The first forty-two years of my life were spent as a Californian and (for the most part) as a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA). The SDA Movement suffers a negative reputation in the Realm of Christendom…most of it undeserved. I will attempt to clarify it’s mysteries for my fellow evangelicals and pentecostals as well as the curious because in the SDA Movement are truths that the rest of Christianity (and the world) need to hear.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if all modern Christendom decided to live by the precepts of the Bible (Old and New Testaments) EXACTLY AS WRITTEN in the Bible, including matters of diet, health, worship and commerce (of which the Bible has much to say)? I believe that Christianity would look very much like the SDA Movement. As the “Pharisees” of Christendom, SDAs take the Bible EXTREMELY seriously, and make little distinction between the Old and New Testaments.
Logically, it makes sense: the SAME GOD Who spoke to Moses is the Same GOD Who spoke from Heaven at the Baptism of Jesus Christ by the Prophet John (the Baptist, who was of the priesthood Tribe of Levi, as was Moses and Aaron). The whole Purpose of Israel’s existence was to be the Birth-Nest of the Savior of the World: Jesus Christ. GOD Himself said of Israel “You only have I known of all the families of the Earth” (Amos 3:2). Most of the Disciples of Christ Himself WERE JEWS. And with the exceptions of Samaria and gentiles (non-Israelis) who either knew and believed in Christ directly (the Centurion) or were baptized under either the Apostles (Cornelius) or the direct disciples of the Apostles (the Treasurer of Ethiopia for example), nearly all of the converts to Christianity in its first 10 years were undoubtedly JEWS.
All of which begs the question: why isn’t modern-day Christianity more “Jewish”? The answer is simple: most modern-day Christians are NOT Jews. Under the Old Testament, if it were your intent to be “saved” from the coming Wrath of GOD and you were NOT a Hebrew | Israelite | Jew (named after Jacob’s / Israel’s fourth Son Judah, the Ancestor of the Messiah Jesus Christ), then you had to become one through baptism. In this act of baptism you were telling the world “I am no longer a gentile, but an Hebrew | Israelite | Jew and from this moment forward I will live like one.”
(NOTE: All Jews and Christians agree that the Wrath of GOD, the Climax of universal history, IS STILL COMING.)
We simple-minded Gentiles who accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior saw His Crucifixion by the Romans at the request of the Jewish leaders as an unforgivable Sin (which it wasn’t, considering that many Pharisees and Levitical Priests and at least one Roman participating in Christ’s Execution accepted Christ as well) and decided that we would purge Christianity of all its “Jewishness”.
If you take all the Jewishness out of Christianity, what do you replace it with?
Paganism. Pagan names (Easter), pagan days (Sunday) and pagan ways (the Eucharist / Communion bread and wine actually becoming the Body and Blood of Christ).
“Are you saying, Calvin, that all of us Gentile Christians should become SDAs?”
In becoming so “neo-Israelite” many (I say “many”, not “all”) in the SDA Movement have fallen into the same Trap as the REAL Israelis did (and do): they actually believe that doing the things that most Christians don’t do MAKES THEM BETTER THAN MOST CHRISTIANS. Unfortunately, in my own lifetime I’ve met one SDA too many that believes non-SDAs ARE NOT REAL CHRISTIANS.
“For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for GOD, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the Righteousness of GOD, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to GOD’s Righteousness.” (Romans 10:2,3)
Listen carefully: adopting the Biblical Ideal for diet, health and even the Day of Worship IS GREAT FOR US, but MEANS NOTHING TO GOD.
It’s an undisputed fact that Adventists live longer than other Christians because of their adoption of the Biblical diet. Any Gentile Christian–or any Gentile, for that matter–adopting the same diet will reap the same benefit…as long as they understand that, while being more healthy, they are NOT becoming more righteous.
The Jews to this day worship on the Sabbath as did all of the Jews in both the Old and New Testaments. Truth be told, the Celebration of the Sabbath precedes the existence of the Hebrews and their descendants by thousands of years. If keeping the Sabbath makes you feel more Biblical, feel free WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT KEEPING THE SABBATH DOESN’T MAKE YOU MORE RIGHTEOUS TO GOD.
What many SDAs (and their modern Jewish counterparts) have failed to understand is that GOD has only ONE Righteousness…ONE Singular, Glorious Act of Truth: His Only-Begotten Son and Our Lord, Jesus Christ Who in Himself possesses all the Power and Fullness of the GODHEAD (Colossians 2:9).
I believe that (perhaps indirectly) this is the reason that SDAs (at least in the United States) have somehow skipped over the Person and Work of The Holy Spirit of GOD as seen in the Book of Acts in the New Testament, because The Holy Spirit will not bear witness to the righteousness of man, but bears witness to the Righteousness of GOD in Christ only.
When ANY human–Jew, Gentile or otherwise–accepts the Righteousness of Christ as their own it is then AND ONLY THEN that he or she is accepted and received by GOD.
This Idea is what the Apostle Paul calls “the Offense of The Cross” of Christ (Galatians 5:11).
Are you offended yet?
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