Seven Letters to SDA 4
LETTER 4 October 22, 1956
President R. R. Figuhr and
General Conference Committee of Seventh-day Adventists
Takoma Park, Washington, D. C.
You realize that October 22, 1956, marks the one-hundred and twelfth anniversary of the message of the Judgment of the Dead. We all realize that each passing year brings us nearer to the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Sister White tells us that some day the Lord will begin the Judgment of the Living which begins at the house of God -the church.
"For many years this work has been in progress. Soon - none know how soon - it will pass to the cases of the living." - The Great Controversy, p. 490.
"In the typical service only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the Day of Atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a latter period. 'Judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?' 1 Peter 4:17." -Ibid., p. 480.
"Every case had been decided for life or death. While Jesus had been ministering in the sanctuary, the judgment had been going on for the righteous dead, and then for the righteous living. Christ had received His kingdom, having made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins." - Early Writings, p. 280.
"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Mal. 4:4-6.
In Early Writings, page 280, Sister White tells us that first the dead are judged, and then the living. We know when the Judgment for the Dead began, but what of the Judgment for the Living? Is it not logical that we should know when it begins too? Which is the more important to the living; to know that God is judging the dead; or that He is judging them? Which would be more important to a criminal; to tell him other cases were being tried; or that some day his case would come up; or that on the morrow he would be judged? I dare say, he would be most interested in the latter instance.
How would we feel if we knew our case were to be reviewed today before the Great Judge of the Universe? Would not our concern be greater than if we say, "the Lord is going to judge us some day, but none know when?" Yet, Sister White says: "The church will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary." -Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 83.
How does the Seventh-day Adventist Church stand before the Throne with her future glory resting in the hands of the General Conference? Are we prepared to face the Ancient of Days? Have we employed the Sun of Righteousness to plead our case, and done all to stand?
We see in Malachi's prophecy that the Lord is to send a message calling attention to the law of Moses before the great and dreadful day of the Lord! That message is designed to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. Since the Judgment of the Dead has failed to accomplish the Lord's purpose, then it must be that the Judgment of the Living is to bring about this mutual relationship between parents and children. To realize that the Judgment for the Living is in progress would cause any parent to be more concerned for his children.
The Law of Moses was that of the Sanctuary which had to do with the living only.
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God." Lev. 23:26-28.
You may say, would not the Lord speak to all of His people, if He was going to judge them? Remember, He spoke only to Joshua when He told the people to march around Jericho, and it was their faith that caused the wall to come tumbling down.
Today, the people of God have the written word; nevertheless, their faith will be severely tried. Sister White tells us:
". . . as the disciples declared that there is salvation in no other name under heaven, given among men, so also should the servants of God faithfully and fearlessly warn those who embrace but a part of the truths connected with the third message, that they must gladly receive all the messages as God has given them, or have no part in the matter." - Early Writings, pp. 188,189.
" 'Satan has ability to suggest doubts and to devise objections to the pointed testimony that God sends, and many think it a virtue, a mark of intelligence in them, to be unbelieving and to question and quibble. Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence.' 'God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith.' "- Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 675,676.
Is there any way whereby we can determine the beginning of the Judgment of the Living? When we review the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy in regard to the Third Angel's Message, we quickly see that the beautiful truths brought out in the Judgment of the Dead are repeated and intensified under the Judgment of the Living. As Sister White says, "when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel . . . " (Testimonies to Ministers, page 300). This message that joins the Third Message, Ellen G. White, shows, as does the Bible, to be the Judgment of the Living! In fact, all Scriptures pertaining to this subject point indirectly to the Judgment of the Dead and directly to the Judgment of the Living because it is the most important. The focal point of the Scriptures is not necessarily the second coming of Christ in the clouds when every eye shall see Him, but to His coming in judgment to the living; for all saints are sealed before He comes in the clouds, therefore it (His second coming) is no test to them then.
Ezekiel 29:9-12 records a "forty years" of which history has no record of having taken place (S.D.A. Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 679). Since Ezekiel's prophecies are for Israel in the last days, the forty year period applies to modern-day-Israel -Seventh-day Adventists. Time and opportunity to present the evidences would be greatly appreciated, brethren.
I realize that Autumn Council is a very busy time for you; but do you not see the hand of Providence at work? The message has come the very year of the Autumn Council which starts October 23, one day after the Atonement this year, October 22. This is in God's providence and should be "marvelous in our eyes." Truly the Angel of Revelation 18:1, Early Writings, p. 277, and Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300, has come to join the third angel to finish the work. This should thrill our very souls, that God is going to glorify His work and cut it short in righteousness.
Since Sister White prophesied that the Judgment of the Living would soon begin (The Great Controversy, p. 440) consider these figures. From her death in 1915 to 1955, marks forty years which brings us to the Judgment of the Living, beginning with Davidian Seventh-day Adventists who are represented by two-tribe Judah. 1956 - Judgment of the Living in the house of God - Seventh-day Adventists, represented as the ten-tribe Israel. "We are repeating the history of that people" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 160). This is the marking of those who "sigh and cry" - the unrolling of the Scroll (Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 17; Ezekiel 9). Furthermore, 1955 marked the seventy-first year of her prophecy concerning the Judgment of the Living). Even more conclusively, we read where Mrs. White says: "The work of restoration and reform carried on by the returned exiles, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, presents a (The Great Controversy, p. 490) picture of a work of spiritual restoration that is to be wrought in the closing days of this earth's history." -Prophets and Kings, p. 677.
These statements are very startling but are just a small sample of the evidence that can be presented if the opportunity is permitted us.
Other meetings of importance should not cause you to overlook the importance of reorganizing under the "angel that joins the third angel," that the work may go forward in power.
"The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt." -Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217.
"Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with disgust upon the scene; yet God had a message for the church that was sacred and important. lf received, it would make a thorough reformation in the church, revive the living testimony that would purge out hypocrites and sinners, and bring the church again into favor with God." - Early Writings, p. 228.
Now is your opportunity, brethren, to turn the church about face and get her back into God's favor, secure your life, and save your children. My prayer is that you not overlook the fact that God is taking the "reins in His own hands" and will perfect His Work of Righteousness.
Yours for a quick work in the church!
Ben L. Roden