of evil to ask my reader a personal question, Are you converted? Have your sins been forgiven? Are you saved?

As we reflect that every breath you draw brings you nearer to that vast eternity when all shams shall be exposed, when all sins shall meet with their due reward, you will forgive me if I press my question: Are you quite sure that all is well with your soul?

Let me put it to you briefly. God is infinitely holy, and must take account of sin. You have sinned. Scripture plainly declares that if the sinner is to bear his own sin, the punishment is eternal. Such an outlook is enough to make the writer most anxious that his reader should be sure beyond the possibility of a doubt as to the salvation of his soul.

The Gospel is indeed good news. It is to the effect that Jesus, God’s Son (“who is over all, God blessed for ever,” Romans 9:5), came into this world in order to die upon the Cross, and become the Saviour exclusively for poor fallen man. The work that He came to do He finished to God’s eternal glory. He cried upon the Cross “It is finished!” and God put His Amen to that triumphant cry by raising the One who uttered it from the dead, and giving Him glory. A contrast is drawn in Hebrews 10:11-12 between the Jewish priests, whose work was never done, who were always offering up the same sacrifices which could never take away sins, and the Lord Jesus, whose one sacrifice is finished and perfect, never to be added to, sufficient for all the claims of God’s glory, and sufficient surely for the salvation of every believing sinner. “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin, but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God.”

As another has said, “The blood of Christ, which satisfies the JUSTICE of God, may well satisfy the CONSCIENCE of an awakened sinner.”

How then can I, a hell-deserving guilty sinner, stand in God’s favour? God points me to His beloved Son, and bids me trust in Him. Do I need forgiveness? “To HIM give all the prophets witness that through HIS NAME whosoever believes IN HIM shall receive forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43). When does the believer in Jesus receive the forgiveness of sins? The moment he or she believes on the Lord Jesus.

Awakened to my awful condition, do I cry out like one of old, “What must I do to be saved? “ The answer is, beautifully simple: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). When am I saved? The moment I believe on the LORD JESUS. It is a very wonderful thing that such a simple word as “Believe” at the beginning of the text should be followed by such a wonderful word as “Saved” at the end of it, but we can understand it when the name of “The Lord Jesus Christ” lies midway between the two words. To Him be all the praise!

Do I long to know that I am justified? I read:
  “BY HIM all that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:39).

What a Divine clearance for the believer! It is from all things. And then the scope of it. Who is it for?

  “ALL that believe.” You ask, May I believe? Yes, it is to all who believe. However dark your guilty past may have been, however slighted your privileges, however hollow your profession hitherto, there is mercy and pardon for you even at this moment. It is not for the elect only, but for “ALL that believe.” Blessed words from God! Why not come believing, and get the comfort of them?

Do I want to know that I have everlasting life? “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36). When have I everlasting life? The moment I believe on the Son.

Salvation is blessedly simple. Yet, easy as it is, how possible to miss it. Multitudes do so by neglect. The work necessary for my salvation has been done outside of me altogether by Another, and that One none less than God’s only-begotten Son, become Man, who has completely satisfied all God’s righteous claims, so that in perfect righteousness God can justify and save through Him. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)

No wonder the solemn question is asked: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” The only answer that can be given is, There is NO ESCAPE.

May God grant that every reader of these lines may have faith in Christ. If my reader is still an unbeliever, may God grant that this moment he may put his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe to the saving of his soul. “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).