Presenting a Biblical response by concerned former Seventh-day Adventists to the Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.

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Commentary on "Mission"



Day 4: Tuesday, June 23, 2009



Consider This: Read Matthew 5. Why was Jesus so effective in sharing present truth with the lost of His day?” (From the Teacher’s Comments)



Refer back to the brief history of Adventism I offered in the “Sabbath Afternoon” section. Seventh-day Adventists believe that representing Jesus and keeping the Sabbath are identical. In support of this position they offer Matthew 5 as proof of their claim to be the only true church supposedly referenced in Revelation 14:12.

If ever a passage of scripture was explained in exactly the opposite way it was intended, this is it. Jesus begins His discourse with “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” and ends the chapter (not the discourse) with “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (NASB). In between and including these two pieces of “encouragement” is a long list of things that no human being has ever been able to accomplish. And it gets no better in Chapters 6 and 7.

Jesus was born under the Law and taught under the Law (see Galatians 4:4-5). The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest amplification of the Law ever given. In fact, the entire sermon is an exposition on the 10th Commandment – You are not even supposed to want to do anything prohibited by the first nine commandments. Jesus quickly left encouragement behind and started meddling in people’s lives.

If Jesus hadn’t done this, His Jewish listeners would have continued bumbling through their lives oblivious to the Messiah who was talking to them. Instead, He challenged the very core of their belief system, and eventually they had Him crucified for it. He confronted them directly, and He confronts us just as directly today. Will we humbly accept what He says, or will we crucify Him again and again and again?

The Adventist claim to be the only group on earth who keep the Law properly is a bald-faced lie. They are no better at it than any other belief system. Instead of allowing the Law to convict them of the reality of their spiritual death, they promote a 24-hour time period as the Sabbath instead of the 24/7 reality of resting in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, they have made an idol of the 4th Commandment and broken the 2nd Commandment.

All who rely on keeping the Law are under a curse (see Galatians 3:10). Anyone who keeps the entire Law, but fails at one point, is guilty of breaking it all (see James 2:10). And yet Adventists still claim to be under the Law themselves and desire the rest of the world to be under it with them.

I believe John was completely consistent in his use of “law” to describe the people of God. This is the key to understanding the letter of 1 John and this passage in Revelation. In his letter, John refers to God’s law several times before defining what he means. Most denominations, including the SDAs, presume he is talking about the Ten Commandments. The answer is found in 1 John 3:23-24. “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (NASB). John’s statement is merely a quotation of Jesus’ own words recorded in John’s gospel. See John 6:28-29 and John 15:12.

The single greatest difference between Revelation and other biblical apocalyptic literature is that Revelation is a New Covenant statement of the future. Daniel, Ezekiel and all other Old Testament authors wrote under the Old Covenant. Certainly, they were looking forward to Jesus, but John knew the reality. This is why the letter is called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Is it going too far to claim, in the context of the New Covenant, that John’s references to Law in Revelation are to be interpreted in the same way as his quotations of Jesus in his gospel and explanation of those quotations in his first letter? I think not. When there has been a change in the priesthood, there must be a change in the Law (see Hebrews 7:12). Therefore, the reference to those who keep the law in Revelation 14:12 could only mean those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and by the indwelling Holy Spirit allow His love to overflow to others. In other words, the passage has nothing whatever to do with the Old Covenant law.

Finally, I honestly have never heard that “angel” in prophecy is a symbol for human messengers. I don’t even recall being taught this in my Ministerial Studies courses at what was then the La Sierra Campus of Loma Linda University, the Ellen White quote notwithstanding.



  1. Jesus was not effective in sharing “present truth” with the people of His day, at least in the way SDAs believe. He was crucified for it.
  2. Jesus was completely effective in giving the Mosaic Law the emphasis it deserved. He called people to take an honest look at their hopeless condition, and then He claimed Himself to be the only way out of that condition.
  3. We do no one a favor by putting them under law. In fact, we doom them.
  4. The law can do only one thing – prove our state of spiritual death.
  5. Jesus defeated both sin and death, and He ushered in a New Covenant.
  6. It is to this New Covenant that we to call people. Their only hope is Jesus, not a denomination.
  7. Therefore, the SDA claim to be the only true church is false.




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