What’s the difference between what Seventh Day Adventists believe and what Christians believe?
The Seventh Day Adventist movement was founded in 1863, mainly on the teachings of Ellen G White. Her writings are still regarded as a close second to the Bible in authority.
Many of their beliefs are similar to Orthodox Christian beliefs, so they accept the trinity as we do, and they are evangelistic, preaching about Jesus as the sacrifice for our sin.
They expect the literal return of Jesus to take his people to heaven.
However, although they say they believe the Bible, in some respects they differ from our understanding of what it says. In these areas, they seem to follow the other writings to which they give authority.
So, for example, in the Millennial kingdom, the Bible seems clear that satan will be consigned to the Abyss, and Jesus will rule upon a fruitful earth. The Adventists, inexplicably, have satan ruling upon a desolate earth.
Another important teaching is that there is no consciousness between death and Jesus’s return, which flies in the face of several scriptures. The scriptures which use the word “sleep” for death are evidently speaking from the point of view of those remaining on earth looking at a dead person, not from the point of view of the real happenings in the Spiritual world.
(see below for a resume of Scriptural references for this)
The most obvious difference is that they insist the correct day of worship for Christians is on the Jewish Sabbath, Friday dusk to Saturday dusk.. It has been suggested that anyone who worships on a different day has the mark of the beast, and is damned!
This brings us to legalism, for which the Adventists have been criticised. They do seem to require more for salvation than Scripture does. This calls into question whether they really accept the death of Jesus as the full and final sacrifice, or whether they really think that we have to contribute to our own salvation by following the rules of their organisation.
After death…Sleep, or Consciousness?
- a. On the one hand… (apparently)
1 Cor 15 v 6 fallen asleep (resurrection witnesses) Mt 9 v 24 not dead but asleep (Jairus’ daughter)
1 Thess 4 v 15 fallen asleep
- b. On the other…
Lk 9 v 30, 31 consciousness (Moses & Elijah at transfiguration)
Lk 13 v 29 Marriage feast (But when is this? – After rapture, therefore dead expected to be awake, no help)
Lk 23 v 43 Dying thief told “today”. (Did Jesus mean what he said?)
Jn 17 v 24 Those you have given me… see my glory
Phil 1 v 21-24 To die is gain (not if you’re not conscious it isn’t!)
1 Thess 4 v 15, 16 the “Fallen asleep” come down with Jesus, yet are raised up from the ground
1 Pet 3 v 18 Jesus preaches to “the spirits in prison”. (Whatever that means, it was after they had died.)
Rev 6 v 10 Souls under the altar
Hope this helps