29 August 2022  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

Why is the book of Hebrews so controversial to some Adventists? It seems pretty straightforward to me: it seems to say that Jesus accomplished our salvation once for all at the cross. It says nothing about 1844. What am I missing?

Signed, Saved by Grace


Dear Saved,

Hebrews isn’t controversial. What is controversial is the Adventist teaching that the plan of salvation had to wait until 1844 to be completed. 

As you know, the Adventist theology of the investigative judgment came about because of a mistaken date we set for Jesus to return. Our pioneers, with the best of intentions, decided that what had really happened was a heavenly reënactment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement. Jesus, they said, had up until 1844 been in a different room of the heavenly sanctuary from his Father, and that year he got up and moved his throne into the next room. 

The problem is that the New Testament says that when Jesus was ascended into heaven (Acts 1) he immediately took his place next to his Father. 

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

There have been countless pages written defending the pioneers’ view. Aunty thinks such dear people are taking too literally Old Testament rituals that were meant to be symbolic. The whole sanctuary service with its sacrifices and rituals was a rich metaphor meant to prepare people for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, where he proved his love for us. When he came to earth all of that ended—even the curtain in the temple was ripped, taking away the holiness of the sanctuary. 

Please, people: can’t we keep things simple? Jesus finished his work on earth with a sacrificial death and a spectacular resurrection, and that guarantees salvation and eternal life to all who seek it. Period. End of story. 


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