A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church
by Bob Pickle
Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and Others
Discern Fact from Fiction
The Investigative Judgment and Shut Door, and Their Ramifications
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|#46 & #47: "The investigative judgment doctrine that Seventh-day Adventists
still cling to came from a
reinterpretation of William Miller's failed prophecy that Christ would come to the earth on
#46: It's a reinterpretation. Not really.
The whole Millerite movement was predicting that the day of judgment would occur around
1843 or 1844. That being so, it can't be a reinterpretation, for they already believed that.
Here's the evidence that Millerites were predicting the commencement of the judgment
in the 1840's. First, we have William Miller as early
as 1822 saying that he believed that the second coming and the judgment would take place at
the same time:
"ART. XVII. I believe in the resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust,—the just,
or believers, at Christ's second coming, and the unjust
one thousand years afterwards,—when the judgment of each will take place in their order, at
their several resurrections; when the just will receive
everlasting life, and the unjust eternal condemnation."—Bliss, p. 79.
From his "Lecture 1" printed in 1842, he clearly predicted the beginning of the
judgment to take place about 1843. Included also is a bit of
his appeal to sinners to give their hearts to Jesus:
And now, my impenitent friends, what say you? . . . And are there
no signs of the near approach of the Judgment Day? . . . "We say, 'You were
very unwise to fix on the year 1843, or sooner, for this day to come; for it will not come;
and then you will be ashamed." And I hope I may be able,
by the grace of God, to repent. But what if it does come? You cannot with any propriety say
positively it will not come, for you make no pretence
to divination. But I say, what if it does come? Where will you be? No space then for
repentance. No, no—too late, too late; the harvest is over and
past, the summer is gone, the door is shut, and your soul is not saved. Therefore it can do
you no harm to hear, and believe, and do those things
which God requires of you, and which you think you would do, if you knew he would
appear. First, I ask you to repent of your sins. Would this
be right? Yes. Next, I ask you to believe in God. Is this right? Yes. And I ask you to be
reconciled to his will, love his law, forsake sin, love holiness,
practice his precepts, obey his commands. Would these things be right? Yes, yes. And last of
all, and not least, I ask you to "look for the blessed
hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus
Christ."—Miller's Works, vol. 2, pp. 26, 27.
The investigative judgment doctrine of Seventh-day Adventism came from a
realization, not a reinterpretation, that the judgment did begin
after all on October 22 as predicted, but that the second coming was yet future.
And it has to be something like that anyway, for Jesus said, "Behold, I come quickly;
and my reward is with me, to give every man according
as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:12). Since Jesus will have his rewards with Him when He
comes, the judgment which determines what those
rewards will be must have already taken place before He comes.
As the apostle Paul said, "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge
the world" (Acts 17:31). Millerites before October
22 believed that the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14 pinpointed that "appointed" "day"
(Ibid., vol. 1, p. 129). And over 150 years later,
Seventh-day Adventists still believe that the 2300 days pinpoint the commencement of the
#47: William Miller's prediction of October 22 failed. As
brought out under #6, William Miller did not make the
not teach it, and never accepted it as the certain date when Christ would come.
But let's take a look at the whole question of the "failed prediction." Over and over
again the video asks us to believe that the calculation
of the 2300 days was in error. We have already looked at this [p. 42] question under #20, but let us look
at it again.
Miller and the Millerites merely drew conclusions based on the teachings of some of
the greatest scholars of several centuries. The general
dates Miller arrived at could not be faulted. Consider the comments of one of his most
learned opponents, Dr. George Bush of New York City
University, from a letter to William Miller:
I do not conceive your errors on the subject of chronology to be at all of a serious
nature, or in fact to be very wide of the truth. In taking a day
as the prophetical time for a year, I believe you are sustained by the soundest exegesis, as
well as fortified by the high names of Mede, Sir Isaac
Newton, Bishop Newton, Faber, Scott, Keith, and a host of others, who have long since
come to substantially your conclusions on this head. They
all agree that the leading periods mentioned by Daniel and John do actually expire about this
age of the world; and it would be strange logic that
would convict you of heresy for holding in effect the same views which stand forth so
prominently in the notices of these eminent divines. . . .
Your results in this field of inquiry do not strike me as so far out of the way as to
affect any of the great interests of truth or duty.—Advent
Herald, Mar. 6 and 13, 1844.
This opponent of Miller freely admits that many famous scholars of old agreed that the
prophetic periods of the prophecies would end in
Miller's day! What problem, then, did Dr. Bush see with Miller's interpretation? Why did he
not become a Millerite if he thought his calculations
Your error, as I apprehend, lies in another direction than your
chronology. . . .
You have entirely mistaken the nature of the events which are to occur when those
periods have expired. This is the head and front of your
expository offending. . . .
The great event before the world is not its physical conflagration, but its moral
regeneration. Although there is doubtless a sense in which Christ
may be said to come in connection with the passing away of the fourth empire and of the
ottoman power, and his kingdom to be illustriously
established, yet that will be found to be a spiritual coming in the power of His gospel, in the
ample outpouring of His spirit, and the glorious
administration of His providence.—Ibid.
Dr. Bush didn't believe that Christ would literally come. He believed that the
Scriptures that speak of Christ's coming should be taken
symbolically, not literally. We cannot fault Miller for believing that the second coming
would be literal like the Bible says, instead of spiritual
like Dr. Bush believed.
That William Miller had a firm biblical footing for his teachings is attested by his basic
agreement with the conclusions of multitudes of
scholars spanning decades and centuries. Though his ideas were not free from error, the date
of October 22, 1844, was correct. Or at least, no
solid evidence to the contrary has been presented by his opponents back then or now.
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