Seventh-day Adventist theologians and administrators from around the world meeting in Rome, Italy, for the Fourth International Bible Conference from June 11-21, 2018, voted a Consensus Statement at the closing of the event on June 20. The conference theme was biblical eschatology, or the study of last-day events according to the Bible. The document voted reaffirms the Adventist understanding of biblical prophecy, end-time events, and its missiological implications for the church. Below is the full text of the document approved.
CONSENSUS STATEMENT Fourth International Bible Conference
The Fourth International Bible Conference was held in Rome, June 11-21, 2018, with the theme of “Biblical Eschatology.” Almost four hundred Adventist scholars, pastors, educators, and church leaders, sharing a deep commitment to Scripture and a biblical worldview, gathered from around the world to explore biblical, theological, historical, ethical, missiological, and scientific perspectives on eschatology. The goal of the Conference was to affirm and explore biblical eschatology, foster fellowship and unity, and to bring about a renewed sense of the times in which we live so as to be better equipped to serve the Lord and His Church. We have been spiritually and intellectually enriched through Bible study and worship, seasons of prayer, lectures, discussions, and educational tours to significant biblical, historical, and archaeological sites.
As Seventh-day Adventists, we are impelled by the personal and profound conviction of the nearness of Christ’s coming as a literal, visible, personal, and worldwide event. We are keenly aware of the challenges being made to the historicist approach to biblical eschatology. These challenges include preterist, futurist, and idealist approaches to the books of Daniel and Revelation, scientific cosmologies that breed skepticism toward a divine supernatural resolution of the problem of sin and death, and speculation regarding things that have not been revealed.
Statement of Affirmation
Committed to the principles of sola and tota Scriptura, we hereby affirm that the Seventh-day Adventist Church, raised up in fulfillment of Bible prophecy near the end of earth’s history, has an eschatological perspective as an integral part of its theology, message, and mission.
We affirm that eschatology has its origin in the triune God. When the predicted time was fulfilled God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ in order to redeem and adopt us as His children (Gal 4:4-5) and advance His plan of salvation, which will culminate in Jesus’ glorious reign after His Parousia.
We affirm that Jesus Christ with His life, death, and resurrection is the center of our eschatological hope. Through the Holy Spirit He confirms individual believers as being God’s children and heirs, while they eagerly wait for the final liberation from all corruption (Rom 8:14-25). Through the Holy Spirit, Christ also guides His church to rightly understand and interpret the Scriptures towards the fulfillment of its mission and leads us to a joyful obedience of His word.
We affirm that biblical eschatology represents God’s historical, and complete resolution of the problems caused by the entrance of sin into the universe.
We affirm that in biblical eschatology God confirms His promises and encourages His people to live meaningfully in light of the eschaton.
We affirm the historical accuracy of the biblical account of creation, the fall, and the global flood as essential to a proper understanding of biblical eschatology.
We affirm that the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation are foundational for the understanding of biblical eschatology and that the historicist method is the proper approach to interpreting them.
We affirm the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, with their interconnected truths of the everlasting gospel, Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, the commandments of God, including the seventh-day Sabbath, and the testimony of Jesus, the pre-Advent judgment, the second coming of Christ to resurrect and redeem His people from the earth, followed by the millennium in heaven, the final judgment upon sin and sinners with their destruction in the lake of fire, which is the second death, and God’s re-creation of this earth as His people’s eternal home.
We affirm that we are responsible to care for God’s creation, including our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, and to reflect God’s character of love to all people, urging them to accept this final message of hope for a dying world.
All members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church should share with the world this eschatological vision. Amid increased skepticism toward this future hope and futile attempts to build a paradise on earth, we accept the challenge of proclaiming this biblical eschatology within our varied contexts and dedicate ourselves to the work of finding effective approaches to meet these challenges.
This statement was written by the Biblical Research Institute and originally appeared 4 on EUD News, the official news service of the Inter-European Division. Photo by Andreas Mazza, courtesy of EUD News.—Spectrum Magazine
Wondering why GC SDA Not preaching about who the beast is and undiluted truth??? It was foreseen by the LORD’S servant;
In a vision of the night I was shown distinctly that these sentiments have been looked upon by some as the grand truths that are to be brought in and made prominent at the present time. I was shown a platform, braced by solid timbers—the truths of the Word of God. Someone high in responsibility in the medical work was directing this man and that man to loosen the timbers supporting this platform. Then I heard a voice saying, “Where are the watchmen that ought to be standing on the walls of Zion? Are they asleep? This foundation was built by the Master Worker, and will stand storm and tempest. Will they permit this man to present doctrines that deny the past experience of the people of God? The time has come to take decided action.” 1SM 204.1
The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work.The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure. 1SM 204.2
Who has authority to begin such a movement? We have our Bibles. We have our experience, attested to by the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. We have a truth that admits of no compromise. Shall we not repudiate everything that is not in harmony with this truth? 1SM 205.1
I hesitated and delayed about the sending out of that which the Spirit of the Lord impelled me to write. I did not want to be compelled to present the misleading influence of these sophistries. But in the providence of God, the errors that have been coming in must be met. 1SM 205.2
An Iceberg! “Meet It”
Shortly before I sent out the testimonies regarding the efforts of the enemy to undermine the foundation of our faith through the dissemination of seductive theories, I had read an incident about a ship in a fog meeting an iceberg. For several nights I slept but little. I seemed to be bowed down as a cart beneath sheaves. One night a scene was clearly presented before me. A vessel was upon the waters, in a heavy fog. Suddenly the lookout cried, “Iceberg just ahead!” There, towering high above the ship, was a gigantic iceberg. An authoritative voice cried out, “Meet it!” There was not a moment’s hesitation. It was a time for instant action. The engineer put on full steam, and the man at the wheel steered the ship straight into the iceberg. With a crash she struck the ice. There was a fearful shock, and the iceberg broke into many pieces, falling with a noise like thunder to the deck. The passengers were violently shaken by the force of the collisions, but no lives were lost. The vessel was injured, but not beyond repair. She rebounded from the contact, trembling from stem to stern, like a living creature. Then she moved forward on her way. 1SM 205.3
Well I knew the meaning of this representation. I had my orders. I had heard the words, like a voice from our Captain, “Meet it!” I knew what my duty was, and that there was not a moment to lose. The time for decided action had come. I must without delay obey the command, “Meet it!”. 1SM 206.1
That night I was up at one o’clock, writing as fast as my hand could pass over the paper. For the next few days I worked early and late, preparing for our people the instruction given me regarding the errors that were coming in among us. 1SM 206.2
I have been hoping that there would be a thorough reformation, and that the principles for which we fought in the early days, and which were brought out in the power of the Holy Spirit, would be maintained. 1SM 206.3