Gospel Issues in Adventism
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

#1 – The Everlasting Gospel
(Matthew 24:14-22)

Introduction

Out of the rubble of the great disappointment of 1844 God raised the Advent Movement. As Adventists, we believe this was in fulfillment of the prophecy recorded in Revelation 10. As an introduction to our next series of studies, which I have entitled “Gospel Issues in Adventism,” please note what this text says [read Rev. 10:8-11]. The verse I would like to draw your attention to is verse 11:

You must prophesy [i.e., proclaim] again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.

The question I would like to raise in this first study is, what is it that God wants us to proclaimed again before the entire human race? It is very important that we answer this important question correctly, that is, if we as a people are to fulfill the divine commission God has given us. The only correct answer to this question is found in Rev. 14:6 [read].

This proclamation of the everlasting gospel is in fulfillment of another prophecy, made by Christ Himself [read Matt. 24:14]. Jesus had just predicted the distraction of Jerusalem. This concerned the disciples, and we read in verse 3 of Matthew 24, that they came to him privately and asked Him:

Tell us, when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?

Obviously, Christ disciples had assumed that the distraction of Jerusalem would take place at the second coming of Christ. Jesus knew that His poor disciples would not be able to handle the fact that there would be approximately a 2,000-year gap between the two events. So, in this chapter 24 of Matthew, He combined the signs that would precede the distraction of Jerusalem with the signs that would precede the second Advent.

According to verse 14, and verses 21, 22 — all three of which refer to the events that will precede the second coming — Jesus predicted that before probation closes and the great tribulation that will culminate in the end of the world will takes place, the gospel of His kingdom will be fully restored and proclaimed as a testimony or a witness. This will be God’s final plea to the world, that this is their only hope of salvation.

This is what God raised the Advent Movement for. But to understand and appreciate this high calling, we need to first consider what the apostle Paul predicted concerning the falling away that would take place before the second coming. This prediction is recorded in his second letter to the Christians in Thessalonica [read 2 Thes. 2:1-4].

According to this prophecy, the Christian church would depart from the true and pure gospel. We know this took place before and during the Dark Ages. But before He would come again, Jesus predicted that the true gospel, in all its fullness and power, would be restored and proclaimed again. This restoration of the gospel began at the time of the 16th Century Reformation, but it is in our day it will be fully restored and proclaimed with a loud and mighty voice [read Rev. 18:1-5].

The devil, the enemy of souls, has been fully aware of this great commission God has given us as a people. Therefore, from the very beginning of the Advent Movement, he has tried to keep us from reaching our goal and fulfilling our mission. Sad to say, he has had great success. Note this statement made by Ellen G. White to a group of ministers at Battle Creek in 1890, over a hundred years ago:

The danger has been presented to me again and again of entertaining, as a people, false ideas of justification by faith. I have been shown for years that Satan would work in a special manner to confuse the mind on this point. The law of God has been largely dwelt upon and has been presented to congregations, almost as destitute of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His relation to the law as was the offering of Cain. I have been shown that many have been kept from the faith because of the mixed, confused ideas of salvation, because the ministers have worked in a wrong manner to reach hearts. The point that has been urged upon my mind for years is the imputed righteousness of Christ. I have wondered that this matter was not made the subject of discourses in our churches throughout the land, when the matter has been kept so constantly urged upon me and I have made it the subject of nearly every discourse and talk that I have given to the people. (FW 18).

This is our sad history and the fact is that, after over 150 years of existence, we are no closer to our goal that we were when E. G. White made that statement. In fact, our situation is worse today than it was a hundred years ago. We are so confused and polarized concerning the gospel that one Australian scholar challenged us some 16 years ago:

Will the true Seventh-day Adventist please stand up?

Within Adventism today some five different kinds of gospels can be heard:

  1. The conservatives in our midst are preaching the Armenian gospel, which is anything but good news: that I must first meet God’s requirements of faith, repentance, and confession before He will put me into Christ and save me. Thus, instead of being good news, the gospel has become good advice. Unfortunately, the great majority of our people have failed to meet all of God’s requirements and, therefore, have been robbed of the joy and assurance of salvation. As a result, many are leaving the church in discouragement.

  2. Then you have the traditionalists who claim to be upholding Historist Adventism. They are preaching a Galatian type of Gospel: salvation is not by faith alone or grace alone but by faith plus works or grace plus keeping the law. This is a subtle form of legalism that has produced a Pharisaical people who are always criticizing those who do not see as they do or whose behavior is not conforming to the do’s and don’ts of the church.

  3. At the other extreme we have the liberals who are preaching the social gospel. That is: the gospel is practicing the life of Christ, going about doing good. This is a sophisticated form of legalism. Yes, the true gospel will produce a people who will go about doing good, but that is the fruits of the gospel and not the gospel itself. Any form of works that we do that is equated with the gospel is legalism. The gospel is the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, period. Nothing must be added to that or we are perverting the gospel.

  4. Since the sixties another gospel has been introduced into Adventism: the evangelical gospel. While there is much truth in this gospel, it is an incomplete gospel. Its emphasis is on salvation from the guilt and punishment of sin only, our ego-centric concerns. But the gospel did not only save us from the guilt and punishment of sin but also from sin itself and our slavery to it. This brings us to the fifth gospel, which I believe is the true and full gospel God raised the Advent Movement to restore and proclaim.

  5. This is the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14. During the rest of this study, we are going to examine from Scripture what this gospel is all about, along with the issues it is creating and why. Also, I will also try and clarify some of the misunderstandings some are having regarding certain theological termnologies regarding the everlasting gospel.

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