Word Magazine April 1960 Page 6-7
THE SECOND COMING OF OUR LORD
By Father Michael Buben
The Seventh-Day Adventists teach that at the time of our Lord’s second coming, all the righteous living and dead will go with Him to heaven where together they will reign for a thousand years. After a thousand years all the righteous will return to earth which shall become an eternal habitation, a new Garden of Eden.
There is no witness to this in Holy Scripture, the only source from which they claim to derive their beliefs. Most Adventist beliefs are the result of vain philosophical invention and changing Biblical interpretation as a whole. They rely to a large extent on the Book of Revelation written by St. John the Divine. Blessed Jerome wrote about the Book of Revelation in the Fourth Century: “In the Apocalypse of John, there are as many mysteries, as there are words.” The Word of God as interpreted through the infallible Orthodox Faith, clearly states that at the dread Judgment of Christ all shall stand trial and everyone shall receive a final verdict.
The Adventists further explain that during the second coming of Christ, only the righteous (living and dead) will go with Him to reign in heaven for a period of one-thousand years. Sinners will remain sleeping in the graves.
This statement of course is false as we shall see. Let’s first examine the history of the Adventists briefly. This sect grew out of a group of Protestants, led by a Reverend William Miller, who believed in the imminent coming of Christ. Miller prophesied that the coming of Christ would take place in 1843. When nothing took place in that year, Miller changed the date to October 22, 1844, and even named the hour of the advent. Out of curiosity, many people became followers of Miller and awaited the hour with fear, trepidation, and penance.
The Bible tells us: “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shall not be afraid of him.” (DEU. 18, 22).
What does the Orthodox Faith point out about the Second Coming of Christ? The Day? The hour? This: — “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (MATTHEW 24, 36).
Shall anyone remain in the grave? The Bible says: — “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I THES. 4-16, 17). The living shall be caught up with the dead in the cloud to meet the Lord coming to judge both the living and the dead. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (DAN. 12, 2).
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice . . . and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (JOHN 5, 28).
The Scripture clearly tells us that ALL will have a resurrection; the righteous and sinners and everyone will receive a place according to the merits of their good works. “In my Fathers house are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you.” (JOHN 14. 2).
“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.” (MATTHEW 16, 27). “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (REV. 22, 12).
Everyone’s verdict at the Judgment shall be final and irrevocable. Only Saints already have their reward. That we shall “always” be with the Lord is undoubtable. The faithful will fully enter the places awarded to them after the Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Those who deserve an eternal place with the Father will remain there eternally. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”. . . . “Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, (i.e.. living or dead) we may be accepted of Him.” (II COR. 5, 1 & 9).
From these texts it should not be difficult to understand that on the Day of Judgment, everybody will be resurrected — the righteous and sinners. Everyone will receive what he (or she) deserves.
Contrary to this clear teaching from the Word of God, the Adventists teach: “With the coming of Christ, the ungodly dead shall remain unconscious in their graves. Only the righteous shall be resurrected. The living ungodly will be struck dead by the “spirit of his mouth” and the “brightness of his coming.” (1000-Years Pf. 5).
By understanding a few things from Orthodox Holy Tradition, this whole nonsensical philosophy of the Adventists — falls. The sentence — “The ungodly living will be struck dead by the spirit of His mouth,” etc. confuses them. Let us read what St. Paul wrote in his 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians. (2,8). Who does he speak of?
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming.”
What’s this all about? Who is this “Wicked”? A few sentences earlier in this same epistle, St. Paul calls him “that man of sin . . . the son of perdition.” (3,4). St. John speaks of this “Wicked” one in his first epistle (2,18) :
“And ye have heard that ANTICHRIST shall come, even now are there many antichrists.” This “Wicked” one will be an individual antichrist, whom the Judeans will accept as their Messiah. This antichrist will be the one consumed by the “Spirit of His mouth” and destroyed “with the brightness of His Coming.”
This is why the Adventists are confused. They take this one word — Wicked — to mean the “ungodly living.” There is no such reference in Thessalonians. They confuse Holy Scripture: “In which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 PETER 3, 16).
On Judgment Day, ALL shall receive a final verdict. Everyone shall receive either eternal life or eternal fire. “It is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” (MATT. 18, 8) or “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (MARK 9, 48).
Christ Himself will proclaim the final verdict in this last day: “a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” (ZEP. 1, 15). “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”. . . “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.” (MATT. 25, 41-46).
Those who went to the devil and served him: “shall be tormented with fire and brimstone”. …“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.” (REV. 14, 10—11).
The Orthodox Church forbids its faithful to concelebrate, attend services or listen to non-Orthodox lectures only to protect its flock from false prophets: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false-prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night, forever and ever.” (REV. 20, 10)